Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 24, 1708-1709. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1922.
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During the period covered by this volume, returns came to hand from the several Plantations in reply to the series of queries addressed to them by the Board of Trade in 1708. These replies furnish valuable information as to the numbers and increase of inhabitants; kinds of produce and manufactures; fisheries and shipbuilding; ships and illegal trade; movements of ships and the volume and channels of trade between one Colony and another. Returns are given, too, of Patent Offices, and of the number of negro slaves imported and required by the several Plantations.
The most important incident with which the documents included in this volume are concerned, is the abortive preparation for a campaign in America. It aimed at the reduction of Canada, Nova Scotia, and, possibly, of Newfoundland. Marlborough was determined to pursue the plan of William III. and to carry on the war in Flanders. But, since 1707, it had been a plank in the policy of the Tories to change the seat of war to Spain and to call attention to the feebleness of Naval action in the West Indies.
The idea of an expedition against Quebec had, of course, long been in the air. Proposals to that end had repeatedly been made from the Colonies, as we have seen in previous volumes of this Calendar. The demand came with greatest insistence from New England. For New Hampshire and the Massachusetts Bay were the greatest sufferers on the Continent from the neighbourhood of the French and their Indian allies (19, 60, 533 i., 609).
Great indignation, too, had been aroused by the action of the French in paying a reward of £5 to their Indians for the head of every English subject brought in by them, "which the savages cannot challenge without shewing the scalps."
Governor Dudley explains that he had himself set a price of £100 upon the heads of rebel Indians, who after forty years allegiance, had broken out and murdered several families of settlers at the beginning of this war,—"a very far different case from . . . . their treatment of Christians." He threatened reprisals, and his action was confirmed at home. But neither his expostulations nor threats of reprisal had any effect upon the French Governors (19, 30, 533 i., p. 238).
New York also suffered, but was, on the whole, less affected by the neighbourhood of the French (60). For the agreement made by Lord Cornbury with the Governor of Canada for keeping the Five Nations and French Indians neutral, threw the burden of defence upon New England. The Council and Assembly of the Massachusetts Bay again sent a protest against this agreement (533 i.)
The Agent of New Hampshire complains, that it had cost the lives of a thousand settlers and the devastation of their plantations, besides the expense of £100,000 (19, p. 328). Meanwhile benefit accrued to the "handlers" at Albany, who traded with the French (617).
But the New Englanders beheld the fertile Eastern Country abandoned, and their fur trade lost, whilst the privateers from Port Royal ruined their fishery on the coast and paralysed their seaborne trade with the sugar Islands (p. 49). Again and again, in a phrase calculated to appeal to Ministers at home, Port Royal is described as a regular den of privateers,—an American Dunkirk (533 i., etc.) Another reason for reducing Nova Scotia was urged. Coal mines of great value were known to be there. Fireing in New England was growing scarce and dear, "soe dear ytt. will be forced to burn coales" (260, 663). The time for an offensive against the French seemed ripe. They were scattered and not numerous. Their numbers indeed were estimated at less than 5000 (217). But an attack by them upon Maine was dreaded, and this might best be countered by the English taking the offensive (60). The Five Nations were ready for the war-path, and, if allowed, would soon extirpate or reclaim the Eastern Indians (533 i.).
It was in these circumstances that Col. Vetch came forward with an elaborate report upon the French in Canada and a proposal for an Expedition against them. His Memorial, entitled Canada Survey'd, was presented to Ministers in July 1708 (60, 71). In the absence of Lord Sunderland abroad, it was taken in hand by Mr. Secretary Boyle. Vetch was requested to stay in England, in order to expound his proposals more fully (71, 85, 89). Canada Survey'd, with its explanatory supplement, is a remarkable document (60, 196). Not only does it review the whole case for expelling the French from America, and summarize the strength and condition of their forces and defences, but it also outlines the plan of campaign which was presently adopted.
The dependence of the West Indian Islands upon the produce of the Continent is pointed out (p. 47). As to the cost of the Expedition it is suggested that the saving that would result from the mere cessation of the damages inflicted by the French and their Indians, and of the necessity for continual defence, would pay for the outlay in six months (p. 42). The plan of campaign proposed was a combined naval and military movement directed simultaneously against Quebec and Montreal (p. 50). In Dec., upon Sunderland's return, the Council of Trade reported favourably upon the scheme, so far as it lay within their province (221 i.). Three months later a decision had been taken, and Col. Vetch's Instructions were signed (March 1st, 1709. No. 387).
He was ordered to sail immediately for New York. Upon his arrival he was to communicate the plan of the Expedition to the Governors concerned in it. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania were to furnish contingents amounting in all to 1500 men. These were to be provided with arms and ammunition from H.M. magazines at New York, and to be disposed into four battalions, with which the four regular companies at New York were to be incorporated. Officers were detached from England to train and command them. These troops were to be ready to march from Albany, in conjunction with the Five Nations and River Indians, by the middle of May. A depot of provisions was to be organised at Wood Creek. Meantime, the Governors of New England and Rhode Island were to raise 1200 men, and to prepare transports, pilots and supplies. They were to be ready to embark by the middle of May, and to await the arrival of the Fleet from England, which would bring them arms and ammunition.
Such other preparations as might be deemed necessary were to be undertaken if unanimously agreed upon by Col. Vetch, the Governors concerned, and Col. Nicholson, who had offered himself as a volunteer on the Expedition. Volunteers in the Plantations were to be encouraged (387, 388). In order to stimulate the enthusiasm of the Colonists, they were to be assured that the Governments which contributed towards the reduction of Canada, should have a preference with regard both to the soil and the trade of that country, when reduced (p. 232). Instructions in detail and to the same effect were sent to the several Governors after Vetch had sailed (475–478). It is stated therein that "H.M. is now fitting out her Commander in cheif of the said expedition with a squadron of ships, and five regiments of the regular troops, who are to be at Boston by the middle of May." That was on April 28th (p. 284). The Commander in Chief referred to was General Whetham (492). Sealed Orders were prepared for him. They were only to be opened if, upon his arrival at Boston, it was decided at a Council of war that the Expedition against Canada was impracticable. In that case, he was to attempt the reduction of Newfoundland (497, 498). In America, expectation ran high.
At the end of June Col. Francis Nicholson and Col. Vetch reported that nothing could prevent the success of the campaign except the too late arrival of the Fleet. They had reached Boston on April 28th. There, as in Rhode Island and Connecticut, the project was received with enthusiasm, and preparations were at once begun in accordance with the plan of campaign (604). Three regiments, raised in the Massachusetts Bay, were uniformed, armed and drilled so effectively that Col. Vetch considered them equal to most regiments in the service (666). From Boston, Vetch and Nicholson proceeded to Rhode Island and Connecticut, and thence to New York. The view that "New York was the only Colony which threw itself into the attempt with hearty enthusiasm" (Doyle, The Middle Colonies. p. 345) is not borne out by the reports now published (602–605, 617). The several Governors and the Council and Assembly of New York appointed Nicholson Commander in Chief, with Col. Schuyler as second in command (p. 403). On May 26th a force marched out to Wood Creek and began to construct a depot and to build boats and canoes there (666). On leaving New York, Vetch and Nicholson visited New Jersey. There the Assembly, being composed largely of Quakers, refused to contribute their quota of men. They also at first refused, but afterwards passed, acts for £3000, for the present service and expedition against Canada, and for the encouragement of volunteers. These Acts were only passed with great difficulty, all the Quakers in the House of Representatives voting against them (617). Pennsylvania refused to contribute either men or money (580).
The possibility of the refusal of Quotas had not been unforeseen (497). It was, however, hoped to make up the deficit by raising more Indians. But the opportunity was taken to urge the exclusion of all Quakers from Government (p. 405. No. 605).
At the beginning of July Nicholson and the acting Lt. Governor of New York, Col. Ingoldesby, proceeded to meet the Indians at Albany "whither all the forces are gon up" (629). A month went by, and still there was no sign of the Fleet. All hope of a surprise disapeared. For Col. Nicholson waiting impatiently with his contingent at the Lake side, ready to embark for Montreal in canoes and specially-constructed flat-bottomed boats, had a skirmish with the French and Indians (666).
At last, on Oct. 11th, a man of war arrived bringing letters dated 27th July, which announced that the expedition had been abandoned. The high hopes of the Colonists were dashed. But there was still a chance that all their trouble and the heavy expense of their preparations—estimated at £100,000 apart from the cost of dislocated trade and a three months' embargo on shipping—might not have been wholly in vain.
For the Commanders of the Expeditionary forces were instructed to consider whether, with the resources at their disposal, an attack upon Nova Scotia and Port Royal might not still be feasible (794). A Council of War was therefore held, attended by Cols. Nicholson, Vetch and Moody—who had arrived from Newfoundland—the Governors and some of the Members of Council and Assembly of the Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
After considering Col. Moody's report upon Newfoundland, it was unanimously decided to defer any attempt against the French there, or for the recovery of the Bahama Islands, until the spring, but to proceed forthwith against Port Royal. The Government of New York and the Jerseys, however, would take no part in the project. And the Navy flatly refused to help. The Commanders of H.M. ships pleaded orders from the Admiralty, some to sail for Newfoundland, and some for New Providence (794, 794 i.–xii., 798, 803, 806). As their aid was vital, there was nothing for it but to abandon all action, and seek consolation in the hope of a renewed attempt in the spring. With this end in view, it was decided to maintain the forts which had been erected at Wood Creek with so much labour and expense, and to send home Representatives from each Government and the Five Nations to urge a renewal of the Expedition. Col. Nicholson was the first to sail, commissioned to press the cause and present Addresses to that effect (794, 794 i.–xii., 797, 798, 803, 806, 922 ii.). In any future Expedition, it was significantly suggested that the ships of war should be obliged to obey the orders of the Commanders in Chief of the Expedition, or at least the decisions of a Council of War, of which the Commanders of ships should be members (798). Vetch in his explanatory supplement had already called attention to the necessity of a careful adjustment of the commands by sea and land, "the want of which hath often occasioned the miscariage of the undertaking" (196). The feeble administration of the Navy, it will be remembered, was one of the points of attack by the Opposition at home. In the West Indies we have seen frequent examples of the want of fighting spirit. Rear Admiral Wager had recently repeated the bitter experience of Benbow.
The list of the Spanish galleons and their convoy—fourteen sail of ships, including three men of war, two sloops and a brigantine—engaged by Wager, is given (56 ii., 135). The Captains of the two men of war accompanying him left him to fight them almost singlehanded.
The Spaniards trading with the English on the Spanish Main laughed at these two ships of 60 and 50 guns who dared not attack their Vice Admiral of 64 guns, but kept at a safe distance ahead or astern of him (p. 38).
Wager, like Benbow, courtmartialled his cowardly subordinates and broke them—a very favourable sentence, in Governor Handasyd's opinion (68, 135). For the rest of the year the Naval Squadron stationed at Jamaica, and privateers commissioned from thence, were engaged in watching for the Spanish galleons at Cartagena, Vera Cruz, Porto Rico and the Havana, hoping to pounce upon them should they venture to put to sea under French or Spanish convoy, but hoping in vain (56, 68, 451, 542, 649).
Apart from numerous captures of merchantmen and packets on either side, two minor naval engagements are mentioned. That of H.M.S. Portland off Porto Bello ended successfully in the recapture of H.M.S. Coventry with 400,000 pieces of eight on board (451, 483, 542, 679, 872). Adventure was less fortunate. Giving chase to Valeur off the Leeward Islands, she caught a tartar. When she had lost 117 in killed and wounded, and her officers had been put out of action, the remainder of the crew surrendered to the Frenchmen (487, 529 iii., iv.)
The Naval Forces were helped by privatcers in their task of scouring the seas. These were reported to have done much damage to French traders among the West Indies and in the South Seas (720, 720 i.). But there was another side to the picture. Privateers had increased in numbers owing to the encouragement of the recent Act of Parliament. But for this more profitable calling sailors were tempted to desert men of war and merchantmen alike (301, 445, 445 i.).
Desertion and sickness thinned the crews of the Squadron at Jamaica to such an extent that ships could not put to sea unless one fifth of their men were supplied from the Regiment stationed there. Governor Handasyd complains again and again that his men "are fatigued out of their lives." Their losses in action, too, were heavy (56, 68, 174, 542, 649).
To meet the deficiency of sailors, outgoing ships were dispatched with supernumerary crews. But the Admiralty pointed out that the recent Act for the encouragement of trade to America deprived naval officers of the power of impressing men for H.M. service, even in the greatest necessity. They therefore instructed the Captains of men of war in the West Indies to leave their stations the moment their complement was so far reduced, that there remained but men enough to carry them home. The plight of unguarded Colonies was left out of account (96, 376). The clause in the Act referred to was interpreted by Governors of Plantations as applying to civil magistrates also. The Council of Trade and the Law Officers of the Crown held otherwise. But in view of the doubt felt, the whole question was referred for decision to the Secretary of State (68, 96, 248, 376, 621, 621 i., ii., 747, 747 i.–v., 753).
There were other objections to privateers. For there was always a danger lest privateersmen might turn pirates. It was not only that Peace would throw them out of employment and "leave to the world a brood of pyrates to infest it" (301, 785, 908). But there was also a present temptation to capture a fellow countryman and "sink him without trace" (445, 445 i.).
Governor Handasyd, indeed, reports an ominous increase in pirates off the Spanish coast. Strangely enough, they represented themselves as being so strongly pro-ally in their sympathies that they refused to be tempted by French or Spanish offers. Nothing but an English pardon would satisfy them (785).
A curious proposal was made concerning the notorious nest of pirates at Madagascar. First we have memorials from the Marquis of Carmarthen urging the suppression of the pirates there, and a resolution of the House of Commons to that effect (557 i., 908, 908 i.–vi.). It was practically impossible to apply force. The application of former schemes for securing their surrender upon promise of pardon had been mismanaged. It was therefore now proposed to appoint some responsible persons to negotiate with them as trustees for their lives and property. This plan was also pressed by Lord Morton and others, and backed by the "wives and relations of pirates and buckaneers of Madagascar and elsewhere" who asked for a general pardon and good guarantees "that their riches may be secured to them on their return home" (620 i., ii.)
Who sups with the devil, should use a long spoon. Lord Carmarthen gave warning of a rival expedition under the camouflaged command of the old pirate, Capt. Breholt. The ostensible purpose of it was to recover wrecked treasure. In this adventure he had engaged the support of Lord Fairfax, Lord Rivers and others. But his real object was to get out to sea and then sail for Madagascar "upon a Scotch pardon for the pyrats there" (908 ii.–v.)
Another grievance against the privateers finds frequent expression. Their indiscriminate action off the Spanish main brought to a standstill that correspondence with the Spanish West Indies and trade from Jamaica and elsewhere with the subjects of King Charles III. upon the coast, which it was the policy of England to encourage (53, 60, 68, 69, 87, 174 ii., 649).
The advantages of a proposal by a merchant of New Spain to settle the Assiento trade in Barbados were recognised. But it was pointed out that it would be contrary to the Acts of Navigation to grant his request for passes for Spanish ships to import bullion thither in return for cargoes of slaves. For negroes, it had been decided in 1689, were merchandize within the meaning of the Act (134, 134 i., 170, 177, 226 i.). Other suggestions for the granting of passes for Spanish vessels to trade in the West Indies were similarly rejected (305, 372, 406, 449, 463). But a Spanish ship with a pass is reported at Newfoundland (p. 167).
So, too, permission was refused to the Portuguese to purchase wheat and flour in America for their army. For though this would have been a means of helping a member of the Grand Alliance, yet it was feared that their competition might cause a shortage of supplies for the Sugar Islands (761, 779).
The problems of developing the production of naval stores in the Colonies, and of preventing the destruction of forest trees suitable for providing the Navy with masts, continued to exercise the representatives of the Crown on both sides of the Atlantic. The Council of Trade invited suggestions from Lord Lovelace and the Governors of New York and New England (17, 20 i., 429, 430). Under pressure from the Surveyor of H.M. Woods, Governor Dudley persuaded the Assembly of New Hampshire to pass a law for the preservation of white pines. But he could not induce the Assembly of the Massachusetts Bay to follow suit. The bill was drawn in the very words of their Charter; but "they would not enact their Charter into a Law" (30, 33, 914 i. etc.). Sunderland took occasion to remark that, as the matter was sufficiently provided for in the Charter, it would have been better not to give the Assembly an opportunity of refusing to enact it by a law (670). The Council of Trade rejected the claim of the Assembly that they were not bound by a clause in their Charter, "for if that Charter do bind, and is as a law to H.M. in relation to their rights and priviledges, it does also bind and is as a law to the inhabitants of that Colony" (292).
The victories of Marlborough and the exhaustion of France compelled the Grand Monarque to open negotiations for Peace in the spring of 1709. The Council of Trade accordingly received instructions to state the English claims to places which were at that moment in the hands of the French, or which had been captured by either side during the war (512). They lost no time in consulting the Agents of the Colonies and preparing the British case (516, 517, 519, 520). From all sides came suggestions and demands. The Hudson's Bay Company had already prepared and circulated their case for reparations and restorations (500, 522, 523).
Jamaican merchants demanded the removal of the French altogether from America,—from the Continent as well as from Martinique and Guadeloupe. But especially the new French settlements on Hispaniola, were instanced as "a sad and grievous thorne in the side of Jamaica" (540). The English title to Dominica, Tobago, St. Vincent and Sta. Lucia was stated (539). The retention of the whole of St. Kitts was insisted upon (546, 547). The damage suffered by Newfoundland and the English claim to that island and fishery were tabulated (548). From Carolina it was urged that the French must be compelled to relinquish their new settlements on the Mississippi. Above all, the demand for the restoration of Nova Scotia and Port Royal was reiterated (533 i. etc.). These and all other claims and titles of the British in America and the West Indies were enuntiated in a long and careful report by the Board of Trade at the beginning of June (554 i.).
At the beginning of this period estimates were being prepared for transporting to New York Protestants from the Palatinate who had already sought refuge in England (1). The stream of refugees increased in volume. They arrived sickly, destitute and infirm, "without stock or manufacture" to contribute to the wealth of the country (527, 553). Provision was made for their support by the Treasury until a decision should be reached as to their future (495, 504, 527, 551, 561, 680). A Committee was appointed to lodge and relieve them (536–538). Lists of them are recorded (495 ii., 551, 592). Overcrowding produced sickness, and the Board of Trade suggested that a stop should be put to the flow of immigrants until those who had arrived could be disposed of (553).
Several schemes were put forward for employing them. Sunderland suggested that they might be settled in England. Proposals were made to that effect by the Marquis of Kent (485, 570 ii.). The Societies of Mines Royal offered to employ them in the silver and copper mines of Merionethshire and Snowdonia (526, 552 i., 595). The Lords Proprietors of Carolina made a grant of lands for a settlement of "poor Palatines" (687, 719). An offer was made to plant 200 families in Jamaica (657 i.). The Council of Trade, after carefully canvassing the latter proposal, reported in favour of it (704). As an alternative, they called attention to the suitability of the waste lands upon Hudson River. There the immigrants might promote the fur trade and turn to the production of naval stores, whilst by following the example of the French and intermarrying with the Indians, they would prove "a barrier between H.M. subjects and the French" (217, 705). Or the vine-dressers amongst them might cultivate the wild vines in Virginia and elsewhere, and lay the foundation of a new and profitable trade (p. 457). Viticulture was, indeed, already being attempted in Pennsylvania, and in Virginia by Mr. Beverley, "whose vineyards and wine all persons are talking of in Virginia" (932).
When Col. Hunter was appointed Governor of New York, he took up the suggestion of settling 3000 Palatines in that Colony with a view to the production of naval stores. A formal contract was drawn up, binding them to attend to that work, in order to prevent their being decoyed into the neighbouring Provincial Governments (881, 882, 885, 891 i., 915–918). Orders were sent to the President and Council of New York to provide for them upon their arrival. It was distinctly stated that "the expence of it will be answered from hence" (842 i.).
In response to orders from the House of Commons, the Council of Trade made two reports upon the state of the African trade (316, 331, 910, 913). The approaching expiration of the Act of 1697 raised the question of the renewal of the monopoly of the Royal African Company. The supply of negroes was a matter of the first importance to all but the Northern Plantations. The "separate traders", who had paid an ad valorem duty of 10 p.c. to the Company, had kept them well supplied, when they would otherwise have been short, and by increasing supplies had kept down prices. They therefore regarded with dismay the Company's demand for an exclusive trade. Grant them that, and, by restricting supplies, they will raise the price to £50 a head and ruin the Island. So the planters and merchants of Jamaica protest (243).
The Company, on the other hand, argued that the competition of the separate traders in purchasing supplies in Africa was responsible for sending up the prices. The 10 p.c. received from the separate traders had not sufficed to meet the charges of maintaining forts etc. to which they were bound (331). The returns from the Plantations, in reply to their enquiries of the preceding year, enabled the Board of Trade to state the numbers and prices of negroes imported into each Colony by the Company and the traders, and the numbers required by each. They showed that the trade to the Plantations had been so far neglected by the Company, that, but for the separate traders, the supply of slaves would have been quite inadequate to maintain the production of sugar and tobacco (331, 913).
The Council of Trade made yet another effort to check the growing evil of granting patent offices in the Plantations to patentees who stayed at home and executed them by Deputy. They very pointedly called the attention of the Secretary of State to the Order in Council of 1699 (15). But the evil went on unchecked (153, 296). Returns of Patent Offices were sent in from the several Plantations. One of the disadvantages of the system is indicated by Governor Parke:—"Tis true if they do not do their duty, I may suspend the Deputies, but then I disoblige their patrons in Great Britain" etc. (p. 5).
The war with France and Spain and troubles in Sweden, Poland and Russia had caused a great depression in the tobacco trade. The planters of Virginia and Maryland especially suffered acutely from the low price of tobacco and the lost markets. They were forced to abandon the planting of tobacco and turned to the manufacture of linen, woollens, and leather. This, in the eyes of the English Government, was always forbidden fruit. To restore the tobacco market the export of that com modity to France was therefore set free, and consumption in the Navy stimulated (216, 216 i., 249, 295, 296 etc.)
A copy of a Privy Seal for the establishment of the Commissioners and Officers of the Board of Trade occurs (350). Salaries were still owing for the period from Michaelmas 1700 to March 1702, and were claimed from the Commissioners for stating arrears due from King William. In June 1709, they were also five quarters in arrear (144, 613).
The Board took the opportunity of an expected demand for a report upon their work to Parliament to press Mr. Secretary Sunderland for belated decisions upon some of their Representations (294). That Minister returned the compliment some months later by instructing the Secretary to summon absent members back to town. Important business was being delayed by their absence, and the Board was ordered to see to it that sufficient members to form a quorum were always available (759, 782).
The Board proposed that the little white house adjoining to their Office should be assigned to the Secretary of the Commission. This, it was suggested, would aid the dispatch of business and be a security for their papers in case of fire. The details given offer an interesting sidelight upon the history of the old Royal palace of Whitehall after the fire of 1698 and its desertion by the Court for St. James'. They are not referred to in Canon Shephard's History of the Palace.
§ 2 THE AMERICAN COLONIES.
In the same session they presented a list of very trivial grievances to the Governor and Council; they granted the Governor the miserable sum of £200 for his support; and, refusing to join with him and the Council in an Address to the Queen, secretly despatched one of their own. It was signed by 22 of their Members only (33, 33 i.–iv.). Dudley remarks, "The value of my Office will make nobody fond of it; but I am not willing to be by such methods bubled out of an honourable post; wherein I have served H.M. faithfully with all diligence and acceptance of the people" (p. 32).
From New Hampshire came addresses in his favour, repudiating the suggestions of some malcontents against him, and praising both his civil administration, and his pains for the defence of the frontiers (65 ii.–vi.). He was, indeed, able to report that, owing to the precautions he had taken, only one raid from Canada had been made, and that that had been successfully repelled (pp. 240, 241). In the course of a return to the queries of the Board of Trade referred to above, he gives a sketch of the calls upon the time of a Governor of New England (391). But the burden of this defence of the frontiers lay heavily upon the Colony. Taxes were seven times higher in Massachusetts than in any other Colony. Though trade was good, and the population steadily increasing, the poorer people were tempted to move across a boundary which was indicated only by marked trees to colonies, like Connecticut, which were less affected by the war. Dudley urges that the charge of the war should be made equal upon all Governments (p. 235). To ease the situation and to provide means of paying for English woollen goods, he recommends the building up of a lumber and ship-building trade. To make the Country secure against incursions from Port Royal and Canada, he suggests the planting of a Colony of Scots in Nova Scotia (391). In the autumn of 1708 the Council and Assembly addressed the Crown to the same effect. They emphasise the drain the war has made upon their resources. Massachusetts and New Hampshire are the frontiers against the French and Indians, but the Neutrality agreement made by Lord Cornbury deprives them of the aid of the Mohawks and other Indians. Further they urge the reduction of Nova Scotia and Port Royal, which is as another Dunkirk for privateers preying upon their commerce. They complain of the barbarity of the French in setting a price upon the scalps of English subjects (533 i. and see supra p. vi.)
George Vaughan, sent home, despite the protests of Lt. Governor Usher, as Agent by the Assembly, reported upon the condition and defences of New Hampshire (2, 2 i., ii., 19). The poverty of the country, the decay of trade and credit, and the aggression of the French Indians were advanced as reasons for the sending of a garrison, guardship and stores of war from home, and for the rooting out of "those two nests of French, Canada and Port Royal, settled on ye backs of ye English."
Protest is made against the French reward for scalps (§ 1), and Lord Cornbury's Neutrality agreement, which is held responsible for the murder of 1000 English settlers and the devastation of frontier towns and plantations (19, 65 ii.). Governor Dudley backed these requests, praising the people of this "small and poor frontier Province" as being "very much distinguished from some others by their loyalty and good obedience, and inferior to none for their diligence and industry." He urges the settlement of the Allen controversy (392). An appeal in this case was still depending before the Privy Council (58, 65 iii., 185). Stores of war were ordered to be sent and a grant made for finishing Fort William and Mary. The Governor was directed to exhort the inhabitants to maintain a sufficient guard for it, and to take care that the powder duty was regularly paid in kind (54, 185, 332).
In Aug. 1708 Lt. Governor Usher was sent into the Province upon news of a design by the French and Indians from Canada to attack the frontiers. He found the people "very secure and remiss," did his best to put them on the alert, and had the satisfaction of repulsing the, enemy, but not of being paid his expenses (260, 260 i.).
Reference is again made to a point in constitutional procedure raised by some Members of the Assembly of New York when it was summoned to meet by a proclamation signed by Lord Cornbury whilst in New Jersey. They maintained that an Order signed in one Province could not be of force in another (pp. 14, 15). The ruling of the Council of Trade on this subject has already been given in the previous volume (Pref. p. xxxii.).
The difficulty he experienced in getting the Assembly to pass an act for settling the Militia, led Cornbury to suggest that the Militia of all Governments in America should be regulated by an Act of Parliament. Till that was done, he declared, the Militia would never be in a satisfactory condition (p. 13).
In the course of a review of the resources and conditions of the Province, Cornbury attributes the decrease of trade during the last decade to the Bolting Act, and the refusal of the Assembly to renew the protective duty of 10 p.c. The operation of this Act he traces in a curious passage (pp. 9, 10).
He proposes its repeal, and calls attention to the opposing interests of County and City Members. "County Members don't care what becomes of the City provided they have goods cheap." Since the County members, who predominated in the Assembly, had laid full half of the taxation upon the City, he suggests that it would be fair, and would solve the difficulty of renewing the protective Acts, if the number of the representatives for the City were raised so as to equal that of all the rest of the Province (pp. 10, 11).
Reference has already been made to the objections taken to the neutrality agreement concluded by Cornbury with the French in Canada regarding the Five Nations of Indians. In June, 1708, Cornbury was summoned to Albany to hold a Conference with them (p. 14). Only two Sachems attended, and the visit would have been fruitless but for the opening up of trade with some of the Far Nations. Cornbury again represented the necessity of a present to the Five Nations, without which he feared we should lose them before the ensuing year, and again he urged an attack upon Canada (107). The Assembly had plainly showed their opinion of the Governor's trustworthiness by refusing to vote any such present unless they were first provided with a schedule of prices (107). Cornbury was complaining that he had been without letters for over a year when, as we have seen in the previous volume, he was recalled.
Meantime, Lord Lovelace, appointed to succeed him, was receiving his Instructions. Amongst them was one for re-granting in smaller lots the lands resumed by the Act for vacating extravagant grants. Reservation was to be made in the patents of timber suitable for use in the Navy, and the Governor was directed to procure an Act for the preservation of the woods (20 i.).
Lovelace arrived in December, after a terrible voyage lasting over nine weeks in the most bitter weather (252). He was warmly welcomed, and made a good impression. Any change from Cornbury must indeed have been popular with the majority of the settlers. One of the new Governor's first acts was to restore Byerley, who had fled from the persecution of Cornbury (405). He at once found himself obliged to finance the German Protestant Refugees who had been sent over with him (252, 401).
The Commission of Col. Ingoldesby as Lt. Governor of New York had been revoked, as is recorded in the previous volume of this Calendar. But he had received no official intimation of the fact. Upon Lord Lovelace's death, he therefore assumed the administration of New York and New Jersey (578, 621, 711, 712, 738). He lost no time in making hay whilst the sun shone.
The eagerness of the Assembly to establish their control not only of taxation but also of expenditure had not been lessened by their experience of Lord Cornbury. They now produced an Act for regulating fees so restrictive in its provisions that it caused lawyers to decline to practice and reduced all officers of state to penury. Ingoldesby passed it because, as he says, the Assembly "seemed to be very fond of it," and he wished to humour them, seeing that the question of the part the Province was to play in the Canada Expedition then lay before them (p. 412). Protests were entered against it, and the Act repealed, instructions being given to the new Governor to reconsider the officers' fees, and, with the Council, to prepare a new bill if need be (768, 769, 879, 901, 903, 924 ii., 929).
The Revenue Act having expired, the Assembly, when they came to renew it, following the example of New Jersey, insisted upon appropriating what was voted for the support of the Government. The effect foreshadowed by Ingoldesby was that "those officers that are now the Queen's will soon become the creatures and servants of the people." The reason for the Assembly's insistence is significant: "It's true there has been of late years some ill management with respect to the Revenue and the expences of the Government, whereby a considerable debt has been contracted." Meanwhile the status of officers was as precarious as their fees were inadequate (621, 888).
In spite of his wise words, Ingoldesby appears to have done his best to follow in the footsteps of Lord Cornbury. Lady Lovelace's arrival with a tale of his high-handed treatment of her as the bearer of the late Governor's papers was followed by a new order revoking his Commission (711, 712, 714).
By his Instructions (924 i.) Dr. Staats and Robert Walters were restored to the Council, William Peartree being removed for employing deserters from H.M. ships. His conduct and that of the Mayor of New York, a fellow-sinner, was to be enquired into (924 i., 925, 928)
In New York, as in New Jersey and other Plantations, the Act for ascertaining the rates of foreign coins remained practically a dead letter. It was so far publickly ignored that the Assemblies of New York and New Jersey would not pass any "bill for money, but to be paid at the value it was before the said Act" (p. 414). The Governor, Council and Assembly of New York, indeed, addressed the Queen on the subject, and declared that the Province would be ruined if the Act were put in force (157 i.). They therefore passed an Act of their own fixing coin at the old rates. This Act was repealed (399). The Council of Trade pointed out that in passing it Lord Cornbury had acted in direct contradiction of his Instructions (375). Several other currency acts were repealed or held over for consideration for reasons given (879, 901).
The advent of Lord Lovelace was as welcome in New Jersey as New York. He opened an Assembly there upon March 3rd, and his Instructions to enquire into their differences with the Governor and Council were gratefully acknowledged in an Address to the Queen as an instance of H.M. justice and good will (64, 440). Lewis Morris had once more been restored to the Council (4, 105). But when Ingoldesby, as Lt. Governor, took up the administration he promptly suspended him from the Council again, in accordance with the desires of the party which had supported Lord Cornbury (578, 819 xiii., 924 i.). Before his Commission was revoked in October (814), he had, at the expense of Lady Lovelace, accepted the salary which had been voted to the late Governor.
In return for this salary he gave a free hand to the anti-Proprietary party in the Assembly. The action of the Assembly with regard to the Quota for the Canada Expedition has already been described (§ 1).
Hunter, the new Governor, received special instructions to enquire into the "heats and animosities between the Council and Assembly," and to endeavour to reconcile them. If he was unsuccessful in his attempts, he was to report upon the whole matter for H.M. further pleasure therein (921, 924 i.). With this end in view the composition of his Council was the subject of careful consideration. In spite of the protests of the London Proprietors (819, 876), it was decided to retain those Members against whom complaint was made as "disturbers of the people" and supporters of Lord Cornbury to the prejudice of the Proprietors, and a Council was chosen which was intended to hold the balance between the opposing parties (921).
We have seen (§ 1) that the Assembly of Pennsylvania refused on religious grounds, and in spite of the recommendation of the Lt.-Governor and Council, to raise money directly or indirectly for the expedition against Canada, or to take any measures for the defence of their own coasts (580). The extreme claims of the Assembly against which Lt. Governor Evans had declaimed (Pref. to previous vol. p. xxxv.), are sketched by Col. Quary (888). The Secretary of the Province went home on purpose to urge Penn to resign the Government, for things had "now come to that pass that in the opinion of all, the Proprietors must of necessity be forc'd to surrender this Governmt. into the Queen's hands" (888).
The Council of Trade reported upon a collection of Laws passed by Lt. Governor Evans in 1705. Half a dozen of these were repealed as being unreasonable or repugnant to the laws of England (717, 790). At the same time the Board drew attention to the awkward provision of the Charter by which the Proprietor was allowed five years in which to lay his Laws before the Crown, and the Crown only six months to consider and decide upon laws however many, when at length submitted. They also recommended the passing of an Act of Allegiance (pp. 460, 461). An Order in Council was accordingly made by which Mr. Penn was recommended to endeavour to get such an Act passed, and to submit all Acts for H.M. approbation "as soon as conveniently may be." A general order was added, that in the case of an Act disallowed upon account of some clause or clauses, but otherwise desirable, notice should be given to the Government of the Plantation concerned, so that the Assembly might re-enact it, if desired (791).
The long-disputed boundaries of Pennsylvania gave rise to tension on the borders of Maryland and that Province (p. 252). Lord Baltimore and Mr. Penn were pressed by the Board of Trade to come to an agreement on that subject (115, 256).
Lord Baltimore petitioned that the Order of Nov. 7, 1685, might be revoked, alleging that it had been dishonestly obtained by Penn (289, 289 i.–iii.). But upon a counter-petition from Penn, this application was dismissed (334, 521, 596).
The Assembly of Maryland met on 27th Sept. They refused to pass a law against the dissemination of false news, prepared by the Governor and Council and aimed at the Roman Catholics and Jacobites (290). Ignoring the business laid before them by Governor Seymour, they busied themselves about the legality of a Charter he had granted to Annapolis, and "ran into heats and divisions." Seymour therefore dissolved them. But most of the Delegates were returned at the new election (Nov. 29). The New Assembly were as stubborn as the old in resisting the claims of the Secretary, Sir T. Laurence; they contented themselves by addressing the Crown on that subject and the guage of hogsheads (290, 410). They revived the Militia Act and the Act for limiting officers' fees only to the end of the next Sessions, "being very anxious to render those who are dependent on the Government as mean as may be." They would not provide for the itinerant Justices, for reasons given by Seymour (410). The effects of the Act for the advancement of natives, referred to in the previous volume (Pref. p. xli.), are reiterated here (p. 250). To this Act, to the Roman Catholics, and to the ambition and large jurisdiction of the County Court Justices, Seymour attributes the difficulties of his Government (p. 250).
Two Acts were passed which were intended to relieve planters suffering from the effects of the depression in the tobacco trade. That for the relief of debtors was denounced as injurious to European merchants as well as to inhabitants of Maryland, and as calculated to dry up the fountain of credit, "whereby the trade of that Province will greatly suffer." It was therefore repealed (290, 745, 773, 795).
Seymour took a census of the Roman Catholics in the Province (131 iii.). He observes that they were hoping for the success of the Pretender, of whose attempt they had information long before those not in the secret (131).
Col. Quary, in a letter dated four months later, attributes the divisions of the Province to the ill-conduct of the Governor. He gives a summary of events following upon his death. He describes how he urged the President and Council not to make a Sessions, but to await the arrival of a new Governor. They, however, struck a bargain with the Assembly, and proceeded to pass several Acts (888).
Rhode Island gained credit for its readiness to take its share in the Canada Expedition. But it retained its bad name as an emporium for illegal trade: "Tis a place where all roguerys are committed, and great quantitys of goods from Portugall are landed there, and so convey'd to severall parts" (268).
When the new Governor, Col. Robert Hunter, at last set sail for Virginia, he was captured by a French privateer and carried prisoner to France (Aug. 1707). Grants out of the Quit-rents were made on account of his salary and loss of equipment (137, 295). Exchanged at length for the French Bishop of Quebec, he was appointed Governor of New York upon his return to England (121). The Commission of the Earl of Orkney as Governor of Virginia was once more renewed (897, 926). Whilst awaiting the advent of a Lt. Governor, the country continued to be efficiently administered by the President of the Council, Edmund Jenings. In the autumn of 1709 he was able to report that the country was in perfect peace and quiet, in spite of a prolonged drought which had involved a shortage and necessitated an embargo upon the exportation of grain. A general Fast was appointed in the spring, for intercession on account of a "dangerous pestilential distemper, which continues to rage to the great consternation of all" (137, 765, 765 ii.).
Amongst the Instructions prepared for Governor Hunter, was one directing him to revert to the old method of granting lands (285, 297, 346 i.). This was in accordance with the representation of the Council of Virginia (765, p. 161).
So far the views of the Colonists were considered. But the Act for settling towns and ports was repealed, when the Commissioners of Customs reported that it might lead to the development of woollen and other manufactures and distract the planters from growing tobacco (661, 883, 906).
The trade of Virginia suffered severely from enemy privateers. Almost every small vessel, inward or out ward bound, was intercepted. One merchantman was even chased from his anchors at the mouth of York River. The shoal waters at the mouths of the rivers enabled privateer sloops of light draught to operate within the Capes and in sight, but out of gun-shot, of H.M. ships of war, which were too bulky to follow them (pp. 96, 162). In response to urgent appeals, and in spite of the many pressing calls upon the Navy, the Admiralty ordered a sloop to be bought in New England, which would be able to defend the shallow seas in combination with a regular guardship (254, 421, 608, 668).
Emboldened by the success which had hitherto attended them in the Virginian Rivers, French privateers were reported to be preparing a raid in force in the spring of 1709. Successful dispositions of the Fleet had driven them from the Channel and English coasts. They now sought the least well-defended shores of America. The moment selected was when the men of war had returned home as convoy of the merchant fleet. There was great consternation in Virginia. Such measures of defence as were possible in the absence of a naval force were taken by Col. Jenings.
Pressure was put upon the Tuscoruro Indians, suspected of a murder in the previous year, by the prohibition of trade with them. The Saponies, returning from a migration to the West, were taken under the protection of the Dominion and settled upon Maherine River (p. 97).
Another serious difference had arisen over the treatment of Virginian Indian traders by that neighbouring Colony. A duty, stated by the one side to be small and by the other to be prohibitive, was laid by the Government of Carolina upon skins exported from that prov ince. This was applied to goods in transit to Virginia in the course of trade with the Southern and Western Indians. It was from this profitable trade that the greater part of the revenues of the College of William and Mary were derived. With those Indians Virginia had traded "before the name of Carolina was known." To enforce payment of the duty, some skins belonging to Virginian traders were seized. It was suggested by the Virginians that Carolina aimed at engrossing the fur trade. The Council of Trade reported that it ought to be left open to Virginia (216, 216 i., ii., 682, 716, 750, 765).
In the course of their replies to the queries of the Board, the Government of Carolina describe their relations with the neighbouring Indians, and also the fortifications of Charlestown. They ask to be supplied with guns and ammunition, "which is all we want to make Carolina impregnable" (739).
A survey of the relations between Carolina and the French at Mobile, and of the Indians on either side was communicated to the Secretary of State by Thomas Nairne (622). The writer proposed the settlement of a new Colony near the Mississippi. In a curious passage he refers to the high prices given to friend Indians by English traders for Indian slaves, and observes "Some think it both serves to lessen their numbers before the French can arm them, and it is a more effectuall way of civilising and instructing, then all the efforts used by the French missionaries" (p. 422).
Nairne was a severe critic of the Governor, Sir Nathaniel Johnson. His administration he regarded as destructive of the welfare of the Colony. He soon had to suffer for his opposition. Abuses in this Indian Slave trade, in which the Governor was suspected of having a share, led to the passing of an Act intended to rectify them. By this Act Nairne was appointed as an itinerant magistrate to do justice as between the Indians and traders. "This was a peice of magistracy exposed me at once to the hatred of the Governor and traders." He was clapped into gaol on a trumped up charge, and refused bail (662).
§ 3 THE WEST INDIES.
The Bahama Islands were practically derelict. American traders found their passage to the Gulf of Florida and the Continent generally was menaced by the threatened settlement of Spaniards there. They petitioned that those Islands might be resumed to the Crown and New Providence fortified (270 i.). At present, the few remaining inhabitants were exposed to raids by French and Spanish privateers, some of whom tortured men and women alike with the most frightful cruelty in order to force them to reveal their hidden property (176 i., 270 i., 448, 472). The Council of Trade once more called the attention of Ministers to the neglect of the Proprietors and repeated the arguments for resuming the Islands to the Crown. In the mean time they urged the dispatch of a Military Governor with a Royal Commission and a Company of Foot, to prevent them falling into the hands of the enemy, and to repair the Fort (340, 344). Orders were presently sent to the Governors of New England, New York and Virginia "to use their best endeavours to recover" the Islands from the enemy, and to use H.M. ships upon their coast for that purpose (658. v. supra. p. x.)
Ignoring such warnings as the reprimand for his dispensing Mr. Holder from the judgment passed against him by an Act of the Legislature (88, and cf. Pref. to previous vol. p. xlvii.), Mitford Crowe continued his career of arbitrary and corrupt government. In August, 1708 three Members of the Council of Barbados—William Sharpe, Alexander Walker and the Rev. Samuel Beresford—presented to him in Council a detailed protest against his irregular procedure in the Courts and his general misgovernment (126, 126 i.). Crowe waited till the packet had sailed, and then suspended them (156, 178, 179).
To charges so serious he made no haste to reply, but contented himself with dispatching an Address of the Assembly in his favour—an Address, the three Councillors complain, passed without investigation upon an imperfect abstract of their representation (96 i., 126, 141 iii.).
Over two months elapsed before he dispatched his defence (180, 180 ii–viii.). Meantime, the Council of Trade had censured his delay, and an immediate answer, with depositions on either side, had been ordered (210, 224 i., 248, 267). But whilst the hearing of the case brought against the Governor was thus delayed, his suspension of the Three Councillors was promptly revoked. Their procedure had been correct and their language careful. It would be an evil precedent if, merely for making a complaint, Councillors were to be suspended, "for thereby the Governor will be left without any sort of cheque in the administration of Government" (352 i., 356, 370).
In their Address (96 i., 141 iii.), the Assembly had enumerated certain grievances arising out of the maladministration of Sir B. Granville, upon whom they threw the blame for the difficulties still felt from the issue of the paper money. Crowe was ordered to attend to these grievances (248). But the faction in the Assembly which had at first intended to oppose him, had by this time resolved to make use of him as their tool. His assumption of the dispensing power had given them a hold over him (126 i., 156). Contrary to the Instructions which forbade Governors to accept any presents, Crowe had already received several votes of money "£500 for furnishing his cellars," and so forth (248, 583 xi., 895).
A new method was now devised for evading this Instruction (156). The Three Councillors had protested against the introduction of a new Paper Act, which, as they alleged, was about to be proposed, to the utter ruin of the country (p. 85). The Assembly had denied that any such thing was contemplated (p. 99). Yet almost immediately afterwards a bill for a new issue of paper money was brought in. The Three Councillors pointed out that this was simply a device intended to enrich the Governor, Treasurer and others in the secret at the expence of the taxpayer and the credit of the country (156). The inhabitants of Bridgetown protested against the bill.
But it was passed none the less; and the protestants were rewarded by being taxed four times more heavily than ever before (583 xiii.). The Assembly then expired, but in order to secure their re-election, the Representatives took care not to vote the sums needed for carrying on the Government of the Country (396).
The new Assembly met in May, 1709, and passed an Address protesting against the Order for restoring the Three Councillors (502, 513 iv.). Crowe delayed obeying the Order. There were several causes, in which he was himself concerned, which awaited determination in Council. There were votes for presents to himself, and for carrying on the campaign against the Three, which had to be passed before they were admitted. An address in their favour, presented by Col. Christopher Codrington, was therefore received with an outburst of "scurrilous Billingsgate language" (p. 229), and Crowe wrote to the Council of Trade that he dared not re-admit them, for fear of a riot (513). But he lost no time in turning out 15 Justices of the Peace, without the consent of the Council and contrary to an Act passed by himself. They were those to whom the Three Councillors might have been expected to apply for the taking of depositions in support of their complaints against him (583 ii.).
He was twice sternly called to order and bidden to obey the Queen's commands (618, 677). He was involved in many lawsuits in connection with his wife's property, and was accused of sitting as Judge in his own cases, and of arbitrary and corrupt interference with the process of the law when prompted by bribes offered to himself or his wife (583 xiv. ff).
The Judge to whom Crowe had referred his own case was removed (651, 664, 681). In spite of the rebuke of the Council of Trade, he exacted from the Naval Officer yet another payment on account of his office, and was said to have permitted a sloop to sail which was under seizure for illegal trade (583 ii.).
Finally he was recalled, to answer these complaints before the Queen in Council (694, 696, 764), as well as a serious double charge of indecent assault and abuse of his powers as Governor preferred against him by John Sober (653, 700, 723).
The Act for appointing Agents was repealed (861). The reasons are given in a careful report by the Council of Trade (837), together with a history of the claim of the Assembly to the right of nominating agents to solicite their affairs in England, exclusive of the Governor and Council. If that claim were admitted, they contend, it would create "jealousies and divisions in the several parts of the Legislature," whilst the Governor and Council would be led to appoint distinct agencies of their own—a system which would result in inevitable confusion. The Governor had done wrong in passing such an Act (837).
Complaints were made of encroachments upon the rights and perquisites of patent offices by several new laws (326). Directions were given for the repeal of the Acts complained of, and the Governor was instructed to protect the place-holders (568, 582). The Assembly replied, claiming an ancient right and privilege, and declaring that the appointment of all Marshals by the Provost Marshal General led to extortion and abuse (857 i.).
Another holder of a patent office, Alexander Skene, the Secretary, was convicted of bribery and extortion and dismissed from his post (29, 97). But he promptly petitioned for, and was granted a rehearing of his case (140). Some extenuating circumstances were now admitted, and he was restored, on the assumption that he had been punished enough and had learned his lesson (369, 482).
Dominica was included in the Government of Barbados. From that island came an Indian chieftain to visit the Governor. The English title to the Island, as well as to St. Vincent, Sta. Lucia, and Tobago, was stated. The allegiance of those islands, Crowe declared, was firm; but they are described as nests of cannibals and runaway negroes, whose cruelties were encouraged by the French (396, 539, 554 i., 709).
Bermuda had an uneventful year. But a petition for the removal of the restriction of loading and unloading vessels to St. George's, points to the changed economical circumstances of the Island. The virginal richness of the soil having been exhausted, tobacco could no longer be grown, and the industry of the place turned to the production and export of salt, cabbages and onions (231, 231 iv.).
The feud between the Governor and the Secretary, Edward Jones, continued. A petition for the removal of the latter was referred for consideration (231, 231 iii., 643 etc.). The Governor complained that his correspondence was intercepted and tampered with (389).
In accordance with the Act for settling the trade to Africa, directions were sent for the removal of such Councillors as refused to resign their agencies for the African Company (444, 453, 466, 912 etc.).
Governor Handasyd received a reprimand for his management of lands escheated to the Crown, in the form of an Additional Instruction (67 i.). He complains of several other checks from home. But after he had suspended the firebrand Totterdale who was playing the popular part of opposing the authority of the Crown, he was able to announce that he was now on better terms with the Assembly than at any previous time during his Government (451, p. 102). They voted some arrears and revenue, and renewed the Quartering Act (451).
For himself, and for his regiment, he again repeatedly applied to be relieved. According to the promise held out by Royal Proclamation, the relief of the Regiment was already four years overdue. It had suffered severely from sickness and fatigue, as well as from losses in action. For the lack of sailors in the Naval Squadron compelled the ships of war as we have said above, to rely upon soldiers for a third part of their complement (227, 339, 451, 542, 912).
There were several reports that an attack by the French was imminent (171, 227). With the Regiment thus depleted and three out of the five men of war left by Admiral Wager, when he sailed, practically useless for want of crews, the Island was in a somewhat parlous state of defence (720). Handasyd saw to the repair of the fortifications, and began a new line for guns at Port Royal (542).
Attempts to trade with the Spaniards on the coast were persevered in, but without much success. The Spaniards said they had no money with which to buy British manufactures (542 etc.), and the action of the Jamaican privateers, referred to above, who did not distinguish between French and Spanish ships, did much to check commercial intercourse (100). The Council of Trade urged the Governor to see that the clause in the Act for the encouragement of trade to America, whereby provision was made for trading with the Spaniards, was enforced. Further legislation was contemplated with that object in view (100, 111, 474).
Writing from the Leeward Islands at the beginning of this period Governor Parke explains that he cannot call a General Assembly of the Four Islands until he has a man of war at his disposal (5). But in Nov. 1709, in order to avoid the impasse with Antigua and the claim of the Assembly of that Island to the negative voice, he announces his intention of summoning a General Assembly to make laws for the whole Government (873).
Whilst in Barbados the Governor sided with the Assembly against the Council, in Antigua the Assembly entered upon a quarrel with the Governor and Council. According to Parke, Col. Codrington is the villain of the piece. Stimulated by him and his party, the Assembly brought in a bill of privileges, by which they claimed to act as a Court of Judicature, and to fine and imprison anybody who reflected upon their House. They also denied the Crown the right of the negative voice. This they claimed for their Speaker. They offered to give the Governor a handsome present and his house rent if he would pass the laws they desired, and sacrifice the Queen's Prerogative. Otherwise, he would receive nothing. "None of these Governments give something for nothing" he observes, and urges that, to secure their independence, Governors should be paid a fixed and sufficient salary by the Crown and receive nothing from the inhabitants (5, 117, 117 i.). As for the Assembly, he offered them all the privileges of the House of Commons, "but they are for the privileges of the Lords, and the Queen's Prerogative too" (487).
Parke suggests some of the motives which actuated Codrington and his party, and explains the dilemma in which it was intended to place him (116, 117). They were determined, he says, to get him removed from the Government; and so much, indeed, is evident. His chief offence, he says, in their eyes was that he upheld the Royal Prerogative and put down illegal trade (pp. 105, 106, 137). Also, as a champion of the smallholders against the large landowners, he has brought a wasps' nest about his ears (182). Certainly, the charges brought against him show extreme vindictiveness and are frequently frivolous and ill-founded.
Upon the first batch of complaints against Parke, the Council of Trade accepted his explanations and the Addresses of the Lt. Governors and Councils of Antigua and St. Kitts in his favour. They found not only that he had completely cleared himself, but also that he deserved commendation for his zeal for H.M. service and his great care for the good and security of the Islands under his Government (91, 116, 116 i.–ii., 193, 194 ii., 367, 381).
A few weeks later, March, 1709, a whole series of complaints against him were secretly brought home by Mr. Nivine (443 i.–iii., 459 i., 465 i., 484). They taxed him with tyrannous and corrupt maladministration. The charges were got together in a clandestine manner by Codrington's party, and signatures obtained to them in the most reprehensible fashion. Both the Governor and Council were kept in ignorance of their nature (116 i., ii., pp. 76, 104)
For Parke's reply in detail, and that of the Council on his behalf, we must turn to Nos. 532, 589 i., 597 i. He asked leave to return home and answer the charges in person (488, 597). Some of them, even after they had been combed and edited by Codrington, would appear to have been frivolous or malicious misrepresentations. But they bear witness to the heated feelings of the people (532). Parke says that the principle of his opponents was to throw enough dirt in the hope that some would stick, but that they did not really rely upon their articles. In Antigua a riot was organised in the hopes of making his position intolerable (Nos. 183, 487, p. 107).
For home consumption, £5000 was subscribed "to bribe me out" (pp. 105, 106), besides "a vast quantity of citron water." In fact, Col. Codrington had bought up all the citron water in Barbados, and Parke himself had difficulty in obtaining any when, in his turn, he wished to make a present to Mr. Secretary Boyle! (183, 487).
This money and these presents were subscribed by people like Codrington, Hodges, the Lieutenant Governor of Montserrat, Chester and others, who had good reasons for getting rid of him. Codrington, whose patron was Lord Peterborough, whilst Parke's was Marlborough (852), wanted the Government for himself; he objected to Parke's enquiries into his title to Barbuda; and feared his making him refund monies due for prizes taken under his administration (116).
Everybody who was implicated in illegal trade with Guadeloupe and Curacao was ready to pay heavily to get rid of a Governor who took pains to prevent it. By such trade "old Codrington got all his estate" (pp. 105, 106); Hodges and Chester were deeply concerned in it; whilst Col. Johnson, the late Lt. Governor of Antigua, had openly suffered it. As for stopping it, that was not easy for a Governor left without privateers and often without a man of war (192, 193, 487).
It is to be observed that one of the charges against Parke himself is that he traded with the French and with Curacao by means of flags of truce. His own account of those transactions is not convincing (p. 77).
He sent home addresses which he claimed proved that three out of the four Islands esteemed him a good Governor, and was able to assert that in all his public transactions he had had the support of the Councils (487, 488).
One of Parke's enemies was the Colonel of the Regiment stationed in the Leeward Islands. Parke complained of his absenteeism, and that of the officers, and of the neglect of the soldiers' clothing and pay. The Council of Trade represented the necessity of their return to duty. The Islanders, though very anxious for their protection, refused to pay for their quartering (5, 191, 487).
Nivine's complaints were to be heard on Sept. 26th, 1709 (730). But before that date arrived, an attempt was made to assassinate Parke in Antigua. Disappointment caused by the delay through Nivine being carried prisoner into France had already led to an attempt to shoot the Governor in the previous year. Disappointment on hearing that Parke was to have liberty to answer the charges brought against him, led now to another attempt. A runaway negro was put up to shoot him from behind a hedge at night. His horse, starting at the flash of the gun, saved his life. The bullet pierced his arm. The negro and the principal conspirators were spirited off the Island (741, 852). Whatever Parke's faults of conduct and temper may have been—and his correspondence reveals him as arrogant, hot-headed, high-handed and unrestrained in speech—several incidents show that he had to deal with a violent and unruly population. In view of the crime which was shortly to occur, it has to be remembered that Lt. Governor Johnson also was murdered, and his murderer went unhanged. The Provost Marshal was forced to fight several duels before he could perform his duty unmolested. The Chief Justice himself is described as no lawyer, but one who had murdered an unarmed man and been pardoned by Codrington. "There never was any inhabitant that ever I heard of brought in guilty of murther"; says Parke, "There was a merchant once they did bring in guilty, the reason they gave, he had sold his goods too dear" (150, 182, pp. 310, 311, 387). The unwillingness of the inhabitants to convict any of their fellow-planters for crime or debt was, in fact, according to Parke, one of the chief causes of the trouble between him and them. An instance of this was the murder by Chester of one Sawyer, who met with the fate of Mr. Bardell. Chester was acquitted by a packed jury. Parke's interference on this occasion was made the grounds of one of the articles exhibited against him (p. 310). Another grievance, he declares, was his holding of Courts. The Islanders' idea of justice was that nobody outside of the Island must be allowed to recover a debt (p. 107). Their law for establishing Courts was skilfully adapted to this end. Parke's vigorous criticism of this Act was endorsed by the Attorney General, and the Act was repealed (25, 84, 99, 182, 250, 264, 269, p. 385).
The rejection of the bill for ascertaining the elections of Representatives was approved by the Council of Trade; but in reference to the case of an Assemblyman whom Governor Parke had refused to swear on the ground that he was not a freeholder, the Board observed that the Assembly was the proper judge of the qualifications of its own members, and that, where there was no law to direct in any particular case, it would be safest for him "to follow the antient custom of the Island" (245).
The blame for delay in sending home the Minutes of Council, Parke throws upon the shoulders of the Secretaries of the several Islands (pp. 3, 5, 311, 368). One of these was the Deputy of Sir Charles Hedges. Parke has some pertinent observations on the inconvenience of Patent Offices (v. supra). As for the Minutes of the Assembly of Antigua, not only were they very irregularly kept, but the Assembly refused to allow copies to be supplied to the Governor (487).
In Nevis, the planters finding themselves in desperate straits after the raid and hurricane, endeavoured to adopt desperate remedies. They brought in a bill for establishing a moratorium and shutting up the Courts of Law for three years. Governor Parke refused to pass it, and was commended by the Council of Trade for so doing (187, 188, 209).
To relieve the distress of the sufferers from the raid and hurricane at Nevis and St. Kitts a grant of provisions and building materials was despatched from home. Strict directions were given for securing an equal distribution of this bounty, and reference made to the suspicion that there had been embezzlement of some of the former grant of provisions (127, 130).
In view of the Peace Negotiations, the importance of retaining that part of St. Kitts which had been captured from the French was strongly urged. Attention was also called to the unhappy fate of the hostages taken from St. Kitts by Iberville (534, 546, 547, 554 i.).
Some complaints were lodged against Major Lloyd. He was charged with hiring soldiers out to work and robbing them of their pay, and of treating the inhabitants like slaves. The Commodore, however, upon enquiry found that these complaints were not justified (158, 158 i.–xx., 223, 911 ix.).
After the departure of the fishing fleet and convoy, Major Lloyd reported, Nov. 1708, that about 700 inhabitants were going to pass the winter under the protection of the forts in St. Johns. He had strengthened the forces under his command by enlisting some soldiers on the spot. Placentia was reported to be weak, and weakly garrisoned. So good was the position, that no danger from the French was to be apprehended. "If the enemy hurt us this year, I'le allow ye fault to be laid to my charge" (152, 158, 195, 195 ii., 859 iv., 890 ii., v., vi.).
Five weeks later St. Johns was surprised and captured by a force of 160 Frenchmen from Placentia under the command of M. St. Ovide de Brouillan (Dec. 21st, 1708). Lloyd was carried as prisoner of war to Placentia (345). The first account of the affair reached Whitehall at the beginning of February (348). It definitely suggested treachery on the part of Major Lloyd. Detailed accounts arrived later (890 ii.–ix., 911 ix.). They establish the negligence of Lloyd, if not his cowardice and treason. In a cryptic letter he suggests treachery elsewhere (890 ix.).
The French demolished the Castle and Old Fort at St. Johns, and removed the guns. The inhabitants were held to ransom by Brouillan, and hostages taken to Placentia. Their treatment is described (859 i., 890 ii.–iv.).
Commodore Mitchell made his report upon the Fishery in 1708 (223 i.–xv.). Owing to the capture of St. Johns, no full report was to be expected in 1709 (567). But Commodore Taylor sent in a report which shows that the number of quintals of fish made fell from 135, 934 to 90, 364 (859 ii., 223 iv., 890 iii.). He persuaded the inhabitants of St. Johns, Quidi Vidi and Petty Harbour to rebuild their winter houses in the Old Fort, which he reconstructed with the aid of sailors from H.M.S. Litchfield and Rye and the fishing ships, mounting eight guns upon it (859 i., 922). This was done in response to a petition from the Fishing Admirals (890 vii.). He also left a store of provisions against the winter.
Before leaving, Commodore Taylor commissioned John Collins to act as Governor in his absence, and other officers to act as Governors in the several harbours. They were all first chosen by the inhabitants themselves (756, 859 i., 911 xv.).
The reduction of Newfoundland was part of the plan laid for the Expedition which came to naught, and is referred to supra § 1. Col. Moody, who had been sent out to St. Johns with stores of arms and provisions, put the case of Newfoundland before the Council of War at Rehoboth (602–4, 794 i., 922 i., ii.). He reported that he had settled about 900 men with their families upon the islands about St. Johns, and prevailed with them to abide there for the winter. But they expressed their intention of abandoning the country unless a strong fort and garrison were established to protect them and their trade (922).