America Refuses to be ruled by arbitrary Instruc-Tions.—Pelham's administration continued.
the thoughts of the British
ministry were so
engrossed by intrigues at home, as to give but little heed to the glorious country beyond the Alleghanies
Having failed in the attempt to subject all the colonies by act of parliament to all future orders of the king, the Lords
of Trade sought to gain the same end in detail.
, a charter government, of which the laws were valid without the assent of the king, continued to emit paper currency,1
and the more freely, because Massachusetts
had withdrawn its notes and returned to hard money.2
In 1742, twenty-eight shillings of Rhode Island
currency would have purchased an ounce of silver; seven years afterwards, it required sixty shillings; compared with sterling money, the depreciation was as ten and a half or eleven to one.
This was pleaded as the justification of the Board of Trade, who, in March, 1751, presented a bill to restrain bills of credit in New England
, with an additional clause giving the authority of law to the
king's instructions on that subject.3
In ‘the dan-
gerous precedent,’ Bollan
, the agent for Massachusetts
, discerned the latent purpose of introducing by degrees the same authority to control other articles.
He argued, moreover, that ‘the province had a natural and lawful right to make use of its credit for its defence and preservation.’4
New York also urged ‘the benefit of a paper credit.’
Before the bill was engrossed, the obnoxious clause was abandoned.5
Yet there seemed to exist in the minds of ‘some persons of consequence,’ a fixed design of getting a parliamentary sanction of some kind or other to the king's instructions; and the scheme was conducted with great perseverance and art.6
Meantime, parliament, by its sovereign act, on the motion of Lord Chesterfield, changed the commencement of the year, and regulated the calendar for all the British
As the earth and the moon, in their annual rounds, differed by eleven days from the English
reckoning of time, and would not delay their return, the legislature of a Protestant kingdom, after centuries of obstinacy, submitted to be taught by the heavens, and conquering a prejudice, adopted the calendar as amended by a pope of Rome
The Board of Trade was all the while maturing its scheme for an American civil list.7
The royal prerogative
was still the main-spring in their system.
they advised the appointment of a new governor for New York, with a stricter commission and instructions; the New York legislature should be ordered to grant a permanent revenue, to be disbursed by royal officers, and sufficient for Indian presents, as well as for the civil list.
At the same time, it was resolved to obtain an American revenue by acts of parliament.9
The excessive discriminating duties in favor of the British West Indies
, ‘given and granted’ in 1733, on the products of the Foreign West India Islands
, imported into the continental colonies, were prohibitory in their character, and had never been collected.
, which thought itself able to make such a grant, to be levied in ports of a thinly inhabited continent, could never give effect to the statute; and did but discipline America to dispute its supreme authority.
The trade continued to be pursued with no more than an appearance of disguise; and Newcastle
, who had escaped from the solicitations and importunities of the British West Indians
by conceding the law, had also avoided the reproaches of the colonists by never enforcing it.
This forbearance is, in part, also, to be ascribed to the moderation of character of Sir Robert Walpole
He rejected the proposition for a colonial stamp-tax, being content with the tribute to British wealth from colonial commerce; and he held that the American
evasions of the acts of trade, by enriching the colonies, did but benefit England
, which was their final mart.
The policy was generous and safe; but can a
minister excuse his own acts of despotic legislation by
his neglect to enforce them?
The administration of Sir Robert Walpole
had left English statutes and American practice more at variance than ever.
Woe to the British
statesman who should hold it a duty to enforce the British
In 1740, Ashley
, a well informed writer, had proposed to establish a fund by such ‘an abatement of the duty on molasses imported into the northern colonies,’10
as would make it cease to be prohibitory.
‘Whether this duty,’ he added, ‘should be one, two, or three pence sterling money of Great Britain
per gallon, may be matter of consideration.’
The time was come when it was resolved to discard the policy of Walpole
Opinions were changing on the subject of a stamp-tax; and the Board of Trade, in 1751, entered definitively on the policy of regulating trade, so as to uproot illicit traffic and obtain an American revenue.11
To this end, they fostered the jealous dispute between the continental colonies and the favored British West Indian Islands; that, under the guise of lenity, they might lower the disregarded prohibitory duties, and enrich the exchequer by the collection of more moderate imposts.
But the perfidious jealousy with which the Duke
plotted against his colleague, the Duke
, delayed for the present the decisive interposition of parliament in the government of America
with his Board was equally at
variance with his superior.
The former was eager to
foster the settlement of Nova Scotia
at every hazard; Bedford
desired to be frugal of the public money, and was also honestly inclined to maintain peace with France
The governor of that colony12
had written impatiently for ships of war; and Halifax
in the most earnest and elaborate official papers had seconded his entreaties;13
was dissatisfied at the vastness of the sums lavished on the new plantation, and was, moreover, fixed in the purpose of leaving to the pending negotiation an opportunity of success.
He was supported by the Admiralty
, at which Sandwich
was his friend; while Newcastle
, with his timorous brother, enforced the opinions of Halifax
The intrigue in the cabinet had come to maturity.
's neglect of the forms of office had vexed the king; his independence of character had paid no deference to the king's mistress.
was dismissed from the Admiralty
Admitted in June to an audience at court, Bedford
inveighed long and vehemently against his treacherous colleague, and resigned.14
His successor was the Earl
of Holdernesse, a very courtly peer, proud of his rank, formal, and of talents which could not excite Newcastle
's jealousy, or alarm America for its liberties.
The disappointed Halifax
, not yet admitted to the cabinet, was consoled by obtaining a promise, that the whole patronage and correspondence of the colonies should be vested in his Board.
The increase of their powers might invigorate their schemes for regulating America; for which, however, no energetic system of adminstration
could be adopted, without the aid of the
new party of which Bedford
was the head.
During the progress of these changes, the colonies were left to plan their own protection.
But every body shunned the charge of securing the valley of the Ohio
Of the Virginia Company the means were limited.
The Assembly of Pennsylvania, from motives of economy, refused to ratify the treaty which Croghan
had negotiated at Picqua, while the proprietaries15
of that province openly denied their liability ‘to contribute to Indian or any other expenses;’16
and sought to cast the burden of a Western fort on the equally reluctant ‘people of Virginia
New York could but remonstrate with the governor of Canada
The deputies of the Six Nations were the first to manifest zeal.
At the appointed time in July, they came down to Albany
to renew their covenant chain; and to chide the inaction of the English
, which was certain to leave the wilderness to France
When the congress, which Clinton
had invited to meet the Iroquois
, assembled at Albany
, South Carolina
for the first time, to join in council with New York, Connecticut
, and Massachusetts
,—its earliest movement towards confederation.
From the Catawbas, also, hereditary foes to the Six Nations, deputies attended to hush the war-song that for so many generations had lured their chiefs
along the Blue Ridge
to Western New York.
approached the grand council, singing the words of reconciliation, bearing their ensigns of colored feathers, not erect, as in defiance, but horizontally, as with friends; and, accompanied by the rude music from their calabashes, they continued their melodies, while their great chief lighted the peace-pipe.
He himself was the first to smoke the sacred calumet; then Hendrick
, of the Mohawks; and all the principal sachems in succession.
Nor was the council dismissed, till the hatchet was buried irrecoverably deep, and a tree of peace planted, which was to be ever green as the laurel on the Alleghanies
, and to spread its branches till its shadow should reach from the Great Lakes
to the Gulf of Mexico
Thus was South Carolina
first included in the same bright chain with New England
When would they meet in council again?
Thus did the Indians, in alliance with England
, plight faith fo one another, and propose measures of mutual protection.
To anticipate or prevent the consummation of these designs remained the earnest effort of the French
They sent priests, who were excited partly by ambition, partly by fervid enthusiasm, to proselyte the Six Nations; their traders were to undersell the British
; in the summer of 1751, they launched an armed vessel of unusual size on Lake Ontario
and converted their trading-house at Niagara
into a fortress;20
they warned the governor of Pennsylvania
that the English
never should make a treaty in the basin of the Ohio
; they sent troops to prevent the intended congress of red men;22
and they resolved to ruin the English
interest in the remoter West
, and take vengeance on the Miamis.
Yet Louis the Fifteenth disclaimed hostile intentions; to the British
minister at Paris
he himself expressed personally his concern that any cause of offence had arisen, and affirmed his determined purpose of peace.
The minister of foreign relations, De Puysieux, who, on the part of France
, was responsible for the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, a man of honor, though not of ability, was equally disinclined to disturb the public tranquillity.
-Contest, who, in September, 1751, succeeded him, though a feeble statesman and fond of peace, yet aimed at a federative maritime system against England
and Rouille, the minister of the marine department, loved war and prepared for it. Spain
wisely kept aloof.
‘By antipathy,’ said the Marquis
of Ensenada, the considerate minister of Ferdinand the Sixth, ‘and from interest also, the French
will be enemies, for they are rivals for universal commerce;’ and he urged on his sovereign seasonable preparations, that he might, by neutrality, recover Gibraltar
, and become the arbiter of the civilized world.24
Every thing seemed to portend a conflict between England
along their respective frontiers in America
To be prepared for it, Clinton
recommended to secure the dominion of Lake Ontario
by an armed sloop and by forts upon its shore.
But, it was asked, how is the expense to be defrayed?
And the question did but invite from the governor of New York new proposals for ‘a general duty by act of parliament;25
because it would be a most vain imagination to expect that all the colonies would severally agree to impose it.’
The receiver-general of New York, Archibald Kennedy
, urged, through the press, ‘an annual meeting of commissioners from all the colonies at New York or Albany
‘From upwards of forty years observation upon the conduct of provincial assemblies, and the little regard paid by them to instructions,’ he inferred, that ‘a British parliament must oblige them to contribute, or the whole would end in altercation and words.’
He advised an increase of the respective quotas, and the enlargement of the union, so as to comprise the Carolinas; and the whole system to be sanctioned and enforced by an act of the British
‘A voluntary union,’ said a voice from Philadel-
phia, in March, 1752, in tones which I believe were Franklin
‘a voluntary union, entered into by the colonies themselves, would be preferable to one imposed by parliament; for it would be, perhaps, not much more difficult to procure, and more easy to alter and improve, as circumstances should require and experience direct.
It would be a very strange thing, if Six Nations of ignorant savages should be
capable of forming a scheme for such an union, and
be able to execute it in such a manner, as that it has subsisted for ages, and appears indissoluble; and yet that a like union should be impracticable for ten or a dozen English colonies, to whom it is more necessary, and must be more advantageous.’
While the people of America
were thus becoming familiar with the thought of joining from their own free choice in one confederacy, the government of England
took a decisive step towards that concentration of power over its remote dominions, which for thirty years28
had been the avowed object of attainment on the part of the Board of Trade.
with his colleagues, of whom Charles Townshend
was the most enterprising and most fearlessly rash, was appointed to take charge of American affairs; with the entire patronage and correspondence belonging to them.29
Yet the independence of the Board was not perfect.
On important matters governors might still address the Secretary of State
, through whom, also, nominations to offices were to be laid before the king in council.
We draw nearer to the conflict of authority between the central government and the colonies.
An ambitious commission, expressly appointed for the purpose, was at last invested with the care of business, from which party struggles and court intrigues, or love of ease and quiet had hitherto diverted the attention of the ministry.
Nor did the Lords
of Trade delay to exercise their functions, and
to form plans for an American civil list and a new
administration of the colonies.
They were resolved to attach large emoluments, independent of American acts of assembly, to all the offices, of which they had now acquired the undivided and very lucrative patronage.
Their continued subordination served to conceal their designs; and the imbecility of Holdernesse left them nothing to apprehend from his interference.
But in the moment of experiment, the thoughts of the Board were distracted by the state of relations with France
Along the confines of Nova Scotia
, the heat of contest began to subside; but danger lowered from the forest on the whole American frontier.
In the early summer of 1752, John Stark
, of New Hampshire
, as fearless a young forester as ever bivouacked in the wilderness, was trapping beaver along the clear brooks that gushed from his native highlands, when a party of St. Francis Indians
stole upon his steps, and scalped one of his companions.
He, himself, by courage and good humor, won the love of his captors; their tribe saluted him as a young chief, and cherished him with hearty kindness; his Indian master, accepting a ransom, restored him to his country.
Men of less presence of mind often fell victims to the fury of the Indian
allies of France
At the same time, the Ohio Company, with the express sanction30
of the Legislature of Virginia, were forming a settlement beyond the mountains.
had, on a second tour, explored the lands southeast of the Ohio
, as far as the Kenhawa.
The jealousy of the
Indians was excited.
‘Where,’ said the deputy of
chiefs, ‘where lie the lands of the Indians?
The French claim all on one side of the river, and the English
on the other.’
, under the treaty of Lancaster
, of 1744, assumed the right to appropriate to her jurisdiction all the lands as far west as the Mississippi
In May, 1752, her commissioners met chiefs of the Mingoes, Shawnees and Ohio Indians
, at Logstown.
It was pretended31
that chiefs of the Six Nations were present; but at a general meeting
, they had resolved that it did not suit their customs ‘to treat of affairs in the woods and weeds.’32
‘We never understood,’ said the Half-King
, ‘that the lands sold in 1744, were to extend farther to the sunsetting than the hill on the other side the Alleghany Hill
We now see and know that the French
design to cheat us out of our lands.
They plan nothing but mischief, for they have struck our friends, the Miamis; we therefore desire our brothers of Virginia
may build a strong house at the fork of Monongahela
The permission to build a fort at the junction of the two rivers that form the Ohio
, was due to the alarm awakened by the annually increasing power of France
, which already ruled Lake Ontario
with armed vessels, held Lake Erie
by a fort at Niagara
, and would suffer no Western tribe to form alliances but with themselves.
were to be excluded from the valley of the Miamis
; and in pursuance of that resolve, on the morning of the summer solstice, two Frenchmen, with two hundred and forty French
, leaving thirty Frenchmen as a reserve, sud-
denly appeared before the town of Picqua, when most of the people were absent, hunting, and demanded the surrender of the English
traders and their effects.
The king of the Piankeshaws replied: ‘They are here at our invitation; we will not do so base a thing as to deliver them up.’
The French party made an assault on the fort; the Piankeshaws bravely defended themselves and their guests, till they were overwhelmed by numbers.
One white man was killed, and five were taken prisoners; of the Miamis, fourteen were killed; the king of the Piankeshaws, the great chief of the whole confederacy, was taken captive, and, after the manner of savages, was sacrificed and eaten.33
When William Trent
, the messenger of Virginia
, proceeded from the council-fires at Logstown to the village of Picqua, he found it deserted, and the French
colors flying over the ruins.34
Having substituted the English
flag, he returned to the Shawnee town
, at the mouth of the Scioto
, where the messengers of the allied tribes met for condolence and concert in revenge.
‘Brothers,’ said the Delawares to the Miamis, ‘we desire the English
and the Six Nations to put their hands upon your heads, and keep the French
from hurting you. Stand fast in the chain of friendship with the government of Virginia
‘Brothers,’ said the Miamis to the English
, ‘your country is smooth; your hearts are good; the dwellings
of your governors are like the spring in its
‘Brothers,’ they added to the Six Nations, holding aloft a calumet ornamented with feathers, ‘the French
and their Indians have struck us, yet we kept this pipe unhurt;’ and they gave it to the Six Nations, in token of friendship with them and with their allies.
A shell and a string of black wampum were given to signify the unity of heart; and that, though it was darkness to the westward, yet towards the sun-rising it was bright and clear.
Another string of black wampum announced that the war-chiefs and braves of the Miamis held the hatchet in their hand, ready to strike the French
The widowed queen of the Piankeshaws sent a belt of black shells intermixed with white.
‘Brothers,’ such were her words, ‘I am left a poor, lonely woman, with one son, whom I commend to the English
, the Six Nations, the Shawnees, and the Delawares, and pray them to take care of him.’
produced a calumet.
‘We have had this feathered pipe,’ said they, ‘from the beginning of the world; so that when it becomes cloudy, we can sweep the clouds away.
It is dark in the west, yet we sweep all clouds away towards the sun-rising, and leave a clear and serene sky.’
Thus, on the alluvial lands of Western Ohio
, began the contest that was to scatter death broadcast through the world.
All the speeches were delivered again to the deputies of the nations, represented at Logstown, that they might be correctly repeated to the head council at Onondaga
An express messenger from the Miamis hurried across the mountains, bearing
to the shrewd and able Dinwiddie
, the lieutenant-
governor of Virginia
, a belt of wampum, the scalp of a French Indian, and a feathered pipe, with letters from the dwellers on the Maumee
and on the Wabash
‘Our good brothers of Virginia
,’ said the former, ‘we must look upon ourselves as lost, if our brothers, the English
, do not stand by us and give us arms.’35
‘Eldest brother,’ pleaded the Picts and Windaws, ‘this string of wampum assures you, that the French
king's servants have spilled our blood, and eaten the flesh of three of our men. Look upon us, and pity us, for we are in great distress, Our chiefs have taken up the hatchet of war. We have killed and eaten ten of the French
and two of their negroes.
We are your brothers; and do not think this is from our mouth only; it is from our very hearts.’36
Thus they solicited protection and revenge.
In December, 1752, Dinwiddie
made an elaborate report to the Board of Trade, and asked specific instructions to regulate his conduct in resisting the French
The possession of the Ohio valley
he foresaw would fall to the Americans
, from their numbers and the gradual extension of their settlements, for whose security he recommended a barrier of Western forts; and, urging the great advantage of cultivating an alliance with the Miamis, he offered to cross the mountains, and deliver a present to them in person, in their own remote dwelling-places.
The aged and undiscerning German prince who still sat on the British
throne, methodically narrow, swayed by his mistress more than by his minister,
meanly avaricious and spiritless, was too prejudiced to
gather round him willingly the ablest statesmen, and cared more for Hanover
than for America.
His ministers were intent only on keeping in power.
‘To be well together with Lady Yarmouth
wrote, ‘is the best ground to stand on.’37
‘If the good-will of the king's mistress,’ continued England
's primeminister to its principal secretary of state, ‘if that shakes, we have no resource.’
The whig aristocracy had held exclusive possession of the government for nearly forty years; its authority was now culminating; and it had nothing better to offer the British
people, than an administration which openly spoke of seats in parliament as ‘a marketable commodity,’38
and governed the king by paying court to his vices.
The heir to the throne was a boy of fourteen, of whose education royalists and the more liberal aristocracy were disputing the charge.
His birth was probably premature, as it occurred within less than ten months of that of his oldest sister; and his organization was marked by a nervous irritability, which increased with years.
‘He shows no disposition to any great excess,’ said Dodington to his mother.
‘He is a very honest boy,’ answered the princess, who still wished him ‘more forward and less childish.’
‘The young people of quality,’ she added, ‘are so ill educated and so very vicious, that they frighten me;’ and she secluded her son from their society-The prince, from his own serious nature, favored this retirement; when angry, he would hide his passion in the solitude of his chamber; and as he grew up, his strict
sobriety and also his constitutional fondness for domes-
tic life were alike observable.
He never loved study; but when he excused his want of application as idleness, ‘Yours,’ retorted Scott
, ‘is not idleness; you must not call being asleep all day being idle.’39
‘I really do not well know,’ said his mother,40
‘what his receptors teach him; but, to speak freely, I am afraid not much;’ and she thought logic, in which the bishop, his tutor, instructed him, ‘a very odd study for a child of his condition.’
‘I do not much regard books,’ rejoined her adviser, Dodington; ‘but his Royal Highness should be informed of the general frame of this government and constitution, and the general course of business.’
‘I am of your opinion,’ answered the princess; ‘and Stone
tells me, upon those subjects the prince seems to give a proper attention, and make pertinent remarks.’
‘I know nothing,’ she added, ‘of the Jacobitism attempted to be instilled into the child; I cannot conceive what they mean;’ for to a German princess the supremacy of regal authority seemed a tenet very proper to be inculcated.
But Lord Harcourt, the governor, ‘complained strongly to the king, that dangerous notions and arbitrary principles were instilled into the prince; that he could be of no use, unless the instillers of that doctrine, Stone
, Cresset, and Scott
, were dismissed;’ and the Earl
's successor, ‘found Prince George uncommonly full of princely prejudices, contracted in the nursery, and improved by the society of bed-chamber women, and pages of the back stairs.
A right system of education seemed impracticable.’41
Neither the king nor the court of the Prince
was, therefore, ready to heed the communication of Dinwiddie
; but it found the Lords
of Trade bent on sustaining the extended limits of America
In the study of the Western World no one of them was so persevering and indefatigable as Charles Townshend
The elaborate memorial on the limits of Acadia
, delivered in Paris
, by the English
commissioners, in January, 1753, was entirely his work,42
and, though unsound in its foundation, won for him great praise43
for research and ability.
He now joined with his colleagues in advising the secretary of state
to the immediate occupation of the eastern bank of the Ohio
, lest the valley of the ‘beautiful river’ should be gained by France
Many proposals, too, were ‘made for laying taxes on North America
The Board of Trade had not ceased to be urgent ‘for a revenue with which to fix settled salaries on the Northern
governors, and defray the cost of Indian alliances.’
‘Persons of consequence,’ we are told, ‘had repeatedly, and without concealment, expressed undigested notions of raising revenues out of the colonies.’44
Some proposed to obtain them from the post-office, a modification of the acts of trade, and a general stamp act for America
's concurrence, the Board of Trade46
the eighth day of March, 1753, announced to the
House of Commons the want of a colonial revenue; as the first expedient, it was proposed to abolish the export duty in the British West Indies
, from which no revenue accrued; and with a slight discrimination in their favor, to substitute imposts on all West Indian produce brought into the northern colonies.
This project was delayed at that time for the purpose of inquiries, that were to serve to adjust its details; but the measure itself was already looked upon as the determined policy of Great Britain
Meantime, the Indians of Ohio
were growing weary with the indecision of England
and its colonies.
A hundred of them, at Winchester
, in 1753, renewed to Virginia
the proposal for an English fort on the Ohio
, and promised aid in repelling the French
They repaired to Pennsylvania
with the same message, and were met by evasions.
The ministry which had, from the first, endeavored to put upon America
the expenses of Indian treaties and of colonial defence, continued to receive early and accurate intelligence from Dinwiddie
The system they adopted gave evidence not only of the reckless zeal of the Lords
of Trade to extend the jurisdiction of Great Britain
beyond the Alleghanies
, but also of the imbecility of the cabinet.
The king in council, swayed by the representations of the Board, decided, that the valley of the Ohio
was in the western part of the colony of Virginia
; and that ‘the march of certain Europeans to erect a fort in parts’ claimed to be of his dominions, was to be resisted as
an act of hostility.
Having thus invited a conflict
by instructions necessarily involving war, the cabinet took no effective measures to sustain the momentous claims on which it solemnly resolved to insist.
The governor of Virginia
was reminded of the great number of men enrolled in the militia of that province.
These he was to draw forth in whole or in part; with their aid, and at the cost of the colony itself, to build forts on the Ohio
; to keep the Indians in subjection; and to repel and drive out the French
But neither troops, nor money, nor ships of war were sent over; nor was any thing, but a few guns from the ordnance stores, contributed by England
The Old Dominion was itself to make the conquest of the West
was defied and attacked: and no preparation was made beyond a secretary's letters,49
and the king's instructions.50
A general but less explicit circular was also sent to every one of the colonies, vaguely requiring them to aid each other in repelling all encroachments of France
on ‘the undoubted’51
territory of England
Such was the mode in which Holdernesse and Newcastle
gave effect to the intimations of the Board of Trade.
That Board, of itself, had as yet no access to the king; but still it assumed the direction of affairs in its department.
Busily persevering in the plan of reforming the government of the colonies, it made one last great effort to conduct the American
administration by means of the prerogative.
New York remained
the scene of the experiment, and Sir Danvers Os
borne, brother-in-law to the Earl
, having Thomas Pownall
for his secretary, was commissioned as its governor, with instructions which were principally ‘advised’52
by Halifax and Charles Townshend
, and were confirmed by the Privy Council,53
in the presence of the king.
The new governor, just as he was embarking, was also charged ‘to apply his thoughts very closely to Indian affairs;’54
and hardly had he sailed, when, in September, the Lords
of Trade directed commissioners from the northern colonies to meet the next summer at Albany
, and make a common treaty with the Six Nations.
On the relations of France
with those tribes and their Western allies, hung the issues of universal peace and American union.
During the voyage across the Atlantic
, the agitated mind of Osborne
, already reeling with private grief, brooded despondingly over the task he had assumed.
On the tenth of October, he took the oaths of office at New York; and the people who welcomed him with acclamations, hooted his predecessor.
‘I expect the like treatment,’ said he to Clinton
, ‘before I leave the government.’
On the same day, he was startled by an address from the city council, who declared they would not ‘brook any infringement of their inestimable liberties, civil and religious.’
On the next, he communicated to the Council his instructions, which required the Assembly ‘to recede from all encroachments on the prerogative,’ and ‘to
consider, without delay, of a proper law for a perma-
nent revenue, solid, definite, and without limitation.’
All public money was to be applied by the governor's warrant, with the consent of Council, and the Assembly should never be allowed to examine accounts.
With a distressed countenance and a plaintive voice, he asked if these instructions would be obeyed.55
All agreed that the Assembly never would comply.
He sighed, turned about, reclined against the windowframe, and exclaimed, ‘Then, why am I come here?’
Being of morbid sensitiveness, honest, and scrupulous of his word, the unhappy man spent the night in arranging his private affairs, and towards morning hanged himself against the fence in the garden.
Thus was British authority surrendered by his despair.
His death left the government in the hands of James Delancey
, a man of ability and great possessions.
A native of New York, of Huguenot
ancestry, he had won his way to political influence as the leader of opposition in the colonial Assembly; and Newcastle
had endeavored to conciliate his neutrality by a commission as lieutenant-governor.
He discerned, and acknowledged, that the custom of annual grants could never be surrendered.
‘Dissolve us as often as you will,’ said his old associates in opposition, ‘we will never give it up.’
But they relinquished claims to executive power, and consented that all disbursements of public money should require the warrant of the governor and council, except only for the payment of their own clerk and their agent in England
Nor did public opinion in Great Britain
favor the instructions.
was, indeed, ever ready to defend
them to the last; but to the younger Horace Walpole
they seemed ‘better calculated for the latitude of Mexico
and for a Spanish tribunal, than for free, rich British settlements, in such opulence and haughtiness, that suspicions had long been conceived of their meditating to throw off their dependence on the mother country.’56