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[367] the several towns, the powers of legislation and ap-
Chap. IX.}???634
pointment were henceforward intrusted. The trading corporation was unconsciously become a representative democracy.

The law against arbitrary taxation followed. None but the immediate representatives of the people might dispose of lands or raise money. Thus early did Massachusetts echo the voice of Virginia; like the mountain replying to the thunder, or like deep calling unto deep. The state was filled with the hum of village politicians; ‘the freemen of every town in the Bay were busy in inquiring into their liberties and privileges.’ With the exception of the principle of universal suffrage, now so happily established, the representative democracy was as perfect two centuries ago as it is to-day. Even the magistrates, who acted as judges, held their office by the annual popular choice. ‘Elections cannot be safe there long,’ said the lawyer Lechford. The same prediction has been made these two hundred years. The public mind, ever in perpetual agitation, is still easily shaken, even by slight and transient impulses; but after all its vibrations, it follows the laws of the moral world, and safely recovers its balance.

To limit the discretion of the executive, the people next demanded a written constitution; and a commis-

1635 May
sion was appointed ‘to frame a body of grounds of laws in resemblance to a magna charta,’ to serve as a bill of rights. The ministers, as well as the general court, were to pass judgment on the work; and, with partial success, Cotton urged that God's people should be governed by the laws from God to Moses.

The relative powers of the assistants and the depu-

1634 to 1644
ties remained for nearly ten ears the subject of discussion and contest. Both were elected by the people; the former by the whole colony, the latter by the several

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