A NARRATIVE OF The Proceedings OF Sir Edmond Androsse and his Complices, Who Acted by an Illegal and Arbitrary Com­mission from the Late K. JAMES, during his Government in New England.

By several Gentlemen who were of his Council.

Printed in the Year 1691.



THE Particulars mentioned in the ensuing Narra­tive, are but a small part of the Grievances justly complained of by the People in New England, during their three years Oppression under Sir E. A. For a more full Account, the Reader is referred to the Justification of the Revolution in New England, where every particular ex­hibited against Sir Ed. and his Complices, by the Agents lately sent to England, is by the Affidavits of honest men con­firmed. If some men find themselves thereby exposed to the just Resentments and Indignation of all true Christians, or true English-men, they must thank [...] for publishing such untrue Accounts as that which goes under the name of Captain John Palmers, and that scandalous Pamphlet called N. E's Faction discovered, supposed to be written by an Implacable Enemy of all good men, and a person that for Impudence and Lying has few Equals in the World. That which follows, being signed by several Gentlemen of great Integrity, who likewise had a particular knowledge of the things by them related, is therefore of unquestionable Credit. The Design in making of it thus pu [...]ck, is to vindicate Their Majesties Loyal Subjects in New England, and to give a true Representation of things unto those who have by false Relations been imposed on.

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HAving Received from Mr. Addington by order of the Council and Representatives of the Massachusetts Colony, a signification of their desire; That whereas we were Members of the Late Council in the time of Sir Edmond Androsses Government, we would give some Information of the Grievances and Male-administrations under the same. Upon consi­deration had thereof, and in answer thereunto, we cannot but own and declare, that not only our selves, but many others in the same station (not now present to joyn with us) were of a long time much dissatisfied and discouraged with very many of the Proceedings and Administrations in the said Government; and had little reason to wonder that so great a number of the People were so too. It might well have been expected that the Governour (not so suc­cessful heretofore) notwithstanding the extraordinariness (to say no more) of many Clauses and Powers in his Commission; yea the rather and the more, because thereof would have cautioned and moderated the Execution of the same: But to our Great Trouble we found it very much otherwise. Many were the things that were accounted Irregular and Grievous therein, far from conducing to the Publick Weal of the Territory, and not a little to the disservice of the Crown, as tending rather to the disturbing and disaffecting of the Subjects here, than to the furtherance of that chearful Obedience, Loyalty, Love and Duty in them, which ought by all good means, to have been nourished and promoted. And of all this unhappiness, we must reckon the first step and in-let to be, that the Governour did so quickly neglect the great number of the Council, and chiefly ad­here unto and Govern by the advice only of a few others, the prin­cipal of them Strangers to the Countrey, without Estates or Interest therein to oblige them, persons of known and declared Prejudices against us, and that had plainly laid their chiefest Designs and Hopes to make unreasonable profit of this poor People. Innumerable were the evil Effects that from hence were continually growing up amongst us; The Debates in Council were not so free as ought to have been, but too much over-ruled, and a great deal of harshness continually expres­sed against Persons and Opinions that did not please. The Greatest [Page 5] Rigour and Severity was too often used towards the soberest sort of People, when any thing could be found or pretended against them, their humble submissions were little regarded, and inexorable Perse­cutions ordered against them, whilst in the mean time the notorious viciousness and profaneness of others met not with the like discounte­nance, but persons of such a character were put into places of bu­siness and trust▪ The long settled maintenance of the Publick M [...]nistry, even from those that applied themselves to no other way of Worship▪ but continued ordinary hearers, could not be upheld by any act of Authority providing for the same, and Schools of Learning so well taken care of formerly, were in most places fallen to decay, and many more such like might be reckoned up. But we shall more especially instance farther in the particulars fol­lowing, as not the least.

1. And first; It was as we thought a great slight put upon the Council, and to the prejudice of the good People of the Territo­ry, That whereas at the Governours first coming a Committee appointed thereunto by himself, and a full Council had with great care and several weeks trouble revised a very considerable num­ber of Orders and Laws collected out of the several Law Books of these Colonies found by long experience very needful and agreeable to the good of these Plantations, which Laws so Col­lected and Revised, were again presented unto, and upon further advisement approved by the Governour and Council and passed. Yet upon the introducing Mr. West from New York to be Deputy Secretary, they were, for what causes we know not, totally laid aside, and the People denied the benefit of them. And this Grievance was so much the greater, and a plainer Indication of the severity of some men in their Intended Management of things, because on good deliberation there had also passed an Order of Council, That until the Council should take further order, the several Justices, Town-Officers, and others should proceed according to former Usages, and such Local Laws in the several parts of this Dominion, as are not repugnant to the Laws of England, &c. Yet because by virtue of the said Order some in Authority have proceeded to put forth their power for the support of the Ministry, and some others did justifie them­selves in some actions done by them that were not pleasing; [Page 6] hereupon when a discourse only, and some debate thereof had passed in Council but without any regular determination made, and contrary to the express words of the said Order, it was Entred in the Council-Book concerning it, resolved that the same was only in Force till the next Session of the Council, and so deter­mined as null of it self, and that none presume to act pursuant to such Laws as are or shall be made here.

2. Whereas the Act for the Continuing and Establishing of several Rates, Duties and Imposts was one of the first of so great Moment that came out in Form under the Seal of the Territory, and was publickly proclaimed, we that were present have great cause to remember what trouble and dissatisfaction there was amongst the Members of the Council concerning the same. As that Act was framed and urged upon us, a very considerable num­ber (and we believe we were the Major part) dissented from and ar­gued much against it. And tho the Governor expressed not a little heat and positiveness alledging his instructions, and held the Council together, unreasonably a very long time about it. Yet when we did at last break up we could not imagine that he could take the Bill to be agreed to; Nevertheless it was the next day (to our wonderment) brought in fairly Engrossed in Parchment, and quickly Signed by the Governour without any counting of Voices either then or the day before, which was the more needful because some did continue still to make their objections, others that had spoken against the Bill the day before, declaring their adherence to what they had then said; and many more under so great dis­couragement and discountenance, as was manifested sitting silent, which we are sure in the regular passing of Laws can never be reckoned for a consent.

3. The Way and Manner used afterwards of proposing and passing all Laws was very uncertain and unequal, not answerable to the Nature of so great a Power, nor to the largeness of the Territory that was to be obliged by them, or to the Number of the Concellors appointed therein; for after a little while there were no set times appointed or given notice of for the making of Laws, that so the Members of the Council might attend in a fuller number to be helpful therein. Bills of the greatest con­cernment [Page 7] were usually first consulted and framed in private, and so unexpectedly brought into Council at any time, and then our work too was often under great disadvantages, not to advise free­ly and consult about the making of a Law thought necessary but to maintain a sort of Contest in opposition to a very inconve­nient one, too far promoted and engaged in already; and above all, there was never any fair way of taking and counting the number of the Councellors consenting and dissenting, that so the Majority might be known in any matter that admitted of any consider­able reasonings and debates, by reason whereof both Laws and other Orders and Resolutions might be set down as passed by the Council, which ought not to have been. And when it hath been (as often it was) expresly and earnestly prayed when matters of greater moment than ordinary were in hand, that the Debate and Resolution of them might be put off till a ful­ler Council of Members from other several parts of the Do­minion might be Convened, such motions were ever disaccept­ed, and entertained with no little displacency; so that it might be too truly affirmed, that in effect four or five persons, and those not so favourably inclined and disposed as were to be wished for, bear the Rule over, and gave Law to a Territory the largest and most con­siderable of any belonging to the Dominion of the Crown.

4. In pursuance of this way and manner of passing Laws above expressed, there were two in special that came forth, which we are sure in fuller and freer Councils would have had a full stop put to them; viz. First, The Act for Regulating the Choice of select Men, &c. wherein the Liberty of Towns to meet for the managing of their Publick Affairs referring to their Common Lands, and all other their concernments, which they had enjoyed for so many years, to their great benefit, was most unreasonably restrained to once a year, and all other Convening of Inhabitants as a Town Meeting upon any pretence or colour whatsoever, was strictly forbidden: And the other Act was that intituled, An Act requiring all Masters of Ships or Vessels to give security, in which there were such restraints laid upon all persons from Transporting themselves freely (as their occa­sions might call) out of the Territory, That it would have [Page 8] been a meer Prison to all that should be found therein, and such Bond required of all Ships and Vessels (extending in the practice even to Shallops and Wood-Boats) as would quickly have in­tolerably discouraged, if not ruined the Trade thereof; and all without any other ordinary general benefit of the said Act, but the filling some mens Pockets with Fees: And (as it might be thought from the time of moving for this Act, which was when Captain Hutchinson was already gone, and Mr. Mather was known to be intending for England) the obstructing of such mens going home as were likely there to make just Complaints, and seek Redress of Pub­lick Grievances; and when this Act had been strenuously opposed in Council here at Boston, where it was more than once vehe­mently urged, and as often denied, it was carried as far as New York, and there an opportunity found for the obtaining of it.

5. The great matter of Properties and Titles to our Lands is the next to be insisted on, His Majesty that granted the Charter did fully invest the Patentees with Right to the Soil throughout the whole Limits thereof, and here on the place, the Right of the Natives was honestly purchased from them. The Disposal, Distribution, and Granting of Lands by the Patentees, who were also incorporated, and made a Body Politick, was in such a plain, ready, easie way, without any charge to the Planters, as in the Settlement of so large a Countrey was thought to be most agree­able: And so much of a publick spirit and design were those Noble Gentlemen, that (though well they might) they settled not one single Penny of service or acknowledgment to them­selves and Heirs in any of their Grants, a thing so self-denying and worthy, that few Instances can be given of the like. All which notwithstanding, and the Possessions, Descents and Va­luable Purchases of so many years that have passed since, The Governour and those he adhered to, resolved and practised to make all mens [...] in effect quite null and void. The purchasing of the Natives Right was made nothing of, and next to a Ridicule. The Enjoyment and Improvement of Lands not inclosed, and especially if lying in common amongst many was denied to be possession; it was not enough that some men that thought it convenient, and were both willing and able, did take Confir­mations of their Lands, the numbers of whom in time might [Page 9] have been a considerable gain to them; but nothing would sa­tisfie unless all in general might be compelled so to do; hence those that refused were [...]red Intruders upon His Majesty, and put in fear of having their Lands granted unto strangers. Many were Solicited, and Encouraged to Petition for other mens Lands, and had a shameful Example set them by some of the chief Contrivers of all this Mischief. When some men have Petitioned for a confirmation of their own Lands, a part of these only was offered to be granted to them, and another part denyed. Nor could any mans own Land be confirmed to him, without a particular Survey of every part and parcel of them first made, the great charges whereof, and of other Fees to be taken would have been to most men Insupport­able: Yea it hath by some been computed that all the money in the Countrey would not suffice to patent the Lands therein contained.

And yet farther, a considerable quit-rent to the King was to be Imposed upon all Lands, though already a constant yearly Tax for the support of the Government had been laid on them.

And for all this most unreasonable vexation to a Laborious and Industrious people, the only Ground pretended was some defects and wants of form and due manner alledged to be in the way of the disposing and conveying of all Lands from the Patentees to the Townships and People here; which whatever it amounted to might have been easily remedied, either by an application and representation to the King for the obtaining a General settlement of all properties (which would have been highly Worthy and Generous for the Governour to have engaged in, on behalf of the People) or by some other ways that were proposed. But nothing but the way of particular Patenting as abovesaid could prevail. In prosecution whereof all Actions intended upon In­formations of Intrusions in His Majesties behalf, or between old Proprietors and new Grantees must have had their Decision at the Ordinary Courts of Common Law here upon the Place where matters of Equity and of a Consideration Transcending all ordinary Cases could not have a proper Cognizance and due In­fluence in the Decision, Determination and Judgment.

6. Though sufficient Courts of Justice were appointed, and held in the several Counties for the Tryal of all Offenders, yet it [Page 10] was too frequent upon more particular displeasure to fetch up persons from very remote Counties before the Governour and Council at Boston (who were the highest, and a constant Court of Record and Ju­dicature) not to receive their tryal but only to be examined there, and so remitted to an Inferior Court to be farther pro­ceeded against. The Grievance of which Court was exceeding great, for hereby not only the Charge, was made Excessive upon such persons by the notorious exactions of the Messenger, the Secreta­ries Fees for Examination, &c. But these Examinations themselves were unreasonably strict, and rigorous and very un­duely ensnaring to plain unexperienced men. And the Tryals of several, were by this means over-ruled to be at Boston, and not in the proper Counties, and were otherwise so far prejudged as to be rendred less equal.

The Extraordinary Oppressive Fees taken in all matters by in­digent and exacting Officers, these were at the first for a long time Arbitrarily imposed and required without any colour of an Establishment of them by the Council. Afterwards a Com­mittee was appointed, to bring in a Table of Fees, that spent a long time without finishing any thing, the reason whereof was because some therein especially the Deputy Secretary West, insisted upon Fees, much more extraordinary than some others could consent to. In conclusion; There was a Table of Fees drawn up to be presented to the Council, and signed by some of the Committee, one of whom (whose Subscription is to this Paper) declaring expresly, that by his Signing he did no otherwise agree, but only that it might be presented to the Council, to do therein as they should see cause, who also when it was so presented to the Council, declared that many of the particulars in that Table contained were unreasonable, and ought to be abated, and of this mind were many others. But the Entry after the usual man­ner was an approbation thereof.

Lastly, As to those Great Jealousies and Suspicions of Sinister Designs in the Governour as to our Troubles by the Indians, we have to say, That although divers things too uncertain, if not untrue, have been too easily reported and spread concerning him, a pra­ctice which some of us have formerly with no little prejudice to [Page 11] our selves discountenanced and born Testimony against; yet there have not wanted some other particulars that might give too great a ground for the same. The principal of them (as far as we have any knowledge of things of that kind) are these.

The Governours Seizing and Taking away the Goods of Moun­sieur St. Castine of Penopscot, the Summer before the War broke forth, which thing hath been esteemed not a little to have stirred up and furthered the succeeding Troubles. The Governours not hastening his Return to Boston when these Troubles were actually begun, but lengthening out his Tarrience in places so remote till the Hostility of the Indians, and the great Mischiefs thereof were too far advanced. That during his ab­sence, he was not pleased sufficiently to impower and instruct any to act things necessary for the safety of the out Plantations and the Prosecution and Suppression of the Enemy, tho' he had speedy and true Accounts from time to time sent him of all that happened. That all that was done to this purpose in a case of such necessity, either by the Lieutenant Govenour, or by the Justices of Peace, and Military Officers in many places, by se­curing and disarming of Neighbouring Indians, setting up Ward­ing and Watching, Garrisoning several houses for the security of the Inhabitants, especially the Women and Children, in case of sudden Inroads and Surprizings that might be, sending some relief of men to some places that were most in danger, and also what was done by those Members of the Council that were at Boston in conjunction with the Commander in chief left in the Fort there, who raised and sent some Forces to Casco-Bay, where greatest harms were done. We say, that all that was thus done, was so extreamly disapproved of by the Governour upon his Return back from Albany and New York, and an un­accountable displeasure manifested against all persons that had so acted, and that he was ready to call them to an account as high Offenders for the same, and refused a long time, tho' much solicited, to give any Order concerning the Souldiers sent to Casco, either for the continuance of them there, where they were very necessary, or for their dimission home. Unto all which may be added the Governours sending Messengers both John Smith the Quaker from Albany, and soon after Major Mac­gregory to Keybeck upon such Errands and Business as were not [Page] communicated and laid open to the Council. And further, his Relase and setting at liberty sundry Indians that were in hold, some of them known Enemies to the English, and particularly objected against by several of the Council, and that without any exchange of our English Captives then in the Enemies hands.

These are the chief Matters which upon this occasion (with­out any undue Prejudice against any man, or design to justifie the defects of our selves in the performance of our own shares of duty, but in answer to the desire signified to us as above) we have to set forth, professing truly that by such a state of things as we had the experience and feeling of; The Places that we held were rendred exceeding uneasie to us, and that out of a sincere respect to the Prosperity of these Their Majesties Plantations, we could not but be very desirous that through the Favour of God and our Superiors, all due Redress might in a good happy season be obtained; and the way of Governing English Subjects in Their Majesties Dominions without an As­sembly of the Peoples Representatives banished out of a World for ever.

  • William Stoughton,
  • Thomas Hinckley,
  • Wart. Winthrop,
  • Barthol. Gedney,
  • Samuel Shrimpton.

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