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BOOK ceedings, withdrew their subscriptions, and relinim quished their design 44.
3. On the disavowal of their Indian company by and at Hamburgh. William, the indignation and resentment of the
Scots were excessive. The invidious opposition of the English confirmed their hopes; and as the act of which the king disapproved, could neither be recalled nor suspended, they determined to proceed. Four hundred thousand pounds were immediately subscribed, with such ardent zeal, that the covenant itself was never more eagerly embraced. The nobility, the gentry, and the merchants, every borough, and almost every family of distinction in the kingdom, hastened to subscribe their name and credit, and to contribute their funds, to the first of those ruinous projects, or national bubbles, which, in the South Sea and in the Mississippi schemes, were repeated afterwards in England and France. Distrustful, however, of their own resources, they determined to reserve a third of their capital for foreigners. On Paterson's application, two hundred thousand pounds were subscribed at Hamburgh; but the company was still pursued by the commercial jealousy of the English and Dutch. Sir Paul Rycaut, the English resident, presented a memorial to the senate, threatening the city with his master's resentment; and the merchants, notwithstanding a spirited answer, withdrew their subscriptions to
** Darien Papers, MS. Ralph, ii. 623.
avert his displeasure from a free state. The com- BOOK pany petitioned in vain for redress ; nor were these the only discouragements which it sustained. 1697. An absolute famine had desolated Scotland, from the failure of the harvests during the three preceding years. Many families perished for want; 1698. many were driven to Ireland for subsistence, and the country was drained and impoverished by large sums exported for grain 45. Nothing else Sçots pero than the national pride or honour, piqued and in- scheme. dignant at the opposition of the English, could have incited the Scots, under such multiplied discouragements, to persist in the scheme. Five large frigates, built or purchased for the company at Hamburgh, were fitted out with a cargo of mer. chandize, military stores, and provisions; and with a colony of twelve hundred men ; three hundred of whom were gentlemen, destined for the settlement of new Caledonia, on the isthmus of Darien, Their future government was vested in a colonial assembly, and in a council of seven distinct from the company, which reserved a twentieth part of the lands, metals, precious stones, and pearl fisheries, and stipulated for an annual return of seven thousand pounds sterling for the use of the shipping and military stores. As the hopes of the July so. whole nation were placed on an enterprise, the greatest which Scotland had ever undertaken, an
sist in their
45 Carstairs, 385—7—91. Fletcher's L'iscourses. Burnet, iv. 261. Vindication of Darien, 39.
BOOK address was voted in a session of parliament, to w which sir Patrick Hume, created earl of March
mont and chancellor, was appointed commissioner, representing the obstructions invidiously created at London and Hamburgh, and demanding the protection of the king to vindicate those privileges
which the company had obtained 45... Opposed The situation of William, at the head of nations by the king.
ding whose commercial and political interests were
often discordant, was undoubtedly perplexing, and every concession of trade in Scotland must have alarmed and offended the English and Dutch. But the settlement at Darien, which began to be suspected, was irreconcileable with the vast designs which he meditated for the partition of Spain. To oppose the dangerous aggrandizement of the house of Bourbon, was the uniform object of his life and reign. To prevent its succession to the whole of the Spanish monarchy, the partition treaty was concerted with Louis : but the settlement of the Scots at Darien, must have incensed the Spaniards as the first step towards its execu. tion; and the French, as a perfidious departure from its terms. In these circumstances Williamı might refuse his protection to the company, but · was scarcely justified in obstructing its success, much less in accelerating its ruin. But the Jacobites had acquired the chief share and direction in
46 Carstairs, 315--92. Darien Papers, MS. Collection of Darien Papers.
the Darien company; and accustomed to consider BOOK Scotland as an appanage subservient to the inte rests of England, he suspected their design, to 16 render him odious to his other subjects, and to involve him prematurely in a rupture with Spain. In return to the addresses of the parliament and the company, he complained that he was not consulted in the expedition; and when its destination was explained, instructions were dispatched to exclude the Scots from all access to the English plantations 47.
Their fleet had coasted around the north of Settlement Scotland, and after a short delay at Madeira, con- at Darien. tinued its course to the gulph of Darien. The place of their destination was Acta, at an equal distance between Porto-bello and Carthagena, on the coast opposite to the isle of Pines, where they found a secure and capacious harbour, formed by a peninsula, which they fortified, and named Fort St. Andrew's, from their tutelary saint. But the lands were first purchased from the native princes, and by a specious example of moderation and justice, unknown to the new world, they proposed to establish a better title and right to the country than the Spaniards possessed. New Edinburgh, the intended capital of New Caledonia, was pro.
claimed a free port, open to all nations; and their · first dispatches to the company contained the most flattering accounts of the climate and soil. Their
47 Id. 34. Ralph, ii. 817.
BOOK arrival, in the beginning of winter, happened at
* the most temperate and healthful season in the 1698. tropical climate, when the air was cool, serene, and
refreshing, and when the rich and luxuriant soil was no longer deluged with the rains attracted by a vertical sun. But the company had already been defrauded by its directors and servants, and the provisions brought from Scotland, were insuf. ficient for the colony, and were soon consumed. The gentlemen who had embarked as settlers, were unused to labour. The constitutions of the peasants, inured to a cold and mountainous region, were unequal to the fatigue of clearing the ground. On the sun's return from the further tropic, the colony melted away from improper food, and from the diseases incident to a sultry, damp, and unwholesome climate, where it rains almost incessantly during two thirds of the year. No sloops were provided to distribute their cargoes, in exchange for provisions, through the West India Islands; nor were the cargoes properly adapted for sale. The Spaniards who attacked their infant settlement, were repulsed with loss; but one of their vessels was stranded and seized at Carthagena, on its voyage to Barbadoes, and the crew were imprisoned and condemned as pi. rates. A vessel dispatched with provisions from Scotland, was burnt at sea. When in this critical situation, the colony relied for subsistence on its trade with the English, proclamations were issued