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a purpose, resolution and desire, that they might be admitted unto church fellowship according to Christ. That all the free planters held themselves bound to establish such civil order, as might best conduce to the security of the church and peace of the ordinances to them and their posterity, according to God.”

A committee of twelve were thereupon chosen for the purpose of selecting seven men qualified for the foundation work of organizing the government. Eaton, Davenport and five others were selected as the “seven pillars," for this new house of wisdom in the wilderness; who in August, 1639, assembled, possessing for a time the most absolute power, having abrogated every previous executive trust. They admitted to the court all church members.(a)

§ 70. It was decreed by the freemen that there should be a general court annually in the plantation in the last week of October. This was ordained a court of election, in which all the officers of the colony were to be chosen under the form of government here established. All government was originally in the church, and the members of the church elected the governor, magistrates, and all the other officers. The magistrates seemed first to have been no more than mere assistants to the governor, and

ad no right to act in any sentence or determination of the court. The general court consisted of the governor, deputy governor, magistrates, and two deputies from each plantation, and was declared to be “ The supreme power under God of this independent dominion,” and had authority to declare, forbid, and establish the laws of God, the supreme Legislator, to make and enforce orders for smaller matters, not particularly determined in Scripture, according to the general rules of righteousness. To order all affairs of war and peace, and all matters rela

(a) 1 Bancroft, 404.

tive to defending or fortifying the country. To receive and determine all appeals, civil or criminal, from any inferior court, in which they were to proceed according to Scripture light and laws, and orders agreeing therewith. A court of magistrates were to meet or be held twice every year to determine all weighty causes, civil or criminal, above those limited to plantation courts, and to receive and try all appeals from plantation courts.

In this court, when the voices were equal, the governor, or in his absence the deputy governor, had a casting voice. A court was established in each plantation, in which there were to be one or more magistrates. The freemen were to choose two, three, or four deputies to assist the magistrales for the trial of civil causes not exceeding £20, and criminal where the penalty did not exceed punishment in the stocks, whipping, or £5 fine. Their laws were in many respects copied from those of Massachusetts. But there was no such thing as a trial by jury either in civil or criminal cases. All matters of fact as well as of law were determined by the court.(a)

§ 71. No other laws were at first enacted except general resolutions. As the plantation enlarged and new towns were settled, new orders were given, until at length the General Court assumed a new form, and laws were enacted, and the civil polity of the colony gradually advanced in the science of civil government, and moulded its institution somewhat resembling that of Connecticut.(6)

Theophilus Eaton, the first governor of the colony, on entering upon the duties of the office in accordance with the religious sentiments of the colonists, received a charge from their pastor, from 1 Deut. 16, 17, “And I charged you Judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man

(a) i Hutch. 82, n.

(6) 1 Trumb. 106, 7.

and his brother, and the stranger that is with him; Ye shall not respect persons in judgment, but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; Ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's; and the cause that is too hard for you bring it to me I will hear it.” : If his Excellency lived up to the spirit of this charge, and adopted the principles which are embraced in it, he probably did that which should put modern political rulers to the blush in view of the marked distinction in this respect between ancient and modern rulers. In 1665, Governor Eaton had been requested to perfect a code of laws for this colony. For his assistance in the compilation, he was requested by the general court to consult the Rev. Mr. Cotton's discourse on civil government in a new plantation, and the laws of Massachusetts. Having completed the work, the laws having been examined and approved by the elders of the jurisdiction, they were presented to the general court, who ordered 500 copies to be printed: this was done in England, and were distributed to several towns in the colony. During this year, the colony was united with that of Connecticut, a union which was ever afterwards regarded by the colonists as a happy event, as one that contributed much to the peace, strength, welfare, and prosperity of both colonies. New Haven certainly could not have enjoyed a more benignant and republican form of government than that which had been already perfected in Connecticut, which by this act became its own.

Thus we have traced the history of the two colonies during the period of their separate existence, which brings us down to the period at which our third subdivision of the colonial history commences.

§ 72. The first general election after the union was held in May, 1665, at which John Winthrop was elected as governor, a proportionable number of the magistrates were of the former colony of New Haven, all the towns sent deputies, and the assembly was one of the greatest harmony. They proceeded, and for the first time instituted county courts by name; two were to be held annually in New Haven, in June and November, to consist of five judges, two magistrates, and three justices of the quorum. A similar court was also appointed at New London, and at the October session another at Hartford. The county courts had cognizance of all cases except those of life, limb, or banishment, and in all cases over twenty shillings the law required that a jury should be empanelled.(a) A superior court of eight magistrates was appointed to be holden at Hartford, in May and October, and was always to be attended with a jury which had original jurisdiction for all capital actions of life, limb, and banishment, and appellate jurisdiction from the county courts. Until the year 1670, the great body of the freemen convened annually at Hartford, for the election of a governor, the magistrates, and civil officers appointed by the charter. At this time the freemen had become so numerous as to render it very expensive as well as inconvenient to continue this mode of election, and a change was then made by which it was provided, that, thenceforth all the freemen without further summons should or might on the 2d Thursday of May, annually in person or in proxy attend at Hartford for the purpose of such election.(6)

§ 73. Prior to 1672, the colony had kept their laws in manuscript, and had promulgated them, by sending copies to be read publicly in every town. This year the first code of Connecticut was published. It was compiled by Roger Ludlow, Esq., and printed at Cambridge, Mass. It consisted of between seventy and eighty pages small folio printed and of nearly the same number of


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blank pages.

The preface was written in the most religious manner. It was thus introduced, “ To our beloved brethren and neighbours, the inhabitants of Connecticut. The general court of the colony, with grace and peace in our Lord Jesus.” It recognized the design of the sub planters, who," as the court expressed it,“ settled their foundations” for the maintaining of “religion according to the gospel of our Lord Jesus,” which it declared, " ought to be the endeavour of all those that shall succeede to uphold and encourage unto all generations.” It was then enacted that every family should have a law book. The subsequent laws of the colony from 1672 to 1699, were subsequently inserted on the blank leaves of this book, when the book was filled up.

§ 74. The last year of the reign of Charles II. had been characterized by the most wanton violation of chartered rights and private property. To such an extent had it been carried, that the colonists were naturally led to the belief that nothing could be lost by a change of sovereigns, and evidently expected that greater security might be anticipated on his demise; accordingly, in 1685, on the accession of James II., the assembly addressed a letter of condolence to his majesty, on account of the demise of his brother, Charles II., and congratulated him on his peaceful succession, gave him assurance of their loyalty and attachment to the royal person and government, and besought him to continue to them their civil and religious privileges, and that he would preserve to them the peaceable enjoyment of their property. If the colonists entertained a hope that this righteous request would be granted, that hope was soon dispelled by the issuing of a quo warranto against the colony. return day, therein named, which it was well understood it would be impossible for it to comply with the exigencies of the writ, and under a penalty therein inserted that all its chartered rights would be vacated in case of

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