America and West Indies: May 1691, 11-30

Pages 432-451

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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May 1691

May 11. 1,475. Minutes of Council of New York. Order for distribution of the arms taken from inhabitants during the late troubles, to be restored to their right owners on their taking the oath appointed by law.
May 12. Recommended that payment of £100 be made to the Governor for his expenses to Albany and £100 for his salary.
May 13. Order for payment of £30 to Jarvis Marshall, an old servant of the Government; the Governor also promised him an appointment on the first vacancy.
May 14. Great clamours of the people relating to the prisoners condemned for treason and murder were reported. The Council resolved that the sentence upon the principal offenders should be executed.
May 15. Order for discharge of John Thomson, committed for spreading false news, on his apology and submission. Joseph Dudley, Thomas Johnson, Stephanus van Cortlandt, William Smith and William Pinhorne nominated Judges of the Admiralty Court. William Smith also received a commission for Judge of the Prerogative Court of Suffolk and another for his clerk. He was also sworn a Judge of the Supreme Court. £130 paid as the salary of the Chief Justice, and £100 as that of Thomas Johnson as Judge of the Supreme Court.
May 16. Message from the House of Representatives approving the resolution to execute the principal offenders in the late troubles. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXV., pp. 257–260.]
May 11. 1,476. Journal of House of Burgesses of Virginia. The six bills sent down from the Council brought in. James Bray again summoned for his neglect to attend the house. Committee appointed to acquaint the Council how far its amendments to the Ports Bill were agreed to. Bills for impost on liquors, for better defence of the country, for planting flax and hemp, and for dividing Lower Norfolk County, read a second time.
May 12. Message from the Council as to the summoning of Captain Jennings, and as to a conference on the amendments to the Ports Bill. Order for arrest and detention in custody of James Bray. Amendments to the Tanners Bill and the Defence Bill reported. Bills for encouragement of manufactures, for regulating tobacco-hogsheads, and for dividing New Kent County, received from the Council and agreed to. Bill for dividing Lower Norfolk County amended.
May 13. A petition of several Counties was read and rejected. James Bray's excuse for not attending accepted.
May 14. Bill as to horses amended and sent to Council. Bill to alter the time for processioning of land read a first time. Resolved that payment is due to Cuthbert Potter for expenses incurred in the public service. The Council's amendments to the Ports Bill considered, and after a conference the bill was agreed to. The Council's amendments to the bills for free-trade with Indians, and as to horses, agreed to; those on the bill for suppression of swearing not agreed to. Bill for processioning of land read a second time. Three bills passed and sent up to Council. Order for a bill to appoint a Treasurer, and that Edward Hill be nominated.
May 15. Bill for processioning of land passed and sent up to Council. The Council's proposals as to the bill for suppression of swearing accepted. Debate on the College. Resolutions as to the site and the constitution of the governing body. Bill for suppression of outlying slaves read a first time. The names of the Governors of the College agreed on and sent up to the Council. A conference asked for as to Captain Jennings's case. Five bills returned from the Council with the Council's amendments.
May 16. Bill for suppression of outlying slaves passed and sent to Council. The Council's amendments to the bills sent down yesterday were agreed to, except those to the bill for processioning of land. The Conferrers as to the grant to Philip Ludwell reported; and a message from the Lieutenant-Governor on the subject was received. Order for consideration of an allowance to be made to the rangers. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXV., pp. 741–753.]
May 11. 1,477. Minutes of the General Assembly of Virginia. Order for Conferrers to meet the Burgesses as to the Ports Bill, and a committee to meet them on the subject of the College. Criticism of the Council on sundry claims sent up by the Burgesses, and a recommendation of the rangers for an allowance.
May 14. The Ports Bill received, also six other bills from the Burgesses. Message from the Burgesses as to depositions in Captain Jennings's case.
May 15. Report as to the Conference on the bill for suppression of swearing. Bill as to processioning of land received. Message to the Burgesses approving the site of the College, and naming persons to accept the Royal Grant for the same.
May 15. Five bills returned to the Burgesses, two of them agreed to and three with amendments.
May 16. Bill for planting hemp and flax received. Message as to Philip Ludwell's grant, proposing to allow it as a favour, or to submit it for the Royal decision. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXV., pp. 643–653.]
May 12. 1,478. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Order for payment of the salvors of H.M.S. Wolf on their producing the necessary certificates.
May 13. The sailing of the convoy deferred till the 10th of June, and the necessary orders given. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIV., pp. 538–543.]
[May 12.] 1,479. Answer of Lord Howard of Effingham to the representation of the Council of Virginia. The question of quit rents in the Northern Neck is now under the Treasury's consideration. As to military stores, when trade was open these could be purchased out of the port-dues, but now this will not meet the expense. On future occasions the expense might be defrayed from the quit rents, but at present it is necessary that some be sent at once. As to the militia, I believe that many men cannot afford to equip themselves, but if they were supplied most of the remainder would plead the like poverty, which would lead to great expense. As to defence of the ports, the rivers are so broad that forts would be useless. A frigate or two with a sloop attending would best answer the purpose, but I can see no use for a fire-ship. As to the shipping, arrangements have already been made for a fleet to sail to Virginia this year, and the like will be necessary next year. As to Pamunkey Neck, it would be very well if the people were allowed to settle on the land. The Indians are so few, that thousands of acres, excellent for growing tobacco, are lying idle. As to the Surveyor General, it would be well if surveyors were appointed by the Government, for if I recollect aright they were almost as numerous as the burgesses, so that the Surveyor General gained power to influence the Assembly. But I know nothing as to the limits of Captain Culpeper's patent. As to the Indian trade I believe that the formation of a Company, as suggested, would be greatly for the profit and security of the country. But the methods whereby such a company should be governed I must leave to their Lordships. Signed. Effingham. 2 pp. Endorsed. Read 12 May, 1691. [America and West Indies. 637. No. 19, and Board of Trade. Virginia, 36. pp. 46–48.]
May 12. 1,480. Minutes of the Council of Barbados. The Governor acquainted the Assembly with General Codrington's request for a regiment; and after a short retirement the Assembly returned to say that they had appointed a committee to consider the means of proceeding in the business and asked for a joint committee of the Council; which, being appointed, brought up recommendations that a regiment of six hundred men should be enlisted and the cost defrayed by a tax on windmills. The Assembly brought up a bill to ascertain the qualifications of electors and jurors.
May 13. Order for several payments. The Governor proposed the employment of Mr. Joseph Woodroffe as director of the defence-entrenchments now making, who was approved. The Assembly brought up a bill for a levy on mills, and waited upon the Governor to hear the Council's objections thereto. After amendment the bill was passed. The Assembly asked the Governor to provide the new regiment with powder, and to give certain orders as to the arms and the enlistment of recruits. Order for purchase of provisions for the regiment. Proclamations to give effect to the Assembly's wishes. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XII., pp. 184–192.]
May 13. 1,481. Journal of Assembly of Barbados. The House brought up two bills as to qualifications of electors and jurors, and for a levy on negroes, and received the Governor's representations respecting troops for General Codrington (see preceding abstract). Proceedings of the joint Committee. The bill for levy on negroes returned by the Council.
May 13. Bill for a tax on windmills brought in and passed. A bill to enable John Kirton to sell lands brought in. Bill for a tax on windmills amended as requested by the Council, and returned together with certain requests as to arms and recruits. Copies of several orders for payments. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XIV., pp. 272–283.]
May 12. 1,482. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. The question of convoys again considered. The Newfoundland merchants wished to sail their ships without convoy; the East India merchants desired a convoy and protection for seamen to navigate six ships. The merchants to the West Indies, Virginia and Maryland desired the convoys to be deferred to the end of September.
Draft of the New Charter for Massachusetts referred to the Attorney-General.
Lord Howard presented his answers to the complaints against him from Virginia. Order for enquiry as to the patent of Alexander Culpeper for the post of Surveyor General. [Board of Trade. Journal, 7. pp. 13–15.]
May 12. 1,483. Minute of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Referring the draft Charter of New England to the Attorney-General. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXII., p. 271.]
May 12.
1,484. Governor Richier to Lords of Trade and Plantations. I arrived here in the Archangel on the 11th January. After I had been sworn in with the Council I endeavoured to learn from them the laws, customs and judicial proceedings. They answered that they were wholly ignorant of all such matters, that several Acts had been passed by a late Assembly, but that Sir Robert Robinson had kept them all in his own custody, as well as the judicial proceedings of Mr. Hordesnell, and would suffer no public matters to be recorded. They knew of no custom but to be ruled at his pleasure only, he having declared in Council that the laws of England should have no place in Bermuda and that the local Acts were of no force. I required accounts of the stores of war, public money, slaves and land. They said that Sir Robert received all, and if he paid out any would not allow of their advice and consent. There was a considerable sum raised by a liquor-tax (the only Act held good) which was received by a kinsman of his, one Ashworth, whom he sent off some time ago; but Sir Robert would not allow the money to be employed for the public and turned out Mr. Samuel Trott (who was Receiver before Ashworth) for refusing to pay the money without consent of Council. The slaves, except what remained in his possession, were sold by him. I apprised Sir Robert of what the Council said, and he seemed ready to satisfy me, but daily evaded examination. He sent me rough drafts of Acts of Assembly and other loose copies in unknown hands, but without attestation of the Clerks of Council or Assembly. I then demanded the accounts of him and pointed out that none of the papers furnished by him were authentic. I had fixed a meeting to settle everything, when he told me that he was accountable to the King only. He did not deny the charges against him, but supposed himself justified by his authority, saying that the public money and proceeds of slaves were to pay himself, the country owing him £1,100, of which an account has been sent to you. I had information that Captain Hicks of the Archangel was intriguing with Sir Robert to carry him off by force, though his departure was not opposed, together with Elizabeth Ashworth, who is in custody, having been convicted of crimes against the Government. I set a guard over Mrs. Ashworth, but he sent his pinnace manned and armed and carried off Sir Robert with all the papers and public accounts and bonds to the amount of £20,000 given by those concerned in the late wreck. This Mrs. Ashworth confessed. The Council has represented Captain Hicks's behaviour to you. I beg your instructions as to the treatment of captains of King's ships, if they impress inhabitants of Colonies without the Governor's permission. The law forbids any person to leave without a ticket, and masters of vessels give bond to carry no passenger without a ticket. The Archangel's crew was very sickly; and it was concluded by the captain and others that she would have run great risk in making New York in the winter had she not put into Bermuda. I provided fresh victuals and other comforts for the sick ashore, who recovered their health, and had the ships aired, cleaned and ready to sail before January was out. On the 2nd or 3rd of February she sailed with a south-easterly wind for ten days, yet on the 26th of March a vessel arrived from New York with letters for Colonel Sloughter, supposing him here. I opened them, as I thought it my duty, and enclose copy of the letters and of my answer to the Council there.
On the 17th the Assembly met. The first bill was for annulling all the Acts of the previous Assembly, no copy of them being extant. I gave them in writing the substance of my instructions and what business I thought it necessary for them to proceed on, particularly the instructions as to the public money, King's land and slaves, and destruction of timber. The two first matters they enquired diligently about, but I could never get any satisfactory account of the slaves frrom the Council and Assembly, several of the slaves being in the hands of members. So far, too, as I can learn, many of the members have been instrumental in the destruction of timber, which has greatly damaged these Islands. The cedar here is reckoned the best wood for shipping, and Bermuda sloops sell for double the price of those built in New England or elsewhere. There is very little public land willingly acknowledged to be the King's, though I understand that the Company had about a fifth part of the whole. In the accounts of Public lands you will find several little islands and spots (as they say) appropriated to freeholders, but these appear only to have been disposed of by the sheriff for public use. I have great reason to believe that parcels of land now in private hands belong of right to the King, but all my enquiries of the Council and Assembly are evaded. The reason why the King's lands are not improved is, that usually idle and necessitous persons are put upon them to save parish-charges; and these have destroyed the cedar for firewood. I drew a bill to prevent such doings in future. I drew a bill for the Council and Assembly, as I was directed, and I send a copy of the same to shew that the King's lands must be leased out before any improvements can be made. Some turbulent people have been stirring up trouble, including two of the Council, but I hope to reclaim them. I send also an account of the situation of Bermuda, as showing what in my opinion is its only value to England. I learn from a Bermudian who escaped from the French that they meditate an attack on these Islands. I have converted the militia from independent companies into a regiment, and made their exercise uniform. I have given command of the Castle and Forts, a place worth but £16 a year, to Lieutenant-Colonel Jenkins. He is a loyal gentleman of much experience in war who has held several Commissions from the Crown, his last being Lieutenant-Colonel to Colonel Carne. The Castle and Southampton Fort are very regular fortifications and almost impregnable. The returns of the Council and Assembly are imperfect; but I can get no better. The people generally are dissenters. I found only two preachers, who enjoyed part of the glebe, and have continued them at the country's request. Signed. J. Richier. 3½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 3 July, 1691. Read 28 Sept., 1691. Enclosed,
1,484. I. Joseph Dudley to Colonel Sloughter. New York, March 11, 1691. It is six weeks since the ships of your fleet arrived here and at Boston, and only your arrival is wanting to complete our happiness. There are so many writing to you, and by the hands of so intelligent a person, who has seen the whole management since the arrival of the ships and forces here, that nothing remains for me but to offer my service and earnestly to desire your coming from Bermuda. It is hard to describe the constant hurry by night and day caused to us by the threats of Leisler. He still holds the fort, and refuses admittance to the King's soldiers and stores, who are therefore lodged in the town-hall and are daily strengthened by the arrival of country soldiers from all parts. These latter are now grown to four or five hundred men, and can hardly be restrained from violence against Leisler, of whose intolerable cruelty and oppression for two years past they bitterly complain. The Councillors, who are come to town to meet you, constantly meet with the officers both of your troops and the militia to quiet the matter, being unwilling to have any breach without your orders. But if pressed they will think themselves obliged by the law of Nature to defend themselves against the scandals and claims of the two hundred desperadoes who call themselves the Government. The inhabitants are so impatient and so strong that they are anxious to storm the place, but we are unwilling till you arrive. Pray hasten your coming, or if you are detained send us orders by the present sloop. Signed. J. Dudley. Holograph. 1 p. Endorsed. Received, 3 July, 1691.
1,484. II. Jacob Leisler to Governor Sloughter. Fort William, New York. 12 March, 1691. Through your absence the exorbitance of Major Ingoldsby in encouraging Papists and other enemies to the King, has brought about a disorder which threatens the destruction of the province; which disorder has been not a little increased by the issue of orders in their favour by the King's Council. Unless Providence interpose, bloodshed, which so far has happily been avoided, cannot be longer averted, though we shall use all possible means to prevent it. Pray hasten your coming, for this is a time when union against the common enemy is so necessary. Signed. Jacob Leisler. 1 p. Endorsed. Read 13 July, 1691.
1,484. III. C. Brooke to Governor Sloughter. New York. March 12, 1691. Four ships have duly arrived, the Beaver and Foster on the 25th January and the rest soon after. The Major demanded the fort for lodging the soldiers, but our pretended Governor refused and kept our men on board till the 6th of February. They are now lodged in the town-hall, but we dare not land our stores lest they should be seized by Leisler, who treats us all as enemies and keeps us waking by his alarms as men do haggard hawks. He asperses us as papists, and issues daily proclamations to incense the mob against us and draw them to his faction. This Masaniello has summoned all the inhabitants of New York and New Jersey to help him against the King's forces; and great numbers, misled by his specious pretences of preserving this Colony for King William and Queen Mary, have been led to action diametrically opposed to their interest. We have been forced in defence of our lives to call in some hundreds of well-affected people, which has at present checked his insolence. We hope that your presence will put an end to these disturbances and that no ordinary accident will delay your coming; but unless you come speedily you must empower some persons in express words to assume the Government and also to demand the fort from Leisler. The men summoned to our help must not be kept long from their farms; and without their help our condition would be desperate, for our tyrant would exert his usurped authority with more insolence than ever. "Your most humble servant and affectionate kinsman, Chid. Brooke." Holograph. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 3 July, 1691.
1,484. IV. Governor Richier to the Council of New York. Bermuda. March 28, 1691. I am much surprised and troubled that Colonel Sloughter is not arrived, being sensible that your distracted condition calls for their Majesties' immediate authority to settle the Government. I have written to Colonel Dudley our thoughts on the matter, viz., that if no accident has happened to his ship the man of war has carried him to Barbados, having on board Sir Robert Robinson who is bound for England. Captain Hicks's extravagant ill-usage of Colonel Sloughter makes us more than suspect it, for they had the fairest wind for New York for ten days after their departure on the 2nd of February. Colonel Dudley's letter telling me that the letter to Colonel Sloughter spoke more fully, I opened those of Colonel Dudley, Mr. Brooks and Captain Leisler. I send copy of the last named, intending to send the original to the Lords of Trade unless I hear of Colonel Sloughter's arrival. Signed. J. Richier. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 3 July, 1691.
1,484. V. An account of the conduct of Captain Gaspar Hicks, presented by the Council of Bermuda, May 5, 1691. Governor Richier arrived in the 11th January in the hired ship Archangel, Captain Hicks, and was very coldly received by Sir Robert Robinson. The ship being now very sickly, Governor Richier took care for landing the sick and for their comfort, whereby many were saved. Captain Hicks complaining of want of men the Governor offered to raise volunteers, which Captain Hicks refused. Several of his men having deserted, the Governor issued a proclamation forbidding anyone to harbour them and threatening them with the punishment of deserters unless they returned within a fortnight, which speedily brought them all back. At Captain Hicks's request the Governor sent him a pilot and one of the inhabitants of Bermuda to carry him on board, which latter Captain Hicks put in irons for forty hours. Notwithstanding the previous readiness to assist him the Captain presumed, without the Governor's warrant, to press several men, and sending his armed pinnace carried off Sir Robert Robinson, and tried to carry off Elizabeth Ashworth, who was a convicted prisoner in jail. He also received and carried off some white servants from the Island without the Governor's ticket; and when the Governor wrote and expostulated (see enclosed letter) he refused to come ashore and answer. The Governor then stretched the chain across the harbour to prevent him from sailing, but reflecting on the necessity for Governor Sloughter's speedy arrival at New York let the chain down. On the motion of the Council the Governor wrote a second order to Captain Hicks to come ashore, which he likewise disobeyed. The Council then represented to Captain Hicks that Sir Robert Robinson lay under accusation of very grave charges and that the consequences to himself would be serious if he carried him off against the Governor's order. This Captain Hicks received with scorn, and sailed away with Sir Robert and the white servants with the first fair wind. Signed. Wm. Greene, Law. Dill, John Hubbard, Arthur Jones, Wm. Pitt, Joseph Stowe, Tho. Outerbridge, Samuel Trott. 2½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 3 July, 1691.
1,484. VI. Copies of three messages addressed by Governor Richier to Captain Hicks. 2 February, 1691. An order commanding him to come ashore and answer for his complicity with the intended rescue of Elizabeth Ashworth from custody.
A second order of the same date and to the same effect.
Letter from Governor Richier to Captain Hicks. 11 February, 1691. I wished to see you, not to accuse you, but to hear you as to your impressment of men without warrant. You know that I am responsible for such matters, but you have done this without my warrant, which is necessary before you can impress any man. The men are needed here for defence of the Island. Pray do not make the mistake of exceeding your powers. I desire that you will come ashore that these errors may be rectified. The whole. 2 pp. Endorsed. Recd. 3 July, 1691.
1,484. VII. Message from the Governor to the Assembly. It is recommended (1) that immediate care be taken for the better defence of the Islands. (2) That a committee be appointed to enquire into the misconduct of the late Government, into the public accounts of money, of slaves, and of the King's land, and into the Acts and judicial proceedings. (3) That the Governor's commission and instructions be communicated to the Council and Assembly, and that those matters, of which immediate account is required in England, be reported on. (4) That a way for education of youths, and encouragement for two or more divines be considered. (5) That roads and bridges be repaired. (6) That a bill to carry out the King's instructions for a penny per pound duty on tobacco be passed. (7) That quit-rents be fixed. (8) That Government House and all public buildings and forts be repaired and that a levy be made to meet the expense. (9) To answer the King's instructions for information of the wants and defects of the Colony. Copy. 1½ pp.
1,484. VIII. Answer of the Assembly to the preceding:—(1) The defence of the Islands is already provided for by two Acts. (2 and 3) The conduct of the late Government is shewn by articles and affidavits already drawn up. The accounts shew Sir Robert Robinson to be indebted and accountable to the Island for £400. Account of stores of war is enclosed. Sir Robert Robinson stifled the recording of Acts of Assembly and of judicial proceedings; and the Acts do not seem to have been transmitted to England. Return of the King's slaves is annexed. There appears to have been great waste of public timber. Account of King's land is enclosed. (4 and 5) Education, maintenance of divines and repair of roads and bridges are provided for by existing Acts. (6) If a penny a pound duty on tobacco be imposed the planting of tobacco must cease, for the cost of cultivation is greater here than in other Colonies and the price little inferior if not greater than we can obtain. By experience we know that no other staple commodity can be raised, nor can we expect much from new improvements, for the soil, in spite of care, is growing poorer. The King's customs are secured, we suppose, by the Board of Customs in London. (7) We conceive ourselves exempted from quit rents by a clause in King James the First's Charter. Of the land held by regicides part has been granted out and part are enrolled in the Exchequer. Copy. 2½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 3 July, 1691.
1,484. IX. Account of the stores of war at Bermuda. Forty-three guns mounted in the various forts, etc. 1½ pp. Endorsed as the preceding.
1,484. X. Return of the King's slaves in Bermuda. Sixteen in all, some dead, some escaped, some sold; eight only remaining. 1 p. Endorsed as the preceding.
1,484. XI. Account of the public lands in Bermuda. Rent of leased lands £78. The white population is 4,331, of which number 960 are men capable of bearing arms. The slaves are 1,917, of which 562 are fifteen years old and upwards. The accounts of money cannot be adjusted in time for this packet. 2½ pp. Endorsed as the preceding.
1,484. XII. Account of the bullion brought in from the wreck. 1687. 11,582 lbs. ½ p. Endorsed as the preceding.
1,484. XIII. Draft of an Act to regulate the King's slaves, to prevent disputes as to the children begotten of them, and for advancing and improving the King's lands. 3 March, 1691. 2 pp. Endorsed as the preceding.
1,484. XIV. Message of Governor Richier to the Assembly of Bermuda. April 2, 1691. I do not know that I shall find credit with you for my intentions, for I know how you have been ill-used by former Governors. As to your bill concerning Ministers, liberty is given to all to worship in their own way, but the King makes no provision for the support of any but Ministers of the Church of England by the glebes; so to have passed the bill would have been to infringe the Royal prerogative. The school-lands come under the same head, for what is of public foundation here is immediately in the King. Your bill concerning the Sheriff being treasurer was unreasonable, as I had taken pains to convince you of your error and you saw what my instructions commanded me on the subject. The bill allowing ships to load or unload in any place is contrary to my instructions, and unsafe in itself. I am sent here to assist and protect you, which by God's blessing I mean to do. I cannot betray the King's rights and prerogatives, but if any of the present constitutions be hard to you and may be altered without prejudice to the King's service, then you may be assured of having your desires answered. So I have thought out an expedient by which you may attain your end without infringement of the royal prerogative, which is not the Governor's but the King's. I desire only to be instrumental for the good of the Island. I beg you to go upon the Militia Bill again, for that which you have sent up to the Council is not perfect for the security of the Island. Without implicit obedience to officers in time of war there can be no success. I offer also to your consideration that all public officers should receive encouragement for due performance of their duties. You have returned me the draft bill as to improvement of lands. Though you are not obliged to comply with what does not please you, you should have endorsed it with your reasons. Pray consider what I now write. I will grant all your requests that I rightly can. 3 pp. Endorsed as the preceding.
1,484. XV. An account of the situation of Bermuda. To Westward lie New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Carolina, all about two hundred leagues distant. Barbados bears S.S.E., the Leeward Islands S. by E., so that all ships passing between those Islands and the aforesaid Colonies pass near Bermuda. All ships from Barbados and the Leeward Islands to England, if the trade wind hold, hold on almost to Bermuda and pass a little to Eastward of it. Ships from Jamaica to England must pass close to Bermuda, also ships between England and Virginia or Carolina, etc. If the Islands were in an enemy's hands with plenty of cruisers, all our ships would be in danger while on passage.
An account of whale fishing. This can only be developed by large expenditure on proper boats and tackle, and no one will hazard that expenditure without certain defined rights for a terms of years. At present we have no staple export but tobacco. Whale-oil here costs but £12 a tun; in London it is worth from £26 to £30.
The persons whom I consider best qualified to fill vacancies in the Council are Henry Fifield, Thomas Walmsley, William Outerbridge, Stephen Righton, William Chapman, Richard Pitt. Mr. Perient Trott being lately dead, I have appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Evan Jenkins to the Council in his place. Signed. J. Richier. 1½ pp. Endorsed as the preceding. [America and West Indies. 477. Nos. 37, 37 I–XV.; and (without enclosures) Board of Trade. Bermuda, 28. pp. 17–23.]
May 12.
1,485. Governor Richier to the Earl of Nottingham. After a voyage of six weeks I got to Bermuda the 11th of January, and found the place and people in great disorder, in consequence of their continual quarrels with Sir R. Robinson. I saw it was absolutely necessary to call an Assembly to get some laws made, for at my arrival there was neither law, precedent nor judicial proceedings on record. My predecessor never suffered "anythink" relating to the public to be recorded, openly refusing to the people the benefit of the English constitutions. The several matters alleged against him will be brought before you in the Council, and if the oaths of the Council and many of the inhabitants here be true, his whole Government was one continued thieving and oppression. I expect that the Bermudians are of the same temper now as when you interested yourself in their affairs—the same fanatical perverseness conceitedly affected against the Government. Their number and qualifications are very far from being considerable, yet one of great wisdom and much greater patience would be fully employed to keep them in tolerable order. Some few are enriched by the late wreck, the rest are generally very poor and positively resolved to continue so, unless the sea will make them otherwise, for none will labour ashore either on land or trades. But they are expert and industrious in maritime affairs and naturally stout and strong, qualities which may shortly prove of good use, for we hear rumours of a French design to attack us next month. If the country merits any protection, it is only for the sake of keeping it out of the enemy's hand, for the King has little reason to regard it either for the profit of the place or the loyalty of the people. I enclose an abstract of the situation of Bermuda only to recall what is well known to you. You will apprehend from it the importance of these Islands in relation to Western commerce. The whale-fishery could be turned to good account were it properly established. More whales have been killed since my coming than in the last five years, for I suffer people to fish at their own rates, allowing me a third for licence. But there are neither boats, warps nor irons that are good. Four large and four small whales have been taken, and three of the large ones escaped owing to bad tackle; moreover, there are but three boats, one at both ends of the Island. I have computed the charge of fitting out six or eight boats, well equipped, with warps, irons, large kettles for boiling and cisterns for preserving the blubber, and all complete. It will amount to £1,100 or £1,200, and such a sum must be disbursed before the trade can become considerable. I am very willing to lay out the money, could I have a grant for a certain term of years; but until such a grant is made not many whales can be killed; for no Governor will risk his money on an uncertainty, and the inhabitants will never attempt to build boats and buy utensils when they are only to fish according to pleasure of future Governors. Owing to the destruction of the Greenland fishery train-oil is much needed in England, and if what I say commends itself to you I hope you will support my request for a grant from the Lords of Trade and Plantations. Signed. J. Richier. I send some pineapples, but I fear they will hardly come good to your hand. Holograph. 4 pp. Inscribed. R. July 20, 1691. [America and West Indies. 477. No. 38.]
May 12. 1,486. Duplicate of the foregoing. [America and West Indies. 477. No. 39.]
May 12. 1,487. The same to the same. I enclose the returns required by my instructions, though not so perfect as I hope to make them. Copies of the laws are also enclosed for confirmation. Signed. I. Richier. ½ p. [America and West Indies. 477. No. 40.]
May 12. 1,488. Lords Proprietors of Carolina to Seth Sothell. We are pleased to hear that you will submit to our instructions, and hope that you are too wise to suppose that any single proprietor has any right to exercise government in Carolina without the authority of the rest, or that seven proprietors can bind anyone in his privileges or property except by agreement among themselves according to the Constitutions of 1682, which are the only constitutives agreed to by all the eight proprietors. If any proprietor enter Carolina and take upon him to govern otherwise than by the rules of the rest of the proprietors, it is high treason. If he take upon him to empower judges and magistrates without consent of the deputies or authority of the proprietors, it is a high misdemeanour, both in him who grants and in him who accepts the office. So, too, anyone who acts as deputy without authority is answerable for it. We hear that you have put out Mr. Joseph Blake from being deputy, though he holds Mr. Archdale's deputation, and have put in Mr. Beresford in his place. We hope that it is not true, for we cannot allow such conduct. We know not what to say, until better informed, to the protests of our deputies. They say that you positively refused to govern according to our instructions. We think that they acted like wise, honest men in refusing to act with you, but we suspend our judgment till we know the facts. Any reflections cast on you for your actions in Albemarle shall be resented by us, as soon as you have cleared yourself of the following charges brought against you by the inhabitants, viz.: (1) That you seized the persons who came into Albemarle from Barbados as pirates, though they produced papers to vindicate themselves. (2) That you kept them in hard durance without trial until one of them died. (3) That you would not allow the dead man's will to be proved, but took all his goods for yourself. (4) That you imprisoned his executor to prevent him from coming to England. (5) That you have for bribes withdrawn charges for great crimes. (6) That you unlawfully imprisoned Robert Cannon. (7) That you kept his property from another man. (8) That you imprisoned George Durant on pretence of his having used words reflecting on you, took a bond for a sum of money from him while in gaol and on that pretence seized all his estate. (9) That you have wrongfully dispossessed an inhabitant of his plantation and (10) another of his cattle, and (11) another of his land under pretext of a sale, though you knew him to be under age, and (12) yet another of his estate. (13) That by your power as Governor and proprietor you seized several estates without process of law, and committed other unjust and arbitrary actions, for which the inhabitants of Albemarle imprisoned you and would have sent you to England to be tried had you not entreated them to submit your case to the next General Assembly, who accordingly gave judgment against you and compelled you to abjure the country for twelve months and the Government for ever. These proceedings of yourself and the people we think prejudicial to the honour of the Crown and to the dignity of the Proprietors, and for our own vindication we are resolved to make a thorough enquiry into the matter, that we may prevent the recurrence of such disorders in future. But we are unwilling to proceed until we have spoken with you, and therefore summon you to return speedily to England. If you refuse, we shall have no doubt of your guilt, and shall ask the King for his mandamus to compel you to appear here. We hope that you will not force us to this, being unwilling to make you a public shame or to bring you under a prosecution which we cannot stop when once begun.
The deputies had orders to call no Parliament in Carolina without our orders, except on extraordinary emergency. So we cannot blame them for obeying our instructions, nor can we approve of your encouraging the people to petition for a Parliament, or calling one when they did petition. Tumultuous petitions are punishable by law, and the example to the other Colonies is dangerous; but since you inform us that the inhabitants have deputed two persons to explain the matter to us, we have directed our deputies to consent to the calling of Parliament; for we cannot treat that which you called without authority as a Parliament, nor can we understand how you could consent to its Acts. We enclose you the Articles of 1672 by which all who claim under Lord Clarendon are bound. We have no wish to do you wrong, but we shall not permit ourselves to be imposed on nor the people to be oppressed. We should rather surrender our rights to the King, for we have no motive in keeping the Government in our own hands but to assure the people that they shall not be oppressed and so encourage them to settlement. Signed. Craven, P. Colleton, John Archdale for Thomas Archdale, Tho. Amy, Ashley, Carteret. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., pp. 177–179.]
May 13. 1,489. Warrant of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina to the Grand Council of South Carolina. To enquire into the charge against Governor James Colleton of setting up martial law because the Parliament had offered to pass the Militia Act for six weeks only. Signed. Craven, John Archdale for Thomas Archdale, Thomas Amy, Ashley, Carteret, P. Colleton. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 171.]
May 13. 1,490. Warrant of same to Governor James Colleton, Thomas Smith, Stephen Bull, Ralph Izard and John Farr to enquire into the truth of the complaints that Paul Grimball, Secretary of South Carolina, has been forcibly dispossessed of the records and committed to prison, because he would not give up the seal, by warrant of Seth Sothell and others, and that Seth Sothell has also ousted Joseph Blake from being a deputy. Signed as the preceding. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 172.]
May 13. 1,491. Warrant of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. Granting leave to the inhabitants to fish for whales, on condition of paying one tenth of whale oil and whalebone to the Receiver General. Signed as the preceding. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 173.]
May 13. 1,492. Warrant of the same to Governor James Colleton. To pass grants for baronies (which in future shall pay but £20 a year rent) to all landgraves and caciques who shall provide their patents. Signed as the preceding. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 173.]
May 13. 1,493. Instruction of the same to Governor James Colleton. That the power to the Governor to constitute a sheriff and justices shall take place only when there is no chief judge or sheriff of a county appointed by the Proprietors. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 174.]
May 13. 1,494. Warrant of the same. Appointing John Comings to be the deputy of the Duke of Albemarle, deceased. Signed as the preceding. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 174.]
May 13. 1,495. Warrant of the same. Appointing Bernard Schenking sheriff and chief judge of Berkeley County. Signed as the preceding. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 175.]
May 13. 1,496. Letter of the same to the Deputies of South Carolina. We are well pleased to hear from you of your refusal to join Mr. Sothell in anything against the Government, and we think you acted wisely. But you would have left Mr. Sothell far more in the wrong if after making your protest you had refused to join with him in any act until he had owned our rules of Government. We have sent a new Commissioner to Mr. Grimball to be Secretary and to Mr. Schenking to be sheriff of Berkeley County. We desire you to inform us of the depth of water on the bar of Ashley River, and what is the most water that a vessel can draw and yet pass it safely. Signed as the preceding. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 175.]
May 13. 1,497. Letter of the same to Seth Sothell, James Colleton, Thomas Smith, Joseph Blake, and Bernard Schenking. We hear that without any proclamation of war or authority from the Government some of the inhabitants have attacked the Cherokee Indians, which is of dangerous consequence not only to Carolina but to the whole of America. We therefore empower you to enquire into the matter and report to us. Signed as the preceding. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 176.]
May 13. 1,498. Lords Proprietors of Carolina to Seth Sothell. We are informed that you have forcibly taken the records of Carolina from Mr. Grimball, though duly commissioned Secretary by us, expressly in order that he might be dependent on us. Until he was appointed we could never obtain the copies of the records and papers to satisfy the King; so we must adhere to this method of commissioning the Secretary. We hear also that you imprisoned Mr. Grimball because he would not deliver to you the records and the seal for land-grants. This imprisonment (if the account given to us be true) is illegal, arbitrary and tyrannical, and so contemptuous of our authority that we can hardly believe it. We have therefore empowered five gentlemen to report on the matter and hereby require you to restore the records to Mr. Grimball and allow him to execute his office of Secretary in peace. We are also informed that you put out Mr. Schenking from being sheriff of Berkeley County and commissioned Mr. Quarry, whom we put out of office for receiving pirates, and for other misconduct, in his place. We have heard no complaint against Mr. Schenking and we think it not for the King's service nor our own honour that a man who has conducted himself well in his office should be put out; and that judges may in future be more independent of Governors we reserve to ourselves the power to appoint Sheriffs and have sent a commission to Mr. Schenking to be Sheriff of Berkeley County. We require you to let him execute the office in peace; whereby the people will not be driven again to do as they did at Albemarle. Signed as the preceding. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., pp. 179, 180.]
May 14. 1,499. The same to the Grand Council of South Carolina. We have received a paper signed by Andrew Percival and others whereby we learn that two persons are coming to inform us at large of all matters, so we shall forbear to answer the particulars in that paper until we have heard what they have to say. But you must know that we do not and cannot own as ours the constitutions, so called, of 21 July, 1669. They were never intended as such, and no alterations have been made in subsequent constitutions but for the greater security of the people from oppression, as anyone who reads them can see. We have kept on bounding our own power and extending that of the people to the end that your population, strength and security might be increased. Great numbers would have come to you from all parts of the world, attracted by these provisions, had not news come that the changes so much liked here had been rejected in Carolina, and that Lord Cardross and others had been barbarously used on the day of their landing by the very men who promoted the rejection of the amendments. So they gave up all thought of coming to Carolina, and that is the reason why few have come to you since except the French. The Scotch agreed to pay us a penny per acre certain and take their lands according to our form, which shows that it is not the form of our grants that makes men shun Carolina. No one will go there until things are better settled, nor could we with honour and conscience invite men to go among you, for we will deal disingenuously with no man, nor, even if we would, have we the power to compel men to live under a government that they do not like and among men of such unquiet tempers as allow no peace. Men will die in Carolina for some time faster than they grow up, so if none come to you your numbers will be so diminished that you will easily be cut off by the Indians or pirates. We leave these things for you to reflect on.
We hear there are men in Carolina who pretend to have power to dispose of our land in a different form to our own, and to sell it and receive money and rent for it. To prevent people from being deluded thus and compelled to pay their purchase money twice over, we order you to publish that we allow no conveyance of land but by our own appointed officers and in our own appointed form, nor shall give acquittance for any money that is not paid to Mr. Grimball, who is authorised to receive our rents. Last year we ordered our Receiver to collect rents in pieces-of-eight or in produce, and we have renewed these orders by this ship, our intention being always to put no hardship on our tenants and expect no impossibilities from them. We had not thought of changing the form of our grants had not the factious party among you given out that they would persuade the people to pay us or not, as they liked, unless they were given the offices that they desired. Some weak men might have been delivered by them, which would have created misunderstanding between us and the inhabitants. Only a good understanding can encourage population to come to you and so increase your posterity. We are aware of the jealousies and heart-burnings caused among the principal inhabitants by their endeavours to have more trade than their neighbours with the Indians, which have often endangered the whole province. We should be glad therefore to receive from you a draft of a law so regulating the trade as to give all men an equal share of the advantages without imperilling the peace of the Province. Signed as the preceding. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., pp. 180, 181.]
May 14. 1,500. Order of the Privy Council. That the committee's report of 30 April and the Order in Council of same date (see No. 1,440) be sent to the Attorney-General for the preparation of a draft charter for Massachusetts. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXII., p. 272.]
May 14.
1,501. Order of the King in Council. Referring the petition of Mounteney Boncle to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed. Cha. Montague. ¼ p. Annexed,
1,501. I. Petition of Mounteney Boncle to the King and Queen. Praying for restitution of an estate in Antigua, wrongfully taken by his cousin. 1¼ p. Copy. Endorsed. Recd. 18 May, 1691. Read at the Committee, 22 May, 1691. [America and West Indies. 551. Nos. 17, 17 I.; and (order only) Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 43. p. 338.]
[May 14.] 1,502. Precis of Mounteney Boncle's request for an Order in Council directing the Governor of Antigua to enquire into his case speedily. ¼ p. [America and West Indies. 551. No. 18.]
May 14. 1,503. Order of the King in Council. Referring the petition of Edward Pate and Colonel Bastian Bayer on behalf of Joseph Crisp, to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed. Cha. Montague. ½ p. Annexed,
1503. I. Petition on behalf of Joseph Crisp to the King. That Crisp may be restored to his estate in St. Christophers, which was lost owing to the capture of the Island by the French. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed. Read at the Committee. 22 May, 1691. [America and West Indies. 551. Nos. 19, 19 I.; and (order only) Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 43. pp. 340, 341.]
May 15. 1,504. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Order that no vestry entertain ministers other than of the Church of England, and that parishes which have no vestries shall appoint them. List of new justices and sheriffs approved. Order for sheriffs to give security for strict performance of their duties and in particular for the ascertaining of quit-rents. Forms of Commission of the Peace. Resolved to ask the Lords of Trade and Plantations for rules and methods for a Court of Admiralty and a Court of Exchequer, both of which are urgently needed. List of coroners approved. The collectors of the 2/- a hogshead duty continued, with the substitution of Christopher Wormeley for Ralph Wormeley. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIV., pp. 543–547.]
May 15. 1,505. A collection of depositions taken 8th and 15th May, 1691, setting forth the riotous invasion of the Court House of Lower Norfolk County by Captain Jennings, R.N., with an armed force, and the carrying off of John Porter with violence to his ship. (See No. 1520.) The whole, 10 pp. [America and West Indies. 637. No. 20.]
May 16. 1,506. Minutes of Council of New York, relating to the trial of Leisler and Milborne; being extracts taken from the 19th, 20th, 23rd, 24th and 30th of March, 13th of April, and 14th and 16th of May. 5½ pp., with an endorsement by Lord Bellamont. [America and West Indies. 579. No. 5.]
[May.] 1,507. List of Merchant-ships taken up by Captain Wright. One of 140 men and 40 guns, two of 120 men and 32 guns, three of 110 men and 30 guns. Total, six ships, 490 men, 194 guns. ½ p. Endorsed. Recd. from Colonel Kendall, May, 1691. [America and West Indies. 551. No. 20; and Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 43. p. 349.]
[May.] 1,508. Abstract of the squadron commanded by Captain Wright in the West Indies. Thirteen ships, of which two are ordered to Jamaica, one to come home, three to convoy the homeward bound fleet, leaving seven on the station. 1 p. Endorsed. May, 1691. [America and West Indies. 551. No. 21.]
May 18. 1,509. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Thomas Blunt and David Whitley appointed Indian interpreters. Ordered that they go and reassure the Indians forthwith. Gilbert More appointed pilot of Smith's Island river, with a view to checking illegal trade. Other pilots continued in their places. Order for the stores of H.M.S. Dumbarton to be secured at Tindall's Point. Several escheators appointed. Resolved to represent to the King the defencelessness of the country and the want of shipping to take away tobacco. The commanders of the militia nominated and approved, and special powers granted them in case of insurrection or invasion. Order for mustering the forces of the Colony into troops of fifty horse, and companies of seventy foot, and for arming them. Order for distribution of powder in small quantities to all the counties, one or two barrels only to each county. Order for repair and distribution of arms. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIV., pp. 547–558.]
May 18. 1,510. Journal of House of Burgesses of Virginia. Order for the proposal for an allowance to the sawyers to be considered. Report as to the allowance to the sawyers read and approved. Bill for suppressing outlying negroes passed and sent to Council. Allowances to officers of the house debated and agreed to. Two ministers nominated by the House to be named in the Royal grant to the College. The bill for processioning of lands returned to Council. Message to the Council hoping that the grant to Philip Ludwell will be allowed unconditionally. James Bray refused to take the oath so was disabled to be a member. The Defence Bill amended as the Council proposed and sent up to Council. The Address to their Majesties read. Bill for a Treasurer read first time.
May 19. Bill for a Treasurer read second time. The Address again read, and the Council asked to join therein or appoint a fit person to present it. Resolution declaring that it is necessary to employ a solicitor in the business of the College, negatived. Address to the Lieutenant-Governor, asking as to the probable dimensions and cost of a house for the Governor. Five bills sent up to Council, and two of them received back, agreed to. Message from the Council as to the grant to Philip Ludwell, and as to a joint address to the King about Captain Jennings's behaviour. Order for the said address to be drawn up, and for a conference as to the grant to Philip Ludwell. Two more bills received back from Council, and the amendments to one of them agreed to.
May 20. Committee appointed to meet the Council for preparation of a petition to the King. Address to the Lieutenant-Governor requesting him to issue briefs for the collection of contributions to the College. Report from the Conference as to the Addresses. The Address to their Majesties concerning Captain John Jennings, and as to the College read. Bills for an impost on liquors and for appointing a Treasurer passed and sent to the Council. Resolved to give a present of £300 to the Lieutenant-Governor.
May 21. The address to the King for allowance of former privileges read. The Council's amendments to the bills for an impost on liquors and for appointing a Treasurer agreed to. The congratulatory address to their Majesties read. Ordered that any member who ceases to attend the House before the end of the Session shall lose his whole wages; and that Captain Lawrence Smith, who has left the town, be arrested and brought back. Committee appointed to draw up Mr. Blair's instructions. Resolved that £200 be given to him for his expenses. Jeffrie Jeffries nominated by the House to present the Addresses, and approved by the Council, and £200 allowed him for his expenses. Message from the Governor thanking the House for its present, but declining to accept it without the King's leave. A joint address to the King ordered to be prepared on the matter, which was read and approved.
May 23. The Address for a present to the Lieutenant-Governor ordered to be entered. Resolved that it is not safe for Mr. Blair to sail to England with Captain Jennings. Conferrers appointed to consider Mr. Blair's instructions. Bill for a public levy read thrice, sent to Council and returned agreed to. Instructions to Jeffrie Jeffries sent up to Council and returned with amendments which were agreed to. The resolutions for granting sums to Messrs. Jeffries and Blair for their expenses sent up to Council and agreed to. Message from the Lieutenant-Governor to summon the burgesses. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXV., pp. 753–782.]
May 18. 1,511. Minutes of the General Assembly of Virginia. Message of the burgesses, sending up divers claims, and asking the Council to join in an address to the King about Captain John Jennings.
May 19. Sundry criticisms of the claims sent up by the burgesses and disallowance of some of them. Message as to the grant to Philip Ludwell. Message to the burgesses as to the form and substance of the joint addresses. The bill for suppression of outlying slaves returned with amendments, also two more bills.
May 20. Several amendments to the petition to the King sent to the Burgesses. Drafts of two of the joint Addresses received and amendments suggested in one of them. Messages interchanged as to the repair of the General Court House. The Resolution to give a present to the Governor brought up. Amendments suggested to the bills for impost on liquors and for appointing a Treasurer.