Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 33, 1722-1723. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1934.
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Failure of Jacobite Conspiracy.
The failure of the Jacobite Conspiracy, announced by George I at the opening of the new Parliament in 1722, called forth addresses of congratulation to the King from most of the Colonies. (417, 417 i, 453 v, 497 i, 606 i, 793 iv, etc.)
French Intrigues, and depredations by privateers.
Evidence of intrigues with the Indians by the French in Canada, to which the outbreak of "Ralé's War" was ascribed, was placed in the hands of the Secretary of State (73, 73 i, 152). There were also complaints of depredations on British vessels by French privateers from Martinique. These were forwarded to the Minister at Paris, with instructions to obtain from that Court redress for such "violent and inhuman proceedings," and orders to French Governors to prevent similar violations of the treaties in future. (610).
Trade with French Plantations,
On the other hand a brisk trade between Ireland, New England and the French Plantations was reported by Capt. Brand, R.N. The Board of Trade called Lord Carteret's attention to "this pernicious trade" as being highly detrimental to the British Sugar Islands. Such trade, however, was not prohibited by any of the Acts of Trade and Navigation. The Board of Trade, therefore, could only recommend that a proper remedy should "be thought of to prevent this growing evil," and that in the meantime orders should be sent to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and the Governor of New England to do their best to discourage its progress. (255 i, 262).
And from Holland.
It was also suggested that to prevent cargoes being shipped from Holland in Dutch vessels for the British Plantations, an Act should be passed requiring all cargoes for that destination to be loaded in Great Britain. (422).
Conference with Indians. Effect of united action upon the Indians.
Further reference to the War with the Eastern Indians will be made in § ii. But here it may be noted that one result of it was that, at the instance of the Governor of New England, the Governor of New York at a Conference with the Five Nations induced them to agree to intervene. This Conference was held at Albany in August—September, 1722, partly as the outcome of Lt. Governor Spotswood's endeavour to renew the "Covenant Chain" between the Five Nations and Virginia, in order to put a stop to Indian hostilities on his frontiers, and partly on the occasion of a dispute concerning the murder of an Indian in Pennsylvania. The Lt. Governors of Virginia and of Pennsylvania as well as the Governor of New York and New Jersey attended the Conference (349, 349 i—iii). The Council of New York was determined that all negotiations with the Five Nations must be conducted under the direction of their Government. Spotswood had had to assent to this procedure, and had submitted his proposals for their approval. The Massachusetts Government refused to do so, and caused trouble by endeavouring to treat with the Five Nations on their own account. Governor Burnet, however, managed to arrange with the Five Nations the terms desired by the Massachusetts Government for their interposition in the War, and to induce the Council of New York to overlook the interference of their neighbours (349, 550, 551 iv, 791); whilst Spotswood, having at last persuaded the Assembly of Virginia to agree to his embassy, came to Albany in response to the demand of the Five Nations that the Covenant Chain should be renewed there—or in other words, as Burnet explains, that some person of distinction should come from Virginia "to give them a fine present to refresh their memories." The Pennsylvanian affair was also settled. Most important was the general effect of this meeting of Governors upon the Indians. The effect of a Congress of Governors acting in harmony was to impress the Indians with the strength and unity of the British Colonies in America, and would, Burnet hoped, lead to unity of policy in the management of the Indians. Hitherto, being accustomed "to observe that the Provinces acted upon separate interests," they had been led to think the French more powerful than the British, and therefore to waver in their allegiance (349, 349 i–iii). The Board of Trade drove home the argument that unity is strength by expressing the hope that all Governors would on all occasions "endeavour to convince as well the Indians as their European neighbours, that they have but one King to obey and one common interest to pursue." (641).
Cuming's scheme for the Defence of the Plantations and a Civil List. Imposition of Stamp Tax Excise duties, and quitrents proposed.
It was in connection with the Indian War and the need of protecting the frontier countries by royal troops, that Archibald Cumings, Collector of Customs at Boston, offered to unfold his scheme for the general defence of the Plantations and for providing a Civil List for the support of all Governors and Crown officials, "without any charge to Great Britain" (189). On being encouraged to lose no time in submitting his plan to the Board of Trade (258), he explained that his idea was to obtain a sum sufficient to provide a civil list and to maintain 5 or 6000 regular troops "for protection against French and Indians and raising of hemp," by extending the Stamp duties to the Plantations, taking off the drawbacks allowed upon foreign linens, calicoes, tea, coffee, paper, and fruits exported to the Plantations, laying on certain excise duties, and collecting a quit-rent on all unimproved lands. The last device, besides raising some 20,000l. annually, would have the additional advantage of forcing into the market, for the benefit of small settlers, the vast tracts of undeveloped lands held by rich men, "which is a great grievance in the Plantations." Cumings calculated that Stamp duties would yield about 30,000l. annually, Proclamation money, and did not think that it would be regarded as a hardship in the Plantations, "being for their own security" (328, 328 i). Thus it will be seen that there was nothing new in Grenville's proposal for taxing the Colonies for their own defence by means of a Stamp duty (fn. n1). What was new in 1765 was putting it into force.
Report by Lord Carteret's agent. Demand for Independence.
Lord Carteret, as Secretary of State for the Southern Provinces, appears to have sent an agent of his own to New England "to discover all things new and strange in H.M. Plantations." The shrewd and caustic report sent home by the agent, Thomas Moore, on the state of affairs in Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, is of great interest. He criticizes the industries, the financial position, and the political outlook of the New Englanders as well as their harsh treatment of the Indians. He reiterates the point that treasonable speeches were "the common dialect of the country," and that, whilst the King and his Councillors were being deluded "with sham addresses pretending loyalty," it was openly and generally proclaimed that the Colony would insist upon its absolute independence; that the King had no right or business in the country, but that it would be content to retain him as a nominal or titular King. He adds, significantly, that "those who think to suppress all this by soldiers sent among them are all wrong, as being an expensive and ineffectual remedy," and offered his own plan for plugging the many leaks sprung in the ship of Government. This plan was, in some points, similar to that of Mr. Cumings (530). It will be seen from this and other reports already calendared in former volumes, that the state of opinion so long represented as having been produced by the action of the British Government forty years later was, in fact, strongly developed in Massachusetts in 1722. Moore also notices the prevalence of the legal profession and legal bent of mind "in this litigious province," and the added irritant of Colonial indebtedness, which probably exercised some influence in the events of 1765. The state of opinion, in fact, so far as Massachusetts was concerned, was not far different now from that which prevailed in the American Revolution. What was different was the presence at the earlier period of the danger from the French and Indians, the political and financial position of Great Britain, and the actions of the British Government as influenced by it (530). (fn. n2)
New Instructions to Governors. Private Acts.
The Legal Adviser of the Board of Trade, Mr. Fane, drew attention to the need of safeguarding the rights of individual subjects of the King in the matter of Colonial private acts. These he found to be sometimes grossly unjust. His warning was prompted by the consideration of some acts from New York submitted in the ordinary course for his opinion in the point of law (157). Presently, upon the occasion of a private act from Jamaica, the Board was instructed to consider whether it would not be advisable to extend to all Governors the instruction recently issued to the Governors of Jamaica, Barbados, the Leeward Islands and Bermuda, requiring a suspensory clause in private acts, which would prevent their taking effect until they had received the approbation of the Crown (421). An additional instruction to Governors on the Continent was thereupon drawn up and approved, requiring not only a suspensory clause of this kind in private acts, but also that three weeks public notice of the introduction of such acts in the Assemblies should first be given in the churches of the parishes concerned (490, 490 i, 618, 656).
Acts of Trade and Navigation.
Governors were also again instructed to observe the Acts of Trade and Navigation, especially in relation to the East India trade. These instructions Connecticut and Rhode Island were also ordered to observe, whilst it was also ordered that the Governors of those Colonies should be required to enter into bonds for their observance, as had been directed in the time of Lord Bellomont. Against this order Rhode Island petitioned as being an infringement of its Charter. The Council of Trade was therefore instructed to report "what powers are reserved to the Crown in the Charter of Rhode Island, and how far the Governors have acted agreeable thereto" (102, 111, 115 i, 124–124 i, 138, 164–166, 666, 666 i).
Objection to Transportation of Convicts.
In Virginia, as in Jamaica, attempts were made by the Colonists to protect themselves against the undesirable results of the recent Act of Parliament for the transportation of felons to the Plantations. But the Government contractor for transporting convicts complained that an act passed in Virginia would have the effect of nullifying the act of Parliament. Mr. Fane agreed that, if the example of Virginia were followed in the other Colonies, it would render the act of Parliament a dead letter. The act of Virginia for amending the act concerning servants and slaves was therefore repealed. (613, 616, 629, 636, 698).
The effects of Paper currencies in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Carolina are described in § ii. But mention must be made here of the memorandum by Sir William Keith on the whole subject, in which he urges the need and advantages for Colonial trade of "a due proportion of paper credit" (786).
Rice and Enumerated commodities.
When consulted upon applications from Carolina for the removal of rice from the list of enumerated commodities, the Board of Trade referred the Treasury (307, 307 i, ii, 325, 422) to the recommendation upon this point made in their General Report of 1721 (Cal. Col. St. Pap. 1720–1721, p. 428).
Royalties on Mines.
Recent discoveries of mines in the Northern Plantations raised the question of liability to royalties in the minds of prospectors and speculators. It was reported that London and Bristol companies were hoping to acquire a monopoly of mines, whilst in Pennsylvania discoveries of silver mines were being concealed for fear lest the royalties required from them would absorb all their profits. A pronouncement on the subject was invited in order to quiet these doubts (146, 149, 151).
New Act for encouraging Naval Stores.
A new Act for further encouraging the importation of Naval Stores from the Plantations was now before Parliament. A scheme for promoting the growth of hemp and flax was propounded, whilst requests for the continuation and enlargement of the bounties came from South Carolina (2, 9, 33, 422). When the bill was in Committee, Henry Newman, as agent for New Hampshire, protested against a clause which would enlarge the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Courts. He alleged that this "would open a wide door to many arbitrary proceedings and malicious prosecutions." On the other hand, he asserted that there was a general desire to preserve white pine trees really fit for use in the Royal Navy. But objection was taken by the inhabitants of New Hampshire to their being prevented from converting into lumber multitudes of trees which would never be of any service to the Crown (4). The passing of the Act prompted the Council of Trade to urge once more that, in order to put the new regulations into force as well as to prevent the waste of trees fit for the use of the Navy, the Surveyor General of the Crown Woods in America must be a person who knew his business and should be compelled to prosecute it on the spot (133, 134).
Pirates had a bad season. Augustino Blanco, a Spanish pirate, a "barbarous fellow," who had long been the terror of the Bahama Islands, plundered Cat Island and got away. But returning once too often, one of his sloops was caught and forced ashore. Blanco himself escaped in a boat made out of the wreck of his other sloop. Some of the captured pirates were changed (284, 455, 455 i–iii, xi).
Captain Finn hanged at Antigua.
The Commanders of the Station ships in the Leeward Islands, H.M.S. Winchelsea and Hector, being active in hunting down pirates, succeeded in capturing Captain Finn and some others at Tobago. Whilst most of the men were ashore, the rest had run away with the pirate ship the Good Fortune. Finn had been in this brigantine for three years, and had been "an associate of the infamous (Bartholomew) Roberts the Pyrate." Together with five of his company he was "executed at high water mark in the town of St. John's in Antegoa," and was "hung up in chains on Rat Island" in the harbour (576).
Question of Pardon.
The ships' companies, who had run away with the Good Fortune and Morning Star, petitioned for the King's pardon on the grounds that they had been forced by Roberts to join him. The brutal methods by which such men were forced to turn pirates are described in 754 iii, iv. This petition was supported by the West India merchants and Insurance Companies, whom the Council of Trade was directed to consult. The Board therefore reported in their favour. At the same time they recommended that in future Proclamations promising pardon to pirates who should surrender by a particular date, Governors should be forbidden to seize goods in their possession. It was thought that this provision would encourage pirates to surrender, without prejudice to recovery by due course of law on the part of persons who had been robbed. The Law Officers of the Crown were invited to give their opinion on this proposal (333, 333 i, 370, 376, 411, 464).
Low Captured. Pirates hanged at Bermuda.
On the New York station Captain Solgard, R.N., engaged two pirate sloops commanded by Captain Low, capturing one and shattering the other. These pirates were reported to have been remarkably cruel and to have done vast damage in the West Indies (606). A couple of pirates were hanged at Bermuda (634).
The Post in North America.
John Hamilton, who had held a patent as Post Master in North America since 1707, represented that, owing to the decay of trade and the carrying of letters by ships' captains, contrary to the Act of Parliament, the Post Office in America had failed to defray expenses. He now approached the Postmasters General with terms for a new contract (30).
The Popple Dynasty. Appointment of Alured Popple. Alured Popple Agent for Barbados.
In April, 1722, the Council of Trade was informed by the Secretary of State that William Popple had resigned, and that his son Alured had been appointed to succeed him as Secretary to the Board at his request. Thus the Popple dynasty was continued into the third generation (107). The Board protested. They evidently wished, but could not claim the right, to appoint or nominate their Secretary. For their predecessors had accepted the appointment of William Popple by the then Secretary of State. He, however, was well qualified by long service and experience. But in the present case the Popple heir was the youngest clerk but one in the Office. The first clerk was Bryan Wheelock, who, as Deputy Secretary, had frequently acted in William Popple's place, and had the strong claims of seniority, experience and his proved devotion to the Protestant Succession, for which he had suffered when the Jacobite coup d' état was being prepared in the last year of Queen Anne's reign. Lord Carteret was therefore begged to rescind the appointment of Alured Popple, and to name Bryan Wheelock in his stead (108, 109). Carteret merely repeated the order appointing Alured in the room of his father, who had died a few days after his resignation (137). It is noticeable that in the preceding February Alured Popple had been chosen by the Assembly of Barbados as one of the agents of that Island, a position obviously incompatible with that of a Clerk, and much more of a Secretary of the Council of Trade and Plantations (43).
New Rooms for the Office ordered. Office removed. History of the old Office Buildings.
A warrant had now been passed for erecting the much desired new rooms over the Office of the Commissioners. They asked for despatch in the building of them, representing that they lacked space for conducting their business and keeping their books and papers, "nor in the condition the roof is now, shall we be able to meet in wet weather" (Aug. 1722). However, in the following February the Surveyor reported that the whole house was in too rotten a condition to carry a new storey without rebuilding. The next entry on the subject indicates that the Office had been moved. The old quarters of the Board were assigned to the Bishop of London, "in lieu of his lodgings at St. James's" (246, 449, 706). This early home of the Colonial Office and the Board of Trade, near the Cockpit in the Palace of Whitehall, overlooked Stanhope House, afterwards called Dorset House, which was leased to Viscount Stanhope by the Treasury in 1717, was purchased after his death by the Duke of Dorset, and forms part of the existing facade of the Treasury Buildings. (fn. n3) In 1725 the Duke petitioned for, and was granted a new lease in order to obtain control over "certain lodgings occupied by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London," which overlooked the garden and were intermixed with parts of the house which had formerly belonged to Lord Stanhope (706).
In response to the invitation of the Board of Trade, we have mention of several maps and charts made of the Plantations—Nova Scotia, the Bahamas, Barbados, and New York (5, 6, 57 i, 68, 606, 793).
The script of some Governors occasionally presents difficulties to the Editor. It is comforting to find that it sometimes did so to the recipients. Lord Carteret, whilst recognising that Governor Burnet, in writing despatches in his own hand, intended it as a mark of respect, found it difficult to decipher the names of persons mentioned by him, and politely requested that his letters should be written "a little more in an official way" (145). Lt. Governor Hope, from Bermuda, was apologising about the same time for his letters to the Board of Trade not being written in his own hand. It was not from laziness, he said, frankly owning that "it is not in my power to writ correctly and without interlineing" (79).
North Carolina. Captain Burrington's Appointment.
On the death of Charles Eden, the Lords Proprietors of North Carolina appointed Captain George Burrington to succeed him as Lt. Governor (447). When he had given security for his observing the Acts of Trade and Navigation and not trading as a merchant himself (472, 472 i, 516), the appointment was approved by the Crown, and Burrington received the usual Commission and Instructions (553, 553 i, 570, 571, 597). Among the special Instructions given to him by the Lords Proprietors were directions for taking steps for the recovery of quit-rents and other arrears, and for the sinking the "great quantities of paper money" (571).
South Carolina. Protest against Paper Issues. Acts Repealed.
Towards the close of 1723 the Lords Proprietors of South Carolina presented a memorial to the Secretary of State, Robert Walpole (in Lord Carteret's absence at Hanover), bringing charges of arbitrary conduct against Governor Nicholson, demanding his recall, and requesting permission once more to resume their right of appointing a Governor themselves. Their charges against Nicholson included, besides his treatment of the Council and Assembly and Col. Rhett, those of opening correspondence, and permitting new issues of paper money amounting to 57,000l. As to the issues and re-issues of paper currency, and failure to fulfil acts and orders for sinking the old bills, memorials were presented by the traders of the Province. They emphasised the point that such extension of paper currency, unsupported by a sinking fund, must have the inevitable result, if not the intention, of defrauding British creditors. They also drew attention to the action of the Assembly in arresting (30) business men who had ventured to make a representation to the Governor, Council and Assembly against a new act for printing 120,000l. more (539, 564, 661). The Council and Assembly defended their action in this matter, and begged for the rescinding of the order repealing the acts for re-issuing the expired bills (722, 752). For, at the instance of the Council of Trade (663), the Lords Justices repealed the acts for raising 17,248l., and for re-printing the current paper bills and printing an additional 40,000l. (694). They also wrote to Governor Nicholson forbidding him to give his assent to any act for increasing paper credit or tampering with the sinking funds established by former acts, and requiring him to propose to the Assembly the settlement of effectual funds for discharging the additional bills of credit issued during his administration (695, 710).
Governor Nicholson's replies.
Governor Nicholson made fierce replies to his critics and detractors, Richard Shelton, Secretary of the Lords Proprietors, Samuel Buck of the Bahama Company, the merchants at home, and the opposition in Carolina (687, 743). In one curious passage the old campaigner narrates a story of the Emperor of Morocco (773). He sent in accounts of old bills which had been destroyed (687, 725 x, xi), but for some time adopted the plan of referring the Council of Trade to his reports sent home by William Hammerton and the two Agents, Francis Yonge and John Lloyd (3, 13, 32, 51, 129, 130 i, 626). The Board presently took objection to this method and asked for more detailed despatches (652, 724). Nicholson was now repeatedly applying for leave of absence in order that he might come home and clear himself of the charges levelled against him. Peace and quietness, he represented, reigned in the Province, and the trade prospects were good (540, 541, 626, 724, 726, 743, 744).
Charleston Act repealed. Governor Nicholson and Colonel Rhett.
Another act which aroused much opposition and was repealed was an Act for the better government of Charles Town. This act, said to have been passed without the knowledge or consent of the majority of the inhabitants, nominated a Mayor and Corporation for life, with sole power of making such laws as they saw fit, thus constituting, as the Legal Adviser of the Council of Trade remarked, "the completest oligarchy that ever was seen." This Corporation had already begun to act in an arbitrary and oppressive fashion (413, 544–561). The Act was defended by the Carolina Agent, Francis Yonge (562), but was repealed in accordance with the advice of the Council of Trade (563, 591, 617). Nicholson gave his version of the opposition to this act (687). But it was upon Colonel Rhett that the full vials of his wrath were poured. He wrote in no measured terms of the Lords Proprietors' Receiver General and Surveyor of Customs, whose letters he was charged with having intercepted (317, 431 i, 579). Nicholson represented him as having given out that he was about to succeed him as Governor, and as doing his utmost, with his few followers, to create disturbances. Rhett, he declared, was notorious for his dealings with pirates and clandestine trade, and in this connection it was he who was responsible for the condemnation of the sloop Recovery, of which the Bahama Company complained (317, 431 i–xv, 579). The Governor added a hint as to the ill effects of his close connection with Nicholas Trott (15). The latter had already written to Lord Carteret, hoping that the Lords Proprietors would appoint a Governor of their own, asking to be continued as Chief Justice, and complaining that Nicholson had appointed, on behalf of the Crown, a Receiver of fines and forfeitures rightfully belonging to the Proprietors (15, 119, 427 i–xx). Rhett's son drew attention to an Act laying a duty of 5 p. c. on British manufactures and differentiating in favour of the inhabitants, as well as to several other acts of "more dangerous consequence," to which Nicholson had given his consent. (434 i). On Colonel Rhett's death, Nicholson recommended an investigation of his accounts, and demanded a hearing of the charges he had made, as involving his own honour, and that of the Judges and juries of Carolina (454, 494).
Spanish protests against Forts on the Alatamaha. Reply.
Progress was made with the building of the Fort at the mouth of the Altamaha, "at the Pallachocolas" as Nicholson describes it (130 i, 724, 725 v, vi), "in the Tanioia and the mouth of the Talage," as the Spanish Governor of Florida says. For, at his instigation, the Spanish Governor of Florida says. For, at his instigation, the Spanish Minister in London lodged a protest against the erection of a fort alleged to be within the territory of Spain, and demanded its demolition (305, 379, 427 xxi, xxii, xxix). The Council of Trade replied in general terms, affirming that the fort was being built on territory undoubtedly British, and awaiting the production of any proof to the contrary by the Spaniards (393, 393 i).
Conferences with Indians.
Conferences were held at the end of 1723 with the Cherokee, Chickesaw and Creek Indians, and regulations passed for controlling Indian traders. Complaints continued of the encouragement of hostile Indians by the French and Spaniards (724, 725 ii, iv, vi, viii, ix, xiii, xiv, 774, 774 v, vi).
Naval Stores. Rice.
Recognising that the "Navy is the Glory and Bulwark of the British Nation," the Carolinians prided themselves on having furnished for its use more pitch, tar and turpentine than any other of the Plantations. They asked that the bounties on Naval Stores should be continued and enlarged, and that rice should be removed from the list of enumerated commodities. (2, 307, 307 i, 422). Returns of rice exported are given (374, 380). Nicholson reported that the crop was good (726). He also expressed fears of what New England exports of iron might lead to (724).
Connecticut and Rhode Island Boundary disputes.
In Jan., 1722, the Agents for Rhode Island complained of encroachments by Connecticut and petitioned for a confirmation of their boundary in accordance with the report of 1664 (21 i). Mr. Dummer, as Agent for Connecticut, replied (21 ii). They were invited to lay their cases in writing before the Council of Trade (70). The Connecticut claim to the Government of the Narragansett country was presented by Dummer in June (173), and that of Rhode Island by the Agents in October (315, 315 i). After hearing the evidence of both parties (435–443, 468), the Council of Trade summarised the position, and proposed to solve that problem and at the same time get rid of the Charter Governments by the ingenuous suggestion that both Colonies should submit themselves to the immediate government of the Crown and be annexed to the small and loyal Colony of New Hampshire (477, 477 i). Needless to say, when enquiry was made as to their willingness to do so (649), the answer was in the negative (735, 736). The Boundary dispute between Connecticut and New York (424, 711, 713) is referred to below (v. New York).
Controversy had arisen between the Governments of New England and Rhode Island over Admiralty perquisites and jurisdiction. It was decided in favour of the New England Court. By an Order in Council, the Governor and Council of Rhode Island were directed to deliver into the custody of the Judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court of New England the proceeds of the sale of the ship and cargo run by Benjamin Norton into Tarpaulin Cove, and were warned to obey the decrees of that Court, and not to assume to themselves any right of Admiralty jurisdiction (100, 201, 217, 235, 274). An order to the same effect was conveyed to the Governor and Company by the King's Sign Manual (300).
Paper issue in Rhode Island.
Attention was called to a new issue of 40,000l. in paper bills, making 80,000l. in all current in Rhode Island, and causing a great rise in the price of produce (59, 59 i).
Massachusetts Bay. The War with the Abenakis. Incitement by the French and other causes.
In March, 1722, the Governor of Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire reported outrages by the Indians on the Eastern frontier. He expected war to break out in the summer. He sent home authentic letters from the Governor and Intendant of Canada to the Missionary, Père Ralé, plainly encouraging the Indians to drive the English out of the Eastern settlements and promising them ammunition and supplies (73, 73 i, ii, 805, 805 viii). The lands which the French thus encouraged the Indians to claim were, Governor Shute explained, those which the English had occupied and built forts upon on the strength of purchases, for which they could produce good deeds, and which had been confirmed at several Conferences with the Indians (73, 73 iii). The object of the French, it was intimated, was to settle the Eastern parts themselves (68 i, 322, 791, 805). In June came news of a raid by Indians on the Eastern frontier by Kennebec River (184, 189), and an advance upon Fort George on St. George's River (205 iv) by the Indians on the coast. In July, the inhabitants of Brunswick, close at hand, were surprised by great numbers of Indians (604). In a letter to Governor Shute, the Marquis de Vaudreuil openly declared "that he has and will assist the Indians, and that he has orders from the Court of France to do so." On July 25th, Shute declared war against the Eastern Indians (242, 242 i, 805, 805 viii).
In the war which was thus begun with the Abenakis, or Eastern Indians, on the North Eastern frontier of New England, the stake at issue was plainly supremacy in eastern and central Maine, and the protection of the settlements fringing the coast of Maine and New Hampshire (322). It is known as Ralé's war. For among the Jesuit Missionaries who exercised most influence with the Eastern Indians amongst whom they were stationed, and applied it, in concert with the Government of Canada, to binding them to alliance with the French and inciting them to hostilities against the British, three were conspicuous; Père Ralé and Père Le Chasse in charge of the mission at Norridgewock on Kennebec River (805 xi), and Père Lauverjot at Panawamske on the Penobscot. Part of the plunder taken by the Indians from a sloop seized by them at Penobscot was used to adorn the altars of the French Missionaries who shared in it (205 iii, iv). The advance of British settlers along the banks of the Kennebec River had brought them into contact with Ralé's mission station at Norridgewock. It was easy for that political priest to raise the fears and resentment of the Abenakis to fever heat. For although by a series of treaties the Indians had been brought to acknowledge the right of British settlers to resume the occupation of the settlements which they had abandoned during the French wars, they saw with alarm the vast spaces which they had been accustomed to regard as their own hunting grounds being gradually occupied. They resented the intrusion, and were encouraged by the French to claim all and more than they were entitled to, and to disregard the grants and surrenders of lands which they themselves, knowingly or unknowingly, had agreed to alienate to the New England Council or private traders. They were supported in this course by the claims advanced by the French, on their own account or on behalf of the Indians, to the territory east of Pemaquid. The French claim was based on the limitation which they were endeavouring to impose upon the extent of territory ceded by them under the Treaty of Utrecht. They had undertaken to surrender Acadia. But the old boundaries of Acadia they now attempted to confine so as to cut off a great part of Nova Scotia. (fn. n4)
Council and Representatives of the Massachusetts Bay.
Complaints against such proceedings by the French were communicated to Ministers (40, 242, 251), and, later, an address dated December, 1723, in which the Lt. Governor, Council and Representatives of the Massachusetts Bay, laid the case against the Governor of Canada before the King (805, 805 i–xi). Among the documents enclosed with this Address is a curious "relation" by Alexander Hamilton of his experiences at Quebec and elsewhere, as one of those prisoners taken by the Indians and detained by Vaudreuil (805 i, 538).
The French, however, were not the sole originators of Indian discontent. Apart from the causes described, there are many hints that ill-treatment by traders and the colonists who were re-occupying the abandoned settlements contributed to it.
Expedition sent to the frontier. Help sought from Rhode Island, Connecticut, &c. The Five Nations.
When hostilities had been begun by an attack upon Arrowsick Island (Georgetown), (805, 805 i, iii, iv) the attempt upon Fort George and the partial destruction of Brunswick, the Massachusetts Government despatched expeditions to the frontier. One advanced up the Penobscot River, others along the Kennebec, where, at Norridgewock, the French mission stations were destroyed (805 xi). Massachusetts also sought help from without. The Representatives recommended that Commissioners should be sent to ask for aid from Rhode Island and Connecticut. Steps were also taken to secure the intervention of the Five (now Seven) Nations. (v. § 1). In October, Governor Shute reported some successes, and also that some delegates from the Five Nations had gone to the Eastern Indians to enquire why they had maltreated their English brethren (322, 349). In the following year Governor Burnet announced from New York that as the result of a treaty negotiated by him the Five Nations had declared war against the Abenakis (349, 550, 551 iv, 791).
Massachusetts Bay Assembly.
The Indian War gave the Assembly an opportunity of furthering their attempt to acquire the powers of the Executive, and to establish complete control over the expenditure of money voted by them. Full use was made of this opportunity. A clause was added to a vote for supply in November 1721, (fn. n5) limiting the expenditure of the sums granted to the purpose specified, and to no other uses whatsoever. The Council objected to this clause as a pernicious innovation, which would render it powerless to spend a penny without the consent of the Assembly. But the Representatives clung to the advantage offered of providing men and money for the Indian war. They insisted on the clause, specified the uses to which the money voted should be applied, and, with the object of preventing any interference, adopted the device of making grants in the form of resolves of the House. They further extended their powers by asserting control over the pay and dispatch of the troops. Their demand that the garrison at Northfield should be withdrawn, was vetoed in Council; but a Committee of the two Houses drew up a plan of campaign for the war, which included details not only as to the pay and provisioning of the troops, but also as to their disposition on the frontier (August, 1722). Shute protested that the sole command of all forces was vested in the Governor. But he was obliged to agree to use this power by issuing orders in conformity with the plan of campaign drawn up by the two Houses. Even the supervision of scouts and commanders on the frontiers passed into the hands of the General Court, through regulations drawn up by them and put into execution by the Governor at their request. Their claim to control the conduct of the war was taken a step further when (Aug., 1722) the House demanded the suspension of an officer—Major Samuel Moody—against whom complaints had been made. When Shute expressed surprise that such a demand should be made before the officer had been heard in his defence, the Assembly suspended Moody's pay until he should have answered the charges brought against him. A few months later (Nov., 1722) an attempt was made to call another officer to account. Colonel Shadrach Walton was in command of troops destined, by the plan of campaign drawn up by both Houses, for an expedition to Penobscot. But when the Indians attacked Arrowsick Island, these troops were detained in the neighbourhood for the protection of the inhabitants. The Lower House asked that all orders relating to this change of plans, issued by him or the Council, should be laid before it. Shute explained why the Penobscot plan had been changed. But the House demanded that the Governor should order Walton to appear before it, and give his reasons for disobeying his orders. Shute still endeavoured to conciliate the House. Though he ignored their last demand, he did summon Walton to Boston to report to himself as Captain General. Walton came, and refused to comply when the Assembly endeavoured to make him report to them first. Baffled in this direction, the Assembly tried to obtain the appointment of a joint Committee of both Houses to sit during the recess of the General Court and direct military operations. The Council rejected this proposal as wholly inconsistent with the Charter. But the power of the moneybags gave victory to the Assembly. After Shute had gone to England, the threat of withdrawing supplies for the Government and the pay of officers to whom they took objection, compelled the Lieut. Governor, William Dummer, to supercede Colonel Walton and Major Moody. Meanwhile, the dispute between the two Houses as to the right to control appropriations was carried on with unceasing liveliness. When the Council proposed amendments to a vote of supply in June, 1723, the Representatives proposed to refer the votes and amendments to the towns, together with "articles of grievances" criticising the action of Governor and Council in sanctioning expenditure during the past year. After prolonged altercations, an appropriation act was passed, which, if it did not embrace all the restrictions on expenditure desired by the Assembly, did yet contain several restrictive clauses. The Council successfully opposed further attempts to prevent any payments being made by the Council unless first sanctioned and audited by the Lower House. But even so, the Representatives succeeded so far in a struggle similar to that being waged in New York, that they stripped the Executive of much of its control over expenditure, and the Captain General of his power of directing the war (683 i, 704; and Journal of House of Representatives).
In the meantime, Shute had gone home on leave (Dec. 1722). He thought the time had come when the British Government must be left in no doubt as to the impasse which had been reached. All his attempts at conciliation and compromise had failed. The encroachments on the prerogative of the Crown by the Assembly, under the guidance of Elisha Cooke, were steady, deliberate, unyielding. Reference has been made in § I to the report by Lord Carteret's roving Agent, James Moore, as to the temper of the people (530). The recent dispute between the Governor and Assembly as to the right to nominate an Attorney General was a case in point. When Shute received the opinion of the Law Officer of the Crown on that subject (153, 252, 263), he warned the Council of Trade that it was not likely to weigh with the Representatives, for "the people here pay little or no deference to any opinion or orders that I receive" from the Ministry at Home (322). The Governor, in fact, was powerless to make further effective resistance. The choice was now between intervention by the Imperial Parliament, or eventual concession of the self-government which was being aimed at.
Shute stated his case in a memorial in which the whole conduct of the Assembly was recounted and criticised (683 i). He attributed it in part to the fact that the Assembly was not truly representative. The generality of the people were loyal, he declared, but the richest and wisest inhabitants were excluded from the Assembly. The weak point in the Massachusetts Bay Constitution was mercilessly exposed. The balance of power tipped so heavily in favour of the Legislative Assembly, that the Executive was almost powerless, whilst the Assembly was fixedly determined to assume to itself much of the power which constitutionally belonged to the Executive. So the Council of Trade interpreted the facts set out in Shute's memorial. The intervention of Parliament was called for without loss of time, to restrain the Colony within due bounds of obedience to the Crown (704).
Report on and Reply to the Memorial.
But so few years after the '15, Ministers were not in a position to take strong measures. They protested and threatened, as we shall see, and, vowing they would ne'er consent to the encroachments of the Assembly on the Prerogative and its refusal to pay the salaries of Governors or officers appointed by the Crown, in the end consented. In answer to Shute's Memorial, Anthony Anderson and Elisha Cooke had been appointed to assist Dummer in presenting the case of Council and Assembly. Memorials were drawn up by each House (399, 400, 434, 701, 705), and the case was discussed before the Committee of Privy Council (see A.P.C. II. pp. 92–104).
Report upon Assessment Act.
Upon a petition on behalf of some Quakers who had been imprisoned for not making assessments as ordered by two recent Acts of 1722, and 1723, the Council of Trade reported upon the first in accordance with the opinion of their Legal Adviser that there was no objection to it in point of law. The second act had not yet reached the Office. The first act, for apportioning and assessing a tax of 6232l. 13s. 11d., could not be said to exceed the power of raising taxes granted by the Charter. But the votes of the Assembly made it evident that the intention of the Act of 1723 was to raise money for the salaries of two orthodox Ministers. By "orthodox" they meant Presbyterian, and the Board of Trade pointed out that whilst by the Charter the foundation of the Colony "was laid in an absolute and free liberty of conscience for all Christian inhabitants there, except Papists," the Presbyterians, having absolutely the ascendancy in the Assembly, had assumed the authority of an established Church, and were trying to compel the Quakers, even in the towns of Dartmouth and Tiverton where they were infinitely in a majority, to pay a large maintenance to Presbyterian Ministers, for the service of some few Presbyterian families only. (734, 747, 782, 798).
The discount on the paper bills of the Colony continued to increase. But Shute echoed the hope of the Board of Trade that the new Act for the encouragement of the importation of Naval Stores would, by improving the export trade, help to raise the value of the paper currency (263, 322, 530).
New Hampshire. Paper issue and Indian War.
A further small issue of paper money was rendered necessary in New Hampshire by the cost of the Indian War described above. With its frontier so close to the Indian outposts, the Colony objected to sending troops away to co-operate with the troops of Massachusetts. For its share in the war we must turn to the Sessional papers (N.H. Prov. Pap. IV).
Mention has been made of the proposal to annex Rhode Island and Connecticut to New Hampshire. The Colony invited the decision of the Council of Trade upon the boundary in dispute with the Massachusetts Bay, undertaking to abide by it. The increase of settlers on either side of the line was rendering a settlement of the question daily more imperative (282).
Assembly and Triennial Act.
The Assembly in 1722 asked to be dissolved and demanded a Triennial act. Shute replied that the request for a dissolution was unprecedented, but none the less granted it in June. The new House, in the autumn of 1723, passed the Triennial act on which it had set its heart, and hoped for its confirmation by the Crown, although Great Britain had adopted a septennial term for Parliament.
Powder duty and Stores of War.
Shute received further enlightenment as to the validity of the Powder Act of 1702. The Additional Instruction of 1717 relating to British trade and shipping, he was informed, was not retrospective. The powder duty therefore, the collection of which he had suspended, ought still to be collected under the old act (39 i, 48). Meantime the country was short of powder and other stores of war. The Council of War supported the application of the Province for a grant of such stores, emphasising the importance of Fort William and Mary, and the impoverishment of the inhabitants owing to the Indian war etc. (39 i, 347 i, 685, 685 i, 719 i, ii, 795).
Naval Stores and Shipments to Spain.
The Council of Trade requested Shute to enquire into shipments of masts and timber to Spain, in which five members of the Council were said to be interested (356, 703, 806, 806 i). Charges of encouraging this trade, as well as of extortion, neglect and connivance in the destruction of H.M. woods were levelled against Burniston's Deputy, Robert Armstrong, who was both Collector of Customs and Deputy Surveyor of the Woods. He was said to be a notorious Irish Jacobite and thoroughly disaffected to the Government (132, 329, 340, 340 i, 344–346, 350). On his departure, Lt. Governor Wentworth filled his office as Deputy Surveyor and asked to be continued in it (685, 806, 806 i, ii).
New Jersey. Acts repealed. The Secretary's Office. Revenue Acts.
Three Acts of New Jersey were repealed at the beginning of 1722. Two of these, for shortening law-suits and for recording deeds, Governor Burnet and ex-Governor Hunter agreed with the Judges were calculated to destroy the jurisdiction of the Supreme Courts (7). The third, enforcing the ordinance for establishing fees, had been chiefly directed against a former Secretary, but its whole effect would be to ruin the holders of Patent Offices appointed by the Crown (7, 25, 56). George Willocks and his party, however, returned to the charge with a bill making a further attack upon the Secretary's Office, and other bills designed to encroach upon the Prerogative. Burnet thereupon examined Willocks in Council, and suspended a Councillor who presumed to defend "this Jacobite plot" (154, 154 i, iii). The disturbing influence of this "Cabal of wicked people" having thus been removed, the majority of the Assembly expressed their relief at the rejection of their factious bills, and pushed home the defeat of the Jacobite party by passing acts for the security of the Government, and its support for five years (154, 154 ii, 309).
Burnet's action in defence of the Secretary's Office was approved (641. Cf. Cal. State Pap. Col. 1720–1. p. xxvi). At the end of 1723 he obtained a further Act increasing the revenue for ten years. This act was the result of the strong desire of the Assembly for further issues of paper money. For the Governor was only empowered to give his assent to such issues if made for the support of the Government. Burnet explained the need of a paper currency in New Jersey, and was able to point to the great success which had attended the issues in New York, where the bills were practically at par with pieces of eight (792).
The Constitution of Assembly.
The Attorney General gave his opinion in favour of the power of the Crown to alter by means of an Instruction to the Governor the method of election and qualification of electors of the Assembly in the manner proposed by Burnet (182, 712).
Claims to Mines.
Doubt as to the claim of the Proprietors to all mines and the right of the Crown in them were reported to be causing prospectors for gold and silver mines, at a time when there was a great "humour to run a mine-hunting," to conceal their discoveries. At Burnet's suggestion the Law Officers of the Crown were invited to give their opinion (429 ii, 432). Their view is given (770).
New York. 2 per cent. Act. Other Acts transmitted. Acts to prevent French trade with Indians. The Seventh Nation.
Burnet found himself on good terms with the Assembly which met at New York in June, 1722. "Convinced of His Excellency's endeavours for the public welfare," they promised to make good the deficiency in the Revenue, which had failed to come up to the estimates in the Act for the support of Government (183, 183 I, ii). They refused, however, to vote more than 320l for the repair of the forts on the frontier, unless the Act laying a duty of 2 p.c. on European goods imported were confirmed (385, 605, 792). Burnet fearing that the opposition to it by the merchants at home would prove successful had advised them to devise some substitute for that tax (183 i, ii). The Council of Trade, however, whilst recording their aversion from any act laying an imposition on British trade and shipping, had already recommended the confirmation of this small tax owing to the peculiar circumstances attending it (170, 171, 178, 551, 552, 605, 672). Burnet also transmitted, with comments, a large number of other acts (385, 792). Among them was an Act for a further issue of bills of credit to supply the deficiency of the Revenue (792). Burnet reported that the Acts intended to prevent supplying the French with goods for their trade with the Indians had proved entirely successful, after an additional Act had been passed laying a severe penalty on such traders in an unusual form. Both he and the Legal Adviser of the Board of Trade commented on the clause which empowered certain persons to require suspected traders with the French to declare their innocence upon oath (385, 761, 605, 606, 792). However, Burnet represented that these measures had achieved their object by bringing in the Far Indians to trade at Albany. Incidentally, it had induced the Missillimakenac Indians to come there, and they had then been incorporated with the Five Nations and Tuscaroras, thus making Seven Nations of Indians. (References to the Conferences with the Indians and their part in the Abenaki War are made in § I).
Frontier Forts. Reply to request for Stores of War, etc.
Burnet adds that the Indian acts had been rendered more effective by the small party of English traders he had established among the Senecas, in whose country he hoped to build a fort (605, 605 iii, 606, 792). The Council of Trade expressed approval of these measures, but warned Burnet that in all such cases the consent of the Indians ought first to be obtained (171). They supported his application for two additional Independent Companies to act as garrison of the frontier forts, and for a grant of stores of war (28, 50). But the Board of Ordnance reported that Parliament had never voted money for this purpose, holding that the Colonies were able and ought to supply themselves. A large sum was owing to the Board for stores supplied on the Royal warrants, which had never been repaid (112 i, ii). The Council of Trade was therefore obliged to advise Governor Burnet that there was little prospect of stores of war being sent, "the Province being already so much indebted to the Board of Ordnance." Nor were two Additional Companies likely to be ordered to New York, "the pressure of ye Govt. at home being at present pretty great." (171).
Dispute with Auditor General. Instructions by the Treasury.
Horace Walpole, the Auditor General of the Plantations, replied to the representation in which the Assembly had justified their Treasurer for refusing to account with his Deputy. (v. Cal. State Pap. Col. 1720–1, p. xxxi). Walpole, laying "a naked state" of their proceedings before the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, left it to them to judge whether their complaint as to the burden of his fees had not been "cooked up" merely as a device for preventing his Deputy from auditing and inspecting their accounts. (113). The Lords Commissioners thereupon wrote strongly to Burnet, stating their opinion that the behaviour of the Treasurer was unwarrantable, and that the excuse of the Auditor's fees was without foundation, since the expense of management of the Revenue remained the same under the Assembly's Treasurer as it had been under the Crown Officers. The Treasurer's own evidence, in fact, and the Journals of the Assembly showed plainly enough that the object of the Assembly in dispossessing the Receiver and nominating an officer of their own, was to obtain entire control of the revenues raised for the support of the civil Government. With that object they had forbidden their Treasurer to render any account to the Auditor appointed by the Crown. Burnet was therefore instructed to see that the accounts of these revenues should be rendered to the Auditor or his deputy, and that 5 p.c. on the amount thereof be paid to him, together with the arrears due. The Lords Commissioners concluded that the Assembly having no other power relating to the disposition and management of the Revenue than to view and examine the accounts, its proceedings had constituted a very great invasion of the Royal prerogative, which "may tend to their making themselves independent of the Crown of Great Britain." Burnet was therefore to use his utmost endeavours to have all the Revenues returned into the hands of the officers appointed by the King. (119).
The Treasurer's Accounts. The Assembly yields.
Abraham De Peyster, the Treasurer, having become "quite distracted" (183, 524) had been succeeded by his son in the preceding June. He was required to give security in 5000l. to perform his duties to the satisfaction of the Assembly, although no such security had been demanded from his father. The Governor had refused his consent to a bill passed by the Assembly for discharging the late Treasurer from further demands, and suits were now commenced against the De Peyster estate with the object of forcing the rendering of accounts (113, 119). The Assembly then resolved that, as the late Treasurer's accounts had passed an audit of both Houses, they might be submitted to a Crown official, but that he should receive no fees for auditing them, and that the Treasurer's family should not be liable for any expense in connection with it. George Clarke, Walpole's Deputy, insisted on his rights and advised Burnet to dissolve the Assembly. This Burnet refused to do, as he was anxious to obtain a settlement of the Revenue. At length the Assembly yielded to pressure, and agreed to the annual auditing of the revenue by the Deputy Receiver and the payment of the 5 per cent. fee to him. The Act for raising 5350 ounces of plate for defraying the deficiency of the revenue provided for the payment of the Auditor's arrears since 1715. (792).
Council of Trade on quit-rents.
Commenting upon the bill for facilitating the partition of lands in joint tenancy, the Council of Trade and Plantations deduced from Mr. Burnet's remarks and Cadwallader Colden's memorials that the intention of the Assembly was to defraud the Crown of great tracts of land in the interests of holders of extravagant and illegal grants. They reviewed the situation with regard to quit-rents, and approved his conclusion that, since eight such patents were paying only some 17l. pounds a year, whereas a quit-rent of 2s. 6d. per hundred acres would be yielding over 4000l., a Revenue could be derived from quit-rents sufficient to defray the whole expenses of the civil Government without inflicting any hardship or injustice on any person. Many of these grants had been improperly obtained from the Five Nations; much of them lay undeveloped, to the prejudice of willing and industrious settlers. But little was to be hoped from the Colonial Courts of Law, since the juries were likely to consist of interested persons. They recommended therefore that the Governor should be directed by a Royal Instruction to endeavour to obtain from the Council and Assembly an act for resuming all those extravagant grants of land which had not been included in the act passed under Lord Bellomont's administration. They suggested that a promise should be given to the Council and Assembly that particular cases would subsequently receive the consideration of the Crown, and at the same time a warning that, if they refused or delayed to pass such an act, recourse would be had to Parliament to rectify the injustice of "such unreasonable frauds and encroachments." For the future the Instruction as to surveying and registering grants of land must be observed, and it was desirable that the Crown Surveyor should be empowered by Parliament to survey all grants held from the Crown. (171, 303 i, 304).
Settlement of the Palatine Refugees.
John Conrad Weiser, the deputy of the Palatine Refugees, petitioned for a testimonial for his services, which he was given, and protested against Jeremy Lange acting as an Agent of the Palatines without authority (8, 71, 148, 517). The case and grievances of the Palatines, particularly against Governor Hunter, having been presented (268 i), Weiser petitioned for an Order for their settlement on lands at the disposal of the Crown (657). The Council of Trade replied that their troubles were due to the "very turbulent and untractable temper" of some of them, but that the Governor had recently reported that a satisfactory settlement was being arranged (673). Burnet, in fact, had arranged with some of the Palatines to purchase land on Canada Creek and settle there. Others he found as difficult as Hunter had done, but he hoped that he had managed them successfully and that they would settle down peacefully on the tract of land he had recently obtained from the Indians for that purpose. For the most part, he said, they were a laborious and honest people, but headstrong and ignorant, and easily led by the designing ones amongst them (349).
Colden's Report and Map.
Burnet sent home a map of the Province drawn by Dr. Colden, the Surveyor General, and also his reports upon the climate, trade and produce, compiled at the Governor's request (605 i, ii, 606, 793).
Boundary with Connecticut.
The Board of Trade was urged to report upon the Act of 1719 for running a division line between Connecticut and New York (424). After consulting with the Agents they recommended that it be confirmed (711, 713). This was before they had received Burnet's letter, in which he charged Connecticut with manœuvring to delay the fixing of the line and endeavouring by its Act of 1723 for completing the line of division to throw over the agreement of 1683 and draw the boundary in its own favour (711, 711 i–iii).
Nova Scotia. Attack on Canso in 1720, by French and Indians. Renewed hostilities June, 1722. Ralé's War. Threat to Canso. Indians defeated at sea. Petition of inhabitants. Measures urged by Board of Trade. Cruiser ordered.
Further accounts came to hand of the attack by French and Indians upon the Canso Fishery in Aug., 1720, and the measures taken to protect it. (v. Cal. Sta. P. 1720–1, p. xxxv). Two companies had been brought there from Placentia by Governor Philipps. Unfortunately all their provisions and clothing were lost on the voyage. Under the energetic direction of Lt. Col. Armstrong Canso was made safe for the time being, a rough fort having been constructed by subscription amongst the inhabitants and traders. (5, 147 i–iii, 234 x, 254, 530). On receiving these reports, the Board of Trade again represented to Lord Carteret the need of erecting forts on the coast of Nova Scotia, and especially at Canso (156, 172). Whilst this representation was being made a new and more serious outbreak of hostilities occurred in connection with "Ralé's War" described above (v. under Massachusetts). In June, 1722, the Indians on the coast made a sudden and unprovoked attack upon the shipping in the Bay of Fundy and the harbours. They plundered several vessels trading to Annapolis Royal, murdering some of the crews, and were only prevented from attacking the Fort there by the prompt action of Lt. Governor Doucett, who seized a score of Indians and held them as hostages. Doucett suggested that this attack was part of a plan for putting a monopoly of the trade into the hands of the French at Cape Breton and St. John's Island. All were agreed that the Indians had been incited by the French Governors and Missionaries, and supplied with ammunition and necessaries by the French. The altar of the priest at Minis was decorated with part of the plunder. As for the French inhabitants, they excused themselves for not resisting such outrages by the Indians by alledging, as before, that they were afraid of their turning upon them (205 i–iv, 209, 209 i–iv, 288). The Indians proceeded to cruize upon the Banks in the vessels they had captured, with intent to raid the fishing fleet from Canso and to attack that place. Governor Philipps, who was then at Canso, thereupon armed and manned two sloops, which successfully engaged the Indians and re-captured nearly all the sloops they had taken. Some of their prisoners they had murdered in cold blood (254 i, 288, 810). Philipps and Armstrong then returned to England to lay the state of affairs before the Government (147 i, 253, 254, 288). Finding themselves thus apparently left to their own resources, the planters and fishermen of Canso made a last appeal for support from Home. After six years of toil they had cleared sufficient land for curing 40,000 quintals of fish, all of which and more would easily be caught in this promising fishery. But it was fast declining; many had already deserted the settlement; and when the ships left in the winter, taking with them the guns they sent ashore during their stay, the prospect of having their throats cut by pirates and Indians would compel the rest to leave, unless the long-expected garrison, ordnance and man of war arrived to protect them (54, 254, 254 i, 667). Once more the Board of Trade urged Carteret to take prompt and strong measures for protecting the infant Colony and compelling the French inhabitants who refused to take the oath of allegiance to evacuate the Province (301). In the spring a ship was ordered to be detached from the Newfoundland convoy to cruise between Canso and Cape Sables for the protection of the Fishery (478, 480).
Renewed applications for settlement of Province.
Towards the end of 1723 Governor Philipps—against whom Lord Carteret's Agent levelled charges of extortion (530)—again entered a memorial upon the state of Nova Scotia, together with his suggestions as to measures which required to be taken, in the hope that provision for the security and settlement of the Province might be made in the forthcoming session of Parliament. The Board of Trade recommended this memorial to the notice of Mr. Secretary Walpole (766, 766 i, 796).
Officers' petition for grants of land. Representation by Board of Trade.
Col. Vetch and other officers who had taken part in the Expedition under General Nicholson continued to press their claims to a grant of land. When they had reduced the amount of land they had asked for, whilst undertaking to settle 400 families on it within three years, the Board of Trade reported favourably on their petition, with a reservation as to the conditions which would have to be imposed (104, 686, 699, 708, 709). They had already proposed that, as their former representations as to the Surveyor General's neglect to perform his duty had had no effect, Governor Philipps should be empowered to set apart the 200,000 acres of forest trees to be reserved for the Royal Navy, in order that he might thereafter make grants of land for settlement. As for the suggestion that Canso should be declared a free port, they thought it inadvisable. For though it might bring some settlers, that advantage would be outweighed by the share it might give strangers in the Fishery (134, 172).
Capt. Southack's Map.
Capt. Southack describes a map, sent by him to the Board, in which he has drawn "the line according to the Article of Peace," and on which the Charter Colonies are distinguished "by several collers of paint" (5, 68).
Pennsylvania. Trade and Paper Currency.
In Dec., 1722, Sir William Keith, Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, surveyed the trade and produce of the Colony. Trade for the most part took the shape of "bread" and lumber exported to the West Indies in return for rum, sugar and molasses. The balance from this trade was sent to England in specie and bills of exchange to pay for clothing apparel and luxuries. Hence arose a demand for paper currency for internal circulation among the farmers and traders. Keith, instancing the success of the New York issues, argued in favour of this demand, which was shared by the Assembly (390, 786. Cf. Pa. Col. Rec. III. 173). There was some opposition on the part of traders and merchants who insisted upon small issues and proper provision for redeeming them. An Act for printing 15,000l. in bills was passed in March, 1723, and another for 30,000l. in the autumn (762, 762 i).
Pennsylvania. Trade and Paper Currency.
In Dec., 1722, Sir William Keith, Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, surveyed the trade and produce of the Colony. Trade for the most part took the shape of "bread" and lumber exported to the West Indies in return for rum, sugar and molasses. The balance from this trade was sent to England in specie and bills of exchange to pay for clothing apparel and luxuries. Hence arose a demand for paper currency for internal circulation among the farmers and traders. Keith, instancing the success of the New York issues, argued in favour of this demand, which was shared by the Assembly (390, 786. Cf. Pa. Col. Rec. III. 173). There was some opposition on the part of traders and merchants who insisted upon small issues and proper provision for redeeming them. An Act for printing 15,000l. in bills was passed in March, 1723, and another for 30,000l. in the autumn (762, 762 i).
The Delaware Islands.
The right of the Crown to the islands in Delaware River having been affirmed, the Council of Trade had recommended Capt. Gookin's petition for a grant of some of them. (Cal. Sta. Pap. 1720–1. p. xl.) The Committee of the Privy Council now invited them to report how far they had been improved, and whether it was advisable to continue the persons who had improved them in possession on payment of a quit-rent, or whether the Crown should make new grants of them, the grantees paying compensation for improvements. The Earl of Clarendon was an applicant for such a grant. The Committee further suggested that the Government of the Islands should be assigned to New Jersey (140, 179, 403).
Virginia. Transported Rebels and Convicts.
After taking the opinion of the Attorney General, Lord Carteret approved Lt. Governor Spotswood's view as to the length of time the transported rebels were bound to serve in Virginia (58, 58 i). Later, an Act for the better government of convicts was repealed, on the grounds that it would nullify the Acts of Parliament for their transportation (613, 616, 629, 637, 698).
Spotswood and the Assembly. Spotswood and Indian Conference. He is superceded by Hugh Drysdale. Negro Conspiracy. Act directing trial of Slaves, etc
. Quit-rents and the Two new Counties. Act for better securing quit-rents repealed. Having waited in vain for decisions upon the Quit-rent act and act for the erection of two new Counties, Spotswood summoned an Assembly to meet in the spring of 1722. Their relations were now harmonious. Spotswood could congratulate himself that the testimonials of the Council and Assembly to the success of his whole administration proved that the attack made upon him by the Assembly in 1718 was the outcome of a personal vendetta. The revenue showed a large balance, even after paying for the erection of batteries, with guns and stores of war, to guard the mouths of the great rivers. The sea frontier being thus made safe from pirates, Spotswood was free to set out for Albany, hoping to conclude a treaty with the Five (Seven) Nations, which would render the land frontiers safe for settlers (175, 175 i–iv). For raids across the frontier arising out of feuds between the Seven Nations and the Catawbas and other Southern tribes had led to conversations with New York. Restrictions were imposed, prohibiting the Seven Nations and the Virginian Tributary Indians from passing to the East of the Blue Ridge or South of the Potomac without permits from the respective Governments. Spotswood had at last obtained the full support of the Council and Assembly for his Indian policy (175). But he had already been superceded (91). When he returned, in October, with his Treaty from the Conference at Albany (v. § I and Nos. 349, 349 i–iii, 738, 738 i), a new Lt. Governor, Hugh Drysdale, was already in possession at Williamsburgh (392). Drysdale, on his arrival in Sept. 1722, had found the country quiet, although a plot for a rising of negroes had recently been discovered and suppressed. This conspiracy gave occasion for some acts designed to prevent a recurrence of such risings, and to secure the punishment of ringleaders. Some of the latter could not be convicted for lack of evidence, the only persons privy to the plot being negroes, and they not being capable of bearing witness. One act was therefore passed for transporting such ringleaders, and another enabling negroes in the future to give evidence against those of their own condition and colour (392, 529, 529 i., pp. 297, 298). Drysdale reported that the country was chiefly concerned with the exemption of the two new Counties from quit-rents etc. Intending settlers were holding their hand until a decision was announced (392, 392 ii). After consultation with the Treasury, remission of quit-rents and purchase of rights was at length granted for two years (479, 590, 674). The act for the better discovery and securing of quit-rents was repealed on the strength of objections raised by the Auditor General, but the Council of Trade suggested the passing of another act not liable to the same objections (581, 590, 653, 697).
Tobacco and other acts.
Drysdale reported that he was maintaining harmonious relations with the Council and Assembly. Several acts which he had recommended were passed (529, 529 i). Trade was bad, owing to the low price of tobacco. An attempt was made to improve the price by a new act for raising the staple of tobacco (529 i, 625). Among other acts were new militia and defence acts, an act for payment of the Assembly's salaries, and one laying duties on liquors and slaves imported, the latter tax being reduced to 40s. per head. This act was passed with a suspensory clause (392, 625).
It was vehemently opposed by the Royal African Company and Bristol merchants. Some of the arguments used by them are noteworthy. Experience, it was said, proved that such duties had to be borne by the importers, and therefore constituted a tax upon British trade and shipping imposed by Colonies which owed their very existence to the Fleet and power of Great Britain (700, 714, 753, 776). So far as Virginia was concerned, it was partly a device on the part of rich planters, already well supplied with negroes, to prevent others obtaining slaves and entering into competition with their tobacco plantations, and partly a means of making good a fund into which the Assemblymen had broken in order to pay their salaries (714, 777, 781, 797).
In spite of poor trade, however, and the expense of completing the batteries and repairing the Governor's House, the Revenue of 2s. per hogshead still showed a balance sufficient for defraying Government expenses for 1723, and the quit-rents a substantial sum in hand, even after a Treasury payment of 5491l. to Lord Belhaven (392, 625, 625 iii, iv).
Boundary with N. Carolina.
Governor Drysdale asked for a definition of the boundary with North Carolina agreed upon in 1715, since its unsettled state was leading to disputes among both white inhabitants and Indians (625).
The Lighthouse on Cape Henry. Some of the merchants concerned, and masters of ships in the Virginian trade having declared that a lighthouse on Cape Henry would be useless, the project was dropped (197, 216, 230, 244, 590, 738).
The Bahama Islands. Palatine Immigrants.
In spite of sickness among the soldiers, Governor Phenney reported steady progress in the building of the Fort and Church at Nassau, of which he sent home drafts as well as a map and description of the Islands (6, 284, 394, 452, 452 iv, vi, 455, 455 vii, 677, 677 iv, v, 678, 803, 803 ii, iv). There is more local colour in another account of the islands by an ex-member of Council, who attributed such sickness as there was to the lax ways of the inhabitants (127). But the Palatine immigrants, whom he considers "an indolent laizy tribe," Governor Phenney presently describes as being in a flourishing condition, and very industrious (127, 803).
Demand for Assembly.
A member of the Council was suspended on the charge of being a Jacobite (45 ii), whilst the demand for an Assembly increased. It was needed particularly to vote funds for the fortifications and expenses of the administration (127). In the absence of any power to raise a revenue, the Governor continued a duty upon imports of rum and tonnage of foreign trading vessels (284). But the total revenue for the last half of 1723 only amounted to 946 pieces of eight (801 ii). The exasperation with the conduct of the Bahama Company's Factors, whose high-handed actions were becoming intolerable, and the unsettled state of affairs as regards grants of land and quit-rents, which was driving settlers away from the islands, rendered the demand for an Assembly more insistent. The Council pressed for it. And though it was reported that the Company was opposed to it, they did presently support it. (45, 208, 208 i–xx, 453 i, iv, 455, 579 i, 803). The Council of Trade was ordered to consider the advisability of granting an Assembly, and being inclined to report favourably, instructed Governor Phenney to draw up an electoral scheme. This he submitted at the end of 1723 (118, 612, 801).
Spaniards plunder Cat Island, Capture of pirates.
Reference has been made in § I to the plundering of Cat Island by Spanish pirates and the capture and trial of some of them (284, 394, 455, 455 i–iii, xi, 817). Proceedings were also taken against some persons suspected of trafficking with pirates (677).
Women of masculine energy and dominating character were not unknown in the West Indies at a time when the rule of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, was a lively memory at home. The careers of Anne Bonnay and Mary Reid, the two female pirates of Providence Island, had recently been brought to an end in Jamaica (v. Cal. Sta. Pap. Col. 1720–1. p. 335). Similar masculine qualities were exhibited by Mrs. Phenney, the Governor's wife. Her business capacity and fluent tongue seem to have established something in the nature of a reign of terror in the West Indies. She went home in 1723, partly as the emissary of her husband, who wished for the safe custody of some official papers to be laid before Lord Carteret, and partly to further her own business projects. She was hoping to obtain leave to trade with the Spaniards on the coast and to conduct salvage operations on the wrecks in the Gulf of Florida. Touching at Bermuda on her way, she apparently gave Lt. Governor Hope a taste of her quality. For he wrote to warn his patron; "I wish to God she were gone from hence. But the Lord have mercy o' your Lordship if she getts access." Thus warned, Carteret was spared an encounter (453 ii, 507, 803). Was it the dread of her presence which stimulated him to write at this juncture commending Phenney's services and giving hope that something would be done when Parliament met? (521).
The Bahama Company repeated their request for a Charter of Incorporation and assistance. Alternatively, they asked that the Islands should be resumed by the Crown, after paying them compensation. The expense to which they had been put was so great, and the returns from trade and rights were so small, that they were no longer able to carry on (122, 579 i, 737).
Replies to Queries. Fallow deer from S. Carolina.
Governor Phenney's replies to the questionnaire of the Board of Trade indicate a movement of settlers from Bermuda to the Bahama Islands with the intention of manufacturing palmetto platt and building vessels there (801 iii). One enterprising person—apparently the ex-Councillor Mr. Carrington—contemplated importing fallow deer from S. Carolina to breed in Hog Island (207).
Barbados. Cox. Worsley dismisses Cox.
Lord Belhaven, the new Governor of Barbados, having been lost at sea on his way out, the administration of the President, Samuel Cox, received a new lease of life. Further reports of his "tyranny and oppression," as the Council of Barbados described it, induced the Board of Trade to renew their advice that speedy steps should be taken to put an end to a situation which had brought the King's business to a standstill. They urged that the new Governor, Henry Worsley, should hurry to his post (18, 106. Cf. Cal. State Pap. 1720–1. p. xlvii–li). The Duke of Portland, touching at Barbados on his voyage to take up the administration of Jamaica, reported that his arrival was awaited with a general impatience, and that the Barbadians were anxious to put an end to the factions and animosities from which the island had so long been suffering. Incidentally, he mentions the "surprizing agreeableness in which that beautyfull Island presented itself to my view" (396, 487). Cox, in fact, was again busy dismissing officers, removing the Chief Baron, and suspending Councillors (42, 121, 121 i). Worsley was instructed to enquire into the charges against Cox, and to make his report to the Privy Council, giving such orders in the mean time as he should judge necessary for the peace and good government of the island (257). After hearing both sides, he pronounced Cox guilty of arbitrary and corrupt conduct, and not only suspended him from the Council but also declared him incapable of ever again holding office as Councillor. This was done in order to quiet apprehensions lest, on the Governor's absence or death, he should again resume the Presidency. Worsley also reinstated some of the Justices of the Peace whom Cox had dismissed, and removed those he had put in (648, 648 i–iii).
Bernard Cook's Charges investigated.
Charges brought by Bernard Cook against Governor Lowther and certain Justices of the Peace were investigated by the Committee of the Privy Council for hearing appeals and complaints from the Plantations. No evidence being offered in support of the accusation against Lowther, it was dismissed. But the Justices were removed by Order in Council for illegal and arbitrary proceedings (27). Cook's case, and that against John Frere and other Councillors were also heard by Worsley in Barbados, and dismissed (754, 754 i, ii).
Report upon Acts required.
Governor Worsley was handed a list of acts, upon the usefulness of which he was to give his opinion. The Council of Trade being in some doubt about the objections made to them, had decided to let them "lie by probationary" until their effect was known (278, 278 i). But in the case of the Act concerning Public Notaries, notice was given that unless a new act was passed without the defects pointed out in the one before the Board, it would be repealed. (pp. 137, 138).
Worsley's Instructions contained a few alterations from those prepared for Lord Belhaven (114 i, ii, 247). Apart from some relating to bills of credit and the Bishop of London's ecclesiastical jurisdiction, which conformed with the revised instructions of the Governor of Jamaica and recent Orders in Council, they included the additional Instruction concerning Tobago, and a recommendation for re-enacting the law governing the sale of lands seized for debts.
Worsley arrived in Barbados in Jan., 1723. He received a warm welcome from the Council and Assembly, who assured the King that they intended to work with him for the peace and welfare of the Colony (486, 497 ii). He immediately reported that great abuses were being practised in trade, especially in illegal commerce with Martinique, which he took energetic measures to repress (486, 648, 679, 715, 715 i, ii.)
By his instructions he, like the Governor of Jamaica and Lord Belhaven, had been empowered to receive from the first Assembly after his arrival an addition to his salary for the duration of his Government (114 i, 247. Cf. Cal. St. Pap. Col., 1720–1. p. 1). The object of this restriction was to prevent any improper bargain between Governors and Assemblies. It may be that Worsley's prompt measures against illegal trade led to something of the sort, or it may be that the Assembly was unduly generous owing to the relief that was felt at the prospect of a respite from internecine factions. Whatever the motive, they voted Worsley the enormous additional salary of 6000l. sterling per annum. This would be in addition to the Governor's fixed salary from home and his perquisites in the Island, amounting in all, it was computed, to 10,000l. sterling (486, 487, 823). Worsley considered that, considering the cost of living, and the state and hospitality expected from a Governor, this was not an extraordinary sum (498).
Yet in an Address to the King a few months before, praying that the 4½ per cent. export duty might be applied to the uses for which it was raised, it had been represented that the country was reduced to the lowest ebb, and was utterly unable to bear any new taxation (386). And though the Island was in debt to the tune of 40,000l. and the funds were urgently needed for repairing the fortifications (487), the Council of Trade raised no objection to this grant as being excessive. They submitted it however to the Law Officers of the Crown for their opinion in point of law, before proposing its confirmation (586, 640, 679, 693, 788). The Privy Council passed it with the proviso that if the tax imposed by the Act fell short of the sum granted, no other tax should be levied to make good the deficiency and that no responsibility for any deficiency should be incurred by the Crown (611).
Dispute with Customs House Officers.
Some trouble arose between the Receiver and Auditor of the Revenue and the Customs House Officers over the disposal of condemned goods (463, 486, 498, 498 i–vii, 679).
Sta. Lucia and St. Vincent. Duke of Montagu's Grant and Expedition.
The islands of Sta. Lucia and St. Vincent were included in the Commission of the Governor of Barbados. But no attempt had been made to settle them by the English, whilst the French had made several attempts to do so, and laid claim to them (126, 419, 419 i, 483, 820). The Duke of Montagu petitioned for a grant of the soil of the islands in Jan. 1722. He asked that he should himself be appointed Governor, undertaking to settle 500 people on Sta. Lucia within three years, and to settle St. Vincent within ten. The Council of Trade recommended the proposed grant under the rules and restrictions which had recently been laid down in the case of Tobago, except that in the present case the planting of sugar canes was not prohibited. Letters patent were issued in June, granting the Duke of Montagu the propriety and government of the two islands (10 i, 36 i, ii, 126, 820). The Governors of Barbados and the Leeward Islands were instructed to countenance and protect the settlers (311), and warships ordered to protect the Expedition and settlers (820). The Duke of Montagu issued a Declaration in August inviting emigrants and promising them grants of land and protection (266). The appointment of Nathaniel Uring as Lt. Governor was approved, and after he had given the usual security for the observance of the Acts of Trade and Navigation, he set sail with large stores of all kinds and ordnance and arms (232, 264, 266, 820). On Dec. 16th the Expedition, consisting of two ships and a sloop, with 180 emigrants on board, and escorted by H.M.S. Winchelsea reached Sta. Lucia and cast anchor in Pigeon Island Bay (419, 483, 820).
The Duke of Montagu names five ships and a sloop as forming the expedition, apart from the man of war. Of these one had gone ahead with stores, and two and yet another from Boston followed later (820).
On the following morning, Dec. 17th, having decided that Pigeon Island Bay was not a suitable site the expedition sailed a couple of leagues to Leeward down the coast and made a landing at Petit Carenage (Castries). There were found the remains of works begun by the Marshal d'Estrée's settlement, which had been abandoned at the instance of the British Government as recorded in previous volumes of this Calendar. These Uring proceeded to repair, with assistance from H.M.S. Hector and Feversham, the Barbados station ships, which arrived on the 22nd to give support to the settlement (419, 483, 820).
But before the Expedition had left the Thames, protest had been entered by the French Minister at London, stating the claim of the French King to Sta. Lucia, and asserting that St. Vincent ought to be left to the Caribs. The Privy Council, however, resolved that the Expedition should proceed, and that Mr. Daniel Pulteney should be sent to Paris, there to assert once more the title of the British Crown to these islands (208). Orders were promptly sent from Versailles (Sept. 21) to the Governor of Martinique, directing him to require Capt. Uring to abandon his settlement within fourteen days, and to compel him to do so by force of arms, if he should refuse to comply. A French sloop arriving from Martinique brought news of these orders to Capt. Orme, H.M.S. Winchelsea, on the 16th, whilst lying in Pigeon Island Bay (483).
On the 22nd, the same day as the station ships arrived from Barbados, a French sloop came in from Martinique with a letter from the French Governor-General calling upon Uring to quit the island within 14 days.
After receiving assurances from the Commanders of H.M. ships, that they would defend him if he was attacked, Uring decided to ignore the French summons, regarding it as merely a stratagem to frighten him away. Hoisting the Union Jack at Petit Carenage he proceeded with the fortification of the north side of the harbour, whilst the men of war drew in to cover the approach to it by land. The French at once began to land men close by at Shock Bay (? Anse du Choc), under pretence of refitting whilst in search of pirates, whilst Capt. Orme endeavoured to prevent their communications with Martinique. It was ominous that some of the emigrants began to desert to the French. Then on 3rd Jan. came news that 15 sloops with 1500 men on board were ready to sail from Martinique. With this overwhelming force the Marquis de Champigny landed on the 6th, and marched through the woods upon Uring's little camp, and summoned the settlers to surrender. Uring had no choice but to capitulate, agreeing to evacuate the island within seven days. Apart from the number of the French, there was no fight in his own men. Some were sick, and others, who were indentured servants, were ready to desert in hopes of gaining their freedom. Moreover, the Naval Commanders had refused to land men as a reinforcement. On the 15th January, therefore, the little Colony reimbarked, and sailed for Antigua, and St. Christopher. The Duke of Montagu being thus left with 500 emigrants to provide for, petitioned for a grant of lands in the former French part of St. Christopher, with the intention of settling them there (419, 419 i–vi, 483, 820, 821). Hart, the Governor of the Leeward Islands, from whose narrative the above account is partly drawn, gives his opinion that the failure of the Expedition was largely due "to the persons employed," who had no knowledge of the locality, nor the capacity for establishing a new Colony, and were quarrelling among themselves. If Uring had been supported by regular troops, instead of "raw, undisciplined and mutinous men," he thought that, with the aid of the men of war, he could have beaten off the French (419).
Before the French attack developed, a sloop had been sent (Dec. 25) from Sta. Lucia to St. Vincent, to offer privileges and protection to the natives if they would accept the Duke's Government. The reception of this embassy by the Caribs was by no means encouraging to the Colony at Sta. Lucia (483). On leaving St. Lucia, Uring sent Lt. John Braithwaite as his Deputy in a sloop, with H.M.S. Winchelsea, to see whether it would be possible to make a settlement there. Their reception was distinctly hostile. Capt. Orme found the natives to be "so intimate and well-acquainted with the French that most of them speak that language." They had been warned that if they made any agreement with the English, the French would carry them off as captives to Martinique. He wisely concluded that it would be useless to attempt to colonise the island without securing the friendship of the inhabitants, and that would be difficult to do, whilst they were so much under French influence. He added, even if that impediment were removed, the island was scarcely worthy of a settlement," there being no commodious harbours" (483, 820.)
Bermuda, Act to supply deficiency of funds,
Confirmation of the Act of Bermuda for supplying the deficiency of several funds etc., was solicited on behalf of the retiring Lt. Governor, Benjamin Bennett (35). Objection to it was raised by the Legal Adviser of the Board of Trade on the grounds that it imposed a 5 per cent. duty upon imported goods, which would chiefly affect British trade, and that for 21 years (47). Lt. Governor Hope, however, on his arrival in Bermuda in Feb., 1722, asked for its confirmation, as the only means of defraying the expenses of the administration (78, 79). The revenue was very small, and showed a deficit. The greater part of it had been spent in carrying on the law suit between Lt. Governor Bennett and the ex-Secretary, Edward Jones (470, 505, 513, 513 i–ix). The Council of Trade could not ignore the objections to the Act, but in order to avoid proposing its repeal, decided to let it lie by for a while, so that the Assembly might have an opportunity of raising money by some other less exceptional method (180). Hope then asked that the Act might be passed with an amendment continuing the 5 per cent. duty for three years instead of 21, whilst the Council and Assembly petitioned for its confirmation, the sum involved being only 200l. per annum, and the imposition being of great benefit to the island and in no way detrimental to the trade of Great Britain or the other Plantations. The people were very poor; and the country really produced nothing that would bear being taxed (351, 353, 353 i, iii, 444, 470). The Council of Trade for these reasons fell in with Hope's suggestions and made a representation to that effect. But the British merchants persisted in their opposition to a tax which differentiated between inhabitants of Bermuda and other traders, and the Act was repealed outright, no notice being taken of the suggestion that it should be allowed to remain in force for three years only (593, 615, 620). The Council of Trade could only advise Hope to discover some other method of raising the necessary funds (621). On learning from the Board, that the Act had been repealed, Hope succeeded in obtaining a new act from the Assembly (621, 741).
But the first news of the repeal had been brought over by Jones, the re-hearing of whose case had resulted in a unanimous verdict in favour of ex-Lt. Governor Bennett (444, 505). Hope refused to take notice of a copy of the order repealing the act presented by Jones, and protested against such copies being given to private persons before Orders had been communicated to Governors (741).
The Council of Trade approved Hope's action in suspending a Councillor, who had overawed a Coroner and Jury at an inquest upon a murder committed by his son-in-law. Feeling ran high over this incident. For the victim was the gallant Capt. Landie who had fought and taken two Spanish privateers in one day (v. C.S.P. 1720–21, No. 277 ii.); and the murderer was no other than the pirate, John Lewis, who had robbed the Marquis of Navarres (v. C.S.P. 1719–20, No. 499.), and after surrendering upon the King's pardon, had "not belied his profession ever since" (85, 85 i, 86, 180). Lewis was tried and executed (204, 204 i, 635, 635 i).
Pirates and the inhabitants.
Two other pirates were tried and executed at Bermuda (444, 634). As a general rule, however, the inhabitants were on easy terms with the pirates; trading with them among the islands under pretence of salt-raking, and regarding piracy, according to Hope, as a crime of no more enormity than smuggling in England (444, 507, 603).
Hope's letters. A Sportsman's opportunities The story of Capt. Pulleine and the South Sea. Description of the Island and its trade, etc.
Hope gives some lively accounts of the inhabitants and the social conditions prevailing in Bermuda at this time in letters to his patron, Lord Carteret, which contain more intimate details than the usual official correspondence. He notices that living is "tolerable and cheap," and provides diversions for a sportsman in the way of shooting and fishing. But, as he has come out to retrieve his broken fortunes, he adds hastily that he is too much of a man of business to give himself that latitude (603). However, in another refreshing passage he describes how he spends three or four hours each morning on horseback, watching the whale fishing from the top of the hills, and galloping in to the death (507). Another piece of curious gossip purports to reveal the origin of the South Sea enterprises. Capt. Pulleine's appointment to the Lt. Governorship is alleged to have been owed to a Journal of a Voyage in the South Seas which he palmed off on Lord Oxford as his own. According to this story it was really based on some papers left by Leak, the mate of a pirate ship, which Pulleine appropriated when cast away in Bermuda in 1717 (603). Hope also sent in a full description of the island, its produce, trade and inhabitants to the Board of Trade (353 ii). A great part of the able-bodied population was usually absent at sea. So much so, in fact, that on occasions of alarm very few of the thousand men enrolled in the Militia were available for defence (353 ii).
Act for lessening number of Assembly Assembly's oath of Secrecy.
This was one of the reasons advanced by Hope for passing an act reducing the number of the members of Assembly to eighteen. It was difficult at present to get together the requisite number of men capable of understanding public business—especially in the afternoons! Furthermore, it would reduce both the cost of the Assembly, a heavy burden on the island, and the risk of religious differences between the Council and Assembly. The majority of the Assembly were Dissenters, of the Council, Churchmen (470, 505, 741). As to the oath of secrecy taken by the Assembly, to which Hope took exception, the Board of Trade held that, if established by long custom, it could only be altered by the Assembly's own wish. (353, 621).
Accounts and Stores of War. Court of Chancery.
Hope sent home some accounts of the Revenue, but found difficulty in obtaining them, owing to the incapacity of officeholders. There were disputes, too, of long standing between the Governor and Collector of Customs, as to who should receive the King's Thirds. (505, 505 i–ix, 506, 506 ii, 507, 513). Like most other Governors, Hope asked for a grant of stores of war. (513, 513 i, ii, 515). He drew attention to the constitution of the Court of Chancery, which consisted of the Governor and Council. But that was established by an Act which had received the Royal assent, and could therefore only be altered, as the Council of Trade reminded him, by the will of the Assembly, after leave had been obtained for repealing it (353, 621).
Jamaica. Payment to Lord A. Hamilton ordered.
The Assembly of Jamaica having refused, in spite of repeated commands, to sanction payment by the Receiver General of the money due to the late Governor, Lord Archibald Hamilton, and Members of the Council, orders were given by Royal Sign Manual for the immediate settlement of this debt with interest out of the Revenue. (26, 34, 81). The Assembly showed their annoyance by demanding the dismissal of the Attorney General, who had advised that payment (116). Lord Archibald, on the other hand, being now convinced that the Nuestra Senora de Belen had never been good prize, the return of that ship to the Spanish owners was ordered (222, 222 i, 223).
Governor Sir Nicholas Lawes, after vainly endeavouring to strike a bargain with the Assembly over the re-imbursement of the Revenue, and finding them still recalcitrant, dissolved the House. He sent home, with his comments, the acts passed during the late session, and again recommended the passing of an Act by the Imperial Parliament for settling the Revenue, as the only way out of the impasse. There was no money in the Treasury, and his own salary was hopelessly in arrears (116).
The new Assembly. Acts passed.
The new Assembly met in June. But in spite of their fair promises, Lawes was soon in despair of their making any provision for the payment of the Island's debts. He found himself in great difficulties, owing to lack of money or credit, and of instructions from Home. Even the parties sent out to suppress runaway and rebellious negroes were left without pay (215, 215 ii). A few months later, however, Lawes was able to report a change of tone in the Assembly. They passed several acts which he recommended, and even a bill for making the present Revenue perpetual. This was obviously inadequate and was probably mere window-dressing. Among the Acts passed were, besides the annual Deficiency bill, one laying a tax upon transported convicts, others for encouraging the settlement of the North East part of the Island and Pero Plantation at Port Morant, and one providing for the payment of official salaries, some money for the Treasury and some for the reception of the new Governor, the Duke of Portland. (382, 639, 646, etc.).
Duke of Portland's Instructions. Revenue Act and Expiration of Laws. Duke of Portland's Instruction on these.
Meanwhile the time drew near when the Laws of the Island would expire. Before sailing, the Duke asked to be allowed to assure the people that it was intended to renew and confirm them (44 i, 215 ii). They were dependent upon the term of the Revenue Act passed in 1703 for twenty-one years, and would, therefore, expire in 1724. The Council of Trade raised the question whether two previous revenue acts, which were intended to be repealed by the Act of 1703, were in fact absolutely repealed, or only suspended for the period during which that temporary act was in force, so that they would be revived when it ceased (53, 62, 63, 66). The Law Officers of the Crown gave their opinion that the intention of the Act was to repeal the two former acts absolutely. But in a case of so much importance, they advised the passing of a new Revenue Act by the Assembly, to prevent difficulties that might arise (53, 62, 63, 66). On this, the Council of Trade represented, after reviewing the history of the case, that it would be advisable to instruct the new Governor to acquaint the Council and Assembly that His Majesty would be graciously pleased to continue their laws on condition that they granted a settled revenue, for perpetuity or at least twenty-one years, equal to the present expenses of the Government there. The importance of having their laws continued was, in fact, so great, that the Board was convinced it would prove a governing factor in persuading them to concede a settled and sufficient revenue (87, 87 i). Instructions to this effect were then given to the Duke of Portland (93, 97 ii). By subsequent instructions he was directed to submit details of the proposed revenue and of the expenses of the Establishment which it was intended to meet, and which was to form part of the Act, for the approbation of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury (226, 233).
and on alterations in rates of currency.
Merchants and planters concerned in the Jamaica trade having protested against recent attempts to raise the value of pieces of eight and their ruinous effect upon creditors, a process said to have been connived at by Sir Nicholas Lawes, the Duke of Portland was further instructed to see that any such alterations were remedied, since they were directly contrary to the Act of Parliament ascertaining the rates of foreign coins, and would be disastrous to the trade and credit of the island. Complaints from the same source of delays and irregularities in the Courts of Justice, calculated to prevent the recovery of debts, were also commended to the Duke's consideration (320, 320 i–iii).
High Wind in Jamaica.
The Duke arrived in Jamaica (Dec. 22nd) to find the country in great distress. On Aug. 28, 1722, a terrible hurricane had struck the island, spreading such devastation that even four months later everything appeared to him "to bear one universal face of ruin and desolation." This high wind blew for 14 hours, and was thought by some to have been more violent than that of 1712. The loss of life was great; innumerable houses were blown down; half Port Royal was destroyed; and the damage to shipping and the plantations was enormous. Only the new line of fortifications saved Port Royal from complete destruction by the driven sea. The ships of the Royal Navy were alone able to ride out the storm, but lost all their masts. They rendered timely aid to the destitute and starving inhabitants who had survived. At St. Jago de la Vega the public buildings were much injured, but it was remarked that the houses built by the Spaniards sustained very little damage. At Old Harbour the houses and inhabitants were "all destroyed except two." Exposure to the cold and prodigious rains which followed caused a subsequent outbreak of sickness. At Kingston, of "26 top-sail vessels and 10 sloops," only ten survived, and half this number was damaged beyond repair. One ship alone in a distant harbour was left fit to put to sea and carry the ill tidings to England (295, 295 i–v, 382, 396, 456, 778).
The appeal for aid which the Governor and Council addressed to the King, received a prompt and generous reply. His Majesty, "extremely touched with the losses which his subjects have sustained," dispatched a fifty gun ship laden with guns, arms and ammunition to replace the stores lost through the hurricane, and promised to do everything that could be reasonably expected for their support and relief. On his part, it was added, he looked for suitable returns of duty from them (295, 295 i, ii, 388, 397).
The Duke's welcome. Revenue Act and grant of salary passed. Repeal of Revenue Acts of 1722.
In spite of the indescribably "miserable condition" in which he found the Island, the Duke of Portland was agreeably surprised by the warmth of the welcome accorded to him. But the complaints made by the merchants seemed to have been justified. For apart from the devastation wrought by the hurricane, the new Governor reported that he found public affairs and the administration of Justice much neglected and the Revenue in great disorder. He summoned the Assembly, and succeeded so far in establishing good relations with them, that they passed acts for settling the revenue, making the laws perpetual, and granting a salary to the Governor. They refused to insert a suspensory clause in these acts, but the Duke gave his assent to them all, ignoring his recent instructions for submitting the details of the Revenue to the Treasury. He explained that the Revenue provided was apparently ample, and that he could not risk waiting, lest so inconstant a people should change their mind, and also because they were in so distressed a state owing to the hurricane. He asked for the confirmation of these acts, though later on he admitted that he did not expect it and had so warned the Council (456, 457, 457 i, 778, 779). He failed to obtain the settlement of a salary on the Lt. Governor, Du Bourgay (456). No time was lost in obtaining the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown upon these acts, and the Council of Trade recommended their rejection, not only on account of "matters of a very extraordinary nature in point of law," to which the Attorney and Solicitor General had objected, and of the absence of a suspensory clause, but also because the sum provided seemed likely to fall very far short of the necessary expenses of the Government (518, 533, 535–537, 542 i, ii, 582). The latter point was referred to the Treasury (596). A searching report by the Committee of the Privy Council, was followed by the repeal of the acts (664, 676). A letter under the Royal Sign manual to the Governor accompanied the Order of the Lords Justices repealing the acts. A copy of the Committee's report was enclosed and concern was expressed at his disobedience to his Instructions. Once more he was directed to obtain from the Council and Assembly a draft of an establishment covering the whole expenses of Government for the future, including the Governor's additional salary, and to submit it with the draft of an act providing a sufficient revenue to meet it, in order that they might be approved before the first of October, 1724—the day on which the laws would otherwise expire (582, 696). In the mean time the Council of Trade had been ordered to enquire and report upon the position in which Jamaica would find itself in such an eventuality (675).
In Oct. 1723, therefore, the Duke of Portland again recommended the settling of the revenue to the Council and Assembly, in order thereby to obtain the King's consent to making their laws perpetual (727 i–iii). A little later he showed that he was doubtful whether they would agree to do so, and explained their attitude:—"they are so fond of the notion to be as near as can be upon the foott of H.M. English subjects, that the desire of it allmost distracts them." (779).
Spanish pirates hanged.
H.M.S. Lanceston captured a "notorious Spanish pirate," and 41 of the crew were hanged. Sir N. Lawes hoped that this would deter the Spanish guarda da costas from their depredations on British shipping, such gentry being always ready to declare that they held commissions from Spanish Governors. The Governor of Cuba, however, protested against the hanging of these pirates, claiming them as loyal subjects of Spain (142, 215, 215 i).
Duke of Portland and the Naval Squadron.
The Duke of Portland, on the other hand, charged the Naval Squadron with neglecting its duty of rounding up pirates and merely using the search for them as an excuse for trading with the Spanish settlements, to the great detriment of Jamaican traders. Over the case of a pirate ship, the Cassandra, which they allowed to slip through their hands and take refuge, under the plea of a general pardon, with the Governor of Panama, the Duke thus came into a conflict with the Commodore and Captains of the Naval Squadron, which culminated in an unseemly episode described by him in the course of his complaints to Lord Berkeley and Lord Carteret (659, 659 i–vii).
Leeward Islands. Breaking of the drought. Hurricanes. Hart's report.
The arrival of Governor Hart at Antigua in Dec. 1721, was quickly followed by the breaking of the disastrous drought, which had lasted for four years. Welcome rains heralded a rapid return to prosperity (14, 125, 220, 496, 503). Nor was this seriously retarded by a succession of hurricanes which swept the islands in the autumn of 1723, inflicting much damage on shipping, especially at Antigua (721, 721 i, 772). The new Governor soon sent in a general report upon the condition of the several islands and the different qualities of the inhabitants. Antiguans, he observed, were sociable, well-bred, and loyal, and most of the gentlemen had been educated in England. But whilst the inhabitants of St. Christopher were flourishing, courageous and ready for any enterprise, those of Nevis were disaffected, turbulent and difficult to a degree (220).
Antigua. Governor's Salary.
Meeting the Assembly of Antigua on New Year's Day, Hart recommended that they should take measures for the defence of the island, the revision of their laws and the amendment of the act governing the recovery of debts (14, 14 i–iii). But he had some difficulty in obtaining the grant of an addition to his salary for the duration of his government. For here as elsewhere, the Assembly disliked parting with the hold over a Governor which was conferred upon them by the power of granting or withholding an annual present to him, according as he fell in with their views. After some argument, however, Hart secured an act laying a duty on imports for this purpose. He represented that this tax would fall upon the resident traders, who would pass it on to the consumer, and that as he had arranged that the sum by which he was to benefit should depend upon the tonnage of homeward bound shipping, he would share in the good or bad fortunes of the planters. An act for establishing Courts was also passed, amending the faulty method of recovering debts, which took account of the objections raised to the former law. This, he believed, would help to restore the credit of the island, which would be further enhanced by another Act imposing heavier taxation than the planters had hitherto been willing to bear, for discharging the vast public debt.
In spite of his arguments to the contrary, the Council of Trade reported adversely upon the act granting Hart an additional salary, as affecting British trade and shipping and having no suspensory clause (92, 287, 297, 401, 598, 771, 772). The act was therefore repealed (359, 598). An outbreak of sickness brought business to a standstill when the Assembly met in Jan., 1723 (417, 417 i–iii). But in April, they marked their resentment at the repeal of the import duty, by reducing the vote to the Governor to 1000l. for one year only. But as his Instructions only permitted him to accept an addition to his salary, if it was granted for the duration of his government, this proposal was rejected by him in Council. As to the amount, Hart remarked that 1000l. might have a swelling sound, but that since it was paid in produce, it was equivalent to only 250l., whilst the cost of living was very high. The Assembly, however, angrily insisted that they would make an allowance only in the manner they thought fit, and not as the Crown might direct. As they persisted in this mood, Hart dissolved the House and sailed for St. Christopher (125, 576, 784). There he learned that the members of the new Assembly had promptly shown their disapproval of the proceedings of the last (576, 578). Indeed, they passed a bill for his salary in a form not liable to the objections which had caused the repeal of the previous act. But this bill was rejected by the Council. For by the Instruction now governing this matter, a Governor might only receive an additional salary from the first Assembly after his arrival. Hart was thus left unprovided for, unless he were given permission by the Crown to accept a vote from the second Assembly (784, 785 i, ii).
Montserrat. Governor's Salary. Acts repealed.
Hart fared no better in Montserrat. For, though the Assembly was well disposed and passed an act for his additional salary, it was repealed for the same reason as that of Antigua (190, 289, 417, 598, 643, 691), together with an act laying a poll-tax on negroes (190, 289, 327).
Charles Dilke was appointed to succeed Col. Talmash (83), and on his death Capt. Paul George, disappointed of other preferment, asked for and obtained the Lt. Governorship. He had served on the Duke of Montagu's Expedition (419, 419 iv–vi, 568, 578).
Nevis. St. Christopher.
In Nevis, Hart reported everything to be in the utmost confusion. The inhabitants, though they owed their prosperity to the grants in aid from Great Britain, and though Governor Hart brought to them royal assurances of support against French claims for payment of the ransom exacted by Iberville, were disaffected to the Hanoverian Government, and refused in contumelious fashion to vote the Governor a salary. Hart attributed their attitude in part to the evil of absentee landowners, and in part to the feebleness of the Lt. Governor. As a remedy he proposed to appoint as Lt. Governor, Col. Mathew, the Lieutenant-General of the Leeward Islands, and to combine the two Governments of Nevis and St. Christopher. In spite of the Governor's attempt at conciliation, Council and Assembly continued to treat him with studied contempt (220, 417, 578, 772).
Governor's Salary, and Proposal for settlement of lands.
Only from St. Christopher did Hart succeed in obtaining an act for additional salary, which was confirmed (360, 598). In pleading for this allowance, he observed that Governors were expected to spend lavishly in the islands, whilst the cost of living was four times as great as that prevailing in Europe. He added, as a significant statistic suggesting that the labourer was worthy of his hire, that only one Governor had lived to return to England in the past 33 years. The Assembly also, in an address to the King, made the proposal that, in order to obviate for the future all those dissensions which had arisen out of differences as to the ways and means of providing for a Governor's salary, 500 acres should be granted by the Crown out of the former French lands, to be stocked and settled at the cost of the island, for the use of the present and future Governors. The produce, it was calculated, would provide an additional salary of 2000l. sterling per annum (125, 771, 771 i). At home, the Treasury was still considering what method to pursue in disposing of the lands in the late French part of the island (292, 592).
Feuds between Council and Assembly. Militia and Brimston Hill Acts. Severity of Acts for restraining negroes. Act for protection of indented servants.
On his first visit to St. Christopher, Hart reported that he had been successful in reconciling the Council and Assembly, with the result that a Militia act, which had long been in abeyance, was agreed to, and an act for completing the fortification of Brimston Hill. Another act was intended to stop the running away of negroes, who absconded to the mountains, and descended thence at night to rob with violence. The act, the Governor admitted, "contained several severities—or so it might seem to those who were not acquainted with the sullen and barbarous temper of the negroes." But when compared with those of Barbados and Jamaica, he thought it would be found excusable and necessary. Yet another act was passed to protect indented servants from abuses, securing their liberty and property in such a way as to put them on the same footing as their fellow subjects in Great Britain (190).
Seizure of British Ships.
The seizure of British ships and ill-treatment of British subjects by the French, was the subject of protest to the Governor of Martinique, and subsequently of representations at Paris. The French Minister, however, declared that the chief complaint came from a notorious smuggler, and that severe measures were necessary to repress the interloping trade (496, 598, 599, 689, 689 i). St. Christopher was reported to be very flourishing, and here as elsewhere, revision of the laws was being undertaken. But owing to the inefficiency of the Clerks Hart, like his predecessors, experienced great difficulty in obtaining the returns he required (190, 220).
Governor Hart demanded the withdrawal of the Danes from St. John's Island, and, when refused, offered to lead an expedition to turn them out, without any charge to the Crown. For the inhabitants of St. Christopher were eager for the task, and the harbour of St. Johns was reputed to be the finest in the West Indies (150).
Returns by Fishing Admirals in Newfoundland, and answers to the Commodore's Heads of Enquiry came to hand (88, 94 i, 336–339, 467, 730, 730 i, ii), whilst enquiries were made as to recovering forfeitures on bonds by New England ships which had carried off seamen from the Fishery (96, 117).
Complaints against Lt. Governor Gledhill.
Strong complaints having been made against the Lt. Governor of Placentia for carrying on trade in the Fishery on his own account, he was reminded by the Board of Trade that neither he nor any of the garrison were allowed to do so (475, 476, 485, 491, 632).
French ships fired on.
The French Ambassador having been instructed to complain that an English man of war had fired on several French ships fishing off the Bank of Newfoundland, the Board of Trade awaited the return of the Commodore of the Convoy for his account of the affair (739 i–iii, 749, 750, 758, 758 i, ii, 759, 763, 775).