Vengeance for such defiance was delayed by Charles II.'s very vices. Clarendon's fall had left him surrounded by profligate aides, too timid and too indolent to face the resolute men of Massachusetts. They often discussed the contumacy of the colony, but went no further than words. Massachusetts was even encouraged, in 1668, forcibly to reassert its authority in Maine, against rule either by the king or by Sir Ferdinanda Gorges's heir as proprietary.
Its charter had assigned to the colony land to a point three miles north of the Merrimac. Bold in the favor of the Commonwealth, the authorities measured from the head-waters of that river. But Plymouth had originally claimed all the territory west of the Kennebec, and had sold it to Gorges. Charles II. favored the Gorges heirs against Massachusetts, and for some years previous to 1668 Massachusetts' power over Maine had been in abeyance. Ten years later, in 1678, to make assurance doubly sure, Massachusetts bought off the Gorges claimants, at the round price of twelve hundred and fifty pounds sterling.
From 1641 Massachusetts had borne sway in New Hampshire as well, ignoring John Mason's claim under Charles I.'s charters of 1629 and 1635, still urged by one of Mason's grandsons, backed by Charles II.
Here Massachusetts was beaten. In July, 1679, New Hampshire was permanently separated from her, and erected into a royal province, of a nature to be explained in a subsequent chapter, being the earliest government of this kind in New England.
Though having no quarrel with the king, the two southern colonies were not without their trials. Connecticut, besides continual fear of the Dutch and the Indians, was much agitated by the controversy over the question whether children of moral parents not church members should be baptized, a question at length settled affirmatively by the so-called Half-Way Covenant. It also had its boundary disputes with Massachusetts, with Rhode Island--for Connecticut took the Narragansett River of its charter to be the bay of that name--and with New York, which, by the Duke of York's new patent, issued on the recovery of that province from the Dutch in 1674, reached the Connecticut River. During England's war with Holland, 1672-74, all the colonies stood in some fear of Dutch attacks.
See also: 1662-1664