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Notes on the Scots' Darien expedition online

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kingdoms ; and he adds a hope that " after they had
lived one hundred years under one king some happy
expedient might be found for making them one

In April 1702, Queen Anne acknowledges an
address from the parliament of Scotland, which, she
says, would have been answered by her predecessor
had not death prevented. In it she intimates her
firm purpose to maintain the sovereignty and indepen-
dency of her ancient kingdom against all invasions
and encroachments, and promises to be equally
tender of the rights, prerogatives, and liberties of
the crown and kingdom of Scotland as of those of
England, and says her chief design would be to
govern both according to their respective laws and
liberties, and to avoid all occasions of misunder-
standing or difference ; adding, " and for this end
we shall think it our happiness to establish an
entire union between the two kingdoms upon an


equal and just foundation, and the parliament of
our kingdom of England having shewn so good an
inclination to this union, we expect that nothing
on your part will obstruct a design so useful for the
happiness of both kingdoms."

In this proclamation she further promises that no
Scotsmen shall be impressed for sea-service in the
English fleet ; regrets the losses incurred through
the Darien Expedition, and promises to back up any
project for their reparation and assistance. The
reparation came at last in what was called " The
Equivalent." A short explanation of this term and
of what led up to it is necessary. The discussions
regarding the union between the two kingdoms were
very prolonged, and often of a very angry character.
The spirit which had been roused in Scotchmen over
their treatment by the English in their late efforts
after foreign trade was as bitter as ever, and was
liable to break out into flames at any moment. One
episode which shewed this feeling occurred in April
1705. Captain Green, the commander of the
English East Indiaman, the "Worcester," having
had by stress of weather to put into the Forth, was
seized by the authorities in retaliation for a seizure
in the Thames of a ship of the South African
Company. Some of the crew charged Green with
the seizure of a Scotch vessel in the East Indies, and
with the murder of the captain (Drummond) and the
crew. Green was tried for murder and piracy, and


with his first officer and gunner was executed, though
professing entire ignorance of the Scotch ship's exist-
ence. The populace was furious against these men,
and the news of their death aroused equally violent
feeling in England, and extreme retaliatory measures
were proposed. Better councils, however, prevailed.
Negotiations were continued, and the leaders of both
sides saw the absolute necessity of an arrangement
being come to. The chief difficulty lay in the arrang-
ing as regards the incidence of taxation and trade
questions generally.

Finally, in arranging a scheme of union, it was
conceded that the Scots were prejudiced to the
extent of ^"398,085 by duties and customs they were
called to bear in consequence of their assuming their
share of the debts of England. This amount was
called "The Equivalent," and from it her majesty
was empowered to pay the national debt of Scotland
and the Darien capital stock with interest. The
balance was to be used in payments of loss in the
Scotch currency, and for encouraging the fisheries
and manufactures of the country.

A committee was appointed to report on the affairs
of the Indian and African Company, and the result
was that they found the total stock advanced by the
proprietors, with interest at five per cent to the 1st
May 1707, amounted to ^229,482. 155. id. sterling,
and that the total debts of the company amounted to
^"14,809. 185. nd. sterling, both sums amounting to

"THE equivalent:' 53

^"244,292. 14s. From this sum several proprietors
had borrowed about ^"1,126, so that the real amount
of capital and debts was ^"243,166. They recom-
mended that Gavin Plummer and Andrew Cockburn,
the late company's cashiers, should be empowered to
receive the same amount from the Commissioners of
the Equivalent, and act as cashiers and tellers for its
distribution. A balance of ^1,654, expected to be
realised from the sale of the ship "Caledonia," lying
in the Clyde, the wrecked ship "Speedwell," in the
East Indies, the Edinburgh warehouse in Milne
Square, and sundry other items, was to be used for
office expenses during distribution of the Equivalent,
and to enable the council and directors to pay "such
necessary allowances and satisfaction to the several
gentlemen who had suffered in their persons and
goods as their cases may warrant."

This arrangement was proclaimed from the Market
Cross of Edinburgh, in August 1707, and thus ended
the African Company.

Paterson's connection with the expedition itself
seems to have been slight, though at a meeting of
the board, in 1696, he was appointed to go with
other two directors, to engage foreign merchants,
and to negotiate regarding trade generally. Till
some time after sailing he was not a member of
council, and he seems to have had no influence
during the voyage. On his return home, in 1 >ecember
1699, he addressed a report to the directors, and


in it complains that when he suggested a meeting of
council before sailing, " so that the commanders might
rectify any omission in their stores," he was told in
plain language to mind his own business. His story,
as told in his report, is a melancholy record of divided
counsels, jealousies, and bitter altercations. Paterson
says that on the 5th June 1699, he was taken ill of
a fever, "but trouble of mind was none the least
cause thereof." Ten days after, he was carried on
board the " Unicorn," which ship, along with the
"S. Andrew" and "Caledonia," conveyed the sur-
vivors of the first expedition. His journey was a
most disastrous one, and it was a wonder he recovered.
He states that one hundred and fifty out of the two
hundred and fifty who embarked with him at Darien,
died before they reached New York, on the 13th
August 1699. They died, he says, "mostly from
want of looking after and means to recover them."
His indisposition was such that he was incapacitated
from taking any further part in the expedition, and
two months afterwards he sailed from New York for
home, arriving in Islay in about a month. After
some delay he crossed to the mainland, and, owing
to the state of his health, travelled by easy stages to
Edinburgh, arriving there in about a fortnight,
broken down in health and spirits by the sad experi-
ences of the eighteen months that had elapsed since
his sailing from Leith.

Paterson's activity of mind returned with the


return of health, and documents preserved in the
British Museum show that but for the untimely death
of King William, the latter might have been won
over to Paterson's scheme as an important factor
in his opposition to France and Spain. Paterson
wrote largely on political economy and kindred
subjects, and passed the remainder of his life chiefly
in the literary and political circles of London. He
died in 1718, and his will was proved for some ^"7,000.

An attempt to compensate him for his losses was
made in his later years by the House of Commons,
which passed a bill granting him ^"18,400, but it was
thrown out by the House of Lords, and nothing more
was done in the matter.

The contemporary pamphlets and books relating
to the Scotch Darien Expedition are generally very
roughly printed on inferior paper, but such is the
interest in the subject, that the prices they command
must seem absurd to those who have not taken an
interest in the subject, and who are not, to some
extent, bibliomaniacs.





Anent Payment to the Proprietors of the
African- Company.

AiY.\E fay the Grace or GOD, Queen of Grcit Britain, Frame and
Inland, Defender of Che Faiih, To
Macers of On/ Privy Council, Meffen-
perj ar Arm*. Our Sheriffs in (hat part, conjunctly and (everally,
fpecwlly conftiturr, Greeting ; Perafmtuh as, rhe CommifOoners appoin-
ted by U> for DilpoGng of the Equivilcnr, by their Memorial of the date
the Thirteenth «■• Augutt inftanr, have notified to the Lords of Onr Privy
Council, Thar tbey would be ready to Jiake payment to the Proptietanand
others concerned in the African Compioy, upon Tutfda) b*ing the Twenty
fixth ot Augiift inftjni j And defiring that the faids Lords might thereupon
iffue out ttieir Proclamation accordingly Thcr'fort, We with Advice of
the I.O'ds of Our Privy Council do hereby fignfie, and iotimat that the Com*
miffi ne'Stor difpofing theEquivalent.willbe ready to enter ujonpaymentato
Che Proprietors and otbors concerned in the African Conifa'j, vpoaTuifday
UingtheTwency fixh inftaut.and will continue thereafter tocompleat their
payments with all Diligence. Our Will it btrtfere, and We Charge you
ftnttly and Command, that incontinent ibir Our Letters feen ye pafs to the
MercarCrcfiof Edmbnrgb, and (here in Our Name and Authority mike pub-
lick Intirnaiion hereof, (bat none pretend Ignorance. And Ordains thefe
Preknts to be Printed. Given under Oar Signet at Edinburgh the Ivtntj
firfi day »f Augufl, and ef.Onr Kaigo the fixth year 1707.

Per 4(tnm Domlnorum Se'reti Concilii,
AL. MAITLAND. Cb. Sti. Cenchi.

GOD fave the QUEEN.

Edinburgh, Primed by the Heirs and SaccetTors of Andrea Andcfon, Prin-
ter to the Queens moft Excellent Majefty. Aunt Dam. 1 707.


rvn OQ Santa Barbara

VVL V" W Goleta, California




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Online LibraryJ ParlaneNotes on the Scots' Darien expedition → online text (page 4 of 4)