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Reign of William III. (Continued.) page 6


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These were sound reasons why the king would not consent to any such invasion of the territory of Spain, and why Spain was not likely to concede it by treaty. These reasons should have made Paterson and the Scotch pause. There could be no successful settlement there whilst these difficulties existed. Had the scheme been started afterwards, when Louis had seized the Spanish crown and William was again at war with him, he might have undertaken the expedition, and the most magnificent results have followed. In fact, after he had completely crushed the enterprise by his discountenance, and was again in hostility with Louis, he actually sent for Paterson and entertained the plan cordially; but it was too late; William was then hastening to his end.

Unwarned by the great outcry, the firm opposition, and insurmountable obstacles, Paterson and the Scotch went on. The Scottish people, who conceived the idea of achieving enormous wealth in the golden regions of Central America, regarded themselves as victims to the jealousy of William's favourite Dutch, to the haughty, monopolising spirit of tha English, and the whole country was in a ferment. They considered themselves insulted and most perfidiously treated by the king, who had freely sanctioned the company, and now as unceremoniously disowned and trampled on it. They went on with the subscriptions, and speedily the amount rose to four hundred thousand pounds. The highest and most intelligent of the Scottish nobility, as well as the people at large, were sanguine contributors. Their younger sons saw a new highway to opulence and distinction suddenly opened. Many lords mortgaged all that they could to secure an ample share of the expected benefits. Their tenantry and servants were enthusiastic in their adhesion to it; and the officers, whom the peace had left at large, prepared for fresh campaigns and adventures in the golden regions.

The company had a number of stout ships built in Holland to convey over the emigrants and their stores. On the 26th of July, 1698, five of these ships, the St. Andrew, the Unicorn, the Caledonia, the Snow, and the Endeavour Pink, containing one thousand two hundred men, set sail from Leith. Such was the excitement, that all Edinburgh seemed to have poured out to see the departure of the colonists, and hundreds of soldiers and sailors who could not be engaged clamoured to be taken on board. Many contrived to get into the vessels and endeavour to conceal themselves in the hold, and when discovered they clung to the timbers and riggings, offering service without pay.

When the vessels had sailed the Scottish parliament unanimously addressed the king on behalf of the company, and the validity of the charter. The lord-president, Sir Hugh Dalrymple, the brother of lord Stair, and Sir James Stuart, the lord-advocate, also presented memorials defending the rights of the company. Paterson committed the error of sailing in the fleet as a private individual. He had incurred the resentment of the company by having remitted twenty thousand pounds to Hamburg for stores, part of which, without any fault of his own, was embezzled by the agent. The company, therefore, refused to give him the command of the colony, but appointed a council of seven members without a head. This was certain to insure want of unity of purpose and consequent failure. Paterson was the only man qualified by his abilities, his experience, and his knowledge of the country to take the command. He is said to have seen and conversed with the celebrated buccaneer Dampier and his surgeon, Lionel Wafer, on the statistics of Darien; and, if the expedition was sent at all, it should have been under his entire control. Nothing, under the political circumstances, could have insured the establishment of the colony, but Paterson's guidance would have prevented the dire calamities which ensued. He was certain that the vessels were not properly furnished with provisions and stores before setting out, and he in vain urged an examination. When out at sea a few days, he was enabled to get an examination, when there was discovered to be a serious deficiency, but then it was too late. They next sailed for Madeira, where their sealed orders were opened, and they then bore away for the West Indies. They put into St. Thomas's, and there might have obtained plenty of provisions from a ship-captain, but for the perverseness of the council. The advice of Paterson was uniformly rejected out of jealousy. On the 30th of October they landed in a fine bay on the coast of Darien, capable of holding one thousand ships, and about four miles east of Golden Island.

The incapable council, spite of Paterson's advice, would plant their new town in a bog, but the effects on their health soon forced them to remove to higher ground. They erected a fort and threw up defences at Acta, which they named New St. Andrews, and on a hill opposite made a signal station, where they placed a corps of highlanders to keep a good look-out for the approach of any enemy.

But the miserable management of the council brought speedy misfortune on the infant colony. The people were suffering from want of everything. Paterson soon lost his wife, and numbers sunk under disappointment, insufficient food, and the climate. The natives were friendly to them, but wanted them to go and fight the Spaniards. It was soon found that the mountains and forests offered enormous obstacles to that very transit to the shores of the Pacific which Dampier's representations had promised. The different leaders of the expedition fell to quarrelling, and Paterson endeavoured in vain to reconcile them. They sent out vessels to the West India islands for provisions. One, the Snow, they lost, and the Pink, endeavouring to get to New York, after beating about for a month, was driven back. Amid the rapidly-sinking colonists and the fatal feuds of the leaders, they received on the 18th of May the stunning news that the king had issued a proclamation denouncing the act of the colony having infringed his treaty with Spain by forcibly entering the Spanish territory of Panama, and forbidding any of the English governors of the West India islands to furnish them with provisions or any necessaries.

The moment Louis XIV. heard of their settling in Darien he had offered to the king of Spain to send ships and forces and drive them out for him. The Spanish minister at London, the marquis de Canales, presented a remonstrance against this breach of the peace with his master on the 3rd of May. Dalrymple, who has left much information on this expedition in his u Memoirs," says the Dutch and English opponents were at the bottom of this remonstrance; that Spain had let the affair go on a long time without noticing it; and that the rights of the company had been debated before king William, in presence of the Spanish ambassador, before the colony sailed. All this may be true, for the real destination of the expedition was kept secret till the fleet arrived at Madeira, and Spain protested as soon as she discovered whither it was gone. William, who was just now making treaties with Louis, and anxious to be on good terms with Spain, strictly enforced the orders to deprive the suffering colony of all means of remaining. These measures of the king produced the most fatal consequences in the colony. Every one, says Paterson, was in haste to be gone from it. In vain he tried to persuade them to stay for more positive orders. Captain Pennicook, the captain of the fleet, was reported to be intending to steal away with his ship, on the supposition that they were all proclaimed pirates and would be hanged. The poor colonists continued to die off rapidly, and news now came that the Spaniards were marching against them with a strong force.

Famine, sickness, and the fear of being massacred in their weakness by the enemy, compelled the colonists to evacuate the place. On the 18th of June, 1699, the Unicorn, St. Andrew, and Caledonia sailed from Golden Island for New York. On the voyage they met the sloop which they had sent to Jamaica for provisions. It had got none, owing to the royal proclamation, and they all proceeded on their route. They lost one hundred and fifty out of two hundred and fifty of their number on the voyage, and arrived at New York in October, more like skeletons than living men. On the 13th of November Paterson and his companions reached England in the Caledonia. The indignation of the Scotch at their treatment was beyond bounds, and the more so because, unacquainted with the real facts of the case, they had sent out a second expedition of one thousand three hundred men.

The history of this second expedition was as miserable as that of the first. On arriving, the new adventurers, instead of a flourishing colony, found the place deserted, and only a few miserable Indians to tell them the fate of their predecessors. With this new arrival came four Presbyterian clergymen, who assumed the command and seemed to think of nothing but establishing a presbytery in all its rigour and uncharitableness. Paterson, like Penn in Pennsylvania and lord Baltimore in Baltimore, had proclaimed perfect civil and religious liberty to men of all creeds and nations. This was now reversed: there was nothing but the most harsh and senseless phariseeism. They quarrelled with gentlemen who were not of their creed, and, says Dalrymple, "they exhausted the spirits of the people by requiring their attendance at sermon four or five hours at a stretch, relieving each other by preaching alternately, but allowing no relief to their hearers. Wednesday they divided into three parts - thanksgiving, humiliation, and supplication, in which these ministers followed each other. And as the service of the Church of Scotland consists of a lecture with a comment, sermon, two prayers, three psalms, and a blessing, the work of that day, upon an average of the length of the service of that age, could not take up less than twelve hours, during which space of time the colony was collected and kept close together in the guard room, which was used as a church, in a tropical climate, and in a sickly season. They demanded, besides this, of the council, to set apart a day for a solemn fasting and humiliation, &c." Instead of a comfort, these men proved one of the worst curses of this unfortunate colony, thwarting and damping the exertions of the people, and continually threatening the poor people with hell fire. Two of these ministers perished.

In the midst of these miseries arrived Captain Campbell of Ferrol, with a force of his own men. He attacked and dispersed a body of one thousand Spaniards, sent against him, but this was only a fresh offence against Spain, and, therefore, against king William. They were soon, however, assailed by a more powerful Spanish squadron. Campbell got away to New York, the rest of the colony capitulated, and there was an end of the unhappy expedition to Darien. The Spaniards humanely allowed the remnant of this wretched company to embark in one of their vessels, the Rising Sun; but as the British authorities at all the islands refused them any succour or stores whatever, only eighty of them arrived alive in England.

Scotland was in a frenzy of indignation at this cold-blooded conduct of the king, who, if he had visited the projectors with severity, ought to have had some compassion for the poor deluded sufferers. The exasperated Scots called on the king to withdraw his proclamation against a company which had an undoubted right by charter to trade to the West Indies, if not to the mainland. They demanded that the Scottish parliament should be summoned, but William only! sent evasive answers, and the fury of the people rose to that height that nothing was talked of but that the king had forfeited his right to the allegiance of Scotland by his conduct, and of a war with England.

When William returned from Holland, in the autumn of 1699, he found this tempest of indignation raging against him in Scotland. Events on the continent soon caused him to repent of his callous treatment of this scheme of colonisation, and as we have said, when it was too late, he sent for Paterson to discuss the practicability of still carrying it out. Paterson, though he had sunk his fortune in it, was still as zealous for it as ever. His plan for reviving the colony of Darien may be seen in Sir John Dalrymple's "Memoirs." He proposed to give four-fifths of the interest in it to England; and in 1701, when William determined to strike a blow at the fame of Louis in South America, he gave Paterson assurances of his support. It was too late. Mr. Saxe Bannister has recently thrown the true light on the character and aims of Paterson, in a life of his drawn from the public documents in the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh, in the Bodleian, at Guildhall, and various other sources. In this work he has amply shown that Paterson was far before his time in his perception of the principles of free trade, or sound morality in all mercantile and political schemes; and in his ideas of religious toleration. His scheme of a Council of Trade embraces a wonderful circle of suggestions for the effectual promotion of our commerce, for the management of our poor laws, for the purchasing and warehousing of corn by government to secure it at a reasonable rate for the supply of our poor, for regulating the home and foreign trade, for encouraging the fisheries, for a board of works, including the best maintenance of highways, streets, bridges, harbours, docks, &c., for punishing thieves by making them labour in favour of the parties robbed, for the lenient yet salutary treatment of debtors and bankrupts, for regulating the coinage and equalising all weights and measures, and for reducing all important import duties to one per cent. The plans of Paterson still deserve the serious attention of political reformers. He urged on William the benefits of a union with Scotland, and gave him a plan for effectually preventing embezzlement and neglect in the public offices, as well as for a sinking fund. In 1715 he was granted, by act of parliament, eighteen thousand two hundred and forty- one pounds ten shillings and ten pence, in consideration of his losses by the Darien Company. His last days were spent in resisting the various paper schemes of John Law.

Meantime the partition treaty had become known to the court at Madrid, and William's meddling in it excited great indignation. At the same time the agents of Louis had prevailed on the failing king to nominate the electoral prince of Bavaria his heir to the crown. Scarcely, however, was this done when this young prince died, being only eight years of age. Louis still kept up the farce of disinterestedness, and persuaded William to enter into a second treaty, settling the crown of Spain on the archduke Charles, son of the emperor, but leaving the Italian states to the dauphin. Again were William, Portland, and Tallard, with an agent of the emperor, busy on the new partition at Loo. But whilst they were busy there, the French ambassador was equally busy at Madrid, inflaming the mind of the weak and dying king against William and the emperor, and prevailed on him to leave the whole Spanish monarchy to the duke of Anjou, second son of the dauphin. The king of Spain was also induced to send a strong remonstrance against the interference of king William in the affairs of the Spanish monarchy to Mr. Stanhope, the English minister at Madrid. Similar remonstrances were presented for form to the ministers of France and Holland. The Spanish minister in London, Canales, was ordered to present a still stronger remonstrance to the lords-justices in London, on which the court of Spain informed them that his Spanish majesty would take the necessary measures himself for the succession of his crown; adding that if these proceedings, these machinations, and projects were not speedily put an end to, there would undoubtedly commence a terrible war, in which the English, who had felt what innovations and the last war had brought upon them, would have the worst of it. Canales, who had a high personal resentment against William, who had forbidden him the court for the insolence of appearing covered, announced haughtily that on the meeting of parliament he should appeal to it against the king's proceedings.

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Pictures for Reign of William III. (Continued.) page 6

Defeat of the Turks by prince Eugene
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Thanksgiving at St. Pauls
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Old palace at Madrid
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William III. and duke of Gloucester
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Capitan Kydd
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Madame De Maintenon
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Charles XII
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View of Ostend
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View of Naples
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Harley receiving the “Legion” memorial
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King James II
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William III.
William III. >>>>
Queen Anne
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