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First Charter Of Massachusetts [1620]

 

[The charter begins with a recital of the patent of 1620 to the Council for New England, and the subsequent grant by the Council, in March, 1627/8, to Sir Henry Rosewell and others, which last-mentioned grant is by this present charter confirmed, and continues :]
AND FURTHER knowe yee, That . . . Wee . . . by theis presents doe . . . give and graunt unto the said Sir Henry Rosewell, Sir John Younge, Sir Richard Saltonstall, Thomas Southcott, John Humfrey, John Endecott, Symon Whetcombe, Isaack Johnson, Samuel Aldersey, John Ven, Mathewe Cradock, George Harwood, Increase Nowell, Richard Pery, Richard Bellingham, Nathaniel Wright, Samuell Vassall, Theophilus Eaton, Thomas Goffe, Thomas Adams, John Browne, Samuell Browne, Thomas Hutchins, William Vassall, William Pinchion, and George Foxcrofte, theire heires and assigned All that parte of Newe England in America which Iyes and extendes betweene a great river there commonlie called Monomack river, alias Merrimack river, and a certen other river there called Charles river, being in the bottome of a certen bay there commonlie called Massachusetts, alias Mattachusetts, alias Massatusetts bay: And also all and singuler those landes and hereditaments whatsoever, Iyeing within the space of three Englishe myles on the south parte of the saide river called Charles river, or of any or every parte thereof: And also all and singuler the landes and hereditaments . . . Iyeing and being within the space of three Englishe myles to the southward of the southernmost parte of the said baye called Massachusetts . . .: And also all those landes and hereditaments . . . which lye and be within the space of three English myles to the northward of the saide river called Monomack, alias Merrymack, or to the northward of any and every parte thereof, and all Andes and hereditaments . . . Iyeing within the Iymitts aforesaide, north and south, in latitude and bredth, and in length and longitude, of and within all the bredth aforesaide, throughout the mayne landes there from the Atlantic and westerne sea and ocean on the east parte, to the south sea on the west parte: . . .

and also a11 islandes in America aforesaide, in the saide seas, or either of them, on the westerne or easterne coastes, or partes of the said tracts of landes hereby mentioned to be given and graunted . . ., and free libertie of fishing in or within any the rivers or waters within the boundes and Iymytts aforesaid, and the seas thereunto adjoining:. . . [To be held in free and common socage, and paying one fifth part of all gold and silver ores.] AND . . . wee will and ordeyne, That the saide Sir Henry Rosewell . . . [and others] . . ., and all such others as shall hereafter be admitted and made free of the Company and Society hereafter mentioned, shall . . . be . . . one body corporate and politique in fact and name, by the name of the Governor and Company of the Mattachusetts Bay in Newe England . . . And wee doe hereby . . . graunte, That . . . there shalbe one Governor, one Deputy Governor, and eighteene Assistants . . .. to be from tyme to tyme . . . chosen out of the freemen of the saide Company, for the tyme being, in such manner and forme as hereafter in theis presents is expressed. Which said officers shall applie themselves to take care for the best disposeing and ordering of the generall buysines and affaires of . . . the saide landes and premisses . . ., and the plantacion thereof, and the government of the people there. And . . . wee doe . . . nominate . . . the saide Mathewe Cradocke to be the first and present Governor of the said Company, and the saide Thomas Goffe to be Deputy Governor . . ., and the said Sir Richard Saltonstall, Isaack Johnson, Samuell Aldersey, John Ven, John Humfrey, John Endecott, Simon Whetcombe, Increase Noell, Richard Pery, Nathaniell Wright, Samuell Vassall, Theophilus Eaton, Thomas Adams, Thomas Hutchins, John Browne, George Foxcrofte, William Vassall, and William Pinchion to be the present Assistants . . ., to continue in the saide severall offices respectivelie for such tyme and in such manner as in and by theis presents is hereafter declared and appointed. [The Governor or Deputy Governor may give order for the assembling of the Company.] And that the said Governor, Deputie Governor, and Assistants . . . shall or maie once every moneth, or oftener at their pleasures, assemble, and houlde, and keepe a Courte or Assemblie of themselves, for the better ordering and directing of their affaires. [Seven or more Assistants, with the Governor or Deputy Governor, to be a sufficient Court.] and that there shall or maie be held . ., upon every last Wednesday in Hillary, Easter, Trinity, and Michas termes respectivelie for ever, one greate, general and solempe Assemblie, which foure Generall Assemblies shalbe stiled and called the Foure Greate and Generall Courts of the saide Company: IN all and every or any of which saide Greate and Generall Courts soe assembled, WEE DOE . . . graunte . . . That the Governor, or, in his absence, the Deputie Governor . . . and such of the Assistants and freemen . . . as shalbe present, or the greater nomber of them soe assembled, whereof the Governor or Deputie Governor and six of the Assistants, at the least to be seaven, shall have full power and authoritie to choose, nominate, and appointe such and soe many others as they shall thinke fitt and that shall be willing to accept the same, to be free of the said Company and Body, and them into the same to admitt, and to elect and constitute such officers as they shall thinke fitt and requisite for the ordering, mannaging, and dispatching of the affaires of the saide Governor and Company.... And wee doe . . . ordeyne, That yearely once in the yeare for ever hereafter, namely, the last Wednesday in Easter tearme yearely, the Governor, Deputy Governor, and Assistants . . ., and all other officers of the saide Company, shalbe, in the Generall Court or Assembly to be held for that day or tyme, newly chosen for the yeare ensueing by such greater parte of the said Company for the tyme being, then and there present, as is aforesaide.... AND wee doe . . . graunt . . ., That it shall . . . be lawfull to and for the Governor or Deputie Governor and such of the Assistants and Freemen of the said Company . . . as shalbe assembled in any of their Generall Courts aforesaide, or in any other Courtes to be specially summoned and assembled for that purpose, or the greater parte of them, (whereof the Governor or Deputie Governor and six of the Assistants, to be alwaies seaven), from tyme to tyme to make, ordeine, and establishe all manner of wholesome and reasonable orders, lawes, statutes, and ordinances, directions, and instructions not contrarie to the lawes of this our realme of England, aswell for setting of the formes and ceremonies of government and magistracy fitt and necessary for the said plantation and the inhabitants there, and for nameing and stiling of all sortes of officers, both superior and inferior, which they shall finde neede full for that government and plantation, and the distinguishing and setting forth of the severall duties, powers, and Iymytts of every such office and place, and the formes of such oathes warrantable by the lawes and statutes of this our realme of England as shalbe respectivelie ministred unto them, for the execution of the said severall offices and places, as also for the disposing and ordering of the elections of such of the said officers as shalbe annuall, and of such others as shalbe to succeede in case of death or removeall, and ministring the said oathes to the newe elected officers, and for impositions of lawfull fynes, mulcts, imprisonment, or other lawfull correction, according to the course of other corporations in this our realme of England and for the directing, ruling, and disposeing of all other matters and thinges whereby our said people, inhabitants there, maie be soe religiously, peaceablie, and civilly governed, as their good life and orderlie conversation maie wynn and incite the natives of [that] country to the knowledg and obedience of the onlie true God and Savior of mankinde, and the Christian fayth, which, in our royall intention and the adventurers free profession, is the principall ende of this plantation.... PROVIDED also ..., That theis presents shall not in any manner enure, or be taken to abridge, barr, or hinder any of our loving subjects whatsoever to use and exercise the trade of fishing upon that coast of New England in America by theis presents mentioned to be graunted....