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   Chapter 3 — THE COMMONWEALTH.

The Emancipation of Massachusetts By Brooks Adams Characters: 64622

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The mysteries of the Holy Catholic Church had been venerated for ages when Europe burst from her medi?val torpor into the splendor of the Renaissance. Political schemes and papal abuses may have precipitated the inevitable outbreak, but in the dawn of modern thought the darkness faded amidst which mankind had so long cowered in the abject terrors of superstition. Already in the beginning of the fifteenth century many of the ancient dogmas had begun to awaken incredulity, and sceptics learned to mock at that claim to infallibility upon which the priesthood based their right to command the blind obedience of the Christian world. Between such adversaries compromise was impossible; and those who afterward revolted against the authority of the traditions of Rome sought refuge under the shelter of the Bible, which they grew to reverence with a passionate devotion, believing it to have been not only directly and verbally inspired by God, but the only channel through which he had made known his will to men.

Thus the movement was not toward new doctrines; on the contrary, it was the rejection of what could no longer be believed. Calvin was no less orthodox than St. Augustine in what he accepted; his heresy lay in the denial of enigmas from which his understanding recoiled. The mighty convulsion of the Reformation, therefore, was but the supreme effort of the race to tear itself from the toils of a hierarchy whose life hung upon its success in forcing the children to worship the myths of their ancestral religion.

Three hundred years after Luther nailed his theses to the church door the logical deduction had been drawn from his great act, and Christendom had been driven to admit that any concession of the right to reason upon matters of faith involved the recognition of the freedom of individual thought. But though this noble principle has been at length established, long years of bloodshed passed before the victory was won; and from the outset the attitude of the clergy formed the chief obstacle to the triumph of a more liberal civilization; for howsoever bitterly Catholic and Protestant divines have hated and persecuted each other, they have united like true brethren in their hatred and their persecution of heretics; for such was their inexorable destiny.

Men who firmly believe that salvation lies within their creed alone, and that doubters suffer endless torments, never can be tolerant. They feel that duty commands them to defend their homes against a deadly peril, and even pity for the sinner urges them to wring from him a recantation before it is too late; and then, moreover, dissent must lessen the power and influence of a hierarchy and may endanger its very existence; therefore the priests of every church have been stimulated to crush out schism by the two strongest passions that can inflame the mind-by bigotry and by ambition.

In England the Reformation was controlled by statesmen, whose object was to invest the crown with ecclesiastical power, and who made no changes except such as they thought necessary for their purpose. They repudiated the papal supremacy, and adopted articles of religion sufficiently evangelical in form, but they retained episcopacy, the liturgy, and the surplice; the cross was still used in baptism, the people bowed at the name of Jesus, and knelt at the communion. Such a compromise with what they deemed idolatry was offensive to the stricter Protestants, and so early as 1550 John Hooper refused the see of Gloucester because he would not wear the robes of office; thus almost from its foundation the church was divided into factions, and those who demanded a more radical reform were nicknamed Puritans. As time elapsed large numbers who could no longer bring themselves to conform withdrew from the orthodox communion, and began to worship by themselves; persecution followed, and many fled to Holland, where they formed congregations in the larger towns, the most celebrated of them being that of John Robinson at Leyden, which afterward founded Plymouth. But the intellectual ferment was universal, and the same upheaval that was rending the church was shaking the foundations of the state: power was passing into the hands of the people, but a century was to elapse before the relations of the sovereign to the House of Commons were fully adjusted. During this interval the Stuarts reigned and three of the four kings suffered exile or death in the fierce contest for mastery.

The fixed determination of Charles I. was to establish a despotism and enforce conformity with ritualism; and the result was the Great Rebellion.

Among the statesmen who advised him, none has met with such scant mercy from posterity as Laud, who has been gibbeted as the impersonification of narrowness, of bigotry, and of cruelty. The judgment is unscientific, for whatever may be thought of the humanity or wisdom of his policy, he only did what all have done who have attempted to impose a creed on men.

The real grievance has never been that an observance has been required, or an indulgence refused, but that the right to think has been denied. Provided a boundary be fixed within which the reason must be chained, the line drawn by Laud is as reasonable as that of Calvin; Geneva is no more infallible than Canterbury or Rome. Comprehension is the dream of visionaries, for some will always differ from any confession of faith, however broad; and where there are dogmas there will be heretics till all have perished. But in their fear and hatred of individual free thought regarding the mysteries of religion, Laud, Calvin, and the Pope agreed.

With the progress of the war, the Puritans, who had at first been united in their opposition to the crown, themselves divided; one party, to which most of the peers and of the non-conforming clergy belonged, being anxious to reestablish the monarchy, and set up a rigid Presbyterianism; the other, of whose spirit Cromwell was the incarnation, resolving each day more firmly to crush the king and proclaim freedom of conscience; and it was this doctrine of toleration which was the snare and the abomination in the eyes of evangelical divines.

Robert Baillie, the Scotch commissioner, while in London, anxiously watching the rise of the power of the Independents in Parliament, with each victory of their armies in the field wrote, "Liberty of conscience, and toleration of all and any religion, is so prodigious an impiety that this religious parliament cannot but abhor the very meaning of it." Nor did his reverend brethren of the Westminster Assembly fall any whit behind him when they rose to expound the word. In a letter of 17th May, 1644, he thus described their doctrine: "This day was the best that I have seen since I came to England.... After D. Twisse had begun with a brief prayer, Mr. Marshall prayed large two hours, most divinely, confessing the sins of the members of the assembly, in a wonderful, pathetick, and prudent way. After, Mr. Arrowsmith preached an hour, then a psalm; thereafter, Mr. Vines prayed near two hours, and Mr. Palmer preached an hour, and Mr. Seaman prayed near two hours, then a psalm; after, Mr. Henderson brought them to a sweet conference of the heat confessed in the assembly, and other seen faults to be remedied, and the conveniency to preach against all sects, especially Anabaptists and Antinomians. Dr. Twisse closed with a short prayer and blessing." [Footnote: Baillie's Letters and Journals, ii. 18.]

But Cromwell, gifted with noble instincts and transcendent political genius, a layman, a statesman, and a soldier, was a liberal from birth till death.

"Those that were sound in the faith, how proper was it for them to labor for liberty, ... that men might not be trampled upon for their consciences! Had not they labored but lately under the weight of persecution? And was it fit for them to sit heavy upon others? Is it ingenuous to ask liberty and not to give it? What greater hypocrisy than for those who were oppressed by the bishops to become the greatest oppressors themselves, so soon as their yoke was removed? I could wish that they who call for liberty now also had not too much of that spirit, if the power were in their hands." [Footnote: Speech at dissolution of first Parliment, Jan. 22, 1655. Carlyle's Cromwell, iv. 107.]

"If a man of one form will be trampling upon the heels of another form, if an Independent, for example, will despise him under Baptism, and will revile him and reproach him and provoke him,-I will not suffer it in him. If, on the other side, those of the Anabaptist shall be censuring the godly ministers of the nation who profess under that of Independency; or if those that profess under Presbytery shall be reproaching or speaking evil of them, traducing and censuring of them, as I would not be willing to see the day when England shall be in the power of the Presbytery to impose upon the consciences of others that profess faith in Christ,-so I will not endure any reproach to them." [Footnote: Speech made September, 1656. Carlyle's Cromwell, iv. 234.]

The number of clergymen among the emigrants to Massachusetts was very large, and the character of the class who formed the colony was influenced by them to an extraordinary degree. Many able pastors had been deprived in England for non-conformity, and they had to choose between silence or exile. To men of their temperament silence would have been intolerable; and most must have depended upon their profession for support. America, therefore, offered a convenient refuge. The motives are less obvious which induced the leading laymen, some of whom were of fortune and consequence at home, to face the hardships of the wilderness. Persecution cannot be the explanation, for a government under which Hampden and Cromwell could live and be returned to Parliament was not intolerable; nor does it appear that any of them had been severely dealt with. The wish of the Puritan party to have a place of retreat, should the worst befall, may have had its weight with individuals, but probably the influence which swayed the larger number was the personal ascendancy of their pastors, for that ascendancy was complete. In a community so selected, men of the type of Baillie must have vastly outnumbered those of the stamp of Cromwell, and in point of fact their minds were generally cast in the ecclesiastical mould and imbued with the ecclesiastical feeling. Governor Dudley represented them well, and at his death some lines were found in his pocket in which their spirit yet glows in all the fierceness of its bigotry.

"Let men of God in Courts and Churches watch

O're such as do a Toleration hatch,

Lest that Ill Egg bring forth a Cockatrice,

To poison all with heresie and vice."

[Footnote: Magnalia, bk. 2, ch. v. section 1.]

In former ages churches had been comprehensive to this extent: infants had been baptized, and, when the child had become a man, he had been admitted to the communion as a matter of course, unless his life had given scandal; but to this system the Congregationalist was utterly opposed. He believed that, human nature being totally depraved, some became regenerate through grace; that the signs of grace were as palpable as any other traits of character, and could be discerned by all the world; therefore, none should be admitted to the sacrament who had not the marks of the elect; and as in a well-ordered community the godly ought to rule, it followed that none should be enfranchised but members of the church.

To suppose such a government could be maintained in England was beyond the dreams even of an enthusiast, and there can be little doubt that the controlling incentive with many of those who sailed was the hope, with the aid of their divines, of founding a religious commonwealth in the wilderness which should harmonize with their interpretation of the Scriptures.

The execution of such a project was, however, far from easy. It would have been most unsafe for the emigrants to have divulged their true designs, since these were not only unlawful, but would have been highly offensive to the king, and yet they were too feeble to exist without the protection of Great Britain, therefore it was necessary to secure for themselves the rights of English subjects, and to throw some semblance at least of the sanction of law over the organization of their new state. Accordingly, a patent [Footnote: March 4, 1629.] was obtained from the crown, by which twenty-five persons were incorporated under the name of the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England; and as the extent of the powers therein granted has given rise to a controversy which is not yet closed, it is necessary to understand the nature of that instrument in order to comprehend the bearings of the bitter strife which darkens the history of the first fifty years of the colony.

The germ of the written charter is so ancient as to be lost in obscurity. During the Middle Ages, oppression was, speaking generally, the accepted condition of society, no man not noble having the right in theory, or the power in practice, to control his own actions without interference from his feudal superior. Under such circumstances the only hope for the weak was to combine, and most of the early triumphs of freedom were won by combinations of commons against some noble, or of nobles against a king. Organization is difficult for a peasantry, but easy for burghers, and from the outset these seem to have united for their common defense against the neighboring barons; and thus was born the medi?val guild.

The ancient townsmen were not usually strong enough to fight for their liberties, so they generally resorted to purchase; they agreed with their lord upon a price to be paid for a privilege, and were given for their money a grant, which, because it was written, was called a charter.

The following charter of the Merchants' Guild of Leicester is very early and very simple. It presupposes that there could be no doubt about the local customs, which are therefore not enumerated, and it shows that the guild of Leicester existed as a corporation at the Conquest, and must already have held property in succession and been liable to suit through two reigns:-

"Robert, Earl of Mellent, to Ralph, and all his barons, French and English, of all his land in England, greeting: Know ye, that I have granted to my merchants of Leicester their Guild Merchant, with all customs which they held in the time of King William, of King William his son, and now hold in the time of Henry the king.

"Witness: R., the son of Alcitil."

The object of these ancient writings was only to record the fact of corporate existence; the popular custom by which the guilds were regulated was taken for granted; but obviously they must have had succession, been liable to suit, able to contract, and, in a word, to do all those acts which were afterward set forth. And such has uniformly been the process by which English jurisprudence has been shaped; a usage grows up that courts recognize, and, by their decisions, establish as the common law; but judicial decisions are inflexible, and, as they become antiquated, they are themselves modified by legislation. Lawyers observed these customary companies for some centuries before they learned what functions were universal; but, with the lapse of time, the patents became more elaborate, until at length a voluminous grant of each particular power was held necessary to create a new corporation.

A merchants' guild, like the one of Leicester, was an association of the townsmen for their common welfare. Every trader was then called a merchant, and as almost every burgher lived by trade, and was also a landowner, to the extent at least of his dwelling, it followed that the guild practically included all free male inhabitants; the guild hall was used as the town hall, the guild ordinances were the town ordinances, and the corporation became the government of the borough, and as such chose persons to represent it in Parliament, when summoned by the king's writ to send burgesses to Westminster.

London is a corporation by prescription and not by virtue of any particular charter, and to this day its city hall is called by the ancient name, Guild Hall. But with the growth of wealth and population the original fraternity divided into craft organizations (so long ago, indeed, that no record of its existence remains), and each trade organized a guild, with a hall of its own; and thus it came to pass that the twelve livery companies-the Mercers, the Grocers, the Goldsmiths, the Drapers, the Fishmongers, and the rest-became the government of the capital of England.

All medi?val institutions tended to aristocracy and monopoly, and, accordingly, after the merchant guilds had split into these corporate trade unions, boroughs waxed exclusive, and membership, instead of being an incident of citizenship, grew to confer citizenship itself; thus the franchise, being confined to freemen, and freedom or membership having come to depend on birth, marriage, election, or purchase, the constituencies which returned a majority of the House of Commons grew so petty and corrupt as to threaten the existence of parliamentary government itself, and the abuse at last culminated in the agitation which produced the Reform Bill.

When legal forms had taken shape, the land upon which a town stood was not unusually granted to the mayor and commonalty by metes and bounds, [Footnote: See Charter of Plymouth, granted 1439. History of Plymouth, p. 50. The incorporation was by statute.] to them and their successors forever, upon payment of a rent; and the mayor and common council were empowered to make laws and ordinances for the local government, and to fine, imprison, and sometimes whip and otherwise punish offenders, so as their statutes, fines, pains, and penalties were reasonable and not repugnant to law. [Footnote: History of Tiverton, App. 5.] The foreign trading company was an offshoot of the guild, and was intended to protect commerce. Obviously some such organization must have been necessary, for, if property was insecure within the realm, it was far more exposed without; and, indeed, in the fourteenth century, English merchants domiciled on the Continent could hardly have been safer than Europeans are now who garrison the so-called factories upon the coast of Africa.

At the Conquest, the Hanse merchants had a house in London, which was afterward famous as the Steel Yard. They lived a strange life,-a combination of that of the trader, the soldier, and the monk. Their fortified warehouse, exposed to the attacks of the ferocious mob, was occasionally taken and sacked; and the garrison shut up within was subject to an iron discipline. They were forbidden to marry, no woman passed the gates, nor did they ever sleep a night without the walls; but, always on the watch, they lay in their cells ready to repulse a storm. For many years these Germans seem to have monopolized the carrying trade, for it was not till the thirteenth century that Englishmen appear to have made an effort at competition. However, about 1296 certain London mercers are said to have obtained a grant of privileges from John, Duke of Brabant, and to have established a wool market at Antwerp. [Footnote: Andersen's History of Commerce.] The recognition of the Flemish government was of course necessary; but they could hardly have maintained themselves without some support at home; for, although their warehouse was abroad, they were English merchants, and they must have relied upon English protection. No very early documents remain; but an elaborate charter, granted by Edward IV. in 1463, proves that the corporation had then had a long legal existence. [Footnote: Hakluyt's Voyages, i. 230.] The crown thereby confirmed one Obrey, the governor, in his office during pleasure, with the wages theretofore enjoyed; existing laws were approved; the governor and merchants were empowered to elect twelve Justicers, who were to hold courts for all merchants and mariners in those parts; and the company was authorized to regulate the trade and control the traders, provided no laws were passed contrary to the intent of that charter.

Here, as in the Merchant Guild, the inevitable aristocratic revolution took place, and the old democratic brotherhood became a strict monopoly. The oppression was so flagrant that a petition was presented to Parliament in 1497 against the exactions of the Merchant Adventurers, as the association was then called, by which it appeared that interlopers, trading to Holland and Flanders, were fined £40, whereas any subject might have become a freeman in earlier times for an old noble, or about 6s. 8d.; [Footnote: 12 Henry VII. ch. vi.] and the scandal was so great that the fine was fixed at 10 marks, or £6 l3s. 4d., by statute. During the stagnation of the Middle Ages few traces of such commercial enterprises are to be found, but with the sixteenth century Europe awoke to a new life and thrilled with a new energy. Trade shared in the impulse. In 1554 Philip and Mary incorporated the Russia Company in regular modern form; in 1581 the Turkey Company was organized; in 1600 the East India Company received its charter; and, to come directly to what is material, in 1629 Charles I. signed the patent of the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England.

Stripped of its verbiage, the provisions are simple. The stockholders, or "freemen," as they were then called, were to meet once a quarter in a "General Court." This General Court, or stockholders' meeting, chose the officers, of which there were twenty, the governor, deputy governor, and eighteen assistants or directors, on the last Wednesday in each Easter Term. The assistants were intrusted with the business management, and were to meet once a month or oftener; while the General Court was empowered to admit freemen, and "to make laws and ordinances for the good and welfare of the said company, and for the government and ordering of the said lands and plantation, and the people inhabiting and to inhabit the same, as to them from time to time shall be thought meet,-so as such laws and ordinances be not contrary or repugnant to the laws and statutes of this our realm of England." The criminal jurisdiction was limited to the "imposition of lawful fines, mulcts, imprisonment, or other lawful correction, according to the course of other corporations in this our realm of England."

The "course of corporations" referred to was well established. The Master and Wardens of the Guild of Drapers in London, for example, could make "such ... pains, punishments, and penalties, by corporal punishment, or fines and amercements," ... "as shall seem ... necessary," provided their statutes were reasonable and not contrary to the laws of the kingdom. [Footnote: Herbert's Livery Companies, i. 489.] In like manner, boroughs such as Tiverton might "impose and assess punishments by imprisonments, etc., and reasonable fines upon offenders." [Footnote: See History of Tiverton, App. 5.]

But all lawyers knew that such grants did not convey full civil or criminal jurisdiction, which, when thought needful, was specially conferred, as was done in the case of the East India Company upon their petition in 1624, [Footnote: Bruce, Annals, i. 252.] and in that of Massachusetts by the charter of William and Mary.

Such was the undoubted theory, and evidently there must always have been some practical means of checking the abuse of power by these strong organizations. In semi-barbarous ages the sovereign took matters into his own hands by seizing the franchise, and even the Plantagenets repeatedly suspended or revoked the liberties of London,-often, no doubt, for cause, but sometimes also to make money by a resale; and a succession of these arbitrary forfeitures demonstrated that charters to be of value must be beyond the grantor's control. Resort was had to the courts, as a matter of course, and finally it was settled that relief should be given by a writ of quo warranto, upon which the question of the violation of privileges could be tried; and curious records still remain of ancient litigations of this nature.

In 1321 complaint was made against the London Weavers for injuring the public by passing regulations tending to raise the price of cloth. [Footnote: Liber Customarum, i. 416-424.] It was alleged that the guild, with this intent, had limited the working hours in the day, the working days in the year, and the number of apprentices the freemen might employ; and the prayer was that for these abuses the charter should be annulled.

The cause was tried before a jury, who found the truth of some of the charges; but the judgment is lost, as the roll is imperfect.

There was danger, moreover, to the citizen from the oppression of these powerful bodies, as well as to the public from their usurpations; and were authority wholly wanting, argument would be almost unnecessary to prove that some appellate tribunal must always have had jurisdiction to pass upon the validity of corporate legislation; for otherwise any summary punishment might have been inflicted upon an individual, though notoriously unlawful, and the only redress possible would have been subsequent proceedings to vacate the charter.

Through appeals, corporations could be controlled; and by none was this control so stubbornly disputed, or its necessity so clearly demonstrated, as by the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England. A good illustration is the trial of the Quaker, Wenlock Christison, for his life in 1661.

"William Leddra being thus dispatch'd, it was resolved to make an end also of Wenlock Christison. He therefore was brought from the prison to the court at Boston, where the governor John Indicot, and the deputy governor Richard Billingham, being both present, it was told him, 'Unless you will renounce your religion, you shall surely die.' But instead of shrinking, he said with an undaunted courage, 'Nay, I shall not change my religion, nor seek to save my life; neither do I intend to deny my Master; but if I lose my life for Christ's sake, and the preaching of the gospel, I shall save my life.' ... John Indicot asked him 'what he had to say for himself, why he should not die?' ... Then Wenlock asked, 'By what law will you put me to death?' The answer was, 'We have a law, and by our law you are to die.' 'So said the Jews of Christ,' (reply'd Wenlock) 'we have a law, and by our law he ought to die. Who empowered you to make that law?' To which one of the board answered, 'We have a patent, and are the patentees; judge whether we have not power to make laws.' Hereupon Wenlock asked again, 'How, have you power to make laws repugnant to the laws of England?' 'No,' said the governor. 'Then,' (reply'd Wenlock,) 'you are gone beyond your bounds, and have forfeited your patent; and that is more than you can answer.' 'Are you,' ask'd he, 'subjects to the king, yea or nay?' ... To which one said, 'Yea, we are so.' 'Well,' said Wenlock, 'so am I.' ... 'Therefore seeing that you and I are subjects to the king, I demand to be tried by the laws of my own nation.' It was answered, 'You shall be tried by a bench and a jury.' For it seems they began to be afraid to go on in the former course, of trial without a jury ... But Wenlock said, 'That is not the law, but the manner of it; for I never heard nor read of any law that was in England to hang Quakers.' To this the governor reply'd 'that there was a law to hang Jesuits.' To which Wenlock return'd, 'If you put me to death, it is not because I go under the name of a Jesuit, but of a Quaker. Therefore, I appeal to the laws of my own nation.' But instead of taking notice of this, one said 'that he was in their hands, and had broken their law, and they would try him.'" [Footnote: Sewel, pp. 278, 279.]

Yet, though the ecclesiastical party in Massachusetts obstinately refused to admit appeals to the British judiciary up to the last moment of their power, for the obvious reason that the existence of the theocracy depended upon the enforcement of such legislation as that under which the Quakers suffered, there was no principle in the whole range of English jurisprudence more firmly established. By a statute of Henry VI. passed in 1436, corporate enactments were to be submitted to the judges for approval; and the Court of King's Bench always set aside such as were bad, whenever the question of their validity was presented for adjudication. [Footnote: Stat. 15 H. VI. ch. 6. Stat 19 H. VII. ch. 7. Clark's Case, 5 Coke, 633, decided A. D. 1596. See Kyd on Corporations, ii. 107-110, where authorities are collected. Child v. Hudson Bay Co., 2 P. W. 207.]

But discussion is futile; the proposition is self-evident, that an association endowed with the capacity of acting like a single man, for certain defined objects, which shall attempt other objects, or shall seek to compass its ends by unlawful means, violates the condition upon which its life has been granted, transcends the limits of its existence, and forfeits its privileges; and that under such circumstances its ordinances are void, and none are bound to yield them their obedience.

Approached thus from the standpoint of legal history, no doubt can exist concerning the scope of the franchise secured by the Puritans for the Massachusetts colony. The instrument obtained from Charles I. embodied certain of their number in an English corporation, whose only lawful business was the American trade, as the business of the East India Company was trade in Hindostan. To enable them to act effectively, a tract of land in New England, between the Merrimack and the Charles, was conveyed to them, as the soil upon which a town stood was conveyed to the mayor and commonalty. Within this territory they were authorized to established their plantations and forts, which they were empowered to defend against attack, as the Hanse merchants defended the Steel Yard in London. They were also permitted to govern the country within their grant by reasonable regulations calculated to preserve the peace, and of much the same character as the municipal ordinances of towns, subject, of course, to judicial supervision. The corporation itself was created subject to the municipal laws of England, and could have no existence without the realm; and though perhaps even then the American wilderness might have been held to belong to the British empire, it formed no part of the kingdom, [Footnote: Blackstone's Commentaries, i. 109.] and was altogether beyond the limits of that jurisdiction from whose customs and statutes the life of this imaginary being sprang. Therefore, the governing body could legally exercise its functions only when domiciled in some English town. [Footnote: On this subject see the able paper of Mr. Deane, in Massachusetts Historical Society Proceedings, December, 1869, p. 166.]

Sir Richard Sheldon, the solicitor-general, advised the king that he was signing a charter containing "such ... clauses for ye electing of Governors and Officers here in England, ... and powers to make lawes and ordinances for setling ye governement and magistracye for ye plantacon there, ... as ... are usuallie allowed to Corporacons in England." [Footnote: Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc. 1869-70, p. 173.] And there can be no question that his opinion was sound.

Nothing can be imagined more ill-suited to serve as the organic law of a new commonwealth than this instrument. No provision was made for superior or probate courts, for a representative assembly, for the incorporation of counties and towns, for police or taxation. In short, hardly a step could be taken toward founding a territorial government based upon popular suffrage without working a forfeiture of the charter by abuse of the franchise. The colonists, it is true, afterward advanced very different theories of construction; but that they were well aware of their legal position is demonstrated by the fact that after some hesitation from apprehension of consequences, they ventured on the singularly bold and lawless measure of secretl

y removing their charter to America and establishing their corporation in a land which they thought would be beyond the process of Westminster Hall. [Footnote: 1629, Aug. 29.] The details of the settlement are related in many books, and require only the briefest mention here. In 1628 an association of gentlemen bought the tract of country lying between the Merrimack and Charles from the Council of Plymouth, and sent Endicott to take charge of their purchase. A royal patent was, however, thought necessary for the protection of a large colony, and one having been obtained, the Company of Massachusetts Bay was at once organized in England, Endicott was appointed governor in America, and six vessels sailed during the spring of 1629, taking out several hundred persons and a "plentiful provision of godly ministers." In August the church of Salem was gathered and Mr. Higginson was consecrated as their teacher. In that same month Winthrop, Saltonstall, and others met at Cambridge and signed an agreement binding themselves upon the faith of Christians to embark for the plantation by the following March; "Provided always that before the last of September next, the whole government, together with the patent, ... be first by an order of court legally transferred and established to remain with us and others which shall inhabite upon the said plantation." [Footnote: Hutch. Coll., Prince Soc. ed. i. 28.] The Company accepted the proposition, Winthrop was chosen governor, and he anchored in Salem harbor in June. [Footnote: 1630] More than a thousand settlers landed before winter, and the first General Court was held at Boston in October; nor did the emigration thus begun entirely cease until the meeting of the Long Parliament.

From the beginning the colonists took what measures they thought proper, without regarding the limitations of the law. Counties and towns had to be practically incorporated, taxes were levied upon inhabitants, and in 1634 all pretence of a General Court of freemen was dropped, and the towns chose delegates to represent them, though the legislature was not divided into two branches until ten years later. When the government had become fully organized supreme power was vested in the General Court, a legislature composed of two houses; the assistants, or magistrates, as they were called, and the deputies. The governor, deputy governor, and assistants were elected by a general vote; but each town sent two deputies to Boston.

For some years justice was dispensed by the magistrates according to the Word of God, but gradually a judicial system was established; the magistrate's local court was the lowest, from whence causes went by appeal to the county courts, one of whose judges was always an assistant, and probate jurisdiction was given to the two held at Ipswich and at Salem. From the judgments entered here an appeal lay to the Court of Assistants, and then to the General Court, which was the tribunal of last resort. The clergy and gentry pertinaciously resisted the enactment of a series of general statutes, upon which the people as steadily insisted, until at length, in 1641, "The Body of Liberties" was approved by the legislature. This compilation was the work of the Rev. Mr. Ward, pastor of Ipswich, and contained a criminal code copied almost word for word from the Pentateuch, but apart from matters touching religion, the legislation was such as English colonists have always adopted. A major-general was elected who commanded the militia, and in 1652 money was coined.

The social institutions, however, have a keener interest, for they reflect that strong cast of thought which has stamped its imprint deep into the character of so much of the American people. The seventeenth century was aristocratic, and the inhabitants of the larger part of New England were divided into three classes, the commonalty, the gentry, and the clergy. Little need be said of the first, except that they were a brave and determined race, as ready to fight as Cromwell's saints, who made Rupert's troopers "as stubble to their swords;" that they were intelligent, and would not brook injustice; and that they were resolute, and would not endure oppression. All know that they were energetic and shrewd.

The gentry had the weight in the community that comes with wealth and education, and they received the deference then paid to birth, for they were for the most part the descendants of English country-gentlemen. As a matter of course they monopolized the chief offices; and they were not sentenced by the courts to degrading punishments, like whipping, for their offences, as other criminals were. They even showed some wish at the outset to create legal distinctions, such as a magistracy for life, and a disposition to magnify the jurisdiction of the Court of Assistants, whose seats they filled; but the action of the people was determined though quiet, a chamber of deputies was chosen, and such schemes were heard of no more.

Yet notwithstanding the existence of this aristocratic element, the real substance of influence and power lay with the clergy. It has been taught as an axiom of Massachusetts history, that from the outset the town was the social and political unit; but an analysis of the evidence tends to show that the organization of the Puritan Commonwealth was ecclesiastical, and the congregation, not the town, the basis upon which the fabric rested. By the constitution of the corporation the franchise went with the freedom of the company; but in order to form a constituency which would support a sacerdotal oligarchy, it was enacted in 1631 "that for time to come noe man shalbe admitted to the freedome of this body polliticke, but such as are members of some of the churches within ... the same." [Footnote: Mass. Records, i. 87.] Thus though communicants were not necessarily voters, no one could be a voter who was not a communicant; therefore the town-meeting was in fact nothing but the church meeting, possibly somewhat attenuated, and called by a different name. By this insidious statute the clergy seized the temporal power, which they held till the charter fell. The minister stood at the head of the congregation and moulded it to suit his purposes and to do his will; for though he could not when opposed admit an inhabitant to the sacrament, he could peremptorily exclude therefrom all those of whom he disapproved, for "none are propounded to the congregation, except they be first allowed by the elders." [Footnote: Winthrop's reply to Vane, Hutch. Coll., Prince Soc. ed. i. 101.] In such a community the influence of the priesthood must have been overwhelming. Not only in an age without newspapers or tolerable roads were their sermons, preached several times each week to every voter, the most effective of political harangues; but, unlike other party orators, they were not forced to stimulate the sluggish, or to convince the hostile, for from a people glowing with fanaticism, each elder picked his band of devoted servants of the church, men passionately longing to do the will of Christ, whose commands concerning earth and heaven their pastor had been ordained to declare. Nor was their power bounded by local limits; though seldom holding office themselves, they were solemnly consulted by the government on every important question that arose, whether of war or peace, and their counsel was rarely disregarded. They gave their opinion, no matter how foreign the subject might be to their profession or their education; and they had no hesitation in passing upon the technical construction of the charter with the authority of a bench of judges. An amusing example is given by Winthrop: "The General Court assembled again, and all the elders were sent for, to reconcile the differences between the magistrates and deputies. When they were come the first question put to them was, ... whether the magistrates are, by patent and election of the people, the standing council of this commonwealth in the vacancy of the General Court, and have power accordingly to act in all cases subject to government, according to the said patent and the laws of this jurisdiction; and when any necessary occasions call for action from authority, in cases where there is no particular express law provided, there to be guided by the word of God, till the General Court give particular rules in such cases. The elders, having received the question, withdrew themselves for consultation about it, and the next day sent to know, when we would appoint a time that they might attend the court with their answer. The magistrates and deputies agreed upon an hour "and ... their answer was affirmative," on the magistrates behalf, in the very words of the question, with some reasons thereof. It was delivered in writing by Mr. Cotton in the name of them all, they being all present, and not one dissentient." Then the magistrates propounded four more questions, the last of which is as follows: "Whether a judge be bound to pronounce such sentence as a positive law prescribes, in case it be apparently above or beneath the merit of the offence?" To which the elders replied at great length, saying that the penalty must vary with the gravity of the crime, and added examples: "So any sin committed with an high hand, as the gathering of sticks on the Sabbath day, may be punished with death when a lesser punishment may serve for gathering sticks privily and in some need." [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 204, 205.] Yet though the clerical influence was so unbounded the theocracy itself was exposed to constant peril. In monarchies such as France or Spain the priests who rule the king have the force of the nation at command to dispose of at their will; but in Massachusetts a more difficult problem was presented, for the voters had to be controlled. By the law requiring freemen to be church-members the elders meant to grasp the key to the suffrage, but experience soon proved that more stringent regulation was needed.

According to the original Congregational theory each church was complete and independent, and elected its own officers and conducted its own worship, free from interference from without, except that others of the same communion might offer advice or admonition. Under the theocracy no such loose system was possible, for heresy might enter in three different ways; first, under the early law, "blasphemers" might form a congregation and from thence creep into the company; second, an established church might fall into error; third, an unsound minister might be chosen, who would debauch his flock by securing the admission of sectaries to the sacrament. Above all, a creed was necessary by means of which false doctrine might be instantly detected and condemned. Accordingly, one by one, as the need for vigilance increased, laws were passed to guard these points of danger.

First, in 1635 it was enacted, [Footnote: 1635-6, March 3.] "Forasmuch as it hath bene found by sad experience, that much trouble and disturbance hath happened both to the church & civill state by the officers & members of some churches, which have bene gathered ... in an vndue manner ... it is ... ordered that ... this Court doeth not, nor will hereafter, approue of any such companyes of men as shall henceforthe ioyne in any pretended way of church fellowshipp, without they shall first acquainte the magistrates, & the elders of the greater parte of the churches in this jurisdiction, with their intenctions, and have their approbaction herein. And ffurther, it is ordered, that noe person, being a member of any churche which shall hereafter be gathered without the approbaction of the magistrates, & the greater parte of the said churches, shallbe admitted to the ffreedome of this commonwealthe." [Footnote: Mass. Rec. i. 168.]

In 1648 all the elders met in a synod at Cambridge; they adopted the Westminster Confession of Faith and an elaborate "Platform of Church Discipline," the last clause of which is as follows: "If any church ... shall grow schismatical, rending itself from the communion of other churches, or shall walk incorrigibly and obstinately in any corrupt way of their own contrary to the rule of the word; in such case the magistrate, ... is to put forth his coercive power, as the matter shall require." [Footnote: Magnalia, bk. 5, ch. xvii. Section 9.]

In 1658 the General Court declared: "Whereas it is the duty of the Christian magistrate to take care the people be fed with wholesome & sound doctrine, & in this houre of temptation, ... it is therefore ordered, that henceforth no person shall ... preach to any company of people, whither in church society or not, or be ordeyned to the office of a teaching elder, where any two organnick churches, councill of state, or Generall Court shall declare theire dissatisfaction thereat, either in refference to doctrine or practize... and in case of ordination... timely notice thereof shall be given unto three or fower of the neighbouring organicke churches for theire approbation." [Footnote: Mass. Rec. iv. pt. 1, p. 328.] And lastly, in 1679, the building of meeting-houses was forbidden, without leave from the freemen of the town or the General Court. [Footnote: Mass. Rec. v. 213.]

But legislation has never yet controlled the action of human thought. All experience shows that every age, and every western nation, produces men whose nature it is to follow the guidance of their reason in the face of every danger. To exterminate these is the task of religious persecution, for they can be silenced only by death. Thus is a dominant priesthood brought face to face with the alternative, of surrendering its power or of killing the heretic, and those bloody deeds that cast their sombre shadow across the history of the Puritan Commonwealth cannot be seen in their true bearing unless the position of the clergy is vividly before the mind.

Cromwell said that ministers were "helpers of, not lords over, God's people," [Footnote: Cromwell to Dundass, letter cxlviii. Carlyle's Cromwell, iii. 72.] but the orthodox New Englander was the vassal of his priest. Winthrop was the ablest and the most enlightened magistrate the ecclesiastical party ever had, and he tells us that "I honoured a faithful minister in my heart and could have kissed his feet." [Footnote: Life and Letters of Winthrop, i. 61.] If the governor of Massachusetts and the leader of the emigration could thus describe his moral growth,-a man of birth, education, and fortune, who had had wide experience of life, and was a lawyer by profession,-the awe and terror felt by the mass of the communicants can be imagined.

Jonathan Mitchel, one of the most famous of the earlier divines, thus describes his flock: "They were a gracious, savoury-spirited people, principled by Mr. Shepard, liking an humbling, mourning, heart-breaking ministry and spirit; living in religion, praying men and women." And "he would speak with such a transcendent majesty and liveliness, that the people ... would often shake under his dispensations, as if they had heard the sound of the trumpets from the burning mountain, and yet they would mourn to think, that they were going presently to be dismissed from such an heaven upon earth." ... "When a publick admonition was to be dispensed unto any one that had offended scandalously... the hearers would be all drowned in tears, as if the admonition had been, as indeed he would with much artifice make it be directed unto them all; but such would be the compassion, and yet the gravity, the majesty, the scriptural and awful pungency of these his dispensations, that the conscience of the offender himself, could make no resistance thereunto." [Footnote: Magnalia, bk. 4, ch. iv. Sub-section 9, 10.]

Their arrogance was fed by the submission of the people, and they would not tolerate the slightest opposition even from their most devoted retainers. The Reforming Synod was held in 1679. "When the report of a committee on 'the evils that had provoked the Lord' came up for consideration, 'Mr. Wheelock declared that there was a cry of injustice in that magistrates and ministers were not rated' (taxed), 'which occasioned a very warm discourse. Mr. Stodder' (minister of Northampton) 'charged the deputy with saying what was not true, and the deputy governor' (Danforth) 'told him he deserved to be laid by the heels, etc.'

"'After we broke up, the deputy and several others went home with Mr. Stodder, and the deputy asked forgiveness of him and told him he freely forgave him, but Mr. Stodder was high.' The next day 'the deputy owned his being in too great a heat, and desired the Lord to forgive it, and Mr. Stodder did something, though very little, by the deputy.'" [Footnote: Palfrey's History of New England, in. 330, note 2. Extract from Journal of Rev. Peter Thacher.] Wheelock was lucky in not having to smart more severely for his temerity, for the unfortunate Ursula Cole was sentenced to pay £5 [Footnote: Five pounds was equivalent to a sum between one hundred and twenty-five and one hundred and fifty dollars now. Ursula was of course poor, or she would not have been sentenced to be whipped. The fine was therefore extremely heavy.] or be whipped for the lighter crime of saying "she had as lief hear a cat mew" [Footnote: Frothingham, History of Charlestown, p. 208.] as Mr. Shepard preach. The daily services in the churches consumed so much time that they became a grievance with which the government was unable to cope.

In 1633 the Court of Assistants, thinking "the keepeing of lectures att the ordinary howres nowe obserued in the forenoone, to be dyvers wayes preiudiciall to the common good, both in the losse of a whole day, & bringing other charges & troubles to the place where the lecture is kept," ordered that they should not begin before one o'clock. [Footnote: Mass. Rec. i. 110.] The evil still continued, for only the next year it was found that so many lectures "did spend too much time and proved overburdensome," and they were reduced to two a week. [Footnote: Felt's Eccl. Hist. i. 201.] Notwithstanding these measures, relief was not obtained, because, as the legislature complained in 1639, lectures "were held till night, and sometimes within the night, so as such as dwelt far off could not get home in due season, and many weak bodies could not endure so long, in the extremity of the heat or cold, without great trouble and hazard of their health," [Footnote: Winthrop, i. 324.] and a consultation between the elders and magistrates was suggested.

But to have the delights of the pulpit abridged was more than the divines could bear. They declared roundly that their privileges were invaded; [Footnote: Idem, i. 325.] and the General Court had to give way. A few lines in Winthrop's Journal give an idea of the tax this loquacity must have been upon the time of a poor and scattered people. "Mr. Hooker being to preach at Cambridge, the governor and many others went to hear him.... He preached in the afternoon, and having gone on, with much strength of voice and intention of spirit, about a quarter of an hour, he was at a stand, and told the people that God had deprived him both of his strength and matter, &c. and so went forth, and about half an hour after returned again, and went on to very good purpose about two hours." [Footnote: Winthrop, i. 304.] Common men could not have kept this hold upon the inhabitants of New England, but the clergy were learned, resolute, and able, and their strong but narrow minds burned with fanaticism and love of power; with their beliefs and under their temptations persecution seemed to them not only their most potent weapon, but a duty they owed to Christ-and that duty they unflinchingly performed. John Cotton, the most gifted among them, taught it as a holy work: "But the good that is brought to princes and subjects by the due punishment of apostate seducers and idolaters and blasphemers is manifold.

"First, it putteth away evill from the people and cutteth off a gangreene, which would spread to further ungodlinesse....

"Secondly, it driveth away wolves from worrying and scattering the sheep of Christ. For false teachers be wolves, ... and the very name of wolves holdeth forth what benefit will redound to the sheep, by either killing them or driving them away.

"Thirdly, such executions upon such evill doers causeth all the country to heare and feare, and doe no more such wickednesse.... Yea as these punishments are preventions of like wickednesse in some, so are they wholesome medicines, to heale such as are curable of these eviles....

"Fourthly, the punishments executed upon false prophets and seducing teachers, doe bring downe showers of God's blessings upon the civill state....

"Fifthly, it is an honour to God's Justice that such judgments are executed...." [Footnote: Bloody Tenent Washed, pp. 137, 138.]

All motives combined to drive them headlong into cruelty; for in the breasts of the larger number, even the passion of bigotry was cool beside the malignant hate they felt for those whose opinions menaced their earthly power and dominion; and they never wearied of exhorting the magistrates to destroy the enemies of the church. "Men's lusts are sweet to them, and they would not be disturbed or disquieted in their sin. Hence there be so many such as cry up tolleration boundless and libertinism so as (if it were in their power) to order a total and perpetual confinement of the sword of the civil magistrate unto its scabbard; (a notion that is evidently distructive to this people, and to the publick liberty, peace, and prosperity of any instituted churches under heaven.)" [Footnote: Eye Salve, Election Sermon, by Mr. Shepard of Charlestown, p. 21.] "Let the magistrates coercive power in matters of religion (therefore) be still asserted, seing he is one who is bound to God more than any other men to cherish his true religion; ... and how wofull would the state of things soon be among us, if men might have liberty without controll to profess, or preach, or print, or publish what they list, tending to the seduction of others." [Footnote: Eye Salve, p. 38.] Such feelings found their fit expression in savage laws against dissenting sects; these, however, will be dealt with hereafter; only those which illustrate the fundamental principles of the theocracy need be mentioned here. One chief cause of schism was the hearing of false doctrine; and in order that the people might not be led into temptation, but might on the contrary hear true exposition of the word, every inhabitant was obliged to attend the services of the established church upon the Lord's day under a penalty of fine or imprisonment; the fine not to exceed 5s. (equal to about $5 now) for every absence. [Footnote: 1634-35, 4 March. Mass. Rec. i. 140.]

"If any Christian so called ... shall contemptuously behave himselfe toward ye word preached, or ye messengers thereof called to dispence ye same in any congregation, ... or like a sonn of Corah cast upon his true doctrine or himselfe any reproach ... shall for ye first scandole be convented ... and bound to their good behaviour; and if a second time they breake forth into ye like contemptuous carriages, either to pay £5 to ye publike treasury or to stand two houres openly upon a block 4 foote high, on a lecture day, with a pap fixed on his breast with this, A Wanton Gospeller, written in capitall letters ye others may fear & be ashamed of breaking out into the like wickednes." [Footnote: 1646, 4 Nov. Mass. Rec. ii. 179.]

"Though no humane power be Lord over ye faith & consciences of men and therefore may not constraine ym to beleeve or profes against their conscience, yet because such as bring in damnable heresies tending to ye subversion of ye Christian faith ... ought duely to be restrained from such notorious impiety, if any Christian ... shall go about to subvert ... ye Christian faith, by broaching ... any damnable heresy, as deniing ye immortality of ye soule, or ye resurrection of ye body, or any sinn to be repented of in ye regenerate, or any evill done by ye outward man to be accounted sinn, or deniing yt Christ gave himselfe a ransome for or sinns ... or any other heresy of such nature & degree ... shall pay to ye common treasury during ye first six months 20s. a month and for ye next six months 40s. p. m., and so to continue dureing his obstinacy; and if any such person shall endeavour to seduce others ... he shall forfeit ... for every severall offence ... five pounds." [Footnote: 1646, 4 Nov. Mass. Rec. ii. 177.]

"For ye honnor of ye aetaernall God, whome only wee worshippp and serve," (it is ordered that) "no person within this jurisdiction, whether Christian or pagan, shall wittingly and willingly presume to blaspheme his holy name either by wilfull or obstinate denying ye true God, or reproach ye holy religion of God, as if it were but a polliticke devise to keepe ignorant men in awe, ... or deny his creation or gouvernment of ye world, or shall curse God, or shall vtter any other eminent kind of blasphemy, of ye like nature and degree; if any person or persons whatsoeuer within our jurisdiction shall breake this lawe they shall be putt to death." [Footnote: Mass. Rec. iii.98.]

The special punishments for Antinomians, Baptists, Quakers, and other sectaries were fine and imprisonment, branding, whipping, mutilation, banishment, and hanging. Nor were the elders men to shrink from executing these laws with the same ferocious spirit in which they were enacted. Remonstrance and command were alike neglected. The Long Parliament warned them to beware; Charles II. repeatedly ordered them to desist; their trusted and dearest friend, Sir Richard Saltonstall, wrote from London to Cotton: "It doth not a little grieve my spirit to heare what sadd things are reported dayly of your tyranny and persecution in New England, as that you fyne, whip, and imprison men for their consciences," [Footnote: Hutch. Coll., Prince Soc. ed. ii. 127.] and told them their "rigid wayes have laid you very lowe in the hearts of the saynts." Thirteen of the most learned and eminent nonconforming ministers in England wrote to the governor of Massachusetts imploring him that he and the General Court would not by their violence "put an advantage into the hands of some who seek pretences and occasions against our liberty." [Footnote: Magnalia, bk. 7, ch. iv. section 4.] Winthrop, the wisest and ablest champion the clergy ever had, hung back. Like many another political leader, he was forced by his party into measures from which his judgment and his heart recoiled. He tells us how, on a question arising between him and Mr. Haynes, the elders "delivered their several reasons which all sorted to this conclusion, that strict discipline, both in criminal offences and in martial affairs, was more needful in plantations than in a settled state, as tending to the honor and safety of the gospel. Whereupon Mr. Winthrop acknowledged that he was convinced that he had failed in over much lenity and remissness, and would endeavor (by God's assistance) to take a more strict course thereafter." [Footnote: Winthrop, i. 178.] But his better nature revolted from the foul task and once more regained ascendancy just as he sunk in death. For while he was lying very sick, Dudley came to his bedside with an order to banish a heretic: "No," said the dying man, "I have done too much of that work already," and he would not sign the warrant. [Footnote: Life and Letters of Winthrop, ii. 393.]

Nothing could avail, for the clergy held the state within their grasp, and shrank from no deed of blood to guard the interests of their order.

The case of Gorton may serve as an example of a rigor that shocked even the Presbyterian Baillie; it must be said in explanation of his story that the magistrates condemned Gorton and his friends to death for the crime of heresy in obedience to the unanimous decision of the elders, [Footnote: Winthrop, ii. 146.] but the deputies refusing to concur, the sentence of imprisonment in irons during the pleasure of the General Court was agreed upon as a compromise. "Only they in New England are more strict and rigid than we, or any church, to suppress, by the power of the magistrate, all who are not of their way, to banishment ordinarily and presently even to death lately, or perpetual slavery; for one Jortin, sometime a famous citizen here for piety, having taught a number in New England to cast oft the word and sacrament, and deny angels and devils, and teach a gross kind of union with Christ in this life, by force of arms was brought to New Boston, and there with ten of the chief of his followers, by the civil court was discerned perpetual slaves, but the votes of many were for their execution. They lie in irons, though gentlemen; and out of their prison write to the admiral here, to deal with the parliament for their deliverance." [Footnote: Baillie's Letters, ii. 17, 18.]

Like all phenomena of nature, the action of the mind is obedient to law; the cause is followed by the consequence with the precision that the earth moves round the sun, and impelled by this resistless power his destiny is wrought out by man. To the ecclesiastic a deep debt of gratitude is due, for it was by his effort that the first step from barbarism was made. In the world's childhood, knowledge seems divine, and those who first acquire its rudiments claim, and are believed, to have received it by revelation from the gods. In an archaic age the priest is likewise the law-giver and the physician, for all erudition is concentrated in one supremely favored class-the sacred caste. Their discoveries are kept profoundly secret, and yet to perpetuate their mysteries among their descendants they found schools which are the only repositories of learning; but the time must inevitably come when this order is transformed into the deadliest enemy of the civilization which it has brought into being. The power of the spiritual oligarchy rests upon superstitious terrors which dwindle before advancing enlightenment; hence the clergy have become reactionary, have sought to stifle the spirit of free inquiry, and have used the schools which they have builded as instruments to keep alive unreasoning prejudice, or to serve their selfish ends. This, then, has been the fiercest battle of mankind; the heroic struggle to break down the sacerdotal barrier, to popularize knowledge, and to liberate the mind, began ages before the crucifixion upon Calvary; it still goes on. In this cause the noblest and the bravest have poured forth their blood like water, and the path to freedom has been heaped with the corpses of her martyrs.

In that tremendous drama Massachusetts has played her part; it may be said to have made her intellectual life; and it is the passion of the combat which gives an interest at once so sombre and so romantic to her story.

In the tempest of the Reformation a handful of the sternest rebels were cast upon the bleak New England coast, and the fervor of that devotion which led them into the wilderness inspired them with the dream of reproducing the institutions of God's chosen people, a picture of which they believed was divinely preserved for their guidance in the Bible. What they did in reality was to surrender their new commonwealth to their priests. Yet they were a race in whose bone and blood the spirit of free thought was bred; the impulse which had goaded them to reject the Roman dogmas was quick within them still, and revolt against the ecclesiastical yoke was certain. The clergy upon their side trod their appointed path with the precision of machines, and, constrained by an inexorable destiny, they took that position of antagonism to liberal thought which has become typical of their order. And the struggles and the agony by which this poor and isolated community freed itself from its gloomy bondage, the means by which it secularized its education and its government, won for itself the blessing of free thought and speech, and matured a system of constitutional liberty which has been the foundation of the American Union, rise in dignity to one of the supreme efforts of mankind.

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