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[438] expression nearly synonymous with an attempt to
Chap. X.}
acknowledge the direct supremacy of parliament William Vassal, of Scituate, was the chief of the ‘busy and factious spirits, always opposite to the civil governments of the country and the way of its churches;’ and, at the same time, through his brother a member of the Long Parliament and of the commission for the colonies, he possessed influence in England. The movement began in Plymouth, by a proposition ‘for a full and free tolerance of religion to all men, without exception against Turk, Jew, Papist, Arian, Socinian, Familist, or any other.’ The deputies, not perceiving any political purpose, were ready to adopt the motion. ‘You would have admired,’ wrote Winslow to Winthrop, ‘to have seen how sweet this carrion relished to the palate of most of them.’1 The plan was defeated by delay; and Massachusetts became the theatre of action.

The new party desired to subvert the charter government, and introduce a general governor from England. They endeavored to acquire strength by rallying all the materials of opposition. The friends of Presbyterianism were soothed by hopes of a triumph; the democratic party was assured that the government should be more popular; while the penurious were provoked by complaints of unwise expenditures and intolerable taxations.2 But the people refused to be deceived; and when a petition for redress of grievances was presented to the general court, it was evidently designed for English ears. It had with difficulty obtained the signatures of seven men, and of these, some were sojourners in the colony, who

1 Hutch. Coll. 154

2 Johnson, II. Mass. Hist. Coll. VIII 6.

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