America and West Indies: February 1699, 27-28

Pages 79-82

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. 27.
James City
129. Governor Nicholson to Council of Trade and Plantations. I wrote to you on the 4th, giving an account of this Colony. On the 23rd the Council met, but only five councillors, some of them making excuses, but Col. Richard Lee, living upon Potomoke, and Col. Charles Scarborough, upon the eastern shore, I did not hear from. We did nothing but what was of present absolute necessity—the calling of an Assembly to meet (God willing) here about April 27. And for several reasons we concluded they could not meet before, though there are several things of importance to be laid before them, as several of H.M. Royal Instructions to me, the great debt upon the 2s. per hogshead, and several others both of money and tobacco, which are owing by the country, the necessity of building a new State-House, etc., the insufficiency of the fortifications (but I think they never did deserve the name) and of the Militia, the settling the bounds betwixt this place and N. Carolina, about a discovery and trade with the foreign Indians, the settling an office for the Marine affairs, etc. I intend (God willing) to transmit to you the Journal of Council after my return from Maryland, but send herewith three proclamations, as I find the Secretary has not done so. Neither he nor his deputy living in town is the reason why they are attested by the clerk of that office. I enclose an authentic copy of a writ for electing burgesses. Signed, Fr. Nicholson. Endorsed, Recd. May 10, Read May 19, 1699. 3 pp. with abstract. Enclosed,
129. I. Copy of Col. Nicholson's protest upon Sir Edmund Andross' refusal to deliver him the public papers in his possession.
129. II. Copy of a proclamation for continuing all officers, Civil and Military, upon Col. Nicholson's entering upon the Government.
129. III. Copy of a proclamation, giving the names of some French prisoners and requiring information about them. 2 pp.
129. IV. Copy of a Proclamation for the apprehension of John, (sometimes called Parson, Capt or Col.) Cood on charges of horrid impious blasphemy and contriving rebellion in Maryland. His morals are described as rendering him not fit for human much less Christian society, and his appearance as deformed, club-footed, with a face resembling that of a baboon. 3pp.
129. V. Copy of a writ for electing burgesses to serve in the Assembly. Enclosures all endorsed as letter. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 6. Nos. 75, 75 I.–V.; and (without enclosures), 37. pp. 325–329.]
Feb. 27. 130. Draft of orders of the King in Council to Lord Bellomont. The Commissioners appointed by us and our good brother the most Christian King in pursuance of the 8th Article of the Treaty of Ryswick, have met and taken into consideration the advices that are lately come from those parts and the letters that have passed between you and the Sieur de Frontenac in relation to the Indians inhabiting between the two Governments of New York and Canada, for preventing any differences and animosities that may arise on this account, whereby the friendship and good correspondence established between the two Crowns may be any way lessened or altered. The Commissioners have agreed that the Governors of the said provinces shall be severally required and obliged to forbear all hostilities or acts tending thereto, and further that they oblige the Indians on both sides to live in peace and friendship one with one another, and that they take care that the prisoners taken by the Indians shall forthwith be released on both sides and be permitted to return to their own habitations, as also that the hostages detained at Quebec shall be set at liberty and have free leave to repair home. The Governors shall likewise advise of the methods they judge most proper for restraining the Indians on both sides from falling into new quarrels and shall interpose their authority to compose their differences. You are forthwith to concert measures with the Governor of Canada how these agreements may be mutually and effectually put in execution. Not signed. 2 pp. In Mr. Secretary Vernon's hand. [Board of Trade. New York, 8(a). Nos. 13, and 13(i) duplicate.]
Feb. 27. 131. Receipt from the master of the Betty for a letter (Feb. 2) from the Council of Trade and Plantations to the Earl of Bellomont. Endorsed, Rec. March 21, 1698/9. ¼ p. Signed, Jonas Motay (?). [Board of Trade. New York, 8A. No. 13A.]
Feb. 27. 132. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Montserrat. Isabel Scheurman, alias Marrow, obtained judgment against Thomas Pakenham (Feb. 7) for one negro woman and two negro children. Execution now granted. Major John Scott and Capt. Joseph Littell chosen Coroners for the Island. Joint Committee of the Houses "to adjust the Public Accounts" appointed. Ordered that writs be issued to one of the Council and two of the Assembly to take the names of all whites, from 16 to 60, and blacks from birth upwards, in order to raise a levy. The debts due from inhabitants to the public treasury were assigned to Capt. William Frye, who made the highest bid, 16,000 pounds of sugar, for them. This sum ordered to be paid half to Richard Molineux and half to James Cruick-shanke. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. p. 540.]
Feb. 27. 133. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Letter from Mr. Brenton relating to the election of officers in the Militia of Rhode Island read.
Order of Council of Feb. 23, upon petition of John and Nicholas Hallam, of Connecticut, read, and Mr. Wharton desired to shew what legal evidence or judgment they have that the person who died possessed of the estate which they set forth to be escheated to the King was non compos mentis at the time of making his will.
Progress made with report on Col. Fletcher's business.
Feb. 28. Letter from Sir Wm. Beeston, Jamaica, Dec. 5, read. Enquiry ordered to be made of the Jamaica Agents what inconveniences are likely to arise in Jamaica from the clause in the Act for settling the trade to Africa therein mentioned, and what remedies they consider possible.
Letter from Capt. Webb, Bahama Islands, Oct. 14, read.
Representation upon the subject of a memorial from Leghorn, that the Jews may have the privilege of trading thence to Alexandria in English ships with the advantages allowed in Turkey to the English banner, signed. [Board of Trade. Journal, 11. pp. 401, 402; and 96. Nos. 35 and 36; and Trade Papers, 14. pp. 199–202.]
Feb. 28.
New York.
Dec. 15.
134. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I have given your Lordships the trouble of many letters since being in this Government, but I have yet a business of greater consequence to apply to you about, which is administration of justice. That which is the very soul of government goes upon crutches in this province and deserves your Lordships' immediate care and redress above all things whatsoever. Col. Smith, one of the Council, is Chief Justice of the province, but is no sort of lawyer, having been bred a soldier. He is a man of sense and a more gentleman-like man than any I have seen in this province, but that does not make him a lawyer. Then he lives four-score miles off and comes but twice a year to this town at the times of the Supreme Court's sitting, just to earn his salary, which is £100 per annum sterling, and so is of very little use or service to the Government, whereas a man in that station ought to be a lawyer, and a man of great integrity and resident in this town, to be always ready to assist the Government. As to the men that call themselves lawyers here and practise at the Bar, they are almost all under such a scandalous character, that it would grieve a man to see our noble English laws so miserably mangled and prophaned. I do not find that a man of 'em ever arrived at being an Attorney in England. So far from being barristers, one of them was a dancing master; another a glover by trade; a third, which is Mr. Jamison, was condemned to be hanged in Scotland for burning the Bible and for blasphemy; a fourth, which is Mr. Nicholls, your Lordships have had his character formerly from me, and there are two or three more as bad as the rest. Besides their ignorance in the law, they are all, except one or two, violent enemies to the Government, and they do a world of mischief in the country by infecting the people with ill principles toward the Government. Now that there is a prospect of doubling the revenue, I am humbly of opinion we ought to have good judges sent from England and King's Counsel to mind the interest of the Crown. The lawyers here do so prey on the people that 'tis a melancholy thing to hear how unequally justice is and has been distributed in this province, insomuch as I am told a suit at Common Law is more expensive and dilatory here than in England. We cannot hold a Court of Exchequer here, not a man in the province knowing in the least what belongs to it, and an Exchequer would be of great use in this province. If justice were duly and impartially administered here, it would be a great inducement to people to transplant hither and settle in the province. I believe my Lord Chancellor of England would be apt to join with your Lordships in laying a scheme for the furnishing us with judges and other lawyers, and for contriving a maintenance for them. I know his Lordship has a very public spirit, and I humbly conceive the recommending of persons to all employments in the law is what is due to the station he is in. Signed, Bellomont. Endorsed, Recd. Feb. 21, Read Feb. 28, 1698/9. 2 pp. [Board of Trade. New York, 8A. No. 14; and 53. pp. 260–262.]
Feb. 28. 135. Abstract of above. [Board of Trade. New York, 8A. 14 I.; and 45. pp. 31–32.]