A NEW JURISDICTION--JOHN CUTT, PRESIDENT
The commission for the new government was passed, September 18, 1679;--in an act, "which inhibits and restrains the jurisdiction exercised by the colony of Massachusetts over the towns of Portsmouth, Dover, Exeter and Hampton, and all other lands extending from three miles to the northward of the Merrimack River or any part thereof unto the province of Maine." (Farmer's Belknap, 88.) New Hampshire was created a Royal Province, to be governed by a president and council. John Cutt, Esq., of Portsmouth, was appointed the first president, and six men, of whom was Christopher Hussey, of Hampton, were named as councillors, with instructions to choose three more. Any five of these, with the president or his deputy, were to constitute a quorum. They were, with the concurrence of an assembly, authorized to assess taxes. The assembly, to consist of deputies of the towns, was to constitute a part of the government so long as the king should not see fit to order otherwise. Enactments were to be transmitted to the Privy Council by the first ships, and to remain in force until disallowed by that authority. All the other powers of this new government were definitely set forth in the commission, which was received on the first day of January, 1680.
The messenger by whom the commission was brought over from England was Edward Randolph, known to be so devoted to Mason's interests, as to render the people suspicious that their liberties were to be abridged or their rights otherwise prejudiced. On his arrival in Portsmouth, the men named in the commission as magistrates, perceiving that their appointment had not been made out of respect for themselves, but as a stroke of policy, designed to render the new form of government less odious to the people, were reluctant to accept the offices. But the commission required--"all excuses whatsoever set aside, yt they fail not to assemble and meet together at ye sd town of Portsmouth in ye province of New Hampshire aforsd within ye space of twenty days next after ye arrival of this commission at Portsm. aforesaid."
Accustomed to yield obedience to the king, and fearing that, if they should decline the offices tendered, other persons less favorable to the interests of the people, would be appointed, they consented, after a delay of nearly three weeks, but within the time named in the commission, to qualify themselves by taking the oaths of allegiance and of office.
As one of their first duties, they proceeded to the election of three councillors, to fill the board. They chose Elias Stileman, of Great Island, then belonging to Portsmouth; Samuel Dalton of Hampton; and Job Clements of Dover.
Having completed the organization, a proclamation was made, for all officers to keep their respective places till further ordered. Shortly after (February 4, 1680), a warrant was sent to the selectmen of each of the towns, requiring that a list of the names of their inhabitants and inventory of their estates be sent to the president and council at their sitting on the 16th of the same month.
Being required by their commission, to call a General Assembly, and being empowered to determine who should have the privilege of choosing deputies, the president and council ordered: "that the persons hereafter named in the several towns shall meet together on the first day of March next, by 9 of the clock in the morning, and having first each of them taken the oath of allegiance (if they have not taken it already), which oath is to be administered by the member or members of the said Council there residing, choose from among themselves, by the major vote given in writing, not exceeding the number of three persons, which persons so chosen are to appear at Portsmouth on the 16th day of March following, by 9 o'clock, there to attend his Majesty's service for the concerns of the said Province of New Hampshire, provided that we do not intend that what is now done be precedential for the future, and that it shall extend no farther than to the calling this first Assembly." None were to be permitted to vote except those mentioned in the list appended to the order, on penalty of paying a fine of five pounds.
The list of names for Hampton follows:
Mr. Seaborn Cotton. Thomas Nudd. Nath'l Batchelder. Abraham Perkins. John Brown, Sen. Isaac Perkins, Not app'd Nath'l Boulter, Sen. Francis Page. Moses Cox. Thomas Philbrick. John Clifford, Sen. Henry Robie. John Clifford, Jun. John Redman, Sen. Henry Dow. John Sanborn. Godfrey Dearborn. Isaac Marston. Thomas Dearborn. Henry Moulton. Henry Dearborn. William Sanborn, Sen. Abraham Drake, Sen. Samuel Sherburne. Gershom Elkins. Anthony Stanyan. William Fuller. Robert Smith. William Fifield, Sen. John Smith, Coop'r. Benjamin Fifield. John Smith, Tal'r. Henry Greene. Thomas Sleeper. Isaac Godfrey. Joseph Shaw. Edward Gove. Benjamin Shaw. Morrice Hobbs. Anthony Taylor. Timothy Hilliard. Daniel Tilton. John Knowles, Sen. Andrew Wiggins. Thomas Leavitt. Thomas Wiggins, Not app'd. Thomas Marston. Nathaniel Weare. Ens. Moore. Thomas Ward. Not app'd. William Marston. Thomas Webster. Josiah Moulton. Joseph Smith. John Moulton. Samuel Dalton, Esq. John Marrian.
"John Roberts, of Dover, is chosen head Marshal of this Province, and Henry Dow of Hampton, under him."
"At a General Assembly held in Portsmouth, in the Province of New Hampshire, the 16th day of March, 1679/80 :present of the Council :--Richard Waldron, Esq., Deputy President," and eight others, of whom, Christopher Hussey and Samuel Dalton Esqrs. from Hampton. Of the eleven deputies present, Mr. Anthony Stanyan, Mr.Thomas Marston and Mr. Edward Gove were from Hampton.