§ 1. GENERAL.
Craggs Succeeds Addison as Secretary of State.
In March, 1718, Mr. Craggs informed the Governor
of Plantations that he had been appointed to succeed
Joseph Addison as Secretary of State for the Southern
Printing of the Acts of the Plantations.
Before Addison's failing health had compelled him
to resign the Seals, he was able to report several important
decisions by the King in Council on Plantation affairs
(64). Among them was an order to the King's Printer
to proceed with the printing of the Acts of the Plantations in accordance with the request of the Board of
Trade, who had explained that when they had to consult
the laws of the several Colonies, "by reason the said
laws are contained in several large bundles of parchment,
it is difficult and tedious to come at what is immediately
wanted." The records show that John Basket was soon
busy printing the Acts of Bermuda and New York (51,
64, 67). His estimate of the cost was "five farthings
pr. sheet" (469, 715, 721, 728). Printing the Acts
entailed, of course, a preliminary overhauling and
collection of the body of laws of the several Colonies,
which in some cases had already been done. In the
case of Virginia this procedure gave occasion for objections to be raised to some laws of long standing (171,
Instruction to Governors concerning Acts affecting trade and shipping.; New seals.
On Sept. 27, 1717, a new and important Instruction
to Governors was issued, restraining them for the future
from passing any act which might in any way affect
British trade or shipping without the addition of a
clause suspending it from coming into force until it
had received confirmation from the Crown (90 i., 111,
132, 142). This Instruction was forwarded to Governors,
together with warrants for using the new Seals which
had been prepared after the accession of King George I
(127, 135, 142).
Governors' Instructions revised.
Much care having been spent upon the preparation
of Instructions for the new Governor of Jamaica (v. § 3),
and many alterations having been made from those of
his predecessors, it was decided to revised the Instructions
of other Governors so as to secure uniformity, as far as
possible (144, 144 i., 275, 665–667). The nature of
these alterations is described in the covering letter of
the Board of Trade to the Secretary of State (144).
In preparing them, the Board consulted the outgoing
Governor of Jamaica.
Board of Trade.
The Earl of Holdernesse succeeded the Earl of Suffolk
and Bindon as President of the Council of Trade and
Plantations in Jan., 1718 (339). The Board had recently
been reinforced by the appointment in July, 1717, of
two very busy and capable new Commissioners, Martin
Bladen (an M.P. who had been Comptroller of the Mint
since 1714) and Daniel Pulteney (625).
New rooms required.
One of the "closets in the office in the cockpit" was
now so much out of repair that it was found that the
Records of the Board were being seriously damaged
(224). As the mass of documents was rapidly increasing,
the Board presently made a request for the erection of
a new room on Crown land adjoining the office (300).
Then, finding that this would be "a work both of time
and expence," they altered their request to one for
permission to take over some adjacent lodgings (484).
Admiralty Records burned; Burchett's History of the Navy.
It would appear that the Admiralty Office also was
cramped for room for housing it Records. In answering an application by Mr. Popple for the copy of a
letter from Admiral Benbow, the Secretary of the
Admiralty reveals that a quantity of letters had been
destroyed by a fire "in a particular place where they
were lodged in the garden of this Office" (624). Mr.
Burchett, however, had used these documents for the
History of the Navy which he had nearly finished, and
was able to supply the gist of Benbow's correspondence
from that source (624 i.). One wonders whether perhaps
they had been "lodged in the garden" for his use.
Counsel appointed to attend the Board.; A difference with the Attoreney and Solicitor General.
The revision of the laws of the Plantations, which was
rendered necessary by the undertaking to print them,
involved the consideration of many legal points in addition to those raised in the course of ordinary Plantation
business. The Board was empowered by its Commission
to consult, when necessary, the Attorney or Solicitor
General, or any other King's Counsel. The practice
hitherto had been to consult only the Attorney or
Solicitor General, and in view of the many calls upon
their time, to consult them as little as possible. A
difference had recently occurred between them and the
Board. The Law Officers of the Crown had declared
to the Privy Council, when a report of the Council of
Trade upon some acts of the Leeward Islands was
being considered, that they had not given any opinion
on the subject. Consideration of the report was thereupon
laid aside. But the Council of Trade had stated in
that report that they had consulted the Attorney and
Solicitor General, and on hearing what had happened,
they indignantly protested against "the great wrong"
done them, and clinched their argument by submitting
attested copies of the opinions which they had received
from those officers, and which they had received
their representation (237). It may well be that this
breeze helped to impress them with the desirability
of having some lawyer attached to the Board, upon
whom they might call for an opinion on any point of
law, great or small. His particular business would be
to report upon colonial acts, as to whether they were
properly drawn, whether they infringed the Royal
Prerogative or the right of the subject, and whether
they were consonant with both the Acts of Trade and
Navigation and the other laws of the United Kingdom
(409). At any rate, the Board applied for such an officer
to relieve the Attorney and Solicitor General from being
consulted on all but matters of the greatest importance,
and Richard West, K.C., was appointed accordingly
Returns required from Governors.
The new Board showed itself at least as anxious as
its predecessors to obtain information and statistics
from the Colonies, partly in order to satisfy the growing
interest taken by Parliament in the trade and administration of the Empire. Besides repeating former
demands for regular accounts of revenues, it sent
circular letters to the Governors of the Plantations
requesting statements of the number of acres that had
been granted to planters, and details of quit-rents and
of the establishments of each Government (63, 334).
Notice was demanded when leave of absence was granted
to a Councillor (570). Returns of imports and exports
from and to Madeira and the Azores were required
French progress on the Mississippi.
The progress made by the French in establishing
communications between Canada and the new colony
of Louisiana, and their preparations for new settlements
on the Mississippi "on the back of the British Plantations" had already aroused apprehension in such astute
Governors as Spotswood of Virginia and Hunter of
New York. (Cf. C.S.P. 1716–17, p. viii.).
The Company of the West.; French encroachment on the patent of Carolina.; Enquiries by the Board of Trade as to French expansion.
Mr. Cumings, the Customs House Officer at Boston,
now sent a map of the British Empire in North America
to illustrate the danger which threatened it (85). Shortly
afterwards (4th Dec., 1717), Mr. Beresford submitted,
on behalf of South Carolina, a memorial in which he
drew attention to the transferring of Crozat's patent
for Louisiana to the new Compagnie d' Occident, and
to the extensive powers and privileges which were now
conferred upon it. The national effort directed by
Law's new organisation, and by the French in Canada,
would, it was feared, enable them effectually to put into
execution the project of La Hontan, either to induce
the Five Nations to transfer both their allegiance and
their trade from the English to the French, or else to
compel them by the erection of forts in places indicated
by him. It was suspected that they were preparing
an attack upon the Cherokee Indians, whose friendship
was of the first importance to Carolina. The Carolinians
represented that the grant made to Crozat by Louis XIV
in 1712, as outlined by La Hontan's map, included not
only all Florida, but also the whole Continent from the
Mississippi to the St. Lawrence. It therefore both shut
in all the British Plantations on the Continent, and
infringed the patent of the Proprietors of Carolina,
whose grant extended from the North to the South
Sea. The Carolinians urged the Government to assert
the authority of the Crown against such encroachments
(238, 660). This memorial was communicated to the
Secretary of State by the Board of Trade, who at the
same time wrote to all the Governors of North America
for information as to the progress and encroachments
of the French, and the methods which they would
recommend for checking them (256).
Cumings saw in the danger which threatened from
this quarter yet one more reason for resuming the
charters of the Proprietary Governments, in order that,
with a uniform system of government, a scheme of combined defence might be introduced (85, 660. Cf. C.S.P
1716–17, pp. ix., x.). Spotswood, from Virginia, gave
reasons for doubting the report that the French and their
Indians were marching against the Cherokees, or that
they would be successful if they did. But he saw plainly
enough that it would be in the interest of the British
to obstruct the growth of the new French colony on
the Mississippi, and that this could best be done by
cultivating the friendship of the Cherokees, extending
trade relations with the other tribes of Indians in the
West, and interrupting the French line of communication between Quebec and the Bay of Mexico by adopting
a forward western policy and pushing on across the
mountains, over which he had discovered a passage (800).
From Carolina the encreasing power of the French at
Mobile was used as an aragument for resuming the charter
of the Lords Proprietors (660). New England had
nothing to fear from the French settlements on the
Mississippi, and felt secure in the great distance and the
vast forests which separated them. For Massachusetts
and New Hampshire, it was felt, the danger-point
was Cape Breton, where the fortification of Louisburg
gave rise to apprehension (700). General Hunter,
Governor of New York, like Spotswood, advocated a
forward policy. He had already drawn attention to
the claims inherent in M. Crozat's patent, and the
danger which hung over the frontiers of the British
Plantations from the increase of French influence over
the Indians, and the raids upon the frontiers which it
might instigate. The extension of our own frontiers,
and the crection of forts and the increase of frontier
garrisons were the remedies which he had already
advocated (600. Cf. C.S.P. 1716–17, p. viii., and, 1715,
Relations with Spain. Seizure of British ships.
Relations with Spain were now very strained. So
far as the Colonies were concerned, complaints continued to be made of British ships seized by Spanish
guarda costas, and now began to take the shape of formal
protests and appeals to the Government. Jamaican
merchants submitted a list of their losses, and complained
that the Governors of Spanish ports refused to give any
satisfaction in such cases, even when seizures had been
made within sight of the island, or raids carried out
upon Jamaican plantations (65, 65 i.–iii.)
The case of Captain Beverley.; Redress demanded from Madrid.
A Particularly outrageous instance was the case of
the Virgin of Virginia, a privateer commanded by
Harry Beverley, a Virginian, who, as shown in the
previous volume (C.S.P. 1716–17, Nos. 595, 595 iv.),
had been commissioned by Lt. Governor Spotswood
to investigate the activities of pirates on Providence
Island in the Bahamas, which were under his jurisdication
as Vice-Admiral. Beverley's character was vouched for
by the Council of Virginia. There was not the least
ground for suspicion that he was engaged upon any
unlawful design or intended any hostile action against
the Spaniards. Nevertheless, he was captured by a
Spanish man-of-war upon the high seas, and finally
carried into Vera Cruz. There the Viceroy of Mexico,
without granting him a hearing or considering the credentials and instructions with which he had been
furnished by the Lt. Governor of Virginia, condemned
his sloop, and flung him and his crew into prison, without
subsistence, so that several died of starvation. Beverley
made his escape to Virginia, after having lain seven
months in gaol, petitioning in vain for a trial. Spotswood
might well protest that "by the same rule that the
Spaniards have taken this man and his vessell on the
high seas and without being near any of their Dominions,
and without any hostility offered on his part, every
vessell belonging to H.M. subjects may expect the like
treatment" (10, 10 i.–viii, 59; C.S.P. 1716–17, Nos. 595,
595 iv.). The Council of Trade laid the case before the
Secretary of State " as a matter of very great consequence
to the trade of this Nation" (5, 5 i.), and the British
Envoy at Madrid was instructed to demand redress,
(Aug. 1717. Nos. 64). There was, besides, the grievance
of the Carolinians that the Spaniards at St. Augustine
harboured and encouraged enemy Indians in their war
with them (525). On the other hand, instructions were
given that the Governor of Jamaica should enquire
into the Spanish complaint of piracies committed by
Jamaican privateers, and reparation be made, if feasible
Representation on Logwood cutting in Bay of Campeache.; Importance of the Trade.; The Spanish attack upon British at Lagune de Terminos.
In Sept., 1717, the Council of Trade made their report
in answer to the Marquis de Monteleon's memorial
concerning the logwood-cutters in the Bay of Campeche
(104 i.). This highly important representation has often
been mentioned, but never before printed. The Board
asserted the full and ample right of British subjects to
this trade. They traced their claim to the first settlements near Cape Catoche made by English privateersmen during the hostilities preceding the Treaty of
Madrid in 1667, after they had driven the Spaniards
out of that trade. Either upon, or before the publication of that Treaty, English logwood-cutters also settled
near Suma Sunta "adjacent to the Laguna de Terminos
and to Triste and Beef Islands." Their right to the
trade was held to be confirmed by the American Treaty
concluded by Sir William Godolphin in 1670, and their
possession was made good, according to Sir Thomas
Modyford, Governor of Jamaica, writing in 1672, by
their having used that trade for three years past and
by their occupation of the interior up to five miles from
the coast, where they had never seen a Spaniard. Such
possession was held in the West Indies "to be the
strongest that can be, viz. felling of wood, building of
houses and clearing and planting the ground," By the
7th Article of the American Treaty it was provided
that "the King of Great Britain shall hold and keep all
the lands etc. in any part of America, which he and his
subjects now hold and possess." Thus, it was argued,
the Laguna de Terminos and the parts adjacent, being
in the possession of the English before the conclusion
of that Treaty, they were confirmed in it by the said
Treaty. But in 1672 a Royal cedula was issued by the
Queen Regent of Spain, by which it was decreed that
"such as should make invasion, or trade without license
in the ports of the Indies, should be proceeded against
as pirates." By virtue of this decree the Spaniards began
to seize any ships that had logwood on board without
regard to the Treaty of 1670. Disregarding the effective
occupation of the English or the absence of it on their
own part, they attacked and dislodged the English
logwood cutters at the Laguna de Terminos and Island
of Triste in 1680. But after two or three months, these
places were re-occupied and the logwood trade resumed.
By the Treaty of Utreacht it was agreed that the places
in the Indies taken during the war should be restored.
The Spanish Ambassador argued that this involved the
evacuation of the Laguna de Terminos. But the Council
of Trade replied that, as the English had been in possession of it ever since 1669 and before, except for the short
period after the Spanish attack in 1680, this could not
be so. Moreover, by the Treaty of Commerce following
the Treaty of Utrecht the American Treaty of 1670
was confirmed, but with the express stipulation, "without any prejudice however to any liberty or power
which the subjects of Great Britain enjoy'd before,
either thro' right, sufferance or indulgence." The latter
phrase, the Board maintained, established "in as plain
and express words as can be us'd or imagin'd," the
liberty of British subjects to cut logwood which they
had enjoyed without interruption before the Treaty of
1660, as well as a right in the Crown to Laguna de
Terminos and the parts adjacent, if it was thought
worth while to insist upon it. As to the logwood, the
Board emphasised the importance of that trade, not
only for its cash value of £60,000 per annum, but also
as providing employment for British ships and seamen.
In a former preface we have noted its importance in
supplying dye for the woollen industry. The Board
concluded by representing that though the Spanish
Ambassador in his memorial had declared that no attack
would be made upon British subjects at the Laguna
de Terminos till eight months had expired, yet they
were attacked and made prisoners that same month,
as has been seen in the preceding volume of this
Calendar (104 i.).
Spaniards raid Crab Island.; Restitution demanded.; Other British ships seized off the Virgin Islands.
At the beginning of 1718 the Governor of the Leeward
Islands announced that what he had always dreaded
had come to pass. A Spanish man of war and six
sloops appeared off Crab Island and demanded its
surrender. They then landed and killed several of the
inhabitants, and carried off others, with their wives
and children and fifty negroes, as well as the Lt. Governor,
Abraham Howell, to Puerto Rico. They also seized all
the sloops they could lay their hands on, "as they do
others in the open sea". Those of the inhabitants
who managed to escape to the windward side of the
island were saved by sloops that happened to be there,
and sought refuge at Anguilla and Spanish Town (442).
Governor Hamilton at once sent a demand by H.M.S.
Scarborough to the Governor of Puerto Rico for the
immediate release of those who had been carried thither
and for the return of their negroes and effects. At the
same time he asserted "the unquestionable right and
title of the British Crown to Crab Island (442, 449 iii.).
Hamilton's letter was submitted by the Board of Trade
to Mr. Secretary Addison, as a matter demanding instant
action (557), and the Minister at Madrid was instructed
to lodge complaint (563). The Board next laid before
Mr. Secretary Craggs Hamilton's request for further
directions, he having done, in regard to the Governor
of Puerto Rico, all that he was empowered to do by his
Instructions (582). Further accounts were received from
him of seizures by the Spaniards of British sloops off
Tortuga and whilst turtling off Crab Island and Sta.
Cruz (692, 692 vi.–viii.).
Lt. Governor Howell released.; Spaniards raid Bahama Islands.
Lt. Governor Howell at length succeeded in obtaining
his release from Puerto Rico, through the intercession
of the Agent of the Asiento Company there, and made
his way to St. Kitts in a Jamaican sloop. He brought
news that the Spaniards were fitting out an expedition
at Vera Cruz and Havana to attack the Bahama Islands.
A small raid was in fact made (737, 737 iv., v., vii.,
797, 807). Evidently a state of almost open naval warfare was being waged by the Spaniards against British
vessels in the West Indian waters, and would not be
much longer endured.
Address by Assembly of New York.; New York vessels seized.; War with Spain.; Instructions to Governors.
However much within their rights the King of Spain
and Alberoni might be in their determination to exclude
British merchants from trading with Spanish ports,
the methods pursued by the guarda costas and Spanish
Governors in the West Indies were such as no sea-going
nation could be expected to tolerate. In addition to
the cases above mentioned, the Assembly of New York
in Oct., 1718, requested the Governor to represent to
the King that a sloop belonging to the Mayor of
that City had been taken on her voyage, carried into
Puerto Rico and there condemned though "the master
had neither directly or indirectly traded in any port
belonging to his Catholick Majesty or with any of his
subjects." Other New York vessels had been seized on
their voyages to and from the West Indies with nothing
but the produce of British Plantations on board. It
was stated that privateers were fitting out at Puerto
Rico in order to capture British vessels passing that
way, a situation which would paralyse the New York
trade in provisions for the West Indies (738 v.). When
therefore news arrived of Sir George Byng's victory
over the Spanish fleet off Cape Passaro, it was received
with pleasure, for, as Governor Hunter observed "they
have been making war upon us of a long time" (738,
807). In the mean time Alberoni's endeavours to recover
for Spain what she had lost by the Treaty of Utrecht
resulted in the formation of the Quadruple Alliance
and declaration of war, 16th Dec., 1718. A man of war
was despatched with instructions for the Governors of
Plantations at this crisis (780, 791, 803, 804, 814).
Description of Spanish West Indies.
In this connection there is noted here a description
of the Spanish West Indies, which was written by the
chief Pilot of the Spanish Flotas in 1718. It includes
an account of shoals, currents and coasts of the Spanish
West Indies and Bay of Mexico, and also of sailing
directions, of considerable interest still, and of great
practical importance at the time (1740) when it was
translated and presented to the Duke of Newcastle
(820). The Spaniards guarded the secrets of navigation
with the most jealous care. It will be remembered
what great importance Admiral Anson attached to the
charts and sailing-directions which he found on board
the Manila galleon captured by the Centurion in 1748. (fn. 1)
Increase and depredations of pirates.; Trade paralysed.
Pirates of all nationalities continued to increase in
numbers. Their depredations had a paralysing effect
upon commerce. Jamaican merchants had to await
convoy by a man of war. Those who took the risk and
attempted to run what practically amounted to a
blockade, were almost inevitably plundered. "Tis with
great hazard that ships come to us, which has occasioned
a great scarcity of all sorts of provisions," wrote a
Governor of Jamaica in August, 1717. "There is hardly
one vessel," wrote another a year later, "coming in or
going out of this Island that is not plundered" (54,
522, 566). A list of some of the chief pirates and an
account of their brutalities is given by the Lt. Governor
of Bermuda, to whom they sent word that they intended
to seize his government and use it as their headquarters,
like a second Madagascar, instead of their present
rendezvous in the Bahama Islands. There their strength
and impudence was such that they ordered H.M.S.
Phoenix out of the harbour at Providence Island (551,
551 i.–x.). Carolina, like Jamaica, reported that hardly
a ship goes to sea but falls into their hands. Trade
was brought to a stand-still, and the port of Charleston
was blocked by pirates lying off the bar. By threats of
murdering their prisoners and burning the town about
his ears, they compelled the Governor to supply them
with a chest of medicines (556, 660). The Governor
of New England wrote in the same vein: "The pirates
continue to rove on these seas; and if a sufficient force
is not sent to drive them off, our trade must stop" (575).
The Governor of the Leeward Islands was prevented
from making his intended visit to the Virgin Islands
until he learned that the pirates who swarmed there
had left for the North American coast. Even so, on
his return, the appearance of pirates in strength off
St. Christopher caused the inhabitants, in alarm for the
Governor's safety, to impress and man a sloop, in order
to reinforce the small warship, which was quite unfit
to cope with them (134, 298, 298 i.–iii., 797, 797 i.–vi.).
Similarly, Governor Hunter was delayed in making his
departure from New York by "the pirates being busy
on this coast" (553).
Remedies proposed,; and adopted.; House of Commons calls for papers.
The remedies proposed for this state of things from
all quarters were an increased naval force to police
the seas, and a promise of pardon to all pirates who
should surrender within a given time. The attention
of Ministers was again drawn to the seriousness of the
situation at the beginning of this period by the Board
of Trade. In Sept., 1717, Addison announced that it
had been decided to put both the proposed measures
into force. Additional men of war were ordered to the
West Indies to suppress the pirates, whilst a Proclamation offering pardon to those who should surrender
was being prepared (1, 1 i., 5, 5 i., 64). Steps were also
being taken for driving them out of their nest in the
Bahamas by naval reinforcement of the expedition
under Capt. Rogers (64, 471). Shortly afterwards, the
House of Commons called for a return of all papers
and orders on the subject (393 i., 400).
Proclamation offering pardon.; Governor's Commissions for granting pardons.; Effect of the Proclamation.; Pirates revert
The proclamation promising pardon to all pirates
who should surrender before Jan. 5th, was prepared
by the Law Officers of the Crown in consultation with
the Council of Trade (1, 1 i., 9, 64). Several questions
were at once raised concerning it, and were answered
by the Attorney and Solicitor General (181, 187, 187
i.–iv., 201). The notorious Henry Avery (or Every,
alias Bridgman) had been previously excepted, but the
offer of pardon was now without restriction (9, 201).
As the Proclamation contained a promise of pardon
only it was at first suggested that it would be necessary
for Governors to be instructed to grant it to those who
surrendered. Goods piratically taken by them would
remain the property of the original owners, and might
be recovered by them (201). On further consideration,
however, it was decided that an Instruction to Governors
would not suffice, but that Commissions under the
Great Seal must be issued (390, 466). In the absence
of such power, the Lt. Governor of Bermuda and the
Commander of H.M.S. Phoenix issued certificates to
such as surrendered to them on the publication of the
King's Proclamation (345, 345 i., 384). For at first a
considerable number did so, including some of note,
such as Hornigold and Jennings. A certain number
of these had been forced to turn pirates against their
wills, when their ships were taken. Amongst them
were some who retook their ship in dramatic fashion
(551). The first tidings of the pardon were received
with great joy, we are told, by the community of pirates,
numbering 6 or 700, at the Bahamas (345, 345 i.–iii.,
447, 474, 556). But their first enthusiasm cooled down
when they found that Governors had not yet any power
to grant the promised pardon, and that it did not assure
to them the enjoyment of their ill-gotten gains. They
declared that they would not surrender, if surrender
involved the loss of the effects for which they had risked
their necks (474). In Virginia, Howard, the Quartermaster of the infamous "Blackbeard," Teach, had the
impudence to commence a suit against the officer who,
by the Governor's command, had seized two negroes
whom he admitted he had taken out of two ships (800).
The Board of Trade therefore asked what instructions
should be given to Governors with regard to such stolen
goods, and they urged the dispatch of commissions to
the several Governors (539, 580). On 28th July, 1718,
commissions for pardoning pirates, and extending the
time limit for their surrender till 1st July, passed the
Great Seal, and were ordered to be dispatched by the
earliest opportunity (594, 638–642, 803).
After the first flush, the results of the offer of pardon
proved disappointing. Hornigold, indeed, in the
Bahamas not only surrendered, but even took command
of a sloop and sailed in search of Vane (737). But the
majority of those who gave themselves up did not make
good. They soon reverted to their old way of living.
From all sides came reports that they were "returning
to the sport" or going out again "on the account"
(551, 556, 657, 660, 797). This caused no surprize to
Governor Hunter. For it had been found by experience at New York that, as soon as their money was
spent, such men usually relapsed into their former
ways, partly because nobody was willing to employ
them, and partly because it was an easy method of
earning a livelihood (660). There is also a plain hint
from the Secretary of State that gratuities were being
exacted by those in authority for granting pardons or
issuing certificates of surrender, and that such exactions
had hindered the flow of surrenders (803). In Carolina
it was thought that the offer of pardon had proved an
actual encouragement to pirates. There they came in,
took their discharge and probably deposited some of
their effects, and then, after a brief holiday, reverted
to their old course of life. Their number was reported
to have increased threefold since the publication of the
Proclamation. Many of the pirates were old privateersmen, who found themselves out of employment in the
intervals of peace. When war broke out with Spain,
they would be ready enough to take up their old and
more legitimate occupation on one side or the other
(660). The Council of Trade therefore proposed an extension of the time allowed for their claiming the pardon,
because it was feared that, otherwise, they would enter
into the service of Spain (780).
Commissions for trying pirates in the Plantations.; Trials under the old Commissions.
The Act for the more effectual suppression of piracy
had been renewed by subsequent acts. But the commissions for trying pirates in the Plantations, issued
under King William III and Queen Anne, had determined with the recent demise of the Crown. As pirates
were now reported to have been seized in Bermuda
and New York, the Council of Trade suggested that
such commissions should be renewed (91, 580). This
was done, but the dispatch of them was for some reason
held up, possibly to avoid confusion with the extended
offer of pardon (338, 403–405, 483, 594). They were
not sent out until nearly a year later, after a further
representation by the Council of Trade, on the occasion
of the declaration of war with Spain (703, 803). In the
mean time Governor Shute at Boston had held trials of
eight pirates, apparently under the commission issued
to the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay by her late
Majesty (193, 419, 575 i., 656, 658). Spotswood,
too, in Virginia, in spite of protests from some of the
Councillors, tried a pirate under the Commission of
William III, and the extended pardon only arrived
just in time to save his unworthy neck from the gallows
Capture of Pirates.
But you must first catch your hare. Pirates, before
being tried, had to be captured. Efforts in that direction were not altogether unsuccessful, in spite of the
great numbers and heavy armaments of "these vermin."
We have seen that men of war had been ordered to
the West Indies, and that in Hornigold a thief was
set to catch a thief (64, 737, 807). Among the Leeward
Islands the guardships Scarborough and Seaford were
active (298, 298 i.–iii.), the capture of a French pirate
by the former leading to a dispute with the Governor
of Barbados as to the disposal of the ship and cargo
under an order of the Admiralty Court at St. Christopher
(742). The Governor of Jamaica, however, complained
that the men of war on that station were largely concerned in trading with the Spanish Main on their own
account. This complaint, when communicated to the
Admiralty, occasioned a repetition of their instructions
to the Commodore to see that Commanders of H.M. ships
did not carry merchandise on any account, but should use
the utmost diligence in cruising against pirates (566,
685, 686, 688).
Stede Bonnet captured.
Captain Woodes Rogers arriving at Providence Island
in July, 1718, to take up his new government of the
Bahama Islands, found Charles Vane in command of
the Community of pirates there (737). Rogers was
accompanied by the men of war, Milford and Rose,
and the Shark, sloop. Their orders were to assist in
putting the Governor in possession of Providence I.,
and to relieve the guardships on the Barbados and
Leeward I. stations, "when the pirates in the West
Indies are supprest." (Admiralty, 8/14.) The Rose
arrived at Nassau the evening before Rogers, but was
obliged to cut her cables and run out at night, owing
to Vane's having set fire to one of his prizes in the harbour. Next day, however, on the arrival of the remainder
of the expedition, the pirate captain was obliged to
make his escape, "wearing the black flag and firing
guns in defiance." After lying off the bar of Charleston
harbour and capturing ships trading with Carolina,
Vane visited the coast of Cuba and then took shelter
with his prizes near Abacoa, where some of his friends
from Providence traded with him (730, 737). At Rogers'
earnest request, Commodore Chamberlain had left
H.M.S. Rose, Capt. Whitney, with orders to remain
three weeks. Whitney refused to prolong his stay beyond
another week. Rogers was therefore not only compelled to refrain from attacking Vane, but also had
good grounds for fearing that the pirate would now
make an attack, and that, if he did so, he would be
supported by his old friends ashore. Vane, indeed, sent
word to the Governor that he intended to attack him,
and to burn his guardship in return for his former affront
in sending two sloops after him, instead of answering
his letter (737, 807). Vane had been expecting to join
forces with Major Stede Bonnet, a Barbadian, or some
other pirate, in order to attack Rogers (737). But
Bonnet's activities were brought to an end just at that
time (Nov., 1718). After surrendering with Teach,
when wrecked in N. Carolina, he had taken to piracy
again, and was refitting in Cape Fear River whilst
Vane was plundering vessels off Charleston harbour
(800). The Governor of South Carolina fitted out a
couple of sloops under command of Colonel Rhett to
attack the latter. But being unable to find Vane,
Rhett went after Bonnet into Cape Fear River. Bonnet
endeavoured to escape, and in the course of the chase
all three sloops went aground at low tide.
Rhett's sloop lay within shot of the pirates, and for
six hours they engaged in a hot musketry duel. But
when the tide turned, the rising water set Rhett's sloops
afloat before it reached Bonnet. Having thus secured
the advantage in manoeuvring, Rhett prepared to
board the pirate, who therefore surrendered (730, 787).
In announcing this success, Governor Johnson and the
Council of South Carolina begged the Council of Trade
to help them in obtaining a man of war to protect
their harbour, which the pirates sometimes blocked
up for eight or ten days together (556, 660, 730). They
also expressed their apprehension lest their victory
over Bonnet would "very much irritate the pirates
who infest this coast in great numbers" (730). These
fears were justified, for the harbour was promptly
blocked again by pirates, who took several ships in
sight of Charleston (787). The Governor, however,
again rose to the occasion, and fitted out several vessels,
which succeeded in capturing a pirate ship and sloop,
after killing 26 men, including their leader, Worley.
Teach, alias Blackbeard.; Teach Killed after a desperate fight.
One of the pirates who appeared off Charleston,
and besides plundering trading vessels, compelled the
Governor to send him a chest of medicines, was Teach,
alias Blackbeard. He commanded a ship of 40 guns
and 3 sloops, carrying 400 hands (551, 556, 660). Like
Vane, he was said to have committed many atrocities
(551, 551 i.–x.). Teach had been hunting in company
with Bonnet, Kentish and Edwards, seizing and burning
ships off Guadeloupe and St. Christopher (298, 298
i.–iii.). On leaving Charleston in June, 1718, he sailed
northwards, and entering Ouacock Bay, ran aground,
and lost his ship and two of his sloops. He thereupon
surrendered to the Governor of North Carolina (657,
800). On hearing of this, Lt. Governor Spotswood in
Virginia, having no great confidence either in the forced
submission of men of that character, or in the integrity
or power of the Government of North Carolina, issued
a Proclamation forbidding surrendered pirates to carry
arms or assemble in numbers (July, 1718. Nos. 657,
657 iii., 800). He explained that he was afraid that as
soon as their money was spent, they would seize some
vessel and return again to their old trade (657). This
was what happened. Bonnet, as we have seen, was
soon out again, whilst Teach, keeping his crew together
in North Carolina, "went out at pleasure committing
robberys upon this coast" (800). Spotswood was determined that the pirates should not be permitted, through
the weakness or connivance of the Government of
North Carolina, to gather strength and establish a
rendezvous at a spot so dangerous to Virginian shipping
as Ouacock Inlet. He persuaded the Assembly to offer
rewards for the apprehension or destruction of pirates,
and to put a heavy price on Teach's head. But he did
not dare to communicate the plan he had devised either
to the Assembly or to the Council, for fear Teach should
be informed of it, "there being in this country, and
more especially among the present faction, an unaccountable inclination to favour pyrates," as was shown
by the refusal of the inhabitants to assist in disarming
and suppressing a gang of pirates who, in defiance
of the Proclamation, marched under arms through
Virginia and endeavoured to induce sailors to join
them. In secret, therefore, he approached the Captains
of the men of war on that station and communicated
to them his project of destroying that nest of pirates.
When they explained that their ships could not negotiate
the shallow and difficult channels of Ouacock, he hired
two sloops which they manned with two naval officers
and 55 men. They found and boarded the pirate sloop.
But Teach made a stout resistance, in the course of
which that desperate ruffian and nine of his crew were
killed. The pirate captain had heralded the fight by
draining a bowl of liquor and crying "Damnation to
anyone who should give or ask quarter." Then he
raked the approaching sloops with his great guns loaded
with partridge shot, inflicting serious loss on the unprotected sailors, and himself sprang onto the deck of the
first sloop which came alongside to board his. He had
given orders for his sloop to be blown up, if he should
be overcome. But the negro who was about to set fire
to the powder was stopped by a planter who had been
taken prisoner the day before, and lay in the hold during
the action. Of the King's men, eleven were killed and
twenty-three wounded (800).
Moody and England.
Moody, England and Frowd, however, continued their
depredations off Carolina and the Leeward Islands
unchecked, drawing supplies from the Danish port of
St. Thomas, which is described as "a nest that harbours
all villains and vagabonds," and using Sumana Bay,
Scots Bay and the Island of Mona as places of rendezvous
(797, 797 i.–vi.).
It will be remembered that in March, 1717, the
Council of Trade had laid before the King a comprehensive report upon the question of encouraging the
importation of Naval Stores from the Plantations (C.S.P.
1716–17, pp. xv., xvi.). At the beginning of 1718 Mr.
Joshua Gee and other merchants applied to Parliament
for the grant of a premium on unmanufactured iron
imported from the Plantations. This the Council of
Trade had recommended in their representation. Nothing
was decided, but the Board had hopes of success in the
ensuring year, and stated their determination to continue
their support of that policy (450). In the mean while
the Commons asked that a report by the Council of
Trade upon the whole question of naval stores should
be laid before the House (328, 328 i.). The Board at
once proceeded to collect more statistics (381, 386,
386 i., 387). At the same time the Commissioners of
Customs drew attention to certain frauds which were
being practised in those commodities on which a premium had been granted (382). Tar was being diluted with
water and pitch mixed with sand, a method of business
which reminds one of a famous cargo of wooden hams
at a later date. The Council of Trade therefore issued
a circular letter to Governors warning them that such
abuses would bring American pitch and tar into disrepute, and instructing them to give directions for
maintaining the good quality of their exports (416,
419). Spotswood, who had been disgusted at the success
of the agitations which had secured the repeal of the
acts for regulating the tobacco, fur and Indian trades
in Virginia, prophesied great difficulty in obtaining one
to prevent frauds in this. That part of the electorate
which was most concerned, he said, valued the reputation of their commodities in the British market as
little as their own in Virginia (699).
Joshua Gee's report.
In pursuit of their study of the question, the Council
of Trade obtained a report from Mr. Gee. He stressed
the danger of allowing the country to be at the mercy
of the King of Sweden for its supplies of iron and timber.
The import duties on timber, boards, pipe-staves and
copper were, he asserted, preventing the Plantations
from supplying the British market with those commodities. The removal of those duties in favour of the
Plantations would be a sufficient encouragement, and
thus make Great Britain independent of the supplies
at present drawn from Norway and Sweden. She would
pay for them by her manufactures instead of exporting
gold to the Eastern countries. He emphasised the
advantage that would be gained for British shipping
by having this additional freight for homeward-bound
voyages from America. And he was able to point to
the success which had attended the granting of a
premium upon tar imported from the Plantations. For
not only had the price of Swedish tar been greatly
reduced, but also the monopoly of the Stockholm Company had been so successfully invaded, that large
quantities were being exported from Great Britain to
Europe. As to iron, the quality of the American ore
had been proved to be excellent. But the erection of
iron works was a chargeable undertaking, and the
mere removal of the import duty would scarcely suffice
to induce people to invest the necessary capital in such
enterprises. He therefore proposed that a premium
should be granted on unmanufactured iron made in the
Plantations, and that in return, and to safeguard British
manufacturers, all such iron should be imported directly
to England, "so that the Plantations may have their
supplies of iron and iron manufactures from England
as they now have" (819). The Board of Trade, on
the last day of the year, invited the Chancellor of the
Exchequer to confer with them on the subject (815).
Pressing of Seamen.
The Board of Trade laid before the Privy Council a
suggestion from the Governor of Barbados that Governors
should be permitted to press seamen in emergencies.
But they had little hope that the Act for the encouragement
of the trade to America would be altered in that sense (471).
Agitation against Posts in Virginia.; Right of Parliament to tax the Colonies challenged.
Posts had already been established in the Northern
Plantations between Boston, New York and Philadelphia, by the Post-Master General, in pursuance of
the powers granted him by the Act of IX Queen Anne.
But when he now began to establish a fortnightly service
from Williamsburgh via Maryland to Philadelphia, objections were raised in Virginia. Fixing the rates of
postage, it was maintained, was equivalent to imposing
a tax, and the right of Parliament to impose a tax
without the consent of the General Assembly was denied.
But in a bill passed by the Council and Assembly this
fundamental principle was abandoned, so far as the
Post Office act was concerned. Whilst acknowledging
the act to be in force in the Colonies, opposition to the
Post-Master General of America and the Deputies
appointed by him was concentrated on imposing such
penalties, provisioes and exceptions as to render the
establishment of the posts impossible. Spotswood refused his assent to the bill. But it remains important
as showing that the principle of taxation for revenue
by Parliament was recognised as being raised, and was
so far conceded (568).
A Patent for Sturgeon.; Protest from New England.
Petitions from several merchants for the sole right of
curing sturgeon in America and importing them into England were considered (149, 149 i., 165 i., 222, 222 i. etc.).
A protest against any such monopoly was entered by
the Agent for New England as "contrary to the natural
and common rights of His Majesty's subjects" (354).
The Council of Trade rejected the application of
English petitioners whose claims to have been at much
labour and expense in perfecting the art of curing
sturgeon they found to be baseless. But they recommended the grant of a monopoly to John Boreland, a
Boston merchant, in order to encourage such curing
and importation from the Plantations. Boreland had
already made experiments in this direction, and undertook to import sturgeon from North America within
four years which would be as good as that which came
from Hamburgh and the East Country. His patent
was to be granted for eight years only at first, and to
be terminable at the end of four (480).
With regard to the prohibition of foreign trade, the
Council of Trade thought it necessary to explain the
instructions of the previous summer (v. C.S.P. 1716–17,
p. ix.). By the Act of Navigation no foreign ships were
allowed to trade with the British Plantations. But
there was no law forbidding British ships from trading
to or from foreign Plantations. Only it was agreed to
prevent it by the Treaty of Peace and Neutrality.
Governors were to discourage such trading, but ships
which did so could not be confiscated, nor their cargoes
(227, 588). Prevention of such trading, however, was,
as the Governor of the Leeward Islands observed, no
easy matter without a complete system of sloops to
act as coast-guards about the numerous bays of the
islands (134). The further question arose, whether any
goods not of European growth or manufacture might
be imported into the Plantations in English ships from
anywhere but Great Britain. This question was put to
the Attorney General (636).
Policy of Imperial Preference.
The Council of Trade expressed their agreement with
the suggestion of Lt. Governor Keith (who had been
Surveyor General of the Customs in America), that a
much higher duty ought to be laid in all the British
Plantations upon imports from foreign Plantations than
on those from the British Empire, " so as to encourage
as much as possible the commodities of our own Plantations" (227, 450). Mr. Cumings, it will be remembered,
had in 1716 proposed a duty equivalent to the 4– p.c.
by which the British Sugar Islands were handicapped
(v. C.S.P. 1716–17, pp. ix., x.).
§ 2. THE AMERICAN COLONIES.
South Carolina.; Renewal of Indian War feared.; French encroachments.
In March, 1718, the Committee of the Assembly of
South Carolina wrote to their Agent giving reasons for
fearing a renewal of the Indian war. Colonel Hastens,
who had been sent to make peace with the Southern
Indians, and had been left as a hostage with them whilst
a deputation of Creeks went to Charleston to negotiate,
was murdered together with nine white men, women
and children. The intentions of the Cherokees and
Cuttabas appeared doubtful. It was reported that
they had made peace with the Creeks. The French had
posted garrisons amongst the Creeks; and there were
grounds for believing that, encouraged by the French
and Spaniards, "the whole body of Indians all round
us are plotted against us." The Assembly repeated their
appeal for relief from the Crown; otherwise, these
perpetual hostilities with the Indians and the pressure
of taxation to pay for measures of defence would cause
an exodus of the inhabitants to the Bahamas, as soon
as Capt. Rogers arrived in his new Government (423,
556). A similar account of the situation having been
forwarded to the Council of Trade by the Lieut. Governor
of Bermuda, the Board once more enquired of the Lords
Proprietors what they had done or intended to do for
the security of the Province (384, 486, 504 i.). Later,
the Governor of Virginia reported raids by the Northern
and Tuscarora Indians in North Carolina and an attack
by them intended to cut off the new seat of Government,
which was beaten off within half a mile of the Governor's
residence (699). The fears aroused by the progress of
the French and the (improbable) rumour of an intended
attack by them upon the Cherokees has been mentioned
above (238; § 1. p. viii.).
Renewed appeal for resumption to Crown.; Supported by the Council of Trade.
The desperate condition of the Province, added to
the irritation caused by the combination of interference
and neglect on the part of the Proprietors, occasioned a
renewal of the appeal from the inhabitants to be taken
under the immediate protection of the Crown. In
soliciting a report upon the necessity for resuming the
Charter, and the presentation of the Address to this
effect by the Assembly and inhabitants of South Carolina,
the Agent drew attention to the fact that it was now
signed by the Assemblymen and 568 others, that is, by
more than half the inhabitants of the Province. This
was the best answer to the assertion of the Lords
Proprietors that the demand was merely factious, and
the work of a party (536, 536 ii.; Cf. C.S.P. 1716–17,
536 ii., p xxii.). The Council of Trade were ready enough
to support this application. In forwarding the Agents'
memorial (423), to the Secretary of State, they repeated
their previous suggestions that steps should be taken
"for resuming this and all other Proprietary Governments into the hands of His Majesty, since it is evident
they cannot support or protect themselves, and that
any misfortune happening to them must in consequence
affect the rest of His Majesty's Dominions on the Continent of America" (525). A fortnight later they expressed
the daily increasing conviction of the "great inconveniences that do arise from the erecting of Proprietary
Acts for encouraging settlement of Yamassee lands repealed.
The Proprietors having withdrawn their prohibition
of the settlement of lands between the Cambahee and
Savannah rivers (C.S.P. 1716–17, 72, 413 i.), the Assembly
had passed two acts for encouraging the seating of the
Yamassee lands (C.S.P. 1716–17, 413 i.). By them advantageous terms as to grants and quit-rents were
offered to Protestant colonists from the British
Dominions. But in the autumn of 1718 the Lords
Proprietors instructed the Governor and Council that
no more lands must be surveyed and granted without
permission from their Board. The reason advanced was
that the old abuses of exorbitant grants and failure to
keep accounts of quit-rents were being repeated. They
demanded an exact return of such grants and rents
(694–696). They thanked Col. Rhett for his efforts to
obtain such a rent-roll (697), and repealed the two acts
above mentioned as being an encroachment by the
Assembly upon their rights and property (631, 632).
Whilst one of these acts had offered a bounty on white
servants imported, provided they were not Roman
Catholics, native Irish, or persons of evil character,
another was passed laying a duty on negroes imported
(660). The intention, evidently, was to redress the
balance between white and black.
Paper money and the Tax Act.; Goods as legal tender.
In accordance with the instructions given by the Lords
Proprietors to Governor Johnson, an act, known as the
Tax act, was passed for raising money to sink the bills
of credit which had been issued under the Bank Act.
It was represented to the Proprietors, however, by
London merchants and others, that the Assembly were
designing to elude the provisions of this Tax act, and to
issue more paper money. They therefore instructed the
Governor not to give his consent to any measure for
evading the Tax act, and not to permit the creation of
any new bills of credit without their consent. The
same restriction was applied to the proposal to make
commodities legal tender at a fixed price (660, 687).
Act laying duty on British goods.
Great objection was made to another device of the
Assembly for raising money to pay for the Indian war
without taxing their estates. This was a duty of 10 p.c.
upon all British manufactures imported. Col. Rhett,
the Surveyor General of Customs, represented that such
an import would not only be a burden upon British
merchants, but also encourage illegal trade in foreign
goods and stimulate the colonists to set up manufactures
of their own, " which they have for some time past
aim'd at, and endeavoured to effect and are capable
to do, having wools in great plenty" (452 i., 660). Upon
this the Council of Trade consulted the Solicitor General,
and elicited from him an opinion that such a heavy
burden upon British trade was not consonant to reason
and by no means agreeable to the laws of Britain, as the
terms of the Charter required (463, 489). The Lords
Proprietors, however, stated that the act had not been
submitted for their approbation, and that they did not
know of its existence (505). The Council of Trade therefore suggested that they should be instructed by the
Crown to send their disallowance of the act at once to
Carolina, with directions to the Governor never to
assent to a similar law in the future (514). This they
were required to do by an Order in Council, and, in addition, to reprimand Governor Johnson for having given
his consent to so illegal an act (537, 631).
Acts asserting right to appoint Receivers repealed.; New Assembly ordered.; Indian Trade Act and Election Acts repealed.
As a sign of their good-will, the Lords Proprietors
had empowered Governor Johnson to announce to the
Assembly upon his arrival in the Colony their gift of
all arrears of money due from lands, and of future quitrents till May, 1718. But there was a pill concealed
within this gift. For it was decreed that thereafter,
to atone for the depreciation of the paper money, £12
instead of £3 per 100 acres must be paid for grants of
lands. A rent-roll must be prepared, and the rates of
foreign coins laid down by the Act of Parliament observed
(632). The Assembly had assumed the right of appointing the Receiver General of the Province and the Receiver
of the powder duty. In spite of the Governor's opposition, they had passed two acts asserting this right.
These acts the Lords Proprietors also repealed, as well
as the Indian Trade Act and two acts regulating the
elections etc. (631, 632). At the same time they directed
the Governor to dissolve the Assembly and summon
a new one (632). Against the act for regulating the
Indian trade petitions had been submitted, complaining
that it instituted a monopoly, like the Virginian Indian
Company Act, the repeal of which had been ordered
(631). It was also alleged that the Indians themselves
objected to it, and that its restrictions would involve
the loss of their trade (660).
The act entitled to keep inviolate the freedom of
elections etc. and an explanatory act of the same, which
were repealed, revised the distribution of seats in the
Assembly, the qualifications for voters and members and
the arrangements for elections. It was aimed chiefly at
the political predominance of Charleston, where hitherto
elections had been exclusively held, and where the
influence of the Proprietors and their officials was
The Lords Proprietors concluded their letter to the
Governor and Council announcing these decisions by
remarking that as the Assembly had not accepted what
they had offered, and their behaviour appeared to
indicate that they needed no assistance from them,
their proposed donation would be withdrawn. The
request for salaries for the Council they were unable to
meet except by suggesting that the Council and Assembly
should provide means for the support of the Government
and paying themselves (632).
Exports of tar, etc.
In spite of the disturbed condition of the Colony,
it could boast of an export of no less than 35,000 barrels
of tar, pitch and turpentine in 1717 (787).
Margravate of Azilia.; Application for a Lottery.
In recommending the proposal of Sir Robert Mountgomery for his "new-intended settlement of Azilia,"
(v. C.S.P. 1716–17, p. xxii.), the Council of Trade
followed the suggestions of the Attorney General (360 i.,
424, 459, 493). Mountgomery's grant from the Lords
Proprietors extended to the southern extremity of
Carolina, and was intended to be a separate province,
independent of South Carolina. Mountgomery urged in
its favour that the produce that could be raised there,
such as wine, olives, almonds and currants, were at
present imported entirely from foreign countries, and
that the new colony, reaching to the north coast of the
Bay of Mexico, would act as a buffer between the
Spaniards and enemy Indians and the northern Plantations. It would enable us to check the encroachments
by the French from their new settlements on the
Mississippi, and serve as a good jumping off ground for
a new settlement on the River Apalachia (389). This
suggestion of a forward policy south and west was
approved by the Attorney General and the Board. But
the former was doubtful whether the Lords Proprietors
of Carolina had the power to divide their Government
and to constitute a new province independent of the laws
of South Carolina. Both agreed that in any case the
erection of a new Proprietary government was undesirable. The Board emphasised the objection that some
of these Charter Governments were not obliged to submit their acts for the approbation of the Crown, and took
advantage of that liberty to make laws "prejudicial to
the trading interest of this kingdom and of the other
Plantations." They therefore proposed that the Lords
Proprietors should surrender to the Crown their powers
of government in the new province, retaining the property
of the soil only, and that the king should then establish
a suitable form of government, with Sir Robert as a royal
Governor (459, 493). Mountgomery himself presently
applied for permission to organise a lottery in Scotland,
in order to obtain funds for his venture (671 i., 684).
Engagements with the pirates who had terrorised
Charleston and paralysed the trade of South Carolina
are described in § 1 (660, 730, 787).
Governor of Hudson's Bay.
Capt. Henry Kelsey received a Royal Commission as
Governor and Commander in Chief of Hudson's Bay,
to do what he should judge necessary "for Our service,
the advantage of the said Company and the increase
of the Beaver Trade" (793).
The only documents of interest relating to Maryland
are two undated charges against Governor Hart of being
concerned in illegal trade and encouraging Jacobites
and Papists (288, 289).
New England. Governor Shute's report.; Discount of paper money.
In reply to the queries of the Council of Trade, Governor
Shute announced, in November, 1717, that he had visited
the forts in both the provinces under his government,
and found them in a bad state of repair. Both Massachusetts and New Hampshire were much in debt owing
to the cost of the Indian wars. He proposed that
emigration should be assisted by offering to masters of
ships 40s. per head for emigrants transported by them,
and that the duty on lumber should be taken off. Some
measures of relief were necessary because exports were
so far in excess of imports (some accounts of which were
rendered, 85, 85 i., 330, 620 i., 700), and the balance of
trade was so much against them, that the value of their
paper money, which had driven out all other currency,
was continually falling. One of Shute's first acts had
been to assent to a further issue of bills of credit for
£100,000. This device to avoid taxation was, in fact,
having its inevitable result (193). In a later report,
he rendered an account of the revenues and establishments of the two provinces (700, 700 iv., v.).
Report on lands between Nova Scotia and Maine.; Jealousy of New England Trade and fishery.; The woolen industry.; A bounty upon wool exported, considered.
In reporting upon an application for a grant of the
lands between Nova Scotia (v. infra p. xlvii.), which were
claimed by the Massachusetts Bay, the Board of Trade
made mention of a proposal by the Agent of that Government to surrender to the Crown that portion of the
lands in question which lay between the rivers Penobscot
and St. Croix, in return for the recognition of their
right to the lands between Kennebec and Penobscot
rivers. Their comment is instructive. The Board deprecated the entering into any contracts with Proprietary
Governments, or doing anything to confirm their claims,
because they were daily more and more convinced of
the inconveniences arising from such Governments,
"who generally are not able to defend their own lands."
Whilst admitting that the Massachusetts Bay was not
liable to this stricture, they adopted the narrow view
of British merchants by adding that "we cannot but
observe that the people of New England do in many
occasions interfere with the trade and benefit that should
only accrue to the Mother Kingdom" (543). One such
trade was the woollen industry, the development of
which was restricted by the act which prohibited the
export of wool from one Colony to another. Mr. Cumings
reported that this act was evaded, but with so much
secrecy that it was difficult to gauge to what extent.
But as the woollen manufacturers in the Colonies depended upon its evasion, seizures of such wool would
only be condemned if tried in the Admiralty Courts,
because in the Courts of Common Law both judges and
juries were generally parties concerned. The Council
of Trade then began to enquire whether a bounty upon
wool exported from the Plantations to England for
manufacture there might not solve the difficulty (85,
Treaty with Eastern Indians.; French intrigues.
Governor Shute held a conference with the Eastern
Indians at Arrowsick and concluded a new treaty of
peace with them (193). Before the end of the following
year, however, he had to report that they had become
very insolent, through the instigation of the French
Jesuits among them, but he still hoped to prevent a
war (700). The question of French aggression and of
the trials of pirates are mentioned in § 1 (193, 700).
Trials of pirates. The Assembly and Crown Officers.
The Assembly pursued its policy of cutting down the
salaries of officers in an Act abolishing certain fees
hitherto allowed to the Secretary. Mr. Willard asked
for the repeal of this act, on the grounds that it repealed
existing ones, and left the most troublesome business
in the Secretary's Office to be done without reward,
when his salary was already "so scandalously small, as
not to amount to more than £40 sterling" (274; cf. 284).
Governor Shute and Elisha Cooke.; The King's Woods.; Dr. Cooke removed from Council.; Mr. Bridger superceded.; The rights to the Woods.
As a moderate Church of England man, who would
identify himself with neither Congregationalists nor
Episcopalians, Governor Shute was giving satisfaction
to neither party. Vehement opposition to him was led
by Elisha Cooke. His violent abuse of the Governor,
whom he described as being under the influence of
Dudley, led to his dismissal from the office of Clerk of
the Superior Court. The lumber trade was growing
rapidly. Saw-mills were being erected everywhere,
especially on the frontiers of New Hampshire and in
the Province of Maine. Whilst by the Charter the
inhabitants were permitted to cut trees within their
townships, the woods without were reserved to the
Crown, and only such trees were allowed to be cut as
were not marked for the use of the Navy. Cooke seized
upon this situation for a campaign directed against the
royal authority and officers appointed by the Crown.
Arguing that the Province of Maine had been granted
to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and purchased by the Massachusetts Bay, he maintained that the Colony had full
title to the woods, and that the General Court could
dispose of them as they thought fit. He informed the
people that they could cut logs where they pleased,
and made violent attacks upon Mr. Bridger, H.M.
Surveyor of the Woods. After presenting a memorial
to this effect to the Assembly, he subsequently modified,
his statement, (616, 616 i.–viii., 672). His conduct upon
this occasion, and his personal abuse of the Governor
led to his removal from the Council (700, 700 i.–iii.).
But he was elected Speaker of the Assembly, where he
found wider scope for his demagogic activities. It was
apparently owing to the representation of the Agent
for New England, Mr. Dummer, that Bridger was
presently superceded, and Mr. Burniston, an absentee
place-holder, with no knowledge of forestry, was appointed
in his place (428, 592, 735). On receipt of Mr. Bridger's
letter (672), the Treasury enquired what the situation
was as to the rights to the woods. The legal adviser
of the Board of Trade gave his opinion that Maine was
now one with Massachusetts, and not the private property
of that Colony; that the Crown was entitled to all the
trees therein of the dimensions reserved by the Act
of IXth Anne for the Royal Navy, except only on such
lands as were granted to private persons before the
resumption of the Charter of Charles I. With this opinion
the Board of Trade expressed their entire agreement,
and suggested that it should be communicated to the
Council and Assembly of Massachusetts Bay through
the Governor, with directions for its observance. In
the event of its not having the desired effect, they
advised that a scire facias should be brought against
the Charter (711, 711 i., 741, 744, 755). They also
considered the Surveyor's Instructions, and whether
any additions were required to the Acts governing them
Bridger remains and reports waste of woods here; and in New Hampshire.
On hearing of his dismissal, Mr. Bridger expressed
great indignation and surprise. He represented that, on
the rumour of his being turned out, the lumber-men
had begun to cut and destroy all before them. If he
left his post, many thousands of fine mast trees would
be destroyed in a month. He therefore proposed to
continue to exercise his office, until he was relieved,
and begged for the Board of Trade's good offices in
securing him the continuation of his salary (735, 812).
That his post was no sinecure, is emphasised by his
excusing his bad writing in one letter by the remark
that "the weather is so cold I cannot write three words
before the ink freezes" (283). Part of the waste of woods
and cutting down of mast trees reserved for the Navy
in New Hampshire, he attributes to the connivance of
the Lieutenant-Governor, Vaughan. On the other hand,
complaints came from that Government of the restrictions imposed by him, with the result we have described
(428, 592, 738).
Wentworth succeeds Lt.-Governor Vaughan.
Following upon his quarrel with Governor Shute,
Vaughan was replaced by John Wentworth as Lt.Governor (80; cf. C.S.P. 1716–17, pp. xxv., xxvi.).
Exports of timber to Spain and Portugal.
The large exports of timber to Spain and Portugal
to be used for naval construction by the king's enemies
roused the indignation of a patriotic mariner, and the
Collector of Customs of New Hampshire, who reported
it on the outbreak of war (796, 806 i., 810, 810 i.–iii.).
Three Acts repealed.; Objection to Act for making lands etc. liable for debts.
Three Acts of New Hampshire, for the relief of idiots;
providing for posthumous children; and against High
Treason were repealed, for reasons given by Mr. West
(599, 615, 627, 674). As to the latter act, which made
several alterations in the rules by which traitors could
be convicted, to which exception might well be taken,
Mr. West represented that it was desirable to keep
cases of treason in the Plantations within the Common
Law, by which "the Crown has the subjects of those
Provinces much more at command than if the English
Statutes of Treasons were extended to them." This act
of New Hampshire, he added, encroached upon the
King's prerogative, and no inducement was offered by
that Colony to the Crown in return, such, for instance,
as the settlement of the Revenue (615). He also took
objection to the Act for making lands and tenements
liable to payment of debts, chiefly on the grounds that it
was badly worded (607).
Command of the Rhode Island Militia.
The Governor of New England visited Rhode Island,
and laid before the Council that part of his Commission
which appointed him to the command of their Militia
in time of war or emergency. The General Assembly
declared that this was contrary to their Charter, and
refused their consent (700).
New Jersey. Governor Hunter commended.; Coxe's agitation in London.; Tranqullity restored
In response to Governor Hunter's request for a public
declaration upon the rumours and complaints against
him sponsored by Coxe and his party in New Jersey,
he was authorised to make known that the King was
well satisfied with his conduct, and that the reports
of his dismissal were groundless and malicious (22,
69; cf. C.S.P. 1716–17, p. xxxii.). Some further
correspondence of about the same date (Aug., 1717)
revealed how busily Coxe and Bustill were promoting
their agitation against him in London, and representing to their supporters in New Jersey that they
had influential support from Ministers and others (373,
373 i.–v., 375, 376). They even went so far as to hint
at the assassination of Hunter by suggesting that "even
Parliament men" were wondering why he did not
meet with the same fate as Governor Parke (373 iv., 376).
But, strengthened by the pronouncement of the Government in his favour, the dismissal of the objectionable
Councillors, the elimination of Coxe and his friends from
the Assembly, and the approval by the Council of Trade
of his reply to the Traders' memorial (344; cf. C.S.P.
1716–17. pp. xxix.–xxxii.), Hunter was able to report
that the Province was at last enjoying complete tranquillity. The Assembly was perfectly amenable, and
promised to settle a revenue for a longer period (520,
520 i.–iii., 738). The accounts showed a balance on the
right side (651).
Act repealing Act for ascertaining place of sitting confirmed.; Lt. Gov. Ingoldsby's Acts.;
The Act repealing the act for ascertaining the place
of sitting of the Assembly was confirmed in accordance
with Hunter's representations (248, 254, 344, 378; cf.
C.S.P. 1716–17, pp. xxix.–xxxi.), as also the Act that
the solemn affirmation of Quakers be accepted instead of
an oath etc. This act, by which Quakers were permitted
to serve as jurors, even in criminal cases, on affirmation
only, and to hold offices, extended to them greater
indulgence than they received in England. But the
Council of Trade recommended it on the grounds that
it was represented to be "absolutely necessary for the
strengthening the hands of the Government there" (253,
267, 326, 344, 378. Cf. C.S.P. 1716–17, p. xxix.). A
petition was presented praying that the subject
should be re-opened before the Order in Council
confirming the act was issued. Mulford figures among
the signatories. The Council of Trade reported that
the Order had gone out nearly three months before the
petition reached them, and that, till then, no objections
to the Act had been presented (445, 445 i.–iii., 558). At
the same time they reminded Hunter that Lt. Governor
Ingoldsby's commission for New Jersey had not been
revoked at the same time as his commission as Lt.
Governor of New York, and therefore challenged his
statement that the acts to which he objected were
passed without authority (344. Cf. C.S.P. 1716–17,
pp. xxviii., xxix.). Hunter, in reply, stated his case,
but added that as most of the laws in question were
by this time expired or repealed, it was no longer of any
A Naturalization Act.; Objection to Acts affecting Patent Offices.; Policy of starving Royal Officers.
An Act for naturalization led the Council of Trade to
ask for a statement of the law regarding naturalization
in the Plantations (785). Objection was made to three
acts on the grounds that they diminished the jurisdiction
of the Supreme Court, and also the accustomed fees of
holders of Patent Offices (253, 267, 284, 764, 786). The
Secretary complained that the fees of his office were
reduced below a living wage. He quoted several members
of Assembly as having declared that they had people
enough of their own to execute that office, and that if
the King would send over Patent Officers, they would
take care to make it not worth their while (284).
Accounts of the Revenue from 1710 to 1718 were
returned, amounting in all to under £10,000 (651).
New York. Act for payment of public debts.
In New York politics there had long been an acute
division between the interests of the City and the country
districts. This division had been a potent factor in the
struggle for a settlement of the revenue, when one point
at issue was whether a tax upon land or upon imports
should be raised. The former would fall, of course, upon
the planters and pioneers of the frontier, the latter
mainly upon the richer merchants and consumers of
the towns. The vote of the Country Party had contributed largely to the settlement of the revenue, and to
the passing of the act for the payment of the debts of
the Province on a basis of customs and excise duties,
and an issue of bills of credit. The persons whose debts
were to be paid were named in this Act of 1715, and
by it all other claims were declared void. It soon
appeared, however, that there were many creditors of
the Province whose claims had been ignored. A second
act was therefore passed at the end of 1717, for their
payment, by which another issue of bills of credit was
authorised, secured by a duty on imported, and an excise
on retailed liquors.
Increased trade and prosperity follow on new issue of paper currency.
Hunter recommended this act as a measure both
reasonable and just. Opposition to it he described as
merely arising from the resentment of vested interests.
Rich merchants who had grown accustomed to a practical
monopoly of trade, saw it threatened by the diffusion of
money and restoration of credit, opening the door to
smaller tradesmen. But Hunter could point to a definite
increase of trade and shipping and general prosperity,
shown by the returns of imports and exports, and the
acceptance of the paper currency at par, as all tending
to prove the new issue of paper bills to be a beneficial
measure. If the act were disallowed and the bills recalled,
a financial disaster would ensue (194, 236, 317, 516, 518,
519, 650, 724 i., 738, 738 v.).
Opposition to the Act.
The merchants of New York City at once expressed
their vehement dislike of the new imposition laid upon
trade, and prosecuted an active opposition to the act.
When the bill had passed the Assembly, the Grand Jury
of New York petitioned the Governor to veto it. Hunter
communicated their address to the Assembly, and the
Grand Jurors were ordered to be taken into custody
and brought before the bar of the House, where they
were severely reprimanded (516, 516 i., 650, 738 iv., v.).
Opposition to the act was then organised in London.
Money was sent home to procure its repeal. A caveat
was entered, and petitions were presented. The coffeehouses were canvassed, and arguments advanced to
show the undesirable nature of the act (492, 499 i., 516,
650, 663 i., 707, 724 i., 738 ii.). The caveats were
referred to the Board of Trade, and by the Board of
Trade to the Government of New York (499, 528, 529,
633). The Council replied to them in forcible terms,
agreeing with Hunter's assertion that the allegations
of the opposition were scandalous and false, and their
prophecies already proved by experience to be incorrect
(650, 738, 738 i.–v.).
Mr. West's report.
Mr. West, in his report upon the Act, after examining
the objections of the British merchants and others,
expressed approval of its objects. But he stated the
legal objection that, though the act by the customs
imposed materially affected British trade and shipping,
the instruction requiring a suspensory clause in such
legislation had not been observed, and that bills of credit
had been struck and issued immediately without waiting
for the royal assent. They could not, however, now be
recalled, without throwing the colony into the utmost
Objections to Revenue Act and Act laying duty on shipping.; Act amending Revenue Act passed.
Objection to the Revenue Act, and an Act to oblige all
vessels trading to this Colony to pay duty, was taken on
the same grounds, that they affected British trade and
shipping. The Council of Trade, anxious to avoid the
necessity of repealing these acts, urged Hunter to procure
their amendment by the Assembly, and himself in future
to observe the recent Instruction on the subject (199,
292, 402, 402 i., 662, 676). Hunter protested that it
would be very difficult to find any source of revenue,
seeing that a land tax was impracticable, if "by the
clamours of merchants or those self-interested every sort
of duty may be constructed to affect the trade of Great
Britain." Similar duties, moreover, had been exacted
before, and in other Colonies (600, 602). He did, however,
succeed in obtaining an Act amending the Revenue Act
Opposition from Long Island.
The inhabitants of Long Island, N.Y., had joined the
merchants of New York in their opposition to the Act
for the payment of the public debts.
The Whale Fishery.
During the struggle for the settlement of a revenue,
when money had to be raised somehow by Hunter to
carry on the Government, pressure had been brought to
enforce payment of quit-rents and of fees for licences
for whale-fishing (50, 317, 603 iii.). Whales were royal
fish, and the right to grant licences for fishing for them,
or to claim the Crown property in drift whales, was
assigned to the Governor in his Commission. (As to
this point, the Council of Trade expressed some doubt,
which was fully answered by Hunter, Nos. 317, 317 i.–x.,
402, 478, 600, 603 iii., 738). The capture of drift-whales,
however, was one of the leading industries in Long Island.
Mulford's speech and memorial.
The Long Islanders, who had been refused a port of
their own, were bound to enter and clear their vessels
at New York. The port and customs duties which they
were now called upon to pay there, not to mention the
enforcement of the Acts of Trade by the New York
Collectors, roused their resentment and touched their
pockets. In these circumstances, the collection of fees
for whale-fishing and the demand for the payment of
quit-rents provoked bitter opposition among those who
had been accustomed to indulge a strong preference for
illegal trade and a considerable leaning towards pirates.
Their cause was championed in the Assembly by Samuel
Mulford, of Easthampton. He had been sued for nonpayment of quit-rents and of licences for whale-fishing
(317, 317 i.–xi.). In a bitter speech in the House he had
attacked the Assembly and administration. There he
could plead privilege. But he committed the indiscretion
of publishing his speech, and was expelled from the
House. Going to England, he appealed to the Council
of Trade and Privy Council for redress, stating his
grievances in a Memorial, which had been referred to
Hunter for his reply (14, 49, 49 i.–ii., 94; and v.
C.S.P. 1716–17, p. xxvii.). The present volume gives
the answers of Governor, Council and Assembly to the
wild attacks of that "craz'd old man," as Hunter calls
him (317, 317 i.–xiv., 602, 603, 603 i.–iii.).
Reply of Council and Assembly.; Mulford and the Indians.; Conference with the Five Nations. The Palatines.
Mulford in his Memorial had complained that the
distribution of seats in the Assembly was unfair; that
the Country Party was over-represented, and that Long
Island had not been assigned its just number of members.
This, he alleged, had rendered possible the imposition
of an excessive proportion of the taxes upon Long Island,
when the quotas of taxes were being assigned. To this
the Assembly gave a clear reply (317 xi., 603 ii., iii.).
His complaint against the powers of the Court of Chancery,
which had been called into requisition when it was being
boasted that no jury would convict for arrears of quitrents, was also answered (317, 603 iii). But what chiefly
aroused the wrath of the Assembly was the character
of Mulford's attack upon the Government's Indian
policy. Denouncing the cost of the salaries of the Commissioners for Indian Affairs and of the presents made to
the Five Nations, he declared that their general effect
was to render the Colony tributary to the Indians. The
drift of his speeches and that of the Memorial suggested
that an attack upon the Indians might be contemplated,
with a view to exterminating them and seizing their lands.
The mischievous effect of this wicked and silly suggestion
was denounced by the Assembly, which expressed its
full appreciation of the services rendered to the Colony
by the Five Nations (112 i., 317 xi.). Colonel Schuyler
also protested against an unjustifiable use of his name
in that connection (578 i.). Hunter held a conference
with the Five Nations at Albany in the summers of
1717 and 1718 (59, 675; and see below, p. lv.).
Hunter's comments upon Mulford and his agitation
show considerable irritation and impatience. His letters
seem to indicate that he had grown weary and outworn
by the bitter personal attacks of such men as Mulford and
Cox, supported by "some great men at home," and he
resented the perpetual drudgery of having to reply to
their false accusations and repeated complaints (375 iv.,
553, 554, 600, 602). Having achieved his object in
settling the revenue and obtaining peace and prosperity
in both New York and New Jersey, he was ready to
return to England and lay down his office. He was
suffering, apparently, from gout; he was anxious and
distressed at the failure of his friends to secure by application to Parliament repayment to him of the large sum
he had expended on behalf of the Palatine emigrants
(236, 402, 600). But though he began to think that his
friends were forgetting him, he expresses again and again
in the warmest terms his appreciation of the friendship
and services of Mr. Popple, the Secretary of the Board
of Trade (12, 112, 194, 236, 553, 675, 718 etc.). He had
already obtained leave of absence, and at one time
hoped to go home early in the spring of 1718. But, later,
he decided to defer his departure till the following spring,
first because of the danger of pirates on the coast, and
afterwards because he felt that his presence was needed
to induce the Assembly to amend the Acts to which
exception had been taken (12, 194, 553, 602, 675, 724 i.).
As for his large disbursements on account of the German
Protestant Refugees, the Council of Trade promised him
all the assistance in their power (235, 402). But they
had to inform him that it had not been possible to do
anything in the matter during the recent session of
Parliament. They asked for a return of their numbers
and occupations, and where they were settled, and also
for suggestions for employing them (402). Hunter replied, briefly, mentioning that Conrad Weiser had now
gone to England on behalf of the few malcontents who
would come to no terms. The rest were comfortably settled
and some were growing rich. They might be usefully
employed, he thought, on the frontiers, if his policy of
extension were adopted (600, 650 i.).
Lack of land and the forward policy.
Repeating, in reply to an enquiry from the Council
of Trade, his statement that there was little land left
for granting to new settlers, Hunter reminded the Board
that the adoption of his forward policy and his proposal
to erect forts about the Great Lakes would solve this
difficulty (650. Cf. C.S.P. 1716–17, pp. xxvi., xxvii.).
In view of the Attorney General's objections to the
Naturalization act of 1715, to which so much importance
was attached in New York, and Hunter's assurance that
the Assembly would pass an amended act, the Board of
Trade applied first to Sir Edward Northey, and then to
Mr. West for a draft of the alterations which were
deemed necessary for the Governor to lay before the
Assembly (294, 385, 401, 708. Cf. C.S.P. 1716–17, p.
In forwarding accounts of the Revenue, Hunter
mentions that the Treasurer refused to submit them for
audit to the deputy of the Auditor General (who was a
royal official), holding himself accountable only to the
Governor, Council and Assembly (650, 650 ii.).
Act for settlement of lands.; New act suggested.; Act for shortening law-suits repealed.
To Hunter's request for the repeal of the Act of 1710
for the better settlement of lands, the Attorney General
objected that it would inflict considerable hardship upon
purchasers under that act. He took occasion to remark
upon the inconveniency arising from allowing Plantation
laws to remain so long without being either confirmed
or repealed by the Crown (436). The Council of Trade
therefore recommended the passing of a new act, not
liable to the objections which had been taken to that of
1710, but at the same time safeguarding the titles of
those who had purchased on its security (500). A
similar recommendation was made with regard to the
Act for shortening law-suits, following upon criticisms
by the Attorney General, who found that it might involve
hardships upon litigants. Experience in New York
proved that Sir Edward's criticisms were just, and the
act, on Hunter's suggestion, was therefore offered for
repeal (293, 402, 600, 709).
Nova Scotia. Col. Phillips appointed Governor.; His suggestions.
Following on the reports concerning the settlement
of Nova Scotia (C.S.P. 1716–17, pp. xxxii.–xxxiv.). Col.
Richard Phillips received his Commission as Governor
of Nova Scotia and Placentia in Aug., 1717 (19, 20).
In a memorial upon his government presented by him
to the Secretary of State (392 i.). Phillips urged the
necessity of a present to the Indians in order to wean
them from the influence of the French priests, in accordance with the advice of the Lt. Governor, Doucett, who
thought that the Indians would be more swayed by
benefits in this world than any promises for the next
(371, 565, 789). Phillips also urged the determination
of the boundaries, the repair of the fort at Annapolis
Royal, and measures for encouraging settlers. He
emphasised the value of the country and the fishery,
which ought to be reserved for the common use in the
case of any grants of lands. For its protection and for
the administration of his two governments, he required
the services of a frigate (392 i.). This would also be of
service in preventing the smuggling trade which was
being carried on from New England, Canada and Cape
Breton, and which, the inhabitants complained, was
delaying the settlement of the country (351, 351 ii., 352).
The Council of Trade reported upon these proposals,
that the present to the Indians might be made if, after
his arrival, the Governor thought it advisable; that forts
should be erected as recommended by the Comptrollers
of the accounts of the Army (C.S.P. 1716–17, No. 615),
and also a fort on the Gut of Canso, for which purposes an
engineer should be despatched to make a survey of the
coast, as well as to serve as a Commissary for settling the
boundaries; and that a survey of the woods and country
should be made with a view to the production of Naval
Stores. They approved the Governor's other proposals
for the encouragement of settlers, the protection of the
fishery and the appointment of a frigate, and recommended that he should have the usual powers and
Instructions of Governors of Plantations, more particularly as to the disposal of lands (550).
Grant for fort at Annapolis.; Admiralty report.
Orders were given for a grant for rebuilding the fort
at Annapolis (605, 645). As to the frigate, the Admiralty,
on being consulted, demurred as to the expense, but
undertook to provide a suitable vessel. They recommended that the Surveyor General of the Woods be
instructed to survey those of Nova Scotia (604, 619).
Arrival of Lt. Gov. Doucett.; The garrison.
Lt. Governor Doucett, arriving in Nova Scotia in
Oct., 1717, found the fort almost demolished, and the
garrison, whose plight was described in the previous
volume (p xxxii.), continually in mutiny for their pay
(185, 351, 352, 392 ii.). He assured them that their
grievances would shortly be redressed (392 ii.).
The French inhabitants. Refusal to take oath of allegiance.
He then began to put pressure upon the French inhabitants who, numbering some 6 or 7000, had not
yet acknowledged King George. He called upon them
to sign a declaration of allegiance, warning them that
otherwise they would not be allowed the privileges of
British subjects in trading and fishing. They refused
to take the oath required, but offered to swear not to
take up arms for either side in case of a rupture between
France and England. Their excuse was that, if they
took the oath of allegiance, they would expose themselves
to the fury of the Indians, who were wholly in the French
interest, and from whom the English Government could
not protect them. But the rough way in which the
French inhabitants treated the Indians without suffering
any reprisals, led Doucett to discount this excuse. The
real reason for their refusal he found in the influence of
their priests, who were circulatin rumours that the
Pretender had landed in Scotland, and, having been
established on the throne of Great Britain by French
troops, had returned Nova Scotia to France in acknowledgment of their aid. However, the inducement of the
fishery caused some of them to waver, and Doucett
expected that, as in the case of the Indians, "if advantages can biass them more than their priests," they
would yet take the oath of allegiance (185, 185 i., ii.,
351, 371, 371 i.–iv., 392 i., 550, 565). In sending the
form of the oath of allegiance, Doucett had invited the
co-operation of the French priest at Minis. The Jesuit
replied that he would give no advice to the people one
way or the other (351, 371, 371 i.–iv., 565, 565 i.–iv.).
French claims to the Isles of Canso and the River St. John.; Capt. Southack's map.
On receiving the reply of the French inhabitants,
Doucett reminded them that they could choose to
remain as British subjects or to retire from the Colony.
But if they refused to take the oath of allegiance, he
would be obliged to forbid them to trade within His
Majesty's territories (565 i.). He also wrote to the
Governor of Canada and the Lt. Governor of Cape Breton,
in order to find out what the French were prepared to
do with regard to the inhabitants, if they chose to retire
thither. For once already most of them had been to
Cape Breton on the strength of French promises, and
being disappointed at what they had found there had
returned to Nova Scotia, but still as French subjects.
He also complained that Frenchmen from Cape Breton
were settling at Cape Canso and encroaching on the
fishery there. He invited M. de Brouillan to put a stop
to this, and M. de Vaudreuil to instruct the French
missionaries to desist from hostile propaganda (351 i.,
565, 565 iv., v.). In reply, Brouillan stated that the
Isles of Canso were situated "at the mouth of the small
entrance of the Gulf of St. Lawrence" and that "this
place up to the River Ste. Marie" was assigned to the
French by the Treaty of Utrecht, "since it is this river
which constitutes the old boundary of which mention
is made" (635 i.). Vaudreuil claimed the River St. John
for France, and instructed the French inhabitants that
they might withdraw to lands there, with their moveable
effects. Doucett's comment on this was that, unless a stop
were put to them, the French would claim everything
to within a cannon shot of the Fort at Annapolis Royal,
and he sent home a map drawn by Capt. Southack,
showing the ancient boundaries of Nova Scotia (789,
789 i.–iv.). Both French Governors complained that the
English had put difficulties in the way of the French
inhabitants when they wished to withdraw their moveable
goods (635 i., 789 i.).
The Governor of Canada wrote two letters to the
French inhabitants, one, which could be shown to the
English, instructing them that, if they preferred not to take
the oath of allegiance to King George, they might retire
to the River St. John, and take their moveable effects
with them (789 iii.), although by the Treaty they were
only entitled to do so within a year (789 iii.). In the other,
which was not intended to be seen by the English, he
stated that he was instructing a Jesuit missionary to
allot them lands, and advised them in any case not to
take the oath of allegiance, as they would not be allowed
the free exercise of their religion (789 iv.).
H.M.S. Squirrel sent to Canso.
In the meantime the Governor of New England had
taken action. He sent H.M.S. Squirrel from Boston to
Cape Breton with a letter requesting M. de Brouillan
to give orders to the French to pull down their huts
near the Gut of Canso and not to fish any more on that
shore. Thence the Squirrel sailed to Canso, seized two
French fishing ships there, and carried them off to
Boston (575, 782 i., ii.).
Lands between Nova Scotia and Maine.; Offer of the Massachusetts Bay.
Petitions for grants of lands lying between Nova
Scotia and Maine continued to be the subject of controversy. Capt. Coram and his partners in the scheme
for erecting a new Province there, to be settled by disbanded soldiers, maintained that the right to these lands
was re-invested in the Crown by virtue of re-conquest
from the French. Coram denied that the Marquis of
Hamilton's grant included any of this tract, and as for
Sir Bibby Lake's purchase from the Indians, it was of
no value, for any Indian when drunk would, for a bottle
of liquor, sign any paper, but such conveyances would be
repudiated by the other Indians and had led to the
murder of the settlers (268, 396, 397). The claims of
the Massachusetts Bay were, according to them, equally
invalid (497). But the Solicitor General took a different
view. He upheld the claims both of Hamilton and Lake
and of the Massachusetts Bay (261, 308, 383, 498, 511).
On behalf of that Government, an offer was made that
the soil and government of the territory between the
Kennebec and Penobscot rivers should be recognised as
belonging to Massachusetts, whilst that between the
Penobscot and St. Croix rivers should be at the disposal
of the Crown (458 i.). The latter tract the Council of
Trade was inclined to think would prove suitable for
the settlement of the disbanded soldiers. But they
hesitated to enter into any new "contracts with the
Massachusetts Company," for the reasons quoted above
(§ 1), (543).
Grant to Sir A. Cairnes etc. recommended.
Sir Alexander Cairnes, Joshua Gee and other merchants petitioned for a grant of lands, with a view to
settlement, near Chedabucto (3 i., 11, 86). The Council
of Trade recommended the granting of their petition
as being for the benefit of the Colony and the trade of
Great Britain (105). But they suggested that in any
such grant the right of fishing off the coast and of curing
fish ashore should be reserved for all British subjects
(23, 106, 392 i., 550, 432, 790).
Pennsylvania. Acts establishing the judiciary.; Affirmation Acts. Objection raised.; Joshua Gee.; Iron in Pennsylvania.; Lt. Gov. Keith.; Union with West Jersey proposed.; Report upon The Lower Counties.
A memorial was presented by the Proprietor of Pennsylvania and his friends, praying for the confirmation of
acts passed in 1713 and 1715. Several of these were
concerned with the regulation of the judiciary and were
defended in the memorial, as well as two acts permitting
the Affirmation by Quakers (508, 586, 781). Objection
was taken to the latter on the ground that they
practically repeated the provisions of former acts which
had been annulled, and allowed persons not upon oath
to take part in criminal proceedings. Attention was
also drawn to the delay in submitting them for confirmation (506). The Council of Trade, indeed, complained
to Joshua Gee that they had received no laws from
Pennsylvania since those of 1711 (772, 784). Mr. Gee,
as one of the mortgagees, answered some of these
objections (586). It was he who had urged the encouragement of the production of iron ore in the Plantations,
of which Lt. Governor Keith reported "great plenty in
many places" in Pennsylvania (101). It was the controversy over the Affirmation Acts which had brought to
a head the hostility between Lt. Governor Goodwin and
the Assembly, and had resulted in the appointment of
Keith by the Proprietors. He had been recommended by
Logan and other members of the Council of Pennsylvania.
As Surveyor General of Customs in America he had
acquired an intimate knowledge of colonial affairs (227).
A Scotsman, who was the friend of Lt. Governor
Spotswood and a protégé of the Duke of Argyll, he
had impressed Mrs. Penn by his "prudent conduct and
obliging behaviour" (Penn Papers). On arriving in
the province in May, 1717, he quickly justified Mrs.
Penn's estimate of him as "an understanding man and
a man of temper." His ability and his affable manners
soon won over the Assembly, who granted him £500 a
year (101 ii., 552). Keith echoed the suggestion which
had come from the Quakers of New Jersey (C.S.P.
1716–17, p. xxix.), that, if Pennsylvania were resumed
by the Crown, West Jersey should be united with it
and the Three Lower Counties under one Government,
supporting his suggestion by a reference to the "continual jarrings between the people of West Jersey and
New York" (101). Upon the petition of the Earl of
Sutherland for a grant of the Three Lower Counties,
and Penn's claim to them, the Law Officers of the Crown
made a long and careful report. Penn's claim appeared
to hang upon the question whether the Duke of York
had any title to the Three Lower Counties in 1682,
when he transferred his rights to Mr. Penn, and whether
the grant of the Duke of York in 1683 ever passed the
Great Seal. Sutherland had undertaken to make out
the title of the Crown. The point, it was suggested,
should be determined by the Court of Chancery. But
if Penn's claim under the grant of 1683 were established,
then he was liable for a moiety of the rents and profits
under it (177 i.).
Taxation of foreign imports proposed by Keith.
In reporting upon trade carried on with the French
and Spanish colonies, Keith suggested that a higher
duty should be imposed upon the produce of foreign
Plantations than upon our own, " which would oblige
our Adventurers not to return anything but bullion from
their trade with foreigners unless at the cost of a revenue
to the Crown" (227; v. § 1).
Indians. Conference at Philadelphia.; Act for continuing friendly correspondence.
The conference of Governors at Philadelphia proposed
by Lt. Governor Spotswood, with a view to making a
general treaty with the Indians, came to little. The
Five Nations would only treat at Albany, through the
Government of New York (59, 406, 568 ii., 578 i., 675);
the Pennsylvanians refused to allow any negotiations
with the Indians of the Susquehanna Valley except
through their own Government (101 i.). Their Act for
continuing a friendly correspondence with the Indians,
like the Act which Spotswood had carried in Virginia,
aimed at regulating traders with them and preventing
those impositions which had had such dire results in
Carolina and elsewhere. The Pennsylvanians were able
to boast that hitherto, thanks to their honest dealings
with the Indians, not a single one of their settlers had
lost his life at their hands (781).
Connecticut and Rhode I.
The Collector of Customs at Rhode Island drew attention to the passing of several laws contrary to the Acts
of Trade and to the detriment of the royal officers and
the inhabitants of the neighbouring Colonies. Rhode
Island and Connecticut, he suggested, ought to be
obliged to submit their acts for confirmation by the
Crown (759). The refusal of Rhode Island to submit
their Militia to the command of the Governor of New
England in times of emergency is mentioned above
(700, p. xxxvi.).
Virginia. Acts prohibiting assembly of Quakers,; and concerning foreign debts.
The revision of the laws, preparatory to printing, led
in the case of Virginia, to exception being taken to acts
of long-standing. One was that of 1663 prohibiting the
unlawful assembly of Quakers, which, if put in execution,
would have rendered it impossible for any Friend to
abide in Virginia (174, 263, 281, 343, 380). The other,
concerning foreign debts, protected debtors who had fled
to Virginia from Great Britain, which, as the Attorney
General sardonically remarked, would be a great convenience for the inhabitants of that Colony, but a great
means to defraud English creditors. Both acts, therefore, were repealed (174, 263, 281, 343, 380).
Lt. Gov. Spotswood and the Council.; Their claim to be sole Judges.
Spotswood continued his duel with the Council (v.
C.S.P. 1716–17, p. xxix.). His reply to their claim to
be sole Judges in the Court of Oyer and Terminer was
trenchant and convincing (59, 456). Supported by the
views of the Council of Trade and legal opinion, he exercised his right to appoint Judges to that Court. Some
of the Councillors thereupon refused to sit (59). At that
time the Council of Trade was repeating its view (63).
It was confirmed by the opinion of the Attorney General,
that the power of constituting Courts in Virginia remained
in the Crown, and that therefore by his Commission the
Governor was properly empowered to appoint Judges
thereto. He agreed, however, that this power might be
abused by a bad Governor, and suggested that "for
the preventing of inconveniences and quieting the minds
of H.M. subjects there," Instructions might be given for
restricting it (275). The Council of Trade accordingly
recommended Spotswood to make a discreet use of that
power, "which should be exerted on extraordinary
occasions only" (334).
In the meantime the "secret remonstrance, …
through private agents," which Spotswood had foreseen
(59), had been made by Mr. Byrd to the Council of
Trade. But recognising that, after the verdict of the
Attorney General, it was useless to challenge the right
of the Crown, he changed his position to a petition for
an Instruction appointing the Judges of the General
Court to be the Justices of the Courts of Oyer and
Terminer, except in extraordinary cases (342, 342 i.,
398). To this the Council of Trade replied, that no
complaint had yet been made that the Governor had
abused the power placed in his hands in the way it was
suggested he might do. He had always chosen a majority
of the Judges from the Councillors, and by no means
excluded them, as the petitioner seemed to suggest.
The application, too, came not from persons aggrieved
by an abuse of the Governor's power, but from those
who wished to engross the power of being sole Judges
in criminal causes, to the diminution of the royal prerogative. For these reasons, and because there might
be grave inconveniences if Councillors were to be the only
judges, whilst the Governor would always be answerable
for any abuse of his power, they saw no reason for
altering the present position (410). Their appreciation
of the situation was borne out by letters subsequently
received from the Lt. Governor, in which he asserted
that one of the objects of the Councillors was to secure
to themselves the £100 allowed out of the revenue for the
Judges for each Court, and another to encroach upon the
prerogative of the Crown, and to make the Governor
and the people subservient to the will of their clique
(422, 456, 568, 588, 799, 800).
Reform in methods of collecting and auditing revenue and quit rents.
Spotswood devotes a good deal of space to explaining
his reforms in the methods of collecting and auditing
the revenue and quit-rents (59 i., iii., 422, 422 i. etc.).
To these reforms, approved by the Council of Trade
(334), he attributes the fierce hostility of the Ludwells,
Byrds, and Blairs, who formed the family party opposed
to him in the Council (568, 800). As to their address
concerning the quit-rents, he explains that it was part
of a scheme to obtain a salary of £100 a year out of the
revenue for each Councillor (456). He answers their
charges against himself with great vigour, analysing the
characters and motives of his opponents with a vocabulary fortified by reminiscences of Dryden's Absalom and
Achitophel (456, 568, 588, 799, 800). The substitution
of more peaceable and loyal Councillors for some of
this "Juncto of Relations" would solve the difficulty
here, as successfully as in New Jersey (568, 588, 699,
The new Assembly.
The summoning of a new Assembly was necessary for
dealing with the situation created by the repeal of the
Act for regulating the Indian Trade. The ill effects of
that repeal Spotswood was not slow to point out (699).
The election was fought by "the patent family" mainly
on the Indian Trade Act and the dispute over the appointing of Judges. Another plank in their platform was
the removal of Lord Orkney, the absentee Governor.
They obtained a majority in the Assembly, composed,
as Spotswood says, of "many of their relations and others
of weak understandings." This "cabal of malcontents
among the Burgesses" proceeded to carry out the
policy of the family party, "with a score of base disloyalists and ungrateful Creolians for their adherents."
If successful in their attacks upon the Governor and the
royal prerogative, Spotswood declared that they would
in future rule the Province (568, 568 i., 588, 799, 800).
An attempt at effecting a reconciliation between the
Lt. Governor and opponents so determined failed for
the time being (588 i., ii.). The Assembly's first step
was to address the King in support of the Councillors'
claim to be sole judges. They asked, too, that the recent
Instruction relating to acts affecting British trade and
shipping might be revoked. They appointed Mr. Byrd
their agent for presenting their Address (568, 568 iv., v.,
588, 799, 800). At the same time they prepared a bill
which would have enabled them to appoint or change
their agent, and pay him as they thought fit by a mere
resolution of their House. This bill was rejected in
Council, Spotswood pointing out that it enabled the
Burgesses to "nominate one another and give what
sums they thought fitt for no service at all." Another
bill placing £4000 at the disposal of Archibald Blair,
a brother of the Commissary and partner of Col. Ludwell,
was passed in Council, where there was "a great majority
of the relations of those gentlemen." It was vetoed by
Spotswood, who gave his reasons (568). The next move
of the party "who always have their eyes very quick
to watch all advantages for lessening the power of the
Crown," was to endeavour to take away from the
Secretary's Office the right of appointing County Court
Clerks; and to pass a bill intended to torpedo the
establishment of posts between Williamsburgh and
Philadelphia for the interesting reason referred to in § 1;
and to reject a bill because it retained the King's right
to alter the day for holding Courts. The opportunity of
attacking the Lt. Governor through the Indian Company
was obvious. The Assembly refused to compensate the
Company, as had been recommended on the repeal of
the Act regulating the Indian trade, for expenses which
they had been expressly enjoined by that Act to incur
in building the Indian school, repairing the fort and
maintaining the fort at Christanna. Spotswood's comment on all this, and upon their reversal of the whole
of his Indian policy, and refusal to allow him the expenses
of his journeys, is sufficiently pointed (406, 568, 588 ii.).
But, having overstepped the mark before in his Speech
to the Assembly, he refused to be provoked into showing
resentment to them now. In answer to all their attacks
he could point to the prosperity of the country, a full
Treasury, moderate taxation, peace on the frontiers and
trade flourishing. Moreover, the country so far from
being willing to submit grievances against him, showed
signs of rallying to his support (568 i, 657 v., vi., 799,
800, 800 vi.). Meanwhile the Councillors and their party
among the Burgesses refused to attend the Lt. Governor's
entertainment on the King's Birthday, and provided
one of their own in the Burgesses' House and a bonfire
for the mob (568 i., 588).
When, after the Council had declared against renewing
the treaty with the Five Nations, Spotswood proposed
to prorogue by proclamation the already adjourned
Assembly, the Council protested that a meeting was
necessary before prorogation (657). The Councillors then
entered upon a new dispute, challenging the right of
the Crown to the patronage and collation of ecclesiastical benefices (657). On both these points the opinion
of the Law Officers of the Crown was invited, at
Spotswood's request (657, 731).
Address against Spotswood.
When the Assembly re-assembled in the autumn, they
first passed a bill re-enacting the law declaring who should
hold office etc., which had already been repealed, and
then fell to attacking the Lt. Governor. A Committee
enquired into the state of the furniture of the Capitol,
and an Address and charges against Spotswood were
passed in an empty House. To some of these he answers
in advance (800, 800 i.–vi.).
Spotswood's explorations and the Westward Movement.
Spotswood makes several interesting references to his
exploration of the Blue Ridge and his discovery of the
passage over the mountains, through which he hoped
to open up trade with the Western Indians and to check
the development of the French settlements (v. § 1). To
this end he urged the occupation of the passes and
settlements on the Lakes, notably upon Lake Erie.
He proposed that he should be instructed to undertake
the execution of this plan, to be financed out of the quitrents (657, 800). He recommended cultivating the friendship of the Cherokee Indians, as his Virginian Indian
Company had done, and announced that he had set
German miners to work on the iron ore found at the head
of Rappahannock River. Gold, too, he hoped for in
the mountains, which might deprive the Spaniards of
the boast that the Treasures of the Universe were
committed solely to them (800).
Spotswood and the Indian Conference.
An attack upon the Cuttaba Indians, who had just
made peace with the English, by a party of Senecas and
Tuscaroras, prompted Spotswood to send to New York
for the release of the prisoners taken, and to suggest to
Governor Hunter that, by way of atonement, the Five
Nations should send delegates to Virginia to renew the
peace made with that government in 1685. He also
issued a Proclamation prohibiting trade with the
Tuscaroras except under license, there being reason to
suspect that they had been led to attack the Cuttabas
through information conveyed by some unlicensed
traders. The Five Nations refusing to treat except at
Albany, Spotswood proposed a Conference at Philadelphia where, with the Governors of New York,
Maryland and Pennsylvania, measures might be taken
for bringing the Indians into a general treaty, in relation
to all the governments. But, as we have seen, the
Pennsylvanians preferred their own methods with their
neighbouring Indians, contrasting, not unnaturally, the
results obtained by the Southern Colonies. The New
York Commissioners for Indian Affairs were evidently
anxious that the Five Nations should not be hectored
and upset by the Virginian Government, which for 25
years had contributed nothing to the expense of presents
to them; and the Council of Virginia finally declared
against renewing the treaty with them. Thus Colonial
separatism once more gained the day, to the disappointment of such as wished to see all the Colonies placed
under one system of government with a general scheme
of defence against the French (59, 59 iv. (a), 85, 101 i.,
406, 578 i., 657).
Cuttabas dying out.
In connection with the Cuttabas, Spotswood mentions
that they were suddenly and rapidly dying out, owing
to the barrenness of their women. He sees in this a
dispensation of Providence, designed to "make room for
our growing settlements." It would be interesting to
know whether this sterility was due to decadence or
disease, or to race suicide (800).
Virginia and the Pirates.
The important share taken by Virginia in the suppression of pirates is mentioned in § 1. Cf. 657, 657 iii., 800.
Governor's Instructions open to the Council.
Spotswood observes that, having no commands for
keeping his Instructions secret, he left them open to the
inspection of the Council (p. 221).
Grants of land: Washington.
A list of grants of lands includes one to "John
Washington, jr." (657 iv.).
§ III. THE WEST INDIES.
The Bahama Islands surrendered by Proprietors and leased to Capt. Rogers and Company.; Capt. Rogers, Governor.; Pirates dislodged.
At the beginning of this period Messrs. Samuel Buck
and Company submitted an estimate for transporting
500 refugees from the Palatinate to the Bahama Islands,
100 of whom shortly afterwards went as indentured
servants to Pennsylvania (76). The Lords Proprietors
executed a deed of surrender to the Crown of the Government of those Islands. At the same time they leased
their remaining rights to the soil etc. to Capt. Woodes
Rogers and his partners (166, 176, 183, 184, 420).
Rogers was appointed Governor by the Crown, with a
commission as Captain of a Company of Foot, and a
naval force to dislodge the pirates there (64, 167, 220,
220 i., ii., 305, 471). As two of the Proprietors were
minors and had therefore not signed the deed of surrender,
there was some doubt as to its validity (220, 221, 250).
But the Council of Trade represented that, in any case,
by their long neglect to defend the islands, the Proprietors
had forfeited their right to the Government (225).
Capt. Jacob, H.M.S. Diamond, was ordered to proceed
to Jamaica and thence to do his utmost "in the rooting
out of those nests of robbers from "Providence Island,
with power to call to his aid the ships stationed at
Barbados and the Leeward Islands (Admiralty 2/49,
p. 267–9, and 8/14). The pirates were dislodged, as
recorded in § 1, by the men of war and Rogers, who
arrived in Delicia at the end of July, 1718 (737).
Rogers then set to work to repair the fortifications,
and was in good hopes that with settlers he had invited
from Anguilla, Carolina and Bermuda the colony would
soon begin to prosper. He appointed Councillors, Justices
and Officers, and recommended the institution of an
Assembly (737). But he soon found that his task was
to be no easy one. His letters vividly describe his difficulties. Sickness decimated the newcomers; the old
inhabitants had been rendered lazy and incompetent
by their piratical ways; they remained in sympathy
with the pirates who threatened to return (v. § 1); and
soon an attack by the Spaniards seemed imminent,
At one moment the position appeared so perilous, that
he appealed for succour to the Governors of Jamaica
and New York. But the old sea-dog faced his troubles
bravely, and still hoped for the best "amongst a very
odd sort of people wth. so small a beginning" (737,
Barbados.; Act empowering licentiate lawyers etc.
Governor Lowther, replying to some strictures by
the Council of Trade upon several acts passed in Barbados, defended in particular one empowering licentiate
lawyers to act as barristers. It was, however, strongly
opposed as likely to promote ignorance of British law
and thereby to weaken the connection with the Mother
Country. Mr. West also observed that it gave the
Governor the power of enabling his footman to practice
at the bar (210, 259, 517, 535, 561, 572, 742).
Act for payment of bills.
In reporting upon an additional act to the act for
the payment of bills, the Attorney General commented
on "a pretty extraordinary punishment" imposed by
it. Persons bidding for lands for which they were then
incapable of paying were to expiate that offence by
imprisonment for a year, being set in the pillory, and
having their ears cut off (216, 273).
Act laying duty on foreign sugars.
An Act laying a duty on foreign sugars imported,
intended to protect the planter from the competition
of French and Dutch Colonies which had "the advantage
of a newer soil," was confirmed (103, 103 i., 148, 160,
Grants and Finances.; Lists of causes.
Governor Lowther made returns upon grants of lands
and the state of the finances, anticipating that the new
poll-tax upon negroes would enable the country to pay
all the public debts by the following spring (534, 742,
742 xiii., xiv.). Lists of causes determined and depending
in the Courts were also sent in (742 ii., iii.).
Presents to Governor disapproved.
The Council of Trade expressed satisfaction at the
good understanding established by the Governor with
the Council and Assembly, to which the large presents
voted to him by the Assembly were convincing proofs.
But they added that they were proofs of a kind directly
contrary to his Instructions, which they admonished him
to observe (471).
The Ecclesiastical Court and the Clergy.
The complaint against the Clergy appointed or recommended by the Bishop of London and the attempt of
Mr. Gordon, his Commissary, to set up an ecclesiastical
Court was answered by the Bishop. He observed that
he had not from any other Colony "so melancholy an
account of the state of religion" (68 i., 88). The Council
of Trade examined the Bishop's Commission to Mr.
Gordon and recommended that the latter should be
removed and consideration given to the character of
the clergy in Barbados (159). Gordon entered in his
defence the not very convincing testimony of a sermon of
his own (733. Cf. C.S.P. 1716–17, p. xliii.).
There is the echo of a duel in a petition for pardon
(2 i., 490). And see § 1 Pirates.
Bermuda Pirates. Acts.
Threatened by an onslaught of pirates, the Lt.
Governor of Bermuda petitioned for naval and military
reinforcements (551). The Council of Trade communicated to the Lt. Governor some criticisms of acts passed
during the last few years (720, 720 ii.).
Jamaica.; Lord A. Hamilton.; Cockburne's appeal.
The documents relating to Jamaica are for the most
part concerned with the aftermath of the crisis which
resulted in the recall and arrest of Lord Archibald
Hamilton. The situation was fully analysed in the
Preface to the previous volume (pp. xliv.-lv.). Having
succeeded in getting rid of their Governor, and secured
the appointment of a Lt. Governor who was ready to
do their bidding, his enemies declined to prosecute
their charges against Lord Archibald, in spite of his
repeated demands for a hearing before the Privy Council.
At length he submitted a Memorial complaining of the
treatment he had received, and asking that the new
Councillors and the Deputy Secretary, Dr. Page, should
be dismissed (109, 109 i.–vi.). The Council of Trade,
after many interviews at the Board, supported his
contentions, and recommended the removal of Dr. Page.
He was finally dismissed from all offices, though William
Congreve, the dramatist, who held the place of Secretary,
succeeded in making his peace with the Secretary of
State, and was confirmed in his office (130, 169, 331,
332, 365, 509). But it was recommended that William
Cockburne, who had been appointed to succeed Page as
Deputy Secretary by Lord A. Hamilton, and had been
ordered by Lt. Governor Heywood to refund all the
profits of that office, should be allowed to appeal to the
Privy Council, although the amount involved was less
than the £500 sterl., the limit for which Governors were
allowed to permit appeals (218, 218 i., 232, 266, 320 i.,
366). Another injustice inflicted on a Patent Officer,
the Receiver General, was ordered to be remedied, with
interest (89, 367).
The case of the Kensington sloop.
Lord Archibald also entered his defence in the matter
of the privateers commissioned by him (131, 131 i.–v.),
whilst the owners of the Nuestra Senora de Belem or
Kensington sloop, petitioned for nearly £40,000 damages
(4, 4 i., ii., 13, 252, 252 i.–viii., 310, 310 i., iii. Cf. C.S.P.
1716–17, pp. xlvii.–liii.), by direct appeal to the Crown.
The Council of Trade made some caustic observations
upon such procedure, before a regular appeal had been
made from the decision of the Admiralty Court of
Jamaica, and suggested that reparations were also due
for the great losses sustained by H.M. subjects from the
Spaniards in those seas (350). Don Juan del Valle, who
had been soliciting the cause of the Spaniards in Jamaica,
was given an answer in this sense by the Governor and
Council, and, as he was suspected of giving information
to the Spanish privateers of sailings of Jamaican vessels,
he was presently invited to leave the island (131 iv., v.,
350, 681, 681 ix.).
Case of the L'aimable Marie.
In the case of a French ship, however, seized by some
privateer-pirates from Jamaica, directions were given
for reparation to be made and for the prosecution of
those concerned (591, 591 ii., 606, 643).
Pirates and Naval protection.; Trading by Navy.; Council and Assembly.; Need of the two Independent Companies.; Sir N. Lawes' Instructions.
The effects of the depredations of pirates on the trade
of Jamaica and the steps taken to repress them have
been indicated in § 1 (54, 64, 271, 522, 566 etc.). The
newly appointed Governor asked for further naval
protection, and at the same time repeated the request
of other Governors that the Commanders of H.M. ships
should be placed under the immediate direction of the
Governor. As it was, instead of devoting themselves
to the protection of trade, they were apt to employ
themselves in carrying merchandize to Spanish ports.
The Council of Trade supported this recommendation,
(54, 144, 566, 681 iii., 688. Cf. 807). In an address
returning thanks for the intended help against pirates,
and congratulating the king on the failure of the designed
invasion of England, the Council and Assembly promised
to provide for the support of the soldiers in the island
and all necessary aids to the Revenue (35). They
admitted by their action in refusing to spare soldiers for
a convoy that the retention of the two Independent
Companies against which they had so long been agitating
was really a necessity (78). But though they had repaid
with high interest the advances made by their Lt.
Governor for the subsistence of the forces, and though
the payment of the similar debt to Lord Archibald
Hamilton was again recommended to them, they continued to refuse it (18 i., 64, 681). On these and other
outstanding points of controversy, notably the revenue,
the new Governor, Sir Nicholas Lawes, asked for definite
decisions before sailing for Jamaica. In preparing his
Instructions the Council of Trade consulted him frequently, recognising that his knowledge of Jamaica
and Jamaican opinion was intimate. The result of their
deliberations was a complete revision of the Governor's
Instructions (78, 144, 144 i., 264, 295, 327, 356).
The Council was reconstructed by the removal of
those Councillors who had previously been dismissed
and then restored in order to form a balanced board,
which had so signally failed to justify its appointment
(53, 116, 140, 144, 144 i., 264).
Acts confirmed and repealed.
A considerable number of Acts were confirmed or
repealed, Sir N. Lawes being active in obtaining decisions
upon them (96, 108, 168, 181, 311 i., 363, 364, 488).
The Acts to encourage white men to settle and for the
effectual discovery of disaffected persons were allowed to
await the report of the new Governor, who advised the
repeal of the latter (364, 391, 421, 748, 681).
Agent for Jamaica.
In the course of these transactions, the Council of
Trade emphasised the need of an Agent, appointed by
the Council and Assembly, to solicit the passing of
laws and conducting the business of Jamaica in London.
A bill was brought in for that purpose (488, 682).
Acts laying duty on negroes repealed.
The South Sea Company petitioned against an Act
laying a duty upon negroes brought to Jamaica as a
port of call and re-exported by them under the Asiento
(178 i., 206). Lawes expressed apprehension that its
repeal would occasion resentment in the Assembly,
and defended the duty (196, 356). Meanwhile the
Assembly passed another act doubling the duty on
re-exported negroes (206 i., 270, 270 i.). The Council
of Trade summed up the position, and the Acts were
repealed with the addition of an Instruction to the
Governor not to pass any such law for the future, and
to observe his Instructions relating to the passing of
acts, especially those affecting trade or the royal Prerogative (272, 301, 302, 313).
On his arrival, Lawes recommended the Assembly to
pay the debts of the Island by taxing their own estates
Post and Printing Press proposed. Wealth of Jamaica.
Lawes proposed the establishment of a Post and of
a printing press in the Island, under the Governor's
license (116). He emphasised the wealth and potentialities of Jamaica (196, 356), whilst proposing the
prevention of trade with Hispaniola, against which an
act had recently been passed (181, 189).
Lt. Governor's dormant Commission.
At his request a Lt. Governor was appointed with a
dormant commission (163, 163 i., ii., 175, 180).
Fortifications and stores of war.; Objection to convicts.; Protection of Jews.
Lawes arrived in his Government at the end of April,
1718 (522). He reported that the fortifications were in
a ruinous condition, and asked for a supply of stores of
war (303, 681, 681, vi.–viii.). He denounced the convicts
who had been transported under the recent Act of
Parliament, as a "wicked lazy and indolent people"
and expressed the hope that the country would be
troubled with no more of them (681). On the other
hand, he was instructed to give protection to the Jewish
settlers, whose privileges and security there had been
some attempt to invade (622).
The parish registers were so badly kept that Lawes
warned the Council of Trade that the census they
required would be very defective (566).
Jamaica Coffee House.
The Jamaica Coffee House figures as the centre of
Jamaican politics in London (110).
The Leeward Island. Queries the Board of Trade.; Instruction on Governor's presents.
The Council of Trade transmitted to the Governor
of the Leeward Islands a list of queries to which they
required annual answers (652, 652 i.). Hamilton made
some returns of imports and grants of lands, but professed himself unable to obtain from the Councils and
Assemblies accounts of the revenue (692). He was
permitted to receive the grant of £1000 a year for house
rent voted by Antigua, and his Instruction on that
point was altered (64, 257 i.; cf. C.S.P. 1716–17, pp.
Request for additional guardships and stores of war.
The prevalence of pirates, whose presence delayed
the Governor from visiting the several islands under
his government (v. § 1 Pirates), led him to ask for additional guardships. He also pointed out the inconvenience
caused by the men of war being obliged to go to
Barbados to victual and refit for lack of suitable accommodation and stores at the Leeward Islands (134, 298,
691, 797, 797 i.–vi.). The request for a grant of stores
of war was repeated (200).
Rumour of Hamilton's recall.
The rumour that Hamilton was to be superceded
elicited protests and testimonials in his behalf (312 i.,
319, 411–413, 438, 439).
In reviewing the Acts before them the Council of
Trade remarked upon the excessive penalties imposed
by most, and recommended moderation in future laws
Antigua. Acts confirmed and repealed.
The Act of Antigua providing that the Court of
Chancery should be held before the Governor and
Council was confirmed, whilst that establishing a Court
of King's Bench, of which the Attorney General had
expressed disapproval, was annulled (158, 336, 337.
Cf. C.S.P. 1716–17, p. lix.). So, too, was an Act laying
a duty on liquors imported, since by it the Assembly
endeavoured to acquire a share in the issuing of warrants
for payments, a power reserved to Governors with the
consent of the Council (722, 802). The Act to prevent
the increase of Papists was also repealed, as being calculated to drive all Roman Catholics out of the island.
In spite of the Jacobite demonstrations of some, this
was held to be neither politic nor just (297, 297 i., 309,
335, 462, 470, 515, 584).
The Act for prohibiting the importation of foreign
sugars etc. was carefully considered. Arguments for and
against it were submitted at some length. It went
further than the Barbados act which had been confirmed, and objections of considerable weight were
made to it by the Customs authorities. The Council
of Trade finally advised its disallowance (162, 277,
277 i., 487, 495 i., 530, 547, 611). The Act to quiet
present possessors of lands etc., was referred back to the
Assembly in order that they might, if they wished, pass
a new act not liable to certain objections raised by the
Attorney General (297, 532).
Col. Morris was suspended from the Council by the
Governor on the grounds of notorious ill-behaviour.
He petitioned to be re-instated (358, 358 i., 359, 359
i.–xii., 477, 491, 570, 736).
Montserrat. Act referred.
An act of Montserrat for quieting possessors was considered by Mr. West to be too one-sided, and the passing
of a new act not liable to his objections was recommended to the Assembly (545, 652).
Nevis. The Capitulation.
A demand was submitted by the French Envoy for
the fulfilment of the conditions imposed by his brother,
M. D'Iberville when he raided Nevis (102, 102 i., ii.).
The Council of Trade once more examined the contention
of the inhabitants that the conditions were imposed
upon them by force majeure, and were also broken by
The grant in aid.
They gave their opinion that the matter ought rightly
to be settled by Commissaries to be appointed under the
Treaty of Utrecht to determine the question of
reparations affecting not only Nevis, but also Montserrat and Hudson Bay. In the meantime the French
claim for money due for the subsistence of the hostages
was declared to be unfounded, and the release of the
sole survivor was urged pending the decision of the
Commissaries (230). Application to Parliament was
being prepared on behalf of those sufferers in Nevis
and St. Kitts who were not covered by the terms of the
grant in aid (762).
St. Kitts. Damage by hurricanes.
Great damage was done to shipping at St. Christopher
by storms during "the hurricane time" (40, 230).
Some acts were confirmed, but that for settling estates
was allowed to lie dormant in order that the Assembly
might have the opportunity of passing an amended
The French lands.; Conditions of sale.
The disposal of the lands in the former French part of
the island was still in debate. The Council of Trade
made a report to the Treasury of the proposals which
had been made to them, and the conditions which they
thought should be imposed (7, 7 i., 156, 156 i.). Various
estimates of the value of the late French lands were
submitted, and several offers for buying the whole
outright from the Crown were made in response to an
advertisement for tenders by the Treasury. All agreed
that the best lands were very valuable for sugar plantations, and that the rest, near the sea and salt-pans,
was very poor (6, 7). In view of the variations in the
estimates, and in the absence of any reliable survey,
the Council of Trade at first recommended that they
should be parcelled out into lots and sold at a fixed
price per acre. Conditions designed to ensure settlement and the security of the island were to be attached
to the sale. They included the reservation of a quit-rent
not exceeding 6d. per acre. French Protestants were to
be continued in their grants, and holders of temporary
grants confirmed in their holdings on payment of a fair
price. Holdings were not to exceed 200 acres per head,
and each grantee was to be obliged to cultivate his lands
within a specified time. For every 40 acres a planter
must keep one white or two white women within a
year after the date of his grant, and after three years
the same for every 20 acres. Small holdings of the less
valuable land should be granted to poor inhabitants
and be unalienable. No Roman Catholics were to be
permitted to purchase these lands (7 i., 48 i.). An anonymous writer expressed appreciation of the vote of the
House of Commons for the sale of the French lands for
what they would fetch, and declared that there was a
conspiracy of the inhabitants to depreciate their real
value, in order to obtain cheap grants of their plantations (34). Many petitions were entered from planters
and others for confirmation of their temporary grants
or permission to buy plantations in this quarter. Such
confirmations were conceded, to hold good until the
final decision, repeatedly urged by the Council of Trade,
should at last be made (560, 574). In a subsequent
report the Board was inclined to favour the sale of the
lands in one lot to one purchaser under conditions
which they outlined (156, 156 i.).
Migration to Crab Island.
One of the reasons why the Board was anxious that
the Treasury should come to an early decision on this
matter was to stop the inhabitants of the Leeward
Islands from migrating to Crab Island or Sta. Cruz,
and to divert them by grants of lands to St. Kitts.
But in spite of Governor Hamilton's endeavours (to
which they repeatedly urged him) to deter the inhabitants of the Virgin Islands, he had to report that those
of Anguilla, growing weary of waiting for those promised
grants, had begun to remove to Crab Island, and that
their example was likely to be followed, not only by
other settlers in the Virgin Islands, but also by the
poorer inhabitants of Nevis, St. Kitts and Montserrat,
who were feeling the effects of the devastation wrought
by the French raids (40, 157, 171, 214, 231, 298, 298
iv.–ix., 329, 408, 442, 487, 692, 692 i.). It was feared
that the resulting loss of man-power might prove disastrous to the Leeward Islands, in case of a rupture
with France (40, 40 i.).
Hamilton's visit and reports.; Spanish raid on crab I.; British title to the Virgin Islands.
Hamilton visited the Virgin Islands in Nov., 1717,
and reported upon their inhabitants and poverty-stricken
condition (298, 298 iv.–ix.). At Crab I. he gave Abraham
Howell a Commission as Commandant of the new
settlement. But within a few months a Spanish squadron
attacked the island, killed several of the inhabitants
and carried away others, with their wives, children
and negroes, and Howell himself as prisoner to Puerto
Rico (425, 442). Governor Hamilton sent H.M.S.
Scarborough to demand their return from the Governor
of Puerto Rico, and to assert the British title to Crab I.,
and wrote home for further instructions (492, 494 iii.,
582, 797). The Council of Trade had already made a
full report upon the British title to the Virgin Islands,
including St. Thomas, St. Johns and Crab I., in reply
to the claims put forward by the Danish Envoy (8 i.).
To this the latter replied (593 i.–iv.), and the Board
answered their reply (628 i.). In spite of protests from
Governor Hamilton, the Danes from St. Thomas continued to settle on St. Johns I. (298, 298 x., 494, 494 i., ii.,
526, 526 i.–vii., 593 i.–iv., 624, 624 i.). But when the
Danes heard that the Spaniards were preparing to
attack St. Thomas, they actually asked that help should
be rendered them from the Leeward Islands ! (818 i.).
A present from the Leeward Islands.
Governor Hamilton sent as a present to Mr. Popple
"a black-bearded little Lady, the prettyest of the sort
that I ever did see" (691).
The grievance against the New Englanders, that they
debauched the Newfoundland fishermen with rum, involved them in debt and carried them off to New
England, was renewed. In 1716, it was reported, the
English fishing ships lost no fewer than 1300 hands
in this fashion. On arriving in New England those
who could not pay for their passages were sold as
indentured servants. Capt. Passenger, the Commodore,
reported that he had endeavoured to stop this practice
by forbidding the New Englanders to sail before the
departure of the convoy and fishing fleet for home,
and by taking bonds from them not to carry off such
men. Those who refused to give bonds, he ordered to
sail with him. But not one did so (115, 164, 164 i.).
He concluded that Newfoundland would be much better
off, if they were forbidden to come there at all. He
concluded his report by recommending the appointment
of a permanent Governor. Discipline and the fishery
alike suffered from the flood of New England "stinking
rum." The Fishing Admirals only looked after their
own interests, and for ten months in the year the island
was practically without government. In the absence
of the ships of war, "he that is strongest is the best
man." The Council of Trade had suggested that he
should submit the name of any inhabitant whom he
thought fit to act as Governor during the winter. He
declared himself unable to do so (115, 164, 626 i., ii.).
Capt. Scott, the next Commodore, was instructed to
oblige all New England ships to sail with him. He took
bonds from them, and threats of prosecution had some
effect (394, 751, 751 i., ii.).
Representation by Council of Trade.
Following on these reports and that of the Comptrollers
of the accounts of the Army, and their own given in the
previous volume, the Council of Trade submitted a long
and important representation on Newfoundland and
the Fishery (798), and, in pursuance of it a draft of a
bill for remedying the abuses in the Newfoundland
trade (808 i.). They were in favour of removing all
the inhabitants to Nova Scotia. Col. Phillips, appointed
Governor of Placentia and Nova Scotia, was likewise
in favour of curtailing the New Englanders' share in
the trade and fishery (507, 550).
Tulton and the Fishing Admirals.; The Survey.
The case of Tulon and the Fishing Admirals was
finally settled (64, 318, 370 i., 527). The Board recommended that Capt. Taverner should be rewarded for
his services, and that the survey of Newfoundland
should be completed (546).
The most important documents in this volume are
the revised Instructions of the Governor of Jamaica
(144, 144 i.), and the representations upon the British
title to the Virgin Islands (81, 628 i.), and the right
to logwood-cutting in Campeche Bay (104 i.), and that
upon the Newfoundland trade and fishery (798).