Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Edward I. 1272-1307. Edward II. 1307–1327. Edward III. 1327-1377. Richard II. 1377–1399.

Houses of Lancaster and York.

Henry IV. 1399–1413.
Henry V. 1413-1422.
Henry VI. 1422–1461.
Edward IV. 1461-1483.
Edward V. 1483-1483.
Richard III. 1483-1485.

House of Stuart.
James I. 1603-1625.
Charles I. 1625-1649.
(THE COMMONWEALTH).
Charles II. 1660-1685.

James II. 1685–1689. Houses of Stuart and Nassau.

Williain III. 1689–1702.
Mary II. 1689–1694.
Anne,

1702–1714.
House of Brunswick.
George I. 1714-1727.
George II. 1727-1760.
George III. 1760-1820.
George IV. 1820-1830.
William IV. 1830-1837.
Victoria,

House of Tudor. Henry VII. 1485–1509. Henry VIII. 1509–1547. Edward VI. 1547-1553. Mary,

1553-1558. Elizabeth, 1558-1603.

1837

CHAPTER IX.

THE COLONY OF NEW PLYMOUTH.

IN 1497, one year before Columbus discovered the · Discovery by continent of South America, John Cabot Cabot.

and his son Sebastian, sailing under the English flag, discovered the mainland of North America at Labrador, and took possession of it in the name of Henry VII. In accordance with feudal principles, the territory thus acquired became subject not to England, but to the king, who in future grants styled himself the sovereign lord thereof.

In 1606, James I. issued a patent, as it was called, Grants by granting to certain men the territory in James I. North America between the thirty-fourth and forty-fifth degrees of latitude, extending inland fifty miles. These men were to form two companies: the London Company might occupy between the thirty-fourth and forty-first degrees; the Plymouth Company might occupy between the thirty-eighth and forty-fifth degrees; but neither could settle within a hundred miles of the other. These companies were formed for the purpose of trade and settlement. They could send out colonies, and grant land to them, could defend them against all aggressors, and had the absolute monopoly of all trade and commerce that grew

out of their enterprise. The London Company planted Virginia : the other body made only unsuccessful attempts within the limits assigned them.

In 1620 the king incorporated the members of the Plymouth division of the old company The Council for into a new and distinct body called New England. usually - The Council for New England.” To this corporation was given in absolute title the territory between the fortieth and forty-eighth degrees of latitude, extending across the continent from sea to sea. The council received not only the same powers that the old company had, but the right to make all provision for governing the colonists whom they might send out. From this council were received all the titles to lands in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire.

In 1608 a company of Separatists who had been worshipping according to their ideas in the The Pilgrim village of Scrooby, in Nottinghamshire, Church. England, were driven by persecution to fly to Holland, where religious toleration existed. They went to Amsterdam, and thence to Leyden, where they remained until 1620. Not satisfied with their condition here, they decided to emigrate to America.

Two things were necessary: to secure a title to land, and to raise money for the expenses of the Means for Emioutfit. The first they obtained from the gration. London Company, intending to settle within its grant. The king, in general terms, promised that they should be unmolested by him.' They obtained funds by a partnership with some London merchants, but on terms which hindered the prosperity of the colony. Ten pounds was the price of a share in the common stock. Each settler's labor was valued at one share. If he

put in ten pounds in money besides, he was entitled to two shares. The settlers and their families were to live out of the common stock for seven years ; at the end of which time all lands, buildings, &c., were to be divided among the shareholders. The community of property and labor was injurious to the best interests of the settlers. Instead of settling within the territory of the Lon

don Company, they found themselves at Land Grant.

* Cape Cod, and on the 21st of December, 1620, began the settlement of New Plymouth. Eight years after, they obtained from the Council for New England a grant of land with obscurely defined limits, and power to exercise such civil authority as they might find necessary.

The story of their voyage, and the hardships of their first winter, are matters of general history. The object of this chapter is to exhibit the character of their civil government.

They had existed in England and Holland as a Character of church, and, until they reached the New the Colony. World, had been nothing more than a voluntary association, organized first for religious purposes, and then for emigration. Now they were about to become a civil society, and knew that government would be necessary. They were still Englishmen, subjects of King James, and inhabitants of English soil. They were therefore amenable to the laws of England. But there existed no provision for administering those laws. They were left wholly to themselves.

They met this emergency in the spirit of their religious faith ; and, by a compact adopted before their landing, forty-one of the members of the company formed themselves into a civil body politic, and agreed to choose such officers, and make such laws, as their circumstances might make necessary; and they promised submission and obedience to this rule of the whole. Here was the founding of a state; not a sovereign state, because it recognized the authority of King James, but a dependent state for local government.

The original signers of the compact were styled freemen of the colony; and they consti

Freemen. tuted the voting population, with such persons as they by vote of the majority admitted from time to time. For many years no qualifications were specified as necessary in order to become a freeman. In 1658 it was enacted that no Quaker should become a member of their association; and in 1671 freemen were required to be twenty-one years of age, of sober and peaceable conversation, orthodox in the fundamentals of religion,

1 The compact was as follows: “In the name of God, amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c., having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and of one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due subinission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names, at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Doinini 1620.”

« AnteriorContinuar »