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And all the Court consisting of Governour, Deputy, Assistants, and Deputies of towns, give their votes as well as the rest; and the Ministers, [p. 25.] and Elders, and all Church-officers, have their votes also in all these elections of chiefe Magistrates. Constables, and all other inferiour Officers, are sworn in the generall, quarter, or other Courts, or before any Assistant.


Every Free-man, when he is admitted, takes a strict oath, to be true to the Society, or jurisdiction: In which oath, I doe not re- Freemen their member expressed that ordinary saving, which is and ought to be in all oathes to other Lords, Saving the faith and truth which I beare to our Soveraigne Lord the King, though, I hope, it may be implyed.

Courts and


There are two generall Courts, one every halfe yeare, wherein they make Lawes or Ordinances: The Ministers advise in making Lot of Laws, especially Ecclesiasticall, and are present in Courts, and advise in some speciall causes criminall, and in framing of Fundamentall Lawes: But not many Fundamentall Lawes are yet established: which, when they doe, they must, by the words of their Charter, make according to the Laws of England, or not contrary thereunto. Here they make taxes and levies.

There are besides foure quarter Courts for the whole Jurisdiction, besides other petie Courts, one every quarter, at Boston, Salem, and Ipswich, with their severall jurisdictions, besides every towne, almost, hath a petie Court for small debts, and trespasses under twenty shillings.

In the generall Court, or great quarter Courts, before the Civill Magistrates, are tryed


[p. 26.] all actions and causes civill and Actions and criminall, and also Ecclesiasticall, espe

cially touching non-members: And they themselves

say, that in the generall and quarter Courts, they have the power of Parliament, Kings Bench, Common Pleas, Chancery, High Commission, and Starchamber, and all other Courts of England, and in divers cases have exercised that power upon the Kings Subjects there, as is not difficult to prove. They have put to death, banished, fined men, cut off mens eares, whipt, imprisoned men, and all these for Ecclesiasticall and Civill offences, aud without sufficient record. In the lesser quarter Courts are tryed, in some, actions under ten pound, in Boston, under twenty, and all criminall causes not touching life or member. From the petie quarter Courts, or other Court, the parties may appeale to the great quarter Courts, from thence to the generall Court, from which there is no appeale, they say: Notwithstanding, I presume their Patent doth reserve and provide for Appeales, in some cases, to the Kings Majesty. The generall and great quarter Courts are kept in the Church meeting-house at Boston. Grand Juries. Twice a yeare, in the said great quarter Courts held before the generall Courts, are two grand Juries sworne for the Jurisdiction, one for one Court, and the other for the other, and they are charged to enquire and present offences reduced, by the Governour, who gives the charge, most an-end, under the Heads of the ten Commandements: [p. 27.] And a draught of a body of fundamentall laws, according to the judiciall Laws of the Jews, hath been contrived by the Ministers and Magistrates, and offered to the generall Court to be established and published to the people to be considered of, and this since his Majesties command came to them to send over their Patent: Among which Lawes, that was one I excepted against, as you may see in the paper following, entituled, Of the Church her liberties, presented to the Governour and Magistrates of the Bay, 4 Marti, 1639. Notwithstanding, a by-law, to that

or the like effect, hath been made, and was held of force there when I came thence: yet I confesse I have heard one of their wisest speak of an intention to repeale the same Law.


Matters of debt, trespasse, and upon the case, and equity, yea and of heresie also, are tryed by a Jury. Which although it may seeme to be indifferent, and the Magistrates may judge what is Law, and what is equall, and some of the chief Ministers informe what is heresie, yet the Jury may finde a generall verdict, if they please; and seldome is there any speciall verdict found by them, with deliberate arguments made thereupon, which breeds many inconveniences.

The parties are warned to challenge any Juryman before he be sworn; but because there is but one Jury in a Court for tryall of causes, and all parties not present at their swearing, the liberty of challenge is much hindred, and some inconveniences doe happen thereby. Jurors are returned (p. 28.) by the Marshall, he was at first called the Bedle of the Societie. Seldome is there any matter of record, saving the verdict many times at randome taken and entred, which is also called the judgment. And for want of proceeding duly upon record, the government is cleerely arbitrary, according to the discretions of the Judges and Magistrates for the time being. And humbly I appeale to his royall Majesty, and his honourable and great Counsell, whether or no the proceedings in such matters as come to be heard before Ecclesiasticall Judges, be not fit to be upon Record; and whether Registers, Advocates, and Procurators, be not necessary to assist the poore and unlearned in their causes, and that according to the warrant and intendment of holy Writ, and of right reason. I have knowne by experience, and heard divers have suffered wrong by default of such in New-England. I feare it is not a little degree of pride and danger

ous improvidence to slight all former lawes of the Church or State, cases of experience and precedents, to go hammer out new, according to severall exigencies; upon pretence that the Word of God is sufficient to rule us: It is true, it is sufficient, if well understood. But take heede my brethren, despise not learning, nor the worthy Lawyers of either gown, lest you repent too late.

The parties in all causes, speake themselves for the most part, and some of the Magistrates where they thinke cause requireth, doe the part of Advocates without fee or reward. Most matters [p. 29.] are presently heard, and ended the same Court, the party defendant having foure dayes warning before; but some causes come to be heard again, and new suits grow upon the old.

Profane swearing, drunkennesse, and beggers, are but rare in the compasse of this Patent, beaten downe. through the circumspection of the Magistrates, and the providence of God hitherto, the poore there living by their labours, and great wages, proportionably, better then the rich, by their stocks, which without exceeding great care, quickly


A Paper of certaine Propositions to the generall Court, made upon request, 8. Iunii, 1639.



T were good, that all actions betweene parties, were entred in the Court book, by the Secretary, before the Court sits.

2. That every action be declared in writing, and the defendants answer, generall or speciall, as the case shall require, be put in writing, by a publique Notarie, before the cause be heard.

3. The Secretary to take the verdicts, and make forth the judiciall Commands or Writs.

4. The publique Notarie to record all the proceed

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ings in a fair book, and to enter executions of commands done, & satisfactions acknowledged.

5. The fees, in all these, to be no more then in an inferiour Court of Record in England, and to be allowed by the generall Court, or Court of Assistants.


[p. 30.] The benefit hereof to the publique good.


T will give an easie and quick dispatch to all Causes For thereby the Court and Jury will quickly see the point in hand, and accordingly give their verdict and judgement.

2. The Court shall the better know, constantly, how to judge the same things; and it is not possible, that the Judges should, alwayes, from time to time, remember clearly, or know to proceed certainly, without a faithfull Record.

3. The parties may hereby more surely, and clearly obtaine their right; for through ignorance and passion, men may quickly wrong one another, in their bare words, without a Record.

4. Hereby shall the Law of God and Justice be duly administred to the people, according to more certaine and unchangeable rules, so that they might know what is the Law, and what right they may look for at the mouthes of all their Judges.

5. Hereby the Subjects have a great part of their evidences and assurances for their proprieties, both of lands and goods.

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