MASON AND RANDOLPH
In March, 1676, the Massachusetts government was ordered to send agents to England within six months, to answer to the complaints of Mason and Gorges. This order, with copies of the complaints, was sent over by Edward Randolph, a relative of Mason. He was also directed by the Lords of Trade and Plantations, to inquire into the state of the country.
Having delivered to the governor of Massachusetts the documents entrusted to him, he came into New Hampshire, in July, where he openly proclaimed the object of his visit, and publicly read a letter addressed by Mason to the inhabitants, and endeavored to excite a feeling of disaffection towards the government. He found individuals ready to complain of Massachusetts, and to seek to be released from her jurisdiction; but the great body of the people preferred to remain as they were, and were indignant at Randolph's proceedings.
The people of Dover, in town meeting assembled, September 1, denounced Mason's claims, professed satisfaction with the government of Massachusetts and appointed Major Waldron to petition the king to let them remain as they were.
The same day, at a town meeting in Portsmouth, it was voted that a similar petition signed by the inhabitants of that town be sent to the king, and four leading citizens were appointed to draft and forward it.
The next day, at a town meeting in Hampton, Mr. Seaborn Cotton, pastor of the church, and Samuel Dalton were appointed "to draw up a declaration or testimony, concerning their desires to continue under the Massachusetts government, and to clear themselves from having any hand in damnifying Mr. Mason, either in his lands or government; and for the full vindication of their rights, to request the General Court to prosecute the same to full effect."
By these instructions to their committee, the town probably intended to declare that they did not consider Mason's claims as having any validity; and, consequently, neither in refusing to pay him rents, nor in their allegiance to Massachusetts, did they at all interfere with his rights either of property or jurisdiction, or in any way do him an injury. On the contrary, their own rights rather than his had been invaded: and these, they called upon the government to vindicate and protect.