Nathaniel Bradstreet Shurtleff.

Records of the governor and company of the Massachusetts bay in New England : Printed by order of the legislature online

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Online LibraryNathaniel Bradstreet ShurtleffRecords of the governor and company of the Massachusetts bay in New England : Printed by order of the legislature → online text (page 16 of 77)
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jmitate the God of heaven, in being ready to mainteyne the cause of the
aflicted & the right of the poore, & to receive their crjes & addresses to that
end. And wee humbly beseech your maj'^ with princely patience & clemency
to heare & accept our plajne discourse, though of somewhat greater length
then would be comely in other or lesser cases. Wee are remote, & can speake
but seldome, & therefore craue leaue to speake the more at once. Wee shall
not largely repeate how that the first vndertakers for this plantation, hauing
by considerable summes purchased the right thereof, granted to the counsell
established at Pljmouth by King James, your royal grandfather, did after
obtejne a pattent giuen & confirmed to themselves by your royall fiather. King
Charles the First, wherein is granted vnto them, theire heires, assignes, &
associates foreuer, not onely the absolute vse & propriety of the tract of land
therein mentioned, but also full & absolute power of gouerning all the people
of this place, by men chosen from among themselves, & according to such
lawes as they shall from tjme to tjme see meete to make & establish, being not
repugnant to the lawes of England, (they paying only the fifth parte of the
oare of gold & silver that shall heere be found for & in respect of all dutjes,
demands, exactions, & services whatsoeuer,) as in the sajd pattent is at large
declared; vnder the encouragement & security of which rojall charter this
people did at theire oune charges transport themselues, their wives, & familjes
ouer the ocean, purchase the lands of y" natiues, & plant this colony with great
labour, hazards, costs, & difficultjes ; for a long time wrestling w"" the wants


19 October.


1 G 6 4. of a wilclernes, & the burdens of a new plantation. Having also now aboue
thirty yeares enjoyed the aforesajd power & priuledge of gouernment w'^in
themselves, as their vndoubted right in the sight of God & man, and hauing
had moreouer this further favor from God & from your majesty, that wee haue
received seuerall gracious letters from your royall selfe, full of expressions
tending to confirme vs in our enjoyments, viz' : in your majestjes letter bear-
ing date the 15"^ day of February, 1660, you are pleased to consider New
England as one of the cheifest of your colonjes & plantations abroad, hauing
enjoyed & groune vp in a long & orderly establishment, adding this royall
promise, ' Wee shall not come behind any of our royall predecesso''s in a just
encouragement & protection of all our loving subjects there.' In your majes-
tjes letter of the SS"" of June, 1663, sent vs by our messengers, besides many

r*455.1 other gracious expressions, there is this: 'Wee will preserue & doe *heereby
confirme the pattent & charter heeretofore granted vnto them by our royall
ifather, of blessed memory, & they shall freely enjoy all the priiiledges & liber-
tjes granted vnto them in & by the same.' As for such particculars of a
ciuill & religious nature, which are subjoined in the sajd letter, wee haue ap-
plyed ourselues to the vtmost to sattisfy your majesty, so farr as doth consist
w**" conscience of our duty towards God, & the just libertjes & priuiledges of
our patent. "Wee are further bound w'''^ humble thankfulnes to acknowledge
your majestjes gracious expressions in the last letter wee haue received, dated
Aprill 23"^, 1664, as, (besides other instances thereof,) that your maj'^ hath
not the least intention or thought of violateing or in the least degree infrin-
ging the charter heretofore granted by your royall ffather w"* great wisdome &
vpon full deliberation, &3. But now what afiiction of heart must it needs be
vnto vs, that our sinnes haue prouoked God to permitt our aduersarjes to sett
themselves against vs, by their misinformations, complaints, & solicitations, (as
some of them haue made that their worke for many yeares,) & thereby to pro-
cure a coinission vnder the great scale, wherein fower persons (one of them
our knoune & proffessed ennemy) are jmpowred to heare, receiue, examine,
& determine all complaints & appeales in all causes & matters, as well military
as criminall & ciuil, & to proceede in all things for setling this country accord-
ing to their good & sound discretions, &d, whereby, instead of being gouernd
by rulers of our oune choosing, (v/hich is the fundamentall priuiledge of our
patent,) & by lawes of our oune, wee are like to be subjected to the arbitrary
power of strangers, proceeding not by any established lawe, but by their oune
discretions ! And whereas our patent giues a sufficjent royall warrant & dis-
chardge to all ofHcers & persons for executing & obseruing the lawes here
made & published, as is therein directed, wee shall now not be discharged

19 October.


& at rest from further molestation, when wee haue so executed & observed our 1664.
lawes, but be lyable to complaints & appeales, & to the determinations of new
judges, whereby our gouernment & administrations willbe made voyd & of
none effect. And though wee haue yet had but a litle tast of the words or
actings of these gentimen that are come ouer hither in this capacity of comis-
sionersj yett wee haue had enough to confirme vs in our feares, that their
improouement of this power, in pursuance of their comission, (should the same
proceede,) will end in the subuertion of our all. Wee should be glad to
hope that your majestjes instrucons (which they haue not yet been pleased to
impart vnto vs) may put such Ijmitations to their buisnes heere as will take of
much of our fFeare ; but according to the present appearance of things we
thus speake.

In this case (dread soueraigne) our refuge vnder God is your royall
selfe, whom wee humbly addresse ourselves vnto ; & are the rather em-
boldened therein, because your majestjes last gracious letter doth encourage
vs to suggest what, vpon the experience wee haue had & obseruation wee
haue made, wee judge necessary or convenient for the good & bennefit of this
your plantation, & because wee are well perswaded that had your majesty a
full & right information of the state of things heere, yow would finde apparent
reason to put a stop to these proceedings, which are certainly disseruient to
your majestjes interest, & to the prosperity & welfare of this place.

If these things goe on, (according to their present appearance,) your sub-
jects heere will either be forced to seeke new dwellings or sinck & faint vnder
burdens that will be to them intollerable ; the vigour of all mens indeavo™
in their seuerall callings & occupations (either for merchandise abroad or fur-
ther subduing this wilderness at home) will be enfeebled, as wee perceiue it
already beginns to be ; the good worke of conuerting the natives obstructed ;
the inhabitants driuen to wee know not what extremitjes ; & this hopeful!
plantation in the issue ruined. *But whateuer become of vs, wee are suer the [*456.]
, adversary cannot countervaile the kings damage. It is jndeede a griefe to our
hearts to see your majesty put vpon this extraordinary charge & cost about a
business the products whereof can neuer rejmburse the one half of what will
be expended vpon it. Imposed rulers & officers will haue occasion to expend
more then can be rajsed heere, so as nothing will returne to your majesties
exchecquer ; but instead thereof the wonted bennefit by customes of goods
exported & imported into England from hence willbe diminished by the dis-
couragement & diminution of mens endeavo" in theire seuerall occupations,
or if the aime should be to grattify some particcular gentimen by hvings &
revenues heere, that will also faile ; where nothing is to be had, the king

19 October.


1 G 6 4. himself will be a looser ; & so will the case be found to be heere ; for such is
the pouerty & meanesse of the people of this country, (by reason of the length
& coldnes of the v/inters, the difficulty of subduing a wildernesse, defect of
a staple comodity, the want of money, &$,) that if w"" hard labour men gett a
subsistance for theire familjes, it is as much as the generality are able to doe,
paying but very smale rates towards the publicke charges ; & yet if all y'
the country hath ordinarily raised by the yeare for all the charges of the
whole gouernment were put together, & then doubled or trebled, it would not
be counted for one of these gentimen a considerable accomodation. It is
true that the estates men haue in conjunction w*'' hard labour & vigorous in-
deavo" in their seuerall places, doe bring in a comfortable subsistance for such
a meane people, (wee dare not dimish our thankfulnes to God that he pro-
vides for vs in a wildernesse as he doeth,) yet neither will the former stand if
the latter be discouraged, nor will both euer answer the ends of those that
seeke or neede great things. Wee perceive there haue been great expecta-
tions of what is to be had heere, raised by some mens informations ; but those
informations will proove fallacious, disapointing them that haue relyed vpon
them. And if the taking of this course should driue this people out of the
country, (for to a coalition therein they "will neuer come,) it willbe hard to
finde another people that will stay long or stand vnder any considerable bur-
den in it, seeing it is not a country where men can subsist w"'out hard labo"^
& great frugallity. There haue also been high representations of great
diuissions & discontents amongst vs, & of a necessity of sending coinissioncrs
to releive the agreived, &6 ; whereas it plainly appeares that the body of this
people are vnanimously sattisfied in the present gouernment, & abhorrent from
change, and that what is now offered will, instead of releiving, raise vp such
greivances as are intollerable. Wee supose there is no gouernment vnder
Heaven wherein some discontented persons may not be found, and if it be
a sufficjent accusation against a gouernment, that there are some such who
will be innocent, yet, thro the favour of God, there are but few amongst ^^
that are malcontent, & fewer that haue cause to be so.

S"^ : The allknowing God he knowes our greatest ambition is to Hue a poore
& a quiet life in a corner of the world, w'' out offence to God or man. Wee
came not into this wildernes to seek great things to ourselves ; & if any come
after vs to seeke them heere, they will be disapointed. Wee keepe ourselves
w'Mn our Ijne, & medle not w*'^ matters abroad. A just dependance vpon &
subjection to yo'' majesty, according to our charter, it is farr from our hearts
to dissacknowledge. Wee so highly prize your favorable aspect (though at
this great distance) as wee would gladly doe anything that is w'^in our power


19 October.


to purchase the continuance of it. Wee were ■\vilHng to testify our affection to 16 6 4.
yo"^ majesties services by answering the proposalls of yo'' hon'ble comissioners,
of which wee * doubt not but they haue ah'eady given your majesty an ac-
count. Wee are carefully studious of all .due subjection to your majesty, &
that not only for wrath, but for conscience sakes ; and should diuine Proui-
dence euer offer an oppertunity wherein wee might, in any righteous way, ac-
cording to our poore & meane capacity, testify our dutifuU affection to your
majesty, wee hope we should most gladly embrace it. But it is a great vn-
happines to be reduced to so hard a case as to haue no other testimony of our
subjection & loyalty offered vs but this, viz*, to destroy our oune being, which
nature teacheth vs to preserve, or to yeild vp our llbertjes, which are farr
dearer to vs then our Hues, & which had wee had any feare of being deprived
of, wee had neuer wandered from our fathers houses into these ends of the
earth, nor layd out our labo"^^ & estates therein, besides engaging in a most
hazardous & difficult warre w"" the most warhke of the natiues, to our great
charge & the losse of some of the lines of our deare freinds ; neither can the
deepest invention of man find out a more certeine way of consistence then to
obteyne a royall donation from so great a prince, vnder his great scale, which
is the greatest security that may be had in humajne affaires.

Eoyall S'' : It is in your power to say of your poore people in New Eng-
land, they shall not dye. If wee haue found favour in the sight of our king,
let our life be given vs at our petition, (or rather that which is dearer than life,
that wee haue ventured our hues, & willingly passed through many deaths to
obteyne, & our all ;) at our request let our gouernment Hue, our patent hue,
our magistrates liue, our lawes & libertjes liue, our religious enjoyments
liue; so shall wee all haue yet further cause to say from our heart, 'Let the
king hue foreuer ; ' and the blessing of them that were ready to perish shall
come vpon your majesty, hauing deliuered the poore that cryed, & such as
had none to help them. It was an hono-^ to one of your royall ancesto" that
he was called the poore mans king. It was Jobs excellency, when he sate
as king among his people, that he was a father to the poore. They are a
poore people (destitute of outward succor, wealth, or power) who now cry
vnto the lord the king. May your majesty please to regard theire cause, &
majntejne their right; it will stand among the markes of lasting hono^ to
after generations ; and wee and ours shall haue lasting cause to rejoyce that
wee haue been numbered among

Your majestjes most humble

Servants & suplyants.

By order of y" Genii Court.



1 G G 4 . It is ordered, y*- the GoQno'' signe & subscribe the addresse, w"^ such

^~ '^ ^ letters as shall be necessary for the furtheranc & presentation thereof, in these

19 October. , /. i • • i i

Order for • "«"ords, ' By Order of the Geii Court,' & that a copie of the comission lately
GoiJnors g>sented to this Court be sent ouer w"^ it.

subscribing y" .

addresse, &c. It is ordered, & Capt Daniel Gookin & Majo"^ Generall Leueret are

Coiuittee to hereby appointed «& impowred to take order for the deliuery of this Courts

convey & order

deiiQy of y» addresse to his maj'^ vnto his maj'^, in such wise as may be most effectuall for
the ends proposed in this Courts application ; & the charges expended therein,
& by them disbursed for that end, to be repajd them by the Treasurer, w*'' all
damages to them susteyned thereby ; & that the secretary deliuer the ad-
dresse, so sygned, to either of the sajd gent".

100" orderd for This Court, being willing to manifest all due respect to his maj*>'^ coinis-

v** coiiiissioiiGi's

cntertein'. sioncrs appointed to treat w"^ the Generall Court, doe order, that one hun-
dred pounds be payd by the Treasurer towards the defraying the charges of
their entertejnement ; & the selectmen of Boston are desired to be helpfull to
their accomodation wherein they may in matter of advise & all curteous

The majo' geiill is desired, on their reception, to present them w"^ this
order of Court.

Treasm-'to It is Ordered, that the hundred pounds, ordered for enterteinment of

touues ^^^ comissioners, be levjed by the Treasurer on the seuerall tonnes in propor-

tion to the present country rate.
[*458.] *John Coldam, of Gloucester, on certifRcat from M"^ Emerson, pastor

Jn° Coldam a there, was admitted to be a freeman, & tooke his oath in open Court.


M' Rob' Gibbs, M'' Robert Gibbs, M"^ Abraham Broune, M"" Eichard Price, Arthur

Kioh Price ' Mason, & Samuell Gallop, all of Boston, on cirtifEcat from M' John Wilson,
Arthur Mason, genr & the Selectmen of Boston, were allowed & sworne freemen of this

tt Sam. Gallop '

made freemen, coiiionweale.

County Courts Forasmuch as seuerall persons, who from time to tjme are to be made free-

power to giue
y oath of free- men. Hue remote, & are not able, w*''out great trouble & charge, to appeare

man, c. before this Court to take their respective oathes, it is therefore ordered, that

henceforth it shall be in the power of any County Court to administer the oath
of freedome to any persons, approoved of by the Generall Court, who shall
desier the same, any lawe or custome to the contrary notw'^^standiug.
Elections reg- The Court, vnderstanding that the late lawe made in October, 1663, for

in'statu quo *^^ regulateiiig of elections is not so sattisfactory to the freemen as was ex-
pected, & for some other reasons w"'' haue binn alleadged, doe judge meete to
order, that the sajd lawe shall & is heereby repealed, & that elections shall
henceforth runne in the ordinary course, as formerly.


It is ordered by tliis Court & the authority thereof, that' the GoQno' for 1664.
the tjme being, or any other officer to whom the custody of the publick seale "" ^ ^
is comitted, doe affix the publicque seale vnto all coinissions for military „ , , '

■^ -^ ■' Seale to be af-

officers, & to all other coinissions & writtings of publick concernment that fixed gratis on
shall issue forth from this Court or the councill, w^out paying any thing for comissions &
the seale ; and the secretary for the tjme shall write & procure the seale to be ™^"^'"'^"-
affixed, & deliuer the sajd comissions, or other publicke instruments, to the
partjes concerned ; and for his fees of writting & wax he is allowed one shil-
ling for euery comission or other publick instruments, to be pajd by the
Treasurer of the country; & this lawe to be ^n force, any lawe, custome, or
vsage to the contrary notw"^standing.

Forasmuch as complaints haue binn made to this Court of very great Ally' are liable
inaequallitje in keeping & majneteyning of millltary watches, the burden of -ivatches are
that service lying mainly, if not altogether, vpon such as beare armes, when "'''"^ ^^'^^^^ *°

•'''•' OJ-r ;> milUtary

seuerall persons of good estate are free, all w"*" considered, it is ordered, that watches.
henceforth all persons whatsoeuer w'^'in this jurisdiction who are Ijable to serve
in constables watches shall also be Ijable to the like service in all millitary
watches, either in theu-e oune persons, or by a sufficjent supply, to be made by
all such persons as aforesajd, or shall pay twelve pence in mony, & that vnder
the poenalty of fine shillings for euery such neglect, to be levyed by the
clarke of each company, by warrant, vnder the hand of the cheife officer of
the lawe.

This Com-t doe comend to all the people of this jurisdiction the 16* of Order for a
the next moneth for a solemne day of humilliation, to be spent in fasting & i^J^^^g No-
prayer, for the imploring of the favorable presence of God yet to be con- "^m. next,
tinewed w"' vs, a sanctified vse of his frounes & threats of greater evills yett
impending in seuerall passages of his providence towards vs, and a thorough
sight & sence of all those sinns & evills that are found amongst vs, provoaking
to his jealous eyes, that so, according to his blessed promise made to his
church, he may be pleased yet to establish his couenant w"" his people in
these ends of the earth, not to turne away from vs, to doe vs good, & to put
his feare in our hearts, that wee may neuer depart from him.

It is ordered, that halfe a single rate be levyed vpon the inhabitants, as Half a rate

1 1. !• 1 u added to the

an addition to the rate in course, towards the defraymg the pubhcke charges, y^^^jy „o„n.

T ii ■ tfy rate for )'

that haue bmn extraordinary this yeare. ^.^^^^_

*Its ordered by this Court, that all sorts of come shallbe payd in the r^^^gi
country rate for the yeare ensuing at these prizes, following, viz*: wheate prizes of come,
at fine shillings, & barly & barly mault fower shillings sixepence, pease
& rye at fower shillings, & Indian at three shilling p bushell, all good




19 October.
Comittce to
pcrvse the

Order to giue
notice to y"
GoQn' of each
colo, &E.

Order for keep-
ers payments,
&c, ab' La-

Ans'to Marl-
borough peti-

Sefl" petitions
from seuerall

& merchantable corne, & what else is payd m the country rate to be pajd
at money price.

M"^ Thomas Danforth, Captaine Thomas Clarke, M' W™ Parkes are ap-
pointed a coinittee to joyne w"' the secretary, if he be well, to pervse the
lawes of j)ublicke concernment, made this yeare or formerly, not published, &
to take care that they be speedily printed & sent to the seuerall tounes of this
jurisdiction ; & in case of the secretarys sicknes, to proceed w^out him, &
that M'' Danforth supply his place in all other cases.

Itt is ordered, that when the Generarll Court shall be called to giue a
meeting w''' his maj'-)'^ honorable^gmissioners, the secretary send notice to the
Gouerno' of each colony thereof, (when he sends his warrants to call the
members of the Generall Court,) if the season will permitt, that so they may
be heere, if they please, according to the motion of the comissioners for the
Vnited Colonjes.

The keeper of the prison complayning that he is greatly injuried by not
payment for the expenses of Laborgne, this Court doeth order, that such part
of it as is due to be payd by ^M"" Woodmancy, that it be payd in provicbns,
(i. e.,) merchantable corne, or in beefe, porke, & fish, not exceeding one third
in fish, or in money, & accordingly execution to be granted in behalfe of the
sajd keeper ; & for the other part due from S' Thomas Temple, that the Treas-
urer of the countiy doe, for the present, disburse the same, & treate w*"^ S'
Thomas concerning the repayment thereof to the country.

In ans"^ to the petition of the inhabitants of Marlborough, the Deputy
GoQno', M' WlUoughby, M' Russell, & Majo'' Generall Leueret are desired
& appointed to be a comittee to give an opportunity to the inhabitants of
Marlborough to make theire appearances before them, & make knoune their
greivances & differences to the sajd coinittee, who are hereby impowred, on
their hearing what each party cann say for themselves, to determine & con-
clude of such an issue as they, or any three of them, shall judge necessary to
conduce to the selling of peace betweene them, the Deputy GoQuo'' to appoint
both time & place.

The Court being mett together & informed that seuerall persons, inhab-
itants of Cambridge, were at the doore, & desiring liberty to make knoune
theire errand, were called in, & M"^ Edward Jackson, M' Elch Jackson, M'
Edw Oakes, & Deacon Ston:, coming before the Court, presented a petloSn
from the inhabitants of Cambridge, w"'' was subscribed by very many hands,
in w* they testified & declared their goed- content & sattisfaction they tooke
& had in the present goQment, in church & coinonwealth, w* their resolution
to be assisting to & encouraging the same, & humbly desiring all meanes might


be Ysed for the continuance & preservatiou thereof, & at the same time & the 16 64.
next day seuerall peticbns of like nature from Wooborne, Dorchester, Eed- "" '' '
ding, Chelmsford, Concord, Billirrikey, Boston, Dedham, & Meadfeild, & also
one from seuerall inhabitants of Roxbury, all which are on file.

The next County Court, to be held at Boston on the last Tuesday of this County Courts
moneth, is adjourned to the 2'^ Tuesday in Nouember next. a jor m .

*Tho Carver, Francis Dening, Edward Nutter, & Jn° Dening, souldjers, [*460.]
coming to this town of Boston from the Monhatoes, being sent for & de- * souldjers

° confinement,

manded whence they came, & vnder whose coinand they were, & whither they &C.
were dischardged by their coinanders, answered, that they came from New
Yorke ; y' they had binn souldjers in his maj*^ service, vnder the coinand of
Coi Cartwright ; that the sajd collonell had disraist & dischardged them, by

Online LibraryNathaniel Bradstreet ShurtleffRecords of the governor and company of the Massachusetts bay in New England : Printed by order of the legislature → online text (page 16 of 77)