America and West Indies: October 21 to 25 1697, 21-25

Pages 666-672

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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October 1697

Oct. 21. 1,397. William Bridges, Agent for Barbados, to William Popple. Mr. Eyles and Mr. Littleton being still out of town I have endeavoured to consult the gentlemen interested in Barbados as to transplanting disbanded soldiers to that island, but several of those best able to give an answer are still in the country, and I fear that it will be Monday before we can reply. Signed. Wm. Bridges. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 21 Oct., 1697. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 43.]
Oct. 21.
1,398. James Vernon to Council of Trade and Plantations. The Lords Justices have had occasion to enquire why some convicts ordered for transportation have not been sent away. They are told that the merchants have greater difficulty in disposing of them than formerly by reason of laws made in some of the plantations against receiving any such convicts. The Lords Justices are surprised to hear this, and wish to be informed where this has been enacted and in what manner. Signed, Ja. Vernon. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 22 Oct., 1697. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 68; and 34. p. 185.]
Oct. 21.
1,399. Order of the Lords Justices of England in Council. That the Council of Trade do forthwith cause the proclamation of peace with the French King to be sent to the several Plantations, with orders to cause the same to be published, and to direct all privateers and commanders of ships to cease hostilities. Signed, John Nicholas. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 23rd. Read 25 Oct., 1697. Annexed,
1,399. I. Copy of the proclamation of the peace made with France at Ryswick on 10 September, 1697. Dated, 18 September, 1697. Printed. 1 p. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. Nos. 69, 69I.; and (without enclosure) 34. p. 186.]
Oct. 21.
1,400. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Justices of England. On the petition of Thomas Bulkley we report to you as follows. Mr. Bulkley has produced an affidavit of Mr. John Warren, late of the Council of the Bahamas, confirming several of his allegations. He also desired us to obtain answers from one John Graves to certain queries, which we accordingly required Graves to do, when it appeared that he was a chief instrument of Cadwallader Jones, while his evasive and imperfect replies strengthen us in believing the truth of Bulkley's statement. The Lords Proprietors of the Bahamas to whom we referred the petition, with a request for a sight of their Patent, have after long delay refused to show us the patent, and for all answer to the petition say that Bulkley omitted to prosecute Jones when he was in England, and will have an opportunity of prosecuting Trott. Owing to the confused memorials and testimonies given to us by Bulkley, and the refusal of the Proprietors of the Bahamas to give us information, we can give you no more perfect report than this. Signed, Ph Meadows, Jno. Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill, Geo. Stepney.
Here follows, Copy of an affidavit of John Warren. (1) I remember the forcible imprisonment of Thomas Bulkley by Cadwallader Jones in 1694, when my bail for him was refused. I never heard of what crime he was accused. (2) I remember receiving an order to rifle Bulkley's house, which at first I refused to do, though I was afterwards forced. Nothing incriminating was found among Bulkley's papers. Governor Jones negotiated with a pirate to carry Bulkley away, but I and others in the Council opposed it. Bulkley was afterwards tried and acquitted, but Governor Trott began a new prosecution of him. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. pp. 168–175.]
Oct. 21.
1,401. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Justices of England. Upon your order conveyed by Mr. Secretary Vernon's letter (No. 1,393) we would represent that on 21 January last, and frequently afterwards, we laid before the King the importance of sending provisions along with the forces, sufficient not only for the summer but for the garrison's subsistence in the winter. We are told that some victuallers were sent thither about the beginning of last month, but knowing nothing of the quantity cannot judge whether more should be sent. If sufficient provisions have not been despatched they should be sent forthwith, in spite of the season. Signed, Ph. Meadows, Jno. Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill, George Stepney. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 25. p. 130.]
Oct. 21. 1,402. Journal of General Assembly of Virginia. On a message from the Burgesses, the Governor informed them that they might proceed to business.
Oct. 23. The Governor summoned the Burgesses and made them the following speech. Soon after your adjournment the Piscattaway Indians to North of Potomac in Maryland came across to settle on this side, and notwithstanding my reiterated orders to the chief officers in Stafford County have not been prevailed with to return to Maryland, but remain in the woods beyond the little mountains. I had also an account of a woman and her three children in the same county being dangerously wounded by Indians, of whom one has been condemned and executed. I have also an account lately from Upper James River of an Englishman coming from South Carolina being murdered by some unknown Indians near Roanoke River. Two Indians questioned at Appomattox for this murder, but cleared, were the same evening killed by other Indians. I gave immediate orders to endeavour to discover and apprehend the murderers but without effect as yet. All these matters together with some late proceedings in Maryland relating to Indians I have caused to be laid before you by the officers concerned, and beg your careful consideration of the whole matter. I also recommend to you the necessity for well settling the militia and for regulation of special juries for the General Court. Speech ends. Two Councillors were appointed to administer the oaths to the new members of Assembly. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 42–44.]
Oct. 21. 1,403. Journal of House of Burgesses of Virginia. The Speaker and twenty members met, and adjourned till to-morrow.
Oct. 22. Message to the Governor that the House awaited his commands, to which he replied that this was an adjourned Assembly, and that he supposed the House would proceed to business. Adjourned till to-morrow.
Oct. 23. The Governor summoned the Burgesses and made them a speech, of which a copy, together with several papers, was now received. Request sent to the Governor to issue writs for the election of eight new members, the vacancies being due to the late members holding shrievalties. Order for a proclamation to be fixed on the Statehouse door, stating the date up to which propositions and grievances will be received. John Hix appointed door-keeper. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 292–294.]
Oct. 22. 1,404. Memorial of the Agents from the Leeward Islands to Council of Trade and Plantations. In reply to your questions, the usual way for strengthening the islands with able men to bear arms and supply the plantations with white servants has been by transporting them from hence and disposing of them on their arrival to the planters for four or five years according to their age or indenture. The masters of such servants are bound to find them meat, drink, clothes and all necessaries during the time of their service, and at its close to pay them 400 lbs. of sugar. In those islands where any land was undisposed of they had also ten acres of land given to them. But looking to the late mortality in the Leeward Islands and the number of able men lost in expeditions against the enemy, the islands having grown very weak in men fit to bear arms and no supplies having been brought, the Government have passed an Act offering 2,000 lbs. of sugar for every imported servant, which is a valuable consideration and should be of good effect. Before the late war two companies of sixty men each were maintained at St. Christophers for its defence, the one under command of the Governor-in-Chief, the other of the Lieutenant-Governor of St. Christophers. These two companies some time since reduced into one may be again established as two and filled up out of the regiment now there, the rest of the regiment being disbanded there. Signed, Bastian Bayer, Joseph Martyn, Rd. Cary. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 22 Oct., 1697. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 57; and 45. pp. 99–101.]
Oct. 22.
1,405. Governor Codrington to Council of Trade and Plantations. Since my last I have received yours of 15 March and 22 July by H.M.S. Norwich, which arrived here with the convoy on 28 September. As to the fears of the Nevis merchants that the Act of Limitations might be pleaded against them, it is well known here that the said Act is not pleadable in these islands, and there never was the least motion in any Council or Assembly in this Government to make it pleadable in any island. In Nevis itself, I am told, the Act has never been pleaded, but in Antigua I understand that on special occasions it has been pleaded. Of late, however, it is not allowed and I presume that it will never again be offered. I shall take care to prevent its ever being made pleadable, for it would be very destructive to the trade of the Colonies. The great losses of the outward-bound fleet in the Channel prove a great disappointment as well as a great loss to many of the inhabitants, who had their stores for their plantations on board. However, being the fortune of war, we must be content. God see fit to send us a happy peace. The King's orders as to observance of the Acts of Trade shall be strictly observed. I have never been wanting to give my utmost assistance to the Collectors and Naval Officers, who are not appointed by me; and henceforth I shall be careful to see that they do their duty. I thank you for the favour you have done us in representing our needs to the King, and would remind you of the great guns which we require for our fortifications. Mr. Palmer is out of the Secretary's office and Mr. Parsons established therein, pursuant to the King's pleasure. Mr. Palmer is also out of the Council and all other offices of trust. I shall be on the watch for any emissaries from France under the name of Italians; it is morally impossible for such to be among us undiscovered. Signed, Chr. Codrington. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 23. Read 29 Dec., 1697. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 58; and 45. pp. 141–145.]
[Oct. 22.] 1,406. Memorial of the Agents for Jamaica to Council of Trade and Plantations. We offer the following proposals for the advantage both of Jamaica and the Kingdom. Four companies of soldiers (and if possible tradesmen) should be sent to Jamaica on the King's pay, and constantly supplied from England. For their further encouragement it should be ordered that all such soldiers who find employment may upon application made to the Governor, any Councillor or any Justice of the Peace, be immediately discharged without fee, and be at liberty to employ themselves in their respective trades or otherwise. We hope that the mortality which has happened in our fleets going thither during this war will not scare us, for, despite all our warnings and memorials, they have throughout the war arrived there at such improper seasons that those who know the country could, without any spirit of prophecy, assure them that half the men must die; whereas, had they arrived at the right season there had been no more danger to them than in a voyage to Cadiz or Leghorn. Now, there is no mystery in this matter, for the healthful months are from the middle of September to the middle of May; the unhealthy months from the latter end of May to the middle of September; so that there are four unhealthy and eight healthy months. It is easy to contrive not to arrive in the four unhealthy months which, the weather being hot and rainy, generally throw newcomers into fevers. Those that arrive some little time before those four months are seasoned, so that the change of weather seldom affects them. Signed, Bartho. Gracedieu, Gilbert Heathcote. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 22 Oct., 1697. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 72; and 56. pp. 136–188.]
Oct. 23.
1,407. Micaiah Perry to William Popple. I have discoursed the merchants and inhabitants here as to the encouragement that might be given to the Council's project for settling disbanded soldiers in Virginia and Maryland; but can get little further advice than this. It is not mentioned whether the King or others should bear the expense of transporting the said soldiers. If the King would do it the soldiers would go to a plentiful country where no man can want who will put his hand to any business, the only thing wanting to improve the country being population. It is a large country, not one tenth part cultivated, and a place that never yet had any that were under necessity of begging their bread. But if the transportation is to be done by others (for it is supposed that they cannot transport themselves) they by the laws of the country serve the person who transports them for four years, at the expiration of which term every man is to receive so much corn and clothes as the law judges sufficient to supply them till they can settle themselves in business. This is all that I know or can learn. Signed, Micaiah Perry. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 23rd. Read, 25th Oct., 1697. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 3. No. 43; and 9. pp. 164–165.]
[Oct. 23.] 1,408. Memorandum of receipt of the above letter. ¼ p. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 6. No. 32.]
Oct. 23. 1,409. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for payment of £'25 to Major John March, commander of the forces in the eastern ports, for sundry expenses. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. p. 123.]
Oct. 25. 1,410. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Privy Seal read, for the appointment of Josiah Heathcote to the Council; after which he was sworn. Orders for sundry payments and for the accounts of the receipts and disbursements since the Governor's arrival to be prepared and audited. An order of Captain Charles Richards of H.M.S. Foresight to his purser to unload no provisions and discharge no storeships but by the orders of the Governor and Council, was read and recorded. The Governor then reported that certain victualling ships had arrived for Admiral Nevill's squadron, and that since the Admiral was now gone he proposed to sell such of the provisions as were perishable and store the rest. The Council concurred; and it was so ordered. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 79. pp. 21–23.]
Oct. 25.
1,411. James Blair to William Popple. In compliance with the orders of the Board of Trade, I send you my thoughts as to transporting such disbanded soldiers as are willing to Virginia. Doubtless there is room enough upon the Continent of Virginia to receive and employ all the men that the King can spare to be transported thither, so that all reduces itself to two questions. (1) The manner of transporting them; (2) What shall they do when they are there. For the first, no doubt it would be a great kindness to the adventurers if the King were to put himself to a little charge to give them a free passage and a few necessaries, viz. household stuff such as a bed, a pot, etc., wearing apparel for at least one year (for so long will it be before they get the fruit of their labour), working-tools according to their chosen trades and occupations. Great care must be taken not to crowd too many on one ship, for that usually breeds mortal diseases. Perhaps it would be better to distribute them among the merchant-ships than to carry a great many together on a few men-of-war. The charge of transportation to Virginia in a merchant-ship is usually £6 a head, and if the passenger would have any fresh meat on the voyage he must find it himself. The usual way for the better sort is to lay in forty or fifty shillings for fresh meat. Now as to the question, what shall they do when they are there? Certainly it is a very good and cheap country, but they will be mightily mistaken if they think to live there in idleness. But if they can follow any sort of trade or labour they need never want employment nor living by their labour, if they be good husbands. Therefore (1) Let tradesmen betake themselves to their trades, when they will find ways enough either to set up for themselves or to work as journeymen for others. (2) Such as have no trade may hire themselves out by the year to planters and tradesmen, whereby they will for the present earn their living and later on learn a trade, whereby perhaps in two years they may set up for themselves. (3) If there be too many coming at once to learn tobacco-planting, and if there be any danger that way of glutting the market with tobacco it would be very convenient and commendable for some to set up the useful trades and manufactures of wine, silk, potash, flax, ship's timber, iron, skins, furs, etc., as mentioned in the first section of our report of 20 October. This case, like all new projects, will require more charge, pains and application but would be most acceptable to Virginia, where they are always complaining that they cannot live, being all of one trade, and that their tobacco is such a drag that it does not clear freight and custom. Should this design be to your mind it will be necessary to employ some skilful persons to direct, manage and oversee the whole work, such as skilful vintners for wine, etc. In any design of this nature the King has land enough of his own on the south side of the Blackwater and at the heads of the great rivers where the labourers might be usefully employed, and where (if they were seated in townships) they might be a great defence to the frontiers. But if it be thought convenient that any of these manufactures be followed lower down in the country, land may be bought or rented at a very easy rate. It may be necessary to give orders to the Governor to give the new adventurers all credit and assistance that is in the Government's power, as also to desire of the General Assembly that they may be exempted from all levies and poll-taxes for four years. If the passengers cannot pay their passage the usual way is for them to bind themselves by indenture here in England to serve the importer or his assigns four years. If they come into Virginia as servants without indentures then, by the custom of the country, they serve five years. Their masters find them all necessaries and at the expiration of their service gives them a suit of clothes and fifteen bushels of Indian corn, by a law of the country. Signed, James Blair. 3 pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 25 Oct., 1697. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 6. No. 33; and 37. pp. 125–128.]
Oct. 25. 1,412. The Agents for Barbados to Council of Trade and Plantations. We have with what speed we could consulted several gentlemen as to the proposal to transplant disbanded soldiers to Barbados. The encouragements which can at present be proposed for such soldiers as shall be willing to transplant themselves or be transplanted as servants are set forth in an Act of the island, of which we enclose extracts. The encouragements therein offered are thought to be very great, since he who transports a servant to Barbados (which costs about £6) may in ten days after his arrival receive for him £18 from the Treasurer, if he be qualified as the Act requires. Moreover any man who is so qualified may agree for his passage thither for £6, and, if he cannot make better terms, present himself to the Treasurer after ten days and receive £18; and for the four years for which he is to serve the Act provides that he shall be provided with food, lodging and clothes, and shall receive yearly as wages twenty-five shillings. We are well-informed that it was the want of white men to defend the Island in time of war which induced the Government to offer such large encouragements. However, the Act will continue in force until 20 June, 1699. We think that to transport soldiers to the Island in regiments or companies and there to disband them will be rather a prejudice than an advantage to the Island. Signed, Wm. Bridges, Fran. Eyles. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 25 Oct., 1699. Annexed,
1,412. I. Copy of an Act of Barbados to encourage the bringing of Christian servants to the Island. The allowance of victuals and clothing for servants is fixed at 6lbs. of fish or flesh with sufficient plantation-provision, and four shirts, 3 pair of drawers, two jackets, a hat and four pair of shoes annually. Printed. 1 p. Endorsed as the letter. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. Nos. 44, 44 I.; and (without enclosure) 44. pp. 99–101.]
Oct. 25. 1,413. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. On the Order in Council of 21st inst., ordered that a circular be prepared directing the peace lately concluded with France to be published in the Plantations.
Several letters and memorials as to the transplanting of disbanded soldiers from Mr. Blair (No. 1,411), Mr. Perry (No. 1,407) and Mr. Bridges (No. 1,412) were read. Order for the Secretary to make further enquiry on the subject from the Agents of Barbados.