might hold public Christian conference, provided that
nothing be imposed by way of authority by one or more churches upon another, but only by way of brotherly consultations.
Such were the most important of the liberties and laws, established at the end of 1641, for the govern.
ment of Massachusetts
Embracing the freedom of the commonwealth, of municipalities, of persons, and of churches according to the principles of Independency, ‘the model’ exhibits the truest picture of the principles, character, and intentions of that people, and the best evidence of its vigor and self-dependence.
Soon after the promulgation of its ‘liberties,’ the territory of Massachusetts
was extended to the Piscataqua
, for which the strict interpretation of its charter offered an excuse.
The people of New Hampshire
had long been harassed by vexatious proprietary claims; dreading the perils of anarchy, they now provided a remedy for the evils of a disputed jurisdiction by the immediate exercise of their natural rights; and, on the fourteenth of April, 1642, by their own voluntary act, they were annexed to their powerful neighbor, not as a province, but on equal terms, as an integral portion of the state.
The change was effected with great deliberation.
The banks of the Piscataqua
had not been peopled by Puritans; and the system of Massachusetts
could not properly be applied to the new acquisitions.
In September, the general court adopted the measure which justice recommended; neither the freemen nor the deputies of New Hampshire
were required to be church members.
Thus political harmony was maintained, though the settlements long retained marks of the difference of their origin.