A Stated Meeting of the Society was held at the house of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, No. 28 Newbury Street, Boston, on Thursday, 23 January, 1913, at three o’clock in the afternoon, the President, Henry Lefavour, LL.D., in the chair.

    The Records of the last Stated Meeting were read and approved.

    The President announced the death of two Resident Members — Thornton Marshall Ware, who died on the twenty-eighth of December, and Francis Blake, who died on the nineteenth of January.

    The Corresponding Secretary reported that a letter had been received from the Hon. William Howard Taft accepting Honorary Membership.

    Mr. Samuel Chester Clough of Boston, Mr. Allan Forbes of Westwood, Mr. George Emery Littlefield of Somerville, Dr. Charles Lemuel Nichols of Worcester, and Mr. Edgar Huidekoper Wells of Boston, were elected Resident Members.

    Mr. John W. Farwell exhibited a little volume containing the Rev. Deodat Lawson’s “The Duty & Property of a Religious Householder Opened in a Sermon Delivered at Charlestown, on Lords Day December. 25. 1692,” published at Boston in 1693; and the title-page, without the text, of “The Shorter Catechism Agreed upon by the Reverend Assembly of Divines at Westminster. Printed for John Usher Anno 1690.” This edition of the famous work has apparently escaped the attention of bibliographers.

    Mr. Albert Matthews read the following paper:


    In January, 1715,876 Colonel Elizeus Burges was appointed by George I Governor of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay; on February 23 his commission was approved by the Privy Council,877 and on March 17 it passed the Seals.878 The news of Burges’s appointment was received in Boston, April 21.879 In a letter to the Massachusetts Council dated June 29 — which letter reached Boston September 22880 — Burges said that he expected to sail in July.881 On July 28 he wrote to the New Hampshire Council that he expected to sail in August.882 In a letter to the Massachusetts Council dated September 6, he stated that “my Affairs in this Country are like to keep me here most part of the Winter,” and added that “I have sent you over an Exemplification of my Commission.”883 This exemplification884 was received here on November 9, and was read and published in Council the same day:

    On Wednesday last an Exemplification of His Majesty’s Most Gracious Letters Patents, bearing date the 17th of March last, Constituting and Appointing Elizeus Burges Esq; His Captain General, and Governour in Chief in, and over this His Majesty’s Province of the Massachusetts-Bay, were Read, and Published; upon which the Cannon of the Castle, and the South Battery of the Town were discharged.

    Then the Honourable William Toiler . . . Issued forth a Proclamation . . . Requiring all Officers . . . to continue . . . till further Order.

    After which the Honourable Lieut. Governour invited the Counsellors, the Representatives of Boston, and the Gentlemen present to his House, Where His Majesty’s, the Prince’s, and all the Royal Family’s Health were Drank, as also Col. Burges’s Col. Dudley’s, and Prosperity to the Trade, and Welfare of this Province.885

    In a letter to the Massachusetts Council, dated February 27, 1716, Burges, according to Sewall, “Promised to defend our Charter if attack’d while he is in London. Hopes to be here before May is out; proposing to Sail in April.”886 On May 28, the birthday of George I, Lieutenant-Governor Tailer and the Council —

    at their own Expence, gave a Noble Entertainment at the Council Chamber, . . . where His Majesty’s, the Prince’s and all the Royal Families Healths were severally Drank, as also His Excellency Colonel Burges’s, with Prosperity to this Government, . . . The Gentlemen met again in the Evening, where they repeated all the former Healths, which concluded with such Extraordinary Illuminations as were never seen in these Parts.887

    As late as May 31, in a speech to the House, Lieutenant-Governor Tailer said:

    AT our last parting I had little Expectation of now speaking to you from this Chair, believing His Excellency Col. BURGES our Governour would before this Time have happily Arrived among us, and I am well ensured he may be daily expected, and that he comes with full Resolutions to do his utmost for the Interest of this Province, which he has signified to the Council in divers of his Letters, and has likewise expressed his grateful sense of the Honourable Provision you have made of so suitable a House for his Reception, in which you have not only obliged him but done much Honour to your selves.888

    As a matter of fact, however, Burges had resigned his commission in the previous April,889 though the news did not reach Boston until June 5.890 Thus the uncertainty that had existed in Massachusetts for over a year was brought to an end. Though apparently nothing was known about Burges in this country early in 1715, yet his appointment aroused the bitter opposition of Jeremiah Dummer, then the agent of Massachusetts in London, who exerted himself to defeat it. Failing in this, Dummer set himself the task of displacing Burges, and in this he succeeded by advancing £1,000 to reimburse Burges for the charges of his commission, etc.891 In a letter to John White892 dated May 9, 1716 — after the resignation of Burges and the appointment of Colonel Samuel Shute — Dummer said:

    As for those affairs of New England which are already transacted & are now matters of fact, I’ll refer you to the information of others. It shall be my task to write of what is to come, as far at least as I can pry into the dark subject of Futurity. Without any great skill in the occult Sciences, I may confidently tell you that your Lieutt Governour893 will be out, & that too notwithstanding Col. Burgess which causes the Loss, & I cant in the least doubt but my Countrey will be so Just as to repay it.894 Col. Shute would not think of advancing any money him selfe as it was not reasonable that Col. Burgess should Quit without being paid the Charges of his Commission, Equipage &c. In this case I could not doubt a minute what I was to do, yet for forms’ sake I advised with the friends of the Countrey, & they assured me it was my duty to do it, & that the Countrey would think it the best money that was ever laid out. New England does not know the unspeakable happyness they will Have by this Change, nor shall they ever know it from me, because if a certain Gentleman here does cut my throat (as he threatens) He shall have no pretence for it. Otherwise I could tell you such things, which though the danger be over, yet etiam nunc meminisse horret animus.895

    So far as I am aware this letter, which was published in 1888, is the only contemporary passage relating to the character of Burges that has thus far found its way into print in this country.896 Since Burges never crossed the Atlantic, his career, whatever it may have been, has absolutely no bearing on the history of Massachusetts, and so perhaps is not worth inquiry. And had Dummer stated in specific terms the reasons for his intense dislike to Burges, it is not probable that I should have given the matter a second thought. But it was unusual — if, indeed, any other instance is known — for an agent to keep up a fight against an official after that official had actually been commissioned; and one’s curiosity is naturally aroused by the veiled allusions in the above letter. Moreover, Burges’s threat to cut Dummer’s throat and Dummer’s vow of eternal silence give a melodramatic air to the episode. Hence I felt impelled to fathom the causes of the quarrel, if possible.

    New information has been obtained from two sources — from unprinted letters of Dummer in the Massachusetts Archives and in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society; and from certain English books which, though well known, have not hitherto been utilized in this country in connection with Burges. Let us consider the former first. In a letter to the Rev. Benjamin Colman dated January 15, 1715, Dummer, referring to Nathaniel Byfield, who had just reached London, said: “The Second time that Gentleman & I met was in my Chambers, where we soon came to a full understanding of each other with respect to the present Governor”897 — that is, Joseph Dudley. Dummer was in favor of, Byfield against, the reappointment of Dudley. In a letter to White dated February 15, 1715, Dummer said: “I am taking all the pains I can to prevent the new Governour’s Voyage, & Continue the Old one in his post.”898 In a letter to Secretary Addington, dated April 5, 1715, Dummer wrote:

    The last thing, thô not the least, which I am now to acquaint you with, is that Colo Elisha Burgess, whom His Majesty was pleas’d sometime since to appoint for the Government of New England, is now actually your Governour, His Commissions being pass’t both the Seals. He is a Gentleman, who has serv’d in the army, & particularly had the honour to be Leiutt Colo to General Stanhope899 in Spain, where he distinguish’t himselfe in several Actions. But notwithstanding his good character in the military way, I had such an account of him in other respects, that I could by no means think him a suitable person to be the Governour of New England. Having therefore first Advis’d with Sr Willm Ashurst, & other friends of New-England, I did in concurrence with them doe all I could in a proper way to prevent the Sealing his Commission. In which I was very much encourag’d by some of the Greatest men in the Government, thô I was indeed upbraided by others as having too high an Opinion of my own Countrey, & was ask’t, whether I would have a man made on purpose to Govern it. It may be to no purpose now to inform you of the particular steps that were taken in this matter, or the reason of their proving ineffectual; I would rather bury every thing that’s past in Silence, & I heartily wish Colo Burgess may prove so just & kind in his administration, that you may think me to have bin mistaken & ill advis’d in the opposition I made to him. But however that be, this will alwaies remain a comfort to me, that I steadily pursued what I thought was my duty, notwithstanding the menaces sent me in the time of it, & the resolution, which I am told, he has since taken of never being reconcil’d to me.900

    The following letter, dated Whitehall, June 25, 1715, was written to White:

    Dear Sr

    We have now the good news of the Arrival of three Ships from Boston, & none, or very few, letters are come up. So that I am oblig’d to write to you, thô I have nothing to write about, for want of your Letters. This Ship Carries over your new Secretary,901 & Your Governour intends to follow about the latter End of July. The former seems to be a Civil, good humour’d man, thô I know little of him, having bin but once in his Company by accident, for the furious Animosity of the Governour against me makes all his Dependents afraid to Converse with me. I believe my Successour is not yet appointed, because people are backward in bidding for it being told it is not in the Governour’s Power to secure a Sallary, & therefore are loth to part with the pence. I am sorry to hear of the fierce Divisions that are among you about the Bank, which I hope however will not last long. Colo Byfeild, & others employd for the private Bank, have drawn a petition to the King, which they presented to Mr Stanhope, & He has refer’d it to the Board of Trade, where it is to be consider’d & debated. I beleive the result of it will be, to recommend it to the Governour, Council & Assembly of the Province to draw up a full State of the Case & Send it home, after which they’l come to some determination upon it. Colonel Byfeild instead of being Governour, is like to lose his Commission for Judge of the Vice-Admiralty, & nothing can save it, unless Colo Burgess very heartily espouses him, which perhaps he may do, to reward his treachery in betraying me to him.

    The Account of the State of the Nation, & affairs of Europe you’l find in the prints which I send you by Cap’ Parnel, & are, I think, all that have bin publish’t Since the last I Sent you. I have Sent Mr Burril902 the Committee of Secrecy’s report, there being some remarkable things in it relating to the Canada Expedition, as well as our Cession of Cape Bretton to the French, which I have directed to be deliver’d to you, that you may first read it. Notwithstanding the Vigorous impeachments, & the great expectations of people therefrom, I can’t help being of a particular opinion by my selfe, that all will end without blood. But if any body dies, it will be my Lord Oxford,903 who has not a friend of any consequence in the whole World, now my Lord Halifax904 is Dead, who, had he liv’d, would never have forsaken his int’rest. The Whigs will never forgive him his putting them out of the Ministry, nor the Tories his Defeating their hopes of the restoration, as they are pleas’d to Call it.905 Thus he is by both parties devoted to death, & yet I believe they’l be both disappointed. Now, I am mentioning this Lord, it makes me think of what Colo Burgess gives out, that I us’d, when he was in power, to goe to him in disguise by night, that I receiv’d a great deal of money from him, & was an instrument of his rogueries. Whereas in Truth, I never went to him but openly & publickly in my life, nor ever spoke to him but on the affairs of my Commission nor even ask’t or receiv’d the value of a Shilling of him.906 But I can bear reproach, I thank God, from any body, but my own heart, & make some good use of it too, for I often think with pleasure on a book written by Old Plutarch ye Moralist, the title of which has more in it than whole volumes, De Capiendo, ex hostibus utilitate.

    I wish you much happyness & am very affectionately Dear Sr

    Your faithfull Humble servt

    Jer Dummer907

    Dummer’s letter to White of May 9, 1716, has already been quoted.908 On August 18, 1716, Dummer wrote to Edmund Quincy as follows:

    I can’t but think you very happy who are Seated in your Native Town & Countrey & have an opportunity to be serviceable in your Generation by being cloath’d with the first honours of your Countrey. My Post is peculiarly difficult by the persecutions of one of the worst Of men, whom I oppos’d being your Governour, & by the Wrath of the Private Bankers among you, who will never forgive me for following my Instructions, which if I had not done, I should have deserv’d the contempt of every body. Besides the injurys I have sustain’d by attacks on my person, reputation & estate for being faithfull to my Countrey, I have bin at the expense of a thousand pounds Sterling for the Service of the Province since I have had any thing remitted. If after all, the Assembly thinks fit to drop me, I shall contentedly retire from the Stage, & for the future perhaps study more my private advantage, thô nothing will be able to obliterate the natural obligations which I have to my beloved Countrey.909

    These are the only passages in Dummer’s letters that refer to Burges.910 Though they leave no manner of doubt as to the strength of Dummer’s hostility to Burges, yet they are very guarded and in reality throw little light on the causes of that hostility. Fortunately, others were more explicit, and it now becomes necessary to examine the evidence obtained from English sources. The earliest allusion to Burges I have been able to find is under date of March 13, 1693, when he was commissioned “to be brigadier and eldest lieutenant of the second troop of horse guards, whereof the Duke of Ormond911 is captain and colonel.”912 He was out of the regiment before 1694.913 On May 15, 1705, Luttrell recorded that “Captain Burgesse is made adjutant general under the earl of Peterborough.”914 In 1708 Lord Tunbridge’s915 Regiment of Dragoon embarked for Spain, and on September 8, 1711, Burges was commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel.916 While in Spain he also served under General Stanhope, who, soon after becoming second Secretary of State late in 1714, offered Burges the governorship of Massachusetts. At that time, then, Burges had had a successful career in the army extending over nearly a quarter of a century. Our next quotation shows that Uncle Toby’s remark that “our armies swore terribly in Flanders” was more than justified. For on February 17, 1715, or exactly one month before Burges was commissioned Governor, Countess Cowper wrote:

    I came mighty ill to Court, and the Duchess of Shrewsbury had so much Humanity as to wait out my Week for me. As I was going through the Rooms, I met Baron Bernsdorff917 I told him that my Lord918 had ordered me to speak to him to hinder Mr. Burgess from going Governor to New England. He is the most immoral Man in the World; was tried for the Murders of two Men, and was so common a Swearer that the People, who are rigid Puritans, and left the Kingdom before the Civil Wars, to enjoy their own Way of Worship, would look at his being sent over as a Judgment upon them.919

    If these charges were true, the people of Massachusetts, when they became acquainted with the facts, would certainly have regarded the appointment of Burges in the light indicated by Countess Cowper. Burges may or may not have been immoral and a “common swearer;” but that at least the charge in regard to the murders was substantially true can be proved. Under date of Tuesday, April 14, 1696, Luttrell recorded that “On Sunday a duel was fought in Leicester fields between Mr. Fane, son to sir Henry, and capt. Burgesse; the former was wounded in the brest, and since dead.”920 On Tuesday, the 19th of May following, Luttrell wrote that “Capt. Burgesse, convicted last sessions of manslaughter for killing Mr. Fane, is committed to the Gatehouse for killing Mr. Horden, of the Playhouse, last night in Covent Garden.”921 Another account of this affair appeared in the London News-Letter of May 20th: “On Monday Capt. Burges who kill’d Mr. Fane, and was found guilty of Manslaughter at the Old Baily, kill’d Mr. Harding a Comedian in a Quarrel at the Rose Tavern in Hatton Garden, and is taken into Custody.”922 On May 26, 1696, Luttrell stated that “Capt. Burgesse, who killed Horden the player, has made his escape out of the Gatehouse.”923 And on November 30, 1697, Luttrell recorded that “Capt. Burgesse, who killed Mr. Horden the player, has obtained his majesties pardon.”924 This affair was long remembered, for in 1739 the entertaining Colley Cibber wrote:

    I cannot here forget a Misfortune that befel our Society about this time, by the loss of a young Actor, Hildebrand Horden, who was killed at the Bar of the Rose-Tavern, in a frivolous, rash, accidental Quarrel; for which a late Resident at Venice, Colonel Burgess, and several other Persons of Distinction, took their Tryals, and were acquitted.925

    If Palfrey was right in saying that “the government of Massachusetts was nothing more than a job” to Burges,926 it is fair to assume that the latter would not have abandoned one job without having first secured another. This, as we have already seen,927 was the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel of Dragoons in Ireland. It was not long, however, before he sought and obtained another position, to which a clue is given in Cibber’s reference to him as “a late Resident at Venice.” Mr. Horatio F. Brown says that “Great Britain sent fifty-eight embassies, in all, to the Republic, between the years 1340 and 1797. Of these ambassadors, Sir Gregory Cassalis filled the office twice, Sir Henry Wotton thrice, the Earl of Manchester twice, and Elizeus Burgess twice.”928 Here, then, we have proof not only of the correctness of Cibber’s statement, but also of the identity of our Colonel Burges with the “Capt. Burgesse” who was accused of killing Fane and Horden. It was in May, 1719, that Burges was first appointed English Resident at Venice,929 and he appears to have held the office for two or two and a half years. A letter from Lord Carteret to the Lords of the Treasury, dated October 24, 1721, related to arrears to be paid to “Mr. Burges” and certain other of “the King’s Ministers abroad, whom he had recalled;” and another letter, dated July 31, 1722, contained “directions to be given for payment of a pension of 300 l, per ann. during pleasure to Elizeus Burges late Resident in the Republic of Venice.”930 Hence Burges’s first term as Resident at Venice ended on or before October 24, 1721. No trace of Burges has been found between the years 1722 and 1727; but in October, 1727, he was again appointed Resident at Venice,931 and on the 25th of March, 1728, he left “His Majesty’s presence on that employ.”932 This time he retained the post until his death, which occurred at Venice on November 3–14, 1736.933

    That Colonel Burges was a man of ability may be assumed from the rank to which he attained in the army and from the official position he held for about ten years at Venice. But however that may have been, it must at least be admitted that he displayed cleverness and facility in adapting himself to a new position. For on June 29, 1715, he wrote to the Massachusetts Council—and one can readily imagine the smile that must have played about his lips as he penned the words — as follows:

    The K. has done me the Honor to make me his Governour of the Provinces of the Massachusets Bay, and N-Hampshire in N. England, and I think I can̄ot find a fitter opportunity than this to acquaint you with His Maj’s Goodness to me. . . . I propose to leave this place the latter end of the next Moneth, and hope to be with you before the end of September. While I continue here, I will do all I can for your Service; and when I have the Honor to see you at Boston, I will give you all the Assurances you your selves can desire, that I have nothing so much at heart, as the Good of the people, and the Glory of GOD.934

    Mr. Henry H. Edes read an invitation to this Society to be represented at the International Congress of Historical Studies to be held in London in April, 1913. It was voted that the invitation be accepted and that the President be authorized to appoint one or more delegates.

    Mr. Andrew McF. Davis made the following communication:


    It is known to some of you that about twelve years ago I published in two volumes, under the auspices of the American Economic Association, a work entitled Currency and Banking in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay. This work, which represents the result of various independent researches, took its root in a paper read before this Society at the January meeting, 1895, entitled “Provincial Banks: Land and Silver.”935 The preparation of this paper necessarily involved the close examination and careful study of the emissions, during the first half of the eighteenth century, by the provincial government of the paper money which then comprised the circulating medium upon which the people of the province were dependent for their daily business transactions. In addition to this there had been quite a number of experiments inaugurated, through which individuals sought by concerted action to furnish a currency for general circulation, from which they should derive the profit which was then received by the government from that source. There was one, for instance, in Connecticut in 1732. There was one in Boston in 1733. There was a feeble imitation of the Boston experiment in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1734, and lastly, there were the Land Bank of 1740 and its opponent the Silver Bank, whose story was partly told in the paper on provincial banks already referred to. In addition to the account of the conflict in Massachusetts contained in that paper, a separate account of the Connecticut experiment was communicated to this Society at the January meeting in 1898936 and was published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, in October, 1898. In January, 1899, a supplemental account of the Connecticut Company was communicated to this Society at the January meeting.937 This was based upon additional material gleaned from the Archives at Hartford.

    The story of the Merchants’ Notes of 1733 was very fully told in the pages of the Weekly Rehearsal and the New England Weeldy Journal. From the columns of these papers an account was abridged by myself which was communicated to the Massachusetts Historical Society in April, 1903.938

    The story of the New Hampshire Notes alone among the various experiments has refused to reveal itself. A statute passed by the Massachusetts General Assembly prohibiting the circulation of these notes in Massachusetts, and the records of the Board of Trade bearing upon the question “Should they recommend to the Privy Council that this Act be disallowed?” were practically all that was known of the history of this experiment, beyond and in addition to what is contained on the face of the notes themselves, of which specimens are to be found in our museums. From these sources and from Belcher’s speeches and letters a brief description of the company or organization which emitted the notes was compiled for the second volume of Currency and Banking in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay,939 and from that time to this no contribution of material has been made which called for any alteration of what had been said or which added to the value of the deductions then made.

    Quite recently the records of the Privy Council have been published under the title “Acts of the Privy Council, Colonial,” and in chronological order the proceedings in connection with the hearing and the discussion as to the disallowance of the Massachusetts Act prohibiting the circulation of these notes are duly recorded. In one of these volumes, three papers are referred to: a petition of Wilks, the Massachusetts agent; the report of the Board of Trade recommending the disallowance of the statute; and a paper containing the names of eighteen of the citizens of New Hampshire who favored the New Hampshire notes. Of these papers the report of the Board of Trade has already been published. The petition of Wilks has not been heretofore published, but an abstract of a similar petition appears in the Board of Trade records. The list of eighteen names is new and is the first real contribution to the history of these notes which has been made since the Board of Trade records were procured.

    No attempt has heretofore been made to collate and publish in one paper the various documents herein referred to. It was believed that the Registry of Deeds at Exeter, the probate papers, or the papers of some estate at Portsmouth would inevitably contribute some information on this subject. Having this in view I went to Exeter, New Hampshire, only to find that all papers of that date had been removed to the State Archives at Concord. In some respects this was an advantage, for there I could secure the services of a trained searcher to go through the records for traces of the company and for traces of some connection with it of every person whose name can be associated with it through the notes or through mention anywhere of such person’s favoring the scheme. Such a search was made without result.

    As for Portsmouth estates, our associate Barrett Wendell a little over a year ago came into possession of an old house at Portsmouth and found therein a multitude of papers, among them a bundle of these New Hampshire Notes. There were fifty or sixty of them, but not a paper bearing upon the scheme. Other than this nothing has come to light.

    It is not improbable that some papers will yet be discovered which will open up more plainly the secrets of this financial experiment, but we need not wait longer before gathering together in a single fagot the various detached fragments of information at our command. With that in view I submit copies of the various papers which have been referred to herein.

    List of Papers

    1. I Statute prohibiting passage of New Hampshire Notes in Massachusetts, 1735
    2. II Resolve calling on Governor to issue Proclamation, 1735
    3. III Note to Chapter 21, Vol. II, Massachusetts Province Laws
    4. IV Extracts from Belcher’s speeches to the New Hampshire Assembly, and reply of Committee, 1735
    5. V Acts of the Privy Council, 1736
    6. VI Report of Board of Trade to Committee of Privy Council, 1736
    7. VII Petition of Francis Wilks, 1736
    8. VIII List of names, 1736
    9. IX Acts of the Privy Council, 1736
    10. X Miscellaneous


    an act to prevent the currency of certain bills or notes of hand emitted by a society or number of persons in the province of new hampshire940

    Whereas sundry persons, principally, if not wholly, belonging to the province of New Hampshire, have, in the year last past, struck, signed and issued, or are about striking, signing and issuing certain bills or promissory notes, of a most uncertain and sinking value, as they are payable in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island bills, or in silver, gold or hemp at the unknown price they may be at Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, anno 1747, whereby his majesty’s good subjects will be great sufferers should they part with their goods and substance for them, or accept them in payments; for prevention whereof, —

    Be it enacted by His Excellency the Governour, Council and Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,

    That from and after the first day of May next, all and every person or persons whatever, that shall, within this province, utter or offer to pass or put off, or that shall receive or take any of the aforesaid bills or promissory notes, shall incur and forfeit as a penalty for so uttering or taking the aforesaid bills or notes, all and every such bill or bills as they shall utter or put off, receive or take, together with treble the sum in bills of credit on this province, to the denomination of the bills so put off or received; that is to say, for uttering or putting off, or offering to put off, and for taking or receiving a bill or note of the denomination of seven shillings, the penalty shall be the forfeiture of the said bill, and twenty-one shilling beside, in province bills, and so, proportionally, for any greater or less bill or bills, or any sum of bills or notes; to be recovered by bill, plaint, or information, before any justice of the peace or court of record, according as the penalties, being less or greater, are respectively cognizable, the one-half to him that shall inform or sue for the same, and the other moiety to the poor of the town wherein the crime is or shall be committed.


    vote for a proclama about new hampshire notes941

    Voted That his Excellency the Governor be desired to issue forth a proclamation to Caution all his Majestys Subjects in this province from taking any of the Notes lately issued by a number of persons in the province of New Hampshire, to prevent the Mischiefs & penalty mentioned in the Act lately passed for that purpose, And that the said proclamation be forthwith printed & dispersed thro the province and posted up in Some publick place in every Town therein by the Town Clerk of each Town.


    note to chapter 21, massachusetts province laws942

    At a meeting of the Lords of Trade, December 9, 1735, — “The Board took again into consideration the Act to prevent the currency of New Hampshire Bills in the Province of Massachusetts, read at the last Meeting. Mr Wilks said that if these Bills are allowed to be current in the Massachusetts it will be the ruin of the Province — And desired the Act might be well considered before it was Repealed, and that he might have opportunity of talking with the Merchants of this subject and would attend the Board again upon notice after Christmas.”

    “Tuesday, February 17th 1735–6. . . . Mr. Wilks, Capt. Tomlinson, Mr John Sharpe & several Merchants attend upon the Massachuset Law to prevent the Currency of N. Hampshire Notes. — Wilks apprehends that should the Law be repealed the Trade will be ruined, because money of base value will be pour’d in upon them from all parts. Sandford says that N. England Bills are fallen in value. Tomlinson says that N. Hampshire Bills are equal value with N. England Bills, says there is an Association of the best people in the Province to be answerable for the whole sum which amounts to about £6000 sterlg All the Bills are not signed by the same Gentlemen — Act read — a list of the Association read. — Order’d Act to be repealed.”

    On the 17th of March following the date of the above meeting, the Lords of Trade drew up a report for the repeal of this chapter, which was agreed to on the 26th of the same month. This report was considered by the committee of the Privy Council, July 10, 1736, who, thereupon, ordered that the Lords of Trade “do consider of and lay before this Committee a state of the Paper Currency in these Provinces.” — i. e. the four Colonies of New England.

    The report of the Lords of Trade in obedience to this order is dated March 17, 1735–36; and on the 23d of September, 1736, the Board wrote to Belcher, that they had laid this act “before His Majesty for his disallowance.” No further action upon this chapter has been discovered.943


    discussion in new hampshire


    Belcher’s Speech, May 3, 1735

    I cannot but observe to you, Gent, as I said once and again to the Assembly of the Massa Province, on an occasion something like this, of the unwarrantable attempt made here by a set of private Gent to strike & Issue paper notes or Bills to pass in lieu of money. If the Legislature are restrained by his Majties Royal Orders from a Practice of this Nature any otherwise than may be for the necessary charge of the Province, surely private persons ought not to presume upon it.944


    Reply of the Committee of the House, May 8, 1735

    As to what your Excelly was pleased to mention in relation to a set of private Gentlemens striking & issuing paper notes or Bills to pass in lieu of money, this House is not sensible wherein such an attempt is unwarrantable unless some notorious Fraude or Cheat might be design’d & discovered therein, inasmuch as we can’t apprehend his Majties Royall Instructions to your Excelly upon the head of Province Bills was ever intended to extend to negotiable Notes amongst merchants and Traders, and we are not a little concern’d to see your Excellys Proclamation Publishing an Act of the Province of the Massa against taking those notes prefaced thus — “least Some unwary persons be imposed upon by the said notes or Bills.”945


    Belcher’s Speech, May 17, 1735

    I am sorry you have given me occasion to mention againe the unwarrantable Practice of a set of Private p’sons striking and issuing of papers to pass for946 money. Instead of saying anything to justifie ye chimerical projection I wish you had past a Law upon it in that wise and Laudible man’ the Massachusetts Bay have done. But since you have not I am obliged to let you and all the good People of this Province know how just my fears were when I issued the Proclamation you speak of. In that I have had several complaints made to me since my coming into this Province from some unwary People who have been Impos’d upon by these paper notes that some of the Principle founders or undertakers in the scheme have Refused to give credit to those their own notes, by which they must become a dead loss in the hands of those who have parted with their substance for them and this doubtless must discover to the world a notorious fraud (which I hope was not originally design’d) and I would further observe to you gent on this affaire that I can’t see why your House (or the p’sons concern’d) should take amiss that the Massachusetts assembly have not tho’t with you in this new scheme, for if there be a real intrinsick value in the notes (as the undertakers ought to believe there is) the act of the Massachusetts can’t take it away and then what they have done must be of service to this Province by confineing these notes to a currency or circulation here because I have had constant complaints from the People of this Province how they have been drain’d from time to time of their Bills of credit from the currency they have had in the Massa.947


    acts of the privy council948

    [444.] Massachusetts Bay. Act to exclude New Hampshire paper Notes. B. of T. report against the Act. The notes were issued by an association of private persons, bore interest at 1. per cent., were payable at the expiry of 12 years, and were not enforced as legal tender.

    1736. 17 March. III. pp. 506–7

    ——. Petition of F. Wilks agent for Massachusetts, to be heard in support of the Act.

    31 May

    ——. List of the persons concerned in issuing the notes, laid before the Committee by Mr. Tomlinson, the agent: 18 named, — four members of the Assembly, another esquire, four merchants, three gentlemen; “besides a great number of gentlemen and others of the best fortunes of the province.”

    10 July.


    report of board of trade to the right honble. the lords of the committee of his majesty’s most honble. privy council

    My Lords,

    We have considered an Act passed in His Majesty’s Province of the Massachusets Bay in April 1735, referred to us by Your Lordships on the 27th Day of October last, entituled “An Act to prevent the Currency of Certain Bills or Notes of Hand, emitted by a Society or Number of Persons in the Province of New Hampshire.”

    We have been attended upon this Occasion by the Agents of the Provinces for the Massachusets Bay and New Hampshire, together with several Merchants concerned in the Trade of those Countries, and having heard what could be alledged on either side for the Confirmation or Disallowance of the Act in Question, We take leave to represent to your Lordships;

    That in the Province of New Hampshire there is very little Mony, and but a small paper Currency circulated by the Authority of the Legislature.

    To supply the want of other Mony, a Set of private Men, who according to our Information, are persons of the best Estates and Rank in New Hampshire have entered into an Association for issuing promissary Notes or bills bearing an Interest of One P Cent P Annum, which Notes no Man is obliged to accept in Payment, having in themselves no Currency in Law, but are left to stand or fall according to the Credit of the Signers, and may be taken or refused at pleasure.

    It would therefore in our Opinion be a great Hardship to set a Publick Mark of Discredit upon the Persons engaged in this Undertaking, as well as a Disservice to the Province of New Hampshire, to prohibit by a Law the Circulation of these Bills, which may be of Service to the said Province; for which Reasons We would humbly propose to your Lordships, that this Act should be laid before His Majesty for His Disallowance.

    We are,

    My Lords,

    Your Lordps. most Obedient and most humble Servts.


    March 17th. 1735/6.


    T. Pelham

    Orlo. Bridgeman

    Edw. Ashe

    R. Plumer.949


    petition of francis wilks to the right honourable the lords of the committee of his maties most honble. privy councill

    The Humble Petition of Francis Wilks Esqr. Agent for His Majestys Province of the Massachusets Bay in New England.


    That severall private persons in his Majestys Province of New Hampshire have taken upon themselves to Enter into an Association for issuing promissary Notes or Bills bearing an interest of £1 p cent p ann and not payable till after the Expiration of 12 years and having Issued a great number of these Bills & having attempted to introduce the same into a Currency in His Majestys said Province of the Massachusets Bay, The Legislature of that Province thought it incumbent upon them to do all in their power to prevent the said Bills from gaining any Credit in the said Province thereby as far as in them lay to protect & preserve the Inhabitants of the Massachusets Bay from the many ill & pernicious Consequences that must unavoidably attend their taking the said Bills in payment should they be unwarily drawn in to accept the same & for that purpose the Legislature of the said Province in the Massachusets Bay in Aprill 1735 passed an Act Entituled “An Act to prevent the Currency of certain Bills or Notes of Hand emitted by a Society or number of persons in the Province of New Hampshire, By which Act the Currency of the said Bills or Notes is prohibited in the said Province of the Massachusets Bay

    That the said Act having been under the Consideration of the Right Honourable the Lords Commrs. of Trade & Plantations, Their Lordships were attended by Your Petr. as well as by the Agent for New Hampshire & were also attended thereon by severall Merchants of the City of London Trading to & interested in the said Province of the Massachusets Bay who acquainted their Lordships with the many Objections that lay against the said Bills from the nature of the Bills themselves & how destructive the suffering them to gain a Currency in the Massachusets Province would be to the whole Trade of that Colony & That it would very prejudicially affect the British Merchants Trading to those parts

    That the Lords Commissioners for Trade & Plantations have been pleased to Report it as their Opinion That the sd. Act should be laid before His Majesty for His disallowance, which Report together with the said Act is now depending by His Majesties Order in Council before Your Lordships.

    That Your Petr. humbly hopes Your Lordships will indulge him to be heard by Councill in support of the said Act & That for the reasons which will then be laid before Your Lordships You will see cause to Report the said Act as proper to receive the Royal Approbation, & to that End,

    Your Petitioner humbly prays Your Lordships, That Your Lordships will be pleased to Appoint a short day to take the said Act into Your Consideration, & That Your Petr. for & on behalfe of the said Province of the Massachusets Bay may be heard by his Council in support of the same. And your Petr. shall ever Pray &c.

    Fra Wilks950


    names of persons interested in the new hampshire notes951

    George Gaffrey952

    Esqrs. of his Majtys. Council.

    Theodore Atkinson

    Joshua Perrie953 Senr.

    Henry Sherburn

    John Prindge954

    Esqrs. of the Generall Assembly.

    James Clarkson

    Samuel Smith

    Joshua Perrie955 Junr.

    Thomas Packer

    Andrew Wigans956 Esqr.

    Speaker of the Generall Assembly.

    Richard Wilbert957 Esqr.

    Daniel Warner


    Hunking Wentworth

    Thomas Wibert

    Nathaniel Mendum

    John Downing


    Samuel Smith

    George Wallker

    Besides a Great Number of Gentlemen and Others of the Best fortunes of the Province.


    acts of the privy council

    [380.] [On the petition of Francis Wilks, the agent for Massachusetts Bay, the Committee agree to hear him on 9 July in support of an Act of April, 1735, to prevent the currency of certain bills or notes of hand emitted by a society or number of persons in the province of New Hampshire.]

    1736. 3 June. Massachusetts Bay.

    [Letter to Alured Popple, Secretary to the Board of Trade, for their Lordships to attend the Committee on 10 July when the Act is to be considered and Mr. Wilksheard.]

    7 July.

    [The Committee, on considering the report of the Board of Trade for disallowing the Act, and Counsel for Mr. Wilks in its support,] and being informed that Bills of Credit to a great Value have been issued in the Several Provinces which formerly were a part of and called New England Vizt. Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire Rhode Island and Connecticut Do think it proper to Order that the said Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations Do Consider of and lay before this Committee a State of the Paper Currency in those Provinces.958

    10 July.


    miscellaneous references


    Belcher’s Letter, November 14, 1734

    As to the Hemp Bank, they are all wild, and it will be a bank of wind.959


    New Hampshire Notes — 1735 — Those who agreed not to receive them960


    A Letter to the Merchant in London, to whom is Directed, etc., 1741

    I have the Authority of his most Sacred Majesty and His most Honourable Privy Council, on my Side, in the Case of the New-Hampshire private Notes. This Government, at the perswasion of the Merchants, who are now against all Currencys but that of their own, and that not to circulate, having passed a Law against those Notes passing here, that Law came under Consideration at Home, when His Majesty in Council in Consideration that all His Subjects were free to Propose, Receive, or Reject each others Credit at Pleasure, Abrogated that Law, and pronounced it Null and Void.961


    The Face of the Note

    The following is a copy of one of the Notes emitted by the Portsmouth Merchants:


    Province of N. Hampshire N° (1727)


    We Promise Jointly and severally to pay to Hunking Wentworth of Portsmo Mercht or Order the sum of Ten Shillings on the 25th day Dec: which will be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hund. and forty six in Silver or Gold at the then Current price or in passable Bills of Credt. on the Provs of N. Hampr. Massachts Rhode Island or Connect Colony with Interest of one p Cent p Ann. from ye date hereof being for Value Recd as witness our hands 26th of Decr. A. D.




    Saml Smith

    Andr Wiggin

    I Downing Junr

    Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts from an original in the possession of Barrett Wendell Esquire

    Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts from an original in the possession of Barrett Wendell Esquire

    Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts from an original in the possession of Barrett Wendell Esquire

    Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts from an original in the possession of Barrett Wendell Esquire

    Reverse of the New Hampshire Notes

    Engraved for The Colonial Society of Massachusetts from an original in the possession of Barrett Wendell Esquire

    Mr. Chester N. Greenough made a communication supplementary to an earlier paper on John Dunton’s Letters from New England.962 He pointed out that Dunton’s habit of borrowing from seventeenth-century “characters” is exemplified in the footnotes to his Stinking Fish, or A Foolish Poem Attempted by John the Hermit, published in 1708, where he plagiarizes Hall, Earle, Ford, and Flecknoe. This rare volume, undoubtedly the work of Dunton, has recently been acquired by the Harvard College Library. This new discovery of Dunton’s plagiarism emphasizes the necessity of extreme caution in accepting as fact or as original anything attributed to him or claimed by him as his own.

    Mr. Farwell exhibited a manuscript map of Boston Harbor once the property of Admiral Lord Howe, and spoke as follows:

    The date of this manuscript map is difficult to determine and I know of no engraved reproduction of it. The title is in a plain oval and reads: “A New Plan of the Harbour of Boston in New England Late. 42°.–24ʹ. North. Longe. 71°. West. Surveyed by Order of the Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Navy. Note The soundings were taken at low water Variation West 10°. Observed Ano 1700. by Capt. Edmond Halley. The spaces inclosed with dotts are mostly mud flatts covered with Eel Grass.” Her Majesty’s Navy can only refer to Queen Anne, 1702–1714, so it is of interest to compare it with the first engraved map of Boston Harbor that we have, which is in the English Pilot of 1707. The latter has the same title, excepting that it reads “Done by Order of the Principall Officers and Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Navy.” The two maps closely resemble each other and are drawn upon the same scale, but there are many variations, some important, so the two maps do not appear to depend upon one another. The compass, the radiating lines, the shoals, and the sounding figures are practically identical, and an anchor is shown at the same spot in both, being the only one shown on either.

    The principal variations are as follows:

    Manuscript Pilot of 1707963

    Charles River

    Cambridge Creek

    Stony Brook

    Not shown

    Not Marked

    Roxbury Neck

    Brantree River

    Quinzies Creek


    Not marked

    Smelt River

    River to Brantry & Weymouth

    Way River965

    Not marked

    No mark, houses and church shown

    Hull (with houses)

    Beacon shown on Point Alderton

    Not shown

    Light House (1715) shown and marked

    Beacon Island

    Castle William

    Castle Isle

    Boston & Charlestown have plans only

    Houses shown in elevation

    Chelsea (1738) in wrong position, north of Hog Island

    Not shown

    Houses and church on Pulling Point

    Not shown966

    Generally throughout the two, ground plans of buildings, excepting churches, are shown on the MS and elevations on the engraved map. The arrangement of buildings in Boston and Charlestown, on the Pilot map, are quite different from the plans on the manuscript. Long Wharf is shown on the MS but not on the Pilot map, “the out wharf” being shown instead. “Chelsea” and “German-town” may have been added after the map was made, but it is hardly probable, although the lettering is slightly different.

    This was one of many maps and charts which formerly belonged to Admiral, Lord Howe, who commanded the British fleet on this coast, during the Revolution. They were kept in an oak chest, presented to Lord Howe by the British Nation, and came, through his connection with the Sligo family, into the possession of the Dowager Marchioness of Sligo, who presented the chest and maps to the present Lord Howe, who returned the maps. They were then sent, for sale, to Mr. Basil H. Soulsby, Superintendent of the Map Department of the British Museum. From him they were purchased by Henry Stevens, Son, & Stiles, from whom I purchased the American maps. They were all numbered and indorsed by Admiral Howe, this one being marked: “244 Halley’s Boston Harbour.”