America and West Indies: April 1696

Pages 657-675

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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April 1696

April 7. 2,315. Minutes of Council of New York in Assembly. The Assembly attending, the Governor made the following speech. The great favours and kindness of the King deserve our utmost obedience and gratitude. The supplies that he has sent us of men, artillery and stores, together with his orders to the other Colonies (if duly obeyed) will enable us to withstand all our enemies and live in happy security. Only our sins can render the royal care for us ineffectual. The King desires nothing of us but what may contribute to our security, and this will be easily accomplished if we make proper use of the helps that he has given us. The King has sent us tools, and he has sent us men to work them, but men wear out, desert, go sick and die; and weak armies and battalions must be kept up by constant recruits, or they crumble to nothing. The forces lately sent over are much weakened, and will be more so unless proper encouragement be thought of for them, as in the Leeward Islands. The rate of labourers' earnings is so high that the most necessitous men choose to gain their bread with the spade rather than with the sword. We shall want both men and money to render the royal assistance answerable to the royal intentions. It ought ever to be remembered that, notwithstanding the King's present pressures, the great and bloody war he is engaged in and the daily hazard of his sacred person, he remembers this little handful of people. Let us not forget our duty to such a King, nor let us forget ourselves, but strengthen our frontiers, which is the most acceptable service that we can render to the King and our country. I hope you will forward and finish the building of the chapel in the fort according to the King's recommendation. The accounts both of revenue and taxes will be laid before you. The Government is in debt. Pray consider those who have advanced money on its credit, that they may not suffer for their zeal for the public weal. The money thus lent has been borrowed on alarms and exigencies which seemed to concern our safety, and at seasons when the Assembly could not meet timely. The money granted last Session is in great part still at my disposal (it is not yet paid). Pray, for my ease, appoint a joint Committee with the Council to see that it is applied to the public good. I would have it obvious to you that it has not been converted to any private use, and I do not desire one penny of it, nor to have more to do with it than to sign the warrant for expending it as you advise. I wish for a good agreement and understanding among yourselves, that you may make a good return to the King for his favours. Speech ends. The Council thanked the Governor for his speech. Adjourned to 9th. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 723–725.]
April 8.
2,316. Governor Sir William Beeston to Lords of Trade and Plantations. By my last I sent home the laws and public papers, and recommended five gentlemen for the Council, whom I again beg may be admitted thereto. Mr. Blackmore, like an honest man as he was ever esteemed to be, has behaved himself very modestly, and I truly believe was led into error more by the persuasion of others than by his own inclination. I beg that he may be restored to the Council, for there are not men left in the country fit to discharge those greater trusts. I have now but seven left of the Council, and Colonel Beckford has been so indisposed since his return from Hispaniola that he has been unable to act. Some of the others have nearly thirty miles to go, and it is hard to get a quorum on the most pressing occasions. There is another inconvenience; the members give themselves a latitude to attend or not on summons, knowing that no business can be done without them. The country is very healthy and flourishing in its own produce proportionable to the number of people, but they and trade are wanting, and the French with their privateers infest the out-settlements, where, if they do not rob, they keep the poor people almost always in arms to defend themselves. This is a great loss to them, and I know not how to remedy it, for though the King's ships press all the men from the merchant-ships (even to the ruin of their voyages) they are never fully manned; and the captains think me upon the dilemma that if I order them without having their full complement, and any accident befall them, then they will lay the blame on me, by which means they lie for the most part in port, put the King to great charges, and do little other good but by the reputation of so many men-of-war being here. Yet there has not been one privateer taken at sea ever since I came here. The country is at great peace and quiet within, for I take care that no feuds or differences be fomented among any of the people, but discourage them all I can, whereupon they think it not worth their pains to quarrel and to pick holes in each other's coats. A vessel lately came in from Petit Guavos with a flag of truce, which told me that all the French fleet that was on the coast is returned for France. It brought all the English that were among them, and I return by it all the French among us that desire to go away, but those that are willing to live among us I detain. But there are some private letters come by her, which say that the French expect ten ships of war and two bomb-ketches to fall on us, copy of which letters I have sent to the Duke of Shrewsbury. If such provision be making against us, surely it must be known in England, so I hope you will have moved for some succour to be sent to us; for if this Island should now fall into the hands of the French, they will soon fortify and people it so that it will be past retrieving. It is an Island that may be desirable to any prince, the situation being so convenient as a seat either of trade or of war that there is not the like, nor such conveniences of harbours, in these parts, besides its produce, which is considerable. Signed, Wm. Beeston. Holograph. 2 pp. Endorsed, Read 1 Oct. Answd. 2 Oct., 1696. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 4; and 56. pp. 6–9.]
April 9. 2,317. Minutes of Council of New York in Assembly. The Assembly desired a Joint Committee to consult as to strengthening the frontiers at Albany. Five members appointed accordingly. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. p. 726.]
April 9. 2,318. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Thomas Flint's appeal was heard, and decision deferred. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. p. 20.]
April 11. 2,319. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Colonel Lillingston was called in and heard. The Lords agreed upon their report thereon. Mr. Usher Tyrrell's petition read and referred to the Governor of Jamaica in Council. Sir William Beeston's letter of 2 December read. The Lords agreed to represent the evils of the disagreement between the Governor and the commanders of the King's ships, the ill results of irregular imprisonment, the want of recruits and of naval stores, and the expediency of sending a fireship to Jamaica.
Governor Codrington's letter of 12 December read. The Lords agreed on their recommendation.
Upon information of a French design against some part of America, it was agreed to send a circular letter of warning to the Governors. Agreed also to send a circular letter as to the Act for regulating the Plantation trade, recently passed. [Board of Trade. Journal, 8. pp. 170–173.]
April 11. 2,320. Minute of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Agreed to recommend Colonel Codrington's suggestion that the ships on the New England Coast shall cruise in the West Indies during the winter. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 44. pp. 237–238.]
April 11.
2,321. Minute of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Agreed to lay before the King in Council the Minutes of Council of Jamaica of 18 October last, which Colonel Lillingston alleges as the motive of his coming to England to ask for recruits for his regiment. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 54. p. 61.]
April 11.
2,322. Minute of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Agreed to represent to the King the request of the Jamaica merchants for recruits and for a fire-ship, and to take his Majesty's pleasure as to the gentlemen recommended by the Governor to fill the vacancies in the Council of Jamaica. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 54. pp. 68–69.]
April 11.
2,323. John Povey to Sir William Beeston. Sending a copy of a petition of Usher Tyrrell for the report of himself and Council thereon (see No. 2,290). [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 54. p. 71.]
[April 11.] 2,324. The case of Colonel Luke Lillingston, offered to the Lords of Trade and Plantations. I have been informed that in an account sent to England by the late Commodore Wilmot and by the late Commissary Murrey I am aspersed for being in such a manner dilatory concerning the mounting of great guns and mortars, as seriously to hinder the King's service. And to carry on his design more plausibly against me Commodore Wilmot called a Council of War of his own officers, wherein my dilatoriness was declared, and the naval officers' resolution to act separately was agreed upon. To show the injustice and unreasonableness of this, I refer to copies of the orders sent by me to Commissary Murrey, both before and after this Council of War, for landing the said guns, which he refused or delayed. These copies were taken from the originals found among Mr. Murrey's papers at his death, and are attested by Sir William Beeston. I also offer in my defence several questions to my officers, which were answered by them upon oath before the Governor of Jamaica. Again, whereas it was laid down by the King's instructions that all that was taken on land should be divided among the landmen only, except as to such number of seamen as the Colonel should at any time ask the Commodore to furnish to him ashore. And though the Commodore at all times refused and delayed to assist me with any number of men whatever, yet he constantly landed at a distance to windward and plundered the country, while the English and Spanish forces were marching about to attack the enemy and labouring to get up the cannon. This plunder they divided among themselves, giving no share to the land-forces, to their great discouragement and to the great uneasiness of the Spaniards. The Commodore protected several privateers in carrying away 340 negroes, valued at £8,000 (of which the land-men had no part) besides what the men-of-war carried away. When Port de Paix was taken from the enemy and in actual possession of a detachment of land forces, the Commodore entered the fort with a greater number of seamen, forced the land-men to retire and then plundered the place and carried the effects on board, which very much affronted the Spaniards, as a letter from the Spanish officers to me can show. The whole plunder got by the land-forces from first to last amounted to but nine shillings and sixpence a man.
As to my return to England I would offer as follows. My Regiment being so reduced as not to number above 240 men including serjeants, corporals and drummers, I acquainted the Governor and Council of Jamaica therewith, desiring them to write to the Court of England for recruits, without which it was not possible to do the Island further service. Shortly afterwards the Governor and Council asked me if I could undertake to go to England, as a copy of their minutes will show when the ship with my papers arrives from Ireland. This I undertook to do if the Assembly agreed to the same, which they did, passing an Act for the better providing for such recruits as should be sent; and thereupon I embarked. I beg that these matters may be examined that any aspersions under which I now lie may be removed. Copy, with corrections by Lillingston. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Read 11 April, '96. Annexed,
2,324. I. Copies of several orders sent by Colonel Lillingston to Commissary Murrey before port de Paix from 25 to 27 June, 1695, for bringing up guns, together with Murrey's answers. It seems that Murrey when he landed a 24-pounder gun, sent with it an 18-pounder's carriage, and took some time to alter it; while Lillingston affirms in his final order that he had been asking for a whole week in vain for lifting tackles, etc. These copies were all certified by Sir William Beeston as extracted from Commissary Murrey's papers.
Minutes of a Council of War held on H.M.S. Dunkirk, 25 June, 1695. Commodore Wilmot and six captains of ships present. The following resolution was carried:—Since Colonel Lillingston has been dilatory in mounting his cannon and mortars, though they have been landed for eight days, insomuch that the Spaniards would have departed had they not seen the endeavours of the naval force, it has been thought reasonable to land five hundred seamen and several pieces of cannon for the reduction of Port de Paix, all of which has been done and promises soon to have the desired result. But as there were not arms enough for the seamen, Colonel Lillingston was requested to lend them three hundred muskets from his stock, which he has absolutely refused, as also many other serviceable things. We therefore think it imperative on us to order Commissary Murrey to deliver 300 muskets and cartouche-boxes to us, also eight hand-mortars and ammunition, and also to supply the Spaniards with lead, pursuant to agreement, which he now refuses to do. The above orders are hereby given to Commissary Murrey.
Here follows a series of orders and letters from Colonel Lillingston to Commissary Murrey from 26 April to 22 June. The orders are perfectly clear and concise, while the letters complain of the stores requested being deficient and incomplete, or in some cases positively refused, of the stores being landed in wrong places, and of persistent obstruction and neglect of orders which have caused great delay to the operations and great fatigue to the men.
Here follow copies of resolutions of the Council of War of the land-forces, on 23 June, for delivering of certain guns and ammunition; and a letter from Lillingston to Murrey, dated 25 June, complaining bitterly of his refusal to supply the ordnance-stores required of him. The whole, 4 large pages.
2,324. II. Another copy of No. I, the documents being arranged in slightly different order. 4 pp.
2,324. III. A copy of several questions put by Colonel Lillingston to his officers, with their answers to the same. (1) It is true that the French on the second night after Colonel Lillingston's landing blew up the fort at Cap Francois and evacuated the town, having five miles to march. (2) It is true that the whole town was plundered by the seamen before the army could get thither, and that the Commodore refused to give the landsmen a share, which dissatisfied the Spaniards and drove Lillingston's regiment almost to mutiny. (3) It is true that the Commodore refused to hold a Council of War ashore. (4) It is true that when the soldiers marched into the fort at Cap François, they found no guard left there by the Commodore except one seaman with drawn sword standing by the flag. (5) It is true that the Spaniards, when they were quartered in the country and Colonel Lillingston's troops in the town, sent a message to the Colonel asking him to march as many men as he could to join a party which was marching to Manchaneel Bay. (6) It is true that the Colonel and two of his captains thereupon wrote to the Commodore apprising him of their resolution to march, as the Spaniards had requested, and desiring them to leave two or three merchant-men and a frigate at the Cape, in case we should have sick men to send down, or be obliged to retreat. (7) It is true that on joining the Spaniards we found thirty sick men among the English troops already with them. and sent them down; but the Commodore had already sailed away with every ship. (8) It is true that the Commodore would not allow Colonel Lillingston a barge or a pinnace or a yawl to attend his orders, during the whole siege of Port de Paix. (9) It is true that if the Spanish Admiral had not taken the sick men, whom we sent down, on board his ship, they would have been left behind. (10) It is true that when Major Lillingston entered the fort at Port de Paix before daylight with between two and three hundred men, he found no one there but fourteen or sixteen straggling seamen, other seamen and officers standing by afraid to enter the fort lest it should be blown up. (11) It is true that Major Lillingston was in the fort with his men before the Commodore came with his men. (12) It is true that the Commodore then tapped Major Lillingston on the shoulder, saying, "Major, I am now stronger than you," whereupon his men fell to plundering the Castle, with the exception of one chamber, which was locked and guarded by the Commodore's order, and which the officer left by him refused to open when bidden by Colonel Lillingston. (13) It is true that when Colonel Lillingston ordered guns to be sent on shore, the first four pieces were sent without linch-pins and one of them with a wrong carriage, and that Mr. Murrey pretended that the pins could not be found, making the Colonel wait several days for them. (14) It is true that when the Colonel ordered a mortar on shore, the wrong bed was sent with it, which caused-several days' delay. (15) It is true that sometimes for two or three days together the land-forces were without any boats. (16) It is true that the Commissary never came near the camp during the whole of the siege and desired a general order to deliver to the chief engineer whatever he needed, and that, when this order was given, he refused to take any notice of the chief-engineer, except in what pleased himself. (17) It is true that, in the opinion of the chief-engineer and the gunners of the train, the battery raised by the seamen was of no consequence nor assistance, and that if it had made a breach, it would have been in such a place that they could have made no attack. (18) It is true that Colonel Lillingston gave orders for account to be kept of all powder expended in the siege. (19) None of Colonel Lillingston's officers are conscious of any neglect or want of zeal in him to hasten the preparations for the siege. (20) It is true that the Commodore took away a piece of stuff from a corporal of Lillingston's regiment in the fort of Port de Paix, and told the sergeant of the guard that if he would not be quiet he would fetch his men and murder them all. (21) It is true that when Colonel Lillingston was carried on board ship so ill that his death was hourly expected, the Commodore sent several messengers which very much disturbed the Colonel; though the Apothecary General had said that he was not in a condition to be spoken with. (22) It is true that Mr. Crossley can confirm article 12 and give further information. (23) It is true that the Commodore refused to assist the Colonel in getting up guns and mortars, and acted separately. The whole of the foregoing articles were sworn before Sir William Beeston. 3 pp.
2,324. IV. Another copy of No. III.
2,324. V. Copy of the summons sent to the Commander of the French fort at Port de Paix on 15 June, 1695, and of his answer of defiance (in French) on the same day, with a memorandum, in Colonel Lillingston's hand, that when the drummer was sent in with a second summons on the 2nd of July, he concealed his knowledge of French and could hear that there was much difference of opinion among the French, the planters being for surrender, the Governor and soldiers for defiance. The Governor gave no positive answer but said that he would send one in a day or two; but on the 4th of July the French quitted the fort and fought their way through the seamen, but were caught by the Spaniards at a pass three miles away, when 150 of them were killed or taken. 1½ pp.
2,324. VI. Copy of the letter of the Spanish officers to Colonel Lillingston of 8–18 July, 1695. 3¼ pp. (See No. 2,021 I.]
2,324. VII. Further questions answered by Colonel Lillingston's officers on oath before Sir William Beeston. (1) It is true that accounts were made up between Captain Roger Foulke and Colonel Lillingston, and that Captain Foulke gave the Colonel a full discharge. (2) It is absolutely false that Colonel Lillingston ever sold the ammunition delivered to him for his Regiment. (3) It is true that five Frenchmen deserted from one of the transports at Samana Bay, and that Colonel Lillingston discovered eighteen or nineteen more, who had been enlisted from the gaol into Colonel Northcott's Regiment, and put them in the different men-of-war, where they still remain prisoners. (4) It is true that the best of the serjeants and corporals of Colonel Lillingston's late regiment, with many of the best men, were put out of the way or allowed to go away at Plymouth, so that in his present regiment there was great want of them. (5) A great many choice men of Lillingston's late regiment were carried away to Lord Cutts's regiment in Flanders, and (6) several witnesses heard the Captain of a Dutch man-of-war say that he had an agreement to transport them thither. (7) A fortnight's subsistence was paid to Lillingston's regiment at Plymouth, without any orders from Lord Cutts. 1½ pp.
2,324. VIII. General orders issued to the land and sea-officers in the expedition. 1 May, 1695. These include strict prohibition of straggling, plundering, and illtreatment of priests. 1 p.
2,324. IX. Minutes of a Council of War held at St. Jago de la Vega on 29 July, 1695. (See No. 2,026 I.).
2,324. X. Extract from the Minutes of the Council of Jamaica. Samuel Lewis, Commissary in succession to the late Mr. Murrey, brought in the accounts of the proceeds of stores sold, which Colonel Lillingston desired might be paid towards the subsistence of the regiment. The Council, however, was of opinion that it had no power to authorise this, until the Regiment should arrive in the Island. Order for muster-rolls of the soldiers to be returned on the first day of every month. On a letter from Colonel Lillingston it was resolved (1) to recommend to the Assembly that provision be made for the recruits when they arrive in the Island. (2) That the subsistence-money for the troops while on voyage cannot be paid to Colonel Lillingston as he desires. (3) That the Council has no power to order payment of any money except from muster to muster.
2,324. XI. Extract from Minutes of Council of Jamaica of 4 December, 1695 (see No. 2,182).
2,324. XII. A catalogue of all moneys received by Colonel Lillingston for himself and officers, during their stay in Jamaica. Total, £1,863. Signed, Samuel Lewis, Commissary. Memo. "I find no money charged by Mr. Murrey as paid to the Colonel for contingencies." 1 p. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. Nos. 5, 5 I.–XII.]
April 14. 2,325. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for a General Council to be summoned for election of a new sheriff for Essex county. Order for payment of £1,000 for subsisting the soldiers and seamen in the King's pay in the province, this being the season for importation of provisions. Order for the Treasurer to reimburse himself for certain small incidental expenses. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 21–22.]
April 14. 2,326. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Adjourned for three weeks, owing to the opening of the Grand Sessions. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. p. 92.]
April 15. 2,327. Circular letter from the Lords of Trade and Plantations to the Governors of Colonies. Forwarding an Act newly passed for preventing frauds and regulating abuses in the Plantation Trade, with orders for it to be published and executed. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. C., p. 382.]
April 15. 2,328. Lords of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Proprietors of the Bahamas and of Carolina. Forwarding a new Act for preventing frauds and regulating abuses in the Plantation Trade, and ordering it to be enforced. [Board of Trade. Carolina, 4. p. 31.]
April 15. 2,329. Gilbert Heathcote to James Vernon. Pray remind the Duke of the intelligence that I gave you from France concerning Jamaica, lest in defending other people's countries we lose our own. The enclosed confirms our information as to Santa Cruz, which will be such an additional strength to the French that if they see their advantage they may undo both us and the Spaniards. I have considered your proposal that I should suggest what I thought best to be done for Jamaica, but I can do it but lamely compared to Sir William Beeston, who has the greatest knowledge of affairs in these parts of anyone that I ever knew or discoursed with, and I doubt not that he has written fully to his Grace. He may omit one thing which it would be well to remedy at once. You have divided the powers of Government between the Governor and the Commander at sea, for by the orders sent thither the Governor has nothing to do with the men-of-war. The officers are lawless and out of command, pressing away freemen and servants and taking indebted persons. Thus those who should protect us undo us, and each man-of-war sent to strengthen the Island renders it weaker. If the Governor offers to interpose, even the Captain of a fire-ship (a poor fellow perhaps not taken half a year from before the mast) will write him such a hectoring, saucy letter that a man would throw up his command, rather than carry such insignificant marks of authority. Signed, Gilbert Heathcote. Holograph. 1 p. Enclosed,
2,329. I. A letter of intelligence. As I know the coasts of New Spain and St. Domingo I have been ordered to embark on the squadron of Mons. Renault, sometime footman to M. du Perron, which will consist of eight ships, of which the flagship is of seventy-eight guns, three more of nearly that strength, and two are St. Malo frigates. Several persons here are interested in this armament, though no one knows its design, but as all the ships take nine months' provisions, the officers suppose it to be St. Domingo, for a fortnight ago Mons. Renault sent a frigate of forty guns to go before him to St. Domingo, to prepare the privateers and other inhabitants there so that we may embark there on our arrival and go (as is suspected) to St. Domingo City and take it if possible, then pass on to Havana if there is intelligence of the galleons or the New Spain fleet there, or, in default thereof, go to the coast of Carthagena or Vera Cruz. The design is important. One squadron has numbers of good King's officers, volunteers and picked sailors, every kind of equipment and a vast quantity of grenades and bombs. We may serenade Jamaica on our way, if we find people enough to embark at St. Domingo for the purpose. We carry 800 barrels of flour and I have seen all sorts of merchandise, fit for the St. Domingo trade, embarked by the officers, who will leave it to be disposed of by their agents there, while they themselves are at sea. Postscript. I have just seen an officer of M. Renault's ship, who says that we are certainly going to St. Domingo, to attack first the capital, and then other places. French. Dated, Ro[che]lle. 15/25 March, 1696. 1 p. [America and West Indies. 540. Nos. 47, 47I.]
April 16.
2,330. Governor Sir William Beeston to the Duke of Shrewsbury. Since my last the Governor of Porto Principe on Cuba has sent me a letter and what news he has collected, whereof I send you copies. He has seemed kind and careful in it, but I know how they love us. It is more for fear that if the French should prevail over us it would be their turn next. However, I have written a very grateful letter to thank him for his kindness, though for myself I believe nothing of it, for the intelligence talks of occurrences in August last when the English fleet and forces were but newly come from the coast of Hispaniola, and since that time we have had frequent advices and have taken several prisoners, by all of whom I could never hear any more of the French, nor that they expected any other ships or succours except those mentioned in my last. However, I have thought it best to send this information on to you. A few days since a flag of truce arrived from Petit Guavos with about thirteen prisoners, from which and from the letters which they brought they seem to be much kinder than usual; but whether that be craft or not I am uncertain. A doctor who brought the letters says that the fleet is gone for France, and confirms the report of the refugee, only with more details as to their sickness, the damage done by the flood at the Cape and other matters. But private letters sent down by the prisoners relate that they expect a fleet and bomb-vessels, as the enclosed copy will show you. I conclude that so great preparations could not be unknown in England, and hope that all care will be taken for our assistance. I do not wholly believe this report myself, but I know that the French are very desirable of this Island on account of its situation for war and trade, its harbours and its plenty of cattle and all necessaries; and though the Spaniards in their last descent carried away many of their wives and children to New Spain (from which they can never expect them to return) yet they do not shew their malice, nor bend their forces in any preparation against them as against us. At this time there are six or seven of their privateers about this Island, and we have no ship to send after them, for the Reserve is on the coast of Hispaniola, the Swan is eaten with the worm, being a single ship, and must go home or be lost, and the Hampshire is on the careen, and were she up would want fifty or sixty men to complete her complement.
Postscript.—We are now at the 20th of April, and the ships being not ready I sent out the Swan for a short cruise against the French on this coast. She is returned, having met with none of them, but I have an account from Captain Moses that near Petit Guavos he came upon an eighteen-gun ship at anchor, which her commander burnt, seeing that she could not escape the Reserve. Signed, Wm. Beeston. Holograph. 2 pp. [America and West Indies. 540. No. 48.]
April 16. 2,331. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for payment of £8 to Bartholemew Green for printing the laws, and of £15 12s. 6d. to the Town-treasurer of Boston for repair of the Town-house. Leave granted to Mary Phillips to move a wooden tenement to a site of less danger in case of fire, and to fit it up as a brewing-house. Order that Mr. Cotton Mather be desired to preach a sermon to the General Assembly on 27 May next. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 22–23.]
April 16. 2,332. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Order for a day of thanksgiving for the welfare of the King and the success of his arms. Captain Harry Beverley attended, and was ordered to answer the charge against him in writing. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. pp. 16–17.]
April 16. 2,333. Minutes of Council of New York in Assembly. Petition of Patience Lloyd for a private Act concerning sale of land read, and an Act passed accordingly. Order that the Assembly be recommended to consider a Bill for payment of Major Schuyler's company. Bill for raising £2,593 read a first time, and a Committee appointed to confer with a Committee of Assembly concerning certain words therein as to detachments.
April 17. A message from the Assembly that one amendment of Council to the Bill was agreed to, but the Governor insisted on another, since there were still words limiting his power of detaching men from the militia. The Council reported that the Assembly would give no supply for the frontier except in the expectation to be free from detachments and that the words were put in the Bill to please the people; they therefore recommended that the Bill be passed. The £700 previously voted having very little of it been received, a Committee was appointed to confer with the Assembly for a more immediate supply, to pay the expense of raising recruits.
April 18. The Governor said that the more he considered the money-bill, the greater was his aversion to it, but that as he had never had a difference with the Council he would pass it if they gave it as their opinion that it should be passed. He then desired them to withdraw and consider the matter, giving them his reasons in writing against the Bill, as follows:—(1) The Bill does not answer the end. There is no provision for expenses of recruiting officers and cost of victualling and transporting recruits. Even if the money be paid punctually, which is not to be expected, there is not enough to pay £3 levy-money into the hands of recruits. (2) If these men cannot be raised there is no security for the defence of the province. The Council allows me to judge of the inevitable necessity for calling out the militia, but the Representatives refuse to allow any such proviso to be put in the Bill. (3) By the Bill the power of raising detachments seems to be suspended for a twelvemonth. The words "inevitable necessity" need explanation, and the Representatives will make themselves judges of the same and stir up the people to deny my authority. To this the Council replied as follows:—(1) We agree that the Bill does not answer the desired end, but after many debates and conferences we see no means of obtaining a better. Though no provision is made for recruiting charges, the money is left for your disposition, and we think that the money immediately raised may properly be devoted to that purpose. (2) We agree that if the men be not raised by this Bill, there is no certain way to defend the frontier; but then it must be understood that this is an "inevitable necessity" for raising detachments, and we think you should so explain the clause to the House. (3) We think your power of raising detachments is not cut off but restrained. Therefore we think you may assent to the Bill. The Bill was thereupon read a third time and passed. Message from the Assembly proposing to take up £250 at once at 10 per cent. for paying off Major Schuyler's company; which was agreed to. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 726–731.]
April 17. 2,334. Minutes of Council of Nevis. Several petitions as to administration of estates and other private matters were considered. The Council consented to the Lieutenant-Governor's proposal that the Governor-in-Chief should be entertained at the public expense during his stay. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 343–344.]
April 17. 2,335. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Governor Codrington's letter of 12 February read, after which the Duke of Shrewsbury read copies of sundry advices of a French design against America. A circular letter respecting the same was read and approved.
April 18. Colonel Holt's memorial read, and ordered to be laid before the King. Mr. Heathcote and the merchants attending desired that an advice-boat might be sent to warn Jamaica of the French designs, and that forces also might be sent thither. [Board of Trade. Journal, 8. pp. 174–175.]
April 18. 2,336. Minute of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Agreed to recommend that Colonel Henry Holt be appointed to the Council of the Leeward Islands. Note. The warrant for the same was signed on the 21st of May. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 44. p. 237.]
April 20. 2,337. Circular letter of the Lords of the Council to the Governors of the Colonies. We have information that the French are making preparations for an attempt upon some part of America and have embarked a quantity of arms for that purpose. You will give the necessary orders for putting your Government into the best posture of defence, and assure the inhabitants that speedy assistance shall be sent from hence as the state of affairs at home shall permit. Signed, Bridgewater, Stamford, Montague, Scarborough, Dursley, H. Goodrick, J. Smith, H. Boscawen. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. C., p. 381.]
April 20. 2,338. Minutes of Council of New York in Assembly. Committee of both Houses appointed to consider the debts of the Government and the charge for the chapel. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 731–732.]
April 22. 2,339. Minutes of Council of Virginia. On the motion of the Trustees of the College, the restrictions laid upon the lands in Pamunkey Neck and to South of the Blackwater were continued till 20 October next. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. p. 17.]
April 23. 2,340. Lords Proprietors of Carolina to Governor Archdale. Forwarding the new act for preventing frauds and regulating the Plantation Trade. Signed, Craven, Bath, Ashley, Wm. Thornburgh, for Sir John Colleton, Tho. Amy.
A similar letter was sent to Governor Trott of the Bahamas. [Board of Trade. Carolina, 4. p. 31.]
April 23.
2,341. Order of the King in Council. That if the merchants or others concerned in Jamaica will undertake to raise recruits from time to time for that Island, the King will give them some encouragement and will transport the recruits to Jamaica at his own charge. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 54. p. 69.]
April 23.
2,342. Order of the King in Council. Referring a presentment from the Commissioners of Customs as to Jahleel Brenton to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed, William Bridgeman. Annexed,
Commissioners of Customs to Lords of the Treasury, 23 March, 1696. Mr. Brenton, Collector and Surveyor for New England in 1691, seized two pinks, named Two Brothers and Three Brothers, for illegal trading. Being cast on trial he appealed to the King in Council, but the cases, though long ready for hearing, have not been heard. We beg that they may be determined, that Mr. Brenton may be released from the bonds that he gave on his appeal. Mr. Brenton has also brought before us a case when he was cast in the trial of a seized ship in New England and his appeal to the King in Council denied him. We beg that his appeal may be admitted, or that orders be sent to New England for admission of such appeals in future, and for the ships not to be discharged meanwhile. Signed, Robt. Clayton, Robert Southwell, Walter Yonge, Ja. Chadwick, Sam. Clarke.
Memorial of Jahleel Brenton to the Commissioners of Customs. Recounting his seizure of the two pinks and his appeal from the decision of the Court at Boston, and begging that the cases may be determined. Recounting further the seizure of the brigantine Mary for illegal trading; the restoration of the ships and cargo, before trial, by the government at Boston on taking bond for half their value from the claimer; the condemnation of the ships by a Boston jury; the refusal of the officers at Boston to give Brenton the bond of the defendant; the retrial of the case and acquittal of the ships by another jury, and the refusal of the Court to allow his appeal. On the Mary's coming again to New England, Brenton seized part of her cargo, which was again released by the Boston officers. Brenton begs for trial of the cases, and for orders to New England to allow appeals in such cases and to discharge no seized ships until tried. [Board of Trade. New England, 36. pp. 28–33.]
April 23.
2,343. Order of the King in Council. Referring the petition of the Governor and Company of Connecticut to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed, Wm. Bridgeman. ½ p. Annexed,
2,343. I. Petition of the Governor and Company of Connecticut to the King. In January, 1693, we presented a complaint of several undue proceedings of Governor Fletcher, particularly in the matter of the militia, praying that his commission might be restricted and explained for our relief. The petition was referred to the Lords of Trade and Plantations and by them to the Attorney and Solicitor-General, and on the report that followed we obtained an order in Council of 21 June, 1694, whereby our quota was fixed at 120 men and Governor Fletcher was enjoined to require no more than proportionable numbers of the quotas of the different provinces. Notwithstanding this, Governor Fletcher, by letter of 17 June, 1695, and subsequent letters has demanded and insisted that we should send out of the Colony our full quota, with pay and all necessary provisions, to serve for nine months in defence of Cadaraqui, a place never yet garrisoned by the English, accounted to be 400 miles from Connecticut, in the wilderness. He called for no part of the other quotas at the same time and refused to reckon in our quota a force of thirty men which we were obliged to keep for defence of our own frontier, then invaded by the Indians. We conceive that it was intended for us to have an equal benefit from the army composed of the quotas; and though we frequently expressed our readiness to raise a number of our quota proportionable to that raised in the other Colonies (provided we could include the men raised for our own defence) yet Governor Fletcher has always refused our offers and insists on our compliance with his unreasonable demands, which would utterly ruin and impoverish us. We beg for relief. Signed, J. Winthrop. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. Nos. 38, 38 I.; and 52. pp. 14–17.]
April 23. 2,344. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. William Gedney nominated Sheriff of Essex. Thomas Flint's appeal heard and the judgment against him reversed. Orders for issue of writs for a General Assembly to meet on 27th May. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. p. 24.]
April 23. 2,345. Minutes of Council of New York in Assembly. The Committee of the Assembly refused to treat of the chapel, being charged only to enquire as to the debts of Government. Agreed that there is due to the taxes £317, and that when all the money raised by the additional duty is paid to the proper uses up to 26 March, there remains £895 wanting to answer these uses.
April 24. Bill for the continuance of the additional duty received from the Assembly and passed. The House being summoned the Governor made them a speech as follows:—This is the Bill on which our safety hinges for the recruiting of the companies and defence of the frontier. I was against the passing of it, having several objections to it, but in concession to the Council I have passed it. I have studied the country's ease and safety, yet if men cannot be found for the encouragement which you have enabled me to give, and the positions become weak and exposed, I shall think the necessity of detachment inevitable, being resolved to lose not one foot of this province while I have hands to defend it; and as this is the sharpest remedy, it shall be the last I shall use, and only when its inevitable necessity is obvious to all good men. As to the second Bill to pay debts contracted before my arrival, it is commendable in you to keep up the credit of the Government. I have been as good a husband of the King's revenue as ever of my own fortune. I understand not an account. I left that to the Council, who are of the greatest interest among you and whom I believe to be honest men and to have dealt fairly with you in the matter of accounts. The third Bill is a private one. You wish, no doubt, to retire to your homes, and you are adjourned to the 29th of September. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 732–734.]
April 23. 2,346. Journal of House of Burgesses of Virginia. Twenty-five Burgesses present. William Drew appointed door-keeper. Adjourned till to-morrow at 8 a.m.
April 24. Committee of Elections and Privileges. Miles Cary appointed Clerk thereto. Order for the writs returned to the Clerk of the House to be given to Miles Cary. The Governor announced that he would send Councillors to swear in four newly-elected Burgesses, whose elections had been found correct. Message to the Governor asking him to issue writs for the election of Burgesses for three vacant seats. The House attended the Governor at his summons, and heard a speech from him, of which it requested a copy.
April 25. Three members excused from attendance owing to sickness. Resolved that fifteen members be a sufficient number, with the Speaker, to adjourn; and ordered that the House be called over every Monday morning. Copy of the Governor's speech, to the effect that he had nothing new to announce to them, except the King's orders communicated last session, since which the Governor of New York had asked for the quota of Virginia; but that he recommended to them due regard for that which was unfulfilled of former recommendations, particularly in regard to the Church and the College. Committees of Public Claims and of Grievances and Propositions, appointed, and orders as to their proceedings made. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 172–179; and America and West Indies, 638. No. 29.]
April 24. 2,347. Minutes of General Assembly of Virginia. The Burgesses being assembled the new members were sworn, and the house waited on the Governor, who made a short speech, saying that he had no more to offer than at the last meeting of the Assembly, and reported that the Governor of New York had applied for the quota of men from Virginia. Order for writs for election of members in place of three burgesses deceased. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 1–3.]
April 24. 2,348. Minutes of Council of Virginia. On the application of the Governor of New York for the Province's quota of 240 men, it was ordered that the commanders of militia detach the men from the several counties in proportion and that the men be sent to New York by sea. Mr. Ralph Wormeley, Mr. Richard Lee and Colonel Charles Scarburgh dissented from this order. The Governor offered to lend £1,000 for the expense of the service, and Colonel Byrd was ordered to provide victuals and other necessaries for transporting the men. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. p. 18.]
April 27. 2,349. Journal of House of Burgesses of Virginia. The House was called over, and those absent were excused. The Committee of Grievances was appointed to sit at William Sherwood's house. Committee of the whole House on the Governor's speech. Resolved to address the Governor on the danger of Assemblies continuing long at this season owing to a contagious distemper. The Committee of Claims was appointed to sit at John Broadnax's house.
April 28. Address to the Governor thanking him for appointing a day of thanksgiving for the success of the King's arms and for other blessings. Address to the Governor deprecating long continuance of the Assembly at this season. A verbal answer was brought back from the Governor that he regretted such an obstruction to business, but would consult the Council.
April 29. A written message was brought down from the Governor reminding the Burgesses of his speech at the opening of the session and asking them to consider how far the recess for which they asked was practicable after a second prorogation. Address of the Burgesses in reply, that, in reviewing the proceedings of last session, they still thought the country incapable of sparing a quota for New York, and that, for their former reasons, they still pressed for a recess.
April 30. A written message was brought down from the Governor, to the effect that the Council was satisfied that the King may direct assistance to be given by one Colony to another, and that no subjects in Virginia would be likely to desert from fear of being called upon to serve; but that he was willing to grant the recess desired. The House returned an address of loyalty to the King and readiness to do all for defence of the Colony and other matters for the King's service, and pressed again for a recess.
May 1. The Governor prorogued the Assembly. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 179–190; and America and West Indies. 638. No. 29.]
April 28. 2,350. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Order for purchase of seven small guns for salutes at James City Fort. Captain Harry Beverley's answer to the charges made against him was read, when, as nothing was established against him, he was dismissed from further attendance. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. p. 19.]
April 28. 2,351. Minutes of General Assembly of Virginia. Address to the Governor thanking him for appointing a day of thanksgiving for King William's welfare and successes, but deprecating long continuance of the Assembly owing to the prevalence of small-pox.
April 29. Reply of the Governor to the above address, leaving to the Burgesses the responsibility if he complies with their wish. Address of the Burgesses, that they have taken into consideration the matter of assistance to New York, and are of opinion that Virginia can give no more assistance, besides that the sending of men from that country may be of dangerous consequence. They see no other business that requires immediate despatch, and once more beg for an early recess.
April 30. Answer of the Council to the foregoing address, that the King has a right to order assistance to New York and that there is no apprehension that the men, if sent, will desert Virginia, but that the Governor is willing to grant an immediate recess. Address from the Burgesses, expressing all possible loyalty to the King, but begging for an early recess. The Governor then summoned the Burgesses and prorogued them to the 29th of October. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 3–8.]
April 30. 2,352. Minutes of Council of Nevis. The Governor-in-Chief was present. Richard Abbott sworn of the Council. Certain petitions considered and patents for land granted. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 344–345.]
April 30. 2,353. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for Samuel Sewall, John Foster, Joseph Lynde and Penn Townsend to be a Committee to take an account of all the Bills for the £4,000, authorised to be issued by the Treasurer, that are in his hands, and to give him a receipt for the same with the advance of 5 per cent. on behalf of the province, in discharge of his account so far, taking his receipt for them back again at the net value to the use of the Treasury. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. p. 25.]
April 30. 2,354. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Return of the appraisement of Captain Meech's estate read. Order for prosecuting a bond of the master of the ship Anne Helena, who has absconded. Order for remission of a fine.
May 1. The broad seal was again transferred to the keeping of Colonel Jowles. Order for apprehension of two secret traders with the foreign Indians. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. 91–92.]
April 30. 2,355. Journal of House of Burgesses of Maryland. Order for notice to be given to the keeper of the great seal to issue writs for election of two members in place of members deceased, and of four members for Prince George's County. Proposals were received from the Governor that a law or ordinance be made to settle the several offices in the State-house, in all details. A Committee appointed to consider them and to report.
May 1. New members sworn. Several proposals as well as several letters respecting New York, received from the Council. The Committee presented its report as to the structural alterations required in the State-house, which was sent up to the Council.
May 2. The House came to the following resolutions as to the proposals made by the Governor yesterday:—(1) Whether furs brought from Pennsylvania and shipped here should not pay duty ? Resolved that the present law suffices to exact such duty. (2) Resolved that a Bill be prepared, as proposed, to compel County Court Clerks to supply a yearly return of their levy, and Vestries to make a similar return of their proceedings. (3) Resolved that, as proposed, a severe law be made to prevent the driving off of wild horses. (4) That a law be passed as to testimonials (to prove a judicial proceeding) received from England. Resolved that this is useless in view of existing laws. (5) That a law be made for parents to bring their children frequently to catechism. Resolved that this be effected by admonition of parents by ministers. (6) That the frontier plantations be seated with three or four able hands. Resolved that the province is not in a capacity to effect this. (7) Resolved to bring in a Bill, as proposed, to restore the public credit. (8) Resolved that the proposed Bill to ascertain the boundaries of lands be considered. (9) That a conditional law be made as to runaway servants and debtors from Virginia, if Virginia will pass the like law in respect of Maryland. Agreed. (10) That more ports be made. Resolved that no more be made till the Act for advancement of coins be passed. (11) That the report of the Committee on the one shilling per hogshead duty be considered. Agreed that it be laid before the House. (12) That steps be taken to ensure the securing of the State-house, now building, from the weather, if unfinished before winter. Agreed. Messages to the Council asking the Governor to appoint a day of thanksgiving, and to grant a royal charter of liberties to Annapolis. Message from the Council as to the clearing of ships now in the country; to which the Burgesses answered desiring the Council's opinion. [America and West Indies. 557. No. 5.]
April 30. 2,356. Minutes of Council of Maryland in Assembly. The Governor and Council went to the State-house, then building, and sent for the Burgesses to attend likewise, when the work was approved. A proposal was sent down to the Burgesses as to internal structural arrangements, which was considered by a joint-Committee. Several more proposals, twenty-eight in all, and the last of them full of details as to the laying out of Annapolis, were sent down to the Burgesses.