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Second Charter Of Massachusetts [October 17th, 1691]

 

[The charter begins by reciting the grant of a patent in 1620 to the Council for New England, the grant by the Council to the Massachusetts Bay Company in I628, the royal charter of I629, and the vacating of the charter by a judgment in chancery in I684, and continues:]

And whereas severall persons employed as Agents in behalfe of Our said Collony of the Massachusetts Bay in New England have made their humble application unto Us that Wee would be graciously pleased by Our Royall Charter to Incorporate Our Subjects in Our said Collony . . . And alsoe to the end Our good Subjects within Our Collony of New Plymouth in New England aforesaid may be brought under such a forme of Government as may put them in a better Condition of defenceof Wee doe by these presents for Us Our Heirs and Successors Will and Ordeyne that the Territories and Collonyes comonly called or known by the Names of the Collony of the Massachusetts Bay and Collony of New Plymouth the Province of Main the Territorie called Accadia or Nova Scotia and all that Tract of Land lying betweene the saidTerritoritorzes of Nova Scotia and the said Province of Main be Erected United and Incorporated . . . into one reall Province by the Name of Our Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England And . . . Wee doe . . . grant unto . . . the Inhabitants of . . . the Massachusetts Bay and their Successors all that parte of New England in America lying and extending from the greate River commonly called Monomack alias Merrimack on the Northpart and from three Miles Northward of the said River to the Atlantick or Western Sea or Ocean on the South part And all the Lands and Hereditaments whatsoever lying within the limitts aforesaid and extending as far as the Outermost Points or Promontories of Land called Cape Cod and Cape Mallabar North and South and in Latitude Breadth and in Length and Longitude of and within all the Breadth and Compass aforesaid throughout the Main Land there from the said Atlantick or Western Sea and Ocean on the East parte towards the South Sea or Westward as far as Our Collonyes of Rhode Island Connecticutt and the Marragansett [Narragansett] Countrey all alsoe all that part or portion of Main Land beginning at the Entrance of Pescata way Harbour and soe to pass upp the same into the River of Newicke wannock and through the same into the furthest head thereof and from thence Northwestward till One Hundred and Twenty Miles be finished and from Piscata way Harbour mouth aforesaid North-Eastward along the Sea Coast to Sagadehock and from the Period of One Hundred and Twenty Miles aforesaid to cross over Landto the One Hundred and Twenty Miles before reckoned up into the Land from Piscataway Harbour through Newickawannock River and also the North halfe of the Isles and [of Shoales together with the Isles of Cappawock and Nantukett near CapeCod aforesaid and alsoe [all] Lands and Hereditaments lying and being in the Countrey and Territory commonly called Accadia or Nova Scotia And all those Lands and Hereditaments lying and extending betweene the said Countrey or Territory of Nova Scotia and the said River of Sagadahock or any part thereof . . . and alsoe all Islands and Isletts Iying within tenn Leagues directly opposite to the Main Land within the said bounds . . . And Wee doe further . . . ordeyne that . . . there shall be one Governour One Leiutenant or Deputy Governour and One Secretary of Our said Province or Territory to be from time to time appointed and Commissionated by Us . . . and Eight and Twenty Assistants or Councillors to be advising and assisting to the Governour . . . for the time being as by these presents is hereafter directed and appointed which said Councillors or Assistants are to be Constituted Elected and Chosen in such forme and manner as hereafter in these presents is expressed And for the better Execution of Our Royall Pleasure and Grant in this behalfe Wee . . . Nominate . . . Simon Broadstreet John Richards Nathaniel Saltenstall Wait Winthrop John Phillipps James Russell Samuell Sewall Samuel Appleton Barthilomew Gedney John Hawthorn Elisha Hutchinson Robert Pike Jonathan Curwin John Jolliffe Adam Winthrop Richard Middlecot John Foster Peter Serjeant Joseph Lynd Samuell Hayman Stephen Mason Thomas Hinckley William Bradford John Walley Barnabas Lothrop Job Alcott Samuell Daniell and Silvanus Davis Esquiers the first and present Councillors or Assistants of Our said Province . . .and wee doe further . . . appoint . . . Isaac Addington Esquier to be Our first and present Secretary of Our said Province during Our Pleasure and our Will and Pleasure is that the Governour . . . shall have Authority from time to time at his discretion to assemble and call together the Councillors or Assistants . . . and that the said Governour with the said Assistants or Councillors or Seaven of them at the least shall and may from time to time hold and keep a Councill for the ordering and directing the Affaires of Our said Province and further Wee Will . . . that there shall . . . be convened . . . by the Governour . . . upon every last Wednesday in the Moneth of May every yeare for ever and at all such other times as the Governour . . . shall think fitt and appoint a great and Generall Court of Assembly Which . . . shall consist of the Governour and Councill or Assistants . . . and of such Freeholders . . . as shall be from time to time elected or deputed by the Major parte of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the respective Townes or Places who shall lve present at such Elections

Each of the said Townes and Places being hereby impowered to Elect and Depute Two Persons and noe more to serve for and represent them respectively in the said Great and Generall Court . . . To which Great and Generall Court . . . Wee doe hereby . . . grant full power and authority from time to time to direct . . . what Number each County Towne and Place shall Elect and Depute to serve for and represent them respectively . . .Provided alwayes that noe Freeholder or other Person shall have a Vote in the Election of Members . . . who at the time of such Election shall not have an estate of Freehold in Land within Our said Province or Territory to the value of Forty Shillings per Annum at the least or other estate to the value of Forty pounds Sterling And that every Person who shall be soe elected shall before he sitt or Act in the said Great and General Court . . . take the Oaths mentioned in an Act of Parliament made in the first yeare of Our Reigne Entituled an Act for abrogateing of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy and appointing other Oaths and thereby appointed to be taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy and shall make Repeat and Subscribe the Declaration mentioned in the said Act . . . and that the Governour for the time being shall have full power and Authority from time to time as he shall Judge necessary to adjourne Prorogue and dissolve all Great and Generall Courts . . . met and convened as aforesaid And . . . Wee doe . . . Ordeyne that yearly once in every yeare . . . the aforesaid Number of Eight and Twenty Councillors or Assistants shall be by the Generall Court . . . newly chosen that is to say Eighteen at least of the Inhabitants of or Proprietors of Lands within the Territory formerly called the Collony of the Massachusetts Bay and four at the least of the Inhabitants of or Proprietors of Lands within the Territory formerly called New Plymouth and three at the least of the Inhabitants of or Proprietors of Land within the Territory formerly called the Province of Rain and one at the least of the Inhabitants of or Proprietors of Land within the Territory lying between the River of Sagadahoc and Nova Scotia . . . [The General Court may remove assistants from office, and may also fill vacancies caused by removal or death.] And Wee doe further . . . Ordeyne that it shall and may be lawfull for the said Governour with the advice and consent of the Councill or Assistants from time to time to nominate and appoint Judges Commissioners of Oyer and Tcrminer Sheriffs Provosts Marshalls Justices of the Peace and other Officers to Our Councill and Courts of Justice belonging . . . and for the greater Ease and Encouragement of Our Loveing Subjects In
habiting our said Province . . . and of such as shall come to Inhabit there We doe . . . Ordaine that for ever hereafter there shall be a liberty of Conscience allowed in the Worshipp of God to all Christians (Except Papists) Inhabiting . . . within our said Province . . . [Courts for the trial of both civil and criminal cases may be established by the General Court, reserving to the governor and assistants matters of probate and administration.]and whereas Wee judge it necessary that all our Subjects should have liberty to Appeale to us . . . in Cases that may deserve the same Wee doe . . . Ordaine that incase either party shall not rest satisfied with the Judgement or Sentence of any Judicatories or Courts within our said Province . . . in any Personall Action wherein the matter in difference doth exceed the value of three hundred Pounds Sterling that then he or they may appeale to us. . . in our . . . Privy Councill . . . and we doe further. . . grant to the said Governor and the great and Generall Court . . . full power and Authority from time to time to make. . . all manner of wholesome and reasonable Orders Laws Statutes and Ordinances Directions and Instructions either with penalties or without (soe as the same be not repugnant or contrary to the Lawes of this our Realme of England) as they shall Judge to be for the good and welfare of our said Province....And for the Government and Ordering thereof and of the People Inhabiting . . . the same and for the necessary support andDefence of the Government thereof [and also] full power and
Authority to name and settle Annually all Civill Officers within the said Province such Officers Excepted the Election and Constitution of whome wee have by these presents reserved to us. . . or to the Governor . . . and to Settforth the severall Duties Powers and Lymitts of every such Officer . . . and the forms of such Oathes not repugnant to the Lawes and Statutes of this ourRealme of England as shall be respectively Administred unto them for the Execution of their severall Offices and places And
alsoe to impose Fines mulcts Imprisonments and other Punishments And to Impose and leavy proportionable and reasonable Assessments Rates and Taxes upon the Estates and Persons of all and every the Proprietors and Inhabitants of our said Province or Territory . . . for Our Service in the necessary defence and support of our Government of our said Province . . . and the Protection and Preservation of the Inhabitants there according to such Acts as are or shall be in force within our said Province . . . [The governor to have a veto on elections and acts of the General Court] . . . and wee doe . . . Ordaine that the said Orders Laws Statutes and Ordinances be by the first opportunity after the makeing thereof sent or Transmitted unto us . . . for Our . . . approbation or Disallowance And that incase all or any of them shall at any time within the space of three yeares next after the same shall have been presented to us . . . in Our . . . Privy Councill be disallowed and rejected . . . then such . . . of them as shall be see disallowed . . shall thenceforth cease and determine and become utterly void and of none effect [Laws, &c., not disallowed within the three years, to remain in force until repealed by the (general Court. Grants of land by the General Court, within the limits of the former colonies of Massachusetts Bay and New Plymouth, and the Province of Maine, excepting the region north and east of the Sagadahoc, to be valid without further royal approval. The governor shall direct the defense of the province, and may exercise martial law in case of necessity ;] . . . Provided alwayes . . . That the said Governur shall not at any time hereafter by vertue of any power hereby granted or hereafter to be granted to him Transport any of the Inhabitants of Our said Province . . . or oblige them to march out of the Limitts of the same without their Free and voluntary consent or the Consent of the Great and Generall Court . . . nor grant Commissions for exercising the Law Martiall upon any the Inhabitants of Our said Province . . . without the Advice and Consent of the Councill or Assistants of the same . . . Provided alwaies . . . that nothing herein shall extend or be taken to . . . allow the Exercise of any Admirall Court Jurisdiction Power or Authority but that the same be and is hereby reserved to Us . . . and shall from time to time be . . . exercised by vertue of Commissions to be yssued under the Great Seale of England or under the Seale of the High Admirall or the Commissioners for executing the Office of High Admiral of England.... And lastly for the better provideing and furnishing of Masts for Our Royall Navy Wee doe hereby reserve to Us . . . all Trees of the Diameter of Twenty Four Inches and upwards of Twelve Inches from the ground growing upon any soyle or Tract of Land within Our said Province . . . not heretofore granted to any private persons And Wee doe restraine and forbid all persons whatsoever from felling cutting or destroying any such Trees without the Royall Lycence of Us . . . first had and obteyned upon penalty of Forfeiting One Hundred Pounds sterling unto Ous [Us] ... for every such Tree so felled cutt or destroyed....