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posterity. And, forasmuch as the natives have formerly committed sundry insolences and outrages upon several plantations of the English and have of late combined against us. And, seeing by reason of the sad distractions in England, which they have heard of, and by which they know we are hindered both from that humble way of seeking advice and reaping those comfortable fruits of protection which, at other times, we might well expect; we therefore do conceive it our bounden duty, without delay, to enter into a present consociation amongst ourselves, for mutual help and strength in all our future concernments, that, as in nation and religion, so in other respects, we be and continue one, according to the tenor and true meaning of the ensuing articles.
I. Wherefore, it is fully agreed and concluded by and between the parties or jurisdictions above named, and they do jointly and severally by these presents agree and conclude, that they all be, and henceforth be called by the name of the United Colonies of New England.
II. The said United Colonies for themselves and their posterities do jointly and severally hereby enter into a firm and perpetual league of friendship and amity, for offense and defense, mutual advice and succor, upon all just occasions, both for, preserving and propagating the truth and liberties of the Gospel, and for their own mutual safety and welfare.
III. It is further agreed that the plantations which at present are, or hereafter shall be settled within the limits of the Massachusetts, shall be forever under the government of the Massachusetts. And shall have peculiar jurisdiction amongst themselves, as an entire body, and that Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven shall each of them, in all respects, have the like peculiar jurisdiction and government within their limits. And in reference to the plantations which already are settled, or shall hereafter be erected and shall settle within any of their limits, respectively, provided that no other jurisdiction shall hereafter be taken in, as a distinct head or member of this confederation, nor shall any other either plantation, or jurisdiction in present being, and not already in combination, or under the jurisdiction of any of these confederates, be received by any of them, nor shall any two of these confederates join in one jurisdiction, without consent of the rest, which consent to be interpreted as in the sixth ensuing article is expressed.
1 The Great Rebellion, which broke out in 1642
IV. It is also by these confederates agreed that the charge of all just wars, whether offensive or defensive, upon what part or member of this confederation soever they fall, shall both in men, provisions, and all other disbursements, be borne by all the parts of this confederation in different proportions, according to their different abilities, in manner following, namely, that the commissioners for each jurisdiction, from time to time, as there shall be occasion, bring a true account and number of all the males in each plantation or anyway belonging to, or under their several jurisdictions, of what quality or condition soever they be, from sixteen years old to threescore, being inhabitants there. And that according to the different numbers, which from time to time shall be found in each jurisdiction, upon a true and just account, the service of men and all charges of the war be borne by the poll: each jurisdiction or plantation being left to their own just course and custom of rating themselves and people, according to their different estates, with due respect to their qualities and exemptions among themselves, though the confederation take no notice of any such privilege. And that, according to the different charge of each jurisdiction and plantation, the whole advantage of the war (if it please God so to bless their endeavors) whether it be in lands, goods, or persons, shall be proportionably divided among the said confederates.
V. It is further agreed that if any of these jurisdictions, or any plantation under or in combination with them, be invaded by any enemy whomsoever, upon notice and request of any three magistrates of that jurisdiction so invaded, the rest of the confederates, without any further meeting or expostulation, shall forthwith send aid to the confederate in danger, but in different proportion, namely, the Massachusetts one hundred men sufficiently armed and provided for such a service and journey, and each of the rest five-and-forty men, so armed and provided, or any less number, if less be required, according to this proportion. But if such a confederate may be supplied by their next confederate, not exceeding the number hereby agreed, they may crave help there and seek no further for the present. The charge to be borne, as in this article is expressed. And at their return to be victualed, and supplied with powder and shot (if there be need), for their journey, by that jurisdiction which employed or sent for them. But none of the jurisdictions to exceed these numbers, till by a meeting of the commissioners for this confederation a greater aid appear necessary. And this proportion to continue, till upon knowledge of the numbers in each jurisdiction, which shall be brought to the next meeting, some other proportion be ordered. But in any such case of sending men for present aid, whether before or after such order or alteration, it is agreed that at the meeting of the commissioners for this confederation, the cause of such war or invasion be duly considered, and if it appear that the fault lay in the party so invaded, that then that jurisdiction or plantation make just satisfaction, both to the invaders, whom they have injured, and bear all the charges of the war themselves, without requiring any allowance from the rest of the confederates toward the same.
And further, if any jurisdiction see any danger of an invasion approaching, and there be time for a meeting, that in such case three magistrates of that jurisdiction may summon a meeting, at such convenient place as themselves shall think meet, to consider and provide against the threatened danger. Provided, when they are met, they may remove to what place they please, only, while any of these four confederates have but three magistrates in their jurisdiction, a request or summons, from any two of them, shall be accounted of equal force with the three mentioned in both the clauses of this article, till there be an increase of magistrates there.
VI. It is also agreed that for the managing and concluding of all affairs proper to, and concerning the whole confederation, two commissioners shall be chosen by, and out of the four jurisdictions, namely, two for the Massachusetts, two for Plymouth, two for Connecticut, and two for New Haven, being all in Church fellowship with us, which shall bring full power from their several general courts, respectively, to hear, examine, weigh, and determine all affairs of war or peace, leagues, aids, charges, and numbers of men for war, division of spoils, or whatsoever is gotten by conquest, receiving of more confederates or plantations into combination with any of these confederates, and all things of like nature, which are the proper concomitants or consequences of such a confederation for amity, offense, and defense, not intermeddling with the government of any of the jurisdictions, which by the third article is preserved entirely to themselves. But if these eight commissioners, when they meet, shall not all agree, yet it is concluded that any six of the eight agreeing shall have power to settle and determine the business in question. But if six do not agree, that then such propositions, with their reasons, so far as they have been debated, be sent and referred to the four general courts, viz, the Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven. And if at all the said general courts the business so referred be concluded, then to be prosecuted by the confederates and all their members. It is further agreed that these eight commissioners shall meet once every year, besides extraordinary meetings, according to the fifth article, to consider, treat, and conclude of all affairs belonging to this confederation, which meeting shall ever be the first Thursday in September. And that the next meeting after the date of these presents, which shall be accounted the second meeting, shall be at Boston in the Massachusetts, the third at Hartford, the fourth at New Haven, the fifth at Plymouth, the sixth and seventh at Boston; and then Hartford, New Haven, and Plymouth, and so in course successively, if in the meantime some middle place be not found out and agreed on, which may be commodious for all the jurisdictions.
VII. It is further agreed that at each meeting of these eight commissioners, whether ordinary or extraordinary, they all or any six of them agreeing as before, may choose their president out of themselves, whose office and work shall be to take care and direct for order, and a comely carrying on of all proceedings in the present meeting. But he shall be invested with no such power or respect, as by which he shall hinder the propounding or progress of any business, or any way cast the scales, otherwise than in the precedent article is agreed.
VIII. It is also agreed that the commissioners for this confederation hereafter at their meetings, whether ordinary or extraordinary, as they may have commission or opportunity, do endeavor to frame and establish agreements and orders in general cases of a civil nature, wherein all the plantations are interested, for preserving peace amongst themselves and preventing (as much as may be) all occasions of war or differences with others, as about the free and speedy passage of justice in each jurisdiction to all the confederates equally as to their own, receiving those that remove from one plantation to another without due certificates, how all the jurisdictions may carry it toward the Indians, that they neither grow insolent nor be injured without due satisfaction, lest war break in upon the confederates through such miscarriages. It is also agreed that if any servant run away from his master into any other of these confederated jurisdictions, that in such case, upon the certificate of one magistrate in the jurisdiction, out of which the said servant fled, or upon other due proof, the said servant shall be delivered either to his master or any other that pursues and brings such certificate or proof. And that upon the escape of any prisoner whatsoever, or sugitive, for any criminal
cause, whether breaking prison, or getting from the officer, or otherwise escaping, upon the certificate of two magistrates of the jurisdiction out of which the escape is made, that he was a prisoner or such an offender at the time of the escape, the magistrates, or some of them, of that jurisdiction where for the present the said prisoner or fugitive abides, shall forthwith grant such a warrant, as the case will bear, for the apprehending of any such person and the delivery of him into the hand of the officer or other person who pursuès him. And if help be required for the safe returning of any such offender, it shall be granted unto him that craves the same, he paying the charges thereof.
IX. And for that the justest wars may be of dangerous consequence, especially to the smaller plantations in these United Colonies, it is agreed that neither the Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, nor New Haven, nor any of the members of any of them, shall at any time hereafter begin, undertake, or engage themselves, or this confederation, or any part thereof in any war whatsoever (sudden exigencies with the necessary consequences thereof excepted, which are also to be moderated, as much as the case will permit) without the consent and agreement of the forenamed eight commissioners, or at least six of them, as in the sixth article is provided. And that no charge be required of any of the confederates, in case of a defensive war, till the said commissioners have met and approved the justice of the war, and have agreed upon the sum of money to be levied; which sum is then to be paid by the several confederates, in proportion, according to the fourth article.
X. That in extraordinary occasions, when meetings are summoned by three magistrates of any jurisdiction, or two as in the fifth article, if any of the commissioners come not, due warning being given or sent, it is agreed that four of the commissioners shall have power to direct a war which cannot be delayed, and to send for due proportions of men out of each jurisdiction, as well as six might do, if all met; but not less than six shall determine the justice of the war, or allow the demands or bills of charges, or cause any levies to be made for the same.
XI. It is further agreed that if any of the confederates shall hereafter break any of these present articles, or be any
way injurious to any one of the other jurisdictions, such breach of agreement or injury shall be duly considered and ordered by the commissioners for the other jurisdictions, that both peace and this present confederation may be entirely preserved without violation,