this last consideration. This is an illustration of the fact that official
"sources" sometimes omit the most significant matters, which the
historian must read in, between the lines.
129. The Articles of Confederation (Source Book, No. 94) es
tablished " a firm and perpetual league." For matters of com-
SIGNATURES OF THE COMMISSIONERS, 1653. Massachusetts State Archives.
mon concern, a congress of eight commissioners, two from each
of the four colonies, was elected annually. These commis
sioners had " full power from their severall Generall Courtes
respectively " to determine upon war or peace, divide spoils,
admit new confederates, and to manage
"all things of like nature, which are the proper concomitants or conse
quents of such a Confederation for amity, offence, and defence, not inter
meddling with the Government of any of the Jurisdictions, ivhich . . . is
reserved entirely to themselves."
The vote of six commissioners was to be final in all matters ;
but if in any case six could not agree, then the matter was to
131] THE ARTICLES 113
be referred to the several colonial " Courts " for negotiation
between them. Special provision was made for the surrender
of fugitive criminals or " servants " escaping from one colony
to another and for arbitration of differences that might arise
between any two colonies of the union.
130. This document compares well with the constitution of any
earlier confederation in history. Its weak points were common
to all previous unions. The greatest difficulty arose from the
fact that one of the confederates was much larger than the others.
Each of the three smaller colonies had about three thousand
people : Massachusetts alone had fifteen thousand. Conse
quently she bore three fifths of all burdens, while she had only
a fourth share in the government. The Bay Colony made an
earnest demand for three commissioners, but the smaller states
unanimously resisted the claim.
131. Under these conditions, Massachusetts became dissatis
fied. In 1653, six of the federal commissioners voted a levy of
500 men for war upon New Netherlands. Massachusetts felt
least interested in the war, and her General Court refused to
furnish her 300. In the language of later times, she nullified
the act of the federal congress (Source Book, Nos. 95, 96).
After this, the commissioners were plainly only an advisory
body. In 1*662-1664, the absorption of New Haven by Con
necticut weakened the Confederation still further ; and it
finally disappeared when Massachusetts lost her charter in
THE STRUGGLE TO SAVE SELF-GOVERNMENT
I. THE COLONIES AS A WHOLE
132. The years 1660-1690 are a distinct period in colonial
development. The first mark of the period is a vast expansion
of territory. In 1660 the English held two patches of coast, one,
about the Chesapeake, the other, east of the Hudson. The
two districts were separated by hundreds of miles of wilderness
and by Dutch and Swedish possessions. And for more than
twenty years no new English colony had been founded.
Thirty years later the English colonies formed an unbroken
band from the Penobscot to the Savannah. To the south of
Virginia the Carolinas had been added (1663) ; to the north of
Maryland appeared the splendid colony of Pennsylvania
(1681) ; while the rest of the old intermediate region had
become English by conquest (New York, New Jersey, and
Delaware). All the colonies, too, had broadened their area of
settlement toward the interior. Population rose from 60,000 in
1660 to 250,000 in 1690.
133. This transformation, from isolated patches of settlement
into a continuous colonial empire, brought home to English
rulers the need of a uniform colonial policy. Charles I had
had a " Colonial Council," but it exercised little real con
trol. In 1655, when Cromwell took Jamaica from Spain, one
of his officials drew up certain " Overtures touching a Councill
Swedish settlement, 1660
Limit of English occupation
136] THE NAVIGATION ACTS 115
to bee erected for foraigne Plantations." This paper suggested
various measures to make the colonies " understand . . . that
their Head and Centre is Heere." After the Restoration,
Charles II incorporated much of the document in his " In
structions " to a new colonial council ( 134).
134. This " Council for Foreign Plantations " contained many
of the greatest men of the time. It was instructed to study
the state of the plantations and the colonial policies of other
countries ; to secure copies of the colonial charters and laws ;
and to have a general oversight of all colonial matters. In
particular it was to endeavor " that the severall collonies bee
drawn . . . into a more certaine, civill, and uniform waie of
Government and distribution of publick Justice, in which they
are at present scandalously defective."
In 1674 the first "Council for Foreign Plantations" was
succeeded by the "Lords of Trade," and in 1696 by the
" Board of Trade and Plantations" During the period
that we are now considering, the Council was hard-working,
honest, and well-meaning ; but it was ignorant of the affairs,
and out of touch with the people, that it was trying to rule.
It strove to get three results : (1) uniformity and economy in
colonial administration ; (2) better military defense ; and (3) new
commercial regulations ( 138).
135. European countries valued colonies (1) as a source of
goods not produced at home ( 39), and (2) as a sure market for
home manufactures. So each colonizing country adopted " navi
gation acts " to restrict the trade of its colonies exclusively to
itself. Without this prospect, it would not have seemed
worth while to found colonies at all. By modern standards,
all these commercial systems were absurd and tyrannical ; but
the English system was more enlightened, and far less selfish and
harsh, than that of Holland or France or Spain.
136. At the other end of the scale was Spain. 1 For two
hundred years all commerce from Spanish America could pass
1 This paragraph is condensed from the admirable account in Bernard
Moses' Establishment of Spanish Rule in America, 20-2o' and 285-292.
116 COLONIAL AMERICANS, 1660-1690 [ 137
to the outer world only through Spain, and through only one
Spanish port, first Seville, and afterward Cadiz. Worse
still, until 1748, goods could be imported from Europe through
only the one favored port in Spain, and (for all the wide-lying
New Spain in North and South America) to only two American
ports, and at special times. Two fleets sailed each year from
Spain, one to Porto Bello on the Isthmus, for all the South
American trade ; the other to Vera Cruz in Mexico. All other
trade, even between the separate Spanish colonies, was pro
hibited under penalty of death. From the most distant districts,
Chile or Argentina, goods for export had to be carried to
Porto Bello to meet the annual fleet. Then was held a forty-
days' fair, to exchange the European imports for precious
metals, tropical woods, and hides.
By this arrangement, in many parts of South America, the prices of
European goods were increased to five or six times the natural amount,
while the products with which the colonies paid were robbed of value
by the cost of transportation. The cattle raised on the vast plains of the
Argentine could reach a lawful market only by being carried across
the continent to Peru, thence by sea to Panama, again across the Isthmus
to Porto Bello, and (one chance a year) from that port to Seville. In the
early years of the eighteenth century, at Buenos Aires, an ox was worth
a dollar, and a sheep three or four cents, and values had risen to this
point only because some contraband trade had sprung up, in spite of the
To go from Spain to America, except to a few favored places, was not
merely to go into exile, but to renounce civilization. The restrictions on
trade prevented the colonists from starting with the achievements of Euro
pean civilization, and drove them back, in many cases, to the barbarism
of the natives.
137. Compared with that sort of thing, England's policy was
modern. Her statesmen did not aim, consciously, to benefit the
home country at the expense of the plantations. They strove to
make the parts of the empire helpful to one another, so that the
empire as a whole might be self-supporting, independent of
the rest of the world in industry and economics. In large meas
ure they wished this system of tariff "protection" for the
138] THE NAVIGATION ACTS 117
industries of the empire as a means toward military protection
like American statesmen after the war of 1812 ( 507).
138. As a continuous system, the English policy began with
the "First Navigation Act" of 1660. This law had two pur
poses. The original one was semi-military, to increase the
shipping of the empire. Until this time, most European goods,
even most English goods, had been carried to the colonies by
Dutch vessels. England's navy had sunk low. But the safety
of the island and of her colonies rested upon command of the
seas. In that day, trading vessels were easily turned into war
vessels ; and to build up a merchant marine was a natural
measure for naval protection. Accordingly this law provided
that all trade between England and the colonies should be carried
only in ships owned, and, for the most part, manned, by English
men or colonials. 1
This part of the Act was highly successful. Holland's carrying trade,
and her naval supremacy, received a deadly blow. Nor did this part of
the law discriminate against the colonies in the interest of England.
Rather it directly benefited them, especially the northern ones. Tem
porarily, trade suffered from lack of ships, and from consequent high
freights ; but the Act created the great shipbuilding industry of New
England. In less than twenty years the colonies were selling ships to
England. By 1720 Massachusetts alone launched 150 ships a year, and
the shipbuilders of England were petitioning parliament, in vain, for pro
tection against this invasion upon their ancient industry. The carrying
trade of the empire also passed largely into the hands of New Englanders ;
and this trade was protected by the English war navy, to which the
colonists contributed only a few masts from their forests.
A second part of the law (added at the last moment by amend
ment) somewhat restricted exports. Sugar, tobacco, cotton-wool,
ginger, and dyewoods, were thereafter to be carried from a
1 " . . . ships which truly . . . belong to the people of England or Ireland
... or are built of and belonging to any of the said Plantations or Terri
tories . . . and whereof the master and three fourths of the mariners at least
are English." The word " English " always included the colonials, and it
was specifically defined in this sense by ft supplemental Navigation Act two
years later (Source Book, No. 100, a, and note).
118 COLONIAL AMERICANS, 1660-1690 [ 139
colony only to England or another English colony. These
" enumerated articles " were all semi-tropical. New England
could still send her lumber, furs, fish, oil, and rum to any part
of the world if only they were carried in her own or English
ships. Tobacco was the only " enumerated article " produced for
export at that time on the continent of North America ; and for
the restriction on tobacco, England gave an offset. She forbade
her own citizens to raise tobacco, or import it from foreign
colonies, so giving Virginia and Maryland a monopoly of her
American students find it hard to remember that the navigation laws
were adopted mainly with a view to the English West Indies, not with
regard to the colonies that grew later into the United States. In 1697
Jamaica alone had more commerce with England than all the continental
colonies together north of Virginia, while the West Indies, Maryland, and
Virginia (the sugar and tobacco colonies) had seven times as much English
trade as all the other colonies.
139. The import trade was first restricted by the Navigation
Act of 1663. Thereafter, it was ordered, all European goods
must pass to the colonies only through English ports. This act
was designed to keep colonial trade from falling into the hands
of other countries. It increased the profits of English mer
chants ; but, to guard the colonists against paying double taxes,
a rebate of the English import duties was allowed on all goods
reshipped for the colonies. 1
140. This was as far as the system went until after 1690.
(i) The subtropical colonies could export their products only to
England or other English colonies ; (2) all imports to all colonies
must come through England ; (3) all ships in the colonial trade
must be English or colonial.
1 In 1660 tariff duties both for the colonies, and for England, had been im
posed on a long list of goods. In the colonies, however, this Act was always
practically a dead letter. There was no proper machinery to enforce it ; and
no serious attempt was made to' do so. Whenever the restrictions were seri
ously troublesome, they were evaded by smuggling. In 1700, it is estimated,
one third the trade of New York was in smuggled goods.
THE NAVIGATION ACTS
A Massachusetts ship could still carry any product of that
colony to any part of the world, exchange for goods there, carry
these goods to England, and then " reship " them for an American
port, or exchange them for other European goods in the English
markets, to be then carried to America. Says Channing (United
States of America, 32) : " It is impossible to say whether the net
result of this system . . . was in favor of Great Britain or the
FOR FURTHER READING. The best brief treatment of the general
phases of this period is Andrews' Colonial Self-Government, 3-40. See
also Channiug's History of the United States, II, 1-13.
A TYPICAL ENGLISH TRADING VESSEL OF COLONIAL TIMES. The Schooner
"Baltick" coming out of St. Eustatia, Dutch West Indies, November,
1765. From a water color now in the Essex Institute, Salem, Mass.
II. NEW ENGLAND, 1660-1690
141. Charles II found himself beset with accusations against
Massachusetts. In 1656 Quakers had appeared in that colony.
Three, who persisted in returning after banishment, had been
hanged, while several others, women among them, had been
COLONIAL AMERICANS, 1660-1690
flogged brutally. The Quakers complained to Charles, and in
1660 he ordered the colony to send all imprisoned Quakers to
England for trial. But the men of Massachusetts were re
solved to permit no appeal from their own courts. They chose
rather to empty the jails, and drop the persecution.
Afterward, for a time, the persecution was renewed, with Charles'
approval, but no more executions took place. Imprisonments and whip
pings were the common fate of Quakers in England and in all the colonies
of that time except Rhode Island. These Quakers, of course, were not
the quiet, sober brethren of later times : many of them were half-mad
fanatics. " It was a little hard," says Lowell, u to know what to do with
a woman who persisted in interrupting your honored minister in his
sermon, calling him Priest of Baal, and breaking empty bottles over his
head" (in sign of his emptiness). None the less, the three executions
remain a bloody blot on the fame of Massachusetts. Nowhere else was a
death penalty inflicted by law. It does seem a little strained, however, to
speak, as a recent historian does, of " wholesale hangings " of Quakers in
Massachusetts. (The Source Book, No. 88, gives some interesting docu
ments from the Quaker side.)
The King was irritated also by learning that Massachusetts
had usurped the right to coin money (the famous " Pine Tree
Shillings ") during the
Commonwealth, and that
two of the " regicide "
judges who had passed
sentence on his father
were still sheltered in
New England. Worst of
all, perhaps, the Bay Col
ony disregarded the Navi
gation Acts, and, in 1661,
even adopted a daring
resolution styling such
legislation "an infringement of our rights."
142. For the moment, Charles contented himself with demanding
(1) that an oath of allegiance be taken in the colony ; (2) that
the Episcopalian service be permitted ; and (3) that the fran-
A PINE TREE SHILLING. From the origi
nal in the Collections of the Massachu
setts Historical Society. The XII means
twelve pence. Note the spelling of " Mas
sachusetts." There is no allusion to
144] FRICTION WITH ENGLAND 121
chise be extended to all men "orthodox in religion and of
competent estate." The colony complied with the first de
mand, ignored the second, and evaded the third. An act of
General Court did provide that a non-churchmember might be
made a freeman, if his good character were testified to by the
minister of his town and if he paid a ten-shilling "rate" (local
tax). But the Puritan ministers gave few such certificates to
those outside their own folds, and few men were then called
upon to pay ten shillings in a single rate. So the number of
freemen did not much increase.
143. Connecticut, New Haven, and Rhode Island had no legal
standing in England. The people were squatters, and the
governments -unauthorized. Now that order was restored in
England, it was plain that something must be done to remedy
this condition ; and all three colonies sent agents to England to
secure royal charters.
144. Connecticut and Rhode Island were successful almost be
yond belief. They were left with self-government nearly as
complete as before. In neither colony did the crown appoint
the governor or any other important official. This remarkable
liberality was due partly to the careless good nature -of Charles
in the early portion of his reign ; partly to an enthusiasm
among English officials just then for the colonies ; and partly,
perhaps, to a willingness to build up other New England gov
ernments so as to offset the stiff-necked Bay Colony.
All that the Massachusetts charter had become, this and
more these new charters were from the first. They made th'e
settlers a " corporation upon the place," and sanctioned demo
cratic self-government (Source Book, Nos. 97, 98). With good
reason they were cherished and venerated. At the time of the
Revolution they received the name of constitutions ; and they
continued in force, without other alteration, in Connecticut until
1818, and in Rhode Island until 1842.
A glance at the map on page 107 shows sufficient reason why New Haven
and Connecticut should not both receive charters. The question was
which should swallow the other. New Haven used little diplomacy in her
122 NEW ENGLAND, 1660-1690 [ 145
negotiations ; l and possibly she was too much of the Massachusetts type
to find favor in any case. Her territory was included in the Connecticut
grant. This began the process of consolidation which was soon to be
tried on a larger scale.
145. Friction with Massachusetts continued. Episcopalians
there complained still that for thirty years they had been
robbed of civil and religious rights. So in 1664 Charles sent
commissioners to regulate New England and to conquer New
Netherlands from the Dutch with whom England was at
war. In their military expedition the commissioners were
entirely successful. Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Plymouth
then recognized their authority cordially, and even permitted
them to hear appeals from colonial courts ; but Massachusetts
still gave them scant welcome.
146. The matter of appeals ( 141) was a chief point in the
commissioners' instructions. It was to be the means of enforc
ing royal authority. But in Boston, they were completely
thwarted. After weeks of futile discussion, they announced
a day when they would sit as a court of appeals. At sun
rise on that day, by order of the Massachusetts magistrates, a
crier, with trumpet, passed through the town, warning all
citizens not to recognize the court. No one ventured to dis
obey the stern Puritan government, and the chagrined com
missioners returned to England.
147. There the commissioners at once recommended that
Massachusetts be deprived of its charter. But the next year
the victorious Dutch fleet was in the Thames. Then came the
great London fire and the plague. The Colonial Board did re
peatedly order Massachusetts to send an agent to England to
arrange a settlement ; but the colony procrastinated stub
bornly, and for ten years with success. In 1675, however,
the great Indian outbreak, known as King Philip's War,
weakened Massachusetts. Just at this time, too, Charles,
entering upon a more despotic period at home, began to act
1 See Johnston's Connecticut for material for an interesting report.
150] THE RULE OF ANDROS 123
more vigorously toward the colonies ; and in 1684 the highest
English court declared the charter of 1629 forfeited and void.
148. The Lords of Trade ( 134) had decided that to have so
many independent governments " without a more immediate
dependence upon the crown" was "prejudicial" to England's
interest ; and they drew up a plan for the union of Massachu
setts, Plymouth, and the Maine and New Hampshire towns, under
one royal governor-general.
They would gladly have included Connecticut and Rhode
Island in the plan, and so consolidated all New England into
one province, but charters stood in the way ; and, unlike Mas
sachusetts, the two smaller colonies had given little excuse for.
legal proceedings against them. Still, when Charles died in
1685, James II forced the consolidation, in spite of the
charters. He appointed Sir Edmund Andros governor-general
of all New England, and instructed him to set aside the gov
ernments of Connecticut and Rhode Island by force.
149. The original plan of the Lords of Trade had provided
one elected legislature for New England. James struck out this
clause, leaving the government despotic 1 as well as unified.
He also once more extended the territory to which the plan
should apply. He was already proprietor of New York and
New Jersey ( 171), and these colonies were soon united with
New England under the rule of Andros.
150. Andros was a bluff, hot-tempered soldier. He was com
mander of the soldiery he brought with him and of the mili
tia ; and, with the consent of an appointed council, he was
authorized to lay taxes, make laws, administer justice, and
grant lands. His management of military affairs was admi
rable, and he saved New England from serious Indian danger ;
but the colonists gave him scant credit. In other matters,
naturally, he clashed violently with the settlers.
He insisted that Episcopalian services should be held on at
1 This was done despite the declaration of the attorney-general in England
that the colonists had the right " to consent to such laws and taxes as should
be made or imposed on them."
124 NEW ENGLAND, 1660-1690 [ 151
least part of each Sunday in one of the Boston churches. To
the Puritans this was a bitter offense. Land titles, too, were
a fruitful source of irritation. In granting lands, the colonies
had paid little attention to the forms of English law or to
proper precaution against future confusion (Source Book, No.
89). Andros provided for accurate surveys, and compelled
old holders to take out new deeds, with small fees for regis
tration. He treated all the common lands, too, as crown land.
More serious was the total disappearance of self-government
and even of civil rights. Andros ordered the old taxes to be
continued. Some Massachusetts towns resisted ; and at Ips-
wich a town meeting voted that such method of raising taxes
"did infringe their liberty as free-born English subjects."
The offenders were tried for "seditious votes and writings,"
not before the usual courts, but by a special commission. The
jury was packed and was browbeaten into a verdict of guilty,
and leading citizens who had dared to stand up against tyranny
were imprisoned and ruinously fined.
151. This absolute government lasted two years and a half.
Massachusetts was getting ready to rebel; but under ordinary
conditions a rising would have been put down bloodily.
Thanks to the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 in Old Eng
land, 1 the rising when it came was successful and bloodless.
In April, 1689, came the news that James II was a fugitive.
The new king, William of Orange, had issued a " Declaration,"
inviting all boroughs in England, and all officials unjustly de
prived of charters and positions by James, to resume their