of the general court into two branches, that of as-
sistants and of representatives,—a change which was acceptable to the people, and which, from domestic reasons, was ultimately adopted; but they further required an acknowledgment of their own hereditary right to a seat in the upper house.
The fathers of Massachusetts
were disposed to conciliate these powerful friends: they promised them the honors of magistracy, would have readily conferred it on some of them for life, and actually began to make appointments on that tenure; but as for the establishment of hereditary dignity, they answered by the hand of Cotton, ‘Where God blesseth any branch of any noble or generous family with a spirit and gifts fit for government, it would be a taking of God's name in vain to put such a talent under a bushel, and a sin against the honor of magistracy to neglect such in our public elections.
But if God should not delight to furnish some of their posterity with gifts fit for magistracy, we should ex-Dose them rather to reproach and prejudice, and the commonwealth with them, than exalt them to honor, if we should call them forth, when God doth not, to public authority.’
And thus the proposition for establishing hereditary nobility was defeated.
The people, moreover, were uneasy at the permanent concession of office; Saltonstall
, ‘that much-honored and upright-hearted servant of Christ
,’ loudly reproved ‘the sinful innovation,’ and advocated its reform; nor would the freemen be quieted, till it was made a law, that those who were appointed magistrates for
life, should yet not be magistrates except in those years in which they might be regularly chosen at the annual election
The institutions of Massachusetts
, which were thus
endangered by the influence of men of rank in England