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‘ [446] serve the brethren and the churches’ in America
Chap. X.}
The declaration was sincere. The people of New England were ever sure that Cromwell would listen to their requests, and would take an interest in all the little details of their condition. He left them independence, and favored their trade. When his arms had made the conquest of Jamaica, he offered them
the island, with the promise of all the wealth which the tropical clime pours prodigally into the lap of industry. and though they frequently thwarted his views, they never forfeited his regard. English history must judge of Cromwell by his influence on the institutions of England; the American colonies remember the years of his power as the period when British sovereignty was for them free from rapacity, intolerance, and oppression. He may be called the benefactor of the English in America; for he left them to enjoy unshackled the liberal benevolence of Providence, the freedom of industry, of commerce, of religion, and of government.1

Yet the Puritans of New England perceived that their security rested on the personal character of the protector, and that other revolutions were ripening; they, therefore, never allowed their vigilance to be lulled. The influence of the elders was confirmed; the civil and the religious institutions had become intimately connected. While the spirit of independence was thus assured, the evils ensued that are in some measure inseparable from a religious establishment; a distinct interest grew up under the system; the severity of the laws was sharpened against infidelity on the one hand, and sectarianism on the other; nor

1 Hutchinson's Coll. 233 and ff. Hutch. Hist. App. No. ix. x. Mass. State Papers, Case i. File VII. No 34; File x. No. 77.

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