Abbildungen der Seite


The reasons of endeavoring to renew our first Patent, and to establish the form of Government by way of Corporation at Plymouth.

AFTER I had made so many trials of the state and commodities of the country, and nature and condition of the people, and found all things agreeable to the ends I aimed at from the first, I thought it sorted with reason and justice to use the like diligence, order and care for our affairs in the Northern Plantation, the Company of Virginia for the Southern, with some alteration of the form of government, as more proper (in our judgment) for affairs of that kind, and like enlargement of the borders, beginning where they ended at forty degrees, and from thence to forty-eight northwards, and into the land from sea to sea. Of this Of this my resolution I was bold to offer the sounder considerations to divers of his Majesty's honorable Privy Council, who had so good liking thereunto, as they willingly became interested themselves therein as patentees and counsellors for the managing of the business; by whose favors I had the easier passage in the obtaining his Majesty's royal charter to be granted us, according to his warrant to the then Solicitor General, the true copy whereof followeth, viz.

To Sir Thomas Coventry, Knight, his Majesty's Solicitor General:

Whereas it is thought fit that a Patent of Incorporation be granted to the adventurers of the Northern Colony in Virginia, to contain the like liberties, privileges, power, authorities, lands and all other things within their limits, namely, between the degrees of forty and forty-eight, as were heretofore granted to the company in Virginia, excepting only that whereas the said Company have a freedom of custom and subsidy for twenty-one years, and of impositions forever, this new Company is to be free of custom and subsidy for the like term of years, and of impositions after so long time as his Majesty shall please to grant unto them. This shall be therefore to will and require you to prepare a

Patent* ready for his Majesty's royal signature to the purpose aforesaid, leaving a blank for the time of freedom from imposition, to be supplied and put in by his Majesty; for which this shall be your warrant. Dated 23d July, 1620. Signed by the








Showing the troubles I underwent by the reason of the Company of Virginia's exceptions, taken at the Patent granted by the Lords and others for the Affairs of New-England.

I HAVE briefly given you an account of the failings and disasters of what hath passed in those my former and foreign undertakings. I will now (with your patience) let you see some of my troubles I met with where I might have hoped for a comfortable encouragement.. But such is (we commonly see) the condition of human nature, that what is well intended and confidently pursued by a public spirit, is notwithstanding sometimes by others made subject to exceptions, and so prosecuted as a matter worthy of reprehension. So fared it with me at this present. For I had no sooner passed the Patent under the great seal, but certain of the Company of Virginia took exceptions thereat, as conceiving it tended much to their prejudice, in that they were debarred the intermeddling within our limits, who had formerly excluded us from having to do with theirs. Hereupon several complaints were made to the King and Lords of the Privy Council, who, after many deliberate hearings and large debate on both sides, saw no cause wherefore we should not enjoy what the King had granted us, as well as they what the King had

[* This Patent is published in Hazard's Historical Collections, Vol. I. page 103. It is dated November 3, 1620. By this instrument forty noblemen, knights and gentlemen, were incorporated by the style of "The Council established at Plymouth, in the county of Devon, for the planting, ruling, ordering and governing of NewEngland, in America." This is the Great Charter of New-England, and the foundation of all the grants which were made within its territory. Publishing Committee.]

granted them, especially having obtained from him so many gracious favors over and above our aims; as namely, several free gifts, divers great salaries, and other great advantages, to the value (as I have understood) of five or six hundred thousand pounds; whereas our ambition only aimed at the enjoying of his Majesty's favor and justice to protect and support us in our freedoms, that we might peaceably reap the benefits of God's gracious gifts, raised by our own industries, without any of their help or hindrances; our desires being so fair that all that were not over partial easily assented thereunto, and ordered it accordingly, as by the same it may appear. But that could not satisfy; for I was plainly told, that howsoever I had sped before the Lords, I should hear more of it the next Parliament, assuring me that they would have three hundred voices more than I. Whereupon I replied, If justice could be overthrown by voices, it should not grieve me to lose what I had so honestly gotten. The next Parliament was no sooner assembled [1621], but I found it too true wherewith I was formerly threatened, as you may see it following.

[ocr errors]


My being summoned to appear in the House of Parliament to answer what was to be objected against the Patent of NewEngland.

THE Whole House being dissolved into a Committee, Sir Edward Cook being in the chair, I was called for to the bar, where, after some space, it pleased him to tell me that the House understood that there was a Patent granted to me and divers other noble persons therein nominated, for the establishing of a colony in New-England. This (as it seems) was a grievance of the Commonwealth, and so complained of, in respect of many particulars therein contained contrary to the laws and privileges of the subjects, as also that it was a monopoly, and the color of planting a colony put upon it for particular ends and private gain, which the House was to look unto, and to minister justice to all parties; assuring me further, that I should receive nothing but justice, and that the House would do no wrong to any; that I was a

gentleman of honor and worth, but the public was to be respected before all particulars. But before they could descend to other matters in the business, the Patent was to be brought into the House; therefore he required the delivery of it.

To this general charge and special command I humbly replied, that for my own part I was but a particular person, and inferior to many to whom the Patent was granted, having no power to deliver it without their assents; neither in truth was it in my custody. But being demanded who had it, I answered that it remained still (for aught I knew) in the Crown Office, where it was left since the last Parliament; for that it was resolved to be renewed for the amendment of some faults contained therein; from whence, if it pleased the House, they might command it, and dispose thereof as their wisdoms thought it good. But to the general charge I know not (under favor) how any action of that kind could be a grievance to the public, seeing at first it was undertaken for the advancement of religion, the enlargement of the bounds of our nation, the increase of trade, and the employment of many thousands of all sorts of people.

That I conceived it could not be esteemed a monopoly, though it is true at the first discovery of the coast few were interested in the charge thereof, for many could not be drawn to adventure in actions of that kind where they were assured of loss, and small hopes of gain.

And indeed so many adventures had been made, and so many losses sustained and received, that all or the most part that tasted thereof grew weary, till now it is found by our constant perseverance therein, that some profit, by a course of fishing upon that coast, may be made extraordinary; which was never intended to be converted to private uses by any grant obtained by us from his Majesty, as by the several offers made to all the maritime cities and towns in the Western parts, that pleased to partake of the liberties and immunities granted to us by his Majesty; which was desired principally for our warrant to regulate those affairs, the better to settle the public Plantation by the profits to be raised by such as sought the benefit thereof; being no more in effect than many private gentlemen and lords of manors within our own countries enjoyed at this present, and that both agreeable to the laws and justice of our nation

without offence to the subjects' liberties. But for my particular, I was glad of the present occasion that had so happily called them together from all parts of the kingdom, to whom I was humbly bold, in the behalf of myself and the rest of those intrusted in the Patent, to make present proffer thereof to the House for the general estate of the whole kingdom, so they would prosecute the settling the Plantation, as from the first was intended; wherein we would be their humble servants in all that lay in our power, without looking back to the great charge that had been expended in the discovery and seizure of the coast, and bringing it to the pass it was come unto. That what was more to be said to the Patent for the present, I humbly prayed I might receive in particular, to the end I might be the better furnished to give them answer thereunto by my counsel, at such time they pleased to hear me again, being confident I should not only have their approbation in the further prosecuting so well-grounded a design, but their furtherance also. Howsoever, I was willing to submit the whole to their honorable censures. Hereupon it was ordered, that the Patent should be looked into by a committee assigned for that purpose, and the exceptions taken against it delivered to me, that had a prefixed day to attend them again with my counsel at law to answer to those their objections.


My second appearance, with my Counsel.

THE time assigned being come, and I not receiving their objections (as by the House it was ordered) I attended without my counsel, in that I wanted upon which to build my instructions for preparing them, as in duty I ought. But being called, I humbly told them, that in obedience to their commands, I attended to receive the House's objections against the Patent of New-England; but it was not yet come to my hands. Where the fault was I knew not, and therefore I besought them to assign me a new day, and to order I might have it delivered to me as was intended. Or otherwise, if they so pleased, I was ready without my counsel to answer what could be objected, doubting they might

« ZurückWeiter »