Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 37, 1730. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1937.
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For the period down to the end of the War of the Spanish Succession the volumes of the Calendars of State Papers, Colonial were not uniform in size and the papers included in each of them did not as a rule end with the close of the year. From 1714 onwards, however, it usually became practicable to include in each volume the papers of two years, and the volumes were all of approximately equal size. But for the year 1730 the bulk of papers is so considerable that it was impossible to include with them the Calendar for 1731, whose papers are also more numerous than those of earlier years. The present volume, therefore, only covers a single year, though it is approximately of the same size as those preceding it. As compared with 547 abstracts for 1728 and 520 for 1729, there are 652 abstracts without allowing for the many enclosures, but the practically doubled bulk is accounted for more by the length of the papers than their number. This indicates that there was no sudden increase of colonial business, as might at first sight have been assumed, but merely an increase of the length at which correspondents wrote. There was no breach of continuity, but everything continued on its accustomed course.
Relations with Spain in the colonies.
The long drawn-out negotiations between the British and Spanish plenipotentiaries at Seville were brought to a conclusion and a definitive treaty of peace was signed in November 1729. Orders had been sent out to the colonies for the cessation of hostilities as far back as 25 March 1728, but they had been little obeyed. Commerce destruction on both sides had gone on much as before, and in the waters of the West Indies there was little change in the system of reprisals that had come down from the sixteenth century. Arrests and confiscations of ships on either side were so frequent both during war and peace that it was impossible to distinguish one from the other. The constant protests passing backwards and forwards between the British and the Spanish colonial Governors might be based on different grounds of legality, and the veneer of politeness might be thinner in war than in nominal peace, but there was no real difference.
The Treaty of Seville provided for the mutual return of prizes and the payment of compensation for improper seizures after the armistice, but the date when hostilities were supposed to have ended was put so far back that there were endless opportunities of dispute. When the Duke of Newcastle sent out his circular letter to the colonies on 22 January 1729/30, (26) to inform them of the treaty of peace, he stated that by its provisions any prizes taken since 11/22 June 1728 were to be restored. That date was chosen as the date when the orders issued in Spain in accordance with the Convention at the Pardo arrived at Cartagena (26 i), but it was realised that those orders had been so ill-obeyed and there had been such a long interval that there were likely to be many applications for redress.
The Duke hoped that, from the readiness with which new cedulas had been issued in Spain, the Spanish Governors would at last think themselves obliged to obey the orders (p. 13) and so a stop would be put to the depredations of the guarda-costas against H.M. subjects in America. But his hope was clearly only a very slender one, for neither the desires of the Governors to comply nor their power to control their subjects were strong enough to bring about really peaceful conditions. Order was therefore given that if the like outrages should continue, immediate applications were to be made to the Governors concerned and full accounts of their answer and behaviour were to be sent to the Secretary of State so that complaint might be made to the King of Spain. (p. 13).
Commissaries to examine claims.
In pursuance of the treaty Benjamin Keene and two others were appointed as Commissaries to treat with Spanish commissaries concerning claims for redress under its provisions. The Board of Trade was ordered to give notice to merchants and others to present their claims with the necessary evidence and vouchers at the Board's office to be forwarded to the Commissaries. (157, 229). At the same time the Board was ordered to prepare representations concerning all such impositions and hardships as had been put upon the trade of H.M. subjects in any of the King of Spain's dominions to be delivered to the Commissaries, who were also to be informed by the Board of the true extent and limits of H.M. possessions bordering on those of the King of Spain in America (157). In accordance with these orders, claims began to pour into the office of the Board with depositions of the outrages suffered. They have only been listed or briefly summarised in the Calendar, but they afford a mass of evidence concerning the actual conduct of maritime trade in the West Indies at the period, which might be of interest to economists and commercial historians.
The Instructions to Keene and his fellow commissaries were prepared in June 1730 (294 i), and they were ordered to complete their labours and present their report within three years from the signing of the Treaty of Seville, i.e. by November 1732. The matters to be examined were set forth in the Instructions and it is of interest to note what were the outstanding causes of dispute between the two powers. Besides applications for redress for seizures of prizes, the commissaries were to examine the complaints of the South Sea Company against hardships and impositions laid upon them upon which the Agent of the Company residing at the Court of Spain would produce evidence. Other questions were to include the boundary between South Carolina and the King of Spain's Province of Florida, the right and title to the Bahama Islands, the right which British subjects claimed and had exercised for many years of cutting logwood in the Bay of Campeachy, and the pretensions of the subjects of the King of Spain in the Province of Guipuscoa to fishing on the Banks of Newfoundland. (p. 152). On the other hand, the Spaniards by virtue of the Treaty of 1721 were likely to make claims for the restitution of the ships taken by the English fleet in 1718, but the commissaries were instructed to represent that the said Treaty had in this respect been duly executed by Great Britain, and that if some of the ships by that Treaty to be restored were not carried home to Spain, it was the fault of the Spanish Officers who would not receive them when they were tendered to them by those in whose custody they were. (p. 153). There were here therefore abundant causes of dispute of very long standing, and the work of the commissaries was likely to be extremely difficult and tedious.
The Florida boundary.
The Board of Trade found it difficult to comply with the orders of the Secretary of State to supply at once to the commissaries copies of all papers in their office relating to grievances in the Spanish trade or contraventions of treaties, because they were so numerous, but they suggested one immediate alteration in the terms of the instructions. In place of the mention of "the King of Spain's Province of Florida" they suggested only a mention of "the limits of the Province of South Carolina," because, as they said, "We are far from acknowledging that Florida belongs to the King of Spain; for Florida in its natural extent would take in both the Carolinas. But we know of no settlement the Spaniards have on that coast between Port Royal and the Point of Florida at the entrance of the Gulf of Mexico, except St. Augustine, which is near 100 miles to the southward of the River Altamaha." (369 ii). This was a matter of considerable importance, for, as we shall see later when we come to mention the propositions for the establishment of a new colony to the south of Carolina which were just then being put forward and which led to the grant of Georgia, the northern limits of Florida would soon become a matter of acute controversy.
Spanish encouragement of privateering.
The Government had little doubt that Spain was insincere in her adhesion to the Treaty of Seville, and they were confirmed in their apprehensions by the information that they received from the Governor of Jamaica. The news of the conclusion of the treaty was received in that colony in March 1730 and was warmly welcomed by the Assembly as giving them hope that their trade with the Mother Country would henceforth be uninterrupted and ample reparation would be made to them for the many and unjust depredations and captures of their ships and vessels by the Spaniards (143 vi). Those hopes were woefully disappointed, for the orders of the King of Spain to cease hostilities were disregarded by his colonists, and the only remedy appeared to be to treat them as pirates. In September 1730 a circular letter was therefore sent out by the Secretary of State to the Governors of all the colonies giving orders to that effect. "The piratical practices of the Spaniards and others," it said, "still continuing to the great damage of H.M. subjects; and as all vessels acting in such matter, in time of peace, are to be reputed no other than pirates, whether they cruise at sea without any commission, or having commissions do nevertheless spoil and plunder the ships and goods of H.M. subjects contrary to the treaties, and there being great reasons to believe that the said freebooters are chiefly upheld in their piracies by the secret encouragement and protection which they meet in many sea-port towns in the West Indies, from whence they are fitted out for the sea, and to which places they retire with their booty," His Majesty requires the Governors of his colonies to give orders to any of his navy ships then in their ports upon proof of such outrages given to the local Court of Vice-Admiralty to proceed to the ports in question and demand immediate restitution and redress or make reprisals for the piratical acts. (453). Thus, despite the apparent restoration of peace, local acts of war were to be authorised in the colonies wherever necessary.
Designs upon Jamaica.
Governor Hunter of Jamaica believed that the Spaniards still cherished designs of attacking the island in force. He forwarded reports from those who had been in contact with the Spanish authorities to show not merely that the plan for a descent in force upon the island had been seriously intended at the end of the war, but great quantities of stores and munitions had been collected for it, which were still available. But it was the fear that the Spaniards were intriguing with the rebellious negroes in Jamaica and furnishing them and the disaffected Irish Papists with arms for a rebellion on a great scale which most seriously disturbed him (311). He pressed on the fortifications at Port Antonio with energy and his reports to the Secretary of State were so grave about the lack of defence that, when he asked for reinforcements, his application was listened to and two regiments were ordered to proceed from Gibraltar to Jamaica without delay. The peace with Spain, in fact, was an exceedingly uneasy one and many of those in the best position to know expected war again within a very short interval.
Relations with France.
Relations with France in the colonial sphere were generally friendly, although the usual causes of irritation remained in Nova Scotia and along the border between Canada and New England and New York. The principal cause affecting the relations of the two Courts which appears in these papers is the question of the "Neutral" Islands about which there are many papers; the subject often appears incidentally in earlier volumes of the Calendar, but here it came to active negotiation and the number of papers concerning it consequently increased.
The Neutral Islands.
In January 1722 the Duke of Montagu had petitioned the Crown for the grant of the islands of St. Lucia and St. Vincent, promising to settle 500 persons in the former within three years. The acceptance of the offer was recommended by the Board of Trade, and in June 1722 Montagu received his letters patent. At the end of the year a party of some 180 emigrants was sent out, but within a few days of their reaching St. Lucia the Governor of Martinique sent a strong force against them and compelled them to withdraw on the grounds that the French had valid claims to St. Lucia and that St. Vincent should be left to the Caribs. (Preface, Cal. St. Pap., Col., 1722–3, pp. xliii–xlvi). The representations of the British envoy to the French Court asserting the title of the British Crown to the islands were strongly repudiated, and it was upon direct orders from Versailles that the Governor of Martinique had compelled Montagu's colonists to retire.
The failure of the attempt was bitterly regretted by the English colonists in Barbados who feared and foresaw that the Martinicans had obliged the Duke's settlers to quit St. Lucia because they desired to settle it for themselves and so to threaten competition with and obstruction of English trade from Barbados. In July 1729 it was reported by a private letter from Francis Freelove, a leading Barbadian, that ever since the expulsion the French had been clandestinely stealing settlements and that there were upwards of 3,000 French inhabitants upon St. Lucia besides their negro slaves and more were daily coming from Martinique. The Barbados merchants urged that very strong representations should be made to the King of France to compel him to recall his subjects before they became more formidable, for not only were they swarming into St. Lucia, but they were also forming settlements upon St. Vincent and Dominica, where they had lately denied the English ships the liberty of getting wood and water. (Cal. St. Pap. Col., 1728–9, no. 802).
Freelove's letter was read to the Board of Trade on 9 December 1729, and they at once summoned him to attend and give further information. Enquiries were also made to the Admiralty as to reports from H.M. ships upon the West Indian station, and it was confirmed that although Mr. Freelove had probably exaggerated the number of French intruders in St. Lucia, there could be no doubt that their number was very considerable and was rapidly increasing. The Board therefore moved the Duke of Newcastle to take immediate action and to recall to the French Court that at a Conference between the English and French Commissaries at Paris in January 1719/20 the Regent promised that the French colonists sent to St. Lucia after its grant to Marshal d'Estrées should be withdrawn and the island put into its previous condition. (Cal. St. Pap. Col., 1728–9, no. 1053, 31 Dec. 1729; recalling Cal. St. Pap. Col., 1719–20, no. 505, 4 Jan. 1719/20. See also Preface, 1719–20, pp. vi–viii).
Rival claims to St. Lucia.
The Secretary of State at once took action, and Mr. Poyntz, the British Minister in Paris, was directed to draw the attention of the French Court to the encroachments at St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Tobago and request that orders should be sent to the Governors of the French colonies in the West Indies to prevent future occasions of complaint. (38). With this letter was sent a statement of the English claim to St. Lucia (38.iv) that had been prepared some years before (Cal. St. Pap. Col., 1709, 2 June 1709). This was only the first of a deluge of papers, for the West Indian merchants had drawn the attention of the House of Commons to the matter and the dangers to English trade arising from French aggression. The House accordingly passed a resolution for an address to the Crown asking for the papers and proceedings of the Board of Trade relating to the French settlement on St. Lucia to be laid before them. (56). This is one of the few cases where there is any mention of parliamentary action in these colonial papers, and it is of interest to trace the action of the administration upon it.
The resolution was passed on 11 February 1729/30, and Mr. Popple, Secretary to the Board of Trade, knowing of it informally, at once began to get together the papers the Board would present to the House. He supplied this list to Mr. Delafaye, the Duke's Under-secretary, (67, 68, 74), a week later, but remarked that the Board had not received any proper direction to lay the papers before the House and submitted a suggestion that his Office ought to receive a signification of the King's pleasure. (67). The Duke accordingly formally forwarded the Address of the House of Commons and requested compliance therewith (Journal, p. 93); accordingly Colonel Bladen, a member of the Board and of the House of Commons, was desired to lay several papers relating to St. Lucia before the House pursuant to their Address. (Journal, 24 Feb., 1729/30, p. 95).
The critical discussion of the subject took place at the beginning of March, and there is an interesting series of notes passing backwards and forwards between Newcastle and Delafaye and others which reveals how the ministers worked out their policy in a matter of this sort. The actual work of picking out the appropriate papers from the archives was done by Delafaye and one of his clerks (105), who sent on the evidence to the Duke. He worked through it and noted what essential documents were missing (104), and then passed on the packets to the Lord Privy Seal, the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary at War (100). It was among this group that the policy was decided upon and the substance of the directions to be sent to the British minister in Paris worked out. (100–106 inclusive).
Mr. Poyntz reported from Paris that he had carried out the instructions given to him and had presented to the Garde des Sceaux translations of the documents relating to the encroachments and violences of the French at St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Dominica, (93 i), but had been met with the counter-charge that English colonists had occupied Santa Cruz [St. Croix], although it was undeniably a French possession. They had driven off French ships that attempted to land and were establishing permanent settlements. In view of these rival contentions, the French Government were willing to renew the offer they had made in 1727 to remove all their men from St. Lucia and the other islands until the question of ownership was settled by negotiation, providing England would do the same. (p. 42). Meanwhile Mr. Poyntz learned that the French were assembling their proofs, and, since he saw that there was an irreconcilable difference in the facts asserted by the two nations as to events in the disputed islands in the seventeenth century, he had set out again the basis of the English claims before the Garde des Sceaux. (p. 43).
Papers concerning the history of the question.
The French Ambassador presented similar representations to the King in London, and Newcastle therefore instructed the Board of Trade to employ their "utmost diligence and attention in forming a full and exact state of the matter together with [their] opinion what it [might] be proper for H.M. to do upon every particular mentioned in the papers" (93). This instruction was received by the Board on 6 March 1729/30, and they therefore had to launch out into an elaborate historical investigation of their records and other papers, which resulted in the production of a series of reports that cover the whole of the rest of the year. For the history of St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Dominica, and to a lesser extent for Santa Cruz, the papers are of great interest and they also throw some light upon the general history of the Lesser Antilles, but it is unnecessary to summarise them here. We need only enumerate certain of the papers of special significance (104, 105, 155, 177, 260–6, 282). The general history of the dispute as regards St. Lucia was set out by the Board in the elaborate and lengthy report presented to the King in July, (324, 324; pp. 170–182), and fortified by the addition of 38 items of evidence collected from both English and French sources.
The English titles to St. Vincent and Dominica were, as the Board remarked, supported by reference to the same authorities, but in August they forwarded a further report in which they set out the proofs relating to St. Vincent, (408; pp. 246–250), supported by 20 items of evidence, and in September a similar report on Dominica, (421; pp. 259–262), with 18 extracts from the records. The Board had much greater difficulty in finding arguments to support the English claim to Santa Cruz, (324), and they appear to have been actually in doubt as to what had been the course of events in that island, (Journal, pp. 101, 103). Their own records contained little or no information, and so they had to call in Colonel Hart, the late Governor of the Leeward Islands, and other persons from Antigua and St. Christopher to give what information they could from traditions as to how Santa Cruz was abandoned by France and its inhabitants transferred to people the new French colony in St. Domingo, (Journal, p. 101 etc.). To add to the complexities of the dispute, the French brought in again the question of rights in Tobago, which had been the scene of many unsuccessful attempts at colonisation, as we have noted in earlier volumes.
Lord Waldegrave, the British ambassador in Paris, and his colleague, Mr. Poyntz, were kept supplied with the reports and papers as they came in, and were constantly engaged in discussion with the French authorities, but could make no progress. Each side flatly denied the evidence produced by the other, or, even when they admitted the authenticity of any document, they disputed its meaning. The only forward step was that the French were willing to order the evacuation of St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Dominica until the right to the islands was determined, (432 i). The Duke of Newcastle informed the Board of Trade of this (432) and directed them to prepare an instruction to the Governor of Barbados to see that the evacuation of the English settlers was carried out as soon as the Governor of Martinique should receive similar orders from France and carry them into effect. (452 i). The first form of the evacuation order was objected to in Paris (p. 365), but at last in November 1730 agreement was reached, and the respective orders were sent out to Martinique and Barbados.
When the French, however, made a demand that the island of Santa Cruz should be evacuated and all British subjects absolutely forbidden to settle on the island of Tobago, the Board of Trade advised refusal to comply, (p. 366).
Those islands were not included among the "Neutral" islands, and although the French might possibly have some grounds for their claim as regards Santa Cruz, the English title to Tobago had never before been publicly contested by the Court of France, and the King's right to that island was built upon a foundation admitting of no competition. (561 i). To comply with the French proposal would be a renunciation of British rights, and it could not be accepted.
Thus matters remained in a complete deadlock when the year ended. No real advance had been made in the long and tiresome negotiations, and matters were left to drift in the islands while the attention of the authorities in London and Paris turned to other things. Generally speaking, the relations between England and France in other parts of the colonial field were comparatively quiescent, but we shall have occasion to mention later the state of affairs on the border between their respective colonies in North America.
Jurisdiction of Courts.
There are few papers of much constitutional importance during the year, but we may draw attention to one or two of the disputes as to the jurisdiction of courts which were a perennial feature of the period. From Antigua an Act was forwarded purporting to remedy certain defects in the constitution of the Court of Chancery in that island, but examination of the Act showed that it was designed to preclude the English Court of Chancery proceeding in any cases concerning property in the island. Mr. Fane, the legal adviser of the Board of Trade, was of the opinion that no Act of the Legislature of a colony could in the least restrain any jurisdiction of an English court, but he advised that the Act was "inconsistent with the duty and submission the Colony ought upon all occasions to show her mother country," and he therefore recommended its disallowance. (32).
Vice-Admiralty Courts in Pennsylvania.
The opposition in the colonics to the exercise of Vice-Admiralty jurisdiction was steadily rising, and there were constant complaints from the judges and other officers of the Vice-Admiralty Courts that they met with interruptions in their employment from the Provincial Judges, who issued divers prohibitions against their proceedings in matters properly depending before and cognizable in the Courts of Vice-Admiralty. An Order-in-Council was therefore directed to the Board of Trade in April 1730 to prepare drafts of additional instructions to all colonial governors to assist the officers of the Vice-Admiralty Courts in the legal execution of their employments (184). The matter came to a head in Pennsylvania, where great disputes had arisen between David Lloyd, Chief Justice of the Province, supported by Lt. Govr. Patrick Gordon, and Joseph Brown, Judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court there. The papers in the case were referred to Sir Henry Penrice, Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, for his opinion, and in his report to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty which was forwarded by them to the Board of Trade, (335b. pp. 192–195), it is possible to trace the way in which such disputes arose and the kind of thing that brought about the issue of the above-mentioned Order-in-Council. In December 1726 John Moore, Collector of Customs at Philadelphia, had seized certain goods in a schooner, the Sarah, as imported contrary to the Acts of Trade. They were condemned by the Court of Vice-Admiralty in February 1726/7, the forfeits to be divided according to the statute in thirds, to the King, the Governor and the informer respectively, after the fees of the Court and the contingent charges had been paid. The Judge of the Vice-Admiralty, Joseph Brown, demanded his usual fee of 7½ per cent., but Governor Gordon, as Chancellor of the Province, demanded that this should be reduced to 3½ per cent. and in his Court of Chancery issued an injunction against the officers of the Vice-Admiralty commanding them not to put the sentence into execution. He ordered the goods to be divided into three parts, one of which he took in kind as Governor, one to go to Moore as informer, and the third as the King's part to be put up to sale to discharge the fees.
In July 1727 a further information was laid before Isaac Miranda, as Brown's deputy Judge in the Court of Vice-Admiralty, for the condemnation of the schooner, but when the case came for trial it was stopped by the injunction of the Governor sitting as Chancellor on the ground that Brown's deputation to Miranda had been revoked. Moore then brought an action against the vessel in the Court of Common Pleas of Pennsylvania and secured its acquittal, while Governor Gordon brought a civil action for scandal against Brown in the same Court and secured his committal to prison in August 1727. A little time afterwards a further prohibition was secured from the Supreme Court of the Province against Brown as Judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court from trying another case even before it had come before the Court.
By these proceedings of Gordon, in his executive capacity as Lieutenant-Governor for the Penn family and in his judicial capacity as Chancellor issuing injunctions, and of the Supreme Court by prohibitions of the jurisdiction of the Vice-Admiralty Court, the work of that Court was impeded as often as they pleased, and so the clear intentions of the Acts of Trade were set at naught. (335 b. pp. 192–195 and accessory evidence). It was to prevent this and similar conflicts of jurisdiction in other colonies that the Board of Trade received orders to prepare additional instructions to be sent out in a circular letter to all Governors. The matter of Brown's complaints dragged on for many months after his first petition of complaint had been received by the Board, and he was summoned to appear in person and give evidence, (416, 419), but Governor Gordon neglected to reply to the complaints that were sent to him with Sir Henry Penrice's report upon them, and by the end of the year no satisfaction had been obtained. This passive disobedience seems to have been a frequent method employed by the Pennsylvanians to get their own way, and the Board of Trade, despite all their persistence, seem to have been completely baffled in all their efforts to clear up these conflicts of jurisdiction, which put such serious obstacles in the way of the enforcement of the Acts of Trade and produced such bad blood in the colonies.
The Supreme Court in Pennsylvania.
The question of customs seizures in Pennsylvania not only involved the jurisdiction of the Vice-Admiralty Courts but also raised difficult problems in relation to the competence of the Common Law Courts of the Province, established under the terms of the Proprietary Charter. In 1727 the Legislature of the Province passed an Act for the establishing of Courts of Justice which differed in no respects from previous Acts save that it took away the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as to the power of issuing original process and hearing causes. (510). The Act was forwarded to London in due course for consideration, but it was not until April 1730 that the Board of Trade sent it to Mr. Fane, their legal adviser, for his consideration, (172), and he did not return his reply until November advising the Crown to disallow and repeal it. (510).
Fane's report is of considerable interest as showing the conflicts of jurisdiction that went on in the colonies and the personal motives that sometimes moved their legislatures to take action on grounds that were not necessarily based upon public interest. Moore, the Collector of Customs at Philadelphia, had seized a valuable ship, the Fame, laden with East India and contraband goods to the value of 20,000l. To secure its condemnation he sued by original process before the Supreme Court instead of bringing action in the Vice-Admiralty Court, with which, as we have seen above, he was then in dispute, or before the Inferior Courts where the persons presiding being generally bred in the mercantile way might reasonably be supposed in such cases of seizure to be prejudiced in favour of the importers of the contraband goods. To put an end to Moore's action in the Supreme Court, the Legislature was moved to take away the original jurisdiction of the Court even in cases wherein the Crown was interested, and then passed the Act which Fane was considering.
Original jurisdiction had been unquestionably vested in the Supreme Court by an Act of the Pennsylvania Legislature of the 8th year of George I, and since that Act had not been repealed within five years, it must be considered as having received the assent of the Crown, and under the provisions of the Charter it could not be repealed, varied or altered by a further Act without the express leave of the Crown. Mr. Fane gave it as his opinion that the Pennsylvania Act of 8 Geo. I was not explicit on this point of original jurisdiction (p. 333), but objection was also laid by Moore's agents against the Act of 1727 on the ground that its restrictions were repugnant to the laws of England in a way that was expressly provided against by the Charter. By several Acts passed in England which extended to the Plantations, it was expressly enacted that the Custom House Officers might prosecute their seizures in any Court of Record, and it was their invariable custom to lay the prosecution before the most superior Court of Record, which was held by Moore to justify his action. But the opposing counsel maintained that the Supreme Court was not a court of record in this sense, for, being the only Court of Error in the colony, no appeal could lie against its judgment in a case where it was exercising original jurisdiction. This objection carried no weight with Mr. Fane, for as he pointed out, Parliament had vested jurisdiction in the Admiralty Courts in the Plantations in all causes of seizures and had not thought proper to leave the judgments of those to be reviewed in any manner but by appeal home. (p. 334).
When the Act was before the Legislature, a clause was proposed to retain in the Supreme Court jurisdiction in all causes wherein the Crown was interested, and Mr. Fane gave it as his opinion that, if this clause had been inserted, there would have been no objection to the Act. But since it had been refused, and thus the rights of the Crown and its revenue might be seriously affected by making the officers of the Customs bring their original actions in Inferior Courts which were likely to be prejudiced, Fane strongly advised that the Act should be disallowed (p. 335). The matter is of interest beyond a merely legal sphere, because it illustrates the fact that at this period the customs officers in the colonies did not rely solely upon the unpopular and weak Vice-Admiralty Courts for the enforcement of the provisions of the Acts of Trade, but also availed themselves where possible of the Common Law Courts of the colonies, as their colleagues in England were accustomed to do.
The utilisation of English practices and precedents as models for the carrying-on of government in the colonies in the judicial field is shown in the foregoing case, but in the general constitutional sphere it is better illustrated in the remarks of the Board of Trade on one of the constantly recurrent disputes caused by Wavell Smith, the contentious Secretary of the Leeward Islands, to which frequent reference has been made in the Introductions to earlier volumes of the Calendar.
"We have considered the papers you sent to us relating to Mr. Wavell Smith's case" wrote the Board, "whereupon we must observe to you that it certainly was in all times the intention of the Crown that the constitution of the several Colonies abroad, immediately under H.M. Government, should resemble as much as might be the constitution of the Mother Country, to whose laws and customs the said Colonies are directed to conform themselves, as far as they may be applicable to their circumstances. For this reason, the Charter, Patent and Instructions from the Crown have established the Legislature of the Colonies upon the British model; the Governor representing the King, the Council the House of Lords, and the Assembly the House of Commons; that every legislative act of theirs, like those of Great Britain, might pass a threefold approbation, and that each branch of their legislature subsisting upon an independent and distinct footing might be reciprocally checks upon the other two. . . . The King's Councillors in the Colonies have a double capacity; they are not only a branch of the Legislature, but are likewise as the King's Privy Council entitled to a considerable show in the administration and execution of the laws there." The Assembly had summoned Wavell Smith to appear before them, and, when he refused, they demanded that the Governor should suspend him. But to suspend a Councillor at the request of the Assembly for not complying with an order of their Committee not communicated to the Council would throw too much power into the balance of the Assembly and destroy that independence which each branch of the Legislature ought to be possessed of. The Secretary of a Colony, being a Councillor, could not regularly attend the Lower House without permission for that purpose from the Council in their legislative capacity. To complain of the Secretary for not attending without such previous order would be in direct terms to assume a power over the upper branch of the Legislature in all cases where the Members of the Council Board happened to be, (as they frequently must be), Officers and servants of the Crown in another capacity. By the Governor's Instructions the privileges of the Assembly were not to exceed those of the House of Commons but, remarked the Board, "the Law of Parliament in England is properly the usage of Parliament, and perhaps what has usually been done by [colonial] Assemblies may have by that usage acquired a sanction in matters not directly repugnant to the authority and prerogative of the Crown." (500). The proceedings in the Colonial Councils and Assemblies are not calendared in detail from the documents and there are only incidental mentions of their debates, but some passages are a reminder that they might form a useful basis of comparison for those interested in parliamentary procedure and in the methods of control attempted by the legislative over the executive during the period of representative government.
Appropriation of money in Massachusetts.
The vexed questions of finance in Massachusetts led to the issue of a new Instruction to the Lieutenant-Governor which was intended to assimilate the practice of the Assembly in that colony to that of the House of Commons in relation to the raising and appropriation of money. In order to relieve themselves of the necessity of securing the sanction of the Governor or the Council, the Assembly had adopted the practice of providing money and supplying the current service of the year by a vote or resolve instead of an Act of Assembly. By that means the Assembly kept in their own hands the power of determining what accounts were to be paid and what not, even after the services had been performed. This practice clearly thrust out the Governor from all connections with finance, and the additional Instruction therefore peremptorily set forth the proper practice to be followed. No money was to be raised or bills of credit issued in the Province but by Act of Assembly, in which Act one or more clauses of appropriation were to be inserted to govern the general use of such moneys. The detailed issuing of all moneys so raised or of bills of credit was to be left to the Governor with the advice and consent of the Council acting in its executive capacity. To the Assembly, however, was left the power of inquiry as to the application of such moneys and of calling for accounts. (1). The struggle of the Massachusetts Assembly to gather all power into its own hands to the exclusion of the Governor was designedly leading away from the traditional lines of parliamentary government that had been hammered out in England, and in disputes of this kind we can trace the origins of many of those differences in practice and procedure which are to be found between American and British legislatures to-day.
That English practice in regard to finance had by this period acquired set and definite conventions is illustrated by certain letters passing between the Board of Trade and the Commissioners of Customs. An Act had been passed by Virginia for amending the staple of tobacco and preventing frauds on H.M. Customs; in due course this Act came to the Board of Trade for allowance, but before taking it into consideration they forwarded it to the Commissioners of Customs for their opinion (538, 19 Nov. 1730). A fortnight later the Commissioners returned the Act with the remark that they desired to be excused giving their opinion upon Acts of Assembly unless they were commanded by the King in Council or the Lords of the Treasury (577, 1 Dec. 1730). The Board of Trade protested against this punctilio and pointed out that there were many instances in the books of each Office where similar requests had been complied with, giving examples. (580). The Customs Commissioners did not persist in their refusal, but on Dec. 9 explained that while they were always ready to receive communications relating to any matters passing in the Plantations that might in any way affect the revenue under their management, they did not wish to give any opinion as to matters of trade unless commanded by H.M. in Council or the Treasury. However, in this case they promised to give their opinion if the Act were returned to them (591, 9 Dec. 1730, 592), and accordingly three weeks later, they sent back their considered report that the Act would be a prejudice to the revenue for reasons that they set out fully, (635, 29 Dec. 1730), although they do not appear to have received in the interim any order on the matter from the Treasury. The reasons governing their withdrawal from their previous refusal do not appear.
Dispute between the Admiralty and the Board of Trade.
A somewhat similar case of conflict of views between Government offices arose concerning the powers of colonial Governors in matters of Admiralty. The question of the power of Governors under their commissions to grant commissions to privateers had long given rise to dispute between the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty and the Board of Trade. (See e.g. Cal. St. Pap. Col., 1701, Nos. 552 i, 629 i, 682, 682 i). When Jonathan Belcher, newly appointed as Governor of Massachusetts, requested permission to fly his own flag when he was upon the water in his own barge within his Government, the Admiralty harked back to the larger question, despite the protest of the Board of Trade that that had already been decided (48). They would not give an opinion in regard to the minor matter of the flying of a Governor's flag, but instead energetically set forth their claim that by the Admiralty patents they were fully invested with the sole power of Admiralty not only in Great Britain, but in H.M. Foreign Colonies and Plantations also, so that no Governor abroad could grant commissions to the masters of ships without directly interfering with the authority granted to them by the Crown. (73, 75). The Board read this letter and forwarded the appropriate extracts from Governor Belcher's commission and instructions relating to the granting of commissions to privateers as desired (75), but the matter was not pursued further by the Admiralty, and apparently Belcher was allowed to fly his flag as he wished.
In November 1729 the Board of Trade were instructed by Order in Council to prepare additional Instructions for all H.M. Governors to assist the collectors of 6d. per month from seamen's wages for the Royal Hospital at Greenwich pursuant to the Act of Parliament (see Cal. St. Pap. Col., 1728–9, no. 982), and accordingly the Board devoted some attention to the matter early in 1730. (24, 25). The drafts of the Instructions were approved in January 1729/30, but it was not until June that they were prepared and despatched, and this is worthy of mention as illustrating the great delay of business even in a simple matter where no controversy was involved. (Journal, pp. 76, 77, 83, 121).
The whale fishery.
The preparation of additional instructions was never long absent from the work of the Board, and the growth of the bulk and complexity of the instructions was continually being added to. What would nowadays be regarded as only a matter upon which directions might be given to the Governors in the course of their regular correspondence was often made the subject of a solemn additional instruction. Thus, the ministry were anxious to encourage the growth of the British whale fishery and representations were made to them by the promoters of the industry that obstacles to its progress were interposed by the practice of certain colonial Governors. To prevent this a circular containing an additional instruction was prepared and sent to all the colonies even though there might be no chance of a whale fishery upon their shores. "Whereas for some years past the Governors of some of our Plantations have seized and appropriated to their own use the produce of whales of several kinds, taken upon those coasts, upon pretence that whales are royal fishes, which tends greatly to discourage this branch of Fishery in Our Plantations and prevent persons from settling there: It is therefore Our will and pleasure that you do not for the future pretend to any such claim." (51 i.) The style of the prohibition seems unduly ponderous to the size of the revenue involved, for even in the colony Bermuda, where whale fishing was an important industry, the profits to the Governor from his "royal fishes" only amounted to less than 100l., and this colony was the only one excepted from the circular letter (51, 72, 94, 108, etc.).
A similar circular letter conveying an Instruction to the Governors of the Colonies and Plantations was prepared during the year. On 29 April 1728 a commission under the Great Seal had been granted to the Bishop of London authorising him to exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the colonics and plantations in America. (20 i). The Governors of all colonies, except proprietary, and governments were now instructed to support the Bishop's Commissaries in the exercise of such jurisdiction (20, 120 ii; p. 60 Massachusetts; 185, 204). Copies of the Commission were printed and despatched to the colonies and orders were given that it was forthwith to be registered in the public records of each colony. (120 ii).
Fines fur offences in the colonies.
As in previous years, the question of the circulation of paper money in the colonies demanded constant attention and gave rise to incessant difficulty (e.g. 37, 47, 50, 83, 97, 113, 331 i), but the matter is too complex to be summarised. An incidental question arose upon which the opinion of the legal adviser to the Board of Trade was sought. This was whether fines imposed by English Acts of Parliament for offences committed in the Plantations and to be recovered there were to be paid in sterling money, Proclamation money, or in the currency of the Province where the fine was to be recoverable. Mr. Fane replied that such fines were to be levied in sterling money or the value thereof. (506, 508). This matter arose in connection with the incessant difficulties that Colonel Dunbar had to cope with in the enforcement of the Act of Parliament concerning naval stores, to which reference is made later. The actual difficulty upon which Dunbar asked for explanation was not upon fines imposed under this Act but in regard to certain malicious rumours that were circulated in Massachusetts. Upon the arrival in Boston of certain ships from London some malcontents "gave out for news that the King and Queen were poisoned and that England was in arms divided for the Prince and Duke" [i.e. the Pretenders]. Late at night many families were waked and alarmed with this, and the Attorney-General had the parties circulating the rumours bound over, and was resolved to prosecute them, although he feared that the punishment would not be corpora] or exceeding 20s. fine. It was in giving his account of this that Dunbar mentioned that all fines imposed in the colony even under English Acts of Parliament were construed to be in colonial currency, which was not worth more than one-third of sterling, but even then the convicted offenders would not pay them, but would only go to gaol for a little time. (p. 120).
Deficiencies in the records.
In the Introductions to preceding volumes reference has been made to the difficulties of Governors in supplying the insatiable demands of the authorities in London for papers. A letter from Lt. Gen. Mathew in the Leeward Islands shows how impossible it was to keep up continuous series of the records of each branch of the colonial administration without a break. Those whose duty it was to prepare the transcripts complained that they were often called upon to repeat the transcript of documents that had already been forwarded, although they found it difficult to obtain payment for these voluminous repeated transcripts. Thus, while Lord Londonderry was Governor of the Leeward Islands, the Board of Trade wrote to him to demand certain missing transcripts of returns and records concerning the colonies during the Governorship of his predecessor Colonel Hart.
Elaboration of the paper system.
Mathew did not receive this order from Lord Londonderry's executors till three months after his death, and, when he strove to comply with it, he found that many of the papers demanded had already been forwarded during Colonel Hart's time, but had apparently never reached the Board. Although he threatened the officers with suspension or removal from office and peremptorily demanded fresh transcripts, Mathew complained that he could not secure their obedience and begged to be excused by the Board. (109, 500). Indications such as these show that it is impossible to expect to find among the extant papers complete series of the various returns that nominally had to be supplied from every colony. If they had been sent according to the elaborate system that was ostensibly in force, they would provide exhaustive statistical evidence for every branch of colonial life such as it would be hard to parallel elsewhere. But there are many gaps in the series, and they cannot be attributed to the failure of the officers of the Board of Trade to preserve the papers that came to their hands. The deficiencies are indicative of the utter impossibility of keeping up such a regular flow of papers as was ostensibly provided for. Even if the statistical data were accurately and punctually collected, which was very uncertain, the copying of them in duplicate to guard against the accidents of transmission by a long sea-voyage was very difficult in small tropical colonies. The system was undoubtedly too elaborate to be worked satisfactorily, and it is well that historians should take these facts into account in their studies. For the larger Continental colonies the series of papers are more complete in many ways than they are for the small West Indian governments, but even there the Board of Trade had constant difficulties in this matter. In April 1730 the Board reproved Governor Montgomerie of New Jersey for his remissness in correspondence. They complained that they had not heard from him since the previous November, and they peremptorily required him to send frequent reports, the public papers constantly and full answers to their circular queries (189), but it is to be doubted whether their reproof had much effect.
Parliamentary demands for information.
The Board itself was under constant pressure to supply papers and returns, and their Secretary had to make excuses for inability to supply everything that was demanded. In April 1730, for example, an order was received from the House of Lords for a return of the establishment of Governors and Governments in the colonies, and the reply of the Board gives an indication of the defects of their records in certain respects. The receipts and payments of money either for the Governors or any of H.M. Officers in the Plantations did not pass through the office of the Board (p. 75), and as it was impracticable for the officials to supply the accounts of such expenditure ever since the foundation of the various colonies as was required, the Board went on to explain the imperfections of the colonial records in other respects. "As most of the British colonies in America were originally settled by private adventurers at their own expense, except that of Jamaica, and are by degrees grown up to be what they now are, so we have but very imperfect accounts of them till they came to be considerable enough to be taken under the immediate care and protection of the Crown, and such of them as are still Proprietary or Charter Governments, we are but little informed of, even at this time, because they keep little correspondence with this Office." (p. 75).
Lack of information from certain colonies.
This statement is confirmed by the Board in relation to Connecticut, about certain of whose laws a Committee of the Privy Council had asked for information (171). "The people of Connecticut" wrote the Board "have hitherto affected so entire an independency on the Crown of Great Britain that they have not for many years transmitted any of their laws for H.M. consideration, nor any accounts of their public transactions. Their Governors, whom they have a right to choose by their Charter, ought always to be approved by the King, but no presentation is ever made by them for that purpose. Though required by law to give bond to observe the Laws of Trade and Navigation, they never comply therewith, so that we have reason to believe they do carry on illegal commerce with impunity, and in general we seldom or never hear from them, except when they stand in need of the countenance, the protection or assistance of the Crown." (638). The absence or paucity of papers among the English records from certain colonies was remarked upon in an earlier Introduction, but here it is set out in explicit terms. Clearly, while the greater fishes like Massachusetts were caught with a great deal of noise and contention, Connecticut was a minnow that could slip through the meshes of the governmental net to go her own way unobtrusively but very successfully.
Sir Thomas Warner, Governor of the Caribbees.
Before leaving the subject of the completeness of the colonial records, we may notice two lesser points of interest that are mentioned incidentally in these papers. In reply to an enquiry from the Board of Trade for papers of Sir Thomas Warner, first Governor of the Caribbee Islands for the Earl of Carlisle, which were probably required for evidence as to the validity of the English claims to the "Neutral Islands," Colonel Edward Warner wrote "I am entirely a stranger to all the transactions that were in my great grandfather, Sir Thomas Warner's, life-time in the West Indies, none of his papers having ever fallen into my hands." (212). From Virginia Lt. Governor Gooch forwarded a printed copy of the laws that had recently been passed in the colony in place of the usual manuscript transcript. He offered it as a specimen of the product of the Virginia Press and stated that the whole body of the Laws of the Colony was to be printed for the public service, possibly the earliest project for the publication of a collection of the Statutes in any colony. (434).
Increase of the staff of the Board of Trade.
The increasing demands upon the Board of Trade for papers and reports and especially the requirements of both Houses of Parliament for papers placed so great a burden upon their staff that it would not be carried without further assistance. Application was therefore made to the Treasury, and the Board wrote:—"The business of this Office [has been] very much increased of late by the frequent demands that have been made in Parliament for papers relating to the trade and plantations of Great Britain, and it being still likely to be further augmented by the correspondence with H.M. Commissaries appointed to treat with those of Spain concerning the matters referred to them by the Treaty of Seville, we shall stand in need of more assistance than the ordinary establishment of our Office will admit of. For we have no Solicitor, though such a person is frequently wanted, and our secretaries are so fully employed by the common business of the Office that they have not time for the drawing of reports. [We desire] that your Lordships would impower us to appoint an additional Officer with the title of Solicitor and Clerk of the Report . . with a salary of 200l. per annum." (385).
The Treasury Commissioners at once consented to this request, and thenceforward the establishment of the Office of the Board of Trade was increased. (388).
THE AMERICAN COLONIES.
The establishment of a permanent resident population in Newfoundland was at last accepted as inevitable, and although the system of controlling the affairs of the island and the fisheries by two naval commodores, who were only on the station in the summer, was maintained, some provision was made at last for government in the island during the winter. The justices of the peace who were appointed by the commodores (14 Oct. 1729) were universally recognised to have power to take action in criminal cases, but great doubts arose as to how far their powers extended, and a series of questions was submitted to the Attorney General for his report upon the legal position. (181).
According to the ancient traditional practice, while the fishing fleets were in the harbours, the command of all matters lay in the hands of the first-arrived shipmaster or "admiral." When he departed at the end of the summer, control passed into the hands of the newly-appointed justices. Had these justices power to levy taxes upon the inhabitants for the erection of gaols, repairing of churches and other public works? At first they had attempted under their new commissions to levy dues upon fish and fishing boats, but the Attorney-General gave his ruling that this could not be done, because by Act of Parliament of ancient date, the fishing was declared free. Only such taxes could be raised by the justices as those for which power was given to Justices of the Peace in England by particular Acts of Parliament. In the Attorney-General's view no power of imposing taxes in general could be granted without the consent of some assembly of the people. As no such assembly had ever been called in Newfoundland, the government there could not be fully possessed of the powers needed, as in an ordinary colony. (164, 165, 179–81, 193, 196). The justices were properly charged with the duty of dealing with criminal matters, but they could not secure offenders unless they had a gaol in which to confine them. As a matter of urgency, Governor Osborne had authorised the erection of such a gaol, but he feared prosecution in England for having exceeded his powers, and he must have welcomed the opinion of the legal adviser that, as he had proceeded according to an Act of Parliament of William III, he had no such prosecution to fear. (231, 232, 233). The whole case and the cautious and tentative way in which the first steps were taken towards the establishment of popular government leave an impression of scrupulous care for legal rights and liberties which differs widely from the dogmatic tyranny over colonial feelings and interests with which the British Government has sometimes been charged.
The Admiralty informed the Board of Trade in April of the approaching departure of Lord Vere Beauclerk and Captain Osborne for Newfoundland and Captain Watson for Canso and asked for the usual Heads of Enquiry that were to be given to those commanders (150). But since Osborne had been granted a commission as Governor of Newfoundland and Lord Vere Beauclerk had received full Instructions, it seemed unnecessary to present them with Heads of Enquiry, and thus a change of practice was introduced. (202). The commission and instructions remained in force, since the same commanders had been appointed for a second year.
Tyranny of the fishing merchants.
But it was one thing to make dispositions on paper as to what was to be done, and quite another thing to see them carried out. The fishing admirals who had made very little use of their powers under the ancient Fishing Act, now became very jealous of the threatened infringements of the new justices of the peace, while the magistrates themselves feared unpopularity with the people and could not be persuaded to use their powers to the full. (422, 454, 456). The picture painted by the commodores of the greed and tyranny of the fishing merchants is a very distressing one, and the many petitions that were presented to the Naval Governor and by him passed on to the Crown illustrate the oppression and profiteering that was going on at the expense of the labourers. (422 and enclosures). Much of these abuses arose from the fact that the servants were helpless Irishmen who had been recruited by the fishing merchants of the ports in the West of England without clearly understanding the bargains to which they were committing themselves. Instead of carrying them back to Ireland at the end of the season as promised and paying their wages, unscrupulous masters found means of raising some disputes just when the ships were about to sail and abandoning their servants to stay behind in Newfoundland for the winter and fend for themselves as best they could. (See petitions enclosed in 422 iv). Thus a helpless and shiftless population of Irishmen gradually grew up in Newfoundland that was living barely above the margin of subsistence and was an easy prey for the smugglers and tavern keepers who made their profits by the illicit importation of liquor for sale to the fishing fleets. There was little serious attempt at agriculture or the development of the interior of the island. Fish, and fish alone, remained the sole concern, and it was therefore impossible to convert this maritime slum into a prosperous colony of the ordinary pattern, as many of the authorities aspired to do.
A single instance will illustrate the primitive conditions prevailing. One John Perriman, while drinking with Walter Nevill, entered into dispute with him over money said to be owing, and called him "maz'd toad." Nevill showed fight and Perriman then killed him by knocking him against the side of the chimney. He was seized and a verdict of "Murder" was brought in against him by a coroner's jury, but then he had to be sent by the justice of the peace together with the witnesses to stand his trial in England. The commanders of ships bound home would not take them on board unless their passages were immediately paid, and then only with utmost reluctance. The poor inhabitants would mostly pay their proportion towards these costs as well as most of the by-boat keepers, but the commanders of fishing ships and the traders were so averse to all government that they opposed it with all their might, and the committing justice was then left to pay the cost out of his own pocket. (503 and enclosures).
Governor Philipps, of Nova Scotia, when he took over his duties again from the Lieutenant Governors in command of the individual garrisons, busied himself especially with two questions, the persuading of the French to take the oath of allegiance to King George II, and the obtaining of fresh inhabitants to take up lands in the province.
In the region round Annapolis he had fair success in persuading the French to take the oath (3), and did so because he permitted their pastor, M. de Breslay, who had been a fugitive in the woods for some fourteen months, to come in and resume his ministrations. (3 ii). The Home Government, however, did not attach much faith to their allegiance and still had in mind the project of removing them all. (248). The Board of Trade wrote to Governor Philipps telling him that the French words of the oath that he had translated direct from the English were ambiguous in meaning, and the French Jesuits might explain this ambiguity so as to convince the people upon occasion that they were not under any obligation to be faithful to the King. Secretary Popple entered into an elaborate grammatical argument to explain the point, which depended on a dative case. (248). Governor Philipps replied contesting Popple's grammar and supporting the accuracy of his own translation, but he added "Whenever the French Jesuits go about to explain, away the allegiance of these people, they will make use of an argument more suitable to their principles that no oath is binding on a Papist to obey what they call a heretic Prince." (562).
Fear of the French.
The work of securing their allegiance became daily more necessary because of the great increase of those people, who were a formidable body and like Noah's progeny spreading themselves over the whole face of the Province. So long as England and France were in union, the peace of Nova Scotia was settled with a prospect of continuance, but to secure it in all events, required further precautions, for it was certain that all the safety of the province depended on that union. When that ceased, the country would become an easy prey to the French, and Canso, which was the envy and rival of Cape Breton in the fishery, would be the first object of attack and could not fail to fall, since it was only six or seven hours march from the French headquarters, (p. 252). In the face of such serious and obviously well-founded fears like these, the Government were bound to do what they could to promote Protestant emigration into the province, though all their efforts were unsuccessful. It was hard to account for the cause, though some suggested that there was unlikely to be any English immigration until the settlers were granted an Assembly. What appears clear to later observers is that there was no great reservoir of population in England from which emigrants could be poured out in any direction thought advisable. We never seem to read in these papers of English emigrants, though there are frequent mentions of Irish, Scots Irish and Scots. To supply the population needed, therefore, the Government were constantly in negotiation with the promoters of Palatine emigration.
David Hintze and the Palatines.
The principal of the promoters at this period was one Daniel Hintze (151, 302), who made a bargain with the Board of Trade to introduce into Nova Scotia Protestant families, who had been subject to the Landgrave of Darmstadt or to the Elector Palatine, to be settled on free lands granted to them. But Hintze proved very shifty in his promises and able to accomplish neither his bargain of emigrants for Nova Scotia, (330, 337, 356, 438, 476, 583) nor for South Carolina for which he was also contracting (77). The Palatines seem to have preferred to go to Pennsylvania, though they met with atrocious treatment on the way. Thus in August 1730 some 230 Palatines from Amsterdam bound by their contract to Philadelphia were landed instead in Boston. The ship was grossly overcrowded and suffered from lack of water which caused several deaths, but the master claimed that the passengers had forced him into Boston and by his threats of prosecution compelled them to give up the written contracts they had for their transportation to Philadelphia, where many of their friends had preceded them. The poor people were landed and exposed for sale like negroes and purchased by a company of proprietors to be planted in the pine swamps of the Kennebee. "God help them," wrote Daniel Dunbar, who reported the case to the Board of Trade, "they have a poor chance for justice, for as a considerable merchant who was chosen by a Piscatua man for a referee against one of Boston, said—a Piscatua man had no more chance of justice here than an Old England man, so partial are those people, even in their carriage and manners." (p. 241).
The vexatious actions of the people of Massachusetts in their disputes with their neighbours of New Hampshire have been mentioned in an earlier Introduction and especially the hard case of the Scots Irish at Londonderry, whose rights were threatened by the people of Haverhill. Further petitions from these settlers and their appeals to be granted lands in Nova Scotia are abstracted here. (211, i–iv).
David Dunbar. The Province of 'Georgia.'
The fate of these settlers was bound up with the new attempts to encourage the production of naval stores in North America with which the House of Lords was specially interested. A memorandum giving a full history of what had been done was prepared for them by the Board of Trade. (154). By far the most frequent correspondent of the Board, whose papers are abstracted in the present volume, was Colonel David Dunbar, who had been appointed to stop the waste of the King's woods in North America and was also interested in the colonisation of the mainland portion of Nova Scotia which lay to the north and east of Maine. There he purposed with the approval of the Board of Trade to establish groups of new settlers, and erected a stockaded fort, Fort Frederick, for defence against the neighbouring Indians. The project was bitterly opposed by the Massachusetts Assembly, and Dunbar suffered a very serious disappointment, for the Home Government refused to accept his plans for the setting up of a government of the Province of Georgia, as he proposed. The Board of Trade despatched a severe reproof to him for his failure to comply literally with the various Instructions that had been given him for the carrying-out of the Act of Parliament for the preservation of the American woods, and they went on "They do not approve of your having named the country which you are directed to settle, the "Province of Georgia," because it is part of and under the Government of Nova Scotia, and being called a Province, it may be thought distinct and not under any government. [They] therefore think that it should be named George County in Nova Scotia; and they think it proper to give your new settlements English names with English terminations, for which reason you will change the name of Fredericksburg to Frederick Town or Fort." (215).
This project for the settlement of "Georgia" between Nova Scotia and Maine is reminiscent of that of Captain Thomas Coram in the same region, which was referred to in the Preface to the volume of the Calendar for 1716–17 (Cal. St. Pap. Col. 1716–17, p. xviii), though there was no direct connection between the projects. The real succession of Coram's scheme was in the enterprise in which he joined with Oglethorpe to found a Georgia to the south of Carolina, and which is mentioned later.
But, whatever names were used, Dunbar could not get on with the new settlement. The Massachusetts men were always complaining that he was interfering with their rights in Maine, and old land companies produced claims that dated back for a century to the days even before the French had come into the continental part of Nova Scotia. The story of the "Province of Georgia" is thus one of unredeemed failure. (See e.g. 79, 137, p. 83, 175, 197, p. 239, 243, 254, 430, 563 i, 578, 593).
Dunbar's defence led to letters of extraordinary length with which he bombarded the Board of Trade. He made his headquarters in Boston and there he became involved in incessant disputes with the new Governor, Jonathan Belcher, and with the litigious Doctor Cook and the Assembly. Constant reports on the misdoings of the Massachusetts men were poured upon the Duke of Newcastle and the Board of Trade, which it is impossible to analyse here by reason both of their length and of the complexity of the matters in dispute. There can be no doubt that Dunbar was strongly biassed against everything the Massachusetts men did, but despite his utter lack of tact he was a very shrewd observer of all that went on, and his letters form an essential source for the history of New England at the time.
Governor Burnet. Jonathan Belcher its Governor.
The death of Governor Burnet at the climax of his struggle with the Massachusetts Assembly had left his family without resources, for Burnet had not, as Governor of New York, yet succeeded in paying off the debts in which he had become involved while he was a Commissioner of Customs. If he had been allowed to remain in New York, he would have accomplished this, but when he was transferred to Boston for the public good, this chance was missed and his family appealed to the benevolence of the Crown for relief (641). Burnet had been appointed to Massachusetts to try what firmness would do to bring the recalcitrant Assembly to obedience, but, when that policy failed, the opposite direction was taken and a Governor was chosen from the ranks of the leading men in Massachusetts itself (December 1729). This was Jonathan Belcher who was appointed Governor both of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Long consideration was given to the preparation of the Governor's Instructions, and it was not until the end of March that the draft was agreed upon and forwarded to the Secretary of State for acceptance (Journal, p. 102). An Order-in-Council was directed to the Massachusetts Assembly in May asking them to make good to the late Governor's family the sums that had been voted for his salary just before his death (Journal, p. 122), and at last in June Belcher went out via Madeira to take up his new task. (301). He arrived at Boston on August 8th (402), and within a very few days disputes began between him and Dunbar that provide the main topic of the despatches from Massachusetts for the rest of the year.
Conduct of elections.
The conduct of an election in Massachusetts is described in one of Dunbar's letters which may be cited as an example of the narrow and exclusive temper of that colony. "The General Court met near [Boston] to elect 28 councillors according to the annual custom, when by a party made beforehand 8 of the old ones were left out . . . because they stink of the prerogative and a great number of the electors were for voting them out of all employments, several of them being Judges of the Courts of Law. At the late election of members for [Boston] which in imitation of London sends 4, one Mr. Cradock, an English merchant and a churchman, set up for one; the town was much alarmed at it, crying popery was coming in upon them like a torrent and they were to be devoured by the scarlet whore, such is their respect to the Church of England. It is impossible for any Englishman or Churchman ever to come into their House of Representatives whilst the elections are managed as at present. They are made by a town meeting, governed by a Moderator for that day, from whom there is no appeal. Doctor Cook was Moderator and also one of the candidates; he refused some votes and scrutinised others well qualified, but passed all who voted against Mr. Cradock. There is no precedent where an election was controverted in the House, nor any hopes there for a churchman." (274).
The Governor's salary.
It had been hoped by the Ministry that the appointment of Belcher, one of their own party, as Governor of Massachusetts would induce the Assembly to agree to the demands of the Crown for the proper provision of a Governor's salary. This hope was not fully justified, but a long step forward was made towards a compromise. The objection had been that the Assembly had only provided money to support the Governor by semi–annual resolves and had refused to make permanent provision by means of an Act. Now they passed an Act furnishing the Governor with his salary until the next session and pledging themselves then to pass an Act setting aside money at the same rate for his support and so annually at the beginning of every session. (596, 597, 597 i).) This was not a full compliance with the instruction sent to Belcher, but it was a step forward and he recommended its acceptance. (596). In New Hampshire, of which Belcher was also Governor, the instruction was fully complied with and provision made for the regular payment of the salary in full. (579). That colony suffered a severe loss in December by the death of Lieutenant-Governor John Wentworth, who in contrast to Governor Belcher, had done his best to assist Dunbar in his attempts to protect the Crown's woods for the supply of naval stores.
There is little of interest concerning New York during the period. Colonel Montgomerie, the Governor who had succeeded the very efficient Burnet, was not a good correspondent, and on occasion the Board of Trade had to complain that they had been without news from him for some months. The Attorney-General for the colony had been complaining grievously since 1728 that his salary which had been charged upon the sums derived by the Crown from the quit-rents in the colony, had been stopped since 1724. (95, enclosures i–ix). The Governor and Council supported him against the Assembly with whom he was in dispute, and at length the Board of Trade gave a decision in his favour and forwarded their report to the Duke of Newcastle, not only upon grounds of right but also of public policy. "It hath always been esteemed good policy," wrote the Board, "that the officers of the Crown in the American colonies should be maintained and supported in a reasonable degree that the people may by their means be restrained and kept in due obedience to the King, and in a just and requisite subordination and dependence on their Mother Country. . . It is the immediate duty of your Attorney General to see that the laws of Trade and Navigation be duly put in execution, and he is obliged to prosecute or defend in all cases and suits where either the dignity, authority or interest of the Crown are in any manner concerned." The Board therefore recommended that the salary of the Attorney-General should be paid out of the civil list or quit-rents and he should not be left dependent upon the caprice of the Assembly's annual votes. (539 i, 629).
Divergence of interests in the colony. The Indian trade.
The Lower Countries of New York and those further up the Hudson round Albany did not see eye to eye on policy, for whereas the colonists near tide-water were mainly employed with shipping like those in New England, the up-country men were deeply concerned in relations with the Indians and especially the Six Nations. When it came to raising funds for the support of a garrison in the Indian country, the Lower Countries who had a majority in the Assembly, proposed to raise the money by a tax of twenty shillings upon every person trading with the Indians and three shillings a head for everyone who wore a wig. But the Governor had to point out to them that any additional impost on the trade would drive it into the hands of the French from Canada, who were already such powerful competitors. It was essential to maintain the fort at Oswego on which our control of the trade depended, and he therefore strove to raise the necessary amount by a levy on land throughout the province. However, though they gave way on the impost, the Assembly would not abandon their tax on wigs, and thenceforward the Oswego garrison, the great protection against the French Canadians, was largely dependent on the fashion of dressing men's hair. (622). The rivalry of the French for the trade of the Six Nations was unceasing, and Oswego was of extreme importance as a trading house and a screen for the Indians from designing machinations of the French in time of peace. The Six Nations must be kept in good relation, for they were a barrier betweem Canada and all the colonies from New York to Virginia, (p. 400). That the French had a just sense of the importance of the Indians was evident from the great expense they afforded, keeping emissaries among them, making presents to the principal men, inviting, entertaining and caressing them when they went to Canada and using all possible arts to ingratiate themselves, to magnify their own power and to depreciate that of the English. (622, p. 400; see also p. 218 for the routes used by the French). There was no doubt that the trade and power of Canada among the Indians was much greater than they had been some years before, and the Minutes of the various meetings between H. M. Commissioners and the representatives of the Indians who came to Albany (622, i, ii) are of considerable interest as evidence of the mounting rivalry that was to be of such paramount importance twenty years later.
Virginia and the Indians.
Besides New York the only colony having a comparable interest in border Indian affairs was Virginia, and the Governors of the two kept up a fairly close correspondence as to what was going on along the frontier. Thus in the summer of 1729 the Cattabaws (or Cuttabas), a tribe within the purview of Virginia, had taken prisoners in hostilities against the Six Nations, and at the request of the Governor of New York, Lieutenant-Governor Gooch of Virginia endeavoured to secure their restitution to their tribes. He strove to effect this service for our allies, but his task was rendered the more difficult by the nomadic habits of the tribes, who removed themselves some 400 miles from their former hunting grounds and became merged with other tribes so that it was no longer possible to identify them. (8, p. 6).
From Gooch's answers to the circular of enquiries sent to all the colonies we learn the interesting fact that the Indians actually in occupied Virginian territory were reduced to a very small number and consisted of nothing but a few fragments of tribes numbering but about ten families each. (pp. 217–8). There were no near Indian neighbours to the colony but the Cattabaws (Cuttabas) and Cherokees on the Carolina border and the Five (or Six) Nations to the north, both of whom were at least 400 miles away. (p. 218). The boundary of mountains between the colony and the interior was as yet little visited or explored, so that there was still a buffer of virgin territory between the English and the French in the middle colonies. The negotiations with the southern Indians were carried on by Sir Alexander Cumming in South Carolina, and an elaborate treaty was arranged with the Cherokees. (417).
The method of carrying out a census in Virginia is described in the same report of Governor Gooch. The rule for computing the number of inhabitants was by the list of tithables on whom the public tobacco taxes were laid. They were all the white male persons above sixteen years of age and all blacks, male and female, above the same age. Of these there were about 51,000, of whom 30,000 might be reckoned blacks. Women and children were reckoned as treble these numbers. The inhabitants had greatly increased since 1720, as was evidenced by the fact that the number of tithables had gone up by at least 12,000. (pp. 216–7).
The Tobacco trade.
The attempts to improve the condition of the tobacco trade in Virginia by the introduction of new measures to control the quality of the product, which began in 1729, were noticed in our previous volume. Elaborate despatches from Lt. Gov. Gooch are here abstracted, which give a detailed survey of the staple trade of the colony at this period and have a close bearing upon the methods by which colonial trade was financed from England. (264, 289 and especially 348, pp. 202–207). Only a close, technical study of such despatches can give a comprehensive view of the complicated working of the Acts of Trade in practice in a colony wherein it was generally admitted that their provisions and restrictions were beneficial.
Dangers of transportation.
An incidental mention of the dangers to a colony from the system of convict transportation may be noted. A special Act had to be passed by the Legislature of Virginia to puuish felonious burning of tobacco houses and robbers of stores, "practices now become very frequent and encouraged by allowing the benefit of clergy to such criminals, especially since so many transported convicts are come among us, who make light of the punishment the law in that case inflicts." (289 iii).
The Georgia scheme.
The mention of transportation leads on naturally to the project of General Oglethorpe and Thomas Coram for the relief of London and other cities from their vagabonds and destitute beggars by their shipment to a new colony to be founded to the south of Carolina. This was the real Georgia, which will fill a considerable place in subsequent volumes of the Calendar.
Here we have merely the original petition (546 i) which by order of a Committee of the Privy Council, dated 23 November 1730, was presented to the Board of Trade on December 3rd for their consideration and report. (Journal, p. 165). James Oglethorpe attended the Board to represent the petitioners and submitted a memorial in favour of their schemes. (586 i). A fortnight later the Board gave a favourable first report to the Committee of the Privy Council, subject to certain conditions (619), and so matters stood at the end of the year.
There were still many difficulties remaining in the Carolinas and in the Bahamas connected with the expropriation of the Lords Proprietors. By Act of Parliament an agreement had been made with seven of the eight Lords Proprietors of Carolina for the surrender of their title and interest in that Province to the King. John, Lord Carteret, would not join in the agreement with his seven co-proprietors, but petitioned that one eighth of the soil might be set out by Commissioners and allotted to him, in which case he was prepared to surrender his share and interest in the Government of the Province (240 i). The petition was referred by the Privy Council to the Board of Trade, (240), and they delivered their opinion that since Carteret's relinquishment of his rights of government could be secured in no other way, it was best to accept his offer (253). The matter, however, gave rise to many difficult questions as to the way in which lands had been granted by the Lords Proprietors, and these had to be referred to the Law Officers (272, 279, 281 i). Enquiry was made of Lord Carteret as to what value he set upon his claims (344, 364), but he declined to state it and persisted in his petition to be allotted one-eighth of the land ungranted in the Province and one-eighth of the arrears of the quit-rents. (371, 384). No agreement could be reached and the matter was still dragging on more than a year later. (February 1732, Journal. p. 278).
THE WEST INDIES.
Carteret was just as obstinate in regard to the Bahamas, and although the other five Proprietors offered to surrender their remaining rights for 1000 guineas each clear of all expenses, providing they might reserve all arrears of rent due at the time of their surrender (168), he again refused to join (p. 269). The Board nevertheless recommended that the offer of the other proprietors should be agreed to (p. 280) and that a bill should be prepared for presentation to Parliament to carry out the purchase. The matter had not, however, been completed before the end of the year.
Captain Woodes-Rogers continued his troublous efforts to bring about order and progress in the Bahamas colony, but the accounts he gave of it showed what a very poor and wretched community it was. (482). The representative Assembly was now at work and observing all the traditional procedure for the passing of its Acts, but it seems almost ludicrous that such a weight of constitutional machinery should have been imposed upon so small and feckless a community as the Governor depicted. The people were so shiftless that they would not even take part in the gathering of salt from their great salt-pans, which might easily have produced enough to supply all the American fisheries and the Northern Colonies (p. 314). They had been so long accustomed to neglect the salt seasons that, except they were stirred up, little or nothing would be done but raising a small stock of provisions and waiting in expectation of wrecks, till they were almost naked.
Woodes Rogers was anxious to attract immigrants for the development of sugar culture in the Bahamas, and he gives an interesting side-light on the migratory character of the white population in the West Indies which shows that the great surges of people from island to island, which marked the last half of the seventeenth century, had not yet died away. People without land wanted to come from St. Christopher's to begin sugar works in Cat Island and would bring negroes with them, and there would, the Governor thought, be a great many people from Bermuda, St. Christopher's, Barbados and the Virgin Islands who were on the move. It would be better that they should be attracted to the Bahamas than to the French and Dutch Colonies, whither many had already gone. Others had gone to Carolina and Pennsylvania, and more were going, especially from Bermuda and the Caribbee Islands, which were so full of people and had so little land that they could not be supported there, (p. 315).
Captain Gascoign in H.M.S. Alborough with H.M.S. Happy was being employed to survey the Bahama Islands, the Bahama Passage, the coasts of Cuba and Florida and the Windward Passage, and had finished the drafts of all he had done for the Admiralty. This provided the navy for the first time with accurate charts of those dangerous waters, for which they had previously been dependent upon scanty and unreliable sketch maps (p. 317). These surveys furnished essential information when English operations were undertaken against Havana and St. Augustine and other ports in Florida during the Seven Years' War.
Captain and Mrs. Phenney.
The Phenney's, of whom so much was heard in previous volumes of the Calendar, had left the Bahamas, but they were still attempting to meddle in the affairs of the colony and cause disaffection against Governor Woodes Rogers (413). But there were signs that all was not well with the redoubtable partners themselves. Mr. Phenney at his departure from the Bahamas entreated the Governor to keep his wife on the island so that she should not follow him to Great Britain where he had, he said, sufficient evidence to prove all that was expected at Doctors' Commons for a divorce. But in the end he carried his spouse away with him to Carolina and thence to London, where she was certain to be as noisy and troublesome as she could, with him behind her to set her on underhand. (480). Rogers's expectations were not disappointed, for soon afterwards we begin to find record in the Journal of many appearances of Capt. Phenney before the Board of Trade which continued well on into the following year. However, the precious pair were safely out of Woodes Rogers's way in the islands, and their departure must have greatly simplified his tasks of government.
The pressure of population on the slender resources of the Bermudas made those islands a steady source of emigration to other colonies. Lieutenant Governor Pitt's replies to the circular queries of the Board of Trade, which were sent out in 1729, enable us to perceive the gradual decay of the Colony and its enterprises. Only by the maritime activities of its people were they able to survive. The inhabitants had been decreased within four years by upwards of 2000, several families having been obliged to move to other colonies because of the poverty of the islands, and many blacks had also been transported. There were in 1729, 5,086 whites and 3,688 blacks in the colony who lived almost entirely by the sea, the only exports being a few pineapples, cabbages, oranges and onions. The total annual revenue of the colony was only £300 from import dues. £45 on tonnage dues and £120 for rent of public lands, out of which all the charges of government had to be paid. (11 i.)
The Leeward Islands.
We have remarked in previous Introductions upon the ludicrous over-provision of governmental machinery in the little West Indian islands and the constant scramble for fees to which this led between rival officials. The Leeward Islands despatches continued to be filled with accounts of disputes over the claims and extortionate demands for fees of Wavell Smith, the Secretary of the Colony. During 1730 he was engaged in a violent controversy with the Assembly of St. Christophers (262, 327, 500) to which reference has already been made in an earlier part of this Introduction. After the death of Lord Londonderry, the Government again fell to the administration of the Lieutenant-General, William Mathew, in the interim before the arrival of Lord Forbes, the new Governor. Mathew, who usually resided in Antigua in accordance with his Instructions (156), was very assiduous in complying with the demands of the Board of Trade for statistical information, and there are elaborate papers here listed in which he supplied details concerning every district within his Government (236, i–xxxiii), some of which were duplicated (e.g. 263 iv and xxxiii). To some of the enquiries of the Board he was unable to give exact answers. Thus he wrote, "I am very much at a loss how to send the latitude and longitude of every island in this Government, which (the Virgin Islands included) are a very great many. I want instruments for that purpose, and am so little used to such observations, that I could not depend on my own exactness," despite the help of such artists as were to be found in the islands. (262).
Trade of the Sugar Colonies.
The most interesting of the many papers forwarded by Mathew is probably a long Memorial prepared by Mr. Dunbar, Surveyor-General of Customs, on the state of the English sugar colonies with respect to the trade of the Northern Colonies, Surinam and the French Islands. (468 i). This important paper gives a long and carefully argued account of the whole of the maritime trade of the West Indies with the American Plantations and Europe at the period, and it is worthy of careful attention, for it is too long and detailed for summarisation. The picture painted by Dunbar of the decline of the trade of the British islands and the success obtained by the French and Dutch competitors deserves comparison with earlier and later accounts, for it seems to prove that the decline of the English sugar colonies was giving very serious concern to the authorities long before the period after the Peace of Paris when it was universally recognised as a matter of first-rate importance. Dunbar's Memorial may appropriately be supplemented by a despatch from Governor Worsley of Barbados, in which he gave some account of the trade of the French islands and their competition in the Plantation trade (315), and a petition from the planters of Barbados and the traders to the sugar colonies with the comments of the merchants in the Northern colonies which were presented to the Privy Council in November 1730 (549 i and enclosures).
The internal condition of affairs in Barbados was unusually quiet (141), but taxes were very much in arrear, and Governor Worsley found it impossible to get regular returns from the planters as to the numbers of their negro slaves (565). Three parishes in the island had paid their taxes and made their returns promptly, but there was a very great struggle to turn the representatives of those parishes out of the Assembly, in which the malcontents were successful. To do this they gave as much as £150 for a vote, ten moidores being a common bribe, and £6,000 was spent in the election in two of the parishes although bribery had previously been uncommon at elections in the colony (p. 372).
Some mention has already been made of the state of affairs in Jamaica in connection with our relations with Spain and the Spanish threats of invasion of the island. There was less obstruction than usual in the Assembly, and Governor Hunter was able to write, "I think I am in a way of getting the better of the unaccountable opposition or obstruction that has hitherto been given to the public affairs of this island, so that I may have the satisfaction of doing H.M. effectual service in promoting the security and prosperity of a Colony of such importance to the trade of Great Britain." (143). This unaccustomed reasonableness may have been due to the fears of the planters at the continual decline of the white population and the dangers of a serious servile revolt in the colony.
Decline of white population.
As the Governor wrote, the planters increased in wealth and numbers of slaves, but declined yearly as to white or free men. (112 and see 627 i). To remedy this evil an Act was passed obliging the planters to provide themselves with a sufficient number of white men on their estates or pay certain sums of money into the Treasury. White women, white boys and white girls as servants, were to stand as deficiencies, for it was the male white population capable of bearing arms that it was essential to increase. (225). The number of free mulattos and free negroes was daily increasing, and they earned their living by hawking and peddling about the streets, and so were an assistance and shield of the runaway negro slaves. To guard against this danger an Act was passed to restrain all mulattos, Indians and negroes from such practices and to compel them to join in pursuit after rebellious negroes at the command of any magistrate or military officer, (p. 106).
Deficiencies in defence.
But such assistance was not always very dependable. The proclamation of martial law in the face of the threats from strong bodies of rebellious negroes in several parts of the island, and particularly near Port Antonio on the defenceless windward side, had revealed to the planters the deficiencies in numbers of their forces of defence. The chief strength of the militia consisted of indentured servants and Irish Papists who could not be relied upon. Two parties, who had been sent out against the rebels near Port Antonio, had been ambushed and beaten, and it was feared that if a third were repulsed it would precipitate a general servile revolt throughout the island accompanied by all the atrocities of vengeful slaves little removed from their native savagery. The free negroes and slaves who were sent out upon these parties behaved much better than the white people, but it was obviously unsafe to trust that this would always be the case. The only reliable remedy was to station two regular regiments in the Island and entrust its defence to them, calling upon the Assembly to pay the cost. (309). But this the Assembly would not readily consent to; they wanted the protection of the English troops, but they would not pay them, for they speciously pleaded that they were needed to ward off the Spanish menace and so should be a charge upon the imperial Exchequer. Their constitutional arguments might on paper be quite sound according to precedent, but far-sighted persons in the island knew that it was protection against the negroes that was being sought in reality, for no faith could be placed in the experience of the colonial officers or in the discipline of the island militia, (p. 413, 627 i).
Decay of Jamaican prosperity.
In reply to the circular enquiries of the Board of Trade, Governor Hunter forwarded a full account of the state of the colony which gives a very depressing view of the decay of the island's prosperity. (627 iii). The white population was only 7,648, made up of 2,171 masters and mistresses, white men servants 3,009 and women 984, with white children 1,484. This contrasted unfavourably with the number of 10,000 white inhabitants who were computed to be living in the island a few years before. Of course, it is possible that this computation was guess work and the numbers were rated too high, but undoubtedly it was the general opinion that the white population was shrinking. On the other hand there was a great increase in the number of slaves, which was calculated to be more than 74,000, i.e. about 10 blacks to every white man, woman and child. Governor Hunter was particularly anxious to encourage immigration, and denied the idea that there was no waste land for grants to immigrants in Jamaica. There was plenty still unallocated, and he suggested the introduction of a system like that adopted by the French to promote the colonisation of Hispaniola. They "have an admirable method of improving and cultivating their colony; the King by his order obliges every merchant ship trading thither to carry a proportionable number of white people according to their tonnage, freight free. Upon their arrival the Government allots them a proportionable quantity of acres suitable to the number of their families, gives them credit for a number of negroes and utensils for manuring their ground with sufficient provisions until the land given them can produce the same; for which the poor people give bond to the King to pay the value of the negroes, utensils and provisions so soon as the lands so given them shall produce the same." (p. 416). Hunter therefore brought forward again the oft-mooted proposal of an Emigration Fund for Jamaica similar to the French fund for Hispaniola (p. 417), but he was unable to give any assurance that the planters would make their contributions, and so the whole burden might fall upon the British Treasury.
Schemes for the encouragement of white immigration.
On the other hand, the authorities in England believed that additional white population might be secured by giving out the lands of the rebellious negroes to such of the soldiers of the regular regiments sent to Jamaica or of the Independent Companies as were willing to settle and develop plantations. (521). The old idea of establishing a race of yeoman farmer settlers was tenaciously clung to, though, as the population figures show, it was meeting with no success. There was a small class of landed proprietors tilling their plantations with slaves and another larger class of white indentured servants or wage earners, who were landless and had little property. The circumstances of a slave economy were too powerful for any breach to be made in the system, and matters continued to drift along despite all the despatches that were written backwards and forwards.
Fear in the colony.
The descriptions of the servile outbreaks and the none too successful expeditions to suppress them are given at length in many letters, but we need not recapitulate them. They leave the impression of Jamaica as a community riddled with fear, on the one hand of a savage revolt of its slaves and on the other of treachery and insurrection in concert with the Spaniards of the Irish Papists, who mostly made up their indentured servants. To crush the negroes the Papists alone were available, and they could neither be disciplined nor trusted. (For papers on the servile revolt see especially 112, 309, 351, 457, 519, 627, 627 i.)
The logwood cutters of Honduras and Campeachy.
The old disputes with the Spaniards about the logwood cutters of the Bay of Campeachy were rankling as they had been for many years. Ships containing cargoes of logwood were seized by the Spanish naval vessels wherever they were met with (e.g. 88), regardless of the place where the wood had been cut. The Bay of Honduras was now a more common source than the Bay of Campeachy, though the logwood cutters were still persisting in their efforts at the island of Triste there, despite their expulsion by a Spanish expedition some years before. There is an interesting letter of complaint (280) to the Council of Trade and Plantations from a man engaged in the trade, which gives many particulars of the persistence of the cutters despite the repeated renewals of the Spanish attacks upon their ships in Campeachy. They were willing to run great risks for the sake of the profits to be made, The common price of logwood in the Bay was 5l. a ton, but it sold in England for 13l. and sometimes up to 18 or 20l. a ton. Fourteen ships were taken by the Spaniards there as late as May 1730; while they were lying at Triste their crews were absent, being engaged in logwood cutting as far away as 100 miles up-country in the woods. The Spaniards had taken a sloop belonging to New England and cut all the ship's company to pieces in cold blood, only the cabin boy escaping, (p. 135). The complainant himself recounted that he had been taken by them and carried to and put ashore on a desolate island without an ounce of victuals, where he lived miserably 13 weeks and 2 days before he got off. (p. 135). The trade was mainly based upon the harbours of Jamaica, and it was still an important source of employment to the ships and sailors of that colony, although many of the men engaged in it came from the ports of New England and belonged to merchants there who carried their cargoes for sale to the ports of European countries direct without touching in England.