« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
reckoning the seven hundred, in garrison at Louisbourg and Nova Scotia, amounted only to four thousand, in the whole, which were in service from the province in that year; cepting, indeed, several small parties to keep up the forts at Penobscot, St. Georges, and two on Kennebec River; two at Hoosuck, one at Colraine, and one at Claremont. Both Governor Pownall, before he left the chair, and Mr. Hutchinson, then lieutenant governor, after his departure, urged upon the general court the importance of complying with the requisitions of the British minister and General Amherst, as a great effort was to be made for the entire conquest of Canada, and it would probably be the last year of the war. In promising to make every exertion which the condition of the province and the people would permit, they expressed a wish, that the British ministry might be informed of the expensive efforts already made, and order some pecuniary relief. Governor Pownall promised to press their plea, and to bear testimony to their loyalty. His policy in his intercourse with the general court, was dictated by a full knowledge of the views and temper of the people; and he wisely adopted a mild spirit in all his communications. The temper of his successor was less mild, or less wisely controlled, and his conduct contrasted very unfavorably with the deportment of Governor Pownall. But the former was the representative of the king, at a period when the vexed questions of the prerogative of the crown, and of the powers rightfully to be exercised by the provincial government under the charter, were continually occurring and Mr. Bernard was never wanting in zeal for the king, or in a disposition to maintain all the supposed powers of his office: while the latter presided at a time when other important subjects occupied the constant attention of the government. And he found that he could discharge his duty to the crown, without engaging in bitter controversy with the general court. He was also economical in the expenditure of public money intrusted to him for the common defence and ordinary affairs of the executive; and he proposed plans for preventing speculators preying upon the soldiers, for whose sufferings he ever manifested a strong sympathy.†
* On a call from General Amherst, in May, it was voted to raise five hundred more.
Mr. Pownall was a gentleman of gaiety and show, and he spared nothing in the expenses of his table. Yet he was a rigid economist, when acting as the agent of the public. He had a more correct view of the nature of the colonial charters than any other governor, except Mr. Hutchinson; and though a foreigner by birth, he construed more favorably, or was more friendly to the grants of power to the people by their charters, than the latter.
The object of the campaign, this year, was the reduction of Montreal, which was the most important place in the hands of the French; for if that could be taken, all Canada would come under the British government. A large force was to advance on that place, by Lake Ontario and thence by the St. Lawrence; and another detachment, by Lake Champlain. General Amherst commanded the first, consisting chiefly of British regular troops; while the other, in which were most of the provincials, was under Colonel Haviland. A part of the plan was for General Murray and as many of the troops at Quebec as could be spared, to ascend the St. Lawrence, and join the other detachments near Montreal. But a large French force, either intending to recapture Quebec, or prevent a junction of the English forces near Montreal, advanced on the former, and, by his resolute and judicious efforts, the French commander gave full employment to the British general for several weeks, in defending the city. He was repulsed, however, and General Murray, with a large part of the British troops, marched to Montreal. The several detachments reached the vicinity of Montreal, within two days of one another; and this united force was so formidable, that the French general, who commanded there, soon surrendered.
Dispute between the House and Council-Expenses of war and loss of lives -Schools and Colleges-New Troops raised-Dispute with GovernorClaims of House and of the Governor-Customs-Collector sued-Mr. Otis Mr. Hutchinson-Writs of Assistance- Excitement on the occasion-Gold Coin-Wilkes-Whig and Tory-State of the Province at the peace of 1763-Views of Ministers-Census-Plan to tax the Province -Controversy on Episcopacy.
THE pertinacity of the house of assembly in contending for authority, as the more immediate representatives of the people, even against the council chosen by themselves, may be seen in their insisting on the formal consent of that board, to the report on the Treasurer's accounts, which they had approved, without allowing the council to examine into the correctness of the report. The house had been in the practice of asking and receiving the official sanction of the board to these reports, merely on the examination and approval of the former. The council considered this improper, and required an inspection of the documents, and the means of knowing whether the report was correct. The house pleaded usage, as well as a right, to keep the treasury accounts under their own control. The reply of the council was, that if the house were the sole judge in the case, and had justly the entire management of the treasury, then it could not be necessary for the board to testify its formal approbation; and that if their concurrence was proper, they must first have an opportunity of making a decision according to the facts and the examination of the accounts. The house at last yielded, in effect, but they so framed their vote on the subject as to avoid the appearance of giving up the point to the council. In this instance, the council seem to have been correct; otherwise, they might be considered as giving their official consent to a decision of the other branch of the legislature, without inquiry and without full information. Whether there were some aspiring men in the assembly, or whether there was a general apprehension that the council were likely to be unduly influenced by the governor, with whom they were more closely connected in the administration, the representatives were always
more jealous of encroachments on the rights of the people, and more ready to assert the authority of the legislature. It is a fact, fully proved by various occurrences, that the council generally consented, or acquiesced in the proposals of the governor, while the representatives either wholly opposed or but partially conformed to his requests. The charge could not, indeed, be sustained, that the members of the council disregarded the rights of the people, or consented to demands prejudicial to the just authority of the legislature; and yet they were seldom found in collision with the governors, or in decided opposition to his recommendations.
This long period of war not only brought a heavy debt on the province, but served to retard its population, and to check its prosperity. The loss of five or six thousand men, within five years, must have prevented the settlement of new townships, and lessened the amount of agricultural products, which are necessary to augment the resources of a new country. Those who survived the war, returned to their homes with habits unfavorable to constant and laborious employment. The manners and dress of British officers, who were not always patterns of sobriety and economy, were often imitated; and a great change was observable, in comparison with the frugality of former days. But the interests of learning and religion were not neglected by the legislators nor the people. The college, under the patronage of the government, was in a prosperous state; its graduates were thirty or thirty-five, annually. In most of the towns with two hundred families, and few had less, a grammar school was maintained; and the teacher was usually a graduate of the college. The laws of the province enjoined this important measure, and also required the settlement and support of learned ministers of religion. The benefits resulting to individuals and to the community, from these regulations, were incalculable. They served to maintain a healthy state of society, and gave to the population of New England a peculiar and distinctive character. By this wise regimen, men were trained up for the
* The expenses of Massachusetts, for five years, exceeded £400,000, beyond the sums allowed by the British government. For the year 1761, the sum allowed as a reimbursement was, indeed, more than half, or nearly three fourths of the expense of the province for that year, for the military services; but for five years preceding, the allowance was not more than one half. A great portion of the men raised, were stationed on the frontiers, for defence; and large sums were also expended in bounties, provisions and teams, for which no reimbursements were made. It was also the judgment of the parent government, that the colonies should bear a part of the expenses incurred for the common safety. For the year 1758, the whole expenses, for men in the army, in the forts, and other purposes, were £210,000; but a part was reimbursed by England.
mighty struggle, which was soon then to ensue. Even then the schoolmaster was abroad in the community. The great body of the people had intelligence to understand their rights, as well as hardihood of character to defend them; and many became fitted to explain and vindicate civil liberty, against the plausible arguments of the corrupt and selfish advocates of arbitrary power.
After the conquest of Canada, and the power of France was at an end in that quarter, a large military force was maintained in North America (1761) by the British government, as no treaty of peace had been concluded. The British regular troops, however, were mostly ordered on an expedition to the French islands, and Massachusetts raised three thousand men to take their places. Some objection was made to this requisition, but after a few days debate and opposition, the measure was adopted. A similar requisition was made in 1762, with which there seems to have been a compliance without much opposition. A large bounty was also voted, this year, for nine hundred men to join the regular British forces; who were enlisted with far less difficulty than in former years; either because the bounty offered was higher than usual, or they expected little hard service, or that the people had become more fond of a military life.
The jealousy or the vigilance of the representatives, to prevent all encroachments on the rights of the people and to maintain the principles for which they contended, was displayed, at this time, though in a case far less important than that which soon after justly excited so deep an interest, by a formal complaint of the conduct of the governor and council. In the recess of the court, the people of Salem and Marblehead, who were engaged in the fishery at the eastward, requested that two armed vessels might be sent for their protection, against the French ships in that quarter. The vessels were fitted out for the purpose, on the advice of the council; and the expense did not exceed £400. At the following session of the general court, the governor stated the case, and recommended that provision be made to cover that expense. The exigency of the occasion was a reasonable justification of the conduct of the executive. But the representatives protested against it; pretending that their right of originating taxes, one of their greatest privileges, was taken away, and that it struck at the very existence of the popular branch of the legislature. They protested against such a measure, as altogether arbitrary, and expressed a hope that no similar one would be again adopted. Some clauses in the message to the governor, was unnecessarily