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should be regulated by Massachusetts, and that they would submit to the laws of that jurisdiction.
Complaints continued to be made against Massachusetts, both by the ministry and a portion of the merchants in England, for disregarding the regulations of trade, as enjoined by the parent government. There was just cause for these complaints, in many instances, of evading the payment of duties. For there was such a general impression, that these acts of parliament for raising a revenue chiefly for the benefit of England, while the province had a debt and current expenses of its own to meet, were unjust, that they were evaded, when it could be done, with impunity. To the charge of disregarding the restrictive parts of those laws, prohibiting trade with French, Spanish, and Portuguese ports, the general court and people of Massachusetts replied, that it was an oppressive regulation, and operated greatly to their injury. But the British government insisted upon its right to legislate, in this respect, over the colonies; and it was for the benefit of England to have the whole colonial trade centre in that kingdom. The chief object with the British ministry was the prosperity and wealth of old England; the growth of the colonies was quite a secondary consideration, farther than they could be made to minister to the resources of that country. This was long an occasion of dispute and difficulty between Great Britain and her colonies on the American continent; and was one of the causes which afterwards led to the contest, which issued in their independence. It was generally admitted, that parliament had the right to regulate foreign trade, though this was not always granted, as the regulations operated against the prosperity of the colonies; but when the revenue was ordered to be entirely for the benefit of England, the right was denied, or its exercise represented as oppressive and unjust in its effects. For this was said to be the same as laying taxes on the people in the colonies, for the support of the parent government, when they were not represented in the legislative body which made the laws for levying them. And this was a principle which they always opposed as arbitrary, and to which they appeared resolved never to submit.
At this period, and in this state of opinion in both countries, the ministry adopted or revived the policy of obliging the colonies to receive all their cloths, and other products of foreign importation, from England; and discouraged the introduction or extension of manufactures into America. The manufacture of iron into nails was prohibited, though there were materials in the country. There were then four such manufactories in Massachusetts, two in Middleborough, one at Hanover, and one at Milton.
Massachusetts usually employed an agent in England, to represent the wants and condition of the province, and to be ready to answer such complaints as might be made against it, by its jealous or interested enemies. He was active in obtaining a reimbursement, by parliament, of the expenses of the province in the expeditions against Louisbourg and Crown Point; and at all times had the reputation of an able and faithful agent. He was also instructed to solicit aid for supporting the forts on the frontiers, to pray
for exemption from impressments, and to prevail with the British government to direct, that, in future wars, the colonies should bear their respective proportions of the expense.
The spirit of the people of Massachusetts, at this era, and their promptness to assume the character of soldiers, when the province was in danger, were often displayed. When summoned by the king, or their more immediate rulers, to go forth against the enemies of the country, they readily obeyed; and when the hour of danger was over, with a few exceptions, they returned to their homes and resumed their common occupations. In 1747, there was a report spread through the province, that a large French fleet had been fitted out to invade the coasts of New England, and to make an attack on Boston. The rumor in the interior was, that they were already on the coasts. A large body of the militia, estimated at six thousand five hundred, assembled in the capital, as soon as the report reached them, duly equipped, with fourteen days provisions ; and some of them marched seventy miles.
The numerous and expensive military enterprises, which were undertaken during several years, necessarily produced heavy taxes, though England had made allowances for a part of the expenses of two of these expeditions. The tax of the province, in 1748, was £415,512, old tenor, or £41,550 sterling. Of this sum, Boston paid £65,520, or £6,550 sterling. The whole number of inhabitants was estimated at 160,000; and Boston contained 16,000 of the whole. A calculation was afterwards made, on the subject of the increase of population of New England, when the opinion was given, that it doubled in twenty or twenty-five years. But this was not the fact from 1690 to 1750, in consequence of the loss of lives, in the many wars in that period of years.
There were two collectors of the customs, arising from importations and foreign tonnage, one in Boston and one in Salem. For the year 1748, the number of vessels cleared at
each of those ports, was as follows: At Boston, 540 foreign vessels, and of American vessels for foreign voyages, 491: at Salem, 131 vessels were cleared for foreign voyages. Large quantities of rum were manufactured in Massachusetts, at this time; according to some statements, fifteen thousand hogsheads annually. It was partly consumed in the province, and much exported to the southern colonies, to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, and to the coasts of Guinea.
Gov. Shirley returns-Lt. Gov. Phipps—Indians hostile-Forts built on
Kennebec-Treaty with six nations-Proposal of a union of the Colonies -Heavy taxes-Excise proposed-Printer imprisoned for a libel-Further preparations for war— Expedition to Nova Scotia and against Canada unsuccessful--Opposers of Shirley-Expedition to Oswego, and to Crown Point-Earthquake-New Campaign-Gov. Shirley made Commander in Chief-Gen. Winslow-Shirley superseded by Gen. Abercrombie, and returned to England-Campaign of 1756 unsuccessful-Great expenses to the province-Rogers' Rangers.
GOVERNOR SHIRLEY returned to America, in 1753, and resumed the administration of Massachusetts. For the four years he was absent, Lieutenant Governor Phipps was commander in chief of the province. Under his administration the treaty was made with the eastern tribes of Indians, in October, 1749, and an exchange of prisoners was effected soon after, when several citizens of Massachusetts, who had been taken by the Indians, on the western frontiers, were restored to their friends. A call was made on Lieutenant Governor Phipps, in 1749–50, by the British commander in Nova Scotia, for assistance against the Indians, who were instigated by the French to invade that territory. He was unwilling to make war on the Penobscot tribe, as he was urged, without first attempting pacific negotiation. But he gave some aid, by troops from the province, to the British officer: the public armed sloop was put under his command, and the French governor of Canada, who encouraged the Indian tribes in their invasion of Nova Scotia, was notified that Massachusetts would make common cause with the British
in that quarter.
The following year, the Canadian Indians attacked several places on the Kennebec River, near Fort Richmond, and below at Arowsick Island, where they burnt dwelling houses and made a few prisoners. The immediate provocation to these wrongs was a dispute which had happened near Sheepscot River, between the English settlers and some Indians of the Norridgewock tribe, in which one of the latter was killed. The general court ordered that one hundred and fifty men be raised, as a scouting
party, for the defence of the frontier settlements. As the Canadian Indians still manifested a hostile spirit towards the English, and were endeavoring to engage the eastern tribes to attack the frontier settlements in that quarter,
another tion was held at Georges River, in 1757, and the articles of a treaty formed two years before, were agreed to be observed. But on the return of Governor Shirley, who had reason to fear new attacks from the Indians, by the instigations of the French in Canada, he sent commissioners again to treat with them, to obtain new and solemn pledges of peace.
He seems to have expected that there would soon be war again between England and France; and would, therefore, if possible, gain the friendship of the Indian tribes before it commenced. Probably, in his negotiations at Paris, he perceived indications of a purpose of the French government, which was afterwards disclosed, of a formidable armament against British America, with a design to take possession of the whole country.
Soon after the return of Governor Shirley, the designs of the French against the British possessions began to be developed, by depredations of the Indians, both at the east and west, who did not, at this late period, attack the English, unless urged on by their ancient ally or master. The plans of the French were to maintain their territory in North America, including all which they actually possessed, and all which they claimed, to a great part of which the English pleaded a prior title; and they probably had an ultimate design of obtaining possession of the whole country; for so important were the settlements of the country, at this period, that the nation which should have possession of the whole, or the greater part, would have a preponderating power in Europe. The first step in the prosecution of this design, was to erect forts on the western borders, to a great extent, and several of these were on the territory claimed by the English. Those on Lakes Champlain and St. George, and on the river Ohio, were of this description.
This conduct on the part of the French could not but create alarm to England and her colonies; and Governor Shirley particularly, viewed it with great concern,
He immediately took measures of precaution, though war had not been formerly declared. In the summer of 1754, accompanied by several gentlemen, and 500 men under command of General Winslow, he visited Falmouth, where he renewed the articles of former treaties with the eastern Indians; and thence proceeded to the Kennebec and explored the river as far as the great falls, thirty miles above Norridgewock, but discovered no Indian forts, which it had been reported were erecting there. During