America and West Indies: May 1696

Pages 1-8

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 15, 1696-1697. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1904.

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May 1696

May 15. 1. Commission appointing John, Earl of Bridgewater, Ford, Earl of Tankerville, Sir Philip Meadows, knight, William Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abraham Hill, and John Methven, together with the Lord Chancellor, the Lord President, the First Lords of the Treasury and Admiralty, the Principal Secretary of State and the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the time being, to be Commissioners for promoting the trade of the Kingdom and for inspecting and improving the Plantations. Any three or more of them are to consider methods of employing the poor; any five of them are to be a quorum. The ex officio members are to be called in only when their particular attendance is requisite. The question of obtaining naval stores from the Colonies is particularly commended to their attention. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 1–6.]
May 15. 2. Minutes of Council of Maryland. On the news of a murder by Indians orders were issued for pursuit of the murderers and for enquiry to be made of the Emperor of Piscattaway. Colonel Ninian Beal received orders to raise the necessary men (pp. 105–106). On complaint of the Pocomoke Indians of encroachment on their land, order was given for the bounds thereof to be surveyed and for none to presume to encroach thereon. Commissions issued to the coroners and surveyor of Prince George's County (p. 108).
May 16. A letter of excuse for his absence received from Colonel John Courts (p. 109). [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. as cited.]
May 18. 3. Minutes of Council of Virginia. On a letter from the Privy Council of 20 March, a day of thanksgiving was appointed for the King's deliverance from a plot to assassinate him, and the Governor announced that he should order all the militia to appear in arms on that occasion; ordered that an address of congratulation to the King be drawn up, also an Association, which were duly drawn and signed by the Governor and Council. The King's letter of 2 June read, accepting the £500 voted for assistance of New York in lieu of the appointed quota. Order for Collectors to give all facilities to homeward-bound vessels to meet at Old Point Comfort by the appointed day. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. pp. 22–24.]
May 18. 4. Minutes of Council of Maryland. The captains of the homeward-bound convoy asking when the fleet would be ready to sail, orders were given to the masters of ships to furnish the information. A letter from Sir Thomas Laurence read, when the Speaker and such Burgesses as were in town, as well as the Chief Justice, were ordered to attend and hear it, to prevent the dispersion of false reports about the province. (pp. 109–110.)
May 19. Letter from Whitehall of 10 March last read, and a proclamation ordered for a day of thanksgiving for his deliverance from the conspiracy against him. The King's letter of 2 January as to assistance to New York was then read, and the heads thereof ordered to be published, for the general satisfaction of the province. (pp. 110–113.)
May 20. The Nanticoke Indians appeared, one from each of the seven towns, bringing presents of skins. The Governor accepted one skin from each of them, and told them to bring no presents for the future, as their business should receive equal attention without them. He then notified and confirmed Governor Copley's agreement with them, and gave them some bottles of rum. The Governor laid before the justices of the Provincial Court and the lawyers certain questions as to the trial of titles to land. Order for the next Provincial Court to sit on the last Tuesday of September. Ordered that the Council of Trade be asked to give directions as to the attaint of juries. Questions as to appeals and writs of error were submitted to the lawyers of the Provincial Court; the case of a ship seized for illegal trading was instanced. Orders for the sheriffs to return their list of taxables by the 1st of July, taking special care to observe the law and former instructions thereupon, also that they deliver in their accounts of the sums collected from public officers. (pp. 113–116.)
Colonel Ninian Beal brought in an Indian, surrendered by the Emperor of Piscattaway, and depositions against him. (p. 106.)
May 21. The depositions aforesaid being judged by the law-officers to be insufficient evidence, orders were given by their advice for securing the accused until next Assembly, and for arrest of another suspected Indian. (pp. 106–107.) [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. as cited.]
[May 21.] 5. Duplicate copy of the Minutes of Council of Maryland, from 30 April to 21 May. 19 pp. Endorsed, R. 26 Aug. [America and West Indies. 557. No. 11.]
May 19. 6. Copy of a correspondence between Governor Fletcher of New York and Governor Nicholson of Maryland.
Governor Fletcher to Governor Nicholson. New York, 28 March, 1696. I beg to remind you of my last letter of 19 February and of the great necessity there is of giving your assistance according to the late Queen's orders. Many of the forces lately come over have run [deserted] from the hardship they undergo, having only eightpence, New York money, while the country where they are garrisoned is laid waste, so that, without the assistance of the quota, I shall have to make as great a detachment of men from this poor province as formerly, which is a heavier burden than the pay. I therefore again beg for your quota, and that the pay of those that shall be wanting be transmitted for the ease of this province.
Governor Nicholson to Governor Fletcher. Annapolis, April 17, 1696. I should have answered yours of 19 February earlier, but that I was in daily hope of the arrival of the London fleet and of good news from England. I send the last news I have, and all my letters inform me that the Parliament will comply with the King's demands and that they agree very well. I am sorry to hear of the hardships of the troops and especially that they have but eightpence, New York money, a day. I shall be glad to be anyways assisting to you, being a well-wisher to soldiers. If all the King's Governors on the Continent will give a tithe of their incomes towards bettering these conditions I shall most readily do it. Meanwhile I shall not be wanting to represent the matter of the quota to the Assembly.
Governor Fletcher to Governor Nicholson. New York, 30 April, 1696. Much thanks for yours of 3 March and 17 April. As I never handled a penny of the public moneys of the Government and do not understand accounts, I have ordered an account of all the money received from Virginia and Maryland to be prepared, and enclose it herewith. I expect the quota of Virginia every day. I must still insist on my application for the quota of Maryland, and desire to know by what time they may be got in readiness, that I may take measures accordingly. None of the vessels expected from England are yet arrived.
Copy of Enclosure. The following Bills have been remitted by Maryland to New York, for the defence of Albany and for presents to the Indians. In 1692 bills for £100 were sent, but with one exception returned protested, the proceeds reaching £47. In 1693 bills were sent for £362, but all returned protested. In 1694 bills for £210 were sent, making with 30 per cent. advance £273, and another bill for £40 which at 25 per cent. advance makes £50. In 1699 two sets of bills for £200 and £133 produced, at 28 and 30 per cent. advance, £478. The total thus received is £799, from which £99 must be deducted for re-exchanges and charges of protested bills, reducing the total amount given to £700, New York money. Virginia from 1691 to 1694 has sent us £1,560, New York money.
Governor Nicholson to Governor Fletcher. Annapolis, 19 May, 1696. Your letter of 30 April and its enclosure, with your former letters, have all been laid before the Burgesses, but presently after its breaking up I received the King's orders of 2 January as to sending you money, which I shall lay before the Burgesses when they meet on the 1st of July. 3¼ pp. Endorsed :—R., 26 Aug. [America and West Indies. 557. No. 10.]
May 19. 7. Memorandum of Charles Pilsworth as to the state of the West Indian Colonies. This will be found abstracted below, enclosure No. II. to Order of the Lords Justices in Council of 20 August, 1696. 14½ pp. Endorsed, Read 3 July, 1696. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 1; and 34. pp. 1–11.]
May 19. 8. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. On the representations of the Governor it was resolved that Thomas Ayscough and Richard Dawkins be called to the Council, and they were accordingly sworn. Order for a payment. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 79. pp. 5–6.]
May 21. 9. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Antigua. Message from the Governor desiring the passing of an Act for Courts, and that the clause forbidding the Council to plead be omitted. The Assembly answered that they thought it too late now to perfect the Act, and insisted that the Secretary and Marshal should give security and the Council be debarred from pleading. The Governor refused to give way about the debarring of the Council, except in equity, and proposed a joint Committee to draw up an Act, and also an Act for quartering of soldiers. On the request of the Assembly the Governor issued writs for the election of Assembly-men, ordered an ill-built guard-house to be rebuilt and agreed to a proposal for building a gaol. Orders for payments. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 170–172.]
May 27. 10. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. The accounts of Edward Stanton, late Provost Marshal, audited and payment on account thereof passed. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 79. p. 6.]
May 27. 11. Minutes of General Assembly of Massachusetts. The new Representatives were sworn, and, having chosen Penn Townsend, their Speaker, sent up the list of Councillors elected for the coming year.
May 28. The list of eight and twenty Councillors was approved by the Lieutenant-Governor and the Councillors were then sworn and took their seats. The Representatives attending, the Lieutenant-Governor recommended to them the state of the province in reference to the war, the need of supplies, and the need for renewing expiring Acts. The election of a new Justice of the Inferior Court of Essex was fixed for a full Council on the 4th of June. James Taylor unanimously re-elected Treasurer.
May 29. John Hathorne, Elisha Hutchinson and John Phillips appointed for a joint Committee to consider measures for defending the frontiers and for prosecuting the war, and in particular for removing the French from their settlements in St. John's River. Councillors appointed to form a joint Committee to consider and report of several expiring Acts. The 18th of June appointed as a day of public thanksgiving for the defeat of the plot against the King.
May 30. A Committee appointed to confer with a Committee of the Representatives as to certain proposals to prevent the exportation of coin. [Board of Trade. New England, 48. pp. 37–42.]
May 29.
New York.
12. Stephanus Van Cortlandt to William Blathwayt. By my last accounts there was a balance in the hands of the Receiver-General of £303. Since that time the income has been very little, the place having had great losses by the capture of vessels in the West Indies. The accounts are now under audit and will be sent home in a fortnight. The Assembly has raised money to fill up the four King's Companies, to give every private fourpence a day besides the King's pay, and to offer £3 in hand to every man that will enlist. Eighty-seven are already detained; only thirty-three are wanting to complete the companies. If the Assembly had taken that care at the Companies' first landing there would have been fewer desertions, the soldiers would have been encouraged and the country eased. Signed, S. V. Cortlandt. 1 p. Endorsed, sent from Mr. Povey 14 Sept. 1696. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 39; and 52. pp. 50–51.]
May 30.
New York.
13. Governor Fletcher to the Duke of Shrewsbury. I have received the joyful news of the King's deliverance from the base conspiracies of his enemies, and a day of thanksgiving has been appointed. The Association is signed by me, and copies have been sent to each county to be signed by all officers and inhabitants. One gentleman only in this city has refused, a Roman Catholic. I have sent a copy of his petition to me. The presents for the Indians are not arrived. Our Indians will not bear heavy arms, so I applied for 400 light Dutch fusees for them. I have sent copy of the latest intelligence from the frontiers; the four companies are much weakened by death and desertion. I prevailed with the Assembly to provide £3 a man levy-money to raise 120 volunteers to recruit the company, who are listed for one year. I was obliged to take this method, not being able to get one man from the neighbouring Colonies, notwithstanding frequent application. It is very needful for the subsistence of the four companies to be punctually paid; they are all I can depend on. Mr. Nicolls and Mr. Brooke of the Council are on their way to lay the state of the province before you. Signed, Ben. Fletcher. 2 pp. Endorsed, R. 25 Aug. 96.
Another copy of the foregoing. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. Nos. 40, 41; and 52. pp. 4, 5.]
May 30.
New York.
14. Governor Fletcher to William Blathwayt. Yours of 14 March with that of the Lords of Trade reached me on 25 May. I immediately ordered the military expressions of joy for the King's safety, and ordered a day of public thanksgiving by proclamation. An Association was signed and copies sent to the counties, towns and garrisons. We have not ten papists in the province, and those of no rank or fortune. So many packets have miscarried from here that I scarcely know where to begin what I have to say. Sir Edmund Andros from Virginia has sent us bills for £1,000 to assist us. Men, which we want more, he could not send. The disposal of the money will be returned in our accounts to the Lords of Trade and the Treasury. As to my own part I have never touched one farthing of the money either raised in the province or given by our neighbours for defence but by signed warrants by advice of the Council. The £1,000 only amounts to £769 4s. 6d. sterling. Here we love a great sound and noise, but the substance does not answer. Governor Nicholson has sent us £133 8s. 7d. sterling, Pennsylvania not a man nor a penny, Connecticut and Rhode Island the same. Such letters I never received as from those two last. What they write looks like English, but I cannot find out their meaning. This regard has been paid to the late Queen's letters, and they pretend to justify themselves by putting their own construction on the Royal commands. The Indians, though monsters, want not sense, but plainly see we are not united; and it is apparent that the stronger these Colonies grow in parts the weaker we are in the whole, every little Government setting up for despotic power and allowing no appeal to the Crown, but valuing themselves on their own strength and on a little juggling in defeating all commands and injunctions of the King. I send all their answers to my applications for assistance. The French Indians this spring have destroyed some careless people near our garrisons, of which I send an account. They are wolves who lie so close that no man can discover them. A hare sitting is much easier found in England. The parties that I send out daily they let pass, but if a naked man, woman or child pass they kill them or take them. Our Indians act the same part and with greater success in the French Plantations. No assistance coming from our neighbour Colonies, I could find no way to secure the province except by endeavouring to keep the four Companies up to their numbers. being much weakened by death and desertion. I was forced to enlist men for a year or more (for no man here will be a soldier for life), and thus I have completed the companies and have three hundred effective men on the frontiers and one hundred in this fort. This way is not practised in England, but in Holland and France it has been usual. If the King will allow this method the Companies here will always be complete and save the expense and trouble of recruits from England. The Assembly have given some encouragement to it, allowing levy-money and some advance of pay for one year. The bill will be sent by next opportunity, as it cannot be engrossed in time for this ship. The Richmond frigate is a great expense and of no use, her upper-works very crazy. She was ordered to sea at the beginning of March, but is not yet afloat. Signed, Ben. Fletcher. Holograph. 3 pp. Endorsed, Sent from Mr. Povey, 14 Sept., 1696. Read 25th. Answered 25th. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 42; and 52. pp. 22–24.]
May 30.
New York.
15. Governor Fletcher to Lords of Trade and Plantations. A ship belonging to this place from Madeira happily met the vessel that carried your packet from Virginia and brought us a Gazette with the news of the conspiracy against the King. A proclamation for thanksgiving had been published before your duplicate of 10 March came to hand. I am so pressed for time that I cannot send a copy of all our public papers, but I send a list of those despatched by the ship Heathcote. Mr. Brooke and Mr. Nicolls of the Council have been sent home to lay the state of our affairs before you. I have sent home copies of my last application to Connecticut, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, with their answers. Having only the King's four Companies to depend on and they being much weakened by death or desertion, I have completed their numbers by enlisting men for a certain time, not for less than a year. People here will not enlist except for one, two or three years. If approved, this method will save the trouble and expense of recruits from England, but this can last only so long as the Assembly will keep on the fund for levy money of £3 a man with an advance of fourpence a day for a year. I beg for instructions. Sir Edmund Andros promised his quota but could not effect it, so sent us £769, and Governor Nicholson £133 sterling. Several skulking parties of Indians disturb the husbandry on our frontier, but our Indians do more harm to the French than these to us. Four Dutchmen have been lost through their carelessness in venturing after their cattle unarmed. I always thought five hundred men necessary for defence of our frontier posts, but I hope to hold them with three companies so long as I can keep the Indians firm, for which I am obliged to make them large presents lest the French should debauch them. The presents I asked for are not come yet, and we want also 400 light Dutch pieces, for the Indians though strong as horses will not march under heavy arms. I would ask also for military supplies and for punctual payment of the Companies. An Association is signing all over the country, and I have ordered account to be taken of all who refuse it. The Richmond is expensive and useless. The Captain tells me there is no convenience here for careening a vessel of her burden. A light and nimble sailer might do service. A pirate lately came into Providence, as I am informed, where they shared their money, left their ship and separated. Many are gone to the neighbouring Colonies, but only one is here, from whom I have taken security not to depart without leave and to live amenable to the laws. Their treasure was Spanish money; they enrich the Charter Governments. [Board of Trade. New York, 52. pp. 10–14.]
[May 30.] 16. A collection of documents transmitted with the three proceeding despatches.
16. I. List of documents sent by Governor Fletcher to England by the ship Heathcote on 9 October, 1695. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 26 Aug. Read 1 Sept. 1696.
16. II. Proclamation of Governor Fletcher and Council for a day of thanksgiving for the success of the King's arms in Flanders. 9 January, 1696. Printed sheet. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 26 Aug. 1696.
16. III. Proclamation of Governor Fletcher for a day of humiliation. 27 February, 1696. Printed sheet. 1 p. Endorsed as the preceding.
16. IV. Speech of Governor Fletcher to the House of Representatives on 7 April, 1696. Calling upon them to supply men and money, and asking for a committee of them to join a Committee of Council in advising as to the disposal of the money granted last Session. Printed. 2½ pp. Endorsed as No. I.
16. V. Proclamation of Governor Fletcher calling for volunteers to fill the King's Companies, and offering all who engage for one year £3 in hand, and fourpence a day over and above their provisions. 21 April, 1696. Printed sheet. Endorsed as No. I.
16. VI. Peter Schuyler to Governor Fletcher. Albany. 14 May, 1696. Another man has been scalped over against the Patroon's Island, where there were three in all, two of them unarmed and one armed. He that had the arms was killed. Eight Mohawks of the party of one hundred men have been here. Within these five days they have killed two Indians—those that came over last fall—because they distrusted them, so I do not doubt that our Indians will stand firm to us. I wish you could raise forty or fifty men to do no other duty but to scour the woods daily. If such a thing could be, Abraham Schuyler and Simon Young would make the fittest persons for Lieutenants in those parts, but knowing how you are straitened I cannot expect it, but must be content with the hardship we endure, our neighbouring Colonies being so unkind to us. I have just received your letter, and am very sensible of your difficulties in raising money. Nevertheless I have strained myself and have paid my private centinels and serjeants their twelve months pay, not doubting but that care will be taken for my reimbursement. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed as No. I.
16. VII. Proclamation of Governor Fletcher. Offering £6 reward for every enemy destroyed within three miles of any garrison on the frontier, or settled towns in Albany, Ulster and Duchess Counties. No ships are to navigate the Hudson except armed and at least two in company. 11 May, 1696. Printed sheet. Endorsed as No. II.
16. VIII. Proclamation of Governor Fletcher for a day of thanksgiving for the King's deliverance from a late conspiracy. 21 May, 1696. Printed sheet. Endorsed as No. II.
16. IX. Petition of Anthony Brockholes to Governor Fletcher. Being asked to sign an Association to be true to the present Government, I promised to give bond to be true and faithful to the King and to defend this place against any foreign enemy, or asked three or four months' liberty to remove to another Colony. I beg to be allowed to continue my residence in this Colony. Copy. 1 p.
16. X. Petition of John Cooley to Governor Fletcher. Has long lived peaceably in the city, but being a Roman Catholic asks to enter into bond to be faithful to King William and to defend the city, rather than sign the Association. Copy. ½ p. Endorsed as No. I. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. Nos. 42 I.–x.]
May 30. 17. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Leave granted to William Alden to go to Port Royal or Menis for a cargo of wheat. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. p. 27.]