America and West Indies: September 1696, 21-25

Pages 126-145

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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September 1696

Sept. 21. 237. Memorial of the merchants of Jamaica. To explain ourselves as to the state of health in Jamaica, we would observe that not only May and September, but the intermediate months of June, July and August, are generally rainy on shore and more sickly than other months. Ships cruising at sea about the Island in those months will not be so sickly as in harbour. We again beg that the convoy may sail in December. Sixteen signatures. ½ p. Endorsed, Read 21 Sept., 1696. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8, No. 19; and 56. p. 5.]
Sept. 21. 238. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Secretary complained that he had found difficulty in obtaining an answer from the Admiralty, as the Secretary did not understand how this Board could have any direct communication with that, but thought it should be done intermediately by addresses to the Lords Justices or the Privy Council.
Mr. Locke handed in a further memorial from the Jamaica merchants as to convoys. The Secretary was instructed to enquire of the Agents for the West Indian Colonies as to the time necessary for loading and unloading.
Draft representation as to convoys agreed to.
Order for Mr. Allen to be required to supply a copy of a former memorial of his as to Naval stores.
Sept. 22. Mr. Cary's letter of this day's date was read.
Order for Mr. Brooke to attend to-morrow morning. Several papers from Maryland were read (short abstracts are given of all).
Sept. 23. Mr. Brooke attended and gave some account of New York. Mr. Nelson gave in two memorials. The Secretary was directed to enquire of the law-officers how juries may be attainted.
Sept. 24. The Secretary read Mr. Gracedieu's letter of this day's date. Mr. Nelson's memorials were read. Order for Jacob Leisler and Abraham Gouverneur to attend the Board to-morrow. A letter to Sir E. Andros and a representation as to convoys were signed. Order for all letters to the Plantations to be sent through the Post Office always.
Sept. 25. Governor Fletcher's letter to Mr. Blathwayt of 30 May was read. Jacob Leisler and Abraham Gouverneur gave in a memorial of the State of New York since 1687 and a paper called the Grievances of New York, giving a short account of each of the signatories to the latter document.
Sir Henry Ashurst gave in draft instructions for the gentlemen to be employed to report as to naval stores in New England, which were read. He then gave an account of a Society for Evangelising the Indians, which he represented to be a Chartered Corporation, of which he himself was a member. It had £800 a year in England, and spent £ 400 a year in payment of preachers. It had translated the Bible and a few other books into the Indian language. At request of the Board Sir Henry promised to send up the Clerk of the Company to give further information.
Divers letters were signed. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 120–146.]
Sept. 21. 239. Minutes of Council of Maryland. The law-officers gave their report as to the liability of those who bring furs and tobacco from one district and ship them in another district, without certifying the officer of the district where the ship lies. The list of shipping entered and cleared in Potomac district was handed in. A letter from the Collectors of Customs of 19 December read, and a copy furnished to Mr. George Muschamp, Collector of Potomac District. Letter from Commodore Charles Wager read, reporting the arrival of a merchant ship six days before. The Governor said that the Commodore's orders were to stay for one hundred days from the arrival of the said ship, being the last to come in. Order forbidding any Frenchman to be seated on any foreign plantations on the frontier of the province. A complaint against Mr. John Coode of using blasphemous language was read, and the persons who heard him were ordered to attend to-morrow.
Sept. 22. The complaint against John Coode was heard, and it was ordered that he be dismissed from his militia-employ and prosecuted by the Attorney-General. Here follow the depositions, from which it appears that Coode, though holding priests' orders in the Church of England, said among other things that religion was but policy, and that all religion was to be found in Tully's Offices.
Sept. 23. Order for John Coode's books and papers to be seized, sealed up and sent to the Governor.
Note.—The papers, etc., were brought down, and perused on 5th October, but were returned, nothing material being found in them.
Sept. 24. George Muschamp attending, swore to his accounts, and produced his commission and instructions from England as Receiver of Potomac district. He then gave his bond and securities.
Sept. 25. It was referred to the law-officers for their opinion whether sheriffs can legally leave their counties during their shrievalty, and whether any but the sheriff can raise the posse comitatus. (The law-officers replied on 3 October, that by the laws of England no sheriff could leave his county but once a year to make up his accounts in the Exchequer, but that no such rule had been observed in Maryland nor had any evil come of it, though the high sheriff alone can raise the posse comitatus. Whereupon orders were issued that sheriffs do not leave their counties during their shrievalty except to make up their accounts, or on particular summons from the Government.)
Sept. 26. John Addison and Thomas Brooks obtained leave of absence, and Nicholas Greenberry also for a few days. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. 148–159.]
Sept. 21. 240. Journal of House of Burgesses of Maryland. Message from the Governor giving the opinion of the lawyers against the legality of John Coode's sitting in the House of Burgesses, being a priest in Anglican orders. John Coode, being asked if he was in orders, replied that he had disabled himself by accepting and executing military Commissions. The case being referred to the Committee of Elections, they reported as follows. We learn from two members of the House that John Coode formerly exercised the priest's office at St. George's in St. Mary's County, preaching, baptising, and marrying, and received subscriptions from the inhabitants for the same. For many years past Coode has exercised several judicial and ministerial offices in the province, but we cannot find that he was ever divested or degraded of his orders. By a majority of us it has been carried that his holding and executing of judicial and other lay offices is not a discharge from holy orders, and that he is therefore not qualified to sit in the House. Report ends. Put to the question whether he be legally qualified, and carried in the affirmative. Message to the Governor reporting this resolution, and asking that he may be sworn. Sir Thomas Laurence then came and made a report of his proceedings in England. Message from the Governor and Council. We conceive that our question as to John Coode is not rightly answered. It is not disputed whether he be duly elected but whether he is a priest or deacon, and so by the laws of England not qualified to sit; to which we demand an answer. Message from the Burgesses. Before sending our last message we examined not only whether John Coode was duly elected, but also whether he was qualified to sit. We beg therefore that he may be sworn. Message ends. John Coode offering to swear that he is not a priest, two members were appointed to receive his oath.
Sept. 22. The House by command attended the Governor, who made them a speech as follows: I am sorry that you should persist in the admission of John Coode, though a priest in orders. You may be sure that I shall suffer no vote to pass in opposition to the laws of England. I will not swear John Coode. To shew you what manner of man you are upholding I give you depositions shewing him to be guilty of blasphemy. I beg that you will proceed to other business wherein the Council and I are ready to enter. Speech ends. On return to the House John Coode was ordered to withdraw. It then appearing that John Coode was, by unimpeachable testimony, a priest, it was unanimously resolved that he is unqualified to sit, and therefore is dismissed. Message to the Governor. We thank you heartily for your speech. We have done our duty as to the member mentioned by you, and are ready to join you in despatch of business. Message ends. Colonel Coode then departed, receiving his charge for coming to and attending the House. Order for issue of a writ for election of a member in his place. Committees of Accounts and of Laws appointed. Resolved that the Council be joined with the Committee of Laws, and that the Council be apprised of the same. Messages from the Governor, thanking God for the end of the dispute, and appointing two Councillors to join the Committee of Laws. Several papers, and a number of proposals were also sent down. Accounts of the public revenue were laid before the House.
Sept. 23. The accounts submitted to the Committee of Accounts. The proposals from the Governor were then debated and resolutions passed thereon as follows: (1) As to the adjustment of Indian lands, we name a commission of each county to decide disputes in respect thereof. (2) Agreed that a Bill be prepared for advancing the port of Annapolis. (3) As to the proposal that the sheriffs shall collect the gifts for the school, it is thought that the subscriptions are already in good hands. (4) Agreed that a law be made to secure the libraries that are to be bestowed on the parishes. (5) As to the proposal for addressing the King that part of the revenue set apart for arms may be applied to furnishing small books of a godly kind, we think that the Country is not yet sufficiently provided with arms. When it is, we shall be ready to make such an address. (6) Agreed to address the King to thank him for the grant of his revenue for supply of arms. (7) As to the arms now sent, we think that they should be appropriated to Anne Arundel County, and that others should be purchased. (8) The proposal as to furnishing the offices is referred to the Committee of Accounts. (9) As to the proposal that lamps (contrived for candles to burn in water) be sent for the clerks, resolved that the clerks provide themselves therewith. (10) Agreed that books of Exercise be provided for the military officers. (11) Agreed that the prohibition of the export of corn be removed. (12, 13) The proposals to regulate the care and custody of arms, etc., in the Counties, and to compel masters of ships to change public powder when called upon (unless too bad to be fired) are referred to the Committee of Laws to consider a law therefor. (14) As to the proposals for equal division and re-naming of the parishes we think it would be better to wait until any of them complain. (15) As to the proposal that the parishes provide themselves with a few books, that they may learn how to govern themselves, it is thought fit that the vestries provide for the same. The remainder of the proposals were referred to the Committee of Laws.
Sept. 24. Report of the Committee of Laws on the remaining proposals. (16) We think the Commissary's house the best place for securing the library for Annapolis. (17) Agreed that a law be made to secure the parish-libraries when they come. (18) Agreed as to an ordinance to oblige the justices to send for the King's Arms to be put up in the County Courts. We think that the necessary law books are already sufficiently provided for by law, and we think that a gown for the chief justice may stand over for the present. (19) The question as to re-exported European goods is, we think, met by the Act to explain the Ten Per Cent. Act. (20) As to the proposal to compel the ships of this province to lie at certain places for their own defence, we think such a course would be very prejudicial to trade. (21) We have already given our orders as to Captain Humphrey Pellew's sailing. (22) We think there is no absolute necessity for the proposed law as to the appointment of a new sheriff or new County Court clerks upon the death or deficiency of the old. (23) Notwithstanding the petition of the merchants of Pennsylvania, referred to us, we think that the Ten Per Cent. Duty Act should be continued. (24) The accounts of the four pence per gallon duty have been referred to the Committee of Accounts. (25) The House thanks the Governor for so wisely disposing of the tobacco collected for the Church at Annapolis. We think a Committee should be appointed to see to the building of it. (26) The House will appoint members to join some of the Council in inspection of the state-house, as proposed. (27) As to enlarging small parishes, though they make chapels of ease, we think the existing law sufficient. (28) We think the existing law as to Kent Island parish sufficient. (29) We think that the law already provides sufficiently for churchyards. These resolutions being approved, a committee was appointed to report as to the funds already raised for the church and free school. Committee of Accounts ordered to inspect the state-house. Charles Carroll produced his commission as solicitor for Lord Baltimore. Several laws brought up by the Committee.
Sept. 25. George Plater produced a correspondence between Sir Edmund Andros and himself as to the revenue, and some letters from the Commissioners of Customs. Bill for roads and ferries read a first time, and the portion referring to ferries rejected. The following Bills were read a first time, viz.: Bill for speedy justice; Bill for parochial libraries; Bill to revive temporary laws; Bill for the port of Annapolis. George Muschamp's Commission as Receiver General of Potomac and Patuxent read, with a representation from the Governor referring to the House the motion of the salary of £ 100 in this and in another Commission. Resolved, that the salary ought to be paid out of the King's share of the revenue of the Patuxent and Potomac; and a message sent to the Governor to that effect.
Sept. 26. Bills for parochial libraries read a second and third time. Bill for the port of Annapolis read a second time. Resolved that the Act of Parliament admitting the attestation in lieu of the oath of Quakers is a law in force in Maryland. Several petitions read and dealt with. A Bill annexing several rivers and creeks to the port of Annapolis read. [America and West Indies. 557. No. 17.]
Sept. 21. 241. Minutes of Council of Maryland in Assembly.
Message to the Burgesses expressing dissatisfaction with their answer as to John Coode (see preceding abstract).
Sept. 22. The House attended the Governor, who made them a speech, after which messages were exchanged as to the matter of John Coode, and the dispute brought to an end (see preceding abstract). Orders for laying a letter from the Governor of New York and the accounts of the revenue before the Burgesses. Twenty-nine proposals sent down to the Burgesses (see preceding abstract).
Sept. 23. A question as to payment of the levy by a ship's master referred to the Burgesses.
Sept. 24. Answer of the Burgesses to the twenty-nine proposals (see preceding abstract). Petition of several masters of ships read and referred to the Burgesses. George Muschamp produced the King's Commission as Receiver of Patuxent and Potomac, when it was resolved to represent the question of his salary to the Burgesses.
Sept. 25. The answers of the Burgesses to the proposals (see preceding abstract) were agreed to, with the following exceptions. (1) The proposal is again urged, several complaints having been received of late. If mischief ensues the Governor washes his hands of it. Note. The answer entered on the Council's minutes as returned by the Burgesses is to the effect that disputes should not be meddled with. (3) The Bishop of London having sent over a school-master, it is important that the work should be pushed on, which cannot be done unless the tobacco be collected. (7) It is not intended that the public arms should be meddled with, and as the Militia are bound to provide themselves there is no need to buy trumpets and drums, as suggested. (14) This proposal is urged again, sundry complaints having been made already. (22) Proposed to insert the power of appointing Clerks in Justices' Commissions if they have it not already. The late Act of Parliament as to Quakers was sent to the Burgesses, with a proposal to enact a law conformable to it unless it be judged to be of force. Message from the Burgesses as to George Muschamp's salary. Bills for parochial libraries, for speedy justice and for the Port of Annapolis read a first time. The Bill to revive temporary laws considered needless, as being already enacted and therefore contrary to the Royal instructions.
Sept. 26. A petition from the merchants of New York was referred to the Burgesses and by them rejected. Several members desiring leave of absence the Governor told them to arrange among themselves that a quorum should remain. A new resolution for the deciding of disputes about Indians' lands was received by the Burgesses and assented to (pp. 143–144). This resolution is entered by the Burgesses as their original answer. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 14. pp. 120–137.]
Sept. 21. 242. Minutes of General Assembly of Massachusetts. The late Act to establish Courts was again read and debated. Proposed that on the loss of so great a part of the harvest an Act be passed to prohibit the malting of barley.
Sept. 22. The heads of an address to the King were debated and drawn. A Bill, empowering justices of the Peace to decide differences up to forty shillings was received from the Representatives, read and debated.
Sept. 23. Complaint of John Wilkins against the Justices and select men of Bristol read.
Sept. 24. The Address to the King was agreed to. The Bill for empowering Justices was again read and debated.
Sept. 25. The Bill last named was again read and not agreed to. John Wilkins's complaint was debated and referred to the Representatives.
Sept. 26. Bill for incorporation of Harvard College received and read. [Board of Trade. New England, 48. pp. 74–77.]
Sept. 22.
243. Secretary of Massachusetts to William Blathwayt. I thank you for your favours. It is no small satisfaction to me that my endeavours in the King's service find acceptance, which makes me with more alacrity undergo the fatigue of the extraordinary attendance and business which the present difficulties of the province calls for in my station, the perquisites of which are not so great as to excite the emulation of any that may seek the same. The report of the plot against the King was no less amazing to his good subjects then was the joy at its defeat. The Lieutenant-Governor at once empowered the justices in the several counties to administer the oaths of loyalty to all males over eighteen years of age who had not taken the same; and a day of public thanksgiving was appointed and held. The General Assembly forward their congratulations by this opportunity, and have signed the Association for the better security of the King's person and Government. In obedience to the Royal Commands the Act of Parliament for regulating the Plantation Trade has been published here; and the General Assembly have under consideration the laws which have been disallowed, in order to amendment. The variation between the charter and the precept prescribed to the Sheriff for elections is not in the charter under the Broad Seal, which was brought by Sir William Phips and published here at the entrance of the present Government. That makes the qualifications of an Assemblyman to be a freehold estate worth forty shillings per annum or other estate to the value of £ 40. Such mistake as is therein happened in that engrossment of the charter, the precept being made agreeable thereto. The Assembly is also preparing an address to lay the state of the province before the King and to supplicate his aid. The enemy have made such impressions upon the province during the past summer, by the taking of the Newport frigate, by the unfortunate loss of Pemaquid Fort, by the mischief of skulking parties of Indians and by the scarcity of the provisions (for great part of the harvest has been lost by blast and unseasonable weather), that the people here are under wonderful discouragements, being reduced to great poverty. Many remove to the Southern Provinces, where they are less exposed to the enemy and more free from taxes. There is now a force of 500 effective men under conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Hathorne and Major Benjamin Church, together with H.M. ship Arundel, the province galley, other vessels and several transports abroad in the parts of this province towards Nova Scotia, to make some attempt upon the enemy and to endeavour the removing of the French garrison on St. John's River, and the surprising of the great guns and other warlike stores lately brought thither from France for the further strengthening of the river. We have had no intelligence of them since their departure. On notice that the two French ships which surprised the Newport were on the coast, H.M. frigates Arundel, Sorlings and Orford, joined by a hired ship mounted with thirty-six guns, the galley and a fireship, went forth in quest of them. Our fleet happened to come in sight of them at Mount Desart, when they were lying at anchor with the Newport, which put them to great confusion and distraction to work out. The wind dying away, our ships were becalmed and could not reach the roadstead, while the French having a small breeze off the high land got out in the night and were seen by our ships next day, which lay becalmed till the afternoon, when the sea-breeze came up. They then gave chase and fetched upon the enemy, who at night altered their course, and, the next day being very foggy, ours lost sight of the French, who stood out to sea. Two days later they surprised two fishing vessels on their way home from Cape Sable, one of which they sold to the men to bring them home. They told how they had been chased by the frigates and how they feared that they would have been taken but for the fog; and they continued to make the most of their advantage of sailing to eastward, expecting that the frigates were still in chase. We have the report of two squadrons of French ships in the West Indies, but hope the near approach of winter may keep them from visiting this coast. The Lieutenant-Governor on receiving the Privy Council's warning of a French design upon America gave orders for putting all into a posture of defence; and the public fortifications are repaired and in good order. The expectation of a Governor from England has been some hindrance to forwarding some things that may be for our better security. The province is in a very poor and distressed condition, and the King's interests here are exposed to danger unless early supported by a supply of warlike stores next spring and by some ships of war of greater strength than are now assigned to the station. This, I suppose, will be represented to the King by the addresses of the Assembly. I have transmitted the Minutes of Council and Assembly, the laws last made, the Treasurer's accounts, and duplicates of papers formerly sent by Captain Fleetwood Emes of H.M. ship Sorlings. I am pressed by the business of the General Assembly now sitting, but hope to give you a further account before the fleet sails. Signed, Isa. Addington. 3 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Nov. Read 8 Dec., 1896. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 27.]
[Sept. 22.] 244. Abstract of the foregoing letter, in nine short sentences. Scrap. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 28; and 36. p. 61.]
Sept. 22. 245. William Popple to Edward Littleton. Desiring him to bring memorials in writing as to the wishes of the Barbados merchants respecting convoys. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44A. p. 5.]
Sept. 22. 246. William Popple to Richard Cary. Asking what is the usual time allowed for loading and unloading ships, and consequently for the stay of convoys in the Leeward Islands and Barbados. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 45. p. 13.]
Sept. 22. 247. Richard Cary to William Popple. I conceive that seventy days may be sufficient for the merchant ships to unload and reload in the Leeward Islands, that being the usual time allowed us by charter-party on the biggest ships. As for Barbados, I dare not intermeddle, there being agents for that Island here. Signed, Rd. Cary. ½ p. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 10; and 45. p. 12.]
Sept. 22. 248. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Order for the Council to be summoned upon any alarm, and for the President to issue orders as the officers shall think best before the Council meets.
Sept. 23. Order for payment of the expenses for the French captain lately prisoner on the Island, and for a pipe of Madeira and two hogsheads of wine to be given to Captain Fisher and his men for going out after the six strange ships. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 142–143.]
Sept. 23. 249. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. The Lieutenant-Governor reporting that several persons, to whom he had issued privateer's commissions, had brought in prizes, the Council advised that he should try the ships so captured and condemn them, there being no Judge of Admiralty in the province. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 49–50.]
[Sept. 23.] 250. Memorial of John Nelson to the Council of Trade. In compliance with your wish, I communicate to you what I formerly proffered to the Duke of Shrewsbury, but first I must beg your patience while I give some account of myself. For twenty-six years I have been incessantly conversant with the French in Nova Scotia, Acadia and Canada, for which reason I was selected by the Governor and Council of New England in 1691 to establish Colonel Edward Tyng in command of Port Royal, then newly subjected to the Crown of England. In this enterprise I had the misfortune to be taken prisoner by the French, who, notwithstanding my acquaintance and interest with them, made exception to my release (lest I should give information to the Court in England) whereby I have actually suffered four years and a half of imprisonment. During that time I have continually endeavoured to discover whatever might be of advantage to us, and have sometimes found opportunity both in Canada and France to give information which, had it been duly noticed, might have been of good effect. But to avoid prolixity I omit the particulars. I shall also omit what I previously said about the affairs of France and proceed at once to those of the Northern Colonies. As things are now circumstanced in those parts, unless we timely prevent the designs of the enemy, we risk the loss and subversion of the whole of them, on account, first, of the methods pursued by the French towards their own people and Indians and towards our Indians, and, secondly, through our neglect to oppose the enemies' influence with our Indians, the confusion of Government in several or most of our Colonies and above all through the disunion among them.
First, as to the French, the great and only advantage which the enemy has in those parts depends chiefly on the nature of their settlement. Our Colonies depend on the improvement of lands, etc., Canada depends on the fur trade with the Indians, so that their whole study has been to maintain their interest and reputation with them. This has been much augmented by Sir William Phips's unhappy and foolish expedition from New England, and also for want of due care in the settlement of Nova Scotia after the capture of Port Royal. We may therefore by fatal experience lay it down as a maxim that those who are masters of the Indians will prevail in all places where they are neglected, as we have too much done. The French are so sensible of this that they leave nothing unimproved in this regard, first by seasonable presents; secondly, by choosing some of the more notable among them for constant pay as a lieutenant or ensign; thirdly, by rewards upon all executions, whether upon us or other Indians, giving a certain sum per head for as many scalps as shall be brought to them; fourthly, by encouraging the youth of the country to accompany the Indians on all their expeditions, whereby they not only become acquainted with the woods, rivers and passages but of themselves may equal the natives in supporting all the incident fatigues of such enterprises, which they perform by advancing, upon any exploit, the most forward and daring to some office among the regular troops, or by procuring from France some mark of honour, as a letter from the Minister, with some small pension. I have known one of this nature which created such emulation that, if Count Frontenac had not restrained their forwardness for fear of leaving the country naked, the whole body of their youth would have been perpetually out in parties. Fifthly, the greatest and most effectual means that they have taken for confirming their Indians and subverting of ours, is that for some time since the war they have transported to France a few of the most eminent and enterprising Indians, not only of their own but of ours whom they have captured, for no other intent but to amaze and dazzle them with the greatness and splendour of the French Court and army. The King has thought it so well worth countenancing as to send them to Flanders, where the armies have been expressly mustered before them to shew their greatness. At the same time they do not fail to insinuate to them our weakness, poverty and incapacity to protect them, which they readily believe, having no idea of our native force and strength other than what they see in our poor settlements about them, and from which they cannot expect sufficient support. So that even those of our New York Indians who have always been at perpetual enmity with theirs and consequently with them, are now either turned to their side, or else stand doubtful what to do. For the fuller completing of the French designs there are actually at this instant at Versailles six sagamores from Canada, Hudson's Bay and Nova Scotia to solicit such help against us as, if care be not timely taken to oppose them, will, I fear, prove fatal. When we come to see the desolation and disturbance of our Southern Colonies which, when the Indians are wholly affrighted or gained to the French cause, will be at all times easy for them to effect by the situation on the rivers and lakes at the back of our Colonies—then I say that these things will become more sensible to the nation through the loss of revenue to the Crown. We have woeful experience what may be done in this kind from the destruction wrought in Maine and New Hampshire, whereby we have in a measure lost our mast, timber and fishing trade.
I pass now to the remedies. First, as regards the Indians, we cannot do better than imitate the French both in encouragement to the Indians at home and by sending some chiefs to England, to give counterpoise to the French reputation and greatness, which a sight of the City of London and of what else may be shewed them here, or if need be in Flanders, will easily effect. For those whom we have brought over, being unable to conceive anything greater than we have shewn them, will return home, and by their report of our numbers, strength, riches, etc., will encourage our friends and regain for us the waverers, so that we shall equal our reputation to that of the French. There are other things in regard to our traffic and trade with them which will properly belong to the Governors on the spot, namely to establish such justice and equality in our dealings with them as may redress abuses in this kind, for where full trust and inclination can be obtained there love and inclination will follow, even among Indians. Again, we have in a manner wholly neglected the propagation of religion among them, except in some few parts near Boston, although there is a considerable fund established in this Kingdom under the title of Indian stock, to which belong a Governor and assistants, whose management is rather for an increase of the stock here in England than for the instruction, countenance and conversion of the heathen, according to the intention of the donors. An enquiry herein might be of great use, and indeed our neglect in this regard is both shameful and injurious, whereas our enemies the French by the zealous propagation of their missionaries, always sent and maintained among them—nay, even at our doors, and with our Indians—do insinuate themselves to our prejudice so as to become masters of the consciences of the heathen, and by consequence must always have them at their devotion. Our Indians have often made complaints hereon for want of the like care and instruction, yet little or no notice hitherto hath been taken thereof.
Next, I must not omit the due encouragement which should be given to our hunters, or bushlopers as they call them about Albany, so that the Indians on all expeditions against the French may be accompanied by a suitable number of our own people, alike to accustom themselves, as the French do, and to liven and back the undertaking, for otherwise they cannot be expected always to expose themselves in our quarrel, while we remain by our fires, and the enemy never fail to give personal assistance to their Indians. We are not without as good men as they, but we want the like methods, discipline and encouragement. Thus we have one Schuyler at Albany who, while I was at Quebec in 1691, made one of the most vigorous and glorious attempts ever known in those parts, with great slaughter on the enemy's side and great loss on his own, in which action, but for an accident, he had very probably become master of Montreal. I have heard the thing reported so much to his honour by the French that had the like been done by any of their nation he could never have missed acknowledgment and reward from the Court, though I hear of nothing among us that has been done for him. I speak this only to shew what discouragements our people are under, while the French neither omit nor spare reward for the carrying out of their designs.
I now make another remark about our greatest defect and mistake, namely the number and independency of so many small governments, whereby our strength is not only divided but weakened. By reason of their several interests the provinces are become, and do in a manner treat each other, as foreigners, so that, whatever mischiefs happen in one part, the rest by reason of this disunion remain unconcerned and our strength thereby is weakened. Were New England, Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York joined in one, we should be at least ten or fifteen to one against the French in Canada, and instead of a bare defence might, with ships from England, make an entire conquest of the place. Towards this enterprise security, honour, profit, interest, and facility in the undertaking all invite us to be no longer negligent. I can see no particular advantage to which our nation can pretend in this war but this, which is such that, if it were known, I presume that it would be no longer omitted. I must herein instance the value of the fur trade, which is not less than about £ 200,000 per annum. While I was at Quebec they reckoned to have had much above that value in the town, since which, by the capture of Fort Nelson in Hudson's Bay, they are become in a manner sole masters of that trade and will be continually encroaching until we put some stop thereto. I am not ignorant of the difficulties that may be objected, nor of the discouragement we are under from the unfortunate attempt of Sir William Phips, wherein we could not reasonably expect much better, the affair being so rashly undertaken without order, method, provision or conduct. And yet had the enterprise been well-timed as to the season of the year, and had the forces from Albany proceeded as was designed, the place had undoubtedly been ours; so that we ought not to let our miscarriage affright us from the attempt once more. But I shall further enlarge hereon elsewhere.
Now as to my reasons for suspecting French designs on the Northern Colonies. When I was removed from Angoulême to the Bastille, there were sent to treat with me about my release the Marquis de Cheury (?) and Mons. de Lagny, who is Intendant General of the commerce and foreign affairs of France; with whom after divers other discourses we fell into talk about Canada, New York and New England, in which we all agreed as to the woeful condition those countries were in, on both sides, owing to the barbarous cruelty of the heathen, and that nothing was more desirable than some good accommodation, if it could be found out. There was then proposed the setting on foot, if possible, of the late Treaty of Neutrality for those parts, concluded in King James's time. The difficulty that remained was to find out a way to treat, since the French would not even acknowledge King William to be King of England; for which we discovered the following expedient, that power should be procured for the Governors on both sides to treat and conclude in their own names during this war. I, as a private person, asked whether such a thing would be agreeable to the Court of France, and, if they thought so, whether they, as private persons (without engaging the honour of the Crown) would assure me that, if the offer were made them by England, they would accept it. They told me they would make the proposal to Mons. Ponchartrain and so give their answer. About a week later they came to me again and told me that there would be no difficulty in France, the thing being very well liked of, and that I might make the motion here, if I thought fit. The matter remained in this posture for some time until the arrival of the Canada ships and of the six Indians already mentioned, on whose application things were so altered as to procure a petition from the Canada Company for my further detention, as being dangerous to their interest if I were set at liberty. The thing was discoursed before the King in Council, and if my affairs had not been so far ended with them I should have been detained until the end of the war. I was ignorant of these things until informed by a visit of some gentlemen from Canada, when I was told of the reason of my long remaining in the Bastille and the danger I was in; but at length they were swayed by a point of honour to perform their words, since I had complied in every article with their demands. My passport was at last brought to me by Mons. de Lagny and the Marquis de Cheury, who told me that the sentiments of the Court as to the Neutrality were changed, and that I should make no mention of it in England. I have since been informed that Mons. d'Iberville (who was their commander at the taking of Fort Nelson) is appointed with a considerable force to carry back the said Indians, and to make an attempt upon the coast. I know him to be a very enterprising man, and what the effects may be is rather to be feared than determined, especially if the state of those countries be reflected on, being without governor, soldiers, officers or fortifications, or at least with such as are rather to be despised than otherwise. Of all this the French are not ignorant, for I have often heard them discourse as truly and pertinently of those parts as the best acquainted Englishman could do. I annex a scheme for an attack on Canada. 15 closely written pages. Endorsed, Recd. 23 Sept., 1696. Read 24th. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 10; and 34. pp. 42–44.]
[Sept. 30.] 251. Rough precis of the preceding. Scrap. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 11.]
Sept. 23. 252. A scheme for the reduction of Canada, proposed by Mr. Nelson. The situation of the French settlements is on the great river St. Lawrence, both sides of which for some eighty leagues' space are unhabited owing to the extreme cold and rockiness of the country. There the river is very large and bold, being from eighteen to twenty leagues wide at the entrance, gradually lessening to about eight leagues over against Tadousac or the Saganie, at which river (which strikes northward towards Hudson's Bay) the going up continues about five leagues, growing very dangerous by reason of a very long and shoal point that runs directly across the river, between which and a small sandy island (called by the French Isle Rouge) is a good channel, through which having passed and doubled the point, we sail near thirty leagues, keeping the north shore on board, until we come to the Isle de Coudre, where is also a difficult pass because of the great tides, so that without a fair and leading gale of wind ships never venture farther. From this place and a little below are some few settlements—say fifteen or twenty families—until you come (still keeping to the north side) to a high mountainous point (old Cape Tourment), where ships are commonly forced to stop for an easterly wind with the flood to cross over to the Isle of Orleans, about five leagues. This I esteem one of the most difficult passages of the river; after which we sail up on the south side of the Isle of Orleans some seven leagues to Quebec without danger. There are settlements on this side of the Island, but more on the north, so that altogether on the Island there may be 300 or 400 families. On the main land on the south side are scattered plantations from the River de Loup unto the river Oale, about ten leagues, not above three houses. On the river Oale are about sixteen families. From hence to Cape St. Ignace, which is called the Grand Bay, there are in about ten leagues' space some eight or ten families, and at the Cape itself about fifteen more; from thence to Point de la Vie, which is opposite to Quebec, near twenty more; so that the whole number of families on the south side of the river up to Quebec, for the space of above thirty leagues, may be about fifty families.
Upon the North side of Orleans, on the Main from
Cape Tourment to Quebec, about ten or twelve leagues,
which they call the Coast of Beaupré, is said to be about
The town of Quebec contains not above 300
Now to proceed above the town in the upper parts of
the river, where you must note that the south side is so
ill-peopled as to be not worth mentioning; so the first
place of remark is called the Point au Tremble where, in
three leagues' space, there may be about
From the Point au Tremble upwards is here and
there a house, until about fifteen leagues higher there is
a settlement, in about four leagues' space (of which I have
forgotten the name) with about
From thence to the Three Rivers, thirty leagues above
Quebec, are few or no habitations. Here there is a small
palisaded fort, and a Governor with a small garrison, and
From the Three Rivers to Montreal is thirty leagues,
in which space are no habitations, those that were there
having been destroyed by Indians. Montreal may have
The land hereabout is good and was very well settled before the war, but now is all waste. On the south side of the river below Montreal is a small river which flows out of Lake Iroquois, at the head of which is a fort called Chambly, built of palisades, with a garrison of about sixty soldiers etc.
From the above calculation the whole numbers and strength of Canada may be computed to be not above 2,000 families, in more than one hundred leagues' space on both sides of the river, which in divers places is so broad and the tides so strong as to render communication between them very difficult. Out of this number about five hundred of their best men are always absent in the woods among the Ottawas and other Indians, who are from three to five hundred leagues distant from Quebec, so that they can never be seasonably called home upon any attack. But withal it must be supposed that they may have a thousand soldiers and officers from France, which are disposed in various parts as occasion requires. So far as to their situation, numbers and strength; I shall now say something of the advantages, methods and ways which we have for reducing them.
First I propose about 1,500 English and 500 Indians to march from Albany, for which subsistence must be provided at the entrance to Mohawk Lake, on which the said forces must be transported on canoes or flat-bottomed boats to the fort of Chambly, which place they must take on their way to Montreal, where, according as they find the garrison weak or strong, they should either attack or beleaguer the place. If they take the town they must then march down to Three Rivers, destroy it, and so follow the coast till they come in sight of Quebec. By this time we may suppose our fleet to be arrived there, which should carry 1,500 or 2,000 men on board ready to land. These forces, if arrived before the coming down of our troops from Montreal, are to be employed in making descents on the Isle of Orleans and on both sides of the river, whereby to ruin the country by burning the houses, destroying the cattle and ruining the harvest, which is all that they depend on for subsistence and is often found insufficient without supplies from home. By this means, according to the advantage which the country gives of landing at eight or ten leagues distance at each tide, the inhabitants will be driven from place to place into Quebec, where it is impossible for them to have any supply of provisions, so that necessity will force the surrender of the place. This may not appear so clearly to those who are unacquainted with the country, nor can I make the thing so demonstrable as I could on a map, whereon I presume that I could easily answer all objections. What will especially facilitate the enterprise will be that wherever our forces first attack, it will call their whole strength from one end of the river to the assistance of the other, so that either one or the other will be left naked. If they divide their forces they will be too weak; if they continue them joined, the country must be wholly exposed; so that the only refuge left them will be to retire to Quebec where, when all that body of men, women and children shall be pent up together, their harvest destroyed or in our possession (and in that country it is impossible to have supply or assistance from other parts) they will be forced by hunger to surrender within a fortnight. I forbear to speak of the value of the place, its trade and its importance as securing our Colonies, any one of which things is sufficient inducement to encourage the enterprise. 6 closely written pages. Endorsed, Recd. 23 Sept. 1696; Read 24th. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 12; and 34. pp. 54–58.]
Sept. 23.
253. William Popple to the Attorney and Solicitor General. Forwarding Governor Nicholson's enquiry as to the means of attainting juries (see preceding volume, No. 2,303) for their opinion. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. p. 19.]
Sept. 24. 254. Bartholemew Gracedieu to William Popple. I came home from Gravesend just now and found yours of 22nd; in answer to which, our ships after their arrival at Jamaica are unloaded and laden again in eight or ten weeks. If their Lordships could order convoy home as well as out, we may hope for better success than yet we have had. I do not trade to Barbados. Please send me word when I shall wait on you. Signed, Bartho. Gracedieu. ½ p. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 20; and 56. p. 6.]
Sept. 24.
255. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Justices of England. We have spoken with the Virginia merchants, who assure us that 100 ships are already gone to Virginia and Maryland from the port of London, which with six more ready to sail and those gone from the out ports will make the greatest fleet ever sent to those Plantations. They say further that most of the crop for which they were designed will have been taken by the West Country ships, and that the stay of 110 days in those parts appointed by the Admiralty will cause most of their ships to remain there unladen, as this year's crop will not be ready for shipment until February. We think that the convoy should be ordered to prolong their stay till the fleet now there can ship this year's crop, or that another convoy be sent from here so as to be there in February, in order to convoy home so considerable a fleet. The necessity of one course or the other we think will be clear to you from perusal of an additional instruction sent to the Governor of Virginia in 1692, that no ships be permitted to sail from Virginia except in fleets or under convoy. Whichever of these resolutions be adopted, should be timely communicated to the merchants. Signed, Tankerville, Ph. Meadows, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 37. pp. 12–14; and Plantations General, 34. pp. 68–70.]
Sept. 24.
256. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Sir Edmund Andros. Embodying all the general queries addressed to Governor Fletcher (see No. 260) with the following additional questions. What proportion of inhabitants is employed in planting tobacco, and what in any other way? What commodities besides tobacco are exported from Virginia? What is the present method of preventing illegal trade; how is the Act of 1891 for Ports observed and with what success; if the Act be insufficient for the ends designed, what further methods may be taken? What Indians are on your borders and what are the relations of the Colony with them? What means have been used to convert them to Christianity and with what success? Are any of the Indians settled among you and learning our language, and how can they be made useful? What were the Indians that appeared at the head of James River in 1695, and what damage have they done since the war began? What number of rangers is employed on your frontier, what is the nature of their service and of what nation are they? What progress is made in the building and other concerns of the College? We have received your letters of 27 June, but no duplicates of laws nor any authentic copies of laws since those passed in the General Assembly that met in April, 1695. We note what you say as to the quota and the state of the revenue. We note that you have called Colonel Johnson and Colonel Charles Scarburgh to the Council, but you do not give Colonel Johnson's Christian name, nor do we find Colonel Scarburgh's name among the list of persons recommended to fill up vacancies. You will furnish a complete list of the Council or of persons proper to fill vacancies therein. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 37. pp. 15–18.]
Sept. 24.
257. Lieutenant-Governor Stoughton to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Your Lordships' letters of 26 December, 1695, 10 March and 15 and 20 April have been duly received. I am very sensible of the King's princely care for these remote parts of his dominions and thankfully acknowledge your favour in signifying the reasons for the disallowance of laws, and the amendment of laws to be passed in place of those disallowed, which are now before the Assembly. I thank you also for the warning of a French design against some part of America and your assurance of speedy help from England, as the state of affairs at home should permit. I at once gave the necessary orders for putting all things into a posture of defence. On the news of the discovery of the wicked and traitorous plot against the King and Government a day of thanksgiving was at once appointed, and the oaths were administered to all males over eighteen years of age who had not taken them. The Council and Assembly also signed the Association for the better security of the King's person and Government. I have caused the Act of Parliament for regulation of the Plantation trade to be published, and shall take care that that Act and all others for the encouragement of Navigation and securing the Plantation trade be strictly executed within this Government. The General Assembly by this conveyance send addresses to the King, congratulating him on his deliverance from conspiracy and from invasion of the kingdom, and setting forth the distressed and languishing state of his subjects in this province, and the deep impression made upon them by the enemy this summer. H.M. frigate Newport has been lost. She was sent by me in company of the H.M.S. Sorlings and a yacht into the Bay of Fundy to intercept the supplies of ammunition and stores sent annually from France to John's River, but was unhappily overpowered by two ships of war of greater force than ordinary which came thither this year. I have sent a particular narration of the action, under the hands and upon oath of the officers of the Newport, to the Admiralty, and transmit a copy herewith. The address also reports the loss of Fort Pemaquid, which was beset by the two aforesaid French men-of-war, with the Newport and a land force of near four hundred French and Indians, provided with cannon and bombs for the storming thereof. A copy of the narrative given in by some of the officers on oath is enclosed. The commander is under confinement in order to further hearing of the matter. Captain Paxton, who was a prisoner on board one of the French men-of-war, will be able to give you information thereabout. The fort was well furnished with all necessaries and seasonably reinforced by forty fresh men on the news of the disaster befalling the Newport; and I sent an express to notify the commander thereof and of the strength of the French, with directions to be very careful and vigilant, and to have all things ready in case of an attack. It was feared that the French forces would have made some further attempt—on Piscataqua river, as was said—had they not heard of the arrival of H.M. frigates with the mast-ships and several merchant ships from England. Thereupon I ordered a levy of near five hundred men for reinforcement of the frontiers and the protection of the river, and fitted out a hired merchant ship with the Province galley and a fireship to join H.M. frigates Arundel and Orford, with orders to search for the French ships. It happened that they sighted them at anchor at Mount Desart. Here follows an account of the failure to catch the French ships, almost identical in language with that given in No. 143. The Arundel, the Province galley, and several other small vessels of war and transports, with near five hundred men under the command of Lieutenant-colonel Hathorne, are now in the eastern parts of the province with orders to attempt the capture of the French fort on John's river, and for making other attacks upon the enemy in those parts, which, if God give them success, will be of service. Some privateers equipped by merchants in this province have taken and brought in several French fishing-vessels from the banks of Newfoundland. As there is no Judge of Admiralty appointed in the province, I have been prevailed with to condemn them upon due proof given, otherwise the privateers would have been greatly discouraged and many seamen would have left the province if not allowed their shares of the prizes which they had taken. I have taken care to secure the King's share of prize-goods, which is ready to be made good to whomsoever the King shall appoint. I should be sorry to incur the King's displeasure for assuming a power not vested in me by his commission, since I have done so for his service and with no design of private advantage. I have the Council's opinion that it was advisable for the King's service, for which I pray your favour. It seems highly necessary that a Judge of Admiralty should be commissionated for the province. I beg leave to observe that in the narrative given in by some of the garrison of Pemaquid it is said that the wall in one of the flankers was defective, having been propped up all the winter, and that it began to fall upon firing the gun that stood thereon. I never was advised of any such defect, which I should have timely cared for, and have examined several of the soldiers thereabout, who deny the same and say that the wall was good and did not give way upon firing of their guns. I beg your favour in countenancing the humble address of the King's distressed subjects in this province. Signed, Wm. Stoughton. 3½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 20 Nov. 1696. Answered, 20 Jan. 1696–7. Annexed,
257. I. Certain of the late garrison of Pemaquid Fort to Lieutenant-Governor Stoughton. On the 4th of August two French men-of-war anchored a little without John's Island, and between three and four o'clock sent a boat ashore with a flag of truce and a drum. Captain Chubb ordered a file of musketeers to attend their landing, who brought in two of them blindfolded, namely, the Lieutenant-General and Mr. Bodwine, a Frenchman belonging to the town. The messengers having being brought into the most private room of the fort presented a letter from the General, which, as none of us could read it (being in French) was interpreted by the messengers as a summons to surrender the fort. Captain Chubb answered that he would not surrender without fighting, adding if the enemy proved too hard for us he hoped to fall into the hands of a Christian nation and find good quarter. The messengers said that they would fire three or four bombs and then send to us again to see how we liked them, saying that they had a bomb-ketch and another man-of-war coming. Next day arrived the Newport, also 500 Indians on shore and 110 that came from St. John's, besides the men from the ships. The messengers were no sooner gone than the French and Indians fired whole volleys upon us, and, we engaging them, the fight went on all night and all next day until six o'clock in the evening. Two or three hours before that time they began to heave their bombs over the fort, and at the same time pitched their standard upon the hill, whereupon our captain ordered our gunner to fire upon the standard, which he did, but missed it. He then bade him fire again, when the shot (as they told us on board the French ship) killed two Indians and wounded another. We had but one gun that we could bring to bear, and after four or five times firing, the flanker, on which it was mounted and which had been propped up all the winter, began to tumble down. By and by three men came in from the enemy with a flag of truce, and our Captain sent a flag to meet them, ordering every man to come up on the wall and shew themselves. The French and Indians at the same time appearing on the hill shewed like a swarm of bees and sent to speak with the Captain, who went out, and three men with him. The land-general then demanded the fort, saying that if it were not surrendered before another bomb was fired he did not know whether there would be man, woman, or child saved; for the Indians would come in upon us if our walls were breached, and would give no quarter. He added that if we did not believe him we might send and see of what force they were. Captain Chubb sent Serjeant David Frances to view them (the French General leaving a hostage in his room) who on being led into their camp saw that they had two mortars and about fifty bombs, with one field-piece. They told him that they had six more at New Harbour and a hundred Indians with them. Serjeant Frances judged the number of Indians there to be not less than 500 and the Frenchmen to be at least a hundred, and informed Captain Chubb. The Captain thereupon sent out two more serjeants, one of whom had been in Flanders and had seen bombs played, and they testified to what Frances said. Presently after came Mons. Castine with a letter from the General demanding the fort and allowing us but half an hour to consider it. The Captain then advised with his men what he should do, and they being assured that they would be left to the mercy of the heathen, and since we could get no water by reason of the enemy, they unanimously agreed to surrender on condition that they might have the clothes on their backs and be carried to a Christian shore (which was granted) and that none of us should be captives. Signed, John Bushnell, James Lyon, David Frances, Ebenezer Ingoldsby, Mark Round, Robt. Hilton, John Sweeting, Richd. Bryer, Richd. Brown, John Downing, John Shind. Copy. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read, 30 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. Nos. 29, 29 I.; and 36. pp. 54–59.]
Sept. 24. 258. Minutes of General Assembly of Virginia. Councillors were commissioned to swear in the Burgesses, and the House then attended the Governor, who congratulated them on so good an attendance and bade them choose their Speaker.
Sept. 25. The Burgesses attended the Governor, who approved of Robert Carter as their Speaker, and then made them a speech, commending to them the King's favour in sending out ammunition and accepting the £ 500 voted for New York in lieu of the quota. He hoped that all had joined in the day of thanksgiving and that none would be wanting in encouragement to the clergy and the College, and recommended the continuance of the impost on liquors and a levy by poll for the defence of the Colony. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 12–14.]
Sept. 24. 259. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Adjourned till a fuller Council be met.
Sept. 25. Mr. Blair resumed his place in Council pursuant to the Royal order. John Lightfoot produced the King's letter for his admission to the Council, but in view of his general ill reputation and known misbehaviour the Council decided that he be not sworn. The Governor laid before Council what he had thought necessary to lay before the Burgesses, particularly in reference to the clergy, when it was agreed that nothing more was necessary. Robert Beverley sworn to act as Clerk Extraordinary to the General Assembly.