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MASSACHUSETTS


“ poperies.” But religious liberty in our modern sense they did not seek for themselves, nor accord to others; they abhorred it, they trampled on it, and their own lives they subjected to all the rigid restrictions to which they subjected others. They were narrow but strong; no better example can be imagined of what the French call “ the defects of one's qualities.” Their failures were small compared with those of their contemporaries in England and elsewhere in Europe, and public opinion did not long sustain violent persecution of opinion. More than once mobs freed Quaker prisoners. Also it is to be said that with the single exception of religious toleration the record of the state in devotion to human rights has been from the first a. splendid one, whether in human principles of criminal law, or in the defence of the civil rights commonly declared in American constitutions. It was once generally assumed that the repression practised attained its end of securing harmony of opinion. The fact seems to be that intellectual speculation was as strong in America as in Puritan England; the assumption that the inhibition of its expression was good seems wholly gratuitous, and contrary to general convictions underlying modern freedom of speech. A safer opinion is probably that “ the spiritual growth of Massachusetts withered under the shadow of dominant orthodoxy; the colony was only saved from mental atrophy by its vigorous political life ” (]. A. Doyle). In literature the second half of the 17th century is a sterile waste of forbidding theology; and its life, judged by the present day, singularly sombre. In addition to the few persons banished to Rhode Island, theological and political differences led many to emigrate thither. Others, discontented with Massachusetts autocracy and wishing, too, “to secure more room, ” went to Connecticut (q.'v.) where they established a buiwark against the Dutch of 'New York. A witchcraft scare (at its worst in 1691-1697, though the earliest Connecticut case was in 1646-1647 and the earliest in Boston in 1648) led to another tragedy of ignorance. In all thirty-two persons were executed (according to W. F. Poole, about a thousandth part of those executed for witchcraft in the British Isles in the 16th and 17th centuries). Salem was the scene of the greatest excitement in 1691-1692. Exceptionally honourable to the early colonists was their devotion to education (see HARVARD UNIVERSITY and BOSTON). Massachusetts Bay had a large learned element; it is supposed that about 1640 there was an Oxford or Cambridge graduate to every 250 persons in the colony. The earliest printing in the British-American colonies was done at Cambridge in 1639; it was not until 1674 that the authorities of the colony permitted printing, except at Cambridge. Boston and Cambridge remain leading publishing centres to-day. The first regular newspaper of Boston, the Boston Newsletter, was the pioneer of the American newspaper press.

The early history was rendered unquiet at times by wars with the Indians, the chief of which were the Pequot War in 1637, and King Philip's War in 1675-76; and for better combining against these enemies, Massachusetts, with Connecticut, New Haven and New Plymouth, formed a Confederacy in 1643, considered the prototype of the larger union of the colonies which conducted the War of American Independence (1775-83). The struggle with the Crown, which ended in independence, began at the foundation of the colony, with assumptions of power under the charter which the colonial government was always trying to maintain, and the crown was as assiduously endeavouring to counteract. After more than half a century of struggle, the crown finally annulled the charter of the colony in 1684, though not until 1686 was the old government actually supplanted on the arrival of Joseph Dudley, a native of the colony, as president of a provisional council; later, Sir Edmund Andros was sent over with a commission to unite New York and New England under his rule. The colonists had been for many years almost independent; they made their own laws, the Crown appointed natives as officials, and the colonial interpretation of the old charter had in general been allowed to stand. Massachusetts had excluded the English Book of Common Prayer, she had restricted 5 359

the franchise, laid the death penalty, on religious opinions, and passed various other laws repugnant to the Crown, notably to Charles II. and Tames II.; she had caused laws and writs to run in her own name, she had neglected to exact the oath of allegiance to the sovereign, though carefully exacting an oath of fidelity to her own government, she had protected the regicides, she had coined money with her own seal, she had blocked legal appeals to the English courts, she had not compelled the observance of the navigation acts. The revocation of the charter aroused the strongest fears of the colonists Andros speedily met determined opposition by measures undertaken relative to taxation and land titles, by efforts to secure a church for Episcopal service, and an attempt to curb the town meetings. His government was supported by a small party (largely an Anglican Church party), but was intensely unpopular with the bulk of the people; and-it is a disputed question, whether before or after news arrived of the landing in England of William of Orange-in April 1689 the citizens of Boston rose in revolution, deposed Andros, imprisoned him and re-established their old colonial form of government. Then came a struggle, carried on in England by Increase Mather as agent (1688-1692) of the colony, to secure such a form of government under a new charter as would preserve as many as possible of their old liberties. Plymouth Colony, acting through its agent in London, endeavoured to secure a separate existence by royal charter, but accepted finally union with Massachusetts when association with New York became the probable alternative. The province of Maine was also united in the-new provincial charter of 1691, and Sir William Phips came 'over with it, commissioned as the first royal governor. As has been mentioned already, the new charter softened religious 'tests for office and the suffrage, and accorded “ liberty of conscience ” except to Roman Catholics. The old religious exclusiveness had already been greatly lessened: the clergy were less powerful, heresy had thrived under repression, Anglican churchmen had come to the colony and were borne with perforce, devotion to trade and commerce had weakened theological tests in favour of ideals of mere good order and prosperity, and a spirit of toleration had grown.

Throughout the continuance of the government under the provincial charter, there was a constant struggle 'between a prerogative party, headed by the royal governor, and a popular party who cherished recollections of their practical independence under the colonial charter, and who were nursing the sentiments which finally took the form of resistance in 1775. The inter charter period, 1686-1691, is of great importance in this connexion. The popular majority kept up the feeling of hostility to the royal authority in recurrent combats in the legislative assembly over the salary to be voted to the governor; though these antagonisms were from time to time forgotten in the wars with the French and Indians. During the earl of Be1lomont's administration, New York was again united with Massachusetts under the same executive (1697-1701). The scenes of ~the recurrent wars were mostly distant from Massachusetts proper, either in Maine or on Canadian or Acadian territory, although some savage inroads of the Indians were now and then made on the exposed frontier towns, as, for instance, upon Deerfield in 1704 and upon Haverhill in 1708. Phips, who had succeeded in an attack on Port Royal, had ignorniniously failed when he led the Massachusetts fleet against Quebec in 1690; and the later expedition of 1711 was no less a failure. The most noteworthy administration was that of William Shirley (1741-1749 and 17 53-17 56), who at one time was the commanding officer of the British forces in North America. He made a brilliant success of the expedition against Louisburg in 1745, William Pepperell, a Maine officer, being in immediate command. Shirley with Massachusetts troops also took part in the Oswego expedition of 1755; and Massachusetts proposed, and lent the chief assistance in the expedition of Nova Scotia in 1755 which ended in the removal of the Acadians. Her officers and troops also played an important part in the Crown Point and second Louisburg expedition (1758).