Daniel Gookin’s


Remonstrance of 1680



{Major General} Daniel Gookin’s “Remonstrance of 1680” is copied here

exactly as it was shared by his descendant Eugene Hubbard.


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Daniel Gookin was an important factor in the history of early Virginia and of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, both as a private citizen and as a public servant.  He spent the major portion of his life on government matters, thus making significant contributions to the improved life of the New England colonies.  By one such act, he defined citizens rights which were so fundamental that they were later included as key elements in the Bill of Rights of the United States. [See his Remonstrance of 1680.]

                                                                              Eugene W. Hubbard

                                                                              March 5, 2008


Thornton, Esq,  J. Wingate.”The Gookin Family”.NEHGR vol. 2[April 1848]:167-171


“honored gentlemen : — Haueing liberty by law [title Liberties com­mon] to present in speech or writing any necessary motion, or information, whereof that meeting hath proper cognizance so it bee don in conuenient time, due order and Respective manner—I have chosen the latter way and hope I shall attend the qualifications as to time, order and manner.

It is much upon my hart to suggest to your prudent, pious, and serious consideration my poore thoughts touching the matters lyeing before you, which (to my weake understanding) is a case of great concernment, as to the weale or woe of thousands of the Lord’s poore people in this wilderness yt for the testimony of Jesus transplanted themselves into this wilderness yn vnhabited; and here purchasing ye right of the natives did sit downe in this vacuum, as it were, and who with great labour and sufferings, for many yeares conflicting with hard winters and hot summers haue possessed and left to yr posterity Those inheritances so rightfully alloted to ym According to the Law of God and man; these considerations render the matter most momentous to me.

Your present work (as I vnderstand) is, to draw up instructions for An Agent or Agents to bee sent for England, in complyance with his ma’ties commands in his last letter, which requires vs to send Agents, within 3 months duly impoured to Answer a claime made by one Mr. Mason claim­ing title to a certaine tract of land within this jurisdiction, particularly be­tween the riuers of Naumkeike [Salem] and Merimack, upon wh land many of our principal townes are seated, and many thousands of people interested and concerned who haue right to these lands by the Generall Court’s grant, Indian Title, and yt impoured, and that for about fifty yeares, and without any claime made by Mr. Mason or his predecessors, and be­sides their title hath beene established by o’r law till possession, printed and published, when conuenient time was granted to enter ye claimes if any, and upon the pr’mises many sales and Alienations haue (doubtles) beene made; and diuers of the first planters deceased, leaving their inheritances to ye quiet poss’ion of yr posterity; All this notwithstanding by the Letters aforesaid (wch there is good ground to think hath beene procured and sent ouer more by the solicitation of our enimies yn any disposition in his moste excelent ma’tie (o’r gracious king) to quel so great disquiet and disturbance to his poore inocent and Loyal Subjects, inhabiting in this place, as is oc­casioned therby, in requiring us to send an Agent or Agents to Answer before him and unto Mr. Mason’s claimes, on behalf of these proprietors called Ter tennants, and to abide by the termination y’t shall be there giuen; Could wee promise o’rselues, that the conclusion would bee in o’r fauor, which we have no assurance to expect, yet the scruple with me for sending at all as the case is circumstanced is not remoued, but remains vntouched.

1. Because this pr’cedent in conceding to send Agent or Agents for the tryalls and to Answer particular complaints and claymes in England before his ma’tie touching proprieties, [companies,] will (as I humbly conceue) have a tendency, if not certenly subuert and destroy the mayne nerves of o’r Government and Charter, lawes and liberties. Besides (as I apr’hend) it wil bereaue us of o’r liberties as Englishmen, (confirmed many times by magna charta, who are to bee tryed in all their concernes, ciuil, or criminal by 12 honest men of the neighbourhood, under oath and in his ma’ties Courts, before his sworn Judges and not before his ma’ties Royal person; surely o’r com’g 3 thousand miles under security of his ma’ties title, and by his good leave to plant this howling wilderness hath not deuested us of that native liberty w’h o’r countrymen injoy. Now if Mr. Mason haue any claime to make, of any man within this jurisdiction, his ma’ties Courts heere established by charter are open to him: And hee may implead any man yt doth him wrong before ye Jury and sworne Judges; according to law and pattent heretofore and lately confirmed by his Royal ma’tie as under his signet doth or may appeare.

2d. To send Agents not duly impoured as his ma’ties lt’r requires will probably offend and prouoake his ma’tie rather yn please him and give him occasion either to imprison o’r Agents, until they bee fully impoured or oth­erwise pass a finall Judgment in the case (if Agents bee there) though they stand mute and doe not plead to the case. And on the other hand if Agents are sent duly impoured to Answer as the letter requires, yn let it bee con­sidered whether wee doe not, at once, undoe ourselnes and posterity, in be­ing obliged to Respond any complaint or try any case, ciuill or criminal wch it shall please any person, that delights in giuing us trouble, is pleased to bring thither, the Greevous Burden and inconvienience whereof would bee intolerable. I conceue, if one of the twaine must bee submitted to, It were much Better to desire yt A General Gonernor or Commission’rs might bee constituted here in the country to try all cases ciuil, criminal and military according to discretion, as was Attempted by the Commissioners Anno 1664, 1665. But then God was pleased to influence his people with such a de­gree of virtue and courage, firmely to Adhere unto o’r charter and the Laws and Liberties thereby established; and God of his grace and goodness was then pleased, upon our humble Adreses to o’r King, to incline his ma’ties Royall hart to accept of o’r Answer and not to give us further trouble, the consequence whereof was yt we have enjoyed o’r mercys 15 years longer, and who knows But it may bee so now, if wee make our humble Adreses and give o’r reasons for not sending Agents; surely o’r God is the same, yesterday and to-day and for euer; and our king is the same, in­clining to fau’r the Righteous caus of his poore inocente and loyal subjects and I doubt not if wee make triall and follow our endea’r by faith and prair but God will appear for us, in mercy, & make a good Isne of this affayre.

The sending of Agents will contract a very great charge and expenses wch the poore people are very unable to stand under, considering the great diminishing yt wee haue had by warr, small pox, fires, sea loses, Blastings and other pubticke loses, for my part, I see not how mony will be raised to defray this charge unles it bee borrowed upon interest of some particular man; moreouer the country is yet in debt and pays interest for mony yearly; especially to bee at so great cost for no other end (in probability) but to cut us short of o’r Liberties and priviledges as too late experience in o’r former Agent’s Negotiation doth evidence.

Besides this matter of Mr. Mason’s claims wee are required to send Agents to Attend the Regulation of o’r Government, &c., and to satisfy his ma’tie in Admitting freemen as is proposed in ye letter. And to give an Acc’t what incouragement is giuen to such persons as desire to worship God According to the way of the church of England.

Now to send Agents to Answer and attend these things, who sees not how grate a snare It may proue unto us, for Touching our Govemment wee are well contented with it and o’r charter and desire no change. If there should bee any Lawes yt are Repugnant to ye Laws of England, (I know not any,) they may be repealed.

Concerning freemen’s Admission, nothing is more cleare in the charter, yn this, that the Gouera’r and Company haue free liberty to admit whome they thinke meet.

As for any that desire to worship God According to the manner of the church of England, there is no law to pr’hibite or restraine ym neith’r is it meet to make any law to yt effect because it would bee repugnant to the law of England. But for this Gou’ment to declare or make a law to Encourage Any to practise yt worship here, may it not bee feared this would offend God, and bee condemning the doings and sufferings of o’rselues and fathers that first planted this country.

These things considered and many more I might Aleadge giue mee cause to desire your pardon that I cannot consent or iudge it expedient to send An Agent or Agents at this time as things are circumstanced.

Therefore I conceiue it is much the Best and safest course not to send any Agent at all and consequently the committe may forbeare to draw up Instruction for them but rather pr’sent to the court the difficulties in the case; and if you please, I am not unwilling that this paper bee pr’sented to the Honored Court to consider of.

And rather if you see meet to draw up and pr’sent to the Gen’ll Court a humble and Argumentative Address to his Sacred ma’tie To pardon his poore yet Loyall people in this matter so destructive to the quiet and so inconsistent with their well being.

But to this it may be objected,

1 objection, that it is our duty to send Agents because the King com­mands it, otherwise we may be found Breakers of the fi’th command.

Answer—I humbly conceue wee ought to distinguish of o’r duty to Super’rs, sometimes possibly they may require vnlawful things as the Rulers of the Jewes did of the Apostles; Acts, 4: 18. 19.—in wch case [the] Holy Ghost tels us our duty in yt text. 2dly. Rulers may command things yt considered in their tendencies and circumstances and comixture with religion, may be of a morall nature and consequently unlawful and not to be allow’d in doing, But rather Runne the Hazard of Suffering, of which na­ture I humbly conceaue is the pr’sent cause, for if wee send agents as the letter requires wee doe destroy ourselues in our greatest concerns as I apr’hend; now selfe preseruation, is a moral duty and not only Reason and Reli­gion but nature, doth teach us this. Againe, if this Gouernment of ours bee of Chhts establishing and gift and a part of his purchase, as I iudge it is, will it not bee a moral end for us to bee Active in parting with it. I remember yt eminent Mr. Mitchell, now in heaven, in his publicke lecture (February 1660,) speaking of Cht’s Kingly Gouernment upon a ciuil Acct, did Declare that this Gouernment setled in ye Massachus’ts according to pattent and laws was as hee said a specimen of that ciuil Gour’nt, that the lord Cht Jesus Design’d to establish in the whole world wherein such as are godly p’rsons, and vnder his Kingly Gouernment in his church should bee electers and elected to pouer. And therfore said hee who eu’r hee bee yt shall goe about to subuert or undermine this Gouernrnent, hee sets himselfe against Cht Jesus, and hee will (then) haue Cht for his enimy. Also Reverend Mr. Shepard in his booke of the ten Uirgins, 25 math, in ye 1 part, page 166, speaks to ye same purpose. These persons were burning and shineing lights in yr Generation and much of God’s mynd did they know and speak.

Object. 2. But if wee send no Agents wee must expect sad consequences yrof such as putting us out of his ma’ties Allegeance, damning o’r patent, inhibiting trade, and such like.

Answer 1: Something hath been spoken aboue to this matter to wh I Refer.

2: I verily Belieue yt so gracious a prince as o’r king is will bee very slow to deale so seuerely against his poore loyall subjects yt Are not con­scious wee haue shewed any disloyalty to him or his pr’desc’rs, nor have been unwilling to obey him in the lord. But when the case is so circum­stanced yt we must be Accounted offenders or Ruine o’rselues; of 2 evels ye least is to be chosen.

3: But if it should bee soe yt wee must suffer in this case wee may have ground to hope yt God o’r father in Cht will support and comfort us in all o’r tribulations and in his due time deliuer vs. Much more might be s’d Touching the pr’my’es. But I have been too tedious And longer yn I in­tended for wch I crave yr pardon and humbly intreat a candid construction of this paper a coveringe of all the imperfections yr off: This case, as is aboue hinted, is very momentous and therefore I intreat you candidly to peruse what is s’d, if there bee little waight in it (as some may thinke) it is satisfactory to me, that I haue offered it to yr consideration, and yt I have in this great cause (before I goe hence and bee no more wch I must shortly expect) giuen my testimony and declared my judgment in this great concerne of Jesus Cht, To whome I commit all and yorselues also desiring him to be to you as hee is in himselfe, the mighty counsellor, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

I remaine your most humble seruant

and His ma’ties most Loyal Subject,


Cambridge, February 14, 1680.




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