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Title: The Life of George Washington, Vol. 1 (of 5)
       Commander in Chief of the American Forces During the War
       which Established the Independence of his Country and First
       President of the United States

Author: John Marshall

Release Date: June 15, 2006 [EBook #18591]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Linda Cantoni and David Widger



























[Illustration: General Washington

_From the full length portrait by John Trumbull at Yale University_

_This portrait is one of 54 canvasses the artist presented to Yale
University in return for an annuity of $1,000. Washington was in his
forty-third year and it is considered the best likeness of him at the
outbreak of the Revolution. The canvas depicts him, "six feet two
inches in height, with brown hair, blue eyes, large head and hands,
and strong arms."_]


In his will George Washington bequeathed to his favorite nephew,
Bushrod Washington, his personal letters, private papers and secret
documents accumulated during a lifetime of service to his country.
When the bequest became known, many of the literary men of the country
were proposed for the commission to write the authorized life of our
First President.

Bushrod Washington's choice fell upon John Marshall, Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court. To him he handed over all the precious papers left
him by his distinguished relative. George Washington and Marshall's
father, Thomas Marshall, were boyhood companions, so John Marshall
knew "the Father of His Country" as a neighbor and friend from his
earliest youth, and served under him in the Revolution.

If it be true that it takes a great man to interpret the life of a
great man then Bushrod Washington made no mistake in the selection of
a biographer. For Marshall, under the influence of Washington, came to
be nearly as great a man as the character whose life and achievements
held his deepest thought for nearly a quarter of a century. Certainly
his services to his country rank close to Washington's. Marshall's
sympathetic understanding of his subject, his first-hand knowledge of
events with his remarkable powers of expression qualified him to
produce the masterpiece that has come down to us.

Seven years were spent in preparing the first edition, published in
1804-07. The work was based chiefly on Washington's own diaries and
letters and secret archives and it told not simply the epic story of
this great life but the truth about the birth of our nation. Marshall
later spent fifteen years revising the first edition, verifying to the
last detail every chapter, page and paragraph of his monumental work.

The first edition, published by C.P. Wayne of Philadelphia, was an
achievement in beautiful printing and bookmaking and still stands out
today as such. The present publishers have followed the format of the
original edition but have used the revised text which Marshall spent
so many years in perfecting.

Washington's personality lives on in John Marshall's great biography.
He still has the power to raise up men to greatness as he did during
his lifetime. The precepts, the principles and the shining example of
this foremost of self-educated, self-made Americans have the power to
uplift and start toward new heights of achievement, all who come in
contact with him. The work is now reissued in the hope that it may
give his countrymen of the present day the benefit of the counsel, the
guidance and the inspiration that has proven so valuable in the past.

February 22nd, 1926.



A desire to know intimately those illustrious personages, who have
performed a conspicuous part on the great theatre of the world, is,
perhaps, implanted in every human bosom. We delight to follow them
through the various critical and perilous situations in which they
have been placed, to view them in the extremes of adverse and
prosperous fortune, to trace their progress through all the
difficulties they have surmounted, and to contemplate their whole
conduct, at a time when, the power and the pomp of office having
disappeared, it may be presented to us in the simple garb of truth.

If among those exalted characters which are produced in every age,
none can have a fairer claim to the attention and recollection of
mankind than those under whose auspices great empires have been
founded, or political institutions deserving to be permanent,
established; a faithful representation of the various important events
connected with the life of the favourite son of America, cannot be
unworthy of the general regard. Among his own countrymen it will
unquestionably excite the deepest interest.

As if the chosen instrument of Heaven, selected for the purpose of
effecting the great designs of Providence respecting this our western
hemisphere, it was the peculiar lot of this distinguished man, at
every epoch when the destinies of his country seemed dependent on the
measures adopted, to be called by the united voice of his fellow
citizens to those high stations on which the success of those measures
principally depended. It was his peculiar lot to be equally useful in
obtaining the independence, and consolidating the civil institutions,
of his country. We perceive him at the head of her armies, during a
most arduous and perilous war on the events of which her national
existence was staked, supporting with invincible fortitude the unequal
conflict. That war being happily terminated, and the political
revolutions of America requiring that he should once more relinquish
his beloved retirement, we find him guiding her councils with the same
firmness, wisdom, and virtue, which had, long and successfully, been
displayed in the field. We behold him her chief magistrate at a time
when her happiness, her liberty, perhaps her preservation depended on
so administering the affairs of the Union, that a government standing
entirely on the public favour, which had with infinite difficulty been
adopted, and against which the most inveterate prejudices had been
excited, should conciliate public opinion, and acquire a firmness and
stability that would enable it to resist the rude shocks it was
destined to sustain. It was too his peculiar fortune to afford the
brightest examples of moderation and patriotism, by voluntarily
divesting himself of the highest military and civil honours when the
public interests no longer demanded that he should retain them. We
find him retiring from the head of a victorious and discontented army
which adored him, so soon as the object for which arms had been taken
up was accomplished; and withdrawing from the highest office an
American citizen can hold, as soon as his influence, his character,
and his talents ceased to be necessary to the maintenance of that
government which had been established under his auspices.

He was indeed, "first in war,[1] first in peace, and first in the
hearts of his fellow citizens."

     [Footnote 1: The expressions of a resolution prepared by
     general Lee, and passed in the house of representatives of
     the United States, on their being informed of the death of
     general Washington.]

A faithful detail of the transactions of a person so pre-eminently
distinguished will be looked for with avidity, and the author laments
his inability to present to the public a work which may gratify the
expectations that have been raised. In addition to that just
diffidence of himself which he very sincerely feels, two causes beyond
his control combine to excite this apprehension.

Accustomed to look in the page of history for incidents in themselves
of great magnitude, to find immense exertions attended with
inconsiderable effects, and vast means employed in producing
unimportant ends, we are in the habit of bestowing on the recital of
military actions, a degree of consideration proportioned to the
numbers engaged in them. When the struggle has terminated, and the
agitations felt during its suspense have subsided, it is difficult to
attach to enterprises, in which small numbers have been concerned,
that admiration which is often merited by the talents displayed in
their execution, or that interest which belongs to the consequences
that have arisen from them.

The long and distressing contest between Great Britain and these
states did not abound in those great battles which are so frequent in
the wars of Europe. Those who expect a continued succession of
victories and defeats; who can only feel engaged in the movements of
vast armies, and who believe that a Hero must be perpetually in
action, will be disappointed in almost every page of the following
history. Seldom was the American chief in a condition to indulge his
native courage in those brilliant achievements to which he was
stimulated by his own feelings, and a detail of which interests,
enraptures, and astonishes the reader. Had he not often checked his
natural disposition, had he not tempered his ardour with caution, the
war he conducted would probably have been of short duration, and the
United States would still have been colonies. At the head of troops
most of whom were perpetually raw because they were perpetually
changing; who were neither well fed, paid, clothed, nor armed; and who
were generally inferior, even in numbers, to the enemy; he derives no
small title to glory from the consideration, that he never despaired
of the public safety; that he was able at all times to preserve the
appearance of an army, and that, in the most desperate situation of
American affairs, he did not, for an instant, cease to be formidable.
To estimate rightly his worth we must contemplate his difficulties. We
must examine the means placed in his hands, and the use he made of
those means. To preserve an army when conquest was impossible, to
avoid defeat and ruin when victory was unattainable, to keep his
forces embodied and suppress the discontents of his soldiers,
exasperated by a long course of the most cruel privations, to seize
with unerring discrimination the critical moment when vigorous
offensive operations might be advantageously carried on, are actions
not less valuable in themselves, nor do they require less capacity in
the chief who performs them, than a continued succession of battles.
But they spread less splendour over the page which recounts them, and
excite weaker emotions in the bosom of the reader.

There is also another source from which some degree of disappointment
has been anticipated. It is the impossibility of giving to the public
in the first part of this work many facts not already in their

The American war was a subject of too much importance to have remained
thus long unnoticed by the literary world. Almost every event worthy
of attention, which occurred during its progress, has been gleaned up
and detailed. Not only the public, but much of the private
correspondence of the commander in chief has been inspected, and
permission given to extract from it whatever might properly be
communicated. In the military part of this history, therefore, the
author can promise not much that is new. He can only engage for the
correctness with which facts are stated, and for the diligence with
which his researches have been made.

The letters to and from the commander in chief during the war, were
very numerous and have been carefully preserved. The whole of this
immensely voluminous correspondence has, with infinite labour, been
examined; and the work now offered to the public is, principally,
compiled from it. The facts which occurred on the continent are,
generally, supported by these letters, and it has therefore been
deemed unnecessary to multiply references to them. But there are many
facts so connected with those events, in which the general performed a
principal part, that they ought not to be omitted, and respecting
which his correspondence cannot be expected to furnish satisfactory

Such facts have been taken from the histories of the day, and the
authority relied on for the establishment of their verity has been
cited. Doddesly's Annual Register, Belsham, Gordon, Ramsay, and
Stedman have, for this purpose, been occasionally resorted to, and are
quoted for all those facts which are detailed in part on their
authority. Their very language has sometimes been employed without
distinguishing the passages, especially when intermingled with others,
by marks of quotation, and the author persuades himself that this
public declaration will rescue him from the imputation of receiving
aids he is unwilling to acknowledge, or of wishing, by a concealed
plagiarism, to usher to the world, as his own, the labours of others.

In selecting the materials for the succeeding volumes, it was deemed
proper to present to the public as much as possible of general
Washington himself. Prominent as he must be in any history of the
American war, there appeared to be a peculiar fitness in rendering him
still more so in one which professes to give a particular account of
his own life. His private opinions therefore; his various plans, even
those which were never carried into execution; his individual
exertions to prevent and correct the multiplied errors committed by
inexperience, are given in more minute detail; and more copious
extracts from his letters are taken, than would comport with the plan
of a more general work.

Many events too are unnoticed, which in such a composition would be
worthy of being introduced, and much useful information has not been
sought for, which a professed history of America ought to comprise.
Yet the history of general Washington, during his military command and
civil administration, is so much that of his country, that the work
appeared to the author to be most sensibly incomplete and
unsatisfactory, while unaccompanied by such a narrative of the
principal events preceding our revolutionary war, as would make the
reader acquainted with the genius, character, and resources of the
people about to engage in that memorable contest. This appeared the
more necessary as that period of our history is but little known to
ourselves. Several writers have detailed very minutely the affairs of
a particular colony, but the _desideratum_ is a composition which
shall present in one connected view, the transactions of all those
colonies which now form the United States.



Commission of Cabot.... His voyage to America.... Views of discovery
relinquished by Henry VII.... Resumed by Elizabeth.... Letters patent
to Sir Humphry Gilbert.... His voyages and death.... Patent to Sir
Walter Raleigh.... Voyage of Sir Richard Grenville.... Colonists
carried back to England by Drake.... Grenville arrives with other
colonists.... They are left on Roanoke Island.... Are destroyed by the
Indians.... Arrival of John White.... He returns to England for
succour.... Raleigh assigns his patent.... Patent to Sir Thomas Gates
and others.... Code of laws for the proposed colony drawn up by the


Voyage of Newport.... Settlement at Jamestown.... Distress of
colonists.... Smith.... He is captured by the Indians.... Condemned to
death, saved by Pocahontas.... Returns to Jamestown.... Newport
arrives with fresh settlers.... Smith explores the Chesapeake.... Is
chosen president.... New charter.... Third voyage of Newport.... Smith
sails for Europe.... Condition of the colony.... Colonists determine
to abandon the country.... Are stopped by Lord Delaware.... Sir Thomas
Dale.... New charter.... Capt. Argal seizes Pocahontas.... She marries
Mr. Rolf.... Separate property in lands and labour.... Expedition
against Port Royal.... Against Manhadoes.... Fifty acres of land for
each settler.... Tobacco.... Sir Thomas Dale.... Mr. Yeardley....
First assembly.... First arrival of females.... Of convicts.... Of
African slaves.... Two councils established.... Prosperity of the
colony.... Indians attempt to massacre the whites.... General war....
Dissolution of the company.... Arbitrary measures of the crown.... Sir
John Harvey.... Sir William Berkeley.... Provincial assembly
restored.... Virginia declares in favour of Charles II.... Grant to
Lord Baltimore.... Arrival of a colony in Maryland.... Assembly
composed of freemen.... William Claybourne.... Assembly composed of
representatives.... Divided into two branches.... Tyrannical


First ineffectual attempts of the Plymouth company to settle the
country.... Settlement at New Plymouth.... Sir Henry Rosewell and
company.... New charter.... Settlements prosecuted vigorously....
Government transferred to the colonists.... Boston founded....
Religious intolerance.... General court established.... Royal
commission for the government of the plantations.... Contest with the
French colony of Acadie.... Hugh Peters.... Henry Vane.... Mrs.
Hutchison.... Maine granted to Gorges.... Quo warranto against the
patent of the colony.... Religious dissensions.... Providence
settled.... Rhode Island settled.... Connecticut settled.... War with
the Pequods.... New Haven settled.


Massachusetts claims New Hampshire and part of Maine.... Dissensions
among the inhabitants.... Confederation of the New England
colonies.... Rhode Island excluded from it.... Separate chambers
provided for the two branches of the Legislature.... New England takes
part with Parliament.... Treaty with Acadie.... Petition of the
non-conformists.... Disputes between Massachusetts and Connecticut....
War between England and Holland.... Machinations of the Dutch at
Manhadoes among the Indians.... Massachusetts refuses to join the
united colonies in the war.... Application of New Haven to Cromwell
for assistance.... Peace with the Dutch.... Expedition of Sedgewic
against Acadie.... Religious intolerance.


Transactions succeeding the restoration of Charles II.... Contests
between Connecticut and New Haven.... Discontents in Virginia....
Grant to the Duke of York.... Commissioners appointed by the crown....
Conquest of the Dutch settlements.... Conduct of Massachusetts to the
royal commissioners.... Their recall.... Massachusetts evades a
summons to appear before the King and council.... Settlement of
Carolina.... Form of government.... Constitution of Mr. Locke....
Discontents in the county of Albemarle.... Invasion from Florida....
Abolition of the constitution of Mr. Locke.... Bacon's rebellion....
His death.... Assembly deprived of judicial power.... Discontents in
Virginia.... Population of the colony.


Prosperity of New England.... War with Philip.... Edward Randolph
arrives in Boston.... Maine adjudged to Gorges.... Purchased by
Massachusetts.... Royal government erected in New Hampshire....
Complaints against Massachusetts.... Their letters patent
cancelled.... Death of Charles II.... James II. proclaimed.... New
commission for the government of New England.... Sir Edmond Andros....
The charter of Rhode Island abrogated.... Odious measures of the new
government.... Andros deposed.... William and Mary proclaimed....
Review of proceedings in New York and the Jerseys.... Pennsylvania
granted to William Penn.... Frame of government.... Foundation of
Philadelphia laid.... Assembly convened.... First acts of the
legislature.... Boundary line with Lord Baltimore settled.


New charter of Massachusetts.... Affairs of New York.... War with
France.... Schenectady destroyed.... Expedition against Port Royal....
Against Quebec.... Acadie recovered by France.... Pemaquid taken....
Attempt on St. Johns.... Peace.... Affairs of New York.... Of
Virginia.... Disputes between England and France respecting boundary
in America.... Recommencement of hostilities.... Quotas of the
respective colonies.... Treaty of neutrality between France and the
five nations.... Expedition against Port Royal.... Incursion into
Massachusetts.... Plan for the invasion of Canada.... Port Royal
taken.... Expedition against Quebec.... Treaty of Utrecht.... Affairs
of New York.... Of Carolina.... Expedition against St. Augustine....
Attempt to establish the Episcopal church.... Invasion of the
colony.... Bills of credit issued.... Legislature continues itself....
Massacre in North Carolina by the Indians.... Tuscaroras defeated....
Scheme of a Bank.


Proceedings of the legislature of Massachusetts.... Intrigues of the
French among the Indians.... War with the savages.... Peace....
Controversy with the governor.... Decided in England.... Contests
concerning the governor's salary.... The assembly adjourned to
Salem.... Contest concerning the salary terminated.... Great
depreciation of the paper currency.... Scheme of a land bank....
Company dissolved by act of Parliament.... Governor Shirley
arrives.... Review of transactions in New York.


War with the southern Indians.... Dissatisfaction of Carolina with the
proprietors.... Rupture with Spain.... Combination to subvert the
proprietary government.... Revolution completed.... Expedition from
the Havanna against Charleston.... Peace with Spain.... The
proprietors surrender their interest to the crown.... The province
divided.... Georgia settled.... Impolicy of the first regulations....
Intrigues of the Spaniards with the slaves of South Carolina....
Insurrection of the slaves.


War declared against Spain.... Expedition against St. Augustine....
Georgia invaded.... Spaniards land on an island in the Alatamaha....
Appearance of a fleet from Charleston.... Spanish army re-embarks....
Hostilities with France.... Expedition against Louisbourg....
Louisbourg surrenders.... Great plans of the belligerent powers....
Misfortunes of the armament under the duke D'Anville.... The French
fleet dispersed by a storm.... Expedition against Nova Scotia....
Treaty of Aix la Chapelle.... Paper money of Massachusetts
redeemed.... Contests between the French and English respecting
boundaries.... Statement respecting the discovery of the
Mississippi.... Scheme for connecting Louisiana with Canada....
Relative strength of the French and English colonies.... Defeat at the
Little Meadows.... Convention at Albany.... Plan of union.... Objected
to both in America and Great Britain.


General Braddock arrives.... Convention of governors and plan of the
campaign.... French expelled from Nova Scotia, and inhabitants
transplanted.... Expedition against fort Du Quesne.... Battle of
Monongahela.... Defeat and death of General Braddock.... Expedition
against Crown Point.... Dieskau defeated.... Expedition against
Niagara.... Frontiers distressed by the Indians.... Meeting of the
governors at New York.... Plan for the campaign of 1756.... Lord
Loudoun arrives.... Montcalm takes Oswego.... Lord Loudoun abandons
offensive operations.... Small-pox breaks out in Albany.... Campaign
of 1757 opened.... Admiral Holbourne arrives at Halifax.... Is joined
by the earl of Loudoun.... Expedition against Louisbourg
relinquished.... Lord Loudoun returns to New York.... Fort William
Henry taken.... Controversy between Lord Loudoun and the assembly of


Preparations for the campaign of 1758.... Admiral Boscawen and General
Amherst arrive at Halifax.... Plan of the campaign.... Expedition
against Louisbourg, Ticonderoga, and Crown Point.... General
Abercrombie repulsed under the walls of Ticonderoga.... Fort
Frontignac taken.... Expedition against Fort Du Quesne....
Preparations for the campaign of 1759.... General Amherst succeeds
General Abercrombie.... Plan of the campaign.... Ticonderoga and Crown
Point taken.... Army goes into winter quarters.... French repulsed at
Oswego.... Defeated at Niagara.... Niagara taken.... Expedition
against Quebec.... Check to the English army.... Battle on the Plains
of Abraham.... Death of Wolfe and Montcalm.... Quebec capitulates....
Garrisoned by the English under the command of General Murray....
Attempt to recover Quebec.... Battle near Sillery.... Quebec besieged
by Monsieur Levi.... Siege raised.... Montreal capitulates.... War
with the southern Indians.... Battle near the town of Etchoe.... Grant
defeats them and burns their towns.... Treaty with the Cherokees....
War with Spain.... Success of the English.... Peace.


Opinions on the supremacy of parliament, and its right to tax the
colonies.... The stamp act.... Congress at New York.... Violence in
the towns.... Change of administration.... Stamp act repealed....
Opposition to the mutiny act.... Act imposing duties on tea, &c.,
resisted in America.... Letters from the assembly of Massachusetts to
members of the administration.... Petition to the King.... Circular
letter to the colonial assemblies.... Letter from the Earl of
Hillsborough.... Assembly of Massachusetts dissolved.... Seizure of
the Sloop Liberty.... Convention at Fanueil Hall.... Moderation of its
proceedings.... Two British regiments arrive at Boston.... Resolutions
of the house of Burgesses of Virginia.... Assembly dissolved.... The
members form an association.... General measures against
importation.... General court convened in Massachusetts.... Its
proceedings.... Is prorogued.... Duties, except that on tea,
repealed.... Circular letter of the earl of Hillsborough.... New York
recedes from the non-importation agreement in part.... Her example
followed.... Riot in Boston.... Trial and acquittal of Captain


Insurrection in North Carolina.... Dissatisfaction of
Massachusetts.... Corresponding-committees.... Governor Hutchinson's
correspondence communicated by Dr. Franklin.... The assembly petition
for his removal.... He is succeeded by General Gage.... Measures to
enforce the act concerning duties.... Ferment in America.... The tea
thrown into the sea at Boston.... Measures of Parliament.... General
enthusiasm in America.... A general congress proposed.... General Gage
arrives.... Troops stationed on Boston neck.... New counsellors and
judges.... Obliged to resign.... Boston neck fortified.... Military
stores seized by General Gage.... Preparations for defence.... King's
speech.... Proceedings of Parliament.... Battle of Lexington....
Massachusetts raises men.... Meeting of Congress.... Proceedings of
that body.... Transactions in Virginia.... Provincial congress of
South Carolina.... Battle of Breed's hill.



     Commission of Cabot.... His voyage to America.... Views of
     discovery relinquished by Henry VII.... Resumed by
     Elizabeth.... Letters patent to Sir Humphry Gilbert.... His
     voyages and death.... Patent to Sir Walter Raleigh....
     Voyage of Sir Richard Grenville.... Colonists carried back
     to England by Drake.... Grenville arrives with other
     colonists.... They are left on Roanoke Island.... Are
     destroyed by the Indians.... Arrival of John White.... He
     returns to England for succour.... Raleigh assigns his
     patent.... Patent to Sir Thomas Gates and others.... Code of
     laws for the proposed colony drawn up by the King.

The United States of America extend, on the Atlantic, from the bay of
Passamaquoddi in the 45th, to Cape Florida in the 25th, degree of
north latitude; and thence, on the gulf of Mexico, including the small
adjacent islands to the mouth of the Sabine, in the 17th degree of
west longitude from Washington. From the mouth of the Sabine to the
Rocky mountains, they are separated from Spanish America by a line
which pursues an irregular north-western direction to the 42d degree
of north latitude, whence it proceeds west, to the Pacific. On the
north they are bounded by the British provinces; from which, between
the Lake of the Woods and the Rocky, or Stony mountains, they are
separated by the 49th parallel of north latitude. Their northern
boundary, west of these mountains, has not yet been adjusted.

The extent of this vast Republic, in consequence of its recent
acquisition of almost unexplored territory, has not yet been
accurately ascertained; but may be stated at two millions of square

Its population, which began on the Atlantic, and is travelling rapidly
westward, amounted in 1820, according to the census of that year, to
nine millions six hundred and fifty-four thousand four hundred and
fifteen persons. The enumerations which have been made under the
authority of government, show an augmentation of numbers at the rate
of about thirty-four _per centum_[2] in ten years; and it is probable,
that for many years to come, this ratio will not be materially

     [Footnote 2: The general estimate in the United States is,
     that their population doubles in twenty-five years.]

Public sentiment, to which the policy of the government conforms, is
opposed to a large military establishment; and the distance of the
United States from the great powers of the world, protects them from
the danger to which this policy might otherwise expose them.

The navy has become an object of great interest to the nation, and may
be expected to grow with its resources. In April 1816, Congress passed
an act appropriating one million of dollars annually, to its gradual
increase; and authorising the construction of nine ships, to rate not
less than seventy-four guns each, and of twelve, to rate not less than
forty-four guns each.

The execution of this act is in rapid progress. Inconsiderable as the
navy now is, with respect to the number and force of its ships, it is
deemed inferior to none in existence for the bravery and skill of its
officers and men. When we take into view the extensive sea coast of
the United States, the magnificent lakes, or inland seas, which form a
considerable part of their northern frontier, the abundance of their
materials for ship building, and the genius of their population for
maritime enterprise, it is not easy to resist the conviction that this
bulwark of defence will, at no very distant period, attain a size and
strength sufficient to ensure the safety of the nation and the respect
of the world.

The net revenue of the United States amounted, in the year 1822, to
considerably more than twenty millions of dollars; and, unless a
course of legislation unfavourable to its augmentation be adopted,
must grow with their population.

In arts, in arms, and in power, they have advanced, and are advancing,
with unexampled rapidity.

The history of their progress, from the first feeble settlements made
by Europeans on a savage coast, to their present state of greatness;
while it has just claims to the attention of the curious of all
nations, may be expected deeply to interest every American.

[Sidenote: Commission of Cabot.]

Soon after the return of Columbus from that memorable voyage which
opened the vast regions of the west to civilized man, the maritime
states of Europe manifested a desire to share with Spain, the glory,
the wealth, and the dominion to be acquired in the new world. By no
one of these states, was this desire carried into action more promptly
than by England, Henry VII. had received communications from Columbus,
during the tedious and uncertain negotiations of that great man, at
the dilatory court of Ferdinand, which prepared him for the important
discoveries afterwards made, and inclined him to countenance the
propositions of his own subjects for engaging in similar adventures.
On the 5th of March 1495, he granted a commission to John Cabot, an
enterprising Venetian who had settled in Bristol, and to his three
sons, Lewis, Sebastian, and Sanctius, empowering them, or either of
them, to sail under the banner of England, towards the east, north, or
west, in order to discover countries unoccupied by any Christian
state, and to take possession of them in his name.

[Sidenote: His voyage to America.]

It does not appear that the expedition contemplated at the date of
this commission was prosecuted immediately; but in May 1496, Cabot,
with his second son, Sebastian, sailed from Bristol in a small
squadron, consisting of one ship furnished by the King, and four barks
fitted out by merchants of that city; and, steering almost due west,
discovered the islands of Newfoundland and St. Johns, and, soon
afterward, reached the continent of North America, along which he
sailed from the fifty-sixth to the thirty-eighth degree of north
latitude, in the vain hope of discovering a passage into the Pacific.

Thus, according to the English historians, was first discovered that
immense continent which stretches from the gulf of Mexico as far north
as has yet been explored; and to this voyage, the English trace their
title to the country they afterwards acquired by settlement, and by

France, which has since contested with Britain the possession of a
considerable portion of this important territory, has also advanced
claims to its discovery; but they seem not to be well founded.

[Sidenote: The scheme of making settlements relinquished.]

The ardour which had been excited in the bosom of Henry for making
acquisitions in the new world, expired with this first effort. Cabot,
on his return, found that monarch entirely disinclined to the farther
prosecution of a scheme in which he had engaged with some zeal, the
commencement of which had been attended with encouraging appearances.

Several causes are supposed to have contributed to suspend the
pursuits of the English in America. Previous to its discovery, the
Portuguese had explored the Azores, or Western Islands; in consequence
of which they claimed this continent, and contended for the exclusion
of the Spaniards from the Western Ocean. The controversy was decided
by the Pope, who, on the 7th of May 1493, of his own "mere liberality
and certain knowledge, and the plenitude of apostolic authority,"
granted to Spain, the countries discovered or to be discovered by her,
to the westward of a line to be drawn from pole to pole, a hundred
leagues west of the Azores; (excepting such countries as might be in
the possession of any other Christian prince antecedent to the year
1493;) and to Portugal, her discoveries eastward of that line.

The validity of this grant was probably strengthened, in the opinion
of Henry, by other circumstances. He set a high value on the
friendship of the King of Spain, with whom he was then negotiating the
marriage which afterwards took place between his eldest son and
Catharine, the daughter of that monarch. Ferdinand was jealous to
excess of all his rights; and Henry was not inclined to interrupt the
harmony subsisting between the two crowns, by asserting claims to the
country discovered by Cabot, which was obviously within the limits to
which the pretensions of Spain extended.

[Sidenote: Renewed by Elizabeth.]

The fisheries of Newfoundland were carried on by individuals, to a
considerable extent, and a paltry traffic was continued with the
natives; but no serious design of acquiring territory, and planting
colonies in America was formed until the reign of Elizabeth, when a
plan for making permanent settlements was proposed and patronized by
several persons of rank and influence. To select a man qualified for
this arduous task, and disposed to engage in it, was among the first
objects to which their attention was directed. Sir Humphry Gilbert had
rendered himself conspicuous by his military services, and by a
treatise concerning the north-west passage, in which great ingenuity
and learning, are stated by Dr. Robertson, to be mingled with the
enthusiasm, the credulity, and sanguine expectation which incite men
to new and hazardous undertakings. On this gentleman the adventurers
turned their eyes, and he was placed at the head of the enterprise. On
the 11th of June 1578, he obtained letters patent from the Queen,
vesting in him the powers that were required; on receiving which, he,
with the associates of his voyage, embarked for America. But his
success did not equal his expectations. The various difficulties
inseparable from the settlement of a distant, unexplored country,
inhabited only by savages; the inadequacy of the supplies which could
be furnished for a colony by the funds of a few private individuals;
the misfortune of having approached the continent too far towards the
north, where the cold barren coast of Cape Breton was rather
calculated to repel than invite a settlement; have been assigned as
the probable causes of his failure.[3]

     [Footnote 3: Robertson. Chalmer.]

Two expeditions conducted by this gentleman ended disastrously. In the
last, he himself perished; having done nothing farther in the
execution of his patent, than taking possession of the island of
Newfoundland, in the name of Elizabeth.

Sir Walter Raleigh, alike distinguished by his genius, his courage,
and the severity of his fate, had been deeply interested in the
adventures in which his half brother, Sir Humphry Gilbert, had wasted
his fortune, and was not deterred by their failure, or by the
difficulties attending such an enterprise, from prosecuting with
vigour, a plan so well calculated to captivate his bold and romantic


[Sidenote: Patent to Sir Walter Raleigh.]

On the 26th of March, he obtained a patent from the Queen; and, on the
27th of April, dispatched two small vessels under the command of
captains Amidas and Barlow for the purpose of visiting the country,
and of acquiring some previous knowledge of those circumstances which
might be essential to the welfare of the colony he was about to plant.
To avoid the error of Gilbert in holding too far north, Amidas and
Barlow took the route by the Canaries, and the West India islands, and
approached the North American continent towards the gulf of Florida.
On the 2d of July, they touched at a small island situate on the inlet
into Pamplico sound, whence they proceeded to Roanoke, near the mouth
of Albemarle sound.


[Sidenote: Voyage of Sir Richard Grenville.]

After employing a few weeks in traffic with the Indians, from whom
they collected some confused accounts respecting the neighbouring
continent, they took with them two of the natives, who willingly
accompanied them, and embarked for England, where they arrived on the
15th of September. The splendid description which they gave of the
soil, the climate, and the productions of the country they had
visited, so pleased Elizabeth, that she bestowed on it the name of
Virginia, as a memorial that it had been discovered during the reign
of a virgin Queen.[4] Raleigh, encouraged by their report to hasten
his preparations for taking possession of the property, fitted out a
squadron consisting of seven small ships, laden with arms, ammunition,
provisions, and passengers, which sailed from Plymouth on the 9th of
April, under the command of Sir Richard Grenville, who was his
relation, and interested with him in the patent. Having taken the
southern route, and wasted some time in cruising against the
Spaniards, Sir Richard did not reach the coast of North America, until
the close of the month of June. He touched at both the islands on
which Amidas and Barlow had landed, and made some excursions into
different parts of the continent around Pamplico, and Albemarle

     [Footnote 4: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]

[Sidenote: First colony.]

Having established a colony, consisting of one hundred and eight
persons, in the island of Roanoke, an incommodious station, without
any safe harbour, he committed the government of it to Mr. Ralph Lane;
and, on the 25th of August, sailed for England.[5]

     [Footnote 5: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]


[Sidenote: Colonists carried back to England by Drake.]

An insatiate passion for gold, attended by an eager desire to find it
in the bowels of the earth, for a long time the disease of Europeans
in America, became the scourge of this feeble settlement. The English
flattered themselves that the country they had discovered could not be
destitute of those mines of the precious metals with which Spanish
America abounded. The most diligent researches were made in quest of
them; and the infatuating hope of finding them stimulated the
colonists to the utmost exertions of which they were capable. The
Indians soon discerned the object for which they searched with so much
avidity, and amused them with tales of rich mines in countries they
had not yet explored. Seduced by this information, they encountered
incredible hardships, and, in this vain search wasted that time which
ought to have been employed in providing the means of future
subsistence. Mutual suspicion and disgust between them and the natives
ripened into open hostility; and, the provisions brought from England
being exhausted, they were under the necessity of resorting for food
to the precarious supplies which could be drawn from the rivers and
woods. In this state of distress, they were found, in June, by Sir
Francis Drake, who was then returning from a successful expedition
against the Spaniards in the West Indies. He agreed to supply them
with about one hundred men, four months' provisions, and a small
vessel; but, before she could be brought into a place of security, and
the men and stores disembarked, she was driven out to sea by a sudden
and violent storm. Discouraged by this misfortune, and worn out with
fatigue and famine, the colonists unanimously determined to abandon
the colony, and were, at their own request, taken on board the fleet
which sailed for England.[6]

     [Footnote 6: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith. Smith.]

Thus terminated the first English colony planted in America. The only
acquisition made by this expensive experiment, was a better knowledge
of the country and its inhabitants.

[Sidenote: Grenville plants a second colony.]

[Sidenote: Destroyed by the Indians.]

A few days after the departure of Drake with Lane and his associates,
a small vessel which had been dispatched by Raleigh with a supply of
provisions, reached its place of destination. Not finding the
colonists, this vessel returned to England. Soon after its departure,
Sir Richard Grenville arrived with three ships and ample supplies.
Having searched in vain for the colonists he had left, and being
unable to conjecture their fate, he placed fifteen men in the island
with provisions for two years, for the purpose of retaining possession
of the country, and returned to England. This small party was soon
destroyed by the Indians.


Not discouraged by the ill success which had thus far attended his
efforts to make a settlement in America, Raleigh, in the following
year, fitted out three ships under the command of captain John White,
and, it is said, directed the colony to be removed to the waters of
the Chesapeake, which bay had been discovered by Lane in the preceding
year. Instructed by calamity, he adopted more efficacious means for
preserving and continuing the colony than had before been used. The
number of men was greater; they were accompanied by some women, and
their supply of provisions was more abundant. Mr. White was appointed
their governor, twelve assistants were assigned him as a council, and
a charter incorporating them by the name of the governor and
assistants of the city of Raleigh in Virginia, was granted them.

[Sidenote: Third colony arrives.]

Thus prepared for a permanent settlement, they arrived in July at
Roanoke, where they received the melancholy intelligence of the loss
of their countrymen who had been left there by Sir Richard Grenville.
They determined, however, to remain at the same place, and began to
make the necessary preparations for their accommodation. Aware of the
danger to be apprehended from the hostile disposition of their
neighbours, they endeavoured to effect a reconciliation with the
natives, one of whom, who had accompanied Amidas and Barlow to
England, and who was distinguished by his unshaken attachment to the
English, was christened, and styled Lord of _Dassa Monpeake_, an
Indian nation in the neighbourhood.[7]

     [Footnote 7: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith. Smith.]

About the same time the first child of English parentage was born in
America. She was the daughter of Ananias Dare, and, after the place of
her birth, was named _Virginia_.


Soon perceiving their want of many things essential to the
preservation, and comfortable subsistence of a new settlement, the
colonists, with one voice, deputed their governor, to solicit those
specific aids which their situation particularly and essentially
required. On his arrival in England, he found the whole nation alarmed
at the formidable preparations for their invasion, made by Philip II.
of Spain; and Raleigh, Grenville, and the other patrons of the colony,
ardently engaged in those measures of defence which the public danger
demanded. Mingling, however, with his exertions to defend his native
country, some attention to the colony he had planted, Raleigh found
leisure to fit out a small fleet for its relief, the command of which
was given to Sir Richard Grenville; but, the apprehensions from the
Spanish armament still increasing, the ships of force prepared by
Raleigh were detained in port by order of the Queen, and Sir Richard
Grenville was commanded not to leave Cornwall, where his services were
deemed necessary. On the 22d of April, White put to sea with two small
barks, but, instead of hastening to the relief of his distressed
countrymen, wasted his time in cruising; and, being beaten by a
superior force, was totally disabled from prosecuting his voyage.[8]

     [Footnote 8: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith. Smith.]


[Sidenote: Raleigh assigns his patent.]

The attention of Raleigh being directed to other more splendid
objects, he assigned his patent to Sir Thomas Smith and a company of
merchants in London.


[Sidenote: Third colony lost.]

After this transfer, a year was permitted to elapse before any effort
was made for the relief of the colony. In March, three ships fitted
out by the company, in one of which Mr. White embarked, sailed from
Plymouth; but, having cruelly and criminally wasted their time in
plundering the Spaniards in the West Indies, they did not reach
Hatteras until the month of August. They fired a gun to give notice of
their arrival, and sent a party to the place where the colony had been
left; but no vestige of their countrymen could be found. In attempting
the next day to go to Roanoke, one of the boats, in passing a bar, was
half filled with water, another was overset, and six men were drowned.
Two other boats were fitted out with nineteen men to search the island
thoroughly on which the colony had been left.

At the departure of Mr. White, it was in contemplation to remove about
fifty miles into the country; and it had been agreed that, should the
colonists leave the island, they would carve the name of the place to
which they should remove, on some tree, door, or post; with the
addition of a cross over it, as a signal of distress, if they should
be really distressed at the time of changing their situation. After
considerable search, the word CROATAN was found carved in fair capital
letters on one of the chief posts, but unaccompanied by the sign of
distress which had been agreed on.

Croatan was the name of an Indian town on the north side of Cape
Lookout, and for that place, the fleet weighed anchor the next day.
Meeting with a storm, and several accidents, they were discouraged
from proceeding on their voyage, and, determining to suspend their
search, returned to the West Indies.

The company made no farther attempt to find these lost colonists; nor
has the time or the manner of their perishing ever been discovered.[9]

     [Footnote 9: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]


[Sidenote: Voyage of Gosnald.]

The subsequent voyages made by the English to North America were for
the sole purpose of traffic, and were unimportant in their
consequences, until the year 1602, when one was undertaken by
Bartholomew Gosnald, which contributed greatly to the revival of the
then dormant spirit of colonising in the new world. He sailed from
Falmouth in a small bark with thirty-two men; and steering nearly
west, reached the American continent, on the 11th of May, in about
forty-three degrees of north latitude.

Finding no good harbour at this place, Gosnald put to sea again and
stood southward. The next morning, he descried a promontory which he
called cape Cod, and, holding his course along the coast as it
stretched to the south-west, touched at two islands, the first of
which he named Martha's Vineyard, and the second, Elizabeth's Island.
Having passed some time at these places, examining the country, and
trading with the natives, he returned to England.[10]

     [Footnote 10: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]

This voyage was completed in less than four months, and was attended
with important consequences. Gosnald had found a healthy climate, a
rich soil, good harbours, and a route which shortened considerably the
distance to the continent of North America. He had seen many of the
fruits known and prized in Europe, blooming in the woods; and had
planted European grain which grew rapidly. Encouraged by this
experiment, and delighted with the country, he formed the resolution
of transporting thither a colony, and of procuring the co-operation of
others by whom his plan might be supported. So unfortunate however had
been former attempts of this sort, that men of wealth and rank, though
strongly impressed by his report of the country, were slow in giving
full faith to his representations, and in entering completely into his
views. One vessel was fitted out by the merchants of Bristol, and
another by the earl of Southampton, and Lord Arundel of Wardour, in
order to learn whether Gosnald's account of the country was to be
considered as a just representation of its state, or as the
exaggerated description of a person fond of magnifying his own
discoveries. Both returned with a full confirmation of his veracity,
and with the addition of so many new circumstances in favour of the
country, as greatly increased the desire of settling it.

Richard Hackluyt, prebendary of Westminster, a man of distinguished
learning and intelligence, contributed more than any other by his
judicious exertions, to form an association sufficiently extensive,
powerful, and wealthy, to execute the often renewed, and often
disappointed project of establishing colonies in America.

At length, such an association was formed; and a petition was
presented to James I., who had succeeded to the crown of England,
praying the royal sanction to the plan which was proposed. That
pacific monarch was delighted with it, and immediately acceded to the
wishes of its projectors.

[Sidenote: Patent to Sir Thomas Gates and others.]

On the 10th of April, letters patent were issued under the great seal
of England, to the petitioners, Sir Thomas Gates and his associates,
granting to them those territories in America, lying on the sea coast,
between the 34th and 45th degrees of north latitude, and which either
belonged to that monarch, or were not then possessed by any other
Christian prince or people; and also the islands adjacent thereto, or
within one hundred miles thereof. They were divided, at their own
desire, into two companies. One, consisting of certain knights,
gentlemen, merchants, and other adventurers of the city of London, and
elsewhere, was called the first colony, and was required to settle
between the 34th and 41st degrees of north latitude; the other,
consisting of certain knights, gentlemen, merchants, and other
adventurers of Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, and elsewhere, was named the
second colony, and was ordered to settle between the 38th and 45th
degrees of north latitude; yet so that the colony last formed should
not be planted within one hundred miles of the prior establishment.

The adventurers were empowered to transport so many English subjects
as should be willing to accompany them, who, with their descendants,
were, at all times, to enjoy the same liberties, within any other
dominions of the crown of England, as if they had remained, or were
born, within the realm. A council consisting of thirteen, to be
appointed and removed at the pleasure of the crown, was established
for each colony, to govern it according to such laws as should be
given under the sign manual and privy seal of England.

Two other boards to consist also of thirteen persons each, and to be
appointed by the King, were invested with the superior direction of
the affairs of the colonies.

The adventurers were allowed to search for, and open mines of gold,
silver, and copper, yielding one-fifth of the two former metals, and
one-fifteenth of the last, to the King; and to make a coin which
should be current both among the colonists and natives.

The president and council were authorised to repel those who should,
without their authority, attempt to settle, or trade, within their
jurisdiction, and to seize, and detain the persons, and effects, of
such intruders, until they should pay a duty of two and one-half _per
centum ad valorem_, if subjects, but of five _per centum_ if aliens.
These taxes were to be applied, for twenty-one years, to the use of
the adventurers, and were afterwards to be paid into the royal

[Sidenote: Code of laws for the colony drawn up by the King.]

While the council for the patentees were employed in making
preparations to secure the benefits of their grant, James was
assiduously engaged in the new, and, to his vanity, the flattering
task of framing a code of laws for the government of the colonies
about to be planted. Having at length prepared this code, he issued it
under the sign manual, and privy seal of England. By these
regulations, he vested the general superintendence of the colonies, in
a council in England, "composed of a few persons of consideration and
talents." The church of England was established. The legislative and
executive powers within the colonies, were vested in the president and
councils; but their ordinances were not to touch life or member, were
to continue in force only until made void by the King, or his council
in England for Virginia, and were to be in substance, consonant to the
laws of England. They were enjoined to permit none to withdraw the
people from their allegiance to himself, and his successors; and to
cause all persons so offending to be apprehended, and imprisoned until
reformation; or, in cases highly offensive, to be sent to England to
receive punishment. No person was to be permitted to remain in the
colony without taking the oath of obedience. Tumults, mutiny, and
rebellion, murder, and incest, were to be punished with death; and for
these offences, the criminal was to be tried by a jury. Inferior
crimes were to be punished in a summary way, at the discretion of the
president and council.

Lands were to be holden within the colony as the same estates were
enjoyed in England. Kindness towards the heathen was enjoined; and a
power reserved to the King, and his successors to ordain farther laws,
so that they were consonant to the jurisprudence of England.[11]

     [Footnote 11: Robertson.]

Under this charter, and these laws, which manifest, at the same time,
a total disregard of all political liberty, and a total ignorance of
the real advantages which a parent state may derive from its colonies;
which vest the higher powers of legislation in persons residing out of
the country, not chosen by the people, nor affected by the laws they
make, and yet leave commerce unrestrained; the patentees proceeded to
execute the arduous and almost untried task of peopling a strange,
distant, and uncultivated land, covered with woods and marshes, and
inhabited only by savages easily irritated, and when irritated, more
fierce than the beasts they hunted.


     Voyage of Newport.... Settlement at Jamestown.... Distress
     of colonists.... Smith.... He is captured by the Indians....
     Condemned to death, saved by Pocahontas.... Returns to
     Jamestown.... Newport arrives with fresh settlers.... Smith
     explores the Chesapeake.... Is chosen president.... New
     charter.... Third voyage of Newport.... Smith sails for
     Europe.... Condition of the colony.... Colonists determine
     to abandon the country.... Are stopped by Lord Delaware....
     Sir Thomas Dale.... New charter.... Capt. Argal seizes
     Pocahontas.... She marries Mr. Rolf.... Separate property in
     lands and labour.... Expedition against Port Royal....
     Against Manhadoes.... Fifty acres of land for each
     settler.... Tobacco.... Sir Thomas Dale.... Mr. Yeardley....
     First assembly.... First arrival of females.... Of
     convicts.... Of African slaves.... Two councils
     established.... Prosperity of the colony.... Indians attempt
     to massacre the whites.... General war.... Dissolution of
     the company.... Arbitrary measures of the crown.... Sir John
     Harvey.... Sir William Berkeley.... Provincial assembly
     restored.... Virginia declares in favour of Charles II....
     Grant to Lord Baltimore.... Arrival of a colony in
     Maryland.... Assembly composed of freemen.... William
     Clayborne.... Assembly composed of representatives....
     Divided into two branches.... Tyrannical proceedings.

The funds immediately appropriated to the planting of colonies in
America, were inconsiderable, and the early efforts to accomplish the
object, were feeble.

The first expedition for the southern colony consisted of one vessel
of a hundred tons, and two barks, carrying one hundred and five men,
destined to remain in the country.


[Sidenote: Voyage of Newport.]

The command of this small squadron was given to captain Newport, who,
on the 19th of December, sailed from the Thames. Three sealed packets
were delivered to him, one addressed to himself, a second to captain
Bartholomew Gosnald, and the third to captain John Radcliffe,
containing the names of the council for this colony. These packets
were accompanied with instructions directing that they should be
opened, and the names of his Majesty's council proclaimed, within
twenty-four hours after their arrival on the coast of Virginia, and
not before. The council were then to proceed to the choice of a
president, who was to have two votes. To this unaccountable
concealment have those dissensions been attributed, which distracted
the colonists on their passage, and which afterwards impeded the
progress of their settlement.[12]

     [Footnote 12: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]


[Sidenote: Is driven into the Chesapeake.]

Newport, whose place of destination was Roanoke, took the circuitous
route by the West India islands, and had a long passage of four
months. The reckoning had been out for three days, and serious
propositions had been made for returning to England, when a fortunate
storm drove him to the mouth of the Chesapeake. On the 26th of April,
he descried cape Henry, and soon afterward cape Charles. A party of
about thirty men, which went on shore at cape Henry, was immediately
attacked by the natives, and, in the skirmish which ensued, several
were wounded on both sides.

{May 13th.}

The first act of the colonists was the selection of a spot for their
settlement. They proceeded up a large river, called by the natives
Powhatan, and agreed to make their first establishment upon a
peninsula, on its northern side. In compliment to their sovereign,
this place was named Jamestown, and the river was called James. Having
disembarked, and opened the sealed packets brought from England, the
members of the council proceeded to the election of a president, and
Mr. Wingfield was chosen. But, under frivolous pretexts, they excluded
from his seat among them, John Smith, one of the most extraordinary
men of his age, whose courage and talents had excited their envy.
During the passage, he had been imprisoned on the extravagant charge
of intending to murder the council, usurp the government, and make
himself king of Virginia.[13]

     [Footnote 13: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]

The first indications of a permanent settlement in their country, seem
to have excited the jealousy of the natives. Displeased with the
intrusion, or dissatisfied with the conduct of the intruders, they
soon formed the design of expelling, or destroying, these unwelcome
and formidable visitors. In execution of this intention, they attacked
the colonists suddenly, while at work, and unsuspicious of their
hostility; but were driven, terrified, into the woods by the fire from
the ship. On the failure of this attempt, a temporary accommodation
was effected.

Newport, though named of the council, had been ordered to return to
England. As the time of his departure approached, the accusers of
Smith, attempting to conceal their jealousy by the affectation of
humanity, proposed that he also should return, instead of being
prosecuted in Virginia; but, with the pride of conscious innocence, he
demanded a trial; and, being honourably acquitted, took his seat in
the council.

About the 15th of June, Newport sailed for England, leaving behind him
one of the barks, and about one hundred colonists. While he remained,
they had partaken of the food allowed the sailors; but after his
departure, they were reduced to the necessity of subsisting on the
distributions from the public stores, which had sustained great damage
during their long passage. These were both scanty, and unwholesome;
the allowance to each man, for a day, being only a pint of worm-eaten
wheat and barley. This wretched food increased the malignity of the
diseases generated by the climate, among men exposed to all its
rigours. Before the month of September, fifty of the company were
buried; among whom was Bartholomew Gosnald, who had planned the
expedition, and had contributed greatly towards its prosecution. Their
distress was increased by internal dissension. The president was
charged with embezzling the best stores of the colony, and with
feasting at his private table, on beef, bread, and _aqua vitae_, while
famine and death devoured his fellow adventurers. The odium against
him was completed by the detection of an attempt to escape from them
and their calamities, in the bark which had been left by Newport. In
the burst of general indignation which followed the discovery of this
meditated desertion, he was deposed, and Radcliffe chosen to succeed

     [Footnote 14: Stith. Smith.]

As misfortune is not unfrequently the parent of moderation and
reflection, this state of misery produced a system of conduct towards
the neighbouring Indians, which, for the moment, disarmed their
resentments, and induced them to bring in such supplies as the country
afforded at that season. It produced another effect of equal
importance. A sense of imminent and common danger called forth those
talents which were fitted to the exigency, and compelled submission to
them. On captain Smith, who had preserved his health unimpaired, his
spirits unbroken, and his judgment unclouded, amidst this general
misery and dejection, all eyes were turned, and in him, all actual
authority was placed by common consent. His example soon gave energy
to others.

He erected such rude fortifications as would resist the sudden attacks
of the savages, and constructed such habitations as, by sheltering the
survivors from the weather, contributed to restore and preserve their
health, while his own accommodation gave place to that of all others.
In the season of gathering corn, he penetrated into the country at the
head of small parties, and by presents and caresses to those who were
well disposed, and by attacking with open force, and defeating those
who were hostile, he obtained abundant supplies.

While thus actively and usefully employed abroad, he was not permitted
to withdraw his attention from the domestic concerns of the colony.
Incapacity for command is seldom accompanied by a willingness to
relinquish power; and it will excite no surprise that the late
president saw, with regret, another placed above him. As unworthy
minds most readily devise unworthy means, he sought, by intriguing
with the factious, and fomenting their discontents, to regain his lost
authority; and when these attempts were disconcerted, he formed a
conspiracy with some of the principal persons in the colony, to escape
in the bark, and thus to desert the country. The vigilance of Smith
detected these machinations, and his vigour defeated them.[15]

     [Footnote 15: Stith.]

[Sidenote: Smith is captured by the Indians,]

[Sidenote: is condemned to death,]

[Sidenote: saved by Pocahontas.]

The prospect which now presented itself of preserving the colony in
quiet and plenty, until supplies could be received from England, was
obscured by an event which threatened, at first, the most disastrous
consequences. In attempting to explore Chiccahomini river to its
source, Smith was discovered and attacked by a numerous body of
Indians; and in endeavouring, after a gallant defence, to make his
escape, he sank up to his neck in a swamp, and was obliged to
surrender. The wonder and veneration which he excited by the
exhibition of a mariner's compass, saved him from immediate death. He
was conducted in triumph, through several towns, to the palace of
Powhatan, the most potent king in that part of the country, who doomed
him to be put to death by placing his head upon a stone, and beating
out his brains with a club. At the place of execution, with his head
bowed down to receive the blow, he was rescued from a fate which
appeared to be inevitable, by that enthusiastic and impassioned
humanity which, in every climate, and in every state of society, finds
its home in the female bosom. Pocahontas, the king's favourite
daughter, then about thirteen years of age, whose entreaties for his
life had been ineffectual, rushed between him and the executioner, and
folding his head in her arms, and laying hers upon it, arrested the
fatal blow. Her father was then prevailed upon to spare his life, and
he was sent back to Jamestown.[16]

     [Footnote 16: Stith.]

[Sidenote: Returns to Jamestown.]

On arriving at that place, after an absence of seven weeks, he found
the colony reduced to thirty-eight persons, who seemed determined to
abandon a country which appeared to them so unfavourable to human
life. He came just in time to prevent the execution of this design.
Alternately employing persuasion, threats, and even violence, he
induced the majority to relinquish their intention; then turning the
guns of the fort on the bark, on board which were the most determined,
he compelled her to remain, or sink in the river.[17]

     [Footnote 17: Stith.]

By a judicious regulation of intercourse with the Indians, over whom
he had gained considerable influence, he restored plenty to the
colony, and preserved it until the arrival of two vessels which had
been dispatched from England under the command of captain Newport,
with a supply of provisions and instruments of husbandry, and with a
reinforcement of one hundred and twenty persons, composed of many
gentlemen, several refiners, gold smiths, and jewellers, and a few

The influence of Smith disappeared with the danger which had produced
it, and was succeeded by an improvident relaxation of discipline,
productive of the most pernicious consequences.[18]

     [Footnote 18: Ibid.]

[Sidenote: A glittering earth mistaken for gold dust.]

About this time, a shining earth, mistaken by the colonists for gold
dust, was found in a small stream of water near Jamestown. Their
raging thirst for gold was re-excited by this incident. Smith, in his
History of Virginia, describing the frenzy of the moment, says, "there
was no thought, no discourse, no hope, and no work, but to dig gold,
wash gold, refine gold, and load gold. And, notwithstanding captain
Smith's warm and judicious representations how absurd it was to
neglect other things of immediate use and necessity, to load such a
drunken ship with gilded dust, yet was he overruled, and her returns
were made in a parcel of glittering dirt, which is to be found in
various parts of the country, and which they, very sanguinely,
concluded to be gold dust."


The two vessels returned laden, one with this dirt, and the other with
cedar. This is the first remittance ever made from America by an
English colony.

The effects of this fatal delusion were soon felt, and the colony
again began to suffer that distress, from scarcity of food, which had
before brought it, more than once, to the brink of ruin.

[Sidenote: Smith explores the Chesapeake.]

The researches of the English settlers had not yet extended beyond the
country adjacent to James river. Smith had formed the bold design of
exploring the great bay of Chesapeake, examining the mighty rivers
which empty into it, opening an intercourse with the nations
inhabiting their borders, and acquiring a knowledge of the state of
their cultivation and population. Accompanied by Doctor Russel, he
engaged in this hardy enterprise in an open boat of about three tons
burthen, and with a crew of thirteen men. On the 2d of June, he
descended the river in company with the last of Newport's two vessels,
and, parting with her at the capes, began his survey at cape Charles.
With great fatigue and danger, he examined every river, inlet, and
bay, on both sides of the Chesapeake, as far as the mouth of the
Rappahannock. His provisions being exhausted, he returned, and arrived
at Jamestown on the 21st of July. He found the colony in the utmost
confusion and disorder. All those who came last with Newport were
sick; the danger of famine was imminent; and the clamour against the
president was loud, and universal. The seasonable arrival of Smith
restrained their fury. The accounts he gave of his discoveries, and
the hope he entertained that the waters of the Chesapeake communicated
with the south sea,[19] extended their views and revived their
spirits. They contented themselves with deposing their president, and,
having in vain urged Smith to accept that office, elected his friend
Mr. Scrivener as vice president.

     [Footnote 19: This error might very possibly be produced by
     the Indians representing the great western lakes as seas.]

After employing three days in making arrangements for obtaining
regular supplies, and for the government of the colony, Smith again
sailed with twelve men, to complete his researches into the countries
on the Chesapeake.

From this voyage he returned on the seventh of September; having
advanced as far as the river Susquehannah, and visited all the
countries on both shores of the bay. He entered most of the large
creeks, sailed up many of the great rivers to their falls, and made
accurate observations on the extensive territories through which he
passed, and on the various tribes inhabiting them, with whom he,
alternately, fought, negotiated, and traded. In every situation, he
displayed judgment, courage, and that presence of mind which is
essential to the character of a commander; and never failed, finally,
to inspire the savages he encountered, with the most exalted opinion
of himself and of his nation.

When we consider that he sailed above three thousand miles in an open
boat; when we contemplate the dangers and the hardships he
encountered; when we reflect on the valuable additions he made to the
stock of knowledge respecting America; we shall not hesitate to say
that few voyages of discovery, undertaken at any time, reflect more
honour on those engaged in them. "So full and exact," says Dr.
Robertson, "are his accounts of that large portion of the American
continent comprehended in the two provinces of Virginia and Maryland,
that after the progress of information and research for a century and
a half, his map exhibits no inaccurate view of both countries, and is
the original, on which all subsequent delineations and descriptions
have been formed."[20]

     [Footnote 20: Dr. Robertson must allude to the country below
     the falls of the great rivers.]

[Illustration: Ruins of the Old Brick Church Built at Jamestown in

_Settled by the English in 1607, on the banks of the James River about
32 miles from its mouth, it was at Jamestown that the first
legislative assembly in America was held in 1619, and here in the same
year slavery was first introduced into the original thirteen colonies.
The site of the settlement, which was originally a peninsula, but is
now an island, is owned by the Association for the Preservation of
Virginia Antiquities. Besides the ruins of the church shown here those
of the fort and of two or three houses built more than a hundred years
before the Declaration of Independence was signed are still

[Sidenote: Is chosen president.]

On his return from this expedition, Smith was chosen president of the
council; and, yielding to the general wish, accepted the office. Soon
after, Newport arrived with an additional supply of settlers, among
whom were the two first females who adventured to the present colony;
but he came without provisions.

The judicious administration of the president, however, supplied the
wants of the colonists, and restrained the turbulent. Encouraged by
his example, and coerced by his authority, a spirit of industry and
subordination was created among them, which was the parent of plenty
and of peace.[21]

     [Footnote 21: Robertson. Chalmer.]


[Sidenote: New Charter.]

The company in England, though disappointed in the hope of discovering
a passage to the Pacific, and of finding mines of the precious metals,
still indulged in golden dreams of future wealth. To increase their
funds, as well as their influence and reputation, by the acquisition
of additional numbers, to explain and enlarge their powers and
privileges, and to ensure a colonial government conforming to their
own views and wishes, the company petitioned for a new charter, which
was granted on the 23d of May. Some of the first nobility and gentry
of the country, and most of the companies of London, with a numerous
body of merchants and tradesmen, were added to the former adventurers,
and they were all incorporated, by the name of "The treasurer and
company of adventurers of the city of London, for the first colony in
Virginia." To them were granted, in absolute property, the lands
extending from Cape or Point Comfort, along the sea coast, two hundred
miles to the northward, and from the same point, along the sea coast,
two hundred miles to the southward, and up into the land, throughout,
from sea to sea, west and north-west; and also all the islands lying
within one hundred miles of the coast of both seas of the precinct
aforesaid: to be holden as of the manor of East Greenwich, in free and
common soccage, and paying, in lieu of all services, one-fifth of the
gold and silver that should be found. The corporation was authorised
to convey, under its common seal, particular portions of these lands
to subjects or denizens, on such conditions as might promote the
intentions of the grant. The powers of the president and council in
Virginia were abrogated, and a new council in England was established,
with power to the company to fill all vacancies therein by election.
This council was empowered to appoint and remove all officers for the
colony, and to make all ordinances for its government, not contrary to
the laws of England; and to rule the colonists according to such
ordinances. License was given to transport to Virginia, all persons
willing to go thither, and to export merchandise free from customs for
seven years. There was also granted, for twenty-one years, freedom
from all subsidies in Virginia, and from all impositions on
importations and exportations from or to any of the King's dominions,
"except only the five pounds in the hundred due for customs." The
colonists were declared to be entitled to the rights of natural
subjects. The governor was empowered to establish martial law in case
of rebellion or mutiny; and, to prevent the superstitions of the
Church of Rome from taking root in the plantation, it was declared
that none should pass into Virginia, but such as shall have first
taken the oath of supremacy.[22]

     [Footnote 22: Charter.]

[Sidenote: Third voyage of Newport.]

The company, being thus enlarged, and enabled to take more effective
measures for the settlement of the country, soon fitted out nine
ships, with five hundred emigrants. Lord Delawar was constituted
governor and captain-general for life; and several other offices were
created. The direction of the expedition was again given to Newport;
to whom, and Sir Thomas Gates, and Sir George Somers, powers were
severally granted to supersede the existing administration, and to
govern the colony until the arrival of Lord Delawar. With singular
indiscretion, the council omitted to establish precedence among these
gentlemen; who, being totally unable to settle this important point
among themselves, agreed to embark on board the same vessel, and to be
companions during the voyage. They were parted from the rest of the
fleet in a storm, and driven on Bermudas; having on board one hundred
and fifty men, a great portion of the provisions destined for the
colony, and the new commission and instructions of the council. The
residue of the squadron arrived safely in Virginia.

"A great part of the new company," says Mr. Stith, "consisted of
unruly sparks, packed off by their friends to escape worse destinies
at home. And the rest were chiefly made up of poor gentlemen, broken
tradesmen, rakes and libertines, footmen, and such others as were much
fitter to spoil and ruin a Commonwealth, than to help to raise or
maintain one. This lewd company, therefore, were led by their
seditious captains into many mischiefs and extravagancies. They
assumed to themselves the power of disposing of the government, and
conferred it sometimes on one, and sometimes on another. To-day the
old commission must rule, to-morrow the new, and next day neither. So
that all was anarchy and distraction."

The judgment of Smith was not long suspended. With the promptness and
decision which belong to vigorous minds, he determined that his own
authority was not legally revoked until the arrival of the new
commission, and therefore resolved to continue its exercise. Incapable
of holding the reins of government with a feeble hand, he exhibited,
on this emergency, that energy and good sense which never deserted him
when the occasion required them. After imprisoning the chief promoters
of sedition, and thereby restoring regularity and obedience, he, for
the double purpose of extending the colony, and of preventing the
mischiefs to be apprehended from so many turbulent spirits collected
in Jamestown, detached one hundred men to the falls of James river,
under the command of West, and the same number to Nansemond, under
that of Martin. These persons conducted their settlements with so
little judgment, that they soon converted all the neighbouring Indians
into enemies. After losing several parties, they found themselves in
absolute need of the support and direction of Smith. These were
readily afforded, until a melancholy accident deprived the colony of
the aid of a man whose talents had, more than once, rescued it from
that desperate condition into which folly and vice had plunged it.
Returning from a visit to the detachment stationed at the falls of
James river, his powder bag took fire, while he was sleeping in the
boat, and, in the explosion, he was so severely wounded as to be
confined to his bed. Being unable to obtain the aid of a surgeon in
the colony, he embarked for England about the beginning of October.

[Sidenote: Smith returns to England.]

[Sidenote: State of the colony.]

At his departure, the colony consisted of about five hundred
inhabitants. They were furnished with three ships, seven boats,
commodities ready for trade, ten weeks' provision in the public
stores, six mares and a horse, a large stock of hogs and poultry, some
sheep and goats, utensils for agriculture, nets for fishing, one
hundred trained and expert soldiers well acquainted with the Indians,
their language and habitations, twenty-four pieces of ordnance, and
three hundred muskets, with a sufficient quantity of arms and

     [Footnote 23: Stith.]

The fair prospects of the colony were soon blasted by a course of
folly and crime, of riot and insubordination.

Numerous pretenders advanced their claims to the supreme command. The
choice at length fell upon captain Percy, who derived much
consideration from his virtues, as well as from his illustrious
family; but his talents, at no time equal to this new and difficult
station, were rendered still less competent to the task, by a long
course of ill health. Being generally confined by sickness to his bed,
he was incapable of maintaining his authority; and total confusion
ensued, with its accustomed baneful consequences.

The Indians, no longer awed by the genius and vigour of Smith,
attacked the colony on all sides. West and Martin, after losing their
boats and nearly half their men, were driven into Jamestown. The stock
of provisions was lavishly wasted; and famine added its desolating
scourge to their other calamities. After devouring the skins of their
horses, and the Indians they had killed, the survivors fed on those of
their companions who had sunk under such accumulated misery. The
recollection of these tremendous sufferings was long retained, and,
for many years, this period was distinguished by the name of THE

     [Footnote 24: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith. Beverly.]


In six months, the colony was reduced, by these distresses, to sixty
persons, who could not have survived ten days longer, when they were
relieved from this state of despair by the arrival of Sir Thomas
Gates, Sir George Somers, and Captain Newport, from Bermuda.

[Sidenote: They abandon the country.]

The determination to abandon the country was immediately taken, and
the wretched remnant of the colony embarked on board the vessels, and
sailed for England. "None dropped a tear," says Mr. Chalmer, "because
none had enjoyed one day of happiness."

[Sidenote: Stopped by Lord Delawar.]

Fortunately, they met Lord Delawar, who prevailed on them to return;
and, on the 10th of June, resettled them at Jamestown.


By mildness of temper, attention to business, and judicious exercise
of authority, this nobleman restored order and contentment to the
colony, and again impressed the Indians with respect for the English
name. Unfortunately, ill health obliged him to resign the government
which he placed in the hands of Mr. Percy, and sailed for the West
Indies, leaving in the colony about two hundred persons in possession
of the blessings of health, plenty, and peace.

[Sidenote: Sir Thomas Dale.]

On the 10th of May, Sir Thomas Dale, who had been appointed to the
government, arrived with a fresh supply of men and provisions, and
found the colony relapsing into a state of anarchy, idleness, and
want. It required all the authority of the new governor to maintain
public order, and to compel the idle and the dissolute to labour. Some
conspiracies having been detected, he proclaimed martial law, which
was immediately put in execution. This severity was then deemed
necessary, and is supposed to have saved the settlement.[25]

     [Footnote 25: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith. Beverly.]

In the beginning of August, Sir Thomas Gates, who had been appointed
to succeed Sir Thomas Dale, arrived with six ships, and a considerable
supply of men and provisions. After receiving this addition to its
numbers, the colony again extended itself up James river; and several
new settlements were made.


[Sidenote: New Charter.]

Extravagant accounts of the fertility of Bermuda having reached
England, the company became desirous of obtaining it as a place from
which Virginia might be supplied with provisions. Application was
therefore made to the crown for a new patent, to comprehend this
island; and, in March, a charter was issued, granting to the treasurer
and company all the islands situate in the ocean within three hundred
leagues of the coast of Virginia. By this charter, the corporation was
essentially new modelled. It was ordained that four general courts of
the adventurers should be holden annually, for the determination of
affairs of importance, and weekly meetings were directed, for the
transaction of common business. To promote the effectual settlement of
the plantation, license was given to open lotteries in any part of

     [Footnote 26: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith. Beverly.]

These lotteries, which were the first ever drawn in England, brought
twenty-nine thousand pounds into the treasury of the company. When
they were discontinued, in 1620, on the complaint of the House of
Commons, they were declared to have "supplied the real food by which
Virginia had been nourished."

[Sidenote: Captain Argal seizes Pocahontas.]

About this time an event took place which was followed by important
consequences to the colony. Provisions in Jamestown continuing to be
scarce, and supplies from the neighbouring Indians, with whom the
English were often at war, being necessarily uncertain, captain Argal,
with two vessels, was sent round to the Potowmac for a cargo of corn.
While obtaining the cargo, he understood that Pocahontas, who had
remained steadfast in her attachment to the English, had absented
herself from the home of her father, and lay concealed in the
neighbourhood. By bribing some of those in whom she confided Argal
prevailed on her to come on board his vessel, where she was detained
respectfully, and brought to Jamestown. He was induced to take this
step by the hope that the possession of Pocahontas would give the
English an ascendancy over her father, who was known to dote on her.
In this, however, he was disappointed. Powhatan offered corn and
friendship, if they would first restore his daughter, but, with a
loftiness of spirit which claims respect, rejected every proposition
for conciliation which should not be preceded by that act of

During her detention at Jamestown, she made an impression on the heart
of Mr. Rolf, a young gentleman of estimation in the colony, who
succeeded in gaining her affections. They were married with the
consent of Powhatan, who was entirely reconciled to the English by
that event, and continued, ever after, to be their sincere friend.
This connexion led also to a treaty with the Chiccahominies, a brave
and daring tribe, who submitted themselves to the English, and became
their tributaries.[27]

     [Footnote 27: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith. Beverly.]


About the same time, an important change took place in the internal
arrangements of the colony.

[Sidenote: Separate property in lands.]

Heretofore no separate property in lands had been acquired, and no
individual had laboured for himself. The lands had been held, cleared,
and cultivated in common, and their produce carried into a common
granary, from which it was distributed to all. This system was to be
ascribed, in some measure, to the unwise injunction contained in the
royal instructions, directing the colonists to trade together for five
years in one common stock. Its effect was such as ought to have been
foreseen. Industry, deprived of its due reward, exclusive property in
the produce of its toil, felt no sufficient stimulus to exertion, and
the public supplies were generally inadequate to the public
necessities. To remove this cause of perpetual scarcity, Sir Thomas
Dale divided a considerable portion of land into lots of three acres,
and granted one of them, in full property, to each individual.
Although the colonists were still required to devote a large portion
of labour to the public, a sudden change was made in their appearance
and habits. Industry, impelled by the certainty of recompense,
advanced with rapid strides; and the inhabitants were no longer in
fear of wanting bread, either for themselves, or for the emigrants
from England.[28]

     [Footnote 28: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith. Beverly.]


Early in the following year, Sir Thomas Gates returned to England,
leaving the government again with Sir Thomas Dale. This gentleman
detached captain Argal on an enterprise of which no immediate notice
was taken, but which was afterwards recollected with indignation.

The French, who had directed their course to the more northern parts
of the continent, had been among the first adventurers to North
America. Their voyages of discovery are of a very early date, and
their attempts to establish a colony were among the first which were
made. After several abortive efforts, a permanent settlement was made
in Canada, in the year 1604, and the foundation of Quebec was laid in
the year 1608. In November 1603, Henry IV. appointed De Mont
lieutenant-general of that part of the territory which he claimed,
lying in North America, between the 40th and 46th degrees of north
latitude, then called Acadie, with power to colonise and to rule it;
and he soon afterwards granted to the same gentleman and his
associates, an exclusive right to the commerce of peltry in Acadie and
the gulf of St. Lawrence. In consequence of these grants, a settlement
was formed in the subsequent year, on that coast, near the river St.
Croix; and in 1605, Port Royal was built on a more northern part of
the bay of Fundy.

The colony, receiving not much support from France, was feeble and
unprosperous, but retained quiet possession of the country. In a time
of profound peace, the expedition of Argal was directed against it. He
found it totally unprepared for defence. The inhabitants, who had
assiduously and successfully cultivated the friendship of the Indians,
were scattered abroad in the woods, engaged in their several pursuits;
and a ship and bark just arrived from France, laden with articles
necessary for the use of the colony, were surprised in port, and their
cargoes taken to Jamestown. After the departure of Argal, the French
resumed their former station.

The pretext for this predatory expedition was, that the French, by
settling in Acadie, had invaded the rights of the English, acquired by
the first discovery of the continent.

Argal also paid a visit to New York, then in possession of the Dutch;
which country he claimed under the pretext that captain Hudson was an
Englishman, and could not transfer the benefit of his discoveries from
his sovereign. He demanded possession of the place; and the Dutch
governor, being unable to resist, "peaceably submitted both himself
and his colony to the King of England, and the governor of Virginia
under him," and consented to pay a tribute. Argal then continued his
voyage to Jamestown. But another governor soon afterwards arriving
from Amsterdam with better means of asserting the title of his nation,
the payment of the tribute was refused, and the place put in a state
of defence.[29]

     [Footnote 29: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]

[Sidenote: Fifty acres of land laid off for each settler.]

The advantages resulting to the colony from allowing each individual
to labour, in part for himself, having soon become apparent, the
system of working in common to fill the public stores, seems to have
been totally relinquished; and, not long afterwards, fifty acres of
land, promised by the rules of the company to each emigrant, were
surveyed and delivered to those having the title.


[Sidenote: Tobacco.]

About the same time, tobacco was first cultivated in Virginia.

This plant, although detested by the King, who even wrote a pamphlet
against it, which he styled a _counter blast_; although
discountenanced by the leading members of parliament, and even by the
company, who issued edicts against its cultivation; although extremely
unpleasant to persons not accustomed to it, and disagreeable in its
effects, surmounted all opposition, and has, by an unaccountable
caprice, been brought into general use, and become one of the most
considerable staples of America.[30]

     [Footnote 30: Robertson.]


[Sidenote: Yeardly.]

In the spring of the following year, Sir Thomas Dale sailed for
England, leaving the government in the hands of Mr. George Yeardly,
who, after a lax administration of one year, was succeeded by captain


[Sidenote: Argal.]

Argal was a man of talents and energy, but selfish, haughty, and
tyrannical. He continued martial law during a season of peace; and a
Mr. Brewster, who was tried under this arbitrary system, for
contemptuous words spoken of the governor, was sentenced to suffer
death. He obtained with difficulty an appeal to the treasurer and
company in England, by whom the sentence was reversed.[31]

     [Footnote 31: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]

[Sidenote: Mr. Yeardly.]

While martial law was, according to Stith, the common law of the land,
the governor seems to have been the sole legislator. His general
edicts mark the severity of his rule. He ordered that merchandise
should be sold at an advance of twenty-five _per centum_, and tobacco
taken in payment at the rate of three shillings per pound, under the
penalty of three years' servitude to the company; that no person
should traffic privately with the Indians, or teach them the use of
fire arms, under pain of death; that no person should hunt deer or
hogs without the governor's permission; that no man should shoot,
unless in his own necessary defence, until a new supply of ammunition
should arrive, on pain of a year's personal service; that none should
go on board the ships at Jamestown, without the governor's leave; that
every person should go to church on Sundays and holidays, under the
penalty of slavery during the following week for the first offence,
during a month for the second, and during a year and a day for the
third. The rigour of this administration necessarily exciting much
discontent, the complaints of the Virginians at length made their way
to the company. Lord Delawar being dead, Mr. Yeardly was appointed
captain-general, with instructions to examine the wrongs of the
colonists, and to redress them.[32]

     [Footnote 32: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]


The new governor arrived in April, and soon after, to the
inexpressible joy of the inhabitants, declared his determination to
convoke a colonial assembly.

This is an important era in the history of Virginia. Heretofore, all
legislative authority had been exercised, either by the corporation in
England, or by their officers in the colony. The people had no voice,
either personally, or by their representatives, in the government of
themselves; and their most important concerns were managed by persons
often unacquainted with their situation, and always possessing
interests different from theirs. They now felicitated themselves on
having really the privileges of Englishmen.

[Sidenote: First colonial assembly.]

This first assembly met at Jamestown on the 19th of June. The colony
being not then divided into counties, the members were elected by the
different boroughs, amounting at that time to seven. From this
circumstance the popular branch of the legislature received the
appellation of the house of burgesses, which it retained until all
connexion with England was dissolved.

The assembly, composed of the governor, the council, and burgesses,
met together in one apartment, and there discussed the various matters
which came before them. The laws then enacted, which, it is believed,
are no longer extant, were transmitted to England for the approbation
of the treasurer and company.[33]

     [Footnote 33: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]

[Sidenote: First arrival of females,]


Although the emigrations from England continued to be considerable,
few females had crossed the Atlantic. Men without wives could not
consider their residence in the country as permanent, and must intend
after amassing some wealth, to return to their native land. To remove
this impediment to the population of the colony, ninety girls, of
humble fortune and spotless character, were transported by the company
to Virginia; and in the subsequent year, they were followed by sixty
of the same description. They were received by the young planters as a
blessing which substituted domestic happiness for the cheerless gloom
of solitude; and the face of the country was essentially changed.[34]
The prospect of becoming parents was accompanied with the anxieties
for the welfare of their children; and the education of youth soon
became an object of attention. The necessity of seminaries of learning
was felt, and several steps were taken towards founding the college,
afterwards established by William and Mary.

     [Footnote 34: Mr. Stith says the price for a wife was at
     first, one hundred, and afterwards, one hundred and fifty
     pounds of tobacco; and a debt so contracted was made of
     higher dignity than any other.]

[Sidenote: and of convicts.]

About the same time the company received orders from the King to
convey to Virginia one hundred idle and dissolute persons, then in
custody of the knight marshal. These were the first convicts
transported to America. The policy which dictated this measure was
soon perceived to be not less wise than it was humane. Men who, in
Europe, were the pests of the body politic, made an acceptable
addition to the stock of labour in the colony; and, in a new world,
where the temptations to crime seldom presented themselves, many of
them became useful members of society.


[Sidenote: African slaves.]

Heretofore the commerce of Virginia had been engrossed by the
corporation. In the year 1620, this distressing and unprofitable
monopoly was given up, and the trade was open to all. The free
competition produced by this change of system was of essential
advantage to the colony, but was the immediate cause of introducing a
species of population which has had vast influence on the past, and
may affect the future destinies of America, to an extent which human
wisdom can neither foresee nor control. A Dutch vessel, availing
itself of this commercial liberty, brought into James river twenty
Africans, who were immediately purchased as slaves.[35]

     [Footnote 35: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]

[Sidenote: Two councils established.]

In July, the company passed an ordinance establishing a frame of
government for the colony. This instrument provided that there should
be two supreme councils in Virginia, the one to be called the Council
of State, to be appointed and displaced by the treasurer and company,
and to assist the governor with advice on executive subjects; the
other to be denominated the General Assembly, and to consist of the
governor, the council of state, and burgesses; to be chosen for the
present, by the inhabitants of every town, hundred, or settlement, in
the colony, two for each. The assembly was empowered to enact general
laws for the government of the colony, reserving a negative to the
governor. Its acts were not to be in force until confirmed by the
general court in England, and the ratification returned under its
seal. On the other hand, no order of the general court was to bind the
colony until assented to by the assembly.


A controversy concerning the importation of tobacco into the European
dominions of the crown, which had for some time existed between the
King and the company, was, at length, adjusted.

The King had demanded high duties on that article, while he permitted
its importation from the dominions of Spain, and also restrained its
direct exportation from Virginia, to the warehouses of the company in
Holland, to which expedient his exactions had driven them. It was at
length agreed that they should enjoy the sole right of importing that
commodity into the kingdom, for which they should pay a duty of nine
pence per pound, in lieu of all charges, and that the whole production
of the colony should be brought to England.

[Sidenote: County courts.]

The industry, population, and produce of the colony, were now greatly
increased. At peace with the Indians, they had extended their
settlements to the Rappahannock and to the Potowmac. This change of
circumstances having rendered it inconvenient to bring all causes to
Jamestown before the governor and council, who had heretofore
exercised all judicial power in the country, inferior courts were
established, to sit in convenient places, in order to render justice
more cheap and accessible to the people. Thus originated the county
courts of Virginia.

[Sidenote: Indian conspiracy to massacre all the whites.]

In this year the cup of prosperity, which the colonists had begun to
taste, was dashed from their lips by an event which shook the colony
to its foundation. In 1618, Powhatan died, and was succeeded, in his
dominions and in his influence over all the neighbouring tribes, by
Opechancanough, a bold and cunning chief, as remarkable for his
jealousy and hatred of the new settlers, as for his qualifications to
execute the designs suggested by his resentments. He renewed, however,
the stipulations of Powhatan; and, for a considerable time, the
general peace remained undisturbed. The colonists, unsuspicious of
danger, observed neither the Indians nor their machinations. Engaged
entirely in the pursuits of agriculture, they neglected their military
exercises, and every useful precaution. Meanwhile, the Indians, being
often employed as hunters, were furnished with fire arms, and taught
to use them. They were admitted, at all times, freely into the
habitations of the English, as harmless visitants, were fed at their
tables, and lodged in their chambers. During this state of friendly
intercourse, the plan of a general massacre, which should involve man,
woman, and child, in indiscriminate slaughter, was formed with cold
and unrelenting deliberation. The tribes in the neighbourhood of the
English, except those on the eastern shore of the Chesapeak, who were
not trusted with the plan, were successively gained over; and,
notwithstanding the perpetual intercourse between them and the white
people, the most impenetrable secrecy was observed. So deep and dark
was their dissimulation, that they were accustomed to borrow boats
from the English to cross the river, in order to concert and mature
their execrable designs.

The 22d of March was designated as the day on which all the English
settlements were to be attacked. The better to disguise their
intentions, and to ensure success, they brought, in the preceding
evening, deer, turkies, and fish, as presents; and, even on the
morning of the massacre, came freely among the whites, behaving in
their usual friendly manner, until the very instant which had been
appointed for the commencement of the scene of carnage. The fatal hour
being arrived, they fell at once on every settlement, and murdered
without distinction of age or sex. So sudden was the execution of
their plan, that few perceived the weapons, or the approach of the
blow, which terminated their existence. Thus, in one hour, and almost
in the same instant, fell three hundred and forty-seven men, women and
children; most of them by their own plantation tools.

The massacre would have been still more complete, had not information
been given, the preceding night, to a Mr. Pace, by an Indian
domesticated in his house, and treated as a son, who, being pressed to
murder his benefactor, disclosed the plot to him. He immediately
carried the intelligence to Jamestown, and the alarm was given to some
of the nearest settlements, which were thereby saved. At some other
places, too, where the circumstances of the attack enabled the English
to seize their arms, the assailants were repulsed.

[Sidenote: General war.]

This horrible massacre was succeeded by a vindictive and exterminating
war, in which the wiles of the Indians were successfully retaliated on
themselves. During this disastrous period, many public works were
abandoned; the college institution was deserted; the settlements were
reduced from eighty to eight; and famine superadded its afflicting
scourge to the accumulated distresses of the colony.[36]

     [Footnote 36: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]

As soon as intelligence of these calamitous events reached England, a
contribution was made by the adventurers for the relief of the
sufferers; arms from the tower were delivered to the treasurer and
company; and several vessels were dispatched with those articles which
might best alleviate such complicated distress.

[Sidenote: Dissension and dissolution of the company.]

But the dissolution of the company was rapidly approaching. That
corporation contained many men of the first rank and talents in the
nation, who in their assemblies, were in habits of discussing the
measures of the crown with the accustomed freedom of a popular body.
Two violent factions, which assumed the regular appearance of court
and country parties, divided the company, and struggled for the
ascendancy. James endeavoured to give the preponderance to the court
party, but his endeavours were unsuccessful; and his failure disposed
him to listen to complaints against a corporation, whose deliberations
he found himself unable to control. To their mismanagement he ascribed
the slow progress made by the colony, and the heavy losses that had
been sustained.[37]

     [Footnote 37: _Ibid._]



[Sidenote: Colony taken into the hands of the King.]

After hearing both the corporation and their accusers, the privy
council determined to issue a commission, appointing persons to be
named by the crown, to inquire into the affairs of Virginia from the
earliest settlement of the province, and to report thereon to the
government. This commission seized the charters, books, and papers of
the company; and all letters and packets brought from the colony were
ordered to be laid unopened before the privy council. Their report
attributed the misfortunes of the colony to the corporation in
England; and James, at no time a friend to popular assemblies,
communicated to them his resolution to revoke the old charter and
grant a new one, which should respect private property, but place
power in fewer hands. The requisition that they should assent to this
proposition, and surrender their charter, was accompanied with the
information that the King was determined, in default of submission, to
take such proceedings for recalling their letters patent as might be
just. The company, however, resolutely determined to defend its
rights; whereupon a writ of _quo warranto_ was instituted in the court
of King's Bench, which was decided according to the wishes of the
monarch. The company was dissolved, and all its powers were revested
in the crown.

Above one hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling had been expended
in planting the colony; and more than nine thousand persons had been
sent from England to people it. Yet, at the dissolution of the
company, the annual imports from Virginia did not exceed twenty
thousand pounds in value, and the population of the country was
reduced to about eighteen hundred persons.

While these things were transacting in England, the war against the
Indians was prosecuted in the colony, with vigour and success. The
neighbouring hostile tribes were nearly exterminated, and were driven
entirely from the rivers, so that the settlements were extended in

In February, the general assembly was once more convened. The several
orders which had been previously made by the governor and council,
were enacted into laws; and form the oldest legislative rules of
action now remaining on record. Among them are various regulations
respecting the church of England. But the act best representing the
condition of the colonists, is a solemn declaration, "that the
governor should not impose any taxes on the colony, otherwise than by
the authority of the general assembly; and that he should not withdraw
the inhabitants from their private labour to any service of his own."
At this session, too, the privilege of exemption from arrest, while
the assembly was sitting, was extended to the burgesses. Several other
measures were adopted for the correction of abuses; and the laws of
that session, generally, are marked with that good sense and
patriotism, which are to be expected from men perfectly understanding
their own situation, and legislating for themselves.

From this assembly, the royal commissioners endeavoured, in vain, to
procure an address to the King, professing "their willingness to
submit themselves to his princely pleasure, in revoking the ancient
patents;" but a petition was agreed to and transmitted, acknowledging
their satisfaction at his having taken the plantation into his more
especial care, beseeching him to continue the then form of government,
to confirm to Virginia and the Somers isles, the sole importation of
tobacco, and soliciting that, if the promised aid of soldiers should
be granted them, the governor and assembly might have a voice in
directing their operations.

Virginia having thus become a royal government, the King issued a
special commission, appointing a governor and twelve councillors, to
whom the entire direction of the affairs of the province was
committed. No assembly was mentioned, nor was it intended to permit
the continuance of that body, for, to the popular shape of the late
system, James attributed the disasters of the colony. But some
attention to their interests, was mingled with this subversion of
political liberty. Yielding to the petitions of the English parliament
and of the colonists, he issued a proclamation prohibiting the growth
of tobacco in the kingdom, and the importation of it into England or
Ireland, except from Virginia, or the Somers isles, and in vessels
belonging to his subjects. His death prevented the completion of a
legislative code for the colony, which he had commenced, and which he
flattered himself, would remedy all the ills that had been

[Sidenote: Charles I.]

[Sidenote: Arbitrary measures of the crown.]


Charles I. adopted, in its full extent, the colonial system of his
father. He committed to Sir George Yeardly, whom he appointed governor
of Virginia, and to his council, the whole legislative and executive
powers of the colony, with instructions to conform exactly to orders
which should be received from him. They were empowered to make laws
and to execute them; to impose taxes, and to enforce the payment of
them; to seize the property of the late company; and to apply it to
the public use; and to transport the colonists to England, to be
punished there for crimes committed in Virginia. To complete this
hateful system, the crown exacted a monopoly of the tobacco trade, and
appointed agents, to whose management that article was entirely

     [Footnote 38: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]


[Sidenote: Sir John Harvey.]


The full pressure of these arbitrary regulations was not felt till Sir
John Harvey, on the Sir John death of Sir George Yeardly, was
appointed governor of Virginia. The mind of this gentleman is
represented by the historians of the day, as having been of a
structure to make even tyranny more odious. Rapacious, haughty, and
unfeeling, he exercised his powers in the most offensive manner.
Respect for his commission, suppressed opposition to his authority for
several years. Roused, at length, almost to madness by oppression, the
Virginians, in a fit of popular rage, seized their governor, and sent
him a prisoner to England, accompanied by two deputies charged with
the duty of representing their grievances, and his misconduct.


Charles deemed it necessary to discountenance this summary and violent
proceeding, so entirely incompatible with that implicit obedience
which he had ever exacted from his subjects. The deputies of the
colony were sternly received; no inquiry appears to have been made
into the conduct of Harvey; and, early in the succeeding year, he was
sent back to Virginia, invested with all his former powers.[39]

     [Footnote 39: Robertson. Chalmer. Stith.]

The time, however, approached, when a new system of administration was
to be adopted. The discontents of the nation, and his own wants,
obliged Charles to determine on convening a parliament. He was
probably unwilling to increase the ill temper resulting from his
maladministration at home, by bringing before the representatives of
the people, complaints of the despotism which had been exercised in

[Sidenote: Sir William Berkeley.]

[Sidenote: Provincial assembly restored.]

To this change of circumstances may be ascribed the appointment of Sir
William Berkeley to succeed Harvey as governor of Virginia. In almost
every respect, this gentleman was unlike his predecessor. Highly
respectable for his rank and abilities, he was still more
distinguished by his integrity, by the mildness of his temper, and by
the gentleness of his manners. To complete the satisfaction of the
colonists, he was empowered and directed to summon the burgesses of
all the plantations, to meet the governor and council in the general
assembly, and thereby to restore to the people their share in the
government. These changes had such an effect in Virginia that, when
afterward informed of a petition presented in the name of the assembly
to parliament, "praying for the restoration of the ancient patents,
and corporation government," the general assembly not only transmitted
an explicit disavowal of it, but sent an address to the King,
expressing their high sense of his favour towards them, and earnestly
desiring to continue under his immediate protection. During the civil
war, as well as after the establishment of the commonwealth, they
continued firm in their attachment to the royal family.


The House of Commons, however, having succeeded in the establishment
of its power over England, was not disposed to permit its authority to
be questioned in Virginia. An ordinance was passed, declaring that, as
the colonies were settled at the cost and by the people of England,
"they are and ought to be subordinate to, and dependent on, that
nation; and subject to such law and regulations as are or shall be
made by parliament. That in Virginia and other places, the powers of
government had been usurped by persons who had set themselves up in
opposition to the commonwealth, who were therefore denounced as rebels
and traitors; and all foreign vessels were forbidden to enter the
ports of any of the English settlements in America." As the men who
then governed were not in the habit of making empty declarations, the
council of state was empowered to send a fleet to enforce obedience to

     [Footnote 40: Robertson. Chalmer.]


Sir George Ayscue was accordingly detached with a powerful squadron,
and was instructed to endeavour, by gentle means, to bring the
colonists to obedience; but, if these failed, to use force, and to
give freedom to such servants and slaves of those who should resist,
as would serve in the troops under his command. After reducing
Barbadoes, and the other islands to submission, the squadron entered
the Chesapeak. Berkeley, having hired a few Dutch ships which were
then trading to Virginia, made a gallant resistance; but, unable long
to maintain so unequal a contest, he yielded to superior force, having
first stipulated for a general amnesty. He then withdrew to a retired
situation where, beloved and respected by the people, he resided as a
private man, until a counter revolution called him, once more, to
preside over the colony.[41]

     [Footnote 41: Robertson. Chalmer.]

After the revocation of the charter, it became more easy to obtain
large grants of land. This circumstance, notwithstanding the tyranny
of the provincial government, promoted emigration, and considerably
increased the population of the colony. At the commencement of the
civil war, Virginia was supposed to contain about twenty thousand

     [Footnote 42: Idem.]

[Sidenote: Charles II. proclaimed in Virginia.]

While the ordinance of 1650, forbidding all trade between the colonies
and foreign nations, was dispensed with in favour of republican New
England, it was rigorously enforced against the loyal colony of
Virginia. These restrictions were the more burdensome, because England
did not then furnish a sufficient market for all the produce, nor a
supply for all the wants of the colonies. This severity was not
calculated to detach the affections of the people from the royal
family. Their discontents were cherished, too, by the great number of
cavaliers who had fled to Virginia after the total defeat of their
party in England. Taking advantage of an interregnum occasioned by the
sudden death of governor Matthews, the people resolved to throw off
their forced allegiance to the commonwealth, and called on Sir William
Berkeley to resume the government. He required only their solemn
promise to venture their lives and fortunes with him in support of
their King. This being readily given, Charles II. was proclaimed in
Virginia, before intelligence had been received of the death of
Cromwell. His restoration was soon afterwards effected in England; and
this rash measure not only escaped chastisement, but became a
meritorious service of which Virginia long boasted, and which was not
entirely forgotten by the Prince.[43]

     [Footnote 43: Robertson. Chalmer.]

At the restoration, the colony contained about thirty thousand

One of the causes which, during the government of Harvey, had
disquieted Virginia, was the diminution of territory occasioned by
grants of great tracts of country lying within the limits of the
colony. The most remarkable of these was the grant of Maryland to Lord

[Sidenote: Maryland.]

In June 1632, Charles I. granted to that nobleman for ever, "that
region bounded by a line drawn from Watkin's Point on Chesapeak bay,
to the ocean on the east; thence, to that part of the estuary of
Delaware on the north, which lieth under the 40th degree, where New
England is terminated; thence, in a right line, by the degree
aforesaid, to the meridian of the fountain of the Potowmac; thence,
following its course, by the farther bank to its confluence." The
territory described in this grant was denominated Maryland, and was
separated entirely from Virginia. The proprietor was empowered, with
the assent of the freemen, or their delegates, whom he was required to
assemble for that purpose, to make all laws for the government of the
new colony, not inconsistent with the laws of England. Privileges, in
other respects analogous to those given to the other colonies, were
comprised in this charter; and it is remarkable that it contains no
clause obliging the proprietary to submit the laws which might be
enacted to the King, for his approbation or dissent; nor any
reservation of the right of the crown to interfere in the government
of the province.[44]

     [Footnote 44: Chalmer. Robertson.]

This is the first example of the dismemberment of a colony, and the
creation of another within its original limits, by the mere act of the


The first migration into the new colony consisted of about two hundred
gentlemen with their adherents, chiefly Roman Catholics, who sailed
from England under Calvert, the brother of the proprietor, in
November, and, early in the following year, landed in Maryland, near
the mouth of the Potowmac. Their first effort was to conciliate the
good will of the natives, whose town they purchased, and called St.
Mary's. This measure was as wise as it was just. By obtaining the
peaceable possession of land already prepared for cultivation, the
Marylanders were enabled to raise their food immediately; and this
circumstance, together with their neighbourhood to Virginia, where the
necessaries of life were then raised in abundance, secured them from
famine and its concomitant diseases;--afflictions which had swept away
such numbers of the first settlers of North America.

The inhabitants of Virginia presented a petition against the grant to
Lord Baltimore, which was heard before the privy council in July,
1633. The decision was in favour of the continuance of the patent;
leaving to the petitioners their remedy at law. To prevent farther
differences, free commerce was permitted between the colonies; and
they were enjoined to receive no fugitives from each other; to do no
act which might bring on a war with the natives; and on all occasions
to assist each other as became fellow subjects of the same state.


[Sidenote: Assembly of all the freemen.]


[Sidenote: William Clayborne.]

In February 1635, the first assembly of Maryland was convened. It
appears to have been composed of the whole body of the freemen. Their
acts were, most probably, not approved by the proprietor, who
transmitted, in turn, for their consideration, a code of laws prepared
by himself. This code was laid before the assembly who rejected it
without hesitation, and prepared a body of regulations adapted to
their situation. Among these was an act of attainder against William
Clayborne, who was charged with felony and sedition, with having
exercised the powers of government within the province without
authority, and with having excited the Indians to make war on the

     [Footnote 45: Chalmer.]

As early as the year 1631, Charles had granted a license to William
Clayborne, one of the council and secretary of state of Virginia, "to
traffic in those parts of America for which there is already no patent
granted for sole trade." To enforce this license, Harvey, then
governor of Virginia, had granted his commission also, containing the
same powers. Under this license and commission, Clayborne made a small
settlement in the isle of Kent, near Annapolis, which he continued to
claim; and refused to submit to the jurisdiction of Maryland. Not
content with infusing his own turbulent spirit into the inhabitants of
Kent island, he scattered jealousies among the natives, and persuaded
them that "the new comers" were Spaniards, and enemies of the
Virginians. Having been indicted, and found guilty of murder, piracy,
and sedition, he fled from justice; whereupon his estate was seized
and confiscated. Clayborne loudly denounced these proceedings as
oppressive, and complained of them to his sovereign. At the same time,
he prayed for a confirmation of his former license to trade, and for a
grant of other lands adjoining the isle of Kent, with power to govern
them. The lords commissioners of the colonies, to whom this subject
was referred, determined that the lands in question belonged to Lord
Baltimore; and that no plantation, or trade with the Indians, within
the limits of his patent, ought to be allowed, without his permission.
The other complaints made by Clayborne were not deemed proper for the
interference of government.


Hitherto, the legislature had been composed of the whole body of the
freemen. But the increase of population, and the extension of
settlements, having rendered the exercise of the sovereign power by
the people themselves intolerably burdensome, an act was passed, in
1639, "for establishing the House of Assembly." This act declared that
those elected should be called burgesses, and should supply the place
of the freemen who chose them, as do the representatives in the
Parliament of England. These burgesses, with others called by special
writ, together with the governor and secretary, were to constitute the
General Assembly; but the two branches of the legislature were to sit
in the same chamber. In 1650, this last regulation was changed; and an
act was passed declaring that those called by special writ should form
the upper house, while those chosen by the hundreds should compose the
lower house; and that bills assented to by both branches of the
legislature and by the governor, should be deemed the laws of the


Perfect harmony prevailed between the proprietor and the people; and
Maryland, attentive to its own affairs, remained in a state of
increasing prosperity until the civil war broke out in England. This
government, like that of Virginia, was attached to the royal cause;
but Clayborne, who took part with the Parliament, found means to
intrigue among the people, and to raise an insurrection in the
province. Calvert, the governor, was obliged to fly to Virginia for
protection; and the insurgents seized the reins of government. After
the suppression of this revolt, and the restoration of tranquillity,
an act of general pardon and oblivion was passed, from the benefits of
which only a few leading individuals were excepted; but this, like
most other insurrections, produced additional burdens on the people
which did not so soon pass away. A duty, for seven years, of ten
shillings on every hundred weight of tobacco exported in Dutch
bottoms, was granted to the proprietor; the one-half of which was
appropriated to satisfy claims produced by the recovery and defence of
the province.[46]

     [Footnote 46: Chalmer.]


This state of repose was disturbed by the superintending care of
Parliament. In September 1651, commissioners were appointed "for
reducing and governing the colonies within the bay of Chesapeak."
Among them was Clayborne, the evil genius of Maryland. As the
proprietor had acknowledged and submitted to the authority of
Parliament, he was permitted to govern the colony in the name of "the
keepers of the liberties of England;" but could not long retain the
possession of actual authority. The distractions of England, having
found their way into Maryland, divided the colonists; and the
commissioners supported with their countenance, the faction opposed to
the established government. The contentions generated by this state of
things, at length broke out in a civil war, which terminated in the
defeat of the governor and the Roman Catholics. A new assembly was
convened, which, being entirely under the influence of the victorious
party, passed an act declaring that none who professed the popish
religion could be protected in the province by the laws; that such as
profess faith in God by Jesus Christ, although dissenting from the
doctrine and discipline publicly held forth, should not be restrained
from the exercise of their religion, provided such liberty was not
extended to popery, or prelacy, or to such as, under the profession of
Christ, practise licentiousness. Other laws in the same spirit were
enacted; and a persecution was commenced against the Quakers, as well
as against those guilty of popery, and prelacy.

A scene of revolutionary turbulence ensued, in the course of which a
resolution was passed declaring the upper house to be useless, which
continued in force until the restoration. Philip Calvert was then
appointed governor by Lord Baltimore, and the ancient order of things
was restored. The colony, notwithstanding these commotions, continued
to flourish; and, at the restoration, its population was estimated at
twelve thousand souls.


     First ineffectual attempts of the Plymouth company to settle
     the country.... Settlement at New Plymouth.... Sir Henry
     Rosewell and company.... New charter.... Settlements
     prosecuted vigorously.... Government transferred to the
     colonists.... Boston founded.... Religious intolerance....
     General court established.... Royal commission for the
     government of the plantations.... Contest with the French
     colony of Acadie.... Hugh Peters.... Henry Vane.... Mrs.
     Hutchinson.... Maine granted to Gorges.... Quo warranto
     against the patent of the colony.... Religious
     dissensions.... Providence settled.... Rhode Island
     settled.... Connecticut settled.... War with the Piquods....
     New Haven settled.


The steps by which the first, or southern colony, advanced to a firm
and permanent establishment, were slow and painful. The company for
founding the second, or northern colony, was composed of gentlemen
residing in Plymouth, and other parts of the west of England; was less
wealthy, and possessed fewer resources than the first company, which
resided in the capital. Their efforts were consequently more feeble,
and less successful, than those which were made in the south.[47]

     [Footnote 47: Robertson.]




The first vessel fitted out by this company was captured and
confiscated by the Spaniards, who, at that time, asserted a right to
exclude the ships of all other nations from navigating the American
seas. Not discouraged by this misfortune, the company in the following
year dispatched two other vessels, having on board about two hundred
persons designed to form the proposed settlement. The colonists
arrived safely on the American coast in autumn, and took possession of
a piece of ground near the river Sagahadoc, where they built fort St.
George. Their sufferings during the ensuing winter were extreme. Many
of the company, among whom were Gilbert their admiral, and George
Popham their president, sank under the diseases by which they were
attacked; and the vessels which brought them supplies in the following
spring, brought also the information that their principal patron, Sir
John Popham, chief justice of England, was dead. Discouraged by their
losses and sufferings, and by the death of a person on whom they
relied chiefly for assistance, the surviving colonists determined to
abandon the country, and embark on board the vessels then returning to
England. The frightful pictures they drew of the country, and of the
climate, deterred the company, for some time, from farther attempts to
make a settlement, and their enterprizes were limited to voyages for
the purposes of taking fish, and of trading with the natives for furs.
One of these was made by captain Smith, so distinguished in the
history of Virginia. Having explored, with great accuracy, that part
of the coast which stretches from Penobscot to Cape Cod, he delineated
it on a map; which he presented to the young Prince of Wales, with
descriptions dictated by a sanguine mind, in which enthusiasm was
combined with genius. The imagination of the Prince was so wrought
upon by the glowing colours in which Smith painted the country, that
he declared it should be called New England, which name it has ever
since retained.[48]

     [Footnote 48: Robertson. Chalmer. Hutchison.]

The languishing company of Plymouth, however, could not be stimulated
to engage in farther schemes of colonisation, the advantages of which
were distant and uncertain, while the expense was immediate and
inevitable. To a stronger motive than even interest, is New England
indebted for its first settlement.

An obscure sect, which had acquired the appellation of Brownists from
the name of its founder, and which had rendered itself peculiarly
obnoxious by the democracy of its tenets respecting church government,
had been driven by persecution to take refuge at Leyden in Holland,
where its members formed a distinct society under the care of their
pastor, Mr. John Robinson. There they resided several years in safe
obscurity. This situation, at length, became irksome to them. Their
families intermingled with the Dutch, and they saw before them, with
extreme apprehension, the danger of losing their separate identity.
Under the influence of these and other causes, they came to the
determination of removing in a body to America.


They applied to the London company for a grant of lands; and, to
promote the success of their application by the certainty of their
emigrating, they said, "that they were well weaned from the delicate
milk of their mother country, and inured to the difficulties of a
strange land. That they were knit together in a strict and sacred
bond, by virtue of which they held themselves bound to take care of
the good of each other, and of the whole. That it was not with them,
as with other men, whom small things could discourage, or small
discontents cause to wish themselves at home again." The only
privilege on which they insisted, was a license under the great seal,
to practise and profess religion in that mode, which, under the
impulse of conscience, they had adopted. This reasonable and moderate
request was refused. James had already established the church of
England in Virginia; and, although he promised to connive at their
non-conformity, and not to molest them while they demeaned themselves
peaceably, he positively refused to give that explicit and solemn
pledge of security, which they required. This, for a short time,
suspended their removal; but the causes of their discontent in Holland
continuing, they, at length, determined to trust to the verbal
declarations of the King, and negotiated with the Virginia company for
a tract of land within the limits of their patent.[49]

     [Footnote 49: Robertson.]


[Sidenote: Settlement at New Plymouth.]

In September, they sailed from England, with only one hundred and
twenty men, in a single ship. Their destination was Hudson's river;
but the first land they made was Cape Cod. They soon perceived that
they were not only beyond their own limits, but beyond those of the
company from which they derived their title; but it was now the month
of November, and consequently too late in the season again to put to
sea in search of a new habitation. After exploring the coast, they
chose a position for their station, to which they gave the name of New
at New Plymouth. On the 11th of November, before landing, a solemn
covenant was signed by the heads of families, and freemen, in which,
after reciting that they had undertaken to plant a colony for the
glory of God, and for the honour of their King and country, and
professing their loyalty to their sovereign Lord King James, they
combined themselves into a body politic, for the purpose of making
equal laws for the general good.[50]

     [Footnote 50: Robertson. Chalmer. Hutchison.]

Having thus formed a compact, the obligation of which all admitted,
they proceeded to the choice of a governor for one year; and to enable
him the better to discharge the trust confided to him, they gave him
one assistant. In 1624, three others were added; and the number was
afterwards increased to seven. The supreme power resided in, and,
during the infancy of the colony, was exercised by, the whole body of
the male inhabitants. They assembled together, occasionally, to
determine on all subjects of public concern; nor was a house of
representatives established until the year 1639. They adopted the laws
of England as a common rule of action, adding occasionally municipal
regulations. Some of the changes in their penal code strongly marked
their character and circumstances. While only a moderate fine was
imposed on forgery, fornication was punished with whipping, and
adultery with death.[51]

     [Footnote 51: Robertson. Chalmer. Hutchison.]

Misguided by their religious theories, they fell into the same error
which had been committed in Virginia, and, in imitation of the
primitive Christians, threw all their property into a common stock,
laboured jointly for the common benefit, and were fed from the common
stores. This regulation produced, even in this small and enthusiastic
society, its constant effect. They were often in danger of starving;
and severe whipping, administered to promote labour, only increased

The colonists landed at a season of the year which was unfavourable to
the establishment of a new settlement. The winter, which was intensely
cold, had already commenced; and they were not in a condition to
soften its rigours. Before the return of spring, fifty of them
perished with maladies increased by the hardships to which they were
exposed, by the scarcity of food, and by the almost total privation of
those comforts to which they had been accustomed. The survivors, as
the season moderated, encountered new difficulties. Their attention to
the means of providing for their future wants was interrupted by the
necessity of taking up arms to defend themselves against the
neighbouring savages. Fortunately for the colonists, the natives had
been so wasted by pestilence, the preceding year, that they were
easily subdued, and compelled to accept a peace, on equitable terms.

The colonists were supported, under these multiplied distresses, by
the hope of better times, and by that high gratification which men
exasperated by persecution and oppression, derived from the enjoyment
of the rights of conscience, and the full exercise of the powers of
self-government. From their friends in England, they received
occasional but scanty supplies; and continued to struggle against
surrounding difficulties, with patience and perseverance. They
remained in peace, alike exempt from the notice and oppression of
government. Yet, in consequence of the unproductiveness of their soil,
and their adherence to the pernicious policy of a community of goods
and of labour, they increased more slowly than the other colonies;
and, in the year 1630, amounted to only three hundred souls.

Until the year 1630, they possessed no other title to their lands than
is derived from occupancy. In that year they obtained a grant from the
New Plymouth company, but were never incorporated as a body politic by
royal charter. Having received no powers from the parliament or King,
and being totally disregarded by the Plymouth company, they remained a
mere voluntary association, yielding obedience to laws, and to
magistrates, formed and chosen by themselves. In this situation they
continued undisturbed, and almost unknown, more tolerant and more
moderate than their neighbours, until their union with a younger, and
more powerful sister, who advanced with a growth unusually rapid to a
state of maturity.[52]

     [Footnote 52: Robertson. Chalmer. Hutchison.]

The original company of Plymouth, having done nothing effectual
towards settling the territory which had been granted to them, and
being unable to preserve the monopoly of their trade and fisheries,
applied to James for a new and more enlarged patent. On the 3d of
November, he granted that territory which lies between the 40th and
48th degrees of north latitude to the Duke of Lenox, the Marquis of
Buckingham, and several others, in absolute property; and incorporated
them under the name of "the council established at Plymouth, for
planting and governing that country called New England;" with
jurisdiction and powers similar to those which had before been
conferred on the companies of south and north Virginia, and especially
that of excluding all other persons whatever from trading within their
boundaries and fishing in the neighbouring seas. This improvident
grant, which excited the indignation of the people of England, then
deeply interested in the fur trade and fisheries, soon engaged the
attention, and received the censure of parliament. The patentees were
compelled to relinquish their odious monopoly; and, being thus
deprived of the funds on which they had relied to furnish the expense
of supporting new settlements, they abandoned the design of attempting
them. New England might have remained long unoccupied by Europeans,
had not the same causes, which occasioned the emigration of the
Brownists, still continued to operate. The persecution to which the
puritans were exposed, increased their zeal and their numbers. In
despair of obtaining at home a relaxation of those rigorous penal
statutes under which they had long smarted, they looked elsewhere for
that toleration which was denied them in their native land.
Understanding that their brethren in New Plymouth were permitted to
worship their creator according to the dictates of conscience, their
attention was directed towards the same coast; and several small
emigrations were made, at different times, to Massachusetts bay; so
termed from the name of the Sachem who was sovereign of the country.


[Sidenote: Sir Henry Rosewell and others.]

Mr. White, a non-conforming minister at Dorchester, formed an
association of several gentlemen, who had imbibed puritanical
opinions, for the purpose of conducting a colony to the bay of
Massachusetts, and rendering it an asylum for the persecuted of his
own persuasion. In prosecution of these views, a treaty was concluded
with the council of Plymouth for the purchase of part of New England;
and that corporation, in March 1627, sold to Sir Henry Rosewell and
others, all that part of New England lying three miles to the south of
Charles river, and three miles north of Merrimack river, and extending
from the Atlantic to the South sea. A small number of planters and
servants were, soon afterwards, dispatched under Endicot, who, in
September, laid the foundation of Salem, the first permanent town in

     [Footnote 53: Robertson. Chalmer. Hutchison.]


The purchasers perceived their inability to accomplish the settlement
of the extensive regions they had acquired, without the aid of more
opulent partners. These were soon found in the capital; but they
required that a new charter should be obtained from the crown,
comprehending their names, which should confirm the grant to the
council of Plymouth, and confer on the grantees the powers of
government. So seldom is man instructed by the experience of others,
that, disregarding the lessons furnished by Virginia, they likewise
required that the supreme authority should be vested in persons
residing in London. The proprietors having acceded to these
requisitions, application was made to Charles for a patent conforming
to them, which issued on the 4th day of March, 1628.

This charter incorporated the grantees by the name of "The governor
and company of Massachusetts bay in New England."

The whole executive power was vested in a governor, a deputy governor,
and eighteen assistants; to be named, in the first instance, by the
crown, and afterwards elected by the company. The governor, and seven,
or more, of the assistants, were authorised to meet in monthly courts,
for the dispatch of such business as concerned the company, or
settlement. The legislative power was vested in the body of the
proprietors, who were to assemble four times a year in person, under
the denomination of the general court; and besides electing freemen,
and the necessary officers of the company, were empowered to make
ordinances for the good of the community, and the government of the
plantation and its inhabitants; provided they should not be repugnant
to the laws of England. Their lands were to be holden in free and
common soccage; and the same temporary exemption from taxes, and from
duties on exports and imports, which had been granted to the colony of
Virginia, was accorded to them. As in the charter of Virginia, so in
this, the colonists and their descendants were declared to be entitled
to all the rights and privileges of natural born subjects.

The patent being obtained, the governor and council engaged with
ardour in the duties assigned them. To support the expenses of a fresh
embarkation, it was resolved that every person subscribing fifty
pounds, should be entitled to two hundred acres of land as the first
dividend. Five vessels sailed in May, carrying about two hundred
persons, who reached Salem in June. At that place they found Endicot,
to whom they brought a confirmation of his commission as governor. The
colony consisted of three hundred persons, one hundred of whom removed
to Charlestown.

Religion, which had stimulated them to remove from their native land,
became the first object of their care in the country they had adopted.
Being zealous puritans, they concurred in the institution of a church,
establishing that form of policy, which has since been denominated
independent. A confession of faith was drawn up to which the majority
assented; and an association was formed in which they covenanted with
the Lord, and with each other, to walk together in all his ways, as he
should be pleased to reveal himself to them. Pastors, and other
ecclesiastical officers, were chosen, who were installed into their
sacred offices, by the imposition of the hands of the brethren.[54]

     [Footnote 54: Robertson.]

A church being thus formed, several were received as members who gave
an account of their faith and hope as Christians; and those only were
admitted into the communion, whose morals and religious tenets were
approved by the elders.[55]

     [Footnote 55: Robertson.]


Pleased with the work of their hands, and believing it to be perfect,
they could tolerate no difference of opinion. Just escaped from
persecution, they became persecutors themselves. Some few of their
number, attached to the ritual of the church of England, were
dissatisfied with its total abolition; and, withdrawing from communion
with the church, met apart, to worship God in the manner they deemed
most proper. At the head of this small number were two of the first
patentees, who were also of the council. They were called before the
governor, who, being of opinion that their non-conformity and
conversation tended to sedition, sent them to England. The opposition
ceased when deprived of its leaders.[56]

     [Footnote 56: Robertson. Chalmer. Hutchison.]

[Sidenote: Government transferred to Massachusetts bay.]

The following winter brought with it the calamities which must be
uniformly sustained by the first emigrants into a wilderness, where
the cold is severe, and the privations almost universal. In the course
of it, nearly half their number perished, "lamenting that they did not
live to see the rising glories of the faithful." The fortitude,
however, of the survivors, was not shaken; nor were their brethren in
England deterred from joining them. Religion supported the colonists
under all their difficulties; and the intolerant spirit of the English
hierarchy diminished, in the view of the puritans in England, the
dangers and the sufferings to be encountered in America; and disposed
them to forego every other human enjoyment, for the consoling
privilege of worshipping the Supreme Being according to their own
opinions. Many persons of fortune determined to seek in the new world
that liberty of conscience which was denied them in the old; but,
foreseeing the misrule inseparable from the residence of the
legislative power in England, they demanded, as preliminary to their
emigration, that the powers of government should be transferred to New
England, and be exercised in the colony. The company had already
incurred expenses for which they saw no prospect of a speedy
reimbursement; and although they doubted the legality of the measure,
were well disposed by adopting it, to obtain such important aid. A
general court was therefore convened, by whom it was unanimously
resolved "that the patent should be transferred, and the government of
the colony removed from London to Massachusetts bay." It was also
agreed that the members of the corporation remaining in England,
should retain a share in the trading stock and profits for the term of
seven years.[57]

     [Footnote 57: Robertson. Chalmer. Hutchison.]


[Sidenote: Boston founded.]

Such was the effect of this revolution in the system of government,
that, early in the following year, fifteen hundred persons, among whom
were several of family and fortune, embarked, at an expense of upwards
of twenty thousand pounds, and arrived at Salem in July. Dissatisfied
with this situation, they explored the country in quest of better
stations; and, settling in many places around the bay, they laid the
foundation of several towns, and, among others, of Boston.


The difficulty of obtaining subsistence, the difference of their food
from that to which they had been accustomed, the intense cold of the
winter, against which sufficient provision was not yet made, were
still severely felt by the colonists, and still carried many of them
to the grave; but that enthusiasm which had impelled them to emigrate,
preserved all its force; and they met, with a firm unshaken spirit,
the calamities which assailed them. Our admiration of their fortitude
and of their principles, sustains, however, some diminution from
observing the sternness with which they denied to others that civil
and religious liberty which, through so many dangers and hardships,
they sought for themselves. Their general court decreed that none
should be admitted as freemen, or permitted to vote at elections, or
be capable of being chosen as magistrates, or of serving as jurymen,
but such as had been received into the church as members. Thus did men
who had braved every hardship for freedom of conscience, deny the
choicest rights of humanity, to all those who dissented from the
opinion of the majority on any article of faith, or point of church


The numerous complaints of the severities exercised by the government
of Massachusetts, added to the immense emigration of persons noted for
their enthusiasm, seem, at length, to have made some impression on
Charles; and an order was made by the King in council, to stop the
ships at that time ready to sail, freighted with passengers for New
England. This order, however, seems never to have been strictly
executed, as the emigrations continued without any sensible


Hitherto the legislature had been composed of the whole body of the
freemen. Under this system, so favourable to the views of the few who
possess popular influence, the real power of the state had been
chiefly engrossed by the governor and assistants, aided by the clergy.
The emigration, however, having already been considerable, and the
settlements having become extensive, it was found inconvenient, if not
impracticable, longer to preserve a principle which their charter
enjoined. In the year 1634, by common consent, the people elected
delegates who met the governor and council, and constituted the
general court. This important improvement in their system, rendered
familiar, and probably suggested, by the practice in the mother
country, although not authorised by the charter, remained unaltered,
so long as that charter was permitted to exist.[58]

     [Footnote 58: Robertson. Chalmer. Hutchison.]

[Sidenote: Commission for the government of the plantations.]


The colony of Massachusetts having been conducted, from its
commencement, very much on the plan of an independent society, at
length attracted the partial notice of the jealous administration in
England; and a commission for "the regulation and government of the
plantations" was issued to the great officers of state, and to some of
the nobility, in which absolute power was granted to the archbishop of
Canterbury and to others, "to make laws and constitutions concerning
either their state public, or the utility of individuals." The
commissioners were authorised to support the clergy by assigning them
"tithes, oblations, and other profits, according to their discretion;
to inflict punishment on those who should violate their ordinances; to
remove governors of plantations, and to appoint others; and to
constitute tribunals and courts of justice, ecclesiastical and civil,
with such authority and form as they should think proper;" but their
laws were not to take effect until they had received the royal assent,
and had been proclaimed in the colonies. The commissioners were also
constituted a committee to hear complaints against a colony, its
governor or other officers, with power to remove the offender to
England for punishment. They were farther directed to cause the
revocation of such letters patent, granted for the establishment of
colonies, as should, upon inquiry, be found to have been unduly
obtained, or to contain a grant of liberties hurtful to the royal

     [Footnote 59: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

From the first settlement at Salem, the colony of Massachusetts had
cultivated the friendship of their neighbours of New Plymouth. The
bonds of mutual amity were now rendered more strict, not only by some
appearances of a hostile disposition among the natives, but by another
circumstance which excited alarm in both colonies.

The voyages for discovery and settlement, made by the English and
French, to the coast of North America, having been nearly
cotemporaneous, their conflicting claims soon brought them into
collision with each other. The same lands were granted by the
sovereigns of both nations; and, under these different grants, actual
settlements had been made by the French as far south and west as St.
Croix, and, by the English, as far north and east as Penobscot. During
the war with France, which broke out early in the reign of Charles I.,
that monarch granted a commission to captain Kirk for the conquest of
the countries in America occupied by the French; under which, in 1629,
Canada and Acadie were subdued; but, by the treaty of St. Germains,
those places were restored to France without any description of their
limits; and Fort Royal, Quebec, and Cape Breton, were severally
surrendered by name. In 1632, a party of French from Acadie committed
a robbery on a trading house established at Penobscot by the people of
New Plymouth. With the intelligence of this fact, information was also
brought that cardinal Richelieu had ordered some companies to Acadie,
and that more were expected the next year, with priests, Jesuits, and
other formidable accompaniments, for a permanent settlement. The
governor of Acadie established a military post at Penobscot, and, at
the same time wrote to the governor of New Plymouth stating, that he
had orders to displace the English as far as Pemaquid. Not being
disposed to submit quietly to this invasion of territory, the
government of New Plymouth undertook an expedition for the recovery of
the fort at Penobscot, consisting of an English ship of war under the
command of captain Girling, and a bark with twenty men belonging to
the colony. The garrison received notice of this armament, and
prepared for its reception by fortifying and strengthening the fort;
in consequence of which Girling, after expending his ammunition and
finding himself too weak to attempt the works by assault, applied to
Massachusetts for aid. That colony agreed to furnish one hundred men,
and to bear the expense of the expedition by private subscription; but
a sufficient supply of provisions, even for this small corps, could
not be immediately obtained, and the expedition was abandoned. Girling
returned, and the French retained possession of Penobscot till 1654.
The apprehensions entertained of these formidable neighbours
contributed, in no small degree, to cement the union between
Massachusetts and Plymouth.[60]

     [Footnote 60: Hutchison.]


Two persons, afterwards distinguished in English annals, arrived this
year in Boston. One was Hugh Peters, the coadjutor and chaplain of
Oliver Cromwell; the other was Mr. Henry Vane, the son of Sir Henry
Vane, who was, at that time a privy councillor of great credit with
the King. The mind of this young gentleman was so deeply imbued with
the political and religious opinions of the puritans, that he appeared
ready to sacrifice, for the enjoyment of them, all his bright
prospects in his native land. His mortified exterior, his grave and
solemn deportment, his reputation for piety and wisdom, his strong
professions of attachment to liberty and to the public good, added to
his attention to some of the leading members in the church, won
rapidly the affections of the people, and he was chosen their

His administration commenced with more external pomp than had been
usual, or would seem to be congenial either with his own professions,
or with the plain and simple manners of the people whom he governed.
When going to court or church, he was always preceded by two sergeants
who walked with their halberts. Yet his popularity sustained no
diminution, until the part he took in the religious controversies of
the country detached from him many of its most judicious

     [Footnote 61: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

Independent of the meetings for public worship on every Sunday, of the
stated lecture in Boston on every Thursday, and of occasional lectures
in other towns, there were frequent meetings of the brethren of the
churches, for religious exercises. Mrs. Hutchinson, who had been much
flattered by the attentions of the governor, and of Mr. Cotton, one of
the most popular of the clergy; who added eloquence to her enthusiasm,
and whose husband was among the most respected men of the country;
dissatisfied with the exclusion of her sex from the private meetings
of the brethren, instituted a meeting of the sisters also, in which
she repeated the sermons of the preceding Sunday, accompanied with
remarks and expositions. These meetings were attended by a large
number of the most respectable of her sex; and her lectures were, for
a time, generally approved. At length she drew a distinction between
the ministers through the country. She designated a small number as
being under a covenant of grace; the others, as being under a covenant
of works. Contending for the necessity of the former, she maintained
that sanctity of life is no evidence of justification, or of favour
with God; and that the Holy Ghost dwells personally in such as are
justified. The whole colony was divided into two parties, equally
positive, on these abstruse points, whose resentments against each
other threatened the most serious calamities. Mr. Vane espoused, with
zeal, the wildest doctrines of Mrs. Hutchinson, and Mr. Cotton
decidedly favoured them. The lieutenant governor Mr. Winthrop, and the
majority of the churches, were of the opposite party. Many conferences
were held; days of fasting and humiliation were appointed; a general
synod was called; and, after violent dissensions, Mrs. Hutchinson's
opinions were condemned as erroneous, and she was banished. Many of
her disciples followed her. Vane, in disgust, quitted America;
unlamented even by those who had lately admired him. He was thought
too visionary; and is said to have been too enthusiastic even for the
enthusiasts of Massachusetts.

The patentees, having no common object to prosecute, resolved to
divide their lands; and, in the expectation of receiving a deed of
confirmation for the particular portion which fortune should allot to
each, cast lots, in the presence of James, for the shares each should
hold in severalty. They continued, however, to act some years longer
as a body politic, during which time, they granted various portions of
the country to different persons; and executed under the seal of the
corporation, deeds of feoffment for the lots drawn by each member of
the company; patents of confirmation for which were solicited, but
appear to have been granted only to Gorges, for Maine. The charter was
surrendered by the company and accepted by the crown.[62]

     [Footnote 62: Chalmer. Hutchison.]


Charles, in pursuance of his determination to take the government of
New England into his own hands, issued a proclamation directing that
none should be transported thither who had not the special license of
the crown, which should be granted to those only who had taken the
oaths of supremacy and allegiance, and had conformed to the discipline
of the church of England. This order, however, could not be completely
executed; and the emigrations, which were entirely of non-conformists,
still continued. Those who were disgusted with the ceremonials rigidly
exacted in England, estimated so highly the simple frame of church
policy established in Massachusetts, that numbers surmounted every
difficulty, to seek an asylum in this new Jerusalem. Among them were
men of the first political influence and mental attainments. Pym,
Hampden, Hazlerig, and Cromwell, with many others who afterwards
performed a conspicuous part in that revolution which brought the head
of Charles to the block, are said to have been actually on board a
vessel prepared to sail for New England, and to have been stopped by
the special orders of the privy council.[63]

     [Footnote 63: Hume.]


The commissioners for the regulation and government of the plantations
having reported that Massachusetts had violated its charter, a writ of
_quo warranto_ was issued, on which judgment was given in favour of
the crown. The process was never served on any member of the
corporation; and it is therefore probable that the judgment was not
final. The privy council however ordered the governor and company to
send their patent to England to be surrendered. The general court
answered this order by a petition to the commissioners in which they
said, "we dare not question your Lordship's proceedings in requiring
our patent to be sent unto you; we only desire to open our griefs; and
if in any thing we have offended his Majesty or your Lordships, we
humbly prostrate ourselves at the foot stool of supreme authority; we
are sincerely ready to yield all due obedience to both; we are not
conscious that we have offended in any thing, as our government is
according to law; we pray that we may be heard before condemnation,
and that we may be suffered to live in the wilderness." Fortunately
for the colonists, Charles and his commissioners found too much
employment at home, to have leisure for carrying into complete
execution, a system aimed at the subversions of what was most dear to
the hearts of Americans.

To the religious dissensions which distracted Massachusetts, and to
the rigour with which conformity was exacted, is to be attributed the
first settlement of the other colonies of New England. As early as the
year 1634, Roger Williams, a popular preacher at Salem, who had
refused to hold communion with the church at Boston, because its
members refused to make a public declaration of their repentance for
having held communion with the church of England during their
residence in that country, was charged with many exceptionable tenets.
Among several which mark his wild enthusiasm, one is found in total
opposition, to the spirit of the times and to the severity of his
other doctrines. He maintained, that to punish a man for any matter of
conscience is persecution, and that even papists and Arminians are
entitled to freedom of conscience in worship, provided the peace of
civil society be secured. The divines of Massachusetts, in opposition
to this doctrine, contended that they did not persecute men for
conscience, but corrected them for sinning against conscience; and so
they did not persecute, but punish heretics. This unintelligible
sophism not convincing Williams, he was, for this, and for his other
heresies, banished by the magistrates, as a disturber of the peace of
the church, and of the commonwealth.

[Illustration: Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1622

_From the painting by W.L. Williams_

_Here, under Governor Bradford, who directed their destiny for a
precarious quarter of a century, the Pilgrim Fathers strove
desperately to maintain a foothold in America, and several times were
on the point of abandoning the enterprise. To such straits were they
reduced, in 1622, a year after the death of Governor Carter, that half
rations were doled out, and when, in May of that year, a ship arrived
from England bearing encouraging letters to the Pilgrims, but no
substantial supplies, Governor Bradford remarked bitterly: "All this
is but cold comfort to fill hungry bellies."_]

[Sidenote: Providence settled.]

Many of his disciples followed him into exile, and, travelling south
until they passed the line of Massachusetts, purchased a tract of land
of the Narraghansetts, then a powerful tribe of Indians, where, in
1635, they made a settlement to which they gave the name of
Providence. After fixing the place of their future residence, they
entered into a voluntary association, and framed a government composed
of the whole body of freemen. After the manner of Massachusetts, they
created a church by collecting a religious society; but, as one of the
causes of their migration had been the tenet that all were entitled to
freedom of conscience in worship, entire toleration was established.
The new settlers cultivated with assiduity the good will of the
natives, with whom a long peace was preserved.[64]

     [Footnote 64: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

[Sidenote: Rhode Island settled.]

The banishment of Williams was soon followed by that of Mrs.
Hutchinson. She was accompanied by many of her disciples, who,
pursuing the steps of Williams, and, arriving in his neighbourhood,
purchased a tract of land from the same tribe, and founded Rhode
Island. Imitating the conduct of their neighbours, they formed a
similar association for the establishment of civil government, and
adopted the same principles of toleration. In consequence of this
conduct the island soon became so populous as to furnish settlers for
the adjacent shores.[65]

     [Footnote 65: Chalmer.]


[Sidenote: Connecticut settled.]


Connecticut too is a colony of Massachusetts. As early as the year
1634, several persons, among whom was Mr. Hooker, a favourite minister
of the church, applied to the general court of Massachusetts for
permission to pursue their fortunes in some new and better land. This
permission was not granted at that time; and, it being then the
received opinion that the oath of a freeman, as well as the original
compact, bound every member of the society so as not to leave him the
right to separate himself from it without the consent of the whole,
this emigration was suspended. The general court, however, did not
long withhold its assent. The country having been explored, and a
place selected on the west side of the river Connecticut, a commission
was granted to the petitioners to remove, on the condition of their
still continuing under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, some few
huts had been erected the preceding year in which a small number of
emigrants had wintered; and, the fall succeeding, about sixty persons
traversed the wilderness in families. In 1636, about one hundred
persons, led by Pynchon, Hooker, and Haynes, followed the first
emigrants, and founded the towns of Hartford, Springfield, and
Weathersfield. There are some peculiarities attending this commission
and this settlement, which deserve to be noticed.

The country to be settled was, confessedly, without the limits of
Massachusetts; yet Roger Ludlow was authorised to promulgate the
orders which might be necessary for the plantations; to inflict
corporal punishment, imprisonment, and fines; to determine all
differences in a judicial way; and to convene the inhabitants in a
general court, if it should be necessary. This signal exercise of
authority grew out of the principle, solemnly asserted by the general
court of Massachusetts, that the oath of fidelity to the commonwealth
was binding, although the person should no longer reside within its

There were other difficulties attending the title of the settlers. The
Dutch at Manhadoes, or New York, claimed a right to the river, as its
first discoverers. In addition to this hostile title, Lord Say and
Seal, and Lord Brooke, with some others, contemplating a retreat in
the new world from the despotism with which England was threatened,
had made choice of Connecticut river for that purpose, and had built a
fort at its mouth, called Saybrooke. The emigrants from Massachusetts,
however, kept possession; and proceeded to clear and cultivate the
country. They purchased the rights of Lord Say and Seal, and Lord
Brooke, and their partners; and the Dutch, being too feeble to
maintain their title by the sword, gradually receded from the river.
The emigrants, disclaiming the authority of Massachusetts, entered
into a voluntary association for the establishment of a government,
which, in its form, was like those established in the other colonies
of New England. The principal difference between their constitution
and that of Massachusetts was, that they imparted the right of freemen
to those who were not members of the Church.[66]

     [Footnote 66: All the powers of government for nearly three
     years, seem to have been in the magistrates. Two were
     appointed in each town, who directed all the affairs of the
     plantation. The freemen appear to have had no voice in
     making the laws, or in any part of the government except in
     some instances of general and uncommon concern. In these
     instances committees were sent from the several towns to a
     general meeting. During this term, juries seem not to have
     been employed in any case.]

These new establishments gave great and just alarm to the Piquods, a
powerful tribe of Indians on the south of Massachusetts. They foresaw
their own ruin in this extension of the English settlements; and the
disposition excited by this apprehension soon displayed itself in
private murders, and other acts of hostility. With a policy suggested
by a strong sense of danger, they sought a reconciliation with the
Narraghansetts, their ancient enemies and rivals; and requested them
to forget their long cherished animosities, and to co-operate
cordially against a common enemy whose continuing encroachments
threatened to overwhelm both in one common destruction. Noticing the
rapid progress of the English settlements, they urged, with reason,
that, although a present friendship subsisted between the
Narraghansetts and the new comers, yet all, in turn, must be
dispossessed of their country, and this dangerous friendship could
promise no other good than the wretched privilege of being last

[Sidenote: War with the Piquods.]

These representations could not efface from the bosoms of the
Narraghansetts, that deep rooted enmity which neighbours, not bound
together by ligaments of sufficient strength to prevent reciprocal
acts of hostility, too often feel for each other. Dreading still less
the power of a foreign nation, than that of men with whom they had
been in the habit of contending, they not only refused to join the
Piquods, but communicated their proposition to the government of
Massachusetts, with whom they formed an alliance against that tribe.
Open war being resolved on by both parties, Captain Underhill was sent
to the relief of fort Saybrooke which had been besieged by the
Indians; and the three colonies, Massachusetts, Plymouth, and
Connecticut, agreed to march their united forces into the country of
the Piquods, to effect their entire destruction. The troops of
Connecticut were first in motion. Those of Massachusetts were detained
by the controversy concerning the covenant of works, and of grace,
which had insinuated itself into all the transactions of that colony.
Their little army, when collected, found itself divided by this
metaphysical point; and the stronger party, believing that the
blessing of God could not be expected to crown with success the arms
of such unhallowed men as their opponents in faith on this question,
refused to march until their small band was purified by expelling the
unclean, and introducing others whose tenets were unexceptionable.

While this operation was performing, the troops of Connecticut,
reinforced by a body of friendly Indians and by a small detachment
from Saybrooke, determined to march against the enemy. The Piquods had
taken two positions which they had surrounded with palisadoes, and had
resolved to defend. The nearest was on a small eminence surrounded by
a swamp near the head of Mystic river. Against this fort the first
attack was made. The Indians, deceived by a movement of the vessels
from Saybrooke to Narraghansett, believed the expedition to have been
abandoned; and celebrated, in perfect security, the supposed
evacuation of their country. About day-break, while they were asleep,
the English approached, and the surprise would have been complete, had
they not been alarmed by the barking of a dog. They immediately gave
the war whoop, and flew undismayed to arms. The English rushed to the
attack, forced their way through the works, and set fire to the Indian
wigwams. The confusion soon became general, and almost every man was
killed or taken.

Soon after this action, the troops of Massachusetts arrived, and it
was resolved to pursue the victory. Several skirmishes terminated
unfavourably to the Piquods; and, in a short time, they received
another total defeat, which put an end to the war. A few only of this
once powerful nation survived, who, abandoning their country,
dispersed themselves among the neighbouring tribes, and were
incorporated with them.[67]

     [Footnote 67: Chalmer. Hutchison. Trumbull.]

This vigorous essay in arms of the New England colonists impressed on
the Indians a high opinion of their courage and military superiority;
but their victory was sullied with cruelties which cannot be
recollected without mingled regret and censure.


Immediately after the termination of this war New Haven was settled.

[Sidenote: New Haven settled.]

A small emigration from England conducted by Eaton and Davenport,
arrived at Boston in June. Unwilling to remain where power and
influence were already in the hands of others, they refused to
continue within the jurisdiction of Massachusetts; and, disregarding
the threats at Manhadoes, settled themselves west of Connecticut
river, on a place which they named New Haven. Their institutions,
civil and ecclesiastical, were in the same spirit with those of their
elder sister, Massachusetts.

The colony was now in a very flourishing condition. Twenty-one
thousand two hundred emigrants had arrived from England; and, although
they devoted great part of their attention to the abstruse points of
theology which employed the casuists of that day, they were not
unmindful of those solid acquisitions which permanently improve the
condition of man. Sober, industrious, and economical, they laboured
indefatigably in opening and improving the country, and were
unremitting in their efforts to furnish themselves with those supplies
which are to be drawn from the bosom of the earth. Of these, they soon
raised a surplus for which fresh emigrants offered a profitable
market; and their foreign trade in lumber, added to their fish and
furs, furnished them with the means of making remittances to England
for those manufactures which they found it advantageous to import.
Their fisheries had become so important as to attract the attention of
government. For their encouragement, a law was passed exempting
property employed in catching, curing, or transporting fish, from all
duties and taxes, and the fishermen, and ship builders, from militia
duty. By the same law, all persons were restrained from using cod or
bass fish for manure.


     Massachusetts claims New Hampshire and part of Maine....
     Dissensions among the inhabitants.... Confederation of the
     New England colonies.... Rhode Island excluded from it....
     Separate chambers provided for the two branches of the
     Legislature.... New England takes part with Parliament....
     Treaty with Acadie.... Petition of the non-conformists....
     Disputes between Massachusetts and Connecticut.... War
     between England and Holland.... Machinations of the Dutch at
     Manhadoes among the Indians.... Massachusetts refuses to
     join the united colonies in the war.... Application of New
     Haven to Cromwell for assistance.... Peace with the
     Dutch.... Expedition of Sedgewic against Acadie....
     Religious intolerance.


[Sidenote: Massachusetts claims New Hampshire and part of Maine.]

The government of Massachusetts, induced by the rapidity with which
the colony had attained its present strength to form sanguine hopes of
future importance, instituted an inquiry into the extent of their
patent, with a view to the enlargement of territory. To facilitate
this object, commissioners were appointed to explore the Merrimack,
and to ascertain its northernmost point. The charter conveyed to the
grantees all the lands within lines to be drawn three miles south of
Charles river, and the same distance north of the Merrimack. The
government construed this description as authorising a line to be
drawn due east from a point three miles north of the head of
Merrimack, which soon leaves that river, and includes all New
Hampshire, and a considerable part of Maine. In pursuance of this
exposition of the charter, the general court asserted its jurisdiction
over New Hampshire, in which there were a few scattered habitations,
and proceeded to authorise settlements in that country.[68]

     [Footnote 68: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

The attempts which had been made to colonise the northern and eastern
parts of New England had proved almost entirely unsuccessful. Sir
Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason had built a small house at the mouth
of Piscataqua, about the year 1623; and, nearly at the same time,
others erected a few huts along the coast from Merrimack eastward to
Sagadahock for the purpose of fishing. In 1631, Gorges and Mason sent
over a small party of planters and fishermen under the conduct of a
Mr. Williams, who laid the foundation of Portsmouth.

When the Plymouth company divided New England among its members, that
territory lying along the coast from Merrimack river, and for sixty
miles into the country to the river Piscataqua, was granted to Mason,
and was called New Hampshire; that territory northeastward of New
Hampshire, to the river Kennebec, and sixty miles into the country,
was granted to Sir Ferdinando Gorges. In 1639, Gorges obtained a
patent for this district under the name of Maine, comprehending the
lands for one hundred, instead of sixty miles, into the country,
together with the powers of sovereignty. He framed a system of
government which, being purely executive, could not even preserve
itself. After struggling with a long course of confusion, and drawing
out, for several years, a miserable political existence, Maine
submitted itself to the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, and consented
to become a part of that colony. In the course of the years 1651 and
1652, this junction was effected, and Maine was erected into a county,
the towns of which sent deputies to the general court at Boston. To
this county was conceded the peculiar privilege that its inhabitants,
although not members of the church, should be entitled to the rights
of freemen on taking the oath.[69]

     [Footnote 69: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

The settlements in New Hampshire, too, were maintaining only a
doubtful and feeble existence, when they drew a recruit of inhabitants
from the same causes which had peopled Rhode Island and Connecticut.


In 1637, when Mrs. Hutchinson and other Antinomians were exiled, Mr.
Wheelright, her brother in law, a popular preacher, was likewise
banished. He carried with him a considerable number of his followers;
and, just passing the north-eastern boundary of Massachusetts, planted
the town of Exeter. These emigrants immediately formed themselves,
according to the manner of New England, into a body politic for their
own government.


A few persons arrived soon afterwards from England, and laid the
foundation of the town of Dover. They also established a distinct
government. Their first act proved to be the source of future discord.
The majority chose one Underbill as governor; but a respectable
minority was opposed to his election. To this cause of discontent was
added another of irresistible influence. They were divided on the
subject of the covenant of works, and of grace. These dissensions soon
grew into a civil war, which was happily terminated by Williams, who
was, according to the practice of small societies torn by civil
broils, invited by the weaker party to its aid. He marched from
Portsmouth at the head of a small military force; and, banishing the
governor, and the leaders of the Antinomian faction, restored peace to
this distracted village.

Massachusetts had asserted a right over this territory. Her claim
derived aid, not only from the factions which agitated these feeble
settlements, but also from the uncertainty of the tenure by which the
inhabitants held their lands. Only the settlers at Portsmouth had
acquired a title from Mason; and the others were, consequently,
unfriendly to his pretensions. These causes produced a voluntary offer
of submission to the government of Massachusetts, which was accepted;
and the general court passed an order, declaring the inhabitants of
Piscataqua to be within their jurisdiction, with the privileges of
participating in all their rights, and of being exempted from all
"public charges, other than those which shall arise for, or among
themselves, or from any action, or course that may be taken for their
own good or benefit." Under the protecting wing of this more powerful
neighbour, New Hampshire attained the growth which afterwards enabled
her to stand alone; and long remembered with affection the benefits
she had received.[70]

     [Footnote 70: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

Charles, environed with difficulties arising from his own misrule, was
at length compelled to meet his Parliament; and, in November, the
great council of the nation was again assembled. The circumstances
which had caused such considerable emigrations to New England, existed
no longer. The puritans were not only exempt from persecution, but
became the strongest party in the nation; and, from this time, New
England is supposed to have derived no increase of population from the
parent state.[71]

     [Footnote 71: Hutchison.]

[Sidenote: Confederation of the New England colonies.]


About the same period many evidences were given of a general
combination of the neighbouring Indians against the settlements of New
England; and apprehensions were also entertained of hostility from the
Dutch at Manhadoes. A sense of impending danger suggested the policy
of forming a confederacy of the sister colonies for their mutual
defence; and so confirmed had the habit of self-government become
since the attention of England was absorbed in her domestic
dissensions, that it was not thought necessary to consult the parent
state on this important measure. After mature deliberation, articles
of confederation were digested; and in May 1643, they were
conclusively adopted.[72]

     [Footnote 72: This was an union, says Mr. Trumbull, of the
     highest consequence to the New England colonies. It made
     them formidable to the Dutch and Indians, and respectable
     among their French neighbours. It was happily adapted to
     maintain harmony among themselves, and to secure the rights
     and peace of the country. It was one of the principal means
     of the preservation of the colonies, during the civil wars,
     and unsettled state of affairs in England. It was the great
     source of mutual defence in Philip's war; and of the most
     eminent service in civilising the Indians, and propagating
     the Gospel among them. The union subsisted more than forty
     years, until the abrogation of the charters of the New
     England colonies by King James II.]

By them the united colonies of New England, viz. Massachusetts,
Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven, entered into a firm and
perpetual league, offensive and defensive.

Each colony retained a distinct and separate jurisdiction; no two
colonies could join in one jurisdiction without the consent of the
whole; and no other colony could be received into the confederacy
without the like consent.

The charge of all wars was to be borne by the colonies respectively,
in proportion to the male inhabitants of each, between sixteen and
sixty years of age.

On notice of an invasion given by three magistrates of any colony, the
confederates were immediately to furnish their respective quotas.
These were fixed at one hundred from Massachusetts, and forty-five
from each of the other parties to the agreement. If a larger armament
should be found necessary, commissioners were to meet, and ascertain
the number of men to be required.

Two commissioners from each government, being church members, were to
meet annually on the first Monday in September. Six possessed the
power of binding the whole. Any measure approved by a majority of less
than six was to be referred to the general court of each colony, and
the consent of all was necessary to its adoption.

They were to choose annually a president from their own body, and had
power to frame laws or rules of a civil nature, and of general
concern. Of this description were rules which respected their conduct
towards the Indians, and measures to be taken with fugitives from one
colony to another.

No colony was permitted, without the general consent, to engage in
war, but in sudden and inevitable cases.

If, on any extraordinary meeting of the commissioners, their whole
number should not assemble, any four who should meet were empowered to
determine on a war, and to call for the respective quotas of the
several colonies; but not less than six could determine on the justice
of the war, or settle the expenses, or levy the money for its support.

If any colony should be charged with breaking an article of the
agreement, or with doing an injury to another colony, the complaint
was to be submitted to the consideration and determination of the
commissioners of such colonies as should be disinterested.[73]

     [Footnote 73: Chalmer. Hutchison. Trumbull.]

[Sidenote: Rhode Island excluded from it.]

This union, the result of good sense, and of a judicious consideration
of the real interests of the colonies, remained in force until their
charters were dissolved. Rhode Island, at the instance of
Massachusetts, was excluded; and her commissioners were not admitted
into the congress of deputies which formed the confederation.

On her petitioning at a subsequent period to be received as a member,
her request was refused, unless she would consent to be incorporated
with Plymouth. This condition being deemed inadmissible, she never was
taken into the confederacy. From the formation of this league, its
members were considered by their neighbours as one body with regard to
external affairs, and such as were of general concern; though the
internal and particular objects of each continued to be managed by its
own magistrates and legislature.

The vigorous and prudent measures pursued by the united colonies,
disconcerted the plans of the Indians, and preserved peace.

Rhode Island and Providence plantations, excluded from the general
confederacy, were under the necessity of courting the friendship of
the neighbouring Indians. So successful were their endeavours that, in
the year 1644, they obtained from the chiefs of the Narraghansetts a
formal surrender of their country.[74]

     [Footnote 74: Chalmer.]

The first general assembly, consisting of the collective freemen of
the plantations, was convened in May, 1647. In this body the supreme
authority of the nation resided. The executive duties were performed
by a governor and four assistants, chosen from among the freemen by
their several towns; and the same persons constituted also the supreme
court for the administration of justice. Every township, forming
within itself a corporation, elected a council of six, for the
management of its peculiar affairs, and for the settlement of its

     [Footnote 75: Ibid.]


Hitherto the governor, assistants, and representatives, of
Massachusetts had assembled in the same chamber, and deliberated
together. At first their relative powers do not seem to have been
accurately understood; nor the mode of deciding controverted questions
to have been well defined. The representatives being the most numerous
body, contended that every question should be decided by a majority of
the whole, while the assistants asserted their right to a negative.
More than once, this contest suspended the proceedings of the general
court. But the assistants having, with the aid of the clergy,
succeeded on each occasion, the representatives yielded the point, and
moved that separate chambers should be provided for the two branches
of the legislature. This motion being carried in the affirmative,
their deliberations were afterwards conducted apart from each other.

This regulation was subsequently modified with respect to judicial
proceedings; for the legislature was the court of the last resort. If,
in these, the two houses differed, the vote was to be taken

[Sidenote: New England takes part with Parliament.]

In England, the contests between the King and Parliament, at length
ripened into open war. The colonies of New England took an early and
sincere part on the side of Parliament. Their interests were committed
to such agents as might best conciliate the favour of the House of
Commons, who, in return, manifested the impression received from them,
and from the general conduct of their northern colonies, by passing a
resolutions exempting from the payment of "duties or other customs,"
until the house should order otherwise, all merchandises exported to
or from New England.[76] And, in 1644, the general court passed an
ordinance declaring "that what person soever shall by word, writing,
or action, endeavour to disturb our peace directly or indirectly by
drawing a party under pretence that he is for the King of England, and
such as join with him against the Parliament, shall be accounted as an
offender of a high nature against this commonwealth, and to be
proceeded with either capitally or otherwise, according to the quality
and degree of his offence; provided always that this shall not be
extended against any merchants, strangers and shipmen that come hither
merely for trade or merchandise, albeit they should come from any of
those parts that are in the hands of the King, and such as adhere to
him against the Parliament; carrying themselves here quietly, and free
from railing, or nourishing any faction, mutiny, or sedition among us
as aforesaid."[77]

     [Footnote 76: In the subsequent year Parliament exempted New
     England from all taxes "until both houses should otherwise
     direct;" and, in 1646, all the colonies were exempted from
     all talliages except the excise, "provided their productions
     should be exported only in English bottoms."]

     [Footnote 77: Hutchison.]

These manifestations of mutual kindness were not interrupted by an
ordinance of Parliament, passed in 1643, appointing the earl of
Warwick, governor in chief and lord high admiral of the colonies, with
a council of five peers, and twelve commoners, to assist him; and
empowering him, in conjunction with his associates, to examine the
state of their affairs; to send for papers and persons; to remove
governors and officers, appointing others in their places; and to
assign over to them such part of the powers then granted as he should
think proper. Jealous as were the people of New England of measures
endangering their liberty, they do not appear to have been alarmed at
this extraordinary exercise of power. So true is it that men close
their eyes on encroachments committed by that party to which they are
attached, in the delusive hope that power, in such hands, will always
be wielded against their adversaries, never against themselves.

[Sidenote: Treaty with Acadie.]

This prosperous state of things was still farther improved by a
transaction which is the more worthy of notice as being an additional
evidence of the extent to which the colonies of New England then
exercised the powers of self-government. A treaty of peace and
commerce was entered into between the governor of Massachusetts,
styling himself governor of New England, and Monsieur D'Aulney,
lieutenant general of the King of France in Acadie. This treaty was
laid before the commissioners for the colonies and received their


[Sidenote: Petition of the non-conformists.]

The rigid adherence of Massachusetts to the principle of withholding
the privilege of a freeman from all who dissented from the majority in
any religious opinion, could not fail to generate perpetual
discontents. A petition was presented to the general court, signed by
several persons highly respectable for their situation and character,
but, not being church members, excluded from the common rights of
society, complaining that the fundamental laws of England were not
acknowledged by the colony; and that they were denied those civil and
religious privileges to which they were entitled, as freeborn
Englishmen, of good moral conduct. Their prayer to be admitted to the
rights, or to be relieved from the burdens, of society, was
accompanied with observations conveying a very intelligible censure on
the proceedings of the colony, and a threat of applying to Parliament,
should the prayer of their petition be rejected.

The most popular governments not being always the most inclined to
tolerate opinions differing from those of the majority, this petition
gave great offence, and its signers were required to attend the court.
Their plea, that the right to petition government was sacred, was
answered by saying that they were not accused for petitioning, but for
using contemptuous and seditious expressions. They were required to
find sureties for their good behaviour; and, on refusing to
acknowledge their offence, were fined at the discretion of the court.
An appeal from this decision having been refused, they sent deputies
to lay their case before Parliament; but the clergy exerted themselves
on the occasion; and the celebrated Cotton, in one of his sermons,
asserted "that if any should carry writings or complaints against the
people of God in that country to England, it would be as Jonas in the
ship." A storm having risen during the passage, the mariners,
impressed with the prophecy of Cotton, insisted that the obnoxious
papers should be thrown overboard; and the deputies were constrained
to consign their credentials to the waves. On their arrival in
England, they found Parliament but little disposed to listen to their
complaints. The agents of Massachusetts had received instructions to
counteract their efforts; and the governments of New England were too
high in favour, to admit of a rigid scrutiny into their conduct.[78]

     [Footnote 78: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

In some of the internal dissensions which agitated Massachusetts,
Winthrop, a man of great influence, always among their first
magistrates, and often their governor, was charged while deputy
governor with some arbitrary conduct. He defended himself at the bar,
in the presence of a vast concourse of people; and, having been
honourably acquitted, addressed them from the bench, in a speech which
was highly approved.

As this speech tends to illustrate the political opinions of the day,
an extract from it may not be unworthy of regard. "The questions," he
said, "which have troubled the country of late, and from which these
disturbances in the state have arisen, have been about the authority
of the magistrate and the liberty of the people. Magistracy is
certainly an appointment from God. We take an oath to govern you
according to God's law, and our own; and if we commit errors, not
willingly, but for want of skill, you ought to bear with us, because,
being chosen from among yourselves, we are but men, and subject to the
like passions as yourselves. Nor would I have you mistake your own
liberty. There is a freedom of doing what we list, without regard to
law or justice; this liberty is indeed inconsistent with authority;
but civil, moral, and federal liberty, consists in every man's
enjoying his property, and having the benefit of the laws of his
country; which is very consistent with a due subjection to the civil
magistrate. And for this you ought to contend, with the hazard of your

     [Footnote 79: Hutchison.]

During the remnant of his life, he was annually chosen governor.


About this time, a controversy which had long subsisted between
Massachusetts, and Connecticut, was terminated. The latter, for the
purpose of maintaining Saybrooke, had laid a duty on all goods
exported from Connecticut river. The inhabitants of Springfield, a
town of Massachusetts lying on the river, having refused to pay this
duty, the cause was laid before the commissioners of the united
colonies; and, after hearing the parties, those of Plymouth and New
Haven adjourned the final decision of the case until the next meeting,
in order to hear farther objections from Massachusetts, but directed
that, in the meantime, the duty should be paid.

At the meeting in 1648, Massachusetts insisted on the production of
the patent of Connecticut. It was perfectly well known that the
original patent could not be procured; and the agents for Connecticut,
after stating this fact, offered an authentic copy. The commissioners
recommended that the boundary line should be run, to ascertain whether
Springfield was really in Massachusetts, but still directed that the
duty should continue to be paid. On this order being made, the
commissioners of Massachusetts produced a law of their general court,
reciting the controversy, with the orders which had been made in it,
and imposing a duty on all goods belonging to the inhabitants of
Plymouth, Connecticut, or New Haven, which should be imported within
the castle, or exported from any part of the bay, and subjecting them
to forfeiture for non-payment. The commissioners remonstrated strongly
against this measure, and recommended it to the general court of
Massachusetts, seriously to consider whether such proceedings were
reconcilable with "the law of love," and the tenor of the articles of
confederation. In the meantime, they begged to be excused from "all
farther agitations concerning Springfield."

In this state of the controversy fort Saybrooke was consumed by fire,
and Connecticut forbore to re-build it, or to demand the duty. In the
following year, Massachusetts repealed the ordinance which had so
successfully decided the contest.[80]

     [Footnote 80: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

Thus does a member of a confederacy, feeling its own strength, and the
weakness of those with whom it is associated, deride the legitimate
decisions of the federal body, when opposed to its own interest or
passions, and obey the general will, only when that will is dictated
by itself.


Although, while civil war raged in the mother country, New England had
been permitted to govern itself as an independent nation, Parliament
seems to have entertained very decisive opinions respecting the
subordination of the provinces, and its own controlling power. The
measures taken for giving effect to these opinions, involved all the
colonies equally. The council of state was authorised to displace
governors and magistrates, and to appoint others. Massachusetts was
required to take a new patent, and to hold its courts, not in the name
of the colony, but in the name of the Parliament. The general court,
unwilling to comply with these requisitions, transmitted a petition to
Parliament, styling that body "the supreme authority," and expressing
for it the highest respect. They stated their uniform attachment to
Parliament during the civil war, the aid they had given, and the
losses they had sustained. After speaking of the favours they had
received, they expressed the hope "that it will not go worse with them
than it did under the late King; and that the frame of this government
will not be changed, and governors and magistrates imposed on them
against their will." They declared, however, their entire submission
to the will of Parliament; and, avowing for that body the most zealous
attachment, prayed a favourable answer to their humble petition.

But the united colonies had lately given great umbrage by supplying
Virginia and Barbadoes, then enemies of the commonwealth, with warlike
stores and other commodities. It was also matter of real complaint
that their exemption from the payment of duties enabled them to enrich
themselves at the expense of others; and a revocation of their
privileges in this respect was seriously contemplated. Yet the
requisitions concerning their charter were never complied with, and do
not appear to have been repeated.[81]

     [Footnote 81: Chalmer. Hutchison.]


[Sidenote: Machinations of the Dutch with the Indians.]

In this year, war was declared by England against Holland. The united
colonies, accustomed to conduct their affairs in their own way, did
not think themselves involved in this contest, unless engaged in it by
some act of their own. The Dutch at Manhadoes, too weak to encounter
their English neighbours, solicited the continuance of peace; and, as
the trade carried on between them was mutually advantageous, this
request was readily granted. Intelligence however was soon brought by
the Indians, that the Dutch were privately inciting them to a general
confederacy for the purpose of extirpating the English. This
intelligence gave the more alarm, because the massacre at Amboyna was
then fresh in the recollection of the colonists. An extraordinary
meeting of the commissioners was called at Boston, who were divided in
opinion with regard to the propriety of declaring war. In consequence
of this division, a conference was held before the general court and
several elders of Massachusetts. The elders, being requested to give
their opinion in writing, stated "that the proofs and presumptions of
the execrable plot, tending to the destruction of so many of the dear
saints of God, imputed to the Dutch governor, and the fiscal, were of
such weights as to induce them to believe the reality of it; yet they
were not so fully conclusive as to clear up a present proceeding to
war before the world, and to bear up their hearts with that fullness
of persuasion which was mete, in commending the case to God in prayer,
and to the people in exhortations; and that it would be safest for the
colonies to forbear the use of the sword; but advised to be in a
posture of defence until the mind of God should be more fully known
either for a settled peace, or more manifest grounds of war."[82] With
this opinion of the elders, the vote of the general court concurred.

     [Footnote 82: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

The intelligence of the practices of the Dutch governor with the
Indians becoming more certain, all the commissioners except Mr.
Bradstreet of Massachusetts, declared in favour of war. Their
proceedings were immediately interrupted by a declaration of the
general court of Massachusetts, that no determination of the
commissioners, although they should be unanimous, should bind the
general court to join in an offensive war which should appear to be
unjust. A serious altercation ensued, in the course of which the other
colonies pressed the war as a measure essential to their safety; but
Massachusetts adhered inflexibly to its first resolution. This
additional evidence of the incompetency of their union to bind one
member, stronger than all the rest, threatened a dissolution of the
confederacy; and that event seems to have been prevented only by the
inability of the others to stand alone. Alarmed at their situation,
and irritated by the conduct of their elder sister, Connecticut and
New Haven represented Cromwell, then lord protector of England, the
danger to which the colonies were exposed from the Dutch and the
Indians; and the hazard the smaller provinces must continue to incur,
unless the league between them could be maintained and executed
according to its true intent, and the interpretation which its
articles had uniformly received.


With his usual promptness and decision, Cromwell detached a small
armament for the reduction of the Dutch colony, and recommended to
Massachusetts to furnish aid to the expedition. Although the
legitimate requisitions of the government of the union had been
ineffectual, the recommendation of the lord protector was not to be
disregarded; and the general court passed a resolution conforming to
it. A treaty of peace, which was signed in April, saved the Dutch

     [Footnote 83: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

[Sidenote: Expedition against Acadie.]


The progress of the French in their neighbourhood had been viewed with
regret and apprehension by all New England. Sedgewic, the commander of
the forces which had been destined against Manhadoes, animated with
the vigour of his master, was easily prevailed on to turn his arms
against a people, whose religious tenets he detested, and whose
country he hated. He soon dislodged the French from Penobscot, and
subdued all Acadie. The ministers of his most christian majesty,
pending the negotiations for the treaty of Westminster, demanded
restitution of the forts Pentagoet, St. Johns, and Port Royal; but,
each nation having claims on the country, their pretensions were
referred to the arbitrators appointed to adjust the damages committed
on either side since the year 1640; and the restitution of Acadie was
postponed for future discussion.


Cromwell seems not to have intended to restore the countries he had
conquered. He granted to St. Etienne, Crown and Temple, for ever, the
territory denominated Acadie, and part of the country commonly called
Nova Scotia, extending along the coast to Pentagoet, and to the river
St. George.

Until the restoration, the colonies of New England continued in a
state of unexampled prosperity. Those regulations respecting
navigation, which were rigorously enforced against others less in
favour, were dispensed with for their benefit. They maintained
external peace by the vigour and sagacity with which their government
was administered; and, improved the advantages which the times
afforded them by industry and attention to their interests. In this
period of prosperity, they acquired a degree of strength and
consistence which enabled them to struggle through the difficulties
that afterwards assailed them.

These sober industrious people were peculiarly attentive to the
instruction of youth. Education was among the first objects of their
care. In addition to private institutions, they had brought the
college at Cambridge to a state of forwardness which reflects much
credit on their character. As early as the year 1636, the general
court had bestowed four hundred pounds on a public school at Newtown,
the name by which Cambridge was then known. Two years afterwards, an
additional donation was made by the reverend Mr. John Harvard, in
consequence of which the institution received the name of Harvard
college. In 1642, this college was placed under the government of the
governor, and deputy governor, and of the magistrates, and ministers
of the six next adjacent towns, who, with the president were
incorporated for that purpose; and, in 1650, its first charter was

     [Footnote 84: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

It is to be lamented that the same people possessed a degree of
bigotry in religion, and a spirit of intolerance, which their
enlightened posterity will view with regret. During this period of
prosperity, the government maintained the severity of its institutions
against all those who dissented from the church; and exerted itself
assiduously in what was thought the holy work of punishing heretics,
and introducing conformity in matters of faith. In this time, the sect
denominated Quakers appeared. They were fined, imprisoned, whipped,
and, at length put to death; but could not be totally suppressed. As
enthusiastic as their persecutors, they gloried in their sufferings,
and deemed themselves the martyrs of truth.


     Transactions succeeding the restoration of Charles II....
     Contests between Connecticut and New Haven.... Discontents
     in Virginia.... Grant to the Duke of York.... Commissioners
     appointed by the crown.... Conquest of the Dutch
     settlements.... Conduct of Massachusetts to the royal
     commissioners.... Their recall.... Massachusetts evades a
     summons to appear before the King and council.... Settlement
     of Carolina.... Form of government.... Constitution of Mr.
     Locke.... Discontents in the county of Albemarle....
     Invasion from Florida.... Abolition of the constitution of
     Mr. Locke.... Bacon's rebellion.... His death.... Assembly
     deprived of judicial power.... Discontents in Virginia....
     Population of the colony.


The restoration of Charles II. was soon known in America, and excited,
in the different colonies very different emotions. In Virginia, and in
Maryland, the intelligence was received with transport, and the King
was proclaimed amidst acclamations of unfeigned joy. In Massachusetts,
the unwelcome information was heard with doubt, and in silence.
Republicans in religion and in politics, all their affections were
engaged in favour of the revolutionary party in England, and they saw,
in the restoration of monarchy, much more to fear than to hope for
themselves. Nor were they mistaken in their forebodings.

No sooner was Charles seated on the throne, than Parliament voted a
duty of five _per centum_ on all merchandises exported from, or
imported into, any of the dominions belonging to the English crown;
and, in the course of the same session the celebrated navigation act
was re-enacted. The difficulty of carrying this system into execution
among a distant people, accustomed to the advantages of a free trade,
was foreseen; and the law directed that the governors of the several
plantations should, before entering into office, take an oath
faithfully to observe it.[85]

     [Footnote 85: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

As some compensation to the colonists for these commercial restraints,
it was also enacted that no tobacco should be planted or made in
England or Ireland, Guernsey, or Jersey. These regulations confined
the trade of the colonies to England; and confined on them,
exclusively, the production of tobacco.

Charles, on ascending the throne, transmitted to Sir William Berkeley
a commission as governor of Virginia, with instructions to summon an
assembly, and to assure it of his intention to grant a general pardon
to all persons, other than those who were attainted by act of
Parliament; provided all acts passed during the rebellion, derogating
from the obedience due to the King and his government, should be


The assembly, which had been summoned in March 1660, in the name of
the King, though he was not then acknowledged in England, and which
had been prorogued by the governor to the following March, then
convened, and engaged in the arduous task of revising the laws of the
colony. One of the motives assigned for this revision strongly marks
the temper of the day. It is that they may "repeal and expunge all
unnecessary acts, and chiefly such as might keep in memory their
forced deviation from his majesty's obedience."[86]

     [Footnote 86: Virginia Laws. Chalmer.]

This laborious work was accomplished; and, in its execution, the first
object of attention was religion. The church of England was
established by law, and provision was made for its ministers. To
preserve the purity and unity of its doctrines and discipline, those
only who had been ordained by some bishop in England, and who should
subscribe an engagement to conform to the constitution of the church
of England and the laws there established, could be inducted by the
governor: and no others were permitted to preach. The day of the
execution of Charles I. was ordered to be kept as a fast; and the
anniversaries of the birth, and of the restoration of Charles II. to
be celebrated as holy days. The duties on exports and tonnage were
rendered perpetual; the privilege of the burgesses from arrest was
established, and their number fixed; the courts of justice were
organised; and many useful laws were passed, regulating the interior
affairs of the colony.[87]

     [Footnote 87: Virginia Laws. Chalmer.]

An effort was made to encourage manufactures, especially that of silk.
For each pound of that article which should be raised, a premium of
fifty pounds of tobacco was given; and every person was enjoined to
plant a number of mulberry trees proportioned to his quantity of land,
in order to furnish food for the silk worm. But the labour of the
colony had been long directed to the culture of tobacco, and Indian
corn; and new systems of culture can seldom be introduced until their
necessity becomes apparent. This attempt to multiply the objects of
labour did not succeed, and the acts on the subject were soon

In Maryland, the legislature was also convened, and, as in Virginia,
their first employment was to manifest their satisfaction with the
restoration; after which they entered upon subjects of general


[Sidenote: Rhode Island incorporated.]

Rhode Island, excluded from the confederacy of the other New England
colonies, and dreading danger to her independence from Massachusetts,
was well pleased at the establishment of an authority which could
overawe the strong, and protect the weak. Charles II. was immediately
proclaimed; and an agent was deputed to the court of that monarch, for
the purpose of soliciting a patent, confirming the right of the
inhabitants to the soil, and jurisdiction of the country. The object
of the mission was obtained, and the patentees were incorporated by
the name of "The governor and company of the English colony of Rhode
Island and Providence." The legislative power was vested in an
assembly to consist of the governor, deputy governor, the assistants,
and such of the freemen as should be chosen by the towns. The presence
of the governor or his deputy, and of six assistants, was required to
constitute an assembly. They were empowered to pass laws adapted to
the situation of the colony, and not repugnant to those of England.
"That part of the dominions of the crown in New England containing the
islands in Narraghansetts bay, and the countries and parts adjacent,"
was granted to the governor and company and their successors, with the
privilege to pass through, and trade with, any other English

     [Footnote 88: Chalmer.]

[Sidenote: Patent to Connecticut.]

In Connecticut, the intelligence of the restoration was not attended
by any manifestation of joy or sorrow. Winthrop was deputed to attend
to the interests of the colony; and, in April, 1662, he obtained a
charter incorporating them by the name of "The governor and company of
the English colony of Connecticut in New England." The executive, as
in the other colonies of New England, consisted of a governor, deputy
governor, and assistants. The legislature was composed of the members
of the executive, and of two deputies from every town. It was
authorised to appoint annually the governor, assistants, and other
officers; to erect courts of justice, and to make such laws as might
be necessary for the colony, with the usual proviso, that they should
not be contrary to those of England. To this corporation, the King
granted that part of his dominions in New England, bounded, on the
east, by Narraghansetts bay, on the north, by the southern line of
Massachusetts, on the south, by the sea, and extending in longitude
from east to west, with the line of Massachusetts, to the south sea.


[Sidenote: Contest between Connecticut and New Haven.]

By this charter, New Haven was, without being consulted, included in
Connecticut. The freemen of that province, dissatisfied with this
measure, determined in general meeting, "that it was not lawful to
join;" and unanimously resolved to adhere to their former association.
A committee was appointed to address the assembly of Connecticut on
this interesting subject. They insisted, not that the charter was
void, but that it did not include them.

A negotiation between the two provinces was commenced, in which the
people of New Haven maintained their right to a separate government
with inflexible perseverance, and with a considerable degree of
exasperation. They appealed to the crown from the explanation given by
Connecticut to the charter; and governor Winthrop, the agent who had
obtained that instrument, and who flattered himself with being able,
on his return, to conciliate the contending parties, deemed it
advisable to arrest all proceeding on their petition, by pledging
himself that no injury should be done to New Haven by Connecticut; and
that the incorporation of the two colonies should be effected only by
the voluntary consent of both.

The government of Connecticut, however, still persisting to assert its
jurisdiction, attempted to exercise it by claiming obedience from the
people, appointing constables in their towns, disavowing the authority
of the general court of New Haven, and protecting those who denied it.
Complaints of these proceedings were laid before the commissioners of
the united colonies, who declared that New Haven was still an integral
member of the union, and that its jurisdiction could not be infringed
without a breach of the articles of confederation.

Disregarding this decision, Connecticut pursued unremittingly, the
object of incorporation. The inhabitants of New Haven were encouraged
to refuse the payment of taxes imposed by their legislature; and, when
distress was made on the disobedient, assistance was obtained from
Hartford. These proceedings seemed only to increase the irritation on
the part of New Haven, where a deep sense of injury was entertained,
and a solemn resolution taken to break off all farther treaty on the

This state of things was entirely changed by a piece of intelligence
which gave the most serious alarm to all New England. Information was
received that the King had granted to his brother, the duke of York,
all the lands claimed by the Dutch, to which he had annexed a
considerable part of the territory over which the northern colonies
had exercised jurisdiction; and that an armament for the purpose of
taking possession of the grant might soon be expected. To this it was
added, that commissioners were to come at the same time, empowered to
settle the disputes, and to new model the governments, of the

The commissioners of the united colonies, perceiving the necessity of
accommodating internal differences, now took a decided part in favour
of the proposed incorporation. The most intelligent inhabitants of New
Haven became converts to the same opinion; but the prejudices imbibed
by the mass of the people being still insurmountable, a vote in favour
of the union could not be obtained.

At length, after the arrival of the commissioners appointed by the
crown, and a manifestation of their opinion in favour of the
incorporation; after a long course of negotiation which terminated in
a compact establishing certain principles of equality required by the
jealousy of New Haven; the union was completed, and the
representatives of the two colonies met in the same assembly.

During the frequent changes which took place in England after the
death of Cromwell, Massachusetts preserved a cautious neutrality; and
seemed disposed to avail herself of any favourable occurrences,
without exposing herself to the resentments of that party which might
ultimately obtain the ascendancy. Although expressly ordered, she did
not proclaim Richard as lord-protector; nor did she take any step to
recognise the authority of Parliament. The first intelligence of the
restoration of Charles was received with the hesitation of men who are
unwilling to believe a fact too well supported by evidence to be
discredited; and when they were informed of it in a manner not to be
questioned, they neither proclaimed the King, nor manifested, by any
public act, their admission of his authority. This was not the only
testimony of their dissatisfaction. Whaley and Goff, two of the judges
of Charles I., came passengers in the vessel which brought this
intelligence, and were received with distinction by the government,
and with affection by the people.[89]

     [Footnote 89: Chalmer. Trumbull.]

In a session of the general court, held in October, 1660, an address
to the King was moved; but reports of the yet unsettled state of the
kingdom being received, the motion did not prevail. They had seen so
many changes in the course of a few months, as to think it not
improbable that an address to the King might find the executive power
in the hands of a committee of safety, or council of state. This
uncertain state of things was not of long continuance. In November, a
ship arrived from Bristol, bringing positive advices of the joyful and
universal submission of the nation to the King, with letters from
their agent, and from others, informing them that petitions had been
presented against the colony, by those who thought themselves
aggrieved by its proceedings. The time for deliberation was passed. A
general court was convened, and a loyal address to the King was voted,
in which, with considerable ability, though in the peculiar language
of the day, they justified their whole conduct; and, without
abandoning any opinion concerning their own rights, professed
unlimited attachment to their sovereign. A similar address was made to
Parliament; and letters were written to those noblemen who were the
known friends of the colony, soliciting their interposition in its
behalf. A gracious answer being returned by the King, a day of
thanksgiving was appointed to acknowledge their gratitude to Heaven
for inclining the heart of his majesty favourably to receive and
answer their address.

Their apprehensions, however, of danger from the revolution in England
still continued. Reports prevailed that their commercial intercourse
with Virginia and the islands was to be interdicted; and that a
governor-general might be expected whose authority should extend over
all the colonies. On this occasion, the general court came to several
resolutions, respecting the rights of the people, and the obedience
due from them, which are strongly expressive of their deliberate
opinions on these interesting subjects.

It was resolved,

That the patent (under God) is the first and main foundation of the
civil polity of the colony.

That the governor and company are, by the patent, a body politic,
invested with the power to make freemen.

That the freemen have authority to choose annually a governor, deputy
governor, assistants, representatives, and all other officers.

That the government thus constituted hath full power, both legislative
and executive, for the government of all the people, whether
inhabitants or strangers, without appeals; save only in the case of
laws repugnant to those of England.

That the government is privileged by all means, even by force of arms,
to defend itself both by land and sea, against all who should attempt
injury to the plantation or its inhabitants, and that in their
opinion, any imposition prejudicial to the country, contrary to any
just law of theirs, (not repugnant to the laws of England) would be an
infringement of their rights.[90]

     [Footnote 90: Hutchison. Chalmer.]

These strong and characteristic resolutions were accompanied by a
recognition of the duties to which they were bound by their
allegiance. These were declared to consist, in upholding that colony
as belonging of right to his majesty, and not to subject it to any
foreign prince; in preserving his person and dominions; and in
settling the peace and prosperity of the King and nation, by punishing
crimes, and by propagating the Gospel.[91]

     [Footnote 91: Idem.]

It was, at the same time, determined that the royal warrant, which had
been received sometime before, for apprehending Whaley and Goff, ought
to be faithfully executed. These persons however were permitted to
escape to Connecticut, where they were received with every
demonstration of regard, and to remain during life in New England,
only taking care not to appear in public.

At length, in August 1661, it was determined to proclaim the King;
but, as if unable to conceal the reluctance with which this step was
taken, an order was made, on the same day, prohibiting all disorderly
behaviour on the occasion, and, in particular, directing that no man
should presume to drink his majesty's health, "which," adds the order,
"he hath in a special manner forbid."

Farther intelligence being received from England of the increasing
complaints against the government of Massachusetts, agents were
deputed with instructions to represent the colonists as loyal and
obedient subjects, to remove any ill impressions that had been made
against them, and to learn the disposition of his majesty toward them;
but to do nothing which might prejudice their charter.

The agents, who engaged reluctantly in a service from which they
rightly augured to themselves censure rather than approbation, were
received more favourably than had been expected. They soon returned
with a letter from the King, confirming their charter, and containing
a pardon for all treasons committed during the late troubles, with the
exception of those only who were attainted by act of Parliament. But
the royal missive also required that the general court should review
its ordinances, and repeal such of them as were repugnant to the
authority of the crown; that the oath of allegiance should be taken by
every person; that justice should be administered in the King's name;
that all who desired it, should be permitted to use the book of common
prayer, and to perform their devotions according to the ceremonials of
the church of England; and that freeholders of competent estates, not
vicious, should be allowed to vote in the election of officers, though
they were of different persuasions in church government.[92]

     [Footnote 92: Hutchison. Chalmer.]

These requisitions gave much disquiet; and that alone seems ever to
have been complied with which directed judicial proceedings to be
carried on in the name of the King. The agents on their return were
ill received by the people; and were considered as having sacrificed
the interests of their country, because, with the agreeable, were
mingled some bitter though unavoidable ingredients.

During these transactions, the Parliament of England proceeded to
complete its system of confining the trade of the colonies to the
mother country. It was enacted that no commodity of the growth or
manufacture of Europe, shall be imported into the settlements of
England, in Asia, Africa, or America, but such as shall be shipped in
England, and proceed directly in English bottoms, navigated by
Englishmen. Salt for the fisheries, wine from Madeira and the Azores;
and servants, horses, and victuals, from Scotland and Ireland, were
excepted from this general rule.

To counterbalance these restrictions, duties were imposed on salted
and dried fish caught or imported by other vessels than those
belonging to subjects of the crown; and additional regulations were
made for enforcing the prohibition of the culture of tobacco in

These commercial restrictions were the never failing source of
discontent and controversy between the mother country and her
colonies. Even in those of the south, where similar restraints had
been enforced by Cromwell, they were executed imperfectly; but, in New
England, where the governors were elected by the people, they appear
to have been, for some time, entirely disregarded.[93]

     [Footnote 93: Hutchison. Chalmer.]

[Sidenote: Discontents in Virginia.]

The good humour which prevailed in Virginia on the restoration of
Charles to the throne, was not of long duration. The restraints on
commerce, and the continually decreasing price of tobacco, soon
excited considerable discontents. The legislature endeavoured, by
prohibiting its culture for a limited time, to raise its value; but,
Maryland refusing to concur in the measure, the attempt was
unsuccessful. Other legislative remedies were applied with as little
advantage. Acts were passed suspending all proceedings in the courts
of law, except for goods imported; giving to country creditors
priority in payment of debts; and to contracts made within the colony,
precedence in all courts of justice. Such expedients as these have
never removed the discontents which produced them.


[Sidenote: Grant to the duke of York.]

The English government seems, at all times, to have questioned the
right of the Dutch to their settlements in America; and never to have
formally relinquished its claim to that territory. Charles now
determined to assert it; and granted to his brother the duke of York
"all that part of the main land of New England, beginning at a certain
place called and known by the name of St. Croix, next adjoining to New
England in America, and from thence extending along the sea coast unto
a certain place called Pemaquie, or Pemaquid, and so up the river
thereof to the farthest Head of the same, as it tendeth northward; and
extending from thence to the river Kernbequin, and so upwards by the
shortest course to the river Canada northward; and also all that
island or islands commonly called by the general name or names of
Meitowax, or Long Island, situate and being towards the west of Cape
Cod, and the narrow Highgansetts, abutting upon the main land between
the two rivers there called and known by the several names of
Connecticut and Hudson's river, and all the land from the west side of
Connecticut river to the east side of Delaware bay, and also all those
several islands called or known by the names of Martha's Vineyard or
Nantucks, otherwise Nantucket."

[Sidenote: Commissioners appointed by the Crown.]

To reduce this country, part of which was then in the peaceable
possession of the Dutch, colonel Nichols was dispatched with four
frigates, carrying three hundred soldiers. In the same ships, came
four commissioners, of whom colonel Nichols was one, "empowered to
hear and determine complaints and appeals in causes, as well military
as civil and criminal, within New England; and to proceed in all
things for settling the peace and security of the country."
Intelligence of this deputation preceded its arrival, and the
preparation made for its reception, evidences the disposition then
prevailing in Massachusetts. A committee was appointed to repair on
board the ships as soon as they should appear, and to communicate to
their commanders the desire of the local government that the inferior
officers and soldiers should be ordered, when they came on shore to
refresh themselves, "at no time to exceed a convenient number, to come
unarmed, to observe an orderly conduct, and to give no offence to the
people and laws of the country." As if to manifest in a still more
solemn manner their hostility, to the objects of the commissioners, a
day of fasting and prayer was appointed to implore the mercy of God
under their many distractions and troubles.[94]

     [Footnote 94: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

The commissioners arrived in July, and their commission was
immediately laid before the council, with a letter from the King
requiring prompt assistance for the expedition against New

[Sidenote: Conquest of the Dutch colony.]

The general court, which was immediately convened, after having first
resolved "that they would bear faith and true allegiance to his
majesty, and adhere to their patent, so dearly obtained, and so long
enjoyed, by undoubted right in the sight of God and man," determined
to raise two hundred men for the expedition. In the mean time colonel
Nichols proceeded to Manhadoes. The auxiliary force raised by
Massachusetts was rendered unnecessary by the capitulation of New
Amsterdam, which was soon followed by the surrender of the whole

The year after captain Argal had subdued Manhadoes, the garrison,
having obtained a reinforcement from Holland, returned to their
ancient allegiance. In 1621, the states general made a grant of the
country to the West India company, who erected a fort called Good Hope
on Connecticut (which they denominated Fresh) river, and another
called Nassau on the east side of Delaware bay. The fort on
Connecticut river, however, did not protect that frontier against the
people of New England, who continued to extend their settlements
towards the south. The Dutch remonstrated in vain against these
encroachments, and were under the necessity of receding as their more
powerful neighbours advanced, until the eastern part of Long Island,
and the country within a few miles of the Hudson were relinquished.
Farther south, the Dutch had built fort Casimir (now New Castle) on
the Delaware. This fort was taken from them by the Swedes, who claimed
the western shore of that river, but was retaken by the Dutch, who, at
the same time, conquered Christina, and received the submission of the
few Swedes who were scattered on the margin of the river. They also
made a settlement at cape Henlopen, which attracted the attention of
lord Baltimore, who sent a commission to New Castle ordering the Dutch
governor to remove beyond the 40th degree of north latitude, to which
his lordship's claim extended. This mandate however was not obeyed.

On the appearance of colonel Nichols before New Amsterdam, Stuyvesant,
the governor, was disposed to defend the place; but the inhabitants,
feeling no inclination for the contest, took part with their invaders;
and Stuyvesant was compelled to sign a capitulation, by which he
surrendered the town to the English, stipulating for the inhabitants
their property, and the rights of free denizens. New Amsterdam took
the name of New York, and the island of Manhattans that of York

     [Footnote 95: Chalmer. Smith.]

Hudson's, and the south, or Delaware river, were still to be reduced.
Carteret commanded the expedition against fort Orange, up Hudson's
river, which surrendered on the twenty-fourth of September, and
received the name of Albany. While at that place, he formed a league
with the five nations, which proved eminently useful to the views of
the English in America.

The command of the expedition against the settlement on the Delaware
was given to sir Robert Carr, who completed the conquest of that

Thus did England acquire all that fine country lying between her
southern and northern colonies; an acquisition deriving not less
importance from its situation, than from its extent and fertility.

Nichols took possession of the conquered territory, but was compelled
to surrender a part of it to Carteret.

Soon after the patent to the duke of York, and before the conquest of
New Netherlands, that prince had granted to lord Berkeley, and sir
George Carteret, all that tract of land adjacent to New England, to
the westward of Long Island, bounded on the east, south, and west, by
the river Hudson, the sea, and the Delaware; and, on the north, by
forty-one degrees and forty minutes north latitude. This country was
denominated New Jersey.[96]

     [Footnote 96: Chalmer. Smith.]

The conquest of New Netherlands being achieved, the commissioners
entered on the other duties assigned them. A great part of Connecticut
had been included in the patent to the duke of York; and a controversy
concerning limits arose between that colony and New York. In December,
their boundaries were adjusted by the commissioners in a manner which
appears to have been satisfactory to all parties.

In Plymouth, and in Rhode Island, the commissioners found no
difficulty in the full exercise of the powers committed to them. In
Massachusetts, they were considered as men clothed with an authority
subversive of the liberties of the colony, which the sovereign could
not rightly confer. The people of that province had been long in
habits of self-government, and seem to have entertained opinions which
justified their practice. They did not acknowledge that allegiance to
the crown which is due from English subjects residing within the
realm; but considered themselves as purchasers from independent
sovereigns of the territory which they occupied, and as owing to
England, only that voluntary subjection which was created and defined
by their charter. They considered this instrument as a compact between
the mother country and themselves, and as enumerating all the cases in
which obedience was due from them. In this spirit, they agreed, soon
after the arrival of the commissioners, on an address to the crown.
This address, in which they express great apprehension of danger to
their rights from the extraordinary powers granted to men not
appointed in conformity with their charter, is drawn up in a style of
much earnestness and sincerity, and concludes with these remarkable
words, "let our government live, our patent live, our magistrates
live, our religious enjoyments live; so shall we all yet have farther
cause to say from our hearts, let the King live for ever." This
address was accompanied with letters to many of the nobility supposed
to possess influence at court, praying their intercession in behalf of
the colony; but neither the address, nor the letters were favourably

     [Footnote 97: Hutchison.]


[Sidenote: Conduct of Massachusetts to the royal commissioners.]

In April the commissioners arrived at Boston, and their communications
with the general court commenced. The suspicions which these two
bodies entertained of each other, opposed great obstacles to any
cordial co-operation between them. The papers, on the part of the
commissioners, display high ideas of their own authority, as the
representatives of the crown, and a pre-conceived opinion that there
was a disposition in the government to resist that authority. Those on
the part of the general court manifest a wish to avoid a contest with
the crown, and a desire to gratify his majesty, so far as professions
of loyalty and submission could gratify him; but they manifest also a
conviction of having done nothing improper, and a steadfast
determination to make no concession incompatible with their rights.
With these impressions, the correspondence soon became an altercation.
The commissioners, finding their object was to be obtained neither by
reasoning, nor by threats, attempted a practical assertion of their
powers by summoning the parties before them, in order to hear and
decide a complaint against the governor and company. The general
court, with a decision which marked alike their vigour, and the high
value they placed on their privileges, announced by sound of trumpet,
their disapprobation of this proceeding, which they termed
inconsistent with the laws and established authority; and declared
that, in observance of their duty to God and to his majesty, and of
the trust reposed in them by his majesty's good subjects in the
colony, they could not consent to such proceedings, nor countenance
those who would so act, or such as would abet them.

As a ground of compromise, the court stated their willingness to hear
the case themselves in the presence of the commissioners, who would
thereby be enabled to understand its merits; but this proposition was
at once rejected, and every effort towards reconciliation proved

     [Footnote 98: Chalmer. Hutchison.]


From Massachusetts, the commissioners proceeded to New Hampshire and
Maine. They decided in favour of the claims of Mason and Gorges, and
erected a royal government in each province, appointed justices of the
peace, and exercised other acts of sovereignty; after which they
returned to Boston. The general court, declaring that their
proceedings to the eastward tended to the disturbance of the public
peace, asked a conference on the subject, which was refused with a
bitterness of expression that put an end to all farther communication
between the parties. Massachusetts, soon afterwards, re-established
her authority both in New Hampshire and Maine.

[Sidenote: They are recalled.]

Charles, on being informed of these transactions, recalled his
commissioners, and ordered the general court to send agents to
England, to answer the complaints made against its proceedings. The
court, having more than once experienced the benefits of
procrastination, affected at first to disbelieve the authenticity of
the letter; and afterwards excused themselves from sending agents by
saying that the ablest among them could not support their cause better
than had already been done.

During these transactions in the north, new colonies were forming in
the south.

In the year 1663, that tract of country extending from the 36th degree
of north latitude to the river St. Matheo, was made a province by the
name of Carolina, and granted to lord Clarendon, the duke of
Albemarle, lord Craven, lord Berkeley, lord Ashley, sir George
Carteret, sir John Colleton, and sir William Berkeley, in absolute
property for ever. This charter bears a strong resemblance to that of
Maryland, and was probably copied from it.

[Sidenote: Settlement of Carolina.]

The proprietors took immediate measures for Settlement the settlement
of their colony. Its constitution consisted of a governor, to be
chosen by themselves from thirteen persons nominated by the colonists;
and an assembly to be composed of the governor, council, and
representatives of the people, who should have power to make laws not
contrary to those of England, which were to remain in force until the
dissent of the proprietors should be published. Perfect freedom in
religion was promised; and, as an inducement to emigration, one
hundred acres of land, at the price of a half penny for each acre,
were allowed for every freeman, and fifty for every servant, who
should, within the space of five years, be settled in the province.

A small settlement had been made on Albemarle sound by some emigrants
from Virginia, the superintendence of which had been conferred by the
proprietors, on sir William Berkeley, then governor of that colony;
with instructions to visit it, to appoint a governor and council of
six persons for the management of its affairs, and to grant lands to
the inhabitants on the same terms that those in Virginia might be

The attention of the proprietors was next turned to the country south
of cape Fear, which, as far as the river St. Matheo, was erected into
a county by the name of Clarendon. Considerable numbers from Barbadoes
emigrated into it, one of whom, Mr. John Yeamans, was appointed
commander in chief; and, in 1665, a separate government was erected in
it, similar to that in Albemarle.

The proprietors having discovered some valuable lands not comprehended
in their original patent, obtained a new charter which bestowed on
them a more extensive territory. This charter grants that province
within the King's dominions in America, extending north eastward to
Carahtuke inlet, thence in a straight line to Wyonok, which lies under
36 degrees 30 minutes north latitude; south westward to the 29th
degree of north latitude; and from the Atlantic ocean to the South
sea. Powers of government and privileges analogous to those comprised
in other colonial charters, were also contained in this.


The people of Albemarle, employed like those of Virginia, in the
cultivation of corn and tobacco, received their scanty supplies
principally from New England; and carried on their small commerce in
the vessels of those colonies. Their progress was slow, but they were
contented. A new constitution was given them, by which the executive
power was placed in a governor, to act by the advice of a council of
twelve, six of whom were to be chosen by himself, and the others by
the assembly, which was composed of the governor, the council, and
twelve delegates, to be elected annually by the freeholders. Perfect
freedom in religion was established, and all were entitled to equal
privileges, on taking the oaths of allegiance to the King, and of
fidelity to the proprietors.

The first acts of this legislature indicate the condition and opinions
of the people. It was declared that none should be sued, during five
years, for any cause of action arising out of the country; and that no
person should accept a power of attorney to receive debts contracted


[Sidenote: Constitution of Mr. Locke.]

The proprietors, dissatisfied with their own systems, applied to Mr.
Locke for the plan of a constitution. They supposed that this profound
and acute reasoner must be deeply skilled in the science of
government. In compliance with their request, he framed a body of
fundamental laws which were approved and adopted. A palatine for life
was to be chosen from among the proprietors, who was to act as
president of the palatine court, which was to be composed of all those
who were entrusted with the execution of the powers granted by the
charter. A body of hereditary nobility was created, to be denominated
Landgraves, and Caciques, the former to be invested with four
baronies, consisting each of four thousand acres, and the latter to
have two, containing each two thousand acres of land. These estates
were to descend with the dignities for ever.

The provincial legislature, denominated a Parliament was to consist of
the proprietors, in the absence of any one of whom, his place was to
be supplied by a deputy appointed by himself; of the nobility; and of
the representatives of the freeholders, who were elected by districts.
These discordant materials were to compose a single body which could
initiate nothing. The bills to be laid before it were to be prepared
in a grand council composed of the governor, the nobility, and the
deputies of the proprietors, who were invested also with the executive
power. At the end of every century, the laws were to become void
without the formality of a repeal. Various judicatories were erected,
and numerous minute perplexing regulations were made. This
constitution, which was declared to be perpetual, soon furnished
additional evidence, to the many afforded by history, of the great but
neglected truth, that experience is the only safe school in which the
science of government is to be acquired; and that the theories of the
closet must have the stamp of practice, before they can be received
with implicit confidence.


The duke of Albemarle was chosen the first palatine, but did not long
survive his election; and lord Berkeley was appointed his successor.
The other proprietors were also named to high offices; and Mr. Locke
was created a landgrave.

After this change of constitution, the attention of the proprietors
was first directed to the south. A settlement was made at Port Royal,
under the conduct of William Sayle, who had been appointed governor of
that part of the coast which lies south-west of cape Carteret. He was
accompanied by Joseph West, who was intrusted with the commercial
affairs of the proprietors, and who, with the governor, conducted the
whole mercantile business of the colony.

William Sayle, after leading the first colony to Port Royal, and
convening a parliament in which there were neither landgraves nor
caciques, became the victim of the climate; after which, the authority
of sir John Yeamans, who had hitherto governed the settlement at cape
Fear, was extended over the territory south-west of cape Carteret. In
the same year, the foundation of _old Charlestown_ was laid, which
continued, for some time, to be the capital of the southern

While these exertions were making in the south, great dissatisfaction
was excited in Albemarle. In 1670, Stevens, the governor, had been
ordered to introduce into that settlement, the constitution prepared
by Mr. Locke. This innovation was strenuously opposed; and the
discontent it produced was increased by a rumour, which was not the
less mischievous for being untrue, that the proprietors designed to
dismember the province. There was also another cause which increased
the ill humour pervading that small society. The proprietors attempted
to stop the trade carried on in the vessels of New England, and the
attempt produced the constant effect of such measures--much ill temper
both on the part of those who carried on the traffic, and of those for
whom it was conducted.

At length, these discontents broke out into open insurrection. The
insurgents, led by Culpeper, who had been appointed surveyor-general
of Carolina, obtained possession of the country, seized the revenues,
and imprisoned the president, with seven deputies who had been named
by the proprietors. Having taken possession of the government, they
established courts of justice, appointed officers, called a
parliament, and, for several years, exercised the powers of an
independent state; yet they never, formally, disclaimed the power of
the proprietors.

All this time, the titheables of Albemarle, a term designating all the
men, with the negroes and Indian women, between sixteen and sixty
years of age, amounted only to fourteen hundred; and the exports
consisted of a few cattle, a small quantity of Indian corn, and about
eight hundred thousand weight of tobacco.


About this time, an event occurred in the southern settlements,
showing as well the poverty of the people, as the manner in which the
affairs of the proprietors were conducted. Joseph West, their agent,
was appointed to succeed Yeamans in the government; and, the colony
being unable to pay his salary, the plantation, and mercantile stock
of the proprietors, were assigned to him in satisfaction of his

In England, the opinion had been long entertained that the southern
colonies were adapted to the production of those articles which
succeed in the warmer climates of Europe. In pursuance of this
opinion, Charles, in 1679, employed two vessels to transport foreign
protestants into the southern colony for the purpose of raising wine,
oil, silk, and other productions of the south; and, to encourage the
growth of these articles, exempted them, for a limited time, from
taxation. The effort, however, did not succeed.

Old Charlestown being found an inconvenient place for the seat of
government, the present Charleston became the metropolis of South
Carolina. This situation was deemed so unhealthy, that directions were
given to search out some other position for a town. The seat of
government, however, remained unaltered until the connexion with Great
Britain was dissolved.

Carolina continued to increase slowly in wealth and population without
any remarkable incident, except the invasion of its most southern
settlement by the Spaniards from St. Augustine. This was occasioned,
in part, by the jealousy with which the English colony inspired its
neighbours, but was principally, and immediately attributable to the
countenance given, in Charleston, to the buccaneers who then infested
those seas, and who were particularly hostile to the Spaniards. It was
with difficulty the colonists were prevented by the proprietors from
taking ample vengeance for this injury. Their resentments, though
restrained, were not extinguished; and, until the annexation of the
Floridas to the British crown, these colonies continued to view each
other with distrust and enmity.

[Sidenote: Constitution of Mr. Locke abandoned.]

The dissatisfaction of the colony with its constitution grew with its
population. After some time a settled purpose was disclosed, to thwart
and oppose the wishes of the proprietors in every thing. Wearied with
a continued struggle to support a system not adapted to the condition
of the people, the proprietors at length abandoned the constitution of
Mr. Locke, and restored the ancient form of government.[99]

     [Footnote 99: Chalmer. History of South Carolina and

[Sidenote: Discontents of Virginia.]

The discontents which arose in Virginia soon after the restoration,
continued to augment. To the regularly decreasing price of tobacco,
and the restraints imposed on commerce by the acts of navigation,
other causes of dissatisfaction were soon added. Large grants of land
were made to the favourites of the crown: and considerable burdens
were produced, and injuries inflicted by the hostility of the Indians.
Agents were deputed to remonstrate against these improvident grants,
as well as to promote the views of the colony with regard to other
objects of great moment; and a considerable tax was imposed to support
the expense of the deputation. They are said to have been on the point
of obtaining the objects of their mission, when all farther
proceedings were suspended in consequence of a rebellion, which, for a
time, wore a very serious aspect.

[Sidenote: Bacon's rebellion.]


At the head of the insurgents was colonel Nathaniel Bacon, a gentleman
who had received his education, in England, at the inns of court; and
had been appointed a member of the council soon after his arrival in
Virginia. Young, bold, and ambitious; possessing an engaging person,
and commanding elocution; he was well calculated to rouse and direct
the passions of the people. Treading the path by which ambition
marches to power, he harangued the people on their grievances,
increased their irritation against the causes of their disgust, and
ascribed the evils with which they thought themselves oppressed to
those who governed them, while he professed no other object than their
good. He declaimed particularly against the languor with which the
Indian war had been prosecuted; and, striking the note to which their
feelings were most responsive, declared that, by proper exertions, it
might have been already terminated.

The people, viewing him as their only friend, and believing the zeal
he manifested to be produced solely by his devotion to their cause
gave him their whole confidence and elected him their general. In
return, he assured them that he would never lay down his arms until he
had avenged their sufferings on the savages, and redressed their other


He applied to the governor for a commission appointing him general to
prosecute the war against the Indians. A temporising policy being
pursued, he entered Jamestown at the head of six hundred armed men,
and obtained all he demanded, from an intimidated government. No
sooner had he withdrawn from the capital than the governor, at the
request of the assembly which was then in session, issued a
proclamation declaring him a rebel, and commanding his followers to
deliver him up, and to retire to their respective homes. Bacon and his
army, equally incensed at this piece of impotent indiscretion,
returned to Jamestown, and the governor fled to Accomack.

The general of the insurgents called a convention of his friends, who
inveighed against the governor, for having, without cause, endeavoured
to foment a civil war in the country, and after failing in this
attempt, for having abdicated the government, to the great
astonishment of the people. They stated farther that, the governor
having informed the King "that their commander and his followers were
rebellious, and having advised his majesty to send forces to reduce
them, it consisted with the welfare of the colony, and with their
allegiance to his sacred majesty, to oppose and suppress all forces
whatsoever until the King be fully informed of the state of the case
by such persons as shall be sent by Nathaniel Bacon in behalf of the
people." This extraordinary manifesto was concluded with the
recommendation of an oath, first taken by the members of the
convention, to join the general and his army against the common enemy
in all points whatever; and to endeavour to discover and apprehend
such evil disposed persons as design to create a civil war by raising
forces against him, and the army under his command.

[Sidenote: His death.]

In the mean time, the governor collected a considerable force which
crossed the bay under the command of major Robert Beverly, and several
sharp skirmishes were fought. A civil war was commenced; agriculture
declined; Jamestown was burnt by the insurgents; those parts of the
country which remained in peace were pillaged; and the wives of those
who supported the government were carried to camp, where they were
very harshly treated. Virginia was relieved from this threatening
state of things, and from the increasing calamities it portended, by
the sudden death of Bacon.


Having lost their leader, the malcontents were incapable of farther
agreement among themselves. They began, separately, to make terms with
the government, and all opposition soon ended. Sir William Berkeley
was re-instated in his authority, and an assembly was convened, which
seems to have been actuated by the spirit of revenge common to those
who suffer in civil contests.[100]

     [Footnote 100: Chalmer. Beverly.]

The real motives and objects of this rebellion are not perfectly
understood. Many were disposed to think that Bacon's original design
extended no farther than to gratify the common resentments against the
Indians, and to acquire that reputation and influence which result
from conducting a popular war successfully. Others believe that he
intended to seize the government. Whatever may have been his object,
the insurrection produced much misery, and no good, to Virginia.[101]

     [Footnote 101: Idem.]


Soon after the restoration of domestic quiet, sir William Berkeley
returned to England, and was succeeded by Herbert Jeffreys, who
relieved the colony from one of its complaints by making peace with
the Indians.

[Sidenote: Assembly deprived of judicial power.]

About the year 1680, an essential change was made in the jurisprudence
of Virginia. In early times, the assembly was the supreme appellate
court of the province. During the administration of lord Culpeper, a
controversy arose between the burgesses, and counsellors, who composed
also the general court, concerning the right of the latter to sit as a
part of the assembly, on appeals from their own decisions. The
burgesses claimed, exclusively, the privilege of judging in the last
resort. This controversy was determined by taking all judicial power
from the assembly, and allowing an appeal from judgments of the
general court to the King in council, where the matter in contest
exceeded the value of three hundred pounds sterling.[102]

     [Footnote 102: Chalmer. Beverly.]

From the rebellion of Bacon to the revolution in 1688, the history of
Virginia affords no remarkable occurrence. The low price of tobacco,
that perpetual source of dissatisfaction, still continued to disquiet
the country. Combinations were formed among the people to raise its
value by preventing, for a time, the growth of the article; and
disorderly parties assembled to destroy the tobacco plants in the beds
when it was too late to sow the seed again. Violent measures were
adopted to prevent these practices, and several individuals were

These discontents did not arrest the growth of the colony. A letter
from sir William Berkeley, dated in June, 1671, states its population
at forty thousand, and its militia at eight thousand. A letter from
lord Culpeper in December, 1681, supposes that there might then be in
the colony fifteen thousand fighting men. This calculation however is
probably exaggerated, as the report of general Smith, prepared in 1680
from actual returns, represents the militia as then consisting of
eight thousand five hundred and sixty-eight men, of whom thirteen
hundred were cavalry.[103]

     [Footnote 103: Chalmer.]


     Prosperity of New England.... War with Philip.... Edward
     Randolph arrives in Boston.... Maine adjudged to Gorges....
     Purchased by Massachusetts.... Royal government erected in
     New Hampshire.... Complaints against Massachusetts.... Their
     letters patent cancelled.... Death of Charles II.... James
     II. proclaimed.... New commission for the government of New
     England.... Sir Edmond Andros.... The charter of Rhode
     Island abrogated.... Odious measures of the new
     government.... Andros deposed.... William and Mary
     proclaimed.... Review of proceedings in New York and the
     Jerseys.... Pennsylvania granted to William Penn.... Frame
     of government.... Foundation of Philadelphia laid....
     Assembly convened.... First acts of the legislature....
     Boundary line with lord Baltimore settled.


[Sidenote: Prosperity of New England.]

After the departure of the commissioners, New England was for some
time quiet and prosperous. The plague, the fire of London, and the
discontents of the people of England, engrossed the attention of the
King, and suspended the execution of his plans respecting
Massachusetts. In the mean time, that colony disregarded the acts of
navigation, traded as an independent state, and governed New Hampshire
and Maine without opposition.[104]

     [Footnote 104: From a paper in possession of the British
     administration, it appears that in 1673, New England was
     supposed to contain one hundred and twenty thousand souls,
     of whom sixteen thousand were able to bear arms.
     Three-fourths of the wealth and population of the country,
     were in Massachusetts and its dependencies. The town of
     Boston alone contained fifteen hundred families.]

[Sidenote: War with Philip.]



This state of prosperous repose was interrupted by a combination of
Indians so formidable, and a war so bloody, as to threaten the war
with very existence of all New England. This combination was formed by
Philip, the second son of Massassoet. The father and eldest son had
cultivated the friendship of the colonists; but Philip, equally brave
and intelligent, saw the continuing growth of the English with
apprehension, and by his conduct soon excited their suspicion. He gave
explicit assurances of his pacific disposition; but, from the year
1670 till 1675, when hostilities commenced, he was secretly preparing
for them. The war was carried on with great vigour and various
success: the savages, led by an intrepid chief, who believed that the
fate of his country depended on the entire destruction of the English,
made exertions of which they had not been thought capable. Several
battles were fought; and all that barbarous fury which distinguishes
Indian warfare, was displayed in its full extent. Wherever the Indians
marched, their route was marked with murder, fire, and desolation.
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Plymouth, were the greatest
sufferers. In those provinces especially, the Indians were so
intermingled with the whites, that there was scarcely a part of the
country in perfect security, or a family which had not to bewail the
loss of a relation or friend. For a considerable time no decisive
advantage was gained. At length, the steady efforts of the English
prevailed; and in August 1676, when the tide of success was running
strong in favour of the colonists, Philip, after losing his family and
chief counsellors, was himself killed by one of his own nation, whom
he had offended. After his death, the war was soon terminated by the
submission of the Indians. Never had the people of New England been
engaged in so fierce, so bloody, and so desolating a conflict. Though
the warriors of the nation of which Philip was prince, were estimated
at only five hundred men, he had, by alliances, increased his force to
three thousand. In this estimate the eastern Indians are not included.
Many houses, and flourishing villages were reduced to ashes, and six
hundred persons were either killed in battle, or murdered

     [Footnote 105: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

[Sidenote: Edward Randolph.]

While this war was raging with its utmost violence, the government of
Massachusetts was under the necessity of directing a part of its
attention to the claims of Mason and Gorges. The efforts of Charles to
procure an appearance of the colony before the council having proved
ineffectual, he determined to give judgment in its absence, unless an
appearance should be entered within six months. Edward Randolph, who
was dispatched to give notice of this determination, arrived in Boston
in the summer of 1676; and, as other letters brought by the same
vessel gave assurance that this resolution would be adhered to, the
general court hastened the departure of deputies to represent the
colony, and support its interests.

[Sidenote: Maine adjudged to Gorges.]

It was the opinion of the King in council that the line of
Massachusetts did not run more than three miles north of the
Merrimack; and Maine was adjudged to Gorges. The claim of Mason to New
Hampshire being confined to the soil, all title to which, though so
long exercised, was now waived by Massachusetts; and the terre-tenants
not being before the court, that part of the case was decided so far
only as respected the boundary of Massachusetts, which, being against
the pretensions of that colony, its jurisdiction over New Hampshire
ceased. Charles had been for some time treating for the purchase both
of New Hampshire and Maine which he intended to bestow on his
favourite son, the duke of Monmouth, but his poverty had prevented the
contract. Massachusetts, though not ignorant of this fact, finding
that the decision respecting Maine would be in favour of Gorges,
purchased his title for twelve hundred pounds sterling. The offended
monarch insisted on a relinquishment of the contract; but
Massachusetts, apologising for what had been done, retained the
purchase, and governed the country as a subordinate province.[106]

     [Footnote 106: Chalmer. Hutchison.]


[Sidenote: Royal government in New Hampshire.]

New Hampshire having become a distinct colony, a royal government was
erected in that province; the legislature of which voted an
affectionate address to Massachusetts, avowing a willingness to have
retained their ancient connexion, had such been the pleasure of their
common sovereign.


The temper and conduct of Massachusetts remaining unchanged, the
charges against its government were renewed. The complaints of the
Quakers were perseveringly urged; and the neglect of the acts of
navigation, constituted a serious accusation against the colony. The
general court, in a letter to their agents, declared these acts "to be
an invasion of the rights, liberty, and property of the subjects of
his majesty in the colony, they not being represented in Parliament."
But as his majesty had signified his pleasure that they should be
conformed to, "they had made provision by a law of the colony that
they should be strictly attended to from time to time, although it
greatly discouraged trade, and was a great damage to his majesty's
plantation." Their agents gave correct information of the state of
things in England, and assured them that only a fair compliance with
the regulations respecting trade could secure them from an open breach
with the crown. These honest representations produced the usual effect
of unwelcome truths. They diminished the popularity of the agents, and
excited a suspicion in Boston that they had not supported the
interests of the colony with sufficient zeal. On their return, they
brought with them a letter containing the requisitions of the King;
and were soon followed by Randolph, who had been appointed collector
at Boston. The general court began to manifest some disposition to
appease their sovereign, and passed several laws for this purpose; but
still declined complying with his directions to send agents with full
powers to attend to the new ordering of the province; and the
collector encountered insuperable obstacles in his attempts to execute
the laws of trade. Almost every suit he instituted for the recovery of
penalties or forfeitures was decided against him, at the costs of the
prosecutor. These difficulties induced him to return to England, to
solicit additional powers, which were equally disregarded.

The complaints of the King on these subjects were answered by
professions of loyalty, and by partial compliances with the demands of
the crown; but the main subject of contest remained unaltered.


At length, being convinced that the King was determined to annul the
charter, Massachusetts so far yielded to his will, as to appoint
agents to represent the colony. But persons empowered to submit to
such regulations as might be made by government, were, in other words,
persons appointed to surrender the charter. They were therefore
instructed not to do, or consent to, any thing that might infringe the
liberties granted by charter, or the government established thereby.
These powers were declared to be insufficient; and the agents were
informed that, unless others, in every respect satisfactory, should be
immediately obtained, it was his majesty's pleasure that a _quo
warranto_ should be issued without delay. This unpleasant intelligence
was immediately communicated to the general court, accompanied with
information of the proceedings which had lately taken place in
England. In that country, many corporations had surrendered their
charters; and, on the refusal of London, a _quo warranto_ had issued
against the city, which had been decided in favour of the crown. The
question whether it was advisable to submit to his majesty's pleasure,
or to permit the _quo warranto_ to issue, was seriously referred to
the general court, and was as seriously taken into consideration
throughout the colony. In concurrence with the common sentiment, the
general court determined that "it was better to die by other hands
than their own." On receiving this final resolution, the fatal writ
was issued, and was committed to the care of Randolph, who brought
also a declaration of the King, that if the colony, before the writ
should be prosecuted, would submit to his pleasure, he would regulate
their charter for his service, and their good; and would make no
farther alterations in it than should be necessary for the support of
his government in the province. The governor and assistants passed a
vote of submission; but, the deputies refusing their assent thereto,
the high court of chancery, in Trinity term 1684, decreed against the
governor and company, "that their letters patent, and the enrolment
thereof be cancelled."


[Sidenote: Death of Charles II.]

[Sidenote: James II. proclaimed.]

Charles did not survive this decree long enough to complete his system
respecting the New England colonies, or to establish a new government
for Massachusetts. He died early in the following year; and his
successor, from whose stern temper, and high toned opinions, the most
gloomy presages had been drawn, was proclaimed, in Boston, with
melancholy pomp.


Their presages were soon verified. Immediately after James had
ascended the throne, a commission was issued for a president and
council, as a temporary government for Massachusetts, New Hampshire,
Maine, and Narraghansetts; whose powers were entirely executive and
judicial. This commission reached Boston in May, and was laid before
the general court, not as a body invested with political authority,
but as one composed of individuals of the first respectability and
influence in the province. The general court agreed unanimously to an
address, in answer to this communication, declaring "that the liberty
of the subject is abridged, by the new system, both in matters of
legislation and in laying taxes; and that it highly concerns them to
whom it is directed to consider whether it be safe;" and added "that,
if the newly appointed officers, mean to take upon themselves the
government of the people, though they could not give their assent
thereto, they should demean themselves as loyal subjects, and humbly
make their addresses to God, and, in due time, to their gracious
prince, for relief."

Mr. Dudley, the president named in the commission, was a native of
Massachusetts, and seems to have mingled with his respect for the
constitutional prerogative of the crown, a due regard for the rights
of the people. Any immediate alterations, therefore, in the interior
arrangements of the country were avoided; and the commissioners
transmitted a memorial to the lords of the council for the colonies,
stating the necessity of a well regulated assembly to represent the
people, and soliciting an abatement of the taxes. This moderate
conduct did not accord with the wishes of that class of men who court
power wherever it may be placed. These sought the favour of their
sovereign by prostrating every obstacle to the execution of his will;
and soon transmitted complaints to administration, charging the
commissioners with conniving at violations of the laws respecting
trade, and countenancing ancient principles in religion and

[Sidenote: Sir Edmond Andros.]

James was dissatisfied with the conduct of his commissioners; and was
also of opinion that a wise policy required a consolidation of the
colonies, and a permanent administration for New England. With a view
to this object, he appointed Sir Edmond Andros, who had governed New
York, captain-general and vice-admiral of Massachusetts, New
Hampshire, Maine, New Plymouth, Pemaquid, and Narraghansetts; and
empowered him, with the consent of a council to be appointed by the
crown, to make ordinances not inconsistent with the laws of the realm,
which should be submitted to the King for his approbation or dissent;
and to impose taxes for the support of government.

In December 1685, Andros arrived at Boston, where he was received with
the respect which was due to the representative of the crown. In
pursuance of his orders, he dissolved the government of Rhode Island,
broke its seal, and assumed the administration of the colony. In the
preceding year, articles of high misdemeanour had been exhibited
against that colony and referred to Sayer, the attorney general, with
orders to issue a writ of _quo warranto_ to annul their patent. The
assembly stopped farther proceedings, by passing an act formally
surrendering their charter. Their submission, however, availed them
nothing. Their fate was involved in that of Massachusetts.[107]

     [Footnote 107: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

[Sidenote: Odious measures of government.]


In pursuance of the determination to break the charters and unite the
colonies, articles of misdemeanour had been also exhibited against the
governor and company of Connecticut, on which a writ of _quo warranto_
had been issued. The government of that colony addressed a letter to
the secretary of state, desiring, with many professions of loyalty, to
remain in its present situation; but, if it should be the purpose of
his majesty to dispose otherwise of them, submitting to his royal
commands, and requesting to be annexed to Massachusetts. No farther
proceedings were had on the _quo warranto_, and Andros was ordered to
accept the submission of the colony, and annex it to Massachusetts.
This order was executed in October, when Andros appeared in Hartford
at the head of a small corps of regular troops, demanded the charter,
and declared the government to be dissolved. The colony submitted, but
the charter was concealed in a tree, which was venerated long
afterwards and is still in existence.[108]

     [Footnote 108: Trumbull. Hutchison. Chalmer.]

The grand legislative council, composed of individuals selected by the
crown throughout the united colonies, readily assembled, and proceeded
to execute the duties assigned to it.

The measures of the new government were not calculated to diminish the
odium excited by its objectionable form. The fees of office were
enormous; and the regulations respecting divine worship, marriages,
the acts of navigation, and taxes, were deemed highly oppressive. In
addition to these causes of discontent, the governor general took
occasion to cast a doubt on the validity of the titles by which lands
were holden.


To obtain relief from these oppressive grievances, Mather, an eminent
politician and divine, was deputed by the colonies of New England to
lay their complaints before the King. He was graciously received, but
could effect no substantial change in the colonial administration.
James had determined to reduce all the governments, proprietary as
well as royal, to an immediate dependence on the crown; and, to effect
this purpose, had directed writs of _quo warranto_ to issue against
those charters which still remained in force. This plan was adopted,
not only for the purpose of establishing his favourite system of
government, but also of forming a barrier to the encroachments of
France, by combining the force of the colonies as far as the Delaware.
During this reign, Canada was pushed south of Lake Champlain; and
fortresses were erected within the immense forests which then
separated that province from New York and New England. With a view to
this union of force, a new commission was made out for Andros,
annexing New York and the Jerseys to his government, and appointing
Francis Nicholson his lieutenant.


The dissatisfaction of the people continued to increase; and every act
of the government, even those which were in themselves laudable, was
viewed through the medium of prejudice.

At length these latent ill humours burst forth into action. Some vague
intelligence was received concerning the proceedings of the Prince of
Orange in England. The old magistrates and leading men silently
wished, and secretly prayed, that success might attend him, but
determined to commit nothing unnecessarily to hazard, and quietly to
await an event, which no movement of theirs could accelerate or

[Sidenote: Andros deposed.]

[Sidenote: William and Mary proclaimed.]

The people were less prudent. Stung with the recollection of past
injuries, their impatience, on the first prospect of relief, could not
be restrained. On the 18th of April, without any apparent
pre-concerted plan, a sudden insurrection broke out in Boston, and
about fifty of the most unpopular individuals, including the
governors, were seized and imprisoned; and the government was once
more placed in the hands of the ancient magistrates. All apprehensions
of danger from this precipitate measure were soon quieted by the
information that William and Mary had been crowned King and Queen of
England. They were immediately proclaimed in Boston with unusual pomp,
and with demonstrations of proclaimed unaffected joy.[109]

     [Footnote 109: Chalmer. Hutchison.]

The example of Massachusetts was quickly followed by Connecticut and
Rhode Island. Andros was no sooner known to be in prison than he was
deposed also in Connecticut; and, in both colonies the ancient form of
government was restored.

In New Hampshire a convention was called, which determined to re-annex
that colony to Massachusetts, and deputies were elected to represent
them in the general court. This reunion continued to be their wish,
but was opposed by the King, who, in 1692, appointed for it a distinct

In order to bring the affairs of the middle colonies to this period,
it will be necessary briefly to review the transactions of several

[Sidenote: Review of proceedings in New York and New Jersey.]

The treaty of Breda, which restored Acadie to France, confirmed New
Netherlands to England. Quiet possession of that valuable territory
was retained until 1673, when, England being engaged again in war with
Holland, a small Dutch squadron appeared before the fort at New York,
which surrendered without firing a shot. The example was followed by
the city and country; and, in a few days, the submission of New
Netherlands was complete. After this acquisition the old claim to Long
Island was renewed, and some attempts were made to wrest it from
Connecticut. That province however, after consulting its confederates,
and finding that offensive operations would be agreeable to the union,
declared war against the Dutch; and not content with defending its own
possessions, prepared an expedition against New York. The termination
of the war between England and Holland prevented its prosecution, and
restored to the English the possessions they had lost.[110]

     [Footnote 110: Trumbull. Hutchison.]

To remove all controversy concerning his title, which had been
acquired while the granted lands were in possession of the Dutch, the
duke of York, after the peace of 1674, obtained a renewal of his
patent, and appointed sir Edmond Andros governor of his territories in
America. This commission included New Jersey, his former grant of
which he supposed to be annulled by the conquest thereof in 1673.
Andros, disregarding the decision of the commissioners, claimed for
the duke that part of Connecticut which lies west of the river of that
name; and, during the war with Philip, endeavoured to support his
claim by force. The determined resistance of Connecticut compelled him
to relinquish an attempt on Saybrooke; after which he returned to New
York. The taxes which had been laid by the Dutch were collected, and
duties, for a limited time, were imposed, by authority of the duke.
This proceeding excited great discontent. The public resentment was
directed, first against the governor, whose conduct was inquired into
and approved by his master, and afterwards against the collector, who
was seized and sent to England; but never prosecuted. The
representatives of the duke in New York, feeling the difficulty of
governing a high spirited people on principles repugnant to all their
settled opinions, repeatedly, but ineffectually, urged him to place
the colony on the same footing with its neighbours, by creating a
local legislature, one branch of which should be elected by the
people. It was not until the year 1683, when the revenue laws were
about to expire, when the right of the duke to re-enact them was
denied in America, and doubted in England, that he could be prevailed
on to appoint a new governor with instructions to convene an

     [Footnote 111: Smith.]

In 1674, lord Berkeley assigned his interest in the Jerseys to William
Penn and his associates. They afterwards acquired the title of sir
George Carteret also, and immediately conveyed one-half of their
interest to the earl of Perth and others, who, in 1683, obtained a
conveyance from the duke of York directly to themselves.

During these transactions, continual efforts were made to re-annex the
Jerseys to New York. Carteret had endeavoured to participate in the
advantages of commerce by establishing a port at Amboy; but Andros
seized and condemned the vessels trading thither, and was supported by
the duke in this exercise of power. The assembly of New York claimed
the right of taxing the people of Jersey; and the collector, continued
to exercise his former authority within their territory. On his
complaining, after the accession of the duke of York to the throne,
that every vessel he prosecuted was discharged by the verdict of the
jury, a writ of _quo warranto_ was directed. The English judges did
not then hold their offices during good behaviour; and the proprietors
of East Jersey, confident that the cause would be decided against
them, surrendered their patent to the crown, praying only a grant of
the soil. The Jerseys were, soon afterwards, annexed to New

     [Footnote 112: Chalmer. Smith.]

Dongan, who, in 1683, had succeeded Andros in the government of New
York, took a deep interest in the affairs of the five nations, who had
been engaged in bloody wars with Canada. The French, by establishing a
settlement at Detroit, and a fort at Michilimackinack, had been
enabled to extend their commerce among the numerous tribes of Indians
who hunted on the banks of the great lakes, and the upper branches of
the Mississippi. They excluded the people of New York from any share
in this gainful commerce; in consequence of which Dongan solicited and
obtained permission to aid the five nations. This order, however, was
soon countermanded; and a treaty was concluded, stipulating that no
assistance should be given to the savages by the English colonists;
soon after which Dongan was recalled, and New York was annexed to New

From the accession of James to the throne, he had discontinued the
assemblies of New York, and empowered the governor, with the consent
of his council, to make laws "as near as might be" to those of
England. The reinstatement of this arbitrary system gave general
disgust, and, together with the apprehension that the Roman Catholic
religion would be established, prepared the people of New York, as
well as those of the other colonies, for that revolution which wrested
power from hands accustomed to abuse it. On receiving intelligence of
the revolution at Boston, the militia were raised by a captain Jacob
Leisler, who took possession of the fort in the name of King William,
and drove Nicholson, the lieutenant governor, out of the country. This
event gave rise to two parties, who long divided New York, and whose
mutual animosities were the source of much uneasiness and mischief to
the province.[113]

     [Footnote 113: Chalmer. Smith.]

[Sidenote: Pennsylvania granted to William Penn.]

William Penn having gained some knowledge of the country west of the
Delaware, formed the design of acquiring that territory as a separate
estate. On his petition, a charter was issued in 1681, granting to
him, in absolute property, by the name of Pennsylvania, that tract of
country bounded on the east by the river Delaware, extending westward
five degrees of longitude, stretching to the north from twelve miles
north of New Castle to the forty-third degree of latitude, and limited
on the south by a circle of twelve miles, drawn round New Castle to
the beginning of the fortieth degree of latitude.

In this charter, the acts of navigation were recognised, a local
legislature was created, and provision made that a duplicate of its
laws should be transmitted, within five years, to the King in council;
any of which that were repugnant to those of England, or inconsistent
with the authority of the crown, might be declared void in six months.
This charter conveyed nearly the same powers and privileges with that
of Maryland, but recognised the right of Parliament to tax the colony.

Penn soon commenced the settlement of the province, and immediately
asserted a claim to a part of the territory which had been supposed by
lord Baltimore to be within the bounds of Maryland. In this claim
originated a controversy between the two proprietors, productive of
considerable inconvenience and irritation to both.

He published a frame of government for Pennsylvania, the chief
intention of which was declared to be "for the support of power in
reverence with the people, and to secure the people from the abuse of
power; that they may be free by their just obedience, and the
magistrates honourable for their just administration; for liberty
without obedience is confusion, and obedience without liberty is

This scheme of fundamental law contains many provisions indicating
good sense and just notions of government, but was too complex for an
infant settlement; and, after many fruitless attempts to amend it, was
laid aside, and a more simple form was adopted, resembling in its
principal features, those established in the other colonies, which
remained until the proprietary government itself was dissolved.

[Sidenote: Foundation of Philadelphia.]

In August 1682, Penn obtained from the duke of York a conveyance of
the town of New Castle, with the territory twelve miles around it, and
that tract of land extending thence southward, on the Delaware, to
cape Henlopen. Soon after this grant was issued, he embarked for
America, accompanied by about two thousand emigrants; and, in the
October following, landed on the banks of the Delaware. In addition to
the colonists sent out by himself, he found, on his arrival several
small settlements of Swedes, Dutch, Finlanders, and English, amounting
to about three thousand persons. Penn cultivated the good will of the
natives, from whom he purchased such lands as were necessary for the
present use of the colonists. At this time the foundation of
Philadelphia was laid, which we are assured contained near one hundred
houses within twelve months from its commencement. An assembly was
convened which, instead of being composed of all the freemen,
according to the frame of government, was, at the request of the
people themselves, constituted of their representatives. Among the
laws which were enacted was one annexing the territories lately
purchased from the duke of York to the province, and extending to them
all its privileges. Universal freedom in religion was established; and
every foreigner who promised allegiance to the King, and obedience to
the proprietor was declared a freeman.[114]

     [Footnote 114: History of Pennsylvania. Chalmer.]

In the hope of extending his limits to the Chesapeake, Penn, soon
after his arrival, met lord Baltimore for the purpose of adjusting
their boundaries. The patent of that nobleman calls for the fortieth
degree of north latitude, and he proposed to determine the
intersection of that degree with the Delaware by actual observation.
Penn, on the contrary, insisted on finding the fortieth degree by
mensuration from the capes of Virginia, the true situation of which
had been already ascertained. Each adhering firmly to his own
proposition, the controversy was referred to the committee of
plantations, who, after the crown had descended on James, decided that
the peninsula between the bays of Chesapeake and Delaware, should be
divided into two equal parts by a line drawn from the latitude of cape
Henlopen to the fortieth degree, and adjudged that the land lying from
that line towards the Delaware should belong to his majesty, and the
other moiety to Lord Baltimore. This adjudication was ordered to be
immediately executed.

Pennsylvania was slow in acknowledging the Prince and Princess of
Orange. The government continued to be administered in the name of
James for some time after his abdication was known. At length,
however, William and Mary were proclaimed; and Penn had the address to
efface the unfavourable impressions which this delay was calculated to
make on them.


     New charter of Massachusetts.... Affairs of New York.... War
     with France.... Schenectady destroyed.... Expedition against
     Port Royal.... Against Quebec.... Acadie recovered by
     France.... Pemaquid taken.... Attempt on St. Johns....
     Peace.... Affairs of New York.... Of Virginia.... Disputes
     between England and France respecting boundary in
     America.... Recommencement of hostilities.... Quotas of the
     respective colonies.... Treaty of neutrality between France
     and the five nations.... Expedition against Port Royal....
     Incursion into Massachusetts.... Plan for the invasion of
     Canada.... Port Royal taken.... Expedition against
     Quebec.... Treaty of Utrecht.... Affairs of New York.... Of
     Carolina.... Expedition against St. Augustine.... Attempt to
     establish the Episcopal church.... Invasion of the
     colony.... Bills of credit issued.... Legislature continues
     itself.... Massacre in North Carolina by the Indians....
     Tuscaroras defeated.... Scheme of a Bank.


The revolution which placed the Prince and Princess of Orange on the
throne, revived in Massachusetts, the hope of recovering the ancient
charter. Elections were held by authority of the temporary government,
and the representatives requested the council to exercise, until
orders should be received from England, the powers and authorities
vested in that body by the charter. The council acceded to this
proposition; and the ancient system was re-established. It was soon
perceived by the agents of Massachusetts that the old charter would
not be restored, and that the King was determined to retain the
appointment of the governor in his own hands. The colony, however, was
authorised to exercise the powers of government according to the
ancient system, until a new arrangement should be made. The vessel by
which these directions were transmitted, carried also orders that sir
Edmond Andros, and those imprisoned with him should be sent to


[Sidenote: New Charter.]

The general court deputed additional agents, with instructions to
solicit the confirmation of their beloved charter; but these
solicitations were ineffectual. The King was inflexible; and, at
length, a new charter was framed, introducing some changes which
affected radically the independence that had been long practically
possessed by the colony. The governor was to be appointed by the
crown, was enabled to call, adjourn, prorogue, and dissolve the
assembly at pleasure; he had the appointment solely, of all military
officers; and, with the consent of his council, of all officers
belonging to the courts of justice.


Sir William Phipps, the first governor, arrived in May, and
immediately issued writs for a general assembly, which met in June,
and accepted the charter; though a considerable party had been formed
to oppose it. This instrument annexed Plymouth and Nova Scotia to
Massachusetts; but, contrary to the wishes of both colonies, omitted
New Hampshire, which became permanently a separate government.[115]

     [Footnote 115: Hutchison.]

[Sidenote: Affairs of New York.]

In New York, Leisler, who had obtained the entire control of the lower
country, associated with himself in the government, a few trusty
partisans, denominated a committee of safety, over whom he presided.
Some of the principal inhabitants of the city, dissatisfied at seeing
a man of low birth, without education, in possession of supreme power,
retired to Albany, where a convention of the people was assembled, who
determined to hold the fort and country for the King and Queen, but
not to submit to the authority of Leisler. On receiving intelligence
of these transactions, Jacob Milbourne was detached with a small force
to reduce the place; but, finding that the people adhered to the
convention, and that his harangues against James and popery made no
impression on them, he returned to New York. The next spring he
appeared again before the fort; and, being favoured by an irruption of
the Indians, obtained possession of it. The principal members of the
convention absconded, upon which their effects were seized and
confiscated. This harsh measure produced resentments which were
transmitted from father to son.

Leisler retained the supreme power, without farther opposition, until
the arrival of sir Henry Slaughter, who had been appointed governor of
the province. Though informed of the commission which Slaughter bore,
this infatuated man refused to yield the government to him; and showed
a disposition, without the ability, to resist. This ill judged
obstinacy threw the governor, who soon obtained possession of the
fort, into the arms of the opposite party. Leisler and Milbourne were
arrested, tried for high treason, condemned, and executed. Their
estates were confiscated, but were afterwards restored to their

     [Footnote 116: Smith.]

[Sidenote: War with France.]

While these things were passing in the interior, the colonies of New
England and New York were engaged in a bloody and desolating war with
the French of Canada, and with the Indians. The English people had
long viewed with apprehension, the advances of France towards
universal dominion; and with infinite disgust, the influence of Louis
XIV. in their cabinet. On the elevation of the Prince of Orange to the
throne, they entered with alacrity into all his views for opposing
barriers to the power, and restraints on the ambition, of that haughty
monarch. The war which was proclaimed between the two nations,
extended itself to their possessions in America. De Calliers, who
sailed from Canada to France in 1688, had formed a plan for the
conquest of New York, which was adopted by his government. Caffiniere
commanded the ships which sailed from Rochefort on this expedition,
subject however to the count de Frontignac, who was general of the
land forces destined to march from Canada by the route of the river
Sorel and of lake Champlain. The fleet and troops arrived at Chebucta,
whence the count proceeded to Quebec leaving orders with Caffiniere to
sail to New York.

On reaching Quebec, the count found all Canada in the utmost distress.
In the preceding summer, twelve hundred warriors of the Five nations
had suddenly landed on the island of Montreal, and put to death about
one thousand of the inhabitants whom they found in perfect security.
The place was again attacked in October, and the lower part of the
island entirely destroyed. In consequence of these calamitous events,
fort Frontignac, on lake Ontario, was evacuated, and two vessels which
had been constructed there were burnt.

[Sidenote: Schenectady destroyed.]

Count Frontignac, who, in his sixty-eighth year, possessed the
activity of youth, after remaining a few days on shore, re-embarked in
a canoe for Montreal. In the hope of conciliating the Five nations, he
held a great council with them at Onondago, where the Indians showed
some disposition towards a peace without concluding one. To influence
their deliberations, and raise the depressed spirits of the Canadians,
he sent out several parties against the English colonies. That against
New York, consisting of about two hundred French, and some Indians;
after marching twenty-two days with their provisions on their backs,
through a wilderness covered deep with snow, arrived, on 8th of
February 1690, about eleven at night, at Schenectady, a village a few
miles north-west of Albany. Finding the gates open and unguarded, they
immediately entered the town, the inhabitants of which were asleep;
and, dividing themselves into small parties, invested every house at
the same time. No alarm was given until the doors were broken open;
and then was commenced the perpetration of those barbarities which add
so much to the ordinary horrors of war. The whole village was
instantly in flames; pregnant women were ripped open and their infants
cast into the flames, or dashed against the posts of the doors. Sixty
persons were massacred, twenty-seven carried into captivity, and those
who escaped fled naked, through a deep snow and storm to Albany. In
the flight, twenty-five lost their limbs from the intensity of the
cold. The town was pillaged until about noon the next day, when the
enemy marched off with their plunder. Being pursued by a party of
young men from Albany, about twenty-five of them were killed and

     [Footnote 117: Smith.]

[Sidenote: Expedition against Port Royal.]

In the spring and summer of 1689, several settlements and forts in New
Hampshire and Maine, were successfully attacked by the Indians; who,
wherever they were victorious, perpetrated their usual cruelties.
Knowing that these depredations originated in Canada and Acadie, the
general court of Massachusetts planned an expedition against both Port
Royal and Quebec. Early in the spring, eight small vessels, carrying
seven or eight hundred men, sailed under the command of sir William
Phipps; and, almost without opposition, took possession of Port Royal,
and of the whole coast between that place and New England. The fleet
returned in May, having taken nearly plunder enough to discharge the
expense of the equipment. But two detachments made about the same time
by count Frontignac, attacked the Salmon falls, and fort Casco, where
they killed and took about one hundred and eighty persons.

[Illustration: Penn Seeking Freedom for Imprisoned Friends

_(C) by Violet Oakley; From a Copley print copyright by Curtis and
Cameron, Boston_

_The reference made in the panel inscription at the top of this
picture is to William Penn's imprisonment in the Tower of London for
publishing "The Sandy Foundation Shaken," in which he attacked the
doctrines of the Trinity. While in prison he wrote his most famous and
popular book, "No Cross, No Crown" and "Innocency With Her Open Face",
in vindication of his Quaker faith. In 1681 Penn obtained from the
British Crown, in lieu of a debt of L16,000 due him as heir to his
father, Admiral Penn, a grant of territory now comprising the State of
Pennsylvania. There he founded Philadelphia, as a Quaker colony, in
the following year._]

[Sidenote: Against Quebec.]

A vessel had been dispatched to England in April with letters urging
the importance of conquering Canada, and soliciting the aid of the
King to that enterprise. He was however too much occupied in Europe to
attend to America; and it was determined to prosecute the expedition
without his assistance. New York and Connecticut, engaged to furnish a
body of men, to march, by the way of lake Champlain, against Montreal,
while the troops of Massachusetts should proceed by sea to Quebec. The
fleet, consisting of between thirty and forty vessels, the largest of
which carried forty-four guns, sailed from Nantucket the ninth of
August, having on board two thousand men. This expedition also was
commanded by sir William Phipps, a brave man, but not qualified for so
difficult an enterprise. He did not arrive before Quebec until
October, when it was too late for a regular siege. Instead of availing
himself of the first impression, sir William is charged with having
wasted two or three days in sight of the place, after which he
summoned it to surrender. Having performed this ceremony, he landed
between twelve and thirteen hundred men, and marched until night,
under a scattering fire from an enemy concealed in the woods. At
night, a deserter gave such an account of the French force as entirely
discouraged him.

Connecticut and New York were disappointed in receiving the assistance
expected from the Five nations; who furnished neither the warriors
they had promised, nor canoes to transport their troops over the
lakes. The commissary too had neglected to lay up the necessary
supplies of provisions. These disappointments obliged the party
destined against Montreal to retreat without making an attempt on that
place; which enabled the French general to oppose the whole force of
Canada to Phipps.

The evening after the troops were landed, the ships were drawn up
before the place, but received more damage from the batteries than
they could do to the town. After wasting a few days in unavailing
parade, the army re-embarked with precipitation, and returned to

The general court, so far from suspecting that the expedition might
possibly miscarry, seem to have counted, not only on success, but on
acquiring sufficient treasure from the enemy to pay their soldiers.
The army, finding the government totally unprepared to satisfy its
claims, was on the point of mutinying. In this state of difficulty,
bills of credit were issued, and were received in lieu of money. A tax
was imposed at the same time, payable in the paper notes of the colony
at five per centum above par. Notwithstanding the exertions to keep up
its credit, the paper depreciated to fourteen shillings in the pound,
which depreciation was, almost entirely, sustained by the army. As the
time for collecting the tax approached, the paper rose above par, but
this appreciation was gained by the holders.[118]

     [Footnote 118: See note No. I, at the end of the volume.]

Colonel Phipps, soon after his return from Canada, embarked for
England, to renew the solicitations of the colony for aid in another
attempt on Quebec. Though unsuccessful in this application, the
government of the province was bestowed on him; and, in this
character, he returned to Boston. A desultory war continued to be
carried on, which, without furnishing any events that would now be
interesting, produced heavy expense, and much individual misery.


Canada being considered as the source of all these evils, its conquest
continued to be the favourite object of Massachusetts. At length, King
William yielded to the solicitations of that colony and determined to
employ a force for the reduction of Quebec. Unfortunately the first
part of the plan was to be executed in the West Indies, where the
capture of Martinique was contemplated. While on that service a
contagious fever attacked both the land and sea forces; and, before
they reached Boston, thirteen hundred sailors, and eighteen hundred
soldiers, were buried. The survivors not being in a condition to
prosecute the enterprise, it was abandoned.[119]

     [Footnote 119: Hutchison. Belknap.]


On the conquest of Acadie by sir William Phipps, the government of
Massachusetts had been extended over that province; but, as the
prejudices and affections of the inhabitants were entirely on the side
of France, it was soon perceived that a military force alone could
preserve the acquisition; and Massachusetts was unable, at her own
expense, to support a sufficient body of troops for the defence of the
country. Port Royal was recovered by Villebonne, after which all
Acadie shook off the government of Massachusetts, and resumed its
allegiance to France. About the same time a fort at Pemaquid was
attacked and carried by Iberville.

[Sidenote: Peace.]

In December, the treaty of peace which had been concluded at Riswick
was proclaimed at Boston; and hostilities with the French in Canada
immediately ceased. The depredations of the Indians continued only a
short time after this event; and, in the course of the following year,
general tranquillity was restored.


The frontiers of New Hampshire had been not less exposed during the
war, than those of Massachusetts. Perpetual and distressing incursions
had been made into the country, which were marked by the burning of
undefended habitations, and the massacre of men, women, and

     [Footnote 120: Belknap.]

[Sidenote: Affairs of New York.]

The frontiers of New York were covered by the Five nations.
Hostilities were carried on between them and the French, but they were
not attended by any material circumstance.

During the war the English government meditated a union of the
colonies for the purpose of forming an army to defend New York; and
the governors were instructed to propose to the several provinces to
raise the quota of troops assigned to each[121] by the crown. Though
this plan never took effect, the fact is of some interest.

     [Footnote 121: The quotas assigned by the crown are as follows:

     To Massachusetts Bay                        350
     Rhode Island and Providence plantations      48
     Connecticut                                 120
     New York                                    200
     Pennsylvania                                 80
     Maryland                                    160
     Virginia                                    240
                                        Total, 1,198]

[Sidenote: Of Virginia.]

The influence of the French not yet extending far enough south to
involve the colonies beyond New York in the calamities of Indian
warfare, few occurrences took place among them which deserve
attention. In Virginia, the college of William and Mary, to which a
charter had been granted in 1692, was liberally endowed, and was
established at Williamsburg by an act of assembly which passed in the
year 1693. In 1698, the state-house at Jamestown, with many valuable
papers, was consumed by fire; and, in the following year, the
legislature passed an act for removing the seat of government to
Williamsburg, then called the middle plantation, and for building a
capitol at that place.

By the treaty of Riswick, it was agreed that France and England should
mutually restore to each other all conquests made during the war; and
it was farther stipulated that commissioners should be appointed to
examine and determine the rights and pretensions of each monarch to
the places situated in Hudson's bay.

The consequences of not ascertaining boundaries were soon perceived.
The English claimed as far west as the St. Croix, while France
asserted her right to the whole country east of the Kennebeck.

[Sidenote: War renewed.]

These claims remained unsettled; and were mingled with other
differences of more importance, which soon occasioned the
re-commencement of hostilities.


The whole weight of the war in America fell on New England. Previous
to its commencement, the earl of Bellamont, who was at that time
governor of New York as well as of Massachusetts and of New Hampshire,
had required that the quotas of men, assigned by the crown to the
different colonies for the defence of New York, should be furnished.
This requisition however was not complied with; and, before
hostilities began, a treaty of neutrality was negotiated between the
Five nations and the governor of Canada, which was assented to by lord
Cornbury, then governor of New York. This treaty preserved the peace
of that province, but left Massachusetts and New Hampshire to struggle
with the combined force of the French and their Indian allies;--a
struggle which seems to have been viewed by New York with the utmost

Hostilities between Great Britain and France were immediately followed
by incursions of French and Indians into the exposed parts of New
England. A predatory and desolating war, attended with no striking
circumstance, but with considerable expense and great individual
distress, was carried on for some years. During its continuance,
propositions were made for a cessation of hostilities; and the
negotiations on this subject were protracted to a considerable length;
but Dudley, who had succeeded the earl of Bellamont as governor of
Massachusetts and New Hampshire, declined engaging for the neutrality
of those provinces, in the hope that Nova Scotia and Canada might be
subdued in the course of the war.


The battle of Almanza, in Spain, having induced the British cabinet to
direct an armament intended for New England to European objects,
Dudley determined to make an attempt on Acadie, though no aid should
arrive from England. With this view, he applied, early in the spring,
to the assemblies of both his provinces, and to the colonies of
Connecticut and Rhode Island; requesting them to raise one thousand
men for the expedition. Connecticut declined furnishing her quota; but
the other three colonies raised the whole number, who were disposed
into two regiments, one commanded by colonel Wainright, and the other
by colonel Hilton. On the 13th of May, they embarked at Nantucket on
board a fleet of transports furnished with whale boats, under convoy
of a man of war and a galley. The chief command was given to colonel
March, who had behaved gallantly in several encounters with the
Indians, but had never been engaged in such service as this. They
arrived before Port Royal in a few days, and landed without
opposition. After making some ineffectual attempts to bombard the
fort, a disagreement among the officers, and a misapprehension of the
state of the fort and garrison, induced the troops to re-embark in a
disorderly manner.[122] Dudley, who was unwilling to relinquish the
enterprise, directed the army to remain in its position till farther
orders. March was beloved by the soldiers, and was known to be brave,
but his capacity was doubted. It was therefore thought unsafe either
to recall him, to place an officer over him, or to continue him in the
chief command. The expedient devised in this perplexity was, to send a
commission to the army, composed of three members of the council,
invested with all the powers which the governor himself, if present,
would possess. These commissioners arrived at Casco about the middle
of July, where they found the army insubordinate, and indisposed to
the service. The troops, however, were again embarked, and arrived at
Passamaquodi, on the seventh of August. The spirits of the general
were broken, and his health was impaired. While dispositions for
landing the army were making, he declared his inability to act, and
the command devolved on colonel Wainright. The landing was effected on
the 10th of August; but the troops could not be inspired with that
union and firmness which are essential to success. After devoting ten
days to inefficient, unmeaning operations, they re-embarked, and
returned, sickly, fatigued and dispirited.

     [Footnote 122: Belknap.]


[Sidenote: Incursion into Massachusetts.]

During this unfortunate expedition, the frontiers were kept in
perpetual alarm by small parties of Indians; and, in the succeeding
year, a formidable armament was destined by Vaudreuil, the governor of
Canada, against New England. This enterprise was not fully prosecuted,
in consequence of the failure of several Indian tribes to furnish the
number of warriors expected from them. A considerable force, however,
penetrated into Massachusetts, and burnt a part of the town of
Haverhill; where about one hundred persons were killed and many others
carried off as prisoners. These invaders were pursued and overtaken by
a body of troops collected in the neighbourhood, who killed a few of
them, and recovered several of their own countrymen.


The New England colonies, still attributing all these calamities to
the French were earnest in their solicitations to the crown, for aids
which might enable them to conquer Canada. Their application was
supported by the representations of Francis Nicholson, who had been
lieutenant governor, first of New York, and afterward of Virginia; of
Samuel Vietch, a trader to Nova Scotia, and of colonel Schuyler, a
gentleman of great influence in New York, who undertook a voyage to
England for the purpose of communicating his sentiments more fully to
administration, and carried with him resolutions of the assembly,
expressing the high opinion that body entertained of his merit.
Influenced by these representations, the British cabinet determined to
undertake an expedition against the French settlements on the
continent of North America, and on New Foundland, to consist of a
squadron, having on board five regiments of regular troops, which were
to be at Boston by the middle of May, 1709, where they were to be
joined by twelve hundred men to be raised in Massachusetts and Rhode
Island. Fifteen hundred men also were to be raised in the governments
south of Rhode Island, who should proceed, by the way of lake
Champlain, against Montreal. All the colonies, except Pennsylvania,
executed with punctuality the part assigned to them. Nicholson, who
was appointed to command the troops destined against Montreal, marched
to Wood creek, where he was ordered to continue, until the arrival of
the forces from Europe; that the two armies might co-operate with each
other. The New England troops, who had been assembled at Boston
remained at that place till September, expecting the arrival of the
fleet and army from England. About that time, Nicholson returned from
Wood creek, and it was obviously too late to proceed against Quebec. A
meeting of the commanding officers, and governors of provinces was
requested, in order to deliberate on future operations. A few days
before this meeting was to take place, a ship arrived from England,
with the intelligence that the armament intended for America had been
ordered to Portugal, and with directions to hold a council of war, in
order to determine on the propriety of employing the troops raised in
America, against Port Royal; in which event the ships of war then at
Boston were to aid the expedition. The commanders of the ships, except
captain, afterwards admiral, Matthews, refused to engage in this
service; and, it being unsafe to proceed without convoy, the men were

     [Footnote 123: Belknap. Hutchison.]


A congress, composed of governors, and of delegates from several of
the assemblies, met at Rhode Island, and recommended the appointment
of agents to assist colonel Nicholson in representing the state of the
country to the Queen, and soliciting troops for an expedition against
Canada, the next spring. Government seems at first to have thought
favourably of this proposal, but finally determined to proceed only
against Port Royal. Five frigates and a bomb ketch, which were
assigned for this service, arrived with Nicholson, in July. Although
the troops were then to be raised, the whole armament, consisting of
one regiment of marines, and four regiments of infantry, sailed from
Boston the 18th of September; and on the 24th arrived before Port
Royal. The place was immediately invested, and, after the exchange of
a few shot and shells, was surrendered. Vietch was appointed governor,
and its name, in compliment to the Queen, was changed to Annapolis.


After the reduction of Port Royal, Nicholson returned to England to
renew the often repeated solicitations for an expedition against
Canada. The ministry was now changed; and the colonists despaired of
obtaining from those in power, any aids against the French. Contrary
to the general expectation, his application succeeded; and he arrived
at Boston, in June, with orders to the governors as far south as
Pennsylvania, to get their quotas of men and provisions in readiness
to act with the fleet and army expected from Europe. Within sixteen
days, while the several governors were yet deliberating on the subject
of these orders, the fleet arrived. The service according perfectly
with the wishes of the people as well as of the governors, every
practicable exertion was made; and difficulties were overcome which,
on other occasions, might have been deemed insurmountable. To supply
the money which the English treasury could not then advance, the
general court of Massachusetts issued bills of credit to the amount of
forty thousand pounds; and the example was followed by Connecticut,
New York, and New Jersey. Provisions were obtained by impressment.

The army consisted of seven veteran regiments, who had served under
the duke of Marlborough; one regiment of marines; and two regiments of
provincials; amounting, in the whole, to six thousand five hundred
men; a force equal to that which afterwards reduced Quebec, when in a
much better state of defence. This armament sailed from Boston on the
30th of July. Their sanguine hopes were all blasted in one fatal
night. On the 23d of August, in the river St. Lawrence, the weather
being thick and dark, eight transports were wrecked on Egg Island,
near the north shore, and one thousand persons perished. The next day
the fleet put back, and was eight days beating down the river against
an easterly wind, which, in two, would have carried it to Quebec.
After holding a fruitless consultation respecting an attempt on
Placentia, the expedition was abandoned; and the squadron sailed for
England. Loud complaints were made, and heavy charges reciprocated, on
this occasion. The ignorance of the pilots, the obstinacy of the
admiral, the detention of the fleet at Boston, its late arrival there,
the want of seasonable orders, and the secret intentions of the
ministry, were all subjects of bitter altercation; but no regular
inquiry was ever made into the causes of the miscarriage.

The plan of this campaign embraced also an attack on Montreal. Four
thousand men raised in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, and
commanded by colonel Nicholson, marched against that place by the way
of Albany and lake Champlain. The failure of the expedition against
Quebec enabling the governor of Canada to turn his whole force towards
the lakes, Nicholson was under the necessity of making a precipitate

[Sidenote: Peace.]

No other event of importance took place during this war, which was
terminated by the treaty of Utrecht. By the 12th article of this
treaty, France ceded to England "all Nova Scotia or Acadie, with its
ancient boundaries, as also the city of Port Royal, now called
Annapolis Royal, and all other things in those parts which depend on
the said lands." This territory, which had been comprehended in the
grant made to the Plymouth company, was, with the consent of that
company, afterwards granted by James as King of Scotland, under the
name of Nova Scotia, to sir William Alexander.

[Sidenote: Affairs of New York.]

In New York, the Leislerian and anti-Leislerian parties continued to
persecute each other. To this calamity was added, in the year 1702,
the still heavier affliction of a malignant fever, imported in a
vessel from the West Indies, which, in almost every instance, proved
mortal. A similar disease raged, about the same time, in several other
sea port towns; and was probably the same which has since produced
such fatal effects under the name of the yellow fever.

In the same year, lord Cornbury, a needy and profligate nobleman, was
appointed governor of the province. He embraced the anti-Leislerian
party, that being then the strongest. On meeting the assembly, he
urged the necessity of providing money for the public exigencies; and,
as he had arranged himself with the ruling party, the vote of supply
was liberal.

It was soon perceived that the confidence in the governor was
misplaced. Considerable sums levied for objects of great interest,
were applied to his private use. The system adopted in New York, for
collecting and keeping public money, was calculated to favour this
peculation. The colony having no treasurer, its revenue came into the
hands of the receiver general for the crown, whence it was drawn by a
warrant from the governor. Contests soon arose, between his lordship
and the legislature, on the subject of money; the house requiring a
statement of disbursements, and the appointment of a treasurer, to be
controlled by them. At length, in 1706, an act was passed raising
three thousand pounds for fortifications, and directing the money to
be placed in the hands of a person named by the legislature. The
assent of the governor to this act was not given till the succeeding
year, and was then accompanied with a message stating, that he had it
in command from the Queen "to permit the general assembly to name
their own treasurer when they raised extraordinary supplies for
particular uses and which are no part of the standing and constant

The continual demands of the governor for money, his misapplication of
it, his extortion in the form of fees, and his haughty tyrannical
conduct increased the irritation subsisting between him and the
legislature. At length, the Queen yielded to the complaints of both
New York and New Jersey, and consented to recall him.

During these altercations, some spirited resolutions were entered into
by the assembly; one of which claims particular notice. It is in these
words: "Resolved, that the imposing and levying of any monies upon her
majesty's subjects in this colony, under any pretence or colour
whatsoever, without their consent in general assembly, is a grievance,
and violation of the people's property."

This strong assertion of a principle, which afterwards dismembered the
British empire, then passed away without notice. It was probably
understood to be directed only against the assumption of that power by
the governor.[124]

     [Footnote 124: So early as the year 1692, the difference of
     opinion between the mother country and the colonies on the
     great point, which afterwards separated them, made its
     appearance. The legislature of Massachusetts, employed in
     establishing a code of laws under their new charter, passed
     an act containing the general principles respecting the
     liberty of the subject, that are asserted in magna charta,
     in which was the memorable clause, "no aid, tax, talliage,
     assessment, custom, benevolence, or imposition whatsoever,
     shall be laid, assessed, imposed, or levied, on any of his
     majesty's subjects or their estates, on any pretence
     whatsoever, but by the act and consent of the governor,
     council, and representatives of the people, assembled in
     general court."

     It is scarcely necessary to add that the royal assent to
     this act was refused.]


In Carolina, the vexatious contests with the proprietors still
continued. The public attention was for a time diverted from these, by
hostilities with their neighbours of Florida. Before the declaration
of war made against France and Spain, had been officially
communicated, it was reported in the colonies that this event had
taken place, and Mr. Moore, the governor of the southern settlements,
proposed to the assembly an expedition against St. Augustine.
Temperate men were opposed to this enterprise; but the assurances of
the governor, that Florida would be an easy conquest, and that immense
treasure would be the reward of their valour, were too seductive to be
resisted. A great majority of the assembly declared in favour of the
expedition, and voted the sum of two thousand pounds sterling for its
prosecution. Six hundred militia were embodied for the service, and an
equal number of Indians engaged as auxiliaries.

[Sidenote: Expedition against St. Augustine.]

In the plan of operations which had been concerted, colonel Daniel was
to move by the inland passage, with a party of militia and Indians,
and attack the town by land; while the governor, with the main body
should proceed by sea, and block up the harbour. Colonel Daniel
executed his part of the plan with promptitude and vigour. He advanced
against the town, which he entered and plundered before the governor
reached the harbour. The Spaniards, however, had been apprised of the
preparations making at Charleston, and had laid up provisions for four
months, in the castle, into which they retired, as Daniel entered the
town. On the arrival of the governor, the place was completely
invested; but, it being impossible to carry the castle without
battering artillery, colonel Daniel was dispatched to Jamaica for
cannon, bombs, and mortars. During his absence, two small Spanish
vessels of war were seen off the mouth of the harbour; upon which the
governor raised the siege, abandoned his transports, and made a
precipitate retreat to Carolina. Colonel Daniel returned soon
afterwards, and, having no suspicion that the siege was raised, stood
in for the harbour. He fortunately discovered his situation in time to
escape, though with much difficulty.

This rash and ill conducted expedition entailed on the colony a debt
of six thousand pounds sterling. The ignominy attached to it was soon
wiped off by one that was attended with better success. The
Appalachian Indians, who were attached to the Spaniards, had become
extremely troublesome to the inhabitants of the frontiers. The
governor, at the head of a body of militia and friendly Indians,
marched into the heart of their settlements, laid their towns in
ashes, made several prisoners, and compelled them to sue for peace,
and submit to the British government.[125]

     [Footnote 125: History of South Carolina.]

[Sidenote: Governor Johnson.]

Soon after this transaction, sir Nathaniel Governor Johnson, who had
been appointed to succeed Mr. Moor arrived in Charleston. He
endeavoured, but ineffectually to turn the attention of the colonists
to the culture of silk. This article, as well as cotton was neglected,
and rice became the great staple of the country.

[Sidenote: Attempt to establish the Episcopal church.]

During his administration, the contests between the proprietors and
the people increased. An attempt to establish the Episcopal church was
added to other pre-existing causes of discord. The colony having been
settled by emigrants from different nations, of different religious
persuasions, the indiscreet endeavour to produce uniformity, could not
fail to increase their irritation. The influence of the governor in
the legislature obtained the passage of such acts as were necessary
for his purpose; but many petitions against them were laid before
parliament; and the house of lords presented so decisive an address to
her majesty on the subject, that a writ of _quo warranto_ against the
charter was directed. This measure, however, was not put in execution;
and the attention of the colonists was diverted, for a time, from
these intestine broils, by the appearance of danger from abroad.


Spain claimed the whole country, as part of Florida; and was preparing
an expedition to enforce this claim. Governor Johnson, who had
acquired some military skill in European service, having received
intelligence of these preparations, made great exertions to fortify
the entrance into the harbour of Charleston, and to put the province
in a state of defence.

There was reason to rejoice that these precautions were used; for,
although no armament arrived from Europe, yet an expedition planned in
the Havanna, was carried into execution.

[Sidenote: Colony invaded.]

A French frigate and four armed Spanish sloops, commanded by Monsieur
Le Febour, sailed for Charleston, with orders to touch at St.
Augustine for men. His force is said to have amounted to about eight
hundred. A government cruiser descried this squadron off the bar of
St. Augustine, and brought the intelligence to Charleston. Scarcely
had the captain delivered his information, when signals from
Sullivan's island announced its appearance off the coast. The alarm
was immediately given, and the militia of the town were under arms. In
the evening the fleet reached Charleston bar, but deferred attempting
to pass it until the morning.

After consuming a day in sounding the south bar, the Spanish flotilla
crossed it, and anchored above Sullivan's island. The governor then
directed some pieces of heavy artillery to be placed in the vessels in
the harbour; and gave the command of them to William Rhet. A summons
to surrender being rejected, a party of the enemy landed on James'
island, and burnt a few houses. Another party, consisting of one
hundred and sixty men, landed, about the same time, on the opposite
side of the river. Both these were attacked and defeated.

Encouraged by this success, Johnson determined to attack the invaders
by sea. In execution of this determination, Rhet, with six small
vessels, proceeded down the river to the place where the hostile
flotilla rode at anchor which, at his approach, precipitately
re-crossed the bar. For some days it was believed that the enterprise
was abandoned; but while the inhabitants were rejoicing at their
deliverance, advice was received that a ship of force had been seen in
Sewee bay, and had landed a number of men. On examining his prisoners,
the governor was informed that the enemy had expected a ship of war
with a reinforcement of two hundred men, under the command of Monsieur
Arbuset. Taking his measures with the promptness of an experienced
officer, he ordered captain Fenwick to pass the river, and march
against the detachment which had landed; while Rhet, with two small
armed vessels, sailed round by sea, with orders to meet the ship in
Sewee bay. Fenwick came up with the party on shore, charged them
briskly, and drove them to their ship, which, on the appearance of
Rhet, surrendered without firing a shot. The prize with about ninety
prisoners was brought up to Charleston.

Thus was terminated with the loss of near three hundred men killed and
prisoners, among the latter of whom were the general and some naval
officers, the invasion of Carolina by Monsieur Le Febour. It seems to
have been undertaken in the confidence that the colony was too weak
for resistance; and was conducted without skill or courage.

[Sidenote: Bills of credit.]

To defray the expenses incurred in repelling this invasion, bills of
credit to the amount of eight thousand pounds were issued. The effect
of this emission was such a depreciation of the currency under the
form of a rise in the price of commodities and of exchange, that one
hundred and fifty pounds in paper, were given for one hundred pounds



[Sidenote: Legislature continues itself.]

Lord Granville, the palatine, a bigoted churchman, under whose
influence violent measures had been taken for the establishment of
religious conformity in Carolina, died in the year 1707. He was
succeeded by lord Craven, who, though of the same religious tenets,
supported them with moderation. His disposition to indulge, and
thereby mollify, the dissenters, was considered by the zealots of the
established church, as endangering religion; and the legislature,
which was elected under the influence of the late palatine, and of his
governor, dreading a change in the administration, adopted the
extraordinary measure of continuing itself "for two years, and for the
time and term of eighteen months after the change of government,
whether by the death of the present governor, or the succession of
another in his time."[126] Thus adding one other humiliating proof to
those which perpetually occur, that principles are deplorably weak,
when opposed by the passions.

     [Footnote 126: Chalmer.]


[Sidenote: Massacre in North Carolina by the Indians.]

In the year 1712, the Indians in North Carolina, alarmed, as their
countrymen had been in the other colonies, by the increasing
population and regular encroachments of the whites, formed with their
accustomed secrecy, the plan of exterminating in one night these
formidable neighbours. No indication of their design was given until
they broke into the houses of the planters. The slaughter on Roanoke
was immense. In that settlement alone, one hundred and thirty-seven
persons were murdered. A few escaped by concealing themselves in the
woods, who, the next day, gave the alarm. The remaining whites were
collected together in a place of safety, and guarded by the militia
until assistance could be received from South Carolina.

[Sidenote: Indians defeated.]

This was prompt and effectual. The assembly at Charleston voted four
thousand pounds for the service; and colonel Barnwell was detached
with six hundred militia, and three hundred and sixty Indians, to the
relief of the afflicted North Carolinians. With the utmost celerity he
passed through the difficult and dangerous wilderness which then
separated the northern from the southern settlements; and, attacking
the savages with unexpected fury, killed three hundred of them, and
made one hundred prisoners. The survivors retreated to the Tuscorora
town, and took refuge within a wooden breast-work, in which they were
surrounded by the whites.

After sustaining considerable loss, they sued for peace and obtained
it; but soon afterwards abandoned their country, and united themselves
with the Iroquois, or Five nations.

The expense of this expedition greatly transcended the scanty means of
South Carolina. To supply the exigencies of government, and to promote
the convenience of commerce, the legislature determined to issue
forty-eight thousand pounds in bills of credit, to be denominated bank
bills. This money was to be lent out, at interest, on security, and to
be redeemed gradually by the annual payment of one-twelfth part of the
sum loaned. The bills were made a legal tender; and the creditor who
should refuse them, lost his debt.

After the emission of these bills, exchange rose, the first year, to
one hundred and fifty, and in the second to two hundred per centum,
above par. The effect of this depreciation, and of the tender laws
which accompanied it, on creditors, and on morals, was obvious and


     Proceedings of the legislature of Massachusetts....
     Intrigues of the French among the Indians.... War with the
     savages.... Peace.... Controversy with the governor....
     Decided in England.... Contests concerning the governor's
     salary.... The assembly adjourned to Salem.... Contest
     concerning the salary terminated.... Great depreciation of
     the paper currency.... Scheme of a land bank.... Company
     dissolved by act of Parliament.... Governor Shirley
     arrives.... Review of transactions in New York.


The heavy expenses of Massachusetts during the late war had produced
such large emissions of paper money, that a considerable depreciation
took place, and specie disappeared. The consequent rise of exchange,
instead of being attributed to its true cause, was ascribed to the
decay of trade.

The colony, having now leisure for its domestic concerns, turned its
attention to this interesting subject.

[Sidenote: Affairs of Massachusetts.]

Three parties were formed. The first, a small one, actuated by the
principle that "honesty is the best policy," was in favour of calling
in the paper money, and relying on the industry of the people, to
replace it with a circulating medium of greater stability.

The second proposed a private bank, which was to issue bills of
credit, to be received by all the members of the company, but at no
certain value compared with gold and silver. It was not intended to
deposit specie in the bank for the redemption of its notes as they
might be offered; but to pledge real estates as security that the
company would perform its engagements.

The third party was in favour of a loan of bills from the government,
to any of the inhabitants who would mortgage real estate to secure
their re-payment in a specified term of years; the interest to be paid
annually, and applied to the support of government.

The first party, perceiving its numerical weakness, joined the third;
and the whole province was divided between a public and private bank.

At length, the party for the public bank prevailed in the general
court, and fifty thousand pounds were issued and placed in the hands
of trustees; to be lent for five years, at an interest of five _per
centum per annum_, one-fifth part of the principal to be paid


This scheme failing to improve the commerce of the colony, governor
Shute, who had succeeded Dudley, reminded the assembly of the bad
state of trade, which he ascribed to the scarcity of money; and
recommended the consideration of some effectual measures to supply
this want. The result of this recommendation was a second loan of one
hundred thousand pounds for ten years, to be placed in the hands of
commissioners in each county, in proportion to its taxes. The whole
currency soon depreciated to such a degree, that the entire sum in
circulation did not represent more real value, than was represented by
that which was circulating before the emission. The governor had now
sufficient leisure, and the general court furnished him with
sufficient motives, to reflect on the policy he had recommended. An
attempt to raise his salary as money depreciated, did not succeed, and
only the usual nominal sum was voted for his support.


In Massachusetts, peace abroad was the signal for dissension at home.
Independent in her opinions and habits, she had been accustomed to
consider herself rather as a sister kingdom, acknowledging one common
sovereign with England, than as a colony. The election of all the
branches of the legislature, a principle common to New England,
contributed, especially while the mother country was occupied with her
own internal divisions, to nourish these opinions and habits. Although
the new charter of Massachusetts modified the independence of that
colony, by vesting the appointment of the governor in the crown, yet
the course of thinking which had prevailed from the settlement of the
country, had gained too much strength to be immediately changed; and
Massachusetts sought, by private influence over her chief magistrate,
to compensate herself for the loss of his appointment. With this view,
it had become usual for the general court to testify its satisfaction
with his conduct by presents; and this measure was also adopted in
other colonies.

Apprehending that this practice might dispose the governors to
conciliate the legislatures at the expense of their duty to the crown,
the Queen had given peremptory orders to receive no more gifts; and to
obtain acts fixing their salaries permanently at a sum named by
herself. The mandate respecting presents was, of course, obeyed; and
some of the colonies complied with the requisition respecting the
salary; but in Massachusetts and New York, it was steadily resisted.


A controlling power over salaries was a source of influence which was
pertinaciously maintained; and its efficacy was tried in all the
conflicts between Massachusetts and her governor. Almost every
important measure brought before the legislature, was productive of
contests between these departments. They disagreed, not only on the
policy of particular acts, but on the limits of their power. The
governor claimed the right of negativing the speaker chosen by the
representatives, which was denied by them; and, each party persisting
in its pretensions, the assembly was dissolved, and new elections took
place. The same members being generally re-chosen, the house of
representatives assembled with increased irritation, and passed some
angry resolutions respecting its dissolution. The governor, in turn,
charged the house with encroachments on the power of the executive;
among other instances of which, he mentioned certain resolutions
passed on the commencement of hostilities by the Indians, which were
deemed equivalent to a declaration of war, and had therefore been


Disagreements were multiplied between them. Paper money and trade were
inexhaustible sources of discontent. New elections produced no change
of temper. After war was formally declared against the Indians, the
house endeavoured to exercise executive powers in its prosecution;
and, the council not concurring with them, the representatives
attempted, in one instance, to act alone.

The measures recommended by the governor to successive assemblies,
were disregarded; irritating resolves were adopted and reiterated; and
a course of angry crimination and recrimination took place between
them in the progress of which the governor's salary was reduced in its
nominal as well as real amount; and the sum granted, instead of being
voted, as had been usual, at the commencement of the session, was
reserved to its close.


In the midst of these contests, governor Shute, who had privately
solicited and obtained leave to return to England, suddenly embarked
on board the Sea Horse man of war, leaving the controversy concerning
the extent of the executive power, to devolve on the lieutenant

     [Footnote 127: Hutchison.]

The house of representatives persisted in asserting its control over
objects which had been deemed within the province of the executive;
but its resolutions were generally negatived by the council. This
produced some altercation between the two branches of the legislature;
but they at length united in the passage of a resolution desiring
their agent in England to take the best measures for protecting the
interests of the colony, which were believed to be in danger from the
representations of governor Shute.

[Sidenote: Intrigues of the French with the Indians.]

During these contests in the interior, the frontiers had suffered
severely from the depredations of the Indians. The French had acquired
great influence over all the eastern tribes. Jesuit missionaries
generally resided among them, who obtained a great ascendancy in their
councils. After the cession of Nova Scotia to Great Britain, father
Rahle, a missionary residing among the savages of that province
exerted successfully all his address to excite their jealousies and
resentments against the English. By his acts, and those of other
missionaries, all the eastern Indians, as well as those of Canada,
were combined against New England. They made incursions into
Massachusetts, in consequence of which, some troops were detached to
the village in which Rahle resided, for the purpose of seizing his
person. He received intimation of their approach in time to make his
escape; but they secured his papers, among which were some showing
that in exciting the savages to war against the English colonists, he
had acted under the authority of the governor of Canada, who had
secretly promised to supply them with arms and ammunition.


[Sidenote: Peace.]

Envoys were deputed with a remonstrance against conduct so
incompatible with the state of peace then subsisting between France
and England. The governor received this embassy politely, and, at
first, denied any interference in the quarrel, alleging that the
Indians were independent nations who made war and peace without being
controlled by him. On being shown his letters to Rahle, he changed his
language, and gave assurances of his future good offices in effecting
a peace. On the faith of these assurances, conferences were held with
some Indian chiefs then in Canada; several captives were ransomed;
and, soon after the return of the commissioners to New England, the
war was terminated by a treaty of peace signed at Boston.[128]

     [Footnote 128: Hutchison. Belknap.]

[Sidenote: Decision against the house on the controversy with the

[Sidenote: New Charter.]

Meanwhile the complaints of governor Shute against the house of
representatives were heard in England. Every question was decided
against the house. In most of them, the existing charter was deemed
sufficiently explicit; but, on two points, it was thought advisable to
have explanatory articles. These were, the right of the governor to
negative the appointment of the speaker, and the right of the house on
the subject of the adjournment. An explanatory charter therefore
affirming the power claimed by the governor to negative a speaker, and
denying to the house of representatives the right of adjourning itself
for a longer time than two days. This charter was submitted to the
general court, to be accepted or refused; but it was accompanied with
the intimation that, in the event of its being refused, the whole
controversy between the governor and house of representatives would be
laid before Parliament. The conduct of the representatives had been so
generally condemned in England, as to excite fears that an act to
vacate the charter would be the consequence of a parliamentary
inquiry. The temper of the house too had undergone a change. The
violence and irritation which marked its proceedings in the contest
with governor Shute had subsided; and a majority determined to accept
the new charter.


The trade of the province still languished, and complaints of the
scarcity of money were as loud as when only specie was in circulation.
To remedy these evils, a bill for emitting a farther sum in paper
passed both houses, but was rejected by the lieutenant governor, as
being inconsistent with his instructions. The house of
representatives, thereupon, postponed the consideration of salaries
till the next session. The assembly was then adjourned at its own
request, and, after a recess of a fortnight, was again convened. As an
expedient to elude the instructions to the governor which interdicted
his assent to any act for issuing bills of credit, except for charges
of government, a bill passed with the title of "an act for raising and
settling a public revenue for and towards defraying the necessary
charges of government, by an emission of sixty thousand pounds in
bills of credit." This bill providing for the payment of the salaries
to which several members of the council were entitled, passed that
house also; and the lieutenant governor gave a reluctant assent to it.
Its passage into a law furnishes strong evidence of the influence
which the control over salaries gave to the house of representatives.


[Sidenote: Contest respecting salary.]

Mr. Burnet, who had been appointed governor of Massachusetts and New
Hampshire, was received with great pomp in Boston. At the first
meeting of the assembly, he stated the King's instructions to insist
on an established salary, and his intention firmly to adhere to them.
The assembly was not less firm in its determination to resist this
demand; and, that no additional and unnecessary obloquy might be
encountered, resolved, not to mingle any difference concerning the
amount of the salary, with the great question of its depending on the
will of the legislature. As soon therefore as the compliments usual on
the arrival of a governor had passed, the house voted one thousand
seven hundred pounds towards his support, and to defray the charges of
his journey. This vote was understood to give him, as a present
salary, a sum equal to one thousand pounds sterling per annum. The
governor declared his inability to assent to this bill, it being
inconsistent with his instructions. After a week's deliberation, the
assembly granted three hundred pounds for the expenses of his journey,
which he accepted; and, in a distinct vote, the farther sum of one
thousand four hundred pounds was granted toward his support. The
latter vote was accompanied with a joint message from both houses,
wherein they asserted their undoubted right as Englishmen, and their
privilege by the charter, to raise and apply money for the support of
government; and their willingness to give the governor an ample and
honourable support; but they apprehended it would be most for his
majesty's service to do so without establishing a fixed salary. The
governor returned an answer on the same day, in which he said, that,
if they really intended to give him an ample and honourable support,
they could have no just objection to making their purpose effectual by
fixing his salary; for he would never accept a grant of the kind then

The council was disposed to avoid the contest, and to grant a salary
to the present governor for a certain time; but the house of
representatives, remaining firm to its purpose, sent a message to the
governor requesting that the court might rise. He answered, that a
compliance with this request would put it out of the power of the
legislature to pay immediate regard to the King's instructions; and he
would not grant a recess, until the business of the session should be
finished. The representatives then declared that, "in faithfulness to
the people, they could not come into an act for establishing a salary
on the governor or commander in chief for the time being," and,
therefore, renewed their request that the court might rise.

Both the governor and the house of representatives seem, thus far, to
have made their declarations with some reserve. A salary during his
own administration might, perhaps, have satisfied him, though he
demanded that one should be settled, generally, on the commander in
chief for the time being; and the house had not yet declared against
settling a salary on him for a limited time. Each desired that the
other should make some concession. Both declined; both were irritated
by long altercation; and, at length, instead of mutually advancing
fixed at the opposite extremes. After several ineffectual efforts on
each side, the representatives sent a message to the governor, stating
at large the motives which induced the resolution they had formed. The
governor returned a prompt answer, in which he also detailed the
reasons in support of the demand he had made. These two papers,
manifesting the principles and objects of both parties, deserve
attention even at this period.

The house, not long after receiving this message, far from making any
advances towards a compliance with his request, came to two
resolutions strongly expressive of its determination not to recede
from the ground which had been taken.

These resolutions gave the first indication, on the part of the
representatives, of a fixed purpose to make no advance towards a
compromise. They induced the governor to remind the court of the
danger to which the proceedings of that body might expose the charter.
This caution did not deter the house from preparing, and transmitting
to the several towns of the province a statement of the controversy,
which concludes with saying, "we dare neither come into a fixed salary
on the governor for ever, nor for a limited time, for the following

First, Because it is an untrodden path which neither we, nor our
predecessors have gone in, and we cannot certainly foresee the many
dangers that may be in it, nor can we depart from that way which has
been found safe and comfortable.

Secondly, Because it is the undoubted right of all Englishmen, by
_magna charta_, to raise and dispose of money for the public service,
of their own free accord, without compulsion.

Thirdly, Because it must necessarily lessen the dignity and freedom of
the house of representatives, in making acts, and raising and applying
taxes, &c. and, consequently, cannot be thought a proper method to
preserve that balance in the three branches of the legislature, which
seems necessary to form, maintain, and uphold, the constitution.

Fourthly, Because the charter fully empowers the general assembly to
make such laws and orders as they shall judge for the good and welfare
of the inhabitants; and if they, or any part of them, judge this not
to be for their good, they neither ought nor could come into it, for,
as to act beyond or without the powers granted in the charter might
justly incur the King's displeasure, so not to act up and agreeable to
those powers, might justly be deemed a betraying of the rights and
privileges therein granted; and if they should give up this right,
they would open a door to many other inconveniences."

Many messages passed in quick succession between the governor and the
house, in the course of which the arguments stated in the papers which
have been mentioned, were enlarged and diversified. At length, the
house repeated its request for an adjournment; but the governor
replied that "unless his majesty's pleasure had due weight with them,
their desires would have very little with him."

The council now interposed with a resolution declaring "that it is
expedient for the court to ascertain a sum as a salary for his
excellency's support, as also the term of time for its continuance."
This resolution was transmitted to the house of representatives, and
immediately rejected.

After much controversy, a small seeming advance towards an
accommodation was made. Instead of voting a salary, as had been usual,
for half a year, a grant was made to the governor of three thousand
pounds, equal to one thousand pounds sterling, to enable him to manage
the affairs of the province. This was generally understood to be a
salary for a year. The governor having withheld his assent from this
vote, the house entreated him to accept the grant; and added "we
cannot doubt but that succeeding assemblies, according to the ability
of the province, will be very ready to grant as ample a support; and
if they should not, your excellency will then have an opportunity of
showing your resentment." The governor however persisted to withhold
his assent from the vote.

[Sidenote: Adjournment of the Assembly to Salem.]

The colony generally, and especially Boston, was opposed to a
compliance with the instructions of the crown. At a general meeting of
the inhabitants, the town passed a vote, purporting to be unanimous
against fixing a salary on the governor. In consequence of this vote,
and of an opinion that the members of the house were influenced by the
inhabitants of the town, the governor determined to change the place
at which the court should hold its session; and on the 24th of
October, adjourned it to the 30th then to meet at Salem, in the
country of Essex.

Change of place did not change the temper of the house. This was not,
as in the contests with governor Shute, an angry altercation, into
which the representatives were precipitated by a restless and
encroaching temper, but a solemn and deliberate stand, made in defence
of a right believed to be unquestionable, and of a principle deemed
essential to the welfare of the colony. The ground taken was
considered well, and maintained with firmness. Votes and messages of
the same tenor with those which had been often repeated, continued to
pass between the representatives and the governor, until the subject
was entirely exhausted. Each party being determined to adhere to its
principles, the house met and adjourned daily, without entering on

In the mean time, the governor received no salary. To the members of
Boston, who had not been accustomed to the expense of attending the
legislature at a distant place, a compensation, above their ordinary
wages, was made by that town.

The house, firmly persuaded of the propriety of its conduct, prepared
a memorial to the King praying a change in the royal instructions to
the governor. Agents were appointed to represent the general court in
England, and a vote was passed for defraying the expenses attendant on
the business. The council refused to concur in this vote, because the
agents had been appointed by the house of representatives singly; and
the measure must have been abandoned for want of money, had not the
inhabitants of Boston raised the sum required, by subscription.


Letters were soon received from these agents, inclosing a report from
the board of trade, before whom they had been heard by council,
entirely disapproving the conduct of the house. The letters also
indicated that, should the house persist in its refusal to comply with
the King's instructions, the affair might be carried before
parliament. But, should even this happen, the agents thought it more
advisable that the salary should be fixed by the supreme legislature,
than by that of the province. "It was better," they said, "that the
liberties of the people should be taken from them, than given up by

The governor, at length, refused to sign a warrant on the treasury for
the wages of the members. "One branch of the legislature," he said,
"might as well go without their pay as the other." The act, and the
reason for it, were alike unsatisfactory to the house.

[Sidenote: Death of Governor Burnet.]

After a recess from the 20th of December to the 2d of April, the
general court met again at Salem. Repeated meetings at that place
having produced no accommodation, the governor adjourned the
legislature to Cambridge. A few days after the commencement of the
session, he was seized with a fever, of which he died.

Mr. Burnet is said to have possessed many valuable qualities; and, had
he not been engaged, by a sense of duty, in this long contest, he
would, in all probability, have been a favourite of the province.[129]

     [Footnote 129: Hutchison.]


[Sidenote: Arrival of Governor Belcher.]

Mr. Belcher, who succeeded Burnet, arrived at Boston early in August
where he was cordially received. At the first meeting of the general
court, he pressed the establishment of a permanent salary, and laid
before them his instructions, in which it was declared that, in the
event of the continued refusal of the assembly, "his majesty will find
himself under the necessity of laying the undutiful behaviour of the
province before the legislature of Great Britain, not only in this
single instance, but in many others of the same nature and tendency,
whereby it manifestly appears that this assembly, for some years last
past, have attempted, by unwarrantable practices, to weaken, if not
cast off, the obedience they owe to the crown, and the dependence
which all colonies ought to have on the mother country."

At the close of these instructions, his majesty added his expectation,
"that they do forthwith comply with this proposal, as the last
signification of our royal pleasure to them on this subject, and if
the said assembly shall not think fit to comply therewith, it is our
will and pleasure, and you are required, immediately, to come over to
this kingdom of Great Britain, in order to give us an exact account of
all that shall have passed on this subject, that we may lay the same
before our parliament."

The house proceeded, as in the case of governor Burnet, to make a
grant to Mr. Belcher of one thousand pounds currency for defraying the
expense of his voyage, and as a gratuity for his services while the
agent of the colony in England; and, some time after, voted a sum
equal to one thousand pounds sterling to enable him to manage the
public affairs, &c.; but fixed no time for which the allowance was
made. The council concurred in this vote, adding an amendment "and
that the same sum be annually allowed for the governor's support." The
house not agreeing to this amendment, the council carried it so as to
read "that the same sum should be annually paid during his
excellency's continuance in the government, and residence here." This
also was disagreed to and the resolution fell.

The small-pox being in the town of Cambridge, the assembly was
adjourned to Roxbury.


Two or three sessions passed with little more, on the part of the
governor, than a repetition of his demand for a fixed salary, and an
intimation that he should be obliged to return to England, and state
the conduct of the house of representatives to the King. Some
unsuccessful attempts were made by his friends to pass a bill fixing
the salary during his administration, with a protest against the
principle, and against that bill's being drawn into precedent. Failing
in this expedient, and finding the house inflexible, he despaired of
succeeding with that body, and turned his attention to the relaxation
of his instructions. He advised an address from the house to his
majesty, praying that he might be permitted to receive the sum which
the legislature had offered to grant him. This was allowed by the
crown; with the understanding that he was still to insist on a
compliance with his instructions. Leave to accept particular grants
was obtained for two or three years successively; and, at length, a
general permission was conceded to accept such sums as might be given
by the assembly.[130]

     [Footnote 130: Hutchison.]

[Sidenote: Contest concerning the salary terminated.]

Thus was terminated, the stubborn contest concerning a permanent
salary for the governor. Its circumstances have been given more in
detail than consists with the general plan of this work, because it is
considered as exhibiting, in genuine colours, the character of the
people engaged in it. It is regarded as an early and an honourable
display of the same persevering temper in defence of principle, of the
same unconquerable spirit of liberty, which at a later day, and on a
more important question, tore the British colonies from a country to
which they had been strongly attached.


The immense quantity of depreciated paper which was in circulation
throughout New England, had no tendency to diminish the complaints of
the scarcity of money. Massachusetts and New Hampshire were restrained
from farther emissions by the instructions to their governors, who
received their appointments from the crown. Connecticut, engaged
chiefly in agricultural pursuits, suffered less from this depreciated
medium than her neighbours, and was less disposed to increase its
evils. Rhode Island, equally commercial with Massachusetts, and
equally fond of paper, chose her own governor, and might therefore
indulge, without restraint, her passion for a system alike
unfavourable to morals and to industry. That colony now issued one
hundred thousand pounds on loan, to its inhabitants, for twenty years.
The merchants of Boston, apprehensive that this capital would transfer
the stock of Massachusetts to Rhode Island, associated against
receiving the new emission; and many of them formed a company which
issued one hundred and ten thousand pounds, redeemable with specie, in
ten years, a tenth part annually, at the then current value of paper.
The association against receiving the new emission of Rhode Island was
not long observed; and the bills of New Hampshire and Connecticut were
also current. Silver immediately rose to twenty-seven shillings the
ounce, and the notes issued by the merchants soon disappeared, leaving
in circulation only the government paper.


Great uneasiness prevailed through Massachusetts on this subject. The
last instalment of the bills would become due in 1741, and no power
existed to redeem them by new emissions. Serious consequences were
apprehended from calling in the circulating medium without
substituting another in its place, and the alarm was increased by the
circumstance that the taxes had been so lightly apportioned on the
first years, as to require the imposition of heavy burdens for the
redemption of what remained in circulation. The discontents excited by
these causes were manifested in the elections, and were directed
against the governor, who was openly hostile to the paper system.

[Sidenote: Land bank.]

The projector of the bank again came forward; and, placing himself at
the head of seven or eight hundred persons, some of whom possessed
property, proposed to form a company which should issue one hundred
and fifty thousand pounds in bills. By this scheme, every borrower of
a sum larger than one hundred pounds, was to mortgage real estate to
secure its re-payment. The borrowers of smaller sums might secure
their re-payment either by mortgage, or by bond with two securities.
Each subscriber, or partner was to pay, annually, three per centum
interest on the sum he should take, and five per centum of the
principal, either in the bills themselves, or in the produce and
manufactures of the country, at such rates as the directors should,
from time to time, establish.


[Sidenote: Company dissolved.]

Although the favourers of this project were so successful at the
elections as to obtain a great majority in the general court, men of
fortune, and the principal merchants, refused to receive these bills.
Many small traders, however, and other persons interested in the
circulation of a depreciated currency, gave them credit. The directors
themselves, it was said, became traders; and issued bills without
limitation, and without giving security for their redemption. The
governor, anticipating the pernicious effects of the institution,
exerted all his influence against it. He displaced such executive
officers as were members of it, and negatived the speaker, and
thirteen members elected to the council, who were also of the company.
General confusion being apprehended, application was made to
parliament for an act to suppress the company. This being readily
obtained, the company was dissolved, and the holders of the bills were
allowed their action against its members, individually.[131]

     [Footnote 131: Hutchison.]

About this time governor Belcher was recalled, and Mr. Shirley was
appointed to succeed him. He found the land bank interest predominant
in the house, and the treasury empty.


In this state of things, he deemed it necessary to depart from the
letter of his instructions, in order to preserve their spirit. A bill
was passed declaring that all contracts should be understood to be
payable in silver at six shillings and eight pence the ounce, or in
gold at its comparative value. Bills of a new form were issued,
purporting to be for ounces of silver, which were to be received in
payment of all debts, with this proviso, that if they should
depreciate between the time of contract and of payment, a proportional
addition should be made to the debt.

[Sidenote: Affairs of New York.]

While these transactions were passing in New England, symptoms of that
jealousy which an unsettled boundary must produce between neighbours,
began to show themselves in Canada and New York. The geographical
situation of these colonies had, at an early period, directed the
attention of both towards the commerce of the lakes. Mr. Burnet, the
governor both of New York and New Jersey, impressed with the
importance of acquiring the command of lake Ontario, had, in the year
1722, erected a trading house at Oswego in the country of the Senecas.
This measure excited the jealousy of the French, who launched two
vessels on the lake, and transported materials to Niagara for building
a large store house, and for repairing the fort at that place. These
proceedings were strongly opposed by the Senecas, and by the
government of New York. Mr. Burnet remonstrated against them as
encroachments on a British province, and also addressed administration
on the subject. Complaints were made to the cabinet of Versailles; but
the governor of Canada proceeded to complete the fort. To countervail
the effects of a measure which he could not prevent, governor Burnet
erected a fort at Oswego; soon after the building of which, while Mr.
Vandam was governor of New York, the French took possession of Crown
Point, which they fortified; and thus acquired the command of lake
Champlain. Obviously as this measure was calculated to favour both the
offensive and defensive operations of France in America, the English
minister, after an unavailing remonstrance, submitted to it.


     War with the southern Indians.... Dissatisfaction of
     Carolina with the proprietors.... Rupture with Spain....
     Combination to subvert the proprietary government....
     Revolution completed.... Expedition from the Havanna against
     Charleston.... Peace with Spain.... The proprietors
     surrender their interest to the crown.... The province
     divided.... Georgia settled.... Impolicy of the first
     regulations.... Intrigues of the Spaniards with the slaves
     of South Carolina.... Insurrection of the slaves.


In Carolina, the contests between the inhabitants and the proprietors,
added to the favour with which the Queen heard the complaints of the
dissenters, had turned the attention of the people towards the crown,
and produced a strong desire to substitute the regal, for the
proprietary government. This desire was increased by an event which
demonstrated the incompetency of their government.

[Sidenote: War with the Indians.]

The Yamassees, a powerful tribe of Indians on the north east of the
Savanna, instigated by the Spaniards at St. Augustine, secretly
prepared a general combination of all the southern Indians, against
the province. Having massacred the traders settled among them, they
advanced in great force against the southern frontier, spreading
desolation and slaughter on their route. The inhabitants were driven
into Charleston; and governor Craven proclaimed martial law. He also
obtained an act of assembly empowering him to impress men; to seize
arms, ammunition, and stores; to arm such negroes as could be trusted;
and, generally, to prosecute the war with the utmost vigour. Agents
were sent to Virginia and to England to solicit assistance, and bills
were issued for the payment and subsistence of the army.

At the same time, the Indians entered the northern part of the
province, and were within fifty miles of the capital. Thus surrounded
by enemies, the governor took the course which was suggested equally
by courage and by prudence. Leaving the less active part of the
population to find security in the forts at Charleston, he marched
with the militia, towards the southern frontier, which was invaded by
the strongest body of Indians; and, at a place called Salt Catchers,
attacked and totally defeated them. The victors pursued them into
their own country, expelled them from it, and drove them over the
Savanna river. The fugitives found protection in Florida, where they
made a new settlement, from which they continued long afterwards, to
make distressing incursions into Carolina.

The agent who had been sent by the legislature to England to implore
the protection of the proprietors, had received ulterior instructions,
should he not succeed with them, to apply directly to the King. Being
dissatisfied with his reception by the proprietors, he petitioned the
house of commons, who addressed the King, praying his interposition,
and immediate assistance to the colony. The King referred the matter
to the lords commissioners of trade and plantations, whose report was
unfavourable to the application, because the province of Carolina was
a proprietary government. They were of opinion that, if the colony was
to be protected at the expense of the nation, its government ought to
be vested in the crown. On receiving this opinion, the proprietors, in
a general meeting, avowed their inability to protect the province, and
declared that, unless his majesty would graciously please to
interpose, they could foresee nothing but the utter destruction of his
faithful subjects in those parts.

A government unable to afford protection to the people, was ill
adapted to the situation of Carolina.

The dissatisfaction growing out of this cause was still farther
augmented by the unpopular, and, in some instances, unwise acts of the

To relieve the distress produced by war, considerable sums of paper
money had been issued; and the proprietors, on the complaint of the
merchants, of London engaged in the trade of the province, had given
instructions to reduce the quantity in circulation.

{1715 to 1717}

The assembly had appropriated the country of the Yamassees, to the use
of such of his majesty's European subjects, as would settle it.
Extracts from the law on this subject being published in England, and
in Ireland, five hundred men from the latter kingdom emigrated to
Carolina. The proprietors repealed this law; and, to the utter ruin of
the emigrants, as well as to the destruction of this barrier against
the savages, ordered the lands to be surveyed, and erected into
baronies, for themselves.

While the population was confined to the neighbourhood of Charleston,
all the members of the assembly had been elected at that place. As the
settlements extended, this practice became inconvenient; and an act
was passed, declaring that every parish should choose a certain number
of representatives, and that the elections should be held, in each, at
the parish church. As if to destroy themselves in the province, the
proprietors repealed this popular law also.

Heavy expenses being still incurred for defence against the inroads of
the southern Indians, the people complained loudly of the
insufficiency of that government which, unable itself to protect them,
prevented the interposition of the crown in their favour.

In this temper, governor Johnson, son of the former governor of that
name, found the province. He met the assembly with a conciliatory
speech, and received an answer expressing great satisfaction at his
appointment. His original popularity was increased by the courage he
displayed in two expeditions against a formidable band of pirates who
had long infested the coast, which he entirely extirpated.


These expeditions occasioned still farther emissions of paper money.
The governor, being instructed to diminish its quantity, had influence
enough with the assembly to obtain an act for redeeming the bills of
credit, in three years, by a tax on lands and negroes. This tax
falling heavily on the planters, they sought to elude it by obtaining
an act for a farther emission of bills. The proprietors, being
informed of this design, and also of an intention to make the produce
of the country a tender in payment of all debts, at a fixed value,
enjoined the governor not to give his assent to any bill, until it
should be laid before them.

About the same time, the King, by an order in council, signified his
desire to the proprietors, that they would repeal an act passed in
Carolina, for imposing a duty of ten per centum on all goods of
British manufacture imported into the province. The repeal of this
act, and of one declaring the right of the assembly to name a receiver
of the public money, and of the election law, were transmitted to the
governor, in a letter directing him to dissolve the assembly, and to
hold a new election at Charleston, according to ancient usage.


The assembly being employed in devising means for raising revenue,
their dissolution was deferred; but the repeal of the law imposing
duties, and the royal displeasure at the clause laying a duty on
British manufactures, were immediately communicated, with a
recommendation to pass another act, omitting that clause.

Meanwhile the governor's instructions were divulged. They excited
great irritation; and produced a warm debate on the right of the
proprietors to repeal a law enacted with the consent of their deputy
in the province.


About this time, chief justice Trott, who had become extremely
unpopular in the colony, was charged with many iniquitous proceedings;
and the governor, the major part of the council, and the assembly,
united in a memorial representing his malpractices to the proprietors.
Mr. Young was deputed their agent to enforce these complaints.

Soon after his arrival in London, he presented a memorial to the
proprietors, detailing the proceedings of Carolina, and stating the
objections of the assembly to the right of their lordships to repeal
laws, which had been approved by their deputies.

This memorial was very unfavourably received, and the members of the
council who had subscribed it, were displaced. The proprietors
asserted their right to repeal all laws passed in the province,
approved the conduct of the chief justice, censured that of the
governor in disobeying their instructions respecting the dissolution
of the assembly, and repeated their orders on this subject.

However the governor might disapprove the instructions given him, he
did not hesitate to obey them. The new council was summoned, the
assembly was dissolved, and writs were issued for electing another at

[Sidenote: War with Spain.]

The public mind had been gradually prepared for a revolution, and
these irritating measures completed the disgust with which the people
viewed the government of the proprietors. An opportunity to make the
change so generally desired was soon afforded. A rupture having taken
place between Great Britain and Spain, advice was received from
England of a plan formed in the Havanna for the invasion of Carolina.
The governor convened the council, and such members of the assembly as
were in town, and laid his intelligence before them. He, at the same
time, stated the ruinous condition of the fortifications, and proposed
that a sum for repairing them should be raised, by voluntary
subscription, of which he set the example by a liberal donation.

The assembly declared a subscription to be unnecessary, as the duties
would afford an ample fund for the object. The repeal of the law
imposing them was said to be utterly void, and would be disregarded.

[Sidenote: Combination to subvert the government.]

The members of the new assembly, though they had not been regularly
convened at Charleston, had held several private meetings in the
country to concert measures of future resistance. They had drawn up an
association for uniting the whole province in opposition to the
proprietary government, which was proposed to the militia at their
public meetings, and subscribed almost unanimously. This confederacy
was formed with such secrecy and dispatch, that, before the governor
was informed of it, almost every inhabitant of the province was
engaged in it.

The members of the assembly, thus supported by the people, resolved to
subvert the power of the proprietors.

The governor, who resided in the country, had no intimation of these
secret meetings and transactions, until he received a letter from a
committee of the representatives of the people, offering him the
government of the province under the King; it having been determined
to submit no longer to that of the proprietors.

Mr. Johnson resolved to suppress this spirit of revolt, and hastened
to town in order to lay the letter before his council. They advised
him to take no notice of it, until the legislature should be regularly
convened. On meeting, the assembly declared, "that the laws, pretended
to be repealed, continued to be in force; and that no power, other
than the general assembly, could repeal them: That the writs under
which they were elected were void, inasmuch as they had been issued by
advice of an unconstitutional council: That the representatives
cannot, therefore, act as an assembly, but as a convention delegated
by the people to prevent the utter ruin of the government: And,
lastly, that the lords proprietors had unhinged the frame of the
government, and forfeited their right thereto; and that an address be
prepared to desire the honourable Robert Johnson, the present
governor, to take on himself the government of the province in the
name of the King." The address was signed by Arthur Middleton, as
president of the convention, and by twenty-two members.

After several unavailing efforts, on the part of the assembly, to
induce Mr. Johnson to accept the government under the King; and, on
his part, to reinstate the government of the proprietors; he issued a
proclamation dissolving the assembly, and retired into the country.

The proclamation was torn from the hands of the officer, and the
assembly elected colonel James Moore chief magistrate of the colony.

[Sidenote: Revolution completed.]

After proclaiming him in the name of the King, and electing a council,
the legislature published a declaration stating the revolution that
had taken place, with the causes which produced it; and then
proceeded, deliberately to manage the affairs of the province.

[Sidenote: The proprietors surrender to the crown.]

While Carolina was effecting this revolution, the agent of the colony
obtained a hearing before the lords of the regency and council in
England, (the King being then in Hanover) who were of opinion that the
proprietors had forfeited their charter. They ordered the attorney
general to take out a _scire facias_ against it, and appointed Francis
Nicholson provisional governor of the province under the King. He was
received with universal joy; and the people of Carolina passed, with
great satisfaction, from the proprietary government to the immediate
dominion of the crown. This revolution was completed by an agreement
between the crown and seven of the proprietors, whereby, for the sum
of seventeen thousand five hundred pounds sterling, they surrendered
their right and interest both in the government and soil. This
agreement was confirmed by an act of parliament; soon after which John
Lord Carteret, the remaining proprietor, also surrendered all his
interest in the government, but retained his rights of property.[132]

     [Footnote 132: History of South Carolina.]



[Sidenote: The province divided.]

Carolina received with joy the same form of government which had been
bestowed on her sister colonies. The people pleased with their
situation, and secure of protection, turned their attention to
domestic and agricultural pursuits; and the face of the country soon
evidenced the happy effects which result from contented industry,
directed by those who are to receive its fruits. For the convenience
of the inhabitants, the province was divided; and was, thenceforward,
distinguished by the names of North and South Carolina.[133]

     [Footnote 133: Idem.]

[Sidenote: Georgia settled.]

About this period, the settlement of a new colony was planned in
England. The tract of country lying between the rivers Savanna and
Alatamaha being unoccupied by Europeans, a company was formed for the
humane purpose of transplanting into this wilderness, the suffering
poor of the mother country. This territory, now denominated Georgia,
was granted to the company; and a corporation, consisting of
twenty-one persons, was created under the name of "trustees for
settling and establishing the colony of Georgia." Large sums of money
were subscribed for transporting, and furnishing with necessaries,
such poor people as should be willing to pass the Atlantic, and to
seek the means of subsistence in a new world. One hundred and sixteen
persons embarked at Gravesend, under the conduct of Mr. James
Oglethorpe, one of the trustees, who, after landing at Charleston,
proceeded to the tract of country allotted for the new colony, and
laid the foundation of the town of Savanna, on the river which bears
that name. A small fort was erected on its bank, in which some guns
were mounted; and a treaty was held with the Creek Indians, from whom
the cession of a considerable tract was obtained.

The trustees continued to make great efforts for the accomplishment of
their object, and settled several companies of emigrants in Georgia.
Unfortunately, the wisdom of their regulations did not equal the
humanity of their motives. Totally unacquainted with the country they
were to govern, they devised a system for it, rather calculated to
impede than to promote its population.


[Sidenote: Impolicy of the first regulation.]

Considering each male inhabitant both as a soldier and a planter, to
be provided with arms and ammunition for defence as well as with
utensils for cultivation, they adopted the pernicious resolution of
introducing such tenures for holding lands as were most favourable to
a military establishment. Each tract granted, was considered as a
military fief, for which the possessor was to appear in arms, and take
the field, when required for the public defence. The grants were in
_tail male_; and, on the termination of the estate, the lands were to
revert to the trust, to be re-granted to such persons as would most
benefit the colony. Any lands which should not be enclosed, cleared,
and cultivated, within eighteen years, reverted to the trust. The
importation of negroes, and of rum, was prohibited; and those only
were allowed to trade with the Indians, to whom a license should be

However specious the arguments in support of these regulations might
appear to the trustees, human ingenuity could scarcely have devised a
system better calculated to defeat their hopes.

The tenure of lands drove the settlers into Carolina where that
property might be acquired in fee simple. The prohibition of slavery
rendered the task of opening the country, too heavy to be successfully
undertaken in that burning climate; and the restriction on their trade
to the West Indies, deprived them of the only market for lumber, an
article in which they abounded.


Mr. Oglethorpe's first employment was the construction of
fortifications for defence. He erected one fort on the Savanna, at
Augusta, and another on an island of the Alatamaha, called Frederica,
for defence against the Indians and the inhabitants of Florida. The
Spaniards remonstrated against them; and a commissioner from the
Havanna insisted on the evacuation of the country to the thirty-third
degree of north latitude, which he claimed in the name of the King of
Spain; but this remonstrance and claim were equally disregarded.

The restrictions imposed by the trustees, on the inhabitants of
Georgia, were too oppressive to be endured in silence. They
remonstrated, particularly, against the tenure by which their lands
were held, and against the prohibition of the introduction of slaves.
These complaints, the result of experience, were addressed to persons
ignorant of the condition of the petitioners, and were neglected. The
colony languished; while South Carolina, not unlike Georgia both in
soil and climate, advanced with considerable rapidity. Although
emigration was encouraged by paying the passage money of the
emigrants, by furnishing them with clothes, arms, ammunition, and
implements of husbandry, by maintaining their families for the first
year, and, in some instances, by furnishing them with stock; yet the
unwise policy, which has been mentioned, more than counterbalanced
these advantages; and for ten years, during which time the exports
from Carolina more than doubled, the settlers in Georgia could, with
difficulty, obtain a scanty subsistence.


The differences between Great Britain and Spain not admitting of
adjustment, both nations prepared for war. The Spaniards strengthened
East Florida; and the British government ordered a regiment,
consisting of six hundred effective men, into Georgia. The command of
the troops, both of Georgia and Carolina, was given to major general
Oglethorpe, who fixed his headquarters at Frederica.

[Sidenote: Insurrection of the slaves.]

Before hostilities had commenced, the Spaniards at St. Augustine
engaged in criminal intrigues among the blacks of Carolina. Agents had
been secretly employed in seducing the slaves of that province to
escape to St. Augustine, where liberty was promised them, and where
they were formed into a regiment officered by themselves. Hitherto
these practices had been attended only with the loss of property; but,
about this time, the evil assumed a much more alarming form. A large
number of slaves assembled at Stono, where they forced a warehouse
containing arms and ammunition, murdered the whites in possession of
it, and, after choosing a captain, directed their march south
westward, with drums beating and colours flying. On their march, they
massacred the whites, seized all the arms they could find, and forced
such blacks as did not voluntarily join them, to follow their party.
Intoxicated with ardent spirits, and with their short lived success,
they considered their work as already achieved, and halted in an open
field, where the time which might have been employed in promoting
their design, was devoted to dancing and exultation. Fortunately, the
people of the neighbourhood had assembled on the same day, to attend
divine service; and, as was then directed by law, all the men came
armed. They marched immediately against the blacks, whom they
completely surprised. Many were killed, and the residue dispersed or
taken. Thus the insurrection was suppressed on the day of its
commencement; and such of its leaders as survived the battle were
immediately executed.

During the long repose, which the pacific temper of the duke of
Orleans, Regent of France during the minority of Louis XV. and the
equally pacific temper of sir Robert Walpole, minister of England,
gave to their respective countries, the British colonies in America
had increased rapidly in population and in wealth. Lands were cheap,
and subsistence easily acquired. From New York to Virginia inclusive,
no enemy existed to restrain new settlements, and no fears of
inability to maintain a family, checked the natural propensity to
early marriages. The people were employed in cultivating the earth,
and in spreading themselves over the vast regions which were open to
them; and, during this period, their history furnishes none of those
remarkable events which interest posterity.


     War declared against Spain.... Expedition against St.
     Augustine.... Georgia invaded.... Spaniards land on an
     island in the Alatamaha.... Appearance of a fleet from
     Charleston.... Spanish army re-embarks.... Hostilities with
     France.... Expedition against Louisbourg.... Louisbourg
     surrenders.... Great plans of the belligerent powers....
     Misfortunes of the armament under the duke D'Anville.... The
     French fleet dispersed by a storm.... Expedition against
     Nova Scotia.... Treaty of Aix la Chapelle.... Paper money of
     Massachusetts redeemed.... Contests between the French and
     English respecting boundaries.... Statement respecting the
     discovery of the Mississippi.... Scheme for connecting
     Louisiana with Canada.... Relative strength of the French
     and English colonies.... Defeat at the Little Meadows....
     Convention at Albany.... Plan of union.... Objected to both
     in America and Great Britain.


[Sidenote: War with Spain.]

The increasing complaints of the merchants, and the loud clamours of
the nation, at length forced the minister to abandon his pacific
system; and war was declared against Spain. A squadron commanded by
admiral Vernon was detached to the West Indies, with instructions to
act offensively; and general Oglethorpe was ordered to annoy the
settlements in Florida. He planned an expedition against St.
Augustine, and requested the assistance of South Carolina. That
colony, ardently desiring the expulsion of neighbours alike feared and
hated, entered zealously into the views of the general, and agreed to
furnish the men and money he requested. A regiment, commanded by
colonel Vanderdussen, was immediately raised in Virginia and the two
Carolinas. A body of Indians was also engaged, and captain Price, who
commanded the small fleet on that station, promised his co-operation.
These arrangements being made, and the mouth of St. John's river, on
the coast of Florida, being appointed as the place, of rendezvous
general Oglethorpe hastened to Georgia, to prepare his regiment for
the expedition.


Those unexpected impediments, which always embarrass military
movements conducted by men without experience, having delayed the
arrival of his northern troops, Oglethorpe entered Florida at the head
of his own regiment, aided by a party of Indians; and invested Diego,
a small fort about twenty-five miles from St. Augustine, which
capitulated after a short resistance. He then returned to the place of
rendezvous, where he was joined by colonel Vanderdussen, and by a
company of Highlanders under the command of captain M'Intosh; a few
days after which, he marched with his whole force, consisting of about
two thousand men, to fort Moosa, in the neighbourhood of St.
Augustine, which was evacuated on his approach. The general now
perceived that the enterprise would be attended with more difficulty
than had been anticipated. In the time which intervened between his
entering Florida and appearing before the town, supplies of provisions
had been received from the country, and six Spanish half gallies
carrying long brass nine pounders, and two sloops laden with
provisions, had entered the harbour. Finding the place better
fortified than had been expected, he determined to invest it
completely, and to advance by regular approaches. In execution of this
plan, colonel Palmer, with ninety-five Highlanders, and forty-two
Indians, remained at fort Moosa, while the army took different
positions near the town, and began an ineffectual bombardment from the
island of Anastasia. The general was deliberating on a plan for
forcing the harbour and taking a nearer position, when colonel Palmer
was surprised, and his detachment cut to pieces. At the same time some
small vessels from the Havanna, with a reinforcement of men and supply
of provisions, entered the harbour through the narrow channel of the

The army began to despair of success; and the provincials, enfeebled
by the heat, dispirited by sickness, and fatigued by fruitless
efforts, marched away in large bodies. The navy being ill supplied
with provisions, and the season for hurricanes approaching, captain
Price was unwilling to hazard his majesty's ships on that coast. The
general, labouring under a fever, finding his regiment, as well as
himself, worn out with fatigue, and rendered unfit for action by
disease; reluctantly abandoned the enterprise, and returned to

The colonists, disappointed and chagrined by the failure of the
expedition, attributed this misfortune entirely to the incapacity of
the general, who was not less dissatisfied with them. Whatever may
have been the true causes of the failure, it produced a mutual and
injurious distrust between the general and the colonists.[134]

     [Footnote 134: In the same year Charleston was reduced to
     ashes. A large portion of its inhabitants passed, in one
     day, from prosperity to indigence. Under the pressure of
     this misfortune, the legislature applied to parliament for
     aid; and that body, with a liberality reflecting honour on
     its members, voted twenty thousand pounds, to be distributed
     among the sufferers.]


The events of the war soon disclosed the dangers resulting from this
want of confidence in general Oglethorpe, and, still more, from the
want of power to produce a co-operation of the common force for the
common defence.

Spain had ever considered the settlement of Georgia as an encroachment
on her territory, and had cherished the intention to seize every
proper occasion to dislodge the English by force. With this view, an
armament consisting of two thousand men, commanded by Don Antonio di
Ridondo, embarked at the Havanna, under convoy of a strong squadron,
and arrived at St. Augustine in May. The fleet having been seen on its
passage, notice of its approach was given to general Oglethorpe, who
communicated the intelligence to governor Glenn of South Carolina, and
urged the necessity of sending the troops of that province to his

Georgia being a barrier for South Carolina, the policy of meeting an
invading army on the frontiers of the former, especially one
containing several companies composed of negroes who had fled from the
latter, was too obvious not to be perceived: yet either from prejudice
against Oglethorpe, or the disposition inherent in separate
governments to preserve their own force for their own defence,
Carolina refused to give that general any assistance. Its attention
was directed entirely to the defence of Charleston; and the
inhabitants of its southern frontier, instead of marching to the camp
of Oglethorpe, fled to that city for safety. In the mean time, the
general collected a few Highlanders, and rangers of Georgia, together
with as many Indian warriors as would join him, and determined to
defend Frederica.

[Sidenote: Georgia invaded.]

Late in June, the Spanish fleet, consisting of thirty-two sail,
carrying above three thousand men, crossed Simon's bar into Jekyl
sound, and passing Simon's fort, then occupied by general Oglethorpe,
proceeded up the Alatamaha, out of the reach of his guns; after which,
the troops landed on the island, and erected a battery of twenty
eighteen pounders.

Fort Simon's being indefensible, Oglethorpe retreated to Frederica.
His whole force, exclusive of Indians, amounted to little more than
seven hundred men, a force which could only enable him to act on the
defensive until the arrival of reinforcements which he still expected
from South Carolina. The face of the country was peculiarly favorable
to this system of operations. Its thick woods and deep morasses
opposed great obstacles to the advance of an invading enemy, not well
acquainted with the paths which passed through them. Oglethorpe turned
these advantages to the best account. In an attempt made by the
Spanish general to pierce these woods in order to reach Frederica,
several sharp rencounters took place; in one of which he lost a
captain and two lieutenants killed, and above one hundred privates
taken prisoners. He then changed his plan of operations; and,
abandoning his intention of forcing his way to Frederica by land,
called in his parties, kept his men under cover of his cannon, and
detached some vessels up the river, with a body of troops on board, to
reconnoitre the fort, and draw the attention of the English to that

About this time, an English prisoner escaped from the Spaniards, and
informed general Oglethorpe that a difference existed between the
troops from Cuba, and those from St. Augustine, which had been carried
so far that they encamped in separate places. This intelligence
suggested the idea of attacking them while divided; and his perfect
knowledge of the woods favoured the hope of surprising one of their
encampments. In execution of this design, he drew out the flower of
his army, and marched in the night, unobserved, within two miles of
the Spanish camp. There, his troops halted, and he advanced, himself,
at the head of a select corps, to reconnoitre the situation of the
enemy. While he was using the utmost circumspection to obtain the
necessary information without being discovered, a French soldier of
his party discharged his musket, and ran into the Spanish lines.
Discovery defeating every hope of success, the general retreated to

Oglethorpe, confident that the deserter would disclose his weakness,
devised an expedient which turned the event to advantage. He wrote to
the deserter as if in concert with him, directing him to give the
Spanish general such information as might induce him to attack
Frederica; hinting also at an attempt meditated by admiral Vernon on
St. Augustine, and at late advices from Carolina, giving assurances of
a reinforcement of two thousand men. He then tampered with one of the
Spanish prisoners, who, for a small bribe, promised to deliver this
letter to the deserter, after which, he was permitted to escape. The
prisoner, as was foreseen delivered the letter to his general, who
ordered the deserter to be put in irons; and, was, in no small degree,
embarrassed to determine whether the letter ought to be considered as
a stratagem to save Frederica, and induce the abandonment of the
enterprise; or as real instructions to direct the conduct of a spy.
While hesitating on the course to be pursued, his doubts were removed
by one of those incidents, which have so much influence on human

[Sidenote: Spanish army re-embarks in confusion.]

The assembly of South Carolina had voted a supply of money to general
Oglethorpe; and the governor had ordered some ships of force to his
aid. These appeared off the coast while the principal officers of the
Spanish army were yet deliberating on the letter. They deliberated no
longer. The whole army was seized with a panic; and, after setting
fire to the fort, embarked in great hurry and confusion, leaving
behind several pieces of heavy artillery, and a large quantity of
provisions and military stores.

Thus was Georgia delivered from an invasion which threatened the total
subjugation of the province.

The ill success of these reciprocal attempts at conquest, seems to
have discouraged both parties; and the Spanish and English colonies,
in the neighbourhood of each other, contented themselves, for the
residue of the war, with guarding their own frontiers.

The connexion between the branches of the house of Bourbon was too
intimate for the preservation of peace with France, during the
prosecution of war against Spain. Both nations expected and prepared
for hostilities. War had commenced in fact, though not in form, on the
continent of Europe; but as they carried on their military operations
as auxiliaries, in support of the contending claims of the elector of
Bavaria, and the queen of Hungary, to the imperial throne, they
preserved in America a suspicious and jealous suspension of hostility,
rather than a real peace.


This state of things was interrupted by a sudden incursion of the
French into Nova Scotia.

[Sidenote: Hostilities with France.]

The governor of Cape Breton having received information that France
and Great Britain had become principals in the war, took possession of
de Canseau with a small military and naval force, and made the
garrison, and inhabitants prisoners of war. This enterprise was
followed by an attempt on Annapolis, which was defeated by the timely
arrival of a reinforcement from Massachusetts. These offensive
operations stimulated the English colonists to additional efforts to
expel such dangerous neighbors, and to unite the whole northern
continent bordering on the Atlantic, under one common sovereign.

The island of Cape Breton, so denominated from one of its capes, lies
between the 45th and 47th degree of north latitude, at the distance of
fifteen leagues from Cape Ray, the south western extremity of
Newfoundland. Its position rendered the possession of it very material
to the commerce of France; and the facility with which the fisheries
might be annoyed from its ports, gave it an importance to which it
could not otherwise have been entitled. Thirty millions of
livres,[135] and the labour of twenty-five years, had been employed on
its fortifications. From its strength, and still more from the
numerous privateers that issued from its ports, it had been termed the
Dunkirk[136] of America. On this place, governor Shirley meditated an

     [Footnote 135: About five and a half millions of dollars.]

     [Footnote 136: Belknap.]

The prisoners taken at Canseau, and others who had been captured at
sea and carried to Louisbourg, were sent to Boston. The information
they gave, if it did not originally suggest this enterprise,
contributed greatly to its adoption. They said that Duvivier had gone
to France to solicit assistance for the conquest of Nova Scotia, in
the course of the ensuing campaign; and that the store ships from
France for Cape Breton, not having arrived on the coast until it was
blocked up with ice, had retired to the West Indies.

In several letters addressed to administration, governor Shirley
represented the danger to which Nova Scotia was exposed, and pressed
for naval assistance. These letters were sent by captain Ryal, an
officer of the garrison which had been taken at Canseau, whose
knowledge of Louisbourg, of Cape Breton, and of Nova Scotia, enabled
him to make such representations to the lords of the admiralty, as
were calculated to promote the views of the northern colonies.

The governor was not disappointed. Orders were dispatched to commodore
Warren, then in the West Indies, to proceed towards the north, early
in the spring; and to employ such a force as might be necessary to
protect the northern colonies in their trade and fisheries, as well as
to distress the enemy. On these subjects, he was instructed to consult
with Shirley, to whom orders of the same date were written, directing
him to assist the King's ships with transports, men, and provisions.

Such deep impression had the design of taking Louisbourg made on the
mind of Shirley, that he did not wait for intelligence of the
reception given to his application for naval assistance. He was
induced to decide on engaging in the enterprise, even without such
assistance, by the representations of Mr. Vaughan, son of the
lieutenant governor of New Hampshire, a man of a sanguine and ardent
temper, who could think nothing impracticable which he wished to
achieve. Mr. Vaughan had never been at Louisbourg, but had learned
something of the strength of the place, from fishermen and others; and
the bold turn of his mind suggested the idea of surprising it. There
is something infectious in enthusiasm, whatever be its object; and
Vaughan soon communicated his own convictions to Shirley.[137]

     [Footnote 137: Belknap.]


The governor informed the general court that he had a proposition of
great importance to communicate, and requested that the members would
take an oath of secrecy, previous to his laying it before them. This
novel request being complied with, he submitted his plan for attacking
Louisbourg. It was referred to a committee of both houses; the
arguments for and against the enterprise were temperately considered;
and the part suggested by prudence prevailed. The expedition was
thought too great, too hazardous, and too expensive.

The report of the committee was approved by the house of
representatives, and the expedition was supposed to be abandoned; but,
notwithstanding the precaution taken to secure secrecy, the subject
which had occupied the legislature was divulged,[138] and the people
took a deep interest in it. Numerous petitions were presented, praying
the general court to re-consider its vote, and to adopt the
proposition of the governor. Among the several arguments urged in its
favour, that which the petitioners pressed most earnestly, was the
necessity of acquiring Louisbourg, to save the fisheries from ruin.

     [Footnote 138: It is said the secret was kept until a member
     who performed family devotion at his lodgings, betrayed it
     by praying for the divine blessing on the attempt.]

The subject being re-considered, a resolution in favour of the
enterprise was carried by a single voice, in the absence of several
members known to be against it. Yet all parties manifested equal zeal
for its success. A general embargo was laid, and messengers were
despatched to the several governments as far south as Pennsylvania,
soliciting their aid. These solicitations succeeded only in the
northern provinces. There being at that time no person in New England
who had acquired any military reputation, the chief command was
conferred on colonel Pepperel, a merchant, who was also a large land
holder, and was highly respected throughout Massachusetts.[139]

     [Footnote 139: Hutchison.]

All ranks of men combined to facilitate the enterprise, and those
circumstances which are beyond human control, also concurred to favour
the general wish.

The governors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, whose orders forbade
their assent to a farther emission of bills of credit, departed from
their instructions to promote this favourite project; the people
submitted to impressments of their property; and a mild winter gave no
interruption to their warlike preparations.

The troops of Massachusetts,[140] New Hampshire, and Connecticut,
amounting to rather more than four thousand men, assembled at Canseau
about the middle of April; soon after which, to the great joy of the
colonial troops, admiral Warren arrived, with a considerable part of
his fleet. The army then embarked for Chapeau-rouge bay, and the fleet
cruised off Louisbourg.

     [Footnote 140: The day before the armament sailed from
     Massachusetts, an express boat, which had been dispatched to
     admiral Warren to solicit assistance, returned with the
     unwelcome intelligence that he declined furnishing the aid
     required. This information could not arrest the expedition.
     Fortunately for its success, the orders from England soon
     afterwards reached the admiral, who immediately detached a
     part of his fleet; which he soon followed himself in the
     Superb, of sixty guns.]

After repulsing a small detachment of French troops, the landing was
effected; and, in the course of the night, a body of about four
hundred men led by Vaughan, marched round to the north east part of
the harbour, and set fire to a number of warehouses containing
spirituous liquors and naval stores. The smoke being driven by the
wind into the grand battery, caused such darkness that the men placed
in it were unable to distinguish objects; and, being apprehensive of
an attack from the whole English army, abandoned the fort and fled
into the town.

The next morning, as Vaughan was returning to camp with only thirteen
men, he ascended the hill which overlooked the battery, and observing
that the chimneys in the barracks were without smoke, and the staff
without its flag, he hired an Indian, with a bottle of rum, to crawl
through an embrasure, and open the gate. Vaughan entered with his men
and defended the battery against a party then landing to regain
possession until the arrival of a reinforcement.

For fourteen nights successively, the troops were employed in dragging
cannon from the landing place to the encampment, a distance of near
two miles, through a deep morass. The army, being totally unacquainted
with the art of conducting sieges, made its approaches irregularly,
and sustained some loss on this account.

While these approaches were making by land, the ships of war which
continued to cruise off the harbour, fell in with and captured the
Vigilant, a French man of war of sixty-four guns, having on board a
reinforcement of five hundred and sixty men, and a large quantity of
stores for the garrison. Soon after this, an unsuccessful, and,
perhaps, a rash attempt was made on the island battery by four hundred
men; of whom sixty were killed, and one hundred and sixteen taken
prisoners. All these prisoners, as if by previous concert, exaggerated
the numbers of the besieging army, a deception which was favoured by
the unevenness of the ground, and the dispersed state of the troops;
and which probably contributed to the surrender of the place. The
provincial army did indeed present a formidable front, but, in the
rear, all was frolic and confusion.

The Vigilant had been anxiously expected by the garrison, and the
information of her capture excited a considerable degree of
perturbation. This event, with the erection of some works on the high
cliff at the light house, by which the island battery was much
annoyed, and the preparations evidently making for a general assault,
determined Duchambon, the governor of Louisbourg, to surrender; and,
in a few days, he capitulated.

[Sidenote: Louisbourg surrenders.]

Upon entering the fortress, and viewing its strength, and its means of
defence, all perceived how impracticable it would have been to carry
it by assault.[141]

     [Footnote 141: Belknap. Hutchison.]

The joy excited in the British colonies by the success of the
expedition against Louisbourg was unbounded. Even those who had
refused to participate in its hazards and expense, were sensible of
its advantages, and of the lustre it shed on the American arms.
Although some disposition was manifested in England, to ascribe the
whole merit of the conquest to the navy, colonel Pepperel received,
with the title of baronet, the more substantial reward of a regiment
in the British service, to be raised in America; and the same mark of
royal favour was bestowed on governor Shirley. Reimbursements too were
made by parliament for the expenses of the expedition. It was the only
decisive advantage obtained by the English during the war.

The capture of Louisbourg, most probably, preserved Nova Scotia.
Duvivier, who had embarked for France to solicit an armament for the
conquest of that province, sailed, in July, 1745, with seven ships of
war, and a body of land forces. He was ordered to stop at Louisbourg,
and thence to proceed in the execution of his plan. Hearing, at sea,
of the fall of that place, and that a British squadron was stationed
at it, he relinquished the expedition against Nova Scotia, and
returned to Europe.

The British empire on the American continent consisted, originally, of
two feeble settlements unconnected with, and almost unknown to each
other. For a long time the southern colonies, separated from those of
New England by an immense wilderness, and by the possessions of other
European powers, had no intercourse with them, except what was
produced by the small trading vessels of the north, which occasionally
entered the rivers of the south. Neither participated in the wars or
pursuits of the other; nor were they, in any respect, actuated by
common views, or united by common interest. The conquest of the
country between Connecticut and Maryland, laid a foundation, which the
settlement of the middle colonies completed, for connecting these
disjoined members, and forming one consolidated whole, capable of
moving, and acting in concert. This gradual change, unobserved in its
commencement, had now become too perceptible to be longer overlooked;
and, henceforward, the efforts of the colonies, were in a great
measure combined, and directed to a common object.

France, as well as England, had extended her views with her
settlements; and, after the fall of Louisbourg, the governments of
both nations meditated important operations for the ensuing campaign
in America.

[Sidenote: Great plans of the belligerents.]

France contemplated, not only the recovery of Cape Breton and Nova
Scotia, but the total devastation of the sea coast, if not the entire
conquest of New England.

Britain, on her part, calculated on the reduction of Canada, and the
entire expulsion of the French from the American continent.


Shirley repaired to Louisbourg, after its surrender, where he held a
consultation with Warren and Pepperel on the favourite subject of
future and more extensive operations against the neighbouring
possessions of France. From that place he wrote pressingly to
administration, for reinforcements of men and ships to enable him to
execute his plans. The capture of Louisbourg gave such weight to his
solicitations that, in the following spring, the duke of New Castle,
then secretary of state, addressed a circular letter to the governors
of the provinces as far south as Virginia, requiring them to raise as
many men as they could spare, and hold them in readiness to act
according to the orders that should be received. Before this letter
was written, an extensive plan of operations had been digested in the
British cabinet. It was proposed to detach a military and naval
armament which should, early in the season, join the troops to be
raised in New England, at Louisbourg; whence they were to proceed up
the St. Lawrence to Quebec. The troops from New York, and from the
more southern provinces, were to be collected at Albany, and to march
against Crown Point, and Montreal.

This plan, so far as it depended on the colonies, was executed with
promptness and alacrity. The men were raised, and waited with
impatience for employment; but neither troops, nor orders, arrived
from England. The fleet destined for this service, sailed seven times
from Spithead; and was compelled as often, by contrary winds, to

Late in the season, the military commanders in America, despairing of
the succours promised by England, determined to assemble a body of
provincials at Albany, and make an attempt on Crown Point. While
preparing for the execution of this plan, they received accounts
stating that Annapolis was in danger from a body of French and Indians
assembled at Minas; upon which, orders were issued for the troops of
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, to embark for Nova
Scotia. Before these orders could be executed, intelligence was
received which directed their attention to their own defence.

It was reported that a large fleet and army, under the command of the
duke D'Anville, had arrived in Nova Scotia, and the views of conquest,
which had been formed by the northern colonies, were converted into
fears for their own safety. For six weeks, continual apprehensions of
invasion were entertained; and the most vigorous measures were taken
to repel it. From this state of anxious solicitude, they were at
length relieved by the arrival of some prisoners set at liberty by the
French, who communicated the extreme distress of the fleet.

[Sidenote: The French fleet dispersed by a storm.]

This formidable armament consisted of near forty ships of war, seven
of which were of the line; of two artillery ships; and of fifty-six
transports laden with provisions and military stores, carrying three
thousand five hundred land forces, and forty thousand stand of small
arms, for the use of the Canadians and Indians. The fleet sailed in
June, but was attacked by such furious and repeated storms, that many
of the ships were wrecked, and others dispersed. In addition to this
disaster, the troops were infected with a disease which carried them
off in great numbers. While lying in Chebucto, under these
circumstances, a vessel which had been dispatched by governor Shirley
to admiral Townshend at Louisbourg, with a letter stating his
expectation that a British fleet would follow that of France to
America, was intercepted by a cruiser, and brought in to the admiral.
These dispatches were opened in a council of war, which was
considerably divided respecting their future conduct. This
circumstance, added to the calamities already sustained, so affected
the commander in chief, that he died suddenly. The vice-admiral fell
by his own hand; and the command devolved on Monsieur le Jonguiere,
governor of Canada, who had been declared _chef d'escadre_ after the
fleet sailed.

The design of invading New England was relinquished, and it was
resolved to make an attempt on Annapolis. With this view the fleet
sailed from Chebucto, but was again overtaken by a violent tempest
which scattered the vessels composing it. Those which escaped
shipwreck returned singly to France.[142]

     [Footnote 142: Hutchison. Belknap.]

"Never," says Mr. Belknap, "was the hand of divine providence more
visible than on this occasion. Never was a disappointment more severe
on the part of the enemy, nor a deliverance more complete, without
human help, in favour of this country."

As soon as the fears excited by this armament were dissipated, the
project of dislodging the French and Indians, who had invaded Nova
Scotia, was resumed. Governor Shirley detached a part of the troops of
Massachusetts on this service; and pressed the governors of Rhode
Island and New Hampshire, to co-operate with him. The quotas furnished
by these colonies were prevented by several accidents from joining
that of Massachusetts, which was inferior to the enemy in numbers. The
French and Indians, under cover of a snow storm, surprised the English
at Minas; who, after an obstinate resistance, in which they lost
upwards of one hundred men, were compelled to capitulate, and to
engage not to bear arms against his Most Christian Majesty, in Nova
Scotia for one year. De Ramsay, who commanded the French, returned
soon afterwards to Canada.

No farther transactions of importance took place in America during the
war, which was terminated by the treaty of Aix la Chapelle. By this
treaty, it was stipulated that all conquests made during the war
should be restored; and the colonists had the mortification to see the
French re-possess themselves of Cape Breton.

The heavy expenses which had been incurred by the New England
colonies, and especially by Massachusetts, had occasioned large
emissions of paper money, and an unavoidable depreciation. Instead of
availing themselves of peace, to discharge the debts contracted during
war, they eagerly desired to satisfy every demand on the public
treasury, by farther emissions of bills of credit, redeemable at
future and distant periods. Every inconvenience under which commerce
was supposed to labour, every difficulty encountered in the interior
economy of the province, was attributed to a scarcity of money; and
this scarcity was to be removed, not by increased industry, but by
putting an additional sum in circulation. The rate of exchange, and
the price of all commodities, soon disclosed the political truth that,
however the quantity of the circulating medium may be augmented, its
aggregate value cannot be arbitrarily increased; and that the effect
of such a depreciating currency must necessarily be, to discourage the
payment of debts, by holding out the hope of discharging contracts
with less real value than that for which they were made; and to
substitute cunning and speculation, for honest and regular industry.
Yet the majority had persevered in this demoralising system. The
depreciation had reached eleven for one; and the evil was almost
deemed incurable, when the fortunate circumstance of a reimbursement
in specie, made by parliament for colonial expenditures on account of
the expeditions against Louisbourg and Canada, suggested to Mr.
Hutchinson, speaker of the house of representatives in Massachusetts,
the idea of redeeming the paper money in circulation, at its then real

This scheme, at first deemed Utopian, was opposed by many well meaning
men who feared that its effect would be to give a shock to the trade
and domestic industry of the province; and who thought that, as the
depreciation had been gradual, justice required that the appreciation
should be gradual also.

[Sidenote: Paper money redeemed.]

With great difficulty, the measure was carried; and the bills of
credit in circulation, were redeemed at fifty shillings the ounce. The
evils which had been apprehended were soon found to be imaginary.
Specie immediately took the place of paper. Trade, so far from
sustaining a shock, nourished more than before this change in the
domestic economy of the colony; and the commerce of Massachusetts
immediately received an impulse, which enabled it to surpass that of
her neighbours who retained their paper medium.[143]

     [Footnote 143: Hutchison.]

[Sidenote: Renewal of contests with the French colonies respecting

The treaty of Aix la Chapelle did not remove the previously existing
controversies between the colonies of France and England respecting
boundary. These controversies, originating in the manner in which
their settlements had been made, and at first of small consequence,
were now assuming a serious aspect. America was becoming an object of
greater attention; and, as her importance increased, the question
concerning limits became important also.


In settling this continent, the powers of Europe, estimating the right
of the natives at nothing, adopted, for their own government, the
principle, that those who first discovered and took possession of any
particular territory, became its rightful proprietors. But as only a
small portion of it could then be reduced to actual occupation, the
extent of country thus acquired was not well ascertained. Contests
respecting prior discovery, and extent of possession, arose among all
the first settlers. England terminated her controversy with Sweden and
with Holland, by the early conquest of their territories; but her
conflicting claims with France and with Spain, remained unadjusted.

On the south, Spain had pretensions to the whole province of Georgia,
while England had granted the country as far as the river St. Matheo,
in Florida.

On the north, the right of France to Canada was undisputed; but the
country between the St. Lawrence and New England had been claimed by
both nations, and granted by both. The first settlement appears to
have been made by the French; but its principal town, called Port
Royal, or Annapolis, had been repeatedly taken by the English; and, by
the treaty of Utrecht, the whole province, by the name of Nova Scotia,
or Acadie, according to its ancient limits had been ceded to them.

But the boundaries of Nova Scotia, or Acadie, had never been
ascertained. Though the treaty of Utrecht had provided that
commissioners should be appointed by the two crowns, to adjust the
limits of their respective colonies, the adjustment had never been
made. France claimed to the Kennebec; and insisted "that only the
peninsula which is formed by the bay of Fundy, the Atlantic ocean, and
the gulf of St. Lawrence," was included in the cession of "Nova
Scotia, or Acadie, according to its ancient limits." England, on the
other hand, claimed all the country on the main land south of the
river St. Lawrence. Under the treaty of Aix la Chapelle, commissioners
were again appointed to settle these differences, who maintained the
rights of their respective sovereigns with great ability, and
laborious research; but their zeal produced a degree of asperity
unfavourable to accommodation.

While this contest for the cold and uninviting country of Nova Scotia
was carried on with equal acrimony and talents, a controversy arose
for richer and more extensive regions in the south and west.

[Sidenote: Discovery of the Mississippi.]

So early as the year 1660, information was received, in Canada, from
the Indians, that, west of that colony, was a great river, flowing
neither to the north, nor to the east. The government, conjecturing
that it must empty itself either into the gulf of Mexico or the south
sea, committed the care of ascertaining the fact to Joliet, an
inhabitant of Quebec, and to the Jesuit Marquette. These men proceeded
from lake Michigan up the river of the Foxes, almost to its source,
whence they travelled westward to the Ouisconsing, which they pursued
to its confluence with the Mississippi. They sailed down this river to
the 33d degree of north latitude, and returned by land, through the
country of the Illinois, to Canada.

The mouth of the Mississippi was afterwards discovered by la Salle, an
enterprising Norman, who, immediately after his return to Quebec,
embarked for France, in the hope of inducing the cabinet of Versailles
to patronise a scheme for proceeding by sea to the mouth of that river
and settling a colony on its banks.

Having succeeded in this application, he sailed for the gulf of
Mexico, with a few colonists; but, steering too far westward, he
arrived at the bay of St. Bernard, about one hundred leagues from the
mouth of the Mississippi. In consequence of a quarrel between him and
Beaulieu, who commanded the fleet, the colonists were landed at this
place. La Salle was, soon afterwards, assassinated by his own men; and
his followers were murdered or dispersed by the Spaniards and the

Several other attempts were made by the French to settle the country;
but, by some unaccountable fatality, instead of seating themselves on
the fertile borders of the Mississippi, they continually landed about
the barren sands of Biloxi, and the bay of Mobile. It was not until
the year 1722, that the miserable remnant of those who had been
carried thither at various times, was transplanted to New Orleans; nor
until the year 1731, that the colony began to flourish.

[Sidenote: Scheme for connecting Louisiana with Canada.]

It had received the name of Louisiana, and soon extended itself by
detached settlements, up the Mississippi and its waters, towards the
great lakes.[144] As it advanced northward, the vast and interesting
plan was formed of connecting it with Canada by a chain of forts.

     [Footnote 144: Abbe Raynal.]

The fine climate and fertile soil of upper Louisiana enabling it to
produce and maintain an immense population, rendered it an object
which promised complete gratification to the views of France; while
the extent given to it by that nation, excited the most serious alarm
among the colonies of Britain.

The charters granted by the crown of England to the first adventurers,
having extended from the Atlantic to the South Sea, their settlements
had regularly advanced westward, in the belief that their title to the
country in that direction, could not be controverted. The settlements
of the French, stretching from north to south, necessarily interfered
with those of the English. Their plan, if executed, would completely
environ the English. Canada and Louisiana united, as has been aptly
said, would form a bow, of which the English colonies would constitute
the chord.

While Great Britain claimed, indefinitely, to the west, as
appertaining to her possession of the sea coast; France insisted on
confining her to the eastern side of the Apalachian, or Alleghany,
mountains; and claimed the whole country drained by the Mississippi,
in virtue of her right as the first discoverer of that river. The
delightful region which forms the magnificent vale of the Mississippi
was the object for which these two powerful nations contended; and it
soon became apparent that the sword must decide the contest.

The white population of the English colonies was supposed to exceed
one million of souls, while that of the French was estimated at only
fifty-two thousand.[145]

     [Footnote 145: The following estimate is taken from "The
     History of the British empire in North America," and is there
     said to be an authentic account from the militia rolls, poll
     taxes, bills of mortality, returns from governors, and other

     The colonies of                              Inhabitants.

     Halifax and Lunenberg in Nova Scotia             5,000
     New Hampshire                                   30,000
     Massachusetts Bay                              220,000
     Rhode Island and Providence                     35,000
     Connecticut                                    100,000
     New York                                       100,000
     The Jerseys                                     60,000
     Pennsylvania (then including Delaware)         250,000
     Maryland                                        85,000
     Virginia                                        85,000
     North Carolina                                  45,000
     South Carolina                                  30,000
     Georgia                                          6,000
                                            Total 1,051,000

     The white inhabitants of the French colonies were thus

     The colonies of                              Inhabitants.

     Canada                                          45,000
     Louisiana                                        7,000
                                               Total 52,000]

This disparity of numbers did not intimidate the governor of New
France--a title comprehending both Canada and Louisiana; nor deter him
from proceeding in the execution of his favourite plan. The French
possessed advantages which, he persuaded himself, would counterbalance
the superior numbers of the English. Their whole power was united
under one governor, who could give it such a direction as his judgment
should dictate. The genius of the people and of the government was
military; and the inhabitants could readily be called into the field,
when their service should be required. Great reliance too was placed
on the Indians. These savages, with the exception of the Five Nations,
were generally attached to France, and were well trained to war. To
these advantages was added a perfect knowledge of the country about to
become the theatre of action.

The British colonies, on the other hand, were divided into distinct
governments, unaccustomed, except those of New England, to act in
concert; were jealous of the power of the crown; and were spread over
a large extent of territory, the soil of which, in all the middle
colonies, was cultivated by men unused to arms.

The governors of Canada, who were generally military men, had, for
several preceding years, judiciously selected and fortified such
situations as would give them most influence over the Indians, and
facilitate incursions into the northern provinces. The command of Lake
Champlain had been acquired by the erection of a strong fort at Crown
Point; and a connected chain of posts was maintained from Quebec, up
the St. Lawrence, and along the great lakes. It was intended to unite
these posts with the Mississippi by taking positions which would
favour the design of circumscribing and annoying the frontier
settlements of the English.

[Illustration: Great Meadows and the Site of Fort Necessity

_On this battleground in the western Pennsylvania wilderness, which
marked the beginning of the French and Indian War, July 3, 1754, a
force of 400 men under young Major Washington was defeated by 900
French and Indian allies, and for the first and last time in his
military career Washington surrendered. He stipulated, however, that
he and his troops were to have safe conduct back to civilization, and
agreed not to build a fort west of the Allegheny Mountains for a year.
Washington was then twenty-two years old._]


The execution of this plan was, probably, accelerated by an act of the
British government. The year after the conclusion of the war, several
individuals both in England and Virginia who were associated under the
name of the Ohio company, obtained from the crown a grant of six
hundred thousand acres of land, lying in the country claimed by both
nations. The objects of this company being commercial as well as
territorial, measures were taken to derive all the advantages expected
from their grant, in both these respects, by establishing trading
houses, and by employing persons to survey the country.

The governor of Canada, who obtained early information of this
intrusion, as he deemed it, into the dominions of his most christian
majesty, wrote to the governors of New York and Pennsylvania,
informing them that the English traders had encroached on the French
territory by trading with their Indians; and giving notice that, if
they did not desist, he should be under the necessity of seizing them
wherever they should be found. At the same time the jealousy of the
Indians was excited by impressing them with fears that the English
were about to deprive them of their country.

His threat having been disregarded, the governor of Canada put it in
execution by seizing the British traders among the Twightwees, and
carrying them prisoners to Presque-isle, on Lake Erie; where he was
erecting a strong fort. About the same time, a communication was
opened from Presque-isle, down French creek, and the Alleghany river,
to the Ohio. This communication was kept up by detachments of troops,
posted at proper distances from each other, in works capable of
covering them from an attack made only with small arms.[146]

     [Footnote 146: Minot Gazette.]


This territory having been granted as part of Virginia, to the Ohio
company, who complained loudly of these aggressions, Dinwiddie, the
lieutenant governor of that province, laid the subject before the
assembly, and dispatched MAJOR WASHINGTON, the gentleman who
afterwards led his countrymen to independence, with a letter to the
commandant of the French forces on the Ohio; requiring him to withdraw
from the dominions of his Britannic majesty.

This letter was delivered at a fort on the river Le Boeuf, the western
branch of French creek, to Monsieur le Guarduer de St. Pierre, the
commanding officer on the Ohio, who replied that he had taken
possession of the country by the directions of his general, then in
Canada, to whom he would transmit the letter of the lieutenant
governor, and whose orders he should implicitly obey.


[Sidenote: Defeat at the Little Meadows.]

Preparations were immediately made, in Virginia, to assert the rights
of the British crown; and a regiment was raised for the protection of
the frontiers. Early in the spring, Major Washington had advanced with
a small detachment from this regiment into the country to be contended
for, where he fell in with and defeated a party of French and Indians
who were approaching him in a manner indicating hostile designs. On
being joined by the residue of his regiment, the command of which had
devolved on him, he made great exertions to pre-occupy the post at the
confluence of the Alleghany and Monongahela rivers; but, on his march
thither, was met by a much superior body of French and Indians, who
attacked him in a small stockade hastily erected at the Little
Meadows, and compelled him, after a gallant defence to capitulate. The
French had already taken possession of the ground to which Washington
was proceeding, and, having driven off some militia, and workmen sent
thither by the Ohio company, had erected thereon a strong
fortification called fort Du Quesne.

The earl of Holderness, secretary of state, perceiving war to be
inevitable, and aware of the advantages of union, and of securing the
friendship of the Five Nations, had written to the governors of the
respective colonies recommending these essential objects; and, at the
same time, ordering them to repel force by force; and to take
effectual measures to dislodge the French from their posts on the

[Sidenote: Convention at Albany.]

At the suggestion of the commissioners for the plantations, a
convention of delegates from the several colonies met at Albany, to
hold a conference with the Five Nations on the subject of French
encroachments, and to secure their friendship in the approaching war.
Availing himself of this circumstance governor Shirley had recommended
to the other governors to instruct their commissioners on the subject
of union. Ample powers for this object were given to the delegates of
Massachusetts; and those of Maryland were instructed to observe what
others should propose respecting it. But no direct authority for
concerting any system to call out and employ the strength of the
colonies, was given by any other of the governments.

The congress, consisting of delegates from New Hampshire,
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Maryland,
with the lieutenant governor and council of New York, after
endeavouring to secure the friendship of the Five Nations by large
presents, directed a committee, consisting of one member for each
colony, to draw and report a plan of union.

[Sidenote: Plan of union.]

A plan[147] was reported which was approved on the 4th of July. Its
essential principles were, that application be made for an act of
parliament authorising the formation of a grand council to consist of
delegates from the several legislatures, and a president general, to
be appointed by the crown, and to be invested with a negative power.
This council was to enact laws of general import; to apportion their
quotas of men and money on the several colonies; to determine on the
building of forts; to regulate the operations of armies; and to
concert all measures for the common protection and safety.

     [Footnote 147: See note No. II, at the end of the volume.]

The delegates of Connecticut alone dissented from this plan. That
cautious people feared that the powers vested in the president general
might prove dangerous to their welfare.

In England, the objections were of a different character. The colonies
had, in several instances, manifested a temper less submissive than
was required; and it was apprehended that this union might be the
foundation of a concert of measures opposing the pretensions of
supremacy maintained by the mother country.

This confederation, therefore, notwithstanding the pressure of
external danger, did not prevail. It was not supported in America,
because it was supposed to place too much power in the hands of the
King; and it was rejected in England from the apprehension that the
colonial assemblies would be rendered still more formidable by being
accustomed to co-operate with each other.

In its stead, the minister proposed that the governors, with one or
two members of the councils of the respective provinces, should
assemble to consult, and resolve on measures necessary for the common
defence, and should draw on the British treasury for the sums to be
expended, which sums should be afterwards raised by a general tax, to
be imposed by parliament on the colonies.

This proposition being entirely subversive of all the opinions which
prevailed in America, was not pressed for the present; and no
satisfactory plan for calling out the strength of the colonies being
devised, it was determined to carry on the war with British troops,
aided by such reinforcements as the several provincial assemblies
would voluntarily afford.[148]

     [Footnote 148: Minot.]


     General Braddock arrives.... Convention of governors and
     plan of the campaign.... French expelled from Nova Scotia,
     and inhabitants transplanted.... Expedition against fort Du
     Quesne.... Battle of Monongahela.... Defeat and death of
     general Braddock.... Expedition against Crown Point....
     Dieskau defeated.... Expedition against Niagara....
     Frontiers distressed by the Indians.... Meeting of the
     governors at New York.... Plan for the campaign of 1756....
     Lord Loudoun arrives.... Montcalm takes Oswego.... Lord
     Loudoun abandons offensive operations.... Small-pox breaks
     out in Albany.... Campaign of 1757 opened.... Admiral
     Holbourne arrives at Halifax.... Is joined by the earl of
     Loudoun.... Expedition against Louisbourg relinquished....
     Lord Loudoun returns to New York.... Fort William Henry
     taken.... Controversy between lord Loudoun and the assembly
     of Massachusetts.


[Sidenote: General Braddock.]

The establishment of the post on the Ohio, and the action at the
Little Meadows, being considered by the British government as the
commencement of war in America, the resolution to send a few regiments
to that country was immediately taken; and early in the year, general
Braddock embarked at Cork, at the head of a respectable body of troops
destined for the colonies.

An active offensive campaign being meditated, general Braddock
convened the governors of the several provinces, on the 14th of April,
in Virginia, who resolved to carry on three expeditions.

[Sidenote: Plan of the campaign.]

The first, and most important, was against fort Du Quesne. This was to
be conducted by general Braddock in person at the head of the British
troops, with such aids as could be drawn from Maryland and Virginia.

The second, against Niagara and fort Frontignac, was to be conducted
by governor Shirley. The American regulars, consisting of Shirley and
Pepperel's regiments, constituted the principal force destined for the
reduction of these places.

The third was against Crown Point. This originated with Massachusetts;
and was to be prosecuted entirely with colonial troops, to be raised
by the provinces of New England, and by New York. It was to be
commanded by colonel William Johnson of the latter province.[149]

     [Footnote 149: Minot.]

While preparations were making for these several enterprises, an
expedition, which had been previously concerted by the government of
Massachusetts, was carried on against the French in Nova Scotia.

It has been already stated that the limits of this province remained
unsettled. While the commissioners of the two crowns were supporting
the claims of their respective sovereigns in fruitless memorials, the
French occupied the country in contest, and established military posts
for its defence. Against these posts this enterprise was to be

[Sidenote: French expelled from Nova Scotia.]

On the 20th of May, the troops of Massachusetts, together with
Shirley's and Pepperel's regiments, amounting in the whole to about
three thousand men, embarked, at Boston, under the command of
lieutenant colonel Winslow. The fleet anchored about five miles from
fort Lawrence, where a reinforcement was received of three hundred
British troops and a small train of artillery. The whole army,
commanded by lieutenant colonel Monckton, immediately after landing,
marched against Beau Sejour, the principal post held by the French in
that country. At the river Mussaquack, which the French considered as
the western boundary of Nova Scotia, some slight works had been thrown
up with the intention of disputing its passage. After a short
conflict, the river was passed with the loss of only one man; and, in
five days, Beau Sejour capitulated. Other small places fell in
succession, and, in the course of the month of June, with the loss of
only three men killed, the English acquired complete possession of the
whole province of Nova Scotia.

The recovery of this province was followed by one of those distressing
measures which involve individuals in indiscriminate ruin, and
aggravate the calamities of war.

Nova Scotia having been originally settled by France, its inhabitants
were, chiefly, of that nation. In the treaty of Utrecht, it was
stipulated for the colonists that they should be permitted to hold
their lands on condition of taking the oaths of allegiance to their
new sovereign. With this condition they refused to comply, unless
permitted to qualify it with a proviso that they should not be
required to bear arms in defence of the province. Though this
qualification, to which the commanding officer of the British forces
acceded, was afterwards disallowed by the crown, yet the French
inhabitants continued to consider themselves as neutrals. Their
devotion to France, however, would not permit them to conform their
conduct to the character they had assumed. In all the contests for the
possession of their country, they were influenced by their wishes
rather than their duty; and three hundred of them were captured with
the garrison of Beau Sejour.

[Sidenote: The inhabitants transported.]

Their continuance in the country, during the obstinate conflict which
was commencing, would, it was feared, endanger the colony; and to
expel them from it, leaving them at liberty to choose their place of
residence, would be to reenforce the French in Canada. A council was
held by the executive of Nova Scotia aided by the admirals Boscawen
and Morty, for the purpose of deciding on the destiny of these
unfortunate people; and the severe policy was adopted of removing them
from their homes, and dispersing them through the other British
colonies. This harsh measure was immediately put in execution; and the
miserable inhabitants of Nova Scotia were, in one instant, reduced
from ease and contentment to a state of beggary. Their lands, and
moveables, with the exception of their money and household furniture,
were declared to be forfeited to the crown; and, to prevent their
return, the country was laid waste, and their houses reduced to

     [Footnote 150: Minot.]

As soon as the convention of governors had separated, general Braddock
proceeded from Alexandria to a fort at Wills' creek, afterwards called
fort Cumberland, at that time the most western post in Virginia or
Maryland; from which place the army destined against fort Du Quesne
was to commence its march. The difficulties of obtaining wagons, and
other necessary supplies for the expedition, and delays occasioned by
opening a road through an excessively rough country, excited
apprehensions that time would be afforded the enemy to collect in such
force at fort Du Quesne, as to put the success of the enterprise into
some hazard.

Under the influence of this consideration, it was determined to select
twelve hundred men, who should be led by the general in person to the
point of destination. The residue of the army, under the command of
colonel Dunbar, was to follow, with the baggage, by slow and easy

This disposition being made, Braddock pressed forward to his object,
in the confidence that he could find no enemy capable of opposing him;
and reached the Monongahela on the eighth of July.

As the army approached fort Du Quesne, the general was cautioned of
the danger to which the character of his enemy, and the face of the
country, exposed him; and was advised to advance the provincial
companies in his front, for the purpose of scouring the woods, and
discovering ambuscades. But he held both his enemy and the provincials
in too much contempt, to follow this salutary counsel. Three hundred
British troops comprehending the grenadiers and light infantry,
commanded by colonel Gage, composed his van; and he followed, at some
distance, with the artillery, and the main body of the army, divided
into small columns.

[Sidenote: Battle of Monongahela.]

Within seven miles of fort Du Quesne, immediately after crossing the
Monongahela the second time, in an open wood, thick set with high
grass, as he was pressing forward without fear of danger, his front
received an unexpected fire from an invisible enemy. The van was
thrown into some confusion; but, the general having ordered up the
main body, and the commanding officer of the enemy having fallen, the
attack was suspended, and the assailants were supposed to be
dispersed. This delusion was soon dissipated. The attack was renewed
with increased fury; the van fell back on the main body; and the whole
army was thrown into utter confusion.

The general possessed personal courage in an eminent degree; but was
without experience in that species of war, in which he was engaged;
and seems not to have been endowed with that rare fertility of genius
which adapts itself to the existing state of things, and invents
expedients fitted to the emergency. In the impending crisis, he was
peculiarly unfortunate in his choice of measures. Neither advancing
nor retreating, he exerted his utmost powers to form his broken
troops, under an incessant and galling fire, on the very ground where
they had been attacked. In his fruitless efforts to restore order,
every officer on horseback except Mr. Washington, one of his
aides-de-camp, was killed or wounded. At length, after losing three
horses, the general himself received a mortal wound; upon which his
regulars fled in terror and confusion. Fortunately, the Indian enemy
was arrested by the plunder found on the field, and the pursuit was
soon given over. The provincials exhibited an unexpected degree of
courage, and were among the last to leave the field.

[Sidenote: Death of Braddock.]

The defeated troops fled precipitately to the camp of Dunbar, where
Braddock expired of his wounds. Their panic was communicated to the
residue of the army. As if affairs had become desperate, all the
stores, except those necessary for immediate use, were destroyed; and
the British troops were marched to Philadelphia, where they went into
quarters. The western parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia,
were left exposed to the incursions of the savages; the frontier
settlements were generally broken up; and the inhabitants were driven
into the interior. So excessive was the alarm, that even the people of
the interior entertained apprehensions for their safety, and many
supposed that the seaboard itself was insecure.

The two northern expeditions, though not so disastrous as that against
fort Du Quesne, were neither of them successful. That against Crown
Point was so retarded by those causes of delay to which military
operations conducted by distinct governments are always exposed, that
the army was not ready to move until the last of August. At length
general Johnson reached the south end of lake George, on his way to
Ticonderoga, of which he designed to take possession.

An armament fitted out in the port of Brest for Canada, had eluded a
British squadron which was stationed off the banks of Newfoundland to
intercept it; and, with the loss of two ships of war, had entered the
St. Lawrence. After arriving at Quebec the baron Dieskau, who
commanded the French forces, resolved, without loss of time, to
proceed against the English. At the head of about twelve hundred
regulars, and about six hundred Canadians and Indians, he marched
against Oswego. On hearing of this movement, general Johnson applied
for reinforcements; and eight hundred men were ordered by
Massachusetts to his assistance. An additional body of two thousand
men was directed to be raised for the same object, and the
neighbouring colonies also determined to furnish reinforcements.

Dieskau did not wait for their arrival. Perceiving that Johnson was
approaching lake George, and being informed that the provincials were
without artillery, he determined to postpone his designs upon Oswego,
and to attack them in their camp.

[Sidenote: Dieskau defeated.]

On being informed that Dieskau was approaching, Johnson detached
colonel Williams, with about one thousand men, to reconnoitre and
skirmish with him. This officer met the French about four miles from
the American camp, and immediately engaged them. He fell early in the
action; and his party was soon overpowered and put to flight. A second
detachment, sent in aid of the first, experienced the same fate; and
both were closely pursued to the main body, who were posted behind a
breast-work of fallen trees. At this critical moment, within about one
hundred and fifty yards of this work, the French halted for a short
time. This interval having given the Americans an opportunity to
recover from the first alarm, they determined on a resolute defence.

When the assailants advanced to the charge, they were received with
firmness. The militia and savages fled; and Dieskau was under the
necessity of ordering his regulars to retreat. A close and ardent
pursuit ensued; and the general himself, being mortally wounded and
left alone, was taken prisoner.

During the engagement, a scouting party from fort Edward, under
captains Folsom and McGennis, fell in with the baggage of the enemy
and routed the guard which had been placed over it. Soon afterwards,
the retreating army of Dieskau approached, and was gallantly attacked
by the Americans. This unexpected attack from an enemy whose numbers
were unknown, completed the confusion of the defeated army, which,
abandoning its baggage, fled towards the posts on the lake.[151]

     [Footnote 151: Minot. Belknap. Entic.]

The repulse of Dieskau, magnified into a splendid victory, had some
tendency to remove the depression of spirits occasioned by the defeat
of Braddock, and to inspire the provincials with more confidence in
themselves. General Johnson, who was wounded in the engagement,
received very solid testimonials of the gratitude and liberality of
his country. Five thousand pounds sterling, and the title of baronet,
were the rewards of his service.

This success was not improved. The hopes and expectations of the
public were not gratified; and the residue of the campaign was spent
in fortifying the camp. Massachusetts pressed a winter campaign; but
when her commissioners met those of Connecticut and the lieutenant
governor and council of New York, it was unanimously agreed that the
army under general Johnson should be discharged, except six hundred
men to garrison fort Edward, on the great carrying place between the
Hudson and lake George, and fort William Henry on that lake.

The French took possession of Ticonderoga, and fortified it.

[Sidenote: Expedition against Niagara.]

The expedition against Niagara and fort Frontignac, was also defeated
by delays in making the preparations necessary for its prosecution.
Shirley did not reach Oswego till late in August. After ascertaining
the state of the garrison, he determined to abandon that part of the
enterprise which respected fort Frontignac, and to proceed against
Niagara. While employed in the embarkation of his troops on the lake,
the rains set in with such violence as to suspend his operations until
the season was so far advanced that the attempt against Niagara was
also relinquished, and Shirley returned to Albany.[152]

     [Footnote 152: Minot. Belknap. Entic.]

Thus terminated the campaign of 1755. It opened with so decided a
superiority of force on the part of the English, as to promise the
most important advantages. But, if we except the expulsion of the
French from Nova Scotia, no single enterprise was crowned with
success. Great exertions were made by the northern colonies, but their
efforts were productive of no benefit. From the want of one general
superintending authority in their councils, which could contemplate
and control the different parts of the system, which could combine all
their operations, and direct them with effect towards the attainment
of the object pursued, every thing failed. Such delays and
deficiencies were experienced that, though a considerable force was in
motion, it could not be brought to the point against which it was to
act, until the season for action was over; nor execute the plans which
were concerted until the opportunity had passed away.

[Illustration: General Braddock's Grave

_Showing the monument recently erected_

_It is not generally appreciated that this British commander was
chosen to head the expedition to destroy the French power in America,
in 1754-5, because of his distinguished army record. In the Battle of
Fontency, for instance, he was colonel in command of the famous
Coldstream Guards, who covered themselves with glory; and shortly
before embarking for America he was made major-general of the line.
Braddock had won his promotion solely through gallantry and at a time
when a lieutenant-colonelcy in this crack British regiment sold for
L5000 Sterling._

_Despite his fatal mistake in not heeding the advice of his aide,
Washington, in conducting his expedition against Fort Duquesne
(Pittsburgh), Braddock regarded Washington and Franklin as the
greatest men in the colonies. Meeting the French and Indians on July
9, 1755, the British were routed and Braddock was fatally wounded,
after having four horses shot under him. Dying four days later at
Great Meadows, where he is buried, he bequeathed his favorite
surviving horse and body servant to Washington, then a colonel._]

The system adopted by the British cabinet, for conducting the war in
America, left to the colonial governments to determine, what number of
men each should bring into the field; but required them to support
their own troops, and to contribute to the support of those sent from
Great Britain to their assistance. But this system could not be
enforced. The requisitions of the minister were adopted, rejected, or
modified, at the discretion of the government on which they were made;
and, as no rule of apportionment had been adopted, each colony was
inclined to consider itself as having contributed more than its equal
share towards the general object, and as having received, less than
its just proportion, of the attention and protection of the mother
country. This temper produced a slow and reluctant compliance on the
part of some, which enfeebled and disconcerted enterprises, for the
execution of which the resources of several were to be combined.

[Sidenote: Distress of the frontiers.]

In the mean time the whole frontier, as far as North Carolina, was
exposed to the depredations of the savages, who were, almost
universally, under the influence of the French. Their bloody
incursions were made in all directions, and many settlements were
entirely broken up.

It is a curious and singular fact that, while hostilities were thus
carried on by France and England against each other in America, the
relations of peace and amity were preserved between them in Europe.
Each nation had, in consequence of the military operations in 1754,
determined to fit out a considerable armament to aid the efforts made
in its colonies; and, when it was understood that admiral Boscawen was
ordered to intercept that of France, the Duc de Mirepoix, the French
ambassador at London, complained of the proposed measure, and gave
formal notice that the King his master would consider the first gun
fired at sea, as a declaration of war. On receiving intelligence of
the capture of a part of the squadron by Boscawen, the French minister
at the court of St. James was recalled without asking an audience of
leave; upon which, letters of marque and reprisal were issued by the
British government. This prompt and vigorous measure had much
influence on the war, which was declared, in form, the following

General Shirley, on his return to Albany after the close of the
campaign in 1755, received a commission appointing him commander in
chief of the King's forces in North America. A meeting of all the
governors was immediately called at New York, for the purpose of
concerting a plan for the ensuing campaign. Operations equally
extensive with those proposed for the preceding campaign were again
contemplated. To ensure their success, it was determined to raise ten
thousand men, for the expedition against Crown Point; six thousand,
for that against Niagara; and three thousand, for that against fort Du
Quesne. To favour the operations of this formidable force, it was
farther determined that two thousand men should advance up the
Kennebec, destroy the settlement on the Chaudiere, and, descending to
the mouth of that river, keep all that part of Canada in alarm.

In the mean time, it was proposed to take advantage of the season when
the lake should be frozen, to seize Ticonderoga, in order to
facilitate the enterprise against Crown Point. This project was
defeated by the unusual mildness of the winter; and, about the middle
of January, general Shirley repaired to Boston in order to make the
necessary preparations for the ensuing campaign.

Such was the solicitude to accomplish the objects in contemplation,
and so deep an interest did the colonists take in the war, that every
nerve was strained, to raise and equip the number of men required.


[Sidenote: Command bestowed on Lord Loudoun.]

Having made in Massachusetts all the preparations for the next
campaign, so far as depended on the government, Shirley repaired to
Albany, where he was superseded[153] by major general Abercrombie;
who, soon afterwards, yielded the command to the earl of Loudoun.
Early in the year, that nobleman had been appointed to the command of
all his majesty's forces in North America; and extensive powers, civil
as well as military, had been conferred on him. But he did not arrive
at Albany until midsummer.

     [Footnote 153: He was also recalled from his government.]

In the spring, the provincial troops destined for the expedition
against Crown Point, were assembled in the neighbourhood of lake
George. They were found not much to exceed seven thousand men; and
even this number was to be reduced in order to garrison posts in the
rear. This army being too weak to accomplish its object, major general
Winslow, who commanded it, declared himself unable to proceed on the
expedition without reinforcements. The arrival of a body of British
troops, with general Abercrombie, removed this difficulty; but another
occurred which still farther suspended the enterprise.

The regulations respecting rank had given great disgust in America;
and had rendered it disagreeable and difficult to carry on any
military operations which required a junction of British and
provincial troops. When consulted on this delicate subject, Winslow
assured general Abercrombie of his apprehensions that, if the result
of the junction should be to place the provincial troops under British
officers, it would produce general discontent, and perhaps desertion.
His officers concurred in this opinion; and it was finally agreed that
British troops should succeed the provincials in the posts then
occupied by them, so as to enable the whole colonial force to proceed
under Winslow, against Crown Point.

On the arrival of the earl of Loudoun, this subject was revived. The
question was seriously propounded, "whether the troops in the several
colonies of New England, armed with his majesty's arms, would, in
obedience to his commands signified to them, act in conjunction with
his European troops; and under the command of his commander in chief?"
The colonial officers answered this question in the affirmative; but
entreated it as a favour of his lordship, as the New England troops
had been raised on particular terms, that he would permit them, so far
as might consist with his majesty's service, to act separately. This
request was acceded to; but before the army could be put in motion,
the attention both of the Europeans and provincials, was directed to
their own defence.

[Sidenote: Montcalm takes Oswego.]

Monsieur de Montcalm, an able officer, who succeeded Dieskau in the
command of the French troops in Canada, sought to compensate by
superior activity, for the inferiority of his force. While the British
and Americans were adjusting their difficulties respecting rank, and
deliberating whether to attack Niagara or fort Du Quesne, Montcalm
advanced at the head of about five thousand Europeans, Canadians, and
Indians, against Oswego. In three days he brought up his artillery,
and opened a battery which played on the fort with considerable
effect. Colonel Mercer, the commanding officer, was killed; and, in a
few hours, the place was declared by the engineers to be no longer
tenable. The garrison, consisting of the regiments of Shirley and
Pepperel, amounting to sixteen hundred men, supplied with provisions
for five months, capitulated, and became prisoners of war. A
respectable naval armament, then on the lake, was also captured.

The fort at Oswego had been erected in the country of the Five
Nations, and had been viewed by them with some degree of jealousy.
Montcalm, actuated by a wise policy, destroyed it in their presence;
declaring at the same time, that the French wished only to enable them
to preserve their neutrality, and would, therefore, make no other use
of the rights of conquest, than to demolish the fortresses which the
English had erected in their country to overawe them.

The British general, disconcerted at this untoward event, abandoned
all his plans of offensive operations. General Winslow was ordered to
relinquish his intended expedition, and to fortify his camp, and
endeavour to prevent the enemy from penetrating into the country by
the way of South bay, or Wood creek. Major general Webb, with fourteen
hundred men, was posted at the great carrying place; and, to secure
his rear, sir William Johnson, with one thousand militia, was
stationed at the German flats.

These dispositions being made, the colonies were strenuously urged to
reinforce the army. It was represented to them that, should any
disaster befall Winslow, the enemy might be enabled to overrun the
country, unless opposed by a force much superior to that in the

     [Footnote 154: The northern colonies had been enabled to
     attend to these representations, and, in some degree to
     comply with the requisitions made on them, by having
     received from the British government, in the course of the
     summer, a considerable sum of money as a reimbursement for
     the extraordinary expenses of the preceding year. One
     hundred and fifteen thousand pounds sterling had been
     apportioned among them, and this sum gave new vigour and
     energy to their councils.]

[Sidenote: Small-pox in Albany.]

During this state of apprehensive inactivity, the small-pox broke out
in Albany. This enemy was more dreaded by the provincials than
Montcalm himself. So great was the alarm, that it was found necessary
to garrison the posts in that quarter, entirely with British troops,
and to discharge all the provincials except a regiment raised in New

Thus terminated for a second time, in defeat and utter disappointment,
the sanguine hopes which the colonists had formed of a brilliant and
successful campaign. After all their expensive and laborious
preparations, not an effort had been made to drive the invaders of the
country even from their out-post at Ticonderoga.

The expedition to lake Ontario had not been commenced; and no
preparations had been made for that against fort Du Quesne. The
colonies of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, far from
contemplating offensive operations, had been unable to defend
themselves; and their frontiers were exposed to all the horrors of
Indian warfare.

The expedition up the Kennebec was also abandoned. Thus, no one
enterprise contemplated at the opening of the campaign, was carried
into execution.[155]

     [Footnote 155: Minot. Belknap. Entic.]


About the middle of January, the governors of the northern provinces
were convened in a military council at Boston. The earl of Loudoun
opened his propositions to them with a speech in which he attributed
all the disasters that had been sustained, to the colonies; and in
which he proposed that New England should raise four thousand men for
the ensuing campaign. Requisitions proportionably large were also made
on New York and New Jersey.

[Sidenote: Campaign of 1757.]

The ill success which had, thus far, attended the combined arms of
Great Britain and her colonies, did not discourage them. Their
exertions to bring a powerful force into the field were repeated; and
the winter was employed in preparations for the ensuing campaign. The
requisitions of lord Loudoun were complied with; and he found himself,
in the spring, at the head of a respectable army. Some important
enterprise against Canada, when the armament expected from Europe
should arrive, was eagerly anticipated; and the most sanguine hopes of
success were again entertained.

[Sidenote: Admiral Holbourne arrives.]

[Sidenote: Is joined by Lord Loudoun.]

In the beginning of July, Admiral Holbourne reached Halifax with a
powerful squadron, and reinforcement of five thousand British troops
commanded by George Viscount Howe, and, on the 6th of the same month,
the earl of Loudoun sailed from New York with six thousand regulars. A
junction of these formidable armaments was effected without
opposition, and the Loudoun colonists looked forward with confidence
for a decisive blow which would shake the power of France in America.

[Sidenote: The expedition against Louisbourg relinquished.]

The plan of this campaign varied from that which had been adopted in
the preceding years. The vast and complex movements heretofore
proposed, were no longer contemplated, and offensive operations were
to be confined to a single object. Leaving the posts on the lakes
strongly garrisoned, the British general determined to direct his
whole disposable force against Louisbourg; and fixed on Halifax as the
place of rendezvous for the fleet and army.

After assembling the land and naval forces at this place, information
was received that a fleet had lately arrived from France, and that
Louisbourg was so powerfully defended as to render any attempt upon it
hopeless. In consequence of this intelligence the enterprise was
deferred until the next year; the general and admiral returned to New
York in August; and the provincials were dismissed.

[Sidenote: Fort William Henry taken.]

The French general, feeling no apprehension for Louisbourg, determined
to avail himself of the absence of a large part of the British force,
and to obtain complete possession of lake George. With an army
collected chiefly from the garrisons of Crown Point, Ticonderoga, and
the adjacent forts; amounting, with the addition of Indians, and
Canadians, to nine thousand men, the marquis de Montcalm laid siege to
fort William Henry. That place was well fortified, and garrisoned by
three thousand men; and derived additional security from an army of
four thousand men at fort Edwards, under the command of major general
Webb. Notwithstanding the strength of the place and its means of
defence, Montcalm urged his approaches with so much vigour, that
articles of capitulation, surrendering the fort, artillery, and
stores, and stipulating that the garrison should not serve against his
Most Christian Majesty or his allies for the space of eighteen months,
were signed within six days after its investment.

When this important place was surrendered, the commander in chief had
not returned from Halifax. General Webb, alarmed for fort Edward,
applied for reinforcements; and the utmost exertions were made to
furnish the aids he required. The return of the army to New York on
the last of August, dispelled all fear of an invasion, and enabled the
general, who contemplated no farther active operations, to dismiss the

Unsuccessful in all his attempts to gather laurels from the common
enemy, the earl of Loudoun engaged in a controversy with
Massachusetts; in the commencement of which, he displayed a degree of
vigour which had been kept in reserve for two campaigns. This
controversy is thus stated by Mr. Minot.

Upon information from the governor that a regiment of Highlanders was
expected in Boston, the general court provided barracks for the
accommodation of one thousand men at Castle Island. Soon afterwards,
several officers arrived from Nova Scotia to recruit their regiments.
Finding it impracticable to perform this service while in the barracks
at the castle, they applied to the justices of the peace to quarter
and billet them, as provided by act of parliament. The justices
refused to grant this request, on the principle that the act did not
extend to the colonies. When informed of this refusal, lord Loudoun
addressed a letter to the justices, insisting peremptorily on the
right, as the act did, in his opinion, extend to America, and to every
part of the King's dominions, where the necessities of the people
should oblige him to send his troops. He concluded a long dissertation
on the question in the following decisive terms, "that having used
gentleness and patience, and confuted their arguments, without effect,
they having returned to their first mistaken plan, their not complying
would lay him under the necessity of taking measures to prevent the
whole continent from being thrown into a state of confusion. As
nothing was wanting to set things right, but the justices doing their
duty (for no act of the assembly was necessary or wanting for it) he
had ordered the messenger to remain only forty-eight hours in Boston;
and if on his return he found things not settled, he would instantly
order into Boston the three battalions from New York, Long Island, and
Connecticut; and if more were wanting, he had two in the Jerseys at
hand, besides those in Pennsylvania. As public business obliged him to
take another route, he had no more time left to settle this material
affair, and must take the necessary steps before his departure, in
case they were not done by themselves."

The general court passed a law for the purpose of removing the
inconveniences of which the officers complained; but, this law not
equalling the expectations of lord Loudoun, he communicated his
dissatisfaction in a letter to the governor, which was laid before the
assembly, who answered by an address to his excellency in which the
spirit of their forefathers seemed to revive. They again asserted that
the act of parliament did not extend to the colonies; and that they
had for this reason enlarged the barracks at the castle, and passed a
law for the benefit of recruiting parties, as near the act of
parliament as the circumstances of the country would admit; that such
a law was necessary to give power to the magistrates, and they were
willing to make it, whenever his majesty's troops were necessary for
their defence. They asserted their natural rights as Englishmen; that
by the royal charter, the powers and privileges of civil government
were granted to them; that their enjoyment of these was their support
under all burdens, and would animate them to resist an invading enemy
to the last. If their adherence to their rights and privileges should,
in any measure, lessen the esteem which his lordship had conceived for
them, it would be their great misfortune; but that they would have the
satisfaction of reflecting that, both in their words and actions, they
had been governed by a sense of duty to his majesty, and faithfulness
to the trust committed to them.

This address being forwarded to lord Loudoun, he affected to rely on
their removing all difficulties in future, and not only countermanded
the march of the troops, but condescended to make some conciliatory
observations respecting the zeal of the province in his majesty's
service. For these the two houses made an ample return in a message to
the governor, in which they disavowed any intention of lessening their
dependence on parliament; and expressly acknowledged the authority of
all acts which concerned, and extended to, the colonies.

This explicit avowal of sentiments so different from those which
Massachusetts had long cherished respecting her connexion with the
mother country, would induce a belief that she had recently become
more colonial in her opinions. This was probably the fact; but Mr.
Minot, who may be presumed to have been personally acquainted with the
transaction, does not attribute to that cause entirely, the
conciliating temper manifested at the close of a contest, which had
commenced with such appearances of asperity. Massachusetts had made
large advances for the prosecution of the war, for which she expected
reimbursements from parliament; and was not willing, at such a
juncture, to make impressions unfavorable to the success of her


     Preparations for the campaign of 1758.... Admiral Boscawen
     and general Amherst arrive at Halifax.... Plan of the
     campaign.... Expedition against Louisbourg, Ticonderoga, and
     Crown Point.... General Abercrombie repulsed under the walls
     of Ticonderoga.... Fort Frontignac taken.... Expedition
     against fort Du Quesne.... Preparations for the campaign of
     1759.... General Amherst succeeds general Abercrombie....
     Plan of the campaign.... Ticonderoga and Crown Point
     taken.... Army goes into winter quarters.... French repulsed
     at Oswego.... Defeated at Niagara.... Niagara taken....
     Expedition against Quebec.... Check to the English army....
     Battle on the Plains of Abraham.... Death of Wolfe and
     Montcalm.... Quebec capitulates.... Garrisoned by the
     English under the command of general Murray.... Attempt to
     recover Quebec.... Battle near Sillery.... Quebec besieged
     by Monsieur Levi.... Siege raised.... Montreal
     capitulates.... War with the southern Indians.... Battle
     near the town of Etchoe.... Grant defeats them and burns
     their towns.... Treaty with the Cherokees.... War with
     Spain.... Success of the English.... Peace.


The affairs of Great Britain in North America wore a more gloomy
aspect, at the close of the campaign of 1757, than at any former
period. By the acquisition of fort William Henry, the French had
obtained complete possession of the lakes Champlain and George. By the
destruction of Oswego, they had acquired the dominion of those lakes
which connect the St. Lawrence with the waters of the Mississippi, and
unite Canada to Louisiana. By means of fort Du Quesne, they maintained
their ascendency over the Indians, and held undisturbed possession of
the country west of the Allegheny mountains; while the English
settlers were driven to the Blue Ridge. The great object of the war in
that quarter was gained, and France held the country for which
hostilities had been commenced. With inferior numbers, the French had
been victorious in every campaign, and had uniformly gained ground on
the English colonies. Nor were they less successful elsewhere. The
flame of war which was kindled in America, had communicated itself to
Europe and Asia. In every quarter of the world where hostilities had
been carried on, the British arms were attended with defeat and

But this inglorious scene was about to be succeeded by one of
unrivalled brilliancy. From the point of extreme depression to which
their affairs had sunk, the brightest era of British history was to
commence. Far from being broken by misfortune, the spirit of the
nation was high; and more of indignation than dismay was inspired by
the ill success of their arms. The public voice had, at length, made
its way to the throne, and had forced, on the unwilling monarch, a
minister who has been justly deemed one of the greatest men of the age
in which he lived.

Mr. Pitt had been long distinguished in the House of Commons, for the
boldness and the splendour of his eloquence. His parliamentary
talents, and the independent grandeur of his character, had given him
a great ascendency in that body, and had made him the idol of the
nation. In 1756, he had been introduced into the cabinet, but could
not long retain his place. The public affection followed him out of
office; and, the national disasters continuing, it was found
impracticable to conduct the complicated machine of government without
his aid. In the summer of 1757, an administration was formed, which
conciliated the great contending interests in parliament; and Mr. Pitt
was placed at its head. The controlling superiority of his character
gave him the same ascendency in the cabinet which he had obtained in
the house of commons; and he seemed to dictate the measures of the
nation. Only a short time was required to show that qualities, seldom
united in the same person, were combined in him; and his talents for
action seemed to eclipse even those he had displayed in debate. His
plans partaking of the proud elevation of his own mind, and the
exalted opinion he entertained of his countrymen, were always grand;
and the means he employed for their execution, were always adequate to
the object. Possessing the public confidence without limitation, he
commanded all the resources of the nation, and drew liberally from the
public purse; but the money was always faithfully and judiciously
applied to the public service. Too great in his spirit, too lofty in
his views, to become the instrument of faction; when placed at the
head of the nation, he regarded only the interest of the nation; and,
overlooking the country or the party, which had given birth to merit,
he searched for merit only, and employed it wherever it was found.
From the elevation of the house of Brunswick to the British throne, a
great portion of the people, under the denomination of tories, had
been degraded, persecuted, and oppressed. Superior to this narrow and
short sighted policy, Mr. Pitt sought to level these enfeebling and
irritating distinctions, and to engage every British subject in the
cause of his country. Thus commanding both the strength and the wealth
of the kingdom, with perhaps greater talents, he possessed certainly
greater means, than any of his predecessors.[156]

     [Footnote 156: Fussel.]

In no part of his majesty's dominions was the new administration more
popular than in his American colonies. Deeply and peculiarly
interested in the events of the war, they looked for a change of
fortune from this change of men, and cheerfully made every exertion,
of which they were capable, for the ensuing campaign. The circular
letter of Mr. Pitt assured the several governors that, to repair the
losses and disappointments of the last inactive campaign, the cabinet
was determined to send a formidable force, to operate by sea and land,
against the French in America; and he called upon them to raise as
large bodies of men, within their respective governments, as the
number of inhabitants might allow. Arms, ammunition, tents,
provisions, and boats, would, he said, be furnished by the crown; and
he required the colonies to clothe and pay their men; assuring them,
at the same time, that it should be recommended to parliament to make
them compensation.

[Sidenote: Great preparations for the campaign.]

The legislature of Massachusetts agreed to furnish seven thousand men;
Connecticut five thousand; and New Hampshire three thousand. These
troops, great as were their numbers, when compared with the population
of the country, were in the field early in May; and the transports for
carrying those of Massachusetts to Halifax, were ready to sail in
fifteen days after they were engaged. Near one-third of the effective
men of that province, are said to have been in military service; and
the taxes were so heavy that, in the capital, they amounted to
two-thirds of the income of real estate.[157]

     [Footnote 157: Minot.]

[Sidenote: Admiral Boscawen and General Amherst arrive.]

In the mother country too, the utmost activity was transfused into
every department. Her fleets blocked up in the French ports the men
and stores designed for Canada, and captured, on the seas, most of
those which had been able to make their way into the ocean. At the
same time, a powerful armament, equipped with unusual expedition,
sailed from her ports. Early in the spring, admiral Boscawen arrived
at Halifax with a formidable fleet, and twelve thousand British
troops, under the command of general Amherst.

The earl of Loudoun had returned to England, and the command of the
British and American forces in the colonies, had devolved on general
Abercrombie. That officer found himself at the head of the most
powerful army ever seen in the new world. His whole numbers,
comprehending troops of every description, have been computed by Mr.
Belsham at fifty thousand men, of whom twenty thousand were

The objects of the campaign were no longer defeated by delays. The
preparations for action were made during the winter, and military
operations commenced in the spring.

[Sidenote: Plan of the campaign.]

Three expeditions were proposed. The first was against Louisbourg; the
second against Ticonderoga and Crown Point; and the third against fort
Du Quesne.[158]

     [Footnote 158: Minot. Belknap.]

[Sidenote: Expedition against Louisbourg.]

The army destined against Louisbourg, consisting of fourteen thousand
men, was commanded by major general Amherst; and the fleet, consisting
of twenty ships of the line and eighteen frigates, by admiral
Boscawen. On the 24th of May, the troops embarked at Halifax; and, on
the 2d of June, arrived before Louisbourg.

The use made by Great Britain of her naval superiority was felt in no
part of the possessions of his Most Christian Majesty more sensibly
than in Louisbourg. The garrison of that important place was composed
of only two thousand five hundred regulars, aided by six hundred
militia. The harbour was defended by five ships of the line; one ship
of fifty guns; and five frigates, three of which were sunk across the
mouth of the basin.

Soon after investment of the place, one of the large ships was set on
fire by a bomb from a battery on the light house point, and blown up.
The flames were communicated to two others which shared the same fate.
The English admiral then sent a detachment of six hundred seamen, in
boats, into the harbour, under captains La Forcey and Balfour, to make
an attempt on the two remaining ships of the line, which still kept
possession of the basin. This service was executed with great
gallantry. One, which was aground, was destroyed, and the other was
towed off in triumph.

The harbour being in possession of the English, and several
practicable breaches made in the works, the place was no longer deemed
defensible, and the governor was under the necessity of capitulating.
The garrison became prisoners of war, and Louisbourg, with its
artillery, provisions and military stores; and also Island Royal, St.
Johns, and their dependencies, were surrendered to the English, who
encountered no farther difficulty in taking possession of the whole

     [Footnote 159: Minot. Belknap. Belsham. Russel.]

This important acquisition was made with the loss of between five and
six hundred men, killed and wounded. The joy it diffused throughout
the colonies, long familiarised to disaster, was in proportion to
their former disappointments.

[Sidenote: Against Ticonderoga.]

The expedition against Ticonderoga and Crown Point was conducted by
general Abercrombie in person. His army, consisting of near sixteen
thousand effectives, of whom nine thousand were provincials, was
attended by a formidable train of artillery, and possessed every
requisite to ensure success.

On the 5th of July, he embarked on lake George, and reached the
landing place early the next morning. A disembarkation being effected
without opposition, the troops were immediately formed into four
columns, the British in the centre, and the Provincials on the flanks;
in which order they marched towards the advanced guard of the French,
composed of one battalion posted in a log camp, which, on the approach
of the English, made a precipitate retreat.

Abercrombie continued his march towards Ticonderoga, with the
intention of investing that place; but, the woods being thick, and the
guides unskilful, his columns were thrown into confusion, and, in some
measure, entangled with each other. In this situation lord Howe, at
the head of the right centre column, fell in with a part of the
advance guard of the French, which, in retreating from lake George,
was likewise lost in the wood. He immediately attacked and dispersed
them; killing several, and taking one hundred and forty-eight
prisoners, among whom were five officers.

This small advantage was purchased at a dear rate. Though only two
officers, on the side of the British, were killed, one of these was
lord Howe himself, who fell on the first fire. This gallant young
nobleman had endeared himself to the whole army. The British and
provincials alike lamented his death; and the assembly of
Massachusetts passed a vote for the erection of a superb cenotaph to
his memory, in the collegiate church of Westminster, among the heroes
and patriots of Great Britain.

Without farther opposition, the English army took possession of the
post at the Saw Mills, within two miles of Ticonderoga. This fortress,
which commands the communication between the two lakes, is encompassed
on three sides by water, and secured in front by a morass. The
ordinary garrison amounting to four thousand men, was stationed under
the cannon of the place, and covered by a breast-work, the approach to
which had been rendered extremely difficult by trees felled in front,
with their branches outward, many of which were sharpened so as to
answer the purpose of chevaux-de-frize. This body of troops was
rendered still more formidable by its general than by its position. It
was commanded by the marquis de Montcalm.

Having learned from his prisoners the strength of the army under the
walls of Ticonderoga, and that a reinforcement of three thousand men
was daily expected, general Abercrombie thought it advisable to storm
the place before this reinforcement should arrive. Being informed by
an engineer directed to reconnoitre the works, that they were
unfinished, and were practicable, he resolved, without waiting for his
artillery, to storm the lines; and the dispositions for an assault
were instantly made.

The rangers, the light infantry, and the right wing of the
provincials, were ordered to form a line out of cannon shot of the
intrenchments, with their right extending to lake George, and their
left to lake Champlain. The regulars who were to storm the works, were
formed in the rear of this line. The piquets were to begin the attack,
and to be sustained by the grenadiers; and the grenadiers by the
battalions. The whole were ordered to march up briskly, to rush upon
the enemy's fire, and to reserve their own until they had passed the

The troops marched to the assault with great intrepidity; but their
utmost efforts could make no impression on the works. The impediments
in front of the intrenchments retarded their advance, and exposed
them, while entangled among the boughs of the trees, to a very galling
fire. The breast-work itself was eight or nine feet high, and much
stronger than had been represented; so that the assailants, who do not
appear to have been furnished with ladders, were unable to pass it.
After a contest of near four hours, and several repeated attacks,
general Abercrombie ordered a retreat.

[Sidenote: General Abercrombie repulsed under the walls of

The army retired to the camp from which it had marched in the morning;
and, the next day, resumed its former position on the south side of
lake George.[160]

     [Footnote 160: Letter of general Abercrombie.]

In this rash attempt, the killed and wounded of the English amounted
to near two thousand men, of whom not quite four hundred were
provincials. The French were covered during the whole action, and
their loss was inconsiderable.[161]

     [Footnote 161: Minot. Belknap.]

Entirely disconcerted by this unexpected and bloody repulse, General
Abercrombie relinquished his designs against Ticonderoga and Crown
Point. Searching however for the means of repairing the misfortune, if
not the disgrace, sustained by his arms, he readily acceded to a
proposition made by colonel Bradstreet, for an expedition against fort
Frontignac. This fortress stands on the north side of Ontario, at the
point where the St. Lawrence issues from that lake; and though a post
of real importance, had been left, in a great degree, undefended.

The detachment designed for this service was commanded by colonel
Bradstreet. It consisted of three thousand men, of whom two hundred
were British, and was furnished with eight pieces of cannon, and three

[Sidenote: Fort Frontignac taken.]

Colonel Bradstreet embarked on the Ontario at Oswego, and on the 25th
of August, landed within one mile of the fort. In two days, his
batteries were opened at so short a distance that almost every shell
took effect; and the governor, finding the place absolutely untenable,
surrendered at discretion. The Indians having deserted, the prisoners
amounted only to one hundred and ten men. A great quantity of military
stores, together with nine armed vessels, mounting from eight to
eighteen guns, also fell into the hands of the English.[162]

     [Footnote 162: Letter of colonel Bradstreet.]

After destroying the fort and vessels, and such stores as could not be
brought off, colonel Bradstreet returned to the army which undertook
nothing farther during the campaign.

[Sidenote: Expedition against Fort Du Quesne.]

The demolition of fort Frontignac and of the stores which had been
collected there, contributed materially, to the success of the
expedition against fort Du Quesne. The conduct of this enterprise had
been entrusted to general Forbes, who marched from Philadelphia, about
the beginning of July, at the head of the main body of the army,
destined for this service, in order to join colonel Bouquet at
Raystown. So much time was employed in preparing to move from this
place, that the Virginia regulars, commanded by colonel Washington,
were not ordered to join the British troops until the month of
September. It had been determined not to use the road made by
Braddock, but to cut a new one from Raystown to fort du Quesne. About
the time this resolution was formed, and before the army was put in
motion, major Grant was detached from the advanced post at Loyal
Hannan with eight hundred men, to reconnoitre the fort and the
adjacent country. This gentleman invited an attack from the garrison,
the result of which was that upwards of three hundred of the
detachment were killed and wounded, and major Grant himself was made a

     [Footnote 163: MSS.]

[Sidenote: Fort Du Quesne evacuated.]

Early in October general Forbes moved from Raystown; but the
obstructions to his march were so great that he did not reach fort Du
Quesne until late in November. The garrison, being deserted by the
Indians, and too weak to maintain the place against the formidable
army which was approaching, abandoned the fort the evening before the
arrival of the British, and escaped down the Ohio in boats. The
English placed a garrison in it, and changed its name to Pittsburg, in
compliment to their popular minister. The acquisition of this post was
of great importance to Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Its
possession had given the French an absolute control over the Indians
of the Ohio, who were accustomed to assemble at that place, for the
purpose of making their destructive incursions into those colonies.
Their route was marked by fire and the scalping knife; and neither age
nor sex could afford exemption from their ferocity. The expulsion of
the French gave the English entire possession of the country, and
produced a complete revolution in the disposition of the Indians
inhabiting it. Finding the current of success to be running against
their ancient friends, they were willing to reconcile themselves to
the most powerful; and all the Indians between the lakes and the Ohio
concluded a peace with the English.

Although the events of 1758 did not equal the expectations which had
been formed from the force brought into the field, the advantages were
decisive. The whole country constituting the original cause of the
war, had changed masters, and was in possession of the English. The
acquisition of the island of Cape Breton opened the way to Quebec; and
their success in the west enabled them to direct all their force
against Canada. The colonists, encouraged by this revolution in their
affairs, and emboldened, by the conquests already made, to hope for
others still more extensive, prepared vigorously on the application of
Mr. Pitt, for the farther prosecution of the war.

[Sidenote: General Amherst succeeds General Abercrombie.]

Late in the year 1758, general Abercrombie was succeeded in the
command of the army by major general Amherst, who formed the bold plan
of conquering Canada in the course of the ensuing campaign.


[Sidenote: Plan of the campaign.]

The decided superiority of Great Britain at sea, and the great
exertions of France in other quarters of the world, still prevented
the arrival of such reinforcements as were necessary for the
preservation of his most christian majesty's possessions in North
America. To take advantage of this weakness, the English proposed to
enter Canada by three different routes, with three powerful armies;
and to attack all the strongholds by which that country was defended.

It was determined that one division of the army, to be commanded by
brigadier general Wolfe, a young officer who had signalised himself in
the siege of Louisbourg, should ascend the St. Lawrence, and lay siege
to Quebec. A strong fleet was to escort the troops destined for this
enterprise, and to co-operate with them.

Major general Amherst was to lead the central and main army against
Ticonderoga and Crown Point. After making himself master of these
places, he was to proceed over lake Champlain, and by the way of
Richelieu, to the St. Lawrence, and down that river, so as to effect a
junction with general Wolfe before the walls of Quebec. From their
combined force, the conquest of the capital of Canada was expected.

The third army was to be commanded by general Prideaux. Its first
destination was against Niagara. After the reduction of this place,
Prideaux was to embark on lake Ontario, and proceed down the St.
Lawrence against Montreal. Should Montreal fall into his hands before
the surrender of Quebec, he was to join the grand army at that

     [Footnote 164: Minot. Belknap. Belsham. Russel. Entic.]

It could not be expected that a plan so extensive and so complex,
should succeed in all its parts; and it was greatly to be apprehended,
that the failure of one part might defeat the whole. But it suited the
daring spirit which eminently distinguished the officers then
commanding the British forces, and was entered upon with zeal and

[Sidenote: Ticonderoga abandoned.]

As the other two expeditions, especially that against Quebec, were
supposed to depend greatly on the celerity with which the movements of
the main army should be made, general Amherst began his preparations
in the commencement of winter, for the enterprise he was to undertake.
Early in the spring, he transferred his head quarters from New York to
Albany, where his troops were assembled by the last of May.
Notwithstanding his continued exertions, the summer was far advanced
before he could cross lake George; nor did he reach Ticonderoga until
the 22d of July. The lines drawn around that place were immediately
abandoned, and the English took possession of them.

The French troops in this quarter being unequal to the defence of the
posts they held, their object seems to have been to embarrass and
delay the invading army; but not to hazard any considerable diminution
of strength, by persevering in the defence of places until the retreat
of the garrison should become impracticable. The hope was entertained,
that by retreating from post to post, and making a show of intending
to defend each, the advance of the English might be retarded, until
the season for action on the lakes should pass away; while the French
would be gradually strengthened by concentration, and thus enabled to
maintain some point, which would arrest the progress of Amherst down
the St. Lawrence.

In pursuance of this plan, as soon as the English had completed their
arrangements for taking possession of lake Champlain, the garrison of
Ticonderoga retreated to Crown Point.

[Sidenote: and Crown Point.]

Early in the month of August, Amherst advanced to Crown Point, which
was abandoned on his approach; and the garrison retired to isle Aux
Noix, at the northern extremity of lake Champlain. The French had
collected between three and four thousand men at this place, in an
entrenched camp, defended by artillery, and protected by several armed
vessels on the lake. After making great exertions to obtain a naval
superiority, General Amherst embarked his army on lake Champlain; but,
a succession of storms compelling him to abandon the farther
prosecution of the enterprise, he returned to Crown Point, where the
troops were put into winter quarters.[165]

     [Footnote 165: Minot. Belknap. Belsham. Russel. New York

In the beginning of July, general Prideaux, embarked on lake Ontario
with the army destined against Niagara. Immediately after his
departure from Oswego, that place, which was defended by twelve
hundred men under the command of colonel Haldiman, was vigorously
attacked by a body of French and Indians, who were repulsed with some

In the mean time, Prideaux proceeded towards Niagara, and landed
without opposition, about three miles from the fort. The place was
invested in form, and the siege was carried on by regular approaches.
In its progress, General Prideaux was killed by the bursting of a
cohorn, and the command devolved on general Johnson. Great efforts
were made to relieve this important place. A considerable body of
troops drawn from the neighbouring garrisons, aided by some Indian
auxiliaries, advanced on the English army, with the determination to
risk a battle, in order to raise the siege. Early in the morning of
the 24th, the approach of this party was announced, and a strong
detachment marched out to meet it. The action, which immediately
commenced, was not of long duration. The French were forsaken by their
savage allies, and victory soon declared in favour of the English.

[Sidenote: Niagara capitulates.]

This battle decided the fate of Niagara. The works of the besiegers
had been pushed within one hundred yards of the walls, and a farther
attempt to defend the place being hopeless, a capitulation was signed,
by which the garrison, amounting to rather more than six hundred men,
became prisoners of war.

Although important advantages were gained by the British arms in Upper
Canada, yet, as neither division of the army, in that quarter,
succeeded so completely as to co-operate with general Wolfe, serious
fears were entertained for the fate of that officer. The enterprise
conducted by him being of the greatest hazard and of the deepest
interest, its success was to decide, whether the whole campaign would
terminate in a manner favourable to the future conquest of Canada.

[Sidenote: Expedition against Quebec.]

As soon as the waters were sufficiently freed from ice to be
navigable, Wolfe embarked eight thousand men with a formidable train
of artillery, at Louisbourg, under convoy of admirals Saunders and
Holmes. Late in June, he anchored about half way up the island of
Orleans, on which he landed, without opposition.

From this position, he could take a near and accurate view of the
obstacles to be surmounted, before he could hope for success in his
enterprise. These were so great, that even his bold and sanguine
temper perceived more to fear than to hope; and, in a celebrated
letter written to Mr. Pitt, and afterwards published, he declared that
he could not flatter himself with being able to reduce the place.[166]

     [Footnote 166: Belsham.]

Quebec stands on the north side of the St. Lawrence, and on the west
of the St. Charles, which rivers unite immediately below the town. It
consists of an upper and a lower town; the latter is built upon the
strand, which stretches along the base of the lofty rock, on which the
former is situated. This rock continues, with a bold and steep front,
far to the westward, parallel to, and near the river St. Lawrence. On
this side, therefore, the city might well be deemed inaccessible. On
the other, it was protected by the river St. Charles, in which were
several armed vessels, and floating batteries, deriving additional
security from a strong boom drawn across its mouth. The channel of
this river is rough and broken, and its borders intersected with
ravines. On its left, or eastern bank, was encamped a French army,
strongly entrenched, and amounting, according to the English accounts,
to ten thousand men.[167] The encampment extended from St. Charles,
eastward, to the Montmorency, and its rear was covered by an almost
impenetrable wood. To render this army still more formidable, it was
commanded by a general, who had given signal proofs of active courage,
and consummate prudence. The marquis de Montcalm, who, when strong
enough to act offensively, had so rapidly carried Oswego, and fort
William Henry, and who, when reduced to the defensive, had driven
Abercrombie with such slaughter from the walls of Ticonderoga, was now
at the head of the army which covered Quebec, and was an antagonist,
in all respects, worthy of Wolfe.

     [Footnote 167: These accounts must be exaggerated. According
     to the letter of general Townshend, the force engaged on the
     Plains of Abraham amounted to three thousand five hundred
     men; and not more than fifteen hundred are stated to have
     been detached under Bougainville.]

The British general perceived these difficulties in their full extent,
but, his ardent mind glowing with military enthusiasm, sought only how
to subdue them.

He took possession of Point Levi, on the southern side of the St.
Lawrence, where he erected several heavy batteries, which opened on
the town, but were at too great a distance to make any considerable
impression on the works. Nor could his ships be employed in this
service. The elevation of the principal fortifications placed them
beyond the reach of the guns of the fleet; and the river was so
commanded by the batteries on shore, as to render a station near the
town ineligible.

The English general, sensible of the impracticability of reducing
Quebec, unless he should be enabled to erect his batteries on the
north side of the St. Lawrence, determined to use his utmost
endeavours to bring Montcalm to an engagement. After several
unavailing attempts to draw that able officer from his advantageous
position, Wolfe resolved to pass the Montmorency, and to attack him in
his entrenchments.

In consequence of this resolution, thirteen companies of British
grenadiers, and part of the second battalion of royal Americans, were
landed near the mouth of the Montmorency, under cover of the cannon of
the ships; while two divisions, under generals Townshend and Murray,
prepared to cross that river higher up. The original plan was to make
the first attack on a detached redoubt close to the water's edge,
apparently unprotected by the fire from the entrenchments, in the hope
that Montcalm might be induced to support this work, and thereby
enable Wolfe to bring on a general engagement.[168]

     [Footnote 168: Belsham.]

On the approach of the British troops, this redoubt was evacuated.
Observing some confusion in the French camp, Wolfe determined to avail
himself of the supposed impression of the moment, and to storm the
lines. With this view, he directed the grenadiers and royal Americans
to form on the beach, where they were to wait until the whole army
could be arranged to sustain them. Orders were at the same time
dispatched to Townshend and Murray to be in readiness for fording the

[Sidenote: The English army repulsed.]

The grenadiers and royal Americans, disregarding their orders, rushed
forward, with impetuous valour on the entrenchments of the enemy. They
were received with so steady and well supported a fire, that they were
thrown into confusion, and compelled to retreat. The general advancing
in person with the remaining brigades, the fugitives formed again in
the rear of the army; but the plan of the attack was effectually
disconcerted, and the English commander gave orders for re-passing the
river, and returning to the island of Orleans.

Convinced by this disaster of the impracticability of approaching
Quebec on the side of the Montmorency, Wolfe again turned his whole
attention to the St. Lawrence. To destroy some ships of war lying in
the river, and at the same time to distract the attention of Montcalm
by descents at different places, twelve hundred men were embarked in
transports under the command of general Murray, who made two vigorous,
but unsuccessful attempts, to land on the northern shore. In the third
he was more fortunate. In a sudden descent on Chambaud, he burnt a
valuable magazine filled with military stores, but was still unable to
accomplish the main object of the expedition. The ships were secured
in such a manner as not to be approached by the fleet or army. Murray
was recalled; and on his return brought with him the intelligence that
Niagara was taken, that Ticonderoga and Crown Point had been
abandoned, and that general Amherst was making preparations to attack
the isle Aux Noix.[169]

     [Footnote 169: Belsham. Russel.]

This intelligence, though joyfully received, promised no immediate
assistance; and the season for action was rapidly wasting away.[170]
Nor was it easy for Wolfe to avoid contrasting the success of the
British arms under other auspices, with the ill fortune attending his

     [Footnote 170: Belsham.]

A council of war having determined that all their future efforts
should be directed towards effecting a landing above the town, the
troops were withdrawn from the island of Orleans, and embarked on
board the fleet. Some of them were landed at Point Levi, and the
residue carried higher up the river.[171]

     [Footnote 171: Belsham.]

Montcalm could not view this movement without alarm. That part of
Quebec, which faces the country, had not been well fortified; and he
was apprehensive that a landing might be effected high up the river,
and the town approached on its weak side. At the same time, he could
not safely relinquish his position, because the facility of
transportation which the command of the water gave the English, would
enable them to seize the ground he then occupied, should his army be
moved above the town.

Thus embarrassed, he detached Monsieur de Bougainville with fifteen
hundred men, to watch the motions of the English, and to prevent their

In this state of things Wolfe formed the bold and hazardous plan of
landing in the night, a small distance above the city, on the northern
bank of the river; and, by scaling a precipice, accessible only by a
narrow path, and therefore but weakly guarded, to gain the heights in
the rear of the town.

This resolution being taken, the admiral moved up the river, several
leagues above the place where the landing was to be attempted, and
made demonstrations of an intention to disembark a body of troops at
different places. During the night, a strong detachment, in flat
bottomed boats, fell silently down with the tide to the place fixed on
for the descent. This was made an hour before day-break, about a mile
above cape Diamond, Wolfe being the first man who leaped on shore. The
Highlanders and light infantry, who composed the van, under the
particular command of colonel Howe, had been directed to secure a four
gun battery defending an entrenched path by which the heights were to
be ascended, and to cover the landing of the remaining troops. The
violence of the current forced them rather below the point of
disembarkation; a circumstance which increased their difficulties.
However, scrambling up the precipice, they gained the heights, and
quickly dispersed the guard. The whole army followed up this narrow
pass; and, having encountered only a scattering fire from some
Canadians and Indians, gained the summit by the break of day, when the
several corps were formed under their respective leaders.[172]

     [Footnote 172: Belsham. Russel.]

The intelligence that the English had gained the heights of Abraham
was soon conveyed to Montcalm, who comprehended at once the full force
of the advantage obtained by his adversary, and prepared for the
engagement which could no longer be avoided. Leaving his camp at
Montmorency, he crossed the St. Charles, for the purpose of attacking
the English army.[173]

     [Footnote 173: Townshend's letter.]

This movement was made in the view of Wolfe, who immediately formed
his order of battle. His right wing was commanded by general Monckton,
and his left by general Murray. The right flank was covered by the
Louisbourg grenadiers, and the rear and left by the light infantry of
Howe. The reserve consisted of Webb's regiment, drawn up in eight
subdivisions, with large intervals between them.

Montcalm had formed his two wings of European and colonial troops in
nearly equal numbers. A column of Europeans composed his centre; and
two small field pieces were brought up to play on the English line. In
this order he marched to the attack, advancing in his front about
fifteen hundred militia and Indians, who kept up an irregular and
galling fire under cover of the bushes.

The movements of the French indicating an intention to flank his left,
general Wolfe ordered the battalion of Amherst, and the two battalions
of royal Americans, to that part of his line; where they were formed
_en potence_ under general Townshend, presenting a double front.
Disregarding the fire of the militia and Indians, he ordered his
troops to reserve themselves for the column advancing in the rear of
these irregulars.

[Sidenote: Battle on the plains of Abraham.]

[Sidenote: Death of Wolfe,]

[Sidenote: and of Montcalm.]

Montcalm had taken post on the left of the French army, and Wolfe on
the right of the British; so that the two generals met each other, at
the head of their respective troops; and there the battle was most
severe. The French advanced briskly to the charge, and commenced the
action with great animation. The English reserved their fire until the
enemy were within forty yards of them, when they gave it with immense
effect. The action was kept up for some time with great spirit. Wolfe,
advancing at the head of his grenadiers with charged bayonets,
received a mortal wound and soon afterwards expired. Undismayed by the
loss of their general, the English continued their exertions under
Monckton, on whom the command devolved. He also received a ball
through his body, and general Townshend took command of the British
army. About the same time Montcalm received a mortal wound, and
general Senezergus, the second in command, also fell. The left wing
and centre of the French began to give way; and, being pressed close
by the British, were driven from the field.

On the left and rear of the English, the action was less severe. The
light infantry had been placed in houses; and colonel Howe, the better
to support them, had taken post still farther to the left, behind a
copse. As the right of the French attacked the English left, he
sallied from this position, upon their flanks, and threw them into
disorder. In this critical moment, Townshend advanced several platoons
against their front, and completely frustrated the attempt to turn the
left flank.

[Sidenote: Victory of the English.]

In this state of the action, Townshend was informed that the command
had devolved on him. Proceeding instantly to the centre, he found that
part of the army thrown into some disorder by the ardour of pursuit;
and his immediate efforts were employed in restoring the line.
Scarcely was this effected, when Monsieur de Bougainville, who had
been detached as high as cape Rouge to prevent a landing above, and
who, on hearing that the English had gained the plains of Abraham,
hastened to the assistance of Montcalm, appeared in the rear at the
head of fifteen hundred men. Fortunately for the English, the right
wing of the French, as well as their left and centre, had been
entirely broken, and driven off the field. Two battalions and two
pieces of artillery being advanced towards Bougainville, he retired;
and Townshend did not think it advisable to risk the important
advantages already gained, by pursuing this fresh body of troops
through a difficult country.[174]

     [Footnote 174: Townshend's letter. Belsham. Russel.

In this decisive battle, nearly equal numbers appear to have been
engaged. The English however possessed this immense advantage:--they
were all veterans; while not more than half the French were of the
same description. This circumstance would lead to an opinion that some
motive, not well explained, must have induced Montcalm to hazard an
action before he was assured of being joined by Bougainville.

The French regulars were almost entirely cut to pieces. The loss of
the English was not so considerable as the fierceness of the action
would indicate. The killed and wounded were less than six hundred men;
but among the former, was the commander in chief. This gallant
officer, whose rare merit, and lamented fate, have presented a rich
theme for panegyric to both the poet and historian, received a ball in
his wrist in the commencement of the action; but, wrapping a
handkerchief around his arm, he continued to encourage his troops.
Soon afterwards he received a shot in the groin, which he also
concealed; and was advancing at the head of the grenadiers, when a
third bullet pierced his breast. Though expiring, it was with
reluctance he permitted himself to be carried into the rear, where he
displayed, in the agonies of death, the most anxious solicitude
concerning the fate of the day. Being told that the enemy was visibly
broken, he reclined his head, from extreme faintness, on the arm of an
officer standing near him; but was soon roused with the distant cry of
"they fly, they fly." "Who fly?" exclaimed the dying hero. On being
answered "the French." "Then," said he, "I depart content;" and,
almost immediately expired. "A death more glorious," adds Mr. Belsham,
"and attended with circumstances more picturesque and interesting, is
no where to be found in the annals of history."

The less fortunate, but not less gallant Montcalm expired on the same
day. The same love of glory, and the same fearlessness of death, which
so remarkably distinguished the British hero, were equally conspicuous
in his competitor for victory and for fame. He expressed the highest
satisfaction on hearing that his wound was mortal; and when told that
he could survive only a few hours, quickly replied, "so much the
better, I shall not then live to see the surrender of Quebec."[175]

     [Footnote 175: Russel.]

[Sidenote: Quebec capitulates.]

The first days after the action were employed by general Townshend in
making preparations for the siege of Quebec. But before his batteries
were opened, the town capitulated; on condition that the inhabitants
should, during the war, be protected in the free exercise of their
religion, and the full enjoyment of their civil rights, leaving their
future destinies to be decided by the treaty of peace.

Quebec was garrisoned by about five thousand English, under the
command of general Murray; and the fleet sailed from the St. Lawrence.

The English minister, aware of the importance of completing the work
thus fortunately begun, was not of a temper to relax his exertions.
His letters to the governors of the several colonies contained
declarations of his intention to employ a strong military force for
the ensuing year, and exhortations to them to continue their efforts
for the annihilation of the French power in Canada. These exhortations
were accompanied with assurances that he would again apply to
parliament to reimburse their future extraordinary expenses; and were
productive of the desired effect. The several assemblies voted the
same number of troops, and amount of supplies, as had been furnished
the preceding year.

In the mean time the governor of New France, and the general of the
army, made great exertions to retrieve their affairs, and to avert the
ruin which threatened them.

The remaining European troops were collected about Montreal; where
they were reinforced with six thousand militia, and a body of Indians.
Monsieur de Levi, on whom the command had devolved, determined to
attempt the recovery of Quebec, before the opening of the St. Lawrence
should enable the English to reinforce the garrison, and to afford it
the protection of their fleet. But the out-posts being found too
strong to admit of his carrying the place by _a coup de main_, he was
under the necessity of postponing the execution of this design, until
the upper part of the St. Lawrence should open, and afford a
transportation by water, for his artillery and military stores.


In the month of April these were embarked at Montreal, under convoy of
six frigates; which, sailing down the St. Lawrence, while the army
marched by land, reached Point au Tremble in ten days.

[Sidenote: Battle near Sillery.]

To avoid the hardships and dangers of a siege in a town too extensive
to be defended by his sickly garrison, and inhabited by persons known
to be hostile, Murray took the bold resolution of hazarding a battle.
Having formed this determination, he led out his garrison to the
heights of Abraham, and attacked the French near Sillery. He was
received with unexpected firmness; and, perceiving that his utmost
efforts could make no impression, he called off his army, and retired
into the city. In this fierce encounter, the English loss amounted to
near one thousand men; and they represent that of the French to have
been not less considerable.

[Sidenote: Quebec besieged.]

Monsieur de Levi improved his victory to the utmost. His trenches were
opened before the town, on the same evening; but such was the
difficulty of bringing up his heavy artillery, that near a fortnight
elapsed before he could mount his batteries, and bring his guns to
bear on the city. The batteries had been opened but a few days, when
the garrison was relieved from its perilous situation, by the arrival
of a British fleet.

Quebec being secure, Monsieur de Levi raised the siege, and retired to

During these transactions, general Amherst was taking measures for the
annihilation of the remnant of French power in Canada. He determined
to employ the immense force under his command for the accomplishment
of this object, and made arrangements, during the winter, to bring the
armies from Quebec, lake Champlain, and lake Ontario, to act against

The preparations being completed, the commander in chief marched at
the head of upwards of ten thousand British and provincials, from the
frontiers of New York to Oswego, where he was joined by sir William
Johnson, with one thousand Indians. He embarked his army at that
place, and proceeded down the St. Lawrence to Montreal.

Murray, who had been directed to advance up the river to the same
point, with as many men as could be spared from Quebec, appeared below
the town on the very day that Amherst approached it from above. The
two generals found no difficulty in disembarking their troops, and the
whole plan of co-operation had been so well concerted that, in a short
time, they were joined by colonel Haviland with the detachment from
Crown Point.

[Sidenote: Montreal capitulates.]

The junction of these armies presenting before Montreal a force not to
be resisted, the governor offered to capitulate. In the month of
September, Montreal, and all other places within the government of
Canada, then remaining in the possession of France, were surrendered
to his Britannic majesty. The troops were to be transported to France,
and the Canadians to be protected in their property, and the full
enjoyment of their religion.[176]

     [Footnote 176: Minot. Belknap. Belsham. Russel.]

That colossal power, which France had been long erecting in America,
with vast labour and expense; which had been the motive for one of the
most extensive and desolating wars of modern times; was thus entirely
overthrown. The causes of this interesting event are to be found in
the superior wealth and population of the colonies of England, and in
her immense naval strength; an advantage, in distant war, not to be
counterbalanced by the numbers, the discipline, the courage, and the
military talents, which may be combined in the armies of an inferior
maritime power.

[Illustration: The Death of Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham

_From the painting by Benjamin West, in the Capitol at Ottawa, Canada_

_Surrounded by his devoted officers, General James Wolfe died in the
hour of victory over the French General Montcalm, in which the English
captured Quebec, September 13, 1759, and decided the destiny of North
American civilization. General Wolfe lived to hear the cry "They
run!", and expired with the words "Now God be praised, I will die in

_In this canvas, painted in 1771, West departed from the venerated
custom of clothing pictorial characters in Greek or Roman costume. Sir
Joshua Reynolds, who had endeavored to dissuade him, later said, "I
retract my objections. I foresee that this picture will not only
become one of the most popular, but will occasion a revolution in

The joy diffused throughout the British dominions by this splendid
conquest, was mingled with a proud sense of superiority which did not
estimate with exact justice, the relative means employed by the
belligerents. In no part of those dominions was this joy felt, in a
higher degree, or with more reason, than in America. In that region,
the wars between France and England had assumed a form, happily
unknown to other parts of the civilised world. Not confined, as in
Europe, to men in arms; women and children were its common victims. It
had been carried by the savage to the fire side of the peaceful
peasant, where the tomahawk and scalping knife were applied
indiscriminately to every age, and to either sex. The hope was now
fondly indulged that these scenes, at least in the northern and middle
colonies, were closed for ever.

The colonies of South Carolina and Georgia had been entirely exempted
from the sharp conflicts of the north. France having been unable to
draw Spain into the war, their neighbours in Florida remained quiet;
and the Indians on their immediate frontiers were in the English
interest. As the prospect of establishing peace in the north seemed to
brighten, this state of repose in the south sustained a short

When the garrison of fort Du Quesne retired down the Ohio into
Louisiana, the French employed their address in the management of
Indians, to draw the Cherokees from their alliance with Great Britain.
Their negotiations with these savages were favoured by the irritations
given to their warriors in Virginia, where they had been employed
against the French, and the Indians in the French interest.

Their ill humour began to show itself in 1759. Upon its first
appearance, governor Lyttleton prepared to march into their country at
the head of a respectable military force. Alarmed at these hostile
appearances, they dispatched thirty-two of their chiefs to Charleston,
for the purpose of deprecating the vengeance with which their nation
was threatened. Their pacific representations did not arrest the
expedition. The governor not only persisted in the enterprise, but,
under the pretext of securing the safe return of the Indian
messengers, took them into the train of his army, where they were, in
reality, confined as prisoners. To add to this indignity, they were,
when arrived at the place of destination, shut up together in a single

Notwithstanding the irritation excited by this conduct, a treaty was
concluded, in which it was agreed that the chiefs detained by the
governor should remain with him as hostages, until an equal number of
those who had committed murder on the frontiers, should be delivered
in exchange for them; and that, in the meantime, the Indians should
seize and deliver up every white or red man coming into their country,
who should endeavour to excite them to war against the English. After
making this accommodation, the governor returned to Charleston,
leaving his hostages prisoners in fort Prince George.

Scarcely had the army retired, when the Cherokees began to contrive
plans for the relief of their chiefs. In an attempt to execute these
plans, they killed the captain of the fort and wounded two officers.
Orders were immediately given to put the hostages in irons; an
indignity so resented by these fierce savages, that the first persons
who attempted to execute the orders were stabbed. The soldiers enraged
at this resistance, fell on the hostages and massacred them.

[Sidenote: War with the southern Indians.]

Inflamed to madness by this event, the whole nation flew to arms; and,
according to their established mode of warfare, wreaked their fury on
the inhabitants of the country in indiscriminate murder.

Mr. Bull, on whom the government of the province had devolved,
represented the distresses of South Carolina in such strong terms to
general Amherst, that colonel Montgomery was ordered into that colony
with a detachment of regular troops. He arrived in April; but, as all
the forces would be required in the north, in order to complete the
conquest of Canada, he was directed to strike a sudden blow, and to
return to New York in time for the expedition against Montreal.

[Sidenote: Battle near Etchoe.]

The utmost exertions were made by the colony in aid of colonel
Montgomery, and he entered the Cherokee country with all the forces
that could be collected. Their lower towns were destroyed; but, near
the village of Etchoe, the first of their middle settlements, in an
almost impenetrable wood, he was met by a large body of savages, and a
severe action ensued. The English claimed the victory, but without
much reason. They were so roughly handled, that colonel Montgomery
withdrew his army, and retired to fort Prince George, at which place
he prepared to embark for New York.

The consternation of the province was the greater, as serious fears
were entertained that the Creeks and Choctaws, might be induced by the
French to join the Cherokees. Colonel Montgomery was pressed in the
most earnest manner, not to leave the province; and was, with
difficulty, prevailed on to permit four companies to remain, while,
with the main body of his detachment, he returned to New York.


Mean while, the war continued to rage. The savages surrounded fort
Loudoun; and the garrison amounting to four hundred men, was compelled
by famine to surrender, on condition of being permitted to march into
the settlements. The Indians, who regard conventions no longer than
they are useful, attacked the garrison on its march, killed a number,
and made the residue prisoners. Carolina again applied to general
Amherst for assistance, who having completed the conquest of Canada,
had leisure to attend to the southern colonies. Late in May, a strong
detachment, commanded by colonel Grant, arrived at fort Prince George;
and the colony raised a body of provincials, and of friendly Indians,
to join him.

[Sidenote: Indians defeated.]

Early in June, he marched for the Cherokee towns. Near the place where
the action had been fought the preceding year by Montgomery, the
Indians again assembled in force, and gave battle in defence of their
country. The action commenced about eight in the morning, and was
maintained with spirit until eleven, when the Cherokees began to give
way. They were pursued for two or three hours, after which Grant
marched to the adjacent village of Etchoe, which he reduced to ashes.
All the towns of the middle settlement shared the same fate. Their
houses and corn fields were destroyed, and the whole country laid
waste. Reduced to extremity, they sued sincerely for peace; and, in
the course of the summer, the war was terminated by a treaty.[177]

     [Footnote 177: History of South Carolina and Georgia.]

It was not in America only that the vigour presiding in the councils
of Britain shed lustre on the British arms. Splendid conquests were
also made in Asia and Africa; and in Europe, her aids of men and money
enabled the greatest monarch of his age to surmount difficulties which
only Frederick and Mr. Pitt could have dared to encounter.


At length, Spain, alarmed at the increase of British power in America,
and apprehensive for the safety of her own dominions, determined to
take part against Great Britain; and, early in the year 1762, the two
crowns declared war against each other. It was prosecuted, on the part
of Great Britain, with signal success; and, in the course of the year,
Martinique, Granada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and all the Caribbee
Islands were wrested from France; and the very important city of
Havanna, which in a great degree commands the gulf of Mexico, was
taken from Spain.

This course of conquest, which no force in possession of France and
Spain seemed capable of checking, while any of their distant
possessions remained to be subdued, was arrested by preliminary
articles of peace signed at Paris.

By this treaty, his Christian Majesty ceded to Britain, all the
conquests made by that power on the continent of North America,
together with the river and port of Mobile; and all the territory to
which France was entitled on the left bank of the Mississippi,
reserving only the island of New Orleans. And it was agreed that, for
the future, the confines between the dominions of the two crowns, in
that quarter of the world, should be irrevocably fixed by a line drawn
along the middle of the Mississippi, from its source as far as the
river Iberville, and thence, by a line drawn along the middle of that
river, and of the lakes Maurepas and Pont Chartrain.

The Havanna was exchanged with Spain for the Floridas. By establishing
these great natural boundaries to the British empire in North America,
all causes of future contest respecting that continent, with any
potentate of Europe, were supposed to be removed.


     Opinions on the supremacy of parliament, and its right to
     tax the colonies.... The stamp act.... Congress at New
     York.... Violence in the towns.... Change of
     administration.... Stamp act repealed.... Opposition to the
     mutiny act.... Act imposing duties on tea, &c. resisted in
     America.... Letters from the assembly of Massachusetts to
     members of the administration.... Petition to the King....
     Circular letter to the colonial assemblies.... Letter from
     the earl of Hillsborough.... Assembly of Massachusetts
     dissolved.... Seizure of the Sloop Liberty.... Convention at
     Fanueil Hall.... Moderation of its proceedings.... Two
     British regiments arrive at Boston.... Resolutions of the
     house of Burgesses of Virginia.... Assembly dissolved....
     The members form an association.... General measures against
     importation.... General court convened in Massachusetts....
     Its proceedings.... Is prorogued.... Duties, except that on
     tea, repealed.... Circular letter of the earl of
     Hillsborough.... New York recedes from the non-importation
     agreement in part.... Her example followed.... Riot in
     Boston.... Trial and acquittal of Captain Preston.


The attachment of the colonies to the mother country was never
stronger than at the signature of the treaty of Paris.[178] The union
of that tract of country which extends from the Atlantic to the
Mississippi, and from the gulf of Mexico to the north pole, was deemed
a certain guarantee of future peace, and an effectual security against
the return of those bloody scenes from which no condition in life
could afford an exemption.

     [Footnote 178: After the expulsion of the French from
     Canada, a considerable degree of ill humour was manifested
     in Massachusetts with respect to the manner in which the
     laws of trade were executed. A question was agitated in
     court, in which the colony took a very deep interest. A
     custom house officer applied for what was termed "a writ of
     assistance," which was an authority to search any house for
     dutiable articles suspected to be concealed in it. The right
     to grant special warrants was not contested; but this grant
     of a general warrant was deemed contrary to the principles
     of liberty, and an engine of oppression equally useless and
     vexatious, which would enable every petty officer of the
     customs to gratify his resentments by harassing the most
     respectable men in the province. The ill temper excited on
     this occasion was shown by a reduction of the salaries of
     the judges; but no diminution of attachment to the mother
     country appears to have been produced by it.]

This state of things, long and anxiously wished for by British
America, had, at length, been effected by the union of British and
American arms. The soldiers of the parent state and her colonies had
co-operated in the same service, their blood had mingled in the same
plains, and the object pursued was common to both people.

While the British nation was endeared to the Americans by this
community of danger, and identity of interest, the brilliant
achievements of the war had exalted to enthusiasm their admiration of
British valour. They were proud of the land of their ancestors, and
gloried in their descent from Englishmen. But this sentiment was not
confined to the military character of the nation. While the excellence
of the English constitution was a rich theme of declamation, every
colonist believed himself entitled to its advantages; nor could he
admit that, by crossing the Atlantic, his ancestors had relinquished
the essential rights of British subjects.

The degree of authority which might rightfully be exercised by the
mother country over her colonies, had never been accurately defined.
In Britain, it had always been asserted that Parliament possessed the
power of binding them in all cases whatever. In America, at different
times, and in different provinces, different opinions had been
entertained on this subject.

In New England, originally settled by republicans, habits of
independence had nourished the theory that the colonial assemblies
possessed every legislative power not surrendered by compact; that the
Americans were subjects of the British crown, but not of the nation;
and were bound by no laws to which their representatives had not
assented. From this high ground they had been compelled reluctantly to
recede. The Judges, being generally appointed by the governors with
the advice of council, had determined that the colonies were bound by
acts of parliament which concerned them, and which were expressly
extended to them; and the general court of Massachusetts had, on a
late occasion, explicitly recognised the same principle. This had
probably become the opinion of many of the best informed men of the
province; but the doctrine seems still to have been extensively
maintained, that acts of parliament possessed only an external
obligation; that they might regulate commerce, but not the internal
affairs of the colonies.

In the year 1692, the general court of Massachusetts passed an act,
denying the right of any other legislature to impose any tax whatever
on the colony; and also asserting those principles of national
liberty, which are found in Magna Charta. Not long afterwards, the
legislature of New York, probably with a view only to the authority
claimed by the governor, passed an act in which its own supremacy, not
only in matters of taxation, but of general legislation, is expressly
affirmed. Both these acts however were disapproved in England; and the
parliament asserted its authority, in 1696, by declaring "that all
laws, bye laws, usages, and customs, which shall be in practice in any
of the plantations, repugnant to any law made or to be made in this
kingdom relative to the said plantations, shall be void and of none
effect." And three years afterwards, an act was passed for the trial
of pirates in America, in which is to be found the following
extraordinary clause: "Be it farther declared that, if any of the
governors, or any person or persons in authority there, shall refuse
to yield obedience to this act, such refusal is hereby declared to be
a forfeiture of all and every [_sic_] the charters granted for the
government and propriety of such plantations."

The English statute book furnishes many instances in which the
legislative power of parliament over the colonies was extended to
regulations completely internal; and it is not recollected that their
authority was in any case openly controverted.

In the middle and southern provinces, no question respecting the
supremacy of parliament, in matters of general legislation, ever
existed. The authority of such acts of internal regulation as were
made for America, as well as of those for the regulation of commerce,
even by the imposition of duties, provided those duties were imposed
for the purpose of regulation, had been at all times admitted. But
these colonies, however they might acknowledge the supremacy of
parliament in other respects, denied the right of that body to tax
them internally.

Their submission to the act for establishing a general post office,
which raised a revenue on the carriage of letters, was not thought a
dereliction of this principle; because that regulation was not
considered as a tax, but as a compensation for a service rendered,
which every person might accept or decline. And all the duties on
trade were understood to be imposed, rather with a view to prevent
foreign commerce, than to raise a revenue. Perhaps the legality of
such acts was the less questioned, because they were not rigorously
executed, and their violation was sometimes designedly overlooked. A
scheme for taxing the colonies by authority of parliament had been
formed so early as the year 1739, and recommended to government by a
club of American merchants, at whose head was sir William Keith,
governor of Pennsylvania. In this scheme, it was proposed to raise a
body of regulars, to be stationed along the western frontier of the
British settlements, for the protection of the Indian traders; the
expense of which establishment was to be paid with monies arising from
a duty on stamped paper and parchment in all the colonies. This plan,
however, was not countenanced by those in power; and seems never to
have been seriously taken up by the government until the year 1754.
The attention of the minister was then turned to a plan of taxation by
authority of parliament; and it will be recollected that a system was
devised and recommended by him, as a substitute for the articles of
union proposed by the convention at Albany. The temper and opinion of
the colonists, and the impolicy of irritating them at a crisis which
required all the exertions they were capable of making, suspended this
delicate and dangerous measure; but it seems not to have been totally
abandoned. Of the right of parliament, as the supreme legislature, of
the nation, to tax as well as govern the colonies, those who guided
the councils of Britain seem not to have entertained a doubt; and the
language of men in power, on more than one occasion through the war,
indicated a disposition to put this right in practice when the
termination of hostilities should render the experiment less
dangerous. The failure of some of the colonies, especially those in
which a proprietary government was established, to furnish, in time,
the aids required of them, contributed to foster this disposition.
This opposition of opinion on a subject the most interesting to the
human heart, was about to produce a system of measures which tore
asunder all the bonds of relationship and affection that had subsisted
for ages, and planted almost inextinguishable hatred in bosoms where
the warmest friendship had long been cultivated.


The unexampled expenses of the war required a great addition to the
regular taxes of the nation. Considerable difficulty was found in
searching out new sources of revenue, and great opposition was made to
every tax proposed. Thus embarrassed, administration directed its
attention to the continent of North America. The system which had been
laid aside was renewed; and, on the motion of Mr. Grenville, first
commissioner of the treasury, a resolution passed without much debate,
declaring that it would be proper to impose certain stamp duties in
the colonies and plantations, for the purpose of raising a revenue in
America, payable into the British exchequer. This resolution was not
carried into immediate effect, and was only declaratory of an
intention to be executed the ensuing year.[179]

     [Footnote 179: Belsham.]

Other resolutions were passed at the same time, laying new duties on
the trade of the colonies, which being in the form of commercial
regulations, were not generally contested on the ground of right,
though imposed expressly for the purpose of raising revenue. Great
disgust, however, was produced by the increase of the duties, by the
new regulations which were made, and by the manner in which those
regulations were to be executed. The gainful commerce long carried on
clandestinely with the French and Spanish colonies, in the progress of
which an evasion of the duties imposed by law had been overlooked by
the government, was to be rigorously suppressed by taxes amounting to
a prohibition of fair trade; and their exact collection was to be
enforced by measures not much less offensive in themselves, than on
account of the object to be effected.[180]

     [Footnote 180: Belsham. Minot.]

Completely to prevent smuggling, all the officers in the sea service,
who were on the American station, were converted into revenue
officers; and directed to take the custom house oaths. Many vexatious
seizures were made, for which no redress could be obtained but in
England. The penalties and forfeitures, too, accruing under the act,
as if the usual tribunals could not be trusted, were made recoverable
in any court of vice-admiralty in the colonies. It will be readily
conceived how odious a law, made to effect an odious object, must have
been rendered by such provisions as these.


The resolution concerning the duties on stamps excited a great and
general ferment in America. The right of parliament to impose taxes on
the colonies for the purpose of raising a revenue, became the subject
of universal conversation, and was almost universally denied.
Petitions to the King, and memorials to both houses of parliament
against the measure, were transmitted by several of the provincial
assemblies to the board of trade in England, to be presented to his
majesty immediately; and to parliament, when that body should be
convened. The house of representatives of Massachusetts instructed
their agent to use his utmost endeavours to prevent the passage of the
stamp act, or any other act levying taxes or impositions of any kind
on the American provinces. A committee was appointed to act in the
recess of the general court, with instructions to correspond with the
legislatures of the several colonies, to communicate to them the
instructions given to the agent of Massachusetts, and to solicit their
concurrence in similar measures. These legislative proceedings were,
in many places, seconded by associations entered into by individuals,
for diminishing the use of British manufactures.[181]

     [Footnote 181: Minot.]

The administration, perceiving the opposition to be encountered by
adhering to the vote of the preceding session, informed the agents of
the colonies in London that, if they would propose any other mode of
raising the sum required[182], their proposition would be accepted,
and the stamp duty laid aside. The agents replied that they were not
authorised to propose any substitute, but were ordered to oppose the
bill when it should be brought into the house, by petitions
questioning the right of parliament to tax the colonies. This reply
placed the controversy on ground which admitted of no compromise.
Determined to persevere in the system he had adopted, and believing
successful resistance to be impossible, Mr. Grenville brought into
parliament his celebrated act for imposing stamp duties in America;
and it passed both houses by great majorities, but not without
animated debate. So little weight does the human mind allow to the
most conclusive arguments, when directed against the existence of
power in ourselves, that general Conway is said to have stood
alone[183] in denying the right claimed by parliament.

     [Footnote 182: 100,000_l_. sterling.]

     [Footnote 183: Mr. Pitt was not in the house; and Mr.
     Ingersoll, in his letter, states that Alderman Beckford
     joined General Conway. Mr. Belsham, therefore, who makes
     this statement, was probably mistaken.]

This act excited serious alarm throughout the colonies. It was
sincerely believed to wound vitally the constitution of the country,
and to destroy the most sacred principles of liberty. Combinations
against its execution were formed; and the utmost exertions were used
to diffuse among the people a knowledge of the pernicious consequences
which must flow from admitting that the colonists could be taxed by a
legislature in which they were not represented.

The assembly of Virginia was in session when the intelligence was
received; and, by a small majority, passed several resolutions
introduced by Mr. Henry, and seconded by Mr. Johnson,[184] one of
which asserts the exclusive right of that assembly to lay taxes and
impositions on the inhabitants of that colony.[185]

     [Footnote 184: See note No. III, at the end of the volume.]

     [Footnote 185: Prior documents. Virginia Gazette.]

On the passage of these resolutions, the governor dissolved the
assembly; and writs for new elections were issued. In almost every
instance, the members who had voted in favour of the resolutions were
re-elected, while those who had voted against them were generally

The legislatures of several other colonies passed resolutions similar
to those of Virginia. The house of representatives of Massachusetts,
contemplating a still more solemn and effectual expression of the
general sentiment, recommended a congress of deputies from all the
colonial assemblies, to meet at New York the first Monday in October.
Circular letters communicating this recommendation, were addressed to
the respective assemblies wherever they were in session. New Hampshire
alone, although concurring in the general opposition, declined sending
members to the congress; and the legislatures of Virginia and North
Carolina were not in session.[186]

     [Footnote 186: Minot.]

In the meantime, the press teemed with the most animating exhortations
to the people, to unite in defence of their liberty and property; and
the stamp officers were, almost universally, compelled to resign.

[Sidenote: Congress at New York.]

At the time appointed, the commissioners from the assemblies of
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, the three lower counties on the Delaware, Maryland, and
South Carolina assembled at New York; and, having chosen Timothy
Ruggles, of Massachusetts, their chairman, proceeded on the important
objects for which they had convened. The first measure of congress was
a declaration[187] of the rights and grievances of the colonists. This
paper asserts their title to all the rights and liberties of natural
born subjects within the kingdom of Great Britain; among the most
essential of which are, the exclusive power to tax themselves, and the
trial by jury.

     [Footnote 187: See note No. IV, at the end of the volume.]

The act granting certain stamp and other duties in the British
colonies was placed first on the list of grievances. Its direct
tendency they said, was, by taxing the colonists without their
consent, and by extending the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty, to
subvert their rights and liberties. They also addressed a petition to
the King, and a memorial to each house of parliament.

These papers were drawn with temperate firmness. They express,
unequivocally, the attachment of the colonists to the mother country;
and assert the rights they claim in the earnest language of

Having, in addition to these measures, recommended to the several
colonies to appoint special agents, with instructions to unite their
utmost endeavours in soliciting a redress of grievances; and directed
their clerk to make out a copy of their proceedings for each colony,
congress adjourned.[188]

     [Footnote 188: Minot. Prior documents.]

To interest the people of England against the measures of
administration, associations were formed for the encouragement of
domestic manufactures, and against the use of those imported from
Great Britain. To increase their quantity of wool, the colonists
determined to kill no lambs, and to use all the means in their power
to multiply their flocks of sheep. To avoid the use of stamps,
proceedings in the courts of justice were suspended; and a settlement
of all controversies by arbitration was strongly recommended.

[Sidenote: Violence in the large towns.]

While this determined and systematic opposition was made by the
thinking part of the community, some riotous and disorderly meetings
took place, especially in the large towns, which threatened serious
consequences. Many houses were destroyed, much property injured, and
several persons, highly respectable in character and station, were
grossly abused.

While these transactions were passing in America, causes entirely
unconnected with the affairs of the colonies, produced a total
revolution in the British cabinet. The Grenville party was succeeded
by an administration unfriendly to the plan for taxing the colonies
without their consent. General Conway, one of the principal
secretaries of state, addressed a circular letter to the several
governors, in which he censured, in mild terms, the violent measures
that had been adopted, and recommended to them, while they maintained
the dignity of the crown and of parliament, to observe a temperate and
conciliatory conduct towards the colonists, and to endeavour, by
persuasive means, to restore the public peace.


Parliament was opened by a speech from the throne, in which his
majesty declared his firm confidence in their wisdom and zeal, which
would, he doubted not, guide them to such sound and prudent
resolutions, as might tend at once to preserve the constitutional
rights of the British legislature over the colonies, and to restore to
them that harmony and tranquillity which had lately been interrupted
by disorders of the most dangerous nature.

In the course of the debate in the house of commons, on the motion for
the address, Mr. Pitt, in explicit terms, condemned the act for
collecting stamp duties in America; and avowed the opinion that
parliament had no right to tax the colonies. He asserted, at the same
time, "the authority of that kingdom to be sovereign and supreme in
every circumstance of government and legislation whatever." He
maintained the difficult proposition "that taxation is no part of the
governing, or legislative power; but that taxes are a voluntary gift
and grant of the commons alone;" and concluded an eloquent speech, by
recommending to the house, "that the stamp act be repealed,
_absolutely_, _totally_, and _immediately_."

The opinions expressed by Mr. Pitt were warmly opposed by the late
ministers. Mr. Grenville said, "that the disturbances in America were
grown to tumults and riots; he doubted, they bordered on open
rebellion; and, if the doctrine he had heard that day should be
confirmed, he feared they would lose that name to take that of
revolution. The government ever them being dissolved, a revolution
would take place in America." He contended that taxation was a part of
the sovereign power;--one branch of legislation; and had been
exercised over those who were not represented. He could not comprehend
the distinction between external and internal taxation; and insisted
that the colonies ought to bear a part of the burdens occasioned by a
war for their defence.

[Sidenote: Stamp act repealed.]

The existing administration, however, concurred in sentiment with Mr.
Pitt, and the act was repealed; but its repeal was accompanied with a
declaratory act, asserting the right of Great Britain to bind the
colonies in all cases whatsoever.

The intelligence of this event was received in America with general
manifestations of joy. The assertion of the abstract principle of
right gave many but little concern, because they considered it merely
as a salve for the wounded pride of the nation, and believed
confidently that no future attempt would be made to reduce it to
practice. The highest honours were conferred on those parliamentary
leaders who had exerted themselves to obtain a repeal of the act; and,
in Virginia, the house of Burgesses voted a statue to his majesty, as
an acknowledgment of their high sense of his attention to the rights
and petitions of his people.

Though all the colonies rejoiced at the repeal of the stamp act, the
same temper did not prevail in all of them. In the commercial cities
of the north, the regulations of trade were nearly as odious as the
stamp act itself. Political parties too had been formed, and had
assumed a bitterness in some of the colonies, entirely unknown in
others. These dispositions were not long concealed. The first measures
of Massachusetts and of New York demonstrated that, in them, the
reconciliation with the mother country was not cordial.

The letter of secretary Conway, transmitting the repeal of the act
imposing a duty on stamps, enclosed also a resolution of parliament
declaring that those persons who had suffered injuries in consequence
of their assisting to execute that act, ought to be compensated by the
colony in which such injuries were sustained. This was chiefly in
Massachusetts. The resolution of parliament was laid before the
general court of that province, by governor Bernard, in a speech
rather in the spirit of the late, than the present
administration;--rather calculated to irritate than assuage the angry
passions that had been excited. The house of representatives resented
his manner of addressing them; and appeared more disposed to inquire
into the riots, and to compel those concerned in them to make
indemnities, than to compensate the sufferers out of the public purse.
But, after a second session, and some intimation that parliament would
enforce its requisition, an act of pardon to the offenders, and of
indemnity to the sufferers, was passed; but was rejected by the King,
because the colonial assembly had no power, by their charter, to pass
an act of general pardon, but at the instance of the crown.[189]

     [Footnote 189: Minot.]

In New York, where general Gage was expected with a considerable body
of troops, a message was transmitted by the governor to the
legislature, desiring their compliance with an act of parliament
called "the mutiny act," which required that the colony in which any
of his majesty's forces might be stationed, should provide barracks
for them, and necessaries in their quarters. The legislature postponed
the consideration of this message until the troops were actually
arrived; and then, after a second message from the governor,
reluctantly and partially complied with the requisitions of the act.

At a subsequent session, the governor brought the subject again before
the assembly, who determined that the act of parliament could be
construed only to require that provision should be made for troops on
a march, and not while permanently stationed in the country.[190] The
reason assigned for not furnishing the accommodations required by the
governor, implies the opinion that the act of parliament was
rightfully obligatory; and yet the requisitions of the mutiny act were
unquestionably a tax; and no essential distinction is perceived
between the power of parliament to levy a tax by its own authority,
and to levy it through the medium of the colonial legislatures; they
having no right to refuse obedience to the act. It is remarkable that
such inaccurate ideas should still have prevailed, concerning the
controlling power of parliament over the colonies.

     [Footnote 190: Minot. Prior documents. Belsham.]

In England it was thought to manifest a very forbearing spirit, that
this instance of disobedience was punished with no positive penalties;
and that the ministers contented themselves with a law prohibiting the
legislature of the province from passing any act, until it should
comply, in every respect, with the requisitions of parliament. The
persevering temper of Massachusetts not having found its way to New
York, this measure produced the desired effect.

Two companies of artillery, driven into the port of Boston by stress
of weather, applied to the governor for supplies. He laid the
application before his council, who advised that, "in pursuance of the
act of parliament" the supplies required should be furnished. They
were furnished, and the money to procure them was drawn from the
treasury by the authority of the executive.


On the meeting of the legislature, the house of representatives
expressed in pointed terms their disapprobation of the conduct of the
governor. Particular umbrage was given by the expression "_in
pursuance of an act of parliament_." "After the repeal of the stamp
act, they were surprised to find that this act, equally odious and
unconstitutional, should remain in force. They lamented the entry of
this reason for the advice of council the more, as it was an
unwarrantable and unconstitutional step which totally disabled them
from testifying the same cheerfulness they had always shown in
granting to his majesty, of their free accord, such aids as his
service has from time to time required."[191] Copies of these messages
were transmitted by governor Bernard to the minister, accompanied by
letters not calculated to diminish the unpleasantness of the

     [Footnote 191: Minot.]

The idea of raising revenue in America, was so highly favoured in
England, especially by the landed interest, that not even the
influence of administration could have obtained a repeal of the stamp
act, on the naked principle of right. Few were hardy enough to
question the supremacy of parliament; and the act receding from the
practical assertion of the power to tax the colonists, deeply wounded
the pride of the King, and of the nation.

The temper discovered in some of the colonies was ill calculated to
assuage the wound, which this measure had inflicted, on the haughty
spirit of the country; and is supposed to have contributed to the
revival of a system, which had been reluctantly abandoned.

Charles Townshend, chancellor of the exchequer, said boastingly in the
house of commons, "that he knew how to draw a revenue from the
colonies without giving them offence."[192] Mr. Grenville eagerly
caught at the declaration, and urged this minister to pledge himself
to bring forward the measure, at which he had hinted. During the
sickness and absence of lord Chatham, the cabinet had decided on
introducing a bill for imposing certain duties on tea, glass, paper,
and painter's colours, imported into the colonies from Great Britain;
and appropriating the money in the first instance, to the salaries of
the officers of government. This bill was brought into parliament, and
passed almost without opposition.

     [Footnote 192: Belsham.]

The friends of America, in England, had distinguished between internal
and external taxation; and the same distinction had been made in the
colonies. But the discussions originating in the stamp act, while they
diffused among the colonists a knowledge of their political rights,
had inspired also more accurate ideas respecting them.

These duties were plainly intended, not to regulate commerce, but to
raise revenue, which would be as certainly collected from the
colonists, as the duties on stamps could have been. The principle of
the two measures was the same. Many of the Americans were too
intelligent to be misguided by the distinction between internal and
external taxation, or by the precedents quoted in support of the
right, for which parliament contended. This measure was considered as
establishing a precedent of taxation for the mere purpose of revenue,
which might afterwards be extended at the discretion of parliament;
and was spoken of as the _entering wedge_, designed to make way for
impositions too heavy to be borne. The appropriation of the money did
not lessen the odium of the tax. The colonists considered the
dependence of the officers of government, on the colonial legislature,
for their salaries, as the best security for their attending to the
interests, and cultivating the affections of the provinces.[193] Yet
the opinion that this act was unconstitutional, was not adopted so
immediately, or so generally, as in the case of the stamp act. Many
able political essays appeared in the papers, demonstrating that it
violated the principles of the English constitution and of English
liberty, before the conviction became general, that the same principle
which had before been successfully opposed, was again approaching in a
different form.

     [Footnote 193: Prior documents.]


The general court of Massachusetts, perceiving plainly that the claim
to tax America was revived, and being determined to oppose it,
addressed an elaborate letter to Dennis de Berdt, agent for the house
of representatives, detailing at great length, and with much weight of
argument, all the objections to the late acts of parliament. Letters
were also addressed to the earl of Shelburne and general Conway,
secretaries of state, to the marquis of Rockingham, lord Camden, the
earl of Chatham, and the lords commissioners of the treasury. These
letters, while they breathe a spirit of ardent attachment to the
British constitution, and to the British nation, manifest a perfect
conviction that their complaints were just.

Conclusive as the arguments they contained might have appeared to
Englishmen, if urged by themselves in support of their own rights,
they had not much weight, when used to disprove the existence of their
authority over others. The deep and solemn tone of conviction,
however, conveyed in all these letters, ought to have produced a
certainty that the principles assumed in them had made a strong
impression, and would not be lightly abandoned. It ought to have been
foreseen that with such a people, so determined, the conflict must be
stern and hazardous; and, it was well worth the estimate, whether the
object would compensate the means used to obtain it.

[Sidenote: Petition to the King.]

The assembly also voted a petition to the King, replete with
professions of loyalty and attachment; but stating, in explicit terms,
their sense of the acts against which they petitioned.

A proposition was next made for an address to the other colonies on
the power claimed by parliament, which, after considerable debate, was
carried in the affirmative; and a circular letter to the assemblies of
the several provinces, setting forth the proceedings of the house of
representatives, was prepared and adopted.[194]

     [Footnote 194: See note V, at the end of the volume.]

To rescue their measures from the imputation of systematic opposition
to the British government, the house, without acknowledging the
obligation of the mutiny act, complied with a requisition of the
governor to make a farther provision for one of the King's garrisons
within the province. The governor, soon afterwards, prorogued the
general court with an angry speech, not calculated to diminish the
resentments of the house directed against himself; resentments
occasioned as much by the haughtiness of his manners, and a persuasion
that he had misrepresented their conduct and opinions to ministers, as
by the unpopular course his station required him to pursue.[195]

     [Footnote 195: Minot.]

The circular letter of the house of representatives of Massachusetts
was well received in the other colonies. They approved the measures
which had been taken, and readily united in them. They, too,
petitioned the King against the obnoxious acts of parliament, and
instructed their several agents to use all proper means to obtain
their repeal. Virginia transmitted a statement of her proceedings[196]
to her sister colonies; and her house of Burgesses, in a letter to
Massachusetts, communicating the representation made to parliament,
say, "that they do not affect an independency of their parent kingdom,
the prosperity of which they are bound, to the utmost of their
abilities, to promote; but cheerfully acquiesce in the authority of
parliament to make laws for the preserving a necessary dependence, and
for regulating the trade of the colonies; yet they cannot conceive,
and humbly insist, it is not essential to support a proper relation
between the mother country, and colonies transplanted from her, that
she should have a right to raise money from them without their
consent, and presume they do not aspire to more than the right of
British subjects, when they assert that no power on earth has a right
to impose taxes on the people, or take the smallest portion of their
property without their consent given by their representatives in

     [Footnote 196: Prior documents.]

     [Footnote 197: In this letter the house of Burgesses express
     their opinion of the mutiny act in the following terms: "The
     act suspending the legislative power of New York, they
     consider as still more alarming to the colonies, though it
     has that single province in view. If parliament can compel
     them to furnish a single article to the troops sent over,
     they may, by the same rule, oblige them to furnish clothes,
     arms, and every other necessary, even the pay of the
     officers and soldiers; a doctrine replete with every
     mischief, and utterly subversive of all that's dear and
     valuable; for what advantage can the people of the colonies
     derive from choosing their own representatives, if those
     representatives, when chosen, be not permitted to exercise
     their own judgments, be under a necessity (on pain of being
     deprived of their legislative authority) of enforcing the
     mandates of a British parliament."]

On the first intimation of the measures taken by Massachusetts, the
earl of Hillsborough, who had been appointed to the newly created
office of secretary of state for the department of the colonies,
addressed a circular to the several governors, to be laid before the
respective assemblies, in which he treated the circular letter of
Massachusetts, as being of the most dangerous tendency, calculated to
inflame the minds of his majesty's good subjects in the colonies, to
promote an unwarrantable combination, to excite an open opposition to
the authority of parliament, and to subvert the true principles of the

     [Footnote 198: Prior documents.]

His first object was to prevail on the several assemblies openly to
censure the conduct of Massachusetts; his next, to prevent their
approving the proceedings of that colony. The letter, far from
producing the desired effect, rather served to strengthen the
determination of the colonies to unite in their endeavours to obtain a
repeal of laws universally detested. On manifesting this disposition,
the assemblies were generally dissolved;--probably in pursuance of
instructions from the crown.

When the general court of Massachusetts was again convened, governor
Bernard laid before the house of representatives, an extract of a
letter from the earl of Hillsborough, in which, after animadverting in
harsh terms on the circular letter to the colonies, he declared it to
be "the King's pleasure" that the governor "should require the house
of representatives, in his majesty's name, to rescind the resolution
on which the circular letter was founded, and to declare their
disapprobation of, and dissent from, that rash and hasty proceeding."

This message excited considerable agitation; but the house, without
coming to any resolution on it, requested the governor to lay before
them the whole letter of the earl of Hillsborough, and also copies of
such letters as had been written by his excellency to that nobleman,
on the subject to which the message referred.

The copies were haughtily refused; but the residue of the letter from
the earl of Hillsborough was laid before them. That minister said,
"if, notwithstanding the apprehensions which may justly be entertained
of the ill consequence of a continuance of this factious spirit, which
seems to have influenced the resolutions of the assembly at the
conclusion of the last session, the new assembly should refuse to
comply with his majesty's reasonable expectation, it is the King's
pleasure that you immediately dissolve them."

This subject being taken into consideration, a letter to the earl was
reported, and agreed to by a majority of ninety-three to thirteen, in
which they defended their circular letter in strong and manly, but
respectful terms; and concluded with saying, "the house humbly rely on
the royal clemency, that to petition his majesty will not be deemed by
him to be inconsistent with a respect to the British constitution as
settled at the revolution by William III., and that to acquaint their
fellow subjects involved in the same distress, of their having so
done, in full hopes of success, even if they had invited the union of
all America in one joint supplication, would not be discountenanced by
their gracious sovereign, as a measure of an inflammatory nature. That
when your lordship shall in justice lay a true state of these matters
before his majesty, he will no longer consider them as tending to
create unwarrantable combinations, or excite an unjustifiable
opposition to the constitutional authority of parliament; that he will
then truly discern who are of that desperate faction which is
continually disturbing the public tranquillity; and that, while his
arm is extended for the protection of his distressed and injured
subjects, he will frown upon all those who, to gratify their own
passions, have dared to attempt to deceive him."[199]

     [Footnote 199: Prior documents.]

[Sidenote: Legislature of Massachusetts dissolved.]

A motion to rescind the resolution on which their circular letter was
founded, passed in the negative, by a majority of ninety-two to
seventeen; and a letter to the governor was prepared, stating their
motives for refusing to comply with the requisition of the earl of
Hillsborough. Immediately after receiving it, he prorogued the
assembly, with an angry speech; and, the next day, dissolved it by

     [Footnote 200: Minot.]

While the opposition was thus conducted by the legislature with
temperate firmness, and legitimate means, the general irritation
occasionally displayed itself at Boston, in acts of violence denoting
evidently that the people of that place, were prepared for much
stronger measures than their representatives had adopted.

[Sidenote: Seizure of the sloop Liberty.]

The seizure of the sloop Liberty belonging to Mr. Hancock, by the
collector of the customs, occasioned the assemblage of a tumultuous
mob, who beat the officers and their assistants, took possession of a
boat belonging to the collector, burnt it in triumph, and patrolled
the streets for a considerable time. The revenue officers fled for
refuge, first to the Romney man of war, and afterwards to Castle
William. After the lapse of some time, the governor moved the council
to take into consideration some measure for restoring vigour and
firmness to government. The council replied "that the disorders which
happened were occasioned by the violent and unprecedented manner in
which the sloop Liberty had been seized by the officers of the
customs." And the inhabitants of Boston, in a justificatory memorial,
supported by affidavits, insisted that the late tumults were
occasioned, principally, by the haughty conduct of the commissioners
and their subordinate officers, and by the illegal and offensive
conduct of the Romney man of war.[201]

     [Footnote 201: Minot. Prior documents.]

The legislature however did not think proper to countenance this act
of violence. A committee of both houses, appointed to inquire into the
state of the province, made a report which, after reprobating the
circumstances attending the seizure, to which the mob was ascribed,
declared their abhorrence of a procedure which they pronounced
criminal; desired the governor to direct a prosecution against all
persons concerned in the riot; and to issue a proclamation offering a
reward to any person who should make discoveries by which the rioters
or their abettors should be brought to condign punishment.

This report, however, seems to have been intended, rather to save
appearances, than to produce any real effect. It was perfectly
understood that no person would dare to inform; or even to appear, as
a witness, in any prosecution which might be instituted. Suits were
afterwards brought against Mr. Hancock and others, owners of the
vessel and cargo; but they were never prosecuted to a final

     [Footnote 202: Minot.]

This riot accelerated a measure, which tended, in no inconsiderable
degree, to irritate still farther the angry dispositions already
prevalent in Boston.

The governor had pressed on administration the necessity of stationing
a military force in the province, for the protection of the officers
employed in collecting the revenue, and of the magistrates, in
preserving the public peace. In consequence of these representations,
orders had already been given to general Gage to detach, at least, one
regiment on this service, and to select for the command of it, an
officer on whose prudence, resolution, and integrity, he could rely.
The transactions respecting the sloop Liberty rendered any attempt to
produce a countermand of these orders entirely abortive; and, probably
occasioned two regiments, instead of one, to be detached by general

     [Footnote 203: Minot.]

It seems to have been supposed that a dissolution of the assembly of
Massachusetts would dissolve also the opposition to the measures of
administration; and that the people, having no longer constitutional
leaders, being no longer excited and conducted by their
representatives, would gradually become quiet, and return to, what was
termed, their duty to government. But the opinions expressed by the
house of representatives were the opinions of the great body of the
people, and had been adopted with too much ardour to be readily
suppressed. The most active and energetic part of society had embraced
them with enthusiasm; and the dissolution of the assembly, by creating
a necessity for devising other expedients, hastened the mode of
conducting opposition at least as efficacious, and afterwards
universally adopted.

At a town meeting of the inhabitants of Boston, a committee was
deputed for the purpose of praying the governor to convene another
general assembly. He replied that no other could be convened until his
majesty's commands to that effect should be received. This answer
being reported, the meeting resolved "that to levy money within that
province by any other authority than that of the general court, was a
violation of the royal charter, and of the undoubted natural rights of
British subjects.

"That the freeholders, and other inhabitants of the town of Boston
would, at the peril of their lives and fortunes, take all legal and
constitutional measures to defend all and singular the rights,
liberties, privileges, and immunities, granted in their royal charter.

"That as there was an apprehension in the minds of many of an
approaching war with France, those inhabitants who were not provided
with arms should be requested duly to observe the laws of the
province, which required that every freeholder should furnish himself
with a complete stand."

But the important resolution was "that, as the governor did not think
proper to call a general court for the redress of their grievances,
the town would then make choice of a suitable number of persons to act
for them as a committee in a convention, to be held at Faneuil Hall in
Boston, with such as might be sent to join them from the several towns
in the province."

These votes were communicated by the select men, in a circular letter
to the other towns in the province, which were requested to concur,
and to elect committee men, to meet those of Boston in convention.

[Sidenote: Convention assembles in Boston.]

The measure was generally adopted; and a convention met, which was
regarded with all the respect that could have been paid to a
legitimate assembly.[204]

     [Footnote 204: Minot.]

[Sidenote: Its moderation.]

The country in general, though united on the great constitutional
question of taxation, was probably not so highly exasperated as the
people of Boston; and the convention acted with unexpected moderation.
They disclaimed all pretensions to any other character than that of
mere individuals, assembled by deputation from the towns, to consult
and advise on such measures as might tend to promote the peace of his
majesty's subjects in the province, but without power to pass any acts
possessing a coercive quality.

They petitioned the governor to assemble a general court, and
addressed a letter to the agent of the province in England, stating
the character in which they met, and the motives which brought them
together. After expressing their opinions with temper and firmness on
the subjects of general complaint, and recommending patience and order
to the people, they dissolved themselves, and returned to their
respective homes.[205]

     [Footnote 205: Minot.]

[Sidenote: Two regiments arrive.]

The day before the convention rose, the two regiments which had been
detached by general Gage arrived, under convoy, in Nantasket road. The
council had rejected an application of the governor to provide
quarters for them, because the barracks in the castle were sufficient
for their accommodation; and, by act of parliament, the British troops
were not to be quartered elsewhere until those barracks were full.
General Gage had directed one regiment to be stationed in Boston; but,
on hearing a report that the people were in a state of open revolt, he
gave additional orders, which left the whole subject to the discretion
of the commanding officer; who was induced, by some rash threats of
opposing the disembarkation of the troops to land both regiments in
that place. The ships took a station which commanded the whole town,
and lay with their broad sides towards it, ready to fire, should any
resistance be attempted. The troops landed under cover of their
cannon, and marched into the common with loaded muskets and fixed
bayonets;[206] a display of military pomp, which was believed by the
inhabitants to have been intended for the purpose either of
intimidation, or of irritation.

     [Footnote 206: Gazette.]

The select men, as well as the council, having refused to provide
quarters for the troops, the governor ordered the state house to be
opened for their reception; and they took possession of all the
apartments in it, except that which was reserved for the council. The
people were filled with indignation at seeing the chamber of their
representatives crowded with regular soldiers, their counsellors
surrounded with foreign troops, and their whole city exhibiting the
appearance of a garrisoned town. With the difference of manners
between the soldiers and the inhabitants, and the strong prejudices
reciprocally felt against each other, it is not wonderful that
personal broils should frequently occur, and that mutual antipathies
should be still farther increased.[207]

     [Footnote 207: Minot.]

While these measures were pursuing in America, every session of
parliament was opened with a speech from the King, stating that a
disposition to refuse obedience to the laws, and to resist the
authority of the supreme legislature of the nation, still prevailed
among his misguided subjects in some of the colonies. In the addresses
to the throne, both houses uniformly expressed their abhorrence of the
rebellious spirit manifested in the colonies, and their approbation of
the measures taken by his majesty for the restoration of order and
good government.

To give a more solemn expression to the sense of parliament on this
subject, the two houses entered into joint resolutions, condemning the
measures pursued by the Americans; and agreed to an address, approving
the conduct of the crown, giving assurances of effectual support to
such farther measures as might be found necessary to maintain the
civil magistrates in a due execution of the laws within the province
of Massachusetts Bay, and beseeching his majesty to direct the
governor of that colony to obtain and transmit information of all
treasons committed in Massachusetts since the year 1767, with the
names of the persons who had been most active in promoting such
offences, that prosecutions might be instituted against them within
the realm, in pursuance of the statute of the 35th of Henry VIII.[208]

     [Footnote 208: Belsham. Prior documents.]


The impression made by these threatening declarations, which seem to
have been directed particularly against Massachusetts, in the hope of
deterring the other provinces from involving themselves in her
dangers, was far from being favourable to the views of the mother
country. The determination to resist the exercise of the authority
claimed by Great Britain not only remained unshaken, but was
manifested in a still more decided form.

[Sidenote: Resolutions of the house of Burgesses of Virginia.]

Not long after these votes of parliament, the assembly of Virginia was
convened by lord Botetourt, a nobleman of conciliating manners, who
had lately been appointed governor of that province. The house took
the state of the colony into their immediate consideration, and passed
unanimously several resolutions asserting the exclusive right of that
assembly to impose taxes on the inhabitants within his majesty's
dominion of Virginia, and their undoubted right to petition for a
redress of grievances, and to obtain a concurrence of the other
colonies in such petitions. "That all persons charged with the
commission of any offence within that colony, were entitled to a trial
before the tribunals of the country, according to the fixed and known
course of proceeding therein, and that to seize such persons, and
transport them beyond sea for trial, derogated in a high degree from
the rights of British subjects, as thereby the inestimable privilege
of being tried by a jury from the vicinage, as well as the liberty of
summoning and producing witnesses on such trial, will be taken from
the party accused."

An address to his majesty was also agreed on, which states in the
style of loyalty and real attachment to the crown, the deep conviction
of the house of Burgesses of Virginia, that the complaints of the
colonists were well founded.[209]

     [Footnote 209: Gazette. Prior documents.]

[Sidenote: Assembly dissolved.]

Intelligence of these proceedings having reached the governor, he
suddenly dissolved the assembly. This measure did not produce the
desired effect. The members convened at a private house, and, having
chosen their speaker, moderator, proceeded to form a non-importing
association, which was signed by every person present, and afterwards,
almost universally throughout the province.[210]

     [Footnote 210: Gazette. Prior documents.]

From the commencement of the controversy, the opinion seems to have
prevailed in all the colonies, that the most effectual means of
succeeding in the struggle in which they were engaged, were those
which would interest the merchants and manufacturers of Great Britain
in their favour. Under the influence of this opinion, associations had
been proposed in Massachusetts, as early as May 1765, for the
non-importation of goods from that country. The merchants of some of
the trading towns in the other colonies, especially those of
Philadelphia, refused, at that time, to concur in a measure which they
thought too strong for the existing state of things; and it was laid
aside. But, in the beginning of August, it was resumed in Boston; and
the merchants of that place entered into an agreement not to import
from Great Britain any articles whatever, except a few of the first
necessity, between the first of January 1769, and the first of January
1770; and not to import tea, glass, paper, or painter's colours, until
the duties imposed on those articles should be taken off. This
agreement was soon afterwards adopted in the town of Salem, the city
of New York, and the province of Connecticut; but was not generally
entered into through the colonies, until the resolutions and address
of the two houses of parliament which have already been mentioned,
seemed to cut off the hope that petitions and memorials alone, would
effect the object for which they contended.[211]

     [Footnote 211: Minot.]

[Sidenote: Measures against the importation of British goods.]

The proceedings of the house of Burgesses of Virginia had been
transmitted to the speakers of the several assemblies throughout the
continent. In the opinion of the neighbouring colonies, the occasion
required efficacious measures; and an association, similar to that
which had been formed by their elder sister, was entered into by
Maryland, and the Carolinas. The inhabitants of Charleston went so far
as to break off all connexion with Rhode Island and Georgia, which had
refused to adopt the non-importation agreement. This vigorous measure
was not without its influence; and those provinces, soon afterwards,
entered into the association.[212]

     [Footnote 212: Gazette. Prior documents.]

In Portsmouth in New Hampshire, where governor Wentworth possessed
great influence, some repugnance to this measure was also discovered;
but, being threatened with a suspension of their intercourse with the
other colonies, the merchants of that place concurred in the general

All united in giving effect to this agreement. The utmost exertions
were used to improve the manufactures of the country; and the fair
sex, laying aside the late fashionable ornaments of England, exulted,
with patriotic pride, in appearing dressed in the produce of their own
looms. Committees chosen by the people superintended importations; and
the force of public opinion went far to secure the agreement from

[Sidenote: General court in Massachusetts.]

The necessities of government requiring a supply of money, the general
court of Massachusetts was again convened. The members of the former
house of representatives were generally re-elected, and brought with
them the temper which had occasioned their dissolution. Instead of
entering on the business for which they were called together, they
engaged in a controversy with the governor concerning the removal of
the ships of war from the harbour, and of the troops from the town of
Boston, to which they contended, his power, as the representative of
the crown was adequate.

The governor, ascribing this temper to the influence of the
metropolis, adjourned the general court to Cambridge; but this measure
served to increase the existing irritation. The business recommended
to them remained unnoticed; their altercations with the governor
continued; and they entered into several warm resolutions enlarging
the catalogue of their grievances, in terms of greater exasperation
than had appeared in the official acts of any legislature on the

     [Footnote 213: Prior documents. Minot.]

[Sidenote: It is prorogued.]

Not long after the passage of these resolutions, the house explicitly
refused to make the provision required by the mutiny act for the
troops stationed in Massachusetts; upon which, the legislature was
prorogued until the first of January.[214]

     [Footnote 214: Minot.]

The committees, appointed to examine the cargoes of vessels arriving
from Great Britain, continued to execute the trust reposed in them.
Votes of censure were passed on such as refused to concur in the
association, or violated its principles; and the names of the
offenders were published, as enemies to their country. In some cases,
the goods imported in contravention of it, were locked up in
warehouses; and, in some few instances, they were re-shipped to Great

[Sidenote: Administration resolved on a partial repeal of duties.]

Not long after the strong resolutions already noticed had been agreed
to by parliament, while their effect was unfolding itself in every
part of the American continent, an important revolution took place in
the British cabinet. The duke of Grafton was placed at the head of a
new administration. He supported, with great earnestness, a
proposition to repeal the duties imposed for the purpose of raising
revenue in the colonies; but his whole influence was insufficient to
carry this measure completely. It was deemed indispensable to the
maintenance of the legislative supremacy of Great Britain, to retain
the duty on some one article; and that on tea was reserved while the
others were relinquished.

Seldom has a wise nation adopted a more ill judged measure than this.
The contest with America was plainly a contest of principle, and had
been conducted entirely on principle by both parties. The amount of
taxes proposed to be raised was too inconsiderable to interest the
people of either country. But the principle was, in the opinion of
both, of the utmost magnitude. The measure now proposed, while it
encouraged the colonists to hope that their cause was gaining strength
in Britain, had no tendency to conciliate them.

[Sidenote: Circular letter of the earl of Hillsborough.]

In pursuance of this resolution of the cabinet, a circular letter was
written by the earl of Hillsborough to the several governors,
informing them "that it was the intention of his majesty's ministers
to propose, in the next session of parliament, taking off the duties
on glass, paper, and painter's colours, in consideration of such
duties having been laid contrary to the true spirit of commerce; and
assuring them that, at no time, had they entertained the design to
propose to parliament to lay any further taxes on America for the
purpose of raising a revenue."[215]

     [Footnote 215: Prior documents.]

This measure was soon communicated in letters from private individuals
in England to their correspondents in Massachusetts. The merchants of
Boston, apprehensive that an improper opinion concerning its operation
might be formed, resolved that the partial repeal of the duties did
not remove the difficulties under which their trade laboured, and was
only calculated to relieve the manufacturers of Great Britain; and
that they would still adhere to their non-importation agreement.[216]

     [Footnote 216: Minot.]

The communication of the earl of Hillsborough to the several
governors, was laid before the respective assemblies as they convened,
in terms implying an intention to renounce the imposition, in future,
of any taxes in America. But this communication seems not to have
restored perfect content in any of the colonies.

The Virginia legislature was in session on its arrival, and governor
Botetourt laid it before them. Their dissatisfaction with it was
manifested by a petition to the King re-asserting the rights
previously maintained; and by an association, signed by the members as
individuals, renewing their non-importation agreement, until the duty
on tea should be repealed.[217]

     [Footnote 217: Gazette.]

Yet several causes combined to prevent a rigid observance of these
associations. The sacrifice of interest made by the merchants could be
continued only under the influence of powerful motives. Suspicions
were entertained of each other in the same towns; and committees to
superintend the conduct of importers were charged with gross
partiality. The different towns too watched each other with
considerable jealousy; and accusations were reciprocally made of
infractions of the association to a great extent. Letters were
published purporting to be from England, stating that large orders for
goods had been received; and the inconvenience resulting from even a
partial interruption of commerce, and from the want of those
manufactures which the inhabitants had been accustomed to use, began
to be severely and extensively felt. In Rhode Island and Albany, it
was determined to import as usual, with the exception of such articles
as should be dutiable. On the remonstrances of other commercial
places, especially of Boston, these resolutions were changed; and the
hope was entertained that the general system on which the colonies
relied, would still be maintained.

[Sidenote: New York recedes in part from the non-importation

These hopes were blasted by New York. That city soon manifested a
disposition to import as usual, with the exception of those articles
only which were subject to a duty. At first, the resolution thus to
limit the operation of the non-importation agreement, was made to
depend on its being acceded to by Boston and Philadelphia. These towns
refused to depart from the association as originally formed, and
strenuously urged their brethren of New York to persevere with them in
the glorious struggle. This answer was communicated to the people, and
their opinion on the question of rescinding, or adhering to, was taken
in from their respective wards. This determination excited the most
lively chagrin in New England and Philadelphia. Their remonstrances
against it were, however, ineffectual; and the example was soon
followed throughout the colonies.[218]

     [Footnote 218: Minot. Prior documents. Gazette.]

The people of New York alleged, in justification of themselves, that
the towns of New England had not observed their engagements fairly;
and that the merchants of Albany had been in the practice of receiving
goods from Quebec. But no sufficient evidence in support of these
assertions was ever produced.


[Sidenote: March.]

[Sidenote: Riot in Boston.]

About this time a circumstance occurred, which produced the most
serious agitation. The two regiments stationed in Boston, to support,
as was said, the civil authority, and preserve the peace of the town,
were viewed by the inhabitants with very prejudiced eyes. Frequent
quarrels arose between them; and at length, an affray took place in
the night, near the gates of the barracks, which brought out captain
Preston, the officer of the day, with a part of the main guard,
between whom and the townsmen blows ensued; on which some of the
soldiers fired, and four of the people were killed.

The alarm bells were immediately rung, the drums beat to arms, and an
immense multitude assembled. Inflamed to madness by the view of the
dead bodies, they were with difficulty restrained from rushing on the
29th regiment, which was then drawn up under arms in King street. The
exertions of the lieutenant governor, who promised that the laws
should be enforced on the perpetrators of the act, and the efforts of
several respectable and popular individuals, prevented their
proceeding to extremities, and prevailed on them, after the regiment
had been marched to the barracks, to disperse without farther
mischief. Captain Preston, and the soldiers who had fired, were
committed to prison for trial. On the next day, upwards of four
thousand citizens of Boston assembled at Faneuil Hall; and, in a
message to the lieutenant governor, stated it to be "the unanimous
opinion of the meeting, that the inhabitants and soldiers can no
longer live together in safety; that nothing can rationally be
expected to restore the peace of the town, and prevent farther blood
and carnage, but the immediate removal of the troops; and they
therefore most fervently prayed his honour that his power and
influence might be exerted for their instant removal."

The lieutenant governor expressed his extreme sorrow at the melancholy
event which had occurred; and declared that he had taken measures to
have the affair inquired into, and justice done. That the military
were not under his command, but received their orders from the general
at New York, which orders it was not in his power to countermand.
That, on the application of the council for the removal of the troops,
colonel Dalrymple, their commanding officer, had engaged that the
twenty-ninth regiment, which had been concerned in the affair, should
be marched to the castle, and there placed in barracks until farther
orders should be received from the general; and that the main guard
should be removed, and the fourteenth regiment laid under such
restraints, that all occasions of future disturbance should be
prevented. This answer was voted to be unsatisfactory; and a committee
was deputed to wait on the lieutenant governor, and inform him that
nothing could content them but an immediate and total removal of the

This vote was laid before the council by Mr. Hutchinson, who had
succeeded Mr. Bernard in the government of the province. The council
declared themselves unanimously of opinion "that it was absolutely
necessary for his Majesty's service, the good order of the town, and
the peace of the province, that the troops should be immediately
removed out of the town of Boston."

This opinion and advice being communicated to colonel Dalrymple, he
gave his honour that measures should be immediately taken for the
removal of both regiments. Satisfied with this assurance, the meeting
secured the tranquillity of the town by appointing a strong military
watch, and immediately dissolved itself.

[Sidenote: Trial of captain Preston and the soldiers.]

This transaction was very differently related by the different
parties. Mr. Gordon, whose history was written when the resentments of
the moment had subsided, and who has collected the facts of the case
carefully, states it in such a manner as nearly, if not entirely, to
exculpate the soldiers. It appears that an attack upon them had been
pre-concerted; and that, after being long insulted with the grossest
language, they were repeatedly assaulted by the mob with balls of ice
and snow, and with sticks, before they were induced to fire. This
representation is strongly supported by the circumstances, that
captain Preston, after a long and public trial, was acquitted by a
Boston jury; and that six of the eight soldiers who were prosecuted,
were acquitted, and the remaining two found guilty of manslaughter
only. Mr. Quincy, and Mr. John Adams, two eminent lawyers, and
distinguished leaders of the patriotic party, defended the accused,
without sustaining any diminution of popularity. Yet this event was
very differently understood through the colonies. It was generally
believed to be a massacre, equally barbarous and unprovoked; and it
increased the detestation in which the soldiers were universally held.


     Insurrection in North Carolina.... Dissatisfaction of
     Massachusetts.... Corresponding committees.... Governor
     Hutchinson's correspondence communicated by Dr. Franklin....
     The assembly petition for his removal.... He is succeeded by
     general Gage.... Measures to enforce the act concerning
     duties.... Ferment in America.... The tea thrown into the
     sea at Boston.... Measures of Parliament.... General
     enthusiasm in America.... A general congress proposed....
     General Gage arrives.... Troops stationed on Boston neck....
     New counsellors and judges.... Obliged to resign.... Boston
     neck fortified.... Military stores seized by general
     Gage.... Preparations for defence.... King's speech....
     Proceedings of Parliament.... Battle of Lexington....
     Massachusetts raises men.... Meeting of Congress....
     Proceedings of that body.... Transactions in Virginia....
     Provincial congress of South Carolina.... Battle of Breed's


[Sidenote: Insurrection in North Carolina.]

In the middle and southern colonies, the irritation against the mother
country appears to have gradually subsided and no disposition was
manifested to extend opposition farther than to the importation of
tea. Their attention was a good deal directed to an insurrection in
North Carolina, where a number of ignorant people, supposing
themselves to be aggrieved by the fee bill, rose in arms for the
purpose of shutting up the courts of justice, destroying all officers
of government, and all lawyers, and of prostrating government itself.
Governor Tryon marched against them, defeated them in a decisive
battle, quelled the insurrection, and restored order.

[Sidenote: Dissatisfaction of Massachusetts.]

In Massachusetts, where the doctrine that parliament could not
rightfully legislate for the colonies was maintained as a corollary
from the proposition that parliament could not tax them, a gloomy
discontent was manifested. That the spirit of opposition seemed to be
expiring, without securing the rights they claimed, excited
apprehensions of a much more serious nature in the bosoms of that
inflexible people, than the prospect of any conflict, however
terrible. This temper displayed itself in all their proceedings.

The legislature, which the governor continued to convene at Cambridge,
remonstrated against this removal as an intolerable grievance; and,
for two sessions, refused to proceed on business. In one of their
remonstrances, they asserted the right of the people to appeal to
heaven in disputes between them and persons in power, when power shall
be abused.

[Sidenote: Corresponding committees.]

From the commencement of the contest, Massachusetts had been
peculiarly solicitous to unite all the colonies in one system of
measures. In pursuance of this favourite idea, a committee of
correspondence was elected by the general court, to communicate with
such committees as might be appointed by other legislatures.[219]
Similar committees were soon afterwards chosen by the towns[220]
throughout the province, for the purpose of corresponding with each
other; and the example was soon followed by other colonies.

     [Footnote 219: Almost at the same time, and without concert,
     the same measure was adopted in Virginia.]

     [Footnote 220: See note No. VI, at the end of the volume.]


[Sidenote: Governor Hutchinson's correspondence.]

While this system of vigilance was in progress, a discovery was made
which greatly increased the ill temper of New England. Doctor
Franklin, the agent of Massachusetts, by some unknown means, obtained
possession of the letters which had been addressed by governor
Hutchinson, and by lieutenant governor Oliver, to the department of
state. He transmitted these letters to the general court. They were
obviously designed to induce government to persevere in the system
which was alienating the affections of the colonists. The opposition
was represented as being confined to a few factious men, whose conduct
was not generally approved, and who had been emboldened by the
weakness of the means used to restrain them. More vigorous measures
were recommended; and several specific propositions were made, which
were peculiarly offensive. Among these was a plan for altering the
charters of the colonies, and rendering the high officers dependent
solely on the crown for their salaries.[221]

     [Footnote 221: Minot.]


[Sidenote: Petition for the removal of the governor and lieutenant

The assembly, inflamed by these letters, unanimously resolved, "that
their tendency and design were to overthrow the constitution of the
government, and to introduce arbitrary power into the province." At
the same time, a petition to the King was voted, praying him to remove
governor Hutchinson and lieutenant governor Oliver, for ever, from the
government of the colony. This petition was transmitted to Doctor
Franklin, and laid before the King in council. After hearing it, the
lords of the council reported "that the petition in question was
founded upon false and erroneous allegations, and that the same is
groundless, vexatious, and scandalous, and calculated only for the
seditious purposes of keeping up a spirit of clamour and discontent in
the provinces." This report, his majesty was pleased to approve.

[Sidenote: Hutchinson succeeded by Gage.]

Governor Hutchinson however was soon afterwards removed, and general
Gage appointed to succeed him.

[Sidenote: Measures to enforce the duties.]


The fears of Massachusetts, that the spirit which had been roused in
the colonies might gradually subside, were not of long continuance.
The determination not to import tea from England, had so lessened the
demand for that article, that a considerable quantity had accumulated
in the magazines of the East India company. They urged the minister to
take off the import American duty of three pence per pound, and
offered, in lieu of it, to pay double that sum on exportation. Instead
of acceding to this proposition, drawbacks were allowed on tea
exported to the colonies; and the export duty on that article was
taken off. These encouragements induced the company to make shipments
on their own account; and large quantities were consigned to agents in
Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, and other principal places
on the continent.[222]

     [Footnote 222: Minot. Belsham.]

[Sidenote: Ferment in America.]

The crisis was arrived; and the conduct of the colonies was now to
determine whether they would submit to be taxed by parliament, or meet
the consequences of a practical assertion of the opinions they had
maintained. The tea, if landed, would be sold; the duties would,
consequently, be paid; and the precedent for taxing them established.
The same sentiment on this subject appears to have pervaded the whole
continent at the same time. This ministerial plan of importation was
considered by all, as a direct attack on the liberties of the people
of America, which it was the duty of all to oppose. A violent ferment
was excited in all the colonies; the corresponding committees were
extremely active; and it was almost universally declared that whoever
should, directly or indirectly, countenance this dangerous invasion of
their rights, was an enemy to his country. The consignees were,
generally, compelled to relinquish their consignments; and, in most
instances, the ships bringing the tea were obliged to return with it.

At Boston, a town meeting appointed a committee to wait on the
consignees to request their resignation. This request not being
complied with, another large meeting[223] assembled at Faneuil Hall,
who voted, with acclamation, "that the tea shall not be landed, that
no duty shall be paid, and that it shall be sent back in the same
bottoms." With a foreboding of the probable consequences of the
measure about to be adopted, and a wish that those consequences should
be seriously contemplated, a leading member[224] thus addressed the

"It is not, Mr. Moderator, the spirit that vapours within these walls
that must stand us in stead. The exertions of this day will call forth
events which will make a very different spirit necessary for our
salvation. Whoever supposes that shouts and hosannahs will terminate
the trials of the day, entertains a childish fancy. We must be grossly
ignorant of the importance and value of the prize for which we
contend; we must be equally ignorant of the power of those who have
combined against us; we must be blind to that malice, inveteracy, and
insatiable revenge, which actuate our enemies, public and private,
abroad and in our bosoms, to hope that we shall end this controversy
without the sharpest, sharpest conflicts;--to flatter ourselves that
popular resolves, popular harangues, popular acclamations, and popular
vapour, will vanquish our foes. Let us consider the issue. Let us look
to the end. Let us weigh and consider, before we advance to those
measures, which must bring on the most trying and terrible struggle
this country ever saw."[225]

     [Footnote 223: The language said by Mr. Gordon to have been
     used at this meeting proves that many of the people of
     Boston were already ripe for the revolution. To the more
     cautious among "_the sons of liberty_" who had expressed
     some apprehensions lest they should push the matter too far,
     and involve the colony in a quarrel with Great Britain,
     others answered "It must come to a quarrel between Great
     Britain and the colony sooner or later; and if so what can
     be a better time than the present? Hundreds of years may
     pass away before parliament will make such a number of acts
     in violation as it has done of late years, and by which it
     has excited so formidable an opposition to the measures of
     administration. Besides, the longer the contest is delayed,
     the more administration will be strengthened. Do not you
     observe how the government at home are increasing their
     party here by sending over young fellows to enjoy
     appointments, who marry into our best families, and so
     weaken the opposition? By such means, and by multiplying
     posts and places, and giving them to their own friends, or
     applying them to the corruption of their antagonists, they
     will increase their own force faster in proportion, than the
     force of the country party will increase by population. If
     then we must quarrel ere we can have our rights secured, now
     is the most eligible period. Our credit also is at stake; we
     must venture, and unless we do, we shall be discarded by the
     sons of liberty in the other colonies, whose assistance we
     may expect upon emergencies, in case they find us steady,
     resolute, and faithful."]

     [Footnote 224: Mr. Quincy.]

     [Footnote 225: Minot.]

[Sidenote: Tea thrown into the sea.]

The question was again put, and passed unanimously in the affirmative.
The captain of the vessel, aware of the approaching danger, was
desirous of returning, and applied to the governor for a clearance.
Affecting a rigid regard to the letter of his duty, he declined giving
one, unless the vessel should be properly qualified at the custom
house. This answer being reported, the meeting was declared to be
dissolved; and an immense crowd repaired to the quay, where a number
of the most resolute, disguised as Mohawk Indians, boarded the vessel,
broke open three hundred and forty-two chests of tea, and discharged
their contents into the ocean.[226]

     [Footnote 226: Minot.]

[Sidenote: Measures of parliament.]

These proceedings were laid before parliament in a message from the
crown, and excited a high and general indignation against the
colonies. Both houses expressed, almost unanimously, their approbation
of the measures adopted by his Majesty; and gave explicit assurances
that they would exert every means in their power, to provide
effectually for the due execution of the laws, and to secure the
dependence of the colonies upon the crown and parliament of Great
Britain. The temper both of the parliament and of the nation was
entirely favourable to the high-handed system of coercion proposed by
ministers; and that temper was not permitted to pass away unemployed.
A bill was brought in "for discontinuing the lading and shipping of
goods, wares, and merchandises, at Boston or the harbour thereof, and
for the removal of the custom-house with its dependencies to the town
of Salem." This bill was to continue in force, not only until
compensation should be made to the East India company for the damage
sustained, but until the King in council should declare himself
satisfied as to the restoration of peace and good order in Boston. It
passed both houses without a division, and almost without

     [Footnote 227: Belsham.]

[Illustration: The Boston Tea Party

_From the painting by Robert Reid, in the Massachusetts State House_

_In this picture, a leading modern American artist has succeeded
admirably in depicting the band of Boston citizens who, disguised as
Indians, boarded three British ships in Boston Harbor, December 16,
1773, and threw their cargoes of tea overboard, in defying England to
impose on the American colonies a tax on tea for the benefit of the
straitened East India Company; 342 chests, valued at about L18,000
were destroyed in this manner, without a sound from a great mob of
onlookers thronging the wharves. The mob dispersed quietly as soon as
the last chest went overboard._]

Soon afterwards, a bill was brought in "for better regulating the
government of the province of Massachusetts Bay." This act entirely
subverted the charter, and vested in the crown the appointment of the
counsellors, magistrates, and other officers of the colony, who were
to hold their offices during the royal pleasure. This bill also was
carried through both houses by great majorities; but not without a
vigorous opposition, and an animated debate.[228]

     [Footnote 228: Belsham.]

The next measure proposed was a bill "for the impartial administration
of justice in the province of Massachusetts Bay. It provided that in
case any person should be indicted, in that province, for murder or
any other capital offence, and it should appear by information given
on oath to the governor, that the fact was committed in the exercise
or aid of magistracy in suppressing riots, and that a fair trial could
not be had in the province, he should send the person so indicted to
any other colony, or to Great Britain to be tried." This act was to
continue in force for four years.[229]

     [Footnote 229: Idem.]

A bill was also passed for quartering soldiers on the inhabitants; and
the system was completed, by "an act making more effectual provision
for the government of the province of Quebec." This bill extended the
boundaries of that province so as to comprehend the territory between
the lakes, the Ohio, and the Mississippi; and established a
legislative council to be appointed by the crown, for its

     [Footnote 230: Belsham.]

Amidst these hostile measures, one single conciliatory proposition was
made. Mr. Rose Fuller moved that the house resolve itself into a
committee to take into consideration the duty on the importation of
tea into America, with a view to its repeal. This motion was seconded
by Mr. Burke, and supported with all the power of reasoning, and all
the splendour of eloquence which distinguished that consummate
statesman; but reason and eloquence were of no avail. It was lost by a
great majority. The earl of Chatham, who had long been too ill to
attend parliament, again made his appearance in the house of lords. He
could have been drawn out, only by a strong sense of the fatal
importance of those measures into which the nation was hurrying. But
his efforts were unavailing. Neither his weight of character, his
sound judgment, nor his manly eloquence, could arrest the hand of fate
which seemed to propel this lofty nation, with irresistible force, to
measures which terminated in its dismemberment.[231]

     [Footnote 231: Idem.]

[Sidenote: General enthusiasm.]

It was expected, and this expectation was encouraged by Mr.
Hutchinson, that, by directing these measures particularly against
Boston, not only the union of the colonies would be broken, but
Massachusetts herself would be divided. Never was expectation more
completely disappointed. All perceived that Boston was to be punished
for having resisted, only with more violence, the principle which they
had all resisted; and that the object of the punishment was to coerce
obedience to a principle they were still determined to resist. They
felt therefore that the cause of Boston was the cause of all, that
their destinies were indissolubly connected with those of that devoted
town, and that they must submit to be taxed by a parliament, in which
they were not and could not be represented, or support their brethren
who were selected to sustain the first shock of a power which, if
successful there, would overwhelm them all. The neighbouring towns,
disdaining to avail themselves of the calamities inflicted on a sister
for her exertions in the common cause, clung to her with increased
affection; and that spirit of enthusiastic patriotism, which, for a
time, elevates the mind above all considerations of individual
acquisition, became the ruling passion in the American bosom.

On receiving intelligence of the Boston port bill, a meeting of the
people of that town was called. They perceived that "the sharpest,
sharpest conflict" was indeed approaching, but were not dismayed by
its terrors. Far from seeking to shelter themselves from the
threatening storm by submission, they grew more determined as it

Resolutions were passed, expressing their opinion of the impolicy,
injustice, inhumanity, and cruelty of the act, from which they
appealed to God, and to the world; and also inviting the other
colonies to join with them in an agreement to stop all imports and
exports to and from Great Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies, until
the act should be repealed.[232]

     [Footnote 232: Minot.]

It was not in Boston only that this spirit was roused. Addresses were
received from every part of the continent, expressing sentiments of
sympathy in their afflictions, exhorting them to resolution and
perseverance, and assuring them that they were considered as suffering
in the common cause.

The legislature of Virginia was in session when intelligence of the
Boston port bill reached that province. The house of Burgesses set
apart the first of June, the day on which the bill was to go into
operation, for fasting, prayer, and humiliation, to implore the divine
interposition to avert the heavy calamity which threatened the
destruction of their civil rights, the evils of a civil war; and to
give one heart and one mind to the people, firmly to oppose every
invasion of their liberties. Similar resolutions were adopted in
almost every province; and the first of June became, throughout the
colonies, a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, in the course of
which sermons were preached to the people, well calculated to inspire
them with horror, against the authors of the unjust sufferings of
their fellow subjects in Boston.

[Sidenote: A general congress proposed.]

This measure occasioned the dissolution of the assembly. The members,
before separation, entered into an association, in which they declared
that an attack on one colony to compel submission to arbitrary taxes,
is an attack on all British America, and threatens ruin to the rights
of all, unless the united wisdom of the whole be applied in
prevention. They, therefore, recommended to the committee of
correspondence, to communicate with the several committees of the
other provinces, on the expediency of appointing deputies from the
different colonies, to meet annually in congress, and to deliberate on
the common interests of America. This measure had already been
proposed in town meetings, both in New York and Boston.

[Sidenote: General Gage arrives in Boston.]

While the people of Boston were engaged in the first consultations
respecting the bill directed particularly against themselves, general
Gage arrived in town. He was received, notwithstanding the deep gloom
of the moment, with those external marks of respect which had been
usual, and which were supposed to belong to his station.

The general court convened by the governor at Salem, passed
resolutions, declaring the expediency of a meeting of committees from
the several colonies; and appointed five gentlemen as a committee on
the part of Massachusetts. The colonies from New Hampshire to South
Carolina inclusive, adopted this measure; and, where the legislatures
were not in session, elections were made by the people. The
legislature of Massachusetts also passed declaratory resolutions
expressing their opinion on the state of public affairs, and
recommending to the inhabitants of that province to renounce, totally,
the consumption of East India teas, and to discontinue the use of all
goods imported from the East Indies and Great Britain, until the
grievances of America should be completely redressed.

The governor, having obtained intelligence of the manner in which the
house was employed, sent his secretary with directions to dissolve the
assembly. Finding the doors shut, and being refused admittance, he
read the order of dissolution aloud on the staircase. The next day,
the governor received an address from the principal inhabitants of
Salem, at that time the metropolis of the province, which marks the
deep impression made by a sense of common danger. No longer
considering themselves as the inhabitants of Salem, but as Americans,
and spurning advantages to be derived to themselves from the distress
inflicted on a sister town, for its zeal in a cause common to all,
they expressed their deep affliction for the calamities of Boston.

About this time rough drafts of the two remaining bills relative to
the province of Massachusetts, as well as of that for quartering
troops in America, were received in Boston, and circulated through the
continent. They served to confirm the wavering, to render the moderate
indignant, and to inflame the violent.

An agreement was framed by the committee of correspondence in Boston,
entitled "a solemn league and covenant," whereby the subscribers bound
themselves, "in the presence of God," to suspend all commercial
intercourse with Great Britain, from the last day of the ensuing month
of August, until the Boston port bill, and the other late obnoxious
laws should be repealed. They also bound themselves, in the same
manner, not to consume, or purchase from any other, any goods whatever
which should arrive after the specified time; and to break off all
dealings with the purchasers as well as with the importers of such
goods. They renounced, also, all intercourse and connexion with those
who should refuse to subscribe to that covenant, or to bind themselves
by some similar agreement; and annexed to the renunciation of
intercourse, the dangerous penalty of publishing to the world, the
names of all who refused to give this evidence of attachment to the
rights of their country.

General Gage issued a proclamation in which he termed this covenant
"an unlawful, hostile, and traitorous combination, contrary to the
allegiance due to the King, destructive of the legal authority of
parliament, and of the peace, good order, and safety of the
community." All persons were warned against incurring the pains and
penalties due to such dangerous offences; and all magistrates were
charged to apprehend and secure for trial such as should be guilty of
them. But the time when the proclamation of governors could command
attention had passed away; and the penalties in the power of the
committee of correspondence were much more dreaded than those which
could be inflicted by the civil magistrate.[233]

     [Footnote 233: Belsham. Minot.]

Resolutions were passed in every colony in which legislatures were
convened, or delegates assembled in convention, manifesting different
degrees of resentment, but concurring in the same great principles.
All declared that the cause of Boston was the cause of British
America; that the late acts respecting that devoted town were
tyrannical and unconstitutional; that the opposition to this
ministerial system of oppression ought to be universally and
perseveringly maintained; that all intercourse with the parent state
ought to be suspended, and domestic manufactures encouraged; and that
a general congress should be formed for the purpose of uniting and
guiding the councils, and directing the efforts, of North America.

The committees of correspondence selected Philadelphia for the place,
and the beginning of September as the time, for the meeting of this
important council.

[Sidenote: Congress assembles.]

On the fourth of September, the delegates from eleven[234] provinces
appeared at the place appointed; and, the next day, they assembled at
Carpenter's Hall, when Peyton Randolph, late speaker of the house of
Burgesses of Virginia, was unanimously chosen president. The
respective credentials of the members were then read and approved; and
this august assembly, having determined that each colony should have
only one vote; that their deliberations should be conducted with
closed doors; and that their proceedings, except such as they might
determine to publish, should be kept inviolably secret; entered on the
solemn and important duties assigned to them.[235]

     [Footnote 234: Those of North Carolina arrived on the

     [Footnote 235: See note No. VII, at the end of the volume.]

Committees were appointed to state the rights claimed by the colonies,
which had been infringed by acts of parliament passed since the year
1763; to prepare a petition to the King, and addresses to the people
of Great Britain, to the inhabitants of the province of Quebec, and to
the twelve colonies represented in congress.

Certain resolutions[236] of the county of Suffolk in Massachusetts,
having been taken into consideration, it was unanimously resolved
"that this assembly deeply feels the suffering of their countrymen in
Massachusetts Bay, under the operation of the late unjust, cruel, and
oppressive acts of the British parliament; that they most thoroughly
approve the wisdom and fortitude with which opposition to these wicked
ministerial measures has hitherto been conducted; and they earnestly
recommend to their brethren, a perseverance in the same firm and
temperate conduct, as expressed in the resolutions determined upon, at
a meeting of the delegates for the county of Suffolk, on Tuesday the
sixth instant; trusting that the effect of the united efforts of North
America in their behalf, will carry such conviction to the British
nation of the unwise, unjust, and ruinous policy of the present
administration, as quickly to introduce better men, and wiser

     [Footnote 236: See note No. VIII, at the end of the volume.]

It was resolved, unanimously, "that contributions from all the
colonies, for supplying the necessities, and alleviating the
distresses of our brethren in Boston, ought to be continued, in such
manner, and so long, as their occasions may require."

The merchants of the several colonies were requested not to send to
Great Britain any orders for goods, and to direct the execution of
those already sent to be suspended, until the sense of congress on the
means to be taken for preserving the liberties of America, be made
public. In a few days, resolutions were passed, suspending the
importation of goods from Great Britain, or Ireland, or any of their
dependencies, and of their manufactures from any place whatever, after
the first day of the succeeding December; and against the purchase or
use of such goods. It was also determined that all exports to Great
Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies, should cease on the 10th of
September, 1775 less American grievances should be redressed before
that time. An association, corresponding with these resolutions, was
then framed, and signed by every member present. Never were laws more
faithfully observed, than were these resolutions of congress; and
their association was, of consequence, universally adopted.

Early in the session, a declaration[237] of rights was made in the
shape of resolutions. This paper merits particular attention, because
it states precisely the ground then taken by America. It is observable
that it asserted rights which were not generally maintained, at the
commencement of the contest; but the exclusive right of legislation in
the colonial assemblies, with the exception of acts of the British
parliament _bona fide_ made to regulate external commerce, was not
averred unanimously.

     [Footnote 237: See note No. IX, at the end of the volume.]

The addresses prepared, the various papers drawn up, and the measures
recommended by this congress, form the best eulogy of the members who
composed it. Affection to the mother country, an exalted admiration of
her national character, unwillingness to separate from her, a
knowledge of the hazards and difficulties of the approaching contest,
mingled with enthusiastic patriotism, and a conviction that all which
can make life valuable was at stake, characterise their proceedings.

[Sidenote: Address to the people of Great Britain.]

"When," they say in the address to the people to the people of Great
Britain, "a nation led to greatness by the hand of liberty, and
possessed of all the glory that heroism, munificence, and humanity,
can bestow, descends to the ungrateful task of forging chains for her
friends and children, and, instead of giving support to freedom turns
advocate for slavery and oppression, there is reason to suspect she
has either ceased to be virtuous, or been extremely negligent in the
appointment of her rulers.

"In almost every age, in repeated conflicts, in long and bloody wars,
as well civil as foreign, against many and powerful nations, against
the open assaults of enemies, and the more dangerous treachery of
friends, have the inhabitants of your island, your great and glorious
ancestors, maintained their independence, and transmitted the rights
of men and the blessings of liberty to you their posterity.

"Be not surprised therefore that we, who are descended from the same
common ancestors, that we, whose forefathers participated in all the
rights, the liberties, and the constitution, you so justly boast of,
and who have carefully conveyed the same fair inheritance to us,
guaranteed by the plighted faith of government, and the most solemn
compacts with British sovereigns, should refuse to surrender them to
men, who found their claims on no principles of reason, and who
prosecute them with a design, that by having _our_ lives and property
in their power, they may with the greater facility enslave _you_."

After stating the serious condition of American affairs, and the
oppressions, and misrepresentations of their conduct, which had
induced the address; and their claim to be as free as their fellow
subjects in Britain; they say, "are not the proprietors of the soil of
Great Britain lords of their own property? Can it be taken from them
without their consent? Will they yield it to the arbitrary disposal of
any men, or number of men whatever? You know they will not.

"Why then are the proprietors of the soil of America less lords of
their property than you are of yours, or why should they submit it to
the disposal of your parliament, or any other parliament or council in
the world, not of their election? Can the intervention of the sea that
divides us cause disparity of rights, or can any reason be given why
English subjects, who live three thousand miles from the royal palace,
should enjoy less liberty than those who are three hundred miles
distant from it?

"Reason looks with indignation on such distinctions, and freemen can
never perceive their propriety."

After expatiating on the resources which the conquest of America would
place in the hands of the crown for the subjugation of Britain, the
address proceeds, "we believe there is yet much virtue, much justice,
and much public spirit in the English nation. To that justice we now
appeal. You have been told that we are seditious, impatient of
government, and desirous of independency. Be assured that these are
not facts but calumnies. Permit us to be as free as yourselves, and we
shall ever esteem a union with you to be our greatest glory, and our
greatest happiness;--we shall ever be ready to contribute all in our
power to the welfare of the empire;--we shall consider your enemies as
our enemies, and your interest as our own.

"But if you are determined that your ministers shall wantonly sport
with the rights of mankind:--if neither the voice of justice, the
dictates of the law, the principles of the constitution, nor the
suggestions of humanity, can restrain your hands from shedding human
blood in such an impious cause, we must then tell you that we will
never submit to be hewers of wood or drawers of water for any ministry
or nation in the world.

"Place us in the same situation that we were at the close of the late
war, and our former harmony will be restored."[238]

     [Footnote 238: The committee which prepared this eloquent
     and manly address, were Mr. Lee, Mr. Livingston, and Mr.
     Jay. The composition has been generally attributed to Mr.

[Sidenote: Petition to the King.]

The petition to the King states succinctly the grievances complained
of, and then proceeds to say:

"Had our creator been pleased to give us existence in a land of
slavery, the sense of our condition might have been mitigated by
ignorance and habit. But thanks be to his adorable goodness, we were
born the heirs of freedom, and ever enjoyed our right under the
auspices of your royal ancestors, whose family was seated on the
British throne, to rescue and secure a pious and gallant nation from
the popery and despotism of a superstitious and inexorable tyrant.
Your majesty, we are confident, justly rejoices that your title to the
crown is thus founded on the title of your people to liberty; and,
therefore, we doubt not but your royal wisdom must approve the
sensibility that teaches your subjects anxiously to guard the blessing
they received from divine providence, and thereby to prove the
performance of that compact, which elevated the illustrious house of
Brunswick to the imperial dignity it now possesses.

"The apprehensions of being degraded into a state of servitude, from
the pre-eminent rank of English freemen, while our minds retain the
strongest love of liberty, and clearly foresee the miseries preparing
for us and for our posterity, excites emotions in our breasts, which,
though we cannot describe, we should not wish to conceal. Feeling as
men, and thinking as subjects, in the manner we do, silence would be
disloyalty. By giving this faithful information, we do all in our
power to promote the great objects of your royal cares--the
tranquillity of your government, and the welfare of your people.

"Duty to your majesty and regard for the preservation of ourselves and
our posterity,--the primary obligations of nature and society, command
us to entreat your royal attention; and, as your majesty enjoys the
signal distinction of reigning over freemen, we apprehend the language
of freemen cannot be displeasing. Your royal indignation, we hope,
will rather fall on those designing and dangerous men, who, daringly
interposing themselves between your royal person and your faithful
subjects, and for several years past incessantly employed to dissolve
the bonds of society, by abusing your majesty's authority,
misrepresenting your American subjects, and prosecuting the most
desperate and irritating projects of oppression, have at length
compelled us, by the force of accumulated injuries, too severe to be
any longer tolerable, to disturb your majesty's repose by our

"These sentiments are extorted from hearts that much more willingly
would bleed in your majesty's service. Yet so greatly have we been
misrepresented, that a necessity has been alleged of taking our
property from us without our consent, to defray the charge of the
administration of justice, the support of civil government, and the
defence, protection, and security of the colonies."

After assuring his majesty of the untruth of these allegations, they
say, "yielding to no British subjects in affectionate attachment to
your majesty's person, family, and government, we too dearly prize the
privilege of expressing that attachment, by those proofs that are
honourable to the prince that receives them, and to the people who
give them, ever to resign it to any body of men upon earth.

"We ask but for peace, liberty, and safety. We wish not a diminution
of the prerogative, nor do we solicit the grant of any new right in
our favour. Your royal authority over us, and our connection with
Great Britain, we shall always carefully and zealously endeavour to
support and maintain."

After re-stating in a very affecting manner the most essential
grievances of which they complain, and professing that their future
conduct, if their apprehensions should be removed, would prove them
worthy of the regard they had been accustomed, in their happier days
to enjoy, they add:

"Permit us then most gracious sovereign, in the name of all your
faithful people in America, with the utmost humility to implore you,
for the honour of Almighty God, whose pure religion our enemies are
undermining; for your glory which can be advanced only by rendering
your subjects happy, and keeping them united; for the interest of your
family, depending on an adherence to the principles that enthroned it;
for the safety and welfare of your kingdom and dominions, threatened
with almost unavoidable dangers and distresses; that your majesty, as
the loving father of your whole people, connected by the same bonds of
law, loyalty, faith, and blood, though dwelling in various countries,
will not suffer the transcendent relation formed by these ties, to be
farther violated, in uncertain expectation of effects that, if
attained, never can compensate for the calamities, through which they
must be gained."[239]

     [Footnote 239: The committee which brought in this admirably
     well drawn, and truly conciliatory address, were Mr. Lee,
     Mr. John Adams, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Henry, Mr. Rutledge, and
     Mr. Dickinson. The original composition has been generally
     attributed to Mr. Dickinson.]

[Sidenote: Address to the American people.]

The address to their constituents is replete with serious and
temperate argument. In this paper, the several causes which had led to
the existing state of things, were detailed more at large; and much
labour was used to convince their judgments that their liberties must
be destroyed, and the security of their property and persons
annihilated, by submission to the pretensions of Great Britain. The
first object of congress being to unite the people of America, by
demonstrating the sincerity with which their leaders had sought for
reconciliation on terms compatible with liberty, great earnestness was
used in proving that the conduct of the colonists had been uniformly
moderate and blameless. After declaring their confidence in the
efficacy of the mode of commercial resistance which had been
recommended, the address concludes with saying, "your own salvation,
and that of your posterity, now depends upon yourselves. You have
already shown that you entertain a proper sense of the blessings you
are striving to retain. Against the temporary inconveniences you may
suffer from a stoppage of trade, you will weigh in the opposite
balance, the endless miseries you and your descendants must endure,
from an established arbitrary power. You will not forget the honour of
your country, that must, from your behaviour, take its title in the
estimation of the world to glory or to shame; and you will, with the
deepest attention, reflect, that if the peaceable mode of opposition
recommended by us, be broken and rendered ineffectual, as your cruel
and haughty ministerial enemies, from a contemptuous opinion of your
firmness, insolently predict will be the case, you must inevitably be
reduced to choose, either a more dangerous contest, or a final,
ruinous, and infamous submission.

"Motives thus cogent, arising from the emergency of your unhappy
condition, must excite your utmost diligence and zeal, to give all
possible strength and energy to the pacific measures calculated for
your relief. But we think ourselves bound in duty to observe to you,
that the schemes agitated against the colonies have been so conducted,
as to render it prudent that you should extend your views to mournful
events, and be in all respects prepared for every contingency. Above
all things, we earnestly entreat you, with devotion of spirit,
penitence of heart, and amendment of life, to humble yourselves, and
implore the favour of Almighty God; and we fervently beseech his
divine goodness to take you into his gracious protection."[240]

     [Footnote 240: Mr. Lee, Mr. Livingston, and Mr. Jay, were
     also the committee who brought in this address.]

The letter to the people of Canada required no inconsiderable degree
of address. The extent of that province was not so alarming to its
inhabitants as to their neighbours; and it was not easy to persuade
the French settlers, who were far the most numerous, that the
establishment of their religion, and the partial toleration of their
ancient jurisprudence, were acts of oppression which ought to be
resisted. This delicate subject was managed with considerable
dexterity, and the prejudices of the Canadians were assailed with some

Letters were also addressed to the colonies of St. Johns, Nova Scotia,
Georgia, and the Floridas, inviting them to unite with their brethren
in a cause common to all British America.[241]

     [Footnote 241: These letters, as well as that to the
     inhabitants of the province of Quebec, were prepared by Mr.
     Cushing, Mr. Lee, and Mr. Dickinson.]

After completing the business before them, and recommending that
another Congress should be held at the same place on the tenth of the
succeeding May, the House dissolved itself.


The proceedings of Congress were read throughout America, with
enthusiastic admiration. Their recommendations were revered as
revelations, and obeyed as laws of the strongest obligation. Absolute
unanimity could not be expected to exist; but seldom has a whole
people been more united; and never did a more sincere and perfect
conviction of the justice of a cause animate the human bosom, than was
felt by the great body of the Americans. The people, generally, made
great exertions to arm and discipline themselves. Independent
companies of gentlemen were formed in all the colonies; and the whole
face of the country exhibited the aspect of approaching war. Yet the
measures of Congress demonstrate that, although resistance by force
was contemplated as a possible event, the hope was fondly cherished
that the non-importation of British goods would induce a repeal of the
late odious acts. It is impossible to account for the non-importation
agreement itself. Had war been considered as inevitable, every
principle of sound policy required that imports should be encouraged,
and the largest possible stock of supplies for an army be obtained.

[Sidenote: New counsellors and judges.]

With the laws relative to the province, governor Gage received a list
of thirty-two new counsellors, a sufficient number of whom, to carry
on the business of the government, accepted the office, and entered on
its duties.

[Sidenote: Obliged to resign.]

All those who accepted offices under the new system, were denounced as
enemies to their country. The new judges were unable to proceed in the
administration of justice. When the court houses were opened, the
people crowded into them in such numbers that the judges could not
obtain admittance; and, on being ordered by the officers to make way
for the court, they answered that they knew no court, independent of
the ancient laws and usages of their country, and to no other would
they submit.[242] The houses of the new counsellors were surrounded by
great bodies of people, whose threats announced to them that they must
resign their offices, or be exposed to the fury of an enraged
populace. The first part of the alternative was generally embraced.

     [Footnote 242: Minot.]

[Sidenote: Boston neck fortified.]

In this irritable state of the public mind, and critical situation of
public affairs, it was to be expected that every day would furnish new
matter of discontent and jealousy. General Gage deemed it a necessary
measure of security, to fortify Boston neck; and this circumstance
induced the inhabitants to contemplate seriously an evacuation of the
town, and removal into the country. Congress was consulted on this
proposition; but was deterred from recommending it, by the
difficulties attending the measure. It was however referred to the
provincial congress, with the declaration that, if the removal should
be deemed necessary, the expense attending it ought to be borne by all
the colonies.

[Sidenote: Military stores seized by general Gage.]

The fortification of Boston neck was followed by a measure which
excited still greater alarm. The time for the general muster of the
militia approached. Under real or pretended apprehensions from their
violence, the ammunition and stores which were lodged in the
provincial arsenal at Cambridge, and the powder in the magazines at
Charlestown, and some other places which was partly private and partly
provincial property, were seized, by order of the governor, and
conveyed to Boston.

Under the ferment excited by this measure, the people assembled in
great numbers, and were with difficulty dissuaded from marching to
Boston, and demanding a re-delivery of the stores. Not long
afterwards, the fort at Portsmouth in New Hampshire was stormed by an
armed body of provincials; and the powder it contained was transported
to a place of safety. A similar measure was adopted in Rhode Island.

About the same time a report reached Connecticut that the ships and
troops had attacked Boston, and were actually firing on the town.
Several thousand men immediately assembled in arms, and marched with
great expedition a considerable distance, before they were undeceived.

It was in the midst of these ferments, and while these indications of
an opinion that hostilities might be expected daily were multiplying
on every side, that the people of Suffolk assembled in convention, and
passed the resolutions already mentioned, which in boldness surpass
any that had been adopted.

[Sidenote: Provincial congress in Massachusetts.]

Before the general agitation had risen to its present alarming height,
governor Gage had issued writs for the election of members to a
general assembly. These writs were afterwards countermanded by
proclamation; but the proclamation was disregarded; the elections were
held; and the delegates, who assembled and voted themselves a
provincial congress, conducted the affairs of the colony as if they
had been regularly invested with all the powers of government; and
their recommendations were respected as sacred laws.

[Sidenote: Prepares for defence.]

They drew up a plan for the defence of the province; provided
magazines, ammunition and prepares stores for twelve thousand militia;
and enrolled a number of minute men, a term designating a select part
of the militia, who engaged to appear in arms at a minute's warning.

On the approach of winter, the general had ordered temporary barracks
to be erected for the troops, partly for their security, and partly to
prevent the disorders which would unavoidably result from quartering
them in the town. Such however was the detestation in which they were
held, that the select men and committees obliged the workmen to desist
from the work, although they were paid for their labour by the crown,
and although employment could, at that time, be seldom obtained. He
was not much more successful in his endeavours to obtain carpenters in
New York; and it was with considerable difficulty that these temporary
lodgments could be erected.

The agency for purchasing winter covering for the troops was offered
to almost every merchant in New York; but such was the danger of
engaging in this odious employment, that not only those who were
attached to the party resisting the views of administration, but those
also who were in secret friendly to those views, refused undertaking
it, and declared "that they never would supply any article for the
benefit of men who were sent as enemies to their country."

[Sidenote: King's speech to parliament.]

In Great Britain, a new parliament was assembled; and the King, in his
opening speech, informed them, "that a most daring spirit of
resistance and disobedience still prevailed in Massachusetts, and had
broken forth in fresh violences of a very criminal nature; that the
most proper and effectual measures had been taken to prevent these
mischiefs; and that they might depend upon a firm resolution to
withstand every attempt to weaken or impair the supreme authority of
this legislature over all the dominions of the crown."

[Sidenote: Proceedings of that body.]


The addresses re-echoed the sentiments of the speech; all amendments
to which were rejected in both houses by considerable majorities.[243]
Yet the business respecting America was not promptly introduced.
Administration seems to have hesitated on the course to be adopted;
and the cabinet is said to have been divided respecting future
measures. The few friends of conciliation availed themselves of this
delay, to bring forward propositions which might restore harmony to
the empire. Lord Chatham was not yet dead. "This splendid orb," to use
the bold metaphor of Mr. Burke, "was not yet entirely set. The western
horizon was still in a blaze with his descending glory;" and the
evening of a life which had exhibited one bright unchequered course of
elevated patriotism, was devoted to the service of that country whose
aggrandisement seemed to have swallowed up every other passion of his
soul. Taking a prophetic view of the future, he demonstrated the
impossibility of subjugating America, and urged, with all the powers
of his vast mind, the immediate removal of the troops from Boston, as
a measure indispensably necessary, to open the way for an adjustment
of the existing differences with the colonies. Not discouraged by the
great majority against this motion, he brought forward a bill for
settling the troubles in America, which was rejected by sixty-one to
thirty-two voices.

     [Footnote 243: Belsham.]

The day after the rejection of this bill, lord North moved, in the
house of commons, an address to his Majesty, declaring that, from a
serious consideration of the American papers, "they find a rebellion
actually exists in the province of Massachusetts Bay." In the course
of the debate on this address, several professional gentlemen spoke
with the utmost contempt of the military character of the Americans;
and general Grant, who ought to have known better, declared that "at
the head of five regiments of infantry, he would undertake to traverse
the whole country, and drive the inhabitants from one end of the
continent to the other."

The address was carried by 288 to 106; and on a conference, the house
of lords agreed to join in it. Lord North, soon after, moved a bill
for restraining the trade and commerce of the New England provinces,
and prohibiting them from carrying on the fisheries on the banks of

     [Footnote 244: Belsham.]

While this bill was pending, and only vengeance was breathed by the
majority, his lordship, to the astonishment of all, suddenly moved,
what he termed his conciliatory proposition. Its amount was, that
parliament would forbear to tax any colony, which should tax itself in
such a sum as would be perfectly satisfactory. Apparent as it must
have been that this proposition would not be accepted in America, it
was received with indignation by the majority of the house; and
ministers found some difficulty in showing that it was in maintenance
of the right to tax the colonies. Before it could be adopted lord
North condescended to make the dangerous, and not very reputable
acknowledgment, that it was a proposition designed to divide America,
and to unite Great Britain. It was transmitted to the governors of the
several colonies, in a circular letter from lord Dartmouth, with
directions to use their utmost influence to prevail on the
legislatures to accede to the proposed compromise. These endeavours
were not successful. The colonists were universally impressed with too
strong a conviction of the importance of union, and understood too
well the real principle of the contest, to suffer themselves to be
divided or deceived by a proposition, conciliatory only in name.

After the passage of the bill for restraining the trade of New
England, information was received that the inhabitants of the middle
and southern colonies, were supporting their northern brethren in
every measure of opposition. In consequence of this intelligence, a
second bill was passed for imposing similar restrictions on East and
West Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, and the
counties on the Delaware. The favourite colonies of New York and North
Carolina were omitted, as being less disaffected than the others.
Fortunately, some time afterwards, the house of commons refused to
hear a petition from the legislature of New York, which alone had
declined acceding to the resolutions of congress, on the suggestion of
the minister that it contained claims incompatible with the supremacy
of parliament. This haughty rejection had some tendency to convince
the advocates of milder measures than had been adopted in their sister
colonies, that there was no medium between resistance and absolute

The King's speech, and the proceedings of parliament, served only to
convince the leaders of opposition in America, that they must indeed
prepare to meet "mournful events." They had flattered themselves that
the union of the colonies, the petition of congress to the King, and
the address to the people of Great Britain, would produce happy
effects. But these measures removed the delusion. The provincial
congress of Massachusetts published a resolution informing the people
that there was real cause to fear that the reasonable and just
applications of that continent to Great Britain for peace, liberty,
and safety, would not meet with a favourable reception; that, on the
contrary, the tenor of their intelligence, and general appearances,
furnished just cause for the apprehension that the sudden destruction
of that colony, at least, was intended. They therefore urged the
militia in general, and the minute men in particular, to spare neither
time, pains, nor expense, to perfect themselves in military
discipline; and also passed resolutions for procuring and making fire
arms and bayonets.[245]

     [Footnote 245: Prior documents. Minot.]

In the mean time, delegates were elected for the ensuing congress.
Even in New York, where the influence of administration in the
legislature had been sufficient to prevent an adoption of the
recommendations of congress, a convention was chosen for the purpose
of electing members to represent that province in the grand council of
the colonies.

In New England, although a determination not to commence hostility
appears to have been maintained, an expectation of it, and a settled
purpose to repel it, universally prevailed.

It was not long before the firmness of this resolution was put to the

[Sidenote: Battle of Lexington.]

On the night preceding the 19th of April, general Gage detached
lieutenant colonel Smith, and major Pitcairn, with the grenadiers and
light infantry of the army, amounting to eight or nine hundred men,
with orders to destroy some military stores which had been collected
at Concord, about eighteen miles from Boston, notwithstanding the
secrecy and dispatch which were used, the country was alarmed by
messengers sent out by Doctor Warren; and, on the arrival of the
British troops at Lexington, about five in the morning, part of the
company of militia belonging to the town, was found on the parade,
under arms. Major Pitcairn, who led the van, galloped up, calling out,
"disperse, rebels, disperse." He was followed close by his soldiers,
who rushed upon the militia with loud huzzas. Some scattering guns
were fired, which were immediately followed by a general discharge,
and the firing was continued as long as any of the militia appeared.
Eight men were killed, and several wounded.

After dispatching six companies of light infantry to guard two bridges
which lay at some distance beyond the town, lieutenant colonel Smith
proceeded to Concord. While the main body of the detachment was
employed in destroying the stores in the town, some minute men and
militia, who were collected from that place and its neighbourhood,
having orders not to give the first fire, approached one of the
bridges, as if to pass it in the character of common travellers. They
were fired on, and two of them were killed. The fire was instantly
returned, and a skirmish ensued, in which the regulars were worsted,
and compelled to retreat with some loss. The alarm now becoming
general, the people rushed to the scene of action, and attacked the
King's troops on all sides. Skirmish succeeded skirmish, and they were
driven, from post to post, into Lexington. Fortunately for the
British, general Gage did not entertain precisely the opinion of the
military character of the Americans, which had been expressed in the
house of commons. Apprehending the expedition to be not entirely
without hazard, he had, in the morning, detached lord Percy with
sixteen companies of foot, a corps of marines, and two companies of
artillery, to support lieutenant colonel Smith. This seasonable
reinforcement, happening to reach Lexington about the time of his
arrival at that place, kept the provincials at a distance with their
field pieces, and gave the grenadiers and light infantry time to
breathe. But as soon as they resumed their march, the attack was
re-commenced; and an irregular but galling fire was kept up on each
flank, as well as in front and rear, until they arrived, on the common
of Charlestown. Without delay, they passed over the neck to Bunker's
hill, where they remained secure for the night, under the protection
of their ships of war; and, early next morning, crossed over to

In this action, the loss of the British in killed, wounded, and
prisoners, was two hundred and seventy-three; while that of the
provincials did not exceed ninety. This affair, however trivial in
itself, was of great importance in its consequences. It was the
commencement of a long and obstinate war, and had no inconsiderable
influence on that war, by increasing the confidence which the
Americans felt in themselves, and by encouraging opposition, with the
hope of being successful. It supported the opinion which the colonists
had taken up with some doubt, that courage and patriotism were ample
substitutes for the knowledge of tactics; and that their skill in the
use of fire arms, gave them a great superiority over their

Although the previous state of things was such as to render the
commencement of hostilities unavoidable, each party seemed anxious to
throw the blame on its opponent. The British officers alleged that
they were fired on from a stone wall, before they attacked the militia
at Lexington; while the Americans proved, by numerous depositions,
that at Lexington, as well as at the bridge near Concord, the first
fire was received by them. The statement made by the Americans is
supported, not only by the testimony adduced, but by other
circumstances. In numbers, the militia at Lexington did not exceed
one-ninth of the British; and it is not probable that their friends
would have provoked their fate while in that perilous situation, by
commencing a fire on an enraged soldiery. It is also worthy of
attention, that the Americans uniformly sought to cover their
proceedings with the letter of the law; and, even after the affair at
Lexington, made a point of receiving the first fire at the bridge
beyond Concord.

The provincial congress, desirous of manifesting the necessity under
which the militia had acted, sent to their agents, the depositions
which had been taken relative to the late action, with a letter to the
inhabitants of Great Britain, stating that hostilities had been
commenced against them, and detailing the circumstances attending that

But they did not confine themselves to addresses. They immediately
passed a resolution for raising thirteen thousand six hundred men in
Massachusetts, to be commanded by general Ward; and called on New
Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, for their respective quotas,
to complete an army of thirty thousand men for the common defence.
They also authorised the receiver general to borrow one hundred
thousand pounds on the credit of the colony, and to issue securities
for the re-payment thereof, bearing an interest of six per centum per

The neighbouring colonies complied promptly with this requisition;
and, in the mean time, such numbers assembled voluntarily, that many
were dismissed in consequence of the defect of means to subsist them
in the field; and the King's troops were themselves blocked up in the
peninsula of Boston.

About the same time, that enterprising spirit, which pervaded New
England, manifested itself in an expedition of considerable merit.

The possession of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, and the command of
lakes George and Champlain, were objects of importance in the
approaching conflict. It was known that these posts were weakly
defended; and it was believed that the feeble garrisons remaining in
them were the less to be dreaded, because they thought themselves
perfectly secure. Under these impressions, some gentlemen of
Connecticut, at the head of whom were Messrs. Deane, Wooster, and
Parsons, formed the design of seizing these fortresses by surprise;
and borrowed a small sum of money from the legislature of the colony,
to enable them to carry on the expedition. About forty volunteers
marched from Connecticut towards Bennington, where they expected to
meet with colonel Ethan Allen, and to engage him to conduct the
enterprise, and to raise an additional number of men.

[Sidenote: Ticonderoga surprised.]

[Sidenote: Crown Point surrenders.]

Colonel Allen readily entered into their views, and engaged to meet
them at Castleton. Two hundred and seventy men assembled at that
place, where they were joined by colonel Arnold, who was associated
with colonel Allen in the command. They reached lake Champlain in the
night of the ninth of May. Both Allen and Arnold embarked with the
first division consisting of eighty-three men, who effected a landing
without being discovered, and immediately marched against the fort,
which, being completely surprised, surrendered without firing a gun.
The garrison consisted of only forty-four rank and file, commanded by
a captain and one lieutenant. From Ticonderoga, colonel Seth Warren
was detached to take possession of Crown Point, which was garrisoned
only by a sergeant and twelve men. This service was immediately
executed, and the fort was taken without opposition.

At both these places, military stores of considerable value fell into
the hands of the Americans. The pass at Skeensborough was seized about
the same time by a body of volunteers from Connecticut.

To complete the objects of the expedition, it was necessary to obtain
the command of the lakes, which could be accomplished only by seizing
a sloop of war lying at St. Johns. This service was effected by
Arnold, who, having manned and armed a schooner found in South bay,
surprised the sloop, and took possession of her without opposition.

Thus, by the enterprise of a few individuals, and without the loss of
a single man, the important posts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point were
acquired, with the command of the lakes on which they stand.

[Sidenote: Meeting of congress.]

Intelligence of the capture of Ticonderoga was immediately transmitted
to congress, then just assembled at Philadelphia. The resolutions
passed on the occasion, furnish strong evidence of the solicitude felt
by that body, to exonerate the government, in the opinion of the
people, from all suspicion of provoking a continuance of the war, by
transcending the limits of self defence. Indubitable evidence, it was
asserted, had been received of a design for a cruel invasion of the
colonies from Canada, for the purpose of destroying their lives and
liberties; and it was averred that some steps had actually been taken
towards carrying this design into execution. To a justifiable desire
of securing themselves from so heavy a calamity, was attributed the
seizure of the posts on the lakes by the neighbouring inhabitants; and
it was recommended to the committees of New York and Albany to take
immediate measures for the removal of the cannon and military stores
to some place on the south end of lake George, there to be preserved
in safety. An exact inventory of the stores was directed to be taken,
"in order that they might be safely returned, when the restoration of
the former harmony between Great Britain and the colonies, so ardently
wished for by the latter, should render it prudent, and consistent
with the overruling law of self preservation."

Measures, however, were adopted to maintain the posts; but, to quiet
the apprehensions of their neighbours, congress resolved that, having
nothing more in view than self defence, "no expedition or incursion
ought to be undertaken or made by any colony, or body of colonists,
against, or into, Canada."

This resolution was translated into the French language, and
transmitted to the people of that province, in a letter in which all
their feelings, and particularly their known attachment to France,
were dexterously assailed; and the effort was earnestly made to kindle
in their bosoms, that enthusiastic love of liberty which was felt too
strongly by the authors of the letter, to permit the belief that it
could be inoperative with others.

During these transactions, generals Howe, Burgoyne, and Clinton,
arrived at Boston, soon after which general Gage issued a proclamation
declaring martial law to be in force, and offering pardon to those who
would lay down their arms and submit to the King, with the exception
of Samuel Adams, and John Hancock.

On receiving intelligence of the battle of Lexington, New York
appeared to hesitate no longer. In that place also, the spirit which
animated the colonies generally, obtained the ascendancy. Yet the
royal party remained formidable; and it was thought advisable to march
a body of Connecticut troops into the neighbourhood, professedly to
protect the town against some British regiments expected from Ireland,
but really with the design of protecting the patriotic party.

The middle and southern colonies, though not so forward as those of
the north, laid aside the established government, and prepared for

[Sidenote: Transactions in Virginia.]

In Virginia, the governor, lord Dunmore, had just returned from a
successful expedition against the Indians, in which he had acquired
considerable popularity. Presuming too much on the favour of the
moment, and dissatisfied with some recommendations concerning the
militia and independent companies made by the colonial convention
which had assembled in Richmond, he employed the captain of an armed
vessel then lying in James river, a few miles from Williamsburg, to
convey to his ship by night, a part of the powder in the magazine,
belonging to the colony.

This measure, though conducted with great secrecy, was discovered; and
the people of the town assembled next morning in arms, for the purpose
of demanding restitution of the property which had been taken. The
magistrates, having prevailed on them to disperse, presented an
address to the governor, remonstrating against the removal of the
powder, which they alleged to be the more injurious, because it was
necessary for their defence in the event of an insurrection among
their slaves.

The governor acknowledged that the powder had been removed by his
order, but gave assurances that he would restore it, if an
insurrection of the slaves should render the measure necessary.
Unsatisfactory as this answer was, no farther means were used in
Williamsburg for its recovery.

This transaction excited a strong sensation in the interior of the
country. Meetings were held in several counties, and the conduct of
the governor was greatly condemned. The independent companies of
Hanover and King William, at the instance of Mr. Patrick Henry, a
member of congress, assembled, and marched for Williamsburg, with the
avowed design of compelling restitution of the powder, or of obtaining
its value. Their march was stopped by the active interposition of Mr.
Braxton, who obtained from the King's receiver general, a bill for the
value of the property that had been removed, with which he returned to
the companies, and prevailed on them to relinquish a farther
prosecution of the enterprise.[246]

     [Footnote 246: The independent companies of the upper part
     of the northern neck, also assembled to the number of about
     six hundred men, and proceeded on horseback as far as
     Fredericksburg, when a council was held in which Richard
     Henry Lee, then on his way to congress, presided, which
     advised their return to their respective homes.]

The alarm occasioned by this movement induced lady Dunmore, to retire
with her family on board the Fowey man of war, lying in James river;
whilst his lordship fortified his palace, which he garrisoned with a
corps of marines; and published a proclamation in which he charged
those who had procured the bill from the receiver general, with
rebellious practices.

During this state of irritation, lord North's conciliatory proposition
was received; and an assembly was suddenly called, to whose
consideration it was submitted. The governor used all his address to
procure its acceptance; but, in Virginia, as in the other colonies, it
was rejected, because it obviously involved a surrender of the whole
subject in contest.

[Sidenote: Governor Dunmore retires to the Fowey ship of war.]

One of the first measures of the assembly was to inquire into the
causes of the late disturbances, and particularly to examine the state
of the magazine. Although this building belonged to the colony, it was
in the custody of the governor; and, before admittance could be
obtained; some persons of the neighbourhood broke into it, one of whom
was wounded by a spring gun, and it was found that the powder which
remained had been buried, and that the guns were deprived of their
locks. These circumstances excited so great a ferment that the
governor thought proper to withdraw to the Fowey man of war. Several
letters passed between him and the legislature containing reciprocal
complaints of each other, in the course of which they pressed his
return to the seat of government, while he insisted on their coming on
board the Fowey. They were content that he should, even there, give
his assent to some bills that were prepared, but he refused so to do,
and the assembly dissolved itself; the members being generally elected
to a convention then about to meet in Richmond.

Thus terminated for ever, the regal government in Virginia.

[Sidenote: Provisional congress of South Carolina.]

In South Carolina, so soon as intelligence of the battle of Lexington
was received, a provincial congress was called by the committee of
correspondence. An association was formed, the members of which
pledged themselves to each other to repel force by force, whenever the
continental or provincial congress should determine it to be
necessary; and declared that they would hold all those inimical to the
colonies, who should refuse to subscribe it. The congress also
determined to put the town and province in a posture of defence, and
agreed to raise two regiments of infantry, and one of rangers.

[Sidenote: Arrival of lord William Campbell.]

While the congress was in session, lord William Campbell, who had been
appointed governor, arrived in the province, and was received with
those demonstrations of joy which had been usual on such occasions.
The congress waited on him with an address expressing the causes of
their proceedings; in which they declared that no love of innovation,
no desire of altering the constitution of government, no lust of
independence, had the least influence on their councils; but that they
had been compelled to associate and take up arms, solely for the
preservation, and in defence, of their lives, liberties, and property.
They entreated his excellency to make such a representation of the
state of the colony, and of their true motives, as to assure his
majesty that he had no subjects who more sincerely desired to testify
their loyalty and affection, or would be more willing to devote their
lives and fortunes to his real service. His lordship returned a mild
and prudent answer.[247]

     [Footnote 247: Gordon.]

For some time lord William Campbell conducted himself with such
apparent moderation, as to remain on good terms with the leaders of
the opposition; but he was secretly exerting all the influence of his
station to defeat their views; and was, at length, detected in
carrying on negotiations with the Indians, and with the disaffected in
the interior. These people had been induced to believe that the
inhabitants of the sea coast, in order to exempt their tea from a
trifling tax, were about to engage them in a contest, which would
deprive them of their salt, osnaburgs, and other imported articles of
absolute necessity. The detection of these intrigues excited such a
ferment that the governor was compelled to fly from Charleston, and
take refuge on board a ship of war in the river. The government was
then, as elsewhere, taken entirely into the hands of men chosen by the
people; and a body of provincial troops was ordered into that part of
the country which adhered to the royal cause, where many individuals,
contrary to the advice of governor Campbell, had risen in arms. The
leaders were seized, and their followers dispersed.

In North Carolina also, governor Martin was charged with fomenting a
civil war, and exciting an insurrection among the negroes. Relying on
the aid he expected from the disaffected, especially from some
Highland emigrants, he made preparations for the defence of his
palace; but the people taking the alarm before his troops were raised,
he was compelled to seek safety on board a sloop of war in Cape Fear
river; soon after which, the committee resolved "that no person or
persons whatsoever should have any correspondence with him, on pain of
being deemed enemies to the liberties of America, and dealt with

As soon as congress was organised, Mr. Hancock laid before that body
the depositions showing that, in the battle of Lexington, the King's
troops were the aggressors; together with the proceedings of the
provincial congress of Massachusetts on that subject.

The affairs of America were now arrived at a crisis to which they had
been, for some time, rapidly tending; and it had become necessary for
the delegates of the other provinces finally to determine, either to
embark with New England in war, or, by separating from her, to
surrender the object for which they had jointly contended, and submit
to that unlimited supremacy which was claimed by parliament.

Even among the well informed, the opinion, that the contest would
ultimately be determined by the sword, had not become general. The
hope had been indulged by many of the popular leaders, that the union
of the colonies, the extent and serious aspect of the opposition, and
the distress which their non-importation agreements would produce
among the merchants and manufacturers of the parent state, would
induce administration to recede from its high pretensions, and restore
harmony and free intercourse. This opinion had derived strength from
the communications made them by their zealous friends in England. The
divisions and discontents of that country had been represented as much
greater than the fact would justify; and the exhortations transmitted
to them to persevere in the honourable course which had been commenced
with so much glory, had generally been accompanied with assurances
that success would yet crown their patriotic labours. Many had engaged
with zeal in the resistance made by America, and had acted on a full
conviction of the correctness of the principles for which they
contended, who would have felt some reluctance in supporting the
measures which had been adopted, had they believed that those measures
would produce war. But each party counted too much on the divisions of
the other; and each seems to have taken step after step, in the hope
that its adversary would yield the point in contest, without resorting
to open force. Thus, on both sides, the public feeling had been
gradually conducted to a point, which would, in the first instance,
have been viewed with horror, and had been prepared for events, which,
in the beginning of the controversy, would have alarmed the most
intrepid. The prevailing sentiment in the middle and southern colonies
still was, that a reconciliation, on the terms proposed by America,
was not even yet impracticable, and was devoutly to be wished; but
that war was to be preferred to a surrender of those rights, for which
they had contended, and to which they believed every British subject,
wherever placed, to be unquestionably entitled. They did not hesitate
therefore which part of the alternative to embrace; and their
delegates united cordially with those of the north, in such measures
as the exigency required. The resolution was unanimous that, as
hostilities had actually commenced, and as large reinforcements to the
British army were expected, these colonies should be immediately put
in a state of defence, and the militia of New York be armed and
trained, and kept in readiness to act at a moment's warning. Congress
also determined to embody a number of men, without delay, for the
protection of the inhabitants of that place, but did not authorise
opposition to the landing of any troops which might be ordered to that
station by the crown. The convention of New York had already consulted
congress on this subject, and had been advised to permit the soldiers
to take possession of the barracks, and to remain there so long as
they conducted themselves peaceably; but, if they should commit
hostilities, or invade private property, to repel force by force. Thus
anxious was congress even after a battle had been fought, not to widen
the breach between the two countries. In addition to the real wish for
reconciliation, sound policy directed that the people of America
should engage in the arduous conflict which was approaching, with a
perfect conviction that it was forced upon them, and not invited by
the intemperate conduct of their leaders. The divisions existing in
several of the States suggested the propriety of this conduct, even to
those who despaired of deriving any other benefit from it, than a
greater degree of union among their own countrymen. In this spirit,
congress mingled with the resolutions for putting the country in a
state of defence, others expressing the most earnest wish for
reconciliation with the mother country, to effect which, that body
determined to address, once more, an humble and dutiful petition to
the King, and to adopt measures for opening a negotiation in order "to
accommodate the unhappy disputes subsisting between Great Britain and
the colonies."

As no great confidence could be placed in the success of pacific
propositions, the resolution for putting the country in a state of
defence was accompanied with others rendered necessary by that
undetermined state between war and peace, in which America was placed.
All exports to those colonies, which had not deputed members to
congress, were stopped; and all supplies of provisions, and other
necessaries, to the British fisheries, or to the army or navy in
Massachusetts Bay, or to any vessels employed in transporting British
troops to America, or from one colony to another, were prohibited.
Though this resolution was only an extension of the system of
commercial resistance which had been adopted before the commencement
of hostilities, and was evidently provoked by the late act of
parliament, it seems to have been entirely unexpected, and certainly
produced great distress.

Massachusetts having stated the embarrassments resulting from being
without a regular government, "at a time when an army was to be raised
to defend themselves against the butcheries and devastations of their
implacable enemies," and having declared a readiness to conform to
such general plan as congress might recommend to the colonies, it was
resolved "that no obedience is due to the act of parliament for
altering the charter of that colony, nor to officers who, instead of
observing that charter, seek its subversion." The governor and
lieutenant governor, therefore, were to be considered as absent, and
their offices vacant. To avoid the intolerable inconveniences arising
from a total suspension of government, "especially at a time when
general Gage had actually levied war, and was carrying on hostilities
against his majesty's peaceable and loyal subjects in that colony," it
was "recommended to the convention to write letters to the inhabitants
of the several places which are entitled to representation in the
assembly, requesting them to choose such representatives; and that
such assembly or council exercise the powers of government until a
governor of his majesty's appointment will consent to govern the
colony, according to its charter."[248]

     [Footnote 248: Journals of congress.]

These resolutions were quickly followed by others of greater vigour,
denoting more decidedly, a determination to prepare for the last
resort of nations.

It was earnestly recommended to the conventions of all the colonies to
provide the means of making gun powder, and to obtain the largest
possible supplies of ammunition. Even the non-importation agreement
was relaxed in favour of vessels importing these precious materials.
The conventions were also urged to arm and discipline the militia; and
so to class them, that one-fourth should be minute men. They were also
requested to raise several regular corps for the service of the
continent; and a general resolution was entered into, authorising any
province thinking itself in danger, to raise a body of regulars not
exceeding one thousand men, to be, paid by the united colonies.

Congress also proceeded to organise the higher departments of the
army, of which, colonel George Washington of Virginia was appointed
commander in chief.[249]

     [Footnote 249: Artemus Ward of Massachusetts, then
     commanding the troops before Boston; Colonel Charles Lee,
     lately an officer in the British service; and Israel Putnam
     of Connecticut, were appointed major generals; Horatio
     Gates, who had held the rank of major in the British
     service, was appointed adjutant general.]

[Sidenote: Manifesto of congress.]

Bills of credit to the amount of three millions of dollars were
emitted for the purpose of defraying the expenses of the war, and the
faith of the twelve confederated colonies was pledged for their
redemption. Articles of war for the government of the continental army
were formed; though the troops were raised under the authority of the
respective colonies, without even a requisition from congress, except
in a few instances. A solemn dignified declaration, in form of a
manifesto, was prepared, to be published to the army in orders, and to
the people from the pulpit. After detailing the causes of their
opposition to the mother country, with all the energy of men feeling
the injuries of which they complain, the manifesto exclaims, "but why
should we enumerate our injuries in detail? By one statute, it is
declared that parliament can, of right, make laws to bind us in all
cases whatsoever! What is to defend us against so enormous, so
unlimited a power? Not a single man of those who assume it, is chosen
by us, or is subject to our control or influence: but, on the
contrary, they are, all of them, exempt from the operation of such
laws; and an American revenue, if not diverted from the ostensible
purposes for which it is raised, would actually lighten their own
burdens in proportion as they increase ours. We saw the misery to
which such despotism would reduce us. We, for ten years, incessantly
and ineffectually, besieged the throne as supplicants; we reasoned, we
remonstrated with parliament in the most mild and decent language."

The manifesto next enumerates the measures adopted by administration
to enforce the claims of Great Britain, and then adds,--"we are
reduced to the alternative of choosing an unconstitutional submission
to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force.--The
latter is our choice. We have counted the cost of this contest, and
find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. Honour, justice, and
humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received
from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a
right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of
resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably
awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them.

"Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are
great; and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly
attainable. We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the
divine favour towards us, that his providence would not permit us to
be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our
present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation,
and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts
fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before
God and the world, DECLARE that, exerting the utmost energy of those
powers which our beneficent creator hath graciously bestowed upon us,
the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in
defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance,
employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind
resolved to die freemen, rather than to live slaves.

"Lest this declaration should disquiet the minds of our friends and
fellow subjects in any part of the empire, we assure them that we mean
not to dissolve that union which has so long and so happily subsisted
between us, and which we sincerely wish to see restored. Necessity has
not yet driven us to that desperate measure, or induced us to excite
any other nation to war against them. We have not raised armies with
ambitious designs of separating from Great Britain, and establishing
independent states. We fight not for glory, or for conquest. We
exhibit to mankind the remarkable spectacle of a people attacked by
unprovoked enemies, without any imputation or even suspicion of
offence. _They_ boast of their privileges and civilization, and yet
proffer no milder conditions than servitude or death.

"In our own native land in defence of the freedom that is our birth
right, and which we ever enjoyed until the late violation of it, for
the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry
of our forefathers, and ourselves, against violence actually offered,
we have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall
cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being
renewed shall be removed, and not before."

Some intelligence respecting the movements of the British army having
excited a suspicion that general Gage intended to penetrate into the
country, the provincial congress recommended it to the council of war
to take measures for the defence of Dorchester neck, and to occupy
Bunker's hill, a commanding piece of ground just within the peninsula
on which Charlestown stands. In observance of these instructions, a
detachment of one thousand men, commanded by colonel Prescott, was
ordered to take possession of this ground; but, by some mistake,
Breed's hill, situate nearer to Boston, was marked out, instead of
Bunker's hill, for the proposed intrenchments.

The party sent on this service worked with so much diligence and
secrecy that, by the dawn of day, they had thrown up a small square
redoubt, without alarming some ships of war which lay in the river at
no great distance. As soon as the returning light discovered this work
to the ships, a heavy cannonade was commenced upon it, which the
provincials sustained with firmness. They continued to labour until
they had thrown up a small breast work stretching from the east side
of the redoubt to the bottom of the hill, so as to extend considerably
their line of defence.

As this eminence overlooked Boston, general Gage determined to drive
the provincials from it; and for this purpose, detached major general
Howe, and brigadier general Pigot, at the head of ten companies of
grenadiers, and the same number of light infantry with a proper
proportion of field artillery. These troops landed at Moreton's point;
but, perceiving that the Americans waited for them with firmness, they
remained on their ground until the arrival of a reinforcement from
Boston, for which general Howe had applied. During this interval, the
Americans also were reinforced by a detachment under the command of
generals Warren and Pommeroy; and they availed themselves of this
delay to strengthen their defences with some adjoining posts and rails
which they pulled up and arranged in two parallel lines at a small
distance from each other; rilling the space between with hay, so as to
form a complete cover from the musketry of the assailants.

The British troops, on being joined by their second detachment,
advanced slowly, in two lines, under cover of a heavy discharge of
cannon and howitzers, frequently halting in order to allow their
artillery time to demolish the works. While they were advancing,
orders were given to set fire to Charlestown, a handsome village,
which flanked their line of march, and which was soon consumed.

It is not easy to conceive a spectacle more grand and more awful than
was now exhibited, nor a moment of more anxious expectation. The scene
of action was in full view of the heights of Boston and of its
neighbourhood, which were covered with spectators taking deep and
opposite interests in the events passing before them. The soldiers of
the hostile armies not on duty, the citizens of Boston, and the
inhabitants of the adjacent country; all feeling emotions which set
description at defiance, were witnesses of the majestic and tremendous

[Sidenote: Battle of Breed's hill.]

The provincials permitted the English to approach unmolested, within
less than one hundred yards of the works, and then poured in upon them
so deadly a fire that their line was broken, and they fell back with
precipitation towards the landing place. By the great exertions of
their officers, they were rallied and brought up to the charge; but
were again driven back in confusion by the heavy and incessant fire
from the works. General Howe is said to have been left, at one time,
almost alone; and it is certain that few officers about his person
escaped unhurt.

The impression to be made by victory or defeat in this early stage of
the war, was deemed so important that extraordinary exertions were
used once more to rally the English. With difficulty, they were led a
third time to the works. The redoubt was attacked on three sides,
while some pieces of artillery raked the breast work from end to end.
At the same time, a cross fire from the ships, and floating batteries
lying on both sides of the isthmus by which the peninsula is connected
with the continent, not only annoyed the works on Breed's hill, but
deterred any considerable reinforcements from entering the peninsula.
The ammunition of the Americans being nearly exhausted, they were no
longer able to keep up the same incessant stream of fire which had
twice repulsed the assailants; and the redoubt, which the English
mounted with ease, was carried at the point of the bayonet. Yet the
Americans, many of whom were without bayonets, are said to have
maintained the contest with clubbed muskets, until the redoubt was
half filled with the King's troops.

The redoubt being lost, the breast work was abandoned; and the
hazardous movement was accomplished, of retreating in the face of a
victorious enemy over Charlestown neck; exposed to the same cross
fire, which had deterred the reinforcements from coming to their

The detachment employed on this enterprise consisted of about three
thousand men, composing the flower of the British army; and high
encomiums were bestowed on the resolution they displayed. According to
the returns, their killed and wounded amounted to one thousand and
fifty four,--an immense proportion of the number engaged in the
action. Notwithstanding the danger of the retreat over Charlestown
neck, the loss of the Americans was stated at only four hundred and
fifty men. Among the killed was Doctor Warren, a gentleman greatly
beloved and regretted, who fell just after the provincials began their
retreat from the breast work.

At the time, the colonial force on the peninsula was generally stated
at fifteen hundred men. It has been since estimated at four thousand.

Although the Americans lost the ground, they claimed the victory. Many
of the advantages of victory were certainly gained. Their confidence
in themselves was greatly increased; and it was asked, universally,
how many more such triumphs the invaders of their country could

The British army had been treated too roughly, to attempt farther
offensive operations. They contented themselves with seizing and
fortifying Bunker's hill, which secured the peninsula of Charlestown;
in which, however, they remained as closely blockaded as in that of

The Americans were much elated by the intrepidity the raw troops had
displayed, and the execution they had done, in this engagement. They
fondly cherished the belief that courage, and dexterity in the use of
fire arms, would bestow advantages amply compensating the want of
discipline. Unfortunately for the colonies, this course of thinking
was not confined to the mass of the people. It seems to have extended
to those who guided the public councils, and to have contributed to
the adoption of a system, which, more than once, brought their cause
to the brink of ruin. They did not distinguish sufficiently between
the momentary efforts of a few brave men, brought together by a high
sense of the injuries which threatened their country, and carried into
action under the influence of keen resentments; and those steady
persevering exertions under continued suffering, which must be
necessary to bring an important war to a happy termination. Nor did
they examine with sufficient accuracy, several striking circumstances
attending the battle which had been fought. It is not easy to read the
accounts given of the action without being persuaded, that, had the
Americans on Breed's hill been supplied with ammunition, and been
properly supported; had the reinforcements ordered to their assistance
entered the peninsula, as soldiers in habits of obedience would have
done, and there displayed the heroic courage which was exhibited by
their countrymen engaged in defence of the works; the assailants must
have been defeated, and the flower of the British army cut to pieces.
It ought also to have been remarked that, while the few who were
endowed with more than a common portion of bravery, encountered the
danger of executing the orders they had received, the many were
deterred by the magnitude of that danger. But it is not by the few
that great victories are to be gained, or a country to be saved.

Amidst these hostile operations, the voice of peace was yet heard.
Allegiance to the King was still acknowledged; and a lingering hope
remained that an accommodation was not impossible. Congress voted a
petition to his majesty, replete with professions of duty and
attachment; and addressed a letter to the people of England, conjuring
them by the endearing appellations of "friends, countrymen, and
brethren," to prevent the dissolution of "that connexion which the
remembrance of former friendships, pride in the glorious achievements
of common ancestors, and affection for the heirs of their virtues, had
heretofore maintained." They uniformly disclaimed any idea of
independence, and professed themselves to consider union with England
on constitutional principles, as the greatest blessing which could be
bestowed on them.

But Britain had determined to maintain, by force, the legislative
supremacy of parliament; and America was equally determined, by force,
to repel the claim.


NOTE--No. I.--_See Page 195._

The annals of Massachusetts, for this period, exhibit one of those
wonderful cases of popular delusion, which infecting every class of
society, and gaining strength from its very extravagance; triumphing
over human reason, and cruelly sporting with human life; reveal to man
his deplorable imbecility, and would teach him, if the experience of
others could teach, never to countenance a departure from that
moderation, and those safe and sure principles of moral rectitude
which have stood the test of time, and have received the approbation
of the wise and good in all ages. A very detailed and interesting
account of the humiliating and affecting events here alluded to has
been given by Mr. Hutchinson, but is too long to be inserted entire in
this work; they were, however, of too much magnitude while passing, to
be entirely unnoticed even at this day.

In Great Britain, as well as in America, the opinion had long
prevailed that, by the aid of malignant spirits, certain persons
possessed supernatural powers, which were usually exercised in the
mischievous employment of tormenting others; and the criminal code of
both countries was disgraced with laws for the punishment of
witchcraft. With considerable intervals between them, some few
instances had occurred in New England of putting this sanguinary law
in force; but in the year 1692, this weakness was converted into
frenzy; and after exercising successfully its destructive rage on
those miserable objects whose wayward dispositions had excited the ill
opinion, or whose age and wretchedness ought to have secured them the
pity of their neighbours, its baneful activity was extended to persons
in every situation of life, and many of the most reputable members of
society became its victims.

The first scene of this distressing tragedy was laid in Salem. The
public mind had been prepared for its exhibition by some publications,
stating the evidence adduced in former trials for witchcraft both in
Old and New England, in which full proof was supposed to have been
given of the guilt of the accused. Soon after this, some young girls
in Boston had accustomed themselves to fall into fits, and had
affected to be struck dead on the production of certain popular books,
such as the _assembly's catechism_, and _Cotton's milk for babes_,
while they could read Oxford's jests, or popish and quaker books, with
many others, which were deemed profane, without being in any manner
affected by them. These pretences, instead of exposing the fraud to
instant detection, seem to have promoted the cheat; and they were
supposed to be possessed by demons who were utterly confounded at the
production of those holy books. "Sometimes," says Mr. Hutchinson,
"they were deaf, then dumb, then blind; and sometimes, all these
disorders together would come upon them. Their tongues would be drawn
down their throats, then pulled out upon their chins. Their jaws,
necks, shoulders, elbows, and all their joints would appear to be
dislocated, and they would make most piteous outcries of burnings, of
being cut with knives, beat, &c. and the marks of wounds were
afterwards to be seen." At length an old Irish woman, not of good
character, who had given one of those girls some harsh language, and
to whom all this diabolical mischief was attributed, was apprehended
by the magistracy; and neither confessing nor denying the fact, was,
on the certificate of physicians that she was _compos mentis_,
condemned and executed.

Sir William Phipps, the governor, on his arrival from England, brought
with him opinions which could not fail to strengthen the popular
prejudice, and the lieutenant governor supported one which was well
calculated to render it sanguinary. He maintained that though the
devil might appear in the shape of a guilty person, he could never be
permitted to assume that of an innocent one. Consequently, when those
who affected to perceive the form which tormented them designated any
particular person as guilty, the guilt of that person was established,
because he could not, if innocent, be personated by an evil spirit.

The public mind being thus predisposed, four girls in Salem complained
of being afflicted in the same manner with those in Boston. The
physicians, unable to account for the disorder, attributed it to
witchcraft, and an old Indian woman in the neighbourhood was selected
as the witch. The attention bestowed on these girls gave them great
importance; and not only confirmed them in the imposture, but produced
other competitors who were ambitious of the same distinction. Several
other persons were now bewitched; and not only the old Indian, but two
other old women, the one bedridden, and the other subject to
melancholy and distraction, were accused as witches. It was necessary
to keep up the agitation already excited, by furnishing fresh subjects
for astonishment; and in a short time, the accusations extended to
persons who were in respectable situations. The manner in which these
accusations were received, evidenced such a degree of public
credulity, that the impostors seem to have been convinced of their
power to assail with impunity, all whom caprice or malignity might
select for their victims. Such was the prevailing infatuation, that in
one instance, a child of five years old was charged as an accomplice
in these pretended crimes; and if the nearest relatives of the accused
manifested either tenderness for their situation, or resentment at the
injury done their friends, they drew upon themselves the vengeance of
these profligate impostors, and were involved in the dangers from
which they were desirous of rescuing those with whom they were most
intimately connected. For going out of church when allusions were made
from the pulpit to a person of fair fame, a sister was charged as a
witch; and for accompanying on her examination a wife who had been
apprehended, the husband was involved in the same prosecution, and was
condemned and executed. In the presence of the magistrates these
flagitious accusers affected extreme agony, and attributed to those
whom they accused, the power of torturing them by a look. The
examinations were all taken in writing, and several of them are
detailed at full length in Mr. Hutchinson's history of Massachusetts.
They exhibit a deplorable degree of blind infatuation on one side, and
of atrocious profligacy on the other, which if not well attested,
could scarcely be supposed to have existed.

Many persons of sober lives, and unblemished characters, were
committed to prison; and the public prejudices had already pronounced
their doom. Against charges of this nature, thus conducted, no defence
could possibly be made. To be accused was to be found guilty. The very
grossness of the imposition seemed to secure its success, and the
absurdity of the accusation to establish the verity of the charge.

The consternation became almost universal. It was soon perceived that
all attempts to establish innocence must be ineffectual; and the
person accused could only hope to obtain safety, by confessing the
truth of the charge, and criminating others. The extent of crime
introduced by such a state of things almost surpasses belief. Every
feeling of humanity is shocked when we learn that to save themselves,
children accused their parents; in some instances, parents their
children; and in one case, sentence of death was pronounced against a
husband on the testimony of his wife.

There were examples of persons who under the terrors of examination
confessed themselves guilty, and accused others; but unable afterwards
to support the reproaches of conscience, retracted their confessions
under the persuasion that death would be the consequence of doing so.

During this reign of popular frenzy, the bounds of probability were so
far transcended, that we scarcely know how to give credit to the well
attested fact, that among those who were permitted to save themselves
by confessing that they were witches, and joining in the accusation of
their parents, were to be found children from seven to ten years of
age! Among the numbers who were accused, only one person was
acquitted. For this he was indebted to one of the girls who would not
join the others in criminating him.

The examination had commenced in February, and the list of commitments
had swelled to a lamentable bulk by June, when the new charter having
arrived, commissioners of oyer and terminer were appointed for the
trial of persons charged with witchcraft. By this court, a
considerable number were condemned, of whom nineteen, protesting their
innocence, were executed. It is observed by Mr. Hutchinson, that those
who were condemned and not executed had most probably saved themselves
by a confession of their guilt.

Fortunately for those who were still to be tried, the legislature,
convened under the new charter, created a regular tribunal for the
trial of criminal as well as civil cases, and the court of
commissioners rose to sit no more. The first session of the regular
court for the trial of criminal cases was to be held in January, and
this delay was favourable to reflection and to the recovery of the
public reason. Other causes contributed to this event. There remained
yet in the various prisons of the colony, a vast number of women, many
of whom were of the most reputable families in the towns in which they
had resided. Allusion had been made to many others of the first rank,
and some had been expressly named by the bewitched and confessing
witches. A Mr. Bradstreet, who had been appointed one of the council,
and was son to the old governor of that name; but who as a justice of
the peace was suspected of not prosecuting with sufficient rigour, was
named by the witnesses as a confederate, and found it necessary to
abscond. The governor's lady it is said, and the wife of one of the
ministers who had favoured this persecution, were among the accused;
and a charge was also brought against the secretary of the colony of

Although the violence of the torrent of prejudice was beginning to
abate, yet the grand jury in January, found a true bill against fifty
persons, but of those brought to trial, only three were condemned, and
they were not executed. All those who were not tried in January, were
discharged by order of the governor, "and never," says Mr. Hutchinson,
"has such a jail delivery been known in New England. And never was
there given a more melancholy proof of the degree of depravity of
which man is capable when the public passions countenance crime."

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE--No. II.--_See Page 291._

The PLAN of the Union was as follows, viz.

"It is proposed that humble application be made for an act of
parliament of Great Britain, by virtue of which one general government
may be formed in America, including all the said colonies:
[Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina,
and South Carolina] within and under which government, each colony may
retain its present constitution, except in the particulars wherein a
change may be directed by the said act, as hereafter follows:


That the said general government be administered by a president
general, to be appointed and supported by the crown, and a grand
council, to be chosen by the representatives of the people of the
several colonies, met in their assemblies.


That within -- months after passing such act, the houses of
representatives that happen to be sitting within that time, or that
shall be especially for that purpose convened, may and shall choose
members for the grand council in the following proportion, that is to

Massachusetts Bay   7
New Hampshire       2
Connecticut         5
Rhode Island        2
New York            4
New Jersey          3
Pennsylvania        6
Maryland            4
Virginia            7
North Carolina      4
South Carolina      4


Who shall meet for the first time at the city of Philadelphia, in
Pennsylvania, being called by the president general as soon as
conveniently may be after his appointment.


That there shall be a new election of the members of the grand council
every three years; and on the death or resignation of any member, his
place shall be supplied by a new choice, at the next sitting of the
assembly of the colony he represented.


That after the first three years, when the proportion of money arising
out of each colony to the general treasury can be known, the number of
members to be chosen for each colony shall, from time to time, in all
ensuing elections, be regulated by that proportion (yet so as that the
number to be chosen by any one province be not more than seven, nor
less than two).


That the grand council shall meet once in every year, and oftener, if
occasion require, at such time and place as they shall adjourn to at
the last preceding meeting, or as they shall be called to meet at by
the president general, on any emergency; he having first obtained in
writing the consent of seven of the members to such call, and sent due
and timely notice to the whole.


That the grand council have power to choose their speaker: and shall
neither be dissolved, prorogued, nor continued sitting longer than six
weeks at one time; without their own consent, or the special command
of the crown.


That the members of the grand council shall be allowed for their
services, ten shillings sterling per diem, during their session and
journey to and from the place of meeting; twenty miles to be reckoned
a day's journey.


That the assent of the president general be requisite to all acts of
the grand council; and that it be his office and duty to cause them to
be carried into execution.


That the president general, with the advice of the grand council, hold
or direct all Indian treaties in which the general interest of the
colonies may be concerned; and make peace or declare war with Indian


That they make such laws as they judge necessary for regulating all
Indian trade.


That they make all purchases from the Indians for the crown, of lands
not now within the bounds of particular colonies, or that shall not be
within their bounds, when some of them are reduced to more convenient


That they make new settlements on such purchases by granting lands in
the king's name, reserving a quit rent to the crown, for the use of
the general treasury.


That they make laws for regulating and governing such new settlements,
until the crown shall think fit to form them into particular


That they raise and pay soldiers, build forts for the defence of any
of the colonies, and equip vessels of force to guard the coasts and
protect the trade on the ocean, lakes, or great rivers; but they shall
not impress men in any colony, without the consent of the legislature.


That for these purposes they have power to make laws, and lay and levy
such general duties, imposts, or taxes, as to them shall appear most
equal and just, (considering the ability and other circumstances of
the inhabitants in the several colonies) and such may be collected
with the least inconvenience to the people; rather discouraging
luxury, than loading industry with unnecessary burdens.


That they may appoint a general treasurer and particular treasurer in
each government, when necessary; and from time to time may order the
sums in the treasuries of each government into the general treasury,
or draw on them for special payments, as they find most convenient.


Yet no money to issue but by joint orders of the president general and
grand council, except where sums have been appropriated to particular
purposes, and the president general has been previously empowered by
an act to draw for such sums.


That the general accounts shall be yearly settled, and reported to the
several assemblies.


That a quorum of the grand council, empowered to act with the
president general, do consist of twenty-five members; among whom there
shall be one or more from the majority of the colonies.


That the laws made by them for the purposes aforesaid, shall not be
repugnant, but, as near as may be, agreeable to the laws of England,
and shall be transmitted to the king in council, for approbation, as
soon as may be after their passing; and if not disapproved within
three years after presentation, to remain in force.


That in case of the death of the president general, the speaker of the
grand council for the time being shall succeed, and be vested with the
same powers and authorities, to continue until the king's pleasure be


That all military commission officers, whether for land or sea
service, to act under this general constitution, shall be nominated by
the president general; but the approbation of the grand council is to
be obtained, before they receive their commissions. And all civil
officers are to be nominated by the grand council, and to receive the
president general's approbation before they officiate.


But in case of vacancy, by death, or removal of any officer, civil or
military, under this constitution, the governor of the province in
which such vacancy happens, may appoint until the pleasure of the
president general and grand council can be known.


That the particular military as well as civil establishments in each
colony remain in their present state, the general constitution
notwithstanding; and that on sudden emergencies any colony may defend
itself, and lay the accounts of expense thence arising before the
president general and grand council, who may allow and order payment
of the same as far as they judge such accounts reasonable."


       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE--No. III.--_See Page 370._

These being the first resolutions of any assembly after the passage of
the stamp act, they are inserted.

_Whereas_, The honourable house of commons in England have of late
drawn into question how far the general assembly of this colony hath
power to enact laws for laying taxes and imposing duties payable by
the people of this his majesty's most ancient colony, for settling and
ascertaining the same to all future times, the house of Burgesses of
the present general assembly have come to the several following

_Resolved_, That the first adventurers and settlers of this his
majesty's colony and dominion of Virginia, brought with them, and
transmitted to their posterity, and all others his majesty's subjects
since inhabiting in this his majesty's colony, all the privileges and
immunities that have at any time been held, enjoyed, and possessed by
the people of Great Britain.

_Resolved_, That by two royal charters granted by King James I. the
colonies aforesaid are declared entitled to all the privileges of
denizens, and natural born subjects, to all intents and purposes as if
they had been abiding and born within the realm of England.

_Resolved_, That the taxation of the people by themselves, or by
persons chosen by themselves, to represent them, who can only know
what taxes the people are able to bear, and the easiest mode of
raising them, and are equally affected by such taxes themselves, is
the distinguished characteristic of British freedom, and without which
the ancient constitution cannot subsist.

_Resolved_, That his majesty's liege people of this most ancient
colony have uninterruptedly enjoyed the right of being thus governed
by their own assembly in the article of their taxes and internal
police, and that the same hath never been forfeited nor any other way
yielded up, but hath been constantly recognised by the King and people
of Great Britain.

_Resolved_, Therefore, that the general assembly of this colony have
the sole power to lay taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants of
this colony; and that every attempt to vest such a power in any person
or persons whatsoever, other than the general assembly aforesaid, has
a manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American freedom.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE--No. IV.--_See Page 371._

"The members of this congress, sincerely devoted with the warmest
sentiments of affection and duty, to his majesty's person and
government, inviolably attached to the present happy establishment of
the protestant succession, and with minds deeply impressed by a sense
of the present and impending misfortunes of the British colonies on
this continent; having considered, as maturely as time will permit,
the circumstances of the said colonies, esteem it our indispensable
duty to make the following declarations of our humble opinion,
respecting the most essential rights and liberties of the colonists,
and of the grievances under which they labour, by reason of several
late acts of parliament.

I. That his majesty's subjects in these colonies, owe the same
allegiance to the crown of Great Britain that is owing from his
subjects born within the realm, and all due subordination to that
august body the parliament of Great Britain.

II. That his majesty's liege subjects in these colonies, are entitled
to all the inherent rights and liberties of his natural born subjects,
within the kingdom of Great Britain.

III. That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and
the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on them,
but with their own consent, given personally, or by their

IV. That the people of these colonies are not, and, from their local
circumstances, cannot be represented in the house of commons of Great

V. That the only representatives of these colonies are persons chosen
therein by themselves, and that no taxes ever have been, or can be
constitutionally imposed upon them, but by their respective

VI. That all supplies to the crown being free gifts from the people,
it is unreasonable, and inconsistent with the principles and spirit of
the British constitution, for the people of Great Britain to grant to
his majesty the property of the colonists.

VII. That trial by jury is the inherent and invaluable right of every
British subject in these colonies.

VIII. That the late act of parliament entitled, 'an act for granting
and applying certain stamp duties, and other duties, in the British
colonies and plantations in America,' &c. by imposing taxes on the
inhabitants of these colonies; and the said act, and several other
acts, by extending the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty beyond
its ancient limits, have a manifest tendency to subvert the rights and
liberties of the colonists.

IX. That the duties imposed by several late acts of parliament, from
the peculiar circumstances of these colonies, will be extremely
burdensome and grievous; and from the scarcity of specie, the payment
of them absolutely impracticable.

X. That as the profits of the trade of these colonies ultimately
centre in Great Britain, to pay for the manufactures which they are
obliged to take from thence, they eventually contribute very largely
to all supplies granted to the crown.

XI. That the restrictions imposed by several late acts of parliament
on the trade of these colonies, will render them unable to purchase
the manufactures of Great Britain.

XII. That the increase, prosperity, and happiness of these colonies
depend on the full and free enjoyment of their rights and liberties,
and an intercourse with Great Britain mutually affectionate and

XIII. That it is the right of the British subjects in these colonies
to petition the king, or either house of parliament.

XIV. That it is the indispensable duty of these colonies, to the best
of sovereigns, to the mother country, and to themselves, to endeavour,
by a loyal and dutiful address to his majesty, and humble applications
to both houses of parliament, to procure the repeal of the act for
granting and applying certain stamp duties, of all clauses of any
other acts of parliament, whereby the jurisdiction of the admiralty is
extended as aforesaid, and of the other late acts for the restriction
of American commerce."

_Prior Documents._

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE--No. V.--_See Page 383._

_Province of Massachusetts Bay, Feb. 11, 1768._


The house of representatives of this province have taken into their
consideration the great difficulties that must accrue to themselves
and their constituents, by the operation of the several acts of
parliament imposing duties and taxes on the American colonies.

As it is a subject in which every colony is deeply interested, they
have no reason to doubt but your house is duly impressed with its
importance: and that such constitutional measures will be come into as
are proper. It seems to be necessary, that all possible care should be
taken that the representations of the several assemblies, upon so
delicate a point, should harmonise with each other: the house,
therefore, hope that this letter will be candidly considered in no
other light, than as expressing a disposition freely to communicate
their mind to a sister colony, upon a common concern, in the same
manner as they would be glad to receive the sentiments of your or any
other house of assembly on the continent.

The house have humbly represented to the ministry their own
sentiments; that his majesty's high court of parliament is the supreme
legislative power over the whole empire: that in all free states the
constitution is fixed: and, as the supreme legislative derives its
power and authority from the constitution, it cannot overleap the
bounds of it, without destroying its foundation; that the constitution
ascertains and limits both sovereignty and allegiance; and therefore,
his majesty's American subjects who acknowledge themselves bound by
the ties of allegiance, have an equitable claim to the full enjoyment
of the fundamental rules of the British constitution; that it is an
essential unalterable right in nature, ingrafted into the British
constitution as a fundamental law, and ever held sacred and
irrevocable by the subjects within the realm, that what a man hath
honestly acquired is absolutely his own, which he may freely give, but
cannot be taken from him without his consent; that the American
subjects may therefore, exclusive of any consideration of charter
rights, with a decent firmness adapted to the character of freemen and
subjects, assert this natural and constitutional right.

It is moreover their humble opinion, which they express with the
greatest deference to the wisdom of the parliament, that the acts made
there, imposing duties on the people of this province, with the sole
and express purpose of raising a revenue, are infringements of their
natural and constitutional rights; because as they are not represented
in the British parliament, his majesty's commons in Britain by those
acts grant their property without their consent.

This house further are of opinion, that their constituents,
considering their local circumstances, cannot by any possibility be
represented in the parliament; and that it will forever be
impracticable that they should be equally represented there, and
consequently not at all, being separated by an ocean of a thousand
leagues: that his majesty's royal predecessors, for this reason, were
graciously pleased to form a subordinate legislative here, that their
subjects might enjoy the unalienable right of a representation. Also,
that, considering the utter impracticability of their ever being fully
and equally represented in parliament, and the great expense that must
unavoidably attend even a partial representation there, this house
think, that a taxation of their constituents, even without their
consent, grievous as it is, would be preferable to any representation
that could be admitted for them there.

Upon these principles, and also considering that were the right in the
parliament ever so clear, yet for obvious reasons it would be beyond
the rule of equity, that their constituents should be taxed on the
manufactures of Great Britain here, in addition to the duties they pay
for them in England, and other advantages arising to Great Britain
from the acts of trade; this house have preferred a humble, dutiful,
and loyal petition to our most gracious sovereign, and made such
representation to his majesty's ministers, as they apprehend would
tend to obtain redress.

They have also submitted to consideration, whether any people can be
said to enjoy any degree of freedom, if the crown, in addition to its
undoubted authority of constituting a governor, should appoint him
such a stipend as it shall judge proper without the consent of the
people, and at their expense; and whether, while the judges of the
land, and other civil officers, hold not their commissions during good
behaviour, their having salaries appointed for them by the crown,
independent of the people, hath not a tendency to subvert the
principles of equity, and endanger the happiness and security of the

In addition to these measures, the house have written a letter to
their agent Mr. de Berdt, the sentiments of which he is directed to
lay before the ministry; wherein they take notice of the hardship of
the act for preventing mutiny and desertion, which requires the
governor and council to provide enumerated articles for the king's
marching troops and the people to pay the expense: and also the
commission of the gentlemen appointed commissioners of the customs to
reside in America, which authorises them to make as many appointments
as they think fit, and to pay the appointees what sums they please,
for whose malconduct they are not accountable: from whence it may
happen, that officers of the crown may be multiplied to such a degree,
as to become dangerous to the liberties of the people, by virtue of a
commission which doth not appear to this house to derive any such
advantages to trade as many have been led to expect.

These are the sentiments and proceedings of the house, and as they
have too much reason to believe that the enemies of the colonies have
represented them to his majesty's ministers and the parliament as
factious, disloyal, and having a disposition to make themselves
independent of the mother country, they have taken occasion in the
most humble terms, to assure his majesty and his ministers, that, with
regard to the people of this province, and, as they doubt not, of all
the colonies, the charge is unjust.

The house is fully satisfied, that your assembly is too generous and
enlarged in sentiment to believe, that this letter proceeds from an
ambition of taking the lead, or dictating to the other assemblies;
they freely submit their opinion to the judgment of others; and shall
take it kind in your house to point out to them anything further that
may be thought necessary.

This house cannot conclude without expressing their firm confidence in
the king, our common head and father, that the united and dutiful
supplications of his distressed American subjects will meet with his
royal and favourable acceptance.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE--No. VI.--_See Page 410._

_An account of the origin of these committees, and of their mode of
proceeding, is thus given by Mr. Gordon, and is not unworthy of

"Governor Hutchinson and his adherents having been used to represent
the party in opposition, as only an uneasy factious few in Boston,
while the body of the people were quite contented; Mr. Samuel Adams
was thereby induced to visit Mr. James Warren, of Plymouth. After
conversing upon the subject, the latter proposed to originate and
establish committees of correspondence in the several towns of the
colony, in order to learn the strength of the friends to the rights of
the continent, and to unite and increase their force. Mr. Samuel Adams
returned to Boston, pleased with the proposal, and communicated the
same to his confidents. Some doubted whether the measure would
prosper, and dreaded a disappointment which might injure the cause of
liberty. But it was concluded to proceed. The prime managers were
about six in number, each of whom, when separate, headed a division;
the several individuals of which, collected and led distinct
subdivisions. In this manner the political engine has been
constructed. The different parts are not equally good and operative.
Like other bodies, its composition includes numbers who act
mechanically, as they are pressed this way or that way by those who
judge for them; and divers of the wicked, fitted for evil practices,
when the adoption of them is thought necessary to particular purposes,
and a part of whose creed it is, that in political matters the public
good is above every other consideration, and that all rules of
morality when in competition with it, may be safely dispensed with.
When any important transaction is to be brought forward, it is
thoroughly considered by the prime managers. If they approve, each
communicates it to his own division; from thence, if adopted, it
passes to the several subdivisions, which form a general meeting in
order to canvass the business. The prime managers being known only by
few to be the promoters of it, are desired to be present at the
debate, that they may give their opinion when it closes. If they
observe that the collected body is in general strongly against the
measure they wish to have carried, they declare it to be improper: is
it opposed by great numbers, but not warmly, they advise to a
re-consideration at another meeting, and prepare for its being then
adopted; if the opposition is not considerable, either in number or
weight of persons, they give their reasons, and then recommend the
adoption of the measure. The principal actors are determined on
securing the liberties of their country, or perishing in the attempt.

"The news of his majesty's granting salaries to the justices of the
superior court, afforded them a fair opportunity for executing the
plan of establishing committees of correspondence through the colony.
The most spirited pieces were published, and an alarm spread, that the
granting such salaries tended rapidly to complete the system of their

"A town meeting was called, and a committee of correspondence
appointed, to write circular letters to all the towns in the province,
and to induce them to unite in measures. The committee made a report,
containing several resolutions contradictory to the supremacy of the
British legislature. After setting forth, that all men have a right to
remain in a state of nature as long as they please, they proceed to a
report upon the natural rights of the colonists as men, christians,
and subjects; and then form a list of infringements and violations of
their rights. They enumerate and dwell upon the British parliament's
having assumed the power of legislation for the colonies in all cases
whatsoever--the appointment of a number of new officers to superintend
the revenues--the granting of salaries out of the American revenue, to
the governor, the judges of the superior court, the king's attorney
and solicitor general. The report was accepted; copies printed; and
six hundred circulated through the towns and districts of the
province, with a pathetic letter addressed to the inhabitants, who
were called upon not to doze any longer, or sit supinely in
indifference, while the iron hand of oppression was daily tearing the
choicest fruits from the fair tree of liberty. The circular letter
requested of each town a free communication of sentiments on the
subjects of the report, and was directed to the select men, who were
desired to lay the same before a town meeting, which has been
generally practised, and the proceedings of the town upon the business
have been transmitted to the committee at Boston. This committee have
their particular correspondents in the several towns, who, upon
receiving any special information, are ready to spread it with
dispatch among the inhabitants. It consists of twenty-one persons of
heterogeneous qualities and professions, &c."

_Gordon's Hist. Am. War_, vol. I. p. 312.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE--No. VII.--_See Page 425._


_New Hampshire._

John Sullivan,
Nathaniel Fulsom.

_Massachusetts Bay._

James Bowdoin,
Thomas Cushing,
Samuel Adams,
John Adams,
Robert Treat Paine.

_Rhode Island and Providence Plantations._

Stephen Hopkins,
Samuel Ward.


Eliphalet Dyer,
Roger Sherman,
Silas Deane.

_From the city and county of New York, and other counties
in province of New York._

James Duane,
Henry Wisner,
John Jay,
Philip Livingston,
Isaac Low,
John Alsop.

_From the county of Suffolk, in the province of New York._

William Floyd.

_New Jersey._

James Kinsey,
William Livingston,
John Dehart,
Stephen Crane,
Richard Smith.


Joseph Galloway,
Charles Humphreys,
Samuel Rhoads,
George Ross,
John Morton,
Thomas Mifflin,
Edward Biddle,
John Dickinson.

_Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex, on Delaware._

Cesar Rodney,
Thomas M'Kean,
George Read.


Robert Goldsborough,
Thomas Johnson,
William Paca,
Samuel Chase,
Matthew Tilghman.


Peyton Randolph,
Richard Henry Lee,
George Washington,
Patrick Henry,
Richard Bland,
Benjamin Harrison,
Edmund Pendleton.

_North Carolina._

William Hooper,
Joseph Hughes,
Richard Caswell.

_South Carolina._

Henry Middleton,
John Rutledge,
Thomas Lynch,
Christopher Gadsden,
Edward Rutledge.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE--No. VIII.--_See Page 425._

_These resolutions manifested a degree of irritation which had not
before been displayed. They are introduced in the following manner:_

"Whereas the power but not the justice, the vengeance but not the
wisdom of Great Britain, which of old persecuted, scourged, and exiled
our fugitive parents from their native shores, now pursues us their
guiltless children, with unrelenting severity; and whereas this, then
savage and uncultivated desert, was purchased by the toil and
treasure, or acquired by the blood and valour of those our venerable
progenitors; to us they bequeathed the dear bought inheritance; to our
care and protection they consigned it; and the most sacred obligations
are upon us to transmit the glorious purchase, unfettered by power,
unclogged with shackles, to our innocent and beloved offspring. On the
fortitude, on the wisdom, and on the exertions of this important day,
is suspended the fate of this new world, and of unborn millions. If a
boundless extent of continent, swarming with millions, will tamely
submit to live, move, and have their being at the arbitrary will of a
licentious minister, they basely yield to voluntary slavery, and
future generations shall load their memories with incessant
execrations. On the other hand, if we arrest the hand which would
ransack our pockets, if we disarm the parricide which points the
dagger to our bosoms, if we nobly defeat that fatal edict which
proclaims a power to frame laws for us in all cases whatsoever,
thereby entailing the endless and numberless curses of slavery upon
us, our heirs, and their heirs for ever; if we successfully resist
that unparalleled usurpation of unconstitutional power, whereby our
capital is robbed of the means of life; whereby the streets of Boston
are thronged with military executioners; whereby our coasts are lined,
and harbours crowded with ships of war; whereby the charter of the
colony, that sacred barrier against the encroachments of tyranny, is
mutilated, and in effect annihilated; whereby a murderous law is
framed to shelter villains from the hands of justice; whereby the
unalienable and inestimable inheritance, which we derived from nature,
the constitution of Britain, and the privileges warranted to us in the
charter of the province, is totally wrecked, annulled, and vacated:
Posterity will acknowledge that virtue which preserved them free and
happy; and while we enjoy the rewards and blessings of the faithful,
the torrent of panegyrists will roll our reputations to that latest
period, when the streams of time shall be absorbed in the abyss of

"Therefore resolved," &c. &c. &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE--No. IX.--_See Page 427._

"Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British parliament,
claiming a power, of right, to bind the people of America by statutes
in all cases whatsoever, hath in some acts expressly imposed taxes on
them; and in others, under various pretences, but in fact for the
purpose of raising a revenue, hath imposed rates and duties payable in
these colonies, established a board of commissioners with
unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of courts of
admiralty, not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial
of causes merely arising within the body of a county.

"And whereas, in consequence of other statutes, judges, who before
held only estates at will in their offices, have been made dependent
on the crown alone for their salaries, and standing armies kept in
times of peace: And whereas it has lately been resolved in parliament,
that by force of a statute, made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign
of King Henry VIII. colonists may be transported to England and tried
there upon accusations for treasons, and mis prisons and concealments
of treasons committed in the colonies, and by a late statute, such
trials have been directed in cases therein mentioned.

"And whereas, in the last session of parliament, three statutes were
made; one entitled, 'An act to discontinue in such manner and for such
time as are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or
shipping of goods, wares, and merchandise, at the town, and within the
harbour of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts Bay in North
America;' another entitled, 'An act for the better regulating the
government of the province of Massachusetts Bay in New England;' and
another act, entitled, 'An act for the impartial administration of
justice, in the cases of persons questioned for any act done by them
in the execution of the law, or for the suppression of riots and
tumults, in the province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England;' and
another statute was then made, 'for making more effectual provision
for the government of the province of Quebec,' &c. All which statutes
are impolitic, unjust, and cruel, as well as unconstitutional, and
most dangerous and destructive of American rights.

"And whereas, assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to
the rights of the people, when they attempted to deliberate on
grievances; and their dutiful, humble, loyal, and reasonable petitions
to the crown for redress, have been repeatedly treated with contempt
by his majesty's ministers of state; the good people of the several
colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and
Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, New Castle, Kent and Sussex on Delaware, Maryland,
Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, justly alarmed at the
arbitrary proceedings of parliament and administration, have severally
elected, constituted and appointed deputies to meet and sit in general
congress, in the city of Philadelphia, in order to obtain such
establishment, as that their religion, laws, and liberties, may not be
subverted: whereupon the deputies so appointed being now assembled, in
a full and free representation of these colonies, taking into their
most serious consideration, the best means of attaining the ends
aforesaid, do in the first place, as Englishmen their ancestors in
like cases have usually done, for asserting and vindicating their
rights and liberties, declare, that the inhabitants of the English
colonies in North America, by the immutable laws of nature, the
principles of the English constitution, and the several charters or
compacts, have the following rights.

"Resolved, unanimously, 1st, that they are entitled to life, liberty,
and property; and they have never ceded to any sovereign power
whatever, a right to dispose of either without their consent.

"Resolved, unanimously, 2d, that our ancestors, who first settled
these colonies, were, at the time of their emigration from the mother
country, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free
and natural born subjects, within the realm of England.

"Resolved, unanimously, 3d, that by such emigration they by no means
forfeited, surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that they
were, and their descendants now are, entitled to the exercise and
enjoyment of all such of them, as their local and other circumstances
enabled them to exercise and enjoy.

"Resolved, 4th, that the foundation of English liberty and of all free
government, is a right in the people to participate in their
legislative council: and as the English colonists are not represented,
and from their local and other circumstances cannot properly be
represented in the British parliament, they are entitled to a free and
exclusive power of legislation in their several provincial
legislatures, where their right of representation can alone be
preserved, in all cases of taxation and internal polity subject only
to the negative of their sovereign, in such manner as has been
heretofore used and accustomed: but from the necessity of the case,
and a regard to the mutual interest of both countries, we cheerfully
consent to the operation of such acts of the British parliament, as
are, _bona fide_, restrained to the regulation of our external
commerce, for the purposes of securing the commercial advantages of
the whole empire to the mother country, and the commercial benefits of
its respective members; excluding every idea of taxation internal or
external, for raising a revenue on the subjects in America without
their consent.

"Resolved, unanimously, 5th that the respective colonies are entitled
to the common law of England, and more especially to the great and
inestimable privilege of being tried by their peers of the vicinage,
according to the course of that law.

"Resolved, 6th, that they are entitled to the benefit of such of the
English statutes, as existed at the time of their colonisation; and
which they have, by experience, respectively found to be applicable to
their several local and other circumstances.

"Resolved, unanimously, 7th, that these, his majesty's colonies are
likewise entitled to all the immunities and privileges granted and
confirmed to them by royal charters, or secured by their several codes
of provincial laws.

"Resolved, unanimously, 8th, that they have a right peaceably to
assemble, consider of their grievances, and petition the King; and
that all prosecutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for
the same, are illegal.

"Resolved, unanimously, 9th, that the keeping a standing army in these
colonies, in times of peace, without the consent of the legislature of
that colony in which such army is kept, is against law.

"Resolved, unanimously, 10th, it is indispensably necessary to good
government, and rendered essential by the English constitution, that
the constituent branches of the legislature be independent of each
other; that, therefore, the exercise of legislative power in several
colonies, by a council appointed, during pleasure, by the crown, is
unconstitutional, dangerous, and destructive to the freedom of
American legislation.

"All and each of which the aforesaid deputies, in behalf of themselves
and their constituents, do claim, demand, and insist on, as their
indubitable rights and liberties; which cannot be legally taken from
them, altered or abridged by any power whatever, without their own
consent, by their representatives in their several provincial

"In the course of our inquiry, we find many infringements and
violations of the foregoing rights, which, from an ardent desire that
harmony and mutual intercourse of affection and interest may be
restored, we pass over for the present, and proceed to state such acts
and measures as have been adopted since the last war, which
demonstrate a system formed to enslave America.

"Resolved, unanimously, that the following acts of parliament are
infringements and violations of the rights of the colonists; and that
the repeal of them is essentially necessary, in order to restore
harmony between Great Britain and the American colonies, viz.

"The several acts of 4 Geo. III. chap. 15, and 34.--5 Geo. III. chap.
25.--6 Geo. III. chap. 52.--7 Geo. III. chap. 41, and chap. 46.--8
Geo. III. chap. 22; which imposed duties for the purpose of raising a
revenue in America; extend the power of the admiralty courts beyond
their ancient limits; deprive the American subject of trial by jury;
authorise the judge's certificate to indemnify the prosecutor from
damages, that he might otherwise be liable to; requiring oppressive
security from a claimant of ships and goods seized, before he shall be
allowed to defend his property, and are subversive of American rights.

"Also 12 Geo. III. chap. 24, intitled, 'an act for the better securing
his majesty's dockyards, magazines, ships, ammunition, and stores,'
which declares a new offence in America, and deprives the American
subject of a constitutional trial by a jury of the vicinage, by
authorising the trial of any person charged with the committing of any
offence described in the said act, out of the realm, to be indicted
and tried for the same in any shire or county within the realm.

"Also the three acts passed in the last session of parliament, for
stopping the port and blocking up the harbour of Boston, for altering
the charter and government of Massachusetts Bay, and that which is
intitled, 'an act for the better administration of justice,' &c.

"Also, the act passed in the same session for establishing the Roman
catholic religion in the province of Quebec, abolishing the equitable
system of English laws, and erecting a tyranny there, to the great
danger, (from so total a dissimilarity of religion, law, and
government) of the neighbouring British colonies, by the assistance of
whose blood and treasure the said country was conquered from France.

"Also, the act passed in the same session for the better providing
suitable quarters for officers and soldiers in his majesty's service
in North America.

"Also, that the keeping a standing army in several of these colonies,
in time of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that
colony in which such army is kept, is against law.

"To these grievous acts and measures, Americans cannot submit; but in
hopes their fellow subjects in Great Britain will, on a revision of
them, restore us to that state, in which both countries found
happiness and prosperity, we have for the present only resolved to
pursue the following peaceable measures: 1. to enter into a
non-importation, non-consumption, and non-exportation agreement or
association. 2. To prepare an address to the people of Great Britain,
and a memorial to the inhabitants of British America: and, 3. To
prepare a loyal address to his majesty, agreeable to resolutions
already entered into."


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