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This outline of the Puritan Fathers has been thought necessary, since their acts will be better understood when their opinions and character are accurately known.
Let us now return to the career of the Colonies. Rapidly springing up north and south, they commenced life in three different modes, or under three different forms of Government, known as the Charter, Royal, and Proprietary Governments. The first was confined to New England. These charters or grants of the Crown conferred on the Colonists the right of the soil; but in fact the New England Settlements started for the most part without sanction from the Mothercountry, and organized themselves. It is remarkable that they enjoyed almost complete independence ; electing their magistrates, making peace or war, and enacting such "just and equal laws " as they deemed necessary.
In 1628, the Colony of Massachusetts was settled by a company of Puritans from England. In 1631, New Hampshire was colonized. In 1635, Connecticut was occupied by seceders from Massachusetts. At the same period, Roger Williams, a Clergyman at Salem, was expelled from Massachusetts for teaching erroneous
a corrupt nature, which is affected both by men and beasts to do what they list; and this liberty is inconsistent with authority, impatient of all restraint by this liberty sumus omnes deteriores: 'tis the grand enemy of truth and peace, and all the ordinances of God are bent against it. But there is a civil, a moral, a federal liberty, which is the proper end and object of authority; it is a liberty for that only which is just and good; for this liberty you are to stand with the hazard of your very lives, and whatsoever crosses it is not authority, but a distemper thereof. This liberty is maintained by subjection to authority, and the authority set over you will, in all administrations for your good, be quietly submitted unto by all but such as have a disposition to lose their true liberty by murmuring at the honor and power of authority." His clearsighted audience accepted this straightforward definition, showing when liberty degenerated into license, and when authority distended into tyranny. He was acquitted by acclamation, and repeatedly re-elected Governor.
doctrines, and, with a few followers, established himself at Providence. In 1637, the Colony of New Haven was settled by emigrants from England, and was afterwards united to Connecticut. In 1638, Rhode Island was settled by a Sect of Antinomians,* who were also banished from Massachusetts.
In 1643, a striking event occurred. The Colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven formed a Confederation under the name of "The United Colonies of New England" for mutual protection against the Indians. By the terms of this Union, the internal concerns of each Colony were left to its own Government. In war, each was to furnish its proportion of men according to its population. The affairs of the Confederacy were to be conducted by a Congress of two Commissioners from each Colony.
It was this League of the infant Colonies of New England for their common defence that led, 133 years later, to the Confederation of the Thirteen Colonies against the Mother-country.
Thus we see these Puritan Colonies exercised almost entire Sovereignty. They established a pure Democracy; but in modelling it they copied from the Parent-land, convinced that there the Supreme Power was sagaciously distributed. The Executive was limited to a single person-the Governor-and the Legislature was divided into two branches-a type of Government corresponding to that of England, by King, Lords, and Commons.
Such was the birth of the Puritan Colonies. To them belongs the renown of originating the First
*The Antinomian sect was founded by John Agricola, a contemporary of Luther, who taught that "Evangelical faith was not necessary for salvation."
Republic, if by Republic is meant Government by the Majority. The so-called Republics of Greece, Rome, and the Middle Ages were all Governments by the Minority. The principle of the Sovereignty of the People became a reality for the first time when the forty-one Puritans set up at Plymouth a Government by consent of the whole, or the major part of them.
It was plainly the will of Providence that such a Government should rise. The men who undertook it were strikingly adapted to the work. The site selected was unoccupied by civilized men holding contrary opinions. The Mother-country, which alone could have checked the experiment, was engrossed by an intestine feud that diverted her attention from this remote région. Self-government was thus inaugurated. Each New England Colony after the other adopted the first example. All the political institutions that grew out of such a system were successively developed— Universal Suffrage; the Responsibility of Authority; Voting of Taxes; Personal Liberty; Trial by Jury.
These institutions, now the groundwork of several Constitutions in Europe, were utterly unknown two hundred years ago, save in England, where some of them had already budded. Nothing was more natural than Universal Suffrage in the Puritan Colonies, as all were on a par in condition and sagacity; nothing more logical than the responsibility of those invested with power, since all authority emanated from the Majority; nothing more equitable than regulating by Vote the expenditure of money for the common good.
It was the ancestors of these men who disputed through centuries the King's right to levy taxes without
their consent. But what was easy and just in the deserts of America, where men were all on the same footing in position and knowledge; where, still more important, the political intelligence of all was so great, was simply impossible in the Old World: for there men were arranged in classes according to wealth and capacity, according to poverty and ignorance-an organization which had been maintained for centuries, and the premature overthrow of which would be the beginning of anarchy. For this reason the Puritans broke down in England in the seventeenth century. For this reason the Puritans succeeded in America in the seventeenth century.
It may be useful, and perhaps interesting, to have dwelt so fully on the extraordinary performances of these political Pilgrims to whom belongs for ever the Patent for a New Republic-the first of its kind, and the last of any kind should it unhappily fail.
The second form of Government under which others of the Colonies began was the Royal Government, since the Crown named the Governor and a Council, who held their places at its will. The Judges and most of the other public officers were appointed by the King, and subject to his orders. The settlers were allowed the right of representation by electing Burgesses. The Council constituted the Upper House, and the Burgesses the Lower one. The Governor had a Veto on the acts of both Houses, but no acts took the form of law until approved by the King.
Virginia was first settled in 1607 under the auspices. of the "London Company," who appointed the Governor and Council, but in 1619 the Company instructed the Governor to order the election of a House of Burgesses
by "a majority of voices" to assist the Governor and Council in managing the Colony.
James I., displeased at this popular form of Government, dissolved the Company by a writ of quo warranto, 1624, and assumed the control of the province. He appointed a Governor and Councillors to govern in his name and under his instructions. They were authorized to levy taxes; to transport the Colonists to England to be tried for crimes committed in Virginia; to ship all tobacco to England to be delivered to agents of the King.
Charles I. for a time maintained the arbitrary system of his father, but afterwards sent a new Governor with instructions to restore the right of representation to the Colony.
These Royal Governments existed in Virginia, New York, New Jersey, the Carolinas, and Georgia. The Carolinas and Jersey were at first under Proprietary Government, but later they became subject to Royal authority.
Under the third form of Government, known as the Proprietary, the right of the so 1 was conveyed by the Crown to certain individuals called Proprietors, as well as the power to establish a Body Politic. They appointed the Governor and other officials. They organized and convened the Legislature, exercising a Veto on its acts. The Proprietors were only responsible to the Crown which created them. Their position in fact greatly resembled that of the feudal Lords in the Middle Ages.
The territory named Pennsylvania was ceded to William Penn by Charles II. in 1681, in lieu of a claim on the Crown.