Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 888 pages of information about Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II.
by him to the common stock.  A general discretion was given to Endicott and his council to make grants to particular persons, “according to their charge and quality;” having reference always to the ability of the grantee to improve his allotment.  Energetic and intelligent men, having able-bodied sons or servants, even if not adventurers, were to be favorably regarded.  Endicott carried out these instructions faithfully and judiciously during his brief administration.  In the mean time, it had been determined to transfer the charter, and the company bodily, to New England.  Upon this being settled, John Winthrop, with others, joined the company, and he was elected its governor on the 29th of October, 1629.  On the 12th of June, 1630, he arrived in Salem, and held his first court at Charlestown on the 28th of August.

There was some irregularity in these proceedings.  The charter fixed a certain time, “yearly, once in the year, for ever hereafter,” for the election of governor, deputy-governor, and assistants.  Matthew Cradock had been elected accordingly, on the 13th of May, 1629, governor of the company “for the year following.”  He presided at the General Court of the company when Winthrop was elected governor.  There does not appear to have been any formal resignation of his office by Cradock.  In point of fact, the charter made no provision for a resignation of office, but only for cases where a vacancy might be occasioned by death, or removal by an act of the company.  It would have been more regular for the company to have removed Cradock by a formal vote; but the great and weighty matter in which they were engaged prevented their thinking of a mere formality.  Cradock had himself conceived the project they had met to carry into effect, and labored to bring it about.  He vacated the chair to his successor, on the spot.  Still forgetting the provisions of the charter, they declared Winthrop elected “for the ensuing year, to begin on this present day,” the 20th of October, 1629.  By the language of the charter, he could only be elected to fill the vacancy “in the room or place” of Cradock; that is, for the residue of the official year established by the express provision of that instrument, namely, until the “last Wednesday in Easter term” ensuing.  All usage is in favor of this construction.  The terms of the charter are explicit; and, if persons chosen to fill vacancies during the course of a year could thus be commissioned to hold an entire year from the date of their election, the provision fixing a certain day “yearly” for the choice of officers would be utterly nullified.  Whether this subsequently occurred to Winthrop and his associates is not known; but, if it did, it was impossible for them to act in conformity to the view now given; for, in the ensuing “last Wednesday of Easter term,” he was at sea, in mid ocean, and the several members of the company dispersed throughout his fleet.  When he arrived in Salem, he found Endicott—­who,

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Salem Witchcraft, Volumes I and II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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