Chapter 7: civil History.
During the period embraced in the preceding chapter, very important events occurred in England. The ecclesiastical yoke which the Fathers of New England were unable to bear was broken, and the people enjoyed comparative religious freedom. The civil government also was overturned and established on new foundations. King Charles the First was beheaded Jan. 30, 1649, and the House of Lords was soon afterwards suppressed. For a few years, a Parliament consisting of a single House, and the army under the command of Cromwell, as chief general, exercised a joint, or perhaps rather antagonistic, supremacy, until Dec. 16, 1653, when Cromwell, with the title of Protector, grasped the reins of government, which he held with a firm hand so long as he lived. After this Revolution in England, and as one of its consequences, the inhabitants of Cambridge were once more tempted to remove. “Cromwell had been very desirous of drawing off the New Englanders to people Ireland after his successes there, and the inhabitants of New Haven had serious thoughts of removing, but did not carry their design into execution. Jamaica being conquered, Cromwell renewed his invitation to the colony of the Massachusetts to remove and to go and people that island, and it appears by Mr. Leverett's letters and a letter from the General Court to Cromwell, that he had it much at heart. Cromwell foresaw that the West India planters would raise estates far superior to those of the inhabitants of the northern colonies, and though a mere worldly consideration was not proper for him to urge, yet accompanied with the fulfillment of a divine promise, that God's people should be the head and not the tail, it was in character, and he artfully enough joined it with the other consideration. But all was insufficient to induce the people of New England to quit a country where they could live tolerably, and were indulged with all the privileges they desired,  and we have no account of many families having removed.” 1 Although this temptation was offered to the people of the whole Colony, the inhabitants of Cambridge may be supposed to have been peculiarly sensitive to its force, inasmuch as it was presented by one of their most honored and trusted townsmen. Captain Gookin was in England in 1655, and was selected by Cromwell as a special agent to manage this affair. Having received his instructions, he returned to New England and devoted himself earnestly to his appointed task. Several of his letters to Secretary Thurloe concerning this mission are printed in Thurloe's State Papers. In the first, dated Jan. 21, 1655-6, he announces his recent arrival at Boston, “after ten weekes of an exercising passage from the Isle of Wight.” 2 At a later period, he mentions in detail some of his labors, and hopes, and discouragements, reminding the secretary that he undertook the work with some misgivings. This letter may deserve insertion:—
Captain Gookin wrote again, Oct. 23, 1656, announcing the probable failure of the project, inasmuch as “the great difficulties and discouragement the English have grapled with in that place, being fully known here, have made the most considerable persons slow to appeare or ingage to transplant for present, lest they should bring themselves and families into great inconveniences; only there was about three hundred souls that subscribed, who for the most part are young persons under family government, and many of them females, and for quality of low estates, but divers personally godly.” 4  While the Protectorate of Cromwell continued, Massachusetts was a favored colony, and the inhabitants of Cambridge shared the general benefit of political and ecclesiastical privileges. But his death, and the incompetency of his son Richard, prepared the way for the accession (or Restoration, as it was styled) of Charles the Second, who, on the twenty-ninth day of May, 1660, the anniversary of his birth, entered London in triumph. From this time a constant struggle for chartered rights was maintained for many years, resulting in the forcible abrogation of the old charter. In this struggle, Cambridge men were active participants. It is related by Hutchinson, under date of 1660, that, “in the ship which arrived from London the 27th of July there came passengers Col. Whaley and Col. Goffe, two of the late King's judges. . . . . They did not attempt to conceal their persons or characters when they arrived at Boston, but immediately went to the governor, Mr. Endicot, who received them very courteously. They were visited by the principal persons of the town, and among others they take notice of Col. Crown's coming to see them. He was a noted royalist. Although they did not disguise themselves yet they chose to reside at Cambridge, a village about four miles distant from the town, where they went the first day they arrived. . . . . The 22d of February the Governor summoned a court of assistants to consult about securing them, but the court did not agree to it. Finding it unsafe to remain any longer, they left Cambridge the 26th following and arrived at New Haven the 7th of March.” 5 The particular reason why they selected Cambridge for their residence does not distinctly appear. A principal inhabitant of the town, Edward Goffe, was the namesake of one of the regicides, and may have been his brother or cousin; but I have found no proof of such relationship. Perhaps their acquaintance with Captain Gookin may have induced them to reside here. In a “Narrative of the Commissioners from England about New England,” published by Hutchinson in his “Collection of Papers,” 6 it is alleged that “Col. Whaley and Goffe were entertained by the magistrates with great solemnity and feasted  in every place, after they were told they were traytors and ought to be apprehended; they made their abode at Cambridge untill they were furnished with horses and a guide and sent away to Newhaven; for their more security Capt. Daniell Gookin is reported to have brought over and to manage their estates; and the commissioners being informed that he had many cattle at his farm in the King's Province which were supposed to be Whalyes or Goughs, caused them to be seazed for his Majestyes use till further order, but Capt. Gookin, standing upon the privilege of their charter and refusing to answer before the commissioners, as soe, there was no more done in it; Capt. Peirce, who transported Whaly and Gough into New England, may probably say something to their estate.” It has been said that Gookin had made a second visit to England, and that he returned in the same ship with Whalley and Goffe. A fragment of General Goffe's journal, descriptive of his residence in Cambridge, has been printed in the “Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society,” 1863, 1864.7 Among other things he says:—
27d. 5 m. Wee came to anchor betwen Boston and Charlestown betwen 8. and 9. in ye morning: all in good health thro: ye good hand of God! upon us: oh! yt men would praise the Lord for his goodness,—as ps. 107. 21 &c. 29d. 5 m.—Lds day; wee had opportunity of waiting upon God in his publick ordinances, wch wer solemnly performed by Mr. Mitchel. 9d. 6 m.—At night Majr Gookins shewed us a printed paper yt was brought in ye Scotch ship, wherein ye Lords do order 66 members of ye High court of Justice to be secured, wth yr estates,—its dated 18d. May, 1660. But I will meditate on Hebr. 13. 5, 6. 15d. 6 m.—Sup't at Mr. Chancey's; the good old servant of ye Lord, still expressing much affection, & telling us, he was perswaded ye Ld had brought us to this country for good both to them and or selves. 23d. 6 m.—In ye evening wee vissited Elder Frost, who reed us with great kindness & love esteeming it a favour yt we would come into vr mean habitation; assured us of his fervent prayers to ye Lord for us:—A glorious saint makes a mean cottage a stately palace; were I to make my choyce, I would rather abide wth ys saint in his poor cottage then wth any one of ye princes yt I know of at ys day in ye world.  24d. 6 m.—Wee visited G.8 Beale, sorely afflicted with ye stone. He complained yt he could not in ye extremity of ye pain submitt with cheerfullness to ye will of God; & told us yt God spake many things to him under this exercise. 26d. 6 m.—Mr. Mitchell wth diverse came to visit us; or discourse tended to provoke to give up or selves wholly to Jesus Christ and make him ye whole delight of or souls.Within a few days after Whalley and Goffe left Cambridge, orders arrived from England for their arrest; and there was at least a show of earnest exertion, on the part of the magistrates, to overtake them; but the effort was in vain. Knowing that dissatisfaction existed in the English government, not only on account of their friendly reception of the regicides, but also for their persistent disregard of the navigation laws, and many other acts of insubordination, the General Court which assembled May 22, 1661, attempted to remove some of the causes of offence. They rebuked the apostle Eliot for publishing a book advocating a “Christian Commonwealth” rather than a monarchy; they modified their laws concerning Quakers, and soon afterwards expressed their intention to comply with the laws concerning navigation. On the last day of the session, which had extended into June, they adopted a vote which clearly indicates their conception of the grave difficulties which surrounded them, and their anxiety to devise means of escape:—
For as much as the present condition of our affairs in highest concernments call for a diligent and speedy use of the best means seriously to discuss and rightly to understand our liberty and duty, thereby to beget unity amongst ourselves in the due observance of obedience and fidelity unto the authority of England and our own just privileges, for the effecting whereof it is ordered by this Court, that Mr. Symon Bradstreet, Mr. Samuell Symonds, Major General Denison, Mr. Danforth, Major Win. Hauthorne, Capt. Tho. Savage, Capt. Edward Johnson, Capt. Eliazer Lusher, Mr. Mather, Mr. Norton, Mr. Cobbet, and Mr. Michell, be and hereby are appointed a committee, immediately after the dissolution or adjournment of the Court, to meet together in Boston on second day next, at twelve of the clock, to consider and debate such matter or thing of public concernment touching our patent, laws, privileges, and duty to his Majesty, as they in their wisdom shall judge most expedient, and draw up the result of their apprehensions, and present the same to the next session for consideration  and approbation, that so (if the will of God be) we may speak and act the same thing, becoming prudent, honest, conscientious, and faithful men.This important committee consisted of four Assistants, four Deputies, and four clergymen, of whom Danforth and Mitchell were of Cambridge. The report was signed by Danforth, and was probably written by him; it is here inserted, as it indicates the skill and firmness with which encroachments on their chartered rights were resisted by the party of which he was the acknowledged leader. Immediately after the appointment of this committee, the Court adjourned. It met again on the tenth of June, after a recess of probably less than a week. The first business presented was this Report:—
On the last day of the year 1661, the General Court determined to send “Mr. Symon Bradstreet and Mr. John Norton”  to England, as special agents. Among their instructions were these: “1. You shall present us to his majesty as his loyal and obedient subjects.” “（4.) You shall not engage us by any act of yours to anything which may be prejudicial to our present standing according to patent.” 10 The agents were received more favorably than they expected, and returned with a gracious letter from the King. This letter was read in Court, Oct. 8, 1662. In consequence of the King's declaration therein, “We will preserve and do hereby confirm the patent and charter heretofore granted unto them by our royal father of blessed memory, and they shall fully enjoy all the privileges and liberties granted to them in and by the same,” —the Court appointed a special thanksgiving, making mention of “the safe and speedy return of our public messengers sent for England, together with the continuance of the mercies of peace, liberties, and the gospel;” and on the same day it was further ordered, “that henceforth all writs, process, with indictments, shall by all magistrates, the secretary, clerk of the several courts and writs, be made and sent forth in his Majesty's name, i. e., you are hereby required in his Majesty's name, etc., any usage or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.” Some of the other requisitions, especially those interfering with their ecclesiastical polity, were very unwelcome, and the Court was not ready to comply. “The Court, having duly considered of his Majesty's letters now in Court, and the contents thereof, do hereby order the publication thereof. And forasmuch as the said letter hath influence upon the churches as well as the civil state, it is further ordered, that all manner of actings in relation thereunto be suspended until the next General Court, that so all persons concerned may have time and opportunity to consider of what is necessary to be done, in order to his Majesty's pleasure therein.” 11 In their answer to the King's letter, after expressing thankfulness for his confirmation of the charter, the Court say: “As  touching the further purport of the letter, we have this particular account to give, viz: for the repealing of all laws here established since the late changes, contrary and derogatory to his Majesty's authority and government, we having considered thereof, are not conscious to any of that tendency. Concerning the oath of allegiance, we are readily to attend to it as formerly, according to the charter. Touching the administration of justice in his Majesties name, hath been done, the practice whereof, which was discontinued in the late changes, is now reassumed. Concerning liberty to use the common Prayer Book, none as yet among us have appeared to desire it. Touching administration of the sacraments, this matter hath been under consideration of a synod, orderly called, the result whereof our last General Court commended to the several congregations, and we hope will have a tendency to general satisfaction. In reference to our elections of magistrates, we humbly answer, that it hath always been, and is, great care and endeavor, that men of wisdom, virtue and integrity be chosen to places of trust; and to that end, that such as vote in elections should be orthodox in religion, virtuous (and not vicious) in conversation, and all those that according to the orders and customs of the colony here established, agreeable to the provisions of our charter, having proved themselves to be such in their places where they live, have from time to time been admitted in our elections; and if anything yet remain to be acted by us respecting the premises, it is under consideration among us to that end. We humbly desire your honor will be pleased to assure his Majesty of the loyalty and good affection of his subjects here, they resting secure in their charter and his Majesty's gracious aspect towards them.” 12 This letter, manifesting the same spirit which was exhibited a hundred years afterwards,—personal loyalty to the King, but an unwillingness to submit to the arbitrary government of a Council or Parliament in which they were not represented,— was not satisfactory to the English Government; and after some further correspondence, a board of commissioners, consisting of Col. Richard Nichols, Sir Robert Carr, George Cartwright, Esq., and Samuel Maverick, Esq., was appointed in 1664, to visit the New England Colonies and enforce their subjection. A long controversy, shrewdly managed on the part of the Court, resulted in the departure of the commissioners without having accomplished their object. The inhabitants of Cambridge were not  backward in rendering encouragement to their magistrates. At a special session, commencing Oct. 19, 1664,—
The Court being met together and informed that several persons, inhabitants of Cambridge, were at the door and desiring liberty to make known their errand, were called in, and Mr. Edward Jackson, Mr. Richard Jackson, Mr. Edward Oakes, and Deacon Stone, coming before the Court, presented a petition from the inhabitants of Cambridge, which was subscribed by very many hands, in which they testified and declared their good content and satisfaction they took and had in the present government in church and commonwealth, with their resolution to be assisting to and encouraging the same, and humbly desiring all means might be used for the continuance and preservation thereof: and at the same time and the next day several petitions of like nature from Wooborne, Dorchester, Redding, Chelmsford, Concord, Billirrikey, Boston, Dedham, and Meadfield, and also one from several inhabitants of Roxbury, all which are on file.13The Cambridge petition is here inserted, partly on account of its patriotic spirit, and partly to preserve the list of names appended to it:—
It does not appear that Cambridge, in its corporate capacity, was actively engaged in the political contest which continued, with scarcely any intermission, for more than twenty years; but there is the best evidence that its representative men were among the most active leaders in opposition to the arbitrary measures of the English court. Edward Randolph, “the arch enemy of the Colony,” addressing the Lords of Trade in 1676, says: “Amongst the Magistrates, some are good men and well affected  to his Majesty, and would be well satisfied to have his Majesty's authority in a better manner established; but the major part are of different principles, having been in the government from the time they formed themselves into a Commonwealth. These direct and manage all affairs as they please, of which number are Mr. Leverett, Governor,—Mr. Symons, Deputy Governor,— Mr. Danforth, Mr. Ting, Major Clarke, and Major Hathorn, still continued a magistrate, though commanded by his Majesty upon his allegiance to come into England, yet refused, being encouraged in his disobedience by a vote of the Court not to appear, upon some reasons best known to themselves. These, with some few others of the same faction, keep the country in subjection and slavery, backed with the authority of a pretended charter.” 14 To the Bishop of London he writes, May 29, 1682, “I think I have so clearly layd downe the matter of fact, sent over their lawes and orders to confirme what I have wrote, that they cannot deny them: however, if commanded, I will readily pass the seas to attend at Whitehall, especially if Danford, Goggin, and Newell, magistrates, and Cooke, Hutchinson and Fisher, members of their late General Court and great opposers of the honest Governor and majestrates, be sent for to appeare before his Majesty; till which time this country will always be a shame as well as inconveniency to the government at home.” 15 Soon afterwards, June 14, 1682, he writes to the Earl of Clarendon, “His Majesties quo warranto against their charter, and sending for Thomas Danforth, Samuel Nowell, a late factious preacher and now a magistrate, and Daniel Fisher and Elisha Cooke, deputies, to attend and answer the articles of high misdemeanures I have now exhibited against them in my papers sent Mr. Blaithwait per Capt. Foy, will make the whole faction tremble.” 16 “During these distresses of the colony,” says Hutchinson in 1681, “there were two parties subsisting in the government, both of them agreed in the importance of the charter privileges, but differing in opinion upon the extent of them, and upon the proper measures to preserve them. The governor, Mr. Bradstreet, was at the head of the moderate party. Randolph in all his letters takes notice of it. . . . . Mr. Stoughton, Mr. Dudley, and William Brown of Salem, these fell in with the Governor. The deputy governor, Mr. Danforth, was at the head of the other party: the principal members of the court with him were Major Gookins of Cambridge, Peter Tilton of Hadley, Elisha Cooke and Elisha  Hutchinson of Boston. This party opposed the sending over agents, the submitting to acts of trade, &c., and were for adhering to their charter according to their construction of it, and leaving the event. Gookins, being aged, desired a paper he drew up as his dying testimony, might be lodged with the court, containing the reasons of his opinion.” 17 Through the whole of this protracted controversy, Danforth and Gookin, together with the Deputies from Cambridge, continued firm in their resistance to the arbitrary measures of the English government. They were at last overpowered, however, and the Colony was reduced to a state little better than slavery. On the 25th day of May, 1686, Joseph Dudley, the newly appointed President, with his Council, assumed the government of the Colony, the charter having been abrogated. A few months later, Dec. 20, 1686, he was superseded by Sir Edmund Andros, who had been appointed Governor of New England.