Rhode Island had worse troubles than Connecticut. It, too, had boundary disputes, serious and perpetual; but graver by much were its internal feuds, caused partly by the mutual jealousy of its four towns, partly by the numerous and jarring religious persuasions here represented.
Government was painfully feeble. Only with utmost difficulty could the necessary taxes be raised. Warwick in particular was for some time in arrears to John Clark, of Newport, for his invaluable services in securing the charter of 1663. Quakers and the divers sorts of Baptists valiantly warred each against other, using, with dreadful address, those most deadly of carnal weapons, tongue and pen. On George Fox's visit to the colony, Roger Williams, zealous for a debate, pursued the eminent Quaker from Providence to Newport, rowing thither in his canoe and arriving at midnight, only to find that his intended opponent had departed, The latter's champion was ready, however, and a discussion of four days ensued.
Before its sentence of death reached Massachusetts Charles II. was no more, and James II., his brother, had ascended the throne. It was for a time uncertain what sort of authority the stricken colony would be called to accept. Already, as Duke of York, James II. had been Proprietary of Maine east of the Kennebec (Sagadahoc), as well as of Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. Now that he had the problem of ruling Massachusetts to solve, it naturally occurred to the king to make Sir Edmond Andros, already governor of New York, master also over the whole of English America from the Saint Croix to the Delaware.

In southern New England the reign of Andros wrought no downright persecution. He suspended the charters, and, with an irresponsible council in each colony, assumed all legislative as well as administrative power. Rhode Island submitted tamely. Her sister colony did the same, save that, at Hartford, according to good tradition, in the midst of the altercation about delivering the charter, prolonged into candle-light, suddenly it was dark, and the precious document disappeared to a secure place in the hollow trunk of an oak. This tree, henceforth called the Charter Oak, stood till prostrated by a gale on August 20, 1856.
But in Massachusetts the colonists' worst fears were realized. Andros, with a council of his own creation, made laws, levied taxes, and controlled the militia. He had authority to suppress all printing-presses and to encourage Episcopacy. In the latter interest he opened King's Chapel to the Prayer Book. His permission was required for any one to leave the colony. Extortionate fees and taxes were imposed.
Puritans had to swear on the Bible, which they regarded wicked, or be disfranchised. Personal and proprietary rights were summarily set at naught, and all deeds to land were declared void till renewed—for money, of course. The citizens were reduced to a condition hardly short of slavery.

See also: 1668-1680


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