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[344] with the undefined prerogative of the king, and the
Chap. IX.} 1629.
rising claim to paramount legislative authority by Parliament.

The company was authorized to transport to its American territory any persons, whether English or foreigners, who would go willingly, would become lieges of the English king, and were not restrained ‘by especial name;’ and they were encouraged to do so by a promise of favor to the commerce of the colony with foreign parts, and a total or partial exemption from duties for seven and for twenty-one years. If the pretension to a right of imposing duties after that limited time was not renounced, it was at least declared, that the emigrants and their posterity should ever be considered as natural born subjects, entitled to all English liberties and immunities.

The political rights of the colonists were deemed by King Charles no further worthy of his consideration; the corporate body alone was to decide what liberties they should enjoy. All ordinances published under its seal were to be implicitly obeyed. Full legislative and executive authority was conferred, not on the future inhabitants of New England, but on the company, of which the emigrants could not be active members so long as its meetings were held in England. Yet, as if by design, the place for holding its courts was not specially appointed. What if the corporation should admit the emigrants to be freemen, and call a meeting beyond the Atlantic? What if the Governor, deputy, assistants, and freemen, should transfer themselves and their patent to Massachusetts, and after thus breaking down the distinction between the colony and the corporation, by a daring construction of their powers under the charter erect an independent representative government?

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