Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: ALLEN AND USHER

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The new government went into operation in August, under the administration of Usher, the lieutenant-governor, as Allen still remained in England. Soon after, a House of Assembly was called, which convened early in October. An act had been passed in England, altering the form and the manner of administering the oaths to be taken by the members of Parliament and of subordinate legislative assemblies. Hitherto it had been customary in New England, for the person taking an oath, to use no other ceremony than that of holding up the right hand. In England, the custom was to be sworn upon the Bible. It was now required that the same form should be observed here. When the assembly met, some of the members, and among them the three deputies from Hampton, refused to be sworn in this manner. The next day, it was ordered that the oath should be administered according to former usage, to those who had refused to be sworn in the new form, "considering the present troubles and circumstances of affairs" (from hostile Indians).

Two of the members elect from Hampton, Lieut. John Smith and Mr. Joseph Smith, were sworn according to this order; but the other, John Hussey, withdrew from the assembly, declining to qualify himself by being sworn.

A new assembly convened at Great Island, in March of the following year. The members from this town were Capt. Henry Dow, Mr. Thomas Philbrick, and Mr. Joseph Swett, all of whom were sworn.

The council appointed its two members from Hampton, Green and Weare, "to prepare & draw up a Bill for the maintenance of the ministry and school-masters." The bill drawn up by them was passed without amendment and approved by the lieutenant-governor, August 5.

It was unfortunate for Usher, that he had been connected with the late unpopular and oppressive government of Sir Edmund Andros; and perhaps equally unfortunate, that he was known to be interested in establishing Allen's claim to the province. The people anticipated perplexities and troubles from the new claimant, similar to those to which they had been subjected by Mason; and they were as unwilling to hold their estates under Allen as under Mason. Some of Usher's measures were approved, being in harmony with their own views and wishes. His efforts were united with theirs in defense against the Indians, with whom they had been for a considerable time engaged in a distressing and desolating war. He was also earnest in his efforts for the settlement of the boundary line between New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The line was generally understood to begin on the seashore, at the distance of three miles north of the mouth of the Merrimac, and run parallel with that river. Still, there was much uncertainty about it, as it had never, in all its parts, been sufficiently marked out by monuments, and the river, near its mouth, flowing over a bed of sand, often shifted its channel. It was really difficult for the people who lived near the line, to know on which side of it they were; and some of them pretended to belong on one side or the other--to Massachusetts or to New Hampshire, just as it suited their convenience. Hence it was difficult to collect taxes assessed upon these persons. There were also disputes about timber cut on the common lands.

Squamscott Patent, which had been connected with Hampton about thirty-five years, was annexed to Exeter, November 29, 1692.

New Castle was incorporated as a town in 1693, and Kingston, as is described more fully elsewhere, in 1694.

Usher was forward in all these transactions, hoping thus to ingratiate himself with the people and induce them to furnish him a liberal support. Failing in this, he dissolved the assembly; and, not receiving from Allen his promised stipend, he asked to be relieved of his official cares. Usher's request, however, had been anticipated, and at the desire of the people, William Partridge, Esq., of Portsmouth, then in England, had already been appointed to succeed him as lieutenant-governor, and commander-in-chief, in Allen's absence.

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