The royal Governor of New York appeals to the Para-Mount
power of Great Britain
.—Pelham's administration continued.
The sun of July, 1748, shed its radiance on the
banks of the Hudson
The unguarded passes of its Highlands derived as yet no interest, but from the majestic wildness that enhanced the grandeur of their forms.
The shadows of the mountains, as they bent from their silent repose to greet the infrequent bark that spread its sails to the froward summer breeze, were deepened by dense forests, which came down the hill-sides to the very edges of the river.
The masses of verdant woodland were but rarely broken by openings round the houses of a thinly scattered tenantry, and by the solitary mansions of the few proprietaries, who, under lavish royal grants, claimed manors of undefined extent, and even whole counties for their inheritance.
Through these scenes, George Clinton
, an unlettered British admiral, who, being closely connected with the Duke
and the Duke
, had been sent to America
to mend his fortunes as governor of New York, was making his way towards Albany
, where the friendship of the Six Nations was to be confirmed by a joint
treaty between their chiefs and the commissioners
from several colonies, and the encroachments of France
were to be circumscribed by a concert for defence.
As his barge emerged from the Highlands, it neared1
the western bank to receive on board Cadwallader Golden, the oldest member of the royal council.
How often had the governor and his advisers joined in deploring ‘the levelling principles2
of the people of New York and the neighboring colonies;’ ‘the tendencies of American legislatures to independence;’ their unwarrantable presumption in ‘declaring their own rights and privileges;’ their ambitious efforts ‘to wrest the administration from the king's officers,’ by refusing fixed salaries, and compelling the respective governors to annual capitulations for their support!
How had they conspired to dissuade the English
government from countenancing the opulent James Delancey
, then the Chief Justice
of the Province and the selfish and artful leader of the opposition!
‘The inhabitants of the plantations,’ they reiterated to one another and to the ministry, ‘are generally educated in republican principles; upon republican principles all is conducted.
Little more than a shadow of royal authority remains in the Northern Colonies
Very recently the importunities of Clinton
had offered the Duke
‘the dilemma of supporting the governor's authority, or relinquishing power to a popular faction.’
‘It will be impossible,’
said one of his letters, which was then under consider-
before the king, ‘to secure this valuable province from the enemy, or from a faction within it, without the assistance of regular troops, two thousand men at least.
There never was so much silver in the country as at present, and the inhabitants never were so expensive in their habits of life.
They, with the southern colonies, can well discharge this expense.’5
The party of royalists who had devised the congress, as subsidiary to the war between France
, were overtaken by the news, that preliminaries of peace between the European
belligerents had been signed in April; and they eagerly seized the opportunity of returning tranquillity, to form plans for governing and taxing the colonies by the supreme authority of Great Britain
A colonial revenue, through British interposition, was desired, for the common defence of America
, and to defray the civil list in the respective provinces.
Could an independent income be obtained for either of these purposes, it might, by degrees, be applied to both.
To the convention in Albany
came William Shirley
, already for seven years governor of Massachusetts
; an English lawyer, artful, needy, and ambitious; a member of the Church of England; indifferent to the laws and the peculiar faith of the people whom he governed, appointed originally to restore or introduce British authority, and more relied upon than any crown officer in America
With him appeared Andrew Oliver
, both natives and residents of Boston
Commissioners from Massachusetts
was bred at Harvard College, had solid learning and a good knowledge of the affairs of the province, and could write well.
Distinguished for sobriety of conduct, and for all the forms of piety, he enjoyed public confidence; but at heart he was ruled by the love of money; and having diminished his patrimony by unsuccessful traffic, was greedy of the pecuniary rewards of office.
The complaisant, cultivated, and truly intelligent Hutchinson
was now the Speaker
of the House of Assembly
; the most plausible and the most influential, as well as the most ambitious man in that colony.
Loving praise himself, he soothed with obsequious blandishments any one who bade fair to advance his ends.
To the congregational clergy he paid assiduous deference, as one of their most serious and constant supporters; but his conduct did not flow from a living faith; and his pious life and unfailing attendance ‘at meeting,’ were little more than a continuous flattery.
He was one who shunned uttering a direct falsehood; but he did not scruple to conceal truth, to equivocate, and to deceive.
He courted the people, but from boyhood, inwardly disliked and despised them; and used their favor and confidence only as steps to his own promotion.
He, too, though well educated, and of uncommon endowments, and famed at college as of great promise, so coveted money, that he became a trader in his native town, and like others, smuggled goods which he sold at retail.
Failing of profits in mercantile pursuits, he withdrew from business in which he had rather impaired his inheritance, but his ruling passion
was unchanged; and to gain property was the most
ardent desire of his soul;6
so that his avarice was the great incentive to his ambition.
He had once been in England
as agent of Massachusetts
at the time when the taxing America
by parliament first began to be talked of, and had thus had occasion to become acquainted with British statesmen, the maxims of the Board of Trade, and the way in which Englishmen reasoned about the colonies.
He loved the land of his nativity, and made a study of its laws and history; but he knew that all considerable emoluments of office sprung not from his frugal countrymen, but from royal favor.
He was a man of clear discernment, and where unbiassed by his own interests, he preferred to do what was right; but his sordid nature led him to worship power; he could stoop to solicit justice as a boon; and a small temptation not only left him without hardihood to resist oppression, but would easily bend him to become its instrument.
At the same time he excelled in the art of dissimulation, and knew how to veil his selfishness by the appearance of public spirit.
The congress at Albany
was thronged beyond example by the many chiefs of the Six Nations and their allies.7
They resolved to have no French within their borders, nor even to send deputies to Canada
, but to leave to English mediation the recovery of their brethren from captivity.
It was announced, that tribes of the Far West
, dwelling on branches of Erie
and the Ohio
, inclined to friendship; and nearly at that very moment envoys from their villages were
, solemnizing a treaty of commerce with Pennsylvania
Returning peace was hailed as the happy moment for bringing the Miamis and their neighbors within the covenant chain of the English
, and thus, as Europeans reasoned, extending British jurisdiction through Western New York to the Wabash
The lighted calumet had been passed from mouth to mouth; the graves of the tawny heroes, slain in war, had been so covered with expiating presents, that their vengeful spirits were appeased; the wampum belts of confirmed love had been exchanged; when the commissioners of Massachusetts
, acting in harmony with Clinton
, and adopting their opinions and almost their language, represented to them in a memorial, that as Massachusetts
, New Hampshire
, and New-York
were the barrier of America
against the French
, the charge of defending their frontiers ought as little to rest on those provinces, as the charge of defending any counties in Great Britain
on such counties alone; that the other governments had been invited to join in concerting measures, but all, excepting Connecticut
, had declined; they therefore urged an earnest application to the king so far to interpose, as that, whilst the French
were in Canada
, the remoter colonies which were not immediately exposed, might be obliged to contribute in a just proportion towards the expense of protecting the inland territories of New England
and New York.9
, as they forwarded the
paper to the Board of trade, ‘agree with the memo-
The attitude of the French
justified cautious watchfulness on the part of every officer of British America.
The haste or the negligence of their plenipotentiaries at Aix la Chapelle
had left their boundary in America
along its whole line, determined only by the vague agreement, that it should be as it had been before the war; and for a quarter of a century before the war, it had never ceased to be a subject of altercation.
In this wavering condition of an accepted treaty of peace and an undetermined limit of jurisdiction, each party hurried to occupy in advance as much territory as possible, without too openly compromising their respective governments.
, according to its ancient boundaries, belonged to Great Britain
; but France
had always, even in times of profound peace,11
urgently declared that Acadia
included only the peninsula; before the restoration of Cape Breton, an officer from Canada
had occupied the isthmus between Baye Verte and the Bay of Fundy
; a small colony kept possession of the mouth of the St. John's River
and the claim to the coast as far west as the Kennebeck
had never been abandoned.13
At the West
, also, France
had uniformly and frankly claimed the whole basin of the Saint Lawrence
and of the Mississippi
, and in proof of its right-
ful possession pointed to its castles at Crown Point
, at Niagara
, among the Miamis, and within the borders of Louisiana
Ever regarding the friendship of the Six Nations as a bulwark essential to security, La Galissoniere, the governor-general
, insisted on treating with them as the common allies of the French
and proposed direct negotiations with them for liberating their captive warriors.
claimed the delivery of the Iroquois
prisoners as subjects of England
, the Canadian
governor denied their subjection, and sent the letter to be read to the tribes assembled round the grand council-fire at Onondaga
‘We have ceded our lands to no one,’ spoke their indignant orator, after due consultation; ‘we hold them of Heaven alone.’15
Still further to secure the affections of the confederacy, it was resolved to establish an Indian mission on the southern bank of the St. Lawrence
; and the self-devoted Abbe Francis Picquet
attracted by the deep and safe harbor, the position at the head of the Rapids, the height and size of the surrounding oak forests, the surpassingly rich soil, selected Oswegatchie, now Ogdensburg
, with a view to gather in a village under French supremacy, so many Iroquois
converts to Christianity, as would reconcile and bind all their kindred to the French
And for the more distant regions, orders were sent in October to the Commandant at Detroit
, to oppose every English
establishment on the Maumee
, the Wabash
, and the Ohio
, by force; or, if his strength was insufficient, to summon the intruder to depart, under highest perils for disobedience.17
Plausible reasons, therefore, existed for the memorial of Hutchinson
; but the more cherished purpose of those who directed the councils of the Congress
, was the secure enjoyment of the emoluments of office without responsibility to the respective American provinces.
‘From past experiments,’ added Clinton
jointly, as they forwarded the ostensibly innocent petition, ‘we are convinced that the colonies will never agree on quotas, which must, therefore, be settled by royal instructions.’18
‘It is necessary for us likewise to observe to your lordships,’ thus they proceeded to explain their main design, ‘on many occasions there has been so little regard paid in several colonies to the royal instructions, that it is requisite to think of some method to enforce them.’19
What methods should be followed to reduce a factious colony had already been settled by the great masters of English jurisprudence.
Two systems of government had long been at variance; the one founded on prerogative, the other on the supremacy of parliament.
The first opinion had been professed by many of the earlier lawyers, who considered the colonies as dependent on the crown alone.
Even after the Revolution, the chief justice
at New York, in 1702, declared, that, ‘in the plantations the
king governs by his prerogative;’20
and Sir John Holt
had said, ‘Virginia
being a conquered country, their law is what the king pleases.’
But when, in 1711, New York, during the administration of Hunter
, was left without a revenue, the high powers of parliament were the resource of the ministers; and they prepared a bill, reciting the neglect of the province, and imposing all the taxes which had been discontinued by its legislature.
, the attorney and the solicitor general
, lawyers of the greatest authority, approved the measure.21
When, in 1724, a similar strife occurred between the crown and Jamaica
, and some held that the king and his Privy Council had a right to levy taxes on the inhabitants of that island, the crown lawyers, Lord Hardwicke, then Sir Philip Yorke
, and Sir Clement Wearg
made the memorable reply, that ‘a colony of English subjects cannot be taxed but by some representative body of their own, or by the parliament of England.’
That opinion impressed itself early and deeply on the mind of Lord Mansfield, and in October, 1744, when the neglect of Pennsylvania
to render aid in the war had engaged the attention of the ministry, Sir Dudley Rider
and Lord Mansfield, then William Murray
, declared, that ‘a colonial assembly cannot be compelled to do more towards their own defence than they shall see fit, unless by the force of an act of parliament, which alone can prescribe rules of conduct for them.’23
Away, then, with all attempts to compel by prerogative,
to govern by instructions, to obtain a revenue
by royal requisitions, to fix quotas by a council of crown officers.
No power but that of parliament can overrule the colonial assemblies.
Such was the doctrine of Murray
, who was himself able to defend his system, being unrivalled in debate, except by William Pitt
The advice of this illustrious jurist was the more authoritative, because he ‘had long known the Americans
‘I began life with them,’ said he, on a later occasion, ‘and owe much to them, having been much concerned in the plantation causes before the Privy Council.
So I became a good deal acquainted with American affairs and people.’24
During the discussions that are now to be related, he was often consulted by the agents of the American
His opinion, coinciding with that of Hardwicke
, was applauded by the Board of Trade, and became the corner-stone of British policy.
On this theory of parliamentary supremacy Shirley
and his associates placed their reliance.
Under his advice,25
it was secretly, but firmly, resolved to bring the disputes between governors and American assemblies to a crisis; New York was selected as the theatre, and the return of peace as the epoch, for the experiment; elaborate documents prepared the ministry for the struggle; and Clinton
was to extort from the colonial legislature fixed salaries and revenues at the royal disposition, or, by producing extreme disorder,
to compel the interposition of the parliament of Great Britain
To the Assembly which met in October, 1748, Clinton
, faithful to his engagements, and choosing New York as the opening scene in the final contest that led to independence, declared, that the methods adopted for colonial supplies ‘made it his indispensable duty at the first opportunity to put a stop to these innovations;’ and he demanded, what had so often been refused, the grant of a revenue to the king for at least five years. The Assembly, in reply, insisted on naming in their grants the incumbent of each office.
‘From recent experience,’ they continue, ‘we are fully convinced that the method of an annual support is most wholesome and salutary, and are confirmed in the opinion, that the faithful representatives of the people will never depart from it.’27
Warning them of the anger of ‘parliament,’28 Clinton
prorogued the Assembly, and in floods of letters and documents represented to the secretary of state
, that its members ‘had set up the people as the high court of American appeal;’ that ‘they claimed all the powers and privileges of parliament;’ that they ‘virtually assumed all the public money into their own hands, and issued it without warrant from the governor;’ that ‘they took to themselves the sole power of rewarding all services, and in effect, the nomination to all offices, by granting the salary annually, not to the office, but, by name, to the person 29
in the office’; that the system, ‘if not speedily reme-
died, would affect the dependency of the colonies on the crown.’30
And he entreated the king to ‘make a good example for all America
, by regulating the government of New York.’
‘Till then,’ he added, ‘I cannot meet the Assembly, without danger of exposing the king's authority and myself to contempt.’31
Thus issue was joined with a view to involve the
British parliament in the administration of the colonies, just at the time, when Bedford
, as the secretary, was resolving to introduce uniformity into their administration by supporting the authority of the central government; and his character was a guarantee for resolute perseverance.
‘Considering the present situation of things,’ he had declared to Newcastle
‘it would be highly improper to have an inefficient man at the head of the Board of Trade;’ and, at his suggestion, on the first day of November, 1748, two months after the peace of America
had been ratified, the Earl
, then just thirty-two years old, entered upon his long period of service as First Commissioner
for the Plantations
He was fond of splendor, profuse, and in debt; passionate, overbearing, and self-willed; ‘of moderate sense, and ignorant of the world.’33
Familiar with a feeble class of belles-lettres, he loved to declaim long passages from Prior;34
but his mind was not imbued with political theories, or invigorated by the lessons of a manly philosophy.
As a public man, he was fond of authority;
without sagacity, yet unwilling to defer to any
one; and not fearing application, he preferred a post of business to a sinecure.
To the imagination of the British
people the American
plantations appeared as boundless and inhospitable deserts, dangerous from savages and dismally wild:—Halifax beheld in them half a hemisphere subjected to his supervision; and, glowing with ambition, he resolved to elevate himself by enlarging the dignity and power of his employment.
For this end, unlike his predecessors, he devoted himself eagerly and zealously to the business of the plantations, confiding in his ability to master their affairs almost by intuition; writing his own dispatches; and, with the undoubting self-reliance of a presumptuous novice, ready to advance fixed opinions and propose plans of action.
The condition of the continent, whose affairs he was to superintend, seemed to invite and to urge his immediate and his utmost activity, to secure the possessions of Great Britain
, and to maintain the authority of the central government against the colonies themselves.
As he looked on the map of America
, he saw the boundary line along the whole frontier rendered uncertain by the claims of France
; both nations desiring unlimited possessions;—France, to bound British enterprise by the Penobscot
or the Kennebeck
and the Alleghanies
, to bring the continent under her flag, to supply the farthest wigwam from her workshops, to fill the wilderness with colonies that should trade only with their metropolis.
As he read the papers which had accumulated in
the Board of Trade, and the dispatches which were
constantly coming in, as fast as the crown officers in the colonies became aware of the change in the spirit of the administration, the affairs which he was to manage, seemed from the irresolution of his predecessors, to have become involved in universal confusion, tending to legislative independence and rebellion.
‘Here’ wrote Glen
, the governor of South Carolina
, ‘levelling principles prevail; the frame of the civil government is unhinged; a governor, if he would be idolized, must betray his trust;36
the people have got the whole administration in their hands; the election of members to the assembly is by ballot; not civil posts only, but all ecclesiastical preferments, are in the disposal or election of the people; to preserve the dependence of America
in general, the Constitution
must be new modelled.’37
In North Carolina
, no law for collecting quit-rents, had been perfected; and its frugal people, whom their governor reported as ‘wild and barbarous,’ paid the servants of the crown scantily, and often left them in arrears.38
, the land of light taxes and freedom from paper money, long famed for its loyalty, where the people had nearly doubled in twenty-one years, and a revenue, granted in perpetuity, with a fixed quit-rent, put aside the usual sources of colonial strife, the insurgent spirit of freedom invaded the royal authority in the Established Church
; and in 1748, just as Sherlock
, the new bishop of London
, was interceding with the king for an American episcopate,
both favored as essential
to royal authority, Virginia
, with the consent of Gooch
, its lieutenant-governor, transferred by law39
the patronage of all the livings to the vestries.
The act was included among the revised laws, and met with the king's approbation.40
But from the time that its purpose was perceived, Sherlock
became persuaded, that ‘Virginia
, formerly an orderly province, had nothing more at heart than to lessen the influence of the crown.’41
Letters from Pennsylvania
warned the ministers, that as the ‘obstinate, wrong-headed Assembly of Quakers’ in that province ‘pretended not to be accountable to his Majesty or his government,’ they ‘might in time apply the public money to purposes injurious to the crown and the mother country.’
But nowhere did popular power seem to the royalists so deeply or dangerously seated as in New England
, where every village was a little self-constituted democracy, whose organization had received the sanction of law and the confirmation of the king.
, whose people had liberated its citizen mariners, when impressed by a British admiral in their harbor, was accused of ‘a rebellious insurrection.’
‘The chief cause,’ said Shirley
‘of the mobbish turn of a town inhabited by twenty thousand persons, is its constitution, by which the management of it devolves on the populace, assembled in their town-meetings.’
With the Assembly which represented the towns
the wary barrister declined a decided
When, in November, the legislature of that province, jealous from a true instinct, reduced his salary one third, on the plea of public distress, he answered plausibly, that the province had doubled its population within twenty years; had in that time organized within its limits five-and-twenty new towns; and, at the close of the long war, was less in debt than at its beginning.
But his hopes of sure emoluments rested in England
, and were connected with the success of the applications from New-York
The same conspiracy against the colonies extended to New Jersey
In December, the council of that
province likewise found it ‘their indispensable duty to represent to his Majesty the growing rebellion in their province.’43
The conflict for lands in its eastern moiety, where Indian title deeds, confirmed by long occupation, were pleaded against claims derived from grants of an English king, led to confusion which the rules of the English
law could not remedy.
The people of whole counties could not be driven from their homesteads, or imprisoned in jails; Belcher
the temporizing governor, confessed that ‘he could not bring the delegates into measures for suppressing the wicked spirit of rebellion.’
The proprietors, who had purchased the long dormant claim to a large part of the province, made common cause with men in office, invoked British interposition, and accused their opponents of throwing off the king's authority and treasonably and boldly denying his title to New
These appeals were to ‘tally with and accre-
dit the representation from New-York
Such was the aspect in which official records presented America
to the rash and inexperienced Halifax
From the first moment of his employment, he stood forth the busy champion of the royal authority; and in December, 1748, his earliest official words of any import, promised ‘a very serious consideration on’ what he called ‘the just prerogatives of the crown, and those defects of the constitution,’ which had ‘spread themselves over many of the plantations, and were destructive of all order and government,’46
and he resolved on instantly effecting a thorough change, by the agency of parliament.
While awaiting its meeting, the menaced encroachments of France
urgently claimed his attention; and with equal promptness he determined to secure the possession of Nova Scotia
and the Ohio valley
The region beyond the Alleghanies
had as yet no English settlement, except, perhaps, a few scattered cabins in Western Virginia
south of Lake Erie
and in the Ohio valley
were, in the recent war, friendly to the English
, and were now united to Pennsylvania
by a treaty of commerce.
The traders, chiefly from Pennsylvania
, who strolled from tribe to tribe, were without fixed places of abode, but drew many Indians over the lake to trade in skins and furs.
The colony of New York, through the Six Nations, might command the Canadian
passes to the Ohio valley
; the grant to William Penn
a part of it; but Virginia
bounded its ancient
dominion only by Lake Erie
To secure Ohio
for the English
world, Lawrence Washington
, Augustus Washington
, and their associates, proposed a colony beyond the Alleghanies
. ‘The country west of the great mountains is the centre of the British
dominions,’ wrote Halifax and his colleagues, who were inflamed with the hope of recovering it by having a large tract settled; and the favor of Henry Pelham
, with the renewed instance of the Board of Trade,47
obtained in March, 1749, the king's instructions to the governor of Virginia
, to grant to John Hanbury
and his associates in Maryland
five hundred thousand acres of land between the Monongahela
and the Kenawha, or on the northern margin of the Ohio
The company were to pay no quit-rent for ten years, within seven years to colonize at least one hundred families, to select immediately two-fifths of their territory, and at their own cost to build and garrison a fort.
, president of the Council of Virginia
, and Robert Dinwiddie
, a native of Scotland
for the southern colonies, were among the shareholders.
Aware of these designs, France
Immediately, in 1749, La Galissioniere, whose patriotic mind revolved great designs of empire, and questioned futurity for the results of French power, population, and commerce in America
sent De Celoron de Bienville
, with three hundred men, to trace and occupy the valley of the Ohio
and that of the
, as far as Detroit
On the southern
banks of the Ohio
, opposite the point of an island, and near the junction of a river, that officer buried, at the foot of a primeval red-oak, a plate of lead with the inscription, that, from the farthest ridge whence water trickled towards the Ohio
, the country belonged to France
; while the lilies of the Bourbons were nailed to a forest tree in token of possession.50
‘I am going down the river,’ said he to Indians at Logstown, ‘to scourge home our children, the Miamis and the Wyandots;’ and he forbade all trading with the English
‘The lands are ours,’ replied the Indians, and they claimed freedom of commerce.
The French emissary proceeded to the towns of the Miamis, expelled the English
traders, and by letter requested Hamilton
, the governor of Pennsylvania
, to prevent all farther intrusion.
But the Indians brooded over the plates which he buried at the mouth of every remarkable creek.
‘We know,’ thus they murmured, ‘it is done to steal our country from us;’ and they resolved to ‘go to the Onondaga
council’ for protection.51
On the northeast, the well informed La Galissoniere took advantage of the gentle and unsuspecting character of the Acadians themselves, and of the doubt that existed respecting occupancy and ancient titles.
In 1710, when Port Royal
, now Annapolis
, was vacated, the fort near the mouth of the St. John
's remained to France
had no settlement on that river; and though they had, on appeal to their tribunals, exercised some sort of jurisdiction, it
had not been clearly recognised by the few inhabit-
ants, and had always been denied by the French
It began to be insinuated,52
that the ceded Acadia
was but a part of the peninsula lying upon the sea between Cape Fourches and Cape Canso, and that therefore the descendants of the French
still owed allegiance to France
The Abbe La Loutre
, missionary and curate of Messagouche, now Fort Lawrence, which is within the peninsula, favored the, representation with alacrity; and, sure of influence over his people and his associate priests, he formed the plan, with the aid of La Galissoniere and the court of France, to entice the Acadians from their ancient dwelling-places, and plant them on the frontier as a barrier against the English
But even before the peace, Shirley
, who always advocated the most extended boundary of Nova Scotia
, represented to George the Second, that the inhabitants near the isthmus, being French and Catholic, should be removed into some other of his Majesty's colonies, and that Protestant settlers should occupy their lands.54
From this atrocious proposal, Newcastle
, who was cruel only from frivolity, did not withhold his approbation; but Bedford
, his more humane successor, restricting his plans of colonization to the undisputed British territory, sought to secure the entire obedience of the French
inhabitants by intermixing with them colonists of English descent.55
The execution of this design, which the Duke
, and Henry Fox
assisted in maturing, devolved on Halifax.
Invitations went through Europe
to invite Protestants from the continent to emigrate to the British
The Moravian brethren56
were attracted by the promise of exemption from oaths and military service.
The goodwill of New England
was encouraged by care for its fisheries; and American whalemen, stimulated by the promise of enjoying an equal bounty57
with the British
, learned to follow their game among the icebergs of the Greenland seas
But the main burden of securing Nova Scotia
fell on the British
While the General Court of Massachusetts
through their agent in England
, sought to prevent the French
from possessing any harbor whatever in the Bay of Fundy
, or west of it on the Atlantic
, proposals were made, in March, 1749, to disbanded officers and soldiers and marines, to accept and occupy lands in Acadia
; and before the end of June, more than fourteen hundred persons,59
under the auspices of the British parliament, were conducted by Colonel Edward Cornwallis
, a brother of Lord Cornwallis, into Chebucto harbor.
There, on a cold and sterile soil, covered to the water's edge with one continued forest of spruce and pine, whose thick underwood and gloomy shade hid rocks and the rudest wilds, with no clear spot to be seen or heard of, rose the first town of English origin east of the Penobscot
From the minister whose promptness, vigilance, and
spirit gave efficiency to the enterprise, it took the name of Halifax
Before winter three hundred houses were covered in.61
, now Lower Horton
, a blockhouse was raised, and fortified by a trench and a palisade; a fort at Pesaquid, now Windsor
, protected the communications with Halifax
These, with Annapolis
on the Bay of Fundy
, secured the peninsula.
The ancient inhabitants had, in 1730, taken an oath of fidelity and submission to the English
king, as sovereign of Acadia
, and were promised indulgence in ‘the true exercise of their religion, and exemption from bearing arms against the French
They were known as the French Neutrals
Their hearts were still with France
, and their religion made them a part of the diocese of Quebec
Of a sudden it was proclaimed to their deputies62
convened at Halifax
, that English commissioners would repair to their villages, and tender to them, unconditionally,63
the oath of allegiance.
They could not pledge themselves before Heaven to join in war against the land of their origin and their love; and, in a letter signed by a thousand of their men, they pleaded rather for leave to sell their lands and effects, and abandon the peninsula for new homes, which France
But Cornwallis would offer no option but between unconditional allegiance and the confiscation of all their property.
‘It is for me,’
said he, ‘to command and to be obeyed’;65
looked to the Board of Trade for further instructions.66
With the Micmac Indians
, who, at the instigation of La Loutre,67
the missionary, united with other tribes to harass the infant settlements, the English
governor dealt still more summarily.
‘The land on which you sleep is mine:’ such was the message of the implacable tribe;68
‘I sprung out of it as the grass does; I was born on it from sire to son; it is mine forever.’
So the council at Halifax69
voted all the poor Red Men that dwelt in the peninsula70
to be ‘so many banditti, ruffians, or rebels;’ and by its authority Cornwallis, ‘to bring the rascals to reason,’71
offered for every one of them ‘taken or killed’ ten guineas, to be paid on producing the savage or ‘his scalp.’72
But the source of this disorder was the undefined state of possession between the European
competitors for North America
Meantime, La Galissoniere, having surrendered his government to the more pacific La Jonquiere, repaired to France
, to be employed on the commission for adjusting the American
La Jonquiere, saw the imminent danger of a new war, and like Bedford
would have shunned hostilities; but his instructions from the French
ministry, although they did not require advances beyond the isthmus, compelled
him to attempt confining the English
the peninsula of Acadia
Thus, while France
, with the unity of a despotic central power, was employing all its strength in Canada
to make good its claims to an extended frontier, Halifax
signalized his coming into office by planting Protestant emigrants in Nova Scotia
, as a barrier against encroachments on the North East, and by granting lands for a Virginia colony on both banks of the Ohio
, in order to take possession of the valley of the Mississippi
With still greater impetuosity he rushed precipitately towards an arbitrary solution of all the accumulated difficulties in the administration of the colonies.
Long experience having proved that American assemblies insisted on the right of deliberating freely on all subjects respecting which it was competent for them to legislate, the Board of Trade, so soon as Halifax
had become its head, revived and earnestly promoted the scheme of strengthening the authority of the prerogative by a general act of the British parliament.
At its instance, on the third day of March,74
1749, under the pretext of suppressing the flagrant evils of colonial paper-money, the disappointed Horatio Walpole
, who, for nearly thirty years,75
vainly struggled, as auditor-general of the colonies, to
gain a sinecure allowance of five per cent
. on all colonial revenues, reported a bill to overrule charters, and to make all orders by the king, or under his authority, the highest law of America
Such a coalition of power seemed in harmony with that legislative supremacy, which was esteemed the great whig doctrine of the revolution of 1683; it also had the semblance of an earlier precedent.
In the reign of Henry the Eighth, parliament sanctioned ‘what a king, by his royal power, might do,’76
and gave the energy of law to his proclamations and ordinances.
In this it did but surrender the liberties of its own constituents: Halifax
and his board invited the British parliament to sequester the liberties of other communities, and transfer them to the British
The people of Connecticut
through their agent, Eliakim Palmer
, protested against ‘the unusual and extraordinary’ attempt, ‘so repugnant to the laws and constitution’ of Great Britain
, and to their own ‘inestimable privileges’ and charter, ‘of being governed by laws of their own making.’
By their birthright, by the perils of their ancestors, by the sanctity of royal faith, by their own affectionate duty and zeal, by their devotion of their lives and fortunes to their king and country, they remonstrated against the bill.
and Rhode Island
pleaded their patents, and reminded parliament of the tribute alrleady levied on them by the monopoly of their commerce.
, William Bollan
‘the very good-natured Lord Baltimore,’ represented, that the bill virtually included all future orders of all future princes, however repugnant they might be to the constitution of Great Britain
, or of the colonies; thus abrogating for the people of Massachusetts
their common rights as Englishmen, not less than their charter privileges The agent of South Carolina
cautiously intimated, that, as obedience to instructions was already due from the governors, whose commissions depended on the royal pleasure, the deliberative rights of the assemblies were the only colonial safeguard against unlimited authority.78
‘Venerating the British constitution, as established at the Revolution,’ Onslow
, the speaker of the House of Commons, believed that parliament had power to tax America, but not to delegate that power; and, by his order, the objections to the proposed measure were spread at length on the journal.79
The Board of Trade wavered, and in April consented, reluctantly, ‘to drop for the present, and reserve,’ the despotic clauses;80
but it continued to cherish the spirit that dictated them, till it had driven the colonies to independence, and had itself ceased to exist.
At the same time Massachusetts
was removing every motive to interfere with its currency by abolishing its paper money.
That province had demanded, as a right, the reimbursement of its expenses for the capture of Louisburg
Its claim, as of right, was denied; for its people, it was said, were the subjects,
and not the allies of England
; owing allegiance, and
not entitled to subsidies.
The requisite appropriation was made by the equity of parliament; yet Pelham
himself, the prime minister, declared that the grant was a boon.
had already, in January, 1749 by the urgency of Hutchinson
, voted, that its public notes should be redeemed with the expected remittances from the royal exchequer.
Twice in the preceding year, it had invited a convention of the neighboring colonies, to suppress jointly the fatal paper-currency; but finding concert impossible, it proceeded alone.
As the bills had depreciated, and were no longer in the hands of the first holders, it was insisted, that to redeem them at their original value would impose a new tax on the first holders themselves; and therefore forty-five shillings of the old tenor, or eleven shillings and threepence of the new emission, were, with the approbation of the king in council, redeemed by a Spanish milled dollar.
became the ‘hard-money colony’ of the North
The plan for enforcing all royal orders in America
by the act of the British parliament had hardly been abandoned, when the loyalty and vigilance of Massachusetts
were perverted to further the intrigues against its liberty.
In April, 1749, its Assembly, which always held that Nova Scotia
included all the continent east of New England
, represented to the king ‘the insolent intrusions’ of France
on their territory, advised that ‘the neighboring provinces should be informed of the common danger,’ and
begged ‘that no breach might be made in any of the
territories of the crown on the’ American ‘continent.’
It was on occasion of transmitting this address, that Shirley
developed his system.
To the Duke
he recommended the erecting and garrisoning of frontier ‘fortresses, under the direction of the king's engineers and officers.’
‘A tax for their maintenance,’ he urged, ‘should be laid by parliament upon the colonies, without which it will not be done.’
From the prosperous condition of America
, he argued, that ‘making the British
subjects on this continent contribute towards their common security could not be thought laying a burden;’ and he cited the Acts of Trade and the duty laid on foreign sugars imported into the northern colonies, as precedents that established the reasonableness of his proposal.
's associates in New York were equally persevering.
The seventh day of May, 1749, brought to them ‘the agreeable news, that all went flowingly on’83
as they had desired.
Knowing that Bedford
, and Halifax
had espoused their cause, they convened the legislature.
But it was in vain.
‘The faithful representatives of the people,’ thus spoke the Assembly of New York in July, ‘can never recede from the method of an annual support.’
‘I know well,’ rejoined the governor, ‘the present sentiments of his Majesty's ministers; and you might have guessed at them by the bill lately brought into parliament
for enforcing the king's instructions.
sider,’ he adds, ‘the great liberties you are indulged with.
Consider, likewise, what may be the consequences, should our mother country suspect that you design to lessen the prerogative of the crown in the plantations.
did not allow the same privileges to their colonies, which the other citizens enjoyed; and you know in what manner the republic of Holland
governs her colonies.
Endeavor, then, to show your great thankfulness for the great privileges you enjoy.’
adhered unanimously to their resolutions, pleading that ‘governors are generally entire strangers to the people they are sent to govern; . . . . . they seldom regard the welfare of the people, otherwise than as they can make it subservient to their own particular interest; and, as they know the time of their continuance in their governments to be uncertain, all methods are used, and all engines set to work, to raise estates to themselves.
Should the public moneys be left to their disposition, what can be expected but the grossest misapplication, under various pretences, which will never be wanting?’
To this unanimity the governor could only oppose his determination of ‘most earnestly’ invoking the attention of the ministry and the king to ‘their proceedings;’ and then prorogued the Assembly, which he afterwards dissolved.
To make the appeal to the ministry more effective, Shirley
, who had obtained leave to go to England
, and whose success in every point was believed to be
before embarking received from Colden
an elaborate argument, in which revenue to the crown, independent of the American
people, was urged as indispensable; and to obtain it, ‘the most prudent method,’ it was insisted, ‘would be by application to parliament.’86
But before Shirley
arrived in Europe
, the ministry was already won to his designs.
On the first day of June, the Board of Trade had been recruited by a young man gifted with ‘a thousand talents,’87
the daring and indefatigable Charles Townshend
A younger son of Lord Townshend, ambitious, capable of unwearied labor, bold, and somewhat extravagant in his style of eloquence, yet surpassed, as a debater, only by Murray
, he was introduced to office through the commission for the colonies.
His extraordinary and restless ability rapidly obtained sway at the board; Halifax
cherished him as a favorite, and the parliament very soon looked up to him as ‘the greatest master of American affairs.’
How to regulate charters and colonial governments, and provide an American civil list independent of American legislatures, was the earliest as well as the latest political problem which Charles Townshend
attempted to solve.
At that time, Murray
, as crown lawyer, ruled the cabinet on questions of legal right; Dorset
, the father of Lord George Germain
, was president of the Council; Lyttelton
and George Grenville
were already of the Treasury Board; and Sandwich
, raised by his hold on the affections of the Duke
, presided at the
, Charles Townshend
, and their
colleagues, were busy with remodelling American constitutions; while Bedford
, the head of the new party that was in a few years to drive the more liberal branch of the whig aristocracy from power, as Secretary of State
for the Southern Department, was the organ of communication between the Board of Trade and the crown.
These are the men who proposed to reconcile the discrepancy between the legal pretensions of the metropolis and the actual condition of the colonies.
In vain did they resolve to shape America at will, and fashion it into new modes of being.
The infant republics were not like blocks of marble from the quarry, which the artist may group by his design, and gradually transform by the chisel from shapeless masses to the images of his fancy; they resembled living plants, whose inward energies obey the Divine idea without effort or consciousness of will, and unfold simultaneously their whole existence and the rudiments of all their parts, harmonious, beautiful and complete in every period of their growth.88
These British American colonies were the best trophy of modern civilization; on them, for the next forty years, rests the chief interest in the history of man.89