America and West Indies: July 1695, 1-15

Pages 523-541

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 14, 1693-1696. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1903.

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July 1695

July 1. 1,927. Summons for all parties interested in the appeal of William Sharpe to attend the Committee of Trade and Plantations on the 3rd of July. Draft. ½ p. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 5. No. 100.]
[July 1.] 1,928. Address of the Assembly of Barbados to Governor Russell. It is lately reported that you have promised Colonel Chamberlayne not only the Windward Regiment of horse but to make him Major General of the Island, which has caused great dissatisfaction among the officers owing to his haughty and revengeful temper. He is still suspected of inclination to the Romish faith, so that if he be General, there is great risk of a French invasion. We therefore think it our duty to lay before you the following particulars, which we can prove. (1) He was by his own confession educated as a Roman Catholic; he openly professed that religion here, and had Jesuits and priests at his house to celebrate mass. For this he was committed prisoner by Colonel Stede. (2) He lately professed that if the Turk were uppermost, he would be for him. (3) He has abused his power to the terror of his poor neighbours, committing outrages by day and night. (4) He used a patrol (which was employed in the country's service) to bring him his overseer dead or alive, and this several times. (5) Recently he roused Mr. John Rous's house at night with a party of armed men, and demanded to see Mr. John Kirton, who was then in the house; and on his refusing to go out to so dangerous a man, he called him evil names and fired a pistol at the window where Kirton's wife and several others were standing. And this he has done several times. (6) He has without process or warrant put several of his neighbours in the stocks at his own plantation, and used other violence towards them. We beg to be allowed to prove these things to you, and that you will then consider him unfit for any military trust. Copy. 3 pp. Endorsed, Recd. from Mr. Littleton, 1 July, 1695, as a caveat against Mr. Chamberlayne's being of the Council. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 5. No. 101.]
July 1. 1,929. Journal of House of Representatives of New York. The following bills were twice read and ordered to be engrossed—a Bill to prevent desertion among the King's forces arrived for security of the province, a Bill for the encouraging of seamen, and two Bills for the raising of £1,000 and £800 respectively. Order for a Bill to be brought in to continue the Post Office Act for three years more.
July 2. The Post Office Bill, the Bill concerning the debts of Albany, and the New York Poor Relief Bill were, with the four engrossed yesterday, passed through their remaining stages and were sent up to Council for Assent. Order for a Bill to be prepared to enable the Representatives of Westchester to receive their allowance.
July 3. The Bill for the Representatives of Westchester was passed and sent up to Council. The Bill for encouraging of seamen was received from the Council amended, and the amendments agreed to. The Bill as to deserters received, and two of the amendments of the Council rejected, the House wishing to confine the bill to the King's Companies only. Address to the Governor for increase of the printer's salary by £20 a year.
July 4. The accounts for house-rent, officers' salaries, etc., required, and an address made to the Governor for payment of the same. The House attended the Governor at his summons, when the Governor said that he had passed five bills, but that there were two which had been laid aside, one the Bill as to desertion, wherein the House agreed not with the Council's amendments, the other the Bill for raising £1,000, in which he perceived a compliment paid to himself, and which, though he gave them thanks for it, he thought it not consistent with his honour to pass. He recommended a committee to examine the accounts, and adjourned the Assembly till 1 October next. Vote of thanks to the Governor for his care for the province. A committee of ten appointed to examine the accounts and prepare a report against next Session. Printed. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 925–932.]
July 2.
1,930. Governor Russell to Lords of Trade and Plantations. The departure of the next fleet ready to sail since my last has been delayed. Most of the ships have been ready to sail this fortnight and some for these three weeks, and it is almost impossible (as the Trade-winds generally are) to have a fleet sail without being descried at Martinique. For this reason I send a man-of-war, of such strength as is in my power, to protect them from the Martinique privateers and to see them as far as Deseada, which is the favourite station for privateers to intercept fleets from England to the Leeward Islands and Jamaica, or from Barbados to Europe or North America. Sometimes the privateers stay about 17° and 18', and for this reason I have ordered the Bristol to convoy this fleet so far, not daring to let the ships go without. The reason for the delay is that the Bristol was in want of all sorts of provisions and stores, for we have no King's stores here. I called the Assembly, which at first carried it by a majority not to trust the King, since they had never done so before and were unwilling to make a precedent. I was then forced to supply the ships on my own credit, else the seamen must have left their ships or perished. At the next meeting I urged upon the Assembly how their refusal of credit to the King's ships would be resented, and they brought in a bill to allow eight per cent. to any one who would advance £700, or trust the King's ships with provisions or stores to that value; but this I could not get the merchants to do. They said that they had given credit for victualling and refitting the Tiger, but that there was no advice that the bills would be paid, or that any stores were sent for her or for the ships here, or of any letters of credit to meet this and similar misfortunes. I then told the Assembly that unless they would give the King credit for provisions for his ships of war, I must further pledge my own credit for two months' supply for them in order to send them to England. And this I thought I should have been forced to have done. After this had been told, several of the Assembly were sensible of it, but there are three or four of that house who constantly oppose everything that is for the King's service. Mr. Nicholas Prideaux, formerly of the Council and now Speaker, is one who boasts that he has opposed all governors and all governments. This gentleman is one of the Agents for the African Company, who, finding that it would probably be carried in the House that the county should give the King credit, did (I suppose) purposely propose one thing with a design either absolutely to put the country off from lending the King money, or at least to put it off for the time in the hopes that at the next meeting he might manage it so as to defeat their being serviceable to his Majesty. His trick was this. He told the Assembly that if an Act were passed to indemnify the Agents of the African Company (supposing that they lent the money and the bills were returned protested), then he would pay £700 immediately for the King's service, having that sum in his hands belonging to the African Company to remit hence. The Assembly thereupon passed a Bill for that purpose, which was also passed by the Council and sent up to me (who was lying sick of fever and ague) when it was at once passed into an Act. But when the Commissioners appointed to superintend the outlay of the money came to demand it, Prideaux's answer was that they must go to the Treasurer for it, that he had no money of the Company in his hands, and that the £700 was a sum due from the country to the Company for the hire of a ship for the Martinique expedition, and that if the country would pay him the money he would lend it to the King. This knavish action stopped the sailing of the fleet, which lies here at vast expense, besides the risk of hurricanes at this season. Here-upon I was again forced to call an Assembly on the 22nd inst., when there were not sufficient members to pass a Bill. This I suppose was another project of Prideaux's, most of the absent members being of his faction. There is no penalty against such absence, so that if any factious member can keep eight of the twenty-two members away from the House, no business, however urgent, can be done. The Agents of the African Company carry such a sway here as almost to stop any proceeding, for if a man does not vote as they would wish for a Vestryman or Assemblyman they proceed against him for what he owes them for negroes (most of the planters being in their debt), thus ruining him and his family. Many honest men have met with this usage, who would not be biassed against their consciences. By such disloyal actions we are laid open to the attack of any enemy, which doubtless is the design of the faction—troubled waters for an indigent man to fish in. Were he not Agent of the African Company (whose interest and money support him) he would be in a very mean condition, for although he has had great opportunities of playing the knave to make his fortune out of widows' and orphans' estates, which he has never let slip whether just or unjust, he is computed by all that know him to be not worth a shilling if his debts were paid; so I hope he will be no longer employed in a trust, by betraying of which he has obtained an interest here which he has always employed against the King and Government with all the factious inveteracy that can be imagined. If the African Company be continued I hope you will oblige them not to employ or countenance such men as principals, for if such be encouraged it must be the Company and not the King's Governor that will govern here. For although some will be honest, the majority will let interest carry the balance.
By my last I gave you information that the French at Martinique had intelligence of our fleet for Jamaica, that we had been less plagued than usual by French privateers, and that I guessed Count de Blenac had sent his forces down to Petit Guavos. I find that I was right, through intelligence brought by a flag of truce which I sent thither. I hired a sloop for the purpose and sent Mr. Langley, a relative of my own, in her. The occasion of the flag of truce was that Count de Blenac had dismissed a flag from Governor Codrington without so much as receiving his letter. Believing that they might be more civil to me, and prompted by our great want of seamen, I wrote to the General at Martinique, and in order more effectually to endeavour the recovery of the prisoners, sent him a pad-nag of my own for a present. On the arrival of the sloop at Fort Royal Count de Blenac sent orders for her to anchor under the guns of the fort, and Mr. Langley was told that his letter would be delivered and an answer returned in an hour or two. However he remained for twenty-four hours before the answer came, when the same gentleman as before boarded him and told him that Count de Blenac complained of hard treatment of his flags of truce at Antigua and Barbados, of which he had sent home advice, that Mr. Langley was forbidden to go ashore, that there were no English prisoners at Martinique, and that he would not accept the pad-nag. Mr. Langley then wrote a letter (copy enclosed) asking for leave to go ashore to refresh himself, which was granted during the rest of his stay; but for two days he was not admitted to speak with the General and had always fourteen or fifteen officers with him, who would not permit him to go abroad. Nevertheless he was informed that, when his sloop came to anchor, the English prisoners, about 150 in number, were ordered into the country and that a Council had sat to resolve how to dispose of them. They were all of opinion that they ought to be sent back to the English plantations by the flag of truce, but Count de Blenac positively refused. After two days' stay Mr. Langley was sent with the enclosed answer. The further advice that he brings is that all the ships of war and privateers are sent to Petit Guavos and a great many English prisoners found to serve on board them. They are there to join six men-of-war and two fire-ships, and they have advice that these are arrived there under command of a general officer from France. He obtained in his pass leave to touch at Antigua, where he gave all information. They have had the distemper at Martinique as severely as we, and the hurricane much worse. All their guns at St. Pierre were dismounted, and the sea has undermined and ruined the fort. They are in great want of seamen, so that the English prizes lie without masts or rigging like so many wrecks, for want of hands. At Fort Royal were about eight French merchant-ships, one of which arrived there while the flag of truce was at anchor, with clothes, pay, provisions and ammunition. At Fort St. Pierre lie about six small merchant ships and two pendant-sloops, besides the prizes. The flag of truce sailed all round the Island but saw no other vessels. After the expedition at Petit Guavos, whether successful or not, the privateers and men of war that belong to Martinique will return thither, for which purpose they must stretch away northward as far as the coast of New England; and to gain some reputation as well as a supply of provisions I am apt to think they will attempt something against the merchant-ships on that coast, and perhaps, if strong enough, against the King's men-of-war there. I have therefore sent warning to these parts, and it is probable that the fleet which comes from Old France may go through the Gulf of Florida and so return to Old France again.
A Guinea ship called the Crown anchored in Oistins Bay on 18 April last. The master came to me, and on my enquiry as to the health of the ship answered that he had not a sick man, only one that was lame with a swelling in the knee. I said that it might be a plague-sore, and sent a physician to examine the case. Towards morning came an answer from the physician that the master had hidden all his negroes, told the searchers that he came from the Cape de Verde Islands and had landed his negroes in the night, though the ship had not entered at the Customs, and indeed did not do so until three days later. I was much concerned, for by such practices the distempers of other countries may be brought here, the consequences of which have been too severely felt of late years. Next day I went to Oistins, and after reproving the master told him that he had subjected his ship to forfeiture, but that if he would bring the ship down to Carlisle Bay to answer there for breach of the Acts of Trade, he might do so. He assured me that she should come, but as she did not appear I sent a lieutenant and seven seamen to see that she did not run away. This was duly done, but that night the master forced this party ashore and I believe would have carried off the ship had she not been within reach of cannon. Hereupon I caused the broad arrow to be marked on the ship and libelled her in the Admiralty Court. The enclosed account will show you how far the proceedings have gone. The Judge of the Court, who is a merchant in Bridgetown, was of opinion that the case should have been tried in the Court of Common Pleas, and that all creeks, bays, etc., should be esteemed part of the body of the country and that offences there committed should be tried by the Common Law, but we can find no precedent here nor in any other of the King's dominions. On the contrary it has always been the practice to deal with such cases in the Admiralty Court, and I am told that one of the principal charges against Lord Vaughan was that he made the great bay then called Honduras part of the land, for which he was recalled. I am resolved that other men's misfortunes shall be my caution, for these would be the consequences of such doctrine. Captains of men-of-war would be liable to action for trespass at common law for pressing men out of merchant ships, the King's searchers could not do their duty without a precept from a Justice of the Peace, and all causes concerning trade, customs, forfeitures, etc., must be tried by a jury of merchants, all of them parties concerned, and all interested in opposing the Acts of Trade and Navigation which make them pay custom. Moreover the four and half per cent. duty will come to an end, and the Court of Admiralty, which is the principal part of the King's prerogative here, will be laid aside. On this point the Judge of the Admiralty Court desired to consult the other Judges of the Island, to which, though impracticable, I consented, to acquit myself of all intention to commit hardship or injustice. Our Judges here are not well versed in any laws but those of Barbados (Mr. Langley alone of them having been bred a lawyer, and the rest being merchants, planters, and militia-officers) and are consequently absolute strangers to this matter. As the then Judge of Admiralty made many scruples and delays, and the appellees pleaded for despatch, I thought best to remove that Judge and put Mr. Langley in his place, who I believe has supported the Royal prerogative fairly and justly in the case so far, and I am sure will proceed so. I have instructed the Attorney and Solicitor General to write to Sir Charles Hedges, the King's Advocate in England, as to the matters of law raised in this case, and I have also reported the case to the Admiralty with a request for their instructions, without which I cannot tell whether I comply with their intentions. I beg also for a copy of the cartel with France, or at least so much of it as relates to the exchange or usage of prisoners. Those taken by the French men-of-war are maintained at the French King's charge, those taken by privateers at their charge; but Count de Blenac makes them work on board the ships. We sent about forty English seamen in a man-of-war and landed them at Dominica, a place inhabited by French and Indians only, and doubtless they would all have been murdered by the cannibals had not the merchants of Martinique sent a sloop to bring them off. I now humbly lay before you what the design of the French King may be on concluding a peace, viz., that although he cannot get a fleet out now, nor spare them if they might be got, yet whenever articles of peace are agreed on, he may then spare a fleet of English, Scotch and Irish that are in his Kingdom (and will starve after a war) and send them into these parts; and whatever they may be possessed of by the day when the Treaty mentions that each Crown shall enjoy in these parts I apprehend may be of fatal consequence (sic). Signed, F. Russell.
Postscript. I allowed the fleet to stay till the 29th inst. on petition of several of the masters. 6½ very closely written pages. Endorsed, Recd. 19 Nov. 1695. Read, 31 Jan. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 5. No. 102; and 44. pp. 212–229.]
[July 2.] 1,931. A collection of documents forwarded together with the preceding letter.
1,931. I. Libel against the ship Crown in the Admiralty Court of Barbados. 30 April, 1695. 3 large pp. Copy.
1,931. II. Copy of protest against the aforesaid libel, on the ground that the case is triable in one of the Courts of Common Pleas. 8 May, 1695. Copy. ½ p.
1,931. III. Answer of the master of the ship Crown to the aforesaid libel. 11 July, 1695. 1½ large pages.
1,931. IV. Copy of an Act of Barbados for securing of such persons as shall advance £700 for victualling the King's ships of war. 1½ pp.
1,931. V. Jonathan Langley to Count de Blenac. 10/20 May, 1695. It is to be hoped that, if anything has been done contrary to your approbation in Barbados or Antigua, you will not allow such former mistakes to prejudice the King of England's affairs in Barbados. Governor Russell has only lately assumed the Government, so could not have been accessory to such mismanagement, if such occurred, and he has assured you that everything that shall be discussed between you and him shall be transacted with honour. If you will give us permission, we should be glad to refresh ourselves ashore, having had a troublesome, rainy passage. Copy. 1 p.
1,931. VI. Count de Blenac to Governor Russell. Martinique, 10/20 May, 1695. It is a fact that the subjects of the French King have been treated in the English Islands after a fashion which I have never seen practised since I went to the war in my transactions with the English. I think that I personally have done nothing to merit such treatment. Messieurs Hovernard and Bourgeois came here and were entertained as though they had been the greatest nobles in England. They promised to return me three inhabitants of this Island, who had been made prisoners in a descent upon Antigua, as also the sailors of a certain ship. Instead of keeping their word, when, in the assurance which they had given me, I sent to fetch these men, I was told that the soldiers had been shipped to England and the sailors to Cape de Verde Islands. They have since returned and informed me that the question of hanging those who had made the descent on Antigua was three times discussed there. Again, a ship was taken while taking in wood on this Island. The inhabitants on board were set ashore at Dominique, and were restored to me by the Caribs. When you reach Barbados I should be glad to know if there is to be no change. I send back prisoners, who, with their ship, were kept under observation, and the ship was escorted back for three leagues. Englishmen who came here were very differently treated. Once ashore they had the same liberty as ourselves, and all their expenses were paid. I am unable to understand how such honourable dealing can have been met with such a return. I am persuaded that there will be a change of attitude on your side, since you assure me of it, but I have still to hear whether you are Governor of all the Islands, and what is your authority over the Leeward Islands, for there must be uniformity of dealing or it will be impossible to act. We have no prisoners of your nation. When I know the final resolutions of yourself and the Governors of the Leeward Islands I shall act as is usual among men who understand war, always honourably, especially with one of such distinction as your name shows you to be to all who have mixed in affairs. I thank you for your horse, but permit to say that I cannot accept it without the King's leave. I am none the less obliged to you, and if we meet in Europe it will be a pleasure to me to exchange courtesy with you. French. An imperfect copy. 3½ pp.
1,931. VII. Joseph Crispe to Governor Russell. Antigua, 16 July, 1695. This part of the world is full of privateers. The French have fourteen small craft with six hundred men in them, which are daily watching these Islands, and know all that passes as well as ourselves. Ten days ago they landed 250 men out of six vessels about a mile to leeward of the town of St. Christophers, surprised the town, and killed three or four of the guard and one of the horse-rounds, plundered to the value of £1,500 and then stayed until sunrise. They then embarked at the town where their vessels came and rid at anchor close to Governor Codrington's sloop, which by chance was there. Had the captain known their weakness on board and that they had but twenty men, he might have taken and destroyed the whole fleet, for they had not above five or six men apiece left on board, all the rest being landed. The Barbados sloop had but twelve men, so ran away, and they were glad to see it and never followed her. About three weeks before this they landed in Antigua by night, surprised the guard and carried away twenty-five negroes, a sergeant and six men. If good fortune had not prevented it they would have carried away General Hill; but now that the whole Islands go on general duty they guard the sea coast with half their strength by night and return to business by day; and it is necessary, otherwise they will lose all they have. You will judge for yourself whether it will not be convenient to have some of your own regiment or the militia to strengthen the guards of your Government, for it is possible to plunder plantations in Barbados as well as anywhere else and to go off safe. No doubt they know where to make such attempts and may go near to venture it, especially when they find themselves unable more to do the like here. They are sharp, bold fellows, and their necessities put them upon such enterprises. At St. Christophers a French prisoner was taken, who gives, I believe, a true account of their strength in men, guns and vessels, for it agrees with that of some English prisoners lately escaped from Martinique. These last also inform us that Daniel Hudson's ship from Guinea to Barbados is now at Martinique captured. She was taken on the coast before her slaves were on board, and the captain was killed. He thought the French man-of-war a trader, so having a letter of marque and forty men he ran on board of her and caught a tartar. We have no account yet of the success of the English and Spanish forces from St. Domingo. It is to be feared that the naval strength of the French will be equal or superior to ours. Five or six ships from France touched at St. Thomas, downward bound, for news. So did the Spanish fleet. Count de Blenac sent three men-of-war to that side, and since then a small, old man-of war of thirty guns has arrived at Martinique. Her name is the Pont d'or or Golden Bridge, no very good sailer. I heartily wish that you were in a position to assist Governor Codrington to break this swarm of privateers. It would be a great service to the King's interest in general, as well as to Barbados and the Leeward Islands, and no doubt would be gratefully owned by these people, who have a mighty and venerable esteem for your person and character. The gentlemen of Barbados would be prudent if they imitated those of the Leeward Islands in one thing. Every year each Island sends home as much sugar as will make two hundred pound, and consigns it to the Agents to be employed for the good of the Islands, whereby they have always a fund to compliment those who can be serviceable to them and so get their wants supplied. Their applications are with better success than of those who starve their cause. It is a right method that they have taken and they resolve to go forward with it. Pardon this long letter; but I wished to give you as full an account of occurrences as I could. Postscript. Since I wrote the above Antigua, Montserrat and Nevis have resolved to fit out three sloops, man them well with landsmen, and give officers and soldiers their diet and the King's pay, for which purpose they have made a levy of eighteen-pence a head on all negroes, great and small. Thus they hope to disperse the swarm of privateers. Copy, 2 pp.
The whole of the preceding papers are endorsed, R. 19 Nov., 1695. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 5. Nos. 102, I.–VII.]
July 2.
1,932. Edward Cranfield to the Duke of Shrewsbury. I send you a box of double-refined sugar, of 83 lbs. nett, of which I beg your acceptance, as this season of the year affords nothing more. Signed, Edw. Cranfield. ¼ p. Endorsed, R. 20 Oct. Enclosed,
1,932. I. The ship-master's receipt for the box of sugar referred to. 2 June, 1595. Scrap. [America and West Indies. 456. Nos. 62, 62I.]
July 2. 1,933. Minutes of Council of New York in Assembly. Five bills received from the Assembly, of which the New York Poor Relief Bill, the Deserters Bill and the Post Office Bill were read a first time, and the Bill granting £1,000 was postponed.
July 3. Bill for raising £1,000 laid aside. Bill for raising £800 read thrice and passed. Deserters Bill read thrice, with the following amendments—that the title be "A Bill to prevent the desertion of soldiers in pay within the province"; that the preamble be omitted; and some verbal amendments.
July 4. The Governor having assented to five bills summoned the Assembly and told them his reasons for laying aside the rest. He gave the Speaker leave to appoint a Committee of Accounts and adjourned the Assembly to 1 October next. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 698–702.]
July 3.
1,934. Governor Codrington to Lords of Trade and Plantations. My last to you is of a long date, since which nothing extraordinary has happened save what I have written to the Agents for communication to you. I have received the orders as to Crab Island. These Islands are daily infested with French privateers almost to the ruin of our trade, and to the daily harassing of our poor inhabitants by guards and watching to prevent the enemy from landing and carrying off our negroes, which they frequently do, though no diligence of ours, according to our ability, is wanting to prevent them. All this might easily be stopped by a force of small frigates, as I have frequently represented to the Agents for communication to you. We have for two years past had but one ship, the Chester, and she has had no recruit of naval stores or provisions from home since she came. I have myself supplied her with provisions as well as these Islands could afford; but naval stores are not purchasable for money in all these Islands, so that if she be not speedily relieved she must inevitably be laid up and will be in hazard of being lost and ruined. The Islands suffer extremely from want of a fourth-rate and two swift sailing sixth-rate frigates to repress enemies. I therefore pray you to lay before the King the danger we are in for want of such ships, which may not only secure our trade but secure the Islands from frequent incursions of privateers. We have not had a single English privateer in these parts for the last eighteen months, which has been of great disadvantage to us, and the Chester, for want of necessary stores, is unable to chase the enemies' vessels. All the service she renders is to convoy our outward-bound fleets clear of the enemy, which is indeed a great service, for else we were in great hazard of losing our vessels bound homeward from the Islands. Since December last the enemy have taken and carried into Martinique about thirty ships bound to this Government, besides what they have taken coming out of England and Ireland whereby you will perceive the nation's loss for want of a naval force. We are also extraordinarily weakened in our men since the war, partly by the war itself, but of late by sickness, insomuch that it is absolutely necessary for these Islands to be secured by some small frigates. Our sixth-rates at home would destroy the biggest of the privateers out here, and, so far as I can learn, they have no man-of-war, nor have had for the last five or six months. The King's regiment here is also in great straits for want of clothes and money, many of the poor men being almost naked. They have received no supply for two years, and daily undergo great hardships by marching on foot some miles to guard without shoes or stockings, by all of which they are so discouraged that some of them lately mutineered and laid down their arms. This storm blowing over, I give them all the encouragement that I can till I receive advice respecting them from England, which I daily expect, though since October last I have had no account from any person save one letter from Mr. Povey. I beg you to befriend this regiment, and to assist the officers now at home to get recruits, pay and clothes for them, or else I fear they will die and come to nothing, for they do really many of them suffer great hardships for want of supplies. I have sent the muster-rolls up to this month by this conveyance, and should have done so before but that I was told that the King had ordered the payment of the regiment according to the establishment, and that there was no occasion to send them. The inhabitants of these Islands are in great fear of the returning of the French part of St. Christophers when peace is made. They have addressed the King by this conveyance to keep the Island entire in his hands, for the English inhabitants will have no inclination to settle their part of the Island if the other part be returned, for, in all breaches that may happen with France they are liable to feel the fury of the enemy or to have their settlements destroyed, as indeed has always happened hitherto, the French being too numerous for the English in that Island. I have written to the Agents for the King's information as to the advantages of his keeping the entire Island, such as the increase of trade and of customs, the strengthening of these Islands by a greater number of inhabitants (which are already come and would repair thither from the Northern plantations), and the almost securing of the Islands by keeping the French out. I beg therefore that you will second the request of myself and the inhabitants. Signed, Chr. Codrington.
Postscript. 16 July. Since writing the above six French privateers have made a descent on the chief town of St. Christophers, intending to pillage it. They were at once met and repulsed with some loss after doing inconsiderable damage. But I must expect such attempts daily while they are masters of the sea. So I repeat my entreaty for a fourth-rate and two sixth-rates, prime sailers and fit to take the enemy's privateers, for without them I cannot secure the trade nor defend the Islands. There are fourteen small privateers now out of Martinique with seven hundred men, too great a strength to be prevented by some of our weak Islands from doing great damage. I am compelled to harass our few men by continual guards, for want of a naval force. Signed, Chr. Codrington. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 2 Sept. Read 25 Nov., 95. Read again 31 Jan., 95–6. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 4. No. 65; and 44. pp. 220–226.]
July 4. 1,935. Minutes of Council of New York. Order for payment of £1,356 to Colonel van Cortlandt for money laid out by him in subsisting the two companies of foot at New York and Albany at the time of the late revolution. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. p. 44.]
July 4. 1,936. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. The question of Lord Bellomont's salary considered, when it was agreed to lay the facts respecting the salary of the Governor of Massachusetts before the Lords Justices.
Petition of John Taylor read (see No. 1,922) and ordered to be considered when the Agents of Massachusetts are heard as to New Hampshire.
Sir Thomas Laurence's answer to the charges against him was heard, and the Lords agreed on their report on the same.
Sir William Beeston's letter of 4 April read and decision as to the Lieutenant-Governor's commission agreed to.
Governor Russell's letter of 7 May read (see No. 1,807) and portions of it referred to the Admiralty and Ordnance Office. [Board of Trade. Journal, 8. pp. 59–65.]
July 4. 1,937. Minute of Lords of Trade and Plantations. On consideration of the answers of Sir Thomas Laurence to the charges against him, and of the facts that no one has come forward to prove these charges, that Sir Thomas is at present authorised by the Government of Maryland to solicit the affairs of the province in England, and that the General Assembly have declared the complaints against him to be malicious, arbitrary and illegal, certifying at the same time his loyalty and integrity; it is agreed to recommend that the charges against Sir Thomas Laurence be dismissed. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 8. pp. 185–186.]
July 4. 1,938. Minute of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Agreed to recommend Major Thomas Delavall to be Lieutenant-Governor of Montserrat, in the room of Colonel Blakiston, resigned. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 44. p. 219.]
July 4. 1,939. Minute of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Recommending that a dormant commission as Lieutenant-Governor of Jamaica be issued to Colonel Peter Beckford.
Copy of the commission. Undated. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 54. pp. 28–30.]
July 4.
1,940. John Povey to Mr. Lowndes. Forwarding extract of Governor Russell's letter, suggesting that the Commissioners of the four and a half per cent. duty in Barbados may have orders to furnish money to the King's ships if necessary, for the opinion of the Lords of the Treasury. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44. pp. 147–148.]
July 4.
1,941. John Povey to William Bridgeman. Forwarding extracts from Governor Russell's letter as to the difficulty of supplying the King's ships with provisions and stores, and desiring the Admiralty's opinion as to the expediency of sending an officer to reside in the West Indies with a proper supply of naval and of ordnance stores. The Admiralty's opinion is also desired as to the inconvenience of the French at Martinique providing themselves with victuals by the capture of British and Colonial provision-ships. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44. pp. 148–149.]
July 4.
1,942. John Povey to the Master of the Ordnance. Desiring his opinion as to the expediency of sending out a special officer to reside in the West Indies with a supply of naval and ordnance stores (see preceding abstract). [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44. pp. 149–150.]
July 4. 1,943. Summons for all parties concerned in the appeal of William Sharpe to attend the Committee of Trade and Plantations on the 18th inst., with their evidence duly authenticated, for hearing of the case. Draft, 1 p. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 5. No. 103.]
July 5. 1,944. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Order for further payments on account of fortifications. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 77. p. 308.]
July 6.
1,945. Order of the Lords Justices of England in Council. Referring the petition of Captain Philip Dawes, of H.M.S. Falcon, who was removed from his command by Sir William Beeston and now prays to be heard in his defence, to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed, Wm. Bridgeman. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 54. pp. 33–34.]
July 7.
Port d'Espe
1,946. Narrative of Colonel Peter Beckford. When Sir William Beeston had certain advice that Commodore Wilmot's fleet was ready to sail, he sent me with letters to the Governor of St. Domingo, to Commodore Wilmot and to Colonel Lillingston, the purport of which was to get the Spaniards to join our forces and to fall upon the enemy before they came to Jamaica. I sailed from Jamaica on the 25th February in H.M.S. Hampshire, and arrived at St. Domingo on the 26th of March, where I joined H.M.S. Swan, Captain Moses commander, sent by the Commodore on the same account as myself, so that all was done to my hand. It was the 3rd of April when we met the fleet, and the 15th before the Commodore and Colonel Lillingston left St. Domingo, who went down with four men-of-war, sent the rest of the fleet to Samina, and came in to them the 23rd, and set sail thence on the 30th. On the 4th of May we arrived in Manchaneel Bay, where by appointment the Spanish forces were to meet us, who marched from St. Domingo by land, which was the occasion of all the delay at that place. On the 20th the Barlovento fleet of three sail came in to Manchaneel Bay to us, who were at Porto Rico when we left St. Domingo. On the 13th we had notice that the Spaniards were come to Bayaha, when it was agreed to join them with fifty grenadiers and one hundred firelocks of Colonel Lillingston's men, and one hundred firelocks from the Barlovento fleet, who were all landed on the 14th. On the 17th we sailed out of Manchaneel Bay and sent all the transport ships to Limonado Bay a little to windward of the Cape, and anchored with the men-of-war by the fort, some in and some out of gun-shot of the fort. At the same time such of Colonel Lillingston's men as were able landed at the Bay of Potansees, when the Spaniards had sent men to guide them to their camp. After the long-boats had landed the men we endeavoured to find a convenient landing-place for the seamen to fall upon the fort when the ships should go in to batter. On the 18th, going near the shore with our boats, we received two small volleys from the enemy, and many great shot were exchanged all the while between the ships and the fort. On the 19th, we searching with the boats for a place to land the seamen, rowing near the shore at dusk and firing patararoes and small shot from the boats to clear the shore, the enemy supposed (as we believe) that we were landing, and at seven o'clock blew up the fort, set fire to the town and went away, leaving behind them in the fort, batteries, and breastworks nearly forty pieces of cannon, some twenty-four pounders, the rest of divers and less proportions. It was four o'clock in the afternoon of the 20th before the advanced guards of the land forces got into the town. The seamen were in the fort and town by eight o'clock the night before; and here I reckon that our misfortunes began. For as soon as the land-forces came in, they were for taking all from the seamen and threatening to shoot all of them that carried off anything. Even provisions were taken from them by Colonel Lillingston's order, which caused such antipathies between the soldiers and seamen that it was dangerous to join them together on any occasion. A second cause of our misfortunes I attribute to Colonel Lillingston's sending for his men ashore, who were unable, and where there was not convenient diet nor lodging, as I suppose only to make up his number to share with the Spaniard, for they were to share according to their numbers of men. Hereby I fear that many were lost, for it would have been more reasonable to have sent those that were sick ashore on board ship. A third cause I reckon to be our long stay at Fransway [Cap François], though the Commodore was continually pressing the Spaniards or Colonel Lillingston to be gone. A fourth and the most fatal cause of our disasters was that, after it had been agreed that boats should be sent ashore to carry off all soldiers except those who were to march under the Major in company with the Spanish forces, Colonel Lillingston, without the Commodore's or any other officers' advice, takes a resolution to join the Spaniards with all the men that he had, without their request or desire; and it is to be feared that many of the men were unfit for any march. However, he himself with them undertook the march. The fifth cause of our unhappy proceedings was that Colonel Lillingston was deceived in the length of the march, for it was reckoned at longest as six days' march, but owing to the swelling of the rivers by rain, the length of the way, the wearisomeness of the hills and the weakness of the men, who carried their heavy coats on their backs, it was twelve days before we heard of anyone's coming to Porto Rico, and then only the Spaniards and Colonel Lillingston, with few of his men. They told a lamentable story of several drowned and many left behind sick, but on the next day, which was the 15th of June, the Commodore with about four hundred men landed and marched to the camp, where Colonel Lillingston told him that he thought he should lose about sixty men by the march, but that his brother had writ him from the plantation where he was quartered that they came dropping in apace; and I heard Colonel Lillingston say that he had made a prisoner of the soldier who had told us of the great loss that they had had. The sixth cause, and therein an inhumane one, was that Colonel Lillingston, knowing how many men he had left behind, took no care to send a party back with horses (which undoubtedly he might have obtained from the Spaniard) to fetch those who were disabled, nor would he ever discover to the Commodore how many he left, nor where nor how he left them, which if he had done, the Commodore without all question would have taken care to have saved as many as he could. The seventh cause is that at Port au Paix Colonel Lillingston sent for his men who were disabled to come ashore, instead of sending those that were disabled ashore to recover on board ship. On the 5th of June our ships anchored off the plantation to eastward of Port au Paix. On the 6th, upon signal given, all the boats landed the seamen, who drew up on a hill, sent out detachments to burn, and returned aboard at night. On the 8th the Swan and the Firebrand were sent down to secure the bays near the fort, that we might land our artillery. The ships fired their guns ashore and received abundance of small shot from the enemy. On the 9th another ship and sloop were sent, who did and received the like. On the 10th all the men-of-war weighed and fell down near the Castle, and about eleven at night the Commodore fired two guns for all the boats to man, arm, and put off for the shore. They landed, and, the Commodore advancing with about forty men, the enemy fired two volleys and the Commodore three, driving them from thence and from all their trenches (as we suppose) into the fort. The Commodore marched so near the fort that many guns from the Castle were fired at them and flew over them. From the 16th to the 20th of June we loaded the guns and mortars for Colonel Lillingston, and on the 20th sailed to westward of the fort with 150 men in the boats to cut a path to carry the guns up to the Marine Battery. On the 21st the men-of-war sailed to westward of the Castle and got our guns ashore that night. On the 22nd we got our guns mounted on a hill to westward of the Castle, and in the afternoon fired our first gun at the enemy. On the 23rd we mounted the rest of our guns, being in all three brass sackers and three iron six-pounders. On the 24th we began another battery to southward and lower than the other battery, in which we had only two men killed and two wounded, but our lower battery was nearer and lay better to flank the enemy's guns. On the 27th we pitched our lower battery and mounted thereon one eighteen-pounder and one twenty-four-pounder. On the 28th we continued firing from both batteries and had two men killed, with the Commodore, other officers and myself slightly wounded at the lower battery. On the 30th we continued firing and throwing in our hand-grenades, and did the enemy great damage. On the 1st of July we did the same with like success. On the 2nd we began to enlarge our lower battery by two guns more, continuing to fire until the enemy began to leave off firing, being unable to stand by their guns. On the 3rd we continued firing and throwing hand-grenades, but received few or no shot from the enemy. Having made a great breach in the castle and several in the cross-wall, we at ten o'clock received notice from a deserter that the enemy was leaving the castle, on which we drew down, met them, beat them, killed and wounded many, and by two o'clock in the morning were in possession of the castle. On the 4th of July we were not more than three hundred men, and the enemy marched out of the castle 310 Frenchmen, 200 armed negroes, and 150 without arms, leaving behind them a castle that can never be taken by storm, with above seventy pieces of ordnance mounted, and all materials fit. And now, which is the greatest affliction, Colonel Lillingston is sick, and the Major says he will proceed no further, nor will he yet be persuaded to march all his men into the castle, nor will Colonel Lillingston give any satisfactory answer what he intends to do, but is angry at everything said to him, which I doubt (as the Spaniard is of himself inclined) will give him opportunity to leave us, contrary to his agreement, which was to proceed to Petit Guavos and Lugan. Inscribed, This is the copy of what Colonel Beckford gave me when he returned on 15 July to Jamaica from the fleet at Port au Paix. Signed, William Beeston. Two closely written pages. Endorsed, Recd. 17 Oct. 1695. Read 28 January 1695–6. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 7. No. 87.]
July 8. 1,947. John Povey to Mr. Lowndes. Forwarding two Acts of Massachusetts, for coasting vessels and for restraining export of hides, for the report of the Treasury thereon. [Board of Trade. New England, 35. p. 206.]
July 9. 1,948. Governor Sir William Beeston to Sir John Trenchard. Transcribes a duplicate of his letter of 17 June, and adds in five lines that he has still no news of the fleet. The whole, 1½ pp. [America and West Indies. 540. No. 39.]
July 9.
Office of
1,949. Officers of the Ordnance to the Earl of Romney. We have considered Mr. Povey's letter of 4th inst., intimating the difficulty of supplying ships in the West Indies with naval stores. If some officer be sent from the Navy Board to reside in the West Indies to conduct the business of the Navy there, we think it would be better to assign ordnance stores to his care, giving him reasonable encouragement for receiving and disbursing the same, than to appoint a storekeeper upon the establishment of this office. Signed. Jon. Charlton, Tho. Littleton. ½ p. Endorsed, Presented by E. of Romney, 11 July, 95, and then read. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 5. No. 104; and 44. pp. 150–1.]
July 9.
1,950. Estimate of Stores of War for Virginia ordered by Order in Council of 23 May. Total, £655. Signed, H. Goodrick, Jon. Charlton, Tho. Littleton. 1½ pp. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 5. No. 75; and 36. pp. 286–287.]
July 9. 1,951. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The King's letter as to the clergy was sent to the Assembly, who returned an answer, under seven heads, to the effect that the clergy were sufficiently provided for. A reply was sent to the Assembly that this answer was unsatisfactory, as it did not touch the points raised in the King's letter. An order of the Assembly as to the expense of transporting the soldiers was returned to them amended. Orders issued as to the private bill concerning John Kirton's land. The address as to limiting the press of seamen was answered by the Governor, to the effect that if the Assembly would find men to man the King's ships he would forbid the press. In answer to the address as to discharge of the brigantine, the Governor said that she was now acting as a convoy, but that when she returned she should be discharged. The bills for an allowance to the soldiers and for the Governor's residence were read a second time. Bill appointing the Agent's salary was read a second and third time. A joint Committee appointed to consider the question of appointing three Agents and fixing their salaries. A bill declaring certain contraverted elections to the Assembly to be legal was rejected, as was also a bill as to qualifications of electors. The Governor then made a speech as to the amendments in certain bills to the Assembly, who declined to alter their answer as to the clergy or their address as to the pressing of seamen. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 55–59.]
July 10.
1,952. J. Burchett to John Povey. The Admiralty is informed by the Navy Board that H.M.S. Hastings, bound for the Leeward Islands, is detained at Plymouth because the soldiers which are going thither have not arrived, and desires the Lords of Trade and Plantations to be so informed. Signed, J. Burchett. ½ p. Endorsed, Read 11 July, 1695. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 4. No. 66.]
July 11.
1,953. John Povey to William Bridgeman. Forwarding the petition of Captain Philip Dawes to the Admiralty for their report. (See No. 1,945). [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 54. p. 34.]
July 11. 1,954. Order of the Lords Justices of England in Council. Referring the petition of Richard Bate and others, executors of Barbara Newton, to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed, Wm. Bridgeman. ¼ p. Endorsed, Recd. 15 July. Read 25 July, 1695. Annexed,
1,954. I. Petition of the executors of Barbara Newton to the Lords Justices in Council. For reversal of a decree in equity pronounced to their prejudice in Barbados. Copy. 1 p. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 5. Nos. 105, 105I.; and (without enclosure) 44. p. 192.]
July 11. 1,955. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Order for payments on account of fortifications and of powder. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 77. p. 309.]
July 11. 1,956. Minutes of Council of New York. Two letters from Boston and Pennsylvania were read. The former refused to send its quota on the ground that no inhabitants could be compelled to march out of the province without consent of the Assembly, which consent the Assembly denied. The letter from Pennsylvania said that the Proprietor had given no orders for compliance with the Governor's demands, and that the Council refused to hasten the meeting of the Assembly to consider the matter. Resolved that the River Indians be again prohibited to come upon the frontier of New England on their return from hunting. Order for a special Commission of the trial of Le Reaux. Resolved that the addition to the Governor's lodgings in the fort, estimated to cost £700, proceed concurrently with the building of the fort. The Governor proposing to go to Albany the Council advised that it would be inconvenient for him to leave New York, now that the French designed an attack on the coast. Orders for sundry payments. The printer's salary increased by £20 at the report of the Assembly. Patent for land granted to John Ward. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 44–46.]
July 12. 1,957. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Reports from the Ordnance as to a store-keeper for the West Indies, and a letter from the Admiralty as to the transport of recruits to Barbados were read.
The question of convoys to the West Indies was then considered.
The question of Jews in Jamaica and Barbados was considered; and the Lords agreed upon their report.
Petition of Captain Dawes read (see No. 1,945) and referred to the Admiralty. [Board of Trade. Journal, 8. pp. 66–70.]
July 12. 1,958. Minute of Lords of Trade and Plantations. As regards the petitions of the Jews (see No. 1,921) agreed to recommend that that from Barbados be dismissed, since care has been taken that the militia shall not be trained on the Sabbath, and that no further order shall be given as to Jamaica until it be known what the Assembly has done for them. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 54. pp. 27–28.]
July 12. 1,959. Minutes of General Assembly of Montserrat. Orders for the two companies of the King's soldiers to encamp at White River and German's Bay, for certain trenches to be laid out, for guard-houses to be built at Osborne's Bay and Bransby's Bay, both of twelve feet square, and for negroes to be sent to the work. Further orders as to alarm-posts and arms. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVIII., p. 332.]
July 15.
1,960. William Bridgeman to John Povey. With reference to your letter of 11 July, the Lords of the Admiralty have received an account of the dismissal of Captain Dawes from his command, but no information on oath or otherwise concerning the same; wherefore they are unable to give any opinion on the case. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 54. p. 35.]
July 15. 1,961. Minutes of Council of New York. A further letter from Connecticut respecting their quota was read, when the Council advised that the Governor write again to require a compliance with the royal commands or a plain and positive answer. The propositions of the Indians made at Albany on the 6th of July. Resolved to assist the Skatchkook Indians to build a fort, at a cost of £15, and orders given accordingly. Order for Peter Schuyler to acquaint the River Indians that they are forbidden to go on the frontiers of New England. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 47–48.]