Mr. Dudley, the president named in the commission, was a native of Massachusetts, and seems to have mingled with his respect for the constitutional prerogative of the crown, a due regard for the rights of the people. Any immediate alterations, therefore, in the interior arrangements of the country were avoided; and the commissioners transmitted a memorial to the lords of the council for the colonies, stating the necessity of a well regulated assembly to represent the people, and soliciting an abatement of the taxes. This moderate conduct did not accord with the wishes of that class of men who court power wherever it may be placed. These sought the favour of their sovereign by prostrating every obstacle to the execution of his will; and soon transmitted complaints to administration, charging the commissioners with conniving at violations of the laws respecting trade, and countenancing ancient principles in religion and government.
[Sidenote: Sir Edmond Andros.]
James was dissatisfied with the conduct of his commissioners; and was also of opinion that a wise policy required a consolidation of the colonies, and a permanent administration for New England. With a view to this object, he appointed Sir Edmond Andros, who had governed New York, captain-general and vice-admiral of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, New Plymouth, Pemaquid, and Narraghansetts; and empowered him, with the consent of a council to be appointed by the crown, to make ordinances not inconsistent with the laws of the realm, which should be submitted to the King for his approbation or dissent; and to impose taxes for the support of government.
In December 1685, Andros arrived at Boston, where he was received with the respect which was due to the representative of the crown. In pursuance of his orders, he dissolved the government of Rhode Island, broke its seal, and assumed the administration of the colony. In the preceding year, articles of high misdemeanour had been exhibited against that colony and referred to Sayer, the attorney general, with orders to issue a writ of quo warranto to annul their patent. The assembly stopped farther proceedings, by passing an act formally surrendering their charter. Their submission, however, availed them nothing. Their fate was involved in that of Massachusetts.
[Footnote 107: Chalmer. Hutchison.]
[Sidenote: Odious measures of government.]
In pursuance of the determination to break the charters and unite the colonies, articles of misdemeanour had been also exhibited against the governor and company of Connecticut, on which a writ of quo warranto had been issued. The government of that colony addressed a letter to the secretary of state, desiring, with many professions of loyalty, to remain in its present situation; but, if it should be the purpose of his majesty to dispose otherwise of them, submitting to his royal commands, and requesting to be annexed to Massachusetts. No farther proceedings were had on the quo warranto, and Andros was ordered to accept the submission of the colony, and annex it to Massachusetts. This order was executed in October, when Andros appeared in Hartford at the head of a small corps of regular troops, demanded the charter, and declared the government to be dissolved. The colony submitted, but the charter was concealed in a tree, which was venerated long afterwards and is still in existence.
[Footnote 108: Trumbull. Hutchison. Chalmer.]
The grand legislative council, composed of individuals selected by the crown throughout the united colonies, readily assembled, and proceeded to execute the duties assigned to it.
The measures of the new government were not calculated to diminish the odium excited by its objectionable form. The fees of office were enormous; and the regulations respecting divine worship, marriages, the acts of navigation, and taxes, were deemed highly oppressive. In addition to these causes of discontent, the governor general took occasion to cast a doubt on the validity of the titles by which lands were holden.
To obtain relief from these oppressive grievances, Mather, an eminent politician and divine, was deputed by the colonies of New England to lay their complaints before the King. He was graciously received, but could effect no substantial change in the colonial administration. James had determined to reduce all the governments, proprietary as well as royal, to an immediate dependence on the crown; and, to effect this purpose, had directed writs of quo warranto to issue against those charters which still remained in force. This plan was adopted, not only for the purpose of establishing his favourite system of government, but also of forming a barrier to the encroachments of France, by combining the force of the colonies as far as the Delaware. During this reign, Canada was pushed south of Lake Champlain; and fortresses were erected within the immense forests which then separated that province from New York and New England. With a view to this union of force, a new commission was made out for Andros, annexing New York and the Jerseys to his government, and appointing Francis Nicholson his lieutenant.
The dissatisfaction of the people continued to increase; and every act of the government, even those which were in themselves laudable, was viewed through the medium of prejudice.
At length these latent ill humours burst forth into action. Some vague intelligence was received concerning the proceedings of the Prince of Orange in England. The old magistrates and leading men silently wished, and secretly prayed, that success might attend him, but determined to commit nothing unnecessarily to hazard, and quietly to await an event, which no movement of theirs could accelerate or retard.
[Sidenote: Andros deposed.]
[Sidenote: William and Mary proclaimed.]
The people were less prudent. Stung with the recollection of past injuries, their impatience, on the first prospect of relief, could not be restrained. On the 18th of April, without any apparent pre-concerted plan, a sudden insurrection broke out in Boston, and about fifty of the most unpopular individuals, including the governors, were seized and imprisoned; and the government was once more placed in the hands of the ancient magistrates. All apprehensions of danger from this precipitate measure were soon quieted by the information that William and Mary had been crowned King and Queen of England. They were immediately proclaimed in Boston with unusual pomp, and with demonstrations of proclaimed unaffected joy.
[Footnote 109: Chalmer. Hutchison.]
The example of Massachusetts was quickly followed by Connecticut and Rhode Island. Andros was no sooner known to be in prison than he was deposed also in Connecticut; and, in both colonies the ancient form of government was restored.
In New Hampshire a convention was called, which determined to re-annex that colony to Massachusetts, and deputies were elected to represent them in the general court. This reunion continued to be their wish, but was opposed by the King, who, in 1692, appointed for it a distinct governor.
In order to bring the affairs of the middle colonies to this period, it will be necessary briefly to review the transactions of several years.
[Sidenote: Review of proceedings in New York and New Jersey.]
The treaty of Breda, which restored Acadie to France, confirmed New Netherlands to England. Quiet possession of that valuable territory was retained until 1673, when, England being engaged again in war with Holland, a small Dutch squadron appeared before the fort at New York, which surrendered without firing a shot. The example was followed by the city and country; and, in a few days, the submission of New Netherlands was complete. After this acquisition the old claim to Long Island was renewed, and some attempts were made to wrest it from Connecticut. That province however, after consulting its confederates, and finding that offensive operations would be agreeable to the union, declared war against the Dutch; and not content with defending its own possessions, prepared an expedition against New York. The termination of the war between England and Holland prevented its prosecution, and restored to the English the possessions they had lost.
[Footnote 110: Trumbull. Hutchison.]
To remove all controversy concerning his title, which had been acquired while the granted lands were in possession of the Dutch, the duke of York, after the peace of 1674, obtained a renewal of his patent, and appointed sir Edmond Andros governor of his territories in America. This commission included New Jersey, his former grant of which he supposed to be annulled by the conquest thereof in 1673. Andros, disregarding the decision of the commissioners, claimed for the duke that part of Connecticut which lies west of the river of that name; and, during the war with Philip, endeavoured to support his claim by force. The determined resistance of Connecticut compelled him to relinquish an attempt on Saybrooke; after which he returned to New York. The taxes which had been laid by the Dutch were collected, and duties, for a limited time, were imposed, by authority of the duke. This proceeding excited great discontent. The public resentment was directed, first against the governor, whose conduct was inquired into and approved by his master, and afterwards against the collector, who was seized and sent to England; but never prosecuted. The representatives of the duke in New York, feeling the difficulty of governing a high spirited people on principles repugnant to all their settled opinions, repeatedly, but ineffectually, urged him to place the colony on the same footing with its neighbours, by creating a local legislature, one branch of which should be elected by the people. It was not until the year 1683, when the revenue laws were about to expire, when the right of the duke to re-enact them was denied in America, and doubted in England, that he could be prevailed on to appoint a new governor with instructions to convene an assembly.
[Footnote 111: Smith.]
In 1674, lord Berkeley assigned his interest in the Jerseys to William Penn and his associates. They afterwards acquired the title of sir George Carteret also, and immediately conveyed one-half of their interest to the earl of Perth and others, who, in 1683, obtained a conveyance from the duke of York directly to themselves.
During these transactions, continual efforts were made to re-annex the Jerseys to New York. Carteret had endeavoured to participate in the advantages of commerce by establishing a port at Amboy; but Andros seized and condemned the vessels trading thither, and was supported by the duke in this exercise of power. The assembly of New York claimed the right of taxing the people of Jersey; and the collector, continued to exercise his former authority within their territory. On his complaining, after the accession of the duke of York to the throne, that every vessel he prosecuted was discharged by the verdict of the jury, a writ of quo warranto was directed. The English judges did not then hold their offices during good behaviour; and the proprietors of East Jersey, confident that the cause would be decided against them, surrendered their patent to the crown, praying only a grant of the soil. The Jerseys were, soon afterwards, annexed to New England.
[Footnote 112: Chalmer. Smith.]
Dongan, who, in 1683, had succeeded Andros in the government of New York, took a deep interest in the affairs of the five nations, who had been engaged in bloody wars with Canada. The French, by establishing a settlement at Detroit, and a fort at Michilimackinack, had been enabled to extend their commerce among the numerous tribes of Indians who hunted on the banks of the great lakes, and the upper branches of the Mississippi. They excluded the people of New York from any share in this gainful commerce; in consequence of which Dongan solicited and obtained permission to aid the five nations. This order, however, was soon countermanded; and a treaty was concluded, stipulating that no assistance should be given to the savages by the English colonists; soon after which Dongan was recalled, and New York was annexed to New England.
From the accession of James to the throne, he had discontinued the assemblies of New York, and empowered the governor, with the consent of his council, to make laws "as near as might be" to those of England. The reinstatement of this arbitrary system gave general disgust, and, together with the apprehension that the Roman Catholic religion would be established, prepared the people of New York, as well as those of the other colonies, for that revolution which wrested power from hands accustomed to abuse it. On receiving intelligence of the revolution at Boston, the militia were raised by a captain Jacob Leisler, who took possession of the fort in the name of King William, and drove Nicholson, the lieutenant governor, out of the country. This event gave rise to two parties, who long divided New York, and whose mutual animosities were the source of much uneasiness and mischief to the province.
[Footnote 113: Chalmer. Smith.]
[Sidenote: Pennsylvania granted to William Penn.]
William Penn having gained some knowledge of the country west of the Delaware, formed the design of acquiring that territory as a separate estate. On his petition, a charter was issued in 1681, granting to him, in absolute property, by the name of Pennsylvania, that tract of country bounded on the east by the river Delaware, extending westward five degrees of longitude, stretching to the north from twelve miles north of New Castle to the forty-third degree of latitude, and limited on the south by a circle of twelve miles, drawn round New Castle to the beginning of the fortieth degree of latitude.
In this charter, the acts of navigation were recognised, a local legislature was created, and provision made that a duplicate of its laws should be transmitted, within five years, to the King in council; any of which that were repugnant to those of England, or inconsistent with the authority of the crown, might be declared void in six months. This charter conveyed nearly the same powers and privileges with that of Maryland, but recognised the right of Parliament to tax the colony.
Penn soon commenced the settlement of the province, and immediately asserted a claim to a part of the territory which had been supposed by lord Baltimore to be within the bounds of Maryland. In this claim originated a controversy between the two proprietors, productive of considerable inconvenience and irritation to both.
He published a frame of government for Pennsylvania, the chief intention of which was declared to be "for the support of power in reverence with the people, and to secure the people from the abuse of power; that they may be free by their just obedience, and the magistrates honourable for their just administration; for liberty without obedience is confusion, and obedience without liberty is slavery."
This scheme of fundamental law contains many provisions indicating good sense and just notions of government, but was too complex for an infant settlement; and, after many fruitless attempts to amend it, was laid aside, and a more simple form was adopted, resembling in its principal features, those established in the other colonies, which remained until the proprietary government itself was dissolved.
[Sidenote: Foundation of Philadelphia.]
In August 1682, Penn obtained from the duke of York a conveyance of the town of New Castle, with the territory twelve miles around it, and that tract of land extending thence southward, on the Delaware, to cape Henlopen. Soon after this grant was issued, he embarked for America, accompanied by about two thousand emigrants; and, in the October following, landed on the banks of the Delaware. In addition to the colonists sent out by himself, he found, on his arrival several small settlements of Swedes, Dutch, Finlanders, and English, amounting to about three thousand persons. Penn cultivated the good will of the natives, from whom he purchased such lands as were necessary for the present use of the colonists. At this time the foundation of Philadelphia was laid, which we are assured contained near one hundred houses within twelve months from its commencement. An assembly was convened which, instead of being composed of all the freemen, according to the frame of government, was, at the request of the people themselves, constituted of their representatives. Among the laws which were enacted was one annexing the territories lately purchased from the duke of York to the province, and extending to them all its privileges. Universal freedom in religion was established; and every foreigner who promised allegiance to the King, and obedience to the proprietor was declared a freeman.
[Footnote 114: History of Pennsylvania. Chalmer.]
In the hope of extending his limits to the Chesapeake, Penn, soon after his arrival, met lord Baltimore for the purpose of adjusting their boundaries. The patent of that nobleman calls for the fortieth degree of north latitude, and he proposed to determine the intersection of that degree with the Delaware by actual observation. Penn, on the contrary, insisted on finding the fortieth degree by mensuration from the capes of Virginia, the true situation of which had been already ascertained. Each adhering firmly to his own proposition, the controversy was referred to the committee of plantations, who, after the crown had descended on James, decided that the peninsula between the bays of Chesapeake and Delaware, should be divided into two equal parts by a line drawn from the latitude of cape Henlopen to the fortieth degree, and adjudged that the land lying from that line towards the Delaware should belong to his majesty, and the other moiety to Lord Baltimore. This adjudication was ordered to be immediately executed.
Pennsylvania was slow in acknowledging the Prince and Princess of Orange. The government continued to be administered in the name of James for some time after his abdication was known. At length, however, William and Mary were proclaimed; and Penn had the address to efface the unfavourable impressions which this delay was calculated to make on them.
New charter of Massachusetts.... Affairs of New York.... War with France.... Schenectady destroyed.... Expedition against Port Royal.... Against Quebec.... Acadie recovered by France.... Pemaquid taken.... Attempt on St. Johns.... Peace.... Affairs of New York.... Of Virginia.... Disputes between England and France respecting boundary in America.... Recommencement of hostilities.... Quotas of the respective colonies.... Treaty of neutrality between France and the five nations.... Expedition against Port Royal.... Incursion into Massachusetts.... Plan for the invasion of Canada.... Port Royal taken.... Expedition against Quebec.... Treaty of Utrecht.... Affairs of New York.... Of Carolina.... Expedition against St. Augustine.... Attempt to establish the Episcopal church.... Invasion of the colony.... Bills of credit issued.... Legislature continues itself.... Massacre in North Carolina by the Indians.... Tuscaroras defeated.... Scheme of a Bank.
The revolution which placed the Prince and Princess of Orange on the throne, revived in Massachusetts, the hope of recovering the ancient charter. Elections were held by authority of the temporary government, and the representatives requested the council to exercise, until orders should be received from England, the powers and authorities vested in that body by the charter. The council acceded to this proposition; and the ancient system was re-established. It was soon perceived by the agents of Massachusetts that the old charter would not be restored, and that the King was determined to retain the appointment of the governor in his own hands. The colony, however, was authorised to exercise the powers of government according to the ancient system, until a new arrangement should be made. The vessel by which these directions were transmitted, carried also orders that sir Edmond Andros, and those imprisoned with him should be sent to England.
[Sidenote: New Charter.]
The general court deputed additional agents, with instructions to solicit the confirmation of their beloved charter; but these solicitations were ineffectual. The King was inflexible; and, at length, a new charter was framed, introducing some changes which affected radically the independence that had been long practically possessed by the colony. The governor was to be appointed by the crown, was enabled to call, adjourn, prorogue, and dissolve the assembly at pleasure; he had the appointment solely, of all military officers; and, with the consent of his council, of all officers belonging to the courts of justice.
Sir William Phipps, the first governor, arrived in May, and immediately issued writs for a general assembly, which met in June, and accepted the charter; though a considerable party had been formed to oppose it. This instrument annexed Plymouth and Nova Scotia to Massachusetts; but, contrary to the wishes of both colonies, omitted New Hampshire, which became permanently a separate government.
[Footnote 115: Hutchison.]
[Sidenote: Affairs of New York.]
In New York, Leisler, who had obtained the entire control of the lower country, associated with himself in the government, a few trusty partisans, denominated a committee of safety, over whom he presided. Some of the principal inhabitants of the city, dissatisfied at seeing a man of low birth, without education, in possession of supreme power, retired to Albany, where a convention of the people was assembled, who determined to hold the fort and country for the King and Queen, but not to submit to the authority of Leisler. On receiving intelligence of these transactions, Jacob Milbourne was detached with a small force to reduce the place; but, finding that the people adhered to the convention, and that his harangues against James and popery made no impression on them, he returned to New York. The next spring he appeared again before the fort; and, being favoured by an irruption of the Indians, obtained possession of it. The principal members of the convention absconded, upon which their effects were seized and confiscated. This harsh measure produced resentments which were transmitted from father to son.
Leisler retained the supreme power, without farther opposition, until the arrival of sir Henry Slaughter, who had been appointed governor of the province. Though informed of the commission which Slaughter bore, this infatuated man refused to yield the government to him; and showed a disposition, without the ability, to resist. This ill judged obstinacy threw the governor, who soon obtained possession of the fort, into the arms of the opposite party. Leisler and Milbourne were arrested, tried for high treason, condemned, and executed. Their estates were confiscated, but were afterwards restored to their families.
[Footnote 116: Smith.]
[Sidenote: War with France.]
While these things were passing in the interior, the colonies of New England and New York were engaged in a bloody and desolating war with the French of Canada, and with the Indians. The English people had long viewed with apprehension, the advances of France towards universal dominion; and with infinite disgust, the influence of Louis XIV. in their cabinet. On the elevation of the Prince of Orange to the throne, they entered with alacrity into all his views for opposing barriers to the power, and restraints on the ambition, of that haughty monarch. The war which was proclaimed between the two nations, extended itself to their possessions in America. De Calliers, who sailed from Canada to France in 1688, had formed a plan for the conquest of New York, which was adopted by his government. Caffiniere commanded the ships which sailed from Rochefort on this expedition, subject however to the count de Frontignac, who was general of the land forces destined to march from Canada by the route of the river Sorel and of lake Champlain. The fleet and troops arrived at Chebucta, whence the count proceeded to Quebec leaving orders with Caffiniere to sail to New York.
On reaching Quebec, the count found all Canada in the utmost distress. In the preceding summer, twelve hundred warriors of the Five nations had suddenly landed on the island of Montreal, and put to death about one thousand of the inhabitants whom they found in perfect security. The place was again attacked in October, and the lower part of the island entirely destroyed. In consequence of these calamitous events, fort Frontignac, on lake Ontario, was evacuated, and two vessels which had been constructed there were burnt.
[Sidenote: Schenectady destroyed.]
Count Frontignac, who, in his sixty-eighth year, possessed the activity of youth, after remaining a few days on shore, re-embarked in a canoe for Montreal. In the hope of conciliating the Five nations, he held a great council with them at Onondago, where the Indians showed some disposition towards a peace without concluding one. To influence their deliberations, and raise the depressed spirits of the Canadians, he sent out several parties against the English colonies. That against New York, consisting of about two hundred French, and some Indians; after marching twenty-two days with their provisions on their backs, through a wilderness covered deep with snow, arrived, on 8th of February 1690, about eleven at night, at Schenectady, a village a few miles north-west of Albany. Finding the gates open and unguarded, they immediately entered the town, the inhabitants of which were asleep; and, dividing themselves into small parties, invested every house at the same time. No alarm was given until the doors were broken open; and then was commenced the perpetration of those barbarities which add so much to the ordinary horrors of war. The whole village was instantly in flames; pregnant women were ripped open and their infants cast into the flames, or dashed against the posts of the doors. Sixty persons were massacred, twenty-seven carried into captivity, and those who escaped fled naked, through a deep snow and storm to Albany. In the flight, twenty-five lost their limbs from the intensity of the cold. The town was pillaged until about noon the next day, when the enemy marched off with their plunder. Being pursued by a party of young men from Albany, about twenty-five of them were killed and captured.
[Footnote 117: Smith.]
[Sidenote: Expedition against Port Royal.]
In the spring and summer of 1689, several settlements and forts in New Hampshire and Maine, were successfully attacked by the Indians; who, wherever they were victorious, perpetrated their usual cruelties. Knowing that these depredations originated in Canada and Acadie, the general court of Massachusetts planned an expedition against both Port Royal and Quebec. Early in the spring, eight small vessels, carrying seven or eight hundred men, sailed under the command of sir William Phipps; and, almost without opposition, took possession of Port Royal, and of the whole coast between that place and New England. The fleet returned in May, having taken nearly plunder enough to discharge the expense of the equipment. But two detachments made about the same time by count Frontignac, attacked the Salmon falls, and fort Casco, where they killed and took about one hundred and eighty persons.
[Illustration: Penn Seeking Freedom for Imprisoned Friends
(C) by Violet Oakley; From a Copley print copyright by Curtis and Cameron, Boston
The reference made in the panel inscription at the top of this picture is to William Penn's imprisonment in the Tower of London for publishing "The Sandy Foundation Shaken," in which he attacked the doctrines of the Trinity. While in prison he wrote his most famous and popular book, "No Cross, No Crown" and "Innocency With Her Open Face", in vindication of his Quaker faith. In 1681 Penn obtained from the British Crown, in lieu of a debt of L16,000 due him as heir to his father, Admiral Penn, a grant of territory now comprising the State of Pennsylvania. There he founded Philadelphia, as a Quaker colony, in the following year.]
[Sidenote: Against Quebec.]
A vessel had been dispatched to England in April with letters urging the importance of conquering Canada, and soliciting the aid of the King to that enterprise. He was however too much occupied in Europe to attend to America; and it was determined to prosecute the expedition without his assistance. New York and Connecticut, engaged to furnish a body of men, to march, by the way of lake Champlain, against Montreal, while the troops of Massachusetts should proceed by sea to Quebec. The fleet, consisting of between thirty and forty vessels, the largest of which carried forty-four guns, sailed from Nantucket the ninth of August, having on board two thousand men. This expedition also was commanded by sir William Phipps, a brave man, but not qualified for so difficult an enterprise. He did not arrive before Quebec until October, when it was too late for a regular siege. Instead of availing himself of the first impression, sir William is charged with having wasted two or three days in sight of the place, after which he summoned it to surrender. Having performed this ceremony, he landed between twelve and thirteen hundred men, and marched until night, under a scattering fire from an enemy concealed in the woods. At night, a deserter gave such an account of the French force as entirely discouraged him.
Connecticut and New York were disappointed in receiving the assistance expected from the Five nations; who furnished neither the warriors they had promised, nor canoes to transport their troops over the lakes. The commissary too had neglected to lay up the necessary supplies of provisions. These disappointments obliged the party destined against Montreal to retreat without making an attempt on that place; which enabled the French general to oppose the whole force of Canada to Phipps.
The evening after the troops were landed, the ships were drawn up before the place, but received more damage from the batteries than they could do to the town. After wasting a few days in unavailing parade, the army re-embarked with precipitation, and returned to Boston.
The general court, so far from suspecting that the expedition might possibly miscarry, seem to have counted, not only on success, but on acquiring sufficient treasure from the enemy to pay their soldiers. The army, finding the government totally unprepared to satisfy its claims, was on the point of mutinying. In this state of difficulty, bills of credit were issued, and were received in lieu of money. A tax was imposed at the same time, payable in the paper notes of the colony at five per centum above par. Notwithstanding the exertions to keep up its credit, the paper depreciated to fourteen shillings in the pound, which depreciation was, almost entirely, sustained by the army. As the time for collecting the tax approached, the paper rose above par, but this appreciation was gained by the holders.
[Footnote 118: See note No. I, at the end of the volume.]
Colonel Phipps, soon after his return from Canada, embarked for England, to renew the solicitations of the colony for aid in another attempt on Quebec. Though unsuccessful in this application, the government of the province was bestowed on him; and, in this character, he returned to Boston. A desultory war continued to be carried on, which, without furnishing any events that would now be interesting, produced heavy expense, and much individual misery.
Canada being considered as the source of all these evils, its conquest continued to be the favourite object of Massachusetts. At length, King William yielded to the solicitations of that colony and determined to employ a force for the reduction of Quebec. Unfortunately the first part of the plan was to be executed in the West Indies, where the capture of Martinique was contemplated. While on that service a contagious fever attacked both the land and sea forces; and, before they reached Boston, thirteen hundred sailors, and eighteen hundred soldiers, were buried. The survivors not being in a condition to prosecute the enterprise, it was abandoned.
[Footnote 119: Hutchison. Belknap.]
On the conquest of Acadie by sir William Phipps, the government of Massachusetts had been extended over that province; but, as the prejudices and affections of the inhabitants were entirely on the side of France, it was soon perceived that a military force alone could preserve the acquisition; and Massachusetts was unable, at her own expense, to support a sufficient body of troops for the defence of the country. Port Royal was recovered by Villebonne, after which all Acadie shook off the government of Massachusetts, and resumed its allegiance to France. About the same time a fort at Pemaquid was attacked and carried by Iberville.
In December, the treaty of peace which had been concluded at Riswick was proclaimed at Boston; and hostilities with the French in Canada immediately ceased. The depredations of the Indians continued only a short time after this event; and, in the course of the following year, general tranquillity was restored.
The frontiers of New Hampshire had been not less exposed during the war, than those of Massachusetts. Perpetual and distressing incursions had been made into the country, which were marked by the burning of undefended habitations, and the massacre of men, women, and children.
[Footnote 120: Belknap.]
[Sidenote: Affairs of New York.]
The frontiers of New York were covered by the Five nations. Hostilities were carried on between them and the French, but they were not attended by any material circumstance.
During the war the English government meditated a union of the colonies for the purpose of forming an army to defend New York; and the governors were instructed to propose to the several provinces to raise the quota of troops assigned to each by the crown. Though this plan never took effect, the fact is of some interest.
[Footnote 121: The quotas assigned by the crown are as follows:
To Massachusetts Bay 350 Rhode Island and Providence plantations 48 Connecticut 120 New York 200 Pennsylvania 80 Maryland 160 Virginia 240 ——- Total, 1,198]
[Sidenote: Of Virginia.]
The influence of the French not yet extending far enough south to involve the colonies beyond New York in the calamities of Indian warfare, few occurrences took place among them which deserve attention. In Virginia, the college of William and Mary, to which a charter had been granted in 1692, was liberally endowed, and was established at Williamsburg by an act of assembly which passed in the year 1693. In 1698, the state-house at Jamestown, with many valuable papers, was consumed by fire; and, in the following year, the legislature passed an act for removing the seat of government to Williamsburg, then called the middle plantation, and for building a capitol at that place.
By the treaty of Riswick, it was agreed that France and England should mutually restore to each other all conquests made during the war; and it was farther stipulated that commissioners should be appointed to examine and determine the rights and pretensions of each monarch to the places situated in Hudson's bay.
The consequences of not ascertaining boundaries were soon perceived. The English claimed as far west as the St. Croix, while France asserted her right to the whole country east of the Kennebeck.
[Sidenote: War renewed.]
These claims remained unsettled; and were mingled with other differences of more importance, which soon occasioned the re-commencement of hostilities.
The whole weight of the war in America fell on New England. Previous to its commencement, the earl of Bellamont, who was at that time governor of New York as well as of Massachusetts and of New Hampshire, had required that the quotas of men, assigned by the crown to the different colonies for the defence of New York, should be furnished. This requisition however was not complied with; and, before hostilities began, a treaty of neutrality was negotiated between the Five nations and the governor of Canada, which was assented to by lord Cornbury, then governor of New York. This treaty preserved the peace of that province, but left Massachusetts and New Hampshire to struggle with the combined force of the French and their Indian allies;—a struggle which seems to have been viewed by New York with the utmost composure.
Hostilities between Great Britain and France were immediately followed by incursions of French and Indians into the exposed parts of New England. A predatory and desolating war, attended with no striking circumstance, but with considerable expense and great individual distress, was carried on for some years. During its continuance, propositions were made for a cessation of hostilities; and the negotiations on this subject were protracted to a considerable length; but Dudley, who had succeeded the earl of Bellamont as governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, declined engaging for the neutrality of those provinces, in the hope that Nova Scotia and Canada might be subdued in the course of the war.
The battle of Almanza, in Spain, having induced the British cabinet to direct an armament intended for New England to European objects, Dudley determined to make an attempt on Acadie, though no aid should arrive from England. With this view, he applied, early in the spring, to the assemblies of both his provinces, and to the colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island; requesting them to raise one thousand men for the expedition. Connecticut declined furnishing her quota; but the other three colonies raised the whole number, who were disposed into two regiments, one commanded by colonel Wainright, and the other by colonel Hilton. On the 13th of May, they embarked at Nantucket on board a fleet of transports furnished with whale boats, under convoy of a man of war and a galley. The chief command was given to colonel March, who had behaved gallantly in several encounters with the Indians, but had never been engaged in such service as this. They arrived before Port Royal in a few days, and landed without opposition. After making some ineffectual attempts to bombard the fort, a disagreement among the officers, and a misapprehension of the state of the fort and garrison, induced the troops to re-embark in a disorderly manner. Dudley, who was unwilling to relinquish the enterprise, directed the army to remain in its position till farther orders. March was beloved by the soldiers, and was known to be brave, but his capacity was doubted. It was therefore thought unsafe either to recall him, to place an officer over him, or to continue him in the chief command. The expedient devised in this perplexity was, to send a commission to the army, composed of three members of the council, invested with all the powers which the governor himself, if present, would possess. These commissioners arrived at Casco about the middle of July, where they found the army insubordinate, and indisposed to the service. The troops, however, were again embarked, and arrived at Passamaquodi, on the seventh of August. The spirits of the general were broken, and his health was impaired. While dispositions for landing the army were making, he declared his inability to act, and the command devolved on colonel Wainright. The landing was effected on the 10th of August; but the troops could not be inspired with that union and firmness which are essential to success. After devoting ten days to inefficient, unmeaning operations, they re-embarked, and returned, sickly, fatigued and dispirited.
[Footnote 122: Belknap.]
[Sidenote: Incursion into Massachusetts.]
During this unfortunate expedition, the frontiers were kept in perpetual alarm by small parties of Indians; and, in the succeeding year, a formidable armament was destined by Vaudreuil, the governor of Canada, against New England. This enterprise was not fully prosecuted, in consequence of the failure of several Indian tribes to furnish the number of warriors expected from them. A considerable force, however, penetrated into Massachusetts, and burnt a part of the town of Haverhill; where about one hundred persons were killed and many others carried off as prisoners. These invaders were pursued and overtaken by a body of troops collected in the neighbourhood, who killed a few of them, and recovered several of their own countrymen.
The New England colonies, still attributing all these calamities to the French were earnest in their solicitations to the crown, for aids which might enable them to conquer Canada. Their application was supported by the representations of Francis Nicholson, who had been lieutenant governor, first of New York, and afterward of Virginia; of Samuel Vietch, a trader to Nova Scotia, and of colonel Schuyler, a gentleman of great influence in New York, who undertook a voyage to England for the purpose of communicating his sentiments more fully to administration, and carried with him resolutions of the assembly, expressing the high opinion that body entertained of his merit. Influenced by these representations, the British cabinet determined to undertake an expedition against the French settlements on the continent of North America, and on New Foundland, to consist of a squadron, having on board five regiments of regular troops, which were to be at Boston by the middle of May, 1709, where they were to be joined by twelve hundred men to be raised in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Fifteen hundred men also were to be raised in the governments south of Rhode Island, who should proceed, by the way of lake Champlain, against Montreal. All the colonies, except Pennsylvania, executed with punctuality the part assigned to them. Nicholson, who was appointed to command the troops destined against Montreal, marched to Wood creek, where he was ordered to continue, until the arrival of the forces from Europe; that the two armies might co-operate with each other. The New England troops, who had been assembled at Boston remained at that place till September, expecting the arrival of the fleet and army from England. About that time, Nicholson returned from Wood creek, and it was obviously too late to proceed against Quebec. A meeting of the commanding officers, and governors of provinces was requested, in order to deliberate on future operations. A few days before this meeting was to take place, a ship arrived from England, with the intelligence that the armament intended for America had been ordered to Portugal, and with directions to hold a council of war, in order to determine on the propriety of employing the troops raised in America, against Port Royal; in which event the ships of war then at Boston were to aid the expedition. The commanders of the ships, except captain, afterwards admiral, Matthews, refused to engage in this service; and, it being unsafe to proceed without convoy, the men were disbanded.
[Footnote 123: Belknap. Hutchison.]
A congress, composed of governors, and of delegates from several of the assemblies, met at Rhode Island, and recommended the appointment of agents to assist colonel Nicholson in representing the state of the country to the Queen, and soliciting troops for an expedition against Canada, the next spring. Government seems at first to have thought favourably of this proposal, but finally determined to proceed only against Port Royal. Five frigates and a bomb ketch, which were assigned for this service, arrived with Nicholson, in July. Although the troops were then to be raised, the whole armament, consisting of one regiment of marines, and four regiments of infantry, sailed from Boston the 18th of September; and on the 24th arrived before Port Royal. The place was immediately invested, and, after the exchange of a few shot and shells, was surrendered. Vietch was appointed governor, and its name, in compliment to the Queen, was changed to Annapolis.
After the reduction of Port Royal, Nicholson returned to England to renew the often repeated solicitations for an expedition against Canada. The ministry was now changed; and the colonists despaired of obtaining from those in power, any aids against the French. Contrary to the general expectation, his application succeeded; and he arrived at Boston, in June, with orders to the governors as far south as Pennsylvania, to get their quotas of men and provisions in readiness to act with the fleet and army expected from Europe. Within sixteen days, while the several governors were yet deliberating on the subject of these orders, the fleet arrived. The service according perfectly with the wishes of the people as well as of the governors, every practicable exertion was made; and difficulties were overcome which, on other occasions, might have been deemed insurmountable. To supply the money which the English treasury could not then advance, the general court of Massachusetts issued bills of credit to the amount of forty thousand pounds; and the example was followed by Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. Provisions were obtained by impressment.
The army consisted of seven veteran regiments, who had served under the duke of Marlborough; one regiment of marines; and two regiments of provincials; amounting, in the whole, to six thousand five hundred men; a force equal to that which afterwards reduced Quebec, when in a much better state of defence. This armament sailed from Boston on the 30th of July. Their sanguine hopes were all blasted in one fatal night. On the 23d of August, in the river St. Lawrence, the weather being thick and dark, eight transports were wrecked on Egg Island, near the north shore, and one thousand persons perished. The next day the fleet put back, and was eight days beating down the river against an easterly wind, which, in two, would have carried it to Quebec. After holding a fruitless consultation respecting an attempt on Placentia, the expedition was abandoned; and the squadron sailed for England. Loud complaints were made, and heavy charges reciprocated, on this occasion. The ignorance of the pilots, the obstinacy of the admiral, the detention of the fleet at Boston, its late arrival there, the want of seasonable orders, and the secret intentions of the ministry, were all subjects of bitter altercation; but no regular inquiry was ever made into the causes of the miscarriage.
The plan of this campaign embraced also an attack on Montreal. Four thousand men raised in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, and commanded by colonel Nicholson, marched against that place by the way of Albany and lake Champlain. The failure of the expedition against Quebec enabling the governor of Canada to turn his whole force towards the lakes, Nicholson was under the necessity of making a precipitate retreat.
No other event of importance took place during this war, which was terminated by the treaty of Utrecht. By the 12th article of this treaty, France ceded to England "all Nova Scotia or Acadie, with its ancient boundaries, as also the city of Port Royal, now called Annapolis Royal, and all other things in those parts which depend on the said lands." This territory, which had been comprehended in the grant made to the Plymouth company, was, with the consent of that company, afterwards granted by James as King of Scotland, under the name of Nova Scotia, to sir William Alexander.
[Sidenote: Affairs of New York.]
In New York, the Leislerian and anti-Leislerian parties continued to persecute each other. To this calamity was added, in the year 1702, the still heavier affliction of a malignant fever, imported in a vessel from the West Indies, which, in almost every instance, proved mortal. A similar disease raged, about the same time, in several other sea port towns; and was probably the same which has since produced such fatal effects under the name of the yellow fever.
In the same year, lord Cornbury, a needy and profligate nobleman, was appointed governor of the province. He embraced the anti-Leislerian party, that being then the strongest. On meeting the assembly, he urged the necessity of providing money for the public exigencies; and, as he had arranged himself with the ruling party, the vote of supply was liberal.
It was soon perceived that the confidence in the governor was misplaced. Considerable sums levied for objects of great interest, were applied to his private use. The system adopted in New York, for collecting and keeping public money, was calculated to favour this peculation. The colony having no treasurer, its revenue came into the hands of the receiver general for the crown, whence it was drawn by a warrant from the governor. Contests soon arose, between his lordship and the legislature, on the subject of money; the house requiring a statement of disbursements, and the appointment of a treasurer, to be controlled by them. At length, in 1706, an act was passed raising three thousand pounds for fortifications, and directing the money to be placed in the hands of a person named by the legislature. The assent of the governor to this act was not given till the succeeding year, and was then accompanied with a message stating, that he had it in command from the Queen "to permit the general assembly to name their own treasurer when they raised extraordinary supplies for particular uses and which are no part of the standing and constant revenue."
The continual demands of the governor for money, his misapplication of it, his extortion in the form of fees, and his haughty tyrannical conduct increased the irritation subsisting between him and the legislature. At length, the Queen yielded to the complaints of both New York and New Jersey, and consented to recall him.
During these altercations, some spirited resolutions were entered into by the assembly; one of which claims particular notice. It is in these words: "Resolved, that the imposing and levying of any monies upon her majesty's subjects in this colony, under any pretence or colour whatsoever, without their consent in general assembly, is a grievance, and violation of the people's property."
This strong assertion of a principle, which afterwards dismembered the British empire, then passed away without notice. It was probably understood to be directed only against the assumption of that power by the governor.
[Footnote 124: So early as the year 1692, the difference of opinion between the mother country and the colonies on the great point, which afterwards separated them, made its appearance. The legislature of Massachusetts, employed in establishing a code of laws under their new charter, passed an act containing the general principles respecting the liberty of the subject, that are asserted in magna charta, in which was the memorable clause, "no aid, tax, talliage, assessment, custom, benevolence, or imposition whatsoever, shall be laid, assessed, imposed, or levied, on any of his majesty's subjects or their estates, on any pretence whatsoever, but by the act and consent of the governor, council, and representatives of the people, assembled in general court."
It is scarcely necessary to add that the royal assent to this act was refused.]
In Carolina, the vexatious contests with the proprietors still continued. The public attention was for a time diverted from these, by hostilities with their neighbours of Florida. Before the declaration of war made against France and Spain, had been officially communicated, it was reported in the colonies that this event had taken place, and Mr. Moore, the governor of the southern settlements, proposed to the assembly an expedition against St. Augustine. Temperate men were opposed to this enterprise; but the assurances of the governor, that Florida would be an easy conquest, and that immense treasure would be the reward of their valour, were too seductive to be resisted. A great majority of the assembly declared in favour of the expedition, and voted the sum of two thousand pounds sterling for its prosecution. Six hundred militia were embodied for the service, and an equal number of Indians engaged as auxiliaries.
[Sidenote: Expedition against St. Augustine.]
In the plan of operations which had been concerted, colonel Daniel was to move by the inland passage, with a party of militia and Indians, and attack the town by land; while the governor, with the main body should proceed by sea, and block up the harbour. Colonel Daniel executed his part of the plan with promptitude and vigour. He advanced against the town, which he entered and plundered before the governor reached the harbour. The Spaniards, however, had been apprised of the preparations making at Charleston, and had laid up provisions for four months, in the castle, into which they retired, as Daniel entered the town. On the arrival of the governor, the place was completely invested; but, it being impossible to carry the castle without battering artillery, colonel Daniel was dispatched to Jamaica for cannon, bombs, and mortars. During his absence, two small Spanish vessels of war were seen off the mouth of the harbour; upon which the governor raised the siege, abandoned his transports, and made a precipitate retreat to Carolina. Colonel Daniel returned soon afterwards, and, having no suspicion that the siege was raised, stood in for the harbour. He fortunately discovered his situation in time to escape, though with much difficulty.
This rash and ill conducted expedition entailed on the colony a debt of six thousand pounds sterling. The ignominy attached to it was soon wiped off by one that was attended with better success. The Appalachian Indians, who were attached to the Spaniards, had become extremely troublesome to the inhabitants of the frontiers. The governor, at the head of a body of militia and friendly Indians, marched into the heart of their settlements, laid their towns in ashes, made several prisoners, and compelled them to sue for peace, and submit to the British government.
[Footnote 125: History of South Carolina.]
[Sidenote: Governor Johnson.]
Soon after this transaction, sir Nathaniel Governor Johnson, who had been appointed to succeed Mr. Moor arrived in Charleston. He endeavoured, but ineffectually to turn the attention of the colonists to the culture of silk. This article, as well as cotton was neglected, and rice became the great staple of the country.
[Sidenote: Attempt to establish the Episcopal church.]
During his administration, the contests between the proprietors and the people increased. An attempt to establish the Episcopal church was added to other pre-existing causes of discord. The colony having been settled by emigrants from different nations, of different religious persuasions, the indiscreet endeavour to produce uniformity, could not fail to increase their irritation. The influence of the governor in the legislature obtained the passage of such acts as were necessary for his purpose; but many petitions against them were laid before parliament; and the house of lords presented so decisive an address to her majesty on the subject, that a writ of quo warranto against the charter was directed. This measure, however, was not put in execution; and the attention of the colonists was diverted, for a time, from these intestine broils, by the appearance of danger from abroad.
Spain claimed the whole country, as part of Florida; and was preparing an expedition to enforce this claim. Governor Johnson, who had acquired some military skill in European service, having received intelligence of these preparations, made great exertions to fortify the entrance into the harbour of Charleston, and to put the province in a state of defence.
There was reason to rejoice that these precautions were used; for, although no armament arrived from Europe, yet an expedition planned in the Havanna, was carried into execution.
[Sidenote: Colony invaded.]
A French frigate and four armed Spanish sloops, commanded by Monsieur Le Febour, sailed for Charleston, with orders to touch at St. Augustine for men. His force is said to have amounted to about eight hundred. A government cruiser descried this squadron off the bar of St. Augustine, and brought the intelligence to Charleston. Scarcely had the captain delivered his information, when signals from Sullivan's island announced its appearance off the coast. The alarm was immediately given, and the militia of the town were under arms. In the evening the fleet reached Charleston bar, but deferred attempting to pass it until the morning.
After consuming a day in sounding the south bar, the Spanish flotilla crossed it, and anchored above Sullivan's island. The governor then directed some pieces of heavy artillery to be placed in the vessels in the harbour; and gave the command of them to William Rhet. A summons to surrender being rejected, a party of the enemy landed on James' island, and burnt a few houses. Another party, consisting of one hundred and sixty men, landed, about the same time, on the opposite side of the river. Both these were attacked and defeated.
Encouraged by this success, Johnson determined to attack the invaders by sea. In execution of this determination, Rhet, with six small vessels, proceeded down the river to the place where the hostile flotilla rode at anchor which, at his approach, precipitately re-crossed the bar. For some days it was believed that the enterprise was abandoned; but while the inhabitants were rejoicing at their deliverance, advice was received that a ship of force had been seen in Sewee bay, and had landed a number of men. On examining his prisoners, the governor was informed that the enemy had expected a ship of war with a reinforcement of two hundred men, under the command of Monsieur Arbuset. Taking his measures with the promptness of an experienced officer, he ordered captain Fenwick to pass the river, and march against the detachment which had landed; while Rhet, with two small armed vessels, sailed round by sea, with orders to meet the ship in Sewee bay. Fenwick came up with the party on shore, charged them briskly, and drove them to their ship, which, on the appearance of Rhet, surrendered without firing a shot. The prize with about ninety prisoners was brought up to Charleston.
Thus was terminated with the loss of near three hundred men killed and prisoners, among the latter of whom were the general and some naval officers, the invasion of Carolina by Monsieur Le Febour. It seems to have been undertaken in the confidence that the colony was too weak for resistance; and was conducted without skill or courage.
[Sidenote: Bills of credit.]
To defray the expenses incurred in repelling this invasion, bills of credit to the amount of eight thousand pounds were issued. The effect of this emission was such a depreciation of the currency under the form of a rise in the price of commodities and of exchange, that one hundred and fifty pounds in paper, were given for one hundred pounds sterling.
[Sidenote: Legislature continues itself.]
Lord Granville, the palatine, a bigoted churchman, under whose influence violent measures had been taken for the establishment of religious conformity in Carolina, died in the year 1707. He was succeeded by lord Craven, who, though of the same religious tenets, supported them with moderation. His disposition to indulge, and thereby mollify, the dissenters, was considered by the zealots of the established church, as endangering religion; and the legislature, which was elected under the influence of the late palatine, and of his governor, dreading a change in the administration, adopted the extraordinary measure of continuing itself "for two years, and for the time and term of eighteen months after the change of government, whether by the death of the present governor, or the succession of another in his time." Thus adding one other humiliating proof to those which perpetually occur, that principles are deplorably weak, when opposed by the passions.
[Footnote 126: Chalmer.]
[Sidenote: Massacre in North Carolina by the Indians.]
In the year 1712, the Indians in North Carolina, alarmed, as their countrymen had been in the other colonies, by the increasing population and regular encroachments of the whites, formed with their accustomed secrecy, the plan of exterminating in one night these formidable neighbours. No indication of their design was given until they broke into the houses of the planters. The slaughter on Roanoke was immense. In that settlement alone, one hundred and thirty-seven persons were murdered. A few escaped by concealing themselves in the woods, who, the next day, gave the alarm. The remaining whites were collected together in a place of safety, and guarded by the militia until assistance could be received from South Carolina.
[Sidenote: Indians defeated.]
This was prompt and effectual. The assembly at Charleston voted four thousand pounds for the service; and colonel Barnwell was detached with six hundred militia, and three hundred and sixty Indians, to the relief of the afflicted North Carolinians. With the utmost celerity he passed through the difficult and dangerous wilderness which then separated the northern from the southern settlements; and, attacking the savages with unexpected fury, killed three hundred of them, and made one hundred prisoners. The survivors retreated to the Tuscorora town, and took refuge within a wooden breast-work, in which they were surrounded by the whites.
After sustaining considerable loss, they sued for peace and obtained it; but soon afterwards abandoned their country, and united themselves with the Iroquois, or Five nations.
The expense of this expedition greatly transcended the scanty means of South Carolina. To supply the exigencies of government, and to promote the convenience of commerce, the legislature determined to issue forty-eight thousand pounds in bills of credit, to be denominated bank bills. This money was to be lent out, at interest, on security, and to be redeemed gradually by the annual payment of one-twelfth part of the sum loaned. The bills were made a legal tender; and the creditor who should refuse them, lost his debt.
After the emission of these bills, exchange rose, the first year, to one hundred and fifty, and in the second to two hundred per centum, above par. The effect of this depreciation, and of the tender laws which accompanied it, on creditors, and on morals, was obvious and certain.
Proceedings of the legislature of Massachusetts.... Intrigues of the French among the Indians.... War with the savages.... Peace.... Controversy with the governor.... Decided in England.... Contests concerning the governor's salary.... The assembly adjourned to Salem.... Contest concerning the salary terminated.... Great depreciation of the paper currency.... Scheme of a land bank.... Company dissolved by act of Parliament.... Governor Shirley arrives.... Review of transactions in New York.
The heavy expenses of Massachusetts during the late war had produced such large emissions of paper money, that a considerable depreciation took place, and specie disappeared. The consequent rise of exchange, instead of being attributed to its true cause, was ascribed to the decay of trade.
The colony, having now leisure for its domestic concerns, turned its attention to this interesting subject.
[Sidenote: Affairs of Massachusetts.]
Three parties were formed. The first, a small one, actuated by the principle that "honesty is the best policy," was in favour of calling in the paper money, and relying on the industry of the people, to replace it with a circulating medium of greater stability.
The second proposed a private bank, which was to issue bills of credit, to be received by all the members of the company, but at no certain value compared with gold and silver. It was not intended to deposit specie in the bank for the redemption of its notes as they might be offered; but to pledge real estates as security that the company would perform its engagements.
The third party was in favour of a loan of bills from the government, to any of the inhabitants who would mortgage real estate to secure their re-payment in a specified term of years; the interest to be paid annually, and applied to the support of government.
The first party, perceiving its numerical weakness, joined the third; and the whole province was divided between a public and private bank.
At length, the party for the public bank prevailed in the general court, and fifty thousand pounds were issued and placed in the hands of trustees; to be lent for five years, at an interest of five per centum per annum, one-fifth part of the principal to be paid annually.
This scheme failing to improve the commerce of the colony, governor Shute, who had succeeded Dudley, reminded the assembly of the bad state of trade, which he ascribed to the scarcity of money; and recommended the consideration of some effectual measures to supply this want. The result of this recommendation was a second loan of one hundred thousand pounds for ten years, to be placed in the hands of commissioners in each county, in proportion to its taxes. The whole currency soon depreciated to such a degree, that the entire sum in circulation did not represent more real value, than was represented by that which was circulating before the emission. The governor had now sufficient leisure, and the general court furnished him with sufficient motives, to reflect on the policy he had recommended. An attempt to raise his salary as money depreciated, did not succeed, and only the usual nominal sum was voted for his support.
In Massachusetts, peace abroad was the signal for dissension at home. Independent in her opinions and habits, she had been accustomed to consider herself rather as a sister kingdom, acknowledging one common sovereign with England, than as a colony. The election of all the branches of the legislature, a principle common to New England, contributed, especially while the mother country was occupied with her own internal divisions, to nourish these opinions and habits. Although the new charter of Massachusetts modified the independence of that colony, by vesting the appointment of the governor in the crown, yet the course of thinking which had prevailed from the settlement of the country, had gained too much strength to be immediately changed; and Massachusetts sought, by private influence over her chief magistrate, to compensate herself for the loss of his appointment. With this view, it had become usual for the general court to testify its satisfaction with his conduct by presents; and this measure was also adopted in other colonies.
Apprehending that this practice might dispose the governors to conciliate the legislatures at the expense of their duty to the crown, the Queen had given peremptory orders to receive no more gifts; and to obtain acts fixing their salaries permanently at a sum named by herself. The mandate respecting presents was, of course, obeyed; and some of the colonies complied with the requisition respecting the salary; but in Massachusetts and New York, it was steadily resisted.
A controlling power over salaries was a source of influence which was pertinaciously maintained; and its efficacy was tried in all the conflicts between Massachusetts and her governor. Almost every important measure brought before the legislature, was productive of contests between these departments. They disagreed, not only on the policy of particular acts, but on the limits of their power. The governor claimed the right of negativing the speaker chosen by the representatives, which was denied by them; and, each party persisting in its pretensions, the assembly was dissolved, and new elections took place. The same members being generally re-chosen, the house of representatives assembled with increased irritation, and passed some angry resolutions respecting its dissolution. The governor, in turn, charged the house with encroachments on the power of the executive; among other instances of which, he mentioned certain resolutions passed on the commencement of hostilities by the Indians, which were deemed equivalent to a declaration of war, and had therefore been rejected.
Disagreements were multiplied between them. Paper money and trade were inexhaustible sources of discontent. New elections produced no change of temper. After war was formally declared against the Indians, the house endeavoured to exercise executive powers in its prosecution; and, the council not concurring with them, the representatives attempted, in one instance, to act alone.
The measures recommended by the governor to successive assemblies, were disregarded; irritating resolves were adopted and reiterated; and a course of angry crimination and recrimination took place between them in the progress of which the governor's salary was reduced in its nominal as well as real amount; and the sum granted, instead of being voted, as had been usual, at the commencement of the session, was reserved to its close.
In the midst of these contests, governor Shute, who had privately solicited and obtained leave to return to England, suddenly embarked on board the Sea Horse man of war, leaving the controversy concerning the extent of the executive power, to devolve on the lieutenant governor.
[Footnote 127: Hutchison.]
The house of representatives persisted in asserting its control over objects which had been deemed within the province of the executive; but its resolutions were generally negatived by the council. This produced some altercation between the two branches of the legislature; but they at length united in the passage of a resolution desiring their agent in England to take the best measures for protecting the interests of the colony, which were believed to be in danger from the representations of governor Shute.
[Sidenote: Intrigues of the French with the Indians.]
During these contests in the interior, the frontiers had suffered severely from the depredations of the Indians. The French had acquired great influence over all the eastern tribes. Jesuit missionaries generally resided among them, who obtained a great ascendancy in their councils. After the cession of Nova Scotia to Great Britain, father Rahle, a missionary residing among the savages of that province exerted successfully all his address to excite their jealousies and resentments against the English. By his acts, and those of other missionaries, all the eastern Indians, as well as those of Canada, were combined against New England. They made incursions into Massachusetts, in consequence of which, some troops were detached to the village in which Rahle resided, for the purpose of seizing his person. He received intimation of their approach in time to make his escape; but they secured his papers, among which were some showing that in exciting the savages to war against the English colonists, he had acted under the authority of the governor of Canada, who had secretly promised to supply them with arms and ammunition.
Envoys were deputed with a remonstrance against conduct so incompatible with the state of peace then subsisting between France and England. The governor received this embassy politely, and, at first, denied any interference in the quarrel, alleging that the Indians were independent nations who made war and peace without being controlled by him. On being shown his letters to Rahle, he changed his language, and gave assurances of his future good offices in effecting a peace. On the faith of these assurances, conferences were held with some Indian chiefs then in Canada; several captives were ransomed; and, soon after the return of the commissioners to New England, the war was terminated by a treaty of peace signed at Boston.
[Footnote 128: Hutchison. Belknap.]
[Sidenote: Decision against the house on the controversy with the governor.]
[Sidenote: New Charter.]
Meanwhile the complaints of governor Shute against the house of representatives were heard in England. Every question was decided against the house. In most of them, the existing charter was deemed sufficiently explicit; but, on two points, it was thought advisable to have explanatory articles. These were, the right of the governor to negative the appointment of the speaker, and the right of the house on the subject of the adjournment. An explanatory charter therefore affirming the power claimed by the governor to negative a speaker, and denying to the house of representatives the right of adjourning itself for a longer time than two days. This charter was submitted to the general court, to be accepted or refused; but it was accompanied with the intimation that, in the event of its being refused, the whole controversy between the governor and house of representatives would be laid before Parliament. The conduct of the representatives had been so generally condemned in England, as to excite fears that an act to vacate the charter would be the consequence of a parliamentary inquiry. The temper of the house too had undergone a change. The violence and irritation which marked its proceedings in the contest with governor Shute had subsided; and a majority determined to accept the new charter.
The trade of the province still languished, and complaints of the scarcity of money were as loud as when only specie was in circulation. To remedy these evils, a bill for emitting a farther sum in paper passed both houses, but was rejected by the lieutenant governor, as being inconsistent with his instructions. The house of representatives, thereupon, postponed the consideration of salaries till the next session. The assembly was then adjourned at its own request, and, after a recess of a fortnight, was again convened. As an expedient to elude the instructions to the governor which interdicted his assent to any act for issuing bills of credit, except for charges of government, a bill passed with the title of "an act for raising and settling a public revenue for and towards defraying the necessary charges of government, by an emission of sixty thousand pounds in bills of credit." This bill providing for the payment of the salaries to which several members of the council were entitled, passed that house also; and the lieutenant governor gave a reluctant assent to it. Its passage into a law furnishes strong evidence of the influence which the control over salaries gave to the house of representatives.
[Sidenote: Contest respecting salary.]
Mr. Burnet, who had been appointed governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, was received with great pomp in Boston. At the first meeting of the assembly, he stated the King's instructions to insist on an established salary, and his intention firmly to adhere to them. The assembly was not less firm in its determination to resist this demand; and, that no additional and unnecessary obloquy might be encountered, resolved, not to mingle any difference concerning the amount of the salary, with the great question of its depending on the will of the legislature. As soon therefore as the compliments usual on the arrival of a governor had passed, the house voted one thousand seven hundred pounds towards his support, and to defray the charges of his journey. This vote was understood to give him, as a present salary, a sum equal to one thousand pounds sterling per annum. The governor declared his inability to assent to this bill, it being inconsistent with his instructions. After a week's deliberation, the assembly granted three hundred pounds for the expenses of his journey, which he accepted; and, in a distinct vote, the farther sum of one thousand four hundred pounds was granted toward his support. The latter vote was accompanied with a joint message from both houses, wherein they asserted their undoubted right as Englishmen, and their privilege by the charter, to raise and apply money for the support of government; and their willingness to give the governor an ample and honourable support; but they apprehended it would be most for his majesty's service to do so without establishing a fixed salary. The governor returned an answer on the same day, in which he said, that, if they really intended to give him an ample and honourable support, they could have no just objection to making their purpose effectual by fixing his salary; for he would never accept a grant of the kind then offered.
The council was disposed to avoid the contest, and to grant a salary to the present governor for a certain time; but the house of representatives, remaining firm to its purpose, sent a message to the governor requesting that the court might rise. He answered, that a compliance with this request would put it out of the power of the legislature to pay immediate regard to the King's instructions; and he would not grant a recess, until the business of the session should be finished. The representatives then declared that, "in faithfulness to the people, they could not come into an act for establishing a salary on the governor or commander in chief for the time being," and, therefore, renewed their request that the court might rise.
Both the governor and the house of representatives seem, thus far, to have made their declarations with some reserve. A salary during his own administration might, perhaps, have satisfied him, though he demanded that one should be settled, generally, on the commander in chief for the time being; and the house had not yet declared against settling a salary on him for a limited time. Each desired that the other should make some concession. Both declined; both were irritated by long altercation; and, at length, instead of mutually advancing fixed at the opposite extremes. After several ineffectual efforts on each side, the representatives sent a message to the governor, stating at large the motives which induced the resolution they had formed. The governor returned a prompt answer, in which he also detailed the reasons in support of the demand he had made. These two papers, manifesting the principles and objects of both parties, deserve attention even at this period.
The house, not long after receiving this message, far from making any advances towards a compliance with his request, came to two resolutions strongly expressive of its determination not to recede from the ground which had been taken.
These resolutions gave the first indication, on the part of the representatives, of a fixed purpose to make no advance towards a compromise. They induced the governor to remind the court of the danger to which the proceedings of that body might expose the charter. This caution did not deter the house from preparing, and transmitting to the several towns of the province a statement of the controversy, which concludes with saying, "we dare neither come into a fixed salary on the governor for ever, nor for a limited time, for the following reasons:
First, Because it is an untrodden path which neither we, nor our predecessors have gone in, and we cannot certainly foresee the many dangers that may be in it, nor can we depart from that way which has been found safe and comfortable.
Secondly, Because it is the undoubted right of all Englishmen, by magna charta, to raise and dispose of money for the public service, of their own free accord, without compulsion.
Thirdly, Because it must necessarily lessen the dignity and freedom of the house of representatives, in making acts, and raising and applying taxes, &c. and, consequently, cannot be thought a proper method to preserve that balance in the three branches of the legislature, which seems necessary to form, maintain, and uphold, the constitution.
Fourthly, Because the charter fully empowers the general assembly to make such laws and orders as they shall judge for the good and welfare of the inhabitants; and if they, or any part of them, judge this not to be for their good, they neither ought nor could come into it, for, as to act beyond or without the powers granted in the charter might justly incur the King's displeasure, so not to act up and agreeable to those powers, might justly be deemed a betraying of the rights and privileges therein granted; and if they should give up this right, they would open a door to many other inconveniences."
Many messages passed in quick succession between the governor and the house, in the course of which the arguments stated in the papers which have been mentioned, were enlarged and diversified. At length, the house repeated its request for an adjournment; but the governor replied that "unless his majesty's pleasure had due weight with them, their desires would have very little with him."
The council now interposed with a resolution declaring "that it is expedient for the court to ascertain a sum as a salary for his excellency's support, as also the term of time for its continuance." This resolution was transmitted to the house of representatives, and immediately rejected.
After much controversy, a small seeming advance towards an accommodation was made. Instead of voting a salary, as had been usual, for half a year, a grant was made to the governor of three thousand pounds, equal to one thousand pounds sterling, to enable him to manage the affairs of the province. This was generally understood to be a salary for a year. The governor having withheld his assent from this vote, the house entreated him to accept the grant; and added "we cannot doubt but that succeeding assemblies, according to the ability of the province, will be very ready to grant as ample a support; and if they should not, your excellency will then have an opportunity of showing your resentment." The governor however persisted to withhold his assent from the vote.
[Sidenote: Adjournment of the Assembly to Salem.]
The colony generally, and especially Boston, was opposed to a compliance with the instructions of the crown. At a general meeting of the inhabitants, the town passed a vote, purporting to be unanimous against fixing a salary on the governor. In consequence of this vote, and of an opinion that the members of the house were influenced by the inhabitants of the town, the governor determined to change the place at which the court should hold its session; and on the 24th of October, adjourned it to the 30th then to meet at Salem, in the country of Essex.
Change of place did not change the temper of the house. This was not, as in the contests with governor Shute, an angry altercation, into which the representatives were precipitated by a restless and encroaching temper, but a solemn and deliberate stand, made in defence of a right believed to be unquestionable, and of a principle deemed essential to the welfare of the colony. The ground taken was considered well, and maintained with firmness. Votes and messages of the same tenor with those which had been often repeated, continued to pass between the representatives and the governor, until the subject was entirely exhausted. Each party being determined to adhere to its principles, the house met and adjourned daily, without entering on business.