§ I. GENERAL.
The most important of the several events with which the
papers in this volume are concerned are the war and peace
with Spain; the meeting in Paris of the Commissaries to settle
the boundaries and claims of the English and French in America,
left undecided by the Treaties of Utrecht; and the revolt in
South Carolina from the Government of the Lords Proprietors.
War with Spain.
The activities both of the French on the mainland and of
the Spaniards on the high seas caused considerable perturbation
in the Colonies throughout this period. The master of a
Boston ship, captured off Cape Spartel, reported the presence
of a powerful expeditionary force at Cadiz in March, 1719.
Its destination was said to be either Great Britain or Jamaica
(136). Already in January the Governor of Jamaica had
reason to complain that the Spaniards were seizing Jamaican
vessels in the West Indies and off the coast of Florida, and
treating them and their crews "as in time of declared war,"
whilst factors of the South Sea Company reported that Spanish
Governors had received orders to seize all British subjects and
their effects (34, 34.i). In the Bahamas an attack by the
Spaniards from Havana was momentarily expected (31, 31. i,
After the declaration of war (167. ii), a Spanish expedition
sailed from Havana, intending to attack Charleston and to join
with the Spaniards and Indians at St. Augustine in an invasion
of South Carolina. The Governor of Mexico had been ordered
"to retake from the English and French in America all such
places as ever did belong to the Crown of Spain," and was
preparing a large force of men and ships at Vera Cruz and
Pensacola in order to co-operate in the attack upon Carolina.
Just as the armadilla was leaving Havana, however, (June 19/30)
the appearance of two French ships bringing Spanish prisoners
from Pensacola revealed that the French had captured that
important place. The Havana fleet was promptly diverted
from Carolina in order to retake it. They succeeded
in surprising the French, and after re-capturing Pensacola,
prepared to attack them at Mobile (June 1719). This design
was upset by the retaking of Pensacola by the French. Carolina
and the Bahamas were thus temporarily relieved from apprehension of the assaults which the Spaniards had intended to
deliver upon them (447, 447 i, ii, 525 ii, iii, 540 vi). Then
came news from a prisoner at Havana that the French had
abandoned Pensacola, and that the Spaniards were once more
contemplating an expedition against Carolina and the Bahama
Islands (Feb. 1720, No. 553). Colonel Spotswood, Lt.
Governor of Virginia, urged that an attempt should be made
to capture St. Augustine, in order to check both Spanish and
French attempts upon Carolina, and also because its possession
would enable the British to command the shipping of the
Mississippi Colony in case of war with France (535). The
Board of Trade recommended that the attempt should be made
An end was put to these alarums and excursions when Spain
joined the Quadruple Alliance and peace was declared (539).
When the advent of peace seemed imminent, both the Governor
of Jamaica and the Agent of the Massachusetts Bay had taken
the opportunity to urge the importance of securing the right
of the British to cut logwood in the Bay of Campeachy and
Honduras. The former also pressed for a recognition of the
right to fish for turtle within sight of the Spanish Settlements
in the West Indies, and the latter for that of raking salt at
Tortuga (479, 540, 578).
Trade with Spanish West Indies.
War or no war, Spain forbade trade with her West Indian
Colonies. War or no war, British traders insisted upon carrying
on a commerce which was equally welcome to the Spanish
colonists. Not only were British goods shipped to the Spanish
settlements, but Spanish merchants were also eager to bring
their produce to the British Colonies. The advantages of such
a trade were mutual and recognised. When a complaint was
laid against the Governor of Barbados for permitting a Spanish
vessel to trade there, the Agents of that Island frankly pleaded
that it had "always been thought prudent to connive at a
trade from Jamaica to the Spanish coast." What was good
for Jamaica should be equally good for Barbados (543). The
Solicitor General and Mr. West, the Legal Adviser of the Board
of Trade, agreed that such trade was illegal (533, 537, 543).
But the Board, in reporting the case, plainly recognised that
it would be advantageous to permit it. Whilst representing
that the Governor of Barbados had disobeyed his instructions
and was guilty of a breach of the Acts of Trade and Navigation,
in allowing a Spanish vessel to trade there, "either by express
permission or connivance," they took occasion to submit
"whether it would not tend to an increase of trade to permit
Spanish vessels, under proper regulations, to import into the
British Islands, such commodities of the growth of the Spanish
West Indies, as do not interfere with the products of our own
Plantations." Similar trade with the French and Spanish
Islands, whose product of sugar, etc., competed directly with
that of British planters, was regarded with disfavour. The
need of explaining and enforcing the law on that subject was
Policy of Westward Expansion.; Lt. Gov. Keith on Indian Trade and Colonial Union.
The progress of the French on the Mississippi and their
encroachments north and south, from Nova Scotia to Carolina,
were the subjects of enquiries from the Board of Trade and
reports by the several Governors (572 etc. v. § II, Nova
Scotia). Colonel Spotswood, from Virginia, took the opportunity to press his policy of expansion westwards, recommending
an advance along the coast of Florida, in order to check the
Mississippi settlements of the French, and to secure a share of
Indian trade and Indian allies (535). The reply of Sir William
Keith, the Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, was a contribution
even more notable, both as an historical summary of the
advance of the French along the St. Lawrence and Mississippi,
and their success in winning over the Indians to their interest,
and also on account of his insistence upon the constructive
measures which he proposed to check them (61, 61. i). Keith
pointed out that the French now claimed, under the Treaty of
Utrecht, and by virtue of La Salle's discoveries, "all the lands
to the northward and westward of the British Colonies from
Canada along the Lakes to the mouth of the River Mississippi"
(p. 32). He, like Spotswood, was aware of the importance of
keeping open the door "for our further progress westward"
(p. 36), and held that the only way to secure it was to compete
with the French in developing trade with the Indians. In
order to do so, he mentioned that Indian trade ought to be
"established upon an equal foot throughout all these Colonies,
as they are inhabited by British subjects carrying on one
British interest without any distinction made or regard had to
their particular settlements or societys as separate governments." Hitherto individual Colonies had entered into competition with one another to secure that trade for themselves.
New York was jealous of Virginia, Virginia of Carolina. Keith
envisaged "an Union amongst them" whereby they would
impress the Indians and profit "according to their situation,
power and ability to advance their trading settlements westwards upon the Lakes and adjacent rivers." Unscrupulous
traders would be restrained, and all the Governors should be
instructed to put the trade under similar and suitable restrictions, and to make treaties with the Indians applicable to all
the Colonies alike. Four forts, upon Lakes Erie and Ontario
and upon the Potomac and Susquehanna Rivers should be built
to secure the Indian trade, and garrisoned by the King's troops,
each Colony contributing its proportionable share of the expense.
This scheme could only be carried into effect, the writer
recognised, by the exercise of the Imperial authority. For
"from the little knowledge and experience which I have of the
American English Colonies, I do not expect that this project,
howsoever just in itself, will generally please." The whole
scheme was avowedly based upon the example of the French
"in making their correspondence with the Indians a National
concern," who having "but one interest principally in view,
steadily pursue it with great application" (61. i).
Commissioners meet in Paris.; The Raids on Nevis and Montserrat.; Hudson Bay.; Nova Scotia.
In July 1719, the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations were informed that a member of their Board, Martin
Bladen, and Daniel Pulteney had been appointed British
Commissaries to settle at Paris the boundaries and other matters
in America and the West Indies left undecided by the Treaties
of Utrecht. The Board was directed to prepare instructions
for them (310). Statements of their claims and cases were
accordingly obtained from the Hudson's Bay Company, and
from the Agents, etc., of the Leeward Islands in regard to the
raids on Montserrat and Nevis (318, 321, 337, 338, 359b,
360, 396, 432, 438, 438. i). Under Article XI of the Treaty,
the question of the fulfilment of the terms of the capitulation
and subsequent agreement with Iberville by the inhabitants
of Nevis and their representatives, and the case of the hostages
given on that occasion were to be decided by the Commissaries
of both nations. In answer to some preliminary enquiries
by Mr. Pulteney on several points in that connection the Judge
Advocate General, Sir Nathaniel Lloyd, gave his opinion
largely in favour of the binding nature of the capitulation and
agreements, but, as Iberville was alleged to have broken most
of the conditions, admitted that "mutual conditions must be
mutually performed, or the contract ceases" (225, 445, 451,
561). The whole case closely resembles that of the famous
"Manila ransom" in 1762. In the instructions prepared by
the Board of Trade the Commissaries were directed to take
the line that the inhabitants of Nevis had punctually fulfilled
the obligations laid upon them by the first capitulation, so far
as it lay in their power to do so, and that as the French had
broken both the first and the second agreement, which had
been forced upon the inhabitants contrary to the usage of
war and the import of the first, after they were in the
power of the French, no further claim could justly be maintained. They were to insist upon the release of the remaining
hostages, and also upon the payment of damages to Montserrat
for the losses inflicted by the raid of 1712 (pp. 255, 256).
Detailed instructions were also given as to boundaries of
Hudson Bay to be settled under Article X. The fort and
settlement at the head of Albany established by the French
since the Peace must be demolished, and payment of damages
made in accordance with the long standing claim of the Hudson's
Bay Company, according to Article XVI of the Treaty. The
boundaries of Nova Scotia were carefully argued and defined,
and the right of the French to fish on the coast or the islands
or Gut of Canso was negatived. Nothing was reserved to
them by the Treaty "except Cape Breton and the islands
lying within the mouth of the River of St. Lawrence or the
Gulph of the same name." On this point the wording of the
Treaty as it was signed in Latin was to be the guide. As the
time allowed by the Treaty for the French inhabitants to
exercise the option of removing their persons and effects from
Nova Scotia had long since elapsed, they had now become
British subjects. But since not only French missionaries but
also the Governors of Quebec and Cape Breton had instigated
them to refuse to take the oath of allegiance to the British
Crown, and the Indians to set up a claim to the whole country,
an order must be sought from the French Court, prohibiting
such interference for the future. Restitution must be made of
all ships and goods captured in time of peace, according to
Articles XI and XVI, and fishing by the French upon any
part of Newfoundland not permitted them by Article XIII
must be forbidden by strict orders from the French Court.
Lastly the Governor of Canada and Cape Breton must be
required not to molest the Five Nations of Indians and to recall
the missionaries who had settled among them. The Commissaries were particularly warned not to make any agreement
which might prejudice British claims "on the back and westward of the British Plantations on the Continent of America,"
but to enter a caveat against French encroachments in that
direction. The Commissaries were to act in concert with the
Ambassador, Lord Stair (443. i). (fn. 1)
French and British claims to St. Vincent and Sta. Lucia.; Agreement concerning Sta. Lucia.
Before these instructions were signed (Sept. 1719), by the
Lords Justices, information had been sent to the Council of
Trade that the French were preparing an expedition to attack
the negroes on St. Vincent, and to make a settlement on Sta.
Lucia. The Maréchal d'Etrées, who was alleged to have
received a grant of the latter island from the British Crown,
in lieu of the part of St. Christophers taken from the French,
was said to have sent materials for erecting a fort there and to
have appointed a French Governor over Sta. Lucia (384. i,
422. i). This report was presently confirmed by Mr. Lillington
who, on arriving from Barbados, informed the Council of Trade
that the negroes on St. Vincent had hoisted the British flag
and repulsed the French attack, whilst at Sta. Lucia a New
York privateer had hauled down the French colours, nailed
up the cannon in the fort, and carried away their ammunition
(433, 439). The Board at once called the attention of the
Lords Justices to this report, setting forth once again the title
of Great Britain to both islands, and emphasising the importance
of Sta. Lucia to Barbados, and the value of its harbour (404,
411). The British Ambassador at Paris was instructed to
make enquiries into the matter (408). Mr. Bladen reported
that the Abbé Dubois, when approached on the subject,
denied all knowledge of it. The preparations at Martinique,
he said, were intended against the Spaniards (417). Ten
days later, however, the Prince Regent, in an interview with
Lord Stair, openly avowed the fact, and quoted the Maréchal
d'Etrées to the effect that the French had had constant
possession of Sta. Lucia and an undoubted right to it by Treaty.
"My Lord Stair and I," wrote Bladen, "were not able to
guess what this treaty should be." But it was presently
explained by Etrées as "some treaty or transaction in
King Charles the Second's time. We insisted with great
temper that H.M. right was notorious to all the world." The
Maréchal seemed much embarrassed when challenged to produce
the alleged treaty. His papers were not put in order, he said,
but he promised to produce it in a few days. Bladen was left
with the impression that he had obtained a grant from the
Regent himself (429, 430, 432). The seizure of an island
claimed by the British Crown, and its justification by a treaty
of which nobody knew anything, at a time when the Peace
Commissioners were sitting at Paris, were too much for
Secretary Craggs. He wrote very hotly to Lord Stair, that he
would gladly see the documents of which the Maréchal boasted.
(441, 454). The question was argued in January at a Conference
in Paris, at which Lord Stanhope and the Regent were present.
Etrées made a lame attempt to justify his claim. Finally it
was agreed that, until the title of one nation or the other was
fully established, the recent French settlement should be withdrawn, but that the French families, about 50 in number,
which had settled there before the grant made to the Maréchal
d'Etrées, should in the meantime be permitted to remain
(505, 506, 534. i).
Naval Stores and Bounties.; The Woods in New England.
The Lords Commissioners of Trade continued to concern
themselves with the production of naval stores in the Plantations, and invited Mr. Bridger, Surveyor General of the Woods
in America, to send additional information as to supplies of
timber fit for the Navy, and the raising of hemp, iron, and
potash (66, 67). They supported his suggestion that a
supply of hemp seed should be sent over to New Hampshire
etc. (245, 274, 312, 391, 410). Proposals were submitted to
the Board for the encouragement of the importation of Naval
Stores from the Plantations (7), and statistics collected as to
the amount of iron, timber, pitch, and tar imported thence,
and the price of foreign tar compared with that from the
Plantations (9–12, 44, 107, 108). On learning that the Government was being instigated by those interested in the East
Country trade to withdraw the premium on colonial pitch,
tar and turpentine, merchants concerned in the American
trade represented that the monopoly in those articles would
then inevitably revert to the Swedes, who would once more
exact excessive prices. The premium had been completely
successful in answering the intentions of Parliament. The
Plantations had been encouraged to produce and send over
great quantities of pitch and tar, and the price of those articles
had been reduced to a quarter of what it was when the East
Country enjoyed a monopoly of them. At the same time, the
woollen trade and mercantile marine had benefited by the
increased trade and traffic with the Colonies (13, 105).
Returns indicated that increasing quantities of Plantation
pitch and tar were being purchased for the Navy (100, 101,
101. i). But it was recognised that if the retention of the
bounty were to be justified, a high standard must be maintained
for the pitch and tar sent over. A clause for regulating the
standard of pitch and tar on which the premium was to be
paid, was therefore inserted in the Act for preventing the
clandestine running of uncustomed goods (23, 95, 99, 105,
170, 217). In transmitting copies of this Act to the several
Governors, Mr. Popple explained that it was intended to place
the manufacture of pitch and tar in the Plantations upon a
sound footing. At the same time he sent them information
as to the method of making tar practised in Russia, and of
raising hemp (371). Whilst the suggestion was made that
copper ore from New England should be admitted free of
duty, a "great vein" having recently been discovered there
(14. i), the introduction of a bill prohibiting all manufactures
of iron in the Plantations filled New Englanders with consternation. "Had the Act passed," wrote the Lt. Governor of New
Hampshire, "it would have so crampt the Plantations and
New England in particular, that it would have been morrally
impossible for us to subsist" (312). Mr. Bridger's repeated
reports of the waste of the woods by the inhabitants of New
England, and of the popularity of Mr. Cooke's contention that
the Crown had no right to them, led the Council of Trade to
renew their representations on those points. Mr. Bridger had
been superceded, at the instance, he says, of Mr. Dummer, the
Agent for the Massachusetts Bay (270). His successor, Mr.
Burniston, proposed to act by Deputy, and appointed a Collector
of Customs to officiate in New Hampshire. It was in vain
that the Council of Trade, backed by the Commissioners of
the Navy, echoed Bridger's warning that an absentee Surveyor
General, officiating through an officer whose time was already
fully occupied, and who did not know an oak from a pine,
must prove an inefficient guardian of the mast timber needed
for the Royal Navy (48, 245, 252, 312, 391, 410, 410. i, 419,
The offer of pardon to pirates who should surrender was
having little effect. It was reported from the Bahama Islands
that no less than 2000 were still at sea. Supplied with ammunition and provisions by the traders of Rhode Island, New York,
and Pennsylvania, they were hoping to retake Providence
Island. Jamaica was infested by pirates and her trade fleets
seriously endangered, in spite of the presence of the Naval
Squadron. Naval Commanders were said to be more concerned
with their own private gains in trading with the Spanish Settlements than guarding the trade and shipping of the Islands.
Both the Governor of the Bahamas and the Governor of Jamaica
insisted that the power of directing the operations of men of
war on their stations should be restored to Governors (31,
31. i, p. 19). At Jamaica a valuable merchant ship was captured by a pirate within sight of Port Royal. In the absence
of H.M. ships, two privateers were commissioned to attack the
pirate, but found that they had caught a tartar (pp. 18, 19).
Inquiries by the Board of Trade.; Prorogation of Assemblies.; Resumption of Proprietary Governments urged.
At the Board of Trade the Earl of Westmorland succeeded
to the Presidentship rendered vacant by the death of the Earl
of Holdernesse (187, 498). Governors were directed to inform
the Board whenever leave of absence was granted to Members
of Council (217, 271, etc.), and a questionnaire was communicated to them, requiring information as to the trade and
development of each Colony, and particulars of encroachments
by the French, and the progress and administration of French
Colonies. They were to procure good maps and evidence as
to boundaries (217, 217. ii, iii, 271. i, 295. i, 354). They
were also instructed to see to the appointment of agents to
solicit the passing of private acts (217, 271). Mr. West, the
Legal Adviser of the Board, gave his opinion that Assemblies
under adjournment or prorogation could be prorogued without
meeting according to the previous adjournment or prorogation
(206). The resumption of Proprietary Governments to the
Crown was again urged. Caleb Heathcote, from Rhode Island,
laid an indictment against some laws and proceedings of the
Charter Governments (317), and the Board of Trade, in reporting
upon some acts of Pennsylvania, once more referred to the
abuse of enacting temporary laws which had their full effect
before they could be disallowed. "These," concluded their
report to the Lords Justices, "are some of the ill effects of
Proprietary Governments, and as we are of opinion the Plantations will never be upon a right foot till the dominion of all the
Proprietary Governments shall be resumed to the Crown, so
we cannot help proposing to your Excellencies that all fair
opportunities should be laid hold on for that purpose" (p. 158).
Application was made by the Board for permission to build
two new rooms for their Office upon a piece of adjacent Crown
land (542). Some plants and seeds were forwarded by the
Lt. Governor of Virginia to Mr. Popple for his garden at Hampstead, with a promise of others to come (46, 83). King
George received congratulations from Barbados, Bermuda,
Jamaica and New England Quakers upon the failure of the
attempts of his enemies at home and abroad (356 ii, 479. vi,
§ II. THE AMERICAN COLONIES.
Revolt in South Carolina.
In South Carolina relations between the inhabitants and the
Lords Proprietors were strained to breaking point. (v. C.S.P.
1717–18. pp. xxvii–xxx). The latter added to the list of acts
recently repealed by them an act laying a duty on liquors and
merchandise imported, which discriminated against British
goods and shipping. The Colonists maintained that the Lords
Proprietors had no right to abrogate laws passed by the
Assembly and confirmed by their own Deputies on the Council
(p. 335). The Lords Proprietors also recommended that if the
country were in no real danger from the great number of negroes,
the additional act for the better ordering of negroes, against
which complaints had been submitted by the merchants,
should be repealed. An Act, they suggested, might be substituted for it, providing, after the manner of the Deficiency
Acts of Jamaica, that every planter should employ one white
man for every negro (79).
The order of the previous year (C.S.P. 1718, No. 695), putting
a stop to grants of lands in Carolina, was repeated (375), whilst
warrants were issued to the Surveyor General for setting out,
on behalf of the Lords Proprietors themselves, fifteen baronies
in the Yamassee lands adjacent to Port Royal. (April, 1719.
No. 151). In June they nominated a new Council, and
instructed Governor Johnson to suspend Colonel Rhett, unless
he had given him satisfaction for the insulting behaviour of
which he had complained (253, 254). In the following
month they wrote again to the Governor bidding him summon
the new Council to sit and dispatch business forthwith, and
reiterating their instruction to him to dissolve the Assembly,
"chosen according to your pretended late Act," and to call
another to be elected under the old Act which had been confirmed by them. They insisted upon their right of confirming
or repealing acts, and informed the Governor and Council
that they had repealed the act for laying an imposition on
negroes, liquors, etc., the act ascertaining the manner of electing
representatives, and an additional act relating to the payment
of the Lords' rents and sale of their lands. They declared that
they would never suffer the Assembly to dispose of their lands,
and that the power to sue for arrears of rent, which the last
act presumed to give them, had always legally been theirs,
and they would exert it when they chose (330–332). They
commended the Chief Justice, Nicholas Trott, for his defence
of their right to repeal and confirm laws, and forwarded for his
reply complaints which had been lodged against him "by the
practitioners of the law in that Province." In the meanwhile
they instructed him to withdraw from the Council when appeals
from his judgments were being heard (309, 334).
The answer of the Colonists was prompt and decisive. It
has been seen that in the previous year a petition for the
resumption of the Province to the Crown had been signed by
fully half of the inhabitants (C.S.P. 1717–18. pp. xxvii–xxx,
No. 536. ii). The alternating neglect and interference of the
Lords Proprietors, and their dictatorial tone, combined with
their action in regard to the Yamassee lands in particular,
drove the Carolinians to revolt against their rule, and to place
themselves under the King's immediate Government. They
pleaded their apprehensions of aggression by the Spaniards,
French, and Indians on their borders, and their incapacity to
take measures for self-protection, "being deprived of the
means thereof by the confused constitution of the Lords
Proprietors' Government." When, therefore, the election of
a new Assembly was about to be held in accordance with the
Lords Proprietors' instructions, a meeting of the planters was
held (Nov. 17th), who entered into an Association to choose
representatives and support them in their resolutions in the
next Assembly. There was a rush to sign the Association.
A "new pretended Council and Assembly" was elected, met
in convention, and unanimously renounced all obedience to
the Lords Proprietors. It had been hinted that much the
greater part of the most substantial people "would not choose
King George's Government." But the new Council and
Assembly asserted their steadfast loyalty to King George,
and having first offered the Governorship to Johnson, who
refused out of loyalty to the Lords Proprietors, then appointed
Colonel Moore (493, 497, 497 i, 525 iii–v). Further details
are lacking in this volume. But, in the following February,
a petition was sent to the King, in which the causes of their
discontent with the Lords Proprietors were fully set forth
(541). The Chief Justice, Trott, was impeached in the Assembly
(541). The Lords Proprietors had commended Governor
Johnson for his spirited action against the pirates Bonnet and
Morley (105, 106). But it was now made a charge against
them that they had taken no action upon the complaint made
to them by the Governor of Virginia that the Secretary and
Chief Justice of North Carolina were accessories to piracy
(No. 199; pp. 280, 340). The petition concluded with a
prayer to H.M. "to take us under the wing of your Majesty's
immediate Government" (541). Both Governor Johnson
and the new Council and Assembly replied at length to the
questionnaire of the Board of Trade (516, 531. i).
Spaniards and Indians at St. Augustine.
The prospect of invasion by a large expedition of Spaniards
from Havana, Vera Cruz, and St. Augustine and Pensacola,
referred to in §1, prompted an appeal for a regular garrison
to defend the Province (447, 447 i, ii, 525 ii, iii, 540, 540 vi,
553). In response to a request (C.S.P. 1718, No. 787), for a
ship of war to protect their trade against pirates, it was decided
to send a frigate thither as soon as possible (141, 155). Prompted
by some encouraging reports from some Creek Indians, Colonel
Barnwell undertook a mission to St. Mary's near St. Augustine,
in the hope of inducing the Huspaw King and the Yamassee
Indians to desert the Spaniards and make peace with Carolina.
The Spaniards, however, had just equipped him for an expedition which was on the point of setting out against the English.
The Huspaw King, after a triumphal procession through the
town with drums and trumpets, was found to be drunk and
bellicose. Barnwell could only retire hastily and give the
alarm (164, 164. i). Subsequently (September, 1719),
Barnwell led a successful expedition of 50 Creek Indians against
the Yamassees at St. Augustine, which he described, and
hoped would lead to "the drawning of quietness to our poor
Southern parts" (516. i). An account by him of the Indians
in those parts is included in Governor Johnson's report (516).
The Lt. Governor of Maryland was granted leave of absence,
on condition that the President of the Council, upon whom
the government would devolve, provided security for his
observance of the Acts of Trade and Navigation (47, 62, 76,
86, 121). This security was to be taken by the Lieutenant
Governor of Virginia (143).
Paper in Mass. Bay.
Excessive issues of paper currency in the Massachusetts
Bay were producing their inevitable effects. The balance of
trade against the Colony continued to increase, whilst the value
of the paper bills fell rapidly (1, 14 i, 217, 480).
Trade Reports by Cumings and Bridger.
Mr. Cumings sent accounts of the imports and exports of the
Province, of the value of the fishery, and of the wool clip (195,
485). A bounty on wool imported into Great Britain, would,
he suggested, check woollen manufacture in New England.
The forts, he reported, were all in ruin, except the Castle (195).
Mr. Bridger, the Surveyor General of the Woods, whilst remarking upon the potentialities of New England in the directions of
iron ore, potash and hemp (274), also reported an increase in
the woollen trade, and a tendency to encourage manufactures
in the Colony to the exclusion of British goods. He called
attention to the large imports of wool from Nantucket, Rhode
Island, and the Narraganset country. He advised the prohibition of the importation of cotton wool from the West Indies
(270), for it was used to mix with wool and flax, and would
account for nearly half the woollens and linens manufactured
by the New Englanders. Otherwise, they would soon be able
to exist without Great Britain, and when their ability was equal
to their inclination the "outlook would be serious." For
"I cannot say here are any that have a dutyful regard to
England" (270, 274). "These obstinate people" were so
set upon manufacturing cloth and sawing up the King's woods,
that they would neither plant hemp nor produce their own
bread, beef, pork, or Indian corn. The Assembly, indeed,
had just rejected a bill intended to improve agriculture (274).
As for the timber, they would go on cutting the woods until
there was not a tree left standing, unless a new Act of Parliament was passed on the lines he had proposed, or Dr. Cooke
and his followers "were transported to some other place not
to return" (274, 274 i).
The Woods in Maine.; Indian Grants.
Bridger decided to continue to act as Surveyor of Woods
until his successor arrived, this being the only hope of saving
the mast trees (161). The Council of Trade had instructed
Governor Shute to support Bridger in the execution of his
duties, and commended his dismissal of Dr. Cooke from the
Council (217). But Cooke continued his campaign, denying
the Crown rights to the woods in Maine and successfully attacking Bridger in his absence (274, 311, 311 i, 578 iii–ix). Cooke
had obtained from the General Assembly the confirmation of
an old grant in Maine made before Usher's purchase of that
Province in 1677, and was offering the timber for sale (413).
Cooke was one of half a dozen speculators who had bought up
all the concessions obtained from the Indians "when a span
of land was got for a gallon of rum." Bridger explains that a
span of land was interpreted as extending to perhaps over
twenty miles, the distance being measured on the horizon as
seen through an outstretched little finger and thumb (274).
Maine was now being rapidly settled by Irish immigrants and
others, who set up saw mills and cut down the trees (161).
The Council of Trade criticised several Acts passed in the
Massachusetts Bay since 1715 (217 i). The Act of 1718
laying a duty on imports and tonnage of shipping, like similar
acts in 1716 and 1717, had imposed a differential duty on
British goods and shipping. It was repealed with a stiff warning
by the Lords Justices that an act laying such duties was a
breach of the conditions upon which the Charter was granted,
and that it would be endangered by the repetition of such an
act. The Governor was reprimanded for passing it and
reminded of his duty to see that the Acts of Trade and Navigation were enforced and that no law was passed which might
affect British trade and shipping, without a suspensory clause
(160, 196, 197, 217 i, 274, 306, 306 i).
Governor Shute's report.
Mr. West reported unfavourably upon the Act for regulating
credit as being very prejudicial to British creditors, who would
be debarred by it from recovering debts, unless they repaired
to New England to sue them within two years after their
being contracted (214). As to the Act in addition to the Act
making lands and tenements liable for the payment of debts, the
Board recommended that a new act should be passed, not
liable to the defects which had been pointed out in the original
one (217 i). The Board reprimanded Governor Shute for not
sending them the transcripts of Sessional Papers and returns
required by his Instructions, and complained that many things
relating to his Government were being published in the English
newspapers of which he had failed to give them any account
(163, 217, 480). Shute returned a full answer to the Board's
enquiries relating to Massachusetts, and promised to reply to
those relating to New Hampshire after visiting that province
(217 ii, iii, 564 i).
The Admiralty Court.
The dispute over the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court in
the case of the captured effects of pirates and other matters
remained acute. The Advocate of the Admiralty Court in
New England complained that not only were the Judges of the
provincial Courts challenging openly the jurisdiction of
the Admiralty, but the Governor was interpreting his
Instructions and Commission of Vice-Admiralty as constituting
him the whole Court. The action of the Provincial Judges,
he represented, arose from "the utter aversion the great part
of the people in these parts entertain against all power not
derived from themselves." The Governors' claims were hotly
resented by Captain Smart of H.M.S. Squirrel, in the case of
the prizes brought in by him from Canso. A quarrel ensued in
which Smart fought a duel with the Governor's Secretary.
He was arrested, fined, and ordered to give security for his
good behaviour. The Lords Justices called for an explanation
from Governor Shute (251, 251 i, ii), whilst the Admiralty
requested that Governors' Instructions should be revised, and
that they should be commanded not to interfere themselves
with the proceedings of the Courts of Admiralty, or to allow
the provincial Judges to do so (52, 52 i–vi, 96).
Indians and French Missionaries.
As Ralé, the Jesuit priest, was reported to be inciting the
Kennebec Indians to attack the English, the Agent of the
Province petitioned that the French Court should be invited
to prohibit the residence of French Missionaries amongst the
Indians within H.M. territories (578, 578 i, ii). On the
refusal of the Governor of Canada to release the English
prisoners still detained there, Governor Shute appealed to
H.M. to enforce the provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht on this
Trial of Pirates.
The Solicitor General gave his opinion that Governor Shute
and the other Commissioners had been justified in holding the
Court and trying the pirates who had been hanged (Nov. 14,
1718). The point turned upon the interpretation of the Act
of VI Queen Anne for continuing the Session of Parliament
upon the demise of the Crown. If doubt were still entertained,
he suggested the passing of an indemnity clause (88, 217).
From New Hampshire Mr. Vaughan entered his protest
against his suspension from the Council by Governor Shute,
and his subsequently being relieved of his Commission as
Lieutenant Governor (260). His successor, John Wentworth,
repudiated the accusation, which he attributed to Mr. Vaughan,
that he had been trading in Naval Stores with Spain (313).
Acts left Probationary.
The Council of Trade informed Governor Shute that they
were allowing a large number of acts "to lie by as probationary"
until experience should prove whether they were beneficial or
the reverse. But they recommended that an act which
appointed 14 men to a jury should be amended so as to bring
it into agreement with the laws of England. Three other acts
were repealed (308). Mr. Bridger was able to report that he
had procured the passing of acts for the preservation of mast
trees and the encouragement of hemp growing (245, 274; and
see § I, Naval Stores).
New Jersey Act for support of Government.
Governor Hunter, in announcing his departure from his
Government, was able to report that the Assembly of New
Jersey had renewed the Revenue Act for two years. But he
could not "prevaile upon their stingy nature to establish an
Agent," an office he intended for Mr. Bampfield (226). He
was a sick and weary man, in agony from the gout, with no
hopes but in Aix, for which he had obtained his six months
leave of absence (192, 203, 203 i, 286).
Division of the Jerseys.; The Sinking Fund.; Boundary Commission.
Acts for defining the division lines of the Jerseys had been
passed, and the Governor hoped to leave New Jersey and New
York in "perfect peace and a good disposition" (203, 226,
286, 286 i). After Hunter's departure, Lewis Morris, as
President of the Council, informed the Board that he had been
obliged to issue a proclamation for compelling the Assessors to
perform their duties under the Act for support of the Government. The sum provided for the sinking fund for the paper
currency having been miscalculated by the Assembly, he was
afraid it would be necessary to summon them in order to make
further provision for it. A stop was being put to the fixing of
the boundary with New York, the Committee of the Council
of the latter Province upholding their Surveyor's contention
that they ought to delay proceedings until a more accurate
instrument than a "small brass quadrant" was obtained
for determining the latitude. Making use of this small instrument in foggy weather, it was averred, the New Jersey Commissioners had fixed the latitude at Fish Kill, "as if determined
to acquire the low lands for the Jerseys." Lewis Morris, on the
other hand, suggested that several members of the Council
of New York were interested parties, having taken up large
tracts of land in New Jersey under grants from New York
(440, 440 i, ii, 460, 460 i, 461, 461 i–v).
New York Revenue Act.
In New York the Assembly continued the Revenue Act for
one year longer. They had determined to settle it for five
years, but when they "smoaked" Hunter's design of going home,
evidently decided to hold their hand until they knew something
of his successor (192, 226).
Governor Hunter's Departure.
When the time came for taking leave of the Assembly, his
speech to them testified to the strength of his feeling for and
interest in the country, whilst their Address in reply
expressed the esteem and affection which he had won
by his "just, mild and tender administration" (286, 286 i, ii).
Peter Schuyler was left in charge of the government as
President of the Council. It was not long before Hunter was
advised that he was taking steps to undo the measures by which
he had secured the peace and contentment of the Province,
by displacing the magistrates, and getting rid of the Assembly
which Hunter described as "the most dutifull to the Sovereign
and the most attentive to the true interests of the Colony that
the Provinces could ever boast of." At his request, Mr.
Secretary Craggs wrote to the President forbidding him to
make any changes in the magistracy, except in such cases as
the Council might deem absolutely necessary, and on no account
to presume to dissolve the Assembly or suffer it to be dissolved
for lack of due prorogation (488, 489, 496).
Acts repealed and passed.
Whilst the Act reviving the Act for the easier partition of
lands in joint tenancy was repealed in accordance with Mr.
West's report (257, 296), the Council of Trade reported favour
ably upon that for paying several debts. They found the objection to it offered by the merchants but "slightly grounded,"
and commended as just and prudent the action of the New
York Legislature in endeavouring thus to extricate the
Province from its financial difficulties. Experience was on
their side, and appeared to indicate that the act would prove
to be beneficial to the Colony. For, if the provisions of the
act were observed, and the credit of the bills was thereby
maintained, the trade of the Province, so far from being injured,
as the merchants maintained, would be stimulated. This had
indeed been the effect of the first issue of bills. For all that,
it was desirable to prevent further issues of paper and the
anticipation of funds. The Governor should therefore be
commanded not to give his assent to any further emissions
of bills of credit, but to transmit every six months accounts of
the produce of funds appropriated for sinking them, and of
the amount of the bills accordingly sunk (218).
From the Treasury came enquiries as to H.M. Quit-rents,
and the manoeuvres of the Assembly to take the Revenue out
of the hands of H.M. Receiver General and administer it through
officers appointed by themselves (282).
The Acts of New York were now being printed (287).
The miserable plight of the Independent Companies stationed
at Albany and Fort George was once more the subject of
memorials (440 iii–vii).
The instructions of the Commissaries at Paris concerning
the boundaries of Nova Scotia are referred to in § 1. Early
in 1719 Governor Philipps urged the Board of Trade to represent
anew the necessity of having that question settled, and of a
decision upon their report of the previous year. He also
supported Lt. Governor Doucett's views as to the necessity of
stopping French encroachments upon the trade and policy of
the Province, and of sending presents to the Indians, as the
best means of weaning them from the French interest (102,
102 i, 129, 129 i). The Council of Trade accordingly pressed
for decision on these points, and the dispatch of a man of war
to protect the trade and fishery (172).
Governor Philipps' Instructions.
They were then instructed to prepare Governor Philipps'
Commission and Instructions (212, 220). These were passed
at the end of June (266). The Council of Trade had already
sketched out their views as to the settlement of Nova Scotia
in their report upon the petition of Sir Alexander Cairnes and
others for a grant of lands on the coast (219). In answer to
their enquiries, they had received assurances from Mr. Bridger
that there were many thousands of acres in the Province fit
for growing hemp, and many pine trees fit for masts (66, 274).
By the Instructions they now prepared, (255, 255 i, ii), the
Governor was furnished with a copy of the recently revised
Instructions of the Governor of Virginia, by which he was
to be guided so far as they were applicable to the conditions
of this new Province. His particular Instructions, as the
Board of Trade explained, were directed to the problems of
settling and peopling the country, and encouraging the fishery
and the production of Naval Stores. He was to watch and
report upon the proceedings of his French neighbours, and
also upon the inhabitants and resources of his Province. In
order to secure the friendship of the Indians, he was to take
with him presents in the King's name, and also to encourage
intermarriages with them. This had proved a source of strength
to the French, and such marriages were to be endowed with
gifts of money and land from the Crown. Settlers were to
be encouraged by grants of land not exceeding 500 acres a head,
at a quit rent of one shilling or 3 lb. of hemp per 50 acres,
commencing three years after the date of the grant. Such
grants were to become void unless the lands were cultivated
within certain specified dates. No trees fit for masts for the
Navy, and of the dimensions laid down by the Act of Parliament, were to be cut without licence from the Crown. But
with the experience of New England in mind, a proviso was
added that no grants of land at all were to be made until a
survey of the country had first been completed and a tract of
land of not less than 200,000 acres had been marked off and
reserved for the use of H.M. Navy. Within that tract no
trees of any dimensions were to be cut by the inhabitants. In
order to obviate so far as possible the delay which this provision
would cause in the settlement of the country, the Board of
Trade proposed that the Surveyor General of the Woods should
be immediately despatched to Nova Scotia in order to mark
out the tract of woodland reserved to the Crown. Regulations
for the fishery were laid down, based on those of New England
and Newfoundland. And as the Governor's Province included
both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, he was instructed to do
all in his power to hasten the completion of the fortifications
at Placentia, and, when that was done, to remove from thence
to Annapolis Royal all the garrison with the exception of
50 men. Enquiry was to be made into the complaint of ill
treatment lodged by the garrison at Annapolis (325, 326 ii),
whilst inhabitants of Newfoundland were to be induced by
the offer of lands to transfer themselves to Nova Scotia. For,
it was declared, the settlement of H.M. subjects in Newfoundland had been found by experience to be prejudicial on many
accounts to the trade of Great Britain—a reference presumably
to the difficulty of preventing illegal trade in that direction—and it was deemed more for H.M. service and the interest of
His Dominions to establish a strong colony in Nova Scotia.
No laws were to be enacted until an Assembly should have been
sanctioned by the Crown. As to the French inhabitants who
had neither taken the oath of allegiance nor availed themselves
of the alternative of retiring from the Province, they were to
be given yet one more chance of swearing allegiance to Great
Britain. A Proclamation was to be issued by the Governor,
giving them the opportunity of doing so within four months
of its publication (255, 255 i, ii, 414).
Philipps detained in Boston.; The French in Nova Scotia.; Seizures and reprisals at Canso.; Grants of Lands.
Philipps arrived in Boston in October, 1719, but after an
unsuccessful effort to reach Annapolis Royal in November, he
was forced to return to Boston for the winter (442, 504). From
thence he reported that the French inhabitants persisted in
clandestine trade with Cape Breton, whilst ships from Cape
Breton continued to fish at Canso under their Governor's
protection (442, 504, 504 i). Priests and Jesuits settled in
Nova Scotia, and presiding like Governors at Minis and
Chignecto, were preaching invectives against the English,
inciting the Indians and persuading the French inhabitants to
refuse to swear allegiance or leave the country. In order to
impress them, Philipps proposed to transfer troops from
Placentia forthwith (504). The Claim of the French to the
right to fish and settle in the Gulph of Canso, fortified by the
device of renaming it, was, together with the question of
boundaries, to be debated by the Commissaries at Paris (129,
129 i, 137 i, v, 236, 443 i; and see § I). Their encroachments
on the fishery at Canso had led to the seizure of two French
ships by Capt. Smart, H.M.S. Squirrel, after a profitless
interview with the Governor of Cape Breton (1). M. de
Brouillan retaliated by seizing two New England fishing vessels
at Canso by way of reprisal (129 i (b), 137 i–iii, vi, vii, 211, 213
i–viii). From Paris the Abbé Dubois demanded prompt
reparation for the seizures by the Squirrel, without waiting
for the meeting of the Boundary Commission (208 i–iv). A
map was produced in support of the claim of the French to the
"Isle of Canso" (208 iii, 236), under the Treaty of Utrecht.
The claim for reparation was referred to the Board of Trade,
with a plain hint from the Lords Justices that it was undesirable
at that juncture that anything should be done to disturb the
harmonious relations of the two countries (208). The Board
showed in its report that it was not inclined either to blame
the Governor and Council of the Massachusetts Bay for the
"very laudable zeal for H.M. service," which they had displayed in sending Captain Smart to Cape Breton and Canso,
or to admit the title of the French to the place where the seizure
was made, or to fish upon that coast. If ample satisfaction
were first made to H.M. subjects for reprisals made by the
French, they offered no objection to the restitution of his
vessels and effects to the French owner. But such restitution
should be made as a pure act of grace and favour, and great
care should be taken not in any way to prejudice the British
title to the lands and fishery in question (221). The Lords
Justices approved this Representation, and Governor Shute
was instructed to proceed accordingly (246, 248). Governor
Philipps represented that delay by the Surveyor in marking
out the King's reserve of woods was stopping the settlement
of the country, and, according to his Instructions, the granting
of lands. The situation was being complicated by claims
under old patents and concessions from Indians, especially in
the territory between New England and Nova Scotia (504,
519 i, ii). Meanwhile Colonel Vetch and others who had
shared in the capture of Port Royal, were petitioning for grants
of land in accordance with the preference promised to those
who had taken part in that expedition (322 i).
Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Keith's Commission.; Report by Council of Trade.
On the death of William Penn, differences arose as to the
interpretation of his will and the succession to the Proprietorship of Pennsylvania. Spriggett Penn, claiming the power of
Government, sent over a Commission to William Keith continuing him in the post of Lt. Governor, whilst a suit was being
commenced in Chancery to decide between the claims of his
father's executrix and himself. As this Commission had not
received the necessary approbation of the Crown, and its
publication was likely to cause heated division of opinion in
the Colony, Keith decided not to act upon it, but to continue
to administer the Government under the Act of 1712 for securing
the administration of the Government in the event of the
Proprietor's death. In this decision he was supported by
the Council (285, 285 i–iv). The Board of Trade commended
his action, laying particular stress upon the point that Governors
appointed by Proprietors must be approved by the Crown.
Upon their suggestion, Keith was ordered to continue to act
under his old Commission until the Proprietor and the Trustees
had settled their differences (319, 344). In the meantime,
they proposed that the bargain with William Penn for the
surrender of the Government of Pennsylvania should be completed. For every opportunity, they urged, should be seized
for resuming the dominion of the Proprietary Colonies for
the Crown (319). They had drawn a similar conclusion when
reporting upon a bundle of acts dating from 1712, which had
lately been submitted for the assent of the Crown (297). Mr.
West had given his opinion that there was nothing in the Charter
to prevent the re-enactment of the substance of acts which
had been repealed (119, 128), and the Board once more drew
attention to the unreasonable provision by which the Proprietor
was allowed five years in which to lay his laws before the Crown,
and the Crown but six months to consider them, however
many laws were then submitted (297). Moreover, the frequent
re-enactment of temporary laws expiring before disallowance
could take effect, and the re-enactment of laws that had been
repealed amounted to an evasion of the Royal Prerogative of
Acts repealed and passed.
Several acts were now repealed in accordance with this
representation and others allowed to stand (279, 320).
Five acts had been passed in Pennsylvania in 1715, in continuation of the Prolonged dispute over the regulation of the
the Judiciary, and following on the disallowance of a series of
Acts in 1714. They established Courts of Quarter Sessions;
of Common Pleas; the Provincial Court; and the practice
of the Courts of Judicature; and lastly, the regulation of
appeals to Great Britain. With the exception of the last, all
were disallowed in 1719, though provision had now been made
for a Supreme Court sitting at Philadelphia and having original
jurisdiction, modelled on the Common Law Courts at Westminster.
The idea underlying the former acts on this subject had been
to exalt the County Courts at the expense of the Provincial,
in order that litigants might be saved time and expense in
attending Court at Philadelphia. The policy of the Assembly
in preparing these Acts had been opposed by the Lieutenant
Governor and Council as champions of the Proprietor, partly
on the grounds that they tended to depart from English
precedents; partly because they infringed the Proprietor's
rights in the matter of fines and fees, appointment of clergy,
and granting of public house licences, and establishing Courts
(C.S.P. 1718. No. 508); partly because the provisions concerning imprisonment for debt were held to prejudice the rights
of creditors; and partly because the Assembly demanded that
Judges should be removable on charges presented by it, instead
of at the discretion of the Governor. Furthermore, in practice,
the Act of 1701, establishing the judicial system on a basis which
rendered the Provincial Court merely supplementary to the
local Courts, had been found undesirable in practice. There
was a shortage of trained lawyers capable of filling the many
places on the bench in the County Courts (fn. 2) But the chief
objection, from an Imperial point of view, was that this judicial
system was not in harmony with that of the rest of the Empire.
The acts too were badly drawn. Objectionable looseness of
phraseology, and a tendency to multiply law-suits, were the
chief reasons stated by the Council of Trade for rejecting the
Acts of 1701, 1711, and now again of 1715. Professor Osgood
considered these reasons so frivolous, in the present case,
that he thought the Board's aim was "so to perplex this Proprietary Province in its judicial business as to force a surrender
of its Charter" (fn. 3)
The Act for the advancement of Justice had previously been
confirmed on the grounds that, though by it greater indulgence
was conceded to the Quakers than was allowed in England, the
preponderance of Quakers in Pennsylvania made it advisable
(174, 202). A private act was, on petition, offered for repeal
as unjust (406, 407, 455, 458, 465, 482). In forwarding a return
of wine imported from Madeira and the Azores, Lt. Governor
Keith remarked upon the impossibility of preventing smuggling,
where two Colonies were divided by a river (18).
A request by the Board of Trade for returns by Collectors of
Customs in the Proprietary Governments of laws passed there
prejudicial to Great Britain, elicited a lively reply from Caleb
Heathcote as to the iniquities of Rhode Island (272, 377). Large
issues of bills had been made, but not applied to the purpose
of fortifying the harbour for which they had been appropriated.
The result was that Customs Officers who seized, vessels for
illegal trade were liable to find themselves carried off to sea
without protection from the fort. An act had been passed
reducing these officers' fees, and no notice was taken of threats
from the Commissioners of Customs. The King's officers, in
attempting to prevent illegal trade, were looked upon as enemies
to the growth and prosperity of the Proprietary Governments,
and they performed their duties at the risk of their lives. A
riot had recently occurred at Newport over the seizure of some
hogsheads of claret by the Collector. It was followed by a
malicious prosecution of the Collector for taking excessive fees,
and his re-arrest on the same charge after he had been acquitted
Virginia prosperous.; Lt. Governor Spotswood, the Councillors and Col. Byrd.
In forwarding the public accounts of Virginia, Spotswood
was able to point to such a surplus as might be thought to
answer the charge of grievous oppression which some of its
representatives were eager to advance (199, 199 i–vi). He
claimed some credit for the prosperity of a country which he
had found in a state of Poverty and debt. Spotswood complained that his letters were being intercepted and opened,
and hinted that Mr. Byrd was at the bottom of it, as he and the
eight Councillors who opposed him were the originators of all
the complaints against him. If some of them were not removed,
Governors in future would have no choice but to be "thorough
Creolians," under the thumb of this family party. They had
stolen a march upon him by producing their Address, just
before the last ship of the year set sail (46). His reply to it
was thus delayed until the following March, when he answered
in detail the charges brought against him, and repeated his
own charges against the Councillors (133, 133 i–vi). At the
same time Mr. Byrd was offering his services as mediator
between Spotswood and the Councillors, by proposing that
the Board should censure the Governor (130). Spotswood
replied at length and with considerable heat to Byrd's
"impertinent memorials," and also to his "angry neighbours"
in North Carolina who resented his interference in the matter
of the pirates protected by them (357). The Council of Trade
assured Spotswood of their support, if deserved, and proposed
that Byrd should be superceded on the Council, as being an
absentee (144, 271). They commended both the punctuality
of Spotswood's correspondence, and his action regarding the
Council's salary and the act for regulating fees. They pronounced their agreement with Mr. West's opinion as to the
proroguing of Assemblies under adjournment (v. §. I.), and
expressed their surprise at the attempt of the Assembly to
re-enact the act declaring who should not bear office, which had
been repealed. They concluded with the usual questionnaire
(92, 271, 271 i). Both the Solicitor General and Mr. West gave
their opinion that the King's right of collating to vacant
benefices remained unaffected by the act in dispute (92, 273,
v. C.S.P., 1718).
Report on Address of Assembly.
As to the Address of the Assembly (Nov. 1718), the Board
of Trade reported adversely both upon its contents and the
manner of its presentation. They represented that the transmission of addresses to the Crown through other channels
than the Governor, except in cases of complaint or refusal,
had been discountenanced by an Order in Council in 1702.
In this case the Burgesses had made no application to the
Governor to transmit their Address, nor did it contain any
personal complaint against himself. Moreover, although there
was already an Agent for the Province in England, the
House of Burgesses had appointed an Agent of their own—Mr. Byrd— to present it to the King, and voted his remuneration without a law for that purpose or the concurrence of the
Governor and Council. As to the contents, that part of the
Address which supported the claim of the Councillors to be
sole judges in the Courts of Oyer and Terminer, was concerned
with a matter which had already been settled. For the rest,
they expressed their surprise at the request for the revocation
of the Instruction to Governors as to Acts affecting British
Trade and Navigation, "for it can never be supposed that the
Plantations had or could have the power of making any laws
which might be prejudicial to the trade and navigation of this
Kingdom, for whose benefit and advantage the Plantations
were first settled, and have been and still are maintained and
protected at a vast expense from this kingdom" (146).
Spotswood seized the occasion of enquiries as to the danger
to be apprehended from the French and Spanish settlements,
to press his views as an ardent pioneer of western expansion
(535, § 1).
The Five Nations.
In letters to the Board of Trade and to President Schuyler,
Spotswood expressed his exasperation at the attitude of the
New York Commissioners for Indian Affairs in countenancing
the refusal of the Five Nations to treat with any of H.M.
Governors except at Albany. He complained of incursions
by them on the northern frontier of Virginia, and that they
had been encouraged by Schuyler to think themselves illtreated by the southern Governments (357, 535, 535 i).
§ III. THE WEST INDIES.
The Bahamas.; Danger from Pirates and Spaniards.; Rogers' proceedings approved.; Demand for Assembly.
Captain Woodes Rogers had a difficult time of it in the
Bahama Islands. Information as to preparations by the
Spaniards to seize Providence Isle was confirmed from various
quarters, whilst the danger of the return of the pirates—Vane,
Teach, and the rest—still remained (28, 31, 31 i, 33, 41, 41 i,
84, 84 i, 204). The inhabitants were poor, lazy and hand in
glove with the pirates. Settlers who had been preparing to
migrate from the Virgin Islands, Carolina and Bermuda were
deterred by dread of the Spanish raid (28, 33). Left without
aid from Governors of the neighbouring Colonies to whom he
had appealed, or from the men of war who contented themselves with wishing him a merry Christmas in passing, Rogers
was confronted by a conspiracy amongst the inhabitants and
the soldiers, and French and Palatine immigrants he had
brought with him, to seize the Governor and hand over the
fort to the pirates. Provisions were scarce, and the garrison
was weak, and Rogers found himself obliged to draw bills on
the Company for its subsistence, which he hoped Parliament
would help to meet (28, 33, 84, 84 i, 204, 204 iii, 205, 209, 472,
473, 523, 525 i). Finding himself between the devil and the
deep sea, with the danger of the Spaniards on the one hand
and the pirates on the other, he had to consider whether, if
the pirates came first, it might not be best to receive them and
enlist their aid to defend the Islands against the Spaniards.
Otherwise most of those he had with him—he describes
them later in a lively passage (209)—would either join
the pirates or leave him "and then they'll possess the
place, maugre all I can propose to do against them" (33).
He had fitted out a sloop to cruise against the pirates, but it
was no match for them (33). The Council of Trade supported
his demand for a second Independent Company and the
despatch of a guardship with ordnance and stores of war (4, 5,
31, 31 i, 42, 204, 209, 474, 523, 525 i, ii). The attack by the
Spaniards was delayed by the loss of some of their ships and
the tidings of the Declaration of War. But in May, 1719,
Rogers was informed of new preparations for an immediate
expedition from Havana (204, 205, 205 iii). He had, however,
in the mean time put Nassau into some state of defence. In
spite of the difficulties he describes (84, 84 i, 204, 205, 209),
he thought that if he could have two more Independent
Companies he would be able to defy any force the Spaniards
could bring against him (205, 209). At length in July, 1719,
he was promised support by the Secretary of State, and informed
that his proceedings were approved by the Lords Justices
(314). He began to apply for leave to call an Assembly. But
as to the Councillors he proposed, he was warned by Mr. Popple,
that, if they were appointed, they would have to pay fees for
their warrants amounting to £9 15s. a head. Rogers doubted
whether they would pay them, for "but few of them I found
here has any notion of honour further then proffit" (204, 209).
At the beginning of the next year, the Governor and Council
in a memorial to the Board of Trade enumerated their
difficulties and requirements, but were able to report that the
French diversions in Mexico had relieved them from the danger
of the Spaniards. An Assembly was needed both to pass
measures for encouraging settlers and also to raise the necessary
funds for carrying on the Government (523).
The Co-partners.; Offer to Surrender lease.
A report upon the state of the Islands, probably by Mr.
Gale, suggested the desirability of the Crown buying out the
Co-partners both for their own sakes and for the sake of the
prosperity of the settlement (525 i, ii). The Co-partners
themselves were feeling the pinch, and before the end of 1719
were petitioning to be reimbursed for the large expenditure
in which they had been involved by a series of unforeseen
events, including the war with Spain (472, 473). The Board
of Trade supported their application (474). Shortly afterwards
the Co-partners replied to the criticisms contained in Mr.
Gale's report (525 i), but concluded by agreeing that the
Bahamas were of too great importance to be left with a slender
garrison in the hands of Proprietors. They were willing to
surrender their lease and title to the Crown, if they might be
reimbursed their expenditure, and thus save the Islands from
falling a prey to the Spaniards, French or pirates (545).
Barbados. Complaints against Governor Lowther.
Robert Lowther, Governor of Barbados, replied heatedly
and at length to the several charges brought against him by
Mr. Gordon, Mr. Lansa, and the Society for the Propagation
of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (356, 356 i–lix, 436 i, ii, 459,
513 i–iv, 543, 543 i, 550, 551, 557, 558, 562). Part of the
evidence he adduces exhibits the Rev. William Gordon and
the clergy of Barbados in an extraordinary light, which is
rather intensified by Mr. Gordon's complacent defence that
"it is a real enconium that so little has been found to find
fault with" (p. 200).
Report of the Board of Trade.
The Board of Trade, in their report, found the Governor
plainly guilty of a breach of his Instructions and the Acts of
Trade and Navigation, in conniving at trade with the Spanish
Settlements (cf. § I). He had also acted contrary to his
Instructions in accepting presents on an almost Verrine scale
from the Council and Assembly (513 iv, 524, 533, 537, 543,
547, 575). His recall was clearly indicated.
The Ecclesiastical Court.
Whilst petitions against the jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical
Court were forwarded from Barbados, the Agents refused to
prosecute the complaints against Mr. Gordon, who thereupon
petitioned for a determination of the case (80, 112, 112 i,
356 i, ii, iv, v), and the Bishop of London protested against
the report of the Board of Trade on that subject as unfair (125).
Bermuda. Surrender of Pirates.
From Bermuda, Lt. Governor Bennet reported the surrender
of some pirates on condition of being allowed to retain their
plunder (227). For himself, he repudiated the suggestion of
his "invective enemies" that he was feathering his nest and
was anxious to retire with his ill-gotten gains (491). He forwarded an Address in praise of his administration and expressing
loyalty to the King (492 i), and reported an attempt to blow
up the magazine, attributed to some privateersman who had
been disappointed of a prize (492).
Presentments of the Grand Jury.
Among the presentments of the Grand Jury was a request
for an enquiry into the misapplication of donations for public
schools (356 ii, d, f, xxvi).
Report upon Acts.
In reporting upon a batch of 18 Acts, Mr. West took exception
to four private ones, for reasons given (347).
Sta. Lucia and St. Vincent.
Proceedings regarding Sta. Lucia and St. Vincent are
described in § I.
Jamaica. Temper of the Assembly.
Governor Sir Nicholas Lawes found the temper of the
Jamaican planters no less difficult than his predecessors. At
the beginning of 1719 he reported that "the heats and
animositys which have governed their passions" had compelled
him to put an end to the Session of the General Assembly,
without its having fulfilled the purposes for which it had been
convened. The Assembly had again asserted their right to
adjourn themselves; refused to tax their own estates, or to
pay the money advanced by Lord Archibald Hamilton and the
Council for the subsistence of the garrison.
On re-assembling in September after this adjournment, the
Assembly sent up a "Deficiency" bill. It contained an
objectionable provision obliging H.M. Receiver General to be
accountable to this or any future Assembly. But the Governor
persuaded the Council to accept it, not wishing to raise the
old dispute as to the right of the Council to amend a money bill.
The Assembly refused, however to accept the Council's amendment to their bill for appointing an Agent, and it was allowed
to drop. A bill defining qualifications of members and the
regulation of elections was discussed at conferences between the
two Houses, whilst one for encouraging voluntary parties to
suppress rebellious and runaway negroes was passed. Council
and Assembly then fell to quarrelling. A bill to defray the extraordinary charges of Government was open to the same objection
in regard to the Receiver General as the Deficiency Act. The
Council proposed amendments to it, and the Assembly returned
to their old contention that the Council had no right to amend
money bills. The Council then rejected the bill, and the
Assembly retorted by so amending a bill sent down to them
for quashing the condemnation of the Kingston sloop as to
make it a libel on the late Governor, Lord Archibald Hamilton.
Sir Nicholas Lawes' attempt at reconciling the two Houses
proved futile; messages passed between them and resulted
in a scuffle in which a Member of Council was accused of having
affronted the House of Assembly. The Assembly was prorogued, but at its next session, took up its quarrel with
the offending Councillor, and refused to have any further
communication with the Council until he was suspended.
Lawes then prorogued the Assembly till 10th March, with
the intention of dissolving it before that date. In the meantime he asked the opinion of the Board whether it would be
acceptable if the new Assembly brought in a bill for a perpetual
revenue which should provide for the quit rents and also the
enforcing of some of the Statute Laws of England, so as to
"give the people of this country the privilege of English-born
subjects." This would have included the Habeas Corpus
Act, and the statute for preventing frauds and perjuries. The
present Assembly had passed a resolution for bringing in such
a bill, and Lawes represented that they "would insist upon it"
(34, 479, 548).
The Assembly dissolved.; Acts repealed.; Lord A. Hamilton's claim.; The new Assembly.
Lawes dissolved the Assembly by Proclamation in February
"on account of the great contempt they have shown to our
Instructions and the many indignities they have offered to
our Council" (132, 132 i). Mr. West pointed out the objections
which might be taken to the Deficiency Act they had passed
(267, 293). The Board of Trade expressed the pious hope
that the next Assembly would shew more zeal in following
H.M. recommendations for the security of the Island, now
rendered more necessary than ever by the war with Spain.
They reported the repeal of the acts for the effectual discovery
of persons disaffected to the King, and for ascertaining the number
of ports of entry. The Commissioners of Customs had taken
exception to the latter act, and the Governor was instructed
not to assent to any new acts to that effect unless it included
a suspensory clause (138, 138 i, 148, 198, 295). The Board
still hoped that the Governor would procure the payment of
the money due to Lord Archibald Hamilton for the subsistence
of the garrison (295). Lord Archibald presently petitioned
for such payment with interest, as in the case of Lt. Governor
Heywood (376 i, ii). The Board of Trade, to whom the petition
was referred, found that the claim was just, and that with a
view to similar emergencies in the future, it was of importance
to Jamaica that the money advanced by Lord Archibald and
the Council should be repaid with interest. But since the
Assembly refused to comply, they submitted to H.M. what
other method should be adopted (476, 548). The Governor was
then ordered to pay the money with interest "out of the first and
readiest of H.M. revenues" of Jamaica (509). Lord Archibald
also petitioned that his share in the Kensington (Kingston) prize,
which he had deposited with the Provost Marshal, should be
handed over to him, since no appeal against her condemnation
had been entered by the Spanish owners (181 i, ii). The new
Assembly met in October, and in the same spirit as the old.
Money bills were passed, liable to the same objections as those
of the previous year. A bill was then brought in appropriating
the money raised by them. One clause in this bill was intended
to prevent payment of the money due to Lord Archibald
Hamilton, and another authorised payments to the Attorney
General, now elected Speaker, without warrants for them
being passed by the Governor and Council (548). But the
Governor had by this time thrown in his lot with the Assembly,
and spiked the Council's guns by declaring that they had no
right to amend money bills "as to the raising or applying
parts." In view of the danger of an attack by the Spaniards,
the Council dared not face the risk of an empty Treasury, and
therefore unwillingly gave their assent to these acts (479,
479 ii, 540, 548). Among them was a Deficiency Act, and one
laying duties on imported negroes and wines, with a special
tax of £1500 on Jews for the subsistence of the Independent
Companies. The Governor's account of these proceedings
is given (540). Three other bills the Council rejected—the
acts for appointing an Agent, repealing the condemnation of
the sloop Kingston, and for the relief of sufferers from piracies
(540, 540 i–v).
War with Spain and fortification of Port Royal.; Trade with Spanish Settlements proposed.; Logwood in
Martial law was proclaimed when a Spanish squadron was
reported to be sailing for the West Indies. The fortification
of Port Royal was hurried on. "Hanover Line" was completed—"an incomparable piece of work" commanding the
harbour. Lawes applied for a grant of guns to defend it (342,
342 i–iii, 479, 540). On the declaration of war, Lawes asked
for permission to trade with the Spanish settlements as in
1704 (132). As the war progressed, the Jamaican merchants
found themselves hard hit for lack of such permission. A
project for retaking Campeachy Bay was set on foot (247,
247 i, 341 i). The recognition of the British right to cut logwood there was urged as a condition of peace (479, 540).
Privateers and Pirates.
Privateers were commissioned, and pirates were expected to
come in and surrender with a view to taking a share in legalised
warfare (132). Sloops fitted out by the Colony succeeded at
the second attempt in recapturing a merchantman which had
been seized by the pirate Thomson within sight of Port Royal.
On their first essay, they had been beaten off by two pirate
vessels (34, 132, 295). Complaints were made that the Commanders of H.M. ships were too busy trading on their own
account with the Spanish Settlements, to protect the Island
from pirates and Spanish privateers. Lawes repeated the
suggestion of other Governors that naval ships should be
subject to the instructions of the Governor and Council of their
station (32, 167).
Answers to the Queries.
Lawes returned answers to the Board's queries as to the
trade and inhabitants of Jamaica and its neighbours, but
experienced difficulties in obtaining returns for a census (295,
295 i, 479, 479 i, viii).
The Leeward Islands.
Piracy was still rife among the Leeward Islands. Governor
Hamilton gave an account of several encounters with "that
vermin," and complained that they were protected by the
Danes at St. Thomas (561). As the result of the Governor's
representations (Dec. 19, 1718), the Admiralty contractor was
instructed to provide for victualling H.M. ships in the Leeward
Islands, instead of at Barbados as had been the practice (238,
239, 263). As in the case of New England (§2), the Board of
Trade complained that information relating to the Leeward
Islands was being published in the newspapers before it reached
their office (163). The Governor was reminded of his Instructions to send full accounts of the revenue and laws and copies
of the Minutes of the Councils and Assemblies. He was also
to send a map of the Islands and a collection of the laws (162,
163). Hamilton in reply expressed his concern at being called
upon to do what previous Governors had never done, and
explained the difficulty he experienced in obtaining copies
and returns from the clerks and deputies of Patent Office
holders (316, 415). He was told that he was expected to fulfil
his Instructions, and, if need be, to suspend officers who failed
in their duty (396). He answered the Queries sent him by the
Board, giving some information on the trade and movements
of the inhabitants. But on other points he was not so explicit
as to satisfy the Board's thirst for statistics (316 i, 396).
Antigua Acts repealed.
Some Acts of Antigua were repealed (201), and Mr. West
reported adversely on several that were sent over by Governor
Hamilton (126, 126 ii, 201, 568, 568 i). As in Jamaica and on
the Continent, the Assembly, in the Act for raising £5000,
clung to a clause designed to take away from the Governor
and Council and to secure to themselves the power over the
issuing as well as the granting of money. The Act for
establishing Courts Hamilton recommended as the best he could
obtain, in the teeth of strong opposition, for enabling British
merchants and others to recover debts in that Island. Hitherto
it had been almost impossible for any creditors to recover the
full value of a debt, owing to the "shameful and scandalous
method" of appraisement in force. By the present act the
appraisement was still to be in sugar or produce of the Island,
but that was the customary medium, "there being no such
thing almost in the Island as the species of cash."
Colonel Morris restored.
Colonel Thomas Morris was restored to his place in the
Council, the evidence in support of the charge against him and
upon which he had been suspended appearing unsatisfactory
to the Board of Trade (65, 123, 140, 316).
Two acts of Montserrat were recommended for confirmation
by Hamilton, whilst the Lt. Governor, Talmash, continued to
enjoy leave of absence and to absorb the proceeds of a duty
on imported liquors, "the only branch that brought money
into the Treasury" (103).
Damages or Raid.
The question of damages for the French raid was now in
the hands of the Commissaries at Paris, as were also the case
of the hostages from Nevis and the claim of Iberville (v. § 1).
An act was passed in Nevis for defraying the maintenance
of the one remaining hostage at Martinique, and for compensating one of the rest who had escaped and returned to Nevis
The grant in aid to Nevis and St. Kitts.
Sufferers from the raids in Nevis and St. Christophers were
now entitled by Act of Parliament to a share in the grant in
aid, whether they had resettled in one island or the other.
Claims for debentures were entered (25, 51, 231, 231 i, 298,
St. Kitts French Lands.
No decision had yet been taken as to the disposal of the
surrendered French lands in St. Christophers. Mr. Craggs,
no doubt, was considering the proposal of the South Sea
The collection, revision, and printing of the laws was proceeded with, not without difficulty (127, 415).
The Danes and the Virgin Islands.
The Council of Trade represented that it was impossible to
expect the inhabitants of the Leeward Islands to go to the
succour of the Danes at St. Thomas as had been requested.
They would need all their strength to resist a possible attack
by the Spaniards. Moreover, they regarded the Danish Colony
as prejudicial to their own interests, and the recent occupation
by the Danes of St. John, one of the Virgin Islands, was
one of the reasons why those left at St. Thomas were
obliged to ask for assistance. The Board of Trade recommended
that pressure should be put upon the Danes to remove from St.
John, and that "neither they nor any foreign nation should
ever be allowed to settle on any of the Virgin Islands" (39).
Newfoundland, Claim of Guipuscoans.
Following up the ambiguous reference in the Treaty of
Utrecht to Spanish fishing rights, the States of Guipuscoa
presented a memorial requesting confirmation of their liberty
to fish in the ports of Placentia and Newfoundland. They
claimed to have been the first discoverers of the Island (351,
351 i, ii, 361 i). This led to enquiry on the part of the Board
of Trade as to the first discovery of Newfoundland (353). In
their report they stated the British title by discovery and
settlement and grants. The Treaty of Utrecht only secured
to the people of Spain such privileges of fishing and trading
at Newfoundland as they could claim by right. They founded
their claim on first discovery, and that did not hold good.
Moreover, as it was beyond dispute that the English were,
and the Spaniards were not in possession of any part of Newfoundland at the time of the conclusion of the American Treaty
in 1670, their claim was absolutely debarred by that Treaty.
They had no manner of right either to fish or to trade there.
The Board concluded its report by recalling their representation
of 19 Dec. 1718, and the bill they had prepared for regulating
and restoring the fishery. If the obstructions and disadvantages from which it suffered were removed by a new
Act of this kind, neither the French nor the Spaniards would
find much profit in competing with the English there (382).
The Fort at Placentia.
Progress was made in sending materials for the Fort at
Placentia and buying land for the site (54, 59, 60, 64, 68, 71,
73, 78, 82).
Lt. Governor Gledhill on his arrival sent home a map of
Newfoundland and submitted a scheme for cutting a road
through the woods from Placentia to St. Johns (402, 402 i).
The Commodore of the Newfoundland Convoy was instructed
to take all possible measures to ensure that the bonds to be
taken from New England masters against their carrying off
British seamen should be effective (216 i, 414 i–vi, 437). At
the same time the Governor of New England was ordered to
put in suit those bonds which had been forfeited the preceding
Commodore Ogle reported that the Fishing Admirals abused
the powers with which they were entrusted, to serve their own
private interests. They only observed the orders of the
Commanders of H.M. ships so long as they remained in port.
In the winter, in the absence of any authority, a state of
drunkenness and disorder prevailed in the settlements. The
only way to prevent this was, in his opinion, to appoint Resident
Magistrates as judges in the respective harbours during the
absence of the Convoy in the winter months. Among those
whom he recommended for such office was William Keen, who
had set up a salmon fishery north of Cape Bonavista (414, 437),
where George Skeffington petitioned to be confirmed in a
similar industry (574 i, 576, 577). The House of Commons
addressed for a return of ships and hands employed in the
Fishery (414 vii, 507; see also §2, Nova Scotia).
Gnats or midges appear under the name of "merrywings" as
adding to the discomforts of Captain Barnwell in South
Carolina (164 i).