Pathways of the Puritans

Pathways of the Puritans

Pathways of the Puritans

Pathways of the Puritans

Excerpt

We are celebrating the tercentenary of 1630 because that year marks the establishment of Massachusetts as a selfgoverning commonwealth. In 1630 the famous colony charter was brought to our shores, with the first flood of the great Puritan migration.

Massachusetts was not founded all at once, like Virginia. The Pilgrim Fathers paved the way by proving that Englishmen could live and prosper in New England. The Dorchester Adventurers, an association of public-spirited men of old Dorsetshire, established a fishing settlement at the site of Gloucester in 1623. This organization sold out to the New England Company, which sent John Endecott with fifty settlers to Salem in 1628; and on March 4, 1629, the New England Company obtained a charter from Charles I as "The Governor and Company of the Massachusetts-Bay in New England." In form this charter was similar to those of other business corporations of the time. The "freemen" (stockholders) annually elected the "Governor, Deputy Governor and Assistants," who constituted the "Court of Assistants" or board of directors. Freemen and assistants met in a "Great and General Court" (stockholders' meeting), to transact the big business of the company. That is why the legislature of Massachusetts is still officially styled the General Court.

Virginia had been settled by just such a colonizing company as this; but that colony was under the company in London. John Winthrop, Thomas Dudley, William Pynchon, and the . . .

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