Page images
PDF
EPUB

flourishing civil State may stand, and best be maintained, and that among our English subjects, with a full liberty in religious concernments; and that true piety, rightly grounded upon gospel principles, will give the best and greatest security to sovereignty, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to true loyalty: Now, know ye, that we being willing to encourage the hopeful undertaking of our said loyal and loving subjects, and to secure them in the free exercise and enjoyment of all their civil and religious rights appertaining to them, as' our loving subjects; and to preserve unto them that liberty in the true Christian faith and worship of God which they have sought with so much travail, and with peaceable minds and loyal subjection to our royal progenitors and ourselves, to enjoy and because some of the people and inhabitants of the fame colony cannot, in their private opinion, conform to the public exercise of religion according to the liturgy, form, and ceremonies of the Church of England, or take or subscribe the oaths and articles made and established in that behalf; and for that the same, by reason of the remote distances of those places, will, as we hope, be

H 4 no no breach of the unity and uniformity established in this nation, have therefore thought fit, and do hereby publish, grant, ordain, and declare, thaf our royal will and pleasure js, That no person within the said colony, at any time hereafter, shall be anywise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinion in matters of religion, who do not actually disturb the civil peace of our said colony; but that all and every person and persons may, from time to time, and at al| times hereafter, freely and fully have and enjoy his and their own judgements and consciences, in matters of religious concernments, throughout the tract of land hereafter-mention-? ed, they behaving themselves peaceably and quietly, and not using this liberty to licentiousness and profaneness, nor to {he civil injury or outward disturbance of others, any law, statute or clause therein contained, or to be contained^ usage or custom of this realm, to the contrary hereof, in any wise notwithstanding. And that they may be in the better capacity to defend themselves in their just rights and liberties^ against all the enemies of the Christian faiths and others, in all respects, we have further thought fit, and at the humble petition of the

perpersons aforesaid, are graciously pleased to declare, That they shall have and enjoy the benesit of our late act of indemnity, and freepar-r don, as the rest: of our subjects \n other our dominions and territories have; and to create and make them a body politic; or corporate, with the powers or privileges herein aftermentioned. And accordingly, our will and v pleasure is, and of our especial grape, certain knowledge, and mere motion, we have oi> dainsd, constituted, and declared, and by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, do prdain, constitute, and declare, That they the said William Brenton, William Codington, Nicholas Easton, Benedict Arnold, William Boulston, John Porter, Samuel Gorton, John Smith, John Weekes, Roger Williams, Thomas Olney, Gregory Dexter, John Cogefhall, Joseph Clarke, Randall Houlden, John Greene, John Roome, William Dyre, Samuel Wildbore, Richard Tew^ William Field, Thomas Harris, James Barker, Rainsborrow, Williams, and John Nickson, and all such others as are now, or hereafter (hall be admitted, free of the Company and Society of our Colony of Providence Plantations, jn the Narraganset-Bay, in New-England, shall

be,

be, from time to time, and for ever hereafter, a body corporate and politic, in fact and name, by the name of the Governor and Company of the English Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, in New-England, in America; and that by the fame name, they and their successors shall and may have perpetual succession, and shall and may be persons able and capable in the law to sue and be sued, to plead and be impleaded, to answer and to be answered unto, to defend and to be defended, in all and singular suits, causes, quarrels, matters, actions, and things, of what kind or nature soever; and also to have, take, possess, acquire, and purchase lands, tenements, or hereditaments, or any goods or chattels, and the fame to lease, grant, demise, alien, bargain, sell, and dispose of, at their own will and pleasure, as other our liege people of this our realm of England, or any corporation or body politic within the fame, may lawfully do: and further, That they the said Governor and Company, and their successors, shall and may, for ever hereafter, have a common seal, to serve and use for all matters, causes, things, and affairs whatsoever, of them and their successors, and the fame seal to alter, change, . . break, break, and make new from time to time, at their will and pleasure, as they shall think fit. And further, we will and ordain, and by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, do declare and appoint, That for the better ordering and managing of the affairs and business of the said Company and their successors, there shall be one Governor, one Deputy- . Governor, and ten Assistants, to be from time to time constituted, elected, and chosen, out of the freemen of the said Company for the time being, in such manner and form as is hereafter in these presents expressed; which said officers shall apply themselves to take care for the best disposing and ordering of the general business and affairs of and concerning the lands and hereditaments herein after mentioned to be granted, and the plantation thereof, and the government of the people there. And for the better execution of our royal pleasure herein, we do, for us, our heirs and successors, assign, name, constitute and appoint, the aforesaid Benedict Arnold to be the first and present Governor of the said Company, and the said William Brenton to be the Deputy-Governor, and the said William Boulston, John Porter,

Roger

« PreviousContinue »