America and West Indies: August 1695, 21-31

Pages 564-583

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


August 1695

Aug. 21. 2,016. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Antigua. Message from the Governor again commending to the Assembly the relief of the poor men on guard. The Assembly declined to relieve the men, saying that a night's ease would be more acceptable to them than provisions, and pressed the Governor to order the balance of the powder-account to be paid to the Treasurer immediately, and that several guard-houses may be repaired. The Governor asked the Assembly to find 25 or 30 lbs. of sugar for necessaries for the workmen at Monkshill, to which the Assembly answered by assigning the balance of the powder-money for the purpose. The Governor complied with the Assembly's request for the appointment of a new collector of powder; and it was then agreed that forty barrels of powder be secured in various private houses. The Assembly sent up an Act to restrain the insolence of negroes. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp.143–144.]
Aug. 22.
2,017. Order of the Lords Justices of England in Council. Referring the petition of Samuel Hubbard to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed, Wm. Bridgeman. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 27 Aug. Read 13 Dec. 1695. Annexed,
2,017. I. Petition of Samuel Hubbard to the Lords Justices of England. For reversal of a judgment given against him on appeal by the Governor and Council of Bermuda, and for confirmation of the judgment given at common law in his favour. Large sheet. Endorsed, Recd. 20 Aug. Read in Council 22 Aug. 1695. [Board of Trade. Bermuda, 2. Nos. 25, 25 I.]
Aug. 22.
2,018. Order of the Lords Justices of England in Council. Referring the petition of Robert Livingston to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed, William Bridgeman. Annexed,
2,018. I. Petition of Robert Livingston to the Lords Justices. For reimbursement of money spent in the service of the Crown in New York, without which he must be ruined. 1 p.
2,018. II. Statement of the case of Robert Livingston. Shewing that since 1688 he has paid from his own pocket £3,719 for the public service, chiefly for payment of troops and cost of military expeditions, which has not been repaid to him. He prays also for certain powder taken from him by Jacob Leisler to be made good, for confirmation in his present offices, and for a salary as Government Agent with the Five Nations. 3¼ pp. The whole endorsed, Recd. 23 Aug. Read 28 Aug., 1695. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. Nos. 9, 9 I., II.; and48. pp.218–224.]
Aug. 22.
2,019. Order of the Lords Justices in Council. Confirming thirty-five Acts of Massachusetts recommended by the Lords of Trade and Plantations in their Minute of 4th June. [Board of Trade. New England, 35. pp.194–197.]
Aug. 22.
2,020. Order of the Lords Justices in Council. Disallowing the Acts of Massachusetts which were recommended for dis-allowance and were left to their decision for confirmation or repeal by the Minute of Lords of Trade and Plantations of 4 June. The Act against clipping and counterfeiting coin is also disallowed, since the crime is not punished as in England. [Board of Trade. New England, 35. pp.198–199.]
Aug. 22.
Spanish Town,
2,021. Colonel Lillingston to the Marquis of Normanby. I make bold to trouble you with a letter which I have received from the General and the officers of the Spaniards. I did all that lay in my power to keep and hold a good correspondence with them, seeing that we could not have done what we have done had they not joined us, so that I thought it better for the King's service to pass some things by, as in getting some plunder in the country, which I did not think worth making a dispute about, and might have proved a hindrance to the service. But I find by the letter that the Spaniards are dissatisfied with our sea-officers, who indeed did not deal civilly either with the Spaniards nor with my regiment. For they would not take notice of the instructions, but at first coming into any place fell a plundering, and their boats [would] carry everything on board the ships, and not the land-officers nor the soldiers could get one boat, so that I do not know one officer who has got the value of a shilling plunder—only about ninety blacks, small and great, most of which we had from the Spaniards. This is all that I have for me, for my regiment and for them that belong to the train of artillery; and the Commissary and the fleet cannot have got less than ten or twelve thousand pounds. Your Lordship was pleased to be an "incoridger" [encourager] of my coming. I have been sick above six weeks and am very weak. I am sensible that I shall not get my strength here, so beg of you to procure leave from the King for me to get back my health in England. This Island is very weak in people, though in a Council of War it was said that it could afford to send 1,000 fighting men to Petit Guavos; but I have made it my business to enquire, and I cannot find that they can spare half that number, "and there is but fue that will fit except they have the chuseing of their comanders." Colonel Beckford is one who would desire to be one of the chiefs if there was anything to be done, but I believe the number of his people would be few, for I have not heard one man speak well of him since I came to the Island. Signed, Luke Lillingston. Holograph. 2 pp.The spelling very remarkable. Annexed,
2,021. I. Translation of a letter from the Spanish Lieutenant-General and five of his officers to Colonel Lillingston. 18 July, 1698. The enemy having evacuated Port de Paix on the 14th, I asked Admiral Robert Wilmot to demolish the walls that remained standing, and the overseer of these forces made his claim for a share in the guns and ammunition captured. Neither the one nor the other were done, the Admiral saying that he would come to a meeting at which you and we should be present to discuss what should be done. On the 16th he sent his commissary to your tent, where I and two of my officers attended, and all we got for our going was the enjoyment of the heat of the sun. A meeting was then fixed for the 17th, when your brother and other officers were present, and waited for the Admiral, who only sent a message to ask whether we intended to go to Petit Guavos or not, and that he would not demolish the fortifications until he had an answer. We then resolved that some of my officers should go on board the Admiral to procure a beginning of the demolition, and to obtain our share in the guns. They went accordingly, but after a long dispute with the Admiral, returned with the same proposal, that we should state in writing whether we would go to Petit Guavos, which done, he would discuss other matters. I think this is only a device to give the Jamaica privateers time to plunder the place and carry off the negroes, as already they have done in large numbers. So when the Admiral sent me another message as to Petit Guavos, I said that my troops were so ill and tired that it would be impossible for them to go, giving this answer to cover my many reasons for not proceeding with him. You and your regiment know well the public disorders of the seamen and of the Jamaica privateers. It was an article of agreement between the two nations that any church which we might come near should be protected by a guard of both nations, and the contents valued and shared. But the seamen and privateers destroyed all the images in the church of Port de Paix, and dragged the sacred ornaments about and put them on their bodies, and molested the priests both by words and blows. A similar agreement was made as to any store houses captured by the expedition, but the seamen had plundered Port Juarico by the time when we reached it, and in Port de Paix forced the Spanish guard and carried off 10,000 pieces of eight and other things from the magazine. At daybreak I hoisted the Spanish standard, and they set upon it, and narrowly escaped killing two of my officers, so that to avoid a riot I was compelled to furl it. Again the article that there should be union and unity between the two nations has been repeatedly violated. The Jamaica privateers have killed several Spanish' soldiers while fetching meat, and disarmed and beaten others. The Admiral himself, as you know, shewed violence to your brother. Again, after borrowing the flower of my regiment to guard one of his batteries, he left them there on the night when the enemy evacuated the fort, and went to plunder the Castle. These things are well known to you, and I shall represent them to the King, your master and mine. 2½ pp.[Board of Trade. Jamaica, 7. Nos. 92, 92I.]
Aug. 22. 2,022. Sir William Beeston's narrative of what passed while the fleet was at Hispaniola. Having received information from the King on the 11th of February, 1694–5, that the fleet and forces for this place were ready to sail, I thought it might be of good service to prepare the President of St. Domingo to be ready to give his assistance, so that, if it were thought fitting to attack the enemy before the fleet came down here, there might be no delay to our fleet in waiting for the Spaniards. I therefore ordered the Hampshire to sail thither, and in her sent Colonel Peter Beckford to concert all things with the President, giving him a commission and instructions, which are hereto attached, and letters to the President, to Colonel Lillingston and to Commodore Wilmot. On the 26th of February I sent them away, giving Captain Kenny of the Hampshire the orders enclosed. Much time passed after the departure of this vessel and I could hear no manner of news of the fleet, which put me in great pain for them, till at length on the 16th of April I had news by way of Curaçoa that the fleet had been met at sea about the 18th of March to windward of Deseada, when it was ascertained that they had been blown out of Madeira by a storm before they could get any refreshment there. I then daily expected advice from them, but none came, though I heard from a Nevis vessel which put in here for repairs that the fleet had left St. Christophers for St. Domingo on the 28th of March. The privateers, not being certain that the fleet was on the coast of Hispaniola, would not venture to go, till at length at the end of April I persuaded two of them to go, who promised to bring me intelligence in a few days. I also writ by them to Colonel Beckford, and desired him to despatch one of them back with the letters and orders; but these were kept also, and I could not learn so much as whether there were any such forces about Hispaniola or not. On the 7th of May a small ship from London brought news that ten ships of war were fitting out at Rochelle for the West Indies, of which I thought it my duty to give the Commodore notice. Having no ship but the Experiment I was loth to send her, not knowing what occasion I might have for her, but I thought it of such consequence for the Commodore to have this information that I wrote the three enclosed letters to him, Colonel Lillingston and Colonel Beckford, and sent her away on the 18th of May, with the enclosed orders to the Captain. I have since been told that the Commodore was dissatisfied with these letters, saying, "Surely the Governor has ill intelligence from Whitehall if he knows not who is the chief and whom to address." But how I should know when he kept all my letters I cannot guess. For notwithstanding my earnest request for this ship to be returned with the passengers and letters and that I might be informed where the forces were and what they were doing, in order that I might assist them, yet not a ship came back and not a word was sent to me. At length on the 15th of July, four months and a half after the fleet left St. Christophers, the Experiment arrived and brought down Colonel Beckford, and all the passengers and letters from Whitehall, also letters from the Commodore and Colonel Lillingston (copies enclosed). By the last I expected that no more could be done, as many of the soldiers were dead and the rest sick, and the Spaniards returning home. But by the Commodore's letter I could not tell but that they might stay, so I despatched two letters (copies enclosed) by two privateers; but on the morning of the 23rd (but eight days after the Experiment arrived) the cannon at Kingston and Port Royal fired an alarm, and the fleet came in sight. About noon they came into Port Royal without any ceremony, the Commodore expecting that the King's castle and flag should salute him, which I thought unbecoming and therefore forbade. So they arrived in silence, and that afternoon the Commodore came to meet me at St. Jago, before I knew that they were in port, or I should have sent coaches to meet him and have received him with more respect. I told him that the King's orders were for a council of war to be held soon after they arrived. He answered that he knew it, and hoped that it would be held aboard his ship. I said that I would consider it, and coming to the conclusion that the King's House was the more proper place I wrote him a letter to that effect (copy enclosed). He sent an answer (copy enclosed) that he would comply with unreasonable things rather than prejudice the King's service; but wherein lay the unreasonableness I must leave to better judges. The council of war was held, and a copy of its decision is enclosed. About this time I wrote the Commodore my letter of 26 July (copy enclosed) which I did on purpose to avoid all differences, seeing that he valued himself very much upon his authority and believed it to be superior to any in these parts (as I am told that he often discoursed, though not to me) and as may be reasonably guessed by his keeping the orders and all things secret from me, by his expecting that the King's flag should salute him, and that myself whom the King had appointed President, Colonel Lillingston and the Councillors of this Island, mostly colonels, should go aboard his ship to hold a council of war. Many other things have happened, which I have no desire to enumerate, because I intend only to defend myself against calumnies which I perceive to be designed against me; but if reports against me are received before I am heard, defence will be impossible. But as I have designed and done nothing but for the King's service I hope that I shall not be condemned until I am either heard myself, or the matter be examined by the Council or any other fit persons here. Signed, Wm. Beeston. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, R. 7 Nov. 1695. Enclosed,
2,022. I. Commission of Governor Sir William Beeston to Colonel Peter Beckford, 21 February, 1694–5. Authorising him to concert measures with the President of St. Domingo for operations against the French in Hispaniola, and when that is done to meet Commodore Wilmot and Colonel Lillingston for the same purpose. To this end he is placed in command of all ships sent from Jamaica to the expedition. Copy. 1 p.
2,022. II. Instructions from Sir William Beeston to Colonel Beckford, 21 February, 1694–5. Recounting the arguments to be used to the Commanders to press them to do the work of the expedition before coming to Jamaica, namely the chance of surprising the enemy, the advantages of discharging the transports during the summer months, of prosecuting operations before the summer comes on, and the disadvantages of beating up to Hispaniola from Leeward. He is particularly ordered, with the consent of the commanders, to send down a ship with the orders and letters from England. Copy. 1 p.
2,022. III. Letter of Sir William Beeston to the President of St. Domingo, 21 Feb., 1694–5. Giving him notice of the coming of the English expedition, and begging him to give assistance and to concert measures with Colonel Beckford to that end. Copy. 1 p.
2,022. IV. Letter of Sir William Beeston to Colonel Lillingston, 21 Feb., 1694–5. Informing him that he has sent Colonel Beckford to concert measures with the President of St. Domingo and recounting the advantages of getting the work of the expedition done before the fleet comes to Jamaica as in No. II. If Colonel Lillingston accedes, he is begged to send a ship with the letters and passengers to Jamaica. Copy. 1 p.
2,022. V. Letter of Sir William Beeston to Commodore Wilmot, 21 Feb., 1694–5. To the same effect as No. IV., including the request for the letters and passengers to be sent to Jamaica. Copy. 1 p.
2,022. VI. Sir William Beeston's sailing-orders to Captain Thomas Kenny of H.M.S. Hampshire. To convey Colonel Beckford to St. Domingo, and when his business there is done, to cruise off Savona so as to meet with the English fleet. He is to consult Colonel Beckford in all things and to take his orders from him. 22 Feb. 1694–5. Copy. 1 p.
2,022. VII. Letter from Sir William Beeston to Colonel Lillingston, 15 May, 1695. I hear that you left St. Christophers on the 28 of March, and I now acquaint you that I hear intelligence of ten French men-of-war fitting out at Rochelle for the West Indies. Please return H.M.S. Experiment, which bears this, as soon as possible, for I have no other of the King's ships here. Pray also remember my request for the passengers and letters to be sent to Jamaica. It is hard for the passengers to be detained, and I have had no orders from the Court since the Queen's death. Pray communicate this to Commodore Wilmot. Copy. 1 p.
2,022. VIII. Letter from Sir William Beeston to Commodore Wilmot, 15 May, 1695, giving the information as to the French preparations at Rochelle, and pressing particularly for the return of the Experiment, and for the passengers and letters to be sent to Jamaica. Copy. ½ p.
2,022. IX. Letter from Sir William Beeston to Colonel Beckford, 15 May, 1695. Showing his disappointment that the news of the fleet has been kept secret from him, and that the King's orders and letters are not sent down, since all public business is at a standstill owing to the Queen's name having been used in all Commissions. Sir William asks that the Experiment may be returned at once and complains that he has been slightingly treated. "If the Spaniard does not send men overland "to meet the French in the woods, you will do little, for "they will send the women, children and negroes and "all that they can carry to some pastures in the "mountains. Mrs. Beckford has been ill but is "recovered, and pretty well again and longs to see you." Copy. ¾ p.
2,022. X. Sir William Beeston's sailing-orders to Captain David Lloyd of H.M.S. Experiment. To cruise along the coast of Hispaniola till he meets the English fleet. The Commodore has been requested to send him back with the letters and passengers. Copy. ½ p.
2,022. XI. Commodore Wilmot to Sir William Beeston. H.M.S. Dunkirk off Port de Paix, 10 July, 1695. Since my arrival I have done my best to execute my orders for the King's service. Colonel Beckford, who bears this and has been an eye-witness, will tell you all that we have done, and if you will advise what more we can do, nothing on my part shall be wanting. As I daily expect the French squadron, I thought it reasonable to detain the men-of-war from Jamaica. ¼ p.
2,022. XII. Colonel Lillingston to Sir William Beeston. From the fleet off Port de Paix. 10 July, 1695. I received yours by Colonel Beckford. I wish that he could have joined the force under my command, though any service that I could do him would fall far short of his merit. I should have written long ago to you, had I known of any conveyance. I am so ill that the physicians pronounce my recovery to be dubious, so I cannot give you a full account of our proceedings. We have taken Cap Francois and Port de Paix, but the men left alive were so sickly that I have not forty men in my Regiment perfectly well. I hoped to have joined you with the ships that bear this, but the Commodore would not let me have ships for my men, who are in no condition to remain longer without rest and refreshment. Being a stranger in America, I would entreat you to have a house ready for me in Spanish Town, as the sea-air agrees with me. Copy. ½ p.
2,022. XIII. Sir William Beeston to Commodore Wilmot, 19 July, 1695. I have received yours of the 10th and a letter from Colonel Lillingston, reporting much sickness among his men. I am concerned to hear it, for Petit Guavos and Lugan, which lie nearest to do mischief to this Island, will remain undisturbed. I know not in what condition your fleet and men are, but I have given leave to six vessels of this Island, who have promised to join you. They will have a good number of brisk, well-armed men. If with this addition you think it feasible to make a fourth attempt on the enemy, I hope it may tend to the King's service and the safety of Jamaica. If your fleet can stay on the coast and you will tell me your desires, I will raise four or five hundred men to join you as speedily as possible. Captain Moses has been indisposed since his arrival, so I have not seen him and do not know what are his orders from you. I am glad that you have come to take that great trouble from me, in which I find that I have not only been misrepresented, but traduced. Postscript. I have certain information of a privateer of thirty guns lying off Cape Tiburon, where she may take most of the vessels bound hither and also most of the French women and children, with great booty, in the Isle de Dash (sic). I believe it might be of good service to send a ship to reduce them all. Copy. 1 p.
2,022. XIV. Sir William Beeston to Commodore Wilmot. 22 July, 1695. I hope that the privateer will enable you to attack Lugan and Petit Guavos. They have no fort, and being terrified by your success are not likely to offer much resistance. Indeed, if they be not routed, all that has been done is more for the Spaniards' security than for ours. Also, if your fleet comes down here before those places are reduced, I doubt it will not be easy to return thither again with a sufficient force. So, as I wrote to you before, if you want assistance and will give me speedy notice and appoint a rendezvous, I will endeavour to raise four or five hundred men. You will have to send us two transport-ships, and if you will send down a frigate I think to come up with them myself, not for any advantage to myself but from true duty. I hear that the French in Martinique are in great apprehension of your fleet and forces, and that they keep all close and will let no vessels go out. Copy. ¾ p.
2,022. XV. Sir William Beeston to Commodore Wilmot. 24 July, 1695. The King's instructions and the exigency of affairs both demand the speedy meeting of a Council of War. Colonel Lillingston being still sick and unable to go to Port Royal, I think that the King's House at St. Jago will be the most convenient place and Monday morning the most convenient time. I will give notice to the Councillors of this Island, according to the Royal Instructions, and will send my coach for you very early in the morning to Passage Fort. I have consulted Colonel Lillingston as to quartering the soldiers, and hope you will order such boats as you can to assist in landing them. Copy. ¾ p.
2,022. XVI. Commodore Wilmot to Sir William Beeston. 26 July, 1695. It has always been practicable to call Councils of War on board the King's ship, and I have seen the Duke of Leeds, Lord Devonshire, Lord Dorset and Secretary Trenchard go on board the Britannia at Portsmouth to a Council of War. But I will always comply with unreasonable things rather than prejudice the King's service. I doubt whether two of my captains will not be dead by Monday. Copy. 1 p.
2,022. XVII. Sir William Beeston to Commodore Wilmot. 26 July, 1695. I am sorry to hear of the illness of your officers. I have no concern in the management of the fleet, but if I can give you any assistance I will do all that is in my power. I think that we should avoid all disputes, and I hope that you will agree with me. I cannot gainsay what you say about the noble lords at the Council of War on the Britannia, but I doubt not that they had particular reasons for it. I am sorry you think it unreasonable that the Council of War should be held in the King's House, which is the seat of Government, especially since the first business will be to see if the country can raise men and money for further attempts on the enemy. When it is over, I shall be content that future councils shall be held under the King's flag at Fort Charles, and will comply with any reasonable demands sooner than prejudice the King's service. It is reported among the people—and I begin to suspect with truth—that you came here prejudiced against the country and me. I assure you that I have given no occasion for it, nor will I have any disputes with you. On the contrary I desire that we may assist each other the best we can for the King's service. You shall have all the help I can give from the public, and if I can serve in any matter relating to your particular self I hope you will command me. Copy. 1 p.
2,022. XVIII. Copy of Minutes of a Council of War held on 29 July, 1695. Abstracted below. No. 2,026 I. The whole of the foregoing certified by Sir William Beeston, and endorsed, Recd. 7 Nov., 1695. [Board of Trade. Jamaica 7. Nos. 91, 91 I.–XVIII.]
Aug. 22. 2,023. Duplicates of the preceding narrative and of Enclosures I.–XVII. [America and West Indies. 540. Nos. 42, 42 I.–XVIII.]
Aug. 23. 2,024. Lords Proprietors of Carolina to Governor John Archdale. We have received your letters from Virginia and send you new deputations, also a copy of our last letter to Mr. Grimball, which will shew you how we would have our moneys home. We desire you to hasten it, for we want it to pay our arrears of rent to the King, and other charges. We also send you copies of your instructions and a distinct order about selling land. We do not see how any sufficient reason can be offered to change our opinions as to the sale of lands with a reserve of quit-rent. We cannot depart from them, they being founded in good reason and judgment and such as you yourself thought absolutely necessary to keep up your interest and authority as proprietor, whatever may now induce you to differ from us. Nor can we think it prudent to abate any arrears of our quit-rents, which might be an ill precedent, lessen our authority, render us liable to contempt, and would certainly incense those who have already paid unless they are put in statu quo with others. Signed, Craven, Bath, Carteret, Ashley, Wm. Thornburgh for Sir John Colleton, Tho. Amy. [Board of Trade. Carolina, 4. p. 29.]
Aug. 23. 2,025. Lords Proprietors of the Bahamas to Governor Nicholas Trott. We have received your report of a wreck in the Bahama Banks, and that you would pay regard to our interest therein. In your former letters you wrote that our yearly revenues would amount to at least £800, so we may expect some return home over and above the cost of finishing the fort, and we rely upon your care herein. As to your wish to buy a proprietorship there is no vacancy, since Lord Bath succeeds the late Duke of Albemarle. Signed, Craven, Bath, Ashley, Wm. Thornburgh for Sir John Colleton. [Board of Trade. Carolina, 4. p. 29.]
Aug. 24.
2,026. Governor Sir William Beeston to Sir John Trenchard. If this should arrive before my last I beg you to suspend your opinion of Colonel Beckford's relation until things have been more heard, for the truth is hardly to be known yet, there being many complaints on all sides from the Commodore, Colonel Lillingston and the Spaniards, beyond my power to reconcile. I transmit herewith the results of the Council of War, when it was not thought fitting nor possible to resolve all that has been done in this expedition, and it being wholly transacted by themselves and all things kept secret from me until eight days before the fleet arrived, it comes not under my cognisance. The Commodore said that if we could raise men to go up again he would convey them, but would bind no seamen to assist. Colonel Lillingston is sick himself and so are his officers; about half his men are lost and the rest so unfit for further service that they are all very sickly and weak, and some die daily. The French have at Lugan with M. de Casse (as we hear by report of some prisoners lately taken) 2,000 white men, or at least 1,200, and 1,000 blacks, and though they have but few cannon, forts or castles, yet are all strongly enclosed by entrenchments towards the sea and retrenchments towards the land. If we can raise 1,000 men of this Island to go (which I much question, for we have only house-keepers) they are too few to fall on such a party so provided, and if we should go with such a party and by sickness or the enemy lose any considerable numbers, then the Island will be so weakened that it may be in danger. Besides there is no money in the Treasury, but on the contrary a debt of £5,000, so that we cannot raise the charges for so many men; and, to add to all the rest, the season of the year is most unhealthy and unfitting for such a design. On these considerations the Council of War decided that it would be best to dismiss the transport-ships, and save that expense, and to wait for a better opportunity if Colonel Lillingston's men recover and the French may be dispersed. The Spanish Lieutenant-General has written to complain that he has not been well dealt with, which complaint he will lay before both the Kings. In particular he says that the privateers, which I sent up with the fleet, carried away many negroes of which he has no share, and that he expects me to secure them. I made enquiry and would have seized them (though that would have disobliged the privateers and make them perhaps turn rogues) but I found that they had shared and sold all. I informed the Commodore thereof, who told me that the privateers had done good service, that they had acted by his order, that the negroes were taken far up in the country with great pains, and that he would answer for what they did.
Whether or no the keeping of the orders and of themselves wholly from my knowledge has been prejudicial to the design, I must leave to the King's determination. The not sending down of a King's ship for fear of a French fleet nor venturing the packets and orders without a King's ship may seem plausible enough for an excuse; but the Commodore had three or more shallops of this place by him, by any one of which he might have written to me where they were and what they wanted, and I could have sent him what assistance I could, with four or five hundred privateers and five or six hundred of the country who would have gone very willingly with me. I should have done so, had I received any intimation from them. I have heard that the King charged them to let no disputes arise between them, as being prejudicial to his service, and though I was not present to receive those immediate orders I believe myself concerned in them. I have therefore avoided all differences and disputes though the Commodore seems displeased before he came, and since, because I did not order the King's flag to salute him at his arrival, which I thought was a diminution of the King's honour and not fit for me to do. Other things he seems to discourse about, from which I judge that he will give no fair account of me at his return. I only beg that no relation may be received to my prejudice during my absence and when I cannot speak for myself, but that I may either have liberty to defend myself or that an order may be sent to the Council, or to whomsoever the King shall think fit, to examine and report the truth. Then if I have done anything undutiful or unbecoming my authority I shall cheerfully submit to censure. But the Commodore's displeasure seems not to arise from anything that I have done but from a designed prejudice, of the reason for which I am ignorant unless it be his great ambition, for he thinks himself much superior in authority to all the King's Commissioners in these parts. I intend, before the fleet goes home, to put all that has passed within my knowledge into a method and send it, with copies of all documents, to you, so that if there be any disputes, all may clearly appear; but if it be only his ambition, that may disappear before he goes hence, for where my duty and the King's service are concerned I can dispense with anything relating to myself rather than that the King's service should be hindered. The country has raised £800 and put it in my hands to support the soldiers at their first landing, and it happens well to maintain the sick at two hospitals, here and at Kingston, where all possible care is taken of them. Those that are anything well, though weak, are quartered at free cost among the people; but there are about 62 dead here and 150 dead at Kingston since their arrival. The seamen are also very sickly, and the Commodore has landed many of them at Kingston, and seems to say, as one of his discontents to me, that the first day he arrived he asked me to assist him in disposing of them for their health but that I took no notice. This is only seeking a quarrel, for I declare for truth that I know of no more that he said to me on the subject than that his seamen began to be very sickly, to which I answered that I was very sorry. Nothing further passed about it; but had he in the least asked my assistance he should have had it, as I wrote to him next day, on hearing what he had said. The French have sent down a flag of truce on pretence of asking for their prisoners, but really to find out where our fleet is, and whether we intend to turn on them again. I intend to keep them here, as they did ours, and by that means the French will always be kept in arms. I shall keep a frigate or two often on their coast also to keep them alarmed, which will tire them out and destroy them by want and sickness more than we could do if we had a number of men to go up and attack them. Signed; Wm. Beeston. Holograph. 3½ pp. Inscribed, R. 27 Nov. Enclosed,
2,026. I. Copy of a Minute of a Council of War held at St. Jago de la Vega in Jamaica, 29 July, 1695. Present, Sir William Beeston, Commodore Robert Wilmot and two Captains of the Navy, Colonel Lillingston and seven officers of the Jamaica Militia. The Governor having put to the Council what should further be done, the Commodore said that he had received intelligence that M. de Casse had at least 1,200 whites and 1,000 blacks strongly entrenched, and that even if 1,000 men were raised in Jamaica they would be too few for an attack on them. It was therefore decided to defer any further attempt for the present, and to discharge the transport-ships. Owners were therefore given for the victualling stores to be sold, and for the guns and ammunition to be landed. 1¼ pp. This is entered in Board of Trade. Jamaica, 77. pp. 311–312. [America and West Indies. 540. Nos. 43, 43 I.]
[Aug. 24.] 2,027. Duplicate of the preceding despatch. [America and West Indies. 540. No. 44.]
Aug. 24.
2,028. Governor Sir William Beeston to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Since my last of 21 July the fleet has arrived, the seamen sickly, the soldiers so ill that they die daily, and I fear that hardly three hundred of them all will be preserved. Those that are alive are in no condition for service, but I have dispersed them in the country for their health and for convenience of quarters. The French on the North side of Hispaniola have received great damage, but Leogane and Petit Guavos, which lie nearest to do us harm, have received no damage at all, and we are in no condition to make any further attempt on them. The Assembly after reading the bill of revenue laid it on the table and would meddle no more with that nor with the quit-rents, but fell upon continuing to have laws passed to forgive each other their debts, so I prorogued them to the 3rd of December, and am now sending home the Acts. There were several worthy men in this Assembly but not enough to outvote a more obstinate party. It has been the misfortune of the country that they think they ought to choose such men as are indebted and will oppose what the good party proposes, and these being generally the stronger party design what they can for themselves but nothing for the public good. Colonel Sutton and Mr. Blackmore being called upon to give in their defence in Council said that the petition presented on their behalf was unauthorised by them. Colonel Sutton seemed to own some things, but it being very plain that their allegation, that they were suspended without trial, was untrue, they only said that they intended no undutifulness to the King and would be contented to stand suspended, so they were no further troubled in the matter. Mr. Blackmore I consider to be far more innocent, and if the King restore him I think he will be dutiful in future.
The country has fallen into a very low condition under the calamities of the past four years by the taxes raised and the want of trade. The revenue arises chiefly from the importation of wines, of which there has been no quantity for a year past. The contingent charges, which amount to at least £4,000 a year, keep on and cannot be avoided, so the Treasury runs daily in debt, and there is not a penny to carry on any public occasion, though never so urgent. This makes the people querulous and obstinate; besides many die or remove themselves to other countries. There are now three vacancies in the Council, and I cannot find three men in the Island to recommend to fill them. There are rich people enough, but they want other qualifications. The mortality of these people [the troops] will give a disreputation to the Island, though they brought the sickness with them and the country otherwise is healthy, and will hinder ships and landsmen from coming to us. Unless there happens a peace, I fear the consequences, or unless the King will be at the charge of sending us over forty or fifty men in the merchant-ships, paying their passage and letting them be free when they land. These men would work and list in the militia and settle in the country. But the time of the year for sending them must be considered, for these are arrived at the unhealthiest season of all, which undoubtedly adds much to their loss. My orders, as to the King's ships that are to stay here for our defence, are such that I know not how to act. The King's own order expressly commands me not to meddle with the discipline of the ships or any officer; that from the Admiralty is the same and gives the Commodore sole command, only taking my advice in some things. He also is to give a warrant to a Commissary to do all things for them, and this is well while the Commodore is here; but there is no direction to me after he is gone, nor have I any but negative orders. I have ever been and shall ever be ready and willing to serve the King in all things, but I am not willing to act contrary to my orders, lest, if anything go amiss, I should be asked who required it at my hands. These orders seem to show that untrue reports have been made about me and accepted without my knowledge and without enquiry. This seems something hard at such a distance. The orders ease me of much trouble, by which I never got sixpence, but they are a great reflection on me, nor can the ships be turned to their object—the support of the Government—for I have no power to give them any orders, and if I should give them I know not what authority they have to obey them. Had the Commodore been directed to give me orders for the disposition of ships after his departure I should have obeyed those orders, though I must confess I should have thought it much beneath the honour of this Government to have received them, considering the powers entrusted to me by the King. I expect that other things, and untruth too, are said of me, but I beg that no reports against me may be accepted until I can answer them, or power be committed to the Council here to ascertain and report the truth. Then if I be found guilty I shall cheerfully submit to censure. Since the Assembly would do nothing towards the collection of the quit-rents, I have employed the Clerk of Chancery with great time and trouble to collect into a book the dockets of all the patents granted for lands, which will enable the Receiver to call in the arrears. A return of the number of acres granted has been sent to Mr. Blathwayt by this conveyance. Signed, Wm. Beeston. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 54. pp. 54–59.]
Aug. 24. 2,029. Minutes of Council of New York. Orders for sundry payments. Agreed that the Governor should depart for Albany on the 7th September. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 57–58.]
Aug. 25.
2,030. Governor Russell to Lords of Trade and Plantations. The following is my report upon the fortifications of this Island. The town of Oistins is about a quarter of a mile from the fort, and lies open without any protection whatever. The men resident in the town are reckoned to be ten or twelve, and no watch is kept therein. Oistins Fort commands the bay where the ships ride. It mounts forty-five guns and has two men to look after it, one gunner and one matross, which are all that can be depended on to secure the fort and defend it against surprise. Both to windward and leeward of the fort there are good landing-places, and good anchoring ground. The fort has generally barrels of powder lodged in it. The fort is the windwardmost fort and the town the windwardmost town in the Island. There is no ditch nor palisades about the fort, so that four men with scaling-ladders might have surprised the fort and twenty men have surprised and burned the town. So considerable a place I thought should not be trusted to fewer than two officers and thirty-two men; and because I knew that I ought to have immediate notice if any enemy should land, I appointed the Windward Regiment of six troops of horse to find one corporal and a man for every troop to continue at Oistins. Then, if there be any alarm, their orderly men should immediately repair to the officers of their troops, while the corporal should come with full information to me. This place being to windward we could give them no assistance with our naval force, the nights being generally calm and the current setting always to leeward. Oistins is about eight Barbados miles from Bridgetown, which in this hot country is a good day's march. The next fort is Needham's Fort or Charles Fort, which commands Carlisle Bay. It has forty-two guns, one gunner and twelve matrosses, which are all that can be depended on to secure it against surprises. Kirton's Bay, to windward of it, has good landing-places and anchoring ground. The fort has neither ditch nor palisades, so that by scaling-ladders it may be taken. By keeping so few men in it, it was liable to be surprised before more men could come to relieve it, though it is but two miles by land from Bridgetown. The fort was found to be of great value in securing the bay when De Ruyter came here to attack it, but it had then more men than are in all the forts now. It is of very good defence to the sea, and if it were demolished or blown up all the ships in the bay must be exposed to the enemies' designs. Bridgetown has no defences of any kind, and is computed to contain thirty Quakers, fifty Jews and three hundred Christians, fighting men. I therefore thought it my duty to add to the garrison of Needham's Fort an officer and sixteen men. Ormond's Battery is an open platform with two matrosses and nine guns. The next fort lies at the mouth of Bridgetown harbour and mounts twelve guns. It has neither ditch nor palisade, and one gunner and one matross were all that could be depended on for its defence. I have now raised the garrison to the same strength as that of Needham's Fort. The magazine is a furlong behind the town. The yard is walled in with a four-square wall, unlined, and has not so much as a gallery for sentinels to look over the wall, nor a ditch, nor palisades. The great road from the town passes close to the walls, and if the magazine were surprised and blown up Barbados would be lost, for all the ammunition is kept there except that delivered out monthly to the forts. To secure this important place there was one gunner, two matrosses and an armourer, and in the magazine yard is one gun (or gunner?) to fright people from the door belonging to the walls and between the magazine and the walls of the yard. To this important charge I appointed three officers and twenty-eight men. The next fort is James Fort at the leeward point of the harbour of Bridgetown; it mounts twenty-one guns and has one gunner to defend it. It is walled, but has neither ditch nor palisade. To this I appointed a corporal and nine men. The next to leeward is Fontabelle platform, a mile and a half from Bridgetown. This is an open battery with the great road to leeward passing close to it, and between it and the guard upon the batteries are mounted eight guns, with one gunner and two matrosses. The house hired for the Governor is a few shot from the guard and has two foot-paths through the yards. The house is open, without so much as a wall round it, and has five little field-pieces planted before it for ornament. This house and battery had one gunner and two matrosses. There are bays on each side of the battery with good anchoring ground and convenient landing-places; and forty men might at any time land in a little cove below it, march privately by the back way to Fontabelle house, take the Governor out of his bed, and beat and take the guard if they were not surprised (but being roads all passengers must go just by the sentinels) and may seize them and the guards, and carry the Governor and any that are there to Martinique. Having no more post in that open place at this time than an officer and twenty-four men, and since it is my duty to go at once to any alarm and very unsafe for me to march thither with only four white servants (which are all that the sickness has left alive in my family), I have ordered the two Regiments of horse to send one man from every troop to attend at Fontabelle for orders, and a gentleman of the troop of Horse-guards to attend there also. And as the Assembly complain that the Guards are put upon common duty, I must tell you that I give him the post of an officer to command the twelve orderly men, and when I do not dine abroad he has constantly a place at my own table and command of my cellar as far as three, four or six bottles of wine a day, if he calls for them.
The next fort to leeward is Hole Fort, a little to windward of Hole Town. This mounts twenty-four guns, has no ditch nor palisade, and has one gunner and one matross to guard it from surprise. The town is computed to have twenty men, and has no defences. I appointed a captain and thirty-one men to be garrison. Speight's two forts are the next to leeward, having thirty-eight guns mounted, one matross and two gunners. It lies at the leeward end of Speight's Town and commands the bay, and has neither ditch nor palisade. The town is computed to contain ten Quakers, twenty Jews, and forty Christians, fighting men. This being the leeward-most town, I have appointed a corporal of the Leeward Regiment of horse and one man of each troop to attend there for orders, to perform the same duties as at Oistins Fort. I am sure that this preserved us from what the French did in the Leeward Islands at the same time, and had not the French known of my reinforcing these, I dare swear that we should have had them here. We have some forts to leeward of Speight's, but no towns; there are also batteries to windward of Oistins and to leeward of Speight's, and several batteries between the two, where I have not put any men because I could not put the country upon more duty than absolutely necessary, nor dare I relieve it of that duty till the rest of my regiment arrives. I daily expect them and the King's subsistence for them, to which I hope the country will add so much that a man may live; for under twelvepence a day it is impossible that they can subsist, salt mackerel and the other fish that they give the negroes being sixpence a pound and bread the same. I must observe that though these towns have so few men in them the warehouses there are of very considerable value, these four towns being the only places that they load at, and in good weather the country send all their cotton, sugar, molasses and rum thither, for in the rainy season (as it is now) no cart can go, nor even horse or mule, in some parts of the Island. This duty comes in the Foot to everyone's turn one week in fifteen, in the Horse one week in eighteen, and in the Horse-Guards one week in one hundred and twenty-seven. This makes a great clamour among some of them, but others who are loyal consider how necessary it is for their preservation, and think that they are happy to be safe with this duty when Jamaica has suffered heavy loss, all North America is in arms, and every man in the Leeward Islands is on duty on alternate days. Again those Islands are fitting three or four sloops or brigantines for defence, while our Assembly has voted to dispense with the sloop that we hired for the King's service. But we have too many Jacobites here to have anything done which is really for the good of the King and his government. I have several times told these gentlemen that it is necessary to put the Island into a posture of defence, for they may have a hard blow for their Island before the day that concludes peace, and Irish and French to strike it. Their only answer was, "The French be hanged." If I propose anything to be done, they say that I put the country to needless charge. Had I let them have suffered they would have seen their danger and done anything, but perhaps then it would have been too late. Signed, F. Russell. 2½ large pages. Endorsed, R. 19 Nov., 1695. Attached,
2,030. I. Account of the gunners, matrosses and guns at the several forts in Barbados. Total 12 gunners, 24 matrosses, 267 guns. Table of the garrisons added by Governor Russell. Total 12 officers, 188 non-commissioned officers and men. 1½ pp. Endorsed, R. 19 Nov. 1695. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 5. Nos. 110, 110I.; and (without enclosure) 44. pp. 229–238.]
Aug. 26. 2,031. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Peter Beckford and Henry Lowe appointed to examine as to the sick soldiers in Kingston. A French free negro obtained leave to sue for his freedom in forma pauperis. Order for a payment and for hire of a sloop. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 77. pp. 315–316.]
Aug. 28. 2,032. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Peter Beckford and Henry Lowe made their report as to the sick soldiers, and orders were given for distributing them in the country. Orders for payments and for apprehension of Richard Pusey. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 77. pp. 316–317.]
Aug. 28.
2,033. Commissioners of Customs to Lords of Trade and Plantations. With reference to Mr. Brooke's letter of 24 November, 1694 (see No. 1,546), the seizure of the ship Rebecca seems to be well made under the Act of Trade of Car. II., and the officer should retain the goods in his custody. Mr. Brooke did his duty also in prosecuting the brigantine Orange for illicit trading and her master for corresponding with the King's enemies, and we recommend that the judgment in the case be confirmed. Signed, J. Warde, C. Godolphin, Ja. Chadwick, Sam. Clarke. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 23 Aug. 1695. Read, 17 Feb. 1695–6. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 10; and 48. pp. 215–217.]
Aug. 28. 2,034. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Petition of Robert Livingston read (see No. 2,018) and petitioner called in, who alleged that the money raised by Act of New York for payment of himself and other creditors, had not been applied to that use owing to the exigencies of the defence of the frontier. He added that unless orders were given in England for satisfying him, he had no hope of relief in New York owing to Governor Fletcher's proceedings, for proof whereof he produced witnesses (see next abstract). The Lords ordered that Captain Shelley should attend the next meeting.
The merchants attended, and the question of convoys was discussed. [Board of Trade. Journal, 8. pp. 99–106.]
Aug. 28. 2,035. Memorandum of examinations taken before the Lords of Trade and Plantations.
Deposition of Philip French. Before the election of the Assembly in May last he heard it discoursed in New York that Governor Fletcher said he would pistol any man who would choose Peter Delanoy to serve for that place. When dining with Governor Fletcher he asked him as to the truth of the report, and the Governor owned it, and said that Depeyster and Delanoy were both rascals. On the day of election deponent saw many soldiers and seamen with clubs in the field, and on seeing the people known as Leisler's party leaving the field he was told that there was a rumour of pressing, and that they would not stay. There had been great heats in the Assembly about the public accounts. Last spring Major Howell told deponent that he expected trouble, as a Court Martial of militia officers had decided that a detachment to be sent to Albany should be sent on credit of being paid by the next Assembly, to which Howell was opposed. Howell was afterwards sent to Albany with the detachment. Deponent heard it said that all the goldsmiths in town were employed in making presents for the Governor, and that the captain of a merchant-ship, Sims, was a Lieutenant of the King's Company at Albany.
William Kid, master mariner, corroborated French's statement as to the presence of soldiers and seamen at the elections. He and other captains were asked by the Sheriff to bring their men ashore to vote. Deponent in a subsequent deposition of 14 Sept. added that he could not say that this was by the Governor's order. Many of the soldiers were without their soldiers' clothes and arms, and none of them voted.
Samuel Bradley deposed that on the evening before the election he saw freedoms made out to the petty officers and others of the King's ship. The Sheriff, Mr. Tutall, told him that a freedom for himself and for several others was ready.
John Aldborough corroborated the evidence as to the presence of soldiers and seamen at the election.
Joseph Davies confirmed the bringing ashore of seamen to vote. He saw an account, which came from the last Assembly, of about £1,500, and for which he heard that the Assembly would do nothing without a more particular account; whereupon the Governor dissolved the Assembly. 3½ pp. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 11; and Journal, 8. pp. 100–104.]
Aug. 29. 2,036. Minutes of Council of New York. A letter from Governor Nicholson, by the hand of Mr. Thomas Tasker, was read, when Mr. Tasker, being summoned, said that Maryland could send no men to New York, but that he had brought bills with him to the amount of about £200 sterling, which were accepted by the Council. A committee appointed to consider what is to be done as to the protested bills received from Colonel Copley. Petition of Captain Ebenezer Wilson referred for examination. Estimate of the cost of the Governor's journey to Albany and of presents for the Indians presented, amounting to £600 at least. Committee appointed to consider the form of a Commission for establishing Courts of Judicature. Denizenation granted to Isaac Napthali. Patent for land granted to John Harrison. Orders for payments and for examination of certain accounts. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 58–60.]
Aug. 31. 2,037. Gilbert Heathcote to John Povey. Pray let me know if the complaints against Governor Fletcher be given in and when you think the complainants will be heard against him, that I may appear on his behalf. Holograph. ¼ p. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 12.]
Aug. 31. 2,038. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Order for a Council of War, which was held, when it was resolved that the soldiers being dispersed, the owners of their quarters should certify as to the numbers of men with them, rather than that the Island should go to the expense of sending carriage to muster the men. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 77. pp. 318–319.]
[August.] 2,039. Muster rolls of the militia of Jamaica.
2,039. I. Colonel Sir William Beeston's regiment of horse. Major Thomas Hals's troop: Four officers, 44 corporals and men.
Captain Henry Gale's troop: 3 officers, 23 corporals and men. 2 pp.
2,039. II. Captain Peter Robinson's troop of horse: 4 officers, 53 corporals and men. 1 p.
2,039. III. The Town troop of horse: 3 officers, 48 corporals and men. 1 p.
2,039. IV. The Windward, or Captain Edward Turner's troop of horse: 3 officers, 15 men. 1 p.
2,039. V. Colonel Nicholas Lawes's regiment of foot. His own company: 4 officers, 41 serjeants and men.
Lieut.-Col. Thomas Clarke's company: 3 officers, 29 serjeants and men.
Major Edward Harrison's company: 3 officers, 52 serjeants and men.
Captain Edward Yeoman's company: 2 officers, 55 serjeants and men.
Captain William Hall's company: 3 officers, 22 serjeants and men.
Captain Zachariah Gaultier's company: 3 officers, 18 serjeants and men.
Captain Josiah Heathcote's company: 3 officers, 57 serjeants and men.
A vacant company: 2 officers, 37 serjeants. The whole, 9 pp.
2,039. VI. Colonel John Bourden's Regiment of Foot. His own company: 5 officers, 102 serjeants, corporals, and men.
Captain Thomas Byndloss's company: 3 officers, 46 serjeants, corporals and men.
Captain John Walker's company: 3 officers, 72 serjeants, corporals and men. This roll is divided into files of six men each.
Captain William Heaton's company: 3 officers, 67 serjeants and men.
Captain Robert Nedham's company: 51 men.
Captain James Banister's company: 3 officers, 70 serjeants and men.
Lieut.-Colonel Whitgift Aylemore's company: 3 officers, 47 serjeants and men, including two free negroes.
Major Francis Rose's company: 3 officers, 42 serjeants, corporals and men. The whole, 8 pp.
2,039. VII. Colonel Peter Beckford's Port Royal regiment of foot. Colonel Charles Knight's company: 3 officers, 3 serjeants, 149 men.
Major Charles Sadler's company: 4 officers, 61 serjeants and men.
Colonel Peter Beckford's company: 4 officers, 70 men.
Captain Thomas Grey's company: 3 officers, 100 serjeants and men.
Captain Lancelot Talbot's company: 3 officers, 130 serjeants and men. The whole, 5 pp.
2,039. VIII. Colonel Henry Low's regiment of foot. His own company: 3 officers, 52 serjeants and men.
Lieut.-Colonel Richard Dawkins's company: 3 officers, 56 serjeants and men.
Major Thomas Fisher's company: 4 officers, 51 serjeants, corporals and men, including 7 free negroes. Dated, 10 Aug. 1695.
Captain Jonathan Hubbard's company: 3 officers, 60 serjeants, corporals and men, exclusive of 14 free negroes, liberated for fighting the French at Carlisle Bay.
Captain Valentine Mumbee's company: 3 officers, 57 serjeants and men.
Captain William Ivy's company: 4 officers, 57 serjeants and men. Dated, 14 Aug. 1695. The whole, 6 pp.
2,039. IX. Colonel Odoardo Lewis's regiment of foot. His own company: 4 officers, 37 serjeants and men.
Lieut.-Colonel Barnert Andreix's company: 3 officers, 33 serjeants, corporals and men.
Captain William Claver's company: 3 officers, 27 serjeants and men.
Captain Michael Houldsworth's company: 4 officers, 47 serjeants, corporals and men.
Captain John Carne's company: 3 officers, 35 sergeants, corporals and men. The whole, 5 pp.
2,039. X. Colonel Modyford Freeman's regiment. His own company: 4 officers, 26 sergeants and men.
Captain Robert Bowman's company: 3 officers, 16 men.
Captain Thomas Tisdall's company: 3 officers, 25 serjeants and men.
The two following companies have nothing to show to what regiment they belonged.
Captain George Rackstead's company: 3 officers, 3 sergeants, 22 men. The roll is made up in files of six men apiece.
Captain James Smith's company: 3 officers, 18 serjeants, corporals and men.
The majority of these rolls are made up, both for horse and foot, in files of four men apiece, but in two cases there are the old-fashioned files of six men. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 7. Nos. 93 I.–X.]