State of the Colonies at King James's accession.
THE present volume opens with the accession of King James the Second, on the 6th of February 1685, and is continued to December 1688, at which date, as will be seen, orders were still issued from England in respect of the Colonies in his name and by his authority. It will be remembered, on reference to the previous volume of this Calendar, that many most important matters awaited the decision of the new King. Massachusetts was virtually without a government; and the subjection of Massachusetts to the royal authority signified great changes for the whole of New England. New Hampshire also was without a governor. Bermuda likewise lay in a state approaching to anarchy. Jamaica was under the control of an administrator pending the arrival of a successor to Sir Thomas Lynch; in Barbados the corrupt rule of Sir Richard Dutton was drawing to its close; and in the Leeward Islands there was the difficulty of finding a governor worthy to follow the veteran Sir William Stapleton. Finally, French encroachment was active whenever it could find an opening against the British, whether in the West Indies or on the frontiers of the North American Colonies. In a word, Colonial affairs appealed urgently for the attention of an active and resolute administrator.
The rebellion of Argyll and of the Duke of Monmouth in May and June 1685 threw the first energies of King James for a time into a different channel. It is strange to note how swiftly the news of these intended risings flew across the Atlantic. Monmouth did not land at Lyme until the 11th of June, and yet on the 26th of April it was already noised in New Hampshire that the Duke of Monmouth was King, and that the Duke of York would never be crowned (183, I.). The King's Circular announcing the rebellion will be found at No. 256, and it will be noticed that it forms only an appendage to the intelligence of a matter more important to the Colonies, namely, the imposition of a duty on sugar and tobacco. A further Circular (404) reports the transportation of a number of the unfortunate rebels, whole lists of whom may be found by reference to the index under the headings of Barbados and Jamaica. There are a few depositions from two transported rebels (561, 561, I., II.) which throw rather a curious light on the recruiting of Monmouth's army and on the methods of Jeffreys. Notices of the rejoicings in the Colonies over the overthrow of the rebellion will be found at Nos. 372 and 405; but the name of Monmouth (see Index, Monmouth's rebellion) for some time remained ready in the mouths of men, when drink or insanity made them riotous or insubordinate.
Its effect on the Colonies.
In one quarter the news of Monmouth's failure was received with unfeigned relief. The defeated faction at Boston had used the opportunity to spread mischievous and malicious reports, giving great anxiety to the Governors of neighbouring Colonies (371), and had evidently formed hopes of regaining its forfeited liberties. At the outset of the new reign Governor Broadstreet wrote rather plaintively of the penitence of the Colony, and of its hopes of forgiveness, evidently not without some faith that the loyal celebration of King James's accession (137, 138) might conciliate the royal favour; while Connecticut and New Plymouth also sent loyal addresses (141, 147), not omitting to mention their ancient liberties. But directly the air had been cleared by the victory of Sedgemoor the indefatigable Edward Randolph was set to work to impugn the Charters of Connecticut and Rhode Island (276, 279); and the same fate was threatened against the Jerseys and Delaware (283, 304). A month later Randolph, reminding the Lords of Trade that the loyal party in Boston was still helpless and unrelieved, proposed the establishment of a provisional government to secure it from oppression (319); and his advice was acted on not the less readily for the complaint of an Anglican minister against the Independents of Boston. "Because I married "two Anglicans and baptised others who desired to be "members of the Church," he wrote (267), "they have "done me every imaginable outrage short of prison, the lash "and banishment, with which they have threatened me." Joshua Moody and Increase Mather, the high priests of the disloyal faction, were, as might have been expected, the promoters of these disorders. So Randolph submitted the names of a President and Councils for Massachusetts, Charles-town Bay, New Plymouth, and Maine, together with a list of towns fitted to choose Assembly-men (350), and sailed away for his ninth voyage across the Atlantic (334).
NEW ENGLAND and MASSACHUSETTS. The new Government.
In May 1686 H.M.S. Mary Rose arrived with the new Commissioner for the temporary government, and on the 25th Joseph Dudley, the chosen president, swore in the New Council (674, 702). The Commission called forth a protest from the late Secretary of Massachusetts Bay, containing what might almost be called a menace, and yet on second thoughts a sulky sumission. . . . "There being no "mention of an Assembly in the Commission we think that "highly concerns you to consider whether such a Commission "be safe either for you or for us. If you are satisfied with it "we, though we cannot assent thereto, shall demean ourselves "as true and loyal subjects." (702, I.) However, the Council was duly constituted, and rejoiced that its first address to the King should be one of congratulation over the defeat of Monmouth (790.) Meanwhile Randolph had lost no time in reporting to the Company of Connecticut that he had brought a writ against their charter, and that they would do well to resign it. (696.) As a matter of fact, owing to the length of his voyage—a tedious journey of six months—the time for the return of the writ was lapsed, so that in reality he could bring no coercion to bear (794). The Governor and Company, evidently aware of the fact, temporised and asked the advice of Governor Dongan of New York (728, 729), finally addressing the King for recall of the writ and for forgiveness for past offences (763). Rhode Island, on the other hand, surrendered her charter (749, 750, 777) and sent a messenger, John Greene, to England to beg for good terms. Still Randolph was anxious. He complained that President Dudley and his Council showed too much favour to the disloyal faction in New England, and prayed for the speedy arrival of a Governor-General (794, 824). At the same time the eternal disputes over the proprietorship of Maine and of the Narragansett country re-appeared (155, 819, 1059, 1060, 1104, 1105), and it was plain that there would be abundant work for a Governor-General to do.
Sir E. Andros appointed Governor-General.
Meanwhile the Governor-General had already been appointed in the person of Sir Edward Andros, late the Duke of York's Governor in New York, and recently employed as an officer in the suppression of Monmouth's rebellion; and his commission and instructions were under preparation (see Index. Andros). Why Colonel Percy Kirk, the original Governor-designate, was superseded, does not appear. The minutes of the Lords of Trade shew clearly the general trend of the royal policy towards the union of the whole of the Northern Colonies under a single government (857). Still the process was long, and Randolph grew uneasy over the influx of Nonconformist immigrants from England, and over the latitude allowed to them, under the royal grant of liberty of conscience, by the President and Council. Dudley and his peers also shewed no disposition to provide maintenance for an Anglican minister recently sent to Boston from England. "From the first foundation of the Colony," they wrote, "ministers have been solely dependent on the voluntary "contributions of their hearers. . . . As his auditors "increase so will his maintenance." (925)—a piece of sound good sense which was unanswerable. Altogether affairs were in no very comfortable condition when in December 1686 Sir Edmund Andros at last arrived at Boston.
No Assembly allowed.
The new Governor's instructions contained one ominous clause. The style of enacting laws was to be "By the "Governor and Council," for there was to be no assembly of elected representatives. The reason for this was partly set forth in another provision, that neighbouring Colonies were to be assisted on occasion, which subsequent experience, down even to the year 1762, shewed to be far too wise to be acceptable. Moreover there was another unpleasant feature in the new government, namely, two companies of red-coated soldiers from the English Establishment for the garrison of Boston, some one hundred and twenty men in all, who were to incur the reproach of teaching the godly city to "drab, curse, drink, damn, and swear"* (832, 856, 857). The temporary Council had re-enacted laws and reimposed a few taxes identical with those voted under the late charter; but the measures were ill received, although no novelty, since free institutions were gone. Andros's first act was to take over the fort of Pemaquid. He then addressed himself to Connecticut, which after some hesitation had decided to yield itself to the King's disposal (1197, 1237) for restoration of its former government or annexation to New England. New York was desperately anxious (see Index Connecticut) to secure this province for herself, but the King, as shall be seen, had a wider design than this in view, though for the present some corrupt influence seems to have retarded his decision (1237). So Andros busied himself with investigation of the revenue of Massachusetts and of the rival claims to disputed territories (1414), and at last in October went down in person to Connecticut to annex it to his Government.
Federation of New England and New York.
Finally in April, 1688, a new Commission was issued to him, whereby he was constituted Governor not only of Massachusetts, New Plymouth, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine, but also of New York and the Jersys; the whole being united under the name of New England, with a special flag for the whole province (1688, 1689). At this point, therefore, it will be convenient to leave New England for a time in order to trace the history of New York.
NEW YORK. It becomes a province of the Crown.
New York, as will be remembered, had been granted to James, Duke of York, and only at his accession passed to the Crown. The inhabitants at once seized the opportunity to point out that the province had suffered greatly through the disjunction of the Jerseys and Delaware from it; and indeed it should seem that the proprietors of New Jersey had given good ground for complaint (10, 23, 186). But the Lords of Trade on their side were already looking askance at the charter of New York, and resolving that its Government should be assimilated to that of New England. Constant pleas throughout this period for the annexation of Connecticut and the two Jerseys, show that jealousy between New York and New England was already in full play, and sufficiently justify the wisdom of King James in centralising thoroughly if he centralised at all. The course of the dispute may be traced in Nos. 1014, 1160, 1250, 1262, 1270, 1279, but, as its close has already been indicated, the matter need not further detain us.
French aggression, and Governor Dongan.
The really interesting point in the history of New York during these years is the story of French aggression and the resolute fashion in which it was resisted by Governor Dongan. In August 1685, he reported the French to be quiet, and the Indian trade to be good. "But," he added, "it will be much better if we take the same care as the "French by putting a little fort on this side the Great Lake "(Ontario), as they have on the other. It is in the King's "dominions, nearer to us than to them, and would be an "obligation to the Indians to bring their beaver to us, which "would be six for one at present (315)." The "little fort," erected by the French, was that of Cadaraqui, or Fort Frontenac, at the head of Lake Ontario; and a principal object with them in building it was to overawe the Five Nations, or Iroquois, which were the most powerful tribes on the continent, and to gain them from the English side to their own. Dongan summoned the Five Nations to meet him at Albany, and resolved to hold them fast to the English alliance before the French could find an opportunity of over-persuading them. The action at once called forth a letter from a French Jesuit missionary, the first of a long series that was to pass between the Jesuits and the Catholic Governor of New York (327). In May 1686, Dongan wrote to Mons. de Denonville, the Governor of Canada (693), warning him that he knew of the French designs against the Five Nations, and of the reasons for them; but that he had no intention of allowing them to go forward, and was not to be deterred from his purpose by pleas for the safety of missionaries in propagating the Gospel. Catholic though he was, Dongan knew the methods of Jesuit missionaries too well to trust them; and he gave de Denonville to understand that he had heard of his intentions to erect a fort at Niagara, and would not permit it. De Denonville answered effusively, excusing his hostile designs against the Five Nations, pleading eloquently for the cause of Christianity (694, 727), and deploring the fact that so old a soldier should take umbrage at the despatch of a few stores to Cadaraqui. To this Dongan returned an extremely dry answer (791), which seems to have given offence, for he followed it up some months later by a letter of rather lofty apology, but full of resolution to submit to no liberties from the French (1027). He then wrote home giving an account of the dispute with France (which, as he observed, turned mainly upon their jealousy of the fur-trade), announcing his intention of sending a party under Mr. Macgregory to open up trade with the western Indians, and asking permission to erect a fort at Niagara (pp. 328, 329). The Five Nations, however, had been so much irritated by French aggression that Dongan had much trouble in preventing them from attacking the French missionaries, one of whom wrote to him an almost touching letter of thanks for his good offices (1282).
Dongan's resolute attitude against the French.
Still French encroachment continued, and Dongan's protests became more serious (1317), till at last, in July 1687, there came the news that the French had made an attack on the Senecas, one of the Five Nations, and had been beaten (1348). (Sundry accounts of the defeat of the French will be found in Nos. 1416, 1421.) Dongan himself was at the time at Albany engaged in palaver with the chiefs of the Five Nations, examining the causes which had prompted the French attack, and binding them closer to the English side (1377–1379). Then came the news that Macgregory's party had been stopped by the French and carried away prisoners to Montreal (1427, 1428). Dongan still kept his temper, being unwilling to fight the French without orders, in spite of their unprovoked onslaught on the Indian allies of the English; but he was urgent for prompt action. The French were encroaching as fast as they could, and, as he said, "a little thing now may prevent great expense of "money and blood hereafter" (1429). Following on this letter are copies of a furious correspondence between him and de Denonville. In December 1686, a treaty of neutrality had been agreed on with France, pending the settlement of various questions in dispute between the two nations (1062); and Dongan and de Denonville each reproached the other angrily with violating it (1429, I., II., 1430). Finally, in September 1687, Dongan furnished the Indians with arms, took two hundred men to strengthen the garrison of Albany, and sketched a plan of campaign for the Indian chiefs (1432, 1433). He had good cause to apprehend an invasion of the French, and he wished, in anticipation of Pitt, to put an end to their aggression once for all. "They will never live "easily with their neighbours till they have one good blow "given them," he wrote (1479). . . . "It can be "effected now by sending four or five hundred men from "Europe to help the Indians, and ordering all the American "governments to help with men and money." Such, no doubt, is the best way in which to meet what is now called a policy of pinpricks; but Dongan was no swashbuckler, and he adds with prudence and wisdom, "The constant expense "inclines me towards a peace until the matters in dispute "can be settled at home if the Governor of Canada will quit "his fort at Niagara and leave things as they were."
Truce, and Treaty of Neutrality.
Accordingly a month later he proposed to de Denonville to return things to their former state (1495); and in February 1688 negotiations were definitely set on foot between the two Governors (1638, 1638, I.–XIV.), which came for the moment to little result, owing to the intense distrust of the French by the Indians. Meanwhile commissioners had been appointed to adjust the differences between the two nations in May 1687, with the result that a cessation of hostilities in all quarters was agreed on for the year 1688 (1254, 1600). But Dongan received distinct instructions from the King to protect the Five Nations and to meet invasion by invasion; Andros in New England was ordered to help him if required; and Virginia gave moral support by representing to the King the vital importance of keeping the Five Nations under the influence of New York (1505, 1506, (1574). In effect Dongan did apply to Andros for troops, and was loyally seconded by Sir Edmund (1548, I., II., 1684); but before the operations could be pushed further New York was merged in New England, and Dongan received his recall to England in most honourable terms (1712). Until the arrival of Amherst it is probable that no English soldier ever did such good service to America as he. Although a poor man, a Catholic, an officer only lately retired from the French service, and with money still due to him from the French King (791), he served England with a vigour and prudence and a loyalty that were of lasting value. No document more fittingly describes the man than his letter to King James on his accession. "I believe your "Majesty hath a whole crowd of importuners, so that I shall "desire nothing for myself, but entirely submit to your "Majesty's pleasure."
New York merged in New England.
So Andros took over the administration of New York as Governor of New England, with a new Council and with special instructions to protect the Five Nations (1702), his salary also being raised to 1,400l. a year (1789. Everything seems to have gone quietly in Boston, though two memorials from the Dissenters to the King show their anxiety for their religion and their consciences, particularly in the matter of the foisting of the Anglican doctrines upon them (1860, 1869). It does not appear that they had the least ground for alarm, beyond the fact that the Governor borrowed one of their churches for Anglican worship, without interfering with those who formerly used it (1676); and the King set all doubts at rest by expressly reconfirming liberty of conscience, free exercise of religion, and the continuance of the existing management of Cambridge College. Considering the extreme intolerance shown by the dominant faction at Boston in the past, these terms were liberal enough.
Inroad of Indians.
Then came a sudden inroad of Indians about Northfield and Springfield, carrying alarm into all the frontier settlements. A good picture of the hot haste in which the men in authority galloped round the scattered townships to give warning and organise defence will be found in a letter of Colonel John Pyncheon (1877, I.). With a few further details as to this alarm the story of New England under James II. comes to an end. Though the colonies would never have worked kindly without representative institutions, as Randolph had foreseen, yet there was statesmanship from at any rate one point of view in this attempt to unite the jealous and contentious little communities against the common enemy on the border.
HUDSON'S BAY. French encroachment.
In yet another quarter of North America French encroachment had been busy and violent. In 1682 a party from Canada had attacked and burned certain of the settlements of the Hudson's Bay Company, and in 1686 another force had despoiled the forts and factories at the head of Hudson's Bay, captured three of the company's ships, and turned fifty Englishmen adrift in a small vessel to starve. The whole state of the case may be traced under the index-name of Hudson's Bay, and the insolent attitude of the French is remarkable. The affair appears to have been one of the first brought before the notice of the Commissioners to adjust differences; and the English stood firm in their claim to the whole of Hudson's Bay and to satisfaction for the damage done by the French (1515). Among the Addenda to the present volume will be found documents relating to a still earlier dispute over this same territory, not without instruction for the study of French violence and effrontery.
Turning next to the Southern Colonies, we find the quarrel between Lord Baltimore and William Penn as to the boundaries of Pennsylvania still unsettled until November 1685, when the Lords, having been stirred up by Penn (320), at last pronounced their decision (456). But Penn seems to have attempted in his turn to encroach on New York about the Susquehannah, a proceeding which of course was much resented by Dongan (pp. 327, 328). In retaliation Penn appears to have spread a report that Dongan was about to be recalled, which irritated that energetic officer not a little, and led him to appeal to Whitehall for support (1158, 1159). There is nothing in Penn's character to render such action on his part incredible; and indeed Dongan speaks of his conduct as though he could prove the facts. With this, however, our information as to Pennsylvania is terminated.
MARYLAND. Its charter threatened.
In Maryland we take up anew the thread, dropped at the close of the previous volume, of the murder of the King's Revenue officer by the Deputy-Governor, George Talbot. The first news is of his escape from Virginia to Maryland, where he met with much sympathy, and resided publicly at his own house; his example tending apparently to encourage lawless proceedings towards the Collectors of the King's Revenue (82, 136). Talbot was, however, brought back to Virginia, tried and condemned; for he could plead nothing but that he was inflamed by passion and drink (671, 773). The capital penalty was however commuted by the King to banishment. For the rest Maryland seems to have gone on as usual, the minutes of Council presenting little of interest, though it should seem that the King had at one moment the intention of cancelling Baltimore's charter (632, 645), and actually gave orders for the writ of quo warranto, doubtless with the design of throwing this province also into the Government of New England.
VIRGINIA. Quarrel of Governor and Assembly.
In Virginia, the first point of interest is a violent wrangle between the Governor and the Assembly on a constitutional point. The Governor wished to obtain a bill empowering himself and Council to raise a limited sum for expenses of government without further authority. The Assembly refused, wherein doubtless it could say much to justify itself, but then put itself into the wrong by refusing to admit the Governor's power to veto a bill which had been clandestinely garbled and altered from the draft bill as passed by both houses (467, 563). This behaviour drew upon the Assembly the direct censure of the King (655, 800), who directed that it should be dissolved as a mark of his displeasure; nor can it be said that the reproof was wholly undeserved. The effect of this rebuke was, however, small. The Assembly was not to be so easily cured of its recalcitrance. Colonel Philip Ludwell, who had been driven from the Council after Bacon's rebellion but subsequently reinstated, took occasion to appoint Robert Beverley, an old firebrand who had been declared by the King to be incapable of holding any public employment, as his deputy in an important public post; and Lord Howard of Effingham wrote almost in despair of the prospect of getting any useful work done. It should seem indeed that the principle of thwarting the Governor, which brought so much misfortune on the Colonies sixty years later, was already a deep-seated disease in Virginia; and the monotony of blind obstruction and controversy makes the minutes of its Assembly a trial to any reader's patience. It is, however, refreshing to observe that Virginia perceived the vital importance of retaining a hold over the Five Nations; and, after some hesitation, agreed to furnish some assistance to New York (see Index. Dongan). It is instructive also to note how the vexatious restrictions of the Navigation Acts were rendered doubly irritating by the arbitrary and occasionally corrupt action of officers of the Royal Navy. The King's revenue-officers, as is shown by the murder of Rousby, were not popular, so that the Navy which upheld them could not be popular either; and though the Governor might strive to do justice to the Colonists with perfect loyalty and integrity, the task was, as Lord Howard of Effingham could prove, no easy one (1264, 1507, 1627).
CAROLINA, Indian slave-trade.
From Virginia I pass to Carolina, where we find the Colonists in collision with the Southern Indians (28). The trouble arose from the practice of carrying on a species of Indian slave-trade, which the Lords Proprietors, for all their censures and injunctions, seemed powerless to check. Corruption and lawlessness in Carolina appear indeed to have been painfully rife. "Dealers in Indians boast that for a "bowl of punch they could get whom they would chosen for "the Parliament and the Grand Council. By this means "they have got Acts passed prohibiting the sale of arms to "Indians, which they caused to be observed by others but "themselves broke with impunity" (58, 59, 172). It was apparently the profitableness of this trade and the desire to encourage it that made the Colonists raise all kinds of constitutional objections to the orders of the Proprietors. The arguments which these objections drew from England strangely resemble certain that were put forward, with a different object, at the time of the American Revolution. "Do York or Bristol, in England, choose more than two "burgesses for Parliament? Are not there many boroughs "of ten houses that choose as many. The members for the "least city or borough have equal votes with the members "chosen by the greatest cities and largest counties; so there "is no reason why Colleton county, not having an equal "number of inhabitants, should not choose an equal number "of members." These arguments seem, however, to have been considered inconclusive, for we find a secession of members from the Parliament on constitutional grounds a little later (472), involving further energetic remonstrance from the Proprietors (1162). The complete history of this constitutional dispute will be found at No. 1962, but how far it is accurate it is not easy to decide, seeing that the statement is that of the injured party only. But it should seem that the Governors sent out from England were not without share of responsibility for many of the troubles, inasmuch as they violently resented the advent of a new Governor who, being also a proprietor, could exert more than ordinary authority.
A lawless community.
But indeed wherever we look we find some irregularity in the government of Carolina. The highest officials were not to be trusted. Pirates were encouraged and harboured by them (639, 1161); and it would appear that the orders of the Proprietors on almost every subject were ignored. Then, as if it were not enough to have irritated the Indians, the Colonists made a raid upon their Spanish neighbours, which of course led to reprisals and to international complications (1161, 1457). Finally, in Carolina, as elsewhere, the King's revenue-officers complained that the Navigation Acts could not be enforced owing to the partiality of juries (1204); and although the Proprietors denied the charge (1417), yet, as they of necessity relied on the accounts of their own officials, the denial cannot be accounted of great worth.
BERMUDA. General lawlessness.
Harsh measures of the Governor.
From the Continent I pass to the Islands, and first to Bermuda. There the people continued in a state of anarchy; no regulations were observed, no orders obeyed, no government enforced. The Sheriff released prisoners; smuggling and wrecking went forward unchecked; and there was an inclination to reject the Commission of King James, as being that of a Papist. The general lawlessness was almost incredible, and the Governor was powerless. When he attempted to place the islands in a state of defence, two officers of Militia took possession of one of the forts and refused to give it up, one of whom sent the Governor the following message:—"These are to desire you to send some power "and mash [powder and match], for there is not two shouls "of power and no mash at all to defend the forts withal, "which is all from your servant to his power, WM. KEALE." The reader will probably admit that this is a true curiosity of military discipline (210, 212, 396, 399 V.). Not content with general insubordination, the people drew up articles of "enormous crimes" against the Governor, which he refuted clause by clause in a singularly wooden fashion (552). But indeed he seems to have stood in danger of his life, and to have been saved only by the opportune arrival of a pirate, Bartholomew Sharpe, in the harbour; the people having been greatly excited by the news of Monmouth's rebellion (532, 533, 596, 617). Finally, a man-of-war came in. Five of the ringleaders were put aboard her in irons, and after a long and cruel confinement, which was fatal to one of them, were delivered to the Lords of Trade (852, 918), who found no fault in them and ordered them to be released (1045). It is difficult amid the mass of conflicting evidence to discover the rights of the case, for the faculty of lying was demonstrably developed to high perfection in Bermuda; but, rightly or wrongly, Governor Cony was loathed in the Island, and there was no peace while he remained there. Still, on the evidence of Captain St. Loe, an upright officer of the Royal Navy, it seems likely that the Bermudians were a "mutinous, "turbulent, hypocritical people, wholly averse to kingly "government" (1533).
New Governor appointed.
Meanwhile a successor to him had been appointed, in the person of Sir Robert Robinson (781), under whom the Islands seem to have settled down to almost suspicious repose (1216, 1217). A Chief Justice was also sent out, named Henry Hornesnell, who found little or nothing to employ him (1597), and seems to have spent most of his time in watching the new Governor and discovering corrupt practices on his part. These may have been imaginary, but were probably real, though it is hard to judge of accuracy or inaccuracy in a man who finds himself set down in a distant island with nothing whatever to do. He, however, secured one benefit for Bermuda, in the shape of the same freedom of trade as was accorded to other Colonies, before he obtained leave to return home. Sir Robert Robinson also resigned his office, and, wonderful to relate, Cony applied for and obtained reappointment to the Governorship (see their names in the index). At this point we take leave of Bermuda.
BARBADOS. Disgrace of Governor Sir R. Dutton.
Turning next to Barbados, our attention is first occupied by the persecution of Sir John Witham, the Lieutenant Governor, by Governor Sir Richard Dutton. The case was brought before the Lords of Trade in March 1685 (94, 95), and Witham seized the opportunity to make damaging counter-charges against Dutton (162). Dutton came home for the trial of the case, having first initiated a bitter quarrel with Edwyn Stede, whom he left in administration of the government (288), and after much exchange of angry recrimination between the two principals (308, 413, 414, 429), the Lords decided that Sir Richard Dutton's proceedings were altogether violent and malicious, being prompted by no other motive than that of depriving Sir John Witham of the half-salary due to him as Lieutenant Governor (439). Thereupon Witham was restored to all his offices, and Dutton, seeing himself worsted, admitted his faults and pleaded for pardon (448, 449). It is satisfactory to observe that this rogue of a Governor received short shrift and little mercy at the hands of the Lords of Trade (449, 454, 455), and that he was called to account for other misdoings during his term of office. (See Index, Dutton.)
Sir Timothy Thornhill.
Under the administration of Edwyn Stede, Barbados, though much afflicted by sickness and impoverished by short crops, seems to have to lived fairly happily. What the epidemic precisely may have been which was described in the doctors' certificates as "contagious bellyaike" 294, 871), must be left for experts to determine, but beyond doubt it caused great suffering and mortality. Stede was also not a little troubled by a young Councillor, Sir Timothy Thornhill, who had been appointed by Sir Richard Dutton to the post of Major-General for the express purpose of annoying the Deputy Governor. Thornhill, it appears, was a man of lewdness and debauchery, given to drinking, profaneness, and execrable swearing, and also a corrupter of youths by no means of the Socratic kind (1190). Stede, however, brought him to his bearings by trying him for gross misbehaviour and imposing a heavy fine, which, to the credit of the authorities at Whitehall, was confirmed. For the rest, the favourable answer of the King to a petition of the Quakers in the Island (742), and the imposition of an additional duty on sugar were matters which were not at all to the taste of the Colony (367); but, upon the whole, the internal condition of Barbados during this period calls for little remark.
Dispute with the French over St. Lucia.
Outside its own borders, however, the activity of the Governor was much exercised by a claim of the French to the sovereignty of St. Lucia and their occupation of that Island in 1685 (541). King James at once ordered English rights to St. Lucia to be vindicated by a man-of-war (603); and accordingly in May, Captain Temple, of H.M.S. Mary Rose, sailed thither, erected the Royal Arms of England, and ordered the French to leave the Island. This done, he proceeded to St. Vincent, where he was received with flights of arrows from the Caribs on the shore. The sailors opened fire with muskets, and having driven the Caribs into the jungle, pulled ashore with all haste to complete their punishment, but could not catch them. So they could but burn the huts, destroy the provision-grounds and return in great wrath, bringing with them a letter written by a French Jesuit, which they found at the door of one of the huts (871, XII.). The original of this document is the most interesting that I have encountered while preparing the present volume. It carries the reader to the coast of a shaggy, mountainous island, where naked Caribs line the scrap of beach by the jungle, shooting arrows furiously, with showers of abuse, at a boat in the offing. The boat is filled with angry Englishmen, tanned by salt, and sea, and wind, pulling their hardest through the blue tropic sea to the shore, while one or two in the bows watch their chance, as the boat rises and falls, to fire an effective shot. Everyone is angry and excited, except a single calm priest, who lies inside a hut on the beach, and with a pen perhaps cut from the shed feather of some sea-bird, and ink probably made from the soot of last night's camp-fire, writes on a scrap of paper a request that the English officer will spare his little hut as he must follow the flying Caribs to baptise the fatigued and dying. The boat draws nearer, the Caribs fly, the priest throws a handful of sand from the beach over the wet sheet and flies with them. And the English land to find nothing but the scrap of paper to show them that a devoted priest indeed, but also an active enemy of their countrymen in the West Indies, is busily stirring up the native savages against them. As in Canada, so in the Antilles, the Jesuits were among the most persistent and subtle of the enemies of the English.
The Governor of Martinique of course took umbrage at the action of H.M.S. "Mary Rose," and there ensued an angry correspondence between him and Stede as to the sovereignty of St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Dominica. The English arms were torn down and re-erected; there was much drawing out of claims and counter-claims; and finally the matter came up before the Commissioners for the adjustment of differences, and was set at rest for a year by the Treaty of Neutrality, to be ultimately resolved many years later by war (997, 1032, 1191, 1272, 1441, 1571).
Simultaneously a question cropped up as to the sovereignty of Tobago, which was claimed under an old agreement by the Duke of Courland, who now desired the help of the British in settling it. The question may be followed by the help of the index (Tobago), but it is of little interest. The English title to the Island is given in Nos. 1033, 1184 I.
LEEWARD ISLANDS. Death of Sir William Stapleton.
Turning next to the Leeward Islands we find Sir William Stapleton still in command at the opening of the reign; but by December he was in England (497), and in the following year he went to France to drink the waters, where he died (813). His successor was Sir Nathaniel Johnson, whose appointment was announced in August 1686; but there was long delay in sending him out, and it is not till March 1687 that we find him desiring instructions as to Sir William Stapleton's practice of firing at Frenchmen that refused to salute the British flag, and as to the encountering of Caribs armed and stirred up by the French for inroads upon the English Islands (1178). He did not reach his government until some months later, his first letter being dated August 1687, and meanwhile the administration was carried on by the Deputy-Governors of the several Islands. There is a curious petition of these worthies (498) for leave to accept presents from their Assemblies, on the ground that they were "at "continual charges for the entertainment of strangers and "others that resort to these Islands." Certainly the plea would be valid enough for Colonial Governors of the present day, but it is hard to believe that the West Indies were so much overrun by travellers two centuries ago.
Smuggling in high places.
The pathetic appeal is endorsed "Nothing"; which may in part account for the fact that the Leeward Islands were hotbeds of smuggling, which the Deputy-Governors took no pains to check (1281). It is also remarkable that the Deputy-Governor of Nevis, Sir James Russell, quarrelled violently with an officer of the Royal Navy who attempted to put down this smuggling and to suppress piracy; and it is natural to infer,—indeed there is sufficient evidence to show,—that he at least made good the expense of entertaining travellers by illicit methods (1111, 1232, 1356). A more serious matter was a revolt of negroes in Antigua, which seems to have been threatened rather earlier in Nevis (557). The entries relating to it may be read in the Minutes of Council of Antigua, and are occasionally rather grim. "A "negro brought in who was proved to be in correspondence "with the runaway negroes and was expected to run away "and join them. Ordered that his leg be cut off." And a week later, there is reference to the negro George who had been guilty of mutinous behaviour on several occasions. "Ordered "that the negro George be burned to ashes" (1189, 1193). Thirty years later there was to be a more formidable revolt and even more hideous punishment.
Sir Nathaniel Johnson.
Sir Nathaniel Johnson seems to have been a pains-taking man, though he was shocked, as Stapleton had been before him, over the condition of the two companies of regular troops that he found at St. Christopher's (1387). He seems to have gone very thoroughly into the system of government in the Islands and to have found incredible confusion in the administration of justice and in the titles of possession to land (1653, 1706, which he endeavoured to set right. But beyond a suggestion to settle the Virgin Islands and the transfer of the head-quarters of the Government of Antigua (1773), there is little of interest in his despatches.
JAMAICA. Faction and disorder.
Lastly, I come to Jamaica, where Colonel Hender Molesworth was still administering the government in succession to Sir Thomas Lynch. From the first there was a faction, headed by one Roger Elletson and backed by the veteran privateer Sir Henry Morgan, which attempted to asperse the memory of Sir Thomas Lynch and to upset the policy initiated by him and continued by Molesworth (33, 57, 68, 128, 548). The trade in negroes with Spain, which is generally associated with the word Assiento, had proved very advantageous to Jamaica, and had been much encouraged by Lynch and supported by his successor; who, indeed, had pledged his credit to establish it, making, as his enterprise entitled him, a considerable profit out of it. The efforts of the hostile faction were therefore aimed much against this Spanish trade, of which, from Molesworth's interest in it, we hear a good deal (85, 193, 378, 549, 643).
The same factious spirit presently shewed itself in the face of a more important matter. In August, 1685, the negroes later known by the name of Maroons, broke into rebellion and it was necessary to raise troops to suppress them-a matter of some difficulty, since they could take refuge in inaccessible strongholds in the mountains and would never stand to fight (299, 339). The operations were not very successful, and were therefore prolonged for a considerable time at a considerable expense (445, 560). When the Assembly met in June, 1686, the Lieutenant Governor appealed to it for payment of the different parties of troops, but he anticipated difficulties, as care had been taken to fill the House with obstructives (703, 731). His fears were realised. The factious opposition first evaded the question for as long as possible, then tried to raise the money first by an impost on the Assiento, and finally by an unjust tax on land, taking care always to spare themselves (754, 779, 839). Notwithstanding Molesworth's protests they refused to find the money or to save their compatriots from being murdered by the Maroons; and at length, in September, Molesworth dissolved them (879, 880). One of the disaffected party then offered to raise volunteers and suppress the rebellion, but as Molesworth had anticipated, with no better success than amounted to the "disturbing of a wasps' nest" (883, 965). It was therefore necessary to renew operations once more which, after much exertion, reduced the rebel negroes to great distress, though not to absolute submission (1128, 1220). There was still a full century to elapse before the last should be heard of the Maroons.
Duke of Albemarle appointed Governor.
Meanwhile fresh difficulties were in store for Molesworth Sir Philip Howard, who had been designated successor to Sir Thomas Lynch in the governorship, died before he could take up the appointment, and in July, 1686, Christopher, Duke of Albemarle, was nominated in his stead. How the factious party contrived to gain influence over this miserable son of the great George Monk does not appear; but certain it is that he at once asked first for regular troops to suppress the rebellion, and next for power to reinstate Sir Henry Morgan and another of the malcontents in the Council, as well as for authority to draw half the salary and perquisites of the government from the date of Sir Philip Howard's death (759, 930). The troops were denied to him, but the half salary and perquisites were granted (1327, 1330), most unjustly and improperly, to the prejudice of Molesworth. The Lieutenant Governor protested, but to no purpose (1374), and returned an account of the perquisities to show how mean this application of a new rule was to his case. Albemarle, however, was anxious to make money, and besides this unfair grant of salary obtained also the gift of the King's share of treasure recovered from a wrecked treasure-ship off Hispaniola (see Index, Wreck).
His foolish and calamitous administration.
Towards the end of 1687 the new Governor arrived in the West Indies, and was received with special respect to his high rank. He inspected the local militia (1567), and on reaching Jamaica was thanked for his condescension in accepting the government. Taking the matter with all possible seriousness, he swore no fewer than three clerks to the council "for his great dignity" (1954), and then entered at once on a succession of follies. First he persecuted Molesworth by requiring of him gigantic security for payment of the dues on the wreck (1649), and then he calmly appointed Roger Elletson, the head of the factious party, and a man of bad character and antecedents, to be chief justice (1646). One of the assistant judges, refusing to serve under such a chief, was suspended from the Council without trial (1659), contrary to the Royal instructions. Simultaneously he assented to an Act for the defrauding of creditors by attaching fictitious value to coin, which no honest Governor should ever have looked at (1660).
His death: his acts reversed.
Matters soon went from bad to worse. Sir Henry Morgan, though apparently at the point of death, was restored to the Council (1858); and by foul means an Assembly of the factious was elected, and Elletson chosen speaker. Then all went merrily for the rogues in the island. Elletson displaced all officers obnoxious to him, by fair means or foul, fined people right and left for imaginary offences, and so contrived to enrich himself, find places for his creatures, and release his friends from debt. In fine there were so many rascals in high places, that Jamaica might have been set down as in a state of revolution (1845, 1846, 1941). Fortunately, in the midst of all the trouble the Duke died, chiefly it seems of drink; and the whole of his proceedings were instantly discovered and reversed (1940, 1943). This act must have been one of the last official decisions of James before his flight; and certainly it was eminently a right one. How Albemarle was allowed to take up so important a post is a mystery, for he seems to have been well known for a fool. He proposed to resettle the Bahamas, to which the English were now returning after the sack of New Providence, and to make it profitable if it were granted to him for ninety years. "Your Grace does "not tell us how you will make it profitable, nor how "profitable you will make it," wrote the proprietors drily, "which are things that should first be known" (1835). Altogether his reign in Jamaica was a great disgrace.
General. Duties on sugar and tobacco.
It remains to deal with a few general points concerning the Colonial possessions at large. The first to be considered is the new duty laid on sugar and tobacco by Act of Parliament in 1685 (253). This enactment raised a howl in the Colonies concerned, and elicited from Barbados some very curious statisties as to the cost of raising sugar, and the profit on the crop (367 I.). Virginia also addressed the King for exemption (450); but the Commissioners of Customs dismissed both addresses with the comment that there was nothing therein that they had not heard already many times from merchants in London. Still the Colonists refused to believe that the burden of the impost would fall on the retailer "consumptioner or storekeeper," and not on the planter, as the King's circular had assured them. Another curious economic detail will be found at Nos. 559 and 676, when there was a proposal to establish a cotton manufactory in Jamaica, which was disposed of, in essence, by the curt remark, "the more such manufactures are "encourged in the Colonies, the less they will be dependent "on England." This of course was in accordance with the approved principles of Colonial policy at the time, and must not be too harshly judged.
A still more important aspect of the same question is presented to view by the complaint of the Irish Commissioners of Revenue against the exclusion of Ireland from the freedom of trade which she had formerly enjoyed with the Colonies. The case for Ireland was put with great force (No. 567), and supported by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland with tact and statesmanship. "If," he wrote, "I can propose anything for "the enriching of this wonderful and improvable country "without prejudice to England or the King's revenue there, "I hold it my duty to support it" (599). The English Commissioners of Customs, however, viewed the proposal with disfavour, though the whole gist of their arguments may be summed up in a single sentence. "The position of Ireland "and the cheapness of provisions therein are great advan "tages to the Irish merchants, so much so that if they were "allowed to trade on equal terms with English merchants "they would probably rob this kingdom in great measure "of this flourishing trade" (613). The Irish Commissioners retorted by a second able statement of their case, but were unable to resist making reflections on the management of the Customs in England (638); whereupon the Commissioners of Customs closed the controversy abruptly by a simple reiteration of their former opinion (670). The correspondence is in many ways instructive.
Another matter which calls for special attention in the present volume is the effort of King James to suppress piracy in the Caribbean seas. The documents referring to pirates are very numerous, and may be traced under the heading Privateers in the Index, but there are some few that are of peculiar interest. In 1685 a body of privateers established themselves in an Island off Panama, and for a time defied the efforts of the Spaniards to oust them (67, 148). The alarm was great; and Governor Molesworth of Jamaica apprehended that the injury would not be confined to Spain, but would extend to the trade of all Europe. Such, too, was the opinion of one of the pirates themselves, who by his own account had been drawn into evil courses by sheer force of circumstances. His letter is remarkable, and contains passages of singular pathos, for he is sick of the work and yet attracted by the glory of following, howsoever remotely, in the footsteps of Drake. "If we have success "against the Spanish fleet we shall make a desperate alarm "all Europe over. I have some money, which I wish were "with you for my wife. I shall, with God's help, do things "which (were it with my Prince's leave) would make her a "lady; but now I cannot tell but it may bring me to a "halter. . . . Pray present my faithful love to my "dear wife and tell her that she is ever in my mind" (87). The subsequent adventures of this body of pirates will be found at No. 805 I.
The most remorseless enemy of pirates in the West Indies was Molesworth, who never saw a happier day than that in which H.M.S. "Drake" sailed into Port Royal with four famous offenders swinging at her yard-arm (1127). He seems to have foreseen the possibility of Spanish retaliation in kind; and he was justified by the rise of a fleet of searobbers, known by the name of Biscayaners. These ships held Spanish commissions; and attacked British ships, down to the humblest fishing boat, and British possessions with such relentless inhumanity that King James authorised the Duke of Albemarle to suppress them, albeit they held Spanish commissions, by force (see 678, 1406, 1959). The pursuit of one such pirate brought Captain St. Loe, of H.M.S. "Dartmouth," into an extremely critical position at Porto Rico. The account may still be read of his sailing from the port with a light wind, and of his final escape, after enduring for two hours the fire of more than a hundred guns, with his ship riddled with balls, fifty shot through her foresail, and most of her running rigging shot away (678, V.—IX.). Curiously enough, one of the most prominent of the pirates owning allegiance to Spain was an Englishman named John Bear, who sailed into Havanna, and gave out that his wife was a noble woman who had run away with him. The guns of the Castle were fired as a salute to her, and the Governor and all the grandees attended the wedding. "The "nobleman's daughter," wrote Molesworth, with an indignation that dulled his sense of the ridiculous, "is a strumpet "that he used to carry with him in man's apparel, and is "the daughter of a rum-punch-woman in Port Royal" (1382.) We are not informed as to the feelings of the grandees of Havanna when they learned the true rank of this distinguished couple.
Commission for suppression of piracy.
In other Islands, as has already been told, some of the English Governors showed suspicious tenderness for pirates (1356); and this fact may have prompted the King in commissioning Sir Robert Holmes to sail with a squadron for the total suppression of piracy, and in granting him all profits that should be earned by the venture (1411, 1602). It is worthy of notice that the faction which obtained the upper hand in Jamaica under the Duke of Albemarle was the reverse of zealous in support of Holmes (1865), which gives fresh proof of its character for rascality and corruption.
Military and Naval matters.
As to the British army, there is comparatively little of interest in this volume, beyond the establishment of regular troops in Boston as well as New York, on the reconstitution of the garrison companies in the Leeward Islands (1742). As to the Navy, allusion has already been made to such features as called for remark. The misbehaviour of captains in using the Acts of Navigation as a means of levying blackmail may be studied by reference to the names of Captains Allen and Crofts in the index, and in particular to Nos. 1264, 1627 XIX., which documents throw a curious light on the occurrences which were possible in those days on a man-of-war. Lord Howard of Effingham was not at first loyally supported at home in his endeavours to suppress their discreditable practices; and, indeed, nothing is more striking than the contempt wherein Colonial Governors were held by officers of the Royal Navy. This is not difficult to explain, for a man with a disciplined force at his back must always feel that he is master of the situation; and there can be no doubt that even now the Admiral on a colonial station is reckoned by the colonists a far greater man than any Governor. Still matters must have gone rather far when a Governor could make such a report as the following: "Not long since, "Captain Allen's mistress or ward was delivered of a son on "board his ship, whereby he was so elevated that he sent me "word next day that he had a son and heir, which was "presently christened with great solemnity." The lawful wife of another captain drove the crew to mutiny by throwing the fire of the hearth on the cabin floor whenever she quarrrelled with her husband.
Colonial administration under King James.
For the rest it must be observed that under the superintendence of so capable an administrator as King James colonial business was handled at Whitehall with an energy and swiftness hitherto altogether unknown. The reconsti tution of the northern colonies of America was in itself no light task, and the sudden outburst of activity in French encroachment made this short reign a period of ceaseless anxiety and trouble. Yet the difficulties were manfully faced; and Dongan, the most efficient of the English governors, was well and loyally supported. The appointment of the Duke of Albemarle to Jamaica was a great blot indeed in the management of the Colonies, but his misdeeds were no sooner known than every one of his measures was cancelled. From many points of view, indeed, it is a pity that King James' reign was so short, or we might be able to form a sounder judgment on his experiments in colonial administration. Nor is it possible without a certain feeling of pity to contemplate the reports of the rejoicings over the King's birthday, and, still more, over the birth of the child afterwards known as the Old Pretender. There is a curious picture of old Jamaica, on the 14th of October, 1686. "The Governor entertained all the principal gentlemen and officers with a very sumptuous dinner; and in the "evening the Governor's lady being waited upon by all the "gentlewomen of quality, gave them a very fine treat, and "afterwards entertained them at a ball composed of a suitable number of masqueraders, very curiously habited, and "variety of music, all managed with that admirable order as "gave great beauty and grace to it. They continued dancing "very late, but the streets shone with bonfires to light them "home (981)." Or take the picture of old Barbados at No. 1876, III.,—the Governor drinking seven royal healths in two central places, in honour of the birth of the Prince of Wales, amid regimental volleys from the foot guards and universal acclamation of huzzas; and then as a climax "a "most magnificent entertainment such as the present state of "the West Indies never saw, and the future will admire. At "the head of every company was set a quarter cask of wine, "meat and bread and all necessaries for two thousand people, "besides five hundred gentlemen at one table of two "hundred and fifty feet in length, who were also entertained "at the Governor's expense. The ladies and other persons "of quality had also a splendid entertainment of sweetmeats, "the best that Europe and the West Indies afforded. At last "a bonfire to a stupendous height being erected at the Court "gate, the Governor, as a fresh pattern of loyalty, again "drank the whole Royal Family's health, the whole island "with guns, fireworks, and voices echoing after him, God "Save the King and the Royal Family." Not the least interesting feature of the next volume will be the study of these patterns of loyalty on the accession of William of Orange.
J. W. FORTESCUE.