America and West Indies: July 1697, 12-20

Pages 545-560

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


July 1697

July 12. 1,175. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Advised that the General Court be prorogued to 18 August. Orders for payment of £250 to the Lieutenant-Governor for his last year's salary, of £230 to the Treasurer for the same, of £50 to Increase Mather as President of Harvard College for the same, and of £15 for various public expenses. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 103–105.]
Proclamation for prorogation of the General Court. [Board of Trade. New England, 48. p. 169.]
July 12.
1,176. Sir Thomas Laurence to James Vernon. My last was sent by my son, who brought duplicates of the public proceedings. The Governor is keeping back the duplicates of those sent in May. We are lately advised that Mons. Ponti was before Carthagena within two months and Vice-Admiral Nevill at Antigua above six weeks ago. The Governor has taken care to send supplies of all provisions from here to Colonel Gibson, who we hope is arrived at Newfoundland. Lord Bellomont is not yet come to New York. Signed, Thomas Laurence. 1 p. [America and West Indies. 558. No. 5.]
July 12. 1,177. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Secretary reported the receipt of papers relating to Bermuda from William Brooke.
Lord Arran's case further considered.
July 13. Order for Mr. Brenton to be summoned in connection with Lord Arran's case, and for Colonel Ingoldsby to attend on Friday next on the business of New York.
July 14. Order for a state of Lord Arran's case to be prepared, for further consideration.
The memorial of the Barbados Agents as to St. Lucia was read (No. 1,174), and sent to Mr. Secretary Trumbull.
The business of the Scotch East India Company again considered, and heads for a representation thereupon agreed on.
July 16. Colonel Ingoldsby attending presented a state of the forces at New York (No. 1,185). He added that the four companies sent from England should have been 400 men, but were lessened by sickness and accident before they arrived, and now little above half of those that came out were left; that unless the officers helped the men, the men would starve, and this the officers could only do by keeping their companies a little weak; that the war ruins the people; that the French outdo us in caressing the Indians; that about two years ago £200 was raised for an expedition to destroy Cadaraqui, which might easily have been done; that he himself was under orders for it with 300 men but that it was countermanded; and that it was absolutely necessary to keep a good force at Albany, of which the fortifications were much ruined. He then handed in a map of the country above Albany, towards the Great Lake on one side and Quebec on the other.
In accordance with a request from Mr. Brenton the copy of a letter from Mr. Usher of 11 November, 1693, was given to him.
Draft representation as to the Scotch East India Company considered. [Board of Trade. Journal, 10. pp. 159–163.]
July 13.
1,178. Governor Nicholson to Council of Trade and Plantations. I hope that the fleet is arrived safely in England, and that the box sent by Sir Thomas Laurence is in your hands. I send a list of its contents. I received your orders of 1 February, 1697, while the Assembly was sitting, which, with your former letter of 25 September, I by the Council's advice laid before the House of Delegates. In the Journal of the Council and Assembly for 26 May you will see the answer to several of your queries. They will not directly own that setting up manufactures and handicraft-trades in Pennsylvania, the large tracts of land held by some persons here, and the encouragement given to illegal traders, are the causes that make the people leave this province. They would have it that they wish to avoid the persecution of their creditors, which causes them to shelter themselves among the inhabitants of the Lower Counties of Delaware Bay and of Carolina. The low price of tobacco has obliged many of the planters to try their fortune elsewere, and the currency of money in Philadelphia, which here is not, draws them to that province from this. I own these to be reasons, but the reasons given in my letter of 27 March are likewise true, and they were forced to own that in Somerset and Dorchester Counties the people took to making linen and woollen to supply their needs, when English commodities were not to be had. I enclose an extract from my letter of 14 June, 1695, to the Committee of Trade, concerning ships coming here. As to cotton-planting in Virginia and Maryland, the two last seasons have been so unfavourable to that commodity that little of it has come to perfection, while tobacco has been in demand, so that the planter has a good price for it both in England and here. But the cursed thing called self-interest too much governs them, for they have a notion that if they should own that manufactures and handicraft trades are encouraged in these parts, then an Act of Parliament would be passed in some measure to restrain them, similar to that against planting tobacco in England. Most of them or their friends and relations hold great tracts of land, and they are fearful that, if they should own it, they would be compelled to part with some of it upon easy terms, which if they do not, I do not see how it is to be planted in this age or the next. As for their darling illegal trade, it cannot be expected that they should own this to be one of the reasons which draws them away from this province to others; but they have declared that they have reason to think that my proclamation of 17 August, 1695, has much reformed the illegal practices of the Pennsylvanians and reduced their trading into this province to a good and orderly method. They have also declared that the justices of Pennsylvania harbour and entertain our fugitive mariners, servants and others, to the great prejudice of Maryland. But they will by no means be brought to address the King for a frigate to cruise about this province (chiefly, I suppose, because they think it will check illegal trade) though they cannot but own that there are no fortifications here, and that not above an eighth part of the militia are equipped according to law; but they think that the poverty of this place will discourage any attempt upon it from the sea. Nevertheless, I still beg for a small frigate, for the reasons given in my letter of 27 March last.
In your letter of 25 September you write that you conceive my intention in desiring to erect a Court of Exchequer to have been answered by the settlement of a Court of Admiralty, for which the Lords of the Admiralty have appointed officers. I find, however, that no vessel can be tried here by a Court of Admiralty for breach of the Acts of Trade unless it carry any of the enumerated commodities to any place. But I do not see that the late Act for preventing frauds gives any power for the trial of ships in an Admiralty Court for breach of that or of any other Act of Trade and Navigation. I beg your directions herein, for I still find much difficulty in getting ships condemned for breach of the Acts here, where the Courts consist of several judges, and the cases are tried by jury. They are sure to admit the slightest pretence for not giving judgment upon any of the said Acts, as the enclosed abstract of cases will shew you. The Commissioners of Customs wrote to me about the ship Expectation of this country engaging in illegal trade at Curaçoa. Mr. Randolph seized this vessel before he left the country, and I gave orders to have her tried in the Admiralty Court. I had also ordered the bonds concerning this vessel to be put in suit before I received their letter. Judgment was given for the King upon it. One William Sharpe was bound with the master, John Tench, therein, and judgment was obtained against him, but the Minutes of Council from 14 May, 1697, to the 12th of June, will shew how he has tried to reverse it. I enclose an account of the proceedings of myself and Council therein. They only cleared here for fifty hogsheads of tobacco, and by a trick, after seizure of the vessel, Sharpe got her appraised for £30. It is supposed that some of his Quaker friends in Pennsylvania were concerned with him, and that they got about £500 by the voyage. Since Sharpe has used so many tricks and made such a noise about it I beg that his bond may not be forgiven. I enclose Addresses to the King on the subject of Navigation bonds and the Acts of Trade and Navigation, on which I beg for your directions. I enclose also several accounts of the ships entered and cleared in the various rivers from 1692 to 1697.
As to my recommendations for the checking of illegal trade, I have already advised the employment of a small frigate, the confinement of trade to some certain places and the erection of a Court of Exchequer. I also suggest that the captains and principal officers of the King's ships, that are sent to cruise in these parts, be sworn to observe the Acts of Trade and Navigation, and that the Commissioners of Customs give them books of rates, with the Act concerning trade, and suitable instructions directing them to aid Collectors and Naval Officers in the discharge of their duties. I have reason to believe that for want of such an oath, book and instructions they have not thought themselves obliged to look so strictly after illegal traders. I suggest also that the Collectors and Naval Officers be distinct persons, so that they may be a check upon each other, and that neither of them be public traders for more than is absolutely necessary for the support of themselves and families. Their being great traders I believe to be one of the great causes of illegal trade, for they have the first refusal of the cargoes, and at last of buying the refuse-cargoes which illegal traders dare not deny them, and I suppose at low prices. These advantages, I fear, often sway with these officers. Moreover this forestalling of the market is a great prejudice to merchants and traders, for commanders and merchants are obliged to enter with them before they dispose of any goods, and to clear with them at last. I also suggest that the Collectors should be sent out from England, and that they should hold no other place of honour or profit, which too often interferes with the discharge of their duties as Collectors; also, now that they have annual salaries for themselves and for a boat and crew, they should be obliged to visit all ships on their arrival and sometimes when loading and unloading, but particularly when they have cleared them. All Collectors should further be obliged to keep up a good correspondence with each other, both on the Continent and in the Islands, and they should send to the Governors of every place from or to which there is trade within their district, a full account of the enumerated commodities exported or imported, of the bonds that they have taken and of the clearing certificates that they have granted, to which they should swear before the Governor of their own Colony, delivering him also duplicates of the same, which should be sent to the Governor of the Colony concerned. The Collectors on the Virginian and Maryland sides of the Potomac in particular should keep up such a correspondence, and the naval officers should do the same, for I know by experience how the King is defrauded for want of it. Unless these or the like methods be adopted it will be impossible to prevent great abuses in this part of the world. I am informed that some of the Custom-house officers in England suffer the masters and merchants to enter with them more tobacco than they have cleared for here (which is commonly less than they have on board) so that if they find a chance to run it, either before or after the officer's visit, they gain their object; and even if they do not they escape, for officers in England sometimes have no respect to the clearing here—some captains indeed have sailed from hence without them. To prevent this I suggest that the masters or merchants give in upon oath three indents, or in time of war four or six, of all the hogsheads of tobacco that they have on board, with their marks, numbers, weight of bulk, owner's names and consignee's name, such indent to be signed and sealed by the master or merchant and attested by the Collector and naval officer under their hands and seals. The Governors of Virginia and Maryland should be obliged to keep one of the indents themselves, to send another sealed up to the principal officers of the port whither she may be bound; and by that indent her entry should be made. The third indent should be sent to the Commissioners of Customs at the port of London, and the master or merchant should give bond here, according to the tonnage of the ship, to return that indent annexed to a certificate signed by the Commissioners, signifying whether they had entered more or less tobacco than specified in the indent. For the detection of counterfeit certificates (which have been too commonly used) the Commissioners of Customs should send to the Governors or Proprietors authentic and attested lists of all ships, with the masters' names, which have entered with any of the Customs officers and given security to return with any of the enumerated Articles, also like lists of all ships that have discharged any of the enumerated commodities in the places aforesaid, having given bond in the plantation so to do. These lists thus signed should be accepted in any Court as good evidence either that a certificate is forged (in which case the person producing it may be punished) or against a navigation bond if such bond is put in suit. These lists should be sent in letters by all opportunities, and the persons to whom they are delivered should give a receipt for them and an engagement to deliver them to the Governor, Naval Officer or Collector; for sometimes I do not receive the letters of the Commissioners of Customs until six, eight or ten months after their date. Sometimes the person who brought them is returned for England, and it may be that I never receive them at all, for I suppose that some are afraid to bring in their letters, and either destroy or delay delivery of them.
I enclose several accounts of the shilling per hogshead duty and of fines and forfeitures. I have already sent you as exact accounts as I could of the two shillings per hogshead duty, and Mr. Edward Randolph will tell you what difficulty we met with in getting them done, for I found that neither Governor Copley nor Sir Edmund Andros had adjusted these accounts, which made them the more intricate. In these accounts there were two concerning Mr. Kenelm Cheseldyn and Mr. John Coode, which I request may not be passed until I am heard on behalf of the King, for you may wish to be informed of the remarks made on them by the committee appointed to examine them. I send herewith several accounts of Mr. George Muschamp, Receiver of Potomac District. By all these accounts you will see that the King's revenue is not now in debt, nor is the country, though we are very poor. Pursuant to your orders £20 a-piece have been allowed to the three Ministers, Richard Sewell, Thomas Cockshutt, and Stephen Bordley. An address from the Council and Assembly is enclosed respecting the assistance to be given to New York. The impost on liquors has amounted to very little this year, as also that upon negroes, though both negroes and servants are much wanted, which, the House of Delegates and the Council have observed, is one of the causes of the decay of trade in Maryland. Since the last report of the gentlemen sent to the Piscattaway Indians I have heard no more from the Indians nor concerning them, but I shall take all possible care in this affair. As to assistance to New York we have ordered the balance of what was in bank to be paid to that province. I shall endeavour to fulfil the King's commands in that affair and lend the country money, though I get very little. But I would point out that I found this province much in debt and was forced to do many things which I thought were absolutely necessary for the King's service, though very chargeable. The King has not the two shillings per hogshead here as in Virginia, for Lord Baltimore has half of it, also the fourteenpence per ton and the quit-rents. According to my accounts there are more ships within the Capes than there is tobacco to lade them; Virginia and Maryland were never so bare of tobacco since the war began, but there is great likelihood of pretty good crops of all sorts. I hope there will never be such just occasion for stopping the fleets in England as there was last year, and that the next fleet will be here before April next, lest they should not get out of the country before the hottest weather and the worm come, the one being very prejudicial to the men's health, and the other to the ships' bottoms. Some of the merchants may for their own interest try to delay the fleets' arrival until next fall come twelvemonth, or at least until it shall be too late for them to get out before that time; but you will judge how prejudicial this would be to the King's interest. The House of Delegates, upon a motion to address you for a separate convoy for Maryland, resolved that it would not be convenient, since the Virginia fleet would have quicker despatch and so would forestall our market. Whether this or the resolution sent with my letter of 27 March will be more for the King's service, you can best judge, as also whether the Order in Council of 14 February, 1694—that no ships should be cleared from Maryland without giving security to call on the Governor of Virginia—shall be reinforced. In the journals you will find that the Council and the Delegates regard this Order as very prejudicial to the trade of Maryland, since, besides the delay, it discourages ships to come here and encourages them to go to Virginia.
I enclose an address from both Houses about our boundary towards Pennsylvania and the territory of Newcastle, also a paper signed by Major William Whittington concerning some dispute thereon. You will find in the Journals of Council an account which I had from Mr. John Childs, and my proceedings thereupon. I am forced to be on my guard lest any mischief should happen in Maryland through the pirates and privateers in that no-government; for I am sensible that, as Pennsylvania, Newcastle and territories have been and still are managed, they are every way prejudical to the King's interest. I enclose an information of Mr. Thomas Robinson, attested by Mr. Francis Jones of Philadelphia, concerning privateers and pirates. Mr. Jones is bound for London and is the bearer of this letter. He can give you further information if you desire it. I hope the King's late orders regarding impressment of seamen in the Colonies will be of great service, for it gives great satisfaction in these parts. His further orders as to fugitives and deserters I hope will be obeyed, the contrary having been very prejudicial to some of the Colonies under the King's immediate government. The answer of the Council and delegates is herewith enclosed, and you will see from the journals what I and the Council have done concerning privateers and pirates. I am much concerned that I cannot give you a better account of the militia, though I have endeavoured by all means to bring them to a good offensive and defensive posture. But the extreme poverty of most, the awkwardness and wilfulness of some, and the scarcity of arms and ammunition makes it impossible for me, as the Militia Act now stands. I proposed to the last two Assemblies to alter it, but they are so bigoted with their old ways and customs that I could not prevail with them, though I hope that the next Assembly may be convinced of the absolute necessity of it. Meanwhile I shall look after the militia and if possible put them in a better condition. I enclose an address of thanks to the King for appointing your Lordships a Council for Trade, and also a congratulatory address to him. Pray give orders about presenting them. Signed, Fr. Nicholson. 11½ closely written pages. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Sept. Read 11 Oct., 1697. Entered in Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. pp. 119–137. Enclosed,
1,178. I. A list of the journals and records of public proceedings sent to England in the care of Sir Thomas Laurence by the last fleet. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Sept. 1 p. Entered in Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. p. 113.
1,178. II. A list of duplicates and other documents sent to England on the 12th of July. Signed, Thomas Laurence. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Sept. Read 1 Oct., 1697. Entered in Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. p. 114.
1,178. III. Extract of a letter from Governor Nicholson to the late Committee of Trade, dated 14 June, 1695, asking that a good number of ships be permitted to come to Maryland, and that they may arrive in January or earlier. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Sept. Read 15 Oct., 1697.
1,178. IV. Abstract of the causes continued from the May Court, 1697, at the King's suit upon Navigation Bonds, and the reasons why they were continued. A list of fifteen cases in which Navigation Bonds were put in suit, and the proceedings postponed, the defendants in most instances pleading that certificates were on their way to them. 2 pp.
1,178. V. Record of the Court of Appeal of Maryland 3rd and 4th June, 1697, in the matter of William Sharpe, who sought release from custody on a technical point. Copy. 3 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Sept. Read 15 Oct., 1697.
1,178. VI. Address of the Council and Delegates of Maryland to the King. Repeating the request of their former address of 10 July, 1696, for mercy to several merchants who have become responsible, as securities, for the misdeeds of certain masters of ships. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Sept. Read 14 Oct., 1697.
1,178. VII. Address of the same to the King. Setting forth that the trade of Maryland suffers owing to the lax enforcement of the Acts of Trade and Navigation in neighbouring Colonies as compared with the strict enforcement of the same in Maryland; and requesting that the execution of the said laws may either be relaxed in Maryland or more strictly enforced in the neighbouring Colonies. Original. Forty-seven signatures. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Sept. Read 14 Oct.
1,178. VIII. Address of the Council and Delegates of Maryland to the Council of Trade. Representing, on their order of 1 February, 1697, respecting assistance to New York, that they had already impoverished themselves by sending money to New York, that the King had accepted this in full discharge of the quota, and that they had now the prospect of a war with neighbouring Indians, and begging that the King will excuse them from further contributions. Forty-six signatures. Original. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Sept. Read 14 Oct., 1697. Entered in Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. pp. 142–143.
1,178. IX. Address of the same to the Council of Trade. Asking the Council, after hearing both parties, to define the bounds of Maryland and Pennsylvania, owing to the encroachments of the latter; and pointing out that the laws against harbouring deserters and runaways in Maryland are already sufficiently stringent. Forty-seven signatures. Original. Large sheet. Endorsed as No. VIII. Entered in Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. pp. 138–141.
1,178. X. Information of Thomas Robinson. As to the escape of two of the crew of the pirate Every from prison in Philadelphia, the neglect of the Sheriff to re-apprehend one of them, the refusal of the Sheriff to fill up a warrant so that deponent might arrest one of them, and the fact that pirates, against whom warrants had been issued, walked through the streets of Philadelphia in perfect safety.
Confirmation of the said information by Francis Jones. The whole, 3¼ pp. Endorsed as No. VIII. Entered in Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. pp. 144–148.
1,178. XI. Examination and depositions of William Whittington, Surveyor of Somerset County, Maryland. As to encroachments of Pennsylvania on the frontiers of Maryland, and violent proceedings on the part of the Pennsylvanians when their encroachment was resisted. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 30 Sept. Read 15 Oct., 1697. Entered in Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. pp. 161–163.
1,178. XII. Address of the Council and Delegates of Maryland to the King. Thanking him for the appointment of the Council of Trade and Plantations. Forty-seven signatures. Original. 1 p. Endorsed as No. VIII.
1,178. XIII. Congratulatory Address of the same to the same. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed as No. VIII. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 3. Nos. 25, 25 I.–XIII.]
July 13. 1,179. Abstract of the foregoing letter of Governor Nicholson to the Council of Trade. 2 pp. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 3. No. 26.]
[July 13.] 1,180. A collection of memoranda of the receipt of the various accounts advised in Governor Nicholson's letter of 13 July. 11 pp. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 3. Nos. 27 I.–XI.]
July 13. 1,181. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Antigua. Message from the Assembly, sending up a bill of charges for a flag of truce to Martinique for payment, and requesting that no further flags be sent without consulting the country; asking that the country might not be put to the charge of maintaining French prisoners taken by privateers and for the remission of duty on prize-goods; and suggesting that, having regard to the number of bills before them they should sit de die in diem until the business should be finished. Answer of the Council concurring in the above address. Orders as to certain petitions. The Governor recommended the freeing of a deserving negro at the public expense. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 198–200.]
July 13.
1,182. Captain St. Lo, R.N., to William Popple. The West India outward-bound fleets are still here, but your packets for the West Indies are disposed of to H.M. ships Sheerness, Chatham, and Norwich. Signed, G. St. Lo. P.S.—The West India fleet sailed this afternoon. ¼ p. Endorsed, Recd. 15 July, 1697. Enclosed,
1,182. I.II.III. Receipts of Captain B. Bowles of H.M.S. Sheerness, Captain G. Simmons, of H.M.S. Norwich, and Captain Samuel Whitaker, of H.M.S. Chatham, for the packets to the President and Council of Barbados, the Captain-General of the Leeward Islands and the Governor of Jamaica, respectively. Dated, 10 July, 1697. Each ½ p. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. Nos. 61, 61 I.–III.; and (without enclosures) 34. p. 173.]
July 14. 1,183. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Nevis. The Assembly agreed to a proposal of the Council to compensate owners for the loss of any negroes now employed in cutting lignum vitæ. The oaths of the Treasurer and Treasury-waiter were read, and both of them were sworn. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 423–424.]
July 15.
1,184. Governor Sir William Beeston to Council of Trade and Plantations. Since my last I have received yours of 11 and 12 February last. The first, in recommendation of Captain Lilly, is a kind care intended by you for the place, but an engineer without men or money is of no use. Had the amount of his salary been laid out yearly in the passages of men to this island, to strengthen us, it would have done great good, but this will do none, for we are not so ignorant as Captain Lilly (to get himself a living) has rendered us. Being long acquainted with the country we know better how and where to fortify it than he, a stranger; and besides, the country is so large and has so many harbours, bays and rivers to land at that it can only be fortified by men, for anything more than a town or harbour to secure shipping or trade. He is not therefore likely to have anything to do, for the treasury of this island, owing to the small income during war-time and heavy charges, is at least £5,000 in debt, which leaves us little money to fortify. I can give you no better answer concerning Mr. Lewis than that he still continues in his office and that his accounts, herewith transmitted, have hitherto been very strictly audited, by my order. The country very severely feels the want of the Act against engrossing, for the provisions are carried out as fast as brought in and thereby kept at a very dear rate, and all the customs which their exportation would have brought in is lost to the King's customs, since for want of the Act it cannot be demanded. We have no pirates nor privateers among us nor men left to man one privateer of sixty or seventy men, yet we thank you for your representation to the King in relation to Every's men. But the order about impressing will signify very little if the Governors of these Colonies must be obliged to impress the people whenever the captains say that they want men. Neither the Southampton nor the Reserve have one supernumerary man sent by this fleet, but they have increased their crews by a few stragglers and prisoners. The squadron made but little stay here, but is gone again for Europe. While they were here I did them what service I could, and lent them our fire-ships which will cost the country £300 or £400 in repairs; yet according to the paper I herewith transmit you will see that they were not pleased, though for what reason I cannot guess. However it happens luckily that Captain Moses, whom they propose for a voucher, denies all, and had Captain Wakelyn been here I doubt not he would have done the like. I know not what they intend to say and therefore I know not how to defend myself, but I beg that nothing may be taken for granted until return back and enquiry by the Council. Then if anything has been done here to the prejudice of the King's service I shall willingly acquiesce. For I not only granted all that was desired of me, but, for fear the fleet should want provisions, voluntarily prohibited the export of all in the port until the fleet's wants were ascertained. I send in a box the Minutes of Council and muster-rolls of the island. If all the absent and unable were struck out I am satisfied that those rolls would show 500 men short of the present returns. I send also the public accounts. I must bring before you the great prejudice it is to this island that the patentees who hold all the great offices live in England and send over any one to officiate for them, strangers to the place, to the people and to the offices which they come to manage. When they fail to pay their rent or chance to die, other strangers are sent in their room, by which means the Treasury, Secretary's office and all others are ill and unduly managed. Thereby men's interests are in danger and their estates precarious. It is but just that the King should dispose of those offices, but then the Patentees should either officiate themselves or else desire the Governor and Council to put in a fitting man, else great trouble and lawsuits must ensue to the ruin of many families, in time, by the neglect and ignorance of such officers. Admiral Nevill has unfortunately missed Mons. Pointis and the plunder of Petit Guavos, but he has carried away a considerable number of privateers from the French whom they took in some prizes. Hereby they have eased us of some of that load, insomuch that unless force be sent from France they cannot do any public harm, but I fear the burning of Petit Guavos will exasperate them to burn the poor people's settlements in the out-parts of this island, which we want a nimble fifth-rate ship to prevent. Signed, Wm. Beeston. P.S.—The King's orders being that no man shall hold two offices, the people murmur that Mr. Brodrick is Attorney-General and Judge Admiral, and think it a great prejudice to the country. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 2 Nov., 1697. Enclosed,
1,184. I. Memorandum of some discourse that passed on board H.M. ship Lincoln, Captain William Wakelyn, in Port Royal, 4 July, 1697. I, John Lewis, having some accounts to be adjusted with the Victualling Office of the King's Navy, a bill was sent to the Agent of the office, Philip Rogers, for Admiral Nevill by Captain Wakelyn. Rogers asked if this was part of the £200 that was presented to the flags as a gift. Captain Wakelyn smiled. Rogers said that it was like all the rest, and that the Admiral would write of the Government's misusage of them, and that the misfortune of the fleet was due to the Government's mismanagement, for they had no intelligence of the enemy, although Captains Wakelyn and Moses tendered their services to wait, to give the fleet notice of the enemy. But instead of that they would send a sloop to the Spaniards and invent news, which sloop was to lie and dispose of her goods although the island was in danger of being taken; the sloop was not to return till the goods were sold, and Admiral Nevill's sloops, which he hired and paid wages to, did the like. Hearing all this I thought they had no reason to say it, knowing most of it to be false. I replied that they could not have had better information than they had, for the sloop employed by the Government gave them a very good account before they came in. He answered that such a fleet could not believe the account of the master of such a boat. I then replied, as to the alleged trading of the master of the sloop, that if he had done any such thing, it was unknown to the Governor. The discourse then ended, Rogers saying only that what he said could be proved by Captains Wakelyn and Moses and by others. I cannot remember all that passed, but to the foregoing I can swear. Signed, John Lewis.
The above declaration was shown to Captain Moses, who subscribed it as follows. I hereby declare that Admiral Nevill never asked me, nor to my knowledge Captain Wakelyn, any question concerning the subject contained in the above declaration; nor did Captain Wakelyn to my knowledge ever give Admiral Nevill any information whereon to ground such discourse. I know no reason therefore why Mr. Rogers should say that either Captain Wakelyn or myself could prove any such thing; but I rather believe the said voluntary declaration to be false, scandalous and villainous. Certified copy. The whole. 1 p. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. Nos. 64, 64 I; and (without enclosure) 56. pp. 139–145.]
July 16. 1,185. Colonel Richard Ingoldsby's account of the condition of the forces at New York. Many of the soldiers sent from England have died or deserted, but the Assembly has several times, as occasion required, raised at their own charge recruits in the Country to serve in the standing forces for a certain time for defence of the frontier. But, when their time is up, neither the Governor nor any other officer has power to detain them longer without the Assembly's enacting a further supply of the same recruits. This they have hitherto done because of the great hazard of the French and their Indians in ruining the frontiers, which have suffered very much in this war. Many families have been cut off in the distant settlements of Albany and Senectady, which are very much depopulated, many good plantations deserted, and the Country laid waste for many miles together. The raising of these men is not only a great charge to the Country, which gives £6 a man for enlisting, and adds fourpence a day to the King's pay, but it is also very difficult to find men to serve and a great hindrance to the improvement of the Country. I believe that if the King would send 150 recruits for the present occasion the Country might, on Lord Bellomont's arrival, be induced to settle a fund sufficient to pay for bringing over all recruits that would be wanted in future. The officers and men have all along had 30 per cent. deducted from their English pay, and for my part (and I believe it is the same with the other captains) I have been made to allow 30 per cent. of the subsistence which was paid to the Company in England before their transportation, and indeed for a year before I had command of them; so that on this account near £400 has been deducted from me; to which I have been forced to submit on pretence that it was so ordered on the Establishment here. This great deduction reduces the pay to so little that the officers can hardly live, and the soldiers, far from receiving any money, have not pay enough to fill their bellies, which makes them very apt to desert. The soldiers had one entire clothing when Governor Fletcher came over about five years ago, but since then nothing but two pairs of stockings, two pair of shoes, two shirts and one surtout coat, so that at this time they have scarce rags enough to keep them warm. It is therefore absolutely necessary to send them clothing and also bedding, the soldiers having none left, while the town of Albany, where three of the Companies are always quartered, cannot supply them. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Presented to the Board by Colonel Ingoldsby. Recd. Read, 16 July, 1697. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. No. 37; and 52. pp. 181–183.]
July 17.
1,186. William Popple to the Attorney and Solicitor General. I forward some Acts of Barbados passed between 18 August, 1696, and 27 January, 1697. As the consideration of the Acts of the Colonies is of very great importance, the Council of Trade requests that these and all others sent to you may be dispatched with all convenient speed, and, to remove all possible cause of delay, the Council will be content that the reports thereon be made by either of you, leaving it to you to divide the work as best suits you. Lists of Acts now in your hands and of those that are now sent to you are enclosed. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44. pp. 76–78.]
July 18.
1,187. Jeremiah Basse to William Popple. You cannot be insensible of the dishonour as well as damage suffered by this nation through the increase of piracies under the banner of England in any part of the world. The depredations of Avery [Every] on the coasts of India and Arabia have come under your cognisance, but I believe that you have not been informed of the increase of pirates on those coasts caused by the expectation of great riches there, and perhaps too much by the connivance of those who ought to have suppressed them. The Colonies in the Islands and Main of America have not a little contributed to this increase. In my time several vessels, suspected to be bound on this design, sailed from one province or another of the continent, leaving some of their wives and families as pledges of their return behind them (sic), and I am advised that four or five vessels are expected to return within these few months, which have on board them men belonging to New England, New York, the Jerseys, &c. They will be emboldened thereto by the good entertainment that they have formerly met withal in those provinces and their ignorance at present of anything that may lead them to expect worse entertainment at present, unless any rumour of the new orders to the Governors respecting them should have reached their ears. If they have heard of these orders they will endeavour to prevent the enforcement thereof by running their ships into some unfrequented port, and thence dispersing themselves in places where they may think themselves secure, where perhaps they will abide until their extravagance has exhausted their stock and forces them to go on a new expedition. It being very much for our honour and interest to prevent this in future, I would ask your advice as to what is best to be done (1) with those who have formerly been pirates and are now settled in New Jersey, and (2) with those that enter the country later, in order to suppress them in time to come. The people make so much advantage from the currency of their money that they will not be very forward to suppress them, unless it be enjoined on them by a power that they dare not disobey. I confess that having been taken and ill-used by some of these men I am filled with a just aversion to them. There are other matters concerning the Government of Jersey as to which I desire your advice, but at present I shall only ask whether all persons holding a place of state or trust, whether Justices of the Peace or representatives in the Assembly, are not to qualify themselves by taking the oaths and signing the Association. It is no small concern to the Provinces to have certain knowledge of this. The absence of one of our principal Proprietors has prevented me from laying before them the bonds and proposals of security demanded by the Council of Trade, which by yours of 8 June I expected to be previous to my nomination as Governor of the Jerseys. I confess that were the things true that are alleged against the Proprietors, Colonies and Governors, there would seem to be some reason for this demand, and yet even then (in my opinion) the bond of the Governor residing and acting in the province may be adjudged sufficient, particularly in the Jerseys, no person being capable of acting without the Royal approbation, which indeed seems to render the Governor almost as much the choice of the Crown as of the Proprietors; for it is rational to suppose that the Crown will not approve of any man who, there is reason to believe, will not promote its honour and interest; and speaking for myself, if I were so foolish as to act in contradiction to the Crown's interest I should find little opportunity of so doing. Tobacco, the exportation of which to Scotland or Holland is a chief matter of complaint, does not grow in the Jerseys in sufficient quantities to supply the wants of the province. Nor can I think that the Crown will run any risk by accepting the personal security of a Governor if he have property in the province or in England that will answer his bond if forfeited, and it is most rational that if he offends he alone should be punished, which he will be by incurring the penalties of the Act of Parliament, forfeiting his bond and losing his Government. In a word I look on it as a little too great suspicion of my probity and zeal to require so great a caution, when the Proprietors who have entrusted me with the Government have also entrusted me with the management of all their estates there, which cost them some thousands of pounds more than the security required of them, and this without demanding my own or any other security. I would gladly be held in such good opinion by this Government as to induce them to believe that I would do more from zeal and good affection than from fear of penalty or damage. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. pp. 85–90.]
July 19. 1,188. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Bill of Excise read, amended and ordered to be sent down to the Assembly. Order for Captain Thatcher of H.M.S. Bideford to appear and answer for his conduct, first in not sailing until the 18th instead of on the 17th as ordered, and next in returning, on pretence of wanting men, instead of convoying the fleet to the latitude of Deseada, as ordered. He accordingly appeared, together with his lieutenant and master, when he excused himself by saying that he had not men enough, though it appeared that he had sailed from England with no more. The Council let him know that he had been guilty of great neglect but that they would not suspend him, believing it was not designedly done, but should represent his conduct to the Admiralty. Militia bill read once and committed. Order for payment of one month's travelling allowance to Robert Chapman.
July 20. Bill for the making of new entrenchments read thrice, passed and sent to the Assembly. A sloop was taken up to sail to Martinique road. The Assembly desired a further conference on the Agents Bill. Major Peers appointed keeper of the magazine. At the conference the Council stood to their resolutions respecting the Agents and desired the Assembly to bring in a new bill. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 227–230.]
July 19. 1,189. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Order for all Associations and Addresses from the Colonies to be sent to Mr. Secretary Trumbull.
State of Lord Arran's case read; and ordered that Sir Henry Ashurst have notice of his claim that he may have the opportunity of answering on behalf of Massachusetts.
July 20. Mr. Charles Story attending, represented the necessity for some orders as to affairs in New Hampshire, owing to the uncertainty when Lord Bellomont may be able to repair thither. Directions were given for a representation to be drawn up accordingly (No. 1,196).
Order for the Attorney General to attend on Monday next, on the business of the Scotch East India Company.
July 21. The Commissioners for Transportation attended on the business of the transportation of fifty women convicts. The answers from the Agents of the Colonies thereupon were read, and since all refused to receive these women except the Leeward Islands, it was agreed to recommend that they be sent thither.
The representation as to New Hampshire was signed.
July 22. Memorial of the New York Agents as to the women convicts read (No. 1,190), and a representation thereupon agreed to.
Mr. Basse's letters of 18th and 21st inst. were read (Nos. 1,187, 1,197), and orders were given to the Secretary for his answer thereto (No. 1,198). [Board of Trade. Journal, 10. pp. 163–170.]
July 20. 1,190. The Agents for New York to Council of Trade and Plantations. In the matter of the transportation of women convicts referred to us in your letter of 2nd inst., it will not be to the disadvantage of New York that they be sent thither, if they are young and fitted for labour, and provided that they be committed to some person who will take care for their clothing and diet after arrival until they can be otherwise provided for, and who will dispose of them in service for some certain number of years, not less than four nor exceeding seven. Signed, Chid. Brooke, W. Nicolls. ½ p. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 62.]
July 20.
1,191. Council of Trade and Plantations to Mr. Secretary Trumbull. Forwarding associations and addresses to the King from Maryland, New York and the Leeward Islands. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Tankerville, Ph. Meadows, Jo. Locke, Abr. Hill. Lists of the documents follow. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. pp. 174–175.]
July 20. 1,192. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Captain Mason's letter was read concerning the Emperor of Piscattaway's adding some Senecas to his own nation and desiring to settle under the Government of Virginia. Resolved that the said Senecas may come and go in safety like other friendly Indians, but that the Piscattaways must return to their old habitation in Maryland. The Governor approved fees for the officers specially appointed to the Admiralty Court. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. p. 71.]
[July 20.] 1,193. Duplicate Copy of Minutes of Council of Virginia from 11 June to 20 July, 1697. [America and West Indies. 638. No. 30.]