Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 20, 1702. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1912.
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On Feb. 28, 1702, a French naval officer, on board the Triton off Porto Rico, described to a friend the appearance of a comet, which had lately been visible at twilight. "There have been great wagers," he writes, "as to the meaning of this Comet. Some will have it foretell a great war; others the death of several great ones" (163). (fn. 1)
Governor Nicholson also reports that the "tail of a blazing star" had been observed in Virginia (105). A week later William III was dead; little more than two months later the War of the Spanish Succession had broken out, and advice-boats were being dispatched to take the news of the Declaration of War to the Colonies (414, 417, 431 ff).
Three days after the death of King William an Order of Council was issued that the Governors of the Plantations should proclaim the accession of Queen Anne "in the most solemn manner," and at the same time publish H.M. Proclamation continuing officers in their places (189, 219). Occasion was to be taken to exhort the Colonists to do what was necessary for their security and defence. The news reached America during May (527, 537, 538), and, in view of the Queen's Declarations and Address to the House of Lords (219.i.–iii.), was everywhere received with satisfaction (845 etc.). New commissions were presently issued to the various Governors (573, 714 ff).
On Jan. 24 the Council of Trade signed an elaborate representation upon the general state of the defence of the Colonies (51, 55.i.). They recommended the despatch of arms and ammunition, and that the Governors and Proprietors of those Plantations, which had signified their unwillingness to contribute their quotas to New York, should receive further instructions directing them in the most pressing terms to comply with that requirement, as being "a matter of common benefit and security." It was ordered that letters of this tenor should be sent accordingly (77). In making a return of the stores of war sent to the several Plantations within the last twelve months, the Board pointed out that, in case of war, it would be necessary to furnish magazines of stores in the chief of them (32). They made a further report upon the state of defence in the Plantations in April (348), when the whole question was considered in full Council "at Mr. Secretary Vernon's office" (384). An Order in Council in August gave directions for letters to be written to the Governors and Proprietors, instructing them once more to make provision for the defence of their Provinces (896). In drawing up their report, the Council of Trade took the opportunity of representing the necessity of providing stores and credit for H.M. ships of war in the Colonies, for want of which ships had often been laid up in harbour, or Governors, like Nicholson, been compelled to engage their private fortunes (635, 1093, p. 47).
The most important documents contained in the present volume are those letters from the Governors of the West Indies and Admiral Benbow to the Council of Trade, Mr. Secretary Vernon and the Earl of Nottingham, which enable us to trace the movements of the French Fleet in those seas, and which, together with the proceedings of the Court Martial held at Jamaica, throw light upon the action which disgraces the annals of the British Navy and cost Benbow his life.
An immense fleet under the command of Châteaurenault had concentrated at Martinique in January (8, 8.ii., 8.iii., 132, 195.i.). The French Admiral appears to have intended to commence hostilities by making an attack upon Barbados and the Leeward Islands (101, 103, p. 110), whilst Coetlogon convoyed home the Spanish Flota assembled at Vera Cruz. But the Spanish merchants were shy of trusting their rich galleons to the protection of the French. On hearing that they had refused to sail with Coetlogon, Châteaurenault abandoned his project, and himself sailed with eighteen men-of-war and nine frigates for Havana or Vera Cruz, intending to divide his fleet and send part of it home, after passing Jamaica and possibly fighting the English there under Benbow (163). With his main force he proposed to pick up the Spanish galleons and to convoy them away through the Gulf of Mexico (325). He left Martinique on Feb. 22 (N.S.), much to the relief of the Barbadians. His ships were badly provisioned, and his men had suffered from disease during their stay there (132, 132.i., 136, 163, 325).
Admiral Benbow, waiting at Jamaica with a force not sufficient to engage the main division of the French, but strong enough to fight a squadron, protect the Plantations, and perhaps to catch the Spanish Flota, suffered in the same way. He was losing more men from sickness, he says in giving an account of the state of his ships, "than if we fought once a month. Scarce one in three of our Europeans live here twelve months" (333, 473, 560). After touching at Leogane (Hispaniola), Châteaurenault proceeded to Havana at the beginning of April, and there remained wooing the Flota at Vera Cruz, till the middle of July, when, having at last overcome the coyness of the Spanish merchants, he sailed for Europe, his overwhelming force of 30 men-of-war convoying eight galleons (323, 325.i., 523, 560, 743, 811, 980, 1136). Benbow had not strength to prevent him. Seeing that the safety of the Plantations depended upon success, he deemed it imprudent to hazard a battle with Châteaurenault's fleet (473, 560). But he hoped to account for the squadron which the French Admiral had detached to Leogane, and which he thought was staying there, but which, in accordance with the plan explained above, slipped away to France (333, 473, 523). At the end of June he was still uncertain whether war had been proclaimed (560).
Nevertheless, on hearing that M. Ducasse, the new French Governor of Leogane, was on his way from France "with four sail of men of war, to settle the Assiento at Carthagena and destroy the trade of the English and Dutch on that coast" (560, 560.i.), he laid his plans to intercept him, as well as the new Spanish Governor of Cartagena, who was coming from Hispaniola, and some victuallers making for Châteaurenault's force at Havana. With this object he divided his fleet into three squadrons, to cruise off Hispaniola, Cuba and Cartagena (560, 560.i., 743). At the beginning of July tidings reached him of the outbreak of the war (743). At the beginning of the following month Benbow, with seven men-of-war, was still hovering off the north coast of Hispaniola, waiting for Ducasse, and meanwhile meeting with some small successes (811) amongst the shipping at Leogane. At length he was informed that Ducasse, with 22 sail, had been sighted off Porto Rico, July 27 (811, 936). But Ducasse, getting wind of Benbow's position, did not make for Leogane. He sent the merchantmen and transports under his convoy to Havana, some ships with the Duke of Albuquerque to Vera Cruz, and himself stood away for the Spanish coast. Benbow hastened to intercept him on his way to port at Cartagena, and fell in with him on Aug. 19 off Rio la Hache (Rio Hacha). The reward of his long watch seemed at hand. Ducasse had but four men-of-war, of from 60 to 70 guns, besides two merchantmen, or transports, and four small vessels, against seven English men-of-war with a superiority of 122 guns. But on the side of the Frenchman was the poltroonery of the English captains. A running fight ensued during a week when light winds prevailed, the Frenchmen endeavouring to get away, and Benbow engaging their ships successively as he came up (936). On the first day, Capt. Kirkby, of the Defiance, who was in the van, contented himself with firing three broadsides, "then luffed up out of the line and out of gunshot, leaving the Admiral engaged with two French ships till dark" (1063.i.). The Windsor followed suit. Next day Benbow altered the line of battle, taking the van with the Bredah, in hopes to shame the rest into following his example. But all the others hung far astern, whilst Benbow and the Ruby plied the enemy with their chase guns till night, and next day, though the Ruby was disabled, but for the refusal of Captain Kirkby and Captain Constable of the Windsor to fire their broadsides, they must have taken the enemy's sternmost ships. The next day and the next the Admiral clung to the enemy's rear, being now supported by the Falmouth (Capt. Vincent), whilst Kirkby and the rest hung back, "as if they had a design to sacrifice the Admiral and Falmouth, or desert" (p. 675). Benbow then sent the Ruby, which had behaved very well and was disabled, back to Jamaica with a prize (936, p. 676). Early in the morning of the 24th he and the Falmouth again engaged the sternmost ship of the enemy. At 3 a.m. the Admiral's leg was broken by a chain-shot; he was still deserted by all but the Falmouth; but nothing daunted, the indomitable sailor "ordered his cradle upon the quarter-deck, and commanded the fight to be vigorously maintained." By daylight the enemy appeared a wreck; but Kirkby running "away from the poor disabled ship, and the rest following his sad example, though they had but eight men killed on board them all," the other three French men of war, seeing their cowardice, bore down upon the Bredah, Benbow's ship, gave her a raking fire and rescued their disabled comrade. Benbow having mended his rigging, gave orders to stand abreast of the enemy's van, and then to attack them. He sent word to all the captains to keep the line of battle and behave themselves like Englishmen. The six English ships were now alongside the three Frenchmen, and to windward of them; for the first time, after six days of light winds, there was a stiff breeze blowing; "a fairer opportunity could never happen to engage" (pp. 578, 579, 676) and capture the forces designed for the Spanish forts and the officers of the Assiento. At this moment, Kirkby, hearing that Benbow was wounded, came on board the Bredah, and without stopping to enquire after his Admiral's health, protested against continuing the action, "it not being necessary, safe or convenient." "During the six days' engagement he had never encouraged his men to fight, but by his own example of dodging behind the mizen-mast, and falling down on the deck on the noise of the shot, and denying them the provisions of the ship, the said men were under great discouragement" (p. 677). Benbow summoned the other captains to a consultation on board the Bredah. Unfortunately, for one consideration or another, they followed Kirkby's lead, and signed a paper of reasons for putting an end to the fight, drawn up by him. Those reasons were, Benbow says in his reply to them, "all a vision false and cowardice, which I doe averr" (936.i., ii.). He was obliged to return to Jamaica, there to die of his wound and the chagrin of this disgraceful affair (1191). But he lived long enough to see the cowardly and insubordinate captains court-martialled, and to give evidence in favour of those who had behaved courageously (p. 678). Of the rest, Captain Kirkby and Captain Wade were condemned to be shot for "cowardice, breach of orders and neglect of duty," but were respited till H.M. pleasure should be known (fn. 2); Captain Hudson died before the trial, and Captain Constable, cleared of cowardice, was cashiered and imprisoned during H.M. pleasure. The proceedings of the Court Martial, held on board the Canterbury by Rear-Admiral Whetstone (who presently succeeded Benbow), are given (1063.i.). They do not afford any clear indication that there was any other motive for the conduct of Kirkby and the rest but sheer poltroonery. Possibly Kirkby's excuse for not firing on the enemy, "because they did not fire at him, for that they had a respect for him," may have been intended to suggest that Admiral Benbow did not inspire respect, and indicate some feeling of jealousy entertained by smart placemen at being commanded by a hard fighting, rough-tongued sailorman, like Benbow, the hero of the gun-room and the foc'sle, an old Tarpaulin, who had made a career of the Navy. In any case, we may well believe Benbow's report that "the people in these parts are extremely incensed against them, having never heard or met with anything so base" (1066). It is evident that the sailors and subordinate officers were ready enough to fight. It remains curious, therefore, that Benbow did not place Kirkby under arrest during the action and supersede him on the spot, or threaten to turn his guns on him. Had he done so, so far as one can judge, this discreditable, but happily unique, episode might never have sullied a page in the glorious history of the British Navy.
Lord Cornbury did not arrive at New York, to take up his Government there, until May. The long delay in his coming over gave rise to the rumour that he was not coming at all (373). Nothing could have been more unfortunate. It seems to have been well understood in New York that he would prove a strong supporter of the Anti-Leislerite party, and would reverse the policy of Bellomont. The Leislerites, therefore, in the meantime, having gained control of affairs in the way we have seen in the preceding volume, allowed their partisan favour to go beyond all bounds. On examination of some witnesses, chiefly soldiers of the garrison, it appeared that three Addresses, to the King, the House of Commons, and Lord Cornbury, had been drawn up by "Protestants of the English Party," (fn. 3) complaining of the proceedings of the Leislerites, as tending to render H.M. Government "scandalous, vile and cheap in the eyes of the people" (464, 465, cf. Calendar, 1701, No. 1117.ii., iv.). The Lieutenant-Governor, however, and the Leislerite Members of Council state that they were signed by soldiers, seamen, common sojourners, Dutch, Frenchmen and aliens, who in no way represented the English (44, 45). It was said that Col. Bayard and his son, and Alderman Hutchins, the keeper of a public-house, were the prime movers in promoting these Addresses, and that by plying the garrison with strong drink they had obtained their signatures in ignorance of the contents. Hutchins and the Bayards were accordingly summoned before the Council and required to produce the Addresses (Jan. 17, No. 35). The Bayards said that this was not in their power, and were bound over to stand their trial in the Supreme Court. Hutchins, for not producing the Addresses, was committed to custody, for "that he hath to the manifest disturbance of the peace of this Government, used divers indirect practices to procure mutiny and sedition amongst the soldiers," etc. (p. 31), "and drawn in them and others to sign scandalous libels, whereby they have endeavoured to render the past and present Administration vile and cheap in the eyes of the people" (p. 33). To justify this procedure, an old Act of 1691, for settling the recent disorders, was raked up and quoted. As to the legality of the proceeding, the English Attorney-General remarks that Hutchins was required to produce a libel of which he was the author, and thus to accuse himself (368, 379). On the following day Col. Bayard, Rip Van Dam, Philip French and Thomas Wenham petitioned for his release. The Addresses, they said, were in their custody, not his (pp. 32, 229). One of the Addresses, which they still refused to produce, they described as directed to Lord Cornbury, "nominated by H.M. to succeed the late Earl of Bellomont as our Governor." This phrase was seized upon and interpreted as an incitement "to the people to disown the present authority," and Nicholas Bayard was accordingly committed for high treason, in spite of the opinion of the Attorney-General that there was nothing criminal or illegal in the Address or their conduct (p. 33, Nos. 343. iii.–vii.).
Great pressure was also put upon the other three to induce them to deliver up the Addresses (58, 137, 187, 188); but the opportune arrival of a ship, Jan. 24, with news that Cornbury was indeed coming, moderated the zeal even of Atwood and Weaver (343.v.). A proclamation had been ordered, intended to allay the apprehension of wholesale prosecutions which had been aroused, and so to leave the hands of the Leislerites free to attack the ringleaders (49, 54.i.). It was suppressed (p. 229). The zealots concentrated their efforts on the humiliation, if not the destruction, of Bayard and Hutchins. Juries were packed (pp. 262, 614ff., No. 412); and, since the Attorney-General proved obdurate, a new office, that of Solicitor-General, was created, and Weaver appointed to it (91). There was nothing that could be reasonably interpreted as treason in the Addresses; the Addresses themselves had never yet been seen either by judge or jury; but the Chief Justice, by proceedings "the most unjust ever heard of," as Lord Cornbury says (p. 614), procured a verdict of guilty, and sentenced Bayard and Hutchins to suffer the death of traitors (1206ff).
The day of execution was fixed. To save his neck, Bayard was obliged to sign a petition for a reprieve, in which he confessed his fault. A phrase forced upon him was construed as admitting the guilt of high treason (213, 412, p. 263). On April 14th, intimation was received that Lord Cornbury might be expected to arrive shortly. The same day the Lt.-Governor and Council wrote to the Council of Trade, that Hutchins and Bayard, having confessed their offences, had been reprieved till H.M. pleasure should be known. Hutchins was recommended to mercy (338). Almost simultaneously their case was laid before that Board in London (343), and, upon their recommendation (392), a reprieve was dispatched in hot haste to New York (383). The Council of Trade presently proposed that their case should be heard by the Privy Council (405). Meanwhile, at New York, Livingstone was suspended from the Council. Popular feeling in the city was largely Anti-Leislerite, and manifested itself by cutting down the gallows—presumably a pro-Bayard demonstration (268, 302). But many of the most prominent merchants, in the face of this persecution, fled to the Jerseys or adjoining provinces (408, 410). And the neighbouring Governments, such as Virginia and Maryland, began to take steps to interfere (192).
The Leislerites passed from one extreme to another. On hearing of the arrival of Lord Cornbury in the river, May 1, the Assembly sat night and day without intermission and, in frantic haste, passed seven Acts. They included one for the payment of the damages said to have been suffered by Leisler in the Revolution, one to outlaw French and Wenham, one to gerrymander the constituencies by adding five members to the Assembly in those counties which they expected to carry, another to tie up the revenue and secure incomes for Nanfan and Atwood, and others intended to tie the Governor's hands (412). Six out of the seven Cornbury presently recommended to be repealed, whilst the Council of Trade, as soon as they heard of the first, wrote that it must be disallowed, pointing out that it was contrary to Bellomont's Instructions (752, 1010). They also directed Cornbury to induce the Assembly to repeal the obsolete clause in the Act of 1691, under which Bayard had been condemned (740). The Bishop of London also interposed to procure the repeal of an Act of 1700 as affecting the provision made for ministers.
Cornbury had landed at New York on May 3, and immediately dissolved the Assembly (408.i.). His arrival was signalised by the return of the Anti-Leislerite merchants who had fled to the Jerseys (408, 410). His next step was to suspend the five Leislerite Members of Council, whose Reign of Terror was thus brought abruptly to a conclusion (601). His reasons are given (1206.ii., iv., vi.). Weaver, the Collector-General, forfeiting a bond into which Cornbury had obliged him to enter to answer his accounts, fled the Province; so, too, did Atwood and Depeyster. The two former arrived at Plymouth in October under borrowed names, in contempt of the Governor's proclamation for their arrest (1086–1088), and Atwood entered his feeble defence (750).
As for the Lieut.-Governor Nanfan, he had the mortification of having his Bills returned protested from home, and was himself arrested by Cornbury on the grounds that he was in H.M. debt (1021). Broughton was restored to the office of Attorney-General by Order in Council (741). Cornbury was heartily welcomed by the Anti-Leislerites, who voiced their grievances and sense of relief (999.xi.ff). The Leislerites, they said, had aimed at the extirpation of the English by turning them out of all commissions of the Peace and Militia, and putting in Dutchmen and the meanest and most ignorant of the people, "few of them understanding English, much less the Laws." The sheriffs could most of them neither read nor write. Cornbury was easily convinced of the necessity of substituting sheriffs of more Anti-Leislerite intelligence. In the same way he recommended for the Council the old Fletcherite gang (1016.i.). It is significant that some of the documents he sends home are countersigned by Honan (999.xi.ff.), Fletcher's disreputable secretary, whom Cornbury said he had dismissed at the instance of the Council of Trade (Calendar 1701, Pref. XXV.). The scale of Justice seems likely to kick the beam on the other side. Significant also of the new order of things is the list of men transmitted by Nottingham to the Council of Trade without consulting them, as appointed to the Councils of New York and New Jersey. The Board drew attention to the undesirability of proceeding in this way, and made objections to individuals proposed (932).
After proclaiming Queen Anne at New York, June 18, when "the people showed all the cheerfulness and loyalty that could be wished for" (652), Cornbury proceeded to review the defences of the Province. He found the garrison at New York wretchedly clad and armed, the fort rotten and the guns honeycombed. To protect the place from attack by sea he proposed the erection of stone batteries upon Long Island and Staten Island (p. 606). Proceeding to the frontier, he found the garrison at Albany no better off, and the fort as Bellomont had described it. Schenectady, a mere open village, "more like a pound than a fort," had hardly any guns or men, and no powder or shot. The Militia of the Province had not been mustered since Col. Fletcher's time. Except for the regiment at Albany, the Militia was "a thing forgot" (p. 605). Stone forts at Albany and Schenectady, stone redoubts at Nustugione and Half-Moon, and a stockaded fort at Saractoga would secure the frontiers, and so the whole Continent, if garrisoned by a force of 600 men. Our Indians, too, many of whom were wavering, would be kept loyal by this means, and the settlers on the frontiers would be secured. So far, it will be seen, Cornbury repeats the reports of Bellomont, derived, no doubt, from the same advisers, though he never loses an opportunity of blaming his predecessor (994). His own contribution to the theory of the situation is only remarkable for the wisdom of foolishness:— "The only good way of securing the whole Continent would be to drive the French out of Canada . . . that the thing may be done with ease is certain. 1,500 well-disciplined men from England, and eight fourth-rate frigates, joined with what we can raise in these Provinces, will do that matter effectually." Such was his optimistic view, upon which he enlarges in detail (1009). His practice was more to the purpose. Col. Romer, whose energies were absorbed by the fortifications at Boston, had done little or nothing towards the fort at Albany. Cornbury made a design of his own, and laid the foundations of a stone fort with the materials that had been slowly accumulated for that purpose. He then called Romer to account, much to the disgust of the Dutch engineer (994).
At Albany he held a conference with the Indians (1009.ff.). He announced the accession of Anne, and the Five Nations welcomed a Governor of the Blood Royal (1009.ii.c.). Some Canada Indians, who were present at Albany, asked if the Governor of Canada were correct in saying that the Indians were to be neutral in case of war, and some Far Indians from the French fort at Tieughsaghrondie (Detroit) enquired if goods were cheaper at Albany than in Canada. Cornbury enquired of the Five Nations as to their relations with the Far Indians, and demanded an account of their late treaty with the French of Canada and their communications with them. He warned them not to trust the French, and to be on their guard, even if they professed to be going to keep their Indians neutral. He promised to provide forts at Albany, Schenectady and out garrisons. In reply, the Five Nations complained that none of the promises made to them last year had been fulfilled; they went to Canada because goods were cheaper there, and the way easier (1009.ii.g). They and the River Indians promised not to be the first aggressors in case of war, and not to receive priests into their country. The River Indians announced that the Pennicoke Indians had received a message from the Governor of Canada inviting them to go and live in Canada, which they had refused to do. Cornbury, in return, invited them to live at Schachkook. The Five Nations communicated a summons which the Sachims of the Onnondages, Cayuges and Senecas had received from the Governor of Canada to attend him. Cornbury told them not to hearken to any proposition from the French. They promised to obey. But Cornbury presently learnt from Dekanissore that, during this conference, Sachims from the Onnondages, Cayuges, and probably Senecas, had gone to Canada, and that a Jesuit priest was coming to Onnondage from Canada. Cornbury charged them on their allegiance to send him back to Canada, or to bring him to Albany. But the impression naturally left upon his mind was doubt as to the loyalty of those three tribes.
When the new Assembly met, it was not at New York but at Jamaica. For the capital was scourged with an epidemic so violent that at one time 500 deaths occurred in ten weeks (p. 612). It abated in the autumn, and the Assembly returned to New York in November (1148). But it left its mark upon the Statute Book in the shape of what were intended as preventive measures, such as the prohibition of the burning of oyster-shells (for lime) near the city.
The new Assembly was strongly Anti-Leislerite. They chose William Nicholl(s) for their Speaker, and, after preparing a congratulatory Address to the Queen, and voting 1,800l. for raising men to garrison Albany and Schenectady, in accordance with Cornbury's recommendations for the defence of the Province (1072, 1092), they turned to the pleasant task of retaliation. Abraham Gouverneur, the former Speaker, was declared to be an alien, and the laws passed when he was Speaker therefore null and void (1011, 1134); the trial and condemnation of Bayard and Hutchins were pronounced illegal, and those responsible recommended to be prosecuted; and it was resolved that "the setting up a Court of Equity in this Colony without consent of General Assembly is an innovation without precedent, inconvenient and contrary to the English Law; that the Court of Chancery, as lately erected and managed here, was and is unwarrantable, a great oppression to the subject, of pernicious example and consequence"; and an Act was passed to that effect, and declaring its decrees null and void (1134, 1199). Commissioners were appointed to examine the Public Accounts (1182). Amongst the Bills recommended to the Assembly in Cornbury's speech, was one for "erecting public schools at proper places," and an Act for the encouragement of a Free School at New York was passed (1072, 1166, 1199).
Cornbury drew attention to the increase of the debts of the Province, hinting that Bellomont was responsible, and applied for a grant from the Crown to pay off the deficit and to complete the fortifications (p. 613). In compliance with a request from the Council of Trade, he made a report upon the naval stores commissioned by Bellomont (418, 1007 ff). In England, a company, headed by Sir Mathew Dudley, applied for a Charter of Incorporation to work the mines and provide naval stores in New England (813).
Before the arrival of Governor Dudley, the Government of the Massachusetts Bay pressed on with the fortification of Castle Island (129), and took other measures for defence (218, 264), including "an experiment of fireworks for sinking ships" (584). When it was reported that some Indians, acting under the commission of the Governor of Accadie, had seized some Salem ketches at Cape Sables, they wrote to M. Brouillan for an explanation (538, 564). He, later on, returned the compliment by demanding the restoration of French vessels taken by Massachusetts privateers since the declaration of the war (972).
Governor Dudley arrived at Marblehead on June 11 (357, 593). The Assembly had been dissolved in April, "the business of husbandry being urgent at this season" (326). The new Assembly met on May 27 (532), and made a loyal Address to the Queen (565). In his Speech, the Governor recommended to them measures of defence, especially the rebuilding of the fort at Pemaquid, and the provision of a settled establishment of the Government. He characteristically impressed upon the Representatives that, since the Province was not so profitable to the Crown as the Southern tobacco-growing Plantations, "it is therefore justly expected of us that we use all methods to fall into such other articles of trade to supply the Kingdom of England with naval stores and other commodities there wanting, of which this Province is capable, that may remove this objection, and that in the meantime we be as little chargeable to the Crown as may be, especially that we take care that our Trade be kept within the strictest bonds of all Acts of Parliament, and that all false trade and practices be with utmost diligence prevented and suppressed" (608). The Assembly had made but little progress in carrying out these proposals when Dudley, being obliged to leave for New Hampshire and the frontiers, prorogued them (668).
News of the war reached Boston on June 19 (629, 633). Steps were at once taken to encourage privateers (728, 780), which met with such success that they had secured fifteen prizes by the middle of October (810, 966, 1046). More difficulty was experienced by Dudley in fulfilling the instructions he received from home to send provisions and some companies of volunteers to Jamaica (966). The idea of denuding the Province for this, the first oversea expedition from Massachusetts, was naturally not popular, especially when information was received that the Governor of Quebec had sent a couple of hundred Indians to attack the Eastern frontiers (1135). Dudley had to contend with the opposition of the Council, who spread the story that the companies would be broken up on arrival at Jamaica and distributed amongst the regular regiments there, "and put on board Admiral Benboe" (1131, 1135). He therefore urged that it was most important that they should be kindly treated.
Dudley, proceeding to the frontiers on a tour with a Committee of the General Assembly to view the ruined fort of Pemaquid (810), met the Sachims of the Eastern Indians on his return at the end of July.
Details of the negotiations carried on with the Eastern Indians in June, 1701 (see Calendar, 1701, No. 500, etc.) are now given (184 ff.). They had then refused to send their children to be educated by the English, or to abandon the religion they had learnt from the Jesuits, but they promised to remain neutral in case of war, and to give up the French flag they were flying. To commemorate the treaty, two pillars of stone were erected at Andrew's Point, "now mutually agreed forever hereafter to be called the Two Brothers' Point" (184.i.).
Dudley expressed his approval of these Treaty Stones. He renewed the bond of friendship, and urged the Eastern Indians, now that war was declared between France and England, not to cross the Saco River, but to keep away from the English settlements, for fear they should be mistaken for Canada Indians. They complained that the price of beaver had fallen by one half. The Governor explained that it was out of fashion in Europe. "Nothing," he concluded, "but the French priests among them will put them out of a temper towards us" (803, 810, 810.ii., 966). He received the thanks of the Assembly for his services in this connection, "the peace hitherto with the Indians, which was more than they expected, depended wholly upon my personal knowledge of them and travail to Pemaquid to meet them." But thanks were all he obtained; the Assembly showed no inclination to settle the Governor's salary, and Dudley applied for an order to be supported out of the revenue.
The Committee, which had visited Pemaquid, recommended that the Assembly should vote a sum of money to rebuild the walls of that fort, and that her Majesty should be petitioned to garrison it. Dudley made a representation to this effect, pointing out that the cost of maintaining a garrison was beyond the means of the Province, since no craftsman was paid less than 5s. a day, and that the need of one was great, in view of the garrison at Port Royal (780, 810, 1135, 1135.ii.). About the same time an Order in Council was issued directing him to press for the building of this and other forts and batteries, for which, when completed, H.M. would send guns and stores (896).
During the Governor's absence a serious incident occurred at Boston, arising out of the arbitrary impressing of some seamen by the captain of H.M.S. Swift. Contrary to his promise, he endeavoured to slip past the fort on Castle Island (768.xi.). His ship was fired on and brought to, and, in spite of his violent behaviour, he was placed under arrest by the Lieutenant-Governor, Captain Povey (331, 768.xii., xviii.).
The meeting of the Assembly in October took place at Cambridge instead of at Boston, owing to the sickness which had spread hither from New York. A General Fast was appointed, to implore success for the Queen, the preservation of her Provinces, and relief from the epidemic (160, 1018). A Day of Thanksgiving acknowledged the success of the English arms, as well as the "present Administration of this Government" (1180).
Dudley published his Commission as Governor of New Hampshire on July 13th, at Portsmouth (749). The Queen had already been proclaimed with "the greatest demonstration of joy and satisfaction imaginable" (566). In a short session, the Assembly passed Acts for revenue and for defence, which Dudley appreciated as all that could be desired from "this little, poor Province" (769, 780). Thanks to the Lieutenant-Governor, Partridge, he says, they had increased the revenue "at three times more than my Lord Bellomont had it," besides putting a new duty upon boards and timber (810). He finds, in fact, no cause for complaint in this Province. Whilst Usher, on the other hand, was still on the war-path at home, petitioning that Dudley might have directions to enquire into the former disorders of the Province (598), and Sheafe, the Collector, was reporting that the generality of the inhabitants declared their opinion that "the strict execution of the Acts of Trade is the ruin of these Plantations" (127), the New Hampshire Assembly were voting an Address to the Queen and appointing Major Vaughan to be the mouthpiece of their defence in England (539). In their memorial, they denied that there was any waste of timber going on, as had been so confidently alleged; but the dimensions of the trees reserved for masts for the Navy were too small, and they begged for an extension of the limit set (780.ii.). They had done all that was within their power for the defence of their country by maintaining the fort on Great Island in the Piscataqua River (cf. 896); as to the quota, their need as a frontier Province was greater than that of New York (544). They had been reduced to extreme poverty by the Indian wars and Allen's claims (544). Against those claims they again enter a petition (546). "If that case were determined," says Sheafe (1), "this place would soon flourish."
Dudley, with a part of the Council of the Massachusetts Bay and a troop of horse, visited Newport in September, and published his Commission (Calendar, 1701), which gave him command of the forces and fortifications of this Colony, as well as jurisdiction of the Vice-Admiralty, in time of war. At this, he says, "the Quakers raged indecently, saying that they were ensnared and injured" (p. 598). In fact, the Governor, Cranston, and Council protested that the power of Militia was granted to the Governor and Company by their Charter, and refused to recognise his authority until they had consulted the Assembly, which was due to meet in October. Dudley said that he had nothing to do with the Assembly in that affair, and desired to review the Militia. They refused. He then ordered the Town Major to appear with his regiment in arms next morning, intending to administer the oaths to the officers. He refused, on the grounds that by his Commission he was to receive orders from the Assembly or Governor and Council (935). The Assembly approved of this action, resolving to retain the power of Militia and jurisdiction of the Admiralty until H.M. pleasure should be ascertained through an Address (966.ii., 970, 1073). Dudley then left for the Narraganset Country, and reviewed the Militia at Rochester, a town "to which I had the honour to give that name 16 years since," now grown to 120 men. He met with no hindrance here, but after his departure, the Governor and Council of Rhode Island "came near to Rochester, sent for the officers, and were greatly displeased with their attendance and submission." Dudley describes the Government of Rhode Island as a scandal, in which the Quakers exercised a tyranny, and the majority desired to be brought under H.M. Government (966). When the Council of Trade received Dudley's report of these events, they made a Representation to the Queen, that "this Colony, being of importance to the trade and navigation of England, ought to be secured by the best ways and means against the attempt of an enemy, to which they lie exposed." This could only be done "by the Legislative powers of this Kingdom," presumably through the Bill for resuming the Proprietary Colonies to the Crown. But in the meantime, in accordance with the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown given in 1694, that in the event of Proprietors neglecting to protect their Governments in time of war, the Crown might appoint a Governor "as well for the Civil as Military part of Government," they recommended that her Majesty should appoint Governor Dudley to execute such a Commission there during the war (1184).
Excogitating upon the "strange malignant humour" which possessed the various settlements upon the Main to refuse to contribute their quotas to the plan of concerted defence, Col. Quary, in a curious passage, notes a remarkable change in the temper of the people, and attributes their alteration from extreme loyalty to discontent and murmuring against the Queen's Government, to the evil communications of the neighbouring Proprietary Governments, the inhabitants of which, paying less in taxes and enjoying greater licence in illegal trade, grew rich unpunished, and jeered at their neighbours as slaves. The remedy for this sad state of things was to resume the Proprieties to the Crown and unify the administration (p. 176). "Such independent Governments," the Council of Trade repeated, "are inconsistent with the welfare of this Kingdom"; the Proprietors had not complied with the requirements of the King; their Provinces, left defenceless, were the retreat of pirates and illegal traders, and the refuge of deserters; it was time to re-assume their Charters to the Crown (pp. 47, 48).
Another grievance against the Northern Colonies in general, but especially against the Proprietary and Charter Governments, is put forward by the Council of Trade in their report upon the woollen manufactory (1103). English workmen had been enticed to America, "and in this manner those Proprieties do not only cloath themselves with woollen goods, but furnish the same commodity to the more Southern Plantations, notwithstanding the late Act, and, instead of confining themselves to the production of such commodities as are agreeable to the true design and intention of their settlements, they have improved their skill to such a degree that . . . as good druggets are made in those countries as any in England," and much cheaper.
The Bill for reuniting the Proprietary Colonies to the Crown, which had been laid before the House of Lords in the previous year (Calendar, 1701, Pref. xxxvi.ff.), was introduced again, but "did not pass for want of time" (141, p. 701). Penn, who had returned hurriedly from Pennsylvania on purpose to oppose it, submitted some proposals for such a Bill to the Earl of Manchester (121.i.). The Council of Trade pointed out that it would not serve the ends proposed. They adhered to the Bill offered to the House of Lords last session (128, 135), the terms of which are given (317). They are such as the foregoing documents have prepared us for. Though the Bill did not pass, the whole case of the irregularities in the government of the Proprieties was ordered to be laid before a Committee of the House of Lords in the autumn (1185). The surrender of the Government of East and West New Jersey, which was approved and signed in April (71, 340, 347), would no doubt be regarded as a leading case in this attempt to secure uniformity of administration.
The Proprietors of the Jersies had first been brought to agree to draughts of Instructions for a Governor to be appointed by the Crown, but they could not agree in recommending any particular person for that office. The Council of Trade therefore proposed the appointment of "some person wholly unconcerned in the factions of that country"(7).
No sooner had they made the surrender, however, than one party of the Proprietors prayed to be allowed to name Andrew Hamilton as first Governor of the new Province of "New Jersey, or Nova Caesaria" (438.i.); the other party entered their objections, pointing out that they could not reasonably hope for redress for the injuries they had received under his Government, if Hamilton were nominated. His appointment would be fatal to the good settlement of the country, which was the chief motive of their surrender (483.i., 484.i., 533). The project was debated with much heat by the opposing parties before the Council of Trade (567, 568), who, finding them unreconcilable, and recalling that Hamilton was a Governor who had not received H.M. approbation, but was suspected of having favoured illegal trade, not unwisely again recommended, as the only method of appeasing the animosities of the factions in that Province, that a Governor wholly unconcerned in the disorders of New Jersey should be chosen (609, 664). An Order of Council resulted, disapproving of the appointment of Hamilton as Lieutenant-Governor either of Pennsylvania or New Jersey (693).
Instead, Cornbury was appointed (783). His Commission and Instructions, agreed upon beforehand, as we have seen, by the Proprietors, determined the new Constitution of the Colony (860, 887.i.). Most of these Instructions are identical with those given to other Governors, (fn. 4) but some were added to suit the peculiar situation.
The franchise was defined; the Assembly was to sit at Perth Amboy and Burlington alternately. The Governor was to avoid "engaging himself in the parties"; to pass a law confirming the rights and quit-rents of the Proprietors; to report upon the fitness of the Patentees' deputies; to press for the contribution of the required quota for the defence of the Colonies; and to endeavour to settle the revenue and establishment of the Government. The customs and duties were to be equal to those of New York, and appeals to the Crown granted in cases where the value involved was over 200l., if the appeal were made within 14 days and good security were given. Ships were only to be allowed to sail in fleets, or under convoy. An Act was to be passed "to the like effect as the Act of 7 and 8 William III, for the affirmation of Quakers" (p. 552). Quakers were to be allowed to hold office upon signing the Declaration of Allegiance, "together with a solemn declaration for the true discharge of their respective trusts."
The Council was constituted as had been agreed upon with the Proprietors (932, etc.). Before the appointment of Lord Cornbury, Lewis Morris went to New Jersey with a sort of commission to report upon the state of affairs there, and a letter of recommendation to the inhabitants "to support him in his endeavours to preserve peace and quietness" (561.i., 562.i., 563). As the result of his investigations, he describes the Province as, largely, the asylum of rogues "that cannot be safe anywhere else," a country without law and without Gospel.
Throughout the year Penn was, in some sort, on his trial for the retention of his Proprietorship. The Council of Trade, eager to carry the measure for the resumption of the charters of the Proprietary Colonies, brought the Proprietor of Pennsylvania to bay. He was confronted with the many charges that had been made against his Government, of irregularity in the administration of Justice, of neglect to provide for defence, of encouragement of piracy and illegal trade, of intolerant legislation, of proceeding beyond his grant in the case of the Delaware Counties, of reckless or greedy bargaining with the Indians. The proceedings resolved themselves mainly into a prolonged duel between Col. Quary and the Proprietor. It needed a continued effort on the part of the Council of Trade to extract from the Quaker answers to their questions, a statement of his title to the Three Lower Counties, and to compel his attendance at their Board to reply to Quary. He seems to have resented the interference, and, as he held, the bias of the Board (833). He endeavoured to deal solely with the Privy Council (665, 892); and resorted to every method of procrastination, including the prosecution, if not persecution, of Quary (334, 339). Quary was supported by Edward Randolph (605) and Gabriel Thomas. The latter was the author of a history of Pennsylvania, to which, he says, Penn had acknowledged that the Province was much indebted (823ff). Penn treats him with a magnificent contempt, thinking it a pity to waste time on so "beggarly and base a man" (923, 949, 1183). The development of the duel with Col. Quary may be traced in Nos. 290, 299, 316, 342, 356, 357, 385, 462, 463, 498, 508, 511, 531, 563, 568, 580, 599, 611, 612.i., 638, 648, 665, 833, etc.
Quary's charges (342.i., 356) and Penn's replies (391, 396) being given in detail, it is not necessary to recount them here. In answer to the charges arising out of the cases of illegal trading, which Quary declared to be carried on "rather worse than ever" (281, 580, 599, p. 174), Penn demanded in general "a free and impartial enquiry upon the spot" (pp. 277, 282). The vagueness of the Act 7 and 8 William III was largely responsible for the trouble in connection with the Admiralty Courts. He suggested that the question of the limits of the jurisdiction of the Common Law Courts and the Admiralty Courts should be referred to the Law Officers of the Crown (580, 585.i.). Their replies bear witness that the Act was indeed "confused and dark," and acquit him of encroaching upon the Admiralty jurisdiction by his commission to "water-bailiffs" at Philadelphia (596, 596.ii., 647, 708, 751.i. 778, 889).
He was accused of having made a bargain with the Pocomoke and Susquehanna Indians, "known to be villains," to settle in his country, where there was neither Militia nor arms, with the object of procuring a monopoly of their trade to himself, at the risk of the settlers' lives (No. 395.ii., p. 175, and Calendar, 1701, Pref. xxxix.). His answer was characteristic. "The Indians are our friends, because we have not only been just but very kind to them." As to the lack of means of defence, there was no enemy to annoy Pennsylvania. The Indians were friendly, the French could only reach him through the other English Colonies. They, in fact, and the Queen's Navy could do the fighting for him (pp. 277, 282).
A Memorial by the minister and vestry of Christ Church, Philadelphia, charged the Quaker administration with several grave miscarriages of justice, including one case where a jury decided upon their verdict by "hustle-cap" (271, 272).
The Council of Trade again and again pressed Penn to state his title to the soil and Government of the "Three Lower Counties," and were at last obliged to apply to the Earl of Nottingham for his assistance in extracting an answer to this and other questions put by them (649, 862, 1142). The answer, when at last it came, was not deemed wholly satisfactory (1207, 1208).
Memorials had been received showing how the Representatives of the Delaware Counties had appealed to Penn for some system of defence, but in vain (270, 275), and raised the question of his right of Government. They complained that they had been answered with threats, and that Penn had failed to send home for H.M. approbation some of the most important of the laws passed at Newcastle (277). They protested against being subject to the arbitrary government of the Quakers, when there were very few Quakers in their part of the country, and begged to be taken under the immediate government of the Crown (305). Col. Quary, on returning to America, in spite of Penn's endeavours to prevent him, was appointed a kind of supernumerary member of the Councils of Maryland, Virginia and New York, with a view to aiding him in his peripatetic mission of reporting to the Council of Trade upon the condition of the various Plantations, and was also provided with Royal Letters of protection against the resentment of Governors or Proprietors with whom he might come in conflict, and "the malice of Penn" (589, 658, 658.i.). He was entrusted, too, with a letter of greeting and encouragement from the Council of Trade to the Representatives of the Three Lower Counties (657).
But before he left England, he was able to forward some complaints which he had received from Pennsylvania as to the ample Charter granted by Penn to Philadelphia when on the eve of returning to England to fight the Resumption Bill (782, 782.ii.). He had granted it, says Quary, in order to hamper the succeeding Government, since he did not expect to retain his Government. Had he expected to do so, "he would sooner have parted with one of his limbs." For fifteen years the inhabitants had been endeavouring to persuade him to give them such a charter in vain. "He pretends he grants this Charter at the request of the General Assembly, whereas the greater part withdrew and refused it as holding many clauses in it to be destructive of Government, as tending to the establishment of Deism by a law, and making room for Papists to be in all offices in the Government" (p. 485).
Penn's appointment of Andrew Hamilton to be his Deputy-Governor without applying for the Queen's approbation was another irregularity which the Council of Trade insisted upon his rectifying. The Government of Virginia, in the meantime, had refused to recognise Hamilton until he had obtained the Queen's approval (192). Penn maintained that as Proprietor he was Governor, and therefore not within the Act. So much the Attorney-General granted (585, 708), but held that his Lieutenant-Governor was. At length he applied for the Royal approbation (637.i.), and again, later, petitioned for at least a temporary approbation of him, "and that the imputation he lies under, which hath made it so difficult hitherto, may be referred to the examination and report of the Lord Cornbury" (1019). The approbation was given for one year only, and only on condition that Penn gave a direct answer in writing to the questions so long submitted to him; that he agreed, in writing, that this concession should not be interpreted to the prejudice of the claim of the Crown to the Delaware Counties, and that security were provided for the good behaviour of Hamilton (1115, 1141, 1142, 1207, 1208).
The Act for preventing clandestine marriages, objected to by the Bishop of London as obnoxious to the Church of England (Calendar, 1701, Pref. xxxviii.) was the subject of some discussion before the Council of Trade (577, 580).
The decrease in piracy, noted since the proceedings against Kidd, etc., was maintained. Mr. Larkin (344) reports the coast clear of them. It appeared that Churchill and How, two of Kidd's crew, who were reported to have escaped from Newgate and to have been "much caressed" in Pennsylvania, had in fact been included in the King's general pardon (250, etc., cf. Calendar, 1701). Churchill, however, who turned up in Barbados, having nothing to show to prove the King's pardon, was arrested and sent home (424, 458, 504).
Loyal addresses, plentifully signed, expressed the indignation of Virginia at the French King's acknowledgement of the Pretender (119, 237.i.). Besides indicating the feelings of the Dominion, these and other Addresses are a mine of names which should be of interest to Virginians. A Day of Fasting and Humiliation was appointed in view of the consequent war, news of which, however, did not reach Virginia till Aug. 14 (846, 847). When the Assembly met in May, Governor Nicholson drew their attention to the fact that not one-fourth of the 10,000 odd Militia was armed. But the burgesses, in view of recent importations of arms, did not deem it necessary to take any step (517, p. 342). Again, in June, the Governor pressed them to take some measures for the defence of the Dominion, recommending amongst other things the necessity of establishing good communications with the Northern Governments, and a post to Phildelphia (501, 502), but they contented themselves with expressing the country's loyalty in an Address to Queen Anne (552, 645, cf. 793, xxix. ff.). In August, when the news of the declaration of war was known, they still replied in answer to Nicholson's exhortations, that they were satisfied with the provisions made, and repeated that the best means to protect the country was a naval force (856, 893). This view was also urged by Col. Quary, whose report upon the condition and defence of Virginia is mainly an echo of Nicholson's despatches (209, 210). The Council of Trade supported this suggestion, and the proposal that a squadron should be appointed to cruize off that coast each summer (p. 242). They also represented that a large quantity of arms was needed, "which particulars the country ought to provide at their own charge," but "in consideration of the present conjuncture" they recommended that the arms needed should be sent to the Governor, who was to distribute them only if the Assembly chose to pay for them. But in recognition of the "eminent and extraordinary service" rendered in the capture of the pirate ship in 1700 (see Calendar, 1700, p. xi., etc.], they recommend that the cost incurred in that undertaking, which the Assembly regarded as a grievance, should be deducted out of the charge for the arms (252.i.). A large supply of stores was ordered to be sent in August, and payment to be made out of the quitrents (817). The Council of Trade at the same time drew attention to the undesirable method adopted by the Assembly of Virginia in appointing an agent of their own to present their Address, of 1701, to the Queen, concerning the quota, instead of doing so through their Governor. Their reasons for excusing themselves from contributing the quota were held insufficient (497), and a letter was sent from the Queen, urging the Council and Assembly to voluntary compliance (579.i.).
A sharp squabble took place between the Council and Assembly concerning a present of 10,000lb. of tobacco, which the latter had voted to their Speaker. The Assembly insisted on their right to reward him. The Governor upheld their contention against the Council. But the Council was obstinate. Finally, at the Speaker's instance, the Assembly withdrew their gift, but without prejudice to their privilege (921).
More French refugees arrived and settled at Manikin Town (528), and a cargo of goods sent by the English Church was disposed of for their use. Magistrates were appointed to deal with the differences that arose amongst them (192). Exception was taken to their calling themselves "the French Colony," as though they were under a distinct Government. They were directed to use the English tongue in their petitions to the Governor, and conformity with the liturgy of the Church of England was insisted on (p. 472, No. 855). The settling of Pamunkey Neck and Blackwater Swamp was proceeded with (895). We are given some details as to the construction of the Capitol. It was now nearing completion, and, though it was not possible to hold the October Court there, steps were taken for removing the records of the Dominion within its precincts (793, 882, 922, 1100). Owing to the lack of a system of credit for the Admiralty, some difficulty arose when the captain of the man-of-war attending the Dominion wished to victual his ship. Previous bills had not been met by the Victualling Office. The Governor again advanced the money out of his own pocket, under protest (635, 1093).
Nicholson reported a fine season and good crops of tobacco in February (151), and a pretty good crop was promised in July, in spite of "great and unusual rains" (793). What this meant may be judged from the return given (97), which shows that the average export was about 10,000 tons of tobacco. That of Maryland was about 7,500. Much anxious consideration was given, both in Virginia and Maryland, to the questions of laying embargoes and providing the homeward-bound merchantmen with convoys, in order to secure them against the depredations of the French Fleet and privateers (380). At length, in July, a combined fleet of 150 sail left the Capes, carrying the crops of the two Colonies, which represented the value of nearly 400,000l. sterling in dues to the Crown (793).
Loyal Addresses from Maryland greeted the announcement of the French King's recognition of the Pretender, and of Anne's accession to the throne (246. iii., 666, 667). It was not till October that the official intimation of the Declaration of War reached Maryland (1029).
When the Assembly met in March (203), Governor Blakiston laid before the Delegates the Law for the establishment of Religious Worship, which had been amended in England the previous year, in accordance with the suggestion of the Assembly to the King. It was passed in this form (203, 221). The Quakers in England again entered their protest against it (874). Blakiston also submitted to the Assembly H.M. letter [Calendar, 1701, No. 23] concerning the quota to be contributed to the general defence (203). They voted 300l. for the building of the New York forts (out of the 650l. required from them), declaring that this was all they had or could get (242). Like the Virginians (Calendar, 1701, p. x1iii.), they complained that their neighbours of New York had not used them fairly in representing the state of affairs, and prayed his Majesty to exempt them from any further contribution of this kind, so that they might devote themselves to the defence of their own Province and the manufacture of tobacco (242). Their own state of defence, they said, was very good (203). But with reference to funds for defence, it was asserted by some delegates that the 14d. per tun duty, "being of great emolument," paid to Lord Baltimore, was intended and given as Fort duties, for purposes of defence, but had, by some sinister means, been converted into Port duties, and so misapplied (203).
In March Blakiston announced that the state of his health compelled him to retire. He received the thanks of the Delegates for his "discreet management of affairs," and was asked to act as agent for Maryland in England (221, 222, 242). He left the country with "the Church well established and the people happy in peace and friendship" (672). An Act was passed to prevent the encouragement of vice caused by horse-racing on Saturdays (221, 222, 242, 243).
No further steps were taken this year in dealing with the urgent case of the Colonial currency. But, whilst Massachusetts resorted, as we have seen, to a paper issue, Maryland suffered from so great a scarcity of coin, that "the best in the Province are sometimes put to a strait to procure money for their travelling pocket expenses" (p. 163, cf. 1207). Capt. Bennett (388) gives a comparative list of prices current in the Plantations.
The records of Carolina continue to be provokingly scanty. John Granville succeeded the Earl of Bath as fifth Palatinate (24). The Proprietors, in spite of an Address from the Representatives (136) imploring a grant of arms and ammunition, as usual did nothing, except appoint Sir Nathaniel Johnson Governor. The Council of Trade saw to it that good security was taken on his behalf (614, 615). Meantime, according to Col. Quary's account, the country was in anarchy and confusion (p. 175). The Advocate of the Admiralty gave his opinion that the obnoxious Act of 1701 (see Calendar, 1701, p. x1vii.) "for the better regulating of proceedings in the Admiralty Court," was calculated to be very prejudicial to the judges and officers of that Court, and therefore likely to lead to the encouragement of unlawful trade (79, 88). It had, in fact, in combination with other encouraging circumstances, resulted, according to Col. Quary, in the carrying on of that trade "to the greatest degree imaginable" (260). Other complaints came to hand of another Act, which penalised English bottoms 3l. a tun, or half the freight on skins or furs exported from that Province (122). Nicholas Trott, who had been suspended from the offices of Attorney-General and Naval Officer in connection with the Cole and Bean case, gives his account of the matter (308–315). As the only remedy for these manifold evils of administration, Col. Quary proposes that Carolina, like the other Proprietary Governments, should be resumed to the Crown; that the Governor should be instructed to treat the Indians with justice and tenderness, and to regulate the trade with them; and that every effort should be made to settle Port Royal; "the inhabitants are now sensible of their mistake in not settling there at first" (p. 175).
In October Governor Moore was able to report the partial success of the rash expedition against the Spanish town of St. Augustine, which had been prepared in the previous year (Calendar, 1701, No. 719). On Oct. 27, the fleet sailed up the river of St. Augustine. An approach was made by land and water. The town was taken. But the castle proved stronger than had been expected. The raiders reported that they were confident of starving the garrison to a surrender, or of reducing them by a bombardment with guns they had requisitioned from Jamaica (1193.i.). But even if they should take it, they would not be able to hold it without help in the shape of an English garrison (1193).
"The Governor and Company of the Adventurers trading into Hudson's Bay" again drew attention to the hard case in which the Treaty of Ryswick had placed them. They were reduced so low, that unless steps were taken to drive out the French, they would shortly lose all their trade. They proposed that an expedition should be sent for this end (40). Their own losses had been so great, however, that they declared that they could scarcely afford to carry on the trade there, much less to contribute to the cost of such an expedition (42).
In the new Commission of the Council of Trade and Plantations, Robert Cecil took the place of Abraham Hill (27). The Bishop of London was also made a member of the Board and interposed to procure the repeal of an Act of New York which affected the provision made for Ministers, and an Act of the Leeward Islands which interfered with his jurisdiction (590, 593, 599). The Board passed another strenuous year, as the size of this volume in part indicates. The clerks of the Office were now 2 ¼ years in arrears with their salaries, and, as the reward of work well done, were reduced "to great necessity" (711).
Rapidity and certainty of communication is the most necessary condition of successful empire, as the Romans fully recognised. But they did not have to deal with the Atlantic. Many indications have been given in these volumes of the immense inconvenience, and the serious disadvantages of the slow and irregular means of communication available. In cases of the most extreme importance, special sloops could be dispatched (414). Even then, packets were sometimes long delayed in transmission. It might be many months ere a ship happened to sail from Barbados to the Bahamas, or a post be sent from Virginia to Maryland. News of the war did not reach Maryland till October or Benbow till July; tidings of the demise of the Crown did not come, officially, to Bermuda till September; similar delay led, in Jamaica, to a peculiar crisis (811, 879, 912). Governors, like Nicholson of Virginia, or Bellomont in New York, were left for many months without instructions upon important points with which they had to deal before the Assemblies. Letters are occasionally endorsed as "Received" more than a year after they had been written, much to the inconvenience of the Editor. In these circumstances, the proposal of Mr. Dummer to establish a "monthly intelligence" to the West Indies, although somewhat visionary in its details, was wisely welcomed and usefully criticised by the Council of Trade (626, 639, 854). Towards the end of the year, we find one of Mr. Dummer's packet-boats sailing from Portsmouth for Barbados (1133).
Brigadier Selwyn was appointed to succeed Sir William Beeston as Governor of Jamaica (66, 94.i.). The latter, in an interview with the Council of Trade, gave his opinion that the Assembly could not be induced to do more than settle the revenue year by year (854). The new Governor was again urged to persuade them to settle it, as had been done in the Duke of Albemarle's time, under threat that otherwise the Act then passed would at length be ratified (454, cf. Calendar, 1700, Feb. 4). Selwyn arrived in Jamaica on Jan. 21, to find "everything in disorder" (99). The island had now been under martial law for seven months. He set to work to pass measures for defence, and to restore civil justice, and summoned a new Assembly to meet on March 17. He found the people "very capricious, jealous and difficult to manage." But he took pains to reconcile the animosities of the Council and Assembly, and was so far successful with the Assembly that they passed Acts for quartering the soldiers and raising the additional duty, which had been allowed to lapse in the last stormy session.
The island was sickly. Disease, as the letters of Benbow and Beeston show (333, etc.), struck down new-comers with fearful frequency, though the "old Standers" became acclimatised and immune. The letter in which Governor Selwyn announces his success with the Assembly is cut short in dramatic fashion. He laid down his pen in the middle of a sentence, to die of the "bleeding fever," the ravages of which he had just been describing (267, 267. i.).
On his death, Peter Beckford took up the reins of Government as Lieutenant-Governor (323, 378, p. 181). The Assembly was dissolved upon the news of the death of the King, and the Acts for quartering the soldiers and for the additional duty expired (523). The new Assembly met on August 6 in order to pass the necessary money Bills. But the six months, for which, by the Act of 7 and 8 William III, all powers granted by the King were confirmed after his death, had nearly expired, and no letters had arrived from England with new commissions from the Queen (790). At the last moment the question was raised as to whether those six months should be reckoned as calendar or lunar. Nobody knew. The Chief Justice developed scruples. If lunar, there were but few days left before the Government must come to a standstill. The Council and Assembly agreed to work night and day in order to get the money Bills passed (811, 818, 845). The Assembly took advantage of this situation to insert in the Levy Bill a clause taxing councillors for their office. This provision naturally gave great offence to the Council, But the sands were running out. They were obliged to give their assent, under protest (879), and obliged to pass a clause which gave to the Assembly, through their commissioners, complete control of the disposal of the funds so granted, without order of Governor in Council (912).
An Act was also passed for a compaign against the rebel negroes. These had so largely increased in numbers, and become so bold, as to attack the Windward settlements, and threaten their existence (912). In the mountains to the north-east of the island they could boast a town with 100 acres of plantation. The parties sent out against them now fought a pitched battle with their main body of 300 men, and burned their settlements (978).
In September a Commission arrived for Col. Brewer to be Lieutenant-Governor. But he was already dead. Beckford therefore continued in office, at the instance of the Council, though he was himself secretly of opinion that they had not "at present any power of government at all" (978). Presently Col. Handasyde, who held the command of a regiment in Jamaica, and could boast long and faithful service in the Army, was appointed to succeed Brewer (636, 997). And at length the governorship was awarded to an interesting personage, the Earl of Peterborough (1169). He was also nominated "Admiral of the ships of war employed on that station." Peterborough, however, did not take up his governorship. His appointment was in connection with the command of a proposed attack upon the Spanish settlements in the West Indies, which he refused to undertake when he found that the force to be placed at his disposal was not what he considered sufficient. It was recommended by the Council of Trade that the Governor's salary should be made up to 2,000l. out of the revenue and fixed at that, in order that Governors "might no longer be obliged to the Assemblies" (p. 246).
Details of the exports of Jamaica in the preceding years are given (97). When the war was expected to break out a law was passed prohibiting the export of stores of war or provisions, in order to embarras the French and Spaniards (404).
Some resentment was therefore naturally felt when it became known that the Dutch at Curaçoa were as busy at their trade with the Spaniards as if war had not been declared (743). Benbow, as we have seen, made Jamaica his headquarters, and it was here that his cowardly captains were court-martialled, and here that he died and was buried (1191) in Kingston Parish Church. His tombstone, with its curiously inaccurate inscription, survived the disastrous earthquake of 1907, and is still in situ. The fleet suffered heavy losses from sickness, but Benbow complains that the Government would do nothing to make those losses good, "though 'tis in their power, and they at the same time believe nothing but our shipping can protect them." "But," he adds with characterisitc determination, "necessity has no law; whilst I live I will doe my endeavour that the King's ships shall be in the best condition our circumstances will admit of" (333). "We can hardly get fresh provisions to support our sick," he complains later (p. 368). The Government was wholly in the hands of the planters, and the planters were wholly concerned with getting rich, regarding the ships and soldiers as a great burthen, and wishing that they had never come into those parts. Governor Selwyn, on the other hand, took exception to the powers conferred upon Benbow. The right to press (with the permission of the Governor so far as his jurisdiction extended) both land-men and seamen was, he represented, the "greatest grievance imaginable in this country, which is almost undone for want of white men," and would "absolutely ruin the whole business of privateers settling here"; whilst the distinction in the colours of ships commissioned by the Governor would interfere with the independence of the privateers (631, cf. p. 48).
Strong in the tradition of the buccaneers, the Jamaicans fitted out an expedition to repeat the achievement of Morgan, and sack Panama. Nine privateers sailed for the Gulf of Darien. The design to surprise Porto Bello miscarried owing to the carelessness, it was said, of the captain of H.M.S. Gloucester, who allowed the Spaniards to get wind of the declaration of war (811). Leaving their sloops upon the coast, and taking the risk that Ducasse might send a man-of-war to destroy them, a force of 530 men marched inland. They were joined by 800 natives, and seized Sta. Maria and the rich mines of the Golden Mountain, and advanced upon Panama, "in which lies an immense treasure" (790, 1056, 1062).
The neighbourhood of Hispaniola was the chief source of apprehension to the Jamaicans. Whilst the French had long been busy peopling that island, the efforts of the English to encourage settlers in Jamaica had not been equally successful. "We must either put ourselves in the capacity of ruining the French, who daily increase on Hispaniola," says Beckford (p. 672), "or else this Island must expect to meet with the same destiny, whenever it's left destitute of a fleet." It was, therefore, with indignation and alarm that they learned that General Codrington had sent all the French prisoners taken in St. Kitts to Hispaniola (968.i., p. 672).
The numbers of the French and English were nicely balanced in St. Kitts, but the courage and resource of Christopher Codrington turned the scale. He had seized the occasion of proclaiming Queen Anne to make, with salvoes and feu-de-joies, "three running fires to the very noses of the French" (570). He was ill with fever at Antigua when he received the news of the declaration of war. He wrote hastily protesting his innocence of all the charges made against him at home, and left at once for St. Kitts. "The cause must be decided, and our people won't go where I don't lead" (457, 457. iv., 674). On July 6, he had the satisfaction of being able to announce from Basseterre that the Queen's flag was flying on the French fort, and that M. des Gennes and 1,200 French men, women and children were his prisoners. "A tolerable good disposition of my forces and a lucky stratagem or two made them doe that over-night which they were very much ashamed of the next morning" (700). The Articles of Capitulation are given (968.i.). But party spirit and local jealousy were rampant in St. Kitts as elsewhere. On the morrow of his success, Codrington found his endeavours to put the island in a strong state of defence "hampered by the unlucky division of the quarters."
Meantime the charges which Mead and Freeman had brought against Codrington in connection with lawsuits concerning some Plantations in Nevis and St. Kitts (Calendar, 1701, p. 1vii.), were argued before the Council of Trade by the representatives of either side (10, 13, 27, 30). Judgment was suspended until Codrington's statement of the case should come to hand, and Mead's appeal should be entered (95, 96, 113, 131, 133). Mead and Freeman were not content with this, but petitioned the House of Commons for redress (131, p. 166).
Mead died about the same time as Codrington's reply was received, together with testimonials as to his conduct in the Freeman case (1065 ff, 1069). With indignant heat, he declares that "impalement ought to be their punishment, or his" (369). He shows that he did not sit upon the Bench, as had been alleged—a course against which the Council of Trade had already written to warn him, whatever precedents might be claimed (244). But his presence in Court on that occasion, and his zealous interference, though prompted by the highest motives of promoting justice, had undoubtedly laid him open to the imputation of interested partisanship.
In the course of his observations upon "Plantation Justice," a pamphlet to which reference was made last year (Calendar, 1701, 1ii.), it is interesting to note that Codrington admits that the author's reflections were generally well grounded. Many monstrous verdicts, he agrees, were given, but they arose from ignorance rather than corruption (294). In Barbados, where there were "so many gentlemen who have had the advantage of education at the Universities and Inns of Court," this could easily be remedied by appointing two Courts composed of such men. But in the Leeward Islands "we are not yet so happy. The next generation, I hope, will be more accomplished" (294).
Unfortunately, Codrington's sensitive nature was exasperated by the attacks which were being made upon him by Mead and his friends. His high sense of honour impelled him to apply for leave to return home and defend himself, or to resign. He was disgusted at the idea of remaining "to be the greatest drudge that ever was in the publick service and spend 1,500l. a year out of my own estate, to meet with such returns (457, 458.) ...If an English gentleman is to be perjured, clamoured and voted out of his reputation without being allowed a hearing, a Frenchman or even a Turc has no reason to envy an Englishman" (1034). The Council of Trade wrote a pacifying letter, refusing to entertain the idea of his retirement, when there was so great occasion of his courage and conduct in the defence of the islands (944).
Several Acts of the Leeward Islands were repealed this year (590), including an Act of St. Kitts, 1701, "for settling and strengthening the Island," which the Attorney-General reported to be unreasonable and unjust (646).
In Nevis, Col. Elrington, the Lieut.-Governor, was run through the body and killed in a fracas with one Capt. Chambers, when the Governor "was striking at him with his little cane." This method of argument, as we have seen, was not unusual with H.M. Governors, and even Codrington threatens to settle his differences with Mr. Carpenter by "a brace of balls" (457, 457.ii.). The Council of Trade took the opportunity of pointing out that Governors ought not to vindicate their honour by such acts of violence as were too frequently practised by others (944). And in connection with the murder of Major Martin of Antigua, and Codrington's observations thereon (Calendar, 1701, p. 1viii.), they directed him to press for a law for restraining inhuman severity, "not only towards Christian servants, but slaves" (244).
"These Governments must be put upon another foot before an honest man can serve in one of them," says Codrington (457), and elsewhere he explains that his Government is costing him 1,500l. a year. The question of a settlement of adequate salaries for governors had recently, as we have seen (Calendar, 1701, p. xii., etc.) been pressed upon the notice of the Council of Trade by Bellomont, and Dudley also. They now proposed that the salary of the Governor of the Leeward Islands should be made up to 1,200l. sterl. (instead of 700l.), to be paid out of the 4½ per cent. duty, "since nothing can more conduce to the safety and welfare of those Islands than that the Government there be so established that the Governors may not depend upon the voluntary gifts and presents of the Assemblies for their maintenance; but that a sufficient salary be appointed for their support and the dignity of the Government without any other dependence than upon your Majesty." They also proposed that the Lieutenant-Governors of St. Kitts, Antigua, Nevis and Montserat should be paid 200l. a year out of the same fund, "thereby freeing such Governors from their obligation to the Assemblies and enabling your Majesty to send from hence fit persons for those commands, without being obliged to make use of planters and merchants inhabiting there, whose business and private interest may too easily divert them from the due care necessary to the discharge of that trust." In this case, they should be forbidden to receive in future any present from the Assemblies, with the exception of a Governor's House. Thus relieved, the Assemblies would be able to apply the money saved towards the expenses of defence. The duty of 4½ per cent., however, in the Leeward Islands did not exceed 3,000l. per annum, a sum insufficient to defray these and other necessary expenses. It was, therefore, left to H.M. Royal consideration "by what other means and ways of supply the safety of those Islands, which are of so great importance, may be further provided for" (349).
The whole question of the application of the 4½ per cent. duty had been raised by the Barbadians in a petition of the Council and Assembly, which stated that the island was impoverished by the sugar duties imposed by James II, by her efforts in the last war, and by the 4½ per cent. They begged for a grant of guns and ammunition (60). Their prayer was granted, and it was ordered, upon an Address of the House of Commons, "that the 4½ per cent. duty in Barbados and the Leeward Islands, subject to the annuity payable to the heirs of the Earl of Kinnoule, should be applied to the repairing and erecting of fortifications there" (285, 286.i., 296, 394). But, since the sum thus arising would not provide fully for the necessary measures of defence, the Governors of Barbados and the Leeward Islands were particularly instructed to persuade the Assemblies to continue the public levies formerly raised (514, 515.i., 556, 557). A further order was issued for spending the balance of the 4½ per cent. accumulated up to date upon the stores of war required, and engineers and gunners for Barbados and the Leeward Islands. And it was promised that any surplus in the future would be applied "as to Her Majesty should seem most requisite" upon the representations of the Governor and Council of the Caribbee Islands (381, 815).
Meantime those interested in the island at home, as well as the President and Council of Barbados (819), alarmed by the neighbourhood of the French fleet at Martinique and their rumoured preparations for an attack, petitioned for the establishment of some regular troops there, and, as had been urged and recommended before (see Calendar, 1699, etc.), for an increase in the Naval force attending Barbados. Otherwise, it was feared, the French privateers would paralyse trade, and cut off the provision ships, upon which the inhabitants depended, more especially at this time, when two years of drought had occasioned great distress (814.i.). Their application received the support of the Council of Trade (885). The resulting Order in Council, however, merely suggested that, if desired, part of the 4½ per cent. might be used for maintaining some soldiers in the island (896–898). The petitioners, however, explained that their proposal was not intended as an alternative, and desired that the balance of the 4½ per cent. should be expended on ordnance, gunners and stores of war (1024). The question of providing further frigates was referred to the Admiralty. It was decided to add a fourth-rate frigate, it being pointed out that Benbow's squadron was in part a protection (1000). By that time, the island was beset by privateers from Martinique etc., who did much damage to English shipping (1136–1138).
The 4½ per cent. duty in Barbados was calculated to yield 10,000l. a year. In pursuance of the policy already indicated in our survey of the other Governments, the Council of Trade recommended, "for the good of the Island, the interest of England in reference to trade, and the administration of Justice," that 800l. should be added to the Governor's salary out of that fund, making it up to 2,000l. a year, and thus rendering him independent of presents from the Assembly, which he should henceforth not be allowed to receive. The money so saved to the Colonists, they might lay out upon hospitals for the soldiers and sailors (348, 349).
The alarm of a negro insurrection, and the discovery of a plot to burn Bridgetown, made by a fish-wife (28), led to various precautionary measures being taken (29), and lent force to the appeal of the President and Council for the help of a regiment of foot, "whenever a war shall happen" (8, 9).
When intelligence was received of Châteaurenault's design to attack the island, the Assembly was hastily summoned, and measures for defence were passed (101–103, 124, 144, 145). Steps had already been taken to clear the trenches, purchase arms, repair the fortifications, (most of which, according to Lord Grey, were badly in need of it (53),) to exercise the Militia, and to appoint watches in the towns (53).
Mitford Crowe was appointed to succeed Lord Grey in January (33). His Instructions were similar to those formerly given to Grey, except for alterations since introduced in the case of all Governors, or specially directed to him subsequently (171). Thus, in connection with the complaints that had been made as to the administration of justice, it was ordered that the Governor should be admonished to a constant care that justice be administered on all occasions (15). Those complaints, however, were not silenced. Isaac Hawkins, alleging that there was still delay in the case of Barbara Newton (3.i.), repeated his criticisms of Barbados justice, as administered by interested and ignorant planters, merchants and inhabitants, instead of by qualified judges (50). It was therefore decided to insert in the Instructions of the new Governor directions urging him in the most pressing manner to see to the reformation of all irregularities in the Courts, and the speedy administration of justice (62, 92, cf. 863.i.). Mr. Hodges, who, I have suggested, (fn. 5) was the author of the pamphlet on "Plantation Justice" (Calendar, 1701, p. 1iii.), carried his grievances to the House of Commons, complaining that the Council of Trade had "covered the truth from his Majesty" (153, 155, 155.ii.). The House of Commons dismissed his petition as "vexatious and scandalous" (422). But, if he had not made good his charges of maladministration against Lord Grey and the Council of Trade, his main contention as to the delay of justice, etc., seems to be borne out by the evidence adduced, by Codrington's comments quoted above, and by a report by Mr. Larkin, in which he observes, "I don't at all admire that your Lordships are dayly harassed with complaints touching the irregular administrasion of affairs in the Plantations, since Patent Offices are so frequently disposed of to persons wholly unacquainted with business, and officiated by Deputys' Deputys' Deputys, some of which are scarce capable of writing six words of sense" (458). He quotes, as an instance, a boy of fourteen deputed to act as Secretary of the Leeward Islands and Clerk of the Council (p. 306).
There was a further demand for an alteration in the instructions regarding appeals. It was proposed, upon the petition of several merchants and planters, that the right of appeal should not be limited to any sum as hitherto, and that the appeal should no longer have to be entered within 14 days of the judgment, but within six months (739, 739.i.–iii.). The pros and cons of the matter were discussed before the Council of Trade. It appeared that, in practice, the limitation of appeals to the Supreme Court of Barbados to cases in which the value of 300l. was involved, was not enforced (1069, 1164, 1175). Upon the whole, the Board recommended that no alteration should be made until the general sense of the inhabitants was ascertained, since the proposals for a change had not come directly from the island, and those most interested held that a change would be prejudicial to all concerned. Enquiries were therefore ordered to be made of the Governor and Council (1194, 1195).
The Act "for the better securing the liberty of H.M. subjects and preventing long imprisonments," a Habeas Corpus Act differing considerably from the English law, was repealed, for reasons set out (298). But special clauses were inserted in the Instructions of the new Governor with a view to securing liberty and property and preventing long and unreasonable imprisonments (737, 863, 863.i.). The new Governor to whom these Instructions were given was now Sir Bevil Granville (510, 863), King William's death having apparently occurred at an unlucky moment for Mitford Crowe, who was, however, destined to succeed Granville. The latter was a nephew of the late Earl of Bath, and a soldier with none too good a record, except for fighting. Besides the directions in connection with the administration of justice, and the 4½ per cent., he was instructed to secure the passing of laws for the better recovering of debts. The trade of Barbados was said to be much prejudiced by the inadequacy of the present machinery for that purpose, and this defect, unless remedied, threatened to draw "certain ruin upon the place." Ships were not to be allowed to sail without convoy, and the right of the English Crown to Tobago, Sta. Lucia, Dominica and St. Vincent was to be asserted. The Governor's allowance from the 4½ per cent. was fixed at 200l. sterling only (863.i.).
With regard to Tobago, another application was made this year by Poyntz and Co. for a Charter with Prince George for Governor. They offered to devote 1/20th part of their profits to "pious purposes" (656).
News of the death of King William reached Barbados by the end of April (386). Anne was proclaimed on May 18, and an Address to H.M. signed, in which the loyal Barbadians offered to spend the last drop of their blood and the last penny of their fortunes in defence of H.M. right (499). On news of the war (654), commissions were issued for privateers, and a new Assembly was summoned (681). They expressed doubts as to the legality of the writs (757), and another election had to take place before further measures for providing for privateers and fortifications, and dealing with the prisoners who might be brought in (916, 917), were passed. They were soon at loggerheads with the Council. They frequently met and adjourned, owing to lack of a quorum, and showed scant courtesy to the Council in doing so (123, 284, 1189, etc.). There was a dispute as to the appointment of a commander of a flag of truce to be sent to Martinique. They found a difficulty in raising money to equip a vessel of war for the public service by an Act, although members showed their zeal by making private subscriptions; and they wished to stop the issuing of commissions to privateers until the public service was provided with sailors. The President and Council resented the apparent claim of the Assembly to dictate as to the details of the equipment and provision for the vessels of war, and they took offence at what they considered some "very unsuitable and undecent expressions" addressed to them by the Speaker in laying the views of the Assembly before them, and requested that the Speaker should in future convey the messages of the Assembly in writing. The Assembly, however, upheld the action of their Speaker; he had done nothing contrary to the sense of the House, and they refused to depart from their traditional practice (946, 973). The absence of a Governor does not seem to have brought about the millenium here any more than at New York.
How the question of the eligibility of Scotsmen to hold offices in the Plantations under the Act of 7 & 8 William III was raised, and the decision furthered by a confederacy in which residents in the Colonies took their part, is shown by the correspondence of Mr. Mein, a Member of the Council of Barbados, where the leading case of Alexander Skene had arisen (211, 212).
In May, Capt. Haskett arrived in England and, waiting upon the Council of Trade, promised to vindicate himself from the charges laid at his door (469). His accusers tax him with arbitrary and unscrupulous exactions enforced with uncontrolled violence of behaviour (78, 100, 120, 307, 307.i., 547). Haskett's delay in stating his defence led the Council of Trade to make a report to the Queen without hearing him. They point out that their efforts to compel the Proprietors to give security for his good behaviour when he was appointed (Calendar, 1700), would probably, if successful, have prevented these mischiefs. The islands were now without Governor or defence, and the Proprietors were ordered to remedy this state of things. They appointed Edward Birch to the Government, with instructions to enquire into the case of Capt. Haskett (604, 613, 623). Haskett then at length submitted his defence (702, 703), which was presently supported by the evidence of Mr. Doggett, the Secretary of New Providence (877). He explained that, his papers having been seized, he could adduce no proof of his assertions (703). He repeated the uncomplimentary description of the inhabitants which he gave in his former despatches (Calendar, 1701, p. 1viii.), and in later papers gave details of their mode of living by illegal trade, plunder and trafficking with pirates (720, 746, cf. 604).
He urged the resumption of the Government to the Crown, declaring that all the Proprietors were ready to surrender their right of government, except Mr. Granville (748). There seems too good reason to accept his description of the inhabitants. But the charges brought against him can hardly be altogether imaginary, or inspired, as he declared, by his firm repression of illegal trade. He was a choleric and violent ex-sea-captain, and, as it appears subsequently, (951, 952), an absconding debtor from London. The salary and perquisites of the Governor amounted to no more than 150l. per annum (678). It was but too likely that, in these circumstances, he should endeavour to line his pockets by arbitrary exactions and by endeavouring to engross the small trade of the islands on his own account. The details of the reprehensible conduct with which he is charged are sufficiently entertaining, and throw a lurid light upon the manners and customs of such a settlement and such a Governor. Owing to the lack of evidence, which rendered it impossible to decide on the matters of fact, the Proprietors were ordered to issue a Commission of Enquiry to do him justice, besides providing for the defence of the islands and the proper administration of justice (891, 903, 904). Haskett, however, petitioned to have his case examined and reported on by the Proprietors forthwith, and this request was granted (1001).
In the light of these documents, Col. Quary's report upon the Bahamas seems justified, insisting as it does upon the importance of those islands and their commercial possibilities, but remarking that hitherto, by the corruption, rapine and extortion of their Governors, they have only harboured pirates and encouraged all manner of illegal trade. The people, he represents, are oppressed by the barbarous usage of their Governors or forced off the Island of Providence (260). They themselves assert that the reputation of their avaricious Governors had put a complete stop to immigration (p. 205).
The General Assembly of Bermuda thought it would be a good plan if the Government of the Bahamas were united with their own (25. vi.). They had had some experience of Capt. Haskett's methods in the case of a Bermudian sloop, which he seized for raking salt three years previously in Turks Islands (which were claimed by the Lords Proprietors of the Bahamas), and resented them accordingly (25. iv., vi.). But their own house was not altogether in order.
"The Governors being generally indigent and necessitous, mind their own advantage more than their master's interest, and for the usual present of 350l. forget their duty. Mr. Bennet is as arbitrary as the Grand Turk . . and as much a Bermudian as if he had been born here. If the Governors of Bermuda are permitted to use gentlemen sent here by the Crown after such a manner, I don't know any person that will adventure here for the future" (pp. 662ff). Such was the view of the Government of Bermuda taken by Mr. Larkin, when he found himself in the same plight under Governor Bennet as that in which Mr. Randolph had been under Governor Day, and was as ready as he had been to dub Bermuda "the New Algier or the Unfortunate Island" (1042). His reasons were very similar. His zeal and self-importance as an official armed with a vague roving Commission of superiority (929), combined with indiscreet championship of the victims of some seriously irregular proceedings on the part of the Governor and Council, brought him into conflict with the interests of those who were already sufficiently restive at the presence of a "chiel amang 'em taking notes." He was committed to gaol. "For here it is as it ever was, 'sic volo, sic jubeo . . .'" (1042). And he suggests another reason. "The Bermudians have a mighty antipathy to any gentleman commissionated under the Great Seal. . . . Never any Governor that come here since the Charter Government, or gentleman was sent by the Crown, but was imprisoned before his departure" (1132). He describes it as "one of the distractedest little Governments that I yet came into," and attributes the blame chiefly to the three Members of Council who had opposed Day (p. 538). Indeed, he takes the side of Day, though he admits his former irregularities, and of Jones, the Secretary, whom Governor Bennet had suspended (25, 866, 872). The former (389.iii.) was found guilty of publishing the libel referred to in Calendar, 1701, p. lxi.; the latter was convicted on several serious charges (25, 195).
Larkin calls attention to some irregular commissions issued to privateers, "I am very well assured they have been of ill-consequence" (p. 538). He questions the wisdom of Bennet's intention of disciplining the negroes, mulattoes, and Indians (25.i.). There was much illegal trade; the people were numerous, idle and unprincipled; Justice was indifferently administered. "I would not try a cockroach by a Bermuda jury" (p. 541). The Governor is damned with faint praise. "If a Governor of Bermuda cannot dispense with his oath, which he takes for the preservation of the Acts of Trade, and break his Instructions, the people of the country are soon offended at him. This gentleman strives all he can to make himself popular, and in hopes of gaining a good name in order to a better Government, permits them do even what they please" (p. 539). The Council of Trade called Bennet to account upon the points raised by Larkin (1150.i.). His own reports upon the difference with Larkin, and the reasons for his imprisonments, naturally differ from those of that officer (929, 939, 1075, 1094, 1109).
It was not till Sept. 3 that Anne was proclaimed Queen in Bermuda, and the proclamation of war was issued some weeks later (929, 934, 1002). An Act was passed forbidding the export of provisions (125). The guns which arrived from the Tower were placed in position on the fortifications and in the trenches (25, 388).
A question which, as we have seen in former volumes, was at this time frequently raised in the Plantations, was again raised in Bermuda. Were the laws of England in force here? The Attorney-General of Bermuda declared that they were not, unless enacted by the Assembly in Bermuda (388, p. 664).
The Commodore's report of the previous year as to the irregularities of the Newfoundland trade and fishery, led to the new Commodore being instructed to consider remedies for such mischiefs, "in order to the preparing of such clauses to be proposed at the next Sessions of Parliament as may be requisite for the more effectual regulating that Trade." He was also directed to enquire into the complaints received as to the embezzlement of the pay, provisions and the general behaviour of the soldiers stationed at St. John's (207, 376.i.). And the Council of Trade recommended the removal of Capt. Powell and his lieutenant, whose baiting of the minister at St. John's was recorded in the last volume (207).
The Commodore's report was therefore less perfunctory than in most preceding years, and still less complimentary to the inhabitants, whom he describes as lazy and debauched and exploited by the New England traders (1154.i.). Whereupon, in their report to the House of Lords, the Council of Trade proposed that further powers should be given to the commanders of men-of-war there by a clause in an Act of Parliament (1202.i.).
Materials and workmen were ordered to be sent to complete the fortifications in St. John's Harbour (254ff.), and the sailors on H.M. ships were commanded to assist at the work (179). The chain for a boom to guard the harbour was, however, still useless for want of masts to float it (73). The Board of Ordnance suggested that the Navy Board, to whom it belonged, should provide for its fixing; the Navy Board said that the Ordnance Office ought to do it (109). The Ordnance Office said they wouldn't and couldn't (193, 371). The ships were about to sail, and it was only upon the pressing representations of the Council of Trade that the Lord High Admiral broke through the bondage of red tape and agreed to order the fixing of the boom (377, 415, 425, 426). St. John's being thus provided for, a movement was set on foot for fortifying Trinity Harbour (529), whilst the Council of Trade proposed that the fleet should destroy the French fortifications at Chapeau Rouge (559). As if to justify these demands, came news of a raid by the French from Placentia upon Syllicone [?] (976). And presently it was reported that they had plundered all the north side of Trinity Bay (1190). Enquiries were made into the grievances of the soldiers stationed in Newfoundland. Their wretched condition led to wholesale desertions at this critical period (288, 1154.i., 1181, 1187).
An echo of the English surrender of Surinam is sounded in the petitions of Jeronimy Clifford (360.i.–iv.). The Dutch had not fulfilled their obligations under the treaty of Westminster (1674) with regard to the removal of the petitioner's property. His case was transmitted to the English Envoy at the Hague, in order that he might lay the matter before the States General (491, 542, 554).
The risks which the Records of the various Colonies ran in these early days from careless keeping, are occasionally indicated (1, 242), as well as the measures which were taken to preserve them (29, 1071).