America and West Indies: February 1691

Pages 384-393

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 13, 1689-1692. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1901.

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February 1691

Feb. 2. 1,312. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The Governor reported Captain Haughton's intelligence of fourteen large ships sailing into Martinique. Commissioners appointed to see to the victualling of Admiral Wright's fleet. Order for an embargo on shipping, for all seamen to repair to their ships, and for a general muster of militia. Proclamations for the two latter objects. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XII., pp. 158–162.]
Feb. 2. 1,313. Extracts from several letters from Boston. 3 December, 1690. Our men left Canada in such haste that they left five guns to the French. Our last hope for the poor souls who are missing is that they have gone to the West Indies. Eight ships and about five hundred men are missing, most being short of provisions. If, as is feared, the French and Indians attack the South and East, they will drive all before them.
8 December, 1690. Our fleet before Quebec is defeated. We arrived about the middle of October and were detained for three weeks twenty miles from Quebec. The enemy were thoroughly alarmed, and Count Frontenac entered the town three days before our men of war could get up. A summons was sent to them, as severe as our four clergymen (who were joined to the Council of war) could make it. The four are Hales, Wise, Emerson and Rawson. Young Thomas Savage who took the summons ashore received a verbal answer. "You are traitors to your King; and as you threaten us with no quarter if we refuse, we shall neither ask nor give it." On Wednesday we landed about two miles from the town 1,200 men under Major General John Walley, with no very great loss—3 killed and about 70 wounded. We beat up their ambuscades and marched to within half a mile of the town, where our reinforcements were to join us. As none came, the great land-officers (as if none else would have served the purpose) went aboard Sir William Phips to ask the cause. He answered that his ammunition was spent, having encountered the rocks mostly in the night time, so concluded a retreat. This was irregularly performed on Friday night; and the French, perhaps not understanding our meaning, suffered us to go and to get well aboard, leaving five out of field-pieces behind us, to our great dishonour. After exchanging prisoners we sailed for Boston. Before this was treated, all our ships were secured, and the General and many others slipped their sheet anchors and cables with two buoys at the end of them. All rode with the Union flag. All but seven ships have arrived, but the mortality, owing to a thoughtless committee, has been great, neither provisions nor accommodation being suitable to the men. Over four hundred are dead, and the missing men may be reckoned among them. We still harden our hearts and talk of a second attempt, but some think that Sir W. Phips is better employed in going home to ask for help. I understand that we are in treaty for a truce with the Indians till May. Twenty rates are to be collected, and I know not how we shall bear them. We are already £55,000 in arrear.
31 December, 1690. We are undone for want of help from England, and the great author of all our mischiefs is about to sail to ask for it. In our expedition to Port Royal we kept bad faith, and our perfidy has been retaliated on us in Canada by a shameful overthrow. Our extremity is such that any orders from the King would be acceptable.
29 January, 1691. We have news that Colonel Sloughter is started for New York, that Mr. Mather has procured confirmation of the Charter of Connecticut and that we too are to have a charter—which will be fatal to us. I hope the sword will never be put into such mad men's hands.
2 February, 1691. The loss and waste, which we have suffered over the Canadian expedition, can hardly be repaired, whatever some men may say. We are stopping the mouths of soldiers and seamen by a new mint of paper-money. Not many will take it, and these that will scarce know what to do with it. The whole, 2–12; pp. [Board of Trade. New England, 5. No. 138.]
Feb. 2.
1,314. Major Savage to his brother. There is no news but that of our defeat in Canada. We sailed with thirty-two ships, about 2,000 men, four months' provisions, and little enough ammunition. We had no pilot for the river, of which there is 100 leagues to go up before reaching Quebec, so that we knew not what to do when we got into the river. This made our passage long, but at last we got up to the city, and it was agreed that the men should be put ashore on a beach about two miles from it, move as close to the town as possible and encamp for the night. For there was a river, about knee-deep at low water, between us and the town. It was settled that at night small vessels with guns, ammunition and provisions for us should come, and bring our field-pieces to cover our passage of the stream, and that, when we had crossed, the big ships should move up and batter the town. We landed accordingly about twelve hundred men, and I was the first field-officer ashore. No sooner were we ashore than we found an ambuscade of about 600 French in a swamp by the side of the beach. These galled us somewhat during our landing, but our men at once beat them out and pursued them a long way, being all wet to the knee, if not to the waist, from wading ashore. We marched about half-a-mile from the river and encamped. Our men had spent most of their ammunition, having brought only fifteen or eighteen shot ashore with them, and two biscuits apiece. The reason was that we expected the small vessels to bring us everything that night. We had about five men killed, and twenty wounded in this skirmish. My brother Ephraim was shot in the left thigh, and though I sent him on board ship he caught cold and is still so ill that I fear he will never recover it, being unable to stand or go.
About midnight they sent us ashore six eight-pounder field-pieces, which we knew not what to do with, for the place was marshy with several small gullies to be crossed. They sent us also half a barrel of powder—you may judge how poor an allowance for 1,200 men—and no provisions. No sooner were we engaged at our landing than our four big vessels weighed anchor, contrary to orders, and fell to battering the town. They had spent the best part of their ammunition by the time they got back, and the Admiral was forced (so they say) to slip his anchor and cable. We had several skirmishes while ashore, but little harm done. Prisoners tell us that if we had come four days earlier, we should have found but 600 people in the town : but our long voyage up the river gave them warning, so that they had now 3,000 men in the town and 800 in the swamp by our side. We often sent on board to get victuals, for we found little ashore, and at last they told us that they had no more ammunition and sent us a biscuit apiece, with orders to re-embark. Fifty seamen were sent to look after the field-guns, and we began to go aboard, myself and my regiment having orders to go first. By midnight therefore we were embarked, but for some unknown reason five of the field-guns were left behind. Then, provisions being scarce, we made the best of our way back and are all well arrived except two vessels cast away and nine of the men lost, another ship burned, but all hands saved, and four not yet come in. You will probably hear many reflections on Lieutenant-General Walley, but he is not guilty of what they charge him with; but some who make themselves faultless blame him. We killed about thirty of the French and exchanged seventeen prisoners. Some of those whom we recovered had been some time in the town and confirmed the statement as to the number of men there, telling us that if we had crossed the river we should have been destroyed. So that I look upon the issue as the providence of God, for if provisions and ammunition had been sent us we should certainly have been with them. Copy. 2¼ pp. [Board of Trade. New England, 5. No. 139.]
Feb. 5. 1,315. Joseph Dudley to William Blathwayt. Eight weeks' easy weather has brought one ship to Boston, and, I hope, the fleet and frigate to Bermuda, from whence we daily expect them at New York. I shall meet them and assume my duties there. Leisler, I hear, rages to that degree, that, at the houses of the gentlemen who have fled, he has driven every living creature away and set the broad arrow on their houses. He has so exasperated everyone that his credit is almost gone, even at Boston. We are now raising twenty rates here, which makes thiry-seven since the revolution, but all too little to pay for the last expedition to Canada. The blame is divided between the field-officers and Sir William Phips who by this time, I suppose, is at Whitehall to give an account of himself. I am told that the whole story was sent home a month ago. It is now three months since the return of the Expedition, and there is still no news of five vessels, which had not a month's provisions on board. If they are lost, as is feared, then there are about a thousand fighting men dead in this expedition without a blow struck. The country is in a very bad state in all ways, and the King's delay in our settlement will make us a prey to our enemies and to each other. It will be hard long to support and quiet the true lovers of the Crown and Government of England if we lie much longer neglected. Signed. J. Dudley. Holograph. 1¼ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 24 Mar., 90–91. [Board of Trade. New England, 5. No. 140.]
Feb. 10. 1,316. Account of the proceedings of the present rulers of Massachusetts to Laurence Hammond, clerk of the peace of the County of Middlesex. The writer describes how in 1690 he was required by the revolutionary Government to give up the records of the County then in his charge and refused to do so. He then continues as follows: All was quiet after my refusal in October until the 3rd of this inst., when the County Court was held. On that day the records were again required of me, and on my refusal, John Green, who delivered the order to me, tried to arrest me; but.on my refusing to go with him, though without drawing my sword on him, he left me; and on the 5th I was summoned to answer before the General Court for my refusal. I answered by repeating my reasons for refusal, and declined to appear, as I knew that it signified imprisonment. On the 6th John Green came, followed by some of the Boston rabble, with a warrant of Thomas Danforth, broke into my house and closet and carried away the records. I repeat that the records were entrusted to me by the authority of the Crown, and that I knew of no persons lawfully authorised by the Crown to receive them of me. My office is of no profit to me, so my objection was not obstinate but conscientious. Expecting this violence, I escaped the night before this visit. 2½ closely written pages; the first part printed in the pamphlet abstracted under date of April 9, 1691. [Board of Trade. New England, 5. No. 141.]
Feb. 12.
1,317. Order of the King in Council. That the Draft Commission to Governor Copley be prepared for the Great Seal and royal signature. Copy. ½ p. [America and West Indies. 556. No. 7.]
[12 Feb.] 1,318. Extract of a letter from Governor Codrington to Mr. Gwyllym. You will see by mine of 3rd August that I have preserved the fort and Island of St. Eustatia and invited the former Dutch settlers to reoccupy it, which many of them have done. I was advised to destroy the place, but spared it for the sake of these people. I have also been very kind to a Dutch gentleman of Guadeloupe, who was recommended to me by the King, and have given him a good plantation in St. Christophers. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. from Mr. Gwyllym, 12 Feb., 1690–1. [America and West Indies. 551. No. 3.]
Feb. 15. 1,319. Governor Christopher Codrington to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Since mine of 16th December we have received the joyful news that the fleet has been ordered to remain here, instead of returning to England. I long extremely for the arrival of the merchant fleet and for your instructions for the prosecution of the war. If these instructions do not forbid me I design to propose to the Governor of Barbados that if he lends me five hundred men I will destroy the remainder of the French Caribbees, Martinique excepted; or if he will undertake it himself (for he has thrice as many men in his one Island as I have in my four) he shall have the fleet, the King's regiment, and as many men from these Islands as he sent down from Barbados. I am sure that he will comply with one or other of these proposals, and I hope that the report I gave you of the inconvenience of restricting Governors by the consent of their Councils will cause new instructions to be issued herein. Two days after the news arrived that our fleet's return had been countermanded I received accounts of the arrival of a French fleet. I have heard nothing from Admiral Wright, who is at Barbados and, I expect, will not move till the merchant-fleet comes out. I cannot believe that all the ships arrived at Martinique are men of war. If the King of France would spare them he would hardly send them with no merchant vessels among them, so I suspect they are mostly merchant ships with some frigates for convoy, and the more so since I hear nothing of any of them cruising. If they be all men of war our landsmen will require little persuasion to man our ships; if not I hope you will soon have a good account of one of my two projects aforesaid. I hear poor accounts of the feats of Sir William Phips and the new English in Canada. They are a hardy people, but so little used to war that they have no officers to instruct them. To my surprise I have not had a line from Lord Inchiquin at Jamaica, though I have written frequently. I am told that he is displeased at my sending so many French prisoners into his Government, as he calls St. Domingo. I wish that he would make it his Government and then he could send the prisoners where he pleases. I have no more news, and am ashamed to give the King so poor a return for all the expense to which he has been put for the West Indian squadron. No effort on my part has been wanting to kindle greater activity. Signed. Chr. Codrington. 2½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 3 April 91. Read 22 May, 1691. A copy of his letter of 16 December (No. 1242) is written on the outside sheet of the despatch. Enclosed,
1,319. I. Captain Wickham to the Governor of Montserrat. H.M.S. Antelope, 18 January, 1691. Last Sunday this ship and the Bristol left the fleet at Barbados with orders to cruise six days off Martinique. The Bristol saw fourteen great ships sail into Port Royal, which from the account given by a merchant-vessel I believe to be men of war. With these Northerly winds I chose this passage, instead of the Southward, to Barbados in order to warn you. I dare not lose time or should gladly offer you my services. I intend to warn Antigua if I can, but I must entreat you to inform the Governor and the other Islands, for breach of my orders to hasten to the Admiral may be very dangerous in every way. They look for the Jersey's convoy of merchantmen every day at Barbados. The fleet is ordered to stay out here. I wish you prosperity and victory. Signed. Hen. Wickham. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 4 Apr., 1691. [America and West Indies. 551. Nos. 44, 44 I, and, without enclosure, Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 43. pp. 322–325.]
Feb. 15. 1,320. Abstract of Colonel Codrington's letters of 26 November and 16 Feb. The Lieutenant-Governor of Nevis being unwilling to keep his appointment I intend to appoint Colonel Charles Pym to succeed him pending the royal orders. It is detrimental to the King's service that there is no allowance to the Lieutenant-Governors. I beg that this may be represented to the King, and that a discreet person may be sent to Nevis. In eighteen months that Island has lost 1,500 men by sickness; and malignant fever is still among them, whereby the strongest of the Leeward Islands has become the weakest. I complain that the Lieutenant-Governor of Nevis has refused to obey my orders to send me some of the stores sent thither for all the Islands, pleading the Council's opinion. I beg that it may be signified that these Islands are to be governed by the orders sent from England. A Lieutenant-Governor will do much for the settlement of the place, and encourage the importation of white servants. By the management of the Lieutenant-Governor of Montserrat, there is now good correspondence between the English and Irish in that Island. Colonel Williams, who is in charge of Antigua, is well qualified, but he will not keep the post without an allowance. Fresh provisions are nearly at an end, and I beg for liberty to trade for them with Porto Rico. 2 pp. [America and West Indies. 551. No. 5.]
Feb. 17. 1,321. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The Assembly attending, the Governor recommended to them the repeal of the Monmouth rebels Act and a bill for the admeasurement of parishes. The repealing bill was brought up and referred to a Committee. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XII., pp. 162, 163.]
Feb. 17. 1,322. Journal of Assembly of Barbados. John Sutton chosen speaker. Bill appointing a committee for public accounts passed; the bill for repealing the Monmouth rebels Act. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XIV., pp. 262–263.]
Feb. 18. 1,323. Duplicate Copy of the Minutes of Council of Virginia from 9 December, 1690 to 18 February, 1691. 29 pp. [America and West Indies. 637. No. 11.]
Feb. 18. 1,324. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Order for no ships to sail for other Colonies without giving £500 security not to sail to Europe. Order for taking security for the production of powder and lead, taken for the King's service, if required. Order for securing certain arms captured at sea for the King's service.
Feb. 19. Order for arrest of Daniel Pugh for permitting Indians to be shipped from the country. Order for James Minge, appointed Deputy-Surveyor by Colonel Philip Ludwell, to appear at next Council and meanwhile to make no change among the surveyors already appointed. Robert Dudley appointed sheriff of Middlesex County.
Feb. 20. Order for recommendations of fit persons for sheriffs, coroners and justices, and a sheriff and surveyor ordered to appear to answer for neglect in enforcing the Lieutenant-Governor's recent instructions. Resolved that an oath be taken not only from the masters but from the loaders of ships as to the quantity of tobacco laden, when laden in bulk. Order for grand juries to take greater care to prevent the making of casks of false gauge. Draft circular to the Churchwardens approved. Proclamation for preventing desertion of seamen approved. Order for a survey of H.M.S. Dumbarton as soon as the captain of the frigate arrives, since her captain reports her defective. Resolved that an Assembly be called, but that the writs be not issued before the 4th of March, and that if the frigate arrive not by that time, the meeting be fixed for the 16th of April. Orders for reinforcement of the rangers and calling out of the militia in case of alarm of Indian invasion. Ordered, in view of the declaration of the people of Pennsylvania that they will not fight if invaded, and in view of the frequent meetings of Quakers without notification to the Governor, according to law, that no Quakers hold meetings without giving due notice as required by Act of Parliament, and that they receive no strangers and publish no strange news without informing a justice of the peace. Order that the Justices of James City County may sit in the General Court-house, when not required for other purposes, provided they keep the room in repair. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIV., pp. 467–485.]
Feb. 19. 1,325. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. The Governor announced the suspension of Sir Francis Watson and the appointment of James O'Bryan in his place, which latter was sworn. Resolved that if any will advance money to hire cruisers, the Council promise to reimburse them as soon as possible. Resolved that if necessary seamen be pressed for the service of the Island, volunteers to be paid 45 shillings and impressed men 35 shillings a week. Resolved that writs be issued for an Assembly to meet on the second Tuesday in June. On petition of Smith Kelly, ordered that his accounts be audited. Charles Bouchier resigned the Clerkship of the Council, and the Governor nominated George Reeve to succeed him, who was sworn. Orders for certain payments. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 77. pp. 72, 73.]
Feb. 20. 1,326. Report of Lords of the Treasury to the King. In the matter of Edward Davies and others, pirates, we have examined all the papers and heard Counsel on both sides. Here follows an elaborate account of the case, and of the arguments and statements of both sides. On the whole we are of opinion that Davies and his companions did not comply with the conditions of the proclamation for surrender of pirates, but that they abandoned their ship and went to Virginia with the intention, in good faith, of surrendering; and therefore that they have a right to the goods taken from them. Signed. Godolphin, R. Hampden, He. Fox. 10 large pp. [America and West Indies. 637. No. 12.]
Feb. 20. 1,327. William Blathwayt to Mr. Sotherne. Enquiring how long the victuals prepared, under an Act of the Leeward Islands, for the squadron, may be expected to last. Draft with corrections. ½ p. [American and West Indies. 551. No. 6.]
Feb. 21.
1,328. Mr. Sotherne to William Blathwayt. In reply to yours of yesterday, it is impossible to calculate how long victuals will last unless the quantity of beef and pork in the barrels is known, but I will ascertain how long the supply may be expected to serve Wright's squadron according to the reckoning at the Victualling office. Signed. J. Sotherne. 1 p. [America and West Indies. 551. No. 7.]
Feb. 21. 1,329. Proclamation of the Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia to prevent seamen belonging to ships coming from England from desertion. Copy. 1½ pp. [America and West Indies. 637. No. 13.]
Feb. 23. 1,330. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Lord Baltimore, Mr. Cheseldyn and Mr. Coode were heard as to the Revenues of Maryland. The Lords agreed on their decision.
Lord Inchiquin's report on the petition of Colonel Ivy and others read. The Lords agreed on their report.
Petition of John Grey and others read. The Lords agreed on their report.
Order for a copy of Mr. James Twyford's petition to be sent to the African Company.
Memo.—On Feb. 26 it was ordered that Captain Wright's squadron should remain in the West Indies and be provisioned for six months. [Board of Trade. Journal, 7. pp. 1–4.]
Feb. 23. 1,331. Minute of Lords of Trade and Plantations. That the petition of James Twyford for restoration of the ship Society, condemned in Virginia, be referred to the Royal African Company for their reply. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 36. p. 59.]
Feb. 23. 1,332. Minute of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Desiring the Lord President to lay before the King Lord Inchiquin's report on the petition of Colonel William Ivy and others, concerning fines imposed on them by the Grand Court. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 53. p. 12.]
Feb. 23. 1,333. Report of Lords of Trade and Plantations. We find that of the two shillings per hogshead duty imposed on tobacco exported from Maryland, one half is appropriated for the support of the Governor there. We therefore recommend that, out of the bills of exchange remitted for the same and for the fourteen pence per ton duty, one moiety be applied by the Treasury to the support of the Government, and that officers be appointed to collect it; and that the value of the bills for the fourteen pence duty and a half of the two shilling duty be answered to Lord Baltimore. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LII., pp. 217, 218.]
Feb. 23. 1,334. Petition of John Grey and others, defendants against an appeal of Sir John Witham's executors, to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Praying that the appeal may be dismissed in consequence of the continued delay and evasion of the appellants. 1 p. Endorsed. Read 23 Feb., 1690/1. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 4. No. 57.]
Feb. 23. 1,335. Order of Lords of Trade and Plantations. That the executors of Sir John Witham prosecute their appeal within fourteen days, in default whereof it will be dismissed. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. VIII., p. 273.]
[Feb. 23.] 1,336. Memorial of Colonel Bastian Bayer and others, on behalf of the Leeward Islands, to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Twelve months ago the King was good enough to send Admiral Wright's fleet and the Duke of Bolton's regiment for the preservation of the Leeward Islands, with good success. We learn from public and private sources that a French fleet, more powerful than the English, has sailed from the West Indies. We beg that if the present English squadron has been recalled (as is reported) another may be sent to the West Indies in its place. Signed. Bastian Bayer, Jos. Martyn, Ri. Cary. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 23 Feb., 1690/1. [America and West Indies. 551. No. 8; and Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 43. pp. 307–309.]
[Feb. 23.] 1,337. Representation of Roger Williams. That his application to be Clerk of the Naval Office in the Leeward Islands has not been answered. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 23 Feb., 1690/1. Annexed,
1,337. I. Roger William's original petition for the office to the King, with a minute of 1 January, 1689–90, signed by Lord Shrewsbury and referring the matter to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. 1 p.
1,337. II. Certificate that Roger Williams is loyal and a good Protestant. Signed. Tho. Pilkington, Mayor, and by four others. ½ p. [America and West Indies. 551. Nos. 9, 9 I, II.]
Feb. 26.
1,338. Order of the Privy Council. For the despatch of six months' provisions to Captain Wright's squadron in the West Indies. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 43. p. 346.]
Feb. 27. 1,339. Order of the Privy Council. That, in accordance with the Committee's report of 23 February (No. 1333), the value of the fourteen pence duty and half of the two shillings per hogshead duty be collected and received by Lord Baltimore for his own use. Copy. 2 pp. [America and West Indies. 556. No. 8; and (dated 26th) Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LII., pp. 219, 220.]
Feb. 27. 1,340. Minutes of Council of Virginia. The Lieutenant-Governor reported the receipt of Lord Howard's Commission and instructions, which were ordered to be read on the 5th of March. Order for arrest of George Mason and others for the murder of John Payne. Warrant issued for survey of H.M.S. Dumbarton. Order for despatch of the Proclamation as to seamen and of the orders as to ships to the Government of Maryland. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIV., pp. 485–488.]
Feb. 27.
1,341. J. Sotherne to William Blathwayt. Orders were sent to Captain Wright to send a fifth and a sixth-rate, or two fifth-rates for the protection of Jamaica. H.M.SS. Experiment and Wolf are to bring back the convoys from Virginia and Maryland and H.M.S. Dumbarton. Signed. J. Sotherne. 1 p. [America and West Indies. 601. No. 28.]
Feb. 28. 1,342. William Blathwayt to Mr. Sotherne. Asking for the list of ships now comprising Admiral Wright's squadron, with the number of men and guns. Draft. ½ p. [America and West Indies. 551. No. 10.]