America and West Indies: January 1697, 1-15

Pages 289-308

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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January 1697

Jan. 1. 553. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Secretary reported that he had written to Mr. Thornburgh, Mr. Nelson and Mr. Hebb, as ordered. He was directed to summon Mr. Thornburgh to attend next Wednesday. Mr. Cole, Mr. Merret and Mr. Usticke attended on the business of Newfoundland, and were informed as to the orders given by the King as to convoys. They named St. Johns, Ferryland and Carbonere as the places that should be fortified in Newfoundland. Order for the Secretary to inform the Mayors of the outports of the orders as to convoys to Newfoundland.
The Jamaica merchants attended, and were informed that the King would grant them £500 to transplant men to Jamaica on their giving security to repay the money if they did not get the men. They Answered that they could hardly get men in time to sail by next ships, and that even if they got 200 men with the £500 it was useless for them to go alone or until they had a transportship to keep them in. They spoke also of fresh letters from Sir William Beeston of the danger of the Colony owing to the dearth of men, which Mr. Blathwayt corroborated by letters from Sir William to himself. Mr. Way then brought up the question of Commissary Lewis's security in Jamaica, which the Council agreed to leave to Sir William Beeston.
Ordered that the Order in Council of 31 December as to Admiralty Courts in the Colonies be sent to the Agents of the several Proprietors, and a copy to the Secretary of the Treasury. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 316–320.]
Jan. 2. 554. Copy of a letter from Benjamin Davis of Boston to Edward Hull, merchant, of London. We are in a sad posture for want of a settlement and of help from the King, the French threatening to be on us in the spring. We have had no news from Barbados these ten weeks. The last account was that four French ships of seventy guns lay to windward of the Island, and they were all upon their guard; and we hear from Nevis last week that they are still there, intercepting every provision-ship and sending them into Martinique, and that no vessel can come off the Island. Our people are very sorry that the King continues so many petty governments among us, such as Piscataqua and Rhode Island, which if not altered will be a means to ruin this Government. There are such a bloody crew of privateers at Rhode Island that that Government cannot rule them, and the sober men are in fear of their lives. The privateers are daily plundering vessels as they come in, and it is said that unless the King take some present care the privateers will govern the Island. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 15 April, 1697. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 55; and 36. pp. 156–157.]
Jan. 2.
555. William Popple to the Mayors of Bristol, Barnstaple, Bideford, Exeter, Plymouth, Dartmouth, Weymouth, Poole and Fowey. Your proposals as to the Newfoundland trade have been laid before the Council of Trade. The King on their representation has ordered a fourth-rate frigate to be ready at Plymouth on 20th inst. to convoy the ships from London and the Channel ports to Portugal to lade salt, and thence to Newfoundland. Another frigate will be ready at Milford at the same time to convoy the ships from Bristol, Bideford and Barnstaple. You will receive early information as to convoys for the fishing-ships. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 25. p. 57.]
Jan. 4. 556. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Petition for trial of a ship for breach of the Acts of Trade referred to the Attorney-General, and Commissioners appointed conditionally to try her. Here follow the report of the law-officers and the account of the trial of the ship. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. 213–217.]
Jan. 4. 557. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Order for payment of £ 403 for a fireship bought into the King's service, also that the captain's wages be £10 a month with 15s. a week for diet, and the gunner's and boatswain's wages £ 4 a month with 10s. a week for diet, also that the Receiver-General pay the charge of fitting the said ship. Orders for payments for land bought for the King's, for guns, fortifications, and salaries. Two accounts for fortifications passed. Petitions for compensation for the loss of a pressed canoe and for rebate of duty on certain imported negroes granted. Order for the charges for reducing rebellious negroes to be placed to account. The Receiver-General brought up his accounts of the King's revenue. He was then ordered to transfer his balance to the new Receiver-General. The Governor laid before Council an account of Captain Kirkby's disobedience to his orders, and issue of orders to Captain Moses contradictory to those of the Governor. The Council supported the Governor's orders, and agreed that the sooner Captain Kirkby went home the better. The Governor reported that several persons had assembled and drunk King James's health in St. Andrew's parish. Order for the Justice to enquire thereinto. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 79. pp. 37–47.]
Jan. 4.
558. The Mayor of Dartmouth to Council of Trade and Plantations. I have communicated yours of 2nd inst. to the merchants here, and we all return you thanks. We sent our proposals about the Newfoundland fishery to our representatives in Parliament, Sir Joseph Hern and William Hayne, Esq., and we have written to the former to attend you. Signed, Thomas Floud, mayor. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 9 Jan., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 20.]
Jan. 4. 559. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Mr. Bridgeman's letter as to the departure of the convoys for the West Indies read. Order for the Agents of Jamaica and the Leeward Islands to attend on Wednesday next.
Major-General Winthrop presented the Attorney General's opinion as to the dispute between Rhode Island and Connecticut as to Narragansett Bay. Order for the records bearing on the question to be searched.
The Lord Keeper sending word that he could attend on Thursday next on the business of Newfoundland, the Secretary was instructed to summon the other great officers of the Council to be present also.
The Deputy Governor of Hudson's Bay and Mons. de la Forest attended with their Counsel, and the case between them was heard. Summary of the arguments of Counsel. The Council agreed as to its representation thereon. The Secretary was instructed to write to the Hudson's Bay Company as to the use to be made of their article relating to the year 1688. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 320–326.]
[Jan. 4.] 560. A collection of depositions and other papers relating to the infringement of the Articles upon the surrender of York Fort, Hudson's Bay, to the French in 1694.
560. I. Affidavit of Philip Parsons, merchant of Exeter. In 1694 I was Deputy-Governor and Captain of the soldiers in York Fort, Hudson's Bay. Two French men-of-war came before the place, landed 300 men, and besieged the fort, in which were only fifty-three persons. After eighteen days' siege we were obliged to capitulate, and on 4 October we surrendered the fort to the French on honourable terms, of which the following in particular were broken. (1) It was agreed that the besieged should receive provisions and necessaries equal to those supplied to the besiegers. We had not half so much in any kind; often no bread at all for weeks, and sometimes no bread at all except made of malt, which gave the men flux, and was like to have killed many of them, though only one died. (2) The officers and garrison were to have wintered in a house called Fox Hall within the fort, but in two or three days they were dispersed in small parties into the woods to build houses for shelter from the weather, which was then excessive cold, and only four officers and a boy remained in the fort. (3) The besieged were to have kept their arms and all their private goods, but the besiegers took away their arms, clothes and bedding, and gave them what they pleased in provisions in lieu thereof. (4) The besieged were to be treated without offence or injury, but many of the men were cruelly beaten by the French, and others had their fingers burned in tobacco-pipes by the Indians. (5) The besieged were to be transported to England by first opportunity; they were taken to Rochelle, where one of them, being unable to travel, was left and has not since been heard of, while the rest of us were conducted to Dinant, where the French detained us contrary to the capitulation for over three months, imprisoned several of the English and dealt with them as prisoners of war. Their usage of them was so cruel that five or six died at Dinant, and on the journey from Rochelle, 180 miles, the French guards refused to provide carriages for the lame and sick, who were obliged to throw away their clothes to make their journey on foot the easier. Shortly after arriving at Dinant I complained to the Commissary of War at St. Malo and sent him copy of the capitulation, who only answered that he would take care shortly to transport us to England, but that the difference about the cartel prevented his doing so at once, pretending that the Prince of Orange would allow no French ships to come from England. I offered to buy a ship at my own charge to transport us, but the Commissary refused, and we were detained as aforesaid. During our detention many of the prisoners were put to great expense, and had I not borrowed £181 from Mr. Abraham Duport of Rochelle I and the rest should probably have perished, the French allowance being very bad and so small as hardly to suffice to sustain nature. Sworn, 26 December, 1696. Copy. 3½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 4 Jan., 1696–7. Delivered to the Clerks of Council, 16 Feb., 1696–7.
560. II. Deposition of James Hubbald. As to hearing from Henry Pigott and William Clarke of their bad treatment in York Fort, and advising them to make complaint. They answered that they would not speak what they knew to the Hudson's Bay Company, believing that the Company would not gratify them for so doing. Deponent urged that it was their duty, whereupon Pigott answered that he believed that they could give the matter in dispute for or against the Company as they pleased. Sworn, 2 Jan. 1696–7. 1 p. Endorsed as No. I.
560. III. Deposition of Mary Davis. To the effect that she had heard from Thomas Jacobs, who was one of the prisoners taken in York Fort, of their ill-treatment by the French in Hudson's Bay, in the voyage to Rochelle and afterwards, as detailed in No. I. 2 pp. Endorsed as No. I.
560. IV. Depositions of Michael Grimmington. Confirming the story of Mary Davis, with whom he saw Thomas Jacobs and heard the narrative of his ill-treatment by the French, who even tortured him to make him confess where his books and papers were. Sworn, 2 Jan. 1696–7. 1 p. Same endorsement.
560. V. Deposition of William Potter, Secretary to the Hudson's Bay Company. The French by seizing our forts, burning our houses and taking our ships have in time of peace done us damage to the amount of £105,000, of which £50,000 was done in 1686 and 1687. Our trading goods in York Fort at the time of its capture cost us £18,000, and the French lived on our provisions and traded with these goods for two years. In 1695 the French returned their receipts at 55,000 skins, being part of that which they have gained with our goods. I was told of the harsh treatment of the prisoners taken by the French in 1694. Some of them are dead, some serving in the King's Navy, and some are gone back to Hudson's Bay, but I believe that of the 53 persons in the Fort not 30 are living, owing to their ill-treatment. Our expedition of 1696 to retake York Fort cost us £15,000, and we have had no returns from the Bay in 1695 or 1696. The skins bought from the Bay this year cost us in customs and expenses £1,500, and the Committee of the Company could sell them all for £ 7,000. I believe the total damage done to us by the French exceeds £200,000. 1½ pp. Same endorsement. Entered in Board of Trade. Hudson's Bay, 3. pp. 27–29.
560. VI. The case of the Hudson's Bay Company of England against the Canada Company of France. The Hudson's Bay Company has suffered much damage by the French in peace as well as in war. In 1682 they invaded our territories at Port Nelson, burned our factories, seized our goods and carried off our servants. Damage reckoned at £25,000. In 1684 they again attempted Port Nelson, doing us damage reckoned at £10,000. In 1685 they took one of our ships; damage reckoned at £5,000. In 1686 they destroyed three of our factories and three of our ships, turning our people, over fifty persons, adrift in an open boat whereby many perished; damage reckoned at £50,000. The Company applied to King Charles II. for relief, who instructed his Ambassador in France accordingly, but meanwhile the Treaty of Neutrality was agreed to in 1686, whereby the Company was excluded. In 1688 the French again attacked our factories, which capitulated after a brave defence; but the French broke the articles, put many of the people on a small vessel with so few provisions that they were obliged to put in to Canada and take service with the French; damage reckoned at £ 15,000. Lastly they attacked Fort York in 1694, which surrendered on terms; but the terms were violated. The King being sensible of the sufferings of the Company ordered two of his frigates to accompany two of the Company's frigates to retake Fort York, when Captain William Allen, a King's officer, signed a pretended treaty with them and took the whole of the furs for himself instead of giving them up to the Company's commander, as his instructions directed him. The furs so encumbered his guns that, meeting with a French ship on the voyage home, Captain Allen's ship was nearly lost and he himself was killed. The King, however, directed the furs to be restored to us. Even if the French had not violated the capitulation of 1694 and Captain Allen's articles had been regular, the Company would still have a claim for reprisals for the damage done by the French in 1688. The French prisoners captured by us have been well treated, whereas our prisoners captured by them were barbarously treated. 4 pp. Same endorsement.
560. VII. Defence of Mons. de la Forest, addressed to the Council of Trade and Plantations, 4 January, 1696–7. I believe that the justice of my case against the Hudson's Bay Company has been already made evident, but I will add the following remarks. (1) The treaty made by Mons. d'Iberville at the taking of York Fort in 1694 was made not with each particular soldier, but with the Commander, Thomas Walsh, who testifies that it was kept. I do not therefore feel bound to answer the frivolous objections of individuals. (2) It is absurd to contend that Captain Allen had no power by his instructions to make articles of capitulation or that the King would not hold that such capitulation should not be observed. Men who surrender cannot examine whether those who accept their submission have instructions to do so or not. (3) Injuries alleged by the Hudson's Bay Company to have been done before the war have nothing to do with the present affair. Treaties made during hostilities have always been held sacred. (4) None of the Company's witnesses have appeared, to be cross-examined by us. (5) The depositions were very long, yet the witnesses were too illiterate to sign them. It is easy to dictate a story to such men. (6) One of the witnesses was a child when York Fort was taken, and might be influenced by enticements or threats. (7) Another witness is a surgeon still in the Company's service, whose evidence may well be interested. (8) Being a stranger I am under great disadvantages owing to the absence of many witnesses, and their dread of being ill-treated by the influence of the Company. (9) The whole of their evidence shews nothing but private injuries by man to man. Captain Walsh testifies that Mons. d'Iberville observed the treaty. That some of the men may have quarrelled with the French soldiers is likely enough. As to the torturing of Jacobs, if a Commander discovers a conspiracy against him, he is right and it is his duty to take measures for his own preservation. (10) We desire that our witnesses may be examined as to whether they have at any time been tampered with by any of us or by any authorised by us. (11) The Company seems to have little regard to the consequences of the breach of faith which they urge. I beg you to come to a speedy issue, and to discharge us, with our goods and compensation for the damage done to us, from the Plymouth prison to France. Signed, De la Forest. 5½ pp. Same endorsement. [Board of Trade. Hudson's Bay, 2. No. 5 I.–VII.]
Jan. 4.
561. Philip Parsons to Mons. Duport. In answer to your two letters take notice that Welch and Jacobs have signed an affidavit with some of our men. In some things I think them impartial, but not in all. Had I made no more application than Mr. Walsh did I could willingly have given my affidavit too, but I must tell you that your letters came too late. I have given my evidence on the other side, though I would not have done it had I not more reason than the rest of them. What I have said is no more than the mere truth, and though Mr. Walsh says that the French did not break their articles he may remember that it would not have cost him, but me, £200, if they had kept them. The Commissary at St. Malo pretended that he would send us home but delayed it, and refused even to let me buy a vessel, for no reason, I presume, but that I did not grease his fist. This is the most material point I have sworn to, and I should be glad for the saddle to be put on the right horse. Had I known you had espoused de la Forest's side I should have held my tongue; and indeed the articles would have been better performed by the French had they sent us immediately to Rochelle instead of giving us up to a couple of villains who took us to Dinant and would have treated us like ordinary prisoners but for your brother. One or two of the men lay in prison all the while and another was left at Rochelle, so you may judge if Mons. d'Iberville gave due orders about us. If he did I must blame the Commissary who, I am apt to believe, was most in fault. Mr. Walsh saw the letter—nay it was directed to him—wherein he promised to send us home in a little time, but was no better than I have already said. I wish with all my heart that if M. de la Forest does suffer he could gain satisfaction from the Commissary. I would give him my affidavit that what I have said is the truth. It was much more my interest that M. de la Forest should obtain some satisfaction, for then I might expect some amends for my expenses. If your letter had reached me first I should have left undone what I have done, and I should have sent you an impartial affidavit in M. de la Forest's favour, as this is that I now send. I hope that, if I am called to London, as I fear that I shall be, it will appear to be so. Copy. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 11 Jan., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Hudson's Bay, 2. No. 6; and 3. pp. 33–35.]
Jan. 4.
562. William Bridgeman to William Popple. The King last night ordered that the convoys bound to Jamaica and the Leeward Islands should proceed forthwith on their voyages with the merchant ships now ready bound thither, also that an hundred seamen should be sent by the convoy to Jamaica for supply of his Majesty's ships at that island. Signed, Wm. Bridgeman. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 4 Jan., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 26.]
Jan. 5.
563. William Popple to the Hudson's Bay Company. Asking if they wish the complaints, embodied in their case, against the French for their aggression in 1688 to be used in the Council of Trade's report on their case, for their defence and for a motive of present reprisals. [Board of Trade. Hudson's Bay, 3. pp. 30–31.]
Jan. 5. 564. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The members of the new Assembly were returned and sworn. Two doubtful elections were returned to the Assembly for determination. Thomas Maxwell was presented and approved as speaker.
Jan. 6. Ordered that for the future no Colonel of Militia be made judge in the precinct wherein his regiment lies. Four new justices were added to the Commission of the Peace. The Assembly came in and having decided the two dubious elections returned four members who were sworn. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 174–176.]
Jan. 6. 565. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Agents and Merchants of the Leeward Islands attended and reported as to the readiness of their ships to sail. Mr. Cary asked that the laws of the Leeward Islands should be sent to the Clerks of Council for the royal confirmation, and order was given accordingly.
The Secretary produced a letter to Mons. de la Forest, signed Hebert (No. 568), and was ordered to write to the Commissioners of Sick and Wounded as to the M. de Lagny therein mentioned.
Mr. Thornburgh attended on the business of the Bahama Islands, and promised to see that Governor Webb gave the security required on assuming the government.
The Jamaica merchants attended, and said that they had already seen Mr. Bridgeman, and given information as to their convoy. They reported that they had as yet been able to do little in the matter of obtaining men to transport to Jamaica, and doubted whether in the present scarcity of money £500 could be had so soon from the Treasury. The Council suggested that there was a larger sum lying ready at Jamaica which might be assigned them; but the merchants in reply doubted whether they could find anyone willing to advance the money here. They then delivered copy of an order of Captain Kirkby, to shew the little respect shewn by Captains of the Royal Navy to the King's Governors. The Secretary was instructed to ascertain whether the two fire-ships appointed to go with the convoy were ready.
Jan. 7. A report from the Admiralty about a naval officer and fresh provisions for the seamen of the King's navy at Jamaica was read. The Council, considering the state of Jamaica and the preparation of a squadron at Brest, agreed that it may be proper to represent to the King that a squadron from hence might be useful in acting offensively even if the Brest squadron should not proceed.
The business of Newfoundland was then considered, and the heads of a representation agreed upon.
The Agents of New York attended on the business of the Indians at Plymouth. They then delivered a memorial of several matters required at New York, and received notice of the matters brought forward by Mr. Leisler and Mr. Gouverneur.
The Barbados Agents were warned to attend to-morrow.
Mr. Shadrach Walton presented his petition (No. 570) which the Council resolved to consider, together with the whole state of New Hampshire.
Jan. 8. The Secretary communicated extract of a letter from Mons. de Lagny (No. 573). Order for copies to be sent to Mr. Tucker and the Hudson's Bay Company. Letter from Mr. Potter, of this day's date read (No. 574). Resolved that the representation as to Hudson's Bay be prepared to-morrow.
Mr. Bridgeman's letter of 6 January as to fire-ships for Jamaica read.
Order for a letter to be written to Mr. Bridgeman as to the Barbados convoy (see No. 575). Mr. Bridges attended and gave information as to the convoy, but doubted whether the stores ordered by the king would be ready in time enough. The Secretary was ordered to write to the Board of Ordnance on the subject.
Jacob Leisler, Abraham Gouverneur and the three lieutenants from New York attended. The two former were directed to put their complaints in writing and the three latter to re-write their complaints in due form, so that they may be submitted to Governor Fletcher's Agents.
The Council then considered of a treaty of commerce with France.
Jan. 9. The Secretary reported that he had sent the laws of the Leeward Islands to the Privy Council Office, and had addressed Mr. Tucker and Mr. Vernon for papers relating to a treaty with commerce.
Letter from the Mayor of Dartmouth of 4th inst. as to Newfoundland read (No. 558).
Mr. Bridgeman's letter of this day as to the West Indian convoys read.
On a letter from a Clerk of the Council, summonses were issued for the hearing of the cause respecting erection of Admiralty Courts in the Plantations on Thursday next. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 327–340.]
Jan. 6.
566. William Bridgeman to William Popple. In reply to your letter of this day, one of the fireships intended for Jamaica is already in the Downs, and the other is in the river taking in her stores, from whence she will sail in two or three days to the Nore to be manned and thence to the Downs. Signed, Wm. Bridgeman. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd., 7th, read, 8th Jan., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 42; and 56. p. 68.]
Jan. 6.
567. Report of the Lords of the Admiralty. On the proposal of the Council of Trade that the inconveniences arising from the impressment of seamen in the Colonies may be avoided by sending out supernumerary seamen in the merchant-ships, we directed the Navy Board to consult several of the masters of merchant-ships bound to the Plantations. Their report is annexed, from which it will be seen that so far from carrying these seamen gratis, they not only refuse to victual them, but insist upon forty shillings a head for their freight. This will be an extraordinary charge and will otherwise be inconvenient, for the men, being pressed men, will desert the merchant-ships at the first opportunity, whereby the service abroad will receive no benefit. We are therefore not in favour of the scheme. Signed, E. Russell, R. Rich, G. Rooke, J. Houblon, J. Kendall. Copy. 1 p. Annexed,
567. I. The Navy Board to the Admiralty, 18 December, 1696. We send the answer from the masters of six ships whom we have asked for their terms for carrying out seamen for the King's ships in the West Indies. Here follows copy of the answer, stating that the masters will transport the soldiers (sic) if provisions and necessaries are put on board for them, and forty shillings a head be paid for them. Copy. 1 p. The whole endorsed, Recd. 22, read 23 Jan., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. Nos. 43, 43 I.; and 56. pp. 69–70.]
[Jan. 6.] 568. Copy of a letter from Mons. A. Hebert to Mons. de la Forest. Paris, 31 December, 1696. As soon as I received your letter I sent M. de Lagny his packet, who says that it has arrived very opportunely, having had no answer from the English Commissioners as to reparation for the treacherous violation of the capitulation of Fort Bourbon. He was ready to begin reprisals on the English now in France and is sending all the papers to Versailles for orders, of which, it seems, he will give you information by first opportunity. I shall wait upon him frequently, to see that he follows the matter up closely. French. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 6 Jan., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Hudson's Bay, 2. No. 7.]
[Jan. 7.] 569. Memorial of the Hudson's Bay Company. The Company has represented the usefulness of their trade to the Kingdom and that if it were destroyed, the French would be sole masters of the fur-trade in America, which, besides the loss of export of English manufactures, would raise the price of furs to four times the Company's rate. Thus beaver was sold for 40s. per lb. which, the Company now sells at 7s. or less. The French have made many attempts to ruin the Company by unprovoked attacks in time of peace. Almost every year in succession since 1680 they have with an armed force seized its forts, burned its ships, carried off its goods, and by detaining its servants here forced them to renounce their religion, to say nothing of great barbarities already narrated elsewhere. Altogether the Company's loss is reckoned at £200,000, and in the late reign the King promised relief; but during the negotiation by the interest of the Jesuits (who have the sole benefit of the beaver-trade in France) a secret Treaty of Neutrality was concluded in London, whereby the Company's demands were excluded. Yet notwithstanding this Treaty the French in 1687 and 1688 committed if possible worse aggression than before, which was one of the grounds on which the present King declared war. In 1694 the French attacked York Fort, which surrendered upon articles which, by the oath of the Deputy-Governor and five other persons, were perfidiously violated. It is proved that of 53 persons in the fort only 30 survived the ill-treatment of the French; yet nothing is offered against this but the equivocating affidavit of four persons who have espoused the French interest against that of their own country. The retaking of the fort in 1696 cost the Company £15,000. It has had no returns for two years, nor can hope for any for another year. The little that it has is but the remaining product of its own goods. The French made 55,000 beaver skins by trading with our goods in 1695, and they know that if they can deprive the Company of these goods they can deal it an irrecoverable wound. Captain Allen plainly assumed a power not entrusted to him nor intended for him, and he has justly suffered for it; but the Company has never done the least injury to the French, and the French have in writing acknowledged its civilities to them. The Company is advised and insists that by its legal following of the King's grant, and by the frequent breaches of faith on the part of the French, it is justly entitled to their goods, which do not amount to a fortieth part of what the French have taken from them. If the French think to gain their demands in such a case as this, they may just as well demand the Company's charter. 2 pp. Somewhat damaged. Endorsed, Sent to W[illiam] P[opple] under a blank cover. Recd. 7 Jan. 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Hudson's Bay, 2. No. 8.]
Jan. 7. 570. Petition of Shadrach Walton to Council of Trade and Plantations. For four years past I have been commander of Fort William and Mary at Newcastle in Piscataqua River, wherein are thirty-two guns and no want of stores. But there are few or no men to defend it, because they are forced to be on out-garrisons, watching the Indians, by which fatigue besides the fear and hazard of the French, the Government without some speedy assistance will be ruined and lost. In the greatest necessity not above forty or fifty men can be got in four hours' time for defence of the fort and town, and there is advice that the French will attack it next spring, as they designed last spring, but were then prevented. Three years before, I commanded a company against the Indians, and was always in action in the out-posts of the country, for which I received no pay nor encouragement, though I was wounded several times to my own great expense for cure. I spent most of my estate in the service of these parts, and am now, by the Governor's advice, come home at my own expense to lay the above before you. I beg that men may be sent to man the fort, that I may have a Commission to command the fort and the town and militia, and that I may have some allowance for my expenses. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 7 Jan., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 56.]
Jan. 7. 571. Extract of a letter from John Taylor. Having the contract to supply the navy with masts, etc., from New England, I think it my duty to acquaint you that the last ships bring accounts of great danger hanging over New Hampshire owing to the inability of the inhabitants to defend themselves against the Indians, who are joined by the French. It is by this province that the King is supplied with masts, etc., and this trade will certainly be lost unless soldiers are sent out there this spring and placed under command of some person experienced in Indian fighting. The colony was attacked this summer by the French, whose design was upon Piscataqua, where the masts were loaden, but they were prevented by the seasonable arrival of the mast-ships with their convoy, otherwise the masts had been destroyed for want of men to use the guns which are planted in a good fort towards the sea. Pray represent this to the King. 1 p. Endorsed, Enclosed in Mr. Tucker's letter of 11th and read, 14 Jan. 1696–7. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 57.]
Jan. 7. 572. Memorial of the Agents for New York to Council of Trade and Plantations. We were sent by the Governor, Council and Assembly to represent to you the state of the country, and to ask for further assistance against the French, and accordingly we have made several proposals for that purpose, whereupon divers orders have been given by you for strengthening New York against the French. But no directions have yet been given on the following heads, viz.:—(1) That clothes and necessaries may be yearly sent over as presents to the Five Nations to encourage them against the French. (2) That the garrison of Albany and the adjacent posts be increased to one thousand men. (3) That a regular fort may be built at Albany at the King's charge and other fortifications at Senectady, Canestagione, the Half-moon, the Mill and the Flats. (4) That a strong fort and a good settlement may be erected in some convenient place near the Lakes. (5) That orders may be given for a yearly recruit of men and stores during the war. (6) That some hardy youths of good natural parts and well understanding grammar may be sent over to reside among the Indians and learn their language. (7) That some English clergy may be encouraged to dwell some time among the Indians to endeavour their conversion to the Protestant religion. (8) That the pay of the King's soldiers may be increased to sterling money. Signed, Chid. Brooke; W. Nicoll. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. No. 1; and 52. pp. 66, 67.]
[Jan. 8.] 573. Extract from a letter from M. de Lagny to the Commissioners for the Exchange of Prisoners. Paris, January, 1697. We have information from some of the French who were at Fort Bourbon in Hudson's Bay, when it was recaptured by the English some months ago, that M. de la Forest and his garrison had agreed to capitulate with the honours of war and on condition that they should be conducted to Placentia, but that nevertheless the English had detained the two guns allowed to them, carried M. de la Forest and his garrison to England and plundered them of all their effects and merchandise. I am to demand satisfaction for this iniquitous proceeding, and for the restoration of the guns and other goods. French. ¾ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 8 Jan. 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Hudson's Bay, 2. No. 9; and 3. pp. 32–33.]
Jan. 8.
Hudson's Bay
574. Secretary of the Hudson's Bay Company to William Popple. I was ordered by my committee to send you a state of the Hudson's Bay Company (see No. 569) and hope that you received it yesterday. The Company desires that it may be read at the next Board, and hopes that it will give the Council of Trade all the satisfaction imaginable, for there is nothing but the truth therein. Kindly let me know when your representation will be ready that the Company may have a sight thereof. Signed, Wm. Potter. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 8 Jan. 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Hudson's Bay, 2. No. 10.]
Jan. 8.
575. William Popple to William Bridgeman. The Council of Trade has received your letter of 4th inst. (No. 562) respecting the convoys to Jamaica and the Leeward Island, and conceives it to be intended that they may hasten the merchants to have their ships ready for those parts. There is, however, no mention of the Barbados convoy, which leaves it uncertain whether the several convoys to Jamaica, Barbados and the Leeward Islands are to sail together or apart. I am therefore to ask what are the resolutions of the Admiralty herein, that the merchants may receive instructions accordingly, and whether any additional convoy be intended beyond the number of ships directed by the Order in Council of 22 October, 1696. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44. p. 41.]
Jan. 9.
St. James's.
576. J. Pulteney to William Popple. Yours of the 8th was laid before the Board of Ordnance this morning. The stores are provided and engineers are appointed for Barbados as for other places, according to the Orders in Council, and will be ready to go as soon as we can get money from the Treasury to equip them for their respective voyages. The Master General will take care that an able Master-Gunner be sent to Barbados. Signed, J. Pulteney. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 11 Jan., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 25; and 44. pp. 42–43.]
Jan. 9.
577. William Bridgeman to William Popple. In reply to your letter of yesterday I am to inform you that, pursuant to the King's orders, all such of the convoy bound to Barbados, Jamaica and the Leeward Islands as are ready to sail shall now proceed thither with the merchant-ships that are ready to go with them and shall be strengthened by the addition of some other men-of-war. The rest of the trade which may happen to be left behind will be convoyed by their proper convoy to be appointed for them. Signed, Wm. Bridgeman. ¾ p. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 27; and Board of Trade. Barbados, 44. p. 42.]
Jan. 9.
578. The Mayor of Bristol to William Popple. The merchants here thank you for your letter of the 2nd inst. Our ships shall be ready by the appointed time. I am requested to ask you to lay before the Council of Trade the condition of Newfoundland, where our merchants have suffered so great losses, and that they will think of a way to protect the inhabitants and the ships. Signed, John Hine, Mayor. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 11 Jan., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 21.]
Jan. 11. 579. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Mr. Pulteney's letter of 9th inst. as to stores for Barbados read (No. 576). This letter and Mr. Bridgeman's of the 9th inst. were communicated to the Barbados merchants who were in attendance.
A letter from Mr. Parsons, late Governor of York Fort, Hudson's Bay, was read, tending to lessen the strength of his own former affidavit. The report on the whole affair of Hudson's Bay was agreed on, and the various parties were told that they might call upon the Secretary for a sight of it.
Mr. John Hine's letter of the 9th read, as to Newfoundland.
The Treaty of Commerce considered. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 341–343.]
Jan. 12.
580. Richard Usticke to William Popple. I have written the melancholy story of the loss of Newfoundland by this post to Mr. Blathwayt. The merchants beg that all letters relating to their concerns may be addressed to me, to whom they all come daily on business. The reason is, that your last letter to the Mayor was never communicated to the merchants, nor did they know that he had received it until they heard that the Mayor of Exeter had received the like letter, "when our worshipful confessed—but it was mislaid. Luna at times is a little predominant, the more the pity, as he is unconcerned in the adventuring trade." Signed, Richd. Usticke. 1 p. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 22.]
Jan. 12. 581. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Charles Collins appointed Chief Judge of St. Michael's Precinct Court in lieu of Robert Bishop, displaced on account of bodily infirmity, of his being appointed without consent of Council and of his holding a Commission in Major Garth's regiment. John Hooker also was made Judge of Hole Precinct Court in place of Jonathan Langley, removed for neglect of duty, lack of experience, improper appointment, and because he holds a commission in Garth's regiment. John Maddock and Colonel Waterman appointed Judges for Speightstown and Scotland respectively.
Jan. 13. captain Julius of H.M. ship Virgin (prize) asked for leave to go to Antigua to make good defects, and for money to pay for the same. Leave was granted, and the Treasurer was ordered to lend him £30. Two small accounts for disbursements on the public service passed. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 176–178.]
Jan. 13. 582. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Secretary reporting that the Hudson's Bay Company objected to the representation in the matter, it was ordered that the report be reviewed and enlarged, according to the paper presented by the Secretary of the Company. (No. 584.)
The Agents of the Leeward Islands presented a memorial as to St. Christophers (No. 585) which was ordered to be sent to Mr. Secretary Trumbull.
Mr. Thornburgh attended together with Captain Webb, by order of the Proprietors of the Bahamas. The Council on their with-drawing made several enquiries of them, of which they could not answer all for want of instructions. The Secretary was therefore instructed to send them the queries in writing.
Jan. 14. the Secretary's letter of this date giving the queries of the Council as to the Bahamas was read and despatched. (See No. 588.)
Mr. Cole and Mr. Merret presented copies of several documents (No. 586) relating to Newfoundland, and desired that speedy measures might be taken for the re-establishment of that trade. A representation on the subject was agreed upon and signed.
Mr. Clark, Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, proposed some alterations in the Council's report. The Council assured him that it should be done with all possible fairness. The Secretary was ordered to write to the Hudson's Bay Company to ascertain what places of theirs the French have taken during or before the present war. A copy of M. de Lagny's last letter and a letter concerning the danger to New England from French and Indians were deferred for further consideration.
Jan. 15. In view of the pressure of business the Council resolved to distribute it as follows: the business of Virginia and Maryland to Sir Philip Meadows; that of Barbados, Jamaica and the Leeward Islands to Mr. Blathwayt, or in his absence, to Mr. Locke; that of Proprietary and Charter Colonies and of Bermuda to Mr. Pollexfen; that of New England, Newfoundland, and New York to Mr. Hill.
The final report as to M. de la Forest's dispute with the Hudson's Bay Company was signed and ordered to be sent to Mr. Secretary Trumbull.
The Jamaica merchants reported that they could not prevail with any to go to Jamaica except a few poor families of more women and children than men, who would not serve their end, and therefore were quite at a loss at present. They said that the ships only waited for convoy and spoke of the danger of capture that our ships run in the Gulf of Florida.
On the application of Mr. Neale the Council consented to send a draft Post Office Act, prepared some time since, to Massachusetts.
Letter written to Mr. Secretary Trumbull about the report that was prepared as to Newfoundland if the Council had sat, with the papers communicated yesterday by Mr. Cole enclosed. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 343–352.]
Jan. 13.
583. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. In obedience to your Order in Council of 12 November last, on the petitions of the West Country Merchants relating to Newfoundland, we report as follows. The trade of Newfoundland is of very great importance to the Kingdom, employing numbers of poor people in the West of England in making nets. The exports to it are all English produce except salt; the imports from it are not only the bare returns of what is carried out, but the fruit of all the labour employed therein, while the employment of numbers of ships and seamen increases the naval strength of the country. To recover and preserve it, we recommend that besides the convoy already appointed for the salt ships at the end of the month, four frigates (two at Plymouth and two at Milford) be appointed for the fishing ships at the end of February, and two more (at Plymouth and Milford) for the salt-ships at the beginning of June. These convoys, while they remain at Newfoundland, should be ordered to cruise for the security of the fishing-fleet or to annoy the enemy, and should at the end of the season escort the ships to their markets. Besides the fishing-ships that resort thither annually, planters are convenient to preserve the boats, oars, stages, etc., and, in time of war, to protect the ports. But the number of these inhabitants left there during the winter should be limited to 1,000, lest by the increase of their numbers they engross the fishery to themselves, to the prejudice of our navigation. The French have already so fortified themselves in the Island, and seem so intent on the improvement of their interests there that the planters cannot suffice to protect our part. In order therefore to establish some military force by land to protect the harbours from such attacks as that made upon Ferryland, last summer, we think that little forts or redoubts should be built, two at St. Johns, one at Ferryland, and one at Fermouse, and that an engineer should be sent out for the purpose. We think that at least three companies of soldiers are necessary during the war for defence of these places; and since some think that a general Governor would be too great an encouragement to the planters, to the obstruction of the fishery, we think that each captain should command separately in each place, and have no power over the fishermen and planters except in case of actual invasion. Lastly we recommend that all suitable encouragement should be given to the inhabitants of Ferryland now residing at Appledore, Devon, for their relief and re-establishment. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. Memo. This was not presented. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 25. pp. 58–61.]
Jan. 13. 584. Paper of objections offered by the Hudson's Bay Company on the first draft of the report upon their difference with Mons. de la Forest. The above draft was read to us, but a copy was not allowed to us; but so far as we remember, everything of advantage to the French was represented on their behalf, and many matters proved by the Company omitted. (1) The articles of 1694 are imperfectly recited and most favourably for the French, as Mr. Walsh's articles. We produced them in French, signed by M. d'Iberville, which language Mr. Walsh does not understand. (2) Captain Parsons's affidavit alone is cited by name and then five other deponents omitted, though proving the breach of every article by the French. The affidavits of Grimmington, Mary Davis, and William Potter are also omitted, nor does the report say that the French broke their articles, which expression appears in all the affidavits. Yet all the French affidavits are cited by name, Thomas Walsh's in particular, and it is asserted that the French kept their articles. (3) The affidavits of Grimmington, Hubbald and Mary Davis are unnoticed, though they disprove those of Thomas Jacobs, Pigott, and William Clarke. (4) No notice is taken of the Treaty of Neutrality of 1686, nor of the 12th Article which gives reprisal and restitution on persons and goods to the Company in case of injury received. The Company's losses in 1687 and 1688 are also unnoticed, though fully proved. (5) No notice is taken of the £18,000 of goods taken from us by the French in 1694, nor of the return of 55,000 furs which they gained thereby. (6) No notice is taken of the expense of an expedition in 1696 to retake Fort York, nor of the failure of our returns this year and last. (7) No notice is taken of the Company's expense for the small parcel of goods granted to them by the King, though the customs were £1,500 and the goods not worth above £7,000, though more highly estimated by the French. It is therefore plain that many of the goods were embezzled by the French. These matters are all proved, and with more time we could adduce more evidence, so we beg that they may be represented. We also beg for a draft of the report, which we think can be of no prejudice to either party. 2¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd., Read, 13 Jan., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Hudson's Bay, 2. No. 11.]
Jan. 13. 585. Agents for the Leeward Islands to Council of Trade and Plantations. Since a treaty with France is likely to commence, we lay before you the advantage and necessity of insisting that St. Christophers shall remain wholly in the hands of the English. Signed, Bastian Bayer, Joseph Martyn, Rd. Cary. Copy. 1 p. Inscribed, Original sent to Mr. Sec. Trumbull, 14 Jan., 1696–7.
Here follow, Reasons for keeping the Island of St. Christophers whole and entire to the English. The Leeward Islands, which before the war were in a thriving condition, have each suffered much by mortality and through the expeditions against the French islands and the retaking of St. Christophers. Hence they are much disabled of their strength and must for their future security remain united without admitting the French again to any part of them. St. Christophers was originally settled by both nations, of which each had two quarters but shared the salt-ponds in common. In 1666 the French took the two English quarters, but restored them in 1671 at the treaty of Breda. At the beginning of the present war the French again drove the English from the Island and held it until 1690, when Governor Codrington recaptured it and sent away most of the inhabitants, whereby the whole island now remains in the possession of the English. But the uncertainty of war and of the islands remaining ultimately to the English makes people naturally unwilling to settle; whereas if it were known that the English were to keep the whole island, people would repair thither from all parts, for the island is very fertile and famous for healthiness. But if the French be restored, those English that are now settled upon their part of the island must be turned out again to the great discouragement not only of them but of the former inhabitants, who may very likely leave the island rather than hazard ruin for a third time by the breaking out of war with France. Thus the Crown will lose revenue and the nation will lose trade. Moreover, the restoration of the French would be a great danger to the other Leeward Islands and particularly to Nevis. Copy. 3 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 13 Jan., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 33; and 45. pp. 38–42.]
[Jan. 14.] 586. Copy of several documents relating to the devastation of the English settlements in Newfoundland. Affidavits of Philip Roberts and two more inhabitants and fishermen of St. Johns, Newfoundland, taken at Dartmouth on 10 January, 1697. On the 16th November last we had information that sixteen French had taken Petty Harbour, about nine miles from St. Johns. We sent out thirty-four men to their relief, who returned on the 17th, having been driven back by the snow. On the 18th, we sent out another party of 84 armed men, who not above a mile from St. Johns met a party of about 400 Frenchmen, soldiers and Canada Indians. We engaged them for half-an-hour, in which action 34 of the inhabitants were killed and several others wounded, the rest retreating to St Johns with the French in pursuit. About 180 men of the inhabitants, besides women and children, then entered into King William's Fort, St. Johns, and defended it for three days; the French meanwhile destroyed all houses, boats, stages, and provisions. The French scalped one of the inhabitants and sent him into the fort with a message that unless they surrendered they would all be served the same way. The inhabitants being in want of food and ammunition, then capitulated on articles of surrender received from the French, who however forced about 80 men to go southward against their will, contrary to the articles. Afterwards one of the deponents heard the French Governor at Placentia say that the English were asleep and fools to allow this plantation to be taken from them, and that the French did not doubt to take all New England next year except Boston, and that they intended to inhabit Renouse, one of the southernmost harbours of the English fishery in New foundland, having already fortified the place. The French force above mentioned was commanded by the Governor of Placentia, who brought it from thence in ships, first to Bay of Bulls and thence to Petty Harbour and St. Johns. One party of it was detached to march through the woods and commit the like spoil in all the harbours to northward. We ourselves with about 220 men, women and children came from St. Johns in a small vessel given us by the French to carry us to England. About 80 men were sent at the same time to France, contrary to the capitulation. The French were in possession of St. Johns when we left.
Copy of the terms of capitulation offered to the inhabitants of St. Johns by the French, 20 November, 1696. If they surrender the harbour quietly those that desire boats to go in the bay shall have them tomorrow morning; those that would go to England shall have two ships, a month's bread and necessaries for the voyage; and those that will swear allegiance to the King of France may live, keeping all their property without molestation.
Copy of a letter from John Sikes to Simon Cole. Dartmouth, 10 Jan., 1696–7. A ship came in at noon twenty-six days out from Newfoundland with 230 inhabitants of St. Johns, which, with all the other harbours there, have been taken by the French. All our debts and goods there are therefore lost. The enclosed affidavit tells the story. I am sending it to the Council of Trade to stir them to regain the Colony. The passengers tell us further that they had been informed by the French that Bonavista, Carbonere and Harbour Grace were destroyed by 400 Indians and 100 French, who came overland. All in Bonavista were put to the sword, and those in St. Johns would have had the same fate could they have been caught before they had taken measures of defence. We intend to petition the King to regain the Colony, hoping it will be backed by petitions from your city and the western ports. The whole, 4 closely written pages. Endorsed, Recd., Read, 14 Jan., 1626–7. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 23; and 25. pp. 62–66.]
Jan. 14.
587. Council of Trade and Plantations to Mr. Secretary Trumbull. Forwarding the memorial of the agents for the Leeward Islands as to the reservation of St. Christophers entire to England. Signed, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 45. p. 43.]
Jan. 14.
588. William Popple to Mr. Thornburgh. Captain Webb was yesterday presented by the Proprietors of the Bahama Islands to the Council of Trade, in order to his being sent Governor thither. The Council desire the following heads to be submitted to the said Proprietors and their answers thereto: (1) That Captain Webb take the oath to the King and sign the Association prescribed by law. (2) That he take the oaths to observe the Acts of Trade. (3) That a copy of his commission and instructions be sent to the Council of Trade. (4) What is his salary? (5) What security is taken for his conduct? (6) What methods are established in the Bahamas for trial of pirates? [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. p. 19.]
Jan. 15.
589. Richard Usticke to Council of Trade and Plantations. Your justice to the merchants in procuring convoy for their ships to Newfoundland, leads me to enclose you a list and estimate of the ships lately taken by the enemy there. Others were forced to sea without many of their guns, fish, oil, &c. The enclosed is the nearest estimate of the loss, but it is not above half, the plantations, boats, nets, salt, stages, &c., amounting to more. Pray in consideration of our losses use some way to recover the Colony. Signed, Richd. Usticke. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd., Read, 18 Jan., 1696–7. Enclosed,
589. I. List of ships, belonging to the port of Bideford, lost at Newfoundland. Fourteen vessels, valued at £24,700. List of ships that escaped, sacrificing many goods, eleven vessels. Estimated loss, £3,710. Total loss, £28,410. 1 p. Endorsed as the letter. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. Nos. 24, 24 I.]
Jan. 15.
590. Council of Trade and Plantations to Secretary Trumbull. We had prepared a report in the business of Newfoundland (see No. 583), but having since heard of the destruction of St. Johns by the French, we send you the papers concerning the same for the King's further orders. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 25. pp. 66–67.]
Jan. 15.
591. William Popple to Mr. Tucker. Forwarding the report of the Council of Trade on the dispute between the Hudson's Bay Company and M. de la Forest, for Secretary Trumbull to lay before the King. [Board of Trade. Hudson's Bay, 3. pp. 36–37.]
Jan. 15.
592. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. We have heard the case and the evidence between M. de la Forest and the Hudson's Bay Company. Mons. de la Forest relies on the article which stipulates for the safe delivery of all the goods with the garrison at Placentia. The Company denies the right of Captain Allen to make such articles, and Mons. de la Forest rejoins that he knew of no authority in Captain Allen, except the force that he brought with him. Secondly the Company insist that even if Captain Allen had been authorised, the breach of the capitulation of 1694 by the French in 1694 would justify reprisals. Here follows an analysis of the evidence (see 25 Feb., 1697), but no recommendation. Signed, John Bridgewater, Wm. Blathwayt, Ph. Meadows, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Hudson's Bay, 3. pp. 37–43.]