America and West Indies: February 1699, 16-20

Pages 63-68

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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February 1699

Feb. 16.
102. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. We are using all diligence in preparing a draft of instructions for Lord Bellomont to enquire into the misdemeanours of the Government of Rhode Island, and meanwhile humbly lay before your Majesty the draft of a Commission which we conceive may be proper for that service. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Tankerville, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. Annexed,
102. I. Draft of Commission to Lord Bellomont to empower him to examine witnesses and enquire into the misdemeanours of the Government of Rhode Island. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. pp. 318–320.]
Feb. 16.
103. Order of King in Council, approving the above-mentioned draft of a Commission to Lord Bellomont. Signed, John Nicholas. Endorsed, Recd. Feb. 22, Read Feb. 23, 1698/9. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 2. No. 49; and 25. p. 339.]
Feb. 16.
104. Order of King in Council. In accordance with a representation on the proposal of Sir B. Gracedieu and Mr. Heathcote all the Patent Officers within His Majesty's Plantations are to be obliged by their patents or otherwise to actual residence upon the place and to execute their respective offices in their own persons unless in case of sickness or other incapacity. The Council of Trade is hereby ordered to signify His Majesty's pleasure in this matter to the respective Governors. A clause to the same effect is to be inserted in all future patents. Signed, John Nicholas. Endorsed, Recd. Feb. 22, Read Feb. 23, 1698/9. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 110; and 56. pp. 274, 275; and Plantations General, 5. No. 6; and 35. pp. 30–32.]
Feb. 16. 105. Representation of the Council of Trade and Plantations to the King upon the petition of John Tucker and others, owners of the brigantine Mary Rose of Bermuda, impressed in 1693 by Commissioners in Barbados authorised by an Act of the General Assembly of that island, into the King's service against Martinico and there lost. The petitioners pray for £880, the appraised value of the brigantine. But they have not yet made any application in due form to the ordinary Courts of Justice in Barbados. We humbly report to your Majesty our opinion that they may in the first place be directed to apply themselves accordingly and that your Majesty's Governor there be writ to, that they may have a speedy despatch of justice. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Tankerville, Philip Meadows, William Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, Abraham Hill. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44. pp. 242, 243.]
Feb. 16. 106. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Liberty granted Elizabeth Nichols to marry, her husband not having been heard of in three years and supposed to be lost at sea. Payment ordered to Addington Davenport and William Paine, two clerks to the House of Representatives. £400 ordered to be reserved for the reception and entertainment of Lord Bellomont. A General Fast with Prayers and inhibition of servile labour ordered to be proclaimed for March 23. £20 to be paid to John Jones, minister of the town of Lancaster, in place of one there slain by the Indians. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 192, 193.]
Feb. 16. 107. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Mr. Hodges given leave to inspect the Barbados Laws.
Representations ordered Feb. 14, signed and sent to the Council Board.
Feb. 17. Answer to Mr. Secretary Vernon's letter of Jan. 3 and 9, relating to French encroachments and the right of fishery signed and sent. Mr. Burchett desired to give an answer to the letter writ him on the 8th relating to passes. [Board of Trade. Journal, 11. pp. 394–395; and 96. Nos. 29 and 30.]
Feb. 17. 108. Council of Trade and Plantations to Mr. Secretary Vernon. In answer to your letters of Jan. 3 and 9: The Northern Continent of America having, as is alleged by us, been first discovered by the subjects of the Crown of England, that part of it lying between the latitude of 40 and 48 degrees and extending from the East Sea to the West Sea was granted by King James I. by Letters Patents dated Nov. 3, 1620, unto the then Duke of Lenox and divers others by the name of the Council of Plymouth, etc. In 1621 the country of Nova Scotia was more particularly granted by James I. to Sir William Allexander, afterwards Earl of Sterling, who some time after sold his right to Monsr. Claude de la Tour, a Frenchman, to be held by him and his successors under the Crown of Scotland. About 1631 King Charles I. made some sort of concession of the said country unto the Crown of France (unto which we do not understand that the French had till then any title) reserving nevertheless the right of the Proprietors who had before enjoyed it. In 1633, notwithstanding this concession, Charles I. by Letters Patents, May 11, granted to Sir Lewis Kirk and others full privilege not only of trade and commerce even in the River of Canada, which is north of Nova Scotia, and places on either side adjacent, but also to plant colonies and build forts and bulwarks where they should think fit, by which it seems to us that the forementioned concession, whatever it were, was not understood to have been an absolute grant and alienation of the said country from the Crown of England or Scotland. But nevertheless Sir Lewis Kirk and partners were molested by the French in the enjoyment and exercise of the aforesaid privileges. On the other side, many years before this, the country about Penobscot, lying to the westward of Nova Scotia, had been discovered by some of the inhabitants of New Plymouth who seated themselves there, but were also afterward sometimes disturbed by the French Governor of Nova Scotia. In the year 1654, Cromwell, having a fleet at New England, caused the country of Nova Scotia to be seized as being anciently a part of the English dominion, to which the French had no just title, and the Proprietor, Sir Charles de Ste. Estienne, son and heir to M. de la Tour, coming thereupon into England, sold all his title and right unto the said country to Sir Thomas Temple and Mr. William Crowne, one or both of them. Temple and Crown, one of them or their assignees, continued to possess and enjoy the same with the profits thence arising until 1667, when it was agreed between Charles II. and the French by the Treaty at Breda that the said country should be surrendered to the French, which was done in 1670 by Sir Thomas Temple, then residing as Governor upon the place. But in the execution of that surrender it has been suggested to us that Temple exceeded his commission, and delivered up Penobscot also, at which King Charles was highly displeased and did not confirm the same. On the contrary, it happening not long after that a war broke out between France and Holland, in which the Dutch took the fort at Penobscot from the French, demolished it and quitted it, King Charles commissioned the Governor of New York to take the same under his jurisdiction, which was accordingly done and the country extending from Pemtagoet westward to the river Sta. Croix eastward was annexed to the Government of New York by the Duke of York's patent for the same, and in prosecution thereof, the French still keeping possession of some parts of it, Sir Edmund Andros, when Governor of New York, invaded them by force and took the habitation of one M. St. Castine, a Frenchman, who thereupon instigated the Eastern Indians to make war against us, with which war the frontier countries of New England on that side have been much infested. Since His Majesty's accession to the Crown, the dependency of the foresaid country of Penobscot upon the Government of New York has been altered, and in the year 1691 not only that but also Nova Scotia were, by the Charter granted to the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, annexed to the Government of that colony. It is to be observed that during Sir Thomas Temple's residence in and government of those parts, he, having been at great charge in building forts and other ways, for the protection of our fishery, did levy five pound upon every fishing vessel that cured and dried their fish on that shore. After his surrender of that country the French at first contented themselves with the same, but in process of time some of their Governors claimed also the sole right of fishing upon the high seas and have accordingly caused several of our vessels fishing there to be taken and made prize of. What has come to our knowledge concerning he conduct of the French since the Peace, as well in relation to the fishery on those coasts, as to the boundaries between them and us upon the eastern parts of New England by land and the orders which their Governors in those parts pretend to have from the Court of France for their acting accordingly we have already fully explained in our letter of Dec. 29 last. We send copies of many papers that we have received on the foregoing subjects. As to New England, then, and the country lying to the eastward thereof, we conclude by observing that, with relation to the fishery, it is of very great importance to England not only that our right of fishing in those seas be asserted and maintained, but that an agreement be also made between us and the French for mutual liberty for ships to refresh wood and water upon each other's coasts. In relation to the boundaries it mightily imports us that, the ancient limits of that port of Nova Scotia being the river Sta. Croix, the same be made the fixed boundary between the French and us in those parts, and that the right which they may pretend to derive from Sir Thomas Temple's surrender, and which at most would extend no further than the river St. George, be not allowed of; much less that any concession be made for extending their boundaries westwards to the river Kenebec, as we have been informed they now pretend. As to the boundary between the French and us in the north and west parts of all H.M. Plantations from New England to Carolina, concerning which, though the English Patents generally have allowed no bounds by land but extended the grant of those lands from sea to sea, yet the French since their possession of Canada, having at several times gone up the river of St. Lawrence and from thence into the lakes south-westward, lying all along upon the north and west of H.M. Plantations, though it be no more than what has as frequently and as early been done by Englishmen, yet they have thereupon from time to time extended their pretentions to the propriety of all the countries bordering upon the said river and lakes, which if it should be allowed them and that an entire freedom be not maintained for His Majesty's subjects to trade at least with the Indians of those parts, and for them and the said Indians to pass and repass without molestation, it will turn to the very great prejudice of England, and most particularly of New York and other His Majesty's provinces in America, whose frontiers are furthest extended towards the places so claimed by the French. As to the frontiers of New York and His Majesty's right to the sovereignty of the Five Nations of Indians, we send you the memorial we prepared for H.M. Plenipotentiaries at the Hague, July 1697, and add copies of a memorial and depositions sent us by Lord Bellomont, concerning the constant subjection and dependence of the Five Nations upon the Government of New York ever since the first settlement of that country by the Dutch about 1609, by which all the French pretensions to any right over them (which we do not understand to be either in themselves of any weight or that they reach any farther backwards than 1666), seem unto us to be fully answered and made void.
With regard to the American Treaty, we do not suppose it to be now in force because (i) the French thought themselves under no obligation by it, but attacked us in America upon the declaration of the war in Europe. If one of the parties depart from the contract the other is no longer obliged. (ii) The Treaty of Ryswick does not renew or revive the said American Treaty.
The 3rd and 4th articles of the Treaty, providing that neither party should give assistance or supplies of men or victuals to the barbarous or wild Indians and that the subjects of either nation should not harbour the barbarous or wild inhabitants or the slaves or goods which the said inhabitants had taken from the subjects of the other nation, could never have been understood by the Crown of England to mean, as the French do interpret it, of the Five Nations belonging to England, who have been always and are still our best defence against the encroachments and invasions of the French in that part of America. As to the 4th article which provides that both Kings should retain all their dominions, rights, etc., in such manner as they now possess them, the French very well know what orders they themselves had then given to take possession of Hudson's Bay by force, though in time of peace, and to invade as they actually did with a considerable force the northern parts of New England and of New York, with intention to surprise our frontier forts and destroy our Indians, which by the forementioned articles they would have obliged us not to assist. The 5th article providing that the subjects, inhabitants, merchants, commanders of ships, masters and mariners of each King should abstain and [be] forbidden to trade and fish in all places possest or which should be possest by the one or the other party in America, without mentioning whether the possession be rightful or no, we conceive has given occasion or pretence to their disturbing our fishery in the eastern seas of America, which His Majesty's subjects have always practised and to which we judge they have a full and undeniable right. Lastly it is worthy of consideration whether a Treaty of Neutrality, either this or any other, in America be for His Majesty's service and the advantage of England, since it is well known that notwithstanding this treaty they did first surprise and attack us in America and may do the like again on the like occasion, whilst we relying on the faith of such a treaty may be wholly unguarded and unprovided, as we then were, for such attempts. List of papers enclosed, but without enclosures. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Tankerville, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, John Pollexfen. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 35. pp. 12–30.]
Feb. 18.
109. Governor Webb to Council of Trade and Plantations. Letter the same in substance as those dated Feb. 11 and Dec. 19, 1698. Signed, Nich. Webb. Endorsed, Recd. July 15, Read Oct. 5, 1699. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 4. No. 12.]
Feb. 18. 110. Case of John Lucas. Recapitulation of (25) with some additional objections to Col. Codrington's action for £5,000 damages. Endorsed, Recd. Feb. 18, Read Feb. 20, 1698/9. 3 pp. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 6. No. 5; and 45. p. 328.]
Feb. 18.
111. Henry Adderley and others to William Popple. We desire their Lordships to call before them Col. Nicholas-Bayard, Capt. John Evans, Philip French, Jacob Mayle, Benjamin Aske, Wm. Janeway, Matthew Ling, Thomas Jeffers, Samuel Bradford, who are prepared to give an account of affairs in New York. Signed, Hen. Adderley, Gerard van Heythuysen, J. Loffting, Jno. Blackall, Wm. Sheppard. Endorsed, Recd. Read Feb. 20, 1698/9. [Board of Trade. New York, 8a. No. 10; and 53. p. 256.]
Feb. 20.
Fort William
112. Minutes of Council of New York. The accounts of Captain Richard Wyse, Master of the Hester, with charges for rigging and repairing before seizure, referred to the Attorney-General. Petition of John Lawrence, High Sheriff of Queen's County, Island Nassau, about the riotous behaviour of the inhabitants at the election of Assemblymen, dismissed. Ducie Hungerford, a Commissioner of Revenue, summoned to appear before the Council on the petition of Johannes Beerkman. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 191, 192.]
Feb. 20. 113. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Letter from Mr. Burchet about passes read and directions for a representation given.
Memorial from the Turkey Company delivered by Mr. Faulkener and directions given for an answer to Mr. Secretary Vernon.
The Earl of Limerick presented the Duke of York's patent from Charles II. for some part of New England.
Letter from Mr. Adderley and other merchants read. Answered that any of the persons they name may send in their information in writing.
Mr. Lucas was informed that the Board was inclined to give him relief but believed they should be able to do it more effectually when they should have received orders for drawing Col. Codrington's commission and instructions.
An answer desired from Mr. Sansom about the business of Perth Amboy.