America and West Indies: September 1696, 1-10

Pages 91-99

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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September 1696

Sept. 1. The papers received by last packet from New York were read.
Sept. 2. The papers received by last packet from Virginia were read. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 79–87.]
Sept. 1. 178. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Order for H.M.S. Newcastle to convoy the homeward-bound fleet to latitude 18°. Colonels Bayley and Boteler nominated to two vacant regiments of militia. A day of humiliation appointed. Sundry accounts passed. Order for the French prisoners to be distributed among the ships of the homeward-bound fleet.
Sept. 2. Addresses to the King, one of congratulation, the other concerning Colonel Chamberlayne, were signed and sent to the Assembly for signature, also letters to the Agents and duplicates. Order to delay the sailing of the fleet for a few days. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 136–138.]
[Sept. 2.] 179. Extracts from the Minutes of the General Assembly of Virginia in April and May, 1696, and of the Council from June to December, 1695, and from April to June, 1696. Note. This apparently was intended as a general abstract of the proceedings, and was read at the meeting of the Council of Trade and Plantations on the 2nd of September, 1696. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 37. pp. 7–10.]
Sept. 2. 180. Governor and Council of Connecticut to Lords of Trade and Plantations. We duly appointed a day of thanksgiving for the deliverance of the King from the late horrid conspiracy. We also published the proclamation for arrest of persons accused of high treason, which we doubt not will be followed. We have also received the Act for regulation of the Plantation Trade, which was forthwith published, order being also taken for due attendance of it. The principal persons of the Province have subscribed to the Association, which you sent to us, and we can assure that there will be general and hearty concurrence therein. We thank you also for your warning of a French design upon America, and of the necessity for our putting ourselves in a state of defence, which we acknowledge ourselves bound with all due care to attend. By order of the Governor and Council. Signed, Eleazar Kimberly. 1 p. Endorsed, Received and read, 8 Dec. 1696. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 22; and 36. pp. 69–71.]
Sept. 2.
181. Governor Codrington to Council of Trade and Plantations. Since mine of 5 May I have received yours of 13 February, 10 March, 15 and 20 April, with a copy of the Scotch Act, the instructions of the Commissioners of Customs as to enforcing the Acts for regulating the Plantation Trade, and a new Act which I have made as public as possible. A day of thanksgiving for the King's deliverance from the conspiracy against him was very heartily observed here and, I doubt not, in the other Islands of this Government. The Associations, signed by all the persons in this Government, shall be sent to you in a month. Four days since, a brigantine arrived from Boston, the master whereof (an intelligible man) gives me account that, from certain news obtained from prisoners from Canada, there were twelve or fourteen men-of-war arrived in Canada with design to attack the coasts and trade of New England and pass thence to the West Indies. Two days ago the Colchester sent in a French shallop which she had captured on the 27th ult. off Martinique, in which were twelve prisoners who reported that fourteen men-of-war had arrived from France (they did not say where) to attack St. Domingo. I conclude that these are the ships from Canada which, now that winter is approaching, will, I believe, soon look this way. The expectation of this fleet, joined with the warning given in your letter of 20 April, will oblige me to continue a strict guard in these Islands until this storm is blown over. I have caused all the breast-works to be made good and the Island to be put into the best posture of defence, and have not failed to order the other Islands to be in like readiness. Pursuant to the King's orders I delivered St. Eustatius to the Dutch, who have now been three months in possession of it. I shall not fail to observe the order to detain the Brandenburg vessel of which Erasmus Heinderick is master. Signed, Chr. Codrington. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 5 Nov. Read, 6th. Answd. 23 Nov. 1696. A short abstract is attached. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 5; and 45. pp. 15–17.]
Sept. 3. 182. Order of the Lords Justices of England in Council. Referring a memorial from the Lords of the Admiralty to the Council of Trade, to hear Sir Henry Ashurst and other persons concerned in the matter, and to report. Signed, Rich. Colinge. ½ p. Annexed,
182. I. Memorial of the Lords of the Admiralty. Forwarding draft instructions, pursuant to order, for the persons intended to go to New England to inspect the naval stores there. Signed, R. Rich, G. Rooke, J. Kendall, Wm. Bridgeman. Admiralty Office. 1 September, 1696.
182. II. Instructions for John Bridger and Benjamin Furzer, appointed to report as to the condition of that Colony with relation to naval stores. Twelve clauses, including detailed description of the oak best suited for naval purposes. It is mentioned that two persons appointed by the Agents are to be joined with them in their inspection. Four closely written pages. The whole endorsed, Read 3rd in Council. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. Nos. 23, 23 I., II.; and 36. pp. 22–28.]
Sept. 3.
183. Order of the Lords Justices of England in Council. That the Council of Trade speak with the merchants trading to the Colonies respecting convoys for the merchant-fleets, and report to the Council. Signed, Rich. Colinge. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. and read 4 Sept. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 8; and34. p. 33.]
Sept. 3. 184. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Antigua. The Assembly again requested a copy of the Act obliging the Secretary and Marshal to give security. Captain John Perry produced his patent to be Provost Marshal, which was allowed.
Sept. 4. In reply to a request from the Assembly for the suspension of John Palmer from the Council, the Governor declined to suspend him till he should have been heard; but consented to receive the Assembly in a body and hear their allegations against him. The Assembly sent up requests for an address to the King to be drawn up, for a new Secretary and a new Marshal to be appointed, for a short Act to reinforce the Act as to those officers giving security, and for an Act to lay a duty on dry goods sold by retail. Message from the Governor to the Assembly as to the carrying on of the works at Monkshill, which was postponed by the Assembly till next meeting. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 179–182.]
Sept. 3. 185. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Advised that an expedition be set forward for attack of the fort on John's River in the Bay of Fundy, to surprise the cannon and stores lately sent from France, by the employment of the forces lately despatched eastward under Major Church, with a reinforcement of 100 men; that H.M.S. Arundel and the Province galley be ordered to cover the river's mouth, and that Lieutenant-Colonel John Hathorne take command of the expedition.
Sept. 4. The embargo on outward bound ships was raised. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 43–44.]
Sept. 4. 186. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Depositions taken as to the sending of English prisoners from Martinique to France. The Council proposed to the Assembly that the expense of its entertainment since the Governor's death be paid by the public. In reply to a petition the Council answered that the seating of the Courts should be their first care after the fleet had been despatched. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 138–139.]
Sept. 4. 187. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Order in Council of 3 September as to convoys was read (see No. 183) and the Clerk was ordered to report as to the method used for the same by the late Committee.
The Order in Council of 3rd inst. as to Sir Henry Ashurst was read (see No. 182) and Sir Henry was ordered to attend next Monday. Jahleel Brenton attended and desired attention to the papers concerning him referred by Order in Council of 23 April last.
Mr. Miller attended on the subject of his pay, but was told that the matter was not the business of the Council. He then gave a further account of the incursions of the French and Indians, the trade and state of Albany, etc.
Order for purchase of fire-irons, etc. for the office.
Sept. 5. Order for Mr. Povey and Mr. Bridges to attend next Monday. Order for all Colonial laws to be sent to the law officers for inspection. The Order in Council of 23 April as to Mr. Brenton read. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 87–92.]
Sept. 7.
188. Council of Barbados to the Duke of Shrewsbury. By the death of Governor Russell the Government has devolved upon us. We have passed three Acts for repairing the forts, for ensuring efficiency of arms among the militia, and to secure the gunpowder duty from frauds, and we have imposed a tax on negroes, which will bring in about £10,000, for purchase of arms and for other measures of defence. We are now making every preparation to defend ourselves in case of attack. We beg your care of this Island, and that you will listen to our Agents in the matter of Sir Willoughby Chamberlayne's character. Our Island would be more miserable than ever before, should he govern it. Signed, Fran. Bond, President; John Gibbes, John Farmer, George Lillington, Jno. Bromley, Wm. Sharpe, Pat. Mein, Tob. Frere. 1¼ pp. [America and West Indies. 456. No. 67.]
Sept. 7. 189. Council of Trade to the Lords Justices of England. We are of opinion that the appointment of Attorneys-General in the Colonies will conduce to the ends proposed by the Commissioners of Customs. We have advised with Mr. Randolph, and on his report we recommend that William Randolph, George Plater, David Lloyd and Anthony Checkley be removed from their posts of Attorneys-General in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts respectively, and that the following gentlemen be constituted Attorneys-General, viz.: For Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina and West Jersey—Edward Chilton; for Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire—Thomas Newton; for New York, East Jersey and Connecticut—James Graham. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. pp. 32–33.]
Sept. 7. 190. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Order for Mr. Hartwell to attend on Wednesday next. Mr. Bridges and Mr. Perry attended on the question of convoys, and, with the other Agents, were desired to put their suggestions into writing.
Sept. 8. The Secretary reported that Colonel Hartwell was too ill of the gout to attend.
Sept. 9. Mr. Brenton was desired to lay a state of his case before the Board. Order for the Secretary to draw up a representation concerning New York, and to enquire of Mr. Heathcote as to presents for the Indians.
Orders for Major-General Winthrop and Dr. Daniel Cox to attend the Board, and for a circular letter, with queries, to the Governors to be drawn up by the Secretary. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 93–96.]
Sept. 8. 191. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The Council agreed that the President do have half the salary appointed for the Governor by the Royal Instructions. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. p. 139.]
Sept. 8.
192. President and Council of Barbados to Council of Trade and Plantations. Our last was by way of the Leeward Islands, reporting Governor Russell's death. When he died we found two Colonels' commissions vacant, which we have bestowed on Colonel Abel Alleyne and Colonel William Cleland, and we have passed three bills brought in by the Assembly, one for raising four shillings a head upon negroes, which will come to near £10,000, for purchasing such arms, ammunition and stores as are obtainable in the Island, and for repairing and supplying the forts, to encourage the importation of white servants, and to pay off the country's debts. The second Act is for repairing the forts and entrenchments, and the third is to protect the gunpowder duty from fraud and impose a further fine on those who appear in the militia with bad arms. Commissioners are appointed to ascertain and supply the wants of the forts. We enclose a report of the condition of the magazine taken soon after the Governor's death. We were surprised to find it in so low a state, and though we and the Assembly have frequently desired to know it, in order to a supply, yet it has been our unhappiness to be refused. Not only have we been denied to look into the accounts thereof but we have been told that it was not our affair, but the Captain-General's only. We must now tell you that £3,500 has heretofore been laid out in arms and warlike stores and put into the magazine, whereof the greater part has been sold out; and we have reason to believe that the money has been converted to private uses. But we shall report more fully on this after enquiry. All vessels trading to the Island pay an impost of one pound of gunpowder per ton, which you may conclude must bring in great quantities of powder, so as to make a far greater store than is now here. The ordinary expense is in the return of salutes (when two guns less than they salute the forts with are given to the merchant ships) and the firing of cannon on certain days of solemnity; but the expense of powder for exercise of the militia comes not out of this store, but is borne by every private person who sends to it. However the Council has now ordered one gun only to be returned to the salute of merchantships, in order to husband the powder. In our last we announced our intention of sending an express with all speed to give you an account of Governor Russell's death, but the merchants represented the danger of the express falling into the enemies' hands, as it would give them timely notice to waylay and intercept our ships. Lately one Edgerton, who sailed in a swift vessel in March last before the fleet, was taken, and several French privateers at once put out from St. Malo to intercept our fleet. We therefore decided that one ship should sail before the fleet, which was nearly ready to go, thinking that fourteen days' earlier notice was not worth the hazarding of the fleet. We shall duly observe the Royal Instructions to Governor Russell of 4 January, 1694. Until the Governor's death these instructions never came to our sight, so that we were incapable of doing the service commanded therein. We see the King's tenderness for this place in many particulars, and especially in enjoining that the Council's opinion should be taken in the placing or displacing of judges or other officers. But the Council's opinion has not been asked on such matters for many years past, nor till now did we know that it was our duty to give it. When the Council has asked to know the Royal Instructions upon any point, the instruction has not been shewn but told by word of mouth, and sometimes so obscurely as to be unintelligible. A sight of the instructions has been refused to us. We are sorry to say this because it reflects upon some of our former Governors, but we think it our duty to report it. We must inform you also that many in office here are men of slender fortunes and capacities, and we hope you will approve of our reform in replacing them by men of good estate and experience. If there be any further instructions, they have not yet come to our knowledge.
H.M.S. Newcastle, being a good sailer, has taken a French privateer which infested these coasts and had taken a ship with sugar which was intended for England. We are sending the prisoners, thirty-four in number, to England, dispersed among the fleet, according to the enclosed list. Our reasons for so doing are as follows. These as well as former prisoners, having been for the most part planters in the French Islands, have had so much encouragement by the practice of sending them back under flag of truce that, having lost nothing but ragged clothes and empty vessels, they have come out against our coasts again and again in a few days, to the great destruction of our trading vessels. Fifty of the best, laden with provisions and other goods, have been taken by them within less than a twelvemonth last past; and the prisoners have frequently said that they will be on our coasts again soon after they are sent home. And this is true, for several of those now sent to England have been taken two or three times within the past six months; but now that we are sending them to Europe, the small planters of Martinique (without whom they can man but few privateers), will be less forward to go to sea. A second reason is that the enemy has sent many of our prisoners to France, as the enclosed depositions show that about 140 English prisoners had arrived in France from Martinique. A third reason is that we have no instructions as to exchange of prisoners, and such agreement as was made between the French Governor and ours we never were privy to. But we know that we have not had from the French near the number of maritime prisoners that they have had from us, though we are assured that on this coast they have taken three prisoners from us against one that we have taken from them. A fourth reason is that we have no place to keep prisoners in, so as to secure them from private converse with disaffected Irish and others who lie concealed here, and give intelligence of our condition. We have a suspicion that Francois Breardor, the captain of the last privateer taken, has been too curious in his observations here, and it might be well not to permit him to be easily exchanged. A fifth reason is that under colour of a flag of truce for exchange of prisoners, the enemy has more advantage of us in the discovery of our condition that we can have of them; for they have no Irish nor other malcontents. We shall therefore send no more flags without the Royal order. We beg you to pardon us if we represent to you the great importance of Bermuda to the Colonies in America. Not only the trading ships between Europe and those parts, but all the small craft that ply between the North American Colonies and these Islands (without which we could hardly have subsisted during the rebellion in Ireland) always pass within thirty or forty leagues of Bermuda and ten times out of twelve actually within sight thereof, sometimes even stopping there. So that if these Islands should fall into the hands of the enemy they could with eight or ten small vessels easily stop or destroy the trade of the West Indies and make themselves masters thereof. We doubt not that your foresight will shew you the dreadful consequences of such a loss, and the importance of the trust committed to the Governor of Bermuda. Signed, Fran. Bond, President; John Hallett, John Gibbes, Edw. Cranfield, John Farmer, Richard Salter, Geo. Lillington, Geo. Andrews, Pat Mein, Tob. Frere, B. Hothersall. Three closely written pages. Endorsed, Recd. and read 30 Oct. 1696. A short abstract is attached. Annexed,
192. I. List of stores in the magazine of Barbados, 18 Aug., 1696. These include 729 small arms, 236 barrels of powder, and about 9,000 shot, serviceable, and the remainder of the stores unserviceable. 1 p.
192. II. Duplicate of an alphabetical list of stores wanting, sent with Governor Russell's despatch of 23 July, 1696. Docket only. ½ p.
192. III. List of French prisoners sent home to England, thirty-four in number, distributed among fifteen ships. Dated, 4 Sept. 1696. 1 p.
192. IV. Deposition of John Webster, as to the deportation of English prisoners from Martinique to France. Dated, 3 Sept. 1696. ½ p.
192. V. Declaration of John Lenton. That when a prisoner in France he saw about 140 English prisoners brought thither from Martinique. Dated, 4 Sept. 1696. ½ p. The whole of the enclosures endorsed, Read Oct. 30, 1696. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. Nos. 10, 10I.–V.; and (without enclosures), 44A. pp. 20–27.]
Sept. 8.
193. Edward Cranfield to the Duke of Shrewsbury. Governor Russell died on the 7th of last month of the pestilential fever, which has long raged here, and it may be feared (if God withdraw it not) will lay the Island desolate. The Government has devolved on the Council, with Mr. Bond for president, an aged and crazy man, and very unfit for the station in war-time, especially if we should be attacked. The Council has written to report its proceedings. Signed, Edw. Cranfield. Holograph. ½ p. Endorsed, R. 27 Oct.
Duplicate of the foregoing. [America and West Indies. 456. Nos. 68, 69.]
Sept. 8. 194. Memorial of the Agents for New York to Lords of Trade and Plantations. We offer the following suggestions for the securing of New York and the English dominions on the main land of America. The best and surest means would be the dispossessing the French of Canada and settling an English Colony there. Hereby all future expense of garrisons would cease; the whole of the fur-trade will be secured; the Indians will be deprived of all power of doing mischief to the English, but will be wholly at their command, there being no other nation from whom they could obtain the goods which long trade with Europeans has made necessary to them; and the inland parts of the country, which are reported to be full of minerals, could be more easily explored. But if this design be considered too costly or too hazardous, we would submit to you the following particulars:—(1) That about £1,000 sterling be laid out annually in presents of ammunition, etc. to the Five Nations, to confirm them to our interest. (2) That during the war a garrison of about 1,000 men be kept on the frontier of New York towards Canada, to shew the Indians that we can protect ourselves and them. (3) That a regular stone fort be built at Albany, and fortifications at Senectady, Canestagione, the Half Moon and else-where, and suitable forces posted in them. (4) That yearly recruits of men and of stores of war may be sent over. (5) That five or six hardy youths, of good natural parts and understanding grammar at least, may be sent among the Indians, to learn their language perfectly and become acquainted with their customs and manners, that the Government may have better insight into their measures and more easily treat with them. (6) That some Protestant clergy be encouraged to live with them to endeavour to convert them to Christianity. (7) That as soon as possible a strong fort and a good settlement may be built and made in some convenient place near the lake. Signed, Chid. Brooke, W. Nicoll. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Read 12 Sept. 1696. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 56; and 52. pp. 19–21.]
Sept. 9. 195. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Lieutenant-Colonel Hathorne's commission and instructions read and approved, with an additional clause in the commission for the exercise of martial law. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. p. 44.]
Sept. 10. 196. Lords Proprietors of Carolina to Deputy-Governor Thomas Harvey and the Deputies and Council of North Carolina. We are extremely pleased at your satisfaction with Governor Archdale. The deed which you sent to us and produced to Mr. Archdale was a true copy of a deed signed by the proprietors. As to your complaints of the Governor of Virginia, we can at present only send you an extract from the original patent of our bounds. Signed, Craven, Bath (for himself and for Lord Carteret), Wm. Thornburgh for Sir John Colleton, Tho. Amy. [Board of Trade. Carolina, 4. p. 32.]
Sept. 10. 197. The same to Governor Archdale. We are glad that you have secured our money, and doubt not that you will remit it to us shortly, and we are glad also to hear that the Assembly is disposed to grant the French naturalisation on their petitioning for it. Your son is arrived in Ireland. We send copy of our letter to North Carolina. We rejoice that there is a prospect of people coming to settle with you, and gladly ascribe it to your conduct. Signed as the preceding. [Board of Trade. Carolina, 4. p. 33.]
Sept. 10. 198. Order of the Lords Justices of England in Council. Referring a Representation of the Council of Trade, concerning Attorneys-General for the Colonies, to the Attorney-General for report. Signed, Rich. Colinge. ½ p. Annexed,
198. I. Council of Trade to the Lords Justices of England, 7 September, 1696. In obedience to your order of 23 July last, concerning the appointment of Attorneys-General in the Colonies, we have advised with Mr. Edward Randolph, who reports as follows. William Randolph, the present Attorney-General of Virginia, is wholly unacquainted with the laws and practice of the Courts in England; George Plater, the Attorney-General of Maryland, is a favourer of illegal trade; David Lloyd, Attorney-General of Pennsylvania, has refused to put forfeited bonds in suit; Anthony Checkley, Attorney-General of Massachusetts, is not only ignorant of the laws of England but has been himself an illegal trader. We therefore think these persons unfit for their places, however fit they may be deemed by the Proprietors, and we would recommend the following appointments, viz. Edward Chilton to be the King's Attorney-General for Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and West Jersey; Thomas Newton to be the same for Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, and James Graham for New York, East Jersey and Connecticut. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. Copy. 1½ pp. [America and West Indies. 601. Nos. 32, 32I.]