« ZurückWeiter »
Lieutenant Colonel Norton undertaking to settle a Plantation on the river of Agomentico, if I pleased to bear a part with him and his associates.
THIS gentleman was one I had long known, who had raised himself from a soldier to the quality he had, from a corporal to a sergeant, and so upward. He was painful and industrious, well understanding what belonged to his duties in whatsoever he undertook, and strongly affected to the business of plantation. Having acquainted me of his designs and of his associates, I gave him my word I would be his intercessor to the Lords for obtaining him a Patent for any place he desired, not already granted to any other. But conceiving he should be so much the better fortified, if he could get me to be an undertaker with him and his associates, upon his motion I was contented my grandson Ferdinando should be nominated together with him and the rest; to whom was passed a Patent of twelve thousand acres of land upon the east side of the river Agomentico, and twelve thousand of acres more of land on the west side to my said son Ferdinando. Hereupon he and some of his associates hastened to take possession of their territories , carrying with them their families, and other necessay provisions; and I sent over for my son, my nephew Captain William Gorges, who had been my lieutenant in the fort of Plymouth, with some other craftsmen for the building of houses and erecting of sawmills; and by other shipping from Bristol, some cattle, with other servants, by 'which the foundation of the Plantation was laid. And I was the more hopeful of the happy success thereof, for that I had not far from that place Richard Vines, a gentleman and servant of my own, who was settled there some years before, and had been interested in the discovery and seizure thereof for me, as formerly hath been related; by whose diligence and care those my affairs had the better success, as more at large will appear in its in its proper place.
What followed the breaking up of the Parliament in such discontent.
THE King, not pleased with divers the passages of some particular persons, who in their speeches seemed to trench farther on his royal prerogative than stood with his safety and honor to give way unto, suddenly brake off the Parliament. Whereby divers were so fearful what would follow so unaccustomed an action, some of the principal of those liberal speakers being committed to the Tower, others to other prisons-which took all hope of reformation of Church government from many not affecting Episcopal jurisdiction nor the usual practice of the common prayers of the Church, whereof there were several sorts, though not agreeing among themselves, yet all of like dislike of those particulars. Some of the discreeter sort, to avoid what they found themselves subject unto, made use of their friends to procure from the Council for the Affairs of New-England to settle a colony within their limits; to which it pleased the thrice-honored Lord of Warwick to write to me, then at Plymouth, to condescend that a Patent might be granted to such as then sued for it. Whereupon I gave my approbation so far forth as it might not be prejudicial to my son Robert Gorges's interests, whereof he had a Patent under the seal of the Council. Hereupon there was a grant passed as was thought reasonable; but the same but the same was after enlarged by his Majesty, and confirmed under the great seal of England, by the authority whereof the undertakers proceeded so effectually, that in a very short time numbers of people of all sorts flocked thither in heaps, that at last it was specially ordered by the King's command, that none should be suffered to go without license first had and obtained, and they to take the oaths of supremacy and allegiance. So that what I long before prophesied, when I could hardly get any for money to reside there, was now brought to pass in a high measure. The reason of that restraint was grounded upon the several complaints, that came out of those parts, of the divers sects and schisms that were amongst them, all contemning the public government of the ecclesiastical state. And it was doubted that they would, in short time, wholly shake off the royal jurisdiction of the Sovereign Magistrate.
THE SECOND BOOK.
Showing the Reasons of my desire and others my Associates to resign the Grand Patent to his Majesty, and the dividing of the Seacoasts between the Lords who had continued constant favorers and followers thereof.
AFTER I had passed all those failings in my first attempts you have heard of, and had undergone those home storms afore spoken of by those of Virginia, I would willingly have sat down in despair of what I aimed at, but was stirred up and encouraged by the most eminent of our Company, not to give over the business his Majesty did so much approve of, whose gracious favor I should not want, and whereof I had already sufficient proof. Hereupon I began again to erect my thoughts how aught might be effected to advance the weak foundation already laid, when, as it so pleased God to have it, in the year 1621, after the Parliament that then sat brake off in discontent, I was solicited to consent to the passing of a Patent to certain undertakers who intended to transport themselves into those parts, with their whole families, as I showed before. The liberty they obtained thereby, and the report of their well doing, drew after them multitudes of discontented persons of several sects and conditions, insomuch that they began at last to be a pester to themselves, threatening a civil war before they had established a civil form of government between themselves. And doubtless had not the patience and wisdom of Mr. Winthrop, Mr. Humphreys, Mr. Dudley, and others their assistants, been the greater, much mischief would suddenly have overwhelmed them, more than did befall them. Notwithstand
ing, amongst those great swarms there went many that wanted not love and affection to the honor of the King, and happiness of their native country. However, they were mixed with those that had the state of the established Church government in such scorn and contempt, as finding themselves in a country of liberty, where tongues might speak without control, many, fuller of malice than reason, spared not to speak the worst that evil affections could invent, insomuch that the distance of the place could not impeach the transportation thereof to the ears of those it most concerned, and who were bound in honor and justice to vindicate the State he was so eminent a servant unto.
Hereupon the King and his Council began to take into their serious considerations the consequences that might follow so unbridled spirits, and the Lords interested in the government of those affairs finding the King's dislike thereof, considered how to give his Majesty and his Council of State some satisfaction for the time to come, anno 1622. Thereupon it was ordered, that none should be suffered to pass into New-England, but such as did take the oaths of supremacy and allegiance. This held some time, but was omitted till the year 1631; till which time, as the daily reports brought over word of their continued misdemeanors, for that at last I myself was called upon (with others) as being the supporter and author of all that was distasteful. I confessed indeed that I had earnestly sought by all means the planting of those parts by those of our own nation, and that for divers weighty considerations, approved of by the King and his Council; but could not expect that so many evils should have happened thereby. This answer served for the present, but could not wipe away the jealousy that was had of me, though I labored continually to put off the scandalous opinion of such as daily did endeavor to do me evil offices, which I found with the latest; but was thereupon moved to desire the rest of the Lords that were the principal actors in the business, that we might resign our grand patent to the King, and pass particular patents to ourselves of such parts of the country along the seacoast as might be sufficient for our own uses, and such of our private friends as had affections to works of that nature. To this motion there was a general assent by the Lords, and a day appointed too, for the conclusion thereof [April 25, 1635].
The meeting of the Lords for the dividing of the Coast.
THE time being come their Lordships had appointed, an Act was made for the resignation of the Patent,* with the confirmation of our particulars, where the bounds were thus laid out beginning from the westernmost parts of our bounds eastwards, where the Lord of Mougrave began his limits, and ended the same at the river called Hudson's river; to the eastward of the river was placed the Duke of Lenox, since Duke of Richmond, to the end of sixty miles eastward; next to him was placed the Earl of Carlisle; next to him the Lord Edward Gorges; next to him was settled the Marquis Hamilton; next to him Captain John Mason; and lastly myself, whose bounds extended from the midst of Merimeck to the great river of Sagadehocke, being sixty miles, and so up into the main land one hundred and twenty miles.t
The Orders that are settled for the government of my said Province.
BEING now seized of what I had travailed for above forty years, together with the expenses of many thousand pounds, and the best time of my age laden with troubles and vexations from all parts, as you have heard, I will now give you an account in what order I have settled my affairs in that my Province of Maine, with the true form and manner of the government, according to the authority granted me by his Majesty's royal charter. First, I divided the whole into eight bailiwicks or counties, and those again into sixteen several hundreds, consequently into parishes and tithings, as people did increase and the provinces were inhabited,
[* A copy of this Act of Surrender of the Great Charter of New-England may be seen in the first volume of Hazard's Historical Collections, page 393. Pub. Com.] [t Sir Ferdinando Gorges's Patent of his Province of Maine is published in full in the first volume of Hazard's Historical Collections, page 442. It is dated April 3d,` Publishing Committee.]