America and West Indies: August 1706, 21-30

Pages 194-213

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 23, 1706-1708. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


August 1706, 21-30

Aug. 21.
470. Governor Seymour to the Council of Trade and Plantations. The oppurtunitys of paying my duty to your honourable Board during this warrtime are so seldom, that I hope your Lordships' just consideration thereof will excuse what, were it otherwise, would seem remiss in me. The last occasion I was able to embrace was by the Elizabeth of Leverpool, Capt. Edward Ratchdale, Commander, by whom I wrote to your Lordships of March 8, and being a shipp of very good countenance, hope may be well arrived. Encloses duplicates, and proceedings relating to two prizes, brought into this Province since my arrivall, L'Ortolant and Francois of Rochell. Since which, on Aprill 2, have had a Meeting of the Generall Assembly, and laid before them H.M. Royal Commands for the Advancement and Security of Trade, by erecting Ports; of the necessity and advantage whereof they being thoroughly convinc'd, have enacted a Law for that purpose, herewith transmitted for your Lordships' approbation and H.M. Royall Assent. I am sorry the Law does not oblige all goods and merchandizes to be landed, as well as the shipps to lye, at the ports only, and there take in the Tobacco under the eyes of the Officers of the Customs, the only effectual way to secure Trade. Yett am glad they have oblig'd the shipping to lye at Towns, and there unliver and loade; not doubting but their lying in such publick places will in some measure prevent clandestine Trade, and am not without hopes that a very little time will convince the Planters 'tis their Interest to bring Tobacco to Towns, against which their present objection was the want of store-houses and nailes to build. H.M. gracious ffavour in admitting Navall Stores to be imported from these her American Plantations, is received very thankfully by the Inhabitants of this Province, many of whom have large old ffields, which have been Tobacco Plantations, and tho' the ground be very rich, yet its jaded with Tobacco, but expected may be very proper for Hemp; the sowing and reaping whereof, being about the last of March and October, will be little hindrance to the Tobacco Manufacture, so that so soone as the Planters can gett into a stock of seed, I hope some considerable quantitys may be sent for England, and the further to encourage it, the Assembly have enacted a Law for Hemp and Flax to be currant in part-payment of debts in the country. Masts, yards and bowspritts will at present, while the ffreight of Tobacco goes so high, (tho' enough to be had here) be only supply'd from New England and the usuall places where the shipps go to ffetch them; Many people are aiming at rozin, pitch, tarr and turpentine, and believe will send home some pitch this shipping. But tho' we have in many places great quantitys of pines that will afford all these, yet for want of skill in the tapping, drawing off, and otherwise burning the tarr-kilns, it is complain'd of to be too hott for the ropes, which might be easily corrected by art. There is another Law the Assembly were pressing to have enacted, prohibitting the exportation of European commoditys hence to the neighbouring Plantations for some small time; 'Tis true it bears but a very indifferent countenance, as seeming to lay a restriction on Trade, but hope it will plead its excuse by informing your Lordships how pressing the extreme want of cloths and bedding is at present in this Province, tho' our labour and industry are equally as great as when the merchants were willing to supply us with goods at the prime cost, for which the most moderate now exact one, and the generalty two cents. And our diligent neighbours, the New Englandmen, against which this Law is levell'd, for ffish, rumm and wooden ware, take the oppurtunitys of purchasing considerable quantitys of our Tobacco, and leave the same ready against the out-port vessells come in (being the only Trade that supply us with goods now, the London shipps generally coming empty) to purchase whole shipps' loadings, which they imediately export to New England, to the great disappointment and dissatisfaction of our gaping Planters; the merchants being willing to deale where they can purchase their full cargoe, rather than straggling hogsheads. Many licentious persons here presuming to marry againe, their former husbands and wives living, on whom the Statute of Bigamy, primo Jacobi primi, by the very words expresly confin'd to H.M. Kingdom of England, seem'd not to take hold, the Assembly have declar'd the pains and fforfeitures thereof to be in force with us, which was most absolutely necessary, in regard there is no Ecclesiastical Judge here. In the same Law they have also declared the Penall Laws of England, with respect to the Tolleration granted H.M. protestant subjects, to be in fforce; which last was a blind jump in some of the Assembly, who were a well-wishing party to the interest of the Roman Catholiques here. And this will more plainly appear to your Lordships upon perusall of the Journalls of the House of Delegates, wherein may be seen how readily their Petition was granted when preferr'd to the House, tho' in a most undecent dress, and such as H.M. Councill here could not approve, tho' through the mediation of the Delegates we were induc'd further to expect H.M. good pleasure for one twelve months.
Your Lordships will observe a Representation relating to Irish servants, who are generally papists; great numbers of which have of late years been imported here, and some hundreds upon a specious tho' false encouragement given them in Ireland by Mr. Charles Carroll (one principally concern'd here for the Lord Baltemore) or his Agents, who in that H.M. kingdom, printed and dispers'd papers, assuring them of good tracts of land at the head of the Bay, and free Tolleration and exercise of their superstitious worship: And it having been in this Province complain'd of and also represented to the House of Delegates how busy those of the Roman Comunion were to make proselytes of poor protestant servants, gotten into their hands by any sinister means whatever; They immediately resolved that a Bill should be prepar'd to forbid the sale of any Protestant servants to any of the Romish Church; Which was presently understood by the Roman Catholicks. They used such means by their friends and partys to have the Bill clogg'd with another clause to inhibitt all white servant women from working in the Tobacco cropps, which I was advis'd would be of diminution to H.M. Revenue, therefore could not consent to it. Upon my first arrivall in this Province, I had no sooner met H.M. Councill, but severall complaints were brought me, of the audacious misbehaviour of the Romish Clergy in this Province, and particularly two presentments from St. Mary's County Courts against two Priests, William Hunter and Robert Brooke, for saying publick Mass in the City of St. Mary's, the County Court then sitting there. And well knowing my Instructions to be no ways in favour of them, but that they were particularly exempted out of H.M. gracious Tolleration, H.M. then Attorney Generall, Mr. William Dent, since deceased, seeming to be uncertaine what the Courts and Juries might do in this respect, I sent for them before myself and H.M. Councill, where I check'd them for their insolence, and very fairly caution'd them to take care of comitting any further irregularitys, assuring them that they should not go unpunish'd, if proved, and so dismiss'd them for that time. The whole Country were so sensible of the indirect practices used by those Gentlemen, that this Generall Assembly, upon their first meeting, prepar'd and sent up a bill to curb their extravagancy, which H.M. Councill and myself thought but reasonable, and notwithstanding the mediation of a great part of the House of Delegates (whose interests in lands are considerable) to procure a suspension of that Law, yet it is evident the Jesuites and Roman Catholicks are so farr from amending their behaviour, that they rather value themselves upon their being able to make partys in the House of Delegates; their superstitious zeale on all occasions pouring itself forth agt. the Government, with most bitter and invective railings, the very quintessence of their Religion: Nay the very common sort and children are so degenerate and seduc'd by the Jesuites, that they rather wish and pray for, than H.M. success, that of the greatest of Tyrants. I put the Assembly in mind to inspect the Receiver's accounts, upon perusall whereof they find that 260l. of the 3d. per hhd. given by his late Majesty, for purchasing arms and ammunition for the defence of this Province, had been misapply'd (as your Lordships will perceive by the copy of the Address to the Rt. Hon. the Lord High Treasurer, at the end of the Journall of the House of Delegates). I humbly offer the same to your Lordships' consideration, and that you will please to take notice thereof, ffor tho' there may have seem'd to have been a necessity for expending the money, yett without doubt it is not according to the Royal Instruction. Wee have also presum'd to preferr our most humble Address to H.M., to grant us some small species of base copper coine (copy of which Address, together with the proposall your Lordships will see in the Journalls of the Councill, and of the House of Delegates), and at this time, now we are unanimously bent on Towns and Ports, such a small summ as we propose seems most absolutely necessary to be currant here, in order to defray the petty charges of boatage and bringing our Tobaccoes to Towns, for the more ready dispatching of the shipping; and in regard it is not propos'd to be anywhere else currant, or for any great summ, we humbly hope your Lordships will approve and recommend it to H.M. ffavour, ffor unless we have small ready cash, we can never pretend to ports or Towns, and now especially, seeing the French and Spaniards are so potent and industrious to annoy these American parts. I doubt not your Lordships will judge it convenient H.M. subjects of Virginia and Maryland, as well as other Countrys, should live in such a community, that they may have some place to resort to, and be able to defend each other, should they be insulted by their Enemys. According to your Lordships' directions, I laid Sir Thomas Laurence, H.M. Secretary of this Province, his Representation before the House of Delegates, for them to make answer thereto, and upon their Journall they say they have fully answered the same, which is transmitted to your honourable Board. At present there is a considerable ffleet of merchants' shipps in Virginia and Maryland, and perhaps the greatest that ever has been known these many years. The additionall convoys expected, being so long detain'd, lays the Trade under great disappointments, which might very well have sail'd hence in May, and now will be forc'd to summer in the country, and perhaps undergo a winter passage, which may be of great detriment and hazard. The Inhabitants of this Province have suffer'd more this warr than any other of H.M. Plantations, by the marketts in Spain and Flanders being shutt up; so that many considerable Planters that have good stocks of Negroes, and live within bounds, complaine they are scarce able to bring the years about and cloth their Servants and Negroes. H.M. and her Allies' success in Spaine, I hope, will advance our staple, otherwise we have no better prospect than starving, for want of cloths; for it's very inconsiderable what is supply'd by the London merchants, neither have they any great encouragement so to do, considering how much the Country is already indebted to them, very many plantations being mortgaged to them, of which there seems little probability of redemption, considering the growing interest, tho' to men in trade not equivalent to the use of their moneys. We were lately alarm'd by the French squadron and privateers that have infested the West Indies, whereupon by the advice of H.M. Councill, on May 20, I issu'd a Proclamation, and tooke care to putt the Country into the best posture of defence I could; having gotten the shipping into the ffreshes, where it would be very difficult to annoy them, and where the greatest fforce of the Country might be easily drawne downe to their assistance. But God be thank'd, we have heard nothing of the enemy, and now are supply'd with a considerable reinforcement of arms and ammunition, Col. Blakiston, our Agent, has lately purchas'd, and sent us from England. Encloses copies of two French letters intercepted in the prize La François, being all the letters that were found in her of any publick concerne, the one from the Governour of St. Domingo to one of the French King's Councill, and the other from M. Depaty to M. Du Cas, having sent the originalls to the Secretary of State. I have sent the old Seale of the Province to Col. Blakiston, etc. Signed, Jo. Seymour. Endorsed, Recd. Dec.3, 1706, Read Feb. 20, 1706/7. 8 pp. Enclosed,
470. i. M. de Paty, one of the Chief Officers in building the Fort at St. Louis, St. Domingo, to M. Du Cas, at Paris. Leogane, Sept. 6, 1705. Compliments and account of trading on his behalf. Six months ago we expected a King's ship called the François, who is to bring the ammunitions needful. The Fort of St. Louis will be finished in Feb. Within this month our cruisers have brought in a great Bristol ship. The English squadron that was this way, and did cruise a long time before Cartagene, did take Capt. Gusin coming from Guinea. We have letters from M. Leneaux that they are gone back, etc. etc. Signed, Depaty. Endorsed, Recd. Dec.3, 1706. Copy. 2 pp.
470. ii. Governor of St. Domingo to M. De La Boulay, Commissary General of the Marine at Paris. Leogane, Sept. 18, 1705. Refers to Fort St. Louis as in preceding. The Garison lacks the complement of men. Provisions are extremely scarce, so that M. Depaty fears work on the Fort will have to be laid aside, etc., etc. Signed, Auger. Endorsed as preceding. 1¾ pp.
470. iii. Journal of Committee of Accounts in the Assembly of Maryland, April, 1706. Same endorsement. 16¼ pp. [C.O. 5, 716. Nos. 20, 20.i.–iii.; and (without enclosures) 5, 726. pp. 401–415.]
Aug. 24.
471. Mr. Secretary Hedges to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Encloses following. I desire your opinion what ordnance and stores may be necessary to supply them withall. Signed, C. Hedges. Endorsed, Recd. Read Aug. 29, 1706. ¾ p. Enclosed,
471. i. R. Cary to Sir C. Hedges. Prays for cannon and ammunition for Antigua as Lt. Gov. Johnson in letter of July [No. 450]. Signed, Richd. Cary. [C.O. 152, 6. Nos. 59, 59.i.; and 153, 9. pp. 387, 388.]
Aug. 26.
472. Tho. Cottgrave and Jeffery Meriwether to Richard Meriwether. Mrs. Mary Helms hath her house, mills, coppers, boyling house etc., which was left by the French, taken away by our Governor, Col. Johnson, saying M. D'Abervill left it standing for him, and that 'tis now his, and dares any person to meddle with it etc. Subscribed,
472. i. Mr. Meriwether to Col. Jory. Prays him to lay preceding before Sir C. Hedges "in favour of a young gentlewoman to whom I am guardian" etc. Signed, Rich. Meriwether. Endorsed, Nov. 1706. Extr. sent to Col. Parke. 1 p. [C.O. 184, 1. No. 23.]
Aug. 28.
St. Christophers.
473. Governor Parke to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I have now visited all the four Islands, and have seen out all the Militia of each Island; at Antegua there is abt. 700; at Montserratt there appeared but 400, and not 10 swords amongst them; the Lieut. Governor told me there were in the Island 600, but the greatest part of them are Irish Catholicks; at Nevis there did not appear above 150, there is on the Island about 250; on this Island there are just 450, but 30 of them are inhabitants of Nevis; the Queen's Regiment is 328 men, this is all the force I have to defend these Islands with, and what is worse, if the Queen will send us more men we cant keep them; the country allows 12d. a day to each soldier, and in proportion to the officers, wch. is a burthen they complain of very much; all wee propose by troopes is to have enough to releive the severall guards; and one Island cant assist the other; 'tis true Antegua being to windward may assist the rest, if they had timely notice, but the French can make a detachment of 2,000 men, and in one night's time be with us. Oct. 4 is the day for the Nevis men to pay the 1,400 negroes; what I shall do I know not; they cannot comply with it, and if they could I think they ought not, for after ye forced capitulation the French burnt and destroyed all they could not carry off; I will take all the soldiers and be wth. them myselfe; I will run the same fate wth. them; if I have my brains knokt out the the Queen must send some other unfortunate Divel here to be roasted in the sun, without the prospect of getting anything; if I am taken prisoner I hope your Lopps. will gett me exchanged; In short, these Islands are so small, they will not maintane inhabitants enough to defend them; the only way to help us is to distroy Martineco; it leys to windward of us, and is large and populus; if the Queen will send forces to distroy that, we may be secure, or if she wou'd take Porto Rico (wch. is a large healthy Island) the Inhabitants would remove and settle there; I hope if there comes any forces, your Lopps. will gett me the second command, if not the first; and one of the Regiments; wch. will make me some amends for the fateague I have undergone and must undergo. I think I have the good Fortune to please the people, except Col. Codrington; yr. Lopps. gave me an Order of the Queen in Councill to serve on him, I was allso ordered by my Lord Treasurer to demand the prizes of the last warr; and 'tis in my Instructions. Since I told him of these, he has opposed everything, and is just as troublesom as I told you he would be; I hope to deel wth. him well enough for his arbitraryness when Genll., and his covetuousness ever since had made him generally hated; I desire yr. Lopps. to send me a coppy of the Order of Councill for limiting the grants of St. Christophers, yt. is the French ground; for Col. Codrington has granted all without any lemitation. I hope yr. Lopps. will gett us some great gunns and stores. Wee want 40 or 50 large whole culverins to protect our Harbours; our merchant ships are forced to keep watch and their gunns loaded for fear of being taken away by privateers; the armes Sir W. Mathews brought, the French broake them, not thinking them worth carrying away. I hope what are sent may be good; lett them send byonetts wth. the musketts, and to screw on uppon the mussells, and slings to them, all London made and tryed. I desire yr: Lopps. to give me leave to give you my case. When I brought the news, the Queen promised to provide for me; I had this post given me, was a year before I could gett a transportation; I was carryed to Barbados where I fell sick, I found my Government plunder'd; I have had the plague, have four distinct Governments, I must be a continuall vagabond goeing from one to the other, Nevis being 18 leagues from Antegua, 1,200l. the year in a dear country; I hope yr. Lopps. will not envy yr. Lopps.' obedient humble servant, Daniel Parke. I would have allowed yr. Lopps. more paper if I had had it; I had much ado to gett this [a different sheet of paper] being found by the pacqt. in a poor plunder'd Island; had the paper held out, to the rest of my afflictions I would have added Col. Codrington. I hope I shall do my duty and please the people till the Queen will provide for me better; I hope yr. Lopps., will excuse what's amiss, for I am almost crased wth. the fateague, the hott weather, and my feaver, wch. I have been quit of but three dayes. I compair my post to yt. of a Serjeant wth. 12 men uppon an advanced post; allwaies allarmed; wee are so frightned, every two or three slupes wee believe is another French Fleet, and I must mount tho' at midnight; I am deservedly punished for desiring to be a Governor. Endorsed, Recd. Oct. 31, Read Nov. 12, 1706. Addressed. Postmark. Holograph. 5 pp. Enclosed,
473. i. Account of H.M. Regiment of Foot in the Leeward Islands. St. Kitts, Aug. 27, 1706. Total, 328. Endorsed, Recd. Oct. 31, 1706. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 6. Nos. 63, 63.i.; and (without enclosure) 153, 9. pp. 400–405.]
Aug. 28.
St. Christophers.
474. Governor Parke to Mr. Secretary Hedges. Acknowledges letter. I will send accounts of H.M. successes to the French Islands and the Spanish West Indies. The people of this Island and Nevis are obliged to H.M. for her care to send them provisions and stores etc. Repeats parts of preceding. These Islands are a vast advantage to England, the export of their sugars brings great sums from Europe to England, besides the peices of eight that are sent thither. If the Queen thinks it worth her while to preserve them, she must send a force to take or destroy Martinico, Marygallant, Gaurdilupa, and Grand-Terre. 6,000 men would doe it, etc. Proposes details and offers to command. As bad a soldier and ingineer as I am, I dare undertake to take all the French Islands or be content to be hanged. … Or if H.M. will send us 3,000 men and siege materials, we will take Porto Rico, etc. The people would be glad to remove thither, and by one of the Articles in the Grand Alliance, whatever we take in the Spanish West Indies, we are to keep. By either of these projects, England would be the staple for sugar. For if the French Islands were taken, that would give it us. If we had Porto Rico, the land is soe good, the Island soe large, timber enough for building and caske, in 7 years we could make sugar soe cheap as to be able to undersell the French: we could doe it for half the charge we are at here. There we should have everything of our own. On these Islands we buy all our timber and provisions. Porto Rico is a much better Island than Jamaica, for it is the most healthy Island in America; if we had that Island, we should draw numbers of people from the barren land of New England, who are there of noe service to England, but the contrary, and in Porto Rico every man would be worth to England at least 20l. per annum etc. I hope the Queen, when she releives Whetham's Regiment (which is five times better to him than my Government) will let me have the command of the next that comes. It would be much better to break this Regiment (and give Whetham another), and put it upon the same foot as last warr, 5 companies of 100 each; the General to command as Collonel, and each company to have a Captain and two Lieutenants. For 'tis a great burthen to the people to provide quarters for soe many officers, and they can't well keep above 500 men, for the Islands allow[s] to every soldier 12d. the day, wch. is a vast charge, and without it the soldiers can't live, everything here is soe very dear; if the Queen would send them, wee can't keep men enough to defend us. We onely desire 500 men, which are enough to relieve our severall guards.
Col. Whetham has not been here 4 months in the 5 years. This will save the Queen a great summe of money, and be more agreable to the Islands; for if you relieve this Regiment with another, the Colonel and Lieut.-Col. and perhaps the Major and great part of the officers will make interest enough to stay at home, or if they doe come, they will stay but 2 or 3 months, therefore the Queen might as well save the charges of those officers, etc., etc. Signed, Daniel Parke. Endorsed, R. Oct. 30. 7¼ pp. [C.O. 239, 1. No. 12.]
Aug. 29.
St. Christophers.
475. Governor Parke to Mr. Secretary Hedges. This being the Day of Thanksgiving for the glorious success of my Patron the Duke of Marlborough, we did as heartily rejoice as any other H.M. subjects, tho' at present under great calamity. After the Queen, Prince and the Duke's healths were drank and eat as good dinner as we could gett, the Lt. Gov., Councill and Assembly brought me the enclosed address to the Queen, which please to present to Her and put into the Gazette etc. We are very loyall, tho' poor, and indifferent honest tho' at present in great want of arms, stores and everything that is fitt for the use of man. Signed, Daniel Parke. Endorsed, R. Oct. 30. 2 pp. [C.O. 239, 1. No. 13.]
Aug. 29.
476. President and Council of Virginia to the Council of Trade and Plantations. It is with unaffected grief we give your Lordsps. the trouble of a few lines on this sad occasion, to acquaint you with the death of H.E. Edward Nott, who after 9 days sickness dyed of a Fever, Aug. 23. He was a Gentleman of a very happy temper to cure our Divisions; and managed whatever was proposed for H.M. service in Council and Assembly with great satisfaction and success. The Government, devolving on the Council, we assure your Lordships of our utmost endeavours to manage it to the best advantage of H.M. service, and the quiet and peace of this Colony, which we doubt not we shal be able to preserve till H.M. shal think fitt otherwise to dispose of that trust. Our great Concern for the good of the Country in the present circumstances makes us heartily wish that H.M. may be so happy as to find a person of the same ability and good temper to succeed Col. Nott, to perfect the work of our Union, and the other good designs he had successfully begun, and would undoubtedly have finished, had it pleased God to have allowed him a longer continuance amongst us. Signed, E. Jenings, Presidt., Dudley Digges, Benja. Harrison, Robert Carter, James Blair, Philip Ludwell, Wm. Bassett, Hen. Duke. Endorsed, Recd. 20th, Read 26th Nov. 1706. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 1315. No. 33; and 5, 1362. pp. 66, 67.]
Aug. 29.
477. President and Council of Virginia to the Council of Trade and Plantations. The price of tobacco being of late so strangely sunk in many places of this Country, that the Planters, not being able to live by it, have betaken themselves to the manufactures of flax and cotton and wool, which we apprehend will prove very detrimental to H.M. in her Revenues, and to the trade of England, Upon mature deliberation, we have judged it necessary humbly to offer to your Lordps. our thoughts for the preservation and improvement of both, for H.M. and the Country's service. The great fall of that commodity here is occasioned by the bad returns the Adventurer has for it when he sends it for England, and the lowness of the market there is occasioned partly by the necessitys of the war, which stop up many of the usual markets and Ports, and partly by the divisions amongst the English merchants trading in tobacco, who by their disunited councels and interests cannot contribute so effectually to the support and management of it as if there were a better understanding amongst themselves, and a more unanimous concurrence for the general good. As to the war, we are sensible that we must patiently wait for the blessing of peace to open the trade in the several ports and markets where it is at present shut up. But for the other no less dangerous inconveniency we are humbly of opinion that if, instead of the many Runners and Letters of marq-men, and little scattering Fleets with weak convoys continually disturbing the market at home with unseasonable new supplyes before the old are half spent, and starving the Planter here with small quantitys of goods, sold at exorbitant and excessive rates, there were but one good Fleet in a year with an able Convoy ordered to sail from England yearly about the moneth of September, and to return from Virginia before the last of April following (at which time the latest tobacco may be ready) and before the sickness seizes their men, and the worm eats their ships, this method would be attended with abundance of good consequences for the benefite of the Trade. Time would be allowed for the consumption of one year's crop before the markets were troubled with another, and the plenty of ships and goods in this country at one time would make tobacco to be more in demand and goods more plenteous and vendible at more reasonable rates, and the carriage more safe and secure before the winter, which season proves commonly fatal to the Fleets, and impossible to keep Convoy in. All which we humbly conceive, and in great measure know from experience would have a good influence on the Trade and H.M. Revenues arising thereby. And therefore we humbly pray your Lordships' assistance etc. Signed and endorsed as preceding. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 1315. No. 34; and 5, 1362. pp. 67–69.]
Aug. 30. 478. President and Council of Virginia to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refer to letter of Aug 29. We now lay before your Lordps. an account of such material transactions as we conceive necessary, together with the public papers and Journals of Council and Assembly. Your Lorps. will herewith receive the whole body of Laws passed in this Assembly. This has been a work of much labour and charge, and we hope is now brought to a good effect. We shall not here trouble your Lordps. with particular observations on them, since we have in the Council Journal made Remarks upon the most material, and given our reasons to his late Excellency why we thought them fitt to receive his assent. There were some other laws intended by the Assembly to have made a part of this Body, which your Lordps. will perceive by the Journal H.E. did not think fitt to pass, as namely, the Bill for establishing the County Courts. The reason H.E. was pleased to signify to us for refusing of this Bill was, that your Lordps. had struck out these words (by advice and consent of at least 5 of the Council) which the Assembly had altered into (the advice of the Council or 5 of them at the least) but would not altogether depart from, and therefore he designed to wait for your Lordps.' further directions whether he should pass it or not, if offered in another Session of Assembly, being a Bill of great consequence to the Country. The next is a Bill repealing a clause in the Act of Indemnity made after Bacon's rebellion, on which H.E. was pleased to acquaint us, that if your Lordps. thought it convenient for H.M. service, he had no particular objection agt. it on his own part. There was a third Bill for the liberty of the subject, upon which your Lordps. having noted that it was not to be passed, the Council were of opinion it was not safe for H.E. to pass it, tho' as Upper House of Assembly they had concurred to the Bill. Upon this head of the laws, we beg leave to answer a paragraph of your Lordps.' letter, March 1 last, in relation to the diminishing the allowance to the Masters of ships out of the 2s. per hogshead, which came to hand since the prorogation of the Assembly. When H.E. gave your Lordps. an account of that abatement, the House of Burgesses had reduced it to 5 p.c., wch. we thought was indeed too small, and would willingly have had it continued as formerly, had we not plainly perceived that our endeavors for it with the Burgesses was like to prove unsuccessful, wch. made us propose 1 p.c. more, and accordingly obtained it to be passed as it now is, at the allowance of 6 p.c. We never apprehended that the augmentation or diminution of this allowance would be any greater or less encouragement for making due entries, tho' that be one reason expressed in the Law; for the Masters being to give account of their lading upon oath, and also lyable to a penalty if they make a false entry, that obligation will have greater influence on their honesty, than any encouragement, since they will always gain more by making a false entry if they can escape with it, than the encouragement of 10 p.c. out of the duty. And as for the other service for which the allowance of 10 p.c. was given, viz. the paying the dutys of the ship in one entire sum by their own bills of Exchange, we are humbly of opinion that the present allowance of 6 p.c. is enough, for it is not now so difficult to procure bills of Exchange in the Country as it was formerly, and Masters of ships do at this time very rarely give their own bills for the dutys, and have very little trouble in the payment thereof. There is another clause in the bill concerning the measuring of ships, in order to the payment of the tunnage, wch. we apprehend will meet with opposition from the Merchants at home, and therefore to obviate anything which may be alledged to your Lordps. on their behalf, we humbly take leave to acquaint your Lordps. that besides the direction the Assembly had in this matter from an Act of Parliament (Wm. III) (which they have literally followed as to ye manner of measuring ships) and the like practice in Barbados, we are well assured that several ships are registred at a much less burthen than they really contain, and some lately have received new Registers for less than their former Registers expressed, which gave great occasion for this manner of ascertaining that Duty. Another thing there is in this Bill which we should not have troubled your Lordps. with, as being really a trifle, had not Coll. Quary told us in Council that he intended to complain of it. The Burgesses observing that the ascertaining the Council's sallary, wch. had formerly been provided for in a particular Law, was ommitted in the Revisal, did add a clause to that purpose in this Bill, but restrained the payment of this sallary only to such Councelors as now are or hereafter shal be resident within this Colony for the space of 3 years. Coll. Quary alledges that this was particularly pointed at him, in derogation of H.M. prerogative, who had appointed him of her Council here. Whatever might be the design of the Burgesses in adding this clause, we do assure your Lordps. that we had not the least thoughts of any prejudice to Coll. Quary, nor do we take the meaning of that restriction to be any other than that the office of one of H.M. Council, which is of the greatest trust in the Government, both as a Judge in the General Court, and as a Member of the Assembly, should be committed to such persons whose residence in the Country for the above-mentioned time hath made them sufficiently acquainted with our Laws, and the small sallary allowed for the usual and constant attenders of that service. Your Lordps. will amongst the other Laws receive that for building a house for the Governor, and a fund of 3,000l. is appropriated for that use. We hope this testimony of duty and obedience wch. the country have shown to H.M. Royal Commands will be graciously accepted. In the Council Journal your Lordps. will see the proceedings on the disputes that had arizen in relation to the Blackwater land, and the final determination of the last and greatest controversys about that land, so that long before ye arrival of your Lordps.' letter of March 1, directing the continuance of the restriction on that land, all the disputable entrys were finally adjusted and some few patents signed. The House of Burgesses having addressed the late Governor for laying open that, and the land in Pamunky Neck, H.E. was pleased to promise them that he would lay it open accordingly, and had recommended to us to consider of a proper method for the more regular taking entrys, but your Lordps.' letter determined him otherwise, and accordingly we shall not permitt any lands to be taken up or surveyed there, or any more patents to be issued for lands already surveyed on the Blackwater, until your Lordps. shal signify your further directions therein. And now that we have occasion to mention this of the Blackwater land, we humbly offer to your Lordps.' consideration the inclosed account of the manner of taking up and patenting land in this Colony, wch. was the result of a reference made at the last Council before H.E. death, and reported to us at our Meeting yesterday by the Gentlemen to whom it was referred; wherein are offered several reasons for taking off the restriction on the out-lands, as tending to H.M. service, the advancement of the Revenue, and the benefite of this Country. The latter part of your reference to patenting of land, was communicated to us by his late Excellency at the Council before his death. The Governor, after having inspected his Instructions, did declare to us that he did not find among them any other to wch. your Lordps.' letter seemed to refer, but one which contains a proposal of a new method of granting land. We were then, as now, doubtful whether your Lordps.' letter did refer to that Instruction, which was only a proposal of what H.M. judged proper for her services if the circumstances of the Country would admitt it, but was never put in practice, as being inconsistant with our Charter and Laws, and the conditions so impracticable that no man would ever take up lands on those terms, while there is land to be had in the Propriety Governments much more easily. H.E. then declared that he would not sign patents for any lands until your Lordps. should further explain the meaning of that paragraph, and we shall also continue the same resolution, and humbly pray speedy directions in this matter, because the delaying the signing of patents may create uneasiness among the people. It is the misfortune of this country to be bounded to the Southward with a Propriety Government, and those concerned therein are always watching opportunitys of extending their bounds, to the prejudice of this H.M. Colony. The bounds of Carolina has for a long time been contested, and some endeavours used from time to time to bring that matter to an accomodation, but no progress has yet been made therein. The fresh encroachments made by that Government obliged the Burgesses of the last Assembly to address the late Governor to have the bounds laid out, wch., had he lived, we believe he would have endeavoured to oblige the Governmt. of Carolina to agree to, and to bear their proportion of that charge that must necessarily accure thereon. All that could be done in the mean time was to write to the Governor of Carolina to prohibite the like encroachments for the future, untill the bounds be settled, Refer to Council Journal. We shall only observe that while a restriction continues on H.M. land, and at ye same time the Proprietors have land so near to be taken up on easier terms, they will draw to them many of the Inhabitants of this Colony, who would otherwise be rather desirous to take land of H.M. This Country was under a very great consternation upon the news of the French Fleet, and the ravages committed by them in the West Indies. We do not think an enemy would ever attempt this Country for any benefite that might be hop'd from the spoil of it, but our Fleet of mercht. ships having at that time so considerable a concern to the Crown and the trade of England, and so much of the estates of the Inhabitants on board, we could not but be under very great apprehensions, when we considered how much they were exposed to danger. H.E. took ye best methods he could to prevent surprize, but your Lordps. will perceive by the Representations of the Masters of ships (Council Journal), how little he was able to prevail with them; and the case will still be ye same while they are at liberty to ride where they please. We shal not presume to offer our opinion upon the Fortifications proposed by H.E. for the defence of the ships, because we are assured of the sincerity of his intentions and that he was a much better judge than we of the expediency and use of them; and shall only acquaint your Lordps. that the House of Burgesses, having given their opinion of the inhability of the Country to build such Forts, and concluded that they hoped H.M. who had been so gracious to her other Plantations as to apply to that use her whole Revenue of Quit-rents, would also consider this country in that particular, H.E. thereupon promised that he would represent it to H.M. (Assembly Journal). We therefore humbly submit it to your Lordps.' consideration. In the Council Journal your Lordps. will observe that there is a dispute depending with the Proprietors of the Northern Neck, who pretend to a neck of land lying in the fforks of Rappahannock, their grant giving them a tittle to ye utmost banks of that River. A survey is to be made of the two branches thereof in order to discover wch. may be properly called the Main River, and as soon as a report thereof is made, we shal humbly offer to your Lordps. what we conceive necessary for H.M. service thereupon. We send a copy of the examinations of several witnesses upon oath in relation to one Capt. Pitton, Master of the Factor of Biddiford, who being accused and seized by Capt. Lowin of H.M.S. Advice for piracy, in taking out of a vessel belonging to Dantzick some casks of wine, these examinations were taken in order to have brought him to tryal pursuant to the Act for suppression of Piracy, but nothing being made out to ground the said trial, he was discharged. This Pitton has a letter of marque and is under bond in England to answer what he shal act by vertue thereof, and is in all other respects a fair and legal Trader, his owner being a considerable merchant in Biddiford. If on this occasion we have committed any mistakes or omitted any thing wch. we ought to have communicated, we humbly hope your Lordps. will impute it to our trouble and concern on this sad and unexpected accident and the hurry we are in upon the departure of this Fleet so suddenly thereafter, etc. Signed and endorsed as preceding. 7 pp. Enclosed,
478. i. An account of the method of taking up and patenting land in Virginia, with reasons for the continuance thereof. Quote Charter of Charles II etc. 50 acres of land to be granted to every settler etc. Thus the method continued till 1699, and then several persons having rights to lands in Pamunky-Neck and on ye South side of the Blackwater Swamp, who could not well procure legal rights for patenting thereof, and the Treasury of the Country for support of the Government being very low, a method was established of selling those rights at a certain rate for money to be paid to the Receiver of the Revenues for the use of the Crown, to witt, that whosoever would pay 5s., should have the same right to take up 50 acres that he might otherwise have had for the importation of any person into this Colony. But the method of granting lands for importation was never pretended to be taken away but still continues. And at the last session of Assembly, it being observed that that addition to the Revenue of selling rights had been a good help to it, it was thought convenient to limit the taking up land for importation as much as well could be, and to establish the aforementioned method of selling of Rights by Act of Assembly, and thereupon in the Act for settling the titles of lands etc., that matter is settled in such a manner as will be considerably beneficial to ye Crown. When any person had a right to take up and patent any land, the usual way was for him to make the discovery of some ungranted lands, and then to go to ye Surveyor of the County where it lay and make an entry thereof and of his rights for it, and thereupon ye Surveyor laid it out for him, and returned a survey of it with the rights to ye Secretary's Office, upon which a patent was prepared, and signed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Council, and ye seal of the Colony was then put to it, wch. made the Grant perfect. And if several persons made entrys for lands in ye same place, the first entry (being legally made) was preferred according to ye number of rights, and if there was any more land, the other entrys in order, according to their number of rights respectively were satisfyed as far as the land would go, so that the bigness of the entry was limited by the number of rights entred. It has been objected (1) that the people are already too much disperst, and it would be better if they were collected within a narrower compass; (2) that it may administer occasion of disputes with the Indians; (3) that entrys have been made by some persons for very great quantitys of land, wch. they cannot possibly seat and plant as they ought (in reason) to do. But the answers will be obvious. (1) It is a matter of the greatest difficulty to restrain and collect our people into a narrower compass of ground, or even to contain them where they are, for as the country grows more numerous the poorer sort of people will always be desirous to settle further out for the conveniencys of new settlements, as great plenty of game, good range for their stocks, and ye choice of the best of the land to work upon, and daily experience tells us, that if they are restrained here, they will leave the country and go to other places, where they may be indulged in all the priviledges of this nature they can desire. (2) There can be no disputes or controversys with the Indians, for we have no Indians near us but our Tributarys, and they have lands laid out and assured to them by Law, according to ye Articles of Peace made with them. (3) The late Law for settling ye Titles to lands doth lay sufficient restraints to prevent any persons taking up too great quantitys for the future; and for the entrys already made by persons who have not obtained patents, there are not any of them extraordinary. It has indeed been said that on ye South side of the Blackwater and upon Nottoway River, there are very extravagant entrys made, and the lands in those parts not being very well discovered at ye time of making these entrys, it is likely that ye bounds of some of these lands entered for, may be so imperfectly sett down as to give colour for this objection: but if enquiry be made into ye number of rights entered, wch. must always limit ye quantity, it cannot be made appear that there is any one entry in those parts for 3,000 acres in any one tract, or that any of the entrys that have been made for land in those parts since 1700 have amounted to more that that quantity (except one tract of about 4,500 acres, wch. is already patented and seated), tho' it cannot be denied that some few greater entrys were made before that time. Nor is the patenting of great quantitys of land so great a prejudice to ye Crown or the Country as it has been represented, for it is evident that no great tracts can be taken up, but that a considerable quantity of very bad and useless ground will be within that bounds: and if ye taking up of land were solely restrained to small quantitys, people would pick out the best, and leave the interjacent poor land altogether wast, wch. now yields ye same Quit-rents to H.M., tho' perhaps it affords no other benefite to the possessor, or ever will, except only a larger range for his stock.
For the continuance of the established method, it is humbly offerred (1) That several people have rights to land by the importation of persons into ye Country according to Law and the Charter. (2) Since the establishment of the method of selling rights for money, several people have expended their moneys to purchase such rights, and now the Government hath received their moneys, to deny them their proportion of land would be to defraud them etc. (3) If people cannot have land here upon reasonable terms, they can easily remove into other Countrys where their labour is not so beneficial to ye Crown, and where all possible encouragement is given them in this particular. This we see verifyed by daily experience in the great numbers of people that have removed lately and are now just upon ye remove into Carolina. (4) H.M. Revenues will be considerably improved both by the money arising upon ye sale of rights, and by the Quitt-rents for the lands after they are patented. (5) Entrys have been made for several parcels of land on ye South side of the Blackwater and upon Nottoway River, and some persons have had their lands surveyed and obtained patents for them, but others that had ye same equitable pretensions have not yet had such surveys and patents, and it seems unequal not to grant ye same liberty to those persons that had ye same right. (6) As to ye lands on ye South side of Nattoway River and on Maherin River, where the bounds of the Countrys are not settled, we see that ye Government of Carolina have already taken upon them to dispose of those lands as their own, and people are now seating there by vertue of those rights, the necessary consequence whereof seems to be that it will create a controversy with that Government and at last perhaps it will be found expedient rather to confirme those lands to the possessors than to drive so many familys as will be seated there from their habitations, and thereby H.M. will lose the money that would arise by ye sale of the rights for taking up those lands, and by the quitt-rents that would be due for them in ye meantime: and in ye end it will (most probably) be ye occasion of much trouble and charge in settling the bounds between these Countrys. All which inconveniencys may now be happily prevented by permitting these lands to be taken up according to ye legal establishment, for people would willingly take grants under this Government, if they might have them. A true copy, Signed, Wil. Robertson, Cl. Con. Endorsed, Recd. Nov. 20, 1706. 3¾ large pp.
478. ii. Depositions of Saml. Selden, gent., Henry Linton, tobacconist, and several of the crew, taken before the Commissioners for tryal of Pirates upon a complaint against Thomas Pitton, Master of ye Factor of Biddiford, exhibited by Capt. John Lowin, H.M.S. Advice. The Captain overhauled a hoy from Danzic on his voyage out, and took therefrom several casks of wine, for which some say he paid. Endorsed as preceding. 71/8 pp.
478. iii. Copy of an Act of Virginia for establishing County Courts, etc. 1705. Endorsed as preceding. 18½ large pp.
478. iv. Copy of an Act of Virginia repealing part of an Act of 1680, of free and general pardon, etc. Endorsed as preceding. 1¾ pp.
478. v. List of Patents for lands signed in April, 1706:—
County. Acres. Granted to
Surrey 1,000 Francis Clements.
" 50 Joseph Proctor.
" 580 Wm. Cocke.
" 150 Tho. Bentley.
" 1,000 Benja. Harrison.
" 180 Tho. King.
" 150 Wm. Rhodes.
" 200 Nicho. Smith.
Prince George 16 Richd. Bland.
" 43 Richd. Bland.
Essex 171 Edwd. Barrow.
" 1,234 Gavin Corbin.
" 65 Tho. Merriweather.
" 103½ John Harper.
" 100 John Harper.
Eliza. City Robert Taylor.
" 274 Wm. Mallory.
New Kent 1,900 Dudley Digges.
" 850 Roger Thomson.
Henrico 1,468 Charles Evans.
" 570 Richard Cocke, jr.
Princess Anne 447 John Carraway, senr.
" 176 Thomas Wiles.
Norfolk 150 William Maund.
" 45 Thomas Cherry.
King and Queen 211 Jane King.
" 1,245 John Major.
Accomack 500 Tully Robinson.
Gloucester 335 George Billops.
Nanzemond 250 Wm. Parker.
Isle of Wight 380 Nicho. Fulgham [Foljambe ?]
Northampton 330 Tho. Smith.
King and Queen 546 John Hurt.
James City 130 Nazth. Whitehead.
King William 107 Orlando Jones.
Prince Geo. 351 Robert Munford.
" 405 John Anderson and Robt. Munford.
" 1,973 Col. Robt. Bolling, senr.
Esher 145 Thomas Corbin.
King William 1,091 John Kimbro.
Henrico 190 John Worsham.
Eliza. City. 120 Robt. Beverly.
King and Queen 2,763 Col. James Taylor.
Henrico 5,644 Richd. Bland.
New Kent 300 David Holt, minor.
Prince Geo. 4,583 Benj. Harrison, jr.
These lands were surveyed by,—Arthur Allen, Robt. Bolling, Cha. Smith, Wm. Lowrey, Lemll. Newton, Edwd. Scarburgh, Richd. Whitehead, Robt. Bolling, jr., Harry Beverly, Richd. Liggon. Dates given. Endorsed as preceding. 2 pp.
478. vi.–xii. Proclamations by Governor Nott. (1) Continuing officers, Aug. 15, 1705; (2) dissolving the Assembly, Aug. 16, 1705; (3, 4) publishing the Acts of Parliament prohibiting trade and to prevent traitorous correspondence with France, and for encouraging Naval Stores, Nov. 28, 1705; (5) for the better securing of shipping, upon news of the attack upon Nevis etc., May 10, 1706; (6) for a Generall Thanksgiving on April 23, for Marlborough's victory in the Spanish Netherlands, Feb. 27, 1705/6 (7) proroguing the Assembly till April 23, Aug. 8, 1706. Signed, Edwd. Nott. Copies. 9 pp.
478. xiii. Proclamation by the President and Council of Virginia. Continuing officers and magistrates, upon the death of Governor Nott, Aug. 27, 1706. Signed, E. Jenings, President, and by 7 other Councillors. Endorsed, Recd. Nov. 20, 1706. Copy. Torn. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 1315. Nos. 35, 35.i.-xiii.; and (without enclosures) 5, 1362. pp. 70–81.]
Aug. 30.
479. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Sir B. Granville. Acknowledge letters of April 7, and June 28. We observe what you write in relation to the attempt of the French upon the Leeward Islands, and have laid the same before H.M., and also the petition of the Councill and Assembly to yourself enclosed in your last letter, and shall immediately inform you of H.M. gracious directions thereon. We observe what you write about Mr. Allen etc. We find that there are at present 11 Counsellors in Barbadoes; and that we may have a more perfect account, we send you a copy of the said List, as also the names of those that stand upon our List for filling up of vacancies, that you may let us have your particular observations as to their age, abilities and estates. [C.O. 29, 10. pp. 86, 87.]
Aug. 30.
480. Council of Trade and Plantations to Lt. Governor Bennett. Since our letter of May 30 last, we have received yours of Oct. 31, March 9 and 11. As to the sending home of Lieut. Henley, we suppose the meaning of Mr. Secretary Hedges' order was that you send him by the first convenient opportunity. The three persons you recommended to us have, upon our representation, been constituted Counsellors accordingly, and we doubt not but the order has already been sent you by your Agent; however, we transmit to you a copy. No application hath been made to us in the behalf of Dr. Star, and if any do come we shal not fail to give you notice thereof; in the meantime we send you, according to your desire, the copies of two letters we have received from Mr. Jones and Mr. Nelson, unto which we desire your answer. [C.O. 38, 6. pp. 220, 221.]
Aug. 30.
481. Council of Trade and Plantations to Mr. Secretary Hedges. In reply to Aug. 24. We have discoursed with Mr. Cary, and do think it fit for H.M. service that the Principal Officers of the Ordnance, as being best acquainted with those matters, do confer with him, and settle what may be fit for H.M. service upon this occasion. [C.O. 153, 9. p. 389.] Autograph signatures. 1 p. Enclosed,
481. i. Duplicate of No. 471.i. [C.O. 7, 1. Nos. 13, 13.i.; and (without enclosure) 153, 9. p. 389.]
Aug. 30.
482. Council of Trade and Plantations to Mr. Secretary Hedges. Enclose copy of petition from the Councill and Assembly of Barbadoes, which you will please to lay before H.M., with our observations for H.M. Directions thereupon. As to the first particular relating to the sugar made by the Dutch in the East Indies; We have reason to hope that this new trade cannot long subsist, the Dutch being upon ye whole looser thereby, who tho' they have lately made some proffit by this sugar from Java, do however neglect a more certain and profitable trade, which will oblige them to desist from that of the sugar. And whereas the Petitioners desire upon this consideration that they may have an abatement of the duties upon their sugar here; We humbly take notice that such an abatemt. would, if necessary, be a matter proper only for the Parliament. As to the number of the Regular Forces desired by the Petitioners; We cannot determine how far H.M. may at present gratify them therein, with regard to the further attempts that the French may make upon H.M. Islands in those parts. And as to the application of the 4½ p.c., we likewise observe that from H.M. first accession to the Crown, H.M. has been pleased upon the Address of the House of Commons, consistantly to apply the whole Duty of 4½ p.c. arising in the Charibbee Islands to the use of Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands in a due proportion. Autograph Signatures. 2 pp. Enclosed,
482. i. Address of the Council and Assembly of Barbados to Governor Sir B. Granville. Duplicate of No. 383.ii. 4 pp. [C.O. 28, 38. Nos. 51, 51.i.; and (without enclosure) 29, 10. pp. 88, 89.]