Solomon Lincoln.

History of the town of Hingham, Plymouth County, Massachusetts online

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our should be called forth to answer as a delinquent in
such a case as this was, and one of them in the name
of the rest, had written to him to that efiect, fearing


least he should apprehend over deeply of the injury
Sac.) but the deputies would by no means consent there-
to, for they knew that many of the elders understood
the cause, and were more careful to uphold the honour
and power of the magistrates than themselves were liked
of, and many of them (at the request of the elder and
others of the church of Hingham during this court) had
been at Hingham, to see if they could settle peace in the
church there, and found the elder and others the petition-
ers in great fault &c. After this (upon motion of the
deputies) it was agreed to refer the cause to arbitrators,
according to an order of court, when the magistrates and
deputies cannot agree Sec. The magistrates named six
of the elders of the next towns, and left it to them to
choose any three or four of them, and required them to
name six others. The deputies finding themselves now
at the wall, and not daring to trust the elders with the
cause, they sent to desire that six of themselves might
come and confer with the magistrates, which being grant-
ed, they came, and at last came to this agreement, viz.
the chief petitioners and the rest of the offenders were
severally fined, (all their fines not amounting to 50
pounds,) the rest of the petitioners to bear equal share to
50 pounds more towards the charges of the court, (two
of the principal offenders were the deputies of the town,
Joshua Hubbert and Bozone Allen, the first was fined 20
pounds, and the other 5 pounds,) lieutenant Emes to be
under admonition, the deputy governour to be legally and
publickly acquit of all that was laid to his charge.

"According to this agreement, [5] 3, presently afler the
lecture the magistrates and deputies took their places in
the meeting house, and the people being come together,
and the deputy governour placing himself within the bar,


as at the time of hearing 8lc. the governour read the sen-
tence of the court, without speaking any more, for the
deputies had (by importunity) obtained a promise of si-
lence from the magistrates. Then was the deputy gov-
ernour desired by the court to go up and take his place
again upon the bench, which he did accordingly, and the
court being about to arise, he desired leave for a little
speech, which was to this effect. /

" I suppose something may be expected from me, upon
this charge that is befallen me, which moves me to speak
now to you ; yet I intend not to intermeddle in the pro-
ceedings of the court, or with any of the persons con-
cerned therein. Only I bless God, that I see an issue
of this troublesome business. I also acknowledge the
justice of the court, and, for mine own part, 1 am well
satisfied, I was publickly charged, and I am publickly and
legally acquitted, which is all I did expect or desire. And
though this be sufficient for my justification before men,
yet not so before the God, who hath seen so much amiss
in my dispensations (and even in this affair) as calls me
to be humble. For to be publickly and criminally charg-
ed in this court, is matter of humiliation, (and I desire to
make a right use of it,) notwithstanding I be thus acquit-
ted. If her father had spit in her face, (saith the Lord
concerning Miriam,) should she not have been ashamed
seven days ? Shame had lien upon her, whatever the
occasion had been. I am unwilling to stay you from
your urgent afl^airs, yet give me leave (upon this special
occasion) to speak a little more to this assembly. It may
be of some good use, to inform and rectify the judgments
of some of the people, and may prevent such distempers
as have arisen amongst us. The great questions that
have troubled the country, are about the authority of the



magistrates and the Jiberty of the people. It is your-
selves who have called us to this office, and being called
by you, we have our authority from God, in way of an
ordinance, such as hath the image of God eminently
stamped upon it, the contempt and violation whereof hath
been vindicated with examples of divine vengeance. I
entreat you to consider, that when you choose magistrates,
you take them from among yourselves, men subject to
like passions as you are. Therefore when you see infir-
mities in us, you should reflect upon your own, and that
would make you bear the more with us, and not be severe
censurers of the failings of your magistrates, when you
have continual experience of the like infirmities in your-
selves and others. We account him a good servant, who
breaks not his covenant. The covenant between you
and us is the oath you have taken of us, which is to this
purpose, that we shall govern you and judge your causes
by the rules of God's laws and our own, according to our
best skill. When you agree with a w'orkman to build
you a ship or house Sec. he undertakes as well for his skill
as for his faithfulness, for it is his profession, and you pay
him for both. But when you call one to be a magistrate,
he doth not profess nor undertake to have sufficient skill
for that office, nor can you furnish him with gifts &c.
therefore you must run the hazard of his skill and abil-
ity. But if he fail in faithfulness, which by his oath he
is bound unto, that he must answer for. If it fall out
that the case be clear to common apprehension, and the
rule clear also, if he transgress here, the errour is not
in the skill, but in the evil of the will : it must be re-
quired of him. But if the cause be doubtful, or the rule
doubtful, to men of such understanding and parts as your
magistrates are, if your magistrates should err here, your-
selves must bear it.


*' For the other point concerning liberty, I observe a
great mistake in the country about that. There is a two
fold liberty, natural (I mean as our nature is now cor-
rupt) and civil or federal. The first is common to man
with beasts and other creatures. By this, man, as he
stands in relation to man simply, hath liberty to do what
he lists ; it is a liberty to evil as well as to good. This
liberty is incompatible and inconsistent with authority, and
cannot endure the least restraint of the most just author-
ity. The exercise and maintaining of this liberty makes
men grow more evil, and in time to be worse than brute
beasts : omnes sumus licentia deteriores. This is that
great enemy of truth and peace, that wild beast which all
the ordinances of God are bent against, to restrain and
subdue it. The other kind of liberty I call civil or fed-
eral, it may also be termed moral, in reference to the
covenant between God and man, in the moral law, and
the politic covenants and constitutions, amongst men
themselves. This liberty is the proper end and object
of authority, and cannot subsist without it ; and it is a
liberty to that only which is good, just and honest. This
liberty you are to stand for, with the hazard (not only of
your goods, but) of your lives, if need be. Whatsoever
crosseth this is not authority, but a distemper thereof.
This liberty is maintained and exercised in a way of sub-
jection to authority ; it is of the same kind of liberty
wherewith Christ hath made us free. The woman's own
choice makes such a man her husband ; yet being so
chosen, he is her lord, and she is to be subject to him,
yet in a way of liberty, not of bondage ; and a true wife
accounts her subjection her honour and freedom, and
would not think her condition safe and free, but in her
subjection to her husband's authority. Such is the liberty


of the church under the authority of Christ, her king and
husband ; his yoke is so easy and sweet to her as a
bride's ornaments ; and if through frowardness or wan-
tonness Sec. she shake it off, at any time, she is at no rest
in her spirit, until she take it up again ; and whether her
lord smiles upon her, and embraceth her in his arms, or
whether he froAvns, or rebukes, or smites her, she appre-
hends the sweetness of his love in all, and is refreshed,
supported and instructed by every such dispensation of
his authority over her. On the other side, ye know who
they are that complain of this yoke and say, let us break
their bands &c. we will not have this man to rule over us.
Even so, brethren, it will be between you and your mag-
istrates. If you stand for your natural corrupt liberties,
and will do what is good in your own eyes, you will not
endure the least weight of authority, but will murmur, and
oppose, and be always striving to shake off that yoke ;
but if you will be satisfied to enjoy such civil and lawful
liberties, such as Christ allows you, then will you quietly
and cheerfully submit unto that authority which is set
over you, in all the administrations of it, for your good.
Wherein, if we fail at any time, we hope we shall be
willing (by God's assistance) to hearken to good advice
from any of you, or in any other way of God ; so shall
your liberties be preserved, in upholding the honour and
power of authority amongst you."

The following notes of the proceedings of the deputies
and magistrates in relation to this affair, were collected
by Mr. Savage, and published in his edition of Winthrop.

^' The first order of the magistrates is, as follows : Fined
the persons after named at such sums as hereafter are
expressed, having been as moderate and gone as low as^
they any ways could with the holding up of authority in


any measure, and the maintenance of justice, desiring
the concurrence of the deputies herein, that at length an
end may be put to this long and tedious business.

Joshua Hubbard is fined £20,00,00

Edmond Hubbard, 5,00,00

Thomas Hubbard, 2,00,00

Edmond Gold, 1,00,00

John Faulshame, 20,00,00

John Towers, 5,00,00

Daniel Cushin, 2,10,00

William Hersey, 10,00,00

Mr. Bozon Allen, 10,00,00

Mr. Peter Hubbard, that first subscribed

the petition 2,00,00

All the rest of the petitioners, being 81, out
of which number are excepted three, viz. Mr.
Peter Hubbard, John Foulshame and John
Towres, the rest making 78, are fined 20
shillings a piece, the sum of which is 155,10,00

^' We have also voted, that according to the order of the
general court, for so long time as their cause hath been
in handling, the petitioners shall bear the charge of the
general court, the sum of which costs is to be, cast up
and agreed by the court, when the cause is finished.

" The liouse of deputies having issued the Hingham
business before the judgment of our honoured magistrates
upon the case came down, they have hereunder express-
ed their determinate censures upon such as they find de-
linquent in the case, viz.

Joshua Hubbard is fined ^£20,00,00

Anthony Eames, 5,00,00

Thomas Hubbard, 4,00,00

Edmond Hubbard, 10,00,00



Daniel Cushan, 4,00,00

William Hersey, 4,00,00
Mr. Allen, beside his proportion with the

train band, 1,00,00

Edmond Gold, 2,00,00

Total, £50,00,00

'^ The rest of the train band of Ilingham, that have an
equal vote allowed them by law for the choice of their
military officers, are fined 55 pounds to be paid by equal
proportion, the which said sums of 50 and 55 pounds are
laid upon the said delinquents for the satisfying of the
charge of the court occasioned by the hearing of the
cause, in case the said charge shall arise to the sum of
105 pounds. The deputies desire the consent of the
magistrates herein.

^' Several discordant votes passed each branch before
the business was brought to its close."

After giving an account of the proceedings of the
court, Winthrop remarks as follows :

^' I should have mentioned in the Hingham case, what
care and pains many of the elders had taken to re-
concile the differences which were grown in that church.
Mr. Hubii^rt, the pastor there, being of a Presbyterial
spirit, did manage all affairs without the church's advice,
which divers of the congregation not liking of, they were
divided in two parts. Lieutenant Emes &c. having com-
plained to the magistrates, as is before expressed, Mr.
Hubbert, &c. would have cast him out of the church,
pretending that he had told a lie, whereupon they
procured the elders to write to the church, and so did
some of the magistrates also, whereupo'n they stayed
proceeding against the lieutenant for a day or two.


But he and some twelve more of them, perceiving he
was resolved to proceed, and finding no way of reconcil-
iation, they withdrew from the church, and openly de-
clared it in the congregation. This course the elders
did not approve of. But being present in the court,
when their petition against the deputy governour was
heard, Mr Hubbert, perceiving the cause was like to go
against him and his party, desired the elders to go to
Hingham to mediate a reconciliation (which he would
never hearken to before, being earnestly sought by the
other party, and offered by the elders) in the interim of
the court's adjournment for one week. They readily
accepted the motion, and went to Hingham, and spent
two or three days there, and found the pastor and his
party in great fault, but could not bring him to any ac-
knowledgment. In their return by water, they were kept
twenty four hours in the boat and were in great danger
by occasion of a tempest which arose in the night ; but
the Lord preserved them."

But the difficulties did not terminate here. The au-
thority of government was resisted when the marshal at-
tempted to levy the fines imposed on the petitioners. The
following is Winthrop's account of the matter :

" 1646. 26. (t.)] The governour and council met at
Boston to take order about a rescue which they were in-
formed of to have been committed at Hingham upon the
marshal, when he went to levy the fines imposed upon
Mr. Hubberd their pastor and many others who joined
with him in the petition against the magistrates &c. and
having taken the information of the marshal and others,
they sent out summons for their appearance at another
day, at which time Mr. Hubberd came not, nor sent
any excuses, though it was proved that he was at home.


and that the summons was left at his house. Whereupon
he was sent for by attachment directed to the constable,
who brought him at the day of the return. And being
then charged with joining in the said rescue by an-
imating the offenders, and discouraging the officer, ques-
tioning the authority of his warrant because it was not in
the king's name, and standing upon his allegiance to the
crown of England, and exemption from such laws as were
not agreeable to the laws of England, saying to the mar-
shal that he could never know wherefore he was finad,
except it were for petitioning, and if they were so wasp-
ish that they might not be petitioned, he knew not what
to say to it &c. All the answer he would give was, that
if he had broken any wholesome law not repugnant to
the laws of England, he was ready to submit to censure.
So he was bound over to the next court of assistants.

'' The court being at Boston, Mr. Hubberd appeared,
and the marshaPs information and other concurrent testi-
mony being read to him, and his answer demanded, he
desired to know in what state he stood, and what offence
he should be charged with, or what wholesome law of
the land, not repugnant to the law of England, he had
broken. The court told him, that the matters he was
charged with amounted to a seditious practice and dero-
gation and contempt of authority. He still pressed to
know what law &c. He was told that the oath which he
had taken was a law to him ; and beside the law of God
which we were to judge by in case of a defect of an ex-
press law. He said that the law of God admitted vari-
ous interpretations Slc. Then he desired to see his ac-
cusers. Upon that the marshal was called, who justified
his information. Then he desired to be tried by a jury,
and to have the witnesses produced viva voce. The


secretary told him that two were present, and the third
was sworn to his examination, (but in that he was mis-
taken, for he had not been sworn,) but to satisfy him, he
was sent for and sworn in court. The matters testified
against him were his speeches to the marshal before thir-
ty persons, against our authority and government &c. 1.
That we were but as a corporation in England ; 2. That
by our patent (as he understood it) we could not put any
man to death, nor do divers other things which we did 5
3. That he knew not wherefore the general court had
fined them, except it were for petitioning, and if they
were so waspish (or captious) as they might not be pe-
titioned &c. and other speeches tending to disparage our
authority and proceedings. Accordingly a bill was drawn
up &.C. and the jury found that he seemed to be ill affect-
ed to this government, and that his speeches tended to
sedition and contempt of authority. Whereupon the
whole court (except Mr. Bellingham, who judged him to
deserve no censure, and desired in open court to have
his dissent recorded) adjudged him to pay 20 pounds fine,
and to be bound to his good behaviour, till the next court
of assistants, and then farther if the court should see
cause. At this sentence his spirit rose, and he would
know what the good behaviour was, and desired the names
of the jury, and a copy of all the proceedings, which was
granted him, and so he was dismissed at present."

In 1646, the celebrated petition of Dr. Child and six
others, for the abolition of " the distinctions which were
maintained here, both in civil and church estate," and
that the people of this country might be wholly governed
by the laws of England, was presented to the house of
deputies. Six of the petitioners were cited before the
court and charged with great offences contained in this


petition : they appealed to the parliament of England,
and offered security to abide by their sentence ; but the
court thought proper to sentence the offenders to fine
and imprisonment. The petitioners then resolved to lay
their case before parliament, and Dr. Child, Mr. Vassall,
and Mr. Fowle went to England for that purpose,* but it
appears that they met with very ill success in their exer-
tions. Their papers were published at London, by Ma-
jor John Child, brother of Dr. Robert Child, in a tract,
entitled JS'^ew EaglamVs Jonas cast up at London, in allu-
sion, probably, to the remark of Mr. Cotton, in one of
his sermons, " that if any shall carry any writings or
complaints against the people of God, in this country to
England, it would be as Jonas in the shipy This tract
was answered by Mr. Winslow, who was then in Eng-
land, in another tract, entitled the Salamander, " wherein
(says Winthrop) he cleared the justice of the proceed-
ings" of the government here.

I introduced this notice of the petition of Dr. Child
and others, for the purpose of correcting an errour into
which Hutchinson and Neal have fallen, in confounding
this controversy with that of our military dispute, which
created so much excitement in the country. It is proper
to mention, however, that Mr. Hobart was suspected of
" having a hand in it," and consequently was obliged to
suffer another of the mortifications to which the relent-
less spirit of persecution had subjected him. I give,
however, Winthrop's account of his treatment in his own

* An amusing account of the superstitious terror of some of the
passengers in the vessel in which the petitioners went to England,
and of the ill success of their petition, may be found in Neai's
History of New England.


"In 1646. (9.) 4.] This court the business of Gor-
ton Sec. and of the petitioners, Dr. Child &c. were taken
into consideration, and it was thought needful to send
some able man into England, with commission and in-
structions, to satisfy the commissioners for plantations
about those complaints ; and because it was a matter of
so great and general concernment, such of the elders as
could be had were sent for, to have their advice in the
matter. Mr. Hubbard of Hingham came with the rest,
but the court being informed that he had an hand in a
petition, which Mr. Vassall carried into England against
the country in general, the governour propounded, that if
any elder present had any such hand Sec. he would with-
draw himself Mr. Hubbard sitting still a good space,
and no man speaking, one of the deputies informed the
court, that Mr. Hubbard was the man suspected, where-
upon he arose, and said, that he knew nothing of any
such petition. The governour replied, that seeing he
was now named, he must needs deliver his mind about
him, which was, that although they had no proof present
about the matter of the petition, and therefore his denial
was a sufficient clearing &<.c. yet in regard he had so
much opposed authority, and offered such contempt to it,
as for which he had been lately bound to his good behav-
iour, he thought he would (in discretion) withdraw him-
self Sec. whereupon he went out. Then the governour
put the court in mind of a great miscarriage, in that our
secretest counsels were presently known abroad, which
could not be but by some among ourselves, and desired
them to look at it as a matter of great uniaithfulness, and
that our present consjliaii .ns might be kept in the breast
of the court, and not be divulged abroad, as others had


TVinthrop then remarks upon a special providence of
God, (as he terms it,) in which he takes it for granted,
that 3Ir. Hobart, the people of Hingham and Dr. Child
entertained similar views, if they did not openly combine
their efforts to promote them.

'^ I must here observe a special providence of God,
pointing out his displeasure against some profane per-
sons, who took part with Dr. Child &c. against the gov-
ernment and churches here. The court had appointed a
general fast, to seek God (as for some other occcasions,
so) in the trouble which threatened us by the petitioners
Sic. The pastor of Hingham and others of his church
(being of their party) made light of it, and some said
they would not fast against Dr. Child and against them-
selves ; and there were two of them (one Pitt and John-
son) who, having a great raft of masts and planks
(worth forty or fifty pounds) to tow to Boston, would
needs set forth about noon the day before (it being im-
possible they could get to Boston before the fast ;) but
when they came at Castle Island, there arose such a tem-
pest, as carried away their raft, and forced them to cut
their masts to save their lives. Some of their masts and
plank they recovered after, where it had been cast on
shore ; but when they came with it to the Castle, they
were forced back again, and were so oft put back with
contrary winds &c. as it was above a month before they
could bring all the remainder to Boston."

The editor of Winthrop in noticing these remarks very
justly observes '' that unless we be careful always to con-
sider the cause of any special providence, we may fail in
our views of the displeasure of God ;" and notices the
fact that the clergy when they came to this town, to re-
duce the church members to sobriety ^' were kept twenty


four hours in the boat, and were in great danger by oc-
casion of a tempest."

The last time at which Mr. Hobart was made to feel
the displeasure of the government, was in 1647. Win-
throp mentions it in the following manner :

"4. (6^ There was a sreat marria2;e to be solemnized
at Boston. The bridegroom being of Hingham, Mr.
Hubbard's church, he was procured to preach, and came
to Boston to that end. But the magistrates, hearing
of it, sent to him to forbear. The reasons were, 1.
for that his spirit had been discovered to be averse to
our ecclesiastical and civil government, and he was a
bold man, and would speak his mind, 2. we were not
willing to bring in the English custom of ministers per-
forming the solemnity of marriage, which sermons at
such times might induce, but if any minister were pres-
ent, and would bestow a word of exhortation &c. it was

I have thus gleaned from Winthrop, all the facts which
his valuable journal contains, relating in any manner to
the military difficulties in this town, and to the conduct
of the most prominent individuals concerned in them.

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Online LibrarySolomon LincolnHistory of the town of Hingham, Plymouth County, Massachusetts → online text (page 6 of 14)