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homogeneous in the Middle States than in New England or in Virginia. The character of the country and of the people tended to produce a type of life midway between the town life of the North and the plantation life of the South. Besides, the influence upon these Colonies of the older ones was considerable. Hence there appeared here a mixed form of local government. In fact there were two forms of the system, one originating in New York and the other in Pennsylvania.
81. Local Government in New York.--The Dutch created in New York manors, villages, and chartered towns, but nothing corresponding to the county. After the conquest, in 1664, there was progressively developed a dual system that gave more prominence to the county than Massachusetts, and more prominence, to the township than Virginia. But the township was first, and retained the local powers not delegated to the county.
82. Local Government in Pennsylvania.-William Penn substantially destroyed the work of the Dutch and the Duke of York when, in 1682, he reorganized the local institutions of Pennsylvania. He set up an exclusive county organization. “The county thus instituted was employed for all the important purposes of self-government. It was a judicial organism, a unit of general civil administration and a fiscal body." Afterwards, owing to the thickening of population among other causes, the township appeared and began to develop in the Colony. It grew up at the expense of the county, as the county grew up at the expense of the township in New York.
83. Frame-work of the Central Governments.In every Colony the central government consisted of three branches, the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial. Save in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Georgia, the Legislatures were bicameral, not unicameral; that is, they consisted of a lower house, commonly called the Assembly or House pf Representatives, and an upper house called the Council. In the States mentioned, the Council had no legislative power, but was merely an advisory executive body.
84. Powers of the Central Governments.—The word colony expresses dependence more or less strict. Hereafter we shall see how the nature and extent of Colonial dependence on England became the subject of angry contention; here it will suffice to describe the usual course of government.
The Legislature claimed the right to legislate on all matters of merely local concern, and this the Home government usually granted. The charters enjoined the Colonies not to infringe upon the laws of England ; and about the close of the seventeenth century Parliament enacted that "all laws, by-laws, usages, and customs, which should be enforced in any of the Plantations, repugnant to any law made, or to be made, in this kingdom, relative to said Plantations shall be utterly void and of non-effect.” The power to decide what was repugnant, the Home government retained in its own hands. All the Colonies but Rhode Island and Maryland were required to submit their laws to the Crown for its approval ; still, they took effect immediately on their passage, and continued in force until formally set aside. Save in Connecticut and Rhode Island, the Governor had a veto on all legislation ; he could also adjourn the Legislature, and in some instances dissolve it and call for the election of a new Assembly. The Legislatures voted all Colonial taxes. The Courts adjudicated all cases arising under the Colonial laws, subject, however, to an appeal to the King in council. Mr. Bryce's statement, “practically each Colony was a self-governing commonwealth, left to manage its own affairs, with scarcely any interference from home,” is a true description of the times preceding the differences leading to the Revolution.
85. Civil and Religious Rights.-Speaking generally, the Colonists who came to America seeking larger civil liberty found what they sought for. They possessed all the civil rights of Englishmen. Trial by jury in both civil and criminal cases, and the writ of habeas corpus were firmly established. The rights of life, property, and person were the common possession of the people, save as modified by the laws relating to religion. Religious lib. erty was less fully secured than civil liberty. In New Eng. land, save Rhode Island, the Congregational Church was established by law and supported by taxation, as the Episcopal Church was in Virginia and in some of the other Colonies. Upon the whole, the Colonies were fully abreast of any communities in the world in respect to civil and religious rights, and far in advance of most of them.
86. Political Rights.-In all the Colonies, the people participated in carrying on the government, but in different degrees. The people elected the more numerous and powerful branch of the Legislature. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, they also elected the Council and the Governor. In Massachusetts, the Assembly elected the Council subject to the Governor's veto. In the proprietary Colonies, the proprietors appointed the Governors and the Councils. In the royal Colonies, the Crown appointed both the Councils and the Governors. The Crown also appointed the Governor in Massachusetts, which was a semi-royal Colony. In some Colonies, the Judges were for a time elected by the Legislature, but at last they were all appointed by the Crown, or by the Governor acting in the name of the Crown.
87. The Elective Franchise. -The elective franchise was sometimes regulated by charter, sometimes by law, sometimes by royal instructions to Governors, and sometimes by custom. The regulations varied in different Colonies, and in the same Colony at different times. The county franchise and the town franchise did not always agree. The statutes did not forbid the suffrage to the Negro or the Indian, if he were otherwise qualified, save in the South. There was a tendency to confine voting to British subjects either by birth or naturalization. The New England Colonies were disposed to impose moral qualifications, as that a person who had been fined or whipped for any scandalous offense should not vote until the court should manifest its satisfaction. For a time, most of the same Colonies limited the suffrage to Church members. As a rule Roman Catholics were excluded from voting. Quakers were sometimes, but not generally, disqualified in terms, but their hesitation to take oaths often had that result. The rule was that an elector must be twenty-one years of age. Custom excluded women, but not the law save in Virginia. There were also residential qualifications, while property qualifications appear to have been universal. The Massachusetts charter of 1691 provided that no person should vote for members to serve in the General Court unless he had a freehold estate in land to the value of forty shillings per annum at the least, or other estate to the value of forty pounds sterling. Many of the Colonies required a freehold estate, some of them laying less stress on its value than on its size. Thus, Virginia confined the suffrage to freeholders who had fifty acres of untilled land, or twenty-five acres with a plantation including a house twelve feet square.
In New England freeman was originally a technical term, and it continued such in Connecticut and Rhode Island until the present century. “A freeman did not become such unless he possessed certain prescribed qualifications, and until he had been approved, admitted, and sworn." When that had been done, “his position was analogous to that of a freeman in a city or borough, and as such he became entitled to the exercise of the right of the elective franchise.” 1
This outline of Colonial Government will be all the more intelligible and instructive when followed by a similar one of the government of England.
88. The Saxon Township.-The unit of political organization in England is the township. Its original must be sought in the village community and mark of Germany; the community being a social organization occupying the mark, as its home was called. The original bond was blood-relationship. “As they fought side by side on the field,” says Mr. Green, so they dwelt side by side on the soil. Harling abode by Harling, and Billing by Billing, and each wick' and 'ham' and 'stead' and 'ton’took its name from the kinsmen who dwelt in it. In this way, the house or 'ham'of the Billings was Billingham, and the town or township of the Har. lings was Harlington.” 1 In the course of time, considerable changes were made in this primitive society. As a factor in the Feudal system, it became the manor subject to a lord; as a factor in the Church system, the parish presided over by a priest. But the township has never ceased to be the primary unit of the English constitution. Mr. Green thus describes the Saxon towuship government:
1 See Bishop, Cortland F.: History of Elections in the American Colonies. Columbia College, 1893. The above paragraphs in relation to suffrage are compiled from this monograph.
"The life, the sovereignty, of the settlement was solely in the body of the freemen whose holdings lay round the moot-hill, or the sacred tree, where the community met from time to time to order its own industry and to make its own laws. Here new settlers were admitted to the freedom of the township, and by-laws framed and head-men and tithing-men chosen for its governance. Here ploughland and meadow-land were shared in due lot among all the villagers, and field and homestead passed from man to man by the delivery of a turf cut from its soil. Here strife of farmer with farmer was settled according to the customs of the township as its eldermen stated them, and four men were choseu to follow headman or ealdorman to hundred-court or war.
89. The Hundred.-In Saxon England, as in ancient Germany, the townships were incorporated into the hundred, the head-man of which was the hundred-man, elder, or reeve. Here appeared the principle of representation, the germ of republican government. Says Mr. Green :
The four or ten villagers who followed the reeve of each town. ship to the general muster of the hundred, were held to represent the whole body of the township from whence they came. Their voice was its voice, their doing its doing, their pledge its pledge. The hundred moot, a moot which was made by this gathering of the representatives of the townships that lay within its bounds, thus became at once a court of appeal from the moots of each separate village, as well as of arbitration in dispute between township and township.
Although the hundred fell out of place in England, the name appears in the history of several of the American States,
1 The Making of England, p. 182. 2 Ibid, pp. 187, 188,3 History of the English People, Vol. I., P. 14.