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Correspondence of Governor Sharpe, 1753-1757
Volume 6, Preface 8   View pdf image (33K)
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           8                     Preface.

          

          

           political party. In particular, they attacked the tonnage and tobacco

           dues as illegal. The first of these was a port-duty of fourteen pence

           per ton on vessels trading to the port and owned by non-residents,

           which formed part of the revenues of the Proprietary; and the other, a

           duty of one shilling a hogshead on all tobacco exported, most of which

           was paid to the Governor as his salary. There were also disputes about

           licenses to public ordinaries, hawkers, and other minor matters.

             When the necessities of the war forced Sharpe to apply to the bur

           gesses for supplies, the opposition became stubborn. While they would

           not put themselves in the position of absolutely refusing, they saddled

           their grants with conditions which Sharpe was compelled to reject.

           Among others, they insisted that the Proprietary's manors and reserved

           lands, though unoccupied, should bear a portion of the tax; and here

           Sharpe, not without misgivings, had to yield somewhat, for it was soon

           seen that the want of defence stopped the sale of the western lands,

           thus losing Baltimore much more money than his share of the tax

           amounted to.

             The French and Indian war gave occasion for a violent outbreak of

           hostility to the Roman Catholics. Many, in their blind bigotry, looked

           upon every member of that faith as a possible spy and traitor, and pro

           fessed to stand in dread of them, though they were only one twelfth of

           the population. This fanatical spirit Sharpe endeavored to restrain, with

           a fairness that does him credit, though he could see no injustice in the

           double tax laid upon those of the Roman faith. This contest continued

           throughout nearly the whole of Sharpe's administration, sometimes with

           considerable bitterness. In addition to these causes of irritation, the

           evident indifference of the Proprietary to any interests but his own and

           those of a few personal favorites, completely estranged the affections of

           the people, and prepared them for the separation which was soon to

           follow. Among the various schemes for raising money in the colonies

           without the consent of their Legislatures, over which Sharpe, in his strait,

           was constantly brooding, was that of a stamp tax, which was afterwards

           adopted, with unforeseen results.

             After the defeat on the Monongahela, Dunbar, who succeeded Brad-

           dock in comniand, instead of making a stand at Ft. Cumberland or

           some other defensible place, retreated with his whole force, and did not

           stop until he reached Philadelphia, where he went into quarters. The

           whole western frontier was now open, for the garrison at Ft. Cumber

           land was small and isolated, and there was every reason to fear that all

           Pennsylvania west of the Susquehanna, and all Virginia and Maryland

           west of the Shenandoah and Potomac, would be abandoned by the

           inhabitants. Sharpe hastened to the frontier, and by establishing small

           posts with a system of ranging parties, somewhat quieted the alarm.

           The next year the Assembly granted supplies for the war; and part of

           these funds he applied to building Fort Frederick, on the North Moun

           tain, near the Potomac, about 4 miles E. of Licking Creek. The Indians

           had learned from the French how to approach and burn the stockade

           forts, so Sharpe faced the bastions and curtains with stone. This fort

           was of inestimable service in protecting the western frontier.

          

 

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Correspondence of Governor Sharpe, 1753-1757
Volume 6, Preface 8   View pdf image (33K)   << PREVIOUS  NEXT >>


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