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[320] at an advance of seventy per cent. The curse of
Chap. VIII.}
usury, which always falls so heavily upon new settlements, did not spare them; for, being left without help from the partners, they were obliged to borrow money at fifty per cent. and at thirty per cent. interest. At last, the emigrants themselves succeeded in purchasing the entire rights of the English adventurers; the common property was equitably divided, and agriculture established immediately and completely on the basis of private possessions. For a six years monopoly of the trade, eight of the most enterprising men assumed all the engagements of the colony; so that the cultivators of the soil became really freeholders; neither debts nor rent day troubled them.

The colonists of Plymouth had exercised selfgovernment without the sanction of a royal patent. Yet their claim to their lands was valid, according to the principles of English law, as well as natural justice. They had received a welcome from the aborigines; and the council of Plymouth, through the

1621.
mediation of Sir Ferdinand Gorges,1 immediately issued a patent to John Pierce for their benefit. But the trustee, growing desirous of becoming lord proprietary, and holding them as tenants, obtained a
1623.
new charter, which would have caused much difficulty, had not his misfortunes compelled him to transfer his rights to the company. When commerce extended to the Kennebec, a patent for the adjacent territory was easily procured. The same year, Allerton was again
16
sent to London to negotiate an enlargement of both the grants; and he gained from the council of Plymouth concessions equal to all his desires. But it

1 Gorges' Description, 24. Briefe Narration, c. XXII.

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