The Emancipation of Massachusetts
Brooks Adams

Part 5 out of 7

and he finding thereby that he had corn, which was his design, Judas-like,
he went ... and measured it away as he pleased."

"Another time, the said Eliakim being rated to the said priest, Seaborn
Cotton, the said Seaborn having a mind to a pied heifer Eliakim had, as
Ahab had to Naboth's vineyard, sent his servant nigh two miles to fetch
her; who having robb'd Eliakim of her, brought her to his master."...

"Again the said Eliakim was had to your court, and being by them fined,
they took almost all his marsh and meadow-ground from him to satisfie it,
which was for the keeping his cattle alive in winter ... and [so] seized
and took his estate, that they plucked from him most of that he had."
[Footnote: _New England Judged,_ ed. 1703, pp. 374-376.] Lydia Wardwell,
thus reduced to penury, and shaken by the daily scenes of unutterable
horror through which she had to pass, was totally unequal to endure the
strain under which the masculine intellect of Anne Hutchinson had reeled.
She was pursued by her pastor, who repeatedly commanded her to come to
church and explain her absence from communion. [Footnote: Besse, ii. 235.]
The miserable creature, brooding over her blighted life and the torments
of her friends, became possessed with the delusion that it was her duty to
testify against the barbarity of flogging naked women; so she herself went
in among them naked for a sign. There could be no clearer proof of
insanity, for it is admitted that in every other respect her conduct was

Her judges at Ipswich had her bound to a rough post of the tavern, in
which they sat, and then, while the splinters tore her bare breasts, they
had her flesh cut from her back with the lash. [Footnote: _New England
Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 377.]

"Thus they served the wife, and the husband escaped not free; ... he
taxing Simon Broadstreet, ... for upbraiding his wife ... and telling
Simon of his malitious reproaching of his wife who was an honest woman ...
and of that report that went abroad of the known dishonesty of Simon's
daughter, Seaborn Cotton's wife; Simon in a fierce rage, told the court,
'That if such fellows should be suffered to speak so in the court, he
would sit there no more:' So to please Simon, Eliakim was sentenc'd to be
stripp'd from his waste upward, and to be bound to an oak-tree that stood
by their worship-house, and to be whipped fifteen lashes; ... as they were
having him out ... he called to Seaborn Cotton ... to come and see the
work done (so far was he from being daunted by their cruelty), who hastned
out and followed him thither, and so did old Wiggins, one of the
magistrates, who when Eliakim was tyed to the tree and stripp'd, said ...
to the whipper... 'Whip him a good;' which the executioner cruelly
performed with cords near as big as a man's little finger;... Priest
Cotton standing near him ... Eliakim ... when he was loosed from the tree,
said to him, amongst the people, 'Seaborn, hath my py'd heifer calv'd
yet?' Which Seaborn, the priest, hearing stole away like a thief."
[Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, pp. 377-379.]

As Margaret Brewster was the last who is known to have been whipped, so is
she one of the most famous, for she has been immortalized by Samuel
Sewall, an honest, though a dull man.

"July 8, 1677. New Meeting House Mane: In sermon time there came in a
female Quaker, in a canvas frock, her hair disshevelled and loose like a
Periwigg, her face as black as ink, led by two other Quakers, and two
other followed. It occasioned the greatest and most amazing uproar that I
ever saw. Isaiah 1. 12, 14." [Footnote: _Mass. Hist. Coll._ fifth series,
v. 43.]

In 1675 the persecution had been revived, and the stories the woman heard
of the cruelties that were perpetrated on those of her own faith inspired
her with the craving to go to New England to protest against the wrong; so
she journeyed thither, and entered the Old South one Sunday morning
clothed in sackcloth, with ashes on her head.

At her trial she asked for leave to speak: "Governour, I desire thee to
hear me a little, for I have something to say in behalf of my friends in
this place: ... Oh governour! I cannot but press thee again and again, to
put an end to these cruel laws that you have made to fetch my friends from
their peaceable meetings, and keep them three days in the house of
correction, and then whip them for worshipping the true and living God:
Governour! Let me entreat thee to put an end to these laws, for the desire
of my soul is, that you may act for God, and then would you prosper, but
if you act against the Lord and his blessed truth, you will assuredly come
to nothing, the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." ...

"Margaret Brewster, You are to have your clothes stript off to the middle,
and to be tied to a cart's tail at the South Meeting House, and to be
drawn through the town, and to receive twenty stripes upon your naked

"The will of the Lord be done: I am contented." ...

_Governour._ "Take her away." [Footnote: Besse, ii. 263, 264.]

So ends the sacerdotal list of Quaker outrages, for, after Margaret
Brewster had expiated her crime of protesting against the repression of
free thought, there came a toleration, and with toleration a deep
tranquillity, so that the very name of Quaker has become synonymous with
quietude. The issue between them and the Congregationalists must be left
to be decided upon the legal question of their right as English subjects
to inhabit Massachusetts; and secondarily upon the opinion which shall be
formed of their conduct as citizens, upon the testimony of those witnesses
whom the church herself has called. But regarding the great fundamental
struggle for liberty of individual opinion, no presentation of the
evidence could be historically correct which did not include at least one
example of the fate that awaited peaceful families, under this
ecclesiastical government, who roused the ire of the priests.

Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick were an aged couple, members of the Salem
church, and Lawrence was a freeman. Josiah, their eldest son, was a man;
but they had beside a younger boy and girl named Daniel and Provided.

The father and mother were first arrested in 1657 for harboring two
Quakers; Lawrence was soon released, but a Quaker tract was found upon
Cassandra. [Footnote: Besse, ii. 183.] Although no attempt seems to have
been made to prove heresy to bring the case within the letter of the law,
the paper was treated as a heretical writing, and she was imprisoned for
seven weeks and fined forty shillings.

Persecution made converts fast, and in Salem particularly a number
withdrew from the church and began to worship by themselves. All were soon
arrested, and the three Southwicks were again sent to Boston, this time to
serve as an example. They arrived on the 3d of February, 1657; without
form of trial they were whipped in the extreme cold weather and imprisoned
eleven days. Their cattle were also seized and sold to pay a fine of £4
l3s. for six weeks' absence from worship on the Lord's day.

The next summer, Leddra, who was afterwards hanged, and William Brend went
to Salem, and several persons were seized for meeting with them, among
whom were the Southwicks. A room was prepared for the criminals in the
Boston prison by boarding up the windows and stopping ventilation.
[Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 64.] They were refused
food unless they worked to pay for it; but to work when wrongfully
confined was against the Quaker's conscience, so they did not eat for five
days. On the second day of fasting they were flogged, and then, with
wounds undressed, the men and women together were once more locked in the
dark, close room, to lie upon the bare boards, in the stifling July heat;
for they were not given beds. On the fourth day they were told they might
go if they would pay the jail fees and the constables; but they refused,
and so were kept in prison. On the morrow the jailer, thinking to bring
them to terms, put Brend in irons, neck and heels, and he lay without food
for sixteen hours upon his back lacerated with flogging.

The next day the miserable man was ordered to work, but he lacked the
strength, had he been willing, for he was weak from starvation and pain,
and stiffened by the irons. And now the climax came. The jailer seized a
tarred rope and beat him till it broke; then, foaming with fury, he
dragged the old man down stairs, and, with a new rope, gave him ninety-
seven blows, when his strength failed; and Brend, his flesh black and
beaten to jelly, and his bruised skin hanging in bags full of clotted
blood, was thrust into his cell. There, upon the floor of that dark and
fetid den, the victim fainted. But help was at hand; an outcry was raised,
the people could bear no more, the doors were opened, and he was rescued.
[Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 66.]

The indignation was deep, and the government was afraid. Endicott sent his
own doctor, but the surgeon said that Brend's flesh would "rot from off
his bones," and he must die. And now the mob grew fierce and demanded
justice on the ruffian who had done this deed, and the magistrates nailed
a paper on the church door promising to bring him to trial.

Then it was that the true spirit of his order blazed forth in Norton, for
the jailer was fashioned in his own image, and he threw over him the
mantle of the holy church. He made the magistrates take the paper down,
rebuking them for their faintness of heart, saying to them:--

William "Brend endeavoured to beat our gospel ordinances black and blue,
if he then be beaten black and blue, it is but just upon him, and I will
appear in his behalf that did so." [Footnote: Besse, ii. 186.] And the man
was justified, and commanded to whip "the Quakers in prison ... twice a
week, if they refused to work, and the first time to add five stripes to
the former ten, and each time to add three to them.... Which order ye sent
to the jaylor, to strengthen his hands to do yet more cruelly; being
somewhat weakened by the fright of his former doings." [Footnote: _New
England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 67.]

After this the Southwicks, being still unable to obtain their freedom,
sent the following letter to the magistrates, which is a good example of
the writings of these "coarse, blustering, ... impudent fanatics:"--
[Footnote: _As to Roger Williams_, p. 138.]

* * * * *

_This to the Magistrates at Court in Salem._


Whereas it was your pleasures to commit us, whose names are under-written,
to the house of correction in Boston, altho' the Lord, the righteous Judge
of heaven and earth, is our witness, that we had done nothing worthy of
stripes or of bonds; and we being committed by your court, to be dealt
withal as the law provides for foreign Quakers, as ye please to term us;
and having some of us, suffered your law and pleasures, now that which we
do expect, is, that whereas we have suffered your law, so now to be set
free by the same law, as your manner is with strangers, and not to put us
in upon the account of one law, and execute another law upon us, of which,
according to your own manner, we were never convicted as the law
expresses. If you had sent us upon the account of your new law, we should
have expected the jaylor's order to have been on that account, which that
it was not, appears by the warrant which we have, and the punishment which
we bare, as four of us were whipp'd, among whom was one that had formerly
been whipp'd, so now also according to your former law. Friends, let it
not be a small thing in your eyes, the exposing as much as in you lies,
our families to ruine. It's not unknown to you the season, and the time of
the year, for those that live of husbandry, and what their cattle and
families may be exposed unto; and also such as live on trade; we know if
the spirit of Christ did dwell and rule in you, these things would take
impression on your spirits. What our lives and conversations have been in
that place, is well known; and what we now suffer for, is much for false
reports, and ungrounded jealousies of heresie and sedition. These thing
lie upon us to lay before you. As for our parts, we have true peace and
rest in the Lord in all our sufferings, and are made willing in the power
and strength of God, freely to offer up our lives in this cause of God,
for which we suffer; Yea and we do find (through grace) the enlargements
of God in our imprisoned state, to whom alone we commit ourselves and
families, for the disposing of us according to his infinite wisdom and
pleasure, in whose love is our rest and life.

From the House of Bondage in Boston wherein we are made captives by the
wills of men, although made free by the Son, John 8, 36. In which we
quietly rest, this 16th of the 5th month, 1658.

JOSHUA BUFFUM. [Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 74.]

* * * * *

What the prisoners apprehended was being kept in prison and punished under
an _ex post facto_ law, and this was precisely what was done. When
brought into court they demanded to be told the crime wherewith they were
charged. They were answered: "It was 'Entertaining the Quakers who were
their enemies; not coming to their meetings; and meeting by themselves.'
They adjoyned, 'That as to those things they had already fastned their law
upon them.' ... So ye had nothing left but the hat, for which (then) ye
had no law. They answered--that they intended no offence to ye in coming
thither ... for it was not their manner to have to do with courts. And as
for withdrawing from their meetings, or keeping on their hats, or doing
anything in contempt of them, or their laws, they said, the Lord was their
witness ... that they did it not. So ye rose up, and bid the jaylor take
them away." [Footnote: _New England Judged,_ ed. 1703, p. 85.]

An acquittal seemed certain; yet it was intolerable to the clergy that
these accursed blasphemers should elude them when they held them in their
grasp; wherefore, the next day, the Rev. Charles Chauncy, preaching at
Thursday lecture, thus taught Christ's love for men: "Suppose ye should
catch six wolves in a trap ... [there were six Salem Quakers] and ye
cannot prove that they killed either sheep or lambs; and now ye have them
they will neither bark nor bite: yet they have the plain marks of wolves.
Now I leave it to your consideration whether ye will let them go alive,
yea or nay." [Footnote: _Idem_, pp. 85, 86.]

Then the divines had a consultation, "and your priests were put to it, how
to prove them as your law had said: and ye had them before you again, and
your priests were with you, every one by his side (so came ye to your
court) and John Norton must ask them questions, on purpose to ensnare
them, that by your standing law for hereticks, ye might condemn them (as
your priests before consulted) and when this would not do (for the Lord
was with them, and made them wiser than your teachers) ye made a law to
banish them, upon pain of death...." [Footnote: _Idem_, p. 87.]

After a violent struggle, the ministers, under Norton's lead, succeeded,
on the 19th of October, 1658, in forcing the capital act through the
legislature, which contained a clause making the denial of reverence to
superiors, or in other words, the wearing the hat, evidence of Quakerism.
[Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, pp. 100, 101; _Mass. Rec._ vol.
iv. pt. 1, p. 346.]

On that very day the bench ordered the prisoners at Ipswich to be brought
to the bar, and the Southwicks were bidden to depart before the spring
elections. [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ vol. iv. pt. 1, p. 349.] They did
not go, and in May were once more in the felon's dock. They asked what
wrong they had done. The judges told them they were rebellious for not
going as they had been commanded. The old man and woman piteously pleaded
"that they had no otherwhere to go," nor had they done anything to deserve
banishment or death, though £100 (all they had in the world) had been
taken from them for meeting together. [Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed.
1703, p. 106.]

"Major-General Dennison replied, that 'they stood against the authority of
the country, in not submitting to their laws: that he should not go about
to speak much concerning the error of their judgments: but,' added he,
'you and we are not able well to live together, and at present the power
is in our hand, and therefore the stronger must send off.'" [Footnote:
Besse, ii. 198.]

The father, mother, and son were banished under pain of death. The aged
couple were sent to Shelter Island, but their misery was well-nigh done;
they perished within a few days of each other, tortured to death by
flogging and starvation.

Josiah was shipped to England, but afterward returned, was seized, and in
the "seventh month, 1661, you had him before you, and at which according
to your former law, he should have been tried for his life."

"But the great occasion you took against him, was his hat, which you
commanded him to pull off: 'He told your governour he could not.' You
said, 'He would not.' He told you, 'It was a cross to his will to keep it
on; ... and that he could not do it for conscience sake.' ... But your
governour told him, 'That he was to have been tryed for his life, but that
you had made your late law to save his life, which, you said, was mercy to
him.' Then he asked you, 'Whether you were not as good to take his life
now, as to whip him after your manner, twelve or fourteen times at the
cart's tail, through your towns, and then put him to death afterward?'" He
was condemned to be flogged through Boston, Roxbury, and Dedham; but he,
when he heard the judgment, "with arms stretched out, and hands spread
before you, said, 'Here is my body, if you want a further testimony of the
truth I profess, take it and tear it in pieces ... it is freely given up,
and as for your sentence I matter it not.'" [Footnote: _New England
Judged_, ed. 1703, pp. 354-356.]

This coarse, blustering, impudent fanatic had, indeed, "with a dogged
pertinacity persisted in outrages which "had driven" the authorities
almost to frenzy; "therefore they tied him to a cart and lashed him for
fifteen miles, and while he "sang to the praise of God," his tormentor
swung with all his might a tremendous two-handed whip, whose knotted
thongs were made of twisted cat-gut; [Footnote: _New England Judged_,
ed. 1703, p. 357, note.] thence he was carried fifteen miles from any
town into the wilderness." [Footnote: Besse, ii. 225.]

An end had been made of the grown members of the family, but the two
children were still left. To reach them, the device was conceived of
enforcing the penalty for not attending church, since "it was well known
they had no estate, their parents being already brought to poverty by
their rapacious persecutors." [Footnote: Sewel, p. 223.]

Accordingly, they were summoned and asked to account for their absence
from worship. Daniel answered "that if they had not so persecuted his
father and mother perhaps he might have come." [Footnote: _New England
Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 381.] They were fined; and on the day on which
they lost their parents forever, the sale as slaves of this helpless boy
and girl was authorized to satisfy the debt. [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._
vol. iv. pt. 1, p. 366.]

Edmund Batter, treasurer of Salem, brought the children to the town, and
went to a shipmaster who was about to sail, to engage a passage to
Barbadoes. The captain made the excuse that they would corrupt his ship's
company. "Oh, no," said Batter, "you need not fear that, for they are poor
harmless creatures, and will not hurt any body." ... "Will they not so?"
broke out the sailor, "and will ye offer to make slaves of so harmless
creatures?" [Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 112.]

Thus were free-born English subjects and citizens of Massachusetts dealt
with by the priesthood that ruled the Puritan Commonwealth.

None but ecclesiastical partisans can doubt the bearing of such evidence.
It was the mortal struggle between conservatism and liberality, between
repression and free thought. The elders felt it in the marrow of their
bones, and so declared it in their laws, denouncing banishment under pain
of death against those "adhering to or approoving of any knoune Quaker, or
the tenetts & practices of the Quakers, ... manifesting thereby theire
compliance with those whose designe it is to ouerthrow the order
established in church and commonwealth." [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ vol. iv.
pt. 1, p. 346.]

Dennison spoke with an unerring instinct when he said they could not live
together, for the faith of the Friends was subversive of a theocracy.
Their belief that God revealed himself directly to man led with logical
certainty to the substitution of individual judgment for the rules of
conduct dictated by a sacred class, whether they claimed to derive their
authority from their skill in interpreting the Scriptures, or from
traditions preserved by Apostolic Succession. Each man, therefore, became,
as it were, a priest unto himself, and they repudiated an ordained
ministry. Hence, their crime resembled that of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat,
who "made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons
of Levi;" [Footnote: Jeroboam's sin is discussed in _Ne Sutor_, p.
25; _Divine Right of Infant Baptism_, p. 26.] and it was for this
reason that John Norton and John Endicott resolved upon their
extermination, even as Elisha and Jehu conspired to exterminate the house
of Ahab.

That they failed was due to no mercy for their victims, nor remorse for
the blood they made to flow, but to their inability to control the people.
Nothing is plainer upon the evidence, than that popular sympathy was never
with the ecclesiastics in their ferocious policy; and nowhere does the
contrast of feeling shine out more clearly than in the story of the
hanging of Robinson and Stevenson.

The figure of Norton towers above his contemporaries. He held the
administration in the hollow of his hand, for Endicott was his mouthpiece;
yet even he, backed by the whole power of the clergy, barely succeeded in
forcing through the Chamber of Deputies the statute inflicting death.

"The priests and rulers were all for blood, and they pursued it.... This
the deputies withstood, and it could not pass, and the opposition grew
strong, for the thing came near. Deacon Wozel was a man much affected
therewith; and being not well at that time that he supposed the vote might
pass, he earnestly desired the speaker ... to send for him when it was to
be, lest by his absence it might miscarry. The deputies that were against
the ... law, thinking themselves strong enough to cast it out, forbore to
send for him. The vote was put and carried in the affirmative,--the
speaker and eleven being in the negative and thirteen in the affirmative:
so one vote carried it; which troubled Wozel so ... that he got to the
court, ... and wept for grief, ... and said 'If he had not been able to
go, he would have crept upon his hands and knees, rather than it should
have been.'" [Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, pp. 101, 102.]

After the accused had been condemned, the people, being strongly moved,
flocked about the prison, so that the magistrates feared a rescue, and a
guard was set.

As the day approached the murmurs grew, and on the morning of the
execution the troops were under arms and the streets patrolled. Stevenson
and Robinson were loosed from their fetters, and Mary Dyer, who also was
to die, walked between them; and so they went bravely hand in hand to the
scaffold. The prisoners were put behind the drums, and their voices
drowned when they tried to speak; for a great multitude was about them,
and at a word, in their deep excitement, would have risen. [Footnote:
_Idem_, pp. 122, 123.]

As the solemn procession moved along, they came to where the Reverend John
Wilson, the Boston pastor, stood with others of the clergy. Then Wilson
"fell a taunting at Robinson, and, shaking his hand in a light, scoffing
manner, said, 'Shall such Jacks as you come in before authority with your
hats on?' with many other taunting words." Then Robinson replied, "Mind
you, mind you, it is for the not putting off the hat we are put to death."
[Footnote: _New England Judged_, ed. 1703, p. 124.]

When they reached the gallows, Robinson calmly climbed the ladder and
spoke a few words. He told the people they did not suffer as evil-doers,
but as those who manifested the truth. He besought them to mind the light
of Christ within them, of which he testified and was to seal with his

He had said so much when Wilson broke in upon him: "Hold thy tongue, be
silent; thou art going to dye with a lye in thy mouth." [Footnote:
_Idem_, p. 125.] Then they seized him and bound him, and so he died;
and his body was "cast into a hole of the earth," where it lay uncovered.

Even the voters, the picked retainers of the church, were almost equally
divided, and beyond that narrow circle the tide of sympathy ran strong.

The Rev. John Rayner stood laughing with joy to see Mary Tomkins and Alice
Ambrose flogged through Dover, on that bitter winter day; but the men of
Salisbury cut those naked, bleeding women from the cart, and saved them
from their awful death.

The Rev. John Norton sneered at the tortures of Brend, and brazenly
defended his tormentor; but the Boston mob succored the victim as lie lay
fainting on the boards of his dark cell.

The Rev. Charles Chauncy, preaching the word of God, told his hearers to
kill the Southwicks like wolves, since he could not have their blood by
law; but the honest sailor broke out in wrath when asked to traffic in the
flesh of our New England children.

The Rev. John Wilson jeered at Robinson on his way to meet his death, and
reviled him as he stood beneath the gibbet, over the hole that was his
grave; but even the savage Endicott knew well that all the trainbands of
the colony could not have guarded Christison to the gallows from the
dungeon where he lay condemned.

Yet awful as is this Massachusetts tragedy, it is but a little fragment of
the sternest struggle of the modern world. The power of the priesthood
lies in submission to a creed. In their onslaughts on rebellion they have
exhausted human torments; nor, in their lust for earthly dominion, have
they felt remorse, but rather joy, when slaying Christ's enemies and their
own. The horrors of the Inquisition, the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, the
atrocities of Laud, the abominations of the Scotch Kirk, the persecution
of the Quakers, had one object,--the enslavement of the mind.

Freedom of thought is the greatest triumph over tyranny that brave men
have ever won; for this they fought the wars of the Reformation; for this
they have left their bones to whiten upon unnumbered fields of battle; for
this they have gone by thousands to the dungeon, the scaffold, and the
stake. We owe to their heroic devotion the most priceless of our
treasures, our perfect liberty of thought and speech; and all who love our
country's freedom may well reverence the memory of those martyred Quakers
by whose death and agony the battle in New England has been won.



Had the Puritan Commonwealth been in reality the thing which its
historians have described; had it been a society guided by men devoted to
civil liberty, and as liberal in religion as was consistent with the
temper of their age, the early relations of Massachusetts toward Great
Britain might now be a pleasanter study for her children. Cordiality
toward Charles I. would indeed have been impossible, for the Puritans well
knew the fate in store for them should the court triumph. Gorges was the
representative of the despotic policy toward America, and so early as
1634, probably at his instigation, Laud became the head of a commission,
with absolute control over the plantations, while the next year a writ of
_quo warranto_ was brought against the patent. [Footnote: See introduction
to _New Canaan_, Prince Soc. ed.] With Naseby, however, these dangers
vanished, and thenceforward there would have been nothing to mar an
affectionate confidence in both Parliament and the Protector.

In fact, however, Massachusetts was a petty state, too feeble for
independence, yet ruled by an autocratic priesthood whose power rested
upon legislation antagonistic to English law; therefore the ecclesiastics
were jealous of Parliament, and had little love for Cromwell, whom they
found wanting in "a thorough testimony against the blasphemers of our
days." [Footnote: Diary of Hull, Palfrey, ii. 400, 401, and note.]

The result was that the elders clung obstinately to every privilege which
served their ends, and repudiated every obligation which conflicted with
their ambition. Clerical political morality seldom fails to be
instructive, and the following example is typical of that peculiar mode of
reasoning. The terms of admission to ordinary corporations were fixed by
each organization for itself, but in case of injustice the courts could
give relief by setting aside unreasonable ordinances, and sometimes
Parliament itself would interfere, as it did upon the petition against the
exactions of the Merchant Adventurers. Now there was nothing upon which
the theocracy more strongly insisted than that "our charter doeth expresly
give vs an absolute & free choyce of our oune members;" [Footnote:
_Mass. Rec._ v. 287.] because by means of a religious test the ministers
could pack the constituencies with their tools; but on the other hand they
as strenuously argued "that no appeals or other ways of interrupting our
proceedings do lie against us," [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 283.] because
they well knew that any bench of judges before whom such questions might
come would annul the most vital of their statutes as repugnant to the
British Constitution.

Unfortunately for these churchmen, their objects, as ecclesiastical
politicians, could seldom be reconciled with their duty as English
subjects. At the outset, though made a corporation within the realm, they
felt constrained to organize in America to escape judicial supervision.
They were then obliged to incorporate towns and counties, to form a
representative assembly, and to levy general taxes and duties, none of
which things they had power to do. Still, such irregularities as these,
had they been all, most English statesmen would have overlooked as
unavoidable. But when it came to adopting a criminal code based on the
Pentateuch, and, in support of a dissenting form of worship, fining and
imprisoning, whipping, mutilating, and hanging English subjects without
the sanction of English law; when, finally, the Episcopal Church itself
was suppressed, and peaceful subjects were excluded from the corporation
for no reason but because they partook of her communion, and were
forbidden to seek redress by appealing to the courts of their king, it
seems impossible that any self-respecting government could have long been

At the Restoration Massachusetts had grown arrogant from long impunity.
She thought the time of reckoning would never come, and even in trivial
matters seemed to take a pride in slighting Great Britain and in vaunting
her independence. Laws were enacted in the name of the Commonwealth, the
king's name was not in the writs, nor were the royal arms upon the public
buildings; even the oath of allegiance was rejected, though it was
unobjectionable in form. She had grown to believe that were offence taken
she had only to invent pretexts for delay, to have her fault forgotten in
some new revolution. General Denison, at the Quaker trials, put the
popular belief in a nut-shell: "This year ye will go to complain to the
Parliament, and the next year they will send to see how it is; and the
third year the government is changed." [Footnote: Sewel, p. 280.]

But, beside these irritating domestic questions, the corporation was
bitterly embroiled with its neighbors. Samuel Gorton and his friends were
inhabitants of Rhode Island, and were, no doubt, troublesome to deal with;
but their particular offence was ecclesiastical. An armed force was sent
over the border and they were seized. They were brought to Boston and
tried on the charge of being "blasphemous enemies of the true religion of
our Lord Jesus Christ, and of all his holy ordinances, and likewise of all
civil government among his people, and particularly within this
jurisdiction." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 146.] All the magistrates but
three thought that Gorton ought to die, but he was finally sentenced to an
imprisonment of barbarous cruelty. The invasion of Rhode Island was a
violation of an independent jurisdiction, the arrest was illegal, the
sentence an arbitrary outrage. [Footnote: See paper of Mr. Charles Deane,
_New Eng. Historical and Genealogical Register_, vol. iv.]

Massachusetts was also at feud in the north, and none of her quarrels
brought more serious results than this with the proprietors of New
Hampshire and Maine. The grant in the charter was of all lands between the
Charles and Merrimack, and also all lands within the space of three miles
to the northward of the said Merrimack, or to the northward of any part
thereof, and all lands lying within the limits aforesaid from the Atlantic
to the South Sea.

Clearly the intention was to give a margin of three miles beyond a river
which was then supposed to flow from west to east, and accordingly the
territory to the north, being unoccupied, was granted to Mason and Gorges.
Nor was this construction questioned before 1639--the General Court having
at an early day measured off the three miles and marked the boundary by
what was called the Bound House.

Gradually, however, as it became known that the Merrimack rose to the
north, larger claims were made. In 1641 the four New Hampshire towns were
absorbed with the consent of their inhabitants, who thus gained a regular
government; another happy consequence was the settlement of sundry eminent
divines, by whose ministrations the people "were very much civilized and
reformed." [Footnote: Neal's New England, i. 210.]

In 1652 a survey was made of the whole river, and 43° 40' 12" was fixed as
the latitude of its source. A line extended east from three miles north of
this point came out near Portland, and the intervening space was forthwith
annexed. The result of such a policy was that Charles had hardly been
crowned before complaints poured in from every side. Quakers, Baptists,
Episcopalians, all who had suffered persecution, flocked to the foot of
the throne; and beside these came those who had been injured in their
estates, foremost of whom were the heirs of Mason and Gorges. The pressure
was so great and the outcry so loud that, in September, 1660, it was
thought in London a governor-general would be sent to Boston; [Footnote:
Leverett to Endicott. Hutch. Coll., Prince Soc. ed. ii. 40.] and, in point
of fact, almost the first communication between the king and his colony
was his order to spare the Quakers.

The outlook was gloomy, and there was hesitation as to the course to
pursue. At length it was decided to send Norton and Bradstreet to England
to present an address and protect the public interests. The mission was
not agreeable; Norton especially was reluctant, and with reason, for he
had been foremost in the Quaker persecutions, and was probably aware that
in the eye of English law the executions were homicide.

However, after long vacillation, "the Lord so encouraged and strengthened"
his heart that he ventured to sail. [Footnote: Feb. 11, 1661-2. Palfrey,
ii. 524.] So far as the crown was concerned apprehension was needless, for
Lord Clarendon was prime minister, whose policy toward New England was
throughout wise and moderate, and the agents were well received. Still
they were restless in London, and Sewel tells an anecdote which may partly
account for their impatience to be gone.

"Now the deputies of New England came to London, and endeavored to clear
themselves as much as possible, but especially priest Norton, who bowed no
less reverently before the archbishop, than before the king....

"They would fain have altogether excused themselves; and priest Norton
thought it sufficient to say that he did not assist in the bloody trial,
nor had advised to it. But John Copeland, whose ear was cut off at Boston,
charged the contrary upon him: and G. Fox, the elder, got occasion to
speak with them in the presence of some of his friends, and asked Simon
Broadstreet, one of the New England magistrates, 'whether he had not a
hand in putting to death those they nicknamed Quakers?' He not being able
to deny this confessed he had. Then G. Fox asked him and his associates
that were present, 'whether they would acknowledge themselves to be
subjects to the laws of England? and if they did by what law they had put
his friends to death?' They answered, 'They were subjects to the laws of
England; and they had put his friends to death by the same law, as the
Jesuits were put to death in England.' Hereupon G. Fox asked, 'whether
they did believe that those his friends, whom they had put to death, were
Jesuits, or jesuitically affected?' They said 'Nay.' 'Then,' replied G.
Fox, 'ye have murdered them; for since ye put them to death by the law
that Jesuits are put to death here in England, it plainly appears, you
have put them to death arbitrarily, without any law.' Thus Broadstreet,
finding himself and his company ensnar'd by their own words, ask'd, 'Are
you come to catch us?' But he told them 'They had catch'd themselves, and
they might justly be questioned for their lives; and if the father of
William Robinson (one of those that were put to death) were in town, it
was probable he would question them, and bring their lives into jeopardy.
For he not being of the Quakers persuasion, would perhaps not have so much
regard to the point of forbearance, as they had.' Broadstreet seeing
himself thus in danger began to flinch and to sculk; for some of the old
royalists were earnest with the Quakers to prosecute the New England
persecutors. But G. Fox and his friends said, 'They left them to the Lord,
to whom vengeance belonged, and he would repay it.' Broadstreet however,
not thinking it safe to stay in England, left the city, and with his
companions went back again to New England." [Footnote: Sewel, p. 288.]

The following June the agents were given the king's answer [Footnote:
1662, June 28.] to their address and then sailed for home. It is certainly
a most creditable state paper. The people of Massachusetts were thanked
for their good will, they were promised oblivion for the past, and were
assured that they should have their charter confirmed to them and be safe
in all their privileges and liberties, provided they would make certain
reforms in their government. They were required to repeal such statutes as
were contrary to the laws of England, to take the oath of allegiance, and
to administer justice in the king's name. And then followed two
propositions that were crucial: "And since the principle and foundation of
that charter was and is the freedom of liberty of conscience, wee do
hereby charge and require you that that freedom and liberty be duely
admitted," especially in favor of those "that desire to use the Book of
Common Prayer." And secondly, "that all the freeholders of competent
estates, not vicious in conversations, orthodox in religion (though of
different perswasions concerning church government) may have their vote in
the election of all officers civill or millitary." [Footnote: Hutch.
Coll., Prince Soc. ed. ii. 101-103.]

However judicious these reforms may have been, or howsoever strictly they
conformed with the spirit of English law, was immaterial. They struck at
the root of the secular power of the clergy, and they roused deep
indignation. The agents had braved no little danger, and had shown no
little skill in behalf of the commonwealth; and the fate of John Norton
enables us to realize the rancor of theological feeling. The successor of
Cotton, by general consent the leading minister, in some respects the most
eminent man in Massachusetts, he had undertaken a difficult mission
against his will, in which he had acquitted himself well; yet on his
return he was so treated by his brethren and friends that he died in the
spring of a broken heart. [Footnote: April 5, 1663.]

The General Court took no notice of the king's demands except to order the
writs to run in the royal name. [Footnote: Oct. 8, 1662. _Mass. Rec._
vol. iv. pt. 2, p. 58.] And it is a sign of the boldness, or else of the
indiscretion, of those in power, that this crisis was chosen for striking
a new coin, [Footnote: 1662, May 7.]--an act confessedly illegal and
certain to give offence in England, both as an assumption of sovereignty
and an interference with the currency.

From the first Lord Clarendon paid some attention to colonial affairs, and
he appears to have been much dissatisfied with the condition in which he
found them. At length, in 1664, he decided to send a commission to New
England to act upon the spot.

Great pressure must have been brought by some who had suffered, for Samuel
Maverick, the Episcopalian, who had been fined and imprisoned in 1646 for
petitioning with Childe, was made a member. Colonel Richard Nichols, the
head of the board, was a man of ability and judgment; the choice of Sir
Robert Carr and Colonel George Cartwright was less judicious.

The commissioners were given a public and private set of instructions,
[Footnote: Public Instructions, Hutch. _Hist._ i. 459.] and both were
admirable. They were to examine the condition of the country and its laws,
and, if possible, to make some arrangement by which the crown might have a
negative at least upon the choice of the governor; they were to urge the
reforms already demanded by the king, especially a larger toleration, for
"they doe in truth deny that liberty of conscience to each other, which is
equally provided for and granted to every one of them by their charter."
[Footnote: Private Instructions _O'Callaghan Documents_, iii. 58.]
They were directed to be conciliatory toward the people, and under no
circumstances to meddle with public worship, nor were they to press for
any sudden enforcement of the revenue acts. On one point alone they were
to insist: they were instructed to sit to hear appeals in causes in which
the parties alleged they had been wronged by colonial decisions.

Unquestionably the chancellor was right in principle. The only way whereby
such powerful corporations as the trade-guilds or the East India Company
could be kept from acts of oppression was through the appellate
jurisdiction, by which means their enactments could be brought before the
courts, and those annulled which in the opinion of the judges transcended
the charters. The Company of Massachusetts Bay was a corporation having
jurisdiction over many thousand English subjects, only a minority of whom
were freemen and voters. So long, therefore, as she remained within the
empire, the crown was bound to see that the privileges of the English
Constitution were not denied within her territory. Yet, though this is
true, it is equally certain that the erection of a commission of appeal
without an act of Parliament was irregular. The stretch of prerogative,
nevertheless, cannot be considered oppressive when it is remembered that
Massachusetts was a corporation which had escaped from the realm to avoid
judicial process, and which refused to appear and plead; hence Lord
Clarendon had but this alternative: he could send judges to sit upon the
spot, or he could proceed against the charter in London. The course he
chose may have been illegal, but it was the milder of the two.

The commissioners landed on July 23, 1664, but they did not stay in
Boston. Their first business was to subdue the Dutch at New York, and they
soon left to make the attack. The General Court now recurred, for the
first time, to the dispatch which their agents had brought home, and
proceeded to amend the law relating to the franchise. They extended the
qualification by enacting that Englishmen who presented a certificate
under the hands of the minister of the town that they were orthodox in
religion and not vicious in life, and who paid, beside, 10s. at a
single rate, might become freemen, as well as those who were church-
members. [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ vol. iv. pt. 2, p. 117.] The effect
of such a change could hardly have been toward liberality, rather,
probably, toward concentration of power in the church. However slight,
there was some popular control over the rejection of an applicant to join
a congregation; but giving a certificate was an act that must have
depended on the pastor's will alone.

The court then drew up an address to the king: "If your poore subjects,
... doe... prostrate themselues at your royal feete, & begg yor favor, wee
hope it will be graciously accepted by your majestje, and that as the high
place you sustejne on earth doeth number you here among the gods, [priests
can cringe as well as torture] so you will jmitate the God of heaven, in
being ready... to receive their crjes...," [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ vol.
iv. pt. 2, p. 129.] And he was implored to reflect on the affliction
of heart it was to them, that their sins had provoked God to permit their
adversaries to procure a commission, under the great seal, to four persons
to hear appeals. When this address reached London it caused surprise. The
chancellor was annoyed. He wrote to America, pointing out that His Majesty
would hardly think himself well used at complaints before a beginning had
been made, and a demand that his commission should be revoked before his
commissioners had been able to deliver their instructions. "I know," he
said, "they are expressly inhibited from intermedling with, or instructing
the administration of justice, according to the formes observed there; but
if in truth, in any extraordinary case, the proceedings there have been
irregular, and against the rules of justice, as some particular cases,
particularly recommended to them by His Majesty, seeme to be, it cannot be
presumed that His Majesty hath or will leave his subjects of New England,
without hope of redresse by an appeale to him, which his subjects of all
his other kingdomes have free liberty to make." [Footnote: Hutch. _Hist._
i. 465.]

The campaign against New York was short and successful, and the
commissioners were soon at leisure. As they had reason to believe that
Massachusetts would prove stubborn, they judged it wiser to begin with the
more tractable colonies first. They therefore went to Plymouth, [Footnote:
Feb. 1664-5.] and, on their arrival, according to their instructions,
submitted the four following propositions:--

First. That all householders should take the oath of allegiance, and that
justice should be administered in the king's name.

Second. That all men of competent estates and civil conversation, though
of different judgments, might be admitted to be freemen, and have liberty
to choose and be chosen officers, both civil and military.

Third. That all men and women of orthodox opinions, competent knowledge,
and civil lives not scandalous, should be admitted to the Lord's Supper
[and have baptism for their children, either in existing churches or their

Fourth. That all laws ... derogatory to his majesty should be repealed.
[Footnote: Palfrey, ii. 601.]

Substantially the same proposals were made subsequently in Rhode Island
and Connecticut. They were accepted without a murmur. A few appeal cases
were heard, and the work was done.

The commissioners reported their entire satisfaction to the government,
the colonies sent loyal addresses, and Charles returned affectionate

Massachusetts alone remained to be dealt with, but her temper was in
striking contrast to that of the rest of New England. The reason is
obvious. Nowhere else was there a fusion of church and state. The people
had, therefore, no oppressive statutes to uphold, nor anything to conceal.
Provided the liberty of English subjects was secured to them they were
content to obey the English Constitution. On the other hand, Massachusetts
was a theocracy, the power of whose priesthood rested on enactments
contrary to British institutions, and which, therefore, would have been
annulled upon appeal. Hence the clerical party were wild with fear and
rage, and nerved themselves to desperate resistance.

"But alasse, sir, the commission impowering those commisioners to heare
and determine all cases whatever, ... should it take place, what would
become of our civill government which hath binn, under God, the heade of
that libertie for our consciences for which the first adventurers ... bore
all ... discouragements that encountered them ... in this wildernes."
Rather than submit, they protested they had "sooner leave our place and
all our pleasant outward injoyments." [Footnote: Court to Boyle. _Hutch.
Coll._, Prince Soc. ed. ii. 113.]

Under such conditions a direct issue was soon reached. The General Court,
in answer to the commissioners' proposals, maintained that the observance
of their charter was inconsistent with appeals; that they had already
provided an oath of allegiance; that they had conformed to his majesty's
requirements in regard to the franchise; and lastly, in relation to
toleration, there was no equivocation. "Concerning the vse of the Common
Prayer Booke"... we had not become "voluntary exiles from our deare native
country, ... could wee haue seene the word of God, warranting us to
performe our devotions in that way, & to haue the same set vp here; wee
conceive it is apparent that it will disturbe our peace in our present
enjoyments." [Footnote: 1665. _Mass. Rec._ vol. iv. pt. 2, p.200]

Argument was useless. The so-called oath of allegiance was not that
required by Parliament; the alteration in the franchise was a sham; while
the two most important points, appeals to England and toleration in
religion, were rejected. The commissioners, therefore, asked for a direct
answer to this question: "Whither doe yow acknowledge his majestjes
comission ... to be of full force?" [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ vol. iv.
pt. 2, p.204] They were met by evasion. On the 23d of May they gave notice
that they should sit the next morning to hear the case of Thos. Deane et
al. vs. The Gov. & Co. of Mass. Bay, a revenue appeal. Forthwith the
General Court proclaimed by trumpet that the hearing would not be

Coercion was impossible, as no troops were at hand. The commissioners
accordingly withdrew and went to Maine, which they proceeded to sever from
Massachusetts. [Footnote: June, 1665] In this they followed the king's
instructions, who himself acted upon the advice of the law officers of the
crown, who had given an opinion sustaining the claim of Gorges. [Footnote:
Charles II.'s letter to Inhabitants of Maine. _Hutch. Coll._, Prince Soc.
ed. ii. 110; Palf. ii. 622.]

The triumph was complete. All that the English government was then able to
do was to recall the commissioners, direct that agents should be sent to
London at once, and forbid interference with Maine. No notice was taken of
the order to send agents; and in 1668 possession was again taken of the
province, and the courts of the company once more sat in the county of
York. [Footnote: July, 1668. Report of Com. _Mass. Rec._ vol. iv. pt.
2, p. 401.]

This was the culmination of the Puritan Commonwealth. The clergy were
exultant, and the Rev. Mr. Davenport of New Haven wrote in delight to

"Their claiming power to sit authoritatively as a court for appeales, and
that to be managed in an arbitrary way, was a manifest laying of a
groundworke to undermine your whole government established by your
charter. If you had consented thereunto, you had plucked downe with your
owne hands that house which wisdom had built for you and your
posterity.... As for the solemnity of publishing it, in three places, by
sounding a trumpet, I believe you did it upon good advice, ... for
declaring the courage and resolution of the whole countrey to defend their
charter liberties and priviledges, and not to yeeld up theire right
voluntarily, so long as they can hold it, in dependence upon God in
Christ, whose interest is in it, for his protection and blessing, who will
be with you while you are with him." [Footnote: Davenport to Leverett.
_Hutch. Coll._, Prince Soc. ed. ii. 119.]

Although the colonists were alarmed at their own success, there was
nothing to fear. At no time before or since could England have been so
safely defied. In 1664 war was begun against Holland; 1665 was the year of
the plague; 1666 of the fire. In June, 1667, the Dutch, having dispersed
the British fleets, sailed up the Medway, and their guns were heard in
London. Peace became necessary, and in August Clarendon was dismissed from
office. The discord between the crown and Parliament paralyzed the nation,
and the wastefulness of Charles kept him always poor. By the treaty of
Dover in 1670 he became a pensioner of Louis XIV. The Cabal followed,
probably the worst ministry England ever saw; and in 1672, at Clifford's
suggestion, the exchequer was closed and the debt repudiated to provide
funds for the second Dutch war. In March fighting began, and the
tremendous battles with De Ruyter kept the navy in the Channel. At length,
in 1673, the Cabal fell, and Danby became prime minister.

Although during these years of disaster and disgrace Massachusetts was not
molested by Great Britain, they were not all years during which the
theocracy could tranquilly enjoy its victory.

So early as 1671 the movements of the Indians began to give anxiety; and
in 1675 Philip's War broke out, which brought the colony to the brink of
ruin, and in which the clergy saw the judgment of God against the
Commonwealth, for tenderness toward the Quakers. [Footnote: _Reforming
Synod, Magnalia_, bk. 5, pt. 4.]

With the rise of Danby a more regular administration opened, and, as
usual, the attention of the government was fixed upon Massachusetts by the
clamors of those who demanded redress for injuries alleged to have been
received at her hands. In 1674 the heirs of Mason and Gorges, in despair
at the reoccupation of Maine, proposed to surrender their claim to the
king, reserving one third of the product of the customs for themselves.
The London merchants also had become restive under the systematic
violation of the Navigation Acts. The breach in the revenue laws had,
indeed, been long a subject of complaint, and the commissioners had
received instructions relating thereto; but it was not till this year that
these questions became serious.

The first statute had been passed by the Long Parliament, but the one that
most concerned the colonies was not enacted till 1663. The object was not
only to protect English shipping, but to give her the entire trade of her
dependencies. To that end it was made illegal to import European produce
into any plantation except through England; and, conversely, colonial
goods could only be exported by being landed in England.

The theory upon which this legislation was based is exploded; enforced, it
would have crippled commerce; but it was then, and always had been, a dead
letter at Boston. New England was fast getting its share of the carrying
trade. London merchants already began to feel the competition of its cheap
and untaxed ships, and manufacturers to complain that they were undersold
in the American market, by goods brought direct from the Continental
ports. A petition, therefore, was presented to the king, to carry the law
into effect. No colonial office then existed; the affairs of the
dependencies were assigned to a committee of the Privy Council, called the
Lords of Committee of Trade and Plantations; and on these questions being
referred by them to the proper officers, the commissioners of customs
sustained the merchants; the attorney-general, the heirs of Mason and
Gorges. [Footnote: Palfrey, iii. 281; Chalmers's _Political Annals of
the United Colonies_, p. 262.] The famous Edward Randolph now appears.
The government was still too deeply embarrassed to act with energy. A
temporizing policy was therefore adopted; and as the experiment of a
commission had failed, Randolph was chosen as a messenger to carry the
petitions and opinions to Massachusetts; together with a letter from the
king, directing that agents should be sent in answer thereto. After
delivering them, he was ordered to devote himself to preparing a report
upon the country. He reached Boston June 10, 1676. Although it was a time
of terrible suffering from the ravages of the Indian war, the temper of
the magistrates was harsher than ever.

The repulse of the commissioners had convinced them that Charles was not
only lazy and ignorant, but too poor to use force; and they also believed
him to be so embroiled with Parliament as to make his overthrow probable.
Filled with such feelings, their reception of Randolph was almost brutal.
John Leverett was governor, who seems to have taken pains to mark his
contempt in every way in his power. Randolph was an able, but an
unscrupulous man, and probably it would not have been difficult to have
secured his good-will. Far however from bribing, or even flattering him,
they so treated him as to make him the bitterest enemy the Puritan
Commonwealth ever knew.

Being admitted into the council chamber, he delivered the letter.
[Footnote: Randolph's Narrative. _Hutch. Coll._, Prince Soc. ed. ii.
240.] The governor opened it, glanced at the signature, and, pretending
never to have heard of Henry Coventry, asked who he might be. He was told
he was his majesty's principal secretary of state. He then read it aloud
to the magistrates. Even the fierce Endicott, when he received the famous
"missive" from the Quaker Shattock, "laid off his hat ... [when] he look'd
upon the papers," [Footnote: Sewel, p. 282.] as a mark of respect to his
king; but Leverett and his council remained covered. Then the governor
said "that the matters therein contained were very inconsiderable things
and easily answered, and it did no way concern that government to take any
notice thereof;" and so Randolph was dismissed. Five days after he was
again sent for, and asked whether he "intended for London by that ship
that was ready to saile?" If so, he could have a duplicate of the answer
to the king, as the original was to go by other hands. He replied that he
had other business in charge, and inquired whether they had well
considered the petitions, and fixed upon their agents so soon. Leverett
did not deign to answer, but told him "he looked upon me as Mr. Mason's
agent, and that I might withdraw." The next day he saw the governor at his
own house, who took occasion, when Randolph referred to the Navigation
Acts, to expound the legal views of the theocracy. "He freely declared to
me that the lawes made by your majestie and your Parliament obligeth them
in nothing but what consists with the interest of that colony, that the
legislative power is and abides in them solely ... and that all matters in
difference are to be concluded by their finall determination, without any
appeal to your majestie, and that your majestie ought not to retrench
their liberties, but may enlarge them." [Footnote: Randolph's Narrative.
_Hutch. Coll._, Prince Soc. ed. ii. 243.] One last interview took
place when Randolph went for dispatches for England, after his return from
New Hampshire; then he "was entertained by" Leverett "with a sharp reproof
for publishing the substance of my errand into those parts, contained in
your majestie's letters, ... telling me that I designed to make a
mutiny.... I told him, if I had done anything amisse, upon complaint made
to your majestie he would certainly have justice done him."...

"At my departure ... he ... intreated me to give a favourable report of
the country and the magistrates thereof, adding that those that blessed
them God would blesse, and those that cursed them God would curse." And
that "they were a people truely fearing the Lord and very obedient to your
majestie." [Footnote: _Hutch. Coll._, Prince Soc. ed. ii. 248.] And
so the royal messenger was dismissed in wrath, to tell his story to the

The legislature met in August, 1676, and a decision had to be made
concerning agents. On the whole, the clergy concluded it would be wiser to
obey the crown, "provided they be, with vtmost care & caution, qualified
as to their instructions." [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ v. 99.]
Accordingly, after a short adjournment, the General Court chose William
Stoughton and Peter Bulkely; and having strictly limited their power to a
settlement of the territorial controversy, they sent them on their
mission. [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ v. 114.]

Almost invariably public affairs were seen by the envoys of the Company in
a different light from that in which they were viewed by the clerical
party at home, and these particularly had not been long in London before
they became profoundly alarmed. There was, indeed, reason for grave
apprehension. The selfish and cruel policy of the theocracy had borne its
natural fruit: without an ally in the world, Massachusetts was beset by
enemies. Quakers, Baptists, and Episcopalians whom she had persecuted and
exiled; the heirs of Mason and Gorges, whom she had wronged; Andros, whom
she had maligned; [Footnote: He had been accused of countenancing aid to
Philip when governor of New York. O'Callaghan Documents, iii. 258.] and
Randolph, whom she had insulted, wrought against her with a government
whose sovereign she had offended and whose laws she had defied. Even her
English friends had been much alienated. [Footnote: Palfrey, iii. 278,

The controversy concerning the boundary was referred to the two chief
justices, who promptly decided against the Company; [Footnote: See
Opinion; Chalmers's _Annals_, p. 504.] and the easy acquiescence of the
General Court must raise a doubt as to their faith in the soundness of
their claims. And now again the fatality which seemed to pursue the
theocracy in all its dealings with England led it to give fresh
provocation to the king by secretly buying the title of Gorges for twelve
hundred and fifty pounds. [Footnote: May, 1677. Chalmers's _Annals_,
pp. 396, 397. See notes, Palfrey, iii. 312.]

Charles had intended to settle Maine on the Duke of Monmouth. It was a
worthless possession, whose revenue never paid for its defence; yet so
stubborn was the colony that it made haste to anticipate the crown and
thus become "Lord Proprietary" of a burdensome province at the cost of a
slight which was never forgiven. Almost immediately the Privy Council had
begun to open other matters, such as coining and illicit trade; and the
attorney-general drew up a list of statutes which, in his opinion, were
contrary to the laws of England. The agents protested that they were
limited by their instructions, but were sharply told that his majesty did
not think of treating with his own subjects as with foreigners, and it
would be well to intimate the same to their principals. [Footnote:
Palfrey, iii. 309.] In December, 1677, Stoughton wrote in great alarm that
something must be done concerning the Navigation Acts or a breach would be
inevitable. [Footnote: Hutch. _Hist._ i. 288.] And the General Court
saw reason in this emergency to increase the tension by reviving the
obnoxious oath of fidelity to the country, [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ v.
154.]--the substitute for the oath of allegiance,--and thus gave Randolph
a new and potent weapon. In the spring [Footnote: Palfrey, iii. 316, 317;
Chalmers's _Annals_, p. 439.] the law officers gave an opinion that
the misdemeanors alleged against Massachusetts were sufficient to avoid
her patent; and the Privy Council, in view of the encroachments and
injuries which she had continually practised on her neighbors, and her
contempt of his majesty's commands, advised that a _quo warranto_ should
be brought against the charter. Randolph was appointed collector at
Boston. [Footnote: 1678, May 31.]

Even Leverett now saw that some concessions must be made, and the General
Court ordered the oath of allegiance to be taken; nothing but perversity
seems to have caused the long delay. [Footnote: Oct. 2, 1678. _Mass.
Rec._ v. 193. See Palfrey, iii. 320, note 2.] The royal arms were also
carved in the court-house; and this was all, for the clergy were
determined upon those matters touching their authority. The agents were
told, "that which is farr more considerable then all these is the interest
of the Lord Jesus & of his churches ... which ought to be farr dearer to
us than our liues; and ... wee would not that by any concessions of ours,
or of yours... the least stone should be put out of the wall." [Footnote:
_Mass. Rec._ v. 202.]

Both agents and magistrates were, nevertheless, thoroughly frightened, and
being determined not to yield, in fact, they resorted to a policy of
misrepresentation, with the hope of deceiving the English government.
[Footnote: See Answers of Agents, Chalmers's _Annals_, p. 450.] Stoughton
and Bulkely had already assured the Lords of Committee that the "rest of
the inhabitants were very inconsiderable as to number, compared with those
that were acknowledged church-members." [Footnote: Palfrey, iii. 318.]
They were in fact probably as five to one. The General Court had been
censured for using the word Commonwealth in official documents, as
intimating independence. They hastened to assure the crown that it had
not of late been used, and should not be thereafter; [Footnote: _Mass.
Rec._ v. 198. And see, in general, the official correspondence, pp.
197-203.] yet in November, 1675, commissions were thus issued. [Footnote:
Palfrey, iii. 322.] But the breaking out of the Popish plot began to
absorb the whole attention of the government at London; and the agents,
after receiving a last rebuke for the presumption of the colony in buying
Maine, were at length allowed to depart. [Footnote: Nov. 1679.]

Nearly half a century had elapsed since the emigration, and with the
growth of wealth and population changes had come. In March, John Leverett,
who had long been the head of the high-church party, died, and the
election of Simon Bradstreet as his successor was a triumph for the
opposition. Great as the clerical influence still was, it had lost much of
its old despotic power, and the congregations were no longer united in
support of the policy of their pastors. This policy was singularly
desperate. Casting aside all but ecclesiastical considerations, the clergy
consistently rejected any compromise with the crown which threatened to
touch the church. Almost from the first they had recognized that
substantial independence was necessary in order to maintain the theocracy.
Had the colony been strong, they would doubtless have renounced their
allegiance; but its weakness was such that, without the protection of
England, it would have been seized by France. Hence they resorted to
expedients which could only end in disaster, for it was impossible for
Massachusetts, while part of the British Empire, to refuse obedience at
her pleasure to laws which other colonies cheerfully obeyed.

Without an ally, no resistance could be made to England, when at length
her sovereignty should be asserted; and an armed occupation and military
government were inevitable upon a breach.

Though such considerations are little apt to induce a priesthood to
surrender their temporal power, they usually control commercial
communities. Accordingly, Boston and the larger towns favored concession,
while the country was the ministers' stronghold. The result of this
divergence of opinion was that the moderate party, to which Bradstreet and
Dudley belonged, predominated in the Board of Assistants, while the
deputies remained immovable. The branches of the legislature thus became
opposed; no course of action could be agreed on, and the theocracy drifted
to its destruction.

The duplicity characteristic of theological politics grew daily more
marked. In May, 1679, a law had been passed forbidding the building of
churches without leave from the freemen of the town or the General Court.
[Footnote: Mass. Rec. v. 213.] On the 11th of June, 1680, three persons
representing the society of Baptists were summoned before the legislature,
charged with the crime of erecting a meeting-house. They were admonished
and forbidden to meet for worship except with the established
congregations; and their church was closed. [Footnote: Mass. Rec. v. 271.]
That very day an address was voted to the king, one passage of which is as
follows: "Concerning liberty of conscience, ... that after all, a
multitude of notorious errors ... be openly broached, ... amongst us, as
by the Quakers, &c., wee presume his majesty doeth not intend; and as for
other Prottestant dissenters, that carry it peaceably & soberly, wee trust
there shallbe no cause of just complaint against us on their behalfe."
[Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ v. 287.]

Meanwhile Randolph had renewed his attack. He declared that in spite of
promises and excuses the revenue laws were not enforced; that his men were
beaten, and that he hourly expected to be thrown into prison; whereas in
other colonies, he asserted, he was treated with great respect. [Footnote:
June, 1680. Palfrey, iii. 340.] There can be no doubt ingenuity was used
to devise means of annoyance, and certainly the life he was made to lead
was hard. In March [Footnote: March 15, 1680-1.] he sailed for home, and
while in London he made a series of reports to the government which seem
to have produced the conviction that the moment for action had come. In
December he returned, commissioned as deputy-surveyor and auditor-general
for all New England, except New Hampshire. When Stoughton and Bulkely were
dismissed, the colony had been commanded to send new agents within six
months. In September, 1680, another royal letter had been written, in
which the king dwelt upon the misconduct of his subjects, "when ... we
signified unto you our gracious inclination to have all past deeds
forgotten... wee then little thought that those markes of our grace and
favour should have found no better acceptance amoung you.... We doe
therefore by these our letters, strictly command and require you, as you
tender your allegiance unto us, and will deserve the effects of our grace
and favour (which wee are enclyned to afford you) seriously to reflect
upon our commands; ... and particularly wee doe hereby command you to send
over, within three months after the receipt hereof, such... persons as you
shall think fitt to choose, and that you give them sufficient instructions
to attend the regulation and settlement of that our government."
[Footnote: Sept. 30. _Hutch. Coll. _, Prince Soc. ed. ii. 261.]

The General Court had not thought fit to regard these communications, and
now Randolph came charged with a long and stern dispatch, in which agents
were demanded forthwith, "in default whereof, we are fully resolved, in
Trinity Term next ensuing, to direct our attorney-general to bring a quo
warranto in our court of kings-bench, whereby our charter granted unto
you, with all the powers thereof, may be legally evicted and made void;
and so we bid you farewel." [Footnote: Chalmers's _Annals_, p. 449.]

Hitherto the clerical party had procrastinated, buoyed up by the hope that
in the fierce struggle with the commons Charles might be overthrown; but
this dream ended with the dissolution of the Oxford Parliament, and
further inaction became impossible. Joseph Dudley and John Richards were
chosen agents, and provided with instructions bearing the peculiar tinge
of ecclesiastical statesmanship.

They were directed to represent that appeals would be intolerable; and,
for their private guidance, the legislature used these words: "We
therefore doe not vnderstand by the regulation of the gouernment, that any
alteration of the patent is intended; yow shall therefore neither doe nor
consent to any thing that may violate or infringe the liberties &
priuiledges granted to us by his majesties royall charter, or the
gouernment established thereby; but if any thing be propounded that may
tend therevnto, yow shall say, yow haue received no instruction in that
matter." [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ v. 349.] With reference to the
complaints made against the colony, they were to inform the king "that wee
haue no law prohibbiting any such as are of the perswasion of the church
of England, nor haue any euer desired to worship God accordingly that haue
been denyed." [Footnote: _Mass. Rec._ v. 347. March 23.]

Such a statement cannot be reconciled with the answer made the
commissioners; and the laws compelled Episcopalians to attend the
Congregational worship, and denied them the right to build churches of
their own.

"As for the Annabaptists, they are now subject to no other poenal statutes
then those of the Congregational way." This sophistry is typical. The law
under which the Baptist church was closed applied in terms to all
inhabitants, it is true; but it was contrived to suppress schism, it was
used to coerce heretics, and it was unrepealed. Moreover, it would seem as
though the statute inflicting banishment must then have still been in

The assurances given in regard to the reform of the suffrage were
precisely parallel:--

"For admission of ffreemen, wee humbly conceive it is our liberty, by
charter, to chuse whom wee will admitt into our oune company, which yet
hath not binn restrayned to Congregational men, but others haue been
admitted, who were also provided for according to his majestjes
direction." [Footnote: 1681-2, March 23.]

Such insincerity gave weight to Randolph's words when he wrote: "My lord,
I have but one thing to reminde your lordship, that nothing their agents
can say or doe in England can be any ground for his majestie to depend
upon." [Footnote: Randolph to Clarendon. _Hutch. Coll._, Prince Soc.
ed. ii. 277]

With these documents and one thousand pounds for bribery, soon after
increased to three, [Footnote: Chalmers's _Annals_, p. 461.] Dudley
and Richards sailed. Their powers were at once rejected at London as
insufficient, and the decisive moment came. [Footnote: _Idem_, p.
413.] The churchmen of Massachusetts had to determine whether to accept
the secularization of their government or abandon every guaranty of
popular liberty. The clergy did not hesitate before the momentous
alternative: they exerted themselves to the utmost, and turned the scale
for the last time. [Footnote: Hutch. _Hist._ i. 303, note.] In fresh
instructions the agents were urged to do what was possible to avert, or at
least delay, the stroke; but they were forbidden to consent to appeals, or
to alterations in the qualifications required for the admission of
freemen. [Footnote: 1683, March 30. _Mass. Rec._ v. 390.] They had
previously been directed to pacify the king by a present of two thousand
pounds; and this ill-judged attempt at bribery had covered them with
ridicule. [Footnote: Hutch. _Hist._ i. 303, note.]

Further negotiation would have been futile. Proceedings were begun at
once, and Randolph was sent to Boston to serve the writ of _quo warranto_;
[Footnote: 1683, July 20.] he was also charged with a royal declaration
promising that, even then, were submission made, the charter should be
restored with only such changes as the public welfare demanded. [Footnote:
_Mass. Rec._ v. 422, 423.] Dudley, who was a man of much political
sagacity, had returned and strongly urged moderation. The magistrates were
not without the instincts of statesmanship: they saw that a breach with
England must destroy all safeguards of the common freedom, and they voted
an address to the crown accepting the proffered terms. [Footnote: 1683, 15
Nov. Hutch. _Hist._ i. 304.] But the clergy strove against them: the
privileges of their order were at stake; they felt that the loss of their
importance would be "destructive to the interest of religion and of
Christ's kingdom in the colony," [Footnote: Palfrey, iii. 381.] and they
roused their congregations to resist. The deputies did not represent the
people, but the church. They were men who had been trained from infancy by
the priests, who had been admitted to the communion and the franchise on
account of their religious fervor, and who had been brought into public
life because the ecclesiastics found them pliable in their hands. The
influence which had moulded their minds and guided their actions
controlled them still, and they rejected the address. [Footnote: Nov. 30.
Palfrey, iii. 385.] Increase Mather took the lead. He stood up at a great
meeting in the Old South, and exhorted the people, "telling them how their
forefathers did purchase it [the charter], and would they deliver it up,
even as Ahab required Naboth's vineyard, Oh! their children would be bound
to curse them." [Footnote: Palfrey, iii. 388, note 1.]

All that could be resolved on was to retain Robert Humphrys of the Middle
Temple to interpose such delays as the law permitted; but no attempt was
made at defence upon the merits of their cause, probably because all knew
well that no such defence was possible.

Meanwhile, for technical reasons, the _quo warranto_ had been abandoned,
and a writ of _scire facias_ had been issued out of chancery. On June 18,
1684, the lord keeper ordered the defendant to appear and plead on the
first day of the next Michaelmas Term. The time allowed was too short for
an answer from America, and judgment was entered by default. [Footnote:
Decree entered June 21, 1684; confirmed, Oct. 23. Palfrey, iii. 393,
note.] The decree was arbitrary, but no effort was made to obtain relief.
The story, however, is best told by Humphrys himself:--

"It is matter of astonishment to me, to think of the returnes I haue had
from you in the affaire of your charter; that a prudent people should
think soe little, in a thing of the greatest moment to them.

"Which charge I humbly justify in the following particulars, and yet at
the same time confess that all you could haue done would but haue gained
more time, and spent more money, since the breaches assigned against you,
were as obvious as vnanswerable, soe as all the service your councill and
friends could haue done you here, would haue onely served to deplore, not
prevent the inevitable loss.

"When I sent you the lord keeper's order of the 18th of June 1684
requireing your appeareing peromptorily the first day of Michaelmas Tearme
then next, and pleading to yssue ... you may remember I sent with it such
drafts of lettres of attorney, to pass vnder your comon seale as were
essentially necessary to empower and justify such appearance, and pleading
for you here, which you could not imagine but that you must haue had due
time to returne them in, noe law compelling impossibilities.

"When the first day of that Michaelmas Tearme came, and your lettres of
attorney neither were, nor indeed could be return'd ... I applyd by
councill to the Court of Chancery to enlarge that time urgeing the
impossibility of hauing a returne from you in the time allotted.... But it
is true my lord keeper cutt the ground from under us which wee stood upon,
by telling us the order of the 18th of June was a surprize upon his
lordship and that he ought not to haue granted it, for that every
corporacon ought to haue an attorney in every court to appeare to his
majesties suite, and that London had such.... However certainely you ought
when my lettres were come to you, nunc pro tune, to haue past the lettres
of attorney I sent you under your comon seale and sent them me, and not to
haue stopt them upon any private surmises from other hands then his you
had entrusted in that matter; and the rather for that the judgments of
law, espetially those taken by defaults for non appearances, are not like
the laws of the Medes and Persians irrevocable, but are often on just
grounds sett aside by the court here, and the defendants admitted to plead
as if noe such judgments had been entred vp, and the very order it selfe
of the 18th of June guies you a home instance of it.

"And indeed I did therefore forbeare giueing you an account of a further
time being denyd, and the entry of judgment against you, expecting you
would before such lettre could haue reacht you haue sent me the lettres of
attorney vnder your corporacon seale that the court might haue been moved
to admitt your appearance and plea and waiued the judgment.

"But instead of those lettres of attorney under your seale you sent me an
address to his late majesty, I confess judiciously drawne. But it is my
wonder in which of your capacityes you could imagine it should be
presented to his majesty, for if as a corporacon, a body politique, it
should have been putt under your corporacon seale if as a private comunity
it should haue been signed by your order. But the paper has neither
private hand nor publique seale to it and soe must be lost....

"In this condicon what could a man doe for you, nothing publiquely for he
had noe warrant from you to justify the accon." [Footnote: _Mass.
Archives_, cvi. 343.]

So perished the Puritan Commonwealth. The child of the Reformation, its
life sprang from the assertion of the freedom of the mind; but this great
and noble principle is fatal to the temporal power of a priesthood, and
during the supremacy of the clergy the government was doomed to be both
persecuting and repressive. Under no circumstance could the theocracy have
endured: it must have fallen by revolt from within if not by attack from
without. That Charles II. did in fact cause its overthrow gives him a
claim to our common gratitude, for he then struck a decisive blow for the
emancipation of Massachusetts; and thus his successor was enabled to open
before her that splendid career of democratic constitutional liberty which
was destined to become the basis of the jurisprudence of the American



The history of the years between the dissolution of the Company of
Massachusetts Bay and the reorganization of the country by William III. in
1692 has little bearing upon the development of the people; for the
presidency of Dudley and the administration of Andros were followed by a
revolution that paralyzed all movement. During the latter portion of this
interval the colony was represented at London by three agents, of whom
Increase Mather was the most influential, who used every effort to obtain
the reėstablishment of the old government; they met, however, with
insuperable obstacles. Quietly to resume was impossible; for the obstinacy
of the clergy, in refusing all compromise with Charles II., had caused the
patent to be cancelled; and thus a new grant had become necessary. Nor was
this all, for the attorney and solicitor general, with whom the two chief
justices concurred, [Footnote: _Parentator_, p. 139] gave it as their
opinion that, supposing no decree had been rendered, and the same powers
were exercised as before, a writ of _scire facias_ would certainly be
issued, upon which a similar judgment would inevitably be entered. These
considerations, however, became immaterial, as the king was a statesman,
and had already decided upon his policy. His views had little in common
with those held by the Massachusetts ecclesiastics, and when the Rev. Mr.
Mather first read the instrument in which they had been embodied, he
declared he "would sooner part with his life than consent unto such
minutes." [Footnote: _Parentator_, p. 134.] He grew calmer, however, when
told that his "consent was not expected nor desired;" and with that
energy and decision for which he was remarkable, at once secured the

The constitutional aspect of the Provincial Charter is profoundly
interesting, and it will be considered in its legal bearings hereafter.
Its political tendencies, however, first demand attention, for it wrought
a complete social revolution, since it overthrew the temporal power of the
church. Massachusetts, Maine, and Plymouth were consolidated, and within
them toleration was established, except in regard to Papists; the
religious qualification was swept away, and in its stead freeholders of
forty shillings per annum, or owners of personal property to the value of
forty pounds sterling, were admitted to the franchise; the towns continued
to elect the house of representatives, and the whole Assembly chose the
council, subject to the approval of the executive. [Footnote: Hutch.
_Hist._ ii. 15, 16] The governor, lieutenant-governor, and secretary
were appointed by the crown; the governor had a veto, and the king
reserved the right to disallow legislation within three years of the date
of its enactment. Thus the theocracy fell at a single blow; and it is
worthy of remark that thenceforward prosecutions for sedition became
unknown among the people of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. Yet, though
the clerical oligarchy was no longer absolute, the ministers still exerted
a prodigious influence upon opinion. Not only did they speak with all the
authority inherited with the traditions of the past; not only had they or
their predecessors trained the vast majority of the people from their
cradles to reverence them more than anything on earth, but their compact
organization was as yet unimpaired, and at its head stood the two Mathers,
the pastors of the Old North Church. Thus venerated and thus led, the
elders were still able to appeal to the popular superstition and
fanaticism with terrible effect.

Widely differing judgments have been formed of these two celebrated
divines; the ecclesiastical view is perhaps well summed up by the Rev.
John Eliot, who thus describes the President of Harvard: "He was the
father of the New England clergy, and his name and character were held in
veneration, not only by those, who knew him, but by succeeding
generations." [Footnote: _Biographical Dictionary_, p. 312.] All must
admit his ability and learning, while in sanctimoniousness of deportment
he was unrivalled. His son Cotton says he had such a "gravity as made all
sorts of persons, wherever he came, to be struck with a sensible awe of
his presence, ... yea, if he laughed on them, they believed it not." "His
very countenance carried the force of a sermon with it." [Footnote:
_Parentator_, p. 40.] He kept a strict account of his mental condition,
and always was pleased when able to enter in his diary at the end of the
day, "heart serious." He was unctuous in his preaching, and wept much in
the pulpit; he often mentions being "quickened at the Lord's table [during
which] tears gushed from me before the Lord," [Footnote: _Parentator_, p.
48.] but of his self-sacrifice, his mercy, and his truth, his own acts and
words are the best evidence that remain.

When the new government was about to be put in operation, an extraordinary
amount of patronage lay at the disposal of the crown; for, beside the
regular executive officers, the entire council had to be named, since they
could not be elected until a legislature had been organized to choose
them. Increase Mather, Elisha Cooke, and Thomas Oakes were acting as
agents, and all had been bitterly opposed to the new charter; but of the
three, the English ministers thought Mather the most important to secure.
And now an odd coincidence happened in the life of this singular man. He
suddenly one day announced himself convinced that the king's project was
not so intolerable as to be unworthy of support; and then it very shortly
transpired that he had been given all the spoil before the patent had
passed the seals. [Footnote: Palfrey, iv. 85.] The proximity of these
events is interesting as bearing on the methods of ecclesiastical
statesmen, and it is also instructive to observe how thorough a master of
the situation this eminent divine proved himself to be. He not only
appointed all his favorite henchmen to office, but he rigidly excluded his
colleagues at London, who had continued their opposition, and every one
else who had any disposition to be independent. His creature, Sir William
Phips, was made governor; William Stoughton, who was bred for the church,
and whose savage bigotry endeared him to the clergy, was lieutenant-
governor; and the council was so packed that his excellent son broke into
a shout of triumph when he heard the news:--

"The time has come! the set time has come! I am now to receive an answer
of so many prayers. All the councellors of the province are of my own
father's nomination; and my father-in-law, with several related unto me,
and several brethren of my own church are among them. The governor of the
province is not my enemy, but one whom I baptized; namely, Sir William
Phips, one of my own flock, and one of my dearest friends." [Footnote:
Cotton Mather's _Diary_; Quincy's _History of Harvard_, i. 60.]
Such was the government the theocracy left the country as its legacy when
its own power had passed away, and dearly did Massachusetts rue that fatal
gift in her paroxysms of agony and blood.

At the close of the seventeenth century the belief in witchcraft was
widespread, and among the more ignorant well-nigh universal. The
superstition was, moreover, fostered by the clergy, who, in adopting this
policy, were undoubtedly actuated by mixed motives. Their credulity
probably made them for the most part sincere in the unbounded confidence
they professed in the possibility of compacts between the devil and
mankind; but, nevertheless, there is abundant evidence in their writings
of their having been keenly alive to the fact that men horror-stricken at
the sight of the destruction of their wives and children by magic would
grovel in the submission of abject terror at the feet of the priest who
promised to deliver them.

The elders began the agitation by sending out a paper of proposals for
collecting stories of apparitions and witchcrafts, and in obedience to
their wish Increase Mather published his "Illustrious Providences" in
1683-4. Two chapters of this book were devoted to sorceries, and the
reverend author took occasion to intimate his opinion that those who might
doubt the truth of his relations were probably themselves either heretics
or wizards. This movement of the clergy seems to have highly inflamed the
popular imagination, [Footnote: Hutch. _Hist._ ii. 24.] yet no immediate
disaster followed; and the nervous exaltation did not become deadly until
1688. In the autumn of that year four children of a Boston mason named
Goodwin began to mimic the symptoms they had so often heard described; the
father, who was a pious man, called in the ministers of Boston and
Charlestown, who fasted and prayed, and succeeded in delivering the
youngest, who was five. Meanwhile, one of the daughters had "cried out
upon" an unfortunate Irish washerwoman, with whom she had quarrelled.
Cotton Mather was now in his element. He took the eldest girl home with
him and tried a great number of interesting experiments as to the relative
power of Satan and the Lord; among others he gravely relates how when the
sufferer was tormented elsewhere he would carry her struggling to his own
study, into which entering, she stood immediately upon her feet, and cried
out, "They are gone! They are gone! They say they cannot--God won't let
'em come here." [Footnote: _Memorable Providences_, pp. 27, 28]

It is not credible that an educated and a sane man could ever have
honestly believed in the absurd stuff which he produced as evidence of the
supernatural; his description of the impudence of the children is amazing.

"They were divers times very near burning or drowning of themselves, but
... by their own pittiful and seasonable cries for help still procured
their deliverance: which made me consider, whether the little ones had not
their angels, in the plain sense of our Saviour's intimation.... And
sometimes, tho' but seldome, they were kept from eating their meals, by
having their teeth sett when they carried any thing to their mouthes."
[Footnote: _Idem_, pp. 15-17.]

And it was upon such evidence that the washerwoman was hanged. There is an
instant in the battle as the ranks are wavering, when the calmness of the
officers will avert the rout; and as to have held their soldiers then is
deemed their highest honor, so to have been found wanting is their
indelible disgrace; the people stood poised upon the panic's brink, their
pastors lashed them in.

Cotton Mather forthwith published a terrific account of the ghostly
crisis, mixed with denunciations of the Sadducee or Atheist who
disbelieved; and to the book was added a preface, written by the four
other clergymen who had assisted with their prayers, the character of
which may be judged by a single extract. "The following account will
afford to him that shall read with observation, a further clear
confirmation, that, there is both a God, and a devil, and witchcraft: that
there is no outward affliction, but what God may, (and sometimes doth)
permit Satan to trouble his people withal." [Footnote: _Memorable
Providences_, Preface.] Not content with this, Mather goaded his
congregation into frenzy from the pulpit. "Consider also, the misery of
them whom witchcraft may be let loose upon. What is it to fall into the
hands of devils?... O what a direful thing is it, to be prickt with pins,
and stab'd with knives all over, and to be fill'd all over with broken
bones? 'Tis impossible to reckon up the varieties of miseries which those
monsters inflict where they can have a blow. No less than death, and that
a languishing and a terrible death will satisfie the rage of those
formidable dragons." [Footnote: _Discourse on Witchcraft_, p. 19.] The
pest was sure to spread in a credulous community, fed by their natural
leaders with this morbid poison, and it next broke out in Salem village in
February, 1691-2. A number of girls had become intensely excited by the
stories they had heard, and two of them, who belonged to the family of the
clergyman, were seized with the usual symptoms. Of Mr. Parris it is enough
to say that he began the investigation with a frightful relish. Other
ministers were called in, and prayer-meetings lasting all day were held,
with the result of throwing the patients into convulsions. [Footnote:
Calef's _More Wonders_, p. 90 _et seq._] Then the name of the witch was
asked, and the girls were importuned to make her known. They refused at
first, but soon the pressure became too strong, and the accusations began.
Among the earliest to be arrested and examined was Goodwife Cory. Mr.
Noyes, teacher of Salem, began with prayer, and when she was brought in
the sufferers "did vehemently accuse her of afflicting them, by biting,
pinching, strangling, &c., and they said, they did in their fits see her
likeness coming to them, and bringing a book for them to sign." [Footnote:
_Idem_, p. 92] By April the number of informers and of the suspected had
greatly increased and the prisons began to fill. Mr. Parris behaved like a
madman; not only did he preach inflammatory sermons, but he conducted the
examinations, and his questions were such that the evidence was in truth
nothing but what he put in the mouths of the witnesses; yet he seems to
have been guilty of the testimony it was his sacred duty to truly record
[Footnote: _Grounds of Complaint against Parris_, Section 6; _More
Wonders_, p. 96 (_i.e._ 56).]. And in all this he appears to have had the
approval and the aid of Mr. Noyes. Such was the crisis when Sir William
Phips landed on the 14th of May, 1692; he was the Mathers' tool, and the
result could have been foretold. Uneducated and credulous, he was as clay
in the hands of his creators; and his first executive act was to cause the
miserable prisoners to be fettered. Jonathan Cary has described what
befell his wife: "Next morning the jaylor put irons on her legs (having
received such a command) the weight of them was about eight pounds; these
irons and her other afflictions, soon brought her into convulsion fits, so
that I thought she would have died that night." [Footnote: _More Wonders_,
p. 97]

At the beginning of June the governor, by an arbitrary act, created a
court to try the witches, and at its head put William Stoughton. Even now
it is impossible to read the proceedings of this sanguinary tribunal
without a shudder, and it has left a stain upon the judiciary of
Massachusetts that can never be effaced.

Two weeks later the opinion of the elders was asked, as it had been of
old, and they recommended the "speedy and vigorous prosecutions of such as
have rendered themselves obnoxious," [Footnote: Hutch. _Hist._ ii. 53.]
nor did their advice fall upon unwilling ears. Stoughton was already
at work, and certain death awaited all who were dragged before that cruel
and bloodthirsty bigot; even when the jury acquitted, the court refused to
receive the verdict. The accounts given of the legal proceedings seem
monstrous. The preliminary examinations were conducted amid such "hideous
clamours and screechings," that frequently the voice of the defendant was
drowned, and if a defence was attempted at a trial, the victim was
browbeaten and mocked by the bench. [Footnote: _More Wonders_, p. 102.]

The ghastly climax was reached in the case of George Burroughs, who had
been the clergyman at Wells. At his trial the evidence could hardly be
heard by reason of the fits of the sufferers. "The chief judge asked the
prisoner, who he thought hindered these witnesses from giving their
testimonies? and he answered, he supposed it was the devil. That
honourable person then replied, How comes the devil so loath to have any
testimony born against you? Which cast him into very great confusion."
Presently the informers saw the ghosts of his two dead wives, whom they
charged him with having murdered, stand before him "crying for vengeance;"
yet though much appalled, he steadily denied that they were there. He also
roused his judges' ire by asserting that "there neither are, nor ever
were, witches." [Footnote: _Idem_, pp. 115-119.]

He and those to die with him were carried through the streets of Salem in
a cart. As he climbed the ladder he called God to witness he was innocent,
and his words were so pathetic that the people sobbed aloud, and it seemed
as though he might be rescued even as he stood beneath the tree. Then when
at last he swung above them, Cotton Mather rode among the throng and told
them of his guilt, and how the fiend could come to them as an angel of
light, and so the work went on. They cut him down and dragged him by his
halter to a shallow hole among the rocks, and threw him in, and there they
lay together with the rigid hand of the wizard Burroughs still pointing
upward through his thin shroud of earth. [Footnote: _More Wonders_,
pp. 103, 104.]

By October it seemed as though the bonds of society were dissolving;
nineteen persons had been hanged, one had been pressed to death, and eight
lay condemned; a number had fled, but their property had been seized and
they were beggars; the prisons were choked, while more than two hundred
were accused and in momentary fear of arrest; [Footnote: _Idem_, p. 110.]
even two dogs had been killed. The plague propagated itself; for the
only hope for those cried out upon was to confess their guilt and turn
informers. Thus no one was safe. Mr. Willard, pastor of the Old South, who
began to falter, was threatened; the wife of Mr. Hale, pastor of Beverly,
who had been one of the great leaders of the prosecutions, was denounced;
Lady Phips herself was named. But the race who peopled New England had a
mental vigor which even the theocracy could not subdue, and Massachusetts
had among her sons liberal and enlightened men, whose voice was heard,
even in the madness of the terror. Of these, the two Brattles, Robert
Calef, and John Leverett were the foremost; and they served their mother
well, though the debt of gratitude and honor which she owes them she has
never yet repaid.

On the 8th, four days before the meeting of the legislature, and probably
at the first moment it could be done with safety, Thomas Brattle wrote an
admirable letter, [Footnote: _Mass. Hist. Coll._ first series, v. 61.] in
which he exposed the folly and wickedness of the delusion with all
the energy the temper of the time would bear; had he miscalculated, his
error of judgment would probably have cost him his life. At the meeting of
the General Court the illegal and blood-stained commission came to an end,
and as the reaction slowly and surely set in, Phips began to feel alarm
lest he should he called to account in England; accordingly, he tried to
throw the blame on Stoughton: "When I returned, I found people much
dissatisfied at the proceedings of the court; ... The deputy-governor,
[Stoughton] notwithstanding, persisted vigorously in the same method....
When I put an end to the court, there was at least fifty persons in
prison, in great misery by reason of the extreme cold and their
poverty.... I permitted a special superior court to be held at Salem, ...
on the third day of January, the lieutenant-governor being chief judge....
All ... were cleared, saving three.... The deputy-governor signed a
warrant for their speedy execution, and also of five others who were
condemned at the former court.... But ... I sent a reprieve; ... the
lieutenant-governor upon this occasion was enraged and filled with
passionate anger, and refused to sit upon the bench at a superior court,
at that time held at Charlestown; and, indeed, hath from the beginning
hurried on these matters with great precipitancy, and by his warrant hath
caused the estates, goods, and chattels of the executed to be seized and
disposed of without my knowledge or consent." [Footnote: Phips to the Earl
of Nottingham, Feb. 21, 1693. Palfrey, iv. 112, note 2.] Some months
earlier, also, just before the meeting of the legislature, he had called
on Cotton Mather to defend him against the condemnation he had even then
begun to feel, and the elder had responded with a volume which remains as
a memorial of him and his compeers [Footnote: _Wonders of the Invisible
World_.] He gave thanks for the blood that had already flowed, and
prayed to God for more." They were some of the gracious words, inserted in
the advice, which many of the neighbouring ministers, did this summer
humbly lay before our honourable judges: 'We cannot but with all
thankfulness, acknowledge the success which the merciful God has given
unto the sedulous and assiduous endeavours of our honourable rulers, to
detect the abominable witchcrafts which have been committed in the
country; humbly praying that the discovery of those mysterious and
mischievous wickednesses, may be perfected.' If in the midst of the many
dissatisfactions among us, the publication of these trials, may promote
such a pious thankfulness unto God, for justice being so far, executed
among us, I shall rejoyce that God is glorified; and pray that no wrong
steps of ours may ever sully any of his glorious works." [Footnote:
_Wonders of the Invisible World_, pp. 82, 83.]

"These witches ... have met in hellish randez-vouszes.... In these hellish
meetings, these monsters have associated themselves to do no less a thing
than to destroy the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, in these parts of
the world.... We are truly come into a day, which by being well managed
might be very glorious, for the exterminating of those, accursed
things,... But if we make this day quarrelsome,... Alas, O Lord, my flesh
trembles for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments." [Footnote:
_Idem_, pp. 49-60.]

While reading such words the streets of Salem rise before the eyes, with
the cart dragging Martha Cory to the gallows while she protests her
innocence, and there, at her journey's end, at the gibbet's foot, stands
the Rev. Nicholas Noyes, pointing to the dangling corpses, and saying:
"What a sad thing it is to see eight firebrands of hell hanging there."
[Footnote: _More Wonders_, p. 108.]

The sequence of cause and effect is sufficiently obvious. Although at a
moment when the panic had got beyond control, even the most ultra of the
clergy had been forced by their own danger to counsel moderation, the
conservatives were by no means ready to abandon their potent allies from
the lower world; the power they gave was too alluring. "'Tis a strange
passage recorded by Mr. Clark, in the life of his father, That the people
of his parish refusing to be reclaimed from their Sabbath breaking, by all
the zealous testimonies which that good man bore against it; at last [one
night] ... there was heard a great noise, with rattling of chains, up and
down the town, and an horrid scent of brimstone.... Upon which the guilty
consciences of the wretches, told them, the devil was come to fetch them
away; and it so terrify'd them, that an eminent reformation follow'd the
sermons which that man of God preached thereupon." [Footnote: _Wonders
of the Invisible World_, p. 65.] They therefore saw the constant
acquittals, the abandonment of prosecutions, and the growth of incredulity
with regret. The next year Cotton Mather laid bare the workings of their
minds with cynical frankness. "The devils have with most horrendous
operations broke in upon our neighbourhood, and God has at such a rate
overruled all the fury and malice of those devils, that ... the souls of
many, especially of the rising generation, have been thereby waken'd unto
some acquaintance with religion; our young people who belonged unto the
praying meetings, of both sexes, apart would ordinarily spend whole nights
by the whole weeks together in prayers and psalms upon these occasions;
... and some scores of other young people, who were strangers to real
piety, were now struck with the lively demonstrations of hell ... before
their eyes.... In the whole--the devil got just nothing, but God got
praises, Christ got subjects, the Holy Spirit got temples, the church got
addition, and the souls of men got everlasting benefits." [Footnote:
_More Wonders_, p. 12.]

Mather prided himself on what he had done. "I am not so vain as to say
that any wisdom or virtue of mine did contribute unto this good order of
things; but I am so just as to say, I did not hinder this good."
[Footnote: _Idem_, p. 12.] Men with such beliefs, and lured onward by
such temptations, were incapable of letting the tremendous power
superstition gave them slip from their grasp without an effort on their
own behalf; and accordingly it was not long before the Mathers were once
more at work. On the 10th of September, 1693, or about nine months after
the last spasms at Salem, and when the belief in enchantments was fast
falling into disrepute, a girl named Margaret Rule was taken with the
accustomed symptoms in Boston. Forthwith these two godly divines repaired
to her bedside, and this is what took place:--

* * * * *

Then Mr. M---- father and son came up, and others with them, in the whole
were about thirty or forty persons, they being sat, the father on a stool,
and the son upon the bedside by her, the son began to question her:

Margaret Rule, how do you do? Then a pause without any answer.

_Question._ What. Do there a great many witches sit upon you?
_Answer._ Yes.

_Question._ Do you not know that there is a hard master?

Then she was in a fit. He laid his hand upon her face and nose, but, as he
said, without perceiving breath; then he brush'd her on the face with his
glove, and rubb'd her stomach (her breast not being covered with the bed
clothes) and bid others do so too, and said it eased her, then she

_Q._ Don't you know there is a hard master? _A._ Yes.

_Reply._ Don't serve that hard master, you know who.

_Q._ Do you believe? Then again she was in a fit, and he again rub'd
her breast &c.... He wrought his fingers before her eyes and asked her if
she saw the witches? _A._ No....

_Q._ Who is it that afflicts you? _A._ I know not, there is a
great many of them....

_Q._ You have seen the black man, hant you? _A._ No.

_Reply._ I hope you never shall.

_Q._ You have had a book offered you, hant you?

_A._ No.

_Q._ The brushing of you gives you ease, don't it?

_A._ Yes. She turn'd herselfe, and a little groan'd.

_Q._ Now the witches scratch you, and pinch you, and bite you, don't
they? _A._ Yes. Then he put his hand upon her breast and belly, viz.
on the clothes over her, and felt a living thing, as he said; which moved
the father also to feel, and some others.

_Q._ Don't you feel the live thing in the bed?

_A._ No....

_Q._ Shall we go to pray ... spelling the word.

_A._ Yes. The father went to prayer for perhaps half an hour, chiefly
against the power of the devil and witchcraft, and that God would bring
out the afflicters.... After prayer he [the son] proceeded.

_Q._ You did not hear when we were at prayer did you? _A._ Yes.

_Q._ You don't hear always? you don't hear sometimes past a word or
two, do you? _A._ No. Then turning him about said, this is just
another Mercy Short....

_Q._ What does she eat or drink? _A._ Not eat at all; but drink
rum. [Footnote: _More Wonders_, pp. 13, 14.]

* * * * *

To sanctify to the godly the ravings of this drunken and abandoned wench
was a solemn joy to the heart of this servant of Christ, who gave his life
to "unwearied cares and pains, to rescue the miserable from the lions and
bears of hell," [Footnote: _Idem_, p. 10.] therefore he prepared
another tract. But his hour was well-nigh come. Though it was impossible
that retribution should be meted out to him for his crimes, at least he
did not escape unscathed, for Calef and the Brattles, who had long been on
his father's track and his, now seized him by the throat. He knew well
they had been with him in the chamber of Margaret Rule, that they had
gathered all the evidence; and so when Calef sent him a challenge to stand
forth and defend himself, he shuffled and equivocated.

At length a rumor spread abroad that a volume was to be published exposing
the whole black history, and then the priest began to cower. His Diary is
full of his prayers and lamentations. "The book is printed, and the
impression is this week arrived here.... I set myself to humble myself
before the Lord under these humbling and wondrous dispensations, and
obtain the pardon of my sins, that have rendered me worthy of such

"28d. 10m. Saturday.--The Lord has permitted Satan to raise an
extraordinary storm upon my father and myself. All the rage of Satan
against the holy churches of the Lord falls upon us. First Calf's book,
and then Coleman's, do set the people in a mighty ferment. All the
adversaries of the churches lay their heads together, as if, by blasting
of us, they hoped utterly to blow up all. The Lord fills my soul with
consolations, inexpressible consolations, when I think on my conformity to
my Lord Jesus Christ in the injuries and reproaches that are cast upon

"5d. 2m. Saturday [1701].--I find the enemies of the churches are set with
an implacable enmity against myself; and one vile fool, namely, R. Calf,
is employed by them to go on with more of his filthy scribbles to hurt my
precious opportunities of glorifying my Lord Jesus Christ. I had need be
much in prayer unto my glorious Lord that he would preserve his poor
servant from the malice of this evil generation, and of that vile man
particularly." [Footnote: _Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc._ 1855-58, pp. 290-293.]

"More Wonders of the Invisible World" appeared in 1700, and such was the
terror the clergy still inspired it is said it had to be sent to London to
be printed, and when it was published no bookseller in Boston dared to
offer it in his shop. [Footnote: _Some Few Remarks_, p. 9.] Yet though it
was burnt in the college yard by the order of Increase Mather, it was
widely read, and dealt the deathblow to the witchcraft superstition
of New England. It did more than this: it may be said to mark an era in
the intellectual development of Massachusetts, for it shook to its centre
that moral despotism which the pastors still kept almost unimpaired over
the minds of their congregations, by demonstrating to the people the
necessity of thinking for themselves. But what the fate of its authors
would have been had the priests still ruled may be guessed by the
onslaught made on them by those who sat at the Mathers' feet. "Spit on,
Calf; thou shalt be but like the viper on Pauls hand, easily shaken off,
and without any damage to the servant of the Lord." [Footnote:
_Idem_, p. 22.]



If the working of the human mind is mechanical, the quality of its action
must largely depend upon the training it receives. Viewed as civilizing
agents, therefore, systems of education might be tested by their tendency
to accelerate or retard the intellectual development of the race. The
proposition is capable of being presented with almost mathematical
precision; the receptive faculty begins to fail at a comparatively early
age; thereafter new opinions are assimilated with increasing difficulty
until the power is lost. This progressive period of life, which is at best
brief, may, however, be indefinitely shortened by the interposition of
artificial obstacles, which have to be overcome by a waste of time and
energy, before the reason can act with freedom; and when these obstacles
are sufficiently formidable, the whole time is consumed and men are
stationary. The most effectual impediments are those prejudices which are
so easily implanted in youth, and which acquire tremendous power when
based on superstitious terrors. Herein, then, lies the radical divergence
between theological and scientific training: the one, by inculcating that
tradition is sacred, that accurate investigation is sacrilege, certain to
be visited with terrific punishment, and that the highest moral virtue is
submission to authority, seeks to paralyze exact thought, and to produce a
condition in which dogmatic statements of fact, and despotic rules of
conduct, will be received with abject resignation; the other, by
stimulating the curiosity, endeavors to provoke inquiry, and, by
encouraging a scrutiny of what is obscure, tries to put the mind in an
impartial and questioning attitude toward all the phenomena of the

The two methods are irreconcilable, and spring from the great primary
instincts which are called conservatism and liberality. Necessarily the
movement of any community must correspond exactly with the preponderance
of liberalism. Where the theological incubus is unresisted it takes the
form of a sacred caste, as among the Hindoos; appreciable advance then
ceases, except from some external pressure, such as conquest. The same
tendencies in a mitigated form are seen in Spain, whereas Germany is

Such being the ceaseless conflict between these natural forces, the
vantage-points for which the opposing parties have always struggled in
western Europe are the pulpits and the universities. Through women the
church can reach children at their most impressionable age, while at the
universities the teachers are taught. Obviously, if a priesthood can
control both positions their influence must be immense. At the beginning
of any movement the conservatives are almost necessarily in possession,
and their worst reverses have come from defection from within; for unless
their organization is so perfect as not only to be animated by a single
purpose, but capable of being controlled by a single will, liberals will
penetrate within the fold, and if they can maintain their footing and
preach with the authority of the ancient tradition it leads to revolution.
It was thus the Reformation was accomplished.

The clergy of Massachusetts, with the true priestly instinct, took in the
bearings of their situation from the instant they recognized that their
political supremacy was passing away, and in order to keep their
organization in full vigor they addressed themselves with unabated energy
to enforcing the discipline which had been established; at the same time
they set the ablest of their number on guard at Harvard. But the task was
beyond their strength; they might as well have tried to dam the rising
tide with sand.

There is a limit to the capacity of even the most gifted man, and Increase
Mather committed a fatal error when he tried to be professor, clergyman,
and statesman at once. He was, it is true, made president in 1685, but the
next year John Leverett and William Brattle were chosen tutors and
fellows, who soon developed into ardent liberals; so it happened that when
the reverend rector went abroad in 1688, in his character of politician,
he left the college in the complete control of his adversaries. He was
absent four years, and during this interval the man was educated who was
destined to overthrow the Cambridge Platform, the corner-stone of the
conservative power.

Benjamin Colman was one of Leverett's favorite pupils and the intimate
friend of Pemberton. As he was to be a minister, he stayed at Cambridge
until he took his master's degree in 1695; he then sailed at once for
England in the Swan. When she had been some weeks at sea she was attacked
by a French privateer, who took her after a sharp action. During the fight
Colman attracted attention by his coolness; but he declared that though he
fired like the rest, "he was sensible of no courage but of a great deal of
fear; and when they had received two or three broadsides he wondered when
his courage would come, as he had heard others talk." [Footnote: _Life
of B. Colman_, p. 6.]

After the capture the Frenchmen stripped him and put him in the hold, and
had it not been for a Madame Allaire, who kept his money for him, he might
very possibly have perished from the exposure of an imprisonment in
France, for his lungs were delicate. Moreover, at this time of his life he
was always a pauper, for he was not only naturally generous, but so
innocent and confiding as to fall a victim to any clumsy sharper. Of
course he reached London penniless and in great depression of spirits; but
he soon became known among the dissenting clergy, and at length settled at
Bath, where he preached two years. He seems to have formed singularly
strong friendships while in England, one of which was with Mr. Walter
Singer, at whose house he passed much time, and who wrote him at parting,
"Methinks there is one place vacant in my affections, which nobody can
fill beside you. But this blessing was too great for me, and God has
reserved it for those that more deserved it.--I cannot but hope sometimes
that Providence has yet in store so much happiness for me, that I shall
yet see you." [Footnote: _Life of B. Colman_, p. 48.]

Meanwhile opinion was maturing fast at home; the passions of the
witchcraft convulsion had gone deep, and in 1697 a movement began under
the guidance of Leverett and the Brattles to form a liberal Congregational
church. The close on which the meetinghouse was to stand was conveyed by
Thomas Brattle to trustees on January 10, 1698, and from the outset there
seems to have been no doubt as to whom the pastor should be. On the 10th
of May, 1699, a formal invitation was dispatched to Colman by a committee,
of which Thomas Brattle was chairman, and it was accompanied by letters
from many prominent liberals. Leverett wrote, "I shall exceedingly rejoice
at your return to your country. We want persons of your character. The
affair offered to your consideration is of the greatest moment." William
Brattle was even more emphatic, while Pemberton assured him that "the
gentlemen who solicit your return are mostly known to you--men of repute
and figure, from whom you may expect generous treatment; ... I believe
your return will be pleasing to all that know you, I am sure it will be
inexpressibly so to your unfeigned friend and servant." [Footnote: _Life
of B. Colman_, pp. 43, 44.] It was, however, thought prudent to have
him ordained in London, since there was no probability that the clergy of
Massachusetts would perform the rite. When he landed in November, after an
absence of four years, he was in the flush of early manhood, highly
trained for theological warfare, having seen the world, and by no means in
awe of his old pastor, the reverend president of Harvard.

The first step after his arrival was to declare the liberal policy, and
this was done in a manifesto which was published almost at once. [Footnote:
_History of Brattle St. Church_, p. 20.] The efficiency of the
Congregational organization depended upon the perfection of the guard
which the ministers and the congregations mutually kept over each other.
On the one hand no dangerous element could creep in among the people
through the laxness of the elder, since all candidates for the communion
had to pass through the ordeal of a public examination; on the other the
orthodoxy of the ministers was provided for, not only by restricting the
elective body to the communicants, but by the power of the ordained clergy
to "except against any election of a pastor who ... may be ... unfit for
the common service of the gospel." [Footnote: Propositions determined by
the Assembly of Ministers. _Magnalia_, bk. 5, Hist. Remarks, Section


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