Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: "LORD PROPRIETOR"

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Near the close of the year 1680, Robert Mason came over from England, with a writ of manudams from the king, and took his seat at the council board. The principal object of his visit, at this time, was to obtain possession of the estate, to which he firmly believed he had a just and legal title. He hoped also that the inhabitants of the province would be induced to take leases under him, of their houses and lands, according to the terms required by the king. But he found the undertaking more difficult than he had anticipated. He could not convince the people of the justice of his claim; they still thought their own rights, derived from the purchase, occupation and improvement of the lands on which they lived, and which they had defended against a savage foe, at great expense of men and money, paramount to his. Under the influence of disappointment, Mason appears sometimes to have lost his self-control, and to have forgotten his engagement to the king. Finding himself unable to persuade the people, he undertook to intimidate them to compliance with his demands. In some cases he forbade persons cutting timber or fuel, and even threatened to sell their estates, claiming the whole province as his own, and assuming the title of LORD PROPRIETOR.

So far from advancing his own interest by this course, Mason greatly irritated the people and united them more firmly in opposing his claims. A few persons, indeed, consented to take leases under him, but a much larger number might probably have been gained by conciliatory measures, though even then a large majority would have contended for what they regarded as their just rights.

Each of the towns in its corporate capacity, and many of the people, individually, applied to the president and council for protection.

At a town meeting held in Hampton, March 21, 1681, the subject was discussed and measures were taken to secure to the people their rights. Sergt. Joseph Dow and Edward Gove were appointed, in behalf of the town, to draw up and prepare a statement of the case, and to assert the rights of the inhabitants to their lands, and present the same to the council at their next sitting. That all the legal voters might have an opportunity to sign this paper designed as a petition, Lieut. John Sanborn and Sergt. Thomas Philbrick were chosen to present it to all who were not present at this meeting, for their signatures.

The council soon afterward published an order prohibitory of Mason's proceedings. Irritated by this order, he refused to sit at the council-board, when requested. After some further altercation, disappointed and chagrined, he left the province on the 27th of March and, about three months from the time of his arrival, set sail for England.

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