The United Colonies of New England, 1643-90

By Harry M. Ward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
Articles of Confederation

It was hardly to be expected that the new constitution of the Puritan colonies would be greeted with the huzzas and booming of cannon that ushered in the government under the Constitution of 1787. The Puritan character precluded any sudden, joyous burst of emotionalism. Though the Confederation, long bathed in prayer and counsel of the elders, was now an actual fact, to give in vain rejoicing over a creation of mortal hands might lead to divine displeasure--should the hand of Providence rest upon the Confederation in times of momentous events, then would be the time for rejoicing. The Puritan oligarchy had given to the settlers of America the first intercolonial constitution--an act in itself an assertion of independence and an establishment of a Law of the Land.

The Articles of Confederation were not ratified according to any prescribed procedure. The Commissioners from Connecticut and New Haven at the May meeting in Boston already had ample authority from their general courts to conclude an agreement. Signing for Massachusetts was Edward Rawson, Secretary for the General Court. Nevertheless, it was decided to submit the Articles for ratification to all four of the general courts.

The Massachusetts General Court, in adjournment from May 20 to September 17, had already taken the necessary action to ratify the Articles--even before agreed upon the 29th of May. On the day before adjournment

The Court voted and expressed their consent to the articles between us, Conectecot, Newehaven, and Newe Plimoth, if they consent to them, and appointed them to bee transcribed and subscribed by the Secretary.1

The General Court apparently made no provision before its adjournment to elect its two Commissioners either for the May meeting or for the first session of the Confederation in the fall.

-49-

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