Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: LEASES UNDER MASON RESISTED

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Scarcely two weeks had elapsed after the close of these trials, when a proclamation of the governor, requiring the people of the province to take leases of their houses and lands from Mason, brought three prominent men of Dover into direct collision with both these digni-taries, and stirred anew the strife between oppression and revenge on one part, and on the other, resistance to outraged liberties.

Mason's first suit was against Major Waldron; who, seeing that he had a packed jury, made no defense, and the case went for the plaintiff. Encouraged by his success, suit followed suit, with like result. Several of the inhabitants of Hampton, against whom suits had been brought, presented to the court a written statement of the reasons for declining to join issue, viz.: "The refusal of Mason to comply with the directions in the commission; the impropriety of a jury's determining what the king had expressly reserved to himself; and the incompetency of the jury, they being all interested persons;" and some of them, it was well known, devoted to Mason's interest. Every objection was overruled, and, as to the decisions of the court, Mason had no reason to complain; but here his triumph ended. As "a horse may be led to water but cannot be made to drink," so many estates were declared for sale, but none could force a purchaser; and the rightful owners remained for the most part in possession.

It does not comport with the plan of this work to mention all the grievances of the people under this corrupt and oppressive administration. In a word it may justly be said, not only that Cranfield was governor, but that he was the government; for with a council of his own selection, and wholly dependent on him for continuance in office, he assumed to legislate without an assemply; and the courts were but the creatures of his will. He also interfered with the rights and privileges of town, so far as to forbid the constables to collect any town or parish taxes, till the province tax had been paid and all accounts settled with the treasurer. He even restricted the right of the people to assemble in town meeting, as appears by the following order issued by him.



For prevention of disturbance by unlawful Assemblies and Meetings, such as we have too lately experienced, and such as may for ye future arise to ye terror of his Ma't's [Majesty's] Subjects within ye sd Province: Ordered, "That ye Trustees or Overseers of the several respective Towns therein, or others, presume not to call any Public Meeting about any Town business, or on other pretence whatsoever, Without leav first from ye Justice or Justices of ye Peace of ye sd respective Towns, upon iust [just] representation of ye necessaryness of such Town or Public meeting; on such penalty as ye law directs, to be inflicted upon unlawful Assemblies.
Dat. ye 3d day of March, 1682 [-3]."
Superscribed: "To the Constable of Portsmouth.--To be published, 1682." [1682-3].

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