America and West Indies: August 1696, 3-15

Pages 63-71

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.


August 1696

Aug. 3. 126. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Secretary reported that no incident money could be had for a fortnight. Order for the delivery of the records as soon as the rooms shall be ready. Mr. Randolph attended on the subject of Admiralty Courts in the Colonies, but desired that the Council would first come to a resolution as to a settlement of the Proprietary Colonies, as the businesses depended on each other. Mr. Brenton's proposals read. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 31–33.]
Aug. 3.
127. William Bridges to William Popple. I have no papers relating to the business that you write of except a copy of the Act for the last present to Colonel Russell, which I send herewith. It does somewhat express the sense of the Council and Assembly for his care and good government, but it is more amply done by them in an address to the King sent by the last ships, which perhaps encouraged Mr. Russell to hope for the accommodation that he desires. But if the Council of Trade shall not think fit to recommend permission to him to receive such a present as the country shall make during the war, I beg you, on his behalf, to move for a report on the Lords Justices' reference now before them, that so application may be made for a warrant to receive the present mentioned in the aforesaid Act, such favour having never been denied to any Governor. Signed, Wm. Bridges. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 5 Aug., 1696. [Board of Trade. Bardados, 7. No. 7; and 44A. pp. 2–3.]
Aug. 4. 128. Minutes of Assembly of Nevis. The address to the Governor in Chief representing the Island's grievances was unanimously passed, in twelve articles. (1) That the Assembly has not met for eight months, so that runaway negroes could not be appraised. (2) That the Council has usurped the Assembly's privileges and obstructs business (see No. 115). (3 That John Palmer caused the secession of the Council so as to put a stop to business. (4) That no articles of war can be passed. (5) That good officers are displaced and men made over to privateers. (6) That the Treasurer has given no security and (7) that he cannot be re-appointed, though his time is expired. (8, 9) That neither the Secretary nor Provost Marshal have given security. (10) That Charles Pym was complained of by last Assembly. (11) That the Island suffers from many grievances. (12) That Samuel Gardner is a gentleman of great merit and should be relieved from the restrictions placed on his authority. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 380–385.]
Aug. 5. 129. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Secretary made further report as to the delivery of the records, and as to the incident money for the office. The Secretary was ordered to draw up a representation as to the present to Governor Russell (see 10 August), to remind the Navy Board as to the report required of them, and to draw up a scheme of enquiries for the Commissioners to be despatched to America on the question of naval stores. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 34–37.]
Aug. 7.
130. Governor Sir William Beeston to Lords of Trade and Plantations. This goes by the Hampshire, which not being got clear away on the 27th of July now takes charge of the convoy. By the fleet I have received yours of 13 February and 15 April, with the Act therein mentioned and other instructions as to Navigation. I hope you will not be offended when I say that it is apparent to all who know these parts that since they cannot be furnished with necessaries by strangers and are not furnished in any measure proportionally to their wants by their native country, it must discourage these countries and make them sink. For when people cannot live easily they will endeavour to move to places where they can live with more satisfaction; and this is the true case of this Colony now, for there come not from England necessaries enough to furnish the people's wants, nor ships enough to take away their produce. Thus though since I have been here I have not only taken all possible care myself, but have commanded and excited the same care among officers of the Customs and others to see that the laws of Trade and Navigation are strictly kept, and though I shall always do so while I am in the King's service, yet people's necessities put them on invention, and in spite of all our diligence they have sometimes landed goods from Curaçoa. It is impossible to help it in this great Island, where there are so many harbours and bays, and so few people to watch them. It is impossible to find officers to observe all these places, so that though I had information of the landing of a parcel of soap from Curaçoa, we could not detect it; and the reason that put the people in that hazard was that soap cost 7s. 6d. the pound; and indeed all things are very dear for want of supplies from England, so that people are not able to subsist, and unless some other measures be taken for the support of the Island, the people will leave it. I hope I shall not see any of the French ships, but if they do come I shall do the utmost of my duty against them. Signed, Wm. Beeston. Postscript. The dearness of all things and the wants the people are under oblige them to assist and countenance all importers. Postscript. I have received all the Acts confirmed, except that against engrossing, which here was judged most material, because a few moneyed men buy up wholesale all the provisions as fast as they arrive, and then make the country pay fifty per cent. for them, which is a great grievance. The people think it hard too that after all the trouble and expense of calling an Assembly, a law should be rejected on the bare opinion of one or two in England who have nothing to do with it, and say that people in England cannot so well know the reason for making a law as those who make it. Holograph. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. and read 24 Nov. 1696. Answd. 12 Feb. 1696–7. A short abstract is attached. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 15; and 56. pp. 46–48.]
Aug. 7. 131. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. A repor as to trade with Sweden was read. The Earl of Bridgewater on behalf of the Privy Council asked the Board as to its progress in settling the matter of Admiralty Courts in the Colonies. Mr. Randolph also urged the despatch of the business, and the Secretary was ordered to draw up a representation concurring with that of the Commissioners of Customs, and recommending the appointment of the officers suggested by Mr. Randolph. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 37–43.]
Aug. 7. 132. Minutes of Council of Barbados. This morning at three o'clock Colonel Francis Russell departed this life. The Council therefore met, and Francis Bond as President assumed the administration of the Government, and both he and the rest of the Council were sworn. Order for the late Governor's closet with his papers, etc., to be sealed up. Order for the Colonels of Militia to raise one company for duty every night and for H.M.S. Newcastle to cruise to windward for fifteen days.
Aug. 8. Order for a Committee of Council to bring the late Governor's papers and plate to the Council Chamber. Resolved that the Assembly called by the late Governor is still an Assembly. Ordered that all petitions be in future determined in the Courts of Justice and not by the Governor and Council. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 117–121.]
Aug. 10. 133. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Secretary reported that he had received a further list of names for officers of the Admiralty Courts in the Colonies from Mr. Randolph, and was ordered to draw up a representation (see No. 140). A report from the Navy Board as to naval stores was received. The representation as to Governor Russell's present was signed. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 43–45.]
Aug. 10. 134. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Justices of England. We recommend that leave be granted to Governor Russell to accept a present of £2,000 from the Assembly of Barbados. We defer any recommendation as to his request to accept all presents thus made to him till we can examine the records of the Plantation office. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Will. Trumbull, Cha. Montague, Ph. Meadows, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44A. p. 3.]
Aug. 10. 135. Journal of Governor Fletcher's visit to Albany in August, 1696. On the 31st of July arrived intelligence that the French were on their march against the Five Nations. On the 2nd of August arrived intelligence that the French were in the Indian country, and that the inhabitants of Albany were apprehensive of their marching against that garrison; and at the same time came a letter from the Privy Council advising of preparations made by the French against some part of America. The Governor gave orders for the guns and batteries to be put in order, and about noon took his departure for Albany. On the 7th of August he arrived at Albany, and called a Council of such gentlemen and officers as were on the frontiers. The Governor then made the following speech: As soon as I had certain notice from you that the enemy had marched into the country of our Indian friends, and by the number of their forces seemed to threaten this place and Senectady. I made all the haste that I could to your assistance, losing no more time but while I wrote to Connecticut and the Jerseys for such supplies of men as I conceived necessary. Having at the same time received a letter from the Privy Council of French designs against America, I could not reasonably draw forces from New York, nor could I be well spared from it myself. Still by advice of the Council I am come up with part of my own company, and desire your advice for your own safety, and for securing the fidelity of the Indians and renewing the covenant. I propose to send thirty of my own company and twenty of the three companies here into the Indian country to cover the Indians' retreat. Speech ends. The Council were of opinion that, the French being retreated, this movement would be an unnecessary expense; and on their advice the Sachems of the Oneidas were sent for and condolence made with them for their losses. The Council further advised that the Councillors present, with the officers and the principal inhabitants, should meet and consult with the chief Indians then in town about the properest method for bringing back the Indians that are fled, and settling them again in their covenant; and should report to the Governor on the matter. This the Governor ordered and approved; and the Council delivered the following report. We have consulted the chief Indians in town as to the best means of bringing back the Oneidas and Onandagas who are fled. We are informed that it is now twelve days since the French retired from the Indian country, that the Senecas and Cayonges are still undisturbed, and that the Onandagas and Oneidas have both burned their castles and fled out of reach of the enemy. Great part of the Oneidas and Onandagas, as also of the Maquas, have come in hither for relief. We cannot see that it would be of any service to send any great body of men now to the Upper Nations, who are seated at a distance from hence, nor can any men be spared from hence, there being only the three established companies, the detachment of your own company, and a few inhabitants in garrison, which we judge to be little enough for the defence of the place. But we think it absolutely necessary that small parties should be frequently sent out to clear the coast from such small troops as may come to annoy the adjacent farms during harvest. As to bringing back the fugitive Indians and resettling them in the covenant, we recommend (i) that trusty Indians be sent to the Senecas and Cayonges in their castles, and to the Onandagas that are fled, to tell them that the Governor, on the first news of the French invasion, came up to Albany to their assistance. (ii) That the Governor on arriving learned that the French had retired from the Indian country. (iii) That it is hardly possible to have a meeting with all the brethren of the Five Nations to consult with them as to the common good and to deliver them the presents which have been sent by the King. (iv) That you therefore appoint the brethren to meet you at Albany or this day two months, or if that be too soon to collect the Onandagas, that the Onandagas shall consult with the Senecas and Cayonges to fix a time, and that the Maquas and Oneidas be acquainted thereof. Dated, 8 August, 1696.
Here follows copy of a commission and instructions to Peter Schuyler, Godfrey Dellius and Dirck Wessells to confer with the Five Nations, according to the recommendations of the Council; the sum of £100 being lodged with them for their expenses. Dated, 10 August, 1696. Copy. 5½ pp. Endorsed, Read April 9, 1698. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 47.]
Aug. 10. 136. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for payment of £6 to Thomas Fitch for repair of the chairs in the Council Chamber. The Act of Parliament for regulation of the Plantation Trade was published.
Aug. 11. Captain Paxton and other prisoners having arrived and reported that the French men-of-war in the Bay of Fundy were of considerable force, and that a body of 600 or more French were at Pemaquid and had taken the fort there, Ordered, that a land force be raised to repel the enemy, that H.M. frigates Arundel and Orford be at once joined by a good ship, to be hired and fitted out, and by the galley and a fireship, and that H.M.S. Sorlings be also desired to join them. The ship Prudent Sarah was accordingly hired for the King's service. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 40–41.]
Aug. 10. 137. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Petition of Jonathan Langley for administration of the late Governor Russell's estate, if no will of his be found.
Aug. 11. A letter to the Council of Trade and Plantations was sent in H.M.S. Jersey by way of the Leeward Islands. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 122–123.]
Aug. 11.
138. President and Council of Barbados to Council of Trade and Plantations. Governor Russell died on the 7th inst. Immediately on his decease the Council met and assumed the Government, the senior member, Mr. Francis Bond, being President. We issued proclamations to continue all officers in their posts, and then took the necessary oaths. Your letter of 20 April, giving warning of French designs upon these parts, was communicated to us by the late Governor, and we have also advice from Governor Codrington of a proposal made to the French King by Sir Thomas Montgomerie for attacking this Island with 5,000 men. We shall therefore make every preparation for defence (and we hope that the Assembly will assist us), and if we be attacked we hope to make such a defence as will satisfy the King of our loyalty. We are providing a vessel to give you a full account of our proceedings to the time of her departure, but as the Commander of H.M.S. Jersey, who brought Governor Codrington's letters, is anxious to return to the Leeward Islands at once, we send this letter by that way. The fleet that arrived with the Newcastle is loading apace, and will be ready to sail in thirty days, when they shall be despatched all together. Signed, Fran. Bond, John Hallett, John Gibbes, Edw. Cranfield, John Farmer, Richard Salter, Geo. Lillington, Geo. Andrews, Jno. Bromley, Wm. Sharpe, Pat. Mein, Tob. Frere. An abstract is attached. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 30 Oct. 1696. Answd. 23 Nov. 1696. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 8; and 44A. pp. 17–19.]
Aug. 11. 139. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Address of the clergy at their general meeting read, and referred for further consideration. The Governor laid before Council a letter from the Commissioner of Customs, dated 9 January last, with the orders that he had prepared thereupon; on which the Council was of opinion that nothing further could be done. Order for the Attorney General to report as to the ship Resolution, captured by the French but driven by distress to surrender in Virginia, and now taken by Captain Halbart of H.M.S. St. Albans, prize. Order for lodgment in the magazine of the stores of war received from England.
Aug. 12. The Clerk of Council being indisposed, Robert Beverley was sworn and admitted as Clerk extraordinary. The Governor reported that he had acquainted Mr. Blair of his restoration to the Council, who had answered that he had been sick and could not yet venture abroad. The address of the clergy was therefore again deferred to later consideration. A letter from the Privy Council of 20 April was read, giving warning of a French design against America. The Governor reported that he had already ordered the militia to be in readiness, and the Council urged that the King's favour be published to excite the people to vigorous defence. Another letter from the Privy Council was read, relating to an Act passed in Scotland for a Trading Company to Africa and the West Indies, and another from the Commissioners of Customs as to the Plantation Trade, which were ordered to be recorded in the Council-books and observed with all care. Order for publication of the Act of Parliament for regulating the Plantation-trade. The Governor laid before Council the King's order of 1 May, 1695, for charging a part of the Province's debts against the quit-rents. Warrants were ordered accordingly. Order for dissolution of the Assembly and for writs to call a new one on 24 September.
Aug. 13. On the report of the Attorney-General, Mr. Auditor Bird was ordered to take charge of the ship Resolution for the King's interest and service. Order for the Attorney-General to enquire as to the reports that, notwithstanding all restrictions, patents for land have been granted in Pamunkey Neck and south of the Blackwater. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. pp. 33–37.]
Aug. 12. 140. The Council of Trade to the Lords Justices of England. We forward a representation from the Commissioners of Customs, and in concurrence with them we recommend that Commissioners be appointed to administer the oaths required by the Act for regulating the Plantation Trade to the Governors of the Proprietary Colonies. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. pp. 26–27.]
Aug. 12. 141. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The representation of this day's date was signed (see preceding abstract). A report as to trade with Norway was read. Mr. Randolph promised to draw up a paper as to the irregularities in trade committed in the Colonies. Further instructions were given as to the representation respecting Admiralty Courts in the Colonies.
Aug. 13. The representation of this day's date was signed (see next abstract). A paper as to the naval stores brought by Sir Henry Ashurst and Sir Stephen Evans was read, and Sir Henry was ordered to attend on Monday next.
Aug. 14. A petition from Samuel Allen was read (see No. 145), when he was ordered to bring his patent of Propriety. He said that he had long ago contracted to furnish naval stores, but had sold his right to Mr. Taylor, and that he had never heard complaint of the quality of the timber. He also gave further information as to timber, naval stores and mines in New Hampshire. Sir Henry Ashurst was then called, who also gave information as to timber and naval stores in New England, attributing the present high prices to the war. He gave evidence as to the excellence of the timber, though the Navy Board had condemned it, and added that it was finally ordered for two representatives of the Board and two appointed by himself to go to America and report on the subject. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 45–56.]
Aug. 13.
142. The Council of Trade to the Lords Justices of England. In compliance with your request, we state our opinion that the erection of Admiralty Courts in the Colonies will conduce to the due execution of the penal laws for the good of the Plantation Trade. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. pp. 27–28.]
Aug. 13. 143. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for refunding £100 to Eliakim Hutchinson, advanced by him towards subsisting the land-forces. Advised that Captain Emes of H.M.S. Sorlings, having orders from the Admiralty to convoy the mastships to England, receive positive orders to join the present expedition by sea. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. p. 42.]
Aug. 13. 144. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The opinion of the law-officers was desired as to the legality of Mr. Mein's being of the Council, he being a Scotchman, under the new Act for regulation of the Plantation Trade. Orders as to letters and vessels arriving at the Island. The Assembly was informed that they were still an Assembly, and letters from Whitehall concerning the preparations of the French were communicated to them. The Council recommended to them to raise a fund for the purchase of arms and repair of the forts, and to take measures for the interment of the late Governor, whose body was laid in a leaden coffin and laid in a vault by his wife's on the night after his death. Resolved to send an address of congratulation to the King and to despatch an advice-boat to England. Bill for speedy supply of arms sent to the Assembly.
Aug. 14. The law-officers gave their opinion that Mr. Mein, though a Scotchman, may sit in the Council. Order for holding a Court of Chancery and for hearing of causes therein. Order for the President to execute the office of Ordinary until further notice. Order for appraisal of a French prize. The Assembly attended and brought up proposals that orders should be given as to the service of retired field-officers in the Life-Guard, to call all hired servants to their homes, for the publication of the new Act as to white servants, for money not to be accepted from ships in lieu of powder-dues, for the late Governor's guard at Fontabelle to be transferred to Hole Fort, and for the public gauger of the ships to perform his duty strictly. In reply to the Council's proposals the Assembly delivered a paper as follows: (1) Part of the money from the four shillings per poll bill is appropriated to defence. (2) We propose the appointment of Commissioners for purchase of arms, etc., also (3) that Commissioners inspect a direct repair of the forts, that every foot-company meet for exercise every Wednesday and Saturday, and that arms and ammunition be lodged near the alarm-posts. (4) The question of the Governor's funeral is referred to a Committee. (5) An address should be drawn by the Committee of Correspondence. (6) All ships that are ready within so short a time should be allowed to sail; gunsmiths should be restrained from all other work but the repair of defective arms; the proclamation for encouragement of the soldiers should be published, and vacancies of officers in the militia should be filled as speedily as possible. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 123–127.]
Aug. 14. 145. Petition of Samuel Allen to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Thomas Davis desires to quit the post of Secretary of New Hampshire. I beg for the appointment of Charles Story in his place. ½ p. Endorsed, Aug. 14, 1696. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 18.]
Aug. 15.
146. Extract of a letter from Boston. Last Monday two Frenchmen arrived with a flag of truce and prisoners for exchange, namely Captain Paxton, Mr. Chub, captain of the Pemaquid Fort, and others. They gave an account that on the 6th inst. there appeared before Pemaquid the two French ships that took Captain Paxton, 600 Indians, and 100 French with bombs, mortars, field-pieces and other implements of war. They shot three bombs but did no execution. They raised a battery and summoned them several times to surrender, saying that they were Christians and did not desire Christian blood but that if the garrison did not surrender it would get no quarter, as they could not prevent the heathen from entering and destroying them all. The French, with a flag of truce, desired the captain of the fort to send some of his men to view the force against him, and when the English saw the preparations they thought it vain to stand out. So they surrendered the fort to the French, on condition that they could have what they carried out on their backs. Last Wednesday Saco Fort was besieged, and it is believed the Indians have dispersed themselves into several parties.
Extract of a letter from Salem. Colonel Gidney marched with 500 men towards Piscataqua to attack the enemy. A sloop arriving to-day at Marblehead reported that about six weeks ago they were at Petit Guavos when there arrived seven capital ships of war, of from sixty to seventy guns. Sixteen more were expected, the forerunners of which came in on the day of their sailing. Seven ships of war and seven privateers went to bombard St. Domingo, but were beaten off. The French ships of war and privateers are reported to number thirty sail. Their design is unknown. Note. "What follows was sent to the Board by Mr. Secretary Trumbull, in addition to the foregoing." Next Monday it is thought that our fleet sails to meet the two French men-of-war, and Captain Paxton's ship, which they have refitted. Our fleet consists of three men-of-war from England, Captain Gillam of Boston, a fireship and one galley. This morning Captain Morris came to town, who was in the sloop from Petit Guavos. He confirmed the news from thence, and stated the French ships at twenty-two of from sixty to ninety guns. It was given out that they had a design on Jamaica, and would be able to land eight or ten thousand men. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 20 Nov. 1696. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 19; and (in part) 36. p. 52.]