Page:The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, v1.djvu/155
UNITED COLONIES OF NEW ENGLAND.
fusion of terms. He says: "Now, it is apparent that none of the colonies before the Revolution were, in the most large and general sense, independent or sovereign communities. They were all originally settled under and subjected to the British Crown." And then he proceeds to show that they were, in their colonial condition, not sovereign—a proposition which nobody disputed. As colonies, they had no claim, and made no pretension, to sovereignty. They were subject to the British Crown, unless, like the Plymouth colony, "a law unto themselves," but they were independent of each other—the only point which has any bearing upon their subsequent relations. There was no other bond between them than that of their common allegiance to the Government of the mother-country. As an illustration of this may be cited the historical fact that, when John Stark, of Bennington memory, was before the Revolution engaged in a hunting expedition in the Indian country, he was captured by the savages and brought to Albany, in the colony of New York, for a ransom; but, inasmuch as he belonged to New Hampshire, the government of New York took no action for his release. There was not even enough community of feeling to induce individual citizens to provide money for the purpose.
There were, however, local and partial confederacies among the New England colonies, long before the Declaration of Independence. As early as the year 1643 a Congress had been organized of delegates from Massachusetts, Plymouth, New Haven, and Connecticut, under the style of "The United Colonies of New England." The objects of this confederacy, according to Mr. Bancroft, were "protection against the encroachments of the Dutch and French, security against the tribes of savages, the liberties of the gospel in purity and in peace." The general affairs of the company were intrusted to commissions, two from each colony; but the same historian tells us that "to each its respective local jurisdiction was carefully reserved," and he refers to this as evidence that the germ-principle of State-rights was even then in existence. "Thus remarkable for unmixed simplicity" (he proceeds) "was the form of the first con-
- Bancroft's "History of the United States," vol. i, chap. ix.