To our Beloved Brethren and Neighbours, the Inhabitants of the Colony of Connecticut, The GENERAL COVRT of that Colony with Grace and Peace in our Lord Jesus.
The Serious Consideration of the Necessity of the Establishment of wholesome Lawes, for the Regulating of each Body Politick, Hath enclined us mainly in Obedience unto JEHOVAH the Great Law-giver: Who hath been pleased to set down a Divine Platforme, not onely of the Morall but also of Judicial Lawes, suitable for the people of Israel; As also in conformity to the manifest pleasure of our Soveraign Lord the King, in his Majesties Gracious Charter, requiring and Granting Liberty thereby of makeing of Laws and Constitutions suiting our State & condition, for the Safety & Welfare of the people of the Colony of Conecticut. We say the sense of these Weighty Inducemnts hath moved us, notwithstanding the exceeding great difficulties of the Work, Looking up to God for wisedom and strength to engage in this solemn Service, To Exhibit and take care concerning the sufficient Promulgation of such needfull Lawes, that a more full and plain way may be set for execution of, and judgement thereby.
Wherefore although in our former Initial times (while this Colony was deemed distinct in Jurisdiction from that of New-haven,) We contented ourselves with keeping our Lawes in Manuscripts, and in the Promulgation of them by written Copies sent unto those Townes who then acknowledg themselves to be setled within our limits, But since by Divine Providence We and New-haven have agreed, according to his Majesties Pleasure manifested in our Patent, to vnite as one Body Politick: From whence and from other increasings of Plantations and Persons, together with the addition of more Lawes and Orders, an occasion is given to think it convenient if not necessary for further or full Publication, that so as well Forreigners occasionally comming hither, as the more settled Inhabitants, may have ready meanes in forming how to demean themselves and observe.
From hence and such like Considerations urging, This Court have seen cause to put these our Lawes in Print, so far as they are at present prepared; Being willing that all concerned by this Impression may know what they may expect at our hands as Justice, in the Administration of our Government here. We have endeavoured not onely to Ground our Capital Laws upon the Word of God, but also all our other Laws upon the Justice and Equity held forth in that word, which is a most perfect Rule.
Now in these our LAWS, although we may seem to vary or differ, yet it is not our purpose to Repugn the Statute Laws of England, so far as we understand them; professing ourselves alwayes ready and willing to receive Light for Emendation or Alteration as we may have oportunity: Our whole aim in all being to Please and Glorifie God, to approve ourselves Loyal Subjects to our Soveraign, and to promote the Welfare of this People in all Godliness and Honesty, in Peace, which will be the more establishing to his Majesties Crown and Dignity, and best Answer his Religious Directions to us in our Charter: And that pure Religion and undefiled before God, according to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus, may be maintained amongst us, which was the end of the first Planters, who settled these Foundations; and ought to be the endeavours of those that shall succeed to Vphold and Encourage unto all Generations.
We need no other Inducments to lay before you, to bespeak your Obedience to what follows but that of the apostle, 1 Pet. 2, 13, 17. submit yourselves to every Ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, &c., Love the Brotherhood, Fear God, Honour the King.