America and West Indies: May 1699, 11-15

Pages 208-224

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 17, 1699 and Addenda 1621-1698. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1908.

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May 1699

May 11. Loyal address to the King from the Representatives sent up to be transmitted. Bill for vacating extravagant grants read the second time. Albany Bill read the third time and passed. Amendments proposed in the New York Bill.
May 12. Bill for vacating extravagant grants read the third time, passed, and sent down. Bill for preventing the desertion of soldiers read three times and sent down. Bill to enable towns to build and repair meeting houses, etc. sent up, read twice and committed. The Committee reported against the Bill for establishing Courts of Judicature. The Representatives insisted on the New York Bill being passed without any amendments.
May 13. Bill for vacating extravagant grants returned up with amendments, which were agreed to. The judgment against Widow Wandall was reversed. Bill about repairing meeting-houses read the third time and passed. H.E. again recommended the case of Mr. Livingston to the Representatives. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 798–808.]
May 11. 376. Edward Palmes to Council of Trade and Plantations. Remonstrance relating to some irregularities in the Government of Connecticut. Several of the laws, orders and practices of that colony are not warranted by their Charter, and are arbitrary and grievous to the subject. Their Charter empowers them only to make by-laws, and does not give them unlimited power over the lives and liberties of the subject. Clauses are quoted from the Charter of Charles II. Under colour of these the Governor and Company assume power to try not only capital offences committed in their colony, but also offences committed upon the High Seas; assume a power of life and death in military matters; empower the Court of Assistants to be a Court of Admiralty; and assuming power in ecclesiastical matters, as to determine heresies and punish heretics, order, for instance, that no person shall give any unnecessary entertainment to any Quaker, Ranter or Adamite, and that no master of a ship shall land any such heretic. They assume a power of divorce and of disfranchising and banishing, of imposing Customs and disallowing the laws of England. It is therefore proposed (1) That Commissions be directed to discreet persons in the Colony, like those to the Judges here, for hearing and determining all treasons, felonies, murders, robberies, etc., and of gaol delivery. (2) That a proclamation be issued to pardon them for having illegally assumed that and other powers for the time past, and to prohibit them from exercising the same for the time to come.(3) That some sober and discreet person who has applied himself to the study of the laws of England be appointed Attorney General of the Colony, Rhoad Island and the Massachusets, and (4) that he be present at the making of all laws and see that they be sent over hither for confirmation or repeal. (5) The Governor and Company to send over the whole body of their laws for examination. (6) That they and all freemen of the Company be strictly commanded to take the oath of Allegiance and Supremacy before taking office and being made free, and that the oath of Supremacy and Obedience be administered to all persons who shall go to reside there. (7) That the Common Law of England be allowed and made use of in such cases in which the laws of the Colony are defective or do not extend to. (8) That they be strictly enjoined to observe the several Acts of Navigation. Signed, Edwd. Palmes. Endorsed, Read May 11, 1699. 13 pp. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 3. No. 14; and 25. pp. 416–426.]
May 11.
377. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts Bay. Ten or eleven guns impressed in 1697 ordered to be restored to David Jeffries, William Harris and others. Licence granted to John Campbell, of Boston, to build a new house in the place of his old one next to the Anchor Tavern. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 206, 207.]
May 11. 378. Journal of House of Burgesses of Virginia. Capt. Thomas Cock was sworn a member. The petition of William Davis to be a doorkeeper rejected. Petitions of Mr. Chr. Corbin-Thacker, Clerk of the Secretary's Office, and Mr. James Sherlock, Clerk of the General Assembly, for allowances; of Thomas Davis for ferrying several Indians over James River; of John Tullett for fitting the House where the Burgesses now sit; and of Mr. Robert Beverley, late Clerk of the Secretary's Office, for his usual salary, were referred to the Committee of Claims. A conference with the Council about Indian Tom was desired.
Upon the petition of Robert Beverley it was decided that the 5,000lbs. tobacco allowed the Clerk of the Secretary's Office was satisfaction of all public claims. The Committee of Claims was appointed to view the Records. Constitution and procedure of the Committee for the revisal of the laws discussed and agreed to. A complimentary address to the Governor upon account of Thanks-giving Day at the College adopted. Bill to amend the Law entitled an Act for the more speedy prosecution of slaves committing capital crimes, ordered to be prepared.
May 12. The petition of Mr. Francis Clements for allowance as Clerk of the General Assembly rejected as too late. Bills for taxing servants, prohibiting the export of old iron and continuing the Courts read a first time. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 52. pp. 399–407.]
May 12.
379. Appointment of Thomas Brook as Collector of Customs by the Governor in place of Samuel Trott, deceased. Copy. [Board of Trade. Bermuda, 39. p. 29.]
May 12. 380. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Nevis. The Council considers that till Lt. Col. John Ward, thinking himself aggrieved, presents a petition, Mr. Tovy should be regarded as a member of the Assembly legally chosen. The Assembly replied that Col. Ward has presented a petition, and now informed the Council of this fact, refusing to renew the Act for quartering the regiment till this matter is settled. The Council pointed out that the petition should be properly directed and laid before them. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 495–497.]
May 13.
New York.
381. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to the Council of Trade and Plantations. We are like to have no Courts of Justice in the province, notwithstanding the King's Letters Patents do give me full power and authority, with the advice and consent of the Council to constitute and direct Courts of Judicature, yet Col. Smith, who is Chief Judge, and Mr. Graham, Attorney General, have declared their opinions that the King cannot by law establish Courts of Justice of his own authority, therefore they, especially Mr. Graham, encouraged, as in Fletcher's time, the passing an Act of Assembly to erect Courts of Justice. But the House of Representatives spoiled the Bill that was intended for that purpose by making several incoherences and some part of it repugnant to the Laws of England, that I could not give the assent to it. I am jealous there was a trick in it; designed to do me hurt with the people, the author fancying that upon a failure of justice in the country the odium of the people would naturally fall upon me. I told Col. Smith and Mr. Graham that I could not conceive the King's Attorney General in England, who drew the Letters Patents, would let the King convey such power to a Governor as could not be justified in law. Besides I told them that patents were always read and considered at the Council Board, where they stood the test of being observed by my Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice of England, who would be sure to inform the King what the law warranted him to do, and what not. You see by this what trouble I undergo for want of a good judge or two to sit in Council and a good Attorney General to advise me in behalf of the King; therefore I entreat your Lordships once more that I may have such honest able men sent over, so as to be here against the 20th Sept. if it be possible, to be present at the session of the Assembly (for till that day I intend to prorogue them). Otherwise I must be forced to put off their meeting till next spring and all business must be at a stand. There is not a day that I do not find the want of an honest able lawyer, and this one instance among many others I must observe to your Lordships. Col. Du Peyster, understanding the ship Fortune after condemnation was set up to be sold by inch of candle, advised with Mr. Attorney General whether he might safely adventure to buy her, she being a foreign bottom. The Attorney assured him he might. Upon which he went and outbid the other bidder and gave £315 for her and has since laid out about £200 in repairing her and at last has discovered he cannot load and sail her on a voyage. Col. Du Peyster upon this petitions me and the Council to be relieved and the Council were of opinion that the King being the seller and the King's Attorney advising, the King's honour was concerned that the purchaser should be indemnified and the King stand to the loss. Mr. Attorney also declared this to me as his opinion and I have for the present consented, till I receive your orders. It seems to me the Attorney ought of right to make good the damages. He is an understanding man, but being bred to a trade and neither to learning nor the law, it cannot be supposed he should be well qualified for the post he is in. And we lose many seizures of ships and unlawful goods by the lameness of the informations he draws up. I find the want of good officers of Justice, such as Judges and King's Council in the improvement of the revenue. To convince you, there are in Nassau Island four harbours (besides a great many creeks) where the merchants run in great quantities of goods, computed to be a third part as much as are fairly imported at New York. The four harbours are Southold, Sitaket, Oyster Bay and Muskeeto Cove. Oyster Bay lies most convenient for a private trade with the merchants of this town; to prevent which I constituted one John Townsend a Custom-house officer, giving him my commission with a salary of £30 per annum and a third part of all such seizures as he should make, as the law allows informers. He undertook it cheerfully. But within a month he and his securities (for I took bonds in £500 for his faithful discharge thereof) came and begged he might resign his commission, telling me that though most of that town were his near relations and several of them of his name, yet he was threatened by them to be knocked on the head, and he had already suffered many abuses, insomuch as he was in fear of his life. The Council sitting that day, I had him called before us and there he declared what he had done before and desired to be discharged. We urged him to discover who the persons were that threatened him, but he desired to be excused, for that it would be as hazardous to discover them as to remain in the execution of that employment. The minute of Council about that matter goes. And that has discouraged me from appointing such officers in the other towns. The people in that island are generally a lawless and unruly people, and to mend the matter there are several pirates settled among 'em, who to be sure will eg 'em on to do mischief. There is no cure for this, but an upright administration of justice, and the recruiting and better paying the King's forces that are here.
I am not satisfied with the present management of the Custom-house here, the Collectors acting with a sort of indifference, like men that expect every day to be superseded. A Collector here ought to be not only nicely honest, but also very active and intelligent, and without such a Collector and such Officers of Justice as I have before desired and described, 'twill be an impossible thing for me to improve the Revenue to what it ought to be. The charge of the salaries (of such men sent over) will be trebled in the increase they will bring to the Revenue. I confess I am almost tired out with the principles and behaviour of the men that are in employments of trust here. They set against me in everything, either openly or privily. They were all or most of them professed Jacobites at the time of the Revolution, and though they pretend themselves of another principle now, I see no signs of their conversion.
Mr. Graham is of opinion the Excise of Nassau Island, if duly collected, would amount to £1,200 per annum, which is 12 times as much as I doubt it will be let for this year. Wherein I have some reason to apprehend myself ill used, it being a resolved thing to keep down the revenue as low as may be, for my discredit. The Excise of this Province would without doubt amount to £3,000 a year, if we could have it duly collected, but I do not find we shall make above £1,200 this year. I offered one of the Lieutenants of the Companies £100 a year New York money and to buy him a couple of horses for him and a man to attend him, and intended him to be riding surveyor of Nassau Island, but he, though accounted a brisk man and ready to starve for want of his pay and subsistances, told me in plain terms he thought it too hazardous an undertaking for him.
Your Lordships have sent me no orders about the town of Rye Bedford, which revolted from this Province (to avoid paying taxes) to the Government of Connecticut.
I desire you will countenance the procuring his Majesty's letter for swearing Ducy Hungerford, esq., a Member of Council, and for confirming Robert Walters, esq., already put in and sworn by me. They are both very honest gentlemen and well affected to the Government.
Capt. Evans, Commander of the Richmond, who attended this Government in Col. Fletcher's time, has wrote two letters to my L.G. and the Attorney General, which for the extraordinariness of their style and the barbarous abuses of me, I trouble you with copies of them. He declares I should be murdered if I could be come at, and gives a hint as if the present Government of England were in a low condition and destitute of friends. I would complain to the Admiralty Board, if I thought they would do me right. 'Tis wonderful to see how insolent men of mean beginnings can be. This man's father was a shoemaker in Ireland, and, turning grazier, has got into a good estate. Copy. 3 pp. Signed, Bellomont. Endorsed. Recd. Sept. 20. Read Dec. 8, 1699. Enclosed,
381. I. and II. Abstracts of preceding letter.
381. III. Minutes of Council of New York, March 22, 1699. 1¼ p. Endorsed, Recd. Sept. 20, 1699.
381. IV. Copy of a letter from John Evans to Capt. Nanfan, L.G. of New York, threatening Lord Bellomont. He ought to pray that he may never come into this country. His infirmity will be no protection. 2¼ pp. London. Nov. 3, 1698. Endorsed, Recd. Sept. 20. Read. Dec. 8, 1699.
381. V. Copy of a letter from Capt. Evans to Mr. Graham threatening Lord Bellomont. "Those gentlemen whom he has injured with his lame hand by writing will expect right from it. On Monday last we buried the Lady Fletcher. He suffers much by my Lord's clamours against him. The King being in Flanders he has not been yet heard." 1¼ p. London, Nov. 15, 1698. Endorsed as preceding. [Board of Trade. New York, 8A. Nos. 29, 29 I.–V.; and 53. pp. 402–410; and (abstract) 45. pp. 48–50.]
May 13. 382. Commission of Christopher Codrington as Captain General and Governor in Chief of Nevis, St. Christopher's, Montserrat, Antegoa, Barbouda, Anguilla and all other plantations commonly called the Leeward Carribbee Islands. He is to take the oaths and test, which the Council are to administer, and to subscribe the Association, and he is to administer the same to each Councillor. He is empowered to suspend Members of Council, and also Lt. Governors and appoint others, pro tem. Five Councillors shall form a quorum. Vacancies in the Council are to be signified by the first opportunity, but the Governor is empowered to make the number up to seven, pro tem. He is empowered to summon Assemblies of Freeholders and Planters, the laws made by them, with the advice and consent of the Governor and Council, to be transmitted to the King within three months under the Public Seal for approbation or disallowance. The Governor to enjoy a negative voice in the passing of all laws, etc., and to adjourn, prorogue or dissolve the Assembly as he thinks fit. He is entrusted with the Great Seal, the administration of oaths, the erection of Courts of Judicature, the commissionating of persons to administer oaths, Judges and Justices of the Peace, the power of pardoning offenders other than traitors and murderers: of collation to benefices, and the power of Militia, etc.; to erect a Court Admiral and to be Vice-Admiral; to appoint captains, etc., of ships, with commissions to execute martial law in time of war, but without jurisdiction over H.M. ships. All public moneys to be issued by warrant from the Governor with consent of the Council. He is empowered to dispose of lands under moderate quit-rents, and to appoint fairs, ports, and custom houses. He is not to dispose of any Patent place. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 45. pp. 421–447.]
May 15.
383. Mr. Secretary Vernon to Council of Trade and Plantations. I have laid your Lordships' letter of the 9th inst. before His Majesty, who has been pleased to send it to the Lords of the Admiralty with directions that passes be allowed accordingly to the ships of H.M. subjects trading to the Plantations or elsewhere to the southwards. Your Lordships will likewise consider what method is to be taken for giving notice thereof to merchants or others concerned. Signed, Ja. Vernon. [Board of Trade. Trade Papers, 14. pp. 275.]
May 15.
New York.
384. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I intend to answer your orders in your letters of Oct. 25, Jan. 5 and Feb. 2. The first came but lately to my hands. I am in no capacity to obey your order of prosecuting Baldridge and others suspected of piracy for want of a good Judge or two and an honest, active Attorney General. I can have nobody prosecuted here that hath ten pieces of eight, which troubles me above all things. To labour day and night and be left to stand alone without the assistance of one man, it is what I am not possibly able to undergo, nor willing, because I shall never get credit by my labour and service. All that I have been able to do is to get Baldridge's narrative on oath. At the latter end of it you will find an account of the pirates killed in the Island of St. Mary's near Madagascar. I send Col. Du-Peyster's Memorial about the ketch said to have belonged to him, one Smart, master. As to the Frederick sloop which went with East Indian goods to Hamborough, and belonged to Mr. Phillips, Mr. Secretary Vernon has also observed it to me and directed me to sue Phillips' bond, but Brookes, who was then Collector, took no bond of him, so that there is no handle for prosecuting Phillips.
In answer to your letter of Jan. 5, I send copies of my letters, Oct. 27 and Nov. 14, '98, to the Lords of the Treasury, wherein I mentioned Brookes but transiently, sending them copies of my letters to you about the revenue and public accounts. I cannot recover the five years' excise out of his receiver's hands for the County of Ulster. I had a Capias sent for him, but he kept out of the way. There was a complaint made against him in the House of Representatives this session for defrauding the King of his revenue and the Speaker's warrant was sent for him, but he avoided that too. His name is Demyre; he is brother-in-law to Bayard and has the same good name in the country. Col. Romar, the engineer, was gone to Boston to get a passage to England, but upon your orders I have stopt him, and since I am suddenly to go thither, I have wrote to him to view the fort on the Island which commands the harbour at Boston, and from thence to go to Piscataqua in New Hampshire and thence to Pemaquid and take the plans of all three forts and make such observations as will be proper of their situations, importance and what the charge may be of building good substantial forts.
By Brookes' neglect of his duty, we have quite lost the arrear of quit-rents computed to be at least £1,500, nor has he left a rental of-them to guide us. Col. Cortlandt, the present collector, sent to all the sheriffs of the respective counties to collect the said arrears and offered 2s. in the pound as a reward, but they all refused, fearing, as it is supposed, to undertake an office that might cost them their lives, among a lawless, unruly people. One Capt. Clarke of New York came to me in winter and offered to collect those quit-rents for two shillings in the pound, and knowing him to be an ill sort of man and one of the Faction, I fancied there was something of design in his offer. However, I seemed to receive it kindly and promised him my commission for it. I then suspected and have since discovered the real cause of his offer. It was concerted at a club of those people, that nothing would sour the people against me and make them averse to the choice of such men for Representatives as would continue the Revenue so much as my sending to make a demand for a long arrear of quit-rents, which they dreamt not of ever paying, and of ransacking the deeds and titles of their estates to discover the said arrear, which they knew would be a thing very irksome and displeasing. The faction knew that in spring I must remove to Boston and that there was a necessity of my calling an Assembly to settle the Government and revenue before my leaving this Province; therefore did they contrive to lay this snare for me. But I told Clarke the season of the year would not then allow of his riding about the country and that in spring he should have my commission. The man never came near me since. How to retrieve the arrears of quit-rents and settle them for the time to come, I am at a loss, as in all other things, till I have the assistance from England already proposed. The Assembly in their Remonstrance complain of the want of able officers and Ministers of Justice, and will I doubt not contribute to their maintenance.
'Tis not possible for me to make a further scrutiny into the revenue and accounts in Col. Fletcher's time now, because I must of necessity go towards Boston to-morrow to overtake the anniversary day of that Assembly's meeting, which is the last Wednesday in May. There is not a man here whose care, skill and integrity I can rely on for such a service, when I am absent. The English here are so profligate that I cannot find a man fit to be trusted that's capable of business. The Clerk of the Council that I was forced to put into Jamisson's place is a very sottish fellow, and I fear almost as ill a man as his predecessor, but being bred a Clerk in Chancery in England he writes indifferently well and is quick in business, but I doubt not fled from England not for being honest. I was obliged to employ one Ludlow, a merchant, to be Clerk of the Assembly this Session, one that was lately convict of clipping and coining in this town. Those that are honest of the Dutch, being formerly kept out of employment and business, are very ignorant and can neither speak nor write proper English.
The copy of my Commission of Oyer and Terminer for trying the soldier at Albany I cannot send at present, the original commission being at Albany and only the Fiat remaining on record in the Secretary's Office. But for proof of the Council's consent I send Mr. Graham's and Col. Courtlandt's certificates. As an instance and proof of Jamisson's altering the Minutes of Council, which was a thing they made an article against me, the day I urged to the Council that the four ships should give in good security, when they went hence last summer to Madagascar, that they should not trade with pirates there, Col. Smith being the only man that stood up and spoke against it, though they all opposed it as well as he, Jamisson came and showed me the Minute of Council, where he had writ down Col. Smith's speech and arguments against my taking bond for those four ships. I afterwards told Col. Smith of this accidentally, and he went and got Jamisson to leave his name and speech entirely out of the Minute without acquainting me or the Council. But I understand it was a daily practice with Col. Fletcher and his man Jamisson, whom he often called the honestest man in the world, to mend and alter minutes of Council as they pleased.
The granting Letters of Denization, which you strictly forbid, is an error I have been led into partly through my own ignorance, but more especially by the advice of Mr. Attorney and Jamisson when he was Clerk of the Council, who told me Fletcher had granted many. I may have granted four or five in all, for which I only had 12s. a-piece fees, the constant fee to the Governor for the Seal of the Province, though I can prove that Col. Fletcher took arbitrary fees in that case, and one of his denizens told me himself he paid Fletcher £10, and I am pretty sure he said Jamisson took £5. This is the only thing I ever imitated Fletcher in, for which I ask your Lordships' pardon, and assure you shall never hear of the like mistake again in me. I desire to be informed whether a Governor have not power by law to denizize a stranger in the province he is Governor of, that he may have the privileges of an Englishman within that Province.
I am heartily glad of the design of sending a squadron of men-of-war to the East Indies to suppress the pirates, who are grown intolerable both for number and the depredations they commit in that part of the world, and I wish Captain Warren good success, though if he be not very well beloved by his men, and have not been careful in choosing good men, he will run a hazard of being destroyed, and of his men's running away with the King's ships and turning pirates. The temptation is so great to the common seamen in that part of the world, where the Moors have so many rich ships, and the seamen have a humour more now than ever to turn pirates. I am in hopes the several reports we have here of Captain Kid's being forced by his men against his will to plunder two Moorish ships may prove true. And 'tis said that near 100 of his men revolted from him at Madagascar and were about to kill him because he absolutely refused to turn pirate. In answer to your enquiry after the two Indians brought over from England by Niccolls and Brookes, I hear one of them stayed among our Indians, but that the other returned to Canada, who is said to be a very bloody fellow and our great enemy.
You write that for a maintenance for ministers for our Five Nations you applied to Sir Henry Ashurst that part of the Corporation money might be appropriated to that use. Sir William Ashurst had been the properer person, because he is Governor of the Corporation. When I go to Boston I will try to dispose those of the Corporation that are there to consent to it.
To confirm your Lordships in the maintenance of the Port of New York against the pretensions of the Proprietors of East Jersey I send the copy of the Duke of York's letter to Col. Dongan when Governor of New York, copied by Mr. Spragg, then Secretary of this Province, and I believe it a true one. It shows the Duke was tender of the privileges of New York in that respect and that he rejected the pretensions of the Proprietors to have freedom of Port at Perth-Amboy. I am glad you are made sensible of the want of men-of-war here and at Boston, at a time when the French are encroaching on our fishery and insulting us with ships of war, and not a man-of-war in all this coast to look them in the face and protect the King's subjects from their insolence. At a time, too, when piracy is so common. But since you cannot prevail with the Admiralty Board, I hope you will apply to the Fountain Head, the King. I ask pardon for presuming to advise your Lordships on this occasion. I took that Board's usage of me in their manner of recalling the Deptford and Fowy so ill that I have not since wrote to them.
You seem to approve of my proposal of building two Forts at Albany and Schenectady and of applying Col. Fletcher's debt to that use, but being now to go to Boston, I cannot make a strict audit of the accounts. Those I had by me (the original, of those I sent you) the House of Representatives borrowed to assist them in an examen they intended to make. They had not the skill to make use of them, and part of them were stolen and embezzled. I hope you observed that besides a certain balance of above £4,000 charged upon Fletcher and Brookes, there were several considerable sums of money given by Assembly, which we could find no account of and are therefore a good charge upon Fletcher. Then there are his frauds to the soldiers, the unprecedented salary to his man Honan and the 30 per cent. of which there was no satisfactory account. I reckoned that there was about £9,000 a certain charge on him, besides the buildings and the money he made by the sale of lands. I was in hopes you would have sent over an honest expert accountant to assist me in a stricter audit. I am glad the map of the Province pleases you, but as for a more correct book of the Laws, 'tis not to be had. I sent for the printer and he told me there was no remedy for it, because he had nobody to correct the press at the time he printed them. As to my mustering my servants I am very well pleased to be stinted and have marked with a cross my six servants last mustered, that as many of them may be checked as the proper officer shall please, pursuant to the King's order. I send the Muster Rolls of the four companies. Our men desert apace, and I do not wonder at it. I doubt the officers will do so too in a while or be starved for want of their pay and subsistance. I think we have been barbarously used by the Pay Office. I am forced to lend £20 a piece to the Lieut. and Chaplain out of my salary or they must downright starve: and at the same time I am put to borrow money for my own use and am above £400 in debt in this town, my salary being so mean and insufficient and the perquisites so very inconsiderable. I sent you an account of the seizure of ships and what I received from them. In addition, in thirteen months I have got but £83 6s. 0d., New York money, from the Secretary for Passes for ships, Licences for Marriages and Probates of Wills and all other things wherein the Seal of the Province has been used. When I went to Albany the present from the Indians in Bever and other skins I sold for £88 9s. 10d. New York money. The particulars above specified and my salary of £400 per annum are all the profits I have had since my being in the Government.
In answer to your letter of Feb. 2, which I received three days since; as to the fears of the merchants about my countenancing Leisler's party, the merchants of this town are full as ingenious as they are honest. I have often told them I would never be guilty of so unaccountable a folly as to consent to a Bill of reparation of damages to the Leisler Party, unless I had the King's express command. And after all the noise of £17,000 that they gave out would be the sum in demand by that party, I do not find that it amounts to full £5,000. They pretend I favour that party. I would gladly know wherein I favour them beyond the rules of Justice. I suffered them indeed to take up the bodies of Capt. Leisler and Mr. Milbourne and give them Christian burial, and I do not repent since no manner of ill consequence ensued. And if it were in my power I would restore them to life again, for I have undertaken to prove that the execution of those men was as violent, cruel and arbitrary a proceeding as ever was done upon the lives of men in any age under an English Government. And it will be proved undeniably that Fletcher hath declared the same dislike and abhorrence of that proceeding that I now do, notwithstanding his doubleness in publishing a book to applaud the justice of it and screen his sycophant Councillors, Nicholls, Bayard, Brookes and the rest of the Bloodhounds. I do not wonder the murderers of those men should be disturbed at the taking up their bones; it puts them in mind ('tis likely) of their rising hereafter in judgment against them. But why the merchants of New York or their correspondents in London should be alarmed at it I cannot imagine, only that they would make everything a pretence against me. Mr. Bayard has sent over the copy of a petition of some few merchants in London complaining of me for favouring the Leisler party. They tell me it is very spiteful, and much applauds the justice of all the proceedings against Leisler and Milbourne, an insolence of a high nature when the Act of Parliament that reverses the attainder does plainly condemn and explode that whole proceeding against them. The merchants fell out with me the first week I was here over the seizure of the Fortune, and it was three weeks before I ordered a writ of restitution of Leisler's and Milbourne's heirs. So their quarrel is not grounded on my countenance of the Leisler party. The Leislerites are three to one in the province. I have made all the court that a man could do that has the soul of a gentleman to these angry merchants. I have invited 'em to my table and treated them with all the kindness I was capable of, encouraged their coming often to dine with me, but they would never come near me of their own accord. I cannot imagine the meaning of it, unless my drinking King William's health (which is a custom with me always after dinner) frightened them. There are two Acts passed this Session that have a retrospect, one to the time of Slaughter's Government, an Act of Indemnity for several honest men that were excluded by name out of an Act of Indemnity passed in his time; this was thought so reasonable a thing that the angry party in the House voted for it; the other, an Act for preventing vexatious suits of law upon the account of the late happy Revolution and for reversing unjust judgments and executions and among the rest a most unjust judgment obtained by Mr. Niccolls for £1,000 (as I take it). The Act is copied after an Act of Parliament in England soon after the Revolution, that bears the same title; and Brookes carried home £100 to procure the King's positive order to me to pass a Bill of Indemnity prepared by Niccolls to pass the last Session and contrived by him to let that judgment stand good. I can prove the sending over the £100 and it was a contribution of 28 merchants and a few other angry people, which shows the influence Niccolls has on these people. In the Act for preventing vexatious suits there are the words "Disaffected persons" applied to those that opposed Leisler. The Bill passed without any struggle in the House of Representatives where it began, but at Council it met with some opposition, one of the Council telling me if the Act passed here, it should not pass in England, for that there should be spent £20,000 rather than it should be approved by the King. I told him he had found out the only way to make me a friend to the Bill. At the second reading, I jeering him about the £20,000, he had the confidence to tell me if that would not do there should be £40,000. This is so abominable a reflection on the Government of England, but so common a one here, that I hope your Lordships will take effectual care to put all imaginable discountenance on it. If I be rightly informed they are now raising money by contribution to send home to Bayard and their Agent, who, I hear, makes them believe money will do anything at Court. I thought a man that went over under such a criminal accusation as he has done went with a rope about his neck, and never would be admitted to appear as an Agent at Whitehall. I was so provoked at the person's airing this reflection in Council that I was about to suspend him. Capt. Leisler was the only man that yet proclaimed their Majesties King and Queen in this province. He was in possession of the fort when the proclamation came hither from the Secretary of State, and he immediately ordered it to be read at the fort with all solemnity and then carried it to a person who was of H.M. Council at my coming and still is so, who was then Mayor of this city and desired him to publish it. But he refused and does not deny it. Bayard, too, I am told, endeavoured to hinder their Majesties being proclaimed at Albany, in opposition to Capt. Leisler's orders to the Mayor of that town.
Some friends write me word that Col. Fletcher and his partisans report me to be the most arbitrary Governor that was ever known. I think my principle was very well known to be quite the contrary of that both in and out of Parliament, and now I challenge all the people of New York to shew when I have punished any man in spite of their libels, at which I have laughed. Brookes writes to his friends very confidently that I shall not be long lived in this Government, and that if villainy and falsehood do not prevail, they shall be rid of their tyrant very soon. My honest endeavours to serve the King are ill rewarded, if I must be the mark of such upstarts as Brookes to let fly their insolence and scurrility at me, a fellow that was bred up in my uncle's family, as his dogs were, with licking the dishes and eating the scraps from his table, and what advancement he has had in the world is owing to my father and myself.
Mr. Weaver writes that at Col. Fletcher's hearing Brookes produced a letter from Mr. Randolph to the Secretary of the Customs, saying that he had been tricked into giving a certificate against Brookes at New York. Mr. Randolph had done well if he had said by whom: he could not charge me, for he sent me the certificate of his own accord. Upon Brookes trifling and tricking in the seizure of the Fortune, I told Mr. Randolph of it, with several remarks of Brookes' knaveish carriage in that matter. Mr. Randolph said he wondered not at it, for he had been long enough acquainted with Brookes' tricks and that he had newly discovered several corrupt practices in the Custom House here, which he would communicate to me. When I was drawing up the complaint against Brookes to your Lordships I asked Mr. Randolph for the charge he told me he had against him, which I said I would add to that which I was preparing myself. I showed him what I wrote to you, and he afterwards sent me the certificate, as I can prove by the person he sent it by.
The House of Representatives are of opinion I have deserved well of the King and the public, as appears by their address. I never solicit their addressing me as Col. Fletcher used to do. I send the deposition of Edward Taylor about the Fortune receiving pirates' goods at Madagascar, which will corroborate the evidence of John Payntree. I also send Mr. Attorney's Memorial about Robert Glover the pirate. "Tis generally taken for granted here that he had a commission from Col. Fletcher. His ship lay several days within sight of the fort here, and I am told there was an intercourse between him and Fletcher, but his design of going to the Red Sea being very public, 'tis likely Fletcher was so cautious as to give him a commission privately and not let it be registered. For the Register of the Admiralty Office denies there is such a commission entered in the Register-book and it was not material to Glover whether it were registered or no. Signed, Bellomont. Endorsed, Recd. Aug. 31. Read Dec. 12, 1699. Copy. 12 large pp. Enclosed,
384. I. Abstract of above. 3¼ pp.
384. II. Deposition of Captain Adam Baldridge, who lived on the Island of St. Mary's, 1690–1697, giving an account of various pirates that visited the island, etc. May 5, 1699. Copy. 5 pp. Endorsed, Recd. Aug. 31, 1699.
884. III. Memorial of Col. De Peyster about a ketch of his May 1, 1699. Endorsed as preceding. Copy. ¾ p.
384. IV. Certificate of Ja. Graham as to an omission from the Minutes of the Council of New York. June 5, 1699. Copy. ½ p. Endorsed as preceding.
384. V. Certificate of Col. Cortlandt to same effect. Copy. ½ p. Dated and endorsed as preceding.
384. VI. Copy of the Duke of York's letter to Governor Dongan, Windsor, Aug. 26, 1684. Do not suffer any innovation in the river nor any goods to pass up it, but what shall have paid the duties at New York...If you find that the inhabitants of East New Jersey have any other way of trading with the Indians than by the River of New York, you will use your endeavour to prevent it. Signed, James. Endorsed as preceding, 1 p.
384. VII. Deposition of Edward Taylor about the Fortune trading with pirates at Madagascar. March 20, 1699. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed as preceding.
384. VIII. Memorial of the Attorney General about ships that had sailed from New York under the command of the name of Glover. (Richard Glover and Robert Glover the pirate, both commissioned by Governor Fletcher.) May 5, 1699. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed as preceding.
384. IX. Proclamation of Lord Bellomont about the Courts of Judicature. Jan. 19, 1698–9. 1 printed page. Endorsed as preceding.
384. X. Proclamation of Lord Bellomont about the Scotch Settlement at Darien, forbidding assistance or correspondence etc. May 15, 1699. 1 printed page. Endorsed as preceding.
384. XI. Copy of the Address of the House of Representatives to Lord Bellomont, March 31, 1699. 1 p. Endorsed as preceding.
384. XII. Muster Roll of Lord Bellomont's Company, New York, Feb. 13, 1699. Signed, Bellomont, A. Depeyster, J. Depeyster, Mayor, Peter Mathews, John Bukley. 2 pp.
384. XIII. Muster Roll of Capt. John Nanfan's Company, New York. Signed, John Nanfan, A. Depeyster, J. Depeyster, Mayor, John Riggs, Charles Oliver. 1¼ pp.
384. XIV. Muster Roll of Major Richard Ingoldsbye's Company (Grenadiers), Albany, Feb. 7, 1699. Signed, Matthew Shanke, P. Schuÿler, Robt. Livingston, Hendrick Hansen. 1 p.
384. XV. Muster Roll of Capt. James Weems' Company (Fuziliers), Albany, Feb. 7, 1699. Signed, James Weems, P. Schuÿler, Robt. Livingston, Hendrick Hansen. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. Aug 31, 1699. [Board of Trade. New York, 8A. Nos. 30, 30 I.–XV.; and 53. pp. 411–437; and (abstract) 45. pp. 50–55.]
May 15. 385. Thomas Bulkley, late Deputy Secretary to the Bahama Islands, to Council of Trade and Plantations. Nicholas Trott, late Governor, has wilfully neglected to repair to his Government the space of seven months, though he was informed of the miserable condition the inhabitants were in under the horrible tyranny of Cadwallader Jones. Upon his arrival he made Jones a Proprietor's Deputy and a Privy Councillor, though he then stood publicly accused of high treason and other capital crimes; as also a Bartholomew Mercier, a natural Frenchman notoriously guilty of sundry heinous crimes and one of Jones' traitorous confederates. He denied the benefit of the laws of England to the King's Evidence against and bounden prosecutor of Jones, when for his signal loyalty therein manifested he had been cruelly imprisoned 14 months under the deposed, confined and rescued traitor Jones' usurpation. The Governor encouraged and abetted a conspiracy of Jones and his traitorous adherents to try the said King's Evidence before a pretended Court of Justice appointed by Governor Trott, whereof the Chief Judge and Assistants were unlearned in the law, and the Grand Jury who found the indictment were nominated and appointed by the said illiterate Chief Judge, some of them being infamous and the rest, one excepted, unqualified by law. The Governor assumed an arbitrary and despotic power, compelling the free people of the islands to work at his pleasure without wages or victuals, taking the tenth part of the product of their labours in salt and dyewood, and compelling masters of vessels to pay such extortionate port charges as discouraged merchants from trading thither. He discharged a prisoner without trial who was accused by two witnesses of joining in open hostility with the French against the subjects of the King of England, from whom the French took sundry vessels as lawful prizes of war and thereof the said traitorous renegade had his share and joined with the enemy in an attempt to invade New Providence. The King's Evidence against Cadwallader Jones, when acquitted, renewed his accusation, but Governor Trott neglected to issue legal process against Jones, and signed a licence for his going out of his jurisdiction and thereby promoted his escape from vindictive justice. He freely admitted into the port of New Providence Henry Avery, alias Bridgman, and his company of notorious pirates in the ship Charles II., alias the Fancy, after they had piratically taken and plundered sundry vessels. He received twenty pieces-of-eight and two pieces of gold for each man as a present to himself, and the ship with all that was in her, and thereupon permitted them to stay during their pleasure and then depart with their piratical treasure out of his government, whereby they have dispersed and most escaped demerited punishment. Signed, Thomas Bulkley. Endorsed, Recd. Read May 15, 1699. 3 pp. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 3. No. 15.]
May 15. 386. Memorial from Nicholas Dupin to the Council of Trade and Plantations. "I am credibly informed that the States of Holland are about to treat with the Duke of Courland for the Island of Tobago in America, not regarding the agreement and articles signed and sealed under the great seals of England and Courland bearing date Nov. 17, 1664, whereby the said island is to be protected by the Kings of England and peopled by the subjects of England and Courland, but if the said island fall into the hands of the Dutch or French it will endanger in time of war the loss of the other islands belonging to this Crown in America, and the ruin of the merchants trading to the West Indies, as may appear by the former war between this Crown, France, and Holland, when the Dutch took several hundred English merchant ships and secured them all in the island. Besides the Duke and Government hath empowered their envoy, the Baron de Blomberg, to treat for part of the island with the King's subjects, and by virtue of his said power hath accordingly done to a company in England," who are preparing for their voyage and hope for the assistance of a convoy in accordance with the petition presented on their behalf by the Marquis of Carmarthen. Signed, Nicholas Dupin. Endorsed, Recd. Read May 15, 1699. 1 p. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 8. No. 1.]
May 15. 387. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Mr. Trott, late Governor of the Bahama Islands, informed that there is a deposition to the same effect as the Dutch Ambassador's complaint, said it was procured at Bermuda by Mr. Richier, his enemy, who dictated it all and several of the deponents did not understand English. He denied that he took forty pieces-of-eight of the seamen and said that he had no more than his proportional share, for two divers, of what was taken up from two wrecks, which lay together, but remembers not what that amounted to, nor knows whether it came out of the Dutch ship or another.
Mr. Bulkeley presented a complaint against the administration of Trott. A copy was ordered to be sent to him for his answer. Mr. Bradshaw said he would prepare a memorial against Trott with what speed he could, based on several other affidavits in his hands.
Mr. Pollexfen delivered to the Board a letter from a merchant in the City relating to the Duke of Tuscany's prohibition of ill-conditioned salt-fish in his Dominion, and enclosing a new Bando put forth by him.
Memorial from Mr. Dupin read.
Letter from Mr. Burt, March 4, with depositions about the behaviour of the Spaniards read and ordered to be communicated to Mr. Vernon.
May 16. Letter from Col. Quarry, March 1, read. Ordered that the heads of complaint against the Government of Pennsylvania be drawn out in order to be sent to Mr. Penn for his answer. Letter to Mr. Secretary Vernon signed. [Board of Trade. Journal, 12. pp. 40–42; and 96. Nos. 78, 79.]
May 15. 388. Minutes of Council of New York. 15l. ordered to William Bradford, over and above his salary, for printing the votes of the Assembly, the session being very long.
388l. 8s. 7d. paid to Robert Livingston for advances to the officers and soldiers in the expedition against the French, 1687.
Salaries of Gabriel Ludlow, clerk, and Gabriel Thompson, doorkeeper of the Assembly, voted.
4l. 17s. 6d. paid to William Bradford for paper.
70l. gratuity voted to James Graham, speaker.
Instructions for the L. G. ordered to be entered in the Council Book.
30l. paid to Barne Cozens, and 15l. to David de Bon Repos.
Col. Depeyster ordered to be reimbursed for what he spent on the ship Fortune, a foreign bottom and so not qualified to trade.
Commissioners appointed to draw up a scheme for erecting Courts of Jurisdiction.
May 16. Committee appointed to state the interest due to Mr. Livingston for money advanced by him on the public account.
Committee appointed to audit Col. Cortlandt's accounts.
Petition of Benjamin Feneile granted. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 233–243.]
May 15. 389. Minutes of Council of New York in Assembly. James Graham, Speaker of the House of Representatives, taken into the Council. The Revenue Bill was passed with amendment. Petition of John Marsh read. Mr. Graham ordered to audit the public accounts in place of Col. Depeyster. H. E. confirmed the choice of Abraham Gouverneur as the new Speaker and the rights and privileges of the House of Representatives. Judgment was given about the drift-whale cut up by Lloyd. The Petition and Remonstrance of the House of Representatives was presented to H. E.
May 16. The New York Bill was read the third time and passed. The Governor signed the Bills passed during the session, which were read to the Representatives attending. The Governor thanked them; regretted the omission of a Bill to reconcile parties, and prorogued the Assembly till Sept. 20. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 808–815.]
May 15. 390. Journal of House of Burgesses of Virginia. Bills for suppressing blasphemy, prohibiting unseasonable killing of deer, for preventing undue elections of Burgesses, limiting appeals to the general Court, erecting pounds, prohibiting the export of corn, wheat, meal or bisquet till Dec. 25, 1700, were read a first time. Capt. Thomas Godwin was sworn a member. Petition of Mr. John Grice, sheriff of James City County, praying for allowance for attendance at the General Courts, was referred to the Committee of Claims.