Chapter 11


LIEUTENANT COLONEL SIR EDMUND ANDROS, of Scarsdale’s regiment of horse, bailie of Guernsey, and gentleman of the privy chamber, governor general of New England, and vice admiral of the fleet, had a face as long as his name and titles as he sat in his lodgings, on the corner of Elm and Hanover streets in Boston, on a certain April morning in the year 1689.

The governor general certainly had reason to draw a long face, for he was in a sea of trouble. Rebellion threatened, riot was in the air, his orders were uncertain, and, to cap the climax, that very day young John Winslow had landed at the wharf in Boston, fresh from Nevis, an island of the British West Indies, where in after years a certain great American, one Alexander Hamilton, was born.

Young John Winslow brought news by way of Nevis that put all Boston in a ferment. There had been a revolution in England, he said, and William, Prince of




Orange, had driven from the English throne James, Duke of York, a selfish, despotic, and unscrupulous king, and himself would rule as King of England.

It was no new thing in those days for Boston to be in a ferment. In fact, it had been in perpetual hot water ever since Sir Edmund Andros had come to town. For he was the representative and mouthpiece of the tyranny of the last of the Stuart kings, the shrewd and tyrannical James Stuart, son of the first Charles and brother of the second. As Duke of York, James had given his name to the conquered colony of New Netherlands and to its leading town, which he wrested from its Dutch owners by the soldiers of England and the men of Massachusetts,  and had added the colony, with Andros as governor general, to the so-called "Dominion of New England."

To call it the "province" or even the "dominion" of New England meant to take the property of the colonists, without so much as saying "by your leave" to the Massachusetts Bay Company and its Puritan successors. It meant annulling the old charter, under which the Bay colony had grown and prospered. It meant unseating the governor elected by the freemen of Massachusetts, abolishing the Great and General Court, and making of Massachusetts a king’s province instead of the people’s commonwealth. It meant destroying and disallowing confederacy which had been so helpful under its title of the "United Colonies of New England."

After fifty years of home rule and religious union the people of the Bay colony were not content to submit calmly to such a wholesale upsetting of that old order, of to such a contemptuous overturning of all that



Massachusetts held dear. Town and country seethed with indignation and distrust. The men of Ipswich, twenty miles beyond Boston, rebelled against being taxed without having any vote or voice in the matter (the very thing that led to the American Revolution almost a century later), and were duly punished by Andros, the soldier governor. Everywhere throughout the colony, criticism gave place to grumbling, grumbling to protest, and protest to threats that needed only the spark of opportunity to set the fires of rebellion alight.

And now John Winslow with his news from Nevis had furnished the opportunity. If William, Prince of Orange, the husband of an English princess and the head of the hospitable nation which had given shelter to the Puritans, had succeeded the tyrannical King James, then William was King of England, and Sir Edmund Andros had nothing whatever to say about the governing of the Bay colony,—unless he should come over to the side of William and proclaim him King of England.

The people of Massachusetts knew this, and Sir Edmund Andros knew it, too; so, when the news came to him at his lodgings in the house of. Madam Rebecca Taylor on Hanover Street,—then known as the Middle Street,—the governor put on his scarlet coat and his colonel’s hat and sword, and hastened down to the new fort he had built of palisades, on the crest of Corn Hill, or Fort Hill, as it came to be called,—now a leveled park at the foot of High Street, hemmed in by stores and warehouses.

Safe in the house within the palisaded fort, Sir Edmund Andros tried to put a stop to the circulation



of the tidings which John Winslow had brought from Nevis. He clapped John Winslow into jail. But he had locked the stable door after the horse was stolen; for already copies of the "Declaration of the Prince of Orange" were in the hands of the people. The news was out, even if John Winslow was in!

Then, when the people saw the royal frigate Rose sail into the harbor, with her guns peeping out of the black portholes, when they noticed the gathering of English soldiers at Boston, and knew that the governor general had made his headquarters in the fort, the feeling against Sir Edmund grew yet more bitter. The uneasiness and indignation spread through the colony, and one morning in that same month of April, 1689, news came to Sir Edmund Andros that made him even more conscious of the peril of his position.

"The people are rising," so the news ran. "A monstrous force of countrymen from the towns to the north of Boston is gathering under arms in Charlestown."

"The people are up, your Excellency," came another message. "The country folks from the farms and villages to the south of the town are marching upon Boston, vowing they will have your resignation or your head." ( Then the shrill, far-off, gradually approaching cry that no ruler ever likes to hear came to the governor’s ears.

"The citizens are up!" That mob-cry meant, "They are marching on the fort."

The "citizens" just then in the streets were really boys, of all ages and sizes,—the forerunners of all mobs and disturbances. They were rushing about the streets



swinging big clubs, shouting for King William, and making as much noise as possible. But behind them were the "people in arms." Boston was in revolt.

The leaders of the popular party acted speedily. They seized certain of the governor’s right-hand men and locked them up in Boston jail. I hope they let out John Winslow at the same time, though I find no record of it.

It was a hard time for Sir Edmund Andros. He might have used force and turned his redcoats on the people; but, to his eternal honor, he did not, and a massacre was averted. All he could really do was to bluster, run up the royal flag on his little palisaded fort, and call the people of Massachusetts "a parcel of pestilent rebels!"

But even in this Sir Edmund was wrong. He was the rebel. The people were right. They were simply determined to restore and maintain the charter solemnly granted them, and under which they had lived and prospered for over half a century,—a charter which King James of England had neither the right to annul nor the power to overthrow, save the self-imposed right and the power of a tyrant.

At noon of that eventful day, the r8th of April, 1689, the Puritan leaders, standing upon the balcony of the big wooden townhouse, where the famous old Statehouse which succeeded it still stands,—on Washington Street at the head of State Street,—read to the assembled people a long paper which they called a "Declaration of Rights."

It was calm, but determined. The people of Massa



chusetts could not forgive the high-handed way in which King James of England, and his representative Sir Edmund Andros, had deprived them of their just and lawful rights. But they made no threats, they uttered no demand for vengeance, they made no appeal to popular passion. Like the law-abiding people they were, they simply stated their rights. Their leaders, in the declaration they had prepared, proclaimed the fact that the people of Massachusetts Bay had taken from the hands of dangerous men the power to govern the colony, and would hold the power themselves until word how to act should come from the Parliament of England and the new king, William, Prince of Orange. This position they declared ‘they would hold in spite of Sir Edmund Andros, his ships, and his soldiers.

The frigate Rose, even with her guns frowning at the portholes, did not bombard the town, as the citizens feared she would; and for a very good reason. The captain of the frigate was a prisoner in the hands of the leader of the uprising, and he sent word to his frigate not to open fire, as his life would be in danger if they should attempt such a thing.

But the guns of the fort were turned upon the town. The governor was in command. Would he resist? The "people in arms" pressed toward the little fortress-crowned hill. The guns did not speak. Instead, Sir Edmund Andros himself tried to escape to the Rose; but his boat was headed off and turned back, and he had to seek refuge in the fort once more.

Then, at front and at rear, the people stormed against the fort. The garrison, without firing a shot, aban



doned the guns. The people clambered up to the fortifications, and turned the guns away from the town and against the cornered garrison. The fort was won with out a blow.

Then Sir Edmund, deeming discretion to be the better part of valor, proceeded to the townhouse tinder what is called a "safe-conduct" that no one would harm him, and tried to settle things with the leaders of the revolt.

But "things" had gone too far. He was told that he must yield to the people, surrender to them the fort and the frigate, or it would be worse for him than it already was. So he yielded.

The fort was surrendered; the frigate was given up; the governor general was held a prisoner in his own fort.



A colonial government was formed. A convention of freemen was called. Once again Massachusetts was under the old Puritan government, with her own elected governor and her own Great and General Court. "The freedom of Massachusetts," as one English writer declares, "had been won by her own sons."

Twice did Sir Edmund Andros try to escape. He feared the people; he was not sure as to the temper of the new king. But he really had no cause to fear either king or people. For King William, after he heard is story, acquitted him of any intentional tyranny or deliberate wrongdoing. And the people of Massachusetts felt no anger against him personally. They rather liked him, as a man. They knew that he was simply a soldier carrying out his orders. King James, the giver of orders, was out of the way, and Sir Edmund Andros was harmless.

But Sir Edmund could not see this, so he was uneasy. Twice, as I have said, he tried to escape. Once he fled from the fort disguised as a woman; but his soldier boots showed beneath his petticoats and betrayed him. The second time he got as far as Newport in Rhode Island; but he was caught there and taken back to the fort on the hill.

At last word came from England. King William was king indeed. Sir Edmund Andros was recalled to England to give an account of himself, and to be tried for his loyalty to the deposed King James.

In July, 1689, lie sailed away; and in the same ship went agents from the Bay colony to ask for justice for Massachusetts.



A new charter was granted. It was not what was asked for; the form of government desired was refused.

The Plymouth colony, Maine, and Acadia (or Nova Scotia) were annexed to Massachusetts. But the enlarged colony became a royal province, with a royal governor, appointed by the king. The Great and General Court was restored, based, not on church membership, but on a property qualification; and all laws made must be approved by the English government.

Although the independence of Massachusetts freemen was thus restricted, their standing was far different from the condition imposed upon them by the tyranny of King James. From that they had freed themselves; they had seen and shown their real power, and it was therefore a grand thing for themselves and their children that they had thus boldly sent Sir Edmund Andros to the rightabout.