MASSACHUSETS was settling steadily on her well-laid foundations. The great decline in the value of property, incident to the discontinuance of immigration, bore heavily upon her people; but the habit of hard work and careful saving, which necessity had enforced in the earlier stages of the settlement, enabled them to live above want, while it sowed the seeds of a future affluence. And the lull, which succeeded to the storm of controversy lately so furious, was favorable to the dispassionate determination of the important practical questions which were constantly arising in the infancy of the state. It may even be thought, that the arrest of the increase of the colony by accessions from abroad was at this stage happily ordained to facilitate an orderly arrangement of its elements, already sufficient as they were, both in amount and variety, for the composition of a vigorous body politic.
In Dudley's second administration of the chief magistracy,1 the scarcity of money was such as to lead to a law authorizing the satisfaction of debts by payment "in corn, cattle, fish, or other commodities, at such rates as the Court should set down from time to time, or, in default thereof, by appraisement of indifferent men." The law was not to have effect as to debts existing at the time of its passage, or contracted within the next three weeks.2 But, so restricted, it was not thought to afford sufficient relief; and, by a further provision, creditors were com
Relief law in Massachusetts. 1640. Oct. 7.