Commission of John Cutt, 1680

The Com'ission constituting a President & Councell for ye Province of New Hampshire in New-England

Charles ye Second, &c, To all to whom these prsents shall come Greeting

Whereas Our Colony of ye Massachusetts als Mattachusetts bay in New-England in America, have taken upon themselves to exercise a Government & Jurisdiction, over ye Inhabitants & Planters in ye Towns of Portsmouth, Hampton, Dover Excester, & all other ye Towns & lands in ye Province of New-Hampshire, lying & extending from three miles northward of Merrimack River, or any part thereof to ye Province of Maine, not having any legall right or authority so to do: Which said Jurisdiction & all further exercise thereof, TVe have thought fit by the advice of Our Privy Council to inhibit & restrain for the future; And do hereby inhibit and restrain ye same. And whereas ye Government of yt part of the said Province of New Hampshire, so limited & bounded as aforesaid hath not yet bin granted unto any person or persons whatsoever but ye same still remains & is under Our im'ediate care & protection; To the end therefore, yt Our loving Subjects, ye Planters and Inhabitants within ye limits aforesaid, may be protected and Defended in their respective rights, liberties & properties, & yt due & irnpartiall Justice may be duly administred in all cases civill & criminall; & yt all possible care may be taken for ye quiet & orderly Government of ye same: Now know ye, that We by & with ye advice of Our Privy Councell, have thought fit to erect, & constitute, & by these presents for us or hrs & Successrs do erect constitute & appoint a President & Councell, to take care of ye said Tract of land called The Province of New-Hampshire, & of the Planters & Inhabitants thereof; & to Order, rule & Govern ye same according to such methods & regulations, as are herein after specified & declared. And for ye better execution of Our Royall pleasure in this behalf, We do hereby nominate & appoint Our trusty & well beloved Subject John Cutt of Portsmouth Esqr to be ye first President of ye said Councell, & to continue in ye said Office for the space of one whole year next ensuing ye date of these prsents & so long after untill We, Our heirs or successors, shall nominate & appoint some other person to succeed him in ye same. And We likewise nominate & appoint Our trusty & well beloved subjects Rich: Martin Esqr William Vaughan Esqr, & Tho. Daniel Esqr, all of Portsmouth aforesd John Gilman of Exceter aforesd Esqr, Christophr Hussey of Hampton aforesd Esqr & Rich: Walden of Dove aforesd Esqr to be of the Councell within ye said Province of New-Hampshire: And we do hereby authorize and appoint, the said President & Councell to nominate & make choice of three other persons out of ye severall parts of the said Province, whom they shall judg to be most fitly qualified To be of ye said Councell, & to swear them into ye same: And it the said Jo: Cutt, & every succeeding President of -Ye said Councell shall nominate & appoint any one of the members of the said Councell for ye time being, to be his Deputy, & to prside in his absence And yt the said President, or his Deputy, & any five of the said Co'ncell shall be a Quorum. And Our express will & pleasure is, That no person shall be admitted to sit, or have a vote in the said Councell till he have taken ye oath of allegeance; & supremacy, & ye oath herein after mentoned, for ye due & impartiall execuc'on of Justice, & ye faithfull discharge of ye trust in them reposed: Which Oaths We do hereby authorize & direct ye said Ric: Martin W: Vaughan T: Daniel; Jo: Gilman Christ: Hussey R: Waldren, or any three of them first to administer to ye said Jo: Cutt ye President, and ye said Jo: Cutt having taken said Oaths, We do will, authorize & require him ye said Pres: for ye time being, to administer ye same from time to time to all & every other the members of ye said Councell. And We do hereby will, require & com'and ye said Jo: Cutt R: M: &c & every of them, to whom this Our pleasure shall be made known, That, all excuses whatsoever set apt, they fail not to assemble & meet together at ye sd Town of Portsmo in ye Prov: of New Hampsh: aforesd within ye space of 20 days, next after ye arrivall of this Our Com'ission at Portsmo aforesaid; & there to cause this Our Com'ission, or Letters Patents, to be read before them, or as many of them as shall be there assembled: & having first duly taken the said Oaths, to proceed to choose, nominate & appoint such Officers & serves as they shall think fit & necessary for their service: And also to appoint such other time & place for their future meeting, as they or ye major part of them, (whereof ye Pres. or his deputy to be one) shall think fit & agreeable. And Our Will & pleasure is, That Our said Councell shall from time to time have & use such Seal only, for ye sealing of their Acts, Orders & proceedings, as shall be sent unto them by Us, Our heirs & successors, for yt purpose. And We do by these pits, for Us Our heirs & successors, constitute, establish, declare & appoint Our said Pres. & Councell & their successors for ye time being, to be a constant & setled Court of record, for ye administrac'on of Justice to all Our subjects inhabiting within ye limits aforesaid, in all causes, as well criminal as civill; & yt ye Pres: & any & of the Councell for ye time being shall have full power & authority, to hold plea in all causes from time to time, as well in pleas of ye Crown, as in matters relating to ye conservation of ye peace, & punishment of offenders, as in civill suits & actions between partie & partie; or between Us & any of Our subjects there; whether ye same do concern ye realty & relate to a right of freehold & inheritance, or whether ye same do concern ye personally, & relate to some matter of debt, contract, damage, or other personal injury; & also in all mint actions, web may concern both realty & personally and therein after due & orderly proceeding, & deliberate hearing on both sides, to give Judgmt, to award execuc'on, as well in criminall as in civill causes as aforesaid: so always, yt ye forms of proceeding in such cases & ye Judgmt thereupon to be given, be as consonant, & agreeable to ye Laws & Statutes of this Our Realm of Engd, as ye prsent state & condic'on of Our subjects inhabiting within ye limits aforesaid, & ye circumstances Of ye place will admit. And ye Pres: & Councell for ye time being, & every one of them respectively, before they be admitted to their severall & respective offices & charges, shall also take this Oath following. You shall swear, well and truly to administer Justice to all his Mattes good subjects, inhabiting v. ithin ye Province of New-Hampsh: under this Government: & also duly & faithfully to discharge & execute ye Trust in you reposed, according to the best of your knowledg; you shall spare no person for favour or affection; nor any person grieve for hatred or ill will. So help you God. Notwithstanding it is Our will & pleasure, & so we do hereby expressly declare, yt it shall & may be lawfull from time to time, to & for all & every person & persons, who shall think him or themselves aggrieved by any sentence, Judgmt or Decree pronounced, given or made (as aforesaid) in, about or concerning ye title of any land, or other reall estate or in any personall Action, or suit above the value of 50' and not under, to appeal from Such Judgmt sentence, & Decree unto Us, Our heirs & successors, & Our & their Privie Councell: But with and under this caution & limitac'on; That ye Appellant shall first enter into, & give good security, to pay full costs, in case no relief shall be obtained upon such Appeal. And Our further will & pleasure is & so we do hereby declare; That in all crirminall cases, where ye punishmt to be inflicted upon ye offenders, shall extend to loss of life or limb (ye case of willfull murder only excepted) ye pty convicted shall either be sent over into this Our Kingdom of Engd. with a true state of his case & conviction; or execuc'on shall be respited untill ye case shall be here represented unto Us, Our heirs & successors, in Our & their Privie Councell, and Orders sent, & returned therein. And for ye better defence and security of all Our loving subjects within ye Province of New-Hampsh. and ye bounds & limits aforesaid, Our further will & pleasure is, and hereby we do authorize, require & com'and ye said Pres: & Councell for the time being, in Our name & under the seal by Us appointed to be used. to issue forth & give Com'ssions from time to time, to such psen & persons, whom they shall judg shall be best qualified for regulation & discipline of ye militia of Our said Province; & for ye arraying and mustering ye Inhabitants thereof; & instructing them how to bear and use their arms; & that care be taken, that such good discipline shall be observed, as by ye said Councell shall be prscribed; & yt if any invasions shall at any time be made, or other destruction, detriment, or an'oyance made or done by Indians, or others upon or unto Our good subjects inhabiting within Ye said Prov: of New H: We do by these prsents, for Us Our heirs & successors, declare, Ordaine & grant, that it shall & may be lawfull to & for Our said subjects, so com'issionated by Our said Councell from time to time, & at all times for their speciall defence & safety, to encounter, expell, repell, & resist bv force of arms, & all other fitting ways & means whatsoever, all & every such person & persons, as shall at any time hereafter attempt or enterprize ye destruction invasion detriment or an'oyance of any of Our said loving subjects, or their plantations or estates. And above all things we do by these prsents will, require & comand Our said Councell to take al] possible care for ye discountenancing of vice & incouraging of vertue & good living; that by such examples ye infidel may be invited & desire to partake of ye Christian Religion, & for ye greater ease & satisfacc'on of or sd loving subjects in matters of Religion We do hereby will, require & com'and yt liberty of conscience shall be allowed unto all protestants; & yt such especially as shall be conformable to ye rites of ye Church of Engld, shall be particularly countenanced & incouraged. And further We do by these prsents, for Its, Our heirs & successors, give & grant unto ye said Councell & their successors for ye time being, full & free liberty, power, and authority, & hear & Determine all emergencies, relating to the care & good Government of Our subjects within ye sd Prov: & also to sum'on & convene any person or persons before them & punish contempts; & to cause ye Oath of Allegeance to be administered to all & every person & persons, who shall be admitted to any Office, freedom, or preferments & likewise with what convenient speed they can, to cause proclamac'on to issue out & be made in Our name to ye inhabitants Of ye sd Prov: of N: Hampsh: thereby signifying that We have taken them into Our im'ediate Governmt & gracious protection: & letting them further know, that We have written to ye Govrnour & Councell of the Massachusetts bay, to recall all such Com'issions as they have granted for exercising any Jurisdiction in ye parts aforesaid and that we have inhibited & restrained them for ye future, from exercising any further authority or Jurisdiction over them. And further, yt ye sd Inhabitants within ye said Prov: of N: Hamp: & limits aforesaid, do & shall from henceforth repair for Justice & redress unto them ye said Pres: & Councell, whom We have constituted & appointed to be a standing Court for administrac'on of Justice as aforesaid & intrusted them with ye care of their quiet & orderly Government and therefore requiring that they give obedience Alto them: And Our will & pleasure is, that these, with such other generall intimations shall be given unto ye people, as by ye said Pres: & Councell shall be thought necessary. And for supporting the charge of the Government Of ye said Prov: of N: Hamp: Our Will & pleasure is, & We do by these prsents authorize, & require the said Pres: & Councell, to continue such taxes & impositions, as have bin, & are now laid & imposed upon the Inhabitants thereof; & it they levy & distribute, or cause the same to be levyed and distributed to those ends, in the best & most equall man'er they can untill a generall Assembly of ye so Prov: shall be called, & other methods for yt purpose agreed upon. To which end Our Will & pleasure is, and We do by these prts authorize, require,, & com'and ye said Pres: and Councell that they within 3 months after they have bin sworn (as aforesaid) do & shall issue forth Sum'ons under ye seal by Us appointed to be used in ye nature of writs for ye.calling of a Generall Assembly of the said Prov: using & observing there such rules & methods (as to the persons who are to chuse their Deputies & ye time & place of meeting) as they shall judg most convenient. At the lit meeting of which Genl Assembly We do hereby will, authorize & require ye Pres: Of ye said Councell, to mind them in ye generall what is to be intimated in ye proclamac'on aforesaid: That he recom'end unto them ye making of such Acts, Laws, & Ordinances, as may most tend to ye establishing them in obedience to Our authority; their own prservation in peace & good Governmt & defence against their enemies: & that they do consider of the fittest ways for ye raising of taxes, & in such proportion, as may be fit for ye support of ye Governmt. And Our will & pleasure is, & We do hereby declare, ordain, & grant, That all & every such Acts, Laws & Ordinances, as shall from time to time be made in & by such generall Assembly or Assemblies shall be first approved & allowed by the Pres: & Councell for the time being, & thereupon shall stand & be in force, untill ye pleasure of Us Our heirs & successors shall be known, whether ye same Laws & Ordinances shall receive any change, or confirmation; or be totally disallowed & discharged. And therefore Our Will & pleasure is, That ye Pres: & Councell do & shall from time to time, transmit & send over UntQ US Our heirs & successors, & Our & their Privie Councell for ye time being all & every such Acts, Laws & Ordinances, by the first ship yt shall depart thence for Engld after their making. Also Our will & pleasure is & We do hereby direct & appoint, that if ye said Pres: of ye Councell shall happen to dye; that then from & after ye death of ye said Pres: his Deputy shall succeed him in ye Office of Pres: & shall & may nominate & choose any one of ye sd Councell to be his Deputy, to preside in his absence; & ye said Deputy so succeeding shall continue in ye said office of Pres: untill Our further will & pleasure be known therein & we shal think fit to nominate & appoint some other to succeed therein. And if any of ye members of ye said Councell shall happen to die, Our Will and pleasure is, & We do hereby direct & appoint ye remainder of ye Councell to elect some other person to be a member of ye said Councell for ye time being; & to send over the name of such person so chosen, & the names of two more, whom they shall judg fitly qualified for that imployment; that We Our heirs & successors may nominate & appoint, which of the three shall be ye member in ye place of such member so dying. And We do hereby declare, That We Our heirs & successors, shall & will observe & continue this method of grace & favour towards Our loving Subjects in convening them in their Assembly, in such man'er & form as is herein before menc'oned & specified: unless by inconveniences arising from thence, We Our heirs or successors, shall see cause to alter ye same. And wheireas ye inhabitants of ye saide province of new hamshire have many of them bin long in posesion of Severall quantityes of lands & are saide to have maide Considerable Improvements theire upon having noe other title for ye same tllell what hath bin derived from ye Government of the macithutets baye: in vertue of theire Imaginary line With titell as it hath by ye opinion of our Judges in England bin alltogether set aside soe ye agents from ye saide Colony have Consequently disowned any right ether in the Soyle or goverment thereof: from the three mile line aforesaide: & it appearing unto us that ye ancestors of Roberd Mason esquire obtained grants from our great Councill of plimoth for ye tract of land aforesaide & wheare at very grease expence upon ye same untill molested & finally driven oute which hath occasioned a lasting Complainte for Justice by ye said Roberd Mason ever Since our restoration: how ever to prevent in this case any unreasonable demands web mighte be made by the Saide Roberd Mason for ye rights he Claimeth In Saide soyle wee have obliged ye saide Roberd Mason under his hand & Seale to declare that he will demands nothing for ye time paste untill ye twenty fourth of June laste paste nor molest any In the posesions for ye time to come: but will [torn] to them & theirs ayres for ever provided they will paye him upon a faire agrement in few of all other Rents Six pence in ye pound according to ye Just and trew yearly valew: of all houses builte by them & of all lands whether gardens orchards arribell or pasture wch have been Improved by them wch he will agree Shall be bounded out unto eviry of ye partyes Conserned & that ye residu maye remains unto himselfe to be disposed of for his best advanetadge-But not with standing this overturn from ye Saide Robert Mason wch Semeth to be faire urge us any of ye Inhabitants of ye saide province of new hamshir Shall refuse to agree wth ye Agents of ye saide Roberd Mason upon ye terms aforesaide our will & pleasure is yt ye president & Counsill of new hamshire aforesaide for ye time being Shall have power & are hereby Impowered to Interpose & reconcile all Differanses if they can That Shall or maye arise betweene ye saide Roberd Mason & ye Saide Inhabitants but if they cannot then we doe hereby: Commande & requier the saide president & Counsill to send into England such Casses fairely & Imparsially stated together wth theire one opinions upon such Cases that we our ayres & Sucsesors by &; with ye advice of our & there privy Counsill maye determin therein according to equity and Lastly our will & pleasure is that the saide president & Counsill for ye time being doe prepare & send into England such [torn] & methods for theire one prosedings as maye best suite with the Constitution of the saide province of new hamshire-for ye better establishing of Our authority theire and the goverment thereof that wee and our privi Councill maye examin & allter or aprove the same in witness Whereof we have Caused these our letters to be made pattens witness our self at wesminster the 18th of September In the one and thirtieth yeare of our Reign-

Peripsom Regem Barker-

[ NOTE.-The foregoing commission of John Cutt was compounded from two mutilated copies, the most ancient in the possession of the state. The state does not possess the original commission, but these copies were apparently made soon after the date of the original.-OTIS G. HAMMOND.]

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