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dence of God (from whom the plantations have taken their name) upon their labour and industry, they have not only been preserved to admiration, but have increased and prospered, and are seized and poffeffed, by purchafe and consent of the faid natives, to their full content, of such lands, islands, rivers, harbours, and roads, as are very convenient both for plantations, and also for building of ships, supply of pipestaves, and other merchandize, and which lies very commo. dious in many respects for commerce, and to accommodate our southern plantations, and may much advance the trade of this our realm, and greatly enlarge the territories thereof; they having, by near neighbourhood to, and friendly fociety with, the great body of the Narraganfet Indians, given them encouragement, of their own accord, to subject themselves, their people and lands, unto us; whereby (as is hoped) there may, in time, by the blessing of God upon their endeavours, be laid a fure foundation of happiness to all America. And whereas, in their humble address, they have freely declared, That it is much on their hearts (if they be permitted) to hold forth a lively experiment, that a most flourishing civil ftate may stand, and best be maintained, and that among our English subjects, with a full liberty in religious concernments, and that true piety, rightly grounded upon gospel principles, will give the best and greatest security to fovereignty, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to true loyalty : now know ye, That we being willing to encourage the hopeful undertaking of our faid loyal and loving subjects, and to secure them in the free exercise and enjoyment of all their civil and religious rights appertaining to them as our loving subjects; and to preserve unto them that liberty in the true Christian faith and worship of God, which they have sought with so much travel, and with peaceable minds and loyal subjection to our royal progenitors, and ourselves, to enjoy: and because some of the people and inhabitants of the same colony cannot, in their private opinion, conform to the public exercise of religion, according to the liturgy, form, and ceremonies of the church of England, or take or subscribe the oaths and articles made and established in that behalf; and for that the same, by reason of the remote distances of those places, will, as we hope, be no breach of the unity and uniformity established in this nation, have therefore thought fit, and do hereby publish, grant, ordain, and declare, that our royal will and pleasure is, That no person within the said colony, at any time hereafter, fhall be any-wise molested, punished, dirquieted, br called in question, for any differences in opinion


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Grant to the in matters of religion, and do not actually disturb the civil of this colo peace of our said colony; but that all and every person and ny of the persons may, from time to time, and at all times hereafter, free exercise freely and fully have and enjoy his and their own judgments of their reli- and consciences, in matters of religious concernments, gion.

throughout the tract of land hereafter mentioned, they behaving themselves peaceably and quietly, and not using this liberty to licentiousness and profaneness, nor to the civil injury or outward disturbance of others, any law, statute os clause therein contained, or to be contained, usage or custom of this realm, to the contrary hereof, in any wise notwithstanding: And that they may be in the better capacity to defend themselves in their juft rights and liberties against all the enemies of the Christian faith, and others, in all respects, we have fur

ther thought fit, and at the humble petition of the persons They fhall aforesaid, are graciously pleased to declare, That they shall enjoy the have and enjoy the benefit of our late act of indemnity, and benefit of free pardon, as the rest of our subjects in other our dominions indemnity:

and territories have ; and to create and make them a body po

litic or corporate, with the powers or privileges herein after. Incorpora- mentioned ; and accordingly, our will and pleasure is, and of tion of di- our especial gracę, certain knowledge, and mere motion, we vers persons have ordained, constituted and declared, and by these presents, dence Plan- for us, our heirs and successors, do ordain, constitute, and

declare, That they the said William Brenton, William Codington, Nicholas Easton, Benedict Arnold, William Boula ston, John Porter, Samuel Gorton, John Smith, John Weekes, Roger Williams, Thomas Olney, Gregory Dexter, John Cogeshall, Joseph Clarke, Randall Houlden, John Greene, John Roome, William Dyre, Samuel Wildbore, Richard Tew, William Field, Thomas Harris, James Barker, Rainsborrow,

Williams, and John Nickson, and all such others as are now, or hereafter shall be admitted, free of the company and society of our colony of Providence Plantations, in the Narraganset Bay, in New England, shall

be, from time to time, and for ever hereafter, a body, corpoName of the

rate and politic, in fact and name, by the name of the Gocorporation. vernor and Company of the English Colony of Rhode Ifland,

and Providence Plantations, in New England, in America, and that by the same name they and their fucceffors shall and may have perpetual succession, and shall and may be perfons able and capable in the law to sue and be sued, to plead and be impleaded, to answer and to be answered unto, to defend and to be defended, in all and singular suits, causes, quarrels, matters, actions, and things, of what kind or nature soever;




and also to have, take, posless, acquire, and purchase lands, tenements, or hereditaments, or any goods or chattels, and the same to lease, grant, demise, alien, bargain, sell and dispose of, at their own will and pleasure, as other our liege people of this our realm of England, or any corporation or body politic within the same, may lawfully do; and further, That they the faid Governor and Company, and their fucceffors, shall and may, for ever hereafter, have a common feal, to serve and

Common use for all matters, causes, things, and affairs whatsoever, of Seal. them and their succeffors, and the same feal to alter, change, break, and make new from time to time, at their will and pleasure, as they shall think fit. And further, we will and ordain, and by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, do declare and appoint, That for the better ordering and ma

Gnvernnaging of the affairs and business of the said company and their fucceffors, there shall be one governor, one députy governor, and ten affiftants, to be from time to time constituted, elected, and chofen, out of the freemen of the said company, for the time being, in such manner and form as is hereafter in these presents expressed; which said officers shall apply themselves to take care for the best disposing and ordering of the general business and affairs of and concerning the lands and hereditaments herein aftermentioned to be granted, and the plantation thereof, and the government of the people there. And for the better execution of our royal pleasure herein, we Appointdo for us, our heirs and succeflors, affign, name, constitute, ment of the and appoint, the aforesaid Benedict Arnold to be the first and present governor of the faid company, and the said William nor, deputy Brenton to be the deputy governor, and the said William Boul--and affitfton, John Porter, Roger Williams, Thomas Olney, John ants. Smith, John Greene, John Cogefhall, James Barker, William Field, and Joseph"Clarke, to be the țen present affiftants of the said company, to continue in the said several offices Jespectively, until the first Wednesday which shall be in the month of May now next coming. And further, we will, The goverand by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, do or- nor may afdajn and grant, That the governor of the said company, for femble' the the time being, or in his absence, by occasion of sickness, or faid compaotherwise, by his leave or permission, the deputy governor, as he thinks for the time being, shall and may, from time to time, upon proper aļl occasions, give order for the assembling of the said company, and calling them together, to consult and advise of the business and affairs of the said compar:y; and that for ever hereafter, twice in every year, that is to say, on every first Wednesday in the month of May, and on every last Wednesday




in October, or oftener, in case it shall be requisite, the affiftants, and such of the freemen of the said company, not exceeding fix persons, for Newport, four persons for each of the respective towns of Providence, Portsmouth, and Warwick, and two persons for each other place, town or city, who Mall be from time to time thereunto elected or deputed by the major part of the freemen of the respective places, towns or places for which they shall be fo elected or deputed, shall have a general meeting or assembly, then and there to consult, advise and determine, in and about the affairs and business of the said company and plantations. And further, we do of our especial grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, give and grant unto the said governor and company of the English colony of Rhode Inand and Providence Plantations, in New England, in America, and their successors, That the governor, or in his abfence, or by his permission, the deputy governor of the said company, for the time being, the artistants, and such of the freemen of the said company as shall be so aforesaid elected or deputed, or so many of them as Thall be present at such meeting or assembly, as aforesaid, shall be called the general affembly; and that they, or the greatest part of them then present, whereof the governor, or deputy governor, and fix of the aslistants at least, to be seven, shall have, and have hereby given and granted unto them, full power and authority, from time to time, and at all times hereafter, to appoint, alter, and change such days, times and places of meeting, and general assembly, as they shall think fit, and to chuse, nominate and appoint such and so many persons as they shall think fit, and shall be willing to accept the fame, to be free of the said company and body politic, and them into the same to admit, and to elect, and constitute fuch offices and officers, and to grant such needful commissions as they shall think fit and requisite, for ordering, managing, and dispatching of the affairs of the said governor and company, and their successors; and, from time to time, to make, ordain, constitute, or repea), such laws, statutes, orders and ordinances, forms and ceremonies of government and magistracy; as to them shall seem meet, for the good and welfare of the said company, and for the government and ordering of the lands and hereditaments herein after mentioned to be granted, and of the people that do, or at any time hereafter shall inhabit, or be within the fame; so as such laws, ordinances, and conftitutions, so made, be not contrary and repugnant unto, but, as near as may, agreeable to the laws of this our realm of England, considering the nature and consti-' tution of the place and people there; and also, to appoint, or


der, and direct, erect and settle such places and courts of ju. risdi&tion, for hearing and determining of all actions, cales, matters and things, happening within the said colony and plantation, and which shall be in dispute, and depending there, as they shall think fit ; and also to distinguish and fet forth the feveral names and titles, duties, powers and limits, of each court, office and officer, superior and inferior; and also, to contrive and appoint such forms of oaths and atteltations, not repugnant, but as near as may be agreeable as aforesaid to the laws and statutes of this our realm, as are convenient and requisite, with respect to the due adminiftration of justice, and due execution and discharge of all offices and places of trust, by the persons that shall be therein concerned; and also to regulate and order the way and manner of all elections to offices and places of trust, and to prescribe, limit and distinguish the number and bounds of all places, towns and cities, with the limits and bounds herein after mentioned, and not herein particularly named, who have or shall have the power of electing and sending of freemen to the said general assembly; and also to order, direct and authorise, the imposing of lawful and reasonable fines, mulets, imprisonments, and executing other punishments, pecuniary and corporal, upon offenders and delinquents, according to the course of other corporations, within this our kingdom of England ; and again, to alter, revoke, annul or pardon, under their common seal, or otherwise, such fines, mulets, imprisonments, sentences, judgments and condemnations, as shall be thought fit; and to direct, rule, order and dispose of all other matters and things, and particularly that which relates to the making of purchases of the native Indians, as to them fhall seem meet; whereby our said people and inhabitants in the said plantations, may be so religiously, peaceably and civilly governed, as that by their good life, and orderly conversation, they may win and invite the native Indians of the country to the knowledge and obedience of the only true God and Saviour of mankind; willing, commanding and requiring, and by these presents, for us, our heirs and succesfors, ordaining and appointing, that all such laws, statutes, orders and ordinances, infructions, impofitions and directions, as shall be so made by the governor, deputy, affiftants and freemen, or such number of them as aforesaid, and published in writing under their common seal, shall be carefully and duly observed, kept, performed and put in execution, according to the true intent and meaning of the same. And these our letters patents, or the duplicate or exemplification thereof, shall be to all and every such officers, superior or in


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