Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 32, 1720-1721. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1933.
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§ I. GENERAL.
At the end of February, 1720, the Spaniards from Havana delivered their long delayed attack upon the Bahama Islands. But when they appeared off New Providence, they found Governor Woodes Rogers and H.M.S. Flamborough ready to receive them. They made several attempts to land, but were repulsed, However, they were expected to return shortly in greater force, and in response to an appeal for assistance from Rogers, Commodore Vernon sailed from Jamaica with H.M.S. Mary and Ludlow Castle, intending to cruise off Havana and prevent the Spanish ships from coming out. He refused to go to Nassau on the grounds that there "there's no water for me." Rogers, undaunted and scenting a prize, informed the Commodore that, if he could block up the enemy, he would bring some men and ships from the Bahamas, and join in an attack upon Havana (35, 47, 47 i–iv). It had been expected that the Spanish armadilla would proceed to Carolina and join with a force from St. Augustine in an attack upon that Colony (47 i–iii, v).
In spite of the Cessation of Arms (1720), Spanish privateers continued to wage war upon British shipping. Carolina suffered from privateers fitted out from St. Augustine, Jamaica from those sailing with commissions from Trinidado on Cuba. It was all one to them, whether it were peace or war, it was declared. The Council of Trade and Plantations, in bringing their depredations to the notice of the Lords Justices, proposed that urgent representations should be made to the Court of Madrid, to put a stop to such conduct (213, 283, 283 i, 284, 288, 292, 340). A lively engagement between British and Spanish privateers is described (277 ii).
On the other hand, complaint was made by the Spanish Minister of hostilities committed against the inhabitants of Florida by Indians under the protection of the Carolina Government. Whereupon Lord Carteret directed the Governor of Carolina not to permit any hostile acts against the subjects of Spain, but to observe the recent Conventions (651). When the Treaty of Peace was signed (June 1721), instructions were sent to all Governors to see to the restitution of captured goods and ships according to the provisions of the Conventions and Art. III of the Treaty (663).
Carteret had succeeded Craggs as Secretary for the Southern Province in March, 1721. Craggs had died during the enquiry into the frauds connected with the South Sea Scheme, in which several Ministers were implicated. His father, the Postmaster General, committed suicide and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was sent to the Tower. (327, 395).
The South Sea Company had been hoping to exploit grants both of Nova Scotia and of the part of St. Kitts lately belongning to the French. They petitioned for grants of these territories "and other parts of America" in January, 1721 (350 i). Characteristic of the Bubble Age is the application of a sanguine Frenchman to the Secretary of State for a grant from the Treasury, in order that "I may work at some great affair known only to myself." (546, 547).
It may have been one of the results of the pricking of the South Sea Bubble that the Board of Trade was obliged to appeal to the Treasury for the settlement of arrears due to the Office, "the person who had advanced part of the money for incidental expenses having been forced to take it up on interest." (494).
The policy of offering a pardon to pirates had not proved successful. Many surrendered, indeed, but only to return to their old trade (251). And though some in one mood might declare that they would seize only Spanish or Portuguese vessels (251. iii), and others might even indulge in poetry (251. i), for the most part they were ready to plunder where they could, to threaten vengeance on all Creoles and those who, as at Nevis, had hanged their comrades, and to inspire terror or extract treasure by practising the most savage cruelty. They made a haul off Newfoundland of merchant ships; cut out and destroyed others in the Road of Basseterre, and a whole fleet of French sloops from Martinique (28, 251 i–v, 463 iii, 501 iv, 513). One of the most powerful and also most brutal of these rogues was John Roberts of Barbados. Besides committing depredations on the British and French islands, and all along the coast of the Continent, he captured a French man of war with the Governor of Martinique on board and hanged him from the yard-arm (463 iii). The cargo of a Dutch ship seized by him was said to have been brought by a Rhode Island skipper to Tarpaulin Cove, "a by-place fit for roguery," and part of it hidden in the woods, the rest being sent to other New England ports (727 i).
But though many of the pirate ships were so formidable in men and guns that the guard-ships on the West Indian stations were not capable of tackling them, many of the most famous pirates were brought to account at this time. Six of the crew of the Royal Rover were hanged at Nevis (28). At Jamaica, a trading sloop "well manned and commanded by a brisk fellow one Jonathan Barnet," fell in with Rackham, and captured him. He was tried and executed with ten of his crew under the Commissions recently sent out (288, 340). They were soon followed to the gallows by the notorious Charles Vane and Warner and his gang (459, 463 iii. v. § iii Jamaica).
In accordance with an opinion given by Mr. West, the Board of Trade reported against the request of the Lords of the Admiralty for the annulment of the 54th Instruction to Governors relating to pirates' goods and goods piratically taken. The Admiralty held that Governors were sufficiently instructed by their Commissions as Vice-Admirals to try such matters in the Vice-Admiralty Courts. Mr. West argued that pirates in the West Indies, and consequently their goods, could not be condemned before the Vice-Admiralty Courts as such, but only through the special Commissions granted to Governors under the statute of 11th and 12th William III (64, 117, 135, 136).
Several new Instructions for Governors were issued. When those of the Governor of Barbados were being prepared, the Commissioners of Customs requested that officers employed in that service should not be interrupted in their duties by being called upon to serve on juries or the Militia. It was ordered that they should be excused (528, 605, 605 i.).
Governors were directed not to give their consent to any act for issuing paper currency, without a suspensory clause delaying its effect until the approbation of the Crown had been received, except in the case of acts for raising and settling a public revenue (186 i).
An alteration was made in the Instructions relating to the Bishop of London's jurisdiction in the matters of ecclesiastical benefices and licensing of schoolmasters. Henceforth no minister was to be appointed to an ecclesiastical benefice without a certificate, and no schoolmaster allowed to keep school without a licence from the Bishop of London. But the restriction as to schoolmasters did not apply to New Jersey (667, 696, 696 i, 715, 716, 730–732, 735–737).
It is worthy of remark that Mr. Joshua Gee, in the course of a memorial upon the trade of the Plantations, observed that the root of most quarrels between Governors and Assemblies, and the occasion of many laws being passed to the prejudice both of the Plantations and Great Britain, of which he gave some instances, lay in the payment of Governors by the Assemblies. Governors were either induced to pass such acts in order to obtain their salaries, or gave offence if they refused their consent. He therefore proposed that all Acts of Assembly should be submitted to the approval of the King before being passed into law (698). In other words the Colonies were to be placed on the same footing as Ireland was by the Poynings Act.
A decree by the French Government for the seizure of all foreign vessels trading in the French Colonies, caused some perturbation (183 i, ii, 184). The Board of Trade consulted the Rev. W. Gordon, the trading parson of Barbados, as to the New England traffic with foreign Plantations (196). He had already called attention to the large re-exports of the produce of foreign settlements from the Colonies to foreign parts, and proposed an Act to limit such re-exportation to Great Britain (44).
An elaborate questionnaire as to the trade, resources, population, and defences of the several Colonies (181 i), elicited replies from Maryland (214), Massachusetts and New Hampshire (259 i, 447 i), New Jersey and New York (182, 187 i), Nova Scotia (203) and Pennsylvania (309).
Information thus acquired, added to the replies received in this and the preceding year from Collectors and traders, and interviews with merchants, equipped the Board of Trade for the task of composing the two highly important representations printed at the end of this volume. Joshua Gee, in particular, added a memorial to his previous contributions on the subject of Plantation Trade in the British Merchant and elsewhere. Arguing from the importance of that trade to British shipping, and the success of the bounties on Naval Stores in lowering prices and breaking the monopoly in timber of the Eastland Countries, he urged that encouragements should be given to the Colonies to produce all such commodities as Great Britain had to buy from foreign countries. The produce and export of timber, planks, and pig iron, flax, silk and hemp should, like pitch and tar, be encouraged by bounties and the adjustment of duties. The Colonies should be permitted to export direct to the south of Europe the more bulky commodities which would not bear the additional expense of the roundabout voyage, but ships that sailed on such direct voyages must be obliged to return to the Plantations by way of England. This would cripple the competition of New England ships, and confine them to the coasting trade and fishery. Unlike the West Indian planters, Gee saw no objection to allowing the Northern Plantations to continue supplying the French Sugar Islands with horses, lumber, and provisions; for such trade tended to increase British shipping and help it to outstrip the Dutch as the carriers of the world. The paper is of importance as an example of the outlook of a broadminded and influential observer of the school of Whig mercantile theory (198). Gee subsequently elaborated the arguments which he had used here and in the British Merchant in a pamphlet published in 1729, "The Trade and Navigation of Great Britain considered."
In August 1721, Lord Townshend called for reports upon the state of the Colonies on the American Continent, with suggestions for their better government and security, and upon the best means for encouraging the importation of timber, Naval Stores, and mineral ores from the Plantations (620). The Board of Trade responded with the two representations mentioned. In the first of these (656), they made a detailed report of the boundaries, commerce, defences and governments of each Colony. They then considered the importance of the Plantation trade to Great Britain, estimating it as amounting to £1,000,000 sterling per annum, of which one half was with Colonies on the Continent. The balance of trade was £200,000 in favour of the Mother Country, which also derived great profit from the re-exportation of Plantation goods to Europe, whilst over one third of British shipping employed in foreign trade was maintained by the Plantation trade (pp. 428–434). The American Colonies met the adverse balance by their trade with the West India Islands and with Europe in non-enumerated commodities.
The Board then passed to the consideration of encroachments by the French, which had already been indicated in the reports on the several Colonies, and the danger to be apprehended from the extension of their settlements along the Mississippi to Quebec, threatening to "set a girdle" upon the British Colonies and cut them off from expansion westwards. (178, pp. 435–440). The forts which the French had built along this route and the endeavours of their missionaries to bring the Indian tribes over to their interest are described, with acknowledgements of the information contributed by Lieut. Governor Keith on these points (v. C.S.P. 1719–20, pp. iii–v). The remedy seemed to be to fortify the inland frontier; to "make ourselves considerable at the two heads of your Majesties Colonies north and south"; to extend settlements beyond the mountains; and to secure the friendship of such Indian nations as were not already in league with the French. With these ends in view, the settlement of Nova Scotia should be hurried on, and a stronger garrison stationed there and in South Carolina, where forts should also be built on the principal rivers (pp. 440–442).
Trade and friendship with the Indians might be secured by building a small fort upon Lake Erie, and prosecuting Governor Burnet's plan for occupying Niagara. Inter-marriage with the Indians should be encouraged, after the French model, and presents be given to them regularly, and missionary enterprise stimulated. There should be no monopoly of the Indian trade, but careful supervision should be exercised over the traders and any injustice done severely punished. In making treaties, as in conducting trade, the Governors of the several Plantations should endeavour to impress the Indians with their unity under the Crown. Finally, they might be impressed by bringing home some of the Indian Chiefs, as the French had done, to show them "the splendour and glory" of England (pp. 442–444).
The report concluded with suggestions for the better government of the Colonies. The first step must be to secure unity of administration and defence, and the absolute observance of the Acts of Trade and Plantations and Governors' Instructions, by resuming Proprietary and Chartered Governments to the Crown. Only so could the entire, absolute and immediate dependency of the Colonies be maintained, which it was the wisdom of Great Britain, as of all other States, to ensure. But the planters must be regarded as British subjects, and encouraged in all reasonable things, not prejudicial to the interests of Great Britain, as for instance, in the production of naval stores, corn, flax, hemp, and timber.
Patent Officers should be debarred from acting by Deputies. In order to secure unity for defence, the Board then proposed that the several Colonies and their Governors should be placed under a Captain-General, after the manner of the Leeward Islands, with an advisory Council consisting of two Deputies from each Colony. By this means quotas of men or money according to the capacity of each Colony could be requisitioned for the defence of the whole. In pursuance of this proposal, it is stated by Chalmers (fn. 1) that the Earl of Stair was offered the Captain Generalship of the American Colonies, but refused.
Finally, the Board suggested that it should be placed on the same footing as the Treasury and Admiralty, and its President entrusted with the sole charge of Colonial business, receiving immediate orders from the King. Thus would be avoided the delay and confusion at present arising from the division of authority between the Secretary of State, the King in Council, and the Board. As a result of this threefold method of procedure, "no one office is thoroughly informed of all matters relating to the Plantations, and sometimes orders are obtained, by surprise, disadvantageous to your Majesty's service."
The encouragement of the production of Naval Stores from the Plantations was part of a clearly defined policy on the part of the Board of Trade and mercantile theorists. It had for its objects the diversion of the planters from manufacturing goods which could with greater advantage be made in Great Britain; the development of the mercantile marine, and the breaking down of the expensive and dangerous monopoly in materials vital to the Navy, which had been enjoyed by the Eastland Countries. In the second of the two representations under review, the Board referred to their report on this subject in 1718, and the Bill which had been brought into Parliament but dropped, in 1719, owing to the opposition to the manufacture of iron ware of any kind in the Colonies. The Board now proposed the passing of an Act in which the duty on pig iron, but not on bar iron, from the Plantations should be taken off (657, 657 i, ii).
The Board was of opinion that direct export of rice from Carolina to Southern Europe might be permitted (656). But French competition in the "mysterious art" of manufacturing beaver hats, and the large exports of beaver skins direct to Holland, led the hatmakers of England to petition for a readjustment of the import duty and drawbacks on re-exports, the effect of which was to lay a tax of over 20 per cent. on English workmen. The Board reported in favour of abolishing the drawbacks, reducing the import duty, and prevention of the "evil practice of carrying beaver skins directly from the British Plantations to foreign parts." (738, 738 i, 748).
An application for a patent for catching and curing sturgeon in New England was refused (73, 84–86). The dazzling hope of a monopoly of American caviare and isinglass was shattered. For though the Board of Trade was inclined to favour such a patent, if safeguards could be introduced to prevent its being turned into a stock-jobbing scheme (126), the Law Officers of the Crown pointed out that it was very doubtful whether the prerogatives of the Crown extended to the granting of monopolies in the Plantations (152). Nor, indeed, was it certain that the sturgeon produced as a specimen was really caught at Boston. There is a hint of "salting" this gold mine (84–86).
The Council of Trade reminded the Lords Justices of the value of "exact maps of all the several Colonies." The French had reaped great advantage from those they had made for themselves, "whilst we continue in the dark." (231). In response to their requests, maps of Antigua and Connecticut were sent to them. (227 viii, ix, 229).
The Board renewed their application for the addition of two new rooms to their office, to house the growing mass of papers (165, 171, 172). After another nine month's delay, the Lord Chamberlain presently issued an order to the Treasury for the construction of four new rooms. (468). Still nothing was done. Five months later, the Board appealed to the Treasury to give speedy orders for repairing the Office and building the additional rooms, for "the rain comes in so very much, it will be impossible in a short time to sitt in the office." (697). The Board of Works was then instructed to make an estimate for the "repairs and works absolutely necessary to be done." (703).
§ II. THE AMERICAN COLONIES.
In South Carolina the imminent danger of an attack by the Spanish Fleet from Havana led to steps being taken to repair the fortifications of Charleston, and place the Colony in a posture of defence. An embargo was laid upon shipping (8–10, 47 i, ii), and an Act for suspending the sinking fund for the paper currency was passed (113). Fortunately the Spanish expedition met with a check at the Bahamas (v. § 1), and with the arrival of H.M.S. Flamborough and Phoenix, the crisis passed (8–10, 47 i, ii). But whilst St. Augustine remained a danger and a nest of pirates and privateers at the door of the Carolinians, Colonel Rhett, the Surveyor of Customs, and Captain Hildesley, of the Flamborough, were accused of trading with the Spaniards there, and even of supplying them with arms and ammunition, under pretext of an exchange of replied to Rhett's charges against Colonel Moore and his Council replied to Rhett's charges against the people, defending their revolt against the Lords Proprietors and urging the removal of "that enemy of his country, and detested reviler of mankind" from his office. Rhett and his brother-in-law, the late Chief Justice Trott, were blamed for most of the ill feeling which had arisen between the inhabitants and Lords Proprietors (292, 292 i–iii, 363, 363 i).
In spite of some attempts by Colonel Johnson to regain the Government, Colonel Moore and his Council, under the presidency of Sir Hovenden Walker, remained in control of affairs. Representatives met in General Assembly at Charleston and passed an Act for supporting the present government, and confirming the acts and appointments made by it, and the Convention (195). The Captains of the men of war, however, had declared in Johnson's favour. Whilst the latter threatened to bombard Charleston, Captain Hildesley and he plotted for his restoration. There was indeed nearly a clash of arms. Captain Hildesley, something of a fire-eater, was not content with a demonstration with the Flamborough's guns. Johnson issued a commission to him and others, and together they marched at the head of a troop of sailors and supporters, and demanded the surrender of the Government. But Moore and his Council showed no sign of yielding, and after drawing the fire of the fort, Johnson undertook to disband his men and make no further disturbance. Captain Pearse of H.M.S. Phoenix acted as intermediary. Captain Hildesley, less amenable, was placed under arrest (372, 413, 484, 484 i, ii).
The country was disturbed, too, by the discovery of a negro plot to destroy all white men and seize Charleston, and by a rising of Vocama Indians. Both were suppressed, and negroes and Indians severely punished (125). The Indian outbreaks were attributed to the want of the Indian Trading Act repealed by the Proprietors (66).
But by this time the Lords Justices in Council had ordered that the Government should be "forthwith taken provisionally into the hands of the Crown," and instructed for a Governor Trade to prepare a Commission and Instructions for a Governor to be appointed by the King. The Attorney General was ordered to bring in a scire facias for the resumption of the Charter, and the Board of Trade was to report upon the measures deemed necessary to secure the safety of the Province (185, 199, 248). The Board in submitting the draft of a Commission, modelled upon that given to Colonel Copley when Maryland was resumed to the Crown, raised the question whether North Carolina was to be included. It was decided that the veteran Francis Nicholson should be appointed Governor of South Carolina only. (Sept. 1720. 192, 192 i, 244–247). In making proposals for the security of the province, the Council of Trade availed themselves of the advice of Governor Nicholson and Colonel Barnwell, who had come to London with the petition of the Convention. They recommended that a fort and settlement should be made upon the north bank of the Altamaha, with a frigate as guardship in the river, and an Independent Company of 100 men with stores as garrison under Colonel Barnwell, subject to Governor Nicholson's instructions.
Presents should be sent to the Indians and measures concerted between the governments of Carolina and Virginia for regulating trade with them (217, 232 iii–xiii, 237, 275 i, ii). Stephen Godin and other merchants interested in the Carolina trade also gave their advice for remedying the ills which beset the Province. They were chiefly concerned with the proper treatment of the Indians and the protection of British merchants from laws and measures, especially the unlimited issues of paper currency, which destroyed the confidence of traders (274).
Arriving at Charleston in June, Nicholson sent Colonel Barnwell to take possession of the river Altamaha in H.M. name, and build a small fort thereon, whilst he himself was occupied in settling the new administration, and making treaties with the Creeks and Cherokees etc. (572, 573 i, ii, 577, 683). A site near the mouth of the river was chosen for the erection of Fort King George. Thus a first step was taken towards the defence of the extreme southern frontier, which the Council of Trade had advocated in their general report (656). Further accounts of proceedings in connection with the settlement of the Government and building of the fort were sent home by the Agents, Mr. Lloyd and Young, who were appointed by the General Assembly (372, 386, 683, 702, 714). The document dated Feb. 17, 1721, and printed under that date (386) should be attributed to 1722.
The new Assembly met at the end of July. They and the Council expressed in addresses their gratitude to the King for taking the Colony under His immediate protection, and appointing so wise and experienced a Governor (619, 702, 714, 760).
Even the weather appeared to appreciate the change from the regime of the Lords Proprietors. The long drought which had added to the afflictions of the country broke in time to save the prospects of the rice and corn crops. "Tis generally observed," Nicholson comments, "that since His Majesty hath taken this country and government it hath been very seasonable weather." The Lords Proprietors were evidently regarded as responsible for filling "the butchers' shops with large blue flies" (156, 683). The Council reported that a great deal of time had been devoted to disputes over the jurisdiction of Admiralty Court and Customs House officers. A shortage of clerks and paper hindered the despatch of Journals etc. (573, 702).
Captain Charles Calvert having found the sureties required for his observance of the Acts of Trade and Navigation and the King's Instructions, his appointment as Governor of Maryland was approved, whilst his predecessor, John Hart, replied to the questionnaire of the Board of Trade (56, 77, 89, 124, 214).
In that part of their general report which concerned the Province (656), the Council of Trade gave plain expression to their opinion as to the working of the Massachusetts Constitution. Although the Government, they observed, was nominally in the Crown, yet, too great power having been lodged in the Assembly, the Province was, and was likely to continue, in great disorder. Due regard was not paid to the Royal Instructions, suitable provision was not made for the Governor, "and on all occasions they affect too great an independence on their Mother Kingdom." In fact the present Governor's salary had been retrenched, probably because he had done his duty to the Crown, and refused to disregard his Instructions to please the Assembly. It was generally thought that the Act which limited the representation of towns or boroughs to freeholders and residents, resulting in the election of persons "of small fortunes and mean capacities," easily led, was responsible for the present state of affairs (pp. 410–415, No. 514). This, of course, was part of their argument for a resumption of all Charters. This attack on the Chartered and Proprietary Governments was answered by Jeremiah Dummer, Agent for Massachusetts and Connecticut, in a masterly pamphlet, Defence of the New England Charters, summarised by Professor Osgood (fn. 2). To Governor Shute, the Council notified their surprise at the extraordinary proceedings of the Assembly in assuming to themselves executive power and disregarding H.M. Instructions (622).
The Assembly, in fact, had continued its campaign of encroaching upon the Prerogatives of the Crown, and acquiring control of the Executive by keeping Governors and officials dependent for their salaries on their favour. As in New Jersey, the Secretary's fees were reduced (83). For the most part the Governor was supported by the Council in his endeavours to assert the Royal Prerogative. But the Assembly, led by Elisha Cooke, pursued its object unremittingly (514). They again joined issue over the Governor's right to negative their choice of a Speaker. For Cooke, dismissed from the Council, had been returned to the Assembly and there elected Speaker. Similarly another dismissed Member of Council was returned to the Assembly by Boston. These gestures afforded a sufficiently plain indication of the feeling of the country. Governor Shute had refused to accept Cooke as Speaker; the Assembly adhered to their choice. The right of a Governor to negative the choice of a Speaker had been questioned in Governor Dudley's time, and decided in favour of the Crown. Shute dissolved the Assembly, and asked for instructions on this point before the new Assembly should meet (93, 93 i–iv, 103). The Attorney General, on being consulted, gave a decided opinion that the words of the Charter were expressly applicable to the election of a Speaker. Governor Shute was so informed (349, 393, 411). This did not, however, put an end to the controversy. For though the new Assembly chose a different Speaker (July 20. 143), they presently appointed Cooke to act as temporary Speaker, and it was he who signed the Assembly's reply to the Governor's Speech at the opening of their session (655). Shute's hopes of a smooth passage were, in fact, quickly dissipated (143). The majority of the Representatives he describes as country folk, better fitted to manage the affairs of their farms than those of the Province, and easily led by a few designing persons who sought popularity as the only true patriots in attacking the prerogatives of the Crown (514).
The new Assembly complained (March 1721) of the rejection of the bills for issuing another £100,000 of bills of credit, and altering the Act of Parliament fixing the rates of foreign currency. Shute explained to the Council of Trade that the heavy discount at which the paper currency stood was due to the adverse balance of trade, the low prices of commodities, and the already excessive quantity of bills of credit issued. Though the people wished to add to it, the recent Order in Council had checked the evil of falling credit (514 i, 655). The Assembly reduced the vote for the Governor's salary, and made so small a grant for the Lieutenant Governor that he returned it in disgust. They also refused to contribute towards a present for the Indians, though war was threatening.
As Shute's Instructions empowered him to appoint the Attorney General, and the Assembly claimed that right both by custom and the opinion of Sir Edward Northey, the post remained vacant whilst Shute asked for a ruling.
The Press was beginning at this time to be an active influence in politics. A rain of pamphlets poured out upon the currency question, whilst the Newsletter, Gazette, and the Courant of the brothers Franklin began to be potent instruments in the controversy between Governor and Assembly. Censorship of the Press was vested in the Governor by the Royal Instructions, but hitherto it had been laxly applied, and prosecution for offenders required the consent of the Council. Stung by the virulence of the pamphleteers, Shute began to take action. Some prosecutions were set on foot, but failing to obtain satisfaction, Shute pressed the Assembly to pass a law forbidding any book or paper to be printed without the Governor's licence. The Assembly, however, stood firm in defence of the liberty of the Press. They noticed that no steps had been taken to punish the "inventor or publisher" of a pamphlet which they described as a libel upon themselves. This, an answer to Cooke's "Vindication" of their own transactions, was entitled "News from Robinson Crusoe's Island." Not unnaturally the Assembly inferred that if they gave the Executive further powers to enforce control of the Press, it would be used in a one-sided fashion (514, 514 i, 579, 579 i, ii, 655).
In June, 1721, the House of Representatives drew up a memorial in which they defended their actions and enumerated their grievances against the Governor. They published it without his knowledge. Shute's reply upon all these matters, as well as Cooke's campaign against the Crown woods, is given (579). He dissolved the Assembly in July, after they had taken upon them to adjourn themselves for nearly a week. The new Assembly met in August, and was moved from Boston to Cambridge on account of an epidemic of small-pox, after disputing the Governor's right to prorogue it from place to place. On all these points the Assembly under the leadership of Cooke was steadily pursuing its campaign for obtaining control of the Executive and encroaching upon the prerogatives of the Crown. Shute, on the other hand, showed little capacity for managing the Assembly or influencing opinion, whether by argument or other means of persuasion. He was content for the most part with representing his powerlessness to the authorities at home, and asking for support and decisions upon the matters in dispute.
The war with the Abenaki Indians, which was now imminent, gave the Assembly a further opportunity of asserting control both over expenditure and over the militia (Mass. Acts and Resolutions II. 219 ff). For a series of outrages by the Indians on the Eastern frontier, encouraged by the government of Canada and the French missionaries La Chasse and Sebastian Râle, obliged Shute to send troops to defend the Eastern settlements (261, 319, 514, 655, 743). The Assembly seized the occasion to vote supplies by way of resolves, and to ear-mark the sums voted for particular purposes. A clause was added providing that they should be used for no other ends. (Nov. 1721).
On the dispute between the Provincial and Admiralty Courts, which had been submitted in the preceding year, Mr. West gave his opinion strongly in favour of the Provincial Courts, so far as the right to grant prohibitions was concerned. But if, under cover of legal procedure, an attempt was being made to throttle the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Courts in New England, he suggested that their power should be more strictly defined by an Act of Parliament. The Council of Trade reported to the Lords Justices that they agreed with his opinion that the condemnation of pirate goods and goods piratically taken must be tried, not by the Admiralty Courts as such, but by virtue of the Commissions granted for trying pirates. But as to encroachments upon the powers of the Admiralty Courts by the Common Law Courts in the Plantations, redress could be obtained by appeal to the Privy Council (117, 135, 136, 153, 153 i, 699 i–iv).
A brisk trade with the French at Cape Breton was carried on by the growing New England fishing fleet. Governor Shute repeatedly urged the Assembly to pass measures to stop this clandestine traffic, but without avail. A bill was passed by the Council, but was thrown out by the Assembly on the grounds that it was the business of the Customs House officers (445).
An Act of 1718 for regulating the culling of fish was repealed upon the petition of merchants, who represented that the restrictions imposed by it were pernicious in their effects and harmful to trade (461, 471, 476).
Enquiries prompted by the ever-present fear lest planters should turn to manufacturing, elicited some interesting replies. Robert Armstrong, the New Hampshire Collector, reported that large flocks of sheep were being raised in the New England Governments, and that unless the power of the Admiralty Courts to condemn wool transported from one Colony to another were upheld, the act prohibiting such transportation would become a dead letter. These Colonies were, in fact, beginning to emerge from the purely agricultural into the industrial and commercial stage of development. Armstrong, recognising that New England was both able and determined to produce its own manufactures, deduced that "in a few years they will sett up for themselves independent from England" (153, 699 iii). Jekyll, a Boston Collector, noted the same "great love of independency," and reported that recent Irish immigrants (mainly Presbyterians from Ulster), were developing a linen industry. But though homespun woollens and linens were worn by the poor, tradesmen and mechanics were inclined to ape the richer merchants and to wear only clothing manufactured in Europe (190, 200, 699 iv.)
Boundary disputes remained acute. The Rhode Islanders sent a map to the Board of Trade, defining their boundaries with Massachusetts and Connecticut, surveyed according to their Charter. Complaining of encroachments made by both their neighbours, they laid their case before the King in Council. Connecticut likewise submitted a map, and made similar complaints against Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York. But the Narraganset country was the chief bone of contention (109, 229). New Hampshire, again, furnished its Agent with a map, and asked the Board of Trade for a settlement of the boundary with Massachusetts Bay (333), which disturbances along the border rendered increasingly urgent. Wentworth, the Lieutenant Governor of New Hampshire, described the latter as "our unkind neighbour," and complained of the taxation of their coasting vessels and merchandise by that province. (fn. 3) He, too, says that "they are and desire to be strangers to all kingly power," in contrast to the loyal colony of New Hampshire, and instances their attitude towards the King's Officers and the Crown woods (333). In both Colonies, however, the reservation of trees suitable for masts for the Royal Navy was being combated and ignored. If in Massachusetts Cooke and his followers denied the King's rights to the woods, in New Hampshire the lumbermen in practice disregarded it. There was nothing to prevent the sawmills being fed with young trees under the size reserved by Act of Parliament, and the larger were being ruthlessly cut up into logs, partly as the result of Cooke's campaign, and partly under cover of the device by which townships were created and extended so as to bring them within the exception granted by that act (112, 352 ii, 694).
Mr. Bridger, therefore, proposed a new Act for the Preservation of the Woods (39, 39 i–iii, 57). Shute supported this proposal, and added the suggestion that the new Act should contain a clause to prohibit the exportation of timber to Spain (319). Bridger made some seizures of trees cut without licence from him, but lost his case through inability to prove that they grew in unappropriated land. The whole country-side, in fact, was leagued against the reservation of the Crown Woods. So long as the "owner's probandi," as Bridger put it, lay with the Crown, no satisfactory conviction would ever be obtained (57, 82, 118, 118 i–iii, 127, 127 i, 179 i, 352 ii). The Governor of New England, and the Lieut. Governor of New Hampshire might do their best to prohibit wastage of the woods (82, 118, 159 i, 352 i), but so long as there were so many loop-holes in the Act, and Bridger's successor, Charles Burniston, remained snugly at home, there was little prospect of preserving mast trees for the Royal Navy or preventing them from being shipped abroad for the benefit of the King's enemies (82, 159 i, 319, 333, 656, 694). A proposal that the Governor of New England should be appointed Controller of the Woods was discountenanced by the Board of Trade, in spite of the favour with which it had been received at Court (201, 201 i). Correspondence on the subject was ordered to be laid before the House of Commons (54, 54 i).
In New Hampshire, the Mason-Allen claim might be dead, but it was not buried. In an age of "bubble" schemes, it is not surprising to find that a new "bubble" was now being promoted by speculators. They proposed to purchase James Mason's grant for £15,000, from the widow of the Allen to whom it had passed, and to sell it in 2,500 shares at £30 a piece. Henry Newman, the Agent for New Hampshire, entered a warning against the scheme (273).
The prospect of a war with the Eastern Indians and the danger to be apprehended from pirates on the coast prompted New Hampshire to look to its stores of war. Since the Royal Instruction of 1717 forbidding the collection of powder duties from British ships, New Hampshire had suspended the act imposing a duty of a pound of gunpowder per ton upon trading vessels of every description, although it had been confirmed by the Crown in 1706. The Province was therefore left without any supplies of ammunition. Newman was instructed to apply "to the proper Board in order to obtain the Royal bounty therein." Meeting with no success at the Board of Ordnance, he presented a petition to the Board of Trade for either a free grant of ammunition stores or permission for his Government to revise the Powder Act. On hearing that the Governor's Instruction of 1717 had only been intended to apply to future acts, he requested the Board to explain the matter to the Governor, in order that he might put the Powder Act into execution (438, 447 i, 585.) Popple, thereupon wrote to Governor Shute asking why the act had been suspended and informing him that it was considered to be in force. (618).
Governor Shute had been delayed in visiting the Province by the longest and severest winter on record. But after he had been there he sent replies to the Board of Trade's Queries in June, 1720 (93, 94, 94 ii). Further information was supplied by the Agents in October and the following April as to the produce, trade, condition and resources of the Province, which furnished the Board of Trade with material for their general report (656).
Armstrong, the Collector, reported that the New Hampshire colonists were mainly concerned with lumber or naval stores, and were paying little attention to the manufacture of woollens. But since the recent arrival of 500 families of Irish immigrants, they were beginning to manufacture linen cloth (153, 699 iii). There was a demand for hemp seed, and he recommended the despatch of 100 bushels of it, in order to employ them on the production of hemp fit for the Royal Navy, and divert them from engaging in woollen manufactures (466). This policy was supported by Governor Shute and Bridger, and the Board of Trade in their general report (94 ii, 118, 656).
In April 1720, William Burnet, son of the famous Bishop of Salisbury, was appointed to succeed Hunter as Governor of New York and New Jersey (46). It would appear from a subsequent memorial (C.O. 5, 752. f. 272) that he had been Controller of the Customs, but had been involved in the South Sea Bubble crash. In order to enable him to recover from his debts, "His Majesty was graciously pleased to authorise an exchange of employments" between him and Governor Hunter. A sound Whig, Burnet set himself to continue the policy pursued so successfully by his clever and diplomatic predecessor. But though well intentioned and capable, events were to prove that he was wanting in the tact and skill in managing men which distinguished Hunter. Burnet's Instructions were practically a repetition of those of the former Governor (90 i–iii, 106).
In New Jersey Burnet was quickly involved in conflict with the Assembly. He decided to continue Hunter's Assembly. The House, holding that a new Assembly must be summoned on the arrival of a new governor, at first refused to meet (533). When Burnet had persuaded them to do so, he found himself involved in a series of disputes with them concerning the granting of a revenue, the currency, the qualifications of members, the defence of the frontier, and the right of the Council to amend money bills. After "four months patience" and repeated adjournments of the House, he was driven to dissolve them in May 1721 (533, 595, 595 i, N.J. Archives XIV). Burnet attributed the chief cause of the Assembly's ill-humour to George Willocks. This "professed Jacobite" was acting in the interests of a group of Proprietors who aimed at securing control of East Jersey. In order to make sure of a more amenable Assembly at the coming election, Burnet proposed the repeal of two acts by which the Secretary's fees had been reduced. Such action would be interpreted as a check to the Assembly in their attempts to starve all officers not appointed by themselves. He also proposed that two Representatives should be assigned to the new County of Huntingdon in West Jersey, which could be trusted to elect "very loyal men," in place of the two members who had been allotted to the little fishing village of Salem, and who had proved to be "the ringleaders in the opposition to the Government." (67, 407, 415, 595).
Copper ore from a newly-discovered mine was being shipped to Holland. The Council of Trade, on being informed of it, suggested that the export of are from the Plantations should be prohibited by Act of Parliament (520 i, 537).
In New York Burnet found himself more at ease. "We agree very well," he wrote of the Assembly in August 1721, "and this Province is as remarkably quiet and happy and affectionate to me as the other one is the reverse" (595). Before Burnet sailed, Hunter had represented the necessity of his obtaining a settlement of the revenue, the act for which would shortly expire, and that the new act should contain a provision for the necessary expenses of the Council and Assembly, and so put an end to the payment of the Assembly by a Country Tax (80). Burnet on his arrival found that, in Hunter's absence and under Schuyler's Presidency, the Opposition party had been gaining headway. They had been looking forward to an election on the assumption that a new Assembly must be called after a change of Governors. This theory was discountenanced by the Chief Justice and Attorney General, and Burnet adduced precedents to disprove it. He assured the Assembly that he intended to follow in the footsteps of his "incomparable predecessor," in whose "great and good measures" they had taken part. The Assembly being devoted to the late Governor, who was now acting as Agent for New York, and anxious to be continued, readily provided for the deficiencies which had accrued, and passed an act continuing the revenue for five years, without the article favouring vessels belonging to the Colony, which had figured in the act passed in Hunter's time.
Burnet's difficulty lay with the Council. The President and six members of it were anxious for an election which, they thought, would give them control of the Assembly. Frustrated in their design to hold one in Hunter's absence, they now adopted the view held by the New Jersey Assembly, and argued that a new Assembly must be chosen after a change of administration. Burnet answered them with precedents and arguments. Having forced them to admit doubts on the point, he challenged them to consider whether scruples of which they did not pretend to be certain could justify their delaying for a year or more the grant of supplies, the repair of the fortifications and immediate measures for counteracting the French influence with the Indians. He further hinted at charges that could be brought against Schuyler and Philipse for irregularities in the granting of lands. Thereupon Schuyler and four others asked leave to retire into the country, and Burnet asked that Adolphus Philipse and Peter Schuyler, whom he represented as his tool, should be dismissed from the Council and replaced by Cadwallader Colden and James Alexander (239, 264 i–v, 303, 325.)
The Council of Trade confirmed Burnet in his continuance of the Assemblies, which they found to be in conformity with the practice in Ireland (341, 533). They also obtained the dismissal of Schuyler and Philipse and the appointment of those whom Burnet had recommended (Feb. 10, 1721, 378, 379.) Professor Osgood (American Colonies in the XVIIIth century, p. 47) gives the impression that this was not done until March in the following year. But if the Editor occasionally presumes to correct a detail of this sort, he hopes that it will not be interpreted as an attempt to detract from that accurate and invaluable work, to which he is profoundly indebted.
Burnet also obtained from the Assembly two acts which embodied the Indian policy, to which he gave great attention. The advance of the French along the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley, accompanied by their successful intrigues with the Senecas and Indians in Nova Scotia, rendered counter measures imperative (48, 144, 144 i, 206, 230, 303, 533, 534).
By an act laying a duty of 2 per cent. on European goods imported, Burnet hoped to obtain funds for repairing existing fortifications and building new forts along the frontiers. It was provided with a suspensory clause, in case exception should be taken to even so small a duty upon British trade. On learning that objection was being made to it by the merchants in London, Burnet returned to his defence of the act in November 1721 (303, 711). The new forts to be built at Niagara and Onondaga would be an answer to the French, who had erected a blockhouse near the Falls, and were thus encroaching upon territory which the Senecas had granted to the British Crown. Burnet intended to persuade the Indians to demolish this French blockhouse, and to place a company of soldiers as garrison for his fort at Niagara. His objects were to complete a chain of forts guarding communications from Albany to Niagara, and to encourage a settlement of soldiers and Palatines there and above the Falls, and thus to open up trade with the Indians and all the Great Lakes (48, 144, 144 i, 206, 230, 239, 263, 264 i, 303, 323, 533, 534).
For garrisoning his projected forts, Burnet made a request for two additional Independent Companies and further supplies of stores of war (734). When the Board of Ordnance explained to the Lords Justices that £10,000 worth of stores had been supplied to the Province and never been repaid, whilst Parliament refused to make any provision for such services, both Burnet and Hunter represented the great necessity of supplying them. It was useless to expect the Assembly to contribute towards the efficiency of a force of which they were jealous as adding to the strength of the Government (134, 140).
Another act, passed by the Assembly, was aimed at French influence with the Five Nations and Far Indians. It prohibited trading with the French in goods intended for the Indians. Hitherto such goods had been sold to the French through Albany, and were then distributed by them to the Indians, from Montreal. They thus gained both profit and influence from an Indian trade, which this act sought to divert to Albany and New York (206, 230, 303, 323).
Burnet derived his knowledge on this subject from the capable Secretary for Indian Affairs, Robert Livingston, who was also Speaker of the Assembly, As a reward for his services, the Governor successfully supported his application that his son should be appointed to succeed him (303, 303 i–v, 525, 556). He and the Mayor and Magistrates of Albany had represented to President Schuyler that the state of affairs was critical, and indicated their views as to the policy which ought to be pursued. The danger of an attack by the Five Nations upon the Southern Settlements could not be ignored. Livingston urged that they should be handled gently, and induced, if possible, to renew the Covenant Chain with Virginia, and bring the Indians in allegiance with them to peace (101, 188, 206, 230). After consultation with Hunter, the Council of Trade advised Burnet and Spotswood in the same sense. They recommended the Lieut. Governor of Virginia to waive his objection to meeting the Five Nations at Albany instead of their attending him at Williamsburgh, and to obtain the essential, the bringing of the Indians of his Government into a firm and lasting peace with the Five Nations, including the Tuscaroras. For Spotswood had been roused by their hostilities on the Virginian frontiers, and their refusal to meet him in conference except at Albany, to write a furious letter to Schuyler, and to prepare to use his militia against the Five Nations (147) (fn. 4). Before Burnet's arrival, President Schuyler had held a conference with the Five Nations (101, 188, 263), but it was sparsely attended (188, 263). However, he renewed the Covenant with them in the name of all the Colonies, including Virginia (188, 263). Two Commissioners had just previously been sent from Albany to warn the Senecas against permitting the French design of building a blockhouse at Niagara (101). Afterwards they sent their interpreter with three Sachems to Niagara to protest against the French encroachments (May 1720). There they found the trading house built by Joncaire. The French trader in possession declared that the young Seneca warriors had given permission for it to be erected. This the Sachems stoutly denied, and subsequently asked the British to destroy it (144, 144 i). It was after this that Livingston and the magistrates of Albany made the representation (August and September) to the President and Council at New York referred to above, urging the building of forts, in order to support British rights and prestige against the encroachments of the French, and to restore the waning confidence of the Five Nations (206, 230). Before attempting to confer with the latter, Burnet awaited the arrival of presents for the Indians and stores of war from England, for which he repeatedly applied. But though the Council of Trade repeatedly recommended their despatch, he was at length obliged to go without them (303, 320, 596, 692). In the meantime he had written to the Governor of Canada (M. de Vaudreuil), protesting against his intrigues with the Senecas, as being contrary to the Treaty of Utrecht, and his occupation of Niagara before the boundaries had been settled by Commissioners (533, 534, 692). Vaudreuil replied with diplomatic denials and a general claim to previous possession. This letter, which threw over his agents, Joncaire and De Longueil, Burnet produced with effect when he met the Five Nations in conference at Albany on Sept. 1st, 1721 (692). The result of the Conference and his Speech to the Indians was satisfactory. The Indians agreed that they had been misled by the French. A forward policy was begun for capturing the trade with the Far Indians. Whilst the acts referred to above deflected trade from Canada to Albany, Burnet applied a grant of £500 made by the Assembly to establishing a trading post "at Tirandaquet" (Irondequoit) on Lake Ontario in co-operation with the Senecas and under the command of Peter Schuyler's son. He was instructed to purchase land above the Falls from the Indians (692, 692 i, ii). As to Virginia, Burnet placed before the Sachems Spotswood's repeated demands that the Five Nations and the Indians of Virginia should confine themselves to their respective sides of the Potomac and mountains forming the western boundaries of Virginia. The Sachems promised to do their best to secure the observance of this agreement.
Burnet withheld his assent to an act for facilitating the partition of lands in joint tenancy, upon the report of the Surveyor General that it would prove prejudicial to the King's rights and Quit-rents. In a further report Cadwallader Colden reviewed the many extravagant grants which had been made in former times, and which might come within the scope of this act. It throws light upon the frauds practised in connection with them upon the Indians and the Crown alike. He calculated that if eight only of the patents were to pay half a crown per hundred acres, the quit-rents accruing would amount to £4176 instead of £17 17s. 6d. actually being paid. He drew the moral that a full survey of the Province should be made, and that the quit-rents which could be raised, if that were done, would provide a sufficient revenue for the support of the Government, without doing injustice or any hardship to anybody, "but a great deal of justice to the King." This method of raising a revenue was destined to be often mooted even to Shelboure's days, but never to be put into action (43, 729, 729 i–iii).
In June 1720, Horace Walpole, as Auditor General of the Plantations, made complaint that the Assembly of New York refused to allow his Deputy, George Clarke, to audit the Treasurer's accounts. He represented that this was done in order to retain control of the money granted by them for the use of the Government, without rendering any account of it to His Majesty (129). Soon after Lord Carteret took office, he sent instructions to Burnet to see to it that in accordance with an order made by the Treasury August 17th, 1720, no innovation should be permitted in the management of the Revenue, and that the Auditor and his Deputy should be allowed to collect his ancient and usual fees. He was to use his utmost applica tion and address in setting this matter right, for "the dependency of the Colony upon Great Britain depends in great measure upon your executing H.M. legal authority upon this occasion" (492). In a lengthy address to the Governor, the Assembly replied to the letter from the Treasury. They regarded it as necessary that they should have a Treasurer of their own in order to prevent the squandering of public money, which had prevailed in former administrations. One such extravagance had been the allowing a fee to the Auditor General of 5 p.c. upon the whole of the revenue. This, they argued, was not permitted by his commission, and was indeed regarded by the Auditor General himself as excessive. It was to avoid loading the country with the crushing weight of that 5 p.c., that the Treasurer refused to account with the Deputy Auditor. But as the whole amount of the salary at stake was not more than £200, their plea that it would ruin the trade and inhabitants of the Province, and render them unable to pay the salaries of the officers of the Governement, is hardly convincing. The motive was evidently to obtain control of the public purse, and to avoid paying officers appointed by the Crown, or such persons as were deemed fit objects for the Royal bounty (534).
The Act of 1717 for paying several debts was confirmed, in consideration of the fact that the bills of credit authorised by it had already passed into circulation. But the occasion was taken for issuing orders to Governors as to the passing of such acts noted in § 1 (74). The paper currency of New York being based upon a secure and adequate sinking fund punctually applied had proved entirely beneficial, and unlike that of Massachusetts, had never been at a discount. It was used as an example by Sir Henry Mackworth in support of his proposal for a similiar issue in Great Britain. Sir Henry stated that it was the outcome of a scheme advanced by himself at a Parliamentary Committee of Ways and Means about the year 1703 (343). The incident affords an interesting example of the action and reaction of ideas between the Colonies and the Mother Country.
The Palatine Refugees, who had quitted the Hudson and settled in the Schoharie Valley on the strength of a grant of lands by the Mohawk Indians, had done so without Governor Hunter's permission. The lands in question had formed part of the "extravagant grants" made in Governor Fletcher's time, and since those grants had been annulled and broken up, had been assigned to a group of Albany land speculators. The Palatines clung to their right of settlement obtained from the Indians. The new grantees insisted that they should become their tenants. Governor Hunter ordered them to accept that position, and when they refused, prohibited further cultivation of the land. In 1718 they determined to appeal to the Crown. Johan Conrad Weiser, who had been their leader in active resistance to the demands of the grantees, and Johan Wilhelm Schef (Schäff) started on a secret mission to England. After being captured by pirates, they reached London penniless. There they were detained in a Debtors' Prison, until funds for their redemption arrived from Schoharie. They then presented a petition for a grant of lands from the Crown. Their case was subjected to the searching and hostile criticism of Governor Hunter, who was now in England (155 i, 162–164, 282). When offered a choice of lands elsewhere, Weiser declared that they elected to remove to Schattery (Chettery or Schattera). But Schäff held out for Schoharie (268, 272), asking for a grant of lands there for those who had settled at the place, and of lands adjoining it for 500 families then scattered about New York (263, 268, 272, 282). The case was referred to Governor Burnet, and the Palatines were recommended to conform themselves to the Governor's orders (305, 398, 399). On his visit to Albany he arranged that those who wished to remain at Schoharie should take leases from the new proprietors, whilst others were granted permission to purchase lands from the Mohawks and to settle on the Mohawk River, above Fort Hunter, a solution of their difficulty which also extended and held the frontier of New York (692).
Hunter returned answers to the Queries relating to New York, (187 i, ii) and the Board of Trade, in their General Report (656) carefully considered the condition of the Province and its problems in relation to the Six Nations of Indians and the French (v. § i).
The petition of Colonel Montgomerie concerning a settlement of salary (No. 564), is an undated copy of that of Lord Belhaven (v. § 3). It is bound up, in the contemporary binding, with that document, but should of course be attributed to the date of Montgomerie's appointment in 1728.
The affairs of Nova Scotia continued to be treated with a lamentable indecision. This may have been partly due to a move by the South Sea Company which, at the beginning of 1721, petitioned for a grant both of Nova Scotia and of the late French part of St. Kitts (350 i). Their petition roused other claimants and petitioners for grants of lands, Colonel Vetch on behalf of those who had taken part in the expedition against Port Royal, the Earl of Sutherland and Sir Alexander Cairnes (353–356, 358, 360, 362). The Council of Trade, however, did not neglect to lay before the Lords Justices the "very ill state of this Colony," as shown in Governor Philipps' reports. They recommended that a survey of the country should be completed forthwith, in order that the Governor might then be at liberty to make grants for settlement, that three more companies of his regiment should be removed from Placentia to Annapolis Royal, and that the Court of France should be invited to put a stop to encroachments upon the fishery at Canso by French ships from Cape Breton (168). Whilst this representation was being made, in the summer of 1720, Philipps wrote from Annapolis Royal that the French inhabitants were in a state of indecision. They would, he believed, prefer to take the oath of allegiance to His Majesty and remain in Nova Scotia in enjoyment of their possessions. But their priests and the French Governors of Canada and Cape Breton (with which latter place they carried on a considerable clandestine trade) were doing their utmost to induce them to withdraw from Nova Scotia. In the absence of any vigorous demonstration of enterprise and power on the part of the British, French influence remained strong over both the inhabitants and the Indians (177, 180 i, 241, 261, 298, 298 xx). He enclosed a letter from the Governor of Cape Breton, in which M. de Brouillan attributed the failure of the inhabitants to leave the country within the period defined by the treaty to their lack of transport and to obstacles placed in their way by the late Governor Nicholson. Justice, he declared, demanded an extension of the time fixed, within which they must either take the oath of allegiance, or withdraw. (177 i). He protested against the Proclamation which Philipps had issued immediately upon his arrival in April, granting them an extension of four months for making a decision, in accordance with his Instructions (180 i, ii, xiii). The unfavourable reception of this Proclamation, and the activity of the French Missionaries, who were calculating on the fall of the Regent, are indicated in 180 i–xvii. Philipps ordered the River settlers to stop making a road through the woods to Minis (Les Mines) (180 i–iv). One of the reasons advanced for their refusal to take the oath of allegiance was that the Indians would cut their throats if they did (177, 180 i, v.)
Confronted by this opposition, and having neither orders nor power to drive out the non-juring French inhabitants, and aware that the Indians were entirely under the influence of the French, Philipps, with the advice and consent of his newly appointed Council, prolonged the time fixed for evacuation, and referred to the Home Government for instructions how to proceed (180 i, vi). His own suggestions were that a modified form of the oath of allegiance should be devised for the French inhabitants, and that some Mohawks should be brought in to overawe the Indians, whilst he asked for permission to arm a sloop, for an increase of the garrison, and prompt settlement of the Eastern Coast (177, 180 i, 241, 241 xvii, xviii).
On receiving this letter, the Council of Trade submitted to Mr. Secretary Craggs Philipps' request for a sloop and reinforcements (322). To Governor Philipps, the Board wrote that since the French inhabitants seemed unlikely ever to make good British subjects, they were of opinion they had better be removed from the Province, so soon as the reinforcements now proposed should have arrived. But he was not to take action without positive orders for their removal. In the meantime he was to "pursue the same prudent and cautious conduct towards them," and to let them know that, if they were permitted to remain, they would certainly be allowed the free exercise of their religion (342).
Philipps' expectation of hostile co-operation between the French and Indians was quickly realised. Whilst the assignment of the French ships seized at Canso in 1719 was being reconsidered (219, 226, 253), a combined force of French and Indians from Cape Breton made reprisal by attacking the English fishery there, seizing several ships and much plunder. The fishermen complained to the Governor of Cape Breton, who protested that he had no control over the Indians, though the Indians declared that they were acting under his orders (241, 241 i–v, 261, 261 xviii, 298, 298 iv, vi). Thomas Richards, however, a master of a ship riding at Canso, went in pursuit with a couple of fishing vessels, and recaptured six of the shallops with some of the plunder, and 15 French prisoners. Meanwhile, application for help had been made to Governor Philipps, who sent some soldiers with Major Armstrong from Annapolis Royal, and a letter to M. de Brouillan demanding restitution (241, 241 viii, ix).
Flushed with their success at Canso, some of the Indians, on their return to Les Mines, plundered there a New England sloop, claiming the country for themselves, obviously at the instigation of the Jesuit priest there. Philipps, aware that his authority extended no further than cannot shot from the Fort at Annapolis, was obliged to content himself with writing a letter to the French inhabitants, asking why they had made no attempt to restrain the Indians (241, 241 xii–xv).
In view of the hostile attitude of the French and Indians, the Governor, Council and Officers of the garrison asked for immediate reinforcements and fortification of the Colony (241 xvii, xviii, xx, 298). Meanwhile the fishermen and settlers at Canso combined to build some lodgings for the company Philipps had sent to secure the place (298, 298 iii, v, 614, 676). On hearing of the attack upon Canso from Mr. Cumings, the Council of Trade hastened to recommend that compensation for the French ships seized by Capt. Smart, which they had just suggested (253), should be withheld until redress was made for this outrage (261, 266). They also recommended that reinforcements should be sent and forts erected on the coast to protect the Fishery (266, 322, 342). Capt. Young, H.M.S. Rose, had also suggested a fort on Canso Island, and a guard-ship. He emphasised the value of the Canso fishery. When he had protested to the Governor of Cape Breton against the encroachment by the French there, M. de Brouillan had admitted that it was contrary to the Treaty, and promised to put a stop to it (269).
Capt. Young brought over a chart of Canso (467, 481). It was badly needed (219, 223, 223 i, ii, 231, 232 ii, 238). For the battle of the islands was being waged in Paris by the Commissaries for settling the boundaries under the Treaty of Utrecht. In the absence of correct charts, the diplomatists argued wildly, The British claimed the sole right to the fishing off Cape Canso, including (since they did not quite know where they were) the Islands of Canso. They founded their title to the Fishery on the Treaty of Neutrality as well as that of Utrecht. The former restrained the French from fishing anywhere on British coasts in America, and the latter from fishing on the coast of Nova Scotia within thirty leagues, stretching from the Island of Sable to the S.W. The British title to the Islands of Canso was based on the clause in the Treaty of Utrecht which conceded to Great Britain Nova Scotia and all islands belonging to it, except Cape Breton and the islands lying in the mouth of the River of St. Lawrence and in the gulph of the same name. The islands of Canso, it was contended, did not lie in the mouth of the River, nor in the gulf, but closely adjacent to the coast of Nova Scotia, and almost joining the Cape of Canso. They were therefore not excepted from the general cession of Nova Scotia and all islands belonging to it. At what the British Ambassador describes as "a tumulturary conference" in Sept. 1720, the French Commissaries laid claim to the Canso Islands. They produced charts which located the islands near the middle of the mouth of the Gut of Canso. Drawing a line from Sable Island (placed in these charts where it suitted them best), to the South West of Cape Canso, they deduced a claim not only to the fishery about the Cape, but also to part of the Cape itself, which, they insinuated, had been no part of the French province of Accadie, ceded by the Treaty. When forced to abandon this position, they contended that since all the islands in the mouths of the Gulf of St. Laurence, together with Cape Breton, were reserved to them by the Treaty, the Islands of Canso were included in this exception. They supported this contention by quoting the French version of the Treaty, which differed, or could be construed to differ, from the Latin version to which the British Commissaries adhered. The difference lay between the exception in favour of the French of Cape Breton and the other islands "lying in the mouth of the River St. Laurence and in the Gulf of the same name" (according to the Latin), and "in the mouth and in the gulf of St. Laurence" (according to the French). Possibly, as Mr. Pulteney suggested, the words "du fleuve" had somehow been omitted after "l'embouchure" in the French version. From these premises, and by a large interpretation of the "mouth of the Gulf," the French Commissaries maintained their right to the Islands of Canso as being within it. The British Representatives objected to opening the jaws of the Gulf so wide. After a heated discussion, Du Bois consented to submit a report of the Conference to the Regent for his immediate decision, while Sir Robert Sutton insisted that any further objections the French might have to offer should be made in the form of an answer to the Memorial he had put in (219, 223, i, ii, 231). The French showed no sign of yielding. The Regent agreed to prohibit French subjects from fishing off the coast of Nova Scotia within the limits prescribed by the Treaty. But the Islands of Canso he insisted were reserved to France as being "situated in the mouth and in the gulf of St. Laurence," and as being "no part of Nova Scotia, from which they are separated by a broad and deep arm of the sea, which is the same as that which separates the Peninsula, where Nova Scotia is, from the Island of Cape Breton" (232 ii). Pulteney himself was left guessing as to whether the islands in question were a parcel of rocks adjoining the Cape, or separated from it by a large branch of the sea, as the French maintained (223 i, 231, 238).
The reference in Du Bois's memorial to the "Peninsula, where Nova Scotia is" (232 ii), is significant. The French Commissaries intended, when they came to treat of the boundaries of Nova Scotia, to limit them "to that part only which makes it a peninsula" (223 i). The French theory is illustrated by D'Anville's map, published under the patronage of the Duke of Orleans, in which the boundary of Nova Scotia is defined by a line drawn from Lake Ontario to the bottom of the Bay of Fundy.
Pulteney narrates an interesting reminiscence of the negotiations for the Treaty of Utrecht It had been proposed to divide Cape Breton between the French and British. When the French insisted upon the whole, Bolingbroke remarked that it could only be with a view to disturbing our settlements of Nova Scotia. "What," Pulteney comments, "are we to judge of their insisting on islands which lye much nearer than Cape Breton to Nova Scotia, and even claiming part of Nova Scotia?" (223 i). As it was reported that the French were settling on St. John's Island, facing Chignecto, Lord Townshend enquired of the Council of Trade how that matter stood (241, 241 xvii, xviii, 389, 389 i). The Board had to admit that as the Island lies in the Gulf of St. Laurence, the French title was probably good. But in view of the attitude of obstruction and encroachment taken up by them, they thought it might be advisable to claim it under the 12th Article of the Treaty, on the grounds that it lay so close to the shores that it might be said to belong to Nova Scotia (405).
The Council of Trade had received reports upon the Province in reply to their Queries from Major Mascarene and Colonel Vetch (203, 241 xx) In view of the French claims, they stated in their General Representation what they took to be the correct boundaries (158, 177, 656), and to counter French encroachments on the fishery, recommended that the coast and islands should be provisioned and fortified. The four regiments they proposed to be sent there would help to supply the place of the French inhabitants. These, they advised, should be ordered to quit the Province; but as a matter of grace be allowed to take their moveable property with them (656). They recommended the immediate despatch of the Surveyor of H.M. Woods to mark out 200,000 acres of forest lands to be reserved for the Navy, in order that the Governor might be enabled to proceed with the granting of lands to settlers as he continued to urge (656, 676).
The Committee of the Privy Council reported upon the claims and petitions relating to the lands between Nova Scotia and Maine. They proposed that the tract between the River Kennebec and St. Croix should be erected into a separate Government; that the lands between the Kennebec and Penobscot should continue to be enjoyed by the present possessors, whilst any part not yet granted should be at the disposal of Massachusetts to grant at a stated quit rent, on condition that that Colony renounced all claim to lands north of Penobscot, and any right of government in the lands east of the Kennebec. The right of the Crown to the lands from the north of the Penobscot to the St. Croix was declared to be established (324).
Another claim was decided in favour of the Crown. The Attorney and Solicitor General gave their opinion that no part of the Delaware River or the islands lying therein were comprised in the charters either of Pennsylvania or New Jersey, but that the right to them remained in the Crown (552, 602). The Council of Trade thereupon recommended Capt. Gookin's petition for a grant of the islands (646).
Colonel Hart, the late Governor of Maryland, returned answers as to the conditions, immigration, and resources of the Colony (309). The Board of Trade in their General Report recommended the completion of the purchase of the Government from the Proprietor, and that half of the rents and profits arising from the Three Lower Counties, as belonging to the Crown, should be accounted as part payment (306, 316, 566). In noting the little care taken by the Quaker Province for its defence, the Board admitted that fair and just dealings with the Indians had so far rendered it unnecessary (656).
At the beginning of 1720, Spotswood was still at feud with the Blair-Ludwell-Byrd faction in the Council of Virginia. Blair was active in rousing opposition to the ruling on the right of the Crown to collation to benefices, and Ludwell still objected to the Governor's nomination of judges for the Courts of Oyer and Terminer (12, 147). At the end of April, however, a reconciliation was suddenly effected, and Spotswood invited the Board of Trade to disregard his former complaints against the Councillors (62, 63). A lively, if partisan, account of Spotswood's motives in this affair is given by one of his critics (679). So, too, with the Assembly. Summoned to meet after an interval of two years, and composed largely of the same representatives as before, it nevertheless responded to Spotswood's advances by a flattering address (Nov. 1720). The Governor, who had previously been denounced as an oppressor of H.M. subjects and subvertor of the Constitution, was now found to be great and good, just and wise (359, 359 iii, 396, 679). This Address was the Assembly's reply to Spotswood's opening speech, in which he appealed for moderation and concord, and pointed to his own commitments in the Colony as sufficient proof of his desire for its welfare. Like Governor Nicholson, he insisted that the prosperity of the Plantations went hand in hand with the interest of Great Britain. "I look," he said, "upon Virginia as a rib taken from Great Britain's side, and believe that while they both proceed as living under the marriage compact, this Eve might thrive so long as her Adam flourishes, and whatever serpent shall tempt her to go astray . . . . will but quicken her husband to rule more strictly over her." The most important result of the new understanding between Governor, Council, and Assembly was the passing of several measures for which Spotswood had long been contending. Chief among these was the Act for erecting the new counties of Brunswick and Spotsylvania. In his opening speech Spotswood reminded the Assembly of the need of measures for defence, the division of over-large counties and parishes, and the extension of settlements up to the Great Mountains. Acts were accordingly passed for dividing counties and parishes (359 iii, 396), and by the passing of the act for erecting the two new counties of Spotsylvania and Brunswick, the Council and Assembly proclaimed their conversion to Spotswood's policy of westward expansion, in order to safeguard the frontier against the advance of the French in the valley of the Mississippi. The object of this act was to secure the passes through the Blue Ridge. The northern pass at the head of the Rappahannock had been explored by Spotswood, but the Southern pass, at the head of the Roanoke River, was only known by hearsay from Indians (359). To encourage the settlement of these new counties, settlers were exempted from taxation for ten years, and the provision of a church, a Court-house, and arms was promised them. The Council and Assembly demonstrated their sense of the urgency of this measure by petitioning the King not only for the remission of quit-rents, etc., there for ten years, but also for the erection of a fort at each of the two passes, to be garrisoned by regular troops. This in a people "who have the greatest jealousy of and aversion to a military power," Spotswood observes, was a proof of their "thorough conviction of the necessity thereof." (359, 359 i., 679). When his address was referred to the Board of Trade (417, 417 i) the Commissioners, who had previously recommended that part of the surplus revenue of the Province should be applied to the extension of settlements to the frontier and the erection of forts (147), now reported strongly in favour of granting each item of the Virginian request.
But if the quit-rents were to be remitted for ten years, they recommended that care should be taken to safeguard the quit-rents of lands already granted, and to restrict new grants of land to 1000 acres to any one person in his own or another name (575). This wise advice, however, did not prevent Spotswood from obtaining possession of an enormous acreage in the frontier counties he was determined to develop (679).
In this he was helped to some extent by a new Act declaring what shall be a sufficient seating etc. (359, 469, 679). Spotswood argued at length in favour of another act for the better discovery of H.M. Quit-rents (359), but Mr. West gave his opinion that it was a manifest encroachement on the rights of the Crown, and would tend to weaken its power of recovering quit-rents overdue (469). Other acts were passed for the improvement of the tobacco trade, and other objects of local interest. It was further resolved to build a lighthouse on Cape Henry with the co-operation of Maryland. But as this would involve a duty on British shipping, Spotswood asked for instructions before passing an act for that purpose (396). To one act of some importance he refused his consent, on grounds which he explained to the Board of Trade. This was an act for regulating the elections of Burgesses, defining their privileges and ascertaining their allowances. In order to avoid disputes on that subject, he asked that the privileges and powers of the House might be defined. He took exception to the Assembly's attempt to appoint an Agent on their own account, and to assert control over the King's officers (396). Two letters from Spotswood, one to the Board of Trade and the other to Mr. Secretary Craggs, which are printed in the Spotswood Letters II (pp. 335–343), are missing from the Colonial Records in London. In the first, Spotswood transmitted answers to the queries of the Board (7th Aug. 1719), and their enquiries as to boundaries and encroachments by foreign powers. He announced the capture of pirates in Captain Knott's vessel, and suggested a Royal Proclamation for encouraging the discovery of piratical effects. In the second, he welcomed the announcement of the accession of Spain to the Quadruple Alliance, gave a list of ships previously captured by Spanish privateers from St. Augustine, and repeated the gist of what he had written to the Council of Trade as to the settlement of his dispute with the Council, and about pirates. The most important part of the former letter is that in which he gives his opinion on the subject of the progress and encroachments of foreign powers on the Continent. In May 1721 he reported that the Spanish privateers were still seizing British ships, regardless of the Cessation of Arms. He sent a flag of truce to St. Augustine to demand restitution, but the Spanish Governor gave him little satisfaction. Spotswood's comment was pointed:—"The traders in these parts lie at the mercy of the Spaniards, for if the having on board their vessels any commodity of the like species with those that are produced in the Spanish Plantations, nay even a pistole or piece of eight, which is the common currency of these Colonys, be (as the Spaniards pretend), sufficient ground for making a prize … each ship trading in America may be seized. …" (513).
The depredations by pirates and the dread of a visit from Roberts, the pirate who had recently made a raid on ships in Newfoundland, occasioned the erection of batteries to defend the mouths of the rivers, whilst the Lt. Governor and Assembly made request for larger men of war to defend their coast (513).
Though the need of coming to an understanding with the Five Nations of Indians was made apparent by their hostilities with the Catawbas and other tribes on the Virginian frontier, and was recommended by the Council of Trade, the Assembly refused to enter into a Treaty with them until they had consented to the preliminaries laid down by them in 1717. Negotiations on the subject are described above (§ 2. New York) (396).
§ III. THE WEST INDIES.
This period opens with an account by Governor Rogers of the measures he had taken to repel an attack by the Spaniards on the Bahamas, and information of their preparation to renew it. Commodore Vernon had sailed from Jamaica with two men of war, but had arrived too late to intercept them (35, 47, 47 i–iv). Rogers had hoped to co-operate with Vernon in a counter attack upon the invaders, and thereby both to teach them a lesson and obtain some means of support for himself and the Colony. For with his bills of exchange unpaid, and no instructions received from home, he was finding the burden of providing for the garrison and defence of his government intolerable. Without an Assembly, he could raise no funds in the islands, He applied for leave to go home, "to settle the affairs of this neglected Colony," and to answer whatever charges were being laid against him (47, 167). He was presently in conflict with Captain Gale, Commander of the guardship Delicia, whom he arrested for mutinous conduct (167, 167 i–vii). Reports of the progress made and likely to be made by the French against the Spaniards in Mexico, stirred in the old sea Captain memories of his voyage in the South Seas. The Indians in the Spanish provinces had assured him that if the English or French would arm and support them, they would rise and free themselves from the slavery of the Spaniards. The time seemed to him ripe for putting such a design into practice and forestalling the French. In November 1720 he paid a visit to South Carolina, hoping to obtain supplies from Governor Nicholson. But Nicholson had not arrived. Presently he heard to his consternation of the sale of the old Bahama Company and the formation of a new Co-partnership. Concerning this transaction and all other matters affecting his Government he had been left entirely in the dark. He heard, too, that his emissary, Lt. Beauchamp, had played him false, and learned of the vast confusion caused by the pricking of the South Sea Bubble. He decided therefore to hasten home in order to justify himself and defend his rights, to plead the cause of the Colony, and to lay before the Secretary of State his plan for a secret expedition against Mexico, a scheme suggested and supported by the highly interesting experience of Drs. Sinclair and Rowan as Physicians to the Viceroy (47, 47 iii, v., 302, 304 i, 326, 327, 327 i, ii, 390).
Meantime an attempt had been made on behalf of Lord Craven to challenge the surrender by the Proprietors of their Patent during his infancy (157, 157 i, 160). The Board of Trade, in their reply, carried the war into the enemy's camp. Even if the surrender had not been made, the Proprietors by their neglect had forfeited their right of government, and it might be proper to consider whether they had not also forfeited their propriety of the soil (161, 161 i–iii). Upon this report, the Lords Justices ordered the Law Officers of the Crown to bring a Scire facias for vacating the Letters Patent and resuming a Scire facias for vacating the Letters Patent and resuming the Bahama Islands to the Crown (170). The Board of Trade was also instructed to report what measures were necessary for their defence (220). The Lessees on being consulted (221), gave an account of their efforts and expenditure to secure the Islands. But, threatened with a combined attack by the pirates who had been expelled, they were obliged to appeal for assistance from the Government in the shape of guns, ammunition, and an Independent Company (224). The Board of Trade recommended the despatch of the stores of war requested (225). In the following Spring, the Lessees petitioned for a Charter in order to enable them to carry on so great an undertaking (455, 455 i). They explained their position to the Board of Trade in a memorial in answer to its enquiries, stating that they had spent over £100,000 on the recovery and defence of the islands; disclaiming any intention of the "wicked practice" of stock jobbing; and making certain offers (498, 506). In their report upon this proposal, the Board of Trade recommended that the request for a second Independent Company should be granted, and that the Crown should pay the Governors' salary until the Colony was able to pay its way. They offered no objection to granting the Co-partners a Charter of Incorporation, provided that proper precautions were taken to prevent stock-jobbing, and other inconveniences, which had arisen in connection with the Incorporated Companies. Such precautions had been readily agreed to. Powers of Government were to remain in the Crown (555 i).
George Phenney had already been appointed to succeed Rogers as Governor (524, 536 i). He took with him some guns and ammunition, but it was then admitted that the Fort Nassau was in such a state of disrepair that it required to be rebuilt before the guns could be mounted. But funds for that purpose and other public works could not be raised except through an Assembly. For an Assembly, then, the Governor and Council petitioned (726, 728). James Gohier, one of the Co-partners, who was acting as Agent and Factor for the Company, brought charges against William Fairfax whom Rogers had appointed to act as Lieutenant Governor (302, 390, 728 iv, v).
Robert Lowther, Governor of Barbados, having been recalled, March 1720, to answer the charges which had been preferred against him (20, 20 i), it was further represented that he intended to suspend Samuel Cox, the eldest Councillor, in order that his nephew, Col. John Frere, the next in seniority, might carry on the administration as President of the Council (21. i). Sir Charles Cox petitioned on behalf of his brother, and Mr. Secretary Craggs at once wrote to remind Lowther of his instructions regarding the eldest Councillor (25, 30–32). The Council of Trade, however, represented that Sir Charles Cox's petition being founded merely on apprehension, and not upon fact, it could not be presumed otherwise than that Lowther would act according to his instructions (36). But the apprehension was quickly justified by fact. Charges had been brought against Cox of illegal trading and illicit proceedings when Naval Officer (34), and though Craggs sent Lowther more explicit orders in June, bidding him follow his instructions as to leaving the government in the hands of the eldest Councillor, and on no pretence whatsoever to exclude Samuel Cox (105), a month later Colonel Frere was writing from Barbados as President of the Council and Commander in Chief (145). Lowther in fact, before departing, had not only suspended Cox, but also it was alleged, having put all offices, civil and military, in the hands of such persons as would prevent an examination into his maladministration, he had passed an act, for better preserving the peace and tranquillity of the Island. This act curtailed the powers of the President, and was intended to prevent the displacement of the officers Lowther had appointed, by making the consent of seven members of Council necessary for that purpose instead of five and the Governor. As there were only eight members of Council in the island, this placed the negative in the power of two of them.
The Lords Justices thereupon directed that Cox should be restored, and ordered Frere to appear before the King in Council to answer for contempt (317, 366 i). Cox promptly availed himself of his power as President of the Council to retaliate. Ignoring the "Tranquillity Act," he suspended Colonel Frere and six other members of Council, replacing them by his friends, and displacing the militia officers without the advice or consent of the Council. (Jan. 1721, Nos. 317, 364, 366, 366 i–v). He was expected to displace the judges, and then to dissolve the Assembly and, with the aid of his creatures, to summon a new one to divide the spoil (364). He was charged outright with being interested in trade with Martinique. The facilities he gave to the French traders to explore the island and its fortifications produced an outburst of indignation (364, 384).
Frere, relying upon Lowther's influence at Court to reverse this state of affairs, organised addresses to the Crown, both in the country and at a private meeting of the Assembly after it had been adjourned by Cox. Over this Cox fell foul first with the Speaker, and then with the rest of the Assembly (366, 366 i–v, 374, 384, 419 i, 421, 422 i, ii, 423 i, ii). The suspended Councillors, in a petition to the King, and the Assembly in their address made it plain that the changes made by Cox were all in favour of the Jacobite and Frenchified party, whose hand had been shown during the late Mr. Sharpe's Presidency (422 ii, 423 ii), The blatancy of these proceedings prompted the Council of Trade to recommend that Cox should be suspended both from the Presidentship and the Council, and that six of the seven Councillors he had suspended should be restored (the case of Colonel Frere lying before the Lords Justices). Further proceedings, they hinted, should be taken against Cox for his arbitrary and illegal behaviour (435 i).
In the meantime Viscount Irwin (Irvine) had been appointed to succeed Governor Lowther (Jan. 1721, 367, 370). But before he could sail, he died of small-pox (517). In the absence of a Governor, confusion increased in Barbados. Cox went from one extreme to another. Having dissolved the Assembly he called another. But in the elections for the parishes his opponents carried four, in spite of the efforts of the Sheriffs, whom Cox had put in. This gave eight Lowtherites against ten Coxites. But the parishes of St. James and St. Andrews were not represented, writs for them not having been published. If they had been, it was thought, Cox's supporters would have been in a minority. When they met to be sworn, an endeavour was made, by locking them into a room, to compel the elected members to form a house. But the eight Lowtherite members managed to escape, and refused to make a house until representatives had been returned for the remaining two parishes (490, 490 i, ii). Cox then issued new writs for all six parishes, although the elected members were alive and had not been expelled. Elections were held in a disorderly fashion described in No. 517. Protests and remonstrances were entered (490 i, ii, 517, 517 i–iii).
On learning of these proceedings, the Council of Trade proposed that Lord Belhaven, who had been appointed Governor in April, should proceed immediately to Barbados and send Cox home under arrest, to answer for his behaviour (590). Orders were given to this effect, and also for restoring the civil and military officers displaced by Cox. Lord Belhaven was to enquire into and report upon the complaints lodged against him by the Assembly and suspended Councillors (508–510). At the same time Lowther's act for preserving the peace etc., was repealed (511). Belhaven was to restore Colonel Frere if he thought fit (609), but Cox was retained in the list of Councillors, until he had been heard in his defence (605, 630). Cox having restored the suspended Councillors, in obedience to these orders in Council, soon took occasion to complain that they were heaping insults upon him, and obstructing the administration by quarrelling with the Assembly and declaring the Excise Act void (621). He brought some charges against Judge Sutton, whilst asserting his own innocence, and he presently removed him (675, 675 i, 687, 687 i–v, 713, 753, 754). To this the Council of Barbados replied, representing his behaviour as "one continued series of tyranny and oppression" (709, 710). The arrival of Lord Belhaven was therefore anxiously awaited. The Commission and Instructions which had been prepared for Lord Irvine were transferred to Lord Belhaven. The Instructions varied considerably from those which had been given to Governor Lowther. In the first place they embodied those alterations which had been made in the Instructions given to the Governor of Jamaica (Dec. 18, 1717), as well as Additional Instructions since ordered.
In the next place, a new clause was inserted to pevent private acts from coming into force until they had received the sanction of the Crown, and unless public notice had been given by the parties concerned of their intention to apply for them. A new article exempting Customs House officers from serving on juries or in the Militia complied with a request from the Commissioners of Customs. In view of the dearth of white people in Barbados, the article recommending the erection fo work-houses was omitted. An addition to the Article relating to the President of the Council was designed to prevent a repetition of Cox's misbehaviour (456, 458, 474, 478, 605, 605 i, 630).
Lord Belhaven had requested that the restriction as to presents from the Assembly might be removed, since it had not been observed in the past, and it was recognised that the Governor's salary was insufficient. The Council of Trade reported that if the Instructions had been ignored, it was a pernicious practice. But if the salary was inadequate, they had no objection to the Assembly being empowered to make immediately upon his arrival, such addition as it thought fit, to the Governor's salary, provided that it was a settlement for the duration of his Governorship. This was sanctioned. The addition must be granted by the first Assembly after the Governor's arrival (550 i, 553 i, 563, 565, 605, 605 i).
Lord Irvine, shortly before his death, had raised the point that Tobago was not mentioned in his Commission (377). The Council of Trade gave their opinion that there was no reason why it should not be (38, 456, 4, 47). Belhaven asked leave to encourage planting there and permission to make grants of land (659 i). The Council of Trade thereupon expressed their agreement in general, provided it was done by the adice of he Council of Barbados and in such a way as not to interfere wth the produce of the other Caribbee Islands, by the planting of more sugar canes. Attention should be concentrated on indigo, anatto, and cocoa, for which the soil was fitted; and which the other Islands did not produce. Exemption for quit-rents might be granted for three years to the new planters, and grants limited to 500 acres to any one person, but not to any resident in the other islands (666). When Carteret suggested that it would be better to reduce the limit of grants (671), the Board revised their proposal, suggesting a maximum of 300 acres with the obligation upon each patentee to cultivate one in fifty every year, and to employ white servants in the proportion proposed by them for settling the French part of St. Christopher (678). An Additional Instruction to this effect was then drawn up (689, 693). The untimely death of Lord Belhaven, drowned on the outward voyage, prevented his putting these plans into execution. Henry Worsley was appointed to succeed him (725, 733 i, 749, 752).
The Rev. William Gordon, the trading parson, had urged the settlement of Tobago and described its possibilities to Townshend and Carteret (460, 460 i, iii). Governor Lowther, in replying to the charges brought against him in connection with Mr. Gordon, reviewed in lively terms the latter's conduct, before he had fled from the Island with Blenman and Hope. Lowther represented that he had circulated "a large cargo of that braded stuff call'd The Miserable State of Barbados," to which he had replied by his declaration in the previous year. Gordon's answers to Lowther's Declaration having been voted by the Council and Assembly to be false, scandalous, and seditious, they were burned by the common hangman before the Customs House door, and his character having been shown by many depositions to be worse even than Lowther had represented to the Bishop of London, an act was passed to deprive him of his benefice (29, 452). So Lowther. But his accusations against Gordon were found by the Lords Justices to be altogether groundless, a verdict somewhat surprising in view of the evidence Lowther had accumulated against him (280). Gordon was therefore encouraged to petition against the act depriving him of his benefice, as well as the act for regulating Vestries, which was also directed against him, and the Council of Trade advised their repeal (280, 361 ii, iii, 439, 616).
Several acts were considered, and the Council of Trade in reporting upon them advised that thirty three of them should be allowed to lie by probationary, until it was seen what their effect was (114, 149, 348, 495, 529 i, 616). The act empowering the Governor to commute the powder duty was repealed (114, 139, 265, 290). The act appointing security to be given by appellees was presented for confirmation by the Council of Trade, in spite of a protest from a patent office holder, who argued that it encroached upon his perquisites (462 i, 465, 576, 576 i, 588).
Whilst the Commissaries at Paris were waiting for the French to substantiate their claim to Sta. Lucia (2), William Sharpe, formerly President of the Council of Barbados, and Mr. Gordon made reports upon its history and resources (6 i, 7, 148), and Capt. Evans petitioned for a grant of the island to himself and others (87, 721). The Council of Trade reported that they had no objection to his being awarded a portion there on the same conditions as they had laid down for settling Tobago (724).
In returning a census of the inhabitants of Bermuda, Lt. Governor Bennett observed that one third of the white population was generally at sea (463, 463 ii). A pirate was executed there in Aug. 1720 (277, 277 i). Bennett reported that the pirates were threatening to seize the island, and make the place "a new Madagascar." He forwarded accounts of the atrocitites by John Roberts and others (463, 463 iii). Bennett was superseded in Aug. 1721, John Hope being appointed in his stead (624). His Instructions were similar to those given to Lord Belhaven for Barbados (652, 680 i).
From Jamaica the Lieutenant Governor, Sir Nicholas Lawes, announced that the Assembly had made a dutiful address in reply to his Speech, when they met after an adjournment in June, 1720. He was in hopes that they would comply with their engagements (116). In November, however, he had to report that his endeavours to induce them to obey the King's orders had proved ineffectual. The country being in debt, it was impossible to pay the money due to Lord Archibald Hamilton out of the revenue, and the Assembly refused to reimburse the Treasury for that debt, or to settle a revenue. Finding them in this mood, Lawes adjourned them till the beginning of the year, after they had passed an additional duty bill laying a tax on negroes imported and exported, with an exemption in favour of those touching only for refreshment, and another act laying £1000 tax on Jews, to provide for two country sloops to guard the coast against pirates and privateers from Trinidado (288, 288 i–iii). In what Commodore Vernon termed a lying preamble to the latter act, the Assembly declared that the Naval Squadron failed to protect their coasts and trade, and further charged the men of war with carrying on trade to the detriment of the merchants (527 i–xxxv). For Spanish privateers commissioned and protected, particularly by the Governor of Trinidado in Cuba, ignored the cessation of arms, and continued to infest the island, and even landed and carried off negroes from the Jamaica plantations (213, 288, 340, 523, 527 i ff, 634). The tax thus laid upon Jews, however, was thought by Lawes to be excessive (523). They were already subject to several disabilities, and as loyal subjects of the King, they resented and petitioned against being excepted from the Act for encouraging white settlers (720 i).
In view of the stubborn attitude of the Assembly, Lawes suggested that pressure should now be applied by the introduction of a bill in the House of Commons for settling the revenue, even if this were only intended as a gesture. He proposed that such an Act should render the Government independent of the Assembly by doubling the quit rents, and adding to them the provisions of the Additional duty bill and revenue act (288, 288 i–iii, 459, 523, 634, 705). At the end of the year the Council of Trade wrote expressing their anxiety for the passing of the perpetual revenue act, and repeating assurances to the Assembly that no reasonable privileges would be denied H.M. subjects if they passed it (338). But the Assembly was not to be cajoled. "Heats and animosities and private views" prevailed when the House met again in January, until Lawes was driven to dissolve it (459). But the new Assembly when it met in June, 1721, proved to be still of the same mind, and under the influence of Peter Beckford and his faction (562). The majority still refused to make good the growing deficit of the Treasury, or to comply with the King's commands for the payment of the money due to Lord Archibald Hamilton. Warrants were issued for the arrest of those Members who recorded their reasons for dissenting from the resolution of the House on this subject (380, 527 xxxv, 562, 562 ii). After several messages had passed between the Governor and the House, the Assembly drew up an Address to the King stating their reasons for not complying with the Sign Manual (364, 364 i, 380).
When the House met after a prorogation, and again took up its quarrel with the Members who had given their reasons for dissenting from the resolution upon Hamilton's debt, Lawes once more urged the intervention of Parliament. (705, 705 i). He had given his assent to four acts, including one defining the qualifications of members of Assembly, and another for settling the North East part of the Island, on which he commented (634). The Assembly had been anxious to encourage settlers in the Virgin Islands to emigrate to Jamaica, and proposals were sent to that effect (213, 213 vii, 288, 500, 562, 562 iii, 597). But as this would obviously conflict with the interests of the Leeward Islands, Lawes was instructed not to countenance any such measure (500, 640). It had been intended to settle the immigrants in the Eastern part of the Island. At the same time a party of Mosquito Indians was brought over from the mainland to track down and suppress the rebellious and runaway negroes, who were maintaining themselves in the woods and mountains (213, 213 viii, 288).
Lawes was involved in a violent dispute with Capt. Vernon, Commodore of the Naval Squadron. The Governor ordered the seizure of some French indigo imported from Hispaniola. The Commodore intervented to prevent the search of the vessels in question, since they had already received their clearances (340, 340 i–vi, 472 i–iv, 496 i, ii, 527 iv ff.) In response to enquiries by the Board of Trade as to the state of the law upon the subject (558), it did not appear that there was any English law to prevent the importation of French indigo into England. Nor, on the other hand, did the clearing of a ship preclude it from subsequent seizure, should it afterwards appear liable to forfeiture for breach of the Acts of Trade and Navigation (603). Lawes, however, justified his action by a clause in the Revenue Act of Jamaica, which referred only to searchers on land for goods landed without paying the duties imposed by that act. There was no proof that the indigo in question was French or had been landed without paying duty (608). There was, indeed, a Jamaica act to prevent fraudulent trade to Hispaniola etc., by which masters of ships bound from Jamaica were prohibited from carrying any indigo which was not grown in that island. This act, however, was repealed after Lawes had failed to induce the Assembly to amend it, the Board of Trade finding that it encroached on the Prerogative (338, 459), and was a restraint of trade and navigation not warranted by English law. (338, 459, 607, 627). The importation of indigo, whatever its country of origin, was in fact recognised as legal and desirable, and the French indigo which Lawes had ordered to be seized was ordered to be restored (608, 628).
More dramatic and more far-reaching in its effect was the execution in Jamaica of some of the most notorious pirates of the day. First a trading sloop belonging to the island, and commanded "by a brisk fellow, one Jonathan Barnet" fell in with and took John Rackham and his crew (288). They were tried and executed at St. Jago de la Vega on Nov. 16, 1720 (340, 463 iii, 523, 523 i).
Shortly afterwards the "famous fellow" Charles Vane and others were captured and followed Rackham to the gallows, where they "died most profligate impudent fellows" (459, 463 iii). With them were two spinsters of Providence Island, who, clad in men's clothes, had taken active parts as pirates. The proceedings at their trials were published (523 i, 634 iii). Following upon the fate of Teach and others in Carolina, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Leeward Islands, the execution of these pirates had a strikingly deterrent effect upon the profession, which the cessation of arms and calling in of privateers had threatened to overcrowd (213, 523). But whilst these penalties were being inflicted on pirates, Capt. Vernon wrote curious accounts to the Admiralty of the protection afforded to them by the inhabitants of Jamaica, including the Attorney-General, an Irish Papist and one of the Beckford-Totterdale group (527 iii, iv).
It was evident that Lawes was not capable of coping with the political situation. Settlement of the Revenue had become urgent. Sir Charles Cox petitioned for the Government as a reward for his good behaviour in Parliament and a means of restoring his broken fortunes. He was willing that the Governor's salary should be assigned to some other person, he himself being content with the perquisites (4). But it was decided that the situation required the appointment of a person of distinction and address. The Duke of Portland was chosen, a man of great personal charm, who added to the prestige of rank a record of capable service in Parliament (656, 664, 655, 677). His Instructions followed the lines of those recently drawn up for the Governor of Barbados (688, 744 i.)
A severe drought was afflicting the Leeward Islands, ruining the sugar crop and causing so acute a dearth of provisions that the Governor appealed for a gift from the Crown (28, 204 i, 500). One effect of the drought was to cause settlers to quit the islands, especially in the case of Anguilla. But Governor Hamilton resented the invitation extended by Jamaica to such as wished to emigrate to that island. The result, he represented, would be to weaken the man-power of the Leeward Islands, and also to encourage debtors to abscond. The Governor of Jamaica was thereupon ordered to withhold his assent to any encouragement of the sort that might be offered (213, 213 vii, 500, 640).
The activity of pirates off Barbados and Antigua prompted Hamilton to send the guardship to meet the trade fleet expected from Home (28). The capture of the pirate ship, Royal Rover, led to a dispute between the Governor, (who by virtue of his Vice-Admiralty Commission claimed the right to hold pirates' effects for the use of the Crown and the Lord High Admiral) and the local deputy of the Receiver General of the rights and perquisites of Admiralty (28). The guardships appointed to this station were, Hamilton reported, not capable of protecting the island against pirates, and even if they were, their prolonged absences at Boston or Barbados left it at the mercy of "these vermin." For there was no harbour where a ship could be careened and refitted (251). Roberts, indeed, in the Royal Fortune, actually entered Basseterre Road in broad daylight, cut out and set fire to some ships, laughed at the Fort and sent an insulting letter to the Lt. Governor of St. Christopher (251, 251 i–v). Hamilton, in forwarding some acts, again complained of the delay caused by lack of means of communication between the several islands. The Islands refused to pay the cost of a packet, and the Captain of the guardship held himself at his own disposal, and refused to take the Governor's orders when there was a chance of intercepting pirates by co-operating with the French at Martinique (500, 500 i, 501, 501 i–xxix). Once more it was urged that the Commanders of station ships should be placed under the orders of Governors. When, in May 1721, Hamilton was superseded by Col. John Hart, formerly Lt.-Governor of Maryland, the Board of Trade in submitting his Instructions, supported this proposal (480, 654). Hamilton had complained that officers in the Islands were ignorant and dilatory in making the returns required to enable him to answer his Instructions (107). But in July, 1720, he forwarded some full accounts of the condition and products of the several Islands (204, 204 i).
Among the Acts of Antigua mentioned in this volume, those for declaring the qualification of voters, and for establishing a Court of King's Bench etc., were repealed for reasons given by the Board of Trade (594, 610, 626).
Objections were raised to and defence made of an Act imposing a duty on sugar and other produce imported from the French Islands (557, 557 i, iii, iv, 617, 623, 623 i, 641 i). An act was passed for encouraging the enterprise of Thomas Santhill in making hanging coppers, horizontal windmills, a new form of lime-kilns and an engine for forcing water into boiling houses for the manufacture of sugar (28 i). A map of the island was sent and returned for revision (204 i, 227 viii, ix). A report upon this and the other islands was made by Governor Hamilton (204 i). He forwarded three acts of Montserrat. One was for reducing interest from 10 to 6 per cent., and another exempting Members of Council and Assembly from arrest on public days, "the gentlemen," he explained, "being most of them under some encumbrances and apprehensions of being taken up" (28 i). Talmash, the Lieutenant Governor, continued to enjoy leave of absence (41, 700). The Act which had granted him the excise duties for salary was repealed in the island. As all other taxes were paid in produce, and the cash paid for excise duties was being handed to the Lt. Governor, it was found that the Treasury was left short of ready money (633). The impoverishment of the island caused by the French raid in 1712 had caused many of the inhabitants to emigrate. Others were preparing to do so. To encourage them to remain or return, Col. Hart, the new Governor, was given a comforting message assuring the inhabitants that pressure was about to be used to secure the compensation for their losses promised in the Treaty of Utrecht (684). Similar assurances of succour and protection were given to the inhabitants of Nevis, over whose heads still hung the demands based on Iberville's raid in 1706 (685). A further exposition of their case had been forwarded by Hamilton in reply to the memorial of M. d' Iberville. It was quite beyond the resources of the island to satisfy his claim, if it was decided to be valid (28, 204). The representation of the Council and Assembly, relating to the Capitulation and the treatment of the hostages, was supported by a batch of depositions (28, 204 xix–xxxvii, 295 i). The attack by pirates on their neighbouring island, roused the inhabitants to pass a Militia act, which had long been hanging fire (512). As in Antigua, an act was passed to encourage "a new projection of making a mill" etc. (500 i).
Apart from the attack by pirates referred to above, little of importance happened in St. Christopher. A map of the island was ordered to be made, which would include a survey of the former French part (204 i). There was a good deal of correspondence relating to the confirmation of grants of land in that part (307, 307 i etc.), and the South Sea Company petitioned for a grant of the whole (350 i., v. § 1). The new Governor, Hart, before setting out, made some suggestions for the disposal of these lands (548), and the Board of Trade, reverting to their former representation, suggested that some of the lands they had proposed to be set aside for poor people, should be assigned to those who were anxious to quit the Virgin Islands (597).
Replies to revised Heads of Enquiry, and returns of the Fishery were sent in by the Commodore of the Convoy to Newfoundland (38 i, 260 i, ii, 400 i). Multitudes of French ships were reported to be fishing on the Banks (243, 260 i), and illegal trade was rife (699 v). But until a regular Government and Admiralty Court were established, it seemed useless to create Customs House Officers there (699). Abuses in connection with the Fishery and infringements of the regulations continued as of yore, together with the ruinous effect of rum. They are fully reported by Commodore Percy, who also regarded the continuous importation of Irish Roman Catholic servants as constituting a danger to the island. The Salmon Fishery claimed by George Skeffington, which the Board of Trade wished to encourage, made some progress this year, and was not molested (40, 260 i). William Keen, however, represented that the salmon fishery was his enterprise, and Skeffington merely his factor (335, 335 i–vii).
In the absence of any resident authority during the winter, the inhabitants who remained after the departure of the Convoy were lawless and unrestrained (260 i, 331). When a murder was committed in Petit Harbour, this Keen arrested the murderer and sent him home for trial, together with two witnesses. But he represented that this was done at his own expense and without any power or authority on his part for so doing. He therefore, together with the inhabitants of Petit (Petty) Harbour, petitioned for the appointment of a resident authority at St. John's to deal with cases of crime during the winter (331, 331 i). The Board of Trade, however, adduced this and similar outrages as a further argument in support of their contention that the inhabitants should move from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia. "For," they added, "such inhabitants as do remain in Newfoundland after the return of the Fishery Fleet, besides their disorderly way of living there, do for the most part promote the trade and fishery of New England, to the detriment of their Mother Country" (441).
Lt. Governor Gledhill remarked that if the Government intended to destroy or remove the Fishery from Newfoundland, the pirates were helping to do that very effectually. In the summer of 1720 they raided the Fishery Fleet at Trepassy and St. Mary's, capturing or destroying 150 boats and 26 sloops. They remained there for a fortnight whilst they compelled the crew of the captured ships to fit out one of the ships for their use—the Royal Fortune. These pirates were the remnant of the crew of the Royal Rover, under Bartholomew Roberts. Roberts was a savage and brutally cruel barbarian. But if Spotswood's account is correct, and he sailed into Trepassy in a sloop of 10 guns and with only 60 men, and there dominated in this way the confused and leaderless Fishery Fleet with 1200 men and 40 pieces of cannon, one cannot withhold admiration for his bravery and daring (200, 251 iii, iv, 277 ii, 281 i, 325).
A letter from Lt. John Riggs—a relative of Charles Delafaye—to General Nicholson contains a vivid reminder of the hardships of a march from Pemaquid to Norridgewack against the French and "Indians, about 30 years agoe." (263).
The Dodan at Nevis is again mentioned several times in connection with Iberville's raid (204 xxiv). Ever since 1699 it has occurred in this Calendar as the name, in the West Indies, for a strong place of retreat among the mountains, to which inhabitants could retire in case of invasion. Hitherto I had failed to discover the derivation of the word. I am now confident that it must have been dos d'âne, the mountain ridge, or as we might say, the "hog's back."
In former volumes we have had several indications that Governors paid compliments to William Popple, the Secretary of the Board of Trade, by sending him small presents of Colonial produce, or, more particularly, from Virginia and elsewhere at his request, plants and seeds for his garden. In this volume we find General Nicholson arranging to send him from South Carolina "some flowers and plants according to your desire … for your parradice at Hampstead." Popple was evidently an enthusiastic gardener as well as a highly capable Secretary. It would be interesting if one could trace any of these early eighteenth-century plants and flowers from America, like Sir Walter Raleigh's Catalpa tree in Gray's Inn. But I have been unable to discover the site of the home of the Popple dynasty and William's "parradice" at Hampstead.
An instance of the application of an old feudal service to Colonial frontier developments is to be found in the recommendation by the Council of Trade that grants of land bordering on the Altamaha river should be held of the Crown by the tenure of Castle Guard.