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salutary neglect a generous nature has been suffered to take her own way to perfection."
But it was to the difficulty and the expense of reach. ing us that we chiefly owe this “ wise and salutary neglect.”
The moment that the growing wealth and power of these colonies tempted the cupidity of the British throne, there was nothing more to be seen of that “ wise and salutary neglect.”
Taxation, without representation, came quick enough as soon as there was anything here to tax.
But in the meantime Saxonism, or localism, had made such headway, that when Normanism or centralism did come, it was too late. The horse would not carry its rider.
That Saxon love of freedom, which had dissolved the union between the head and shoulders of more than one British king, had got under such headway here, that it defiantly waded through eight years of blood and battle to dissolve the union between the British throue and these colonies.
But I anticipate. There is a mid-region, between the settlement and the inde pendence of these colonies, which must be looked into before we can judge rightly of the nature of those institutions which were founded by our fathers of the constitutional period of our history.
The first thing that strikes us, as we look into this mid-region between colonization and independence, is the perfect original independence of all the colonies, of each other.
There was, in the beginning, not only no union, but there was the greatest diversity between them.
They had not even all the same form of government.
1st. “ There was what may be called the Charter Government; in which the legislative power was vested in a governor, council, and assembly.
Such were the governments of Connecticut, Rhode Island, the Plymouth Colony, and originally of Massachusetts.
2d. There was the Proprietary Government, in which the proprietor of the Province was governor, the assembly being chosen by the people.
Such were the governments of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and at first of New Jersey and the Carolinas.
3d. There was also what may be termed the Royal Government, in which the governor and council were appointed by the crown, the assembly being elected by the people.
Such were the governments of New Hampshire, New York, Virginia, and Georgia, and of New Jersey after 1702, and of the Carolinas after 1728.
4th. There was the Mixed Government, in which the governor only was appointed by the king, while the assembly and the council were elected by the people.
This was the form adopted permanently by the “ Massachusetts Colony."
This variety in the constitutional forms of the colonial governments points out their territorial separation and their constitutional independence of each other.
Their constitutional independence of each other was as complete as that which exists between France and Spain at the present time. Indeed, these two nations have far more intercommunication than the colonies had with each other previous to the revolutionary period.
At first there were but two territorial divisionsknown by the names Virginia and New England.
At last these became divided into thirteen distinct political communities, which, as we have seen, were entirely independent of each other.
There was neither a community of interest nor of feeling between them.
They were strangers to each other.
There was no trade between them, which must probably be accounted for in part by the policy of Great Britain, which placed restrictions on the commerce and manufactures of the colonies.
It must also have accorded with the feelings of the colonists.
“Old England” they still regarded with affection. “ New England was nothing to Virginia, and Virginia was nothing to New England.”
“ Old England” they fondly spoke of as “ home "as the “ mother-country"; but they never alluded to the colonies as brothers and sisters. We search almost in vain for
kind of intercourse between them, at the early date of which we are now speaking.
“ In 1756, Washington traveled eastward as far as Boston, and the year following he visited Philadelphia -but the object of both these visits was connected with the old French war-the first, for a personal interview with the commander-in-chief, Governor Shirley, and the second to attend a convention of governors and officers summoned by Lord Loudoun.”
These, I believe, are the only times that Washington visited the Northern or Middle provinces, until the beginning of the Revolution.
In 1773, Mr. Qnincy, of Boston, paid a visit to the
Middle and Southern provinces, and, writing home from Charleston, he speaks of " this distant shore."
Just before the breaking out of the Revolution, two Philadelphia patriots—John Dickinson and Joseph Ross-visited Boston.
These are the only instances I remember of any communication between the colonists until the beginning of the Revolution.
When the first general Congress assembled in 1774, the members all met as strangers.”
I have dwelt somewhat upon this point, because we shall find, in tha sequel, that it had an important bear. ing upon the character of the government which was at last established by a union of all these colonies
We shall see that the principles which at last became fixed in the glorious constitution of our country were simply expansions of the ideas of local independence which the Saxons brought into England in the fifth century, and which came over here with our forefathers, and inspired them with the mighty will that carried them through the bloody period of the Revolution.
We shall see that every one of the colonies was às jealous of losing this principle as of losing its life.
Our ancestors countenanced many whimsical tyran. nies that strike us now with grotesque amazement ; but they were always clear on this one point,--they would have their own way. They would make their own local laws, and have supreme control over all their domestic institutions ; and it was never a safe business of any one dwelling outside of their local jurisdiction to meddle with them.
There was no authority recognized, except that of Heaven, in their local government, but the voice of their own people.
We have an excellent illustration of this in the laws which were made in what was called “the dominion of New Haven,” at its first settlement-of which the following are examples :
** The governor and magistrates, convened in General Asssembly, are the Supreme Power, under God, of this independent dominion.”
“ The Governor is amenable to the voice of the people.”
“ The Governor shall have a single vote in determining any question, except a casting vote, when the Assembly shall be equally divided. The assembly of the people shall not be dismissed by the Governor, but shall dismiss itself."
“Whosoever says there is a power over and above this dominion, shall be punished with death and loss of property.”
But, although these colonists were clear enough on the subject of local sovereignty, they knew how to be despots in their own little way.
For instance, what do our young gentlemen think of the following law :
“ No man shall court a maid in person, or by letter, without first obtaining consent of her parents : five pounds penalty for the first offence, ten pounds for the second ; and for the third, imprisonment during the pleasure of the Court."
And what do married people think of this law ? “ Married people shall live together, or be imprisoned.”
But if the New England colonists knew how to be cruel to the members of their own community, they were clear enough and invincible enough on this principle of being sole masters of their own domestic institutions. They would punish any man with death who should dare even to intimate that they were not.