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and male-administrations under the same. Upon consideration had thereof, and in answer thereunto, we cannot but own and declare, that not only ourselves and many others in the same station (not now present to join with us) were of a long time much dissatisfied and discouraged with very many of the proceedings and administrations in the said government; and had little reason to wonder that so great a number of the people were so too. It might well have been expected that the governor (not so successful heretofore) notwithstanding the extraordinariness (to say no more) of many clauses and powers in his commission; yea the rather and the more, because thereof would have qautioned and moderated the execution of the same: But to our great trouble we found it very much otherwise. Many were the things that were accounted irregular and grievous therein, far from conducing to the public weal of the territory, and not a little to the disservice of the crowrr, as tending rather to the disturbing and disaffecting of the subjects here, than to the furtherance of that chearful obedience, loyalty, love and duty in them, which ought by all good means, to have been nourished and promoted. And of all this unhappiness, we must reckon the first step and in-let to be, that the governor did so quickly neglect the great number of the council, and chiefly adhere unto and govern by the advice only of a few others, the principal of them strangers to the country, without estates or interest therein to oblige them, persons oj known and declared prejudices against us, and that had plainly laid their chiefest designs and hopes to make unreasonable profit of this poor people. Innumerable were the evil effects that from hence were continually growing up amongst us; the debates in council were not so free as ought to have been, but too much over-ruled, and a great deal of harshness continually expressed against persons and opinions that did not please. The greatest rigour and severity was too oftenused towards the soberest sort of people, when any thing could be found or pretended against them, their humble submissions were little regarded, and ineocorable persecutions ordered against them, whilst in the mean time the notorious viciousness and profaneness of others met not with the like discountenance, but persons of such a character were put into places of business and trust. The long settled maintenance of the publick ministry, even from those that applied themselves to no other way of worship, but continued ordinary hearers, could not be upheld by any act of authority providing lor the same, and schools of learning so well taken
care care of formerly, were in most cases fallen to decay, and many more such like might be reckoned up. But we shall more especially instance further in the particulars following, as not the least.
1. It was as we thought a great slight put upon the council, and to the prejudice of the good people of the territory, that whereas at the governor's first coming a committee appointed thereunto by himself, and a full council had with great care and several weeks trouble revised a very considerable number of orders and laws collected out of the several law-books of these colonies found by long experience very needful and agreeable to the good of these plantations, which laws so collected and revised, were again presented unto, and upon further advisement approved by the governor and council and passed. Yet upon the introducing Mr. West from New-York to be deputy secretary, they were, for what causes we know not, totally laid aside, aud the people denied the benefit of them. And this grievance was so much the greater, and a plainer indication of the severity of some men in their intended management of things, because on good deliberation they had also passed an order of council, that until the council should take further order, the several justices, town-officers, and others should proceed according to former usages, and such local laws in the several parts of this dominion, as are not repugnant to the laws of England, fyc. Yet because by virtue of the said order some in authority have proceeded to put forth their power for the support of the ministry, and some others did justify themselves in some actions done by them that were not pleasing; hereupon when a discourse only, and some debate thereof had passed in council, but without any regular determination made, and contrary to the express word of the said order, it teas entered in the. council-book concerning it, resolved that the same was only in force till the next session of the council, and so determined as null of itself, and that none presume to act pursuant to such laws as are or shall be made here.
2. Whereas the act for the continuing and establishing of several rates, duties and imposts, was one of the first of so great moment that came out in a form under the seal of the territory, and was publickly proclaimed, we that were present have great cause to remember what trouble and dissatisfaction there was among the members of the council concerning the same. As that act was
framed framed and urged upon us, a very considerable number (and we believe we were the major part) dissented from and argued much against it. And though the governor expressed not a little heat and positiveness alledging his instructions, and held the council together, unreasonably a very long time about it. Yet when we did at last break up we could not imagine that he could take the bill to be agreed to; nevertheless it was the next day (to our wonderment) brought in fairly engrossed in parchment, and quickly signed by the governor without any counting of voices either then or the day before, which was the more needful because some did continue still to make their objections, others that had spoken against the bill the day before, declaring their adherence to what they had then said; and many more under so great discouragement and discountenance, as was manifested sitting silent, which we are sure in the regular passing of laws can never be reckoned for a consent.
3. The way and manner used afterwards of proposing and passing all laws was very uncertain and unequal, not answerable to the nature of so great a power, nor to the largeness of the territory that was to be obliged by them, or to the number of the councellors appointed therein; for after a little while there were no set times appointed or given notice of for the making of laws, that so the members of the council might attend in a fuller number to be helpful therein. Bills of the greatest concernment were usually first consulted and framed in private, and so unexpectedly brought into council at any time, and then our work too was often under great disadvantages, not to advise freely and consult about the making of a law thought necessary, but to maintain a contest in opposition to a very inconvenient one, too far promoted and engaged in already; and above all, there was never any fair way of taking and counting the number of the councellors consenting and dissenting, that so the majority might be known in any matter that admitted of any considerable reasonings and debates, by reason whereof both laws and other orders and resolutions might be set down as passed by the council, which ought not to have been. And when it hath been (as often it was) expresly and earnestly prayed when matters of greater moment than ordinary were in hand, that the debate and resolution of them might be put off till a fuller council of members from other several parts of the dominion might be convened such motions were ever disaccepted, and entertained with no little displacency; so that it
might might be too truly affirmed, that in eftect four or five persons, and those not so favourably inclined and disposed as were to be wished for, bear the rule over, and gave taw to a territory the largest and most considerable of any belonging to the dominion of the crou-n.
4. In pursuance of this way and manner of passing laws above expressed, there were two in special that came forth, which we are sure in fuller and freer councils would have had a full stop put to them; viz. First, The act for regulating the choice of select-men, fyc. wherein the liberty of towns to meet for the managing of their publick affairs referring to their common lands, and all other their concernments, which they had enjoyed for so many years, to their great benefit, was most unreasonably restrained to once a year, and all other convening of inhabitants as a town meeting, upon any pretence or colour whatsoever, was strictly forbidden: And the other act was that intituled, an act requiring all masters of ships or vessels to give security, in which there were such restraints laid upon all persons from transporting themselves freely (as their occasion might call) out of their territory, that it would have been a meer prison to all that should be found therein, and such bond required of all ships and vessels (extending in the practice even to shallops and wood-boats) as would quickly have intolerably discouraged, if not ruined the trade thereof; and all without any other ordinary general benefit of the said act, but the filling some men's pockets with fees: And (as it might be thought from the time of moving this act, which was when Captain Hutchinson was already gone, and Mr. Mather was known to be intending for England) the obstructing of such men's going home as were likely there to make just complaints, and seek redress oj publick grievances; and when this act had been strenuously opposed in council here at Boston, where it was more than once vehemently urged, and as often denied, it was carried as far as New York, and there an opportunity jound for the obtaining ofU.
5. The great matter of properties and titles to our lands is the next to be insisted on, his majesty that granted the charter did fully invest the patentees with right to the soil throughout the whole limits thereof, and here on the place, the right of the natives was honestly purchased from them. The disposal, distribution, and granting of lands by the patentees, who were also
incorporated, incorporated, and made a body politick, was in such a plain, ready, easy way, without any charge to the planters, as in the settlement of so large a country was thought to be most agreeable: And so much of a publick spirit and design were those noble gentlemen, that ^though well they might) they settled not one single penny of service or acknowledgment to themselves and heirs of any of their grants, a thing so self-denying and worthy, that few instances can be given of the like. All which notwithstanding, and the possessions, descents and valuable purchases of so many years that have passed since, the governor and those he adhered to resolved and practised to make all men's titles in effect quite null and void. The purchasing of the natives right, was made nothing of, and next to a ridicule. The enjoyment and improvement of lands not inclosed, and especially if lying in common amongst many was denied to be possession; it was not enough that some men that thought it convenient, and were both willing and able, did take confirmations of their lands, the numbers of whom in time might have been a considerable gain to them; but nothing would satisfy unless all in general might be compelled so to do; hence those that refused were declared intruders upon his majesty, and put in fear of having their lands granted unto strangers. Many were solicited, and encouraged to petition for other men's lands, and had a shameful example set them by some of the chief contrivers of all this mischief. When some men have petitioned for a confirmation of their own lands, a part of these only was offered to be granted to them, and another part denied. Nor could any man's own land be confirmed to him, without a particular survey of every part and parcel of them first made, the great charges whereof, and of other fees to be taken would have been to most men insupportable: Yea it hath by some been computed that all the money in the country would not suffice to patent the lands therein contained.
And yet further, a considerable quit-rent to the king was to be imposed upon all lands, though already a constant yearly tax for the support of the government had been laid on them.
And for all this most unreasonable vexation to a laborious and industrious people, the only ground pretended was some defects and wants of form and due manner alledged to be in the way of the disposing and conveying of all lands from the patentees to the townships and people here; which whatever it amounted to might have been easily remedied, either by an