Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 19, 1701. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.
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Preparations for war.
The year 1701 was, before all else, a year of preparation for war. One of the first documents here recorded is Vice-Admiral Benbow's Report upon the defences of the West Indies, "and particular Jamaica" (4). A little later Mr. Randolph brought in a detailed account of the defenceless state of the Plantations. He draws the conclusions that the Proprietors should forthwith be required to send guns and ammunition to their Provinces, and that Lieutenant-Governors well skilled in military affairs should be appointed to Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire (208). The Council of Trade made two representations reviewing the state of the Northern and Southern Colonies, with recommendations for their better security (16, 79.i.), in accordance with which the King gave instructions for Governors to send in more complete accounts of the fortifications of the Plantations, and for Proprietors to provide for the security of the Colonies under their jurisdiction (94).
The principle that it was "necessary that the Plantations be assisted and supported in their defence, which they will not be able otherwise to carry on," was clearly laid down and acted upon in the case of stores of war sent to Jamaica, etc., and money sent to New York (15, 463). But it was also maintained that the Colonies ought to defend themselves by their Militia, and by providing themselves with fortifications, powder and arms according to their ability, as well as by mutual aid in time of stress. A new scheme was drawn up, by which, in case of invasion of the frontiers, the neighbouring Continental Colonies were to send their quotas of assistance, in men or money, to New York (16.i.). Besides this, since they were largely concerned in the security of the New York frontier, a contribution in cash towards the expense of fortifying it was to be recommended to the various Assemblies (16). The spirit in which this attempt at a concerted plan of Imperial defence was received is indicated by the unanimous resolution of the burgesses of Virginia (P. 424). "H.M. letter requiring this Colony to contribute towards the forts on the Northern frontiers of New York had been obtained by misrepresentations" made by the subjects of New York, merely to secure their Indian trade; . . . "we are not able to contribute the 900l.; . . . sending the quota of men will be prejudicial to H.M. interest at home and endanger the safety of this Colony." And towards the end of the year, Governor Nicholson, who had used his influence to the utmost with the Assembly, but in vain, was obliged to warn Lieut.-Governor Nanfan of New York that there was not "the least ground to depend upon having any assistance from hence of men" (961.ii.). The bad example of Virginia was eagerly followed by the other Colonies. In Maryland, Governor Blakiston had watched anxiously for the example of the Virginians, for, "if it should not be done in Virginia, I doubt it will make our Assembly here boggle, for they are glad to take hold of any example, when it is to save their money" (882). From Pennsylvania Penn, on the eve of his departure for England (961), wrote also to Nanfan, excusing his Assembly, "who could not be prevailed with to think of any supply for the Fort . . . our own low circumstances making up some excuse for them; and the negative of Virginia to their part will render it more difficult everywhere, considering the dignity of that Colony and the vigour of their Commander-in-Chief to pursue the advices from home" (961.iv.). The Assembly of Massachusetts Bay found themselves much impoverished, and considered that they lay more in danger of invasion than New York, and were equally unable to defend themselves without assistance (500). The reasons given were, no doubt, not the only ones which actuated them. But the grounds of poverty and jealousy upon which the refusal is avowedly based are noteworthy. As John Nelson (fn. 1) had said some years before, the inhabitants of the various governments "in a manner esteem each other as foreigners." A union of the States was the last thing they wished for.
The check to the activity of pirates, recorded in 1700, was continued in 1701. Commissions for trying pirates in the Plantations, according to the recent Act "for the more effectual suppression of piracy," (fn. 2) were issued in January, (71–78), and Governors were instructed to send accessories in cases of piracy home for trial (103ff.). Mr. Larkin, who was despatched with the Commissions referred to, as well as to settle the forms of proceeding in the various Colonies (330ff.) met, indeed, with a lukewarm reception. The expense of sending home accessories and evidence was serious and not easy of accomplishment. In Jamaica there was a general refusal to serve upon the Commission, the Act of Henry VIII. being regarded as sufficient, whilst there was an aversion to the trial of men's lives "by most voices," besides commercial considerations (486). In Boston, Larkin received the impression that he would have been more welcome had he brought an Act of Parliament for the encouragement of so beneficial a trade (945). There was news of half-a-dozen pirates hanged in Carolina, but because they were poor; four or five rich ones appeared publicly in Charlestown without being molested (p. 16). Giles Shelley met with equal impunity upon Change in London. At New York, with an Attorney-General who could be bribed at any time by ten pieces of eight, Bellomont felt unable to prosecute Thomas Clark, who had received some 10,000l. of Kidd's effects (p. 15). The gold, which Gillam the Pirate confessed to have hidden in Long Island and which Penn hoped to find, was sought for in vain (82, p. 15). This confession, like Kidd's proffered discoveries, was possibly only an attempt to earn a pardon or an opportunity of escape. (See Preface, Calendar, 1699, 1700.) In March a further Proclamation by the King was issued for the apprehension and conviction of pirates, promising pardon to those who should surrender before the end of June, the notorious Henry Every being excepted (183, 205). The Proclamation does not appear to have had much effect (945), but in spite of any disinclination that might be evinced in the Colonies to deal rigorously with piracy, Mr. Larkin reports at the end of the year, "I have not met with any person that hath seen a pirate a considerable time," except one three months before, near Providence (1131).
Lord Bellomont and the vacating Act of New York.
In the beginning of the year Bellomont made his reply to what he terms the "frothy memorial" of the New York Opposition, and throws further light upon the matter of Col. Fletcher's grants (3). He reiterates his disappointment at the delay in confirming the Act for vacating them (see Preface, 1700), a delay which put a stop to all his measures:—"If the Vacating Act had been approved, I believe the General Assembly would have broke all the rest of the extravagant grants" (p. 6). As it was, he could do nothing more without the confirmation of that Act, or without fresh orders and money to start the soldiers upon his scheme for working tar (3, p. 34). He feared that the Council of Trade had lost mettle, since they had not procured the approval of the Act (p. 16); the Council, however, wrote in April to explain that it was not their fault (378). They had previously been obliged to announce to him—in a letter which, mercifully, can hardly have reached New York whilst he was alive—that the Fortune, which, upon his own responsibility, he had despatched to England laden with specimens of timber for Naval purposes (see Calendar, 1700), had been cast away upon the coast of Cornwall. The Council of Trade express a hope that the Governor's enthusiasm will not have led him to engage his credit and to exceed his instructions in sending masts for England (pp. 74, 180). He had, however, already raised a large sum on his own credit to pay for the masts which had been cut in pursuance of the advantageous bargain he had made with the Mohawks, etc. (38.ii., iii., pp. 6, 7. Preface, 1700, p. xviii.).
It is noticeable that, after Bellomont's death, the New York Assembly expressed their warm appreciation of this bargain, and of his efforts to secure for the Province the trade of furnishing the Navy with masts and timber, "of which the said Earl was the first contriver and proposer" (p. 168. See Preface, 1700, p. xvii.).
Negotiations with the Indians.
The second of the "three very useful designs" which, as he says, he had "on the carpet" (p. 34), was to persuade the Onnagongues, or Eastern Indians, to settle at Schackhook in friendship with the Five Nations. In 38.vi. Capt. Schuyler reports that he has induced the Schackhook, or River Indians, to invite them to do so. Bellomont's third design was to engage the Dowaganhas, Twichtwichts and Dienondades in a trade with the English, a plan which would quickly checkmate all French endeavours and projects whether on the Mississipi, in Canada or Nova Scotia (pp. 36, 234). For this purpose he echoes the demand of the Indians themselves that the beaver-trade should be encouraged, beavers having almost gone out of use in England, "since Carolina hatts have been so much, and beaver hatts so little in fashion" (pp. 34, 35).
Death of Lord Bellomont.
On the first day of May (fn. 3) news reached the Council of Trade that Bellomont had died in New York on March 5th (392). Nothing could have been more unfortunate than the loss of that energetic and honest administrator at this moment. In a pathetic letter to Mr. Secretary Vernon, the Countess of Bellomont bears witness that he "wore out his spirits and put an end to his life by the fatigue he hourly underwent" for the King's service, and also "to the distressed condition of our family, who are made lower by this Government, which was given as a mark of H.M. favour (769)."
The generous enthusiasm, indeed, which had led Bellomont to finance the despatch of naval stores, and to advance the money for the payment of the soldiers' wages, combined with the delay in the payment of the "presents" voted him by his Government, had left him in circumstances so straitened that his very funeral expenses had to be met by private credit (210, 212).
Nothing, indeed, could be more unsatisfactory from an administrative point of view. Whilst an unscrupulous Governor, like Fletcher or Trott, could, by indirect means, compile a fortune in a brief space of time, an honest one, and more especially one who did not court popularity, was likely to find himself out of pocket as the reward for his labours. "My salary is not the fourth part of my expense" writes Codrington from the Leeward Islands, "But in respect of Governors who come abroad to make their fortunes, Acts of Trade, Instructions and all your Lordships' wise and good orders to them are verba et praeterea nihil" (784). "Whilst Governors are dependent on their Assemblies," he says elsewhere (26), "the Acts of Trade will never be observed. . . . If you knew who were the leading men in the several Assemblies you would be convinced that Governors ought to have better salaries, and not [be] permitted to take any presents from the people. Whilst they do, there will be illegal indulgences in point of trade, justice will be bought and sold, Chancery suits protracted, and the poor opprest" (cf. 112).
The Acts of Trade, indeed, in the hands of unprincipled Governors, could be used as an instrument of blackmail, and as a means of supplementing an inadequate income, and were so used frequently and notoriously (259). Codrington himself, whilst refusing all presents, public and private, found his Government both a charge and a trouble; "all the advantages of it don't pay for the very wine the masters of ships drink, who come to report to me. I live with all the frugality I can, and yet I find my charges will come to abundance more than my advantages" (p. 328). The experience of the Governor of Barbados was much the same: "Your Lordships may easily judge whether the King's allowance will maintain a publick table here, when beef and mutton has been all this year at 12d. a pound . . . with all other things in proportion" (856).
The Council of Trade were sensible of the drawbacks of a system by which Governors received a small salary from the King and were dependent for the remainder of their income upon the favour of the Assemblies. They recognised the justice of Bellomont's complaints on that score, and represented to the King that the salaries of Governors should be fixed, "to prevent the inconvenience and clamour of presents" (p. 181). The receiving of presents rendered Governors "precarious and dependent on the people," and they should therefore be ordered not to receive them. In order to support the dignity of the Government, the salaries of some of them should be increased. This Representation (383) was read in Council, but no order was made upon it (384). But when Col. Dudley was appointed Governor of the Massachusetts Bay, directions were inserted, at his request, in his Instructions, that he was to dispose the Assembly to settle a salary upon the Governor (575). The Colonial Assemblies, however, were not likely to consent very readily to deprive themselves of the control of the purse-strings and the influence they might thus exert over their Governors.
New York after Bellomont's death.
At the time of Bellomont's death the Lieutenant-Governor, Nanfan, was unfortunately absent upon private business at Barbados. The four available members of the Council, Weaver the Collector, appointed by Bellomont in January (p. 97), Staats, Walters and Depeyster, immediately met. They found no money in the Treasury and no provision for the payment and subsistence of the soldiers at Albany, etc. (210, 212, 212.iv.).
The Council, then, found themselves in the same predicament as Bellomont had been in, and were obliged to pledge their private credit in order to provide the weekly payment of the soldiers, on pain of the instant desertion of the garrisons (230, pp. 126, 282, 291). Even so, there was a wholesale desertion of the soldiery, who had not yet heard that Bellomont had succeeded in obtaining for them 20 out of 30 per cent. of the money which had been hitherto deducted from their pay (41, 42, 296, 389, pp. 147, 191).
Party strife in the Council.
Expresses had been at once despatched to summon the other three members of Council, Col. Smith, Col. Schuyler and Robert Livingstone, who all lived at a distance and all belonged to the Anti-Leislerite party (212). At the moment of his death, Bellomont had been preparing for their removal from the Council (p. 35) in pursuance of the policy of repressing the Anti-Leislerite and Fletcherian party, in which he had already made so much progress. (fn. 4) They now made the most of their opportunity, and the flames of faction broke out with great violence. On the one hand, the four Leislerite members, led with much heat by Weaver (400, pp. 190, 191) seem to have determined upon carrying out the policy of eliminating Smith, Schuyler and Livingstone from the Council and from power (p. 187); on the other hand, these three members endeavoured to prevent any action being taken either by the Council or the Assembly, insisting that, in the absence of Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, the right of veto and the power of summoning and adjourning the Council or Assembly were vested in Col. Smith, as the eldest, and therefore presiding Councillor, and that without his consent they could not sit or act (389). These claims were put forward by Col. Smith when he appeared at the Council-board on March 13 (248). The Leislerite majority, however, resolved that "the powers and preheminences of the President" amounted to nothing more than the mere presiding at the Council Table, and that all Acts of Administration were to be passed by the majority of the Council, and the Government was to be administered in the name of the Council. Otherwise, the Administration would practically be vested solely in the President. The Council resolved to meet when the majority deemed it necessary, and to proceed in the Administration without Col. Smith, if he did not choose to preside in the sense that they interpreted presidency, i.e., "only to sit at the upper end of the table" (248, 389.viii.). He consented to act so, under protest. Under protest, and before leaving New York on March 15 (248), he signed a Proclamation, upon which the majority had resolved, summoning the Assembly to meet according to Bellomont's prorogation, on April 2. He suggested, however, that the Assembly was ipso facto dissolved by the Governor's death, like a Parliament at the demise of the Crown, and also, that, if he had no veto, the Constitution was incomplete (p. 187). The Anti-Leislerites, indeed, maintained that there was no necessity for the Assembly to sit at all, but that their opponents were using the payment of the troops as an excuse to justify a session wherein they would have an opportunity of passing measures of revenge (436, pp. 187, 190). On March 21 Col. Schuyler and Robt. Livingstone arrived from Albany to take their share in this fight for the Administration. They refused to sit in Council unless it were summoned and presided over by Smith (276, 282, 389.iv., vii.).
The duel was continued when the Assembly met (296, 301), and reached its culmination when Col. Smith, who had returned to New York to preside at a full Council meeting on April 6th, refused to allow the major vote of the Council to be deemed an Act of Council, "whereupon the major part of the Council declared that they would proceed in no matters of business with Col. Smith till he consented thereto." He then left the Council-chamber, after declaring the Council adjourned (April 15th) (318, 337, 338, 389.ix.–xii.). In the Assembly the majority agreed with the four members (301, 400), and severely blamed Col. Smith for delaying their proceedings, "to the great hazard of the safety and peace of this Province" (338, 389.ix., xi.). They thanked the Council for subsisting the soldiers and gave directions for borrowing money in the future (351). The harmony of their proceedings was, however, disturbed, by five members of the Assembly who (April 16) presented a paper to the House in which they declared their opinion that by the Governor's death the Assembly was of course dissolved, and that there was no absolute necessity for it to sit (338, 389.xiii.). The author, Major Howell, was promptly expelled, and all concerned severely censured for disloyalty and insolence (351). Seven members had left the House, in protest, upon the day on which the paper was presented (p. 189).
The return of Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan.
His Conference with the Indians.
On the 19th April, Col. Smith being no longer in attendance, Livingstone withdrew from the Council, protesting that he could not act with them, in any matter relating to the Assembly, without the President. The four members then recommended the Assembly to adjourn till June, by which time the Lieutenant-Governor, it was hoped, would have arrived (p. 166). Nanfan, in fact, reached New York on May 19 (460), and, finding that the Representatives were hopelessly divided over the question of the legality of their sessions, dissolved them on the 1st of June and summoned a new Assembly to meet in August (494, p. 287). (fn. 5) On hearing of the division in the Council of New York, the Council of Trade wrote confirming the view of the four members as to the devolution of Government, and exhorting Nanfan to allay party animosities (755). This, indeed, he did urge upon the new Assembly in his speech, when they met, Aug. 19 (753), and he persuaded them to continue the additional duty for defraying the charge of Government (758.vi., 827, 887). He was also able to announce that he had held a conference with the Five Nations at Albany, with the object of frustrating the designs of the French agents, M. de Marricourt and the Jesuit Bruyas (494, 758, 758.vii). He had confirmed them in their fidelity (887, 915), entertained Dekannissore at New York, and secured from the Indians a grant of a vast tract of land to the Crown, some 800 by 400 miles in extent, including all their beaver-hunting (758), and stretching from Lake Superior to Chicago and Detroit. A copy of the conveyance of this land, signed by the Sachims with their totem-marks, is given (758.ix.), and shows clearly enough that the grant was made by the Indians with the object of protecting themselves against the aggression of the French, who had recently made a move to build a fort at "Tieughsaghrondo, the principal pass that commands said land" (=Fort De Tret or Detroit). The Five Nations, in this deed, acknowledge William as their "great Lord and Master." News now reached New York of another French mission to Onnondage, bringing seven prisoners back from Canada. Captain Bleeker and David Schuyler were therefore dispatched post haste to Onnondage, "to hinder the French from deluding our Five Nations" (777). Their Journal upon this occasion shows that they were apparently successful in frustrating the design of the French mission, which was to induce the Five Nations to bind themselves to neutrality in case of war (915, 915.ix.). For at Onnondage the English Commissioners met Dekannissore and the Sachims of the Five Nations, as well as the French emissaries, who were obliged to repeat, in their presence, the propositions which the Governor had made to the Five Nations in Canada. He had proposed that they should all make peace with him, as some of them had done last year. He announced that he was building a fort at Tieughsagrondio, and exhorted them, in the event of a war between France and England, to remain neutral. Whereupon Dekannissore enquired whether the French Indians would remain neutral too? And so, evidently in some chagrin, "Monsieur Soukeur went his ways" (p. 560). The Indians then promised to have no Jesuits in their country, but would have no English ministers either for a while, for the rival Christian sects had made them "drunk with their noise of praying" (p. 560). But they promised to hold fast to their Covenant Chain (915.ix.).
Party strife in the New Assembly.
Neither Nanfan's exhortations nor the recent election had quenched the fire of party spirit in New York. The flames broke out over the election of Aldermen, "who had been sworn into offices by the new Mayor alone, contrary to the return of the City." This was rectified through the agency of the new Chief Justice, Atwood (1117, p. 711). Parties, indeed, seemed irreconcilable, except by a miracle (915, 962). The House consisted of 21 members, and when Abraham Gouverneur had been chosen Speaker by a majority of one over William Nicoll, steps to obtain a more decisive majority were taken by the Leislerites. The whole House presented Gouverneur as Speaker. They then proceeded as usual to consider objections to returns of members.
Protest and expulsion of the Anti-Leislerites.
Two Members, William Nicoll and Major Wessels, Anti-Leislerites, who were said to be returned in defiance of a late Act of Assembly, were ordered to withdraw till their case had been considered. With the rest of the "English Party" (817, pp. 580, 706) who were anxious to prevent the continuing of the additional duty, they thereupon challenged the Speaker's qualification. They had joined in presenting him, but it now occurred to them that he was a Dutchman born. This charge had already been considered and dismissed by the late Assembly (1117.iv.). The whole Anti-Leislerite party now left the House in protest. They were expelled the House, warrants for new writs of election issued (754, 774, 787), and the two candidates next on the poll were called up to take the places of Wessels and Nicoll. The Nicoll-Bayard party then, "after animating one another at a tavern," drew up an Address to the King. They profess the utmost loyalty, and accuse the party, with which Bellomont had identified himself, of "great partiality in appointment of officers, manifest corruption and injustice in all elections, . . . and intending by the Legislative power to divest many of their just rights and possessions and to share same amongst themselves, . . . with many other sinister, indirect and unjust proceedings . . . tending to render your Majesty's Government in these parts scandalous, vile and cheap in the eyes of your people. . . ." (1117.ii., cf. 226).
Protest of three members.
Three of the new members elected on the above-mentioned writs refused to sit until they were satisfied that the House was legally constituted. In a paper written, it is complained, in barbarous English, they challenge the proceedings of the Leislerite majority, require the Speaker "to clear himself from being an alian," and refer to the report that a Bill was being prepared "to deprive many of H.M. subjects from their native right of voting." (851, 858, 951). The Assembly declared the paper seditious and equivalent to a claim to govern the House. They expelled the three members and ordered the Attorney-General to prosecute them (858, 873, 886, pp. 580, 589).
On Oct. 13 three new members were returned, and they, too, presented a paper to the House, refusing to sit until they received an answer (944). The writ from Suffolk County was returned unexecuted, with a letter from the Sheriff, representing the view of the Free-holders that the rejection of their chosen members was an infringement of their liberties (951). Atwood reports "a backwardness where I did not expect it" in prosecuting the authors (p. 589).
Chief Justice Atwood.
Atwood was the Chief Justice from England, whose sending Bellomont had so long desired. After many delays in starting and a three months' voyage, he, with Broughton, the Attorney-General, had at length arrived in New York (344, 692, 788). The Council took the earliest opportunity of expressing the hope that the salaries of these officers, appointed by the Crown, should be paid by the Treasury (230).
The case of Wake's ship.
Atwood at once settled the Court of Chancery, which was badly needed (p. 35, No. 738), and was soon involved in an Admiralty case of some interest. Two years previously John Wake's ship, the Elizabeth and Katherine, had been seized on arriving from England without a certificate of registration, and was released upon the Captain, Wake, giving his bond to produce a Register or to surrender the ship within a given date. This he failed to do, and on returning from a third voyage the ship was seized and informed against in the Admiralty Court. The Judge, however, discharged the seizure, "supposing that that the Naval Officer had authority to compound, and that such a bond is a composition." Atwood moved to prohibit this discharge and to set the sentence of the Court of Admiralty aside at Common Law, and advised a special sitting of the Supreme Court to try the case (732, 738, 962.iv.). John Wake and the owners, however, in a petition for damages against Mr. Weaver (862) declare that the certificate of registration was produced in three months; that Weaver's seizure was prompted by an old grudge, and they complain of this action in the Supreme Court (896). The Council of Trade sent instructions to the Lieut.-Governor to take care that no sinister motives of this kind should influence the proceedings, and they pronounced against any unfair stretching of the law in this case, the Commissioners of Customs being in favour of not exerting the utmost rigour of the law in cases where certificates of registration could not be immediately produced (928). Meantime the case was tried by C. J. Atwood, sitting as sole judge in the Supreme Court, who gave judgment for a prohibition as to the bond which the Admiralty Court had interpreted as a composition of a kind to discharge the forfeiture of the ship. The owners thereupon appealed to the King in Council (962).
Col. Fletcher's "debts."
In January Bellomont had seen reason to hope that the Commissioners of Accounts would succeed in making Col. Fletcher and some others appear responsible for "debts" enough to the Crown to go a good way towards providing the 40,000l. needed for the fortification of the Province (p. 7). He was instructed to provide the Treasury with proofs for a prosecution at home (p. 77). The Committee appointed at New York to examine the public accounts were met by the refusal of Mrs. Cortlandt to produce her late husband's accounts of the revenue (82). Mrs. Cortlandt was sister-in-law of Col. Bayard and aunt of William Nicoll. Her refusal was suspected to be part of a plot to shield the guilty by embezzling the accounts, and thus putting a stop to the proceedings of the Committee of Enquiry. A warrant was therefore issued, and the accounts seized (179, 188, 276).
Robert Livingstone accused of fraud.
In April the Committee reported that they found the accounts since Col. Slaughter's time to have been "mixed and confused"; they had traced some frauds in the revenue, and complained that Col. Peter Schuyler and Robert Livingstone would give no account of public moneys disbursed by them in past years. The latter, who had received the largest sums, they had occasion to believe guilty of the greatest frauds (351). His salary as Secretary of the Indian Affairs had already been withheld. He was now eager to go to England to remedy this and to make good his claim for the money due to him for victualling the forces (114, 567, 771, 772.ii.). His services were utilised for conducting the conference held by Nanfan with the Indians in July (771). He availed himself of this opportunity to influence the Indians to express a strong desire that he should be sent to England to act as their agent with the Government. Doyle throws some doubt upon this intrigue with the Indians, (fn. 6) but the documents here given can hardly admit of two interpretations (758.viii., 857, etc.). When taxed with this offence by a joint committee of the two Houses, he refused to be put on his oath. Whereupon the Representatives petitioned the Lieutenant-Governor to suspend him from his office of Secretary for the Indian Affairs (867) pending application to the Crown for his removal. As he persisted in refusing to render his accounts, a Bill was passed to oblige him to do so, under pain of the confiscation of his property in order to make good whatever debts the Commissioners could charge him with (802, 803, 810, 851, 960).
Livingstone's Survey of affairs in New York.
Whilst doubt is thus thrown upon Livingstone's integrity, there can be no doubt at all as to his ability. His survey of the affairs of New York, despatched to the Council of Trade after Bellomont's death, is a valuable document (436). He argues in favour of a forward policy of making Christian settlements, building English forts and securing the passes between the French and our Indians, in order to secure their safety and our trade. But this policy could not be carried out, as it had been ineffectively begun, by New York alone. It could only be achieved, if undertaken, as the general concern and charge of all the Provinces. The scattered planters of Virginia and Maryland were, indeed, nearly concerned in the defence of New York as a frontier against the Indians. To secure co-operation, a uniform system of government must be set up on the Continent. The Colonies should be re-divided into three Provinces, and the scheme of defence worked out by a Commission from them. The case of the soldiers who, in a country where prices were double those in England, were only paid sixpence a week more for their subsistence than a labouring man earned in a day, was very hard, and led to wholesale desertion. At present such deserters were lost to the Province. The soldiers should be recruited every two years with 200 youths from England, and at the end of every two years 200 should be disbanded and given land, with a view to settling the frontiers. By this means, too, the forts and frontiers would acquire a force who "understand wood-fighting." "Soldiers from Europe cannot fight in the woods here according to the manner of fighting in Europe." This was a lesson the English were to learn again in later days. Incidentally Livingstone gives a vivid picture of Indian warfare (p. 232).
The forts at Albany. Schenectady and Onnondage.
Livingstone represents the Indians as not at all desirous of a fort being built in the Onnondage country (cf. 887, and p. 435). He also explains that the attitude of Albany was to check any further settlements on the frontier and so to keep for itself the monopoly of the Indian trade. It was at any rate evident that so remote a fort as that proposed in the Onnondage country would be worse than useless unless the forts at Albany and Schenectady were in good repair (p. 622). 500l. out of the 2,000l. allowed by the King for repairing them had been ordered to be advanced to Bellomont in order that the work might be at once begun (53), and, for the continuance of it, money was voted by the Assembly out of the fund raised for building a fort at Onnondage (846, 910). To help in the fortifications, Col. Romer, who had long been detained in Massachusetts, arrived in December (p. 703).
The Assembly adjourned. Jacob Leisler's petition.
The Assembly was adjourned on Oct. 18 till the following March. During the last week of the session they had taken into consideration the petition of Jacob Leisler, which had been recommended by the Crown to them as the only source of relief (910). The petition was for 2,700l. expended by his father during the Revolution. A Committee of the House recommended that a tax should be raised to pay him 1,000l., and to pay off the rest of the debts of the Government (924). A Bill was introduced accordingly, but it did not go beyond the first reading. For though no objection was raised to it, further consideration of it was postponed till the next session, the present one having reached its close (960).
The separation of the Governments.
The desirability of the presence of a Governor both at Boston and New York, had been one of the strongest reasons offered by some of the New York merchants for the separation of the two Governments (p. 181, and see Calendar, 1700, No. 151.i.etc.). On the other hand, the people of Massachusetts, with their Republican tendencies, were probably too well content to have an absentee Governor resident at New York, and thus to be left to manage their own affairs without control, whilst using his absence as an excuse for not voting his salary. These considerations had prevented Bellomont from making a prolonged stay at Albany, which, otherwise, he had felt to be desirable in order to stifle the factions there and to influence the Indians (p. 181).
Appointment of Lord Cornbury.
On his death the two Governments were divided, and Edward Hyde, Viscount Cornbury, was appointed Governor of New York, with the Vice-Admiralty and command of the Militia of Connecticut and the Jerseys (543, 582, 597). He was the grandson of that great Lord Clarendon, whose influence upon the course of Colonial history had, as the previous volumes of this Calendar have shown, been no less noteworthy than his influence upon British affairs. Lord Cornbury had been Member of Parliament for Wiltshire for ten years, 1685–1695. The Council of Trade were apparently not consulted in the choice of him. His first appearances in these pages are not prepossessing. In spite of increasing pressure from the Council of Trade, he did not leave at all this year for what Bellomont had described as "the growingest town in America." (p. 8, Nos. 978, 1016, 1095). The Council of Trade, however, if they did not succeed in despatching him to his Government, did prevent two moves on his part, which seem to threaten a revival of the Fletcher reégime. The opportunity of making money by means of the subsistence and clothing of the four companies of soldiers at New York, immediately engrossed his attention (554, 1058). He claimed the off-reckonings which appear to have been due to Bellomont's agent (1,072). He professed to have entered into a contract for some clothing, and gave a receipt for the delivery of part of it. The evidence of those concerned and his own evasive answers pretty conclusively proved to the Board that this was a bogus transaction. The clothing had never been either bought or shipped (996, 1075, 1076, 1078, 1083, 1096). Thereupon the Agent for New York was instructed to provide it (1083, 1085).
Honan as Cornbury's Secretary.
In the course of interviews on this subject Daniel Honan appeared as Cornbury's secretary. The Board at once called Cornbury's attention to his evil record under Governor Fletcher, and left him little choice but to dismiss him (1083, 1092, 1101).
In Cornbury's Instructions the directions sent to Bellomont in particular, or to the Governors in general, since Bellomont's appointment, were embodied (697). He was instructed to avoid "engaging himself in the parties," and measures of discipline and defence were especially commended to his charge. The friendship of the Five Nations and the River Indians was to be cultivated, and lands to be purchased from them; the monopolies of New York and Albany were to be secured, and the production of Naval Stores promoted with the utmost diligence (1029, 1030). In preparing these Instructions the Council of Trade consulted the Commissioners of Customs as to the insertion of further articles with a view to preventing irregularities in the Plantation Trade (639). They refer to the papers lately laid before them by Edward Randolph (259, 260), in which he proposes that Governors should give bond in 2,000l. to put the Acts of Trade strictly in execution, and be forbidden to engage themselves in trade under penalty of losing their office. He also proposes a general enforcement of the Habeas Corpus Act throughout the Colonies, as well as other provisions for strengthening the hands of Custom House officials and securing the fair trial of seizures.
Upon the death of Lord Bellomont, William Stoughton, the Lieutenant-Governor, wrote home to announce that the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, which had "been made easy by his prudent administration," remained quiet, but was in great alarm at the rumours of war, and in dread of a consequent attack by the French Indians on the frontiers. He begged that stores of war might be sent to animate the people to stand their ground (320, 321). Some steps had already been taken towards supplying the Militia with stores of war (191, 238, 254). The Assembly which met in April, discussed an Address to the King, praying for the appointment of Stoughton as Governor. The Council refused their concurrence, and the Assembly was then dissolved at the request of the Representatives (347).
The Assembly and the Quota.
The new Assembly met at the end of May (485). Urgent orders had been sent from England in January directing the Government of the Massachusetts Bay not only to call upon the Province to contribute their quota of assistance to New York in case of need, and to assist New Hampshire in building and maintaining forts, but also, "being a numerous and wealthy Colony, enjoying great privileges by Charter," to see to its own defence, and especially to the fort at Pemaquid, which had been allowed to be so "shamefully taken and demolished by an inconsiderable number of French and Indians" (17, p. 22). And, at the end of June, 50 barrels of powder were ordered to be sent to the Colony in response to Stoughton's appeal, but with the proviso that this gift should not be drawn into precedent, "his Majesty expecting that for the future the said Colony do provide for their security at their own expense" (594). In August the Council of Trade again wrote to the Lieutenant-Governor urging him to induce the Assembly to provide for their defence, "their neglect in that, as in some other things has been very great" (762). The Assembly undertook the fortification and defence of Salem and of Castle Island (394, pp. 266, 308). But as to the other requirements of the Crown, they professed themselves too impoverished, by their efforts in the recent war, to take any share in the concerted scheme of Imperial defence. In an Address to the King (1061.ii., iii.), after denying that there was any waste of timber in the Colony and belittling the importance of the surrendered fort at Pemaquid, they pleaded their inability to contribute to the charge of the New Hampshire Forts on these grounds of poverty, and also upon the ground of the more immediate need of fortifying Boston Bay. Their former aid to New Hampshire had cost them dear; and New Hampshire, they held, was as capable as Massachusetts Bay of bearing the burden of its own defence (500).
The New Governor.
With regard to the quota of men and money to be contributed to New York, they represented that the length of their frontier would tax their slender resources to the uttermost. The French or Indians would attack Massachusetts from Canada by means of canoes down the rivers, not by way of Albany. And they conclude by begging for a further supply of stores of war and for protection by ships of greater force (1061.ii., iii.). But, whilst they were thus ready to stake their existence upon the power and good-will of England, Col. Romer, the King's Engineer, complains that his task of directing the fortification of Castle Island was rendered difficult by the touchy temper of an undisciplined and inexperienced people, with whom Jack was as good as his master, and who resented his calling these fortifications the fortifications of the King (952). The same attitude is indicated by Mr. Larkin's report (945). The Colonists, he says, regarded the laws of England with abhorrence, and looked upon Acts of Parliament as obligatory only when the Province was particularly named therein. "They hate the very thought of a King or King by Government, and it is feared, if some care be not taken for asserting H.M. power and right here, they will in a short time set up a Government for themselves" (p. 576). There was, upon the death of Bellomont, a proposal to address the King "for a restoration of some of our former privileges, such as choosing a Governor" (586). After the death of Stoughton in July, the Council and Representatives came to loggerheads over the desirability of sending Wait Winthrop as Agent to present an Address to the King, with the result that the Court was prorogued to October and then to February (834, 933, 970). It was probably intended to recommend Winthrop for the vacant post of Governor. On receipt of the news that Col. Joseph Dudley had been appointed to that office (553), there was public talk of opposing his landing (945). These documents throw no light upon the reason of his appointment, but indicate that there was active opposition to it. An attempt was made to stop the passing of his Commission (1001, 1065). When his Instructions, as Governor of the Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, with the command of the Militia and the Vice-Admiralty of Rhode Island and the Narragansett Country (591, 592, 1066), were at length signed, they included directions to endeavour to secure the passing of an Act for settling a permanent salary upon the Governor and the building of a Governor's house. Care was to be taken to prevent the wasting of the woods, and an Act to that end was to be procured, if possible (cf. Nos. 11, 15, 48). The land was to be disposed of to the best advantage of the Province, and the quota for New York made good in case of need.
The administration of his Admiralty Commission by Mr. Atwood, the new Chief Justice of New York, soon involved him in a controversy with the Government of Boston. The details of the case will be found on pp. 707–716. On the one hand, Atwood was a zealot for the laws of England and eager to put into the most rigorous execution those Acts of Trade, which were not only intensely unpopular at Boston, but also in their nature required judicious application. In the cases of the ships which gave rise to the present collision of authority, like that of Wake's ship referred to above, there was undoubtedly room for leniency. On the other hand, the Superior Court at Boston would be sufficiently prejudiced against an officer who was ready to expose publicly the argument of one of their clergy, who maintained that they were not bound in conscience to obey the laws of England, having no representatives there of their own choosing, and this prejudice would easily lead them so far as to allow of his being insulted in open Court by one Hern, who, whilst he was giving judgment in the Admiralty Court, appeared before him in his night-gown and with his shaved head uncovered. "There is scarce a merchant here but what is guilty of carrying on an illegal trade," Mr. Larkin reports, "and the Courts protect them in it" (p. 577). The same observer, however, notes a change that was being brought about by the education of Harvard. "Here is a great many young men educated at the College at Cambridge who differ much in their principles from their parents; and there is a great many people in the Narrigansetts Country that would willingly embrace the doctrine of the Church of England, but they want ministers" (p. 577).
A change took place in the presidency of Harvard College this year. Mr. Increase Mather having failed to comply with the stipulated residence at Cambridge (197, 254, 688, and Calendar, 1700, No. 633), Samuel Willard, the Vice-President, (Calendar, 1700, No. 618), was appointed President in his stead, after some negotiation (691, 834).
The friendship of the Eastern Indians was secured by a mission sent to Cascobay in May (394, 500, 1128). The payment of the debts incurred by the country under Sir E. Andros was undertaken (254), and the care of the Records of the "late Colonies of the Massachusetts and New Plymouth, Province of Main and the County of Devon, now united into one Province" was not ignored (197).
Massachusetts and Nova Scotia.
John Crown's claim to Penobscot.
Meantime a new French Governor, M. Brouillan, had arrived in Accadie, who vigorously set about fortifying Port Royal, after demolishing the fort in St. John's River. The force which he brought with him caused some nervousness in Massachusetts (785, 952). Presently came a French officer with a letter for the Government of the Massachusetts Bay announcing the arrival of the new Governor of Accadie (779). Colonel Romer regarded this embassy as a new excuse for spying the coast and the approaches to Boston. He mentions a French spy who had been busy in that way for a year past. As we have seen (Calendar, 1700, p. 38,) the documents in this Calendar confirm the report as to Iberville's visit to New York, upon which some doubt has recently been cast (719, p. 239). In his letter to the Government of the Massachusetts Bay, M. Brouillan proposed a particular treaty of neutrality between the two Governments, in case of war between their sovereign Princes, in order to avoid "the havoc and cruelties of the Indians." He concluded with a startling claim: "I have orders to hinder, conformably to the Treaty of Ryswick, all English vessels from coming to fish in sight of the lands of this Province" (785.ii.). The Council replied that, as their new Governor was daily expected, they could not make any resolutions with regard to the proposed treaty of neutrality, but as to the fishery claim, they lost no time in pointing out that it was directly contrary to the 5th article of the Treaty quoted, "it having been the indubitable right and privilege of the English to fish in the high seas on that coast for time out of mind" (785.iii.). The French Governor's proposals were referred by the King to the Council of Trade, for their view of the matter, in November (1015). They had, earlier in the year, at length reported upon the repeated memorials of John Crown, and reported in his favour. They upheld his claim to the Propriety of Penobscot, which had been handed over to the French in execution of the Treaty of Breda, although not properly comprehended in that Treaty. And they pointed out that the petitioner had received no compensation for his loss (58).
As Governor of New Hampshire, Col. Dudley's Instructions included directions to "reduce the salary of Members of Assembly to such a moderate proportion as may be no grievance to the Country." And endeavours were to be made to get an Act for the settling the salary of the Governor and an Act to prevent the wasting of the woods (1069). Earlier in the year the Council of Trade had recommended the removal of the Lieutenant-Governor, Partridge, on account of his persistence in promoting the timber trade with foreign countries, seeing that, "it is not fit any Governor of H.M. Plantations should be an ordinary trading merchant in any kind whatsoever" (p. 76). Mr. Randolph proposed that enquiry should be made into the case of the Hopewell, with a view to redressing the wrongs of Sampson Sheafe, the Deputy Collector (669. XV.).
Case of Appeal.
On March 20 an important petition to the King from Samuel Allen, the claimant of the Proprietorship of New Hampshire, was referred to the Council of Trade for their report. A principle of great moment was involved. Certain of the inhabitants had refused to pay their quit-rents to Allen (see Calendar, 1700, pp. xxi., xxii.). He had brought an action (Aug., 1700) against Richard Waldron as a test case to try his right in the Superior Court of New Hampshire. The case was decided against him, and Allen appealed to the King in Council. The appeal was refused on the grounds that the matter nominally at issue in this action was not worth 300l. But since the real stake was the Proprietor's right to exact quit-rents at all, and his title to the whole Province, he now petitioned that his appeal might be admitted (271.i.). His petition was granted, and he was admitted to appeal to the King in Council on giving security (365, 366). An Act was passed in September providing for a two-fold appeal in New Hampshire, first to the Supreme Court and the next to the Governor and Council (848).
In October, Mr. Larkin emphasised the defenceless condition of the Province, which was, however, ready enough to vote a sum of money "for laying before his Majesty the great grievances of this Province" (854, 945).
Maryland. The Act for Religion.
State of Defence.
The new Act of Maryland "for the service of Almighty God and the establishment of Religion," which had been sent home in the previous year (see Calendar, 1700, pp. liii., liv., etc.) was reported on in January by the Attorney-General. He pointed out some loose phrasing which might be so interpreted as to interfere with the liberty of conscience of Dissenters (25). Further objections from the point of view of the Quakers were put forward by Edward Northey (40). Other objectors on their behalf asserted that during the last eight years this Act, or one like it, had been re-enacted in Maryland as often as it was repealed at home and that thereby some 30,000l. had been levied unduly (51). In No. 52 the Quakers controvert some of the arguments advanced in its favour by Dr. Bray, who had charge of the Bill. They protest chiefly against being taxed to maintain the Ministry of the Church of England. The Bill was considered with great care at an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Trade, at which the Lord President, Mr. Secretary Vernon, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, Mr. Secretary Hedges and Dr. Bray attended and conferred (61, 83, 116). They recommended that the Bill should be repealed (147). It was accordingly ordered in Council that a new Bill be prepared and sent out to be passed at the next sitting of the Assembly, or before Christmas at latest, containing "such proper alterations as are agreeable to the toleration allowed here," but that meantime the present Act was to continue in force, though not to be put too rigorously in execution (157, 175). After consultation with the Board of Trade and the Bishops, Dr. Bray brought in a draft of the new Bill (234, 328, 329, 370). The Quakers again protested against any Act of this kind, and against being compelled to maintain Ministers whom they did not hear. They also objected to the principle of a Bill for raising money being prepared in England and sent over with the King's command that it should be passed into an Act. They offered in detail further criticisms of this new Bill as being contrary to the laws of England and injurious to Dissenters (406). The objections of the Quakers were heard by the King in Council on June 5, and the draft of the new Bill was then ordered to be sent to Maryland and to be offered to the Assembly at their first sessions (508, 544.i., 1039). (fn. 7) By the time it reached Maryland, the new Assembly (424) had met and adjourned. Nor did the Governor deem it desirable to convene the delegates again until the Spring, whether for the passing of this Act, or for dealing with the question of the quota for New York, the "two ill examples" of Virginia and Pennsylvania in that matter not rendering it advisable to summon the Assembly again at a season which would in itself be deemed a hardship (64, 1039, 1062). However, the Governor was able to report that the Militia were pretty well armed and trained, thanks in part to a law by which every indented servant, on the expiration of his time, was entitled to receive two barrels of corn and a gun (434, 809, p. 389). But the Militia needed better organisation and the shipping some defence by forts (689). As to the proposed trade with the Western Indians, the feeling of the country was not in favour of it, the murders recounted last year in Virginia having rendered the settlers on the frontiers nervous at the proximity of any Indians (477).
No. 314.ii. gives an abstract of the lists of the inhabitants of Maryland which Blakiston had sent in full to the Council of Trade. That Board, however, which had no thought for the convenience of future genealogists, was not grateful for "the names of every child and slave," and asked for mere totals in future instead of the complete census which Blakiston had sent (823).
The year 1701 was in other respects a critical moment in the life of the Proprietary Governments. The disorders and misdemeanours which had long distinguished their administration had convinced statesmen at home that the time had come to resume them to the Crown. The problem of how to compel the Proprietary Governors to obtain the approbation of the King had been raised again by the Council of Trade (Calendar, 1700, No. 1035), and a clause in the new Act for punishing pirates had been intended, but was not inserted. In January the Attorney-General gave his opinion that a remedy could only be sought in some new Act of Parliament (2). A Bill was now introduced into the House of Lords (fn. 8) "for re-uniting to the Crown the Government of several Colonies in America." Counsel were heard at the Bar of the House at the end of April (377, 379, p. 180), instructed by the Council of Trade (422). But in June, Mr. Randolph announced that there was no probability of the Bill being passed that session (530).
The grounds upon which the Council of Trade recommended that the Charters should be reassumed to the Crown are given (286), and are such as these volumes have prepared us for. The Proprietary Governments are said to have in no way answered the chief design for which they were granted privileges; they have not conformed to the Acts of Trade; the Governors in most cases have not applied for H.M. approbation, nor taken the oaths required; they have made laws repugnant to the laws of England, and refused to send them over; have delayed Appeals and become the refuge of pirates and illegal traders; they have traded with foreign parts; they have undermined the trade and welfare of the other Plantations by raising and lowering the coinage from time to time (cf. p. 629) and by harbouring runaways, etc. The duty of self-defence had been largely neglected (286, p. 236.) (The defenceless state of the Proprieties is emphasised by Larkin's report (1054).) And a significant charge is added:—"These independent Colonies turn the course of Trade to the promoting and propagating woollen and other manufactures proper to England, instead of applying their thoughts and endeavours to the production of such commodities as are fit to be encouraged in those parts, according to the true design and intention of such settlements" (p. 142).
Governor Nicholson's suggestion.
It is noteworthy that Governor Nicholson, in his zeal for the King's service, which, he held, could never be rightly managed till all the Chartered and Proprietary Governments were resumed to the Crown, proposed that, if the Act for that purpose did not pass, the recent revolution in the Bahamas should be countenanced, "and then the like thing may happen in most of the other Proprietary and Charter Governments" (p. 637). Without prejudging the case of Governor Haskett, whose dossier is not completed in this volume, it may be said that Nicholson's suggestion was based upon a fact, for which we have seen abundant evidence in this Calendar, namely, that one of the chief weaknesses of Proprietary Governments was that they could not afford to defend their Provinces, nor could they enforce the authority of their Governors, or their own authority over their Governors. So Randolph points out that the misdemeanours of many of the Governors in such Provinces were attributable to the fact that the Proprietors provided no honourable maintenance for them, and therefore no honest gentleman would go there to live on spoil and rapine. The Proprietors equally neglected the complaints of the inhabitants, who suffered from the oppression and extortion of hungry Governors (180).
As soon as it was evident that the Bill for reassuming the Proprieties to the Crown would not pass the House of Lords that session, Mr. Basse came forward with a proposal for the appointment of a Commission to enquire into the several forms of irregularities practised in the Proprieties (644). Whereupon the Council of Trade determined to instruct the King's Governors to collect and send over authentic proofs of such misdemeanours on the part of Proprietary Governors and Governments in their neighbourhood, with a view to supporting the Bill when introduced in the following session (645, 661, 661.i.).
Declining to admit Appeals to the King in Council was a humour that prevailed in the Proprieties and Charter Governments, so the Council of Trade remark, and the independency they thirsted after was notorious (p. 180). The Government of Connecticut, for instance, argued that there was no express reservation of Appeals to the Crown in their Charter, and they therefore refused the Appeal of the Hallams (see Calendar, 1700). The Law Officers of the Crown, however, gave their opinion that "Appeal doth lye to his Majesty in Council as a right inherent in the Crown, and, in case they refuse to allow the Appeal there, his Majesty may proceed to hear the merits of the cause upon an Appeal made to him in Council" (442). An Order of Council followed, admitting the Hallams' appeal, and directing the Governor and Company of Connecticut to send over authentic copies of the proceedings in that case (481, 533). Another point argued this year was whether an Appeal from the Court of Admiralty in the Leeward Islands lay to his Majesty in Council or to the High Court of Admiralty in England (908). Mr. Hodges, in the course of a campaign which he was conducting against the administration of justice in Barbados, suggested several alterations in regard to Appeal, proposing, notably, an extension of the time within which the application for Appeal must be made, and that the sum, under which Appeal might not be allowed, should be reduced from 500l. to 300l., as elsewhere. I have already referred to the case of Appeal from New Hampshire.
Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The dispute as to the boundaries of Rhode Island and Connecticut, and the consequent controversy as to the Government of the Narragansett Country, dragged on, and seemed little nearer a determination (134, 869). All the grants for the Northern Colonies having been made before the country was well-known, Sir E. Andros pointed out (885), the boundaries often overlapped, and hence confusions of this kind arose.
Pirates and the Proprietary Governments.
The Proprietary Governments in general, as George Larkin bluntly puts it (1054), were a sort of receptacle for pirates and unlawful traders. And we hear of two of the pirates convicted along with Kidd returning to Pennsylvania to dig up in the woods the money they had buried there. They had apparently bought their release from Newgate and exchanged the prison air for the more congenial atmosphere of the Quaker Colony at a price of 300 guineas apiece (1054, p. 629).
"These fellows," writes George Larkin (1054), "have been hugged and caressed after a very strange manner by the religious people of those parts; no money to be seen amongst them now but Arabian Gold, and to demonstrate to your Lordships that pyrates are esteemed very honest men, the President of the Council of New Hampshire, Secretary of the Province, and Clerk of the Inferior Court, is going to marry his daughter to one of these villains."
William Penn, on the other hand, reported in July that all was in quiet and in health, and that "the country improves, not by piracy or forbidden trade, but by honest labour and sobriety" (219, 607).
William Penn's defence.
Penn's fortunes, no less than those of other Proprietors were involved in the course of the Bill for reassuming the Proprietary Governments. In his answer to the Council of Trade's reports to the Houses of Parliament, he complains bitterly of injustice, answering one or two particulars, and accusing Col. Quary and others of "blacking us to lay a foundation for greater advantages themselves." He has been "a King's Governor in all things but a salary." The whole of his own fortune, besides the liberties and first inducements to undertake so hazardous an enterprise, was struck at by the Bill (791).
The Quakers were little inclined to share the liberties they valued so highly with the Church of England, which here occupied the position of the Dissenters at home. From Philadelphia, in January, came a petition from the members of that Church, complaining that, though they were in a majority and eager to bear arms, the Government would not allow a Militia, but left them exposed to attacks from any public enemy, or from pirates or Indians, "the woful experience of which we have lately felt." Besides this a law had lately been brought in making it an act of sedition to write or speak against the Government, of which the Quakers would be the judges. And they complain, too, of a law to exclude Attornies from the Courts, except such as would "swaller and square themselves to the new modelled attestation" (101). Against the new law about marriages the Bishop of London entered a caveat in December, "for it will be impossible for any but Quakers to live where that Law shall prevail" (1124). Penn's legislation was further called in question upon another point. He had held an Assembly at Newcastle in Nov., 1700. It was now suggested that these Acts ought not to be passed, for Newcastle was situated in the "Three Lower Counties," and approval of the Acts might be interpreted as an acknowledgment of Penn's right to Government in the Delaware Territories, "which otherwise," the Council of Trade remark, "does not appear to belong to him." The form of these Acts also called for consideration, and the Law Officers of the Crown were invited to consider whether "the style of these Acts do not exceed the powers granted to Mr. Penn, and whether such style be consistent with H.M. sovereignty" (975).
As the result of much negotiation with the Delaware and other Indians of those parts, Penn was able to announce in July that he had persuaded them to refer to him, and to the Governor of those Indians with whom they might have any quarrel, for the settlement of their differences (607). We shall hear more of this treaty, by which he secured to himself the monopoly of the Indian Trade.
Penn on Trade.
"It is trade must make America valuable to England," Penn observed, and he proposed that the Council of Trade should encourage a correspondence with Governors upon the head of improvement, either by establishing new staples or advancing the old ones. He applied himself, with the aid of his Council, to devising means for making returns for goods imported from England. "We hope by rice, whale-oyl and bone, and a cod-fishery, with what tobacco and furs and skins we make and get, to do something considerable in a few years" (219, p. 333). In this connection he draws attention to the want of money which impeded the circulation of trade throughout the Continent, "which has put Boston herself upon thinking of tickets to supply the want of coyn; and New York as well as this Province are following" (219).
The need of coin, and the varying value of it, which, as we have seen in former volumes, caused serious trouble in the Plantations, gave Maryland also some concern. The case is pointedly put by Blakiston (p. 261). The Assembly were eager to raise the value of their Lyon dollars, which stood at 4s. 6d., to the 5s. at which they were valued in Virginia, or the 6s. in Pennsylvania, in order to prevent them from being drained out of the country (pp. 247, 250, 261). They also introduced a scheme by which fees and taxes should be payable in money or tobacco, instead of in tobacco only (p. 230). The Council of Trade, however, pointed out the folly of raising the coinage, and instructed Blakiston to wait until the whole matter was dealt with at home (p. 499).
Disorders in the Jerseys.
The state of affairs in East and West New Jersey had gone from bad to worse. In a memorial of Feb. 21, Mr. Basse represents the Eastern Province as being in a state of absolute anarchy, with not the shadow of Government remaining, a statement borne out by the report of the Anti-Leislerite section of the Council of New York (187, p. 192). Those who denied Col. Hamilton's authority now went so far (March 25) as to rescue one of Kidd's crew from the bar at Middletown, and forcibly seized and imprisoned the Governor, Justices and officers of the Court, alleging that they had no power to hold a Court (695. vii., p. 393). Shortly afterwards a new Commission arrived, issued by a small minority of the Proprietors of East New Jersey, appointing Capt. Andrew Bowne to be Governor. Hamilton, however, refused to be superseded unless that Commission were signed by two-thirds of the Proprietors, "as it ought to be" (695). The Council of East New Jersey, protesting that this appointment of Bowne was merely a device to get rid of all Governors, and thereby to lodge the Government in the people, recommended Hamilton's refusal, and entreated the Proprietors to end the dispute as to their right of Government forthwith (855. ii.). The Council and Assembly of West New Jersey also sent home a petition in favour of Hamilton, as against the riotous supporters of Basse, who in March had broken open the prison at Burlington (745. iv.).
In July came a petition against Hamilton from East Jersey, signed, Lewis Morris suggests, mainly by the Pro-Basse rioters (663, p. 392), praying for the appointment of a Governor approved by the King, or that the two Jerseys should be united into one Government under the Crown. At the same time a petition was received from a portion of the Representatives of West Jersey, who, "poor Issacers," as they term themselves, petitioned against the "rage and insolences" of the Quaker Party and Hamilton, and begged for a Governor under H.M. Commission. They complain that that party although numerically inferior, had recently halved the number of Representatives, gained the elections by intrigue and misrepresentation, inflicted a prodigious tax upon the country in order to contest the claim of the Crown to the Government, and refused to recognise their opponents who had been returned as Representatives by the country which insisted on making up the old number of Representatives (651.i.,ii.).
Negotiations for the Proprietors' surrender of their title.
The question of a Governor.
At length this intolerable state of affairs approached a conclusion. In January the Council of Trade had been commanded to lay before the King a statement as to the cause and cure of the disorders in the two Jerseys (53). In October they reported, summarising the whole question and the history of those Provinces (916). They showed on what grounds they challenged the claim of the Proprietors to a right of Government, since it had been conveyed by the Duke of York, in 1680, through a grant of a power which was inalienable. The Proprietors had neglected their Government in the duty of defence and had allowed the country to fall into anarchy. The Council of Trade therefore recommended his Majesty to appoint a Governor with such Instructions as might be "necessary for the establishing a regular Constitution of Government by a Governor, Council and General Assembly, and for securing to the Proprietors and Inhabitants all their properties and civil rights" . . . together with provisions "to prevent the interfering of that Colony with the interest of H.M.'s other Plantations, as the Proprietary Governments in America have generally done" (916). The Council of Trade were accordingly ordered to consult with the Proprietors in the matter with a view to their surrender of their pretended right to Government (930). As has been already said (Calendar, 1700, p. xlvii), the preservation of their civil and commercial rights, rather than the "chargeable feather" of a title to govern, was the chief concern of the Proprietors. In August they had announced that they were ready to surrender their claim to the Government upon such terms as would secure their rights of property (745.i., ii., 855, 855.i.). They asked that Col. Hamilton should be approved until the terms of surrender should be arranged. The advice of the Proprietors was also taken in drawing up the Governor's Commission and Instructions and appointing a Council (1005, 1036, 1055). As to the Councillors, there was little difference of opinion, but the Proprietors showed themselves still sharply divided when the question of appointing a new Governor arose. Whilst Mr. Docwra and other Proprietors of East Jersey presented Andrew Bowne, or Major Ingoldsby, for Governor of the new Province of Nova Caesaria (1052), Sir Thomas Lane and other Proprietors of West Jersey presented Andrew Hamilton (1052). The opposition to the appointment of Col. Hamilton was vehemently expressed by Dockwra and Basse (904, 1082), "the Scotch Governor" being held up as responsible for all the disorders of the Province. He was defended by Lewis Morris, who gives a curious account of the previous appointment of Capt. Bowne, "hatcht privately in a corner by half a dozen Proprietors" (1135). Morris had taken an active part in disposing both sets of Proprietors to surrender their Governments to the Crown (663), so far at least showing himself in agreement with Basse (p. 394). Some documents, which he adduces to demonstrate the state of confusion into which the Provinces had been thrown by the appointment of Governors not properly constituted, give a lively picture of the riots of 1699–1701 (695.i. –vii.).
The Assembly and the Quota.
Externally it was a year of peace and plenty for the Virginians (573). Internally, there was a prolonged duel between the Governor and the Assembly, the former vigorously combating the provincial ideas of the native-born settlers, whom he strove to make to think Imperially and to realise their danger of an attack by the French, the latter steadily refusing to endorse any of his schemes for their security or to contribute towards the concerted plan of defence (p. 631). Warning had come from the Secretary of State that a French squadron under M. de Coetlogon was intended for the Spanish West Indies. It was imperative to take steps for the defence of the coast (613). The Assembly was summoned to meet on Aug. 6, and Governor Nicholson presently laid before them his proposals for the carrying out of the King's commands as to the quota, as well as several other suggestions for their consideration (702, 703, 794). They met most of them with a refusal on the score that the country could not afford them (p. 493). They were "all upon negatives" this sessions, Nicholson complains (p. 641). The country, they held, could not afford to build either a Governor's house or fortifications. Nor indeed would fortifications be of any avail. A naval force was the best defence, and that, too, was beyond their resources (874, 875, 893). On September 22 Nicholson warned them that war was imminent, and again proposed the purchase of arms and ammunition, offering himself to contribute 100l. for every 1,500l. they might raise. The burgesses thanked him for his zeal for the prosperity and defence of the Dominion, but resolved that there were arms and ammunition enough in Virginia. They decided, however, to pass a law providing for soldiers' pay in case of emergencies (882).
General Nicholson's efforts.
The question of Country charges.
As to the demand for a quota, they determined upon an address to the King in reply, setting forth the history of the relations of Virginia with New York in that matter. It was, they declared, nothing more than a device on the part of New York for engrossing the Indian trade. Their own need of defence was greater than that of New York, and the New York frontier was no protection to them. The country was impoverished by the Customs and by such undertakings as the building of the Capitol, revising the laws and paying for pirates. They finally offered various reasons against detaching men from the country (748, 893, 1168). Nicholson did his utmost to combat their position and to modify their Address (1168). He returned again and again to the charge (901), pressing his proposals and urging that their refusal would be an encouragement to the enemy and a blow to the fidelity of the Five Nations, as well as a bad example to the other Provinces. He proposed a levy of an export duty of 6d. per hhd. of tobacco, and an increased poll-tax in order to raise a fund for contributing the money to New York, buying arms and ammunition and paying the Agent. Towards this fund he offered to contribute generously himself (901, p. 542). The Assembly, however, maintained their attitude of non possumus, and professed themselves content to rely upon their present provision for security and the protection of God Almighty (p. 546). They further insisted upon appointing an Agent, William Byrd, jr., to represent their case with regard to the quota to the King, at a fee of 300l. (911). Nicholson indignantly pointed out that the expense of the long sitting of the Assembly and the Agent's fees were likely to cost more than the fulfilment of the King's commands, which they were refusing to obey upon the ground of poverty (858, 893, 911, pp. 631, 632, 1169). At the beginning of October we find the Council and Assembly still haggling over the payment of some items including the cost of some land in the Capitol purchased as a site for the Governor's House. These, the Assembly maintained, should be reckoned as incident charges of the Government, and paid, as such, out of H.M. Revenue. They rejected Nicholson's proposal to refer the point to the King, and he then refused to pass the Book of Claims, upon which the Levy Bill was to be based (852, 893, 901, 911, 1169). Before proroguing the Assembly, he signed three Bills, including one for "building the Capitol and prison." A fourth, "for quieting the possession of persons settled within the bounds of lands laid out for the Pamunkey Indians," he could not assent to, as being contrary to his instructions and the Treaty with the Indians (912).
The building of the Capitol.
Meantime the settling of the Pamunkey and Chickahominy Indians on lands laid out for them and presented to them was proceeded with (pp. 502, 503). The foundation of the Capitol had been laid in August. The brilliancy of the ceremony was eclipsed by the shadow of the approaching war (702). A few details as to its construction and as to the measures provided for its building are given (795, 799).
The population of Virginia.
More French Protestant refugees arrived in Virginia, and were provided for out of the relief fund contributed towards the settlers at Manakin Town (228). Some curious light is thrown upon the changing condition of the settlers (1042.v., pp. 641, 642).
State of Defence.
Having failed to rouse the Assembly to a sense of the necessity for self-defence, and the Militia having been proved to be, though numerous, grievously inadequate both as to training and arms (913, pp. 631, 632, 635), Nicholson applied to the Home Government for a supply of arms and ammunition and also for a squadron to cruise upon the coast from April to October (p. 633). Warned by the experience of the previous war, steps were taken in good time to arrange that the homeward bound vessels should sail in one fleet under convoy (423, 1041). A coast-guard system was established in order to give notice of the approach of any sea-rovers (pp. 118, 218). When a new Secretary of the Province was appointed, the Council of Trade made a point of recommending that actual residence at Williamsburgh should be obligatory (1107). In the Spring a Thanksgiving Day was appointed for "the deliverance from the late great and raging plague of caterpillars" (p. 176), and in August a day of Fasting and Humiliation upon news of the threatened war (701).
The Council of Trade.
This year, as in previous years, the documents as well as their own report to the House of Commons (243, 287), show that the Council of Trade maintained a high standard of diligence. But they complain that the non-payment of their salaries and of the office-expenses was interfering with the carrying on of their business, the unfortunate clerks being now one and a half years in arrears with their wages (45, 408).
The question of Admiralty Passes for the protection of British shipping again crops up in connection with the projected treaty with the Emperor of Morocco, a potentate who is credited with being "as much to be depended upon as any other Prince in Barbary" (663). Passes, it was urged, would only be used by his subjects as a cloak to cover their violences, and Consuls, the necessary consequence of Passes, as pledges for their exactions. The Council of Trade, therefore, represented against the inclusion of that Article in the Treaty (926, 946, 954).
Colours of Privateers.
The Admiralty having reported upon the evil effect resulting from merchantships in the West Indies wearing his Majesty's colours "under pretence of commissions granted to them by the Governors" (552.i.), the Council of Trade recommended that such ships should be required to wear distinguishing colours (629.i.). A "Jack with a white escutcheon in the middle" was accordingly appointed for them (682, 682.i.).
The Law Officers of the Crown were called upon to decide whether endenized foreigners might be masters of ships trading to the Plantations, and whether Scotchmen, who had no residence in England, were to be accounted English within the meaning of the Act. In both cases they gave their opinion in the affirmative (188, 390, 507).
The critical matters at issue in Hudson's Bay were soon to be cast with other questions into the melting-pot of war. But during this year, in order to arrive, if possible, at some settlement with the French, the Board of Trade suggested a modification of the Company's attitude (60, 61). They therefore made some further proposals in amendment of their ultimatum of July, 1700 (III, cf. Calendar, 1700, No. 629).
Carolina. The election of Moore.
A Minute of Council of Carolina for Sept. 11 gives an account of the election of James Moore as Governor to succeed Blake, objection having been first raised to the election of the Landgraves Bellinger and Moreton on the grounds that they had accepted Commissions from the King, as Judge and Deputy Judge in the Admiralty Court. This was regarded as a breach of trust to the Proprietors, who were declared to have the disposal of these offices (1042.xi.). (fn. 9) Soon after Moore had thus obtained the Governorship, an Act of Assembly was passed intended to destroy as far as possible the jurisdiction of the Admiralty (798), the people in general, according to Moreton, being very averse from a compliance with the Acts of Trade (798, 804, 1042.xi.(a)). During the trial of the Cole and Bean, says the same informant, no artifice was wanting to support the defendant and to discourage the informer. Nicholas Trott, the Attorney General, fell upon the latter in the street and struck him, crying out, "This is the informer, this is he that will ruin the country" (1042.xi.(a)). Enquiries were made of Mr. Thornborough about the new Carolina Act for raising the coin (660). But the illness of the Palatine, my Lord of Bathe, (fn. 10) seems to have put a stop to any attempts on the part of the Board of Trade to obtain information or redress on these or kindred subjects (776). Reports came to hand of considerable French settlements at the mouth of the Mississippi (719, p. 234), and preparations were made in Carolina for a raid on St. Augustine by land and water, should war break out (719).
Vice-Admiral Benbow and the defence of the West Indies.
Benbow arrives in the West Indies.
At the beginning of the year Vice-Admiral Benbow sent in his report upon the defence of the West Indies, "and particular Jamaica." He pointed out that Jamaica, like all the Windward Islands, except Barbados, was at the mercy of any boat's crew that chose to land and raid the undefended coast. "They will be plundered," he prophecies, "except soldiers be sent out of England and planted on the several islands, and some men of war to attend them and transport them as occasion may offer, for the inhabitants of all those parts are not sensible of their danger, nor willing to receive those who will protect them, so that their own safety must be forced upon them" (4). In July two divisions of French war-ships were seen to be hovering off Jamaica; in September, 26 sail were sighted off Martinique. The arrival of Benbow's fleet was anxiously awaited (814, 963, p. 381). He touched at Barbados in November, then sailed away, no one knew whither (997). (fn. 11)
Jamaica and its defences.
Sir William Beeston took a more optimistic view than Benbow of Jamaica's powers of self-defence. He describes the inhabitants as a stout and martial people who lived with their arms in their hands and would be able to give a good account of any invading force, short of a royal fleet and army (p. 269). The fortifications of Port Royal were finished, Fort William "christened," and the fortifications of St. Jago de la Vega well advanced (963). The Militia was put in readiness, and a request for stores of war sent to England (p. 129).
The Assembly and the Revenue Act.
The Assembly met on June 24. The Revenue Act was running out, and it was necessary that it should be renewed (576, p. 129). Orders had been sent from home that this temporary Act was now to be made perpetual. If this were not done within a year, the threat was held out that the Act for Revenue of 1688, which had been passed without limitation of time, but not confirmed hitherto out of consideration for the objections raised as to the election of the Members of that Assembly, would receive the King's approbation (67, 68, 478.i.). The new Assembly, however, was not in the least inclined to make any Revenue Bills perpetual, and thus to lose control of supplies, and to do away with the necessity of being summoned (622, p. 129). On the contrary, they pressed for an account of the Bounty money (602), which had been granted at the time of the earthquake, and which, they hinted, had been misapplied (618). They were told in return it was no business of theirs (604). A fierce quarrel now broke out between the Governor and Council and the Assembly. An Order of Assembly, unobjectionable in itself, relating to the quartering of the regiment which had recently arrived, was proclaimed by beat of drum, without the direction of the Governor. Next day the Governor and Council ordered the Marshall, who had published it, to take down this Proclamation, and committed him to custody (630, 664). The Assembly retorted by asking leave to summon the Marshall, who was also the Council's messenger, to answer to the House for his affront in pulling down their order. The Council replied that, so far from protecting their messenger, they had committed him to prison—for issuing the Proclamation without the Governor's leave. The next move of the Assembly was to resolve, in regard to the Bill for quartering soldiers, to give the officers money instead of quarters, and to levy this money upon the earthquake fund, of which they had already demanded an account in vain (642). This device gave them an excuse for summoning by Speaker's warrant five of the Council, who had been Commissioners of that fund, to lay their account before the House. The demand was not complied with, and, in response to a petition of the Representatives for these accounts, they received a severe reprimand from the Governor and Council for their assumption of unheard of powers both as to this use of the Speaker's warrant and the publishing of the Proclamation, in each case without the leave of the Governor and Council, as if the whole power of Government were in their hands and theirs only. The Council then brought in a Bill of their own for quartering the soldiers. The Assembly as promptly rejected it, and sent up one of their own. This Bill made the King's Revenue responsible for the quartering of the soldiers, and could not be allowed without admitting the Assembly's right to dispose of that Revenue. When their Bill was rejected, the Representatives were in a position to "insinuate to the people that they need not keep the soldiers." Beeston therefore put the island under martial law, in order to secure quarters for the soldiers (p. 380). Together with this Bill the Assembly had sent up a private Bill, to which consent was refused, on purpose that the Statute Book might bear no record of so unprofitable a session. And the Assembly was hastily prorogued in order to prevent their completing an Address to the House of Commons, which they were preparing, "wholly leaving out his Majesty" (673, 674, 676). "It's the people grown rich and proud, and now would set up for themselves," says Beeston, and he chiefly blames Totterdale, an Irish lawyer with a grievance, as the great "Botefeu" (firebrand) of the Assembly, "with two or three more Republican-minded men." Beeston then dissolved the Assembly, and Totterdale was shipped off to England, without a Governor's permit, in order to carry the Assembly's Address to the House of Commons. Beeston proposes that he should be clapped into gaol for his trouble, and, on receipt of this news in England, the Law Officers of the Crown were ordered to be consulted with a view to future proceedings. (676, 676.i.–iii., 1024). Elsewhere (749) Beeston deals more explicitly with the grievances of the Assembly. In one point he agrees with them, that Judges should not be of the Council, in order that an appeal to the Council might not be an appeal "from oneself to oneself." This is a difficulty which crops up frequently in the Plantations. His answer to another grievance, against himself, for receiving a commission on negroes exported to the Spaniards "contrary to the Peace," throws an exceedingly curious light upon the whole trade morality, internal and international, of the time.
Brigadier Selwyn appointed Governor.
Whilst these squabbles were in progress, Brigadier William Selwyn was receiving his commission and instructions to relieve Beeston, who, after so many years of successfully piloting the island to prosperity, had the mortification of leaving it thus embroiled (638, 647.ii., p. 381). That Jamaica had recovered with marvellous rapidity from the French invasion and the earthquake of 1692, is shown by the testimony of Capt. Peers (814).
Selwyn's Instructions, which comprised the directions given to former Governors and recent general orders, concluded with a strong injunction to enforce the Acts of Trade (p. 360). Appeals to the King were to be allowed in cases where over 500l. were at issue, with the usual proviso of time and security (p. 359). Selwyn made several suggestions for the defence of the island, including a demand for the garrisoning or demolition of the fort possessed by "one Sir James Castile, a Papist and a Spaniard" (666). (fn. 12) Some stores of war were ordered to be sent out, but not to be distributed, except upon absolute necessity, unless paid for by the Assembly (667, 725, 770, 842). Selwyn sailed for his Government in August (773).
4½ per cent.
At the beginning of the year the Assembly of Barbados at length took steps to provide for the repair of the fortifications, and also to petition the King for a supply of great guns, to be paid for out of the 4½ per cent. (177, 178, 856, 1163. See Calendar, 1700, p. 1vii.). Upon this petition the Council of Trade represented that the 4½ per cent. had now been assigned by Parliament to the use of the Royal Family, but they again pressed the claims of the Barbadians, on account of their zeal in the late war, as well as on account of the importance of the place, to be particularly considered in the matter of fortification and naval defence (220.i.). No order, however, was made on the subject this year (272).
Governor Grey retires.
Governor Grey's succession to the peerage led to his retirement from Barbados in November (1185). His administration seems to have been popular, if we may judge from the generous presents and testimonials which were bestowed upon him (239, 789, 790, etc.). But the Council of Trade found cause to reprimand his slackness in correspondence (224). The Council and their President, upon whom the administration of affairs in Barbados devolved after Grey's departure, were exercised by more than one matter of importance. In December a plot for a negro rising was discovered by a fisher-wife. The Assembly was hastily summoned (Dec. 28). Stringent precautions were taken to deal with any outbreak or incendiarism (1112, 1190, 1191). At the same time much distress was being caused by a prolonged drought. A "brief" was ordered for raising money for the relief of the poor (1191).
Benbow and Barbados.
Vice-Admiral Benbow had appointed Capt. Kirkby, H.M.S. Ruby, to guard Barbados, and he presently sent in by him a French sloop, "to prevent intelligence" (1183, 1184). The Frenchman was allowed to proceed on his voyage. Soon afterwards there came a letter from the Governor of Martinique complaining of this breach of the peace, and demanding compensation for an alleged robbery by the English crew. This claim, the President and Council, whilst offering to do full justice to any claim advanced in the Courts, showed to be contrary to the evidence of the French captain himself (1192).
Complaints as to the administration of Justice.
Mr. Hodges continued to complain of the delay in the administration of Justice in Barbados. Voluminous and somewhat reckless in his charges, he yet succeeds in showing that there was cause for his complaints and for those of Hawkins and Loder (8, 9, 64, 198, 209, cf. Calendar, 1700, pp. 1v., 1vi.). The Council of Trade wrote to Governor Grey in accordance with the Order of Council, Dec. 19, 1700, directing him to be more careful in the expediting of Justice (81), and they withheld their recommendation for the passing of the presents voted to him until they should receive his reply (237). Further orders were issued in March requiring him to answer the complaints of the several petitioners against delays and undue proceedings, to see that Justice was everywhere duly and speedily administered, and to hold Courts of Chancery until all the causes there were determined. Members of Council, it was added, were not to be exempted from prosecution for debt, except during the sitting of Assembly (246.ii.). A general Instruction was presently issued to all Governors, as heads of Courts of Chancery, to take and administer oaths to do equal justice in those Courts (363). The answer of Governor Grey and the Council of Barbados was a denial, in general and particular, of the petitioners' charges. What delay there had been was due to an outbreak of fever (304, 319, 340, 510.ii.). A record of the proceedings of the Courts during Grey's government was sent over, which should prove a rich mine for the genealogists (372.i.–xv.). With the aid of these Journals, Mr. Hodges submitted the reply of the Governor and Council to a searching examination, and succeeded in showing that there had been considerable negligence in the holding of Courts and the despatch of legal business generally (876, 1027.i.–iv., 1031). Upon the whole matter, the Council of Trade represent that, whatever irregularities there might have been formerly, these had been remedied since the receipt of the reproof from home, Oct. 16, 1700, March 16, 1701. They now recommended that Grey should be allowed to receive the presents voted to him in 1699, 1700. But they take the opportunity of endorsing Hodges's recommendation that the whole system of presents to Governors were better abolished, "if a competent maintenance could otherwise be made." In dealing with this and other suggestions of the kind and attributing them to Mr. Hodges, they make it evident that the document printed Calendar, 1700, No. 751 was his work. It is practically identical with an anonymous pamphlet entitled "Plantation Justice," of which three copies of the second edition (1702) are to be found in the British Museum. (fn. 13) This pamphlet is referred to by Christopher Codrington, who had but recently arrived to take up his government in the Leeward Islands. The brisk and incisive letters of that accomplished soldier and scholar go far to compensate us for the loss of so racy and vigorous a despatch-writer as Bellomont. He proposes to criticise the pamphlet in question, "which I am informed has made some noise at home." Meantime, he says, the fundamental difficulty calling for determination is, "how far and whether or noe Acts of Parliament as such are obligatory" in the Colonies (997, 997.ii.)—a point which, we have seen, was being raised in Massachusetts (945). Mr. Larkin's report (1103) confirms the general impression of the shortcomings of Plantation Justice as sketched in the Preface to the previous volume (Calendar, 1700, p. 1v.). Col. Fox, in his report upon the Leeward Islands, refers to complaints of obstruction in the course of Justice by the frequent adjournment of the Courts (640). Influenced probably by Mr. Hodges and his pamphlet, the House of Commons in April ordered a return upon the administration of Justice in the Plantations (300).
Codrington's administration in the Leeward Islands.
Honest and industrious, if somewhat high-handed, Christopher Codrington had no doubt as to his own merits and impartiality. At Nevis, it was declared, he did more justice in three weeks than had been done in thirty years before. "I have refused all presents, public and private (cf. 1132); I have defended the poor against the rich. . . . I have disobliged the busy and intriguing by a rigorous and impartial exaction of the Acts of Trade." But his attitude towards "some little animals who call themselves Lawyers, and talk to me sometimes of Pleas, Demurrers, Errors, and Exceptions, which I understand as little as they do," was likely to cause him some trouble, however excellent his decrees in equity (600). He endeavoured to establish a regularity and uniformity in the Courts of Justice throughout the Leeward Islands, but was baffled by the attitude of the Deputies from Antigua, who were unwilling to part with their Act, though, says Codrington, "the proceedings settled by it are very dilatory, and the manner of execution downright roguery" (1132).
Codrington and St. Kitts.
On arriving at St. Kitts, Codrington investigated the charges of violence and extortion preferred against Col. Norton (Calendar, 1700, p. 1xi.) and found them fully proved. That noble Governor, "fitter to be a Rapparee than a Governor," would condescend to plunder, even for a pound of soap (33, 34, 112). He was suspended, and on refusing to enter into recognisances to answer the charges brought against him, was committed to the custody of the Provost Marshal. Codrington's action in this matter was approved of at home (405, 418), and though a petition for appeal was put in, it was promptly dropped (1088.i., 1133).
Defence of St. Kitts.
Col. Fox had reported that the Militia of the Leeward Islands was so ill disciplined and badly armed that none of the islands could hold out for long against an enemy (640). With a view to striking the first blow at St. Kitts, Codrington applied to Barbados for a loan of the frigate and 200 men. But here, as on the mainland, there seemed little prospect of concerted action. "The people of Barbados would give these Islands no assistance," says Codrington, and bitterly suggests that the loss of a sugar-island would even be regarded as a gain to Barbados. He blames Grey, and proposes that the two Governments should be united (744). Upon the receipt of this despatch, the Council of Trade wrote to Grey to remind him of his instructions to succour the Leeward Islands or other Plantations upon the application of the Governors, so far as he could (986). At St. Christophers Codrington found the English colonists ready to desert the island in a panic at the French preparations. The arrival of M. de Coetlogon's fleet still further increased their apprehensions, and another fleet under M. de Chateau-Renault was expected (515, 516). Codrington did what he could to restore confidence, and to put the island into as good a state of defence as possible "without men, arms or ammunition." There was not one single pound of powder in the whole island, the little there had been having been fired by Col. Norton, "when he and his Council and Assembly, after falling out, got drunk together and grew friends again" (401, 761). The French, on the other hand, were extremely well armed and officered, and were entrenched and prepared at Basse Terre. The nations were ready to fly at each other's throats, and the island seemed likely to fall to whichever should first receive news of the war (401, 640, p. 468). But, in spite of their alarm, the English refused to concentrate, "the foolish faction between the Windward and Leeward side" promising, according to Codrington, to "give the French the same advantage they had the last two wars" (600). None the less Codrington returned a spirited answer to the French General and Intendant, when they proposed a Treaty of Neutrality (516). Later he wrote, "My will is made and my house set in order, and if I hear of war at midnight I shall visit M. des Gennes at break of day" (p. 603). The boast was to be gallantly fulfilled. The will mentioned was not the one which still benefits the College of Barbados and All Souls, Oxford. Meantime Codrington thought it better not to reside at St. Kitts, as the Council of Trade had recommended (581), in order that he might not have to put the people out of humour by stopping several irregularities, which in his absence he could wink at, and also because in the President of the Council he had "a very gallant but a very silly man, who deals better with M. des Gennes than any politician in Europe would do, for he confounds him with bad Latin and good Scotch, and debauches away his soldiers" (p. 604).
With a view to strengthening St. Kitts, Codrington induced the Assembly to pass an Act of Settlement and a land-tax, which would oblige several to part with land which they had taken up but could not develop. "And so," he says, "I hope to provide for a great many 5 or 10 acre men, which is the true strength of these Colonies." So, too, he hoped to draw off many from Anguilla and Spanish Town, "where the people are perfect outlaws, and work together for the Danes and Dutch." These places were repositories for illegal trade with St. Thomas and Curaçoa, and Codrington could point to two or three "little scoundrels, who have got 10,000l. a man by it."
St. Kitts and illegal trade.
Indeed, the laziness, timidity or corruption of the Custom House Officers, combined with the determination of the people of all ranks to elude the Acts of Trade, made him almost despair of dealing with them (pp. 208, 603, 604).
St. Thomas and Tortola.
With regard to St. Thomas, the Danish Governor, in response to the caution which Codrington had been instructed to give him, answered that the King, his master, would give an account of his title to St. Thomas, and as to Tortola, it was a desert island, and free for anybody, he thought, to turtle at (784).
Codrington and Mead.
Codrington left St. Kitts in order to hear an appeal by Mr. Mead, "the most detestable villain living," only to learn that he had left for London to make complaint there (600, 600.ii.). Mead had been exasperated by his being reduced in rank in the Council of St. Christophers (663). Codrington had now resolved to suspend him for shipping sugar from that island without a permit. He represented Mead as ruling Nevis "like any Bashaw," and says that it was only his presence in Court that gave President Burt courage to "pronounce against his Lord and Master" (600). Codrington, indeed, intervened in Court, insisting upon justice being done in a case which the influence and bribery of Mead had long delayed. Mead's business in London was to represent his view of the case, to make prejudice against Codrington (997.iii., 1133), and to apply for appeal. His case was the reverse of the medal; as tenant of certain plantations in Nevis he had been ejected, thanks to Governor Codrington's unwarrantable and high-handed interference with the judgment of the Court, exercised on behalf of a claimant from whom he intended, it was said, to purchase the plantations, if the claim proved successful. Application for an appeal to be heard by the Privy Council was also made in the case of a somewhat similar ejectment from a plantation in dispute in St. Kitts (1089.i., 1090.i.). Codrington's reply does not come to hand this year, but, in the general defence put forward on his behalf by his agent in the meanwhile, it is noticeable that he states that it was not contrary to practice for a Governor to sit on the Bench as Chief Judge, though the appeal lay to him and the Council (1130, 1134). Meanwhile Lieut.-Governor Elrington sent home from Nevis testimonials from the Council and Representatives as to Codrington's justice and impartiality (652.ii., iii.).
The murder of a Major Martin by his slaves in Antigua draws a remarkable pronouncement from Codrington in eulogy of the Corramante negroes, with a comment upon the harsh treatment of their slaves by the Planters (1132). (cf. p. 693). The murder caused great alarm in that island, but "scarce a man could find a gun, and he that could had neither powder nor ball nor sword" (1132.ii.). Remembering the alarm of a negro rising in Barbados, this fact is more surprising than that Col. Jory, in defending some Acts of Nevis to which the Attorney-General had taken exception, should have called attention to the decrease in the number of whites, and the danger of the great preponderance of the negro population (707, 816, 919, 941, 1020).
On the death of Thomas Delavall, Lieutenant-Governor of Montserat, Codrington appointed Col. Hodges to succeed him, in compliance with the request of the Council (44, 44.i.). Its population of Irish Papists gave reason to fear more danger to the safety of the island from within than from without. As to helping in an attack upon the French at St. Kitts, not three men could the Lieutenant-Governor prevail upon to enlist for that enterprise (743, 784, 784.ii.).
Revolution in the Bahamas.
On his arrival at New Providence, Capt. Haskett, the new Governor, sent home a description of the island and its resources, and also of the inhabitants. Half of the latter, he says, were the offscourings of the other Plantations, who feared neither God nor King, and the other half mulattos, who made a living as wreckers. The unpopularity of his administration of law and justice, and of his interference with the traffic with pirates, leads him to fear that he will be roasted alive, and he applies for some soldiers to protect him (655). In the light of succeeding events, his fears cannot be termed exaggerated (655). The right of the Admiralty to issue Commissions of Vice-Admiralty was jealously questioned by the supporters of the Proprietors, and the right of the Crown to the tenths of wrecks was disputed in particular, the Admiralty officers finding themselves in danger of their lives at the hands of Read Elding, the Deputy-Governor (685, 685.iii., 1042.ix. See Calendar, 1700, p. 1xiv.).
The crisis came when the Courts were about to sit. For Read Elding, Ellis Lightwood, and other ringleaders in the rebellion, were to be tried for fraud and piracy (1042.viii., 1113, 1113.i.). "My justly and honestly putting the King's laws in execution were the cause that I very nearly escaped being executed myself," says Haskett, who, whether altogether immaculate or not himself, clearly had to deal with a very lawless and piratical crew. On pretence of visiting the Governor in order to clear himself, Read Elding led an armed rabble to the Governor's house, seized it and the fort, and threw the Governor into irons. Other officers of the Government, such as the Judge of the Admiralty Court, the Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and the Secretary, were similarly treated. After narrowly escaping death, Haskett was finally forced on board a small ketch and carried off to New York. He managed to elude the vigilance of his captors so far that he saved some of his money which he had tied round his middle, whilst Thomas Walker, Judge of the Admiralty, succeeded in communicating with Governor Nicholson by a device which would adorn a romance. "On Oct. 17," says the master of a sloop, "Col. Walker at Nassau Town gave me half a bitt's worth of apples, which I put in my pocket. Upon my voyage to Virginia, going to eat one of the apples, cutting it with a knife, discovered some pinns in it, and afterwards this paper, upon which, looking how it was put into the apple, found that the top of the apple had been cut off, the inside of the apple dug out, this paper put in, and the top of the apple pinned on again" (1042.viii.(d.)). Walker himself presently escaped to Virginia, after having "warily prevented" the Deputy Governor, Elding, from murdering him. There he craved the aid of a man-of-war to enforce respect to the Admiralty Commissions and the payment of the King's royalties, which the Council had voted should be paid to the Proprietors (964.ii.).
On reaching New York, some of those who accompanied Haskett were thrown into gaol on a charge of high treason preferred by him (p. 703). The day after the Governor was seized, the people met and elected Ellis Lightwood President (1042.viii.). In a previous letter to Governor Nicholson he had represented himself as a "true King's man," anxious to see the Bahamas under the immediate protection of the Crown, and loving not democracy (1042.x. (b.)), whilst in an address to the King and Parliament the Assembly had equally declared themselves Monarchy men, complained of the exactions of their unsalaried Governors, and their "Egyptian bondage," of the defenceless state of the island, and, incidentally, of any attempt to fortify it at the price of their own exertions; and of the sale of Hog Island and other lands by the Proprietors. They gave expression to a perfectly just fear of attack from the French and Spaniards, and craved to be purchased by the Crown and protected by H.M. ships of war (1042.x. (d.)). The Bahamas, in fact, represent the Proprietary system in its worst form, the Proprietors having neither funds nor force to defend the place or exercise authority (934, 1042.ix., (c.)). Edward Randolph gives the white population of Providence as amounting to only 250 (208).
On hearing of the Bill for reassuming the Proprieties, the Assembly of Bermuda petitioned that the Bahama Islands might be joined to their Government (1019). The new Governor, Bennet, found two barrels of powder in the island, and the fortifications hopelessly out of repair (29, 57, 94, 137, 456). But under his direction the Assembly took steps for repairing them, and by the autumn, Bennet was able to report that trenches were made wherever a boat could land (550, 558, 847, 982). The Assembly, which met upon his arrival, after discussing the matters recommended to their consideration according to the Governor's instructions, exhorted him to regard the Excise Act as determined, which Governor Day, they said, taking advantage of an error by the Clerk, had held to be indefinite. The Council of Trade, however, supported Day's claim that the Revenue Act was not temporary (376, 525, 764).
Bennet found many complaints against the late Governor and his myrmidons. He suspended Edward Jones, the Sheriff and Provost Marshall, on the strength of an indictment by the Assembly for violence and extortion. Jones' methods of business are strikingly exposed (559, 578, 587, 797, 797.ii.). An examination of his accounts then took place (690, 718). Further evidence as to Governor Day's illegal and high-handed ways in connection with a petition for the suspension of Chief Justice Nelson, one of his creatures, is given (498, 657). Nelson was ordered to be prosecuted (672). A political skit, of little literary merit, is referred to as emanating from Day (947). It hints that knaves had been put into the places of honest men upon the Council and Judicature. Here, as in Barbados and Virginia, days of humiliation, for deprecating Divine judgments and threatened disasters, were appointed (578, 1163).
The Planters and the Fisheries.
Mr. Larkin's report on Newfoundland, in contrast to those returned in previous years by the Commodores of the Convoy, draws attention to many abuses that were being carried on there, to the detriment of the Fishery, the Adventurers and the inhabitants. Great complaint is made against New England traders, who, besides indulging in illegal trade, debauched the fishermen with rum, and inveigled them away with promises of high wages, "so that last year they carried away out of Conception Bay upwards of 500 men, some of which were headed up in casks" (756). Larkin's report is, on the whole, borne out by Commodore Graydon's report, who gives details of the progress of the French and English Fisheries. He had received instructions to be careful in his enquiries, the answers of former Commodores having been perfunctory and inaccurate. His report indicates a general atmosphere of lawlessness and debauchery, the Planters catching fish in the summer, spending the winter in drunkenness, and then finding themselves on the verge of starvation and at the mercy of the New England traders when they arrived with provisions. Nor did these annual reports disturb or interest them, "for nothing is redressed, and they reckon it a thing of course and no more" (879. xii., xiii.).
Condition of the Garrison.
The garrison at St. John's is described as half-armed and mostly shoeless (921, 938). We have seen something of the character of their officers (Calendar, 1700, p. lxiv.). The Council of Trade recommended the recall of Lieutenant Lilburne and his chief accuser (142, 182). Meantime the officers in command of the fort were playing queer pranks with the Chaplain who had been sent out there, and whose salary they objected to having stopped out of the regiment's pay (1181.i.). "They would force him to come into the Fort to officiate, and then threaten to shoot him the first time he comes" (906, 995.i.).
On p. 34 Bellomont makes earlier use of a Gallicism—"on the carpet"—than any recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary. So, too, William Penn, in writing "other Provinces cutt us out" makes an unexpectedly early use of that phrase. Adaman(d) Eve and Tristram Coffin are unlikely names. But the most curious word in this Calendar is on p. 246, where a reprieve is sought in Maryland "on account of the corobeness of the crime." The crime itself is not mentioned. Probably "corobeness" is a "port- manteau word" like "slithy," and has arisen from the presence in the scribe's mind of the two ideas expressed by "the commonness of the crime of robbery." (fn. 14)