America and West Indies: April 1704, 1-12

Pages 87-96

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 22, 1704-1705. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

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April 1704, 1-12

April 3.
233. W. Popple, jr., to William Lowndes. Desires him to remind the Lord High Treasurer of the Representation of the Council of Trade and Plantations (Nov. 23) relating to foreign coin. [C.O. 324, 8. p. 406.]
April 4.
234. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Queen. Having discoursed with several merchants concerned in the Plantations in reference to the importation of Naval Stores from hence, and having not found any with whom so advantageous a contract may be made as with Thomas Byfeild and others, who at present trade as a Company with a joint stock to the Continent of America, they offering personal security for the importation of 1,800 barrills of pitch and tar in 2 years, and to continue a yearly increase of that quantity, provided your Majesty grant them a a Charter, not excluding any others from trading in those commodities, which being the best method we have hitherto been able to find out for this so necessary a service, we humbly offer to your Majesty that a Charter be granted to them, and that your Majesty be pleased to refer the annexed draught of a Charter for that purpose to your Majesty's Attorney General for his report thereon in the point of Law. Annexed,
234.i. Draft of Charter referred to in preceding. [C.O. 5, 1291. pp. 1–29.]
April 4.
235. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Queen. We have heard Edward Jones upon his petition [Cf. Nov. 18 and Jan. 24 etc.], and humbly observe that the charges against him are not sufficiently proved, but that Jones may on one side have behaved himself with too much warmth and indiscretion in the discharge of his employment of Provost Marshall, and that on the other hand he might have found great provocation from the stubborness and ill temper of those persons with whom he had to do in his employment, and having made due submission to the Governor for some reflecting expressions relating to him, we humbly offer to your Majesty that his suspension be taken off and the fines imposed on him remitted, and that your Majesty's pleasure be signified to Capt. Bennet accordingly. [C.O. 38, 5. pp. 468, 469.]
April 4.
236. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Board of Ordnance. Enclose extract of letter from Governor Sir B. Granville recommending Capt. Hayes. [C.O. 29, 8. p. 425.]
April 4. 237. Office of Ordnance to the Council of Trade and Plantations. We have considered the above proposal made by Governor Sir B. Granville, and cannot approve of appointing Capt. Hays, whom he recommends to be Engineer there, having no knowledg of the man nor of his abilities, nor has he ever been employed by this office. But it being H.M. pleasure that another able Engineer should be sent to Barbados in the place of Capt. Sherrard, and there being two Engineers from this Office at Jamaica, where we are of opinion that one will be sufficient for H.M. service at present, we propose that the other have orders to goe from thence to Barbados, which wee forbear to give untill we know whither your Lordships have any objection to it. Signed, Granville, Wm. Bridges, Ja. Lowther, J. Craggs, C. Musgrave. Endorsed, Recd. Read April 7, 1704. Autograph. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 7. No. 29; and 29, 8. p. 426.]
April 4.
Councill Office.
238. John Povey to W. Popple. The Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council having appointed to meet on the 6th to hear Commodore Walker in answer to a complaint from the Governor of the Leeward Islands, desire the papers in your office which may serve for their information. Signed, John Povey. Endorsed, Recd. Read April 5, 1704. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 5. No. 65; and 153, 8. p. 265.]
April 5.
239. W. Popple, jr., to Mr. Povey. In reply to preceding encloses Col. Codrington's letter Aug. 8, 1703. He promised by the last pacquet to send by a ship that was to sail in 8 days a a full account of all things concerning his Government, in which there may be some account of the expedition to Guardaloupa. [C.O. 153, 8. p. 266.]
April 5. 240. Attorney General to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I have considered the Acts of Nevis, Oct., 1703, concerning the billeting of soldiers, and for the better securing the titles of land, which I conceive are agreeable to Law and Justice and doe not containe anything prejudiciall to H.M. Royal prerogative. Signed, Edw. Northey. Endorsed, Recd. April 5, Read May 8, 1704. ¾ p. [C.O. 152, 5. No. 66; and 153, 8. p. 287.]
April 5. 241. Mr. Jenings to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I believe there is annually made in Virginia near 3,000 barrells of tar in Princess Anne County, which contains 97,891 acres of patented land, and part of Norfolk County about 50,000 acres of low pine land, not agreable for tobacco, and the small quantity there made is of the worst esteem, and so little value that discourages the inhabitants to plant, and forces them to endeavour to cloath and maintain themselves by manufacturing of wooll and leather, and raising stocks of cattle and hoggs. What tarr now made, is of the knots and peices of fallen trees, if there were a certain vent, 'tis probable treble the quantity would bee made out of growing trees in those countyes and 'twould be much better in the kind, and for all uses, and also would be made in other parts of the country not proper for planting tobacco. Tarr is generally sold from 10 to 12s., pitch double that rate per barrell for goods, sometimes money, the barrell by the law to containe at least 30 gallons; some is made use of by the inhabitants for their houses, boats, etc., part disposed of to the Masters of ships for their use, and part transported to Barbados, Jamaica and Leeward Islands. Freighting tarr for England hath not yet bin used, but beleive the Masters may compute 14 barrells to a Virginia tun, which in war is frequently £12, in peace £6 per ton. For the incouragement of making tarr and pitch in Virginia I presume may be by assuring as great a price at least as for Sweedish tarr to them that shall first every year deliver into H.M. store house —lasts of pitch and tarr for the service of H.M. Navy, and after such a quantity is delivered as shall be thought needfull for that service, for a general incouragement, no custome be paid, and some small allowance be made for each last that shall be brought into the kingdom from the Plantations. That there be no restraint or contract because the uncertainty of convoys and length of the voyage will make the same impracticable, and discourage the undertaking, if every person cannot have the hopes and liberty of serving H.M., or the advantage of the market. That the same be made publick by proclamation or otherwise. Signed, E. Jenings. Endorsed, Recd. Read April 5, 1704. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 1314. No. 4; and 5, 1360. pp. 459–461.]
April 6.
242. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Queen. Recommend that Mr. Bridger be allowed 250l. per annum for 5 years. [See Acts of Privy Council, II. pp. 443, 444.] [C.O. 5, 911. pp. 237, 238.]
April 6. 243. Some Proprietors of New Jersey to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Whereas divers persons calling themselves the Council of Proprietors residing in Jersey, have assum'd to themselves a power of purchasing and taking up lands of the Indians, in the West part of the Province, without the knowledge or consent of the Proprietors in England, We humbly pray your Lordships will give directions to the Governor that a stop may be put to their proceedings, till it appears to be pursuant to the Constitution settled and agreed to by the original Proprietors. And we humbly offer to your Lordships the following persons, viz., Col. Richard Townly, Miles Forster, Abraham Bickly and Dr. John Johnston, to fill up the vacancies in the Council, who are gentlemen that have considerable freeholds, and reside upon the place. For our selves and divers other Proprietors residing in England. Signed, Paul Docminique, John Bridges, Rob. Michel. Endorsed, Recd. Read April 6, 1704. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 970. No. 20; and 5, 994.A. pp. 145, 146.]
April 7.
244. Edward Jones to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Prays to be allowed the rents and profits of his place during his suspension etc. Signed, Ed. Jones. Endorsed, Recd. Read April 12, 1704. ¾ p. [C.O. 37, 6. No. 12.]
[April 7.] 245. Report of the Solicitor General [Sir C. Hedges] upon draught of Instructions for Privateers. Detailed Criticisms. 5¼ pp. Enclosed,
245. i. Copy of draught of Instructions for Privateers (March 15, 170¾). Endorsed, Recd. Read April 7, 170¾. 3 pp. [C.O. 323, 5. Nos. 44, 44.i.]
[April 8.] 246. L. Compere, Receiver General of Jamaica, to the Queen. Prays for the repeal of two Acts, Jamaica, Nov., 1703, for raising an additional duty, and for raising a Revenue. Signed, Leonard Compere. Subscribed,
246. i. April 8, Whitehall. H.M. refers this petition to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their report. Signed, Nottingham. The whole endorsed, Recd. Read April 12, 1704. 1 p. [C.O. 137, 6. Nos. 44, 44.i.]
[April 10.] 247. Memorial concerning the maladministration of Governor Nicholson. Dated May 20, 1703. Not to speak of the vast number of instances of his injustice, oppression and insolence to particular persons, which would require a large volume, we shall limit our observations to his behaviour towards ourselves, etc. (1) He engrosses all power by acting alone in most of the chief affairs of the Government. Justices of the Peace, who used always to be nominated by and with the Council's advice and consent, are now privately appointed by himself, and sometimes blank Commissions are signed and sealed for that purpose, to be filled up by particular favourites. The same method is used for striking any one out of the Commission of the Peace, without any fault communicated to the Council; of late a whole Court was in this manner turned out at once (two only excepted), and very insufficient and undeserving men substituted. All the Sherrifs are of late similarly appointed, and all Militia and Naval Officers. Orders and Proclamations of all sorts are issued out in H.M. name without any advice in Council. The accounts of H.M. Revenue (if past at all) are past by H.E. without the knowledge of the Council. Particular Agents are similarly sent home by him and paid out of H.M. Revenue. A standing Agent is similarly named by H.E. in England and allowed 100l. per annum out of H.M. Revenue. Rules of limitation in taking up of land have been similarly prescribed to Surveyors, against both Law and Custom. Many things are put upon Record both in the Secretary's and Council Offices, and others forbid to be put upon Record, without any advice in Council. H.E. recommends home such persons as he thinks fit to be put upon the Council, without the knowledge or advice of the Council. By his interposition with the Secretary, the Clerks of County Courts are put in and removed at pleasure, without any advice in Council, and much to the dissatisfaction of the Courts. (2) Many matters of great moment are transacted by H.E. expressly contrary to advice in Council, e.g. the calling so many General Assemblies, and at such unseasonable times of the year, to the great trouble and charge of the Inhabitants. The exasperating of Assemblys with harsh speeches and irritating propositions, to the great obstruction of H.M. business. The keeping the land on Blackwater and Pamunkey Neck shut up, without any instruction, contrary to the advice of both Council and Burgesses. When afterwards, by an Order of himself and Council notified by Proclamation all over the Country, the Blackwater Land was opened, and a great many people had bin at the charge of purchasing rights of H.M. and of making entrys and surveys, he by his privat orders contradicted and retracted all, forbidding the Surveyors to proceed, without taking any notice to the Council, to the great loss of H.M. in her quit-rents. (3) He signs many orders, warrants, pattents, Commissions etc. in Council, on purpose to have the colour of the Council's name, which are never so much as read in Council, and the Council knows nothing of them. (4) There is now no check upon the accounts of H.M. Revenue, whereas formerly they used to be examined and past in Council at a solemn audit. (5) He is so impatient of all just freedom of dispute or debate in Council that if any one of the Council presumes to differ in opinion from him, he is treated with reproofs and threats in the most rude, insolent and abusive manner. (6) To the end he may act without controul, he carefully conceals from the Council the knowledge of his Instructions, by which (we humbly conceive) we ought to be directed in giving and he in taking advice. (7) He has endeavored upon all occassions to debase and vilify the Council before the people by giving them gross and abusive language (such as Rogues, Villains, Raskalls, Cowards, Dogs, etc.) to their faces and behind their backes, reflecting upon them as if they had gott their estates by cheating the people, swearing that he valued the Council no more than the dirt under his feet, and that he would reduce them to their primitive nothing, and likewise advancing men of inferiour stations to the chief commands of the Militia, by which trusts and honours the Council alone used formerly to be dignified and distinguished, to H.M. great security in times of danger, by these means endeavouring not only to regain the good opinion of the common people, but allso to beget in them such jealousies and distrusts of the Council as might render them incapable to withstand his arbitrary designs. (II.) His behaviour in the Upper House of Assembly. (1) Whereas that House humbly conceives that they ought to be left to the freedom of their own debates, without being swayed and overawed by the Governour's interposition, he is not only continually present, but takes upon him to preside and debate, and state the questions and overrule, as if he were still in Council, which the said House takes to be a great encroachment on their libertys and priviledges. (2) His usual, high, haughty, passionat, and abusive way of browbeating, discouraging and threatning all that speak anything contrary to his opinion or design is another great encroachment on the liberties of that House. (3) His endeavouring to beget or feed a bad understanding between the two Houses, his downright interposing and siding sometimes with one House and sometimes with the other, and making entrys to that purpose in the Assembly Books we take to be a great encroachment on the liberties of both Houses. (4) His closetting of the Members, and using all the arts of cajoling and threatning for his own ends, not sticking sometimes to threaten the cutting of their throats, and their utter ruin, we take to be another intolerable encroachment on the liberties of that House. (5) He makes several extemporary rash speeches to both Houses, cajoling or irritating, promising or threatning, which though they have great influence in making or marring the business of Assemblys, yet are never put into writing, nor appear anywhere in the Minutes. (III.) His behaviour in the Generall Courts. (1) He uses gross and visible partiality in most cases of his friends or enemies, abusing the Council at the Barr, and often hectoring his fellow Judges, if they happen to differ from him. (2) He keeps Courts at most unseasonable hours in the night, to the great dissatisfaction and endangering the health of Judges, Lawyers and People. (3) He sends for his creatures from the country, and gives directions to the Sherriff to put them upon the Grand Jury, and tampers with these Grand Juries to procure flattering encomiums of himself, that by the sending of these for England his true character may be concealed. (4) He often makes particular entries, contrary to the opinion of the rest of the Court, and in very abusive and reflecting terms. (IV.) Other publick abuses in his Government. (1) He makes H.M. name cheap and contemptible by using it to every frivolous, unnecessary or arbitrary command, e.g., if he wants to speak with any man, the message is brought him in these words, H.E. commands you in the Queen's name to come to him immediately; if he wants an horse or boat and hands etc., he sends presently to press them in H.M. name, or whatsoever other commands he gives, tho' no manner of way relating to the Government, they are all given in the Queen's name. (2) He incourages all sorts of sycophants, an horse or boat and hands etc., he sends presently to press them in H.M. name, or whatsoever other commands he gives, tho' no manner of way relating to the government, they are all given in the Queen's name. (2) He incourages all sorts of sycophants, tattlers and talebearers, takes their storys in writing, and if he can, persuades or threatens them to swear to them, without giving the accused person any oppertunity of knowing his accusation or accusers. (3) He has privatly issued severall Commissions to examine witnesses against particular men ex parte; he has forced men upon oath to turn Informers; and if witnesses do not swear up to what is expected, they are tampered with, and additional depositions are taken, but all this while the person accused is not admitted to be confronted with or to defend himself against his accusers. (4) As he incourages these sycophants, and has some such in most parts of the country, so he is a man so subject to suspicion and jealousie, that he readily believes and mightily improves all such storys, and studies and pursues revenge to the utmost against all whom he suspects, and all their kindred and friends. (5) He makes it a great part of his business, by most malicious stories of his own coining, to blast the reputation of all such persons of either sex against whom he has any manner of prejudice, and by that means prostitutes his own honour and honesty. (6) He endeavours mightily to make parties and to foment divisions in the country. (7) He is exceedingly selfwilled and utterly unaccountable by any persons. (8) He values not how arbitrary and illegal his commands are. If the ordinary Atturney for H.M. will not undertake his designs as being against Law, he employs others that will. Upon an Atturney Generall's declining one of his commands as being against Law, he took him by the collar and swore by God he knew of no Laws we had, and that his commands should be obeyed without hesitation or reserve. (9) His haughty, furious and insolent behaviour to the best Gentlemen in the Country is more like downright madness than anger and passion. He has told us sometimes that he knew how to govern the Moors, and that he would beat us into good manners, and sometimes upon very trivial occasions, he has threatened very considerable Gentlemen to try them for their lives, swearing that he must hand one half of these rogues before the other would learn to obey his commands. He has not only in rash words threatened to cut Gentlemen's throats, but sent them formal messages and made solemn vows that he would be their death or their ruin and to assure them that he should be born out in all these things. And he has bin heard to make his brags that right or wrong he could by his authority ruin any private man. (10) He is so abusive in his words and actions, as not only to treat our best Gentlemen with the scurrilous names of Dogs, Rogues, Villains, Rascals, Cheats, and Cowards, and our best woomen with the names of Whores, Bitches, Jades, etc., but actually to beat and buffet some Gentlemen in a most publick, insolent and tyrannical manner. (11) In his rage he has most arbitrarily committed men into custody without any cause of commitment assigned, and without prosecution thereon. (12) His prophane custome of bloody cursing and swearing, and that often immediately before or after Prayers, and perhaps the same or next day after receiving the blessed Sacrament, convinces all people that he has no sense of Religion, and that he is a great scandal to the Church of England, for which he pretends to set up. (13) This is farther confirmed by the many gross immoralities and pranks of leudness and rudeness to woomen that he is notoriously known to be guilty of in several parts of the Country. (14) His rash and prophane swearing ensnares him sometimes in the higher sin of forswearing, particularly upon pretence that a great deal of injustice has bin done by executors and administrators in the execution of their trusts; he swore several times that he would never sign any more probates or Commissions of Administrations, saying it was against his conscience, and in this humour he continued for several months, often repeating solemn oaths that he would never do it; yet afterwards, when he found the complaints in the country grew very loud, and feared the bad influence of them on a General Assembly then called, he got over all his oaths and signed them again, as himself and other Governors before had used to do. And by such rash oaths and solemn promises upon publick occasions, which he hath afterwards thought fit to break, he hath so ruined his creditt that neither his promise nor oath are now any more reguarded. (15) He hath extreamly ensnared the consciences of the Clergy by arguing, perswading, bribing and terrifying them into such elogies and encomiums of himself in high flown flattering Addresses as must make them forfeit their honour and honesty if they comply with them, or expose them to his fury and revenge, and consequently their own ruin, if they refuse them. (16) To oblige his flatterers, he breaks through the clearest Instructions, and the greatest ground of meritt with him is to be forward in promoting of any flattering address to recommend him to the Court of England. For this reason the Foreman of a Grand Jury that had drawn one of the most fulsome of these Addresses, was lately immediately rewarded with a Naval Officer's place worth about 100l. per annum, taken on purpose from an honest gentleman that had blamelessly managed it. And one of the greatest traders of this Country (because he is a tool of his) was by him preferred and has bin all along kept in the possession of such another Naval Officer's place, expressly contrary to the Royal Instruction, which positively forbids the bestowing of these places on any men much in trade. (17) His ordinary housekeeping is most scandalously penurious, no way suiting the dignity of H.M. Governour, having but one dish of meat at his Table; tho' at publick times when he has any flattering address to procure, or any other design in hand, he prepares such treats as he thinks may best contribute to the carrying on of his sinister purposes. (18) Tho' this is his real character, he takes all imaginable care to conceal the same in England (1) by giving out terrible threatenings against all that shall offer to accuse him there; (2) by endeavouring to stop all from going out of the country, that he suspects will give an unfavourable character of him; (3) by giving the falsest and blackest characters of all such as he fears will dare to write the truth, as if they were men of scandalous lives, or disaffected to H.M. Government, tho they are men of never so known loyalty and good credit and reputation; (4) by procureing flattering addresses from packed Grand Jurys, for which he rewards them with places of honour and proffit in the Government; (5) by calling clandestine meetings of such of the clergy as will joyn in the like flatteryng addresses, and menaging them with treats and presents and protection of such as are obnoxious, and promotion of such as are desirous of better preferments; (6) by intercepting letters in hopes of discovering the intelligence for or from England concerning his conduct in this country, to the unspeakable hindrance of friendship, trade and business; (7) by procuring the commendatory letters of the few Church of England Ministers that are in New England, New York, and Pensilvania, to whom and their Churches he sends now and then a present when he wants any of these flattering recommendations; (8) especially by employing Sir Thomas Laurence in Maryland, and Col. Quary in Pensilvania (men linkt in interest with him) to varnish over his unjustifiable life and government, for which he repays them both with his own favours, and by employing his interest in England to promote theirs; the intercourse between him and them being kept up at H.M. charge, as may appear by the extraordinary disbursements for messages to the northward in the accounts of H.M. Revenue. If further proof is required, we pray that witnesses may be examined here and enabled to deliver their testimony free from the terrour and resentment of his arbitrary Government, and that we may have free access to the Council and Assembly books and all other publick Records; and that H.M. by Instructions to her future Governours will provide that the above grievances may not prejudice our rights and liberties. Signed, J. Lightfoot, Matthew Page, Benj. Harrison, Robert Carter, James Blair, Phil. Ludwell. Endorsed, Recd. Read April 10, 1704. 11 pp. [C.O. 5, 1314. No. 5.]
April 11.
248. Wm. Popple, jr., to Richard Warr. The Council of Trade and Plantations having considered the letter from Lord Nottingham of Feb. 24, together with the Memorial of Monsr. Vryberg inclosed in yours of March 3, and their Lordships having thereupon examined the instructions to be given to privateers with several other papers transmitted to them relating thereunto, their Lordships do observe that the abovementioned letter imports that H.M. has thought fit to direct that the trade between H.M. Plantations and the Spanish Dominions in America only be continued during the present warr, in such manner as it might have been done in time of peace, and that this resolution has been taken in concert with the States General, who will give the like orders to the Governours of their Plantations in America, by which their Lordships do understand that the trade with the Spaniards in America is not intended to be carryed on in any other manner or with any other concessions than as before the Declaration of War. Whereupon their Lordships desire to be particularly informed if the instructions to be given to privateers are to be so drawn up as by incouraging a free and open trade with the Spaniards in America all Spanish ships may either go to or come from any of ours, or the Dutch Plantations, or to and from any of their own Plantations, or be and remain in any of their own Bays or Harbours without molestation; Which dos indeed amount to a cessation from all hostilities with the Spaniards in America; or if such orders are to be confined to the carrying on a trade with the Spanish West Indies, we retaining still the liberty of annoying the Spanish ships and galleons as well in any of the Spanish Ports, as in going from one Spanish Port to another. Otherwise they, or the French under their names, may have an opportunity of bringing such galleons and treasure unmolested to Europe. 1½ pp. [C.O. 5, 3. No. 13; and 324, 8. pp. 407, 408.]
April 12.
249. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Board of Ordnance. Acknowledge letter of Board of Ordnance Ap. 4, etc. [C.O. 29, 8. p. 427.]