The Charter of Massachusetts Bay (1691)

charter

This charter is written as one block of text, without any punctuation or break and in period English. I did my best to find the natural breaks in the text, as well as correcting what are now misspellings, in order to ease its legibility.

Any mention of Nova Scotia or Acadia are in bold in order to make it easier to pick them out, not because that is how they are presented in the original text.


WILLIAM & MARY by the grace of God King and Queen of England Scotland France and Ireland Defenders of the Faith &c

To all to whom these presents shall come Greeting. Whereas his late Majesty King James the First Our Royall Predecessor by his Letters Patents under the Great Seal of England bearing date at Westminster the Third Day of November in the Eighteenth year of his Reign, did Give and Grant unto the Council established at Plymouth in the County of Devon for the Planting Ruling Ordering and Governing of New England in America, and to their Successors and Assigns all that part of America lying and being in Breadth from Forty Degrees of Northerly Latitude from the Equinoctial Line to the Forty Eighth Degree of the said Northerly Latitude Inclusively, and in length of and within all the Breadth aforesaid throughout all the Main Lands from Sea to Sea together, also with all the firm Lands, Soils, Grounds, Havens, Ports, Rivers, Waters, Fishing, Mines and Minerals, as well Royall Mines of Gold and Silver, as other Mines and Minerals, Precious Stones, Quarries, and all and singular other Commodities, Jurisdictions, Royalties, Privileges, Franchises and Preeminences, both within the said Tract of Land upon the Main and also within the Islands and Seas adjoining

Provided always that the said Lands Islands or any the premises by the said Letters Patents intended, or meant to be Granted, were not then actually possessed or Inhabited by any other Christian Prince or State, or within the bounds Limits or Territories of the Southern Colony then before granted by the said late King James the First [to be planted] by divers of his Subjects in the South parts

To Have and to hold, possess and enjoy, all and singular, the aforesaid Continent, Lands, Territories, Islands, Hereditaments and Precincts, Seas, Waters, Fishing with all and all manner of their Commodities, Royalties, Liberties, Preeminences and Profits that should from thenceforth arise from thence with all and singular their appurtenances, and every part and parcel thereof, unto the said Council and their Successors and Assigns for ever, to the sole and proper use and benefit of the said Council and their Successors and Assigns for ever

To be holden of his said late Majesty King James the First his Heirs and Successors as of his Manor of East Greenwich in the County of Kent in free and Common Soccage and not in Capite or by Knights Service

Yielding and paying, therefore, to the said late King, his Heirs and Successors, the Fifth part of the Oar of Gold and Silver which should from time to time and at all times then after happen to be found, gotten, had and obtained, in at or within any of the said Lands, Limits, Territories or Precincts, or in or within any part or parcel thereof, for or in respect of all and all manner of duties, demands and services whatsoever, to be done, made or paid to the said late King James the first, his Heirs and Successors, as in and by the said Letters Patents among sundry other Clauses, Powers, Privileges and Grants therein contented more at large appear

And Whereas the said Council established at Plymouth, in the County of Devon, for the Planting, Ruling, Ordering and Governing of New England in America, Did by their Deed, Indented under their Common Seal bearing Date the Nineteenth Day of March in the Third year of the Reign of Our Royall Grandfather King Charles the First of ever Blessed Memory, Give, Grant, Bargain, Sell, Enffeoffe, Alien and Confirm to: Sir Henry Roswell, Sir John Young, Knights Thomas Southcott, John Humphreys, John Endicot and Simond Whetcomb, their Heirs and Assigns and their Associates for ever, All that part of New England in America aforesaid which lies and extends between a great River there commonly called Monomack or Merrimack, and a certain other River there called Charles River, being in a Bottom of a certain Bay there commonly called Massachusetts or Mattachuseetts or Massatusetts Bay, And also all and singular those Lands and Hereditaments whatsoever lying within the space of Three English Miles on the South part of the said Charles River, or of any and every part thereof, And alsoe all and singular the Lands and Hereditaments whatsoever lying and being within the space of three English Miles to the Southward of the Southernmost part of the said Bay called the Massachusetts or Mattachusetts or Massatusetts Bay, And also all those Lands and Hereditaments whatsoever which lie and be within the space of three English Miles to the Northward of the said River called Monomack or Merrimack or to the Northward of any and every part thereof, And all Lands and Hereditaments whatsoever lying within the Limits aforesaid North and South in Latitude and in Breadth and in length and longitude of and within all the Breadth aforesaid throughout the Main Lands there, from the Atlantic and Western Sea and Ocean on the East parse to the South Sea on the West part, and all Lands and Grounds, Place and Places, Soil, Woods and Wood, Grounds, Havens, Ports, Rivers, Waters, Fishing and Hereditaments whatsoever, lying within the said Bounds and Limits and every parse and parcel thereof, and also all Islands lying in America aforesaid in the said Seas, or either of them on the Western or Eastern Coasts, or Parts of the said Tracts of Land by the said Indenture mentioned, to be Given and Granted, Bargained, Sold, Enffeoffed, Aliened and Confirmed or any of them, And also all Mines and Minerals as well Royall Mines of Gold and Silver, as other Mines and Minerals whatsoever in the said Lands and Premises, or any parse thereof, and all Jurisdictions, Rights, Royalties, Liberties, Freedoms, Immunities, Privileges, Franchises, Preeminences and Commodities whatsoever, which they the said Council established at Plymouth in the County of Devon for the planting, Ruling, Ordering and Governing of New England in America, then had or might use, exercise or enjoy, in or within the said Lands and Premises, by the same Indenture mentioned, to be given, granted, bargained, sold, enffeoffed and confirmed, in or within any part or parcel thereof, To Have and to hold the said parts of New England in America which lies and extends and is abutted as aforesaid, and every parts and parcel thereof, And all the said Islands, Rivers, Ports, Havens, Waters, Fishing, Mines, Minerals, Jurisdictions, Franchises, Royalties, Liberties, Privileges, Commodities, Hereditaments and premises whatsoever, with the appurtenances unto the said Sir Henry Roswell, Sir John Young, Thomas Southcott, John Humphreys, John Endicott and Simond Whetcomb their Heirs and Assigns and their Associates for ever to the only proper and absolute use and behoove of the said Sir Henry Roswell, Sir [John] Young, Thomas Southcott, John Humphreys, John Endicott and Simond Whetcomb, their Heires and Assignes and their Associates for evermore To be holden of Our said Royall Grandfather Icing Charles the first his Heirs and Successors as of his Manor of East Greenwich in the County of Kent in free and Common Soccage and not in Capite nor by Knights Service

Yielding and paying therefore unto Our said Royall Grandfather his Heirs and Successors the fifth part of the Oar of Gold and Silver which should from time to time and at all times hereafter happen to be found gotten had & obtained in any of the said Lands within the said Limits or in or within any part thereof for and in satisfaction of all manner of duties demands and services whatsoever to be done made or paid to Our said Royal Grandfather his Heirs or Successors (as in and by the said recited Indenture may more at large appear

And Whereas Our said Royall Grandfather in and by his Letters Patents under the Great Seal of England bearing date at Westminster the Fourth Day of March in the Fourth year of his Reign for the consideration therein mentioned did grant and confirms onto the said Sir Henry Roswell, Sir John Young, Thomas Southcott, John Humphreys, John Endicott and Simond Whetcomb and to their Associates after named (viz) Sir Ralph Saltenstall, Knt Isaac Johnson, Samuell Aldersey, John Ven, Mathew Craddock, George Harwood, Increase Nowell, Richard Berry, Richard Bellingham, Nathaniel Wright, Samuell Vassall, Theophilus Eaton, Thomas Golfe, Thomas Adams, John Browne, Samuell Browne, Thomas Hutchins, William Vassall, William Pincheon, and George Foxcroft their Heirs and Assigns All the said part of New England in America lying and extending between the bounds and limits in the said Indenture expressed and all Lands and Grounds Place and Places Soils Woods and Wood Grounds Havens Ports Rivers Waters Mines Minerals Jurisdictions Rights Royalties Liberties Freedoms Immunities Privileges Franchises Preeminences and hereditaments whatsoever bargained sold enffeoffed and Confirmed or mentioned or intended to be given granted bargained sold enfleoiled aliened and confirmed to the them the said Sir Henry Roswell Sir John Young Thomas Southcott John Humphreys John Endicott and Simond Whetcomb their Heirs and Assigns and to their Associates for ever by the said recited Indenture

To Have and to hold the said part of New England in America and other the Premises thereby mentioned to be granted and confirmed and every parse and parcel thereof with the appurtenances to the said Sir Henry Roswell, Sir John Young, Sir Richard Saltenstall, Thomas Southcott, John Humphreys, John Endicott, Simond Whetcomb, Isaac Johnson, Samuell Aldersey, John Ven, Mathew Craddock, George Harwood, Increase Nowell, Richard Perry, Richard Bellingham, Nathaniel Wright, Samuell Vassall, Theophilus Eaton, Thomas Golfe, Thomas Adams, John Browne, Samuell Browne, Thomas Hutchins, William Vassall, William Pincheon and George Foxcroft their Heirs and Assigns for ever to their own proper and absolute use and behoove for evermore

To be held of Our said Royall Grandfather his Heirs and Successors as of his Manor of East Greenwich aforesaid in free and common Soccage and not in Capite nor by Knights Service and also yielding and paying therefore to Our said Royall Grandfather his Heirs and Successors the fifth part only of all the Oar of Gold and Silver which from time to time and at all times after should be there gotten had or obtained for all Services Exactions and Demands whatsoever according to the tenor and Reservation in the said recited Indenture expressed

And further Our said Royall Grandfather by the said Letters Patents did Give and Grant onto the said Sir Henry Roswell, Sir John Young, Sir Richard Saltenstall, Thomas Southcott, John Humphreys, John Endicott, Simond Whetcomb, Isaac Johnson, Samuell Aldersey, John Ven, Mathew Craddock, George Harwood, Encrease Nowell, Richard Perrey, Richard Bellingham, Nathaniel Wright, Samuell Vassall, Theophilus Eaton, Thomas Golfe, Thomas Adams, John Browne, SamueI Browne, Thomas Hutchins, William Vassall, William Pincheon and George Foxcroft, their Heirs and Assigns; All that part of New England in America which lies and extends between a Great River called Monomack als Merrimack River and a certain other River there called Charles River being in the Bottom of a certain Bay there commonly called Massachusetts als Massachusetts als Massachusetts Bay and also all and singular those Lands and hereditaments whatsoever lying within the space of Three English Miles on the South part of the said River called Charles River or of any or every part thereof and also all and singular the Lands and hereditaments whatsoever lying and being within the space of Three English Miles to the Southward of the Southernmost part of the said Bay called Massachusetts or Mattachusetts or Massatusetts Bay And also all those Lands and hereditaments whatsoever which lye and bee within the space of Three English Miles to the Northward of the said River called Monotnack ads Merrimack or to the Northward of any and every parse thereof And all Lands and hereditaments whatsoever lying within the limits aforesaid North and South in Latitude and in Breadth and in length and Longitude of and within all the Breadth aforesaid throughout the Main Lands there from the Atlantic or Western Sea and Ocean on the East parse to the South Sea on the West parse And all Lands Grounds Place and Places Soils Wood and Wood Lands Havens Ports Rivers Waters and hereditaments whatsoever lying within the said bounds and limits and every part and parcel thereof And also all Islands in America aforesaid in the said Seas or either of them on the Western or Eastern Coasts or parses of the said Tracts of Lands thereby mentioned to be given and granted or any of them And all Mines and Minerals as well Royall Mines of Gold and Silver as other Mines and Minerals whatsoever in the said Lands and premises or any parse thereof and free Liberty of Fishing in or within any of the Rivers and Waters within the bounds and 1imitts aforesaid and the Seas thereunto adjoining and of all Fishes Royall Fishes Whales Balene Sturgeon and other Fishes of what kind or nature soever that should at any time thereafter be taken in or within the said Seas or Waters or any of them by the said Sir Henry Roswell Sir John Young Sir Richard Saltenstall Thomas Southcroft John Humphryes John Endicott Simond Whetcomb Isaac Johnson Samuell Aldersey John Ven Mathew Craddock George Harwood Increase Nowell Richard Perrey Richard Bellingham Nathaniel Wright Samuell Vassall Theophilus Eaton Thomas Golfe Thomas Adams John Browne Samuell Browne Thomas Hutchins William Vassall William Pincheon and George Foxcroft their Heires or Assignes or by any other person or persons whatsoever there Inhabiting by them or any of them to be appointed to Fish therein

Provided always that if the said Lands Islands or any the premises before mentioned and by the said Letters Patents last mentioned intended and meant to be granted were at the time of granting of the said former Letters Patents dated the third day of November in the Eighteenth year of the Reign of his late Majesty King James the First actually possessed or inhabited by any other Christian Prince or State or were within the bounds Limits or Territories of the said Southern Colony then before granted by the said King to be planted by divers of his Loving Subjects in the South parts of America That then the said Grant of Our said Royall Grandfather should not extend to any such parts or parcels thereof so formerly inhabited or lying within the bounds of the Southern Plantation as aforesaid but as to those parts or parcels so possessed or inhabited by any such Christian Prince or State or being within the boundaries aforesaid should be utterly void

To Have and to hold possess and enjoy the said parts of New England in America which lye extend and are abutted as aforesaid and every part and parcel thereof and all the Islands Rivers Ports Havens Waters Fishing Fishes Mines Minerals Jurisdictions Franchises Royalties Riverties Privileges Commodities and premises whatsoever with the Appurtenances unto the said Sir Henry Roswell, Sir John Young, Sir Richard Saltenstall, Thomas Southcott, John Humphreys, John Endicott, Simond Whetcomb, Isaac Johnson, Samuell Aldersey, John Ven, Mathew Craddock, George Harwood, Increase Nowell, Richard Perrey, Richard Bellingham, Nathaniell Wright, Samuell Vassall, Theophilus Eaton, Thomas Golfe, Thomas Adams, John Browne, Samuell Browne, Thomas Hutchins, William Vassall, William Pincheon and George Foxcroft, their Heires and Assignes for ever To the only proper and absolute use and behoove of the said Sir Henry Roswell, Sir John Young, Sir Richard Saltenstall, Thomas Southcott, John Humphryes, John Endicott, Simond Whetcomb, Isaac Johnson, Samuell Aldersey, John Ven, Mathew Haddock, George Harwood, Increase Nowell, Richard Perry, Richard Bellingham, Nathaniell Wright, SamuelI Vassall, Theophilus Eaton, Thomas Golfe, Thomas Adams, John Browne, Samuell Browne, Thomas Hutchins, William Vassall, William Pincheon and George Foxcroft their Heires and Assigns for evermore To be holden of Our said Royall Grandfather his Heirs and Successors as of his Manor of East Greenwich in the County of Kent within the Realm of England in free and Common Soccage and not in Capite nor by Knights Service And also yielding and paying therefore to Our said Royall Grandfather his Heirs and Successors the Fifth part only of all the Oar of Gold and Silver which from time to time and at all times thereafter should be gotten had and obtained for all services Exactions and demands whatsoever

Provided, always and his Majesties express Will and meaning was that only one Fifth parse of all the Gold and Silver Oar above mentioned in the whole and no more should be answered reserved and payable unto Our said Royall Grandfather his Heirs and Successors by color or virtue of the said last mentioned Letters Patents the double reservations or recitals aforesaid or any thing therein contented notwithstanding And to the end that the affairs and business which from time to time should happen and arise concerning the said Lands and the Plantations of the same might be the better managed and ordered and for the good Government thereof Our said Royall Grandfather King Charles the First did by his said Letters Patents Create and make the said Sir Henry Roswell Sir John Young Sir Richard Saltenstall Thomas Southcott John Humphreys John Endicott Symond Whetcomb Isaac Johnson Samuell Aldersey John Ven Mathew Caddock George Harwood Increase Newell Richard Perry Richard Bellingham Nathaniell Wright Samuell Vassall and Theophilus Eaton Thomas Golfe Thomas Adams John Browne Samuell Browne Thomas Hutchins William Vassal William Pincheon and George Foxcroft and all such others as should thereafter be admitted and made free of the Company and Society therein after mentioned one Body Politic and Corporate in fact and name by the Name of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England and did grant onto them and their Successors divers powers Liberties and privileges as in and by the said Letters Patents may more fully and at large appears And whereas the said Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England by virtue of the said Letters Patents did settle a Colony of the English in the said parts of America and divers good Subjects of this Kingdom encouraged and invited by the said Letters Patents did Transport themselves and their Edicts into the same whereby the said Plantation did become very populous and divers Counties Townes and Places were created erected made set forth or designed within the said parts of America by the said Governor and Company for the time being And Whereas in the Term of the holy Trinity in the Thirty Sixth year of the Reign of Our dearest Uncle King Charles the Second a Judgment was given in Our Court of Chancery then sitting at Westminster upon a Writ of Scire Facias brought and prosecuted in the said Court against the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England that the said Letters Patents of Our said Royall Grandfather King Charles the First bearing date at Westminster the Fourth day of March in the Fourth year of his Reign made and granted to the said Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England and the Enrollment of the same should be cancelled vacated and annihilated and should be brought into the said Court to be cancelled (as in and by the said Judgment remaining upon Record in the said Court doth more at large appease)

And whereas several persons employed as Agents in behalf of Our said Colony of the Massachusetts Bay in New England have made their humble application unto Vs that Wee would be graciously pleased by Our Royall Charter to Incorporate Our Subjects in Our said Colony and to grant and confirms Into them such powers privileges and Franchises as in Our Royall Wisdom should be thought most conducing to Our Interest and Service and to the Welfare and happy State of Our Subjects in New England and Wee being graciously pleased to gratify Our said Subjects And also to the end.Our good Subjects within Our Colony of New Plymouth in New England aforesaid may be brought under such a form of Government as may put them in a better Condition of defense and considering as well the granting unto them as onto Our Subjects in the said Colony of the Massachusetts Bay Our Royall Charter with reasonable Powers and Privileges will much tend not only to the safety but to the Flourishing estate of Our Subjects in the said parts of New England and also to the advancing of the ends for which the said Plantations were at first encouraged of Our especial Grace certain knowledge and mere Motion have willed and ordained and Wee doe by these presents for Vs Our Heirs and Successors Will and Ordain that the Territories and Colonies commonly called or known by the Names of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay and Colony of New Plymouth the Province of Main the Territory called Accadia or Nova Scotia and all that Tract of Land lying between the said Territories of Nova Scotia and the said Province of Main be Erected ignited and Incorporated And Wee doe by these presents Unite Erect and Incorporate the same into one real Province by the Name of Our Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England And of Our especial Grace certain knowledge and mere Motion Wee have given and granted and by these presents for Vs Our Heirs and Successors doe give and grant onto Our good Subjects the Inhabitants of Our said Province or Territory of the Massachusetts Bay and their Successors all that parse of New England in America lying and extending from the great River commonly called Monomack als Merrimack on the North part and from three Miles Northward of the said River to the Atlantic or Western Sea or Ocean on the South part And all the Lands and hereditaments whatsoever lying within the limits aforesaid and extending as fare as the Outermost Points or Promontories of Land called Cape Cod and Cape Mallabar North and South and in Latitude Breadth and in Length and Longitude of and within all the Breadth and Compass aforesaid throughout the Main Land there from the said Atlantic or Western Sea and Ocean on the East parse towards the South Sea or Westward as far as Our Colonies of Rhode Island Connecticut and the Marragansett Country all also all that part or portion of Main Land beginning at the Entrance of Pescata way Harbor and see to pass up the same into the River of Newickewannock and through the same into the furthest head thereof and from thence Northwestward till One Hundred and Twenty Miles be finished and from Piscata way Harbor mouth aforesaid North Eastward along the Sea Coast to Sagadehock and from the Period of One Hundred and Twenty Miles aforesaid to cross over Land to the One Hundred and Twenty Miles before reckoned up into the Land from Piscataway Harbor through Newickawannock River and also the North half of the Isles and Shoals together with the Isles of Cappawock and Nantukett near Cape Cod aforesaid and also [all] Lands and hereditaments lying and being in the Countrey and Territory commonly called Accadia or Nova Scotia And all those Lands and hereditaments lying and extending between the said Country or Territory of Nova Scotia and the said River of Sagadahock or any port thereof And all Lands Grounds Places Soils Woods and Wood grounds Havens Ports Rivers Waters and other hereditaments and premises whatsoever lying within the said bounds and limits aforesaid and every part and parcel thereof and also all Islands and Islets lying within ten Leagues directly opposite to the Main Land within the said bounds and all Mines and Minerals as well Royall Mines of Gold and Silver as other Mines and Minerals whatsoever in the said Lands and premises or any parse thereof

To Have and to hold the said Territories Tracts Countries Lands hereditaments and all and singular other the premises with their and every of their Appurtenances to Our said Subjects the Inhabitants of Our said Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England and their Successors to their only proper use and behoove for evermore To be holden of Us Our Heirs and Successors as of Our Manor of East Greenwich in the County of Kent by Fealty only in free and Comon Soccage yielding and paying therefore yearly to Vs Our Heirs and Successors the Fifth part of all Gold and Silver Oar and precious Stones which shall from time to time and at all times hereafter happen to be found gotten had and obtained in any of the said Lands and premises or within any part thereof

Provided nevertheless and Wee doe for Vs Our Heirs and Successors Grant and ordain that all and every such Lands Tenements and hereditaments and all other estates which any person or persons or Bodies-Politic or Corporate Townes Villages Colleges or Schools do hold and enjoy or ought to hold and enjoy within the bounds aforesaid by or under any Grant or estate duly made or granted by any General Court formerly held or by virtue of the Letters Patents herein before recited or by any other lawful Right or Title whatsoever shall be by such person and persons Bodies Politic and Corporate Townes Villages Colleges or Schools their respective Heirs Successors and Assigns for ever hereafter held and enjoyed according to the purport and Intent of such respective Grant under and Subject nevertheless to the Rents and Services thereby reserved or made payable any matter or thing whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding

And Provided also that nothing herein contended shall extend or be understood or taken to impeach or prejudice any right title Interest or demand which Samuell Allen of London Merchant claiming from and vnder John Mason Esqr deceased or any other person or persons hath or have or claimed to have hold or enjoy of in to or out of any part or parts of the premises situate within the limits above mentioned But that the said Samuel Allen and all and every such person and persons may and shall have hold and enjoy the same in such manner (and no other then) as if these presents had not been had or made It being Our further Will and Pleasure that no Grants or Conveyances of any Lands Tenements or hereditaments to any Townes Colleges Schools of Learning or to any private person or persons shall be judged or taken to be avoided or prejudiced for or by reason of any want or defect of Form but that the same stand and remain in force and be maintained adjudged and have effect in the same manner as the same should or ought before the time of the said recited Judgment according to the Laws and Rules then and there usually practiced and allowed And Wee doe further for Vs Our Heirs and Successors Will Establish and ordain that from henceforth for ever there shall be one Governor One Lieutenant or Deputy Governor and One Secretary of Our said Province or Territory to be from time to time appointed and Commissioned by Us Our Heirs and Successors and Eight and Twenty Assistants or Councillors to be advising and assisting to the Governor of Our said Province or Territory for the time being as by these presents is hereafter directed and appointed which said Councillors or Assistants are to be Constituted Elected and Chosen in such form and manner as hereafter in these presents is expressed And for the better Execution of Our Royall Pleasure and Grant in this behalf Wee doe by these presents for Vs Our Heirs and Successors Nominate Ordain make and Constitute Our Trusty and Welbeloved Simon Broadstreet John Richards Nathaniel Saltenstall Wait Winthrop John Phillipps James Russell Samuell Sewall Samuel Appleton Barthilomew Gedney John Hawthorn Elisha Hutchinson Robert Pike Jonathan Curwin John Jolliffe Adam Winthrop Richard Middlecot John Foster Peter Serjeant Joseph Lynd Samuell Hayman Stephen Mason Thomas Hinckley William Bradford John Walley Barnabas Lothrop Job Alcott Samuell Daniell and Silvanus Davis Esquires the first and present Councillors or Assistants of Our said Province to continue in their said respective Offices or Trusts of Councillors or Assistants until the last Wednesday in May which shall be in the yeare of Our Lord One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety and Three and until other Councillors or Assistants shall be chosen and appointed in their stead in such manner as in these presents is expressed And Wee doe further by these presents Constitute and appoint Our Trusty and well beloved Isaac Addington Esquier to be Our first and present Secretary of Our said Province during Our Pleasure

And 0ur Will and Pleasure is that the Governor of Our said Province from the time being shall have Authority from time to time at his discretion to assemble and call together the Councillors or Assistants of Our said Province for the time being and that the said Governor with the said Assistants or Councillors or Seven of them at the least shall and may from time to time hold and keep a Council for the ordering and directing the Affairs of Our said Province And further Wee Will and by these presents for Vs Our Heirs and Successors doe ordain and Grant that there shall and may be convened held and kept by the Governor for the time being upon every last Wednesday in the Month of May every year for ever and at all such other times as the Governor of Our said Province shall think fit and appoint a great and General Court of Assembly Which said Great and General Court of Assembly shall consist of the Governor and Council or Assistants for the time being and of such-Freeholders of Our said Province or Territory as shall be from time to time elected or deputed by the Major parse of the Freeholders and other Inhabitants of the respective Townes or Places who shall be present at such Elections Each of the said Townes and Places being hereby empowered to Elect and Depute Two Persons and no more to serve for and represent them respectively in the said Great and General Court or Assembly To which Great and General Court or Assembly to be held as aforesaid Wee doe hereby for Vs Our Heirs and Successors give and grant full power and authority from time to time to direct appoint and declare what Number each County Town and Place shall Elect and Depute to serve for and represent them respectively in the said Great and General Court or Assembly

Provided always that no Freeholder or other Person shall have a Vote in the Election of Members to serve in any Great and General Court or Assembly to be held as aforesaid who at the time of such Election shall not have an estate of Freehold in Land within Our said Province or Territory to the value of Forty Shillings per Annum at the least or other estate to the value of Forty pounds Sterling And that every Person who shall be so elected shall before he silt or Act in the said Great and General Court or Assembly take the Oaths mentioned in an Act of Parliament made in the first year of Our Reign Entitled an Act for abrogating of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy and appointing other Oaths and thereby appointed to be taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy and shall make Repeat and Subscribe the Declaration mentioned in the said Act before the Governor and Lieutenant or Deputy Governor or any two of the Assistants for the time being who shall be thereunto authorized and Appointed by Our said Governor and that the Governor for the time being shall have full power and Authority from time to time as he shall Judge necessary to adjourns Prorogue and dissolve all Great and General Courts or Assemblies met and convened as aforesaid And Our Will and Pleasure is and Wee doe hereby for Vs Our Heirs and Successors Grant Establish and Ordain that yearly once in every year for ever hereafter the aforesaid Number of Eight and Twenty Councillors or Assistants shall be by the General Court or Assembly newly chosen that is to say Eighteen at least of the Inhabitants of or Proprietors of Lands within the Territory formerly called the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay and four at the least of the Inhabitants of or Proprietors of Lands within the Territory formerly called New Plymouth and three at the least of the Inhabitants of or Proprietors of Land within the Territory formerly called the Province of Main and one at the least of the Inhabitants of or Proprietors of Land within the Territory lying between the River of Sagadahoc and Nova Scotia And that the said Councillors or Assistants or any of them shall or may at any time hereafter be removed or displaced from their respective Places or Trust of Councillors or Assistants by any Great or General Court or Assembly And that if any of the said Councillors or Assistants shall happen to dye or be removed as aforesaid before the General day of Election That then and in every such Case the Great and General Court or Assembly at their first sitting may proceed to a New Election of one or more Councillors or Assistants in the room or place of such Councillors or Assistants so dying or removed And Thee doe further Grant and Ordain that it shall and may be lawful for the said Governor with the advice and consent of the Council or Assistants from time to time to nominate and appoint Judges Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer Sheriffs Provosts Marshalls Justices of the Peace and other Officers to Our Council and Courts of Justice belonging

Provided always that no such Nomination or Appointment of Officers be made without notice first given or summons Issued out seven days before such Nomination or Appointment onto such of the said Councillors or Assistants as shall be at that time residing within Our said Province

And Our Will and Pleasure is that the Governor and Lieutenant or Deputy Governor and Councillors or Assistants for the time being and all other Officers to be appointed or Chosen as aforesaid shall before the undertaking the Execution of their Offices and Places respectively take their several and respective Oaths for the due and faithful performance of their duties in their several and respective Offices and Places and also the Oaths appointed by the said Act of Parliament made in the first year of Our Reign to be taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy and shall make repeat and subscribe the Declaration mentioned in the said Act before such Person or Persons as are by these presents herein after appointed (that is to say) The Governor of Our said Province or Territory for the time being shall take the said Oaths and make repeat and subscribe the said Deceleration before the Lieutenant or Deputy Governor or in his absence before any two or more of the said Persons hereby Nominated and appointed the present Councillors or Assistants of Our said Province or Territory to whom Wee doe by these presents give full power and Authority to give and administer the same to Our said Governor accordingly and after Our said Governor shall be sworn and shall have subscribed the said Declaration that then Our Lieutenant or Deputy Governor for the time being and the Councillors or Assistants before by these presents Nominated and appointed shall take the said Oaths and make repeat and subscribe the said Declaration before Our said Governor and that every such person or persons as shall (at any time of the Annual Elections or otherwise upon death or removal) be appointed to be the New Councillors or Assistants and all other Officers to bee hereafter chosen from time to time shall take the Oaths to their respective Offices and places belonging and also the said Oaths appointed by the said Act of Parliament to be taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy and shall make repeat and subscribe the declaration mentioned in the said Act before the Governor or Lieutenant or Deputy Governor or any two or more Councillors or Assistants or such other Person or Persons as shall be appointed thereunto by the Governor for the time being to whom Wee doe therefore by these presents give full power and authority from time to time to give and administer the same respectively according to Our true meaning herein before declared without any Commission or further Warrant to bee had and obtained from vs Our Heirs and Successors in that behalf And Our Will and Pleasure is and Wee doe hereby require and Command that all and every person and persons hereafter by Vs Our Heirs and Successors nominated and appointed to the respective Offices of Governor or Ieivt or Deputy Governor and Secretary of Our said Province or Territory (which said Governor or Lieutenant or Deputy Governor and Secretary of Our said Province or Territory for the time being Wee doe hereby reserve full power and Authority to Vs Our Heirs and Successors to Nominate and appoint accordingly, shall before he or they be admitted to the Execution of their respective Offices take as well the Oath for the due and faithful performance of the said Offices respectively as also the Oaths appointed by the said Act of Parliament made in the said First year of Our Reign to be taken instead of the said Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy and shall also make repeat and subscribe the Declaration appointed by the said Act in such manner and before such persons as aforesaid

And further Our Will and Pleasure is and Wee doe hereby for Vs Our Heirs and Successors Grant Establish and Ordain That all and every of the Subjects of Vs Our Heirs and Successors which shall go to and Inhabit within Our said Province and Territory and every of their Children which shall happen to be born there or on the Seas in going thither or returning from thence shall have and enjoy all Liberties and Immunities of Free and natural Subjects within any of the Dominions of Vs Our Heirs and Successors to all Intents Constructions and purposes whatsoever as if they and every of them were borne within this Our Realm of England and for the greater Ease and Encouragement of Our Loving Subjects Inhabiting our said Province or Territory of the Massachusetts Bay and of such as shall come to Inhabit there Wee doe by these presents for us Our heirs and Successors Grant Establish and Ordain that for ever hereafter there shall be a liberty of Conscience allowed in the Worship of God to all Christians (Except Papists) Inhabiting or which shall Inhabit or be Resident within our said Province or Territory And Wee doe hereby Grant and Ordain that the Governor or lieutenant or Deputy Governor of our said Province or Territory for the time being or either of them or any two or more of the Council or Assistants for the time being as shall be “hereunto appointed by the said Governor shall and may at all times and from time to time hereafter have full Power and Authority to Administer and give the Oaths appointed by the said Act of Parliament made in the first year of Our Reign to be taken instead of the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy to all and every person and persons which are now Inhabiting or residing within our said Province or Territory or which shall at any time or times hereafter go or passe thither And wee doe of our further Grace certain knowledge and mere motion Grant Establish and Ordain for Vs our heirs and Successors that the great and General Court or Assembly of our said Province or Territory for the time being Convened as aforesaid shall for ever have full Power and Authority to Erect and, Constitute Judicatories and Courts of Record or other Courts to be held in the name of Vs Our heirs and successors for the Hearing Trying and Determining of all manner of Crimes Odences Pleas Processes Plaints Actions Matters Causes and things whatsoever arising or happening within Our said Province or Territory or between persons Inhabiting or residing there whether the same be Criminal or Civil and whether the said Crimes be Capital or not Capital and whether the said Pleas be Real personal or mixed and for the awarding and making out of Execution thereupon To which Courts and Judicatories wee doe hereby for vs our heirs and Successors Give and Grant full power and Authority from time to time to Administer oaths for the better Discovery of Truth in any matter in Controversy or depending before them And wee doe for vs Our Heirs and Successors Grant Establish and Ordain that the Governor of our said Province or Territory for the time being with the Council or Assistants may doe execute or perform all that is necessary for the Probate of Wills and Granting of Administration for touching or concerning any Interest or Estate which any person or persons shall have within our said Province or Territory

And whereas Wee judge it necessary that all our Subjects should have liberty to Appeal to vs our heirs and Successors in Cases that may deserve the same Wee doe by these presents Ordain that in case either party shall not rest satisfied with the Judgement or Sentence of any Judicatories or Courts within our said Province or Territory in any Personal Action wherein the matter in difference doth exceed the value of three hundred Pounds Sterling that then he or they may appeal to vs Our heirs and Successors in our or their Privy Council Provided such Appeal be made within Fourteen days after ye Sentence or Judgement given and that before such Appeal be allowed Security be given by the party or parties appealing in the value of the matter in Difference to pay or Answer the Debt or Damages for the which Judgement or Sentence is given With such Costs and Damages as shall be Awarded by vs Our Heirs or Successors in case the Judgement or Sentence be affirmed

And Provided also that no Execution shall be stayed or suspended by reason of such Appeal unto vs our Heirs and Successors in our or their Privy Council so as the party Suing or taking out Execution doe in the like manner give Security to the value of the matter in difference to make Restitution in Case the said Judgement or Sentence be reversed or annulled upon the said Appeal

And we doe further for vs our Heirs and Successors Give and Grant to the said Governor and the great and General Court or Assembly of our said Province or Territory for the time being full power and Authority from time to time to make ordain and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable Orders Laws Statutes and Ordinances Directions and Instructions either with penalties or without (so as the same be not repugnant or contrary to the Laws of this our Realm of England) as they shall Judge to be for the-good and welfare of our said Province or Territory And for the Government and Ordering thereof and of the People Inhabiting or who shall Inhabit the same and for the necessary support and Defense of the Government thereof

And wee doe for us our Heirs and Successors Give and grant that the said General Court or Assembly shall have full power and Authority to name and settle annually all Civil Officers within the said Province such Officers Excepted the Election and Constitution of whom we have by these presents reserved to vs Our Heirs and Successors or to the Governor of our said Province for the time being and to Sett forth the several Duties Powers and Limits of every such Officer to be appointed by the said General Court or Assembly and the forms of such Oaths not repugnant to the Laws and Statutes of this, our Realm of England as shall be respectively Administered unto them for the Execution of their several Offices and places And also to impose Fines mulcts Imprisonments and other Punishments And to impose and levy proportional and reasonable Assessments Rates and Taxes upon the Estates and Persons of all and every the Proprietors and Inhabitants of our said Province or Territory to be Issued and disposed of by Warrant under the hand of the Governor of our said Province for the time being with the advice and Consent of the Council for Our service in the necessary defense and support of our Government of our said Province or Territory and the Protection and Preservation of the Inhabitants there according to such Acts as are or shall be in force within our said Province and to dispose of matters and things whereby our Subjects inhabitants of our said Province may be Religiously peaceably and Civilly Governed Protected and Defended so as their good life and orderly Conversation may win the Indians Natives of the Country to the knowledge and obedience of the only true God and Savior of Mankind and the Christian Faith which his Royall Majesty our Royall Grandfather king Charles the first in his said Letters Patents declared was his Royall Intentions And the Adventurers free Possession to be the Principal end of the said Plantation

And for the better securing and maintaining Liberty of Conscience hereby granted to all persons at any time being and residing within our said Province or Territory as aforesaid Willing Commanding and Requiring and by these presents for us Our heirs and Successors Ordaining and appointing that all such Orders Laws Statutes and Ordinances Instructions and Directions as shall be so made and published under our Seal of our said Province or Territory shall be Carefully and duly observed kept and performed and put in Execution according to the true intent and meaning of these presents

Provided always and Wee doe by these presents for vs Our Heirs and Successors Establish and Ordain that in the framing and passing of all such Orders Laws Statutes and Ordinances and in all Elections and Acts of Government whatsoever to be passed made or done by the said General Court or Assembly or in Council the Governor of our said Province or Territory of the Massachusetts Bay in New England for the time being shall have the Negative voice and that without his consent or Approbation signified and declared in Writing no such Orders Laws Statutes Ordinances Elections or other Acts of Government whatsoever so to be made passed or done by the said General Assembly or in Council shall be of any Force effect or validity anything herein contained to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding And wee doe for vs Our Heirs and Successors Establish and Ordain that the said Orders Laws Statutes and Ordinances be by the first opportunity after the making thereof sent or Transmitted unto vs Our Heirs and Successors under the Public Seal to be appointed by vs for Our or their approbation or Disallowance And that in case all or any of them shall at any time within the space of three years next after the same shall have presented to vs our Heirs and Successors in Our or their Privy Council be disallowed and rejected and so signified by vs Our Heirs and Successors under our or their Sign Manual and Signet or by or in our or their Privy Council unto the Governor for the time being then such and so many of them as shall be so disallowed and directed shall thenceforth cease and determine and become utterly void and of none effect

Provided always that in case Wee our Heirs or Successors shall not within the Term of Three Years after the presenting of such Orders Laws Statutes or Ordinances as aforesaid signify our or their Disallowance of the same Then the said orders Laws Statutes or Ordinances shall be and continue in full force and effect according to the true Intent and meaning of the same until the Expiration thereof or that the same shall be Repealed by the General Assembly of our said Province for the time being Provided also that it shall and may be Lawful for the said Governor and General Assembly to make or passe any Grant of Lands lying within the Bounds of the Colonies formerly called the Colonies of the Massachusetts Bay and New Plymouth and province of Main in such manner as heretofore they might have done by virtue of any former Charter or Letters Patents which grants of lands within the Bounds aforesaid Wee doe hereby Will and ordain to be and continue for ever of full force and effect without our further Approbation or Consent And so as Nevertheless and it is Our Royall Will and Pleasure That no Grant or Grants of any Lands lying or extending from the River of Sagadehock to the Gulf of St: Lawrence and Canada Rivers and to the Main Sea Northward and Eastward to be made or past by the Governor and General Assembly of our said Province be of any force validity or Effect until Wee Our Heirs and Successors shall have Signified Our or their Approbation of the same

And Wee doe by these presents for vs Our Heirs and Successors Grant Establish and Ordain that the Governor of our said Province or Territory for the time being shall have full Power by himself or by any Chief Commander or other Officer or Officers to be appointed by him from time to time to train instruct Exercise and Govern the Militia there and for the special Defense and Safety of Our said Province or Territory to assemble in Martial Array and put in Warlike posture the Inhabitants of Our said Province or Territory and to lead and Conduct them and with them to Encounter Expulse Repel Resist and pursue by force of Arms as well by Sea as by Land within or without the limits of Our said Province or Territory and also to kill slay destroy and Conquer by all fitting ways Enterprises and means whatsoever all and every such Person and Persons as shall at any time hereafter Attempt or Enterprise the destruction Invasion Detriment or Annoyance of Our said Province or Territory and to use and exercise the Law Martial in time of actual War Invasion or Rebellion as occasion shall necessarily require and also from time to time to Erect Forts and to fortify any place or Places within Our said Province or Territory and the same to furnish with all necessary Ammunition Provisions and Stores of War for Offense or Defense and to commit from time to time the Custody and Government of the same to such Person or Persons as to him shall seem meet And the said Forts and Fortifications to demolish at his Pleasure and to take and surprise by all ways and means whatsoever all and every such Person or Persons with their Ships Arms Ammunition and other goods as shall in a hostile manner Invade or attempt the Invading Conquering or Annoying of Our said Province or Territory

Provided always and Wee doe by these presents for Vs Our Heirs and Successors Grant Establish and Ordain That the said Governor shall not at any time hereafter by virtue of any power hereby granted or hereafter to be granted to him Transport any of the Inhabitants of Our said Province or Territory or oblige them to march out of the Limits of the same without their Free and voluntary consent or the Consent of the Great and General Court or Assembly or Our said Province or Territory nor grant Commissions for exercising the Law Martial upon any the Inhabitants of Our said Province or Territory without the Advice and Consent of the Council or Assistants of the same

Provided in like manner and Wee doe by these presents for Vs Our Heirs and Successors Constitute and Ordain that when and as often as the Governor of Our said Province for the time being shall happen to dye or be displaced by Us Our Heirs or Successors or be absent from his Government That then and in any of the said Cases the Lieutenant or Deputy Governor of Our said Province for the time being shall have full power and authority to doe and execute all and every such Acts Matters and things which Our Governor of Our said Province for the time being might or could by virtue of these Our Letter Patents lawfully doe or execute if he were personally present until the return of the Governor so absent or Arrival or Constitution of such other Governor as shall or may be appointed by Us Our Heirs or Successors in his stead and that when and as often as the Governor and Lieutenant or Deputy Governor of Our said Province or Territory for the time being shall happen to dye or be displaced by Vs Our Heirs or Successors or be absent from Our said Province and that there shall be no person within the said Province Commissioned by Us Our Heirs or Successors to be Governor within the same Then and in every of the said cases the Council or Assistants of Our said Province shall have full power and Authority and Wee doe hereby give and grant unto the said Council or Assistants of Our said Province for the time being or the Major parse of them full power and Authority to doe and execute all and every such Acts matters and things which the said Governor or Lieutenant of Deputy Governor of Our said Province or Territory for the time being might or could lawfully doe or exercise if they or either of them were personally present until the return of the Governor Lieutenant or Deputy Governor so absent or Arrival or Constitution of such other Governor or Lieutenant or Deputy Governor as shall or may be appointed by Us Our Heirs or Successors from time to time

Provided always and it is hereby declared that nothing herein shall extend or be taken to Erect or grant or allow the Exercise of any Admiral Court Jurisdiction Power or Authority but that the same shall be and is hereby reserved to Vs and Our Successors and shall from time to time be Erected Granted and exercised by virtue of Commissions to be issued under the Great Seal of England or under the Seal of the High Admiral or the Co missioners for executing the Office of High Admiral of England

And further Our express Will and Pleasure is And Wee doe by these present for Vs Our Heirs and Successors Ordain and appoint that these Our Letters Patents shall not in any manner Enure or be taken to abridge bar or hinder any of Our loving Subjects whatsoever to use and exercise the Trade of Fishing upon the Coasts of New England but that they and every of them shall have full and free power and Liberty to continue and use their said Trade of Fishing upon the said Coasts in any of the seas thereunto adjoining or any Arms of the said Seas or Salt Water Rivers where they have been wont to fish and to build and set upon the Lands within Our said Province or Colony lying west and not then possessed by particular Proprietors such Wharves Stages and Workhouses as shall be necessary for the salting drying keeping and packing of their Fish to be taken or gotten upon that Coast And to Cut down and take such Trees and other Materials there growing or being or growing upon any parts or places lying west and not then in possession Of particular proprietors as shall be needful for that purpose and for all other necessary easements helps and advantages concerning the Trade of Fishing there in such manner and form as they have been heretofore at any time accustomed to doe without marking any Wilful Wast or Spoil any thing in these presents contended to the contrary notwithstanding

And lastly for the better providing and furnishing of Masts for Our Royall Navy Wee doe hereby reserve to Vs Our Heirs and Successors all Trees of the Diameter of Twenty Four Inches and upwards of Twelve Inches from the ground growing upon any soil or Tract of Land within Our said Province or Territory not heretofore granted to any private persons And Wee doe restrains and forbid all persons whatsoever from felling cutting or destroying any such Trees without the Royall License of Us Our Heirs and Successors first had and obtained upon penalty of Forfeiting One Hundred Pounds sterling unto Os Our Heirs and Successors for every such Tree so felled cult or destroyed without such License had and obtained in that behalf any thing in. these presents contended to the contrary in any wise Notwithstanding

In Witness whereof We have caused these our Letters to be made Patents Witness Ourselves at Westminster the Seventh Day of October in the Third year of Our Reign By Writ of Privy Seal

By Writ of Privy Seal
PIGOTT

Pro Fine in Hanaperio quadragint Marcas
J. TREVOR C. S.
K. W. RAWLINSON C. S.
L. G. HUTCHNS C. S.

Thorpe, Francis Newton. “The Federal and State constitutions: colonial charters, and other organic laws of the States, territories, and Colonies, now or heretofore forming the United States of America” Washington : Govt. Print. Off. 1909. https://archive.org/details/federalstatecons03thor/page/1846/mode/2up