Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 31, 1719-1720. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1933.
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§ I. GENERAL.
The most important of the several events with which the papers in this volume are concerned are the war and peace with Spain; the meeting in Paris of the Commissaries to settle the boundaries and claims of the English and French in America, left undecided by the Treaties of Utrecht; and the revolt in South Carolina from the Government of the Lords Proprietors.
War with Spain.
The activities both of the French on the mainland and of the Spaniards on the high seas caused considerable perturbation in the Colonies throughout this period. The master of a Boston ship, captured off Cape Spartel, reported the presence of a powerful expeditionary force at Cadiz in March, 1719. Its destination was said to be either Great Britain or Jamaica (136). Already in January the Governor of Jamaica had reason to complain that the Spaniards were seizing Jamaican vessels in the West Indies and off the coast of Florida, and treating them and their crews "as in time of declared war," whilst factors of the South Sea Company reported that Spanish Governors had received orders to seize all British subjects and their effects (34, 34.i). In the Bahamas an attack by the Spaniards from Havana was momentarily expected (31, 31. i, 204).
After the declaration of war (167. ii), a Spanish expedition sailed from Havana, intending to attack Charleston and to join with the Spaniards and Indians at St. Augustine in an invasion of South Carolina. The Governor of Mexico had been ordered "to retake from the English and French in America all such places as ever did belong to the Crown of Spain," and was preparing a large force of men and ships at Vera Cruz and Pensacola in order to co-operate in the attack upon Carolina. Just as the armadilla was leaving Havana, however, (June 19/30) the appearance of two French ships bringing Spanish prisoners from Pensacola revealed that the French had captured that important place. The Havana fleet was promptly diverted from Carolina in order to retake it. They succeeded in surprising the French, and after re-capturing Pensacola, prepared to attack them at Mobile (June 1719). This design was upset by the retaking of Pensacola by the French. Carolina and the Bahamas were thus temporarily relieved from apprehension of the assaults which the Spaniards had intended to deliver upon them (447, 447 i, ii, 525 ii, iii, 540 vi). Then came news from a prisoner at Havana that the French had abandoned Pensacola, and that the Spaniards were once more contemplating an expedition against Carolina and the Bahama Islands (Feb. 1720, No. 553). Colonel Spotswood, Lt. Governor of Virginia, urged that an attempt should be made to capture St. Augustine, in order to check both Spanish and French attempts upon Carolina, and also because its possession would enable the British to command the shipping of the Mississippi Colony in case of war with France (535). The Board of Trade recommended that the attempt should be made (474).
An end was put to these alarums and excursions when Spain joined the Quadruple Alliance and peace was declared (539). When the advent of peace seemed imminent, both the Governor of Jamaica and the Agent of the Massachusetts Bay had taken the opportunity to urge the importance of securing the right of the British to cut logwood in the Bay of Campeachy and Honduras. The former also pressed for a recognition of the right to fish for turtle within sight of the Spanish Settlements in the West Indies, and the latter for that of raking salt at Tortuga (479, 540, 578).
Trade with Spanish West Indies.
War or no war, Spain forbade trade with her West Indian Colonies. War or no war, British traders insisted upon carrying on a commerce which was equally welcome to the Spanish colonists. Not only were British goods shipped to the Spanish settlements, but Spanish merchants were also eager to bring their produce to the British Colonies. The advantages of such a trade were mutual and recognised. When a complaint was laid against the Governor of Barbados for permitting a Spanish vessel to trade there, the Agents of that Island frankly pleaded that it had "always been thought prudent to connive at a trade from Jamaica to the Spanish coast." What was good for Jamaica should be equally good for Barbados (543). The Solicitor General and Mr. West, the Legal Adviser of the Board of Trade, agreed that such trade was illegal (533, 537, 543). But the Board, in reporting the case, plainly recognised that it would be advantageous to permit it. Whilst representing that the Governor of Barbados had disobeyed his instructions and was guilty of a breach of the Acts of Trade and Navigation, in allowing a Spanish vessel to trade there, "either by express permission or connivance," they took occasion to submit "whether it would not tend to an increase of trade to permit Spanish vessels, under proper regulations, to import into the British Islands, such commodities of the growth of the Spanish West Indies, as do not interfere with the products of our own Plantations." Similar trade with the French and Spanish Islands, whose product of sugar, etc., competed directly with that of British planters, was regarded with disfavour. The need of explaining and enforcing the law on that subject was emphasised (575).
Policy of Westward Expansion.; Lt. Gov. Keith on Indian Trade and Colonial Union.
The progress of the French on the Mississippi and their encroachments north and south, from Nova Scotia to Carolina, were the subjects of enquiries from the Board of Trade and reports by the several Governors (572 etc. v. § II, Nova Scotia). Colonel Spotswood, from Virginia, took the opportunity to press his policy of expansion westwards, recommending an advance along the coast of Florida, in order to check the Mississippi settlements of the French, and to secure a share of Indian trade and Indian allies (535). The reply of Sir William Keith, the Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, was a contribution even more notable, both as an historical summary of the advance of the French along the St. Lawrence and Mississippi, and their success in winning over the Indians to their interest, and also on account of his insistence upon the constructive measures which he proposed to check them (61, 61. i). Keith pointed out that the French now claimed, under the Treaty of Utrecht, and by virtue of La Salle's discoveries, "all the lands to the northward and westward of the British Colonies from Canada along the Lakes to the mouth of the River Mississippi" (p. 32). He, like Spotswood, was aware of the importance of keeping open the door "for our further progress westward" (p. 36), and held that the only way to secure it was to compete with the French in developing trade with the Indians. In order to do so, he mentioned that Indian trade ought to be "established upon an equal foot throughout all these Colonies, as they are inhabited by British subjects carrying on one British interest without any distinction made or regard had to their particular settlements or societys as separate governments." Hitherto individual Colonies had entered into competition with one another to secure that trade for themselves. New York was jealous of Virginia, Virginia of Carolina. Keith envisaged "an Union amongst them" whereby they would impress the Indians and profit "according to their situation, power and ability to advance their trading settlements westwards upon the Lakes and adjacent rivers." Unscrupulous traders would be restrained, and all the Governors should be instructed to put the trade under similar and suitable restrictions, and to make treaties with the Indians applicable to all the Colonies alike. Four forts, upon Lakes Erie and Ontario and upon the Potomac and Susquehanna Rivers should be built to secure the Indian trade, and garrisoned by the King's troops, each Colony contributing its proportionable share of the expense. This scheme could only be carried into effect, the writer recognised, by the exercise of the Imperial authority. For "from the little knowledge and experience which I have of the American English Colonies, I do not expect that this project, howsoever just in itself, will generally please." The whole scheme was avowedly based upon the example of the French "in making their correspondence with the Indians a National concern," who having "but one interest principally in view, steadily pursue it with great application" (61. i).
Commissioners meet in Paris.; The Raids on Nevis and Montserrat.; Hudson Bay.; Nova Scotia.
In July 1719, the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations were informed that a member of their Board, Martin Bladen, and Daniel Pulteney had been appointed British Commissaries to settle at Paris the boundaries and other matters in America and the West Indies left undecided by the Treaties of Utrecht. The Board was directed to prepare instructions for them (310). Statements of their claims and cases were accordingly obtained from the Hudson's Bay Company, and from the Agents, etc., of the Leeward Islands in regard to the raids on Montserrat and Nevis (318, 321, 337, 338, 359b, 360, 396, 432, 438, 438. i). Under Article XI of the Treaty, the question of the fulfilment of the terms of the capitulation and subsequent agreement with Iberville by the inhabitants of Nevis and their representatives, and the case of the hostages given on that occasion were to be decided by the Commissaries of both nations. In answer to some preliminary enquiries by Mr. Pulteney on several points in that connection the Judge Advocate General, Sir Nathaniel Lloyd, gave his opinion largely in favour of the binding nature of the capitulation and agreements, but, as Iberville was alleged to have broken most of the conditions, admitted that "mutual conditions must be mutually performed, or the contract ceases" (225, 445, 451, 561). The whole case closely resembles that of the famous "Manila ransom" in 1762. In the instructions prepared by the Board of Trade the Commissaries were directed to take the line that the inhabitants of Nevis had punctually fulfilled the obligations laid upon them by the first capitulation, so far as it lay in their power to do so, and that as the French had broken both the first and the second agreement, which had been forced upon the inhabitants contrary to the usage of war and the import of the first, after they were in the power of the French, no further claim could justly be maintained. They were to insist upon the release of the remaining hostages, and also upon the payment of damages to Montserrat for the losses inflicted by the raid of 1712 (pp. 255, 256). Detailed instructions were also given as to boundaries of Hudson Bay to be settled under Article X. The fort and settlement at the head of Albany established by the French since the Peace must be demolished, and payment of damages made in accordance with the long standing claim of the Hudson's Bay Company, according to Article XVI of the Treaty. The boundaries of Nova Scotia were carefully argued and defined, and the right of the French to fish on the coast or the islands or Gut of Canso was negatived. Nothing was reserved to them by the Treaty "except Cape Breton and the islands lying within the mouth of the River of St. Lawrence or the Gulph of the same name." On this point the wording of the Treaty as it was signed in Latin was to be the guide. As the time allowed by the Treaty for the French inhabitants to exercise the option of removing their persons and effects from Nova Scotia had long since elapsed, they had now become British subjects. But since not only French missionaries but also the Governors of Quebec and Cape Breton had instigated them to refuse to take the oath of allegiance to the British Crown, and the Indians to set up a claim to the whole country, an order must be sought from the French Court, prohibiting such interference for the future. Restitution must be made of all ships and goods captured in time of peace, according to Articles XI and XVI, and fishing by the French upon any part of Newfoundland not permitted them by Article XIII must be forbidden by strict orders from the French Court. Lastly the Governor of Canada and Cape Breton must be required not to molest the Five Nations of Indians and to recall the missionaries who had settled among them. The Commissaries were particularly warned not to make any agreement which might prejudice British claims "on the back and westward of the British Plantations on the Continent of America," but to enter a caveat against French encroachments in that direction. The Commissaries were to act in concert with the Ambassador, Lord Stair (443. i). (fn. 1)
French and British claims to St. Vincent and Sta. Lucia.; Agreement concerning Sta. Lucia.
Before these instructions were signed (Sept. 1719), by the Lords Justices, information had been sent to the Council of Trade that the French were preparing an expedition to attack the negroes on St. Vincent, and to make a settlement on Sta. Lucia. The Maréchal d'Etrées, who was alleged to have received a grant of the latter island from the British Crown, in lieu of the part of St. Christophers taken from the French, was said to have sent materials for erecting a fort there and to have appointed a French Governor over Sta. Lucia (384. i, 422. i). This report was presently confirmed by Mr. Lillington who, on arriving from Barbados, informed the Council of Trade that the negroes on St. Vincent had hoisted the British flag and repulsed the French attack, whilst at Sta. Lucia a New York privateer had hauled down the French colours, nailed up the cannon in the fort, and carried away their ammunition (433, 439). The Board at once called the attention of the Lords Justices to this report, setting forth once again the title of Great Britain to both islands, and emphasising the importance of Sta. Lucia to Barbados, and the value of its harbour (404, 411). The British Ambassador at Paris was instructed to make enquiries into the matter (408). Mr. Bladen reported that the Abbé Dubois, when approached on the subject, denied all knowledge of it. The preparations at Martinique, he said, were intended against the Spaniards (417). Ten days later, however, the Prince Regent, in an interview with Lord Stair, openly avowed the fact, and quoted the Maréchal d'Etrées to the effect that the French had had constant possession of Sta. Lucia and an undoubted right to it by Treaty. "My Lord Stair and I," wrote Bladen, "were not able to guess what this treaty should be." But it was presently explained by Etrées as "some treaty or transaction in King Charles the Second's time. We insisted with great temper that H.M. right was notorious to all the world." The Maréchal seemed much embarrassed when challenged to produce the alleged treaty. His papers were not put in order, he said, but he promised to produce it in a few days. Bladen was left with the impression that he had obtained a grant from the Regent himself (429, 430, 432). The seizure of an island claimed by the British Crown, and its justification by a treaty of which nobody knew anything, at a time when the Peace Commissioners were sitting at Paris, were too much for Secretary Craggs. He wrote very hotly to Lord Stair, that he would gladly see the documents of which the Maréchal boasted. (441, 454). The question was argued in January at a Conference in Paris, at which Lord Stanhope and the Regent were present. Etrées made a lame attempt to justify his claim. Finally it was agreed that, until the title of one nation or the other was fully established, the recent French settlement should be withdrawn, but that the French families, about 50 in number, which had settled there before the grant made to the Maréchal d'Etrées, should in the meantime be permitted to remain (505, 506, 534. i).
Naval Stores and Bounties.; The Woods in New England.
The Lords Commissioners of Trade continued to concern themselves with the production of naval stores in the Plantations, and invited Mr. Bridger, Surveyor General of the Woods in America, to send additional information as to supplies of timber fit for the Navy, and the raising of hemp, iron, and potash (66, 67). They supported his suggestion that a supply of hemp seed should be sent over to New Hampshire etc. (245, 274, 312, 391, 410). Proposals were submitted to the Board for the encouragement of the importation of Naval Stores from the Plantations (7), and statistics collected as to the amount of iron, timber, pitch, and tar imported thence, and the price of foreign tar compared with that from the Plantations (9–12, 44, 107, 108). On learning that the Government was being instigated by those interested in the East Country trade to withdraw the premium on colonial pitch, tar and turpentine, merchants concerned in the American trade represented that the monopoly in those articles would then inevitably revert to the Swedes, who would once more exact excessive prices. The premium had been completely successful in answering the intentions of Parliament. The Plantations had been encouraged to produce and send over great quantities of pitch and tar, and the price of those articles had been reduced to a quarter of what it was when the East Country enjoyed a monopoly of them. At the same time, the woollen trade and mercantile marine had benefited by the increased trade and traffic with the Colonies (13, 105). Returns indicated that increasing quantities of Plantation pitch and tar were being purchased for the Navy (100, 101, 101. i). But it was recognised that if the retention of the bounty were to be justified, a high standard must be maintained for the pitch and tar sent over. A clause for regulating the standard of pitch and tar on which the premium was to be paid, was therefore inserted in the Act for preventing the clandestine running of uncustomed goods (23, 95, 99, 105, 170, 217). In transmitting copies of this Act to the several Governors, Mr. Popple explained that it was intended to place the manufacture of pitch and tar in the Plantations upon a sound footing. At the same time he sent them information as to the method of making tar practised in Russia, and of raising hemp (371). Whilst the suggestion was made that copper ore from New England should be admitted free of duty, a "great vein" having recently been discovered there (14. i), the introduction of a bill prohibiting all manufactures of iron in the Plantations filled New Englanders with consternation. "Had the Act passed," wrote the Lt. Governor of New Hampshire, "it would have so crampt the Plantations and New England in particular, that it would have been morrally impossible for us to subsist" (312). Mr. Bridger's repeated reports of the waste of the woods by the inhabitants of New England, and of the popularity of Mr. Cooke's contention that the Crown had no right to them, led the Council of Trade to renew their representations on those points. Mr. Bridger had been superceded, at the instance, he says, of Mr. Dummer, the Agent for the Massachusetts Bay (270). His successor, Mr. Burniston, proposed to act by Deputy, and appointed a Collector of Customs to officiate in New Hampshire. It was in vain that the Council of Trade, backed by the Commissioners of the Navy, echoed Bridger's warning that an absentee Surveyor General, officiating through an officer whose time was already fully occupied, and who did not know an oak from a pine, must prove an inefficient guardian of the mast timber needed for the Royal Navy (48, 245, 252, 312, 391, 410, 410. i, 419, 424).
The offer of pardon to pirates who should surrender was having little effect. It was reported from the Bahama Islands that no less than 2000 were still at sea. Supplied with ammunition and provisions by the traders of Rhode Island, New York, and Pennsylvania, they were hoping to retake Providence Island. Jamaica was infested by pirates and her trade fleets seriously endangered, in spite of the presence of the Naval Squadron. Naval Commanders were said to be more concerned with their own private gains in trading with the Spanish Settlements than guarding the trade and shipping of the Islands. Both the Governor of the Bahamas and the Governor of Jamaica insisted that the power of directing the operations of men of war on their stations should be restored to Governors (31, 31. i, p. 19). At Jamaica a valuable merchant ship was captured by a pirate within sight of Port Royal. In the absence of H.M. ships, two privateers were commissioned to attack the pirate, but found that they had caught a tartar (pp. 18, 19).
Inquiries by the Board of Trade.; Prorogation of Assemblies.; Resumption of Proprietary Governments urged.
At the Board of Trade the Earl of Westmorland succeeded to the Presidentship rendered vacant by the death of the Earl of Holdernesse (187, 498). Governors were directed to inform the Board whenever leave of absence was granted to Members of Council (217, 271, etc.), and a questionnaire was communicated to them, requiring information as to the trade and development of each Colony, and particulars of encroachments by the French, and the progress and administration of French Colonies. They were to procure good maps and evidence as to boundaries (217, 217. ii, iii, 271. i, 295. i, 354). They were also instructed to see to the appointment of agents to solicit the passing of private acts (217, 271). Mr. West, the Legal Adviser of the Board, gave his opinion that Assemblies under adjournment or prorogation could be prorogued without meeting according to the previous adjournment or prorogation (206). The resumption of Proprietary Governments to the Crown was again urged. Caleb Heathcote, from Rhode Island, laid an indictment against some laws and proceedings of the Charter Governments (317), and the Board of Trade, in reporting upon some acts of Pennsylvania, once more referred to the abuse of enacting temporary laws which had their full effect before they could be disallowed. "These," concluded their report to the Lords Justices, "are some of the ill effects of Proprietary Governments, and as we are of opinion the Plantations will never be upon a right foot till the dominion of all the Proprietary Governments shall be resumed to the Crown, so we cannot help proposing to your Excellencies that all fair opportunities should be laid hold on for that purpose" (p. 158).
Application was made by the Board for permission to build two new rooms for their Office upon a piece of adjacent Crown land (542). Some plants and seeds were forwarded by the Lt. Governor of Virginia to Mr. Popple for his garden at Hampstead, with a promise of others to come (46, 83). King George received congratulations from Barbados, Bermuda, Jamaica and New England Quakers upon the failure of the attempts of his enemies at home and abroad (356 ii, 479. vi, 492. i).
§ II. THE AMERICAN COLONIES.
Revolt in South Carolina.
In South Carolina relations between the inhabitants and the Lords Proprietors were strained to breaking point. (v. C.S.P. 1717–18. pp. xxvii–xxx). The latter added to the list of acts recently repealed by them an act laying a duty on liquors and merchandise imported, which discriminated against British goods and shipping. The Colonists maintained that the Lords Proprietors had no right to abrogate laws passed by the Assembly and confirmed by their own Deputies on the Council (p. 335). The Lords Proprietors also recommended that if the country were in no real danger from the great number of negroes, the additional act for the better ordering of negroes, against which complaints had been submitted by the merchants, should be repealed. An Act, they suggested, might be substituted for it, providing, after the manner of the Deficiency Acts of Jamaica, that every planter should employ one white man for every negro (79).
The order of the previous year (C.S.P. 1718, No. 695), putting a stop to grants of lands in Carolina, was repeated (375), whilst warrants were issued to the Surveyor General for setting out, on behalf of the Lords Proprietors themselves, fifteen baronies in the Yamassee lands adjacent to Port Royal. (April, 1719. No. 151). In June they nominated a new Council, and instructed Governor Johnson to suspend Colonel Rhett, unless he had given him satisfaction for the insulting behaviour of which he had complained (253, 254). In the following month they wrote again to the Governor bidding him summon the new Council to sit and dispatch business forthwith, and reiterating their instruction to him to dissolve the Assembly, "chosen according to your pretended late Act," and to call another to be elected under the old Act which had been confirmed by them. They insisted upon their right of confirming or repealing acts, and informed the Governor and Council that they had repealed the act for laying an imposition on negroes, liquors, etc., the act ascertaining the manner of electing representatives, and an additional act relating to the payment of the Lords' rents and sale of their lands. They declared that they would never suffer the Assembly to dispose of their lands, and that the power to sue for arrears of rent, which the last act presumed to give them, had always legally been theirs, and they would exert it when they chose (330–332). They commended the Chief Justice, Nicholas Trott, for his defence of their right to repeal and confirm laws, and forwarded for his reply complaints which had been lodged against him "by the practitioners of the law in that Province." In the meanwhile they instructed him to withdraw from the Council when appeals from his judgments were being heard (309, 334).
The answer of the Colonists was prompt and decisive. It has been seen that in the previous year a petition for the resumption of the Province to the Crown had been signed by fully half of the inhabitants (C.S.P. 1717–18. pp. xxvii–xxx, No. 536. ii). The alternating neglect and interference of the Lords Proprietors, and their dictatorial tone, combined with their action in regard to the Yamassee lands in particular, drove the Carolinians to revolt against their rule, and to place themselves under the King's immediate Government. They pleaded their apprehensions of aggression by the Spaniards, French, and Indians on their borders, and their incapacity to take measures for self-protection, "being deprived of the means thereof by the confused constitution of the Lords Proprietors' Government." When, therefore, the election of a new Assembly was about to be held in accordance with the Lords Proprietors' instructions, a meeting of the planters was held (Nov. 17th), who entered into an Association to choose representatives and support them in their resolutions in the next Assembly. There was a rush to sign the Association. A "new pretended Council and Assembly" was elected, met in convention, and unanimously renounced all obedience to the Lords Proprietors. It had been hinted that much the greater part of the most substantial people "would not choose King George's Government." But the new Council and Assembly asserted their steadfast loyalty to King George, and having first offered the Governorship to Johnson, who refused out of loyalty to the Lords Proprietors, then appointed Colonel Moore (493, 497, 497 i, 525 iii–v). Further details are lacking in this volume. But, in the following February, a petition was sent to the King, in which the causes of their discontent with the Lords Proprietors were fully set forth (541). The Chief Justice, Trott, was impeached in the Assembly (541). The Lords Proprietors had commended Governor Johnson for his spirited action against the pirates Bonnet and Morley (105, 106). But it was now made a charge against them that they had taken no action upon the complaint made to them by the Governor of Virginia that the Secretary and Chief Justice of North Carolina were accessories to piracy (No. 199; pp. 280, 340). The petition concluded with a prayer to H.M. "to take us under the wing of your Majesty's immediate Government" (541). Both Governor Johnson and the new Council and Assembly replied at length to the questionnaire of the Board of Trade (516, 531. i).
Spaniards and Indians at St. Augustine.
The prospect of invasion by a large expedition of Spaniards from Havana, Vera Cruz, and St. Augustine and Pensacola, referred to in §1, prompted an appeal for a regular garrison to defend the Province (447, 447 i, ii, 525 ii, iii, 540, 540 vi, 553). In response to a request (C.S.P. 1718, No. 787), for a ship of war to protect their trade against pirates, it was decided to send a frigate thither as soon as possible (141, 155). Prompted by some encouraging reports from some Creek Indians, Colonel Barnwell undertook a mission to St. Mary's near St. Augustine, in the hope of inducing the Huspaw King and the Yamassee Indians to desert the Spaniards and make peace with Carolina. The Spaniards, however, had just equipped him for an expedition which was on the point of setting out against the English. The Huspaw King, after a triumphal procession through the town with drums and trumpets, was found to be drunk and bellicose. Barnwell could only retire hastily and give the alarm (164, 164. i). Subsequently (September, 1719), Barnwell led a successful expedition of 50 Creek Indians against the Yamassees at St. Augustine, which he described, and hoped would lead to "the drawning of quietness to our poor Southern parts" (516. i). An account by him of the Indians in those parts is included in Governor Johnson's report (516).
The Lt. Governor of Maryland was granted leave of absence, on condition that the President of the Council, upon whom the government would devolve, provided security for his observance of the Acts of Trade and Navigation (47, 62, 76, 86, 121). This security was to be taken by the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia (143).
Paper in Mass. Bay.
Excessive issues of paper currency in the Massachusetts Bay were producing their inevitable effects. The balance of trade against the Colony continued to increase, whilst the value of the paper bills fell rapidly (1, 14 i, 217, 480).
Trade Reports by Cumings and Bridger.
Mr. Cumings sent accounts of the imports and exports of the Province, of the value of the fishery, and of the wool clip (195, 485). A bounty on wool imported into Great Britain, would, he suggested, check woollen manufacture in New England. The forts, he reported, were all in ruin, except the Castle (195). Mr. Bridger, the Surveyor General of the Woods, whilst remarking upon the potentialities of New England in the directions of iron ore, potash and hemp (274), also reported an increase in the woollen trade, and a tendency to encourage manufactures in the Colony to the exclusion of British goods. He called attention to the large imports of wool from Nantucket, Rhode Island, and the Narraganset country. He advised the prohibition of the importation of cotton wool from the West Indies (270), for it was used to mix with wool and flax, and would account for nearly half the woollens and linens manufactured by the New Englanders. Otherwise, they would soon be able to exist without Great Britain, and when their ability was equal to their inclination the "outlook would be serious." For "I cannot say here are any that have a dutyful regard to England" (270, 274). "These obstinate people" were so set upon manufacturing cloth and sawing up the King's woods, that they would neither plant hemp nor produce their own bread, beef, pork, or Indian corn. The Assembly, indeed, had just rejected a bill intended to improve agriculture (274). As for the timber, they would go on cutting the woods until there was not a tree left standing, unless a new Act of Parliament was passed on the lines he had proposed, or Dr. Cooke and his followers "were transported to some other place not to return" (274, 274 i).
The Woods in Maine.; Indian Grants.
Bridger decided to continue to act as Surveyor of Woods until his successor arrived, this being the only hope of saving the mast trees (161). The Council of Trade had instructed Governor Shute to support Bridger in the execution of his duties, and commended his dismissal of Dr. Cooke from the Council (217). But Cooke continued his campaign, denying the Crown rights to the woods in Maine and successfully attacking Bridger in his absence (274, 311, 311 i, 578 iii–ix). Cooke had obtained from the General Assembly the confirmation of an old grant in Maine made before Usher's purchase of that Province in 1677, and was offering the timber for sale (413). Cooke was one of half a dozen speculators who had bought up all the concessions obtained from the Indians "when a span of land was got for a gallon of rum." Bridger explains that a span of land was interpreted as extending to perhaps over twenty miles, the distance being measured on the horizon as seen through an outstretched little finger and thumb (274). Maine was now being rapidly settled by Irish immigrants and others, who set up saw mills and cut down the trees (161).
The Council of Trade criticised several Acts passed in the Massachusetts Bay since 1715 (217 i). The Act of 1718 laying a duty on imports and tonnage of shipping, like similar acts in 1716 and 1717, had imposed a differential duty on British goods and shipping. It was repealed with a stiff warning by the Lords Justices that an act laying such duties was a breach of the conditions upon which the Charter was granted, and that it would be endangered by the repetition of such an act. The Governor was reprimanded for passing it and reminded of his duty to see that the Acts of Trade and Navigation were enforced and that no law was passed which might affect British trade and shipping, without a suspensory clause (160, 196, 197, 217 i, 274, 306, 306 i).
Governor Shute's report.
Mr. West reported unfavourably upon the Act for regulating credit as being very prejudicial to British creditors, who would be debarred by it from recovering debts, unless they repaired to New England to sue them within two years after their being contracted (214). As to the Act in addition to the Act making lands and tenements liable for the payment of debts, the Board recommended that a new act should be passed, not liable to the defects which had been pointed out in the original one (217 i). The Board reprimanded Governor Shute for not sending them the transcripts of Sessional Papers and returns required by his Instructions, and complained that many things relating to his Government were being published in the English newspapers of which he had failed to give them any account (163, 217, 480). Shute returned a full answer to the Board's enquiries relating to Massachusetts, and promised to reply to those relating to New Hampshire after visiting that province (217 ii, iii, 564 i).
The Admiralty Court.
The dispute over the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court in the case of the captured effects of pirates and other matters remained acute. The Advocate of the Admiralty Court in New England complained that not only were the Judges of the provincial Courts challenging openly the jurisdiction of the Admiralty, but the Governor was interpreting his Instructions and Commission of Vice-Admiralty as constituting him the whole Court. The action of the Provincial Judges, he represented, arose from "the utter aversion the great part of the people in these parts entertain against all power not derived from themselves." The Governors' claims were hotly resented by Captain Smart of H.M.S. Squirrel, in the case of the prizes brought in by him from Canso. A quarrel ensued in which Smart fought a duel with the Governor's Secretary. He was arrested, fined, and ordered to give security for his good behaviour. The Lords Justices called for an explanation from Governor Shute (251, 251 i, ii), whilst the Admiralty requested that Governors' Instructions should be revised, and that they should be commanded not to interfere themselves with the proceedings of the Courts of Admiralty, or to allow the provincial Judges to do so (52, 52 i–vi, 96).
Indians and French Missionaries.
As Ralé, the Jesuit priest, was reported to be inciting the Kennebec Indians to attack the English, the Agent of the Province petitioned that the French Court should be invited to prohibit the residence of French Missionaries amongst the Indians within H.M. territories (578, 578 i, ii). On the refusal of the Governor of Canada to release the English prisoners still detained there, Governor Shute appealed to H.M. to enforce the provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht on this head (379).
Trial of Pirates.
The Solicitor General gave his opinion that Governor Shute and the other Commissioners had been justified in holding the Court and trying the pirates who had been hanged (Nov. 14, 1718). The point turned upon the interpretation of the Act of VI Queen Anne for continuing the Session of Parliament upon the demise of the Crown. If doubt were still entertained, he suggested the passing of an indemnity clause (88, 217).
From New Hampshire Mr. Vaughan entered his protest against his suspension from the Council by Governor Shute, and his subsequently being relieved of his Commission as Lieutenant Governor (260). His successor, John Wentworth, repudiated the accusation, which he attributed to Mr. Vaughan, that he had been trading in Naval Stores with Spain (313).
Acts left Probationary.
The Council of Trade informed Governor Shute that they were allowing a large number of acts "to lie by as probationary" until experience should prove whether they were beneficial or the reverse. But they recommended that an act which appointed 14 men to a jury should be amended so as to bring it into agreement with the laws of England. Three other acts were repealed (308). Mr. Bridger was able to report that he had procured the passing of acts for the preservation of mast trees and the encouragement of hemp growing (245, 274; and see § I, Naval Stores).
New Jersey Act for support of Government.
Governor Hunter, in announcing his departure from his Government, was able to report that the Assembly of New Jersey had renewed the Revenue Act for two years. But he could not "prevaile upon their stingy nature to establish an Agent," an office he intended for Mr. Bampfield (226). He was a sick and weary man, in agony from the gout, with no hopes but in Aix, for which he had obtained his six months leave of absence (192, 203, 203 i, 286).
Division of the Jerseys.; The Sinking Fund.; Boundary Commission.
Acts for defining the division lines of the Jerseys had been passed, and the Governor hoped to leave New Jersey and New York in "perfect peace and a good disposition" (203, 226, 286, 286 i). After Hunter's departure, Lewis Morris, as President of the Council, informed the Board that he had been obliged to issue a proclamation for compelling the Assessors to perform their duties under the Act for support of the Government. The sum provided for the sinking fund for the paper currency having been miscalculated by the Assembly, he was afraid it would be necessary to summon them in order to make further provision for it. A stop was being put to the fixing of the boundary with New York, the Committee of the Council of the latter Province upholding their Surveyor's contention that they ought to delay proceedings until a more accurate instrument than a "small brass quadrant" was obtained for determining the latitude. Making use of this small instrument in foggy weather, it was averred, the New Jersey Commissioners had fixed the latitude at Fish Kill, "as if determined to acquire the low lands for the Jerseys." Lewis Morris, on the other hand, suggested that several members of the Council of New York were interested parties, having taken up large tracts of land in New Jersey under grants from New York (440, 440 i, ii, 460, 460 i, 461, 461 i–v).
New York Revenue Act.
In New York the Assembly continued the Revenue Act for one year longer. They had determined to settle it for five years, but when they "smoaked" Hunter's design of going home, evidently decided to hold their hand until they knew something of his successor (192, 226).
Governor Hunter's Departure.
When the time came for taking leave of the Assembly, his speech to them testified to the strength of his feeling for and interest in the country, whilst their Address in reply expressed the esteem and affection which he had won by his "just, mild and tender administration" (286, 286 i, ii).
Peter Schuyler was left in charge of the government as President of the Council. It was not long before Hunter was advised that he was taking steps to undo the measures by which he had secured the peace and contentment of the Province, by displacing the magistrates, and getting rid of the Assembly which Hunter described as "the most dutifull to the Sovereign and the most attentive to the true interests of the Colony that the Provinces could ever boast of." At his request, Mr. Secretary Craggs wrote to the President forbidding him to make any changes in the magistracy, except in such cases as the Council might deem absolutely necessary, and on no account to presume to dissolve the Assembly or suffer it to be dissolved for lack of due prorogation (488, 489, 496).
Acts repealed and passed.
Whilst the Act reviving the Act for the easier partition of lands in joint tenancy was repealed in accordance with Mr. West's report (257, 296), the Council of Trade reported favour ably upon that for paying several debts. They found the objection to it offered by the merchants but "slightly grounded," and commended as just and prudent the action of the New York Legislature in endeavouring thus to extricate the Province from its financial difficulties. Experience was on their side, and appeared to indicate that the act would prove to be beneficial to the Colony. For, if the provisions of the act were observed, and the credit of the bills was thereby maintained, the trade of the Province, so far from being injured, as the merchants maintained, would be stimulated. This had indeed been the effect of the first issue of bills. For all that, it was desirable to prevent further issues of paper and the anticipation of funds. The Governor should therefore be commanded not to give his assent to any further emissions of bills of credit, but to transmit every six months accounts of the produce of funds appropriated for sinking them, and of the amount of the bills accordingly sunk (218).
From the Treasury came enquiries as to H.M. Quit-rents, and the manoeuvres of the Assembly to take the Revenue out of the hands of H.M. Receiver General and administer it through officers appointed by themselves (282).
The instructions of the Commissaries at Paris concerning the boundaries of Nova Scotia are referred to in § 1. Early in 1719 Governor Philipps urged the Board of Trade to represent anew the necessity of having that question settled, and of a decision upon their report of the previous year. He also supported Lt. Governor Doucett's views as to the necessity of stopping French encroachments upon the trade and policy of the Province, and of sending presents to the Indians, as the best means of weaning them from the French interest (102, 102 i, 129, 129 i). The Council of Trade accordingly pressed for decision on these points, and the dispatch of a man of war to protect the trade and fishery (172).
Governor Philipps' Instructions.
They were then instructed to prepare Governor Philipps' Commission and Instructions (212, 220). These were passed at the end of June (266). The Council of Trade had already sketched out their views as to the settlement of Nova Scotia in their report upon the petition of Sir Alexander Cairnes and others for a grant of lands on the coast (219). In answer to their enquiries, they had received assurances from Mr. Bridger that there were many thousands of acres in the Province fit for growing hemp, and many pine trees fit for masts (66, 274). By the Instructions they now prepared, (255, 255 i, ii), the Governor was furnished with a copy of the recently revised Instructions of the Governor of Virginia, by which he was to be guided so far as they were applicable to the conditions of this new Province. His particular Instructions, as the Board of Trade explained, were directed to the problems of settling and peopling the country, and encouraging the fishery and the production of Naval Stores. He was to watch and report upon the proceedings of his French neighbours, and also upon the inhabitants and resources of his Province. In order to secure the friendship of the Indians, he was to take with him presents in the King's name, and also to encourage intermarriages with them. This had proved a source of strength to the French, and such marriages were to be endowed with gifts of money and land from the Crown. Settlers were to be encouraged by grants of land not exceeding 500 acres a head, at a quit rent of one shilling or 3 lb. of hemp per 50 acres, commencing three years after the date of the grant. Such grants were to become void unless the lands were cultivated within certain specified dates. No trees fit for masts for the Navy, and of the dimensions laid down by the Act of Parliament, were to be cut without licence from the Crown. But with the experience of New England in mind, a proviso was added that no grants of land at all were to be made until a survey of the country had first been completed and a tract of land of not less than 200,000 acres had been marked off and reserved for the use of H.M. Navy. Within that tract no trees of any dimensions were to be cut by the inhabitants. In order to obviate so far as possible the delay which this provision would cause in the settlement of the country, the Board of Trade proposed that the Surveyor General of the Woods should be immediately despatched to Nova Scotia in order to mark out the tract of woodland reserved to the Crown. Regulations for the fishery were laid down, based on those of New England and Newfoundland. And as the Governor's Province included both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, he was instructed to do all in his power to hasten the completion of the fortifications at Placentia, and, when that was done, to remove from thence to Annapolis Royal all the garrison with the exception of 50 men. Enquiry was to be made into the complaint of ill treatment lodged by the garrison at Annapolis (325, 326 ii), whilst inhabitants of Newfoundland were to be induced by the offer of lands to transfer themselves to Nova Scotia. For, it was declared, the settlement of H.M. subjects in Newfoundland had been found by experience to be prejudicial on many accounts to the trade of Great Britain—a reference presumably to the difficulty of preventing illegal trade in that direction—and it was deemed more for H.M. service and the interest of His Dominions to establish a strong colony in Nova Scotia. No laws were to be enacted until an Assembly should have been sanctioned by the Crown. As to the French inhabitants who had neither taken the oath of allegiance nor availed themselves of the alternative of retiring from the Province, they were to be given yet one more chance of swearing allegiance to Great Britain. A Proclamation was to be issued by the Governor, giving them the opportunity of doing so within four months of its publication (255, 255 i, ii, 414).
Philipps detained in Boston.; The French in Nova Scotia.; Seizures and reprisals at Canso.; Grants of Lands.
Philipps arrived in Boston in October, 1719, but after an unsuccessful effort to reach Annapolis Royal in November, he was forced to return to Boston for the winter (442, 504). From thence he reported that the French inhabitants persisted in clandestine trade with Cape Breton, whilst ships from Cape Breton continued to fish at Canso under their Governor's protection (442, 504, 504 i). Priests and Jesuits settled in Nova Scotia, and presiding like Governors at Minis and Chignecto, were preaching invectives against the English, inciting the Indians and persuading the French inhabitants to refuse to swear allegiance or leave the country. In order to impress them, Philipps proposed to transfer troops from Placentia forthwith (504). The Claim of the French to the right to fish and settle in the Gulph of Canso, fortified by the device of renaming it, was, together with the question of boundaries, to be debated by the Commissaries at Paris (129, 129 i, 137 i, v, 236, 443 i; and see § I). Their encroachments on the fishery at Canso had led to the seizure of two French ships by Capt. Smart, H.M.S. Squirrel, after a profitless interview with the Governor of Cape Breton (1). M. de Brouillan retaliated by seizing two New England fishing vessels at Canso by way of reprisal (129 i (b), 137 i–iii, vi, vii, 211, 213 i–viii). From Paris the Abbé Dubois demanded prompt reparation for the seizures by the Squirrel, without waiting for the meeting of the Boundary Commission (208 i–iv). A map was produced in support of the claim of the French to the "Isle of Canso" (208 iii, 236), under the Treaty of Utrecht. The claim for reparation was referred to the Board of Trade, with a plain hint from the Lords Justices that it was undesirable at that juncture that anything should be done to disturb the harmonious relations of the two countries (208). The Board showed in its report that it was not inclined either to blame the Governor and Council of the Massachusetts Bay for the "very laudable zeal for H.M. service," which they had displayed in sending Captain Smart to Cape Breton and Canso, or to admit the title of the French to the place where the seizure was made, or to fish upon that coast. If ample satisfaction were first made to H.M. subjects for reprisals made by the French, they offered no objection to the restitution of his vessels and effects to the French owner. But such restitution should be made as a pure act of grace and favour, and great care should be taken not in any way to prejudice the British title to the lands and fishery in question (221). The Lords Justices approved this Representation, and Governor Shute was instructed to proceed accordingly (246, 248). Governor Philipps represented that delay by the Surveyor in marking out the King's reserve of woods was stopping the settlement of the country, and, according to his Instructions, the granting of lands. The situation was being complicated by claims under old patents and concessions from Indians, especially in the territory between New England and Nova Scotia (504, 519 i, ii). Meanwhile Colonel Vetch and others who had shared in the capture of Port Royal, were petitioning for grants of land in accordance with the preference promised to those who had taken part in that expedition (322 i).
Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Keith's Commission.; Report by Council of Trade.
On the death of William Penn, differences arose as to the interpretation of his will and the succession to the Proprietorship of Pennsylvania. Spriggett Penn, claiming the power of Government, sent over a Commission to William Keith continuing him in the post of Lt. Governor, whilst a suit was being commenced in Chancery to decide between the claims of his father's executrix and himself. As this Commission had not received the necessary approbation of the Crown, and its publication was likely to cause heated division of opinion in the Colony, Keith decided not to act upon it, but to continue to administer the Government under the Act of 1712 for securing the administration of the Government in the event of the Proprietor's death. In this decision he was supported by the Council (285, 285 i–iv). The Board of Trade commended his action, laying particular stress upon the point that Governors appointed by Proprietors must be approved by the Crown. Upon their suggestion, Keith was ordered to continue to act under his old Commission until the Proprietor and the Trustees had settled their differences (319, 344). In the meantime, they proposed that the bargain with William Penn for the surrender of the Government of Pennsylvania should be completed. For every opportunity, they urged, should be seized for resuming the dominion of the Proprietary Colonies for the Crown (319). They had drawn a similar conclusion when reporting upon a bundle of acts dating from 1712, which had lately been submitted for the assent of the Crown (297). Mr. West had given his opinion that there was nothing in the Charter to prevent the re-enactment of the substance of acts which had been repealed (119, 128), and the Board once more drew attention to the unreasonable provision by which the Proprietor was allowed five years in which to lay his laws before the Crown, and the Crown but six months to consider them, however many laws were then submitted (297). Moreover, the frequent re-enactment of temporary laws expiring before disallowance could take effect, and the re-enactment of laws that had been repealed amounted to an evasion of the Royal Prerogative of repeal.
Five acts had been passed in Pennsylvania in 1715, in continuation of the Prolonged dispute over the regulation of the the Judiciary, and following on the disallowance of a series of Acts in 1714. They established Courts of Quarter Sessions; of Common Pleas; the Provincial Court; and the practice of the Courts of Judicature; and lastly, the regulation of appeals to Great Britain. With the exception of the last, all were disallowed in 1719, though provision had now been made for a Supreme Court sitting at Philadelphia and having original jurisdiction, modelled on the Common Law Courts at Westminster.
The idea underlying the former acts on this subject had been to exalt the County Courts at the expense of the Provincial, in order that litigants might be saved time and expense in attending Court at Philadelphia. The policy of the Assembly in preparing these Acts had been opposed by the Lieutenant Governor and Council as champions of the Proprietor, partly on the grounds that they tended to depart from English precedents; partly because they infringed the Proprietor's rights in the matter of fines and fees, appointment of clergy, and granting of public house licences, and establishing Courts (C.S.P. 1718. No. 508); partly because the provisions concerning imprisonment for debt were held to prejudice the rights of creditors; and partly because the Assembly demanded that Judges should be removable on charges presented by it, instead of at the discretion of the Governor. Furthermore, in practice, the Act of 1701, establishing the judicial system on a basis which rendered the Provincial Court merely supplementary to the local Courts, had been found undesirable in practice. There was a shortage of trained lawyers capable of filling the many places on the bench in the County Courts (fn. 2) But the chief objection, from an Imperial point of view, was that this judicial system was not in harmony with that of the rest of the Empire. The acts too were badly drawn. Objectionable looseness of phraseology, and a tendency to multiply law-suits, were the chief reasons stated by the Council of Trade for rejecting the Acts of 1701, 1711, and now again of 1715. Professor Osgood considered these reasons so frivolous, in the present case, that he thought the Board's aim was "so to perplex this Proprietary Province in its judicial business as to force a surrender of its Charter" (fn. 3)
The Act for the advancement of Justice had previously been confirmed on the grounds that, though by it greater indulgence was conceded to the Quakers than was allowed in England, the preponderance of Quakers in Pennsylvania made it advisable (174, 202). A private act was, on petition, offered for repeal as unjust (406, 407, 455, 458, 465, 482). In forwarding a return of wine imported from Madeira and the Azores, Lt. Governor Keith remarked upon the impossibility of preventing smuggling, where two Colonies were divided by a river (18).
A request by the Board of Trade for returns by Collectors of Customs in the Proprietary Governments of laws passed there prejudicial to Great Britain, elicited a lively reply from Caleb Heathcote as to the iniquities of Rhode Island (272, 377). Large issues of bills had been made, but not applied to the purpose of fortifying the harbour for which they had been appropriated. The result was that Customs Officers who seized, vessels for illegal trade were liable to find themselves carried off to sea without protection from the fort. An act had been passed reducing these officers' fees, and no notice was taken of threats from the Commissioners of Customs. The King's officers, in attempting to prevent illegal trade, were looked upon as enemies to the growth and prosperity of the Proprietary Governments, and they performed their duties at the risk of their lives. A riot had recently occurred at Newport over the seizure of some hogsheads of claret by the Collector. It was followed by a malicious prosecution of the Collector for taking excessive fees, and his re-arrest on the same charge after he had been acquitted (377).
Virginia prosperous.; Lt. Governor Spotswood, the Councillors and Col. Byrd.
In forwarding the public accounts of Virginia, Spotswood was able to point to such a surplus as might be thought to answer the charge of grievous oppression which some of its representatives were eager to advance (199, 199 i–vi). He claimed some credit for the prosperity of a country which he had found in a state of Poverty and debt. Spotswood complained that his letters were being intercepted and opened, and hinted that Mr. Byrd was at the bottom of it, as he and the eight Councillors who opposed him were the originators of all the complaints against him. If some of them were not removed, Governors in future would have no choice but to be "thorough Creolians," under the thumb of this family party. They had stolen a march upon him by producing their Address, just before the last ship of the year set sail (46). His reply to it was thus delayed until the following March, when he answered in detail the charges brought against him, and repeated his own charges against the Councillors (133, 133 i–vi). At the same time Mr. Byrd was offering his services as mediator between Spotswood and the Councillors, by proposing that the Board should censure the Governor (130). Spotswood replied at length and with considerable heat to Byrd's "impertinent memorials," and also to his "angry neighbours" in North Carolina who resented his interference in the matter of the pirates protected by them (357). The Council of Trade assured Spotswood of their support, if deserved, and proposed that Byrd should be superceded on the Council, as being an absentee (144, 271). They commended both the punctuality of Spotswood's correspondence, and his action regarding the Council's salary and the act for regulating fees. They pronounced their agreement with Mr. West's opinion as to the proroguing of Assemblies under adjournment (v. §. I.), and expressed their surprise at the attempt of the Assembly to re-enact the act declaring who should not bear office, which had been repealed. They concluded with the usual questionnaire (92, 271, 271 i). Both the Solicitor General and Mr. West gave their opinion that the King's right of collating to vacant benefices remained unaffected by the act in dispute (92, 273, v. C.S.P., 1718).
Report on Address of Assembly.
As to the Address of the Assembly (Nov. 1718), the Board of Trade reported adversely both upon its contents and the manner of its presentation. They represented that the transmission of addresses to the Crown through other channels than the Governor, except in cases of complaint or refusal, had been discountenanced by an Order in Council in 1702. In this case the Burgesses had made no application to the Governor to transmit their Address, nor did it contain any personal complaint against himself. Moreover, although there was already an Agent for the Province in England, the House of Burgesses had appointed an Agent of their own—Mr. Byrd— to present it to the King, and voted his remuneration without a law for that purpose or the concurrence of the Governor and Council. As to the contents, that part of the Address which supported the claim of the Councillors to be sole judges in the Courts of Oyer and Terminer, was concerned with a matter which had already been settled. For the rest, they expressed their surprise at the request for the revocation of the Instruction to Governors as to Acts affecting British Trade and Navigation, "for it can never be supposed that the Plantations had or could have the power of making any laws which might be prejudicial to the trade and navigation of this Kingdom, for whose benefit and advantage the Plantations were first settled, and have been and still are maintained and protected at a vast expense from this kingdom" (146).
Spotswood seized the occasion of enquiries as to the danger to be apprehended from the French and Spanish settlements, to press his views as an ardent pioneer of western expansion (535, § 1).
The Five Nations.
In letters to the Board of Trade and to President Schuyler, Spotswood expressed his exasperation at the attitude of the New York Commissioners for Indian Affairs in countenancing the refusal of the Five Nations to treat with any of H.M. Governors except at Albany. He complained of incursions by them on the northern frontier of Virginia, and that they had been encouraged by Schuyler to think themselves illtreated by the southern Governments (357, 535, 535 i).
§ III. THE WEST INDIES.
The Bahamas.; Danger from Pirates and Spaniards.; Rogers' proceedings approved.; Demand for Assembly.
Captain Woodes Rogers had a difficult time of it in the Bahama Islands. Information as to preparations by the Spaniards to seize Providence Isle was confirmed from various quarters, whilst the danger of the return of the pirates—Vane, Teach, and the rest—still remained (28, 31, 31 i, 33, 41, 41 i, 84, 84 i, 204). The inhabitants were poor, lazy and hand in glove with the pirates. Settlers who had been preparing to migrate from the Virgin Islands, Carolina and Bermuda were deterred by dread of the Spanish raid (28, 33). Left without aid from Governors of the neighbouring Colonies to whom he had appealed, or from the men of war who contented themselves with wishing him a merry Christmas in passing, Rogers was confronted by a conspiracy amongst the inhabitants and the soldiers, and French and Palatine immigrants he had brought with him, to seize the Governor and hand over the fort to the pirates. Provisions were scarce, and the garrison was weak, and Rogers found himself obliged to draw bills on the Company for its subsistence, which he hoped Parliament would help to meet (28, 33, 84, 84 i, 204, 204 iii, 205, 209, 472, 473, 523, 525 i). Finding himself between the devil and the deep sea, with the danger of the Spaniards on the one hand and the pirates on the other, he had to consider whether, if the pirates came first, it might not be best to receive them and enlist their aid to defend the Islands against the Spaniards. Otherwise most of those he had with him—he describes them later in a lively passage (209)—would either join the pirates or leave him "and then they'll possess the place, maugre all I can propose to do against them" (33). He had fitted out a sloop to cruise against the pirates, but it was no match for them (33). The Council of Trade supported his demand for a second Independent Company and the despatch of a guardship with ordnance and stores of war (4, 5, 31, 31 i, 42, 204, 209, 474, 523, 525 i, ii). The attack by the Spaniards was delayed by the loss of some of their ships and the tidings of the Declaration of War. But in May, 1719, Rogers was informed of new preparations for an immediate expedition from Havana (204, 205, 205 iii). He had, however, in the mean time put Nassau into some state of defence. In spite of the difficulties he describes (84, 84 i, 204, 205, 209), he thought that if he could have two more Independent Companies he would be able to defy any force the Spaniards could bring against him (205, 209). At length in July, 1719, he was promised support by the Secretary of State, and informed that his proceedings were approved by the Lords Justices (314). He began to apply for leave to call an Assembly. But as to the Councillors he proposed, he was warned by Mr. Popple, that, if they were appointed, they would have to pay fees for their warrants amounting to £9 15s. a head. Rogers doubted whether they would pay them, for "but few of them I found here has any notion of honour further then proffit" (204, 209). At the beginning of the next year, the Governor and Council in a memorial to the Board of Trade enumerated their difficulties and requirements, but were able to report that the French diversions in Mexico had relieved them from the danger of the Spaniards. An Assembly was needed both to pass measures for encouraging settlers and also to raise the necessary funds for carrying on the Government (523).
The Co-partners.; Offer to Surrender lease.
A report upon the state of the Islands, probably by Mr. Gale, suggested the desirability of the Crown buying out the Co-partners both for their own sakes and for the sake of the prosperity of the settlement (525 i, ii). The Co-partners themselves were feeling the pinch, and before the end of 1719 were petitioning to be reimbursed for the large expenditure in which they had been involved by a series of unforeseen events, including the war with Spain (472, 473). The Board of Trade supported their application (474). Shortly afterwards the Co-partners replied to the criticisms contained in Mr. Gale's report (525 i), but concluded by agreeing that the Bahamas were of too great importance to be left with a slender garrison in the hands of Proprietors. They were willing to surrender their lease and title to the Crown, if they might be reimbursed their expenditure, and thus save the Islands from falling a prey to the Spaniards, French or pirates (545).
Barbados. Complaints against Governor Lowther.
Robert Lowther, Governor of Barbados, replied heatedly and at length to the several charges brought against him by Mr. Gordon, Mr. Lansa, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (356, 356 i–lix, 436 i, ii, 459, 513 i–iv, 543, 543 i, 550, 551, 557, 558, 562). Part of the evidence he adduces exhibits the Rev. William Gordon and the clergy of Barbados in an extraordinary light, which is rather intensified by Mr. Gordon's complacent defence that "it is a real enconium that so little has been found to find fault with" (p. 200).
Report of the Board of Trade.
The Board of Trade, in their report, found the Governor plainly guilty of a breach of his Instructions and the Acts of Trade and Navigation, in conniving at trade with the Spanish Settlements (cf. § I). He had also acted contrary to his Instructions in accepting presents on an almost Verrine scale from the Council and Assembly (513 iv, 524, 533, 537, 543, 547, 575). His recall was clearly indicated.
The Ecclesiastical Court.
Whilst petitions against the jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Court were forwarded from Barbados, the Agents refused to prosecute the complaints against Mr. Gordon, who thereupon petitioned for a determination of the case (80, 112, 112 i, 356 i, ii, iv, v), and the Bishop of London protested against the report of the Board of Trade on that subject as unfair (125).
Bermuda. Surrender of Pirates.
From Bermuda, Lt. Governor Bennet reported the surrender of some pirates on condition of being allowed to retain their plunder (227). For himself, he repudiated the suggestion of his "invective enemies" that he was feathering his nest and was anxious to retire with his ill-gotten gains (491). He forwarded an Address in praise of his administration and expressing loyalty to the King (492 i), and reported an attempt to blow up the magazine, attributed to some privateersman who had been disappointed of a prize (492).
Jamaica. Temper of the Assembly.
Governor Sir Nicholas Lawes found the temper of the Jamaican planters no less difficult than his predecessors. At the beginning of 1719 he reported that "the heats and animositys which have governed their passions" had compelled him to put an end to the Session of the General Assembly, without its having fulfilled the purposes for which it had been convened. The Assembly had again asserted their right to adjourn themselves; refused to tax their own estates, or to pay the money advanced by Lord Archibald Hamilton and the Council for the subsistence of the garrison.
On re-assembling in September after this adjournment, the Assembly sent up a "Deficiency" bill. It contained an objectionable provision obliging H.M. Receiver General to be accountable to this or any future Assembly. But the Governor persuaded the Council to accept it, not wishing to raise the old dispute as to the right of the Council to amend a money bill. The Assembly refused, however to accept the Council's amendment to their bill for appointing an Agent, and it was allowed to drop. A bill defining qualifications of members and the regulation of elections was discussed at conferences between the two Houses, whilst one for encouraging voluntary parties to suppress rebellious and runaway negroes was passed. Council and Assembly then fell to quarrelling. A bill to defray the extraordinary charges of Government was open to the same objection in regard to the Receiver General as the Deficiency Act. The Council proposed amendments to it, and the Assembly returned to their old contention that the Council had no right to amend money bills. The Council then rejected the bill, and the Assembly retorted by so amending a bill sent down to them for quashing the condemnation of the Kingston sloop as to make it a libel on the late Governor, Lord Archibald Hamilton. Sir Nicholas Lawes' attempt at reconciling the two Houses proved futile; messages passed between them and resulted in a scuffle in which a Member of Council was accused of having affronted the House of Assembly. The Assembly was prorogued, but at its next session, took up its quarrel with the offending Councillor, and refused to have any further communication with the Council until he was suspended. Lawes then prorogued the Assembly till 10th March, with the intention of dissolving it before that date. In the meantime he asked the opinion of the Board whether it would be acceptable if the new Assembly brought in a bill for a perpetual revenue which should provide for the quit rents and also the enforcing of some of the Statute Laws of England, so as to "give the people of this country the privilege of English-born subjects." This would have included the Habeas Corpus Act, and the statute for preventing frauds and perjuries. The present Assembly had passed a resolution for bringing in such a bill, and Lawes represented that they "would insist upon it" (34, 479, 548).
The Assembly dissolved.; Acts repealed.; Lord A. Hamilton's claim.; The new Assembly.
Lawes dissolved the Assembly by Proclamation in February "on account of the great contempt they have shown to our Instructions and the many indignities they have offered to our Council" (132, 132 i). Mr. West pointed out the objections which might be taken to the Deficiency Act they had passed (267, 293). The Board of Trade expressed the pious hope that the next Assembly would shew more zeal in following H.M. recommendations for the security of the Island, now rendered more necessary than ever by the war with Spain. They reported the repeal of the acts for the effectual discovery of persons disaffected to the King, and for ascertaining the number of ports of entry. The Commissioners of Customs had taken exception to the latter act, and the Governor was instructed not to assent to any new acts to that effect unless it included a suspensory clause (138, 138 i, 148, 198, 295). The Board still hoped that the Governor would procure the payment of the money due to Lord Archibald Hamilton for the subsistence of the garrison (295). Lord Archibald presently petitioned for such payment with interest, as in the case of Lt. Governor Heywood (376 i, ii). The Board of Trade, to whom the petition was referred, found that the claim was just, and that with a view to similar emergencies in the future, it was of importance to Jamaica that the money advanced by Lord Archibald and the Council should be repaid with interest. But since the Assembly refused to comply, they submitted to H.M. what other method should be adopted (476, 548). The Governor was then ordered to pay the money with interest "out of the first and readiest of H.M. revenues" of Jamaica (509). Lord Archibald also petitioned that his share in the Kensington (Kingston) prize, which he had deposited with the Provost Marshal, should be handed over to him, since no appeal against her condemnation had been entered by the Spanish owners (181 i, ii). The new Assembly met in October, and in the same spirit as the old. Money bills were passed, liable to the same objections as those of the previous year. A bill was then brought in appropriating the money raised by them. One clause in this bill was intended to prevent payment of the money due to Lord Archibald Hamilton, and another authorised payments to the Attorney General, now elected Speaker, without warrants for them being passed by the Governor and Council (548). But the Governor had by this time thrown in his lot with the Assembly, and spiked the Council's guns by declaring that they had no right to amend money bills "as to the raising or applying parts." In view of the danger of an attack by the Spaniards, the Council dared not face the risk of an empty Treasury, and therefore unwillingly gave their assent to these acts (479, 479 ii, 540, 548). Among them was a Deficiency Act, and one laying duties on imported negroes and wines, with a special tax of £1500 on Jews for the subsistence of the Independent Companies. The Governor's account of these proceedings is given (540). Three other bills the Council rejected—the acts for appointing an Agent, repealing the condemnation of the sloop Kingston, and for the relief of sufferers from piracies (540, 540 i–v).
War with Spain and fortification of Port Royal.; Trade with Spanish Settlements proposed.; Logwood in
Martial law was proclaimed when a Spanish squadron was reported to be sailing for the West Indies. The fortification of Port Royal was hurried on. "Hanover Line" was completed—"an incomparable piece of work" commanding the harbour. Lawes applied for a grant of guns to defend it (342, 342 i–iii, 479, 540). On the declaration of war, Lawes asked for permission to trade with the Spanish settlements as in 1704 (132). As the war progressed, the Jamaican merchants found themselves hard hit for lack of such permission. A project for retaking Campeachy Bay was set on foot (247, 247 i, 341 i). The recognition of the British right to cut logwood there was urged as a condition of peace (479, 540).
Privateers and Pirates.
Privateers were commissioned, and pirates were expected to come in and surrender with a view to taking a share in legalised warfare (132). Sloops fitted out by the Colony succeeded at the second attempt in recapturing a merchantman which had been seized by the pirate Thomson within sight of Port Royal. On their first essay, they had been beaten off by two pirate vessels (34, 132, 295). Complaints were made that the Commanders of H.M. ships were too busy trading on their own account with the Spanish Settlements, to protect the Island from pirates and Spanish privateers. Lawes repeated the suggestion of other Governors that naval ships should be subject to the instructions of the Governor and Council of their station (32, 167).
Answers to the Queries.
Lawes returned answers to the Board's queries as to the trade and inhabitants of Jamaica and its neighbours, but experienced difficulties in obtaining returns for a census (295, 295 i, 479, 479 i, viii).
The Leeward Islands.
Piracy was still rife among the Leeward Islands. Governor Hamilton gave an account of several encounters with "that vermin," and complained that they were protected by the Danes at St. Thomas (561). As the result of the Governor's representations (Dec. 19, 1718), the Admiralty contractor was instructed to provide for victualling H.M. ships in the Leeward Islands, instead of at Barbados as had been the practice (238, 239, 263). As in the case of New England (§2), the Board of Trade complained that information relating to the Leeward Islands was being published in the newspapers before it reached their office (163). The Governor was reminded of his Instructions to send full accounts of the revenue and laws and copies of the Minutes of the Councils and Assemblies. He was also to send a map of the Islands and a collection of the laws (162, 163). Hamilton in reply expressed his concern at being called upon to do what previous Governors had never done, and explained the difficulty he experienced in obtaining copies and returns from the clerks and deputies of Patent Office holders (316, 415). He was told that he was expected to fulfil his Instructions, and, if need be, to suspend officers who failed in their duty (396). He answered the Queries sent him by the Board, giving some information on the trade and movements of the inhabitants. But on other points he was not so explicit as to satisfy the Board's thirst for statistics (316 i, 396).
Antigua Acts repealed.
Some Acts of Antigua were repealed (201), and Mr. West reported adversely on several that were sent over by Governor Hamilton (126, 126 ii, 201, 568, 568 i). As in Jamaica and on the Continent, the Assembly, in the Act for raising £5000, clung to a clause designed to take away from the Governor and Council and to secure to themselves the power over the issuing as well as the granting of money. The Act for establishing Courts Hamilton recommended as the best he could obtain, in the teeth of strong opposition, for enabling British merchants and others to recover debts in that Island. Hitherto it had been almost impossible for any creditors to recover the full value of a debt, owing to the "shameful and scandalous method" of appraisement in force. By the present act the appraisement was still to be in sugar or produce of the Island, but that was the customary medium, "there being no such thing almost in the Island as the species of cash."
Colonel Morris restored.
Colonel Thomas Morris was restored to his place in the Council, the evidence in support of the charge against him and upon which he had been suspended appearing unsatisfactory to the Board of Trade (65, 123, 140, 316).
Two acts of Montserrat were recommended for confirmation by Hamilton, whilst the Lt. Governor, Talmash, continued to enjoy leave of absence and to absorb the proceeds of a duty on imported liquors, "the only branch that brought money into the Treasury" (103).
The grant in aid to Nevis and St. Kitts.
Sufferers from the raids in Nevis and St. Christophers were now entitled by Act of Parliament to a share in the grant in aid, whether they had resettled in one island or the other. Claims for debentures were entered (25, 51, 231, 231 i, 298, 304, 305).
St. Kitts French Lands.
No decision had yet been taken as to the disposal of the surrendered French lands in St. Christophers. Mr. Craggs, no doubt, was considering the proposal of the South Sea Company (529).
The Danes and the Virgin Islands.
The Council of Trade represented that it was impossible to expect the inhabitants of the Leeward Islands to go to the succour of the Danes at St. Thomas as had been requested. They would need all their strength to resist a possible attack by the Spaniards. Moreover, they regarded the Danish Colony as prejudicial to their own interests, and the recent occupation by the Danes of St. John, one of the Virgin Islands, was one of the reasons why those left at St. Thomas were obliged to ask for assistance. The Board of Trade recommended that pressure should be put upon the Danes to remove from St. John, and that "neither they nor any foreign nation should ever be allowed to settle on any of the Virgin Islands" (39).
Newfoundland, Claim of Guipuscoans.
Following up the ambiguous reference in the Treaty of Utrecht to Spanish fishing rights, the States of Guipuscoa presented a memorial requesting confirmation of their liberty to fish in the ports of Placentia and Newfoundland. They claimed to have been the first discoverers of the Island (351, 351 i, ii, 361 i). This led to enquiry on the part of the Board of Trade as to the first discovery of Newfoundland (353). In their report they stated the British title by discovery and settlement and grants. The Treaty of Utrecht only secured to the people of Spain such privileges of fishing and trading at Newfoundland as they could claim by right. They founded their claim on first discovery, and that did not hold good. Moreover, as it was beyond dispute that the English were, and the Spaniards were not in possession of any part of Newfoundland at the time of the conclusion of the American Treaty in 1670, their claim was absolutely debarred by that Treaty. They had no manner of right either to fish or to trade there. The Board concluded its report by recalling their representation of 19 Dec. 1718, and the bill they had prepared for regulating and restoring the fishery. If the obstructions and disadvantages from which it suffered were removed by a new Act of this kind, neither the French nor the Spaniards would find much profit in competing with the English there (382).
The Commodore of the Newfoundland Convoy was instructed to take all possible measures to ensure that the bonds to be taken from New England masters against their carrying off British seamen should be effective (216 i, 414 i–vi, 437). At the same time the Governor of New England was ordered to put in suit those bonds which had been forfeited the preceding season (217).
Commodore Ogle reported that the Fishing Admirals abused the powers with which they were entrusted, to serve their own private interests. They only observed the orders of the Commanders of H.M. ships so long as they remained in port. In the winter, in the absence of any authority, a state of drunkenness and disorder prevailed in the settlements. The only way to prevent this was, in his opinion, to appoint Resident Magistrates as judges in the respective harbours during the absence of the Convoy in the winter months. Among those whom he recommended for such office was William Keen, who had set up a salmon fishery north of Cape Bonavista (414, 437), where George Skeffington petitioned to be confirmed in a similar industry (574 i, 576, 577). The House of Commons addressed for a return of ships and hands employed in the Fishery (414 vii, 507; see also §2, Nova Scotia).