§ I. GENERAL.
Spanish Attack upon the Bahamas.
At the end of February, 1720, the Spaniards from Havana
delivered their long delayed attack upon the Bahama Islands.
But when they appeared off New Providence, they found
Governor Woodes Rogers and H.M.S. Flamborough ready to
receive them. They made several attempts to land, but were
repulsed, However, they were expected to return shortly in
greater force, and in response to an appeal for assistance from
Rogers, Commodore Vernon sailed from Jamaica with H.M.S.
Mary and Ludlow Castle, intending to cruise off Havana and
prevent the Spanish ships from coming out. He refused to
go to Nassau on the grounds that there "there's no water
for me." Rogers, undaunted and scenting a prize, informed the
Commodore that, if he could block up the enemy, he would
bring some men and ships from the Bahamas, and join in an
attack upon Havana (35, 47, 47 i–iv). It had been expected
that the Spanish armadilla would proceed to Carolina and join
with a force from St. Augustine in an attack upon that Colony
(47 i–iii, v).
Spanish Privateers ignore cessations of arms.
In spite of the Cessation of Arms (1720), Spanish privateers
continued to wage war upon British shipping. Carolina suffered
from privateers fitted out from St. Augustine, Jamaica from
those sailing with commissions from Trinidado on Cuba. It
was all one to them, whether it were peace or war, it was
declared. The Council of Trade and Plantations, in bringing
their depredations to the notice of the Lords Justices, proposed
that urgent representations should be made to the Court of
Madrid, to put a stop to such conduct (213, 283, 283 i, 284, 288,
292, 340). A lively engagement between British and Spanish
privateers is described (277 ii).
Instructions for restitution on conclusion of peace.
On the other hand, complaint was made by the Spanish
Minister of hostilities committed against the inhabitants of
Florida by Indians under the protection of the Carolina Government. Whereupon Lord Carteret directed the Governor of
Carolina not to permit any hostile acts against the subjects
of Spain, but to observe the recent Conventions (651). When
the Treaty of Peace was signed (June 1721), instructions were
sent to all Governors to see to the restitution of captured goods
and ships according to the provisions of the Conventions and
Art. III of the Treaty (663).
Lord Carteret succeeds Mr. Secretary Craggs.
Carteret had succeeded Craggs as Secretary for the Southern
Province in March, 1721. Craggs had died during the enquiry
into the frauds connected with the South Sea Scheme, in which
several Ministers were implicated. His father, the Postmaster
General, committed suicide and the Chancellor of the Exchequer
was sent to the Tower. (327, 395).
South Sea Company's projects.
The South Sea Company had been hoping to exploit grants
both of Nova Scotia and of the part of St. Kitts lately belongning
to the French. They petitioned for grants of these territories
"and other parts of America" in January, 1721 (350 i).
Characteristic of the Bubble Age is the application of a sanguine
Frenchman to the Secretary of State for a grant from the
Treasury, in order that "I may work at some great affair
known only to myself." (546, 547).
It may have been one of the results of the pricking of the
South Sea Bubble that the Board of Trade was obliged to appeal
to the Treasury for the settlement of arrears due to the Office,
"the person who had advanced part of the money for incidental
expenses having been forced to take it up on interest." (494).
The policy of offering a pardon to pirates had not proved
successful. Many surrendered, indeed, but only to return to
their old trade (251). And though some in one mood might
declare that they would seize only Spanish or Portuguese
vessels (251. iii), and others might even indulge in poetry (251. i),
for the most part they were ready to plunder where they could,
to threaten vengeance on all Creoles and those who, as at Nevis,
had hanged their comrades, and to inspire terror or extract
treasure by practising the most savage cruelty. They made
a haul off Newfoundland of merchant ships; cut out and
destroyed others in the Road of Basseterre, and a whole fleet
of French sloops from Martinique (28, 251 i–v, 463 iii, 501 iv,
513). One of the most powerful and also most brutal of these
rogues was John Roberts of Barbados. Besides committing
depredations on the British and French islands, and all along
the coast of the Continent, he captured a French man of war
with the Governor of Martinique on board and hanged him
from the yard-arm (463 iii). The cargo of a Dutch ship seized
by him was said to have been brought by a Rhode Island
skipper to Tarpaulin Cove, "a by-place fit for roguery," and
part of it hidden in the woods, the rest being sent to other New
England ports (727 i).
Famous Pirates hanged at Jamaica.
But though many of the pirate ships were so formidable in
men and guns that the guard-ships on the West Indian stations
were not capable of tackling them, many of the most famous
pirates were brought to account at this time. Six of the crew
of the Royal Rover were hanged at Nevis (28). At Jamaica,
a trading sloop "well manned and commanded by a brisk
fellow one Jonathan Barnet," fell in with Rackham, and captured him. He was tried and executed with ten of his crew
under the Commissions recently sent out (288, 340). They
were soon followed to the gallows by the notorious Charles
Vane and Warner and his gang (459, 463 iii. v. § iii Jamaica).
Trial of Pirates' goods.
In accordance with an opinion given by Mr. West, the Board
of Trade reported against the request of the Lords of the
Admiralty for the annulment of the 54th Instruction to
Governors relating to pirates' goods and goods piratically
taken. The Admiralty held that Governors were sufficiently
instructed by their Commissions as Vice-Admirals to try such
matters in the Vice-Admiralty Courts. Mr. West argued that
pirates in the West Indies, and consequently their goods, could
not be condemned before the Vice-Admiralty Courts as such,
but only through the special Commissions granted to Governors
under the statute of 11th and 12th William III (64, 117, 135, 136).
New Instructions, Customs House officers excused from Juries and Militia.
Several new Instructions for Governors were issued. When
those of the Governor of Barbados were being prepared, the
Commissioners of Customs requested that officers employed in
that service should not be interrupted in their duties by being
called upon to serve on juries or the Militia. It was ordered
that they should be excused (528, 605, 605 i.).
Governors were directed not to give their consent to any
act for issuing paper currency, without a suspensory clause
delaying its effect until the approbation of the Crown had been
received, except in the case of acts for raising and settling a
public revenue (186 i).
Bishop of London's jurisdiction.
An alteration was made in the Instructions relating to the
Bishop of London's jurisdiction in the matters of ecclesiastical
benefices and licensing of schoolmasters. Henceforth no
minister was to be appointed to an ecclesiastical benefice without
a certificate, and no schoolmaster allowed to keep school without
a licence from the Bishop of London. But the restriction as
to schoolmasters did not apply to New Jersey (667, 696, 696 i,
715, 716, 730–732, 735–737).
Mr. Gee's proposal as to Acts.
It is worthy of remark that Mr. Joshua Gee, in the course of
a memorial upon the trade of the Plantations, observed that
the root of most quarrels between Governors and Assemblies,
and the occasion of many laws being passed to the prejudice
both of the Plantations and Great Britain, of which he gave
some instances, lay in the payment of Governors by the
Assemblies. Governors were either induced to pass such
acts in order to obtain their salaries, or gave offence if they
refused their consent. He therefore proposed that all Acts of
Assembly should be submitted to the approval of the King
before being passed into law (698). In other words the Colonies
were to be placed on the same footing as Ireland was by the
Trade with Foreign Plantations.
A decree by the French Government for the seizure of all
foreign vessels trading in the French Colonies, caused some
perturbation (183 i, ii, 184). The Board of Trade consulted
the Rev. W. Gordon, the trading parson of Barbados, as to
the New England traffic with foreign Plantations (196). He
had already called attention to the large re-exports of the
produce of foreign settlements from the Colonies to foreign
parts, and proposed an Act to limit such re-exportation to
Great Britain (44).
He now suggested that a duty should be laid on all produce
of foreign Colonies imported into the British Colonies (197).
Replies to Questionnaire.
An elaborate questionnaire as to the trade, resources, population, and defences of the several Colonies (181 i), elicited
replies from Maryland (214), Massachusetts and New Hampshire (259 i, 447 i), New Jersey and New York (182, 187 i),
Nova Scotia (203) and Pennsylvania (309).
Representations by the Board of Trade on the American Colonies and Naval Stores.
Information thus acquired, added to the replies received
in this and the preceding year from Collectors and traders,
and interviews with merchants, equipped the Board of Trade
for the task of composing the two highly important representations printed at the end of this volume. Joshua Gee, in particular, added a memorial to his previous contributions on the
subject of Plantation Trade in the British Merchant and elsewhere. Arguing from the importance of that trade to British
shipping, and the success of the bounties on Naval Stores in
lowering prices and breaking the monopoly in timber of the
Eastland Countries, he urged that encouragements should be
given to the Colonies to produce all such commodities as Great
Britain had to buy from foreign countries. The produce and
export of timber, planks, and pig iron, flax, silk and hemp
should, like pitch and tar, be encouraged by bounties and the
adjustment of duties. The Colonies should be permitted to
export direct to the south of Europe the more bulky commodities
which would not bear the additional expense of the roundabout voyage, but ships that sailed on such direct voyages
must be obliged to return to the Plantations by way of England.
This would cripple the competition of New England ships,
and confine them to the coasting trade and fishery. Unlike
the West Indian planters, Gee saw no objection to allowing
the Northern Plantations to continue supplying the French
Sugar Islands with horses, lumber, and provisions; for such
trade tended to increase British shipping and help it to
outstrip the Dutch as the carriers of the world. The paper
is of importance as an example of the outlook of a broadminded and influential observer of the school of Whig mercantile
theory (198). Gee subsequently elaborated the arguments which
he had used here and in the British Merchant in a pamphlet
published in 1729, "The Trade and Navigation of Great
In August 1721, Lord Townshend called for reports upon the
state of the Colonies on the American Continent, with suggestions
for their better government and security, and upon the best
means for encouraging the importation of timber, Naval Stores,
and mineral ores from the Plantations (620). The Board of
Trade responded with the two representations mentioned. In
the first of these (656), they made a detailed report of the
boundaries, commerce, defences and governments of each Colony.
They then considered the importance of the Plantation trade
to Great Britain, estimating it as amounting to £1,000,000
sterling per annum, of which one half was with Colonies on the
Continent. The balance of trade was £200,000 in favour of
the Mother Country, which also derived great profit from the
re-exportation of Plantation goods to Europe, whilst over one
third of British shipping employed in foreign trade was maintained by the Plantation trade (pp. 428–434). The American
Colonies met the adverse balance by their trade with the West
India Islands and with Europe in non-enumerated commodities.
The Board then passed to the consideration of encroachments
by the French, which had already been indicated in the reports
on the several Colonies, and the danger to be apprehended
from the extension of their settlements along the Mississippi
to Quebec, threatening to "set a girdle" upon the British
Colonies and cut them off from expansion westwards. (178,
pp. 435–440). The forts which the French had built along
this route and the endeavours of their missionaries to bring the
Indian tribes over to their interest are described, with acknowledgements of the information contributed by Lieut. Governor
Keith on these points (v. C.S.P. 1719–20, pp. iii–v). The
remedy seemed to be to fortify the inland frontier; to "make
ourselves considerable at the two heads of your Majesties
Colonies north and south"; to extend settlements beyond
the mountains; and to secure the friendship of such Indian
nations as were not already in league with the French. With
these ends in view, the settlement of Nova Scotia should be
hurried on, and a stronger garrison stationed there and in
South Carolina, where forts should also be built on the principal
rivers (pp. 440–442).
Trade and friendship with the Indians might be secured by
building a small fort upon Lake Erie, and prosecuting Governor
Burnet's plan for occupying Niagara. Inter-marriage with
the Indians should be encouraged, after the French model, and
presents be given to them regularly, and missionary enterprise
stimulated. There should be no monopoly of the Indian trade,
but careful supervision should be exercised over the traders
and any injustice done severely punished. In making treaties,
as in conducting trade, the Governors of the several Plantations
should endeavour to impress the Indians with their unity under
the Crown. Finally, they might be impressed by bringing home
some of the Indian Chiefs, as the French had done, to show
them "the splendour and glory" of England (pp. 442–444).
Government of the Colonies.
The report concluded with suggestions for the better government of the Colonies. The first step must be to secure unity
of administration and defence, and the absolute observance of
the Acts of Trade and Plantations and Governors' Instructions,
by resuming Proprietary and Chartered Governments to the
Crown. Only so could the entire, absolute and immediate
dependency of the Colonies be maintained, which it was the
wisdom of Great Britain, as of all other States, to ensure.
But the planters must be regarded as British subjects, and
encouraged in all reasonable things, not prejudicial to the
interests of Great Britain, as for instance, in the production of
naval stores, corn, flax, hemp, and timber.
Quit rents and grants of Lands. Preservation of Woods.
Abuses in connection with grants of land and the imposition
and collection of quit rents must be amended, and H.M. Woods
preserved for the Royal Navy.
Patent Offices. Unity for Defence under a Captain-General.
Patent Officers should be debarred from acting by Deputies.
In order to secure unity for defence, the Board then proposed
that the several Colonies and their Governors should be placed
under a Captain-General, after the manner of the Leeward
Islands, with an advisory Council consisting of two Deputies
from each Colony. By this means quotas of men or money
according to the capacity of each Colony could be requisitioned
for the defence of the whole. In pursuance of this proposal,
it is stated by Chalmers (fn. 1) that the Earl of Stair was offered
the Captain Generalship of the American Colonies, but refused.
The Council of Trade and Colonial business.
Finally, the Board suggested that it should be placed on the
same footing as the Treasury and Admiralty, and its President
entrusted with the sole charge of Colonial business, receiving
immediate orders from the King. Thus would be avoided the
delay and confusion at present arising from the division of
authority between the Secretary of State, the King in Council,
and the Board. As a result of this threefold method of
procedure, "no one office is thoroughly informed of all matters
relating to the Plantations, and sometimes orders are obtained,
by surprise, disadvantageous to your Majesty's service."
The encouragement of the production of Naval Stores from
the Plantations was part of a clearly defined policy on the part
of the Board of Trade and mercantile theorists. It had for
its objects the diversion of the planters from manufacturing
goods which could with greater advantage be made in Great
Britain; the development of the mercantile marine, and the
breaking down of the expensive and dangerous monopoly in
materials vital to the Navy, which had been enjoyed by the
Eastland Countries. In the second of the two representations
under review, the Board referred to their report on this subject
in 1718, and the Bill which had been brought into Parliament
but dropped, in 1719, owing to the opposition to the manufacture of iron ware of any kind in the Colonies. The Board
now proposed the passing of an Act in which the duty on pig
iron, but not on bar iron, from the Plantations should be taken
off (657, 657 i, ii).
Carolina Rice and the Hatmakers' Petition.
The Board was of opinion that direct export of rice from
Carolina to Southern Europe might be permitted (656). But
French competition in the "mysterious art" of manufacturing
beaver hats, and the large exports of beaver skins direct to
Holland, led the hatmakers of England to petition for a readjustment of the import duty and drawbacks on re-exports, the effect
of which was to lay a tax of over 20 per cent. on English workmen.
The Board reported in favour of abolishing the drawbacks,
reducing the import duty, and prevention of the "evil practice
of carrying beaver skins directly from the British Plantations to
foreign parts." (738, 738 i, 748).
Sturgeon in New England.
An application for a patent for catching and curing sturgeon
in New England was refused (73, 84–86). The dazzling
hope of a monopoly of American caviare and isinglass was
shattered. For though the Board of Trade was inclined to
favour such a patent, if safeguards could be introduced to
prevent its being turned into a stock-jobbing scheme (126),
the Law Officers of the Crown pointed out that it was
very doubtful whether the prerogatives of the Crown extended
to the granting of monopolies in the Plantations (152). Nor,
indeed, was it certain that the sturgeon produced as a
specimen was really caught at Boston. There is a hint of
"salting" this gold mine (84–86).
Maps of the Colonies.
The Council of Trade reminded the Lords Justices of the
value of "exact maps of all the several Colonies." The French
had reaped great advantage from those they had made
for themselves, "whilst we continue in the dark." (231).
In response to their requests, maps of Antigua and Connecticut
were sent to them. (227 viii, ix, 229).
New rooms for the Board of Trade.
The Board renewed their application for the addition of two
new rooms to their office, to house the growing mass of papers
(165, 171, 172). After another nine month's delay, the Lord
Chamberlain presently issued an order to the Treasury for the
construction of four new rooms. (468). Still nothing was done.
Five months later, the Board appealed to the Treasury to give
speedy orders for repairing the Office and building the additional
rooms, for "the rain comes in so very much, it will be impossible
in a short time to sitt in the office." (697). The Board
of Works was then instructed to make an estimate for the
"repairs and works absolutely necessary to be done." (703).
§ II. THE AMERICAN COLONIES.
South Carolina Threatened attack by Spaniards.
In South Carolina the imminent danger of an attack by the
Spanish Fleet from Havana led to steps being taken to repair
the fortifications of Charleston, and place the Colony in a posture
of defence. An embargo was laid upon shipping (8–10, 47 i, ii),
and an Act for suspending the sinking fund for the paper
currency was passed (113). Fortunately the Spanish expedition
met with a check at the Bahamas (v. § 1), and with the arrival
of H.M.S. Flamborough and Phoenix, the crisis passed (8–10,
47 i, ii). But whilst St. Augustine remained a danger and a
nest of pirates and privateers at the door of the Carolinians,
Colonel Rhett, the Surveyor of Customs, and Captain Hildesley,
of the Flamborough, were accused of trading with the Spaniards
there, and even of supplying them with arms and ammunition,
under pretext of an exchange of replied to Rhett's charges against
Colonel Moore and his Council replied to Rhett's charges against
the people, defending their revolt against the Lords Proprietors
and urging the removal of "that enemy of his country, and
detested reviler of mankind" from his office. Rhett and his
brother-in-law, the late Chief Justice Trott, were blamed for
most of the ill feeling which had arisen between the inhabitants
and Lords Proprietors (292, 292 i–iii, 363, 363 i).
Act supporting present Government. Governor Johnson's attempt.
In spite of some attempts by Colonel Johnson to regain the
Government, Colonel Moore and his Council, under the
presidency of Sir Hovenden Walker, remained in control of
affairs. Representatives met in General Assembly at Charleston
and passed an Act for supporting the present government,
and confirming the acts and appointments made by it, and the
Convention (195). The Captains of the men of war, however,
had declared in Johnson's favour. Whilst the latter threatened
to bombard Charleston, Captain Hildesley and he plotted for
his restoration. There was indeed nearly a clash of arms.
Captain Hildesley, something of a fire-eater, was not content
with a demonstration with the Flamborough's guns. Johnson
issued a commission to him and others, and together they
marched at the head of a troop of sailors and supporters, and
demanded the surrender of the Government. But Moore and
his Council showed no sign of yielding, and after drawing the
fire of the fort, Johnson undertook to disband his men and make
no further disturbance. Captain Pearse of H.M.S. Phoenix
acted as intermediary. Captain Hildesley, less amenable,
was placed under arrest (372, 413, 484, 484 i, ii).
Negro plot and Indian rising.
The country was disturbed, too, by the discovery of a negro
plot to destroy all white men and seize Charleston, and by a
rising of Vocama Indians. Both were suppressed, and negroes
and Indians severely punished (125). The Indian outbreaks
were attributed to the want of the Indian Trading Act repealed
by the Proprietors (66).
Petition of Inhabitants.
A petition signed by 238 inhabitants under arms echoed the
request of the Representatives that the Colony should be taken
under the protection of the Crown (194, 347).
Protest against sale by Lords Propreitors.
When it was learned that the Lords Proprietors were
endeavouring to sell their Charter to a new Company, Moore's
Council entered their protest (249).
Order for resuming the Government to the Crown.; Francis Nicholson's Commission as Governor.; Measures for security.
But by this time the Lords Justices in Council had ordered
that the Government should be "forthwith taken provisionally
into the hands of the Crown," and instructed for a Governor
Trade to prepare a Commission and Instructions for a Governor
to be appointed by the King. The Attorney General was
ordered to bring in a scire facias for the resumption of the Charter,
and the Board of Trade was to report upon the measures deemed
necessary to secure the safety of the Province (185, 199, 248).
The Board in submitting the draft of a Commission, modelled
upon that given to Colonel Copley when Maryland was resumed
to the Crown, raised the question whether North Carolina
was to be included. It was decided that the veteran Francis
Nicholson should be appointed Governor of South Carolina
only. (Sept. 1720. 192, 192 i, 244–247). In making proposals
for the security of the province, the Council of Trade availed
themselves of the advice of Governor Nicholson and Colonel
Barnwell, who had come to London with the petition of the
Convention. They recommended that a fort and settlement
should be made upon the north bank of the Altamaha, with
a frigate as guardship in the river, and an Independent
Company of 100 men with stores as garrison under Colonel
Barnwell, subject to Governor Nicholson's instructions.
Presents should be sent to the Indians and measures concerted
between the governments of Carolina and Virginia for regulating
trade with them (217, 232 iii–xiii, 237, 275 i, ii). Stephen Godin
and other merchants interested in the Carolina trade also gave
their advice for remedying the ills which beset the Province.
They were chiefly concerned with the proper treatment of the
Indians and the protection of British merchants from laws and
measures, especially the unlimited issues of paper currency,
which destroyed the confidence of traders (274).
Nicholson's arrival and welcome.
Arriving at Charleston in June, Nicholson sent Colonel
Barnwell to take possession of the river Altamaha in H.M.
name, and build a small fort thereon, whilst he himself was
occupied in settling the new administration, and making treaties
with the Creeks and Cherokees etc. (572, 573 i, ii, 577, 683).
A site near the mouth of the river was chosen for the erection
of Fort King George. Thus a first step was taken towards the
defence of the extreme southern frontier, which the Council of
Trade had advocated in their general report (656). Further
accounts of proceedings in connection with the settlement of
the Government and building of the fort were sent home by
the Agents, Mr. Lloyd and Young, who were appointed by the
General Assembly (372, 386, 683, 702, 714). The document
dated Feb. 17, 1721, and printed under that date (386) should
be attributed to 1722.
The new Assembly met at the end of July. They and the
Council expressed in addresses their gratitude to the King for
taking the Colony under His immediate protection, and appointing so wise and experienced a Governor (619, 702, 714, 760).
End of drought.
Even the weather appeared to appreciate the change from
the regime of the Lords Proprietors. The long drought which
had added to the afflictions of the country broke in time to
save the prospects of the rice and corn crops. "Tis generally
observed," Nicholson comments, "that since His Majesty
hath taken this country and government it hath been very
seasonable weather." The Lords Proprietors were evidently
regarded as responsible for filling "the butchers' shops with
large blue flies" (156, 683). The Council reported that a great
deal of time had been devoted to disputes over the jurisdiction
of Admiralty Court and Customs House officers. A shortage
of clerks and paper hindered the despatch of Journals etc.
Exports and Rice.
Governor Nicholson sent home a return of exports from
South Carolina to Great Britain (577 i). It was proposed that
rice should be omitted from the list of enumerated commodities
Maryland.; Replies to Questionnaire.
Captain Charles Calvert having found the sureties required
for his observance of the Acts of Trade and Navigation and the
King's Instructions, his appointment as Governor of Maryland
was approved, whilst his predecessor, John Hart, replied to
the questionnaire of the Board of Trade (56, 77, 89, 124, 214).
And from Massachusetts Bay.
The replies from Massachusetts Bay are given (259 i).
Council of Trade on the Government of the Province.
In that part of their general report which concerned the
Province (656), the Council of Trade gave plain expression
to their opinion as to the working of the Massachusetts
Constitution. Although the Government, they observed, was
nominally in the Crown, yet, too great power having been lodged
in the Assembly, the Province was, and was likely to continue,
in great disorder. Due regard was not paid to the Royal
Instructions, suitable provision was not made for the Governor,
"and on all occasions they affect too great an independence on
their Mother Kingdom." In fact the present Governor's salary
had been retrenched, probably because he had done his duty
to the Crown, and refused to disregard his Instructions to please
the Assembly. It was generally thought that the Act which
limited the representation of towns or boroughs to freeholders
and residents, resulting in the election of persons "of small
fortunes and mean capacities," easily led, was responsible for
the present state of affairs (pp. 410–415, No. 514). This, of
course, was part of their argument for a resumption of all
Charters. This attack on the Chartered and Proprietary Governments was answered by Jeremiah Dummer, Agent for Massachusetts and Connecticut, in a masterly pamphlet, Defence of the
New England Charters, summarised by Professor Osgood (fn. 2) .
To Governor Shute, the Council notified their surprise at the
extraordinary proceedings of the Assembly in assuming to
themselves executive power and disregarding H.M. Instructions (622).
Policy of the Assembly.; Governor's right to negative choice of Speaker.; The New Assembly.
The Assembly, in fact, had continued its campaign of encroaching upon the Prerogatives of the Crown, and acquiring
control of the Executive by keeping Governors and officials
dependent for their salaries on their favour. As in New Jersey,
the Secretary's fees were reduced (83). For the most part the
Governor was supported by the Council in his endeavours to
assert the Royal Prerogative. But the Assembly, led by Elisha
Cooke, pursued its object unremittingly (514). They again
joined issue over the Governor's right to negative their choice
of a Speaker. For Cooke, dismissed from the Council, had
been returned to the Assembly and there elected Speaker.
Similarly another dismissed Member of Council was returned
to the Assembly by Boston. These gestures afforded a
sufficiently plain indication of the feeling of the country.
Governor Shute had refused to accept Cooke as Speaker; the
Assembly adhered to their choice. The right of a Governor to
negative the choice of a Speaker had been questioned in Governor
Dudley's time, and decided in favour of the Crown. Shute
dissolved the Assembly, and asked for instructions on this point
before the new Assembly should meet (93, 93 i–iv, 103). The
Attorney General, on being consulted, gave a decided opinion
that the words of the Charter were expressly applicable to the
election of a Speaker. Governor Shute was so informed (349,
393, 411). This did not, however, put an end to the controversy.
For though the new Assembly chose a different Speaker (July
20. 143), they presently appointed Cooke to act as temporary
Speaker, and it was he who signed the Assembly's reply to the
Governor's Speech at the opening of their session (655). Shute's
hopes of a smooth passage were, in fact, quickly dissipated (143).
The majority of the Representatives he describes as country
folk, better fitted to manage the affairs of their farms than those
of the Province, and easily led by a few designing persons who
sought popularity as the only true patriots in attacking the
prerogatives of the Crown (514).
Bills of Credit.; Governor's Salary.
The new Assembly complained (March 1721) of the rejection
of the bills for issuing another £100,000 of bills of credit, and
altering the Act of Parliament fixing the rates of foreign currency.
Shute explained to the Council of Trade that the heavy discount
at which the paper currency stood was due to the adverse
balance of trade, the low prices of commodities, and the already
excessive quantity of bills of credit issued. Though the people
wished to add to it, the recent Order in Council had checked the
evil of falling credit (514 i, 655). The Assembly reduced the
vote for the Governor's salary, and made so small a grant for
the Lieutenant Governor that he returned it in disgust. They
also refused to contribute towards a present for the Indians,
though war was threatening.
Appointment of Attorney General.
As Shute's Instructions empowered him to appoint the
Attorney General, and the Assembly claimed that right both
by custom and the opinion of Sir Edward Northey, the post
remained vacant whilst Shute asked for a ruling.
Question of adjournments.
The Assembly disputed the Governor's right to adjourn them
from place to place, and assumed the rights of adjourning
themselves and appointing Public Fast Days.
Censorship of the Press.
The Press was beginning at this time to be an active influence
in politics. A rain of pamphlets poured out upon the currency
question, whilst the Newsletter, Gazette, and the Courant of the
brothers Franklin began to be potent instruments in the
controversy between Governor and Assembly. Censorship of the
Press was vested in the Governor by the Royal Instructions, but
hitherto it had been laxly applied, and prosecution for offenders
required the consent of the Council. Stung by the virulence of
the pamphleteers, Shute began to take action. Some prosecutions
were set on foot, but failing to obtain satisfaction, Shute pressed
the Assembly to pass a law forbidding any book or paper to be
printed without the Governor's licence. The Assembly, however, stood firm in defence of the liberty of the Press. They
noticed that no steps had been taken to punish the "inventor
or publisher" of a pamphlet which they described as a libel upon
themselves. This, an answer to Cooke's "Vindication" of
their own transactions, was entitled "News from Robinson
Crusoe's Island." Not unnaturally the Assembly inferred that
if they gave the Executive further powers to enforce control
of the Press, it would be used in a one-sided fashion (514,
514 i, 579, 579 i, ii, 655).
Memorial against Shute and his reply.
In June, 1721, the House of Representatives drew up a
memorial in which they defended their actions and enumerated
their grievances against the Governor. They published it
without his knowledge. Shute's reply upon all these matters,
as well as Cooke's campaign against the Crown woods, is given
(579). He dissolved the Assembly in July, after they had
taken upon them to adjourn themselves for nearly a week. The
new Assembly met in August, and was moved from Boston to
Cambridge on account of an epidemic of small-pox, after disputing the Governor's right to prorogue it from place to place.
On all these points the Assembly under the leadership of Cooke
was steadily pursuing its campaign for obtaining control of the
Executive and encroaching upon the prerogatives of the Crown.
Shute, on the other hand, showed little capacity for managing
the Assembly or influencing opinion, whether by argument or
other means of persuasion. He was content for the most part
with representing his powerlessness to the authorities at home,
and asking for support and decisions upon the matters in
The Indian War.
The war with the Abenaki Indians, which was now imminent,
gave the Assembly a further opportunity of asserting control
both over expenditure and over the militia (Mass. Acts and
Resolutions II. 219 ff). For a series of outrages by the Indians
on the Eastern frontier, encouraged by the government of Canada
and the French missionaries La Chasse and Sebastian Râle,
obliged Shute to send troops to defend the Eastern settlements
(261, 319, 514, 655, 743). The Assembly seized the occasion
to vote supplies by way of resolves, and to ear-mark the sums
voted for particular purposes. A clause was added providing
that they should be used for no other ends. (Nov. 1721).
On the dispute between the Provincial and Admiralty Courts,
which had been submitted in the preceding year, Mr. West
gave his opinion strongly in favour of the Provincial Courts,
so far as the right to grant prohibitions was concerned. But
if, under cover of legal procedure, an attempt was being made
to throttle the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Courts in New
England, he suggested that their power should be more strictly
defined by an Act of Parliament. The Council of Trade reported
to the Lords Justices that they agreed with his opinion that the
condemnation of pirate goods and goods piratically taken
must be tried, not by the Admiralty Courts as such, but by
virtue of the Commissions granted for trying pirates. But as
to encroachments upon the powers of the Admiralty Courts by
the Common Law Courts in the Plantations, redress could be
obtained by appeal to the Privy Council (117, 135, 136, 153,
153 i, 699 i–iv).
Prisoners in Canada restored.
Orders were sent from the French Court to M. de Vaudreuil
to restore the New England prisoners, whom he had refused to
allow to return from Canada (267, 267 i, ii).
Clandestine trade with Cape Breton.
A brisk trade with the French at Cape Breton was carried on
by the growing New England fishing fleet. Governor Shute
repeatedly urged the Assembly to pass measures to stop this
clandestine traffic, but without avail. A bill was passed by
the Council, but was thrown out by the Assembly on the grounds
that it was the business of the Customs House officers (445).
Act regulating culling of fish repealed.
An Act of 1718 for regulating the culling of fish was repealed
upon the petition of merchants, who represented that the
restrictions imposed by it were pernicious in their effects and
harmful to trade (461, 471, 476).
Woollen and linen manufactures and independence.
Enquiries prompted by the ever-present fear lest planters
should turn to manufacturing, elicited some interesting replies.
Robert Armstrong, the New Hampshire Collector, reported
that large flocks of sheep were being raised in the New England
Governments, and that unless the power of the Admiralty
Courts to condemn wool transported from one Colony to another
were upheld, the act prohibiting such transportation would
become a dead letter. These Colonies were, in fact, beginning
to emerge from the purely agricultural into the industrial and
commercial stage of development. Armstrong, recognising
that New England was both able and determined to produce
its own manufactures, deduced that "in a few years they will
sett up for themselves independent from England" (153,
699 iii). Jekyll, a Boston Collector, noted the same "great
love of independency," and reported that recent Irish immigrants (mainly Presbyterians from Ulster), were developing
a linen industry. But though homespun woollens and linens
were worn by the poor, tradesmen and mechanics were inclined
to ape the richer merchants and to wear only clothing manufactured in Europe (190, 200, 699 iv.)
Boundaries with Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.; New Hampshire and Massachusetts Bay.; The Crown Woods.
Boundary disputes remained acute. The Rhode Islanders
sent a map to the Board of Trade, defining their boundaries with
Massachusetts and Connecticut, surveyed according to their
Charter. Complaining of encroachments made by both their
neighbours, they laid their case before the King in Council.
Connecticut likewise submitted a map, and made similar complaints against Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York.
But the Narraganset country was the chief bone of contention
(109, 229). New Hampshire, again, furnished its Agent with
a map, and asked the Board of Trade for a settlement of the
boundary with Massachusetts Bay (333), which disturbances
along the border rendered increasingly urgent. Wentworth,
the Lieutenant Governor of New Hampshire, described the
latter as "our unkind neighbour," and complained of the
taxation of their coasting vessels and merchandise by that
province. (fn. 3) He, too, says that "they are and desire to be
strangers to all kingly power," in contrast to the loyal colony
of New Hampshire, and instances their attitude towards the
King's Officers and the Crown woods (333). In both Colonies,
however, the reservation of trees suitable for masts for the
Royal Navy was being combated and ignored. If in Massachusetts Cooke and his followers denied the King's rights to the
woods, in New Hampshire the lumbermen in practice disregarded
it. There was nothing to prevent the sawmills being fed with
young trees under the size reserved by Act of Parliament, and
the larger were being ruthlessly cut up into logs, partly as the
result of Cooke's campaign, and partly under cover of the device
by which townships were created and extended so as to bring
them within the exception granted by that act (112, 352 ii,
New Act proposed.
Mr. Bridger, therefore, proposed a new Act for the Preservation of the Woods (39, 39 i–iii, 57). Shute supported this
proposal, and added the suggestion that the new Act should
contain a clause to prohibit the exportation of timber to Spain
(319). Bridger made some seizures of trees cut without licence
from him, but lost his case through inability to prove that
they grew in unappropriated land. The whole country-side,
in fact, was leagued against the reservation of the Crown Woods.
So long as the "owner's probandi," as Bridger put it, lay with
the Crown, no satisfactory conviction would ever be obtained
(57, 82, 118, 118 i–iii, 127, 127 i, 179 i, 352 ii). The Governor
of New England, and the Lieut. Governor of New Hampshire
might do their best to prohibit wastage of the woods (82, 118,
159 i, 352 i), but so long as there were so many loop-holes in
the Act, and Bridger's successor, Charles Burniston, remained
snugly at home, there was little prospect of preserving mast
trees for the Royal Navy or preventing them from being shipped
abroad for the benefit of the King's enemies (82, 159 i, 319, 333,
656, 694). A proposal that the Governor of New England
should be appointed Controller of the Woods was discountenanced by the Board of Trade, in spite of the favour with
which it had been received at Court (201, 201 i). Correspondence on the subject was ordered to be laid before the House
of Commons (54, 54 i).
The Mason-Allen Claim.
In New Hampshire, the Mason-Allen claim might be dead,
but it was not buried. In an age of "bubble" schemes, it is
not surprising to find that a new "bubble" was now being
promoted by speculators. They proposed to purchase James
Mason's grant for £15,000, from the widow of the Allen to whom
it had passed, and to sell it in 2,500 shares at £30 a piece. Henry
Newman, the Agent for New Hampshire, entered a warning
against the scheme (273).
Powder Duty and Stores of War.
The prospect of a war with the Eastern Indians and the danger
to be apprehended from pirates on the coast prompted New
Hampshire to look to its stores of war. Since the Royal Instruction of 1717 forbidding the collection of powder duties
from British ships, New Hampshire had suspended the act
imposing a duty of a pound of gunpowder per ton upon trading
vessels of every description, although it had been confirmed
by the Crown in 1706. The Province was therefore left without
any supplies of ammunition. Newman was instructed to apply
"to the proper Board in order to obtain the Royal bounty
therein." Meeting with no success at the Board of Ordnance,
he presented a petition to the Board of Trade for either a free
grant of ammunition stores or permission for his Government
to revise the Powder Act. On hearing that the Governor's
Instruction of 1717 had only been intended to apply to future
acts, he requested the Board to explain the matter to the
Governor, in order that he might put the Powder Act into
execution (438, 447 i, 585.) Popple, thereupon wrote to
Governor Shute asking why the act had been suspended and
informing him that it was considered to be in force. (618).
Replies to Questionnaires.
Governor Shute had been delayed in visiting the Province
by the longest and severest winter on record. But after he had
been there he sent replies to the Board of Trade's Queries in
June, 1720 (93, 94, 94 ii). Further information was supplied by
the Agents in October and the following April as to the produce,
trade, condition and resources of the Province, which furnished
the Board of Trade with material for their general report (656).
Manufactures and Irish Immigrants.
Armstrong, the Collector, reported that the New Hampshire
colonists were mainly concerned with lumber or naval stores,
and were paying little attention to the manufacture of woollens.
But since the recent arrival of 500 families of Irish immigrants,
they were beginning to manufacture linen cloth (153, 699 iii).
There was a demand for hemp seed, and he recommended the
despatch of 100 bushels of it, in order to employ them on the
production of hemp fit for the Royal Navy, and divert them
from engaging in woollen manufactures (466). This policy
was supported by Governor Shute and Bridger, and the Board
of Trade in their general report (94 ii, 118, 656).
Burnet, Governor of New Jersey and New York.
In April 1720, William Burnet, son of the famous Bishop of
Salisbury, was appointed to succeed Hunter as Governor of
New York and New Jersey (46). It would appear from a
subsequent memorial (C.O. 5, 752. f. 272) that he had been
Controller of the Customs, but had been involved in the South
Sea Bubble crash. In order to enable him to recover from his
debts, "His Majesty was graciously pleased to authorise an
exchange of employments" between him and Governor Hunter.
A sound Whig, Burnet set himself to continue the policy pursued
so successfully by his clever and diplomatic predecessor. But
though well intentioned and capable, events were to prove
that he was wanting in the tact and skill in managing men which
distinguished Hunter. Burnet's Instructions were practically
a repetition of those of the former Governor (90 i–iii, 106).
Burnet in New Jersey.; Secretary's Fees.; Representation of Huntingdon County.
In New Jersey Burnet was quickly involved in conflict with
the Assembly. He decided to continue Hunter's Assembly.
The House, holding that a new Assembly must be summoned
on the arrival of a new governor, at first refused to meet (533).
When Burnet had persuaded them to do so, he found himself
involved in a series of disputes with them concerning the
granting of a revenue, the currency, the qualifications of
members, the defence of the frontier, and the right of the Council
to amend money bills. After "four months patience" and
repeated adjournments of the House, he was driven to dissolve
them in May 1721 (533, 595, 595 i, N.J. Archives XIV). Burnet
attributed the chief cause of the Assembly's ill-humour to
George Willocks. This "professed Jacobite" was acting in the
interests of a group of Proprietors who aimed at securing control
of East Jersey. In order to make sure of a more amenable
Assembly at the coming election, Burnet proposed the repeal
of two acts by which the Secretary's fees had been reduced.
Such action would be interpreted as a check to the Assembly
in their attempts to starve all officers not appointed by themselves. He also proposed that two Representatives should
be assigned to the new County of Huntingdon in West Jersey,
which could be trusted to elect "very loyal men," in place of
the two members who had been allotted to the little fishing
village of Salem, and who had proved to be "the ringleaders
in the opposition to the Government." (67, 407, 415, 595).
Export of Copper.
Copper ore from a newly-discovered mine was being shipped
to Holland. The Council of Trade, on being informed of it,
suggested that the export of are from the Plantations should
be prohibited by Act of Parliament (520 i, 537).
New York.; The Old Assembly is continued, and settles the revenue.
In New York Burnet found himself more at ease. "We
agree very well," he wrote of the Assembly in August 1721,
"and this Province is as remarkably quiet and happy and
affectionate to me as the other one is the reverse" (595). Before
Burnet sailed, Hunter had represented the necessity of his
obtaining a settlement of the revenue, the act for which would
shortly expire, and that the new act should contain a provision
for the necessary expenses of the Council and Assembly, and
so put an end to the payment of the Assembly by a Country
Tax (80). Burnet on his arrival found that, in Hunter's
absence and under Schuyler's Presidency, the Opposition
party had been gaining headway. They had been looking
forward to an election on the assumption that a new Assembly
must be called after a change of Governors. This theory was
discountenanced by the Chief Justice and Attorney General,
and Burnet adduced precedents to disprove it. He assured
the Assembly that he intended to follow in the footsteps of
his "incomparable predecessor," in whose "great and good
measures" they had taken part. The Assembly being devoted
to the late Governor, who was now acting as Agent for New
York, and anxious to be continued, readily provided for the
deficiencies which had accrued, and passed an act continuing
the revenue for five years, without the article favouring vessels
belonging to the Colony, which had figured in the act passed
in Hunter's time.
Opposition of the Council.
Burnet's difficulty lay with the Council. The President and
six members of it were anxious for an election which, they
thought, would give them control of the Assembly. Frustrated
in their design to hold one in Hunter's absence, they now
adopted the view held by the New Jersey Assembly, and argued
that a new Assembly must be chosen after a change of administration. Burnet answered them with precedents and arguments.
Having forced them to admit doubts on the point, he challenged
them to consider whether scruples of which they did not pretend
to be certain could justify their delaying for a year or more
the grant of supplies, the repair of the fortifications and immediate measures for counteracting the French influence with
the Indians. He further hinted at charges that could be
brought against Schuyler and Philipse for irregularities in the
granting of lands. Thereupon Schuyler and four others asked
leave to retire into the country, and Burnet asked that Adolphus
Philipse and Peter Schuyler, whom he represented as his tool,
should be dismissed from the Council and replaced by Cadwallader Colden and James Alexander (239, 264 i–v, 303, 325.)
Burnet supported by Board of Trade.
The Council of Trade confirmed Burnet in his continuance
of the Assemblies, which they found to be in conformity with
the practice in Ireland (341, 533). They also obtained the
dismissal of Schuyler and Philipse and the appointment of
those whom Burnet had recommended (Feb. 10, 1721, 378,
379.) Professor Osgood (American Colonies in the XVIIIth
century, p. 47) gives the impression that this was not done
until March in the following year. But if the Editor occasionally
presumes to correct a detail of this sort, he hopes that it will
not be interpreted as an attempt to detract from that accurate
and invaluable work, to which he is profoundly indebted.
Whale royalties remitted.
Burnet added to his popularity by remitting the royalties
upon whales to which he was entitled, but which had been made
a grievance (p. 205).
Burnet and Indian policy.
Burnet also obtained from the Assembly two acts which
embodied the Indian policy, to which he gave great attention.
The advance of the French along the Great Lakes and the
Mississippi Valley, accompanied by their successful intrigues
with the Senecas and Indians in Nova Scotia, rendered
counter measures imperative (48, 144, 144 i, 206, 230, 303, 533,
Fort at Niagara.
By an act laying a duty of 2 per cent. on European goods
imported, Burnet hoped to obtain funds for repairing existing
fortifications and building new forts along the frontiers. It
was provided with a suspensory clause, in case exception should
be taken to even so small a duty upon British trade. On
learning that objection was being made to it by the merchants
in London, Burnet returned to his defence of the act in November
1721 (303, 711). The new forts to be built at Niagara and
Onondaga would be an answer to the French, who had erected
a blockhouse near the Falls, and were thus encroaching upon
territory which the Senecas had granted to the British Crown.
Burnet intended to persuade the Indians to demolish this
French blockhouse, and to place a company of soldiers as
garrison for his fort at Niagara. His objects were to complete
a chain of forts guarding communications from Albany to
Niagara, and to encourage a settlement of soldiers and Palatines
there and above the Falls, and thus to open up trade with the
Indians and all the Great Lakes (48, 144, 144 i, 206, 230, 239,
263, 264 i, 303, 323, 533, 534).
Independent Companies and stores.
For garrisoning his projected forts, Burnet made a request
for two additional Independent Companies and further supplies
of stores of war (734). When the Board of Ordnance explained
to the Lords Justices that £10,000 worth of stores had been
supplied to the Province and never been repaid, whilst Parliament refused to make any provision for such services, both
Burnet and Hunter represented the great necessity of supplying
them. It was useless to expect the Assembly to contribute
towards the efficiency of a force of which they were jealous as
adding to the strength of the Government (134, 140).
Act prohibiting trade with French in Indian goods.
Another act, passed by the Assembly, was aimed at French
influence with the Five Nations and Far Indians. It prohibited
trading with the French in goods intended for the Indians.
Hitherto such goods had been sold to the French through
Albany, and were then distributed by them to the Indians,
from Montreal. They thus gained both profit and influence
from an Indian trade, which this act sought to divert to Albany
and New York (206, 230, 303, 323).
Robert Livingston.; Conference with the Five Nations.; Burnet's Conference with Six Nations.
Burnet derived his knowledge on this subject from the
capable Secretary for Indian Affairs, Robert Livingston, who
was also Speaker of the Assembly, As a reward for his services,
the Governor successfully supported his application that his
son should be appointed to succeed him (303, 303 i–v, 525, 556).
He and the Mayor and Magistrates of Albany had represented
to President Schuyler that the state of affairs was critical,
and indicated their views as to the policy which ought to be
pursued. The danger of an attack by the Five Nations upon
the Southern Settlements could not be ignored. Livingston
urged that they should be handled gently, and induced, if
possible, to renew the Covenant Chain with Virginia, and bring
the Indians in allegiance with them to peace (101, 188, 206,
230). After consultation with Hunter, the Council of Trade
advised Burnet and Spotswood in the same sense. They
recommended the Lieut. Governor of Virginia to waive his
objection to meeting the Five Nations at Albany instead of
their attending him at Williamsburgh, and to obtain the
essential, the bringing of the Indians of his Government into
a firm and lasting peace with the Five Nations, including the
Tuscaroras. For Spotswood had been roused by their hostilities
on the Virginian frontiers, and their refusal to meet him in
conference except at Albany, to write a furious letter to
Schuyler, and to prepare to use his militia against the Five
Nations (147) (fn. 4) . Before Burnet's arrival, President Schuyler
had held a conference with the Five Nations (101, 188, 263),
but it was sparsely attended (188, 263). However, he renewed
the Covenant with them in the name of all the Colonies, including
Virginia (188, 263). Two Commissioners had just previously
been sent from Albany to warn the Senecas against permitting
the French design of building a blockhouse at Niagara (101).
Afterwards they sent their interpreter with three Sachems to
Niagara to protest against the French encroachments (May
1720). There they found the trading house built by Joncaire.
The French trader in possession declared that the young Seneca
warriors had given permission for it to be erected. This the
Sachems stoutly denied, and subsequently asked the British
to destroy it (144, 144 i). It was after this that Livingston
and the magistrates of Albany made the representation (August
and September) to the President and Council at New York
referred to above, urging the building of forts, in order to
support British rights and prestige against the encroachments
of the French, and to restore the waning confidence of the Five
Nations (206, 230). Before attempting to confer with the
latter, Burnet awaited the arrival of presents for the Indians
and stores of war from England, for which he repeatedly applied.
But though the Council of Trade repeatedly recommended
their despatch, he was at length obliged to go without them
(303, 320, 596, 692). In the meantime he had written to the
Governor of Canada (M. de Vaudreuil), protesting against his
intrigues with the Senecas, as being contrary to the Treaty of
Utrecht, and his occupation of Niagara before the boundaries
had been settled by Commissioners (533, 534, 692). Vaudreuil
replied with diplomatic denials and a general claim to previous
possession. This letter, which threw over his agents, Joncaire
and De Longueil, Burnet produced with effect when he met the
Five Nations in conference at Albany on Sept. 1st, 1721 (692).
The result of the Conference and his Speech to the Indians was
satisfactory. The Indians agreed that they had been misled
by the French. A forward policy was begun for capturing
the trade with the Far Indians. Whilst the acts referred to
above deflected trade from Canada to Albany, Burnet applied
a grant of £500 made by the Assembly to establishing a trading
post "at Tirandaquet" (Irondequoit) on Lake Ontario in
co-operation with the Senecas and under the command of Peter
Schuyler's son. He was instructed to purchase land above
the Falls from the Indians (692, 692 i, ii). As to Virginia,
Burnet placed before the Sachems Spotswood's repeated demands
that the Five Nations and the Indians of Virginia should confine
themselves to their respective sides of the Potomac and mountains forming the western boundaries of Virginia. The Sachems
promised to do their best to secure the observance of this
Extravagant grants of land and Quit rents.
Burnet withheld his assent to an act for facilitating the partition of lands in joint tenancy, upon the report of the Surveyor
General that it would prove prejudicial to the King's rights
and Quit-rents. In a further report Cadwallader Colden
reviewed the many extravagant grants which had been made in
former times, and which might come within the scope of this
act. It throws light upon the frauds practised in connection
with them upon the Indians and the Crown alike. He calculated that if eight only of the patents were to pay half a
crown per hundred acres, the quit-rents accruing would amount
to £4176 instead of £17 17s. 6d. actually being paid. He drew
the moral that a full survey of the Province should be made,
and that the quit-rents which could be raised, if that were
done, would provide a sufficient revenue for the support of the
Government, without doing injustice or any hardship to
anybody, "but a great deal of justice to the King." This
method of raising a revenue was destined to be often mooted
even to Shelboure's days, but never to be put into action
(43, 729, 729 i–iii).
Dispute as to auditing accounts.
In June 1720, Horace Walpole, as Auditor General of the
Plantations, made complaint that the Assembly of New York
refused to allow his Deputy, George Clarke, to audit the
Treasurer's accounts. He represented that this was done in
order to retain control of the money granted by them for the
use of the Government, without rendering any account of it
to His Majesty (129). Soon after Lord Carteret took office, he
sent instructions to Burnet to see to it that in accordance with
an order made by the Treasury August 17th, 1720, no innovation
should be permitted in the management of the Revenue, and
that the Auditor and his Deputy should be allowed to collect
his ancient and usual fees. He was to use his utmost applica
tion and address in setting this matter right, for "the dependency of the Colony upon Great Britain depends in great measure
upon your executing H.M. legal authority upon this occasion"
(492). In a lengthy address to the Governor, the Assembly
replied to the letter from the Treasury. They regarded it as
necessary that they should have a Treasurer of their own in
order to prevent the squandering of public money, which had
prevailed in former administrations. One such extravagance
had been the allowing a fee to the Auditor General of 5 p.c.
upon the whole of the revenue. This, they argued, was not
permitted by his commission, and was indeed regarded by the
Auditor General himself as excessive. It was to avoid loading
the country with the crushing weight of that 5 p.c., that
the Treasurer refused to account with the Deputy Auditor.
But as the whole amount of the salary at stake was not
more than £200, their plea that it would ruin the trade
and inhabitants of the Province, and render them unable to
pay the salaries of the officers of the Governement, is hardly
convincing. The motive was evidently to obtain control of
the public purse, and to avoid paying officers appointed by
the Crown, or such persons as were deemed fit objects for the
Royal bounty (534).
Act for paying public debts and the Paper Currency.
The Act of 1717 for paying several debts was confirmed, in
consideration of the fact that the bills of credit authorised by
it had already passed into circulation. But the occasion was
taken for issuing orders to Governors as to the passing of such
acts noted in § 1 (74). The paper currency of New York being
based upon a secure and adequate sinking fund punctually
applied had proved entirely beneficial, and unlike that of
Massachusetts, had never been at a discount. It was used as
an example by Sir Henry Mackworth in support of his proposal
for a similiar issue in Great Britain. Sir Henry stated that it
was the outcome of a scheme advanced by himself at a Parliamentary Committee of Ways and Means about the year 1703
(343). The incident affords an interesting example of the
action and reaction of ideas between the Colonies and the
Protest by the Palatines at Schoharie.; Burnet's Settlement.
The Palatine Refugees, who had quitted the Hudson and
settled in the Schoharie Valley on the strength of a grant of
lands by the Mohawk Indians, had done so without Governor
Hunter's permission. The lands in question had formed part
of the "extravagant grants" made in Governor Fletcher's time,
and since those grants had been annulled and broken up, had
been assigned to a group of Albany land speculators. The
Palatines clung to their right of settlement obtained from the
Indians. The new grantees insisted that they should become
their tenants. Governor Hunter ordered them to accept that
position, and when they refused, prohibited further cultivation
of the land. In 1718 they determined to appeal to the Crown.
Johan Conrad Weiser, who had been their leader in active
resistance to the demands of the grantees, and Johan Wilhelm
Schef (Schäff) started on a secret mission to England. After
being captured by pirates, they reached London penniless.
There they were detained in a Debtors' Prison, until funds for
their redemption arrived from Schoharie. They then presented
a petition for a grant of lands from the Crown. Their case was
subjected to the searching and hostile criticism of Governor
Hunter, who was now in England (155 i, 162–164, 282). When
offered a choice of lands elsewhere, Weiser declared that they
elected to remove to Schattery (Chettery or Schattera). But
Schäff held out for Schoharie (268, 272), asking for a grant of
lands there for those who had settled at the place, and of lands
adjoining it for 500 families then scattered about New York
(263, 268, 272, 282). The case was referred to Governor Burnet,
and the Palatines were recommended to conform themselves
to the Governor's orders (305, 398, 399). On his visit to Albany
he arranged that those who wished to remain at Schoharie
should take leases from the new proprietors, whilst others were
granted permission to purchase lands from the Mohawks and
to settle on the Mohawk River, above Fort Hunter, a solution
of their difficulty which also extended and held the frontier
of New York (692).
Hunter returned answers to the Queries relating to New York,
(187 i, ii) and the Board of Trade, in their General Report (656)
carefully considered the condition of the Province and its
problems in relation to the Six Nations of Indians and the
French (v. § i).
The petition of Colonel Montgomerie concerning a settlement
of salary (No. 564), is an undated copy of that of Lord Belhaven (v. § 3). It is bound up, in the contemporary binding,
with that document, but should of course be attributed to the
date of Montgomerie's appointment in 1728.
Nova Scotia and the South Sea Company.; Representation by Board of Trade.; The French Inhabitants.
The affairs of Nova Scotia continued to be treated with a
lamentable indecision. This may have been partly due to a
move by the South Sea Company which, at the beginning of
1721, petitioned for a grant both of Nova Scotia and of the late
French part of St. Kitts (350 i). Their petition roused other
claimants and petitioners for grants of lands, Colonel Vetch
on behalf of those who had taken part in the expedition against
Port Royal, the Earl of Sutherland and Sir Alexander Cairnes
(353–356, 358, 360, 362). The Council of Trade, however,
did not neglect to lay before the Lords Justices the "very ill
state of this Colony," as shown in Governor Philipps' reports.
They recommended that a survey of the country should be
completed forthwith, in order that the Governor might then
be at liberty to make grants for settlement, that three more
companies of his regiment should be removed from Placentia
to Annapolis Royal, and that the Court of France should be
invited to put a stop to encroachments upon the fishery at
Canso by French ships from Cape Breton (168). Whilst this
representation was being made, in the summer of 1720, Philipps
wrote from Annapolis Royal that the French inhabitants were
in a state of indecision. They would, he believed, prefer to
take the oath of allegiance to His Majesty and remain in Nova
Scotia in enjoyment of their possessions. But their priests
and the French Governors of Canada and Cape Breton (with
which latter place they carried on a considerable clandestine
trade) were doing their utmost to induce them to withdraw
from Nova Scotia. In the absence of any vigorous demonstration of enterprise and power on the part of the British,
French influence remained strong over both the inhabitants
and the Indians (177, 180 i, 241, 261, 298, 298 xx). He enclosed
a letter from the Governor of Cape Breton, in which M. de
Brouillan attributed the failure of the inhabitants to leave the
country within the period defined by the treaty to their lack of
transport and to obstacles placed in their way by the late
Governor Nicholson. Justice, he declared, demanded an
extension of the time fixed, within which they must either take
the oath of allegiance, or withdraw. (177 i). He protested
against the Proclamation which Philipps had issued immediately
upon his arrival in April, granting them an extension of four
months for making a decision, in accordance with his Instructions (180 i, ii, xiii). The unfavourable reception of this
Proclamation, and the activity of the French Missionaries,
who were calculating on the fall of the Regent, are indicated in
180 i–xvii. Philipps ordered the River settlers to stop making
a road through the woods to Minis (Les Mines) (180 i–iv). One
of the reasons advanced for their refusal to take the oath of
allegiance was that the Indians would cut their throats if they
did (177, 180 i, v.)
Confronted by this opposition, and having neither orders nor
power to drive out the non-juring French inhabitants, and
aware that the Indians were entirely under the influence of the
French, Philipps, with the advice and consent of his newly
appointed Council, prolonged the time fixed for evacuation,
and referred to the Home Government for instructions how to
proceed (180 i, vi). His own suggestions were that a modified
form of the oath of allegiance should be devised for the French
inhabitants, and that some Mohawks should be brought in to
overawe the Indians, whilst he asked for permission to arm a
sloop, for an increase of the garrison, and prompt settlement
of the Eastern Coast (177, 180 i, 241, 241 xvii, xviii).
Instructions by the Council of Trade.
On receiving this letter, the Council of Trade submitted to
Mr. Secretary Craggs Philipps' request for a sloop and reinforcements (322). To Governor Philipps, the Board wrote that
since the French inhabitants seemed unlikely ever to make good
British subjects, they were of opinion they had better be removed
from the Province, so soon as the reinforcements now proposed
should have arrived. But he was not to take action without
positive orders for their removal. In the meantime he was to
"pursue the same prudent and cautious conduct towards them,"
and to let them know that, if they were permitted to remain,
they would certainly be allowed the free exercise of their
French and Indians plunder the fishery at Canso,
Philipps' expectation of hostile co-operation between the
French and Indians was quickly realised. Whilst the assignment of the French ships seized at Canso in 1719 was being
reconsidered (219, 226, 253), a combined force of French and
Indians from Cape Breton made reprisal by attacking the
English fishery there, seizing several ships and much plunder.
The fishermen complained to the Governor of Cape Breton,
who protested that he had no control over the Indians, though
the Indians declared that they were acting under his orders
(241, 241 i–v, 261, 261 xviii, 298, 298 iv, vi). Thomas Richards,
however, a master of a ship riding at Canso, went in pursuit with
a couple of fishing vessels, and recaptured six of the shallops
with some of the plunder, and 15 French prisoners. Meanwhile,
application for help had been made to Governor Philipps, who
sent some soldiers with Major Armstrong from Annapolis Royal,
and a letter to M. de Brouillan demanding restitution (241,
241 viii, ix).
And at Les Mines.
Flushed with their success at Canso, some of the Indians, on
their return to Les Mines, plundered there a New England sloop,
claiming the country for themselves, obviously at the instigation
of the Jesuit priest there. Philipps, aware that his authority
extended no further than cannot shot from the Fort at Annapolis, was obliged to content himself with writing a letter to
the French inhabitants, asking why they had made no attempt
to restrain the Indians (241, 241 xii–xv).
Reinforcements requested,; And recommended by Council of Trade.; French encroachments on the Canso Fishery.
In view of the hostile attitude of the French and Indians, the
Governor, Council and Officers of the garrison asked for immediate reinforcements and fortification of the Colony (241 xvii,
xviii, xx, 298). Meanwhile the fishermen and settlers at Canso
combined to build some lodgings for the company Philipps had
sent to secure the place (298, 298 iii, v, 614, 676). On hearing
of the attack upon Canso from Mr. Cumings, the Council of
Trade hastened to recommend that compensation for the French
ships seized by Capt. Smart, which they had just suggested
(253), should be withheld until redress was made for this outrage (261, 266). They also recommended that reinforcements
should be sent and forts erected on the coast to protect the
Fishery (266, 322, 342). Capt. Young, H.M.S. Rose, had also
suggested a fort on Canso Island, and a guard-ship. He
emphasised the value of the Canso fishery. When he had
protested to the Governor of Cape Breton against the encroachment by the French there, M. de Brouillan had admitted that it
was contrary to the Treaty, and promised to put a stop to it (269).
Canso. French interpretation of the maps and Treaty.; French and British claims to Canso Fishery.
Capt. Young brought over a chart of Canso (467, 481). It
was badly needed (219, 223, 223 i, ii, 231, 232 ii, 238). For the
battle of the islands was being waged in Paris by the Commissaries for settling the boundaries under the Treaty of Utrecht.
In the absence of correct charts, the diplomatists argued wildly,
The British claimed the sole right to the fishing off Cape Canso,
including (since they did not quite know where they were) the
Islands of Canso. They founded their title to the Fishery on
the Treaty of Neutrality as well as that of Utrecht. The former
restrained the French from fishing anywhere on British coasts
in America, and the latter from fishing on the coast of Nova
Scotia within thirty leagues, stretching from the Island of Sable
to the S.W. The British title to the Islands of Canso was
based on the clause in the Treaty of Utrecht which conceded to
Great Britain Nova Scotia and all islands belonging to it, except
Cape Breton and the islands lying in the mouth of the River
of St. Lawrence and in the gulph of the same name. The islands
of Canso, it was contended, did not lie in the mouth of the River,
nor in the gulf, but closely adjacent to the coast of Nova Scotia,
and almost joining the Cape of Canso. They were therefore
not excepted from the general cession of Nova Scotia and all
islands belonging to it. At what the British Ambassador
describes as "a tumulturary conference" in Sept. 1720, the
French Commissaries laid claim to the Canso Islands. They
produced charts which located the islands near the middle of
the mouth of the Gut of Canso. Drawing a line from Sable
Island (placed in these charts where it suitted them best), to the
South West of Cape Canso, they deduced a claim not only to
the fishery about the Cape, but also to part of the Cape itself,
which, they insinuated, had been no part of the French province
of Accadie, ceded by the Treaty. When forced to abandon
this position, they contended that since all the islands in the
mouths of the Gulf of St. Laurence, together with Cape Breton,
were reserved to them by the Treaty, the Islands of Canso were
included in this exception. They supported this contention
by quoting the French version of the Treaty, which differed,
or could be construed to differ, from the Latin version to which
the British Commissaries adhered. The difference lay between
the exception in favour of the French of Cape Breton and the
other islands "lying in the mouth of the River St. Laurence
and in the Gulf of the same name" (according to the Latin),
and "in the mouth and in the gulf of St. Laurence" (according
to the French). Possibly, as Mr. Pulteney suggested, the words
"du fleuve" had somehow been omitted after "l'embouchure"
in the French version. From these premises, and by a large
interpretation of the "mouth of the Gulf," the French Commissaries maintained their right to the Islands of Canso as
being within it. The British Representatives objected to
opening the jaws of the Gulf so wide. After a heated discussion,
Du Bois consented to submit a report of the Conference to the
Regent for his immediate decision, while Sir Robert Sutton
insisted that any further objections the French might have to
offer should be made in the form of an answer to the Memorial
he had put in (219, 223, i, ii, 231). The French showed no
sign of yielding. The Regent agreed to prohibit French subjects
from fishing off the coast of Nova Scotia within the limits
prescribed by the Treaty. But the Islands of Canso he insisted
were reserved to France as being "situated in the mouth and
in the gulf of St. Laurence," and as being "no part of Nova
Scotia, from which they are separated by a broad and deep arm
of the sea, which is the same as that which separates the
Peninsula, where Nova Scotia is, from the Island of Cape
Breton" (232 ii). Pulteney himself was left guessing as to
whether the islands in question were a parcel of rocks adjoining
the Cape, or separated from it by a large branch of the sea, as
the French maintained (223 i, 231, 238).
Boundaries of Nova Scotia. A French Map.
The reference in Du Bois's memorial to the "Peninsula,
where Nova Scotia is" (232 ii), is significant. The French
Commissaries intended, when they came to treat of the boundaries of Nova Scotia, to limit them "to that part only which
makes it a peninsula" (223 i). The French theory is illustrated
by D'Anville's map, published under the patronage of the
Duke of Orleans, in which the boundary of Nova Scotia is
defined by a line drawn from Lake Ontario to the bottom of
the Bay of Fundy.
Bolingbroke and Cape Breton.
Pulteney narrates an interesting reminiscence of the negotiations for the Treaty of Utrecht It had been proposed to divide
Cape Breton between the French and British. When the
French insisted upon the whole, Bolingbroke remarked that it
could only be with a view to disturbing our settlements of Nova
Scotia. "What," Pulteney comments, "are we to judge of
their insisting on islands which lye much nearer than Cape
Breton to Nova Scotia, and even claiming part of Nova Scotia?"
(223 i). As it was reported that the French were settling on
St. John's Island, facing Chignecto, Lord Townshend enquired
of the Council of Trade how that matter stood (241, 241 xvii,
xviii, 389, 389 i). The Board had to admit that as the Island
lies in the Gulf of St. Laurence, the French title was probably
good. But in view of the attitude of obstruction and encroachment taken up by them, they thought it might be advisable to
claim it under the 12th Article of the Treaty, on the grounds
that it lay so close to the shores that it might be said to
belong to Nova Scotia (405).
Report by Council of Trade.; Survey of Woods.
The Council of Trade had received reports upon the Province
in reply to their Queries from Major Mascarene and Colonel
Vetch (203, 241 xx) In view of the French claims, they stated
in their General Representation what they took to be the correct
boundaries (158, 177, 656), and to counter French encroachments
on the fishery, recommended that the coast and islands should
be provisioned and fortified. The four regiments they proposed
to be sent there would help to supply the place of the French
inhabitants. These, they advised, should be ordered to quit
the Province; but as a matter of grace be allowed to take their
moveable property with them (656). They recommended the
immediate despatch of the Surveyor of H.M. Woods to mark out
200,000 acres of forest lands to be reserved for the Navy, in
order that the Governor might be enabled to proceed with the
granting of lands to settlers as he continued to urge (656, 676).
The value of the Fishery, upon which Philipps continued to
insist, was fully appreciated by the New Englanders (177, 676,
699 ii). He proposed that Canso should be made a free port
Coal mines were already being worked. (177).
Lands between Nova Scotia and Maine.
The Committee of the Privy Council reported upon the claims
and petitions relating to the lands between Nova Scotia and
Maine. They proposed that the tract between the River
Kennebec and St. Croix should be erected into a separate
Government; that the lands between the Kennebec and
Penobscot should continue to be enjoyed by the present
possessors, whilst any part not yet granted should be at the
disposal of Massachusetts to grant at a stated quit rent, on
condition that that Colony renounced all claim to lands north
of Penobscot, and any right of government in the lands east of
the Kennebec. The right of the Crown to the lands from the
north of the Penobscot to the St. Croix was declared to be
Pennsylvania; The Delaware Islands.
Another claim was decided in favour of the Crown. The
Attorney and Solicitor General gave their opinion that no
part of the Delaware River or the islands lying therein were
comprised in the charters either of Pennsylvania or New Jersey,
but that the right to them remained in the Crown (552, 602).
The Council of Trade thereupon recommended Capt. Gookin's
petition for a grant of the islands (646).
Colonel Hart's Report.
Colonel Hart, the late Governor of Maryland, returned
answers as to the conditions, immigration, and resources of the
Colony (309). The Board of Trade in their General Report
recommended the completion of the purchase of the Government
from the Proprietor, and that half of the rents and profits
arising from the Three Lower Counties, as belonging to the
Crown, should be accounted as part payment (306, 316, 566).
In noting the little care taken by the Quaker Province for its
defence, the Board admitted that fair and just dealings with
the Indians had so far rendered it unnecessary (656).
Virginia.; Lt. Gov. Spotswood reconciled with Council, and Assembly.; Policy of Westward Expansion.
At the beginning of 1720, Spotswood was still at feud with
the Blair-Ludwell-Byrd faction in the Council of Virginia.
Blair was active in rousing opposition to the ruling on the right
of the Crown to collation to benefices, and Ludwell still objected
to the Governor's nomination of judges for the Courts of Oyer
and Terminer (12, 147). At the end of April, however, a reconciliation was suddenly effected, and Spotswood invited the
Board of Trade to disregard his former complaints against the
Councillors (62, 63). A lively, if partisan, account of Spotswood's motives in this affair is given by one of his critics (679).
So, too, with the Assembly. Summoned to meet after an
interval of two years, and composed largely of the same representatives as before, it nevertheless responded to Spotswood's
advances by a flattering address (Nov. 1720). The Governor,
who had previously been denounced as an oppressor of H.M.
subjects and subvertor of the Constitution, was now found to
be great and good, just and wise (359, 359 iii, 396, 679). This
Address was the Assembly's reply to Spotswood's opening
speech, in which he appealed for moderation and concord,
and pointed to his own commitments in the Colony as sufficient
proof of his desire for its welfare. Like Governor Nicholson,
he insisted that the prosperity of the Plantations went hand in
hand with the interest of Great Britain. "I look," he said,
"upon Virginia as a rib taken from Great Britain's side, and
believe that while they both proceed as living under the marriage
compact, this Eve might thrive so long as her Adam flourishes,
and whatever serpent shall tempt her to go astray . . . . will
but quicken her husband to rule more strictly over her." The
most important result of the new understanding between
Governor, Council, and Assembly was the passing of several
measures for which Spotswood had long been contending.
Chief among these was the Act for erecting the new counties
of Brunswick and Spotsylvania. In his opening speech Spotswood
reminded the Assembly of the need of measures for
defence, the division of over-large counties and parishes, and
the extension of settlements up to the Great Mountains. Acts
were accordingly passed for dividing counties and parishes
(359 iii, 396), and by the passing of the act for erecting the two
new counties of Spotsylvania and Brunswick, the Council and
Assembly proclaimed their conversion to Spotswood's policy
of westward expansion, in order to safeguard the frontier against
the advance of the French in the valley of the Mississippi.
The object of this act was to secure the passes through the
Blue Ridge. The northern pass at the head of the Rappahannock had been explored by Spotswood, but the Southern
pass, at the head of the Roanoke River, was only known by
hearsay from Indians (359). To encourage the settlement of
these new counties, settlers were exempted from taxation for
ten years, and the provision of a church, a Court-house, and
arms was promised them. The Council and Assembly demonstrated their sense of the urgency of this measure by petitioning
the King not only for the remission of quit-rents, etc., there for
ten years, but also for the erection of a fort at each of the two
passes, to be garrisoned by regular troops. This in a people
"who have the greatest jealousy of and aversion to a military
power," Spotswood observes, was a proof of their "thorough
conviction of the necessity thereof." (359, 359 i., 679). When
his address was referred to the Board of Trade (417, 417 i) the
Commissioners, who had previously recommended that part of
the surplus revenue of the Province should be applied to the
extension of settlements to the frontier and the erection of forts
(147), now reported strongly in favour of granting each item
of the Virginian request.
But if the quit-rents were to be remitted for ten years, they
recommended that care should be taken to safeguard the quit-rents of lands already granted, and to restrict new grants of
land to 1000 acres to any one person in his own or another
name (575). This wise advice, however, did not prevent
Spotswood from obtaining possession of an enormous acreage
in the frontier counties he was determined to develop (679).
Other Acts.; Lighthouse on Cape Henry.; Objection to the Assembly's Agent.; Ship taken by Spanish privateers.
In this he was helped to some extent by a new Act declaring
what shall be a sufficient seating etc. (359, 469, 679). Spotswood
argued at length in favour of another act for the better discovery
of H.M. Quit-rents (359), but Mr. West gave his opinion that it
was a manifest encroachement on the rights of the Crown, and
would tend to weaken its power of recovering quit-rents overdue
(469). Other acts were passed for the improvement of the
tobacco trade, and other objects of local interest. It was
further resolved to build a lighthouse on Cape Henry with the
co-operation of Maryland. But as this would involve a duty
on British shipping, Spotswood asked for instructions before
passing an act for that purpose (396). To one act of some
importance he refused his consent, on grounds which he explained to the Board of Trade. This was an act for regulating
the elections of Burgesses, defining their privileges and ascertaining
their allowances. In order to avoid disputes on that subject,
he asked that the privileges and powers of the House might be
defined. He took exception to the Assembly's attempt to
appoint an Agent on their own account, and to assert control
over the King's officers (396). Two letters from Spotswood,
one to the Board of Trade and the other to Mr. Secretary Craggs,
which are printed in the Spotswood Letters II (pp. 335–343),
are missing from the Colonial Records in London. In the
first, Spotswood transmitted answers to the queries of the Board
(7th Aug. 1719), and their enquiries as to boundaries and encroachments by foreign powers. He announced the capture
of pirates in Captain Knott's vessel, and suggested a Royal
Proclamation for encouraging the discovery of piratical effects.
In the second, he welcomed the announcement of the accession
of Spain to the Quadruple Alliance, gave a list of ships previously
captured by Spanish privateers from St. Augustine, and repeated
the gist of what he had written to the Council of Trade as to
the settlement of his dispute with the Council, and about
pirates. The most important part of the former letter is that
in which he gives his opinion on the subject of the progress and
encroachments of foreign powers on the Continent. In May
1721 he reported that the Spanish privateers were still seizing
British ships, regardless of the Cessation of Arms. He sent a
flag of truce to St. Augustine to demand restitution, but the
Spanish Governor gave him little satisfaction. Spotswood's
comment was pointed:—"The traders in these parts lie at the
mercy of the Spaniards, for if the having on board their vessels
any commodity of the like species with those that are produced
in the Spanish Plantations, nay even a pistole or piece of eight,
which is the common currency of these Colonys, be (as the
Spaniards pretend), sufficient ground for making a prize …
each ship trading in America may be seized. …" (513).
Depredations by Pirates.
The depredations by pirates and the dread of a visit from
Roberts, the pirate who had recently made a raid on ships in
Newfoundland, occasioned the erection of batteries to defend
the mouths of the rivers, whilst the Lt. Governor and Assembly
made request for larger men of war to defend their coast (513).
The Five Nations.
Though the need of coming to an understanding with the
Five Nations of Indians was made apparent by their hostilities
with the Catawbas and other tribes on the Virginian frontier,
and was recommended by the Council of Trade, the Assembly
refused to enter into a Treaty with them until they had consented
to the preliminaries laid down by them in 1717. Negotiations
on the subject are described above (§ 2. New York) (396).
A flourishing Revenue.
Several accounts show the flourishing state of the Virginian
revenue (513 i, ii, etc.)
§ III. THE WEST INDIES.
Bahama Islands.; Rogers' Design against Mexico.
This period opens with an account by Governor Rogers of the
measures he had taken to repel an attack by the Spaniards on the
Bahamas, and information of their preparation to renew it.
Commodore Vernon had sailed from Jamaica with two men of
war, but had arrived too late to intercept them (35, 47, 47 i–iv).
Rogers had hoped to co-operate with Vernon in a counter attack
upon the invaders, and thereby both to teach them a lesson and
obtain some means of support for himself and the Colony. For
with his bills of exchange unpaid, and no instructions received
from home, he was finding the burden of providing for the
garrison and defence of his government intolerable. Without an
Assembly, he could raise no funds in the islands, He applied
for leave to go home, "to settle the affairs of this neglected
Colony," and to answer whatever charges were being laid
against him (47, 167). He was presently in conflict with
Captain Gale, Commander of the guardship Delicia, whom he
arrested for mutinous conduct (167, 167 i–vii). Reports of
the progress made and likely to be made by the French against
the Spaniards in Mexico, stirred in the old sea Captain memories
of his voyage in the South Seas. The Indians in the Spanish
provinces had assured him that if the English or French would
arm and support them, they would rise and free themselves
from the slavery of the Spaniards. The time seemed to him
ripe for putting such a design into practice and forestalling the
French. In November 1720 he paid a visit to South Carolina,
hoping to obtain supplies from Governor Nicholson. But
Nicholson had not arrived. Presently he heard to his consternation
of the sale of the old Bahama Company and the formation
of a new Co-partnership. Concerning this transaction and all
other matters affecting his Government he had been left entirely
in the dark. He heard, too, that his emissary, Lt. Beauchamp,
had played him false, and learned of the vast confusion caused
by the pricking of the South Sea Bubble. He decided therefore
to hasten home in order to justify himself and defend his rights,
to plead the cause of the Colony, and to lay before the Secretary
of State his plan for a secret expedition against Mexico, a scheme
suggested and supported by the highly interesting experience
of Drs. Sinclair and Rowan as Physicians to the Viceroy (47, 47
iii, v., 302, 304 i, 326, 327, 327 i, ii, 390).
Resumption of Patent to the Crown.; The Lessees appeal for help.; And a Charter.
Meantime an attempt had been made on behalf of Lord
Craven to challenge the surrender by the Proprietors of their
Patent during his infancy (157, 157 i, 160). The Board of
Trade, in their reply, carried the war into the enemy's camp.
Even if the surrender had not been made, the Proprietors by
their neglect had forfeited their right of government, and it
might be proper to consider whether they had not also forfeited
their propriety of the soil (161, 161 i–iii). Upon this report, the
Lords Justices ordered the Law Officers of the Crown to bring
a Scire facias for vacating the Letters Patent and resuming
a Scire facias for vacating the Letters Patent and resuming
the Bahama Islands to the Crown (170). The Board of Trade
was also instructed to report what measures were necessary
for their defence (220). The Lessees on being consulted (221),
gave an account of their efforts and expenditure to secure the
Islands. But, threatened with a combined attack by the
pirates who had been expelled, they were obliged to appeal for
assistance from the Government in the shape of guns, ammunition, and an Independent Company (224). The Board of Trade
recommended the despatch of the stores of war requested (225).
In the following Spring, the Lessees petitioned for a Charter
in order to enable them to carry on so great an undertaking
(455, 455 i). They explained their position to the Board of
Trade in a memorial in answer to its enquiries, stating that they
had spent over £100,000 on the recovery and defence of the
islands; disclaiming any intention of the "wicked practice"
of stock jobbing; and making certain offers (498, 506). In
their report upon this proposal, the Board of Trade recommended that the request for a second Independent Company
should be granted, and that the Crown should pay the Governors'
salary until the Colony was able to pay its way. They offered
no objection to granting the Co-partners a Charter of Incorporation, provided that proper precautions were taken to
prevent stock-jobbing, and other inconveniences, which had
arisen in connection with the Incorporated Companies. Such
precautions had been readily agreed to. Powers of Government
were to remain in the Crown (555 i).
Governor Phenney appointed.; Request for Assembly.; Charges against Fairfax.
George Phenney had already been appointed to succeed Rogers
as Governor (524, 536 i). He took with him some guns and
ammunition, but it was then admitted that the Fort Nassau
was in such a state of disrepair that it required to be rebuilt
before the guns could be mounted. But funds for that purpose
and other public works could not be raised except through an
Assembly. For an Assembly, then, the Governor and Council
petitioned (726, 728). James Gohier, one of the Co-partners,
who was acting as Agent and Factor for the Company, brought
charges against William Fairfax whom Rogers had appointed
to act as Lieutenant Governor (302, 390, 728 iv, v).
Barbados. Governor Lowther, recalled, suspends Samuel Cox.; Cox suspended. Col. Frere President of Council.; Act for better preserving the peace.
Robert Lowther, Governor of Barbados, having been recalled, March 1720, to answer the charges which had been
preferred against him (20, 20 i), it was further represented that
he intended to suspend Samuel Cox, the eldest Councillor, in
order that his nephew, Col. John Frere, the next in seniority,
might carry on the administration as President of the Council
(21. i). Sir Charles Cox petitioned on behalf of his brother,
and Mr. Secretary Craggs at once wrote to remind Lowther of
his instructions regarding the eldest Councillor (25, 30–32). The
Council of Trade, however, represented that Sir Charles Cox's
petition being founded merely on apprehension, and not upon
fact, it could not be presumed otherwise than that Lowther
would act according to his instructions (36). But the apprehension was quickly justified by fact. Charges had been
brought against Cox of illegal trading and illicit proceedings
when Naval Officer (34), and though Craggs sent Lowther more
explicit orders in June, bidding him follow his instructions as
to leaving the government in the hands of the eldest Councillor,
and on no pretence whatsoever to exclude Samuel Cox (105),
a month later Colonel Frere was writing from Barbados as
President of the Council and Commander in Chief (145). Lowther
in fact, before departing, had not only suspended Cox, but also
it was alleged, having put all offices, civil and military, in the
hands of such persons as would prevent an examination into
his maladministration, he had passed an act, for better preserving
the peace and tranquillity of the Island. This act curtailed the
powers of the President, and was intended to prevent the
displacement of the officers Lowther had appointed, by making
the consent of seven members of Council necessary for that
purpose instead of five and the Governor. As there were only
eight members of Council in the island, this placed the negative
in the power of two of them.
Cox, restored, retaliates.; Suspends Councillors and quarrels with Assembly.
The Lords Justices thereupon directed that Cox should be
restored, and ordered Frere to appear before the King in Council
to answer for contempt (317, 366 i). Cox promptly availed
himself of his power as President of the Council to retaliate.
Ignoring the "Tranquillity Act," he suspended Colonel Frere
and six other members of Council, replacing them by his friends,
and displacing the militia officers without the advice or consent
of the Council. (Jan. 1721, Nos. 317, 364, 366, 366 i–v).
He was expected to displace the judges, and then to dissolve
the Assembly and, with the aid of his creatures, to summon a
new one to divide the spoil (364). He was charged outright
with being interested in trade with Martinique. The facilities
he gave to the French traders to explore the island and its
fortifications produced an outburst of indignation (364, 384).
A Jacobite revolution.; Cox suspended and Councillors restored.
Frere, relying upon Lowther's influence at Court to reverse
this state of affairs, organised addresses to the Crown, both in
the country and at a private meeting of the Assembly after it
had been adjourned by Cox. Over this Cox fell foul first with
the Speaker, and then with the rest of the Assembly (366, 366
i–v, 374, 384, 419 i, 421, 422 i, ii, 423 i, ii). The suspended
Councillors, in a petition to the King, and the Assembly in
their address made it plain that the changes made by Cox were
all in favour of the Jacobite and Frenchified party, whose hand
had been shown during the late Mr. Sharpe's Presidency (422 ii,
423 ii), The blatancy of these proceedings prompted the
Council of Trade to recommend that Cox should be suspended
both from the Presidentship and the Council, and that six of
the seven Councillors he had suspended should be restored (the
case of Colonel Frere lying before the Lords Justices). Further
proceedings, they hinted, should be taken against Cox for his
arbitrary and illegal behaviour (435 i).
Appointment and death of Lord Irvine.; Cox and the new Assembly.
In the meantime Viscount Irwin (Irvine) had been appointed
to succeed Governor Lowther (Jan. 1721, 367, 370). But
before he could sail, he died of small-pox (517). In the absence
of a Governor, confusion increased in Barbados. Cox went
from one extreme to another. Having dissolved the Assembly
he called another. But in the elections for the parishes his
opponents carried four, in spite of the efforts of the Sheriffs,
whom Cox had put in. This gave eight Lowtherites against
ten Coxites. But the parishes of St. James and St. Andrews
were not represented, writs for them not having been published.
If they had been, it was thought, Cox's supporters would have
been in a minority. When they met to be sworn, an endeavour
was made, by locking them into a room, to compel the elected
members to form a house. But the eight Lowtherite members
managed to escape, and refused to make a house until representatives had been returned for the remaining two parishes
(490, 490 i, ii). Cox then issued new writs for all six parishes,
although the elected members were alive and had not been
expelled. Elections were held in a disorderly fashion described
in No. 517. Protests and remonstrances were entered (490 i, ii,
517, 517 i–iii).
Arrest of Cox ordered.; Lord Belhaven appointed.; Alterations in Lord Belhaven's Instructions.
On learning of these proceedings, the Council of Trade proposed that Lord Belhaven, who had been appointed Governor
in April, should proceed immediately to Barbados and send
Cox home under arrest, to answer for his behaviour (590).
Orders were given to this effect, and also for restoring the civil
and military officers displaced by Cox. Lord Belhaven was
to enquire into and report upon the complaints lodged against
him by the Assembly and suspended Councillors (508–510).
At the same time Lowther's act for preserving the peace etc.,
was repealed (511). Belhaven was to restore Colonel Frere
if he thought fit (609), but Cox was retained in the list of
Councillors, until he had been heard in his defence (605, 630).
Cox having restored the suspended Councillors, in obedience to
these orders in Council, soon took occasion to complain that
they were heaping insults upon him, and obstructing the
administration by quarrelling with the Assembly and declaring
the Excise Act void (621). He brought some charges against
Judge Sutton, whilst asserting his own innocence, and he
presently removed him (675, 675 i, 687, 687 i–v, 713, 753, 754).
To this the Council of Barbados replied, representing his behaviour as "one continued series of tyranny and oppression"
(709, 710). The arrival of Lord Belhaven was therefore
anxiously awaited. The Commission and Instructions which
had been prepared for Lord Irvine were transferred to Lord
Belhaven. The Instructions varied considerably from those
which had been given to Governor Lowther. In the first place
they embodied those alterations which had been made in the
Instructions given to the Governor of Jamaica (Dec. 18, 1717),
as well as Additional Instructions since ordered.
Private Acts.; Customs House Officers.; President of the Council.
In the next place, a new clause was inserted to pevent private
acts from coming into force until they had received the sanction
of the Crown, and unless public notice had been given by the
parties concerned of their intention to apply for them. A new
article exempting Customs House officers from serving on juries or
in the Militia complied with a request from the Commissioners
of Customs. In view of the dearth of white people in Barbados,
the article recommending the erection fo work-houses was
omitted. An addition to the Article relating to the President
of the Council was designed to prevent a repetition of Cox's
misbehaviour (456, 458, 474, 478, 605, 605 i, 630).
Presents to Governors.
Lord Belhaven had requested that the restriction as to
presents from the Assembly might be removed, since it had not
been observed in the past, and it was recognised that the
Governor's salary was insufficient. The Council of Trade
reported that if the Instructions had been ignored, it was a
pernicious practice. But if the salary was inadequate, they
had no objection to the Assembly being empowered to make
immediately upon his arrival, such addition as it thought fit,
to the Governor's salary, provided that it was a settlement for
the duration of his Governorship. This was sanctioned. The
addition must be granted by the first Assembly after the
Governor's arrival (550 i, 553 i, 563, 565, 605, 605 i).
Tobago included in Governor's Commission.; Death of Lord Belhaven.; Worsley appointed Governor.
Lord Irvine, shortly before his death, had raised the point
that Tobago was not mentioned in his Commission (377). The
Council of Trade gave their opinion that there was no reason
why it should not be (38, 456, 4, 47). Belhaven asked
leave to encourage planting there and permission to make grants
of land (659 i). The Council of Trade thereupon expressed
their agreement in general, provided it was done by the adice
of he Council of Barbados and in such a way as not to interfere
wth the produce of the other Caribbee Islands, by the planting
of more sugar canes. Attention should be concentrated on
indigo, anatto, and cocoa, for which the soil was fitted; and
which the other Islands did not produce. Exemption for quit-rents
might be granted for three years to the new planters, and
grants limited to 500 acres to any one person, but not to any
resident in the other islands (666). When Carteret suggested
that it would be better to reduce the limit of grants (671), the
Board revised their proposal, suggesting a maximum of 300
acres with the obligation upon each patentee to cultivate one
in fifty every year, and to employ white servants in the proportion proposed by them for settling the French part of St.
Christopher (678). An Additional Instruction to this effect
was then drawn up (689, 693). The untimely death of Lord
Belhaven, drowned on the outward voyage, prevented his
putting these plans into execution. Henry Worsley was
appointed to succeed him (725, 733 i, 749, 752).
Lowther and Gordon.
The Rev. William Gordon, the trading parson, had urged
the settlement of Tobago and described its possibilities to
Townshend and Carteret (460, 460 i, iii). Governor Lowther,
in replying to the charges brought against him in connection
with Mr. Gordon, reviewed in lively terms the latter's conduct,
before he had fled from the Island with Blenman and Hope.
Lowther represented that he had circulated "a large cargo of
that braded stuff call'd The Miserable State of Barbados," to
which he had replied by his declaration in the previous year.
Gordon's answers to Lowther's Declaration having been voted
by the Council and Assembly to be false, scandalous, and
seditious, they were burned by the common hangman before
the Customs House door, and his character having been shown
by many depositions to be worse even than Lowther had represented to the Bishop of London, an act was passed to deprive
him of his benefice (29, 452). So Lowther. But his accusations
against Gordon were found by the Lords Justices to be altogether
groundless, a verdict somewhat surprising in view of the evidence
Lowther had accumulated against him (280). Gordon was
therefore encouraged to petition against the act depriving him
of his benefice, as well as the act for regulating Vestries, which
was also directed against him, and the Council of Trade advised
their repeal (280, 361 ii, iii, 439, 616).
Report upon Acts.; Act for commuting powder duty repealed. Act for security by appellees.
Several acts were considered, and the Council of Trade in
reporting upon them advised that thirty three of them should
be allowed to lie by probationary, until it was seen what their
effect was (114, 149, 348, 495, 529 i, 616). The act empowering
the Governor to commute the powder duty was repealed (114, 139,
265, 290). The act appointing security to be given by appellees
was presented for confirmation by the Council of Trade, in spite
of a protest from a patent office holder, who argued that it
encroached upon his perquisites (462 i, 465, 576, 576 i, 588).
Sta. Lucia. Reports and Petitions.
Whilst the Commissaries at Paris were waiting for the French
to substantiate their claim to Sta. Lucia (2), William Sharpe,
formerly President of the Council of Barbados, and Mr. Gordon
made reports upon its history and resources (6 i, 7, 148), and
Capt. Evans petitioned for a grant of the island to himself and
others (87, 721). The Council of Trade reported that they had
no objection to his being awarded a portion there on the same
conditions as they had laid down for settling Tobago (724).
Bermuda Census.; Pirates threaten.; John Hope succeeds Bennett.
In returning a census of the inhabitants of Bermuda, Lt.
Governor Bennett observed that one third of the white
population was generally at sea (463, 463 ii). A pirate was
executed there in Aug. 1720 (277, 277 i). Bennett reported
that the pirates were threatening to seize the island, and make
the place "a new Madagascar." He forwarded accounts of
the atrocitites by John Roberts and others (463, 463 iii). Bennett
was superseded in Aug. 1721, John Hope being appointed in
his stead (624). His Instructions were similar to those given
to Lord Belhaven for Barbados (652, 680 i).
Jamaica.; The Assembly recalcitrant.; Depredations by Spanish Privateers.; Tax on Jews.
From Jamaica the Lieutenant Governor, Sir Nicholas Lawes,
announced that the Assembly had made a dutiful address in
reply to his Speech, when they met after an adjournment in
June, 1720. He was in hopes that they would comply with
their engagements (116). In November, however, he had to
report that his endeavours to induce them to obey the King's
orders had proved ineffectual. The country being in debt, it
was impossible to pay the money due to Lord Archibald
Hamilton out of the revenue, and the Assembly refused to
reimburse the Treasury for that debt, or to settle a revenue.
Finding them in this mood, Lawes adjourned them till the
beginning of the year, after they had passed an additional
duty bill laying a tax on negroes imported and exported, with
an exemption in favour of those touching only for refreshment,
and another act laying £1000 tax on Jews, to provide for two
country sloops to guard the coast against pirates and privateers
from Trinidado (288, 288 i–iii). In what Commodore Vernon
termed a lying preamble to the latter act, the Assembly declared
that the Naval Squadron failed to protect their coasts and
trade, and further charged the men of war with carrying on
trade to the detriment of the merchants (527 i–xxxv). For
Spanish privateers commissioned and protected, particularly
by the Governor of Trinidado in Cuba, ignored the cessation of
arms, and continued to infest the island, and even landed and
carried off negroes from the Jamaica plantations (213, 288, 340,
523, 527 i ff, 634). The tax thus laid upon Jews, however,
was thought by Lawes to be excessive (523). They were already
subject to several disabilities, and as loyal subjects of the King,
they resented and petitioned against being excepted from the
Act for encouraging white settlers (720 i).
Lawes suggests an Act of Parliament for settling the Revenue, and dissolves the Assembly.
In view of the stubborn attitude of the Assembly, Lawes
suggested that pressure should now be applied by the introduction of a bill in the House of Commons for settling the
revenue, even if this were only intended as a gesture. He
proposed that such an Act should render the Government independent of the Assembly by doubling the quit rents, and
adding to them the provisions of the Additional duty bill and
revenue act (288, 288 i–iii, 459, 523, 634, 705). At the end
of the year the Council of Trade wrote expressing their anxiety
for the passing of the perpetual revenue act, and repeating
assurances to the Assembly that no reasonable privileges would
be denied H.M. subjects if they passed it (338). But the
Assembly was not to be cajoled. "Heats and animosities and
private views" prevailed when the House met again in January,
until Lawes was driven to dissolve it (459). But the new
Assembly when it met in June, 1721, proved to be still of the
same mind, and under the influence of Peter Beckford and his
faction (562). The majority still refused to make good the
growing deficit of the Treasury, or to comply with the King's
commands for the payment of the money due to Lord Archibald
Hamilton. Warrants were issued for the arrest of those
Members who recorded their reasons for dissenting from the
resolution of the House on this subject (380, 527 xxxv, 562,
562 ii). After several messages had passed between the
Governor and the House, the Assembly drew up an Address
to the King stating their reasons for not complying with the
Sign Manual (364, 364 i, 380).
Acts passed.; Encouragement of Immigrants from the Leeward Islands prohibited.; Mosquito Indians brought to suppress rebellious negroes.
When the House met after a prorogation, and again took
up its quarrel with the Members who had given their reasons
for dissenting from the resolution upon Hamilton's debt, Lawes
once more urged the intervention of Parliament. (705, 705 i).
He had given his assent to four acts, including one defining the
qualifications of members of Assembly, and another for settling
the North East part of the Island, on which he commented (634).
The Assembly had been anxious to encourage settlers in the
Virgin Islands to emigrate to Jamaica, and proposals were
sent to that effect (213, 213 vii, 288, 500, 562, 562 iii, 597). But
as this would obviously conflict with the interests of the Leeward
Islands, Lawes was instructed not to countenance any such
measure (500, 640). It had been intended to settle the immigrants in the Eastern part of the Island. At the same time
a party of Mosquito Indians was brought over from the mainland
to track down and suppress the rebellious and runaway negroes,
who were maintaining themselves in the woods and mountains
(213, 213 viii, 288).
Commodore Vernon and French indigo.
Lawes was involved in a violent dispute with Capt. Vernon,
Commodore of the Naval Squadron. The Governor ordered
the seizure of some French indigo imported from Hispaniola.
The Commodore intervented to prevent the search of the vessels
in question, since they had already received their clearances
(340, 340 i–vi, 472 i–iv, 496 i, ii, 527 iv ff.) In response to
enquiries by the Board of Trade as to the state of the law upon
the subject (558), it did not appear that there was any English
law to prevent the importation of French indigo into England.
Nor, on the other hand, did the clearing of a ship preclude it
from subsequent seizure, should it afterwards appear liable
to forfeiture for breach of the Acts of Trade and Navigation
(603). Lawes, however, justified his action by a clause in the
Revenue Act of Jamaica, which referred only to searchers on
land for goods landed without paying the duties imposed by
that act. There was no proof that the indigo in question was
French or had been landed without paying duty (608). There
was, indeed, a Jamaica act to prevent fraudulent trade to Hispaniola
etc., by which masters of ships bound from Jamaica were prohibited from carrying any indigo which was not grown in that
island. This act, however, was repealed after Lawes had failed
to induce the Assembly to amend it, the Board of Trade finding
that it encroached on the Prerogative (338, 459), and was a
restraint of trade and navigation not warranted by English
law. (338, 459, 607, 627). The importation of indigo, whatever
its country of origin, was in fact recognised as legal and desirable, and the French indigo which Lawes had ordered to be
seized was ordered to be restored (608, 628).
Trial and execution of notorious pirates.
More dramatic and more far-reaching in its effect was the
execution in Jamaica of some of the most notorious pirates of
the day. First a trading sloop belonging to the island, and
commanded "by a brisk fellow, one Jonathan Barnet" fell
in with and took John Rackham and his crew (288). They
were tried and executed at St. Jago de la Vega on Nov. 16,
1720 (340, 463 iii, 523, 523 i).
Rackham, Vane, Anne Bonnay, and Mary Reid.
Shortly afterwards the "famous fellow" Charles Vane and
others were captured and followed Rackham to the gallows, where
they "died most profligate impudent fellows" (459, 463 iii).
With them were two spinsters of Providence Island, who, clad
in men's clothes, had taken active parts as pirates. The proceedings at their trials were published (523 i, 634 iii). Following
upon the fate of Teach and others in Carolina, the Bahamas,
Bermuda and the Leeward Islands, the execution of these pirates
had a strikingly deterrent effect upon the profession, which
the cessation of arms and calling in of privateers had threatened
to overcrowd (213, 523). But whilst these penalties were being
inflicted on pirates, Capt. Vernon wrote curious accounts to the
Admiralty of the protection afforded to them by the inhabitants
of Jamaica, including the Attorney-General, an Irish Papist
and one of the Beckford-Totterdale group (527 iii, iv).
Duke of Portland appointed Governor
It was evident that Lawes was not capable of coping with
the political situation. Settlement of the Revenue had become
urgent. Sir Charles Cox petitioned for the Government as a
reward for his good behaviour in Parliament and a means of
restoring his broken fortunes. He was willing that the
Governor's salary should be assigned to some other person, he
himself being content with the perquisites (4). But it was
decided that the situation required the appointment of a person
of distinction and address. The Duke of Portland was chosen,
a man of great personal charm, who added to the prestige of
rank a record of capable service in Parliament (656, 664, 655,
677). His Instructions followed the lines of those recently
drawn up for the Governor of Barbados (688, 744 i.)
Drought in the Leeward Islands.
A severe drought was afflicting the Leeward Islands, ruining
the sugar crop and causing so acute a dearth of provisions that
the Governor appealed for a gift from the Crown (28, 204 i, 500).
One effect of the drought was to cause settlers to quit the
islands, especially in the case of Anguilla. But Governor
Hamilton resented the invitation extended by Jamaica to such
as wished to emigrate to that island. The result, he represented,
would be to weaken the man-power of the Leeward Islands,
and also to encourage debtors to abscond. The Governor of
Jamaica was thereupon ordered to withhold his assent to any
encouragement of the sort that might be offered (213, 213 vii,
Pirates.; Dispute over Admiralty perquisites.; Guardships inadequate,; And not subject to Governor's orders.; Col. John Hart appointed Governor.; Replies to Queries.
The activity of pirates off Barbados and Antigua prompted
Hamilton to send the guardship to meet the trade fleet expected
from Home (28). The capture of the pirate ship, Royal Rover,
led to a dispute between the Governor, (who by virtue of his
Vice-Admiralty Commission claimed the right to hold pirates'
effects for the use of the Crown and the Lord High Admiral)
and the local deputy of the Receiver General of the rights
and perquisites of Admiralty (28). The guardships appointed
to this station were, Hamilton reported, not capable of protecting
the island against pirates, and even if they were, their
prolonged absences at Boston or Barbados left it at the
mercy of "these vermin." For there was no harbour where
a ship could be careened and refitted (251). Roberts,
indeed, in the Royal Fortune, actually entered Basseterre
Road in broad daylight, cut out and set fire to some ships,
laughed at the Fort and sent an insulting letter to the
Lt. Governor of St. Christopher (251, 251 i–v). Hamilton,
in forwarding some acts, again complained of the delay caused
by lack of means of communication between the several islands.
The Islands refused to pay the cost of a packet, and the Captain
of the guardship held himself at his own disposal, and refused
to take the Governor's orders when there was a chance of
intercepting pirates by co-operating with the French at
Martinique (500, 500 i, 501, 501 i–xxix). Once more it was
urged that the Commanders of station ships should be placed
under the orders of Governors. When, in May 1721, Hamilton
was superseded by Col. John Hart, formerly Lt.-Governor of
Maryland, the Board of Trade in submitting his Instructions,
supported this proposal (480, 654). Hamilton had complained
that officers in the Islands were ignorant and dilatory in making
the returns required to enable him to answer his Instructions
(107). But in July, 1720, he forwarded some full accounts of
the condition and products of the several Islands (204, 204 i).
Antigua, Acts repealed.
Among the Acts of Antigua mentioned in this volume, those
for declaring the qualification of voters, and for establishing a
Court of King's Bench etc., were repealed for reasons given by
the Board of Trade (594, 610, 626).
Map revised.; Report.; Montserrat Acts.; Lt. Governor absentee.; Compensation for the Raid.; Nevis, Iberville's claims.; Militia Act.
Objections were raised to and defence made of an Act imposing
a duty on sugar and other produce imported from the French
Islands (557, 557 i, iii, iv, 617, 623, 623 i, 641 i). An act was
passed for encouraging the enterprise of Thomas Santhill in
making hanging coppers, horizontal windmills, a new form of
lime-kilns and an engine for forcing water into boiling houses
for the manufacture of sugar (28 i). A map of the island was
sent and returned for revision (204 i, 227 viii, ix). A report
upon this and the other islands was made by Governor Hamilton
(204 i). He forwarded three acts of Montserrat. One was
for reducing interest from 10 to 6 per cent., and another exempting Members of Council and Assembly from arrest on public
days, "the gentlemen," he explained, "being most of them under
some encumbrances and apprehensions of being taken up"
(28 i). Talmash, the Lieutenant Governor, continued to enjoy
leave of absence (41, 700). The Act which had granted him
the excise duties for salary was repealed in the island. As all
other taxes were paid in produce, and the cash paid for excise
duties was being handed to the Lt. Governor, it was found
that the Treasury was left short of ready money (633). The
impoverishment of the island caused by the French raid in
1712 had caused many of the inhabitants to emigrate. Others
were preparing to do so. To encourage them to remain or
return, Col. Hart, the new Governor, was given a comforting
message assuring the inhabitants that pressure was about to be
used to secure the compensation for their losses promised in
the Treaty of Utrecht (684). Similar assurances of succour
and protection were given to the inhabitants of Nevis, over
whose heads still hung the demands based on Iberville's raid
in 1706 (685). A further exposition of their case had been
forwarded by Hamilton in reply to the memorial of M. d'
Iberville. It was quite beyond the resources of the island to
satisfy his claim, if it was decided to be valid (28, 204). The
representation of the Council and Assembly, relating to the
Capitulation and the treatment of the hostages, was supported
by a batch of depositions (28, 204 xix–xxxvii, 295 i). The
attack by pirates on their neighbouring island, roused the
inhabitants to pass a Militia act, which had long been hanging
fire (512). As in Antigua, an act was passed to encourage
"a new projection of making a mill" etc. (500 i).
St. Christopher. Former French part.
Apart from the attack by pirates referred to above,
little of importance happened in St. Christopher. A map
of the island was ordered to be made, which would
include a survey of the former French part (204 i).
There was a good deal of correspondence relating to the confirmation of grants of land in that part (307, 307 i etc.), and the
South Sea Company petitioned for a grant of the whole (350
i., v. § 1). The new Governor, Hart, before setting out, made
some suggestions for the disposal of these lands (548), and the
Board of Trade, reverting to their former representation,
suggested that some of the lands they had proposed to be set
aside for poor people, should be assigned to those who were
anxious to quit the Virgin Islands (597).
Newfoundland Fishery.; Salmon Fishery.
Replies to revised Heads of Enquiry, and returns of the
Fishery were sent in by the Commodore of the Convoy to Newfoundland (38 i, 260 i, ii, 400 i). Multitudes of French ships
were reported to be fishing on the Banks (243, 260 i), and illegal
trade was rife (699 v). But until a regular Government and
Admiralty Court were established, it seemed useless to create
Customs House Officers there (699). Abuses in connection
with the Fishery and infringements of the regulations continued
as of yore, together with the ruinous effect of rum. They are fully
reported by Commodore Percy, who also regarded the continuous
importation of Irish Roman Catholic servants as constituting
a danger to the island. The Salmon Fishery claimed by George
Skeffington, which the Board of Trade wished to encourage,
made some progress this year, and was not molested (40, 260 i).
William Keen, however, represented that the salmon fishery
was his enterprise, and Skeffington merely his factor (335,
Petition for resident authority.; Board of Trade's reply.
In the absence of any resident authority during the winter,
the inhabitants who remained after the departure of the Convoy
were lawless and unrestrained (260 i, 331). When a murder
was committed in Petit Harbour, this Keen arrested the
murderer and sent him home for trial, together with two
witnesses. But he represented that this was done at his own
expense and without any power or authority on his part for
so doing. He therefore, together with the inhabitants of Petit
(Petty) Harbour, petitioned for the appointment of a resident
authority at St. John's to deal with cases of crime during the
winter (331, 331 i). The Board of Trade, however, adduced
this and similar outrages as a further argument in support
of their contention that the inhabitants should move from
Newfoundland to Nova Scotia. "For," they added, "such
inhabitants as do remain in Newfoundland after the return of
the Fishery Fleet, besides their disorderly way of living there,
do for the most part promote the trade and fishery of New
England, to the detriment of their Mother Country" (441).
Fort at Placentia.
Correspondence passed as to the site and materials for the
new Fort at Placentia (11, 17, 18, 23, 442 i).
The Lt. Governor of Placentia was reprimanded for delaying
the publication of the Proclamation inviting the inhabitants to
remove to Nova Scotia (279, 281 i).
Pirates raid the Fishery.
Lt. Governor Gledhill remarked that if the Government
intended to destroy or remove the Fishery from Newfoundland,
the pirates were helping to do that very effectually. In the
summer of 1720 they raided the Fishery Fleet at Trepassy and
St. Mary's, capturing or destroying 150 boats and 26 sloops.
They remained there for a fortnight whilst they compelled the
crew of the captured ships to fit out one of the ships for their
use—the Royal Fortune. These pirates were the remnant of
the crew of the Royal Rover, under Bartholomew Roberts.
Roberts was a savage and brutally cruel barbarian. But if
Spotswood's account is correct, and he sailed into Trepassy in a
sloop of 10 guns and with only 60 men, and there dominated
in this way the confused and leaderless Fishery Fleet with 1200
men and 40 pieces of cannon, one cannot withhold admiration
for his bravery and daring (200, 251 iii, iv, 277 ii, 281 i, 325).
A letter from Lt. John Riggs—a relative of Charles Delafaye—to General Nicholson contains a vivid reminder of the hardships
of a march from Pemaquid to Norridgewack against the French
and "Indians, about 30 years agoe." (263).
The Dodan at Nevis is again mentioned several times in
connection with Iberville's raid (204 xxiv). Ever since 1699 it
has occurred in this Calendar as the name, in the West Indies,
for a strong place of retreat among the mountains, to which
inhabitants could retire in case of invasion. Hitherto I had
failed to discover the derivation of the word. I am now confident that it must have been dos d'âne, the mountain ridge,
or as we might say, the "hog's back."
Mr. Popple's garden at Hampstead.
In former volumes we have had several indications that
Governors paid compliments to William Popple, the Secretary
of the Board of Trade, by sending him small presents of Colonial
produce, or, more particularly, from Virginia and elsewhere
at his request, plants and seeds for his garden. In this volume
we find General Nicholson arranging to send him from South
Carolina "some flowers and plants according to your desire …
for your parradice at Hampstead." Popple was evidently
an enthusiastic gardener as well as a highly capable Secretary.
It would be interesting if one could trace any of these early
eighteenth-century plants and flowers from America, like Sir
Walter Raleigh's Catalpa tree in Gray's Inn. But I have
been unable to discover the site of the home of the Popple
dynasty and William's "parradice" at Hampstead.
Feudal service on Colonial frontier proposed.
An instance of the application of an old feudal service to
Colonial frontier developments is to be found in the recommendation by the Council of Trade that grants of land bordering
on the Altamaha river should be held of the Crown by the
tenure of Castle Guard.