America and West Indies: November 1696, 1-10

Pages 189-200

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

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November 1696

Nov. 1. 355. A list of the stores of war sent to Barbados between 1 November, 1689, and 1 November, 1696. Compiled by the Board of Ordnance. 9 pp. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 15.]
Nov. 2. 356. Commissioners for sick and wounded seamen to Council of Trade and Plantations. Pursuant to your orders we have enquired as to the French prisoners sent from Barbados, and find that six of them have already been delivered to our agent at Dover. We expect the masters of the ships to bring the rest to us, according to our orders, when the ships come up the river. Formerly we have received several French prisoners from America and have exchanged them for English prisoners captured in the Colonies and taken to France, though we often had disputes over them with the Minister of France, as America is not included in the general cartel for prisoners taken at sea. Your orders as to Francis Breardor shall be punctually obeyed, as soon as the ship's master comes up from the Downs. Signed, Tho. Addison, Antho. Shephard, Chris. Kirkby, Da. Elder. 1 p. Endorsed, Read 6 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 16.]
Nov. 2. 357. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Domestic trade was considered. The Agents for Barbados gave in a representation of the decaying state of the Island, and pressed in particular for supplies of military stores. They reported also that owing to the dearness of provisions the King's pay barely sufficed to subsist the soldiers in Barbados, and finally promised to commit all to writing.
Orders in Council of the 14th October as to New York, as to convoys, and as to the instructions for the persons appointed to enquire concerning Naval stores were received, and extracts from the same ordered to be sent when required. Further heads for a representation concerning New York agreed to. Order for the Agents of the West Indian Islands to attend on Wednesday. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 200–205.]
Nov. 2.
358. Abstract of a letter from Stephen Sewall to Edward Hull, merchant of London. The state of this country is at present the following: There are many small Governments, namely New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, all of them distinct. They do not and will not afford each other succour and relief in time of need, as is meet and absolutely necessary, insomuch as the French and Indians prosecute the war so hard on those that lie next to them, viz. New Hampshire and part of Massachusetts, that hundreds of men, being tired out with watching and paying great taxes, are running to South Carolina and other places southward to escape these difficulties and dangers. If the King does not speedily put a stop to these things by uniting several of the Governments together, or rather by sending a Viceroy over all that may command all in this difficult time of war, I tremble to think what the event will be. Most sure it is that if our enemies master New England they will certainly overrun all the Colonies on the Continent, which will be a vast detriment and loss to the King and the trading people of England. I beg you as a true Englishman, Christian and friend to the distressed to speak, as you have opportunity, affectingly to the Commissioners of Foreign Plantations or any other officers whom you think suitable and who will lend an ear to these great things. For they are great and weighty indeed and yet not much regarded because of those greater affairs which the King is engaged in. If the King would reduce Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island into one Government, New York with Jersey and Pennsylvania into another, and Maryland, Virginia and North and South Carolina into a third, and send a great nobleman, who is a soldier, above all Governments; then we might make one body and one purse and send the French and Indians "a-grasing" quickly. There is most absolute need of a strong garrison at Port Royal or St. John's, or both, but as we are now we can't accomplish it. Sir, here is a delicate country, and eastward of us deserted by the English, the French and Indians having driven them away from Pemaquid nearly to Wells in New England, so that the enemy gain upon us every year. Unless the King will have pity and relieve us I know not what will become of us. This I have given for a true account of our condition, being no way biassed by this, that or the other faction or design but purely for the good of the whole in general, which is what I aim at and would do my utmost for. I am a true Englishman and a loyal Williamite. Copy. 2 pp. Endorsed, Presented by Mr. Woolley and read 4 March, 1696–7. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 40; and 36. pp. 139–141.]
Nov. 2. 359. Minutes of Assembly of Nevis. Resolutions passed, that no member of Assembly is liable to arrest, and that Mr. Speaker argue nothing with the Governor and Council but what he has Commission from the house to speak. Ordered that Mr. Speaker publish immediately that John Perry, not having been confirmed by the Assembly, is no longer Treasurer of Nevis. Order for payment from the public Treasury of £56, current money, to the members who took the Address to Antigua. A remonstrance to the Governor agreed upon, asking that the Assembly may sit and act, and that the grievances already complained of may be redressed. Messages to the Governor requesting that John Palmer may be suspended from the Council, and that the verbal messages of the Council as to the qualifications of members may be put in writing. The Governor and Council replied that two of the members formerly objected to were not qualified, and that writs should be issued for election of other members in their places. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 392–394.]
Nov. 3. 360. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The Captain of the sloop sent out for intelligence of the French returned and made his report. Recommended to the Assembly that an allowance be made to the sick seamen of H.M.S. Newcastle, and also that Captain Reeves have a suit of French colours.
Nov. 4. Order for the Virgin, prize, to be careened, and for her and H.M.S. Newcastle to be supplied with provision. Mr. Langley presented a copy of a mandamus to be sworn of the Council, but the document being judged not authentic he was not sworn. Order for the accounts with the sloop, hired as an express, to be made up. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 156–158.]
Nov. 4. 361. A list of arms and stores contracted for to be sent from England by first opportunity for the service of Barbados. The list consists chiefly of small arms and equipment for a thousand men. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. and read, 4 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 17.]
Nov. 4. 362. Memorandum of a petition from Ralph Lane, received 4 November, read 6 November, delivered to Clerk of Council 16 December, 1696. ½ p. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 18.]
Nov. 4. 363. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Agents of several Colonies attending were informed of the orders given concerning convoys. Mr. Eyles gave in a list of the arms and stores contracted for Barbados. The laws of Massachusetts again considered, and a representation upon a portion of them ordered to be prepared.
Nov. 5. Orders for a return of the stores sent to the Colonies since the beginning of the war, to be required of the Ordnance Office. Four letters from Sir William Beeston of 15 June, 19 June, 4 July and 5 July, read. Resolved to represent to the King the matters arising therefrom and other business concerning Jamaica. A representation as to some of the laws of Massachusetts signed.
Nov. 6. A representation from the Council and Assembly of Barbados read, also a petition of Ralph Lane, to which it was resolved to accede. Governor Codrington's letter of 5 May to Mr. Blathwayt was read, also his letter of 2 September (see No. 181). Order for an answer to him to be prepared, also a representation concerning the Leeward Islands. The proprietors of East New Jersey appeared and promised to produce copies of their patents and charters. Mr. Nelson represented his own circumstances to the Board, begging that reprisals might be taken upon some French prisoner, and on the suggestion of the Board promised to make enquiry as to the French Governor of Hudson's Bay, lately brought prisoner to England.
Lord Tankerville brought the Board the King's order that all correspondence between it and the Admiralty should be conducted by the Secretaries on both sides. The Board refused a request from one of the proprietors of East New Jersey to be furnished with a copy of its representation as to Attorneys-General. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 205–217.]
Nov. 5.
364. Lords of Trade and Plantations to the King. Recommending the confirmation of six Acts of Massachusetts passed in 1693, and the disallowance of those to regulate ship-building, and to encourage a Post Office. Signed, Tankerville, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 41; and 36. pp. 48, 49.]
Nov. 5.
365. Order of the King in Council. Referring a petition of the Proprietors and Agents of Carolina, the Bahamas, Pennsylvania, East and West Jersey and Connecticut, to the Council of Trade for report. Signed, Ric. Colinge. ½ p. Endorsed, Read 16 Nov., 1696. Annexed,
365. I. Petition of the Proprietors and Agents above named to the King in Council. By summons of the Attorney General of 13 October last we learned that it had been referred to him to report whether the King could not appoint an Attorney-General to our Provinces, notwithstanding all grants and charters, and on waiting upon him read a report of the Commissioners of Customs founded on the information of one Edward Randolph (see No. 198 I.). We beg that we may be furnished with a copy of this report and that we may have an opportunity of replying thereto. Signed, Craven, Bath, Ashley, Berkeley, Wm. Thornburgh (for Sir John Colleton), J. Lane, J. Winthrop, Michael Watts, Wm. Penn. Copy. 1¼ pp. [America and West Indies. 601. Nos. 33, 33 I; and Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. pp. 3–4.]
Nov. 5.
366. Order of the King in Council. Disallowing the Acts of Massachusetts for building of ships, and for encouraging a Post Office, passed in 1693. Signed, Rich. Colinge. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed, The original given to Sir H. Ashurst. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 41; and 36. p. 53.]
Nov. 5. 367. Memorandum of an Order in Council as to the appeal of Ralph Lane, dated 5 November, received 11 November, delivered to the Clerks of Council 16 December, 1696. ½ p. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 19.]
Nov. 5. 368. William Popple to Mr. Sanson, Secretary to the Board of Customs. The King has given orders for the convoys for the West Indies to be ready to sail on the 31st of December, after which no ships will be waited for. Two men-of-war are also ordered to Virginia to convoy the homeward-bound fleet from thence. You are therefore to order your officers in the out-ports to give the merchants notice hereof. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. p. 78.]
Nov. 6. 369. Minutes of Assembly of Nevis. Message to the Governor. We were much surprised at the vote of the majority of Council that two of our members are not qualified to be Assemblymen, when we have satisfied ourselves that they are, and they have been sworn and have sat and acted with us. We will never part with our privilege in obedience to a vote of the Governor and Council. John Palmer is at the bottom of this and all other mischief in the Island. Message ends. Resolved that Thomas Weaver has always behaved himself in the Assembly with honesty and honour. Resolved that John Perry, having threatened the messenger who published the resolutions of this house concerning him, is guilty of a high contempt of the Assembly. Resolved that the Governor be entertained at the public expense during his stay in the Island. Message from the Governor and Council. We admire that after our last message you should permit members declared by us to be unqualified to sit among you. Answer of the Assembly. Since our repeated addresses to you have brought us no remedy we appeal to the King. The Assembly was then dissolved. [Board of Trade. Leeward Island, 64. pp. 395–398.]
Nov. 9.
New York.
370. Governor Fletcher to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Since my last of 17 September, I have had a treaty with the Indians, and send a copy of what passed. Since my return from Albany a party of thirteen French with an Indian guide passed near that place, and were beaten by eleven River Indians, the French commander wounded (since dead), and two others surrendered. A party of three Christians and twenty-three Indians from Albany were immediately sent north to the Great Lake and destroyed their canoes. Meeting with some of the party they cut them all to pieces and brought in their papers. Two of our Indians are wounded. The French endured great hardship and fed upon acorns. It is believed that none of them will get to Canada. I have transmitted the examinations of the prisoners. The three companies on the frontier being much weakened, I prevailed on the Assembly to recruit them for a twelvemonth in May last. Since my return from Albany the Assembly have given a new supply to recruit them against the winter. The inhabitants of Albany are under apprehension of an attack this winter, of which I also have an account. The Governor of Canada had recruits last summer from France, and no assistance is to be expected from the neighbouring Colonies, so that many of the people of Albany think of removing to New York. I am therefore embarking with my own company to put myself in that post for the winter, and hope to take off all their doubts and fears. I shall be cut off by the ice for four months from the rest of the provinces, so have left the necessary orders. The same weather is our security against any attempts of the French by sea. I have made frequent applications for assistance to the neighbouring Colonies, which are fruitless. The Indians were hearty and well disposed, but much inclining to make a peace for themselves. I have remitted a bundle of beaver with their description of Canada to Mr. Blathwayt, which please send to the King. They have limited me to get an answer against the spring. I have also sent an address and an Association signed by the Assembly, it being the first time of their meeting since the King's happy deliverance. I beg you to intercede that the neighbouring Colonies may at least be obliged to contribute to the expense of the frontiers, also that the light fusils formerly asked for may be sent, and a regular supply of ammunition as well as the subsistence of the King's Companies. Signed, Ben. Fletcher. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 23 June, Read 7 July, 1697.
370. I. Journal of Governor Fletcher's expedition to Albany to renew the covenant with the Five Nations. Sept. 17. The Governor embarked after sunset. Sept. 22. The Governor arrived at Albany, inspected the fortifications, and gave orders as to repairs. Sept. 27. The Sachems of the Oneidas and Onandagas arrived in the morning, and supped with the Governor in the evening, expressing great satisfaction at meeting him. Sept. 28. Captain Weems was sent to Senectady to inspect the garrison and to report as to the repairs that are wanting. This day the Sachems of the three other nations arrived. Sept. 29. The Sachems of the Five Nations met, when the Governor addressed them, condoling with them for the losses of the Onandagas and Oneidas, recounting his coming to their assistance in August and delivering them presents of clothing, arms and ammunition to the value of £200 sterling from the King, in pledge of his protection, and of further articles from the New York Government, to the value of £400, New York money. Oct. 1. The Sachems of the Five Nations again met the Governor, when a Sachem of the Maquas first addressed him. The speaker thanked the Governor for his condolence and his presents, but complained that the enemy had brought them very low, having destroyed five out of six of their castles, and that if the remaining castle were destroyed they knew not what they should do. He then said that since the King of England had canoes of seventy guns apiece it was a great pity that the Five Nations should be plagued by so small an enemy as the French and the Indians of Canada; that the Five Nations were much reduced, but that if the other Colonies, who had all put their hand to the Covenant, would join with New York, they were ready to go and root the French out of Canada. The speaker then laid down a bundle of beaver-skins, and on the outside thereof a draft of the river of Canada, with the chief places marked thereon, to shew the smallness of the enemy and their seats upon the river; which draft he desired should be sent to the King. He then again thanked the Governor for the promise of the King's protection, and begged him to send to the King again with all speed to report what they had said, offering five beaver skins to pay for the pens, paper and ink, and to ask the King definitely whether he will send his ships and armies to destroy the French in Canada next spring. Oct. 2. The Five Nations again met Governor Fletcher when a Sachem of the Senecas was speaker. He solemnly renewed the covenant of the Five Nations with the whole of the Colonies, and begged that all that they had said might be reported to the King. The Governor then renewed the covenant on his side, on behalf of all the Colonies, assured the Five Nations of the King's protection, and told them that he had provided victuals and drink that they might drink the King's health. The Indians answered by acclamations. Oct. 3. The principal Sachems met the Governor in private conference, when the Governor told them that it was impossible, owing to the perils and uncertainties of the sea, to obtain in so short a time an answer from the King as to an attack on Canada in the next spring, but that he would take all measures to write and obtain an answer as speedily as possible, and meanwhile had appointed Major Peter Schuyler, Godfrey Dellius, Dirck Wessells and the Mayor of Albany to hear any propositions that they might make. He then gave each of them a keg of rum to comfort them on their way home, and bade them farewell. A Sachem of the Maquas then rose and spoke. Where, he asked, were the other Colonies, which had long been joined with New York in the circuit? They are asleep (he said), they come not to our assistance. We are now down upon our knee but not quite down upon the ground. Let the King send his great canoes, and let the brethren of the other provinces awake, and we shall stand on our feet. We again ask you to write to the King and obtain an answer against next spring. Let it not be said that the canoes are lost under water and that the wind has carried them into another country, but let us have an answer against the trees grow green. The Governor then answered that he would assuredly write as soon as possible and return the King's answer also, but he could not depend upon the time, as voyages were uncertain. He then again bid the chiefs farewell, who answered with acclamations. Oct. 4. Clothing was delivered to the foot companies, as a gratuity from the Assembly. Oct. 5. The Companies were mustered and sworn, when two dollars of the fourpence a day voted by the Assembly were paid to every man. The Governor at the head of his company bade the men not listen to factious and disaffected persons, promising that the fourpence a day should be paid into their own hands. In the afternoon the Governor embarked for New York, arriving there on the 9th of October. Copy. 10 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 23 June, 1697; Read 9 April, 1698.
370. II. Examination of three French prisoners, taken at Fort Orange, Albany, on the 16th of October, 1696. Joseph de Boake gave information that on the 24th of September he marched from Montreal, by orders from the Governor of that place, with twenty-one Frenchmen and one Indian, taking forty-five days' provisions. They were twelve days on the river and landed on the shore of Lake "Shamphire" [Champlain], where they left their three canoes and started with ten days' provisions only to make an attack on the Five Nations or on the English. After eight days' travel they arrived at some uninhabited houses over against the flats, where he and two more went forward to discuss what he could, but seeing three Indians retreated to his party and retreated with them to a thicket for the night. Next morning they marched to Kinderhook and next day about two hours before sunset they were attacked, when only thirteen of them were together, the rest being dispersed or lost. After some firing on both sides he and his party retreated, but he himself being grievously wounded was unable to proceed and exhorted the rest to surrender to the English, lest they should fall into the hands of the Indians. All refused except two, who surrendered with him three days later to the inhabitants of Scotack. The examinant further deposed that he commanded the batteaux and canoes that carried Count Frontenac, with 1,600 French and 460 Indians, in his expedition within three leagues of the Onandagas' Castle, where they landed with two small field-pieces and two small mortars to throw hand grenades. That same day they moved up towards the Castle, but found it burnt. They destroyed all the Indian corn round the place and then moved to the Oneidas' Castle, which they burnt, destroying also all the corn. In the Castle were thirty women and children, who surrendered. After this the expedition returned home, meeting with some small skirmishes on the way. Examinant also said that twelve ships, six of them men-of-war, arrived at Quebec in September, with 300 recruits, ammunition and stores. The two other prisoners disclaimed all knowledge of Count Frontenac's expedition, and one of them deposed that there was no fixed reward offered for any mischief that they singly do in these parts. Copy. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 23 June, 1697. Read 9 April, 1698. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. Nos. 70, 70 I, II; and (without enclosures) 52. pp. 158–161.]
Nov. 9.
New York.
371. Governor Fletcher to the Duke of Shrewsbury. Since my last I have been to Albany to meet the Indians. I found them true to the English, but inclinable to peace. They make remarks how the small number of French in Canada hold out and vex the English, who are so numerous on this main. They have earnestly solicited me to write to the Great King and to get them an answer in the spring whether he will send his canoes of seventy guns and destroy Canada that they may make a peace for themselves. They have also sent the King a small bundle of beaver skins, four black strokes upon the outside representing the river of Canada and three round strokes the three principal places. I have sent him the propositions, and beg you to obtain some answer or directions from the King. The Indians are a people of some consequence to these Colonies, and the barrier between the French and us. I have given them the presents sent by the King with some additions from this Government in consideration of their losses in defeating the French. The Assembly has also consented to provide for their maintenance during the winter. Our frequent alarms bring a hard duty and expense on the Province, so that the revenue is much anticipated, and the people uneasy because of the inequality of the burden, since our neighbours will give us no assistance. I have prevailed with the Assembly to recruit the companies, and am just about embarquing for Albany for the winter. One of the fighting captains of Oneida came down the river with me, and was desirous to see if the Great King of Britain fights the French, as is reported at Albany. I could find no interpreter to accompany him, so am obliged to send him back to his own Castle. A party of French which lately appeared near Albany were defeated by our people, while a party of ours that went North after them brought in seven scalps. I beg for the regular supply of stores and of pay for the companies. I find it hard to recruit the companies here, but by the Assembly's assistance have enlisted men for short periods. Men are not to be had on other terms here, since wages are so high. Colonel Ingoldsby has a twelve months' furlough from the King. Officers here are more difficult to be got than men, so I hope the King will give no more furloughs to officers here. Signed. Ben. Fletcher, 3 pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 2 July, 1697. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 71; and 52. pp. 152–155.]
Nov. 9.
New York.
372. Governor Fletcher to William Blathwayt. Reports briefly his treaty with the Indians and the defeat of the French party, as in the two preceding letters. I am informed that the French have a design to attack Albany this winter, and I am now embarking for that place with a detachment of my own company. I cannot depend on help from our neighbours, but I hope, by the grace of God, with the forces I have, and such as I can draw together from Duchess and Ulster Counties, to give them so warm an entertainment as will make them repent their journey. This will be my third voyage to Albany this year. We are much pressed by constant alarms and the expense of war. Pray try to obtain us relief from the neighbouring provinces, also some light fusils from the Indians, and regular remissions of stores and pay for the foot-companies. Signed, Ben. Fletcher. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 27 July, 1697. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 72; and 52. pp. 183–185.]
Nov. 9. 373. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Several Jamaica merchants attended, bringing with them a ship's master, who had been captured by the French, and who gave information that he had been very closely questioned by the French about Jamaica, and that his suspicion that an attack on the Island was in train was confirmed from the sources. They then gave in a memorial of measures necessary for the defence of Jamaica (see next abstracts).
Mr. Thornburgh attended, who reported that, though there was only strong presumption of Governor Trott's misbehaviour in entertaining pirates at the Bahamas, yet the Proprietors had turned him out.
A paper entitled "Misdemeanours of the Commanders of some of the King's ships" was read and the Agents for New York were ordered to attend next meeting to give information thereon. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 218–223.]
Nov. 9. 374. Memorial of the Agents for Jamaica to Sir William Trumbull. There is advice by private and public accounts that the French are fitting out a fleet of fifteen sail with land-soldiers and several warlike instruments proper for the West Indies. The season of the year and the great enquiries made of prisoners taken when coming from Jamaica point to an attack on that place or on Havana, which we rather believe because they have advanced one Bear, a pirate who fled from Jamaica to Havana and who knows all the Islands, to be commander. Bear has at last been with the French in Hispaniola and is now in France, much caressed. The booty they may get in Jamaica and the loss that the people will sustain either there or at Havana (on which place the safety of the West Indian trade greatly depends) will, we hope, be sufficient considerations to urge you to give the necessary orders for rendering these attempts of the enemy unsuccessful. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Read 9 Nov. 1696. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 25.]
Nov. 9. 375. Memorial of the Agents of Jamaica to the Lords of the Admiralty. The French fleet for the West Indies is ready to sail, so we doubt if there is time to prepare a sufficient number of men-of-war to cope with them at sea, which otherwise would be the best method of securing Jamaica and saving the Spaniards. The loss of the Spaniards in its consequences so nearly concerns us that our ruin is the next. By this means the galleons and flota may be conveyed safe to Spain, and how much that will concern all the confederacy anyone may judge. On their return they may touch at Newfoundland at the principal time of the year for their fishery, and may be back to Europe in May for the summer's business, provided they sail speedily, and all this done in the healthfullest time of the year. But if this cannot be done, then it is absolutely necessary that at least six men-of-war and two fire-ships be sent to be ready in harbour [Port Royal] before the French arrive, by whose help it may in all probability be secured. But otherwise it will be impossible against the greatest force that ever went to the Indies. Captain Lilly is now here, has been upon the place and can shew absolute necessity of what is here offered, and would be a fit person (if encouraged) to send with an express, both which seem immediately necessary. And for the more private and speedy expedition it would be convenient that the ships sail as soon as ready, though only two at a time, and with the first the fireships, if possible. 1 p. An extremely confused statement. Endorsed, Read 9 Nov. 1696. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 26.]
[Nov. 9.] 376. Captain Lilly to Bartholomew Gracedieu. I am forced to leave town this morning, but will attend you on Wednesday without fail. Meantime I don't know well what to say as to the French design upon Jamaica nor what can be done in this exigency, unless a sufficient number of men-of-war to beat them at sea might be sent. In default of that a sufficient number of fireships might be sent out, to be there before the enemy, and to anchor at the entrance to Port Royal so as to burn and destroy them if they attempt to come in. Two or three more men-of-war might also be sent to lie within the harbour's mouth. I think the sending of fire-ships would be a practicable expedient to keep the enemy in awe till relief can be sent; for if they have a design upon Jamaica, they cannot (at least not without great difficulty) make conquest of it unless they begin with Port Royal, for that place is the key and entrance to the conquest of the rest. I must confess that the enemy may pass it if they find too great danger in attacking it, and perhaps go down to Old Harbour and Withywood as they did before, but in that way they will hardly master the whole Island, for, if Port Royal be safe, Liguanea may hold out for a great while, in spite of the loss of the rest, until succoured from home. Signed, J. Lilly. 1 p. Endorsed, Read 9 Nov. 1696. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 27.]
Nov. 9. 377. "Misdemeanours of some of the Commanders of the King's ships in the plantations." Captain Richard Finch, late Commander and purser of the Henry, prize, in Virginia in 1691–1692, having seventy five or more men allowed to him, gave many of them leave to sail in sloops belonging to the inhabitants and on merchant's employ, for wages. One of them (a midshipman, I take it) went mate of a barque from James River to Barbados. She was cast away on her return and several men were drowned, the mate narrowly escaping. He seldom had thirty men and boys (with officers and all) aboard in the King's service, and they were in want of clothes, whereby the King had little or no service done all the time he was there, from that ship. Major William Wilson can testify to this. Captain Finch had not men enough aboard to careen his ship when he was to come for England, but had Captain Isaac Townsend's men to help him. A little before his sailing for England he pressed planters and other poor inhabitants who had wives and children, and carried some of them to England, to the great disturbance of the country.
Captain Thomas Evans, Commander and purser of H.M. frigate Richmond at New York in the year 1694 and since, keeps a common brew-house and bake-house at Fresh Water near New York, as several witnesses can testify. Captain Cales, master of a brigantine which arrived not long since, is either the mate or some other officer belonging to the Richmond. He can say from whom he took his bread and beer for his voyage, and whether he is discharged from the frigate or still on the purser's books. He can also inform you how many men were usually aboard the frigate, and he and others can tell whether Captain Evans and his family do not live ashore, and how he carries himself to gain the masters of ships and others to be his customers. The informer does not put his name to this paper lest he should fall under a displeasure which he cannot bear. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 9 Nov. 1696. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 15.]
Nov. 9. 378. The Council of Trade to the Master General of the Ordnance. Asking for a return of the ordnance stores supplied to the Colonies since the beginning of the King's reign. Signed, Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34, p. 81.]
Nov. 10. 379. Copy of a correspondence between Governors Fletcher and Nicholson. Governor Fletcher to Governor Nicholson. New York, 22 June, 1696. I have not been able to obtain one man from any of the neighbouring Colonies towards reinforcing our frontiers, but with some difficulty have recruited the King's Companies. Three of them are at Albany, which is all the force that I can make for defence of that place. My own company is in this fort. The burden of this province is very heavy; it must sink without assistance. I shall not be wanting, I hope, in any part of my duty, but endeavour to overcome all difficulties as becomes a loyal subject and an honest man. Sir Edward Andros sent £1,000, New York money. The sum you mention in yours of 19th May would be a seasonable kindness in our great necessity.
Governor Nicholson to Governor Fletcher. Port of Annapolis, Maryland, 8 July, 1696. I have communicated yours of 22 June to the General Assembly and enclose their resolution in answer thereto. We have no account of the arrival of our London ships yet, so no European news.
Here follows, Copy of a proposal sent by Governor Nicholson to the Burgesses of Maryland to send further assistance to New York, Governor Nicholson offering to lend the money if wanting. Answer of the Burgesses thanking the Governor for his generous offer, but declining it as they think that they have already sent enough assistance to New York.
Governor Fletcher to Governor Nicholson. New York, 10 November, 1696. I have met the Sachems of the Five Nations and have endeavoured to confirm them in their friendship. Details are enclosed. I have intelligence that the French intend to attack Albany this winter and that they have recruits from France, which is confirmed by Captain Paxton, who was lately a prisoner in a French man-of-war. A party of thirty-one French and Indians was sent out from Montreal with orders to do all possible mischief against us, and if possible to gain prisoners and intelligence. Our Indians encountered thirteen of them near Albany, and took two besides the Captain, who was wounded and is since dead. We sent out a party to cut off the retreat of the rest, which destroyed their canoes and killed a party of seven of them. I am just embarking for Albany, where I think it needful to reside this winter. I have no assistance from the neighbouring provinces. The whole, 2 pp. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 73.]
Nov. 10. 380. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Order for H.M.S. Newcastle to cruise to windward, taking eighty of the "Whitecoats" on board. The Assembly brought up an answer granting an additional allowance to certain sick seamen, and an address for speedy despatch of the bills before Council. Order for the Treasurer to supply a set of French colours.