Maine and the Royal Commission of 1664-1666

Reid, John G. (John Graham) (1972) Maine and the Royal Commission of 1664-1666. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

On his Restoration in 1660, Charles II faced the task of reimposing his authority throughout the realm. This study examines a particular aspect of that task as it related to the colonies. -- Between 1652 and 1658, the Province of Maine in New England had been annexed by Massachusetts and the Lord Proprietor of the province thus dispossessed. The structure of landholding in Maine had also been changed, since those who held land by patent from the Lord Proprietor now had to co-exist with several town organisations which, like their counterparts in Massachusetts, claimed common ownership of the land within their boundaries. -- From 1660, the Lord Proprietor, in alliance with certain of the patentees, made repeated efforts to resume control of his province. These efforts were never successful, largely because of the popular suspicion aroused by the accompanying intention to restore the proprietary land system. This would have destroyed the principle of free land which had been established under Massachusetts. -- Soon the royal government intervened. The aggrieved landowners, favoured by legal opinion, were pressing for redress; this, and other disputes over the power of Massachusetts, demanded royal action. Massachusetts, however, followed a policy of procrastination which avoided any concession. The government therefore decided to send a royal commission to New England. -- The Massachusetts colony refused on many issues to be moved by the commissioners, who were in these respects powerless to enforce their authority. In Maine, however, the commissioners were able successfully to make a temporary settlement by taking the province under direct royal authority and imposing a temporary moratorium on land disputes. -- Thus the inhabitants of Maine were for the moment satisfied, though both the Lord Proprietor and the Massachusetts colony had reason to be unhappy. No final settlement, however, was proposed by the royal government. In the absence of action from London, Massachusetts in 1668 resumed jurisdiction in Maine and was able to consolidate its power there. The proprietary system had long been unacceptable to the bulk of the inhabitants of Maine. When the king failed to offer any realistic alternative, the way was left open for Massachusetts and royal authority in New England received a severe setback.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6547
Item ID: 6547
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 261-265
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1972
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: United States--Maine
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Maine--History--Colonial period

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