America and West Indies: September 1696, 26-30

Pages 145-169

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

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


September 1696

Sept. 26. The matter of Mr. Lightfoot's admission to the Council was again considered and deferred for further consideration. The address of the Clergy to the Governor was considered and referred for further consideration. It was thought not proper at this time to lay it before the Burgesses.
Sept. 28. John Childs appointed Messenger to the Burgesses. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. pp. 38–40.]
Sept. 25.
260. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Fletcher. The King having appointed us his Commissioners for promoting the trade of this kingdom and inspecting and improving his plantations in America, it is his pleasure that you give us frequent and full information of the state and condition of the province under your Government, in regard to the administration and commerce, transmitting yearly accounts of their administration by way of journal, together with the Acts of Assembly and accounts of all public money. You will send us by first opportunity a complete list of the Council and of those gentlemen whom you think proper to supply vacancies therein. You will inform us as to the population, freemen and servants, white and black, as to its decrease since your entrance to the Government, and as to the most proper means of preventing the removal of the inhabitants into neighbouring Colonies. You will report to us also the total number of the militia; the commodities exported from the province to England; what trade it has with other countries; how it is furnished with supplies (especially manufactures) which used to be furnished from England; whether the trade has increased or decreased of late years, and the reasons for such increase or decrease; what are the methods for preventing illegal trade and what further methods are advisable; the number of ships and seamen belonging to the province and what sorts of those vessels have been built there; what naval stores the province can furnish, and in particular if the tar be as good as that of Sweden; whether there is an increase in the quantity of hemp and tar made in the province, and if not how so profitable a design has been hindered; what other manufactures are found in the province; what quantity of train oil is made in Long Island, and what improvements have been or might be made in any sort of fishery. We have received your letter of 30 May and 10 June, with enclosures, but with no list of those enclosures, which ought to have been sent. The Acts of 25 March to 24 April last also are not under the seal of the province. You will send us an authentic copy, and in future you will send the Acts in authentic form in duplicate. We hope that the presents for the Five Nations have reached you. The remaining matters mentioned in your letters have been laid before the King. Signed, Tankerville, Ch. Montague, Jno. Pollexfen, Wm. Trumbull, Ph. Meadows, Jno. Locke. [Board of Trade. New York, 52. pp. 25–29.]
Sept. 25. 261. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Nicholson. The letter opens with the same general questions as in the preceding, and continues:—What number of inhabitants is employed in planting tobacco, and what proportion in other ways, and in what ways? What else besides tobacco is exported to England? What methods are taken to prevent illegal trade, and what further methods would you propose? Is your order in Council, that no ships be cleared in Maryland without giving security to call on the Governor of Virginia, still observed? What success has attended your measures to suppress illegal trade by way of Pennsylvania? What naval stores are there in the province? What manufactures are settled among you? What Indians are on your borders and what are your relations with them? What foreign Indians are those mentioned in the Minutes of Council for 1695, what is their strength and where do they lie? What efforts have been made to convert Indians to Christianity? Are any Indians brought to live among you in a settled way and to learn our language? What has been the success of the treaty made with the Semiquos, Susquehannah and Shevanoe Indians? How many rangers do you employ on your frontiers, what is the nature of their service, and what Indians are joined with them? We shall lay your letters of 18 March and 12 June before the King, with what you desire about a small vessel to cruise on the coast. As to erection of a Court of Exchequer, we suppose that your intentions will be met by the settlement of a Court of Admiralty, as to which we believe some order will speedily be issued. Signed as the preceding, with the additional name of J. Somers, C.S. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. pp. 20–23.]
[Sept. 25.] 262. Statement of Jacob Leisler and Abraham Gouverneur as to the state of New York province since 1687. In 1688 there were in the province about 8,000 families from which might be raised about 12,000 fighting men, from sixteen to sixty years of age. In this year, and for some time before, this Province was under Sir Edmund Andros, Governor of New England, who by his Lieutenant-Governor, Nicholson, and seven or more of his Council had the government and raised taxes and exercised other legislative acts without an Assembly. In April 1689 those of New England who were well affected to the Protestant interest seized Sir Edmund Andros and declared in favour of the Revolution, whereupon in May, those of the same interest in New York perceiving that Mr. Nicholson would not declare for King William, the people seized the fort, and the captains of militia by turns commanded, soon afterwards proclaiming the King and Queen. Mr. Nicholson soon afterwards left New York, and the captains then sent circular letters ordering all parts of the province to choose representatives for an Assembly. In June this Assembly met and appointed Captain Leisler first Captain of the fort and later Commander-in-Chief of the province till their Majesties' pleasure should be known. In December there came to New York a messenger with a letter from the King addressed to Francis Nicholson, or, in his absence, to the Government for the time being. This letter was delivered to Captain Leisler, who under its authority undertook the Government and continued Governor for some thirteen months. Soon after receiving this authority he gave such assistance and encouragement to the Indians then in arms against the French, that they took the fort of Cadaraqui. About six months after the loss of this fort the French sent agents to treat with those Indians for a peace. Hearing this Captain Leisler sent likewise one Arnout Vielle, his Indian interpreter, to keep them firm to the English, which was so effectually done that the Indians seized the French agents, destroyed some of them and sent the chief of them, Chevalier D'Eau, to Captain Leisler, who kept him in custody so long as his Government lasted. He was, however, released from confinement by Governor Sloughter and made his escape to Canada. In January, 1690, Captain Ingoldsby arrived in New York with a commission to obey the Commander-in-Chief for the time being, but on his arrival sent Mr. Chidley Brooke and his Lieutenant to Captain Leisler to demand the delivery of the fort to him. Captain Leisler refused, and Ingoldsby then waged war against the fort, while Mr. Brooke threatened many that unless they assisted Ingoldsby they should be treated as rebels. Captain Ingoldsby continued thus for six weeks, calling to his assistance such as had opposed the Revolution, who were, and still are, of the Council. Then in March arrived Colonel Sloughter, who was made Governor of New York, and as soon as Leisler heard of his arrival he sent two persons to congratulate him, whom Colonel Sloughter imprisoned. Notwithstanding this Leisler surrendered the fort next morning; but Governor Sloughter at the instigation of several of his Council treated Leisler and many of his followers as traitors, for not delivering the fort to Captain Ingoldsby, though Ingoldsby by his commission was to obey the Commander-in-Chief. On this treatment of Leisler many fled from New York, but others were imprisoned and indicted for murder, for holding the fort against Captain Ingoldsby. The Court consisted of Mr. Dudley, president of the Council, Mr. Brooke, Captain Ingoldsby and others. Captain Leisler insisted on the King's letter for his justification, but the Court would give no answer unless he and Mr. Milborne consented to plead. This they refused to do. They were accordingly condemned and executed; but the whole matter being proved before Parliament in 1694 an Act to reverse their attainder has been passed. While Leisler was still in custody Governor Sloughter called an Assembly, but such as were well affected to Leisler were not admitted, and the Assembly then voted £250 out of the public money to Captain Ingoldsby and another for their services against Leisler. It also voted Leisler's proceedings illegal and demanded his execution, which was granted.
Colonel Sloughter died after five months in the Government, when the Council appointed Captain Ingoldsby to be Governor. During his administration several were prosecuted as rioters for what they had done under Leisler. Some of them, having before given £50 bail for their appearance, came to England to inform the King and Council; and during their absence their estates were seized, their securities prosecuted and four times the value of their bail levied upon them. Others were threatened that unless they pleaded guilty to the indictment for riot they should be proceeded against as traitors, and on their refusal they were kept about eleven months in custody, when they were discharged by the royal order. But notwithstanding that this order commanded not only their persons to be released but their recognisances to be vacated, neither the money nor goods seized upon those recognisances were restored, for Governor Fletcher refused to obey the order unless the prisoners would petition him for discharge, threatening to hang them if they did not. They then petitioned and were discharged, but notwithstanding their petition no part of the goods seized on their recognisances was restored. Governor Fletcher soon after his arrival called an Assembly, but finding that most of those chosen were well affected to Captain Leisler's interest, he refused them and commanded the electors to go to a new election, and when the same members were chosen he declined to admit them, but packed an Assembly of whom he pleased. Towards the end of 1694, the Assembly perceiving that the public taxes and revenue in about three years had been near £40,000 and that the same was generally misapplied, desired the Governor that an account might be given how the money had been disbursed; but the Governor, though at the first meeting of the Assembly he had promised the same, refused to do it, saying it was the Assembly's business to raise the money and the Governor and Council's to lay it out, and that he would give an account thereof to none but the King. The Assembly not being satisfied with this answer, and still insisting upon an account, Governor Fletcher dissolved them. In 1695 Governor Fletcher called a new Assembly but threatened those of the last that if they came to any elections he would shoot them, and thereupon imposed upon the freeholders seamen and soldiers, armed with clubs and bayonets, as electors, and by those electors packed an Assembly, which appointed Mr. Brooke and Mr. Nicolls to come to England as Agents for the province. In 1694 the Assembly gave Governor Fletcher money to repair the fortifications of New York; but the same was neglected and the money misapplied. Besides the above mentioned there have been many more particular abuses committed, too tedious here to be related, and the present Governor, to prevent any discoveries of his maladministration, forces such as he suspects may come to England with information of his mismanagement to give bond not to leave the province. We can attest our complaints of what was done relating to Captain Leisler's Government, and have letters to bear out our allegations since his death. Signed, Jacob Leisler, Abrah. Gouverneur. 4¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 25 Sept., 1696. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 64.]
[Sept. 25.] 263. Statement of "Grievances at New York from 1 September, 1692, to 31 October, 1695." (1) Shortly after his arrival Governor Fletcher issued a proclamation that the Queen had ordered the release of the prisoners who had assisted Jacob Leisler; but before issuing the same he had threatened them that if they did not submit, with acknowledgment of fault, he would hang them. (2) Several persons addressed him verbally and by petition for restoration of their arms which were left in the fort at New York when Governor Sloughter arrived, after the insurrection created by Captain Ingoldsby; and Captain Leisler ordered his people, about 300 in all, to lay down their arms. Promise was then made that they should have them again, but this was not performed, but on the contrary the arms were detained from them with great abuses. At first some few men received them back, but afterwards ill councillors prevailed with the Governor, who told the people that they had served an unlawful commander and deserved to be hanged, and that if he had been there he would have hanged every tenth man, so that thenceforward no remedy was to be had. (3) Several persons addressed Governor Fletcher for payment for service done for the King in Captain Leisler's administration, who also were answered with "vilipendations," that they had served a rebel and could expect no pay, but rather punishment. This was always inflamed by the Council, immortal adversaries to Captain Leisler during the late revolution. (4) Persons who had laid out money and goods for the King's service under Leisler's administration could receive no satisfaction, the Council esteeming such goods to be stolen and that they should be repaid by the persons who received them by Leisler's orders. Great dissatisfaction was thus given, the Council drawing no distinction between a time of revolution and another time. (5) Lieutenant John Hutchins, who bore the King's immediate commission, was imprisoned at Albany and sent to New York, where he was suspended by Governor Fletcher and kept out of his pay because he had favoured Leisler's case, having in the first place sent back the people who came to make the insurrection at Captain Ingoldsby's arrival, which was raised by Mr. Dudley and Mr. Brooke, and in the second place having endeavoured to dissuade Governor Sloughter from the execution of Leisler and Milborne, as against his letter to the King for their reprieve and contrary to the King's commission. (6) The unjust and considerable forfeitures taken in a violent manner from Jacob Mauritz and Johannes Provoost for non-appearanee at the Supreme Court, though remitted by the Queen's order, were never repaid nor charged against the Government's debts, only for the oppression of two of Leisler's Counsellors. (7) Major Gerard Beekman, one of Leisler's Council, has been banished in the Government by Governor Fletcher's order, and bound to good behaviour in £500, with additional security not to leave the province, only because he sent some money of his own with others to procure from the King a discharge from the dirty actions brought against them upon pretence of law. (8) Peter Delanoy, who was Mayor of New York and Collector during Leisler's administration, was also bound to give his parole not to leave the province, on pretence that the public accounts were paid by order of an unlawful commander, which accounts by Governor Fletcher's order were examined by two of the present Council, his adversaries and opposers of the revolution, and could have no other [examination] though required. So he never had any determination or satisfaction for disbursements for the Government and continues under the same parole. (9) Major Robert Leacock, who had been one of Leisler's Council, was kept a long while prisoner by a constable in the field to prevent him from voting for a member of Assembly; and this was done so as to have in such members only as would be against Leisler's actions. (10) Lieutenant William Churcher, who had been lieutenant in the forts of New York under Leisler's administration was apprehended in the field, and imprisoned, though he came in a decent manner to vote for a Member of Assembly; which was in order to cross the actions done under Leisler. (11) Those persons who under Leisler's administration had been rebellious and factious against the King's interest and the authority then in his Government were advanced to places of trust, while others were kept out, slighted, and named creators of disorders and rebels, especially by the present Council. (12) Most of the present Council and especially those who had been concerned in the late arbitrary Government have been all along opposed to the revolution in the King's interest in New York, bitter enemies of Leisler and the chief promoters of his execution. Their continuation is and will be a grievance. (13) Governor Fletcher by his own actions and by winking at others has obstructed the free election of Members of Assembly, by threats, and calling Leisler's adherents rebels in open field, when they came to give their votes. In the last election soldiers from the fort came in coloured coats and with bayonets, to pass for freemen, and the seamen of H.M.S. Richmond came with clubs to deter people from voting for such members as they would. The major part, suspecting a design against them, went away in dissatisfaction without voting; and this was done to keep out those who favoured Leisler. (14) The elections were obstructed also in several counties by intrigued and undue returns, all for the same ends as aforesaid. Especially were the Governor, Council and others in authority against those who were condemned by the Supreme Court, calling them traitors under the law of condemnation, in spite of the discharge proclaimed by the Royal order. There was no admission of service, as appeared in the person of Major Beekman. (15) Governor Fletcher has always favoured Leisler's adversaries, which was suspected to be augmented by gifts from the magistrates and others, so that the actors in the revolution for the King could have little hope for removal of their grievance and made no further address. Major Richard Panton, one of the Assembly who appointed Leisler to be Commander-in-Chief, was ruined in estate on that account. The rebellious French especially were in great esteem. (16) Several persons were brought before the Supreme Court to answer for assisting to execute Leisler's warrant for the arrest of Mr. Nicolls, and were imprisoned. Two of them were condemned by default, and, their attorney being imprisoned, none could answer for them. By a jury of enquiry £500 damage was found; at the next Court the case was admitted for a new trial, which is still to come. So guiltless persons are vexed in law, against the act passed to regulate their pretended damages, only to cross the actors in Leisler's revolution. (17) The burdens of detachments and taxes are extremely pressed upon New York when adjacent places were mostly excused, so that the King's order for them to assist had but little effect. The little money they gave was mostly not employed in defence but spent in other incidentals, whereby our taxes could not be made a penny less. The King graciously eased our burden by paying all the militia at home, which was never done before, but the administrators here augmented the burden so that all the income and taxes were not enough to pay the expense. The Assembly could obtain no satisfactory account thereof, but were told they had nothing whatever to do with it. This caused dissatisfaction. (18) The Dutch Ministers, by what instigation they know, preached against the actors in Leisler's revolution. The people, sensible of their just case, would not endure to hear such sermons. They were opposers of the revolution. The Minister in New York could not find it in his heart to pray for the King and Queen till Leisler gave him a form. When Governor Sloughter arrived and Leisler and all under him imprisoned, the Minister was overjoyed and took his text from the Twenty-seventh Psalm, "He should have perished if he had not hoped to see good in the land of the living," and such like. How instrumental he was at the time of the execution is notorious. The Minister at Albany refused to pray for the King, would do so only for the Crown, would observe no order from Leisler, holds correspondence with a Jesuit calling him "amicus honoratissimus," and saying that they had only war with such who were not on the side of the King, inflamed the people against Leisler, made him black by his letters to Europe (of which he himself was ashamed) boasted that one such letter would destroy him, and was bitterly against the revolution. The Minister of Nassau Island, now dead, was first for the revolution and brought the county unanimous to act; but being afterwards seduced he changed his opinion, created division and was particularly suspected about a contrivance to take the fort for which he was tried, fined and imprisoned, but upon subjection to Leisler released without fine. For this he was much affected to Leisler's execution, made intolerable sermons and died without the least reconciliation. (19) When the Act for reversing the attainder of Leisler and others came to New York, much money was given and collected by the maintainers of the actions of Captain Ingoldsby and others, supposed to be against Leisler and others, under a colour to do good to the province to send some from England to defend their actions, as if they could contend with supreme authority in passing the act. On the return of the Governor, who had been absent at Albany, it was passed by the majority of the Assembly (how arbitrarily chosen has already been shown) to send an agent to England and to raise £1,000 to that end. Mr. Nicolls was appointed, an irreconcilable enemy to Leisler, who had uttered threats against his adherents. This caused dissatisfaction. Most people said it was not a free Assembly and would not pay tax for such an Agent, who under colour to act for the province should work out with others their sinister designs. (20) The maintenance of the frontiers at Albany is disliked owing to the ill actions of the Captains, some of whom had two commissions, from the King and from the Governor, creating double payment. The appointed number seldom came there, but sometimes a fourth part and sometimes less; and still when the appointed time expired money was found short, though sufficiently provided for. The fortifications of New York are almost out of repair, the bulwarks not regarded except one by the waterside, which is disposed of to private service. The guns sent by the King are not erected, though £160 was long ago granted by the Assembly for the purpose; there is no powder nor "another warlike affairs" at present in being to resist an enemy, so that no officers upon a sudden invasion are able to defend their posts, there being no public stock for the city required in time of war. (21) The opposers of Leisler's revolution for the most part, by credible information, have given private depositions to clear those at present in authority and declare against Leisler's proceedings, all of which may be easily evinced when known, and are undermining manners—easily to be done when approved by authority. But truth will overcome all, which we know is come to light and will be maintained by the King. Signed, John Hutchins, Johannes Provoost, Gabriell Tomasen, Abraham Brassier, William Churcher, Meyndert Hoerten, Gerardus Beeckman. 7 pp. The composition is so intricate as to be frequently almost unintelligible. Endorsed, Read 25 Sept., 1696. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 65.]
[Sept. 25.] 264. Sir Henry Ashurst's instructions for William Partridge and Robert Lamb, Commissioners for reporting on the condition of Massachusetts in relation to the supply of Naval stores for the Royal Navy. Seventeen articles. These differ little in substance from those already given to the English Commissioners (see No. 182II.), containing only strict injunctions to enquire as to the defects found in the Naval stores already sent over and as to the means of remedying them, and more special directions as to the samples to be sent over and the payment for the same. Articles are proposed to supersede the two last clauses of the Admiralty's instructions. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 25 Sept., 1696. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 30; and 36. pp. 38–43.]
Sept. 28. 265. Minutes of General Assembly of Virginia. John Childs appointed Messenger to the Burgesses. Address of the Burgesses to the Governor in reply to his speech, asking him to appoint the Assembly a day of thanksgiving, also to communicate to them a list of the stores of war, and the royal orders and instructions alluded to in his speech. Answer of the Governor appointing next Tuesday as a day of prayer and thanksgiving to be kept by the Assembly. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 14–16.]
Sept. 28. 266. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Secretary laid before the Board several papers received from Mr. Povey. A memorial from the Barbados merchants as to convoys was read, with which the Board disagreed. Order for Mr. Povey to inform the Board what was done upon Governor Fletcher's request for military stores of 2 Sept., 1695. Order for Sir Henry Ashurst to attend on Friday or Monday next. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 146–148.]
Sept. 28. 267. Memorial of Merchants trading to Barbados to Council of Trade and Plantations. In the matter of convoys we would represent that there is a necessity for better carrying on the trade to Barbados. We ask for one man-of-war to convoy the outward-bound fleet thither, which shall sail from the Downs on 30 November; for three men-of-war to convoy an outward-bound fleet from the Downs on 31 January; that these men-of-war may be allowed to stay eighty days at the Island to give time for unloading and re-loading the merchantmen, that the return-fleets may be convoyed by the like number of men-of-war, and that the crews of the merchantmen may be protected from impressment. Twenty-one signatures. 1 p. Endorsed, 28 Sept., 1696. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 11; and 44A. pp. 5–6.]
Sept. 28. 268. Journal of House of Burgesses of Maryland. Message from the Governor and Council making the following proposals:— (1) Amendment of the law for making a list of taxables. Resolved that the present law is sufficient. (2) Amendment of the Act for election of burgesses. Resolved that the present Act is sufficient. Proposal for a ferry over Kent Island negatived. Ordered that a bill be prepared to annex the Commissary's office to the clergy of the province. Proposal for a bill to amend the Militia Act negatived. Bill relating to bail in cases of trespass read a first time. Resolved that a letter be written to thank the noblemen and gentlemen who wrote by last fleet, for their interest in the province. Bills for parochial libraries and for speedy relief of creditors, with the bills for speedy justice and revival of temporary laws, sent up to Council. The Committee reported as to the funds disposable for building the church at Annapolis, and that the only means of raising money was to appeal to the charitable. The House thought that a smaller church than that proposed should be built. Captain Thomas Ely's case, as to duty to be paid on imported negroes, decided. Order for the bounds of Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties to be run out. Message from the Governor and Council that £50 be paid to Sir Thomas Laurence for salary as President of the Council for three months, the money to be paid from the £300 refunded by Sir Edmund Andros. The House concurred. Lord Baltimore's counsel heard on the bill for relief of legatees, and the bill unanimously passed.
Sept. 29. Message to the Council, asking that the Acts for an additional duty of threepence per hogshead and the Act reviving the same for three years may be repealed, and new Acts passed continuing the original duty of threepence during Governor Nicholson's government, and the additional threepence until the 12th of May, 1698. Bill for the port of Annapolis sent up to Council. Bill as to the Commissary's office read a first time and committed. A standing Committee appointed to inspect the laws. Resolved, on a proposal to the House, that the trustees of the free schools meet and decide upon the building. Four new members gave subscriptions to the fund for the same. Resolved to send a present to Dr. Bray for his endeavours to collect parochial libraries. Message from the Governor and Council, shewing that the merchants' petition as to the ten per cent. duty cannot be granted, nor can the Act for revival of temporary laws be passed, both being contrary to the Royal instructions. Resolved that Burley and Mason, though pardoned, should give security to pay their fees to the province before they are discharged. Bills for parochial libraries and for speedy relief of creditors agreed to and sent to Council. Resolved that the merchants of New York shall pay the ten per cent, duty. Bill as to the Commissary read a second time.
Sept. 30. Resolved that Burley and Mason repay the expenses of obtaining their pardon. Commissary's Bill read a third time. In the matter of encouragement to Mr. Geddes, the schoolmaster sent out by the Bishop of London, advised that he be set to read prayers in some parish where no minister is, and be paid as a minister. Message from the Council pointing out that the Burgesses' message as to the additional duty of threepence is already answered by the reference to the Royal instructions. The House approved of an amendment to the resolution as to the church. Other ordinances and addresses slightly amended. Bill for marking of roads read the third time. Resolved that the threepence additional duty be devoted for one year to the building of the church, and that £200 of the money due from Sir Edmund Andros be applied to the use of the free schools. Message to the Governor and Council:—We cannot assent to the proposal for imposing an additional threepence per hogshead without doing violence to our feelings; but we have passed resolutions for the support of the church and the free schools to shew our good will thereto. We beg the Council to join us in an address to the King for the relief of several persons under penal navigation bonds. Message ends. Further message to the Council asking for despatch of the bills before them. Gerard Slye's petition rejected. Resolved to address the King not to disallow the Act of Religion, if disapproved, until he has signified his pleasure how he would have it altered. Message from the Governor and Council:—The Governor assents to the House's answer as to the additional duty of threepence, not being so dogmatical as to think himself infallible, though the House has shewn no reason against his proposal. As to the navigation bonds, nothing can be legally done until judgment be passed, when the Governor will suspend execution and the Council will join the House in an address to the King. As to the address to the King for a frigate, if any damage be done, the fault will lie at their own doors. The House, having refused to give a present to Mr. Bray, is asked whether it expects people to do their business for nothing; wherefore the Governor sends two letters from Mr. Bray for the House's perusal. Since the House thinks the Militia Act sufficient, the Governor begs the Burgesses to see that it is enforced. As to Sir Thomas Laurence, he accepts £50 voted to him for his presidency as his due, but declines to accept the £50 offered to him conditionally on his procuring the passing of the Acts as to religion, as to schools, and as to advancement of coin. Message ends. Certain payments ordered and petitions dealt with. Resolved that if Mr. Bladen obtain a printer and press he shall have the sole benefit thereof; and the Council is asked to concur herein.
Oct. 1. Message from the Governor and Council, suggesting a slight amendment in one of the addresses to the King, proposing that the House authorise an agreement to be made for a ferry over Kent Island, and asking for an answer as to the Rangers paying for their arms. Sir Thomas Laurence added to the message that though he had recovered £300 for the country, he had received nothing for his services. It is therefore proposed to the House that Councillors in lieu of daily pay for their attendance shall receive an annual salary. Another message from the Governor and Council. (1) As to the Act for making the town of Doncaster, care should be taken that the province's ships ride together in some convenient place and do not lie straggling; (2) Proposed that something be given to Mr. Geddes out of the Act for furs, etc.; (3) Proposed that the church be built according to the present plan, as the funds in hand will almost pay for the outside and the Governor hopes to obtain donations from England. Message ends. Another message from the Governor, proposing that an ordinance pass to satisfy people's minds by publishing certain facts in order to silence malicious reports. Hereupon the House resolved that such an ordinance do pass. As to the rest of the above proposals: (1) The House desires that ships may ride as best suits their trade; (2) The House adheres to its previous resolution; (3) The House leaves the matter to the Governor, provided the province be put to no further charge than it has approved. As to Sir Thomas Laurence, the House thinks that it has sufficiently gratified him, and that the question of Councillors' salaries should be deferred to next session.
Oct. 2. Several petitions received, and one of them, relating to navigation bonds, referred to the Council with a recommendation to the Governor's good offices. Resolved that is a great grievance that more time is not allowed to those persons who have been impleaded upon their navigation bonds. The ordinance for quieting the minds of the people was sent up to Council, and returned with a proposed amendment to the effect that the Governor had never called Assemblies except when necessary, nor made use of public money, the money now paid to him being that which he lent to the country without interest. Message from the Burgesses accepting the amendment, and declaring that he has always borne himself with uprightness and generosity to the country. The House then attended the Governor, and the following bills received his assent:— Bill relating to the Commissary's office, Bill for parochial libraries, Bill for the port of Annapolis, Bill for marking roads, Bill as to bail in cases of trespass, Bill for relief of creditors, Bill for a public levy. The addresses passed to the King were then signed. The Governor then said that he had found much difficulty in reclaiming the insolencies of several persons, but that good laws were useless unless enforced, whereupon he charged the magistrates strictly to enforce the laws against vice. He then prorogued the Assembly to 23 March. [America and West Indies. 557. No. 17.]
Sept. 28. 269. Minutes of Council of Maryland in Assembly. Bill for relief of creditors read a first time and amended. Bills for parochial libraries and for speedy justice read a second time. A message recommending payment of £50 to Sir Thomas Laurence sent to the Burgesses (pp. 138–139).
Sept. 29. A message with various proposals to the Burgeses prepared (see preceding abstract, 1 October), also a message intimating that the Royal instructions stand in the way of two of the Burgesses' proposals (ibid., 29 Sept.) (pp. 133–135). Resolution of the Burgesses as to appointment of Country Court Clerks approved, and a proposal sent to them to reward Mr. Bray (p. 140).
Sept. 30. Account of the arms, etc., and of the division thereof between the counties, sent down to the Burgesses and approved by them. Message from the Burgesses as to the proposed additional duty of threepence per hogshead, with the Governor's reply thereto. Other resolves of the Burgesses on the Council's proposals also read (see preceding abstract) (pp. 141–147).
Oct. 1. Proposal sent down to the Burgesses as to an ordinance to quiet the minds of the people; and also a message on several points (see preceding abstract) (pp. 147–149). William Bladen's proposal as to a printing press received from the Burgesses (p. 152).
Oct. 2. The ordinance for quieting people's minds was received from the Burgesses, and an amendment proposed to it, which was heartily accepted by them. The Burgesses' answers to the points of yesterday's message received. The Council pointed out that the proposal as to the Rangers was insufficiently answered, those as to Mr. Bray and as to ferries not answered at all, and that as to ships riding where they would, so answered as to be unacceptable. The Burgesses then agreed with the Council as to the Rangers, but declined to recede as to the remaining points. The Council and Burgesses then inspected the state-house, the building, and reported the work to be good. On the passing of the ordinance for quieting the minds of the people, a member reported that he had known John Coode in England, that he was minister at Penryn and was turned out. The addresses to the King were then signed and the Acts assented to. The map of the town and port of Annapolis was then sealed, also the pardon to Mason and Burley. The Treasurers and others swore to their accounts. The Governor then made a speech to prorogue the Assembly (see preceding abstract) (pp. 149–157). [Board of Trade. Maryland, 14. pp. as cited.]
[Oct. 2.] 270. Duplicate copy of the Journal of Council of Maryland, in Assembly, 16 September to 2 October, 1699. [America and West Indies. 557. No. 18.]
[Oct. 2.] 271. Copy of the laws passed in the Assembly of Maryland in the session of 16 September to 2 October. [America and West Indies. 557. No. 19.]
Sept. 28. 272. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Oath appointed for Collectors and Naval Officers.
Sept. 29. Proclamation for cancelling the prohibition, of 15th October last, of the exportation of corn.
Sept. 30. Order for the prosecution of Thomas Hedge for bigamy, and of Lieutenant-Colonel Cole for performing the office, knowing him to be already married.
Oct. 2. Several masters of ships appeared in support of a petition for longer time to procure certificates; but the Governor declined to stop the current of the law.
Oct. 3. Order for no allowances to be made in the public levy, which are not authorised by law, several justices having taken upon themselves to grant such allowances. The complaint of the Baltimore County Burgesses against the encroachment of Delaware Indians was heard, a copy of their petition ordered to be sent to Governor William Markham, of Pennsylvania, with a request that he will see the Indians and find out what they have to say in excuse. Order for the Country Court Clerks to report accurately at what hours the Courts sit and rise, and whether all the justices sitting do actually continue sitting during those hours. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. 160–165.]
Sept. 28. 273. Journal of House of Burgesses of Virginia. The Governor's speech was considered in Committee of the whole House, and the heads of an Address in reply upon certain matters resolved on, the rest of his recommendations being referred to the Committee of Grievances for report. Reports as to disputed elections, and orders given as to the proceedings of the Committee of Claims and of Grievances. The Speaker was requested to move the Governor that Mr. Cope Doyley might read Divine Service during this Session.
Sept. 29. Address to the Governor read and approved, to the following effect. We thank you for your speech, and we ask you to appoint a day of public thanksgiving, and to communicate to us an account of the stores of war sent by the King, to whom we feel all becoming gratitude. Address ends. John Childs produced the Governor's commission to him to be Messenger to the Burgesses, and was admitted. Several grievances and propositions referred to the Committee. The Speaker reported the Governor's appointment of Mr. Cope Doyley to read Divine Service.
Sept. 30. A disputed election was decided and the members sworn. A first report of the Committee of Grievances was read, and orders given to prepare bills for redressing certain of those grievances. The Governor sent down an account of the stores of war and a short message appointing a day of public thanksgiving. Further consideration of grievances and propositions. Resolved to address the Governor that no one person be allowed to take up more than 400 acres of land to the South of the Blackwater, and ordered that certain bills be prepared.
Oct. 1. Several claims, grievances and propositions were read and referred to the Committees. Several reports from the Committee of Grievances considered and orders given thereupon, including the preparation of a bill for maintenance of the Clergy. Order for a return to be made of the receipts from the duty of fourpence a gallon on liquors imported.
Oct. 2. Several of the bills ordered were presented at the table. Address to the Governor to limit the amount of land, to be taken up by any one person on the South of the Blackwater, to 400 acres was read and agreed to. A further report from the Committee of Grievances was considered, and orders given for the preparation of several bills. Several petitions for salaries were referred to the Committee of Claims. The following bills were read a first time and ordered a second reading: to alter Court-days in Accomack County; to reward Indians for killing wolves; to ascertain the value of money; to repeal the prohibition to plant tobacco; to punish fornication and other crimes; to ascertain fees of County Court Clerks upon probates etc.
Oct. 3. Message from the Council agreeing to a conference as to securing the stores of war, upon which the House appointed six members to be its managers therein. Several petitions for payments referred to the Committee of Claims. Bills for maintenance of the clergy and for dividing King and Queen County were read a first time and ordered a second reading. A further report from the Committee of Grievances was read, and orders given for preparing certain bills in accordance therewith. The bills concerning Accomack County Court, to ascertain the value of money, to ascertain fees of County Court Clerks and Sheriffs, to repeal the prohibition against planting tobacco, and to reward Indians for killing wolves, were read a second time, amended and ordered for third reading. The bill to punish fornication etc. was read a second time and referred to a Committee. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 206–231.]
Sept. 28. 274. Minutes of General Assembly of Massachusetts. Several petitions read and sent to the Representatives, also a report by a Committee on several former petitions. Bill for incorporation of Harvard College again debated.
Sept. 29. Bills for equal distribution of insolvent estates and for subjecting lands to payment of debts, with the amendments directed by the Privy Council, were read and debated, also the Act for punishing of capital offenders.
Sept. 30. The Conference deferred till this day was again postponed to the 2nd of October. Bill to establish Courts received from the Representatives and read.
Oct. 1. Bill to establish Courts read a second time and debated. The Representatives sent up their votes in the case of John Wilkins, to the effect that his complaint was well founded, that the Justices and other officers should be admonished by the Lieutenant-Governor in the face of the whole Assembly, and that the Justices should repay Wilkins his losses through their judgment and his costs. The Council after debate voted non-concurrence with this decision.
Oct. 2. Bill for incorporation of Harvard College debated, and on a vote not concurred with. Bill to continue the late Acts for Establishment of Courts and of forms of writs till the end of the Sessions in May read, and ordered to be engrossed. On intelligence of the desertion of Woodstock by the inhabitants, it was ordered that the town be accounted a frontier and subjected to the Act to prevent desertion of the frontiers. On the petition of the people of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island for remission of their arrears towards the tax, it was ordered that the remission be granted on their expending each £150 on the fortification of the Islands. Conference between the Council and Representatives on the cases of Samuel Gibson and Joseph Richardson.
Oct. 3. Bill to prohibit exportation of grain and malting of barley read, and ordered to be engrossed and enacted. The Bill to revise the Acts as to Courts and forms of writs was read, amended and enacted. Bill for a more speedy supply of the Treasury till a tax can be raised, received from the Representatives, read, ordered to be engrossed, and enacted. The complaint of Nathaniel Oliver against the Justices of the inferior Court of Martha's Vineyard, and the reply of the Justices thereto, were heard. Adjourned to 18th of November. [Board of Trade. New England, 48. pp. 78–84.]
Sept. 29.
275. William Popple to Sir Robert Cotton and Thomas Frankland, Postmasters-General. Enclosing a packet for transmission to Governor Sir Edmund Andros. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. p. 59.]
Sept. 29.
276. William Popple to Governor Sir Edmund Andros. Enclosing letters from the Council of Trade and Plantations with the letters for the Governors of Maryland and Virginia. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 37. p. 19.]
Sept. 29.
277. President and Council of Barbados to Council of Trade and Plantations. H.M.S. Jersey returned from the Leeward Islands on the 17th inst. and brought us letters from Governor Codrington, reporting that, according to intelligence of French prisoners, the enemy had twelve men-of-war and two bomb-vessels lately arrived at Hispaniola, designed against St. Domingo, and twelve or fourteen men of war at Canada to destroy the trade on the coast of New England and then bear up hither to attempt this and other English Islands. The intelligence as to Canada is confirmed by the master of a ship lately arrived from Boston. This news has set us to vigorous preparations for defence, the more so that on the 17th inst. we discovered six large ships off the southeast of this Island. H.M.S. Jersey went out to discover what they were, but missed them owing to nightfall and returned next day. We conjecture them to be French ships either from France or Canada, who have come down to this latitude on their way to Martinique to take what they could meet with on the east and south side of the Island, while the rest of their force may be to northward. On the 23rd inst., a ship came in from Boston, the master of whom swore that, when he left Boston on the 12th of August, there was no news of a French squadron at Canada. But we think it safer not to trust negative information in the face of that sent us by Governor Codrington. We send this by way of the Leeward Islands, to tell you that unless the stores requested by Governor Russell be supplied, these Islands may be in danger. Signed, Fran. Bond, Prdt. John Hallett, John Gibbes, Edw. Cranfield, John Farmer, Geo. Lillington, Geo. Andrews, Pat. Mein, B. Hothersall. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 15th, Read 18th January, 1696–7. Answered, 12 Feb. A short abstract is attached. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 12; and 44A. pp. 43–45.]
Sept. 29. 278. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Order for H.M.S. Jersey to be despatched to Governor Codrington with letters. A sloop appointed to go out and gain intelligence of the French. Three of the Council signified their dissent to the resolution to send the French prisoners to Europe. A petition of Charles Thomas, reflecting on the Council, was postponed for further consideration. The Naval Officer's accounts were brought in to Council.
Sept. 30. The Assembly attending proposed that a Council of War should be held, that articles of war be drawn up and that all other matters be postponed till the Island is in a posture of defence. The Council agreed. A committee appointed to hire a sloop to gain intelligence of the French. Proclamation for the keeping of the peace ordered. The Assembly at its own request was adjourned.
Oct. 1. A Surveyor-General of the fortifications appointed, with salary of £100. Agreed that the Councillors sit in the Council of War. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 143–146.]
Sept. 30. 279. Memorandum of a petition of Ralph Lane, sent by Mr. Povey 30 September, read 1 October, delivered to Clerks of Council 16 December, 1696. ¼ p. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 13.]
Sept. 30. 280. Minutes of Assembly of Nevis. A committee was appointed to draw up the proceedings of the Assembly and a justification of the same, to be sent to the Agents in London. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 388–389.]
Sept. 30.
281. Governor Codrington to Council of Trade and Plantations. This goes by H.M.S. Hastings, which also carries home the Association, signed by all the officers of the Government and the principal inhabitants. Pray present it, together with our address of congratulation, to the King. It comes from but a handful of people, but from people who are ready to venture their all for the King and have shewn their readiness during the present war. Lieutenant-General Hill wrote five days ago from St. Christophers that a Nevis sloop brought intelligence from St. Thomas that the French had certainly twelve men-of-war then at Petit Guavos, which were reported to have designs against either St. Domingo, Curaçoa or Jamaica. This is the strength which I reported to you in my last letter, but whether the French have a further force arrived at Canada for attack on New England I cannot yet learn, though I shall be careful to gather intelligence and send it to you. The Hastings and the privateers fitted out in Antigua have so discouraged the enemy's privateers that in a manner we live in security, whereas not many months since we had hardly a vessel that had escaped them, the Chester being then unable to cruise for our defence. It is absolutely necessary for the safety of this Government that there should be always at least two good-sailing men-of-war to cruise here for our defence, which not only would be a great encouragement to the inhabitants but a great countenance to our privateers. If the French naval strength be increased, ours should be increased likewise. The clothes and recruits, and the regulations of the King for the pay of the Regiment, which have arrived here under convoy of the Colchester, have altered the face of the soldiers to a cheerful countenance. Notwithstanding the daily sickness of these Islands, due to unusual heavy rains, the Regiment is complete according to the new establishment. I mustered it myself last month. Signed, Chr. Codrington. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 5 Feb., 1696–7. Answd. 12 Feb., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 11; and 45, pp. 46–50.]
Sept. 30.
282. Lieutenant-Governor Usher to Lords of Trade and Plantations. You will receive the Minutes of Council since mine of November last, wherein you will see that the Council of New Hampshire lose a country rather than advance money. I find provisions for six months for forty-six men out of my own estate, otherwise the places must have been deserted, though I have not one penny interest among them. Though I laid before them in July the necessity for raising money, they passed a bill for £600 for fifty men from Boston and to pay debts, or for maintaining only thirty men in garrison. On this I sent for both Houses and desired to know their meaning as to thirty men, asking whether, if the Commander-in-Chief see cause to impress forty men besides the thirty, they would be paid out of the £600. The answer was "No." I then told them that I had visited the garrisons and had consulted the militia officers, and that all agreed that it was absolutely necessary to continue forty men; that they were going to infringe the King's prerogative by tying the number up to thirty men, and that therefore I could not accept the bill. The Assembly desired the bill to consider of, and in a little time came up again and declared that they would not alter it; upon which they were dissolved and commanded to attend at Newcastle, nor depart without leave. Having accounts from England that I am charged with irregularities and ill conduct, I desired both Houses to say if they knew of any. They declared "No," as the minutes shew. I desire your Lordships to cast an eye on all my proceedings in the Minutes of Council from March to this day. The Assembly not raising money, poor men being impressed and having no clothes nor any to trust them, I impressed several principal men to serve or pay four pounds, and on their refusing to pay they were sent to garrison, there to remain till further orders from myself or the Commander-in-Chief. No sooner was I gone out of the province than the rich men were released and the poor men, which had been two or three months [on service], continued, all to contradict my warrants. The rich men had an Association tendered them to sign, and they only refused to sign it. This month I called an Assembly to raise money and laid before them a particular account how the country was in debt £700, and how it was requisite to raise £700 more for time to come. They raised £600, and would raise no more. I then laid before them how by virtue of the King's commission they raised money for defraying town-charges and for maintenance of ministers, and demanded that they would raise money out of respect for and support of that Commission. They would not raise one penny. On the 28th inst. a company of men in arms declared that they would obey no Commission, that they would go and seize the fort, hoist the King's flag, and see who dared come there, saying one and all (sic). The chief of them are seized and committed. Account of all this and the true state of the province will be laid before you by Captain Shadrach Walton, who goes by this conveyance. If the King does not send early next spring a hundred men for this place, I believe the French will be masters of it. Had not God strangely diverted them, they had been masters last summer. I therefore entreat that a hundred men may be, and that Captain Walton may command them, he being the only loyal person who has stood by me. It is by him that I have continued the King's Government till to-day. For his loyalty and that only he has been a sufferer both in estate and name. He has been a real medicine to the King's Commission. I myself have been so abused that at grass three several times I have had three several horses shot and wounded. The next I expect to be my person. When the ships are gone I shall go to Boston, there to remain till I hear from you, judging myself not safe here. In the late Act as to Trade, it is said that all Governors are to take an oath by March next, under penalty, etc. I desire that someone may be commissioned to administer the oath, though to this day I have observed all Acts, as though I had taken the oaths, which has made me uneasy in my place to the inhabitants. It is hard for me to maintain the honour of the King's Commission out of my own estate in a place where the King is immediately concerned, likewise to have the whole burden of Government on my shoulders alone. I beg that you will consider this and give me some relief. On news of the defeat of the plot against the King I at once proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. I have also published the new Act of Trade immediately. I have also received an Association from Whitehall. Major William Vaughan, Richard Waldern, Joshua Moody and one Mr. Penhallow refused to sign it. I beg that if there be any complaint against me I may be ordered to attend you till I have answered it. Signed, John Usher. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Nov., 1696. Read 7 Dec. A very brief précis is attached to the letter. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 31; and 36. pp. 65–68.]
Sept. 30.
283. Lieutenant-Governor Usher to Lords of Trade and Plantations. I send an account of my proceedings with Major William Vaughan and Mr. Richard Waldern, together with my reasons for the same. What pretence they may make for refusing to take the oath and sign the Association I know not, but upon honour they gave me no other answer than that herewith sent, attested by the secretary. Makers of laws should be observers of laws. The law says that any refusing to take the oath shall pay not exceeding forty shillings, and be sent to prison till they give bond for good behaviour. The country will provide no prison nor house of correction, and therefore the country will not provide for the execution of the law. I am therefore obliged to put a stop to further giving of the oaths lest more should refuse them, and the law be trampled on. For the truth of the matter I refer you to Captain Shadrach Walton. I must add that these persons are they who occasion all the disturbance in the province, have put every imaginable affront on the King's Commission and in particular upon myself, and have done all they can to make the people uneasy towards the King's government. I hope that you will confirm what I have done. Signed, John Usher. ¾ p. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Nov. Read 7 Dec., 1696. Annexed,
283. I. Minutes of proceedings at Newcastle, 10 September, 1696. The Lieutenant-Governor demanded the attendance of Major William Vaughan and Mr. Richard Waldern, and asked if they had taken the oaths of allegiance according to law. They answered that if they had made a breach of the law they would be called to account by the law and not by the Lieutenant-Governor. George Jaffryes, justice of the peace, testified that he had tendered the oaths to these gentlemen and that they had refused it. The Lieutenant-Governor asked them whether the Association had been tendered to them and whether they had signed it. They answered that it had been tendered to them but that they had not signed it; it was not to be commanded, and they were not going to sign among tag rag and bobtail. The Lieutenant-Governor thereupon made out an order for their suspension from the Council. Major Vaughan and Mr. Waldern asked for what reason they were suspended. The Lieutenant-Governor said he would report the reason to the King; the matter of fact against them was that to which they had answered.
Reasons for the suspension of Major Vaughan and Mr. Waldern from the Council. Setting forth at rather greater length their refusal to take the oath, as required by local Act, and to sign the Association as required by Act of Parliament. Vaughan and Waldern were both of the Committee of Council which drew up the bill for all persons to take the oath. The whole, 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Nov. Read 7 Dec., 1696. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. Nos. 32, 32 I.; and (without enclosure) 36. pp. 62–63.]
Sept. 33.
284. Lieutenant-Governor Usher to Lords of Trade and Plantations. One Captain Samuel Mould in February last applied to me for a privateer's commission, which I granted to him with orders to bring his prizes into the port of his commission. Having taken several prizes, he has carried them into Boston, and on my demanding that he should bring them into his commission-port, he refused. I thereupon wrote to Lieutenant-Governor Stoughton a letter, of which I enclose copy. What will be done I know not; but no doubt you will hear from him by this conveyance. Signed, John Usher. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Nov. Read 7 Dec., 1696. Annexed,
284. I. Lieutenant-Governor Usher to Lieutenant-Governor Stoughton. Newcastle, 28 September, 1696. A declaration that he had issued a privateer's commission to Samuel Mould, who had given bond in £2,000 to bring his prizes to his commission-port; that Mould had nevertheless taken his prizes to Boston, and had refused, when ordered, to send them to his commission-port. Lieutenant-Governor Usher therefore requests that the prizes may be ordered to come to New Hampshire, or that they may be received and detained until condemned by some lawfully established prizecourt. Copy. ¾ p. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. Nos. 33, 33 I.; and (without enclosure) 36. p. 64.]
Sept. 30.
285. Lieutenant-Governor Usher to Lords of Trade and Plantations. This comes by the hand of Captain Shadrach Walton, who was for his loyalty put into the Council by me, but no sooner put in than, by the malicious instigation of some persons, he was prosecuted by the General Assembly as unfit to hold any public place because of a high misdemeanour. Being highly charged, I was not willing to disoblige so sage an Assembly, so granted a hearing, when I heard but one evidence against him, and he was acquitted by myself and Council. They would have had him tried again upon the same evidence, on which I sent a message to their house to serve writs and precepts for evidences, when they had no more to say and let it fall. He being cleared, many of the Council pressed me to dismiss him. I declared that I could not, but on his petitioning for dismission, and the Council declaring that it was for safety and quiet of the place, I granted it. He then asked to know if he was dismissed from the commission of the peace and the King's fort. I answered that no one was more fit to serve the King than he; so that all this is out of malice because he is a loyal person, and the truth is that there is none true to the King's government like him. After his dismissal I advised him to go to England and lay his case before you, not doubting that one so loyal will meet with your favour. He is a man who may be trusted with the King's fort and stores, and I beg that 100 men may be sent here to guard that fort and to secure this province more firmly to the King, and that Captain Walton may have a commission to command them. I have discoursed with him about all public affairs and ordered him to give you an account of them. You may give credence to what he says. Captain Mould, who had a privateer's commission from me, has taken his prizes into Boston, contrary to his commission, and I have written to Mr. Stoughton to send them to me or detain them until properly condemned. I beg your attention hereto. A considerable sum is due to the King for prizes, and if the King will order me money from the same or from some other fund I shall be thankful, so that I may have something for what is past and for time to come to support the King's Commission. I beg you to call upon Mr. Wallis, Mr. Newton and Mr. John Love to give you an account of the state of New England. My Lords, my estate is wasted for support of the honour of the government; my spirit is sunk within me to have to do with a disloyal people that is for no king at all de facto. I have none to strengthen my hands; I must see the King lose a Government wherein he is most interested in these parts—I am brought to Lord have mercy upon me. I beg that after four years' Algier captivity I may have deliverance. Signed, John Usher. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 9 Dec., 1696. A short précis is attached to the letter. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 34; and 36. pp. 71–73.]
Sept. 30. 286. Council of Trade to the Lords Justices of England. We have read the papers referred to us by your order of 20 August, and offer the following remarks on the state of the Northern Colonies of America. We find that the King has been at the charge of sending four companies from hence to New York and for maintaining them there for these many years past. We are also told (for we cannot yet get a sight of the accounts) that that little province, besides the losses sustained at sea, has by Governor Fletcher's account been at over £30,000 charge in securing its frontier against the French and Indians. This burden being thought too heavy to be borne by one province, which is as it were the outguard of the rest, the late Queen wrote to the Governors of New England, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, to agree upon a quota of men to be given by each Colony for defence of New York; but by the neglect or pretences of the various Colonies no agreement was arrived at, and accordingly the Queen in 1694 established the quota to be supplied by each province and gave orders accordingly. But these orders by reason of the distinct and independent governments and interests of the provinces have been very uncertainly and imperfectly complied with; some provinces sending more, some less, in proportion of their quotas, and some none at all. The King has subjects enough in those parts not only to defend themselves against any attack of French and Indians, but they are so crumbled into little governments and so disunited in their interests that they have hitherto afforded but little assistance to each other and seem, as they now are, to be but in an ill posture and much worse disposition to do it for the future. It is almost incredible that the Governor of New York, in the middle of above 40,000 English that he has in his neighbourhood, should say, as he does, that he has only the companies in the King's pay that he can rely on for defence of the frontier in case of attack by the French.
Having given the matter our best consideration we offer our opinion as follows:—(1) There is force enough in those Colonies to repel all attempts made by the French and Indians, nor can it be imagined that so great a number of English should think it much to employ their own hands and purses in the defence of their estates, lives and families, and should expect to be wholly supported from England, which has spent so much blood and treasure in carrying on a lasting and expensive war. (2) We conceive that the English strength there cannot be used with the advantage that it ought unless the Colonies be united, not even though the King should send more forces from hence; for if, as Governor Fletcher urges, the soldiers in the King's pay there be made up to full 500 men, that might indeed suffice to secure Albany but not the other plantations, since the French would certainly decline that fortress and attempt one of the other Colonies, careless of their own defence and not so well guarded. (3) A great part of the country having been granted out to proprietors, it cannot possibly be united under one Governor. We see no other way of uniting the forces of all those small plantations for the effectual preservation of the whole but by putting them all under one military head or Captain-General, which common reason as well as legal opinion maintains that he can do. Here follows a quotation from the opinion given in 1694 by the Attorney and Solicitor-General, that the King may appoint a General Commander-in-Chief of the forces in the Chartered Colonies. We would therefore represent that we cannot conceive how these provinces can be preserved unless the King appoint during the war some active, vigilant officer to be Captain-General of all his forces and all the militia of all the provinces, with power to levy, arm, and muster them, and employ them for defence under such restrictions as the King shall think fit, and also with power to commission officers to train the said forces. Since, however, the Quakers in some of the provinces out of mistake or pretence of conscience refuse their personal aid in the case of force against their own and the King's enemies, it may be left to the Captain-General to accept money in lieu of personal service, for the payment of any men that he may find necessary to raise. (4) We think further that the Captain-General should have the power of Governor in any province immediately depending on the Crown so long as he remains in it. Unless this be done we see not how the provinces can be preserved, for since in their present state they do and always will refuse each other mutual assistance, minding more their present profit than their common defence, it is not conceivable how it can be avoided that they should fall into the power of so active an enemy as France, and one after another be destroyed. Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia all allege, in excuse for their sending no aid to New York, that they are all as much exposed to the enemy as she is; and yet we do not find that they are in a very good posture of defence; much less can they be depended on for a timely and vigorous assistance to one another in case of danger, unless somebody be on the place to compel them to it. On the other hand a vigilant General there, having under his eye the care of the whole, would always be at hand to oppose the enemy with so many of the forces that are nearest, which would be with greatest safety and least charge to those Colonies, and without any disturbance or expense to the remoter. This he would be enabled to do by having constant intelligence of the enemy's designs and motions from our friendly Indians, upon which consideration we would recommend that the Captain-General should be instructed to take all care to keep the Five Nations and other Indians in amity with us firm in friendship. For it is beyond question that the English would be driven from their settlements if all the Indians should be gained over by the French. To prevent that, and to secure them to the King's interest, the Captain-General should from time to time make them presents, and some of the most eminent of them should be entertained, and have constant pay as lieutenants or ensigns and be treated as the King's officers. Next, the Indians should be rewarded for any execution that they do upon the enemy, and the scalps that they bring should be well paid for. Further, some lusty, vigorous youths of the English should accompany them in their expeditions, huntings and other exercises, who by inhabiting among them would learn their language, grow acquainted with the woods, rivers and passes, and come in a little time to be able to endure their fatigues, all of which would be a means to familiarise them to us and strengthen their union with us. And to this these young men should be encouraged by a certain assurance of rewards and preferment, of which they should never fail according to their deserts in this service. Some of the bravest or most credited of our Indians should (if they can be persuaded to it) be brought to England to see the strength of the King's forces by sea and land, and the populousness of his dominion, especially the great city of London, the certain knowledge whereof would be of great force to confirm them in their union with us. Captives from the hostile Indians should also be brought over for the same purpose, the knowledge of the King's greatness and power serving as much to deter the one and to hearten the other.
Lastly, effectual means should be taken for the conversion of the Indians to the Protestant faith, for among these, as among all men, religion has been found to be one of the strongest bonds of union. We think that the Governor and Company for propagation of the Gospel in New England and the parts adjacent would be very ready to apply their stock and revenue to this good use, when they shall be made to see that the conversion of the Five Nations (to which they have already contributed some small matter) is of the greatest importance imaginable for preserving those who are of the Protestant religion in those parts, as well as for gaining converts to it. These things relating to the Indians we think we may with confidence recommend, since they are with great care and earnestness practised for the gaining and holding of the Indians in Canada, where, if they go on by these means to prevail with them as they have done, it is to be feared that the English will not long be quiet and safe in the Northern Plantations. The French daily and with great industry extend themselves along the back of them and seem to have something more than bare planting in view, which gives us reason to add that some such effectual course should be taken as we have advised before it be too late. Signed, Tankerville, Ph. Meadows, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. pp. 59–68.]
Sept. 30. 287. Council of Trade to the Lords Justices of England. In obedience to your orders of the 3rd inst. we have consulted the merchants concerned in the Southern Plantation trade. Those trading to Barbados at first answered that their affairs were so uncertain that they had put off the departure of their ships from October till January next, and that when they had taken their resolution as to that fleet they would apply for convoy. But since then they have applied for a frigate to convoy ships at the end of November, though not being resolved as to the number of ships then to be got ready, they give us no means of offering you an opinion thereon. They also ask to have three frigates to convoy a fleet in January, and ask eighty days for loading and unloading. The traders to the Leeward Islands ask for the usual allowance of 200 seamen and say that they will be ready to sail by the end of December, which they allege is the fittest time for setting out, and not sooner, for sugars are not made there till January or February, and no number of ships can be certain of loading till April or May, wherefore they desire seventy days for loading and unloading. The Jamaica merchants represent that if their ships sail about the 10th of December they will arrive at the healthiest season and will find the crop ready for shipping, whereby their voyage will be shorter and safer and their return early enough to reach the northern markets before winter. They will also avoid the rainy season, which is the unhealthiest time in Jamaica and so dangerous to newcomers that by arriving at that time ships lose so many of their seamen that they are obliged to return half-manned and exposed to every kind of danger.
We are therefore of opinion that the merchant-ships designed to the Southern Colonies should have timely notice to be all ready by the 31st of December, that the respective convoys, consisting of two ships each for the Leeward Islands and Jamaica and three ships for Barbados, should be punctually in the Downs ready to sail on that day. Beyond that day no ships should be waited for, but all should sail together, taking with them such other ships as are ready in the ports of the Channel, and keeping company so long as their way lies together; but no ships should touch any more, when once they have passed the Channel, until they reach the Colonies for which they are designed. From this arrangement we expect the following advantages:—(1) The trading ships will arrive at the most convenient season and with the least possible expense of time and money. (2) The course of the Barbados ships being nearly the same as that of the Leeward Islands ships, and that of the Jamaica ships absolutely to the Leeward Islands, they could sail together for most part of the way, and the joint convoys would be strong enough to secure them from any ordinary attack. We think further that the convoys which thus steadily go every year at the prefixed time, should stay for the safeguard of the Colony to which they are sent until relieved by the next succeeding convoy, and then conduct home the returning merchant-ships, allowing them two months for loading and unloading with such number of additional days (not exceeding twenty in Barbados or fifteen elsewhere) as the Governor in Council may appoint.
It having been complained to us that many ships from Jamaica have been lost through being undermanned owing to the impressment of their crews by the King's ships, and that other great abuses and injuries to the Island are also due to this same impressment, we think that the remedy for the same is that men-of-war bound to the West Indies should carry a larger complement than usual, so as to be provided against the accidents of death while guarding the Islands, and that during their stay they should, as formerly, be under the directions of the Governors. Since most of the distempers that destroy seamen are due to their irregularities ashore, it may be presumed that the Governor will keep them cruising as much as possible, which will be better both for them and for the Island; and we doubt not that cleanliness and order will be found as effectual in preserving health in the King's as in other ships. It is no new thing to place the men-of-war under the orders of the Governors, but it was the rule in former reigns, and we think we should be wanting in our duty if we failed to recommend a return to this practice. That the men-of-war may not be crippled by want of hands we recommend that instructions be sent to the Governors, upon any considerable loss of men in the King's ships, to supply their place by pressing, or otherwise or to give the Captains authority to press. It would be an advantage that a copy of so much of the Commodore's instructions as to the conduct of merchant-ships should be communicated by him to the masters in writing. Signed, Tankerville, Ph. Meadows, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. pp. 71–76.]
Sept. 30. 288. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Secretary reported that no stores of war had been sent to New York. The representation as to the Northern Colonies and as to convoys was agreed to.