Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 21, 1702-1703. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1913.
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In previous volumes the Editor has endeavoured to provide in his Preface a complete guide to the contents of the documents calendared. But in order to hasten the process of making these Colonial Papers accessible to the Public, he will in future devote only a few pages to the Preface, calling attention briefly to the main events recorded and to the General Reports of the Council of Trade. The space so saved will be devoted to the printing of further documents. Mere abstracts and memoranda will henceforth not be calendared. And, with the beginning of the year 1704, the Journal of the Council of Trade and the Sessional Papers of the various Colonies will be omitted from this series. Arrangements are being made for their publication in separate form.
The War which was being conducted with such brilliant success by Marlborough at home, produced nothing but inglorious failures in the West Indies. It had been planned that an expedition under the leadership of the Earl of Peterborough should destroy the French settlements on Martinique and Guadeloupe, possibly make a descent upon the Spanish towns on the mainland, and then deliver a blow against Placentia and the French fishery in Newfoundland (125, 170, 192, 274). Hungry eyes, too, were turned upon Havana (193). But the expedition under Commodore Walker wasted over two months at Barbados before sailing for the Leeward Islands, where Codrington was eagerly waiting with a regiment he had raised (164, 200). Sickness, desertion, and the hospitality of the planters (362) had already played havoc with the naval forces; to this fact and to this delay, which gave the French time to prepare, and to call in their privateers, as well as to the lack of co-operation between the Army and Navy, Codrington attributes the failure of the attempt upon Guadeloupe. The ships, too, were crazy, frigates lacking, provisions bad, and the personnel of the Navy reduced and sickly (230, 289, 362, 1071, 1128). The point of view of Commodore Walker, which is far from being that of the General, Codrington, is given in an exceedingly interesting journal (737).
The effect of the failure of this assault was seen in a great increase in the French privateers commissioned from Guadeloupe and Martinique (pp. 571, 617); the coastwise trade and that of the islands suffered severely, as Governors and the Council of Trade had foretold; 90 English prizes had been brought into Martinique by September (p. 669); the Leeward Islands began to dread invasion by the French (pp. 571, 750, 818).
After the fiasco at Guadeloupe, the expedition passed in July to Jamaica, where much discontent was caused by the pressing of inhabitants (p. 791); then proceeded to Newfoundland. There the settlers were calling for help and fortifications in dread of French aggression (156). But when the fleet arrived off Placentia, the season of the year was already far advanced, and the French had already thrown reinforcements into the place (1191.i.). After a Council of War held in St. Mary's Bay, ViceAdmiral Graydon, who, it is suggested, was "Kirby inclineable," decided not to deliver an assault (1071, 1128, 1381.i.).
Nor, on the mainland, did a daring, perhaps foolhardy, attempt to secure the Southern frontier of Carolina by capturing Fort St. Augustine in co-operation with the Indians, prove, after a more successful beginning, more profitable in the end. Spanish men-of-war from Havana raised the siege of the Fort, and compelled the besiegers to retreat after burning the town and their own vessels (303). A raid on the Spanish mines of Sta. Crux d'Cana had little effect except to annoy the Spaniards (22). For a future expedition Col. Beckford recommends the Panama Canal route (p. 24).
At the end of August a joint-expedition of French and Spaniards landed in the Bahamas, destroyed the town of Providence, put the male population to the sword, and carried off the President (1098, 1150, 1181, 1223, 1383, p. 751).
Proximus ardet was then the cry upon the mainland. Col. Quary sent home a comprehensive proposal for the convoying of trade and the protection of the coasts, which was soon to bear fruit (1389.ii., p. 734).
Loss and inconvenience were universally experienced from the war. Although the correspondence here calendared is sufficiently voluminous, it would have been larger had not many letters been captured at sea (996 etc.). Many questions arose to occupy the attention of ministers and the Council of Trade—questions of Admiralty and of Commissions for privateers, of the sharing of prizemoney, of embargos and convoys, of dates for the sailing of merchant ships to suit their convoys and the conflicting interests of merchants. These matters provide incidentally a good deal of information as to the movements of ships and the course of trade. Prolonged waiting for convoys in tropical seas caused damage from the worm to unlined timber hulks, whereby many vessels foundered on their belated voyages home. Outward bound ships sometimes lay for 6 months in the river. The irregular supply of commodities from England involved great inconvenience and high prices in the new countries, which depended upon the old for manufactured goods and even provisions (1270, 1275). The Report of the Council of Trade upon the needed convoys is given (1389.ii.).
Complaints were frequent, both at home and in the Colonies, as to the evil of pressing, the damage done thereby to trade and its unsettling effect upon the Colonists. The relations between Governors and Commanders of men-of-war continued to give rise to unpleasantness, as in Jamaica, New York, Virginia and Maryland. The scarcity of seamen caused a Bill to be brought into the House of Commons relaxing for the time being the stringent protective legislation by which the British Mercantile Marine was being built up (345).
Whilst the exchange of prisoners under flags of truce gave rise to suspicion of collusive trade with the French (298 etc.), the Dutch Colonists of Curaçoa etc., ignoring the instructions of the States General, carried on an open trade with the Spaniards (6, 472, p. 572). English traders, who were strictly forbidden to traffic with Spain (March 20), were naturally dissatisfied at seeing this profitable business engrossed by the Dutch and Danes; but the change in the political situation, when the Archduke of Austria was declared King of Spain, gave them relief. In September orders were despatched by the Secretary of State, Lord Nottingham, directing Governors to open correspondence and commerce with the Spaniards, with the object of detaching them from the French (1088ff.).
Taking advantage of the war, the Swedes, as had been foreseen, availed themselves of their practical monopoly of naval stores to double the prices of pitch and tar (1185). The necessity of developing the resources of England in America became more imperative than ever, and methods of nursing a trade in naval stores into life by a preferential tariff for the Colonies were considered. In pursuance of the policy of former years, many negotiations took place with a view to forming a Chartered Company for the supply of these commodities from New England and Carolina, the Council of Trade insisting upon the insertion of clauses characteristic of the age, intended to prevent the possibility of "stock-jobbing" (165).
The Nelson cry for frigates, to protect the Islands and the coast trade, and the demand for regiments of regulars, to relieve the intolerable strain of the militia, were heard from the Massachusetts Bay to the Leeward Islands, but the Colonists did not prove themselves so ready to combine for their own defence or to support H.M. forces when they were sent to defend them.
Governors were ordered to put further pressure upon the Assemblies to contribute their quotas towards the defence of the frontiers of New York (540, 720ff.). Governor Nicholson, on a visit to New York, tried to force the hand of the Virginians by giving bills to Lord Cornbury for 900l., and Maryland voted, but did not pay, 300l.; the other Provinces made no response to Cornbury's call for money, nor was a demand for men likely to meet with better success (860).
The reports of the Council of Trade upon the defences of New York, the Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, with their recommendations, are given (533, 611), and their general report upon the ships of war required for the Plantations (1389). Their review of the year's work, and of the trade and government of the Colonies, referred to (1390), is printed in full in the Calendar of the MSS. of the House of Lords.
The long-considered question of making Governors independent of the presents of the Assemblies was settled by an Order of Council which fixed their salaries, to be paid out of H.M. Revenue, except in the case of the Proprietary and Charter Colonies. Maryland, the Massachusetts Bay, New Jersey and New Hampshire were urged to grant a fixed and permanent allowance to their Governors (536, 566).
Another matter which had long been under consideration was the evil arising from the varying rates of foreign coins in the several Plantations. It was now decided to fix the value of all such money by royal Proclamation (892, 974, 1299).
A considerable number of Acts were repealed. The reasons are given in the reports of the Council of Trade and the Attorney General, and are usually based on grounds of incompetent drafting, infringement of the prerogative of the Crown or interference with the liberty or rights of the subject, actual or prospective (445). The Board insisted strongly upon the sending over of Acts for confirmation without delay, it having been found that Acts, which were thought likely to be repealed, were held back from their consideration (1175). This is indicated, also, by the dates of some of the Acts reported upon in this volume (1454).
In view of the complaints which we have seen in former volumes, a circular letter was addressed to Governors, exhorting them to see to the prompt and impartial administration of justice, and recommending the establishment of Courts to determine small causes (578.i.).
The same care was taken to insure the sending over of the Minutes of Councils and Assemblies, but these, when they did arrive, cannot always be treated as Gospel. They were often faked by Governors or parties interested, as the records of Virginia, Barbados and Jamaica in this volume show, and, without the elucidation of other correspondence, are frequently unintelligible, or designedly misleading.
In Massachusetts a rising of the Eastern Indians was expected in the spring. An Act was passed for listing every fourth man to be ready to march within 24 hours (Dec., '02) and scouts and reinforcements were sent upon alarms to the frontiers (30). Thanks to such precautions the Indians at first remained quiet beyond hope (315, 460, 739, 969, etc.).
When a small party of Frenchmen from Port Royal and 200 Cape Sable Indians fell suddenly upon the frontiers of Maine in August, the garrisons of Wells, Saco, Blackpoint and Cascobay were able to hold their own till relief came (1067, 1094). At the latter place the Province galley arrived in the nick of time. Dudley's account of the relief reminds one of a very similar scene in Masterman Ready.
An expedition against Port Royal had been contemplated in the spring (500). Dudley was now anxious to carry the war into the enemy's camp and to harass the Indians by a winter campaign (1198). But the Representatives in December asked him to abandon this project and even to reduce the number of soldiers in pay (p. 853, No. 1422).
Livingstone, the Secretary for Indian Affairs, made a report, in accordance with which the Society for Propagating the Gospel undertook to send two Ministers to live among the Five Nations, and asked for aid from the Crown to send more (1018, 1395). Meantime Lord Cornbury reported the presence of Jesuit priests at Onnondage, and preparations by the French in Canada for a raid (1078).
From Connecticut Nicholas Hallam came to London to seek redress for the grievances of the Mohicans (1353). Other complaints against that Government and Rhode Island for harbouring deserters, encouraging illegal trade and refusing to help their neighbours, were repeated by Cornbury and Dudley (673, p. 524), and efforts to revoke their Charters were not relaxed. The Attorney General, however, could not advise that the Government of Rhode Island had, as was suggested, rendered void their Charter by their Act for erecting a Court of Admiralty in 1694 (1348, 1415).
The great expense of keeping the Province upon a war footing, and of completing the "good and honorable" work of the fort on Castle Island (543), gave the Representatives of the Massachusetts Bay reasonable excuse for not contributing their quota to New York, or rebuilding the fort at Pemaquid, to which they were otherwise little inclined on account of commercial considerations (518, p. 409), in spite of repeated pressure from Whitehall (687.i.). The Governor's application for help from the neighbouring Governments of Rhode Island and Connecticut in this crisis met with no response (p. 651, etc.). The Representatives of Massachusetts were equally unready to allow their own Government the usual discretion as to sending help to New York (p. 602). Nor would they contribute to the repair of the Fort at Piscataway, which New Hampshire had again been ordered to complete (687.i.).
No persuasion from Dudley could induce the Representatives to obey the Queen's commands and to fix the Government salaries (597). Clinging obstinately to the right of controlling supplies, like their brethren in Jamaica, they declared that an establishment would be prejudicial to the people, and contented themselves with voting utterly inadequate annual allowances to the Governor and the Judges (940, 953, 1201, pp. 40, 41, 602, 814). Dudley denounced his Council, coopted by the Representatives, as "Commonwealth men." "Till the Queen will name her own Council," he says, "the best men in the Province can have no share in the Government" (p. 691). Usher also declares the country to be "for setting up Commonwealth Government" (p. 919).
Atwood and Weaver arriving from New York made their defence before the Council of Trade (100, 101, 160, 194), but their removal from the Council, as well as that of Staats, Depeyster and Walters, was confirmed. The sentences on Bayard and Hutchins were reversed, and the Acts, which had been rushed through before Lord Cornbury's arrival, repealed (100, 102, 224, 249). In New York, a Bill declaring the illegality of the proceedings against Bayard and Hutchins was introduced in May (709).
Other Bills, to forbid the distilling of rum and burning of oyster shells within the city, as being the cause of the recent outbreak of sickness, reflect the state of medical knowledge at the time (p. 352). The adjustment of Lord Bellomont's accounts gave rise to much correspondence and to a display of partisanship by Cornbury, who also found means to detain Capt. Nanfan in gaol, in connection with the payment of the Four Companies (290, 295, 383).
Cornbury took in hand the repair of the fortifications on the frontiers, and the regulation of the Militia (861), and persuaded the Assembly to vote 1,500l. for the building of two batteries to protect the Narrows of the harbour against a threatened attack by the French (571, 726). The Assembly insisted that the money should be devoted exclusively to this purpose, and at the same time petitioned the Crown for aid (748, 822).
Lord Cornbury visited the newly constituted Province of Nova Cæsaria, or New Jersey, in the spring, and proceeded to settle the Courts, and also the Militia, much to the annoyance of the Quakers, who were, however, he declared, in the minority. The land-owning qualification of the electorate and Assembly, said to be a contrivance of the Scotch party, also gave rise to dissatisfaction (pp. 301, 644). When the new Assembly met, the result of what Col. Quary describes as an unjust election was that the Scotch of East Jersey and the Quakers of West Jersey were found to be in a majority (1400). The major part were Proprietors, and a Bill was passed to secure the territorial rights of the Proprietors; it affirmed their title not only to New Jersey, but also to Staten Island, which had been declared to belong to New York.
All royalties were assigned to the Proprietors, whilst the claims of those who held under grants from Col. Nicholls were denied. Unimproved lands—the estates of the "topping" Proprietors—were exempted from taxation, and thus the whole burden was thrown upon small farmers and freeholders of a few acres.
In order to induce the Governor to pass this measure a money-bill was tacked to it providing a year's revenue for the Government. A Bill for altering the qualification of voters and representatives, so as to do away with the landowners' monopoly, was also introduced (1285). Cornbury, seeing that the Assembly would settle no Revenue unless the Proprietors' Bill was passed, adjourned them till May, the sole fruit of the Session being a short Act to forbid the purchasing of lands from the Indians without a licence from the government (1386). Col. Quary's account of these proceedings and of his own share in them, and his pertinent criticisms of the Bill are given (1400), but Lord Cornbury's own despatch on the subject was not written till the January of next year (1704).
In spite of some opposition, of which Major Vaughan was the mouthpiece, John Usher was re-appointed Lieutenant Governor of New Hampshire in the room of William Partridge, removed (300, 309, 614, 715, 789). Upon his arrival in October, he reported that the defences of the Province were in a miserable condition (1225), but in response to pressure from Whitehall a sum, large in proportion to the resources of the country, was voted towards reconstructing the Fort at Piscataway (315, 611, 687.i., 1365). Usher naturally found himself in antagonism to Partridge and Waldron, and he complains, in letters written in a characteristically cryptic style, that his reception "had the ceremony of a funeral posture," and that Partridge and the party opposed to Crown government really continued to hold the reins of power (1425 ff.). An inquiry was instituted into the public accounts of past years (1365), and the Governor, Dudley, on visiting the Province, inquired into the cases of George Jeffrey and Sampson Sheafe (996.i.). Orders were given for the permanent fixing of the salaries of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor (601). There was some friction between Usher and Dudley as to granting Commissions (1425ff.). The former dissolved the Assembly in December and explains that he did so before the latter's instructions to the contrary reached him (p. 917).
The Attorney General stated his opinion that the title of Samuel Allen to the "waste lands" was good (65, 66, 68, 257, 265, 501), and directions were given that, in the event of a trial, the matters of fact should be specially found (580). But two Acts passed there gave the claimant cause to protest that they were intended to prevent the vindication of his rights (1414).
William Penn at long last gave his answer to the four queries which he had been deferring since May, 1702. The Council of Trade were by no means satisfied, but accepting it for the present, pressed him again, and this time successfully, for the declaration required of him, that H.M. approbation of Col. Hamilton as his Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania should not be construed as an acknowledgment of Penn's claim to the government of the Three Lower Counties— "those dear bought countys" as he calls them, signing the declaration with a groan still audible, "that 20,000l. will not reprize me" (3, 9, 24.ii.). By an Order of Council soon afterwards, all officials, judges, etc., and "all persons who in England are obliged and are willing to take an oath in any public or judicial proceeding," were required to take the oath or the affirmation allowed to Quakers (218, 219).
The Council of Trade continued to press Penn upon the subject of illegal trade and the Admiralty Courts in Pennsylvania (256). At length he offered to surrender the Government to the Crown "upon a reasonable satisfaction … saving some few privileges" (677). But these "few privileges," when they were formulated (837), appeared to the Board to involve an increase of power rather than a resignation (864).
Meantime the Government of Pennsylvania was being thrown into chaos by the withdrawal of the Three Lower Counties (950), by the delay in obtaining H.M. approval of Col. Hamilton as Deputy Governor, by his death, and by the charters which Penn was said to have granted in his haste in order to embarrass his successors (16, 858). The scruples of the Friends as to taking oaths or abjurations (1150.iii.) led to frequent difficulties in the Courts. The Church party were loud in their dissatisfaction with the verdicts of unsworn juries. All these difficulties were fomented and exaggerated for party purposes, as Penn explains (1407), and served as an excuse for insisting upon the government being resumed to the Crown.
John Evans was appointed Lieutenant Governor in place of Hamilton (884), and Mr. Mompesson Judge of the Admiralty in place of Col. Quary, although his opinion that Admiralty cases ought to be tried by juries (950) was regarded at home as "entirely destructive of legal trade" (1180). The conscientious objection of the Friends to bearing arms left the Province in a parlous state of defence.
Col. John Seymour was appointed to the Government of Maryland in January (160). Before he arrived, that Province was invaded by an "insolent Quaker" from Pennsylvania who dared to preach down the doctrines of the Church (1190).
Col. Quary succeeded Edward Randolph as Surveyor General of the Customs. His reports cover a wide field and are full of information. Visiting Virginia, he reports that it is in a high state of prosperity, to which lists of tithables also bear witness (1176.xii.). He praises the new Capitol, the Militia, and the Governor. He is, however, a mere echo of Col. Nicholson, and his defence of the Governor foreshadows the charges which were soon to be brought against him by "some uneasy, factious and turbulent spirits" (16, 1150, p. 732).
The Burgesses turned a deaf ear to the Governor's repeated exhortations to contribute their quota towards the defence of New York (481), for reasons given in an Address to the Queen (557–559, etc.). The Assembly plunged into a quarrel with the Council over the holding of conferences between the two Houses (531, etc.).
The new Governor did not arrive in Barbados till May. In his absence the Assembly fell to squabbling with the President and Council, a squabble which issued in wordy warfare and left but little time for attending to the business of quartering troops or fitting out vessels to protect commerce (4, 83, 209, 248, 678). Malcontents, by absenting themselves from the Assembly, paralysed public business. Sir Bevil Granville found the fortifications dilapidated and the Island very sickly (787, 831). The list of Militia (1223.iii.) shows a serious decrease.
From the Leeward Islands, Codrington had made repeated applications for furlough in past years. After his return, invalided, from the unsuccessful attempt upon Martinique, referred to above, his request was granted, and, much to his chagrin, a new Governor, Sir W. Mathew, was appointed in his stead (1160, 1421).
The quarrel between the Lieutenant Governor of Bermuda and Commissioner Larkin reached a climax, the latter's very questionable conduct giving Capt. Bennett an excuse for clapping him into gaol (136). "Hurled betwixt the disconsolate walls" of the prison, Larkin wrote home his case against the Government of Bermuda (237). The Lieutenant Governor replied with a dossier which shows Larkin in no admirable light (1014). The report of neither party is very complimentary to the society of the Island. The Council of Trade gave Bennett a rap on the knuckles for his treatment of H.M. Commissioner, whom he was ordered to allow to go about his business (398, 628, 630).
Col. Handasyde assumed the government of Jamaica in Dec., 1702 (22). A month later Port Royal was destroyed by fire (128, 161, 280, 289). There is a rumour of treachery or arson (p. 322). Bills were immediately rushed through to prevent the re-settling of that ill-starred town, and to repeat the former endeavour to make Kingston on the mainland the Capital (228). But, it was urged with much heat before the Council of Trade by those interested, these Acts were passed improperly and Kingston was utterly unsuitable as the seat of trade and Government. Great mortality amongst the settlers there lent force to the opposition (1326). Every sixth man was reported to have died. Whilst the repeal of the Bill was being clamoured for at home (1179), the Assembly practically recanted by bringing in an Act to make Port Royal a port of entry under the name of Port Charles (1325).
When the Assembly met in January, the Lieutenant Governor recommended to their consideration the passing of a Revenue Act and an Act for quartering H.M. soldiers (173). Parties were divided into English new-comers and Creolians (p. 658), and whilst the House was refusing to provide adequate quarters for the soldiers or to make allowances to their officers for quarters and subsistence (439, 469, 657), the unhappy men who had been sent to defend them were left to perish in the open. This state of affairs led the Council of Trade to suggest the building of barracks etc. and to make other proposals for their preservation (1149). When, after long delay, a new Act was passed, the allowance made to officers was shown, by the test of prices current, to be utterly inadequate (1100).
The Instructions prepared for Lord Peterborough were now addressed to the Lieutenant Governor (367); and Col. Handasyde, in spite of the "perverse tempers and disunion of the people," had the satisfaction of doing what none of his predecessors had been able to achieve. The Revenue Act was not indeed made perpetual, but was extended for 21 years—an alternative which by his private Instructions Handasyde had been authorised to accept (1227).
Party feeling ran high in the Assembly. Mr. Totterdell (Calendar, 1701) had returned, and made his influence felt not only in constant squabbles with the Council, but also in stormy scenes in the House over the Additional Duty Bill. Several Members, who left the House under protest, were taken into custody and expelled (998, p. 652). The Assembly, thus reduced, was left without a quorum to pass any Bills (1048), and refused to admit the same Members when they were re-elected.
Taking the occasion of the repeal of an Act of the Island for encouraging privateers and preventing pressing, the Council of Trade recommended the expression of H.M. disapproval of these disorders, which was done (1179, 1253, 1411).
In spite of alarmist rumours of a joint French and Spanish invasion, Handasyde steadily asserted the ability of the Island to defend itself. The Colonists, whilst professing alarm, left the guns and arms sent over by the Crown untouched and uncared for, to deteriorate in the open (1347.i.).
From those concerned in Newfoundland came several petitions for help against the French (156, 1332, 1338, 1381, etc.). But the officer commanding at St. Johns discouraged the idea of fortifying Trinity Harbour or Conception Bay (783, 1342). The fishery and trade suffered very severely from the war (1332). One result was that a small body of settlers withdrew to an island in Trinity Bay and there established themselves as a Community with a code of rules for their guidance (1, 1339, 1342). Owing to a dispute between the Ordnance and Navy Boards the boom for St. John's Harbour, ordered last year, remained unfixed (607). But after a brush with the Lord Treasurer (713), the Ordnance Office at last despatched an officer to complete the work (782). Complaints were once more heard of the evil effects of trading by military officers (1381). Reference has already been made to the abortive attempt by the English fleet upon Placentia (p. 1). An account of the Fishery is given (379.i.).