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several offices respectively, until the first Wednesday which shall be in the month of May now next coming.
And further, we will, and, by these presents, for us, our heirs and successors, do ordain and grant, that the governor of the said company, for the time being, or, in his absence, by occasion of sickness or otherwise, by his leave or permission, the deputy governor for the time being shall and may, from time to time, upon all occasions, give orders for the assembling of the said company, and calling them together to consult and advise of the business and affairs of the said company; and that for ever hereafter twice in every year, that is to say, on every first Wednesday in the month of May, and on every last Wednesday in October, or oftener, in case it shall be requisite, the assistants, and such of the freemen of the said company; not exceeding six persons for Newport, four persons for each of the respective towns of Providence, Portsmouth, and Warwick, and two persons for each other place, town, or city, who shall be, from time to time, thereunto elected or deputed, by the major part of the freemen of the respective towns or places, for which they shall be so elected or deputed, shall have a general meeting or assembly, then and there to consult, advise and determine, in and about the affairs and business of the said company and plantations.
And further, we do, of our especial grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, give and grant unto the said governor and company of the English colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in New England, in America, and their successors, that the governor, or, in his absence, or by his permission, the deputy governor of the said company, for the time being, the assistants and such of the freemen of the said company, as shall be so aforesaid elected or deputed, or so many of them as shall be present at such meeting or assembly, as aforesaid, shall be called the general assembly; and that they, or the greatest part of them then present (whereof the governor, or deputy governor, and six of the assistants at least, to be seven) shall have, and have hereby given and granted unto them, full power and authority, from time to time, and at all times hereafter, to appoint, alter, and change such days, times, and places of meeting and general assembly, as they shall think fit; and to choose, nominate, and appoint such and so many persons as they shall think fit, and shall be willing to accept the same, to be free of the said company and body politic, and them into the same to admit; and to elect and constitute such offices and officers, and to grant such needful commissions, as they shall think fit and requisite, for ordering, managing, and despatching of the affairs of the said governor and company, and their successors: and from time to time to make, ordain, constitute, and repeal, such laws, statutes, orders, and ordinances, forms and ceremonies of government
and magistracy, as to them shall seem meet, for the good and welfare for the said company, and for the government and ordering of the lands and hereditaments herein after mentioned to be granted, and of the people that do, or at any time hereafter shall, inhabit or be within the same; so as such laws, ordinances, and constitutions, so made, be not contrary and repugnant unto, but (as near as may be) agreeable to the laws of this our realm of England, considering the nature and constitution of the place and people there; and also to appoint, order, and direct, erect and settle such places and courts of jurisdiction, for hearing and determining of all actions, cases, matters, and things, happening within the said colony and plantation, which shall be in dispute, and depending there, as they shall think fit; and also to distinguish and set forth the several names and titles, duties, powers, and limits, of each court, office, and officer, superior and inferior; and also to contrive and appoint such forms of oaths and attestations, not repugnant, but (as near as may be) agreeable, as aforesaid, to the laws and statutes of this our realm, as are convenient and requisite, with respect to the due administration of justice, and due execution and discharge of all offices and places of trust, by the persons that shail be therein concerned: and also to regulate and order the way and manner of all elections to offices and places of trust, and to prescribe, limit, and distinguish the number and bounds of all places, towns, and cities, within the limits and bounds herein after mentioned, and not herein particularly named, that have or shall have the power of electing and sending of freemen to the said general assembly: and also to order, direct, and authorize the imposing of lawful and reasonable fines, mulcts, imprisonment, and, executing other punishments, pecuniary and corporal, upon offenders and delinquents, according to the course of other corporations, within this our kingdom of England; and again, to alter, revoke, annul or pardon, under their common seal, or otherwise, such fines, mulcts, imprisonments, sentences, judgments, and condemnations, as shall be thought fit; and to direct, rule, order, and dispose of all other matters and things, and particularly that which relates to the making of purchases of the native Indians, as to them sball seem meet; whereby our said people and inhabitants in the said plantations, may be so religiously, peaceably, and civilly governed, as that, by their good life, and orderly conversation, they may win and invite the native Indians of the country to the knowledge and obedience of the only true God and Saviour of mankind: willing, commanding, and by these presents, for us, our heirs, and successors, ordaining and appointing, that all such laws, statutes, orders, and ordinances, instructions, impositions, and directions, as shall be so made by the governor, deputy, assistant, and freemen, or such number of them as aforesaid,
and published in writing under their common seal, shall be carefully and duly observed, kept, performed, and put in execution, according to the true intent and meaning of the same. And these our letters patent, or the duplicate of exemplification thereof, shall be, to all and every such officers, superior or inferior, from time to time, for the putting of the same orders, laws, statutes, ordinances, instructions, and directions in due execution, against us, our heirs, and successors, a sufficient warrant and discharge.
And further, our will and pleasure is, and we do hereby, for us, our heirs and successors, establish and ordain, that, yearly, once in the year for ever hereafter, namely, the aforesaid Wednesday in May, and at the town of Newport, or elsewhere if urgent occasion do require, the governor, deputy governor, and assistants of the said company, and other officers of the said company, or such of them as the general assembly shall think fit, shall be in the said general court or assembly, to be held from that day or time, newly chosen for the year ensuing, by the greater part of the said company for the time being, as shall be then there present. And if it shall happen that the present governor, deputy governor, and assistants, by these presents appointed, or any such as shall hereafter be newly chosen into their respective rooms, or any of them, or any other of the officers of the said company, shall die, or be removed from his or their several offices or places, before the said general day of election, (whom we do hereby declare for a misdeameanor or default to be removable by the governor, assistants, and company, or such greater part of them, in any of the said public courts to be assembled as aforesaid) that then, and in every such case, it shall and may be lawful to and for the said governor, deputy governor, assistants, and company aforesaid, or such greater part of them, so to be assembled, as is aforesaid, in any of their assemblies, to proceed to a new election of one or more of their company in the room or place, rooms or places, of such officer or officers, so dying, or removed, according to their directions. And immediately upon and after such election or elections made of such governor, deputy governor, assistant, or assistants, or any other officer of the said company, in manner and form aforesaid), the authority, office, and power, before given to the former governor, deputy governor, and other officer or officers so removed, in whose stead and place new shall be chosen, shall, as to him and them, and every of them respectively, cease and determine: Provided always, and our will and pleasure is, that as well such as are by these presents appointed to be the present governor, deputy governor, and assistants of the said company, as those which shall succeed them, and all other officers to be appointed and chosen as aforesaid, shall, before the undertaking the execution of the said offices and places respectively,
give their solemn engagement, by oath, or otherwise, for the due and faithful performance of their duties, in their several offices and places, before such person or persons as are by these presents hereafter appointed, to take and receive the same: that is to say, the said Benedict Arnold, who is herein before nominated and appointed the present governor of the said company, shall give the aforesaid engagement before William Brenton, or any two of the said assistants, of the said company, unto whom we do by these presents give full power and authority to require and receive the same: and the said William Brenton, who his hereby before nominated and appointed the present deputy governor of the said company, shall give the aforesaid engagement before the said Benedict Arnold, or any two of the assistants of the said company, unto whom we do, by these presents, give full power and authority to require and receive the same: and the said William Boulston, John Porter, Roger Williams, Thomas Olney, Jobn Smith, John Greene, John Cogeshall, James Barker, William Field, and Joseph Clarke, who are herein before nominated and appoint. ed the present assistants of the company, shall give the said engagement to their offices and places respectively belonging, before the said Benedict Arnold and William Brenton, or one of them, to whom respectively we do hereby give full power and authority to require, administer, or receive the same: and further, our will and pleasure is, that all and every other future governor, or deputy governor, to be elected and chosen by virtue of these presents, shall give the said engagement before two or more of the said assistants of the said company, for the time being, unto whom we do, by these presents, give full power and authority to require, administer, or receive the same: and the said assistants, and every of them, and all and every other officer or officers, to be hereafter elected and chosen by virtue of these presents, from time to time, shall give the like engagements to their offices and places respectively belonging, before the governor, or deputy governor, for the time being, unto which said governor, or deputy governor, we do by these presents give full power and authority to require, administer, or receive the same accordingly.
And we do likewise, for us, our heirs and successors, give and grant unto the said governor and company and their successors, by these presents, that for the most peaceably and orderly government of the said plantations, it shall and may be lawful for the governor, deputy governor, assistants, and all other officers and ministers of the said company, in the administration of justice, and exercise of government, and the said plantations, to use, exercise, and put in execution, such methods, orders, rules, and directions, (not being contrary and repugnant to the laws and statutes of this our realm,) as have been heretofore given, used, and accustomed in such cases
respectively, to be put in practice, until at the next, or some other general assembly, especial provision shall be made in the cases aforesaid.
And we do further, for us, our heirs and successors, give and grant unto the said governor and company, and their successors, by these presents, that it shall and may be lawful to and for the said governor, or, in his absence, the deputy governor, and major part of the said assistants for the time being, at any time, when the said general assembly is not sitting, to nominate, appoint, and constitute such and so many commanders, governors, and military officers, as to them shall seem requisite, for the leading, conducting and training up the inhabitants of the said plantatations in martial affairs, and for the defence and safeguard of the said plantations; that it shall and may be lawful to and for all and every such commander, governor, and military officer, that shall be so as aforesaid, or by the governor, or, in his absence, the deputy governor, and six of the assistants, and major part of the freemen of said company, present at any general assemblies, nominated, appointed, and constituted, according to the tenor of his and their respective commissions and directions, to assemble, exercise in arms, marshal, array, and put in warlike posture, the inhabitants of said colony, for their especial defence and safety; and to lead and conduct the said inhabitants, and to encounter, repulse, and resist, by force of arms, as well by sea as by land, to kill, slay, and destroy, by all fitting ways, enterprises, and means whatsoever, all and every such person or persons as shall at any time hereafter attempt or enterprise the destruction, invasion, detriment, or annoyance of the said inhabitants, or plantations; and to use and exercise the law martial, in such cases only as occasion shall necessarily require; and to take and surprise, by all ways and means whatsoever, all and every such person or persons, with their ship, or ships, armour, ammunition, or other goods of such persons, as shall in hostile manner invade, or attempt the defeating of the said plantation, or the hurt of the said company and inhabitants; and upon just cause to invade and destroy the native Indians, or other enemies, of the said colony.
Nevertheless, our will and pleasure is, and we do hereby declare to the rest of our colonies in New England, that it shall not be lawful for this our said colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in America, in New England, to invade the natives inhabiting within the bounds and limits of the said colonies, without the knowledge and consent of the said other colonies. And it is hereby declared, that it shall not be lawful to or for the rest of the colonies to invade or molest the native Indians, or any other inhabitants, inhabitin 8 within the bounds or limits hereafter mentioned, they havin &