Pages v-xlviii

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 38, 1731. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1938.

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As in the previous volume of the Calendar, the papers here abstracted cover only a single year in place of the two years which were included in each of the volumes immediately preceding it in the series. There are 595 abstracts for 1731, a number that does not appear greatly in excess of 547 for 1728 and 520 for 1729, which together formed a single volume. But attached to the despatches for 1731 there are many more important enclosures which have demanded abstraction at length, and many of the correspondents of the Board of Trade, like David Dunbar, wrote at such length that their letters each cover several pages. It has seemed more convenient therefore to confine the volume to the papers of 1731.
§ I.
of the
The year was one of peace and there were fewer complaints about the outrages of Spanish guarda-costas than usual. Claims for damages sustained from the Spaniards during the late war were still coming in (e.g. 2 and enclosures) and these were sent to the commissioners who had been set up to deal with claims for compensation for illegal seizures (see Introduction C.S.P. 1730, pp. vi–vii). The House of Commons was much interested in the subject and the Duke of Newcastle conveyed the King's orders to the Board of Trade that they should lay before the House accounts of the progress made by the Commissioners pursuant to the Treaty of Seville, Journal, p. 180). In consequence of this order the Board wrote to the commissioners at Madrid asking what had been done, but they received the reply (17 April 1731, Journal, p. 196) that nothing had been doing owing to the delay of the King of Spain in appointing commissaries to join with the British in the examination of the claims. In October the memorials and accounts of the several losses of his Majesty's subjects by the depredations of the Spaniards were sent out to the Secretary of the Commissioners in Madrid (Journal, p. 238), copies of them being kept in the office of the Board but the covering letters and much of the materials are not to be found among the papers here calendared because they were filed under the heading "Trade. Spain. Losses," as we can ascertain from the Journal, and they are now separated from the colonial papers. This emphasises the need to consult the Trade Papers of the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations concurrently with the calendared Colonial Papers in order to secure a complete conspectus of the business passing through the hands of the Board at any particular date. In relation to the proceedings of Benjamin Keene and the other commissioners, of course, reference should also be made to State Papers, Foreign, Spain.
The Trade
Papers of
the Board
of Trade.
The papers are of direct interest for an understanding of the mechanism of the colonial trade with the West Indies and systematic papers like the schedule of losses sustained by the Governors and Company of the Royal Exchange Insurance and of the ships taken in 1727 that were insured by the London Assurance, which are contained among the Trade Papers (Journal, p. 238), are of greater use than the fragmentary accounts for single ships which have alone come into the Colonial Papers. The point must be emphasised that the Board was one of "Trade" as well as "Plantations" and that it made no distinction between the two sides of its work.
Disaster to
the Spanish
The Spaniards suffered a serious loss in the autumn of 1731 by the disaster that befel the fleet of 3 men of war and 4 large galleons which set sail from Havana for Cadiz early in September. The news came to London from Boston in a letter from Governor Belcher of Massachusetts. A Boston ship on a voyage thither from Jamaica had met in the Windward Passage with a dismasted Spanish galleon which reported that a few days after the fleet had sailed from Havana for Cadiz they met with a violent storm which caused them very considerable damage and three of the ships were driven on shore on the cays in the Windward Passage. The Spaniards told them that the flagship had on board 30 millions of money, and Governor Belcher, in sending on the sworn deposition of the Boston shipmaster, his informant, remarked that this was the richest fleet that ever went from the Spanish West Indies, which was almost assuredly an exaggeration. He believed that the disaster must certainly have an effect upon the affairs of Europe. (461, 484 i, ii).
Salvage of
the Genoesa
In the papers of 1730 abstracted in our previous volume reference was made to the loss of the Spanish galleon Genoesa, which was wrecked off the coast of Jamaica. The inhabitants of that island had pillaged the wreck and carried off many of the effects of the Spaniards and hidden them in the interior so that Governor Hunter had to send down a navy ship, H.M.S. Adventure to collect the treasure aboard and bring it into safe custody. We have here an account of the treasure salved amounting to a total of nearly 260,000 dollars, which illustrates the great value of the silver cargoes still carried by the Spanish galleons. For the service of salvage thus rendered a sum of 21,404 dollars was charged by Governor Hunter. (25 i, v).
and the
The Jamaican colonists were very alarmed by the evidence that was collected of the aid afforded by the Spaniards of Cuba to their rebellious negroes, and Governor Hunter wrote to the Duke of Newcastle that there could be no doubt of the negroes' correspondence with and encouragement from the Spaniards (25). One of the captains of the rebels at Port Antonio had been to the Spaniards in Cuba and had told of the numbers in revolt and their inclinations to join with any who invaded Jamaica, as was learned from the examination of the rebellious negroes who had been captured (25 iii). In view of the recent designs of the Spaniards for the invasion of the island in the north-east, where the British troops and the disaffected Irish militia found it impossible to carry out effective pacification, such news was most disquieting, and the fears of the planters were increased by the news received from a captured letter from Dublin that the Irish Roman Catholic clergy were receiving orders from Rome to send missionaries to Jamaica and the circumjacent places who would organise measures of rebellion among the Papists in concert with the Spaniards (25, 25 iv).
Progress of
the French
in the West
The rise of the French islands in the West Indies caused very considerable concern to the British authorities, for, although the two Powers were at peace, it was felt that, if their good relations should be disturbed, the British islands would be gravely menaced. There arc many documents referring to the rapid increase in prosperity of the French planters, and it was especially the settlements in Hispaniola that were regarded as a danger.
The General Assembly of Barbados wrote to the Board of Trade and Plantations that Martinique had arrived "to a very great pitch of prosperity and power and affords new supplies of people for settling the neighbouring islands of Dominica, St. Vincent and St. Lucia. Guadeloupe, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, Grenada and Cayenne increase and flourish in proportion: and on Hispaniola the French spread so fast as to become formidable to their neighbours" (386, p. 243). There was much more to fear from the assistance given by the French to the rebellious negroes in Jamaica than from the Spaniards, for they were very strong and numerous in Hispaniola and lying to windward might land a body of troops on Jamaica in a night's time (Evidence of Richard Harris of Jamaica to the Board of Trade, Journal, p. 206). Before the Treaty of Utrecht Martinique had few, if any, more inhabitants than the smaller British island of Antigua, but whereas the inhabitants of the latter had scarcely increased in eighteen years' peace by one man, yet the French in Martinique had augmented their number near tenfold. In case of a rupture with France the settlers in Antigua believed that this would prove their ruin as well as that of the other Leeward Islands. The French in Hispaniola were also possessed of a large and fruitful tract of land with numerous inhabitants and a very great trade to almost all parts and their forces and sugar settlements were equal to those at Martinique, while they were making new settlements in Dominica and St. Lucia, at each of which places according to the best accounts there were already settled near 500 inhabitants (Representation of the Council and Assembly of Antigua, 494, pp. 348 9). The cause and effects of this increasing prosperity of the French islands will be referred to later in this Introduction when we come to speak of the decay of the sugar trade of the British colonies.
Sweden and
the "Neutral
The long-standing difficulties over the "Neutral Islands" seemed likely to be further increased by the arrival of a new competitor in the field. The British Minister in Sweden wrote to Lord Harrington, Secretary of State for the Northern Department, that there was a project on foot to carry on at Gothenburg a trade directly to the West Indies in order to buy raw sugar and tobacco at first hand to be refined and manufactured in Sweden, and the project was based upon the island of Tobago over which James, Duke of Courland claimed rights under a pretended grant of King Charles II. He was proposing to cede the island to the King of Sweden for a sum of money, and Lord Harrington sent on the Minister's letter to the Board of Trade with a request that they would inform him of the British pretensions to Tobago in order that the projected sale by the Duke of Courland might be stopped (389 i, ii, 395, 396. Journal pp. 233–4, 236–7). The Board reported by giving an account of the history of the dealings of the British Government with the island and showing that the Duke of Courland's claims had no valid basis. They expressed the hope that the King of Sweden would not proceed with the project, which might weaken the good understanding and harmony which had been cultivated of late years between the Crowns of Great Britain and Sweden. (413 i). In view of the fact that delicate negotiations were then proceeding between the two countries concerning their mutual trade, and that the East India Company was strongly opposing the plans of the new Swedish East India Company for a competitive trade to the East Indies (Journal, pp. 246–7, 256, 260–1), the designs of the Gothenburg Company in the West Indies were of particular interest to Walpole's Cabinet.
of French
in North
The most serious danger from foreign rivalry, however, came from the extension of French enterprise in North America. News concerning their encroachments in the lands beyond the Allegheny Mountains came mostly from Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, and the long despatches of Lieutenant-Governor Gooch from the first and Lieutenant-Governor Gordon from the second are particularly informing. Pennsylvania was in a difficult position because her boundaries were nowhere fixed, save on the east by the River Delaware. On the north the 43rd degree had never yet been fixed, although it was conceived to extend to the settlements of the Five Nations which were supposed by the Government of New York to belong to that Province, and undoubtedly most of the negotiations with those Indians were carried on by them. By the letters patent granting Pennsylvania the breadth of the Province was to extend westward for five degrees of longitude, but no attempts had been made to measure off those five degrees and the French in their maps extended the boundaries of their Louisiana as far east as the River Susquehanna, which runs into the head of the Chesapeake. This would leave Pennsylvania with a breadth of only about 60 miles, and Governor Gordon was especially aggrieved that in a recently published atlas produced by subscriptions from persons of influence in England, the French version of the geography of the country was taken without question by the inclusion of their map of Louisiana without alteration or restriction. Thus, as Gordon remarked, all their exorbitant claims to the greater part of the British dominions in these regions were accepted and, so far as the authority of the new book could contribute, were supported. (89 i, p. 59). To corroborate his description of the French claims and in reply to the enquiries of the Board of Trade about the Indian tribes within his government, Gordon forwarded a paper drawn up in 1718 by Mr. Logan at the request of Sir William Keith, then Governor of Pennsylvania.
account of
the French-
Logan was "a gentleman of good literature and large experience, who having been himself engaged in the Indian the French trade drew up from the informations he collected from some who had long and often travelled through Canada and the country about Mississippi an account of the French trade, their routes and their Indians" to be transmitted to the Board by Governor Keith in reply to queries submitted to him. Logan's paper was sent in the form of a copy of the original draft which remained in the hands of a private person in Pennsylvania, and it is here abstracted as one of the principal pieces of critical evidence in the hands of the British authorities on which to base their policy in this dangerous and rapidly rising quarrel. (89 ii, pp. 63–66).
and New
Pennsylvania and New York were in close communication concerning the intrigues of the French among the Indians and their methods are well illustrated by a despatch from LieutenantGovernor Gordon forwarding information that he had received from the Commissioners for Indian Affairs at Albany through President Rip van Dam of New York. This information had been laid before the General Assembly of New York, who requested that it should be represented not only to the British Court but also to the Governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania (478 i), so that they might join them in their representations. The French, on some pretence claiming all lands lying on any waters of whose exits to the sea they were possessed, maintained that they had rights over the Indians settled thereabouts even up to their very sources. About one-half of the Indians in Pennsylvania were Shawanese, and since some of the branches of the Mississippi flowed through the back parts of Pennsylvania, the French claimed rights over them and incessantly endeavoured to bring them over to their interest. The Shawanese, from an apprehension that the Six Nations of the Iroquois were not well affected to them, had removed further into the interior, and in the summer of 1731 put themselves under the protection of the French. Learning of this, Governor Gordon sent a message to the Six Nations proposing to try if by a treaty and presents any method could be found to bring these Shawanese back, but he was doubtful of success, for he stated that the French had also gained over a considerable part of the Six Nations, who were generally looked upon as our greatest strength (p. 332).
Accounts by
of French
The danger to all the British colonies was made more evident by the account given to the Pennsylvanian authorities by one of their Indian traders. He stated that in 1727 a French gentleman came down the river to a settlement of the Delaware Indians, allies of the Shawanese on the Ohio in Alleghany, with an intention to enquire into the numbers of English traders in those parts and to sound the minds of the Indians. He could not do much with them then, but in 1730 he returned and had some discourse with the Shawanese touching the English and French interest and endeavouring to persuade them to unite themselves to the French. He had great influence with them, for he spoke their language, and he was able to take some of them back to Montreal. He returned again in 1731 and brought a considerable present of powder, lead and some woollen goods and helped in repairing the fire-arms of the tribe with a gunsmith, whom he brought with him. Several conferences were held and the result was that the Shawanese agreed to accept French protection and removed further towards their settlements. (478 v). The numbers of the Shawanese were small, but the incident pointed to the danger of such persuasions when they were repeated on a larger scale among the Six Nations, as it was confirmed from many sources that the French were doing (p. 314).
Need for
of the
In the opinion of President Rip van Dam of New York "if no care be taken, [the French] will yet further encroach from time to time, and in ease of a war might prove fatal, and now in time of peace it is the only means they have to draw the Indians from us, ruin our trade and secure all to themselves. Until the limits be settled between the two Crowns, actions of this nature will happen every day and will always be to their advantage and our detriment, because they have a great number of people that run amongst the Indians and are much like them and so agree better with the Indians than our more civilised inhabitants can do. Besides, the continual infatuation of their priests amongst Indians, who are taken with the outward pomp of religion, makes a greater number of proselytes than it is possible for us to do." The President and Assembly of New York therefore prayed that negotiations might be opened for a delimitation of the frontier and for an agreement as to the reservation of the Indian trade. Such an agreement was of course eminently desirable, but the interminable disputes over the Neutral Islands showed how difficult it was to pin down the ambitions of adventurous spirits upon the frontier, and the authorities in London evinced no eagerness to start new negotiations in Paris.
New French
forts in
the Indian
Besides intriguing among the Indians, the French aroused the anxiety of the English colonists by their building of new forts in the no-man's-land along the undelimited frontier. The Commissioners for Indian Affairs at Albany wrote that the activity of the French "to make new fortifications and strengthen themselves so near to our Northern Plantations puts us in great consternation considering the defenceless condition we are in, and God only knows what the designs of these our vigilant enemies may turn to while they endeavour to encroach upon us on all sides and to interrupt our trade." (478 ii). Their latest encroachment was the building of a fort at Crown Point "on the South end of Corlaar's Lake near the carrying place above Sorahtogue." In September 1731 two traders from New York who had been through the woods to Canada reported in Albany that on their outward journey they had found the French engaged in building a fort there with eighty men. When they came back, it was completed and enclosed with stockades round a large trading house. The French were busy on two more houses and designed to make the whole a very compact and defensible post by enclosing it with a stone wall. They were also planning another fort above Oswego in the country of the Senecas in order to stop the English trade with that tribe (478 iii, p. 333). The English trading house at Oswego has already been mentioned in previous volumes of the Calendar. The Board of Trade were deeply interested in the project for making it a centre of the fur trade, and the threat of active French opposition along the trails by which the Indian fur traders reached Oswego was of serious concern (314). The Board wrote to Newcastle relating to the trading house intended to be erected by the French in the Senecas' country. "The same consequences are to be apprehended from this new trading house as have really happened from that erected some years ago at Niagara, which is now converted into a fort, by which the French have gained a possession in that place. [They] have now taken the very same steps in a country to which they have not the colour of any title, and, should they be permitted to go on, [it] might be of very fatal consequence to our Indian Nations, who might thereby be drawn from their allegiance to H.M." (221).
intrigues in
Nova Scotia.
Reference has been made in earlier volumes of the Calendar to the ever-present dread of a renewal of the Indian war in the forests of Nova Scotia owing to French machinations. The progress of the new fishing settlement at Canso in the opinion of Captain Waterhouse, the naval commander on that station, was grievously impeded by that dread.
Louisbourg. "The want of proper fortifications discourages people to settle there, their properties not being secured to them in case of a rupture with the Indians, which we were apprehensive of this year, which put us all upon our guard, occasioned by notions imbibed into those deluded people by the French, insomuch that they seemed extremely shy. I asked them the reason, and was answered that the English would kill them. When I cleared that point, they went away well satisfied, but they are entirely managed by the French, with their annual presents, priest-craft and some odd notions of the English breaking with the French." (584). There could be no doubt that the rivalry between the two nations in North America was getting more and more acute from year to year, and the new fortifications that the French were erecting on the hills that overlooked the harbour at Louisbourg in Cape Breton Island showed whence they planned to make their attack. St. Pierre and Miquelon were too easily assailable to be worth fortifying, and effort was therefore concentrated upon the single strong point of Louisbourg (584) with effects that were to be of great importance in later years.
between the
and the
The most prominent subject that appears in the papers of 1731 is the controversy between the Sugar Plantations and the Northern Colonies, which came to a head in the later months of the year. The sugar trade of the British colonies was badly hit by the competition of the French and Dutch plantations, and the Sugar Islands made insistent complaints that their competitors were unfairly assisted by the supplies received from the Continental colonies, and they demanded new prohibitions and restrictions to arrest the decline of their trade. Their case was set forth in elaborate memorials which give much information about the practical working of the mercantile system which was the cardinal point in British colonial policy. To these memorials replies were made by the Northern colonies, and the rival representations show what an acute division of interest had arisen between the different parts of the Empire.
The case of the Sugar Colonies was most fully stated in the memorial of Barbados (386), which was prepared in August 1731 and agreed to nemine contradicente by the General Assembly of the island. It was received by the Board of Trade in October and was supported by similar memorials from St. Christopher (414) and Antigua (494). In November the Duke of Newcastle formally asked for a report from the Board of Trade upon the case, (509), and the battle was fairly begun. The Board called before them the Agents of the colonies and various leading merchants engaged in the sugar trade to explain and support the representations (Journal, pp. 253–4). Preliminary petitions relating to the same subject had been received from many sources including individual merchants from the sugar colonies, the merchants of Dublin and Liverpool (39 i, ii) and persons interested in the trade of the Northern Colonies. A Committee of the Privy Council had been examining these petitions and hearing various evidence ever since the beginning of the year (22, Journal, pp. 176–7), and the Board of Trade had been called to attend the meetings of the Committee, while the House of Commons was also debating the matter. There had therefore been elaborate preparations before the Board set to work on their report in December 1731 (Journal, pp. 253–4), and their procedure was designed to ensure that every interest should have its say. The agents for Barbados, St. Christopher and Antigua were called first and examined along with the merchants engaged in the sugar trade Journal, pp. 253–4). Copies of their representations were then handed to the Agent for New England and merchants trading to Carolina, and they were requested to confer with other merchants trading to the Northern Colonies and make written replies to the contentions in those representations. (Journal, p. 257). Answers were presented to the Board a few days later from Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island (Journal, p. 259), while Virginia and Pennsylvania had sent in replies earlier (Virginia, 290, 406, pp. 257–262 and 473, pp. 322–8; Pennsylvania, 560).
The process was in full swing by the end of the year and the series of papers calendared here is, of course, incomplete, but some clue may be found through the maze of assertion and counter-assertion on the two sides by confining attention in the first place to the principal papers here indicated and the verbal evidence as set out in the Journal. Additional but largely repetitive matter may then be traced by reference to the various colonies.
It is unnecessary to set forth the rival theories and assertions in detail, since they are so fully explained in the memorials, but, as has already been remarked, the case of the Sugar Colonies is probably best set out in the representation of Barbados (386), and that of the Continental colonies in the letter of Lt.–Governor Gooch (406). The case of the Northern or "Bread" colonies, as Pennsylvania described herself, was set out in the papers presented by the Agent of that Province (560, 561, pp. 383– 386). To those papers the Agent of Barbados replied in a long memorial (578 i, pp. 397–400), and therein we have summaries of the contentions of both parties and a general history of the question at issue.
The essential cause of complaint was that the trade between the northern colonies and the French and Dutch settlements in the West Indies fostered their interests to the detriment of our sugar colonies.
The French
with the
Formerly the French sugar colonies had no vent for their molasses, nor made any use of it, but of late years our northern colonies carried lumber and horses to the French and Dutch and took in exchange their molasses, by which means they had them at a much easier rate than our sugar colonies, who were obliged to pay money for them. The French at Martinique would not deal with the people of our northern colonies for rum, sugar and molasses unless they paid half money and half lumber, and for this purpose the New Englanders sold their provisions, lumber etc. in our islands for money at about prime cost in order to enable them to carry on this trade with the French. (Journal, p. 253). Supposing there were lumber to be procured in Canada and the French settlements on the Mississippi, which was doubtful, it would be so expensive and the navigation of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Bay of Mexico was so hazardous that the lumber would cost three times as much as that procured from our northern colonies. The sugar planters therefore maintained that all trade between them and the French and Dutch plantations should be prohibited, which in their view would prevent our being undersold in the sugar markets of Europe. According to certain merchants heard by the Board British sugar was dearer in those markets by 7½ per cent. than French from Hispaniola or Dutch from Surinam (Journal, p. 254), but St. Christophers went further and maintained that the underselling was by at least as much as 25 per cent. (414, p. 271).
Reply of
Governor of
Lieutenant-Governor Gooch's letter (406) is particularly interesting for its shrewd comments on the results that were likely to occur if the trade of the northern colonies were to be restricted to the British islands, as the petitioners of the Sugar Colonies desired. His survey of the whole trade of the American seas was much wider and more far-seeing than that of most of the memorialists, and we may appropriately quote certain of his very pertinent questions. "Admitting that the British Sugar Islands and the Continent should mutually engage to carry on the projected trade, and should be able to subsist without foreign help, how are the gentlemen of our islands sure that this prohibition will diminish the trade of the foreign colonies? Have not the French new settlements going on both at the mouth of the Mississippi and at Cape Breton sufficient to furnish their sugar settlements with lumber for cask, and with the ordinary application of that nation may be able in a few years to furnish them with bread and other provisions, and if they want vessels for transportation, they may be supplied by the present owners of ships in New England, Rhode Island and Bermudas, now the common carriers between the West Indies and the Continent. . . . The Dutch indeed have no settlements on the Continent to support their sugar plantations, but 'tis not to be imagined that they will desert them, if the West Indian gentlemen should prevail in their pursuit: for since it is well known the Dutch can afford without one stick of timber of their own growth to build ships much cheaper than their neighbours, it will be no great difficulty for them to find cash for their own sugar, without being beholden to the British Plantations; nor will they be under much greater difficulty to transport thither provisions, such as their settlements stand in need of, from Europe, when it is considered how many ships of force and great burthen they send annually to trade on the Spanish coast, which, besides their ordinary cargoes, can stow each a large quantity both of staves and provisions and deliver the same at Surinam and Curaçao, where they generally touch, without any considerable interruption to their principal voyage." (406, p. 261).
The Dutch
trade with
the Spanish
It is significant to note from this incidental reference that the Dutch still retained the vast clandestine trade with the Spanish colonies from which they had derived such wealth in the seventeenth century. It has sometimes been assumed that they lost this trade before and during the War of the Spanish Succession and that it passed to England and France, the rivals who were contending for the Asiento and other valuable commercial privileges in the ports of South America. But Gooch's remark and other incidental passages, which occur here and there in the memorials concerning the sugar controversy, point to the fact that the conditions of West Indian international politics of the late seventeenth century persisted during the first half of the eighteenth.
Interest of
in the
Both Houses of Parliament were closely interested in the controversy between the sugar islands and the Northern colonies, the Lords being generally more critical of the West Indian case than the mercantile interest in the Commons. The Upper House threw out a bill presented on behalf of the sugar planters of Barbados (p. 324), but the Commons seemed inclined to favour restrictive action against the trade of the Continent, (p. 262). Both Houses were insistent in their demands for papers and the Board of Trade was constantly receiving orders from the Duke of Newcastle for the preparation and supply to them of the information for which they asked. That this interest of Parliament in colonial affairs and especially colonial trade attracted attention as a novel phenomenon appears from a shrewd letter from Newcastle's secretary to Benjamin Keene concerning the commissaries in the negotiations with Spain on the claims of the merchants for compensation.
The letter is not included among the claims in the Colonial papers that we are calendaring, although it was written at the same time and upon the same subject. It is to be found among the State Papers, Foreign, but it may be appropriately quoted here to support our contention that under Walpole Parliament was closely interested in the actions of the Executive and was no longer content to accept unquestioningly the measures in relation to trade and colonial affairs that were adopted by the King's Ministers.
Delafaye was urging Keene to keep on good terms with his fellow commissaries, two members of Parliament representing the mercantile interest, who had just reached Madrid. "Should it happen otherwise, the consequences must be fatal. Only imagine two members of Parliament chosen on account of their being such and at the same time versed in matters of trade and most likely to satisfy the mercantile part of our people; suppose these two men, I say, returned hither without success and reporting they could do nothing because the King's Ministers would not concur heartily with them. . . . You have seen what opposition your friends have had to struggle with every Session, what compliances they have been obliged to in matters relating to the merchants. These gentlemen upon this have assumed a quite different air from what I have formerly known. They used in times past to come cap in hand to the office praying for relief: now the second word is "You shall hear of this in another place," meaning in Parliament. All this must be endured, and now in our time we must bow and cringe to them." (Charles Delafaye to Benjamin Keene, 10 October 1731. St. Pap. Foreign, Spain. 94, 109).
dislike of
Parliamentary interference was deeply disliked by the merchants of New England, who believed that their mercantile interests and those of Great Britain were diametrically opposed. This belief appears implicit in many passages in the northern memorials in the sugar controversy, and Parliament was certainly more disliked and distrusted than the Crown. It is impracticable to quote special passages divorced from their context, but the general impression cannot be avoided. Parliament could not be trusted to pay due and impartial regard to the common weal, for, whenever competition was threatened, the powers of the House of Commons were certain to be wielded in favour of English interests. Such accusations could not be crudely stated, but the fact that they were implicit in the northern memorials is an indicative sign of threatening schism.
of the
On their side, the London merchants were complaining bitterly of the action of the Continental colonies in impeding the collection of debts owing to them in the Plantations and of the preferences accorded to colonial producers. In August 1731 a petition from the merchants of London was referred by the Privy Council to the Board of Trade complaining that they had great sums due to them from the inhabitants of various colonies and that, as the laws stood in some of the Plantations, H. M. subjects residing in Great Britain were left without any remedy for the recovery of their just debts or had such remedy only as was very partial and precarious, whereby they were likely to be considerable sufferers and their trade to America greatly discouraged. (367 i, Journal, p. 229). The Board called upon the petitioners to produce evidence in support of their grievance (401) and in reply they forwarded particulars of instances in which merchants had found it impossible to collect their debts in Jamaica, Virginia and Maryland owing to the operation of laws dating as far back as 1661, whereby priority of the payment of debts was given to the colonial creditors (434 i). News of the petition had reached Virginia before its presentation, and the Governor and Council of the Colony protested vigorously against the proposal that lands in the Plantations should be made extendible for the payment of debts. "It would make too severe a distinction" they wrote "between H. M. royal subjects [in Virginia] and those in Great Britain by subjecting the lands of the planter to the demands of the British merchant at the same time that the merchant's lands will not be liable to the demands of the planter. Our lands are held by the same tenure and are under the protection of the same laws as the lands in England are: and, seeing in the course of the Plantation business the factors are as often in the planter's debt as the planter is in theirs, . . . the consequence of so partial a distinction must necessarily tend to create uneasiness in the minds of a loyal people, when they find they have not equal justice with the rest of their fellow subjects; especially since it cannot be denied, even by the petitioners themselves, but they are as dutiful to H. M. and as useful to their Mother Country." (473, pp. 323–324).
The question of discriminating taxation had been raised by the London merchants trading to Virginia in an earlier petition (251), when they protested against an Act of the Virginia Assembly which placed only half the duty paid by British merchants on liquors imported in any ship wholly and solely belonging to the inhabitants of the said Colony. The merchants protested that such an exemption was a very partial proceeding which assumed a power of taxing H. M. subjects at large to a higher degree than themselves and set up the shipping of that Colony in opposition to and in great prejudice of the navigation of Great Britain (251). The merchants therefore prayed that the Liquor Act might be repealed, and in consequence the Board recommended that this prayer should be acceded to (278).
An Order in Council was therefore issued repealing the Liquor Act (364) and it was transmitted to Lieutenant-Governor Gooch (Journal, p. 231), who issued a proclamation accordingly (p. 389). But he was compelled to report the deep resentment of the people of Virginia against the merchants who were concerned in petitioning against the act. They complained that the proprietary governments were favoured at the expense of Virginia, for she alone of all H. M. Plantations was restrained from raising duties for defraying her necessary expenses and charges, while other more obscure communities could charge differential duties for years without hindrance (p. 389). Maryland, which was especially here referred to, like Connecticut and Rhode Island, escaped notice of her proceedings partly by reason of her comparatively petty commerce, but also by her passive neglect of demands for documents and statistics.
as to
In consequence of various complaints of interested manufacturers and their merchant friends in the House of Commons, the Board of Trade made circular enquiries as to what forms of manufactures were being carried on in the various colonies, which might compete with British products (224, 225). In almost every instance the replies were the same, that no manufacturing industries were carried on and that the colonists relied solely upon imported British goods. Governor Gooch of Virginia expressed this succinctly when he wrote:—"Nothing but inevitable necessity will ever induce the people of this Colony to go upon any kind of manufactures interfering with those of their Mother Country. When tobacco bears but a moderate price, every planter can be supplied with all the necessaries he wants, out of the produce of his crops, at much easier rates than he can furnish himself by any home manufacture." Only when the price of their tobacco was unremunerative did many poor people try to raise cotton and flax to make a kind of coarse cloth and linen wherewith to supply the wants of their indigent families "No sooner did tobacco begin to rise in value, than all these new-fangled manufactures vanished, and the land, which before had been used for cotton and flax, was immediately converted into tobacco ground." (473, pp. 326–7).
in Massa-
Only Massachusetts gave a different reply to the enquiry, but even there manufactures were upon a very small scale. There were bounties offered by the province to encourage the making of duck and canvas; some brown holland was made for women's wear which made the importation of calicoes and other Indian goods less. Small quantities of linen and cotton were made for ordinary shirting and sheeting. There was a single paper mill, several forges for making bar-iron, some furnaces for cast-iron or hollow ware and one slitting mill, which also made nails. The country folk who used formerly to make most of their clothing out of their own wool, did not now make a third part of what they wore, but were mostly clothed with British manufactures. The manufacture of linen from flax, however, was increasing owing to the considerable immigration of people from Ireland, who were very skilled in that business. (528, p. 360.) The anxiety of the House of Commons about the increase of competitive manufactures in the colonies was therefore unfounded.
of powers.
The Crown
and judicial
Turning now to matters of constitutional interest, we may remark that 1731 did not bring forth any new points of much importance. The question of the division of powers between the Crown and the legislatures was raised on an Act passed in Antigua for constituting a Court of Chancery. Owing to the frequent absence of the Governor of the Leeward Islands in other parts of his government, it was impossible to hold a Chancery Court in Antigua save at long intervals, because it was necessary for the Governor to preside in person. The Act therefore provided that in his absence the Lieutenant-General, or failing him the Lieutenant-Governor of the island, might hold Courts of Chancery. The Council of Trade and Plantations, however, advised the King to disallow this act on grounds of constitutional principle. "We do apprehend that the appointment of Judges and Chancellors being a very material part of the royal prerogative, ought always to be exercised immediately by your Majesty, or by some persons to whom your Majesty shall especially delegate that power, and not by a clause in an Act of Assembly, and the rather because your Majesty may from time to time make such alterations or additions to your Royal orders and appointments as may be suitable to the occasions and advantage of your subjects, but an act of Assembly cannot be repealed, whatever inconveniences may ensue from it, without the consent of the people. The most proper method, therefore, in our humble opinion, of attaining what is proposed by this act, most suitable to your Majesty's royal prerogative, and equally safe and expedient for the people of Antigua, would be that your Majesty should be pleased especially to appoint some person in Antigua to preside as Chancellor and execute all the functions of that office in the absence of your Majesty's Captain General or Commander-in-Chief." (200, pp. 113–4). The Board went on to point out that "great caution ought to be had in making concessions of this sort to any colony, when an uncommon favour already granted is made use of as an argument to obtain another still more extraordinary." (p. 114). Constant vigilance had to be exercised to guard the essential constitutional principle of the differentiation of powers between the various parts of the State and especially for the separation of executive from legislative functions.
functions of
the Colonial
This matter of the separation of functions arose also in connection with the legislature of the Bahamas, where Governor Woodes Rogers had much trouble with a newly formed and inexperienced Assembly. The despatch of the Board of Trade giving him directions as to how to proceed sets out clearly their view as to the parallel executive and legislative functions of a colonial Council. "All laws to be passed by you are required to be consistent, and as near as may be consonant to the laws of this Kingdom; so it would be proper that the proceedings of the Assembly also should resemble those of the Parliament of Great Britain, as far as the circumstances of the Colony and your Instructions will permit. And as the Council with you as in all the other Colonies abroad have two capacities very different in their nature and design, so their proceedings as the King's Council in political matters should be kept entirely distinct from those wherein they act as one branch of the Legislature, and ought to be fairly entered in separate books. It would be a pretty difficult task to lay down a plan for the proceedings of your Assembly in future times, or to allot the particular limits to be observed by them. But in general we may observe to you that the Constitution of England owes its preservation very much to the maintaining of an equal balance between the three branches of the Legislature, and that the more distinct they are kept from each other, the likelier they will be to agree, and the longer they will be likely to last." By the Minutes of the Assembly they seemed to have been prorogued by the Governor and Council, but the Governor was specially directed to see that this mistaken entry was amended, for the Council could not claim any right of proroguing the Assembly, and although it was a mistake, yet "some time or other, if not corrected, it may be made a precedent to claim a power never yet granted to any of H. M. Councils abroad." (261, pp. 148–9).
It was the consistent endeavour of the Board of Trade to establish the practice of the Colonial Assemblies on British precedents, and this appears in many of the infinite variety of details that came before them.
ment of
the Clerk
of Assembly.
Thus, Governor Johnson of South Carolina had allowed the Assembly there to appoint their own Clerk until the King's pleasure should be known. "But," wrote the Board "in this Kingdom H. M. always appoints the clerks to the House of Commons, and as by your 14th Instruction, you are not to allow the Assembly any greater privilege than is claimed by the House of Commons here, you are for the future to insist upon H. M. prerogative in. naming all his officers; and accordingly to name him yourself." (501). The Board was careful to insist upon exact adherence to precedent in matters of form; thus eight Acts passed by the legislature of New Hampshire had been forwarded by Governor Belcher for approval, but not being under the seal of the Province as they ought to have been according to the Governor's Instructions, they could not be taken notice of as authentic laws, and the Governor was required to send other copies under the seal of the Province before consideration could be given to them. (499).
cation of
The use of a Colony's seal for the authentication of documents gave rise to a difficult question of dispute between the Governor and Assembly of Rhode Island and was referred to the Crown, which was not frequently troubled with the affairs of that small colony. An Act had been passed by the General Assembly there concerning the emission of bills of credit, to which Governor Jencks dissented. Several of the inhabitants applied to the Governor for a copy of the Act and the Colonial Secretary sent to him for an order for affixing the Colony seal thereto. Two members of the Assembly, learning of this and desiring to be accounted prime agents in the preserving of the Charter privileges of the Colony, spread the news and declared that the Governor had endangered the loss of the Charter by ordering the Colony seal to be set to a complaint to the King against the Government. This aroused much discontent, and the Governor therefore petitioned the Crown for the determination of three points of constitutional interest (i) Whether any act passed by the General Assembly of Rhode Island might be judged valid, if the Governor had entered his dissent from it at the time that it was voted? (ii) Whether he might disallow or refuse setting of the Colony seal to copies taken out of the Secretary's Office and attested by him in order to be sent to the King? (iii) Whether it was the duty of the Governor to examine all such copies before he ordered the Colony seal to be set thereto. the Secretary who attested them being an Officer under oath? (539 i, 402, 402 i, ii, iii).
The answers of the Board to these questions were not prepared before the end of the period under review, but they will appear among the papers of the following year.
Certain of the laws passed in the Colonies were of a temporary character and the question arose as to what happened when one of these Acts expired. It was referred to Mr. Fane, the legal adviser to the Board of Trade, and he gave the opinion that upon the expiration of a temporary act repealing a clause in a permanent act, that clause revived again. This had been determined to be the constant practice in cases of the like nature in Great Britain, and the precedent was therefore held to govern colonial practice. (510, 545).
Some of the colonies were complaining bitterly of the transportation of British convicts to their shores and of the increasing disorder and crime caused by them. There appears to have been an increased flow of transported convicts during the period, and Governor Osborn of Newfoundland wrote that it had become a practice of the masters of ships to bring over to the island transported felons instead of Irish servants. An unhappy instance of the villains already there happened at a settlement in Conception Bay where a woman and four children (being all in the house who could speak) were in a most barbarous manner murdered in one night, and the murderers could not be discovered, (p. 205. See also 422 ii, p. 279). In earlier volumes of the Calendar mention has been made of similar outrages committed by transported convicts in certain of the continental colonies, and they seem to have endeavoured to decant some part of the flow of convicts thither by sending them to Jamaica. No convicts were transported direct from England to that colony, but the influx from the northward brought great dangers with it. The people in the towns used to sleep with their doors open, but since the arrival of the convicts they were obliged to keep watch in their counting houses and storehouses to prevent felonies and outrages such as had occurred (pp. 338–9). The many "native" Irish immigrants who were pouring into different parts of the empire oversea at the time were not so dangerous; they were generally characterised as a lazy, useless sort of people who came cheap, but whose hearts were not with the settlers and they added very little to the wealth or security of any colony into which they were "poured in shoals." (486, p. 339).
§ II.
The American Colonies.
in New-
The affairs of Newfoundland continued to demand much attention from the authorities in England, for, although a resident population had succeeded in establishing itself in the island and the idea of removing the settlers had at last been abandoned after eighty or ninety years of unsuccessful efforts, that primitive community only existed on sufferance and was never regarded as a proper colony. The Fishing Act of King William's reign, which codified very much older traditional practices, was still in force, and the endless quarrel between the fishermen of the western ports, who came only during the summer, and the local merchants and fishermen, who resided in Newfoundland all the year round, was at its height. As the papers of the immediately preceding years have shown, the naval Governors who went out every season, had been compelled to introduce a system of resident justices of the peace to try and establish order amid the anarchic conditions that prevailed. There are many papers in this volume that deal with the disputes between the jurisdiction of these new local authorities and the old "fishing admirals," as the first skippers arriving in the island harbours each season were called. Governor Osborn found that the admirals who by King William's Act had judicial authority over the fishermen in each harbour during the season, as was quite feasible at the time the Act was passed, were attempting to extend it over all the resident inhabitants. They obstructed the Justices of the Peace in every way, almost rendering them useless. They were the opposers of all the steps that had been taken by the Governors to bring order out of anarchy, but while the naval vessels were in harbour, they had to be submissive. As soon, however, as the Governor or his lieutenants were out of the way, they treated H. M. authority and power with great contempt. Some of them did not scruple to say that it was their interest to oppose any form of government whatever in Newfoundland which was not established by Parliament. They believed that the administration of all affairs was in them, and that they had thereby an unlimited power to do whatever they pleased. They made use of it to serve any fraudulent purpose in their private ways of trade, a great many of which they could not carry on if the power were not in their hands, (319, p. 199). They acted as though all civil government, were placed in their hands by Act of Parliament and behaved in most arbitrary manner, even presuming to create constables and issue warrants to the constables properly appointed by the justices in Quarter Sessions, thus creating great confusion. (319 ii, p. 200, 331, 422). Their power was properly limited to the hearing and determining the rights and properties of fishing rooms and such matters and things as related to the fishery, (331 i, p. 206, 422 i), but even in those respects they misused it. Thus, for example, by an order of Governor Osborn in 1729 a tax of merchantable fish was to be levied on all fishing boats and all boats' rooms towards erecting a prison in St. Johns, but as that tax could not be collected owing to the resistance of the shipmasters, it was replaced by one of 3d. in the pound on all servants' wages employed in the fishery, to be stopped by the shipmasters out of those wages. Influenced by the fishing admirals, both the masters and the servants stoutly declared the tax illegal and refused to pay anything at all, thus placing the authority of the justices in contempt, so that they had to appeal to the Home Government for assistance and guidance. (422 ii, p. 280).
of the
The French
What that guidance should be was quite uncertain, for to anything proposed to strengthen administration in Newfoundland, the fishing merchants of the ports of the West of England raised clamorous resistance, as will appear more fully in the papers of 1732. The fishing admirals were as loud in their complaints as the justices, and they accused the inhabitants of destroying and pulling down during the winter all their houses, cook rooms, wharfs and stages, which was very destructive to the fishing voyages of the following season and added greatly to the cost of the fish for sale in Europe. According to the admirals, the justices did nothing to restrain this destruction, while they on their part accused the soldiers of the garrison of taking the wood of the stages away for fuel for their fires. (421). Newfoundland is pictured as a scene of chronic anarchy which was added to by the turbulent Irish Papists, who had grown so insolent that they openly declared that they wished for nothing else but the French to come over, when they would join them directly. Governor Clinton reported that this was a very real danger, for most of the Irish possessed secret arms and the French were only a very short distance away at their new stronghold of Louisbourg (422). At the end of November Newcastle referred the whole question of Newfoundland and these disputes to the Board of Trade with a request for a full report on what it was best to do. It was, however, not until March 1731/2 that the Board took this reference into consideration and the results of their deliberations will appear under that date. (508).
Fire at
The calamitous settlement at Placentia, which had seen so many vicissitudes since it had passed into English hands after the Peace of Utrecht, suffered a crushing blow in October 1731 when a dreadful fire in the space of an hour or so reduced all the best houses in the town to ashes. 700 cwt. of bread and 1800 cwt. of flour, together with abundance of other provisions were destroyed within that short space of time, and the garrison and inhabitants were reduced to a state of starvation. (426).
Canso. Canso in Nova Scotia was making little headway against its troubles, for the spring fishery was very bad and six of the settlement's few schooners were lost in a storm. The place was so much exposed to danger from the French and the Indians owing to its advanced position in the Gulf of St. Lawrence that it did not readily attract settlers. In fact much of the benefits of its fishery, on which the Government had set such hopes, went to the visiting fishing smack ships from New England which refused to share any part of the burden of carrying on the settlement. (584 iii).
Nova Scotia
and the
of the
In the other parts of Nova Scotia Lieutenant-Governor Armstrong at Annapolis Royal was not only troubled with the French intrigues among the Acadians and the Indians to which reference has already been made, he had puzzling difficulties with the seigneurs who had taken the oath of fidelity and were incessantly pestering him with exaggerated claims to lands under ancient French grants before the Treaty of Utrecht. "The French that I have to deal with," he wrote, "are a perfidious, head-strong, obstinate and as conceited a crew as any in the world." (487, p. 286). Several new settlers were petitioning for land grants and only by such means would it be possible to introduce a British population and develop the province. But in the first place the Governor was restricted from making any grants until Colonel Dunbar, the SurveyorGeneral of the Woods, had set aside 300,000 acres of timber for the Royal Navy, and then the seigneurs laid claim to vast areas that they had done nothing to improve and which lay entirely derelict. Many of those lands had been abandoned ever since the conquest of the colony, but the seigneurs pleaded their rights under the Treaty of Utrecht even though the lands lay waste and uncultivated. As Armstrong truly remarked, "The country will in a great measure remain a wilderness, and there will be scarce one acre left to be granted to Protestant subjects, who are much desired and for whom room might be found, if these seigneurs did not thus pretend a right to the greatest part, if not the whole Province, without complying with such conditions, as may be naturally conjectured, that first moved his Most Christian Majesty to make such concessions." In the part of the Province round Annapolis Royal there was not one inhabitant who paid a farthing of rent towards the defraying of the charges of government, and so it was a continual expense to the Crown. (427, p. 287).
Governor Armstrong therefore recommended "the necessity of having the French inhabitants' estates surveyed and measured," because otherwise it would be impossible ever to procure any just plan of the country. It was said that some if not all of them possessed and claimed greater tracts than they were any ways entitled to, and, since they refused to renew or take fresh grants, it was necessary to record their French grants. Ever since the reduction of Annapolis there had been "strange juggling amongst these seigneurs, as well as the other inhabitants, who, as heirs, pretended a right to the estates of those who left the country even at the Capitulation, and others pretended to have bought of those that went away by virtue of Her Majesty's letter, dated 23rd June 1713." It was commonly said that rents had been remitted from Nova Scotia to persons in the dominions of France, which, though it might be forbidden, could not be easily prevented any more than their clandestine trade with the people of Cape Breton, whither they transported annually above three or four hundred head of cattle besides sheep and other provisions. (427, p. 289). It was this persistent passive resistance of the old French settlers to every measure of Anglicisation that rendered it impossible to develop Nova Scotia as a British colony, save by drastic measures and at a prohibitive expense. The authorities recognised the dangers of treachery arising from this alien community at the gateway to the all-important fisheries, but they could not bring themselves to face the expense of dealing with it until there was no alternative.
and New
v. Belcher.
The incessant disputes between David Dunbar and Governor Belcher went on with full and acrimonious vigour, and a new cause of quarrel arose between them from what seems to have been a very ill-advised promotion given to the contentious Surveyor-General of the Woods. By his commission Belcher held the offices both of Governor of Massachusetts and of New Hampshire, the Lieutenant-Governorship of the latter colony being filled by Colonel Went worth. In February 1731 the Board of Trade learned of the death of Wentworth from Governor Belcher who recommended Joseph Sherburn for the vacant appointment. They had already given much consideration to finding ways of supporting Dunbar in his efforts to preserve the King's woods for the supply of naval stores, and they now wrote to the Duke of Newcastle about filling Wentworth's place. "We presume your Grace will have very few applications for that employment, which is really of very little value, having no salary annexed to it, nor any perquisites but such as arise from the good will of a very poor province, and therefore we take leave to recommend Col. David Dunbar, the present Surveyor-General of the Woods, to succeed him. This we do purely out of regard to H. M. service, because we apprehend this would increase Mr. Dunbar's authority in those parts and greatly contribute to the preservation of H. M. Woods." (45, Journal, p. 178). The Duke accepted the recommendation, and in April Dunbar's commission was laid before the Board and agreed to (Journal, p. 190). In June Governor Belcher wrote (237) complaining that he had heard nothing from them since their short letter of February 12 (53), and it was not until the beginning of July that the Board wrote to him the distasteful news that they had given him as his lieutenant the very man against whom he had been constantly complaining. "We are of opinion that [Col. Dunbar] had sufficient grounds for his apprehension [of your action] and he would have been wanting in his duty if he had not sent us such informations as he had received upon [New England] affairs. We thought it would be for H. M. service that this gentleman should be appointed his Lt. Governor of New Hampshire to increase his authority as Surveyor-General of the Woods, and, upon our recommendation, H. M. has been pleased to appoint him accordingly. But we presume he will always pay you that regard that is due to his superior officer, and we doubt not but you will treat him as a gentleman that bears H. M. Commission as Lt. Governor." (277, p. 162). Belcher must have already heard of what was proposed through private sources, for three weeks before the foregoing letter was sent he had written from Boston to Mr. Popple, the Secretary of the Board. "The appointment of the new Lieutenant-Governor of New Hampshire after his so vilely traducing me has been a great weakening of the King's authority in my hands, nor do I believe it will be the least strengthening of him in his other office." (247). However, he gave orders for proclaiming the new Lieutenant-Governor in New Hampshire, and Dunbar was accordingly installed in office in July. (287).
The sanguine expectations of the Board were disappointed almost before they were formally expressed, and all Belcher's fears were justified. Dunbar's appointment merely added fresh fuel to the flames of controversy, for at every turn he strove to exalt his own authority in defiance of the Governor, and there can be no doubt that Belcher was right in characterising him as "an uneasy gentlemon" (457, p. 306). He alternated between New Hampshire, Boston and the Eastern Country on the Kennebec, everywhere insisting on his authority and claiming new rights. As Belcher wrote, "threatening to tie people to trees and whip 'em, and burning the fruits of their honest labour are odd measures to pursue in an English Government and under the most gracious Sovereign in the world." (457, p. 306). As Dunbar himself wrote "My letters are generally so very long that I fear it prevents their being taken into consideration" (p. 127) and Belcher wrote on the disputes at almost equal length. As was remarked in our previous Introduction (C.S.P. 1730, p. xxxvi) it is impossible to analyse them here with any profit, and it may be suggested that the best way to examine the controversy is to begin with the long report sent by the Board of Trade to the King on November 4, 1731 where an attempt was made to summarise the principal points at issue. (467, pp. 316–318). They had given three weeks' hard work to its preparation and heard Jeremiah Dunbar, David's brother and agent, in his favour. The papers they thought worthy of consideration are listed in the Journal, and that list may facilitate reference about the various points in dispute. (Journal, pp. 238–242).
The salary
of the
of Massa-
It was mentioned in our previous Introduction that while the Assembly of Massachusetts were unyielding in their refusal to establish a permanent salary for the Governor, they had pledged themselves to a compromise and to vote an annual provision at the beginning of every session (C.S.P., 1730, p. xxxviii). Governor Belcher recommended at the end of 1730 that that compromise should be accepted, and again in April he wrote requesting permission to sign the bill for his salary, which had been duly passed by the Assembly in October, 1730. (288). He got no reply and wrote again in July saying that since May there had not been a shilling in the public Treasury for the support of the King's Government. "Nor will the Assembly make any supply of money to the Treasury, unless it be in such a manner as the King in his royal Instructions says is expressly contrary to the tenour of the Charter." (321). This did something to move the Government, and the Committee of the Privy Council called the Board of Trade into consultation to decide what was to be done about giving Governor Belcher leave to sign the salary bill. (326, 335, 345). After deliberation the Board were ordered to prepare a report on the matter and submit a new draft Instruction permitting the Governor to accept the salary voted by the Assembly in June. The Board did so (350), but before they received the acceptance of the Committee of the Council. Belcher wrote again to say that the Assembly were utterly recalcitrant and were leaving him entirely destitute of supply, so that he was quite without funds to discharge the expenses of his government. They were calling the inhabitants of the towns together to enlist their support, and the situation was undoubtedly fraught with the most serious danger. (383). But, despite his many urgent representations, the Governor was left without any reply for many months, and it was not until November 17 that the Board of Trade wrote at last acknowledging in a single omnibus phrase his letters "of the 1st, 12th, two of 21st and 24th June, 12th, 13th and 26th July, and 20th, 21st, 27th and 31st of August." Nevertheless despite their own dilatoriness of reply "my Lords Commissioners" through their Secretary desired the longsuffering Governor "to be punctual in your correspondence with them and give them constant accounts of whatever shall happen in your Governments." (499). Even then the difficult salary question was referred to only in a casual fashion, for Popple merely wrote "My Lords do not mention anything particular relating to your salary; H.M. having graciously been pleased to allow your receiving what the Assembly have already voted for you. But as this is to be no precedent for the future, you will do well to use your utmost endeavours to induce the Assembly to comply with the King's request." (499).
One receives an impression from the correspondence of incompetence or shirking of responsibility by the King's ministers in this long drawn out dispute with the Massachusetts Assembly, but it is difficult to decide where the onus principally lay. From the pages of their Journal we can see that the Commissioners of Trade often discussed the matter, but it did not lie with them to decide for a drastic and more consistent policy with regard to the recalcitrant New Englanders. It looks as though it were the Cabinet that could not determine what to do; faced with the obstinate and almost unanimous demand of the people of Massachusetts for liberty in essential matters of taxation, they would say neither "Yes!" nor "No!", but left the Governor to stumble on as best he could. Where policy was clearly wanted, they could not be said to have had a policy, but drifted on neglectfully while Massachusetts was confirmed in its belief that by standing out it could always get its way.
claims in
the ennebec
In protesting their claims to the lands of Maine and the country where Dunbar was trying to build up new settlements they were determinedly vigilant. The claims of Sir Bibye Lake, Samuel Waldo and others to enforce their rights to a tract of land between the Rivers Kennebec and St. Croix under ancient grants were really backed from Massachusetts and had been pending ever since 1729 (Journal, pp. 82–3, 95), but they were not formally referred by the Committee of Council to the Board of Trade until April 1731 (Journal, p. 195), and the Attorney and Solicitor General delivered their report upon the case in August. That document (353 and enclosures) contained much of interest in relation to the law of land grants and to certain points of international law concerning lands acquired by conquest. It was definitely favourable to the claims of the petitioners and so destructive of Dunbar's colonizing schemes in his "Province of Georgia," but it was not until the following year that the Board of Trade completed their examination of the matter and gave their recommendation in favour of the Massachusetts grantees.
for a separate
Governor in
The principal matter in which New Hampshire was concerned has already been referred to in connection with the Dunbar-Belcher dispute, but we may also remark upon the movement that was on foot for the separation of the Governorship of that colony from the Governorship of Massachusetts. Governor Belcher's friends maintained that this was an agitation artificially fostered by Lieutenant-Governor Dunbar's partisans, and their memorials to the Crown (394, 459) contain interesting facts concerning the poverty and sparse population of New Hampshire at this period. It was, of course, not until much later that the movement for separation was successful.
New Jersey. New Jersey, too, desired to have a Governor of its own and no longer be combined with New York. There the agitation seems to have had wider support, but it met with no more success.
New York.
and Rhode
In the correspondence from New York during the year the principal matters of interest were concerned with the Indian trade and the encroachments of the French to which reference has already been made. Governor Montgomerie died during the year (277, 310) and before the appointment (January. 1731/2) and arrival of his successor, Col. William Cosby, the Government was carried on by President Rip van Dam, whose letters show him as a capable and efficient administrator. New York was communicated with not only upon its own affairs but also as agent for dealing with the lesser neighbouring colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Mr. Popple wrote to Governor Talcot of the former asking him for regular accounts of the public transactions in his government and for authentic copies of the laws passed in the Assembly of the colony. He reminded him that as far back as 1710 Governor Saltonstall had promised a collection of the laws of Connecticut, but nothing had been received. (203). Rhode Island, too, had sent none of its laws, but whereas Connecticut took some notice of the Board's requests, the other Colony sent no answers to the letters asking for compliance. Popple therefore wrote to Governor Montgomerie in New York asking him to procure printed copies of the laws that were in force both in Connecticut and Rhode Island. (262). After Montgomerie's death President Rip van Dam searched for such printed copies of the laws but could find none, and when he wrote to the Governors of the two colonies he could get no answer (458, but see 582). However, in both cases, they needed some assistance from the Board of Trade and, in order to procure it, they appear to have found it best to forsake their usual neglect of the authorities in England and comply with their requests. Governor Talcot sent his laws both direct (470) and via New York (582) and Governor Jencks also complied at last, and also answered the queries that were sent to him. (474, 539).
A 'Georgia'
in the West.
We have spoken earlier of David Dunbar's project of founding a 'Province of Georgia' in the region between the Kennebec and St. Croix Rivers and of the disapproval with which the Board of Trade viewed the application of that name to his settlements. (C.S.P., 1730. Introduction, p. xxxv). Another project which also purposed using the name 'Georgia' must similarly be distinguished from Oglethorpe's Georgia scheme on the Savannah River to which reference is made below. Sir William Keith, at one time Lieutenant-Governor of Pennsylvania, with two Swiss, John Ochs and Jacob Stauber, and two men of English stock petitioned the King for a grant under a proper form of government of a tract of vacant land behind the great ridge of mountains to the westward of Virginia. They proposed to call it the 'Province of Georgia' and to people it with some thousands of substantial, industrious people from the Protestant Cantons of Switzerland and other parts of Germany. (342 i). The petition was referred to the Board of Trade for their report (342), and Messrs. Ochs and Stauber were called to give evidence (Journal, pp. 189, 322). The negotiations went on through the autumn and objections were raised that the Board was already committed to the Swiss scheme of Jean Pury in Carolina which had not yet been brought to fruition (399). However, the petitioners pointed out that they were looking to an entirely different region, the land beyond the mountains where nothing had yet been attempted and where the French might anticipate an English settlement if that were not begun without delay. The final form of the scheme was set out in a memorial presented in September 1731, and from that we learn that Keith and his partners were not contemplating a mere emigration scheme like Pury but desired to form a new inland colony entirely separate in its government from Virginia and Pennsylvania (399, p. 252). They suggested that the Board should take evidence from Colonel Spotswood, who had had such a large share in settling the inland parts of Virginia with his work in Spotsylvania County (391), and that he might be a suitable person to be the first Governor of the proposed settlement. Stauber, himself, had had more than twenty years' experience in the remotest parts of Pennsylvania among the Indians (425) and would assist in managing the actual settling of the immigrants upon their lands. However, no decision was come to before the end of the year, although signs were already evident that neither Virginia, Maryland or Pennsylvania would readily consent to the establishment of a new and independent government behind them in the interior, which would block the possibility of their westward expansion.
Claims of
Governor Gooch reported from Virginia that there was a strong inclination among the people in the Dominion as well among many strangers from Pennsylvania to extend their settlements on the western side of the great mountains and on the River Cohongaroonton to hold their lands of the Crown under Virginian grants. They held that those lands belonged to the Crown of right as lying beyond any part of the rivers called Rappahannock or Potomac. But Lord Fairfax claimed that they lay within the district granted to him and contended that not only the main stream, which forms those rivers, but all other rivers and streams which communicate therewith, by what names soever they were known, and the lands encompassed thereby lay within the limits of his grant. Nevertheless Gooch with the advice of the Council of Virginia was of the opinion that Fairfax's charter could not have so large a construction as was claimed, and being sensible how much it was for H. M. interest to encourage settlements in the interior so as in a few years to get possession of the Lakes and be in a condition to prevent encirclement by the French, had accorded grants to such as applied for them with the promise of patents so soon as the number of people the applicants promised had been brought to settle on that frontier (289, p. 169). The dispute with Fairfax also concerned the boundary of the Northern Neck and many of Gooch's excellent despatches devoted much space to the arguments concerning the extension of the authority of Virginia into that very unruly region.
The affairs of North Carolina were still very disturbed under the new Royal Government as they had been in the days of the Lords Proprietors, and Governor Burrington, though he wrote long despatches to prove that he had brought the colony to order, does not appear to have really effected very much (e.g. 404). The colony was rent with violent quarrels and tempers ran so high that there was no restraint either of language or conduct. North Carolina, in fact, had a very bad reputation for quarrelsomeness and misrule. South Carolina was more settled, but even there the law did not run very smoothly outside the immediate neighbourhood of Charleston, the seat of government. There had been no Courts of Justice held for four years for want of a jury (p. 343), and when efforts were made to collect the debts that were owing by the planters in the country districts, they failed. When the Marshal attempted to serve a capias for the recovery of debts out of Charleston, there were frequent rescues from him, "the negroes were let loose upon him and he frequently wiped or drawn through a ditch, but all complaints [were] to no purpose, for legal proof [could] not be made that it was by their master's order, though everyone [knew] it could not be done without it" (548, p. 370).
in Georgia.
General Oglethorpe's project for the foundation of a new colony of Georgia, first came before the Board of Trade in December 1730 (Journal, pp. 165, 167–8, 169), and the petitioners were busily negotiating with the authorities from that time onwards. There are few papers connected with the project among those of 1731, for the discussions were mostly verbal, as we can see from the pages of the Journal. The projectors early agreed that the area to be included in their grant should be "bounded southerly by the most southern branch of the River Alatamaha and northerly by the most large and navigable branch of the Savannah" (Journal, p. 169). The region was traditionally within the Province of South Carolina and during the negotiations the project was always spoken of as one for the settlement of South Carolina. Some references to it, therefore, may be found indexed under that heading.
North Carolina and Virginia heard of the Georgia project during the year with some apparent jealousy, for they also needed settlers. Moseley, the great land-jobber of the former colony, still had 20,000 acres to sell when he could find purchasers (404), and as one of his correspondents wrote to Governor Burrington from Virginia "It must be owned North Carolina is a very happy country where people may live with less labour than they can in any part of the world, and if the lower parts are moist and consequently a little unwholesome, everywhere above Chowan people may live both in health and plenty. There is a subscription in England for settling an hundred families of poor debtors on Savannah River, which will prove a grave for them. They had better send them to North Carolina." (404 ii, p. 257).
§ III.
The West Indies.
Capt. George
Captain George Phenney had left the Bahamas, but the affairs of his Governorship were not yet cleared up, for he had to petition the Crown for the deliverance up to him of a bond which his successor Governor Woodes Rogers had compelled him to deliver to the Treasurer of the Colony for the sums raised during his administration. The Board of Trade made a favourable report to the Committee of Council on this petition, which is of some interest as bearing upon the financial responsibility of a Governor. The Assembly's objection to Phenney's proceedings related solely to the way in which he had levied money for the expenses of government. There was then no Assembly in the Bahamas, so that the money was raised by the highest authority which then subsisted and by the same power as his predecessor had levied taxes for the same purposes. By his commission Phenney was authorised to do everything that might conduce to the security of his Government, and the Board held that what he had done was the common practice of England towards her infant colonies and it was approved at the Quarter Sessions of the Islands, which was the most popular Court that could take cognizance of such matters before the constitution of the Assembly. The ex-Governor's bond was therefore returned to him and he was protected against suits in the Bahamas Courts for what he had done in his capacity of Governor. (322, Journal, p. 235), Captain Phenney was appointed Surveyor-General of the Customs in the southern colonies of America, resident in Virginia, (526), and as such appointed to the Councils of each of those colonies, so that despite the troubles that had beset him during his Governorship he was clearly regarded as a valuable servant of the Crown. In connection with this appointment we may note an impression derived from the perusal of these papers in successive years that, although there was in the early eighteenth century no organised Colonial Service, men were employed successively in different appointments for many years when they had shown administrative capacity. Not all colonial appointments were made by favouritism or patronage, but the good services of men like Lieutenant-Governor Gooch of Virginia, Colonel Mathew, Lieutenant-General of the Leeward Islands, Major-General Robert Hunter of Jamaica and others of lesser rank like George Phenney gave them a prolonged colonial career. Incidentally we may remark that in 1731 for the first time we meet with the name of William Shirley, who went out in that year to Massachusetts with the Duke of Newcastle's recommendation (372, 461, 531) and was later to play an important part in colonial affairs.
There are few papers of interest from the Bermudas during the year save Lieutenant-Governor Pitt's reply to the queries addressed to him by the Board of Trade in the usual course.
He remarked that in two years the inhabitants of that tiny and poverty-stricken colony had decreased by 1,173, about oneseventh of their whole number, "the chiefest reasons whereof are that the inhabitants daily remove their families to other colonies for their better support and the blacks are often transported." (306 i). Similar emigration was also going on on a considerable scale from Barbados, and we hear of Barbadians passing northwards to find new homes and better prospects in Carolina. That island was unusually quiet (256) and was on the decline. Governor Worseley laid down the governorship that he had held for so long (430, 432) and departed for England, where as soon as he arrived he was called into counsel by the Board of Trade concerning the affairs of the colons (476, Journal, p. 249).
The affairs of the Leeward Islands also were not of any particular moment, but St. Christopher suffered a serious disaster by the blowing-up of its principal magazine which was struck by lightning. The greater part of the ammunition and arms of the garrison were stored therein and their loss left the island in an almost defenceless condition (554, 569). The rapid succession of Governors in recent years owing to death had frequently left the administration in the hands of Colonel William Mathew, the Lieutenant-General of the islands, as second in command. The Board of Trade were concerned at what would happen in case of his death or absence. The King's commission directed that in the absence of the Captain-General (or Governor-in-Chief), the chief command in the Leeward Islands should devolve upon the Lieutenant-General and in his absence upon the Lieutenant-Governor of Nevis and upon the President of the Council in that island. In all probability the first cause for giving this preference to Nevis was its having been entirely settled before any other of the islands, but St. Christopher and Antigua had both outstripped it and Nevis had sunk to be a very small community. The Board of Trade therefore recommended that in the absence of the Captain and Lieutenant-General the command should devolve first on the senior Lieutenant-Governor among the four islands and so in turn. If no one of the Lieutenant-Governors was available, then the office would pass to the President of the Council of St. Christopher as now the island of most consequence in the group. (226, 231, 274, 530, 552). That the question was one of direct practical interest at the time was shown by the fact that while the orders were being discussed there was no Captain General in the islands owing to the death of Lord Forbes and the non-arrival of his successor, Colonel William Cosby, the Lieutenant-General, William Mathew, had departed for England on leave of absence, and the command therefore devolved on Michael Smith, President of Nevis who was a person of no particular substance or standing. It is another instance of the difficulties caused by the persistence of complex regulations after circumstances had changed. In the little, over-governed communities of the West Indies this conservatism could not fail to produce unfortunate results.
in St.
There is a long and interesting report from Mr. Fane upon a case referred to him concerning the title to lands in St. Christopher, which had been forfeited by the treasonable adhesion of various Irish planters to the invading French during the late wars. The question of the disposal of such forfeited lands and of subsequent titles to them was argued at length, and the report is of interest concerning the effects of Acts of the colonial legislature in cases where there had been a change of property by rebellion, and later after possession for a great number of years (here from 1689 to 1712) a law was passed to quiet the possessors without any private view but only for the general quiet and ease of the country. (571, pp. 392–396).
Jamaica. The many papers from Jamaica are filled with accounts of the operations against the negro rebels which were a depressing story of incompetence, cowardice and neglect of precautions. On the other hand there was much correspondence concerning the two regiments that were sent to the island at the planters' urgent representation of the dangers that were threatening them from the revolt of their slaves. But though they clamoured for the protection of the soldiers, they would not contribute to their support, nor help in housing them. The mortality among the troops was terrible and the regiments were soon reduced to a fraction of those who had landed. It is unnecessary to recapitulate the story, but to follow it reference must be made to the papers which show that perhaps a major share of the attention of the Privy Council Committee and the Board of Trade was given to these Jamaican affairs (e.g. 210, 249, 272, 292, 300, 351 i, 370, 412, 491, 492, 550 ii). The officers of the regiments detested the service and the factiousness of the planters afforded them their opportunity to intrigue for their withdrawal. We learn of this from the representations of his Council to Governor Hunter which he forwarded to the Duke of Newcastle along with his account of the rout of the military forces sent against the rebels. "The weak and defenceless condition of the island [persists] and we are concerned to find our opinions [concerning it], honestly and faithfully given, have had less weight than the solicitations of some interested officers, who from their first landing here have shown a dislike to the country and an indisposition to the service. These officers the better to carry their point have transmitted a message from the Assembly to the Council where it is insinuated the country had no occasion for them. That was but the opinion of one part of the Legislature and carried by a small minority, who under show and pretence of popularity are running the country into the greatest disorder and confusion. If the officers had acted with candour, with a view to H. M. service and not their own interest", they should have noted the evidence showing that the militia were not sufficient for the defence of the island. (550 xi, p. 375).
The negro
of the
The projects of conciliating the rebels and of deporting them to the Bahamas or of using the Moskito Indians against them, which were recommended by some, were neither practicable nor advisable. "At this time" wrote the Council "the negroes are flushed with success and they would rather impose than receive terms. Nothing but arms can bring them to submit, much less a proposal to banish them to the Bahamas. The Moskito Indians were never made use of by this country [sc. Jamaica] but once for the reduction of the rebellious negroes and then they acquitted themselves so ill that the country did not think it worth while to employ them again, neither did they care any more for that service when they found the rebels knew the use and were provided with fire arms." (550 xi). Governor Hunter was of the same opinion. "As to the Moskito Indians, it is but too true, they were not satisfied with their treatment when here last, neither had they much reason to be so, having had their arms which were given them taken from them upon their return home. By the report of all who were acquainted with them they are utterly unfit for such service in the rocks and mountains, their own country consisting of marshes and bogs, and all or most of their expeditions there performed in canoes. Neither did they indeed do any service when here, pretending they were imposed on in assurances given them, that the rebellious negroes had neither arms nor ammunition."
with the
Nevertheless the Moskitos lived in strict amity and correspondence with Jamaica and their King was very proud of the parchment commission, the great seal and trappings that were sent to him as usual. He desired to come to England, but the Governor put him off with various excuses. (486, pp. 337–8. See also 328).
Cause of
the Jamaica
The real cause of the troubles of Jamaica was discerned by General Hunter. "The great service of all our evils on this side is the indolence and inactivity of the men of figure and substance, who generally speaking not only lie by in the election of members of Assembly, but will give their interest for the choice of such as are recommended to them by their lawyers, and those who make that interest are for the most part men of low fortunes and desperate circumstances and want personal protection." (486, p. 338).
§ Africa.
The West
Although the title of the Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series is qualified with the sub-title America and West Indies, there have always been included in the successive volumes some papers relating to the trade to West Africa and to the English forts and factories upon the coast. This was undoubtedly proper, for the affairs of the African dependencies were closely associated with those of the Plantations and must be studied along with them. Englishmen had been at work in West Africa ever since the middle of the seventeenth century, and although their little factories there had no full and continuous correspondence with the Board of Trade and Plantations like those of the colonies in America and the West Indies, their story forms an essential part of our colonial history. Unfortunately the papers from Africa of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are widely scattered through the archives of the Board and of the Secretaries of State, and they have never been collected into a single series. Many of them are included among the Trade Papers of the Board which have not been abstracted in the Colonial Calendar, and only the Journal reveals that besides the comparatively few African papers that have been dealt with in successive volumes, because they came within the series of collected documents that were explored by the editors, there were others and probably in larger number. At a later date it is hoped to collect abstracts of all the extant documents in a volume of Addenda, but here we may mention some papers of the year 1731 as an illustration, although they have not been abstracted in this volume.
The Emperor
of Pawpaw
In May 1731 the Duke of Newcastle referred to the Board of Trade a petition received from a Mr. Bullfinch Lambe relating to his transactions with the Emperor of Pawpaw (or Dahomey) in Africa. (Journal, p. 198) Lambe was summoned to attend, and accordingly he appeared with a negro, called Captain Tom, who had been employed as his interpreter, and the surgeon of the African Company at their Cape Corse factory. (Journal, p. 199). The Emperor desired to enter into close relations with England, as Lambe set forth in his memorial, and the Board requested the African Company and the separate traders to the Coast to send representatives to give evidence on the subject (Journal, p. 199). There is considerable space devoted to the matter in the Journal (pp. 201–3, 215–7) and the Board prepared a letter and report for presentation to the Secretary of State and the King in July 1731 (p. 217) although they do not appear among our papers. They are to be found in an uncalendared section of the archives (C.O. 267/5), and they illustrate the fact that English activities on the West Coast of Africa in the first part of the eighteenth century were more widespread than has sometimes been realised.
Again on July 22, 1731 a letter from Mr. Burchett, Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, was read by the Board of Trade together with several papers relating to the forts and settlements on the coast of Africa (Journal, p. 221). Although they were considered by the Board in close connection with the disputes about the duties laid upon negroes in Jamaica, which have been referred to earlier in this Introduction, they do not appear among our abstracts. Until it is possible, therefore, to prepare the volume of Addenda that is projected, it is necessary for students to keep a watch upon the proceedings of the Board of Trade and Plantations as recorded in their Journal in order to obtain a comprehensive view of the evidence upon which they based their reports.
§ Miscellaneous.
The spelling and punctuation of the period when written by trained officials in London do not differ greatly from modern practice; they had reached their norm, but some other correspondents had extraordinary ideas of orthography. "Councle" is an effective disguise at first sight for "council" (546), while "arbeterry" seems to be an attempt to spell "arbitrary" phonetically (319 ii). Save for such occasional aberrations it is doubtful whether it is of much philological importance to reproduce the spelling and punctuation of the documents exactly. Capitalisation was very liberal at this period, but Mr. Headlam, by whom the original abstracts were made, did not reproduce all the many capitals so freely scattered through the documents. There is one expression that sounds inexplicable to modern ears and is probably a piece of military slang. Colonel Robert Hayes commanding one of the regiments sent from Jamaica wrote to his agent after his arrival at Port Royal "The affair of the blacks [i.e. the negro rebels] I took [? look] upon to be quite a Bam, for I find nobody that has either seen or felt them in a wrathful manner." (249(b), p. 140). Another entry on one of the letters caused some doubt to Mr. Headlam when he abstracted the document. The letter (219) was written in London to the Secretary of the Board of Trade and marked with the usual triangular stamp "Penny Post Paid" with the word "Pidgeon" written above it. It seems improbable that this means that the letter was sent by carrier pigeon, and it may be suggested that the postman to whom it was given for delivery was named "Pidgeon," but the question appears to be incapable of solution.
It is to be noted that, since the papers that are here calendared have been collected from two sources, the archives of the Secretary of State and those of the Board of Trade and Plantations, which were later united under one custody, there are two versions of each of the letters that were directed from the Board to the Secretary of State, and frequently vice versa. The original letters are now among the archives of their recipients, but before despatch their office of origin copied them into entry books of out-letters which have been preserved. As a general rule, Mr. Headlam abstracted the originals, but in certain cases he appears to have made his abstracts from the entry books, and it is well to make this point clear for the benefit of those who may wish to go behind the Calendar and consult the papers themselves.

Arthur Percival Newton.