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were "frivolous," the last resort of a disappointed and defeated party.
Dudley was successful; but Ashurst, though admitting his defeat, did not relax his enmity. His next effort was to displace Dudley by Sir Charles Hobby, a man of notoriously loose morals, whose faults Ashurst well knew; “but,” he wrote, “the earth must helpe the woman.”1 Sir Charles came over to Boston in 1708; but before the year was out he was won over to Dudley's party, and Dudley was still in power, — perhaps, as Ashurst hints, because of the influence of the great Whig lords.3
Ashurst's adherents in America may have doubted his ability, for a movement was started to appoint a special agent for Massachusetts. The choice of the House fell upon Sir William Ashurst, the brother of Sir Henry. No selection save that of Sir Henry himself could have been so displeasing to Dudley, who threatened to refuse to sign the commission at one session of the Council, and raged and stormed when the bill was finally sent up. Nevertheless, he was forced to sign the bill and the instructions. At the same time he sent a letter to Sir William, trying to make his peace with him and win him to his side. Although Sir William refused the appointment, Dudley gained his end and made him his
1 Ashurst to Winthrop, August 24, 1708, Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, 6th Series, v. 173.
2 Ashurst to Increase Mather, October 10, 1709: “I heare S' ChH— is come into his interest” (ibid. 199).
• Ashurst to Mather, February 17, 1709/1710: “But money & something else kept him in, which I dare not write you. What if y® Whig Lords doe it?" - ibid. 215.
Massachuselts Archives (Ms.), xx. 127; Records of the General Court (Ms.), ix. 7.
6 Sewall's Diary, February 7, 1709/10; Records of the General Court (Ms.), friend;? for at a later crisis he was supported with all the influence and interest that Sir William Ashurst could muster. Since Ashurst had refused the appointment, a new choice had to be made; and on the petition of the merchants in London the House elected Jeremiah Dummer, a native of Massachusetts.? Though opposing this appointment and wishing one of his friends, Henry Newman, to have the post, Dudley took care to win Dummer over to his side. In time he was successful, and Dummer, together with Sir William Ashurst, continued to support him as long as he remained in power.
Though Sir Henry Ashurst was agent for Connecticut, he took great interest in Massachusetts and believed it his mission to oppose Dudley; hence the appointment of a special agent for Massachusetts seemed a slur upon his abilities. The Mathers, moreover, reproached him with failure to carry out his plans in removing Dudley;4 and thus put upon the defensive, he organized one final attack. He had for his allies the Duke of Devonshire, Lord Sunderland, and Godolphin, a combination which seemed invincible. Dudley, however, had perfected his intrigues with Sir Charles Hobby, who, instead of opposing him, favored his continuance; so that the
1 Dudley to Sir William Ashurst, November 15, 1710, Correspondence between the Governors and Treasurers of the New England Company in London and the Commissioners of the United Colonies in America (ed. J. W. Ford, London, 1897), 92.
? The petition is in Massachusetts Archives (Ms.), xx. 114; the vote of the Court, November ro, 1710, is in Records of the General Court (Ms.), ix. 87.
• By direction of the governor the secretary informed the House that the governor recommended Henry Newman, Esq., “a gentleman of the Country now Resident in London and well known at Court to the Ministry” (Records of the General Courl, ix. 83, November 9, 1710).
• Ashurst to Increase Mather, May 10, 1710, Massachusetts Historical Society, Colleclions, 6th Series, v. 216.
"In the same letter Ashurst writes: “... I answer, D— had been out if the Duke of Devonshire had liv'd. My L' Sund- & L" Treas— promised me it; and that I should name whom I pleased to succeed."
witnesses against him found themselves confused and discredited, and, confronted by such a mass of favorable testimony, Sir Henry Ashurst concluded that "every body thinkes him an excellent Gov' save S. H. A.”! This was the last attempt made by Ashurst to remove Dudley, and the last one made during the reign of Queen Anne. Throughout her reign, Dudley had kept his post by the means of his friends at court. With the accession of George I, however, new politicians gained the ascendency, with whom Dudley did not have the same influence, and new and more formidable parties were formed in Massachusetts. To these new conditions Dudley had to give way.
The next attempt to supersede Dudley, resulting from these new conditions, had its origin in Massachusetts. The news of the death of Queen Anne was slow in reaching Boston. Not only was the official notice delayed until September 17, but the proclamations and orders of the Board of Trade were still longer on the way, owing to the wreck of the sloop Hazard, which brought them. In the interim, the Council saw its opportunity to remove Dudley and to manage affairs itself.
It was a principle of English law that all commissions that were issued to run during “pleasure” were rendered void by the death of the sovereign granting them, unless continued by a proclamation of the successor. In 1708 an act was passed amending this principle, so that commissions were to run for six months after the demise of the sovereign unless cancelled by the successor. The charter of Massachusetts directed that in case of the absence or the death of the governor the administration should devolve upon the lieutenant-governor, or, in case of his incapacity, upon the eldest councillor. This
1 Ibid. 219.
· Council Records (Ms.), vi. 251. • Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, ad Series, xv. 338.
rule was repeated in Dudley's instructions, and by his directions had been entered on the books of the Council, and a second time entered after the passage of the act of 1708.1 On these directions the Council rested its attempt to oust Dudley from his position.
The General Court was in session when the news of the death of the queen reached Boston, and the king was proclaimed with considerable pomp? The governor's friends, thinking this an auspicious time, attempted to get an address passed praying for his continuance; but the feeling against him because of his opposition to the Land Bank party was too strong, and the effort failed; 3 and on October 2, the Court was prorogued until the 20th. On coming together after the prorogation it passed a necessary act for the removing of doubts as to the legality of the commissions, and also an act putting an end to the hopes of the Land Bank party.“ The Court, then, with the advice of the Council, dissolved.5 As yet no official proclamation from the king had been received in Boston. On the last day of December, Addington and Sewall had a conference during which Addington showed Sewall the letter of the queen concerning the devolution of the government. It is probable that other conferences were held and that plans were laid to supersede the governor on February 1, when the six months from the death of the queen should have expired. Sewall was slow to become convinced ; for on January 12, when the measures were discussed in the Council, he moved for a postponement.? On January 26, the governor tried to force an issue by proposing that his commission should run until the king's pleasure should be
1 Council Records (Ms.), iii. 334, iv. 596.
? Ibid. vi. 256.
Ibid. 437. * Ibid. January 12, 1714/1715.
Ibid. vi. 256. Ibid
known. This motion was voted down, Sewall voting with the rest because he perceived that the order was so worded as to tie the hands of the Council. Matters were now at a deadlock, and a suspension of hostilities occurred until the five days left in January should expire.
On February 1 the Council sent a committee to the governor to inform him that, as the six months allowed by the act of Parliament had expired, it was the opinion of the Council that the government devolved upon itself unless he had received orders from England. Dudley replied that he had received no orders. Sewall then fell back on the charter and the instructions from the queen which directed the devolution of the government in case of the absence or the death of the governor. Dudley replied that he was neither dead nor absent, and "expressed an aversion to enter into discourse." The committee then returned and reported. Two days later, February 3, the Council voted “that the government should go to the oldest Councillor” and thus deposed the governor.4
Apparently the change was acquiesced in quietly by the people. The clergy were on the side of the Council, and prayed, not for the governor and lieutenant-governor, but for those who had the administration. The people in the towns were unusually angered against Dudley, and the leading men were in the Council and directed the change. Yet in spite of the lack of opposition and of the high character of the men composing the Council, its rule was inefficient. On February 4, the councillors issued a proclamation stating what they had done, and drew up an oath, which was taken by all. On the
1 Ibid. January 26, 1714/1715; also Council Records (Ms.), vi. 304-305. * Sewall's Diary, February 1, 1714/1715. : Ibid.
Sewall's Diary, February 3. * Council Records (Ms.), vi. 308–309. Council Records (Ms.), vi. 312.