form of the first confederated government1
It was a directory, apparently without any check.
There was no president, except as a moderator of its meetings; and the larger state, Massachusetts
, superior to all the rest in territory, wealth, and population, had no greater number of votes than New Haven, But the commissioners were, in reality, little more than a deliberative body: they possessed no executive power, and, while they could decree a war and a levy of troops, it remained for the states to carry their votes into effect.
Provision was made for the reception of new members into the league; but the provision was wholly without results.
The people beyond the Piscataqua
were not admitted, because ‘they ran a different course’ from the Puritans, ‘both in their ministry and in their civil administration.’
The plantations of Providence
also desired in vain to participate in the benefits of the union;2
and the request of the island of Rhode Island
was equally rejected, because it would not consent to form a part of the jurisdiction of Plymouth
Yet this early confederacy survived the jealousies of the Long Parliament, met with favor from the protector, and remained safe from censure on the restoration of the Stuarts.
Its chief office was the security of the settlements against the natives, whose power was growing more formidable in proportion as they became acquainted with the arts of civilized life.
But they were, at the same time, weakened by dissensions among themselves.
Now that the Pequod
nation was extinct, the more