America and West Indies: February 1697, 6-10

Pages 351-358

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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February 1697

Feb. 6.
Tower Hill.
687. William Thornburgh to William Popple. With reference to yours of the 2nd inst., the Proprietors of the Bahamas have no cause to suspect Captain Webb's good affection to the present Government. He was a competitor for the Governorship when Mr. Trott was appointed, and was so highly recommended by Lord Howard of Effingham, who offered to be answerable for all his transactions in America if he were appointed, that had he been more early in his application the Proprietors would certainly have given him the post. He is now recommended also by several persons of honour and eminent merchants. As to the fortifications, the rents have always been devoted to that object, and we lately ordered Mr. Trott to devote £800, and have since heard from him that the fort is completed. As to security, since it has never been required of any Governor before, we cannot conceive the convenience of requiring it now. As to salary, the Proprietors are ready to raise it from one-seventh to one-fifth of their revenues. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. pp. 34–35.]
Feb. 8. 688. Sir Henry Ashurst's receipt for a copy of the Order in Council of 10 December, 1696, for the disallowance of five of the Acts of Massachusetts passed in 1693 and 1694. Signed, Hen. Ashurst. ½ p. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 65.]
Feb. 8. 689. Memorial of Major-General Winthrop to Council of Trade and Plantations. Certain petitions have lately been presented for putting the Narragansett Country under the government of Massachusetts or some other Colony. The Governor and Council of Connecticut submit that the said country belongs to them, being included in their charter, and they beg that it may be made over to them and not put under nor added to the Government of any other province. Signed, J. Winthrop. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 8 Feb., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 66; and 36. p. 122.]
Feb. 8. 690. Memorial of the same to the same. I have perused copy of a memorial for the appointment of a General over all the forces of the Northern Colonies. I would submit that the Governor and Company of Connecticut have power under their charter to array the inhabitants of the Colony and commission such person as they will to command them. The Governor and Company have always (especially in the last Indian war when the enemy was strong and numerous) chosen their own leaders, who have usually been victorious. They are advised that the imposing a General over them with power to demand arms and ammunition and lead the inhabitants out of the Colony without the consent of them, the said Governor and Company, will be a hardship on the inhabitants and contrary to their charter. If you propose to appoint such a General as is suggested, I submit that he may be restrained from raising forces and demanding supplies in Connecticut, and leading them out of it, without the consent of the Governor and Company, whose interest will oblige them thereto when necessity requires it. Signed, J. Winthrop. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 8 Feb., 1696–7; Read, 11th. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 67; and 36. pp. 125–126.]
Feb. 8. 691. The Agents for New York to Council of Trade and Plantations. (1) The matters urged in the first five paragraphs of the memorial (see No. 651) for uniting New England and New York under one head are undoubtedly true, but that the benefits to be effected and the mischiefs to be prevented by such union will be such as is alleged requires further proof than the allegation of a single person. (2) If it be absolutely necessary for the preservation of the Colonies that the Governor of New England must be also Governor of New York and New Hampshire, then the same necessity will include Connecticut, Rhode Island and the Jerseys, especially the two first, which are contiguous to Massachusetts; but how the placing of all these places under the Governor of New England will contribute to oppose the enemy's designs very much wants explanation. (3) It is undoubtedly true that the uniting of the forces of all the Colonies by an Act of Parliament to avoid disputes, the vesting of the power military in the Crown during the war, and the appointment of a fitting general over the whole will enable them better to defend themselves and offend the enemy; and experience shows that there will be no compliance otherwise, while their obedience is precarious, for neither when Sir William Phips nor Colonel Fletcher held the chief command was there compliance, even in the greatest exigence and when their power was modestly insisted on. (4) That the necessity for uniting New York and New England under one Governor is imperative and that it will be for the good of both, doth not appear. It is asserted in the memorial but not proved. There is at least two hundred miles between the nearest limits of New York and Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island lying between; and it cannot reasonably be supposed that New England should be able to defend New York, when to the Eastward, in parts adjacent, they have lost a country at least equal in value (though it may not be of the same consequence) to the whole Colony of New York. Nor can it be thought that New York would be able to assist New England, considering the distance, the narrowness of its bounds and the paucity of its people, because they have hitherto kept their bounds entire by the King's assistance, the prudence and diligence of Colonel Fletcher, and the great expense and fatigue of the inhabitants. (5) Boston and New York have always had emulation in point of trade, and the two Colonies have ever been governed by a different policy. The desired union of New York, the less, with Boston the greater will infallibly bring about the advancement of the one and the depression of the other, to the discouragement of merchants trading to the Colony, the impoverishment of the people, and the ultimate ruin of the most flourishing countries in these parts.
(6) The other argument employed in favour of the union of the Colonies is that it will better support the appointed Governor. It is presumed that Boston will be the Governor's place of residence, so that even in civil administration New York will be grievously injured by the great distance; and should the Governor live at New York the evil will be as great to New England. (7) Upon any sudden danger from French or Indians, five or six days at least will pass before notice can be given to Boston, and a great deal more before relief can possibly be brought, in which time all the damage may be done that can be; which proves that no military advantage will accrue to New York from this union. (8) It is true that the King assigns to the Governor of New York his salary, but the people pay it, and for that and other exigencies of government they have laid impositions upon themselves. Their Governor resides with them and spends the money there, so that the Colony is the less hurt. This money ought not to be employed, contrary to the intent of the givers, for the support of a Governor in New England. (9) The Colony of New York is small, certainly not above 3,000 families, yet it maintains its own Governor, a man of honour, in a reputable port, and he subsists there very well. (10) New England contains 10,000 or 15,000 families, so can maintain its Governor in a reputable port without taking money from the people of New York against their consent. (11) The memorial begins by talking of a public good, but plainly terminates in the advantage of a private person. (12) In our opinion a prudent and experienced general over all the military forces of the Continent, established by Act of Parliament (without which obedience cannot rationally be expected) is of the utmost necessity for their good; but the placing of the civil government of New York in any person not constantly resident in the Country will be of no service to the King, but a discouragement to trade, a discontent to the people and of pernicious consequence to the Colonies of America. Signed, Chid. Brooke, W. Nicoll. 3 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 8 Feb., 1696–7, Read 11th. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 68; and 36. pp. 126–129.]
Feb. 8.
692. John Cary of Bristol to Council of Trade and Plantations. The merchants of Bristol trading to Newfoundland desire me to represent to you the necessity of sending both ships and soldiers thither to secure such parts of it as are left to the English, and to recover what is lost. In Trinity Bay and Conception Bay in particular, divers good harbours still remain in possession of the English, and it is submitted that if one or two men-of-war appeared there early in the year, it would encourage the inhabitants and might secure those places until the arrival of a larger force from England. You are requested to procure this with all speed, for it will be much easier to preserve those places than to regain them when lost, apart from the ill consequences which will attend the latter, for when the planters' houses, stages and boats are destroyed by the French, and their goods and those of the merchants are carried away, the empty harbours may indeed be regained, but many families will be ruined, and the fishing spoiled for the ensuing year. All this could be prevented at a small charge. If it be objected that it is too early in the year to send men-of-war because of the ice, the merchants would give their opinion, grounded on long experience, that it is safer for the ships to go in February than in April, for the mountains of ice, which are drawn by the current from North to South, do not appear so early in the year nor are so dangerous as later in the season, when the weather is warmer. For this reason the merchants often send ships thither from Europe in January, as they have already done this year. Signed, John Cary. 2 pp. Endorsed, Presented by Mr. Cary, 8 Feb. 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 43.]
Feb. 8.
693. The Mayor of Exeter to William Popple. The merchants trading to Newfoundland thank the King and you for your care of their interest. I am to represent that if the convoy does not stop for forty-eight hours in Torbay, they will not be able to avail themselves of it. It is requested that orders may be given to the men-of-war accordingly. Signed, Chr. Bale. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 11 Feb. 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 44.]
Feb. 8. 694. "A brief and plain Scheame how the English Colonies in the North parts of America .... may be made more useful to the Crown and one another's peace and safety with an universal concurrence." 1. The several Colonies, viz.: Boston, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Carolina should meet once a year, or oftener if need be, during the war and at least once in two years in time of peace, by their appointed deputies, to debate and resolve of such measures as are most advisable for their better understanding and their public tranquillity and safety. 2. To this end two persons well qualified for sense, sobriety and substance should be appointed by each province as their representatives and deputies, the whole making a congress to consist of twenty persons. 3. The King's Commissioner, specially appointed for the purpose, should hold the chair and preside in the congress. 4. They shall meet as near as may be to the central Colony, for the ease of the deputies. 5. The place will probably be New York, for it is near the centre of the Colonies, it is a frontier and it is in the King's nomination. The Governor of New York may therefore be the King's High Commissioner during the session, after the manner of Scotland. 6. Their business shall be to hear and adjust all matters of complaint or difference between province and province, such as: (1) Where people leave their own province and go to another, to avoid their just debts though able to pay them. (2) Where offenders fly justice or justice cannot be had upon such offenders in the provinces that entertain them. (3) To prevent or cure injuries in point of commerce. (4) To consider of ways and means to support the union and safety of these provinces against the public enemies. In such a congress the quotas of men and charges will be much easier and more equally set than it is possible for any establishment made in England to do; for the provinces, knowing their own condition and one another, can debate that matter with more freedom and satisfaction, and better adjust or balance their affairs in all respects for the common safety. 7. In times of war the King's High Commissioner shall be General or Chief Commander of the several quotas upon service against the common enemy, as he shall be advised for the benefit of the whole. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Mr. Penn's scheme. Recd. Read, 8 Feb. 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4, No. 30; and 34. pp. 102–103.]
Feb. 8. 695. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Letters from the Western ports of 2 and 3 February as to Newfoundland read (Nos. 662, 663, 674). Mr. John Cary of Bristol also presented a memorial (No. 692), on which the Council for the present suspended their determination.
Sir Henry Ashurst and Mr. Edward Harrison desired to strike their names out of a memorial (No. 653) which they had inadvertently signed, and were permitted to do so. The Agents of New York and Major General Winthrop presented memorials against the union of the Colonies with New England (Nos. 690, 691) as did also Mr. Samuel Allen (No. 672). Major General Winthrop presented also a memorial about the Narragansett Country (No. 689). Mr. Penn presented a scheme for general union and explained that it was chiefly for adjusting disputes between the Colonies, and the determinations of the assembly proposed by him should be by plurality of votes.
Mr. Thornburgh's letter of the 6th inst. read (No. 687), and order given for a representation to be prepared.
Feb. 9. Circular letter of this date (Nos. 696–700) to the Proprietary and Charter Colonies signed.
Feb. 10. Sir Martin Beckman and Captain Lilly attended to receive such information as the Council could give them as to the intended expedition to Newfoundland. Mr. John Cary and Mr. Thomas Edwards again proposed to send forward two frigates to preserve so much of Newfoundland as remains in English hands; and were asked to put their suggestions into writing.
Feb. 11. Sir Henry Ashurst and Mr. Harrison presented a joint memorial (No. 704), and were informed, after consideration, that the Council could not draw up a representation upon such matters.
Representation as to the Leeward Islands and the Bahama Islands signed. Mr. Bulkley's petition was read (No. 681) and himself called in, who said that he had complained to the Proprietors of the Bahamas without success.
Mr. Penn attending complained of the quota required of Pennsylvania, looking to the presence of strange Indians on her frontier and the hostile legislation of Maryland. He promised to put forward the same in writing.
Letter of thanks from the Mayor of Exeter read, as to Newfoundland. The merchants of Bristol submitted a memorial (No. 705) and Mr. Thomas Edwards gave the latest information as to the situation in Newfoundland. They were desired to attend the Admiralty concerning the expedition.
Feb. 12. Letters to Barbados, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands and Bermuda signed.
Order for a copy of the Order in Council of 4 February (No. 681) with Thomas Bulkley's petition to be sent to Mr. Thornburgh for his answer.
Mr. Penn presented two memorials (Nos. 716, 717), which were reserved for consideration.
Feb. 13. Order for Mr. Neale to have a copy of the American Post Office Act, on his paying for it.
Letter to Governor Fletcher in favour of Mr. Henry Brabant signed.
The Council agreed upon its answer to the Committee of the House of Lords. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 392–405.]
Feb. 9.
696. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor and Company of Connecticut. The King has been informed of the little attention paid by several Colonies to the quota approved by the late Queen in 1694, to be observed during this war for defence of the frontiers of New York. Here follows a list of the several contingents, Connecticut's being 120 men. It is the King's pleasure that this regulation be strictly observed, and you will be careful that this be so in Connecticut. Upon complaints of the seduction of inhabitants from some Colonies to others by underhand methods, he orders that effectual laws be made against the harbouring of deserters and fugitives. He orders further that all Governors shall do their utmost to repress pirates and piracy, of which you will take notice. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill.
The like letter, mutatis mutandis, was written to Samuel Allen, Proprietor of New Hampshire. [Board of Trade. New England, 36. pp. 123–125.]
697. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Proprietor of Pennsylvania. Almost identical with the preceding, mutatis mutandis, the quota of Pennsylvania being 80 men. Specific instances are given of the harbouring of pirates in Pennsylvania. Signed as the preceding. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. pp. 36–38.]
Feb. 9.
698. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. To the same effect as the preceding, with the omission of any reference to the quota. It is pointed out that in late trials of pirates Carolina has too often appeared as a receptacle of pirates. Signed as the preceding. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. pp. 39, 40.]
Feb. 9.
699. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Proprietors of the Bahama Islands. To the same effect as the preceding; giving several instances of the harbouring of pirates. Signed as the preceding. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. pp. 40–42.]
Feb. 9.
700. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Governor and Company of Rhode Island. To the same effect as the letter of same date to Connecticut, No. 696. The quota of Rhode Island is 48 men; and evidence is quoted as to the entertainment of pirates in Rhode Island. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. pp. 42–44.]
Feb. 9.
701. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Proprietors of East New Jersey. To the same effect as the preceding; the militia of East and West New Jersey, to the number of 700, being liable for service for defence of New York. No specific instances of the entertainment of pirates are quoted. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. pp. 45–46.]
Feb. 9. 702. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. A letter from several gentlemen in England was read, reporting that they had sent out an advice-boat, with the King's packet respecting Mons. Pointis's squadron, at their private charge, and requesting some allowance from the island for the same. Order for £50 to be paid towards refitting the galley, and for £20 to be paid to the captain for his good service. Letter from Gilbert Heathcote read, desiring some satisfaction for his expense and trouble in soliciting the island's affairs at home. The Council accepted the Governor's offer to advance £300 a year to the solicitors at home upon the credit of the Soliciting Act, and orders were given for the reimbursement of the Governor upon the collection of the levy. Letters of 2nd and 23rd October from the Council of Trade read. The Council decided that nothing more could be done for the defence of the island beyond the erection of a store-house for salt and powder at St. Jago de la Vega. On the petition of the masters of merchantmen it was decided that no convoy could at present be spared, but that those who wished to sail might have leave to do so. Orders for payments for hire and fitting out of ships and for examination of certain accounts. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 79. pp. 53–55.]
Feb. 9. 703. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Order for payment of £60 to the master of the sloop who carried despatches to Governor Codrington. The Assembly proposed that two sloops should be sent out to cruise against surprise, to which the Council answered that they had already resolved thereupon. Order for securing a negro who had run away to the French flag of truce. The Assembly then brought up an Address for payment of £500 to President Bond for his salary, which was agreed to, and a bill respecting the decision of disputed elections.
Feb. 10. Order for payment of £200 for the Windward fortifications. Bill as to decision of disputed elections read thrice and passed. A charge for the quarters of soldiers recommended to the Assembly. Order for £100 and ten barrels of powder to be delivered to the commander of the fortifications in Scotland, and for new guns and gunners to be sent to Clarendon battery. Orders as to a vessel driven in by stress of weather and obliged to unlade. Order for the militia to be exercised weekly till further order. Bill to raise a strength of labourers read thrice and passed. Orders for payments. Agreement for the hire of a sloop for the island's service. Order for Captain Daniel Reeves to cruise for a period not exceeding twenty days. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 189–192.]