An Account of the . . . Land Bank . . . and Silver Scheme (1744)
Any reader not yet acquainted with the Land and Silver banks is encouraged to begin with the relatively brief account in Hutchinson's History, because the author of this pamphlet took for granted that the reader was already familiar with the episode.
This anonymous pamphlet, written in Boston in 1744, presents the history of the Land and Silver Banks from the perspective of a Shirley loyalist. Governor Shirley replaced Governor Belcher as Governor of the colony of Massachusetts Bay in 1741. Shirley had long sought the post, and had plotted against Belcher for years before he succeeded; Shirley and Belcher were, understandably, bitter political rivals. When Shirley became Governor, a faction existed who hoped to depose him. Among those most bitterly opposed to Shirley were staunch foes of the Land Bank. When Shirley became Governor, the Land Bank was being suppressed by Parliamentary edict. Many members of the Assembly were themselves involved in the Land Bank and faced potential ruin from the liquidation of the Land Bank, particularly as some of the less scrupulous Land Bankers were unwilling to do their part in redeeming Land Bank bills, and Parliament had made each person involved in the Land Bank liable for the redemption of all the notes -- not just those they had personally received. Shirley allied himself with some of the former Land Bankers, and tried to alleviate their plight in exchange for their political support. This political maneuver earned Shirley the enmity of Land Bank foes. Ex-governor Belcher fell in with Shirley's enemies, and in 1744, Belcher went to London, apparently to make the case that the Act for finishing the late Land Bank, etc., (the act embodying the abovementioned alleviation) ought to be disallowed. Another probable aim was to convince the imperial authorities to dismiss Shirley. Shirley knew of this, and he or someone allied with him wrote this pamphlet in his defense.
The history of the Land and Silver schemes related in the pamphlet, insofar as it can be independently verified, is accurate. However, the pamphlet was designed to exalt Shirley and damn Belcher, and the author's treatment of Belcher's performance as Governor is very one-sided. When the author speculates about Belcher's motives, the pamphlet moves to more doubtful ground..
In colonial times, when one wanted to publish a thinly veiled attack, it was common to resort to the device of only partially rendering names and titles. For instance, instead of writing "Governor Belcher is corrupt," one might write "G-----r B-----r is corrupt," relying on the fact that everyone would be able to figure out who you were describing. The author of this pamphlet used this device frequently. Even if one knows enough about the period to decipher what was implied, it makes the prose extremely difficult to read. Therefore, in this presentation, where an implied name or title is clear from context, it has been supplied. To signify that a change of this nature has been made, the name has been rendered in a colored font -- for example: "Governor Belcher is corrupt" instead of "G-----r B-----r is corrupt." Where the implied meaning is obscure, the original text has been left unaltered. One other alteration has been made. The typesetter apparently had some fun at the expense of the Land Bank, for sometimes "Land Bank" was printed as "Lank Bank" or "Land Band." Where present, these have been rendered as "Land Bank" with the change noted by means of a colored font.
The pamphlet has been reprinted by Andrew McFarland Davis in Colonial Currency Reprints, 1682-1751, Boston: The Prince Society, 1911, volume IV, pp. 237-349. Those seeking a secondary source discussing the Land and Silver Banks should consult Andrew McFarland Davis, Currency and Banking in the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay, vol. 2; George Billias, The Massachusetts Land Bankers. The University of Maine Bulletin, 61, no. 17 (April 1959); or Cathy Mitten, The New England Paper Money Tradition and the Massachusetts Land Bank of 1740, Columbia University Master's Thesis, 1979.
Rise, Progress and Consequences
Of the two late SCHEMES
Commonly call'd the
Land-Bank or Manufactory Scheme,
In the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay
SIR, Boston, April 9, 1744
YESTERDAY by Captain Adams from London I receiv'd Advice, which I can intirely rely upon, confirming the Hints given me in your Letter, that a Combination has been for some Time forming here to prevent the Act of the General Court of this Province lately pass'd for finishing the late Land Bank or Manufactory Scheme from receiving his Majesty's Royal Approbation; upon the obtaining of which, and the due Execution of the Act the putting an immediate End to the Confusion & unhappy Consequences of that mischievous Scheme (an Effect which all Well-wishers to the Peace of the Country desire) entirely depends.
I have also receiv'd undoubted Intelligence, that the late Governor Belcher is deeply concern'd in this Combination with a Person here, who attempted to engage some Gentlemen of very great Distinction and Worth on your Side of the Water to use their Interest for procuring his Majesty's Disapprobation of the above-mention'd Act of this Government; and that authenticated Proofs of some pretended unwarrantable Proceedings of this Government relating to the Persons concern'd in the late Land Bank Scheme were to be transmitted by Mr. Belcher, who was personally to represent the same in all their Circumstances, together with the Management of several Persons therein, so as that they might come to the Knowledge of the Government at Home, — that Mr. Belcher's Correspondents at Home were to prepare Matters against his Arrival there; and that Letters have been forwarded to London from Mr. Belcher and his Friend containing many scandalous Reflections and Calumnies upon this Government.
This Advice, Sir, tallies with the Reports, which have been openly talk'd of here and currently believ'd, concerning Mr. Belcher’s general Views in going to London, and so fully discovers his Scheme in taking out of the Secretary's Office, under the Province Seal, Copies of all the Proceedings of this Government upon the Affairs of the late Land Bank Company during the Time of his own and the present Administration, that it leaves no Room to doubt of the Use, which he designs to make of those Papers, and how capable he is of representing both his own and his Successor's Proceedings in a false Light.---- Wherefore as you are so good, Sir, as to offer the Continuance of your Service to the Country for disappointing the past and future Machinations of the honourable Gentleman and his Associate for perpetuating (as far as in them lies) the malignant Effects of the Land Bank Scheme in the Province; and for defeating all their secret Attempts on your Side of the Water to misrepresent and traduce the Acts of this Government, and to engage Persons of the greatest Honour and Worth to use their Interest to the Prejudice of it, I now transmit you a particular Account of the Rise, Progress, and Consequences of the late Land Bank or Manufactory Scheme from the first Projection of it to this Time; and also of another memorable one call'd the Silver Scheme, so far as it is connected with the Land Bank Scheme, that you may furnish yourself from thence with the Knowledge of all such Facts, as are necessary to be known by you, in order to state all the Transactions and Proceedings of this Government upon these two Schemes both under the late and present Administration in their true Light,
But before I proceed to give you a Detail of them, I must take the Liberty upon this Occasion to say, Sir, that I think the Conjunction of the Parties engaged in this Combination is a very extraordinary one: A Gentleman, who had not long ago the Honour to be his Majesty's Governor of this Province, is in League with One, who is commonly reputed, ever since the Act of Parliament for suppressing the Land Bank Scheme took Effect, to have made a Trade and Business of buying up the late Land Bank Company's Bills in Order to make Demands upon the late Directors and Partners of it, for the Sake of private Gain, and to lay such of 'em under Contributions to him, as could be brought to pay him any Sum, in order to screen themselves from Actions commenced, or threaten'd to be commenced by him against them, and scandalously prostituting the Act of Parliament designed for the Relief, and Benefit of such Possessors only of the Bills, as had unwarily taken them in the common Course of their Traffick and Dealings, and for the Suppression of the Scheme, to the base Purposes of his own Avarice and Revenge, and making a mere Stale of the Act for his vile Practices: I say, his late Excellency takes into his Cabal such an Associate to assist him in his Attempt to defeat the Measures of this Government for extricating the Country from the Mischiefs of this Scheme; which together with the Silver Scheme were the produce of his own Administration, the latter of them having grown up under his special Grace and Favour, and the former by his [< one or two words obscured> ] and Permission.---- I now proceed to the Account of the two Schemes.
Mr. Colman of this Town, late Treasurer of the Land Bank Company, was the original Projector of the Land Bank Scheme; and it appears by two of his Letters on that Subject to the late Governor Belcher, one dated April 11th 1737, and the other January 14th 1740, (Copies of both which Mr. Colman has been induced to expose upon the Occasions herein before and after mentioned) that he had communicated his Scheme to his late Excellency three Years before the Land Bank Company was formed, in order to take his Sentiments upon it; and had several Times discours'd with him upon that Subject both before and after that Time; --and that he began to procure Subscriptions to his Scheme in 1737, of which he apprized the Governor in his first mentioned Letter, by telling him, “That he was called upon every Day by Men of good Estates in Trade to bring the Thing (the Scheme) forward, and that he could have a Hundred Subscribers in a Week's Time, and had then met some Gentlemen upon it; but had waited till his [Excellency's] Return from Piscataqua, that he might see him before he proceeded so far, but he then purposed to go on with the Scheme, and hoped for Success in it.
Before I quit this Letter of Mr. Colman's, I must inform you, that it appears by it, that the late Governor had objected against his Scheme, that the Bills were not to be redeemable by Silver To obviate which, and another Objection, and to shew the Expediency of the Scheme, Mr. Colman argues with his Excellency through his whole Letter; and to induce him to Countenance the Scheme, assures him, amongst other Things, that he had his Excellency's private Interest in View in it; telling him, that the Lands, his Excellency was endeavouring to sell Westward (in order to pay off a Debt due, from him to the Estate of the late Mr. Lloyd of London) as he was informed, would not then fetch ten Thousand Pounds, which would in a little Time fetch more than Twenty Thousand Pounds; and then proceeds in the following Words, Would it not then be much more for your Interest to take ten Thousand Pounds out of this Bank, which would not cost you above three per Cent, (the Terms upon which the other Subscribers to the Scheme were to have their Shares of the Bills) and to keep your Lands? And if the Governor does not think proper to appear himself in such an Affair, he does not want Friends, who will manage it for him, with as much Secresy as he can desire And he afterwards adds, that he could not expect his Excellency would appear openly for it (the Scheme) which he wished he could, because he knew it would be very pleasing to the People. - - - - I have mention'd this Part of the Contents of that Letter so particularly, that you may the better judge between Mr. Belcher, and the late Treasurer and Directors of the Land Bank Company concerning the Treasurer's Proposal in it to Mr. Belcher to take £10,000 of the Land Bank Bills at the before mention'd Interest.
Upon the Foundation of this Proposal, when it was apparent that the Land Bank Scheme would be destroyed, and Mr. Belcher became suspected of having favoured it in it's first Rise; he then, and not before (as Mr. Colman and the late Directors say) declared in his own Vindication, that the Land Bank Company had offered to give him £10,000 in Bills of Credit of the old Tenor; nay, that he might have had £20,000 old Tenor from them to favour their Scheme, and that he refused it: This Assertion Mr. Colman and the late Directors insist is groundless, and look on it as an Aspersion upon them: They say, that this Proposal or rather Question of Mr. Colman's to the late Governor, upon which he grounds his Assertion, was made to him above three Years before the Company was formed, and before the persons, who were afterwards chosen Directors of it, had entertained Thoughts of their being interested in the Scheme; that it was made by Mr. Colman without the Privity of any other Person whatsoever; that neither that or any other Proposal or Offer of any Kind, was ever renew'd or made afterwards to his late Excellency, or any other Person either directly or indirectly by Mr. Colman, or the Directors, or Partners of the said late Company, or any of them, or by any other Person on Account of the said Mr. Colman and Company, or any of them to induce his late Excellency to favour or connive at their Scheme, except that some of them had heard that Mr. C— r J— L— n of this Province, a Person publickly known not to be of sound Mind and Memory, had taken Occasion, without the Consent or Privity of any of them, to make some Offer or Proposal to his late Excellency of Advantages, that might be reap'd by him from the said late Company; but what the particular Proposal or Offer might be, none of them were ever informed; and if any such was made, whatever it was, his Excellency had no just Reason to give the least Credit to it; and that the said C— J— L— n, tho' he was a Subscriber to the Scheme, never was a Partner or any Ways interested in it; and this Mr. Colman and all the late Directors, except one Gentleman, who has been for these last two Years in London, and for that Reason could not join in the Deposition, have lately in their justification declared upon Oath. - - - And these Gentlemen farther insist that had the Proposal mention'd in Mr. Colman's Letter been really made to his late Excellency by the whole Company, it is evidently no more than that he should take £10,000 in Land Bank Bills in a private Manner, but upon paying the same Interest for it, that other Partners of the Scheme were to pay for their Shares of the Bills; that his Excellency well knew that he could not pay off a Sterling Debt in London by the Help of those Bills, nor indeed could they have been of Service to him in any other Respect, as it was impracticable for any one Person to have found Vent for a fifth Part of £10,000 in those Bills, especially in a private Manner, as his Excellency must have done, had he accepted them. Mr. Belcher on the other Hand is so fond of this boasted refusal of £10,000 old Tenor, as he calls it, and Mr. Colman's Letter, upon which he founds his Assertion, that he has several Times declared (as I have been informed) that he would not take ten Thousand Pounds for the Letter. Upon the whole, I shall leave you to judge for your self upon Mr. Belcher’s Construction of the Terms of this Proposal, and whether it can be deemed the Proposal of the Company to him; and proceed to inform you, that soon after the sending of this Letter to his Excellency Mr. Colman began to take in Subscriptions to his Scheme, in order to form a Company or Partnership upon it, as he had apprized the Governor he would, and proceeded in it without any Check or Interruption for above two Years, and 'till he had procured 395 Subscribers. -- And in 1739 the Silver Scheme which was at first reputed to be the Project of Col. Hutchinson of this Place, and called by his Name, began to be formed.” This Scheme plainly appears to have taken it's Rise from the Land Bank Scheme, and indeed to have been formed upon near the same Plan, but in several Respects considerably corrected and amended. and by the 25th of March 1740 had got 106 Subscribers.
The Land Bank Scheme, as it was finally settled, was a Scheme for the Emission of £150,000 in Notes of Hand on Land Security to be receiv'd in Trade, and for all Debts by the Partners as equal to lawful Money and at the Expiration of twenty Years to be redeemed by several Commodities therein enumerated, but not at any fixed Price; and in the mean Time £10,000 of that Sum was to be employed in Trade as the Company's Stock to be exchang'd for their Notes, as the Possessors of them should want and demand any of the Commodities in their Treasury.
And the Tenor of the Notes, which were to be signed by the Directors, and endors'd Joseph Marion, was as follows, viz.
We jointly and severally Promise for our Selves and Partners to take this Bill as lawful Money at six Shillings and eight Pence per Ounce in all Payments, Trade and Business, and for Stock in our Treasury at any Time; and after twenty Years to pay the same at that Estimate on Demand to Mr. Joseph Marion or Order in the Produce or Manufactures enumerated in our Scheme, for Value received.
The Silver Scheme was for the Emission of £120,000 in Notes redeemable by Silver Money at 20 s per Ounce in fifteen Years, and by Gold Coin pro rata.
And by the 19th Article of this Scheme the Partners of it agreed and promis'd that they would receive in Trade, and for Debts due (Specialties and express Contracts excepted) the Bills emitted on the Scheme at the following Rates, in the several Terms, and Periods therein after mentioned, viz. for the first Year after their Emission at the Rate of twenty eight Shillings and four Pence for an ounce of Silver, for the second Year after their Emission, at the Rate of twenty seven Shillings and nine Pence; for the third Year at the Rate of twenty seven Shillings and two Pence, and so on in the like Proportion lessening the Price of Silver to the Possessors of the Bills seven Pence per Ounce in each Year, 'till by the 15th Year it was reduced to twenty Shillings per Ounce --- and that the Directors of the Company should be and were thereby accordingly obliged to exchange and give in the common current Bills to every Possessor of the Notes on Demand so much as would purchase one ounce of Silver for twenty eight Shillings and four Pence in those Notes for the first Year after their coming out, and so much as would purchase one Ounce of Silver for twenty seven Shillings and nine Pence for the second Year, and in the same Manner during the whole fifteen Years. --- And by the Tenor of the Notes of this Scheme, which were sign'd by the Directors and indors'd Isaac Winslow, the Directors, jointly and severally Promise to pay to Isaac Winslow Merchant or Order in Boston ---- Ounces of Silver Sterling Alloy, or — Standard Gold, both coin'd and Troy Weight by the 31st of December 1755. Value receiv'd, &c. -And upon the Back of the Notes it was advertis'd thus;
"All the Subscribers to this Scheme promise and oblige themselves to take this Bill at the Rates undermentioned in all Trade and Business
1741 an Ounce of Silver at the Rate of 28s 4d
1742 ------------------------------- 27s 9d
1743 ------------------------------- 27s 2d”
And so on in like Proportion 'till the Year 1755 at the Rate of twenty Shillings, according to the before recited nineteenth Article; but without any mention of exchanging the Notes for the common current Bills, or being sign'd by any Person.
Upon comparing the two Schemes and Companies together these Observations seem to be very obvious, 1st That the Sum in Notes of Hand proposed to be emitted by the Land Bank Company, being £150,000 to pass as lawful Money (that is) equal to £600,000 in Bills of Credit of the old Tenor, was in it self, exclusive of the badness of the Scheme in other Respects, such an immoderate Sum, as must not only have vastly depreciated the Company's Bills, but all the other Bills current within the Province, and consequently have been extremely mischievous to the Community; whereas the Sum proposed to be emitted by the Partners of the Silver Scheme was but one fifth Part of the intended Land Bank Sum.
2dly. That the Land Bank Bills were not redeemable 'till the End of twenty Years, and then at no certain Value; the enumerated Commodities ; in one or other of which they were made redeemable, being uncertain as to the Prices to be set upon them by the Company, and as to the Species of them, in which each Possessor might exchange his Bills; and in the mean Time the Bills were not secured in the least from depreciating below their nominal Value; whereas the Bills of the Silver Scheme were redeemable with Silver or Gold at a certain Value at the End of fifteen Years, and were propos'd by the 19th Article of it to be secur'd against depreciating below their nominal Value in the mean Time by being made exchangeable for such Quantities of the common current Bills, as would purchase the Silver promis'd by the Bill in each of the fifteen Years at the Rates mentioned in the Scheme.
3dly. The Directors and Partners of the Land Bank Company, a very few of them only excepted, were Persons of but mean Circumstances, whereas the Partners of the Silver Scheme were many of them Persons of good Estates; and the Directors in particular were some of them principal Merchants in Boston, and of the best Credit and most considerable Estates in the Province, and the Company was undoubtedly capable of executing their Scheme, so that it was no Imposition upon the World in that Respect.
Upon these Accounts therefore and others, which might be mentioned the Silver Scheme Company was much preferable to the Land Bank Company; but in Respect of their unlawful Combination they were both upon a Par; and the Land Bank Scheme, by which that Company's Bills were agreed to be received by them in all Payments, so that those Bills would discharge all Kinds of Debts owing to any of the Land Bank Partners, whereas Debts due by Specialties and express Contracts in writing were excepted out of the Debts dischargeable by the Bills of the Silver Scheme, that is, all Debts, if the Partners of that Company pleased, were excepted, was even preferable in that Respect to the Silver Scheme; --- and the Silver Scheme seems also to be very exceptionable on Account of the exorbitant Gain arising to the Company from the Possessors of the Bills; For at the Time of the Emission of those Bills the Price of
Silver in Boston was 28 s. 4 d. per Ounce in Bills of Credit of the old Tenor, so that the Discount, which the Company allowed to the Possessors upon their Bills or Notes, that were not payable 'till fifteen Years and five Months after Date, was no more than after the Rate of about 30 per Cent. whereas the just Discount upon 'em, reckoning the Interest of Money at 6 per Cent, which is the lawful and common Interest at Boston, was near 60 per Cent, so that after deducting 3 per Cent. for the Charges of the Company there was left 27 per Cent. clear Gains coming to it from the Possessors of the Bills, which was a most unjustifiable Imposition upon them, and not to be countenanced in any Community Nay besides these excessive Gains the Company by their Scheme would have got a considerable Profit upon such of their Bills, as they should take in Payments or Exchange for the common current Bills each Year by the following Circumstance, viz. they were to allow either in Exchange for their Bills, or in any Payments throughout the Year 1741 (for Instance) no more than about two & half per Cent, whereas according to the plain Reason of their Scheme they ought at the End of every three Months in that and every succeeding Year, 'till the End of their Scheme, to have advanced upwards of an half per Cent. to the Possessors upon their Notes; that is to say, they should have allowed at the End of three Months in the Year 1741 upwards of three per Cent, at the End of six Months in that Year upwards of three & half per Cent, and at the End of nine Months upwards of four per Cent, &c. ---- And even the Performance of this Part of the Scheme seems not to have been well secured to the Possessors of the Bills; for it is not express'd in the Body of the Bills, as by the Help of a short Reference to the 19th Article of this Scheme it might, and ought to have been, in order to have given the Possessors a lawful Demand against the Directors, signers of the Bills; but it was only mention'd in an Advertisement or Memorandum on the Back of the Bill not signed by any Person, (and upon which no Demand could be grounded in Law) that all the Subscribers to the Scheme promis'd and oblig'd themselves to take the Bills at the Rates undermention'd in all Trade and Business; and without any mention of their taking it in Payment of Debts, or of the Directors being obliged to exchange it for common current Bills pursuant to the 19th Article of the Scheme; so that the best Security, which the Possessors had for the Execution of this Part of the Scheme, was the Characters of the Directors, which indeed were deservedly such, as that they might have been depended upon in this Case; tho' that does not mend their Scheme. --- And to do those Gentlemen Justice, they never pretended (at least the most sensible of them) to justify this Scheme farther than by insisting that it was much better (and in Truth it was vastly so) than the Land Bank Scheme, and that the Possessors of their Bills were much better secur'd from suffering Loss by any Depreciation of 'em than the Possessors of the Province Bills were; which last was also certainly true: And they further insist in their Defence, that their Scheme was from the Beginning concerted and carried on with the Privity and express Approbation of the late Governor whom, they say, they acquainted from Time to Time with every Step, they took in it; and indeed it was in the Time of it generally understood so to be. --- This last Circumstance indeed seems very surprizing, viz. that the King's Governor, who was expressly directed by his Majesty's Royal-Instructions to him to take especial Care, that no more than the Sum of £30,000 in Paper Bills (that is the Value of £30,000 Sterling in those Bills) emitted even by the Legislature, and that too for the Support of his Majesty's Government, should be current at one and the same Time; and was expressly forbid to give his Consent to any Act, that should be pass'd by the Assembly for emitting any Sums in Bills of Credit upon any Account whatsoever, except for the Support of his Majesty's Government, should approve of an unlawful Combination of private Persons for emitting any Sum in Bills of Credit to pass in Lieu of Money, especially so large an one as that proposed by the Silver Scheme Company, and upon such an unjustifiable Scheme as theirs was, and that too at a Time when he knew that the Parliament of Great Britain had the restraining and regulating of the Paper Currency in his Majesty's Amererican Colonies under their Consideration. But the Veracity of the Gentlemen, who assert the Fact is unquestionable.
The Merchants were now so alarm'd at the Progress, which the Land Bank Scheme had made, and stirred so much in Opposition to it, that on the 18th of March 1739 a Vote of Council was pass'd for raising a Committee of both Houses to inquire into the two Schemes, and make Report thereon, and of what they judged proper for that Court to do; which was concurr'd by the House of Representatives, and consented to by the Governor, according to his Excellency's general Custom of signing his Consent to Votes of the two Houses of the like Sort; and on the 28th of the same March the Committee reported upon the two Schemes as follows, viz. That the Notes proposed to be issued by Mr. Colman's Scheme were upon so slender a Foundation, that the Circulation of them among the People of this Province might have a great Tendency to depreciate the Bills of Credit already circulating, and consequently endamage his Majesty's good Subjects as to their Property; and that with Regard to Col. Hutchinson's Scheme, They were of Opinion that although some such Projection might be serviceable, unless a better Medium of Commerce might be found out for the People of this Province, under their then distressing Circumstances, yet they apprehended it most convenient that all farther Proceedings thereon should be stayed 'till this Court might again meet and consider of that Affair.
Upon this Report the following Vote originated and was passed in the House of Representatives, and was concurred by the Council, and consented to by the Governor, viz. “That John Colman, Esq ; and his Partners, and Edward Hutchinson Esq ; and his Partners be and were thereby strictly forbidden issuing any Notes of Hand or Bills in pursuance of, or any further Proceedings relating to their before-mentioned Schemes or Projections, 'till the sitting of the General Court in May next, and the farther Consideration of the Affair was referred to that Time accordingly.” And on the fourth of April following his Excellency with the Advice of his Majesty's Council issued a Proclamation to inform all Persons of the beforemention'd Proceedings and Orders of the General Court, and forbid the Persons concerned in the Land Bank and Silver Schemes to issue any Notes of Hand or Bills as a Medium of Trade and Commerce, or to proceed further in their beforemention'd Schemes 'till the Session of the General Assembly in May then next ensuing.
It appears evident from these Proceedings, that the Governor had at that Time a fair Opportunity of suppressing the Land Bank Scheme effectually; that the House of Representatives had given him a manifest Proof, by their late Vote, of their good Disposition towards doing it, and that nothing was wanting but a Message or Speech from his Excellency recommending to the Assembly to project some Law for that Purpose; in which Case it was apparent, that there would have been little or no Difficulty in getting the Law pass'd : that on the other Hand, the Hazard of neglecting this Opportunity was as plain; it being then well known that the Land Bank Scheme was a most popular one; that the Hearts of the Debtors and Country-Men in general were much engag'd in it, which must unavoidably influence the ensuing Election of Representatives; and that the majority of the next House of Representatives could not fail of being such, as would be more inclined to favour the Scheme than the House then subsisting was: It seem'd therefore very extraordinary, if his Excellency was at that Time determin'd to have suppress'd the Scheme, that he should let slip so favourable an Opportunity of doing it, and trust the Fate of it, when it had already gain'd 395 Subscribers, and was bro't so near to Maturity, and seem'd to be upon the Point of being carry'd into Execution, to a bare Order of the General Court for suspending it only for two Months; within which Time it could not but be expected, tho' no formal Proceedings should be made openly in the Scheme, that it's Party would still grow & spread more thro' the Country, and be strengthen'd by Patrons in the next House of Representatives. — As to his Excellency's Proclamation for informing the People of the Order of the General Court, there seem'd to be Danger of its being look'd upon by 'em as a Thing of Course only, and not to be avoided by the Governor after the General Court had pass'd that Order; and that it could have no great Influence for preventing the Progress of the Scheme, since the Language in which his Excellency there speaks of it, is the same with that, in which he speaks of the Silver Scheme, which it was generally understood he had approved of and encouraged.
On the 28th of May following the first Session of the next Assembly began, and the Injunction laid on the Partners of the two Schemes by the beforemention'd Order of the late General Court and Proclamation was expired, and they were at Liberty to proceed to the Execution of 'em: On the 29th the Governor open'd the Session with a Speech to both Houses, the Business of which is generally look'd on to be to point out to the Assembly such Matters as the Governor would recommend to them to take under immediate Consideration; and accordingly his Excellency did in that Speech point out several particular Things to 'em: And among others it might well have been expected that he should have pressed upon them an immediate Consideration of the two Schemes, as what would not admit of Delay; but it is very remarkable that he intirely pass'd them over in Silence in his Speech, and did not so much as recommend the Consideration of them by any Message afterwards during the whole Session. — On the 4th of June the two Schemes were read in the new House June Representatives, and order'd to lie on the Table; and on the 6th the House (alone) enter'd into the Consideration of the Land Bank Scheme; and the Persons concern'd in it were admitted to be fully heard in the House upon their Arguments in Support of it. — On the same Day great Numbers of the most considerable Merchants and Traders in the Province signed and presented a Memorial to the Governor and Council and Representatives, setting forth the pernicious Tendency of the Land Bank Scheme, and praying that to prevent “such base and grievous Oppression, and the Confusions consequent thereon, his Excellency, the Council and Representatives, would discountenance and suppress so great a Mischief.” Which was read in the House of Representatives the same Day also; but no Order was made thereon, except that the Scheme should be farther considered on the 18th of that Month: Which Proceedings discover'd plain Symptoms of the good Disposition of the House towards the Scheme.
On the 12th of June the Council, who were ever well dispos'd to prevent the Execution of the Scheme, being excited by the Memorial of the Merchants to make use of their best Endeavours for that Purpose at this critical Conjuncture, and alarm'd at the separate Proceedings of the House of Representatives in the Affair, which in the last Assembly had been referr'd to the Consideration of a joint Committee of both Houses, tho't it might be of Service, as the former Assembly (in March before) had put off the Consideration of the two Schemes to this present Session, to have another joint Committee appointed, that so both Houses might act in concert, and thereupon pass'd a Vote that five of their Members with such as should be appointed by the House of Representatives, should be a Committee to consider and report what would be proper for the Court farther to do thereon: which Vote was concurr'd in the House of Representatives, and eight of their Members were joined with the five Members of the Board in the Affair. — It is observable here that tho' his Excellency, according to his frequent Practice in like Cases, had signed his Consent to the Vote of the last Assembly for appointing a joint Committee of both Houses to consider and make Report upon the two Schemes, yet he omitted doing it to this last Vote: Indeed the Governor’s signing his Consent to any such Votes was improper and unprecedented, what was not practiced by his Predecessors, and will not I dare say be imitated by his Successors; but yet as this was his usual Practice, it seems remarkable that he should depart from it in this Instance. — Some have been of Opinion that possibly his Excellency might not think it proper for him publickly to declare himself in Opposition to the Land Bank Scheme at this Time, before the Assembly had pass'd the Bill for his Support that Year; which is always done in the May Session: But if he had been influenced by that Consideration, tho' I think he had no just Grounds to fear that such a Declaration from him to the Assembly would have moved them to offer at so unjustifiable a Proceeding, as to obstruct the granting of his Salary, yet it is certain, that had he been desirous of suppressing the Scheme, he might with the utmost Safety to his Interest, and without any Danger of giving Umbrage, have in a private Way try'd his Influence for that Purpose with his Friends and Dependants in the House, among whom were some of the leading Men of the Land Bank Party, which it is certain he did not in the least do: and it is surprizing that he should not in all this Time once attempt to disswade Mr. Colman from proceeding in his Scheme, or advise him against it or declare to him that he would finally oppose it, as will appear hereafter that he did not. – This new joint Committee, which had failed of having his Excellency's Consent sign'd to the Vote for raising it, which the Vote of the former Assembly for raising their joint Committee upon the like Occasion had obtained, never once met to consider of the Schemes referred to them, the Members of the House having refused to meet the Members of the Board, and to act any Thing with them, tho' called upon by the Board's Members for that Purpose.
On the 18th of June whilst the Matter was referred to the Committee of both Houses, and before that Committee had met upon it, the House of Representatives (alone) took the Land Bank Scheme into Consideration a third Time.-And upon the Day following the Question being put there, “Whether the Persons concern'd in the said Scheme should be "strictly forbidden to issue any Bills or Notes of Hand in pursuance of the Scheme,” It was resolved in the Negative by 59 Voices against 37; the Names of the Voters on both Sides being taken and inserted in two Lists in the Journal of the House, so that every Abettor of the Land Bank Scheme in the House of Representatives was publickly known, as the Names of the Subscribers to it were before, by the List given in to the former Assembly. By this irregular Proceeding and strong Declaration of the House of Representatives in Favour of the Land Bank Scheme it sufficiently appeared what imminent Danger there was that it would be very soon carried into Execution, especially as the Number of the Subscribers to it, which in March preceeding appeared by the List given in to both Houses to be 395, was by this Time exceedingly increased. On the 21st of June the Bill for the Governor’s Support passed both Houses to be enacted; and upon the 23d his Excellency sign'd that and some other Acts; upon which Occasion he sent for the House of Representatives to attend him in the Council Chamber, and made a Speech to them, wherein he recommended to 'em several Matters to be done before the rising of the Court; among which, if he had been the least inclined to have prevented the Execution of the Land Bank Scheme, he could not possibly have neglected at that Crisis to have pressed the Prevention of it upon the Assembly, nor have withstood the strong Application of the Merchants so lately made to him and the other two Branches of the Legislature against the Scheme; and as his Salary was now secured to him, he could be under no Restraint, for fear of the Grant of that's being obstructed by any Attempt to suppress the Scheme.
The Merchants being now in the utmost Alarum at the Proceedings of the House of Representatives made a second Application directed to the Governor and Council as their last Resort, praying as well in Behalf of the Principals the Merchants of Great Britain as themselves, that his Excellency and the Council would interpose to prevent the Execution of the Scheme, which they represented not only as destructive of their own Interest, and that of the British Merchants, but also of the Welfare of the Province in general-----This Memorial was subscribed by 129 of the principal Merchants, Traders and Gentlemen in the Province, and presented by them in a great Body to his Excellency in the Council Chamber, and farther pressed upon him by private Applications to him at the Province House: Upon which Occasions in his Discourse he fully condemn'd the Scheme, and took Opportunities to promise the Merchants that he would send for the Representatives into the Council Chamber before he suffered the Assembly to rise, and in a Speech to them expose the Malignancy and pernicious Consequences of the Scheme in a strong Light, and make Use of all his Weight and Influence with them for preventing its being carry'd into Execution. This indeed was a probable Method for preventing it : and if by these pressing Applications of the Merchants, and the Obligations of his own repeated Promises to them thereupon his Excellency could have been prevailed upon to have made this one Attempt for suppressing the Scheme; late as it was, and notwithstanding all former Neglects, it would in all Probability have effectually prevented it: But notwithstanding his Promises to the contrary, and that the Assembly continued sitting more than a Fortnight after the second Memorial had been presented, he prorogu'd the Assembly to the 20th of August following, without making the least Mention of the Affair to the House of Representatives either in a Speech or even by Message: But instead thereof on the 17th of July, five Days after the rising of the Court, and about three Weeks after the last Application of the Merchants, with the Advice of his Majesty's Council issued a second Proclamation “giving Notice and Warning to all his Majesty's Subjects of the Danger, they were in [from the Land Bank Scheme] and cautioning them against receiving or passing it's Notes, as tending to defraud Men of their Substance, and disturb the Peace and good Order of the People, and give great Interruption, and bring much Confusion into their Trade and Business.”
It must be very surprising if after the Experience of the little Effect, that the former Proclamation against both the Schemes, tho' grounded upon, and strengthen'd by a preceeding Order of the whole General Court, and fram'd in stronger Terms than this, had to stop the Progress of them, his Excellency could possibly expect that this Proclamation cautioning the People &c. but not going even so far as to prohibit the Partners of the Land Bank Company from proceeding in their unlawful Combination, and uttering their Notes, would have any Influence upon the People against the declared Sentiments of a great Majority of the House of Representatives, and the general Bent of the Country, which was now grown fond of the Scheme: And accordingly the Merchants were much dissatisfy'd with the Behaviour of the Governor in the Time of it, if we may judge of their Sentiments by those of two of the principal Ones among them, who were the leading Men in the Application from hence for procuring an Act of Parliament to suppress the Scheme, and express'd their Resentment of his Excellency's Usage of them in their Letters, dated the 20th of July and the 9th of August following to their Correspondent in London to this Effect, viz. “That the Governor had deceiv'd the Merchants by breaking his Promise to them that the Assembly should not rise till he had made a Speech to them in Favour of their Memorials, and exposed the Scheme, which he had often in Words condemned, but not done any Thing, except issuing out a Proclamation, which he knew would signify nothing but to amuse the Vulgar; that had he exposed the Scheme publickly in the Assembly as he ought to have done and promis'd he would, they verily believed it would have had the desired Effect.”
There was indeed among other extraordinary Circumstances of his Excellency's Behaviour respecting the Land Bank Scheme, during the late Session of the Assembly, one that seems particularly Remarkable: Major Wise a Trader in Ipswich and the Representative of that Town was publickly known both from the List of the Subscribers to the Land Bank Scheme, and that of the Voters in Favour of it in the House of Representatives, as well as other Transactions, to be a very considerable Subscriber to and Promoter of that Scheme; and it appears that on the 9th of July about a Week after the second Memorial of the Merchants had been presented to his Excellency and the Council against the Scheme, and his Excellency's strong Promises to 'em that he would discountenance it and endeavour to suppress it, his Excellency in Council appointed the Captains of the ten Companies proposed to be raised in this Province for his Majesty's Service in the late Expedition against the Spanish Settlements in the West-Indies, and that Major Wise was the second Captain in his Excellency's List. — This Appointment was very far from denoting his Excellency's Displeasure against the Promoters of the Land Bank Scheme, and seem'd a Mark rather of his countenancing than discouraging of them: It appeared very strange indeed that his Excellency should not have it in his Power, had it been in his Inclinations, to influence a Person so dependent upon him as Mr. Wise was in his Vote concerning the Scheme; or that Mr. Wise, whilst he was suing for his Excellency's Favour, should be so imprudent as to abet the Scheme so publickly, had he in the least conceived it would have been displeasing to his Excellency; or that after he had appear'd openly in supporting the Scheme his Excellency should so immediately distinguish him by a peculiar Mark of his Favour, if he had been then really disgusted at those, who promoted and supported the Scheme. — Had his Excellency indeed been at a Loss to have found proper Persons, and of sufficient Interest to have raised the ten Companies proposed, something might have been alledged in Excuse for his preferring a Land-Banker at that Time to be one of his Captains: But that was far from being the Case; he had before most unaccountably and contrary to the Practice of all his Majesty's other Governors in North-America on that Occasion refused the Service of two Persons for raising each of them a Company, both of 'em of superiour Pretensions to those of Mr. Wise, as well as of all his Excellency's other Captains, except one, with Regard to their Skill in military Affairs, and their Interest in the Country for raising Soldiers; one of them having then actually engaged seventy Men for the Service, and the other being undoubtedly capable of raising two Hundred, if they had been required; both whom he rejected with great Marks of Indignity and Insolence, as I am credibly inform'd to the present Governor (who engaged them in the Service and recommended them to his late Excellency) merely because he had engaged them, and presumed to recommend them.
On the 30th of July, thirteen Days after the issuing of the second Proclamation, the Subscribers to the Land Bank Scheme being now increas'd to upwards of 800 form'd themselves into a Company, and chose their Treasurer, Directors and other Officers; and on the 19th of September following executed their mutual Agreements and Covenants; and begun to issue out £49,525 of their Notes, which were then struck off. — In the mean Time, the Persons concerned in the Silver Scheme had formed themselves into a Company and chosen their Officers, and by the first of August begun to issue out £120,000 of their Notes.
On the 20th of August following the Assembly met again and continued sitting 'till the 12th of September, on which last Day of the Session, and not before, his Excellency being sufficiently apprized of the Dissatisfaction of the Merchants, and their intended Complaint to his Majesty and Application for an Act of Parliament to suppress the Land Bank Scheme, tho't proper to take Notice of the two Schemes to both Houses, which he did this first Time in a Message to them; wherein “he recommended a strict Inquiry into the Nature of those Schemes by a Committee of that Court in its Recess, and in the mean Time to prohibit any farther Proceedings in them without Leave from the Government, which might prevent great Confusion and Loss in the Estates and Trade of the Province.”
Upon this Message a Debate was had in the House, and the Question being put first, “Whether a Committee should be appointed to inquire (in the Recess of the Court) into the Nature of the two Schemes, and report thereon at the next Session, and the Undertakers be strictly forbidden proceeding any farther upon the said Schemes in the mean Time;” it pass'd in the Negative. Then the Question was put, “Whether a Committee should be appointed to consider the Nature of said Schemes, in the Recess of the Court, and report at the next Sitting;” which also pass'd in the Negative.
And indeed by this Time when it was publickly known that six of the leading Members in the House of Representatives were Directors of the Land Bank Company, and several others of the Members Partners in the Scheme, and a great Majority of them Abettors of it, and when the Company was form'd, and had enter'd into mutual Agreements and Covenants for carrying on the Scheme, and had actually carry'd it into Execution by issuing out their Notes, so that it was too late to prevent the Execution of their Scheme, his Excellency might very safely venture to send such a Message to the House of Representatives (especially on the last Day of the Session, when the Assembly is always impatient to rise, and will seldom attend to Matters of Importance) without running the least Risque of interrupting the Progress of the Land Bank Scheme. As to his Excellency's recommending an Inquiry into the Silver Scheme &c. in his Message, which Scheme he had made no mention of in his second Proclamation, but plainly drop'd all Pretence of Opposition to it, and which it was publickly known he approv'd of from the Beginning, and had been carried into Execution six Weeks before, by the issuing of the Company's Notes, which had obtained a Currency among the People, it could not possibly be look'd on as any thing more than mere Colour and Form.
During the Recess of the General Court the Governor, as appears by his Speech to the Assembly made on the 22d of November, received Advice that Applications were making to his Majesty and the Parliament of Great Britain against the Land Bank Scheme; and about the same Time receiv'd from their Excellencies the then Lords Justices of the Kingdom of Great Britain his Majesty's additional Royal Instruction respecting the future Emission of Bills of Credit in the Province, whereby he was directed not to give his Consent to any Act for emitting Bills of publick Credit, without a Clause's being inserted therein for suspending the Execution of it, 'till his Majesty's Royal Pleasure should be known concerning the Act: and this Instruction proceeded from an Address of the honourable House of Commons, which had then lately taken the State of the Paper Currencies in the Plantations under their Consideration, to his Majesty for that Purpose.
On the 5th Day of November during the Recess of the General Court the Directors of the Silver Scheme at the Instance of the Governor and Council, as it seems by a Paragraph of his Excellency's Speech made on the 22d of November to the Assembly, executed an Instrument under their Hands and Seals, whereby after reciting the beforemention'd 19th Article of their Scheme, which was one of the original Articles of it, they covenanted for themselves and their Survivors, (but with no Person whatsoever as Covenantee, so that it was questioned whether any Action at Law could have been maintained upon that Covenant) that they would at all Times comply with the said Article; and that that Instrument should lie in the Province-Secretary's Office for the Use and Benefit of the Possessors of the Bills; and on the same Day his Excellency with the Advice of the Council issued a Proclamation reciting that the Land Bank Notes were struck off, and passing among the People, and warning all civil Officers against signing or giving any Countenance or Encouragement to the passing of them on Pain of being removed from their Offices, and on the Day following issued another Proclamation of the like Tenor to warn all military Officers under the like Penalty.
On the 22d of November the Assembly met again, and his Excellency made them a Speech, wherein he expresses himself thus concerning the two Schemes; “You are sensible, Gentlemen, that there have been for some Time past two Schemes or Projections going forward for the emitting or circulating a great Quantity of private Notes of Hand to pass in Lieu of Money; and I am told these Notes are now getting out among the People: Such Proceedings in any Community without the Leave & Countenance of the Government have been always judged of dangerous Consequence to a Common Wealth; for which Reason the last Assembly of the Province came into a Resolution of making Inquiry into those Things, and which I wish had been duly pursued by you; but as it was not, the Governour and Council (in the Recess of the Court) took these Matters into their Consideration, in order to discountenance (as far as in them lay) any farther Proceedings about them; and they brought the Undertakers of what is commonly called the Silver Scheme to make an essential Amendment upon it, whereby every Possessor of those Notes is intitled from the Undertakers to Silver or Gold on Demand, at the Rates express'd in the Face of those Bills, or otherwise, that the said Company have obliged themselves to pay any Difference that may happen in the Price of Silver or Gold from the Time stated in those Notes, as the Possessors may please to demand it of them; and this Amendment is made an unalterable Article of that Scheme: and for the better Security of it an authentick Instrument is executed by the Directors of the said Company, and lodged in the Secretary's Office, and this will prevent any Fraud or Discount on those Notes, all distant Periods of coming at Silver or Gold for them being out of the Question.
But as for the Scheme for forming what is commonly called the Land Bank, it appeared to the Governour and Council to be big with so many Mischiefs to this People, that they thought it their indispensable Duty to bear publick Testimony against it (as they have done) and so save unwary People from the Injuries, they might otherwise suffer by taking Notes for Money, which have no honest or solid Foundation, and in the End may prove ruinous to such Possessors as may have any Bulk of those Paper Notes: I would therefore earnestly recommend to you the preparing of a Bill to be pass'd into a Law to stop any farther Proceedings of those Projectors: You have no doubt had an Account of the Applications now making to his Majesty and to the Parliament of Great Britain for suppressing this dangerous Affair.”
There are several Things very remarkable in the first recited Paragraph of this Speech, the Governor there asserts that he and the Council had during the Recess of the then General Court endeavour'd to discountenance both the Schemes; whereas in Reality his Excellency and the Council had acted nothing upon either of them in the first Recess of that Court, except issuing a Proclamation concerning the Land Bank Scheme, which makes not the least mention of the Silver Scheme, and by omitting to mention it plainly encou[r]ag'd it; nor in the second Recess, except issuing the Proclamations of the 5th and 6th of November against the Land Bank Scheme, in neither of which any mention was made of the Silver Scheme; and that on the 4th Day of November his Excellency took up a Note of the Silver Scheme of the Denomination of £10, and on the Back of it above and under the before mention'd Advertisement did the Company the Honour to express in his own Hand writing his Approbation of their Scheme in the following Terms, viz.
Boston, Nov. 4. 1740.
Whoever may be Possessor of this Bill or any other put out by this Company is intitled on demand or every Day to Silver at the Rates express'd on the Back of this Bill, not being obliged to wait any Period; but the Bill is really Gold or Silver according to these Prices mentioned, as by an unalterable Article of the Scheme.
In honorem hujus Societatis.
Which seems to have been design'd by his Excellency as a Present to the Company of an Inscription and Motto to be printed on the Reverse of all their Bills, that had the Rates of Silver express'd upon them, and is so far from discountenancing the Scheme, that it contains an high Recommendation of it, and Compliment to the Company. His Excellency likewise asserts in that first Paragraph, that he and the Council had brought the Undertakers of the Silver Scheme to make an essential Amendment upon it; that such Amendment was (then) made an unalterable Article of the Scheme, for the better Security of which [Article] an authentick Instrument was executed by the Directors of that Company and lodg'd in the Secretary's Office; whereas in Fact the Undertakers did not make the least Amendment upon their Scheme; What the Governor alludes to is plainly the beforemention'd 19th Article of that Scheme, which the Directors had by their Instrument lodg'd in the Secretary's Office covenanted for themselves and their Survivors that they would perform, which Instrument indeed, such as it was, his Excellency perswaded them to execute and lodge in the Secretary's Office; But the Article, which his Excellency says in his Speech contains the essential Amendment of the Scheme, is one of the original Articles of the Scheme, and never was in the least amended since it was first made. His Excellency also asserts in the same Paragraph, that by that essential Amendment (as he calls it) every Possessor of the Notes [of the Silver Scheme] is intitled from the Undertakers to Silver or Gold upon Demand at the Rates express'd upon the Face of those Bills [he means, as he before express'd himself, on the Back of those Bills] or otherwise that the said Company have obliged themselves to pay to the Possessors any Difference, that may happen in the Price of Silver or Gold from the Price stated in those Notes, as the Possessors may please to demand it of 'em---- all distant Periods of coming at Silver or Gold for them [the Notes] being out of the Question: The Substance of which his Excellency also express'd in his beforementioned Inscription upon the Back of one of those Notes in the following Words, viz. Whoever may be Possessor of this Bill, or any Other put out by this Company is intitled on Demand, or every Day to Silver at the Rates ex press'd on the Back of this Bill, not being obliged to wait any Period; but the Bill is really Silver or Gold according to these Prices mentioned: Whereas in Fact the Possessors of these Notes were not intitled to demand Silver or Gold for ’em before the last Day of December 1755, and in the mean Time were only intitled to have them exchanged for common current Bills, that is Massachusetts, Rhode-Island, Connecticut or New Hampshire Bills (at the election of the Directors) at such Rates as to prevent the Company's Bills from depreciating below their nominal Value.
It is not to be wonder'd at that the Governor after receiving his additional Instruction concerning the future Emission of Province Bills, and being appriz'd that Applications were making to his Majesty and the Parliament of Great Britain for suppressing the Land Bank Scheme, (as he told the Assembly he was in his before mention'd Speech) should think it dangerous for him to delay longer the declaring himself most fully in Opposition to that Scheme; that he should at last come to the Point, and (amongst other Things) recommend to the Assembly in the last recited Paragraph of his Speech to prepare a Bill to be pass'd into a Law for stopping any farther Proceedings in the Scheme, an Expedient the most obvious to be tho’t of from the Beginning. But it seems most extraordinary indeed that after his Excellency had so lately receiv'd the Royal Instruction prohibiting his consenting to the Emission of any more Bills of Credit by the Legislature, tho' even for the necessary Support of his Majesty's Government, until the Act for emitting them should have received his Majesty's Royal Approbation, he should not only strongly recommend an Emission of £120,000 in Notes, for a Medium of Trade, which were unlawful in Respect to their Nature, and bad as to their particular Scheme; but that he should proceed such unparralel'd Lengths, as to endeavour to impose false Facts upon the People from the Chair, in order to recommend these Notes, tho' he had but just before in the same Paragraph declar'd that such Proceedings [meaning Emissions] in a Community without the Leave and Countenance of the Government had (always been judged of dangerous Consequence to a Common Wealth ---- and that He and the Council had in the Recess of the Court taken the two Schemes into their Consideration, in order to discountenance, as far as in them lay, any farther Proceedings in them; I say it is surprizing indeed that his Excellency from the Chair, immediately after having pronounced this Scheme dangerous to the Common-Wealth, and declaring that he and the Council had endeavour'd to discountenance it, should in the same Breath dress it up to the People in false Colours, in order to give the Company's Notes a better Currency among them.
On the 5th of December a Vote of Council was pass'd that Samuel Adams, William Stoddard, & Samuel Watts, Esqrs; Justices of the Peace for the County of Suffolk, and Robert Hale and John Choate, Esqrs; Justices of the Peace for the County of Essex, five of the Directors of the Land Bank Company, should be dismiss'd from their Offices of Justices of the Peace for persisting to Countenance and encourage the passing of these Notes; and that Copies of that Order should be transmitted by the Secretary to the Clerks of the Peace for the said Counties; and on the same Day the Question being put in Council, whether an Instrument intitled the Land Bank Scheme, which had been offered to the Secretary by one of the Directors to be recorded in his Office, should be recorded, it pass'd in the Negative. And on the 9th of the same Month a Vote was pass'd in Council that George Leonard, Esq; one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of Bristol, and a Justice of the Inferiour Court of Common Pleas in the same County, another of the Directors of the Land Bank Scheme, should be removed from his Offices of Justice of the Peace and of the Pleas for the same Reason; and that a Copy of that Order should be transmitted by the Secretary to the Clerks of the Peace, & of the Inferiour Court of Common Pleas for the said County. On the 19th of the same Month another Vote of the Council was pass'd for dismissing Joseph Blanchard, Esq ; a Partner of the Land Bank Company from being a Justice of the Peace for the County of Middlesex for the like Cause; and on the same Day another Vote of Council was pass'd that the Secretary should write to the Registers of Deeds and Conveyances in the several Counties to send him Lists of the Names of such Persons, as had made Mortgage of their Estates for the Manufactory Bills, in order to be laid before the Board.
In the same Month and Beginning of January other Votes of the Council were pass'd for removing other justices of the Peace from their Posts for continuing to be concerned in or encouraging the passing of the Land Bank Bills: But nothing was done by his Excellency for the actual Removal of any of these Officers in Consequence of the Votes of Council, except nominating and commissionating Job Almy, Esq; to be a justice of the Pleas for the County of Bristol in the Room of the above mention'd Mr. Leonard, whose Commission for that Office was thereby superseded: as to the before-mention'd justices of the Peace and the other justices, against whom like Votes of the Council were pass'd, which Officers are all constituted by the Governor, in whom solely is the Power of nominating & commissionating 'em for their respective Posts, tho' the Advice and Consent of the Council is requisite to make such Nominations effectual, his Excellency neither issued out new general Commissions of the Peace, nor sent them particular supersedeas's, (one or other of which Acts was necessary for the Removal of them from their Posts,) nor even sent his own Orders (pursuant to the Vote of the Council) to the Clerks of the Peace to strike their Names out of the Lists of Rolls of Justices in their respective Counties, nor did any Act whatsoever, whereby he could possibly imagine that he had superseded any of their Commissions, not even so much as signing his Consent to the Council's Votes of Dismission, which according to his Custom of signing his Consent to Votes for raising a Committee of both Houses to consider of any Matters in order to make their Report upon 'em to the two Houses seem'd natural for him to have done; so that for the Dismission of these Persons from their Offices there was nothing but bare Votes of the Council, who, tho' their Advice and Consent is by the Royal Charter necessary to the making of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace, have not the least Shadow of Authority, when they are made, to remove them; But these Gentlemen remain'd, after these Votes of the Council, as much invested with the Powers and Authorities of Justices of the Peace, as they were before, with their Names still continu'd in the Rolls of the Justices in their respective Counties.
It is difficult to know what to impute his Excellency's Behaviour to in this Case: it seems incredible that after issuing two Proclamations for prohibiting all Civil, and Military Officers to countenance the Land Bank Scheme under the Penalty of being dismiss'd from their Posts, and his actually removing Mr. Leonard from being a Justice of the Inferiour Court of Common Pleas for the County of Bristol, and dismissing some Military Officers for that Offence his Excellency should not really be in earnest to remove the Justices of the Peace and Coroners, but should promote those Votes of Council (if he did promote 'em) to save Appearances only; and it seems equally incredible that his Excellency should be so profoundly ignorant of the Principles of Government, as to imagine that the Council had Power by their Vote to remove Officers, who are nominated and commissionated by His Majesty's Governor, and by the Tenor of their Commissions hold their Posts during his Pleasure; and that no Act of his was necessary to that Purpose: I shall therefore leave you to your own Judgment in this extraordinary Affair.
However that may be, if before the Land Bank Subscribers had form'd themselves into a Company, and enter'd into mutual Agreements and Covenants, and had issued out their Notes his Excellency had issued his two last Proclamations, which it was indisputably in his Power to have done in the Beginning of this Scheme, as the Council was always ready to concur with him in preventing the Execution of it; or had thought fit to dismiss any of his Civil or Military Officers, either of which he might have done even without the Concurrence of the Council, (according to the best Opinions here) for persisting to be concerned in the Scheme or countenancing it, there can be no reasonable Doubt, but that these Proceedings would have had their proper Effect and infallibly have prevented any further Progress of the Scheme; But as his Excellency had carefully avoided taking these Steps or any others, that could well be expected to be effectual, whilst the leading Men of the Scheme were at Liberty to have quitted it at their Pleasure; and refused to exert himself till the Company was formed and the Scheme was actually executed, and the Directors and Partners were hamper'd with Covenants and Engagements, which they were perswaded they could not get rid of, without the Consent or Dissolution of the whole Company; instead of suppressing the Scheme, or checking the Progress of it, these Measures and his open Favour and Indulgence to the Directors and Partners of the Silver Scheme, which it was his Duty to have discountenanced too, served only to exasperate and inflame the Minds of the Populace, and raised a malignant Spirit which was very near at last breaking out into a Riot of Insurrection.
During the Time of these Proceedings at Boston, the New-England Merchants, and Traders in London having been stirred up by the Complaints of the Merchants from hence upon the Disappointment of their Application to his Excellency, and the Assembly for preventing the Execution of the Land Bank Scheme here presented a Petition in Behalf of themselves, and the Merchants and Traders residing in this Province to his Majesty in Council for Redress against the Scheme; which Petition was on the 27th of October 1 740 referr'd to the Lords Commissioners for Trade & the Plantations; at which Board upon a Hearing on the Petition Mr. Partridge his Excellency's Brother in Law and Agent in London, especially in Matters of secret Service, a Person devoted entirely to his Excellency's Interest, and absolutely under his Influence in Affairs that concerned the Province, strenuously oppos'd it, and attempted to vindicate the Scheme, notwithstanding their Lordships had, before he declared himself, express'd great Indignation against it; in doing which Mr. Partridge upon being asked by their Lordships, for whom he appeared in this Case, deny'd that he was employ'd by any Person and professed himself a Voluntier in it; which was undoubtedly true with Respect to the Directors and Partners of the Land Bank Scheme who had not sent him any Instructions in it, or in the least signified to him any Desire that he would intermeddle in the Affair, but were surprized at the first News of his concerning himself in it.
In the Beginning of January following Advice arrived here, that the Petition of the Merchants against the Land Bank Scheme to his Majesty had met with such Success, that there was great Reason to expect that they would be relieved against it by an Act of Parliament, together with a particular Account of Mr. Partridge's appearing in Favour of the Scheme ---- This Conduct of Mr. Partridge's surprized every Body exceedingly: It seemed strange indeed that without having the least Concern in the Scheme or Relation to it, and without any Direction from those, who were interested it, he should officiously engage in the Support of it, where it was look'd upon as a Scandal and Reproach for any Man to give the least Countenance to it, or even speak a favourable Word of it; It appeared I say incredible that he should voluntarily expose himself to certain Discredit and Contempt by entring singly into the Defence of a Scheme, in which he was not in the least interested, against all the World on your Side of the Water, unless he had some secret Instructions and Advice from hence from some Employer, whom it was not proper for him to name, and some Prospect of reaping Advantage by it.
It is certain that had Mr. Partridge succeeded in his Attempt to prevent the passing of the Act of Parliament for suppressing the Land Bank Scheme, he could not have failed of being rewarded by the Assembly for his Success, with their Choice of him to be standing Agent for the Province, and that nothing could be more agreable to his Excellency than the carrying of that Point; and it was as certain that at that Time Mr. Partridge's Success would have made the Governor the Idol of six Parts in seven of the People, and that the least Advice or Hint from his Excellency was sufficient to steer his Brother, with whom such a Secret would be quite safe, into the Measures, he pursued in Favour of the Scheme: and as this seem'd fully to account for not only Mr. Partridge's Conduct, but also his Excellency's Neglect to destroy the Scheme in its first Rise, when it was evident that the House of Representatives would have concurr'd in doing it; and his absolutely declining, during the first Session of the Assembly 1740, to do the least Thing, which might discountenance the Scheme; and his withstanding the most pressing Solicitations of the Merchants upon that Point; and the Breach of his repeated Promises to them that he would not let the Assembly rise before he had made a Speech to them, and used his Influence with the House of Representatives for preventing the Execution of the Scheme; likewise for his Excellency's avoiding to take any Step in the Assembly, even during the next Session of it, for preventing the further Proceedings by the Land Bank Company, till they had fully carried their Scheme into execution, & it was but a few Hours before he prorogu'd the Court; and in short, his avoiding to take any effectual Steps for preventing the incorporating of the Land Bank Company, and actual execution of the Scheme, which it was in his Power to have done from the Beginning without the Concurrence of the House of Representatives; all which Behaviour both of his Excellency's & Mr. Partridge's is not otherwise to be accounted for or explained; Upon all these Accounts (I say) the News of Mr. Partridge's Conduct created a Suspicion that there must have been some Correspondence between the two Brothers upon the Affair of that Scheme at the Beginning of the Merchants Opposition to it, and that Mr. Partridge must have had some Advice or Hint given him by his Excellency to engage him in acting the Part, he did; which at all Events it does not seem reasonable to think he would have acted without his Excellency's Approbation of it, at least signifyed one Way or other to him. - - - The following Circumstance seemed also to favour such Suspicion afterwards, viz. His Excellency's declaring that he might have had £10,000 or even £20,000 old Tenor, from the Land Bank Company for favouring their Scheme; and if he was really persuaded of that (as he plainly seems to have entertain'd some Notion of it in his own Mind) what might he not propose to himself to get from them for his extraordinary Services, if his Brother had succeeded in his Attempt? But as the Hope of that began now to fail, it demanded his Excellency's most vigorous Efforts to Discountenance the Scheme, and to wipe off the Suspicion, which he must be sensible Mr. Partridge's Conduct would naturally raise, of his having been secretly at the Bottom of this Opposition to the Petition of the Merchants at the Board of Trade.
Accordingly his Excellency took Opportunity in his Conversation to censure and exclaim against Mr. Partridge's Behaviour, and in his Speech to the Assembly of the 9th of January, instantly before his prorogueing it, express'd himself concerning the Scheme in the following Manner, viz. “And this leads me to lay before this Court again the Scheme for forming what is commonly called the Land Bank; and I do in the first Place acknowledge the Zeal and Steadiness of his Majesty's Council in joining with me for suppressing a Project so full of mischievous Consequences to his Majesty's Government and People, and I depend we shall still proceed in all just and reasonable Methods for the Destruction of this dangerous Attempt: And while we are thus doing our Duty to the King and this Province, I am sorry, Gentlemen of the House of Representatives, That you will not give the least Aid in this Affair, but seem rather to Countenance this iniquitous Contrivance and Combination, a considerable Number of the Members of your House, as I am inform'd, having greatly interested themselves in it. However, Gentlemen of the Council and House of Representatives, I shall think my self oblig'd in Duty to his Majesty, and in Faithfulness to this Country to lay this Matter before his Majesty in it's proper Light; and I doubt not but the Measures taken with Respect to it here, and at Home by a Number of Gentlemen of great Substance Integrity and Honour, will soon have the desir'd Effect, and thereby prevent the vast Confusion and Ruin, this pernicious Undertaking might otherwise bring on this whole Government and People.”
In Consequence of his Excellency's Declaration in this Speech that he would lay an Account of the Land Bank Scheme before his Majesty in it's proper Light, on the 15th of January a Vote of Council was passed for raising a Committee of that Board to prepare the Draught of a Letter to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and the Plantations on that Affair; which Draught was accordingly prepar'd and laid before the Board and there accepted on the 28th of January. ----- The Purport of this Letter was to inform their Lordships of the Project of the Land Bank Scheme, and of the several Proclamations and other Proceedings of the Governor and Council, and it appears by the Draft of it now in the Secretary's Office to have been sign'd by the three Members of Council, who were the Committee for drawing it. - - - - This I take to be the Account of the Land Bank Scheme, mention'd in his Excellency's Speech to be intended by him to be laid before his Majesty. - - - - - - Upon this Proceeding I would observe that his Excellency well knew, his Majesty had been fully inform'd of the Land Bank Scheme, and it's pernicious Tendency above three Months before in a very proper and effectual Manner by the Petition of the Merchants in London; that both the Lords Commissioners for Trade, and the Lords of the Committee of Council had consider'd the Scheme and reported upon it, and that there was the utmost Probability, that the Parliament had by this Time taken it under their Consideration, in order to provide for the Suppression of it: - - This Proceeding seems therefore calculated by his Excellency to attone for Mr. Partridge's Conduct at the Board of Trade in Relation to the Scheme, rather than to give his Majesty any new Light or Information in the Affair. - - - - It had the Appearance of his Excellency's concurring with the Merchants in London, whom his Brother in Law and Agent had lately opposed in their Petition against the Scheme, and who most surprizingly continued afterwards to oppose them, even when the Bill for suppressing the Scheme was depending in Parliament, notwithstanding he had met with such a Repulse before the Lords Commissioners of Trade, as would sufficiently have discouraged any other Person, who was, as he profess'd himself, a Voluntier in the Case, from attempting any Thing farther in Favour of it. - - - - You will also observe Sir, that his Excellency says in his last mention'd Speech, “He doubts not but the Measures taken with Respect to the Scheme here, and at Home by a Number of Gentlemen of great Substance, Integrity and Honour would soon have the desir'd Effect, and thereby prevent the vast Confusion and Ruin, that pernicious Undertaking might otherwise bring on this whole Government and People.” - - - - - What Assistance the before-mention'd Letter to the Lords Commissioners of Trade might afford the Gentlemen at Home in their Endeavours for preventing the Ruin & Confusion likely to be bro't on the Province by the Land Bank Scheme (in Case it was sent there) I won't pretend to determine; but it is certain that the Measures taken by the Gentlemen at Home had a most happy Effect for delivering the Province from the Ruin and Confusion, which his Excellency's Measures here with Respect to the Scheme had brought this Government and People upon the Brink of; and it is difficult to determine which Part of his Excellency's Conduct had the greatest Share in the mischief ; whether his long Connivance at the leading Men of the Scheme, and his Neglect to use the Measures proper for preventing the Execution of it, when it was in his Power to have done it, whereby he suffered it almost to establish itself among the People, or his untimely Measures for suppressing it afterwards, when it was really out of his Power to do it, whereby he raised a malignant Spirit in the Country, which threaten'd the Government with Disorder and Confusion.
Some Time in this Month of January Mr. Colman the before mention'd Projector and Treasurer of the Land Bank Scheme sent another Letter to his Excellency to expostulate with him upon these Proceedings and his Partiality to the Silver Scheme, in a Paragraph of which Letter he expresses his Surprize at the Governor's Opposition to the Land Bank Scheme in these Words; “Sir, I perceive by my Brother that your Excellency is offended at my writing a few Lines in Justification of what we are doing about our Land Bank - - - - I confess I never expected to see your Excellency against us, but on the contrary, that you would have been passive in the Matter; for by all the Discourse, we have had about it before you went to England, and since your Return, I thought you inclin'd to favour it rather than the contrary; We often talked of the Difficulties, which attended bringing in Silver, and that it would be the Work of many Years to effect it; and when we talk'd of the vile Abuses put upon People by the Silver Bankers you faulted their Conduct as much as I did; what your Excellency sees in their second Scheme to recommend it, I know not; to me it appears not a Whit better than the Former; but rather worse; for the Length of Time set for it's Continuance will give the oppressive Usurer the greatest Opportunity to eat up his Neighbour.” — The Contents of which Paragraph, as also that his Excellency never advised him against pursuing his Scheme, or to desist from it, or any Ways declar'd himself to him in Opposition to it before that Time, Mr. Colman has verifi'd by his Declaration upon Oath: And this farther to be confirm'd by the following Circumstance, viz. That Mr. Colman being about that Time very angry at his Excellency's Treatment of him & his Scheme determin'd to publish to the World in one of the Boston News-Papers an Account of the Discourse, which had from Time to Time pass'd between himself & his Excellency upon the Subject of the Land Bank Scheme, setting forth the Governor’s former Declarations of his Sentiments concerning it; and deliver'd such an Account to Messieurs Kneeland & Green to be printed in their next Weekly Paper; but tho' this Account was signed by Mr. Colman, yet as the Subject-Matter of it concern'd the Governor, they did not think it prudent for them to print it without his Excellency's express Leave for doing it; whereupon Mr. Green communicated it to his Excellency to know his Pleasure concerning the printing of it; but the Governor after having read it told him, it would not do, and forbid him to print it, and thereupon Mr. Green deliver'd back to Mr. Colman his Paper.
In this and the following Months of February and April several other Votes were pass'd in Council respecting the Land Bank Scheme; one of which was that the Secretary should sign a Letter in Behalf of the Board to the several Courts of justice within the Province, recommending to them to use their best Endeavours, that none of their Officers, or Dependants should give any Encouragement to the Land Bank Bills; and another, that no Person should be admitted to appear and plead before the Board as an Attorney or Counsellor at Law on any Account whatsoever, who should pass, receive, or give Encouragement to the Land Bank Bills; and the rest of them for the Dismission of other justices of the Peace for persisting to encourage the passing of the Bills.
By this Time the popular Discontent at these Proceedings ran very high; there were upwards of 800 Partners in the Scheme, and five Parts in six of the Countrymen, who were not interested in it, were Abettors of it; the Bills had obtained a Currency throughout the Country, and the Possessors of them were numerous. - One Circumstance, in his Excellency's Conduct particularly irritated and inflamed the Spirits of the Land Bank Party, viz. the Encouragement and Patronage, which he afforded to the Silver Scheme; the great Imposition & Unreasonableness of which they could plainly discern, tho' they were blind with Partiality to the mischievous Effects of their own: the unequal Proceedings therefore of the Government in Respect to the two Schemes they look'd on as Injustice to themselves and resented highly; and there is no Question but that if his Excellency had done his Duty with Respect to the Directors and Partners of the Silver Scheme, whom the Parliament of Great Britain afterwards condemned equally with the Land Bank Company, and subjected to the same Penalties that it inflicted upon the Partners of the Land Bank Scheme, the People would have acquiesced in the Suppression of the Land Bank Scheme, or at least have born it with secret Reluctance only; whereas their Clamour and Threatnings now grew so loud that they alarm'd the Government; and a Vote of Council was thereupon pass'd the 9th of May reciting, that “Information had been given of a Combination of many ill-minded Persons in several Towns within the Province to come in a tumultuous and seditious Manner into the Town of Boston, in order to force the Currency of the Land Bank Bills; and thereupon ordering that the Members of the Board then present, who were justices of the Peace throughout the Province, should issue out their Warrants for apprehending the Persons or some of the Principal of them, that were represented as concerned in that Design.”
On the 25th of April 1741 the Assembly was dissolved, and on the 27th of May following the new House of Representatives met and made Choice of Samuel Watts, Esq ; a Director of the Land Bank Company for their Speaker, who was accordingly presented to the Governor for his Approbation pursuant to the Charter, but was disapproved; whereupon the House proceeded to a second Choice and elected Mr. William Fairfield an Abettor of the Scheme for their Speaker, who upon being presented to his Excellency for his Approbation was approved of: Then the Council and House of Representatives proceeded to the Choice of Counsellors, eleven of which being either interested in or known Abettors of the Land Bank Scheme his Excellency negativ'd -----the Choice of Mr. Fairchild for Speaker who was most remarkable for his general Opposition to Government, and had openly in his Discourse bid Defiance to the Act of Parliament then lately pass'd for the Suppression of the Land Bank Scheme, and was a Person, whom the House would not have chosen for a Speaker at any other Time, and the Choice of the Land Bank Counsellors sufficiently discover'd the Temper and Spirit of the House of Representatives, which the Governor therefore dissolv'd on the 28th of May: and Writts were issued for the Choice of new Representatives returnable the 8th Day of July following.
In the mean Time Advice arrived that Mr. Shirley was appointed Governor of the Province by his Majesty; but as his Commission was not arrived here by the 8th of July Governor Belcher then met the new Assembly; when it appeared that the Dissolution of the late Assembly had wro't no Change in the House of Representatives, but rather increased it's Number of Land Bank Members. --- The House then proceeded to elect for their Speaker John Choate, Esq; a Director of that Company, whom Governor Belcher therefore negativ'd ; after which they proceeded to a new Choice and elected John Hobson, Esq ; a Favourer of the Land Bank Scheme but not interested in it, whom the Governor approv'd of.
On the 31st of July, twelve Days before the Arrival of Governor Shirley's Commission, and when it was every Day expected, the House proceeded to the Election of such civil Officers for the Year ensuing, as the Charter directs shall be appointed by the General Court, and among others chose Samuel Watts, and Robert Hale, Esqrs; to be two of the Collectors of the Excise, to which Choice the Consent of the Governor as a Part of the General Court is necessary, as also his Commission is for constituting them Collectors after they are chosen; these two Gentlemen were Directors of the Land Bank Company, and as such the Council had passed a Vote (as I before observ'd to you) for the Dismission of 'em from being Justices of the Peace; and Governor Belcher had for the same Reason negativ'd the Election of the former for being Speaker of the House of Representatives in the last Assembly about two Months before; but his Excellency, tho' not the least Step, was then taken by the Land Bank Company for putting an End to the Scheme, in Obedience to the Act of Parliament for suppressing it, but whilst on the other Hand their Party continued to set the Act at Defiance, and threaten their Opposers, suddenly alter'd his Behaviour towards these Directors, and approv'd of the Choice of them and other noted Abettors of the Scheme to be Collectors of the Excise, and accordingly commissionated them for that Purpose.— This alteration of his Excellency's late Conduct towards the Land Bank Company seems very remarkable; But to what it is to be imputed, whether to the near Approach of his being remov'd from his Government on the Arrival of Governor Shirley's Commission, or any other Cause, I shall not pretend to determine: It is certain that had not his Excellency been very well inclined to have done it, and was fond of this farewell Act of Grace to the Company, he might have delay'd acting upon the List of these Land Bank Collectors of Excise, and have left it for his Successor, whose Commission was every Day expected, either to have approved or disapproved of them.
On the 13th of August the present Governor’s Commission arrived and was publish'd the Day following, which put an End to Governor Belcher’s Administration; The State and Condition of the Province at the Time of Mr. Belcher’s quitting the Chair may be collected in general from the Sense, which it appears the House of Representatives had of it by their Address to Mr. Shirley upon his Accession to the Government: They there tell him that “they were much concerned to think that it should be at a Time when this Province was labouring under so many Difficulties & Distresses, and to which he could be no Stranger; but then it would be so much the more for his Honour, if he might be the happy Instrument of leading 'em out of them; and that they must not despair of the Common Wealth.” - - - - As to the Temper of the People at that Time, the Land Bank Party, which was very numerous throughout the Province, were irritated and inflamed to such a Degree, that they seemed ripe for Tumult and Disorder; they had perswaded themselves that the Act of Parliament could not be carried into Execution, and had even bid Defiance to the Government by their Threats; and it had not a little contributed to exasperate them, that tho' the Parliament of Great Britain had included the Directors & Partners of the Silver Scheme in the same Condemnation with those of the Land Bank Scheme, yet the former had shared the Smiles and Favours of his late Excellency, whilst those of the Land Bank had been treated of late in a quite different Manner; Nor was the Temper of the House of Representatives in a much better Frame than that of the Populace, two Thirds of the Members at least being either Partners or Abettors of the Land Bank Scheme, from whom a general Opposition to all the Measures of Government necessary at that Time for his Majesty's Service and the publick Welfare of the Province seemed in their present Disposition to be much feared: As to the Governor's dissolving 'em and calling a new Assembly, the Dissolution of the late Assembly had given him full Proof that it would only serve to inflame the Country more; and that it was in vain to expect that a new Choice would lessen the Number of Land Bank Representatives.
Several Points of Consequence to his Majesty's Service were at this Time necessary to be effected by the present Governor, among which were these following, viz.
In September 1741, Capt. Winslow arriv'd here from the Army under General Wentworth's Command with Instructions to raise Recruits for the American Regiment then in his Majesty's Service in the Expedition against the Spanish Settlements in the West-Indies, which it was the Governor’s Duty to promote in the Province, pursuant to his Majesty's express Orders for that Purpose, by engaging the Assembly to give suitable Encouragement to Men to enlist in the Service: In the Beginning of the September preceeding Governor Belcher had indulg'd the last Assembly with disbanding at their Request four Companies of Soldiers then lately raised in the Province for his Majesty's aforesaid Service in Pursuance of his Royal Commands, and for the transporting of which to the Place of general Rendezvous in the West Indies that Assembly had obliged themselves by a late Vote to raise a sufficient Sum of Money; by Means of which Dismission, which his Excellency went into the Field to effect personally at the Head of each Company, three of those Companies were entirely broke up & lost from his Majesty's Service, and the other was very near being lost, but was at last with great Difficulty saved by the Advice and Vigilance of his present Excellency then a private Gentleman upon their re-inlisting, which by the Terms of their Dismission they had a Liberty of doing------ The Pretence of his late Excellency's assuming this extraordinary Power was that Commissions, Cloaths and Arms were not sent for those Companies to Boston; whereas undoubted Assurances had been given that those Companies would have been received in the Army upon the same Terms with the Companies, for whose Officers Commissions had been sent to Boston; and upon the Assurance of which the officers of those four Companies had been prevail'd on by his present Excellency to keep their Companies together (till Governor Belcher dismiss'd 'em) in order to proceed with them to the West Indies without receiving their Commissions, Arms, or Cloaths from his Majesty at Boston, and would have accordingly proceeded, had not he thus broke the Companies up, but insisted, as it was plainly his Duty to have done, that they should have been transported to the West Indies at the Province's Expence, pursuant to the former Vote of the Assembly; which unprecedented Compliance of the late Governor and Dismission of Soldiers actually enlisted in His Majesty's Service had an Appearance and Tendency to make the present Governor’s Demands of an Encouragement for raising Recruits disagreable to the Assembly, and his Success doubtful.
The late Governor had also giv'n Encouragement to the Destruction of His Majesty's Woods by countenancing Persons commonly reputed to be Destroyers of them in a frivolous and groundless Petition containing Complaints against His Majesty's then Surveyor General of the Woods, and the Court of Vice Admiralty addressed to himself with Compliments upon his own Administration; which Petition he privately employed a Person in Boston to correct and amend by aggravating the Complaints against the Surveyor General and heightening the Compliments upon himself; and after sending it to the Petitioners to be new signed transmitted it to be laid before His Majesty, in order to make his Surveyor General and the Court of Vice Admiralty obnoxious to His royal Displeasure for exerting their best Endeavours to discharge their respective Duties for the Preservation of His Woods And also by neglecting to cause the Orders of His Majesty in Council for the Redress of Workmen employed in cutting Trees for the Service of the royal Navy to be carried into Execution by the Judges of the Provincial Courts, and expressly declaring his Opinion to be against His Majesty's Jurisdiction in that Case; the ill Consequences of which to His Majesty's Service have been since sensibly felt in the Province, which it was his present Excellency's indispensable Duty to endeavour to remedy, by causing the abovementioned royal Orders to be carried into Execution (for doing which he also received afterwards His Majesty's express Commands) and a Law of the Province to be passed for the better Preservation of His Majesty's Woods within it.
The late Governor had also throughout his whole Administration indulged the Assembly in the Practice of dividing old Townships and erecting new ones out of 'em, whereby those Towns had a Right to double the Number of their Representatives; which Practice (tho' an establish'd one with the Assembly) as the present Governor look'd upon it to be of pernicious Consequence in several Respects, he was determin'd to put a stop to.
The Fortifications throughout the Province were in a ruinous and defenceless Condition, particularly those at Castle William, the Key of the whole Province and its main Fortress, which the present Rupture with Spain, and the Prospect of another very speedily with France made it dangerous to delay the Repairs of longer, and called for large Grants of Money.
Other Points also essential for the Good of the Country demanded his present Excellency's immediate Attention: The late Governor had indulged the People with a Scheme of Province Bills, which from the Experience of many Years before his coming to the Administration had been found by their continual depreciating to prove a mere Fraud to the Merchants of Great Britain trading hither, and other Creditors in general; and which his present Excellency had therefore determined to bring under a new Regulation.
His late Excellency had likewise permitted upwards of £390,000 of these Bills, computed in Bills of the old Tenor, to be outstanding beyond their stated Periods, which both the Province Law had provided and his Majesty's Royal Instructions required should have been sunk at their proper Periods; and this great Arrear it was necessary for the present Governor to cause to be drawn in by Executions at a Time, when the publick Service happen'd to require heavier Taxes to be lay'd on the People than what they had pay'd for twenty Years before; the drawing in of which Sum must be felt by the Towns in Arrear as much as if it had been assessed upon them by a new Tax.
For effecting some of these Points, the Concurrence of the Assembly with the Governor was absolutely necessary, and for compassing the others it was requisite that the Dissatisfaction and Ferment, in which his late Excellency had left much the greatest Part of the Country, when he quitted the Chair, should be allay'd. — The only practicable Method therefore for the Governor to enable himself to do the Duty of his Post in these Particulars was to restore the general Tranquility of the Province, and an Harmony between the three Branches of the Legislature, the latter of which he could not reasonably hope to effect without reclaiming the leading Man of the Land Bank Party in the House of Representatives into the Service of his Majesty, and the true Interest of the Country; whereby all unreasonable Opposition in that House to the Measures of the Government might be removed; and the previous Step to be taken as preparatory to this End and other Measures, was to dispose the principal Directors and Partners of the Land Bank Company voluntarily to pay a due Obedience to the Act of Parliament for suppressing their Scheme: 'Till this was effected it was in vain to expect that the publick Tranquility could be settled, or the House of Representatives bro't to a just Sense of their Duty; or that even the Act of Parliament itself could be carried into Execution without Danger of some violent Struggles and Commotions in the Province. This therefore claimed the present Governor’s most immediate Attention; and such Progress was made in this Affair by the 23d of September that at a general Meeting on that Day of the Directors and Partners of the Land Bank Scheme held at Milton “a Committee was chosen who were impower'd to attend and assist the Directors in consuming the Bills as paid in by the Partners, or otherwise drawn into the Treasury, and that they in Behalf of the Partners should audit & settle the Accounts of Trade with the Directors or Factors of the Partners, in order to their receiving or paying what might be gain'd
or lost on the Trade, to be concluded and shut up as soon as possible, and that they should see the Plates on which the Bills were struck be forthwith destroyed.” And on the 28th of September the Directors by an Entry under their Hands in the Company's Books made the following Declaration, viz. “We the Subscribers having been concerned in the Manufactory Scheme lately erected in Boston on Land Security, which by the Partners is voted to be dissolved, do hereby publickly declare that from this Time forward we do desist from, give up, and relinquish, and wholly forbear to act farther therein, or directly or indirectly to carry on the same.”
The above mention'd Vote of the Land Bank Company for putting an End to their Scheme was difficultly obtained, and carried only by a bare Majority, many of the Partners being warmly of Opinion to stand out in Defiance of the Act of Parliament; but the consequence of that Vote, and of the Declaration of the Directors for renouncing the Scheme was that the Directors in general paid an Obedience to the Act of Parliament, as much as in them lay, and several of the Partners redeemed their Quota's of the Bills, and bro't them in to the Directors to be consum'd, and continu'd daily so to do; and the Directors instead of carrying on the Scheme attended to receive the Bills brought in by the Partners, and thereupon to cancel and discharge their Bonds and Mortgages, and acted wholly in Destruction of it; whereby the Quantity of outstanding Bills was daily lessen'd, the late malignant Temper visibly abated in the Country, and the Spirit of Opposition subsided in the House of Representatives, and was succeeded by a general Disposition there to promote his Majesty's Service and the true Interest of the Province: The first Effect of which appeared in a very chearful Grant of £18,000 old Tenor in Answer to his present Excellency's Speech to them for that Purpose, to encourage Men to enlist for recruiting the American Regiment and transporting them to the West Indies, not exceeding the number of 500 Men; in Consequence of which upwards of 170 Men were inlisted, about 110 of which were actually transported to Jamaica, and the Remainder of 'em upon the Arrival of News from General Wentworth that his Majesty had ordered him to disband the American Regiment, and put an End to the Expedition, were dismiss'd from his Majesty's Service by the recruiting Officer. — But the Effect of this Dissolution of the Land Bank Scheme, and the Change of Temper wro't in the House of Representatives were most visibly distinguish'd in the following Instance; the present Governor had in October refused his Consent to a Bill pass'd by both Houses for the Supply of the Treasury, & in his Speech to 'em pointed out the several exceptionable Parts of the Bill with the Amend[m]ents, which he recommended to them to make, particularly to secure to every Creditor his just Due for the future against the depreciating of the Bills by enabling the King's Judges to do justice in that Particular; which had a due Influence upon the House of Representatives in their November Session, who in their next Supply Bill comply'd with the most material Amendments proposed by his Excellency, particularly that for securing to Creditors the full Value of their future Debts against the depreciating of the Bills of Credit, by putting it in their Power to demand of their Debtors in a Court of judicature a full Recompence for any Depreciations, which might happen between the Time of contracting the Debt and the Payment of it; for which the General Court made Provision by an Act passed in that Session, entituled an Act for ascertaining the Value of Money and of the Bills of Credit, &c. The passing of this Act was a most remarkable Instance of the Alteration in the Disposition of the Land Bank Representatives, (who made up above two Thirds of the House,) and of the Influence, which the Governor’s Recommendation had upon 'em: nothing could be more opposite to the Land Bank Scheme, or to the Supply Bill, which had pass'd both Houses but two Months before, and which his Excellency had negativ'd ; and it must be a very extraordinary Change indeed, that could be wro't so suddenly in them, as to bring them from espousing the worst Scheme of Notes, & almost as bad a Supply Bill, to go at once greater Lengths towards regulating the Paper Currency, than the best composed Assembly in the Province had done for thirty Years before, and at the same
Time to reconcile them to a Proceeding, which was not only quite new in the Province, but unpopular. — This Regulation had also a strong Tendency to correct that Spirit of Dishonesty, which had before too much prevailed in the Province by Debtors neglecting to pay plain, indisputable Debts without being compell'd to it by judgments at Law and Executions, for the Sake of the Advantages that were before gained by them upon the Depreciating of the Bills; to lessen the scandalous Number of Law Suits in the Country; and cure the People of an Insensibility of the Discredit of being openly sued for honest Debts, which had lately grown upon 'em; It was indeed going as far towards curing the Evils of the Paper Currency with Respect to private Debts, as it was reasonable to think the Assembly could be possibly brought to do at that Time — And for retrieving the public Faith by preventing future Assemblies from postponing the drawing in of the Bills of Credit beyond their stated Periods, which the last Assembly had been guilty of, they inserted a Clause in the Supply Act of the same Session, whereby it was put out of their Power to do it; which Clause has been since repeated in every subsequent Act for the Supply of the Treasury.
On the 16th of January the two Houses proceeded to a Choice of eight Signers of the Bills to be issued by Virtue of the late Supply Act, among which they chose three of the Directors of the Land Bank Company, who were Members of the House of Representatives and the most leading Men of the Land Bank Party in it; and the List was laid before his Excellency in the usual Form for his Approbation, and he accordingly approved of it: This Approbation, it seems, is one of the honourable Gentleman's Articles of Impeachment against his present Excellency, which, if it was well grounded in itself, must come with but an ill Grace from him, who had during his own Administration but five Months before approved of and commissionated two of these Signers to be Collectors of the Excise for two Counties; and seemed thereby to have pass'd an Act of Oblivion with Respect to their Land Bank Offence: and this was done by him before they had renounced their Scheme, or taken any Step to exempt them from the Penalty of the Act of Parliament, which was then pass'd and publickly known here; or done any Act that could in the least merit or claim such Favour from his late Excellency, and when he was not under the least Necessity of doing it, but might have left the Approbation or Disapprobation of the Assembly's Choice to his Successor: Whereas his present Excellency's Approbation of the Assembly's Choice was in a Matter, upon which he was obliged to act, and in which a Governor’s Negative would have been unprecedented: His Approbation of the three late Land Bank Directors for Signers was at a Time too, when they had renounced their Scheme, and had made some Attonement for the former Part, they had acted in it, by the great Share and Influence, they had in the dissolving of the Land Bank Company, & putting an End to the Scheme; and when his Excellency had experienced the good Effects of their Interest in the House of Representatives for his Majesty's Service in promoting a liberal Grant for the Encouragement of Soldiers to enlist for recruiting the American Regiment, and also in the very great Share, they had in the late Regulation of the Paper Currency by bringing the Land Bank Members, over whom they had a powerful Influence, into the Governor’s Measures for that Purpose: These Instances of their Behaviour his Excellency had also Reason to look upon as an Earnest of their future Assistance in his carrying the other Points, which he had in View for his Majesty's Service and the Interest of the Country, by their Weight and Influence with the Land Bank Party, which then form'd and was likely for some Time longer to form the majority of the House of Representatives. — As to the Office of signing the Bills, the Credit of which could not possibly be affected one Way or other by the Quality or Circumstances of the Signers, who are only Servants to the Publick in that Business; and as to the Profits arising by it, which upon a Computation may amount to about half a Farthing Sterling per Man every Time he signs his Name, I say in either of these Respects his Excellency's consenting to the Assembly's Choice (especially in a Matter wherein the Governor's Consent was always esteem'd a Thing of Course) was such a Trifle, as could scarcely admit of any Hesitation upon it: On the other Hand, his Refusal of his Consent to the Assembly's Choice in this Case would have extremely disgusted not only the three Gentlemen negativ'd, but their whole Party both in the House of Representatives and throughout the Country, and have endanger'd at that Time the reviving of a malignant Spirit, which had been dormient but a very little while; and which, had it been again excited, would have destroyed the Harmony between the three Branches of the Legislature then but newly created: And it must have been a most extraordinary Piece of Policy indeed for his Excellency to have run the Risque of embarrassing his Majesty's Service, and perplexing his own Administration for the future by his Refusal of so Errant a Trifle, as permitting those Gentlemen to be three of the Signers of the publick Bills, pursuant to the Choice of the Assembly.
The Effects of the late Act of Parliament for suppressing the two before mention'd Schemes begun now to be thoroughly discerned by the Directors and Partners of each Scheme; they perceived that the Act had declared all the Contracts, Agreements and Securities, which had pass'd between the respective Directors and Partners of each Company to be illegal, and consequently void, and had subjected every single Person concerned in each Scheme to the Demands of all the Possessors of the Bills of that Scheme in which he was interested, so that those who had in Obedience to the Act redeemed their Quota's of the Bills from the Possessors, and brought 'em in to be consum'd, and pay'd their due Proportion of the Charges, which had attended the Execution of the Scheme in which they were concern'd, still remained exposed to the Demands of the Possessors of the outstanding Bills of such Scheme, and had at the same Time lost all Remedy against their refractory Partners, who obstinately refused to redeem their respective Quota's of the Bills, taking Advantage of the Act's having declared their Bonds and Securities given to the Directors to be illegal and void: Thus every Partner, who had in Obedience to the Act of Parliament submitted to bear his Share of the Burthen and Loss arising by either of the Schemes, was still subject by Means of the Negligence or Dishonesty of his Partners not only to have Demands made upon him for more than what his whole Estate could perhaps satisfy, but to incur a Premunire for not complying with such Demands: Some of the Possessors also of the Land Bank Bills now publickly threaten'd to sue without any Distinction as well those Partners and Directors of that Company, who had paid in their Proportion of the Bills, as those, who had not. - This you will imagine, Sir, produced a general Consternation among the worthier Part of those who were concern'd in both Schemes. - The Directors of the late Land Bank Company feared also this farther Damage: There were some outstanding Debts due to the Company from Persons, with whom they had traded, and it was apprehended at least that the late Act of Parliament had destroyed the Company's Demands for the Recovery of those Debts, and that in such Case their Debtors would thereby shelter themselves from the Payment of them Wherefore in March 1741/2, several of the Persons concerned in each Scheme had Resort by their Petitions to the General Court for Redress under their Difficulties, which Petitions the Council and House of Representatives referred the Consideration of to a Committee of both Houses, who made the following Report thereon, viz.
“In Obedience &c. We have read the several Petitions, and heard the Parties concerned upon the same, and upon the whole are humbly of Opinion, that it is expedient and necessary for the Peace and Quiet of his Majesty's Subjects, to do equal justice to all Parties, and also consonant to the Agreement of the said late Companies for concluding their Schemes by redeeming and consuming their Bills, that this Court appoint a Committee of good and sufficient Men, with full Power to adjust and audit the Accounts of the Directors and Partners of the several Companies, and of all their Contracts, Trade & Business with any others concern'd with them; to demand, sue for, and recover of all such Directors Partners or others all such Bills, Notes, Sums of Money, Goods & Effects, as belong to the respective Companies; to require and have immediate Payment from the Directors and Partners of all such Sums and Effects, as upon the said Account shall be found due from them respectively, though among themselves agreed to be paid in several Times in the Course of their respective Schemes; To receive in all the Bills of the respective Companies in the Hands of any People, and in an equitable Manner pay them off out of the Effects of the said respective Companies as they come in, or in a just Proportion to the Effects received, 'till the whole are paid off, returning the Overplus, if any be, to the respective Partners in a just Proportion to their respective Interest therein; To consume all the said Companies Bills to Ashes in the Presence of good and lawful Witnesses; To give up the Bonds and Covenants, and to execute Discharges of the Mortgage, or Mortgages of each respective Partner upon his paying in to them the full Sum by him received of the Company, together with his just and rateable Part of all Charges and Damages (the major Part of said Committee to be a Quorum) and of all their Doings to render a plain & fair Account to the General Court from one Session or Adjournment to another, 'till the whole is finish'd.”
This Report was accepted by both Houses, and on the 31st of March an Order was there pass'd for raising a Committee for the Purposes in the Report mention'd; and the Order was laid before his present Excellency for his Consent, and earnest Sollicitations were used to obtain it; but though the Governor approv'd of the Ends proposed by the Order of the two Houses, yet as it was founded upon a supposed Subsistence of the mutual Agreements & Contracts made at first between the respective Directors and Partners of each of the said Companies, which were declared and deemed by the Act of Parliament to be illegal and void ab initio, he could not be brought to consent to it: but to prevent the Ruin, which seem'd to threaten many private Families, and preserve the publick Peace and Quiet, and to draw in the outstanding Bills of both Schemes, he promoted the following Order, which was afterwards pass'd by the General Court at the same Session the 23d of April 1742, viz.
In the House of Representatives, April 23. 1742.
“Whereas it is expedient and necessary for the Peace and Quiet of his Majesty's Subjects in this Province, that all the Notes of the late Companies commonly called the Companies of the Silver and Manufactory Schemes should be drawn in and consumed as soon as may be:
Voted, That Mr. Thomas Cushing, &c. with such as the honourable Board shall join be a Committee (the major Part of whom to be a Quorum) to inspect and examine the Books, Instruments and Writings of the said late Companies, and to take an Account of what Quantity of Notes, and to what Value, hath been issued out by each of them, and in what Proportions the same have been distributed among the Directors and Partners of the said Companies, and what Quantities of the said Notes have been drawn in and consumed, and to make Return to the General Court at their Session in May next of their Doings therein, together with a List of several Directors and Partners of each of the said late Companies, who have not brought in their several Quota's of the aforesaid Notes by them received to be consumed, together with the Value of the several Quantities of said Notes by them neglected to be brought in, that effectual Care may be taken to cause the said outstanding Notes to be brought in and consumed as speedily as may be.” — Which Order was consistent with the Act of Parliament; and though the Committee raised by it had no coercive Power over the delinquent Partners of each Company, except for inspecting their Books and Accounts, yet it very much alarmed them, and together with the Act of Parliament had so considerable an Effect that by the 30th of June, following (as appears by the Report of the Committee then made to the General Court) of the £120,000 in Notes of the Silver Scheme, which had been issued to the several Directors and Partners of that Company, £69, 361. 12 s. 6 d. had been drawn in since the Dissolution of the Scheme (which was voted by the Company in September 1741) £51,070 of which had been consumed to Ashes by the Directors, and the remaining £18291 12 s 6 d. was in their Hands; and that of £47282 2 s. 10 d. of the Land Bank Notes, which had been issued out to the several Directors and Partners of that Company, upwards of £32500 had been drawn in since the Dissolution of that Scheme; £22411 16 s. 8 d. of which Sum had been consumed to Ashes by the Directors, and the Remainder was in their Hands; and that the Notes of each Company were still daily coming in: And at the same Time Lists of all the delinquent Partners in each Company, with the Sums due from 'em, were returned by the Committee to the General Court — Upon this Report of the Committee the General Court passed a Vote of Censure upon those Partners of each of the Schemes, who had neglected to pay in their Quota's of Bills, with their Proportions of the Charges and Loss arising upon the Schemes, and Voted, “That in as much as this was a Matter of great Importance and " the present Session [as was then apprehended] was near concluding, the further Consideration of the Report should be referred to the next Fall Session, that so further Measures might be pursued, if need should be, with those Partners who should not then have paid in their just Proportion of the Bills, and of the Charges and Loss arising upon the Scheme, in which they were respectively concerned.”
In May preceeding the new House of Representatives, which had near the same Number of Land Bank Members in it, as the last House, met and (pursuant to the Directions of the Royal Charter proceeded) jointly with the Council of the last Year to an Election of Counsellors for the Year ensuing; and among others chose George Leonard and Samuel Watts Esqrs; Members of the House of Representatives and late Directors of the Land Bank Scheme, (as I have before observed to you) to be two of the Members of his Majesty's Council; and the List of the new Counsellors was laid before his Excellency in the usual Form for his Approbation; and he accordingly approv'd of it. - This Approbation, Sir, of two of the late Land Bank Directors to be two of his Majesty's Council is another of the honourable Gentleman's Articles against his present Excellency, upon which Occasion he compares the negativing of thirteen Land Bank Counsellors by the late Governor in the last Year with the present Governor’s Behaviour in that Respect this Year: Upon which, Sir, I would observe to you that I apprehend, that the wide Difference between the Circumstances of the Province at the Time of Governor Belcher’s negativing the thirteen Land Bank Councellors in 1741, and the Time of the present Governor’s permitting two of the late Directors of that Company to be of his Majesty's Council in May 1742, will sufficiently Account for the Difference of Governor Shirley's Conduct from that of his Predecessor.
In May 1741 the Spirit of the Land Bank Party was at the heighth of its Malignity; The Partners and Abettors of the Scheme then bid Defiance to Acts of Parliament, and were pushing at an Ascendency over the Government by getting two Branches of the Legislature into their own Hands; they had already a great Majority in the House of Representatives, and were aiming to get the same at the Board of Council, which, if they had obtain'd it, must have render'd their Influence and Power in the Province uncontroulable, and have affected every Part of it, not excepting even the Courts of Judicature: There was therefore an absolute Necessity for Governor Belcher's excluding the thirteen Land Bankers from his Majesty's Council; but the Situation of the Province under Governor Shirley's Administration in 1742 was very different; The Land Bank Company had then dissolv'd themselves, and the Directors publickly renounc'd the Scheme; the Majority of the late Partners had paid an Obedience to the Act of Parliament, and were now in Opposition to those who refused or neglected to comply with it; and the Land Bank Members in the House of Representatives had concurr'd in Acts of Government for compelling the delinquent Partners to do their Duty. In all these Proceedings the two before mention'd Gentlemen had a considerable Share by their Weight and Influence with the Land Bank Party in the last House of Representatives, and had been two of the principal Actors in the Destruction of the Scheme in every other Respect out of the House; and their Estates now lay at Stake 'till all the outstanding Land Bank Bills could be brought in, and the Scheme intirely finish'd : What possible Danger therefore could there be in admitting those two Gentlemen at this Time into his Majesty's Council? ---- As to their having been concern'd in carrying the Scheme into Execution, the late Governor himself, after he had begun to oppose the Scheme, did neither by the Tenor of his two Proclamations against the civil and military Officers concerned in it threaten to displace, nor did actually displace any one Officer merely for having acted in, or encouraged the Scheme, but for persisting so to do; neither did the Council pass any of their before-mention'd Votes for the removal of any justice or Coroner for having been concerned in the Scheme, or in passing of the Bills, but for refusing to desist from it for the future; Now these Gentlemen had not only desisted from supporting the Scheme, but had been very Instrumental in destroying it. Had they incurr'd any Disability for being of his Majesty's Council by the Act of Parliament? The Act indeed had subjected them, as they were concern'd in the Land Bank Scheme, to a Premunire unless they should before the 29th of September 1741, within ten Days after Demand made pay & discharge such Sums, as were made payable by any of the Land Bank Notes, and desist from, give up, relinquish, and wholly forbear to act further in any Sort directly or indirectly in any such Matter or Thing; But they had hitherto paid a most exact Obedience to the Act, and thereby avoided ever coming within the Penalty of it: Does the honourable Gentleman think that they had render'd themselves infamous for having been concern'd in an unlawful Combination for propagating a Scheme of Paper Money, which the Act of Parliament has censur'd as a Nusance; and thereby disqualified themselves for sitting at the Council Board? Why, the Silver Scheme was equally unlawful and equally censured by the Act, and yet the honourable Gentleman well knows that the late Governor did not esteem the Projector himself of that Scheme, and one of his Partners disqualify'd by it from sitting in his Majesty's Courts of Judicature after the passing of the Act of Parliament, one as a Judge of the Common Pleas for the County of Suffolk, and the other as a judge of the Superiour Court of Judicature throughout the whole Province. — If two Country Gentlemen's having been once unwarily engaged in a bad Scheme of Paper-Money, which perhaps they did not well understand, the Bills of which Creditors were at Liberty to take or refuse in Payment as they thought proper (which was the Case of these two Gentlemen) is a Disqualification for serving his Majesty, what can the honourable Gentleman think of a late Governour of this Province, who pass'd a Law, which but five Months before himself had declared to the Assembly would be neither for his Majesty's Service nor the Interest of this Province, in order to force Creditors to take in Satisfaction of their Debts (Specialties excepted) any of the Bills of publick Credit, which should be emitted by this Government for the ten next ensuing Years, and afterwards consented from Year to Year to the emitting of such Bills as he well knew were at the Time of their respective Emissions of less real Value, some of them by 12 and others by 33 per Cent, than the Bills in which the then outstanding Debts in the Province had been contracted, were of at the Time of contracting them; whereby the Merchants of Great Britain trading hither suffered exceeding great Discount upon their Debts, and all other Creditors in Trade within the Province considerable Losses, a Spirit of Dishonesty was encouraged among Debtors, and more mischievous Effects produced in the Country than ever had been within the same Compass of Time by the Paper Currency before? Who not only consented to the Emission of such Bills, but permitted larger Quantities of them, which he had it in his Power to cause to be drawn in, to be outstanding beyond their limited Periods contrary to the Direction of the Province Law, and the positive Commands of his Majesty's Royal Instructions to him for that Purpose, than any Governour of the Province ever did before him, tho' not under any Instruction from his Majesty in that Respect ? These Emissions, it is true, were not made by an unlawful Combination of private Men, but had the Sanction of his Majesty's Government here; but was not his Majesty's Governour's giving the Sanction of the Government to those Bills such an Abuse of the Royal Authority, as might make him as little excusable as a Land Bank Director? — In short, Sir, if having been unwarily engag'd in an unjustifiable Scheme of Paper Money is an inexpiable Crime in New-England; how many of the best Merchants, and Magistrates, and other Gentlemen in the Province must be excluded by the Silver Scheme from his Majesty's Service; nay how few are there of those who had the Honour to be of his Majesty's Council in this Province during his late Excellency's Administration, that have not gone far towards disqualifying themselves by the Share, they have had in one or other of the Supply Acts, which received his late Excellency's Fiat, from serving his Majesty there again?
As to the general Character of those two Gentlemen; they were in all Respects, bating the single Circumstance of their having been Directors of the Land Bank Scheme, perfectly fair, and unblemish'd : they were both of 'em likewise Men of good Substance, and well affected to his Majesty's Service, which they were capable of promoting by their Interest and Influence in the House of Representatives, of both which they had given his present Excellency undoubted Proofs in the last Assembly, and full Assurances of their future Usefulness in the present Assembly: ----- With Respect even to their late Concernment in the Land Bank Scheme, neither of 'em tho' intitled to have taken out of the Bank £500 of it’s Bills a-piece as their Share, ever took out one; and one of ’em not only declin'd at first being concern'd in it, but even voted against it in the Assembly so late as in June 1740, nor could be prevail’d with to be interested in it 'till it had received it’s last Amendment, and he was credibly inform’d and perswaded that his late Excellency had thereupon approv'd of it; — and if not only being very instrumental in bringing the Land Bank Scheme to a Conclusion, and a Majority of the Partners of it to pay Obedience to the Act of Parliament, but also in the compassing of an Act of Assembly for reforming the Bills of this Government it self, an Act which has made better Provision for curing the Mischiefs of the Paper Currency within the Province, and doing Justice to Creditors, and restoring a Spirit of Honesty and Industry among the Debtors, and is in every Respect calculated to be more beneficial to the Country in general, and to the British Merchants concern'd in the New-England Trade in particular, than any Act which was ever yet obtain'd from an Assembly in this Province since the Paper Currency first began to depreciate; I say, if having been very instrumental in effecting these good Purposes could in any Degree attone for the Share, they had in the Scheme, they have this Merit to plead in their Favour; and it is very certain that both his Majesty's Service and the Interest of the Country at this Time required that the Gentlemen of Influence among the Land Bank Party, which was still very numerous in the Assembly, should be kept in as close an Attachment to the Government as might be; and that nothing is more disgusting, or has a stronger Tendency to break the Harmony of the several Branches of the Government, and clog its Operations at any Time, than negativing Councellors chosen out of the House of Representatives, and sending them back into the House to raise an Opposition and a general ill Spirit in it; and that the negativing of these Gentlemen at that particular juncture would have very probably produced such an Effect; so that besides all the other Considerations, which I have mention'd, the Necessity of the Times made it a Point of Prudence in the Governor not to negative the Assembly's Choice in this Instance.
By September following the Quantity of outstanding Land Bank Bills was reduced to about £11,000 and upwards of six Hundred of the Partners had been brought to pay an Obedience to the Act of Parliament; and the Partners being now thus divided among themselves, and the Delinquent ones, who were still refractory and stood out in Contempt, grown a small Party in comparison of those who had paid in their Quota's of Bills and respective Proportions of the Charges and Loss arising upon the Scheme, and whose Interest it was now to unite against the Delinquents, so that no publick Disturbance or Tumult was to be much apprehended from 'em; and the Force of the before mention'd Order of the General Court being near spent, his Excellency promoted at the Council Board an Order, which was there pass'd upon the Petition of several of the Directors & Partners of the Land Bank Scheme, directing the Attorney General to prosecute all such of the delinquent Partners in the said Scheme, as should incur the Pains and Penalties of a Premunire inflicted by the Act of Parliament; And afterwards caused Demands to be made on four of the most noted refractory Delinquents to exchange several Sums of the Land Bank Bills pursuant to the Act of Parliament, and upon their Refusal or Neglect to do it within ten Days directed the Attorney General to settle Writs of Premunire grounded upon the Act against them, and to file them in Court, and thereupon Process was issued out against such Delinquents: This Proceeding bro't in three of 'em to pay in their Quota's of Bills and all Charges and Loss upon the Scheme, (the fourth having absconded so that the Writ could not be served upon him) and had afterwards an Effect to reduce the outstanding Bills to about £8,000 - But at length heavy Complaints were made of several Abuses being committed under the Umbrage of the Act of Parliament, which not only vexed and oppressed the Parties, upon whom they were practiced, but had a Tendency to defeat one of the main Ends of the Act it self, which was to draw in the Bills; among which Abuses these in particular were complained of, viz. that Demands had been made upon several of the Partners of the Scheme, as well those who had redeemed and paid in their Quota's of Bills, as those who had not, to exchange Land Bank Bills for lawful Money with the Interest due upon them, pursuant to the Act of Parliament, with a View only of extorting Money out of them in order to get rid of Demands for Sums, which were perhaps either such as they could not redeem without great Hurt to themselves and their Families; or they had before redeem'd from other Possessors as their Quota of the Bills, and brought in to the late Directors to be consum'd; and it was suggested that such Demands had been made even by Persons, who were not possessed of the Land Bank Bills which they demanded a Redemption of: Also that several Sums of Land Bank Bills had been bought up merely for the Sake of ruining particular Persons out of private Revenge or Malice by obliging them to redeem 'em; and that in particular a large Sum in those Bills had been borrowed by two of the honourable Gentleman's Associates upon their Bond, with no other View than to force two of the leading Members of the House of Representatives into Measures of Opposition to the Government, and that Attempts had been made with those Bills for that Purpose, as it was understood by those Members and others; and that in other Instances, where though the Act of Parliament was not prostituted to such base Purposes, yet it was evident that some of the worthier Persons among the Directors or Partners, who had paid Obedience to the Act, would be ruined or greatly distressed by repeated Demands of heavy Sums upon them, through the Neglect or Obstinacy of those who stood out in Contempt of the Act and perhaps absconded, without having the least Remedy against their delinquent Partners, or any Relief but by privately selling (in order to save themselves from Ruin) the Bills, they were thus forced to redeem; whereby some of the Bills were likely to be kept in an endless Circulation, & a perpetual circuity of Demands to be kept up, and the Act of Parliament to be perverted in some Respects and defeated in others, and much Confusion and Mischief produced: — For remedying which, and preventing as much as might be any further Abuse of the Act of Parliament and for the more speedy drawing in of all the outstanding Land Bank Bills, and finishing the Scheme in the most equitable Manner, and according to the true Intent of the Act, the Assembly pass'd a Bill to vest Commissioners with certain Powers and Authorities for those Purposes; and the same was laid before the Governor for his Consent to the enacting of it: But as the Powers proposed by the Bill to be lodged in the Commissioners seemed to his Excellency of a very extraordinary Nature, and to have some Tendency to abridge the Demands of the Possessors of the Notes given them by the Act of Parliament, and to prejudice the Demands of other honest Creditors against them; and to lay the Directors and Partners themselves under unnecessary Hardships whilst the propos'd Act of Assembly was carrying into Execution, he refused giving his Consent to it. --- But in November following another Bill was pass'd by both Houses for the before mention'd Purposes, to which the Governor gave his Consent; the Purport whereof was “To vest the Commissioners named in the "Act (who were first to take an Oath for the faithful Execution of their Trust) with the following Powers, viz. To call before them and examine upon Oath any Persons whatsoever touching the Affairs and Trade of the late Company, and to order all the Effects, Books, Papers, and Writings relating to their Scheme & Trade to be delivered up to them, that they might discover all the Debts and Credits of the Company, and the Quantity of the Bills emitted, how many of 'em were redeemed and consumed, or lying ready to be consumed, and by whom they were redeem'd; how many of 'em were then outstanding; what Loss and Charge had then incurr'd upon 'em; and what was the Proportion of every Director and Partner of the Company for the Redemption of the outstanding Bills — To assess with the Approbation and Allowance of the General Court upon every Director and Partner such Sums, as should appear to them just for the Redemption of their respective Proportions of the Bills of the late Company, and their equitable Part and Share of all Loss and Charge arising by the Scheme, and to demand and receive the same; also to raise the said Sums (if Need should be) by Mortgaging in their own Names that Part of any delinquent Director's or Partner's Estate, which he had mortgaged to the late Company for the Performance of his Agreements and Covenants with them; or in their own Names to sue for and recover such Sums in any of his Majesty's Courts of Justice within the County of Suffolk; also to demand and receive of and from any Persons all Monies, Goods and Effects due from them to the late Company; and (if Need should be) in their own Names to sue for and recover the same in any of the aforesaid Courts; and to apply all such Sums of Money, Goods and Effects, as they should receive and recover from the delinquent Directors and Partners and their Debtors, together with such Sums of Money as they should raise by mortgaging the Estates of the delinquent Directors and Partners, towards the Redemption of the Company's outstanding Bills; for which Purpose they were from Time to Time to give publick Notice in the Boston Gazette of what Sums of Money they should receive, that the Possessors of the Bills might bring 'em in to be redeemed also equitably to apportion whatsoever Loss should finally appear to arise by the said Scheme or Trade to the said late Company in general, or to any of the Directors or Partners in particular; whether thro' the Insolvency of any of the late Directors and Partners, or by Means of the Charge attending the late Scheme, or otherwise howsoever, among the late Directors and Partners of the Company in general, as the justice of the Case should require, so as that each of them might bear, as near as might be, his equitable Proportion of the Loss & Burthen arising by their late Scheme or Trade; and in their own Names to demand, sue for, and recover in any of the aforesaid Courts of Judicature all such Sums of Money, as they should assess with the Approbation or Allowance of the General Court upon any of the Directors & Partners for their proportionable Shares of such Burthen and Loss from Time to Time 'till the Scheme should be finish'd ; and thereupon all the Company's Bills, which should be receiv'd by the Commissioners, were to be burn'd, and the Plates from whence they were struck to be defac'd and broken; and the Securities given by any of the Directors or Partners of the late Scheme were to be cancelled by the Commissioners or any two of them in their own Names. - And for preventing any fraudulent Alienations or Conveyances of the Estates of such of the late Directors and Partners, who had not redeemed their just Proportion of the Land Bank Bills, in order to defraud the late Company's Creditors, and avoid the Effect of the Act, it was thereby enacted that from and after the Publication of the Act the Estate of every and each such Director and Partner should be thereby bound and subjected to the Payment of the before-mention'd Sums of Money in such Manner, as the same or any Part of it would be bound and subjected by the actual Service of Process of Attachment upon it at the Suit of any Creditor according to the ordinary Course of the Law and the Usage within this Province.
And by a special Provision in the Act it was declared that the Act should not be adjudged or construed to be intended to hinder the Possessors of the Bills from making the same Demands upon the late Directors or Partners of the Scheme for the Redemption of them, as they might have made upon them before the Publication of the Act, and that their Estates should be as liable to he attached at the Suit of the Possessors of the Bills, or any other just Creditor, as they were before the making of the Act.
And it is also provided by the Act that the Commissioners shall make a Report of their Proceedings to the General Court at their next May Session for their Approbation and Allowance, or Disallowance thereof either in Whole or in Part; and that any of the late Directors & Partners, who should think himself aggrieved by such Proceedings, might file his Appeal in the Secretary's Office to the General Court at their aforesaid Session; and in Case the Appellant should desire an Issue at Law to be directed to be tried for the Determination of any of the Matters of Fact mention'd in the said Act, that then the General Court should upon the Appellant's depositing ten Pounds lawful Money in the Secretary's Office, as Caution Money for the Payment of Costs, if the Verdict upon the Trial of such Issue at Law should be found against him, direct such Issue to be tried at the next Superiour Court of Judicature for the County of Suffolk, after the making of such Order; which Trial is to be a final Determination of such Matter &c.”
This Act of the General Court, Sir, appears plainly to have been intended to obtain the principal Ends & Purposes of the Act of Parliament without interfering with it in the least Point; to prevent the mischiefs which begun to flow from the Abuse of it; to assist in carrying it fully into Execution in the most speedy Method; and effectually to finish the Land Bank Scheme in a Manner the most beneficial for the honest Possessors of the Bills, the most equitable for the Directors and Partners of the Scheme, and the most salutary for the Community; And it is manifest that the Execution of it must inevitably draw in all the outstanding Land Bank Bills in a short Time, many of which it is evident must keep on circulating in a very mischievous Manner without it; must speedily furnish the Commissioners with Province Bills for redeeming the outstanding Land Bank Bills from the Possessors, which will much facilitate the Redemption of 'em, leaving at the same Time to the Possessors the same Remedy, which they had against the Directors and Partners before the making of the Act; and must compel every Director and Partner of the Scheme to bear his equal Part of the Loss and Burthen of it; whereas without this Act, it is impossible but that many of the most dishonest Partners must escape among so large a Number, without the Payment of a Shilling, and some of the least Guilty of them, who had in all Points conformed to the Act of Parliament, must be either ruined or greatly distress'd, either of which Events are equally contrary to justice and the Intent of the Act of Parliament, which was evidently designed to punish the Refractory, and save the obedient Partners by expressly exempting the last from the Penalties of the Act: — This indeed will soon put an End to the infamous Practice of the Hucksters of the Bills for levying Contributions upon the late Directors & Partners, and disappoint the vile Schemes of one or two Persons; so that their Ends in endeavouring to defeat this Act of the General Court are obvious: But what honest Purpose can any private Man have for doing it, and with what Pretence or Propriety can the honourable Gentleman in particular engage in it? Does he take this upon himself as Amicus Patriae, out of his great Affection for his Country? I can assure him every Gentleman in both Houses of the Assembly disapproves of the Part he acts, & thinks it a mischievous Attempt: Does he act upon this Occasion only as Agent to the Person, who has honour'd him with the Carriage of his Papers and the solliciting of his Case for him? That seems too low a Condescention; it is being a mere servus servorum indeed: It would be judging uncandidly to imagine that he is displeas'd to see the Land Bank Scheme instead of shedding a baleful Influence over the Country, which it promised to do in his Time, now approaching under his Successor’s Administration to its final End without having effected the Mischief, which was fear'd from it; that the Clouds, which rose from it's noxious Vapours and gathered over the Country with a very threatning Aspect, are now likely to be blown over, and dispell'd without producing one Thunder-Storm in the Province, or doing much Damage to private Families in it; Or that the Land Bank Members of the Legislature, from whom nothing was expected in his own Administration, but an Opposition to his Majesty's Service and the general Interest of the Province, and a Disturbance of the publick Peace of the Country have been reclaim'd by his Successor to the Service of the Crown and the true Interest of the Country, made subservient to every good Purpose in Government, and Promoters of a more general Tranquility & Satisfaction, which now reigns in the Province, than has been known for these many Years: I can't perswade my self that such Motives stimulate the honourable Gentleman to oppose this Act and the Destruction of the Scheme; and must leave it to others to find out the real Motives of his Proceedings.
It would be giving you, Sir, a needless and unreasonable Trouble, to tire you with a List of all the trifling Exceptions taken by the Combination to this Act of the General Court; But as a Specimen of the whole, be pleas'd to take the following Exception: The Act in it's Preamble sets forth that the Directors & Partners of the Land Bank Scheme had in general publickly renounced it ; as to which Fact those of the honourable Gentleman's Combination have tho't fit to give the Government the Lie; and Mr. Martyn in particular has asserted that he can shew numerous Instances of the Directors having carried the Scheme on to the very Time of the making of this Act; and in his Papers, which he sent by the honourable Gentleman to England, he has endeavour'd to furnish him with Proofs of it. The Fact is this; On the 23d of September 1741, the Directors and Partners at a general Meeting of the whole Company at Milton by a publick Vote regularly enter'd among their Proceedings by their Clerk dissolved their Company, and put an End to the Scheme in as strong Terms as was possible; and on the 28th Day of the same Month the Directors at another Meeting by a publick Writing under their Hands regularly enter'd in the Company's Books, and reciting the aforesaid Vote of the Company for dissolving the Scheme declared that “from that Time forward they did desist from, give up, relinquish and wholly forbear to act farther therein directly or indirectly to carry on the same:” and accordingly the Directors and some of the Partners forthwith brought in their Bills to be consumed; and from the Time of that Declaration the Directors constantly attended at their Office to receive the Bills, and do what was necessary for finishing the Scheme, and, among other Things, to discharge and cancel the Mortgages and other Securities, which the Partners had given them as Directors, and discharged the same as such, subscribing their Names to those Discharges with the Addition of Directors.
This Proceeding, Sir, you are sensible (tho' by the Mortgages and other Securities having been in Effect declared by the Act of Parliament to be void ab initio, as the Company it self was declared and deemed by it to be an unlawful Combination, it was (if strictly consider'd) superfluous and done ex abundante) was quite necessary to bring the Partners to pay their respective Quota's of the Bills and Charges upon the Scheme, who never would have done it, unless the late Directors had vacated and discharged their Mortgages and other Securities in the usual Form: and it must be apparent to every Person of common Sense that the Directors did this for the Destruction of the Scheme, and not for the Support of it; and that such a superfluous Act, which was done from a Motive of Obedience to the Act of Parliament, could not possibly be any Offence against it: yet Sir, this acting in Destruction of the Scheme, which was a renouncing of it in Fact in the most publick Manner, is insisted upon to be an Instance of their carrying on the Scheme, and upon these Grounds the Combination have charged the General Court with publishing a Falshood in the Act, and this I suppose is one of the Matters which the honourable Gentleman's Friend says he is personally to represent to the Government at Home: — From this Animadversion of the Combination upon the Act of the General Court, I do assure you, Sir, you may judge safely of the Shrewdness and Modesty of the rest of their Exceptions to it.
Before I conclude, Sir, it will be necessary for me to give you some Account of Mr. Martyn's Papers which he has sent by the honourable Gentleman, and contain one essential Part of his Commission. — These are various and consist of Copies of Proceedings duly authenticated under the Seal of the Province; out of which Articles of Complaint are to be form'd some against the whole General Court, others against the Council and House of Representatives jointly, and others against each of the two Houses singly; the Substance of the Principal of them is briefly as follows: — Martyn had recovered Judgment in the Superior Court of Judicature held for the County of Suffolk in February Term 1742, for £344 7 s. lawful Money and Costs against one Stevens, a Partner of the late Land Bank Scheme, in an Action grounded upon the before-mention'd Act of Parliament and brought against him for his refusing to Exchange a Quantity of Land Bank Bills, pursuant to the Act; and Execution was awarded thereupon: In June following Stevens brought his Petition to the General Court, the Substance of which, and of the Depositions of his Witnesses for supporting his Petition was to the following Effect, viz. That Martyn had sued him at the Inferior Court of Common Pleas for the County of Suffolk in January Term preceeding for refusing to redeem of him £300 Land Bank Bills and obtained judgment against him, he not having at that Court made his full Defence against the Demand, (which is known to be most commonly, or at least very frequently the Case with one or both Parties in the Inferior Courts, where the Judgments are not final, as they often choose to reserve their Strength 'till the Trial in the Superior Court.) that Stevens appealed from that judgment to the Superior Court of Judicature in February following; that soon after Martyn made a verbal Agreement with him, that if he would pay him the Costs of the Inferior Court, and of three former Suits on the same Demand, in all which Martyn had failed for want of sufficient Proof of his Demand, he would let his Action [meaning the judgment and Execution obtain'd in the Inferior Court] drop; that Stevens consented to the Payment of those Costs, (notwithstanding he conceived it to be unreasonable) and offered to pay 'em to him by his Attorney from Time to Time; but that Martyn had put off the receiving of them 'till the Time was elapsed for Stevens's entring his Appeal at the Superiour Court, by Means whereof he was disabled from prosecuting it according to the Directions of the Province Law; that Martyn taking Advantage of this refus'd to stand to his Agreement, filed his Complaint against Stevens in the Superior Court for his Failure to enter his Appeal, and thereupon obtained a final Judgment against him there for the above-mention'd Sum and Costs, whereby Stevens lost the Benefit of a Trial at the Superiour Court; and thereupon he prayed that he might be enabled by the Order of the General Court to try the Merits of his Case at the next Superiour Court, and that the Execution obtain'd against him might be stayed in the mean Time, and he endeavoured to enforce his Petition by setting forth that he had payed in his Quota of the Land Bank Bills and of the Charges upon the Scheme to the Directors, and several Compassionate Circumstances of his Sufferings by the Scheme. — To this Petition Martyn put in his Answer; and upon Consideration had of both of them, with the Depositions in the Case supporting the Allegations in the Petition an Order was passed by the two Houses, “That the Judges of the Superiour Court of Judicature next to be holden at Boston, which was to be in August then next ensuing, should be empowered and directed to hear and try the Merits of the Cause mentioned in the Petition, and to make up judgment and award Execution thereupon, Judgment therein mentioned notwithstanding, and that the former Execution should he set aside; provided Martyn was notified and served with a Copy of the Order fourteen Days at least before the Sitting of the said Superiour Court;” Which Order was laid before the Governor for his Consent, who accordingly consented to it. — By Virtue of this Order Stevens enter'd his Case for Trial at the next Superiour Court in August, but fail'd, when the Action was call'd on for Trial, of appearing properly by Means of some Defect in his Attorney's Power; and thereupon judgment was obtain'd against him by Default and enter'd up accordingly: Afterwards on the 8th of September following Stevens again petition'd the General Court praying for Relief in the Case, and a second Order for the Trial of his Appeal; & the two Houses thereupon pass'd an Order which the Governor consented to, that Martyn should be served with a Copy of the Petition, that he might shew Cause why the Prayer of it should not be granted on the 16th Instant, and Execution was thereby stayed in the mean Time; and Martyn's Answer was accordingly put in, and upon reading of that and the Petition an Order was passed on the 16th of the same September by the Council, and concurred on the same Day by the House of Representatives for “referring the Consideration of the Petition to the first Thursday of the next Sitting of the General Court, and staying Execution in the mean Time,” which being laid before the Governor for his Consent, his Excellency esteeming it unreasonable to give the original Plaintiff further Delay in his Execution for a Cause, which now arose merely from the Laches of the Petitioner, refused his Consent to that Order; whereby Martyn was at Liberty to proceed in his Execution for his Debt and Costs, and accordingly proceeded in it.
That you may the better apprehend, Sir, the Reason of the Proceedings of the General Court upon Stevens's first Petition, it is necessary that you should be appriz'd that an Appeal is given by the Province Law from the Judgment of the Inferiour Courts of Common Pleas establish'd in each County to the next Superiour Court of Judicature to be holden for the County, where such Judgment is given; which Appeal the Law requires to be enter'd with the Clerk of the Superiour Court on the first Day of the Sitting of such Court; and upon the Appellant's Failure to prosecute his Appeal, then the Appellee may file his Complaint at the Superiour Court, and thereupon the Judgment of the Inferiour Court is to be affirmed by the Superiour Court, and thereby becomes final; and if the Appellant happens to fail in the Circumstance of entring his Appeal on the first Day of the Court, which frequently happens through some Slip or other of the Appellant or his Attorney; in every such Case it has been constantly held by the Judges that the Appellant is without Remedy in the ordinary Course of the Law, and that they have not Power to admit the Appellant to enter his Appeal after the first Day of the Sitting of the Court, or to refuse entring up Judgment upon the Appellee's filing his Complaint, and awarding Execution thereon; but that the Appellant in all such Cases must apply to the General Court for Relief, and to enable the Judges of the Superiour Court of Judicature by a special Order for that Purpose to try the Merits of the Case at their next Court for the County, where the judgment was given, and to enter up Judgment and issue Execution thereon, and in the mean Time to stay Execution upon the former Judgment. — And upon such Petitions, which are frequently presented to the General Court, it has been the constant Practice and Usage of that Court ever since the granting of the Royal Charter to relieve the Petitioner by passing an Order to enable and direct the judges of the Superiour Court of Judicature to try the Merits of the Cause at their next Term or Sitting in the County, where the judgment of the Inferiour Court was given, and to enter up Judgment thereupon, and award Execution accordingly, the former Judgment of the Superiour Court notwithstanding, and in the mean Time to stay Execution upon such judgment; and the Judges have ever proceeded in such Cases pursuant to the Orders of the General Court, without any one Instance to the contrary, and sometimes tell the Parties they must resort to the General Court for Relief, in such Cases; and the granting of it has for many Years been looked upon to be almost as much a Matter of Course in the General Court, as the granting of a Matter of common Right is in the provincial Courts of Judicature; and that too in Cases, which have happen'd thro' the mere Laches of the Petitioner either by Means of some accidental Slip in himself, or his Attorney in failing to enter the Appeal in Time, and where the original Plaintiff in the Action has had a Demand for his Debt or Damages against no other Person than the Petitioner; -Whereas in this Case there was a probable Appearance at least of Deceit in the Appellee Martyn, which had occasion'd the Petitioner to fail of entering his Appeal; and Martyn had 800 other Persons on any one or more of whom he might make the same Demand, and had thereby indisputable Security in Case Stevens should prove in the least Insolvent; so that Stevens's Case, in which the General Court granted him Relief, was much stronger than Cases of the like Nature generally are, upon which it has been their constant Practice and Usage from the earliest Times of the present Royal Charter to grant the like Relief, And even in this Case the present Governor, refused to go the same Length towards relieving Stevens, which the two Houses conceived it equitable and right to go.
And to shew you now, Sir, what Length the honourable Gentleman himself, who is it seems to represent this Matter personally against his present Excellency, went in setting aside Judgments of the Superiour Court of Judicature during his own Administration, I shall mention to you only one Instance by way of Specimen, which is an Order that was pass'd by him in September 1730, whereby a Judgment of the Superiour Court of Judicature founded upon a Report made by Referees, in pursuance of a Rule of Court enter'd into by the mutual Consent of the Parties for the final Determination of that particular Case, and all other Matters in Difference between them, was declared null and void; and the Judges were directed to enter up another judgment, which was particularly set forth in the Order, in Lieu of it: an Order which if the judges had submitted to it, would have gone further towards destroying the Law it self in this Province, than was ever done before by any of his late Excellency's Predecessors; but the judges refused to pay any Regard to it.
Mr. Martyn had been, some little Time before putting in his last Answer to Stevens's Petition to the General Court, distinguish'd as a Person very proper to be taken into the honourable Gentleman's Service; and he seems about this Time by his repeated Memorials and Petitions, some address'd to the whole General Court, and others to the Governor and Council, which were most of them stuffed with libellous Reflections on the Assembly and Government, to have been advanced from his Trade of huckstering Land Bank Bills for the Sake only of private Lucre mixt with some Quarrels against particular Partners or Directors to the Employment of affronting and insulting the Government.
It would be tiresome to trouble you with the Particulars of his Memorials and Petitions here; you have herewith the Copies of them, which are suspected to be the Productions of the whole junto; -The Pretences for exhibiting these Memorials & Petitions were that he might have an Allowance made him by the General Court for the Charges, he had been put to by his Answers to Stevens's Petitions, Copies of Papers, and Fees upon those Occasions, and his Loss of Time in Attendance; and also for his Services done the Publick by suing of Land Bankers for the Redemption of their Bills &c, and that the General Court would order the Sheriffs to break through the Privilege and Protection given to their Members by a standing Law of the Province to favour his Suits against them: Which last Matter, when he had failed in his Petition for it to the whole Court, by having the Petition dismiss'd in the House of Representatives, he repeated in another Petition address'd only to the Governor and Council, praying them in Effect to suspend the Law of the Province touching the Privilege of the Members of the House, which the House had but a little before deny'd to join in; and which second Petition was dismiss'd by the Council Nemine Contradicente, and never reached the Chair. - After three of these Petitions and Memorials, which appear to have been presented with no other View than of being deny'd, and for the Sake of taking Opportunities of affronting the whole General Court under the Pretence of seeking Redress, he presented his fourth Memorial to the Governor and Council, which drew the Resentment of the Government upon him express'd in the following Vote of Council — Viz.
In Council November 8th 1743.
Whereas Nathaniel Martyn of Boston on Thursday last deliver'd to the Secretary's Clerk a libellous Paper directed to the Board, call'd a Memorial of the said Nathaniel Martyn, and by him signed, which contains many gross and scandalous Reflections upon the publick Proceedings of this Board as well as the House of Representatives, tending to traduce the Acts of this Government, and to excite a seditious Spirit among his Majesty's good Subjects, without Colour of seeking any proper Relief from this Board for his pretended Grievances, or with any other Intent but to affront and insult this Government:
Therefore voted unanimously and ordered that the Sheriff of the County of Suffolk forthwith take the said Nathaniel Martyn into Custody, and keep him there till further Order — And that the said Memorial be sent down to the House of Representatives with a Copy of the aforesaid Order.
The above mention'd Order was sign'd by the Governor; and Martyn was thereupon taken into Custody by the Sheriff on the 7th of November, and was afterwards examined by a Committee of both Houses touching his Offence, and fully heard in his own Vindication; and that Committee was also specially impower'd and directed to inquire into his Abettors and Encouragers. — As to this last Particular, Sir, I have been credibly inform'd that the Committee brought him almost to a Confession, but after a momentary Deliberation with himself upon that Matter he smother'd it; but did it in such a Manner as that the Gentlemen of the Committee were fully of Opinion that he had Abettors and Encouragers of his Memorial: It is certain that he was seen but a very short Time before he deliver'd his Memorial to the Council going to the honourable Gentleman's House at Milton in Company with one of his Agents here; and while he was under Confinement that the honourable Gentleman's two chief Associates and Agents in the Combination openly attended him, and were the only Persons, who appear'd to countenance and advise him.
Upon the 11th of November the Committee made their Report that they had fully heard and consider'd what Martyn had to offer in justification or Extenuation of his Memorial &c. and were thereupon “unanimously of Opinion, that in order to support the Honour of the Government, and to express a due Resentment of his Insolence and Contempt of the Authority thereof, he should be forthwith committed to the common Goal in the County of Suffolk, there to remain during the present Sitting of the General Court, and until he should recognize before one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the said County in the Sum of two Hundred Pounds, with two Sureties in the Sum of one Hundred Pounds each, to be of good Behaviour for the Space of six Months from that Time.” — Which Report was read and unanimously accepted, and an Order was pass'd by both Houses accordingly and was consented to by the Governor. — But on the same Morning Martyn having sent a Petition to the General Court acknowledging his Fault in exceeding submissive Terms, promising to behave himself dutifully for the future, and praying that the Court would discharge him from his Confinement, and that he might be freed from further Censure, it was proposed in Council that Martyn should be order'd
to attend the whole Court in the Council Chamber, and that his Petition should be publickly read to him and he be admonish'd for his Fault, and thereupon discharged; which was agreed to by the House of Representatives; and he accordingly appeared and was admonish'd by the Secretary (who was one of his Majesty's Council) and order'd to withdraw; After which an Order was passed by both Houses and consented to by the Governor remitting the former Sentence of the Court for his Imprisonment, and finding Sureties for his good Behaviour, and discharging him from his Confinement upon his Payment of Fees and Costs; which was done accordingly.
I shall trouble you Sir, with one Circumstance more relating to this Affair, as it may serve to discover to you the Temper and Spirit of the honourable Gentleman's Associates and Agents. - Martyn in his Application to the Secretary's Office for Copies of the Papers, with which he was to furnish the honourable Gentleman, desired among other Things that he might have a List of the particular Members of Council present at the Board, when his Petition to the Governour and Council for an Order to the Sheriff of Suffolk, directing him to break in upon the Protection and Privilege given to the Members of the General Assembly by a Law of the Province was consider'd and dismiss'd ; this was requested by him that it might appear that Mr. Watts and Col. Leonard the two Members of Council, who were late Directors of the Land Bank Scheme, were present at the Dismission of the Petition, and be supposed of Course to have voted upon it: But when the Secretary return'd for Answer, that tho' what he asked was out of Course and unprecedented, yet he should have a List of the Members present (if he desir'd it) with a special Note to this Effect, viz. That the Petition was dismiss'd nemine Contradicente, and that neither of the two Land Bank Gentlemen voted in the Affair; also that an Order had been made by the Board that they should not vote, debate, or speak in any Matter which should come before the Board concerning the Land Bank Scheme, except in answering Questions which they might be ask'd for the Board's Information, and that such Order had been duly observ'd by them ever since their Sitting there, Martyn thereupon said, That would not serve the Turn, or to that Purpose, and refused taking a List with such a Note of the Proceedings at the Board; but desir'd he might have a Copy of the Vote of Council in the usual Form; in which Case the honourable Gentleman may be at Liberty to suggest that two Land Bank Members were present at the Vote of Council, and be silent as to the other Circumstances of that Proceeding. ----- This may serve you for a Specimen of their Candour and Honesty in their Representations.
I can assure you, Sir, that the Combination have great Dependance upon the honourable Gentleman's Representation of the Matters contained in Martyn's Papers, and thereupon declare that they doubt not but that he will be able to prevent the Act of this Government for finishing the Land Bank Scheme from receiving his Majesty's Royal Approbation; and that he will soon find a Way to shew his Majesty the Difference between his own and his Successor’s Proceedings with Respect to the Persons lately concerned in that Scheme; and herein I doubt not but that they speak their own Sentiments, and those of the honourable Gentleman, who could have no other Design or View in taking the Charge of Martyn's Papers, and taking out authenticated Copies of his own and his Successor’s Proceedings, not only in the Case of the Land Bank Company but other Parts of their respective Administrations, than to show (as his Associates call it) the Difference between them.
The honourable Gentleman and the Combination (as I am informed) also build great Hopes upon the Success of his former memorable Agency from this Province in 1728/9, a short Account of the Particulars of which, as you may be desirous to know them, I shall here give you. The honourable Gentleman was not remarkable for any great Share of Influence and Interest among his Countrymen 'till he distinguish'd himself by so virulent an Opposition to the late Mr. Burnett's Administration of his Majesty's Government in this Province, particularly with Respect to his Royal Instruction for procuring the Salary to be settled, that he negativ'd him from being a Member of his Majesty's Council: This first procured him that Degree of Popularity and Interest which induced the House of Representatives to appoint him in 1728, one of their Agents to represent to his Majesty several Matters of Complaint against the then Governor, and particularly to obtain from his Majesty the recalling of his Instruction concerning the fixing of the Salary.
The honourable Gentleman went accordingly Agent in the Province's Service with this Commission; and in the Account of his Proceedings in the Execution of it, which he from Time to Time gave to his Principals in joint Letters from himself and Mr. Wilks the Assembly's other Agent, he expresses himself thus concerning the Point of fixing the Salary, viz. in a Letter dated the 25th of April 1729, he says, “If we must be compell'd to a fixed Salary, doubtless it must
be better that it be done by the supreme Legislature than to do it our selves: If our Liberties must be lost, much better they should be taken away, than we be in any Manner accessary to our own Ruin:” And in another Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, dated October 8th 1729, speaking of fixing the Salary he says, it is against the Light of Reason and Conscience; and in another of the 24th of the same Month Mr. Wilks and he write thus to the Assembly concerning the same Matter, ‘We shall therefore be careful and vigilant to make the best Defence and do all in our Power to prevent so great an Evil's coming on the Province.”
In a little Time after, the News of Governor Burnett's Death arriv'd in London, upon which as the honourable Gentleman whose Opposition to his Majesty's Royal Instruction had procur'd him the Agency from the Province, so the Credit which he gained by Means of that Agency with the late Lord Townshend then one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, as being a Person of great Interest and Influence among his Country-Men, and thereby qualified for his Majesty's Service among them, and to bring them to pay a due Obedience in particular to his Royal Instruction for fixing the Salary, procur'd him the Honour of being appointed to succeed Mr. Burnett in this Government, which he readily deserting the Trust repos'd in him by his Country, accepted with a stronger Instruction from his Majesty to himself for procuring the Salary to be fixed, than that which the late Governor Burnett had. — You may perhaps, Sir, have a Curiosity to know with what Address the honourable Gentleman upon his Arrival in his Government executed his Majesty's Commands with Regard to the before-mention'd Royal Instruction, and in what Terms his then Excellency pressed upon his Country-Men the doing of a Thing, which but a few Months before the late Agent had represented to them as the Destruction of their Liberties — A very great Evil to the Province, — To be a Matter against the Light of their Reason and Conscience; — and the Ruin of the Country: Why, Sir, In his first Speech to the Council and Assembly after mentioning his Majesty's Instruction to him for obtaining the Settlement of the Salary, and telling them that while he resided at the Court of Great-Britain he hoped they were sensible he did every Thing in his Power consistent with Reason and Justice for preserving and lengthning out the Peace and Welfare of the Province; and that pleasing was the Sight whilst he beheld and said, Ye are my Brethren: Ye are my Bones and my Flesh, and that he had no Interest separate from their true and real Interest; and after having observed his Majesty's Kindness and Goodness to them in placing one at the Head of his Government here, in whom they themselves had placed the Trust and Confidence of their Affairs, He proceeds thus, viz.
The Fame of Cato's Wisdom reflected Honour on old Rome, whilst he made so brave a Stand for the Liberties of his Country, but when Caesar had shut him up in his little Utica and offer'd him Terms of Honour, his murdering himself rather than submiting to a Power, he could no longer rationally resist, has left a lasting Brand of Infamy on the Memory of that great Patriot. And tells them in the next Words that he mention'd this as ‘some Illustration of the Dispute lately subsisting between his Majesty and the People of this Province,” meaning the Dispute concerning the fixing the Salary.
But, Sir, notwithstanding the perswasive Argument contained in this Paragraph of his Excellency's Speech to induce his Countrymen to settle the Salary on himself, by extolling their Wisdom for refusing to settle it upon Governor Burnett, and the fine Illustration contained in it of the People's Part in the late Dispute between his Majesty and them, and the brave Stand for the Liberties of the Country made by their Agent during his Residence at the Court of Great Britain on the one Hand, and of his Majesty's Part in the Dispute by his Instruction to his Governor on the other, the Assembly continu'd as averse to a Compliance with the Royal Instruction, as they were in the Time of Governor Burnett; and his late Excellency's Interest and Influence among his Countrymen fell so far short of effecting the Settlement of a Salary of £1000 Sterling per Annum upon his Majesty's Governour for the Time being; that tho' upon his Accession to the Government he found the Salary raised by Governor Burnett in his Administration from a much lower Sum to the Value of £1000 Sterling, yet he could not prevail with his Countrymen to continue that Allowance to himself, but left it little better than £650 Sterling, when he quitted the Chair to his Successor; so that his Success in his Majesty's Service was much the same with that which he had in the Province's: In the Service of the Province he went Agent with a Commission to obtain from his Majesty the recalling of his Instruction to his Governor for the Settlement of the Salary, and return'd to the Province with a stronger Instruction for enforcing the Settlement of it than that was, which he went to get recall'd: In his Majesty's Service he came over Governor, and brought with him an Instruction for fixing the Salary, but instead of getting it fixed, the Value of it was diminsh'd during his Administation about £350 Sterling below what his Predecessor had prevail'd on the Assembly to raise it up to, and his Successor afterwards (pursuant to his Majesty's express Instruction to him for that Purpose) prevailed upon them to raise it up to again, notwithstanding his utmost Efforts to prevent it, and his disputes from Time to Time with the People concerning it: And as the Event of his Conduct in other Parts of his Majesty's Service was generally the same, so the like Contrast between his and his Successor’s Administration will be found, Sir, upon reviewing some of the principal Proceedings in both Administrations, to run thro' the whole of them; Instances of which, since it is undoubtedly one Part of the honourable Gentleman's Business in going to London, to make his own Comparison there between his and his Successor’s Government, I shall take the Liberty of troubling you with, that if you should find him unjust to his Successor in his Comparison on your Side of the Water, you may be able to set him right by the following one in the Instances herein after mention'd.
The Regulation of the Paper Currency within the Province was not only Part of the late Governor’s general Duty, but was also expressly enjoined him by particular Instructions from his Majesty; and the Law of the Province for making the Bills of Credit a Tender for the Payment of Debts (Specialties and express Contracts in Writing excepted) according to their nominal depreciated Value, had been found in it's Effects by long Experience before his Accession to the Government to be the Bane of the Province, and had been publickly declared by his Excellency in a Message to the Assembly soon after his Arrival to the Government to be neither for his Majesty's Service nor the Good of the Country: yet when that Law was expired, he with his Eyes thus open revived it again for ten Years, without providing the least Remedy against the Mischiefs of it, which were thereby continued and multiplied in the Province during the whole Time of his Administration ; Whereas his Successor upon the Expiration of the same Law in the Time of his Administration prevailed upon the Assembly to provide a sufficient Remedy for Creditors against the future depreciating of the Bills, whenever they shall think fit to take the Benefit of it.
His Majesty's Royal Instructions made it his late Excellency's indispensable Duty to take especial Care that all the Bills of Credit on the Province should be drawn in and sunk at the several Periods limited in their respective Emission Acts (which also is provided to be done by the Province Law) and forbad him to permit any Bills of Credit to be emitted by the Assembly, except for the necessary Support of his Majesty's Government; yet he permitted much larger Quantities of the Province's Bills to be outstanding beyond their stated Periods, than any Governor ever suffer'd before, though not under the same Restraint by his Majesty's Instructions, to the detriment of the Country, and in Breach of the Royal Instructions; and encouraged one bad Scheme of Bills of Credit for a Medium of Trade to be carried on by an unlawful Combination of private Persons; and for a long Time permitted another much worse Scheme of Bills of a like Nature, to the exceeding great Confusion and Disorder of the Province, and plainly contrary to the Tenor of his Majesty's Commands: Whereas his Successor has constantly exerted his best Endeavours for drawing in as well the before mention'd Arrears of Bills, as the Bills emitted since his own coming to the Administration as fast as the Circumstances of the People can bear it, and for bringing the before mention'd two Schemes to a Conclusion in the most speedy Manner, and so as to prevent both the publick and private Mischiefs, which the Land Bank Scheme in particular threaten'd, and has effected it with even more Success hitherto than could well be expected.
Promoting the Preservation of his Majesty's Woods reserved by the Charter of King William and Queen Mary for the Use of the Royal Navy, and countenancing and supporting the Surveyor General of the Woods in the Execution of his Office is an undoubted Part of a Governor’s Duty within this Province, and what is injoin'd him by his Majesty's Royal Instructions; yet his late Excellency, though he made a Shew of doing it in some of his Speeches to the Assembly, did not scruple openly to condemn in his Conversation the Acts of Parliament made for the Preservation of the Woods as cruel & unjust, or to that Effect; and in Fact greatly discouraged and discountenanced the late Surveyor General by promoting and countenancing, in the extraordinary Manner which I have before mention'd, Complaints brought by reputed Destroyers of the Woods against him, and the Court of Admiralty for Matters done in the Execution of their respective Duties with Regard to the Preservation of the Woods, and when the Destruction of several Thousands of his Majesty's white Pine Trees had been lately made, and transmitting those Complaints home to be laid before his Majesty with a View (as manifestly appear'd by the Tenor of them) to render the Surveyor General and Court of Admiralty obnoxious to his Royal Displeasure : Which Conduct, together with his permitting the Orders of his Majesty in Council made for the Relief of Workmen employed in cutting down Trees for the Service of the Royal Navy to suffer repeated Contempts in the provincial Courts, without using any Endeavours for supporting his Majesty's Authority, and carrying his Royal Orders into Execution, but on the other Hand joining to support the Prosecutor of those Workmen in his Defence against their Appeal to his Majesty in Council at the Province's Expence, had a plain Tendency to encourage the Destruction of the Woods, and the harrassing of Workmen employed in the before mention'd Service, and seem to have visibly produced those ill Effects in the Province: Whereas the present Governor has caused the before mention'd Orders of his Majesty in Council to be complied with; and prevailed on the Assembly to pass an Act for the better Preservation of the Royal Woods is this Province, and Protection of the Workmen employed in cutting them for the Use of the Navy, and discouraging vexatious Prosecutions against them, and otherways exerted himself for the same Ends; which will in all Probability have a considerable Effect for the Preservation of his Majesty's Woods and the Service of his Royal Navy.
Supporting the general jurisdiction of his Majesty in Council with Respect to hearing and determining of Appeals made from Judgments of the provincial Courts of Judicature given in all Suits whether real or personal, that may deserve his Royal Consideration (which is plainly declared and affirmed by the Royal Charter) by causing such Orders of his Majesty in Council to be carried into Execution within the Province is unquestionably Part of his Governor's Duty: Yet his late Excellency not only neglected that Part of his Duty with Respect to the two before mention'd Orders, but when he was served with 'em, tho' by the Latter of 'em he was specially commanded to support his Majesty's Authority in the Premisses and to cause every Part of his Royal Order to be complied with, declared his Sentiments in Effect to be, that his Majesty in Council had no Jurisdiction in that Case, in Opposition to his Royal Determination of that Point in his Council, to whom only the Determination of it does or can in the Nature of it, of Right appertain: Which Conduct of his late Excellency appears in it's Consequences to have had a bad Influence upon the Minds of the People in that Respect, and seems from some late Proceedings to have contributed to encourage and confirm not only the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, but the Assembly itself in the same mistaken Notions: Whereas his present Excellency has taken all proper Opportunities of asserting his Majesty's Jurisdiction in Council upon the before-mention'd Appeals, not only as a Matter essential to his Government, but as a valuable Privilege of his Subjects in this Province; and has effectually supported it hitherto by causing the two Royal Orders, which had twice suffered Contempt in his Predecessor’s Time to be complied with.
It was also unquestionably his late Excellency’s Duty to have caused the ten Companies of new raised Levies in this Province for his Majesty's Service in the late Expedition, which the Assembly had by their Vote obliged themselves to have transported to his Majesty's other Forces in the West-Indies at the Expence of this Government, to have been transported there accordingly; but instead of that he not only suffered one of those Companies consisting of an Hundred Indians (which had been raised by the Advice and Influence of his present Excellency whilst he was a private Gentleman in the Province) to be broke up and dispersed, for Want of being properly secured upon Castle Island, which might have been done, and he promised (as I am inform'd) to do upon the Application of their Captain to him for that Purpose; and another of those Companies, with whom the present Governor had nothing to do to be likewise broke up and dispersed; and a third to be upon the Brink of sharing the same Fate, which it would have done had not the present Governor, then a private Gentleman, timely prevented and saved it for his Majesty's Service, but even to dismiss four of the other Companies, by Means of which Proceedings three of them were lost, and the fourth would have been lost, had it not been a second Time sav'd for his Majesty's Service by the Advice & Vigilance of the present Governor then also a private Gentleman, and the Captain and Leiutenant's indefatigable Diligence, and great Expedition, by which it was at last with much Difficulty recover'd : So that instead of ten Companies, which his late Excellency might have indisputably sent into the Service, and it is most evident that his present Excellency would have sent actually there, had he been then Governor, (as indeed any other of his Majesty's Governors upon the Continent at that Time, when the unfortunate Event of the Expedition could not be foreseen, would gladly have done, had it been in his Power) he sent only five, one of which also had been twice saved from being lost to his Majesty by his present Excellency, when a private Gentleman, as I have before mention'd.
It is likewise evidently, Sir, the Duty of his Majesty's Governor of this Province to take as much Care, as may be, that the Branch of the Legislature, which consists of his Majesty's Council, shall not be over-balanc'd by the House of Representatives; yet his late Excellency by splitting of old Townships and unnecessarily erecting new ones out of them put it into the Power of the Towns thus newly erected during his Administration to send sixteen new Members at present to the House of Representatives, and when the Number of their respective Families shall be increased to 120 in each Town, to send thirty two Members; whereby he went farther towards destroying the original Ballance between those two Branches of the Legislature in this Way, than any of his Predecessors ever did: Whereas the present Governor, upon finding soon after his Accession to the Government three engross'd Bills for the like Purpose laid before him for his Consent, put an immediate Stop to this pernicious Practice, tho' an establish'd one with the Assembly, by declaring his fixed Resolution not to add farther by this Means to the Number of the Representatives, which already consists of between 110 and 120 sitting Members, and may, whenever the Towns please to send 'em, receive a present Addition of at least 60 more, and, when all the Towns shall arrive to the above mention'd Number of Families, may be increas'd to about 300 Representatives for the Towns already in being, & would within a Century more, if this Practice had gone on, between the new Townships erected out of the old ones, and the new created Towns have bid fair to have equalled the Number of the Members of Parliament in Great Britain; whilst his Majesty's Council consists of only 28 Members, and cannot consistently with
the Royal Charter have their Number increas'd; and even those 28 are every Year chosen intirely by the Representatives together with the old Counsellors for the past Year.
It is also a considerable Part of the Duty of his Majesty's Governor to cultivate such an Harmony between himself and the other two Branches of the Legislature, as may enable him in the best Manner to promote his Majesty's Service and the true Interest and Welfare of the People within the Province; to bind the People with strongest Ties of Duty and Affection to his Majesty's Person and Government, and to conciliate his Royal Favour and most tender Regards to them; and to establish as much as may be a general Tranquility and Satisfaction under his own Administration throughout the Province: As to the first and last of these Particulars, you are sufficiently sensible, Sir, from your own Knowledge of the late and present State of the Province, how miserably divided the several Branches of the Legislature were when his late Excellency quitted the Administration; what Quarrels, Altercations and Expressions of Resentment pass'd between the late Governor and House of Representatives in the latter End of his Government; what a strong Opposition reign'd then in the House, and how general a Dissatisfaction throughout the Province: On the contrary how entirely the Scene of Affairs has been chang'd by his present Excellency's Administration; how soon he united all Parties in the Assembly in his Majesty's Service and the Interest of the Country; what Tranquility and Satisfaction is spread thro' the whole Province, notwithstanding the public Taxes are greatly increased, and Executions are daily issuing out to draw in a most heavy Arrear of the outstanding Bills of Credit; and the Debtors find themselves pinched by the late Law for securing the Value of outstanding Debts; And how well affected they are to the present Administration: And as to the other Particular, you are equally acquainted with the present Governor's Endeavours to conciliate the Royal Favour to his Majesty's Subjects with this Province by justly representing the Duty and Affection, which he is persuaded they bear to his Majesty's Person and Government, and on the other Hand with the fixed Opinion which had been unhappily concieved in the Province from the late Governor’s speeches and Conduct, that his Representation of the People had a Tendency to give his Majesty and his Ministry a bad Impression concerning them, and to persuade his Majesty that they were refractory and ill affected to Government; & that such Representations were calculated to raise an Opinion of his own Services to the Crown at the Expence of that Share of their Sovereign's Favour, which they apprehended their Loyalty and Zeal for the Service of his Majesty's Government justly intitled them to: But how well this Persuasion concerning the late Governor may be grounded I will not take upon me to say.
The Preservation of the publick Peace and Tranquility of the Country from religious as well as civil Disturbances, and the discountenancing of every Thing, which has a Tendency to promote a general Enthusiasm among the People destructive of good Order in their Assemblies, and of the Principles necessary for the Maintenance of Government in the State, is an indispensable Part of a Governor's Duty; yet tho' it was publickly known that Mr. Whitefield’s Preaching and Itinerancy in several Parts of North America, before his Arrival at Boston, had produc'd Disorder & Confusion among the People, and possess'd the Minds of many of the Populace with Notions dangerous to the well being of the Constitution both in Church and State, his late Excellency, contrary to the Example of all other Governors upon the Continent, in a most unprecedented Manner publickly countenanced, courted, and caress'd him, and his Successor Tennent in these Parts, and thereby contributed to his growing into the People's Favour to such a Degree, as even to intimidate (as I have been credibly inform'd) some sober, learned Ministers in the Province from discharging their Duty by openly opposing his Doctrines; and what miserable Effects his preaching produc'd in several Towns within the Province, the Factions and Disorders subsisting there to this Day in some of 'em, and the Impieties, which have been practis'd by some of his Followers upon the Principles, which they at first imbib'd from him, afford sufficient Evidence. - And to give you one indisputable Proof and flagrant Instance of the late Governor’s publickly espousing of these mischievous Itinerants, and encouraging their preaching, I shall here transcribe Part of two Articles out of one of Mr. Whitefield's journals printed at Boston in 1741; the first of which is dated October 14th 1740, under the Title — Sudbury, Marlborough, Worcester, wherein he says thus, “Got to Marlborough eight Miles from Sudbury about 4; preach'd in the Meeting-House to a large Congregation: at first my Heart was dead and I had but little Freedom, but before I had finish'd, the Word came with such a Demonstration of the Spirit, that great Numbers were very much melted down: When I came into the Meeting-House I turn'd about, and to my great Surprize found Governor Belcher there; He was affected, and tho' it rained, and he was much advanc'd in Years, he went in Company with us as far as Worcester, fifteen Miles from Marlborough, whither we got about eight at Night; here we were kindly entertain'd at the House of Col. Chandler: We spent the Remainder of the Evening very agreably with the Governor, and after Prayer retir'd to Rest.” And in the Article immediately following dated October 15th under the Title — Worcester and Liecester, he goes on thus, viz. “Perceiv'd the Goverenor to be more affectionate than ever; after Morning Prayer he took me by myself, kiss'd me, wept, and exhorted me to go on in stirring up the Ministers; for, says he, Reformation must begin at the House of God: As we were going to Meeting, says he, Mr. Whitefield do not spare Rulers any more than Ministers, no not the chief of them: I preach'd in the open Air to some Thousands; the Word fell with Weight indeed, it carry'd all before it: After Sermon the Goverenor said to me, I pray God I may apply what has been said to my own Heart; pray, Mr. Whitefield, that I may hunger and thirst after Righteousness: Dinner being ended, with Tears in his Eyes he kiss'd and took his Leave of me: Oh that we may meet in Heaven! I have observ'd that I have had greater Power than ordinary, whenever the Governor has been at publick Worship : A Sign this, I hope, that the most High intends effectually to bring him home and place him at his own right Hand; Even so, Lord Jesus; Amen and Amen: Was enabled much to rejoyce in Spirit; preach'd in the Afternoon at Liecester six Miles from Worcester with some tho' not so much Power as in the Morning.” I have undoubted Assurance, that before this journal was printed his late Excellency had the Revisal and Correction of it, at least of the two Paragraphs, before transcrib'd, and approv'd of their being publish'd with his Name printed at Length in the first of 'em; and shall leave you now to your own Observations upon these extraordinary Paragraphs; and proceed to inform you that when his present Excellency first came to the Government, upon which Occasion he was invited, according to the usual Custom in such Cases, by the President and Corporation of Harvard-College at Cambridge to an Entertainment there, Part of which is a Congratulatory Latin Oration, to which it is the Custom for the Governor to make some short Answer, his Excellency upon being appriz'd by a reverend Gentleman of good Sense and Learning that the Youth of the College had been much infected by Mr. Whitefield, who was suffer'd to preach to 'em at their College Meeting House in the Time of the late Governor’s Administration, and that it might be of Service to 'em if he would take Occasion in his Answer to the Oration in a few Words to express his Disapprobation of Whitefield's Doctrines and the Notions, he had infus'd into 'em, as well as give Countenance and Spirit to the President and Fellows and some Ministers to follow his Example, very readily embrac'd that first Opportunity of declaring his Sentiments accordingly in their public Hall, and contributing as much as he could thereby to discountenance and discourage the enthusiastick Tenets lately propagated among them: which Example of his Excellency was soon after follow'd upon a more public Occasion by the worthy President of the College in his next public Commencement Speech before the greatest Part of the Ministers of the Country; and I am persuaded had other good Effects.
I might skew the same Contrast between the late and present Administration in several other Instances; but those before-mention'd are sufficient; and I have been led thus far, much against my Inclinations, by the honourable Gentleman's own apparent Scheme for making a Comparison on your Side of the Water between his Government and his Successor's, to his justice in doing which I can by no means trust, and have therefore furnish'd you with this Account, that you may the better examine and correct what he may offer to advance wrongfully to the Prejudice of his Successor’s Character and Conduct in his Administration.
S I R,
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