THE FIRST CENTURY OF ENGLISH COLONISATION.
Ox none of the nations of Europe had the discovery of America an effect so great as upon England. From the trade of the Mediterranean she was wholly excluded; for that of the Baltic she competed at a disadvantage with the ports of the Netherlands and Germany. In the struggle for the commerce of the New World, England for the first time met all rivals on equal terms; and the scale was tinned in her favour by internal conditions. Spain indeed had it in her power to have built up an empire beyond the Atlantic which might have ranked with Roman Gaul or British India. But that which an intervening ocean made difficult, the national life of Spain made impossible. Slave-holding became a necessity: a scanty colonial population was swamped and barbarised in its contact with inferior races; the thirst for gold strangled sober and patient industry. Most fatal weakness of all, the Spaniard underwent no such training for the work of administration as long experience of self-government had given to the Roman and the English- man. No tradition of public morality barred the path of the self-seeking adventurer.
In France England might have found a rival for the control of North America. But the bigotry of Valois kings and Guise statesmen had alienated from them the one element most fit for the task of colonisation. The wars of religion had drained her natimal resources and divided her inhabitants into two hostile camps. There was in France no lack of the daring spirit of adventure or of patient commercial industry; but the two qualities were not combined. In England there was no sharp line of division between the trader and the soldier; there was a plentiful supply of men who combined the heroism of the Spanish discoverer with a capacity for sober industry. Happily too for English colonisation, dreams of El Dorado and vague cravings for a colonial empire not built up by the steady labour of centuries but won in a moment by the sword, had died away before the epoch of colonisation proper began.
c. 31. u. VII. nil. I.
The fmmdation of Virginia.
The discoveries of John and Sebastian Cabot and the colossal projects of Sir Humphry Gilbert form but a prelude to the real history of the American colonies. Gilbert’s attempt was indeed an advance on any- thing that had gone before. Till he came on the scene there had been nothing but voyages of exploration and quests for gold-mines. In 1577 he obtained a patent of colonisation, not binding him down in any way to a choice of site and giving him full territorial rights over all land within two hundred leagues of the spot whereon he settled. Like later proprietors, Gilbert was invested with the power of making laws, provided they were not inconsistent with those of the realm.
Two obstacles, closely connected, thwarted Gilbert’s efforts — the jealousy of Spain and the lack of discipline among his own men, largely due to the privateering spirit called into existence by Drake and Hawkins. That Spain should view any such attempt at colonisation with suspicion was but natural, inasmuch as what one may call the colonial literatiu'e of the time, the pamphlets in which views such as those of Gilbert found expression, teemed with denunciations of Spain and suggestions for her overthrow. Influenced in all likelihood by repre- sentations from the Court of Madrid, the Privy Council refused Gilbert permission to sail imless he bound himself over to keep the peace. Suspicion was confirmed by an alleged attack made by some of his followers on a Spanish vessel; and the prohibition was made absolute. It was disregarded. But in the very act of sailing under such conditions Gilbert was cutting away the roots of discipline. The fleet broke up (1579), and the attempt was a total failure. Four years later Gilbert made another attempt which cost him his life. This time he sailed with all the appliances needed both for a trading station and for a permanent settlement. But the old evil soon broke out; vessels straggled and tinned to piracy. Nevertheless Gilbert reached Newfoundland, took formal possession, and erected a pillar on which were engraved the arms of England. But again discipline broke down. The settlers straggled; finally Gilbert decided to return, and with one of his ships, the Squirrel, was lost on the homeward voyage.
Ralegh had schemes more definite and practical than Gilbert’s; with better fortune and perhaps more concentration of purpose he mio-ht have actually led the way in the work of colonisation. In his mixtoe of generous public spirit with aims of self-advancement, of grandiose imagination with patient application to detail, we cannot but be reminded of that striking figure which has recently been removed from English public life. But as a colonist Ralegh came somewhat before his time. He had not learnt what Englishmen had to be taught by more than a generation of sad experiences — that a successful 'colony
1584 - 7 ]
Ralegh and Grenville.
could only be built up by a large and unproductive expenditure of capital, and must be constantly tended and reinforced by men and material. Yet it is impossible not to see that Ralegh’s scheme marked a very real advance in sound views of colonisation. Having obtained a patent identical with that granted to Gilbert, Ralegh sent out two exploring vessels under Amidas and Barlow. They landed near Roanoke in North Carolina (1584). Their relations with the natives were friendly, and they brought back glowing accounts of the coimtry, on which the gallantry of the coinrtier or the egotism of the Queen bestowed the name of Virginia.
Next year Ralegh sent out seven ships with a hundred and eight settlers. They were under the command of Sir Richard Grenville. He was to start tbe colony. It was then to be left under the control of his lieutenant, Ralph Lane, a careful and courageous leader and a good soldier, as it would seem, but with no special aptitude for the civic duties of his post. The result showed that, before England could become an effective colonising power, she must shake herself fi’ee from the dreams of the gold-seeker and the methods of the privateer. Lane and Grenville quarrelled. A trumpery act of pilfering by the natives was punished with severity. After Grenville’s departure. Lane, instead of striving to guide his settlers into habits of self-supporting industry, made a long and dangerous jom-ney of exploration in search of mines and a passage to the Pacific. Squabbles with the savages culminated in an organised attack made by fifteen hundred warriors. This was however baffled by Lane’s military skill and by the help of some natives who stiU remained friendly. In July, 1586, Grenville returned with reinforce- ments and fresh supplies; but it was too late. The settlers, wearied by their hardships and alarmed by the hostility of the Indians, had only a week before taken advantage of a visit from Drake’s fleet and embarked for England. Grenville however left behind fifteen men, just enough to keep up communication with any future settlers.
Whatever Ralegh’s moral shortcomings may have been, it is impos- sible not to admire the tenacity of purpose with which he clung to schemes, undoubtedly of public advantage and sound in principle, though the time for their fulfilment might not yet have come. Another party numbering a hundred and fifty was sent out, better organised and fitter for civic life than their predecessors, since there were among them seven- teen women. Their leader, White, was, unlike Lane, a civilian, and did not suffer himself to be drawn off by vague schemes of exploration. White soon found that his colony coidd not as yet be self-supporting, and in 1587 he returned to England to petition for further help. His request was not neglected, and a fleet was fitted out imder the command of Grenville to assist the colony; but at the last moment the alarm of Spanish invasion diverted the expedition. Ralegh did not however abandon his colonists. But two expeditions sent to their relief failed
London and Plymouth Companies.
becaiise those in command of them preferred privateering against the Spaniards to fulfilling their appointed task. The colony perished, leaving behind only a vague tradition of dispersion among the natives.
The dawn of the seventeenth century rose on a somewhat changed England. Englishmen fiUed with the new wine of the Benaissance and united under a Queen whose rule, despite all its craft and meanness, apjjealed intensely to their imagination, had dreamt dreams and seen visions. A generation succeeded, not less enteiprising, but more patient, more self-denying, more sane. The conception of colonies as centres from which Christianity might be spread through savage lands did not altogether disappear, nor did English emigrants at once give up the idea of rivalling Spain in the race for gold. But these ideas fell into the background. Colonisation designed to provide homes for surplus population, to expand ahke the imports and exports of England, and thereby to develop her naval resources, now became the dominant motive.
In 1608 these ideas and schemes took definite shape. Colonies were no longer to be dependent on the resources or the pmpose of a private individual. The trade with the Baltic and that with the East Indies were already under the control of associated companies. That principle was now appUed to colonisation; and a company was formed with two branches. One, with its headquarters in London, was to establish a plantation between the forty-fifth and thirty-eighth degrees of north latitude. The other drew most of its support from the West of England, and was therefore commonly, though not as it would seem formally, called the Plymouth Company. This was to estabhsh another settle- ment between the forty-first and thirty-fourth degrees. For the present we need only consider the London Company.
The constitution of the Company involved a complex system of divided and qualified control, which had to be got rid of if the colony was to become a thriving community with any spirit of self-government. The Company itself was to have only a trading interest in the under- taking, to find the capital and receive in return certain commercial advantages. The government of the colony was to be vested in two councils, both nominated by the King. One was to be resident in England and was to be supreme in all political and legislative matters. The other, established in the colony, was responsible for local administra- tion. Thus three authorities were set up, between whom a conflict of jurisdiction was inevitable.
In December, 1606, 143 emigiants were sent out. It is clear that the colonists were ill-chosen. They proved idle and discontented, with- out the courage necessary for explorers, or the patience and discipline to make prosperous settlers. Nor was there among their leaders any man who combined the natural gifts needed for the post with such a position and such antecedents as to give him authority. By far the best was that John Smith whose adventures, beyond doubt tinged with romance.
The colony of Virginia.
form so large a chapter in the early history of Virginia. He was un- doubtedly brave, resourceful, and public-spirited, and in aU likelihood a man of high moral character. But his position gave him no well- assm-ed claim to ascendancy. The history of the colony from 1606 to 1609 is a wretched series of squabbles, difficulties, and failures.
The colony itself was unprosperous; those in England who were mainly responsible took no rational or effective interest in its well- being. But at least it was not suffered to slip out of public notice. In 1609, if we may judge by the pamphlets published and the sermons preached on behalf of the colony, there was a complete reawakening of public interest. In May of that year a new charter was granted. Under this one of the chief evils, the dual control exercised by a resident and a non-resident council, disappeared. The Company was incorporated. It might levy duties and wage defensive war on behalf of its own terri- tories. The government was to be vested in a council originally nomi- nated by the King but elected, as vacancies occurred, by the Company.
The first venture of the Company in its new and extended form was imfortunate. Nine ships were sent out with supplies and five hundred settlers. The fleet was scattered by a storm; and Sir George Somers and Sir Thomas Gates, the leadere of the expedition, were cast away on the Bermudas (July, 1609). After ten months they fitted up two pinnaces with which they reached Virginia. There they found everything in con- fusion. Smith had met with an accident and returned to England, and there was no one fit to fill his place. The Indians had become hostile. Such was the sloth and thriftlessness of the settlers that in a land covered with timber the very houses had been broken up for firewood. So impressed were Somers and Gates with the hopelessness of affairs that they resolved that the colony should be abandoned and the settlers embarked for England. Happily, at the very moment of departure. Lord Delaware, who before the departure of the fleet from England had been appointed captain-general and governor, arrived with three ships. There was no more talk of dissolving the colony. The Indians were overawed, supplies of com were obtained fi-om them, and an expedition was sent to the Bermudas to obtain fish and pork.
A few public-spirited men such as Delaware and Somers had given their money and tbeir services from a disinterested wish to advance the cause of colonisation. But we may be sure that the majority of the members of the Company looked on their contributions as an investment, and grew disheartened as it became more and more clear that the colony must for many years be a source of unprofitable outlay. Delaware frankly told them that such settlers as had been sent out, sickly, im- principled and debauched, “ ill-provided for before they come and worse governed when they are here,” were not tire material for a successful colony. The members of the Company seriously thought of relinquishing the enterprise as beyond their powers. Gates however returned with
0 The growth of Virginia. [i6u-9
accounts of the natural resources of the colony so enthusiastic that the energy of the shareholders was reawakened. A fresh expedition was sent out under Sir Thomas Dale, who was appointed High Mars^ of Virginia. Dale’s one experience of public life was as a soldier in the Netherlands; and he came to Virginia authorised to administer a military code of appalling severity. In June, 1611, Delaware left the colony. He was replaced by Gates; and in the interregnum Dale acted as governor, drilling the colonists into thrift and industry with such merciless severity as to provoke an insurrection, which was promptly and severely quelled. In August, 1611, Gates returned with a reinforcement of three hundred emigrants. He moved the settlers from Jamesto^vn to a more secure and wholesome site, where a town called Henrico, with brick houses, a church, and a hospital, was built. A fresh plantation was established further inland and guarded with a palisade. Henceforth, to whatever hardships and dangers the colony might be exposed, there was no tliought of departure or dispersion.
It is clear too, though no precise statistical details can be had, that the colony was now attracting a different and a better class of emigrants, independent landholders exporting their own servants, and freemen living by the labour of their own hands. Thus by 1619, the governor, George Yeardley, a liberal-minded and humane man, though, as it would seem, a little apt to err on the side of laxity, ventured to summon a representative assembly. Each plantation and each of the counties into which the colony was divided returned two members. But it is not clear what constituted a plantation, nor who enjoyed the franchise. The assembly took upon itself certain judicial business; but its chief occupation was to pass, not a code of laws, but a system of regulations adapted to the special wants of the colony and supplementing the common law of England under which they lived. Meanwhile it is clear that a new spirit was at work within the Company. The control of its affairs was passing into the hands of men of wide social and political interest, such as Shakespeare’s friend the Earl of Southampton, John Ferrars, the brother of Nicolas, founder of Little Gidding, and Sir Edwin Sandys. Under them the affairs of the colony were administered with great energy and with a view rather to its ultimate prosperity than to immediate profit. Silk and iron were manufactured, and an attempt was made to cultivate vines.
In spite of the increased prosperity of the colony, it was urged against the Company that whereas more than five thousand persons had gone to Virginia, there were less than a thousand inhabitants, and that either there had been heavy mortality or many settlers had returned. The Company -was tom asunder by internal dissensions; and an influential party was formed against Sandys, Southampton and Ferrars. The King looked with suspicion and jealousy on the power and independent attitude of the Company; and the abuse of monopolies had made public
The Company eoctinguished.
opinion distrustful of everything which savoured of commercial privilege. Meanwhile the government of Spain was watching the progress of the colony with jealous vigilance, and using whatever influence it possessed at the English Court for the overthrow of the Company.
In 1623 the King, acting under the advice of the law-officers of the Cro^vn, demanded from the Company a surrender of its charter. 'Ehis was refused. Thereupon a writ of quo warranto was issued, requiring the Company to justify its privileges as being for the public good. This, in the judgment of the Court before which the case was tried, they failed to do; and the charter was declared null and void. Liberal and public- spirited though the policy of the Company was in its later days, and little justice as there was in its overthrow, yet in all likelihood the colony was a gainer. The rule of a trading company in England must have fettered the free growth of the colony and sacrificed the permanent welfare of the planter to the temporary advantage of the merchant.
Meanwhile the colony had passed through a serious danger. At the outset the relations with the savages had been cordial. This was largely due to the personal influence of the Indian Chief, Powhatan, who was attached to Smith and whose daughter Pocahontas married an English husband and visited England. But in 1618 Powhatan died. His brother and successor Opechancanough had no friendly feeling to the whites. As so often happened, a personal quarrel between a savage and a settler kindled the flame. Fortunately an Indian convert gave warning; and an assault, which might have well-nigh extinguished the colony, ended in the loss of three hundred .nnd seventy English. Persis- tency in attack, especially against anything like a fortified place supplied wth fire-arms, w^ls not in the nature of the savage; and the outbreak soon spent its force and subsided.
With the extinction of the Company the appointment of the governor and council devolved unchallenged, one may almost say of necessity, on the Crown. Thus the constitution assumed that form which henceforth became the normal type for British colonies, of a governor and two chambers, one nominated and one popularly elected. The economy of the colony soon put on that special form which it permanently retained. Those varied industries which the Company had endeavoured to foster came to nothing: tobacco became the one staple product of the country. The rapidity with which this article superseded all others was due to two special causes, over and above the natural aptitude of the soil. Intersected as the colony was with broad tidal rivers and creeks, water- cairiage was brought readily to the door of every planter. He was therefore not controlled in the matter of exports and imports by any difficulties of carriage. Every planter had his own landing-stage, and was thus, without any elaborate machinery of warehouses or middlemen, brought into direct contact with the trade of the mother-country. The system of industry was already becoming that of the slave-gang. It is
8 flrffinia and the Covimomvealth. [i623~eo
obvious that, since slave labour is unskilled and unintelligent, the employer would so far as possible confine it to one product; while the cheapness of land absolved the farmer from the necessity of maintaining a rotation of crops. So completely did tobacco establish itself as the staple commodity of the colony that it soon became the recognised medium of exchange.
Between the dissolution of the Virginian Company and the outbreak of the Civil War in England, two events, of sufficient importance to deserve mention, broke the even course of Virginian history. In religious matters the colony, as a whole, conformed to the opinion of its founders, who belonged to the Church of England. But there was a sprinkling of Dissenters, and by 1642 they formed the whole or nearly the whole of the inhabitants of three parishes. These congregations applied to Boston, the inteUeetual centre of American Puritanism, for ministers, and three were sent. The majority, alarmed at this, passed a law requiring conformity to the Book of Common Prayer; and, as a con- sequence, the Puritan congregations dispersed and disappeared.
In 1644, the year in which the above-mentioned law was passed, the colony underwent a second attack from the Indians. The onslaught was well concerted and secret, and three hundred settlers perished. Twenty years before such a blow would have been regarded as well-nigh fatal. Contemporai-y references, though scanty, show that the colonists, with their increased numbei-s and resources, now held such an attack cheap. The war dragged on for two years, and was brought to an end by the death of Opechancanough. Between his successor and the English a formal treaty was drafted, fixing a boundary which no one of either race might cross without a passport. After that the land had peace for thirty years.
Virginia has been described as a cavalier colony, connected by origin with the class of great landowners. As a matter of fact, it may be safely alleged that the colonists mostly came from what may be called the upper middle class, the smaller landed gentry, with a leaven of the well-to-do trading classes. That being so, it was fairly certain that in the Civil IVar there would be nothing like unanimity of sympathy among the settlers; and so it clearly proved. But, though men differed, they did not hold their opinions with enough tenacity to endanger the peace of the colony.
The action of Virginia at the outset of the war was probably de- termined by the Governor, Sir William Berkeley, a frank, strenuous, blustering cavalier. An Act was passed declaring that all commissions given by the King were valid, and making it penal to express sympathy with the Parliament or disapproval of the Crown. But at the first show of force by the Parliament the royalist party collapsed. Two ships sufficed to enforce a surrender. Private rights were fully preserved; an indemnity was granted for all past offences against the
I’ti'ginia and the Restoration.
Parliament; and those who remained loyal to the King were allowed a year in which to arrange their affairs before leaving the colony.
As the overthrow of monarchy had been accepted in Virginia peace- fully, so was the Restoration. It was not long, however, before the colony began to smart under the reckless prodigality of Charles 11. During his exile he had rewarded some of his followers by a huge grant of territory in Virginia, including much that was already regularly occupied and cultivated. After the Restoration the representatives of the colonists obtained the revocation of that grant. But it was cancelled only to be replaced by one of wider extent and more dangerous import. In 1672 the whole soil of the colony was granted to Lord Arlington and Lord Culpeper with extensive proprietary rights, including powers to exact quit-rents, nominate sheriffs and land-surveyors, and appoint clergy. An agency w'as sent to England to oppose this monstrous invasion; and the protest was received with favour. A charter was drafted which, if carried tlmough, would have been a document of the greatest constitutional importance, since it contained a clause providing that the colonists could not be taxed without the consent of their o^vn legislature.
All this was brought to naught by an ill-timed outburst of popular fmy in the colony. Various causes were at work creating discontent. A poll-tax had to be imposed to meet the expense of the agency. An Act was passed limiting the right of voting to landholders and house- holders and thereby disfranchising many electors. But the chief grievance of the settlers was the supineness of Berkeley in checking and punishing outrages by the natives. At last an enterprising young settler, Nathaniel Bacon, took up arms on his own responsibility. For this Berkeley treated Bacon as a rebel. What followed is somewhat obscure. For a time there seemed to be a reconciliation, and Bacon was restored to his rank as a councillor. Then again they quarrelled. Bacon obtained armed posse.ssion of Jamestown. Finally Berkeley prevailed. Bacon died suddenly, with suspicions not unnatural, but probably unfounded, of poison; and his supporters were punished with a fury and vindictive- ness which excited the displeasure of the Crown and brought about Berkeley’s dismissal.
The choice of the next two governors illustrates a danger which was coming over colonial administration. Hitherto a colonial governorship had been but little of a prize. The governors had all belonged to the class of wealthy planters and had made their home in the colony. Now the official emoluments and patronage had increased to such an extent as to offer a temptation to a needy fortune-lumter. Lord Culpeper, who became governor in 1682, and Lord Howard of Effingham, who followed him, were representatives of a type of whom the student of colonial history sees a good deal too much. Culpeper was already tainted in reputation in the eyes of the colonists as one of the recipients of that
Virginia after the Revolution.
monstrous grant which has been described above. But, fortunately for the colony, neither he nor Howard was a man of concentrated or far-reaching piu^ose. By jobbery, and by dertsing new imposts for the benefit of himself and his creatures, Howard inflicted financial injuiy on individuals. The liberty of the colony as a whole did not suffer at his hands. There was indeed one exception. Howard claimed and secured for the governor and coxmcil what had hitherto been vested in the whole A^embly, the right of appointing the secretary to that body. This however was fully compensated by an advantage which the popular representatives had lately secured. At first the burgesses and the coimcillors sat as one chamber — an arrangement undoubtedly to the advantage of the council, the more permanent and united body. But about 1680 the burgesses acquired the right of sitting as a separate chamber.
The Hevolution of 1688 was received with a tranquillity which shows how the political life of the colony had drawn apart from that of the mother-country. Nevertheless the triumph of Whig principles made itself felt in Virginia. The right of self-taxation was recognised in the instructions given to the governor. He was to “recommend” certain taxes to the Assembly. The representatives were to be “persuaded” to pass an Act giving the governor and council certain provisional powers of raising a duty in case of emergency.
With Howard began a system vicious in theory yet not without its practical advantages, whereby the nominal governor was an absentee, and his duties were discharged by a lieutenant-governor. That the office of governor should be bestowed on a wealthy and aristocratic non-resident was beyond doubt an abuse. A tribute was exacted from the colonists for a payment which, if made at all, ought to have been made from the Enghsh civil-list. But one must at least admit that honest and competent men were entrusted with what was virtually the supreme office in the colony. Such were Francis Nicholson, lieutenant-governor (save for a short interval) from 1690 to 1704, Alexander Spotswood (1710 to 1722), and Robert Dinwiddle (1751 to 1758). Nicholson and Dinwiddle were both at times violent and unconciliatory, and the former was far from decorous in his private life. None of them sympathised with the aspirations of the settlers after political freedom, or showed much enlightenment in their views as to the future of the colony. But they were all hard-working and public-spirited men, and clean- handed in money matters, according to the standard of their time.
THE NEW ENGLAND COLONIES.
In the meantime Englishmen were forming other communities along the Atlantic sea-board. Of these by far the most important, both in their original aspect and their ultimate results, were the group known as
Puritanism and New England.
New England. It is the fashion to speak of “cavalier” Virginia and “republican” New England; to regard the one as representing the • aristocratic, the other the plebeian element in English life. That is but a faint approximation to the truth. More correct would it be to say that both mainly represented the English middle class, the class of the yeoman and the trader, neither being exclusively drawn from one or the other; but that natural conditions developed in Virginia a landed aristocracy, in New England a type of community which might either be called a wide and modified oligarchy or a restricted and severely conditioned democracy. In Virginia power insensibly found its way into the hands of the landholders; the great bulk of the population, the servants and bondsmen, whether white or black, stood outside the body politic. In the various New England colonies political rights were fenced in by religious qualifications more or less severe; but there was nothing which could be called a class permanently excluded from power. Citizenship was within the reach of all.
In Virginia there was no sort of corporate union below that of the State. A New England colony was made up of a number of smaller organisms, each with an intensely strong sense of corporate life. In both colonies a community far removed from the nominal centre of government, conscious of needs and aspirations which its rulers wholly ignored or misunderstood, drifted into half-conscious republicanism. But though the political creeds of the New Englander and the Virginian may have been in theory much the same, they were held in very different fashions. Tire Virginian might be roused by an act of tyranny into passionate self-assertion, but he was incapable of that patient watchful- ness, that continuous and systematic building-up of barriers against any possible encroachment which formed so large a part of the political history of New England.
In the fullest sense the New England colonies were the offspring and embodiment of Puritanism. The desire for a certain form of worship prompted their formation, and certain theological behefs and moral principles were the luiderlying forces which determined their growth. Moreover it was Congregationalism, far more than any other influence, which determined the political form that the New England colonies were to take, and the spirit which directed and animated that form. The Swiss religious reformers regarded the individual Church, however small and externally imimportant, as being potentially an independent corporation. “Hongg and Kiissnacht,” said Zwingli, “is a truer Church than all the bishops and popes together.” In the Old World such a view could not rise beyond the expression of a pious aspiration; in America it became in a sense a practical truth. The antecedents of the New Englander and his conditions of life predisposed him to republicanism; and this republicanism easily became a reality when it found an appropriate machinery created ready to its hand.
New England and the Independents. [1593-
It will be remembered that the original Virginian Company had two branches — one the London Company whose fortunes we have traced, the other the so-called Plymouth Company. In 1607 the latter made an attempt to form a colony. The first expedition, commanded by George Popham and Ralegh Gilbert, landed at the mouth of the river Kennebec, in what is now Maine, but owing to climate and mismanage- ment almost immediately failed. The Company continued to exist, but without any of that energy and activity which marked the Virginian branch. Vessels were sent out to fish, to trade and to explore, but nothing further was done toward the establishment of a colony. The members of the Company seem to have regarded themselves simply as landholders with territorial rights and no specific obligations. In 1620 the Company was reorganised with a new patent, and was henceforth known as the New England Company. But the change does not appear to have brought with it rvider schemes or any increase of energy.
Colonisation on commercial principles and mainly, though not wholly, for motives of profit had, so far, failed in one instance and had won but incomplete success in another. Now a new force was to be brought into the field. In 1593 a congregation of Independents in London fled to Amsterdam in order to avoid the restrictions and penalties imposed by the English government on their worship. The results of the Hampton Court Conference made matters look even more gloomy for Nonconformists; and two other congregations fled to the Low Cormtries, one in 1606 from Scrooby, the other somewhat earlier from Gainsborough. It is with the former of these two that we have to deal. Their wanderings, their arrival in America, their early hardships and their later prosperity have been told by one of their chief members, William Bradford, with almost unsurpassable force, dignity, and candour.
The refugees did not find the Low Countries altogether an acceptable home, mainly owing to a coarseness and dissoluteness of life, not to be wondered at in a country which had so long been the battle-ground of Western Europe. After some five or six years the leaders of the party began to think of a home beyond the Atlantic, where the members of the little flock might preserve their nationality as Englishmen and their separate individuality as a Church. After some deliberation as to the site for the colony it was decided to enter into negotiations with the Virginia Company. To this end two representatives were sent to England. In anticipation of possible opposition from the Crown, they were armed with a document in which their attitude to the civil power was set forth imder seven heads. The document was an admission of the supremacy of the State in religious matters. We can hardly doubt that the concessions made in this document went beyond what a Puritan congregation would have been prepared to make if they had intended to remain in England. At the same time it may be taken as indicative of what we shall find abundantly proved, namely, the conciliatory and
- 1627 ]
The Pilgrim Fathers.
acquiescent character of the Puritanism of Plymouth as distinguished from the militant and aggressive type of Puritanism which animated the • later settlement of Massachusetts. “Pilgrim Fathers” is a wholly appro- priate term as describing the Plymouth settlers: we miss a significant distinction if we apply it to their successors.
The poverty of the refugees was a difficulty which had to be surmounted. To this end the delegates entered into negotiations with certain London traders, who were, in modern language, to “finance” the colony and to receive in return all profits accruing after provision had been made for the subsistence of the settlers. This was to last for seven years: then the partnership was to be dissolved and the stock sold. The choice of a site for the settlement caused no little difficulty. Some of the London partners wished to settle under the Plymouth Company, not that of Virginia. Some of the intended colonists proposed Guiana. Then a project was started for settling on the territory of the Dutch West India Company. This last design was disapproved by the States General; and the agreement with the Virginia Company was ratified. Finally, as we shall see, the site of the colony was determined not of deliberate choice but by chance.
In August, 1620, after various mishaps and delays, the emigrants, one hundred in number, sailed from Plymouth in that historic vessel called the Mayflower. A stormy voyage brought them to a point far north of the Virginia Company’s territory. The ship-master was ordered to sail south-west, but he disobeyed orders, and, as the pilgrims thought, of deliberate treachery, landed them in Cape Cod Harbour.
Owing to the various delays in sailing and the length of the voyage the emigrants had to face the winter unprepared. Their sufferings were great, and deaths were not a few. In similar circumstances Popham’s settlers had despaired and fled; but the Plymouth pilgrims were strong in religious faith, and in the sense of h divine mission. Happily too, whereas Popham’s colony had to face a winter of exceptional severity, the first winter passed by the Pilgrim Fathers was peculiarly mild. Fortu- nately for the colonists, their relations with the natives were from the outset friendly. Edward Winslow, one of the leading men in the colony, had some knowledge of medicine, and saved the neighbouring Indian chief when his life was despaired of; and the Indians in their gratitude befriended the settlers and instructed them in the cultivation of maize.
The alliance with the Liondon merchants proved unsatisfactory. They looked exclusively or mainly to their own pecuniary gain, not to the permanent welfare of the community. Thus the colonists were glad to make an arrangement whei-eby, in 162T, the interests of the London partners were transferred to six of the chief settlers. The bargain bore hard on the settlcre for the time being, but they were more than compensated by the increase of independence.
At the outset the system of industry was purely communal. Tire
14 Constitution of New Plymouth. [1623-
land was tilled jointly; the live-stock was the property of the whole community; and the settlers worked under the control of the governor, 'rhis was so far modified in 1623 that each household was allotted a patch of corn-land. But in 1627, concurrently with the dissolution of partnership, there was a division of land and live-stock. The community thus assumed, not, we may be sure, as the result of conscious imitation but through circumstances, the form of an agricultural com- munity in the Middle Ages. Each household had its own plot of arable land; the grass land was in two portions: one was the waste where all fi-eeholders had equal enjoyment of the common pasturage; on the other individuals had temporary rights of occupancy. The material prosperity of the colony was well shown by the fact that, so early as 1625, they were able to produce surplus com, which they sold to the neighbouring Indians.
In a little community consisting of one town, the term “constitution” seems almost inappropriate. Laws were passed by the whole body of freemen. They elected a governor and a committee of seven, called assistants, who transacted such judicial and executive business as there was. The first governor was William Carver, chosen on landing. He died before a year was out, and was succeeded by William Bradford, who has already been mentioned as the historian of the colony. He held office till his death in 1657, with some few intervals of a year each, all of his own seeking. Fortunate indeed it was for the colony to command the sen ices of one so fully and so deservedly trusted and beloved. The necessity for more complete political machinery was forced upon the colony by its expansion. By 1630 two new townships had been established. A representative Assembly was then formed of delegates from the three towns. In theory both the primary Assembly of the whole body of freemen and the Court consisting of the governor and assistants still existed. In practice the fiinctions of the Assembly were transferred to the delegates; and thus there came into existence, by a natural process of development, a bi-cameral legislature with a governor at its head.
Before this time another colony had come into existence in the neighbourhood of Plymouth, far more numerous and wealthy, and more representative of the essential spirit of English Puritanism. Plymouth represented Puritanism distressed and struggling; Massachusetts repre- sented it vigorous and aggressive. The creation of Massachusetts was, more than most things of human contrivance, deliberate and preconceived! Yet even here several of the steps were fortuitous, the result of failures dexterously utilised.
While Plymouth was slowly working its way to prosperity, other scattered plantations sprang up along the shore of New England, most of them under grants from the North Virginia Company. Some came
- 1629 ]
The Massachusetts Company.
into conflict with Plymouth; some disappeared or were absorbed; some, as we shall see, became independent colonies. None had directly any lasting influence on the Puritan colonies of New England. They were in truth rather factories or stations for trade and fishing than regular colonies. For the present we are only concerned with one of these.
In 1623 some Dorchester traders started a fishing venture with a permanent station at Cape Ann in Massachusetts Bay. In 1626 they abandoned it as a failure, but left a foreman with some cattle on the spot. One of the company, John White, incumbent of Dorchester and a man of Puritan leanings, saw the possibility of building on this slight foundation. He and others who thought with him set forth their view in pamphlets. From these it is clear that their schemes were at once more daring and more far-reaching than those of the Plymouth settlers. The Plymouth settlers were fugitives fleeing to the wilderness from the hardships of the Old World. White and his associates were deliberately establishing a refuge where Puritanism, and those political views which were so closely bound up with Puritanism, might flourish and react upon the religious and political life of the mother-country.
In 1629 six partners, men of influence in the Puritan party, obtained from the New England Company a grant of land. They afready possessed a fishing-station at Cape Ann in Massachusetts Bay. This station one of the partners, John Endecott, was at once sent out to occupy and develop. His encounter with a disreputable squatter named Morton, who had erected a maypole, the overthrow of the pole and the monition administered to Morton, form a dramatic incident, fitly regarded as symbolical of the new force brought to bear on English colonisation.
In March, 1629, a step of the greatest importance had been taken. A royal charter was obtained, incorporating the Govemor and Company of Massachusetts Bay. One noteworthy feature of the charter was that it did not tie down the Company to hold its meetings in England. Thus it was easy to transfer what was in foi-m an English trading Company into something like a self-governing colony. The next step was to establish a government resident in America and nominally subordinate to the Company, consisting of a govemor, deputy-governor, and a council of twelve.
In 1629 a fleet was sent out with 350 emigrants, three ministers of religion, and an abundant supply of live-stock. Later in the same year an important change was made. The whole interest of the Company was transferred to ten persons, all concerned in the prosperity of the future colony, while at the same time the management of affairs was
The settlemevt of Massachusetts.
and most attractive in Puritanism. His definiteness of mind and his constructive statesmanship were invaluable to a yoimg colony, while his moderation, humility, and sweetness of temper enabled him to work with men of a narrower and more austere cast and to modify what might have been evil in their influence.
Some of Endecott’s settlers had already established themselves in a settlement to which they gave the name which it retains, Charlesto'wn. Winthrop and his company joined them. But Winthrop soon moved to Boston. The colonists were not, like these of Plymouth, kept together by dread of the natives; and within a year eight small settle ments had sprung up along Boston Bay. Such a dispersion made some system of representation necessary, if the colony was to preserve its imity and its liberties. In 1632 delegates from the various towns met to settle a question of taxation. Two years later this developed into the creation of a regular representative body, which, with the governor and assistants, made up the legislature of the colony.
Two other measures were so far-reaching in their effect on the development of Massachusetts that they deserve special mention. In 1631 it was enacted that no one might be a freeman unless he belonged to a Church; that is, unless he accepted a complex theological creed and conformed to an exacting system of morals and devotion. In 1635 this principle was carried further by an Act which required the same qualification before a man could vote at a town-meeting. In -the following year the rights of such meetings were determined by an Act conferring on townships the right to divide their land, to elect constables and surveyors, and to impose fines up to twenty shillings. This system of exclusiveness was not to be enforced without strife; and the early history of Massachusetts records a long series of ejections, mainly on theological grounds, though in some cases moral considerations came in and supplied a justification.
So early as 1629, while Endecott was provisionally in power, he had expelled two brothers, John and Samuel Browne, prominent members of the Council, because, being dissatisfied at the disuse of the Book of Common Prayer, they had collected a congregation and read the Church of England service. Morton, already mentioned, and another profligate named Gardiner, were banished; but their moral character was such that it would be unfair to set them down as victims of persecution, though probably the guilt of the parties was enhanced by their non-conformity with the dominant creed. But in 1631 and 1632 we read of punishment inflicted in two cases for speaking evil of the government, once for threatening to appeal to the Crown.
There was probably nothing in the character of any of these victims to call for any special sympathy. The evil lay in the principle of action, not in the application of it. But orthodoxy was soon to find more important victims. In 1631 there came to the colony a brilliant.
1631 - 6 ]
energetic and attractive young preacher, Roger W illiams . Soon after his landing he was chosen minister of Salem. It is clear that his gifts were marred by that imperfect sense of proportion which makes a man fight with as much asperity for trifles and formalities as for vital questions. He differed as widely from the orthodox school of Massachusetts as they did from the Church of England. He held in an extreme form the doctrine, utterly repudiated by Puritan teachers as a whole, that the secular power must not control or in any way meddle with religion. He was not inaptly called by one of his opponents, “a haberdasher of small questions against the power.” Beside denying the authority of the colonial government in the sphere of religion, he seemed likely by his ill-timed zeal to embroil the colony with the Crown. He denied the validity of the charter, on the ground that the King of England had no right to grant away the territory of the Indian. Moreover, at his instigation, Endecott mutilated the royal ensign by cutting the cross out of the flag used by the local train-band at Salem.
In October, 1635, Williams was brought before the General Court of the colony, and, refusing to retract, was banished. He left the colony, and proceeded with a party of some twenty disciples to form a settlement to the south in Narragansett Bay. The Court, deeming this a dangerous proceeding, strove to arrest him, but failed. His success as the founder of a new colony will come before us again.
The rulers of Massachusetts had good reason for wishing to avoid being committed to anything like an unprovoked declaration of dis- loyalty. Massachusetts was endangered by the hostility of those who had suffered from the severity of her government and of those who saw in her existence a menace to civil and religious order. In 1633 the three chief members of the Company in England were brought before the Privy Council and interrogated as to the conduct of the colony. Next year emigrants to New England were required to take the oath of allegiance and to promise conformity with the Prayer-book. In the same year a royal commission of twelve, with Laud at its head, was appointed to administer the affairs of the colonies. So alarmed were the settlers at these tidings that they appointed military commissioners and made provision for fortifying Dorchester, Charlestown, and Castle Island in Boston Bay.
So far the authorities of the colony had only been brought into conflict with individuals. Their next strife was one of a different kind, one which seemed to threaten civil and ecclesiastical disruption. In 1635 the colony received a notable recruit in Henry Vane. In the following year there came to Boston a clergyman, John Wheelwright, who had been silenced in England, and with him his sister, Mrs Hutchinson, an acute and singularly resolute woman with a passion for theological controversy. The brother and sister taught doctrines whose divergence from the accepted creed can only be understood after a careful
C. M. H. VII. cn. I.
Settlement of Connecticut.
study of Calvinistic theology; and a violent strife ensued. Vane, who had been elected governor in 1636, took the part of the new-comers. FinsJly, however, the party of Wheelwright and Mrs Hutchinson proved to be the minority and therefore the heretics. After two years of wranghng they were silenced and banished.
Along the coast of Massachusetts the proportion of fertile soil to habitable area is but small, and consequently, as the community throve and grew, the inhabitants began to consider the question of expansion. The pastures along the rich valley of the Connecticut offered a tempting home. The legislature of Massachusetts at first opposed the movement. Local compactness was almost an essential condition of that intense spirit of unity and minute State-control at which Massachusetts aimed. But material considerations outweighed these feehngs. The emigration to Connecticut was complicated by the fact that the district in question was already claimed by one party and partially occupied by another. In 1631 Lord Saye and Sele, Lord Brook and others had obtained from the New England Company a grant of land along the Connecticut. As they were of the Puritan party, this grant was not likely to act as a practical bar to emigration from Massachusetts. But it made it almost certain that, whatever wishes the legislature of Massachusetts might express, or whatever conditions they might impose, the colony when formed would be a separate body.
In 1633 a party from Plymouth had already established themselves, not without opposition from the Dutch, in the Connecticut valley. Two years later a party of emigrants from Dorchester entered the valley. A dispute with the settlers from Plymouth followed; but terms were arranged, and the Dorchester men were left in possession. Soon after- wards a small party, sent out by the patentees, were, according to their own story, also driven out by the men of Dorchester. It was fortunate for the peace of New England that the aims and views of the Connecticut patentees were virtually identical with those of the rulers of Massachusetts. The choice by the former of Winthrop’s son John as governor of their district was a further guarantee. Massachusetts allowed the secession to become complete; and in 1638 three townships in the Connecticut valley formally declared themselves a commonwealth with a constitution similar to that of Massachusetts. In one point of great importance the constitution of Connecticut differed from that of Massachusetts. No religious test was imposed upon freemen. The more liberal spirit thus shown remained a characteristic of Connecticut during the whole of the colonial period.
The settlement of Connecticut involved New England in its first Indian war. The country near Boston Bay had been depopulated not long before the arrival of the settlers by a pestilence, followed after 1630 by an outbreak of small-pox. Whether attacked or attacking, blameless or culpable, some isolated trader was almost always at the
1633 - 6 ]
The Peqwod war.
bottom of trouble with the savages. First of aU, in 1633, a Virginian ship’s captain named Stone was killed near the mouth of the Connecticut river. Two years later John Oldham, a trader who had previously given trouble to the authorities at Plymouth, was murdered. Neither Stone nor Oldham was a man of good character; and it may well be that they provoked their fate. The former outrage was set down to the score of the Pequods, the latter to that of the Narragansetts — ^two tribes whose mutual relations were imfriendly. The murder of Oldham was avenged by Massachusetts in a raid which made little discrimination between the guilty and the innocent. The punishment for this fell, not where it was deserved, on Massachusetts, but on the weaker colony of Connecticut. Desultory slaughter of settlers went on, and communication with the coast became impossible. Worst of all, tidings reached the English that the Pequods and Narragansetts were about to join hands. There was one man in New England, the exile Roger Williams, who knew how to earn the good-will and confidence of the savages. Forgetting his grievances he went as an ambassador to the Narragansetts and secured their neutrality.
Connecticut naturally turned for help to Massachusetts and Plymouth. The rulers at Boston were too busy persecuting Mrs Hutchinson and her associates to give heed to aught else; the men of Plymouth had been exasperated by the grasping policy of Massachusetts in matters of trade and refused to cooperate. Connecticut had to rely on her own courage and soldiership; and happily these qualities did not fail her. A force of ninety men was raised; and an old soldier trained in the Netherlands, John Mason, was placed at their head. Mason’s original intention was to make straight inland against the Pequods. With the intuition of real military genius, he at the last moment changed his plan and by a forced march fell upon the flank of the Pequods and assailed their chief fort. The defender’s had a vast superiority in numbei-s; but bows and arrows were profitless against firearms and corslets. It is said that six hundred Pequods fell, and only two Enghsh, though of the latter more than one-fourth were wounded. The slaughter was no doubt merciless; but the conditions of savage warfare make forbearance impossible. The few scattered bands that remained made but slight resistance; and the Pequods ceased to exist as an independent nation.
When Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts he purchased from the Indians a tract on the mainland. This in 1636 he shared with twelve other householders, forming a settlement which he named Providence. In four yeare the growing colony formed a second township; and a simple form of government was instituted. Five “select men” were to transact all executive business, while the whole body of fireemen were to hold quarterly meetings and to settle any judicial questions that might arise. About the same time some of those who had been banished from Massachusetts with Mrs Hutchinson purchased the island of
20 Settlement of New Haven. [ie3e-43
Aquedneck, opposite to Providence, Their constitution was even simpler tlian that of Providence, since they had no “select men,” but only a judge, William Coddington. In 1639 this settlement divided. The original settlei-s moved to Newport, and the island was shared between the two townships. In 1640 they reunited, and then a regular £Ovemment was introduced, with two assistants chosen from each township.
In 1637 another colony was formed, which practically secured to the English race the whole sea-board from the Kennebec to Long Island. The man who had the chief hand in bringing this about was Theophilus Eaton, a leading man in the Baltic Company. As agent for that Company he had sojourned abroad, and had subsequently acted as English ambassador in Denmark. He was accompanied by men of better station and larger means than the generality of emigrants to New England. They established themselves at the mouth of the Quinipiac river, south of the Connecticut. It is noteworthy that neither they nor the settlers at Providence and Aquedneck secured any title except by purchase from the Indians. This illustrates the fashion in which New England was, as it were spontaneously and half unconsciously, emancipating itself from the control of the mother-country. Of aU the Puritan settlements, this most definitely and uncompromisingly asserted a religious basis for civil society. Not only were the rights of a freeman limited to Church members, but, when the community met to frame a constitution the minister, Davenport, preached a sermon in which he formally laid down the doctrine that Scripture is a perfect and sufficient rule for the conduct of civil affairs.
As the community consisted of a single township no system of representation was at first necessary. The executive power was vested in an elected governor and four assistants. The town received the name of New Haven. Other settlements soon came into existence in the neighbourhood, at first, like New Haven, independent townships. The advantages of union however soon became manifest, and what a Greek would have called a process of synoikismos took place. The exact steps are not recorded, but by 1643 New Haven was a colony with five townships and a representative system. The founders of New Haven were, in comparison with their neighbour's, wealthy men; and the town at the outset impressed visitors from Massachusetts with a sense of its dignity and even luxury. This however was short-lived; and, before the colony bad existed ten years, there were symptoms of commercial dechne.
Though Puritanism was the dominant influence in bringing about the settlement of New England, yet we are not to suppose that it was the only one. New Hampshire, like New Haven, was formed by a process of consolidation out of a number of small independent settle- ments, some of them founded by men who were by no means in sympathy
1633 - 9 ]
Maine and New Hampshire.
with the dominant Puritanism of Massachusetts. The most noteworthy of these men were Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason.
• They, with certain other associates, founded a body called the Laconia Company, which obtained a grant of land at the mouth of the Piscataqua. There they set up trading houses not altogether without success, and made some fruitless attempts to discover mines. Mason seems himself to have been liberal and energetic, and to have spent money freely in furnishing his colony with the needful equipment.
In 1635 the territory in question was divided between Gorges and Mason, Gorges taking the northern moiety. Mason that next to Massachusetts. On this Mason appears to have bestowed the name of New Hampshire. It will be convenient to use this name; but it must be remembered that it had as yet only a territorial signification, and that it was not tiU later that it designated a political community. Mason died soon after 1635. His heirs made no attempt to carry on his work, and the colonists were left to take care of their o^vn interests.
There were at this time two settlements in occupation of the district over which Mason had proprietary rights. One, near the mouth of the river Piscataqua, had been fomided by David Thompson, an independent settler who had originally established himself in Boston Bay, but had withdia^vn when Winthrop and his associates occupied that district. This had served as the nucleus of the colony formed by the Laconia Company. The other settlement was fifteen miles up the river at Cocheco, on land acquired by certain Bristol and Shrew.sbury merchants. In 1633 they transferred their interest to Lord Saye and Sele and Lord Brook, with the result that an Independent congregation established itself there. Subsequently many of those who were driven from Massachusetts after the great religious strife found their way into New Hampshire. Some joined the settlers at Cocheco or, as it was now called, Dover; the others formed a settlement called Exeter further south. Shortly after this a settlement called Hampton was formed in the same neighbourhood under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. The men of Exeter protested against this as an intrusion on their territory, but the protest w^ent imheeded.
It was soon evident that the best thing which could befall these settlements was incorporation with Massachusetts. Separate agreements were drawn out in each case; and the three townships of Piscataqua, Dover, and Hampton became part of Massachusetts, retaining certain rights of local government more extensive than those enjoyed by the other townships of that colony.
The territory assigned to Gorges went through much the same history as that of Mason. In addition to his territorial grant from the New England Company, Gorges obtained a charter of proprietorship from the King (1639). On the strength of this he drafted a grotesquely elaborate constitution, with more offices than there were citizens to fill
them. All that resulted was two small settlements, one at Agamenticus, afterwards York, the other at Saco. At the same time other independent settlements sprang up within the proper limits of Gorges’ patent. The • New V.nglanrI Company, through carelessness and imperfect surveying, made many conflicting and overlapping grants of land. This had a very important effect on the future history of New England, since it was by annexing these that Massachusetts acquired its control over Maine.
The foundation of Connecticut and New Haven brought New England into contact with the settlements of another civilised power.
In 1626 the Dutch West India Company had established a settlement, which extended up the valley of the Hudson and on to Eong Island. The settlement, as a whole, bore the name of New Netherlands: the fliipf town, on Manhattan Island, was called New Amsterdam. This colony enjoyed nothing like the highly organised civic life of New England, nor even that of Virginia. It was at first little more than a trading station, with a scattered community of farmers attached to it, holding xmder non-resident landowners. The governor had almost de- spotic power: such control as was enjoyed by the citizens was doled out grudgingly by instalments and fenced in by checks which rendered it well-nigh valueless. The community depended largely on the Indian fur-trade. This and its paucity of numbers made it needful to secure the good-will of the savages, or, in default of that, to overawe them; yet the rulers of the colony and the Dutch settlers were conspicuously wanting in the capacity to do either. Nor was the colony happy in its governors. Peter Stuyvesant, who succeeded to office in 1647, was by far the best. He was brave, pious, and disinterested, but an austere martinet, utterly without that sympathy and flexibility needed in one who has to govern a young and expanding community. Between New Netherlands and New England there could not but be mutual jealousy. Before Connecticut became an organised community, there were quarrels between English and Dutch traders in the Connecticut valley. It was the settled policy of the English to press on southward and to occupy the land to which the Dutch made a tU jure claim under their patent from the States-General. To this local source of strife was added another from abroad. Englishmen had been deeply impressed by the unscrupulous slaughter of their countrymen by the Dutch at Amboyna (1626); and it was not surprising if the next generation believed that the Dutch were capable of inciting the Indians to attack the New England settlements. Every movement which suggested the possibility of such an attempt was viewed with suspicion and alarm.
Thus a combination of motives, desire for religious and political unity, dread not only of Dutch and Indian attacks but of encroachment by the British government, and the want of machinery for deciding territorial disputes, all seemed to force upon the settlers the need for
1638 - 53 ] The New England CoTifederation.
some union between the various colonies. Negotiations for a federal union began in 1638, but it was not till 1643 that a confederation was • actually formed. It included the four colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Haven, and Pl 3 rmouth. The settlers at xlquedneck and Rhode Island more than once applied for admission, but were refused. This was reasonable enough, since their political status was wholly different from that of any of the four constituent members. The affairs of the confederacy were to be managed by eight commissionei-s, two from each colony. Each colony was to make a contribution propor- tionate to its population, to be levied as seemed good to itself.
There were two obviously weak points in this system. The largest colony, Massachusetts, contributed more than the other members of the confederacy, but it neither possessed a larger share of control nor derived more benefit from the union than the rest. This begat a sense of injustice, which constantly showed itself in arrogant and high-handed treatment of the other confederates. Moreover the federal government had no means of acting directly on the individual citizens. They remained wholly and exclusively citizens of their own colony. The confederation was in fact no more than a permanent league. It is significant as showing how far the colonies had already learnt to regard themselves as independent communities, that throughout the business of confederation there was no reference to the government at home.
The natural ascendancy of Massachusetts, an ascendancy due to her superior numbers and resources and in no way softened by the manner in which it was used, soon made itself felt. TSvo Frenchmen were engaged in dispute over the governorship of the province of Acadia; one, Charles de la Tour, turned to Massachusetts for help. It was given, though in a half-hearted and ineffectual fashion, without any consulta- tion with the other federated colonies, and in clear violation, if not of the letter, at least of the spirit of the federal constitution. Sub- sequently De la Tour applied to Plymouth, and was promised, though it is not certain whether he received, support. The proceedings of the two colonies were imphcitly though not formally condemned by a resolution of the federal commissioners, to the effect that no federated colony should allow its subjects to volunteer in any cause unless with the approval of the commissioner's. A few yeai-s later, it was rumoured abroad that the Dutch were stiri'ing up one of the native tribes, the Nyantics, against the English. In 1653 seven of the eight com- missioners actually voted for declaring war on the Dutch and their supposed allies. One commissioner only, Bradstreet, stood fast for peace; his colony supported him, and their influence prevailed. Again, in the following year, although Massachusetts actually consented to make war on the Nyantic Indians, yet the half-hearted spirit in which, under a Massachusetts captain, the campaign was conducted, gave rise
( n. I.
Rhode Island and Maine.
to grave suspicion and dissatisfaction. In fact it became abundeintly evident that the ascendancy of Massachusetts was fatal to all those purposes for which a confederation exists.
The chief events which befell New England during the time of the Commonwealth, besides those already mentioned, were the incor- poration of Rhode Island, the annexation of Maine by Massachusetts, and the dealings of the colonists with the Quakers.
Though the settlements on the mainland founded by Roger Williams, and those on the Aquedneck founded by Coddington, were stUl distinct, they were evidently prepared for union, since in 1643 they had sent Williams to England to act as their representative and to secure their territorial rights. This was the mere necessary, since the commissioners, in whom the Long Parliament had vested the government of the plan- tations, had made a grant of territory to Massachusetts which would have swallowed up Providence and left the island townships isolated, Williams came back with a grant fi-om the commissioners incorporating Providence, Portsmouth and Newport under the title of Providence Plantations. He also brought a letter to the government of Massa- chusetts reproving them for their previous treatment of Williams and his followers, but not abrogating the grant to Massachusetts. It was not till 1647 that the colonies concerned combined themselves into a community. In that year they established a General Assembly of the whole body of freemen, a governor and a body of assistants, with a court of commissioners from the various towns for certain limited pur- poses. The history of the General Assembly forms so curious a chapter in the history of institutions that it deserves special notice. At first it met in the various towns by rotation. Then, in 1655, a system was introduced W'hereby every legislative measm-e was voted on in each town separately, and lost if not carried by a majority in each. This strange and cumbrous system held good till 1664, when the whole constitution was remodelled and an ordinary representative assembly established. The technical name of the colony was the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations; but it was more commonly known as Rhode Island, the name bestow'ed by the English on the island of Aquedneck.
We come next to Maine. The outbreak of the Civil War left Gorges little time to attend to the aftairs of his colony. He took up arms for the King, fought and was taken prisoner at Bristol, and died soon after. In the meantime one Edward Rigby had laid claim to the soil of Maine under an alleged grant from the New England Company With the consent of Gorges’ and Rigby’s agents the dispute was referred to the government of Ma.ssachusetts, which settled the matter in the fchion of Solomon, by dividing the territory and allotting thr4 town- ships to each claimant. The settlers in the townshipf assigned to Gorges, after two unsuccessful attempts to communicate with his heir, took their fate in their own hands. In 1619 the inhabitants of Maine
164 &- 60 ]
The Quakers in N^ew England.
met and declared themselves a body politic, with an elective governor and a coimcil representing the different towns.
It is clear that there were in the various townships of Maine, if not a majority, at least a substantial minority who sympathised with the religious and political views of Massachusetts. Even those who did not must have felt that annexation was better than the renewal of territorial disputes. The rulers of Massachusetts were wise enough to see that, the more gradually the process of annexation was carried out, the less chance there was of resistance or protest. By three separate acts of smrender, made in 1651, 1653, and 1658, the various townships of Maine, by a majority vote in each case, accepted the authority of Massachusetts.
The treatment of Mrs Hutchinson and Roger Williams effectively disposes of the grotesque delusion that New England was, or wished to be thought, a home of spiritual freedom. If more complete proof were needed, it would be found in the measure meted out to the Quakers. In 1656 two Quaker women landed at Boston. They were at once arrested, and carefully isolated; their books were burnt; they were themselves charged with witchcraft and in consequence brutally handled, and after five weeks’ imprisonment were sent off to Barbados. Luckily for them, Endecott the governor was absent, and they escaped scourging, an omission which he regretted on his return. Scarcely were they gone when eight more of the sect appeared and were dealt with in like fashion. The matter was brought before the federal com- missioners, who recommended that each colony should take steps to exclude the Quakers. In this action they besought the support of Rhode Island; but the government of that colony, with the approval of the whole body of freemen, answered with a firm refusal, setting forth the doctrine of freedom of conscience.
In all the New England colonies Acts were passed excluding or punishing the Quakei-s; but in none except Massachusetts did they meet with greater severity than would have been shown to clamorous heretics at that day in almost every country of the cmlised world. Even Massachusetts was not unanimous. An Act imposing the penalty of death in cases of extreme obstinacy was only carried after a hard struggle, by a majority, as it would seem, of two. Under this Act four Quakers were hanged. Certain of the Boston clergy took a very prominent part in demanding the stringent enforce- ment of severe measures, and in defending the policy of intoler- ance.
The influence of the Restoration made itself felt in New England not by specific changes in the machinery of administration, but rather by a difference of spirit in its working. The first colony to feel this effect was New Haven. Two of the regicides, Wilham Goffe and Edwaixi MTiaUey, had crossed to Ameiica and landed in Boston. Thence they
. H. 1.
26 New England and the Restoration. [ 166&-4
fled, first to Connecticut and then to New Haven. Orders came for their arrest. The governors of Massachusetts and Connecticut were diplomatic enough to comply formally while they gave no real help. « The governor of New Haven was less dexterous. He succeeded in keeping the secret of the regicides’ escape, but the nature and manner of his answer betrayed his complicity. The fugitives themselves lived out their days in hiding, immolested.
New Haven paid dearly for loyalty to its principles. In 1661 the younger John Winthrop, governor of Connecticut, went to England to obtain a charter for his colony. He had little of his father’s definiteness or force of character, but he was genial and attractive, a man of varied interests, able to commend himself to those who differed widely from him in religious and political views. He succeeded in obtaining for his colony a charter of singular liberality, which confirmed the existing system of government by governor, assistants and deputies. But the most important point in the charter was the grant of territory. Like the majority of such documents, the grant was confused in its terms, but one thing was clear; it was meant to include New Haven, and the government of Connecticut intended to enforce that view. One town, Southold, at once accepted the new jurisdiction: elsewhere parties were divided. The government of New Haven protested and for a while held out; and the federal commissioners supported them in their protest. But the determination of Connecticut, backed by the home government, was too strong; and after three years of bickering the tmion was accepted. One township alone, Branford, stood out; and its inhabitants emigrated in a body into the unoccupied territory near the Delaware, bearing with them their civil and ecclesiastical records. In 1663 Rhode Island ob- tained from the Crown the same favour that had been granted to Con- necticut, a charter defining their boundaries and confirming their form of government.
The Restoration gave, as might have been expected, the signal for a series of attacks on Massachusetts on the part of those many enemies whom she had made alike by her merits and her errors. The Quakers appeared at first to have won a crowning triumph. A reprimand to Massachusetts for their treatment was sent by the King and entrusted for delivery to one who had himself been scoiu-ged and banished, with the result that all Quaker prisoners were released. In the next year the Court of Massachusetts drew up a manifesto at once elaborate in substance and temperate in tone, tracing the whole of their existing political system to their original charter. This was so far successful that the charter was confirmed, though with the restriction that the franchise should be granted irrespective of religious opinion. The necessity of “a sharp law” against the Quakers was admitted.
At the same time the representatives and namesakes of Gorges and Mason were endeavouring, by petition to the Privy Council, to reassert
1670 - 6 ]
their territorial rights, while Ferdinando Gorges, the grandson and heir of the founder, was taking steps to assert his authority in Maine. The • Crown did not uphold Gorges’ claim, but it suspended the question, and in 1665 set up a provisional government in Maine of which we know but little. In 1668 the government of Massachusetts, with the approval of the majority of the inhabitants of Maine, reasserted its authority over that district. In 1678 it finally extinguished Gorges’ claim by pm-chase; and Maine continued incorporated with Massachusetts till after the Revolution. New Hampshire fared differently. The law officers of the Crown decided against Mason’s territorial claim, but at the same time ruled that the territory in question lay outside the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. Thereupon the Crown, in 1679, created New Hampshire a separate province with a governor, a council, and a representative assembly. The first governor and at least one of the council were loyal citizens of Massachusetts; and the provinces remained friendly.
The last quarter of the seventeenth century was in every way a time of trouble for Massachusetts. Since the extinction of the Pequ^s there had been only one native tribe, the Pokanoket Indians, numerous and strong enough to be a source of danger. Their relations with the English settlers were continuously friendly till about 1670, when they were under the leadership of an able and warlike young chief called Metacam, better known by the English name of Philip. For some years there were alarming rumours of Indian hostility. In 1674 an Indian convert warned the English that there was danger. He was soon after murdered. Suspicion feU upon Philip, who anticipated an attack by falling on the settlements at the southern extremity of Pl 3 miouth. The settlers were ill-prepared; and, as we have seen, the machinery for united action was cumbrous and ineffective. Moreover the nature of an Indian invasion, as carried on by small parties making sudden and rapid inroads, rendered combined operations almost impossible. Every village had to become a fortified post and fight for its own hand. In November a day of humiliation was held at Boston; and the proceedings are instructive. The sins which had brought this calamity on the colony were chiefly neglect of woi-ship, extravagance in apparel, the wearing of long hair, and lenity towards the Quakers. It is clear from the accoimts left us by one who took a conspicuous part in the war that the English threw away no small advantage by their universal suspicion of aU Indians, and by their consequent neglect to use even those who were friendly for scouting and irregular fighting.
When once the first rush of invasion was baffled, the superior resources of the civilised race were certain, if numbers were anything like equal, to secure victory. The settlers could import supplies; the savage engaged in war must neglect his hunting and fishing, and starvation must follow. In 1676, after nearly two years of warfiire, the
28 James II and New England. [i676-85
Indian power was wholly broken, and Philip was hunted down and slain. Henceforth New England never had to dread the power of the savages save as a weapon wielded by the French rulers of Canada. The war, no • doubt, brought with it heaAry loss in life and in the destruction of fiinn- biuldings, garnered crops and live-stock; but all these are losses which can be quickly made good in the expansive hfe of a yoimg community.
Simultaneously ^nth this conflict an Indian war was being waged in Maine and New Hampshire, provoked mainly by the wanton and brutal murder of an Indian child and by the misconduct of an Englishman, who, being commissioned to arrest some Indians charged with killing settlers, used his authority to kidnap and sell friendly natives. This war was in every way humiliating to the English. It was marked by at least one act of gross treachery on their part; finally they had to buy peace by the humiliating expedient of paying a corn-tax to the savages.
New England soon found itself beset by dangers of another kind.
At the Restoration the administration of the colonies was vested in special commissioners. In 1675 it was transferred to a committee of the Piivy Council. During those fifteen years Parliament had passed a succession of Acts making up a definite system of restrictions on colonial trade. The chief features of the system were that only English vessels and English subjects might trade with the colonies; that the colonists were restricted to English ports for most of their exports and aU their imports; and that certain duties were imposed on intercolonial trade. The duty of enforcing these regulations was vested in revenue officers appointed in England by the Commissionei's of Customs.
The newly created colonial authority at once took measures for the more stringent enforcement of this system, and to that end sent out a special commissioner, as he would now be called, Edward Randolph, to inquire and report. Randolph reported specifically on the systematic violation of the Revenue Acts by the New Englanders, and more generally on their factious and disloyal temper. It was no doubt largely due to him that legal proceedings were taken against the charter of Massachusetts. Agents from Massachusetts protested and entreated in vain. In 1684 the charter was annulled by a decree of the Court of Chancery. It seemed as if the accession of James II had brought ruin to the constitutional rights, not only of Massachusetts, but of the whole body of New England colonies. The King himself had experience as a colonial proprietor, and an honest, though it might be a narrow and unintelligent interest in colonial administration. He saw that it was of the greatest importance to bind the colonies together for admini- strative and defensive pmposes, but he attempted the task in a manner which showed that he had not the faintest sense of the difficvdties with which it was beset. The whole territory from the Delaware to the St Croix was consolidated into a single province and placed under the governorship of Colonel Sir Edmund Andros, a man of good private
1685 - 9 ]
character and of some colonial experience, a brave soldier, and more honest than most public men of that day, but wholly wanting in the intelligence and power of conciliation needed for the task before him. As a staimch churchman he was certain to be unacceptable to the people of Massachusetts.
In Rhode Island and Plymouth, where there was no influential class tenaciously wedded to political privilege, Andros met with little or no resistance. In Connecticut, when Andros presented himself and demanded the surrender of the charter, it was refused and the document itself hidden, if tradition be true, in an oak-tree. The struggle against Andros in Massachusetts, where the township of Ipswich refused to pay taxes leaned without the consent of the representatives, bore considerable like- ness to the proceedings of the revolutionists eighty years later. In each case the colonists were not so much resisting actual oppression as warring against a system under which gross oppression would become possible. In each case popular opinion was stirred up by exaggeration and even slander. Thus Andros, a staunch chiuchman and a loyal and gallant soldier, was accused of seeking to convert the Indians to Popery and of encoiuraging them to massacre the settlers. In each case the administrators were tactless and blundering, and by their half-hearted tyranny at once excited opposition and failed to crush it. The parallel is incomplete in that, in the first instance, happily for both countries, the diama was cut short by external intervention, instead of working itself out to its natural climax; while the encroachments planned by James and entrusted to Andros were more far-reaching and more destructive to liberty than anything devised by George III and his advisers.
Representation was swept away; all administration, legislation and taxation were vested in the governor and coimcil. That coimcil was, as vacancies arose, to be nominated by the King. Moreover all sense of security in property was overthrown by an instruction given to Andros to require that fresh titles to land should be taken out and paid for. There was no regular machineiy left through which the whole colony could make a formal and constitutional protest. The townsmen of Ipswich, in their public meeting, protested against a rate levied by any authority but an elected assembly. For this action six of the leading men were fined and declared incapable of office; and an order was issued that no town should hold a meeting more than once a year. Increase Mather, an Independent minister of distinction and practical abihty, was thereupon sent to England to plead the cause of the colonists. Like Penn, he accepted as genuine iiat policy of toleration whereby James was trying to win the good-will of the dissenters, and ingratiated himself with some of the most imscrupulous of James’ supporters, though, unlike Penn, he did not pursue that policy so thoroughly and so overtly as to forfeit the good-will of those soon to be in power.
30 New England and the Revolution. [i689
In April, 1689, the news of William’s landing at Torbay was brought to New England by one John Winslow, who had with him copies of the Prince’s declaration. Andros, instead of frankly confiding • the news to the people and abiding the issue, imprisoned Winslow for attempting to circulate seditious documents. For a fortnight things were in suspense, the air full of vague rumours. Then the people of Boston rose, being supported by two armed parties from the country, one apparently at Charlestown, which was separated from Boston by a narrow strip of water, the other at the neck which joined the town to the main- land. Andros took refuge in the fort at the end of the town. The main part of his troops were in the castle on an island two miles off. K Andros had been the butcher that his enemies professed to think him he might have caused much bloodshed. He was no coward; and the ease with which he suffered himself to be overpowered and captured showed that he had no wish to fight the hopeless battle of a deposed Papist. As in England, an elected convention was established as a provisional government. In the other New England colonies there was no need for any exercise of force. The adherents of Andros, deprived of their head, made no attempt to carry on the work of administration; and in each colony the pre-existing machineiy of government came again, as it were automatically, into force.
Yet the Revolution of 1688 did not leave the constitutional life of New England unchanged. The forfeiture of the Massachusetts charter might have been brought about in a corrupt fashion, but it had been effected by legal process. The King and his advisers were no doubt morally pledged to a regeird for constitutional rights and representative institutions. But it was also very certain that William would look with more anxiety than his predecessor on the possibility of French invasion, and would be slow to grant any privileges which would interfere with combined resistance. Accordingly when a new charter was granted to Massachusetts, no changes of great importance were introduce. There were to be, as before, a governor, a council and a representative assembly. The governor, lieutenant-governor and secretary were to be appointed by the Cro^vn, and all judicial and military appointments were to be vested in the governor. The franchise was no longer limited to church-members, but granted on a property qualification. At the same time popular rights were secured by the provision that the council, though at the outset nominated by the Crown, was thereafter to be chosen by the General Coimt, consisting of the governor, council and house of representatives. The old religious oligarchy became a thing of the past. Henceforth Massachusetts was an ordinary Crown colony, enjoying constitutional rights neither greater nor less than those granted to any such community.
Territorially Massachusetts both gained and lost. Plymouth was incorporated with the larger colony, apparently without any protest or
1632 - 3 ]
Settlement of Maryland.
disapproval. On the other hand one Allen, who had bought the rights of Mason’s heirs, contrived, as it would seem through the corrupt con- nivance of an English oiRcial, to get the territory of New Hampshire separated from Massachusetts. AUen himself was appointed governor; there was to be a coimcil nominated partly by him, partly by the Crown, and a representative assembly elected by the freeholders. There was no declaration to show how far this was intended to be permanent. In the case of the other two colonies, Connecticut and Rhode Island, the law officers of the Crown decided that the forfeiture of their charters by James was invalid.
We must now go back to a colony whose origin was nearly contem- porary with that of Massachusetts. In 1632 George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore, a Roman Catholic, received from Charles I a grant of land immediately to the north of Virginia. He had already tried to form a settlement in Newfoundland. The severity of the climate and the hostility of certain Presbyterians settled there led him to give up the attempt. With his company he emigrated to Virginia. There he fared no better. The colonial government required him to take the oaths of supremacy and allegiance, and thereby to renounce the spiritual and ecclesiastical authority of the Pope. Baltimore, as a peer, was exempted from the second of these oaths; and it is doubtful whether any authority resident in Virginia had a right to administer either. Instead of resisting, however, Bedtimore withdrew.
In the same month in which Baltimore received the gi’ant he died. The grant was confirmed to his son and successor CeciUus, and was em- bodied in a charter giving not only territorial but also political rights. The colony thus constituted was the first instance in which a portion of the rights of sovereignty inherent in the Crown was transferred to a subject. The proprietor was authorised to make laws with the advice of the free- men or their representatives; that is to say, a system of popular govern- ment was suggested, but so vaguely as hardly to impose on the proprietor any definite restriction. The Crown divested itself of any right to levy taxes within the colony. All churches and places of worship were to be consecrated according to the ecclesiastical laws of the Church of England. It does not appear certain what liberty of worship was left to Roman Catholics; but we may at least say that the religion of the proprietor was allowed only a subordinate position.
In the autumn of 1633 Baltimore sent out three hundred emigrants under his brother Leonard, accompanied by two priests belonging to the order of Jesus. In material matters the colony was prosperous from the outset. It is evident that the settlers were both well chosen and well provided. The social and industrial organisation of the colony proceeded
Maryland and Virginia.
on the same lines as those of Virginia. There were small independrat proprietors, tilling their own land, and large estate-holders working with gangs of indented servants; and, as in Virginia, the economical • advantages of the latter system virtually crushed the former out of existence. The constitution of the colony eventually conformed to the normal pattern with a governor and two chambers; but some years elapsed before it definitely took that shape. As in the case of other colonies, the primary assembly of freemen preceded a representative assembly, and only gave way to it as the colony expanded. As else- where, too, the deputies and the council sat together. The proprietor seems at first to have claimed the right to place his own nominees on the council without any limit of number. In 1647, however, the two chambers were separated; and the proprietor’s right to create councillors became practically innocuous.
The relations of the settlers with the savages were friendly; and the only hostilities in which they were engaged were with their civilised neighbours. At the very outset, as we have seen, there was no friendly feeling between Virginia and the proprietor of Maryland; and events soon widened the breach. The dispute was the first of a type which we shall meet almost continuously in colonial history, a quanel due to the reckless and slovenly fashion in which the English government dealt with the soil of the New World by granting tracts with no precise definition of boundaries, and in some cases almost openly and avowedly making grants that overlapped. TTiis was manifestly the case with Virginia and Maryland. A tract of sea-coast nearly a hundred miles long was included in each grant. The island of Kent, just off the coast, and at the northern end of the debatable land, was a point of special importance.
It was used as a trading station by a small company of Virginian merchants, and so early as 1625 contained a hundred settlers. It was separated from the rest of Virginia by a stretch of unoccupied territory. The utility of the island for the Indian trade made it specially desirable to Virginia; proximity seemed to attach it naturally to Maryland; its detached and therefore vulnerable position made it specially important that the place should be held definitely and securely; while the character of Claybome, the manager of the trading station, enterprising, im- scrupulous, and a strong Protestant, made it certain that the claims of Virginia would be resolutely upheld. The Virginians in the first instance appealed to the Committee of the Privy Council for the Plantations and to the Crown, and got from both an equivocal reply. The advisers of the Crown suggested a compromise; but it was clear that nothing was further from the thoughts of either side. In 1635 the crews of a pinnace belonging to Claybome and of two vessels sent out by Calvert came to blows; and lives were lost on both sides. No decisive r^ult was reached, and the Isle of Kent remained a source of possible dispute till the matter became an incident in a wider struggle.
1644 - 56 ] Maryland and the Commonwealth.
In 1644 the colony became entangled in the Civil War. Calvert and Ingle, an ally of Claybome, had each received letters of marque, the ^ former from the King, the latter from the Parliament. Ingle and Claybome then made a successful i-aid into Maryland, seizing the chief settlement, St Mary’s, and putting Calvert to flight. They failed however to hold what they had acquired. A year later Calvert died. Baltimore showed the flexibility of his principles by appointing as his successor one William Stone, a Protestant. He had shown the same eclectic temper by admitting as colonists those congregations of Nonconformists who had been banished from Virginia. The new-comers do not seem to have felt any special gratitude to Baltimore for his tolerance, and were prepared to make common cause against him with the inhabitants of the Isle of Kent and other disaffected persons.
It seemed at first as if the authority of Parliament and of the Protectorate would be accepted in Maryland as quietly as in the other colonies. In 1652 Stone and apparently all the settlers acknowledged the authority of the parliamentary commissioner’s. The commissioners did not formally revoke Baltimore’s patent; but they may be said to have done so implicitly by deciding that writs should run not in his name, but in that of the authority appointed by Parliament, the keepers of the liberties of England.
For two years after this the commissioners remained practically the supreme authority. But in 1654 the Proprietor took advantage of the establishment of the Pi-otectorate to reassert his rights. His contention was that the authority of the commissioners had lapsed, and that he, Baltimore, stood in exactly the same position towards the I’rotectorate eis previously towards the Croum. The commissioners at once met this by a fresh assertion of authority. Having disfranchised all Roman Catholics and so secured a compliant assembly, they declared that settlers might occupy land without making any declaration of loyalty to the Proprietor. Baltimore’s party at once resisted what would virtually involve the over- throw of his territorial proprietorship. Stone took up arms against the commissioners, but was defeated and taken prisoner. MTiat Baltimore failed to do by force he effected, however, by diplomacy. In 1656 he petitioned the Protector for the restoration of his authority. At the same time a claim was being made on behalf of Virginia, asserting the rights of that colony over the territory of Maryland. The result was a compromise whereby Baltimore’s proprietary rights were restored in full and the claims of Virginia abandoned, while in return Baltimore granted an indemnity to those who had opposed him.
Two years later a somewhat obscure dispute broke out. The Assembly claimed to have full legislative rights and to be independent of all authority save that of the Crown. They were countenanced in this, if not instigated to it, by the governor, Josias Fendall, who in the previous disputes had acted as a partisan of Baltimoie. The time
C. 31. H. VII. CII. I.
34 3Iaryland after the Restoration. [leeo-iTis
of the outbreak was, however, ill-chosen. Hardly had it taken place when the news of the Restoration arrived; and the Proprietor was able to re-establish his authority with nothing more than a show of force. c The history of the colony under the restored Stewarts is uneventful, and it continued to develop a social and industrial life closely resembling that of Virginia. Its tranquillity was undisturbed save % boundary disputes, towards the end of the period, with the newly-founded colony of Pennsylvania and with Virginia. The Proprietor, Lord Baltimore, who had succeeded his father in 1675, also came into collision wth the home government respecting a collector of customs appointed by the Crown, whom he first refused to assist and then illegally imprisoned, finally conniving, at least ex post facto, in his murder. For this action he was censured by the Privy Council.
How completely the colony had separated itself from the creed of its founder was shown by its action at the Revolution of 1688. In every county save one the adherents of William and Haiy asserted their authority unchallenged; and a convention w'as established. There seems to have been no violence; the Protestant majority and the adherents of the Proprietor both laid their case before the King. William and his advisers took the reasonable view that a settlement held by a Roman Catholic Proprietor in the very heart of the English colonial empire must be a source of danger. The political rights of the Proprietor w'ei-e annulled, and Maryland was constituted a Crown colony, but without any prejudice to Baltimore’s territorial position. In 1715 his son, t'.ia fourth Lord, became a Protestant. It was therefore held that his fuU rights revived. Such influence as that change had on the fortunes of the colony will come before us at a later stage.
In 1629 Sir Robert, afterwards Chief Justice, Heath, obt.-.ined from the Crown a grant of land to the south of Virginia, to which, out of respect to the King, he gave the name of Carolina. Of this grant there came no practical result. In 1663 the whole land between Virginia and Florida was granted to eight patentees, among them Lord Albemaide, Sir Anthony Ashley (afterwards Lord Shaftesbui-y), and Sir William Berkeley. Tins grant not only gave to the Proprietors territorial rights and political authority, but, unlike any that had preceded it, it made provision, at least in an elementary form, for a constitution, since it provided for assemblies of freeholders with legislative powers. The settlement of Carolina was largely carried out by that indirect or, as one may call it, secondary process of colonisation which we have alr^dv seen at work in Connecticut. The colonists were drawn not solelv, nor even mainly, from the mother-country, but from New England, Virginia and Barbados.
Settlement of Carolina.
It will save possibilities of confusion to enumerate the different settlements by which the soil of Carolina was occupied. These were:
• (1) a settlement from Virginia on Albemarle River, which became the nucleus of North Carolina; (2) a settlement from New England near Cape Fear, which was dispersed and absorbed into (1); (3) a settlement from Barbados, also near Cape Fear; (4) a settlement direct from England. This last changed its habitation more than once, absorbed (3) in the course of its wanderings, and finally grew into South Carolina. Of the settlers from Massachusetts we know but little. At one time their condition was such that a collection for their help had to be made in the parent colony. The process of emigiation from Virginia is equally obscure. All we know definitely is that in September, 1663, the new Proprietors divided their province into two, and that the northern section was already settled. The instructions given by the Proprietors to the governor of the noiihem half constituted it for the time being as something like a democracy. The elective Assembly was invested with the appointment of officers, the establishment of law courts, and the military defence of the colony.
In 1667 the Proprietors of Carolina put forth a most elaborate constitution, attributed, though on inconclusive evidence, to John Locke, who was their secretary. The Proprietors more than once thought it worth while to modify it in form, but they never made any serious attempt to enforce it as a working system. Meanwhile the Assembly of the northern settlement was dealing with the needs of the colony in a wholly practical way, by passing certain regulations which show us what they intended the colony to be and help us to understand what it became. For five years from its foundation no settler was to be legally liable for any debt incurred outside the colony. No tax was to be levied on newxomei’s for a year. Marriage was valid if there was a declaration of mutual consent before the governor. A colony so .administered might seem a paradise to the bankrupt and the pauper. It is no exaggeration to say that the history of North C.arolina for the next fifty years is little more than a dreary and uninstructive record of disputes and insurrections. The colony indeed seems to have reached that chronic state of anarchy when the imprisonment and deposition of a governor is a passing incident which hardly influences the life of the community.
In the meantime a province was grovdng up in the southern half of the tei ritory whose life, though it did not wholly escape the same class of disturbances as beset the sister colony, was on the w-hole vigorous and prosperous. In 1670, after a careful survey of the country, the Proprietors established a colony at Charleston. The constitution was a liberal one, since the freemen were not only to elect a house of representatives, but also to nominate ten out of twenty councillors.
The instructions given by the Proprietors for the colony at Charleston
North and South Carolina.
aimed at preventing that tendency to scatter over the face of the country which marked the growth of Virginia. Every freeholder was to have, in addition to his country estate, a town-lot of one-twentieth the • extent of his whole domain. This foreshadowed, though it can hardly be thought to have caused, the future development of South Carolina. Instead of a society of landholders, each living on his own estate, it was rather a society of wealthy traders living at Charleston and owning plantations inland. But this was due not so much to any deliberate design on the part of the Proprietors as to natural conditions — the existence of one first-rate harbour and the insalubrious and unattractive character of the inland country, especially near the coast. This con- centration of the active life of the colony in Charleston had an important influence on the political history of the colony, by checking the development of local representation. The whole body of freemen met together at the capital and there elected a House of Representatives. Tliis system was at once the result and the reacting cause of the backwardness of the country districts. It lasted till 1717, when the ordinary method of electing by counties was substituted.
Of the first colonists of South Carolina only a portion came direct from England. The rest joined at Barbados, whence also came AVilliam Sayle, the governor. This no doubt had its effect in assimilating the life of the new colony to that of the West Indies. In one way this had a baneful effect on the future of the colony. Under the recognised economic conditions of that day slavery was certain to spring up; and it was also certain that in such a climate the labouring class could not, like that of Virginia, consist largely of white men. Only the negro or the native could work in the climate of South Carolina. The colonists, accustomed to impose slavery on the weak and unresisting population of the West Indies, made a similar attempt with the Indians of the mainland, but, as might have been foreseen, with very different results. The proximity of the Spaniard on the southern frontier would have been in an\ case a source of danger. Instead of lessening this by securing the alliance of the savages, the settlers by repeated acts of kidnapping drove the natives into alliance with the Spaniard, while on the other hand they incurred the great displeasure of their southern neighbours by the encouragement which they gave to pirates. It is just to the Proprietors to say that they saw this danger and did their best to prevent both these practices.
The dread of Indian attack and Spanish invasion was probably one of the influences which were at work to keep the settlers concentrated in Charleston. For the first quarter of a century of its existence nothing woi-se befell the colony than isolated Indian raids. But in 1701 war between Spain and Eiigland was imminent; and the colonists heard that a Spanisli captain in command of 900 Indians was on his wa\' to attack them. In order to anticipate the blow, James Moore, a
- 1715 ]
Spanish and Indian wars.
political adventurer, but a man of considerable courage and capacity, was sent with 100 English and 800 Indian allies against the Spanish • town of St Augustine. The town was unfortified and fell an easy prey, and the inhabitants took refuge with most of their property in the fort. The assailants had no siege appliances; and, while they were sending to Jamaica for cannon, two Spanish vessels came to the help of the besieged. Moore then withdrew with some booty. Next year he mtide another raid on a somewhat larger scale and with more success. These inroads appear to have kept the Spaniards in check for a while. The position of Charleston, with its long tract of swamp along the southern coast, protected it eflectuaJly against an attack by land. But in 1706 it was assaulted by a combined French and Spanish fleet. Yellow fever broke out in the to\vn, and many of the inhabitants fled inland. But the governor. Sir Nathaniel Johnstone, gallantly supported by those who remained, routed the hostile fleet and secured 230 prisoners.
A new factor of discord was now introduced into the life of the colony. Dissenters were a numerous and influential part of the com- munity; it is even said, though this may be doubted, that they formed a majority. In 1696 their liberty of conscience had been secured by special enactment. Lord Granville, the Palatine, or head of the Board of Proprietors, was one of that party of chm-chmen who were trying to crush the dissenters by pressing on the Occasional Conformity Bill. The same spirit now showed itself in the policy of the Church party among the settlers. In 1704 they passed an Act requiring from members of the Assembly a declaration of confomiity and the reception of the sacrament. Should a candidate refuse to qualify, a fresh writ was not issued, but the next candidate on the list obtained the seat. The defeated party appealed to the Crown, and the Queen vetoed the Act. The constitution^ propriety of this might be doubtful. There could be no two opinions as to its substantial equitv.
It was clear by this time that the Proprietors had given up any idea of seeming organic unity between their two provinces. Nominally indeed there was one governor for both; but he resembled a govemor of Virginia in that his connexion with the northern province was merely titular, and the duties were discharged by a deputy. In 1711 a dispute broke out between two claimants for this office, Thomas Cary and Edward Hyde; and something like a little civil war followed. Hyde prevailed and Caiy fled. He appears to have made some overtures to the Tuscarora Indians to support his cause. This may have led to what followed, an onslaught by the Tuscaroras upon the colony. The principal destruction fell on a settlement of i-efugees from the German Palatinate. South Carolina sent a force to the assistance of her neighbours; and the Indians were, it was supposed, brought to terms. But almost immediately after the troops had withdrawn a fresh onslaught w’as made. Again
'The Carolinas and the Crown.
help was sent tl-om South Carolina. This time the work was done effectually, and the Tuscaroras were -virtually annihilated.
Scarcely vras North Carolina relieved from the dread of an Indian ^ invasion when a similar blow fell on the southern colony. It came from the Yamassees, an Indian tribe in alliance with the Spaniards. In 1710 three separate bands made a concerted onslaught on the colony, and 200 settlers fell. Happily the governor, Charles Craven, was not only a man of vigour and courage but enjoyed to the full the confidence and good-wiU of the settlers. An Indian raid might be furious, but the temper of the savage and his lack of resources always deprived it of endurance; and, before the year was out, the colony was again in safety. Soon afterwards an expedition had to be undertaken against pirates. These successive operations left the colony in no little financial embarrassment. At every turn some cause of dispute and ill-feeling arose between the colonists and the Proprietors. At length, in December, 1719, the Assembly formally thi'ew off the authority of the Proprietors and elected a governor under the Crown. The governor, the son of Sir Nathaniel Johnstone, did his best to uphold the authority of the Proprietors, but to no pm-pose. The advisers of the Crown accepted the situation and sent out Francis Nicholson, an experienced and fairly competent colonial official, to administer and pacify the province. In the northern province there w^as no attempt on the part of the colonists to throw off the authority of the Proprietors; but they had by this time come to perceive clearly that it was an irksome and profitless burden, and in no way worth retaining -without the southern colony. In 1729 the Proprietors sun'endered, for an equivalent in money, the whole of their rights over the northern province; and the two Carolinas passed into the condition of ordinary Crown colonies.
NEW YORK AND DELAWARE.
The Dutch colony of the New Netherlands has been already mentioned. When in 1664 the English government, -ivith no adequate provocation, declared war on the United Provinces, the one definite result was the capture of this colony. At the very outbreak of the war Charles II granted to his brother the Duke of York the whole territory from the Connecticut to the Delaware. Morally speaking, the seizure was little better than a piece of buccaneering. In the result however one cannot doubt the substantial advantage to all concei'ned. Without control over the valley of the Hudson it would have been impossible for England to offer solid and united resistance to France. Yet one can hardly believe that a French colonial empire stretching from the St Lawrence to the Mississippi would have been either possible or desirable. That unhappy state of things, during which America was the battlefield of European powers, would iiave been prolonged; and independence, if it
1664 J Conquest of the New Netherlands. 39
liad ever come, would have come piecemeal to a string of disconnected communities incapable of forming an organic whole. At the same ^ time we need not suppose that any such far-sighted views influenced Charles 11 and his advisers. A more effective reason probably was that the existence of a Dutch settlement in the midst of the English colonies made an effective administration of the Navigation Laws and a com- prehensive commercial system almost impossible. K the subsequent advantage, we may almost say the necessity, of the conquest might be held to justify it, so not less did the manner in which it was carried out. Neither the States-Geneml nor the Dutch West India Company had so dealt with the New Netherlands as to beget any spirit of loyalty. When an English fleet appeared before New Amsterdam, the governor, Peter Stuyvesant, found it impossible to rouse the settlers to effective resistance; and on August 29, 1664, the English ffag floated over the settlement. The conquest of the settlements along the valley of the Hudson was as easy and as complete as that of the capital. The name of New York was thereupon given to both the city and the province.
One incident connected with the conquest of Fort Orange, afterwards Albany, deserves mention. The chief Indian power in the neighbourhood of the English settlers was that of the Five Nations, called by the French the Iroquois, often by the English the Mohawks, a name which really belonged only to one of the five constituent tribes. Their policy was marked by a definiteness and continuity rai’e among savages. Their hunting-grounds — for in no other sense can one speak of Indian territory — extended fi’om the St Lawrence to the hills west of Carolina; and they held a number of the smaller tribes in a state of semi-vassalage. Their friendship was of vital importance to the English. Twee only, so far as authentic records show, had there been up to this time any dealings between the Iroquois and the New Englandei-s; and on each occasion the English befriended a small party who had wandered as far as the sea-co;ist. An embassy from the Five Nations now met Cartwright the English commander, at Fort Orange, and received from him promises of help and of the continuance of that trade which had existed between the Indians and the Dutch. Thus was laid the foundation of a fiiendship whose value to the English it is scarcely possible to overrate.
By singular good fortune the task of annexation fell into the hands of one of the few men in England who could have been found thoroughly equal to it. The character of Richard Nicolls reminds one of those men whose wisdom, firmness, and forbearance, shown alike in military and diplomatic victories, have built up our Indian Empire. His clemency was not that of indifference: it went hand in hand with a thoughtful policy of construction. The antecedents of the colony had no doubt done a good deal to lighten his task. Not only was there no loyalty to Dutch rule and no organised political life, but one may almost say that there was no nationality. The statement that eighteen languages were
Governor Nicolls in New York. [i665
spoken in the streets of New Amsterdam might be an exaggeration, but there can be no doubt as to the cosmopolitan character of the settlement.
In addition to the Dutch population there were Walloons, Swedes, # Lutherans from Germany, and Waldenses from Piedmont, while the possibilities of commercial profit had sufficed to attract Jews and Armenians. But most important of all in the present connexion was the number and the influential position of emigrants from New England.
On Long Island settlements had sprung up, founded by emigrants from New Haven and Connecticut, and in every respect conforming to the life and usages of New England. It is moreover clear that the English were treated by Stuyvessmt with an amount of favour which offended the Dutch; and at least one Englishman held office under him. Thus, before the actual conquest took place, the colony had been in a great measure anglicised.
Nicolls, however, did not yield to the temptation of endeavouring to set up anything like a system of race ascendancy. Practically, for administrative purposes, he divided the province into an English- speaking and a Dutch-speaking district, and dealt with each on separate principles. In February, 1665, a convention of representatives from the English-speaking towns met at Hempstead on Long Island. Acting in concert with them Nicolls drew up a code of laws and instituted a system of local government. Each township was invested with powers of assessment, and was to elect a court of overseers with judicial powers in small civil cases. The ecclesiastical system was to be one of denominational endowment. Each township was to have a church, the denomination being chosen by the majority of the freemen. Practically their choice was limited to the refoi-med Churches, as no one might be appointed a minister who had not received Protestant ordination. The Dutch townships of New York and Albany kept each its mayor and aldermen, with judicial powers. It is clear that no attempt was made to interfere with the use of the Dutch language. Nor were any steps taken towards consolidating the whole colony under one representative government.
There was one portion of the English conquest which might be regarded as, for all practical purposes, a separate province. In 1638 the government of Sweden had formed a colony on the southern bank of the Delaware. Unjust though the English conquest might be, yet the Dutch had estopp^ themselves from any right of complaint by the measure which they had dealt out towards the Swedes. The claim of the Dutch Company to the soil occupied by the Swedes was not one whit better than the claim of England to the Hudson. Yet in 1655 Stuyvesant, acting under the instructions of the Company, had attacked and annexed the Swedish settlement. The Dutch West India Company, instead of retaining the territory, sold it to the city of Amsterdam]
1655 - 74 ] Settlement of New Jersey. 41
which established a colony of its own there by the name of New Amstel. When Nicolls had completed his conquest of New Amsterdam he • detached Robert Carr, one of his subordinates, to reduce the settlement on the Delaware. Carr's severity to the twice-conquered Swedes was the one exception to the humanity and moderation shown by the English.
In 1673 England and Holland were again at war. Nicolls’ successor, Francis Lovelace, in careless confidence, took no measures for securing the colony. IVhen a Dutch fleet of twenty -three ships with sixteen himdred men on board appeared before New York resistance was manifestly useless. Albany and the settlements on the right bank of the Hudson and the outlying province on the Delaware all yielded. Only the towns of English descent on Long Island, supported by Connecticut, held out. The Dutch reoccupation did not last out a whole year. In accordance with the Treaty of Westminster (1674) the whole of the reconquered territory was restored to England. Nothing could show more strongly the lack of any vigorous sense of nationality than the passivity with which the Dutch settlers suffered themselves to be handed backwards and forwards without protest or expression of interest.
The Duke of York had already shown a conspicuous lack of intelligence in his dealing with the soil of his new province. Before the result of Nicolls’ expedition was known, before indeed he had reached America, James granted to Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley the whole territory from the Hudson to the Delaware (1664). The effect of this was to cut the Duke’s province into two detached portions, and to isolate New Amstel from the seat of government. Nicolls remonstrated, but it was too late. Carteret at once proceeded to act on his grant by sending out his kinsman Philip Carteret to act as governor of the newly-formed province, and also by drafting a constitution vesting the government in a governor or council and an elective chamber. New Jersey, as the colony was called, was settled after a fashion previously unknown elsewhere. The Proprietors did little towards supplying their settlement with inhabitants. A scattered population of small farmers, mostly Swedes and Finns, was already on the soil; but the Proprietors also looked to drawing inhabitants from New England. In this fortune favoured them, since most of those inhabitants of New Hav'en, whom we have already mentioned as escaping incorporation with Connecticut by flight, took refuge on the south banks of the Hudson.
The re-conquest of New York in 1673 .annihilated the Duke’s first patent and made a fresh grant from the Crown necessary. TTie Duke might have taken advantage of this to resume his giant to Carteret and Berkeley, compensating them, as Nicolls suggested, by a grant of land on the Delaware, which would have left New York a compact and continuous territory occupying both banks of the Hudson to the sea. The opportunity was, however, neglected; and Carteret was reinstated with full proprietary rights.
Governor JDongan in New York.
As might hii\e iiten expected, the political aspirations of the inhabitants of New York were not unaffected by the neighbourhood of the virtually self-governing communities of New England, with whose members many of them were connected by similar habits of life and thought, and even, in some cases, by ties of blood. It was only natural that they should demand similar political institutions. Such a demand was made before the Dutch re-conquest and the governorship of Lovelace, and it was renewed imder his successor Andros. The Duke’s reply thoroughly illustrates his whole attitude towards popular rights, ^^^y, he said, should the settlers want more than they had Such legislative powers as would be vested in an elective assembly were already enjoyed by the Court of Assize, composed of his nominees the magistrates. An elective assembly would probably be composed mainly of the same men. A demand for good government was a thing which James could imder- stand and, according to his lights, sympathise with: a demand for constitutional safeguards was beyond his comprehension.
In 1683 Andros was succeeded by one of the ablest men who had yet appeared in the field of colonial politics, Thomas Dongan. By this time successive governors of Canada had entered on a policy of resolute and continuous aggression. Not only were they organising their own Indian subjects into an instrument of attack, but they were undermining the loyalty of the Fi%e Nations, hitherto the trusty allies of England. The valley of the Hudson was the key of the E)iglish position; and on the governor of New York, more than on any other official, fell the bmden and responsibility of resistance. Dongan had personally no friendly feeling to France. As a young man he had served in the French army and had been, as he considered, treated with injustice. Roman Catholic though he was, w^e may be satisfied that his religion did not interfere with his inclination to thwart the designs of France, since not even among the Puiitans of New England do we find a trace of any distrust of him on that ground.
TTie key-note of Dongan’s anti-French policy was a firm alliance with the Five Nations. On three occasions he met the Iroquois chiefs in formal conclave, and he effectively counteracted the intrigues by which successive governors of Canada were trying to win them over. It was Dongan’s policy, too, that the alliance should be a fact fuUy recognised and proclaimed in the face of France. In no spirit of mere empty ceremonial he induced the chiefs of the Five Nations to set up the arras of the Duke of York over their wigwams. Dongan, however, did not limit his defensive policy to strengthening the Mohawk alliance. Albany and Schenectady were palisaded. The home government was invit«i to establish a chain of forts along the western frontier of the Eng lish settlements and to consolidate Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey so as to form an effective scheme of defence. It was perhaps even more important that Dongan induced James to send a despatch to the French
- 1688 ]
New ¥(yrk and the Revolution.
Court, aunouncing that the Iroquois wei’e British subjects and were to be treated as such. Thus it was made clear that the policy of the • Indian alliance was not the individual creation of a single colonial governor, but represented the views and purpose of the English nation.
Dongan’s instructions might be said to embody a constitutional revolution, since they authorised him to issue writs for the election of a representative assembly. "V^Tien the Assembly met it at once took steps to perpetuate, so far as a popular vote could do so, a system of self-government. A resolution was passed analogous to a Bill of Rights. Triennial Assemblies were to be held, elected by the freemen and the freeholders of the towns. The right of taxation was vested in the Assembly; freedom of conscience was secured to all; and provdsion was made for trial by jury. Soon afterwai-ds Dongan, on behalf of the Proprietors, granted to New York and Albany charters of incorporation.
The proposals of the Assembly seemed to be favourably received; but next year, by an almost inexplicable change of policy, Uongan received instructions entirely reversing the system so lately suggested by the Cro^vn and developed by the settlers, and vesting all rights of legislation in a council appointed by the Crown. In a New England colony such a measure would have called into existence a tonent of pamphlets, would have been condemned in tovn meetings and denounced from pulpits. In New York it was accepted in silence, though not without an undercurrent of resentment which made itself felt a little later. This withdrawal of the rights granted to New York was no doubt a step in that policy of unification which we have already seen applied to New England. Colonial union was a good thing; but only a man utterly without perception of those living political forces which control communities could have thought it possible to achieve such a union by mechanically combining into a single province communities so different in origin and in political experience, and by placing the whole under the rule of a slow-witted, unsympathetic governor such as Andros. Thi.s might not be felt strongly in New York. It would assuredly be felt in New England.
The whole history of the manner in which the tyranny of Andros, if tyranny it should be called, was met and ov'erthrowm in New England and New York respectively is an admirable illustration of the different conditions of the two provinces. Andros himself was too fully occupied \vith refractory New Englanders and witli the defence of the western frontier to take any active steps in the admmistration of New York. That was left to his deputy. Colonel Nicholson, with the assistance of three councilloi’s, who, it is worth noticing, were all Dutch. This disposes of any suggestion that the revolution which followed w'as an uprising of Dutch nationality against alien rule. Nicholson was, as is shown by his despatches and the various incidents of a prolonged official career, a clear-headed and observ'ant man, but he w;is violent and
44 The usurpation of' Leisler. [1688-
obstinate, wholly lacking in the moi-al force which surmounts difficulties or in the dexterity which evades them.
When rumours of the Revolution in England reached New York, Nicholson, acting as his superior Andros had acted in Massachusetts, kept the tidings secret. But soon afterwards there came simultaneously to New York the news of tliree events, any one of which would have made Nicholson’s position difficult. The Phince of Orange was in power in England; Andi-os was a prisoner at Boston; France had declared war, and the colony might at any moment be invaded. Nicholson’s first impulse was a somid one. He called together the aldermen of New York, the members of the Council, and the militia officers, to form a convention. Ihen at once was felt the lack of all those conditions which had enabled the men of New England to defy con- stituted authority and yet to avoid anarchy. The pay of the militia was in arrears, and their disaffection threatened danger. The people demanded that the control of the fort should be transfen’ed from the Deputy to their representatives. The to\vnships bordering upon New England went further and deposed the Proprietors’ officials. Two purely personal disputes set fire to the tram. A quarrel having broken out between Nicholson and one of his subordinates, Cuyler, Nicholson foolishly used the words, “ I would rather see the city on fire than be commanded by you.” Immediately the story circulated that the Deputy-Governor had threatened to burn New York. Next day Nicholson denied the charges and dismissed Cuyler. Thereupon the people rose and seized the fort. Their leader was Jacob Leisler, a German brewer, who also had a personal grievance. He had already refused to pay customs, on the plea that the collector was a Papist and his commission therefore invalid. He now took command of the mutineer. Nicholson fled, and Leisler might not unrea.sonably be supposed to have stepped de facto and by popular approval into the vacant governorship.
Thereupon a convention met. More than half the community stood aloof; and of the eighteen representatives who came together, eight took no part in the proceedings. 'Phe remainder invested Leisler with some- thing like dictatorial power. But it is clear that he was no more than the leader of a faction. In New York itself Leisler succeeded by promptness and energy in forcing his authority on an inert majority. At Albany a far more rtgorous temper prevailed. The inhabitants refused to accept the authority of Leisler unless he could prove that it had been gi-anted to him by the new sovereigns: let him produce a commission from William and Mary; then he would be obeyed.
The home government at iir-st made mistakes of which Leisler took advantage. A commission was sent to Nicholson, authorising him to act as governor. If he was absent, this duty was to be fransfen-ed to “ such as for the time being take care for preserving the peace.” Leisler took possesdon of this letter and, without giving any details, told the citizens
-i69i] OvertJvro-a: of LeisJcr. 45
that he had received a commission as lieutenant-governor. At the same time he contrived for a while to keep the home government in the dark by representing himself as chosen by popular election, by intercepting letters which would have undeceived them, and by im- prisoning and brutally maltreating the writers of such letters. In the meantime some of the settlers at Schenectady, a settlement on the upper Hudson, had been massacred in an Indian raid. This was largely due to the fact that Leisler’s attitude towards Albany had made united action impossible. This event contributed largely to undermine Leisler’s position.
For nearly two years the English government with incredible apathy suffered the colonists to be the victims of a blmidering and ineffective tyrant. In spite of Leisler’s merciless suppression of free speech, it is clear that complaints reached England; and the King and his counsellors must at least have knowni that the colony was in the hands of one with no proved fitness for the post. At length, in 1690, a governor was appointed and sent out with a small military foi'ce. Fortune granted Leisler a respite, since the governor. Colonel Sloughter, was delayed on the voyage. When his second in command, Richard Ingoldsby, arrived, Leisler refused to resign his authority. Ingoldsby’s course was an obvious one. “tVhere was Leisler’s commission?” No commission could be produced, and Leisler stood in the position of an avowed rebel. He held the fort and fii’ed on the English soldiers, killing two; but the arrival of Sloughter, though it did not influence the attitude of Leisler himself, was the signal for the general collapse of his party, and his supporters laid down their arms. The ringleaders were tried for high- treason and found guilty, but the extreme penalty was put in force only against Leisler himself and his chief supporter Jacob MiUbome.
As we have seen, the government of James H had virtually left New’ York without a constitution. The defect was supplied by the instruc- tions given to successive governors, whereby certain methods acquired the authority of precedent and usage. The Assembly endeavoured to define the future constitution by a declaratory Act passed May 13, 1691, shortly after the arrival of Sloughter. His instructions had provided for a council nominated by the Crown, and an assembly elected by the freemen. The Act just mentioned filled in this outline by requiring annual elections, limiting the franchise to freeholder of forty shillings a year, and apportioning the colony into constituencies. A declaration was permitted instead of an oath; and freedom of conscience was secured to all Christians, Papists excepted. No tax might be imposed but by the governor and the two Houses; and soldiers could not be billeted upon any inhabitant without his own consent. The Rill was vetoed by the Crow’n, owing, it is said, to the last clause; and the colony was left without a defined constitution.
Early History of New Jersey.
We have already traced the beginnings of the colony granted by the Duke of York to Carteret, and by him called New Jersey. The process by which it came into being was not milike that followed in the case of New Hampshire. A number of independent towuiships were consolidated into a single community. But in New Jersey there was an element of difficulty which did not exist in New Hampshire. YTien the settlements of New Hampshire imited, the Proprietor, Mason, was dead; his heirs took no interest in the province, and suffered it to work out its destiny in its own fashion. The settlers in New Jersey knew that the Proprietors might at any moment iiderpose their authority. Nor was there anything in the character of that authority to reconcile the settlers to its exercise. The Proprietors were not in any sense partners with the settlers in a costly and troublesome undertaking. They did not, in modern language, “finance” the colony in its early days — as did Baltimore or the Proprietors of Carolina — and thus establish a claim to some future benefit; they were simply beneficiaries. The system of “unearned incre- ment” was presented to the settlers in a singularly unqualified and re- pellent form. Not only were the Proprietors absentee landlords, but the settlers had actually already obtained titles for their land by pm-chase from the natives.
For three j’^ears after he landed Philip Carteret made no attempt to call an assembly of the whole province; and the various townships remained virtually self-governing. A\'hen an assembly was summoned, the settlers reckoned the burden of attendance greater than the gain. The representatives of tu o townships refused to attend, and were followed by the rest. As was natural, the question of land-tenure soon gave rise to trouble. The Proprietors had liberated the colony from quit-rents for five years; but they required all settlers to obtain from them patents of land. One of the toumships claimed the j-ight to grant land irrespec- tive of the Proprietors. Thereupon the settlers at once did, for the purpose of resistance, what they had refused to do for the purpose of co-operation with the Proprietors. They held a joint assembly of representatives of the towns, deposed Philip Carteret, and substituted another member of the family. The Proprietors at once put dowm the rebellion, and, acting on the assumption that the settlers had forfeited the privileges conceded to them, drew up a constitution in which the rights originally granted to the colony were considerably restricted.
New Jersey, like New York, was reconquered by the Dutch in 1673, and again ceded to the English in 1674. The history of New Jersey now becomes extremely complex, owing to the number of distinct proprietary rights which were created, each in some measure calling into existence an independent community. TTie Duke of York held that the conquest annulled all previous titles, his own as well as those granted by
him to othere. His own title was, as we have seen, re-established by a new grant. He likewise re-established those of Carteret and Berkeley,
^ but only in part. He executed a fresh grant, transferring to Caiteret alone a tract of land on the southern bank of the Hudson, but reserr’ing to himself the left bank of the Delaware. In the meantime Berkeley had sold his share in the original grant to two Quakers, John Fenwick and Edward Bylling. They now virtually claimed that they were entitled to the residue of the original grant, after Carteret’s new grant had been deducted. This claim the Duke disputed. IMatters then, so far as territorial title w^ent, stood thus. Carteret had an undoubted claim to the right bank of the Hudson. The Duke had a claim to the right bank of the Delaware, and a disputable claim to the left bank of the Delavrare. Throughout the whole of this territory there were settle- ments which had come into existence with little or no help from any of the claimants.
When, in 1675, Fenwick acted on his grant and endeavoured to foim a settlement on the right bank of the Delaware, some of the existing settlers resented it, and appealed to Andros, who ordered Feinvick to give up his attempt. The order, however, was disobeyed; and a settle- ment came into existence called Salem. Soon afterwards IVilliam Penn and other Quakers who had acquired Bylling’s rights began colonising on the Delaware. In 1680 they received a fresh grant from the Duke, including Fenwick’s settlement at Salem. There were thus two distinct settle- ments, called East and West New Jersey, one on the Hudson, the other on the Delaware. In each the government spontaneously fell into the accepted model, with a governor, council and representative assembly. In 1680 a dispute arose between Andros and Philip Carteret as to the right of the Duke of York to impose commercial restrictions and levy duties on New Jersey, in which Andros imprisoned Carteret in an arbitrary and brutal fashion. At the same time Andros, by the issue of writs for an assembly, confirmed the system of self-government which ah-eady existed in East Jersey.
In 1681 the heir and namesake of Sir George Carteret received a fresh grant of his grandfather’s territoiy from the Duke of York; and the authority of Philip Carteret was re-established. It is clear, however, that the attack made on Carteret’s authority by Andros had weakened it in the eyes of the settlers, who now began to question the rights of the Proprietors. Sir George Carteret, di.ssatished, as he weU might be, with the turn of affairs, sold his rights in the colony. Among the purchasers were the Quakers, William Penn and Gawen Laurie, who w'ere already among the Proprietors of the eastern province, certain other members of the same sect, and several influential Scotsmen. The new Proprietors made an attempt to saddle the province with an elaborate constitution. But, as in Carolina, the simpler system evolved by the settlers to meet their own wants prevailed. The chief result of the transfer was to
Union of New Jersey.
invigorate the colony by bringing into it a number of Scottish refugees, who had fled from Scotland to avoid being coerced into Episcopacy, and by so assimilating the two provinces into which New Jersey was divided, ^ as to prepare the way for their future union.
In 1685 the Proprietors of the eastern province excited the just displeasure of Dongan by an unscrupulous attempt to annex Staten Island, to which the Duke had an indisputable claim. It was probably owing to this event and to advice given by Dongan, that the Duke in- clude New Jersey in the consolidated province which was placed under the shortlived administration of Andros. His dealings with the refractory New Englanders left him no time for meddling in the affairs of New Jersey; and in that colony tire Revolution seems to have aroused no political distm-bance.
In 1692 an important step was taken towards the union of the two provinces. The two separate bodies of Proprietors appointed the same governor, Andi'ew Hamilton, a man who more than almost any colonial official of the day was convinced of the need for more complete inter- colonial union. But the colony of New Jersey did not attain unity till it had passed through several troubled years. There were disputes as to the right of the government of New York to levy duties within the limits of New Jersey. Repeated transfers of proprietorship had invested the whole question of proprietary rights with elements of confusion and difficulty. To the settlers the political rights of the Proprietors were a standing menace, threatening interference with that system of self- government which had, as it were spontaneously, established itself. To the Proprietors these rights were valueless, and worse than valueless. To men like Penn and some of his associates, social philosophers and political enthusiasts, the task of creating a new community might be attractive. But Penn had found a sphere for his activity elsewhere. The day for attempting such work in New Jersey was past, and the only result that the Proprietors were likely to bring about by asserting their poUtical rights would be the forfeiture of those territorial claims which to most of them were of far more value. The way out of the strait was obvious, and the Proprietors adopted it. In 1702 they surrendered their rights of sovereignty to the Crown; and the whole territory from the Hudson to the Delaware became a single province, though practically consisting of two distinct sections, separated by an unreclaimed and almost un- penetrated wilderness. As in the case of New York, the colony did not receive a charter. The constitution rested on usage and on the instructions given to successive governors. The existing system of government by a council and assembly remained unaltered. The weak rule of the Proprie- tors had, however, left behind elements of faction and almost of anarchy and the choice of a governor by the Crown led to no improvement in these conditions. The appointment, together with the governorship of New York, was given to the Queen’s cousin. Lord Combury, a brainless
and arrogant profligate, with a tendency to intermittent and ineffective tyranny. The mischief he did in hoth provinces was happily remedied ^ by his successor, Robert Hunter, one of the ablest and most judicious in the list of colonial administrators.
In New Jersey we have seen a fresh religious force, that of Quakerism, brought into the sphere of colonial politics. Historians have -ivritten of Wniiam Penn as though he had been a religious enthusiast whose friend- ship with James H, in politics a despot and in religion a bigoted member of an alien Church, must either be explained away or accepted as evidence of unscrupulous opportunism. That view involves a mistaken conception of the characters alike of Penn and of his patron. The two men were in many respects unlike; but their views and characters found a meeting- point in their indifference to constitutional forms, in their inability to see that men might reasonably demand something more than good government, and might fairly ask for those securities M'hich, under any change of rulers, would guarantee good government for the future. In New Jersey Penn was no more than one in a firm of Proprietors: his position did not give him that free hand which he required to carry out his theories as a constructive statesman. A better chance soon offered itself. He inherited a claim against the Crown for £16,000. That debt might be paid in a cheap and easy fashion. The tenitory conquered from the Dutch included, as we have seen, a tract colonised by the Swedes on the south bank of the Delaware. Of that tract the greater portion was not included in the Duke of York’s second grant. It was included in the original patent of Maryland, but it was unoccupied; and to grant land twice over wjis no uncommon incident in colonial administration. The tract in question was in 1682 transfeixed to Penn in settlement of his claim.
Penn's rights as a Proprietor were limited by three important restrictions, in which we can trace the effect of past colonial experience. The Crown was to have a veto on all legislation. In all legislation and administration which concerned revenue, the colony was to be treated as an integral part of the realm. There was to be an agent living in England, who might be called upon to explain any alleged infraction of the revenue laws. Penn’s colony neither was nor was designed to be composed exclusively of Quakere. The Quaker element, however, undoubtedly preponderated; and one at least of the Quaker tenets — their abhorrence of war — was to prove a serious hindrance on a future occasion, when it became needful that the colonists should be united against French and Indian enemies. The Quaker theory of the equality of all men in the eye of God was with Penn no vague dogma, but a practical belief which lay at the root of all his dealings with the savages.
c. H. II. VII. cn. I. -t
50 The founding of Pennsylvania. [ 1682-8
Among colonial Proprietors Baltimore alone seems to have grasped the truth that the less elaboration and complexity there is about a constitution the better, especially in a community whose needs are ( imknown and whose resources are imtested. Under the constitution as first devised by Penn there were to be two Chambers, both elective, the Upper called a Council, consisting of seventy-two members, and the Lower of two hundred at first, with possibilities of increase to five hundred. The CoimcH was to initiate legislation, the Lower Chamber to approve, the Cro'rni to ratify it. The defects of this system are obvious. The Lower Chamber was a cumbrous superfluity': the Upper was too large for executive duties. This was soon perceived; and in 1683 the Council was reduced to eighteen and the Lower House to twenty-six. No power of initiatory legislation was assigned to the representati\'es; but their power of veto was mcreased by requiring the consent not of a majority but of two-thirds. Three yearn later a change was introduced, which, if the Proprietor had followed it up strenuously and persistently, might have annihilated the political rights of the community. He appointed five Commissioners of State, of whom three might be a quorum, with a right of veto upon all legislation.
It will be remembered that the territory conquered from the Dutch and granted to the Duke of York included a small group of settlements on the south bank of the Delaware. These were always administered as a dependency of New York. Administrative difficulties might have ensued; but fortunately the friendship existing between the Duke and Penn made a settlement easy; and in 1682 the territory was transferred to Penn and incorporated with his other grant. This portion of the provinces was commonly known as the Territories, and now forms the State of Delaware. In 1688 a dispute arose. The inhabitants of the Territories considered that they were not dealt with equally in the apportionment of magistrates. For a while a compromise was made. The Territories were to have a separate executive, but there was to be only one elective assembly for the whole province.
Much of Penn’s work has vanished, for in the political constitution of his colony experience and the practical teaching of necessity proved too strong for theory. But one monument of his practical judgment and foresight abides. Alone among the leaders of English colonisation in the seventeenth century, he can claim to be a city-founder. That dignity, the result of symmetry and spaciousness, in which Philadelphia ranks above any city of its own age and kind, are largely due to Penn’s wise choice of a site and to his systematic construction.
It w'as inevitable that Penn’s colonial fortunes should sufier by the downfall of his patron James. There is no trace of any formal act of deprivation; but in 1692 Pennsylvania was included in the commission granted to Benjamin Fletcher as governor of New York. A better and a wiser man than Fletcher might have used the opportunity as a stepping-
1692-1701] Early history of Pennsylvania.
stone to some form of permanent union. A man of more pm-pose and concentration might have provoked a rebellion. Fletcher was arbitrary • and bratal, but there was very little continuity or definiteness of purpose in his tyranny; and his loose private life and gross oflBcial corruption constantly put him in the power of those whom he wished to oppress. In one important point the liberty of Pennsylvania gained by his appointment. Hitherto, as we have seen, the representatives of the people had no power of initiating legislation. Now, either through weakness or through ignorance of the preexisting constitution of the colony, Fletcher acquiesced in their exercise of that power. In 1694 Penn was restored to his proprietary rights. But the ground accidentally gained, as one may fairly say, by the Assembly under Fletcher was not lost; and their right of legislation was formally confirmed by an Act of Settlement approved by the Proprietor.
In 1699 Penn revisited the colony. Two years later a dispute broke out, the first of a long series arising from the same cause. Pennsylvania was called upon to contribute to the fortifications of New York. The Assembly might have anticipated the attitude so often taken up by its successors, and protested against military expenditm-e as inconsistent %vith the principles on which the colony was founded. It might have anticipated the attitude taken up seventy years later, and pleaded the right of self-taxation. It was content to take lower ground and to plead poverty. In Penn a statesmanlike Hew of the necessity for colonial defence was stronger than sectarian prejudice, and he remonstrated with his settlers, but to no effect.
Tlie dispute between the Territories and the main body of the colony had been temporarily patched up by a provision that the Assembly should meet alternately at Philadelphia and Newcastle. The colony now claimed that the Assembly when meeting at Newcastle should only legislate provisionally, such legislation to be confirmed at Philadelphia. The inhabitants of the Tenfitories not unnaturally re- sented this demand. This and other questions were settled in another charter superseding the previous one, and settling, so far as any such settlement could be final, the constitution of the colony. The chief points of difference in the new system were that provision was made for a possible increase in the number of representatives, and that the Territories were allowed, if they chose, to have a separate legislature. This was accepted. The two provinces formed part of the same pro- prietorship and were usually under the same governor, though with different commissions. In other respects they were distinct. At the same time Penn granted a charter of incorporation to the city of Philadelphia. That was his last official act. In 1701 he left the colony, never to return. His mental powers soon afterwards failed. A few years later we find him remonstrating with the Assembly for their attacks on the Proprietor’s secretary and staunch supporter, James
2'he colony of Newfoundland. [1610-1T20
Logan. After this date Penn disappears from the history of the colony which he had founded.
We have as vet said nothing of one portion of the New World occu- pied by Englishmen. Newfoundland may be looked upon as standing altogether beyond and apart from the colonial system which we have been considering. GeographicaUv, as is obvious, it is connected, not with those colonics which afterwards formed the United States, but with Canada and Nova Scotia. It differs from these, however, in that Great Britain acquired it. not by conquest and treat v, but by right of original and continuous occupation.
We have afready seen how Gilbert made an elaborate but unsuc- cessful attempt to colonise Newfoundland, and how, two generations later, Baltimore renewed the attempt, but without success. Another who acquired certain territorial rights in Newfoundland was Sir David Kirke, better known in connexion with the early history of Canada. Gradually small isolated settlements were formed by Englishmen in Newfoundland, similar to those formed in the territory which afterwards became Maine and New Hampshire. Perhaps the most important of these was one formed in 1610, under a regular patent from the Crown, by John Guy, a Bristol merchant. His attempts to enfoi-ce his rights of proprictoiship brought him into conflict with the west-country fishermen who resorted to the Island.
The first attempt to bring Newfoundland under one definite system of administration was made under the Long Parliament. In 1653 John Treworgie was appointed, by the Council of State, Commissioner for Newfoundland. This practically meant little more than superintendent of fisheries. After the Restoration there does not seem to have been any sustained attempt to exercise authority on the island; and the French were suffered in 1682 to establish a settlement called Placentia. Fortunately for Great Britain, the resources of France, both in popula- tion and capital, were already unequal to the demands of Canada. The French could take but little advantage of the foothold thus granted them by the indifference or treachery of Charles II and his advisers; and the English claim to Newfoundland was formally confirmed by the Treaty of Utrecht. It was not, however, tiU 1720 that the Crown, tardily following up the policy of the Protector, nominated a governor for the colony. He had authority to appoint Justices of the Peace, and he and they were boimd by the Common Law of England. But not tiU the nineteenth century was well advanced had Newfoundland a legislature of its owm.