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Jack P. Greene, Exploring the Bounds of Liberty: Political Writings of Colonial British America from the Glorious Revolution to the American Revolution. Vol. 1 (1687-1732) [2018]

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Jack P. Greene, Exploring the Bounds of Liberty: Political Writings of Colonial British America from the Glorious Revolution to the American Revolution. Edited and with an Introduction by Jack P. Greene and Craig B. Yirush. Latin translations by Kathleen Alvis (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2018). Vol. 1 (1687-1732).

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About this Title:

Exploring the Bounds of Liberty is a 3 vol. collection which presents a rich and extensive selection of the political literature produced in and about colonial British America during the century before the American Revolution (1687-1774). Vol. 1: 1. William Penn, The Excellent Priviledge of Liberty and Property (Philadelphia, 1687) to 28. “A Sincere Lover of Virginia” [Sir William Gooch], A Dialogue (Williamsburg, 1732).

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The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.

Fair use statement:

This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
Exploring the Bounds of Liberty
Edition: current; Page: [ii] Edition: current; Page: [iii]
Exploring the Bounds of LIBERTY
Political Writings of Colonial British America from the Glorious Revolution to the American Revolution
volume i
Edited and with an Introduction by Jack P. Greene and Craig B. Yirush
Latin Translations by Kathleen Alvis
liberty fund
Edition: current; Page: [iv]

This book is published by Liberty Fund, Inc., a foundation established to encourage study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.


The cuneiform inscription that serves as our logo and as the design motif for our endpapers is the earliest-known written appearance of the word “freedom” (amagi), or “liberty.” It is taken from a clay document written about 2300 bc in the Sumerian city-state of Lagash.

Compilation, introduction, translations, editorial matter, and index © 2018 by Liberty Fund, Inc.

Front: “Vintage engraving of Boston Harbour showing the Dartmouth, which was one of the ships boarded during the Boston Tea Party, a political protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, a city in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the tax policy of the British government and the East India Company, which controlled all the tea imported into the colonies.” Used by permission © 1890.

Spine: Library of Congress, dated 1758: “A general map of the middle British colonies in America: Viz. Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pensilvania, New-Jersey, New-York, Connecticut, and Rhode-Island: Of Aquanishuonigy the country of the Confederate Indians comprehending Aquanishuonigy proper, their places of residence, Ohio and Tuchsochruntie their deer hunting countries, Couchsachrage and Skaniadarade, their beaver hunting countries, of the Lakes Erie, Ontario, and Champlain, . . . exhibiting the antient and present seats of the Indian nations.” Used by permission.

All rights reserved

Printed in the United States of America

17 18 19 20 21 22 c 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Greene, Jack P., editor. | Yirush, Craig, 1968– editor.

Title: Exploring the bounds of liberty : political writings of colonial British America from the Glorious Revolution to the American Revolution / edited by Jack P. Greene and Craig B. Yirush with an introduction by Jack P. Greene ; Latin translations by Kathleen Alvis.

Description: Carmel, Indiana : Liberty Fund, Inc., 2018. | Includes index. Identifiers: LCCN 2017026534 | ISBN 9780865978997 (hardcover : alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: United States—Politics and government—To 1775—Sources.

Classification: LCC E195 .E97 2018 | DDC 973.3—dc23

LC record available at

liberty fund, inc.

11301 North Meridian Street

Carmel, Indiana 46032-4564

Edition: current; Page: [v]


  • Introduction xi
  • Editors’ Note xxi
  • Translator’s Note xxiii
  • Acknowledgments xxv
  • volume i
    • 1. William Penn, The Excellent Priviledge of Liberty and Property (Philadelphia, 1687) 3
    • 2. [John Palmer], The Present State of New England (Boston, 1689) 47
    • 3. Gershom Bulkeley, The People’s Right to Election (1689) 95
    • 4. [Edward Littleton], The Groans of the Plantations (London, 1689) 115
    • 5. [Edward Rawson], The Revolution in New England Justified (1691) 147
    • 6. John Montague, Arguments Offer’d to the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners (1701) 195
    • 7. [Thomas Hodge], Plantation Justice, London (1701) 215
    • 8. “An American” [Benjamin Harrison], An Essay upon the Government of the English Plantations on the Continent of America (London, 1701) 227
    • 9. [William Penn], The Allegations Against Proprietary Government Considered (1701) 279 Edition: current; Page: [vi]
    • 10. Reflections on the Printed Case of William Penn, Esq., in a Letter from Some Gentlemen of Pensilvania (1702) 287
    • 11. Anonymous, A Letter from a Merchant at Jamaica to a Member of Parliament in London (London, 1709) 297
    • 12. Anonymous, Truth Brought to Light (London, 1713) 313
    • 13. Anonymous, Some Instances of the Oppression and Male Administration of Col. Parke (1713) 327
    • 14. Samuel Mulford, Samuel Mulford’s Speech to the Assembly at New-York [New York, 1714] 345
    • 15. [Robert Hunter], Androboros: A Biographical Farce in Three Acts [New York, 1714] 355
    • 16. [James Spence and Roderick MacKenzie], The Groans of Jamaica (London, 1714) 395
    • 17. [William Gordon], A Representation of the Miserable State of Barbadoes (London, 1719) 463
    • 18. Elisha Cooke, Mr. Cooke’s Just and Seasonable Vindication (Boston, 1720) 485
    • 19. Anonymous, A True State of the Case between the Inhabitants of South Carolina, and the Lords Proprietors of That Province [London, 1720] 499
    • 20. Jeremiah Dummer, A Defence of the New-England Charters (Boston, 1721) 509
    • 21. [Samuel Cranston and] R. Ward, A Vindication of the Governour and Government of His Majesty’s Colony of Rhode-Island (Newport, 1721) 551
    • 22. David Lloyd, A Vindication of the Legislative Power (1725) 561
    • 23. James Logan, The Antidote (1725) 573
    • 24. John Bulkley, “Preface” in Roger Wolcott, Poetical Meditations (New London, 1725) 595 Edition: current; Page: [vii]
    • 25. J. N., The Liberty and Property of British Subjects Asserted (London, 1726) 629
    • 26. Daniel Dulany, The Right of the Inhabitants of Maryland to the Benefit of the English Laws (1728) 649
    • 27. “Amicus Reipublicae,” Trade and Commerce Inculcated ([Boston], 1731) 677
    • 28. “A Sincere Lover of Virginia” [Sir William Gooch], A Dialogue (Williamsburg, 1732) 725
  • volume ii
    • 29. William Smith, Mr. Smith’s Opinion Humbly Offered to the General Assembly of the Colony of New-York (New York, 1734) 743
    • 30. Joseph Murray, Mr. Murray’s Opinion Relating to the Courts of Justice in the Colony of New-York (New York, 1734) 809
    • 31. Sir John Randolph, The Speech of Sir John Randolph, upon His Being Elected Speaker of the House of Burgesses (Williamsburg, 1734) 869
    • 32. [“Americanus”], Letter to the Freeholders and Other Inhabitants of the Massachusetts-Bay (Newport, 1739) 875
    • 33. [Maurice Moore], A True and Faithful Narrative of the Proceedings of the House of Burgesses of North-Carolina (Williamsburg, 1740) 887
    • 34. [William Douglass], A Discourse Concerning the Currencies of the British Plantations in America (Boston, 1740) 933
    • 35. Thomas Baxter, A Letter from a Gentleman at Barbados to His Friend (London, 1740) 979
    • 36. Samuel Chew, The Speech of Samuel Chew, Esq. (Philadelphia, 1741) 1005 Edition: current; Page: [viii]
    • 37. “Remarks on the Maryland Government and Constitution,” American Magazine (1741) 1021
    • 38. [Jonathan Blenman], Remarks on Several Acts of Parliament (London, 1742) 1049
    • 39. Thomas Stephens, The Hard Case of the Distressed People of Georgia (London, 1742) 1117
    • 40. [Edward Trelawny], An Essay Concerning Slavery (London, 1746) 1131
    • 41. Samuel Nevill, Mr. Nevill’s Speech to the House of Representatives of the Colony of New-Jersey (New York Weekly Post Boy, May 19, 1746) 1165
    • 42. “A Freeholder,” “A Native of Maryland,” “Americano-Britannus,” “Philanthropos,” and Anonymous (Maryland Gazette, 1748) 1185
    • 43. [Archibald Kennedy], An Essay on the Government of the Colonies (1752) 1261
    • 44. Anonymous, The Voice of the People (Boston, 1754) 1293
    • 45. [Landon Carter], A Letter from a Gentleman in Virginia to the Merchants of Great Britain (London, 1754) 1301
    • 46. George Frye, The Case of Capt. George Frye (London, 1754) 1323
    • 47. Anonymous, A Short Account of the Interest and Conduct of the Jamaica Planters (London, 1754) 1359
    • 48. Stephen Hopkins, A True Representation of the Plan Formed at Albany, for Uniting All the British Northern Colonies (Newport, 1755) 1371
    • 49. “Philolethes” [Samuel Ward], A Short Reply to Mr. Stephen Hopkins’s Vindication (Newport, 1755) 1391
    • 50. [William Smith], A Brief State of the Province of Pennsylvania (London, 1755) 1399
    • 51. Anonymous, An Answer to an Invidious Pamphlet, Intituled, A Brief State of the Province of Pennsylvania (London, 1755) 1421 Edition: current; Page: [ix]
    • 52. “Veridicus” [Thomas Frearon], The Merchants, Factors, and Agents Residing at Kingston, Complainants, Against the Inhabitants of Spanish-Town (London, 1755) 1477
  • volume iii
    • 53. [William Livingston], An Address to His Excellency Sir Charles Hardy (New York, 1755) 1541
    • 54. Daniel Fowle, A Total Eclipse of Liberty (Boston, 1755) 1555
    • 55. J.W., A Letter from a Gentleman in Nova-Scotia, To a Person of Distinction on the Continent ([London], 1756) 1579
    • 56. T[homas] W[right] and [William Wragg], Letters to the South Carolina Gazette (May 13, June 5, 1756) 1589
    • 57. [Landon Carter], A Letter to a Gentleman in London, from Virginia (Williamsburg, 1759) 1613
    • 58. Richard Bland, A Letter to the Clergy of Virginia (Williamsburg, 1760) 1637
    • 59. [Joseph Galloway], A Letter to the People of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1760) 1659
    • 60. James Otis, A Vindication of the Conduct of the House of Representatives of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay (Boston, 1762) 1679
    • 61. Massachusetts House of Representatives: Instructions to Jasper Mauduit (June 15, 1762) 1723
    • 62. John Camm, A Single and Distinct View of the Act, Vulgarly Entitled, The Two-Penny Act (Annapolis, 1763) 1737
    • 63. Richard Bland, The Colonel Dismounted: Or the Rector Vindicated (Williamsburg, 1764) 1777
    • 64. John Dickinson, A Speech, Delivered in the House of Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1764) 1835 Edition: current; Page: [x]
    • 65. Joseph Galloway, The Speech of Joseph Galloway, Delivered in the House of Assembly, of the Province of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1764) 1869
    • 66. “An American” [Arthur Lee], An Essay in Vindication of the Continental Colonies of America (London, 1764) 1933
    • 67. [Nicholas Bourke], The Privileges of the Island of Jamaica Vindicated (London, 1766) 1955
    • 68. [Robert Munford], The Candidates; Or, The Humours of a Virginia Election [1770] 2023
    • 69. Anonymous, Observations upon the Report Made by the Board of Trade against the Grenada Laws (London, 1770) 2053
    • 70. John Gardiner, The Argument or Speech of John Gardiner, Esquire (St. Christopher, 1770) 2085
    • 71. “A Freeman” [John J. Zubly], Calm and Respectful Thoughts on the Negative of the Crown (Savannah, 1772) 2123
    • 72. “A Planter” [Edward Long], Candid Reflections upon the Judgement on What Is Commonly Called the Negroe-Cause (London, 1772) 2149
    • 73. Samuel Estwick, Considerations on the Negroe Cause (London, 1773) 2193
    • 74. A Member of the Assembly [John Day], An Essay on the Present State of the Province of Nova-Scotia [Halifax, 1774] 2231
    • 75. Anonymous, Considerations on the Imposition of 4½ Per Cent; Collected on Grenada, Without Grant of Parliament (London, 1774) 2249
  • Index 2269
Edition: current; Page: [xi]


When scholars think about early American political writings, they think principally about the Federalist or about the writings involving various issues associated with the founding era of the American republic, particularly the debates over metropolitan efforts to tax the colonies after 1764, independence, and the formation of the federal state. The most important of these writings have long been accessible to scholars, many of the principal pamphlets and newspaper writings of the Revolutionary era having been included in the collection edited by Charles Hyneman and Donald Lutz and published by Liberty Fund nearly three decades ago.1 Several other important collections have republished many of the significant writings for and against the Federal Constitution of 1787.2 As it has become more widely and easily available and thus familiar to more scholars, this literature has elicited considerable scholarly respect for its political precociousness, learning, and sophistication as well as for its relevance to the ongoing project, so central to the history of the West, of defining the nature of civil liberty and determining how best to cultivate and maintain it. Yet, the impression remains that this literature somehow sprang, phoenix-like, out of the heads of geniuses, the revered founding fathers of the Revolutionary generation.

Geniuses many of the founders may have been, but their achievements in political analysis were built on a long and rich tradition of political writing. Scholars have acknowledged the indebtedness of the founders to the Edition: current; Page: [xii] great British and European legal and political writers, Edward Coke, John Locke, James Harrington, John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, Frances Hutchinson, David Hume, William Blackstone, and Baron Montesquieu, to name only the most prominent.3 What has largely escaped systematic analysis, however, is the rich and extensive political literature produced in and about colonial British America during the century before the American Revolution. Already by the 1670s, colonial spokespersons were producing formal writings about political questions, a few of them published in New England, which had the only printing presses then in English America, but most of them published in London. Throughout the colonial era, colonials and metropolitans concerned with colonial questions continued to publish their political writings in London or elsewhere in Britain. However, with the expansion of printing to most of the colonies during the last decade of the seventeenth century and the first three decades of the eighteenth century (part of the expansion of print culture that was taking place throughout the English-speaking world), political polemical literature published in America increased exponentially throughout colonial British America, from Britain’s southernmost colony in Barbados to its northernmost colony in Nova Scotia. Indeed, the number of imprints dealing with political questions increased in every decade after 1710 to become, by the 1750s, a veritable flood.

This vast literature was both sacred and secular. Some of it appeared as essays in newspapers, some in sizable volumes, some in sermons, some in poetry, plays, and other belletristic writings, but most of it in pamphlets or short treatises of fewer than a hundred pages. A large proportion of this literature has survived, widely scattered among rare book libraries in the United States, Britain, Canada, and the West Indies. Altogether, between 1670 and 1764 as many as a thousand to twelve hundred explicitly political writings issued from colonial and British presses on matters of moment to the colonial British American world. Because of the ephemeral character of this literature and because it was not associated with a founding national moment, scholars have remained mostly unaware of it.

The obscurity of this literature has meant that an important body of English political writing has been largely ignored. Above all, English people Edition: current; Page: [xiii] thought of themselves as distinct from other peoples because of their successful dedication to liberty and the rule of law, to which even the monarchy had been subjected. English people who migrated overseas to Ireland and to America during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries took this dedication with them. Liberty and law, they were persuaded, were the essential badges through which they could continue to identify themselves as English people, although living far away in climates and places that bore little physical resemblance to the country they had left behind. Hence, from the very beginning of overseas settlement, colonists made every effort to lay claim to the principles of English law and liberty, to incorporate those principles into the political and legal structures of the communities they were establishing in the New World, and to elicit metropolitan acknowledgment that, by virtue of their national inheritance as English people or the descendants of English people, they were fully entitled to that system of law and liberty. In the 1680s, William Penn, founder of the newest and last of the seventeenth-century English colonies, offered to prospective colonists precisely the sorts of guarantees of their rights to English law and liberties that colonists in the older colonies had long claimed. Thus, when metropolitan officials during the Restoration sought to use prerogative powers to impose a more authoritarian regime upon the colonies, and when in the mid-1680s under James II they sought to amalgamate the New England colonies and New York into the Dominion of New England, a regime that eliminated representative government in those colonies, they encountered widespread and deep resistance.

That resistance was responsible for much of the political literature of colonial British America. The Glorious Revolution in England provided the occasion for the overthrow of seemingly absolutist or Catholic regimes in New England, New York, and Maryland, in the process generating an extensive literature that either justified or opposed the overthrow of existing regimes. In this discussion, apologists for settler resistance widely condemned the Crown’s use of prerogative power to stifle or curtail traditional English liberties in the colonies, while their opponents depicted colonial uprisings as violations of the existing political order and invitations, not to liberty, but to licentiousness. At the very heart of these discussions was the question of how English people organized into and living in polities so remote from the parent state could enjoy the traditional liberties of Englishmen, and settler protagonists manifested a powerful determination Edition: current; Page: [xiv] both to inscribe those liberties into their new polities and to resist any efforts to deprive them of their most valuable inheritance, as they often said, in paraphrase of Sir Edward Coke. At the same time, a significant number of authors in the colonies (many, but not all of them government officials) took the side of the metropolis, defending it against the defiance of colonial protagonists and their alleged encroachments upon metropolitan authority.

During the eight decades following the Glorious Revolution, the same question arose repeatedly, connected to a wide variety of issues. These included the vagaries of colonial justice, abuses of judicial and executive power, the ambiguity of colonial constitutions, the sanctity of colonial charters, the persecution of religious dissenters, the limits and responsibilities of proprietary government, freedom of the press, the enslavement of blacks, the desirability of balanced government, the privileges and powers of colonial legislatures, the efforts of power-seeking politicians to monopolize power, the entitlement of colonial settlers to English laws, and appropriate strategies for economic development. Mostly arising out of local crises, the conflicts over these issues generated a large literature, including formal political tracts, published speeches from legislative debates, political satires, grand jury charges, election tracts and sermons, accounts of political trials, and many other genres. This literature circulated freely around the British world; a pamphlet emanating in Williamsburg might be answered by one written in London, and authors frequently made references to writings produced in disputes in other areas of the colonial British American—or Irish—world. Authors of this literature thus drew upon not just metropolitan political writers but each other. Over time, this body of literature showed an increase in learning as well as in legal, political, and philosophical sophistication, and it produced a body of thought upon which spokespersons for the resisting colonies in the 1760s and 1770s could draw in their defense of colonial liberties from the encroachments of metropolitan power.

For over a century, in formal political writing, they had effectively been testing, defining, and expanding the bounds of liberty in Britain’s overseas possessions. In this short general introduction, we can mention only a few of the most impressive examples of this literature. Published by an anonymous Virginian in London in 1701, An Essay upon the Government of the Plantations in America (Selection 8), identified most of the tensions between Edition: current; Page: [xv] metropolitan power and colonial liberty that would prove to be constant irritants in metropolitan-colonial relations until the American Revolution and, for those polities that remained in the British Empire after 1783, well beyond it. In 1721, Jeremiah Dummer’s A Defence of the New England Charters (Selection 20) brilliantly argued the colonial case for the sanctity of the charters on which the governments of several of the colonies depended for their immediate legal foundations. Later in the same decade, in The Right of the Inhabitants of Maryland, to the Benefit of English Laws (Selection 26), the Maryland lawyer and recent Irish emigrant Daniel Dulany used English jurisprudential thought and natural rights theory to fashion an effective case for the entitlement of Marylanders to the laws and liberties of Englishmen, a subject also canvassed with enormous learning in two New York pamphlets of 1734: William Smith, Mr. Smith’s Opinion Humbly Offered to the General Assembly of the Colony of New-York (Selection 29), and Joseph Murray, Mr. Murray’s Opinion Relating to the Courts of Justice in the Colony of New York (Selection 30). In 1748, five anonymous Maryland writers in the Annapolis Maryland Gazette (Selection 41), Maryland’s only newspaper, subjected that colony’s constitution to an elaborate examination in which they explored in detail the relationship between balanced government and liberty and debated the concept of fundamental law. In 1752, the royal officeholder Archibald Kennedy produced An Essay on the Government of the Colonies (Selection 42), the best of several tracts attacking the efforts of colonial legislatures to overturn the balance of power that he thought characteristic of the British constitution by vesting all authority in legislative hands. In 1755 and 1756, the Boston printer Daniel Fowle offered two ringing defenses of freedom of the press from legislative control, one of which, A Total Eclipse of Liberty (Selection 53), is reprinted here. In 1764, in A Speech, Delivered in the House of Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania (Selection 63), the young Pennsylvania lawyer John Dickinson denounced the efforts of Pennsylvania’s proprietary party to exchange its existing government for a royal one as a move that would endanger the colony’s existing liberties and privileges. Finally, in 1766, in The Privileges of the Island of Jamaica Vindicated (Selection 66), Nicholas Bourke, another Irish emigrant lawyer, in this case to Jamaica, offered the single most impressive defense of parliamentary privilege produced in the English-speaking early-modern overseas world.

This literature has not commanded much scholarly attention. Looking for the roots of American political thought, a few scholars in the late 1940s Edition: current; Page: [xvi] and early 1950s, notably Clinton Rossiter4 and Max Savelle,5 treated this literature seriously. Rossiter and Savelle identified some of the principal writers and sketched out some of the main themes in colonial political discourse. Limited by existing technologies and the scattered nature of this literature, however, they barely scratched the surface. In the 1960s, a few scholars, in particular, T. H. Breen,6 made careful studies of New England election sermons. At the same time, Lawrence H. Leder7 and Bernard Bailyn8 made casual forays into some of the literature without doing justice to its richness, learning, and developing sophistication. Although Jack P. Greene made considerable use of some of this literature in the early 1980s in his analysis of colonial constitutional thought and development,9 no one seems to have revisited this subject or delved again into these sources until the late 1990s, when Craig Yirush began to read them in preparation for his monograph on selected aspects of colonial political thought.10

This work will also be available in an expanded edition of 172 pamphlets.11 While the present edition includes 75 of the most impressive of the 172 pamphlets, both versions are intended to provide readers with an introduction to this neglected and impressive body of colonial British American political literature. Rather than arranging the selections into modern categories, the editors have chosen to present them in chronological sequence from the earliest in 1688 to the latest in 1774. The choice of a beginning should not be taken to imply the absence of political controversy and political thought Edition: current; Page: [xvii] before 1688. From the early work of Herbert Levi Osgood12 and Charles M. Andrews13 and many studies of the seventeenth-century history of several colonies, we have long known that the main outlines of both colonial political claims and metropolitan responses to them had been worked out in considerable detail during the years of the English Civil War, the Interregnum, and especially the Restoration. Before the late 1680s, however, few of the important documents arising out of this process found their way into print.14 The starting point, 1688, acknowledges the beginning of a more extensive resort to print culture and a more consistent pattern of publication during the era of the Glorious Revolution. The tacit ending date, 1764, is a function of the change in the focus of political discussion. Before 1764, the main issue shaping discussions about colonial rights was the extent of the Crown’s political prerogative in the colonies. After 1764, Parliament’s efforts to tax the colonies shifted to the question of Parliament’s colonial authority, a subject already covered extensively in other Liberty Fund publications.

Seven criteria have been used in choosing all 172 selections.

The first criterion was that the selections be secular. Because Ellis Sandoz had already published under Liberty Fund auspices a selection of some of the more important New England election sermons,15 the editors resolved to limit this collection to secular political writings. They have adopted a fairly generous definition of secular, however. Some of the selections address religious issues that spilled over into politics, and some are the work of ministers.

The second criterion was that the selections should cumulatively cover the vast range of issues and concerns that characterized colonial political discourse.

Edition: current; Page: [xviii]

A third criterion was to obtain a broad temporal sweep that would illustrate the changing political landscape over the long period from the 1680s, when colonial political writing first became significant, through the first half of the 1760s, when it began to focus largely upon the issue of Parliament’s claims to unlimited authority over the colonies. Many writings from 1764 having already been included in the Liberty Fund collection edited by Charles Hyneman and Donald Lutz, it seemed unnecessary to reprint them here.16 However, the editors did include eight pamphlets from the post-1764 era that were not part of the pre-Revolutionary debate, but addressed issues of the sort that had traditionally concerned colonial political writings, especially in those British colonies that did not join the thirteen colonies that revolted in 1776. As it stands, the resulting collection will contain eight selections from the 1680s, ten from the 1690s, twelve from the first decade of the eighteenth century, fourteen from the 1710s, twenty-one from the 1720s, fourteen from the 1730s, twenty-six from the 1740s, forty-two from the 1750s, seventeen from the 1760s, and eight from the 1770s. The rising number of selections beginning in the 1720s reflects the expansion of printing facilities and the growing use of the press as a forum for political debate.17

The fourth criterion was to produce a collection in which all of the polities that composed a part of Britain’s American empire before the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War in 1763 would be represented. By that time, Britain had twenty-three American colonies: the thirteen colonies that revolted to form the United States in 1776, plus Nova Scotia, the Atlantic island colonies of Bermuda and the Bahamas, and the West Indian colonies of Barbados, Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Christopher, Jamaica, and the Virgin Islands (Newfoundland did not have a settled government before the nineteenth century)—all part of the same political culture and most of them contributing extensively and sometimes decisively to the discussion of the bounds of English liberty in the overseas British world of the early modern era. The editors thus sought out pertinent selections not just from the revolting colonies but also from those that remained within the British Empire. They have managed to find at least one selection for each Edition: current; Page: [xix] of Britain’s older colonies except Bermuda and the Virgin Islands, neither of which had a local printer before 1764 or generated any political writing that saw publication in Britain. The number of selections from each colony varies according to the vigor of its civic life, the extent of political controversy, and the level of its output. With thirty-three, Massachusetts has the most selections, followed by Pennsylvania with thirty-one, New York with twenty-five, Jamaica with twelve, Virginia with eleven, Connecticut and South Carolina with eight each, Maryland and Barbados with seven apiece, New Jersey and Georgia with five apiece, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Nova Scotia with three each, Antigua and Grenada with two each, and the Bahamas, North Carolina, Montserrat, New Hampshire, Nevis, and St. Christopher with one each. Two selections concern Grenada, one of eight new American colonies incorporated into the British Empire after 1763 as a result of conquests made by Britain during the Seven Years’ War or ceded to it by the 1763 Treaty of Paris.18 One selection involving India is included here because it raises issues relevant to the American empire. All 172 selections deal directly with colonial affairs: the 57 published in Britain and the 115 published in the colonies.

The fifth criterion was to include examples of every genre of political discourse. Thus, although the vast majority of selections can be classified as polemical political pamphlets of radically different lengths and orientations, the collection also includes five newspaper essays or exchanges, two essays from magazines, two poems, two plays, three charges to grand juries, three judicial opinions, three trial accounts, four state papers, eleven political speeches, and six analyses of the issue of chattel slavery.

The sixth criterion was that the items had to have been published contemporaneously. To this guideline the editors made two exceptions. Although written as an extended political essay, Gershom Bulkeley’s Will and Doom, Or the Miseries of Connecticut by and under an Usurped and Arbitrary Power,19 composed in 1692 as one of the author’s several attacks on the rationale for overthrowing the Dominion of New England but not published until the nineteenth century, is certainly the most profound defense of the sanctity of established authority and the dangers of rebellion written in colonial Edition: current; Page: [xx] British America. Selection 61, the Massachusetts House of Representatives’ “Instructions to Jasper Mauduit,” sent to the London agent in 1762 but not published until the twentieth century, represented the best statement the editors could find of the colonial point of view of the problems of British imperial governance at the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War.

The seventh and last criterion was the quality of the production. For this collection, the quality of a selection was determined principally by the cogency, learning, and originality of the argument and how well the piece illuminates the specific and general issues under consideration and only secondarily by its rhetorical or literary merits.

The editors hope that this collection will help to bring about a deeper understanding of the process of transplanting English liberty to overseas colonies during the first centuries of English colonization, of the ideological context of the American Revolution, and of the formation of the political culture not only of the American nation and the states that composed it but also of those colonies that remained in the British Empire after 1776. Speaking directly to such important general themes in the history of liberty as the nature and source of corporate and individual rights, the importance of due process and the rule of law for the preservation of those rights, the centrality of private property and local autonomy in a free polity, and the ability of people to pursue their domestic happiness, this collection is intended to be a tool for scholars researching and endeavoring to understand the origins and spread of the Anglo-American tradition of political liberty.

Edition: current; Page: [xxi]

Editors’ Note

Like the 172 pamphlets and other writings that will comprise the expanded edition of this project,1 this edition of seventy-five of the very best examples of those writings presents the original text in its entirety, with a brief headnote to set each selection in its contemporary context, place it in its genre, and assess its significance for understanding colonial British American political culture.2 With the exception of providing translations of Latin and other foreign language passages, the editors have not annotated the selections. Nor have they indicated the original pagination within the selections. With certain exceptions, specified below, we have retained the original grammar, spelling, punctuation, abbreviations (including ampersands), italics, capitals, and footnotes. To make the texts more accessible to the modern reader, however, we have also observed the following conventions:

  • 1. Every sentence begins with a capital and ends with a period.
  • 2. Every long-tailed ſ has been converted to a lower case s.
  • 3. The initial ff, an old form for a capital F, has been converted to a capital letter.
  • 4. In cases where u and v, on the one hand, and i and j, on the other, have been used interchangeably, as was often the case in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century spelling, modern spelling conventions have been followed.
  • 5. All th abbreviations such as ye, yt, ym, and yn have been expanded to the, that, them, and then.
  • 6. Superscript letters in titles have been brought down to the line of text, e.g., Capt., and common words abbreviated by superscript have been expanded on the line of text, e.g., which and your.Edition: current; Page: [xxii]
  • 7. Except in Spanish words, the tilde has been replaced by the letter or letters it represents.
  • 8. All quotation marks except those at the beginning and end of quotations have been removed.
  • 9. In cases where the printer has omitted punctuation, as is often the case with parentheses, or where new punctuation is required to render texts comprehensible, any added punctuation has been enclosed in curly braces, e.g., {)}. Where the correct placement of missing punctuation is unclear, the editors have included a ?, e.g., {)?}.
  • 10. Obvious typographical errors in spelling have been silently corrected.
  • 11. Corrections in the text specified by errata sections have been silently made and those sections eliminated.
  • 12. With the exception of the current editors’ addition of square brackets around an author’s name at the beginning or end of a pamphlet to identify a pseudonym or indicate the omission of the author’s name in the original, all square brackets found in the original texts derived from the original source; all matter inserted into the text by the editors has been enclosed in braces: { }. Words lost by mutilation, defacement, or illegibility have been replaced by {torn}, {blotted}, {illeg.}, {undecipherable}, and braces have also been used to note and explain the absence of missing words, phrases, or lines.
  • 13. Blank spaces in the text have been replaced by {blank}.
  • 14. Those marginal or side notes briefly summarizing the content of a paragraph have been eliminated, while those containing substantive additions to the text appear as numbered footnotes.
  • 15. Phrases in Latin and other foreign languages appear as numbered footnotes with the translation in brackets. Phrases that appear multiple times in the same pamphlet are translated only upon their first appearance in that pamphlet.
  • 16. Footnotes from the original texts remain unchanged in location and format.

Finally, because both volume editors contributed in the writing of the headnotes, the initials of the author (J.P.G. or C.B.Y.) appear at the end of each headnote.

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Translator’s Note

If more of the pamphleteers had anticipated the preservation of their writings, we would probably have had easier access to the assortment of Latin that appears in the pamphlets. That assortment of Latin words and phrases from ancient authors, often uncited, variously spelled, sometimes utterly garbled, of remembered ancient mottos and proverbs and of law Latin terms current to the pamphleteer’s day, now a research puzzle for the student of eighteenth-century law, has the patina of much use by that circle of citizen authors.

We modern readers, however, struggle even to distinguish a word meant to be morally uplifting from a law term with its technical meaning sometimes far removed from literal translation. The pamphlet writers assume our familiarity with their law Latin. They freely abbreviate formal descriptions, treat terms humorously, apply Latin mottos in unexpected contexts.

In America, modern law terms sometimes retain similar names but have meanings much changed from those in the 1700s by virtue of the development of law. The exact application of pre-Revolutionary law terms is a question for legal historians. The translations offered here of the legal language employed in the pamphlets are meant to provide a rough practical guide to the general idea of eighteenth-century law, not a scholarly explanation. In spite of the difficulties in translating these various sorts of Latin, the effort seems worthwhile, since the failure and abuses of the execution of laws and court actions narrated in the pamphlets seem to confirm the claim of the colonists that they were being treated as “slaves.”

I have translated the Latin and Greek as literally as possible. Latin words, such as Magna Carta, that have become familiar in English have been left untranslated. My thanks to my associates David Sweet and Richard Dougherty and to my husband, John, for their helpful suggestions.

Kathleen Alvis
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To bring a project of this scope and complexity to fruition required nearly two decades and—at every stage—enormous help from a wide assortment of people. When Jack proposed this project to Liberty Fund in the late 1990s, Donald S. Lutz, who with Charles Hyneman had edited a similar Liberty Fund collection on the pamphlets of the American Revolution, strongly supported it, as did William Dennis, G. M. Curtis, Hans Eicholz, and Steve Ealy, all former or current Liberty Fund Fellows. Altogether they had sponsored more than a dozen Liberty Fund conferences that Jack directed, beginning in the late 1980s, on the centrality of ideas of liberty and responsibility in the rich political literature produced by British Americans and their associates during the century before the American Revolution.

Once Liberty Fund had approved Jack’s proposal, successive directors of its publication program offered unfailing support in advancing it. When it appeared that financial considerations might require that all 172 selections be published in a digital format only, Liberty Fund management authorized the funding necessary to bring out 75 of the more important pamphlets in this print edition. All of these papers will also be included in the digital edition.

Several of Jack’s students helped with this project as research assistants while completing their doctoral studies. James Allegro, Michelle LeMaster, and Paul Tonks gathered photocopies of the selections, while Cathy Cardno and Jessica Roney undertook the tedious, exacting, and time-consuming task of preparing clean copies of the texts. We also wish to thank those members of the Liberty Fund publishing staff and their invaluable freelancers who contributed to the immense, intense effort to get these volumes into print. Without the painstaking work of each of these people, this undertaking could never have come to such a happy conclusion. To all who helped to make these volumes possible, we are profoundly grateful.

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Exploring the Bounds of Liberty

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1: William Penn, The Excellent Priviledge of Liberty and Property (Philadelphia, 1687)

William Penn (1644–1718) was a prominent English Quaker and the founder of Pennsylvania. In 1687, he commissioned the printer William Bradford, newly arrived in Philadelphia, to issue The Excellent Priviledge of Liberty and Property. Adapting Henry Care’s English Liberties (1682), Penn intended his compendium to be a guide to English liberties for the colonists in Pennsylvania. From Care’s larger collection, Penn included three documents which were central to the seventeenth-century understanding of the English constitution: Magna Charta (1215); Edward I’s confirmation of Magna Charta and several earlier charters (1297); and a statute of Edward’s limiting his ability to tax his subjects without their consent. Each of these documents was followed by substantial comments, drawn mainly from Edward Coke’s Institutes of the Laws of England, pointing out their significance for English liberties. In addition to these English legal documents, Penn added an abstract of the patent granted by the King to Penn for founding his colony, as well as a copy of Pennsylvania’s second Frame of Government (1683).

Penn’s note to the reader and his introduction stressed the importance of the core English rights of life, liberty, and property; the crucial role of consent in checking royal authority via juries and Parliaments; and the idea of law as a limit on royal power. As such, The Excellent Priviledge stands as one of the best statements of the jurisprudential understanding of the rights of Englishmen in the early modern Anglo-American world. (C.B.Y.)

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The Excellent Priviledge of


being the


Of the Free-born Subjects of England.


  • I. Magna Charta, with a learned Comment upon it.
  • II. The Confirmation of the Charters of the Liberties of England and of the Forrest, made in the 35th year of Edward the First.
  • III. A Statute made the 34 Edw. 1. commonly called De Tallageo non Concedendo;1 wherein all Fundamental Laws, Liberties and Customs are confirmed. With a Comment upon it.
  • IV. An abstract of the Pattent granted by the King to William Penn and his Heirs and Assigns for the Province of Pennsilvania.
  • V. And Lastly, The Charter of Liberties granted by the said William Penn to the Free-men and Inhabitants of the Province of Pennsilvania and Territories thereunto annexed, In America.

Major Haereditas venit unicunq; nostrum a Jure & Legibus, quam a Parentibus.2

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To the Reader.

It may reasonably be supposed that we shall find in this part of the world, many men, both old and young, that are strangers, in a great measure, to the true understanding of that inestimable Inheritance that every Free-born Subject of England is Heir unto by Birth-right, I mean that unparalell’d Priviledge of Liberty and Property, beyond all the Nations in the world beside; and it is to {be} wisht that all men did rightly understand their own happiness therein; in pursuance of which I do here present thee with that ancient Garland, the Fundamental Laws of England, bedeckt with many precious Priviledges of Liberty and Property, by which every man that is a Subject to the Crown of England, may understand what is his Right, and how to preserve it from unjust and unreasonable men: whereby appears the eminent Care, Wisdom and Industry of our Progenitors in providing for themselves and Posterity so good a Fortress that is able to repel the Lust, Pride and Power of the Noble, as well as Ignorance of the Ignoble; it being that excellent and discreet Ballance that gives every man his even proportion, which cannot be taken from him, nor be dispossessed of his Life, Liberty or Estate, but by the tryal and judgment of Twelve of his Equals, or Law of the Land, upon the penalty of the bitter Curses of the whole People; so great was the zeal of our Predecessors for the preservation of these Fundamental Liberties (contained in these Charters) from encroachment, that they imployed all their Policy and Religious Obligations to secure them intire and inviolable, albeit the contrary hath often been endeavoured, yet providence hitherto hath preserved them as a Blessing to the English Subjects.

The chief end of the Publication hereof is for the information and understanding (what is their native Right and Inheritance) of such who may not have leizure from their Plantations to read large Volumns; And beside, I know this Country is not furnished with Law-Books, & this being the Root from whence all our wholesom English Laws spring, and indeed the Line by which they must be squared, I have ventured to make it publick, hoping it may be of use and service to many Free-men, Planters and Inhabitants in this Country, to whom it is sent and recommended, wishing it may raise up Noble Resolutions in all the Free-holders in these new Colonies, not to give away any thing of Liberty and Property that at present they do, (or of right as Loyal English Subjects, ought to) enjoy, but take up the good Example of our Ancestors, and understand, that it is easie to part with or give away great Priviledges, but hard to be gained, if once Edition: current; Page: [6] lost. And therefore all depends upon our prudent Care and Actings to preserve and lay sure Foundations for our selves and the Posterity of our Loyns.



In France, and other Nations, the meer Will of the Prince is Law, his Word takes off any mans Head, imposeth Taxes, or seizes any mans Estate, when, how and as often as he lists; and if one be accused, or but so much as suspected of any Crime, he may either presently Execute him, or Banish, or Imprison him at pleasure; or if he will be so gracious as to proceed by form of their Laws, if any two Villians will but swear against the poor Party, his Life is gone; nay, if there be no witness, yet he may be put on the Rack, the Tortures whereof make many an innocent Person confess himself guilty, and then with seeming Justice is executed. But,

In England the Law is both the measure and the bound of every Subjects Duty and Allegiance, each man having a fixed Fundamental-Right born with him, as to Freedom of his Person and Property in his Estate, which he cannot be depriv’d of, but either by his Consent, or some Crime, for which the Law has impos’d such a penalty or forfeiture. For all our Kings take a solmn Oath (1.) At their Corenation, To observe & cause the Laws to be kept: (2.) All our Judges take an Oath, wherein among other points they swear, To do equal Law and Right to all the Kings Subjects, Rich and Poor, and not to delay any person of common Right for the Letters of the King, or of any other Person, or for any other cause: Therefore saith Fortescue, (who was first chief Justice, and afterwards L. Chancellor to K. Henry 6.) in his Book de Laudibus Legum Angliae,4 cap. 9. Non potest Rex Angliae, &c. The King of England cannot alter nor change the Laws of his Realm at his pleasure; For why, he governeth his people by Power not only Royal, but also Politick: If his Power over them were only Regal, then he might change the Laws of his Realm, and charge his Subjects with Tallage and other Burthens, without their consent; but from this much differeth the Power of a King whose Government is Politick; for he can neither change Laws without the consent of his Subjects, nor yet charge them with Impositions against their wills. With which accords Bracton, Edition: current; Page: [7] a learned Judge & Law-Author, in the Reign of K. Henry the 3d, saying, Rex in Regno suo superiores habet Deum & Legem; i.e. The King in his Realm hath two superiors, God and the Law; for he is under the Directive, tho’ not Co-ercive Power of the Law.

’Tis true, the Law it self affirms, The King can do no wrong, which proceeds not only from a presumption, that so excellent a Person will do none, but also because he acts nothing but by Ministers, which (from the lowest to the highest) are answerable for their doings; so that if a K. in passion should command A. to kill B. without process of Law, A. may yet be prosecuted by Indictment or upon an Appeal (where no Royal Pardon is allowable) and must for the same be executed, such Command notwithstanding.

This original happy Frame of Government is truly and properly call’d an English mans Liberty, a Priviledge not exempt from the Law, but to be freed in Person & Estate from Arbitrary Violence and Oppression. A Greater Inheritance (saith Judg Cook) is deriv’d to every one of us from our Laws than from our Parents; For without the former, what would the latter signifie? And this Birthright of English-men shines most conspicuously in two things:

  • 2. JURIES.

By the First the Subject has a share by his chosen Representatives in the Legislative (or Lawmaking) Power; for no new Laws bind the People of England, but such as are by common consent agreed on in that great Council.

By the Second, he has a share in the Executive part of the Law, no Causes being tryed, nor any man adjudged to loose Life, Member or Estate, but upon the Verdict of his Peers or Equals his Neighbours, and of his own Condition: These two grand Pillars of English Liberty, are the Fundamental vital Priviledges, whereby we have been, and are preserv’d more free and happy than any other People in the World, and (we trust) shall ever continue so: For whoever shall design to impair, pervert or undermine either of these, do strike at the very Constitution of our Government, and ought to be prosecuted and punished with the utmost Zeal and Rigour. To cut down the Banks and let in the Sea, or to poyson all the Springs and Rivers in the Kingdom, could not be a greater Mischief; for this would only affect the present Age, but the other will Ruin and enslave all our Posterity.

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But beside these Paramount Priviledges which the English are estated in by the Original Constitution of their Government, there are others more particularly declared and expressed in divers Acts of Parliament too large to be inserted in this place.

Magna Charta or The Great Charter made in the 9th year of King Henry the 3d, and confirmed by King Edward the 1st in the 28th Year of his Reign.

Edward, by the Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, 2nd Duke of Guyan, to all Arch-Bishops, &c.

We have seen the Great Charter of the Lord Henry, sometime King of England, our Father, of the Liberties of England, in these Words:

Henry, by the Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland and Duke of Normandy and Guyan, and Earl of Anjoy; To all Arch-Bishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barrons, Sheriffs, Provosts, Officers, and to all Bayliffs, and other our faithful Subjects, which shall see this present Charter, greeting; Know ye, that we, unto the Honour of Almighty God, and for the Salvation of the Souls of our Progenitors and Successors, Kings of England, to the Advancement of holy Church, and Amendment of our Realm, of our meer and Free-will, have Given and Granted to all Arch-Bishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barrons, and to all Free-men of this our Realm, these Liberties following, to be kept in our Kingdom of England forever.

CHAP. I.: A Confirmation of Liberties.

1st, We have granted to God, and by this our present Charter, have Confirmed for us, and our Heirs forever, That the Church of England shall be free, and shall have all her whole Right, and Liberties inviolably. (2.) We have granted also, and Given to all the Free-men of our Realm, for us, and our Heirs forever, these Liberties under written, to Have, and to Hold to them and their Heirs forever.

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CHAP. II.: The Relief of the King’s Tenant of full Age.

If any of our Earls or Barrons, or any other which hold of us in chief, by Knights Service, dye, and at the time of his Death, his Heir be of full age, and oweth his Relief, he shall have his Inheritance by the old Relief, that is to say, The Heir, or Heirs of an Earl, for a whole Earldom, one hundred Pounds; the Heir, or Heirs of a Barron, for a whole Barrony, by one hundred Marks; the Heir, or Heirs of a Knight, for one whole Knights Fee, one hundred Shillings at the most; and he that hath less, shall give less, according to the old Custom of the Fees.

CHAP. III.: The Wardship of an Heir with in Age, the Heir a Knight.

But if the Heir of any such be within Age, his Lord shall not have the Ward of him, nor of his Land, before that he hath taken of him Homage. (2.) And after that such an Heir hath been in Ward (when he is come to full Age) that is to say, to the Age of one and twenty years, he shall have his Inheritance without Relief, and without time, so that if such an Heir being within Age, be made Knight, yet nevertheless, his hand shall remain in the keeping of his Lord, unto the term aforesaid.

CHAP. IV.: No waste shall be made by a Guardian in Wards Lands.

The keeper of the Land, of such an Heir being within Age, shall not take of the Lands of the Heir but Reasonable Issues, Reasonable Customs, and Reasonable Services, and that without destruction and waste of his Men and his Goods. (2.) And if we commit the Custody of any such Land to the Sheriff, or any other which is answerable to us for the Issues of the same Lands, and he make destruction or waste of those things that he hath in Custody, we will take of him Amends and Recompence therefore. (3.) And the Lands shall be committed to two lawful and discreet men of that Fee, Edition: current; Page: [10] which shall answer unto us for the Issues of the same Land, or unto him whom we will Assign. (4.) And if we give or sell to any man the Custody of any such Land, and he there do make destruction or waste, he shall lose the same Custody, and it shall be assigned to two lawful and discreet men of that Fee; which also in like manner shall be answerable to us, as afore is said.

CHAP. V.: Guardians shall maintain the Inheritance of their Wards, and of Bishopricks.

The Keeper, so long as he hath the Custody of the Land of such Heir, shall keep up the Houses, Parks, Warrens, Ponds, Mills, and other things pertaining to the same Land, with the Issues of the said Land: and he shall deliver to the Heir, when he cometh to full Age, all his Land, stored with Ploughs, and all other things, at the least as he received it; all these things shall be observed in the Custody of Arch-Bishopricks, Bishopricks, Abbies, Priors, Churches, and Dignities vacant, which appertain to us; except this, that such Custody shall not be sold.

CHAP. VI.: Heirs shall be Married without Disparagement.

CHAP. VII.: A Widdow shall have her Marriage Inheritance, and Quarentine: the King’s Widdow.

A Widdow, after the death of her Husband, incontinent, and without any difficulty, shall have her Marriage, and her Inheritance. (2.) And shall give nothing for her Dower, her Marriage, or her Inheritance, which her Husband and she held the day of the Death of her Husband. (3.) And she shall tarry in the Chief House of her Husband by forty dayes after the Death of her Husband, within which dayes her Dower shall be Assigned her (if it were not assigned her before) or that the House be a Castle. (4.) And if she depart from the Castle, then a Competent House shall be forth-with Edition: current; Page: [11] provided for her, in the which she may honestly dwell, until her Dower be to her assigned, as it is afore said; and she shall have in the mean time her reasonable Estovers of the Common. (5.) And for her Dower, shall be assigned unto her the third part of all the Lands of her Husband, which were his during Coverture, except she were endowed of less at the Church-Door. (6.) No Widdow shall be distrained to marry her self; nevertheless she shall find surety that she shall not marry without our Lisence and assent, (if she hold of us) nor without the assent of the Lord, if she hold of another.

CHAP. VIII.: How Sureties shall be charged to the King.

We or our Balliffs, shall not seize any Lands or Rents for any Debt, as long as present Goods and Chattels of the Debtor do suffice to pay the Debt, and the Debtor himself be ready to satisfie therefore. (2.) Neither shall the Pledges of the Debtor be distrained, as long as the Debt. (3.) And if the principal Debtor fail in the payment of the Debt, having nothing wherewith to pay, or will not pay when he is able, the Pledges shall answer the Debt. (4) And if they will, they shall have the Lands and Rent of the Debtor, until they be satisfied of that which they before paid for him, except that the Debtor can shew himself to the Acquitted against the said Sureties.

CHAP. IX.: The Liberties of London, and other Cities and Towns confirmed.

The City of London shall have all the old Liberties & Customs which it hath been used to have: moreover, we Will and Grant, that all other Cities; and Burroughs, Towns, and the Barrons of the five Ports, and all other Ports, shall have all their Liberties and free Customs.

CHAP. X.: None shall distrain for more Service than is due.

No man shall be distrained to do more Service then is due for a Knights Fee, nor for any Free-holder than therefore is due.

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CHAP. XI.: Common-Pleas shall not follow the King’s Court.

Common-Pleas shall not follow our Court, but shall be holden in some place certain.

CHAP. XII.: Where, and before whom Assizes shall be taken, Adjornments for difficulty.

Assizes of Novel Disseisin, and of Mort d’ancestor, shall not be taken, but in the Shires, and after this manner, if we be out of this Realm, our Chief Justices shall send our Justices through every County once in the Year, which with the Knights of the Shire, shall take the said Assizes in those Counties (2.) And those things that at the coming of our afore-said Justices, being sent to take those Assizes in the Counties, cannot be determined, shall be ended by them in some other place in their Circuit. (3.) And those things which for difficulty of some Articles, cannot be determined by them, shall be refered to our Justices of the Bench, and there shall be ended.

CHAP. XIII.: Assizes of Darreign Presentments.

Assizes of Darreign Presentments, shall be alwayes taken before our Justices of the Bench, and there shall be determined.

CHAP. XIV.: How men of all sorts shall be amerced, and by whom.

A Free-man shall not be amerced for a small Fault, but after the manner of the Fault; and for a great Fault, after the greatness thereof, saving to him his Contenements. (2.) And a Merchant likewise, saving to him his Merchandize, and any other Alien than ours shall be likewise amerced, saving his Edition: current; Page: [13] Wainage, if he fall into our mercy. (4.) And none of the said Amercements shall be assessed, but by the Oath of honest and lawful men of the Vicinage. (5.) Earls and Barrons shall not be Amerced, but by their Peers, and after the manner of their Offence. (6.) No man of the Church shall Be amerced after the quantity of his Spiritual Benefice, but after his Lay Tenements, and after the quantity of his Offence.

CHAP. XV.: Making of Bridges and Banks;

No Town, nor Free-man shall be distrained to make Bridges nor Banks, but such as of old time, and of Right have been accustomed to make them in the time of King Henry our Grand-Father.

CHAP. XVI.: Defending of Banks.

No Banks shall be defended from henceforth, but such as were in Defence in the time of King Henry our Grand-Father, by the same Places, and the same Bounds as they were wont to be in his time.

CHAP. XVII.: Holding Pleas of the Crown.

No Sheriff, Constable, Escheator, Corroner, nor any other our Bayliffs, shall hold Pleas of our Crown.

CHAP. XVIII.: The Kings Debtor dying, the King shall be first paid.

If any that holdeth of us Lay-fee, do dye, and our Sheriff or Bailiff do shew our Letters Pattents of our Summons for Debt, which the dead man did owe to us; It shall be lawful to our Sheriff or Bayliff, to Attach and Inroll all the Goods and Chattels of the Dead, being found in the said Fee, to the value of the same Debt, by the sight and Testimony of Edition: current; Page: [14] Lawful men, so that nothing thereof be taken away, until we be clearly paid off the Debt. (2.) And the residue shall remain to the Executors, to perform the Testament of the Dead. (3.) And if nothing be owing to us, all the Chattels shall go to the use of the Dead (saving to his Wife and Children the reasonable parts.)

CHAP. XIX.: Purveyance for a Castle.

No Constable, nor his Bayliff, shall take Corn, or other Chattels, of any man, if the man be not of the Town where the Castle is, but he shall forth-with pay for the same, unless that the Will of the Seller was to respit the Payment. (2) And if he be of the same Town, the Price shall be paid unto him within the forty dayes.

CHAP. XX.: Doing of Castle-Ward.

No Constable shall distrain any Knight for to give Money for keeping his Castle, if he himself will do it in his proper Person, or cause it to be done by another sufficient man, if he may not do it himself, for a reasonable cause. (2) And if we do lead or send him in an Army, he shall be free from Castle-Ward, for the time that he shall be with us in Fee in our Host, for the which he hath done Service in our Wars.

CHAP. XXI.: Taking of Horses, Carts, and Woods.

No Sheriff nor Bayliff of ours, nor any other, shall take the Horses or Carts of any man to make Carriage, except he pay the old Price hinted, that is to say, for Carriage with two Horses, 10 d. a day, for three Horses 14 d. a day. (2.) No Demesne Court of any spiritual Person or Knight, or any Lord, shall be taken by our Bayliffs. (3.) Nor we, nor our Bayliffs, nor any other, shall take any mans Woods for our Castles, or other our Necessaries, to be done by Licence of him whose the Wood is.

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CHAP. XXII.: How long Fellons Lands shall be holden by the King.

We will not hold the Lands of them that are convict of Fellony, but one Year and one Day, and then those Lands shall be delivered to the Lords of the Fee.

CHAP. XXIII.: In what place Wears shall be put down.

All Wears from henceforth shall be utterly put down by Thames and Midway, and through all England, but only the Sea-Coast.

CHAP. XXIV.: In what Case a Precipe in Capite5 is not grantable.

The Writ that is called Precipe in Capite is not grantable from henceforth to no Person of any Free-hold, whereby any Free-man may lose his Court.

CHAP. XXV.: There shall be but one Measure throughout the Realm

One Measure of Wine shall be through our Realm and one Measure of Ale, and Measure of Corn, that is to say, the Quarter of London. (2.) And one Breadth of dyed Cloth, Russets, and Habersects, that is to say, two Yards within the Lists. (3.) And it shall be of Weights as it is of Measures.

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CHAP. XXVI.: Inquisition of Life and Member.

Nothing henceforth shall be given for a Writ of Inquisition, nor taken of him that prayeth Inquisition of Life, or of Member, but it shall be granted freely, and not denyed.

CHAP. XXVII.: Tenure of the King in Socage, and of another by Knights Service, petty Serjeantry.

If any do hold of us by free Farm, or by Socage or Bargage, and he holdeth Lands of another by Knights Service, we will not have the Custody of his Heir, nor of his Land, which is holden of the Fee of another, by reason of that free Farm, Socage or Bargage. (2.) Neither will we have the Custody of such Fee, Farm or Socage, or Bargage, except Knights Service be due unto us out of the same free Farm. (4.) We will not have the Custody of the Heir, or of any Land by occasion of any petty Serjeantry, that any man holdeth of us by Service, to pay a Knife, Arrow or the like.

CHAP. XXVIII.: Wager of Law shall not be without Witness.

No Bayliff from henceforth shall put any man to his open Law, nor to an Oath, upon his own bare saying, without faithful Witnesses brought in for the same.

CHAP. XXIX.: None shall be condemned without Tryal: Justice shall not be sold or defered.

No Free-man shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseized of his Free-hold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be out-law’d or exiled, or any otherwise destroyed; nor we will not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by Law of the Land. (2.) We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.

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CHAP. XXX.: Merchant strangers, coming into this Realm, shall be well used.

All Merchants, (if they were not openly prohibited before) shall have their safe and sure Conduct to depart out of England, as to come into England, to tarry in and go through England, as well by Land as by Sea, to buy and sell without any manner of evil Tools, by the old and rightful Customs, except in time of War. (2.) And if they be of a Land making war against us, and be found in our Realm at the beginning of the Wars, they shall be attached, without harm of Body and Goods, until all be known unto us, or our chief Justice, how our Merchants be intreated there in the Land making war against us. (3.) And if our Merchants be well intreated there, theirs shall be likewise with us.

CHAP. XXXI.: Tenure of a Barrony coming into the Kings hand by Escheat.

If any man hold of any Escheats, as of the honour of Wallingford, Nottingham, Boloin, or of any other Escheats, which be in our hand and our Barronys, and dye, his Heir shall give none other Relief, nor do none other Service to Us, than he should have done to the Barron, if it had been in the Barrons hands. (2.) And we in the same wise should hold it as the Barron held it, neither shall we have the occasion of any Barron of or Escheat, any Escheat, or keeping of any of our men, unless he that held the Barrony or Escheat, otherwise held of us in Chief.

CHAP. XXXII.: Lands shall not be aliened to the Prejudice of the Lords Service.

No Free-man from henceforth shall give or sell any more of his Land, but so, that the residue of the Lands the Lord of the Fee may have the service due to him, which belongeth to the Fee.

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CHAP. XXXIII.: Patrons of Abbies shall have the Custody of them in time of Vocation.

All Patrons of Abbies which have the Kings Charter of England, of Advowson, or have old Tenure or Possession of the same, shall have the Custody of them when they fall void, as it hath been accustomed, and as it is afore declared.

CHAP. XXXIV.: In what only case a Woman shall have an Appeal of Death.

No man shall be taken or imprisoned upon the appeal of a Woman, for the death of any other than her Husband.

CHAP. XXXV.: At what time shall be kept a County Court, Sheriffs Turn and Leet.

No Country from henceforth shall be holden but from Moneth to Moneth; and where greater time hath been used, there shall be greater (2.) Nor any Sheriff or his Bayliff shall keep his Turn in the Hundred but twice in the year, and no where but in due place, and accustomed, that is to say, once after Easter, and again after the Feast of St. Michael, without occasion. So that every man hath his Liberties which he had, or used to have in the time of King Henry, our Grandfather, or which he purchased since. (4.) The view of Frank-pledge shall be so done, that so our Peace may be kept. (5.) And that the Tything be wholly kept, as it hath been accustomed. (6.) And that the Sheriff seek no occasions, and that he be content with so much as the Sheriff was wont to have for his View-making in the time of King Henry our Grand-father.

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CHAP. XXXVI.: No Land shall be given in Mortmane.

It shall not be lawful from henceforth, to any, to give his Lands to any Religious House, and to take the same Land again to hold of the same House; nor shall it be lawful to any House of Religion to take the Lands of any, and to lease the same to him of whom he received it: If any from henceforth give his Lands to any Religious House, and thereupon be convict, the gift shall be utterly void, and the Land shall accrew to the Lord of the Fee.

CHAP. XXXVII.: Of Subsidy in respect of this Charter, and the Charter of the Forrest, granted to the King.

Escuage from henceforth shall be taken, like as it was wont to be in the time of King Henry, our Grand-father, reserving to all Arch-Bishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Templers, Hospitalers, Earls, Barrons, and all Persons, as well Spiritual as Temporal, all their free Liberties and free Customs, which they have had in times past. (2.) And all these Customs and Liberties aforesaid, which we have granted to be holden within this our Realm, as well spiritual as Temporal, to Us and our Heirs, We shall observe. (3) And all men of this our Realm, as well Spiritual as Temporal, (as much as in them is) shall observe the same, against all Persons in likewise. (4.) And for this our Gift and Grant of these Liberties, and of others contained in our Charter of Liberties of Our Forrest, the Arch-Bishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barrons, Knights, Free-holders, and other our Subjects, have given unto us the fifteenth part of all their Moveables. (5.) And neither We nor Our Heirs shall procure or do any thing whereby the Liberties, in this Charter contained, shall be infringed or broken. (6.) And if any thing be procured by any Person, contrary to the Premises, it shall be had of no force nor effect. those being Witnesses, Lord B. Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, E. Bishop of London, &c. We ratifying and approving these Gifts and Grants aforesaid, Confirm and make strong all the same for Us and Our Heirs perpetually. And by the tenure of these presents do renew the same, willing and granting for us and our Heirs, that this Charter, and Edition: current; Page: [20] all and singular his Articles, forever shall be stedfastly, firmly and inviolably observed. In Witness whereof we have caused these our Letters Pattents to be made, T. Edward, our Son at Westminster the twenty eighth day of March, in the twenty eighth year of our Reign.

The Comment on Magna Charta.

This excellent Law holds the first place in our Statute Books, for though there were, no doubt, many Acts of Parliament long before this, yet they are not now extant; ’tis called Magna Charta, or the great Charter, not in respect of its bulk, but in regard of the great importance and weight of the matters therein contained; it is also stiled, Charta Libertatum Regni, The Charter of the Liberties of the Kingdom; And upon great Reason (saith Cook in his Proem) is so called, from the effect, quia Liberus facit, because it makes and preserves the People free. Though it run in the stile of the King, as a Charter, yet (as my L. Cook well observes on the 38 chap.) it appears to have passed in Parliament; for there was then a fifteenth granted to the King by the Bishops, Earls, Barrons, free Tenants and People, which could not be, but in Parliament, nor was it unusual in those times to have Acts of Parliament in a form of a Charter, as you may read in the Princes Case, Coo. Rep. l. 8.

Likewise, though it be said here, That the King hath given and granted these Liberties, yet they must not be understood as meer Emanations of Royal favour, or new Bounties granted, which the People could not justly challange, or had not a right unto before; for the Lord Cook in divers places asserts, and all Lawyers know, that this Charter is for the most part only Declaratory of the principal ground of the Fundamental Laws and Liberties of England; No new Freedom is hereby granted, but a Restitution of such as lawfully they had before, and to free them of what had been usurped and encroached upon them by any Power whatsoever; and therefore you may see this Charter often mentions sua jura, their Rights and Liberties, which shews they had them before, and that the same now were confirmed.

As to the occasion of this Charter, it must be noted, that our Ancestors, the Saxons, had with a most equal poize and Temperament, very wisely contrived their Government, and made excellent Provisions for their Liberties, Edition: current; Page: [21] and to preserve the People from Oppression; and when William, the Norman, made himself Master of the Land, though he be commonly called the Conqueror, yet in truth he was not so, and I have known several Judges that would reprehend any Gentleman at the Bar that casually gave him that Title; for though he killed Harrold the Usurper, and routed his Army, yet he pretended a right to the Kingdom, and was admitted by compact, and did take an Oath to observe the Laws and Customs.

But the truth is he did not perform that Oath so as he ought to have done, & his Successor William Rufus, King Stephen, Henry the 1st, & Richard likewise made frequent encroachments upon the Liberties of their People; but especially King John made use of so many illegal devices to drain them of Money, that wearied with intollerable Oppressions, they resolved to oblige the King to grant them their Liberties, and promise the same should be observed, which King John did in Running-Mead between Saints and Windsor, by two Charters, one called, Charta Libertatum, The Charter of Liberties (the form of which you may read in Matthew Paris, fol. 246. and is in effect the same with this here recited) the other, The Charter of the Forrest, Copies of which he sent into every County, and commandeth the Sheriff, &c. to see them fulfilled.

But by ill Council he quickly after began to violate them as much as ever, whereupon Disturbances and great Miseries arose, both to himself and the Realm. The Son and Successor of this King John, was Henry the third, who in the 19th Year of his Reign, renewed and confirmed the said Charters; but within two Years after cancelled them by the pernicious Advice of his Favourites, perticularly Hubert de Burgh, whom he had made Lord chief Justice; one that in former times had been a great lover of his Country, and a well-deserving Patriat, as well as learned in the Laws, but now to make this a step to his Ambition (which ever Rideth without Reins) perswaded and humoured the King, that he might avoid the Charters of his Father King John, by Duress, and his own Great Charter, and Charta de Foresta6 also, for that he was within Age, when he granted the same; whereupon the King in the eleventh Year of his Reign, being then of full Age, got one of the Great Charters, and of the Forrest into his Hands, and by the Counsel principally of this Hubert his Chief Justice, at a Council holden at Oxford, unjustly cancelled both the said Charters, (notwithstanding the said Hubert de Burgh Edition: current; Page: [22] was the Primary Witness of all Temporal Lords to both the said Charters) whereupon he became in high favour with the King, insomuch that he was soon after (viz. the 10th of December, in the 13th Year of that King) created (to the highest Dignity that in those times a Subject had) to be an Earl, viz. of Kent: But soon after (for Flatterers & Humorists have no sure foundation) he fell into the King’s heavy Indignation, and after many fearful and miserable Troubles, he was justly, and according to Law, sentenced by his Peers in an open Parliament, and justly degraded of that Dignity, which he unjustly had obtained by his Counsel, for cancelling of Magna Charta, and Charta de Foresta.

In the 9th Chapter of this Great Charter, all the Ancient Liberties and Customs of London are confirmed and preserved, which is likewise done by divers other Statutes, as 14 Edw. 3. Chap. 2 &c.

The 29th Chapter, NO FREE-MAN SHALL BE TAKEN, &c. Deserves to be written in Letters of Gold; and I have often wondred the Words thereof are not Inscribed in Capitals on all our Courts of Judicature, Town-Halls, and most publick Edifices; they are the Elixer of our English Freedoms, the Store-house of all our Liberties. And because my Lord Cook in the second part of his Institutes, hath many excellent Observations, his very Words I shall here Recite.

This Chapter containeth Nine several Branches.

First. That No man be taken or imprisoned, but per legem terrae; that is, by the Common-Law, Statute-Law, or Custom of England; for these words, per legem terrae, being towards the end of this Chapter, do refer to all the precedent matters in this Chapter; and this hath the first place, because the Liberty of a man’s Person is more precious to him, than all the rest that follow, and therefore it is great Reason that he should by Law be relieved therein, if he be wronged, as hereafter shall be shewed.

2dly. No man shall be desseised; that is, put out of Seisin, or dispossessed of his Free-hold, that is, Lands or Livelihood, or of his Liberties, or free Customs, that is, of such Franchises and Freedoms, and free Customs as belong to him, by his free Birth-right, unless it be by the lawful Judgment, that is, Verdict of his Equals (that is, of men of his own Condition) or by the Law of the Land, that is (to speak it once for all) by the due Course and Process of Law.

3dly. No man shall be Out-lawed, made an Ex lex, put out of the Law, that is, deprived of the Benefit of the Law, unless he be Out-lawed according to the Law of the Land.

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4thly. No man shall be Exiled or Banished out of his Country, that is, nemo predit patriam, no man shall lose his Country, unless he be Exiled according to the Law of the Land.

5thly. No man shall in any sort be destroyed, (Destruere id est quod prius structum & factum fuit penitus Evertere Ex diruere) unless it be by the Verdict of his Equals, or according to the Law of the Land.

6thly. No man shall be condemned at the King’s Suite, either before the King in his Bench, where the Pleas are Coram Rege (and so are the Words, nec super eum ibimus,7 to be understood) nor before any other Commissioner or Judge whatsoever; and so are the words, nec super eum Mitimus,8 to be understood, but by the Judgment of his Peers, that is, equals, or according to the Law of the Land.

7thly. We shall sell to no man Justice or Right.

8thly. We shall deny to no man Justice or Right.

9thly. We shall defer to no man Justice or Right.

Each of these we shall briefly explain:

1st; No man shall be taken, (that is) restrained of Liberty by Petition, or suggestion to the King or his Council, unless it be by Indictment or Presentment of good and lawful men, where such Deeds be done. This Branch, and divers other parts of this Act, have been notably Explained and Construed by divers Acts of Parliament.

2dly; No man shall be Disseised, &c. Hereby is intended that Lands, Tenements, Goods and Chattels, shall not be seised into the King’s hands contrary to this Great Charter, and the Law of the Land; nor any man shall be disseised of his Lands or Tenements, or dispossessed of his Goods or Chattels, contrary to the Law of the Land.

A Custom was alledged in the Town of C. that if the Tenant cease by two Years, that the Lord should enter into the Freehold of the Tenant, and hold the same until he were satisfied of the Arrearages. It was adjudged a Custom against the Law of the Land, to enter into a mans Freehold in that case, without Action or Answer.

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King Henry the 6th, granted to the Corporation of Dyers within London, Power to search, &c. And if they found any Cloth dyed with Log-Wood, that the Cloth should be forfeit. And it was adjudged, that this Charter concerning the Forfeiture, was against the Law of the Land, and this Statute; for no Forfeiture can grow by Letters Pattents.

No man ought to be put from his Livelihood, without Answer.

3dly, [No man Out-Lawed] that is, barred to have the benefit of the Law. And note, to this word Out-lawed, these words, unless by the Law of the Land, do refer [of his Liberties:] This word hath three Significations.

1st, As it hath been said, it signifieth the Laws of the Realm, in which respect this Charter is called Chartae Libertatum, as afore-said.

2dly, It signifieth The Freedom the Subjects of England have: for example, the company of Merchant-Taylors of England, having power by their Charter to make Ordinances, made an Ordinance, That every Brother of the same Society should put the one half of his Cloaths to be dressed by some Cloath-worker free of the same Company, upon pain to forfeit ten Shillings, &c. And it was adjudged that this Ordinance was against Law, because it was against the Liberty of the Subject, for every Subject hath freedom to put his Cloaths to be dressed by whom he will, &c. sic de similibus.9 And so it is, if such, or the like Grant had been made by the Letters Pattents.

3dly, Liberties signifie the Franchizes & Priviledges, which the Subjects have of the Gift of the King, as the Goods & Chattels of Fellons, Out-Laws, and the like, or which the Subject claims by Prescription, as Wrack, Waif, Stray, and the like.

So likewise, and for the same Reason, if a Grant be made to any man, to have the sole making of Cards, or the sole dealing with any other Trade, that Grant is against the Liberty and Freedom of the Subject, that before did, or lawfully might have used that Trade, and consequently against this Great Charter.

Generally all Monopolies are against this great Charter, because they are against the Liberty and Freedom of the Subject, and against the Law of the Land.

4thly, [No man Exiled] that is, Banisht, or forced to depart, or stay out of England, without his consent, or by the Law of the Land: No man can be exiled, or banished out of his Native Country, but either by Authority of Edition: current; Page: [25] Parliament; or in case of Abjuration for Fellony, by the Common-Law: And so when our Books, or any Records, speak of Exile or Banishment, other than in case of Abjuration, it is to be intended to be done by Authority of Parliament, as Belknap and other Judges, &c. banished into Ireland in the Reign of Richard the second.

This is a beneficial Law, and is construed benignely; And therefore the King cannot send any Subject of England against his Will to serve him out of the Realm, for that should be an Exile; and he should perdere patriam:10 No, he cannot be sent against his Will into Ireland, to serve the King or his Deputy there, because it is out of the Realm of England; for if the King might send him out of his Realm to any place, then under pretence of Service, as Ambassador, or the like, he might send him into the furthest parts of the World, whom being an Exile, is prohibited by this Act.

5thly, [No man destroyed] that is, Fore-judged of Life or Limbs, or put to torture or death, every Oppression against Law, by colour of any usurped Authority, is a kind of Destruction, and the words aliquo modo, any otherwise, are added to the verb destroyed, and to no other Verb in this Chapter; and therefore all things, by any manner of means, tending to Destruction, are prohibited: As if a man be accused or indicted of Treason or Fellony, his Lands or Goods cannot be granted to any, no, not so much as by promise, nor any of his Lands or Goods seized into the Kings hand, before he is attainted: for when a Subject obtaineth a promise of the forfeiture, many times undue means, and more violent Prosecution is used for private Lucre, tending to destruction, than the quiet and just proceeding of the Law would permit; and the party ought to live of his own until Attainder.

6thly, [By lawful judgment of his Peers] that is, by his equals, men of his own Rank and Condition. The general division of Persons, by the Law of England, is, either one that is Noble, and in respect of his Nobility, of the Lords House of Parliament, or one of the Commons, and in respect thereof, of the House of Commons in Parliament. And as there be divers degrees of Nobility, as Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts and Barrons, and yet all of them are comprehended under this word Peers, and are Peers of the Realm; so of the Commons, they be Knights, Esquires, Gentlemen, Citizens and Yeomen, and yet all of them of the Commons of the Realm. And as every of the Nobles one is a Peer to another, though he be of a several degree, so it is of Edition: current; Page: [26] the Commons; and as it hath been said of Men, so doth it hold of Noble Women, either by Birth or Marriage.

And forasmuch as this Judgment by Peers is called Lawful, it shews the Antiquity of this manner of Tryal: it was the antient accustomed legal course long before this Charter.

7thly, [Or by the Law of the Land] that is, by due Process of Law, for so the Words are expresly expounded by the Statute of 37 Edw. 3. Chap. 8. and these Words are especially to be refered to those fore-going, to whom they relate; As, none shall be Condemned without a lawful Tryal by his Peers, so none shall be Taken, or Imprisoned, or put out of his Freehold, without due Process of the Law; that is, by the Indictment or Presentment of good and lawful men of the place, in due manner, or by Writ original of the Common-Law.

Now, seeing that no man can be Taken, Arrested, Attached, or Imprisoned, but by due Process of Law, and according to the Law of the Land; these Conclusions hereupon do follow:

1. That the Person or Persons which commit any, must have Lawful Authority.

2. It is necessary that the Warrant or Mittimus11 be Lawful, and that must be in Writing under his Hand and Seal.

3. The Cause must be contained in the Warrant, as for Treason, Fellony, &c. suspicion of Treason or Fellony, or the like perticular Crime: for if it do not thus specifie the Cause, if the Prisoner bring his Habeas Corpus,12 he must be discharged, because no Crime appears on the return; nor is it in such case any Offence at all, if the Prisoner make his escape; whereas if the Mittimus contain the Cause; the escape would respectively be Treason or Fellony, though in truth he were not Guilty of the first Offence, and this mentioning the Cause, is agreeable to Scripture, Acts 5.

4. The Warrant or Mittimus, containing a lawful Cause, ought to have a lawful Conclusion, viz. And him safely to keep until he be delivered by Law, &c. and not until the party committing shall further order.

If a man by colour of any Authority, where he hath not any in that perticular case, shall presume to Arrest or Imprison any man, or cause him to Edition: current; Page: [27] be arrested or imprisoned, this is against this Act, and it is most hateful, when it is done by Countenance of Justice. King Edward the sixth did Incorporate the Town of St. Albans, and granted to them to make Ordinance, &c they made a by-Law upon pain of Imprisonment, and it was adjudged to be against this Statute of Magna Charta; so it had been, if such an Ordinance had been contained in the Pattent it self.

[We will sell to no man, deny to no man, &c.] This is spoken in the Person of the King, who in Judgment of Law in all Courts of Justice is present; and therefore every Subject of this Realm, for Injury done to him in Bonis, Terris, vel Persona, in Person, Lands or Goods, by any other Subject, Ecclesiastical or Temporal what-ever he be, without exception, may take his Remedy by the Course of the Law, and have Justice and Right for the Injury done him, freely without Sale, fully without any denyal, and speedily without delay; for Justice must have three Qualities, it must be Libera, free; for nothing is more odious then Justice set to sale; plena, full, for Justice ought not to limp, or be granted piece-meal and Celeris, speedily: quia Dilatio est quaedam negatio, Delay is a kind of Denyal: And when all these meet, it is both JUSTICE and RIGHT.

[We will not deny or delay any man, &c.] These Words have been excellently expounded by latter Acts of Parliament, that by no means Common-Right or Common-Law should be disturbed or delayed; no, though it be commanded under the Great Seal, or Privy Seal, Order, Writ, Letters, Message, or Commandment whatsoever, either from the King, or any other; and that the Justices shall proceed, as if no such Writs, Letters, Order, Message, or other Commandment were come to them; All our Judges swear to this: for ’tis part of their Oath; so that if any shall be found wresting the Law to serve a Courts turn, they are Perjured, as well as Unjust; the common Laws of the Realm should by no means be delayed, for the Law is the surest Sanctuary that a man can take, and the strongest Fortress to protect the weakest of all; Lex est tutissima Cassis, the Law is a most safe Head-piece: And sub Clypeo legis nemo decipitur, no man is deceived whilst the Law is his Buckler; but the King may stay his own Suit; as a Capias pro fine,13 for he may respit his Fine, and the like.

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All Protections that are not Legal, which appear not in the Register, nor warranted by our Books, are expresly against this Branch, nulli differemus,14 we will not delay any man, as a protection under the Great Seal granted to any man directly to the Sheriff, &c. and commanding them, that they shall not Arrest him, during a certain time, at any other man’s Suit; which hath Words in it, Per praerogativam nostram quant nolumus esse Arguendam, by our Prerogative, which we will not have disputed; yet such Protections have been argued by the Judges, according to their Oath and Duty, and adjudged to be void; as Mich. 11 H. 7. Rot. 124. a Protection granted to Holmes a Vintner of London, his Factors, Servants and Deputies, &c. resolved to be against Law, Pas. 7 H. 8. Rot. 66. such a Protection disallowed, and the Sheriff amerced for not Executing the Writ, Mich. 13. and 14 Eliz. in Hitchcock Case, and many other of latter time: And there is a notable Record of antient time in 22 E. 1. John de Marshalls case; Non pertinet ad vicecomitem de protectione Regis Judicare, imo ad Curiam.15

Justice or right] We shall not sell, deny or delay Justice and Right, neither the end, which is Justice; nor the mean whereby we may attain to the end, and that is the Law: Right is taken here for Law, in the same sence that Justice often is so called, 1. Because it is the right Line, whereby Justice distributive, is guided and directed; and therefore all the Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer, of Gaol-delivery, of the Peace, &c. have this clause, Facturi quod Justitiam pertinet, secundum legem & consuetudinem Angliae, i.e. to do Justice and Right, according to the Rule of the Law & Custom of England; & that which is called common Right in 2 E. 3. is called common Law in 14 E. 3. &c. and in this sense it is taken, where it is said, Ita quod stat Rectus in Curia, id est Legi in Curia.16

2. The Law is called Rectum,17 because it discovereth that which is tort, crooked or wrong; for as Right signifieth Law, so tort, crooked or wrong signifieth Injuries, and Injuria est contra Jus, Injury is against Right. Recta linea est index sui & obliqui, a right line is both declaratory of it self and the oblique. Edition: current; Page: [29] Hereby the crooked Cord of that which is called discretion appeareth to be unlawful, unless you take it, as it ought to be, discretio est discernere per Legem, quid sit Justum, discretion is to discern by the Law what is just.

It is called Right, because it is the best Birthright the Subject hath, for thereby his Goods, Lands, Wife & Children, his Body, Life, Honour & Estimation are protected from Injury & wrong. Major Haereditas venit unicunq; nostrum a Jure & Legibus, quam a Parentibus, A greater Inheritance descends to us from the Laws, than from our Progenitors.

Thus far the very words of that Oracle of our Law, the sage and learned Cook; which so fully and excellently explains this incomparable Law, that it will be superfluous to add any thing further thereunto.

A Confirmation of the Charters of the Liberties of England, and of the Forrest, made in the 35th Year of Edward the first.

Edward, by the Grace of God, K. of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Guyan, to all those these present Letters shall hear or see, greeting. Know ye, that we to the honour of God, and of holy Church, and to the profit of our Realm, have granted for us and our Heirs, that the Charter of Liberties, and the Charter of the Forrest; which were by common consent of all the Realm, in the time of K. Henry our Father, shall be kept in every point without breach. And we will that the same Charter shall be sent under our Seal, as well to our Justices of the Forrest, as to others, and to all Sheriffs of Shires, and to all our other Officers, and to all our Cities throughout the Realm, together with our Writs, in which it shall be contained, that they cause the aforesaid Charters to be published, and to declare to the People, that we have confirm’d them in all points. And that our Justicers, Sheriffs and Mayors, and other Ministers, which under us have the Laws of our Land to guide, shall allow the same Charters pleaded before them in Judgment in all their points, that is to say, the great Charter as the common Law, and the Charter of the Forrest for the Wealth of our Realm.

Chap. 2. And we will, that if any Judgment be given from henceforth contrary to the points of the Charters aforesaid, by the Justicers, or any other our Ministers that hold plea before them, against the points of the Charters, it shall be undone and holden for naught.

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Cap. 3. And we will, that the same Charters shall be sent under our Seal, to Cathedral Churches throughout our Realm, there to remain, and shall be read before the People two times by the year.

Cap. 4. And that all Arch-Bishops & Bishops shall pronounce the sentence of Excommunication against all those that by word, deed or council, do contrary to the aforesaid Charters, or that in any point break or undo them. And that the said Curses be twice a year denounced and published by the Prelates aforesaid. And if the same Prelates, or any of them, be remiss in the denunciation of the said Sentences, the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury and York for the time being, shall compel and distrain them to the Execution of their Duties in form aforesaid.

Cap. 5. And for so much as divers People of our Realm are in fear, that the Aids and Tasks which they have given to us before time, towards our Wars, and other business, of their own grant, or good will (however they were made) might turn to a bondage to them and their Heirs, because they might be at another time found in the Rolls, and likewise for the prizes taken throughout the Realm by our Ministers, We have granted for us and our Heirs, that we shall draw no such Aids, Tasks nor Prizes into a Custom, for any that hath been done heretofore, be it by Roll or any other President that may be found.

Cap. 6. Moreover, we have granted for us and our Heirs, as well to Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, and other folk of holy Church, as also to Earls, Barons, and to all the Commonality of the Land, that for no business hence-forth, we shall take such manner of Aids, Tasks or Prizes, but by the common assent of the Realm, and for the common profit thereof; saving the antient Aids and Prizes due and accustomed.

Cap. 7. And for so much as the more part of the Commonality of the Realm find themselves sore grieved with the Maletot of Wools, that is to wit, a Toll of 40 s. for every Sack of Wool, and have made Petition to us for to release the same: We at their Request have clearly released it, and have granted for us and our Heirs, that we shall not take such things, without their common consent and good will, saving to us and our heirs the Custom of Wools, Skins and Leather, granted before by the Commonality aforesaid. In Witness of which things we have caused our Letters to be Pattent, Witness Edward our Son, at London the 10th of October; and the twenty fifth year of our Reign.

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The Sentence of the Clergy against the breakers of the Articles above written.

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the holy Ghost, Amen. Whereas our soveraign Lord the King, to the honour of God and of holy Church, and for the common profit of the Realm, hath granted for him & his Heirs forever, these Articles above written; Robert, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, admonisheth all his Province once, twice and thrice; Because that shortness will not suffer so much delay as to give knowledge to all the People of England of these presents in writing. We therefore enjoyn all persons, of what Estate soever they be, that they and every of them, as much as in them is, shall uphold & maintain these Articles granted by our Sov. Ld. the K. in all points. And all those that in any point do resist or break, or in any manner hereafter procure, counsel, or any ways assent to resist or break those Ordinances, or go about it, by word or deed, openly or privily, by any manner of pretence or colour: We the foresaid Arch-bishop, by our Authority in this writing expressed, do excommunicate & accurse, and from the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and from all the Company of Heaven, and from all the Sacraments of holy Church, do sequester and exclude.

NB. It may be observed that this Curse is left out of our late printed Statute-Books, tho’ inserted at large in that printed in 3 Vol. in Q. Eliz. days, anno 1557. There is likewise another like dreadful, but more full and express Curse, solemnly pronounced before in the time of K. Henry 3. which also being omitted in our modern Statute-Book, I shall here add.

The Sentence or Curse given by the Bishops against the Breakers of the great Charter.

In the Year of our Lord 1253. the 3d day of May, in the great Hall of the K. at Westminster, in the presence and by the assent of the Lord Henry, by the Grace of God K. of England, & the Ld Richard Earl of Cornwall his Brother, Roger Bigot Earl of Norfolk and Suffolk, Marshal of England, Humphery Earl of Hereford, Henry Earl of Oxford, John Earl Warren, and other Estates of the Realm of England: W. Boniface, by the mercy of God Arch-bishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, E. of London, H. of Ely, S. of Worcester, E. of Lincoln, W. of Norwich, G. of Hereford, W. of Salisbury, W. of Durham, R. of Exeter, M. of Carlile, W. of Bath, E. of Rochester, T. of St. Davids: Bishops appareled Edition: current; Page: [32] in Pontificials, with Tapers burning, against the breakers of the Churches Liberties, and of the Liberties or other Customs of the Realm of England, and namely those which are contained in the Charter of the common Liberties of England, and Charter of the Forrest, have denounced the sentence of Excommunication in this form. By the Authority of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the holy Ghost, and of the glorious Mother of God, and perpetual Virgin Mary, of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all Apostles, and of all Martyrs, and of blessed Edward, K of England, and of all the Sts of Heaven, we Excommunicate, accurse, & from the benefits of our holy Mother the Church, we sequester all those that hereafter willingly & maliciously deprive or spoil the Church of her Right; and all those that by any craft or wiliness do violate, break, diminish or change the Churches Liberties, and free Customs contained in the Charters of the common Liberties, & of the Forrest, granted by our L. the King, to Arch-bps, Bps, and other Prelates of England, and likewise to the Earls, Barons, Knights; and other Free-holders of the Realm: And all that secretly or openly, by deed word or council, do make Statutes, or observe them being made, and that bring in Customs, or keep them when they be brought in, against the said Liberties or any of them; and all those that shall presume to judge against them. All and every which persons before-mentioned that wittingly shall commit any of the Premises, let them know, that they incur the foresaid Sentence, ipso facto.

So zealous were our Ancestors to preserve their Liberties from encroachments, that they imployed all the strength of human Policy and religious Obligations to secure them intire and inviolate. And I declare ingeniously, I would not for the world incur this Curse, as every man deservedly doth, that offers violence to the fundamental Freedoms thereby repeated and confirmed.

A Statute made Anno 34 Edw. 1. commonly called de Tallegeo non Concendendo.

Cap. 1. No Tallage or Aid shall be taken or levied by us or our Heirs in our Realm, without the good will and assent of Arch-Bishops, Bishops, Earls, Barons, Knights, Burgesses, & other Free men of the Land.

Cap. 2. No Officer of ours, or of our Heirs, shall take Corn, Leather, Cattle, or any other Goods of any manner of Person, without the good will and assent of the party to whom the goods belonged.

Cap. 3. Nothing from henceforth shall be taken of Sacks of Wool, by colour or occasion of maletot.

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Cap. 4. We will grant for us and our Heirs, That all Clerks and Lay-men of our Land, shall have their Laws, Liberties and free Customs as largely and wholly as they have used to have the same at any time when they had them best. (2.) And if any Statutes have been made by us & our Ancestors, or any Customs brought in contrary to them, or any manner of Article contained in this present Charter: We will and grant that such manner of Statutes and Customs shall be void and frustrate for evermore.

Cap. 5. Moreover, we have pardon’d Humphry Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex, Constable of England, Roger Earl of Norfolk and Suffolk, Marshal of England, and other Earls, Barons, Knights, Esquires, and namely John de Ferrariis, with other being of their fellowship, confederacy and bond, and also of other that hold 20 l. Land in our Realm, whether they hold of us in chief or of others, that were appointed at a day certain to pass over with us into Flanders, the rancour and evil will born against us, and all other Offences, [if any they have committed] against us, unto the making of this present Charter.

Cap. 6. And for the more assurance of this thing, we will and grant that all Arch-Bps and Bps forever, shall read this present Charter in Cathedral Churches twice in the year, and upon the reading thereof in every of their Parish Churches shall openly denounce accursed all those that willingly do procure to be done any thing contrary to the tenor, force and effect of this present Charter in any point. In witness of which thing, we have set our Seal to this present Charter, together with the Seals of the Arch-Bps, Bps, which voluntarily have sworn, that as much as in them is, they shall observe the tenor of this present Charter.

The Comment.

The word Tallage is derived from the French word Tailler, to share or cut out a part, & is metaphorically used for any Charge, when the King or any other does cut out or take away any part or share out of a mans Estate; & being a general word, it includes all Subsidies, Taxes, Tenths, Aids, Impositions, or other Charges whatsoever.

The word Maletot signifies an Evil (i.e. unjust) Toll, Custom, Imposition, or Sum of Money.

The occasion of making this Statute, was this, K. Edward being injured by the French King, resolves to make War against him, and in order thereunto requires of Humphery le Bohun Earl of Hereford and Essex, and Constable of England, and of Roger Bigot, Earl of Norfolk and Suffolk, and Marshal of Edition: current; Page: [34] England, and of all the Earls, Barons, Knights, Esquires, and Freeholders of 20 l. Land, whether they held of him in Capite,18 to contribute towards such his expedition, that is, to go in person, or find sufficient men in their places, in his Army; which the Constable and Marshal, and many of the Knights and Esquires, and especially this John Ferrers taking part with them and all the Free-men, stoutly denyed, unless it were so ordained and determined by common consent in Parliament, according to Law. And it seems the Contest grew so hot, that Bakers Chronicle, fol. 99. relates a strange Dialogue that passed between them, viz. That when the Earl Marshal told the King, That if his Majesty pleased to go in Person, he would then go with him, & march before him in the Van-Guard, as by right of Inheritance he ought to do; but otherwise he would not stir. The King told him plainly, He should go with any other, tho’ he went not in Person. I am not so bound (saith the Earl) neither will I take that Journey without you. The King swore, By God, Sir Earl, you shall either go or Hang. And I swear by the same Oath (said the Earl) I will neither go nor hang. And so the King was forc’d to dispatch his Expedition without them. And yet (saith my L. Cook) altho’ the K. had conceived a deep displeasure against the Constable, Marshal, and others of the Nobility, Gentry and Commons of the Realm, for denying that which he so much desired, yet, for that they stood in defence of their Laws, Liberties and free Customs, the said K. Edw. 1st. who (as Sir Will. Herle chief Justice of the Common Pleas, who liv’d in his time, & serv’d him, said in the time of K. Edw. 3.) was the wisest King that ever was; did after his return from beyond the Seas, not only consent to this Statute, whereby all such Tallages and Impositions are forbidden for the future, but also passes a Pardon to the said Nobles, &c. of all Rancour, Ill will & Transgressions, [if any they have committed] which last words were added, lest by acceptance of a Pardon of Transgression, they should implicitely confess that they had transgressed. So careful were the Lords and Commons in former times to preserve the Antient Laws, Liberties and free Customs of their Country.

An abstract of the Pattent granted by the King to William Penn, and his Heirs and Assigns.

We do give and grant (upon divers considerations) to William Penn his Heirs & Assigns forever all that tract of Land in America with all Islands Edition: current; Page: [35] thereunto belonging That is to say from the beginning of the fortieth degree of North Latitude unto the forty third degree of North Latitude whose Eastern bounds from twelve English Miles above New-Castle (alias Delaware Town) runs all along upon the side of Delaware-River.

2. Free and undisturbed use and passage into & out of all Harbours Bays Waters Rivers Isles and Inlets belonging to or leading to the same Together with the Soyl Fields Woods Underwoods Mountains Hills Fenns Isles Lakes Rivers Waters Rivulets Bays and Inlets scituate in or belonging unto the limits and bounds aforesaid Together with all sorts of Fish Mines Mettles, &c. To have & to hold to the only behoof of the said William Penn his Heirs and Assigns forever To be holden of us as of our Castle of Windsor in free and common soccage paying only 2 Beaver skins yearly.

3. And of our further Grace we have thought fit to erect and we do hereby erect the aforesaid Country and Islands into a Province & Seigniory and do call it Pennsilvania and so from henceforth we will have it call’d.

4. That reposing special confidence in the wisdom and justice of the said W. Penn we do grant to him and his Heirs and their Deputies for the good and happy Government thereof to ordain and enact and under his and their Seals to publish any Laws whatever for the publick uses of the said Province by and with the advice and approbation of the Free holders of the said Country or their delegates so as they be not repugnant to the Law of this Realm & to the Faith & Allegience due unto us by the legal Government thereof.

5. Full power to the said W. Penn, &c. to appoint Judges Leiutenants Justices Magistrates and Officers for what causes soever & with what Power and in such Form as to him seems convenient also to be able to pardon & abolish Crimes and Offences and to do all and every other thing that to the compleat establishment of Justice unto Courts and Tribunals forms of Judicature and manner of Proceedings do belong And our pleasure is & so we enjoyn & require that such Laws and Proceedings shall be most absolute and available in Law and that all the leige People of us our Heirs and Successors inviolably keep the same in those parts saving to us final Appeals.

6. That the Laws for regulating Property as well for the discent of Lands as enjoyment of Goods and Chattels and likewise as to Felonies shall be the same there as here in England until they shall be altered by the said W. Penn his Heirs or Assigns and by the Free-men of the said Province or their delegates or deputies or the greater part of them.

7. Furthermore that this new Colony may the more happily encrease by the multitude of People resorting thither therefore we for us our Heirs and Edition: current; Page: [36] Successors do hereby grant Lisence to all the leige People present & future of us, &c. (excepting such as shall be specially forbidden) to transport themselves and Families into the said Country there to inhabit & plant for the publick and private good.

8. Liberty to transport what goods or commodities are not forbidden paying here the legal Customs due to us, &c.

9. Power to divide the Country into Counties Hundreds and Towns to incorporate Towns into Burroughs and Burroughs into Cities to make Fairs and Markets with convenient Priviledges according to the merit of the Inhabitants or the fitness of the place And to do all other thing or things touching the Premises which to the said W. Penn his Heirs or Assigns shall seem meet and requisit albeit they be such as of their own nature might otherwise require a more special comandment & warrant than in these presents is exprest.

10. Liberty to import the growth or Manufactures of that Province into England paying here the legal Duty.

11. Power to erect Harbours Creeks Havens Keyes and other places of Merchandizes with such Jurisdiction and Priviledges as to the said W. Penn, &c. shall seem expedient.

12. Not to break the Acts of Navigation neither Governour nor Inhabitants upon the penalties contained in the said Acts.

13. Not to be in League with any Prince or Country that is in War against us our Heirs and Successors.

14. Power of safety and defence in such way and manner as to the said W. Penn, &c. seems meet.

15. Full power to assign alien grant demise or enfeoff of the Premises so many and such parts and parcels to those that are willing to purchase the same as the said William Penn thinks fit to have and to hold to them the said Persons their Heirs or Successors in fee Simple or fee Tail or for term of Life or Lives or years to be held of the said Will. Penn, &c. as of the said Seigniory of Windsor by such Services Customs and Rents as shall seem fit to the said W. P. his Heirs & Assigns and not immediately of us our Heirs or Successors and that the said Persons may take the Premises or any parcel thereof of the said W. Penn, &c. and the same hold to themselves their Heirs and Assigns the Statute Quia emptoroes Terrarum19 in any wise notwithstanding.

16. We give & grant Lisence to any of those Persons to whom the said W. P. &c. has granted any Estate of Inheritance as aforesaid with the consent Edition: current; Page: [37] of the said W. P. to erect any parcel of Lands within the said Province into Mannors to hold Courts Barron & view of Frank-pledge, &c. by themselves or Stewards.

17. Power to those Persons to grant to others the same Tenures in fee simple or otherwise to be held of the said Mannors respectively and upon all further Alienations the Land to be held of the Mannor that it held of before the Alienation.

18. We do covenant & grant to and with the said W. P. his Heirs and Assigns that we will not set or make any Custom or other Taxation upon the Inhabitants of the said Province upon Lands Houses Goods Chattels or Merchandizes except with the consent of the Inhabitants & Governor.

19. A charge that no Officers nor Ministers of us our Heirs & Successors do presume at any time attempt any thing to the contrary of the Premises or in any sort withstand the same but that they be at all times aiding to the said W. P. and his Heirs and to the Inhabitants and Merchants their Factors and Assigns in the full use and benefit of this our Charter.

20. And if any doubts or questions shall hereafter arise about the true sense or meaning of any word clause or sentence contained in this our Charter we will ordain and command that at all times and in all things such Interpretation be made thereof and allowed in any of our Courts whatsoever as shall be adjudged most advantageous and favourable to the said W. P. his Heirs and Assigns so as it be not against the Faith and Allegiance due to us our Heirs and Successors. In Witness whereof we have caused our Letters to be made Pattents. Witness our self at Westminster the fourth day of March, Anno Dom. 1681.

William Penn
Penn, William

The Frame of the Government of the Province of Pennsilvania and Territories thereunto annexed, in America.

To all Persons to whom these presents may come;

Whereas King Charles the second by his Letters Pattents under the great Seal of England, bearing date the fourth day of March, in the thirty third year of the KING, for divers Considerations therein mentioned, hath been graciously pleased to give and grant unto me William Penn, by the name of William Penn, Esquire, Son and Heir of Sir William Penn deceased, and to my Heirs and Assigns forever, all that tract of Land or Province called Edition: current; Page: [38] Pennsilvania in America, with divers great Powers, Pre-eminences, Royalties, Jurisdictions and Authorities, necessary for the well-being and good Government thereof. And whereas the Kings dearest Brother James Duke of York and Albany, &c. by his Deeds of Feoffment under his hand and seal, duly perfected, bearing date the 24th of August, 1682. he hath granted unto me the said William Penn my Heirs and Assigns all that Tract of Land, lying and being from twelve miles northward of New-Castle upon Delaware River, in America, to Cape Henlopen upon the said River and Bay of Delaware, southward together with all Royalties, Franchises, Duties, Jurisdictions, Liberties and Priviledges thereunto belonging.

Now know ye, That for the well-being and good Government of the said Province and Territories thereunto annexed, and for the Encouragement of all the Free-men and Planters that may be therein concerned, in pursuance of the Right and Powers afore-mentioned, I the said William Penn have declared, granted and confirmed, and by these presents for me, my Heirs and Assigns, do declare, grant and confirm unto all the Free-men, Planters, and Adventurers of, in and to the said Province and Territories thereof, these Liberties, Franchises and Properties; so far as in me lyeth, to be held, enjoyed and kept by the Free-men, Planters and Adventurers of and in the said Province of Pennsilvania and Territories thereunto annexed, forever.

Imprimis, That the Government of this Province and Territories thereof, shall from time to time (according to the Powers of the Pattent, and Deed, of Feonment aforesaid) consist of the Proprietary and Governour, and the Free-men of the said Province and Territories thereof in the form of a Provincial Council and Assembly, which Provincial Council shall consist of eighteen Persons, being three out of each County, and which Assembly shall consist of thirty six Persons, being six out of each County, men of most note, for Virtue, Wisdom, and Ability, by whom all Laws shall be made, Officers chosen and publick Affairs transacted, as is hereafter limited and declared.

2dly. There being three Persons already chosen for every respective County of this Province, and Territories therof, to serve in Provincial Council, one of them for three Years, one for two Years, and one for one Year, and one of them being to go off Yearly in every County. That on the tenth Day of the first Moneth yearly forever after, the Free-men of the said Province and Territories thereof, shall meet together in the most convenient place in every Edition: current; Page: [39] County of this Province, and Territories thereof, then and there chuse one Person, qualified as aforesaid, in every County, being one third of the number to serve in Provincial Council for three Years, it being intended that one third of the whole Provincial Council consisting, and to consist of eighteen Persons falling off yearly, it shall be yearly supplyed by such new yearly Elections, as aforesaid, and that one Person shall not continue longer than three Years; and in case any Member shall decease before the last Election, during his time, that then at the next Election ensuing his decease, another shall be chosen to supply his place for the remaining time he was to have served, and no longer.

3dly. That after the first seven Years, every one of the said third parts that goeth yearly off, shall be incapable of being chosen again for one whole Year following, that so all that are capable and qualified, as aforesaid, may be fitted for Government, and have a share of the care and burthen of it.

4thly. That the Provincial Council in all cases and matters of moment, as their arguing upon Bills to be past into Laws, or proceedings about erecting of Courts of Justice, sitting in Judgment upon Criminals impeached, and choice of Officers in such manner as is herein after expressed, not less than two thirds of the whole, shall make a Quorum, and that the consent and approbation of two thirds of that Quorum shall be had in all such Cases or Matters of Moment. And that in all cases and matters of lesser moment, one third of the whole shall make a Quorum, the Majority of which shall and may always determine in such Cases and Causes of lesser moment.

5thly. That the Governour and Provincial Council shall have the Power of preparing and proposing to the Assembly hereafter mentioned, all Bills which they shall see needful, and that shall at any time be past into Laws within the said Province and Territories thereof, which Bills shall be published, and affixed to the most noted place in every County of this Province and Territories thereof twenty days before the meeting of the Assembly, in order to passing them into Laws.

6thly. That the Governour and Provincial Council shall take care that all Laws, Statutes and Ordinances which shall at any time be made within the said Province and Territories, be duly and diligently executed.

7thly. That the Governour and Provincial Council shall at all times have the care of the Peace and Safety of this Province, and Territories thereof; and that nothing be by any Person attempted to the Subversion of this frame of Government.

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8thly. That the Governour and Provincial Council shall at all times settle and order the Scituation of all Cities and Market-Towns in every County, modelling therein all publick Buildings, Streets, and Market-places, and shall appoint all necessary Roads and High-ways in this Province and Territories thereof.

9thly. That the Governour and Provincial Council shall at all times have power to inspect the management of the publick Treasury, and punish those who shall convert any part thereof to any other use, than what hath been agreed upon by the Governour, Provincial Council and Assembly.

10thly. That the Governour and Provincial Council shall erect and order all publick Schools, and encourage and reward the Authors of useful Sciences, and laudable Inventions in the said Province and Territories thereof.

11thly. That One Third of the Provincial Council residing with the Governour, shall with the Governour from time to time have the care of the management of all publick Affairs, relating to the Peace, Justice, Treasury, Trade & Improvement of the Province and Territories, and to the good Education of Youth, and Sobriety of the Manners of the Inhabitants therein, as aforesaid.

12thly. That the Governour or his Deputy shall always preside in the Provincial Council, and that he shall at no time therein perform any publick Act of State whatsoever, that shall or may relate unto the Justice, Trade, Treasury or Safety of the Province, and Territories as aforesaid, but by and with the Advice and Consent of the Provincial Council thereof.

13thly. And to the end that all Bills prepared and agreed by the Governour and Provincial Council, as aforesaid, may yet have the more full concurrence of the Free-men of the Province and Territories thereof, It is declared, granted and confirm’d, that at the time and place in every County, for the choice of one Person to serve in Provincial Council, as aforesaid, the respective Members thereof at their said Meeting, shall yearly chuse out of themselves six Persons of note, for their Virtue, Wisdom and Ability, to serve in Assembly, as their Representatives, who shall yearly meet on the Tenth day of the third Moneth in the Capital Town or City of the said Province, unless the Governour and Provincial Council shall think fit to appoint another place to meet in, where during eight days, the several Members may freely confer with one another, and if any of them see meet with a Committee of the Provincial Council, which shall be at that time purposely appointed to receive from any of them, Proposals for the alteration or amendment of any Edition: current; Page: [41] of the said proposed and promulgated Bills, & on the nineth day from their so meeting, the said Assembly, after their reading over of the proposed Bills by the Clerk of the Provincial Council, and the occasions and motives for them being open’d by the Governour, or his Deputy, shall upon the Question by him put, give their Affirmative or Negative, which to them seemeth best, in such manner as is hereafter expressed, but not less than two thirds shall make a Quorum in the passing of all Bills into Laws, and choice of such Officers as are by them to be chosen.

14. That the Laws so prepared and proposed, as aforesaid, that are assented to by the Assembly, shall be enrolled as Laws of this Province and Territories thereof, with this Stile, By the Governour, with the Assent and Approbation of the Free-men in Provincial Council and Assembly met. And from henceforth the Meeting, Sessions, Acts and Proceedings of the Governour, Provincial Council and Assembly shall be stiled and called, The Meeting, Sessions, Acts and Proceedings of the General Assembly of the Province of Pennsilvania, and the Territories thereunto belonging.

15. And that the Representatives of the People in Provincial Council and Assembly, may in after Ages bear some proportion with the increase and multiplying of the People, the Numbers of such Representatives of the People may be from time to time increased and enlarged, so as at no time the number exceed seventy two for the Provincial Council, and two hundred for the Assembly; the appointment and proportion of which Number, as also the laying and methodizing of the choice of such Representatives in future time, most equally to the division of the Country, or number of the Inhabitants, is left to the Governour and Provincial Council to propose, and the Assembly to resolve, so that the order of rotation be strictly observed, both in the choice of the Council, and the respective Committees thereof, viz. one third to go off, and come in yearly.

16. That from, and after the Death of this Present Governour, the Provincial Council shall together with the suceeding Governour, erect from time to time standing Courts of Justice, in such Places and Number as they shall judge convenient for the good Government of the said Province and Territories thereof; and that the Provincial Council shall on the thirteenth day of the second Moneth, then next ensuing, elect and present to the Governour, or his Deputy, a double number of Persons, to serve for Judges, Treasurers, and Masters of the Rolls within the said Province and Territories, to continue so long as they shall well behave themselves in those Capacities Edition: current; Page: [42] respectively, and the Free-men of the said Province in Assembly met, shall on the thirteenth day of the third Moneth, yearly, elect, and then Present to the Governour or his Deputy a double number of Persons to serve for Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, and Coroners for the Year next ensuing, out of which respective Elections and Presentments the Governour or his Deputy shall nominate and commissionate the proper number for each Office, the third day after the said respective Presentments, or else the first named in such Presentment for each Office, as aforesaid, shall stand and serve in that Office the time before respectively limited; and in case of Death or Default, such vacancy shall be supplyed by the Governour and Provincial Council in manner aforesaid.

17. That the Assembly shall continue so long as may be needful to impeach Criminals fit to be there impeached, to pass such bills into Laws as are proposed to them, which they shall think fit to pass into Laws, and till such time as the Governor and Provincial Council shall declare, That they have nothing further to propose unto them for their Assent and Approbation; and that declaration shall be a Dismiss to the Assembly for that time, which Assembly shall be notwithstanding capable of assembling together upon the summons of the Governour and Provincial Council at any time during that year, if the Governor and Provincial Council shall see occasion for their so assembling.

18. That all the Elections of Members or Representatives of the People, to serve in Provincial Council and Assembly, and all Questions to be determined by both or either of them, that relate to the choice of Officers, & all or any other Personal matters, shall be resolved and determined by the Ballot, and all things relating to the preparing and passing of Bills into Laws, shall be openly declared and resolved by the Vote.

19. That at all times when the Proprietary and Governour shall happen to be an Infant, and under the Age of one and twenty Years, and no Guardian or Commissioners are appointed in writing by the Father of the said Infant, or that such Guardian shall be deceased, that during such Minority, the Provincial Council shall from time to time, as they shall see meet, constitute and appoint Guardians and Commissioners, not exceeding three, one of which shall preside as Deputy and chief Guardian, during such Minority, and shall have and execute, with the consent of one of the other two, all the Power of a Governor in all publick Affairs and Concerns of the said Province and Territories thereof, according to Charter; which said Edition: current; Page: [43] Guardian so appointed, shall also have the care and over-sight of the Estate of the said Minor, and be yearly accountable and responsable for the same to the Provincial Council, and the Provincial Council to the Minor when of Age, or to the next Heir in case of the said Minor’s death, for the Trust before expressed.

20. That as often as any days of the Month mentioned in any Article of this Charter shall fall upon the First day of the Week, commonly called the Lords day, the business appointed for that day shall be deferred till the next day, unless in cases of Emergency.

21. And for the Satisfaction and Encouragement of all Aliens, I do give and grant, that if any Alien, who is or shall be a purchaser, or who doth or shall inhabit in this Province or Territories thereof, shall decease at any time before he can well be naturalized, his Right and Interest therein shall notwithstanding descend to his Wife and Children, or other his Relations, be he Testate or Intestate, according to the Laws of this Province and Territories thereof, in such cases provided, in as free and ample manner, to all intents and purposes, as if the said Alien had been naturaliz’d.

22. And that the Inhabitants of this Province and Territories thereof may be accommodated with such Food and Sustenance as God in his Providence hath freely afforded, I do also further grant to the Inhabitants of this Province and Territories thereof, liberty to fowl and hunt upon the Lands they hold, or all other Lands therein, not enclosed, and to fish in all Waters in the said Lands, and in all Rivers and Rivulets in and belonging to this Province and Territories thereof, with liberty to draw his or their Fish to shore on any mans Lands, so as it be not to the detriment or annoyance of the Owner thereof, except such Lands as do lie upon Inland Rivulets that are not boatable, or which are or may be hereafter erected into Mannors.

23. And that all the Inhabitants of this Province and Territories thereof, whether Purchasors or others, may have the last worldly Pledge of my good and kind Intentions to them and theirs, I do give, grant and confirm to all and every one of them full and quiet Enjoyment of their respective Lands to which they have any lawful or equitable Claim, saving only such Rents and Services for the same as are or customarily ought to be reserved to Me, my Heirs and Assigns.

24. That no Act, Law or Ordinance whatsoever shall at any time hereafter be made or done by the Proprietary and Governour of this Province and Territories thereunto belonging, his Heirs, and Assigns, or by the Free-men Edition: current; Page: [44] in Provincial Council or Assembly, to alter, change or diminish the form or effect of this Charter, or any part or clause thereof, contrary to the true intent and meaning thereof, without the consent of the Proprietary and Governour, his Heirs or Assigns, and Six parts of Seven of the said Free-men in Provincial Council and Assembly met.

25. And Lastly, I the said William Penn, Proprietary and Governour of the Province of Pennsilvania & Territories thereunto belonging, for my self, my Heirs and Assigns, have solemnly declared, granted and confirmed, and do hereby solemnly declare, grant and confirm, that neither I, my Heirs or Assigns shall procure or do any thing or things whereby the Liberties in this Charter contained and expressed shall be infringed or broken: And if any thing be procured by any Person or Persons contrary to these Premises, it shall be held of no force or effect. In Witness whereof, I the said William Penn at Philadelphia in Pennsilvania, have unto this present Charter of Liberties set my Hand and broad Seal this second day of the second Moneth, in the Year of our Lord 1683. being the thirty fifth year of the King, and the third year of my Government.

William Penn.


This within Charter which we have distinctly heard read, and thankfully received, shall be by us inviolably kept at Philadelphia, the 2d of the 2d Moneth, 1683.

The Members of the Provincial Council present.

William Markham, Will. Clayton, James Harrison, John Moll, Francis Whitwell, John Hillyard, Christop. Taylor, Will. Clark, Phil. Lehmane, Sec. Will. Haige, Thomas Holme, John Richardson, John Simcock, William Biles, Richard Ingelo,

Cl. Concilii.

The Members of the Assembly present;

Casparus Harman, William Fletcher, Robert Lucas, John Darby, John Kipshaven, James Williams, Benjamin Williams, Alexander Molestone, John Blanstone, William Guest, Robert Bracy, John. Songhurst, Valentine Hollinsworth, Tho. Bracy, John Hill, James Boyden, Will Yardly, Nicholas Walln, Benony Biship, John Hastings, Tho. Fitzwater, John Bezor, Robert Wade, John Clows, John Harding, Fr. Hassold, Luke Watson, Andrew Brinkstone, John Hart, Edition: current; Page: [45] Joseph Phips, Simon Irons, Robert Hall, Dennis Rotchford, Jo. Wood, Robert Bedwell, John Brinklair, John Curtis, William Simsmore, Henry Boman, Daniel Brown, Sam. Dark, Cornelius Verhoof.

John Southworth, Cl. Synod

Some of the Inhabitants of Philadelphia then present,

William Howell,
Edward Warner,
Henry Lewis,
Samuell Miles.
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2: [John Palmer], The Present State of New England (Boston, 1689)

John Palmer’s The Present State of New England was one of the fullest defenses of the Dominion of New England (1685–89), James II’s attempt to augment imperial power in English America by combining all of the northern English colonies into one and ruling them without representative government. Chief judge under the Dominion’s royal governor, Sir Edmund Andros, Palmer was jailed after the Boston uprising of April 1689, which put an end to the Dominion.

Responding to a series of pamphlets defending the Boston revolt, Palmer offers an alternate account of the nature of royal authority in English America. According to Palmer, Massachusetts (along with the other English colonies in America) had the same legal status as Ireland: they were conquered dominions “of the Crowne of England” and thus “subject to such laws, ordinances and methods of government as the Crowne shall think fit to establish.” As a result, Palmer argues, they “may be Ruled and Governed by such wayes and methods as the person who wears that Crowne, for the good and advancement of those Settlements, shall think most proper and convenient.” Building on this argument from conquest, Palmer holds that the Crown had the legal right to revoke the Massachusetts charter and set up the Dominion of New England. In the course of the pamphlet, Palmer also denies the factual basis of many of the complaints against the Dominion. Palmer also draws on both scripture and Hugo Grotius’s Rights of War and Peace (1625) to deny the legitimacy of resistance to constituted authority. (C.B.Y.)

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The Present State of New England Impartially Considered, In a Letter to the Clergy.

Reverend Sirs.

Two Moneths have already past away, since with Astonishment I have beheld the most deplorable Condition of our Countrey; Into what a Chaos of Confusion and Distraction have we run our selves? And in what a Labrinth of Miseries and Perplexityes are we involved? ’Tis High Time now to make some serious Reflections on the state of our Affairs.

In the First place therefore, ’Twill be Necessary to Examine our selves, and to Consider,

  • 1. For what Reasons, and to what End did we take up Arms?
  • 2. Whether those Reasons be Substantial, and such as carry with them Weight enough to justifie the Act; And whether the proposed End can be obtained by such Methods?
  • 3. If not, What will be the Event, and whether any way be left open to us for a peaceable and friendly Settlement?

Although there be some (not of the meanest Capacities) among us, who are of Opinion, that a few persons to gratifie their Malice, Ambition or Revenge have been the plotters & contrivers of our unhappy Troubles, and the better to carry it on have made use of the deluded Countrey men, as the Monkey did the Cat’s foot to pluck the Chesnut out of the fire; Yet I shall not lightly be over credulous in that matter, nor give Entertainment to such Suggestions; I shall onely therefore instance such things as Conversation & Report have brought to my Knowledge, or as I shall find obvious in the Declaration; the summe of which is,

That above ten years since, there was an horrid Popish Plot in the Kingdome of England in which the Extirpation of the Protestant Religion was designed.

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That there was great Reason to Apprehend the Reformed Churches of New England; were to be overwhelmed in the same pit of Ruine and Destruction.

That the better to effect it, our Charter (the onely hedge which kept us from the Wild Beasts of the field) was both injuriously and illegally Condemned, before it was possible for us to appear at Westminster in the legall Defence of it, and without a faire Leave to Answer for our selves.

That by an illegall Commission we were put under a President and Councill, which was soon superseded by another more Arbitrary and Absolute to Sr. Edmond Andros, giving him Power, by the Advice of his Councill, to make Lawes and levy Taxes as he pleased, to muster and imploy all persons resident in the Territory, as Occasion should require, and them to transfer to any English plantation.

That severall Red-Coats were brought over, to support what should be imposed upon us, and more threatned.

That Preferments were principally loaden on Strangers and Haters of the people.

That we were Squeez’d and Oppress’d by a Crew of abject persons from New-York, who took and extorted extraordinary and intolerable Fees.

That it was impossible to know the Lawes that were made, and yet dangerous to break them.

That by some in open Councill, and by the same in private Converse, it was affirmed, that the People in New-England were all Slaves, and the onely Difference between them and Slaves, was their not being bought and sould; and that it was a Maxim delivered in Open Court, by one of the Councill, That we must not think the Priviledge of English men would follow us to the End of the World.

That we were denied the priviledge of Magna Charta, and that Persons who did but peaceably object against raising Taxes without an Assembly, were for it severely fined.

That Juries have been picked and pack’d, and that some people have been fined without a Verdict, yea without a Jury.

That some People have been kept long in Prison, without any Information against them, or being Charged with any Misdemeanour or Habeas Corpus1 allowed.

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That Jury-men were fined and imprisoned, for Refusing to lay their hand on the Booke, as they came to be Sworn, contrary to the Common Law of New-England.

That there was a Discovery made of Flaws in the Titles of our Lands: and that the Governour denied that there was any such thing as a Towne among us.

That Writes of Intrusion were issued out.

That the Governour caused our Lands to be measur’d out for his Creatures, and that the Right Owners for Pulling up the stakes have been grievously molested.

That more than a few were by Terrours drawne to take Patents at excessive Rates.

That the Forceing of the people at the East-ward thereto, gave a Rise to the late unhappy Invasion by the Indians.

That Blanke Patents were got ready, to be sold at great prices, and severall persons had their Commons begg’d.

That the Governour and five or six of the Councill, did what they would, and that all such who were Lovers of their Countrey were seldome admitted.

That all manner of Craft and Rage was used to hinder Mr. Mather’s Voyage to England, and to ruine his person.

That allthough the King promised Mr. Mather a Magna Charta for Redresse of Grievances, and that the Governour should be writ unto, to forbeare those Measures that he was upon; yet we were still injured in those very things which were Complained of.

That our Ministers and Churches have been discountenanced.

That we were imbriared in an Indian-Warre, and that the Officers and Souldiers in the Army were under popish Commanders.

That the rest of the English plantations, being alarm’d with just Fears of the French, who have treated the English with more than Turkish Cruelty, could not but stirr us up to take care for our owne Preservation, lest we should be delivered to the French, before Orders could come from His Hig[h]ness the Prince of Orange, and the Parliament of England.

That we have for our Example the Nobility, Gentry and Commons of England, and above all we esteeme it our Duty to God so to have done.

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Thus far have I traced the Declaration, and do not know that any one thing materiall is omitted, I shall now mention some other things which have occurr’d.

’Twas credibly reported,

That Boston and all the Inhabitants were to be destroyed, and to that end the Mahawks were to be brought down.

That there were severall Fire-workes prepared in the Fort, and Vaults dugg under ground to blow up the Towne.

That the Souldiers at the East-ward were all poisoned with Rumm.

That there were Thirty sail of French Frigots upon the Coast.

With severall other things which I cannot recollect.

These are the principall Reasons alledged for our takeing up Arms: now the End can be no other than the Redresse of those evills complained of.

The next thing then to be considered of is, Whether all or any of the Reasons aforesaid, are sufficient to justifie our Proceedings, and Whether the proposed End can be attained by such Measures.

First then, That there was an horrid popish Plott, is without doubt, and if England at that time had fallen under the Yoak of Roman Tyranny and Thraldome, tis as certainly true New-England must have undergone the same Fate: but that this should be used or introduced as a Reason or Argument for Vacating our Charter is beyond my conception; for Fire and Sword were the designed instruments and ministers of their barbarous and hellish Contrivance: and if they had once prevailed, how weak a Rampart would our Charter have been against so cruell and powerfull an Enemy? Would a blood-thirsty and conquering Papist have made Westminster-Hall the Arbiter? Certainly, No; we must have received our Law from the mouth of the Cannon, and our Hedge would have been broke downe with a great deal of ease. Is it reasonable to imagine, that after they had waded through the blood of King and Nobles to their wished-for End in Old England, they would make use of Politicks in New—? And as preposterous and unreasonable to fancy, That for that end our Charter was called in question, especially when we consider that more than four Decads of years have allready past since the Crowne of England first thought it not fit for us to hold any Edition: current; Page: [52] longer, and severall years after the popish Plot was discovered before the Scire facias2 issued out.

2. That the Charter was injuriously and illegally Condemned, without giveing us timely notice of it, or allowing us to Answer for our selves, might bear some weight with it, if true: but it will appeare quite other wise, and that we had opportunity enough to have made defence on behalfe of our Charter, if we had so thought fit, for severall years before the proceedings to the Condemnation thereof. Our late Soveraigne King Charles the Second, by His Letters signified to us the many Complaints that were made to him of our Encroachments, and ill-Administration of the Government, and commanded that we should send over Agents sufficiently Authorized, to Answer the same, which we at length so far complyed with, as to send Agents, who when they were called to hear and Answer the said Complaints, alwaies excused and avoided the principall parts thereof pretending they were not sufficiently impowered for that purpose; and after, other Agents fully impowered to Answer, but not to submit or Conclude any thing: And when His Majesty was pleased to cause a Writt of Quo Warranto3 to be sued forth, against our Charter, and sent over with his Gracious Declaration, and Proposals of such Regulations to be made therein, as might be agreeable with His Majesties Service & the good & well-fare of his subjects here, and required an entire Submission from us therein; our Generall Court would not submit to, or comply therewith; onely a Letter was sent to the Right Honourable Sr. Lionell Jenkins, then Secretary of State, dated the 10. of December 1683, Subscribed by the Governour & Eight of the Assistants onely; wherein after the acknowledgement of their haveing had a Copy of the Quo Warranto and His Majesties Declaration, they say that the major part of the Magistrates have for severall Weeks declared their Opinion, and voted to lay themselves at His Majesties feet, by an humble Submission and Resignation of themselves to His Majesties pleasure; not being willing to Contend with His Majestie in a Course of Law, but by the next Opportunity to dispatch their Agents fully impowered to make their submission according to His Majesties said Declaration, but by no means can at present Edition: current; Page: [53] obtain the Consent of the Deputyes whereby to make it an Act of the Corporation, and therefore have agreed with them to a power of Attourney-ship, to save a Default, in hopes that further time will prevail to dispatch their Agents accordingly, and shall earnestly endeavour to give the people a better Understanding before the next Ships saile from hence:

His Majesty by this finding that all the easie meanes He had used could not bring us to any Answer, for the Crimes and Misdemeanours laid to our Charge, nor produce any thing else but Baffles and Delayes, gave Order to His Attourney Generall to sue out a Writ of Scire facias out of the High Court of Chancery, against our Governour and Company, which was accordingly done, directed to the Sheriffs of London &c. and made returnable in Easter-Term, in the 36 yeare of His Majesties Reigne, wherein they were Required to make knowne to the said Governour & Company at London, that they appeare in His Majesties High Court of Chancery at Westminster, on the day of the Returne thereof, to shew cause wherefore the said Charter for the Reasons in the said Writt of Scire facias mentioned and contained, should not be made void, null, and cancelled, and the Liberties and priviledges thereby granted to the said Governour and Company be seized into the King’s hands; upon which Writt the said Governour and Company not appearing, another Writt of Scire facias of the same Tenour issued forth, Returnable in Trinity Terme then next following, when the said Governour and Company appeared by their constituted Attourney and Councill, but refused to plead to the said Writt, onely moved for time to send hither, which not being agreeable with the Rules and Practice of the Court in such Cases, could not be allowed: But in favour to them a Rule was made, that unless they pleaded by the first day of the then next Michaelmas-Terme, Judgement should be entered by Default. And in that Terme for Default of pleading, Judgement was enterd on His Majesties Behalfe, and the said Charter adjudged to be void, Null, and Cancelled, and that the Liberties and Priviledges of the said Governour and Company be Seized into the Kings hands, which was accordingly done, by the Exemplification of the said Judgement in the Reigne of King James the Second, and by His Majesties Commission to a President and Councill to take the Government of this Countrey: All which proceedings are most just and Legall, according to the Rules and practice of the Law of England, and agreeable with many Precedents of the like nature, both Ancient and Moderne.

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Besides: All Companies, Corporations, or Bodies politick, made or granted by Letters Patents or Charter from His Majesty, for any parts or places beyond the Seas, are by themselves or Agents, to be always ready to answer His Majesty in any of his Courts at Westminster, when He shall think fit to Order any Suite, or Writt to be sued and prosecuted against them; and are supposed to be Resident in or about London or Westminster for that purpose, as the East-India, Royall-Affrican, Bermudas, and Hudsons-bay Companies are, who have their Trade, Factories, Colonies and Plantations abroad in Asia, Affrica, and America: and in the like state and Condition ought the Company and Corporation of the Massachusetts Bay in New-England to be, According to the Capacities given them by their Incorporation of Sueing and being sued, Pleading & being Impleaded; wherein if we have neglected our Duty, as well as exceeded our Powers and Priviledges granted, and would not put our selves into a Condition to be heard when we ought and might, it is not His Majesty nor the Proceedings of His Courts that are to be blamed but our selves.

3. That there was a Commission sent to the President, and the successive one to Sr. Edmond Andross, are both true, but that they were illegall, is a position a little too confidently asserted by the Penman, who seems to be more a Clergy-man than a Lawyer; but because the well clearing up of this point will be of great Service to the subsequent Discourse, ’twill not be amiss that it be throughly considered. I shall therefore lay downe this as a certaine Maxime, both consonant to Reason & the Lawes of the Land: That Those Kingdomes, Principalities, and Colonies which are of the Dominion of the Crowne of England, and not of the Empire of the King of England, are subject to such Lawes, Ordinances and Forms of Government as the Crowne shall think fit to establish. That New-England and all the Plantations are subject to the Dominion of the Crowne of England, and not to the Empire of the King of England: Therefore, The Crowne of England may Rule and Governe them in such manner as it shall thinke most fit. For the proofe of which I shall instance Wales, which was once a Kingdome or Territory governed by its owne Lawes, but when it became of the Dominion of the Crowne of England, either by Submission or Conquest, it became subject also to such Lawes as King Edward the first (to whome they submitted) thought fit to impose: as may plainly appeare in the Preamble of the Statute of Rutland. Leges et Consuetudines, partium illarum hactenus usitatas, coram nobis et proceribus Regni Nostri fecimus recitari, quibus diligenter auditis, et plenius Edition: current; Page: [55] intellectis, quasdam illarum de Consilio Procerum predictorum delevimus, quasdam permissimus, et quasdam correximus, et etiam quasdam alias adjiciendas et faciendas decrevimus, et eas de caetero in terris Nostris in partibus illis perpetua Firmitate, teneri et observari volumus, in forma subscripta. In English thus,

We have caused the Lawes and Customs of those parts hitherto used, to be recited before Us and the Peers of Our Realme, which being diligently heard & more fully understood, some of them, by the Advice of Our Peers aforesaid, We have obliterated, some We have allowed, and some We have corrected, and have also decreed that some others shall be made and added to them; and We will, that for the future they be holden & observed in Our Lands in those parts with perpetual firmnesse, in manner herein after expressed.

Then follow the Ordinances appointing Writts originall and judiciall in many things varying from those of England, and a particular manner of proceeding.

And againe in the Close of the said Statute, et ideo vobis mandamus quod permissa de caetero in omnibus observaetis, ita tantum, quod quotiescunq; et quandocunqe; et ubicunque Nobis placuerit, possimus praedicta Statuta et eorum partes singulas declarare, interpretari, addere sive diminuere pro Nostrae Libito voluntatis prout securitati Nostrae, et Terrae Nostrae viderimus expediri: “And therefore We Command you that from hence foreward you observe the premises in all things so onely, that as often, whensoever and wheresoever We please, we may declare, interpret, add to and diminish from the said Statutes and every part of them according to Our will and pleasure, so as We shall see it expedient for the safety of Us and Our Land aforesaid.”

In the Next place I shall instance Ireland: That it is a Conquered Kingdome is not doubted, [Co. Rep. fol. 18. a.] but admitted in Calvins Case, and by an Act of the 11th, 12th, and 13th, of King James, acknowledged in expresse words, Viz. Whereas in former times the Conquest of this Realme by His Majesties most Royal Progenitors Kings of England, &c.

That by Virtue of the Conquest it became of the Dominion of the Crowne of England, and subject to such Lawes as the Conquerour thought fit to impose, untill afterwards by the Charters and Commands of H. the Second, King John, and H. the 3. they were entituled to the Lawes & Franchises of England; as by the said Charters, Reference being thereunto had, may more fully appeare. I shall onely instance two.

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The first is out of the close Rolls of H. the 3. Wherein the King, after Thanks given to G. de Mariscis Justice of Ireland, signifies, That Himself and all other his Leiges of Ireland should enjoy the Liberties which he had granted to his Leiges of England, and that he will grant & confirm the same unto them: [Claus. 1. H. 3. dorso 14] Which afterwards in the 12th yeare of his Reigne he did: as followeth, Rex dilecto et fideli suo Richardo de Burgo Justiciar’; suo Hibern, Salutem: Mandavimus vobis firmiter praecipientes, quatenus certo die & loco faciatis venire coram vobis, Archiepiscopos, Episcopos, Abbates, Priores, Cometes & Barones, Milites & libere Tenentes, et Balivos singulorum Comitatuum, et coram eis publice legi faciatis Chartam Domini Johannis Regis, Patris nostri, cui Sigillum suum appensum est, quam fieri fecit, et jurari a Magnatibus Hiberniae de Legibus et Consuetudinibus Angliae observandis in Hibernia. Et praecipiatis eis ex parte Nostra, quod Leges illas & Consuetudines in Charta praedicta contentas, de caetero firmiter teneant et observent.

The King to His faithfull and beloved Richard de Burg Justice of Ireland Greeting; We have Commanded you, firmly injoining you, that on a certain day and place, you make to come before you, the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earles, Barons, Knights, & Free-Holders, and the Baylifs of every County, and before them you cause to be publickly read, the Charter of the Lord King John our Father to which His Seal is affixed, and which He caused to be made and sworne to by the Nobility of Ireland, concerning the Lawes and Customs of England, to be observed in Ireland. And command them on Our behalfe, that for the future they firmly keep and observe those Laws and Customs conteined in the Charter aforesaid.

By all which it is evident that after the Conquest, and before the recited Charters, the Inhabitants there, altho’ composed of many free-borne English Subjects who settled themselves among them, were neither govern’d by theire owne Laws, nor the Laws of England, but according to the good pleasure of the Conqueror: and if you will take the opinion of Sr. Edward Cooke in his Annotations on the Great Charter, he tells you plainly That at the makeing thereof it did not extend to Ireland, or any of the King’s forreigne Dominions, but after the making of Poynings Law, which was in the 11th yeare of H. the 7th (long after the Great Charter) it did Extend to Ireland.

I have onely one Instance more, and that is the Usage of forreigne Nations in theire Plantations and Settlements abroad.

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The Government of the United Provinces & Denmarke are well knowne in Europe, and yet in all theire Plantations, their Governments are despoticall and absolute; all the power is in the hands of a Governour & Councill, and every thing is ordered and appointed by them; as is well knowne to those that are acquainted with Batavia, Surinam, Curasao, New-Yorke (when formerly in their hands) and the Island of St. Thomas.

By which it is evident that Those Kingdoms and Principalities which are of the Dominion of the Crowne of England, are subject to such Laws, Ordinances, and Methods of Government, as that Crowne shall think fit to establish.

The next thing then to be proved is, That New-England, and all the English Colonies are subject to the Dominion of the Crowne of England, as Wales and Ireland are, and not to the Empire of the King of England, as Scotland is.

’Tis a Fundamentall Point consented unto by all Christian Nations, that the First Discovery of a Countrey inhabited by Infidells, gives a Right and Dominion of that Countrey to the Prince in whose Service and Employment the Discoverers were sent. Thus the Spaniard claimes the West-Indies, the Portugals, Brasile, and thus the English these Northern parts of America; for Sebastian Cabott imployed by King H. the 7th. was the first Discoverer of these parts, and in his name took possession, which his Royall Successours have held and continued ever since, therefore they are of the Dominion of the Crowne of England, and as such they are accounted by that excellent Lawyer Sr. John Vaughan, in his Reports [Vaugh. Rep. Craw versus Ramsey.] which being granted, the Conclusion must necessarily be good, and it will follow, That Englishmen permitted to be transported into the Plantations, (for thither without the Kings Licence we cannot come) can pretend to no other Liberties, Priviledges or Immunities there, than anciently the subjects of England who removed themselves into Ireland could have done: For ’tis from the Grace and Favour of the Crowne alone that all these flow and are dispensed at the pleasure of him that sits on the Throne: which is plaine in the Great Charter it selfe; where after the Liberties therein granted by the King it concludes thus,—tenendas & habendas de Nobis & Heredibus Nostris in perpetuum, “To HAVE and to HOLD of Us and Our Heires for ever,” which by the learned Sr. Edward Cooke is thus explained: These Words (saith he) are not inserted to make a legall Tenure of the King, but to intimate that all Liberties at first were derived from the Crowne. [Instit. Pag. 2. Fol. 4.] Barbadoes, Jamaica, the Leeward-Islands & Virginia have their Assemblies, Edition: current; Page: [58] but it is not sui Juris,4 ’tis from the Grace & Favour of the Crowne signified by Letters Patents under the broad Seale. But these Assemblies have not power to enforce any Act by them made above one year; the King haveing in all the Confessions granted them, reserved unto Himselfe, the Annulling or Continuance of what Laws they make, according to His pleasure.

New-England had a Charter, but no one will be so stupid to imagine that the King was bound to grant it us: Neither can we without impeaching the prudent Conduct and discretion of our Fore-Fathers, so much as think, they would put themselves to so vast an expence, and unnecessary Trouble to Obtain that which as Englishmen, they thought themselves to have a sufficient right to before: We owe it onely to the Grace and Favour of our Soveraigne, and if we had made beter use of it to promote the Ends for which it was granted the weight of those Afflictions under which we now groan would not have laine so heavy upon us, at least we should have less deserved them.

Besides, The Parliament of England have never by any Act of theirs favoured the Plantations, or declared or enlarged their Priviledges; but have all along plainly demonstrated that they were much differenced from England, and not to have those Priviledges and Liberties which England enjoyed; being in all Acts relateing to the Plantations, Restrained and burthened beyond any in England, as appears by the several Acts made for the Encreasing of Navigation and for Regulating and securing the Plantation Trade.

I think I have both by good Authority, Practice & Precedent, made it plaine, that the Plantations are of the Dominion of the Crown of England, and without any Regard to Magna Charta, may be Ruled and Governed, by such wayes and methods, as the Person who wears that Crowne, for the good and advancement of those Settlements, shall think most proper and convenient. Therefore Neither the Commission to the President, nor that to Sr. Edmond Andros can be said to be illegall.

Since then such an one might lawfully be granted, we have great reason to commend the Moderation of the Gentleman, who was entrusted with it, and so returne thanks to Almighty God for placeing over us a person endued with that prudence & Integrity, that he was so far from exceeding his Commission, that he never put in execution the powers therein granted him. Edition: current; Page: [59] Have there been any Taxes laid upon us, but such as were settled by Laws of our owne makeing, any part whereof might be retained & in force after the Condemnation of our Charter that the King thought fit. Who hath been Transferr’d out of this Territory? Or did we ever pay fewer Rates than we have done under him?

And whereas it is also Alledged in the Declaration, that there were Courses taken to damp and spoile the Trade, &c. the same is altogether Mistaken, (unlesse by that is meant the irregular Trade, used heretofore with Forreigners and Privateers, contrary to the Acts of Navigation & the Laws of the Land). For the very considerable Advance of His Majesties Revenue ariseing by Customs, doth sufficiently demonstrate that the lawfull Trade of this Territory, was very much encreased under the Government of Sr. Edmond Andros.

4. Twill be but time lost to say any thing of the Red-Coats, for no man can be so void of Sence and Reason to think that so many Thousand men, which at this day inhabit this Colony, could be imposed upon by one hundred Red-Coats, and if any body hath been so vain as to threaten us with more, I look upon it an effect of Passion or Folly; for Experience, which certainly is the most convinceing Argument in the world, tells us there is no such thing.

5thly What is meant by Preferments, and who are called strangers and Haters of the People, I must confesse, I cannot easily comprehend, unless to inhabit fourteen or fifteen years within the Territory will make a man such. Is their any one Gentleman of the Councill, that hath either been displaced or put into that station by the Authority here? Which of our Judges are strangers? Were not Three of them brought up amongst us and of our owne Communion? and was not the other in the same Imployment in some part of this Territory at the time of the Annexation? From whome had the Secretary and Collector his Commission? certainly from no body here. Did the Alteration of the Government change our Treasurer? Is it not the same Sr. Edmond found here? Is he not a man of estate, good Credit and Reputation, and one of our owne Countrey men? Were not all Officers in the Government, as well Magisteriall as Ministeriall, naturall borne English-men, & Subjects to the Crowne of England? How then are Strangers & Haters of the people preferr’d, when there is not one that can reasonably and justly be so term’d in any place of Trust or Office throughout the Dominion?

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6. Who are mean’t by abject persons from New-Yorke, wants an Explanation: for none of the Gentlemen that came from thence now in any Authority, but are well knowne to have liv’d there for a long time in esteem and Reputation enough to merit a better Epethite of all good and honest men; and I believe it will one day appear, that their faithfull Discharge of their Dutyes, their Constancy and Steadiness to the Church of England, and unshaken Loyalty & Fidelity to the Crowne was their greatest Crime.

I am not well acquainted what Fees were taken, but this I knowe, that a Committee of the Councill were appointed to make a Settlement of Fees, for all Officers throughout the Government, which was effected, approved of, and sent to England, and if any one have exceeded those Limits they deserve to be called to Account: but it ought to be in a due Course of Law. For the personal Miscarriages of a ministeriall Officer, are no sufficient Warrant for an Insurrection; neither ought the Whole Government to be subverted because Tom, or Harry are ill men. The Authority can but provide good and wholsome Lawes, for the Punishment of evill Doers, and cause those Lawes to be put in Execution against Offenders; but if any one doth me a personall Wrong, for which I have a Remedy by Law, and I will not take it, I ought not to quarrell with the Government, for tis my own Fault, and I might have Redresse if I would. Personall Crimes must be censured personally: and a Government ought no more to be scandalized and aspersed, because an Extortioner is in it, than because there is a Felon or a Traitor.

7. I need not tell you that the Statute Lawes of England are printed at large, and that many Abridgements of them are so Likewise, and easie enough to be procured, neither can it be but very well knowne that all the Acts of the Governour and Councill were solemnly publish’d with Sound of Trumpet as soon as made, and authentic Copies afterwards transmitted to the Clerks of each respective county throughout the Territory: why then it should be said, that It was impossible to know the Laws, I see no reason, unless by it is meant the Common Law, and if so, we may as well quarrell because we do not understand Euclide, or Aristotle; For the Knowledge of the Law cannot be attained without great Industry Study and Experience, and every capacity is not fitted for such an Undertaking. Ex quovis Ligno non fit Mercurius.5 If this was a Grievance, what a miserable Condition are we in now, that instead of not knowing the Law, there is no Law for us to know.

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8. What rash or indiscreet Expressions may fall from any single person of the Councill, either in his private or politick Capacity, I will not undertake to justifie; all men are not endued with Qualifications alike, every one in that station ought to give his Opinion, as he himselfe understands the matter; and if any one have unadvisedly uttered words so disagreeable, I know no body injured by it, neither can the Government be justly censured for it.

9. That the Priviledges of Magna Charta, & other liberties of English men were denied us, is a thing which can never be made appear, however admitting it, I have sufficiently discussed that point in the third Article.

10. By the persons said to be severely fined, for peaceble objecting against raising of Taxes, without an Assembly, I conjecture are meant the Ipswich men, who were so far from a peaceable objecting, that they assembled themselves in a riotous manner, and by an Instrument conceived in Writing, did associate and oblige themselves to stand by each other in opposition to the Laws of the Government, and by their Example influenced their Neighbours to do the like. And this by the Law is esteem’d an offence of that Nature, That it is next door to Rebellion, for which they were Indicted, Tryed, and Convicted, either by Verdict or their owne Confession.

11. I cannot justifie that Sheriffe who doth either pick or pack a Jury, tis both repugnant to the Law and his Oath, and he deserves no Favour that can be guilty of such a Crime, but let him first be known, & the thing proved, for I do not Remember any one that hath been Convicted, nor so much as accused for such an Offence.

12. Judgement upon Demurrers and Defaults are so practicable and warrantable by the Law, that nothing can excuse the Enumerating them amongst the Grieviances in the Declaration but the Penman’s want of Knowledge in that Profession. Tis a Maxim, Volenti non fit Injuria,6 and when both Plaintiffe and Defendant do by a joint Consent submit to the Determination of the Court, or by their owne Negligence make Default; who hath the Wrong? Where is the injury? This hath been a Practice so frequently used in our former Government, that no body can be ignorant of it.

13. That any one hath been long imprisoned, without being charged with Crime or Misdemeanour, is an Allegation which I dare be bold to say can never be proved. I have heard an Habeas Corpus was in one particular case denied, I will not enquire into the reasons of it, nor pretend to justifie it, Edition: current; Page: [62] although much may be said in that matter; Admitting the Fact, ’twas but a personall injury, for which the Law gave an effectuall Remedy, and if the party grieved would not make use of such, must the Government be in fault? If we do but consider well how many persons are now under farr worse Circumstances, I am sure we cannot but blush when we read that part of the Declaration.

14. That Jury men were fined and imprisoned for Refuseing to lay their hands on the Book, I presume is a mistake, probably they may have been fined for their Contempt, and sent to Prison for not paying that fine, which by the Law may be justified; for every Court may fine any man for a Contempt in open Court, and they themselves are Judges of the Contempt.

Whether it be a forceing of Conscience or not, I shall leave to the Casuists, but I am very well satisfied it is not comprehended within the late Indulgence.

Yet admit it were, the Judges are sworn to do their duties in their office according to the Lawes of the Land, Prescription is a good & sufficient Law, the form of Laying the hand on the Booke hath been the onely modus of Swearing, Time out of mind; Therefore the Laying the hand on the Booke in Swearing is a good Law, and the Judges cannot dispense with it salvo Sacramento,7 if they did, a Judgement in such a Case would be erroneous & reversable: and ’Tis dangerous to admit of Innovations.

The Common Law of New-England is brought in to warrant the Lifting up the hand; but I take that to be Rara avis in terris,8 for I challenge the whole Territory to produce one Precedent of such a resolved Case: but perhaps by it Prescription is intended, if it be, that will as illy serve the turn as the other; for the Colony hath not been long enough settled to claim any Advantage by that Right, or if it had, could it be admitted without apparent Violation of our Charter, being absolutely repugnant to the Lawes of England.

15. Fully to discuss the question concerning the Titles of our Lands, would be a Subject too copious for this present designe, Therefore I shall onely glance at it as I pass by, being Resolved, when time shall serve to declare my opinion more amply on that Subject; in the mean time let every considering man examine well our Charter, which is the very Basis of all our Rights, (unless we will set up a power above the Kings) and then let him tell me in whome the Fee Simple of that Tract of Land betwixt Charles River & Edition: current; Page: [63] Mirrimack remaines: if in the Grantees or their Heires, how do we derive our Titles from them? If in the Governour and Company of the Massachusets Bay, we must enquire whether pursuant to the Directions and powers to them granted, it is by good & sufficient Conveyances in the Law derived unto us, if we find it so, we must not be disturbed with Fears and Jealousies, for nothing can hurt us: if not, we are infinitely obliged to those persons who have made us sensible of our Weakenesses, in a time when by His Majesties Letters Patents the Governour was impowered to supply all such defects, and not upon Terms either excessive or unreasonable, but upon such as were both easie & moderate, which will plainly appear to any man who will but give himself the trouble to peruse the Table of Fees, settled and allowed by the Councill. Yet still every man was at his own Liberty to take a Patent of Confirmation or to let it alone, which is Apparent enough by the many Petitions now lying in the Secretaries Office, which although his Excellency was alwayes ready (so far as in him lay) to Grant, yet the more necessitous Affairs of the Government, which both he and all about him ever preferr’d to theire private Advantage, took up so much of his time, that not above Twenty ever past the seale, and I am very well assured, that not one Example can be produced that the least compulsion was ever used in this Case to any man living within this Dominion.

16. That Writts of Intrusion were issued out, is doubtlesse true, and the Government would have justly merited a severe Censure, if all Wales should have been free & open for the Subject to attaine his Right, and none left for the King. We should think our selves highly injured to be refused a Capias9 or any other Common Writt, and I’m sure the other is as peremptory a one in the Kings Case, and had the Pen man been never so little acquainted with the Natura Brevium,10 or the Register, he would have been ashamed to have stuffed up the Declaration with such matter which can be of no other service, than to amuse & deceive ignorant people. Have there been any Writts of this kind dureing Sr. Edmond’s Administration, taken out against either poor or ignorant persons that had neither purses nor brains to defend themselves: hath it not been against such as both for their Estates and Capacities, Edition: current; Page: [64] are sufficiently known to be eminent? And the business of Deer-island was brought on for no other Intent than that Right might be done to the King here, and that the party, if agrieved, might in a Regular way have brought it to the Councill board in England, for their determination: and I think if this matter were rightly understood, it would be of excellent Service to the Countrey, for such a Judgement would sufficiently instruct us what we have to trust to;

17. If the Governour did say, there was no such thing amongst us as a Towne, what can be inferred from thence? Tis not to be presumed but his discourse tended onely to a Body Corporate and politick, for we generally call that a Towne in America, where a number of people have seated themselves together: yet its very well known, tis so in name onely not in fact: I take that Body of People to be a Towne, properly so called, who by some Act of Law have been Incorporated, and in that sence there is no such thing as a Towne in the Massachusetts, neither was there a power to make such before his Excellencies Arrivall. For One Corporation cannot make another. [the case of Suttons Hospital. Co Rep.]

18. I am totally ignorant what is meant by Blank Patents, for tis the first time I ever heard of such a thing; neither indeed can such a thing be. For he that takes a Patent for his Land, doth it in such a Form as best pleaseth himself, or as he shall be advised to by his Councill, and how any man living can so far know my mind, to prepare such an Instrument for me, I leave the world to judge.

This Notion did arise from one Roll of Parchment onely, brought over by Capt. Tanner, and if we do but consider, that all Law process was then in Parchment, it would serve but a little while for that use; for it contains not above sixty sheets.

I am likewise gropeing in the darke, to finde out how the Forceing of the people at the Eastward to take Patents (although I know of no such thing done) gave a Rise to the late unhappy Invasion by the Indians, unless by that means, they were deprived of those Quit-Rents and Acknowledgements, which by a base & dishonourable Agreement the people of those parts some time since submitted to pay them, as their Lords and Masters.

19. That our Commons might be begg’d, is not very strange, but that the Governour must be criminall because such a thing is asked of him, is the most wonderfull thing in the world. To whome have they been granted, or for which of his creatures have they been measured out? If Lieut’ Col’ Lidget Edition: current; Page: [65] be instanced, how came he to be the Governour’s Creature, that hath so long liv’d among us in Reputation equall to the best of us, and whose Fortunes were not so narrow that he needed a dependancy upon any body, and estate & interest in Charles-town Lands equalled if not exceeded any man’s there, so his Right to the Grant ought to be preferr’d.

If Clarks-Island, (granted to Mr. Clarke of Plimouth) I must tell you ’tis not within the Plimouth Patent, and therefore grantable at the pleasure of the King, which was the Opinion of the Councill in that Case, and neither of the before-mentioned Grants, nor indeed any other, did ever pass without their Approbation and consent; and this is all that I know of that can be objected.

20. What an Age do we live in now, and how wonderful a thing is it, that it should be counted a Crime in a land so well govern’d as once New-England was after a legall Tryal & Conviction, to punish & fine men for a Riot and the Contempt of Authority, in the highest Nature imaginable? For what less was it for the Number of three or more to meet together, throw downe & remove the Land marks sett up by the Surveyor Generall thereunto Authorized by the Governours Warrant? And thus is the Case and no otherwise.

21. That any of the Councill were ever denied Admittance to that Board, is a thing so apparently false, that I’m sure not a man amongst them but must justify the Governour in that point; who was alwaies so far from such a method, that altho there was a certain day appointed for their Meeting every week, well knowne to them all, yet it was a frequent thing for him, to send on purpose to Salem, and other Neighbouring parts, for the Gentlemen that lived there: and I have seen the Messengers Account, wherein he Chargeth a considerable summe of money for Horse hire on those Errands. ’Tis very well knowne, his Excellency hath waited many houres for several of the Gentlemen that live in Towne, and would never sit, until they came. And as he hath never done, nor ordered the least matter relateing to the Government, without their Advice and Consent, so he never did it without a sufficient Number to make a Quorum, which was Seven.

22. There was never any other course taken, to hinder Mr. Mather’s Voyage to England, than what the Law allowes, neither can the Government, without a great deal of Injustice, be charged with any thing relating to that matter, for none in place knew his errand.

There was a particular difference between Mr. Randolph & him, and I never heard of any other course taken by Mr. Randolph than the ordinary Edition: current; Page: [66] Writt in such Cases usual, which was so far from Retarding his Voyage, that an Attourny’s entring a common Appearance in that Case, would have been sufficient to have discharged him if the Writt had been served.

23. Suppose his Majestie promised Mr. Mather a Magna Charta, for redress of Grievances, and that his Excellency should be wrote unto, to forbear the measures he was upon, yet no such thing being done, he was Obliged to the Observance of his Majesties Commands, before Signified to him in his Letters Patents, which was a sufficient warrant to him, untill he should receive something subsequent to contradict it.

24. That our Churches and Ministers have been discouraged, is so generall an head, and the rest of the Declaration so particular, that it gives me cause to suspect the Truth of it, and I shall hardly alter my Opinion, until any one of you be instanced who kept himself within his Province, and onely meddled with that which belonged to him.

Tis the Church of England, that have most reason to Complain, onley we cry whore first. Has not their Minister been publiquely Affronted, & hindred from doing his Duty? What scandalous Pamphlets have been printed to vilify the Liturgy? And are not all of that Communion daily called Papist dogs & Rogues to their Faces? How often has the plucking down the Church been threatned? One while, it was to be converted to a Schoole, & anon it was to be given to the French Protestants; and whoso will but take the pains to survey the Glass Windows, will easily discover the marks of a malice not common. I believe tis the First National Church that ever lay under such great disadvantages, in a place where those that dissent from her must expect all things from her grace and favour.

25. Should I undertake to recount all the particulars of the late Indian Rebellion, this would swell to a bulk bigger than ever I designed it, I shall onely tell you, we must look at home for the Reasons of those troubles, which is well knowne began when his Excellency was at New-York, and that the Folly and Rashness of the people, drew it on their owne heads. The Governours Conduct in that affair has been so prudent and discreet, that I have no Reason to doubt but the Councill, into whose hands all the Papers relating to that business did fall, are very well satisfyed with it. Things were brought to that pass, that if our unhappy domestic Troubles had not intervened, the War before this time would have been advantageously finished, without any Rates or Taxes on the Countrey, for by His Excellencies good husbandry, the standing Revenue would have defrayed the Charge. Tis true, Edition: current; Page: [67] We have lost some of our friends and Relations, in that Expedition, but could the Governour keep them alive? Are not Diseases in Armies, as fatall to men as the Sword? When Death comes, tis not to be avoided; and we see that all our art & care hath not been sufficient to preserve our dearest friends at home, from the greater Mortality which hath run thro’ the Countrey. Did any of them dye Neglected? Which of them wanted any thing to be had in these parts? Did his Excellency lye upon Beds of downe, and fare deliciously every day? No, the same Meat, the same Drink, the same Lodging in their Quarters & Marches, were common to all, only He was generally the last taken care for. To what a degree of Madness & impiety are we then grown, so falsely & maliciously to recriminate a person who hath so generously exposed himself to the hardships of that cold & uncomfortable Climate, & the Fatigues of War, against a barbarous and savage people? And certainly if God Almighty hath not given us over to believe lies, our eyes must be by this time open, & we cannot but knowe, we have been put-upon, shamm’d and abused. Who are Popish Commanders in the Army? Will any man bare-fac’d averr so great an Untruth? It must be confess’d, there was one Commander & no more under that Circumstance; but what had he to do with the Forces? His Post was the Command of the King’s Souldiers & Fort at Pemaquid, and was not Commissionated for the Army; besides if he had, hath he not lived long amongst us? Did any one ever question his ability, Courage, Fidelity or Conduct, and ought not that Liberty of Conscience, which has been so hotly preached up, even to the Encouragement of immoral Acts amongst us, to be equally beneficiall to him with other men? Especially when the Gentlemen in the Countrey were so far from offering their Service in the Expedition, that some of the most eminent amongst them have absolutely refused the service. And I have been told, the Governour’s proposalls to the Councill, about his going to the Eastward met with no Opposition, lest some of the Military men there, should have been bound in Honour to have taken that Employment upon themselves.

26. That some of the English Plantations in the West-Indies, which are contiguous to the French, should be Alarm’d, is no wonder, for they were ever jealous of their Neighbourhood, and always stood upon their Guard; But that We should be afraid of being delivered up to the French; when there is neither War betwixt the two Crownes, nor any Frenchmen that we can yet heare of, to receive us, is one of the most unaccountable things in the world. From what parts must they come? from Canada we know they cannot; they Edition: current; Page: [68] have Reason enough to look to themselves, for they are more afraid than we: France have their hands full at home, and its well knowne they cannot spare any from the West-Indies; they made their utmost effort against {St.} E{u}statia, and by the best intelligence we can get in that Service or War, there was not one Friggat. Must they then drop out of the Clouds, or do we expect a Fleet from Utopia? Certainly this must needs convince any considering man that we have been extreamly abused; and we must be stupid and sencelesse to think that Sr. Edmond Andros, and ten or twelve men more (for that is all the number said to be concerned in this wonderful plott) could they be guilty of so horrid a wickednesse & impiety) were able to deliver so many Thousand men well appointed, into the hands of a few Frenchmen, who from God knows whence, were to come the Lord knows when.

27. That it was either our Duty to God, or that we had either the Nobility, Gentry or Commons of England, for our President, I cannot by any means allow, and I am amaz’d to see Christians call that a Duty, which God has so remarkably shewed his displeasure against in all Countries and Ages. Is not Rebellion as the sin of Witchcraft? Numb. 11. 12, 16. Who was it that sent the Leprosie amongst the children of Israel for their Murmurring? Psal. 78. Or how came the Sudden fire with which they were burnt up? How many Thousands perished by the Pestilence? Or were they a few that were flung to death with the fiery Serpents? Do we not read, that The earth opened and swallowed up some of their Captaines, with their wives and Children quick, which horrible destruction fell upon the Israelites for their murmurring against Moses, whome God had appointed their Head & Chiefe Magistrate? What shall I say of Absalom? What of Achitophel? Or what of Sheba? Holy Writt is so full of Examples of the like nature, that no body can esteem that a Duty which is so often testifyed against. And as it is far from being our duty to God, so there is no parallel between the proceedings of the Lords Spirituall & Temporall in England and ours here; for the Designe of establishing Popery & Arbitrary Government there, was so evident, that no room was left for the least doubt of it. That there could be a Contrivance to introduce Popery here, is altogether ridiculous, & incredible: For, who was to have effected it? Could these few of the Church of England, who with the hazzard of their lives and fortunes so lately opposed it in Europe, and that in all Ages have been the onely Bulwark against it? Or were the Presbiterians, Independants, or Annabaptists to have brought this about? It must have been one of these, for I dare be bold to say, there are not two Roman-Catholicks betwixt this Edition: current; Page: [69] and New-Yorke; and I think the others are not likely to accomplish it; which makes it plaine to me there could not be any such designe.

I have sufficiently demonstrated in the third Article, the little Right we have to any other Government in the Plantations, and that we cannot justly call that Arbitrary, which by the Law we are obliged to submit to: so that betwixt theire Condition and ours, there can be no Parity.

As their Reasons and ours were different, so are the Measures which have been taken: for His late Highnesse the Prince of Orange, haveing well weighed and considered the tottering Condition of the Protestant Religion all over Europe, thought it was high time for Him to take up Arms, as well for His owne Preservation; as that of his Neighbours and Allies. We do not finde, that, notwithstanding the danger that hung over their Heads, the people of England took up armes to right themselves, but instead thereof, they became humble suppliants to His Highness for his Favour and Protection, which He was pleased to grant them. Neither do we finde, that the Lords Spirituall & Temporall assumed any Authority, for which they had no colour of Law: as they are Peers, they are invested with the highest Authority, are the Grand Conservators of the Peace of the Nation: they never left their Duty and Allegiance to his late Majesty, untill he first left the Kingdome, and all things were transacted in his Name, and by his Authority untill the very minute the Prince was proclaimed, who came, not by Force to Conquer and Subject the Nation to a forreigne power, nor to subvert and destroy the Lawfull Government; but to maintaine & support the same in a peaceable manner, by a Free Parliament, for which his Majestie issued forth his Writts, and had he thought fit to have stayd untill their sitting, all Grievances might have been redressed: the Prince or Peers never abrogated nor altered any of the lawful powers of the Nation, but strengthened & confirmed all that were capable of bearing Office, by which there was alwaies a due Administration of Justice: The Sword was never said to rule & sway, and by consequence that Confusion and Disorder avoided which our Illegall & Arbitrary Proceedings have precipitated us into.

As to the Fancifull Stories of Macquaes, Subterranean Vaults, Fireworks, French Friggots, Poisoning the Souldiers to the Eastward &c. they are so apparently false & strangely ridiculous, that by this time no man in his wits can believe them, and I need no Argument to confute the Credit of those monstrous follies, since time and Experience have sufficiently demonstrated them to be meer Lyes & Inventions.

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And now I hope all sober thinking men are convinced, That the before-alledged Reasons, are in themselves either absolutely false, or of little moment, and consequently no sufficient grounds for us to take up Arms. All that remains on this head therefore, will be to shew,

  • 1st. That If all the Reasons had been true, yet it could not justifie our Proceedings. And,
  • 2. If our Condition had been as bad, and our Grievances really as great as we were made believe, these measures could never Mend the one nor Redress the other.

The most excellent Grotius hath so learnedly wrote upon the first of these, that I shall presume to use no other Argument than his own upon that head, which pray consider.

Private men may without doubt (saith he) [Grot. de jure Belli & Pacis11 lib. 1. cap. 4. Quaest. 1.] make War against private men, as the Traveller against the Theife or Robber: So may Soveraigne Princes & States, against Soveraign Princes, as David against the King of the Ammonites. Private men may make war against Princes, if not theire owne, as Abraham against the King of Babylon and his Neighbours. So may Soveraign Princes against private men, whether they be their owne subjects, as David against Ishbosheth and his party; or Strangers, as the Romans against Pirates. The onely doubt is whether any person or persons, publique or private, can make a lawful War against those that are set over them, whether supream or subordinate unto them:

And in the First place, “It is on all hands granted, That they that are Commissionated by the highest powers, may make War against theire Inferiors, as Nehemiah against Tobia & Sanballat, by the Authority of Artaxerxes.” But whether it be lawful for Subjects to make warre against those who have the supream power over them, or against such as act by, & according to their Authority is the thing in question. It is also by all good men acknowledged, That if the Commands of a Prince shall manifestly contradict, either the Law of Nature, or the Divine precepts, they are not to be obeyed: for the Apostles when they urged that Maxim, (Act. 4.) Deo magis quam hominibus obediendum, That God is rather to be obeyed than man, unto such as forbad Edition: current; Page: [71] them to preach in the Name of Jesus, did but appeal to a principle of right Reason, which Nature had insculp’t in every mans breast: and which Plato expresseth in almost the very same words. But yet, if either for this or any other cause, any Injury be offered unto us, because it so please him that hath the Soveraigne power, it ought rather to be patiently tolerated than by Force resisted: For although we do not owe an active Obedience to such commands of Princes, yet we do owe a passive; though we ought not to violate the laws of God or of Nature to fulfill the Will of the greatest Monarch, yet ought we rather patiently to submit to whatsoever he shall inflict upon us for not Obeying, than by Resistance to violate our Countryes Peace. The best and safest Course we can steer in such a case, is, Either by Flight to preserve our selves, or resolvedly to undergo whatsoever shall be imposed upon us.

2. War against Superiors as such, is unlawful. And naturally all men have a Right to repell Injuries from themselves by Resisting them (as we have already said) but Civil Societies being once Instituted for the Preservation of the Peace, there presently succeeded unto that Common-Wealth, a certain greater Right over us & ours, so far forth as was necessary for that end. And therefore that promiscuous Right that Nature gave us to ressist, the Common-Wealth, for the maintaining of good Order and publick Peace, hath a Right to prohibit, which without all doubt it doth; seeing that otherwise it cannot obtein the end it proposeth to it self. For in case that Promiscuous Right of forcible Resistance should be tolerated, it would be no longer a Common-Wealth that is a Sanctuary against Oppression, but a confused Rabble, such as that of the Cyclops, whereof the Poet thus,

  • ———Where every Ass
  • May on his wife & children judgement pass.

A dissolute Company, where All are speakers and none hearers: like to unto that which Valerius records of the Bebricii,

  • ———Who all Leagues and Laws disdain
  • And Justice, which men’s minds in peace retain.

Salust makes mention of a wild and savage people living like Beasts in Woods and mountains, without Lawes and without Government, whom he calls Aborigines: and in another place of the Getuli, who had neither Lawes, good Customs, nor any Princes to govern them. But Cities cannot subsist without these, Generale pactum est societatis humanae Regibus obedire; Edition: current; Page: [72] All humane societies (saith St. Augustine) unanimously agree in this, to obey Kings; So Aeschylus,

  • Kings live by their owne Lawes, Subject to none.

And Sophocles,

  • They Princes are, obey we must, what not?

To the same Tune sings Euripides,

  • Folly in Kings must be with patience born.

Whereunto agrees that of Tacitus, Principi summum rerum arbitrium Dii dederunt, &c. Subditis obsequii gloria relicta est; God hath invested a Prince with Soveraign power, leaving nothing to Subjects but the Glory of Obedience.

And here also,

  • Base things seem noble when by Princes done;
  • What they Impose, bear thou, be’t right or wrong. [Sen.]

Wherewith agrees that of Salust, Impune quid vis facere, hoc est Regem esse; To do any thing without fear of punishment, is peculiar to Kings: for as Mark Anthony urged in Herod’s Case, If he were accountable for what he hath done as a King, he could not be a King. Hence it is, that the Majesty of such as have Soveraign power, whether in one or more, is fenced with so many and so severe Lawes, and the Licentiousnesse of Subjects restrained with such sharp and exquisite Torments; which were unreasonable, if to resist them were lawfull. If a Souldier resist his Captain that strikes him, and but lay hold on his Partizan, he shall be cashiered; but if he either breake it, or offer to strike againe, he shall be put to Death: For as Aristotle observes If he that is an Officer strike, he shall not be struck againe.

3. The Unlawfulness of making War against our Superiours, is proved by the Jewish Law. [Jos. 1. 18. 1. Sam. 8. 11. Deut. 17. 14.]

By the Hebrew Law, He that behaved himself contumaciously against either the High Priest, or against him who was extraordinarily by God ordained to govern his people, was to be put to death; and that which in the eighth Chapter of the first Booke of Samuel, is spoken of the Right of Kings, to him that throughly inspects it, is neither to be understood of their true and just Rights, that is, of what they may do justly and honestly (for the Duty of Kings is much otherwise described Deut 8. 11.) nor is it to Edition: current; Page: [73] be understood barely, of what he will do: for then it had signified nothing that was singular or extraordinary, for private men do the same to private men: But it is to be understood of such a Fact as usurps or carries with it the priviledge of what is right, that is, that it must not be resisted although it be not right; for Kings have a Right peculiar to themselves, and what in others is punishable in them is not. That old saying, Summum jus, summa injuria, Extreme right is extreme Wrong, is best fitted to the Case of Kings, whose absolute power makes that seem right, which strictly taken is not so. There is a main difference between Right in this sense taken, and Just; for in the former sence, it comprehends whatsoever may be done without fear of Punishment: but Just, respect only things lawful and honest. And though some Kings there be, who are (what Servius in Cicero’s Philippicks is commanded to be) Magis justitiae quam Juris consulti; more regardful of their honour and duty than of their power and prerogatives: yet this doth not diminish their Soveraign Right; because if they will they may do otherwise without the danger of being resisted. And therefore it is added in that place of Samuel before cited, That when the people should at any time be thus oppressed by their Kings, as if there were no Remedy to be expected from men, they should invoke His help who is the Supream Judge of the whole Earth. So that whatsoever a King doth, tho’ the same done by an inferior person would be an Injury, yet being done by him is Right. As a Judge is said Jus reddere, to do Right, though the Sentence he gives be unrighteous.

4. By the Gospel-Law. When Christ in the New-Testament Commanded to give Caesar his due, doubtless he intended that his Disciples should yield as great, if not a greater Obedience, as well active as passive unto the higher power, than what was due from the Jews to their Kings: which St. Paul, (who was best able to interpret his Masters Words) expounding Romans 13. doth at large describe the duty of Subjects; Charging those that resist the power of Kings, with no less Crime than Rebellion against God’s Ordinance, and with a Judgment as great as their Sin: For, saith he, They that do so resist shall receive unto themselves damnation. And a little after he urgeth the Necessity of our Subjection, Not altogether for fear but for conscience, as knowing, that he is the minister of God for our Good. Now if there be a necessity of our Subjection, then there is the same necessity for our not resisting, because he that resists is not subject. Neither did the Apostle mean such a necessity of subjection as ariseth, from an apprehension of some worse inconvenience that might follow upon our resistance, but such as proceeds from the sense of some benefit Edition: current; Page: [74] that we receive by it, whereby we stand obliged in duty, not unto man onely, but unto God; So that, He that Resists the power of the supream Magistrate, incurrs a double Punishment (saith Plato) First from God, for breaking that good Order which he hath constituted amongst men. And Secondly, From the Common Wealth, whose righteous Laws, made for the preservation of the publick peace, are by Resistance Weakned, and the Common-Wealth thereby endangered. For canst thou believe (saith Plato) that any City or Kingdom can long stand, when the publick Decrees of the Senate shall be willfully broken and trampled upon by the over-swelling power of some private men, who in struggling against the Execution of the Laws, do, as much as in them lies, dissolve the Commonwealth, & consequntly bring all into confusion. The Apostle therefore fortifies this Necessity of publick Subjection to Princes with 2 main Reasons: First because God had constituted and approved of this order of Commanding and Obeying; and that not only under the Jewish, but under the Christian Law: Wherefore the powers that are set over us are to be Observed (not servilely, superstitiously, or out of Fear, but with free, rational, & generous Spirits) tanquam a Diis datae, as being given by the Gods, saith Plato: or as St. Paul, tanquam a Deo ordinatae, as if ordained by God himself. Which Order as it is Originally God’s, so by giving it a Civil Sanction, it becoms ours also: For thereby we add as much Authority to it as we can give. The other Reason is drawn ab utili, from Profit: because this Order is constituted for our good, and therefore in Conscience is to be obeyed and not resisted.

But here some men may say, That to bear injuries is not at all profitable unto us, whereunto some men (haply more truly than apositely to the meaning of the Apostle) give this Answer, That patiently to bear Injuries, conduceth much to our Benefit, because it entitles us to a Reward, far transcending our Sufferings, as St. Paul testifies. But though this also be true, yet it is not (as I conceive) the proper and genuine sense of the Apostles words, which doubtless have Respect to that Universal Good, whereunto this Order was first instituted, as to its proper end; which was the publick peace, wherein every particular man, is as much concerned, if not much more than in his Private (for what Protection can good Laws give, if Subjects may refuse to yield their obedience to them; whereas, by the Constant observance of good Laws, all Estates, both publick and private, do grow up and flourish together.) [Plato.] And certainly these are the good Fruits that we receive from the supream Powers, for which in Conscience we owe them Obedience. For no man did ever yet wish ill to himself. (But he that resists Edition: current; Page: [75] the power of the Magistrate, and willfully violates the Laws established, doth in effect (as far as in him is) dissolve his Countrey’s peace and will in the end bury himself also in the ruins of it.) [Plato.] Besides, the Glory of Kings consists in the prosperity of their Subjects, When Sylla had by his Cruelty, almost depopulated, not Rome only, but all Italy, one seasonably admonisht him, Sinendos esse aliquos vivere, ut essent, quibus imperet; That some should be permitted to live, over whom he might rule as a King. [Florus. Aug. de civ. Dei. Lib. 3. cap. 28.] It was a common Proverb among the Hebrews, Nisi Potestas publica esset, alter alterum vivum deglutiret; Were it not for the Soveraign Powers, every Kingdom would be like a great Pond, wherein the greater Fish would alwaies devour the Lesser. Agreeable whereunto is that of Chrysostome, Unless there were a power over us to restrain our inordinate Lusts, Men would be more fierce & cruel than Lions & Tygers, not only biting, but eating & devouring one another. Take away Tribunals of Justice, and you take away all Right, Property and Dominion: No man can say, this is mine House, this my Land, these my Goods or my Servants: but Omnia erunt Fortiorum,12 the longest Sword would take all. [Chrys de statuis 6. ad Eph.] The mighty man could be no longer secure of his estate than until a mightier than he came to dispossess him; The weaker must alwaies give place to the Stronger: and where the strength was equal the loss would be so too; and this would at length introduce a general Ataxy, which would be far more perilous than a perfect Slavery. Wherefore seeing that God hath Established (and humane Reason upon Tryal approved of) Soveraign Empire as the best Preservative of humane Societies, that every man should yield Obedience thereunto is most rational: For without Subjection there can be no Protection.

Object. But here it will be objected, That The Commands of Princes do not alwaies tend to the Publique Good, and therefore when they decline from that end for which they were ordained, they ought not to be obeyed. To which I answer,

That though the Supream Magistrate doth sometimes, either through Fear, Anger, Lust, Coveteousness, or such like inordinate passions, baulk the ordinary path of Justice and Equity, yet are these (hapning but seldome) to be passed over as personal blemishes, which (as Tacitus rightly observes) are abundantly recompensed by the more frequent examples of Edition: current; Page: [76] better Princes. (Besides the Lives of Princes are to be considered with some grains of allowance, in respect of those many provocations and opportunities they have to offend, which private men have not; All men have their Failings, we our selves have ours; and in case we will admit of none in Kings, we must not rank them amongst men but Gods. The Moon hath her spots; Venus her Mole; and if we can find nothing under the Sun without blemish, why should we expect perfection in Kings? He is very uncharitable that judges of Rulers by some few of their evil Deeds, passing over many of their good ones. Seeing therefore that there is in all men’s lives, as in our best Coin, an intermixture of good and evil; it is sufficient to denominate a Prince good, if his Vertues excel his Errors. Besides, to charge the Vices of Kings upon the Government, as they usually do who affect Innovation, is but a Cheat: For what is this, but to condemn the Law for the Corruption of some Lawyers: Or Agriculture, because some men do curse God for a Storm? Si mentiar, Ego mentior, non Negotium; If I do lye, (saith the Merchant in St. Augustine) it is I that am to be blamed not my Calling. And if some Princes do prevaricate in some things, they and not their Function are to be blamed. But as to Laws, tho they cannot be so made as to fit every mans Case, yet it sufficeth to denominate them good, if they obviate such disorders as are frequently practised, and so do good to the generality of the People. But as to such cases, which because they rarely happen, cannot so easily be provided against by particular Laws, even these also are understood to be restrained by general Rules. For, though the Reason of the Law being particularly applyed to that special Case, hold not; yet in the General, under which special Cases may lawfully be Comprehended, it may. And much better is it so to do, than to live without Law, or to permit every man to be a law to himself. Very apposite to this purpose is that of Seneca, [Lib. 7. de Benef. cap. 16.] Better is it not to admit of some excuses, though just from a few, than that All should be permitted to make whatsoever they please. Memorable is that of Pericles in Thucydides, [Lib. 2.] Better it is for private men, that the Common-Wealth flourish, though they thrive not in it, than that they should abound & grow rich in their own private estates, and the Common-Wealth pine and Wither: For if the whole be ruined, every private mans Fortunes must needs be ruined with it: but if the Common-Wealth flourish, every private mans estate, though in it self weake, may in time be repaired. Wherefore, since the state if well ordered, can easily support any private mans fortunes, but a private mans estate, though never so well ordered, cannot repair the loss of the publique state: why Edition: current; Page: [77] do ye not rather contribute your utmost care to advance the Publique, than (as ye now do) seek to build your own private Fortunes upon the publique Ruines? Wherewith agrees that of Ambrose, [de Off. Lib. 3.] Eadem est singulorum utilitas, qua Universorum; The Profit which the Common-Wealth receives, redounds to every private man. And that also in the Law, Semper non quod privatim interest ex sociis, sed quod communi societate expedit, servari debet; Evermore, not that which particularly availeth any one party, but that which conduceth to the Benefit of the Common Society is to be observed. (When the Common people in Rome began to Mutinee by reason of some Taxes extraordinarily imposed on them, Laevinus the Consul exhorted the Senate, to encourage the people by their own example; and to that very end advised every Senator to bring into the Senate-house, all the Gold, Silver and Brass Money he had that it might be delivered to the Triumviri for the publick service: adding this reason, If our City overcome, no man needs to fear his own estate; but if it fall, let no man think to preserve his own [Liv. 1. 26.]) For as Plato rightly observes, What is common strengthens a city, but what enricheth private families only, weakens and dissolves it: And therefore it concerns both Princes and subjects to prefer the Affairs of the Common-Wealth, before their own either pleasure or Profit). It is a very true Observation of Xenophon’s, He that in an Army behaves himself seditiously against his General, sins against his own Life. And no less true is that of Jamblicus, No man should think himself a Loser by what the Common-wealth gains, for every private mans loss is sufficiently recompensed in the publick profit: For as in the natural body, so doubtless in the Civil, In totius Salute, Salus est partium; the well being of every part, consists in the safety of the whole. But without doubt, among those things that are publick, the chief & principal is that aforesaid Order of well Commanding and well Obeying: which cannot consist where private Subjects assume that Licence of resisting the publick Magistrate: which is excellently described by Dion Cassius, whose words sound much to this sense, I cannot conceive it seemly for a Prince to submit to his subjects, for there can be no safety, where the feet are advanced above the Head, or wher they undertake to govern, whose Duty it is to be governed. What a dismal Confusion would it introduce in a Family if Children should be permitted to despise their Parents or Servants to dispute the Commands of their Masters? In what a desperate Condition is that Patient, that will not be ruled in all things by his Physitian? And what hopes can there be of that Ship, where the Marriners refuse to obey their Pilot? Surely God hath ordained, and humane Reason upon tryal hath found it necessary, that for Edition: current; Page: [78] the preservation of humane Society, some should Command, and some Obey. To the Testimony of St. Paul, we shall add that of St. Peter, whose words are these, Honour the King, Servants, be ye subjects to your Masters with all fear, and not only to the good & gentle, but also to the froward: For this is thank-worthy, if a man for conscience sake toward God endure Grief, suffering wrongfully, for what glory is it, if when ye be buffered for your faults ye take it patiently? But if when ye do well, & suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 1. Pet. 2. 17, 18, 19. And this he by and by confirms by Christ’s own Example, which Clemens also in his Constitutions thus expresseth, The servant that feareth God, saith he, will serve his Master also with all faithfulness, yea, though he be impious and unjust. Whence we may observe two things: First, That under the subjection that servants are in, even to hard Masters, is also couched that of Subjects unto Kings, though Tyrannical. And therefore, as a little before he commanded Subjection to every humane Ordinance; that is, to the Laws and Constitutions of Princes without distinction, (for when that Epistle was written, there were very few Princes that were not Idolaters) yet submit we must, saith St. Peter, for all that; and that, propter Dominum, for the Lord’s sake. So what follows in the same Chapter being built upon the same foundation, respects the Duty as well of subjects as of Servants. And so requires the same Obedience, as well passive as Active; Such as we usually pay to our Parents, according to that of the Poet,

  • Thy Parents love if good, if bad yet bear.

And also that of Terence,

  • To bear with parents, piety Commands.

And that likewise of Cicero in his Oration for Cluentius, Men ought not only to conceal the injuryes done unto them by their parents, but to bear them with patience. A young man of Eretria that had been long educated under Zeno being demanded, What he had learned? Answered, Meekly to bear his Father’s Wrath. So Justin relates of Lysimachus, That he endured the Reproaches of the King, with the same calmness of Spirit, as if he had been his Father. [Lib. 15.] Ferenda sunt Reguum ingenia, The Humours of Kings most be endured: saith Tacitus: [Ann. 16. Hist. 6.] And in another place he tells us, That Good Emperours are to be wished for, but whatsoever they are, they must be obeyed. So also Livy, As the Rage of our Parents, so the Edition: current; Page: [79] Cruelty of our Countrey are no ways to be becalmed, but by patience and Sufferance. For which Claudius highly extols the Persians, who obeyed all their Kings equally tho’ never so cruel.

5. Neither did the Practice of the primitive Christians swerve from this Law of God, which is an undeniable Argument that they so understood it. For though the Roman Emperours were sometimes the very worst of men, and deadly Enemies to the Christian Faith; yea, though there wanted not such under their Government, who under the specious pretence of freeing the Common-Wealth from Tyranny and Oppression, took Arms against them, yet could they never perswade the Christians to join with them. In the Constitutions of Clemens we read, Regiae potestati resister: Nefas, To resist the power of a King is impious. Tertullian in his Apology writes thus, What was that Cassius that conspired against the life of Julius Caesar? What was that Poscennius Niger, that in love to his own countrey, took Arms in Syria, as Clodius Albinus did in France & Britain, against that bloody Emperour Septimius Severus? Or What was that Plautianus, who to set the Common-Wealth free from Tyranny, attempted the Life of the same Emperour in his own pallace? What was that AElius Laetus, who having first poysoned that infamous Emperour Commodus, fearing it should not take that effect which he desired, did afterwards hire Narcissus a strong Wrestler to strangle him? Or What was that Parthenius, (whose fact Tertullian doth so much detest) who being Chamberlain to that execrable Tyrant Domitian, yet killed him in his own Chamber? What (saith Tertullian) were all these? Surely not Christians, but Romans. Nay, So abominated they were by Christians, that Tertullian seems to glory in this, that though Christians were every where reproached as Enemies, nay Traitors to the Imperial Crown, yet could they never find any of them, either stained with that Crime, or so much as favouring those Treasonable Practices of either Cassius, Niger. or Albinus. When St. Ambrose was commanded by the Emperour Valentinus to give up his Church to be Garrison’d by Souldiers, though he took it to be an injury done, not only to himself and his Congregation, but even unto Christ himself; yet would he not take any advantage of the commotions it made among the People, to make Resistance. [See Gratian c. 23. q. 8.] If the Emperour (saith he) had commanded what was in my power to give, were it mine House, Land, Goods, Gold or Silver, how readily should I obey; Whatsoever is mine I would willingly offer: but the Temple of God, I cannot give away, nor can I yield it up to any man: Cum ad custodiendum, non ad tradendum illud acceperim, Since it was Edition: current; Page: [80] committed to mee to defend and to keep, but not to betray. And whereas the people being enraged thereby, did offer their Assistance to repel the Souldiers, he refused it saying, Coactus repugnare non novi, Though provoked and compelled thereunto, yet withstand or resist I cannot; grieve and weep, and mourn I can, against Arms, Souldiers and Goths: I have no other weapons but Tears: for these are the only Forts and Muniments of a Priest: Aliter nec debeo nec possum resistere, Otherwise I neither ought nor can resist. [Lib. 5. Orat. in Anxen.] And presently after, being commanded to appease the Tumult, he replied, That not to excite them was in his power, but being exasperated and enraged, to appease them was in the sole power of Him, who when He pleased, could still the ragings of the Seas & the madness of the people. [Epist. 33.] And in another place he writes thus, Will ye hale me to prison, or cast me into chains? I am willing to suffer, neither shall I guard my self with multitudes of people who offer themselves to defend me. Neither would he make use of the Forces of Maximus, when offered against the Emperor, though an Arian, and a grievous Persecutor of the Church. In imitation of whom, Gregory the Great, in one of his epistles confesseth, That if he would have engaged himself in the Death of the Lombards, that Nation had at that day, had neither King, Dukes, nor Earls, but had been reduced into extreme Confusion. [Greg. l. 6. Ep. 1.] Nazianzen informs us, That Julian the Apostate was diverted from some bloody designs he intended against the Church, by the Tears of Christians: Adding withal, That These are our best Preservatives against Persecutions. [Naz Orat. 1. in Julian.] And because a great part of his Army were Christians, therefore his cruelty towards them, would have been not injurious to the Church of Christ only, but would at that time have much endangered the Common-Wealth. Unto all which we may also add that of St. Augustine, where expounding those places of St. Paul, he saith, Even for the preservation of our own Lives, we ought to submit to the supreme Power, & not to resist them in whatsoever they shall take away from us.

6. Inferior Magistrates ought not to resist the Supream. Some very learned men there are even in this age, who accommodating themselves tho servilely to the times and places wherein they live, to perswade themselves first, and then others, That though this licence of Resisting the Supream power be inconsistent with the Condition of private men, yet it may agree with the Rights of inferior Magistrates; nay, further, that they sin in case they do it not: which Opinion is to be exploded, as seditious. For as in Logick there is a Genus which is called Sebaltri{illeg.} which though it be Edition: current; Page: [81] comprehensive of all that is under it, as a living Creature comprehends both man and Beast; yet hath it a Genus above it, in respect whereof it is but a Species: As a living Creature is to a body, which comprehends all sorts of bodies, both animate and inanimate. The like we may say of Magistrates, some are Supream, who rule all, and are ruied by none; others are Subordinate, who in respect of private men, are publick Persons, governing like Princes; But in respect of the Supream Magistrate are but private men, and are commanded as Subjects. For the power or faculty of Governing, as it is derived from the Supream power, so it is subject unto it, And whatsoever is done by the inferior Magistrate, contrary to the Will of the Supream, is null, and reputed but as a private Act, for want of the Stamp of publick Authority. All Order (say Philosophers) doth necessarily relate to somewhat that is first and highest, from whence it takes its Rise and Beginning. Now they that are of this Opinion, that inferiour Magistrates may resist the Supream, seem to introduce such a state of things, as the Poets fansied to have been in Heaven before Majesty was thought on, when the lesser gods denied the prerogative of Jupiter. But this Order or Subordination of one to another, is not only approved of by Common Experience, as in every Family the Father is the head, next unto him the Mother, then the Children, and after them the Servants, and such as are under them: So in every Kingdom, Each power under Higher powers are—And, All Governours are under Government—To which purpose is that notable saying of St. Augustine, Observe (saith he) the degrees of all humane things: If thy Tutor enjoin thee any thing, thou must do it; yet not, in case the Proconsul command the contrary: neither must thou obey the Consul, if thy Prince command otherwise: for in so doing thou canst not be said to contemn Authority, but thou chusest to obey that which is highest: Neither ought the lesser powers to be offended, that the greater is preferred before them, for God is the God of order. [Grat. c. 11. q. 3, Qui resistit.]13 And that also of the same Father concerning Pilate, Because (saith he) God had invested him with such a power as was it self subordinate to that of Caesars. But it is also approved of by Divine Authority, For St. Peter enjoyns us to be subject unto Kings otherwise than unto Magistrates: To Kings as supream, that is, absolutely, without Exceptions to any other Commands than those directly from God: who is so far from Edition: current; Page: [82] justifying our Resistance, that He commands our passive Obedience: But unto Magistrates, as they are deputed by Kings, and as they derive their Authority from them. And when St. Paul subjects every soul to the higher powers, (Rom. 13.) doubtless he exempts not inferiour Magistrates. Neither do we find among the Hebrews (where there were so many Kings utterly regardless of the Laws both of God & Men) any inferior Magistrates, among whom, some without all question, there were both pious and valiant, that ever arrogated unto themselves this Right of Resisting by force, the power of their Kings, without an express command from God, who alone hath an unlimited power and Jurisdiction over them. But on the Contrary, What duties inferior Magistrates owe unto their Kings, though wicked, Samuel will instruct us by his own Example, who though he knew that Saul had corrupted himself, and that God also had rejected him from being King, yet before the people, and before the Elders of Israel, he gives him that Reverence and Respect that was due unto him. (1. Sam. 15. 30.) And so likewise the state of Religion publickly professed, did never depend upon any other humane Authority, but on that of the King, and Sanhedrim. For in that after the King, the Magistrates with the People, engaged themselves to the true Worship and Service of God, it ought to be understood, so far forth as it should be in the power of every one of them. Nay, the very Images of their false gods which were publickly erected, (and therefore could not but be scandalous to such as were truly religious) yet were they never demolished, so far as we can read of, but at the special Command either of the people when the Government was popular, or of Kings, when the Government was kingly. And if the Scriptures do make mention of any Violence sometimes offered unto Kings, it is not to justifie the fact, but to shew the Equity of the Divine providence in permitting it. And whereas they of the contrary perswasion do frequently urge that excellent Saying of Trajan the Emperour, who delivering a Sword to a Captain of the Praetorian Band, said, Hoc pro me utere, si recte impero; si male, contra me: Use this Sword for me if I Govern well, but if otherwise, against me. We must know, that Trajan (as appears by Pliny’s Panegyrick) was not willing to assume unto himself Regal power, but rather to behave himself as a good Prince; who was willing to submit to the Judgment of the Senate and people; whose Decrees he would have that Captain to execute, though it were against himself. Whose Example both Pertinax and Macrinus did afterwards follow, whose excellent Speeches to this purpose Edition: current; Page: [83] are Recorded by Herodian. The like we read of M. Anthony, who refused to touch the publick treasure without the consent of the Roman Senate.

7. Of Resistance in case of inevitable Necessity. But the Case will yet be more Difficult, Whether this Law of not-Resisting do oblige us, when the Dangers that threaten us be extream, and otherwise inevitable. For some of the Laws of God Himself, though they found absolutely, yet seem to admit of some tacite Exceptions in cases of Extream Necessity: For so it was, by the wisest of the Jewish Doctors, expresly determined concerning the Law of their Sabbath, in the times of the Hasamonaeans, whence rose that famous Saying among them, Periculum animae impellit Sabbatum; The danger of a man’s Life drives away the Sabbath. When the Jew in Synesius, was accused for the breach of the Sabbath, he excuseth himself by another Law, and that more forcible, saying, We were in manifest jeopardy of our lives. When Bacchides had brought the Army of the Jews into a great Strait on their Sabbath day, placing his Army before them and behind them, the River Jordan being on both sides; Jonathan thus bespake his Souldiers, Let us go up now & fight for our lives, for it standeth not with us to day, as in times past. (1. Mac. 9. 43, 44, 45.) Which case of Necessity is approved of, even by Christ Himself, as well in this Law of the Sabbath, as in that of not eating the Shew-bread. And the Hebrew Doctors pretending the Authority of an ancient Tradition, do rightly interpret their Laws made against the eating of meats forbidden, with this tacite Exception: Not that it was not just with God to have obliged us even unto death, but that some Laws of His are conversant about such matters as it cannot easily be believed that they were intended to have been prosecuted with so much Rigour as to reduce us to such an Extremity, as to dy rather than to disobey them, which in humane laws doth yet further proceed. I deny not, but that some Acts of Vertue are so strictly enjoyned, that if we perform them not, we may justly be put to Death: As for a Centinel to forsake his Station. But neither is this rashly to be understood to be the Will of the Law-giver. Nor do men assume so much Right over either themselves or others, unless it be when, & so far forth as extreme Necessity requires it. For all humane laws are so constituted, or so to be understood as that there should be some allowance for humane Frailty. The right understanding of this Law of Resisting or not-Resisting the Highest powers in cases of inevitable Necessity, seems much to depend upon the Intention of those who first entered into Civil Society, from whom the Right of Government is devolved upon the persons governing: who had they been demanded, Edition: current; Page: [84] Whether they would have imposed such a yoke upon all Mankind as death it self, rather than in any case by force to repel the Insolencies of their Superiours; I much question whether they would have granted it, unless it had been in such a case, where such Resistance could not be made without great Commotions in the Common Wealth, or the certain Destruction of many Innocents, for what Charity commends in such a case to be done, may, I doubt not, pass for an humane Law. But some may say, that this rigid Obligation, To dye rather than at any time to Resist Injuries done by our Superiours, is not imposed on us by any Humane, but by the Divine Law. But we must observe, That men did not at first unite themselves in Civil Society, by any special Command from God, but voluntarily, out of a sence they had of their own impotency to repel force and Violence whilst they lived solitarily, and in Families appart; whence the civil power takes its Rise. For which cause it is that St. Peter calls it an humane Ordinance, although it be else-where called a Divine Ordinance, because this wholesome Constitution of men was approved of by God Himself. But God in approving an humane Law, may be thought to approve of it as an humane law, & after an humane manner. Barkly (who was the stoutest Champion in defending Kingly Power) doth notwithstanding thus far allow, That the People or the Nobler part of them, have a Right to defend themselves against cruel Tyranny, and yet he confesseth, that the whole Body of the people is subject unto the King. [Barkley. Lib. 3. contra. Monarchomach. c. 8.] Now this I shall easily admit, That the more we desire to secure any thing by Law, the more express and peremptory should that Law be, and the fewer exceptions there should be from it; (for they that have a mind to violate that Law, will presently seek shelter, and think themselves priviledged by those Exceptions though their Cases be far different;) yet dare I not condemn indifferently either every private man, or every, though lesser part of the people, who as their last Refuge, in cases of extream Necessity, have anciently made use of their Arms to defend themselves, yet with respect had to the Common Good. For David, who (saving in some particular Facts) was so celebrated for his integrity, did yet entertain first four hundred, and afterwards more armed men; to what end unless for the safeguard of his own person, against any violence that should be offered him? But this also we must note, That David did not this until he had been assured, both by Jonathan, and by many other infallible Arguments, that Saul sought his life; and that even then, he never invaded any City, nor made an offensive Warr against any but lurked only Edition: current; Page: [85] for his own security, sometimes in Mountains, sometimes in Caves, and such like devious places, and sometimes in forreign Nations, with this Resolution, to decline all occasions of annoying his own Countrey-men. A Fact parallel to this of David’s, we may read in the Maccabees: For whereas some seek to defend the Wars of the Maccabees upon this ground, That Antiochus was not a King, but an Usurper; this I account but frivolous: for in the whole Story of the Macabees, we shall never find Antiochus mentioned by any of their own party, by any other Title than by that of King; and deservedly: For the Hebrews had long before submitted to the Macedonian Empire, in whose Right Antiochus succeeded. And whereas the Hebrew Laws forbad a Stranger to be set over them, this was to be understood by a voluntary Election, and not by an involuntary Compulsion, through the Necessity of the times. And whereas others say, That the Maccabees did act by the peoples Right, to whom belonged the Right of Governing themselves by their own Laws, neither is this probable: For the Jews being first conquered by Nebuchadonosor, were by the Right of War subject unto him, and afterwards became by the same Law subject to the Medes and Persians, as successours to the Chaldeans, whose whole Empire did at last devolve upon the Macedonians. And hence it is, That the Jews, in Tacitus are termed The most servile of all the Eastern Nations; neither did they require any Covenants or Conditions from Alexander or his successours, but yielded themselves freely, without any Limitations or Exceptions, as before they had done unto Darius. And though they were permitted sometimes to use their own Rites, and publickly to exercise their own Laws, yet was not this due unto them by any Law that was added unto the Empire, but only by a precarious Right that was indulged unto them by the Favour of their Kings. There was nothing then that could justifie the Maccabees in their taking of Arms, but that invincible Law of Extream Necessity which might do it so long as they contained themselves within the bounds of Self-Preservation, and in imitation of David, betook themselves to secret places, in order to their own security; never offering to make use of their Armes unless violently assaulted. In the mean time, great Care is to be taken, that even when we are thus enforced to defend our selves in cases of certain and extream danger, we spare the person of the King; for they that conceive the carriage of David towards Saul, to proceed not so much from the Necessity of Duty, as out of some deeper consideration, are mistaken: for David himself declares, that no man can be innocent that stretcheth forth his hand against the Lord’s Annointed: Edition: current; Page: [86] (1. Sam. 26. 9.) Because he very well knew that it was written in the Law, Thou shalt not revile the Gods, that is the Supream Judges: Thou shalt not curse the Rulers of thy people. (Exod. 22. 28.) In which Law, special mention being made of the Supream power; it evidently shews That some special Duty towards them is required of us. Wherefore Optatus Melevitanus speaking of this Fact of David, saith, That God’s special Command coming fresh into his memory, did so restrain him, that he could not hurt Saul, though his mortal enemy. Wherefore he brings in David thus reasoning with himself, Volebam hostem vincere, sed prius est Divina praecepta observare, Willingly I would overcome mine Enemy, but I dare not transgress the Commands of God. [Lib. 2.] And Josephus speaking of David after he had cut off Sauls Garment, saith, That his heart smote him: So that he confessed, Injustum facinus erat Regem suum occidere, It was a wicked act to kill his Soveraign. And presently after, Horrendum Regem quamvis malum occidere, poenam enim id facienti imminere constat, ab eo qui Regem dedit, It is an horrid act to kill a King, though wicked, for certainly He, by whose providence all Kings reign, will pursue the Regicide with vengeance inevitably. To reproach any private man falsely is forbidden by the Law, but of a King we must not speak evil, though he deserve it; because as he that wrote the Problems (fathered upon Aristotle) saith, He that speaketh evil of the Governour, scandalizeth the whole City. So Joab concludes concerning Shimei, as Josephus testifies, Shalt thou not dye, who presumest to curse him whom God hath placed in the Throne of the Kingdom? The Laws (saith Julian) are very severe on the behalf of Princes, for he that is injurious unto them, doth wilfully trample upon the Laws themselves. [Misopogoris]14 Now if we must not speak evil of Kings, much less must we do evil against them. David repented but for offering violence to Saul’s Garments, so great was the Reverence that he bare to his person, and deservedly: For since their Soveraign power cannot but expose them to the General Hatred, therefore it is fit, that their security should especially be provided for. This, saith Quintilian, is the face of such as sit at the Stern of Government, that they cannot discharge their Duty faithfully, Edition: current; Page: [87] nor provide for the publick safety, without the envy of many. (And for this cause are the persons of Kings guarded with such severe Laws, which seem, like Draco’s, to be wrote in blood,) as may appear by those enacted by the Romans, for the security of their Tribunes, whereby their persons became inviolable. Amongst other wise Sayings of the Esseni, this was one, That the persons of Kings should be held as sacred. And that of Homer was as notable,

  • His chiefest care was for the King,
  • That nothing should endanger him.

And no marvel: For as St. Chrysostome well observes, If any man kill a sheep, he but lessens the number of them, but if he kill the Shepherd, he dissipates the whole flock. The very Name of a King, as Curtius tells us, among such nations as were governed by Kings, was as venerable as that of God. So Artabanus the Persian, Amongst many and those most excellent Laws we have, this seems to be the best, which commands us to adore our Kings as the very image of God who is the Saviour of all. And therefore as Plutarch speakes, Nec fas, nec licitum est Regis corpori manus inferre, It is not permitted by the Laws of God or man, to offer violence to the person of a King. But as the same Plutarch in another place tells us, The principal part of valour is, to save him that saves all. If the eye observe a blow threatening the head, the hand, being instructed by nature, interposeth it self, as preferring the safety of the head (whereupon all other members depend) before their own. Wherefore, as Cassiodore notes, He that with the loss of his own life, Redeems the Life of his Prince, doth well; if in so doing he propose to himself the freeing of his own soul, rather than that of another mans body, for as conscience teacheth him to express his fidelity to his Soveraign; so doth right Reason instruct him to prefer the life of his Prince, before the safety of his own body. But here a more difficult question ariseth; as namely, Whether what was lawful for David and the Maccabees, be likewise lawful for us Christians: Or whether Christ who so often enjoins us to take up our Cross, do not require from us a greater measure of patience? Surely, where our Superiours threaten us with Death upon the account of Religion, our Saviour advised such as are not obliged by the necessary Duties of their Calling to reside in any one place, to flee, but beyond this, nothing. St. Peter tells us, That Christ in his suffering left us an example, who tho’ he knew no sin, nor had any guile found in his mouth, yet being reviled, reviled not again, when he suffered, he threatned not, but Edition: current; Page: [88] remmitted his cause to him that judgeth righteously (1. Pet. 4. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.) Nay he adviseth us to give thanks unto God, and to rejoice when we suffer persecution for our Religion: and we may read how mightily Christian Religion hath grown and been advanced by this admirable gift of patience, wherefore how injurious to those ancient Christians (who (living in or near the times of either the Apostles themselves or men truly Apostolical) must needs be well instructed in their Discipline, and consequently walked more exactly according to their Rules, yet suffered death for their faith) how injurious I say, to these men, are they, who hold that they wanted not a Will to resist, but rather a power to defend themselves at the approach of death? Surety Tertullian had never been so imprudent, nay, so impudent as so confidently to have affirmed such an untruth, whereof he knew the Emperor could not be ignorant, when he wrote thus unto him, If we had a will to take our private Revenge, or to act as publick Enemies, could we want either numbers of men, or stores of warlike Provisions? Are the Moors, Germans, Parthians, or the people of any one Nation, more than those of the whole World? We, though strangers, yet do fill all places in your Dominions; your Cities, Islands, Castles, Forts, Assemblies, your very Camps, Tribes, Courts, Palaces, Senates; only your Temples we leave to your selves: For what war have we not alwaies declared our selves fit and ready, though in Numbers of men we have sometimes been very unequal? How cometh it then to pass, that we suffer Death so meekly, so patiently, but that we are instructed by our Religion, that it is much better to be killed than to kill? Cyprian also treading in his Masters steps, openly declares, That it was from the principles of their Religion, that Christians being apprehended, made no Resistance, nor attempted any revenge for injuries unjustly done them, though they wanted neither numbers of men, nor other means to have resisted, but it was their confidence of some divine Vengeance that would fall upon their persecutors, that made them thus patient, & that perswaded the innocent to give way to the nocent. [Lib. 5.] So Lactantius, We are willing to confide in the Majesty of God, who is able, as well to revenge the contempt done to Himself, as the injuries and hardships done unto us: Wherefore, though our sufferings be such as cannot be expressed, yet we do not mutter a word of discontent, but refer our selves wholly to him who judgeth righteously. And to the same tune sings St. Augustine, When Princes err, they presently make Laws to legitimate their errors, and by those very laws they judge the innocent, who are at length crowned with Martyrdom. [Ep 166.] And in another place, Tyrants are so to be endured by their subjects, & hard Masters by their servants, that both their temporal lives Edition: current; Page: [89] (if possible) may be preserved, and yet their eternal safety carefully provided for: Which he illustrates by the examples of the primitive Christians, Who though they then sojourned upon earth as Pilgrims, and had infinite numbers of nations to assist them, yet chuse rather patiently to suffer all manner of torments, than forcibly to resist their persecutors: Neither would they fight to preserve their temporal lives, but chose rather not to fight, that so they might ensure unto themselves an eternal. For they endured Bonds, Stripes, imprisonment the Rack, the Fire, the Cross; they were flead alive, killed, and quartered, and, yet they multiplied; they esteemed this life not worth the fighting for, so that with the loss of it they might purchase what so eagerly they panted after, a better. Of the same opinion was Cyril, as may appear by many notable Sayings of his upon that place of St. John, where he treats of Peter’s Sword. The Thebean Legion, we read, consisted of 6666. Souldiers, and all Christians, who when the Emperour Maximianus would have compelled the whole Army to sacrifice to Idols, first removed their Station to Agaunus, and when upon fresh orders sent after them, they refused to come, Maximianus commanded his officers to put every tenth man to Death, which was easily done, no man offering to resist: At which time Mauritius (who had the chief Command in that Legion, and from whom the Town Agaunus in Switzer-land was afterwards called St. Mauritz, as Eucherius, Bishop of Lyons, records) thus bespake his fellow souldiers, How fearful was I lest any of you under the pretence of defending your selves (as was easie for men armed as ye are to have done) should have attempted by force to have rescued from death those blessed Martyrs? which had you done, I was sufficiently instructed by Christs own example to have forbidden it, who expresly remanded that Sword into its sheath, that was but drawn in his own defence; thereby teaching us that our Christian Faith is much more prevalent than all other arms. This tragick Act being past, the Emperor commanding the same thing to the survivours, as he had done before to the whole Legion, they unanimously returned him this answer, Tui quidem, Caesar, milites sumus, &c. We are thy Soldiers, O Caesar, we took arms for the defence of the Roman Empire; we never yet deserted the war, nor betrayed the trust reposed in us; we were never yet branded with fear or cowardise, but have alwaies observed thy commands, until being otherwise instructed by our Christian Laws, we refuse to worship the devil, or to aproach those altars that are polluted with blood. We find by thy commands, that thou resolvest either to draw us into Idolatry, or to affright us by putting every tenth man of us to death: make no further search after those that are willing to lye concealed; but know that we are all of us Edition: current; Page: [90] Christians, all our bodies thou hast indeed under thy power, but our souls are subject only to Christ our redeemer. Then Exuperius being the Standard-bearer to that Legion thus bespeak them, Hitherto, Fellow-Soldiers, I have carried the Standard before you in this secular war, but it is not unto these arms that I am now to invite you, it is not unto these wars that I now excite your valour, for now we are to practise another kind of warfare; for with these weapons ye can never enforce your way into the kingdom of heaven. And by & by he sends this Message to the Emperor, Against thee, O Caesar, Desperation it self (which usually makes even Cowards valiant) cannot prevail with us to take arms. Behold, we have our weapons fixt, yet will we not resist; because we chuse rather to be killed by thee than to overcome thee, and to dye innocents, than to live rebels to either God or thee. And a little after he adds, Tela projicimus, &c. We abandon our arms, O Emperour, & will meet thy messengers of death with naked breasts, yet with hearts strongly munited with Christian Faith. And presently after followed that general Massacre of the Thebean Band, whereof Eutherius gives this Narrative, It was neither their Innocence nor their Numbers, that could exempt them from death, whereas in other more dangerous tumults, a multitude though offending, are rarely punished. The same story in the old Martyrology we find thus recorded, They were every where wounded with swords, yet they cryed not out, but disdaining the use of their Arms, they exposed their breasts naked to their persecutors: It was neither their numbers nor their experience in war, that could perswade them to assert the equity of their cause by their swords, but placing His example alwaies before them, who was led to the slaughter dumb, and like a lamb to be sacrificed, opened not his mouth; they also in imitation of Him; like the innocent flock of Christ, suffered themselves to be worried and torn in peices by an herd of persecuting wolves. Thus also do the Jews of Alexandria, testifie their innocency before Flaceus, We are, as thou seest, unarmed, and yet we are accused unto thee as publick enemies to the state: these hands which nature hath given us for our defence, we have caused to be pinnacled behind us, where they are of little use, & our breasts we expose naked to every man that hath a mind to kill us. And when the Emperor Valens cruelly persecuted those Christians, which according to the Holy Scriptures, & the Traditions of the Ancient Fathers, profest Christ to be ομϫσιον, that is, Co-essential with the Father, though there were every where great Multitudes of them, yet did they never attempt by arms to secure themselves. Surely, wheresoever Patience in times of persecution is commended unto us, there we find Christ’s own example held out unto us (as we read it Edition: current; Page: [91] was to the Thebean Legion) for our imitation. As therefore His patience, so ours, should have no bounds nor limits but death it self. And he that thus loseth his life, is truly said by Christ Himself to find it.

Secondly. These measures could never better our Condition, nor redress our Grievances, unless we should be so vain to imagine our selves capable of waging war with the Crown of England, and all its Allies. Is the KING so petty and inconsiderable a Prince that He should be forced? Or can we think that the noise of our Thousands and Ten Thousands will frighten Him into a Compliance? Without doubt if we do, we shall too late find our mistake, and a woful experience will quickly teach us, that the sole want of Their Majesties Protection, will in a very short time reduce us to the most miserable & deplorable condition in the world.

But perhaps we may fancy that this action of ours hath extremely obliged Them, and that all things now are become justly due to the merits of our services: ’twill do very well if it be so understood, but I cannot see the least probability of such a Construction; for we have sufficiently manifested in our Declaration, that Self-interest was the first and principal motive to our Undertaking, and our Progress doth plainly demonstrate, that we have only made use of Their Names, the better to effect our own Designs; whilest every thing that hath any Relation to Them, lies neglected & unregarded, without any recognition of Their Authority over these Dominions, or the least Acknowledgment of our Submission to such orders as should come from Them; saving what particularly related to some few ill men (as we call them) whom we have imprisoned & detained without any Law or Reason; so that we have rashly & imprudently adventur’d our All upon a chance, (not an equal one) whether it will be well, or ill taken: if well, we can expect nothing more than what we should have had by sitting still & quiet, unless it be a vast Charge, Trouble & Expence, which we have inevitably brought upon our selves: if ill, what will be the Event?

In the first place our Countrey, which hath been so remarkable for the true Profession and pure Exercise of the Protestant Religion, will be termed a Land full of Hypocrisie, REBELLION, Irreligion, and what not, and we our selves a degenerate, wicked people, that have fallen from the practises of our Fore-fathers, and the purity of our first principles.

2. In all our Pamphlets and Discourses, we have so magnified our Action, and boasted of the vast numbers we can bring into the Field, that it must be of great import to the Crown of England to curb us & in time to reduce us to Edition: current; Page: [92] our former obedience; & no body will imagine it consistent with the interest of that Crown, any more to trust Government in the hands of a people, so ready & so able upon all occasions to set up for themselves, and the stronger we are, the more need there will be to keep us under.

3. And lastly, We shall realy endure and undergo all those Miseries & Calamities which we fancied to our selves under the late Government; and become the Scorn and By-word of all our Neighbours.

What then remains, but that whilst it is yet called to day, we should endeavour to settle our selves in such a Posture, as may at least mitigate, if not wholly prevent the before-mentioned inconveniences. If our Charter be restored such a Condition cannot hurt us; but the want of it may; for we are accountable for every Action & every false Step we make after the date of it, & render our selves lyable to be Questioned & Quo-Warranto’d for our Male-feazance whensoever the Supream Authority shall think it meet; if not, it must be of great service to us to be found in a submissive and humble posture, fit & ready to receive Their Majesties Commands; lest while we value our selves too much, upon our own merits, we become unworthy of Their Favour in a most gracious pardon, without which (think what we will) we never can be safe & secure from the severity of the Laws, which we have indisputably violated, in matters of the highest nature & consequence imaginable.

I hope every good man will seriously & impartially consider the foregoing Discourse, and suffer himself to be guided by the Dictates of Reason, and not of Humour or Prejudice, and then I am well assured, it will be evident enough, that we have mistaken our Measures, and that a timely recess, will more Advantage us than an obstinate and wilful perseverance & that nothing but such a Remedy can restore our almost-perishing & undone Countrey, to a lasting Peace and happy Settlement: Which that GOD of His mercy would grant us, shall ever be the hearty prayers of

F. L.


I was principally induced to direct the precedent Discourse to you, Gentlemen, because I would rightly be understood, which I’m sure I can never fail of by persons of your Learning and Worth, and I hope you will be so kind to me & so just to your Countrey, to let me know in the most publick Edition: current; Page: [93] manner you can, wherein I have mistaken the matter either in point of Fact or Judgment; but if I have been so fortunate to Convince you, that wrong measures have been taken, and that the people had no reason for what they have done, nor no bottom for what they are yet doing; let me tell you, tis your duty, not only to admonish them but to reduce them to such a temper as becomes pious men & good Christians, for which you will have the praise and God the Glory.

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3: Gershom Bulkeley, The People’s Right to Election (1689)

In the aftermath of the fall of the Dominion of New England (1685–89), colonists in Connecticut debated whether to resume their old charter government, or wait for instructions from the new monarchs, William and Mary. Gershom Bulkeley (1636?–1713), a Connecticut minister, a physician, and a justice under Royal Governor Sir Edmund Andros, was adamant that a unilateral resumption of the charter was unjustified.

In The People’s Right to Election or Alteration of Government, Bulkeley argued that all political power was divinely sanctioned, flowing from God to the King, with none residing in the people. For Bulkeley, it followed from this that Connecticut had no legal standing to reconstitute any kind of political authority in the absence of royal assent. Only the King could restore Connecticut’s old political institutions. As Bulkeley put it, “For Subjects in private Capacity to take upon them to set up and exercise Government as they see cause, is direct Rebellion and Treason.” Although Bulkeley held that he was not “an Enemy to our ancient Charter priviledges,” he adamantly maintained that, despite whatever injustices or violations of rights had happened under Andros, “The Government is changed and taken into his Majesties hands.” Although he continued to oppose the colony’s stance, Bulkeley was ultimately unsuccessful in his opposition to the resumption of the charter. In 1694, after much lobbying in London, Connecticut received royal recognition of their charter government. (C.B.Y.)

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in Connecticott,



By Gershom Bulkeley Esq; one of their Majesties Justices

of the peace In the County of Hartford.

Together with a Letter to the said Bulkeley,

from a Friend of his in the BAY.

To which is added, The Writing delivered to James Russell

of Charlestown Esq; warning him and others concerned,

not to meet to Hold a Court at Cambridge, within the

county of Middlesex.

By Thomas Greaves Esq; Judge of their Majesties Inferior

Court of Pleas and one of their Majesties Justices of the

peace within the said County And also his ANSWER

to Mr. Broadstreete and the Gentlemen mett at the

Town-house in Boston concerning the same.

Published for the Information & Satisfaction of their Majesties loyall

(but abused) Subjects in NEW ENGLAND.

Philadelphia, Printed by Allignes of William Bradford, Anne 1689.

Edition: current; Page: [97]

To the honourable Robert Trent Esq; and to the Worshipfull James Bishop, William Jones & James Fitch, and other the Worshipful Justices of the severall Counties: and any other whom it may concern, assembling at Hartford: To advise concerning Holding of a Court of Election by Virtue of and according to the late Patent.


I Am at this time (by reason of bodily Infirmity) unable to wait upon you in a suitable manner, or to maintain discourse as this Occasion may require, or indeed to write much, yet (considering the Exigency of the case) I will do what I can, & apply my selfe to you as followeth.

And to prevent all prejudice against what I have to say, I shall premise thus much, Viz. That tho’ I was no free-man of the Colony, yet I never was, nor am an Enemy to our ancient Charter-priviledges, and could they now be regularly Recovered, I should rejoice in it, and if I knew any thing whereby to justify the present proceeding, I should not conceal it; but we must not do evil that good may come of it.

I am not at all ambitious of keeping my place, it is a Burthen and no Benefit to me; an orderly discharge will be very welcome, and the sooner the better; if I could absolve my self from my oath, it had not been to do now; so that I am under no Temptation on these accounts. Tis onely the Trust reposed in me, and my reall desire of the Common good which puts me on, very well knowing, that nothing but ill Will is like to be my reward.

Further, I am sensible of mine inability to wade in those great Affaires, and would not abound in my own sence, nor in any sort take upon nor go about to teach those of whom I had need to learne; yet, Plus vident oculi quam oculus. Many eyes see more than one: and a weak eye may chance to see that which a better over-looks. And I having with others, (tho much against my own Inclination) received his Majesties Commission as a Justice of the Peace for the County of Hartford, and having at that time taken the Oaths of Supremacy and Obedience, as also that of a justice, for keeping of the Law, the Conservation of the Peace, and the quiet and good Government of the people, it did concern me to Consider the Duty by these meanes so strangly bound upon me, and accordingly I have since that time done my poor endeavour to inform my self in the Laws, that I might discern between Right and Wrong for the good of the people.

Edition: current; Page: [98]

Therefore, in sence of my duty to God, the King, your selves, and all his Majesties good people here (for I am debtor to you all, and am embarqued in the same Bottom with you; and do account it my Duty to seek the peace of the place where I live) therefore (I say) I shall not (and I think, I ought not) be wholly silent at this time, but according to that little which I have learned and observed, I shall modestly, and yet freely & plainly, offer a few Considerations to you which respect the present Affaire, desireing you neither to accept nor reject what I say, because it comes from me, but according to its own merit; for the matter in hand seems to me to be of very great Weight, and I beseech you to consider and ponder it throughly before you engage in it, forasmuch as an Irregularity in this Preceeding, may be the beginning of great Calamity and Woe to this people.

The present Motion seems to me to be not only illegall, needless & unprofitable, but indeed very criminal dangerous and hurtful to us, and that upon these Considerations.

First, Before you can Regularly (or by Virtue of and according to your late Patent) hold a Court of Election, you must be first Restored to your former politick Capacity, whereby you were under the Name of His Majesties Governour and Company of the English Colony of Connicticott, Persons able & capable in the Law to plead and be impleaded &c; and to Have, Take, Require and possesse Lands and other Hereditaments &c. of which, that Priviledge of Government was a principall one given by your Patent.

For I reason thus, If you do now assume the Government, and proceed to Election, you do it either in a private and personal Capacity, or in a publick and politik Capacity, I suppose you do not pretend to the First, for that is not to do it according to your patent, and besides it is criminall.

For Subjects in private Capacity to take upon them to set up & exercise Government as they see cause, is direct Rebellion & Treason. Therefore you must do it in a publick and politick Capacity, but this you cannot do but you are restored to such a Capacity, in which indeed you once were, but now are not: which I thus prove from the Patent it self.

Our late Soveraign King Charles the Second, did in the year 1662 by his Letters Patents for himself his Heires and Successours, Ordaine & Constitute the therein named Patentees, & the then present & future Freemen &c. One Body politick and Corporate in fact and Name, by the name of, His Governour and Company of the English Colony of Connecticut in New-England in America; and that by the same Name they and their Successours shall and may have Edition: current; Page: [99] perpetuall Succession, and shall & may be persons able & capable in the law to plead & be impleaded, to Answer & be Answered unto, to defend & be defended in all Suits, Causes, Quarrels, Matters Actions and things of what kind and nature soever. And also to Have, Take, Possesse, Acquire and Purchase Lands, Tenements and Hereditaments &c. This is the expresse Letter of that Clause of the Patent, whereby you were constituted one body politick and Corporate, able and capable in the Law as aforesaid; and whereby also, you were by the name of Governour and Company to have perpetuall Succession, or to be perpetuated by annuall Election, at least, as the Patent afterwards shews, and upon this Clause do all the priviledges afterwards granted depend.

But now you are not such a Body politick and Corporate capable in Law as aforesaid, for you know, that by the late Transaction between his Majesty and his then Governour and Company of the late Colony of Connecticut, the Government is changed and taken into his Majesties hands, and the late Colony of Connecticot annexed to the Bay, the Governour and one of the Assistants made and sworn Councellours and Judges under this new Government, the late Deputy-Governour and the rest of the Assistants, made & sworn Justices in the severall Counties under the same new Government, and this a year and a half agone: How legall these proceedings were we need not now dispute; but this it is in fact: Hence there is no such thing in fact and name as the Governour and Company of the Colony of Connecticut. And hence the Corporation is dissolved and made incapable in the law to plead and be impleaded &c. or to have and take or possesse any Hereditaments; and consequently incapable to Take, Erect and Exercise Government. For neither the Governour alone, nor the Company alone is the Corporation, nor capable to plead or be impleaded as such, but the Governour and Company together. If they Claime or Take, they must Claime or Take together, if they Sue, they must Sue together, and if they be sued, they must be sued together and not apart. Besides, by the meanes aforesaid the Succession is interrupted and broken off, for by the same name of the Governour & Company of &c. you were to have perpetuall Succession, and that Succession to be perpetuated by annuall Election of the Governour, Deputy-Governour &c. which hath not been. Therefore in your present state you are not Successours of the former Corporation; and consequently cannot take the priviledges untill restored to your former politick Capacity: and (to add that) you cannot restore your selves to it, for that is inconsistent with your Subjection to the Supreame power.

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By all this it doth appeare, That as there is no Governour, or Deputy-Governour to give Order for the Assembling of the Company, (without which their Assembling for such an end is unlawful) so there are no Freemen capable of choosing or of being chosen; for if there be not a Corporation capable, there cannot be capable Freemen of that Corporation: And if in this state you proceed to Election, there is no Freeholder or free Subject of England belonging to this Late Colony, but hath as good a Right, & is as capable of Choosing as any of you, because there is nothing to hinder it, and this the people see. Also there are now no Assistants enabled by lawfull Authority (without which none may do it) to take the Oath of the Governour or Deputy Governour when Chosen; all which things the Patent doth expresly require.

All this seems necessarily to follow from the very words of the Patent, and how it can be avoided I cannot see: but that I may not seem to vent my own Notions onely, I shall briefly give the words of Sir Edward Coke as sound a Lawyer and as great a friend to the English Subjects Libertyes as ever England knew. In the Case (saith he) of Mayor & Commonality (which is the same in effect as Governour and Company) Where there is no Mayor the Commonality cannot make claim; because they have neither ability nor Capacity to take or sue any Action. [Coke upon Lit. pag. 203.] so that without a Governour or Deputy Governour you cannot so much as Claime the Government by Law, much lesse enter upon it. And therefore we see that in the Patent, the King doth not Constitute onely a number of Freemen, and make them immediately capable to take such and such priviledges, and give them power rudely to run together whensoever some factious spirits shall make a bustle, and so in a tumult to choose them a Governour & Magistrates; No, but he first creates them a Body politick consisting of Governour and Company, and by that name makes them capable in Law to take the priviledges which he thereafter gives. And he himselfe nominates and appoints the first Governour or Deputy Governour for the time being, to give order for the Assembling of the Company upon all occasions (whether for Election or otherwise) and in such orderly manner gives them leave to assemble as often as need requireth.

Secondly, (Which doth also confirm the former) Before you can hold a Court of Election according to the Patent, you must have a General Court or Assembly constituted according to the Patent: the reason is, because the Patent doth ordaine, that the Governour, Deputy-Governour, and Edition: current; Page: [101] Assistants &c. be annually chosen, not without, but in the said Generall Court: concerning this matter the King in his Patent, ordains three things.

1. That every second Thursday in May and October (or oftner if need be) there shall be a Generall Assembly. 2. That this Generall Court or Assembly consist of the Governour or Deputy Governour, and at least six of the Assistants, and of the Freemen or their Deputyes. 3. That at least once in every year (Viz) on the second Thursday in May, the Governour Deputy Governour & Assistants of the said Company and other Officers &c. shall be in the said Generall Court and Assembly to be held from that day or time newly chosen for the yeare ensueing &c. Thus saith the Patent expresly: But you have now no Governour, Deputy Governour, nor Assistants, therefore can have no such Generall Court or Assembly; therefore can hold no Court of Election by virtue of or according to your Patent. Examine the Patent and see &c.

From these two Considerations it appears, that if you do proceed to Election in your present state, you will but deceive your selves and trouble the Country to no purpose: all that you will do, will be void in Law: the Government you think to set up will be but an imaginary Government, a shadow without a substance, Magistrates without Authority, for you can give them none, neither does the Patent give them any. A Government that cannot determine the Present Government, nor vacate the Commissions that have been given out from the King, and are still in force, nor exercise any Authority to effect: for their Authority may justly (yea, ought to) be denied by every one, and they cannot enforce it, without Lawlesse Usurpation & Tyrannie. 2. You will but trouble your selves, for you will be immediately liable to a Quo-Warranto,1 and can give no account by what Authority you do these arbitrary things.

Thirdly, The Government is now in the Kings hands, (and here, that no person may cavill, the word King may be understood indefinitely for the King his Heires & Successours, for the Heir or Successour is King, when the Time of Succession is come. But I say, The Government is now in the Kings hands, and it will be wisdome to proceed in a regular way, if you desire to recover it. For in regard of the dignity of his person, the King has by Law a Prerogative above the Subject for the keeping of what he hath. Edition: current; Page: [102] Hence, a man may not enter upon the King as he may upon his Fellow subject; much lesse may he enter upon the King by Force. I do not now enter upon that Question, How far those that are by and under the King entrusted with publick Power and Office, for the defence of the Lawes and the Libertyes of the Subject, may, in case, use force for that end; and the people under them at their Call and Command; This is another Question, and not our case, and those that desire satisfaction, may consult those that have written weightily upon that Subject. It is one thing to defend the Lawes and Liberties of the Subject. This some think some may do, and this defends the Government: But it is another thing to subvert & change & take possession of the Government it self, this none may do. And tho’ some may say, But the Government is illegally taken into the Kings hand, and it is one of our great Liberties: I shall say something to that by and by.

Therefore to let that Question passe untoucht. I said that the Subject may not enter upon the King with force: now you cannot enter upon the King in point of Government, but it is with force, for all power of Government implies force antecedent, for the setting of it up, and concomitant for the Support and Defence of it, and partly because you cannot do it in this way of Election without Multitude which is Force in the judgment of the Law, as well as Manus armatae, or Force of Armes, so that if you do it, it must necessarily be done with force; now to enter upon the King in point of Government with Force, what is it but to invade the Crown? And Kings do account their Heads & Crownes to be very neare each to other; and that he that attempts against the one, attempts against the other.

This Affaire therefore doth touch the Crowne, and nearly concerne your Allegiance, and is worthy to be well considered, for it is of dangerous consequence; ’tis dangerous to those that shall Choose, and be Chosen, and Accept; dangerous to all that shall any waies contrive, counsell, abett or conceale, (tho here is hardly room for Concealing, (A Citty set on a Hill cannot be hid, and these things cannot be done in a Corner) ’tis dangerous to your selves and Posterity, yea dangerous to us all, and doth require more skill in Law and state affaires than is very common among us, to make the way plain to a safe proceeding in it; for I cannot find that the Law doth use any softer Language concerning such Actions, than that of Tumults, Insurrections, rebellios Riots, Sedition, Rebellion, Treason &c.

Gentlemen, I hope you will be carefull to keep at a due distance from such things which are wont to be Bitternesse in the end. ’Tis an easy matter Edition: current; Page: [103] to run too farr; And the worst is wont to be made of such things when they come to Tryall.

Fourthly, You may here consider that the Government was not taken into the Kings hand without your own Submission, and some sort (at least) of Consent; whence possibly there was not so much illegality in that proceeding as some do imagine. I was not personally acquainted with those Transactions, and therefore cannot undertake much in this; but this I suppose will not be denied, that if parties be at Law (whether King and subject, or subject and subject) and instead of standing a Tryal, they agree upon Conditions, and the Conditions are performed, and so the Action be let fall, this is not illegall: and if afterwards either party be sensible of inconveniency, will it be fair and honest for him to say it was illegall, & thereupon breake his Agreement? The Inhabitant of the Holy Hill swears to his own hurt, and changeth not. You were at Law with the King, and its like you thought it would be a great Charge to maintaine the Action, and it might go against you at last, & you should be annexed to Yorke; and hereupon you submit to the Kings Wisdome and pleasure, begging that you may be annexed to the Bay; the King performs this condition, and lets fall his Action, Demands the Government, and you yield it up to him; if now you finde it prejudiciall, you must lay your hand upon your mouth, and not take it again by force. We must not think to leave and take when we please.

Fifthly, None are allowed by the Law to be Judges in their own Case, no not the King himself: But if you proceed in this manner, you take upon you, in your own case to judge the King, to condemn and take possession, which in reason will never be borne, for Princes are as tender of their Prerogative as Subjects can be of their Liberties.

But to abate the Force of these Considerations, some say, We heare there is no King, Regall Power is Extinct, &c. I answer, tis no pleasant Objection or Subject to speak to, but yet the Necessity of the present time seems to require a word or two to prevent these unwise and unwary speeches which do not become Subjects. Therefore I say first, That Rumours are but a sandy foundation to ground such assertions, or to change & build Government upon, we have yet nothing of Record concerning the King. 2 This doth not help our case at all, for if it were indeed so, that the Sceptre were departed, you have then nothing to do with the Patent; Tis onely the King’s Governour and Company that hath Interest in the Patent, and the King grants it onely for Himself, his Heires and Successours, if there be none Edition: current; Page: [104] of these, your Patent and Estate in it are expired without any more to do. But, 3ly. The King is a Royall Body politick which hath Succession whereby the Crown passeth not onely to heires by Blood, but to Successours also; in which respect it is said, That in Judgement of Law, The KING never dyes. There is therefore allwaies a King.

But others say, What shall we do? there is no Government; the Governour who is the Head of it is imprisoned, and hath Surrendred his Government. I answer, It is a very great Errour and proceeds from ignorance to think that there is no Government, & it containes so many inconveniencies & mischiefs in it, as it is not safe to mention them; so long as there is any supream power, there must needs be a Government. 2. The Governour is not the Head of the Government but the King. And the Government is not his properly and originally but the Kings. The Governour is but a Minister of the King in the Government, which Ministry it is said he hath surrendred to be secured and be disposed of by Orders that shall be received from the Crown of England. It will not become us to present these Orders and dispose of the Government otherwise our selves; but to acknowledge our Subjection to that Crown, as our Neighbours would do well to do. 3. The Commissions of the Judges and Justices of the severall Counties (the Execution whereof is no small part of Government) are granted by the Governour (its true) but not from the Governour, but from the King, & are derived from the Crowne; it is not from an inferiour but from a Supreame power, and they do still continue in force, notwithstanding the imprisonment or Surrender of the Governour; for they are matters of Record under the great Seale of the Dominion, & cannot be countermanded without matter of Record of as high a nature. You may take one instance from Charles the first his time, He was indeed the head of the Government; but yet notwithstanding the great Breach and long Warrs between him and his Parliament, and his long imprisonment after that, {( ?} both together) from 42. to the end of 48. there was still a Government, and it was his Government, and exercised by the Kings Commissions as long as he lived, for they were not changed nor superseded till a year after his death, as the Histories of those times shew. So that notwithstanding all the Rumours we have had from abroad, and the Overtures at home, there is a Government still, to which we ought to submit; and that for Conscience sake. Let us not have cause to say, that there are none that will be governed.

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Sixthly. I may desire you to consider those honoured Gentlemen who had the Rule over you under the former Government, and are now also in place under this Government, who I believe would hardly have accepted any Commission under the present Government, but for this end, that you might not be so much Ruled by strangers as otherwise you might have been, and to prevent the miseries that might follow thereupon: I am sure that this was one principall Argument that they used with me, when they saw me so averse as I was to Accept, and I think the end has been so far attained, as that you ought with Thankfullness to acknowledge, that by this meanes you have escaped the greatest part of those grievances which others complain of, and not now (you think you have the staffe in your hand) to ride over their Consciences who are under Oath (from which neither they nor you can absolve them to execute their Commissions, and to tread them down as mire in the streets: The measure that you mete may be measured to you again. ’Tis a golden Rule, That which you would that others should do to you, do you the same to them; & do not recompence evil for good.

Some I know reflect hard upon them for giving up the former Government, much like those that reflect upon old father Adam; but I will so far apologize for them, as to desire you to reflect upon your selves, for have you already forgotten that you (I mean the people) were divided in your opinions; many grudged at the charge of that Affaire, whence it was hard (if possible) for them seasonably to raise mony to maintaine the suite (I my self know who were then as hot against the raising of money for that Purpose (and cry’d out it was illegall) as now hot for the Patent, and ready to cry out upon the losse of that as illegall; but I will not prejudice any man) Others were so affraid of being annexed to Yorke, that they thought it the best way to submit without more a doe so that they might be annexed to the Bay. Surely you cannot forget these things, by which (comeing from the people by their Deputyes) it is reasonable to think that the Generall Assembly was moved to make that Submission to the King, and in all Reason it was much better so, than for want of money, to have had a Judgement given against us upon a Nihil-Dicit, or Contempt, and it is possible, that if those who reflect so hard upon them had been under the same Circumstances, they would have done the same thing or worse. Therefore methinks they might be a little considered, and not made the scorn of the people.

Seventhly. Consider your Profession, we are all Protestants, I hope there is not a Papist in our Limits, I know not any: and we professe to believe Edition: current; Page: [106] (rejecting humane Traditions) That the word of God is the onely and sufficient Rule of Faith and Manners. And do we not there finde that Sure word of Prophesie, to which we may do well to take heed, as to a light that shines in a Dark place, which doth direct and counsell us, To fear the Lord and the King, and not to meddle with those that are given to change, To Keep the Kings Commandment, and that in regard of the Oath of God, To Give unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are Gods, To Study to be quiet, and to be subject to Principalities and powers (because they are of God) and to obey Magistrates, To submit our selves to every ordinance of man for the Lords sake, whether it be to the King as supreame, or unto Governours as unto those that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers and the praise of them that do well, for so is the will of God, that with well doing, we may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, &c. and, Not to despise Government, nor to speake evill of Dignityes? These are sound Doctrines, and will well consist with the protestant Religion (else we had reason to be ashamed of it) and it were to be wished, That these among us who are the salt of the earth & Light of the world would season the people by putting them in mind (as Paul commands Titus) of those great Duties so necessary for these perilous days, wherein men are (as was prophecied they would be) so apt to be Traiters, heady & high minded, and to despise Government. Therefore before we proceed in this Affaire, consider what our Religion will gain by it, an Ornament or a Blott and whether we shall not give Occasion to adversaries (that seek occasion) to blaspheme the name & speake evill of the waies of God amongst us.

Eighthly, Consider the time and state of affaires in the Christian world. If any thing be true of that which comes to us it seems, it is a time wherein there is a strong engagement to root out the Protestant Religion. Europe is upon this account in flames, the Ax is laid to our own Root, if it be so, it is a time wherein we had need to strengthen the things that are weake, to join heart and hand together against French and Pagan Force and Cruelty, and to unite heaven and Earth if possible, for the preservation of our selves and posterity, and for the Defence of the cause of God and his Truth with us; surely this is no time to fall to Faction and parties, to tread down the Government that is left, (too weak already) to disturb and obstruct the Course of Justice, To confound the Militia, that no man shall know whome to Command nor whome to Obey, and to promote private interests, and therefore set every man’s hand against his Brother, unlesse we designe to ruine all. I wish there be not some Jesuit that has foisted in this Project amongst them Edition: current; Page: [107] in the Bay and us here, as the most probable way to ruin us at this time; for it is the old trade of that Diabolical sort of men by their plausible crafty Counsells, to make protestants destroy themselves, by stirring up, and fomenting divisions among them; and promoteing any thing which tends thereto, the which, how naturally & necessarily they will flow from this proceeding is easy to shew: but it is better to be silent than by speaking to shew men the way which they are too ready to run into.

Ninethly. More might be said, but the last Consideration that I shall offer (and which I think may satisfy any reasonable man) is, That it is known the Countrey is in daily Expectation of Orders from the Crowne of England for the Settleing and Regulating of the Government, those Orders will either contradict or overthrow your Election, or else countenance and Encourage it:

If they overthrow it, to what end is it to hold a Court, (if we could hold a Court) to make Election, to change and turn things up-side down, and hereby put the Countrey (which is poor enough allready) to unnecessary Charge, and know not how to defray it when we have done, and to run the hazzard of displeasure from the supreame power abroad, and of making Division and Mischief at home, and all for an imaginary Government, which may possibly last for a week or a moneth. Sapiens incipit a Fine.2

If the Orders that shall come do countenance and encourage to an Election, they will be such as will enable us to it, and so we shall preserve a good Aspect abroad, and Unity and Peace at home; what need then of such Haste? These things cannot be spoken against. And the Town-Clerke of Ephesus could say, that these things being so, you ought to be quiet & do nothing rashly.

But some say, We shall loose our day if we do not proceed now. I Answer, There is nothing in that, for if you have sufficient Warrant from the Crowne of England, to enable you to the thing, you will be enabled as to a Day, and Persons, and what else is needfull which now you are not, as before was said.

But say others, If we have an Election before these Orders come, we shall be in a Capacity to capitulate, and so obtain the better termes, &c. I answer this is a great mistake, It will be a mighty Disadvantage; for it will be a wonderfull thing if you be not look’d upon and dealt with as Criminalls.

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Again, Whome do you mean to Capitulate with? Surely it will be good manners for us to Aske, and not to Command; to Follow our Leaders and not to go before them.

But some think; These are small matters that will be over-look’d, and easily pardoned, we need not stand upon such nicetyes.

But I Answer how small they are will be best seen afterwards, and it is better not to need a pardon, than to presume upon getting one.

From all these Considerations I conclude, that our strength is to sit still, and therefore do advise

That instead of moving towards an Election, the Judges and Justices in the severall-Counties, considering their Commissions which they have received and the Oathes which they have taken, for the faithfull Execution of them, and Remembring that the Judgement is not man’s but God’s who is with them in the Judgement, they take Courage and do it; and in Order thereto Unanimously Declare, that they will Maintain and Exercise the Government (in their Degree) according to their Commissions, in Conformity to the Lawes which are the Rules of their Commissions, & the true and propper Bulwarks of the Subject’s just Libertyes, being carefull to do nothing contrary thereto, to the best of their understanding: & that the good People here do willingly & cheerfully submit & yield obedience to the severall Officers in their Respective places, as their Duty is, untill such time as sufficient Warrant shall come from the Crown of England for other Orders. And in the meane time, we all with one consent Lift up our hearts with our hands to God in the Heavens for a happy Composure of these Commotions in England and those other Kingdomes, for the Restitution, Security and propagation of the Gospell, true Religion and Worship of God, and for the preserving and establishing of the peace and liberty of his people there and here, and else-where throughout the world to the glory of God.

This Course is regular, innocent, offensive to none, and most safe for our selves and ours: but if the people will not be advised, I very much fear that the Issue will not be like a Tree of Life, or the desire satisfied, else truly I should not at this time have given you or my selfe this trouble.

The Opinion, and Resolution of the other Justices I know not, but for my part, I am plaine, and I must declare & protest against an Election at the present, as that which is justly offensive to the supreame Power, in whose hands soever it is, or shall be, and pernicious to our selves; and if the people should willfully proceed to it, it will remaine for the Justices to consider Edition: current; Page: [109] whether the Law and their Oathes don’t require them to make a Record of it, and Certifie it into the Chancery, &c. But I hope there will none enforce to such things, and I pray that you may all Act under the Influence of the God of peace and order. And in Testimony that this is my Opinion and Advice, I have hereunto set my hand, on the eighth day of May 1689.

Gershom Bulkeley.

Pacem te poscimus omnes.3

Peace is the Tranquillity of Order, therefore Order is the onely right Way to Peace

Gershom Bulkeley
Bulkeley, Gershom

A Letter to Gershom Bulkeley Esq; (one of their Majesties Justices of the Peace in the County of Hartford) from a friend in the Bay.


I have seen your Letter referring to the Government of Connecticut Colony Directed unto Col. Trent and other Gentlemen there, and being very well acquainted with the papers and passages you refer to and the Truth of them severally: I earnestly expected the Answer, as extreamely necessary for the Vindication of the assumed Government in your parts, if at least they mean to continue their Allegiance and Dependance upon the Crowne of England, or to hold their Majesties Subjects in those parts in Obediance to them. But for that I heare nothing in their Defence, I must be allowed to guesse, that either those Gentlemen have Orders from their Majesties unknowne to any, thus to advance themselves, or that they mean to cast off their Dependance & Obedience to the Crown of England. The first of these is dishonourable to suppose, the latter will end in the utter Ruin of the English interest here, and leave us a prey to all Nations, when the wild beast shall passe by and tread down the Thistle.

But whatsoever be the Opinion or Resentment of your Gentlemen, I will assure you Sir the good people here (that are so far quitt of the fright and hurry of the late and present confusion in these parts) wish that the men of Sechem had hearkened unto Jotham, that God might have hearkened unto them; and fear lest the proceeding here as well as with you, being plainly represented at home, should alarm a just and wise Prince, to take some Edition: current; Page: [110] severe method to keep the people of these Colonies in a more strict Obedience to the Crowne of England than will agree with our present licentious & ungovern’d frame; there being amongst us men not of the least interest that daily say, they will not be shuffled out of their Allegiance.

When it shall be seen and understood that the Noise of a French PLOT, and a Maqua’s PLOT, A Plot to BURN the TOWN of BOSTON and to MASSACRE the PEOPLE, neither have nor ever had the least shadow of truth, but a pure Malicious Invention onley, to perswade the Common-people into an ill Opinion of those appointed to rule & Govern them, and whom in Duty & Conscience they ought to obey, and being in that manner amused were pushed and hurried into such a Rising and Convulsion of the Government, without ever considering the effect.

And when it shall be told (as now too truly it may) that the Effect of these changes, are the totall Subversion of their Majesties Government, the Losse of the Garrison at Pemaquid, the County of Cornwall, the Province of Main and other parts, Severall hundreds of their Majesties subjects, the Fishery and Lumber trade, the Running away of many of our people, who turn Pirates and do their Countrymen and neighbours the same Mischiefs that the Algerines do upon the Coasts of the Christians, whilst their Majesties Ship of Warre is dismantled and made uselesse, the most injust, long & cruell Confinement and imprisionment of the Governour, (who was both capable and active on all occasions for the publick good and safety of the Countrey) severall of the Councill, and other persons imploy’d in publick Office in the Government, (an Act, for which the American world can shew no example or Parallell) and the Committing of the greatest Routs and Riots, even on the Sabbath day, and many other inconveniencies that duly grow upon us surely all sober and thinking men cannot but see the Folly and Errour of these things, and wish that day had never been, which has occasioned so great mischiefs and miseryes, of which we all see the Beginning, but none can tell the end.

Amongst the many and false Rumours and Aspersions cast upon his Excellency the Governour, and spread abroad to bring him into Disreputation with his Prince, and make him odious to the Common People, I finde one (not of the least) taken notice of by you {( ?} very well answered and made of no Weight) which doubtless Influenced some and was a meanes to withdraw & delude others, but do not perceive by your Writeing that you were satisfied in the Falsity as well as the Weaknesse of that Assertion.

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Therefore that you may be rightly informed in that perticular, I must tell you, That the Peoples takeing to Armes, was wholly a Surprise to His Excellency, and that untill they were actually so, he had not the least Advice or Intimation thereof, and used no other meanes, but by the force of his Authority endeavoured to Satisfie them; And to that end Hearing that many of the Councill were at the Councill-Chamber, where (it being the ordinary Councill Day) they were to meet, (and some perticularly by him sent for from Salem and other parts to be there) His Excellency went to them, and desired their Assistance to pacifie the people then in Armes, offering on his part to do what might be proper for His Majesties Service and the Good and Wellfare of His Subjects here: but severall others of the Cheife of the Towne and Magistrates in the late Government being designedly met there, instead of Complying with his Excellencies Proposalls, and to Support and Maintaine the Government, they lent the Croud their arme to shake the Tree, and made his Excellency a Prisoner in the Councill-Chamber, and soon after some of the Councill and other Officers that waited on him: An Act much like that of Brutus to Caesar, abating the difference of the Person, and that they did not stab him; but kept him a Prisoner to undergoe worse Miseryes.

After his Excellency was thus Confined, he was often pressed with Threats to give Order for the Surrender of the Fort and Castle, which he absolutely Refused, and never gave any Order for the Surrender of either, but they were Forced from the Officers that had the Command of them: If this be a Surrender of the Government, you and all prudent men may judge: I am sure (as you have well observed) the Law gives it a quite other Terme.

His Excellency had sufficient Authority and Orders from the Crowne of England to secure the Government, which (no doubt) he would have done, had all those in place discharged their Duties, and the People continued their Obedience and Subjection: He wanted not further Orders from England for that purpose, nor had he occasion to appoint Trustees, the King had appointed and intrusted such as He thought were sufficient. But it was Wonderfull to see, with what a Strong Delusion the people were possessed at that time; and thought they had with their Thousands obtained a mighty Victory over Ten or Twelve naked persons, and therein done God good Service. The Strength of Government consists in the Obedience of the People, and when that Duty is not Regarded the Government is soon Overthrowne, and all turned into Anarchy and Confusion; of which we have now a sad Edition: current; Page: [112] Example: for what between an Imaginary Government & the Fury of the Mobile it is hard to know who is uppermost.

I have alwaies considered the Ministry of this Countrey as that which the people came into this Wilderness to see, and I hope it shall never be a Reed shaken with the wind, and their present influence in all parts of the Countrey to move the people to bethink themselves of their Causelesse & unaccountable Prejudices, Wrath and Rage, their ungodly deeds, and hard Speeches one against another; and to dispose them to their Dutyes and Obedience to their Majesties Government as established and appointed over them from the Crown of England, and that they would prove themselves to be Children that will not lye, that God may become their Saviour; is humbly offered as a great part of their Province.

I am ignorant whether from any in these parts you have been written unto since your letter was made publick here, but I am sure your Reasons will be found true, agreeable to Religion and Law, and what you have said against an Election, is as true against an Assumption; and what is true of the Avoidance of the Charter of Connecticut, is much more true of that of the Massachusetts; and how a dependant part of the English Nation can legally come at Government, at least the Coercive part of it, without a Grant from the Crowne, being not to be found in the ordinary Readings of the Law; may be enquired for at Delphos.

We often say, that every man has a pope in his belly, but I hope nobody pretends to have a King there, whatever Soveraignty men take to themselves of opinions in Religion, the Government expects by private persons to be treated with more Distance & Difference, and will certainly be obeyed.

Sir I have Known you long a true Lover of your Countrey, of Integrity and Service in your Place and Station, and account your plainnesse to your Countreymen in this great Affaire, as the best Service you could offer them, and am deeply sorry if any other Opinion be taken thereof amongst the people, however I perceive you have what you expected: and the Rewards of Vertue and public Service are not so soon nor easily gotten.

That all these things may have a happy Composure, and Their Majesties Subjects in this their Dominion a due & true Sence of their Duty & Allegiance (which can onely make these Plantations happy & flourish) I am very sure is your desire as well as of (Sir) your Friend and Servant &c.

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The Writeing Delivered to James Russell of Charlestowne Esq; by Thomas Graves Esq; Judge of their Majesties Inferiour Court of pleas, and one of their Majesties Justices of the Peace, within the County of Middlesex.

James Russell
Russell, James

To James Russell of Charlestowne Esq; to be communicated to any others that are in like manner with your self concerned herein.


Forasmuch as I am credibly informed, that your self with some other pretended Magistrates do intend on the first Tuesday in October next, to meet together at Cambridge to keep a pretended Court of Judicature, not having any lawful authority from our Soveraigne Lord and Lady King William & Queen Mary enableing you so to do, I therefore considering the obligation lyeing upon me, by the Commission of the Peace for this County of Middlesex, as also by a Commission to be Judge of the inferiour Court of Pleas in said County, both from the Crowne of England; neither of which (altho I have by the late Tumults (not yet stilled) been hindred from executing the power therein to me committed) is yet legally vacated, or superseded: I can do no lesse to shew my Loyalty to the Crowne of England than to signify unto you, that any such Meeting can be lookd upon no otherwise than as contrary to the peace of our Soveraigne Lord & Lady King William & Queen Mary their Crowne & Dignity: and therefore I must on their Majesties behalfe warne you, that you presume not to assemble at Cambridge or any other place within this County, for any such unlawfull purpose aforesaid; but that you do at all times bear good Faith & Allegiance to their sacred Majesties, as you will answer the contrary at your perill.

Dated in Charlestowne this 21st day of September in the first yeare of the Reigne of our Soveraigne Lord and lastly King WILLIAM and Queen MARY Annoq Dom. 1689.4

Thomas Greaves
Greaves, Thomas

The Answer of Thomas Greaves Esq. to Mr. Broadstreete & the Gentlemen met at the Town-house in Boston concerning the aforesaid Writing.

Mr. Thomas Greaves being Summoned to make his appearance at Boston, on the 24 of Septemb. 1689. at which time Mr. Broadstreete produced a paper which was shewed Mr. Greaves, demanding if he knew it, (who answered he did) Edition: current; Page: [114] it was proposed for a Reading, but Mr. Greaves made answer, They need not give themselves that Trouble, for he fully knew the Contents and owned it to be his Act. But it was Read; after the Reading Mr. Broadstreete made a Speech to Mr. Greaves, in fine saying, He would say no more till Mr. Greaves made Answer; which he had ready prepared in Writing, as followeth Viz.

As to the paper delivered to Mr. James Russell I judge I did but my duty in it, & therefore cannot in conscience recede from it, & I shall be ready to answer King William & Queen Mary whensoever they or any authorized from them shall call me to account for the same. I am sworne to the Crown of England, & your selves have proclaimed King William & Queen Mary to be the rightfull Soveraigns of the Realmes and Territories belonging thereunto; Therefore I cannot own any Lawfull Authority in any untill I be legally informed that they have Commission from their Sacred Majestyes.

Thomas Greaves.
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4: [Edward Littleton], The Groans of the Plantations (London, 1689)

During the closing decades of the seventeenth century, Barbados was the most heavily peopled and most valuable colony in English America. Having been the first English colony to produce sugar successfully, to develop a plantation agricultural system, and to make extensive use of African slavery, it quickly developed an articulate elite that did not hesitate to express its political opposition to measures emanating from metropolitan authorities in London. Edward Littleton was a successful planter, and his pamphlet offered a powerful critique of post-Restoration England’s commercial policy toward its colonies. The immediate spur for the pamphlet was a new supplementary duty imposed by Parliament upon West Indian sugar imports into England. But Littleton seized the occasion also to express Barbadian discontent with the older duties and to spell out the pernicious effects of English trade laws, in particular those regulations that confined West Indian sugar to English markets, upon Barbados’s economic welfare. In the course of developing this protest, Littleton provided a detailed portrait of the nature of the colonial sugar industry as it had developed over the previous fifty years and its declining profits, of the colony’s dependence on enslaved labor and the high cost of defending the settlers from the numerically superior black population, and as a generator of English wealth, both by its exports and by its extensive consumption of English goods.

But the principal subject of the pamphlet was the nature of the relationship between England and the colonies. Attributing the offensive measures to “projectors” who had misled the government about their certain Edition: current; Page: [116] consequences, Littleton dilated upon the injustice of improving the plantations “to the advantage of England” at the expense of the colonies. Arguing that “equal justice” and “the equal distribution of publique Burdens” were the essence of every political society and the hallmarks of English governance, he condemned the duties for subjecting the planters to a condition worse than that of foreigners. For English subjects overseas, he observed in passages that would become a central theme in colonial political writings about the structure of the emerging empire, England was the “Center to which all things tend.” He emphasized the settlers’ pride in their English heritage, articulated their sense of themselves as English people with full entitlement to English liberties, enunciated their wish to be treated as “a part of England” and to be “cherish[ed] . . . as English men,” and pleaded for treatment equal to other English people. (J.P.G.)

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of their

Grievous and Extreme Sufferings

By the Heavy




And other HARDSHIPS.

Relating more particularly to the


LONDON, Printed by M. Clark in the Year MDCLXXXIX

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The Groans of the Plantations.

You have here the Case of the Plantations presented to your view: which you will find to be most lamentable. You will find, that as the Old Duties upon Sugar did fleece us, so the Addition of the New doth flea us. And you will likewise perceive, that when we treat of these Matters, our Minds are sometimes under great disturbances. There are some things that make even wise Men mad, and therefore We, who do not pretend to that high attainment, must not be wondered at; if in the Anguish of our Souls we let fall some Expressions, that seem little better than Ravings. However we thought it concern’d us to lay open our Condition in any manner, that so the World may know, by what cruel Methods, and by what fatal Degrees, the once flourishing English Colonies have been brought to ruine. But our chief end is to get Relief which if it cannot be had, (as God forbid but it should); it will yet be some Comfort in our Miseries, if we obtain Compassion.

In former times we accounted our selves a part of England: and the Trade and Entercourse was open accordingly so that Commodities, came hither as freely from the Sugar Plantations, as from the Isles of Wight or Anglesey.

But upon the King’s Restauration we were in effect made Forainers and Aliens: a Custom being laid upon our Sugars amongst other Forain Commodities. And this was in higher Proportion than others; that is, above the common Poundage of Twelve Pence in the Pound. For eighteen pence a Hundred was laid upon Muscovadoes, and five Shillings upon Whites: the common price of the Muscovado Hundred being little above twenty Shillings, and the Whites under fifty.

At the same time the Duty of four and a half per Cent. was extorted from us in Barbados, full sore against our Wills. For it may well be imagined, that we had no mind to burden our own Commodities. The uses of this Duty were pretended and express’d to be; For support of the Government, and for the publick Services of the Island. But the Duty was soon farmed out for Money payable in England. Which Money hath been here paid, and none of the Uses performed, nor any thing allowed towards them. And all the Applications that we have made for it, have been without success. So that we make and repair our Forts and Brest works, we build our Magazines, we buy our great Guns and Ammunition; and are forced to lay great Taxes Edition: current; Page: [119] upon our selves, for defraying these and all other publick Charges. Moreover this four and a half is collected in such manner, that in the Judgment of all that have tryed it, the Attendance and Slavery is a greater burden than the Duty.

Upon the laying these Impositions (the one in England, the other in Barbados) the price of Sugar continued the same: nor could we in the least advance it, either then or any time since. So that we find plainly, that we the poor Planters bear the whole burden of these Duties: and whatever we pay, year after year, by occasion of them; is the same thing in effect, as a Land-Tax upon our Estates.

Let us now consider the proportion of this Tax: and first, what it comes to in Muscovadoes. We will suppose that four pound and an half of this Sugar (which is the Barbados Duty) is there worth but six pence. This, with the eighteen pence paid in England, makes two Shillings. Since therefore we reckoned a Hundred of Muscovado at about twenty Shillings; you will say the Duties lie upon the Planter, as a Land-Tax of two Shillings in the Pound.

But this is not a true Reckoning, for if you will reckon right, you must consider; not what is the full Value of such a Hundred of Sugar, but what is the clear Profit. For out of this Profit the Planter pays the Duties: that is, by the payment of them his clear Gains are the less by two Shillings in each Hundred. The ordinary clear Profit of a Hundred of Muscovado may be about five Shillings: or hardly so much for, for one Hundred that yields it, three or four fall short. However, that we may a little flatter and deceive our selves, we will suppose this clear Profit to be six Shillings, and then the Duties draw two Shillings out of six, and are as a Land-Tax of a Noble in the pound. But if the Sugar yield only two and twenty Shillings, the Duty swallows up the whole Profit; if it yield but twenty, the Planter pays the Duty out of his Pocket and must live by the loss, and there is many a hundred of Sugar sold under twenty.

We have truly said, that the ordinary Profit of a Muscovado Hundred is but five Shillings since to clear so much, the Sugar must be sold for five and twenty: which is a full price. For it stands the Planter in twenty shillings: that is, ten the making, and ten the transporting. That the Cask, Fraight, and other Charges of the Transportation, come to ten shillings, for every hundred that comes to England; is known to all Merchants and Factors that use the Trade. And it is as well known to all Planters, that whoever makes Edition: current; Page: [120] Sugar for ten shillings a Hundred, shall not get a Groat a day for his Negroes labour: though he reckon nothing for his Land, nor for his great and chargeable Buildings. And these Negroes stand him in near thirty pound a Head, by that time they are seasoned. So that they cannot in truth be afforded, to work at such low and miserable Wages.

Thus we see that it is a great Mistake to think, that the old Duties upon Sugar, are but as a trifling Land-Tax of two shillings yearly in the pound. Though even this, in England, would not be accounted a Trifle: it being more than the Tax of seventy thousand pounds a Month, made perpetual. For that monthly Tax, take one place with another, doth not amount to more than eighteen pence in the pound for the whole year. Where as our old Duties, as it hath been made out, a regular constant Land-Tax of a Noble: in the pound: and shear from us in third part of our Estates.

If the Impositions be thus heavy upon Muscovado Sugars, they are much worse upon Whites: which pay more than treble the Duty, and seldom reach double the price. Though in reason, it must be confess’d, their price should be treble: considering the Room and the Time they take in Curing, together with the Labour and the Waste. But there is no disputing: we must take for them what we can get.

It was some ease to us for a while, that though our Sugars were so burden’d in England, yet they came free to our Northern Plantations in America. But this did not long continue. For it pleased the Parliament of England to stretch forth their Hands, and to lay them upon us in those remote Parts, they having made an Act, which is dutifully obeyed, That all Sugars that go to the Plantations aforesaid, shall pay the said Duty of eighteen pence and five shillings, at the Places from whence they are exported. So that now we have no way to avoid any part of the Burden. Which also is a grievous Clog to our Commerce with those Plantations.

The Burden of the Duties paid before Exportation is then most sensible, and seems to press hardest upon us, when the Goods for which we have paid them are lost at Sea. Which sometimes happens before our faces, if the Hurricane catch the Ships before they sail. We therefore thought it not unreasonable to expect the same favour, that Merchants (in the like case) have in England and other places, to Ship off the like Quantity Custom-free. And we prepared and pass’d an Act for that purpose: which we also transmitted to England humbly hoping, that we should find no difficulty in obtaining Edition: current; Page: [121] the Royal Assent. But by it we incurr’d very great displeasure: and our Act was not only disallowed, whereby it became of no effect, but we were commanded expresly to repeal it, which we did, with Hearts full of Sorrow.

Moreover there are divers things, whereby our Condition is made worse than it was in former Times, and which make us less able to bear these Impositions. Of which Things I shall name some few.

Heretofore we could Ship off our Goods at any Port, or Bay, or Creek; and at any time, either by day or by night. But now since the Kings Restauration we must do it at those Times and Places only, at which the Collectors of the Customs please to attend.

Heretofore we might send our Commodities to any part of the World. But now we must send them to England, and to no Place else. By which means the whole Trade of Sugars to the Streights, (to say nothing of other Places), is lost both to Us and to the English Nation. For by multiplying our Charge, others can undersell us. We hear of a certain old Law in Scotland, which obliged the Fishermen to bring their Fish into the Scottish Markets, before they might Ship them off. And surely if they had studied seven years, for a Law to destroy their Fishing Trade, they could not have found one more effectual. In the like manner it may be truly affirmed, that the bringing all Sugars to the English Market, hath gone a great way in destroying that Trade. As for confining the Plantation Trade to English Ships and English Men, though it be to our particular Loss, (for the Dutch were very beneficial to us); yet we took it in good part, in regard our great and dear Mother of England hath by it such vast Advantages. But that English Ships and English Men should not be permitted to trade to their best convenience and profit, is a thing we cannot understand. The great End and Design of Trade, as to the Publick, is to get the foreign Money: and such means should be used, as do most conduce to that End.

Heretofore the things we wanted were brought to us from the Places where they might best be had. But now we must have them from England, and from no other Place. Had we been confined to England only, for those Things that England doth produce, we should have been well contented. But that we must fetch from England the Things that are produced elsewhere, seems very hard. We are sure it makes the Prices excessive to us.

Heretofore we might send to Guiney for Negroes when we wanted them and they stood us in about seven pound a Head. The Account is short and plain. For they cost about the value of forty shillings a Head in Guiney; and Edition: current; Page: [122] their freight was five pound, for every one that was brought alive, and could go over the Ship side. But now we are shut out of this Trade: and a Company is put upon us, from whom we must have our Negroes, and no other way. A Company of London Merchants have got a Patent, excluding all others, to furnish the Plantations with Negroes: some great Men being joyned with them, with whom we were not able to contend. But those great Men might have had some better Exercise for their Generosity, than the pressing too hard upon (we must not say, oppressing) industrious People. And now we buy Negroes at the price of an Engross’d Commodity: the common Rate of a good Negro on Ship board being twenty pound. And we are forced to scramble for them in so shameful a Manner, that one of the great Burdens of our Lives is the going to buy Negroes. But we must have them; we cannot be without them and the best Men in those Countries must in their own Persons submit to the Indignity.

There never want fair Pretences for the foulest Monopolies. But what do they pretend for this? They will tell you, that (to the common Good and Benefit of the English Nation) they can deal with the People of Africa to much better advantage, by being a Company. And so they might, if they could shut out other Nations. But since the Dutch, French, Danes, Swedes, and others, trade thither, and they can shut out none but the poor English; their being a Company, as to their dealing with the Natives, signifies nothing. And it plainly appears, that ’tis not upon the People of Africa, but upon the English Planters in America, that they make their advantage. They will also tell you of the necessity of Forts and Garrisons, and that a Company was therefore necessary. But these might have been made and maintain’d without a Company, by an Imposition upon Negroes sold, or some such Tax, to which the Plantations would cheerfully have submitted.

It may well be imagin’d, (no, it cannot be imagin’d), how the Company and their Agents Lord it over us, having us thus in their power. And if any offer at the Trade beside themselves, they make such Examples of them, that few dare follow them. If they catch us at Guiney, they use us down right as Enemies. And at home we are drag’d into the Admiralty Courts, and condemned in a trice, there is not such speedy Justice in all the World. And the word is, that we are found Prize; or condemn’d as Prize as if we were Forrainers, taken in open War.

They have got a trick of late, to bring Interlopers within the Acts of Navigation or Trade: which are the severe Acts about Plantations. But even in this case we are brought into the Admiralty, what ever the Law says to the Edition: current; Page: [123] contrary. Nor doth it avail us to plead, that all Offences against Statutes must be tryed by Jury.

The Forfeitures of the Acts before named (which are never less than Ship and Goods) are given to the King, the Governour, and the Informer. The Governour, in these Matters, sits chief Judge of the Court: I am sure Dutton did in his time. The Company’s Agents, who are the Informers, (or some Servant in their behalf) sit with him, and as soon as Sentence is given, they divide the Spoyle. And what ever becomes of the Kings share, we may be sure the Pains takers will not lose theirs. But the while the Kings Subjects in those Parts are in a blessed Condition.

They contemn the Laws against Monopolies: and they tell us, that the Laws of England are not in force among us in this Matter, though they are in all things else, save only where our own Special Laws do make some difference.

Of all the Things we have occasion for, Negroes are the most necessary, and the most valuable. And therefore to have them under a Company, and under a Monopoly, whereby their prices are more then doubled, nay almost trebled; cannot but be most grievous to us. Many an Estate hath been sunk, and many a Family hath been ruin’d, by the high prices they give for Negroes. One would think, that while we were under such a Company, there were little need of Impositions to undo us.

These Duties and these Hardships we have lain under, during the Reign of King Charles the Second. And we have born them as well as we could. But some were not able: and sunk under the Weight, being put out of all Capacity, to pay these Debts, and provide for their Families. For having so many Pressures beside, they could not undergo those Impositions, by which a third part of their Estates was lop’t off. Where a Man had threescore pound a year in all the World, and found it little enough, and too little; it was too hard upon him to pay twenty pound a year out of it. Also if a Planter be in debt (as most of us are), so that not a fourth part of his Estate comes clear to him, above the Interest he paies; how is he able to pay a third part in Taxes?

Upon the coming of King James to the Crown, a Parliament being called, We were preparing a Complaint against the Commissioners of the Customs. Who had taken a liberty of late, to our grievous prejudice, to call that White Sugar, which had never been accounted such before, and which was far from that Colour. And whatever They pleased to call Whites, must pay the Duty of five shillings the Hundred.

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But we were soon forced to lay aside these Thoughts, to provide against a new Storm that threaten’d. For we were told, to our great Astonishment, that a Project was set on foot to lay more Load upon us: no less then seven Groats a Hundred more upon Muscovado, and seven shillings upon Sugars fit for Use for that was now the word. We saw this tended plainly to our destruction. but the thing was driven on furiously by some Empsons and Dudleys about the late King; who did not care how many People they destroyed, so they might get Favour and Preferment for themselves.

Since we were put into the Heard of Forrainers, and paid Duties with them; we hoped we should fare no worse than other Forrainers did. But that the Plantations should be singled out, as the hunted Deer; and the burden upon their Commodities should be doubled and almost trebled, when all others were untoucht; was matter of Amazement and Consternation. We humbly moved, that if the whole Tax must be laid upon Trade, it might be laid upon all Commodities alike. We said that a small advance upon all the Customs, might serve every purpose, as well as a great one upon some and that this might be born with some ease, there being so many shoulders to bear it. But they would hearken to nothing of that kind: being resolved and fixt to lay the whole burden upon the Plantations. Which could not but seem very strange to us.

But here lay the Mystery. The Projectors consider’d, that if other Forrainers were hardly used in England, they would carry or send their Commodities to other Places. But we poor English Forrainers are compell’d to bring all Hither, and therefore they thought they could hold Our Noses to the Grind stone, and make us pay what they pleased.

However they told us, that this new Duty should do us no hurt: in regard it was to be paid by the Buyer. But this we knew to be a meer Mockery (the Mockery seem’d almost as bad as the Cruelty.) For if an Impost be laid upon the Sugar, who ever pays it, the Planter is sure to bear it. VVhat avails it though the Buyer pays the Duty, if the Seller must presently allow it in the price?

The Brewer hath a certain price for his Beer: and he adds the Excise or Duty to his price: and the Customer pays it. But where the price is uncertain, and a bargain is to be driven, and a Duty yet to be paid; the first word of this bargain will be, who must pay the Duty? And ’tis not the Appointment of Law, but the Agreement of the Parties, that must decide the question. In Our case, the Buyer will naturally be at this lock: If you clear the Duty, I will Edition: current; Page: [125] give you so much for a Hundred of your White Sugar; if I must pay it, you must have seven shillings less. Which is as broad as long.

The Buyer, they say, must pay the Duty, but sure the Seller may pay it if he please. And he will please to pay it, rather then not sell his Sugar. If He will not, there are enow beside that will.

This Duty upon Sugar is the same thing in effect, as a Duty of twelve pence a Bushel would be upon Corn. Though it be said that the Buyer shall pay this, yet the Seller or the Farmer would be sure to feel it, and it would be a heavy Tax upon the Land.

These plain things notwithstanding, and what ever else we could say, the Projectors stood stoutly to it in the Parliament house, that the New Tax upon Sugars should not burden the Plantations. But this was esteemed such barbarous Nonsense, that there was little fear of their prevailing, had not the late King (to our great unhappiness) been so strangely earnest for this Tax. Which yet that Parliament, who then denied him nothing, had never granted, but that some Privy Councellors assured them, in the Kings name and as by his Order; that if the Duty proved grievous to the Plantations, it should be taken off, and be no longer collected.

So the Act passed, and the Plantations are ruin’d. For now we feel, what we certainly foresaw, that the whole Burden of this new Duty lies upon the Plantations. No Chapman will meddle with our Sugars, unless we clear the Duty. Which when we have done, we are so far from being able to advance the price, that it is rather lower than ever it was before. ’Tis not Impositions, but Plenty and Scarcity that rules the Market. And it is found by constant Experience, That where an Impost is laid upon a Commodity in demand, there the Buyer may be brought to bear some part of it. But if the Market be glutted, and the Commodity be a Drug, (as Ours is, and for ever will be); in this case the Buyer will bear no part of the Duty, but the Seller must pay it all.

It hath been said before, that the cleer Profit of a Hundred of Muscovado Sugar, take one with another, may be about five shillings: or to reckon largely, about six. And you have seen that the old Duties upon that sort are two shillings; and the new, two shillings four pence. So that the Duties do now take four shillings four pence out of six shillings. Which sweeps away above two thirds of our Estates, and lies upon us as an effectual Land-Tax of fourteen shillings in the pound.

To make the Computation another way; We find that what we pay yearly in Duties, is much more then the whole Rent of our Lands. And if this be Edition: current; Page: [126] true (as it is most true) in Barbados, where we reckon our Land at twenty shillings an Acre; it goes to a greater degree in the other Plantations, where Land is much cheaper. But by this means we are wholly stripp’d of our Lands and Freeholds, and are made worse then Rack-Tenants. For we have not the whole profit of our Stocks to live upon; since a good part even of this, must go help to pay our Taxes.

The ordinary midling price of Muscovado Sugars, hath been reckoned at six and twenty shillings a hundred at most. For as it hath been said, many are sold under twenty. And on the other side if they rise to thirty shillings, they will be adjudged fit for Use: many under that price being so adjudged. In which case they must pay seven shillings a Hundred for the new Duty, beside the old Duties which come to two shillings. If we do but Sun-dry our Sugar, to keep it from running away in its passage home; this pitiful stuff will be adjudged fit for Use, and must pay the seven shillings. But if the Sugars will reach five and thirty shillings, they are sure to be adjudged Whites. And then they pay seven shillings for the new Duty, and five shillings for the old beside the Duty in Barbados, which in such Sugar comes to neer eighteen pence. Which makes in the whole above thirteen shillings: and for the most part is more then the whole Gains of that Sugar.

Whereas we talk of Sugars adjudged fit for Use, and others adjudged to be Whites; You will ask, where and in what Court are these things adjudged? I answer, In the Court of the High Commissioners. You will say, the Court of High Commissioners is damned. Why then, to speak plainly, we mean the Commissioners of the Customs: those are Our High Commissioners. And ’tis They that adjudge these Matters, at their discretion.

I know it doth not become us, considering our Condition, to jest at these Matters. But our Miseries make us savage: they make us forget all Rules of Decency.

All other Duties are put in certainty: and so might Ours too. But We only are thought fit to be left to discretion. But how should the Duties upon Sugars be made certain? By letting them be according to the value of the Sugars. And if the Officer, or any for him, had liberty to take the Sugars at ten per Cent under the price given in, no man would give an under value.

In Barbados, we can get but little by making Sugar (though it had none of these Burdens) except we improve it: that is, purge it, and give it a Colour. Others can live by making plain Sugar: We must live by the improved. This is all the help we have, against the disadvantages we ly under: in this we are Edition: current; Page: [127] willing to take Pains, and content to take Time; and in this lies the Planters chiefest Skill. But the Duties fall so terribly upon our improved Sugars, that it doth quite discourage and confound us. Our Ingenuity is baffled, and our Industry cut up by the roots: here they have us, and there they have us; and we know not which way to turn our selves.

We can make shift sometimes to put off our fine Sugar to some little Profit, above the Charges and the Duties. But our Course-Clayed (and much of our Sugar is such, for all will not be fine) is quite beaten out of the Pit. We cannot sell it in England but with so great Loss, that it would turn us suddenly a begging. We are therefore forced to Ship it off for Forrain Markets: half the old Duty (I mean that in England) being allowed us back. But then new Cask must be bought, and new Fraight must be paid, and there are all the Charges of unshipping it and shipping it again, and the half Duty still lyes upon us. So that we are upon very unequal terms with those Sellers of other Nations, who are suffer’d to come directly to those Markets. Whereas we are compell’d to bring these Sugars first to England, where we cannot sell them, which makes our Condition most lamentable. Moreover the Forrain Markets are glutted as well as Ours: and there also we meet with new Duties and Impositions. For other People have learn’d by the Example of England, to load us without Mercy. Upon the whole Matter; the Sugars we thus Ship off, do turn for the most part to a poor and miserable account.

The Projectors did pride themselves in the drawing of the New Act: as a thing of great Art and Skill, whereas of all that ever were drawn, it is the most foolish. This is not spoken, to reflect upon the Wisdom of the Parliament that past the Act, but upon the Projectors Folly that drew it. Their Folly lies in this, that they make so much ado about nothing. So many confounded turnings and windings, Bonds to be given and taken up again, other things to be done and undone; and all to make an appearance of obliging the Buyer to pay the Duty, which is not effected in any measure, nor ever can be. But in the mean while, all these things lick Money from the Planter. For the Officers will have their Fees for every thing they do. And if any thing should be ordered to be done without Fee, it would never be done. Also by this means the Facture is made so uneasy, so troublesome, so vexatious and slavish; that none care to meddle with our Commissions. Heretofore our Commissions were courted: but now they go a begging. One good thing there is in the Projectors Contrivances, that by means of them we have some Time for payment of the Duties. But if they had given us the Time, and kept Edition: current; Page: [128] all the rest to themselves, leaving us to pay the Duty directly and the plain way, without so much as naming their Consumptioner; they had done us a Courtesy.

These heavy Duties have been exacted from us, not only with extremity of Rigour, but also with manifest Injustice and Oppression. As we can particularly make it out, when ever we are called to it.

We have been in the hands of Men without Mercy: who delighted in the Calamities of the People; and who would willingly have seen the whole Kingdom of England, in the same miserable Condition that the Plantations are in. Our Sufferings were but a Prelude to the French Government: Or, as a leading Card. Of which Government it is an essential part, that People in general pay all they are worth in Taxes.

We made our humble Applications several times to the late King, and laid our Distresses before him. But he was not pleased to take off our Burdens or any part of them, nor to give us the least Ease or Mitigation. One time we were referr’d to the Commissioners of the Customs: amongst whom (to our comfort) we might find our Friends the Projectors. Another time we were told by a Great Minister of State (who was a principal Projector likewise, and who was to give us our Answer) That it was very undecent, not to say undutiful, to tax the King with his Promise. When as we had only said in our submissive Petition, That we had been encouraged to Address to his Majesty, by the gracious Expressions he had been pleased to use in Parliament, concerning his Plantations.

We cannot now be at the Charge to procure and keep White Servants, or to entertain Freemen as we used to do. Nor will they now go upon any terms to a Land of Misery and Beggery. So that our Militia must fall: and we shall be in no Capacity to defend our selves, either against a Forrain Enemy, or against our own Negroes.

In the mean time our poor Slaves bear us Company in our Mones, and groan under the burden of these heavy Impositions. They know that by reason of them, They must fare and work the harder. And that their Masters cannot now allow them, and provide for them, as they should and would.

It is no wonder if Planters break (as now they do every day) since they ly under such heavy Burdens. We send our Bills to England, designing they should be paid out of the produce of the Sugars we send with them. But the clear Profit of our Sugars being swallowed up by the Impositions; Our Bills are not paid, but come back Protested; and our Debts remain and increase Edition: current; Page: [129] upon us. And at last our Estates are torn in pieces to pay them, and will not do it.

Most of Us Planters are behind hand, and in debt. and so we were, before the Impositions gave us their helping hand. For there is no place in the World, where it is so easy to run into debt, and so hard to get out of it. But now these heavy Impositions do so disable us, that we can by no means contend with Interest, but must sink under it. Heretofore we endeavour’d to work out our Debts; but now we must work to pay our Taxes.

Many that had good Estates four years ago, are now worse then nothing, and in a starving Condition: these heavy Impositions having quite undone them. It were a Mercy to take away our Lives, rather then leave them to us with so much bitterness. They that have Puppies or Kitlings, more then they are willing to keep; choose rather to drown them, then to let them perish miserably for want of Sustenance. And those poor little Creatures find so much pity, that when they must live no longer, People take care to give them an easy Death. But we poor Planters cannot have that favour. It is our hard lot to live, depriv’d of the Comforts and Supports of Life.

What have we done, or wherein have we offended, that we should be used in this manner? Or what strange Crime have we committed, to make us the Object of so great Severities? And how have we incurred the displeasure of England, our great and dear Mother? The very Sense of our dear Mothers displeasure (though the direful Effects had not followed), and the very Thought that we are grown hateful to her, is worse then death it self. Had we been in the hands of our Enemies, and They had set themselves to crush and oppress us; it had been in some measure to be born, because we could expect no better, but to be ruin’d by those, by whom we hoped to be cherish’t and protected, is wholly unsupportable.

These things notwithstanding, our Hearts continue as firm to England, as if all were well with us. Nor can any Usage lessen our Obsequious Devotion to our dear and native Country. We renounce the Doctrine of Grotius, That Colonies owe an Observance to their Mother Country, but not an Obedience. It is Obedience as well as Observance, that we owe eternally to England; and though our dear Mother prove never so unkind, we cannot throw off our Affection and Duty to her. We had rather continue our Subjection to England, in the sad Condition we are in; then be under any others in the World, with the greatest Ease and Plenty. No Advantages can tempt us to hearken to any such thing: nor can move in the least our stedfast Edition: current; Page: [130] Loyalty. In this matter we shall stop our Ears, even to the wisest Charmers. Nor shall we only not affect such a Change, but we shall likewise oppose it to the uttermost of our power. Upon such an occasion, we shall cheerfully expose our selves to hardships and dangers of every kind; and fight for our Drudgery and Beggery, as freely as others do for their Liberties and Fortunes. Nay though it were represented to us, that our setting up for our selves were never so feasible and beneficial; yet we should loathe that Liberty, that would rob us of our dependence upon our dear native Country.

We, and those under whom we claim, have (without any Assistance from the Publick) settled these Plantations, with very great Expence and Charge, with infinite Labour, with Hazards innumerable. and with Hardships that cannot be exprest. And now when we thought to have had some fruit of our Industry, we find our selves most miserably disappointed. Our Measures are broken, and our Hopes are confounded, and our Fortunes are at once ruined, by Pressures and Taxes which we are not able to bear. Is all our Care and Pains come to this? and is this the End and Upshot of all our Adventures? Have we gone so many hundred Leagues, and hewed out our Fortunes in another World; to have the Marrow suck’d out of our Bones by Taxes and Impositions? Had these things been foreseen, it had cool’d the Courage of our most forward Adventurers. They would never have gone so far, to be made Rogues of by those that staid at home. They would have thought it more advisable to sit by the Fire side, and to sleep in a whole Skin.

Many of us have our Estates by purchase: and we thought we had purchased Estates, but now they prove just nothing, though most commonly we laid out upon them all we had, and all that we could borrow.

Some of the Plantations, ’tis true, came to England by Conquest. But must the Conquerors themselves be look’t upon as a conquered People? It were very strange, if those that bring Countries under the Dominion of England, and maintain the possession, should by so doing lose their own English Liberties.

In former daies we were under the pleasing sound of Priviledges and Immunities, of which a free Trade was one, though we counted That, a Right and not a Priviledge. But without such Encouragements, the Plantations had been still wild Woods. Now those things are vanisht and forgotten: and we hear of nothing but Taxes and Burdens. All the Care now is, to pare us close, and keep us low. We dread to be mention’d in an Act of Parliament; because it is alwaies to do us Mischief.

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We hear that the People of Carolina go upon the making of Silk: which surely is one of the best Commodities in the World, and the Design seems very hopeful. But it were but fair to let them know before hand, That when they have brought their matters to any perfection, there will be ways found to leave them not worth a Groat; and to make them miserable Drudges and Beggers, even as We are. It will then be time for them, to be improved to the advantage of England.

The Improvement of the Plantations to the advantage of England sounds so bravely, and seems to the Projectors a thing so plausible; that they would have it believed to be their chief Aim and End, in all that they do against us. And then they think they talk very wisely, when they talk of Improving the Plantations to the advantage of England. Just as a Landlord would improve his Mannor, by racking his Lands to the utmost Rent, or as the Masters of Slaves, improve and contrive their Labour to their own best advantage. But it is our misery and ruin to be thus improved. And so it would be to the Counties of Wales, or any English Counties, to be improved to the advantage of the rest.

The certain Charges of a Sugar-work are so great, and the Casualties so many; that it were no easy matter to bear up against them, though there were no other Pressure. The very hanging of our Coppers and Stills is a great constant Charge. It comes often to be done; and every one of them that is new hang’d, doth cost us one way or other at least three pound. Beside, they are perpetually burning out and spoyling: and the buying of new ones comes to a great deal of Money.

We must have yearly some hundred pairs of Sugar-Pots and Jarrs. Every hundred pair doth cost neer ten pound; and we must fetch them several Miles upon Negroes Heads.

The Wear of our Mills (to say nothing now of the Tear, which is casual) is also a continual Charge to us. And if a Mill be to be new built, and made perfect in all its parts, it costs neer five hundred pound.

The Fraight of every Servant that we have from England is five pound: and their Cloths and other Necessaries come to little less. Which Fraight and Charges the Masters of Ships will be allowed for them, if they are brought over upon the Ships account. Their Time may not be above five years, and is commonly but four.

We must have a great many Horses, and (in Barbados) we scarce breed any. The Fraight of a Horse from England (with his Hay and Water) is ten pound, and a great hazard of losing him by the way.

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He that hath but a hundred Negroes, should buy half a dozen every year to keep up his stock. And they will cost, as it hath been noted, about twenty pound a Head.

A good Over seer will have a hundred pound a year. Some give a great deal more. There are others also that must have great Salaries, and we cannot be without them.

The ramassing the vast quantities of Dung we must use, the carrying it to the Field, and disposing it there; is a mighty Labour, which in effect is Charge. An Acre of ground well dress’d, will take thirty load of Dung: and he that hath two Wind mills, must plant yearly neer a hundred Acres.

We carry Mould and Cane-Trash, or any thing that is proper, into our Cattle-Pens, and into our Still-Ponds; to turn all into Dung. We take all ways and means for the raising of Dung; and we rake and scrape Dung out of every Corner. Some save the Urine of their People (both Whites and Blacks) to increase and enrich their Dung.

We make high and strong Walls or VVears to stop the Mould that washes from our Grounds: which we carry back in Carts or upon Negroes heads. Our Negroes work at it like Ants or Bees.

Moreover the Charge of our Militia is exceeding great upon us. In Barbados, every twenty Acres must find a Footman, and every forty Acres a Horseman. So that an Estate of five hundred Acres sends five Horsemen and fifteen Foot, which is more then is done here by the greatest Peer in England. Perhaps this may seem incredible; but it is most true, for our Law is expresly so, and it is strictly executed. Also every one that keeps a Horse, must serve on Horseback; and every other Housekeeper must serve on foot. Otherwise our Militia could not rise (as it doth) to six Regiments of Foot and two Regiments of Horse; beside a Life-Guard for the Governour, of a hundred Gentlemen. and all this, in a Place no bigger then the Isle of Wight. It must be added, that the other Plantations have as great a Share of this Burden: that is to say, in proportion to the value of their Estates though not to the Quantity of their Land. And we are forced to be thus upon our Guard, and to strain our selves in this manner; our All lying at stake, our Enemies being near us, and our Friends (if we have any) being far from us. But we in Barbados have a Charge extraordinary in this Matter, for all that serve in Our Militia must appear in Red Coats. This was put upon us by Dutton when he was Governour. He would have it; and made us insert it Edition: current; Page: [133] in our Act of Militia. And it hath driven many a poor House keeper from off the Island.

If the constant Charge of a Plantation is terrible, the Casualties do not come behind. For let a Planter be never so careful, he must ly open to many and various Accidents: and like Job’s Messengers, one in the neck of another, his People will bring him Tidings of continual Losses and Disasters.

We cannot say that Horses and Cattle are much more casual with us, then they are in other places, only our loss is the greater, in regard they cost us much dearer. But our Canes, on which we rely and which are our Estate, are too often burnt down before our faces when they are ready to cut. They are then like Tinder: and if a Fire get amongst them, a whole Field of them is consumed in a few Minutes. Also our Boyling-houses and Still-houses are very subject to Fire.

Sometimes we suffer by extreme Droughts, and sometimes by continual violent Rains. And a sudden Gust will tear or maim our Windmills. But if a Hurricane come, it makes a desolation: and puts us to begin the World anew. The damage it does the Planter is sometimes so great, that the profit of divers years must go to repair it.

Our Negroes, which cost us so dear are also extremely casual. When a man hath bought a parcel of the best and ablest he can get for money; let him take all the care he can, he shall lose a full third part of them, before they ever come to do him service. When they are season’d, and used to the Country, they stand much better, but to how many Mischances are they still subject? If a Stiller slip into a Rum-Cistern, it is sudden death: for it stifles in a moment. If a Mill-feeder be catch’t by the finger, his whole body is drawn in, and he is squeez’d to pieces. If a Boyler get any part into the scalding Sugar, it sticks like Glew, or Birdlime, and ’tis hard to save either Limb or Life. They will quarrell, and kill one another, upon small occasions: by many Accidents they are disabled, and become a burden: they will run away, and perhaps be never seen more: or they will hang themselves, no creature knows why. And sometimes there comes a Mortality amongst them, which sweeps a great part of them away.

When this happens, the poor Planter is in a hard condition: especially if he be still indebted for them. He must have more Negroes, or his Works must stand, and he must be ruin’d at once. And he cannot procure them without contracting new Debts; which perhaps he shall never be able to work out.

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These are some of the Charges and Casualties that attend Plantations. It would be too tedious to number them all; and they are hardly to be numbered.

If out Empsons and Dudleys had duly consider’d these things, they would have laid aside their inhumane Project against the poor Plantations. But they consider nothing, but how they may do most mischief.

These are the Men that will perswade Princes, that it is a more glorious Conquest to crush their own Subjects, then to subdue an Enemy.

These Men seem to be trying Conclusions, whether they can so far provoke us, as to make us desperate. And as much as in them lyes, they would make the very Name of England hatefull to us. But there is no danger. For we shall bear whatsoever is laid upon us, with the most submissive patience; and nothing can make us forget or lay down our love, to the English Name and Nation.

They would make our Great and Dear Mother, England, to be so cruel and unnatural, as to destroy and devour her own Children.

They would put us in the dismal Condition of those that said, being opprest by a hard Master; Subjectos nos habuit tanquam suos, & viles ut alienos. We are commanded as Subjects, and we are crusht as Aliens. Which Condition is the most dismall and horrid, that people can be under.

They would use us like Sponges: or like Sheep. They think us fit to be squeezed and fleeced; as soon as we have got any Moisture within us, or any Wooll upon us.

These Egyptian Tax masters would bring us into the State of Villenage. They would make us the Publique Villeins. They would have us work and labour, to pay the Publique Taxes, as far as it will go.

They would make meer Gibeonites of us: hewers of Wood, and drawers of Water. And tho these things must inevitably bring us to desolation and destruction, what do the Projectors care?

But although we are designed by the Projectors to be made perfect Villeins, yet they should remember, that even Villeins must not be misused too much. We are told out of old Law Books, that ’tis Wast for the Tenant to misentreat the Villeins of the Mannor, so that they depart from the Mannor, and depart from their tenures. And in another place; Destruction of Villeins by tallage is adjudged Wast. In which Cases the Writ says; Quod fecit Vastum, destructionem, & exilium.1 Surely in our Case; there is a plain destruction by Tallage.

The names of old Empson and Dudley are infamous and odious to this day. And they were hang’d for their Villianies. Yet they ruin’d men but singly, Edition: current; Page: [135] and one by one. How much higher Gibbets, and how much greater detestation, do these men deserve, that have destroyed whole Countreys?

A Quack pretending great Skill, makes a Woman give her Child Arsenick: he facing her down, that Arsenick is not poyson. The Child is kill’d, and the Quack is hang’d. Even so our dear Mother hath seen a Cup of deadly Poyson, given to her Children the Plantations: these men (who would be thought great Quacks in Trade) giving the highest assurances that the Drench should do no harm: by which means the Plantations are murder’d and destroyed. And shall not these Men be hang’d? Some think they deserve it better, then all that have been hang’d at Tyburn this twice seven years.

The Projectors might think, in the Naughtiness of their hearts, that many would favour this Project against us, for their owne Ease: and would be willing, or at least content, to have the Plantations bear the whole Burden. Not caring how heavy the burden lay upon others, so they could shift it off from themselves. But this is a thing of so great baseness, that we are very confident, it cannot enter into the heart of any English man, the Projectors themselves excepted. At least there is no English Parliament but will put it far from them. They know that they are entrusted to do equal and righteous Things. They know that the raising of Money is one of the most important things in a State. If it be done equally, though the burden be heavy, yet it is born with cheerfulness. If otherwise, it occasions furious Discontents, and at last brings all to Confusion. When a Government falls once to shifting and sharking, (pardon the expression, I hope we are not concern’d in it); it is a great sign that that Government will not stand. No Society of Men can stand without equal Justice, which is the Lady and Queen of all the Vertues. If the equal dividing the common Booties, be necessary to Pirates and Buccaneers; the equal distribution of publique Burdens, is much more to a State.

But it is the Projectors base sharking Principle to make Inequality in these Matters: and to get Ease to themselves by laying the burden upon others. The Writer of these Papers heard one of them say (it was, after that the late Parliament had been so liberal: I forbear his Name, I would not put that Brand upon him): but he said Vauntingly, in his drink; We have given the King several Millions of Money, and I shall not pay six pence towards it. And yet he was a great landed Man, which also made the saying the less become him.

The Projectors chief skill is to fall upon the weakest, and make Them pay all. But then why do not they persuade the Western men, since they can out-vote the Northern, to make them pay all the Taxes, themselves paying Edition: current; Page: [136] nothing? Or why do they not single out a few Counties, which by the combining of the rest against them, may be made to pay Taxes for all the rest? The six Western Counties (for now the Dice are turn’d against Them) are in value above two Millions yearly. So that a Tax of two thirds (such as the Plantations now bear) would amount yearly to thirteen hundred thousand pounds. And if this were kept constantly upon them, all the rest of the Kingdom needed to pay nothing. But perhaps these things might cost a great deal of Noise. They might therefore, to go a smoother way, direct their Projects against Widows and Orphans, and Heirs within age. If these were tax’d, well towards the value of their Estates, it would be a great Ease to the rest of the Kingdom.

But our Masters the Projectors think they have a great advantage over us, in regard we have none to represent us in Parliament. ’Tis true, we have not: but we hope we may have them. It is no disparagement to the Kingdome of Portugall, rather it is the only thing that looks great; that in the assembly of their Estates, the Deputies of the City of Goa have their place, among their other Cities. But at present we have them not and what follows? Must we therefore be made meer Beasts of burden? It is not long, since the Bishoprick of Durham had any representatives in Parliament. But we do not find, that before they had this Priviledge, they were in the least over-laid with Taxes. Also there are now divers Counties that have but few Members in comparison. Essex hath but eight: whereas Cornwall, which is of much less value, hath above forty. But because they have not half their proportion of Members, must an advantage be taken against them, to make them pay double their proportion of Taxes?

They have a Saying Beyond Sea of Us English Men, that we will not let others live by us. The Saying is false: but if it were never so true, sure it would not hold among our selves, but is only in relation to Strangers. To be cruel to and among our selves, would be a Cruelty without Example. Even Wolves and Bears spare their own Kind; nor is there to be found so fell a Monster in Nature, as to deny his Brother Monsters their Means of living. What do the Projectors take us to be? Are we not of your own number? are we not English Men? Some of us pretend to have as good English Bloud in our Veins, as some of those that we left behind us. How came we to lose our Countrey, and the Priviledges of it? Why will you cast us out?

Suppose a Quantity of Land were gain’d here out of the Sea, by private Adventurers, as bigg as two or three Counties. (Never say that the thing Edition: current; Page: [137] is impossible; for we may suppose any thing.) Suppose also, that people went by degrees from all parts of England, to inhabit and cultivate this New Country. Would you now look upon these people as Forrainers and Aliens? Would you grudge at their Thriving and Prosperity, and ply them with all the methods of Squeezing and Fleecing? Would you forbid them all forrain Trade; and so burden their Trade to England, that their Estates should become worth nothing? Would you make them pay the full value of their Lands in Taxes and Impositions? It cannot be thought that you would do these things. Rather you would esteem the Country a part of England, and cherish the People as English Men. And why may not the Plantations expect the like Kindness and Favour? If the thing be duly weighed, They also are meer Additions and Accessions to England, and Enlargements of it. And our case is the very same with the case supposed. Only herein lies the difference, that there is a distance and space between England and the Plantations. So that we must lose our Country upon the account of Space. a thing little more then imaginary: a thing next neighbour to nothing.

The Citizens of Rome, though they lived in the remotest Parts of the World then known, were still Roman Citizens to all Intents. But we poor Citizens of England, as soon as our backs are turn’d, and we are gone a spit and a stride; are presently reputed Aliens, and used accordingly.

It is a great wonder that these Projectors never took Ireland to task. They might there have had a large Field for their squeezing and fleecing Projects. And they might have found out wayes, to skim the Cream of all the Estates in Ireland. But what is it they could have done in this Affair? The answer is, that they might have thought of several good things. In the first place, Nothing to be brought to Ireland, or carried thence, but in English Ships, navigated by English Men. The next thing had been, to consider, what things those People had most occasion for: and to put those Things under a severe Monopoly, which also must be in the Conduct and Management of a Company here in England. Then care should be taken, that what ever is carried out of Ireland, be brought directly to England and to no place else: and what ever that Country wants, be had only from England. By which means, England would be the Staple, of all the Commodities imported thither, or exported thence. There is also another thing, which is by no means to be forgotten: and that is, That the Commodities they send into England may be under such Impositions, as may drink up the whole Profit.

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These are some of the VVaies for Improving Ireland to the advantage of England. Nor can any thing hinder their Execution; in regard those People are in our power, as well as the Plantations, and subject to the Laws of England when we please to name them. But you will say; These things make up such a Devillish Oppression, as is not to be endured. Truly it must be confesst, that the things may seem something hard. But yet there is no Oppression in the case. For all these things, and divers more of the like nature, do the Plantations ly under.

The Projectors think they have been very merciful to us, in that the new Duties are to continue but eight years. They might tell a Man as well, that in pity and tenderness to him, they will hold his head under water but half an hour, or keep him but a Week without Victuals: that is, long enough to destroy him. For the Plantations will be certainly ruin’d within that time, if these Burdens ly upon them: some few perhaps excepted, who had Money beforehand, or have Estates in England. And these also must be involved in the general Ruine.

Hitherto we have given some account of our deplorable Condition. But to afflict us yet more, we are told that we deserve no better usage, in respect of the great hurt and damage we do to England: as all new Colonies do. But then it had been more prudent, and likewise more just and merciful, rather to prevent the settling of the Plantations, then to ruine them now they are settled. The least signification that they were not pleasing, would have kept people at home. People would never have ventured their Estates and Lives, and undergone such Labours; to get the ill will of those, whose Favour they valued. Had this been the opinion alwaies concerning Colonies, it might pass for a Mistake in Judgment. But when We, who had all encouragement at first, shall as soon as we have got something, be accounted pernicious to our Country; we have reason to doubt, that this is only a pretence to oppress us, and not a real belief or sentiment.

If a new Country should now offer, no question but free leave would be given to make a Settlement, and all due Encouragements granted. We must not say that the People in this case would be decoyed and trapann’d and chous’d and cheated; these are not fit words to be here used, but they would find, that they had miserably deceived themselves. For by that time they were warm in their Houses, and had got things about them; the Projectors would be upon their bones: and these new Favourites would be esteemed pernicious, and used accordingly, as well as the rest of the Plantations.

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But we are very sure, that this Opinion concerning us (if any be really of it) is a great Mistake: and that the Plantations are not only not pernicious; but highly beneficial and of vast advantage to England.

We by our Labour, Hazards, and Industry, have enlarged the English Trade and Empire. The English Empire in America, what ever we think of it our selves, is by others esteemed greatly considerable.

We employ seven or eight hundred English Ships in a safe and healthy Navigation. They find less danger in a Voyage to our Parts, then in a Voyage to Newcastle. And as the Ships come safe, so the Men come sound. Whereas of those that go to the East-Indies, half the Ships Company (take one Ship with another) perish in the Voyage.

It did the Seamens hearts good, to think of a Plantation Voyage: where they might be merry amongst their Friends and Countrymen, and where they were sure of the kindest Reception. While we had it, we thought nothing too good for them. But now their beloved Navigation is gone. For by destroying the Plantations, it could not be, but that the Navigation to them must be destroyed likewise: or at least made good for nothing. Which, to them, is the same thing as destroying. We are so pinched our selves by the Impositions, that we are forced to pinch all those, with whom we are concern’d. And our Trade is become so hard and so bare a pasture, that it starves every thing that relates to it. And in particular, we cannot now afford the Seamen, that liberal Fraight which we did formerly. We would willingly do reason to our good Friends the Seamen, and give them a fair and full price for the transportation of our Goods; but we are not able.

The Seamen did well foresee, that they should feel the ill consequence of our new Burdens. And we have good Assurance, that while the thing was brewing, they had thoughts of making humble and earnest Addresses to keep them off. But the swiftness of the Projectors motion prevented their design.

And what followed upon the laying the new Taxes? Truly such a flight of the English Seamen in the late Reign, as never was known. They plainly deserted the English Service. Of which there was no cause so visible, as the spoiling that Navigation which was most dear to them. So that it plainly appears, that by the Sufferings of the Plantations, the Navigation doth highly suffer; whereas while they are permitted to be in a tolerable Condition, they are a great advance to the Navigation of England.

Let us now consider the further advantages of Trade, though the building, repairing, fitting and furnishing so many Ships, and the finding Cloths Edition: current; Page: [140] and Victuals for the Seamen, is a considerable Trade of it self. But moreover, there is hardly a Ship comes to us, but what is half loaden at least (many of them are deep loaden) with English Commodities.

Several Scores of Thousands are employed in England, in furnishing the Plantations with all sorts of Necessaries, and these must be supplied the while with Cloths and Victuals, which employs great numbers likewise. All which are paid, out of Our Industry and Labour.

We have yearly from England an infinite Quantity of Iron VVares ready wrought. Thousands of Dozens of Howes, and great numbers of Bills to cut our Canes. many Barrels of Nails; many Sets of Smiths, Carpenters, and Coopers Tools; all our Locks and Hinges; with Swords, Pistols, Carbines, Muskets, and Fowling Pieces.

VVe have also from England all sorts of Tin-ware, Earthenware, and VVooden-ware: and all our Brass and Pewter. And many a Serne of Sope, many a Quoyle of Rope, and of Lead many a Fodder, do the Plantations take from England.

Even English Cloth is much worn amongst us; but we have of Stuffs far greater Quantities. From England come all the Hats we weare; and of Shoos, thousands of Dozens yearly. The white Broad-cloth that we use for Strainers, comes also to a great deal of Money. Our very Negro Caps, of Woollen-yarn knit, (of which also we have yearly thousands of Dozens) may pass for a Manufacture.

How many Spinners, Knitters, and Weavers are kept at work, here in England, to make all the Stockings we wear? Woollen Stockings for the ordinary People, Silk Stockings when we could go to the price, Worsted Stockings in abundance, and Thread Stockings without number.

As we have our Horses from England; So all our Saddles and Bridles come from England likewise, which we desire should be good ones, and are not sparing in the price.

The Bread we eat, is of English Flower: we take great Quantities of English Beer, and of English Cheese and Butter: we sit by the light of English Candles; and the Wine we drink, is bought for the most part with English Commodities. Ships bound for the Plantations touch at Madera, and there sell their Goods, and invest the Produce in Wines.

Moreover we take yearly thousands of Barrels of Irish Beef: with the price whereof those people pay their Rents, to their Landlords that live and spend their Estates in England.

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’Tis strange we should be thought to diminish the People of England, when we do so much increase the Employments. Where there are Employments, there will be People: you cannot keep them out, nor drive them away, with Pitchforks. On the other side, where the Employments faile or are wanting, the People will be gone. They will never stay there to starve, or to eat up one another. Great numbers of French Protestants that came lately to England, left us again upon this account. It was their Saying; We have been received with great Kindness and Charity, but here is no Imployment.

However it is charged upon the Plantations (and we can be charged with nothing else), that they take People from England. But doth not Ireland do the same? It may be truly said, that if the American Colonies have taken thousands, Ireland hath taken ten thousands. Yet we cannot find, that people were ever stopp’d from going thither, or that ever it was thought an Inconvenience. You will say the Cases are different: in regard the Plantations are remote; whereas Ireland is neer at hand. and our people that are in Ireland can give us ready Assistance. In answer hereunto it is confess’d, that where Colonies are neer, the Power is more united. But it must be confess’d likewise, that where the Colonies are remote, the Power is farther extended. So that These may be as useful one way, as Those are another way. It concerns a Generall to have his Army united, but may he not detach part of it, to possess a Post at some distance, though it be of never so great advantage? It is plainly an advantage, to have a Command and Influence upon remote Parts of the World. Moreover the remote Colonies of America are much more advantageous to England in point of Trade, then is this neer one of Ireland. For Ireland producing the same things, takes little from us, and also spoiles our Markets in other places. Nor doth it furnish us with any thing, which before we bought of Forrainers. But the American Plantations do both take off from England abundance of Commodities; and do likewise furnish England with divers Commodities of value, which formerly were imported from forrain Parts, which things are now become our owne: and are made Native. For you must know, and may please to consider, That the Sugar we make in the American Plantations (to instance only in that) is as much a native English Commodity, as if it were made and produced in England.

But still you will say, that we draw People from England. We confess we do, as a Man draws Water from a good Well. Who the more he draws in reason, the more he may: the Well being continually supplied. Anglia puteus Edition: current; Page: [142] inexhaustus,2 said a Pope of old in another sense, that is, in matter of Money. But in matter of People it is likewise true; That England is a Well or Spring inexhausted, which hath never the less Water in it, for having some drawn from it.

You will say yet further, that the Plantations dispeople England. But this we utterly deny. Why may not you say as well, that the Roman Colonies dispeopled Rome? which yet was never pretended or imagined. That wise and glorious State, when ever there was a convenience of settling a Colony, thought fit to send out thousands of people at a time, at the Publick Charge. And wise Men are of opinion, That as the Roman Empire was the greatest that the World hath yet seen; so it chiefly owed its Grandeur to its free emission of Colonies.

And whereas the Kingdoms of Spain may seem dispeopled and exhausted by their American Colonies; if the thing be well examin’d, their Sloth and not their Colonies hath been the true Cause. To which may be added the Rigour of their Government, and their many Arts and Waies of destroying Trade.

But what will you say to the Dutch? for They, we know, have Colonies in the East-Indies. Do these exhaust and depopulate Holland, or at least are they a Burden and an Inconvenience? The Dutch themselves are so far from thinking so, that they justly esteem them the chief and main foundation of their Wealth and Trade. Their East-Indy Trade depends upon their East-Indy Colonies; and their whole State in effect, that is, the Greatness and Glory of it, depends upon their East-Indy Trade. Moreover as their Wealth and Trade increases, their People increase likewise.

They have also some Places in the West-Indies: which they prize not a little. How do they cherish Suranam, though it be one of the basest Countries in the World? And their Island of Quaracoa (Carisaw we pronounce it) they are as tender of, as any man can be of the apple of his Eye. Also their repeated Endeavours to settle Tabago do sufficiently evince, that they would very willingly spare some of their People, to increase their share in the Sugar Trade. But for a further proof of their Sentiment in these Matters; we may remember, that in the heat of their last War with France, they sent their Admiral De Ruyter with a great Force, to attempt the French Sugar Islands in America, which they would not have done, had they not thought them Edition: current; Page: [143] highly valuable. But the French King was as mindful to keep his Islands, as they were to get them: and he took such order and had such Force to defend them, as render’d the Dutch Attempts ineffectual. Thus the French and Dutch, while all lay at stake at home, were contending in the West-Indies for Plantations; which our Politicians count worth nothing, or worse then nothing. You’ll say, this same French Court, and these Dutch States, are meer ignorant Novices, and do not know the World. Perhaps not so well as our Politicians: But however something they know.

Many have observed that France is much dispeopled by Tyranny and Oppression. But that their Plantations have in the least dispeopled it, was never yet said nor thought. And That King sets such a value upon his Plantations, and is so far from thinking his People lost that are in his Plantations; that he payes a good part of the Fraight, of all those that will go to them to settle: giving them all fair Encouragements besides.

If Colonies be so pernicious to their Mother Country, it was a great happiness to Portugall, that the Dutch stripp’d them of their East-India Colonies. And surely they feel the difference: but it is much for the worse. Lisbon is not that Lisbon now, which it was in those days. And did not the recovery of Brasile (though that Trade be now low) in some measure support them, with the help of Madera, the Western Islands, and some other Colonies; Portugall would be one of the poorest places upon Earth.

But still you persist in the opinion, that the Plantations do more hurt then good, and are pernicious to England. Truly if it be so, it were your best way to shake them off, and cleerly to rid your hands of them. And you must not be averse to this motion. For if you cry out that the Plantations do hurt, and yet are not willing to part with them, it cannot be thought that you are in earnest. You will say, this should have been done sooner. But if ’tis fit to be done, ’tis better done late then not at all. Have the Plantations robbed you of your People already? Let them rob you no more. A man will stop a leake in his Vessell, though some be run out.

We of the Plantations cannot hear the mention of being cast off by England, without regrett. Nevertheless if it must be so, we shall compose our Minds to bear it, and like Children truly dutifull, we shall be content to part with our dearest Mother, rather than be a burden to her, But though we must part with our Country, yet we would not willingly part with our King: and therefore, if you please, let us be made over to Scotland. We are confident that Scotland would be well pleased to supply us with People, to Edition: current; Page: [144] have the sweet Trade in Exchange. And we should agree well with them: for we know by Experience that they are honest Men and good Planters. They would now be as busy as Bees all Scotland over, working merrily for the Plantations. And England the while might keep her People at home: to pick strawes, or for some such other good work, though some of them, ’tis doubt, would make the Highway their way of Living. And now Scotland would be the Market for Sugar: where our Friends of England would be welcome with their Money. We should be glad to meet them there, and should use them well for old acquaintance. But what would be the Effect of these things? The Effect would be; that in a very few years, the value of Lands in England would fall a fourth part, if not a third: and the Land in Scotland would be more than doubled. It were therefore better to acknowledge, according to truth, that the Plantations are greatly beneficial; and to keep the Plantations.

There is one main advantage by the Plantations which hath not been sufficiently explained: and that is, that we have now divers good Commodities of our own, which before we had not, which doth very much conduce to the enriching of England. For it is agreed by all that pretend to understand Trade, that a Country doth then grow rich, and then only, when the Commodities exported out of it are more in value then those that are imported into it. This proportion between the Importation and the Exportation is called the Balance of Trade, and there is no way in the World for a Country to grow rich by Trade, but by setting this Balance right, and by sending out more than it takes in. Some other Tricks and shifts there are, which make shew of doing great Matters: but they prove idle and frivolous, and signifie just nothing. A Country, in this respect, is in the same Condition with a private Man that lives upon his Land. If this Man sells more than he buys, he lays up money. If he buyes more than he sells, he must run in debt, or at least spend out of the quick stock. And where the Bought and the Sold are equal, he hath barely brought both Ends together.

It is therefore most evident, that the increasing of Native Commodities brings in Riches and Money. since it makes the Exportation greater, or at least the Importation less. And it is as evident, that the Plantations give England a great increase of Native Commodities. Cotton, Ginger, Indico, and Sugar, (to omit other things) are now the Native Commodities of England. We may insist a little further upon Sugar, as being the most considerable. Heretofore we had all our Sugars from Portugall: and it is computed, that they cost us Edition: current; Page: [145] yearly about four hundred thousand pounds. Now that great Leak is stopp’d: and we hardly buy any Portugall or Brasile Sugars, being plentifully supplied by our own Plantations. But moreover; beside what we use our selves, we export as much Sugar to other Countries, as brings us in yearly near the same summe. So that the Plantations; by this one Commodity, do advance near eight hundred thousand pounds a year, (the one half in getting, the other in saving), to turn the scale of Trade to the advantage of England.

Why should England grudge at the prosperity and wealth of the Plantations; since all that is Ours, She may account her own? Not only because we are really a part of England (what ever we may be accounted) as it is taken largely; but also because all comes to this Kingdom of England properly so called, these two and fifty Shires. By a kind of Magnetick Force England draws to it all that is good in the Plantations. It is the Center to which all things tend. Nothing but England can we relish or fancy: our Hearts are here, where ever our Bodies be. If we get a little Money, we remit it to England. They that are able, breed up their Children in England. When we are a little easy, we desire to live and spend what we have in England. And all that we can rap and rend is brought to England. What would you have? Would you have more of a Cat than her Skin?

We have made it out, in the former parts of these Papers, what Multitudes of People the Plantations employ here in England. It is easily said, that if there were no such thing as Plantations, those People might be otherwise employed. And some Men will talk of the Fishing Trade, and the Linnen Trade, and other projects of the like nature. But they would do well to contrive a way, how the People imployed in them may make wages. For unless they do that, they do nothing. There is nothing more easy then to find out unprofitable Employments. But those that are profitable are already overstock’t: and people can hardly live one by another. And therefore the Plantations ought in reason to be valued, since they give profitable Employments to so many thousands of People whereas the Fishing Trade and the Linnen Trade will not turn to profit.

It is now time that we put an end to this sad Discourse Having made it appear, that the Plantations are brought to a miserable and ruinous Condition; and that they have not deserved this hard Usage, considering the many and great Advantages they bring to England.

We have laid before you such a Series of Calamities, as are not easy to be parallell’d. And we think our patient Submission under them is almost Edition: current; Page: [146] without Example. But we must beg pardon of all good Men, if we cannot be in Charity with those cursed Projectors, by whom our Livelyhoods (which is in effect our Lives) have been torn from us with so much Inhumanity.

But hath our dear Mother no Bowels for her Children, that are now at the last Gasp, and ly struggling with the pangs of Death? Will She do nothing to deliver us from the Jaws of Death? We cannot despair, but that she will yet look upon us with an Eye of Mercy. However we desire it may not be ill taken, that we have eased our Minds by recounting our Sorrows. Let us not be denied the common liberty and priviledge of Mankind, to groan when we dy. Let not our Complaints seem troublesome and offensive; but be received with Compassion, as the Groans of dying Men.

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5: [Edward Rawson], The Revolution in New England Justified (1691)

After the overthrow of the Dominion of New England in April of 1689, there was a wide-ranging debate about the legitimacy of the uprising against royal authority in Massachusetts. In response to John Palmer’s defense of the Dominion (see Selection 2), Edward Rawson, longtime Secretary of Massachusetts (1650–86), defended the right of the settlers in New England to representative government.

To Palmer’s claim that the settlers in New England had been conquered, Rawson replied that they had purchased the land from the Native Americans and then “at vast charge of their own conquered a wilderness, and been in possession of their estates forty, nay sixty years.” Rawson also insisted that there had been a contract between the original settlers and the king, in which he had promised them that in return for risking their lives to expand the empire they would be guaranteed the privileges granted in their charters. And he added that even if their charter had been taken away legally, the settlers “did not cease to be Englishmen,” and were thus entitled to all the same rights as their fellow subjects at home. Finally, Rawson pointed out that in resisting Governor Andros the settlers in New England had done no more than their fellow subjects in England had done when they rose up against James II. What’s more, the New Englanders had not opposed the Dominion precipitately; rather, they had waited to resume their charter rights until they knew that William and Mary had taken the throne and saved England from popery and slavery. (C.B.Y.)

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New England


And the People there Vindicated

From the Aspersions cast upon them


In his Pretended Answer to the


Published by the Inhabitants of Boston, and the Country adjacent,

on the day when they secured their late Oppressors, who acted by an

Illegal and Arbitrary Commission from the Late King JAMES.

Printed for Joseph Brunning at Boston in New England. 1691.

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To The Reader.

It is not with any design or desire unnecessarily to expose the late Oppressors of that good Protestant People which is in New England, that the Authors of the ensuing Vindication have published what is herewith emitted. But the Agents lately sent from thence could not be faithful to their Trust, if when the People whom they Represent are publickly (as well as privately) aspersed, they should not (either by themselves, or by furnishing some other with materials for such an undertaking) vindicate those who have been so deeply injured.

As for Mr. Palmer his Account which he calls Impartial, he has wrong’d New England thereby, in some other particulars besides those insisted on, in the subsequent Apology. For he does endeavour to make the World believe that the Massachusetts refused to answer to the Quo Warranto1 prosecuted against their Charter: Than which Misrepresentation nothing can be more untrue or injurious. An Account concerning that matter hath formerly (and more than once) been made publick, in the which it is most truly affirmed,

That when the Quo Warranto was issued out against the Governour and Company of the Massachusetts Colony in New England in the year 1683. the then King did by his Declaration enjoyn a few particular persons to make their Defence at their own Charge, without any publick Stock; which shew’d that there was a Resolution to take away that Charter: Yet the Governour and Company appointed an Attorney to answer to the Quo Warranto; but the Suit was let fall in the Court of Kings-Bench, and a new Suit began by Scire facias2 in Court of Chancery, where time was not allow’d to make Defence. The former Attorney for that Colony brought several Merchants to testifie that in the time allow’d (which was from April 16. till June 18.) it was impossible to have a New Letter of Attorney returned from New England. The then Lord Keeper North replied, That no time ought to be given. So was Judgment entred against them before they could possibly plead for themselves.

By this the Impartial Reader may judge what Ingenuity and Veracity is in Mr. Palmers Account.

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There is lately come forth another Scandalous Pamphlet, called New England’s Faction Discovered. The Author has not put his Name to it: But it is supposed to be written by a certain person known to be a Prodigy for Impudence and Lying. The Reflections in it not only on New England in general, but on particular persons there as well as in England, are so notoriously and maliciously false; as that it must needs be much beneath a great Mind to take notice of such Latrations, or to answer them any otherwise than with contempt. When we are treated with the Buffoonry and Railery of such ungentiel Pens, ’tis good to remember the old Saying, Magnum Contumeliae remedium, Negligentia.3

As for what Mr. Palmer does in his Preface insinuate concerning the New-Englanders being Commonwealths-men, Enemies to Monarchy, and to the Church of England, that’s such a Sham as every one sees through it.

There are none in the World that do more fully concur with the Doctrine of the Church of England contained in the 39 Articles, than do the Churches in New England, as is manifest from the Confession of their Faith published in the year 1680. Only as to Liturgy and Ceremonies they differ; for which cause alone it was that they, or their Fathers transported themselves into that American Desert, as being desirous to worship God in that way which they thought was most according to the Scriptures. The Platform of Church Discipline consented unto by the Elders and Messengers of the Churches Assembled in a General Synod at Cambridge in New England in the year 1647. sheweth that they are as to Church-Government for the Congregational way. The judiciously Learned Mr. Philip Nye has long since evinced, that no Form of Church-Government (no not that which is Episcopal) is more consistent with Monarchy, or with the King’s Supremacy, than that of the Way-Congregational, which some will needs call Independent. But there are a sort of men, who call those that are for English Liberties, and that rejoyce in the Government of Their present Majesties King William and Queen Mary, by the name of Republicans, and represent all such as Enemies of Monarchy and of the Church. It is not our single Opinion only, but we can speak it on behalf of the generality of Their Majesties Subjects in New England, that they believe (without any diminution to the Glory of our former Princes) the English Nation was never so happy in a King, or in a Queen, as at this day. And the God of Heaven, who has set them on the Throne of these Kingdoms, grant them long and prosperously to Reign.

E. R.
S. S.
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The Revolution in New England justified.

The Doctrine of Passive Obedience and Non-Resistance, which a sort of men did of late when they thought the World would never change, cry up as Divine Truth, is by means of the happy Revolution in these Nations, exploded, and the Assertors of it become ridiculous.

No man does really approve of the Revolution in England, but must justifie that in New England also; for the latter was effected in compliance with the former, neither was there any design amongst the People in New England, to reassume their Antient Charter-Government, until His present Majesties intended descent into England, to rescue the Nation from Slavery as well as Popery, was known to them (for indeed to have attempted it before that would have been madness.) They considered that the men then usurping Government in New England were King James’s Creatures, who had invaded both the Liberty and Property of English Protestants after such a manner as perhaps the like was never known in any part of the World where the English Nation has any Government: And the Commission which they had obtained from the Late King James was more Illegal and Arbitrary, than that granted to Dudley and Empson by King Henry 7th. or than it may be was ever before given to any by King James himself, or by any one that ever swayed the English Scepter, which was a Grievance intolerable; and yet they desired not to make themselves Judges in a case which so nearly concerned them, but instead of harsher treatment of those who had Tyrannized over them, they only secured them that they might not betray that Countrey into the hands of the Late King, or of King Lewis, which they had reason enough to believe (considering their Characters and Dispositions,) they were inclined to do. They designed not to revenge themselves on their Enemies, which they could as easily have done as a thousand men are able to kill one, and therefore when they secured their Persons, they declared (as in their Declaration Printed at Boston in New England is to be seen) that they would leave it to the King and Parliament of England, to inflict what punishment they should think meet for such Criminals. Their seizing and securing the Governour, was no more than was done in England, at Hull, Dover, Plimouth, &c. That such a man as Mr. John Palmer should exclaim against it, is not to be wondred at, seeing he was one of the Governours Tools, being of his Council, made a Judge by him, and too much concern’d in some Illegal and Arbitrary Proceedings: But his Confidence is wonderful, that he Edition: current; Page: [152] should publish in Print that neither himself nor Sir Edmund Androsse, nor others of them who had been secured by the People in New England, had any Crimes laid to their charge, whereas the foresaid Declaration emitted the very day they were secured, doth plainly set forth their Crimes. And in the Preface of his Book he hath these words; viz.

We appeared at the Council-Board where the worst of our Enemies, even the very men who had so unjustly imprisoned and detained us, had nothing to say or object against us—” By these Enemies he speaks of, we suppose he means those who were lately sent as Agents from Boston in New England; He hath therefore necessitated us to inform the World, that the following Objections (tho’ not by his Enemies, yet) by those Agents presented at the Council-Board.

Matters objected against Sir Edmund Androsse, Mr. Joseph Dudley, Mr. Palmer, Mr. Randolph, Mr. West, Mr. Graham, Mr. Farewell, Mr. Sherlock and others, as occasions of their Imprisonment in New England.

It is objected against Sir Edmund Androsse, that he being Governour of the Massachusetts Colony after notice of His present Majesties intention to land in England, issued out a Proclamation, requiring all persons to oppose any descent of such as might be authorized by him, endeavourd to stifle the News of his Landing, and caused him that brought this Kings Declaration thither to be imprisoned as bringing a Seditious and Treasonable Paper.

2. That in the time of his Government, he without form or colour of legal Authority made laws destructive of the Liberty of the People, imposed and levied Taxes, threatned and imprisoned them that would not be assisting to the illegal Levys, denied that they had any Property in their Lands without Patents from him, and during the time of actual War with the Indians, he did supply them with Ammunition, and several Indians declared, that they were encouraged by him to make War upon the English, and he discountenanced making defence against the Indians.

3. As to all the other persons imprisoned, they were Accomplices and Confederates with Sir Edmund Androsse, and particularly Mr. Dudley, Mr. Randolph, and Mr. Palmer were of his Council, and joined with him in his Arbitrary Laws and Impositions, and in threatning and in punishing them who would not comply. Mr. West was his Secretary, and guilty of great Extortion, and gave out words which shewed himself no Friend to the English. Mr. Graham was his Attorney at one time, and Edition: current; Page: [153] Mr. Farewell at another, both concerned in illegal proceedings destructive of the Property of the Subject. Mr. Farewell prosecuted them who refused to comply with the Illegal Levies, and Mr. Graham brought several Writs of Intrusion against men for their own Land, and Mr. Sherlock, another person imprisoned, though not named in the Order, acted there for some years as an High Sheriff, though he was a stranger in the Countrey, and had no Estate there, during his Shrievalty he impannelled Juries of Strangers, who had no Free-hold in that Countrey, and extorted unreasonable Fees.

These particulars were not only presented at the Council-Board, but there read before the Right Honourable the Lords of the Committee for Foreign Plantations, on April 17, 1690. when Sir Edmund Androsse, Mr. Palmer, and the rest concerned were present, and owned that they had received Copies thereof from Mr. Blaithwaite. It is true, that the Paper then read was not signed by the Agents aforesaid, for which reason (as we understand, nor could it rationally be otherwise expected) the matter was dismissed without an hearing: Nevertheless the Gentlemen who appeared as Counsel for the New England Agents, declared, That they were ready to prove every Article of the Objections; which shall now be done.

1. That Sir E. A. with others whom the People in New England seized and secured, did, after notice of His present Majesties intended descent into England to deliver the Nation from Popery and Arbitrary Power, to their utmost oppose that glorious design, is manifest by the Proclamation Printed and Published in New England, Jan. 10. 1688. signed by Sir E. A. and His Deputy Secretary John West, in which K. James’s Proclamation of Octob. 16. 1688. is recited and referred unto. Sir Edmunds Proclamation begins thus;

Whereas His Majesty hath been graciously pleased by His Royal Letter bearing date the 16th of October last past, to signifie that He hath undoubted Advice that a great and sudden Invasion from Holland, with an armed Force of Foreigners and Strangers will be speedily made in an hostile manner upon His Majesties Kingdom of England, and that although some false Pretences relating to Liberty, Property and Religion, &c. And then he concludes thus—All which it is His Majesties pleasure should be made known in the most publick manner to His Loving Subjects within this His Territory and Dominion of New England, that they may be the better prepared to resist any Attempts that may be made by His Majesties Edition: current; Page: [154] Enemies in these parts, I do therefore hereby charge and command all Officers Civil and Military, and all other His Majesties Loving Subjects within this His Territory and Dominion aforesaid, to be vigilant and careful in their respective places and stations, and that upon the approach of any Fleet or Foreign Force, they be in readiness, and use their utmost endeavours to hinder any Landing or Invasion that may be intended to be made within the same.

2. And that they used all imaginable endeavours to stifle the News of the Prince’s Landing in England, appears not only from the Testimony of the People there, and from the Letters of those now in Government at Boston, but from the deposition of Mr. John Winslow, who affirms that being in Nevis in Feb. 1688. a Ship arrived there from England with the Prince of Orange’s Declaration, and intelligence of the happy change of Affairs in England, which he knew would be welcom News in New England, and therefore was at the charge to procure a written Copy of that Princely Declaration with which he arrived at Boston about a fortnight before the Revolution there. He concealed the Declaration from Sir Edmund, because he believed if it came into his possession, he would keep the people in ignorance concerning it; but intimation being given that Mr. Winslow had brought with him the Declaration, he was therefore committed to Prison (though he offered two thousand pound Bayl) for bringing into the Country a Treasonable Paper. For the satisfaction of such as are willing to be informed in this matter, Mr. Winslow’s testimony as it was given upon Oath before a Magistrate in New England shall be here inserted. It is as follows.

John Winslow aged 24 years or thereabouts, testifieth and saith, that he being in Nevis some time in February last past, there came in a Ship from some part of England with the Prince of Orange’s Declarations, and brought news also of his happy proceedings in England with his entrance there, which was very welcome News to me, and I knew it would be so to the rest of the people in New England; and I being bound thither, and very willing to carry such good news with me, gave four shillings six pence for the said Declarations, on purpose to let the people in New England understand what a speedy deliverance they might expect from Arbitrary Power. We arrived at Boston Harbour the fourth day of April following, and as soon as I came home to my house, Sir Edmund Androsse understanding I brought the Prince’s Declarations with me, sent the Sheriff to me; so I went along with him to the Governours house, and as soon as I came Edition: current; Page: [155] in, he asked me why I did not come and tell him the news. I told him I thought it not my duty, neither was it customary for any Passenger to go to the Governour when the Master of the Ship had been with him before, and told him the news; he asked me where the Declarations I brought with me were, I told him I could not tell, being afraid to let him have them, because he would not let the people know any news. He told me I was a Saucy fellow, and bid the Sheriff carry me away to the Justices of the Peace, and as we were going, I told the Sheriff, I would choose my Justice, he told me, no, I must go before Doctor Bullivant, one pickt on purpose (as I Judged) for the business; well I told him, I did not care who I went before, for I knew my cause good, so soon as I came in, two more of the Justices dropt in, Charles Lidget and Francis Foxcroft, such as the former, fit for the purpose, so they asked me for my Papers, I told them I would not let them have them by reason they kept all the news from the people, so when they saw they could not get what I bought with my money, they sent me to Prison for bringing Traiterous and Treasonable Libels and Papers of News, notwithstanding, I offered them security to the value of two thousand pounds.

Boston in New England, Feb. 4. 1689. sworn before Elisha Hutchinson Assistant.

John Winslow.

By these things it appears that it was absolutely necessary for the people in New England to seize Sir E. A. and his Complices, that so they might secure that territory for their present Majesties King William and Queen Mary.

3. That Sir E. A. &c. did make Laws destructive to the liberty of the Subjects, is notoriously known, for they made what Laws they pleased without any consent of the People, either by themselves or representatives, which is indeed to destroy the Fundamentals of the English, and to Erect a French Government. We cannot learn that the like was ever practised in any place where the English are Planters, but only where Sir E. A. hath been Governour: For whereas in New-England by constant usage under their Charter Government, the Inhabitants of each Town did assemble as occasion offered to consider of what might conduce to the welfare of their respective Towns, the relief of the poor, or the like, Sir E. A. with a few of his council, made a Law prohibiting any Town meeting, except once a year, viz. on the third Monday in May. The Inhabitants of the Countrey were startled at Edition: current; Page: [156] this Law, as being apprehensive the design of it was to prevent the people in every Town from meeting to make complaints of their Grievances. And whereas by constant usage any person might remove out of the Countrey at his pleasure, a Law was made that no man should do so without the Governours leave. And all Fishing Boats, Coasters, &c. were to enter into a thousand pound bond, whereby Fees were raised for himself and creatures. This Law could not pass at Boston, because many of Sir Edmund’s Council there opposed it; but then a Juncto4 of them meeting at New-York, passed it; and after that Law was made, how should any dissatisfied persons ever obtain liberty to go for England to complain of their being oppressed by Arbitrary Governours?

4. But besides all this, They made Laws for the Levying Moneys without the consent of the People either by themselves or by an Assembly; for in order to the supporting of their own Government, they did by an Act bearing date March 3. 1686. raise considerable sums of Money on the Kings subjects in that part of his dominions, viz. a penny in the pound on all Estates personal or real, twenty pence per head as Poll Money, a penny in the pound for goods imported, besides an Excise on Wine, Rum and other Liquors.

It hath indeed been pleaded that all this was but what the Laws of the Countrey before the change of the Government did allow. But this is vainly pretended; for there was no such Law in force at the time when these sums were levied, the former Laws which did authorise it, were repealed Octob. 10. 1683. some years before Sir E. A. and his complices had invaded the Rights and Liberties of the people there. Moreover, in those, parts of the Countrey where there were never any such Laws in force, particularly in Plymouth Colony, this Money was levied, which they heavily complained of. Yet further, in another Act dated Feb. 15. 1687, they did without any colour of antient Law make an additional duty of Impost and Excise, which raised the duty, some ten shillings, some twenty shillings per Pipe on Wines, and so on other things. Nay they levied Moneys on Connecticot Colony contrary to their Charter, which was never vacated, than which nothing more Illegal and Arbitrary could have been perpetrated by them.

5. They did not only act according to these Illegal Taxes, but they did inflict severe punishment on those true English men who did oppose their Arbitrary Edition: current; Page: [157] proceedings, as shall be made to appear in many instances. When the Inhabitants of Ipswich in New England were required to choose a Commissioner to tax that Town, some principal persons there that could not comply with what was demanded of them, did modestly give their reasons, for which they were committed to Gaol, as guilty of high misdemeanours, and denied an Habeas Corpus,5 and were obliged to answer it at a Court of Oyer & Terminer at Boston. And that they might be sure to be found guilty, Jurors were picked of such as were no Freeholders, nay of Strangers; the Prisoners pleading the priviledges of English men not to be taxed without their own consent, they were told that the Laws of England would not follow them to the end of the Earth, they meant the priviledges of the English Law, for the penalties they resolved should follow them quo jure quaque injuria.6 And why should they insist on, and talk of the priviledges of English men, when it had been declared in the Governours Council, that the Kings Subjects in New England did not differ much from Slaves, and that the only difference was, that they were not bought and sold? But to go on with the matter before us; In as much as the Prisoners mentioned had asserted their English Liberties, they were severely handled, not only imprisoned for several weeks, but fined and bound to their good behaviour; Mr. John Wise was fined fifty pound besides costs of Court, deprived of the means of his subsistance, and gave a thousand pound bond for good behaviour. And Mr. John Appleton was fined fifty pound and to give a thousand pound bond for good behaviour, and moreover declared incapable to bear Office, besides unreasonable Fees. After the same manner did they proceed with several others belonging to Ipswich. Likewise the Towns men of Rowley, Salisbury, Andover, &c. had the same measure. And the Kings Subjects were not only oppressed thus in the Massachusetts Colony, but in Plymouth. For when Shadrach Wildboar the Town Clerk of Taunton in N.E. did, with the consent of the Town. Sign a modest Paper signifying their not being free to raise money on the Inhabitants without their own consent by an assembly, the honest man was for this committed close Prisoner, and after that punished with a Fine of twenty Marks and three Months Imprisonment, and bound to find sureties Edition: current; Page: [158] by Recognizance to appear the next Court, and to be of the good behaviour. As to the matter of fact, the persons concerned in these Illegal and Arbitrary Judgments will not have the face to deny them; if they do, there are Affidavits now in London which will evince what hath been related whenever there shall be occasion for it.

It is a vanity in Mr. Palmer, to think that he hath answered this by affirming, but not proving, that the Ipswich-men assembled themselves in a riotous manner; for that saying of his is very false. The World knows that New England is not the only place where honest men have in these late days been proceeded against as guilty of Riots, when they never deserved such a censure any more than these accused by Mr. Palmer. But the truth of what hath been thus far related is confirmed by the following Affidavits.

Complaints of great wrongs done under the Ill Government of Sir Edmund Androsse Governour in N.E. in the year 168–.

We John Wise, John Andrews senior, Robert Kinsman, William Goodhue junior, all of Ipswich in New England, in the County of Essex, about the 22d day of August, in the year above named, were with several principal Inhabitants of the Town of Ipswich met at Mr. John Appletons, and there discoursed and concluded that it was not the Towns Duty any way to assist that ill method of raising Money without a general Assembly, which was apparently intended by abovesaid Sir Edmund and his Council, as witness a late Act issued out by them for such a purpose. The next day in a general Town-Meeting of the Inhabitants of Ipswich; We the above named John Wise, John Andrews, Robert Kinsman, William Goodhue with the rest of the Town then met (none contradicting) gave our assent to the vote then made.

The ground of our trouble, our crime was the Copy transmitted to the Council, viz. At a Legal Town meeting August 23. Assembled by vertue of an Order from John Usher. Esq. Treasurer for choosing a Commissioner to join with the Select men, to assess the Inhabitants according to an Act of his Excellency the Governour and Council for laying of rates; the Town then considering that the said Act doth infringe their Liberty, as free born English Subjects of His Majesty by interfering with the Statute Laws of the Land, by which it was Enacted that no Taxes should be Levied upon the Subjects without consent of an Assembly chosen by the Freeholders for assessing of the same, they do therefore vote that they Edition: current; Page: [159] are not willing to choose a Commissioner for such an end without said priviledge; and moreover consent not that the Select men do proceed to lay any such rate until it be appointed by a general Assembly concurring with the Governour and Council. We the complainants with Mr. John Appleton and Thomas French all of Ipswich were brought to answer for the said vote out of our own County, thirty or forty Miles into Suffolk, and in Boston kept in Gaol, only for contempt and high misdemeanours as our Mittimus specifies, and upon demand, denied the priviledge of an Habeas Corpus, and from Prison over ruled to answer at a Court of Oyer and Terminer in Boston aforesaid. Our Judges were Mr Joseph Dudley of Roxbury in Suffolk in New England, Mr. Stoughton of Dorchester, John Usher of Boston Treasurer and Edward Randolph. He that officiates as Clerk and Attorny in the case is George Farwel.

The Jurors only twelve men and most of them (as is said) Non-freeholders of any Land in the Colony, some of them Strangers and Forreigners, gathered up (as we suppose) to serve the present turn: In our defence was pleaded the repeal of the Law of Assessment upon the place. Also the Magna Charta of England, and the Statute Laws that secure the Subjects Properties and Estates &c. To which was replied by one of the Judges, the rest by silence assenting, that we must not think the Laws of England follow us to the ends of the Earth, or whither we went. And the same person (John Wise abovesaid testifies) declared in open Council upon examination of said Wise; Mr. Wise you have no more priviledges left you, than not to be sold for Slaves, and no man in Council contradicted. By such Laws our Trial and Trouble began and ended. Mr. Dudley aforesaid Chief Judge, to close up the debate and trial, trims up a speech that pleased himself (we suppose) more than the people. Among many other remarkable Passages, to this purpose, he bespeaks the Jury’s obedience, who (we suppose) were very well preinclined. viz. I am glad, says he, there be so many worthy Gentlemen of the Jury so capable to do the King service, and we expect a good Verdict from you, seeing the matter hath been so sufficiently proved against the Criminals. Note the evidence in the case as to the substance of it, was that we too boldly endeavoured to perswade our selves we were English Men, and under priviledges: and that we were all six of us aforesaid at the Town meeting of Ipswich aforesaid, and as the Witness supposed, we assented to the foresaid Vote, and also that John Wise made a Speech at the same time, and said we had a good God, and a good King, and Edition: current; Page: [160] should do well to stand for our Priviledges.—Jury returns us all six guilty, being all involved in the same Information. We were remanded from Verdict to Prison, and there kept one and twenty days for Judgement. There with Mr. Dudley’s approbation, as Judge Stoughton said, this Sentence was passed, viz. John Wise suspended from the Ministerial Function fine fifty pound money, pay cost, a thousand pound bond for the good behaviour one year.

John Appleton not to bear Office, fine 50 l. money, pay cost, a thousand pound bond for the good behaviour one year.

John Andrews not to bear Office, fine 30 l. money, pay cost, five hundred pound bond for the good behaviour one year.

Robert Kinsman not to bear Office, fine twenty pound money, pay cost, five hundred pound bond for the good behaviour one year.

William Goodhue not to bear Office, fine twenty pound money, pay cost, five hundred pound bond for the good behaviour one year.

Thomas French not to bear Office, fine 15 l. Money, past cost, 500 l. bond for the good behaviour one year.

The Total Fees of this case upon one single Information demanded by Farewell abovesaid amount to about a hundred and one pound seventeen shillings, who demanded of us singly about sixteen pound nineteen shillings six pence, the cost of Prosecution, the Fines added make up this, viz. Two hundred eighty and six pounds seventeen shillings money.

Summa Totalis7 286 l. 17 s.

To all which we may add a large account of other Fees of Messengers, Prison charges, Money for Bonds and Transcripts of Records, exhausted by those ill men one way and another to the value of three or fourscore pounds, besides our expence of time and imprisonment.

We judge the Total charge for one Case and Trial under one single Information involving us six men abovesaid in expence of Time and Moneys of us and our Relations for our necessary Succour and Support to amount to more, but no less than 400 l. Money.

Too tedious to illustrate more amply at this time, and so we conclude. John Wise, John Andrews Senior, William Goodhue Junior, Thomas French, these four persons named, and Robert Kinsman.

Edition: current; Page: [161]

These four persons first named appeared the twentieth day of December, and Robert Kinsman appeared the one and twentieth day of December, 1689. and gave in their Testimony upon Oath before me Samuel Appleton Assistant for the Colony of the Massachusetts in New-England.

6. That those who were in confederacy with Sir E. A. for the enriching themselves on the Ruins of New-England, did Invade the Property as well as Liberty of the Subject, is in the next place to be cleared, and we trust will be made out beyond dispute. When they little imagined that there should ever be such a Revolution in England as that which by means of His Present Majesty this Nation is Blest with, they feared not to declare their Sentiments to the inexpressible exasperation of the people whom they were then domineering over. They gave out that now their Charter was gone, all their Lands were the Kings, that themselves did Represent the King, and that therefore Men that would have any Legal Title to their Lands must take Patents of them, on such Terms as they should see meet to impose. What people that had the Spirits of Englishmen, could endure this? That when they had at Vast Charges of their own conquered a Wilderness, and been in possession of their Estates Forty, nay Sixty years, that now a parcel of Strangers, some of them indigent enough, must come and inherit all that the people now in New-England and their Fathers before them, had laboured for! Let the whole Nation judge, whether these Men were not driving on a French design, and had not fairly Erected a French Government. And that our Adversaries may not insult and say, these are words without proof, we shall here subjoyn the Testimonies of the Reverend Mr. Higginson and several other worthy Persons, given in upon Oath, concerning this matter—

Being called by those in present Authority to give my Testimony to the Discourse between Sir Edmund Androsse and my self, when he came from the Indian War, as he passed through Salem going for Boston in March 1688–89, I cannot refuse it, and therefore declare as followeth, what was the substance of that Discourse. Sir Edmund Androsse then Governour being accompanied with the Attorney General Graham, Secretary West, Judge Palmer, the Room being also full of other people, most of them his Attendants, he was pleased to tell me, he would have my judgment about this question; Whether all the Lands in New-England were not the Kings? I told him I was surprized with such a question, Edition: current; Page: [162] and was not willing to speak to it, that being a Minister, if it was a question about a matter of Religion, I should not be averse, but this being a State matter, I did not look upon it as proper for me to declare my mind in it, therefore entreated again and again that I might be excused. Sir E. A. replied and urged me with much importunity, saying, Because you are a Minister, therefore we desire to know your judgment in it, then I told him, if I must speak to it, I would only speak as a Minister from Scripture and Reason, not medling with the Law. He said, the Kings Attorney was present there to inform what was Law. I then said, I did not understand that the Lands of N.E. were the Kings, but the Kings Subjects, who had for more than Sixty years had the possession and use of them by a twofold right warranted by the Word of God. 1. By a right of just Occupation from the Grand Charter in Genesis 1st and 9th Chapters, whereby God gave the Earth to the Sons of Adam, and Noah to be subdued and replenished. 2. By a right of purchase from the Indians, who were Native Inhabitants, and had possession of the Land before the English came hither, and that having lived here Sixty years, I did certainly know that from the beginning of these Plantations our Fathers entered upon the Land, partly as a Wilderness and Vacuum Domicilium,8 and partly by the consent of the Indians, and therefore care was taken to Treat with them and to gain their consent, giving them such a valuable consideration as was to their satisfaction, and this I told them I had the more certain knowledge of, because having learned the Indian Language in my younger time, I was at several times made use of by the Government, and by divers particular Plantations as an Interpreter in Treating with the Indians about their Lands, which being done and agreed on, the several Townships and proportions of Lands of particular Men were ordered, and setled by the Government of the Countrey, and therefore I did believe that the Lands of New-England were the Subjects Properties, and not the Kings Lands. Sir E. A. and the rest replied, That the Lands were the Kings, and that he gave the Lands within such limits to his Subjects by a Charter upon such conditions as were not performed, and therefore all the Lands of New England have returned to the King, and that the Attorney General then present could tell what was Law, who spake divers things to the same purpose as Sir E. A. had done, slighting what I had said, and vilifying Edition: current; Page: [163] the Indian Title, saying, They were Brutes, &c. and if we had possessed and used the Land, they said we were the Kings Subjects, and what Lands the Kings Subjects have, they are the Kings, and one of them used such an Expression, Where-ever an Englishman sets his foot, all that he hath is the Kings, and more to the same purpose. I told them that so far as I understood, we received only the right and power of Government from the Kings Charter within such limits and bounds, but the right of the Land and Soil we had received from God according to his Grand Charter to the Sons of Adam and Noah, and with the consent of the Native Inhabitants as I had expressed before. They still insisted on the Kings right to the Land as before, whereupon I told them, I had heard it was a standing Principle in Law and Reason: Nil dat qui non habet;9 and from thence I propounded this Argument; he that hath no right, can give no right to another, but the King had no right to the Lands of America before the English came hither, therefore he could give no right to them. I told them, I knew not of any that could be pleaded but from a Popish Principle, that Christians have a right to the Lands of Heathen, upon which the Pope as the Head of the Christians had given the West Indies to the King of Spain, but this was disowned by all Protestants. Therefore I left it to them to affirm and prove the Kings Title. They replied and insisted much upon that, that the King had a right by his Subjects coming and taking possession of this Land. And at last Sir E. A. said with indignation, Either you are Subjects or you are Rebels, intimating, as I understood him according to the whole scope and tendency of his Speeches and Actions, that if we would not yield all the Lands of N.E. to be the Kings, so as to take Patents for Lands, and to pay Rent for the same, then we should not be accounted Subjects but Rebels, and treated accordingly. There were many other various replies and answers on both sides, but this is the sum and substance of that discourse—

John Higginson aged seventy four years.
Stephen Seawall aged thirty two years.

John Higginson Minister in Salem personally appeared before me, Dec. 24. 1689. and made Oath to the truth of the abovesaid Evidence—

John Hathorne Assistant.
Edition: current; Page: [164]

Captain Stephen Seawall of Salem appeared before me, Dec. 24. 1689. and made Oath to the truth of the abovesaid Evidence.

John Hathorne Assistant.

Joseph Lynde of Charles-towne in the County of Middlesex in N.E. being fifty three years of age, testifieth and saith, That in the year 1687. Sir Edmund Androsse then Governour of New-England did inquire of him the said Lynde what Title he had to his Lands, who shewed him many Deeds for Land that he the said Lynde possessed, and particularly for Land that the said Lynde was certainly informed would quickly be given away from him, if he did not use means to obtain a Patent for it. The Deed being considered by Sir E. A. he said, it was worded well, and recorded according to N.E. custom or words to the same purpose. He further enquired how the Title was derived he the said Lynde told him, That he that he bought it of had it of his Father-in-law in Marriage with his Wife, and his said Father from Charles-towne, and the said Town from the General Court grant of the Massachusetts Bay, and also by purchase from the Natives, and he said, my Title were nothing worth if that were all. At another time after shewing him an Indian Deed for Land, he said, that their hand was no more worth than a scratch with a Bears paw, undervaluing all my Titles, though every way legal under our former Charter Government. I then petitioned for a Patent for my whole Estate, but Mr. West Deputy Secretary told me, I must have so many Patents as there were Counties that I had parcels of Land in, if not Towns, finding the thing so chargeable and difficult I delayed, upon which I had a Writ of Intrusion served upon me in the beginning of the Summer 1688, the Copy whereof is in Charles-towne’s Mens complaint, and was at the same time with that of Mr. James Russel ’s, Mr. Seawall ’s, and Mr. Shrimpton’s, it being for the same Land in part that I shewed my Title unto Sir E. A. as above, being my self and those I derived it from possessed, inclosed, and improved for about Fifty years, at which time I gave Mr. Graham Attorney General three pounds in Money, promising that if he would let the Action fall I would pay Court charges, and give him Ten pound when I had a Patent compleated for that small parcel of Land, that said Writ was served upon me for, which I did because a Quaker that had the promise of it from the Governour, as I was informed in the Governors presence should not have it from me, the said Lynde, having about seven Acres more in the same common Field or Pasture, about a Mile from this forty nine Acres near unto the Land that the said Governour gave unto Edition: current; Page: [165] Mr. Charles Lidget, of divers of my Neighbours, which I concluded must go the same way that theirs went, and therefore though desired to be patented by the said Lynde with the forty nine Acres, he could not obtain a Grant for it. About the same time Mr. Graham Attorney General asked the said Lynde what he would do about the rest of his Land, telling him the said Lynde that he would meet with the like trouble about all the rest of his Lands that he possessed, and were it not for the Governours going to New-York at this time, there would be a Writ of Intrusion against every Man in the Colony of any considerable Estate, or as many as a Cart could hold, and for the poorer sort of people said Sir E. A. would take other measures, or words to the same purpose. The said Lynde further saith, That after Judgments obtained for small wrongs done him, tryable by their own Laws before a Justice of the Peace, from whom they allowed no Appeals in small Causes: he was forced out of his own County by Writs of false Judgment; and although at the first superiour Court in Suffolk, the thing was so far opposed by Judge Stoughton as illegal, as that it was put by, yet the next Term by Judge Dudley and Judge Palmer, the said Lynde was forced to answer George Farewell Attorney aforesaid, then saying in open Court in Charles-town, that all Causes must be brought to Boston in Suffolk, because there was not honest men enough in Middlesex to make a Jury to serve their turns, or words to that purpose; nor did Suffolk, as appeared by their practice, for they made use of Non-Residents in divers cases there. I mention not my damage, though it is great, but to the truth above-written I the said Lynde do set to my hand—

Boston the 14th of January, 1689–90. Juratus coram me10 John Smith Assistant.

Joseph Lynde.

And that the practices of these men have been according to their Principles, destructive to the Property of the Subject, is now to be declared. It is a thing too well known to be denied, that some of Sir Edmunds Council begged (if they had not had secret encouragement no man believes that they would have done so) those Lands which are called The Commons belonging to several Townships, whereby Plymouth, Lyn, Cambridge, Road Island, &c. would have been ruinated, had these mens Projects taken effect. And not only the Commons belonging to Towns, but those Lands which were Edition: current; Page: [166] the Property of several particular persons in Charles-town, were granted from them. And Writs of Intrusion were issued out against Coll. Shrimpton, Mr. Samuel Seawall, and we know not how many more besides, That their Lands might be taken from them, under pretence of belonging to King James. An Island in the possession of John Pittome antiently appropriated to the maintenance of a Free-School, was in this way seized. How such men can clear themselves from the guilt of Sacrilegious Oppression, they had best consider. Mr. Palmer swaggers and hectors at a strange rate; for he hath these words, (p. 29.) “I should be glad to see that man who would bare-faced instance in one particular grant of any mans Right or Possession passed by Sir E. A. during his Government.—” And what if we will shew him the men; that dare affirm as much or more than that? what will he do?

  • Me me adsum qui feci, in me convertite Ferrum.11

We will produce those that have said (and sworn as much as all this comes to. For John Pittome hath upon Oath declared, That James Sherlock, Sir Edmunds Sheriff, came on Dear Island on the 28th of January 1688. and turned him and his Family afloat on the Water when it was a snowy day, although he was Tenant there to Coll. Shrimpton, and that the said Sherlock put two men (whom he brought with him) into possession of the said Island (as he said) on behalf of King James the Second. Let him also know, that Mr. Shepard and Mr. Burrill of Lyn, and James Russell Esq; of Charles-towne in New-England have declared upon Oath as followeth.

Jeremiah Shepard Aged forty two years and John Burril aged fifty seven years, we whose names are subscribed being made choice of by the Inhabitants of the Town of Lyn in the Massachussetts Colony in New England to maintain their right to their properties and Lands invaded by Sir Edmund Androsse Governour, we do testify that (besides Sir Edmund Androsse his unreasonable demands of Money by way of Taxation, and that without an assembly, and Deputies sent from our Town according to ancient custom, for the raising of Money or levying of Rates) our Properties, our honest and just and true Titles to our Land were also invaded, and particularly a great and considerable tract of Land called by the name of the Nahants, the only secure place for the Grazing of Edition: current; Page: [167] some thousands of our Sheep, and without which our Inhabitants could neither provide for their own Families, nor be capacited to pay dues or duties for the maintenance of the publick, but (if dispossessed of) the Town must needs be impoverished, ruined, and rendred miserable, yet this very tract of Land being Petitioned for by Edward Randolph, was threatned to be rent out of our hands, notwithstanding our honest and just Pleas for our right to the said Land, both by alienation of the said Land to us from the Original Proprietors the Natives, to whom we paid our Moneys by way of purchase, and notwithstanding near fifty years peaceable and quiet possession and improvement, and also inclosure of the said Land by a Stone Wall, in which tract of Land also two of our Patentees were interested in common with us, viz. Major Humphreys, and Mr. Johnson, yet Edward Randolph Petitioning for the said Land, Sir Edmund the Governour did so far comply with his unreasonable motion, that we were put to great charges and expences for the Vindication of our honest rights thereto, and being often before the Governour Sir Edmund and his Council for relief, yet could find no favour of our innocent cause by Sir Edmund, notwithstanding our Pleas of Purchase, antient Possession, Improvement, Inclosure, Grant of the General Court, and our necessitous condition, yet he told us all these Pleas were insignificant, and we could have no true Title unless we could produce a Patent from the King, neither had any person a right to one foot of Land in N.E. by vertue of Purchase, Possession or Grant of Courts, but if we would have assurance of our Lands, we must go to the King for it, and get Patents of it. Finding no relief (and the Governour having prohibited Town Meetings, we earnestly desired Liberty for our Town to meet, to consult what to do in so difficult a case and exigency, but could not prevail. Sir Edmund angrily telling us that there was no such thing as a Town in the Country, neither should we have Liberty so to meet, neither were our Antient Town Records (as he said) which we produced for the vindication of our Titles to said Lands worth a Rush. Thus were we from time to time unreasonably treated, our Properties, and civil Liberties and Priviledges invaded, our misery and ruine threatned and hastned, till such time as our Country groaning under the unreasonable heavy Yoke of Sir Edmunds Government were constrained forcibly to recover our Liberties and Priviledges.

Jeremiah Shepard.
John Burril.
Edition: current; Page: [168]

Jeremiah Shepard Minister, and John Burril Lieutenant, both of Lin, personally appeared before us, and made Oath to the truth of this Evidence, Salem. Feb. 3. 1689–90.

John Hathorn. } Assistants.
Jonathan Corwin.

James Russel Esq; on the behalf of the Proprietors of the stinted Pasture in Charlestown, and on his own personal account, declares as followeth.

That notwithstanding the answer made to Sir E. A. his demand by some Gentlemen of Charlestown on the behalf of the Proprietors, which they judged satisfactory, or at least they should have a further hearing and opportunity to make out their Rights, there was laid out to Mr. Lidget adjoining to his Farm in Charlestown a considerable tract of Land (as it is said one hundred and fifty Acres) which was of considerable value, and did belong to divers persons, which when it was laid out by Mr. Wells there were divers bound marks shewed by the Proprietors, and some of them, and I had Petitioned for a Patent for my particular Propriety, yet the whole tract was laid out to the said Lidget, who not only did cut down Wood thereon, without the right owners consent, but Arrested some for cutting their own Wood, and so they were deprived of any means to use or enjoy their own Land. And notwithstanding there was about twenty Acres of Pasture Land and Meadow taken from the said Russel, and given to Mr. Lidget; yet afterwards there was a Writ of Intrusion served upon a small Farm belonging unto the said Russel, unto which the aforesaid Pasture Land did belong, and had been long improved by Patrick Mark his Tenant, (and others good part thereof) above fifty years, so that to stop Prosecution, the said Russell was forced to Petition for a Patent, he having a Tenant who was feared would comply in any thing that might have been to his prejudice, and so his Land would have been condemned under colour of Law, and given away as well as his Pastorage was without Law. Further the said Russel complains, that he having an Island in Cascobay, called Long-Island, which his honoured Father long since bought of Mr. Walker, and was confirmed to James Russell by the General Court, and improved several years by Captain Davis, by mowing as Tenant to the said Russell, and the said Russell hearing it was like to be begged away, caused his Writ to be entred in the Publick Records in Mr. West’s Office, which he paid for the Recording of; notwithstanding Sir E. A. ordered Capt. Clements Edition: current; Page: [169] (as he said) to survey the same, and he shewed me a Plat thereof, and said, If I had a Patent for it, I must pay three pence per Acre, it being 650 Acres. He was further informed, That if the said Russell would not take a Patent for it, Mr. Usher should have it—

Per James Russell.

Jan. 30. 1689–90. James Russell Esq; personally appeared before me, and made Oath to the truth of what is before written—

William Johnson Assistant.

Had not an happy Revolution happened in England, and so in New-England, in all probability those few ill men would have squeezed more out of the poorer sort of people there, than half their Estates are worth, by forcing them to take Patents. Major Smith can tell them, that an Estate not worth 200 l. had more than 50 l. demanded for a Patent for it. And if their boldness and madness would carry them out to oppress the Rich after such a manner as hath been shewed, what might the Poor look for? Nevertheless, their Tyranny was beyond any thing that hath been as yet expressed: For if men were willing to bring their Titles to their Possessions to a Legal Tryal, they were not only threatned, but fined and persecuted, and used with barbarous Cruelty. When some Gentlemen in Boston resolved in a Legal way to defend their Title to an Island there, Sir Edmund’s Attorney threatned that it might cost them all that they are worth, and something besides, as appears by the following Affidavit.

The Deposition of Captain Daniel Turel, and Lieutenant Edward Willis Sworn say, That upon a Writ of Intrusion being served on Deer-Island belonging to the Town of Boston, and let unto Colonel Samuel Shrimpton by the Select Men of the said Town, the Rent whereof being of long time appropriated towards the maintenance of a Free School in the Town, we the Deponents two of the select Men of the said Town, do testifie, That meeting with Mr. James Graham upon the Town-house, and telling him, that if Colonel Shrimpton did decline to personate the case of the said Island, we the select Men would. The said Graham said, Are you the Men that will stand Suit against the King? We the Deponents told him we would answer in behalf of the Town. The said Graham replied, There was no Town of Boston, nor was there any Town in the Countrey; we made answer we were a Town, and owned so to be by Sir Edmund Androsse Governor, in the Warrant sent us for the making a Rate; then the said Edition: current; Page: [170] Graham told us, We might stand the Tryal if we would, but bid us have a care what we did, saying, it might cost us all we were worth, and something else too, for ought he knew, and further these Deponents say not—

Daniel Turel.
Edward Willis.

Captain Daniel Turel and Lieutenant Edward Willis appeared personally before me, and made Oath to the truth of what is above written.

William Johnson Assistant.

One of Sir Edmund’s Council and Creatures, Petitioned for an Island belonging to the Town of Plymouth, and because the Agents of the said Town obtained a voluntary Subscription from the Persons concerned to bear the charge of the Suit; they were treated as Criminals, and against all Law, Illegally compelled to answer in another County, and not that where the pretended Misdemeanours were committed. And Mr. Wiswall the Minister of Duxbury having at the desire of some concerned transcribed a Writing which tended to clear the right they had to the Island in Controversie, and also concerning the abovesaid voluntary Subscription, both Transcribed in the Winter 1687. A Messenger was sent to bring him to Boston on the 21th June 1688. He was then lame in both Feet with the Gout, fitter for a Bed than a Journey, therefore wrote to the Governour, praying that he might be excused until he should be able to Travel, and engaged that then he would attend any Court, but the next Week the cruel Officer by an Express Order from Sir E. A. forced him to Ride in that condition, being shod with Clouts instead of Shoes; and when he came before the Council he was there made to stand till the anguish of his Feet and Shoulders had almost overcome him; after he was dismissed from the Council, the Messenger came and told him, he must go to Gaol, or enter into Bonds for his appearance at the next Superior Court held in Boston, and pay down 4 l. 2 s. in Silver. His Sickness forced him to decline a Prison, and to pay the Money. At the next Superior Court he appeared in the same Lame and Sick condition, and the extremity of the Weather cast him into such a violent Fit of Sickness, that he was in the judgment of others nigh unto death, and he himself thought that he should soon be out of their Bonds, and at liberty to lay his Information against his Oppressors before the Righteous Judge of the whole World. After all this Edition: current; Page: [171] having been forced a third time out of his own County and Colony near Forty Miles, he was delivered from the Hands and Humours of his Tyrannical Oppressors, who had exposed him to great difficulties, charges, and to 228 Miles Travel in Journeying to and from Boston, directly opposite to the place where he ought to have been tryed, had he been guilty of any of the pretended Misdemeanours, none of which his worst Enemies ever had the Face to read in open Court, or openly to charge him with to this day. Now shall such Men as these talk of Barbarous Usage who have themselves been so Inhumane?

  • Quis tulerit Gracchos de seditione querentes!12

7. As for Sir E. A. his supplying the Indians with Ammunition in the time of actual War with them, the following Testimonies confirmed the people of N.E. in the belief of it.

Lenox Beverley aged about twenty five years being Sworn, saith, That he being Souldier at Pemyquid the Winter time 1688. where was Captain General Sir E. A. Knight, there came to the Fort where Sir E. A. then was, two Squaws, the one Madocowandos Sister, and the other Moxis Wife (as was said,) and two other Indian Women that went along with them; they were in the Fort with Sir Edmund two days, and when they came forth they seemed to be half drunk, this Deponent and Peter Ripley was commanded to Guard these Squaws from Pemyquid to New Harbour, being in distance about two Miles, and as we passed on the way Madocowandos Sister laid down her Burden in the Snow and commanded the Deponent to take it up, whereupon the Deponent looked into the Basket, and saw a small Bag which he opened, and found it to be Gunpowder, which he judged five pounds weight, and a Bag of Bullets of a greater weight and the weight of the Basket I took up, was as much as the Deponent could well carry along, and the other three Squaws had each one of them their Baskets, which appeared rather to be of greater than lesser burden, than that the Deponent carried, which were all of them loaden, and brought out of the Fort, and Madocowandos Sister said she had that Powder of Sir Edmund, and added, that she was to come again to him within four days—

Boston, Aug. 17. 1689. Sworn in Council. Attests Is. Addington Secretary.

Lenox X Beverley his mark.
Edition: current; Page: [172]

Gabriel Wood of Beverly aged about twenty four years, testifies, That being one of the Souldiers that was out the last Winter past, Anno 1688. in the Eastward parts, and under the command of Sir Edmund Androsse, and being then at Pemyquid with him, was commanded by him the said Sir E. together with so many more of the Souldiers as made up two Files to Guard and safely Conduct three Indian Women from Pemyquid aforesaid to New Harbour, which said Indian Women were all laden, and to my certain knowledge one of the said Women had with her in her said Journey a considerable quantity of Bullets, which she brought with her from Pemyquid aforesaid, and to my best apprehension, she had also a considerable quantity of Powder in a Bag in her Basket, but I did not see that opened, as I did see the Bullets, neither dared I be very inquisitive; the rest of the Souldiers in company with me seeing the Indians so supplied with Ammunition (as we all apprehended they were by our Governour and Captain General Sir E. A. aforesaid) we did very much question amongst our selves, whether the said Sir E. did not intend the destruction of our Army, and brought us thither to be a Sacrifice to our Heathen Adversaries

The mark of Gabriel [A] Wood.

Gabriel Wood of Beverley in the County of Essex, personally appeared before me at Salem in N.E. Jan. 29. 1689–90. and made Oath to the Truth of the above said Evidence.

John Hatherne Assistant.

8. That the Indians declared they were encouraged by Sir E. A. to make War upon the English, is most certainly true, although the Lying Author of that Scandalous Pamphlet, called New-Englands Faction discovered, has the impudence to say, that it is certainly false. Two Indians, Waterman and David, testifie that the Maquas Indians sent a Messenger to Pennicock, to inform that Sir E. A. had been tampering to engage them to fight against the English. Another Indian called Solomon Thomas, affirmed, that Sir Edmund gave him a Book, and that he said that Book was better than the Bible, that it had in it the Picture of the Virgin Mary, and that when they should fight at the Eastward, Sir Edmund would sit in his Wigwam, and say, O brave Indians! Another Indian named Joseph (who was in hostility against the English) bragged that the Governour had more love for them than for the English. Another Indian named John James, did of his own voluntary mind declare to several in Sudbury, that Sir E. A. had hired the Edition: current; Page: [173] Indians to kill the English: The men to whom he thus expressed himself, reproved him, and told him that they believed he belied Sir E. A. and therefore they secured him, and complained to a Justice of Peace, by which means he was brought to Boston, but Sir E. instead of punishing, was kind to the Indian, when as both the Justice and the Sudbury man had (to use Mr. Palmers phrase) horrible usage, by means whereof an Alarm and Terrour ran through the Countrey, fearing some mischievous design against them. That this Relation is not a feigned story, the ensuing Testimonies make to appear.

The Testimony of Waterman, and David, Indians, saith, That the Maquas sent a Messenger to Pennicock to inform, that Governour Edmund Androsse hired the Maquas to fight the English, and paid down to them one Bushel of white Wompon, and one Bushel of black Wompon, and three Cartloads of Merchants goods, trucking Cloath and Cotton Cloath, and Shirt Cloath, and other goods. The Maquas said, That the English were their good Friends, and said, they would not fight them, for the English never wronged them, but the Maquas took the pay on account of the Maquas helping the English to fight their Enemies the last War.

Witness our hands { Davids X mark.
Watermans Q mark.
Cornelius Waldo senior,
Moses Parker,
Thomas Read.

The two Indians above-mentioned Waterman and David, appeared the 4th day, of May 1689. and to the Council then sitting owned the above-written to be truth;

Isa. Addington Secretary.

Rochester in the King’s Province, Sept. 16. 1688.

Samuel Eldred junior of Rochester came before Arthur Fenner and John Fones Esq; two of His Majesties Justices of the Peace, and did declare upon Oath, that on the Evening before an Indian whom he had seized, by name Joseph, did in an insulting and vaunting manner say, There was 500 Edition: current; Page: [174] at Martins Vineyard, 700 at Nantucket, and 400 at Chappaquessot, all very well armed, and in a better manner than him the said Samuel Eldred, and that our Governour did not dare to disarm them, for that the Governour had more love for them, the said Indians, than for His Majesties Subjects the English. The said Indian being brought before us, and examined, did confess the greatest part of what was sworn against him, and owned that he was one of them that were in hostility against the English in the late Wars, upon which the said Indian was committed to Gaol.

Per Arthur Fenner,
John Fones.

The Testimony of Joseph Graves aged 46 years or thereabout, and Mary Graves about 30 years, of John Rutter aged about 40 years, witness that on the 2d day of January 1688. Solomon Thomas Indian, being at the house of Joseph Graves, in the Town of Sudbury, said, that when the Fight at the Eastward should be, if the Indians had the better of it, as the English did retreat, the Friend Indians were to shoot them down, but if the English get the day, we say nothing, and that in the Spring French and Irish would come to Boston, as many, and all won Indians, for that was the first place that was to be destroyed, and after that the Countrey Towns would be all won nothing. And further, the said Solomon said, that the Governour had given him a Book, which said Governour said, was better than the Bible, and all that would not turn to the Governours Religion, and own that Book, should be destroyed. In which Book he the said Thomas said was the Picture of our Saviour, and of the Virgin Mary, and of the Twelve Apostles; and the Governour said, when we pray, we pray to the Virgin Mary; and when the Fight should be at the Eastward, the Governour would sit in his Wigwam, and say, O brave Indians! Whereupon John Rutter told the Indian, that he deserv’d to be hanged for speaking such things, but the Indian replied, it was all true. Upon the hearing this discourse, we resolved to come to Boston, and acquaint Authority with it, but by reason of the sickness of Jos. Graves, we could not presently, but as soon as conveniently we could, we accordingly appeared at Boston with our Information, which the said Joseph Graves carried to Mr. Bullivant a Justice of the Peace.

Joseph Graves,
John X Rutler signum.
Mary Y Graves mark.
Edition: current; Page: [175]

Boston, Jan. 28. 1689. Joseph and Mary Graves came and made Oath to the truth above-written,

Before me William Johnson Assistant,

That when the English secured some of the Indians mentioned, and brought them before Sir E. A. Justices, they were basely & barbarously used for their pains, the following Affidavits shew.

Sudbury in New-England, March 22. 1689–90

Thomas Browne aged about Forty four years, and John Goodenow aged about Fifty four years, John Growt senior, aged near Seventy years, Jacob Moore aged about 44 years, Jonathan Stanhope aged about 57 years, and John Parmiter aged about 50 years, all Inhabitants of the Town of Sudbury aforesaid, do witness that we heard John James, Indian, of his own voluntary mind, say, That the Governour was a Rogue, and had hired the Indians to kill the English, and in particular, had hired Wohawhy to kill Englishmen, and that the Governour had given the said Wohawhy a gold Ring, which was his Commission, which gold Ring the said Wohawhy sold to Jonathan Prescott for two shillings in money: Whereupon we replied, Sirrah, you deserve to be hanged for what you say. John James the Indian replied, What you Papist, all one Governour. I speak it before Governours very face. This discourse of John James Indian, was at the place, and on the day above-written.

Thomas Browne,
John Goodenow,
Jacob Moore,
Jonathan Stanhope,
John Parmiter.

Thomas Browne and John Goodenow, two of the Subscribers above, having received this Declaration from John James the Indian, we thought it our duty forthwith to inform Authority, and did with the Indian presently go to Water-town to Justice Bond where the said John James did voluntarily give his Testimony before the said Justice Bond, which after he had taken, the said Justice Bond ordered us the said Thomas Browne and John Goodenow to make our appearance before the Governour Sir E. A. or one of the Council with the Indian, which accordingly we did, when we came to the Governours house; after long waiting in a very wet Edition: current; Page: [176] and cold season, we were admitted unto the Governours presence, where we were detained until eleven or twelve a Clock at night, and after a very unkind Treat, we humbly prayed his Excellency, he would please to discharge us of the Indian, but he told us no, and joaked us, saying, we were a couple of brave men, and had the command, one of a Troop of Horse, and the other a Company of Foot, and could we not know what to do with a poor Indian? Further, he asked us what money we gave the Indian to tell us such news, and commanded us still to take care of the Indian till his pleasure was to call for us again, and this as we would answer it. Thus being severely chidden out of his presence, we were forced with the Indian to seek our quarters where we could find them. The next morning we were preparing to go home again to Sudbury (being 20 miles or more) being Saturday, we were again sent for by the Governour by a Messenger, to wait on the Governour with the Indian, which we did, and waited at the Exchange or Council-house in Boston, from nine a Clock in the morning till three of the Clock in the afternoon, where in the face of the Countrey we were made to wait upon the Indian with many squibs and scoffs that we met withal; at last we were commanded up before the Governour and his Council, where we were examined apart over and over, and about the Sun setting were granted leave to go home, it being the Evening before the Sabbath.

Thomas Browne,
John Goodenow.

On Munday Morning following being the 25th of March. 1689. Jacob Moore, Joseph Graves, Joseph Curtis, Joseph Moore, Obadiah Ward, were by Thomas Larkin as a Messenger fetched down to Boston, where after Examination, Jacob Moore was committed to close Prison. Joseph Moore, Joseph Graves, Joseph Curtis, and Obadiah Ward were sent home again, paying the said Larkin twelve shillings per Man. On the next Monday Morning after, being the first day of April 1689. Samuel Gookin the Sheriff of Middlesex and his Deputy came up to Sudbury, and commanded Thomas Browne, John Goodenow Senior, John Growt Senior, Jonathan Stanhope, John Parmiter, forthwith to appear at Boston, at Collonel Page’s House, but it being a Wet and Cold Day, we were detained at Judge Dudleys house at Roxbury, where after long waiting, had the kindness shewn us, to have an examination every man apart before Judge Dudley, Judge Stoughton, Mr. Graham and others, and were bound over to answer Edition: current; Page: [177] at the next Superiour Court to be held at Boston, what should there be objected against us upon his Majesties account. Thomas Browne, John Goodenow Senior, John Growt Senior, were each of them bound over in three hundred pound Bonds, and each man two sureties in three hundred pound Bond a piece. John Parmiter and Jonathan Stanhope, were bound in a hundred pound a piece, besides the loss of our time and hindrance of our Business, the reproach and ignominy of Bond and Imprisonment, we shall only take the boldness to give a true account of what money we were forced to expend out of our own Purses as followeth, to the Sheriff and other necessary Charges.

l. s. d.
Thomas Browne. 2 00 00
J. Goodenow Senior. 2 00 00
J. Growt Senior. 0 10 00
J. Rutter Junior. 3 05 00
Joseph Curtis. 0 17 00
Jacob Moore. 3 00 00
Jonathan Stanhope. 0 15 00
John Parmiter. 0 15 00
Joseph Graves. 3 15 00

Boston the 21st. of Decemb. 1689. Jurat. cor. Isaac Addington Assistant.

Thomas Browne.
John Goodenow.
Jacob Moore.
Jonathan Stanhope.
Joseph Curtis.
John Parmiter.

Altho no man does accuse Sir Edmund meerly upon Indian Testimony, yet let it be duly weighed (the premises considered) whether it might not create suspicion and an astonishment in the People of New England, in that he did not punish the Indians who thus charged him, but the English who complained of them for it. And it is certain, that some very good and wise men in New England do verily believe that he was deeply guilty in this matter, especially considering what might pass between him and Hope Hood an Indian, Edition: current; Page: [178] concerning which Mr. Thomas Dantforth the present Deputy Governour at Boston in New England, in a Letter bearing date April 1. 1690. writeth thus—

The Commander in chief of those that made this spoil (i.e.) the spoil which was made in the Province of Maine on the 18th of March last, is Hope Hood an Indian, one that was with sundry other Indians in the summer 1688 seized by some of Sir Edmunds Justices and Commanders in the Province of Maine, and sent Prisoners to Boston, Sir E. being then at the Westward, where he continued absent many weeks; upon his return finding the Indians in Prison, fell into a great rage against those Gentlemen that had acted therein, declared his resolution to set them at liberty and calling his Council together, was by some opposed therein, and among others, one Gentleman of the Council accused this Hope Hood to be a bloody Rogue, and added that he the said Hope Hood, had threatned his Life, and therefore prayed Sir E. that he might not be enlarged, but Sir E. made a flout and scorn of all that could be said. At the same time some of the Council desired Sir E. that this Hope Hood might be sent for before the Council, to which he replied, that he never had had a quarter of an hours conference with any of them, and that he scorned to discourse with any Heathen of them all, yet all this notwithstanding, at the same time whilst the Council was thus met, did Sir Edmund privately withdraw himself, and repair to the Prison where this Hope Hood was Prisoner, and did there continue with him two or three hours in private, the truth of what is above related is attested by sundry Gentlemen that were of Sir Edmunds Council, and were then Ear Witnesses and likewise by others that saw Sir E. at the Prison; and it is now verily believed that at that very time he consulted the mischief that is now acted by the said Hope Hood and Company. Thus Mr. Dantforth.

9. That Sir Edmund Androsse discountenanced making defence against the Indians, is complained of by five Gentlemen who were of his Council, and much concerned at his strange actings in that matter as in the account annext to this Apology is to be seen. It is also confirmed by the Affidavits of two honest men—

Henry Kerley aged about fifty seven years and Thomas How aged thirty five years or thereabouts, both Inhabitants of the Town of Malborough, do both testifie that in the Fall of the year, 1688. When Sir Edmund Androsse came from New-York to Boston, sometime after the Indians had Edition: current; Page: [179] killed some English men at North-field in New England, coming through our Town of Malborough, the said Sir E. A. examined this Deponent Henry Kerley by what Order we did Fortify and Garrison our Houses, I answered it was by order of Captain Nicholson, the said Sir E. then said, he had no power so to do. He the said Sir E. examined what Arms we made use of, and carried with us on the Watch, and what charge was given us, answer was made by the Deponent; they carried Fire Arms, and the charge was to keep a true Watch, to examine all we met with, and secure suspicious persons that we met with, the said Sir E. said what if they will not be secured, and what if you should kill them, answer was made by the Deponent, that if we should kill them, we were in our way, then Mr. Randolph being there in the company said, you are in the way to be hanged. Sir E. A. said further that those persons that had left their Houses to dwell in Garrisons, if they would not return, others should be put in that would live there.

Boston the 27th of Decemb. 1689. Jur. Henry Kerley, and the 2d of Janu. 1689. Jur. Thomas How. Cor. Is. Addington. Assistant.

Henry Kerley.
Thomas How.

That Sir Edmunds High Sheriff was a Stranger in the Country, and one that had no Estate there needs no proof, and that Strangers who had no Freehold, were Impannelled for Jurors is notoriously known. So it was in the case of the Ipswich-men as hath been noted, and when that Reverend person Mr. Charles Morton, was causelesly and maliciously prosecuted, he was not only compelled to answer (contrary to Law) in another County, and not in that wherein the good Sermon they found fault with, was Preached, but that if possible, they might give him a blow, there was summoned to serve as a Jury man, one John Gibson no Householder nor of any Estate or Credit, and one John Levingsworth a Bricklayer, who lived in another Colony two hundred Miles distance. When those in Government will use such base Artifices as these to accomplish their pernicious designs, how should any mans Estate or Life be secure under them?

11. That the persons objected against, were some of them guilty of great extortion is manifest from what hath been related, and may yet be further proved, for (as by some instances we have already seen, and shall now hear more) they compelled men to take Patents for their own Lands, which they, and their Fathers before them, had quietly possessed till these covetous Creatures Edition: current; Page: [180] became a Nusance to the Country, and it may be none more Criminal, as to this particular, than Mr. Palmer and Mr. West.—A Friend of their own viz. Mr. Randolph does in several of his Letters bitterly complain of them upon this account. In a Letter of his of August the 25th 1687. he writeth thus.

I believe all the Inhabitants in Boston will be forced to take Grants and Confirmations of their Lands, as now intended, the Inhabitants of the Province of Maine which will bring in vast profits to Mr. West, he taking what Fees he pleases to demand. I shall always have a due Honour and Respect for his Excellency, but I must buy his Favour at three or four hundred pound a year loss. And in another to the same, June 21. 1688. he hath these words. I went to one Shurte, Town-Clerk of Pemyquid to know what Leases were made lately, and by whom, and for what quit Rent, he told me that above a year ago Captain Palmer, and Mr. West produced to them a Commission from Collonel Dungan, to dispose of all their Lands to whoever would take leases at five shillings the hundred Acres quit Rent. They let there and at a place called Dartmouth twelve or sixteen Miles distant from Pemyquid about one hundred and forty Leases, some had eight hundred or ten hundred Acres, few less than a hundred, some but three or four Acres, and all paid 2 l. 10 s. for passing their Grants of 100 Acres of Wood Land, with twenty Acres of Marsh where ever it could be found, but this bred a great mischief among the People; few or none have their Land measured or marked, they were in haste, and got what they could, they had their Emissaries amongst the poor people, and frighted them to take Grants, some came and complained to the Governour, and prayed him to confirm their Rights, which he refused to do, the Commission and whole proceeding being Illegal, having notice they were to be under his Government, they resented it, but it served their turn. The poor have been very much oppressed here, the Fort run all to ruine, and wants a great deal to repair it, Captain Palmer and Mr. West laid out for themselves such large lots, and Mr. Graham though not there, had a Childs Portion, I think some have eight thousand or ten thousand Acres. I hear not of one penny rent coming in to the King, from them who have their Grants confirmed at York, and the five shillings an hundred Acres was only a Sham upon the People: at our return we saw very good Land at Winter Harbour, enough to make large settlements for many people. The Governour will have it first measured, and then surveyed, and then will dispose of it for settlements, Mr. Graham and his Family are setled at Boston, he Edition: current; Page: [181] is made Attorney General, and now the Governor is safe in his New-York Confidents, all others being Strangers to his Council. ’T was not well done of Palmer and West to tear all in pieces that was setled and granted at Pemyquid by Sir E. that was the Scene where they placed and displaced at pleasure and were as Arbitrary as the great Turk. Some of the first setlers of that Eastern Country were denied Grants of their own Lands, whilst these men have given the Improved Lands amongst themselves, of which I suppose Mr. Hutchinson hath complained. In another, May the 16th 1689. he says; I must confess there have been ill men from New-York who have too much studied the disease of this people, and both in Courts and Councils, they have not been treated well.

Thus does Edward Randolph, a Bird of the same Feather with themselves confess the truth, as to this matter, concerning his Brother Palmer and West.

And that Oppressive Fees have been extorted by Indigent and Exacting Officers is declared by Mr. Hinckley the present Governour of New-Plymouth in his Narrative of the Grievances and Oppressions of Their Majesties good Subjects in the Colony of New-Plymouth in New-England by the Illegal and Arbitrary Actings in the Late Government under Sir E. A. which Narrative is too large to be here inserted, but it is possible it may be published by it self, whereby it will appear that every corner in the Countrey did ring with complaints of the Oppressions, and (to speak in Mr. Palmer’s phrase) horrible Usages of these ill Men. Some passages out of Mr. Hinckley’s Narrative respecting this matter, we shall here Transcribe whose words are these which follow.

The Bill of Cost Taxed by Judge Palmer seems also to be the greatest Extortion ever heard of before, as thrice twenty Shillings for three motions for Judgment at the same Term, (and was it not their courtesie they did not move ten times one after another at the same rate) and Taxed also, five pound for the Kings Attorney, and one and twenty Shillings for the Judges, and ten Shillings for the Sheriff, and other particulars as by the said Bill appeareth, and that which makes it the greater Extortion is, that the whole Bill of Cost was exacted of every one of them, which each of them must pay down, or be kept Prisoners till they did, though all seven of them were jointly informed against in one Information. Thus Mr. Hinckley.

The cry of poor Widows and Fatherless is gone up to Heaven against them on this account; for the Probate of a Will and Letter of Administration Edition: current; Page: [182] above fifty Shillings hath been extorted out of the hands of the Poor, nay they have been sometimes forced to pay more than four Pounds, when not much above a Crown had been due. Let Andrew Sergeant and Joseph Quilter among many others speak if this be not true, who were compelled to Travel Two Hundred Miles for the Probate of a Will, and to pay the unreasonable and oppressive Fees complained of—

Besides these things, under Sir Edmund’s Government they had wicked ways to extort Money when they pleased. Mr. William Coleman complains (and hath given his Oath accordingly) that upon the supposed hired Evidence of one Man he sustained Forty Pound damage in his Estate. And there were complaints all over the Countrey that Sir Edmund’s Excise-men would pretend Sickness on the Road, and get a Cup of Drink of the Hospitable People, but privately drop a piece of Money, and afterwards make Oath that they bought Drink at those Houses, for which the Innocent Persons were fined most unreasonably, and which was extorted from them, though these Villanies were declared and made known to those then in Power. William Goodhue, James and Mary Dennis might be produced as Witnesses hereof, with many more. Some of Sir Edmund’s Creatures have said, That such things as these made his Government to stink. Also John Hovey and others complain of sustaining Ten Pound damages by the Extortion of Officers, though never any thing (they could hear of) was charged upon them to this day, John and Christopher Osgood complain of their being sent to Prison nine or ten days without a Mittimus,13 or any thing laid to their charge, and that afterwards they were forced to pay excessive charges—It would fill a Volume, if we should produce and insert all the Affidavits which do confirm the truth of these complaints.

In the time of that unhappy Government, if the Officers wanted Money, it was but Seizing and Imprisoning the best Men in the Countrey for no fault in the World, and the greedy Officers would hereby have Grist to their Mill. Thus was Major Appleton dealt with. Thus Captain Bradstreet. Thus that worthy and worshipful Gentleman Nathaniel Salstonstal Esquire was served by them and barbarously prosecuted, without any Information or Crime laid to his charge; for he had done nothing worthy of Bonds, but it was the pleasure of Sir E. and some others thus to abuse a Gentleman far more Honourably descended than himself, and one concerned in the Edition: current; Page: [183] Government of N.E. before him, but (to his Eternal Renown) one who refused to accept of an Illegal and Arbitrary Commission, when in the Reign of the Late K. James it was offered to him—

We have now seen a whole Jury of complaints which concur in their Verdict against Sir E. A. and his Confederates. Were these things to be heard upon the place, where the Witnesses who gave in their Affidavits are resident, they would amount to legal proof, as to every particular which was by the Agents of the Massachusetts Colony in N.E. objected against Sir E. A. and others Seized and Secured by the people there.

Moreover, there are other matters referring to Sir E. A. which caused great, and almost Universal Jealousie of him. For, 1. His Commission was such as would make any one believe that a Courtier in the time of the Late King James spoke true, who said Sir E. A. was sent to New-England on purpose to be a Plague to the people there. For he with three or four more (none of them chosen by the people, but rather by that Implacable Enemy who prosecuted the Quo Warranto’s against their Charters, had power given them to make Laws, and raise what Moneys they should think meet for the support of their own Government, and he had power himself alone to send the best and most useful Men a Thousand Miles, (and further if he would) out of the Countrey, and to Build Cities and Castles (in the Air if he could) and demolish them again, and make the Purses of the Poor people pay for it all. Such a Commission was an unsufferable grievance, and no honest Englishman would ever have accepted of it, or acted by it—

Secondly Jealousies were augmented by his involving the Countrey in a War with the Indians, by means whereof he hath occasioned the Ruine of many Families and Plantations; yea the Death, or Captivity of we know not how many Souls. For he went (with the Rose Frigat, and violently seized, and took, and carried away, in a time of peace all the Houshold Good; and Merchandises of Monsieur Casteen a Frenchman at Penobscot who was Allied to the Indians, having Married the Daughter of one of their Princes whom they call Sagamores or Sachems; and when this was done, it was easie to foresee, and was generally concluded that the French and Indians would soon be upon the English, as it quickly came to pass. After the Flame was kindled, and Barbarous Outrages committed by the Indians, Sir Edmund’s managery was such as filled the Countrey with greater fears of an horrid design. For Bloody Indians whom the English had secured, were not only dismissed, but rather courted than punished by him.

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3. It cannot be exprest what just and amazing fears surprized the People of New-England, when they had notice of the Late King James’s being in France, lest Sir E. A. whose Governour and Confident he was, should betray them into the Power of the French King, other circumstances concurring to strengthen these fears. The Mohawks and other Indians were in hostility against the French, and it was very advantagious to the English Interest to have it so, but Sir E. caused them to make a Peace with the French, whereby the French Interest in those parts was strengthened, and the English weakened. Mr. Peter Reverdy (a French Protestant) in his Memoirs concerning Sir E. A. complains of this.

After that Sir E. A. and his Complices were secured such reports and informations came to hand, as made New-England admire the Divine Providence in accomplishing what was done against the late Oppressors. They then saw the persons from whom they suspected the greatest danger, were now incapable of betraying them—

If an unaccountable Instinct and Resolution had not animated the Inhabitants in and about Boston, to seize on those few men, the People there believe N.E. would have been in the hands not of King William but King Lewis e’re this day: For in Sept. 1689. several Vessels belonging to N.E. were taken near Cansir in America by some French Men of War. The Prisoners since at liberty, inform, that the French told them, that there was a Fleet of Ships bound from France directly for Boston in N.E. but some of them were taken by the English Ships of War, and three or four of them lost at New-found-land, and that Sir E. A. had sent to the French King for them to come over, and the Countrey should be delivered up. And the Lieutenant of a French-man of War professed, that if Sir E. A. had not been imprisoned, they would then have gone to Boston. This shews what a good Opinion the French had of him, and such reports so testified made a strange impression on the spirits of the People throughout the Countrey: And that the World may see we do not write Fictions of our own, the subsequent Affidavits are produced and here inserted.

John Langford of Salem testifieth, That he being in the Ketch Margaret of Salem, Daniel Gygles Commander, they were taken by the French Ships off of Tarbay in America near Cansir on Tuesday the 17th day of September last past, and being put on board of the Admiral, viz. The Lumbuscado, and in the said Ship carried a Prisoner to Port Royal, and then did hear several of the Company on board the said Ship say, that they came Edition: current; Page: [185] directly from France, and that there was ten or twelve Sail of them Ships of War that came in company together, but some of them were taken upon the Coast of France, and some were lost since, and that they were all bound directly for N.E. and that Sir E. A. late Governour of N.E. had sent to the French King for them to come over, and the Countrey should be delivered up into his hands, and that they expected that before they should arrive, it would have been delivered into the hands of the French.

John Langford.

Benjamin Majery of Salem Jersey-man also testifieth, That he being taken the same day, and at the same place in the Ketch Diligence, Gilbert Peters Commander, as is abovesaid in the Evidence of John Langford, he heard the same related, by several of the company on board the other French Ship of War that was in company with the Lumbuscado; viz. The Frugum, so called, that there was ten Sail of them came out directly from France together; that Sir E. A. late Governour of N.E. had sent to the King of France for them to come over, and he would deliver the Countrey into their hands, and that they were bound directly for Boston in N.E. but had lost most of their Ships coming over.

The mark M of Benjamin Majery.

John Langford and Benjamin Majery both made Oath to the truth of these their respective Evidences in Salem, Novemb. 23. 1689.

Before me John Hathorne Assistant.

Joshua Conant testifieth, That he being Commander of the Ketch, Thomas and Mary of Salem, he was taken by three French Ships off from Tarbay, near Cansir, upon Tuesday the 17th of September last, two of which were Ships of War, the other a Merchant-man, and being put on board the Admiral, viz. the Lumbuscado, and therein carried to Port-Royal, a Prisoner, Mr. Mero told me that the French on board told him, that there was ten Sail of them Ships of War came out in company together from France, and that they came directly from France, and were bound to Boston in N.E. and that Sir E. A. had sent to the French King for them, and that the Countrey was to be delivered up into their hands; but having lost several of their Ships in their Voyage, and hearing that Sir E. A. was taken, and now in hold, should not proceed at present, but threatned what they would do the next Summer.

Joshuah Conant.
Edition: current; Page: [186]

Joshuah Conant personally appeared before me, and made Oath to the truth of the abovesaid Evidence. Salem, Novemb. the 23d. 1689.

John Hathorne Assistant.

Phillip Hilliard of Salem, Jersey-man testifieth, That he was taken by the French in a Ketch belonging to Salem; viz. The Thomas and Mary, Joshua Conant Commander off from Torbay near Cansir, this Autumn Septemb. 17. and being carried on board the Lumbuscado, did on board the said Ship hear several of the company say, that there was about twelve Sail of them Ships of War, came out in company together from France, and were bound directly for Boston in N.E. and that Sir E. A. the late Governour there had sent into France for them to come over.

The mark 8 of Phillip Hilliard.

Phillip Hilliard personally appeared before me, and made Oath to the truth of the abovesaid Evidence. Salem, Novemb. the 23. 1689.

John Hathorne Assistant.

James Cocks of Salem Mariner testifieth, That he was taken by the French in the Ketch Margaret of Salem, Daniel Gygles Commander on Tuesday the 17th of September last past off from Tarbay near Cansir by two French Ships of War, who had one Merchant-man in company with them, and he being carried on board their Admiral, viz. the Lumbuscado, he there met with a man he had known in London, one of the said Ships Company, who was a Biscay born, named Peter Goit, who told him that there was thirteen Ships of them came out of France in company together, and that they were bound directly for Boston in New-England, expecting that the Countrey was before, or would be at their coming delivered up to the King of France, and told him, before they could get clear of the Coast of France, several of their Ships were taken by the English Ships of War, and the rest of their Fleet taken or dispersed and lost about New-found-land.

The mark SS of James Cocks.

James Cocks personally appeared before me, and made Oath to the truth of the abovesaid Evidence. Salem, Nov. 23. 1689.

John Hathorne Assistant.

But as to one of the Crimes objected against Sir E. A. and his Arbitrary Complices, Habemus confitentem reum.14 Mr. Palmer cannot deny but that Edition: current; Page: [187] they levied moneys on the King’s Subjects in New-England, contrary to the fundamentals of the English Government, which doth not allow the imposition of Taxes without a Parliament. The New-Englanders supposed that their late Oppressors had been guilty of no less than a capital Crime by their raising Money in such a way as they did; and we are assured that one of them after he received, and before he acted by vertue of his illegal Commission from the Late King, professed, that if ever he had an hand in raising a penny of Money without an Assembly, his neck should go for it; and yet no man that we know of had a deeper hand in it than this person had. But Mr. Palmer, for the justification of this so foul a business, laies down several Positions which he would have no man deny; One of his Positions is, That it is a fundamental Point consented to by all Christian Nations, That the first discoverer of a Countrey inhabited by Infidels, gives a right and dominion of that Countrey to the Prince in whose service and employment the discoverers were sent. These are his words, p. 17. We affirm, that this fundamental Point (as he calls it) is not a Christian, but an unchristian Principle. It is controverted among the School-men, an dominium fundatur in gratia.15 Papists are (as Mr. Palmer is) for the affirmative, but the Scripture teaches us to believe that {all} the Heathen Nations, and the Sons of Adam, and not the Children of Israel only, have a right to the Earth, and to the Inheritance which God hath given them therein, Deut. 32. 8. When Mr. Palmer hath prov’d that Infidels are not the Sons of Adam, we shall consent to his notion, that Christians may invade their Rights, and take their Lands from them, and give them to whom they please, and that the Pope may give all America to the King of Spain. But let him know, that the first Planters in New-England, had more of conscience and the fear of God in them, than it seems Mr. Palmer hath. For they were not willing to wrong the Indians in their Properties; for which cause it was that they purchased from the Natives their right to the Soil in that part of the World, notwithstanding what right they had by vertue of their Charters from the Kings of England. Mr. Palmer’s Position is clearly against Jus Gentium & Jus Naturale,16 which instructs every man, Nemini injuriam facere.17 He that shall violently, and without any just cause take from Infidels their Lands, where they plant, and by which they subsist, does them manifest injury. And let us know of Mr. Palmer if Christian Princes have power Edition: current; Page: [188] to dispose of the Lands belonging to Infidels in the West-Indies, whether they have the like Dominion over the Lands belonging to the Infidels in the East-Indies, and if these Infidels shall refuse to consent that such Christians shall possess their Lands, that then they may lawfully Vi & Armis18 expel or destroy them, as the Spaniards did! We may send Mr. Palmer for further instruction in this point to Balaam’s Ass, which ingenuously acknowledged that her Master (though an Infidel) had a Property in, and right of Dominion over her, Numb. 22. 30. but this Gentleman hath some other Assertions which he would have us take for postulata,19 and then we shall be his Slaves without all peradventures. He tells us in page 17, 18, 19. that the English Plantations (in particular New-England) are no parts of the Empire of England, but like Wales and Ireland, which were Conquered, and belong to the Dominion of the Crown of England, and that therefore he that wears the Crown, may set up Governments over them, which are Despotick and Absolute, without any regard to Magna Charta, and that whereas in Barbadoes, Jamaica, Virginia, &c. they have their Assemblies, that’s only from the favour of the Prince, and not that they could pretend Right to such Priviledges of Englishmen.

And now we need no further discovery of the man. Could the people of N.E. who are zealous for English Liberties ever endure it long, that such a person as this should be made one of their Judges, that so by squeezing them, he might be able to pay his Debts? And can any rational man believe, that persons of such Principles did not Tyrannize over that people when once they had them in their cruel Clutches, and could pretend the Authority of the late King James for what they did? In our opinion Mr. Palmer hath not done like a Wise man thus to expose himself to the just resentments and indignation of all the English Plantations. If ever it should be his chance to be amongst them again, what could he expect but to be lookt on as communis Hostis,20 when he thus openly declares that they have no English Liberties belonging to them?—That worthy Gentleman Sir William Jones (who was Attorney General in the Reign of King Charles the second) had certainly more understanding in the Law than Captain Palmer, and yet Captain Palmer (we suppose) is not ignorant that when some proposed, that Jamaica (and so the other Plantations) might be governed without an Edition: current; Page: [189] Assembly, that excellent Attorney (not like Captain Palmer but like an Englishman) told the then King, That he could no more Grant a Commission to Levy Money on his Subjects there without their consent by an Assembly, than they could discharge themselves from their Allegiance to the English Crown; and what Englishmen in their right Wits will venture their Lives over the Seas to enlarge the Kings Dominions, and to enrich and greaten the English Nation, if all the reward they shall have for their cost and adventures shall be their being deprived of English Liberties, and in the same condition with the Slaves in France or in Turky! And if the Colonies of N.E. are not to be esteemed as parts of England, why then were the Quo Warranto’s issued out against the Government in Boston as belonging to Westminster in Middlesex! Are the English there, like the Welsh and Irish a Conquered people? When Mr. Palmer hath proved that, he hath said something. They have (through the Mercy of God) obtained Conquests over many of their Enemies, both Indians and French, to the Enlargement of the English Dominions. But except Mr. Palmer and the rest of that Crew will say, That his and their domineering a while was a Conquest, they were never yet a Conquered People. So that his alledging the case of Wales and Ireland before English Liberties were granted to them, is an impertinent Story. Besides, he forgets that there was an Original Contract between the King and the first Planters in New-England, the King promising them, if they at their own cost and charge would subdue a Wilderness, and enlarge his Dominions, they and their Posterity after them should enjoy such Priviledges as are in their Charters expressed, of which that of not having Taxes imposed on them without their own consent was one. Mr. Palmer and his Brethren Oppressors will readily reply, Their Charter was condemned. But he cannot think, that the Judgment against their Charter made them cease to be Englishmen. And only the Colony of the Massachusetts had their Charter condemned. And yet these Men ventured to Levy Moneys on the Kings Subjects in Connecticott Colony. For the which Invasion of Liberty and Property they can never answer. Indeed they say the Corporation of Connecticott surrendred their Charter. But who told them so? It is certain, that no one belonging to the Government there, knoweth of any such thing; and how their Oppressors should know that Connecticott made a Surrender of their Charter when the Persons concerned know nothing of it, is very strange. We can produce that written by the Secretary of that Colony with his own Hand, and also Signed by the present Governour there, which declares Edition: current; Page: [190] the contrary to what these Men (as untruly as boldly) affirm. Witness the words following.

In the Second year of the Reign of King James the Second, we had a Quo Warranto served upon us by Edward Randolph, requiring our appearance before His Majesties Courts in England, and although the time of our appearance was elapsed before the serving of the said Quo Warranto, yet we humbly petitioned His Majesty for his Favour, and the continuance of our Charter with the Priviledges thereof. But we received no other favour but a second Quo Warranto, and we well observing that the Charter of London and other considerable Cities in England were condemned, and that the Charter of the Massachusetts had undergone the like Fate, plainly saw what we might expect, yet we not judging it good or lawful to be active in surrendring what had cost us so dear, nor to be altogether silent, we empowered an Attorney to appear on our behalf, and to present our Humble Address to His Majesty, but quickly upon it as Sir E. A. informed us, he was empowered by His Majesty to Receive the Surrender of our Charter, if we saw meet so to do, and us also to take under his Government. Also Colonel Thomas Dungan His Majesties Governour of New-York, laboured to gain us over to his Government. We withstood all these motions, and in our reiterated Addresses, we Petitioned His Majesty to continue us in the free and full enjoyment of our Liberties and Properties, Civil and Sacred, according to our Charter. We also Petitioned that if His Majesty should not see meet to continue us as we were, but was resolved to annex us to some other Government; we then desired that in as much as Boston had been our old Correspondents, and a people whose Principles and Manners we had been acquainted with, we might rather be annexed to Sir E. A. his Government, than to Colonel Dungans, which choice of ours was taken for a resignation of our Charter, though that was never intended by us for such, nor had it the Formalities in Law to make it such. Yet Sir E. A. was Commissionated to take us under his Government, pursuant to which about the end of October 1687. he with a Company of Gentlemen and Granadeers to the number of Sixty or upwards came to Hartford the Chief Seat of this Government, caused his Commission to be read, and declared our Government to be dissolved, and put into Commission both Civil and Military Officers throughout our Colony as he pleased. When he passed through the principal parts thereof, the good people of the Colony though they were under a great sense of the Edition: current; Page: [191] injuries sustained thereby, yet chose rather to be silent and patient than to oppose, being indeed surprized into an involuntary submission to an Arbitrary Power—

Robert Treat Governour.
John Allen Secretary.

Thus did Sir E. A. and his Creatures, who were deeply concerned in the Illegal Actions of the Late Unhappy Reigns, contrary to the Laws of God and Men, commit a Rape on a whole Colony; for which Violence it is hoped they may account, and make reparation (if possible) to those many whose Properties as well as Liberties have been Invaded by them—

Captain Palmer in the close of his partial account of N.E. entertains his Readers with an harangue about the Sin of Rebellion, and misapplies several Scriptures that so he might make the World believe that the people of N.E. have been guilty of wicked Rebellion by their casting off the Arbitrary Power of those ill men who invaded Liberty and Property to such an intolerable degree as hath been proved against them. But does he in sober sadness think, that if when Wolves are got among Sheep in a Wilderness, the Shepherds and Principal men there shall keep them from Ravening, that this is the Sin of Rebellion condemned in the Scripture? How or by whose Authority our Lawyer comes to play the Divine we know not. But since he hath thought meet to take a Spiritual Weapon into his hand, let him know that the Scripture speaks of a lawful and good Rebellion, as well as of that which is unlawful. It is said of good Hezekiah that he Rebelled against the King of Assyria and served him not, 2 Kings 18.7. Indeed reviling Rabshakeh upbraided him, and said as in verse 20. thou Rebellest (not unlike to Captain Palmer) saying to N.E. thou rebellest. Hezekiahs predecessours had basely given away the Liberties of the people, and submitted to the Arbitrary Power of the Assyrians, and therefore Hezekiah did like a worthy Prince in casting off a Tyrannical Government, and asserting the Liberty of them that were the Lords People, and God did signally own and prosper him in what he did, and would never permit the Assyrian to regain his Tyrannical Power over Jerusalem or the Land of Judah, though for their tryal he permitted their Enemies to make some Devastations among them. The like (we hope) may be the happy case of New England. Mr. Palmer tells us, that N.E. hath valued it self for the true profession and pure exercise of the Protestant Religion, Edition: current; Page: [192] but he intimates that they will be termed a Land full of Hypocrisie and Rebellion, Irreligion, and a degenerate wicked people, p. 39. And is this the Sincerity and Christian Moderation which he boasts himself of in his Preface? Surely these are the Hissings of the Old Serpent and do sufficiently indicate whose Children the men are that use them. Since he will be at Divinity, let him (if he can) read the Apologies written by Justin Martyr, and Tertullian and there see if Pagans did not accuse Christians of Old just after the same manner, and with the same Crimes that he wickedly upbraids that Good and Loyal People with. Who are they that use to call the Holiest and most Conscientious men in the World, Hypocrites, Liars, Rebels, and what not? but they that are themselves the greatest Hypocrites, Liars, and Rebels against Heaven that the Earth does bear? It is hard to believe that Captain Palmer does not rebel against the light of his own Conscience, when he affirms as in Page (38) that in N.E. every thing that hath any relations to their Majesties is neglected, and unregarded without any recognition of their Authority over those dominions. He cannot be ignorant of the humble Addresses which the people in N.E. have from time to time made to their present Majesties, acknowledging their Authority. He knows that on the first notice of their Majesties being proclaimed King and Queen in England, both those now in Government in N.E. and the body of the people with them, did (without any command) of their own accord, with the greatest Joy proclaim their Majesties in N.E. he knows that their Majesties have no subjects more cordially and zealously devoted to them than those in N.E. are, or that do with greater fervour pray for their long and happy Reigns, or that are more willing to expose themselves to the utmost hazards in their service, and yet this man that knoweth all this, to cast an Odium on that Loyal and Good people, insinuates as if they were Rebels, and disaffected to the Present Government, and designed to set up an Independant Common Wealth, and had no regard to the Laws of God or Men. After this lying and malicious rate hath he exprest himself—What Rational Charity can be extended so far as to believe that ’tis possible for him to think that what himself hath written is true? When Sanballat wrote that Nehemiah and the Jews with him intended to Rebel, did he believe what he had written? no, he did not, but feigned those things out of his own heart. The like is to be said of those Sanballats that accuse the people of N.E. with thoughts of Rebellion. And so we have done with Mr. Palmer. What hath been said is sufficient to justify the Revolution in N.E. and to vindicate the People there from the Aspersions cast upon them by their Enemies. Several Edition: current; Page: [193] Worthy Gentlemen have under their hands given an account concerning some of Sir Edmund’s Arbitrary proceedings, which is subscribed by five (and more would have concurred with them had there been time to have communicated it) of those who were of Sir Edmunds Council during his Government there, and for that cause their complaints carry the more weight with them, which shall therefore as a Conclusion be here subjoined.


There is such Notoriety as to Matter of Fact in the preceding Relation, that they who Live in New-England are satify’d concerning the Particulars contained therein. If any in England should Hesitate, they may please to understand that Mr. Elisha Cooke, and Mr. Thomas Oakes (who were the last Year sent from Boston to appear as Agents in behalf of the Massachusetts Colony) have by them Attested Copies of the Affidavits (at least wise of most of them) which are in this Vindication published, and are ready (if occasion serve) to produce them.

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6: John Montague, Arguments Offer’d to the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners (1701)

The decades following the Glorious Revolution in British America were characterized by an ongoing uncertainty about the rights that the colonists were entitled to as subjects outside the realm. But in contrast to the violent overthrow of the Dominion of New England in 1689, legal appeals to the Crown and lobbying in London became the preferred method for expressing colonial grievances. War with the French also shaped the politics of the empire in these years as royal officials came to see colonial autonomy as inimical to imperial defense. These officials were particularly concerned that the colonists’ desire for land not alienate the Native Americans whose support was vital in the long conflict with New France. Because of its proximity to both the French and to the strategically important Five Nations (the Iroquois confederacy), New York was at the center of both military and political conflict in the post–Glorious Revolution empire.

John Montague’s Arguments Ofer’d is a product of the fraught politics of New York in the new transatlantic political world of the late 1690s and early 1700s. Montague was a London lawyer retained by prominent New Yorkers who sought to prevent the royal confirmation of three acts passed in 1699 by the legislature at the behest of the new governor, Lord Bellomont. The most important of these acts overturned several grants of Mohawk land made by the previous governor, Benjamin Fletcher. Because Bellomont had been sent to New York to strengthen the defenses of the northern colonies against the Edition: current; Page: [196] French, he wanted to mollify the Mohawks (one of the powerful Iroquois confederacy) and thus got the council and the legislature to annul Fletcher’s grants. In addition to preserving their claim to Mohawk land, Montague’s clients were also concerned about the jailing of two excise collectors, as well as the removal of a minister, Godfrey Dellius, from his post at Albany (Dellius was one of the recipients of Mohawk land).

In opposing these acts, Montague expressed a growing settler concern about the prerogative power of royal governors in the colonies. As he told the Lords Commissioners, in jailing the two excise collectors without due process, Bellomont had acted in an “arbitrary” fashion and had violated “that Liberty whereto every English Subject is entitled.” Montague also accused Bellomont of using his powers of appointment to influence the composition of the legislature in order to get these acts passed, thereby placing “the Liberties and Properties of the People of this Province” at “the will & pleasure of the Governor.” In addition to defending the idea of a balanced constitution, Montague also argued that the Indians had a natural right to the lands in question which they had then transferred to his clients. Indeed, Montague went so far as to argue that these lands were “never the Possessions . . . of the Crown.” Moreover, he held that his clients, having purchased the land from the Indians, had made “Improvements” which increased its value and which had also “enlarged the Dominions and Territories of the Crown of England.” To now “wrest these Lands out of the hands of the Grantees” would, he argued, be both “Unjust” and “Unreasonable.” And, in what may be the earliest use of Locke’s ideas in British America, Montague also argued that “People” leave the “state of Nature” and “unite themselves into Politick Societies” in order to render their property more secure. Montague drove this point home by quoting directly from the Second Treatise to argue that neither the executive nor the legislature could therefore take property arbitrarily (and in a somewhat transparent attempt to influence the commissioners, he added that Locke “lately had the honour to sit at this Board”).

Although Montague was initially successful in preventing the confirmation of Bellomont’s acts, the case dragged on unresolved for several more years, its indeterminate status exemplifying the tensions inherent in an empire where royal authority competed with the desire of settlers to exercise rights to property and self-government irrespective of the claims of non-Europeans and the imperatives of imperial defense. (C.B.Y.)

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Offer’d to the Right Honourable the

Lords Commissioners


Trade & Plantation

Relating to some Acts of Assembly past

at New-York in America.

Printed in the Year 1701.

Edition: current; Page: [198]

Arguments, Etc. To the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners for Trade & Plantations.

The humble Memorial of John Montague of Chancery-Lane, London, Gent. on behalf of several hundreds of Land Owners and principal Inhabitants of his Majesties Province of New York, touching some Acts (now before your Lordships) of the Assembly (or pretended Assembly) of that Province, beginning the 2d of March, 1698, and ending the 16th of May following.

May it please your Lordships;

Having received several Instruments from New-York, under the Hands of several Hundreds of the Gentlemen and others of that Province, to impower me to act for them against the said Acts, and in other Matters, I did on their behalfs present my humble Petition to your Lordships, praying to be heard by Council, against several of the said Acts; and have in answer thereto, received from Mr. Popple your Lordships Commands to lay before your Lordships in writing what I have to offer upon this Subject.

In obedience whereto, I shall with all humble Submission to your Lordships, attempt to say something against some of these Acts, in such a manner (tho’ with much less advantage) as I can suppose Council would have done, had it been your Lordships pleasure first to have heard my Clyents by their Council.

And (My Lords) if the Consideration of my Duty to my Clyents, regard to the Trust I am favour’d with by so great a Number of People, and the apprehensions I have conceived of the weight of the Concern, shall occasion me to speak of things too high for me, rather than omit any thing I can in my small Capacity think of, that may be fit for Consideration upon this subject, I hope your Lordships will Pardon my so doing, together with the Prolixity thereby occasioned.

And I beseech your Lordships to believe, that nothing but the Considerations before-mention’d induced me thus to wander above my Sphere.

My Lords, I shall trouble your Lordships with particular Objections but against three of these Acts. And the first that I shall mention is that entitled, An Act for committing Ebenezer Willson and Samuel Burt (Farmers of the Excise on the Island of Nassaw) for their contemptuous refusing to render an Account of what they farm’d the same for, to the respective Towns, Counties and Mannors on the said Island for the last year.

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This Act recites, That the Governour and Council had required the Farmers of the Excise to lay before the House of Representatives, upon Oath, the most plain and perfect Account they could give, of what they had let the Excise for, of the several Towns, Mannors and Jurisdictions within the Island of Nassaw, the last year of their Farm. And that Mr. Burt and Mr. Willson, without giving any sufficient Reason, in contempt of his Majesties Authority, wherewith (says the Act) the House, in the Quality they were then sitting, was invested, wilfully & stubbornly had done, and did refuse to give such Account as was required. And therefore enacts That Mr. Burt and Mr. Willson should be committed into safe Custody, without Bail or Mainprize, until they should exhibit under hands, upon Oath, the Account required, &c.

The Case (as I am inform’d, and as I presume will not be denyed) of these two Gentlemen was thus: They are Traders, and were Farmers of this Excise: They lost by the Farm, and were unwilling such loss should be made publick, lest it should prejudice their Credit, & so damnifie them in their Trade. The Governour sends for them, and [extra judicially] requires them to give an Account upon Oath (which Oath he likewise would have extrajudicially administred to them) of what they had made of their Farm. They refuse to take this Oath, & the Governour therefore was so rash as to commit them. After they had lain several days in Prison, then is this Act procur’d to be past.

Now, My Lords, with humble submission, either these Gentlemen were obliged by Law (antecedent to this Act) to give the Account required, or they were not. If they were obliged to it by Law antecedent to this Act, then there was no occasion for this Act, nor ought this Act to have been made; for they ought then to have been compell’d to do it by the Executive Power in the ordinary course of Justice; and the Legislative Power ought not to have been made Executive to compell them to it.

If these Gentlemen were not obliged by Law antecedent to this Act to give the Account required, Then, with humble submission, the Governour in committing them was guilty of a very arbitrary proceeding, and a great Violation of the Law; and then this Act is made to countenance or excuse an Illegal Act of the Governors; and with submission, the Governour’s Commitment was illegal, even although they had been obliged to give such Account by Law antecedent to this Act; for in that case the Governour could not compell them thereto extrajudicially, but they would even in that case have been compellable thereto (only) in the ordinary course of Justice. Edition: current; Page: [200] And they were guilty of no manner of Offence in refusing to take the Oath the Governour thus arbitrarily and illegally tendered to them.

When the Excise was farm’d in England, there was, as I am inform’d, a Covenant on the part of the Farmers, to give an Account, like what was demanded in this case, which (if there needed any) is an argument they could not, without such Covenant, have been compell’d to it. And it would, with humble Submission, have been thought a very strange and arbitrary proceeding here in England, and a great Instance of Infringement of the English Liberties, for the King to have sent for the Farmers of the Excise and tendered them an Oath to give such Account, and upon their refusal immediately to have committed them, such a Commitment would, without doubt, have been illegal, and against the Letter and meaning of Magna Charta; and therefore in his case neither the Governour, nor the House could (antecedent to the Act) be invested with any Authority to commit these Gentlemen, nor to require (especially in an extrajudicial manner) any Oath from them touching what they had made of their Farm. And yet this Act punishes them for an Offence, as such, antecedent to the Act, and does not first make it their Duty by enacting, That they should do it within a limitted time after the passing of the Act, & that in default thereof they should be committed for the breach of the Law after it was made, but enacts, That they should be forth-with committed, as having been guilty of an Offence before the Act made.

My Lords, therefore, with humble submission, to confirm this Law, will be either to countenance an illegal Act, and a violation of the Law by the Governour, in derogation of that Liberty whereto every English Subject is entituled, or else it will be to declare, That Mr. Willson & Mr. Burt were guilty of an Offence against the Law in refusing the Oath extrajudicially tendered to them before the making of this Act, when there was no Law to oblige them either to give the Account or take the Oath required; and the very tendring the Oath to them was illegal.

The Complainers therefore against these Acts think their Liberties much concern’d in this matter, and humbly hope your Lordships will think so illegal and Arbitrary a Proceeding of the Governour’s, as the tendring such an Oath extrajudicially, and afterwards committing these two Gentlemen only for refusing to take it, ought not afterwards to receive the Countenance, much less the Affirmance of the Legislative Power; & that your Lordships will so far discourage a Governour’s acting arbitrarily and illegally and upon Edition: current; Page: [201] any slight occasion making use of the Legislative Power, as Executive in a particular case, to countenance his illegal Proceedings; or (as it may happen) to gratifie his Revenge, by making a Law to punish that as an Offence, which was not so before, nor at the time it was committed. They hope your Lordships will at least so far discountenance things of this Nature, as to advise his Majesty to reject this Act, which they apprehend to be a President of dangerous Consequences to the Laws and Liberties whereto they are very well assured your Lordships will, at all times, and upon all occasions, have a very tender regard.

My Lords, the next of these Acts that I shall beg leave to object to, is that entituled, An Act for the vacating, breaking and annulling of several Grants of Land, &c. Which is complain’d of not only as great Injustice to the Grantees and divers others, but also as a thing of dangerous Consequence, and that renders the Property of all Lands within this Province incertain and precarious, and perfectly at the will of the Governour and fifteen, fourteen, or a less number of Men. But before I speak to the vacating of the Grants in Question by this Act, and divesting the Grantees of them, I must not omit to take notice of a Clause that is very strangely thrust into this Act, and more strangely into the Preamble of it, among the Recitals of the Grants there said to be Extravagant, in these words.

That it having appear’d to the house of Representatives conven’d in general Assembly, That Mr. Godfrey Dellius has been a principal Instrument in deluding the Mahaque Indians and illegally and surreptitiously obtaining of said grant, that he ought to be, and is hereby suspended from the Exercise of his ministerial function in the City and County of Albany.

My Lords, What is here meant, by deluding, and what by surreptitiously obtaining this Grant, is so uncertain that nothing can be more, had the Act specified how and in what the Indians were deluded, and how Mr. Dellius was Instrumental in that, what facts Mr. Dellius did to delude the Indians, and what he did to obtain this Grant, then his Majesty and your Lordships might have been able thereby to judge whether Mr. Dellius had been guilty of an Offence, of what nature and Quality the Offence was, and what punishment it ought to receive, and whether it were an Offence that was worthy the consideration of and punishment by the Legislative Power, But to attaint and punish a man by the Legislative Power, and not to specifie and describe plainly in the Act of attaint, the Offence for which he is so Edition: current; Page: [202] punished, is, with submission, a Method altogether strange and unusual, and very unbecoming the Justice and Wisdom of a Legislative Power to use. It is very well known, that Mr. Dellius has been very Instrumental in converting the Mohaques and other Indians to the Christian and Protestant Religion, and thereby keeping them from the French and uniting them to the English Interest; And (for ought appears by this Act) that may be the deluding there meant.

The punishment is very severe, yet uncertain too; he is disgraced by an Attaint by the Legislative Power, and is suspended from the Exercise of his Ministerial Function in the City and County of Albany, where he has been (with considerable Reputation) a Minister for above fifteen years. He is stript at once of his livelihood, and no body knows (nor can learn by this Act) for how long he is suspended, nor when or how he shall be restored. Nor does it (as has been said) appear by this Act what he has done to deserve so severe a punishment. More might be said against this clause: But I shall only, with submission, add at present, That at least your Lordships will think That before his Majesty gives his Authority for the inflicting so severe a Punishment on a particular Person (especially a Minister) as the publickly disgracing him, and utterly stripping him of his Livelihood, his Majesty will be better satisfied of the crimes laid to his charge, than he can be by the incertain, general and ambiguous Terms used in this Act, for the reasons why he is thus punished.

My Lords, As to the principal part and design of this Act, to wit, the vacating Grants of Land and divesting the Owners of them, (for which no other reason is assign’d but that the Legislators are pleased to think them Extravagant, or at least to call them so) there seems to be so many things of weight to be objected to it, that the difficulty is not to find out Exceptions to, and Reasons against it, but rather which to begin with.

The Gentlemen who have attempted to be advocates for this Act have endeavoured to represent it as a thing done pursuant to the Lords Justices Instructions, and to be like an Act of Resumption of Crown Lands here in England.

As to the Lords Justices Instructions, They were to break the Grants by legal means; which term of [Legal] is a Relative Term, and must relate to the Law then in being, and not to a New Law after to be made; And therefore these Instructions cannot, with Submission, be construed to intend any thing but to vacate them by a proceeding in the Ordinary Course of Justice. Edition: current; Page: [203] And whose Representation from this Province, and Solicitation gave occasion to these Instructions, (or rather procured them,) is, I presume, not unknown to your Lordships.

My Lords, with Submission, This Act is not at all in the Circumstances or Reason of an Act of Resumption of Crown Lands in England. For First, All that have any Lands in this Province, have a Grant from the Crown of them, so that to disturb these Grants, is to disturb the Titles of the Lands of an whole Province. 2dly, Most of the Lands in Question, (and particularly those comprized in the Grants to Mr. Dellius and Coll. Bayard,) were by the Grantees purchased of the Indians, and afterwards Grants were taken of them from the Crown of England, under small Quit-Rents, by way of Acknowledgment, to fix the Tenure and Soveraignity of them in this Crown, and put them under it’s Protection; and so as to these Lands, the Revenues of the Crown are not diminished by the Kings Grants, but the Territories and Dominions of the Crown are inlarged by the Subjects purchase.

My Lords, I will endeavour to reduce, at least, the greatest part, I have to say to this Act, to these two heads.

1st. That it is Unreasonable and Unjust.

2dly. That it tends not only to the discouraging and Interruption of all planting and improving of Lands within this Province but even to the subversion of Government, and reducing things to disorder and Confusion.

My Lords, with humble Submission, this Act is Unjust and Unreasonable, and that for these Reasons.

1st. Because the Grantees are by this Act divested of the Lands granted, and several of them have been at considerable Charges in Buildings and Improvements, and several of them have made Leases and Conveyances of the granted Lands to others, who have made Improvements thereon; and yet by this Act there is no manner of provision made to Reimburse the Grantees the charges they have been at about the Lands it arbitrarily divests them of; nor any provision made for, or care taken of those who have (upon the Credit of the Grants in Question, and his Majesties Declaration, That they should be good against his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors) taken Leases or other Conveyances, and made Improvements under these Grants. In case it could be made out to be just for the Legislative Power to take the Lands in Question away from the Grantees (as for reasons which I shall mention hereafter I presume your Lordships will think it never can) yet certainly (with Submission) the Grantees and those that have taken Leases & Edition: current; Page: [204] Conveyances under these Grants, ought in all Reason and Justice at least to be satisfied all Charges and Expences they have been at about these Lands. It cannot (with humble Submission) but be thought a very strange proceeding in a Government, first, to grant these lands to particular Persons, & incourage them to be at Charge about them, and others and also to be at Expence about the Lands comprized in such Leases and Conveyances; and afterwards (by an Act of the Legislative) arbitrarily to wrest these Lands out of the hands of the Grantees, and all claiming under them, without any manner of Consideration for the Charges they have been at about them. This, with humble Submission, is so manifest an Injustice, That it plainly seems (if there were no other) a sufficient reason for rejecting this Act.

But, 2dly, This Act is Unjust and Unreasonable, Because it seizes into the Kings hands, and divests several Persons of Lands, that were never the Possessions or Rights of the Crown, but purchased by these Persons so divested (or those under whom they claim) of the Indians. That this is the case at least of a very great (if not the far greatest) part of the Lands in Question, I presume the advocates for this Act will not deny; If they do, ’tis ready to be proved. Nor will it be deny’d I believe but the Indians had possession of at least a great part of the Lands in Question, till they sold them to the Persons who are divested of them by this Act. Nor that those Persons had Lycences from the Government to purchase them of the Indians. If the Indians had possession of them, then, with Submission, they had a Right to them by preoccupancy, by the Law of Nature; and by all other Laws, a Right by Possession against every one but he that could shew a better Right. The discovering and possessing these Lands, might give the English a Right against any others, but the Natives; But that which gave them a Right before others (not being the Natives, viz Possession and Preoccupancy) gave the Natives a Right against them, until the Natives by free agreement should part with such their Right.

The advantage any Nation has over another, in Might and Power, in true Religion, or in the Arts of Government, War or Improvements, or other Arts or Sciences, does not, (with humble Submission) give the Nation that has those Advantages, in ever so great a Degree, a Right to the possessions of another People, be they ever so Weak, and Unable to defend them, ever so Ignorant and Irreligious, ever so salvage and Barbarous. Nor is it pretended that these Indians are in a state of War with England, for they have been treated with as Friends, and the granting Lycences by the Government to Edition: current; Page: [205] purchase Lands of them, admits them to have a Right to sell them; which ’tis not to be doubted but they once had, and (with humble Submission) I do not see how they have lost it; unless their being Weak and Unable to defend themselves, or unskill’d in Religion, Policy and Arts, can alter matter of Right, upon the Principles of Natural Justice; I shall therefore say no more at present as to this, until I have learn’d from the advocates for this Act, what Title the Crown had to the Lands purchased by Coll. Bayard and Mr. Dellius, and others respectively of the Indians, (and of which Lands they are divested by this Act) before they were so purchased; Only that the Owners on such Lands by or under such purchases, do humbly insist and rely upon it, that by such purchases they have a full Right and Property in the Lands so purchased; And that I am inform’d that it was formerly thought for the Interest of the Crown of England, that as much Lands as could, should be purchased from the Indians; And also that all Incouragement was given to People to make such purchases, for that the Territories of the Crown of England are thereby inlarged.

But, 3dly This Act has the Misfortune to be most manifestly Unjust and Unreasonable upon its own principles. The Fundamental Principle upon which this Act proceeds, is, That the Grants in Question are Extravagant, but the Deduction it makes from that principle will by no means, in Justice or Reason, follow from it.

For, (for ought appears by this Act) all the Grants in Question, (except one of the two Grants to Mr. Dellius) were duly and legally made. But they are Extravagant; Admitting them to be so, then, with humble Submission, The proper and reasonable Measure is, not to take all the granted Lands from the Grantees, but such parts only, as would reduce the Extravagancy of the Grant to reasonable and moderate Limits: If a Grant be Extravagant, It is because more is granted than ought to have been, and then it will follow, that some part ought not to have been granted; But it will not from thence follow, that no part ought to have been granted, or that all ought to be taken from the Grantee.

Had the Act in taking notice of the Grant of Ground of fifty foot long to Mr. Caleb Heathcote, declared it to be Extravagant, because it granted him too much by Twenty five foot in length; and had divested him of twenty five foot of this ground, and left him the other twenty five. And in the last clause (which is introduc’d with these words, To the intent it may not be in the Power of any of his Majesties Governours or Commanders in Chief, for the Edition: current; Page: [206] time being, hereafter to make any such Extravagant Grants. And how little this Clause answers its own introductory words, I humbly submit to your Lordships Consideration) had enacted, That no body should hereafter have had Grants of Lands in this Province exceeding twenty five foot in length; This, with submission, would have made the Act much more coherent than now it is.

But, My Lords, with humble submission, to say, that because a Subject has too much, therefore all ought to be taken from him, deserves the Name of a gross Absurdity; and whether the former be not the very Principle this Act goes upon, and the latter the very deduction it makes from that Principle, is humbly submitted to your Lordships Consideration.

My Lords, The other Objection I humbly proposed to make to this Act, is, That it tends not only to the Discouraging and Incorruption of all Improvements of Lands within this Province, but even to the subversion of Government, and reducing things to Disorder and Confusion.

I have already observed to your Lordships, That all Persons who have any Lands in this Province, have Grants from the Crown for them, although purchased from the Indians, which is to fix the Tenure and Soveraignity of such Lands (so purchased) in the Crown of England, and put them under its Protection.

I must now beg leave to observe two things more.

1st. By how few Persons the Acts of the Assembly of this Province may pass. The Assembly consists but of Twenty one Men, after the addition that the present Governour has made of Members to it, and so Eleven makes a Majority in a full House. And the Governour may displace all the Council, and take seven of his own chusing (and this Governour has done so, as I am informed) and of these seven, five or six may act, and so three or four, at the most, make a Majority in the Council.

2dly, That the Lands in question are taken away, by this Act, from the Grantees, because they are Extravagant; and yet here is no Rule or Measure (either expressed in the Act, or that can be collected from it) whereby it can be Known what is Extravagant, and what not, in the sence of these Legislators. A Grant of Lands of fifty Miles long is said to be Extravagant, and so is a Grant of a piece of Ground that is but fifty Foot long. A Grant in Fee is there said to be extravagant, and so is a Grant for a small Term of years, even so small as that of seven years, altho’ it be for publick Use to support the Charge of a Church for the service of Almighty God; so Edition: current; Page: [207] that upon the whole, that is Extravagant which a Governor and fourteen or fifteen Men (I mean the Majority of the Council and Assembly) shall please to call so.

My Lords, It is well known to your Lordships, that the Governors of this Province have been by their Commissions impowered to make Grants of Lands, under such moderate Quit-Rents and Acknowledgements, as the Governor (with the advice of his Council) should think fit or reasonable; and the King thereby declares, That such Grants shall be good and effectual against his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors.

This Declaration & Assurance was, without doubt, design’d to encourage People to accept these Grants, and Leases and Conveyances under them, and to settle, plant and improve the Lands granted, for he that builds on, or plants or improves Lands, does it with a prospect that he and his shall enjoy it; who then will settle, build on or improve Land, when his Property therein is altogether incertain and precarious? when a Governour and fourteen or fifteen Men may call the Grants of such Lands Extravagant, (though actually made according to the afore mentioned Power) and arbitrarily take them (with the Improvements) away from the Proprietors?

An Act therefore of the Legislative Power, that arbitrarily divests men of their Lands, for no other Reason, but that they have too much, (and without ascertaining what is too much in the sence of the Legislators) makes Property altogether incertain and precarious, and is the most effectual way to discourage and stop all manner of Improvements of Land, and not only so, but tends even to the Dissolution and Subversion of Government, and reducing things into Disorder and Confusion.

For, My Lords, with humble submission, it is a true Maxim, That Interest Governs the World. The great motive and inducement to People to unite themselves into Politick Societies, and to submit to Government, was the Preservation & Protection of their Properties, and rendering them more certain and secure than they could be in a state of Nature, without any publick Regiment. And this is the great Motive and Incouragement to People to contribute their endeavours for the Support and Defence of that Government, whereby they are protected in their Properties.

A settled Rule of Property, steadily observed, and impartially applied, is the great Legament of Government; and when Property is made uncertain and precarious, this Legament is broken, and the Society in danger of running into Disorder and Confusion.

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If Grants of Lands, in these Circumstances, shall be vacated, because a Governour and eleven, or a less number of Men (who if he does not chuse, he has at least a very great Influence in the choice of them) and three or four Men (absolutely of his own chusing) are pleased to call them Extravagant who can tell what they will call Extravagant? No man can be at any reasonable Certainty of his Title. At this Rate, a Governour and three or four Men, whom he may chuse himself, and eleven, or a less number of other Men (in whose choice he has at least a great Influence) may share and divide all the Lands of this Province among them & their Relations: ’Tis but saying, those that have them have too much, That their Grants are Extravagant & then (according to the excellent reason and justice of this Act) they may take them all from the present Owners, Divest them of all; and then the Governour has Power (with the consent of his Council) to grant them to whom he pleases: He may grant to his eleven Men in the Assembly, and three or four Men in the Council, such parts as [perhaps] they have privately bargain’d for before they gave their Votes, and the rest to others of his own Creatures, and [it may be] in trust for himself.

Should (therefore) this Act be confirm’d, it will put all the Province into Confusion. Who knows but the Governour, and his fourteen or fifteen Men in the Council & Assembly, will call any Grant Extravagant, when they or their Friends shall have a mind to have another Mans Estate, with the fruits of his Expence, Care and Labour, to wit, the Improvements made upon it? For if this Act be confirmed, the People of this Province may, with reason, fear, that this Assembly will, at the next meeting, take away some more of their Lands, with their Improvements; and another Assembly, more after that [for by the same Measures of this Act, they are all now become Tenants at Will to their Governour & his fourteen or fifteen Men] And what an effect must such Apprehensions have? No Body will lend any Money upon a Mortgage of any of these Lands, nor accept long Leases or Conveyances, or make Improvements under these Grants [for the fate of those that have taken Leases and Conveyances, and made Improvements under the Grants in Question, will be too fresh in Memory] nor will any Body accept them in Settlements upon Marriage, because they know not but the Governour and his fourteen or fifteen Men, will some time or other, (and how soon they know not,) think the Lands too much for the Owners, and by their Legislative Power, arbitrarily divest the Owners of them; nor will any Body, for the same reason, make further Improvements on their own Edition: current; Page: [209] Lands, for improving them will advance their value, & that will occasion the Governour and his fourteen or fifteen men to call them Extravagant, and take them away.

My Lords, I beg leave upon this occasion, further, humbly to put your Lordships in mind of the dangerous Consequence of the Legislative Power acting as Executive in this Province.

It is the happiness of our English Constitution, that the Legislative and the Executive Powers act distinctly, in distinct Capacities, and by several Agents. The former to make Rules and Laws, the latter to apply those Rules and Laws to particular cases. Where this is so, the individuals of the Legislative are cautious of making ill Rules or Laws, lest they should themselves suffer by them: And the latter stands in awe of punishment for mis-applying the Law in particular Cases. Hereby the true and great end of Government is answered, viz. None are without Check, and all sorts of Mankind are kept from injuring one the other.

But when the Legislative Power (who are too great to be punished) act as Executive in particular Cases, they are then without check, for they give no general Rules to fear the effects of themselves, and yet act without any prescribed Rules.

And when this is done in a Country where the Number of Men that compose the Legislative Power is so small, and where the Governour may have the choice of so great a part of them, & so great an Influence and Power towards getting his own Creatures to be return’d and sit in the other part, in a Country that is so remote from the Fountain of Justice [the place of their Princes Residence] To how great and how arbitrary Injustices and Oppressions the unhappy People of such a Country, where this is so practised, are liable, is not difficult to be conceived.

I beseech your Lordships to consider what two fatal strokes here are made by the two Acts I have here particularly mentioned the one at the Liberties, and the other at the Properties of the People of this Province, if the measures and methods of these two Acts be countenanced and practised, then are the Liberties and Properties of all the People of this Province wholly at the will of the Governour and fourteen or fifteen Men at the most. And if the Governour may displace the whole Council, and chuse another: then three or four of these fourteen or fifteen are of his own chusing. And if the Sheriffs (who are of his own chusing) shall be instrumental in undue Elections, and shall make false Returns of Members to serve in the Edition: current; Page: [210] Assembly, and those Members assembled stand by such undue Elections & false Returns, and are the Governours Creatures, Then will the Liberties and Properties of the People of this Province be at the will & pleasure of the Governour; for they will then be without Remedy, otherwise than by complaining of such undue Elections in England; and in things of so great a Complication, and to be proved by so many Witnesses, as the facts about Elections are, it will be too chargeable to send Witnesses hither; and that Magistrates or Courts will not take the Depositions or Affidavits of Witnesses that are touching Elections, where the Governour favours the contrary side is, (as I am informed) found too true by very late Experience; & besides few dare appear as Witnesses against the frowns of a Governour; howbeit some Affidavits have been gotten and sent over, touching the undue Elections & Returns of several Members who served in this Assembly, that made these two Acts, which I shall beg leave to lay before your Lordships when I have them.

My Lords, With humble Submission, should an Act of Parliament be made in England, that should say such a one had an Estate of 50000l. a year, another 5000l. another 500l. and another 50l. per ann and that these are Extravagant Estates, and for that reason divest the Owners of them; would not other Owners of Land have but too much reason to think themselves altogether insecure of their Properties, and to fear their Turns might be next? What a Discontent and Confusion such an Act would make in England, I humbly submit to your Lordships Considerations.

To shew further the Inconsistency of this Act with the Fundamental Principles and Ends of Government, and how unjust it is, and fit to be rejected, I will beg leave to cite the words of a very worthy and learned Author that but lately had the honour to sit at this Board.

The Supream Power (saith he) cannot take from any Man any part of his Property without his own consent; for the Preservation of Property being the end of Government, and that for which Men enter into Society, it necessarily supposes and requires, that the People should have Property, without which they must be supposed to lose that by entering into Society, which was the end for which they entered into it, too gross an Absurdity for any Man to own. Men therefore in Society having Property, they have such a Right to the Goods which by the Law of the Community are theirs, that no body hath a Right to take them, or any part of them from them, without their own consent, without this they have no Edition: current; Page: [211] Property at all. For I have truly no Property in that which another can, by Right, take from me when he pleases, against my Consent. Hence it is a Mistake to think that the Supream or Legislative Power of any Common Wealth can do what it will, and dispose of the Subjects Estate arbitrarily, or take any part of them at pleasure.1

And again, afterwards, fol. 274.

But Government, into whatsoever hands it is put, being, as I have before shewed, intrusted with this Condition, and for this end, that Men might have & secure their Properties. The Prince or Senate (however it may have Power to make Laws for the regulating of Property between the Subjects one amongst another, yet) can never have a Power to take to themselves the whole or any part of the Subjects Property without their own consent; for this would be, in effect, to leave them no Property at all.

My Lords, I will beg leave to mention one thing that I have hinted at before, and that is, That in Commissions to Governours of this Province, there is this Clause, viz.

And We do likewise give and grant unto you full Power and Authority, by and with the advice and consent of Our said Council, to agree with the Inhabitants of our Province and Territories aforesaid, for such Lands, Tenements and Hereditaments, as now are, or hereafter shall be in Our Power to dispose of, and them to grant unto any Person or Persons for such Terms, and under such moderate Quit-Rents, Services and Acknowledgements to be thereupon reserved unto Us, as you, by and with the Advice aforesaid, shall think fit; which said Grants are to pass and be sealed by our Seal of New-York, and (being entered upon Record by such Officer or Officers as you shall appoint thereunto) shall be good and effectual in Law against Us, Our Heirs and Successors.

My Lords, (with Submission) the Resolutions and Declarations of a Prince, are the Fruit of great Wisdom, Advice and Deliberation, and ought to be steadily pursued, and not lightly altered; for that will be apt to put too slight a value on them, and much lessen that esteem and credit they ought to have among the People, and that relyance and dependance which ’tis necessary Subjects should have upon the Declaration of their Prince.

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His Majesty might (if He had so pleased) have restrained this Power so granted to his Governours; but having not thought fit to do it, whether it be convenient to undo any thing afterwards that has been done pursuant thereunto, is humbly submitted to your Lordships Consideration.

His Majesty has, in a most solemn manner declared, under his great Seal, That the Grants made by his Governours, should be good and effectual against His Majesty, His Heirs and Successors; and his Subjects have believed and depended on such His Majesties Declaration, and in confidence of it have been at considerable Pains and Expences in treating with and purchasing Lands of the Indians, in suing for, and obtaining and passing these Grants, and in Improvements, & otherwise, about the granted Lands: And whether afterwards to confirm (or permit to remain in force) an Act that is made in manifest Contradiction to this Declaration, will not do the Publick more Mischief by far, than all the Lands in question are worth (viz. by discouraging Improvements of Lands, and by lessening the Esteem and Credit of his Majesties Declarations to his Subjects, and Powers granted to his Governours, and hindering that Relyance and Dependance upon them, which ’tis absolutely necessary his Majesties Subjects should have) is also humbly submitted to your Lordships consideration; as also, whether (if there were no other reason) this Consideration alone might not be a sufficient Motive for rejecting this Act.

But, My Lords, When your Lordships consider not only this, but that this Act proceeds upon such incertain Principles as have been mentioned, and is (even upon its own Principles) plainly and demonstrably Unjust and Unreasonable, in taking away all the Lands compriz’d in each Grant, from the Grantees; whereas it ought (even according to its own Principles) to have taken away only a part, when it arbitrarily takes away Lands from those who have honestly purchased them from the Indians, and by such Purchases justly and quietly enlarged the Dominions and Territories of the Crown of England; and inflicts a most severe Punishment, an endless Suspension, on a Minister of the Gospel, in an extraordinary manner, without setting out what he has done to deserve it, so that any one can discern whether he hath been guilty of any Crime or not; when (with submission) this Act is most plainly inconsistent with its own fundamental Principles, and contrary to the true fundamental Principles of Government.

When your Lordships consider it to be a thing done by so few Persons, and upon such uncertainty of Reason, as may be applyed to any man’s case, Edition: current; Page: [213] that has any Lands within this Province, whose Lands may be taken from him by the same, or the like small number of Persons, upon the same Principle, and in the same manner, and that manner liable to so much Corruption, as has been mentioned.

When your Lordships consider, That therefore this Act (if permitted to remain in force) will discredit the Titles of the Lands of an whole Province, discourage all Improvements, spoil all Credit that might be raised on the Lands by the Owners, and endanger a Confusion & Disorder among the People of this Province, and probably the Ruin of it.

The Complainers against this Act rest assured, That your Lordships will (upon these Considerations) advise his Majesty to reject this Act.

My Lords, The other of the said Acts that I must beg leave to object to, is that, entituled, An Act for granting unto his Majesty the Sum of two Thousand Pounds, fifteen hundred Pounds whereof to be allowed to his Excellency Richard Earl of Bellomont, and five hundred Pounds to Capt. John Nanfan, Lieut. Governor.

And as for this Act, your Lordships have already given such just & excellent Reason against such Presents (in general) that I will not trouble your Lordships with any about this Act, but what are particular.

And the Complainers against these Acts doubt not but your Lordships, upon consideration of your own excellent Reasons in general, and of the Undue Elections of the Representatives, (or at least some of them) that sate in this Assembly & voted for this Act and the two former, and of the ill Company this Act comes in (I mean, the other two Acts) will advise his Majesty to reject this Act, or at least to direct, That the Moneys thereby raised shall be applyed to the Publick Uses of the Province, and in case of future Taxes.

I cannot but believe my Lord Bellomont so just a Person, that if the Heat of his Pursuit would have permitted him to have stood still and considered, he would have been so far from promoting two such Acts as the two former are, as that he would himself have given the Negative Voice against them, and especially against that for vacating Grants, and still believe that his Excellency upon Re-consideration, will desire those Acts should be rejected.

And when his Excellency shall appear to have rectified these Mistakes, and some other that are thought to be such by the Complainers against these Acts, they will (I hope) be very willing to make his Excellency a generous Edition: current; Page: [214] Present; but till that be done, and a new House of Representatives fairly and duly elected and returned, they humbly hope that his Excellency and his Lieutenant shall rest contented with their Sallaries, and other Profits of their Government; and that all Moneys that is or shall be raised by Act of Assembly as a Present, shall remain in the Publick Treasury of the Province, for the publick Uses thereof.

My Lords, If the Advocates for these Acts shall undertake to defend them, I humbly desire they may also do it in writing, without Delay, and that I may have the favour of a Copy of it.

And if what I have offered be not sufficient Reasons for rejecting these Acts, I must still be an humble Suitor to your Lordships (on behalf of my Clyents) to hear them by their Council.

My Lords, I shall add no more at present, but humbly to beg your Lordships Pardon for troubling you so long, and for what failings I have been guilty of in this matter, humbly to beseech you to understand every thing I have presumed to say, to be with the greatest submission to your Lordships, and to take this opportunity of doing my self the Honour of subscribing,

Most Obedient and most Humble Servant.
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7: [Thomas Hodge], Plantation Justice, London (1701)

The primitive character of colonial systems of justice was a common complaint among those associated with colonial ventures. Published in London in 1701 and written by Thomas Hodge, an English merchant who had extensive dealings with the colony of Barbados, this pamphlet provides the classic expression of metropolitan merchant discontent with the delivery of justice in the colonies. Contending that an English merchant could get “better and more speedy Justice in the most distant Provinces of the Ottoman Dominions from their Bashawa, than they do in some of the American Colonies,” he condemned Barbados for its “most corrupt and dilatory Course of Justice,” spelled out the partial, interested, and inexpert behavior of the local judges, whom he regarded as yet another example of “arbitrary Government in the Plantations,” and asserted that local power holders co-opted royal governors by giving them monetary presents and thereby prevented the careful enforcement of the Navigation Acts, which, he reported, “the Planters generally think it their Right, as well as Interest, to evade.” If Barbados, “the best model’d of the Plantations,” exhibited such problems, he observed, “the Condition of the rest may thereby be conjectured.” Pointing out the extraordinary economic benefits England derived from the single colony of Barbados and how the prosperity of the nation had come to depend “in a great measure on the good Government of the Plantations, and regular Administration of Justice there,” he advocated the creation, presumably by the English Parliament, of “a due and regular Administration of Justice in the Plantations,” with independent Edition: current; Page: [216] and knowledgeable judges appointed from London. As colonial justice systems became more sophisticated during the eighteenth century and as the Crown, for patronage purposes, assumed a larger role in the appointment of judges, critics like Hodge found colonial justice far more satisfactory. But Parliament never acted to reform the colonial justice systems, which largely remained instruments of settler authority and power. (J.P.G.)

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Plantation Justice,

Shewing the

Constitution of their Courts,

and what sort of Judges

they have in them.

By which Merchants may see the occasions of

their great Losses and Sufferings in the Plantation

Trade {and} Lawyers may see such a Model of

Justice as they could not have thought of; and Others

may see how those Parts of the World are governed.

LONDON, Printed for A. Baldwin in Warwick-lane.


Edition: current; Page: [218]

The Present state of Justice in the American Plantations, and particularly in the Island of Barbados; which being the best model’d of the Plantations, the Condition of the rest may be thereby conjectured.

On the first Settlement of the Plantations the Inhabitants were few, and found their mutual Interest in a good Correspondence; and when any Controversy hapned amongst them (which was but seldom) it was decided in a summary way by some of the principal among them, who were thereunto commissioned by the King. Under this Administration they continued some years; and being thereby under no Necessity of spending much time in Litigating, they could the better attend their several Trades and Plantations.

But in process of time, as the Plantations and their Trade increased, Controversies multiplied, and some Cases were found too intricate to be decided in a summary way: Whereupon Courts were erected in imitation of those in England. This in the Island of Barbados was done in the Year 1661. by an Act of the Governour, Council, and Assembly of that Island: The Island was divided into five Precincts, and it was declared that each Precinct should have a Court of Common Pleas, consisting of a Judg, and four Assistants, who were to be appointed by Commission under the Hand and Seal of the Governour, giving them, or any three of them, power to determine all Civil Causes in their several Precincts; the said Commissions to continue during the Pleasure only of the Governour. An other such Act was made, declaring the Governour and Council to have the whole Power of Petitions in equitable Causes, and to hear and determine all Writs of Error.1

Under this Model the Administration of Justice was at first much more tolerable than after the same had some continuance, because Suits were in the beginning fewer, and less intricate; the Forms used both in Law and Equity were plain and short; Niceties in pleading were neither understood nor attempted among them: by their natural Reason only, those Judges and their Assistants did commonly guess at the right of a Cause, and the Matters then controverted were seldom so considerable as to give a sufficient Temptation to injustice; and if wrong were done to any, it was their good fortune to Edition: current; Page: [219] have it done soon, and without that great expence of Money and Time (as at present is used there) by which such a misfortune is doubled; it being certain that in many Cases speedy Injustice is less grievous than dilatory Justice.

But as Suits2 grew more numerous and important, incouraged by Profit, and compelled by Necessity, many Clerks, and other such small dealers in the Law, went thither from England, who tho ignorant of the Law, yet had so much knowledge of the Forms, as to be able to perplex, delay, and confound all the Business of the Courts there; by reason that the Judges there, and their Assistants were wholly ignorant of the Forms, as well as of the Law it self, and thereby incapable of regulating the said Disorders, which multiplied, and do still multiply every day: Nor can any other be expected of the Judges and their Assistants, who always were, and still are made of the Planters, Merchants, Customhouse Officers, Shopkeepers, or other Inhabitants of the Island, who were never bred to, or otherwise versed in the Law. From hence proceeds the Custom in that Island, to influence their Courts by the written Opinions of Council sent over out of England; and the Custom, that if any Authority of Law be urged to the Court, out of a Latin or French Book, the Interpreter is immediately sworn to interpret the same to the Judg and his Assistants.3

One reason why they are no better furnished with Judges is, That no Salaries are allowed them, only some small Perquisites;4 insomuch, that the place of Provost Marshal, or Jaylor of the Island, is esteemed to be worth more than the income of all the said Judges put together. Another reason is, because they hold their Places during the pleasure only of the Governour. Those Places therefore being so precarious and unprofitable, the meanest Clerk that goes over will not accept of them, but chuses to depend on the certainty of his own Practice.

Writs of Error5 on Judgments given by those Judges, are brought before the Governour and Council, who in the said Island are called the Court of Errors: This Council consists of twelve Gentlemen6 of the Island, who decide, by majority of Votes, all the Business of this Court, as well as of the Chancery. But Edition: current; Page: [220] how worthy soever they may be in other respects, they cannot be proper and fit Judges in such Cases where the greatest Niceties of Law are handled, unless they had some knowledg of the Rules by which they are to proceed; for want of which infinite Hardships have been suffered, and many gross and most unwarrantable Judgments have been (without any colour of Law) there given, to the great Oppression of his Majesty’s Subjects, as in many instances may appear. One Person has lately lost above five thousand nine hundred Pounds by such a Judgment in that Island, tho the same has been since reversed by his Majesty in Council; some of the Defendants dying during the dependance of the Appeal, and their Estates descending according to former Settlements; others have imbezeled, or so covered their Estates, that he has now lost not only his Debt, but likewise in the Charge and Trouble of many Years Suit, and of bringing his Cause by Appeal from thence to England.

It is the happiness of his Majesty’s Subjects, that such Judgments and Decrees in that Island are not final, and that Persons grieved may have relief by Appeal to his Majesty in Council:7 Yet when it is considered, that in regard of the great distance of the said Island, and the great Charge, Delay, and Trouble of such long Voyages, the Remedy which Persons grieved have by Appeal, is in small Causes (and if often repeated in great ones) almost as grievous as it would be to suffer under such Injustice; there seems to be a much greater Necessity for a due and regular Administration of Justice in the Plantations, than there would be if they were nearer to the Place to which they are to appeal.

And whereas the Governours of that Island (as in the other Plantations) are both Chancellor and Chief Justice, it is a great Misfortune to the People there, and to all others who deal with them, that the same Commission which gives them their Power, cannot give them some Skill for the Execution of so great a Trust as is thereby reposed in them; by which they would be inabled to administer Justice in their own Courts, and regulate the Proceedings of inferior Courts, which are under their Inspection. But the said Governors being usually unacquainted with the Rules of Law, and altogether Strangers to the Forms thereof, are forced to direct all their Proceedings by the Advice of some Person in the Island professing the Law, who is usually called Attorney, or Solicitor-General, who seldom fails of being concerned of one side in the Edition: current; Page: [221] Cause, and therefore cannot be supposed a proper Director of the supream Justice of the Island; but the Governors cannot avoid it, being put upon Business which it is impossible for them (of themselves) to understand.

It may deserve Consideration, whether in so small an Island, the number of Thirty nine of the Inhabitants at one time in judicial Places, does not introduce many Partialities, especially where Suits are carried on for Inhabitants of England, against those in the Plantations; and whether the Acts of Trade and Navigation are like to be best executed to the Advantage of England under such a Model, since the Planters generally think it their Right, as well as their Interest, to evade those Laws.

The Custom of making yearly Presents8 to the Governours by the Assembly, amounting commonly to two thousand Pounds a Year, sometimes more, and this raised by an Excise on Liquors imported into that Island by English Merchants, may likewise deserve Consideration; and whether it would not conduce more to his Majesty’s Service, and the good of his People,9 that the Profits of all Plantation-Governments were made more certain: The present practice having been found by Experience to produce many Partialities, and other Irregularities, disadvantageous to his Majesty, and extreamly prejudicial to many of his People; for the Plantation-Inhabitants are always indebted to those of England, and the latter are much mistaken if such large Presents made by their Debtors, do not conduce much to the difficulty they find in recovering their just Debts. And whether the Acts of Trade and Navigation are not the worse executed in some Colonies, in regard of such Presents, may be worthy of inquiry.

It may likewise deserve Consideration, Whether the Measures of Government, and Administration of Justice used in the Plantations at their first Settlements, when they were but thin of People, and of little importance to this Nation are fit to be still continued, when they make so considerable a part of his Majesty’s Dominion, the small Island of Barbados alone (about twenty five Miles long, and half so broad) by a reasonable Computation produce to England in its Trade above five hundred thousand Pounds per Annum, one Year with another, to his Majesty; by Customs in England Edition: current; Page: [222] about 20,000 l. per Annum, and by the Duty of four and a half per Cent (as paid in the Island) about 1000 l. per Annum, besides the great number of Ships they imploy, and many thousands of hands in English Manufactures.

The Plantation Trade is now acknowledged to be the most advantageous this Nation enjoys; and it is no less certain that the prosperity thereof depends in a great measure on the good Government of the Plantations, and regular Administration of Justice there. It would seem then very strange, if when such diligence is used in all other parts of his Majesty’s Service, that in the meanest and most mechanick part thereof no Man is imploy’d to do any thing to which he was not bred, or which there is not reasonable ground to believe he understands, the Administration of Justice in the Plantations should be thought the easiest part of his Service, which any one may perform, and on the miscarriage of which little depends.

It has been hitherto the principal Objection against any regulation of Justice in the Plantations, that they were first peopled, and continue still to be supplied by numbers of indigent persons who escape thither to be easy from their Creditors; that the difficulty of having Justice in the Courts there, is their chief Security, and that if they do not find such Protection there, it will ruin the Plantations.

To this it is answered, That the arbitrary Government in the Plantations does hinder many Persons from going thither, or staying when they are there: And tho it may be reasonable perhaps by an express Law, to exempt all Persons from Imprisonment in the Plantations, or to give them other certain and known Privileges, who are imployed in planting, or other bodily Labour, or who have not sufficient to answer their Creditors; yet to continue a most corrupt and dilatory Course of Justice, on pretence of favouring such poor Debtors, and thereby to exempt those of great Estates (several Planters having now two or three thousand Pounds per Annum) from Law and Justice, is so far from encouraging the Plantation Trade, that no one thing does contribute more to the discouragement thereof. On the first Settlement of the Plantations, particularly in the Island of Barbados, they planted Tobacco, Ginger, and Cotton; and then any Man that had Instruments for digging and clearing the Ground, could manage a small Plantation himself, without any Stock or other help; and then a Relaxation of Justice might be some incouragement to carry such People thither: But since the setting up of Sugar-works in that Island (about fifty Years since) the planting of Tobacco, Cotton, and Ginger, is in a great measure disused as unprofitable, Edition: current; Page: [223] and no Sugar-work can be managed without a considerable Stock: Such a Work with Negroes, and other things sufficient to imploy one Windmil only (which is the smallest sort of Sugar-work) will not cost much less than 5000 l. Sterling. Since therefore the Plantation of Sugar cannot be managed without imploying great Sums therein, whatsoever is done to secure the certain possession of Purchasers, or reimbursements of Sums advanced by Adventurers, would best promote that Trade, which like all others, must in a great measure be carried on by Credit; for want of which Security nothing is more evident, than that the Plantation Trade has suffered more than it did even by the double Imposition formerly laid on their Sugar in England: for the Planters wanting necessary Credit in England for carrying on their Trade, where they are trusted, they are now made to pay very dear for it, because of the great difficulty of having Justice against them, if they fail of payment. Several English Merchants have heretofore imployed great Sums on Plantations in that Island, but many of them have been great Sufferers, and many others ruined for want of Justice in the Island; and the Children of others after their Parents death, having been miserably used there, and defrauded of great Estates (insomuch that few Instances can be given, where Children under Age have not been so used there) the Merchants of England are grown too cautious to venture much in a Trade, which for want of Justice proves so pernicious to them: Whereas if Justice was strictly administered there, great Sums would be imployed in so beneficial a Trade, to the great Advantage of this Nation. And tho it may seem incredible to those who are not rightly informed, nothing is more certain than that the English Merchants find more security, and better and more speedy Justice in the most distant Provinces of the Ottoman Dominions from their Bashaws, than they do in some of the American Colonies, tho under the Dominion of their own Prince;10 and of this the Merchants are so sensible, that they will trade to the first for a much less Profit than to the last. Whether this ought to be reformed, is submitted to those whose Province it is to judg of it.

When the Laws, not only of England, but of all Nations, agree in giving more speedy Justice in matters of Trade, than in any other, and that with design to advance Traffick, it is very strange that it should now be thought of ill Consequence to the Plantation-Trade.

Edition: current; Page: [224]

It is grown a Proverb with the English Merchants, that tho a Man goes over never so honest to the Plantations, yet the very Air there does change him in a short time: And it is certain they have too much ground to complain of the universal Corruption of Justice among them; for the Judicature of that small Place being in the hands of thirty seven of the Inhabitants, it introduces many Partialities, &c. for there can scarce be any Suit of moment in the Island that some of these Persons, or their nearest Relations, are not concern’d in. From hence proceed the great disappointments that Merchants and others meet with from Factors and Agents, whom they imploy to sell Goods, or recover Money in that Island: For if such Agents, by prosecuting, do disoblige those who have Power without Appeal in all Cases under 500 l. value, and who by forcing them to an Appeal on greater Sums in their own Causes, may send them a Voyage of many thousand Leagues to England, and back again, to the loss of a Year or more time from their Business; it is plain, that unless such Factors and Agents are content to sacrifice their own Interest to serve others, they cannot do what is expected of them: And many are encouraged to betray their Trust, and defraud those that imploy them, by the great difficulty of having Justice against them in the Plantations. Many hundred instances can be given where Factors have laid out all the Effects of others (with which they have been intrusted) in purchasing Plantations for themselves; and then by proper Applications to Governours there, and to others in England, they are put into the Judicatories of the Places they live in;11 and those that entrusted them, can have no Justice against them, but what comes through their own hands; which discourages Merchants from imploying greater Sums in that Trade. And nothing is more plain, than that their depravity proceeds only from thence; for let them send Factors, Agents, or Servants, into any other part of the World, Italy, Turkey, Muscovy, or the East-Indies, they are no where found to degenerate so much from their original Honesty, and to give those that imploy them so much Cause to complain, as in the Plantations.

From what has been observed it may appear, That the principal Root and Foundation of most Grievances in that Island, and the other Colonies, is, That Governours are not appointed capable of holding the said Courts, or that some other Persons fitly qualified are not appointed, only or principally Edition: current; Page: [225] depending on the King, and not subject to be removed at the pleasure of the Governours, by whom Justice might be administred, and matters of War and State might be the proper Province of Governors and their Council; which Judges, or Civil Magistrates, might on extraordinary Occasions be controuled by the Governour and Council, as is practised in the Colonies of all other Nations.12

That such Regulation may be lawfully made, and without any new Charge to his Majesty, or his People, to the great Advantage of the Plantation Trade, and Benefit of his Majesty’s Subjects, both in the Plantations, and in England, might easily be demonstrated; but since the printing of such a Scheme would prevent its being practised, and since Reformation is the Province of others, this matter is submitted to their Consideration.

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8: “An American” [Benjamin Harrison], An Essay upon the Government of the English Plantations on the Continent of America (London, 1701)

This pamphlet is perhaps the best overall critique of the structure and operation of the English empire produced by any colonist before the 1760s. Published anonymously, it was probably the work of Benjamin Harrison, a prominent tobacco planter and public figure in Virginia, the oldest English colony in America. Because Virginia would not have a printing press for another thirty years and because Harrison wrote it for a metropolitan audience, he published it in London. As he explains in a lengthy preface, the occasion for its publication was the publication by Charles D’Avenant, a prominent English economic writer, of a “Discourse on the Plantation Trade.” For Harrison, D’Avenant’s tract was prejudicial against royal colonies like Virginia and an illustration of the fact that “Plantation Affairs” were “not so well understood [in England] as they ought to be.” This ignorance, he observed, enabled “Arbitrary Governours” and “some Evil Ministers about Court” to promote schemes “whereby the Plantations” had “been very much injured and oppressed, and the Interest of England very much prejudiced.” To remedy this situation he proposed that each colony keep an agent in England and that the Crown appoint a commissioner with broad powers of inquiry to travel to each colony and produce a comprehensive report on its governance, relations with Indians, system of justice, revenues, religious composition, trade, and grievances.

Edition: current; Page: [228]

But Harrison’s main objective was to lobby for the establishment of “a Just and Equal Government” so that the colonists, as he put it, could “enjoy their Obscurity, and the poor way of living which Nature is pleased to afford them out of the Earth, in Peace, and be protected in the Possession thereof, by their lawful mother England.” Pointing out that England had never supplied the colonies with “a good Constitution of Government,” he objected strongly to recent metropolitan contentions that “the Plantations should be under an unlimited Government,” denying that “the King should be more Absolute in the Plantations than he is in England” and arguing for the “settling of a free Constitution of Government in the Plantations.” Such a constitution, he went on to explain in impressive detail, would place colonial governors under proper restraints, clarify the extent of legislative authority in colonial representative bodies by acknowledging both the extensive jurisdiction they had long exercised over land, justice, and administration and their capacity even to “make Laws disagreeable to the Laws of England, in such Cases, where the Circumstances of the Places are vastly different,” clarify the extent of Parliamentary authority over the colonies, and establish a “good Constitution of Courts of Judicature” in the colonies in which colonial judges, like English judges after the Glorious Revolution, would hold their offices during good behavior and not at the pleasure of the Crown.

He also recommended that the government of all the colonies be annexed to the Crown, that the Crown confirm all land titles in the colonies, that Parliament revise the trade laws to take a smaller share of the colonial planter’s profits, that every colony be guaranteed “an Equal Liberty of Trade” from one to another, that the colonists be guaranteed the same degree of religious toleration as established by the Toleration Act in England, and that the English government assist the poor to emigrate to the colonies and forcibly transport petty criminals there. “The true Interest of England,” he concluded, was “to have the Plantations cherished, and the poor People encouraged to come hither, every Man here being of great Value to England.

The English government largely ignored these recommendations. Six decades after Harrison wrote, it had done little to remedy the many “Mismanagements,” grievances, and ambiguities that he identified. (J.P.G.)

Edition: current; Page: [229]



upon the



The English Plantations


The Continent



Together with some Remarks upon the Discourse

on the Plantation Trade, Written by the Author

of the Essay on Ways and Means, and Published

in the Second Part of His Discourses, on the

Publick Revenues and on the Trade of England.


LONDON, Printed for Richard Parker at the Unicorn,

under the Piazza of the Royal Exchange.


Edition: current; Page: [230]

[The Preface]


I herewith send you a Transcript of that imperfect Essay upon the Government of the English Plantations on the Continent of America, which I shewed you when you were in these parts, and which you laid so many obligations on me to let you have.

It was at first designed for private view only, and accordingly it was drawn for that purpose, as you may easily perceive by many Passages in it, neither is it (in my Opinion) at all fit for the Publick; but since you have desired it so earnestly, I give it up intirely to you, to be disposed of according to your Discretion, only I must enjoyn you to conceal my Name, that I may not of necessity be engaged in a Pen and Ink War three Thousand Miles from home.

In pursuance of your request, I have (as carefully as my time and health would permit) once more perused the Discourse on the Plantation Trade, written by the Author of the Essay on Ways and Means; and I am still of the same Opinion that I told you; I take that Gentleman to be a Man of good Parts, but in this Discourse, I think he hath gone beyond his Province, for it appears pretty plain to me, that he went on blindfold, having an intire dependance upon the knowledge and integrity of those from whom he received his Informations; this I am obliged to believe, for certainly a Person of that Authors Abilities could never have written so incoherently and inconsistently upon a Subject that himself had any knowledge of.

I shall not trouble you with a particular Examination of every Paragraph of that Discourse; but I shall apply my self to the consideration of the most general of his Notions and the Principles he proceeds upon, and if the Foundation appears to be deceitful, I suppose the Superstructure will fall of course; but in the first place, it will be necessary to observe to you how very irregular, that Discourse is, and how incoherent the several Parts of it are one with another.

In some Places (p. 225, 226, 230, 231), he tells the World the great advantage of New-England, Mary-Land, Pensilvania, Carolina, &c. Furnishing the Southern Colonyes with Provisions, which he confesses may be had from England and Ireland, but not so cheap.

In another Place (p. 232), he says, It cannot be for the Publick good of a Kingdom to furnish Colonies out of it, with People, when the Product of such Edition: current; Page: [231] Colonyes is the same with the Kingdoms, and so Rivals the Kingdom both in its Navigation and in its Product, at the Market where such Product is vended; neither can it be the Interest of a Country to suffer its People to make settlements of several Plantations that yeild one and the same Commodity.

In another place (p. 233), he is for having some method proposed of Collecting within a narrower Compass, the scattered Inhabitants of the Continent, by inviting some to cultivate the Islands, where their labour is certainly most profitable to England, and by drawing the rest if possible to four or five of the Provinces, best scituate and most Productive of Commodities not to be had in Europe.

In other Places (p. 244, 245, 250, 251, 283, 284), he argues very strongly for the Proprieties and Charter Governments being restored to the several forms of Government, by which they were first encouraged at their great Expence, &c. to discover, cultivate and plant remote places, &c. and since they have a worse Soil to improve (than the other Colonies) He is for having them recompenced in Property and Dominion.

In another place (p. 236), he finds fault that the Servants bred up (in Virginia) only to Planting, are forced into other Colonies, where their Labour is not so profitable either to the Crown, or People of England, as it would be in a province not producing Commodities that are of English growth.

Now Sir, please to lay these several Parts of that Discourse together and observe the strength of the Arguments.

You may perceive throughout his whole Discourse that he is a great Friend to the Proprieties and Charter-Governments, and often pleads for their having great Liberties and Encouragements; and for that purpose his Arguments are very convincing.

It is not the Interest of any Kingdom to furnish Colonies out of it with People, when the Product of such Colonies is the same with the Kingdoms (p. 232).

But the Product of the Colonies of New England, Mary-Land, Pensilvania, Carolina, &c. (being Proprieties) are the same with the Product of the Mother Kingdom of England (p. 225, 231).1

Ergo, those Colonies should be encouraged.

Again, It cannot be the interest of a Countrey to suffer its People to make settlements of several Plantations that yeild one and the same Commodity.

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But New England, Rhode Island, New York, the Jerseys, Pensilvania, Carolina (and according to our Author Maryland)2 yield one and the same Commodity. Ergo, all those colonies are to be encouraged.

Once more let us try our Logick.

Those Provinces are to be encouraged, that are most Productive of Commodities not to be had in Europe (p. 233).

But the Islands, Virginia, and Mary Land, are most Productive of Commodities not to be had in Europe (p. 233, 236).

Ergo, New England, Pensilvania, Carolina, &c. are to be encouraged (because their Product is the same with that of England).

Is not this an excellent way of arguing? But it is very difficult, even for so Ingenious a Gentleman as this Author, to engage in a bad cause, and not to be sometimes detected of false reasoning: He seems to doat upon the Proprieties, but he cannot find one good Argument to use on their behalf.

All his long Cant of the temperance, sobriety, and seeming Vertuous living of the Dissenters in the Northern Colonies (p. 227, 229, 230, 247), is nothing to the purpose; and if it were, it is not true; I could give convincing Proofs of the contrary, but I can’t think it worth my while.

And all that he urges in favour of the Proprieties, because of their furnishing the Islands with Provisions, when they cannot have it from Europe—will not much strengthen his Arguments; for if it appears that the supplying those Islands be for the interest of England, the Tobacco Plantations may be made sufficient for that purpose, without diminishing the quantity of Tobacco that is now made.

All the Arguments that Gentleman uses to evince the Advantage of the Plantations to England, I agree with him in; nor do I condemn him for his smart reflections, upon the Evil Governours in these Parts, I am so far from it, that for the sakes of the poor Old English Men that groan under the burthen, I could wish, I had a competent Portion of Gall, and knew where to find words sufficient, to give a lively Representation of the truth in those Cases; however, I doubt it may be a peice of ill service to deter every body from coming to the Plantations, and therefore I will not endeavor at it, but by the way I must observe to you, that the Governours of some Proprieties are as bad as the Kings Governours.

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I come next to his Considerations, for a more safe and lasting settlement of the Colonies in America, which are as follows,

First, without doubt, the negligence of former times has suffered a greater Number of Plantations upon the Continent, than do well consist with the Navigation and other Interests of the Mother-Countrey (p. 232, 233).

Secondly, it cannot be for the Publick good of a Kingdom, to furnish Colonies out of it with People, when the Product of such Colonies, is the same with the Kingdoms, and so Rivals the Kingdom, both in its Navigation, and its Product, at the Markets where such Product is vended.

Thirdly, it can hardly be the interest of a Country to suffer its People to make settlement of several Plantations that yeild one and the same Commodity, for Inhabitants thus dispers’d, are neither so useful to each other in time of Peace, nor strong enough to defend themselves in time of War, so that their Mother-Kingdom is usually at a great Charge for their defence, whereas if they lay in a more compact and less extended Territory, they could be more ready to give each other mutual help, and not be exposed as they are, to every little strength, and insult of an Invader.

Fourthly, as many Empires have been ruined by too much enlarging their Dominions, and by grasping at too great an Extent of Territory, so our Interest in America may decay, by aiming at more Provinces, and a greater Tract of Land, than we can either cultivate or defend: upon which account, it may perhaps be sometime or other worth the consideration of the State, whether a way might not be proposed of Collecting within narrower Compass, the scatter’d Inhabitants of the Continent, by inviting some to cultivate the Islands, where their Labour is certainly most profitable to this Kingdom, and by drawing the rest, if possible, to four or five of the Provinces best scituate and most Productive of Commodities, not to be had in Europe; but this is to be done with great deliberation, with a due regard to property, by degrees, and by good Encouragement.

Fifthly, former times have not only been faulty in suffering too many Provinces to be erected, but in the Repartition of the Land taken in, there are Corruptions conniv’d at very prejudicial to the Plantation Trade, and to the Kings Customes from thence arising.

To all which I answer that, if all these Parts of the World, had been so intirely at the disposal of the English, that no other Nations dared to have settled here without their leave, then indeed it might have been more prudent to have settled only two or three Colonies on the Continent of Edition: current; Page: [234] America in such places as would best have suited the Interest of the Mother-Kingdom: But the Case was otherwise, for when the English were settled both to the Northward and Southward, we know the Dutch came and settled at New York, and would not leave their possession, till they were beaten from it; further North the French have settled themselves and become Masters of Canada River [the St. Lawrence]; and on the South the Spaniards press so hard upon us, that they did more than once attempt to hinder the English settling at South-Carolina.

These particular instances will not give us leave to doubt but that, if we had neglected seating any considerable part of the Continent, some other Nation would have stepped in, and taken possession of it, and would either have kept it, or perhaps have ventured a War with England for it.

We have certain Information, that the French are now settling upon the Mouth of the River Meschasipe [Mississippi], if so, and some speedy care be not taken, No one can (I think) foretel the fatal consequences that may follow to all the English Colonies on the Continent.

The two great Rivers of Canada and Meschasipe, run a long way up into the Continent, one on the North, and the other on the South side of all the English Plantations, that on the South side extends it self far North, and that on the North side extends it self very far South, when it comes up within the Land, and from the Heads of these two Rivers without much difficulty may be had a Communication, with all those vast Lakes, that lye to the Westward of all the English Colonies, which will make the French Masters of a great and profitable Trade with the Indians living upon those Lakes; and in Case of another War with France, will give them great opportunities by themselves and the Indians in League with them, to destroy the Inhabitants on the Western Frontiers of all the English Colonies; therefore instead of Proposing to invite the Inhabitants to leave any of the Plantations on the Continent, I should rather advise the establishing a Company, with a joynt Stock of about 15000£. or 20000£. Sterl. to settle a Trade with the Indians beyond the Mountains, which Trade that Company should have exclusive of all others, for one and twenty years next coming after their settlement; such a Company under a due regulation and management, would gain a Trade of considerable advantage to the English, and would settle two or three small Factories with about thirty or forty Men each, to take possession of the Lakes in behalf of the English, which Trade and Settlements would both disappoint the designs of the French in their Trade, and keep Edition: current; Page: [235] the Indians in Amity with the English, and by that means be a good defence to the Western Frontiers of our Colonies.

This Sir, I do assure you is no Romantick Fiction, for I have made inquiry into the true State of those Affairs, and am well informed, that we in Virginia lye many hundreds of Miles nearer to those Indians than any of the French settlements do, and consequently can furnish that Trade cheaper than any others; if the Duties upon the Exportation of Woollen out of England be not too heavy; for that is the Principal Commodity for such a Trade.

I must further observe to you, that I think it strange, the Gentleman should in this place find fault with there being so many Plantations upon the Continent of America, and propose the inviting them off into the Islands; when in another Chapter of the same Book he seems to be in great fear of the French, if they should possess themselves of the River Meschasipe and the Lakes to the Westward; and if I can guess any thing at his meaning, he is for having the English, get the first possession there; but take his own words (p. 116, 117), should the French settle at the Disemboguing of the River Meschasipe, in the Gulph of Mexico, they would not be long before they made themselves Masters of that rich Province which would be an Addition to their strength very terrible to Europe. But this would more particularly concern England; for by the opportunity of that Settlement, by erecting Forts along the several Lakes between that River and Canada, they may intercept all the Trade of our Northern Plantations.

And here again, I cannot but take notice that this Gentleman is very little acquainted with these Parts of the World, as appears by his saying, they may intercept all the Trade of our Northern Plantations, for our Plantations have no Trade with any body in those Parts, (except a little from New York, and that very uncertain, being already well near deprived of it by the French from Canada) what Trade we have, is with the Indians on this side the Mountains, and all the Lakes lye beyond them; but the danger is, that if the French make Settlements in those Parts, they may discover a Considerable new Trade, not yet enjoyed by any body, and thereby they (with the help of the Indians) will also be enabled to destroy the Inhabitants on the Western Frontiers of all our Colonies upon the Continent; and against such Incursions from the Indians, we shall not be able to make any effectual defence, because of the vast Woods in those Parts, which we are little acquainted with, and they know very well; Therefore my Proposition in this matter is, that this new Trade may be discovered and enjoyed by the English, who lye Edition: current; Page: [236] more convenient for it, than the French, by which means also the Frontiers will be much better secured, than otherwise they can be.

It is said (p. 233, 234), that in the Repartition of the Land, taken in, there are Corruptions connived at very prejudicial to the Plantation Trade, and to the Kings Customs from thence arising; and he goes on to give an Example of this in Virginia, which seems to me to be the strangest Part of all the Story; if he had talked of the abuses that have been in New England, Pensilvania, Carolina and the rest of the Proprieties, he had done something, but to fall upon Virginia at such an unmerciful rate as he has done, and to dwell upon it for three or four pages together, and to pretend to tell matter of fact exactly, and yet to Misrepresent (or falsify if you please) every part of it, this Sir, if I were as angry with him, as I perceive he is with some People, would make me speak very hard words, but I will not quarrel with the Gentleman, because I believe it to be only a sin of Ignorance and too much Credulity. In the Essay which I send you herewith, p. _____ I have Answered most of what he says about Virginia, and therefore in this place, I shall only let you know, that whereas, p. 234, He says, all the Land here is taken up, except what lyes at the utmost bounds of the Colony, the Seating upon which often furnishes matter for War with the Indians; I have examined into the matter of fact, and I find that between the twenty seventh of October, 1697, (About which time this Gentleman writ his Book) and the tenth of May, 1700, There issued Patents under the Seal of the Colony of Virginia, for 157667. Acres of Land, several Parcels of which are in some of the Counties best Inhabited, and notwithstanding all this Gentleman alledges, ’tis very probable from many reasons, which I could give, that before the tenth of November, 1701, Patents will issue for 150000. Acres more, and not all to the Council and their favourites neither; as to the furnishing matter for War with the Indians, that is such a fiction, that I think no one of a duller Invention, than the Northern Proprietor, who I suppose gave this Gentleman his Instructions could have thought of it. There are no Indians now in being, that have pretentions to any Lands near us, except some few of our tributaries, who are always in perfect Friendship with, and Obedience to us, and when any Foreign Indians come into these Parts, are ready upon all occasions, to give us what help they can, which indeed is but very little, the most considerable Nation of them all not having fifty Men, and some of the others not above ten, and some sixteen or twenty, these tributaries are descended from the Nations, who Inhabited not only the Land we now Edition: current; Page: [237] live upon, but all for many Miles, beyond the utmost of our Settlements, and ’tis a very likely matter that they should be able, or have any occasion, to make War with us about these Lands.

I agree with the Gentleman in what he says, p. 232, that it cannot be for the Publick good of a Kingdom to furnish Colonies out of it with People, when the Product of such Colonies, is the same with the Kingdoms, and so Rivals the Kingdom both in its Navigation, and in its Product, at the Markets where such Product is vended, and that it can hardly be the Interest of a Country to suffer its People to make Settlements of several Plantations that yeild one and the same Commodity—And I desire the favour of him to reconcile these Passages, with those in p. 244, 245, 250, 251, 283, 284, where he talks of letting the Northern Colonies (whose Product is the same with that of the Mother Kingdom England) find their Recompence in Property and Dominion; having Liberty to choose their own cheif Magistrates; having their Original Charters kept inviolable; and many more such like matters.

I would not be mistaken, as if I was an Enemy to Liberty, but since the Product of those Northern Proprieties is the same with that of England (the Mother Kingdom) I would gladly be informed whether according to this Gentlemans own Principles, it is not more for the interest of England, that the Kingdom should appoint them Governours, who would take care that they duely observed the Acts of Trade, then that such Power and Dominion should be given them, as in time to make them grow prejudicial to the Interest of England, as most certainly they will, if some better care be not taken, than hath been formerly.

By taking better Care, I do not mean new fangled Contrivances and Orders of People, that know little or nothing of the matter, where perhaps a whole Society may be managed by one Man, that knows as little as any of them, only happens to have a little more Modest assurance than his Brethren: But the best way to manage Affairs at so great a distance from home, is to call in the advice and assistance of Persons of known Abilities and Truth, and such as are acquainted with the true State and Circumstances of Places, Persons and things, and some who have been Eye-Witness, and have endeavoured to inform themselves in such matters, these are Men fit to be imployed on such occasions; not that I think every Man that hath been in the Plantations capable to do much Service; for I know some at this day in London, that have lately been in Virginia some years, and others that have been born here, and yet neither one nor the other of them have so Edition: current; Page: [238] much knowledge or integrity as to give a true State of the Country;3 which makes it seem strange to me, that some Men (by many People esteemed very knowing in Plantation Affairs) should take so much notice of them; but Interest and Revenge have strange Operation sometimes upon Gentlemen about Court.

And here Sir, let me observe it to you once for all, that tho we have many Acts of Parliament, Publick Orders, and Instructions for the Management of Trade and Plantations, and tho these seem most of them to be drawn with a great deal of care and advice, yet there are so many defects and doubts and ambiguities in them, that it is almost impossible from them to draw any regular, practicable and effectual method for the Management of those Affairs; some things of no use and in themselves utterly impracticable, being enjoyned with the greatest rigour; and other things very necessary and easie never being so much as once required; from whence it happens, that in some places upon several occasions, without any manner of advantage or service, there is abundance of puzzle and hurry and confusion about no one knows what; and in other places where good care and application is really wanting, nothing at all is done, and yet perhaps neither of these People are guilty of the Breach of any Law now in being; from all which I conclude, that the Plantation Affairs are not so well understood as they ought to be.

The Propositions, p. 237, I purposely pass over, there being nothing material in them, but what I have already taken as much notice of as is necessary.

As to the Scheme of a Council of Trade proposed, p. 238, 239, I shall say nothing concerning it, only that I should be very glad to see such a free Council for those Affairs Established, as would answer the ends proposed.

The several Propositions made in p. 253, 254, 255, require not much to be said to them, the first would never have been put in that place, only I perceive the Author hath met with a Misrepresentation of a difference that happened some time since, between the Government of Mary Land and the Proprietor of Pensilvania, and so he hath made an Article of Reformation Edition: current; Page: [239] of it. The rest of them, I shall not make any remark upon; because some are not of any great use, and the others I do not find much amiss.

I agree very heartily with what is said, p. 246, that it is prejudicial, that the Offices and Places of trust in the Colonies, should be granted by Patent to Persons in England, with liberty to execute such Imployments by Deputies; but above all things, I admire his Comparison, p. 247, where the Hans Towns (I suppose) represent the Proprieties; and those under Arbitrary Princes, are put for the Kings Colonies; this is a mighty fine Story indeed, but the Mis-fortune of all is, that there is nothing in it but Story; for I think no one will say, that the Propriety of Mary Land is better settled, and the People more Industrious in Trade, than they are in the Kings Colony of New York; or that there is any Comparison between the Propriety of North-Carolina, and the Kings Colony of Virginia. As to the Government being Arbitrary, that indeed is somewhat too true, and if this Paragraph were inserted here with a design to have that remedied by the Parliament, we should have owned the obligation to him; but it appears plainly that he only intended it to Cast a blemish upon the Kings Colonies, and invite People over to the Proprieties, otherwise he might have mentioned them all as Arbitrary Governments; for without much Inquiry, Instances may be given that Governours have usurped more Authority than belonged to them, as well in the Proprieties as in the Kings Colonies.

The next thing I shall take notice of is, the Scheme for the general Government of the Northward Plantations, mentioned, p. 259, 260, 261. In the Essay, which I send you herewith, I have said something concerning this Scheme (Essay, p. _____), therefore I shall add but very little about it here; but I cannot forbear observing to you, that according to this Gentlemans Propositions, that Assembly will be very well modelled, with respect to the Interest of England; for you may perceive all along, that he is for having the Proprieties and Charter Governments restored, and then of all the ten Provinces he mentions to send Members, to the National Assembly, he proposes; none but Virginia and New York will be under the Kings Government; so that the plain tendency of this Scheme, is to put the Government of all the Continent of America under the Proprieties; for they will have sixteen Voices in twenty, in that National Assembly; which will be much for the Interest of England; since the almost intire dependance of seven of these Proprieties is upon Provisions of several sorts; and Woollen Manufactures, and without doubt in all their proceedings, they will have a little regard at Edition: current; Page: [240] least to their own Interest, which of necessity must be prejudicial to England, even according to our Authors own Doctrine, p. 232.

’Tis true, the High Commissioner having a Negative in all their Acts, may prevent any Notorious Injuiries, but where there is only a Power to prevent Injustice, and not an Interest to procure Justice, there will be little good done by such a Government.

It is proposed that this Assembly should meet at New York, and the reason given is, because that is a Frontier; if the Gentleman means that the Western bounds of New York, are the Frontiers of New York, he is in the right indeed; but if he means that the Province of New York is a Frontier to Virginia, Mary Land or Carolina, he is very much mis-informed, for it is quite otherwise; I know during the Late War, the New York Men made a great noise, that they defended all our Frontiers, and therefore ought in reason to be assisted by the Neighbouring Colonies, but the truth of the matter was, they only defended themselves and their own Trade with the Indians.

Whoever observes, the Scituation of the Colonies on the Continent, may easily perceive that to the Eastward, they are bounded by the Sea; on the Northward, and Southward, they border upon each other; and on the Westward, they are all open to the Indians; who can come in upon the Western Frontiers of any Colony they please, and New York can by no means in the World hinder it.

This Scheme of Government may be made useful, if the Governments of the Proprieties were taken into the Kings hands, and some other Alterations were made, which I have proposed elsewhere, and therefore I shall not say anything further of it here (See Essay p. _____).

I have already declared my Opinion for Liberty of Conscience in the Plantations, and therein I find this Gentleman and I do not differ; and for his long Digression about Moral Vertue; and his Practical Ethics (as he calls them) I shall not trouble my self or you with repeating any part of them; because I do not find they concern the matter in hand, nor can I see any Reason, why they might not have suited any other Subject as well as this, and perhaps have been more properly put in a distinct Chapter by themselves; under the Title of a Lecture against the Court, or any thing else you please; I perceive the Gentleman is very angry with every body (about Court especially) but the King; to whose Character he endeavours (now and then by fits) to do Justice; upon which I can only say, that great is our Caesar, since even Brutus vouchsafes to extol him; and for the Courtiers, I Edition: current; Page: [241] doubt all his Lashes are in vain, for they know better things than to mend upon Good Advice only.

Thus Sir, I have given you my thoughts of that Discourse, as well as the shortness of my time, my late want of health, and my other Affairs would permit and rough as it is, I was willing to send it to you by this Ship, because it will be the last for this year.

I had once Proposed to have troubled you, with an Essay on the Enlargement of Trade with the Indians, and on the most probable means, to secure the English Plantations on the Continent from such Inconveniences and prejudices, as they may hereafter be lyable to, in Case of another War with France; wherein I intended to have given a more particular and exact account of those Affairs than hath been hitherto given; and also I designed to have laid open the unheard of Practices of some Arbitrary Governours, and the mischievous contrivances of some Evil Ministers about Court, whereby the Plantations have been very much injured and oppressed, and the Interest of England very much prejudiced; but these being matters that require some time and expence, I have not been able to perfect them at this time, neither am I very willing to engage in a War upon my own strength alone; however if hereafter I find the Publick service requires it, I shall venture to strike one bold stroak, in such a Cause, without being in the least frighted, either by the Greatness or Power of those Persons, whose Gaudy Tinsel Pomp I despise, as much as I should their mean base Spirits, if I found them in Lower Stations.

I am
SIR, &c.

An Essay upon the Government of the English Plantations on the Continent of America

As of late many Controversies have arisen in the English Nation; so ’tis observable, that the two great Topicks of Trade and Plantations have had their Parts in the Dispute; and indeed it must be confess’d, that (considering the present Circumstances of the World) they are of the greatest importance to all Nations, but more especially the English.

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Almost all that hath been hitherto written concerning the Plantations hath had a more peculiar Relation to their Trade, and accordingly the several Advocates either for their Freedom, or binding them to a more strict Dependance upon the Crown of England, have framed their Arguments so as they thought might best answer those Purposes; from whence it may be very naturally inferr’d, that some By Ends of their own have had a great Influence over many of them, and that private Interest was the great Diana for which they contested.

The Design of these Papers

The Design of these Papers is not to treat of the Trade, but the Government of the Plantations; not how to make them great, and rich, by an open free Traffick, but happy, by a Just and Equal Government; that they may enjoy their Obscurity, and the poor way of living which Nature is pleased to afford them out of the Earth, in Peace; and be protected in the Possession thereof, by their lawful Mother England.

I am sensible the English Plantations may be rendred very serviceable and beneficial to their Mother Kingdom, and I do not in the least doubt she will make the best Advantage of them she can; ’tis what others would do if they were in her place; and therefore I shall not complain of any Hardships in Trade, neither shall it be mentioned but as it comes in the way, in pursuit of the main Design I have laid down.

The Countries under the English Government on the Continent of America are healthy and fertile, and very well situate both for Pleasure and Profit, especially Virginia and Maryland, which, as they are the best and most advantagious to the Crown of England; so likewise is the Air and Climate of them most agreeable to the English Constitutions of Body, the Land richest, the Rivers most commodious, and naturally the whole Countries far excelling any part of the Continent either on the North or South of them.

The chiefest Thing wanting to make the Inhabitants of these Plantations happy, is a good Constitution of Government; and it seems strange, that so little care hath been heretofore taken of that, since it could not be any Prejudice, but of great Advantage even to England it self, as perhaps may appear by what shall be offered hereafter.

’Tis true, many Propositions have been made for regulating the Governments of particular Plantations, several of which are now extant; but being Edition: current; Page: [243] mostly calculated by Persons who seem to be biassed by Interest, Prejudice, Revenge, Ambition, or other private Ends I dare not rely on them: Some there are which I shall make bold to use some Parts of, as I find them for my Purpose.

Objections against this Discourse

But before I proceed further, it is necessary to answer some Objections that may be made against my self, and the Work I am going about.

It hath been alledged by some that the Plantations are prejudicial to England; but this is already so well answered by Sir J. Child in his New Discourse of Trade, from Page 178, to Page 216, by the Author of the Essay upon Ways and Means, in his Discourses on the Publick Revenues and the Trade of England, Part II. p. 193, to 209. and several other Writings which have been Published, that I cannot think it needful to say any thing more about it.

The Objections I shall take notice of, are these following:

  • 1. It may be objected, that I being an Inhabitant of the Plantations, may probably be too much biassed to their Interest, and therefore am not to be relied on.
  • 2. That the Plantation Governments are already setled well enough; and it may be dangerous to make any great Alterations in them.
  • 3. That it is necessary the King should be more Absolute in the Plantations than he is in England: And consequently,
  • 4. That the setling a free Constitution of Government in the Plantations will be prejudicial to the King’s Service.

Answer to those Objections

In answer to all which, I beg leave to offer the following Considerations.

1. That, let the Author be what he will, the most material Thing to be respected, is the good or evil Tendency of the Work. If his Majesty’s Service seems chiefly aimed at, and no private Interest mixed with it, then I hope that Objection is removed: And for my self, I can with a great deal of Truth and Sincerity affirm, that I have not the least Thought or Design of any thing but his Majesty’s Interest and Service, and therein of the Good of all his Subjects in general; but whether the Means I shall propose, may be any wise conducive to those Ends, is humbly submitted to those who have the Honour to be intrusted with the Charge of those Affairs.

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The Plantation Governments never well setled

2. If the Governments of the Plantations are already well setled, there needs not any Alteration, (that, I think, every good Man will grant:) But if upon inquiry, it appears, that none of them have ever been well setled; that the present Method of managing them is inconvenient and prejudicial; and that much better Ways may be found: If, I say, these things can be shewn, why should they not be received: If, being considered, they are not approved, they may be rejected, no Alteration will be made, nor any harm done; but rather Good: For my Attempt may set some better Hand to work on the same Subject; and being instructed by others Observations on my Errors, may be more capable to make Amendments: But this, I think, may be safely said, that if any Alterations in the Government of the Plantations are necessary, they may be much more easily done now they are in their Infancy, than hereafter when they grow more populous, and the Evils have taken deeper Root, and are more interwoven with the Laws and Constitutions of the several Colonies.

The King ought not to have a more absolute Power in the Plantations than in England

3. It may perhaps be said that it is necessary the King should have a more absolute Power in the Plantations than he hath in England. I know this hath been said, and pretended to be asserted by Argument; and to make it more passable, it hath been framed into a sort of a Syllogism, thus: All such Kingdoms, Principalities, Dominions, &c. as are dependent on the Crown of England, and are not a Part of the Empire of the King of England, are subject to such Laws as the King is pleased to impose on them; But the English Plantations in America are dependent on the Crown of England, and are not part of the Empire of the King of England: Ergo, they are subject to such Laws as the King shall please to impose. Now it is observable, that the main Stress of this Matter depends upon the Distinction between the Crown of England, and the Empire of the King of England: And if there is no such Distinction (as possibly there may not) the whole falls to Ground: But if there be such a Distinction, then the clear Tendency of the Argument, is to lay the Plantations intirely at the King’s Feet, for him to do what he pleases with them; and the Parliament are not at all concerned in the Business, only upon Edition: current; Page: [245] sufferance. This I take to be the clear Consequence of the Argument, which no King ever yet pretended to; and for which the Lords and Commons of England are very much obliged to the Inventer.

But tho’ the King’s Right and Prerogative are pretended in the Argument, there were other Reasons for inventing it; and that will appear, if it be remembered that it was first made use of upon the following Occasion. In former times a certain Gentleman was made Governour of one of the English Plantations, and had a large Commission for his Office, which he put in Execution after such a manner, that the People were not able to forbear shewing the highest Resentments of such Usage; and at last had recourse to Arms.

And hereupon to vindicate the Governour’s Proceedings, it was thought necessary to start this Argument of the King’s absolute Power in the Plantations, thereby to lay the Odium of an ill Governour’s wicked Actions upon the King.

By the ancient known Laws of the Land the King’s Power is sufficient to make himself a great Prince, and his Subjects a happy People; and those very Men that raise these strange Arguments for Absolute Power do not aim at the King’s Service in it: But they know, that if they make the King Absolute, his Lieutenant will be so of course; and that is their chief Design.

Thus the King’s Power is pretended to be made great, whilst in reality his Interest is destroyed, and so is the Interest of England too: for these are the true Reasons that many People who are poor and miserable at home, will not come to the Plantations because they know they shall be ill used.

From what is said, I think it appears very plain, that it is not for the Interest or Service either of the King or Kingdom of England, that the Plantations should be under an unlimited Government: the true Interest of England, is to have the Plantations cherished, and the poor People encouraged to come hither, every Man here being of great Value to England, and most of those that come, are not able to do much good at home.

Whatever Power the King hath in the Plantations must be executed by his Lieutenants: and if it should so happen that the King be mistaken in the Man, and send one who would aim more at his own Interest than the King’s Service; and by Extortion, Bribery, and other the like Practices (too often complained of in some Places) should so distract the People, that they make Commotions or Insurrections against him: The King cannot possibly know this till it is too late; and then he will be obliged to inflict the severest Edition: current; Page: [246] Punishments upon some of the most considerable Offenders, to the Ruin of them and their Families, who otherwise might have done his Majesty good Service.

Neither is this all; for by such Commotions the Product of one Year at least will be lost in that Colony where they happen, which will be a greater Prejudice to England than the best Governour will ever be able to make amends for; the Loss of the Tobacco made in one Year in Virginia, considering the Customs and the Merchants Damage, by their shipping and Stock being unimployed, will amount to at least 500000£. prejudice to the King and Kingdom of England.

I know it will be said, that all this proceeds either from groundless Jealousies of I know not what Dangers to happen, no one knows when; or else, that I am very much prejudiced against some of the present Governours of the Plantations; to which I answer: That it is not to be supposed such things should happen every Day; but since they have been heretofore, it is probable, they may be again, and the Consequence being so very dangerous, the more Reason there is to endeavour the Prevention of them: And for the other Imputation, I can with a great deal of Truth say, that I have the Honour of being known but to two of the King’s Governours, and for both of them, I have the most profound Respect and Regard imaginable; nor can I believe that either of them will find fault with me for endeavouring to prevent those male-Administrations in others, of which they will never be guilty themselves.

A free Constitution of Government in the Plantations not prejudicial to the King’s Service

4. The other Objection to this Work is, That the setling a free Constitution of Government in the Plantations may be prejudicial to the King’s Service. To this I answer, That by a free Constitution of Government, I mean, that the Inhabitants of the Plantations may enjoy their Liberties and Estates, and have Justice equally and impartially administred unto them; and that it should not be in the power of any Governour to prevent this. Now by enjoying Liberty, I understand, the Liberty of their Persons being free from Arbitrary, illegal Imprisonments; not that they should have great Liberties of Trade, or any other Liberties or Priviledges, that may be thought prejudicial to the King or Kingdom of England; for my Design is not to complain of our Edition: current; Page: [247] Subjection, or any thing of that Nature; but to shew as well as I can, what may be done for the Interest and Service both of England and the Plantations.

It is no advantage to the King, that his Governours should have it in their Power to gripe and squeeze the People in the Plantations, nor is it ever done, for any other Reason, than their own private Gain. I have often heard Complaints made, that the Governours and their Officers and Creatures, have been guilty of ill things to raise Estates for themselves, or to gratify their own Revenge, or some other Passion; but I never heard, that any of the Plantations were oppressed to raise Money for the King’s Service, and indeed I think it is past Dispute, that the King’s and Plantations Interest is the same, and that those who pretend, the King hath, or ought to have an unlimited Power in the Plantations, are a sort of People, whose Designs make their Interests run counter to that both of the King and Plantations.

Thus having briefly answered those Objections which perhaps may be made to what I shall offer: I proceed to the main Design, which is to shew several things, which I must beg leave to say, I conceive are amiss, and to propose some Methods for redressing those Grievances.

The Heads of the following Discourse

The Particulars which I shall treat of may properly enough be ranked under these several Heads, viz. Religion, Laws, Trade, People, Relation of one Plantation to another, Governours, King.

Grievances relating to Religion

The present Inconveniencies relating to Religion, in short are these. 1. That there is not a good free Liberty of Conscience established; but generally whatever Religion or Sect happens to be most numerous, they have the Power over all the rest; thus the Independants in New-England, and the Quakers in Pensylvania, abuse all Mankind that come among them, and are not of their Persuasion; and in New-York it is as bad, or rather worse; for there the contending Parties are pritty near equal; from whence it follows, that (sometimes one, and sometimes the other prevailing,) those who happen to have the best Interest and most favour in the Government, exert their utmost Skill and Industry to ruin the others.

In our Government of Virginia we are, or pretend most of us to be of the Church of England; some few Roman Catholicks amongst us, some Edition: current; Page: [248] Quakers, who at present seem to be greatly increasing; and about two or three Meetings of Dissenters, and those in the out-parts of the Countrey, where at present are no Church of England Ministers, nor can any be put well there, no sufficient Provision being made for their Maintenance; all the Ministers Salaries are paid in Tobacco, which in those places is of so small value, that they cannot well subsist upon the Salary allowed by Law.

But notwithstanding the Church of England is so generally established here, yet there is scarce any sort of Church Government established amongst us; the Laws indeed do direct building of Churches, and have ascertain’d what Salaries shall be paid to the Clergy, but it is not well determined who are Patrons of the Parishes, what Right of presentation they have, in what Cases the King, or the Bishop may present jure devoluto,4 and many other Defects of that Nature there are, as yet unprovided for; here also I may add, that there is no established Court for the Punishment of Scandalous Ministers, nor any Care taken to prevent Dilapidations, neither are there any Courts where Incestuous Marriages, and other Causes of the like nature are properly triable.

In some places no care at all is taken, either of the Religion or Morality of the Inhabitants, as particularly, North-Carolina, and in this almost all the Proprieties and Charter-Governments are to blame.

I shall not take upon me to offer much towards remedying these Grievances of Religion, because I think it is an improper Subject for me; but it is to be wish’d, that some Care were taken to instruct the People well in Morality, that is, what all Perswasions either do, or pretend to desire.

Grievances on Account of their Laws

The Inconveniences the Plantations labour under, on Account of their Laws, are very many.

It is a great Unhappiness, that no one can tell what is Law, and what is not, in the Plantations; some hold that the Law of England is chiefly to be respected, and where that is deficient, the Laws of the several Colonies are to take place; others are of Opinion, that the Laws of the Colonies are to take first place, and that the Law of England is of force only where they are silent; others there are, who contend for the Laws of the Colonies, in Conjunction with those that were in force in England at the first Settlement of the Colony, Edition: current; Page: [249] and lay down that as the measure of our Obedience, alleging, that we are not bound to observe any late Acts of Parliament made in England, except such only where the Reason of the Law is the same here, that it is in England; but this leaving too great a Latitude to the Judge; some others hold that no late Acts of the Parliament of England do bind the Plantations, but those only, wherein the Plantations are particularly named. Thus are we left in the dark, in one of the most considerable Points of our Rights; and the Case being so doubtful, we are too often obliged to depend upon the Crooked Cord of a Judge’s Discretion, in Matters of the greatest Moment and Value.

Of late Years great Doubts have been raised, how far the Legislative Authority is in the Assemblies of the several Colonies; whether they have Power to make certain Acts or Ordinances in the nature of by-Laws only; or, whether they can make Acts of Attainder, Naturalization, for setling or disposing of Titles to Lands within their own Jurisdiction, and other things of the like Nature; and where Necessity requires, make such Acts as best suit the Circumstances and Constitution of the Country, even tho’ in some Particulars, they plainly differ from the Laws of England.

And as there have been Doubts made concerning the Enacting of Laws with us, so likewise there have been great Controversies concerning the Repeal of Laws made here: The Assemblies have held, that when any Law made by them, and not assented to by the King in England is repealed by them; such Repeal doth intirely annul and abrogate, and even (as it were) annihilate the former Law, as if it never had been made, and that it cannot by any means be revived, but by the same Power that at first enacted it, which was the Assembly; but the Governours have held, that tho’ the King hath not assented to the first, yet he hath the Liberty of refusing his Assent to the repealing Law, and by Proclamation may repeal that, and then the other is revived of course: This Dispute, and others of the like Nature, ran very high in the late Reigns.

It is also to be observed as a great Defect, that no one of these Colonies on the Continent, have any tolerable Body of Laws; all of them have some sort of Laws or other; but there is not any such thing amongst them all, as a regular Constitution of Government, and good Laws for Directions of the several Officers, and other Persons therein, with suitable Penalties to enforce Obedience to them.

This seems to have been a Fault in the Beginning; for then it was put into bad Hands, and hath been little mended since: One notorious Instance Edition: current; Page: [250] may be given in Virginia. This Colony was at first given for the Encouragement of it to a Company of Adventurers, who by Charter from King James the first, were constituted a Corporation, and they set up a sort of Government here, the Chief Magistrates whereof were called Governours and Council; and they (I suppose) as the chief Members of the Corporation, constituted the highest Court of Judicature; afterwards this Countrey was taken into the King’s Hands, and the same Constitution of Governor and Council remained; and they to this Day continue to be the highest Court of Judicature in the Countrey; tho’ we have no Law to establish them as such, neither have they ever had any Commission for that purpose, and till April 1699, were never sworn to do Justice, but being made Counsellors, they took their Places as Judges of Course.

From hence it may be observ’d, that no great Stress is to be laid on any Argument against Alterations in the Plantations, barely because Changes may be dangerous, for (it seems) a Regular Settlement hath never yet been made, and therefore ’tis time to be done now.

Courts of Judicature

After what has been said concerning the Defects in the Legislative Authority, and the Laws of the Plantations; It is not to be thought strange, that the Establishment of the Courts of Judicature is defective also, that being the Superstructure and the other the Foundation.

Grievances relating to Trade

The next thing to be consider’d, is the Trade of the Plantations on the Continent of America; and herein I shall not pretend to calculate the Advantage that may be made to England thereby; I think no Body at this time of day is ignorant of that, neither shall I pretend to plead for the Plantations having great Liberties of Trade allow’d them; But I hope it may be thought reasonable, that the Colonies under the King’s more immediate Protection, and which are by far the most profitable to England, should at least be as much encouraged as the Proprietors and Charter Governments, who are almost so many People lost to England.

The King’s Plantations are governed by Persons appointed by the King, and they generally take all possible Care to prevent illegal Trade, and Frauds, and Abuses in the Revenues; but it is otherwise in the Charter Edition: current; Page: [251] Governments, for there the Parties concerned, find it their Interest to connive at (if not assist) those Practices; and to excuse themselves in it, they say, they are obliged to give all reasonable Incouragement for People to come and live with them.

Nor are these all the Injuries that the King’s Governments suffer by the Proprieties, for they being under no obligation but their own Advantage, have many other ways to serve themselves to the Prejudice of their Neighbours.

There is almost a constant Intercourse of Trade and Commerce from New-York, and the other Northern Colonies to Madagascar, and other parts of India, from whence are brought Muslins, and other Indian Goods, which are privately run into the Colonies under the King’s Government: The last Summer, one Shelley, a New-York man, brought about sixty Pyrates, (Passengers) with great quantities of Goods from those Parts; and lay at Anchor off Cape May, at the Mouth of Delaware, till he had disperst most of them into Pensylvania, the Jersey’s and other neighbouring Colonies; these Practices are prejudicial to the Plantation Trade, contrary to the Act of Parliament for settling the India Trade, and tend to the ruin of all Trade in the World; and yet I think Shelley went into New-York afterwards and was never questioned about it.

Nor is this one Instance only of such Practices amongst them; but it is notorious in this Part of the World, that Pyrates and Privateers have been very much harboured by them, especially to the Northward; and those People bringing in great quantities of Money, and other rich Goods, all the Seamen in the adjacent Plantations run thither, and many of them take up that Trade, and being acquainted with the Coasts, are the more capable to commit Robberies, and to take and plunder Ships sailing in and out, between the Capes of Chisapeak Bay, on their Voyages between England and Virginia and Mary-Land: This is a great Prejudice to the Trade of those Places, and not only so, but to the King’s Revenues.

We in the King’s Governments look upon the Pirates and Privateers to be Robbers and Thieves; but the good People of Pensylvania esteem them very honest Men for bringing Money into their Countrey, and encouraging their Trade.

The King’s Governours in the Colonies are strictly bound up by their Instructions, that they cannot give their Assent to any Laws for ascertaining the Value of Coin, in their Governments; but the Proprieties not being Edition: current; Page: [252] tyed up to this Rule, they are always at Liberty, either to raise or lower the Value of Money, as their Interest and present Occasions require; by which means they have dreined almost all the Ready Money out of Virginia and Maryland, the two Colonies, that (considering their Value to England) ’tis presum’d, may reasonably expect at least as much Favour and Protection as any of their Neighbours.

Grievances particularly relating to the Trade of Virginia and Mary-Land

All that hath been observed hitherto, hath had relation more or less to all the Colonies on the Continent; what follows under this Head of Trade, will more particularly have regard to the Plantations of Virginia and Mary-Land; which as they are the most Considerable, and of greatest Consequence, so they seem (and perhaps with some Reason) to apprehend themselves to be under harder Circumstances than any of their Brethren.

The Duties upon Tobacco, the only Produce of those Places, are very high and burthensom; those they cannot expect to be eased from, untill the Crown of England is in better Condition to afford it; but it seems modest enough to wish, that those Duties were laid upon them in the easiest manner.

When the 3 d. per lib. was first laid upon Tobacco, it was paid in the nature of an Excise, by the first Buyer in so many Months, and not by the Importer; but now that 3 d. and all the rest of the 6 d. is paid by the Importer as a Custom, which is extreamly grievous and burthensom to the Inhabitants of these Plantations.

The manner of Trade between England and these Plantations is thus; either the Tobacco is bought from the Planters by the Merchants of England, and by them shipped, or else it is shipped by the Inhabitants of the Countrey, and consigned to their Correspondents in England, and by these Inhabitants or Planters in Virginia, we may reasonably compute that 20000 Hogsheads of Tobacco a Year are sent for England, which weighing one with another about 500 Net. Tobacco, the whole amounts to 10,000,000 of Pounds of Tobacco.

Upon all Tobacco’s sold in London there are certain Allowances called Clof and Tret, amounting to about 4 per Cent. which are made to the Buyer: Now when the Importer paid only the two Pence, and the Buyer the rest, Edition: current; Page: [253] that Allowance was but of four times two Pence in every Hundred Weight of Tobacco; but now the Importer pays the whole six Pence, that Allowance comes to four six-pences in every Hundred Weight of Tobacco; so that the Importer loses just 4 per Cent. upon the last four Pence.

The Factor in London takes 2 l. ½ per Cent. to himself as Commission for the Sale of the Goods, and when the Importer paid only the 2 d. the Factor had Commission only upon that; but now he charges it upon the whole, which is a further Damage to the Importer of 2 l. ½ per Cent. upon the last 4 d. per lib.

Now these two Articles alone, which are so little, they are hardly taken notice of, are yet so considerable as to amount to very near a Tax of 10s. per Pole on all the Tythables in Virginia; for they are not above 22,000. and this comes to 10833 l. 6 s. 1 d. ½ which I compute thus, the 4 d. per lib. on 10,000,000 lib. of Tobacco amounts to 166,666 l. 13 s. 4 d. upon which Account

l. s. d.
4 per Cent. Clo. and Tret is 6666. 12. 09.½
per Cent. Commission to the Factor is 4166. 13. 04.
10833. 06. 01.½

This Sum to so great a Kingdom as England is not worth speaking of; but to so poor a Handful of People as we are, is very considerable, and the more, because it is paid anew every Crop that is made.

When the Importer paid only the two Pence per lib. it was at the peril of the Factor in London, to see that he sold the Tobacco to such Men as were capable to pay the remaining four Pence, because he was answerable to the King for it: But now the Planter is answerable for the whole six Pence; and if by any Omission of the Factor, the Tobacco is sold to a Man that breaks, and cannot pay for it, the Planter loses not only the first Cost of his Goods, but all the Duties besides, which perhaps all he hath in the World will not make Good, and so he is ruined by his Factor’s Neglect.

And moreover, the Duty being so very great, the Importer is necessitated to sell his Goods in a short time, at such a rate as he can get, because he is not able to let so vast a quantity of Money lie dead upon his Hands, to wait for a better Market.

Edition: current; Page: [254]

These particular Circumstances afore-mentioned, make the Condition of the Planter very hazardous and difficult, even in Comparison of what it was, under the former Method of paying the Duties; and since the King’s Interest is not touched, it would be a great deal of Charity to relieve us, if possible; it is the Product of our Labour, we run the Risque of the Sea, and of the Market; the Buyer runs no Hazard, neither doth the Factor; and yet it very often happens, that he gets more for his Commission of Selling, than the Planter doth for the first Purchase; nay, sometimes he loses the whole, and is brought in Debt for the Charges, when the Factor gets very considerably for his Commissions, and the Buyer makes very profitable Returns.

Running Tobacco in England

The great Abuse of running Tobacco in England, and defrauding the King of his Customs, is of very ill Consequence to the Plantations, for all that is run must be sold at under Rates, and that beats down the Price to the fair Trader; this hath been endeavoured to be prevented by an Act made the last Session of Parliament, to prohibit the Importation of Bulk Tobacco into England, and peradventure that Act may be of great use, but Practice only can tell that.

Act against the Importation of Bulk Tobacco, defective

However, by the way it is to be noted, that that Act is somewhat defective, for no Penalties on the Breach of it can be recovered but in the Courts of Westminster, when in Truth the Officers in the Plantations, are the proper Persons to prevent the Abuse; and they cannot make a Voyage for England to prosecute; neither is it plain, that the Penalty becomes due, till the Breach is detected in England; and if so, the Masters of Ships and their Mariners are only obliged to put it on Shore before it is found, and then they are safe.

Grievances with relation to the People in the Plantations

In the fourth Place I come to discourse of the People in the Plantations: And here it is extreamly to be lamented, that such a vast Tract of Land, so Pleasant, so Fruitful, so Healthy, so Capable of all sorts of Improvement, for the Support and Encouragement of the Inhabitants; so well furnish’d with Edition: current; Page: [255] all sorts of Beasts, Birds, and Fruits; and so conveniently situate for Traffick, by many commodious navigable Rivers, and those so well stored with Fish of all sorts; I say it is a very melancholy Consideration, that so great a part of the World, by Nature so rich and improveable, should lie almost wholly rude, and uncultivated for want of People.

It hath been said by some, that the Plantations drawing People from England are prejudicial to it; but this will appear to have very little Weight in it, if it be consider’d, that not many come hither who are capable of doing much for their Countrey’s Service at home. In the first Settlements indeed, many worthy good Men adventured themselves hither, with Expectations to raise their Fortunes, but most, if not all of them, were disappointed in their Hopes: Also in the late Civil Wars, and other unquiet Times in England, many Persons of good Character and Reputation fled to the Plantations, for the Enjoyment of that Protection, which was denied them at Home; and when England’s Misfortunes cast her again into the like unhappy Circumstances, ’tis reasonable to believe, more such People will be constrain’d to leave their own Country for the Plantations (which is yet far better than to go into Foreign Princes Dominions) but without some such Accident happen, very few, or none will come to inhabit there, but such poor miserable Wretches, as not being able to get Bread at home, are forced to submit to be Servants four or five Years, to defray the Charge of their Transportation; and surely it is a great Service to England, that the Plantations take off, and Imploy very much to her Benefit, those Persons, who otherwise must Beg, Starve, or perhaps be dispatched by the Cord of Justice, for using unlawful Means, to procure a mean Subsistance. The Governments of the Plantations not being well setled, and the Want of an Impartial Administration of Justice, are great Discouragements to those that otherwise would come hither, or being here, would stay.

The late Act of Parliament incapacitating Foreigners to purchase Lands, to bear Offices, or to be upon Juries, is a great Discouragement to those People from coming hither.

Grievances of one Plantation to another

5. The Inconveniences and Prejudices that one Plantation receives from another, are very considerable, and under the present Management, are almost impossible to be prevented; but above all, the Proprieties and Charter Edition: current; Page: [256] Governments, do ever prove ill Neighbours to such of the King’s as lye next them; especially Carolina and Pensylvania, to Virginia and Mary-Land; the two first being continual Receptacles for Servants and Debtors, that run from the two latter, to the great Detriment of their Masters and Creditors.

Another Master Policy of the Proprieties hath been to raise, and encourage Faction in their Neighbouring Colonies; as well knowing the weakest Party must fly to them for Shelter.

I have already under the third Head mentioned the Prejudices, the King’s Plantations lie under, from the Proprieties, in Point of Trade, and Coin, and by harbouring Pyrates.

Remarks on the Author of the Essay on Ways and Means

And here I cannot but take notice, what I find written by the Author of the Essay on Ways and Means, in his Discourses on the Publick Revenues, and on the Trade of England, in the second Part of that Work, concerning the Plantation Trade.

I would not be thought so fond of my own Abilities, as to believe my self sufficient to enter the Lists of Controversy with that Gentleman, who seems to be a Man of good Parts, and to have taken a great deal of Pains in that Discourse; but being himself unacquainted, and very badly informed by others, ’tis not to be thought strange, that he has managed his Business very lamely: I shall not at this time take upon me to controvert any of his Reasonings and Arguments, (tho’ perhaps liable to many Objections) but wholly confine my self to matter of Fact, in which he has been very much misinform’d, and considering the Particulars, it is not hard to guess, That a certain Northern Proprietor had a great Hand in it.

I shall not mention any thing for Argument’s sake only; but I shall remark some Particulars, wherein the Truth is misrepresented, and so leave them barely, to shew, that if I write any thing contrary to what that Gentleman hath offer’d, ’tis not thro’ Inadvertency of what he has done, but because I think I am better able to give a true Account of the Matter of Fact. P. 240, 245, 250, 251, 283, 284. I observe he is often finding Fault, that the Charters to the Proprieties are not kept inviolable, and asserting that to be the best way to encourage those Plantations: Whether it would encourage them or not, I know not; but sure I am, that if the Proprieties are let alone to Edition: current; Page: [257] entertain Pyrates and Privateers, and to carry on a Course of Illegal Trade, as of late Years hath been practised amongst many of them, the Consequences thereof to England will be too fatal not to be taken notice of.

But to take off any Imputations of this Nature, it is said, (Page 250) that in those Colonies which by Charter are not governed from England, as to all Duties belonging to the Crown Revenue, the King has as immediate an Influence by having an Officer of his own upon the Spot, as in other Places; but with Submission I would ask him, What such an Officer signifies under a Charter Government: The King thought fit lately to erect a Court of Admiralty in Pensylvania; but the great Opposition the Judge and other Officers have met with, and the many Tricks and Contrivances that have been used to ruine some of them, do sufficiently evidence what they would be at.

P. 229. It is urged in favour of the Proprieties, That the Dissenters living there, are a sober temperate People, which is the Cause of their Increase of Inhabitants; But under Favour I take it that their Pyracy and Illegal Trade have drawn more People to them, than their Sobriety and Temperance have increased.

’Tis true, they will not all of them swear and be drunk so publickly as is usual in some other Places, but their other Morals are no better than those of their Neighbours; perhaps not so good, if they were, whence should spring that Tenet of theirs, That every Man is bound to believe a Professor upon his bare Affirmation only, before another Man upon Oath; Whence hath proceeded the great Opposition they have made to the Court of Admiralty lately erected by his Majesty’s Authority, whence their Pretence of making Laws for the Management of their Trade, without Regard to the Acts of Parliament of England; and whence their Esteem of the Pyrates as honest Men, bringing Money into their Countrey: Are Knavery, and Injustice, and Disobedience, and Rebellion, and Pyracy, and Robbery such commendable Morals? Much more may be said on this Occasion; but at present I pass it by.

P. 234. It is said the Reasons why Virginia hath thriven no better, are, That the Planters and Inhabitants have been, and at this time are discouraged from Planting Tobacco in that Colony; and Servants are unwilling to go thither, because the Members of the Council and others having an Interest in the Government, have from time to time procured Grants for large Tracts of Land, so that none is left to be cultivated by Servants coming in at this time; and to render the thing as ill as may be, P. 236, it is represented, that the Quit-rents for those Lands are seldom paid; and instead of Building Edition: current; Page: [258] and Stocking, they fell a few Trees, and throw up a little Hut covered with Bark, and put three or four Hogs into the Woods: And by these means it comes to pass, that many hold twenty or thirty Thousand Acres of Land apiece, and that largely survey’d; some Patents including double the quantity of Land that was intended to be granted: And hence (saith he) it proceeds, that many hundred thousand Acres are taken up but not planted; which Practice drives away the Inhabitants and Servants bred up only to Planting, and forces them into Colonies where there Labour is not so profitable either to the Crown or Kingdom of England. This is the Substance of what he asserts, and of this he saith, he hath certain Information. To all which I say, That true it is, that in some Places great Quantities of Land have been taken up, and not very well seated, by reason the People have been driven off by the Indians, that is by Foreign Indians, not those that pretend any Right to the Land: And some other Tracts of Land have been Patented, and but just so much Seating and planting upon them as the Law directs; which perhaps upon better Consideration may not be thought sufficient; but that ever throwing up a Hut of Bark, or putting three or four Hogs into the Woods was accounted Seating a Tract of Land, I do positively deny, and am very sure no Man can give one Instance, that ever it has been so adjudged.

That the Council and other Persons having Interest in the Government, and not others as well as they, gained great Tracts of Land is an entire Fiction: That was not the Cause of such extravagant Grants; but the Government always esteem’d it the King’s Interest, that the Land should be taken up, because it increased the Quit-rents, and therefore they were willing to give it to any one that would take it: I do not say, that this Management of former Governours may not be thought an Oversight, but certainly it will not bear the Colour that Gentleman seems to put upon it; for he represents it as a piece of downright Knavery in the great Men, to advance themselves and their Friends; tho’ I believe, it will be difficult for any one to shew, that it was ever attempted to parcel the Land out amongst the Favorites, till about five or six years ago, some Lands that were valuable in Pamunkey Neck, (lying at the Head of York River) were granted to particular friends; but upon a dispute arising about a Tract of Land in that Neck, given by the King’s Charter to the College, those Grants were surrendred, and so the Project fell.

The Quit-rents of all the Lands held of the King in Virginia, are constantly paid, except perhaps some few that escape by Fraud; but of them there are not many, and those by the Negligence of Officers.

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There are not above three or four Men in the Countrey, that have each of them 20,000 Acres of Land in Possession, and the most valuable of them holds the greatest part of his by Marriage with a Widdow, as Guardian to an Orphan, and in right of his Children now Minors: And excluding the Lord Fairfax’s Propriety in the Northern Neck, there is not one Man that holds 30,000 Acres of Land in the whole Colony; and it is further to be observed, that the best landed Men in the Country came to those Estates either by Descent or Purchase, and not by those Extravagant Grants as is suggested. The large Measure allowed by Serveyors in old Times, is as disingeniously narrated as any Part of the Story, for it is put in just after he mentions the great Quantities of Land some Men hold, so that he seems to insinuate, as if they held 40 or 60 instead of 20 or 30 thousand Acres; but he mistakes the Case, for here and there indeed some small Tracts are overmeasured; but the great ones have most of them been servey’d of late, and where the old Patents fell short, new ones have been taken out more exact.

I am sensible many Instances may be given of the Impolitic Methods of managing the Land in Virginia, and if they had been mention’d only as such, without any Air of Design and Abuse cast over the whole, as this Gentleman has done, I should not have taken upon me to contradict any thing he had said; but I think him ill used by those that have given him these Informations, and that much to the Prejudice of the King’s Plantations; for the whole Discourse seems to be calculated as a Commendation of the Proprieties, and to bring Disgrace upon the King’s Plantations, that People may be discouraged to come hither, and induced to go thither; and this Art of getting and keeping People from us, is a piece of very ill Neighbourhood in them.

Great Notice is taken of Lands being wanting in Virginia, when there is really good Land not yet granted, sufficient to satisfie many thousands of People; but nothing is said of the great numbers that have been decoyed over into a certain Northern Propriety, and how they bought large Tracts of Lands of the Proprietor in England, and when they came to seat it, there was not a sixth Part of what they bought to be found: Such Proprietors are like to teach pure Morals no doubt.

By what is said P. 249, 250, of the petty Emulations, or private Interests of Neighbour Governours, and the Petitions of hungry Courtiers at home, prevailing to discourage those particular Colonies, who in a few years have raised themselves by their own Charge, Prudence and Industry, to the Wealth and Greatness they are now arrived at, without Expence to the Edition: current; Page: [260] Crown, &c. and by what is proposed P. 253, 254, that no Province should obstruct or clog the Passage of any Ship or Goods coming from England to it, with any Custom or Duty, &c. I say, by these two Passages in that Discourse, it is easie to tell who gave the Author of it the greatest Part of his Information; tho’ I must confess I am somewhat at a loss for his Meaning in the Words, Petitions of hungry Courtiers at Home, unless they have relation to such Grants as the King hath been pleased to make of Wrecks, Prizes, Goods of Pyrates in those Parts, or some such things; for I know no other Petitions of or Grants to Courtiers, that could give the least colour for such a Reflection. But to leave Controversy I proceed.

One other great Inconveniency that the Colonies suffer from one another, is, that the Inhabitants of one Government go into that which is adjacent, and contract Debts, or commit Breaches of the Laws, and return home, and by reason that no proper Method is yet setled, one cannot be compelled to satisfie his just Debts, nor the other brought to condign Punishment for his Offences.

Grievances with Relation to the Governours

6. The next concerning Governours is a tender Point, and must be touched with clean Hands; and when I profess that I do not design to expose any particular Person now in Office, I hope Liberty may be allowed me, to remark some Grievances that the Plantations have, and may have Cause to complain of, if they knew where.

And herein I shall but lightly mention some things, part of which at least, perhaps it may be necessary to reform hereafter, not accusing any Person for what is past.

Some Governours either through Weakness or Prejudice, have contributed very much to raise Factions in the Colonies under their Command, by making use of, and encouraging some one particular Sort or Sett of Men, and rejecting all others, and these Favourites being oftentimes of mean Education and base Spirits, cannot bear their good Fortunes, but thinking absolute Command only is their Province, either for private Interest, or to gratifie their Ambition, Revenge, or some other Passion, they hardly ever fail to run all Things into Confusion; and of these Actions by Favourites, Instances are not wanting.

The King’s Governours in the Plantations either have, or pretend to have very large Powers within their Provinces, which together with the Trusts reposed in them, of disposing of all Places of Honour and Profit, and of Edition: current; Page: [261] being chief Judges in the Supream Courts of Judicature, (as they are in many Places, if not all) render them so absolute, that it is almost impossible to lay any sort of Restraint upon them.

On the other side, in some of the Proprieties, the Hands of the Government are so feeble, that they cannot protect themselves against the Insolencies of the Common People, which makes them very subject to Anarchy and Confusion.

The chief End of many Governours coming to the Plantations, having been to get Estates for themselves, very unwarrantable Methods have sometimes been made use of to compass those Ends, as by engrossing several Offices into their own Hands, selling them or letting them out at a yearly Rent of such a part of the Profits, and also by Extortion and Presents, (or Bribery) these things have been heretofore, and in ill Times may be done again.

And here I must beg Leave to say, that I am of Opinion, the Court of England hath hitherto gone upon wrong Principles, in appointing Governours of the Plantations; for those Places have been generally given as the last Rewards for past Services, and they expecting nothing after that, were almost necessitated, then to make Provision for their whole Lives, whereby they were in a manner forced upon such Methods (whether good or evil) as would compass those Ends.

Another very considerable difficulty the Plantations lie under from their Governours, is, that there is no way left to represent their evil Treatment to the King; for nothing of that Nature can be done without Money, no Money can be had without an Assembly, and the Governour always hath a Negative in their Proceedings, and not only so, but if he fears any thing of that Nature, he can let alone calling one, or (being called) can dissolve them at pleasure.

King unacquainted with the true State of the Plantations

7. But the last and greatest Unhappiness the Plantations labour under, is, that the King and Court of England are altogether Strangers to the true State of Affairs in America, for that is the true Cause why their Grievances have not been long since redress’d.

The present Establishment of the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations is very necessary and expedient for that Purpose, and perhaps may be rendred much more so, but they being Strangers to the Affairs in these Edition: current; Page: [262] Parts, are too often obliged to depend on the Relation of others who pretend to be better acquainted. Misrepresentations in those Cases may be very dangerous, and cannot well be prevented, there not being as yet any Method setled for them to gain certain Information of the true State of the Plantations.

Remedies for the aforementioned Grievances

Hitherto I have taken notice of some of the most material Inconveniencies attending these Plantations: Now I must beg Leave to offer such Remedies to Consideration as with Submission I conceive may prevent the like Grievances for the future.

To propose Schemes of Government, I know, hath always been esteemed a difficult Task, and the more, because the Proposer is look’d upon as obliged to answer all Objections that shall be made against them, and it is not impossible to raise many Objections against the best Government in the World, tho’ perhaps it would be difficult to make any real Amendments.

I do not pretend to assert, that what I offer is of necessity to be approved, and that better cannot be done; I shall only presume to offer some few Generals to consideration; if they are well accepted, I have my Reward, if not, many Men of much greater Abilities than I am, have lost their Labours in such Cases, and therefore I shall be contented.

And as I began to lay open the Inconveniencies and Grievances of the Plantations, in order as they came under the General Heads set down in the beginning, so I shall likewise endeavour to propose the Remedies in the same Method; and,

Remedies for the Grievances of Religion

1. For Religion; I have already said, I take it to be improper for me to offer much upon that Subject, and therefore, I shall only presume to mention two things, which I take to be of necessity, for the Maintenance and Support of the Civil Government.

Liberty of Conscience

1. That sufficient Provision be made for all People, to enjoy the same Liberty of Conscience in the Plantations, that is indulged to them in England, upon the same Terms, and not otherwise; and as Dissenters should be sure Edition: current; Page: [263] of this Liberty, so likewise good Care should be taken that they may not abuse it; particularly, it is necessary to make such a Settlement, that no one may find it his Interest to leave the Church of England; as now in Virginia every Housholder is obliged by Law to provide himself with Arms and Ammunition, and to go to Musters of the Militia; if they fail, they are to pay such a Fine: But the Law for imposing it being somewhat defective, and therefore the Fines not duly levied, many People (who have no great Sense of any Religion,) turn Quakers, chiefly to save the Expence and Trouble of providing Arms and Ammunition, and of going to Musters, and also by professing themselves Quakers, they are eased of being Constables, Church-wardens, and all such troublesome Offices, which other People are obliged to execute.

Against Immorality

2. Tho’ perhaps it may not be convenient to force all People to be of one Religion, yet it may be requisite to oblige every one to profess and practise some sort of Religion or other: to this end I humbly propose, that severe Laws be made against Blasphemy, Prophaneness, Cursing, Swearing, Sabbath-breaking, &c. with suitable Penalties to enforce the Observation thereof, and that all possible Diligence be used by the Governours, and other principal Officers of the Plantations to put those Laws in Effectual Execution within their respective Provinces.

Remedies for the Grievances relating to the Laws

2. For remedying of the Grievances mentioned under the Head of Laws, I humbly propose,

1. That some Rule be established, to know what Laws the Plantations are to be subject to, and particularly, how far the late Acts of Parliament do affect them, where they are not expressly mentioned.


2. That it be agreed how far the Legislature is in their Assemblies; whether they have Power of Naturalization, Attainders of Treason, Illegitimating of Heirs, cutting off Intails, settling Titles to Lands, and other things of that nature; and whether they may make Laws disagreable to the Laws of Edition: current; Page: [264] England, in such Cases, where the Circumstances of the Places are vastly different, as concerning Plantations, Waste, the Church, &c.

Courts of Judicature

3. That a good Constitution of Courts of Judicature be established in the several Plantations, as shall be most agreeable to their respective Forms of Government, and other Circumstances.

That the Judges of the Supream Courts in every Province hold their Offices quam diu se bene gesserint,5 and that Provision be made to ascertain what shall be adjudged Misbehaviour in them, or at least, that care be taken, that it be not absolutely in the Governour’s Breast, to displace any Judge at pleasure, without shewing his Reasons for the same, together with the Judge’s Answer thereto.

That the last Resort of Justice may not be to the Chief Governours and Council here, and thence to the King and Council in England, as is now practised in most places; but that from the Judges commissionated as aforesaid, an Appeal directly to England may be allowed to such People as think themselves injured, in any Sum exceeding the Value of five hundred Pounds Sterl.

Lands to be confirmed by the King

4. That in the King’s Colonies, his Majesty would be graciously pleased to confirm all Lands to the several Possessors, (where any privat Persons Interest is not concerned) as was done by King Charles the second in his Charter to Virginia, of which also Care should be taken, that it be not infringed, as heretofore it hath been.

Tenants of the Proprietors to be secured in their Lands

And that by some Law for that purpose, good and wholsom Provisions be made, for the setling and adjusting the Inhabitants Titles to those Lands they hold of Proprietors, that those People may not be continually obliged to a servile Dependance upon their Landlords, and thereby be sometimes necessitated either to behave themselves disrespectively and disobediently to the Governour, acting by the King’s Authority there, or to be in danger of Edition: current; Page: [265] losing their Lands, being forced to pay extravagant Fines for Confirmation of their Titles, or of being some other way liable to suffer under the Proprietors, or their Agents Displeasure.

I am very far from desiring, that the Right of the Proprietors in their Lands should be injured, therefore (for Explanation) I add further, that I do not propose, that the Proprietors shall be compelled to part with their Land at any set Price; in that let them make such reasonable Terms as they can; but whatever the Terms are, let the Inhabitants be secured by good Laws from any Tricks or Designs, which may be put upon them thereafter, for that will certainly cause Disorders and Mutinies, which are publick Inconveniencies and by no means to be tolerated for any private Man’s Advantage; or if the People find themselves so far in the Proprietors Power, that they are of Necessity obliged to submit to him, then all that Interest will most surely be employed in prejudice of the King’s Government there; and of this an Instance may be given, but it is an Invidious Task to tell Men of their Faults, and therefore I shall not mention them.

Remedies for the Grievances of Trade

3. For Remedy of the Grievances mentioned under the Heads of Trade, I humbly propose,

Equal Liberty of Trade in all the Plantations

1. That sufficient Care be taken to establish an Equal Liberty of Trade in all the Plantations on the Continent of America, as well as the Proprieties as the King’s Colonies, and that the Inhabitants of all the Plantations be obliged to buy and sell by the same Weights and Measures; in which several Abuses have been complained of in some Places.

Some Acts of Parliament about Trade not well calculated

And here I must beg leave (with all Submission and Deference imaginable to that great and Illustrious Council of the Nation) to say, that some of the present Acts of Parliament relating to the Plantation Trade, seem to be faulty in the Contrivance of them, for they are mostly calculated for all the Plantations in general, whereas the different Circumstances of the Several Edition: current; Page: [266] Places make many particular Provisions necessary for some Colonies, which are not so in others: This I presume to mention not as an Instance of Neglect or Mismanagement, but as an Argument, that it is necessary the Court of England should be better acquainted with the true State of the Plantations, than hitherto they have been.

Standard of Coin

2. That one certain Standard for all sorts of Coin be setled in all the Plantations on the Continent, which Standard I humbly conceive should be as near the Intrinsick Value of Sterl. as may be.

But here perhaps it will be objected, that bringing the Standard of Money to the Intrinsick Value, will be very injurious to Proprieties, who have always set a higher Value upon their Money: And that,

These Plantations are in great Want of Money, and the readiest way to make it plenty among them, is to enhance the Value. To the first of these Objections I answer: That tho’ indeed we ought as near as may be, to accommodate all Laws, and other publick Transactions, to the Interest of every Individual Party concerned; yet when some must suffer, it is reasonable to steer that Course which seems most equitable, and hath the greatest Tendency towards the Welfare of the Whole. And if it appears to be the Interest of England and the Plantations, (taken generally together,) as well hereafter as at present to ascertain the Standard of Coin as near as may be to the Intrinsick Sterl. Value, then I think this Objection will be sufficiently answered.

2. To the second Objection I answer, that it is probable, enhancing the Value of Coin may bring in Money for the present; but what will be the Consequences of that? Will it not confound the Method of our Trade? Will it not destroy our Exchange? and how many, and how great Evils will follow upon that, no one can I think pretend to foresee. ’Tis possible many Arguments may be drawn from the present Necessity, and it may be urged, that extraordinary Diseases must have the like Cures: But I cannot perceive the Weight of such an Allegation, nor can I apprehend the Advantages that may be proposed; We here are but a handful of People, and have no other Trade, but plain Barter between England and us, and amongst our Neighbouring Plantations, and certainly the best way for us, must be to keep the Standard of our Coin, which is the Measure of Trade and Traffick, as near as may be, to equal the Real Value set upon it by the Prudence of our Common Mother, lest by making Alterations in it, Edition: current; Page: [267] we give Opportunity to some sharp English Merchants to put such Tricks upon us, as we cannot foresee; they have great Advantages of us, if their Inclinations tend that way; they are skilful in Trade and Exchange, which we cannot pretend to; they have much the larger Purses, and can outdo us at any thing, whenever they please; and besides all this, they have daily Opportunities of looking abroad in the World, and may have many Prospects of Advantage, which we that are shut up in America know nothing of.

Reasons for setling the Standard of Coin

For the further Answer to both these Objections, I beg leave to offer the following Particulars to Consideration.

1. That it is not necessary for the Plantations to have more Money, than just so much as is sufficient to manage their Trade; and that, they will have in a few Years, when Trade and the Coin is setled upon an Equal Foot.

2. That it is not expedient for England to give the Plantations Opportunities of laying up great Banks of Treasure among themselves.

3. That if enhancing the Value of Coin, should bring great quantities of it into these Northern Plantations, more than the carrying on of Trade requires, it would be just so much Loss to England; for none can come hither, but that which otherwise would have gone thither.

4. That the Difference of Coin would cause great Difficulties in making up Accounts of publick Revenues, and give great Opportunities of defrauding the King of the Exchange.

5. It would be very discouraging to all Officers in the Colonies, who have certain yearly Salaries established, especially Governours and Lieutenant-Governours, for they could not possibly remit any Money to England, for their necessary Occasions, without great loss by the Exchange.

’Tis true, these two last mentioned Inconveniencies may be remedied, but not without more than ordinary Trouble.

Pyrates to be suppressed

3. In the next place, I humbly propose, that all possible means be used to suppress Pyrates and Sea-Rovers in these Parts of the World.

And perhaps no way will be more effectual to that End, than a Proclamation of general Pardon for all that will submit in so many Months, and to keep three or four of the new fifth Rate Frigates along this Coast, and let a good Edition: current; Page: [268] Reward be established by Law in the Plantations, for every one that shall apprehend a Pyrate, and if one would discover and convict the other, let him have his Pardon, and the Reward also; and if besides all this, they be terrified in the East-Indies with about twelve or fourteen good Ships of War, doubtless most, if not all of them, will be glad to come in and accept of their Pardons.

The Customs on Tobacco to be paid as formerly

4. If it might be done without the Imputation of too much Presumption, I would humbly propose, That for the Incouragement of the Tobacco-Planters, (the most beneficial Slaves that pay Obedience to the Crown of England,) his Majesty and the Parliament would be pleased to enact, That for the future, the great Duties upon Tobacco, might be paid in the same manner as was usual before the late Act, by which his Majesties Revenues would not be lessened, and yet the Planters greatly eased.

Remedy for the Grievance of want of People

4. In part to remedy the Grievances mentioned under the fourth Head, Of want of People in these Plantations.

Strangers to be encouraged

It is humbly proposed, 1. That all necessary Encouragement be given to Strangers to come hither, and to this End perhaps it may be necessary to revise the late Act of Parliament prohibiting Strangers to buy Land, &c. in the Plantations, and upon this Subject many Particulars are worthy Consideration, which cannot well be incerted here.

But tho’ I would have Strangers encouraged to come amongst us, yet I would not have them seated in particular Towns or Parts of Provinces by themselves; but they should be dispersed amongst the other People, that by Marriages and other Obligations of Interest, they may be bound to study the Welfare of the Place of their Habitation.

Smal Offenders to be sent to the Plantations

2. That all Persons convicted of small Offences in England, be sent to these Plantations: By small Offences I mean Petty Larcenies, and all other such Offences as are generally punished with Whipping or the Pillory, (except Edition: current; Page: [269] for Forgery;) and also such dissolute idle Persons as generally are punish’d with the House of Correction; but they should be sent hither upon the first Conviction, before they grow hardened in their Wickedness.

Objections against this

To this it may be objected, 1. That these People of evil Lives and Conversations, will be apt to stir up the Slaves and Servants, who being very numerous, may make a dangerous Rebellion against the Government.

2. That such People will very much destroy Morality in the Plantations.

3. That the idle Vagabonds may be employed in Workhouses at home, to better Advantage than they can be sent abroad.

Answer to these Objections

To all which I answer, 1. That the Servants and Slaves are not so numerous on the Continent: In the Islands it is true, there may be danger; but in these parts it is not very difficult to contrive such Laws against Servants and Slaves, wandring from their Masters Plantations without Leave, as will effectually preserve the Government against any Insurrections, that such People will be able to make, especially if those Laws be well executed.

2. That in these Parts they will not have Opportunity to pilfer and steal as they have in England; there it is easy to turn every thing immediately into Money, here they cannot do so, but it must be detected; neither can they find Things to steal here, so easily as they may there; and it is to be remembred, that there many People are forced oftentimes to steal that they may not starve; for they cannot get an Employment to live by: Here the Case is quite otherwise, for every one that will, may always live by his Labour, and need never sit idle.

And for the prevention of all other kind of Immorality, as Fornication, Drunkenness, &c. the Laws in those Cases provided, may be much more easily put in execution here, than in England; and that it is possible to reform the most vitious Persons, by good Laws well executed, I presume, no one will doubt that considers the History of the old Romans, who from the vilest and most wicked People living, by good laws became the most Virtuous that ever were.

But let us reckon at the worst, suppose these People should continue their Wicked Inclinations, it is plain, they cannot put their evil Desires in Practice, so that at the most, they can be but intentionally ill, and they may have many good Children, that may be of great Service; whereas if they Edition: current; Page: [270] were let alone in England, after scandalous and vitious Lives, they must almost of necessity come to shameful Deaths.

3. It is most certain, that England hath never yet employed the idle Vagabonds at home in Work-houses, to any purpose, till very lately, and that but in some few Places; nor perhaps is it possible, they ever can do it throughout the whole Kingdom; for there is a vast difference in the Circumstances relating to this particular Affair between England and Holland, which is so often proposed for a Pattern to be imitated.

The Dutch have but a small Space of Territory, and consequently but few poor; and being a place of extraordinary Trade, have many Manufactures set up amongst them, and these things employ their Poor; but England is a large Tract of Countrey, many Poor in it, and not near so many Manufactures in proportion as in Holland, and consequently not so much Work for the Poor; from whence it will follow, that the Poor cannot all be set to work, so as to maintain the Charge of themselves and their Work-houses; and if the Employers must be Losers, those Work-houses will never be built, neither will all the Poor in England ever be employ’d.

Since then it seems reasonable to believe, that those People cannot be employed at home, why should they not be sent to the Plantations, where they will certainly be beneficial, and England eased of the Burthen of maintaining so many useless People.

For the better and more certain and expeditious transporting these People hither, some small public Stock may be setled to begin it, and afterwards it would bear its own Charge, for they might be sold here as Servants for more Money than their Transportation would cost.

Remedy of Grievances that one Plantation is to another

5. To redress the Grievances that one Plantation may suffer by another, some Things have been already proposed under the Head of Trade; as particularly, the Setling an equal Liberty of Trade, and the same Standard of Coin throughout all the English Plantations on the Continent; the Reasonableness of which, I suppose, is already so clearly evinced, that I think it needless to say any thing more to it here.

For a further Redress to these Grievances, it is humbly proposed, That by some General Law, to be binding to all the Colonies on the Continent, a certain Method be established, 1. To decide all Controversies between Edition: current; Page: [271] Colony and Colony. 2. To bring Persons to condign Punishment, who commit Offences against the Laws of one Colony, and then fly into another, or who living in one Colony, go into another, and commit Offences, and then return to their own Habitation. 3. To compel Fugitive Debtors to pay their just Debts, and run-away Servants and Slaves, to be returned to their Masters living in other Colonies. 4. To adjust all Disputes concerning Trade or Commerce in the several Colonies, and all other Matters whatsoever relating to the general Benefit of them all.

General Assembly of all the Provinces proposed by the Author of the Essay on Ways and Means

And here I must beg leave to take notice of a Scheme, for the General good Government of these Northern Plantations, set down in the aforementioned Discourses of the Publick Revenues, &c. Part 2d. Page 259. which Scheme with some little Alteration (the Government of the Colonies being rightly constituted) will perhaps prove the most effectual Remedy for all Grievances of this Nature, that can be proposed; but under the present Management, or whilst so many Colonies are governed by Proprietors, perhaps nothing can be proposed more prejudicial to the Interest of England.

The first Contriver of that Scheme was a Person not well acquainted with the State of every particular Colony here, and therefore no wonder if he hath committed an Error, in proposing an equal number of Deputies for the several Provinces, when they are so vastly different, for numbers of People, extent of Territory, and of the Value of them in their Trade, especially that to Europe.

Therefore with submission I conceive, that those Deputies would be more equally proportion’d in manner following, viz. Virginia four, Mary-Land three, New-York two, Boston three, Connecticut two, Rhode Island two, Pensylvania one, the two Carolina’s one, each of the two Jersey’s one.

And as angry as the Gentleman seems to be with Virginia, I think he cannot find fault with allowing one Deputy more for that, than for any of the rest, because it hath the most Inhabitants, is the eldest and most profitable of all the English Plantations in America; and if at such a Convention, we should pretend to take place of all our Neighbours, perhaps they may not give any good Reason to the contrary.

It is there proposed that these Deputies may always meet at New-York, and that the Chief Governour there for the time being, shall preside as High Edition: current; Page: [272] Commissioner amongst them; this was well designed no doubt by the Proposer: But under favour I presume it would be much more convenient and useful too, if they met by turns, sometimes in one Province, and sometimes in another; and the chief Governour in the Province where they meet, being commissionated by his Majesty, may preside as Commissioner in manner aforementioned.

The Court of the Amphictiones, in Imitation of which this is proposed, did not always meet in one place, but sometimes at Pylae, and sometimes at Delphi, and without question there were a great many Reasons for their so doing; but in this Case I conceive there are more.

1. It is necessary that those Deputies should be well acquainted with the true State of the whole Continent, which at present they know little of, and no way more proper to instruct them in it, than by holding these Conventions, sometimes at one place, and sometimes at another; which in time would make the most considerable Persons of every Province, become personally acquainted; for the better sort of People would look upon it as a piece of Gentile Education, to let their Sons go in Company of the Deputies of the Province to these Conventions.

2. It seems a little unreasonable, that the Province of New-York, and consequently the Governour thereof for the time being, should be so much advanced in Dignity above the rest of the Colonies and their Governours; some of the other are more considerable, the Governments more valuable, are more immediately depending upon the King, and by far the more profitable to England.

3. It is unequal that New York should have such an Opportunity of drawing so much Money to it every Year from all the other Colonies.

To obviate these and many other Objections of this nature which may be made, it is humbly proposed, That the whole Continent be divided into five Circuits or Divisions, thus, 1. Virginia. 2. Mary-Land. 3. Pensylvania, and the two Jersey’s. 4. New-York. 5. Boston, Connecticut, and Rhode Island; in each of which Division, let it be held by turns one after another, in a certain Order.

Remedy of the Grievances from the Governours

4. The next general Head is as much as may be to remedy the Grievances that may happen to the Plantations by their Governours.

Under the Head of Laws it is already proposed, That the last Resort of Justice in any Province, may not be to the chief Governour there; the Reason Edition: current; Page: [273] is plain, to wit, it is very dangerous to establish any Judicature, which cannot be called to Account for male-administrations; and that the Governours of the Plantations are so, is already made appear in the Grievances before complained of under this Head.

The Government of all the Plantations to be annexed to the Crown

For the better Regulation and Management of these Plantations, it is humbly proposed, That the Government of them all may be annexed to the Crown by Act of Parliament, for without that, it will be impossible to keep them upon an equal Foot; but some Tricks or other will be plaid by the Charter Governments, let their Pretentions be never so fair. Without question New-England Men pretend, that they would not entertain Pyrates upon any account in the World, and yet it is observable, that tho’ they have long used those Parts, none of them have been taken till of late, since the Government of the Earl of Bellamont, who may properly be called the first Governour of the English Interest in that Province.

I am not ignorant that many Persons whose Interests are concerned, will look upon this as a very unjust Proposition, and object the great Injustice of such an Action, as very much tending to the Destruction of Property, and the like; to all which I shall make but little Answer, and that in this manner.

That in the beginning, Virginia was planted by a Company, who had a Charter for their so doing; and afterwards (the good of the whole so requiring) not only the Government, but the very Property of the Land was taken into the King’s Hands, and so remains at this Day.

The Government of Mary-Land, is now in the King’s Hands, and yet the Lord Baltimore enjoys his Property in the Land as he did heretofore, and not only so, but all other Revenues that were setled on him by the Assembly of that Province.

The Government of New-England, is now in the King’s Hands; and if the Publick Welfare required it, why should not the Proprieties of Pensylvania, the Jersey’s and the Carolina’s be likewise governed in the same manner?

2. The Propriety of the Soil may remain to the Proprietor, as heretofore, and need not be prejudiced by the King’s appointing Governours in those Parts: And if this be not satisfactory, but they still pretend to have the Governments intirely in their own Hands, I beg leave to admonish them Edition: current; Page: [274] to consult with their Counsellors at Law, how far the King hath Power to grant the Supream Government of the Plantations, to any Person or Persons, and their Heirs, without the assent of the Parliament.

I shall say no more to this Point at present; tho it may very reasonably be urged, that in times of Danger, England must be at the Charge to defend them all, which cannot well be done without taking the Government.

That it is necessary for all the Colonies to be united under one Head, for their common Defence; and that it will be much more so, if the French, or any other Nation, possess themselves of the River Messachippe, and the Lakes to the West-ward.

That in case of a War with Spain, nothing could tend more to the Advantage of England, than having all these Colonies under the Crown, to give such Assistance as should be necessary towards any Design upon the West-Indies, which would never be done by the Proprieties, unless they saw some extraordinary private Advantage by it.

I say, all these Considerations may reasonably be urged, but Time permits me not to examine them at present.

Representations in England of the State of the Plantations

A true Representation in England of the State of Affairs in the Colonies, would very much conduce to the keeping of the Governours in good order, or at least from notorious Transgressions, for fear of being complained of at Home; therefore with Submission, I shall by and by propose such Methods, as seem most feasable to procure such Representations to be made.

Against Governours engrossing Offices, Bribery, &c.

It hath already been complained of, as a Grievance, that sometimes Governours do engross into their own Hands several Offices, and others they let out for such a part of the yearly Profits: And for the prevention of the like Practices, and of all sorts of Bribery, Extortion, and other Misdemeanours, for the future, perhaps no Method will prove more effectual than by laying severe Injunctions upon the King’s Governours, that they do not presume to keep any Place vacant, more than such a space of Time as shall be thought requisite, and that they do not take any manner of Present or Gratuity for the bestowing of any Office, that they do not upon any Pretence whatsoever Edition: current; Page: [275] take any manner of Gift, Reward, or Perquisite; that they be not any ways concerned in Trade.

Encouragements to Governours to behave themselves well

And that none of the Governours may pretend a necessity of minding something besides their Offices, to get their Living by, their Salaries may be so much enlarged, as will make them sufficient for their Maintenance, and to spare.

For a farther Encouragement to them to behave themselves well in their Governments, it seems reasonable to contrive it in such manner for the Future, that such good Behavior may recommend them to farther Rewards at Home, (and not that these Governments be given as formerly, for Rewards of past Services, and so the Governours be obliged to make the best of it they can, because they expect nothing to come after.) To this end it may perhaps be found convenient, to provide that hereafter all Governours behaving themselves well in the Plantations, and having been there above three years, shall obtain the King’s leave to resign, without any Mismanagements laid to their Charge, may have a yearly Pension allowed them, (after their return Home) of a fourth part of the value of the Established Salary in the Governments they left, which Pensions should be duly paid, till some other Preferments were bestowed on them, to the value thereof: And if after all these Encouragements, any Governour dare offend, let him fall without Mercy.

The King and Court of England unacquainted with the State of the Plantations

7. The last and greatest Grievance I mentioned, is, that the King and Court of England are very much unacquainted with the true State of Affairs in the American Plantations, for the Redress whereof it is humbly proposed.

Remedy for this Grievance

1. That every Colony have an Agent constantly residing in England, to give an account from time to time, as he shall be thereto required, of all the Affairs and Transactions of the Plantation he is authorized by; and lest this Agent be corrupted and wrought upon, to give wrong Informations, as a check upon him,

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2. Let one Person be commissionated from England, to travel through all the Plantations, to make enquiry into, and give a true Representation of the State of their Affairs; and these two Persons being Checks one upon the other, would both of them be obliged to speak the Truth.

That this last Proposition may be the better understood; I beg leave to set it down somewhat more particularly.

1. Let one Person, thereunto commissionated by his Majesty, travel through all the Colonies on the Continent.

And the better to enable him to do Service, let him have Power to sit in the Councils of every Colony where he cames: Let him have free access to all Records, Council-Books, Publick Accounts, and all other Books and Papers relating to the Government, or any Office of Trust or Profit. Let him have Authority to inquire into, and examine the State of all the Colonies where he comes; and for his better Guidance and Direction herein, a Scheme of material and pertinent Queries may be drawn up and given him; as particularly to enquire 1. Concerning the Legislature in the Plantations, In whom it is invested, What Powers they have, What their Priviledges, Methods of Proceedings, And how often they are conven’d.

2. Concerning the Civil Government: What the Governours Power? What the Councils? How many of them there are? How they are made? What Offices they hold, and what Value those Offices are of? &c.

3. Concerning the public Offices of the Government; How many there are? Of what Value? In whose Gift? How executed? What Estates they have in them?

4. Concerning the Militia; What numbers of them? How armed? How commanded? In how long time they may be ready for service?

5. Concerning the Indians; How many Nations are tributary to the Crown of England? What their Number and Strength? Where scituate? What Indian Enemies most dangerous? What Trade with them may be most profitable? What the best Method of Defence against them?

6. Concerning Courts of Justice; How many there are? Where held? Who Judges? What their Jurisdiction? What Commissions they have? How Justice is administred? How long Causes are generally depending?

7. Concerning the Revenue; What particular Branches there are? How Collected? What the Charge of Collection? Who keeps the Public Money in Bank? How much every particular Branch brings in, and to what Uses applied? What Money in Bank? Or, what Debts, and how contracted?

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8. Concerning Religion; What Religion most numerous? What established by Law? What number of the Church of England? What Provision made for the Clergy? What Ecclesiastick Authority?

9. Concerning Works of Piety and Charity; What Foundations for Learning? What Maintenance for Poor? By whom founded? By what Authority? How endowed? How the Primitive Institutions are observed?

10. Concerning Trade; What the Product of the Countrey for Exportation? Whither carried? What usually imported, and from whence? What Ports? What Towns? What their Privileges? How governed? What Manufactures? Whither carried? What number of Ships and Vessels? What Trade they are imployed in? How the Trade is managed? Whether by Money or Barter?

11. Concerning Money; How plenty Money is? What Coin most current? At what Value? What the Exchange of remitting Money to England?

12. Concerning Grievances; What the greatest Grievances? What the Cause of them? How they may be redressed?

I might add many more Queries, as concerning the number of People, the Value of Lands, the Scituation of Places, the Conveniencies of Offence or Defence, the King’s Rents, the Proprietors Interest, the Wealth of the Inhabitants, &c. But I purposely omit them for Brevity sake, the Particulars before mentioned, being sufficient to make the Method clearly apprehended.

These Queries (together with such other as shall be thought necessary,) being proposed in the Plantations to the Governours, Councils, General Assemblies, Courts of Judicature, Lawyers, Clerks, Clergymen, Magistrates, Merchants, &c. their Answers will give a great Light into the true State of Affairs in these Parts; and also such a Persons own Observations might be of great Use, if carefully made.

And that no one may be fearful to answer the Truth to the aforementioned Queries, let both Queries and Answers be kept secret, till they are laid before the Commissioners of Trade in England, and if they find any thing material, let them send Orders for a more particular Inquiry, and let Care be taken, that no Man suffer for speaking the Truth in these Cases.

The main Thing in this Proposition to be consider’d, is, whether the Advantage of it will be greater than the Charge, for such Inquiries cannot be made without some Charge, tho’ that need not be much; if a very great Man be employed in such a Service, then indeed the Cost will be great also; but if one that is not above the Business, who will be active and industrious, be Edition: current; Page: [278] employed, a Salary of five hundred Pounds a Year (with an Allowance of ten Shillings a Day, whilst he is travelling from Place to Place) will be sufficient; if he behave himself well, he will be thereby recommended to further Favour at his Return home; if otherwise, that is more than he deserves.

And perhaps it may not be convenient to let any one enjoy this Office above five years, and so as one returns, another may be sent.

Now if this Commissioner be obliged to give the best Account he can, of the State of those Colonies through which he travels, if the several Governours be directed to represent the State of their respective Provinces, if the Convention of the whole Continent aforementioned, remonstrate the Affairs of them all, and if the Agents of every Colony residing in England, be required from time to time, to give a true and impartial Relation of the Constitution and Transactions of their respective Colonies; I say, if all these Persons be obliged to give their several Representations of the State of these Colonies, it is reasonable to believe, they will be necessitated both to enquire after, and to represent the Truth, lest they contradict one another.

By these means it is probable, the King and Court of England may be made thoroughly sensible of the true State of Affairs in this remote Part of the World, which it is presum’d, will be the first and greatest Step towards remedying any former Mismanagements.

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9: [William Penn], The Allegations Against Proprietary Government Considered (1701)

The collapse of the Dominion of New England in the late seventeenth century did not end the attack on chartered governments in America. Two long wars against the French led the new Board of Trade to call for the annulment of the charters of all the proprietary and corporate colonies in the early 1700s on the grounds that they were not contributing money and men to imperial defense and were violating the Navigation Laws by trading illegally and harboring pirates.

The main target of the board was Pennsylvania, a Quaker colony founded by William Penn in the early 1680s, whose pacifist leaders were reluctant to contribute to imperial wars, and whose major city, Philadelphia, was, royal officials contended, a haven for smugglers. The board succeeded in removing the colony’s charter in 1692 only to have it reinstated in 1694 due to lobbying by Penn in England. However, the return of the charter did not stop the colony’s enemies from continuing to send damning reports to London in which they cataloged its resistance to imperial edicts. Concerned that he would lose his charter again, Penn returned to the colony in 1699. He initially sought greater compliance with royal authority, but then took the side of Quaker elites who had long opposed his authority. In late 1701, Penn again crossed the Atlantic to assert his rights after news reached him that Parliament was about to pass a Bill revoking the charters of all of the corporate and proprietary colonies.

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On Penn’s instructions, his allies in London published The Case of William Penn in 1701. Penn also issued a four-page leaflet, The Allegations Against Proprietary Government Considered, in which he denied that the proprietary colonies were independent of Crown, even conceding that they were bound by imperial trade regulations as long as these regulations did not “Fundamentally Invade their Charters.” Penn also denied that these colonies harbored pirates and called for a royal inquiry into the matter. But even if these charges were true, Penn maintained that dissolving the charters would be too harsh a punishment for any offence less than “Absolute Dis-Allegiance to the Crown.” Penn also contended that the colonial charters were “of a higher Nature than those of our Corporations at home,” for they were granted as “a Condition or Encouragement to Plant and Cultivate a Remote Wilderness.” And without such a guarantee for their rights the colonists would not have undertaken such a hazardous enterprise. To the claim that the charters would be annulled by Parliament and not the Crown, Penn reminded his readers that parliaments in the past have only taken away property “as wise Physitians do Blood, for the Preservation and Security of the Patient.” Penn also objected to the argument that he would be able to keep his property rights in the colony, only surrendering the powers of government, by claiming that “any Man, who at an extraordinary Expence has made a country” should not be stripped of his “Civil or Religious Priviledges.” In any case, Penn argued that the king did not grant the original colonists the land in America. Rather, all he gave them was “a Right of Pre-emption,” after which they had to purchase the “Savage Soil” from the Native Americans, and add all the value to it by their own labor. Penn concluded his brief for the American charters by pointing out that royal governors were often venal, that proprietors save the king the expense of governing the colonies directly, and that the chartered colonies have expanded the trade and thus the wealth and power of England.

Penn’s tireless lobbying paid off as the Board of Trade failed to get Parliament to introduce legislation abrogating all the American charters in either 1701 or 1702, though not before Penn, hedging his bets, had also offered to sell his proprietary rights. (C.B.Y.)

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Allegations Against Proprietary Governments Considered, and Their Merit and Benefit to the Crown Briefly Observed.

Since some endeavour to Recommend themselves to the Government, by being more Officious than Useful, in their Accounts of Proprietary Governments abroad: It will not, I hope, be made a Fault to set that Matter in a better Light.

The first Allegation is, That they have absolute Powers of Government, and [are] consequently Independent of the Crown.

Answer. This is by no means true; since all Proprietary Governments pay a Fee Farm to the Crown, and are Concluded by the War and Peace that the Crown makes, and are also Subject to the Laws of Trade and Navigation, and yield Obedience to such Regulations, from time to time, as do not Fundamentally Invade their Charters. But particularly some of them express a nearer Dependency upon the Crown, since the King has therein Reserved to himself a Negative to their Laws, and Final Appeals in Judgment from their Superiour Courts: So that in Effect, the Legislation and Jurisdiction of such Colonies Ultimately Center in the Crown. And we must take leave to say, That some of them have Performed the Part of a King’s Governour, with the best Skill and Zeal they could, at their own Cost, and not upon his Salaries.

It is farther humbly offered to Consideration, That no Government can be call’d Independent of the Crown, where the Officers of its Revenue and Admiralty may Exercise the same Authority and Jurisdiction that they do in the Kingdom of England.

The Second Objection against Proprietary Governments is, The Entertainment of Pirates, and the Connivance at forbidden Trade.

To which we humbly Answer, That we know of no such Encouragement that has been given to one or other. On the contrary, some of us have not only made Laws as Nicely as we have been able to prevent such Evil Practices; but have Endeavoured, all that in us lay, to Enforce their Execution. And we should think our selves very Happy, as well as that it seems but Just, Edition: current; Page: [282] that this mighty Cry against Proprietary Governments, on those Accounts, might have a Royal Commission of Enquiry (which has several Presidents) to Inspect, upon the Spot, their Conduct, and the Merit of those Clamours. The Plantations Claim it, and think they Deserve it; since they were not made by the Crown, but by Themselves, and are of that Benefit to it. However, since the King has his own Officers there, it must needs lessen the Force of those Imputations upon those Governments.

We will not say that some private Persons, for their own Advantage, may not have been sometimes Faulty; but that ought no more to be Charged upon the Governments, than a Merchant or Brewer, by their Vicious Trading, should be a Reason sufficient to Change the Commissions of the Customs or Excise.

And that which yet renders the Design less Reasonable against the Proprietary Governments, is this, that the King’s are notoriously more Culpable in the very same Things the others are accused of; and how making them King’s Governments will Cure them of that Malady, is submitted to the Judicious.

But if what is alledged were as True as it is Fabulous, and a Contrivance of none of the best People to serve an Ill Turn upon those deserving Colonies; we hope English-Men, that went so far to be Easie and Free, and are so manifestly Beneficial to the Trade and Crown of England, shall never fall below the Liberties of the Great Charter thereof, which says, That no Man shall be Fined above the Nature of his Offence; and whatever be his Miscarriage, there is a Salvo contenimento Suo1 to be observed by the Judge. And we must beg their Pardon, who do not seem to favour Proprietary Governments, if we say we cannot tell how to think that Dissolving those Charters which were the Condition, as well as Encouragement and Authority upon which those Chargeable and Hazardous Adventures have been made, can bear any Proportion with the Offence objected; or that they are Dissolvable on any other Account than that of an Absolute Dis-Allegiance to the Crown.

For we take this sort of Charter to be of a higher Nature than those of our Corporations at home; since these were granted to a People Seated upon Improvements already made, and were rather of the Nature of a Recompence, than a Condition or Encouragement to Plant and Cultivate Edition: current; Page: [283] a Remote Wilderness; and Enlarge, by the Addition of fresh Colonies, the English Trade and Empire abroad.

It is that without which the Adventurers would never have undertaken a Voyage so many Thousand Miles from their own Country (being neither Criminals nor Necessitous) nor have run so many Risks, expended so much Money, exposed themselves to such Hardships, and have undergone the extream Labour, to which their Enterprize subjected them. And if it was a Fault in the two last Reigns to Quo Warranto2 and Dissolve so many Charters, instead of Punishing the Faults complain’d of, (if real) by Fines proper and proportionable to the Nature of the Offence; can this sort of Treatment of the American Charters admit of a Justification? If we forget not, this very Case was an aggravating Argument towards our late Revolution, and therefore a Fundamental Article in our New Contract.

But it is alledged, That it is fit to be done for Reason of State: An odd Argument in England. Pray is it not Incomprehensible how Reason of State should be pleaded in opposition to Property, in plain English, especially at this time of Day?

But perhaps it may be urged, by such as seek the Dissolution of these Charters, That they intend to proceed in a Parliamentary way, against which there can be no Exception.

We humbly Answer, That Parliaments may be surprized, and have been more than once mis-led; tho’ we do not think so of this. But if we look back, and nicely Survey the Course of Parliaments, we shall generally find that they have taken away Property only as wise Physitians do Blood, for the Preservation and Security of the Patient. Nor do they ever strike their Launce into a vital part, as the Heart, Liver, or Lungs, but some more remote and external Member, where there is little Pain, and no hazard to the Party.

If it should be said, Nothing is intended against the Property of Proprietaries, or their Freeholders; that part of their Respective Charter shall stand: It is the Government granted in them that we would Re-annex to the Crown.

We pray that our Answer may not be mistaken or offensive; our only aim by it, being an humble Vindication of our hard Case, which we apprehend is not well understood. For we take the Powers of our Patents to be as much our Property from the Crown as the Soil, if not more; since ’twere vain to Edition: current; Page: [284] think of undertaking to Plant a Country, without Power to Govern it; and so the very Grants themselves express: And it must seem unaccountable afterwards to be deprived of it, when Government was the very Condition and Requisit of the Adventure.

But that any Man, who at an extraordinary Expence has made a Country, should have another Person set over him, under the King, to give Rule to him in his own House, for so it is, Proprietarily speaking, is something so odd and severe, that we would humbly hope such an Unnatural President in Property shall never be made upon us.

We pray that it may be Considered, that the Lands granted us in America, were not a Vacuum Domicilium (Uninhabited of Mankind) and that the Crown of England did neither Conquer nor Purchase it for us of the Natives; so that the Grant, as to the Soil, must rather be of a Right of Pre-emption, than the Thing it self; with Powers, when we have Bought it, to Govern them that Seat it. But suppose the Crown had Bought, or Conquered it, Pray let us Value the Land there by an American, and not an European Scale (for an Inch of This is more than an Ell of That) and we shall find the vast Difference there is in Property.

Indeed an Acre there, is as big as an Acre here; but That is Ruff, Sower and Incumbred with unprofitable Woods, and This Clear and Cultivated: That Acre worth, to be Sold, but One Shilling, when This perhaps may fetch Twenty Pounds: That then which will render the Values Parallel, must be Time and the Extraordinary Labour and Expence of the Undertakers. And ’tis certain, that even now it self the Labour and Charge of the Present Planter, bears the Proportion of Forty Nine Parts in Fifty, if not Ninety Nine in an Hundred, to the Intrinsick Value of the Savage, and Incumbred Soil. And to say true, those Parts were but bare Creation to the First Planters, and their Labour like the Beginning of the World: So that making the best of it, the Property Granted was not of Lands of Improved Value or Rentable; nor of Lands Free, without Purchasing of the Natives, and being made such by our Improvements: And the Keeping of those Lands, so dearly Cultivated, is all the Share, it seems, that these Gentlemen would do us the Favour to leave us, that are so Solicitous to recommend themselves to the Government at Home, by endeavouring to get ours Abroad.

On the contrary, we take leave to say That the Crown granted us so little besides the Government, that even with it (our extream Labour and Charge considered) together with a Thousand Difficulties that attended us thither, Edition: current; Page: [285] and there, during the first Years of our Settlement (to say nothing of other Discouragements we labour’d under) we cannot think a full Enjoyment of our Charters an Immoderate Consideration: Tho’ we always must the Loss of it, if we should be so Unhappy as to Feel it.

I take the Comparison between the Savage Soil, and the Powers of Government, to be that between the Ring and the Diamond; the Ring is worth forty Shillings, but the Diamond a Thousand Pounds: And we cannot see how a Man may be said to have his Ring, and lose the Stone that is so much the more valuable Part of it.

But perhaps this Argument may be turned against us, That if the Government be so Valuable, it is the King’s Interest (or some Body’s else at least) to look after it. No, we mean not Money, but Freedom. The Liberties we went thither for, and were by our Grants Enabled to give our selves in our Respective Constitutions, as a Security against all Encroachments upon our Civil or Religious Priviledges, and which we have little Reason to hope may be continued if the Charters are once Dissolved, and the Administration put into other Hands than theirs that made the Countries: Especially if we consider the Condition some People are already under in other Colonies, and the vehement Endeavours of a sort of Men that cannot think themselves Happy or Easie, while those of differing Sentiments are not an intire Property to them.

But it will be further alledged That the King’s Revenue, and the Trade of the Kingdom will be much better Secured by Governours of the King’s Nomination than by Proprietary Ones.

Answ. Were this true, ’twould weigh more with us to a Surrender than any Thing that has been urged upon us: But when the contrary is more reasonable we must beg their Pardon if we cannot suffer it to pass upon us.

For ’tis then that the King’s Governours must excel, when their Interest and Obligations are greater to Improve the Colonies than Theirs whose Propriety they are; and when such Temporary Governours have a better Caution, or Security to Give to the Crown for their Integrity and Conduct, than the Value of the Provinces of Proprietary Governours. And lastly, when it is more the King’s Interest to Improve and Govern Colonies at his own Cost, than at the Charge of the Respective Proprietaries and their Sub-Undertakers.

But it is not that time of Day with those Governments, whatever some may please to insinuate, to decline their Obedience to the King’s Authority Edition: current; Page: [286] for the Good of their Mother Country. Let England Live, or they can never Subsist; but let not them be under any Discouragements, that have so considerably Contributed to her Wealth and Greatness; since the King may as well Govern them by their Proper Governours and Officers, as he doth his other Colonies by those of his own Nomination: That so those who have had the Merit to lead Colonies into that Remote Part of the World, and thereby to Augment the English Dominions, may be allowed to Reap the Fruit of their own Labours, whereby the Royal Faith Plighted in their Grants to them, may be preserved, and the Adventurers under them Encouraged to Enlarge their Improvements; where it is no News to say, That every Man’s Labour is worth to England Thrice the Value he could be to her at Home, as well by Consumption of her Growth, as the Returns of his Labour: To say nothing of the great Increase of Navigation, so much the Strength and Benefit of the English Nation.

For Conclusion, They only Wish to be better understood, and to be Cherished, as well as Chid or Commanded, and by such as are able to Mend, as well as find Faults: Who can Instruct their Genius, and Direct their Industry, by being Expert in Trade, and Conversant in Government: But especially that are Masters of American Affairs; The Situation, Growth, Commerce, the Ballance of Trade, the Genius of the People, with a proper Method both to Amend and Improve them: And America cannot fail in time to make England the Glory and Mistriss of Europe.

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10: Reflections on the Printed Case of William Penn, Esq., in a Letter from Some Gentlemen of Pensilvania (1702)

As William Penn lobbied to keep his charter in the spring of 1702, a pamphlet appeared in London rebutting the arguments that Penn’s friend had made on his behalf in The Case of William Penn. The anonymous authors represented the Lower Counties of Pennsylvania, which had joined the colony in an Act of Union in 1682 following the grant of their land to Penn by the Duke of York. Despite consenting to this legislative union, these counties, which were largely non-Quaker, resented the dominance of the Quaker elites in the colonial assembly. The lower counties supported Governor Fletcher of New York in the early 1690s when he was briefly the royal governor of Pennsylvania after the colony’s charter was taken away. By 1699, when Penn returned to the colony, the lower counties were openly in favor of royal government, even engaging Robert Quary, Penn’s nemesis, to make their case in London. Under pressure from London and his fellow Quakers in Pennsylvania, Penn reluctantly granted the lower counties legislative independence in 1701 just before he returned to London to try to stop Parliament from annulling his charter.

The arguments put forward in the Reflections on the Printed Case of William Penn intended to undermine Penn’s efforts to defend his charter in London. Its anonymous authors pointed out that Pennsylvania was not, as Penn insisted, an uninhabited wilderness when he arrived, for the Swedes and the Dutch had been there long before he founded his colony. Nor was Penn’s Edition: current; Page: [288] claim to have bought the land directly from the Native Americans tenable, for this would have led to the creation of “a vast number of Principalities and Independent Governments” not subject to English law or the sovereignty of the Crown. Contrary to Penn’s claim that proprietary governments benefit the empire, the gentlemen from the lower counties contended that a royal government which respects the rights of all subjects will increase the number and industry of the inhabitants. After all, it is individual colonists who create wealth and not the proprietor. Maryland, they pointed out, has prospered since it became a royal colony, while under Penn’s rule non-Quakers are forced to “groan under the Oppression of Quaker governments” As for Penn’s claim that royal governors are rapacious, the authors pointed out that Penn has levied excessive quit rents and taxes on the colonists, has sheltered pirates, and has refused to crack down on illegal trade. They concluded the pamphlet by insisting that the lower counties will be better off under royal government as they will enjoy all the rights of English subjects, including protection from the king’s enemies in time of war; and that the Anglicans among them will no longer be mistreated by Quakers. Appended to the pamphlet is a copy of an address that the members of the assembly from the lower counties sent to Penn in the fall of 1701 complaining of the expense of attending the colonial assembly, the injustice of some recent bills, and the danger they would face from the French in the West Indies should war resume.

The arguments of the lower counties in favor of royal government did not prevail in London. Penn was able to keep his charter, and for the rest of the colonial period these counties remained under his rule, though governed by their own assembly. (C.B.Y.)

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on the

Printed Case


William Penn, Esq;

in a

Letter from some Gentlemen of Pensilvania,

to their Friend in London.

Together with A True Copy of the Address

of the

Members of the Assembly

of the three Lower Counties,

to Mr. Penn, the 10th of October 1701.

LONDON, Printed: And Sold by the Booksellers.

1702. Price 3 d.

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Reflections on the Printed Case of William Penn, Esq; In a Letter from some Gentlemen of Pensilvania, to their Friend in London.


We shall not detain you by any preambular Discourse, but immediately address to the Business: And,


Observe, That Mr. Penn endeavours to Impose upon the World, by telling them, That the Province Granted to him by the King’s Letters Patents, was an unknown and uninhabited Wilderness: whereas it was settled for more than Forty Years before his Grant; first, by the Swedes, under the Government of Queen Christiana, Daughter to Gustavus Adolphus; afterwards under the Government of the Dutch, and by them deliver’d, together with the Province of New-York, to the Crown of England, in Exchange for Suranam. The Truth of which doth fully appear by Mr. Penn’s Grant, wherein there is care taken to preserve the Rights of all the first Settlers; which we have too much cause to fear he hath most unjustly violated in very many Instances.


’Tis true, we cannot much blame his Industry in magnifying his Father’s Merits, which we are not willing to dispute with him; and provided the Hispaniola Expedition be not reckon’d as one of them, we will allow them considerable: yet ’tis presumed the Crown hath made sufficient Recompence, besides the vast Advantage of this Charter, the Particulars of which shall in this Paper be made appear, notwithstanding which Mr. Penn is pleas’d, after a most disingenuous and ungrateful manner, to lessen and undervalue the King’s great and generous Bounty, by insinuating to the World, that he could have bought that vast Tract of Land from the Natives for a very inconsiderable matter. Certainly Mr. Penn must needs know better than to think Edition: current; Page: [291] that private Subjects, without the King’s Letters Patents, may purchase Provinces from the Natives, and by vertue of that Title erect Governments: if so, we should quickly have in America a vast number of Principalities and Independant Governments; and perhaps if the Arbitrary and Illegal Actions of his Government were set in a true Light, it would look as if he thought himself Absolute and Independant from the Crown of England; and that the Grant of Pensilvania was not restricted to the Laws of his Native England.


Upon a strict View of the King’s Patent to Mr. Penn, we find that his Majesty has no way distinguish’d his Subjects by their Religious Perswasions; neither did Mr. Penn, by his Prints for the Encouragement of his Colony, confine himself to his own Friends the Quakers, but generally invited all Perswasions (as well Foreigners as Subjects) who have been no less industrious than the Quakers in the Improvements of the Country and Trade. Nor can we find in the Grant any Clause that countenances any Form or Mode of Government repugnant to the Laws of England; and therefore to expect otherwise, is to strain the Patent beyond the true Design and Intent of it. All which duely consider’d, we can see no reason why all Government and Power must Be engrossed and confined to the Quakers, and all other his Majesty’s good Subjects excluded and denied the Benefit of the King’s Laws and the Rights of Subjects. Which is most humbly submitted to the Consideration and Wisdom of the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations.


We cannot but admire that so ingenious a Man as Mr. Penn is, should not distinguish betwixt the Rights of Mannors and Lordships, and the Power pretended to by him; to wit, Levying Men and Money, Calling Assemblies, Power of Life and Death, and all the other Regalia’s of Government: which we humbly conceive are inseparable from the Crown, and widely distinguishable from the other.

Edition: current; Page: [292]


We are not of Mr. Penn’s Opinion, that it is the Interest of the Crown to countenance and keep up Proprietary Governments, but the quite contrary. His Argument run thus: 1. Owners of Soil will improve it, and thereby augment the King’s Revenue: Whereas temporary Governours squeeze Provinces, and make the most they can of them during their time. In Answer to the first part we say; that it is not the Proprietors that do improve the Soil, but the Inhabitants, and nothing would more increase their Number and Industry, then to live under a Government where they might have Protection, and enjoy securely the Rights and Liberties of English Subjects; all which, under Mr. Penn’s Government, they are denied, and indeed those that improve the King’s Revenue in that Province, by planting Tobacco, are very few of them Quakers, but such as at present are forced to groan under the oppression of the Quaker Governments. And as to the latter part of his Argument, we must believe it was only design’d as a general Reflection on all the King’s Governours to throw an Odium on them by insinuating their oppression, &c. and thereby to possess the King’s Subjects with prejudice against them. But if it be consider’d what Sums have been rais’d since Mr. Penn’s late Arrival in his Government, it will be found that he hath squeez’d the Inhabitants sufficiently; exacting, under the Colour of Law, upwards of 2000 l. besides his Quit-Rents and other Taxes that amount to nigh 1000 l. per 3 Months; which is more than any of his Majesties Governours ever attempted. We could give Instances of several other Proprietory Governments that have oppress’d, squeez’d, and tyraniz’d over the King’s Subject to the highest degree imaginable; but we shall confine our selves only to the Government of Pensilvania.


What Satisfaction Mr. Penn hath given to the House of Lords, in Relation to Piracy, is best known to their Lordships: but how shall we discriminate him from those that acted under him, since, by his own Argument, he is answerable for their Faults; and that they have notoriously sheltred Pirats, and encouraged illegal Trade, is so obvious, that we presume it will scarce be denied, the Particulars whereof would rather require a Volume, than be contracted in the compass of a Sheet or two. Mr. Penn is pleased to say, that the consideration of the Proprietors having most to Loose, is a sufficient caution to them against indirect Practices; but it is notoriously evident, that Edition: current; Page: [293] that Consideration hath not been able to awe them from carrying on illegal Trade to Holland, Scotland and Curasoe as is evident by the many Complaints of the Kings Officers home to the Commissioners of the Customs and Councel of Trade, and Violating all Laws relating thereunto: which is demonstrable not only from Mr. Penn’s Government, but likewise from all the other Propriety-Governments.


Mr. Penn has but little Reason to complain of any hardship in Relation to his Property, since it was never designed to be invaded, or taken from him; but on the Contrary, there is all the care imaginable taken to preserve and secure it, by the Bill that was brought into the Parliament: all that is designed Principally by that Act, was only to re-assume Regal Government, which widely differs from Property, as has been before observed.


We cannot but observe, that Mr. Penn is pleased to lay a great stress on that Clause of the Act of the 7th and 8th of this Reign, which Impowers his Majesty to approve of the Proprietory Governours. We had good Reason to think, that both he, and his Governours, were altogether Strangers to that Act, by their affronting of it, and making Laws repugnant, and in opposition to it, which is matter of Fact ready to be produced: as also, by his, and Leiutenant Governour’s neglecting, or rather refusing to quallify themselves according to the Directions of that Act, even to this very Day; and yet have executed all the Powers of Government to the very highest degree, in defiance and contempt of an Act of Parliament. So that now let the World judge, how far the End of that Act hath been answer’d, which is humbly submitted to the Honourable the high Court of Parliament.


Mr. Penn is pleas’d to say, that it hath cost him 20000 l. to settle his Plantation; and that he hath not as yet receiv’d 500 l. If he means, that it hath cost him a great deal of Mony in Building and Improvements, it is easily answered, that he receives the benefit and advantage of it. But he ought to have spoke plain English, that it hath cost him a vast Sum to defend the Extravagant and illegal Acts and Proceedings of his Government: and to what account that Charge Edition: current; Page: [294] ought to be brought let the World judge. But that he actually has received about 40000 l. is true; and that besides this vast Sum, that he and his Posterity is advanced and bettered by the King’s Grant at least 40000 l. more, is matter of Fact, and thus demonstrable. Viz. The first 100 Purchasers paid him 10000 l. in England, and other Purchasers there since upwards of 5000 l. His 18 Years Quit-Rents, by a modest computation, amount to 10000 l. all which he hath either receiv’d or sufficiently Secured; besides which he hath reserved and secured 8 or 10 Manners of 10000 Acres each in the Heart of the several Counties, which are worth 2000 l. a Mannor one with another. The next thing to be consider’d is the Over-plus Land upon a Re-survey, which will amount to more than 5000 l. Then there is all his Liberty-Lands and Town-Lots, one of which he hath lately dispos’d of for 2400 l. Next is the Bank or Front of the City, on which there is a 100000 l. Improvement; the third part of the Yearly Rent whereof is, after the Expiration of the Lease, to be paid to him and his Heirs forever. The said Leases were for 40 Years, and almost 20 of that time is expired; but how unjustly he extorted that Front-Land from the first Purchasers, We leave them to tell their own doleful Story. We had almost forgot to mention all the Imposts, Taxes, Fines, Forfeitures, Esscheats, Licenses: and besides all this, there is the remaining parts of all his Province undispos’d off, which will amount to a vast Sum and yet, notwithstanding all these vast Profits and Advantages, which far exceeds what we first propos’d for him, to tell the World in Print that he has not received 500 l. is monstrously strange and unaccountable: We are altogether Strangers to his Father’s Merits; but how far all this may compensate for it we leave the World to judge.


And now, as a finishing stroke, Mr. Penn is pleased to assert, That the King’s taking that Government into his own hands, will depopulate the Colony, discourage Men of large Enterprizing Minds, and sink the Propriety Cent. per Cent. The reverse of all which is certainly true; nor need we go far for a lively and pregnant Instance thereof. Let us but look into our next Neighbour, the Province of Maryland, and there we shall find, that since that Government hath been in the King’s Hand, the value of Land is very much advanced, and more valuable; the Country is grown far more populous; Trade and Industry vastly improved; and thereby the King’s Revenue augmented, the Inhabitants very easy, satisfied and contented, and all this without the least Injury Edition: current; Page: [295] to my Lord Baltimore’s property but on the contrary his Lordship’s property is the better secured, and Interest much advanced and improved, and why all this, and more, may not reasonably be expected in Pensilvania, we know not especially if we consider that we shall receive far greater Advantage by such a Change than the People of Maryland did; for they enjoyed under my Lord Baltimore’s Government, the Priviledge of a Subject, the Benefit of the King’s Laws, Protection and Defence against Enemies from abroad and from Indians at home, all which we want and are denied. But notwithstanding all this, we very well know, that no Arguments or Consideration will prevail with Mr. Penn and his Friends, to part with their beloved Darling, Arbitrary Government.

What Satisfaction or Justice he designs the Church of England, may be guessed at by his Treatment of her Members hitherto, and we shall give you a fuller account of, by the Addresses that are sending here to the Lords of Trade and Plantations on that Head. And now, Sir, We hope that we have fully replyed to Mr. Penn’s Case, and set his dark Steps in a true Light. We beg continuance of your Advice and Correspondence with us, and that you would give us Leave to subscribe our Selves,

Your assured Friends.

An Address of the Members of Assembly for the Lower Counties, to the Honourable William Penn, Proprietor and Governour.

May it please your Honour,

We the Representatives of the Lower Counties, in this Assembly, with great Reluctancy lay before your Honour the Burthen those Counties have laboured under by attending no less than five Assemblies since your last Arrival, at the Expence of above Six Hundred Pounds, besides the Funds raised for Support of Government.

We cannot but with Grief observe, that instead of reaping the designed Security by the Laws past at Newcastle, we find the most Essential have not yet been sent for His Majesty’s Allowance or Approbation, especially such as nearest concern us and our Estates, viz. the Acts for Qualification of Magistrates and Juries, and those for Establishing Property, and Raising Money; the Reasons whereof we are yet to seek.

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That the Powers of Government of the Lower Counties by your Honour, being, as we are informed. under debate at home, and question’d by some here; we thought our selves concerned to Address your Honour in so important a Point: and therefore did it by desiring a sight of your Deeds of Feoffment. But instead of your usual healing and condescending way, we met with the Threats of a Gaol without Bail till the King’s Pleasure was known. Your Honour’s Return or Deliverance by the Mobb (in case we had not then been in Assembly) which we took to be harsh Language, having not presumed to examine the requisite Qualifications of your Honour as Governour by the late Act of Parliament.

We are likewise under a necessity to lay before your Honour the Danger the Secretary of State cautions these Colonies of (as we apprehend) from the French Squadrons now in the West-Indies (if the War break out); and we have reason to fear will fall on us naked and defenceless, being without Militia, Fort, Powder, or Shot, though we are the Frontiers of this River, and Heart of the Main, where the Enemy may Land without Bloodshed: and as we have heretofore alledged, not unvaluable to the Crown of England in the Product of our Tobaccoes. On this Head we have made Application to your Honour several times before, therefore say less at present.

Notwithstanding these Difficulties, and many more, we have been willing, for the publick Peace, to join with the Members of the Upper Counties in any thing that might conduce thereto. But the House now requiring us to Confirm the Laws so solemnly passed at Newcastle, gives us ground to believe they suspect their Validity in being made there; and awakens us to review what we have been doing so many Years past: And besides our Reasons given in the House against that Act, we do conclude, before we make any farther Progress therein, to go home to our Counties, and consult with them what Steps are proper in this Affair. We Conclude.

Kent. Newcastle.
John Brinckloe. Richard Halliwell.
William Rodeney. John Donaldson.
John Walker. Adam Pieterson.
William Morton. Jasper Yeates.
Sussex County.
Luke Wattson, Jun.
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11: Anonymous, A Letter from a Merchant at Jamaica to a Member of Parliament in London (London, 1709)

Because English people placed so much emphasis upon civil liberty, regarding it as the most essential component of their national identity, historians have been puzzled that they slipped so easily into the use of chattel slavery in the colonies and during the early eighteenth century became the primary carriers in the African slave trade to America. Scholars have not found significant published protests against English participation in slavery and the slave trade until after 1760, when a burgeoning antislavery literature began to appear in England. But this tract, published in London in 1709 by an anonymous writer calling himself a “Merchant at Jamaica,” indicates that long before the emergence of an antislavery movement, at least a few English people found the slave system that had spread from elsewhere in the Atlantic world into English America disagreeable. The author mainly concerned himself with attacking the inhumanity of the slave trade and the evils of giving planters such wide latitude in the governance of their slaves. But his inclusion of a long speech, allegedly delivered by a black slave in the French sugar colony of Guadeloupe but probably written by the author himself or at least by some person thoroughly familiar with the philosophy and conventions of English law, questions the entire rationale and legal foundations for European enslavement of non-European peoples. It provides an early example of awareness of the incongruities between English professions of their own liberty and their denial of that liberty to other human beings. (J.P.G.)

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from a

Merchant at Jamaica

to a

Member of Parliament in London,

Touching the African Trade.

To which is added,

A SPEECH made by a Black of Gardaloupe,

at the Funeral of a Fellow-Negro.

LONDON, Printed for A. Baldwin. MDCCIX.

Price 2d.

Edition: current; Page: [299]

A Letter from a Merchant at Jamaica to a Member of Parliament in London, touching the African Trade.


Hearing from England, that there’s like to be a Struggle next Session of Parliament between the African Company and the other Traders thither; I take the freedom to send you a Speech made by a Black at Guardaloupe, a French Island, upon the Funeral of a Negro, kill’d by his Master for taking a small Loaf of Bread as he pass’d thro the Kitchin: From which, and what I shall add, you may perhaps collect more of the Iniquity of that Trade, and see more of the Cruelty wherewith the poor Wretches the Negroes are used, than either the Planters or Merchants, the Company or Traders, will think it their Business to shew, or for their Credit or Interest to have known.

The Acquaintance I had the honour to have with you, whilst I was in England, gives me reason to believe you so great a Lover of Justice and Humanity, and that you have so much at heart the just Rights and Libertys of Mankind, that I persuade my self you will take pleasure in doing what in you lies for the Relief and Ease of so many miserable Men, who are really treated worse than Brutes. Your God-like Mind, I’m sure, knows the Joy of doing Good. And a greater Good can hardly be imagin’d, than to help and relieve so many Thousands of miserable Men, who groan under the Weight of an insupportable Tyranny and Oppression.

The Black seems to have so fully argu’d the Justice and Injustice wherewith they are acquir’d, that I need say little upon that Head: But I shall give you two or three Instances of the Usage they meet with after they are brought to America; with my Thoughts in general.

A Ship being arriv’d at a certain Plantation, a Planter goes on board to buy; he casts his eye upon a stout jolly young Fellow: Captain, says he, what shall I give you for that Man? Sir, says the Captain, he has a Wife; if you have him, you must take the Cow too.———Which is she?———This.———D———n her, says the Planter, she’s an ill-thriven Jade; I’ll not meddle with her: Prithee let me have the Fellow alone.———He’s very fond of her: you’l have no good of him without her.———I’ll venture that, says the Planter: Come, set your own Price. By this time the Black perceiv’d they were treating about him; and fearing they meant to separate him from his Wife, Edition: current; Page: [300] steps to her, takes her in his Arms, looks upon her with all the Passion and Fondness of a loving Husband; then goes to the Planter, points to his Wife, then to himself, and by his Looks and Actions seem’d to signify he beg’d the Planter would buy them both; and that if he did, it would be the greatest Obligation in the World, and he might expect a Return in good Services.

The Planter, to please and delude the poor Wretch, signify’d by Looks and Signs he would. But the Captain sets his Price; the Planter strikes him: And now the matter is, how to decoy the poor Man from his Wife. The Planter signifies to him, that he had bought them both; and that they were to go immediately on shoar. The overjoy’d Negro falls upon his knees, kisses the Planter’s hands, and is almost transported. Both Man and Wife are brought to the Ship-side; the Man goes down into the Boat, the Woman still in the Ship; the Boat, as order’d, strait puts off. The Negro seeing himself thus deluded, and ready to be rent from what Nature had so closely join’d him to, snatches up an Oar, and knocks the Rowers down, returns to the Ship-side, and ascends with all the Resentment and Fury, that so base and inhuman an Action cou’d produce; runs to his Wife, clasps her in his Arms, looks with Anger and Indignation upon the Planter and Captain, and draws his Finger along his Throat; meaning he’d cut that if they parted him from his Wife. The Planter seeing the Constancy and Resolution of the Man, and what he was to expect if he did not take the Wife too; and having set his mind upon the Fellow, vouchsafed in his great Goodness to buy them both. So much for our Traffick.

The next Instance is of the Usage of our Negroes, when we have bought them. Tis this———On a Sunday a Planter taking a Tour about his Plantation, finds a Stranger Black Woman with one of his Black Men in the Negro’s Hutt. Hussey! says the Planter; who are you? To whom do you belong? And, without staying for an Answer, falls a caning her. His Negro beseech’d him to spare her, for that she was his Friend. Why, Sirrah! says he, what Friends have you? If you want a Woman, have not I Women enou for you? You Dog you! Sirrah, whose is she? and began to maul him. Sir, says the Negro, for God’s sake forbear: I’ll tell you.—Out with’t then, you Dog.—Why, Sir, she’s such an one’s Servant in the Town.—But, you Rascal, what does she here? I’ll teach you to bring other Peoples Servants upon my Plantations. (Then falls on him again) And for you, Hussey! I’ll teach you better manners than to come here again. Here! (calling to his Servants) strip this W——re; tie her to yonder Tree, and let her have forty sound Lashes with the Cat-of-nine-tails. The Edition: current; Page: [301] poor trembling Woman, scar’d almost out of her wits with this dreadful Sentence, falls upon her knees, and in the most humble and earnest manner beseeches his Mercy; for that she meant no harm. Why, you d——’d B——ch, says he, what came you here for then? To tell you true, says the poor thunder-struck Creature, I’m your Servant’s Wife. Are you so?—Then let her have forty Lashes more; and as for the D——g, I’ll sacrifice him for daring to meddle with any Women but mine. The Negro takes to his heels, and hides himself. The Woman’s stript, unmercifully lash’d, and let go. Some time after, the Negro comes into his Master’s Presence, hoping the Storm was blown over: But so far had the Spirit of Rage and Cruelty the ascendant; that tho the Fellow was better worth than 50l. per ann. to him, in looking after the boiling of Sugars and other things; yet the most earnest Requests and Intreatys of the Planter’s Wife and other Friends present were all little enough to dissuade him from Killing him; and with difficulty he was restrain’d from imbruing his Hands in the poor Man’s Blood.

The last Instance I shall trouble you with, is, of the Manner and Measure of some of our Punishments.

At a principal Town of a considerable Island in this part of the World, a Woman Negro-Servant had stole a Silver Cup, or some such small thing, from her Master; (probably to buy some little Necessarys for the Child she went with.) Now he might either correct her in his own House, or order her to be chastiz’d in the open Market by the hands of the common Whipsman. He chose the latter. Out she’s led to the Whipping-Post in the Market Place; and tho she was so big with Child, that she seem’d near her Delivery, yet she was stript stark naked, her Hands ty’d in a Rope, by which she was hoisted till she stood on tip-toe, and all her Parts so distended, as one would have thought a Blow must have made ’em crack and fly asunder. Thus naked, thus distended, thus big with Child, the Executioner of Cruelty comes to her with a Whip made of Wires; and falls on so unmercifully, you would have thought each following Lash would sure have made the Child spring from her Body: yet still her cruel Master’s Eye pity’d not; nor did the Beadle’s Hand spare her. Thus stood this miserable Spectacle in the face of the Sun and of the World, whipt and scourg’d so long, so cruelly, till to the shame of those who call themselves Men, good-natur’d Men, and Christians, till to their lasting shame the poor Wretch felt such Pains and unspeakable Agonys, as made her sweat even Drops of Blood; whilst all her Back and hind Parts were so gaul’d and flay’d; that they no longer look’d like human Body, Edition: current; Page: [302] but all appear’d one Piece of mangled Flesh with reeking Gore. The poor Creature, enduring all these racking Torments with an invincible Patience, did not so much as open once her mouth. The cruel Execution ended (if it may be said to be so when so much Smart’s to follow) her furrow’d Back and bleeding Wounds were wash’d with Salt and Water. A sharp Remedy, you’l say—But yet, you’l think it mild, compar’d with what they do in some Plantations.—Sometimes, if they think Scourging and such-like too gentle Punishments, forgetting all Humanity, they will with a Knife lay open the Flesh of a Slave’s Limbs in long Furrows, and then pour a hot Liquor, made of Pitch, Tar, Oil, Wax, and Brimstone, or such-like Ingredients into the Green Wounds.

Thus, Sir, I have given you just a Taste of our Humanity: for to attempt the recounting all our Methods of dealing, and our many Ways of punishing those miserable Creatures, were as endless as what Avarice and Iniquity can suggest, or what the Caprice and Cruelty of Men, bounded by no Fences of human Law, can invent and execute.

Yet this is the Case of those Wretches, whom were the D——l himself to torment, and yet profit by or expect their Labour, I do not easily see how he could make them more miserable.

Why they should be thus treated I cannot imagine. The most of them are taken in War, and by the Custom of those barbarous Nations the Captors are reputed to have Right or however they have got the Power, to kill or do what else they please with their Prisoners. The Custom of Servitude, as it was at first introduc’d by Men, who would not forbear one Cruelty, except they exercis’d another not much less; so was it not every where, or at all times receiv’d. Gro. de jure B. & P1 l. 3. c. 7. §. 8. Whatever cruel Barbarians may think or practise, ’tis plain all the Christian, I might perhaps say all the Civiliz’d World, account it barbarous and inhuman to kill a Prisoner, or treat him ill after you have given him Quarter; and they have intirely laid aside the Custom of Slavemaking, as being against all Rules of Charity: Gro. Vol. 1. §. 9. For the end of all just War being Peace, i.e. a quiet Enjoyment of Life and Property, what occasion is there to kill a Man I have disarm’d, and from whom I have nothing to fear, and who perhaps had no Malice, but fought against me only because his Prince or Captain would have tuckt him up if he had not? And if in such Case it be inhuman to take his Life, it Edition: current; Page: [303] is almost as bad to take from him the Liberty of a rational Creature, and to spare his Life no longer than he blindly submits his Understanding; and all his Facultys both of Mind and Body, to the imperious Dictates of my Will, how unreasonable and extravagant soever. But then even among those who allow’d of Servitude, yet it was upon supposition of a just War; for otherwise the Conquerors were so far from having a Right to kill, that if they knew the War to be unjust, it was Murder if they did; and by consequence also they could have no Right to enslave or sell, or so much as keep their Prisoners. So sensible were the Romans of this that Grot. c. 10, §. 6. gives several Instances of their making Restitution of what they had took in unjust Wars; so that they even sold Lands bought with the Price of Captives, and rebought whom they had before sold, and set them at liberty. And Grotius, Vol. 1. is clearly of Opinion, that if one possess Goods taken in an unjust War, tho he had no hand in the taking them, or did it innocently, yet he is bound to restore them. But admitting we had as good a Right in our Slaves as we are willing to imagine, yet still they are Men. And tho the Law has a great while indulg’d or conniv’d at our being Judges in our own Cause; yet it seems but a piece of natural Justice and Equity, that no Man should be so in matters of any moment, where a more impartial Judg may be found: Or, however, if the Law thinks fit to allow them this, yet it would seem but reasonable that, like all other Judges, they should forfeit their Office, if they be ever guilty of abusing it.

These unhappy Mortals, the Negroes, make a great part of the African Trade, about which there is like to be so great a Bustle. Let them take it for me that like it: Let them study Ways and Means to preserve and increase it. It has never yet throve, nor do I believe ever will, till ’tis manag’d with more Justice and Humanity both in the first and after Buyer. We have had many publick Calamitys in this Island, and many of our Neighbours have smarted too. I do not wonder, I rather admire the Divine Goodness and Forbearance.

It must be own’d our Plantations are of great Consequence to both Us and England. They are work’d and cultivated mostly by the hands of Negroes, and it would be hard to do it by any others. But it does not therefore follow, that those poor Wretches, by whose Labour we are enrich’d, must not be treated with Humanity and Reason; or if they are ill us’d, that the Law should give them no Protection or Redress. ’Tis very hard, that whilst they help to make us some of the happiest People in the World, we should in return make them the most unhappy, the most wretched and miserable Edition: current; Page: [304] part of the Creation. No, Sir, you well know no Advantage can legitimate Injustice and Inhumanity. Whatever Advantages are built upon such false, such rotten Foundations, however they stand for a time, will surely end in Ruin and Destruction. I make no Apology for my long Letter: I know you will excuse it. I heartily pray Heaven may incline your wise Senate to do somewhat for the Relief and Ease of so many, who are basely opprest, and inhumanly treated by their unjust and cruel Masters. It would be an Act worthy of so August an Assembly. It would be laying so good a Foundation of Power and Riches, as might probably outlast human Expectation. Certain ’tis, it would render them the Delight of all good Men. Heaven would look down on so becoming an Action, and all Generations would call them blessed.

I am with great Respect and Affection,
Your most humble Servant.

A Speech made by a Black of Gardaloupe, at the Funeral of a Fellow-Negro.

The great and beneficent Creator, the Best of Beings, as Reason tells, and as our Master’s Books assure us, when he had form’d this Speck of Earth, was pleased to crown the Work, by making Man, on whom he stamp’d the Image of Himself. All he expected in return, was but a just and grateful sense of the kind Maker’s Bounty, and an honest Care to copy after the Divine Original in doing good; that is, in other words, promoting his own and others Happiness. The good and wise Maker had sufficiently furnish’d Man with Facultys necessary to so kind and glorious a Design. He gave him the Powers of Perceiving, Deliberating, Judging: He implanted in him a strong Desire of preserving his own Being and Happiness, and gave him unexpressible Tendernesses towards others. And as God made of the same common Mold all People, so whilst he subjected the inferior Animals to these little Vice-Roys, he left them all free to use and follow the Conduct of that Divine Ray of Reason; whereby they were shew’d and taught that reasonable Service which he requir’d. He made them, I say, free to follow this bright and faithful Guide, so soon as they should grow up to Man, Edition: current; Page: [305] and their Eyes were strong enough to bear the Light: that so the Creator might have the Glory of a free and chearful Service, and the Creature the Reward of Virtue, and an unconstrain’d Obedience. But, alas! how far is Mankind fallen? How much degenerated from the pure and happy State in which God created them? Sin introduc’d Sloth in some, Wantonness and Luxury in others. These were tempted to affect Command over, and Service from others; while those were again inclin’d to a base Submission and Dependence, rather than be at the Pains of exerting those Powers the wise Author of Nature had given them; which were abundantly sufficient to all the Purposes of Life; and so they; like the profane Esau whom we read of in our Master’s Books, sold their Birthright and Inheritance for a poor Mess of Pottage. Thus fond Mankind forsook the Divine Light plac’d in their Breasts, and by first becoming Servants to their own Lusts and Appetites, became Servants to each other. It had been well, comparatively speaking, had Matters stop’d here; for hitherto there is no Wrong, no Violence: Besides, the Infirmitys of Nature made it a necessary and even prudent Charity to serve their Neighbour in time of want, whose Assistance they again in their Turn might need and expect.

And if any set so little Value on the Gem of Liberty, as quite to part with it for a little Bread, which they might have reap’d and made with their own hands, they were to thank themselves for so foolish a Bargain, and had nothing to complain of but their want of Industry and Wit. But still this extended no farther, than their own Consent had carry’d it; and the Agreement being mutual, they were no longer bound by it than their Masters perform’d their part, and treated them fairly. But the Lust of Dominion and the Desire of possessing, seizing Mens Brains, they grew fierce and raging, broke thro the Ties of Nature and Humanity; and upon slender, or only pretended Causes, made War upon their weaker and more innocent Neighbours. Hence is the Source of all our Woes and Miserys; to these we owe our Captivity and Bondage; to these we must lay the innocent Blood of our Brother who lies murder’d, barbarously murder’d, before us. Good God! what have we done? What Right have these cruel Men thus to oppress, insult, and inhumanly butcher their Fellow-Creatures? Let us examine all their Title, and see what it amounts to; and then we shall the better know, whether their Usage of us, or our Complaints, are the more just. They say, they bought us with their Mony.—Confess’d; but who had Power to sell? We were it may be condemn’d by colour of Law, that is, Edition: current; Page: [306] the Will of some Great Map, to be sold by way of Banishment for some suppos’d Crime.—But how did the Buyer know there ever was a Crime committed, or that the Sentence was just? or if he did, what Right can this confer? ’Tis plain, I think, it gives him only Right to carry us whither he pleas’d, and make us work till we repaid him by our Labor what we cost, with other Charges.

It may be we were taken in War; what Right then had the Conqueror? or what did he transfer? Suppose the War against us was just, and that our Buyers knew ’twas so; yet they likewise know, that ’tis barbarous and cruel to take a conquer’d Enemy’s Life, when the Injur’d can be safe without it; and that ’tis still more barbarous and inhumane for another to take it away, to whom he has sold and deliver’d his Prisoner; since by the Sale and Price receiv’d he seems to have taken the Mony for his Security, and upon that Consideration runs the Hazard of the other’s setting him at liberty if he thinks fit. So that ’tis plain, this gives them no such Right over our Lives, as any Man that has the least Tenderness or Humanity (I might, I think, say Justice) would make use of. And as for perpetual Slavery—it must be cruel Justice, that for so small a Sum, so soon repaid, wou’d purchase and exact what makes his Fellow-Creature, from whom he has nought to fear, so miserable for Life. If they contend for this as a Right which they are fond of, let them shew it, and let them take it and the sole Glory of it. But who told our present Lords the War was just? Do Victory and Right go always hand in hand? No, our Masters by Experience know they don’t. This then at best can give but a dark doubtful Right, which never can defeat that natural and undoubted one the God of Nature has bestow’d on Men, to have, to own, no other Lord but him.

It may have happen’d we were sold to pay our Debts: What will this give them? In Equity they have at most hereby a Right to so much Service as will pay the Debt and Charges of transporting us. The first was all the Creditor could ask. But do they know what this Debt was? No, they never so much as once enquir’d or ask’d to be inform’d. We were perhaps bought of some unkind unnatural Father. Be it so. What have they got by this? Can a Father transfer what he has not? or have they what he neither did or cou’d possibly give them? surely no. A Father has Power indeed, and ought to help and feed his young and tender Offspring; as all Creatures do, but not to cast them out into the Fields, or sell them wantonly to a base Servitude. God gave him Power to beget and become a Father of Men, not Slaves. A Father, as ’tis Edition: current; Page: [307] fit, has Power too to guide and steer his Childrens Actions while Reason’s weak; and if by Age, or otherwise, he’s brought to want their help, they are oblig’d by Nature, and by Gratitude, to give their helping hand and best Assistance. But still they are not his Slaves or lasting Property; for when wise Nature has fitted them to propagate and educate their Kind, Reason requires, and Nature loudly tells they are at Liberty, they then are Men. It’s true, we seem oblig’d to our Lords, that they were pleas’d to take us off the Hands of cruel Conquerors, or such wanton and unnatural Parents as begot us only for their Pleasure; either of which might likely have destroy’d, if they cou’d not have sold us. But it wou’d be remember’d, no Benefit obliges further than the Intention. Was it then for our sakes, or for their own, our Masters built such mighty Ships in which they plow the Main? Was it for us they laid out so much Wealth? Or was it to save our Lives, they so much ventur’d and expos’d their own? Alas! the Answer is too obvious? Our hard Labour, and harder Fare, but most of all, our cruel Punishments, and perpetual Bondage; but too plainly shew for whose sake all this was done. But besides, ’tis certain many Wars are made, many Children parted with, only because there are so many Buyers. So that all we have to thank them for, is, that they sought to serve themselves; and doing so, they sav’d us from those first of Ills their Avarice had wrought. Further, Many of us, it may be, are bought neither of the Governour or Conquerour, of Creditor or Parent; but of a treacherous Friend, a perfidious Husband, or an odious Man-stealer. These are far from conferring any Right, unless what can arise from the most unjust and inhuman Acts in the world. What’s now become of all their boasted Right of absolute Dominion? It is fled. Where all our Obligations to perpetual Servitude? They are vanish’d. However, we may perhaps owe them something; and it were but just, if so, they should be paid. Let us therefore, if from the account I have already given we can, make an Estimate of the Ballance.—Supposing then one half of us were justly sold at first by those that had a Right to all our Services, if that may be suppos’d: Suppose likewise that our Masters knew it too, and who the very Persons were: They then would have at most a Right to the Labour of such Persons during Life; and of the rest, till they had earn’d and clear’d so much as was given to the Captain who brought ’em hither. But since it is impossible for them to know on whom to place their several Demands; and since they bought us all at random, without regard to Right or Wrong: let us for once suppose favourably for them, who never favour’d us; let us suppose our Masters innocent Edition: current; Page: [308] of all the Wrongs we first sustain’d. Suppose us Men, Women, and Children come to their Shoar from some far-off unknown Land, under the Power of a strange Captain of a Ship, who pretends he has a Right to sell us. He offers to deliver us, Great and Small, into their hands at 20 l. a-piece. They pay the Mony. We are deliver’d up. What are we now in debt? ’Tis plain, I think, that since they neither know nor did regard his Title, they can at best have one but till they’re reimburs’d the Cost and Charge which they’ve been at. ’Tis sure we had a plain and natural Right to Life and Liberty; which to take away upon a weak, presumptive, or a may-be Title, were to make us of less value than Beasts and Things Inanimate: a Property in which, by Reason’s Law, is never gain’d against a true and just Owner upon slight Presumptions, whatever may be done by Laws of particular Societys, to which each one agrees. But were it otherwise in mere Possessions, yet Life and Liberty are hardly things of so low rate, that they’re to pass as lightly from the Owner, to whom God gave the sole and certain Property, as Beasts, or Birds, or Things Inanimate, which bounteous Nature laid in common, and wherein strictly no Man has more Right than what is necessary for him and his Dependants.

Let any Man but make the Case his own, and he’l soon see the Hardship. Would not any one think himself greatly injur’d, if another should make him his perpetual Slave, only because he gave 20 l. for him, to one who had him in his power? Methinks the very naming it is enough to shock a Man; and he should need no further Argument to convince him of the Injustice of the thing. But Men are hardly brought to see what makes against their Interest. Taking the matter now to be as last stated—Suppose Twenty of us bought at once; the Mony paid would be 400 l. suppose six of the Twenty Children; suppose also one of us to die each year; reckon the Labour of each of those of sufficient Age at 10 l. a year, which is really less than it may be well accounted, seeing a great part of our poor Sustenance is owing to our own Hands and Industry, which we are forc’d to employ in planting Herbs and Roots, whilst we should rest from our more toilsom Labour. By this Computation we should have paid all our joint Debt in three years time. Yet would our Lords but use us as Men, we should not stick to a nice Computation, but frankly serve them three or four years more, before we claim’d our Freedom. Many of us here present have serv’d twice, some seven times the space our cruel Lords can justly claim. Of our hard Labour, let our weary’d Limbs, their well-planted Fields and full Coffers all bear witness. Of their Edition: current; Page: [309] hard and cruel Usage let our torn Backs testify. Of their bloody Inhumanity, let the Corps of our dear Countryman before us, weltring in its Goar; let it, I say, for ever witness against the cruel Authors of our Woe: who not content to make us Slaves, Slaves for Life, do use us worse than Dogs, and deny us the Compassion they would shew a Horse. ’Tis true, they willingly will teach and make us Christians; while they themselves want to be taught, both They and We are Men. In this however we are somewhat better used than are our wretched Friends in English Isles; where their hard Masters forbear to do good, lest that oblige them to do more. Ridiculous Superstition! that will not allow their Servants to be Christians, lest they be forc’d to allow them to be Men. This is to found Dominion upon the Gospel of that Divine Teacher Jesus, who told them plain as Words could make it, his Kingdom was not of this World. And as if none were intitled to the common Privileges of Nature, except they please to allow ’em them by Washing or Baptizing, they carefully forbid our Brethren that. What I pray is this, but to make sport with the Creation, and to monopolize the Blessings of our common Mother Earth? Our hardy Tutors know things better. They teach us what themselves seem hardly to believe; and by giving us hopes of another better World, endeavour to make us content that they alone shou’d enjoy this: teach us to do Good for Evil; and when we have done no fault, to turn our Cheeks to the Smiter, and our Backs to the Scourger; to submit not only to froward and unjust, but even to merciless and cruel Masters; remembring us that their Gospel says, Thro many Sufferings and Tribulations we must enter into the Heavenly Country; that Country where our dear, our patient, our murder’d Brother’s gone. But why shou’d we complain of Death, whose Life’s so miserable to us? To kill us, seems the greatest kindness that our bloody Lords can do. We have lost our native Country, our Friends, our Liberty; we are made Slaves to haughty cruel Men; we are fed and work’d hard; their Will’s our Law; which when we do transgress, we suffer all the wanton Cruelty they can devise: No Prayers or Tears can touch their harden’d Hearts; relentless as Rocks, they know no Pity. What now remains in Life to be desir’d? ’Tis better far to die, than, being Men, be forc’d to live like Beasts: Beasts! and of those the most unhappy too. Still, tho our Hardships are as great as the Injustice of our Oppressors; tho our Sufferings are as many as the hated Days we live; tho all their Pleas of Right are false or short: methinks I cou’d forgive them all; did they not pretend Necessity for their inhuman Acts. They tell, it seems, the European Edition: current; Page: [310] World; we’re of such base, such brutal Natures, that nought will govern us, but downright Force and Fear; That like the Horse we must be broke and rid with Whip and Spur; but with far closer Reins. Abominable Forgery? Hated imposture! What, are we not Men? Have we not the common Facultys and Passions with others? Why else has Nature given us human Shape and Speech? Whence is’t that some of these wise rational Masters of ours give us sometimes Charge, not only of their Works and Cash, but of their Persons too; and make us judg when they’re debauch’d enough in Wine, and when it’s time to lug them home upon our servile Backs? Whence is it that some of us, without the Help of Books or Letters, are found able to deliver a Message, or do Business better, even by their own Confession, than they who intrust us with it? But were it a wonder, that while they use us so like Beasts, we shou’d not act as Men? If they give us no Motives to Industry and Obedience, but a base servile Fear, is it at all strange, when that’s remov’d, the hated Service straight shou’d cease? It wou’d be strange indeed, shou’d it be otherwise. Cou’d they be brought to deal with us as Men, they soon wou’d see, we may be wrought upon by gentler Methods far than Blows and Scourges. But while they use us thus, how can they e’re expect we shou’d not hate them? how can they hope our Services shou’d once proceed from Hearts they never touch’d, unless with Detestation? Let them make tryal of their own Countrymen, and see what will be the difference ’twixt them and us. As much Slaves as they are already, this likely will be all the odds, they’l hate them more, and bear their Usage worse than we. To finish and compleat our Miserys, these Lords of ours, not content that we are Slaves, Slaves basely us’d for Life, they make our innocent Babes their Property, as if they sprung from Brutes. If their Right to us be so uncertain or so small, as I have shew’d it is; with what Pretence, with what Face can they enslave our guiltless Children? who have committed nothing to deserve the loss of Liberty in a base servile tedious Life, a Life beneath the State of Brutes. Supposing we were justly theirs for Life, which they can never shew; yet still, the most they can demand from Innocents is some small time of Labour, for the little Sustenance which they receiv’d by means of these our Lords. But not content with this, they carry on the wrong, and make them Slaves for Life as they made us; and claim our Childrens Children, and so on, to all Posterity. Thus, our Lords who call themselves White-men and Christians, led by their Avarice and Luxury, commit the blackest Crimes without a Blush, and wickedly subvert the Laws of Nature, and the Order of Creation. Let us, my Edition: current; Page: [311] dearest Countrymen and Fellow-sufferers! Let us in this our great Distress and Misery, look up to the great Author of Nature, whose Works and Image are so basely us’d; and earnestly implore his mighty Aid: Let us beseech him, for sure he hears the Crys and Groans of his oppressed Creatures, either to soften those Adamantine Hearts, which cut us in pieces; or to put it into the Minds of some great, some God-like Men, to come to our Deliverance, that we may sing our Maker’s Praise, and with Assurance say, There is a God who governs the Earth, and restrains the Pride and Cruelty of wicked Men.

Edition: current; Page: [312] Edition: current; Page: [313]

12: Anonymous, Truth Brought to Light (London, 1713)

The assassination of Governor Daniel Parke by disgruntled settlers in the colony of Antigua in early December 1710 was one of the most striking examples of the weakness of metropolitan authority in colonial British America. A Virginian, Parke had been a colonel who served under Marlborough and had brought the news of the victory of Blenheim to Queen Anne, who in 1706 rewarded him by appointing him governor over the four Leeward Island colonies of Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, and St. Christopher. The Leewards had long been an area of contest between France and Britain, and the Queen charged him, as a war-time governor, to put the islands in a state of effective defense. Almost from the beginning, Parke came into conflict with local assemblies, especially the one in Antigua, and his whole tenure was stormy. In particular, Parke seems to have resented the Antiguan Assembly’s efforts to use his need for defense appropriations to extract concessions concerning their legislative rights, while Antiguan leaders complained about his increasing high-handedness, peculation, and lechery, the last even with the wives of some of his principal opponents. Following a confrontation during which Parke used troops to disperse the Assembly with bayonets, the assemblymen organized a military force from among the settler population and stormed the governor and his forces, killing Parke and forty-four of the seventy troops that stood with him.

In the aftermath of this battle, some of the officeholders, mostly his appointees, fled to England. To combat the many charges circulating in the metropolis about Parke’s behavior, they published this pamphlet, the writer of which is not specified, in his defense in London in 1713. It consists mostly Edition: current; Page: [314] of testimonials from persons sympathetic to Parke, the unidentified author organizing the materials to show that Parke, far from being guilty of any “Male-Administration in Government,” had been the victim of “a subtil[e] Combination of some particular, disaffected, and disguested Persons” intent on thwarting Parke’s efforts to carry out the commands of “Her Majesty and Her Government” in Antigua. While settlers occasionally managed to get unpopular or arbitrary governors removed, this Parke episode is the only case in colonial British America in which they actually killed a governor. Although metropolitan officials sent a commission to investigate the affair, no person was ever punished for Parke’s murder, a fact that further underlines the weakness of metropolitan authority in the face of settler resistance in the colonies. (J.P.G.)

Edition: current; Page: [315]

Truth brought to Light;


Murder will out;

Being a short, but True, Account of the most horrid,

barbarous, and bloody MURTHER and REBELLION

committed at Antego in the West-Indies, against Her

Majesty and Her Government.

NUMB. Chap. XXXV. v. 31. Ye shall take no satisfaction

for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death:

but he shall be surely put to death.

v. 33. So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood

it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood

that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it

Edition: current; Page: [316]

Truth brought to Light

The World (by false Suggestion, and indirect Means of the Persons who were chief Actors in this Wickedness) being wholly ignorant of the Truth of this horrid Murder and Rebellion; What follows are only Abstracts of the several Depositions of Persons now in England, &c. who were Eye-Witnesses of, and Joint-Sufferers in, the whole Fact, and who are now most of ’em in London, ready to justify this Truth.

Matters previous to the Murder of Col. Parke.

Thomas Cooke, Private Centinel in Capt. Joseph Rookby’s Company in Col. Jones’s Regiment, deposes,

That calling at Jacob Morgan’s House, sometime in Decemb. 1709, where there was some Company at Dinner, he ask’d them for something to drink, and they gave him both Victuals and Drink; after which, one of the Gentlemen propos’d to the Deponent, to shoot General Parke, and on that Condition, offer’d him a Pistole, which he refus’d, saying, That altho’ he was in great want, he would not earn Money after that manner.

Some time before, the said General Parke, as he was riding on the High-Road through John Otto Byar’s Estate, he was shot, out of a Thicket, through his Arm; and (as the said Otto’s Son, Bastian, since the Death of the said Col. Parke, confess’d) it was done by one of his, the said Bastian’s, Negroes, by his Command.

It also appears by the Deposition of Col. George Gamble, one of the Council of that Island, taken in June 1710. that he happening into Company with some of the Malecontents, one of them, viz.Giles Watkins, told the said Deponent, in a Discourse relating to General Parke, That they had done his Business for him, and would be soon remov’d; the said Deponent Edition: current; Page: [317] answering, That he hoped there were no such corrupt Practices in the Court of England, as to condemn a chief Governour unheard; the said Watkins reply’d, They would condemn him first, and try him afterwards; and, That they had rais’d a considerable Sum of Money for that purpose; and, if that would not do, no Sum should be wanting; and, That their Agent, ☛ William Nevin, would see it effectually dispos’d of to that End; and if nothing else would do, Money should: To which the said Deponent answer’d, That he did not doubt but their Proceedings against the General would appear in the end to be the Effect of Malice and private Pique; That such Attempts were an Argument of a bad Cause; and that Justice would take place.

And by Major Samuel Wickham’s Deposition, who was one of the Assembly, taken before the General in Council, in August 1708. That in July before, at Jacob Morgan’s House, he ask’d Mr. Edward Perrie (Commissioner of the Customs of 4 and Half per Cent.) why he was not lett into the Secret of the Articles they had been forming against the General, as well as Others, he being a Member of the House of which said Articles they had been discoursing? To which the said Perrie answer’d, That he should see them, provided he would give his Oath not to divulge them; And the said Wickham reply’d, That his scrupling to shew them was base, and unfair, and ask’d the Reason of it: Whereupon, the said Perrie told the said Wickham, The Design was to prevent the General from having Notice of them, and thereby hinder him from making a Defence.

An Abstract of several Depositions relating to the Barbarous Murther of the late Daniel Parke, Esq; Chief Governour of the Leeward-Islands in Antego, the 7th of December 1710. viz.

Mr. Michael Ayon, now in London, late Provost-Marshal-General of all the Leeward-Islands, deposes,

That Tuesday, December the 5th, 1710. the Assembly of that Island met at St. John’s, where they warmly insisted on Appointing their Clerk, as they did before, on Having the Negative Voice lodg’d in their Speaker; but the General refusing to give up the Queen’s Prerogative, he the said Michael Ayon, Captain Richard Worthington, George French, and Richard Oglethorp, Gent. now in London, with several Others, depose, That the said Assembly forced into the Court-House, (where the General was, with the Council) attended with an unruly Mob, where they insulted him to his Face, by telling him, He was no General; and threatening to take him Prisoner at once; but the Officer of the Guard appearing with a few Men, to hinder Edition: current; Page: [318] the General from being ill-us’d, the said Assembly withdrew, crying out one and all, No General; some of them declaring, They would give him such a Pill on Thursday (viz. the Day they murther’d him) that he should not easily digest; and, That they would, by that Day, muster up as many Forces as should drive him (meaning the General) and his Granadeers, to the Devil.

Doctor Gousse Bonnine, George French, and Richard Oglethorp, (now in London) depose,

That one John Booth (Thomas Kerby’s chief Clerk) told them, That Two Nights, before the Murther of Col. Parke, successively, he had sat up in the said Kerby’s House drawing of Deeds and Conveyances of several of the chief Actors Estates in that Murther; and, That Henry Symes, (Register of the said Island) was there, in order to witness and record them, as the Laws of them Islands, in such Case directs; Which, no doubt on’t, was done with that Expedition, at that Juncture, in order to defeat the Forfeitures their intended horrid Villainy would subject them to.

Michael Ayon, Richard Worthington, Doctor Gousse Bonnine, George French, Richard Oglethorp, and Others, depose,

That they have been credibly inform’d, That on Wednesday, December the 6th, 1710. the said Assembly sent Three or Four Persons all about the Country, to summon and warn the Inhabitants, in Col. Edward Byam, and the said Assembly’s Name, to be and appear in Arms in the Town of St. John’s, the Day following, in order to take General Parke, who, they alledg’d, had betray’d the Island, and sold it to the French; with other most false, scandalous, and aggravating Reflections, to inrage the People, and encourage them to Rebellion; the said

Michael Ayon, Richard Worthington, Gousse Bonnine, George French, and Richard Oglethorp, together with Daniel Rosengrave, Gent. and Charles Bowes, Serjeant of Grenadier in Colonel Alexander’s Regiment, and Others, depose,

That on Thursday, December the 7th, 1710, by 7 in the Morning, came to Town a Body of Men arm’d, to the Number of about Fifty Persons, who paraded in the Market-Place, and caus’d a Drum to be beat to Arms;

and the said Deponents Ayon and Oglethorp separately depose,

That the General being inform’d thereof, sent them down to read and nail up a Proclamation, setting forth, That whereas he had been inform’d, that the Inhabitants were summon’d to take him Prisoner, it was His Command, that Edition: current; Page: [319] all Persons who appear’d in Arms, above the Number of Ten, should disperse, otherwise they should be prosecuted as Rebels, &c. On which, Mr. ☛ Samuel Watkins, and some others of the Assembly, bid the said Deponent carry back the said Proclamation, and tell the General, To wipe his Backside with it; adding, That they had a good mind to take the said Ayon Prisoner; but he made his Escape from them, and told the General what had pass’d.

And all the said Deponents say,

That in a little Time afterwards they marched out, with Drum beating, to a Pasture adjoining the said Town of St. John’s, where the Party encreased to the Number of about Five Hundred Men, with many of their own Slaves, armed by them, and then marched back again in very regular Order, with Drum beating, into Town, and paraded in the aforesaid Market-Place, where John Booth, Thomas Kerby’s chief Clerk, by Orders of the said Kerby (as the said Booth himself since declared) read a Proclamation (given him by the said Party) Three Times, whereby they villainously insinuated to the unthinking Mob, That as General Parke had betray’d the Island to the French, they required all manner of Persons to repair to them, and be aiding and assisting to them in taking General Parke dead or alive, or else their Estates should be forfeited, and themselves banish’d off the Island, and render’d incapable of ever returning, or inheriting any Estates on the said Island; or to that effect. After which, they sent Colonel George Gamble and Captain Nathaniel Crump (Speaker of the said Assembly) to the General, to acquaint him of the iminent Danger he was in, and the Grievances the People pretended to have layn under: To which he return’d such satisfactory and condescending Answers (among others, That they might sit where they would in the Island, and make what Laws they should think proper for the Welfare thereof; and that he would pass them, provided they did not touch the Queen’s Prerogative) that the said Gamble and Crump offer’d themselves Hostages for his Security, if he would discharge his Soldiers; which he promis’d to do, if their Party would disperse, or send him up Three or Four more of their principal leading Men; which they said they would, and parted seemingly well-satisfy’d, as the General was in reality, for so great an impending Storm’s being blown over. But, contrary to his, and all these Deponents Expectations, they heard a March beat in the Market-place, and saw the said Party march, after dividing themselves in Two Divisions, towards the General’s House, by Two different Ways, the One headed by Piggott, and the Other by Paynter; the Edition: current; Page: [320] former marching towards an Eminence (on which the General had before posted a Serjeant and Six Men) they, on the said Piggott’s Approach, laid down their Arms, and ran in to him, and ☛ Thomas Kerby advanced some small Distance before the rest, and fired the first Shot against the General, the rest following his Example. But the General did not permit any body on his part to fire, till one of the Soldiers on his Guard was wounded; then they all fired by Command, which they continued doing, till most of them were either kill’d or wounded; when the Rebels perceiving the fire on the Generals side to decrease, the said Piggott, with about Forty more, came down, and rushed into the General’s House, impudently commanding him to surrender; at which, the General order’d him to be gone, and he refusing, they discharged their Pistols at one another, and the said Piggot dropt dead on the Spot: The General was shot in a little while after through the fleshy part of his Thigh, which the Deponent, Dr. Bonnine believes not to have been the Occasion of his Death. After which, the whole Party surrounded the House, and kept a continual firing into it, upon all that was left with the General. One Archibald Cochran, shot the Deponent Ayon through the Body, after a promise of Quarter, and the delivery of his Sword: The Deponent Bonnine’s Son-in-Law, Capt. Beaulieu, was shot in the Beginning of the Action, of which he dy’d in some short time. Ensign Lyndon, and a great many of the Soldiers, were shot dead, and others desperately wounded. The Deponent French, although he was desperately wounded in two Places, and lying in his gore at their coming into the House, yet they were so barbarous as to shoot him again in that Condition: What remain’d for ’em to do, was only to pillage and rob the House, which they did effectually, not having left, in half an Hour’s time, the least thing of any Value in it.

The said Deponents likewise say,

That ☛ Daniel Mckenny, and ☛ Samuel Watkins, were Principal Contrivers, Advisers, and Actors of that most bloody and barbarous Massacre, yet none has yet been made an Example of for the same.

Margaret Bryan, of the Island of Antegoa, Spinster, deposes,

That she was with General Parke the Minute he expired, at one Wright’s House, whither he was taken in, out of the open Street, and heard him complain of nothing but his Back, which she felt, and says, that to the best of her Knowledge, ’twas broke.

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Lucia French, Margaret Mac-Mahon, and Mary Harven, all of that Island, depose,

That going up to the General’s House after the firing was over, they saw him strip’d almost of all his Cloaths, and drag’d by one Leg and one Arm (he being yet alive) out of his House, down a few Steps of Stone Stairs which were at the Entrance of his House, and that his Head trailed from one Step to another, till they left him at last exposed to the scorching Sun in the open Street.

Elizabeth Sweegle, of the said Island, Spinster, deposes,

That after the General was wounded, he call’d for some Drink, and she offering him some Water in a Callubash, ☛ Samuel Watkins kicked it out of her Hands, and swore, if she offer’d to help him (the said General) he would sheath his Sword in her Gutts, she likewise deposes, That she afterwards saw ☛ Mr. Andrew Murray, and ☛ Mr. Franck Carlisle, kick and misuse the General, after he was drag’d out of his House, saying, God damn you for a Dog, if you are going, take this along with you.

Charles Bowes, Serjeant of Granadiers in Colonel Alexander’s Regiment, and Alice Lawrence, of the Island of Antego, Widow, depose,

That they saw ☛ Thomas Kirby fire the first Shot against the General.

George French, Lucia French, and Margaret Mac-Mahon, depose,

That ☛ Thomas Kirby presented a Pistol at the Deponent George French, when they helped to carry him out of the General’s House wounded, and horridly curs’d him, so that they have no Reason t