The Glorious Revolution in America
Publication Year: 1987
Published by: Wesleyan University Press
Introduction to the Wesleyan Edition
What do you say about your book the second time around? My late friend and colleague Merrill Jensen, in like circumstance, wrote that it was a temptation to "review the reviewers," and I suppose it is, except that I don't believe I could stomach the task or think it would be worth the effort. Not that the reviews were bad, for most were not, although I do remember not finishing one or two ...
This book is about England's American colonies in the latter half of the seventeenth century. It is less a study of colonial policy and navigation acts—although it would seem to begin that way—than about the colonists' responses to both of these, or more generally to the concept of empire which emerged in England after the Restoration in 1660. The focus of the book is upon events and ideas leading up to and climaxing in the colonial rebellions of 1689 ...
1 “An Affayre of State”: Trade and Commerce
The Restoration of Charles II offered Englishmen splendid opportunities to expand dominions overseas. The settling of new plantations after 1660 was part of an overall economic expansion which, in addition to planting people in America, involved English merchants, courtiers, and promoters in mercantile ventures as diverse as extracting furs from the shores of Hudson's Bay and Negroes from the coast of Africa. ...
2 “An Affayre of State”: Government, Politics, and Religion
The vigor of the new Lords of Trade made itself felt also in England's political and governmental relations with the plantations in America. True, the two aspects of colonial policy were not separate, although no doubt most Englishmen would have agreed that the real business of empire was a profitable regulation of its trade. It occurred to some and in particular to the Lords of Trade that the chief purpose of policy might be accomplished more easily if ...
3 The Virginia Charter and Bacon’s Rebellion
Virginia affords a splendid example of a colony which attempted in the latter half of the seventeenth century to define the limits of its relationship to the Crown and the mother country. It did so first in a drive to secure a charter in 1675. Like New York, as we shall see, Virginia's response to demands from abroad was in constitutional terms, and the content was dictated by its peculiar conditions. What makes Virginia's experience particularly striking is ...
4 Virginia Under Culpeper and Effingham
If Bacon's Rebellion significantly altered conditions in Virginia, the changes were not immediately apparent. To be sure, Bacon was dead, and Berkeley left for England and soon died, too. But the Green Spring people retained a good deal of power, and this did not assure peace and quiet, since they frequently tangled with Colonel Herbert Jeffreys and the Royal Commission. Fundamentally, Virginia's two major problems were still its government and a surplus of tobacco. ...
5 Maryland: Colonists’ Rights and Proprietary Power
Maryland and Virginia had a lot more in common than a sharing of Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River. Dependence upon tobacco was as much a part of one's existence as the other's, and with tobacco went all the difficulties which accompanied a staple crop. For Maryland's tobacco brought no better price in London than Virginia's; settlers of both colonies were familiar with poverty when the price plummeted ...
6 New York and the Charter of Libertyes
The latter half of the seventeenth century proved to a good many settlers in America just how unsettled and tenuous was their position as Englishmen outside the realm. A unique situation obtained in the colony of New York after the English conquest of 1664; the colonists' response to it explains something about the colonial mind ...
7 Massachusetts Bay: Purpose and Defiance
The legal safeguards and guarantees which Virginia, New York, and Maryland struggled to obtain, the people of Massachusetts Bay assumed they possessed from the outset. The Bay Colony charter, for the most part an ordinary trading company patent, had become, in view of the Puritan mission, a holy document, sacred evidence of a covenant with God. Through ingenious interpretation ...
8 Massachusetts Bay: Demise
Despite the terrible scourge of King Philip's War, the cycle of sin and calamity continued in Massachusetts, greatly upsetting those whose task it was to keep the public conscience. The punishment of war, it seemed, had not wholly satisfied God's justice. True, some of the earlier sins had been expiated. As far as they knew, "Marry Moor" and her friends had ceased their fornication ...
9 His Majesty’s Real Empire in America
The last few years of Charles II's reign were unsettling for Englishmen in both England and America. A number of the difficulties which confronted the colonists in these and the years which followed had their origins in England but reached out to America and frequently affected the turn of events. Central to England's turbulence was, of course, religion ...
10 The Dominion of New England: The Bay Colony
Establishment of the Dominion of New England was the high point of the new Stuart colonial policy. Bringing the northern colonies together under one governor general would go a long way, it was hoped, toward solving problems of trade enforcement, political dependence, and defense against French and Indians. It was likely, however, that consolidating New England under one head ...
11 The Dominion of New England: From the St. Croix to Delaware Bay
Governor Andros' Dominion was more effective in controlling Massachusetts than it was the other colonies which the King included in his regime. Andros' power and authority were more easily felt the closer one kept to Boston. Plymouth, the provinces of Maine and New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut were supposedly under his thumb, but subjection to his rule varied. ...
12 The Glorious Revolution in England
Increase Mather was fond of England. He had been there for an extended visit some time earlier, a visit which had stretched through Cromwell's time to the Restoration of Charles II, when he beat a hasty retreat to more friendly Boston. In late May 1688 he was back again with his son Samuel, age thirteen, and the weight of New England was on his shoulders. It was an exciting time to be in London, ...
13 The Glorious Revolution in New England
The rule of James II hung as heavy over colonists in America as it did the people of England in 1688. For James was King in the dominions, too. His arbitrary government, the colonists believed, was reflected everywhere; in Andros' regime over all of New England, New York, and New Jersey; it encouraged the oppressions of Catholic Lord Baltimore and his oligarchy in Maryland ...
14 The Glorious Revolution in New York and Maryland
To Lieutenant Governor Nicholson in New York the overthrow of Andros at Boston could not have come at a worse time. But probably for any royal governor, no time was favorable for being on the wrong side of rebellion. By April 26, 1689, news of the goings on at Boston had reached New York, and Nicholson read a copy of the Massachusetts Declaration to his handful of councillors on that day. ...
15 Sanction and Justification
Rebellion against authority in the American colonies, whether justified or not, did not dispel the uncertainty and uneasiness of those who rebelled. Similarly, neither those against whom rebellion was aimed nor the do-nothings who sat between the two camps found life easier or more certain. Yet in several ways the abrupt changes cleared the air ...
16 Resistance and Dissent: The Ghost of Masaniello
The new governments in New England, New York, and Maryland did not lack opposition. It rose in a variety of forms and in varying degrees of intensity, ranging from violent resistance, on the one hand, to reasoned constitutional dissent, on the other, with considerable indecision between the extremes. The differences of opinion all added to a confusion ...
17 Resistance and Dissent: War, Merchants, and Tories
New York merchants were a problem for Leisler. At the outset a number supported him, men like Charles Lodwyck, and well they might, for he was a merchant himself and appeared to share their interests. Before the overthrow of the Dominion he had led a peaceful revolt against paying customs duties to what he called an illegal Catholic government, and his defiance won him followers. Once he was in the saddle ...
18 Resettlement I
Not long after the Revolution in England Sir William Temple described King William III as a prince of great firmness who spoke little but thought much.1 William's American colonists might have agreed, but they probably would have added that if William thought a good deal, it was not about them. One of the ironies of the Revolution was that Englishmen in England believed it was their revolution alone ...
19 Resettlement II
Events in New York in the spring of 1691 were as unsettling to Bay colonists as the bloody Indian attacks in Maine. Leisler's arrest, imprisonment, and trial for treason and murder were events Massachusetts people watched with sickening fascination, and well they might. If New York's reward for rebellion against Andros' Dominion was trial of its leaders for treason, what about their own? ...
The results of the Glorious Revolution in America were not clear-cut, for the effects were as varied as the causes. If the chief goal of revolution was a shift of allegiance from James to William, as it was in England, then it was universally achieved, for it obtained in the colonies which did not revolt as well as in those which did. If a primary purpose of revolution was to smash a Catholic conspiracy ...
Page Count: 423
Publication Year: 1987
OCLC Number: 731694245
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