« AnteriorContinua »
for admission. A mere worldly reputation for honesty and sobriety of life, did not satisfy the brethren, but he was required to explain his moral feelings, his religious affections, and his opinions on christian doctrines. Where a stranger would seldom appear, as was the case in all the inland towns, especially at Dedham, this strict inquisition would be made. What was done by the honored fathers of the town, what was done by the reverend elders, agreeably to the policy and maxims of these bodies, would, we may suppose, be done by every man, woman and child in the plantation, because that duty was in fact enjoined by the by-laws and policy of the society.
I have described what actually was done at an early period in the Dedham-plantation, in relation to this sub ject. We have seen that it continued long to exercise great jealousy of new comers, and in fact to possess great aversion to them. May we not suppose, nay are we not directly informed, that other inland towns of early date were like that of Dedham in this respect? Large commercial towns could not long adhere to this inquisitorial policy, because the constant influx and departure of strangers, the frequent intercourse with the whole country, and the varied pursuits of its inhabitants, some requiring only a temporary residence, would render it impracticable. The old law so long in force, authorizing towns to warn out those persons who had not acquired a legal settlement, grew out of this jealousy of strangers, and in its operation continued to strengthen it. Here we trace the origin of that peculiar trait in the New England character, that of impertinent curiosity, so universally observed by our own countrymen and foreigners. It grew out of the attempt to establish a pure church, and a pure commonwealth. What is now impertinent curiosity was in the days of governor Winthrop a necessary inquiry, dictated by policy, and demanded by established opinions of church government. Many emigrants have in every period of its existence gone from Dedham into all lands, few have moved into it. But when the new comers first appear at the present time, the old feeling is excited in the breasts of some of the old standards; what sent the adventurer here!! The current of emigration should carry him into the western wilderness! All the places here are wanted for the natives! If such sentiments are now indulged they will soon entirely
cease to exist. Dedham by its situation possesses many advantages for various employments. The skill and capital which it forcibly draws hither is viewed with delight by every enlightened mind; and that skilful artist or that man of capital who here, appropriates the one and exerts the other, to increase employment, are real benefactors. And when it is fully perceived, as it must be, that the town derives great advantage from the various kinds of new comers, no unfavorable distinction between native and emigrant will exist.
An account of events from 1736 to the close of the revolutionary war. Neponset river becomes the east boundary of Dedham. Land bank bills. Revolutionary proceedings. Votes against the Stamp tax. Indemnity for losses by the riots in Boston. Non importation agreements. Vote against the Judges salary. Resolution to resist. Tea drinkers denounced, and posted as enemies to the country. Minute men. May 27, 1776, Independence declared by the town. Preparation for war. Exertions to procure soldiers. First draft of a state constitution approved. Exertions to procure soldiers. Amount of town expenses for the war estimated. Anecdote relating to Mr. Clark the Episcopal minister of Dedham. Mr. Dexter. Adoption of the State constitution. A review of this period.
1738. Dedham and Stoughton agreed that Neponset river for the future shall be the boundary line between the two towns.
1740. A debate arose in town meeting, whether the constables should be instructed to receive land bank bills? Voted in the affirmative. Eight men protested against it, and have their objections recorded.
1748. A fourth parish is incorporated, called Springfield, now the town of Dover.
October 1765. The town chose a committee of seven to report instructions to be given to their representatives in the general court, respecting the stamp tax. These instructions are addressed to Samuel Dexter esquire, and forbid him to do any thing to encourage the execution of that act, and enjoin on him the duty of resisting the act, for the reasons so fully assigned at that time in public documents and writings. The report further asserts, without any limitation, the right of the town to give instructions binding on the representatives.
October 1766. The general court having proposed to the town the question, whether it will bestow an indemnity on the late sufferers by the riots in Boston, without consent of the town first obtained therefor, the town voted it could not; and it further voted it would not consent even to a partial indemnity.
November 1766. The town acting on this subject a third time, declared that it held in great abhorrence the
destruction of property, by a mob. That the sufferers however have no just claim to indemnity, that it would be a dangerous precedent to grant it as a matter of right, as lately contended for, but nevertheless that we may show our dutiful regard to our most gracious sovereign, and our gratitude to those worthy persons who caused the repeal of the stamp act, we give instructions to vote for the indemnity, as it is now asked for, on the ground of generosity.
1768. The town taking into consideration the critical state of public affairs, voted to chose two delegates to attend a convention in Fanueil hall. Nathaniel Sumner, Esq. and Richard Woodward were the delegates chosen.
March, 1770. The great distresses produced by oppressive revenue acts, the coming over of British troops, and the laudable example of many towns, induce the inhabitants to vote that they will encourage the manufactory of such goods as are imported from Great Britain. That they will not have commercial dealings with merchants whose names are posted up in a list among us. "That as the duty on tea furnishes so large a sum towards the maintenance of innumerable multitudes, from the odious commissioner of the customs, down to the dirty informer by him employed, we will use no foreign tea, nor permit our families." A committee is appointed to see this vote observed.
January, 1773. Voted that the rights of the colonies and provinces have of late been greatly infringed by the parent country, and that they are threatened with destruction. That affixing salaries to the judges, making them thereby independent of the people, is a measure extremely alarming. Voted that this town will unite with others in measures to preserve their liberties. The copy of these votes are sent to the committee of correspondence at Bos
January, 1774. The town voted that they hear with infinite pleasure, the determination of other colonies to prevent tea from being made use of, to enlarge British revenue in the colonies. As so many political evils are brought about by an unreasonable liking to tea, and it is so baneful to the human constitution, if any shall continue to use it while the act creating a duty thereon is in force, we shall consider it as a flagrant proof of their hostility to the liberties of the country, and of their own stupidity. It is
further voted that Abner Ellis, the representative, use his influence, that a congress, composed of delegates from all the colonies be convened as soon as may be. A committee of correspondence is chosen.
September, 1774. The town met for the purpose of adopting measures to prevent the late acts of the British parliament from being carried into effect; and chose four persons to meet a convention of delegates from the several towns in the county of Suffolk. A convention had been holden at Stoughton, on the 16th day of August previous, and had adjourned to meet at Woodward's tavern in Dedham, on the sixth day of September. At that time and place the convention met, composed of new delegates from Dedham and from other towns. This meeting adjourned again to meet at Vose's house in Milton, on the ninth day of September. Here the convention, after choosing Joseph Palmer, Esq. as their moderator, and William Thompson, Esq. their clerk, adopted those resolves, and made those declarations which are published in the first volume of the journals of the old congress, and which seem to have been the first of the kind, honored by an insertion at full length in their journals.
December, 1774. The inhabitants again vote that they will not drink any kind of India tea, nor suffer their families, until the country has redress of grievances mentioned in the association agreement. A committee of eleven persons was then chosen to make inquiry, whether any person is so void of love to his country, as to violate these engagements. If any were found the committee was directed to post them up as enemies to their country.
March, 1775. The town further voted that the constables should pay the taxes committed to them for collection, to Henry Gardiner of Stowe, and his receipt should be as good as the receipt of Harrison Gray, late treasurer.
Voted that a detached company of minute men shall be held bound for nine months from the time of their enlistment. At this time they established the amount of wages for officers and soldiers, and voted to borrow money for the purpose of paying the company. The money was borrowed in small sums of the inhabitants.
Thus far opposition had consisted principally in speeches and resolves; henceforth we shall see how the doings of the town corresponded therewith.