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of a temporary “Act to prevent Monopoly and Forestalling," the time limit of which was twice extended. This act was directed against speculation in food. June twentyfourth, 1779, an act was passed the purpose of which was to compel those who had more of the necessaries of life than they needed for their families to sell them to those that were in want of them, and to receive in payment therefor continental bills, if offered.
September twenty-third, 1779, under title of an act to prevent sundry articles being exported from this to the neighboring states, a temporary interstate embargo was laid on provisions of all sorts and on many other specified articles. This was enlarged in its scope by another act passed in October of the same year.
In December, 1779, it was voted to send some suitable person to negotiate a loan in Europe, and in January, 1780, Jonathan Loring Austin was appointed for that purpose. Austin sailed for Bilboa, Spain, in the latter part of the same month, was captured by the English, taken to London and shortly thereafter was released, there being no evidence at hand against him. He proceeded to the continent, but, although he remained abroad upward
"Acts and Resolves Prov. Mass. Bay, Vol. V., p. 1073. Ibid., p. 1114.
3 Acts and Resolves Prov. Mags. Bay, Vol. V., p. 1116. This was the last stage of the struggle against the rise in prices caused by the depreciated currency. A Convention was held in Concord, July 14th, 1779, which passed resolves for the purpose of appreciating the currency and lowering the prices of articles of consumption. They projected a scale for the limitation of prices, which was approved by the Assembly, but which could not then be put in force because the Assembly had in June resolved to lay an embargo on food, a method of procedure inconsistent with the co-operation with other States required to make the limitations effective: A Convention of Commissioners of the N. E. States and New York was called at Hartford, October 20th. This Convention favored the limitation, but believed that all States as far westward as Virginia ought to join. The repeal of the Embargo Act was recommended. Congress, in November, approved the doings of the Hartford Convention and recommended the several States to pass laws for a general limitation of prices. The Hartford Convention gave birth to a more general Convention held at Philadelphia, in January, which passed resolves. Complete co-operation was difficult to secure, but June 17th, 1780, these Embargo Acts were repealed by Massachusetts. Acts and Resolves Prov. Mass. Bay, Vol. V., p. 1253 et seq.
of a year, he was unable to accomplish the purpose for which he was appointed.
In order to establish a credit upon which Austin could operate, a future tax was granted January eleventh, 1780, to be paid in bills of continental currency, equal in value to one hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling. This was to be collected in such a way as seasonably to discharge the loan, but, as the loan was never obtained, the tax act merely stands as evidence of the attempt to secure the loan."
The borrowings from the people on short-term interestbearing notes of small size did not cease with the change
from the general assembly to the constitutional commonwealth in 1780. The great crisis in financial affairs was passed when the continental currency was discredited by the congress itself, and the attempt was made to secure its redemption by the states, on the basis of forty for one, but there still remained in the final days of the struggle much that was of interest. However valuable an investigation of these events might prove to be, the limits of this paper preclude their consideration today.
1 Acts and Resolves, Prov. Mass. Bay, Vol. W., p. 1167.
A SCHEME FOR THE CONQUEST OF CANADA
BY VICTOR HUGO PALTSITS.
In the acquisition of the vast domain of Canada, by the treaty of 1763, Great Britain and her American colonists realized a hope long cherished. The proximity of the Canadians to the borders of New England and New York in particular, together with the French influence over the frontier Indians, had always been considered pernicious to the interests of these English colonies and threatened their ultimate destruction, unless “some method were found to remove so bad a neighbour." The reduction of this “thorn in the sides” of the neighboring English colonies had been attempted, therefore, in 1690, under Sir William Phips, and in 1711, under Sir Hovenden Walker. Phips's expedition was an expensive undertaking; cost the province of Massachusetts Bay alone above fifty thousand pounds; wrought death among many of her chosen young men, by a malignant fever that raged in the camp, and ended ingloriously. The Bay government did not for some years recover from the shock. Walker's expedition was entered into with cheerfulness by the colonists, but it, too, proved a fiasco. Apart from the cost of expeditions in time of war, the garrisoning of the frontiers involved a great annual outlay. Jeremy Dummer, in 1712, estimated the cost to Massachusetts for this maintenance as " Thirty Thousand Pounds communibus annis," ? which would be spared, he said, if Canada were wrested from the French.
1 Mass. Court Records, Series 17, Vol. V., p. 499. In Mass. State House, copied from Public Record Office, London. ? Mass. Court Records, Idem, p. 501.
From the treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, until the open rupture in 1744, a nominal peace reigned. The declaration of war between Great Britain and France in the latter year equally involved their colonial possessions in conflict. On June 17th, 1745, Louisburg, the richest American jewel that had ever adorned the French crown, capitulated to the daring of the New Englanders under General William Pepperrell, aided by a fleet commanded by Commodore Peter Warren. The successful issue of this enterprise gave the English entire command of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and thus enabled them to cut off Quebec from all hope of succor from France. It also facilitated the conquest of Canada itself.' The victory was hailed with acclamation throughout the colonies, and a hope was expressed that no peace negotiations should ever be set on foot with France in which the restoration of Cape Breton should as much as be mentioned.”
The Canadians were apprehensive of a British invasion, but made vigorous preparations to repress it. They learned the English plans by means of scouting parties, from the English prints, and more particularly from the English colonists captured on the frontiers by their various incursions, and whom they held in confinement at Quebec.' While the English colonial governments were engaged in promoting levies, the Canadians sent a large detachment, of two thousand men,“ to take possession of the Acadian settlements in Nova Scotia, and succeeded in cutting off Governor Mascarene at Annapolis Royal from receiving intelligence for a period of six weeks. In France a formidable squadron was mobilized at Brest, under command of the Duke d'Anville, consisting of eleven ships of the line, three frigates, three fireships, and two bombs, having on board 6,186 sailors; also twenty privateers, and other vessels of from ten to twenty-four guns each, which were also joined by fifty-six sail of transports, laden with stores and provisions, and two tenders with artillery. “The whole fleet consisted of ninety-seven sail, having on board the two battalions of the regiment Ponthieu, the battalion militia of Saumur, the battalion of Fontenoy le Comte and a battalion of marines, in all 3,500 men, with 40,000 small arms,” as well as equipment for the Canadians and Indians, who were expected to join them.' The Brest fleet was designed to reduce the English fort of Annapolis Royal and to recover Louisburg. Grave rumors were rife in New England that a descent would also be made upon Boston. D'Anville was heading for Nova Scotia, when a gale and thick fog separated his ships off Sable Island. Disaster followed in their track, and of the whole fleet of ninety-seven sail only fifty-six remained.? D'Anville died of apoplexy, his vice-admiral committed suicide, smallpox caused great mortality among the soldiers and seamen, the purpose of the enterprise was abandoned, and thus France was balked in her greatest naval expedition to the coast of North America.
1 Memoirs of the Principal Transactions of the Last War. Third edition, Boston, 1758, p. 33.
2 Parker's New York Post-Boy, No. 164, for March 10th, 1746. The article itself is dated December 28th, 1745.
8 The whole subject of rumors and French anticipatory action can be studied from N. Y. Col. Docs., Vol. X.; and Journal of Captain William Pote, Jr., New York, 1896.
4 Mascarene to Duke of Newcastle, November 12th, 1746. In Chalmers's Papers relating to Canada, in New York Public Library.
In the English-American provinces an expedition against Canada was looked upon by some as a chance for "fine plundering”); while to others it appeared to afford advantages "inconceivably great to the Crown of Britain."4 Indeed, the original suggestions of October, 1745, comprehended the enlistment of 20,000 provincials, who should be offered, as an inducement, “the plunder of the country;
1 Rolt's Impartial Representation, Vol. IV. (London, 1750), pp. 347, 348.
2 For the details of this fleet consult Rolt, Vol. IV., pp. 346-352; a good modern account, varying somewhat from Rolt, is by Harry Pierg, in Canadian History Readings. St. John, N. B., 1900, pp. 68-74.
* Post-Boy, No. 178, for June 16th, 1746. Idem, No. 173, for May 12th, 1746.