arbitrary special commission for the colonies.
archbishop of Canterbury
and those who were associated with him, received full power over the American
plantations, to establish the government and dictate the laws; to regulate the church; to inflict even the heaviest punishments; and to revoke any charter which had been surreptitiously obtained, or which conceded liberties prejudicial to the royal prerogative1
The news of this commission soon reached Boston
and it was at the same time rumored that a general governor was on his way. The intelligence awakened the most lively interest in the whole colony, and led to the boldest measures.
Poor as the new settlements were, six hundred pounds were raised towards fortifications; ‘the assistants and the deputies discovered their minds to one another,’ and the fortifications were hastened.
All the ministers assembled at Boston
marks the age, that their opinions were consulted; it marks the age still more, that they unanimously declared against the reception of a general governor.
‘We ought,’ said the fathers in Israel
, ‘to defend our lawful possessions, if we are able; if not, to avoid and protract.’2
It is not strange that Laud
and his associates should have esteemed the inhabitants of Massachusetts
to be men of refractory humors; complaints resounded of sects and schisms; of parties consenting in nothing but hostility to the church of England; of designs to shake off the royal jurisdiction.3
Restraints were, therefore, placed upon emigration; no one above the
rank of a serving man, might remove to the colony