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as were possessed of real estates, but had little or no ready money at command, or men of no substance at all; and we may well enough suppose the party to be very numerous. A third party, though opposed to the plan just stated, yet were no enemies to bills of credit. They were in favor of a loan of bills from the government to any of the inhabitants who would mortgage their estates as a security for the repayment of the bills with interest, in a term of years, the interest to be paid annually, and applied to the
support of government. The principal
men of the Council were in favor of it, and it being thought by the first party the less of the two evils, they fell in with the scheme, and, after that, the question was between a public or a private bank. The legislature was nearly equally divided, but rather favored a private bank, from the great influence of the Boston members in the House, and a great number of persons of the town, out of it. The controversy spread widely, and divided towns, parishes, and private families. In 1714, after an exhausting struggle, the public bank gained the majority, - “and £50,000 in provincial bills of credit were issued on that scheme, and distributed among the counties in the ratio of their taxes, to be put into the hands of trustees, and lent out in sums from £50, to £500, on mortgages, reimbursable in five annual installments.” Queen Anne's death, August 1, 1714, led to a change in the governorship. A certain Colonel Burgess was appoint
ed, but being in rather needy circumVoI. I.-24
used to lurk
taken, and with forty or more
stances he was bought off for about $5,000, and Colonel Shute, who had served under Marlborough, was made governor. Shute arrived in Massachusetts in October 1716, and immediately took the side of the party in favor of the public bank. Of course the other party opposed his measures, Elisha Cooke acting as their leader. Cooke was elected speaker by the House in 1720; but the governor vetoed the choice and dissolved the Court. Embittered feeling on both sides was the consequence; and Shute, disgusted with his post, suddenly left the province in 1722, Dummer, the lieutenant governor, taking the guidance of affairs for the next six years.
Piracy having again become troublesome in the American waters, it was determined to make a vigorous effort
effectually to suppress it. Bellamy, one
of the most noted of the pirates, was wrecked on Cape Cod, where he perished with a hundred of his men. A few who escaped were seized and hung at Boston. The famous “Blackbeard,” or John Theach, who about Pamlico River, was taken after a desperate resistance ; and Steed Bonnet, the chief of a band of pirates who sought refuge on the coast about Cape Fear, was
• | ? § 3. of his men, was executed. In
1723, a commission of admiralty in session at Newport condemned to death nearly thirty more of these lawless depredators. Thus, by the vigor of the colonists, piracy soon lost its terror to those honestly engaged in the pursuits of commerce.
Towards the close of the year 1721, the small-pox broke out in Boston and caused wide spread alarm. Through the influence of Cotton Mather, Dr. Boylston of that city was prevailed upon to try the process of inoculation. It was violently opposed, and every species of abuse was resorted to in order to put a stop to the new practice. The Mathers took a noble stand against the ignorant prejudice of the community, and the success of inoculation ere long silenced opposition. It was at this very date that Lady Mary Wortley Montague introduced the same practice into England, having learned its value among the Turks.
William Burnet, an amiable and correct man, came from New York in July, 1728, as the successor of Shute in the chief magistracy. In his opening speech he informed the House that he was directed to insist upon their fixing a permanent salary for the governor. This renewed the old contest. The House was not at all unwilling to vote money, but they were resolute on the point of yielding a fixed salary. They appropriated 31,700, of which £1,400 was for salary, and £300 for the expenses of the governor's journey. Burnet accepted the latter, but declared positively that he could not, and would not, accept the grant on account of salary. Persisting in their refusal to accede to his demands, the governor, on the 24th of October, adjourned the Assembly to the 31st, to meet at Salem, “where prejudices had not taken root, and where of consequence his majesty's ser
vice would in all probability be better answered” than in the town of Boston. With a dry sort of humor, which helps to relieve such contentions as these of their tediousness, Burnet remarked, that very possibly there might be a charm in the names of places; and that really, with gentlemen of their stamp, he was at a loss whether to carry them to Salem or to Concord. As there seemed to be a fixed determination on the part of the governor, despite their remonstrances, to keep them in session wintil they yielded, the House resolved to present a memorial to the king, setting forth the reasons of their conduct in relation to the salary. They informed his majesty, that “it is, and has been very well known in this, as well as other nations and ages, that governors, at a distance from the prince, or seat of government, have great opportunities, and sometimes too prevailing inclinations, to oppress the people; and it is almost impossible for the prince, who is the most careful father of his subjects, to have such matters set in a true light.” This address was referred to the Board of Trade, before whom there was a hearing in behalf of the crown, as well as on the part of the House. The Board condemned the conduct of the latter, in refusing to comply with the royal instructions; and in the conclusion of the report to the king and council, manifested an extreme jealousy of the growing power and wealth of Massachusetts, and of the possible, or even probable, determination of its inhabitants to become independent of the crown. “The inhabitants,” say the Board, “far from
making suitable returns to his majesty for the extraordinary privileges they enjoy, are daily endeavoring to wrest the small remains of power out of the hands of the crown, and to become independent of the mother kingdom. The nature of the soil and products are much the same with those of Great Britain, the inhabitants upwards of ninety-four thousand, and their militia, consisting of sixteen regiments of foot and fifteen troops of horse, in the year 1718, fifteen thousand men; and by a medium taken from the naval officers' accounts for three years, from the 24th of June, 1714, to the 24th of June, 1717, for the ports of Boston and Salem only, it appears that the trade of this country employs continually no less than three thousand four hundred and ninety-three sailors, and four hundred and ninety-two ships, making twenty-five thousand four hundred and six tons. Hence your excellencies will be apprised of what importance it is to his majesty's service that so powerful a colony should be restrained within due bounds of obedience to the crown, and more firmly attached to the interests of Great Britain than they now seem to be, which, we conceive, cannot effectually be done without the interposition of the British legislature, wherein, in our humble opinion, no time should be lost.” Fretted and worried by this controversy, Governor Burnet was seized with a fever which terminated fatally on the 7th of September, 1729. Jonathan Belcher, at the time agent for the colony in England, was appointed his successor. The same charge
on a second expedition. Near the head of the Saco he fell into an ambush, and was shot on the first fire with eight of his men; the survivors fought bravely through the whole day, repulsed the Indians, and at length made good their retreat. The Indians retaliated by burning frontier villages and farms. At the Gut of Canso they
seized seventeen fishing vessels, belong
ing to Massachusetts; but they were speedily compelled to relinquish them with severe loss to the Indian captors. This dispute, which had well nigh in
volved all the northern colonies and
Indians in a fresh war of mutual extermination, was at length found to be so unprofitable to both parties that they gladly agreed to a peace. Every such struggle, however, had but the same result, that of the gradual extermina
tion of the weaker party, and opening
their country to the further advance of the white men. It was at this period, in 1722, that James Franklin started the New Engfloo land Courant, and had for a contributor Benjamin Franklin, a youth of sixteen at the time. The Courant aspiring to what was considered too great freedom in uttering opinions, the younger Franklin was admonished by the authorities, and his brother was forbidden to publish without license. The paper soon after
lost support and was discontinued.
The Philadelphia Mercury, the only newspaper in the colonies out of Boston, though it had no great liberty allowed to it, commented severely upon the course of the authorities towards the Courant.
Governor Belcher's enemies succeeded in effecting his displacement in 1740. William Shirley, a lawyer of Boston, was appointed his successor. Governor Belcher, in accordance with his instructions, had resisted new issues of paper money, which had added very much to his troubles and roused the ire of many against him. “The operation of the Massachusetts banks was cut short by an act of Parliament extending to the colonies that act of the previous reign occasioned by the South Sea and other bubble schemes, which prohibited the formation of unincorporated joint stock companies with more than six partners.” The companies were compelled to wind up; and the partners were held individually liable for the notes. Shirley, who knew the people he had to govern, found it not difficult to attain popularity; and a new issue of paper money was made in Order to meet the expenses of the war just broken out. By tacit consent, the General Court made Shirley an annual allowance of £1,000 sterling for salary. In 1737, a controversy, which had long subsisted between the two colonies of Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, was heard by commissioners for that purpose appointed by the crown. Various attempts had been made to settle this dispute, and it had been often recommended by the crown to the Assemblies of the two provinces to agree upon arbitrators from neighboring
Hildreth’s “History of the United States,” vol. ii., p. 380.
EXPEDITION AGAINST TOUISBURG.
governments, and to pass acts which should bind each province to be subject to their determinations; but the suggestion had not been acted upon. This year, however, commissioners were appointed, with Philip Livingston, of New York, as president, to settle the dispute. Greatly to the mortification of Massachusetts, it was decided against her, and the result was, New Hampshire gained several hundred thousand acres more than she had ever claimed. In 1741, Benning Wentworth was appointed governor, an office which he filled for the next twenty years. Massachusetts was equally unsuccessful in the matter of disputed boundaries as respected Maine and Rhode Island. The western boundary of Maine was fixed as it now runs, which was according to the claims of New Hampshire. Rhode Island also obtained a decision in her favor for all that tract which Massachusetts claimed to be within the old Plymouth patent. The third intercolonial war took its rise from the effort, on the part of Spain, to maintain that jealous system of colonial monopoly which she had adopted in its utmost rigor, and in which she was imitated, with less stringency, by the French and English. The latter had acquired, by the treaty of Utrecht, the privilege of transporting a certain number of slaves annually to the Spanish colonies, under cover of which a wide-spread system of smuggling had been introduced, against which the Spaniards vainly sought to protect themselves by the establishment of revenue cruisers. Some of these Spanish vessels had attacked
English ships engaged in lawful traffic, and had committed several instances of barbarity, which had greatly moved the popular indignation, and excited a clamor for war, to which Walpole the minister was reluctantly obliged to consent. Soon after, a general European war broke out, under George II, and the colonies in America were of course involved in new struggles. The first intimation which New England had of the actual state of things, was in May, 1743, when an expedition crossed over from Cape Breton, broke up the fishery, and attacked and captured Fort Canso, in Nova Scotia. Annapolis was twice besieged by Indians and Canadians, but obtained seasonable relief from Massachusetts. Privateers issuing from Louisburg did great damage to the New England fisheries and commerce, and the eastern Indians renewed their ravages on the frontiers of Maine. The French had expended large sums in erecting the fortress of Louisburg, on the island of Cape Breton. To effect its reduction was therefore of the most vital importance; yet the attempt might well have appeared all but desperate. The walls of the fortress, surrounded with a moat, were prodigiously strong, and furnished with nearly two hundred pieces of cannon. A body of prisoners, however, who, having been seized at the English settlement of Canso and carried to Louisburg, were allowed to return to Boston on parole, disclosed the important fact that the garrison was both weak and disaffected. Shirley, the governor, proposed to the legislature of Massachusetts to attempt its re