Pages vii-lix

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 17, 1699 and Addenda 1621-1698. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1908.

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APART from some pages of Addenda, which represent the accumulation of documents relating to Colonial affairs, discovered, since the publication of previous Calendars, amongst other sections of correspondence in the Public Record Office, the present volume contains the Colonial papers for one year only. But it is certainly not lacking in interest, whether historical or romantic. The year 1699 witnessed the capture of Kidd and the disastrous end of the Darien Expedition.

The Darien Expedition.

The Expedition, which owed its origin to the enthusiasm of William Paterson, the Founder of the Bank of England, the John Law of Scotland, had been promoted by the "Company of Scotland trading to Africa and the Indies." Ever since the opposition of the English Government (1695) had crushed the Scots Company in England, the pride of the Scots had been engaged in the affair. "From the Pentland Firth to the Solway," says Macaulay, "every one who had a hundred pounds was impatient" to subscribe. And the list of shareholders bears out his generalisation. Ships and stores were obtained from Holland. The first expedition sailed with sealed orders in July, 1698, "to settle a Colony in the Indies." Its exact destination was a profound secret. In this volume we first hear of it at Crab Island (Vieques) "so-called from the multitude of land-crabs there" (866), of which the Scots took formal possession in spite of the protest of the Governor of St. Thomas on behalf of the Crown of Denmark. Here they took in water, which seems to have proved the beginning of their misfortunes by sowing the seeds of disease, and here the sealed orders were opened. Their destination was announced to be that "door of the seas and key of the universe," as Paterson had described it, the Isthmus of Darien, which has tempted others since. Unfortunately for the success of the Scots, it had tempted others before. It was notorious that the Spaniards claimed the Isthmus. True, they had deserted the poisonous jungle for the haven of Panama. But the claim of Spain was good (456), and it was not likely that she would endure a Scotch Colony in the heart of her Transatlantic dominions. The development of "Caledonia," as the new settlement was proudly called, implied war between Spain and Scotland, a war in which England must be involved. The Spanish Ambassador entered the strongest possible protest. The King of Spain, he said, regarded the Scotch descent upon Darien "as a rupture of the alliance between the two Crowns" (434 I.). It is remarkable that, in accordance with a Representation of the Council of Trade and Plantations, in which this aspect of the question had been ignored (see Calendar, America and West Indies, 1697, No. 1,305), the Rupert prize, Capt. Richard Long, had been despatched by the English Government, with secret orders, apparently in order to forestall the Company in their suspected intention of occupying the Isthmus. She arrived too late. But immediately this was known, orders from Mr. Secretary Vernon had been despatched (Jan. 2, 1699) (fn. 1) to the various Governors to stop all trade or correspondence with the Scottish settlers. Whereas, in their Representation of Sept., 1697, the Council of Trade had recommended the seizure of "Golden Island and the Port upon the Main" for the Crown of England, they now (May 26, No. 456), with a wisdom perhaps not altogether inspired by a sense of justice, asserted and admitted the prior claims of Spain. This "so much admired Caledonia" promised to be "the emporium of trade of America" (514), connecting the trade of the East and West Indies and tapping the riches of Mexico and Peru. The Spaniards, the Representation avers, would never suffer any European settlement there. "No subjects of any European Prince have ever attempted to plant any settlement there, not out of ignorance of those parts, but solely because such a thing could not be compassed without an open rupture with Spain" (456). Such a statement must have been written tongue in cheek. Whilst this report was being drawn up at home, Proclamations were being published by beat of drum with varying promptitude in the different Colonies, prohibiting all trade with the Scots at Darien, and the supplying them with provisions or arms (253, etc.). Historians have hitherto underestimated the number of these Proclamations. That ordered by the Council of Virginia (Nos. 334, 398), for instance, seems to have escaped notice. The Spaniards meanwhile prepared their Barlovento fleet for active service (626, 667). It was not to be expected that they would distinguish between the enterprises or the shipping of two countries disunited under one King. They at once began reprisals by seizing all the English vessels they found sailing in adjacent waters (85, 149 II., 505, p. 192). The first reports spoke of Scottish successes (667) on the mainland and at sea. But, whilst the shareholders in Edinburgh were rejoicing at the news of the successful settlement, and a second expedition was on the point of sailing from the Clyde, Mr. Secretary Vernon received (Sept. 15, No. 626) information from the Governor of Jamaica that "the Scotch have wholly deserted Caledonia." Sir William Beeston's letter came as a thunderbolt. The failure of the country's effort to establish a foreign trade led, as is well known, to a violent outburst of indignation in Scotland against the English Government. Sir William Beeston, who had expressed concern in 1698 lest the "noise of gold" at Darien should tempt away settlers from Jamaica, had already hinted (April 14, No. 254) that the Scots were in straits. Stricken with fever and threatened with famine, news came to them on May 18 of the Proclamations and of the Spanish preparations to attack them, with their Indians, by land and sea. The surviving Colonists stampeded from their half-finished fortifications and their malarial swamps. Whether, if they had waited and had been properly furnished with funds, supplies would not have been forthcoming in spite of Proclamations, may be doubted, in consideration of the hints given in this volume (433, 878, etc.), and borne out by the narrative of Paterson, as to the readiness of many colonists to indulge in the prohibited trade, and of the inadequate policing of the seas by the West Indian squadron. As it was, at the beginning of August the Caledonia arrived in New York harbour. A third of her men had perished on the voyage. She was followed on the 14th by "another Caledonian (the Unicorn), having lost his masts and half starved and lost 150 men" (878 XII.). Almost simultaneously the relief expedition from Scotland was reported off Nevis (p. 406). The Caledonians were in "a miserable condition and starving." But they found many sympathetic countrymen at New York, and their ships of force were strong enough to terrorise the Lieutenant Governor (878, 878 VII., XII., XXII.), who could not punish the high-handed behaviour, born of desperation, in which, it is hinted, they indulged both on their voyage and at New York (878 XII.). They demanded and, after some demur, were granted sufficient provisions for their homeward voyage (697, 878 XII.). The Unicorn was left to rot at New York; the Caledonia sailed for Scotland in October. Meanwhile the St. Andrew had made her way to Jamaica, where, in acknowledging her salute, an explosion of gunpowder much damaged the fort (890 XV.). Many of her crew had died; the rest were in a deplorable condition. They were too weak to take her home, and remained to find employment on the island (739, 887).

Scotsmen and the Colonies

The Darien enterprise represents an attempt on the part of Scotland to obtain a share in the Colonial Trade. "The principal traders in East and West Jersies and Pennsylvania" were Scotch (512, 514). They were numerous in New York (878), and abundant in Virginia and Maryland (450 II.) Yet the Navigation Acts were so interpreted that a vessel was seized because she was owned by Scotchmen resident in London (433, 763); the question was raised whether Scotchmen had the right even to trade with the Colonies (579 XVI.); Governor Basse urged their exclusion from office in the Plantations (514); in various Governments there was a tendency so to exclude them, and the point was submitted to the Attorney-General whether Andrew Hamilton was qualified for an appointment as Governor of East New Jersey (39). The Attorney-General, Sir Thomas Trevor, gave his opinion that a Scotchman born was a natural-born subject of England (71).

Crab Island

The incident of the hoisting of the Danish flag on Crab Island, when the Darien Expedition touched there, the complaints of the President of Nevis (p. 503), and the dealings of the Governor and inhabitants of St. Thomas in Kidd's cargo, led to Rear-Admiral Benbow paying a visit to the latter island. The Governor, in reply to the Admiral's protest, answered that he would persist in hoisting "the Dane's flag on Crab Island, it being the King his master's," and as to the inhabitants trading with pirates, "he said it was a free port and they will trade with anybody." St. Thomas, Benbow observes, "would be of great use to our English nation in case of a war in these parts, and may be made very easy secure, which is now only a receptacle for thieves" (907).

Captain Kidd.

His Arrest in Boston.

Capt. Kidd, also, was "a Scotch" (621) and at one time had thoughts of throwing in his lot with the settlement at Caledonia (p. 369). The Darien Expedition had been to a large extent manned by officers and soldiers of the rank and file thrown out of employment by the Peace of Ryswick. A host of desperadoes had also been set free by the cessation of the more legitimate industry of privateering. With the declaration of Peace they found their occupation gone, and at the same time they were tempted by the prizes of the Red Sea traffic, and by the discovery that a rich trade was being carried on unprotected by a naval force. The era of buccaneering, in which there had been some spice of patriotism, was therefore succeeded by an era of unmitigated piracy. Such was the case of Kidd, who having started as a privateer, partly financed by Bellomont himself, was now known to have committed several "notorious acts of piracy" on the coast of Malabar. Preparations had already been made at home for sending a squadron to Madagascar, "the great rendezvous of pirates . . to suppress them there" and at St. Mary's (15, 740 XII.), as well as for issuing Proclamations exempting Kidd and the notorious Every from pardon (p. 6). Upon the representations of the East India Company, letters were dispatched by Mr. Secretary Vernon (Nov. 23, 1698) to the Governors of the Plantations, which resulted in a general hue and cry after Kidd and his fellows. On May 18, 1699, the President and Council of Nevis wrote that they had news of Kidd. It appears that after leaving New York he had sailed to Madeira, and thence, after touching at Bonavista and St. Jago, to Madagascar. He then made his way to the Red Sea, and failing to capture any prizes there, cruized off Calicut till he took a small ship laden with cotton, which he carried to Madagascar in May, 1698. Five weeks later he seized the Quidah Merchant, a vessel of 400 tons, commanded by one Wright, an Englishman, which he carried into St. Mary's, and there shared the goods with his company, which then numbered some 115 men. He had next sailed from Madagascar in the Quidah Merchant; touched at Anguilla at the end of April, and, failing to obtain supplies there, made for St. Thomas'. The Danish Governor also refusing to help him, he had sailed for Porto Rico. The President and Council of Nevis thereupon ordered H.M.S. Queenborough in search of him (404). She returned from a wild-goose chase with news from the Virgin Islands (501) that Kidd had gone to leeward, it was thought to Darien. At the beginning of June (495) he appeared in Delaware Bay. The Quaker Government would take no notice of him, or of the trafficking of the inhabitants with him. But Col. Quary despatched an express to the Governor of Virginia for a man-of-war. A month later Lord Bellomont had the satisfaction of announcing that he had secured Kidd (July 6th) and that he was now in irons in Boston gaol (Nos. 578, 621 and p. 369). Bellomont had conducted the affair with considerable shrewdness. Kidd had endeavoured to extract a promise of pardon before landing at Boston, and, with a view to making terms, he tried to bribe the Governor by presents of jewels and ingots to Lady Bellomont (pp. 334, 367). Bellomont, who had kept Mr. Vernon's orders for the arrest of Kidd secret, promised the pirate pardon if he should prove "as innocent as he pretended to be"; and only arrested him when he "looked as if he were upon the wing."

His Defence.

Kidd, of course, had some explanation to offer (680 XXV). He had done nothing contrary to his commission "against the King's enemies, and pirates, and those sailing with improper passes," save what a mutinous crew had compelled him to do. The Moorish ships he had seized by mistake; they were sailing under French passes and he supposed them to be lawful prize. On discovering his error he would have delivered the Quidah Merchant up, but his men "violently fell upon him and thrust him into his cabin and carried her into Madagascar" (680 IV.). Other evidence, however, shows that "he was very crude to his men and abused them, especially such as did not adhere to those evil practices." At St. Mary's the Adventure galley, the ship in which he had sailed from Plymouth in 1696, and which had become unseaworthy, was unloaded and burned, and the pirates evidently fell out among themselves. Ninety of Kidd's men deserted him and sailed away in the Mocha frigate, under one Capt. Culliver, "bound out to take all nations" (p. 377). Perhaps his crew were envious of Kidd's 40 shares of the plunder. At any rate there were ugly scenes. We catch a glimpse of Kidd, besieged by his murderous crew, "locking himself into his cabin at night"—the cabin in which a merchant of Barbados had "died suddenly" (680 XXV.) in January—"and barricading it with bales and having about 40 small arms besides pistols ready charged" to keep them out (680 XXV.); and, again, when they had broken open and rifled his chest, "Kidd in a passion struck his gunner with an iron-bound bucket" (890 XII.) and killed him.

Buried Treasure.

From Madagascar Kidd sailed in the Quidah Merchant. But on learning at Anguilla that he and his people were proclaimed pirates, he ran his ship into a creek upon the coast of Hispaniola. "A sheet of paper will not contain what may be said of the care I took to preserve the owners' interest and to come home to clear my innocency" (680 VI.). From this spot he traded with Bolton, a merchant of Antegoa, (fn. 1) and with Burke, an Irishman, of St. Thomas'. The cargo of the Quidah Merchant was shipped off in sloops and sold at St. Thomas' and Curaçoa (p. 489). Kidd purchased a sloop from Bolton, loaded her with plunder, and, leaving the Quidah Merchant in Bolton's hands in a lagoon on the coast of Hispaniola, coasted along the shores of Pennsylvania, and communicated with his friends in New York. He touched at various spots well known as "receptacles" of pirates' goods, and landed bales and chests in Delaware Bay, Block Island, and Gardiner's Island (680 XI.). When this was accomplished he opened negotiations with Bellomont from Long Island (621). He can hardly have expected that the story of his innocence would prove convincing. He probably relied upon purchasing his pardon or escape by bribing the Governor and his gaolers (pp. 334, 369). For in addition to his jewels and gold dust, and his diamond-buttoned waistcoat (746) he had strong cards to play in the buried treasure (pp. 367, 368) and the hidden pirate-ship, whose identity he endeavoured to conceal. But just as a ship was being despatched from Boston in search of the Quidah Merchant, the master of a trading vessel reported that he had seen her on fire. "There never was a greater liar or thief in the world than this Kidd," Bellomont exclaimed in exasperation (p. 369), and set himself to recover what he could of the pirate's deposits. But of all the rumoured "near half a million sterling on board in bullion" (740 XIII.), only a few thousands were traced and seized (p. 368). A document (740 XX.), so romantically rotten that it might serve as a frontispiece for one of Stevenson's novels, gives Kidd's inventory of the treasure in his chest deposited in friendly hands on Gardiner's Island. In view of contemporary and subsequent belief in the value of the cargo of the Quidah Merchant, it is worth observing that, whilst Kidd suggested that the value of the cargo of the "great ship left . . where nobody but himself could find out" was £300,000 (p. 366), Bellomont himself estimated the value of it at not more than £70,000 (621), chiefly in perishable bale-goods. There is, besides, abundant indication in this volume that the deposits made by Kidd, like the main cargo, were at the disposal of his friends. Finally, the fact that the Quidah Merchant "was apparently never found" (fn. 1) is not strange in view of the evidence that she was burned (680 X.), probably by Kidd's orders, after having been emptied by his agents, in order to avoid identification (p. 369).

Capture and Escape of Bradish.

He is retaken.

Capture of Gillam.

Meantime Bellomont had been unable to get a bill passed for punishing pirates with death (680, 746), the "sour part of the Council" of the Massachusetts Bay replying to his arguments by asking what "the Laws of England had to do with them; they were too much cramped in their liberties already." Seeing that the gaol was now filled with Bradish's crew and with Kidd and his men, the Governor waited anxiously for orders from home (746). "I would give £100 they were all in Newgate." (1,015). For it was one thing to capture pirates and clap them in gaol; it was another to keep them there in a country where gaols were not fast, gaolers not reliable (pp. 128, 335, etc.), and where the sympathy of the people was by no means unanimous on the side of law and order. Bradish, a boatswain's mate, who had turned pirate and run away with a ship whilst his captain was on shore (247), having deposited his booty on Long Island and sunk his vessel, had, together with his crew, landed and scattered over the Continent. Several of them were seized in New York, Boston and Connecticut. Less than a fortnight before Kidd was arrested, Bradish himself and Tee Wetherley had escaped from Boston gaol, with the connivance of the gaoler, whose conduct Bellomont could with difficulty induce the Council to resent (pp. 335, 368, 554). The offer of a handsome reward led to their being retaken by the Indians in Maine (p. 487), and in November Bellomont had the satisfaction of announcing that the "arch-pirate Gillam," alias Kelly (1,015), was in irons in Boston. This man, who had murdered Capt. Edgecomb in his sleep and seized the East Indiaman, the Mocha, had been a-roving in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean with such success that it was reported from Madagascar that the Mocha had taken over £2,000,000 sterling (1,011). Gillam then made his way to the West Indies, and, after being harboured in Rhode Island, was allowed to escape to the nest of old pirates at Long Island, the east end of which rivalled even the Quaker Government of Rhode Island as a "receptacle" of pirated goods (1,011 IV., V., p. 472). Bellomont, however, was warned that Gillam was coming to Boston, and he gives a very lively account of the circumstances of his arrest there (1,011).

Continued Increase of Piracy.

In spite of these captures piracy continued to flourish. "Pirates multiply very much," Bellomont writes in August, "and will endanger a total loss of the trade from England to the East Indies, unless speedily suppressed. Their retreat in all the Plantations in America must be cut off" (746, 769 XVIII.). Frequent instances occur of seamen seizing their ships and turning pirates. Such, in James' River, was the fate of the ship in which Col. Webb, the retired Governor of Providence Island, was taking home the property which, Bellomont suggests, he had accumulated by treading in the footsteps "of his predecessor Trott, the greatest pirate-broker that ever was in America" (p. 414). The ex-Governor himself narrowly escaped being murdered "with one of my own bayonets, which was called the Silent Instrument" (550). In fact, in many of the Plantations, a large part of the population seems to have been in favour of or in league with the pirates. Piracy and unlawful trade were "the beloved twins of the merchants of" New York (p. 69). For the boundary line between piracy and illegal trade was easily overstepped.

Trade with Pirates.

Illegal trade, which was to a large extent the outcome of the narrow and selfish policy of the Colonial system, tended to increase as the Acts of Trade and Navigation became more severe, or were more rigorously enforced (573). Governors and people had alike encouraged it. A host of smugglers and lawless men had thus been bred, who were ready either to turn pirates or, what was even more profitable, to trade with pirates (p. 361). How profitable was the business of bringing back pirates, as passengers, with their booty, from Madagascar to the Plantations, how openly this trade was carried on, and with what connivance, may be gathered from the voyage of the Nassau under Capt. Giles Shelley (512, 512 II., 530 I., p. 361, etc.). The Nassau was one of those ships, which had been fitted out from New York in the previous year, designed, as Bellomont then suspected, for trade with the pirates at Madagascar, and for which he had in vain endeavoured to induce the Council to take good security (706). In the presence of such profits as Capt. Shelley could show (512 II.), it is not perhaps surprising that "the sweetness of gain" should "draw many aside" (1,011 IV.), or that Shelley, having "so flush'd 'em at New York with Arabian gold and East India goods," was able to set the Government at defiance (p. 402).

Inadequacy of the West Indian Squadron.

Shelley's success in landing his cargo and pirate-passengers depended (512 II., p. 403), like that of other illegal traders and pirates, upon the presence of accomplices ashore, and upon the absence or inadequacy of the naval police. Already, early in the year, the Governor of Barbados had written to point out that with only one "heavy, crazy vessel, miscalled a cruizer" at his disposal, he was powerless to annoy pirates, though pirates might well annoy the trade of Barbados (72). A few months later the Providence, a pirate ship of 26 guns and 150 men, who said they had £3,000,000 sterling aboard (711), sailed into Linhaven Bay, and seized a merchantman, after an engagement with H.M.S. Essex prize, which lasted four hours and ended in the man-of-war being forced to take to her heels. Whereupon from Virginia and Massachusetts Bay came renewed demands for protection (693, 905, p. 403). Bellomont suggests a fifth-rate for New York and a fourth-rate for Boston, since "many of their ships are a match for a fifth-rate" (p. 404, No. 769 XVIII.). The evil of piracy, in fact, which we have seen growing in former volumes, had now reached such magnitude that the whole legitimate trade of America was threatened with ruin, whilst even the towns upon the coast were not safe from piratical raids (877, 877 I.).

The Work of the Council of Trade and Plantations.

The Council of Trade and Plantations were fully alive to the gravity of the situation. The present volume gives evidence in plenty that they had a full share of the business energy and enterprize characteristic of the period. The range of their activities was very wide. They dealt in the course of this year with many important, some elaborate, and some delicate affairs with tact. wisdom and strength. Their papers, thanks, no doubt, in large measure to the excellent method of Mr. Popple, the Secretary, were kept in orderly and business-like fashion. Accepting the economics of the XVIIth century, they fulfilled the terms of their Commission most industriously. By their new Commission (532) Lord Stamford and Lord Lexington took the seats of Lord Bridgewater and Lord Tankerville at the Board. The Council, as a rule, were on the side of the Angels, supporting good Governors and checking bad Governors, fostering and regulating trade and shipping, upholding British claims, adjusting boundaries, rebuking injustice, inculcating business-like habits in the new countries, and occasionally even exercising the kindly function of a diplomatic schoolmaster in reconciling a Governor with an angry resident. The steps by which the difference between Mr. Lucas and Governor Codrington was composed (233, 335, etc.), teem with quiet humour. None the less, the effecting of such a reconciliation must always be of considerable practical value in a small community.

Endeavours to Suppress Piracy and Illegal Trade.

Nor were the Council of Trade behindhand in recommending measures for the protection of the Colonies both by land and sea. They pressed for an increase in the number and quality of the men of war in those parts (29, etc.), and backed the demands of Lord Bellomont and Governor Grey (275, etc.). They met, however, with little encouragement from the Admiralty, who declared (42, 330 I.) that the increase was unnecessary, and that they could not spare the ships. There were, of course, strategic reasons for not scattering the Navy (1,089), especially as the present peace was generally felt to be little more than a breathing space. But, apart from this, the furnishing of a sufficient Naval force to check piracy on the scale to which it had now grown, must be a costly affair. All good administration is, amongst other things, a question of money. And there are many indications in this volume of the lack of it. The expense of the wars abroad and embezzlement at home had drained the Treasury. Every department suffered accordingly. In the Navy Rear-Admiral Benbow found his activity crippled by lack of men and the badness of his sails (p. 503); the salaries and incidents of the Council of Trade Office itself were seriously in arrear (226, 588, 650, etc.), whilst in New York, as in Newfoundland, the soldiers were left unpaid, naked, and starving (121, 217)—at what risk we shall presently consider.

The Council of Trade and Plantations, then, was not likely to rely wholly upon the Naval Police to suppress piracy and illegal trade. By the Act for preventing frauds and regulating abuses in the Plantation Trade they had secured the erection of Courts of Admiralty "to counteract the partiality of the people" in cases relating to the breach of the Acts of Trade. Through these Courts, and these only (p. 47), some convictions were, with difficulty, obtained (138, etc.). Circular letters were again addressed to the various Governors (July 6), urging them to enforce the Acts of Trade and Navigation, and to protect and encourage the officers of the Customs and of the Admiralty Courts (601).

Intimidation of Custom House Officers.

In his preface to the Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne has drawn a delightful picture of the patriarchal veterans, "seated like Matthew at the receipt of Customs, but not very liable to be summoned thence, like him, for apostolic errands," whom he found under his charge at Salem, when he held office as Surveyor. Honesty was not their foible, nor were their labours exacting.

But in the year 1699 the task of an honest Custom House Officer was a singularly difficult and disagreeable, if not dangerous, one. The officer appointed to survey and search Oyster Bay on Long Island, "where great quantities of goods are run," resigned in fear of his life, within a month (p. 211), nor could Lord Bellomont induce even a Lieutenant of one of the New York Companies, though "a brisk man and ready to starve for want of his pay" (p. 212), to fill the post. In Bermuda the undaunted Surveyor General of Customs, Mr. Randolph, spent more than half the year once more "rotting in a gaol" (392), as the reward for executing his Commission. In Barbados, several merchants and planters, engaged in illegal trade, openly proclaimed that they "will make it not worth any man's while to serve the King here, and that if any of the Custom House Officers shall for the future presume to put in execution the unreasonableness of the Acts of Trade and Navigation, it shall cost them a thousand pounds sterling but that they will either get them turned out at home or ruin them here." And they so intimidated the officers who made seizures in the port, that they were ready to throw up their commissions, saying "it was hard indeed a man must either be forsworn, betray his trust, or be thrown into a gaol and ruined by these — — — most dangerous sort of people." The ink has been dry upon this document (476 II.) for over two hundred years, but the emotion felt by these honest officers still shines forth from the decent obscurity of their blanks and dashes. It was necessary therefore to commend the support given to the Custom House officials by Governor Grey, and to exhort others to encourage them. The experience of Col. Quary at Philadelphia (138) will illustrate the need there was for similar encouragement of officers of the Admiralty Court.

The question of the right of appeal in certain cases had been raised by the Governor and Council of the Massachusetts Bay. It was represented by the Council of Trade, in concurrence with the opinion of the Attorney and Solicitor General, that according to their Charter an appeal of right should be allowed in personal actions involving the value of ocer £300, but in any action arising out of the seizure of a ship or goods appeal should lie, whatever the value, since otherwise illegal traders might easily arrange to evade appeal by taking care that no seizure could exceed £300 in value (234, 646).

Patent Offices.

An attempt was also made to put in force the Order in Council obliging holders of Patent Offices to residence in the Plantations, since it was seen that underpaid or unqualified Deputies were not likely to be the most efficient administrators (104, 177, 552, 769 XIV.).

Other Measures for suppressing Piracy.

Letters were also written to the Governors directing them to use their utmost diligence in suppressing piracy (June 6, 552). In view of the "support and encouragements" which pirates received, especially in the Proprieties and Charter Governments, the Board had proposed the enacting of Laws in the Plantations, for the trial and punishment of pirates, in conformity with the law previously passed in Jamaica to that purpose. Acts "for punishing privateers and pirates" were accordingly introduced in the various Assemblies, but, as passed, the provisions of the Jamaica Act were so mutilated as to be rendered futile (495). Steps were therefore taken for laying a Bill before Parliament to deal with the matter next year (945). In the meanwhile "considering the want of laws in some places for punishing them, the insecurity of the gaols in many, and the great partiality and favour of the people towards them almost everywhere" (774), directions were given for sending home for trial in England all the pirates and their goods seized in any of the Plantations (749, 774, 924). A man-of-war—the Rochester—was despatched at the beginning of December to bring back Kidd and the other pirates accordingly, but, meeting with a storm at sea, she was forced to put back to Portsmouth, severely damaged (1,034). Strict injunctions were also given for the prosecution of Bolton and Burke, and for the punishment of the Boston gaoler (856, 860, 1,042).

With a view to checking the irregularities of trade and government in the Charter and Proprietary Governments, the Act of Parliament had been passed, which, as the result of the Representations of the Board, obliged Governors to have the King's approbation for acting in that capacity. We find that during the present year the Council of Trade took pains to make the Proprietors and Governments present their respective Governors to His Majesty, and, in order to his approbation of them, to give security for their observance of the Acts of Trade. We shall see, next year, how little success they achieved in that direction.

Finally, on Nov. 9, the Council of Trade returned to the charge, and again represented the need for stronger naval protection. The growing danger is painted in lively colours. The mere sending for the pirates now in custody would not suffice: —"The sum of our advices import that the pirates hovering upon those coasts do not only surprise ships coming into or sailing out of their ports and sometimes sink and destroy them, but enter into their very bays and harbours, plundering such ships as they can surprize of their rigging, provision and ammunition, debauching and engaging many of the seamen to quit their honest employments and go along with them, fitting out such of the ships they surprize as they find proper for their purpose with the things that they plunder from others, manning their ships with the men whom they so debauch and increasing thus their strength to such a degree that the apprehensions of future mischief may not only be from single ships but squadrons, and the corruption already spread and still further spreading by this means amongst our seamen may in the end prove too universal, that we humbly conceive the consequences are greatly to be dreaded. For the remedy, therefore, the Governors having complained to us of the insufficiency of the ships of war appointed to attend their respective governments, we offer that such a sufficient force of well sailing ships as may be thought necessary and proper to clear those seas from pirates be appointed for that service" (943). This representation was referred to the Admiralty, but without effect.

Restrictive Trade Laws

Encouragement of certain Colonial Produce.

It was the commercial policy of England, as of other countries, to secure by restrictive laws a monopoly of the Colonial trade for the mother country, thereby fostering her carrying trade and ensuring the opportunity of taxing Plantation commodities (791); and also to crush every manufacture which could compete with home industries. A striking instance of such restrictive legislation is supplied by the clause which the Board submitted to the House of Commons, to be added to the Bill for encouraging the woollen manufacture in England (40). It was intended to repress the woollen manufacture, which was growing up among the colonists, and to destroy the inter-colonial trade therein (32). The theory of Trade, in fact, was that the colonists "should be only employed in such things as are not the product of this kingdom" (32). The Council of Trade was not behind-hand in encouraging Colonial produce of this sort. The supply of Naval Stores is a case in point.

The Eastland Company, which enjoyed a monopoly of the trade in pitch and tar, with which Sweden supplied the British Navy, had inordinately raised the prices of those articles. This rise in price led to the opening of a new source of supply in the virgin forests of the West. A Commissioner from the Navy Board was despatched to New England and joined with a Commissioner of that colony to inspect the woods lying upon that coast and to report upon the prospects of obtaining supplies of masts, pitch, tar and rozin from the American Colonies. Some of his reports, destined to bear fruit in the Acts of 1703 and 1711 encouraging by bounties the import of tar, pitch, hemp and masts, are printed in this volume. A cargo of specimen timber was despatched home (p. 428). Meanwhile Edward Randolph reported enthusiastically of Carolina as "the only place for such commodities" (183), whilst Lord Bellomont, after carefully comparing the advantages of New York and New Hampshire in this respect (267), begot a scheme for the production of Naval Stores, which he elaborated in great detail and with much satisfaction (878, 894). His plan, which was to answer "the two greatest ends that can be thought of, the defence of the Colonies and the furnishing England with Naval Stores" (p. 152), was to employ 1,000 soldiers in making tar, pitch, rozin and turpentine, giving them 4d. a day beyond their ordinary pay, and keeping back a shilling a week out of it, in order to provide them with the necessary capital for their houses and stock when, at the end of seven years' service, they should settle on grants of land. Bellomont nursed his bantling scheme with jealous pride (817, 894), for others, he found, were eager to "plough with his heifer." The consideration of the whole matter occupied the Board next year. Meantime, Bellomont saw to it that the cutting of trees fit for masts for H.M. Navy was prohibited (878 IV.), and, in his zealous fashion, did his utmost to stop the shipping of timber from New England to Portugal, where he feared it might be converted to the use of the French King (986). We see, then, in this year the first beginnings of the vast trade in timber and tar, which has lasted down to the present day. The timber trade had already reached considerable proportions in New Hampshire (769 XIV.). And from Carolina, as well as pitch and tar, came a fine sample of the rice-crop, which had been recently introduced from Madagascar (671).

Admiralty Passes.

Currency of the Plantations.

The arrangements to be made for providing English ships, trading with the Plantations, with Admiralty "passes," in order to secure them from seizure by the Algerines, was another matter intimately affecting Colonial Trade, which occupied much of the time of the Board. And in connection with the developement of the commerce of the Plantations, it is interesting to observe that in many quarters the demand for a properly regulated currency began to be increasingly felt. In many of the Colonies all transactions were still conducted in terms of truck and barter. As the words "fee" and "pecuniary" embalm the cattle-standard of a primitive pastoral society, so the business of the early Planters was expressed in values derived from their staple article of production; in Newfoundland they calculated in terms of fish, in Virginia of tobacco, in the Leeward Islands of sugar; in Montserrat a lieutenant is allowed 1s. 6d. per diem, or 12lbs. of sugar (173); in Maryland four negroes, or £100, is the alternative form of a reward (652). No commercial community can remain satisfied for long with such a system of exchanges, but when the colonists turned to coins they were confronted by a medley of sous and dollars, of pieces of eight and Venetians; the coinage of all countries, of no certain value, which passed at different rates of exchange in the various Plantations. This must have been a serious check to trade, and a growing desire is manifested to fix a currency by law. The Governors' Instructions warned them against dealing with the question without permission from home (766).

Imperial Defence.

"Posterity," says Burke, "will perhaps think it unaccountable that, in a matter of such importance, we could have been so thoughtless as to have on our back such a nation as France, without determining, in any manner, even sufficiently clear to settle our own demands, what part of the country was our own right, or what we determined to leave to the discretion of our neighbours; or that, wholly intent upon settling the sea coast, we have never cast an eye into the country, to discover the necessity of making a barrier against them, with a proper force; which formerly did not need to have been a very great one, nor to be maintained at any great expense. That cheap and timely caution would have saved us thousands of lives and millions of money, but the hour is now passed." (fn. 1)

Miserable Plight of the Garrison and Forts.

Probably in no year, even in the history of England, was the problem of Imperial defence treated, I will not say with the thoughtlessness which Burke imagined, but with such deliberate and criminal folly as in the year 1699. In any scheme of Imperial defence it was obvious that the Province of New York was the "key and bulwark of the Colonies on the mainland" (121). The security of this, the most advanced, frontier of the English Plantations, was of the utmost importance to the existence of the rest (p. 153). It was represented, again and again, by Bellomont, by the Agent for New York in London (121), and by the Council of Trade (128), that this frontier was being left exposed defenceless to the attacks of the French. The wretched garrison of 400 men, now diminished by death and desertion to less than 200 naked and starving soldiers, was urgently in need of recruits and pay. It was shewn that the forces had received scarcely a farthing of pay or subsistence for twenty-six months, and that Bellomont's credit, which he had pledged with the victuallers on their behalf, was exhausted. For want of timely repairs the forts were "more like pounds than forts," and, at Albany, so rotten were the platforms that the Governor did not dare to fire a gun (p. 172).

The Indians Wavering.

It was pointed out that, not only was the fur-trade jeopardised by this weakness, but, unless a show of force was constantly maintained in New York to protect them, the alliance of the Five Nations was at stake. Our Indians, indeed, had suffered terribly. At the beginning of the war they had numbered 3,500; they were now reduced to 1,100 (250), and seemed on a fair way to extinction (77 I.). And this was due, not only to their losses during the war, but also to clandestine murders by the French Indians since the Peace (pp. 136, 471). The uneasiness of the Five Nations was increased by the apparent weakness of the English, the detention of some prisoners by the Governor of Canada (198), and by the rumour, industriously circulated by French missionaries, that the King of England intended to disarm them.

Lord Bellomont's Proposals.

Energetic Preparations of the French.

Bellomont exerted himself to combat the inclination of the Indians to treat with the Governor of Canada, and to shelter themselves beneath the power which seemed the strongest. Their defection to the French, followed by that of the other Indians, would be fatal. To counteract the "sinister artifices" of the French Jesuits (p. 153) he proposed the sending forth of English Protestant missionaries; he proposed the building and repairing of the forts; he asked leave to hold a conference with the Governors of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina, at Philadelphia, with a view to calling into existence a new trade with new nations of Indians, such as the Dowaganhas, who lay to the westward, behind Virginia and Carolina, in order to redress the balance of the old (77 I., p. 471). Otherwise, he foresaw the French would soon engage and train the Western Indians to fight for them. Their success in so training them was already sufficiently alarming. "Formerly 100 of our Indians would have made 1,000 of 'em run, and now it is the French have taught 'em to fear ours so little as that they will venture to fight 'em upon the square" (p. 153). For the French were making every effort to "debauch and inveigle" the Indians from their alliance with the English (77 I.); and to extend their dominions "further than is consistent with the interest of England" (p. 153). In Canada they kept an establishment of 1,500 men and were strongly fortifying Quebec; they were busy building and repairing their forts, of which they were said to have no fewer than eight between Quebec and Montreal (267).

News came, too, that M. de Tonti had planted a fort 700 miles from Canada, in the Dowaganhas country. The object of the first series of forts, lying close together, was to encourage settlers on the border; the object of the remoter forts was, clearly, to establish a trade and influence among the Indians that lived "upon the back of His Majesty's dominions."

Contrast between Jesuit and Protestant Missionaries.

But, whilst at the bidding of their superiors the French Jesuits were ready to face every risk and hardship and to set up a sphere of influence in every Indian "Castle," however distant, for love of the cause, no Protestant ministers could be induced, even by the offer of £100 a year, to answer the earnest and repeated appeal of the Indians themselves, to go to teach Christianity to the Five Nations (p 555). Indeed, the Protestant clergymen who were tempted to the West Indies at this period were not of the sort likely to think the hope of a reward in another world sufficient encouragement to turn missionaries (458).

Reduction of the New York Garrison.

And, whilst Bellomont was patriotically endeavouring to impress the authorities at home with the incalculable riches of the American Colonies and with the risk that was being run of losing them (267, 878, 1,011), the party politicians with their nine hours debate in the Commons (Dec. 6) were intriguing to wreck him, and advice was offered at the Council Board, by which, in direct opposition to the recommendations of the Council of Trade, the establishment of New York was reduced by one half, to four companies of 50 men each.

Neglect of the English Forts.

As to the neglected forts on the Canadian frontier, upon which the very existence of New York, Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut depended (116 I.). almost nothing was done. Bellomont insisted upon the necessity of repairing the forts of Albany and Senectady, and of building two new forts, one to the North-East of Albany, at the end of "Corlaer's Lake," and the other in the Onandage Country, in the heart of the territory of the Five Nations, opposite to the French fort at Cadaracqui (p. 153). These forts he proposed to garrison with 1,000 soldiers, whose expenses were to be defrayed by his scheme for the production of Naval Stores (p. 153). As to the expense of building and maintaining them, it was felt that New York could not be expected to bear the whole of it, but that the other Colonies, who benefited by them, should contribute their quota. Nothing, however, was done, though some steps were taken towards a decision as to whether the Colonies should pay for their own military stores. The Council of Trade did indeed obtain permission for Col. Romer, the Engineer, to remain in America and repair fortifications (15), whereupon Bellomont despatched him to survey and estimate for forts to be built at Piscataqua, Pemaquid, and the "Island which commands the harbour at Boston," as well as the frontier forts (384, 116 VI.). His report upon the defences needed at Boston is of interest (533). But Bellomont could not induce the Colonists to take any steps to secure their own safety. "There being now a peace, they have no remembrance of the war" (p. 412). Nor would they raise a finger to secure the fishery on the Eastern coast. "So long as they can sleep securely in this town of Boston, they look no further" (p. 413). From every quarter the same reports came to hand, of forts out of repair, of defences useless, of Colonies at the mercy of France or Spain should war break out (863, 895, 1,089, p. 105), and of Assemblies unwilling or unable to take a share in the task of Imperial defence (262, 954 III.) The necessary business of replenishing the stores of war was delayed by doubts and discussions as to whether the Imperial or Colonial Treasuries should pay the piper (833, 849, 884). Meanwhile, the Assembly of Antigua refused to billet Col. Collingwood's regiment, declaring that "free quarters were an abomination to the King and contrary to the fundamental liberties of the people" (56, 662). Steps were taken to relieve the necessities of the unfortunate garrison of Newfoundland. Some recruits, also, were despatched, who were, however, surprisingly returned (913, etc.).

French Aggression.

We have already referred incidentally to the activity of the French in Canada and their enterprise in dealing with the Indians through their Jesuit missionaries to the prejudice of the English. The struggle between France and England for supremacy in the Western world, which was to be fought out with such deadly intensity throughout the coming century, was, indeed, being carried on strenuously enough in the present year of Peace. Bellomont, in one of the letters in which he was urging the necessity of increasing the forces in New York, allowed himself to indulge in - an interesting prophecy. "Secure this province and you secure all the English Colonies, not only against the French, but also against any insurrections or rebellions against the Crown of England, [it] any such should happen, which God forbid. 1,000 men regular troops here and a fourth-rate man-of-war at Boston and a fifth-rate here at N. York would secure all the English Plantations on this Continent firm in their allegiance to the Crown as long as the world lasts. And I am of opinion, whenever another [war] happens with France, the French might easily be driven out of Canada" (p 153). Prophecy, as George Eliot observed, is the most gratuitous of all errors. We, with the easier task of prophesying after the event, can perceive that it would have been truer to say that, until England had conquered the French and subdued the Indians for the Colonists, no revolt was possible, and that, when she had done so, then, if she persisted in enforcing the Navigation Laws, revolt was inevitable, though it need not have been successful.

Hudson Bay.

Protests continued to come to hand (15) against the encroachment of the French upon the New England territories, their claim to extend their boundary westward to the Kennebeck River and to sovereignty over the Five Nations, as well as protests against their efforts to enforce (746 VII.) their pretension to the sole right of fishing off the coast of Nova Scotia (247). Preparations were made in London for discussing these questions with the French Commissioners, who were to treat about the boundaries in America (9, 15, 22, p. 39). The English case is clearly stated by the Council of Trade and Plantations in an important document (108), dealing with the whole matter. By no one were the deliberations of the Commissioners appointed by the VIIth Article of the Treaty of Ryswick awaited with more anxious interest than by the Governor and Company of Adventurers trading into Hudson Bay. They had been left, to use their own phrase, "the only mourners by the peace." They had suffered enormous losses during the late war; the injuries they had suffered previously had been made one of the articles of war, but they feared now that they might be "left in worse condition than they were in before" (570).

Article VII. of the Treaty compelled the restoration to the King of France and the King of Great Britain respectively of "all countries, islands, forts and colonies," which either had possessed before the declaration of war in 1690.

However satisfactory this may have been in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, it did not meet the case of the Hudson Bay. For the ownership of this region was claimed by both parties before the war.

What constituted priority of claim was in those days a very difficult question among the nations. Whether mere discovery or temporary occupation could give the right of ownership was much disputed. "To establish a rightful possession of a country," the French Ambassador postulates (370), 'it is not sufficient to have discovered and even inhabited the same for some time; but an antient possession, or a continual habitation, or a trade at least carried on are requisite." The French, indeed, claimed to have "made the first discovery of the Bay to the North of Canada, and the first settlements for carrying on the trade there" (370), but they seem to have based their pretensions upon the theory that the Bay was part of Canada (370), and upon the settlement of York Fort, or Fort Bourbon, as they called it, on the River Ste. Therèse (Hayes River) by Radisson and Desgrozelliers in 1682. Of this they had been dispossessed two years later (266), but, at the very moment when the Treaty of Ryswick was concluding, they had recovered York Fort, and had seized one of the Company's ships (570). They now demanded to be kept in possession of the Fort and to have the bottom of the Bay restored to them (370).

It was the Company's deputation to the Hague, which, presumably, had secured the stipulation in Article VII. of the Treaty of Ryswick that "Commissioners should be appointed on both sides to examine and determine the rights and pretensions which either of the said Kings have to the places situated in Hudson Bay; but the possession of those places which were taken by the French during the peace that preceded this war, and were retaken by the English during this war, shall be left to the French, by virtue of the foregoing articles. The capitulation made by the English on Sept. 5, 1695, shall be observed according to the form and tenor; the merchandizes therein mentioned shall be restored; the Governor at the fort taken there shall be set at liberty if it be not already done; the differences which had arisen concerning the execution of the said capitulation and the value of the goods there lost, shall be adjudicated and determined by the said Commissioners; who, immediately after the ratification of the present Treaty, shall be invested with sufficient authority for the setting of the limits and confines of the lands to be restored on either side by virtue of the foregoing article, and likewise for exchanging of lands, as may conduce to the mutual interest and advantage of both Kings."

Now that the meeting of the Commissioners was at hand, the Company began to petition for the upholding of the claim of the Crown to Hudson Bay and of their own proprietary rights therein (136, 137, 1,098). They were ready to prove their claim, provided that the French should be called upon to advance the grounds of theirs. They presented a memorial containing their statement of the case on March 4th (150), and to this the French replied with what they complained was a "frivolous paper" (178). They denied the French claim to be the first discoverers and settlers of Port Nelson (266), and, in reply to the answer of the French Ambassador, demanded to be maintained in possession of all their places in the Bottom of the Bay, and also to be restored to their Factory of York Fort in Port Nelson, with satisfaction for all damages (494, 1,024).

French Claims to Tobago and St. Lucia.

Among the West Indian Islands, the French displayed the same energy in pushing their claims as they did upon the mainland. St. Lucia, that lovely spot which was destined to be deluged in French and English blood throughout the XVIIIth century, lay, like Tobago, under the government of Barbados, and, like Tobago, was the object of English, French and Dutch ambition (366). Both islands were used by the Planters of Barbados as timber-stores from which they drew the supplies of fuel necessary for their sugar-works (970, 1,087 I.). St. Lucia, moreover, had a good port and was too close to Barbados to be allowed to pass into the hands of a stranger. It was, in fact, the key to the Windward Islands (775, 1,087 I.). When, therefore, news came from Governor Grey that H.M.S. Speedwell had found a party of Frenchmen busy establishing a settlement there (571), orders were soon despatched to him, in accordance with a Representation of the Council of Trade, directing him to give notice to any foreigners to remove within a given time under threat of forcible expulsion (883, 923, 939 I.).

The rumour that a Company was being formed in England to settle Tobago (367, 973) led to a protest from the French Ambassador, who asserted the claim of France to that island by right of conquest from the Dutch and by virtue of the Peace of Nimeguen (921 I.). To this it could be answered that the French invasion was transitory and merely affected the Dutch, who had no right to transfer the superior title of the Crown of England (973, 1,087 I.). Two rival Companies had, in fact, been formed in England, with the object of resettling Tobago (219, 973). They were encouraged in their scheme by the Agents of the Duke of Courland, who held a grant and tenure from Charles II., which had, however, been declared to be forfeited in 1686 (420).

Two of the documents referred to (973, 1,087 I.) are of some interest as throwing light both upon the early history of the colonisation of Tobago and upon the position of the Caribs at this period. They are a memorial by Capt. Poyntz and the report of the Agents of Barbados. The latter advocated the same policy for Tobago as for St. Lucia. They were to be kept as "pieces of woodland," and not to be colonised at all for the present. No more English Colonies, it was urged, should be permitted in the West Indies, until those already settled should be fully peopled and fortified (420, 1,087 I.). This plan of concentration is a recurrent note in the Colonial policy of the time. The settlement of a Plantation upon Tobago was accordingly forbidden (420, 422), and instructions to that effect were despatched to the Governor of Barbados (551). In the light of these documents it appears scarcely accurate to say, with the historians, that Tobago at this period was "a kind of No-man's land, not annexed by any European power." (fn. 1)

I now pass from matters of general concern to deal with the affairs of each Colony.

Lord Bellomont at New York.

The case of Governor Fletcher.

The year 1699 saw Lord Bellomont strenuously engaged in his single-handed task of fulfilling the King's instructions and correcting abuses in the Provinces under his charge. He proved himself the "honest and intrepid man" that William had judged him to be when he granted his commission. He was, moreover, an unsparing worker. Throughout his whole sojourn at New York, he says, he was "perpetually in business from five in the morning till ten at night" (p. 364). A full idea of his activity and the difficulties which confronted him as an administrator can only be gathered by a perusal of his racy, voluminous and characteristic correspondence, which forms a considerable part of this volume. The Council of Trade wrote on Jan. 5 commending his clear dispatches, his industry and application in reforming abuses, and his dealings with the Indians. But he received no letter from them for over six months, and this silence from home added to the strain of his position. It was interpreted by the Jacobites and friends of Fletcher as indicating that he had fallen into disfavour with Ministers (116, 381 IV., V., 726). This silence was doubly embarrassing, since Bellomont had pledged his credit to the uttermost with the New York Victuallers on behalf of the neglected and starving garrison (121). But whilst he was busy piling up charges against Fletcher, and accumulating evidence to prove his roguery in granting away Crown Lands in New York to his friends and in mis-appropriating the revenue (116, 175, pp. 138, 406), the Council of Trade, having heard the late Governor's reply to the complaints brought against him (26, 44, 48), made their report to the King. They recommended that further proceedings should be taken against him (167). The charges of encouraging piracy they found proved. In the matter of granting commissions to Tew, Glover and Hoare and taking insufficient securities, they found Fletcher guilty at least of carelessness, and not unnaturally considered that his explanation of his intimacy with the Pirate Tew, namely, that it proceeded from the pleasantness of his conversation and a desire to reclaim him from an ill habit that he had got of swearing (p. 96), called for no comment.

The proof of the charge of conniving at illegal trade lay in a scrutiny of the revenue and accounts of the Province during Fletcher's government. But Bellomont could find none fit to be trusted with that task (384, p. 97), and was obliged to leave for Boston without having accomplished it. In his absence some of these accounts were stolen (p. 217). As to the charge of embezzlement by aid of false muster-rolls, the Council of Trade reserved their judgment, and they did not hold Fletcher responsible for the neglect of the frontier forts. Even apart from the fact that they were undoubtedly the rewards of political support, his large grants of land to individuals could not be regarded by competent Statesmen as otherwise than contrary to His Majesty's service and the needs of the Colony. The creation of a few landed monopolists—Palatinates, as Bellomont calls them (467) —would be fatal to the growth of the needed class of military yeomen upon the frontier (167, p. 404).

Election of Assembly.

It was one of Bellomont's first duties to secure the revocation of these "exorbitant, irregular and unconditional grants" (p. 98). Writs were issued for an Assembly to meet on March 2 (41), but, owing to the Hudson River being blocked with ice, it did not meet till March 21 (317). The elections were fought with extraordinary keenness, and in some places "fighting and broken heads" occurred. Supporters of Fletcher's party and the Jacobites "rode night and day about the country" and strained every nerve to secure a majority and to ruin Bellomont's credit, by adopting as their cry the abolition of Customs (pp. 173, 177). Nichols, whom Bellomont had ejected from the Council, and whose character would hardly bear investigation (317 II., VI., VII.), was the leading spirit of the "angry party." In Queen's County, where three quarters of the electors were said to be downright Jacobites, many, who had pretended to be Quakers in order to avoid taking the necessary oaths, indulged, after the election, beneath the eye of "their padrone, Nichols," in a drunken and disorderly riot (p. 174). The Fletcherites, on the other hand, had reason enough to complain of Bellomont's electioneering methods. He had already revised the Commissions of Peace and Militia, and the Sheriffs' list, "inclining the balance a little to the Leisler side" (pp. 100, 194). And other charges were presently brought against him.

When the Assembly met it was found that sixteen out of the 21 members were Leislerites. Bellomont in a characteristic speech (198) recommended the reconciliation of parties, moderation in debate, and added that "the angry men of New York must expect no more connivance at their ill practices." With Abraham Gouverneur, who had married Milborne's widow, for Speaker, the Assembly expressed their loyalty and their appreciation of Bellomont (317 VIII.), and, in their Petition and Remonstrance (317 x.), showed themselves to be in tune with the Governor's views. They suggested compensation for the families of Leisler and Milborne, the removal of Fletcher's coat of arms from the Chapel in the Fort, and, for the better administration of Justice, asked for able Judges and competent counsel to be sent from England. The Bill restoring the estate of Jacob Milborne was passed (327). A fixed revenue for six years was voted.

The Assembly, however, would not consent to impose an additional duty in order to pay off the Government debt, and Bellomont despaired of raising the money needed to put the fort and Governor's house in order, "unless Fletcher be made to refund" (p. 192). The spirit of the minority is indicated by the amendment of Captain Whitehead, that the word "happy" be omitted from the phrase "late happy Revolution," which occurred in a Bill. It is noticeable that Fletcher's party called themselves "the English party," and tried to bring discredit upon the Leislerites as being mainly Dutch. "I discourage all I can these distinctions of Dutch and English" says Bellomont (317).

Bellomont's instructions directed him to constitute Courts of Justice in the country. The Chief Justice, Col. Smith, however, and the Attorney General declared that the Crown had no power so to establish them. Bellomont yielded under protest and consented to submit a Bill to the Assembly. The Bill, however, was mangled by the Representatives; and Bellomont found himself obliged to refuse his consent to it (381), not without a suspicion that he had been outwitted and that, upon a failure of justice in the country, the odium would naturally fall upon him (p. 210). The Bill for punishing Privateers and Pirates was passed, but that for the conversion of Indians and negroes was rejected, the New Yorkers fearing, apparently, that Christianity might spell emancipation of their slaves (p. 176). The problem of the employment of the poor had been exercising the thoughts of the Statesmen in England at this time, and it was recommended in the Governor's Instructions that a bill for the provision of workhouses should be introduced. But the Representatives smiled at it "because, indeed, there is no such thing as a beggar in this town or country, and I believe there is not a richer populace anywhere in the King's dominions" (p. 176) —a fact which, added to other indications of the value of labour, throws light upon the prosperous condition of the Colony.

Revocation of Exorbitant Grants.

At the beginning of May Lord Bellomont introduced a Bill for annulling some of the extravagant grants of land made by Col. Fletcher without reserve of quit-rents. There were over a dozen such grants (pp. 175, 192, 193, 363). But Bellomont only felt himself strong enough in the first instance to break the grants of his more immediate political enemies. The grants of Bayard, Dellius and Capt. Evans, and the lease of the King's Farm to the Church and of the King's Garden to Col. Heathcote were first attacked. Even so, the Council was equally divided upon the Bill. Three of the Council, including the Chief Justice, Col. Smith, were themselves among the leading "Palatinates," and voted, not unnaturally, against it. The Governor gave his casting vote in favour of the Bill, which was passed by the Representatives "with a cheerful concurrence," and the addition of a clause depriving Mr. Dellius of his benefice at Albany (p. 175). Dellius was a Dutch Calvinist minister, a drunken, treacherous, disreputable parson, not above suspicion of treasonable correspondence with the Jesuits, who had used his influence with the Indians to defraud the Mohawks of their land, and was guilty of suborning his own converts (250, 250 xi., 675, p. 433). He now, after endeavouring to make mischief in New York (250 X.), was supplied with funds by the opposition and left for England, where, it was hoped, he would be able to enlist the sympathy of the Church, since the vacation of the lease of the King's Farm could be made to appear as an attack upon Church property (pp. 100, 138, 175, 361). The vacating of these grants had stirred up the "implacable rage and fear of the grantees" (p. 175), and Bellomont felt himself unable to "abolish the rest of the Palatinates" (467), unless he was reinforced by peremptory orders from home (pp. 175, 362, 405) and the support of a good judge and a smart, active and honest Attorney-General (p. 193). The landed interest was roused. Bellomont despaired of recovering the arrears of quit-rents (384), and suggested that the remainder of this business should be done by an Act of Parliament, by which also the "sole right of all the woods" should be reserved to the King, with a view to the provision of Naval Stores (p. 405).

Bellomont's Enthusiasm,

and Difficulties.

Lord Bellomont had the defects of his qualities. His actions, like his letters, reveal him as an energetic administrator, but also as by nature a partisan, an impulsive, honest, energetic one, it is true, but still a partisan. His enthusiasm, unwisely displayed in the case of Leisler, and his attacks upon Fletcher and Fletcher's supporters were not calculated to restore order and confidence. They roused Fletcher and Fletcher's supporters to make every effort to wreck him (169), and to supply Bayard with funds at home, "believing that money could do anything at Court" (pp. 70, 219). The Council of Trade thought it necessary to check Lord Bellomont by recommending that no Act of retaliation or retrospective vengeance should be passed (66). But he allowed himself to reverse a judgment given by Col. Fletcher and the Council, a proceeding which, whatever the merits of the case, could not be upheld as desirable policy (p. 176). The opposition with which Bellomont had to deal was vigorous enough, even without unnecessary provocation, and might well have overwhelmed a less single-minded man (pp. 212, 219). He was badly served, and found himself powerless to put the law in force, "for want of honesty in the officers of justice" (740). He had to rely upon indifferent collectors (p. 212), an ignorant and incompetent, if not dishonest Attorney General (p. 403), a Collector who knew more law than the Attorney General and ridiculed him (p. 474); a Clerk of the Assembly who had been convicted of coining (p. 215), and a Secretary who came to blows with the Naval officer in the Governor's House, because he had given information about some East India goods (740 XIX.). "The very soul of Government went upon crutches," for those who practised at the bar, from the Chief Justice downwards, had been soldiers or dancing-masters but were no sort of lawyers (134), and Bellomont elsewhere describes them as a "parcel of vile knaves and Jacobites" (769 XIV.). He can do nothing, he repeats again and again, without a good Judge and an honest, able Attorney General from England, a man-of-war commanded by an honest, stout captain, and pay and recruits for the four companies. Otherwise piracy did and would prevail in the province of New York, and unlawful trade could not be suppressed (740). As it was, he could get no one suspected of piracy, whether Baldridge or another, "prosecuted here, that hath ten pieces of eight" (384). He might hear of "some of Fletcher's pirates" in the town, but they were "too well befriended to be given up to justice" (343). He was equally powerless to prevent the carrying on of a trade with Canada, large quantities of French silks being imported through Albany, and horses and mares being exported thence to supply the French with a valuable asset both for war and trade.

In response to Bellomont's repeated requests, it was decided to appoint a Chief Justice and Attorney General from England, who were to officiate as Judge of the Admiralty and Advocate General, "with particular regard to pirates and illegal traders" both in New York and in the neighbouring Colonies (1,061, 1,062).

The Five Nations.

Bellomont's successful and energetic dealings with the Five Nations of Indians gained the applause of the Assembly (222). He was no longer confronted by the military policy of Frontenac, but by the not less dangerous manœuvres of the new Governor of Canada, De Callières. I have already referred to the French attitude of covert aggression in America. It was of the utmost importance for them to obtain, as for the English to keep the support, or at least the friendship of the Five Nations. Documents in the present volume reveal the play of French endeavours to make a treaty with the representatives of the Iroquois at Quebec, and to influence them against the English by means of their traders and Jesuit missionaries. A letter from Lord Bellomont to the Governor of Canada, explaining the instruction honourably given to him by the English Government to concert measures to oblige the Indians on both sides to live in peace and respect the Treaty of Ryswick (130), was represented to the Indians as a plot to betray them (740 XXXIX., p. 406). And De Callières seized the occasion of announcing his accession to the Government to give a Jesuit missionary an opportunity of tampering with the Five Nations (1,011, 1,011 XXV.—XXVIII.). It was felt to be necessary to take steps to remove the French missionaries from English territory (1,011 XXII.), whilst Bellomont, as we have seen, urged the more active propagation of Protestantism.

In April it was decided to send two Commissioners to Onondage, to rebuke the Sachems for having sent to Canada to treat with the French, in pursuance of the action of the Commissioners for Indian affairs at Albany (245, 250 VII., VIII.). A conference was arranged to meet at Albany. The detention of Indian prisoners by the French was at the root of their uneasiness (198, 740 XXVII.). It was agreed that they should be allowed to send to Canada to claim them, and they repeated their request for a fort to be built in the Onondage country (Vermont), and for instruction in the Christian Religion (740 XXVII., XXXII., XXXIII., XXXVII.). In July Bellomont was able to report that the French Governor had set the prisoners free and that the Indians were in a good humour (675), but in November he had to report further signs of unrest, and declared that unless their demands for a fort and the teaching of Christian Religion amongst them were speedily complied with, the friendship of the Five Nations would irrevocably be lost (1,011). It was decided to encourage them to re-settle Schaakhook (622, 747). I have already referred to the project for opening up a trade and alliance with new nations of Western Indians, the Shateras, Twichtwichts and Dowaganhas, who lay beyond Maryland and Carolina (p. 136), a policy strongly advocated by Robert Livingstone, the capable Secretary for Indian Affairs (250 IX.).

On May 16th Bellomont prorogued the Assembly of New York and left for Boston (467). Here he learned that the English Minister at New York, whilst omitting to pray for the Governor, had offered supplication for the return of Dellius to his flock. Seeing that Dellius was deprived of his benefices by an Act of Assembly, Bellomont considered this such an affront to Government that he determined not to return to New York till Vesey, the offending minister, should be punished (679, 771 A., p. 404).

Massachusetts Bay.

In the history of Massachusetts the documents in the present volume reveal little of importance beyond the matters to which I have already referred. In the light of the previous history of the Colony it may be considered a remarkable sign of a change of spirit that the arrival of an Anglican Governor, appointed by the King, was long preceded by a hearty invitation from the Representatives (116 VII.). The settlers meanwhile were applying themselves to the development of their Plantations in the enjoyment of the Peace and respite from the attacks of the Indians. But the Lieutenant Governor, Stoughton, again expressed their nervousness as to the French encroachments upon their territory and fisheries (247). But, now that there was peace, the Colonists could not be persuaded to take any steps in their own defence (746). On the first of June Bellomont addressed the Assembly, and recommended, amongst other legislation (486, 746), an Act reviving the Courts of Justice. The former Act had been vetoed because it expressly contravened the Acts of Trade (73), and the Council of Trade, in the letter in which they pointed this out, added a warning against "an undue practice now too common in the Assemblies of the Massachusetts Bay," as of other Colonies, of making temporary laws and renewing them from time to time, "whereas they ought to be made indefinite, if they are good, or, if otherwise, not made at all" (p. 39). It is obvious that the expedient of passing temporary laws and re-enacting them was, or might be, a device for avoiding the Royal Veto. Directions were therefore given to Governors that all laws should be made indefinite, except those intended for a temporary end, and that they should not re-enact any law, in any case, more than once (p. 39). So far as the struggle over the Courts of Law is concerned, the Assembly gave way. (746. See preface to preceding Volume of this Calendar.) An Act for settling trade with the Eastern Indians was also passed (93, 746, 1,004), whilst the matter of establishing a Post Office was left over (p. 413). Bellomont, however, had a sharp tussle with the Council, not only over the passing of a bill to punish pirates with death, in which, as we have seen, he was defeated (p. 413), but also over the right of the Governor to nominate officers, in which he held his own (p. 415). Though personally popular with the Bostonians, he could not induce the Representatives to vote him a permanent salary. He did not appreciate either the amount of the sum they voted for his annual "present," nor the precariousness of his salary. But it was a cardinal point in the policy of the Colonists to keep control of the purse-strings. It was a point upon which Bellomont did not live long enough to fight them.

Harvard College.

Though his fervent Protestantism and the geniality of his Irish nature rendered him acceptable to the Colonists, he could not persuade them to forget the Presbyterian tradition of New England so far as to omit a clause introducing a vague religious test for the President and Fellows of Harvard College. The College had been left without a constitution by the abrogation of the Charter of the Colony. A previous Act for incorporating it had been repealed because the right of visitation had not been reserved to the Crown (73). Bellomont felt himself obliged to refuse his consent to a Bill already twice rejected, which contained a clause excluding members of the Church of England from the Government of the College. He proposed an application to the King for a Charter to incorporate the College, but what he terms "the sour part of the Council" would not hear of it (657, 746, 746 VIII.). Meantime, in the absence of any settlement of the question, it was decided that the Government of the College should be carried on by the Gentlemen of the late Corporation (678).

There are indications of some activity in building at Boston, and a new bridge at Cambridge was put in hand.

New Hampshire.

Lord Bellomont left the Massachusetts Bay to visit New Hampshire on July 27. He found that Colony in an extraordinary state of unrest. The Councillors were squabbling over the right of Usher, the ex-Lieutenant-Governor, to sit in Council (34). Partridge, the Lieutenant-Governor, was turning his training as a shipwright to account by engaging in the trade of exporting timber to Portugal, a trade which justly roused Bellomont's ire, but which on the part of a public officer was not contrary to law (986). Col. Allen himself, the Claimant Proprietor, violent, hectoring, needy and unscrupulous, with the tempting vision of a vast rent-roll before his eyes, was endeavouring to promote his claims to the land by packing the Commissions with officers of his own choosing, supporters of Usher (116, 116 viii., 769). He was charged, too, with seizing a ship, the Hopewell, and embezzling the cargo (890 xx., 894 xvii.). It may well be believed that, as Allen remarks in his letter to the Council of Trade praying to be confirmed in his claim, the people "regarded him as a common enemy" (831). He suggested that nothing but military force would reduce them to obedience (34). At the beginning of January, in reply to the complaint of the Assembly that the Governor was substituting ill-qualified for well-qualified officers and to their protest against the admission of Usher to the Council, Allen had dissolved them "as finding their aim was to strike at the King's honour and prerogative" (19). On July 31 Bellomont met the Council and summoned the Assembly for Aug. 7 (689).

In response to a petition of the Council, he immediately suspended Allen's tools, the Chief Justice, High Sheriff and Justices (689, 769), and presently appointed Waldron Secretary in place of Allen's nominee, Sheafe, who was represented as indigent and dishonest (715). The various charges and replies of Usher, Partridge, Allen and Waldron were heard in Council and Assembly. As to Usher, Bellomont's judgment of the Bostonian bookseller turned administrator is probably sound. His complaints proceeded "more from his unhappy, choleric temper than any occasion given" by Partridge, etc. "I believe he meant well, but might have managed the people of New Hampshire easily enough, had his carriage been more moderate" (p. 426). Bellomont pointed out the intolerable position created by Col. Allen's vast and undecided claim to the lands (p. 427), and urged that the forests of New Hampshire should be reserved as nurseries of timber for the King's navy (p. 427, etc.).

Nothing could be more unsatisfactory than the position of New Hampshire as a small, independent community with a frontier exposed to the raids of the Indians. Bellomont reassured the Assembly by promising aid in the event of hostilities. His plan was to bring down a party of Mohawks to subdue the Eastern Indians, and he urged the home authorities to oblige the people of Massachusetts Bay to contribute to the charge of an expedition, in which they would be as much concerned as the people of New Hampshire. Incidentally he laughs at the squeamishness of the Court at Boston, which refused his offer of a band of New York Indians, to fall upon the Eastern, scrupling to "use the devil to destroy the devil," although the war with the Eastern Indians, they admitted, had cost them £100,000 and the loss of 1,000 families (698, 769).

Bellomont's report upon the government of Rhode Island.

In September Bellomont repaired to Rhode Island and there, according to his instructions (163), enquired into the "disorders and irregularities" of the Government of that astonishing Community of "Quakers and Demi-Quakers." It does credit to his diplomacy and the charm of his personality that, although he expected "a million of curses" for his pains (787), he seems to have secured a considerable measure of popularity during his stay. That stay lasted no more than a week, but in that time he collected, as he says, "matter enough to prove that Government the most irregular and illegal in their administration that ever any English Government was" (929). He suggested that the Charter had been surrendered to King James and re-assumed without authority, but that "the record of it is surreptitiously done away with—a common practice with that Government" (975). Bellomont's report upon the affairs of the Colony will be found under 1,002. It is evident that many of the irregularities arose from the Government being composed of ignorant, illiterate and unbusiness-like men, with no adequate sense of responsibility and no training in the necessary routine of official duties (699, 709, 929, 1,002). In many details of administration they had acted contrary to their Charter and the provisions of their Constitution. But many irregularities also arose from deliberate disaffection to the English Government, which was held to be "little better than slavery" (1,002); as well as from notorious and deliberate connivance at piracy and illegal trade (99, 1,002). The Gortonian Deputy-Governor granted letters of marque, which were likely to be abused and were abused, contrary, as it was said, to the will of the Governor (709); the inhabitants of the Island plunged whole-heartedly into profitable harbouring of pirates and dealings in pirated goods. Whilst Bellomont was investigating the behaviour of the Government of Rhode Island, a letter from the Council of Trade was on its way, sternly calling them to account and warning them to reform the abuses complained of (709).

Dispute about the Narraganset Country.


Bellomont availed himself of the opportunity of his sojourn at Rhode Island to endeavour to bring the Governments of Connecticut and Rhode Island to an amicable settlement of their disputed claims to the Narraganset Country, and, failing in that, he instructed both parties to send Agents to England. The documents connected with the dispute will be found under 975 and 1,002. With regard to Connecticut, Governor Winthrop was able to report the capture of some pirates (511) and that the "affairs of this wilderness" (227) were all well, and that a general contentment obtained under His Majesty's continued grace and favour (529). Some complaints against irregularities in the Government and obstruction of justice, voiced by the Hallams and Edward Palms (119, 120, 376), led to a reprimand, upholding the right of appeal (161).

New Jersey.

The claim of the Proprietors of New Jersey to a free port at Perth-Amboy had been referred, as was seen in the last volume of this Calendar, to the consideration of the Lords of Trade. The seizure of the ship Hester at Perth-Amboy, by armed men under Bellomont's orders, when she was on the point of being despatched upon a voyage without having cleared at the New York Custom House, brought matters to a head (116, 116 IV., V., 164 I.). The duel which ensued can be followed through a series of documents indicated in the Index. The key to them is furnished by the letter of the Lords of Trade to Lord Bellomont (726). The Proprietors represented that, if deprived of "a common benefit of a port, enjoyed by all other Colonies, the Colony would be ruined" (164 I.), and they offered to raise the same duties in this port as might be laid at New York and to devote one half of them towards the maintenance of the frontier of New York (216). Otherwise, they demanded the trial of their claim at Westminster Hall (116, 164 I.). The grounds of that claim are set forth in 205, 229, 540. They partly rested upon the appointment of a Collector at Perth-Amboy by the Commissioners of Customs. His position had first to be ascertained (117 I.). The Council of Trade then seized upon the proposal of the Proprietors and recommended a trial at Bar, not only of the point at issue, but also of their title to the Government, "a matter in which they are very tender" (272, 726). At this the Proprietors took alarm (279, 595), and explained that their proposal for a trial was only intended as a last resort to justify themselves against the clamours of the inhabitants. They endeavoured to strike a bargain over the surrender of their Government, which was to be annexed to that of New York upon terms (593) which were critically considered by the Lords of Trade (1,006). Meanwhile, by trying to obtain a recommendation for the approval of Andrew Hamilton, whom they had appointed Governor of West New Jersey, they tried to ensnare the Board into an implied recognition of their title (593). The Board, however, was not to be entrapped (699, 726). Whilst these manœuvres were in operation at home, the state of the Colony itself was almost anarchical (885 II.), the authority of Governor Basse being so little respected that he dared not summon an Assembly (p. 69).


Of the Middle Colonies, the letters of Col. Quarry reveal in Pennsylvania extraordinary scenes "of barbarous disloyalty and horrid impudence" (138, etc.), which indicate a general consensus of dislike for the Courts of Admiralty, on the part of the Friends, from the Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General downwards (450, 694). In Philadelphia the principle of brotherly love seems to have been extended principally towards pirates. Even those who had been arrested were allowed out on bail and walked "the street with their pockets full of gold." They were the constant companions of the chief in the Government, freely marketed their prohibited goods and threatened the lives of the King's Collectors, who, in a population of "Non-jurors, Quakers, and ill-affected Scotchmen," despaired of bringing any offenders to book (877, 877 I.). Whatever we may think of Edward Randolph as a man and a witness, we must think less of the Quaker Government of Pennsylvania (495). In order to frustrate the Courts of Admiralty and to indulge in illegal trade and profitable traffic with pirates, the Assembly passed an Act "called in derision An Act for preventing frauds and regulating abuses in Pennsylvania" (450 I.–IV.). The Act was repealed; and for giving his consent to this bill, as well as for conniving at illegal trade and receiving presents from pirates, and protecting them, the Lieutenant-Governor, Col. William Markham, was removed in pursuance of a strong Representation from the Council of Trade (694, 750, 751). Instructions were also given to William Penn, in accordance with the same Representation, that, as he was about to visit Pennsylvania, he should take care to enforce the Acts of Trade and to punish those who had opposed the Court of Admiralty, as well as to secure the provision and execution of laws for preventing and punishing piracies (p. 383), and to report upon the state of the Province. Hitherto the practice of illegal trade had been rather encouraged by Penn's communications and the reputation of his great influence at Court (426), whilst the Jamaica Act to prevent piracy and privateering had, when introduced, been rendered futile by amendment (495). The cause of piracy was furthered by the absence of any military force to check it in Pennsylvania (550), and, though the inhabitants of Lewis and Newcastle might feel the awkwardness of having no fort, arms or militia, when pirates plundered and threatened their towns, the Quaker Government refused their petition that measures should be taken to protect their lives and property (877 I.). Directions were therefore now given to William Penn to attend to this want of a settled militia (706). The Lords of Trade also recommended this opportunity of settling the boundaries of Maryland and Pennsylvania, especially as Governor Blakiston proposed to attend the conference of Governors at Philadelphia.


With the opening of the year Nathaniel Blakiston took up the Government of Maryland (1). Governor Nicholson was able to hand over a country, which he had found "in some distraction and in debt" (1), restored, in spite of the disaffection of "so many Papists, Quakers, Jacks (Jacobites) and necessitous people," to profound peace and quietness, and financially in a flourishing condition (77). The new Governor addressed the Assembly at the end of June, declaring, in a conciliatory speech, that the interests of the King and of Maryland were identical. After giving assurances of loyalty, the Court addressed itself to the business of the Session, which was, briefly, the revision of the Laws, and the provision, by a system of Rangers, for the security of the frontiers, in face of the unrest among the Indians. Steps were also taken to procure the peaceful settlement of a party of Pamunkey Indians (567, 597, 630, 653, 841). The building of a church at Annapolis and the question of the Governor's residence there also gave occasion for discussion, the Delegates refusing to provide better accommodation for the Governor on the plea of poverty and the general scarcity of provisions (674). For them the most exciting incident of the year was provided on July 13. In their Journal, amidst the dull record of business we suddenly come upon this eloquent passage:—"It pleasing Almighty God that a great clap of thunder and lightning fell upon the State house, the House of Delegates sitting therein, which splintered the flagstaff, strook down the vane, burnt the flag, and set the roof of the House in a flame of fire, striking through the upper rooms, shattering the doorpost and window frames, strook down and grievously wounded several of the Delegates, and more particularly Col. Hans Hanson, Lieut.-Col. Thomas Hicks, and Mr. George Ashman, and, passing through the upper room, where the Committee of Laws was sitting, strook dead Mr. James Cranford, one of the Delegates of Calvert County, to the great astonishment of all persons. But it so pleased God that by the active care and personal presence of H.E. the Governor the fire was quickly quenched, a shower of rain happening immediately thereupon, and the records preserved as also the house with little or no considerable damage" (637). The Governor's implied responsibility for the rain reminds one of the attribute of Rain-maker, necessary to Eastern Potentates. Meantime the Act for the service of Almighty God, etc., passed in 1696, was repealed, upon the petition of the Quakers, who found that its provisions "deprived them of the quiet liberty of their consciences" (868, 1,009, 1,018).



Governor Nicholson found the finances of Virginia less flourishing than those of the country he had left, and set himself to put the administration of his province in order, in accordance with his large experience (77, 579). The friction between the Council and Assembly did not entirely disappear, but there was a deal of legislation of a not very important kind. So far as the defence of the country was concerned, the Burgesses refused to arm their servants, lest they should turn upon their masters (473), or to repair the fortifications, because naval force alone could protect their land. The attitude of the Piscattaway Indians, whose Emperor was guilty of harbouring the murderer, Squire Tom, and the complaints of the Queen of Pamunkey caused some disquietude. But perhaps the most important event of the year was the passing of a Bill, and the laying out of land at Middle Plantation, for the building of the Capitol. It was decreed that the seat of Government should be fixed at the City of Williamsburgh from May in the ensuing year (891). The settlement of the boundaries between Virginia and North Carolina still hung fire, the Commissioners who were sent to confer with the Virginians lacking proper credentials (127, 334). The few papers connected with Carolina contain little of importance. Edward Randolph's account of that Colony and his description of its needs, development and possibilities will be found in Nos. 183, 202.


Dr. Daniel Cox brought forward his claim to the "Provinces of Carolana, alias Florida," maintaining that the grant of Charles I to Sir Robt. Heath was vested in him. The document in which he states the English right to the Province is of considerable interest, and clearly indicates the rival activities of the French and English upon the Mississipi (967). Dr. Cox's claim was found good by the Attorney General (1,051). It was the age of Company Promoters. Dr. Cox proposed (953 I.) to surrender his Government and to float a Florida Company to develop his Proprietary, receiving in return a necessary additional grant of territory upon the sea-coast. The Lords of Trade viewed his vague but enthusiastic suggestions with luke-warm approval (1,082). They did not recommend the French Protestant Refugees, who were anxious to emigrate, to go to Dr. Cox's Proprietary (1,014), but to Virginia. They scented the "pernicious trade of stock-jobbing," feared offence to Spain and deprecated the danger of multiplying Plantations.


Passing from the mainland, we find that Barbados enjoyed a quiet but not too prosperous year. The island was sickly (830), the seasons out of joint, the crops, in common with those of all the Sugar Islands, were poor (769 XIV., p. 488). Under Governor Grey, whose efforts to enforce the Acts of Trade received particular commendation from home (608), piracy and illegal trade would have obtained short shrift had his repeated requests for naval support, to which I have already referred, been complied with. The new Assembly, which met in March, granted the Governor accommodation in Bridgetown (880), but refused to provide the sums necessary for the building and repair of much needed fortifications, pleading poverty which arose from the exhaustion of war, the pressure of sugar duties and the oppressive monopoly of the Royal African Company (954 II., III.). Complaints were also made as to the behaviour of commanders of men-of-war (954 I.), and, as the result, directions were given that they should not impress debtors or indented servants (946, 968). An elaborate and suggestive account of the state of the Island in 1669 will be found among the Addenda (1,113).


Jamaica, like Barbados and the Indies generally, suffered severely from sickness at this period (85, 887). And as from Barbados, so from Jamaica came complaints about irregular impressing by commanders of the men-of-war (739, 934 I., 946 I., 990). Owing to these causes, to the earthquake and the French invasion, the island was computed to have lost half its population (69). Over this matter of impressing seamen and a disputed point of authority (890 XV., p. 489), there was considerable friction between Rear-Admiral Benbow and the Lieutenant-Governor. Sir William Beeston, indeed, applied to be relieved (882, 934 I.). But promotion to the full honour and salary of Governor (901), in spite of the vicious attacks of the late Chief Justice (305, 443), combined with conciliatory representations from the Lords of Trade (946 I.) led him to reconsider his application. At the beginning of the year the Maidstone returned from Petit Guavas (45), bringing an evasive reply from M. Ducasse in response to his demands for satisfaction for Kelly's piracies. The Governor found himself at loggerheads with the Assembly, who, in spite of the pressure he put upon them by refusing to re-enact their laws, declined to give up control of the purse-strings by making the King's revenue indefinite (548). Fort Charles was enlarged and rebuilt, and "rendered very offensive" (p. 298). A description of the state of the defences of Jamaica will be found under (895). Neither the French nor the Spaniards proved comfortable neighbours to the English West Indian Settlements. Much friction was caused in Jamaica by the Spaniards harbouring runaway negroes (84, 85), whilst from the Leeward Islands came complaints as to their treatment of English ships and subjects (74, 149, 211).

Leeward Islands.

The French, on the other hand, to whom part of St. Kitts had been handed over in accordance with the Treaty of Ryswick, claimed damages for houses and property occupied in the English part before the war and destroyed, according to their account, after news of the conclusion of the Peace had been received (24 I, 74, 74 V., 264). The English scouted the claim.

The Government of the Leeward Islands devolved upon the President and Council of Nevis, on the death of Governor Codrington (1,080). His son, Christopher Codrington, the future benefactor of All Souls', Oxford, and founder of Codrington College, Barbados, was now appointed to succeed him, but owing to his failure to extract from the Treasury the money due to his father's estate (930), he refused to sail from England.

His Instructions were carefully considered, and in his case, as in that of all the other Governors, it was decided to introduce an alteration in the clause which implied a power of executing martial law upon soldiers in pay even in time of peace (410). The Assemblies of Nevis and Antigua, meanwhile, showed strong disinclination to billet the soldiers quartered amongst them (33, 46, 56, 662), urging that "free quarters were an abomination to the King and contrary to the fundamental liberties of the people." From Antigua came a document to the Lords of Trade formulating the grievances of that Island (297).


Bermuda had long suffered from a succession of bad Governors. "Those small Governors," Sir William Beeston writes contemptuously, "over a few barefooted people, that get into those places to avoid their debts, take on them the titles of Excellency and Captain General, which to support they squeeze and prejudice His Majesty's subjects and authority" (547). Edward Randolph's account of the former Governors (326) is sufficiently vivid; his criticisms of the new one led to his being thrown into gaol, "a nasty jakes," by Governor Day, into whose hands had fallen some blotted drafts of the Surveyor General's report to the Council of Trade (392, 416). Randolph's account of the Governor is borne out by other evidence in abundance (816, etc.). He was a rogue, and a violent, rough-tongued rogue, "more fit for a Pasha than a Governor" (326, 392, 547), who apparently thought that he could rely upon distance and his father's influence at Court to lend enchantment to the view taken at home of his high-handed ways. He proceeded to bully and blackmail the inhabitants and the traders who approached his Government, whilst exhibiting a supreme indifference to law and legal procedure (235, 484, 547, 816). He was, indeed, able to produce an affidavit to show that he was "well-beloved" (1,030 I.), but the art of affidavit-making is not a modern invention. The seizure of a Jamaica vessel, which had just touched on one of his rocks, the imprisonment of Mr. Randolph and others, and his device of burking depositions, filled the cup of his iniquity to overflowing (668). By an order of the Lords Justices in Council he was commanded to appoint a Commission of Enquiry to take depositions as to his alleged irregularities, and himself to forward an account of his behaviour in writing (753).

The Bahamas.

With reference to the Bahamas, evidence comes thick as to the rascality of the late Governor, Nicholas Trott, his arbitrary and illegal procedure in the Courts, his aiding and abetting of the pirate Every (94, 385), and his extortion in the case of a Dutch ship (445, 575). Meanwhile, Nicholas Webb, his successor at New Providence, after being involved in some doubtful transactions concerning the brigantine Bahama Merchant (82, 464), quitted his Government suddenly (505, 810), but only to be robbed of his booty in Pennsylvania, as we have already seen.


Numerous documents, both in the text and the Addenda, indicate the developement of the Newfoundland fisheries, the steps taken to supply the unfortunate garrison at St John's (217, 793 etc.), as well as the parallel enterprise of the French.

A few points of minor importance remain to be noticed. Oral testimony, when reduced to writing, leads to such popular perversions as the "Buoy and Oar" for the Boy in the Nore, and Tooth and Egg for Tutenag. On the principle that Billy Ruffian = Bellerophon among sailormen, I was tempted to identify the Cole and Bean galley with Columbine, but conclude that that vessel was called after the names of her owners. Deodard, the term used in Nevis, according to Christopher Codrington, for "a retreat in the mountains for women, children, old men and negroes" (p. 463) is a word I do not find in the dictionaries. It may possibly be connected with the Spanish word for debtor—deuda (?). "Bubbening along the coast" (866) would seem to be a Scotch, picturesque, onomatopœic word for "beating" or coasting along the shore, or may be mis-written. An Indian interpreter was rewarded for his services by the gift of a "match-coat and a pair of pumps" (243). Matchcoat is derived from an American-Indian word. (Oxford English Dict.). Pump, which occurs in Shakespere, Skeat derives from the French pompe. But Pump was the name of a Westminster shoe-maker, and perhaps this is the origin of the word which denotes a particular kind of shoe or boot. I have already referred to the unwillingness of the colonists to encourage the conversion of their negroes to Christianity. We have several indications of their value—a negro woman in Montserrat was valued at 3,000lbs. of sugar (696)—and of their treatment. A negro convicted of theft to the value of 12d. was hanged and quartered (524), and a runaway was condemned to be broken in pieces and afterwards burnt (437). A slight tendency towards humanity is observable in the decision of the Delegates of Maryland to omit a clause in a Bill for cutting off the nose or ears of negroes (674). Fire again threatened the documents of the office of the Council of Trade, when a chimney in the Cock-pit caught fire. Means for making and preserving duplicates of the books and papers, which are here transcribed, were ordered to be considered. Meantime a competent number of sacks for rescuing them in an emergency was ordered. The need of a Public Record Office was already being felt by those in charge of Colonial affairs (1,083).



  • 1. The date was long in doubt. (No. 529.) The letter is given House of Lords MSS., New Series, No. 1486. Capt. Richard Long, with the Rupert prize, reached England late in December, 1698. (Treasury Papers, Dec. 1698, Vol. 58, No. 51.)
  • 2. He had been Collector of Customs there. See MSS. of the Duke of Portland, Historical Manuscripts Commission, Vol. VIII., p. 82, where the position of the ship, moored in the River Higuey, is indicated.
  • 3. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 4. "An Account of the European Settlements in America."
  • 5. Lucas. West Indies, p. 261.