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tions and minutes of those who lead and of those who are led, of all the shelves and rocks on which Gov. Shute and our several parties and factions have ran foul. We have here at present two parties, Dudley and Cook, who from private family resentments have drawn the country blindly into differences in public managements for several years, their characters I shall not now touch. We have at present also a sort of temporary party viz. some for making more paper money and others against it; the merits of the case his Excellency and yourself know better than I can say.
Our Assembly begins their session twenty third current. The affair of making more paper money, the granting of two lines of barrier towns, and the dividing of some counties will occasion long and tedious disputes so as to keep them sitting until Christmas. If his Excellency arrive here any time before they break up, doubtless they will make some handsome allowance for his charges of moving hither, and as is usual in the fall sessions make a considerable half-year's gratuity or sallary; perhaps by management (though they never hitherto could be brought into it) and keeping both parties at a distance equally, they may strive to engage the governor by bidding upon one the other, and be brought to make a settlement for term of years; but the ne sutor ultra crepidam, admonishes me to stop short.
Gov. Shute did make of his government three thousand pounds per annum ; by management it may be doubled. We have few places of any considerable profit in the governor's gift, but a great many small farms well leased out may be equivalent to a few great farms. The naval office is considerable and entirely in the governor's gift; the captaincy of the castle by custom is conferred on the Lieutenant Governor. The captaincies of the forts to the eastward are at present of small value viz. Fort George, Richmond on Kennebeck river, Brunswick fort, and the fort on Saco river. The governor has the nomination of the sheriffs of the several counties, (good small farms, that of Boston is the most profitable post in this Province, next to the treasurer and commissary in war time) of the registers of probates in the several counties. The governor
has also the negativing of treasurers, commissaries of provisions and stores, impost officers, and collectors of excise, which may be managed with a fellow feeling. By a new commission of the peace and militia bestowed on certain persons this county may be biased, for we are all ambitious of honor and places. — I should be glad by first opportunity to know who is to be our Lieutenant Governor; it is but a name while the governor is in the Province, not being allowed so much as a place in council; doubtless his Excellency may and will receive several solicitations for places before his arrival; if my character of persons and the value of places can be of any service to his Excellency from time to time shall faithfully do it. Please let me know when his Excellency may be expected here; he has been my toast in company these several years and is now to my great joy become our toast next to the Royal family. Please also let me know what friends and attendants he brings from York.
May I be so happy in his Excellency's countenance and
Boston, 4th December, 1727. SIR, I expected to have been favored with a letter last post in relation to what affairs you may think proper to communicate to me concerning our Province, as also more particularly of the extent of the late earthquake west southward, its different time of duration, schock &c.; we have had repeated small schocks and rumblings like distant thunder for some weeks along Merrimack river and the adjacent towns; I send his Excellency some of the sand brought up with a temporary eruption of water in Newberry during the great schock. As to the extent
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east northwards, it did not pass the Bay of Fundy, they having had nothing of it in Nova Scotia. — The great and just character you give of his Excellency is the reason why I cannot forbear (even to a degree I am afraid of being officious) writing of affairs relating to his interest with us.
Our Assembly as I wrote in my last do bid on each others party in favor of Mr. Burnet; the lower house, I think, have agreed that the interest or profits of sixty thousand pounds now to be emitted as part of a new emission of paper money shall for ten years be a fund for a sallary. If the emission could be stopped (as to the affair of instructions from home against the emitting of paper credit, the present exigencies of the government excepted, Mr. Burnet knows best how that stands) until his Excellency's arrival here, I am apt to think it might be for his interest; as also a bill now depending concerning the laying out three lines of towns (a vast affair and in which former governors have always come in for a profitable share) on our frontiers. — I am sorry to hear that his Excellency's commission is not expected until next spring; we have here numbers of candidates for every place of profit or ambition, if the governor thinks them a perquisite, it will be much for his interest to make no absolute promise of any until his arrival here. If you think proper to communicate to me anything relating to what applications are made or a making shall with integrity do his Excellency any service I am capable of.
By way of amusement I design at this conjuncture to send you in scraps the present state of this Province. That for this letter was to have been relating to our Province bills now current but must defer to my next, business having interrupted me; take for the present the following summary scheme.
Province bills circulating.
Price of oz. of silver.
1720, 69,000 150,000 219,000 12 6
16 or 200 pr. ct. exchange.
Thus you may see the influence that the making of much paper credit has on the real value of silver and ex
change. — My humble duty to his
Excellency and service to Mr. Kennedy and all friends. I am, dear Sir, Your most humble servant,
WIL. DOUGLASS. Please let me hear from you next post. To CADWALLADER COLDEN, Esq., New-York.
Boston, February 13th, 1727. DEAR SIR, Tuesday January third, one hour fifty minutes P. M. we had a small undulating shake of an earthquake with a small concomitant noise all over the Province; having wrote so often on this phenomenon it becomes tedious to myself and doubtless to you likewise, and therefore shall say nothing further on that subject if something very extraordinary do not happen, which I am apt to think will not be in our time. — I have presumed to trouble his excellency with a letter concerning some late divisions we have had in our church called the King's chapel which I thought it my duty to notify; it is in relation to the choice of a minister, as I have more fully related in that letter. The high church party (being but a few though very noisy) would not delay the choice until Gov. Burnet's arrival, having a prejudice to the name of Bishop Burnet. By some unlucky persuasions, Mr. Jekyll our Collector was this time (though a loyal man) from some personal pique to Mr. Harris, induced to be of his party; as was also Capt. Cornwall (a loyal officer) perhaps from some disgust two years ago to our government of this Province, who in a slight to him (being unprovided) fitted out a vessel of their own against the pirates ; the moderate churchmen, Mr. Burnets friends, being always in favor of our government, it was thought he resented that affair on them at this juncture. Mr. Burnets friends, the moderate party, are beyond comparison the most considerable men in the chapel, for estates &c. The others, though but a handful of leaders, are industrious noisy, and mobbish.
Your letter of January 29th came to hand while I was writing this, against next post shall endeavour to satisfy you in the particulars desired ; and shall be glad to know
if his Excellency has had any apology from Captain Corn-
Boston, 18th March, 172. DEAR SIR, We have no vessel lately from Barbadoes, but by a vessel arrived here sixteenth current from South Carolina, thirteen days passage, we are informed that the same day he sailed from South Carolina arrived there a vessel from Barbadoes with the news of Colonel Montgomery's arrival on that island. — The other part of the map of New-England which I promised some time ago, I cannot finish to my own satisfaction; it may be advisable for you to undertake that part of Connecticut which is adjacent to New-York (we having little or no communication with them) and transmit to me, the better to enable me to comply with my promise.
As to the state of our paper currency (which I also promised) I shall go no further back than the year 1720; because in the year 1723 was finished the calling in of all Province bills on funds emitted preceding the year 1720. Our first paper money was 40,000 pounds emitted in 1690 to defray the charges of the then Canada expedition. — In 1712 paper began by some to be reckoned not so good as silver at 8s. per ounce, which occasioned an act of Assembly that year making it legal tender for all debts contracted since 1705; and since that time our paper currency by too great emissions has gradually lost of its credit so that at present 16s. 6d. is but sufficient to purchase one ounce. Our paper emissions are of two sorts; viz. some on loan to be paid in the principal at set times; the interest goes towards defraying the charges of government; and some on funds to be called in after some years gradually by poll rates, impost, excise, powder money, and light-house money. The sundry emissions and times of their coming in again, I have reduced for brevity and perspicuity to the following scheme: