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[321] was ever impossible to obtain a charter from the king;
Chap. VIII.} 1630
so that, according to the principles adopted in England, the planters, with an unquestionable property in the soil, had no right to assume a separate jurisdiction. It was therefore in the virtues of the colonists themselves, that their institutions found a guaranty for stability. They never hesitated to punish small offences; it was only after some scruples, that they inflicted capital punishment. Their doubts being once removed, they exercised the same authority as the charter governments. Death was, by subsequent laws, made the penalty for several crimes; but was never inflicted except for murder. House-breaking and highway robbery were offences unknown in their courts, and too little apprehended to be made subjects of severe legislation.

The progress of population was very slow. The lands in the vicinity were not fertile; and at the end of ten years the colony contained no more than three hundred souls. Few as were their numbers, they had struck deep root, and would have outlived every storm, even if they had been followed by no other colonies in New England. Hardly were they planted in America, when their enterprise began to take a wide range; before Massachusetts was settled, they had acquired rights at Cape Ann, as well as an extensive domain on the Kennebec; and they were the first to possess an English settlement on the banks of the Connecticut. The excellent Robinson died at

1625 Mar. 1.
Leyden, before the faction in England would permit his removal to Plymouth; his heart was in America, where his memory will never die. The remainder of his people, and with them his wife and children, emigrated, so soon as means could be provided to defray

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