America and West Indies: November 1696, 21-30

Pages 219-231

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. 21. 409. William Popple to the Attorney-General. Forwarding an Order in Council and a presentment from the Commissioners of Customs, for his opinion whether the King may establish Admiralty Courts and appoint Attorneys General and other Officers for the same in the Proprietary Colonies. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. p. 86.]
Nov. 21.
410. Henry Lowe to John Povey. I have this day arrived at Plymouth from Jamaica in H.M.S. Hampshire, bringing with me the state of the Island to lay before their Lordships. I hope to wait on you as soon as the coach will permit. Signed, Henry Lowe. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. and read, 24 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 31.]
Nov. 21. 411. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for securing for the King's service all gunpowder in the hands of merchants and others for sale. Order for £10 to be allowed to Colonel Jonathan Tyng for the expenses of his inspection of the garrisons within his regiment. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 57–58.]
Nov. 23.
New York.
412. Council of New York to Council of Trade and Plantations. The Governor went to Albany on the 10th for the winter, on the alarm of a meditated attack on Albany by the French. Many of the inhabitants threatened to move unless there were a better force to keep it. The Indians accuse the neighbouring Colonies of sloth and negligence. The Assembly, in order to recruit the companies on the frontier and be saved from the burden of detachments, have given £6 a man levy money for six months' service, besides the king's pay, and a groat a day. There is no help to be expected from our neighbours. They will do nothing. The winter sets in apace, which is the reason why the Governor gave us orders to seal up his packet, lest the river should be closed. We hope that the King will consider our hard case and give effectual orders to the other Colonies to bear their share of the duty and expense of the war. We doubt not that the Governor's presence at Albany will allay the people's fears and doubts, encourage the Indians, and secure the garrison. He cannot always remain there. This city may be surprised from the sea in the summer, and it is the seat of government. If the people of Albany begin to move they will be apt to follow one another, which would discourage our Indians, who are much courted by the French. Signed, N. Bayard, S. V. Cortlandt, Frederyck Flypse, John Laurence, G. Minivelle. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 5 April, 1697. Duplicate.
Original of the foregoing. Endorsed, Recd. 23 June, Read 7 July, 1697. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. Nos. 76, 77; and 52. pp. 91–93 and pp. 162, 163.]
Nov. 23.
413. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Sir William Beeston. This comes by an express to warn you that a fleet is fitting out in France, which is thought to be designed against the West Indies. You will be vigilant and make every preparation for defence. We have received your letters of 15 and 19 June, and of 4 and 5 July, and are preparing representations for the assistance and better security of the Island. To check the decrease of population we have given the North American Colonies orders to pass effectual laws against the harbouring of deserters and fugitives. The frigates have been appointed to sail with the Jamaica fleet on the 31st of December, and the King has ordered that all men-of-war for the service of the Colonies shall be under the direction of the Governors while they continue there. Those now sent for Jamaica will remain there till next year, when they will be relieved by others, and will come home with the convoy, and so every year for the future. Two months are given to the merchant-ships to unload and reload, beyond which you and your Council may grant them fifteen days and no more. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Tankerville, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 56. pp. 38–40.]
Nov. 23. 414. Council of Trade and Plantations to President and Council of Barbados. The King having entrusted the care of Trade and of the Plantations to us, we must remind you of former orders to send a full account of all affairs with returns of the accounts, and copies of all Acts passed. You will send us by first opportunity a list of persons fitted to be Councillors. A fleet is now fitting out in France for attack on the West Indies. The King has sent two advice boats with the intelligence, which you will forward to the Leeward Islands or to Jamaica. Your letter of 11 August has been received, and the Acts lately received are under consideration. We are preparing representations to the King for your security and advantage. Three frigates will be ready to sail from the Downs punctually on the 31st of December to convoy the merchant fleet to Barbados. Other convoys are appointed for the fleets to Jamaica and the Leeward Islands, all of which will keep company as far as their way lies together. Those for Barbados will remain to guard the Island till next year, when they will be relieved by others. The ships now there will return with the merchant fleet that sails on the 31st of December, and two months will be allowed for loading and unloading the ships, which may be prolonged at your discretion by twenty days but no longer. Directions have been given to North America to make effectual laws against the harbouring of deserters and fugitives, which we hope may be of some advantage to Barbados. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Tankerville, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44A. pp. 31–35.]
Nov. 23. 415. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Codrington. The King has entrusted us with the charge of the Plantations. You will send us the returns and information that have been already ordered, and in particular a list of your Councils and of persons suitable to fill vacancies therein. Your letters of 12 February, 5 May, and 2 September have been received, together with Minutes of Council and Acts. Our first duty is to warn you that a fleet is now fitting out in France, and gives just ground of suspicion that it is designed against the West Indies. You will make all preparations for defence. Two frigates will be in the Downs ready to sail on the 31st of December punctually to convoy the fleet to the Leeward Islands, keeping company with the Barbados and Jamaica fleets as long as their course is the same. The ships of war are to be under the orders of the Governors, and the two now sailing will remain under your orders for the next year, when they will be relieved by others, and so on annually. The ships of war now with you will convoy the homeward-bound fleet. The merchant-ships now going are to have two months to unload and reload, to which time you may add at your discretion fifteen days and no more. It is the King's pleasure that the settlement of St. Christophers be for the present discouraged, as there is no certainty whether the whole Island may be kept by England, and that no alteration be made in the four and a half per cent. duty on that Island. We have given orders for laws against harbouring deserters to be passed in the Northern Colonies, which we hope may be of service to you. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Tankerville, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 45. pp. 20–24.]
Nov. 23. 416. Memorial of Sir Robert Robinson to the King. (1) The trade of Newfoundland, the hereditary right of your royal predecessors, now labours under the insults of the French, who within memory paid tribute to the Queen of England for licence to fish there. Placentia Bay is a place of no small importance, and is worth the expense of some time and charge to recover it, while its vast trade and the profits to be derived from it would under wise management in due time much enrich your royal coffers and prove an excellent seminary for seamen. (2) Canada is a place of very great importance, and the reduction of it would be a matter of no great difficulty, there being but two forts for the defence of the French, and the artillery in them but ill-mounted. But its situation at the back of Newfoundland enables the French to gall the English at their pleasure, and at this day the English Colonies lie under great and fatal apprehensions of so ill neighbours, who with the assistance of the natives make terrible incursions upon them. Besides, as it is America, I conceive that there may be silver veins in that part of the country as in Peru and Mexico, which would enrich Your Majesty for ever in your own dominions. I think this can be done with a little charge and trouble; and let the success be left to Almighty God. It would be an extraordinary benefit to the English, and it would be to your glory for ever, besides securing New England, New York, Newfoundland, &c. In Jamaica and Newfoundland, and lately in Hudson's Bay, the French have committed bloody and tragical hostilities, which may justly excite your revenge. Now a squadron of good cruising ships would prevent this and many other daily depredations and piracies practised by the French, and would reduce these places to your obedience. Last summer two pirates went to the entrance to the Red Sea and there plundered the junks from the Indies of a vast quantity of goods and treasure, designed for Alexandria, Smyrna, Constantinople, &c., so that they shared £1,400 to each private seaman. They are now going again and will be back to the Island of Ascension in May next, and so to Carolina, where they fitted out. This timely notice may be a means of securing them next summer and putting a stop to their further piracies, which if not prevented may be of fatal consequence to the East India and Turkey Companies, whose effects abroad may perhaps be seized and confiscated to make good the damage done by these pirates. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 23 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 4.]
Nov. 23. 417. Memorial of the case of William Holman, Commander of the galley William and Mary. Being in Ferryland Harbour, Newfoundland, in 1694, and having intelligence that the French were coming with several men-of-war to destroy that harbour and the ships therein (as they had done the year before) Holman so animated and encouraged the people, who were in great consternation, that he prevailed on them not to leave the harbour as they were all going to do. He then built four several forts and planted thirty guns therein for defence of the harbour and of the ships therein, which were nine in number. On the 1st of August two French men-of-war entered the harbour, when Holman engaged them so warmly from the forts that in one day he compelled them to withdraw, and so saved the harbour and ships. For this service the Admiralty gave him a medal and chain, but as they had not power to make good his expenses, amounting to £495, he petitioned to the Lords Justices, who referred the matter to the Committee of Trade. The Committee were of opinion that his expenses ought to be made good, but said that they could not report for the sum until some proof was made thereof; and before Holman came home to make this proof the Committee was dissolved and the papers transferred to the Council of Trade, before whom Holman is ready to prove his expenses. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. and read 23 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 5.]
Nov. 23. 418. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The repeal of two laws of Massachusetts was received from the Clerks of Council and delivered to Sir Henry Ashurst. Several letters were signed. Captain Holman's memorial was read (see preceding abstract). An order in Council of 19th inst. as to New York was received, and notice of its contents given to the New York Agents.
Nov. 24. Sir William Beeston's letters of 22 and 23 July and 7 August, and Mr. Henry Lowe's letter of 21 November were read.
Nov. 25. Captain Holman presented a petition relating to his charges in Newfoundland in 1694, but withdrew it on learning that the Board could not take notice of it without special reference from the King. Memorial of the Agents for Barbados of 18th inst. read (see No. 400). Order for the Secretary to ask for an answer to a late enquiry from the Ordnance Office. Instructions were given for representations as to the state of Barbados and Bermuda. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 238–250.]
Nov. 23. 419. Minutes of General Assembly of Massachusetts. Acts as to capital offences considered. Agreed that the offences be drawn into separate Acts.
Nov. 24. Bills against conjuration and witchcraft, and against the murder of bastards, read, voted and sent down to the Representatives.
Nov. 26. Bill for equal distribution of insolvent estates again read, and enacted. Bill for Assize of bread read a first time. £40 voted to Jonathan Balston for materials supplied to the ship Mary, impressed for the King's service, and lost.
Nov. 27. Bill for Assize of bread read again. Bill for incorporation of Harvard College read and debated. Private bill as to John Moore's estate read a first time. Voted in concurrence with the Representatives that a packet-boat be hired and despatched to England to lay the condition of the province before the King. A proposal, that a suitable person be sent with her to solicit the affairs of the Province, was sent down to the Representatives for concurrence. The engrossment of the Bill to make lands liable to payment of debts read and left to further reading. [Board of Trade. New England, 48. pp. 92–95.]
Nov. 24.
420. William Popple to Captain St. Lo, Commissioner of the Navy at Plymouth. Forwarding two packets for Barbados and Jamaica, with orders that in case of danger of capture on passage, they are to be sunk. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. p. 86.
Nov. 24.
421. William Popple to Messrs. Heathcote and Gracedieu. Forwarding packets for Barbados and Jamaica to be despatched in the advice-boat from the Thames, with the same instructions as in the preceding letter. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. p. 87.]
Nov. 24.
422. Lieutenant Roger Wright to the Duke of Bolton. I arrived in the harbour in H.M.S. Surloin from Piscadua [Piscattaway?] in New England in thirty-nine days, with the mast-ships and merchantmen under convoy. On the 4th of July H.M. Ships Surloin, Captain Emes, and Newport, Captain Paxton, while cruising near Boston, made four ships and bore down to engage them. Emes with thirty-six guns engaged a Frenchman of forty-eight with three hundred and fifty seamen and soldiers on board, and Paxton with twenty-eight guns engaged a forty-gun ship with 250 seamen and soldiers. Paxton behaved himself very bravely, having his main-topmast shot down and receiving several shots between wind and water, so that she had five feet of water in the hold. In all probability she would have sunk, but Captain Paxton, seeing no hopes of victory, obliged himself to strike, on which Captain Emes sheered off and saved his ship, running the Newport ashore or otherwise she would have sunk. In the same month of July Count Frontenac, Governor of Canada, invaded the Indian country belonging to New York Government with two thousand troops. The design was to prevail with the Indians to join them, but instead of that they fled from their castles, and the French, having destroyed their corn, demolished their castles and retreated. Application was made to the Governor of New York in time, but he never regarded their expresses, to the great dissatisfaction of the Indians and of the inhabitants of the province. After the retreat of the Indians he came to Albany with thirty soldiers, to no purpose, but this is like the rest of his arbitrary proceedings put upon the King's subjects in the province. In August the French besieged the fort of Pemaquid in New England with three men-of-war, landing one hundred soldiers and two hundred Indians, two mortars and two pieces of cannon firing three bombs into the fort, as was designed, but over played the fort clearly (sic). Then the French Indians summoned the fort, threatening the captain in command that no man should have quarter if they did not immediately surrender; insomuch that the "courdly villane" surrendered the fort on condition of quarter and marching out of the fort as prisoners without bag or "bagish or aney meteryalles of ware." This was a regular stone fort, with eighteen very good guns mounted and ammunition and provisions considerable to defend a siege, but this "courdly and trechuras villan," as I may call him, during the siege fired only three guns from the fort between the 10th and 12th of August, having with him a hundred "counturry" soldiers. The French took away all the great guns, two hundred small arms and everything answerable, and eight barrels of powder, and then blew up the fort. The day before we left Piscadua we had advice that the French had invaded Newfoundland with "a leiven" [?eleven] men-of-war, and had taken a hundred sail in those harbours. Our man-of-war then in harbour, rather than be taken by the French, was abandoned and set on fire by the captain. Those parts of America are so much "in combured by Governures and self intrist and imposinge upon His Majesty's subjects that no feasabell methudes are tackun to promote His Majestye's intrist and honure." The only proposal that can be thought upon is to send them a General Governor, ships of more force, a regiment of soldiers, men skilled in fortifying, and a magazine proportionable to the garrisons. "I am hayly sensabell" that if a speedy method be not taken to send a supply for the assistance of those parts, the French will in all likelihood destroy all their garrisons and ruin the country. All this can be certified by several gentlemen who have come from those parts to London. Signed, Rog. Wright. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 30 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 78.]
Nov. 25.
423. William Popple to Mr. Pulteney. Desiring an answer to the question put to the Master General of the Ordnance as to the stores of war sent to the Colonies since the King's accession. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. p. 87.]
Nov. 25.
424. Lords of Trade and Plantations to the King. We have information from credible hands of the capture of Pemaquid by the French and the besieging of Saco, near Piscattaway, from which county the masts come. In view of the danger that thus threatens the country we represent the want of a Governor, with some knowledge of military affairs, and of a vice-admiral. Signed, Ph. Meadows, William Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. New England, 36. p. 51.]
Nov. 25. 425. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The Assembly returned the bill as to decision of elections, with the Council's amendments thereto amended. A conference was then held thereon, and the bill was again brought up with amendments. Bill concerning trade sent down to the Assembly with amendments. [Board of Trade. Barbados,–65. p. 167.]
Nov. 27. 426. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Agents for Barbados attending, their late memorial (see No. 400) was read over by paragraphs. They said that they had no instructions as to military stores, but would consider the proportion of those that seemed most necessary and report. They agreed that the engineer for the Leeward Islands might first call at Barbados and do all that was needed, but were unable to give any account of the Governors taking the fifteenth of all prizes; and they recommended that a brigantine and a snow should be taken up for the service of the Island.
Nov. 27. A petition of John Clappe and others was read (see next abstract) also another paper by Mr. Usticke. The Secretary was directed to write to the Mayors of the West Country ports. Several merchants of Newfoundland attended, bringing with them two captains of merchant-ships who had been in Newfoundland at the time of the capture of Ferryland, and gave an account how they had fortified the mouth of the harbour, but that the French had landed a force and turned it; of all which the merchants promised to give an account in writing. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 250–253.]
Nov. 27. 427. Petition of John Clappe and others, on behalf of the inhabitants of Ferryland, in Newfoundland, now residing at Barnstaple in Devon, to the King. On Monday 21 September last seven French men-of-war and two fire-ships landed about seven hundred men in Ferryland and attacked us on every side. After making what resistance we could we were forced (they being too many and too strong for us) to submit, and since we refused to swear allegiance to the French king and to take up arms against your Majesty, the enemy dealt very hardly with us, burnt all our houses, household goods, fish, oil, train-fats, stages, boats, nets and fishing craft to the value of more than £12,000, and sent us away with our wives, children and servants. By God's mercy we are all, to the number of about 150 persons, arrived safely in England, but owing to our great loss we are in great poverty and unable to subsist without relief. We beg therefore for relief, and that a sufficient force may be timely sent to save next season's fishing, and to regain and defend the said harbour and adjacent places from the French, so that we may rebuild our houses and stages and resume our fishery trade. Forty three signatures. Large sheet. Endorsed, Recd. 27 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 6; and 25. pp. 34–35.]
Nov. 27. 428. "A paper presented to the Board by Mr. Richard Enstead." A Governor at Newfoundland was of no advantage to those that went there on a fishing voyage, but rather the contrary, for a Governor craves an Admiral's chief place in most advantageous harbours for his own by interest, though the said ground has anciently belonged to that ship that first possessed the harbour to make his fishing voyage. Also the Governor on complaint of any troublesome fellow, may summon the masters before him, which, as the distance may be leagues from the place where his ship lies, may be very prejudicial to his voyage. In every harbour during the fishing season the first ship that gets or takes possession of said harbour has always had the name of Admiral, who has had by ancient custom the right to choose the most convenient part of the harbour for building his stage in order to make his fishing voyage, and to make use of no more ground than has been customary heretofore for the same number of boats that he may employ for the killing enough to load his ship. And it has been customary for the Admiral of a harbour to make use of one boat's room over and above, and not that he take his room in two harbours, which is disadvantageous to another ship's occasion. It has been usual in case of any differences between the ships, either masters or men or inhabitants or planters, for the Admiral of the harbour to hear the same, who has adjusted the matter to the satisfaction of the complainants. Therefore there is no occasion for a Governor. An order should be issued that no ships making a fishing voyage to Newfoundland shall carry any men but what really belong to the said ships, on penalty of a fine of £10 for each man on conviction before the Admiral of the harbour and another master of a ship in that harbour. No partner nor resident in Newfoundland should be permitted to encroach on any fishing-room that ships have formerly made use of. Planters and inhabitants should take room at a distance [from that] which is used by ships that go on a fishing voyage. No planter or resident should be permitted to build store-houses or other houses on any ground that has been used for the making of fish, nor to destroy any stage or room (which they have frequently done) after the ships are gone to their market, for it is very expensive for the ships that go next year to build others. No ship's company that arrives in any harbour with resolve to fish there shall destroy any stage or room which might serve the next ships that arrive. We pray that we may have convoy by the beginning of January to touch at Milford to escort our ships to Portugal to load salt and thence to Newfoundland; and that about the 20th of February we may have the convoy at Milford to convoy ours and the British ships direct to Newfoundland Six men-of-war may be sufficient, four to guard the fishery and two to cruise on the coast, which may prevent the building of forts unless there be occasion to fortify any harbour during the fishing-season, in which case the fortification may be made with the guns belonging to the ships in that harbour. At the end of the season one or two of the men-of-war may be ordered to return with the ships that bring the train-oil and the fishermen, while the other four men-of-war convoy our fish-ships to Spain or Portugal. It would be very advantageous to the King's subjects that no Spaniards or Portuguese be permitted to trade to Newfoundland, for they supply their own market and bring no return to England, which is a great loss to the revenue and to English interests. Large sheet. Endorsed as headed, Nov. 27, 1696. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 7.]
Nov. 27.
429. Lieutenant George Sydenham to William Blathwayt. I have written several letters while at [New] York, but I think you received none. I thought it my duty to give you a full account of what officers have suffered. In February '94 I applied to you for my subsistence. Captain Weems, being gone to sea, left his bro. [?brother] to receive what money he could. You wrote to Captain Hide to pay me, but he refused, alleging that he knew not what accounts were between my captain and I. We set sail the 21st of March 94–5, and arrived at Boston on the 15th of May, where I met with my captain. I desired some money of him: he said he had none for me. On the 12th June we set sail for New York and arrived there on the 16th and 19th, with the Governor's and Captain Weems's company on board for Albany. We lieutenants made application to His Excellency how we were to be subsisted, saying that we had no money and desiring him to supply us or give us credit, as the captains had received six months' subsistence for officers and soldiers. The Governor said he had no money for us and we must go to our posts. We arrived at Albany the 23rd of June, and Captain Hide on the 4th of July. We applied to the captains for money, but none would be granted. At the latter end of September the Governor came to Albany, and we made a second application to him for money. He said he had none, but that he expected the captain to pay us, as he had paid all his officers, and he ordered Captain Weems to pay me, but Captain Weems never obeyed the order. I was forced to lay down my command before I made myself more miserable. I laid an information before the Governor and Council, of which I desire you to consider what we have suffered. I doubt not that the Governor has sent you a copy of it, if not, I have a true copy which I desire you to peruse with your favourable construction. When I come to London I shall further inform you by two other officers, come on the same account. The Governor, Council and Assembly of Boston, as I understand, have petitioned the King to send ships with land-forces to defend them from the invasions of the French and Indians, who have cut off all the plantations for several miles, and taken forts. If any forces do come I hope you will befriend me with some post answerable to my qualifications and behaviour. I shall never be unmindful of your favour, which I shall ever acknowledge. Sir, we came out of Piscattaway in New England the 17th of October, mastships and merchantmen under convoy of H.M.S. Surloin. Two merchant ships were separated from us by a storm; they were laden with oil, whalebone, sugar, molasses, logwood and brazaletto. Pray excuse my rudeness. Signed, Geo. Sydenham. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 4 Dec., 1696. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 79.]
Nov. 27.
St. James's.
430. Mr. Pulteney to William Popple. Forwarding the answer of the Officers of Ordnance to the Council of Trade's letter of 9 November (see No. 378). Signed, J. Pulteney. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 27 Nov., 1696. Annexed,
430. I. Officers of Ordnance to the Council of Trade, 24 November, 1696. We enclose a list of all stores of war sent to the Plantations since the beginning of the King's reign. Signed, H. Goodricke, Chr. Musgrave, Joh. Charlton, Ja. Lowther, Wm. Boulter. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 27 Nov., 1696. Read 30th.
430. II. Account of stores of war sent to the Colonies from 1 November, 1689, to 1 November, 1696. 13 pp. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. Nos. 18, 18I., II.; and (enclosure No. I. only) 34. p. 88.]
Nov. 27.
H.M. Yard,
431. Captain George St. Lo, R.N., to William Popple. Acknowledging the receipt of packets for Barbados and Jamaica. Signed, G. St. Lo.¼ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 30 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 19.]
Nov. 28. 432. William Popple to the Mayors of Exeter, Bristol, Plymouth, Dartmouth, Weymouth, Poole and Fowey. Desiring to know the proposals of the merchants interested in Newfoundland as to the measures for recovering and securing the trade there, and asking them to appoint an agent to attend the Council of Trade on the matter. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 25. p. 36.]
Nov. 29. 433. Commission to Nicholas Webb to be Governor of the Bahama Islands. Signed, Craven, Bath, Berkeley, Ashley, Wm. Thornburgh for Sir John Colleton. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., pp. 257–258; and noted in Board of Trade. Carolina, 4. p. 33.]
Nov. 29. 434. Additional instructions to Nicholas Webb. To enquire into the truth of an allegation that Nicholas Trott allowed certain pirates to land in the Bahamas, in consideration of presents which they made to him, and that he took most of the cargo for himself. [Board of Trade. Carolina, 4. p. 35.]
Nov. 30. 435. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Peter Beckford, junior, was sworn as Receiver-General. Orders for certain payments. On intelligence of the coming of a French squadron, supposed to be designed against the Spanish ports on the Main, it was ordered that two fireships be at once fitted out for defence of Port Royal, and that the vessels now fishing at the wreck about Point Pedro Cays be recalled. Order for payment of the Chief Justice's salary. The late Receiver-General's accounts were brought up and referred for audit. A consultation was held later with the Captains of H.M. ships Southampton, Princess Anne and Reserve, when it was resolved to fit out fireships immediately and to keep boats ready manned and armed in the harbour. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 79. pp. 35–37.]
Nov. 30. 436. Memorial of the Town of Barnstaple, Devon, to the Council of Trade and Plantations. (1) We conceive that nothing can more advance the fishery trade of Newfoundland than the continuance of the government of the fishery after the ancient way, and the strict observance of the constitutions whereby it has hitherto been regulated, the masters and fishermen being accustomed to the same, and the rules having been found by experience to be beneficial. The regulations are as follows:—That the first ship arriving from England that enters and takes possession of a harbour shall have the name of Admiral of that harbour, and shall have first choice of a place for building his stage and for making his fishing-voyage, taking enough ground and no more for the number of fishing-boats that he shall keep, with room for one boat more as his privilege for first coming; that the respective Admirals be charged with the preservation of public peace and good government among the fishermen and planters in their respective harbours, by punishing the lesser offenders and bringing the more heinous to be punished in England according to their deserts, and that they have power to hear and decide all differences between masters of ships and seamen or planters, according to the ancient custom, which has given satisfaction to all parties; that no planter or inhabitant possess himself of any stage, beach or landing place which has formerly been used by the fishing-ships from England, nor provide himself with a fishing-place before the arrival of the ships or at soonest before the beginning of May; that no planter destroy any stage or room built by any ship, nor any ship's company on its arrival destroy any stage or room that might serve the next ship that arrives, nor any person convert to their use the boats or train-fats that belong to others without the owner's consent. (2) For the increase of seamen for the King's service it should be strictly provided that every ship making a fishing-voyage to Newfoundland do carry for every five seamen one who has not been to sea before. (3) The Captains of the King's ships should be ordered to prevent any of their company taking, curing, salting or drying any fish in or about Newfoundland, and be forbidden to take any fish into their ships by way of freight or merchandise, except for their own use and spending. (4) For the present re-settlement and security of the trade we think that six fourth-rate men-of-war and some land-men should be at Milford about the 20th of February next to convoy the ships belonging to Bristol, Barnstaple and Bideford to Newfoundland and put us in possession of the places lately taken by the French. Two of the men-of-war should cruise upon the coast, the rest should guard the fishery. Any fortification of any harbour may be made with the guns of the ships belonging to that harbour. At the close of the season we ask that one or two of the men-of-war may convoy the ships with the train-oil and fishermen, while the remainder guard the fish-ships to Spain or Portugal. (3) We think that establishing a Governor and building forts in Newfoundland can be of no service to the King, for the following reasons: (i) Building of forts will not save the expense of convoy to Newfoundland, which is absolutely necessary. No ships, considering the late great losses, dare venture without a strong convoy. (ii) The country being large and containing almost as many harbours as England, many forts would be necessary to make any tolerable defence against the landing of an enemy, the charge of maintaining which forts would far exceed that of the strongest convoy desired. (iii) A Governor residing but in one place can secure only the harbour in which he resides. The ways overland from one harbour to another are difficult, if not impassable, by reason of the woods; to which it may be added that to call fishermen from their harbours to attend the Governor upon any troublesome complaint would be great loss and hindrance to them, when they should be quietly at labour in preparing lading for their ships. (iv) The disturbances, as also the disputes, between the seamen and the planters, may be redressed (as has been usual), without delay or calling the seamen from the harbours, by the Admirals of the harbours. (v) It is conceived that the office of a Governor and the several forts cannot be maintained without a tax, which perhaps may be laid upon fish, train, etc., which the poor fishermen will be unable to bear, especially since it is thought that the whole product of the fishing trade in Newfoundland would scarcely suffice to maintain the charge of forts necessary for the defence of the harbours. (vi) Notwithstanding any salary allowed by the King to the Governor, it would be in his power to oppress the seamen, the possibility of which would be a great discouragement to the trade. (vii) If the French should in the winter make themselves masters of any of the forts (which would not be very difficult) our own guns and fortifications would be turned against us in the fishing season. We therefore think that the building of forts and establishment of a Governor would be of no service to the King and no defence to the trade, but rather a hindrance and discouragement to the trade; and we beg that no Governor may be sent to Newfoundland. Signed, Jeffery Bagilholl, Mayor, and by thirty-four others. 3 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 8; and 25. pp. 36–40.]
Nov. 30. 437. Memorial of the Town of Bideford to the Council of Trade and Plantations. We desire that Richard Usticke, our present collector of Customs, may solicit the Newland concern on our ports, and for his government we have drawn up our sentiments as follows:—Here follows a literal transcript of the paper presented by Richard Enstead. See No. 428. Signed, Jno. Langford, Mayor, and by twenty-eight others. Large sheet. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Nov., 1696. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 9; and 25. pp.41–43.]
Nov. 30. 438. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. A memorial from the town of Barnstaple was received, also an account from the Ordnance of the stores sent to the Colonies since the beginning of the war. A second memorial from Mr. Brenton as to naval stores was also received. Letters from Lieutenant Roger Wright of 24 November, from Governor Goddard of 30 June, from Lieutenant-Governor Stoughton of 24 September, from Isaac Addington of 16 September, from Governor Fletcher of 13 July, 22 August, and 17 and 18 September, and from Robert Livingston of 19 September, were read. Mr. Nelson came with an account of the French prisoners taken at Hudson's Bay, which he was bidden to lay before Secretary Trumbull, as being beyond the province of this Board. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 254–256.]
Nov. 30. 439. Minutes of General Assembly of Massachusetts. Bill against high treason read a first time. Bill for incorporation of Harvard College further debated and committed.