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[434] aristocratic caucus, nominated several persons for office,
Chap. X.}
and the people took care to reject every one of the candidates thus proposed. On the other hand, when one of the ministers attempted to dissuade the people from choosing the same officers twice in succession, they disliked the interference of the adviser more than they loved the doctrine of frequent change, and reelected the old magistrates almost without exception. The condition of a new colony which discarded the legislation of the mother country, necessarily left many things to the opinions of the executive. The people were loud in demanding a government of law, and not of discretion. No sooner had the benevolent Winthrop pleaded against the establishment of an exact penalty for every offence,—because justice, not less than mercy, imposed the duty of regulating the punishment by the circumstances of the case,—than the cry of arbitrary power was raised; and the people refused the hope of clemency, when it was to be obtained from the accidental compassion and the capricious judgments of a magistrate. The authority exercised by the assistants during the intervals between the sessions, became a subject of apprehension. The popular party, having a majority
of the deputies, proposed to substitute a joint commission. The proposition being declined as inconsistent with the patent, they then desired to reserve the question for further deliberation. When to this it was answered, that, in the mean time, the assistants would act according to the power and trust which they claimed by the charter, the deputies immediately rejoined, by their speaker, Hawthorne, ‘You will not be obeyed.’ The same spirit occasioned the strenuous, though unsuccessful efforts to deprive the magistrates of their negative on the doings of the house. The negative

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