America and West Indies: October 1696

Pages 169-189

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.


October 1696

Oct. 1. Sir William Beeston's letter of 8 April read. Order for an answer to be drafted. Petition of Ralph Lane read. The representations read yesterday were signed. Governor Codrington's letters read on the 21st August were again read, and an answer ordered to be prepared.
Oct. 2. The Jamaica merchants gave in certain depositions by persons wrongly impressed in Jamaica, and made further complaints on the same subject, and on the removal of the King's ships from the Governor's authority, all of which they promised to put into writing. Draft letter to Sir W. Beeston approved. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 149–153.]
Oct. 1. 289. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Antigua. The Assembly sent up an Act obliging the Secretary and Marshal to give security, which was returned, and again sent up by the Assembly with a further request for an answer to their accusation against John Palmer. Mr. Palmer delivered in a remonstrance of great length in defence against the charges imputed to him. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 183–186.]
Oct. 1. 290. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Order for the Jamaica ships captured by the French and since surrendered by them in Virginia to remain in custody of Colonel Edmund Jenings, and for the Attorney-General to report on the whole matter. Order for a new sloop to be taken up for the preventing of illegal trade, the old one being unfit for further service. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. pp. 40–41.]
Oct. 2. 291. Minutes of General Assembly of Virginia. Message from the Burgesses desiring a conference with the Council as to the securing of warlike stores on the frontiers, by sea and land, and the general defence of the Country. Three conferrers appointed accordingly. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 16–17.]
Oct. 2.
292. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Sir William Beeston. The King has appointed us to take charge of the trade and plantations of the Kingdom. You will give us full information of all that passes in your Government and sent us the documents formerly ordered. We have received yours of 8 April, and have laid before the King the hardships of the Commanders in pressing seamen. The Acts from 4 March to 1 August, 1695, are under consideration. The five new Councillors recommended by you had been appointed before we took office. You will send us a complete list of the Council and of persons fit to fill vacancies therein. You will inform us how far your population has decreased of late years and for what reason. What instructions do you recommend to prevent the irregularities which endanger the health of seamen. Take care to procure every information as to the enemy at Hispaniola. Signed, J. Somers, Tankerville, Wm. Trumbull, Ph. Meadows, Jno. Pollexfen, Jno. Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 56. pp. 9–12.]
[Oct. 2.] 293. Copy of the Royal Instructions to Governor Sir William Beeston, forbidding him to interfere in any way with the discipline of the King's ships or to suspend, place or displace officers. Copy of an extract from the Admiralty's letter to the same effect. Certified by Gilbert Heathcote. 1 p. Endorsed, Delivered to the Board by Mr. Heathcote. 2 Oct., 1696. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 21; and 56. pp. 12–13.]
Oct. 5.
294. Lieutenant Governor Usher to Lords of Trade and Plantations. This comes by the hands of Mr. Thomas Newton, a gentleman who while in these parts has travelled through and observed the King's Governments here. He is a person of great honour, and all credence may be given him for his narrative; he is also a person of great loyalty and a sober churchman, which is enough to make him obnoxious in these parts. I know of no one who will give you a true and partial (sic) account of the whole country better than he. I am of opinion that if the King would send a Viceroy over all, though several Governments may have Governors, as in several places in England, it would be for the King's service. If he be not pleased to settle these parts speedily that they may be more firm to the Crown, by sending five or six hundred men, his Government will be lost by reason of division. I beg you to receive accounts from Mr. Newton and Captain Shadrach Walton as to this province, and if anything should be charged against me I beg that the persons charging me may attend you until my answer be returned. I am ready to give an account of my stewardship and of my preserving the King's Government against all who have designed to invade and to subvert it. Signed, John Usher. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. and read 9 Dec., 1696. A short précis is attached to the letter. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 35; and 36. pp. 73–74.]
Oct. 5.
295. William Popple to the Attorney and Solicitor General. Forwarding them certain Acts of Barbados for their opinion, with particular reference to a private Act concerning Philip Kirton. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44A. p. 7.]
[Oct. 5.] 296. List of Acts passed in Barbados, from 9 October, 1694, to 1 July, 1696, twenty-seven in all, sent with the preceding letter. 2¼ pp. Endorsed, Sent to the Attorney and Solicitor General, 5 Oct., 1696. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 14 and 44A. pp. 7–9.]
Oct. 5. 297. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Secretary reported that no letters for the late Committee had been received from Barbados, apparently through the negligence of the ship's master. Representation as to New York agreed to.
Oct. 6. Mr. Randolph's discourse as to Virginia was read. (See No. 176)
Oct. 7. Letter to Sir William Beeston Signed. Depositions of persons wrongfully impressed read. Several gentlemen appeared, to desire the Board's consideration of Sir Matthew Dudley's proposals as to mines and Naval stores.
Oct. 8. Domestic trade was considered.
Oct. 9. Sir Henry Ashurst attended with his instructions to the persons about to proceed to America to report as to Naval stores, and a representation thereon was agreed to. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9.pp 154–165.]
Oct. 5. 298. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Order for strict enquiry into the circumstances of the death of Thomas Salmon, late master of a ship now lying in Choptank River.
Oct. 6. The petition of Thomas Jones respecting the condemnation of his ship was on the Attorney-General's advice rejected. Order for all the ships lying in the bay to meet at the mouth of Patuxent River, and all the ships up the Potomac to meet at the mouth of St. Maries River, thence to sail to join the Virginia fleet to England.
Oct. 7. A letter from President Francis Bond was read, reporting the death of Governor Russell of Barbados.
Oct. 8. Order for Andrew Geddes, a schoolmaster sent out by the Bishop of London, to be admitted by the vestry of All Saints' parish, Calvert County, to officiate as reader till further order, receiving 10,000 lbs. of tobacco per annum. Two justices of Prince George's County attended to answer for their neglect in making their list of taxables, and were dismissed with a caution not so to offend again.
Oct. 9. Four more justices of Prince George's County appeared to answer for the same neglect, and on begging pardon were likewise dismissed with a caution. Another of the justices, not making his appearance, was dismissed from the authority of a justice of the peace. Orders for certain payments.
Oct. 10. The justices and lawyers of the Provincial Court attended, when it was decided to hold another Court in December. Order for punctual despatch and completion of all legal business, and that the five councillors that live nearest to Annapolis shall meet in December next. Order for a seal for Prince George's County, and that the County Court Clerks make return of their county-levies and vestry proceedings in December. Order for publication of the King's Order in Council of 13 February, 1696, respecting the Land Office. Order for Anthony Drew to appear in December to answer for saying that it was treason to draw up a company of soldiers without a commission. Philips Hoskins added to the Provincial Commission. Order for Thomas Tench to be admitted to Council in December, when he has finished Colonel Copley's business. Order for the vestries to see to the disposal of the 40 lbs. poll-tax as already ordered before. A report from the Rangers, giving an account of the roads and cabins made by them, read. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. 165–176.]
Oct. 5. 299. Minutes of General Assembly of Virginia. There were received from the Burgesses bills to repeal the prohibition to plant tobacco, to alter the Court days in Accomack County, to reward Indians for killing of wolves, to ascertain the value of current money. Address of the Burgesses asking that no more than 400 acres of land be granted to any one person of the land south of the Blackwater.
Oct. 7. Message to the Assembly, promising all due regard to their address as to land on the Blackwater. The four bills received on the 5th were read a first time. The Conferrers of the Council reported that those from the Burgesses were not well satisfied with the Governor's desires concerning the frontiers.
Oct. 8. The four bills read yesterday were read a second time.
Oct. 9. The three first of the four bills were passed with amendments. Bills for punishment of fornication and several other sins, for dividing King and Queen County and for maintenance of the clergy, received and read a first time.
Oct. 10. The Governor laid before Council a bill prepared by Mr. Blair to facilitate the payment of donations to the College, which being considered was found irregular; whereupon further discussion was postponed for the appearance of Mr. Benjamin Harrison, who drew the bill. The three bills received yesterday were read a second time. Bills to fix the place of York County Court and to ascertain the size of casks were received from the Burgesses. The bills as to killing of wolves and to remove prohibition of tobacco-planting were returned by the Burgesses with the amendments agreed to. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 17–21.]
Oct. 6. 300. William Popple to Edward Randolph. With reference to your representation (see No. 176) I am ordered to propose to you the following queries: (1) What proportion of land in Virginia already taken up is now cultivated, as near as you can judge? (2) Why have not the prosecutions, neglected in Colonel Nicholson's time, been continued since? (3) Who has authority in Virginia to compound for the King's quit-rents? (4) Have any parcels of land been seized for the King's use, for want of planting or failure to pay quit-rents? (5) Are negro servants included in the persons who, if imported, make "rights" to grant of land. (6) What are the methods of survey? (7) Have you ever known of false certificates of rights, and how have the parties guilty thereof been punished? (8) Of what extent are the counties, and are they of equal bigness or not? (9) Explain your proposal that no more than 500 acres should be granted to one man. (10) If your methods be followed, in what county should a beginning be made? [Board of Trade. Virginia, 37. p. 24.]
Oct. 6. 301. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Petition of the owners of a sloop, hired by the Government for the Martinique expedition, for payment of her hire rejected. A similar petition was recommended to the Assembly.
Oct. 7. An Escheator-General and a Clerk of the Crown appointed. Order for the President and five of the Council to hold Courts of Admiralty. Order for payments. Bills for decision of controverted elections and for encouraging trade received from the Assembly. On news of a French man-of-war lying off the Island, ordered that forty soldiers of the King's regiment be put on board H.M.S. Newcastle, which with a sloop shall go in chase of her. On news of a privateer near the Island Colonel Salter and others offered to take a brigantine and fight her, which offer was accepted.
Oct. 8. Several petitions for payments received. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 146–149.]
Oct. 7.
302. Governor Codrington to Council of Trade and Plantations. The Hastings being not yet sailed, I must inform you that, according to news received from a brigantine which arrived here from New York two days ago after three weeks' passage, there are but seven French men-of-war at Petit Guavos, that they have taken five of our ships homeward bound from Jamaica, but parted from them in a violent hurricane, whereby two of the captured ships were driven one into New York and the other into Virginia, where they surrendered. They believe that if the rest of the fleet and prizes met with the same storm, they must inevitably be lost. The fleet said to be expected at Canada are but two ships of war, which are now arrived there, and the Governor of New England has sent ships in pursuit of them. I have no further intelligence. Signed, Chr. Codrington. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 5 Feb. Answd. 12 Feb. 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 12; and 45. p. 50.]
Oct. 8.
303. Lieutenant Governor Usher to Lords of Trade and Plantations. I enclose proceedings against several persons, which will shew you what posture we are in. I wish the Country will not make a total subversion of the King's Government. My life not being safe among them I shall go to Boston till the King's pleasure be known, and my hands strengthened by the despatch of 100 men, which I hope may speedily be sent. To secure the prisoners I am forced to keep twenty men and pay them daily out of my own estate. By the proceedings you will see what must be expected here.¼ p. Inscribed, a list of Enclosures. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Nov., read 8 Dec., 1696. Annexed,
303. I. Record of a Special Court held at Portsmouth, 6 Oct., 1696. Richard Olliver and Robert Jordan were indicted for openly resisting and refusing to obey their superior officers, and Andrew Cranch for openly declaring that he would go to the King's fort and hoist the King's colours. The occasion of the offence was on Captain Walton's announcing to his Company of Militia that he was resigning his commission and that his lieutenant would succeed him in command. Olliver then declared he would obey no commission and Cranch used the words attributed to him. Jordan was acquitted, the two others found guilty. Olliver was sentenced to a fine of £6, to give bond for good behaviour for twelve months, and to acknowledge his fault at the head of the Company. Cranch was fined five pounds, the rest of his sentence being the same as Olliver's. Both prisoners were told that they were fortunate in that the Lieutenant Governor had tried them in a Civil Court instead of by Court Martial. Copy. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Nov., Read 7 Dec., 1696. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. Nos. 36, 36 I.; and (without enclosure) 36. p. 32.]
Oct. 8. 304. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for the Council to be summoned to appoint Justices of the Courts and other officers, the Assembly having revived the Act for establishing judicatories. Leave granted to Francis Foxcroft to ship thirty barrels of flour to the West Indies. Petition of Martha Holland for divorce from her husband granted. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 50–51.]
Oct. 8. 305. Minutes of Assembly of Nevis. The articles justifying the Address to the Governor, and the letter to the Agents, were read and approved. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. p. 389.]
Oct. 8. 306. Minutes of Council of Virginia. The address of the clergy further considered and decision deferred. A list of the Naval Officers and Collectors was laid before the Council for consideration. Order for a Commission to be prepared for John Broadbent and his ship to act for the prevention of illegal trade.
Oct. 9. The Attorney General presented his report as to the captured Jamaica ships since surrendered by the French, and the matter was deferred for further consideration. A complaint against the vestry of Fairfield parish, Northumberland County, was referred to them for answer. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. pp. 41–44.]
Oct. 10. 307. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for a Commission to be issued for trial of four Indians for murder of a man belonging to the town of Hadley. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 51–52.]
Oct. 10.
308. Governor Codrington to Council of Trade and Plantations. On the 1st of July last I received information from one Edward Walrond against John Palmer, one of the Council and General Secretary for these Islands, for several words spoken in defamation of the Government and of the late Queen Mary. I summoned Palmer from Nevis to answer the information, and on the 3rd of September he did so before the Council, who came to the resolution herewith enclosed. The discourses alleged against Mr. Palmer were spoken some years ago and never came to my ears until the day above mentioned, nor have I ever perceived anything proceeding from him in Council to the least defamation of the Queen or Government, or I should have used my authority to punish him. I must add that Mr. Walrond is a man of good repute and well affected to the Government, and had no by-ends in view unless to prevent an action of defamation of Mr. Palmer against him, as he, Walrond, has often mentioned to some persons what he now brings forward as an information. This is the first trouble that I have had of the kind, being bold to say that no people are so well satisfied with the present Government as the inhabitants of these Islands. Signed, Chr. Codrington. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read, 5 Feb. Answd. 12 Feb., 1696–7. Annexed,
308. I. Resolution of the Council of the Leeward Islands. On hearing the accusation against John Palmer and his reply thereto, and the evidence of Edward Walrond, we are of opinion that Palmer is guilty of a grave misdemeanour and ought to be suspended the Council, but that since the King appointed him to the said Council, it is requisite that he be continued therein, and that information be sent to the Council of Trade and Plantations for the King's further directions therein. Copy. ½ p. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. Nos. 13, 13 I, and 45. pp. 51–53.]
Oct. 10. 309. Abstracts of Governor Codrington's letters of 2 and 30 September, and of 7 and 10 October, 1696. 2¼ pp. Endorsed, Read, 5 Feb., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 14.]
Oct. 12. 310. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Proclamation of the Order in Council of 13 February, 1696, as to patents for land, and a subordinate order issued thereupon. William Dent and Henry Denton received their Commissions and gave their bonds as Naval officers. (pp. 174–175.) Order to warn grand jurors from the Eastern shore that, if they be met by bad weather on starting for the Court in December, they may turn back, as their places will be filled from other counties. The Naval officers and Receivers swore to their accounts. Order for certain payments. List of arms and ammunition to be sent for. (pp. 176–179.) [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. as cited.]
[Oct. 12.] 311. Duplicate copy of Minutes of Council of Maryland, from 16 September to 12 October, 1696. [America and West Indies. 557. No. 20.]
Oct. 12.
312. William Popple to Governor Nicholson. Forwarding the letter of the Council of Trade of 25 September, with other letters to be forwarded to the Governor of Virginia and New York. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. p. 24.]
Oct. 12.
313. William Popple to the Postmasters-General. Forwarding packets for Maryland and Jamaica, with directions that originals and duplicates shall not be sent by the same ship. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. pp. 76–77.]
Oct. 12. 314. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Domestic trade was under consideration. The representations as to New York, and as to Sir H. Ashurst's instructions were read and agreed to.
Oct. 13. The representations aforesaid were Signed. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 165–177.]
Oct. 12. 315. Minutes of General Assembly of Virginia. Four bills received from the Burgesses, to impose penalties on non-appearance of witnesses, to declare how long judgments shall be pleadable, for alteration of inconvenient roads, for fixing damages on appeals.
Oct. 13. The four bills received yesterday were read a first time, also the bills to fix a place for York County Court, and for ascertaining the gauge of casks. Mr. Blair's paper as to the College again read and deferred for future consideration. The bills to divide King and Queen County and to ascertain the value of current money were rejected. The bills to repeal the prohibition of tobacco-planting, and to give rewards for killing wolves were returned by the Burgesses, with the Council's amendments agreed to.
Oct. 14. Mr. Blair withdrew his paper as to the College by permission. Leave was given to two of the trustees to bring in a bill to facilitate the payment of the donations already made to the College.
Oct. 15. The Bills to fix a place for York County Court, to ascertain the gauge of casks, to impose penalties for non-appearance of witnesses, to declare how long judgments shall be pleadable, to alter inconvenient roads, and to ascertain damages on appeals, were read a second time. The Bill as to donations to the College was brought in and read a first time. Bills to prevent clandestine marriages, to ascertain the proof of letters of Attorney, for erecting pounds in Accomack and Northampton Counties, and for the better supply of the country with arms and ammunition.
Oct. 16. The four bills last named were read a first time. The bills for punishment of various offences, for support of the clergy, and for York County Court were passed with amendments. Bill as to donations to the College read a second time. Bill to ascertain the gauge of casks read a third time and several amendments ordered.
Oct. 17. The bills to ascertain gauge of casks, for imposing penalties on non-appearance of witnesses, to declare how long judgments shall be pleadable, to alter inconvenient roads, and to ascertain damages on appeals, read a third time and agreed to, with amendments. The bill to punish various offences was returned by the Burgesses with the Council's amendments accepted. The bills as to clandestine marriages, as to letters of Attorney, as to building of pounds, and as to supply of arms and ammunition, were read a second time. Bill as to donations to the College deferred, the Commissary not having shewn the briefs or charter, as desired. Bills to appoint rangers and to prevent Maryland Indians from hunting in Virginia received from the Burgesses. At the request of the Burgesses it was agreed to hold a conference on the bill for the support of the clergy. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 21–27.]
Oct. 13. 316. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Order for a proclamation that all small boats be secured at night, and that guards be appointed by the Colonels of Militia every night. Three Colonels took the oaths appointed by the articles of war. Order for Captain George Dew to be reimbursed for provisions expended in the country's service. Order for victualling a vessel which is going express to Governor Codrington. Order for all the field-officers to taken the oath of fidelity according to the articles of war.
Oct. 14. Ordered that on emergency the President shall issue orders to the ships of war and land-forces. The purport of the letter to Governor Codrington considered, and agreement made with the sloop that carries the letters to him. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 149–151.]
Oct. 14.
317. Lords of Trade and Plantations to the King. We would recommend that the four hundred light Dutch fusees, requested by Governor Fletcher for the Indians, should be sent to him. As to his request for an annual supply of stores of war, we do not find that those requested by him in May, 1695, have been sent; and the Agents for New York could give us no information as to the state of the stores when they left the province, as they were captured by the French in their passage. Yet we think that the stores should be sent, so that, whatever happen, the province be not left destitute of them. Mr. Brooke confirms Governor Fletcher's report as to H.M.S. Richmond. We think that, as he suggests, a quick sailer should be sent in her place, so as to arrive at the beginning of March. She should be made part of a convoy on the voyage out, she should stay at New York until the beginning of the next winter, she should then convoy ships from America to the West Indies and stay at Barbados or Jamaica, and she should then return as additional convoy to the West Indian trade to England. Meanwhile, on her leaving New York, another ship should be sent to take her place, and so annually. Thus the ships for guard of New York and the neighbouring Colonies will not be laid up for the winter as heretofore but will serve as convoy, as above described. We think that Governor Fletcher should be encouraged to pursue his present method of keeping his companies full, until recruits be sent from hence or further orders be issued by your Majesty. To check desertion we recommend that all the provinces should be ordered to pass effectual laws against the receiving and harbouring of deserters. We recommend also that Mr. Caleb Heathcote be confirmed in the Council and that Colonel Fletcher be instructed to fill up the vacancy therein. The punctual payment of the companies in New York we submit, together with all the rest, to your Majesty's great wisdom. Signed, Will. Trumbull, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. New York 52. pp. 28–33.]
Oct. 14. 318. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. In the matter of the instructions proposed by the Admiralty and by Sir Henry Ashurst for the Commissioners appointed to report as to Naval stores in New England, we make the following suggestions. It would be well for the Commissioners to view the large tracts covered with woods along the sea coast north-eastward from Massachusetts to Nova Scotia, so far as they can, and report as to their nature and as to the forts and Colonies that it might be expedient to settle there. Sir Henry Ashurst's instructions lay down that no specimens shall be bought or sent home but by the joint consent of all the Commissioners. We think it better that if there be any difference of opinion between the Commissioners nominated by the Admiralty and by Sir Henry Ashurst, each side should have liberty to bring over different specimens. We think also that the Commissioners should be empowered to ascertain the willingness of people to contract for supply of naval stores, and that they should freely communicate such knowledge as they possess or acquire to all persons who are qualified to make use of it. Each of the two parties of Commissioners should possess copies of the instructions given to the other. In case of the death of one or both of Sir Henry Ashurst's Commissioners, the Government of New England should appoint a successor; in the same event to one of the Admiralty's Commissioners, all power should be vested in the survivor. Sir Henry Ashurst's instruction as to shipbuilding seems foreign to the present enquiry. The stipulations as to the cost of the undertaking we leave to the consideration of the Treasury. Signed, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. Here follows copy of the last clause of the Massachusetts Charter, reserving the King's right to timber for the Navy. [Board of Trade. New England, 36. pp. 43–47.]
Oct. 14. 319. Minutes of Council of Virginia. The Governor being told of delays in the College business, Mr. Commissary Blair's bill as to the donations having been delayed until now, was extremely concerned, since it is misrepresented at home that the clergy in Virginia were not only slighted but oppressed. The Council acquitted the Governor of all blame in the matter. Mr. Blair objected to the Governor's expressions as unwarrantably harsh. The Governor shewed a letter from the Bishop of London containing the same, and containing further some sentences from the same saying that the Act for securing a maintenance to the clergy was prevented by the last Assembly, which carried the Act to the Council, when it was dropped. That Assembly was dissolved, and the present, which has refused the King's command, is continued. The Council, with the exception of Mr. Blair, unanimously agreed that the clergy had never been so well cared for as during the Governor's time, ever since they can remember, and that the Governor has always shewn his readiness to assist them in every way. As to the law alleged to be made in favour of the ministers, it never entered into the Council's thoughts to pick it out singly during the revision of the laws, but this was condescended to by the Burgesses. Order for summoning the churchwarden of Denbigh to answer for neglecting to communicate the Order in Council of 13 February last to the vestry. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. pp. 44–46.]
Oct. 15. 320. Minutes of Council of Nevis. The Address of congratulation to the King on his deliverance from the conspiracy against him was unanimously Signed. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 390–391.]
Oct. 15. 321. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for payment of £50 to Increase Mather for last year's service as President of Harvard College, also for payment of £60 4s. 0d. to Secretary Addington on account of fees.
Oct. 16. The Justices of the inferior Courts of the several Counties were nominated (full list given), and other officers of justice appointed. Samuel Sewall, Peter Serjeant and John Walley appointed to take care of the French prisoners, late of the garrison of St. Johns. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 52–55.]
Oct. 16. 322. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Order for a Committee to report as to the expediency of appointing an officer to attend the General Court, a duty hitherto done by the sheriff of James City and his officers, for uncertain payment. The Attorney-General's report on the Jamaica ships referred to Richard Lee and Charles Scarburgh. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. pp. 46–47.]
Oct. 16. 323. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Jamaica merchants presented a paper Signed by several of their body. (See next abstract.) They added many complaints of arbitrary pressing and about the encouragement of piracy in North America, and named one Flavell, of Bristol, who made it his business to ply between Jamaica and Carolina enticing men to piracy. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 177–179.]
Oct. 16. 324. Considerations offered by the Agents for Jamaica and the merchants trading thereto, to the Council of Trade and Plantations. (1) The trade of Jamaica is of great advantage to the Kingdom and its preservation of great consequence, but (2) it has been under great discouragements of late, and unless some remedy be taken it will be lost, As to (1) it is plain to demonstration that more bullion is yearly imported from Jamaica than from all the other Colonies. Hence the loss of the Island would probably mean the loss of all the English interest in the West Indies. The trade of the Spanish West Indies would be wholly engrossed by the possessors of that place, and if the French had it, in addition to their other possessions, they might with a little assistance from home easily become masters of the mines of Mexico and Peru. As to (2) the advantage of the place will invite the French to have their eye on it, who since the late attempt upon Hispaniola have greatly strengthened their plantations there by removing thither the inhabitants of Santa Cruz and other Islands. Revenge will also spur them on to the undertaking. Next, the population of Jamaica is much lessened by the earthquake and the mortality that followed it, and by the voluntary removal of people owing to the unwarrantable proceedings of the captains of the King's ships in impressing the inhabitants, contrary to the Governor's express directions. This ill-usage has driven the sea-faring men to various other places, even to Petit Guavos, where they have taken part against us, while many have turned pirates, so that of 1,200 sailors that were in Jamaica four years ago there remain not above 300. Again there has been much mortality and discouragement owing to ill-timing and mismanagement in the despatch of recruits and supplies. The months of May, June, July, August and September are unhealthy to new comers, the months from November to March are constantly healthy; April and October are healthy or not according as the rains begin early or continue late. It is known to all observers that ten newcomers die out of a ship arriving between May and September to one that dies of a ship arriving between November and March. Most of our late fleets and succours have unhappily arrived in the heat of the summer, whose deaths have brought great disreputation upon the place in point of health. We propose therefore that the Jamaica fleet should be at Gravesend ready to sail by the 20th of December at latest and shall sail after that by the first fair wind, without waiting for the ships that are not ready. They will then arrive at a healthy season, the crops will be ready for shipment, the ships will return at a season when they will be able to keep company with their convoy, and they will arrive in time to get to the northern markets before winter; whereas our late fleets by sailing hence and arriving at Jamaica at unseasonable times have lost two-thirds of their men, and being undermanned have been lost in various ways on the homeward voyage. This course will prevent long continuance of seamen at Jamaica, but more care may be taken of them during their stay than heretofore. We would propose that all the men on the King's ships be fed during their stay in these parts with fresh provisions. This may be done (and the Island will undertake it) for the King's usual allowance of bread and beer, and sixpence a head per day (which is the cost to the King of salt provisions), that is to say on three days a week they may have fresh beef, turtle, etc., and on the other days, pease, pulp, plaintains and other wholesome food. But this cannot be done unless a competent person be appointed as Commissary of Provisions, who might also act as Commissary of Musters. And further, as to the matter of diet, we beg that pursers may be restrained from supplying the seamen with rum and strong waters. The pursers, for an unreasonable gain, supply the men upon tick with rum, whereof they make punch, wherewith being heated they expose themselves to the night-dews which in that part of the world are generally fatal. But one of the most fatal mischiefs under which we labour is the disorderly behaviour of the captains and officers of the men-of-war, who were intended for our safety, but whose irregular proceedings, if not speedily checked, will make the Island desolate. Not only do they impress the inhabitants, but they behave as if they were in no sort subjects accountable to the Government. Their irregularities we attribute greatly to the restriction of the Governor's authority by an instruction procured by the late Commodore Wilmot, though whose action, without concert with those in Jamaica, the failure of the late expedition was principally due. By that instruction the Governor is forbidden to intermeddle with the discipline of the King's ships, either by placing and displacing the officers or by calling them to account for misconduct however heinous. So if a captain of a man-of-war commits robbery or murder and gets on board his ship before he is apprehended, there is no room for the prosecution of his crime. He is supposed to be beyond the power of the Civil Magistrate so long as he remains on board his ship, where no Admiralty warrant can reach him, nor can he be punished in England for any crime committed in the Colonies. Many notorious instances of the abuse of this privilege by officers can be adduced. Captain Fletcher of the Hampshire was guilty of such misconduct that the Council unanimously advised the Governor to send him home a prisoner, but the Governor durst not act against the Royal Instruction. Commodore Wilmot went so far as to insist that the Governor should come on board his ship to hold a council of war, and refused for a time to attend it if held elsewhere. Great mischief will follow on such division of jurisdiction, and the disorderly behaviour of those officers can only be checked by putting them, as formerly, under the command of the Governor and forbidding them to press but by the Governor's warrant. We also propose that it be an instruction to officers not to lie too long in harbour for the sake of the crew's health, and that no commander shall take a man off the Island without the Governor's licence first obtained, under penalty. We would suggest that three, or at least two, ships shall be allowed as convoy to the fleet, and that for supply of men to the ships that guard the Island five men (to be drawn from the King's fleet here) shall be carried in each vessel of the Jamaica fleet. These will be supernumeraries, but the Captains will accept their labour in payment for their passage, and on arrival will deliver them to the men-of-war. Lastly, to re-people this depopulated Island, we beg for the King's order that such persons as are ready to go to Jamaica shall be transported on board men-of-war with an allowance of £6 per head, and that on landing in Jamaica they shall be free to settle and employ themselves as they think fit. Signed, Gilbert Heathcote, and by twenty-three more. 5½ pp. Endorsed, 16 Oct., 1696. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 22; and 56. pp. 13–21.]
Oct. 17.
325. Governor Sir William Beeston to the Duke of Shrewsbury. I send duplicates of my last, which were sent by a small vessel without any company. Since then some Englishmen have arrived who were taken by the French off Havana, and had a small boat given to them to come hither. They tell me the French were but seven ships of war, the biggest of them of seventy guns, six privateers and two small tenders. They took several prizes, but lost so many men by sickness that Mons. Renault took thirty men out of each privateer, and about the 10th of August sailed through the Gulf of Florida for France, where they must be arrived before now. They report too that the Hope, which was captured from England, was not there, and that the reason for the hasty departure from the coast of Havana (besides sickness) was an account received from Mons. de Casse, that the English and Dutch with a considerable squadron were daily expected in search of them. I believe these reports to be true, for all the men agree in them. Other news we have none, nor anything from England since the Southampton came in with the fleet in May. The sailors newly come are many of them dead by contriving to arrive here in the hot and sickly months, but the Island is healthy enough. Signed, Wm. Beeston. Holograph, 1 p. Endorsed, Transmitted to the Board by Mr. Vernon, 25 Feb., 1696–7, Read 1 March. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 23; and 56. pp. 77–78.]
Oct. 19. 326. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Order for the Proprietors of the Bahamas to be required to supply a copy of their charter. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 180–181.]
Oct. 19.
Post Office.
327. Mr. Avent to William Popple. Forwarding the receipt of the master of a ship, bound for Jamaica, for a packet addressed to Sir William Beeston. Signed, J. Avent. 1½ p. The receipt is attached. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 24.]
Oct. 19. 328. Minutes of General Assembly of Virginia. Three members appointed for the Conference with the Burgesses. Bill to fix the fees of County Court Clerks received from the Council.
Oct. 20. Bill as to donations to the College rejected. Bills as to clandestine marriages, as to letters of attorney and as to the erection of pounds, passed with amendments. Bill as to arms and ammunition read a third time and referred for further consideration. Bill as to gauge of casks returned by the Burgesses with the Council's amendments accepted. Bills to appoint rangers, as to Maryland Indians, and as to the fees of County Court Clerks read a first time.
Oct. 21. The Burgesses sent up the book of public claims, also the bill as to clandestine marriages, with the Council's amendments accepted. Resolved to send a message to the Burgesses concerning the amendments to the bill for support of the clergy.
Oct. 23. The Burgesses sent back the bill for support of the clergy, accepting all the Council's amendments except that changing the fourteen into sixteen [14,000 lbs. of tobacco, as annual maintenance to ministers, instead of 16,000 lbs.]. Message to the Burgesses, deploring their ingratitude to the King in not complying with his orders as to ministers after his gracious concessions to the Colony in the matter of ports and of exportation of tobacco in bulk. Bill as to arms and ammunition referred to a Committee for amendment. Bill as to Maryland Indians rejected. Bills as to rangers and as to County Court clerks' fees read a second time. Bill for support of clergy agreed to as amended at the conference.
Oct. 24. The bill as to arms and ammunition was reported and the amendments of the Committee agreed to. Bill as to rangers read a third time and agreed to as amended. The bill as to clandestine marriages was returned by the Burgesses, with the Council's amendments accepted. The bills for support of the clergy and as to Maryland Indians returned to the Burgesses. Bill as to fees of County Court clerks referred to a committee for amendment. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 27–32.]
Oct. 20. 329. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Order for the restrictions on the land at Pamunkey Neck and to South of the Blackwater to be continued till the 20th of April. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. p. 47.]
Oct. 20. 330. Minutes of Council of Barbados. £100 ordered to be expended on the fortifications to windward. A list of papers relating to the public service was received from Mr. Langley. Order for purchase of 20 barrels of powder for £200.
Oct. 21. Order for H.M.S. Newcastle to be careened. Petition of Major Garth for allowances for a hospital, and for service at sea for the King's regiment, referred to the Assembly. Petition of the Quakers, asking to be allowed to affirm according to Act of Parliament, referred to the Assembly, also the order for the present of liquor to Captain Fisher. Colonel Frere received £25 compensation for a negro executed. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 151–154.]
Oct. 21. 331. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Order for Mr. Thornburgh, a proprietor of the Bahamas, to attend on Monday next. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 181–182.]
Oct. 22.
332. Order of the King in Council. For the Admiralty to give the necessary orders for preparing and sending to Virginia two suitable men-of-war, to be there in February next, to convoy home the fleet of merchant ships that shall bring from thence this year's crop of tobacco. Copy. ¾ p. Endorsed, Recd. 29 Oct. Read 2 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 6. No. 8; and 37. p. 25.]
Oct. 22.
333. Order of the King in Council. In the appointment of convoys for the fleet to the West Indies to be ready to sail on the 31st of December, and for the convoys to be relieved as recommended in the report of the Council of Trade of 30 September (see No. 287), Captains of King's ships, who are in want of men, must apply to the Governor of the Colony to assist them, and if he fail to do so, then the Captain may impress men. Copy. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 29 Oct. Read 2 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 13; and 34. pp. 79–81.]
Oct. 22.
334. Order of the King in Council. For the Admiralty to amend and add to the instructions to the Commissioners appointed to report on the supply of Naval Stores by New England, in accordance with a representation from the Council of Trade and Plantations. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 29 Oct. Read 2 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 37; and 36. p. 50.]
Oct. 22.
335. Order of the King in Council. For the Master-General of the Ordnance to despatch 400 light Dutch fusils and other military stores, as specified, to Governor Fletcher at New York. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 29 Oct. Read 2 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 66; and 52. pp. 36–37.]
Oct. 22.
336. Order of the King in Council. For the Richmond frigate to be recalled from New York and for a light and quick sailer to be despatched thither at the end of the winter, which frigate shall convoy merchantmen to America and there remain under the orders of the Governor of New York until the beginning of next winter, when she will proceed to the West Indies, and there stay until the merchant ships return to England, when she will help to convoy them, and another ship shall take her place at New York. A ship of like force shall be sent out to the like duty at the end of every winter. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 29 Oct. Read 2 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 67; and 52. pp. 37–38.]
Oct. 22.
337. Order of the King in Council. That the King's four companies in New York be subsisted equally with the King's forces at home, and that the Paymaster-General take care for this. Copy. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 18 June, 1697. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 68; and 52. p. 157.]
Oct. 22.
338. Order of the King in Council. For a letter to be written approving of Colonel Fletcher's method of keeping the King's companies full by men raised in America, until further order; for a circular to be written to all the Governors to make effectual laws against the receiving or harbouring of deserters or fugitives from one Colony to another; for Caleb Heathcote to be confirmed in the Council of New York; and for Governor Fletcher to nominate another Councillor for the royal approval. Signed, John Nicholas. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 27th Read 28th Oct., 1696. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 69; and 52. pp. 35–36.]
Oct. 22.
Post Office.
339. J. Avent to William Popple. The packet sent to the Postmaster-General for Colonel Nicholson has been delivered to the master of the John and Susanna, bound to Maryland, whose receipt is enclosed. The packet for William Beeston was also entrusted to him. Signed, J. Avent. ½ p.
339. I. Receipt of the master of the John and Susanna for a packet addressed to Colonel Nicholson. Plymouth, 18 October, 1696. Scrap. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 3. Nos. 7, 7I.]
Oct. 22. 340. Minutes of Council of Virginia. The matter of Mr. Lightfoot's admission to the Council was again discussed and deferred for further consideration. The Address and Association of the Burgesses to be presented to the King was laid before Council. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. pp. 47–48.]
Oct. 23.
341. Lieutenant-Governor Usher to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Since my last I have been informed that Vaughan and Waldern have got several hands to a writing against me. The full purport of it is not come to my knowledge but I am informed that it is that they were suspended. How can any judge the matter when never present at hearing of the charge and of their answers, and when the reasons were sent only to you? But it is like all their other actions. If one Penhallow appears I desire that he may be detained until my answer to the charge be returned. If Mr. Elliot's hand be there, he is a person who has writ many letters to me, signifying that Vaughan and Waldern gave so much trouble in the Government and obstructed all matters for the good of the place that it made him uneasy and to desire his dismission. But what shall I say? Men are false. One Major Church with 400 men went from Boston, and instead of looking after the enemy went to a place near Menis inhabited by the French, who had submitted and sworn allegiance to King William, and plundered them to the value of many thousand pounds, taking to the value of £1,400 from one man. From there he went to St. John's, where with 400 men he lay before the fort for forty-eight hours, and then drew off, the French calling to them "Come Pemaquid." in derision. The French in the fort, about fifty men, four guns and the fort palisadoes, Church hath taken twelve great guns, almost five or six hundred weight [?] apiece, 1,200 shot, many pickaxes and shovels, 14 barrels of powder, all brought to Boston. [Sic. It is impossible to say what this sentence means as it stands. Probably Usher intended to signify that the French in the fort were but fifty men, with four guns, and that the fort was no more than a stockade. The stores captured must therefore have been unguarded.] I am informed that Boston has written to urge that New Hampshire may be added to them to strengthen them with men and money, and for New Hampshire to desire men and money of Boston. I shall leave the matter with you. I know of no reason for the acting of either unless it be that I have always asserted and maintained the royal prerogative, and that I have settled the boundaries by force by running the line, which my predecessors never did. If this be reason enough for their being joined to Boston and you see cause for it, I have nothing to say. If they must be joined, I would suggest that you should join Massachusetts to New Hampshire and send 500 men; and then you may have the place more firmly depending on the Crown of England than it now is; for in truth I can say that these parts are not for Kingly Government. The Boston Representatives, though they send to the King for ships and men, yet address him at the same time for their old charter. That is their onions and garlic. When I left the province I posted forty men in garrison for security of the frontiers, since when I am informed that most of them are come away for want of provisions, and the Country refuses to provide money for the same. If the King does not speedily take some care, all the out-towns will be deserted and left to the enemy. I beg that the King will send a Governor and soldiers. Signed, John Usher. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 23 June. Read 7 July, 1697. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 38; and 36. pp. 211–213.]
Oct. 23. 342. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. A petition of Jeffery Jones as to a judgment given against him in East New Jersey was referred to the proprietors of that province. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 182–183.]
Oct. 26. 343. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Domestic trade was considered. Order for the letters to Virginia and New York to be copied, ready for despatch. Order for the laws of Massachusetts to be dealt with on Monday. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 183–188.]
Oct. 26. 344. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Order for Peter Beckford, junior, to be admitted to the Receiver-General's Office on giving the usual security. Orders for payment of William Blathwayt's salary and for other payments. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 79. pp. 33–35.]
Oct. 26. 345. Minutes of General Assembly of Virginia. Bill to appoint rangers returned by the Burgesses, with a message that they adhere to the bill as passed by themselves.
Oct. 27. Bill as to fees of County Court clerks agreed to. The book of public claims was read, amended and returned to the Burgesses. Message to the Burgesses recommending that £40 instead of £15 be allowed to the officers attending the General Court, the latter sum being no more than that allowed to the Assembly's own door-keepers. Bill to appoint rangers agreed to and returned to the Burgesses with the book of claims.
Oct. 28. Message from the Burgesses, refusing to grant more than £20 to the officers that attended the General Court. Message to the Burgesses in reply, that the Council insists on its former proposition that £40 be the sum. Message from the Burgesses, again refusing to allow more than £20, which was thereupon agreed to by the Council.
Oct. 29. The Burgesses sent up the roll of bills passed, for perusal of the Council.
Oct. 30. The book of proportion of public dues, the accounts of money due from the impost on liquors, and a bill for a public levy, were received from the Burgesses, all of which were read, agreed to, and returned, together with the roll of bills. The Address of the Clergy was considered, and a copy sent down to the Burgesses.
Oct. 31. The Burgesses sent up an address to the Governor in answer to the address from the Clergy. The Burgesses were then summoned, and the Governor then assented to the following bills, viz. to punish divers offences, to alter Court-days in Accomack County, to give rewards for killing wolves, to repeal the prohibition of tobacco-planting, to ascertain damages on appeals, to impose penalties on non-appearance of witnesses, to declare how long judgments shall be pleadable, to fix a place for York County Court, to ascertain the gauge of casks, to prevent clandestine marriages, for better support of the clergy, to fix the fees of County Court clerks, to appoint rangers, and to raise a public levy, adjourned to 29 April next. The Journal of the House of Burgesses for these same days is to the same effect as the foregoing. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 32–38; and pp. 266–279.]
Oct. 27. 346. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The Assembly desired despatch of the bills before the Council, also that Mr. Cranfield might not be a judge of Exchequer, also that a new lookout be appointed, the former one leaving because dim-sighted and sottish.
Oct. 29. The bills relating to elections and to trade were read and committed.—The time of payment of the Act for four shillings per pole was fixed. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 155–156.]
Oct. 27. 347. Minutes of Council of Virginia. The Committee on the matter of officers for the General Court reported that the Sheriff of James City had always officiated till now and had been paid by the Assembly, which now refused payment. There was no law to compel the Sheriff to act, so it was necessary to appoint officers for the purpose and to recommend to the Assembly the allowance of fees or a recompense for them. Report approved.
Oct. 28. The Committee on the Jamaica ships reported that the proceedings in respect of them should be carried on in the Courts of Record, where all claims to them could be prosecuted. Report approved. The Churchwarden of Denbigh was heard in his defence, and was removed from the Commission of the Peace for contempt of the Council's orders.
Oct. 29. Warrant signed for the payment of £100 for the quit-rents to James Blair, in accordance with the King's order.
Oct. 30. Anne Grey, under sentence for murder, was reprieved to enable her to obtain the King's pardon. Order for an answer to be written to the address of the clergy, and for the address itself to be laid before the Burgesses. John Lightfoot summoned to attend next Council. Order for all persons pretending to keep ferries to report to the Secretary under what pretence they keep them, in what manner they keep them, and what fees they demand of passengers.
Oct. 31. Order for Anne Grey to be sent back to New Kent County gaol. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. pp. 48–51.]
Oct. 28. 348. The Attorney-General to Board of Trade and Plantations. I have considered the petition of Wait Winthrop and others (see preceding volume, No. 1844) and I find that the King's Province was granted in the 14th year of Charles II. to Connecticut, and in July, 1663, to Rhode Island, but this latter grant I conceive to be invalid in consideration of the former. Signed, Tho. Trevor. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. and read 4 Jan., 1696–7.
A copy of the charter of Connecticut will be found in Board of Trade. New England, 36. pp. 79–92. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 39; and 36. pp. 102–103.]
Oct. 28. 349. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Three orders in Council of 22nd inst. as to recruiting the New York Companies, the harbouring of deserters, and the appointment of Caleb Heathcote to the Council of New York were read. Ordered that the same be explained in the next letters to Governor Fletcher, and that circulars be drafted as to harbouring of deserters.
Mr. Blathwayt reported that he had received intelligence of Governor Russell's death. The laws of Massachusetts were then considered, and the Secretary was ordered to obtain copies of the charters of Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Oct. 29. Order for an abstract to be taken of the accounts of the revenue of New York. Laws of Massachusetts were further considered.
Oct. 30. Mr. Dockwra attending desired more time to examine Jeffery Jones's petition. Letters from Governor Russell of 23 July, and two from the Council of Barbados of 11 August and undated, were read (see Nos. 104, 138, 188). Resolved thereupon to recommend that henceforward all Governors be directed to communicate to the Council all matters in which their advice and consent are requisite. Order for enquiry to be made as to the prisoners mentioned therein. Order for the Barbados Agents to be asked about the stores and forces of that Island and about the employment of the dead-pay of the Regiment in obtaining recruits. Resolutions agreed to for a representation to the King respecting Barbados.
Memorial from Mr. Randolph read (see No. 354). The Secretary was ordered to write to the Attorney-General on the subject. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 188–200.]
Oct. 29. 350. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. John Walley ordered to secure all gunpowder in the hands of private persons, for the King's service. Order for payment of £305 to Captain Samuel Mould for a prize-ship, which was fitted out as a fireship for the King's service. Order of the Treasurer to issue bills of credit for £2,000, and that a Committee take an account of the same from time to time. Order for £800 to be advanced for the expenses of the late expedition to St. John's River. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 55–57.]
Oct. 30. 351. William Popple to the Commissioners for sick and wounded seamen. Enclosing the list of French prisoners sent from Barbados, desiring information whether prisoners, French and English, have previously been sent to Europe from America, and directing that François Breador be not readily exchanged. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44A. p. 28.]
Oct. 30. 352. Edward Randolph to the Council of Trade. Two men of war are shortly to sail for Virginia with the officers of the Commissioners of Customs on board. I beg that the Attorney-General's report as to the King's power to appoint Attorneys-General in the Proprietary Colonies may be hastened. Holograph. 1 p. Endorsed, Read 30 Oct., 1696. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 14.]
Oct. 30. 353. William Popple to the Attorney-General. Asking him to hasten his report as to Attorneys-General for the American Colonies, as ships of war will shortly be sailing for these parts. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. p. 77.]
Oct. 354. A series of questions put to Edward Randolph by the Council of Trade and Plantations, with his answers (see No. 300). (1) There is in Virginia, at a moderate computation, about 500,000 acres granted by patents, of which not above 40,000 acres are cultivated and improved, besides many thousand acres of waste land high up in the Country. (2) Colonel Nicholson was the first Governor of Virginia who directed prosecutions for arrears of quitrents, beginning with Colonel Laurence Smith. The case was ready for trial but the Governor came to England, and the case was afterwards compounded for a small matter. (3) No one in Virginia has authority to compound for the King's quit-rents, but it was done in the case of Colonel Smith. (4) Small parcels of land are granted away every Court for not being planted or seated according to law, but no land has at any time been seized to the King's use for not paying of quit-rents. (5) Negro servants give a right to land to those who import them, who thereupon take up land, contrary to the true intention of seating the Country; but the practice being general, to the advantage of certain persons, no notice is taken of it. (6) The method of surveying is this: The importer takes a certificate of his rights (to which he has sworn) to the Surveyor of the County where he is minded to take up land and shews him the land he supposes to lie waste. The Surveyor then gives him a survey, which he carries to the Secretary's office, where he obtains a patent of course. (7) I have heard of many false certificates of rights; the practice is common but little regarded, being of no prejudice to any private person. (8) The Counties in Virginia number twenty-three, some of them as big again as others, but no survey has yet been made of the Country, which ought to be done. (9) My object in proposing to limit the grant of land to any one man to 500 acres is to prevent further engrossing of land to the prejudice of others, who are forced to leave the Country for want of land. Nevertheless it will hinder no person from taking up greater parcels of land if he produce certificates of rights, legally obtained. It is absolutely necessary for a law to be passed inflicting severe penalties on those who produce or allow false certificates. (10) In reply to the question in what quarter it would be advisable to begin, if my proposals were adopted, I answer that the members of Council have large tracts of land in most of the counties, for which they are in great arrears of quit-rent. It is advisable to make a beginning with some of them and to empower a person uninterested in the county to demand the arrears due to the King. These will amount to a considerable sum and will increase the King's revenue in Virginia yearly. If the patentees refuse to pay the arrears, some hundred thousand acres of land will revert to the Crown, to be more carefully disposed of in future. Signed, Ed. Randolph. 1¾ pp. Endorsed, Recd. October, 1696. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 6. No. 9.]