The Founding of New England/XII
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XII. The Theory of Empire
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THE THEORY OF EMPIRE
In the last chapter we mentioned the change that was to take place in the relations between New England and the mother-country in the years following the Restoration. That change was one of practical politics rather than of theory, which latter had been but little altered from the beginning of the colonial settlement, although the exigencies of events in England had largely prevented its being translated into a consistent course of action. In order to understand the imperial theory of the day, and to appraise the wisdom and justice of the positions taken both by England and by her colonies, it is necessary to shift our standpoint temporarily, and to study the empire from its centre, and not from one of its less important outposts. Business men in contact with large affairs are familiar with the relations that exist between the central administrative office of a great corporation—whose sources of raw materials, producing plants, and selling agencies may be scattered over half a continent—and the local manager of one of its units. If we consult the latter, we may learn of local conditions as they affect him, and, perhaps, of his grievances against the policy of the corporation; but if we would properly understand the whole situation, we must study it at the centre of the entire complicated system.
The New England colonies were but parts, and, at this period, unimportant parts, of such a system. Not only can their history not be understood, if we attempt to trace it without reference to England, but neither can their relations with that country, unless we take the entire colonial organization into account. The colonies were not independent states. They were not even, primarily, independent states in the making. The fact that a few of them, which happened to have a continent at their back and unlimited room for expansion, revolted after a century and a half, has tended to obscure their real contemporary relation to England, much as the refraction of water alters the apparent position of objects under it when seen from an angle. The angle from which we Americans always look at the original colonies is that of our present independent nation; but by doing so we unwittingly shift their position from integral parts of a complicated imperial system to incipient independent commonwealths, assumed to have been unjustly held in thraldom. Needless to say, such a viewpoint vitiates our appraisal of every contemporary act and opinion. It is possible that after some hundreds of years the present United States may be divided into two or more nations; but to-day they form one system, and no one would think of interpreting the present relations between North and South, or East and West, in the light of a possible separation centuries hence. In the same way, the relations between England and her colonies in the seventeenth century should be interpreted in the light of their then actual and prospective union and the political theories current, and not in that of a subsequent, and more or less accidental, separation, and of the wholly different theories of a later age.
When James I ascended the throne of England, the British Empire was not in existence. The map of the world would have been searched in vain for any settlement of Englishmen on English soil outside of the British Isles. When, less than half a dozen decades later, the third Stuart returned from “his travels,” amidst the acclaims of the nation, it was to become the head of an empire which already encircled the globe. From Newfoundland to the Caribbean, English colonies stretched in a great arc upon islands and mainland, while the Bermudas, equidistant, roughly speaking, from all its parts, formed a strategic centre far out in the Atlantic. Across that ocean, Fort Comantine on the coast of Guinea protected the African slave-trade, and the fortified island of St. Helena was a half-way station for the Indian fleets. Passing around the Cape, the next English possession was Gombroon, on the Persian Gulf; while, still farther east, in India, lay the factories on the Madras and Bombay shores and the Bay of Bengal. Beyond those, again, English traders were permanently established on Sumatra, Java, and the Celebes. Such an imperial structure could not have been raised in less than the allotted three-score years and ten of individual life by a practice wholly tyrannical, or a colonial theory wholly false.
The great trans-oceanic empires which were attempted in the seventeenth century by the leading European powers were political phenomena of an absolutely new type. Neither the colonies of the city-states of Greece, nor the slow continental expansion of Rome offered any adequate parallel to the political results of the age of discovery, or any solutions of the problems created. Of those new empires, the English not only has proved the most lasting and the greatest, but has secured, from its very beginning, the largest comparative amount of freedom to the colonists. Assertions have often been made that its development has been unintentional and unconscious; that the English race, as the phrase goes, has peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind. This is true only in the sense that the Empire’s growth has been slow, normal, and unhurried, and that its strength has lain in the character of the people rather than in any consistent policy of aggression upon the part of their rulers. That it has been unconscious in the sense that it has been unobserved is, of course, disproved by the contemporary literature relating to imperial problems in almost every decade from the sixteenth century to the present day; while the wars of the entire seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were largely caused by trade and colonial questions.
Englishmen could not emigrate to distant parts of the world, and found settlements, without, in many and serious ways, involving the English nation—and that apart from the fact that the soil on which the most populous of the colonies grew up was the unquestioned property of the English Crown. From the very beginning of colonization, therefore, even before any permanent success had been achieved, we find the question being discussed as to what use, if any, to the English people were these distant settlements, with their possible disadvantages and certain responsibilities.
If the establishment of the British Empire was not the result of absent-mindedness, neither was it prompted by motives of philanthropy toward generations yet unborn in countries overseas. Exploration, settlement, far-distant foreign trade, ensuing wars with competing powers, and the policing of trade-routes, were costly and hazardous matters, and not to be undertaken without the prospect of very tangible rewards of one sort or another. As we endeavored to show in an earlier chapter, the main underlying motive that led to the great discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and, in the main, to the colonizing movements of the seventeenth, was economic. It was, therefore, entirely natural that the speculation as to the advantages and disadvantages of empire, and as to the relations of England to her dependencies, should be based upon the economic theories of the day. The question, moreover, as to what advantages, if any, would accrue from founding, or allowing to be founded, colonies not yet in existence, was almost necessarily, what those advantages would be for England herself. After the Empire had come into existence, the point of view shifted somewhat, and, theoretically, the question became one of what advantage a policy might prove to the Empire as a whole, although, as its greatest aggregation of wealth and population, the source of protection, the seat of power, the centre of all exchanges, in a word, the heart of empire, the local interests of England would still outweigh those of any of the dependencies. In no case would those at the head of the imperial government, aside from selfish motives, of which there were plenty, have thought it the part of either wisdom or justice to uphold the citizens of any one colony in a course that seemed to run counter to the interests of the Empire as a whole.
We have already noted how the breaking up of the unity of Christendom by the development of state churches was but a phase of the operation of new forces at work, at the beginning of the modern era, which were moulding men’s thoughts and emotions along national lines. In their religious aspect, these gave rise to the post-Reformation churches, and in their political aspect, to the growth of the modern state. They were equally powerful in the economic field; and the so-called Mercantile Theory, which was the ground of the imperial theories of the time, was but the reasoned expression of this nationalizing of the economic life of the peoples. In the Middle Ages, the life of the individual, in its various relations, had been decentralized. In his political allegiance he had looked one way, in his religious another, and in his economic still another. The growing strength of the feeling of nationality was gradually drawing all toward a common centre.
The balance of trade, which forms one of the essential features of the Mercantile Theory, was not a new conception. It was, however, of great practical influence upon economic doctrine and state policies when applied to the nations. After speaking of how a merchant balances his private books, and how the head of a family looks after his estate, an early writer goes on to say that “the Royall Merchant, the Regall Father of that great family of a Kingdom, if He will know the Estate of his Kingdome, Hee will compare the Gaine thereof with the Expense; that is, the Native Commodities issued and sent out, with the Forraine Commodities received in; and if it appeare that the Forraine Commodities doe exceed the Native, either he must increase the Native, or lessen the Forraine, or else looke for nothing else, but the Decay of Trade and therein the losse of his Revenue, and Impoverishing of his People.”
This theory was developed into a system by Mun, who affirmed that the best method to “increase our wealth and treasure is by Forraign Trade, wherein wee must ever observe this rule; to sell more to strangers yearly than wee consume of theirs in value.” The effects of this doctrine were vastly increased and modified by the current belief that the precious metals constituted the real wealth of a kingdom, and that its whole trade, therefore, should be considered mainly in reference to the resultant balance with foreigners in gold and silver. For example, Mun states that if pepper be worth twenty pence in Amsterdam, and threepence in the East Indies, it is a gain to the nation to buy it in the latter, even though the freight and other charges make it cost more in England than if it were imported from Holland, because those charges are paid by Englishmen to Englishmen, so that only threepence in actual coin leaves the country, as compared with twenty. In this particular, he points out, his countrymen “must ever distinguish between the gain of the kingdom, and the profit of the Merchant.”
The effect of this theory upon the questions of colonization and colonial policy was profound. “I conceive, no forein Plantation should be undertaken or prosecuted,” wrote Samuel Fortrey, “but in such countreys that may increase the wealth and trade of this nation, either in furnishing us, with what we are otherwise forced to purchase from strangers, or else by increasing such commodities, as are vendible abroad; which may both increase our shipping, and profitably employ our people; but otherwise, it is always carefully to be avoided, especially where the charge is greater than the profit, for we want not already a countrey sufficient for double our people, were they rightly employed; and a Prince is more powerfull that hath his strength and force united, then he that is weakly scattered in many places.” Granted the assumptions that real wealth consists only of the precious metals, and that, in a country without mines, these can be acquired only as a result of a favorable trade with strangers, the colonial theory of the European nations in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was as logical as it was patriotic. The assumptions may have been wrong, but in this, as in so many other cases, we must remember that delusions are “as effective in social evolution as are unassailable facts.”
The pacte coloniale, therefore, was, in some of its aspects, similar to the ideal of the modern “trust,” which would combine in one enormous organization the sources of its raw materials, its means of transportation, manufacturing plants, and selling agencies. The ideal empire, according to the Mercantile Theory, would embrace the home country, which, aside from the production of certain raw materials, was, in the main, the source of credit, the seat of manufactures, the selling agency to the world for the whole empire, the centre of administration, and the protective power to guard the system. The colonies in the temperate zone were to supply the typical products of their regions, the East and West Indies materials found in the tropics, and the African stations the supply of negro labor.
It must be distinctly remembered that this was not merely an English ideal. It was the end toward which the most advanced European nations were striving in building up their empires according to what was then considered as unquestionably the soundest economic doctrine. France, under Colbert, was endeavoring, with a logical rigor that was not equaled by the English, to erect just such a completely balanced system. She, too, had her North American temperate-zone colony in Canada, her fishing fleets off Newfoundland, her West Indian possessions, her African supply in Senegal, and her factories in the East Indies.
Such a system, closed against the world, presupposed that every part would be willing to subordinate itself to the theoretical needs of the whole, and that the production of every unit could be so nicely adjusted in nature and amount as to maintain the internal balances, and allow the home country, as the selling agency, to establish a favorable balance with the world external to the empire. Although some of the nations, notably England and France, were able to block out empires so located, as to their parts, as apparently to fulfil the requirements, no such perfect adjustment of colonial production could ever be reached as to fit the needs of the theory; while its logic, seemingly so perfect, left out of account the tact that the colonists were human beings, who would surely develop their own local interests, troubles, and aspirations, and not insensible parts of a great machine.
The English Empire was the most complete embodiment of the ideal. The factories in the Spice Islands and on the coasts of India supplied the products of the Orient, not to be obtained elsewhere. Africa provided the negroes, upon whose labor was based the production of sugar in the West Indies, which formed one of the mainstays of the Empire’s commerce. St. Helena and Bermuda were strategic points on the Indian and American trade-routes. Virginia and Maryland were wholly devoted to the staple crop of tobacco, which was another of the important elements in British trade. The fisheries of Newfoundland provided England with an article to exchange with the Catholic countries of southern Europe for the wine, salt, and other products imported from them; and they fitted in perfectly with the imperial scheme. All these distant possessions, by employing an increasing amount of shipping, under the laws to be mentioned later, built up the merchant fleet upon which rested England’s naval power and her ability to defend the Empire; while all of them consumed English manufactured goods.
New England, however, did not fit into this elaborate and delicately adjusted trade-machine. In spite of her enormous forest-resources, which had been counted upon to provide the Empire with naval stores and timber, she failed utterly in competition with the countries on the Baltic. Her agricultural products were practically identical with those of the old country, and so competed with them. There was no staple crop, like sugar or tobacco, to form an element of imperial commerce. Her fisheries, which had loomed so large at the time of the first settlement, served, for various reasons, only to compete with those of Newfoundland, and at once to reduce England’s profits and to retard the increase of her fishing fleet. The purely colonial shipping, which the New England colonies early produced, drew away English seamen, competed with English vessels, and reduced the naval strength of the mother country. Following the economic crisis of 1640, Massachusetts and her sister colonies made strenuous and partly successful efforts to establish home manufactures, which curtailed the market for English goods. As, even then, those colonies imported much more from England than they exported to her, they had to seek an outlet for such products as were not adapted for the English trade, in order to obtain the money to settle their English bills. The West Indian colonies, on the other hand, exported to England far more than they imported. Consequently New England sold her timber and provisions to the island settlements, and used their bills of exchange to pay her English debts. In this, however, she seemed to be in part merely drawing away the trade-balance of the West Indies by increasing her competition with the home-country. Nor, as the shrewd and thrifty New England merchants grew in numbers and in wealth, did the English West Indian islands afford them sufficient outlet for their commercial energies; and there gradually developed that system of trade with the French island-group which was to be one of the causes of the Revolution.
When we add to this economic maladjustment, according to the current theory, the unique position of the New England colonies as chartered or practically independent governments, it is obvious how anomalous their relations were to the imperial scheme. From the standpoint of contemporary opinion, it was not unnatural that they should be regarded by many as “the unfortunate results of misdirected efforts.” Nor was it merely that they failed to fit in with the rest of the Empire. As they grew in population, and in their avowed independence of all external control of any sort, many an Englishman must have felt the fear expressed by one of the ablest economic writers of the latter part of the Empire’s first century. Of all the American plantations, D’Avenant wrote in 1698, New England “is the most proper for building ships and breeding seamen, and their soil affords plenty of cattle; besides which, they have good fisheries, so that, if we should go to cultivate among them the art of navigation, and teach them to have a naval force, they may set up for themselves, and make the greatest part of our West-Indian Trade precarious,” as well as absorbing the colonial carrying trade and merchandizing. It has, indeed, been conjectured that Cromwell’s attempt, in 1665, to induce a large number of the New Englanders to emigrate to the newly conquered island of Jamaica derived directly from the failure of their colonies to fit into the mercantile empire, although, to the present writer, other economic and military motives seem quite as likely.
From this theory of empire sprang certain practical corollaries. In part to avoid allowing foreigners to benefit from the imperial trade, and to retain the carrying profits within the Empire, but mainly to build up the merchant fleet, it was decreed that all goods must be transported in vessels belonging to the mother-country or her colonies. Foreign goods, according to the theory, would have to be excluded as far as possible from the colonial markets, the products of the latter limited to the English market, and colonial manufacturing restrained so as not to compete with home-made goods, although the theory was never fully translated into practice. On the other hand, as a partial offset to such laws as were passed, which mainly redounded to the benefit of England so far as their direct results were concerned, colonial produce was, to some extent, given preferential treatment in that country, and, in some important particulars, Englishmen were forbidden to compete with the colonists. The colonies were also afforded protection against the aggression of foreign nations. No colony could possibly have remained independent. The choice was not between the English Empire and independence, but between being subject to Protestant and, as the world went then, liberal England, or to Catholic France or Spain.
As we have already said, in the second half of the seventeenth century, Colbert, the great minister of Louis XIV, was applying the Mercantile doctrine to the upbuilding of the French overseas empire with a rigor that the English never attained. When he excluded all foreign vessels from the French colonial carrying-trade, there was, as yet, no sufficient French merchant fleet to serve colonial needs, and the West India planters were brought to the verge of starvation and ruin. If they “were hungry, barefooted and in rags,” writes the historian of Colbert’s policy, “they must count these things as a bit of temporary suffering, to be endured for the upbuilding of French commerce. They must wait for the law of supply and demand to operate and bring them, sooner or later, an abundance from France. . . . But he was demanding too much. What meant the noble idea of restoring French commerce and the upbuilding of a mighty colonial empire to the planters in the West Indies, whose empty bellies were crying for food, whose nakedness demanded to be clothed?” Nor were the colonial measures of the other nations less repressive.
Both religious and economic interests, therefore, made it desirable that the English colonies should remain within the English Empire; and it was the power of England alone which enabled them to do so. For it was not a question, for example, of the sturdy New England settlers warding off attacks from the far fewer French inhabitants of Canada. No colony was self-supporting or economically self-contained. Cut off from access to the mother-country, deprived of her protection on the ocean trade-routes, they would inevitably wither and die, or be absorbed into one of the rival and less liberal empires. The allegiance of the colonists of various nations was in only slight measure determined by their own comparative strengths, and almost wholly by the naval powers of the home countries.
Such, in brief outline, was the European theory of empire held during our colonial period, some of the main features in the practical application of which can be traced back for several centuries before ever the question of empire arose, as we have indicated in our earlier chapters. The old life of the Middle Ages, which had been largely municipal, had become national. The extraordinary energy of the new period, facing an entire globe to be appropriated and exploited, rapidly developed national spirit into imperial ambition, and the old ideas and practices of a small and legally restricted commerce had to be suddenly adapted and enlarged to meet a situation unprecedented in history. The surprising fact is not that, in so many ways, the theory and practice of empire-making should have contained errors and worked injustices, but that one which, after all, proved highly successful, should have been developed so immediately and so surely.
Until comparatively recently, the Mercantile Theory was regarded as a sinister device to give play to the selfish profiteering of the English merchant-class. It is, however, coming more and more to be recognized as a necessary step in the evolution of the modern state. “What was at stake,” writes Schmoller, who was the leader in these newer views, “was the creation of real political economies as unified organisms, the centre of which should be, not merely a state policy reaching out in all directions, but rather the living heart-beat of a united sentiment. Only he who thus conceives of mercantilism will understand it; in its innermost kernel it is nothing but state-making, not state-making in a narrow sense, but state-making and national-economy-making at the same time; state-making in the modern sense, which creates out of the political community an economic community, and so gives it a heightened meaning. The essence of the system,” he adds, “lies not in some doctrine of money, or of the balance of trade; not in tariff barriers, protective duties, or navigation laws; but in something far greater, namely, in the total transformation of society and its organization, as well as of the state and its institutions; in the replacing of a local and territorial economic policy by that of the national state.”
Modern critics of the theory have been prone to lay stress upon the obvious defects and shortcomings which appear in the workings of the enactments designed to translate it into practice. As a matter of fact, the policy proved successful, in spite of the eventual loss to England, a century later, of a portion of her colonies; while in a different and higher form, that of an imperial federated Zollverein, it is still regarded by many as the solution of the possibly insoluble problem of imperial government.
In a speech at the Savoy, in London, in 1917, the Premier of Newfoundland, England’s oldest colony, gave notable expression to such a return to the policy of an earlier day. “This Empire,” he said, “cannot live as a political empire unless it is developed as an economic empire. All the raw material produced in the Empire should be manufactured in the Empire before it leaves the Empire, and nothing should be admitted into the Empire that could be produced in the Empire.” Let us not condemn too hastily the economic theories of the seventeenth century until we are quite sure whither those of the twentieth are to lead us.
The strength of an ocean empire lies wholly in sea-power, and the roots of sea-power in the merchant marine. By her application of the Mercantile Theory, England forced the Dutch, who had “run hackney all the world over,” from the carrying-trade of her colonies; and for all the centuries since, she has been the great commercial nation of the world. France, who abandoned Colbert’s policy, and turned her back on the sea in 1672, embarking upon a career of Continental conquest, was, during the next century, to be beaten by England single-handed for the first time since the Middle Ages, to have her merchant shipping swept away, and to lose Martinique, Guadaloupe, Canada, and India to her rival.
It has too frequently been assumed to be an obvious conclusion that the Navigation Acts of the seventeenth century were a colossal blunder, because, in part, the commercial policy of England lost her the continental colonies in the eighteenth. Those who would commit themselves to such a view might well determine whether, had England not made use of the weapons of the earlier century, and thus developed that naval power which alone enabled her to protect her American possessions, she would have had any colonies left, continental or other, to be kept or lost by any policies which she might adopt in the later period.
Having glanced at the theory of empire as it was understood by those at home, we must turn to consider the measures adopted to reduce it to practice, and also the views of imperial relations held by the colonists.
We may again emphasize the fact that the colonies were dependencies of England, and not independent nations. It was as much the right and duty of England to assert and maintain some sort of imperial control over them as it has been of the United States to do the same over her own territorial possessions. The colonists were Englishmen, settled upon English lands, subject to English laws, entitled to the rights of Englishmen at home, protected by English power. The control exercised over them was not that of a foreign nation, or imposed by conquest; and the mere fact that some control should be exercised could not in itself be construed as an act of oppression or tyranny. Had the waste lands on which these emigrating Englishmen settled been contiguous to the borders of any English county, none of the questions that arose as to their relations to English sovereignty would have arisen. They were all due to the distance, translated into time, that separated these English subjects from the seat of authority, and to the new conditions of their strange environment. From those two elements, “arose all that was peculiar and exceptional in their relations with the British government.” At the time when the New England colonies were planted, the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty, of the supreme authority in the state of that body which had hitherto been regarded rather as a judicial than a legislative one, was beginning to take hold of men’s minds. It required, however, the ordeal by battle of a civil war to decide the question; and it was not until the Restoration that Parliament took its permanent place among English institutions. The close connection of the colonies with the Crown arose from the fact that, during the period of their founding, their relations to the government of England were mainly with the Executive and as occupiers of the soil, the executive power being then lodged in the King in Council, and the title to the land being vested in the Crown. As the constitutional situation gradually altered, the colonies remained, of course, subject to the sovereign power, wherever located, as did Englishmen at home, although so complex, and difficult of both legal and equitable settlement, were the questions of sovereignty in the Empire raised by the phenomena of overseas dominions, that it is highly questionable whether their solution has ever been found. Only a few years ago, a brilliant Englishman could speak of the bonds then uniting England and her colonies as “a confusion of legal formulas and brittle sympathies”; and although, as tested in the world-crisis of the Great War, those sympathies have proved anything but brittle, his conclusion that imperial sovereignty is, in reality, non-existent, seems irrefutable. The ship of state to-day, compared to that of the seventeenth century, is as a dreadnought to the Mayflower; but if, after three centuries, the problem of imperial organization is yet awaiting solution, with the best of will on the part of both England and the dominions, there need be little surprise, and certainly no bitterness, over the slow and blundering beginnings. Unfortunately, owing to the uncertainty, in the course of England’s political evolution, as to where sovereignty really lay, and also to the inherent difficulties involved in the question of the realm and the dominions, alluded to in an earlier chapter, the way was all too open for controversial misunderstandings on purely technical grounds between the colonies and the mother-country. And this quite apart from the difficulties raised by distance, and the attempted course of Stuart usurpation, against which latter, it must be remembered, the forces of freedom were to struggle in old England as well as in her colonies.
During the period covered by this volume, control over the colonies was asserted in various ways and at various times by both Parliament and the Crown. Patentees of the royal charters not infrequently asked Parliament to confirm their privileges; while that body often inquired into the use which was being made of those monopolistic documents; for it is sometimes forgotten that such a charter as that obtained by Massachusetts, for example, while regarded by the company as the basis of its liberties, could also, quite as legitimately, be regarded by the nation as creating a monopoly in one of its worst forms—that of the exclusive use of the Crown, or public, lands. For the most part, however, Parliament confined itself to passing legislation regarding trade only, its control over the customs being continuous from 1641.
Those who intended to found plantations necessarily had to apply to the king for a charter, in order to obtain possession of the soil and exemption from certain laws covering emigration and export. Technically, the charters of the corporate colonies ranked merely with those of English municipal corporations. According to a strict interpretation of the law, therefore, so long as the private rights of individuals were not infringed, the English government would be technically justified in altering colonial institutions, or in dividing and combining colonies, without the consent of the inhabitants. As is always the case, old laws and institutions were slightly altered by the use of legal fictions and by modifications in practice, to meet the needs of a new situation. It is unthinkable that an entirely new body of law, and a wholly new set of institutions, should have been created, to serve political contingencies that could by no means have been foreseen.
The element of distance again came into play, to alter profoundly the practical effect of legal technicalities. In England the sovereign power, in exercising its jurisdiction over municipalities, had local knowledge of conditions, and could take immediate and effective action. Moreover, even when the citizens of the municipality were not represented in Parliament, they were yet largely protected from acts of oppression by the fact that such acts were prevented by the self-defensive foresight of other municipalities, which were represented. The situation in regard to the colonies was entirely different. Owing to the distance which separated them from home, it was impossible that either the king or Parliament could have accurate knowledge of local conditions, or take prompt measures. The difficulties as to both these points, in the unsettled state of England in the earlier part of the seventeenth century, were responsible for the extraordinary freedom which the colonists enjoyed from interference in their domestic political affairs. In addition, as their local conditions were little understood, and of but slight moment to the bulk of Englishmen at home, and as the interests of one colony frequently conflicted with those of another differently situated, their rights, in the absence of parliamentary representation, did not possess even that vicarious protection enjoyed by their legal equivalents, the unrepresented municipal corporations in England. Of necessity, therefore, colonial interests, from the standpoint of the colonists, were bound to be in part neglected by England, and in part misunderstood, while they served, to a far greater extent than was possible with those of any class or body at home, as the hunting-ground of rival cliques of self-interested individuals or groups.
Down to 1643, when Parliament, as a result of the Civil War, assumed the position of executive head of the government, colonial affairs had been in the hands of the King in Council, and had been managed by a succession of committees, sub-committees and commissions, one of which we have already encountered on the other side of the water at the time of the troubles over the Massachusetts charter. During the period of the Interregnum, these were replaced by a tangle of committees of Parliament and the Protector’s Council, none of which were continuous, or able to formulate and carry through a consistent policy. We have already seen the results of the administrative confusion, in the opportunity which it gave the New England colonies, and of which they made full use, to develop their local institutions and policy in almost entire disregard of their position in the Empire.
This almost complete absence of any steady policy or consistent control over the component parts of the imperial structure not only was unacceptable to the merchants at home, but would probably have been destructive of the Empire had it continued without change. Certain measures of far-reaching importance, however, had already been enacted under Cromwell; and the Restoration, which strengthened the government and united the people, enabled England to undertake a more comprehensive scheme for imperial organization, although in New England, owing to the incorrigible tendencies of the Stuarts, it blundered into criminal folly.
At first, two councils were created, one for Trade, and the other for Plantations, their instructions largely following drafts prepared by the London merchants Povey and Noell, who had for some years been actively engaged in the study of colonial questions, and the formulation of a colonial policy. However these instructions might strike colonists who refused to acknowledge any right of control whatever by the mother-country, they could not but appear wise and just to the statesmen and citizens at home. The councillors were ordered, in the first place, to make a complete survey—by means of correspondence with the colonial governors—of the laws and institutions, population and means of defense of each colony. They were to study “means for the rendering those dominions usefull to England, and England helpful to them, and for the bringing the several Colonies and Plantations, within themselves, into a more certain civill and uniforme waie of government and for the better ordering and distributing of publique justice among them.” They were, further, to maintain a correspondence with the local authorities in the several colonies, so that they might have constant knowledge of “their complaints, their wants, their abundance,” and their shipping, the latter for revision of the Navigation Laws. Finally, they were to study the methods employed by other states in their colonial government, and to call experts to their assistance in any particular when needed. The Council was made up of able men, almost all of them authorities on colonial questions, and in close touch with the colonies, while the business, in the first instance, was frequently entrusted to experts. Of the work of the Council, Professor Andrews writes, that “there was not an important phase of colonial life and government, not a colonial claim or dispute, that was not considered carefully, thoroughly, and in the main, impartially.” In fact, an unbiased study of the actions taken by the Privy Council and its committees during nearly the whole of the seventeenth century leads one to agree with the editor of the Acts, that, as a governing body, it was “anxious to help, willing to take advice, free from preconception.”
The only individual connecting link between New England and the government in England was the unofficial “agent” whom one or another of the colonies appointed at times of crisis, such as the Hocking murder or the Dr. Child petition, to present their case to the authorities. Although unofficial, the office was recognized by the English government, and such agents were employed by most of the colonies, island as well as continental, the office becoming an integral part of the administrative machinery of the following century.
Such, in bare outline, were the organs employed by England in the administration of the colonies. Of the legislative enactments designed to build up the Empire, the most important were precursors of the more famous Navigation Acts of the following century. In 1650, 1651, 1660, and 1663, ordinances were passed for the control of trade and shipping, which, in the period now under review, were more important in their political than in their economic influence upon New England. Holland had been the first of the European nations to understand the effect upon economic prosperity at home of the building up of colonial trade, and in the middle of the seventeenth century threatened to absorb the entire carrying trade of the world, the value of goods shipped annually in Dutch bottoms having been estimated at a billion francs. The English Navigation Acts of Cromwell and Charles II, like the policy initiated by Colbert in France, were aimed mainly at breaking the monopoly of Holland, and building up the national merchant-marines of England and France. Even the fisheries off the coasts of England and Scotland had passed into Dutch hands, and Englishmen had long been clamoring for some means of fighting commercially the growing menace of Dutch sea power.
As the effects upon New England, until the following century, were mainly indirect, it is not necessary to give the details of the various acts in the order in which they were passed. Their aim was twofold—destructive and constructive. In the former aspect, they aimed at diminishing, if not wholly destroying, the shipping, and so both the commerce and the naval power of competing states. On their constructive side, their design was to build up the shipping of the English Empire, and, in reference to certain articles, to make England the sole market for their trade. As to the first point, the colonies were put upon the same basis as England herself; and, in exchange for the advantages derived by her from the second, she offered the colonists certain privileges in the home markets. It was, therefore, enacted that no trade could be carried on between England and her dominions except in ships owned by her or them, and manned by English or colonial crews, the same restriction applying to all goods imported into either from any foreign country or colony in America, Asia, and Africa. This was merely an extension of acts already frequently passed, or provisions in the early charters, such as we have already noted.
The other main point, that of limiting the markets in certain goods to England, was also merely an extension of another long-familiar idea. When the economic organization, in the later Middle Ages, was still largely municipal, it had been found advantageous to designate certain towns as the sole markets, or “staple,” for certain goods. For some centuries, the belief in the economic soundness of this practice continued to be held; and, as we noted in the very first charter relating to America,—that of Cabot, in 1496,—it was required that all goods should pass through the port of Bristol. The Navigation Act of Charles II required that certain “enumerated” commodities produced in the colonies should be sold only in England, and not directly to foreigners, thus making England the “staple” for the Empire in the same way in which certain municipalities had formerly been the staples for the kingdom. Theoretically, the colonists were in the same relative position to England in the matter as were Englishmen at home to the staple municipalities, although, of course, the practical disadvantages and injustice to the colonists were much greater when the scheme was made imperial. The list of enumerated commodities in the seventeenth century, however, was very limited, and no such restrictions were placed upon purely intercolonial commerce. A number of the most important colonial exports, such as wheat and fish, were not included; while of the more important ones named, none were produced in New England, and but one—tobacco—by any of the American continental colonies. As an offset to the advantages accruing to England by thus controlling the sale of the enumerated commodities, that country placed prohibitive duties on many of them when imported from other countries, thus giving the colonies the monopoly of the market to which they were limited. In the case of tobacco, which was successfully grown in England, she incurred the resentment of a considerable element in her own agricultural classes by forbidding its culture. So great, indeed, was the opposition to giving the American planters the monopoly of the English market, that the government had for many years to use armed forces against its own citizens to keep faith with the colonies.
The only other point of importance in these early acts was the provision in that of 1663, that no European manufactured goods could be shipped to the colonies unless first landed in England, Wales, or Berwick. Owing, however, to a system of drawbacks on the duties paid in these cases, such goods frequently sold in the colonies at lower prices than they could be sold for in England itself; and certain exceptions, such as Portuguese wines, and salt for the fisheries, were of especial benefit to New England. Indeed, it is noteworthy that the New England colonies, although the least desirable part of the Empire from the English standpoint, and constantly giving trouble politically, were nevertheless accorded particularly considerate treatment from time to time, within the limits of the imperial system. Under the Commonwealth, in 1644, they had been exempted from the payment of all English import and export duties, which naturally gave them a great advantage over the other colonies, and made them the envy of the Empire. A dozen years later, by an act of Parliament, foreign ships were allowed to carry fish from both the Newfoundland and New England fisheries, nullifying to that extent the Act of 1650; and, after the Restoration, their trade was specifically exempted from certain onerous clauses in the Navigation Acts, as then interpreted, although that of the other colonies was not.
As to the success of the above acts, there can now be little question, and their former condemnation on economic grounds has given place to the recognition of the fact that they did indeed secure the objects intended, and that the welfare of the Empire as a whole, as well as that of England herself, was promoted by them. The merchant marine was doubled in eighteen years, the Dutch and other competitors beaten off, and the Empire, and notably New England, greatly increased in power and wealth.
As we have already indicated, however, European imperial theory in the seventeenth century had one serious defect. It failed to take account of human nature in the colonist. Like so many modern theories which consider the state as all, and the individual as nothing, it made the blunder of treating the abstraction as human, and the human as an abstraction. It asked too much of the individual, and, entirely apart from selfish motives, which were found in the colonies quite as much as in the mother-country, it almost of necessity subordinated the interests of the former to those of the latter. The success of the Empire as a whole was doubtless far more dependent upon the strength and prosperity of England than upon the fortunes of any individual colony; but that was a point of view more likely to be appreciated by the contemporary citizens at home, and the historians of a later day, than by the contemporary colonist, who saw his particular interests made to suffer for those of the Empire, and his local pride constantly wounded by a sense of subordination to a power three thousand miles away. For in all the difficulties between England and her colonies, we continually have to come back to the element of distance. What made the acts of the government seem autocratic was not the fact that the colonists were not directly represented in Parliament,—for neither were a large number of Englishmen at home,—but that, by virtue of the effects of distance, the central government was external to the colonists, in a sense in which it never was to the unrepresented Englishmen in England itself. It is difficult to see how any system of representation could have been devised which would have improved the position of the colonies, although representation in the English Parliament was proposed by Barbadoes as early as 1652. There was, in fact, no original thought contributed by any of the colonies, which was of practical use in devising any better scheme of imperial control than that which England was gradually evolving. During the formative period, the colonies offered nothing of a constructive character to the solution of the problem, and contented themselves with a purely obstructionist attitude of attempting to ignore or oppose any measure which they deemed in conflict with their local interests.
At more than one period, English colonists have been accused of believing that “it is the undoubted right of every Englishman to settle where he likes, to behave as he sees fit, and to call upon the Mother-Country to foot the bill.” This, however, is not merely a colonial characteristic: it is the spirit developed upon every frontier, as the later history of American westward expansion may be called upon to illustrate; and, as we have pointed out, the whole chain of colonies formed the long encircling frontier of England. The spirit of stubborn resistance to any interference with their legal rights, or even with their mere freedom of action, was quite as often found in the island-colonies of both France and England as it was in the continental ones now included in the United States. The residents of Barbadoes, for example, in a memorial condemning the Navigation Act of 1651, used language which has a ring that has often been considered peculiarly American. After denying that Parliament had any jurisdiction over them, because they were unrepresented, the settlers went on to say that, if they could not obtain a peaceful settlement of the dispute, yet “wee will not alienate ourselves from those old heroick virtues of true Englishmen to prostitute our freedom and privileges to which we are borne to the will and opinion of any one; neither do wee think our number so contemptible, nor our resolution so weake as to be forced or perswaded to so ignoble a submission, and we cannot think that there are any amongst us who are see simple and soe unworthily minded, that they would not rather chose a noble death than forsake their ould liberties and privileges.”
In spite of the nobility of the sentiment, however, the position assumed, as was frequently the case in Massachusetts, was in fact unwarranted from a strictly legal point of view. Had the stand taken by England on important points in the long colonial controversy been indeed illegal, the problem would have been enormously simplified. As a matter of fact, it was rather the contentions of the colonists which were, from the strict technical standpoint, the illegal ones. But the real questions were not questions of law, although, with the instincts of their race, the Englishmen on both sides of the water fought them out as if they were. One might as well have passed laws to forbid a boy outgrowing his clothes, as to forbid rapidly developing and far-separated colonies from outgrowing the doctrine of a centralized imperial sovereignty. This fact, which is now wholly admitted by the most patriotic Englishmen, both at home and in the dominions, was unfortunately beyond the ken of seventeenth-century thought.
The attitude of the most powerful colony in New England had been foreshadowed from the very beginning. The transfer of the Massachusetts charter to the colony itself had obviously been for the purpose of escaping as far as possible from the jurisdiction of the English courts, and establishing a virtually independent government, under a strained construction of that document. We have already seen how the colony had arrogated to itself sovereign powers, how it had over and over refused appeals to the home courts and Crown, how it had erected fortifications, and taken other military measures to resist by force the assertion of her authority by England, and how it had made treaties of both war and peace with foreign powers. In 1652, it established a mint, the coins having the famous device of the pine tree and the word “Massachusetts” on one side, and “New England” and the date on the other, but with no recognition of the king. Even the mere oath of allegiance was refused whenever possible, although required by the charter itself. All of these acts represented a consistent policy, openly avowed among themselves by the leaders, of disputing any claims of the home country to any authority whatsoever over the colony.
From time to time, crises in its affairs brought out official declarations of its attitude. Owing to the exigencies of the Civil War in England, Parliament had issued commissions to certain officers of the merchant marine, authorizing them to make prizes of any vessels which they might find in the royal service. In the summer of 1644, one of these officers, a Captain Stagg, appeared in an armed ship in Boston harbor, and there made prize of a Bristol ship, according to his orders. A tumult was raised, and many of the magistrates and clergy, asserting that “the people’s liberties” had been violated, were in favor of forcing the release of the seized vessel. A majority, however, decided that the Parliament’s commission must be recognized; for, if its authority were denied in this, then the foundation of the colony’s patent also would be denied, and if they relied solely upon their Indian purchases to give them title to the country, they would have to renounce “England’s protection, which were a great weakness in us, seing their care hath been to strengthen our liberties and not overthrow them”; and, also, if they should by opposing the Parliament “cause them to forsake us, we could have no protection or countenance from any, but should lie open as a prey to all men.” The way for resistance at any time, however, was left open by declaring that, by the course of affairs in England, the Parliament had taught that “salus populi is suprema lex,” and that, in case that body should ever prove of a “malignant spirit,” “we may make use of salus populi
to withstand any authority from thence to our hurt.” During the discussion, some had maintained that by their patent the colony was subject “to no other power but among ourselves”; but that was denied.
Two years later, however, in connection with the Dr. Child petition, and the order of the English Commissioners concerning Samuel Gorton, the local aspects of which have been discussed in a previous chapter, the General Court undertook to define the colony’s relations to England more definitely. While there was some difference of opinion, the majority of the magistrates and of the clergy consulted took the stand that by the charter they had “absolute power of government,” with authority to “make laws, to erect all sorts of magistracy, to correct, punish, pardon, govern, and rule the people absolutely,” without the interposition of any superior power. They denied that any appeal lay against any of their proceedings, or that they were bound, “further than in a way of justification,” to make answer to any complaints against them in England. They drew a distinction between corporations within England and those without, asserted that plantations were above the rank of ordinary corporations, and added that “our allegiance binds us not to the laws of England any longer than while we live in England, for the laws of the parliament of England reach no further, nor do the King’s writs under the great seal.” They did, indeed, acknowledge some sort of shadowy and undefined allegiance, and claimed protection by the mother-country as a right.
This theory of virtual independence was reasserted by the Court in the year following the Restoration, with the addition that they conceived that “any imposition prejudicial to the country, contrary to any just law” not repugnant to the laws of England, was an infringement of their rights, and that the colony was privileged to defend itself, even by force of arms, against any who should attempt its “destruction, invasion, detriment or annoyance.” The duties of allegiance were defined somewhat more exactly than they had been fifteen years earlier, and somewhat differently; but any sovereign rights of the English government over its dependencies in the Empire were denied.
More and more, not merely in theory, but in the form that the colony’s negotiations took with the home authorities through its agents, it was endeavoring to assume the position, not of an integral part of an empire, but of an allied sovereign power.
The attitude of Massachusetts has been noted because her position was far more pronouncedly anti-English than was that of her sister colonies in the group. Not only were the governments of Plymouth, Rhode Island, and Connecticut more democratic than that of Massachusetts, but the individual citizens of those plantations were quite as tenacious of their individual rights. Nevertheless, there was a much less aggressive tone in their relations with the mother-country, and a greater readiness to acknowledge imperial obligations in return for imperial benefits. As we have seen, however, the frontier-spirit was at work throughout the entire range of empire; and, while probably, neither at that time, nor at any period down to the formation of the union, was the anti-English element in Massachusetts as large as used to be thought, nevertheless it was the radical, and not the loyal and conservative element, which mainly determined her policy, and, gradually, that of New England.
If we wish to apportion fairly the praise and blame due to individuals and peoples in history,—if indeed it is ever possible to do so,—we must endeavor to look at their actions from a purely contemporary point of view, and to ignore long-subsequent results. The modern historian has come to realize that the qualities of a people, the characteristics of an epoch, the motives of a great struggle or movement, are by no means the clear-cut, sharply defined matters sketched by the patriotic writers of a simpler day. In the enormously complicated development of modern society from the struggle of class with class, the conflict of interest with interest, the clash of one element against another, it is recognized that the contest was at no time between clearly aligned forces of the powers of darkness and the powers of light. “It is beginning to be seen,” writes Professor McIlwain, speaking of the early constitutional struggle at the time of de Montfort, “that men in the past have really advanced the cause of liberty, though often entirely unconscious of any such intention, or even when their aims were entirely selfish.”
The resistance to England by her colonies in the past, on many occasions and from many quarters, has undoubtedly advanced the cause of liberty throughout the entire Anglo-Saxon race. The statesmen of England in the seventeenth century, however, were confronted, as statesmen usually are, by a practical problem, to be solved in the light of contemporary knowledge, practices, and beliefs. As we have already noted, neither Massachusetts, Barbadoes, Bermuda, nor any other of the colonies engaged in defying and obstructing the attempts of England to unify and govern the Empire, had any practicable suggestion to offer. They could not be allowed by England to become independent without running the risk of their being absorbed by her rivals, France or Spain. Nor did the colonies themselves wish to lose her protection. Much as they might talk of armed resistance, the wisest men in them knew that they could not subsist alone, and preferred the rule of England to that of any of the other empires. The letter from Pynchon, quoted in an earlier chapter, the words of Winthrop cited above, as well as other contemporary evidence, show that the colonists realized and counted upon the power of England to shield them, so that they should not, as Winthrop said, “lie open as a prey to all men.”
If England is to be condemned for interpreting the law, which was indubitably on her side, in too narrow a spirit, and of caring too much for her own interests in building up those of the Empire, on the other hand it is difficult to acquit the colonies of a selfishness almost as great, in their attempts to secure all the advantages of empire, without being hampered by its restrictions. They insisted, for example, upon protection as a right, at the very time that they were flouting the Navigation laws designed to foster that naval strength upon which alone such protection could be based.
Although the thought of England was constructive in reference to the Empire, and that of the colonies was destructive, nevertheless contemporary imperialism was destined to be influenced quite as much by colonial fact as by English theory. There was much in the imperial scheme that the colonist, from his isolated position and limited outlook, failed to see, just as there was much which, because of its conflict with his individual interest, he refused to accept. But the facts that failed to fit into the theory were far more obvious to him than to the Englishman at home. The slower movement of the historical process in the old world made it more difficult for the Englishman at the centre of empire to foresee its future; while, owing to the swifter course of evolution on the periphery of the system, and the simplifications of the frontier, the colonist was to a great extent already living in that future without thinking about it at all.
His interests, however, soon became wholly colonial and extremely provincial, and his political thought became entirely centred upon his local government, the development of which grew more and more absorbing in proportion as its political dependence was diminished. But the real problem of the day was not a domestic one for the several colonies, profound as were the results to ensue from the development of the local New England political institutions. The real problem was, how to bring these local institutions into working relations with the still necessary sovereign power at the centre of the system. The colonists might offer legal objections or armed resistance, in the way of criticism, but so long as they offered no help in devising a workable solution of the problem, the obligation to do so devolved upon England alone. The rapid material success of the colonists, their new surroundings, their isolation, their necessary self-reliance, and their new local pride, were all developing, not, indeed, new thought, but new feeling. Although the empire evolved from the Mercantile Theory was a necessary step in the evolution of the empire of to-day, the Englishman’s thought and the colonists’ feelings were bound to clash over it, for the differences went far deeper than mere economic interests. The problem of composing those differences, great as it may have seemed to the contemporary rulers in Europe, or to the protesting settler on every frontier, were in reality far greater, even, than either of them dreamed. Moreover, difficult as the question would have been in any case, it had been rendered far more so by the disorganization of authority at home in the constitutional struggle. With the return of settled conditions at the Restoration of the monarchy in England, it seemed as if a serious attempt were at last to be made to bring order out of the increasing chaos of the imperial situation. Unfortunately, the combined weakness and tyranny of the restored Stuarts served to postpone, until after that dynasty’s second dethronement, the success of any efforts to evolve and apply a considered and consistent colonial policy.
- Cf. W. MacDonald, “A neglected Point of View in American Colonial History,” American Historical Association Report, 1902, vol. I, pp. 171 ff.
- I speak of the separation as accidental, not because the forces then at work did not make it almost inevitable, but because altered economic theories and scientific discoveries, the latter largely eliminating the extremely important elements, in the original problem, of time and distance, occurred a half-century after the separation took place. Had they occurred sooner, they might have prevented it, as they have been largely instrumental in holding the remainder of the empire together and greatly adding to it. The influence of free-trade, steam, and electricity has been of vast importance in imperial politics.
- Cf. E. A. Freeman, Greater Greece and Greater Britain, (London 1886); C. P. Lucas, Greater Rome and Greater Britain (Oxford, 1912).
- J. R. Seeley, Expansion of England (London, 1884), pp. 110 ff.
- The beginnings of the discussion were noted in an earlier chapter. For the view at the end of the 19th century, cf. C. P. Lucas’s Introduction, in Lewis, Government of Dependencies (Oxford, 1891), pp. xlv ff.
- E. M[isselden], The Circle of Commerce or the Ballance of Trade (London, 1623) p. 131.
- Thomas Man, England’s Treasure by Forraign Trade, 1664 (ed. New York, 1910) p. 7. Cf. J. R. McCulloch, A Short Collection of Early English Tracts on Commerce (London, 1856), p. vi.
- Mun, England’s Treasure, p. 14. In his defense of the East India Company, he advanced upon his predecessors in advocating the export of bullion, if, as a direct result, a larger amount could be shown to be imported. Cf. chaps. v and vi of his Considerations on the East India Trade (London, 1701); reprinted in Early English Tracts, pp. 1-49.
- England’s Interest and Improvement, 1663; reprint, Johns Hopkins University, 1907. p. 35.
- G. L. Beer, The Old Colonial System (New York, 1912), vol. I, p. 37.
- Mims, Colbert’s West Indian Policy, pp. 8, 315, 319, 335.
- Beer, Old Colonial System, vol. I, pp. 319 ff.; Origins of the British Colonial System, p. 294; Osgood, American Colonies, pp. 111, 139 ff.
- Efforts were continually made, however, to secure naval stores from her. Cf., under the Commonwealth, Cal. Slate Pap., Col., 1574-1660, pp. 392, 399.
- Cf. J. Winthrop, History, vol. II, pp. 29 f.; V. S. Clark, Manufacturing in the U. S., pp. 31, 34, 40, 50.
- Beer, Origins, pp. 268, 295 f.; Old Colonial System, vol. II, pp. 210, 221, 230 ff.
- Mims, Colbert’s West Indian Policy, pp. 224 f.
- C. D’Avenant, “On the Plantation Trade, 1698;” in his Discourses on the Public Revenue, etc. (London, 1771), vol. II, p. 9; Cal. State Pap., Col., 1574-1660, p. 430.
- New Haven Colonial Records, vol. I, p. 180; G. L. Beer, “Cromwell’s Policy in its Economic Aspects;” Political Science Quarterly, vol. XVI, p. 611.
- The main idea seems to have been the peopling of the island with English—“from Nevis, St. Christopher’s, New England, or any of the other plantations in America.” Cal. State Pap., Col., 1574-1660, pp. 450, 453. Cf. also F. Strong, “The Causes of Cromwell’s West Indian Expedition,” American Historical Review, vol. IV, pp. 229 ff.; I. S., A brief and perfect Journal of the late proceedings and success, etc. (London, 1655), pp. 2 ff.; The Clarke Papers (Camden Society, 1899), pp. 203 ff.
- Mims, Colbert’s West Indian Polity, p. 194.
- Cf. Dutch prohibition of colonial manufactures, in Egerton, Origin and Growth of British Dominions, p. 118 n.; Beer, Old Colonial System, vol. I, p. 150, for Portuguese policy.
- For an example of the work England did in policing the trade routes, cf. the case of the King David. Sailing from Newfoundland to Tangier, she met with Algerine pirates off Cape St. Vincent, whom she fought off in a three-days running fight. Later, meeting with “Five Pirats more,” she was forced to surrender. A few days later, she was rescued by a ship of the English navy; but the two vessels meeting with “Six Pirats more,” the King David was a second time captured, to be rescued once again some days later by another English ship, and safely escorted into Malaga. Acts Privy Council, Colonial, 1613-1680, pp. xxxvi, 541.
- Cf. also Osgood, American Colonies, vol. III, pp. 195 ff.
- G. Schmoller, The Mercantile System and its historical Significance (New York, 1896), pp. 49 ff.
- Sir Edward Morris, Speech at the Savoy, March 14, 1917. Given in London Times, March 15, p. 6, col. 3.
- Cf. A. T. Mahan, Influence of Sea Power upon History (Boston, 1898), pp. 88, 540, 73, 75 f.
- Osgood, American Colonies, vol. III, pp. 4 f.; “The English colonies, however, were not sister communities of England, but dependent local jurisdictions for whose welfare and safety the mother-country had assumed the responsibility.” Beer, Origins, p. 301. For discussion of the element of distance, cf. Lucas, Greater Rome and Greater Britain, pp. 32 ff.
- C. H. McIlwain, The High Court of Parliament and its Supremacy (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1910), pp. 109, 158, 352 ff., 137, 145.
- Osgood, American Colonies, vol. III, p. 15; C. M. Andrews, British Committees, p. 10.
- F. S. Oliver, Alexander Hamilton (London, n.d.), pp. 450, 447.
- Osgood, American Colonies, vol. III, p. 14; Beer, Origins, p. 341; Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum (London, 1911), vol. 11, p. 425.
- Osgood, American Colonies, vol. III, pp. 7 ff. The provinces were the equivalents of English counties.
- Cf. Andrews, British Committees, pp. 12 ff.; P. L. Kaye, The Colonial Executive prior to the Restoration (J. H. U. S.), pp. 55 ff.
- Andrews, British Committees, pp. 38, 56, 67 ff.
- Andrews, British Committees, where the texts of the Instructions and of Povey’s Overtures are both given.
- The membership included Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, who had served on Plantation Committees during the Interregnum; Robert Boyle, President of the Corporation for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England; Sir Peter Leese and Sir James Draxe, old Barbadian planters; Povey, Noell, Digges, and Colleton, all merchants and experts on colonial trade. Ibid., pp. 76 f.
- Ibid., p. 76.
- Acts Privy Council, Colonial, 1613-1680, p. xi.
- Cf. L. P. Kellogg, “The American Colonial Charter,” Annual Report, American Historical Association, 1903, vol. I, p. 228; E. P. Tanner, “Colonial Agencies in England during the 18th Century,” Political Science Quarterly vol. XVI, pp. 24 ff.
- Mahan, Sea Power, p. 96. Cf. Leroy-Beaulieu, De la Colonisation chez les peuples modernes, vol. I, pp. 113 ff.
- G. Edmondson, Anglo-Dutch Rivalry (Oxford, 1912), pp. 36 ff., 79, 154.
- Macdonald, Select Charters, pp. 106 ff., 110 ff., 133 ff.
- Tobacco was raised in eighteen English counties, to be trampled down annually by royal troops of horse, so strongly had both the plant and the colonial theory, respectively, taken root in English soil and English minds. Cf. Beer, Origins, pp. 117 ff. Acts Privy Council, Colonial, 1613-1680, pp. xxii ff.
- Interregnum, Acts and Ordinances, vol. I, p. 571.
- Beer, Origins, pp. 397, 114.
- Cal. State Pap., Col., 1574-1660, p. 373. Cf. The Groans of the Plantations (London, 1689), pp. 15 f., 23 f.
- Acts Privy Council, Colonial, 1613-1680, p. xxix.
- R. H. Schomburgk, History of Barbadoes (London, 1848), pp. 706 ff. Cf., for a similar spirit in Bermuda, Beer, Old Colonial System, vol. II, p. 99.
- Cf. McIlwain, High Court of Parliament, pp. 364 ff.
- Massachusetts Records, vol. IV, pt. i, pp. 84, 104. The right to coin money was occasionally granted in the early charters, but not in that of Massachusetts.
- Cf. the form of oath in Massachusetts Records, vol. IV, pt. ii, p. 201. In 1665, under pressure from the Royal Commission, the General Court agreed that it “would order the taking of the oath of allegeance, according as the charter comands.” Ibid., p. 206.
- J. Winthrop, History, vol. II, p. 223 f.
- J. Winthrop, History, vol. II, pp. 341, 345, 354 f., 352.
- Massachusetts Records, vol. IV, pt. ii, p. 25.
- Kaye, English Colonial Administration under Clarendon, p. 142.
- McIlwain, High Court of Parliament, pp. 12 ff.