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Patent Of Providence Plantations [1643]


. . . Whereas ~~ . . there is a Tract of Land . . . called by the Name of the Narraganset Bay; bordering Northward and Northeast on the Patent of the Massachusetts, East and Southeast on Plymouth Patent, South on the Ocean, and on the West and Northwest by the Indians called Nahigganneucks, alias Narragansets; the whole Tract extending about Twenty-five English Miles unto the Pequot River and Country.

And whereas divers well affected and industrious English Inhabitants, of the Towns of Providence, Portsmouth, and Newport in the tract aforesaid, have adventured to make a nearer neighborhood and Society with the great Body of the Narragansets which may in time by the blessing of God upon their endeavors,lay a sure foundation of happiness to all America.And have also purchased ,and are purchasing of and amonst the said natives, some other places, which may be convenient both for plantations and also for building of ships,Supply of pipe staves and other Merchandise. And whereas the said English, have represented their Desire... to have their hopeful beginning approved and confirmed, by granting unto them a free Charter of Civil Incorparation and Government;...In due Consideration of the said Premises, the said Robert Earl of Warwick ,...and the greater Number of the said Commissioners,...out of desire to encourage the good beginnings of the said Planters, Do, by the Authority of the aforesaid Ordinance of the Lords and Commons, . . . grant . . . to the aforesaid Inhabitants of the Towns of Providence, Portsmouth, and Newport, a free and absolute Charter of Incorporation, to be known by the Name of the Incorporation of Providence Plantations, in the Narraganset-Bay, in New England.—Together with full Power and Authority to rule themselves, and such others as shall hereafter inhabit within any Part of the said Tract of land, by such a Form of Civil Government, as by voluntary consent of all, or the greater Part of them, they shall find most suitable to their Estate and Condition; and, for that End, to make and ordain such Civil Laws and Constitutions, and to inflict such punishments upon Transgressors, and for Execution thereof, so to place, and displace Officers of Justice, as they, or the greatest Part of them, shall by free Consent agree unto. Provided nevertheless, that the said Laws, Constitutions, and Punishments, for the Civil Government of the said Plantations, be conformable to the Laws of England, so far as the Nature and Constitution of the place will admit. And always reserving to the said Earl, and Commissioners, and their Successors, Power and Authority for to dispose the general Government of that, as it stands in Relation to the rest of the Plantations in America as they shall conceive from Time to Time, most conducing to the general Good of the said Plantations, the Honour of his Majesty, and the Service of the State....