should think fit, to elect and constitute all requisite
subordinate officers, and to make laws and ordinances for the welfare of the company and for the government of the lands and the inhabitants of the plantation, ‘so as such laws and ordinances be not contrary and repugnant to the laws and statutes of the realm of England
‘The principle and foundation of the charter of Massachusetts
,’ wrote Charles the Second at a time when he had Clarendon
for his adviser, ‘was the freedom of liberty of conscience.’
The governor, or his deputy, or two of the assistants, was empowered, but not required, to administer the oaths of supremacy and allegiance to every person who should go to inhabit the granted lands; and as the statutes, establishing the common prayer and spiritual courts, did not reach beyond the realm, the silence of the charter respecting them released the colony from their binding power.
The English government did not foresee how wide a departure from English usages would grow out of the emigration of Puritans to America
; but as conformity was not required of the new commonwealth, the character of the times was a guaranty, that the immense majority of emigrants would be fugitives who scrupled compliance with the common prayer.
The prelatical party had no motive to emigrate; it was Puritanism, almost alone, that would pass over; and freedom of Puritan
worship was necessarily the purpose and the result of the colony.
The proceedings of the company, moreover, did not fall under the immediate supervision of the king, and did not require his assent to render them valid; so that self-direction in ecclesiastical as well as civil affairs, passed to the patentees, subject only to conflicts