America and West Indies: December 1724

Pages 277-296

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 34, 1724-1725. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1936.

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December 1724

Dec. 3.
423. Governor Phenney to the Duke of Newcastle. Refers to replies to Queries 24th Dec. and 6th July, and to three more from the Lords Commrs. of Trade (encl. ii) etc. Continues: Upon my arrival here I found the fort in a very ruinous condition, the angles of the curtains having been only stopt up wth. palmeto logs and sand, were rotted and fallen away and the parapets totally decay'd being cases made of old plank and filled with earth. I apply'd myself with the Indept. Company and a few negroes to repair the parapets and have (by the blessing of God on my endeavours) entirely new built three large bastions of stone 60 ft. in face, and am continuing my application to finish and make it a compleat fortification, altho' the small number of hands that assist me and the violent storms and other bad weather which we have severely felt here some months past very much retarded our proceedings. A periagua having about 22 Spaniards which lurkt about our Islands this last summer, escapt the vessels I sent in quest of them, but fell into the hands of a Jamaica sloop who carry'd them thither, where I have heard they were condemned. The necessity we are in of carriages and other stores of war which I have long sollicited, obliges me to desire that your Grace will please to give orders that I may have them with all possible expedition, etc. Refers to Address encl. iii and encl. i. Mr. Grainger was sent over here last year as Chief Justice. A proper person is very much wanted for that office etc. Signed, G. Phenney. Endorsed, R. May 25th, 1725. 1 3/4 pp. Enclosed,
423. i. T. Grainger to Governor Phenney. Barbados, Jan. 31, 1723/4. Necessity not choice hath obleidged me to accept of my cozin Warren's friendship in remaining in this Island etc. I have found Mr. Buck's promises (as his caracter entirely is) to be erroneous etc. Signed, Tho. Grainger. Copy. 1 p.
423. ii. Duplicate of replies to three queries from the Board of Trade ?. encl. i following. 1 1/2 pp.
423. iii. Address of the Justices, Grand Jury, and principal inhabitants of New Providence met at the Quarterly Sessions of the Peace to Governor Phenney. Acknowledge H. E.'s "vigilance in repairing and augmenting the ruinated fortification, and indefatigable care of their interests etc., tho' it gives us unexpressible concern that we can be no otherways assisting to you than by our zealous wishes" etc. Beg that he will again represent their condition to H.M. and apply to him for the necessary supplies etc. (24th Aug., 1724.) 41 Signatures. 2 pp. [C.O. 23, 13. ff. 181, 181?., 183, 185, 185?., 187?., 188.]
Dec. 3.
424. Governor Phenney to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Repeats matter of preceding letter, omitting last sentence. Signed, G. Phenney. Endorsed, Recd. 26th May, Read 19th Augt., 1725. 1 p. Enclosed,
424. i. Answers to the three last queries from the Board of Trade. (i) The islands under this Government unsettled are, (a) Leeward of Providence, the Biminees, Andros Island, Berry Islands, Grand Bahama, Abawa; (b) Windward, Cat Island, Exumas, Long Island, Little Island, Rum Key, Watlin's Island, Crooked Island, Mayaguana, Inagua. With multitudes of small islands called Keys, some of which have very good land upon 'm and fresh water, (ii) Soil and Produce. Light sandy ground near the shores, and further in the country red or black mould, fat and close. These islands naturally produce large madera and mahogany, manchineel, cedar, lignum vitæ, princes wood, pine, box, braziletto, fustick, palmetto, of which platt is made, cinamon trees, the bark of which is called winterania, sweetwood, the bark called islathera, mirtle whose berries make fine wax, several physical plants amongst which the Spaniards have told several people here that the Jesuit's bark abounds. But it has not been found for want of a curious enquirer. Fine cotton, oranges, citrons, lemmons, limas and salt in great quantitys. (iii) They are capable of producing, if improved, cotton, indico, ginger, corn, sugar, tobacco, and in general everything that's improvable in the West Indies. Endorsed, Recd. 26th May, 1725. 1 ½ pp.
424. ii. Duplicate of No. 423. iii. [C.O. 23, 1. Nos. 55, 55, i, ii.]
Dec. 4.
425. Mr. Burchett to Mr. Popple. Having received a letter from Capt. St. Lo, appointed last year to look after the fishing at Placentia, complaining of the masters of several of the fishing ships for leaveing behind them some of the seamen they carried out, in breach of the Act of Parliament, and in disobedience to the orders he had given them, etc. encloses following. Signed, J. Burchett. Endorsed, Recd. 7th Dec, 1724, Read 2nd June, 1725. Addressed. 1 p. Enclosed,
425. i. Names of 11 men who came from England to Placentia in 4 vessels, and thence as passengers to Canso, Nova Scotia, in the John and Mary sloop of New York etc. Signed, Alexr. Cosby. Copy. 1 p. [C.O. 194 7 ff. 263, 264, 266?.]
Dec. 4. 426. Mr. West to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Report upon petition of London shipwrights, 19th Oct. Not withstanding their complaint may be very true, as the law now stands they are without a remedy, for by the Acts of Navigation the shipping of the Plantations is in all respects to be considered as English-built shipping etc. Signed, Richd. West. Endorsed, Reed., Read 4th Dec, 1724. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 869. ff. 70, 70?., 71?.]
Dec. 4 427. Same to Same. Report upon Act of Jamaica, for ascertaining quit-rents etc. Thinks the power lodged in the Mayor of the little Corporation, without any check, is very unreasonable. But the Act has been in operation since 1703, which may make a difference etc. Signed, Richd. West. Endorsed, Reed. Read 7th Dec, 1724. 2 pp. [C.O. 137, 15. ff. 202, 202?., 203?.]
Dec. 5.
428. Mr. Willard to Mr. Popple. Your letter of the 23rd of July last I received a week since etc. I shall carefully obey their Lordships' commands for transmitting the publick papers for the future directly to the Board. Encloses Minutes of Assembly and Treasurer's accounts. Signed, Josiah Willard. Endorsed, Reed. 19th Jan. 1724/5, Read 11th Aug., 1726. 1 p. Enclosed,
428. i. Accounts of the Treasurer of the Massachusetts Bay, 31st May, 1723–1724. Signed, Jeremiah Allen. Same endorsement. 52 pp. [C.O. 5, 869. ff. 267, 268?., 270–295?., 299?.]
Dec. 5.
429. Governor Nicholson to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I hope in God yor. Lordps. will receive mine of 14th Nov. etc. I now humbly transmitt an accot. of all the old bills which were burnt at several times amounting to £68,346 18s. 3d., which I take to be the total summ that hath been changed for new ones and if there be any left, they are of no validity by Act of Assembly. When the law past for changing ye old bills it was supposed (tho' uncertainly) that there might be to the value of £80,000 but it proving otherwise the country is only to make good that £68,346 18s. 3d. Refers to accounts of the new bills burnt (?. Oct. 30 and Nov. 14). Continues: I shall (God willing) take care that they be burnt according as the law directs. I humbly transmitt our resolve in Council concerning a new Assembly etc. Refers to enclosed letters concerning the Cherokees. Continues: Upon the receipt of them I gave orders to send to the frontieres to be upon their watch and guard. There are various opinions about this unlucky accident. I have not had any further accot. of this affair so I hope in God there will be no further mischief done and that this was only designed against Sharp. When I have any further accot. shall humbly transmitt it to yor. Lordps. by the first safe opportunity. We have several ships and vessels here bound for Great Brittain and other parts and we dayly expect more. I thank God we have had extraordinary fine weather so that we have had a very proper season for the rice and pitch. Having had the honour and great fortune of receiving H.M. most gracious leave to goe for Great Brittain, I shall God willing after the Assembly's up embark for London and please God I arive there I shall do myself the honour of paying my duty to yor. Lordps. etc. Signed, Fr. Nicholson. Endorsed, Recd. 19th Feb., Read 18th Nov., 1725. 1 1/2 pp. Enclosed,
429. i. Form of writ for electing Members of Assembly. 2nd Dec, 1724. Same endorsement. 1 p.
429. ii. Minute of Council of S. Carolina, 21st Nov., 1724. Resolved, that writs be issued for calling a new Assembly etc. Same endorsement. Copy, certified, Wm. Timley, Cl. Con. 1 p.
429. iii. Account of £68,346 18s. 3d. old bills exchanged by the Commissioners for reprinting the current bills and burnt. Signed, T. Hepworth, H. Houser. Same endorsement. 1 p.
429. iv. Invoice of goods and skins taken from John Sharp by the Creek Indians. 9th Nov., 1724. Same endorsement. Copy, 3/4 p.
429. v. John Sharp to Governor Nicholson. Nooyahwee, 12th Nov., 1724. On the 9th inst. 200 Creeke Indians surprised my house, firing two vollies and wounding me in the leg. They plundered my house and stripped me of all but a pair of breeches etc., never offering to fire upon the town tho' within gun shott, neither did the town fire upon them, they continuing plundering till daylight, then went about their business, whilst the Cherikees kept themselves secure in their forts. Two days later, Capt. Hatton with 9 white men came to this place, hearing of what had hapned, and promised to give your Excellency a full account etc. Encloses preceding. Signed, Jno. Sharp. Same endorsement Copy. 1 p.
429. vi. Capt. Hatton to Governor Nicholson. In the Charokees, 14th Nov., 1724. Amplifies preceding. Continues: When I asked the Cherokees, why they had not aided Sharp, they said their young men were absent hunting. They said they would presently follow the Creeks and bring back the plundered goods and asked us to join them, reminding us of all the insolences the Creeks have been guilty of to the traders. As we had not punished them, they believed we were as much afraid of the Creeks as they are etc. I replied we could not go into the woods after the Creeks without orders and that there were a great many white men trading amongst them whose lives would be at stake etc. It is my humble opinion with the rest of the traders here, that if the white people do not joyne the Charokees to go against the Creeks they will joyne one another, and bend their forces against the white people, for they are continually putting us in mind of our former promises, that we should always stand by them against their enemy, wch. has ever since been neglected, tho' they are not able to withstand them by themselves etc. I asked how many men they required, they told me 300. I think that we who are traders here do stand but a very poor chance of getting our effects down, or preserving them here, for if the Creeks demolish our stores, and rob us of our goods by the Indian town-sides, what may we expect from their hands, when they meet us in ye woods, wth. a number capable to overpower us. And on the other hand, the Senecas threaten to kill us, if they meet us, as a slave told us, who made his escape from them. And the Cattawbas and the Charokees are gangeling, for in the summer one of there people kill'd a Charraw man, and the Cattawbas came here and demanded satisfaction, and about 20 days ago the Cattawbas and Charraws took a woman of the Charokees prisoner, but she made her escape from them, and got home again, upon which they threaten revenge upon one another. I think it necessary that yor. Excellcy. should accomodate this difference and to make up the breach (if there is any) between the Charokees and Cattawbas, for if a war should happen between those two Nations, the Cattawbas will certainly go over to the Creeks, by which means they would drive the Charokees out of their Nation, but wth. the Charokees and Cattawbas there is no doubt by ye help of God but Carolina will be able to dealc with the Creeks etc. Signed, W. Hatton. Same endorsement. Copy. 4 pp. [C.O. 5, 359. ff. 259, 259v., 261–2670., 268?.]
Dec. 9. 430. (a) Certificate by London shipwrights and rope makers that Plantation tar is as good as any Swedish. 10 signatures.
(b) Certificate to same effect by owners of ships trading to the East Indies. 4 signatures. 1/2 p. The whole endorsed, Recd. Read 18th Dec, 1724. And see C.S.P. Jan. 22, 1722. [C.O. 323, 8. Nos. 50, 51.]
Dec. 10.
St. James's.
431. Order of King in Council. Referring following to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their report. Signed, Ja. Vernon. Endorsed, Recd. 22nd Dec, 1724, Read 18th Feb., 1721 1 1/4 pp. Enclosed,
431. i. Petition of the Court of Directors of the South Sea Company to the King. South Sea House, 3rd Aug., 1724. Petition against Acts of Jamaica laying duties on negroes and flour as prejudicial to the Assiento trade, (?. A. P. C. III. p. 73.) Signed, John Eyles, Sub. Govr., Jno. Rudge, Dept. Govr. Copy. 3 pp. Enclosed,
431. ii. Orders of Lords Justices in Council, 9th Jan., 1717, repealing Act of Jamaica laying duties on negroes, etc. Copies. 5 1/4 pp.
431. iii. Copy of Articles 20 and 85 of the Duke of Portland's Instructions. l 1/4 pp.
431. iv. Copy of Additional Instructions to same, 16th Jan., 1718. 5 1/4 pp. Nos. i–iv endorsed, Recd, from Mr. Stanyan 9th, Read and Refd. to Board of Trade, 10th Dec, 1724. [C.O. 137, 16. ff. 1–5, 6–8?., 10, 10?., 12–14?., 15?., 16?.]
Dec. 10.
St. James's.
432. Order of King in Council. Referring following to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their report etc. Signed, Ja. Vernon. Endorsed, Recd. 18th Dec, 1724, Read 18th Feb., 1724/5. 1 p. Enclosed,
432. i. Petition of Merchants trading to Jamaica to the King. Petition against Acts of Jamaica, laying duties on negroes and flour, (?. A. P. C. III., p. 72.) Signed, Hum. Morice, Rd. Harris, Wm. Hunt, James Knight. Copy. 1 p. [C.O. 137, 16. ff. 17, 18, 20?.]
Dec. 10.
433. Mr. Popple to Mr. West. Encloses, for his opinion in point of law, Act of Pennsylvania, 1724, prescribing the forms of declaration of fidelity, abjuration and affirmation, instead of the forms heretofore required in such cases. [C.O. 5, 1293. p. 340.]
Dec. 11.
Treasury Chambers.
434. Mr. Scrope to Mr. Popple. Encloses following for the opinion of the Board thereon. Signed, J. Scrope. Endorsed, Recd. 14th, Read 15th Dec 1724. Addressed, 3/4 p. Enclosed,
434. i. Petition of importers and dealers in tar to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. The method prescribed by the late Act renders the making of tar in the Plantations impracticable. Pray them to recomment to Parliament the continuance of the premium and permission to use such methods as are practicable etc. 47 signatures. 2 pp. [C.O. 323, 8. Nos. 49, 49. i.]
Dec. 12.
New York.
435. Mr. Clarke to [? H. Walpole]. Refers to former letter (? Oct. 10) giving account of the Assembly's proceedings and the Governor's interposing in last summer's bill to make good the deficiencies of the Revenue, etc. Notwithstanding those specious shews, your warrants are still postponed as effectually as if the bill had past in the terms it did in 1723 and the present Treasurer's accounting delayed upon every pretence etc. I am willing to have a fair correspondence with the Governor and to acquit myself of the imputation of contending for trifles so unjustly charged upon me; But if there be no other way than by a criminal silence etc., I shall proceed as becomes one who has the honor to be imployed by you etc. What can be inferred but that the Governmt. submits to the King's orders only till an opportunity presents of contesting your rights again, and to let future Assemblys see by these refusals delays and excuses that they never intended your authority should take place here, etc. Fears that his forbearance at the instance of the Governor (?. Oct. 10) has only encouraged the Treasurer and his supporters. "It is not to be wondered at that inferior persons should speak slightingly of your authority when those in superior stations shew them the example" etc. Asks for his commands. Concludes: Should the Governor go on and strip me naked, that will not deter me from a punctual obedience of them etc. Signed, Geo. Clarke. Endorsed, 23rd Feb. Holograph. 3 pp. [C.O. 5, 1085. No. 50.]
Dec. 16.
South Carolina,
436. Governor Nicholson to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers to enclosures and duplicates of Dec. 5th. Continues: By the best accot. I can have here we may expect here this [? month] from Great Brittain from the West Indies and from New England about fifteen sail of ships and other vessells which if please God they all arive will be sufficient to carry away all the rice and pitch. By enclosed Naval Officers' list of ships etc. yor. Lordps. may please to see that the trade of this place increaseth since I had the honour to command here. P.S. The affair of the Indians (?. 5th Dec.) will be considered of in Council this day etc. Signed, Fr. Nicholson. Endorsed, Recd. 24th Feb., Read 18th Nov., 1725. 3/4 p. [C.O. 5, 359. ff 269, 270?.; and (abstract) 5, 406. p. 22.]
Dec. 16.
437. Stephen Godin to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Upon the occasion of H.M. Speech recommending a further provision for Greenwich Hospital, reminds the Board of the further advantage which that Hospital would derive from his project of a law obliging all ships fitted and loaded in our Colonies for Europe, Africa etc. to come, clear and refit in Great Britain before they could return home etc. The Colonies cannot reasonably object against such a law, being put upon a level with their fellow subjects of Great Britain, especially if said Act renewed the bounty upon pitch and tar, " now ready to expire, which hath caused tar to advance already from 7 to 14s. pr barrel," etc. Signed, Steph. Godin. Endorsed, Recd. 22nd Dec., 1724, Read 12th Jan., 1724/5. 2 pp. [C.O. 323, 8. No. 55.]
Dec. 19.
438. Mr. Popple to Mr. West. Presses for report upon the Acts of Jamaica and petition of ship carpenters referred to him, "they are matters of very great consequence, and both require and deserve all possible dispatch " etc. [C.O. 138, 16. p. 507.]
Dec. 22.
439. Mr. Cumings to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Repeats letter of 10th Oct. Continues: The trade to the abovementioned forreign Plantations increases daily, by which its to be feared a great deall of illegall trade is carried on etc. There is annually a great many vessels goes from this port to the bay of Honduras to cutt and load logwood a great part whereof is brought into this port and it having been practised to load logwood from this part for Holland, Hamborough, and the Streights, which I humbly presume to be very prejudiciall to the trade and manufacturies of Great Brittain if not timely prevented, for as the late Act of Parliament for the incouragement of the silk manufactury of the Kingdom lays a duty of 20s. per tunn upon the export of logwood from G. Brittain and as rume, molosses, sugar, cotton wool and cocoa nutts of the produce of our own Islands pays a duty there upon export, so that thesse commodities of forreign growth if a prohibition of trade with them be not made which wold be of great service then a duty to be laid upon commodities of forreign growth and the logwood unloaded here to be carried nowhere but to Great Brittain etc. Signed, Archd. Cumings. Endorsed, Recd. 23rd Jan., 1724/5, Read 11th Aug., 1726. 1 1/2 pp. [C.O. 5, 869. ff. 332, 332?., 333?.]
Dec. 24.
440. Governor Hart to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I arrived in this island on the 12th of Nov. in H.M.S. Hector Captain Orme Commander, and on the same night two negroe men swam a quarter of a mile, tho' chain'd by the leggs to each other, from on board the sloop Two Brothers, Peter Rouse master, to the Hector then at anchor in the harbour of St. Johns, and inform'd Capt. Orme they were subjects to the King of Portugal, and inhabitants of the Cape de Verde Islands, and were clandestinely taken away by the said Rouze, with intention to sell them as slaves in the West Indies; and that there were 25 more free negroes under the same circumstances. On this information Capt. Orme seized the sloop etc. Encloses depositions of sailors etc. I issued my warrant to apprehend Rouze, but he hearing his men cxamind fled, and lay conceald, tho very diligent search was made for him. Upon this I advised with the Councill, and H.M. Attorney General, Mr. Warner, what methods I could proceed in against the vessell, and for sending the said negroes to the Cape de Verde Islands, and restoring them to their liberty. The Attorney General gave his opinion, that he could not find the taking of negroes from the land was piracy, and if it should be judgd so, yet as Rouze could not be apprehended and brought to tryal, lie being the master of the sloop, and principal actor, the sailors having only obeyd his commands, nothing could be judicially done against him, unless he was personally present. In the mean time Rouze presents a petition to me, setting forth his great sorrow for what he had done, and offer'd, as an attonement for his fault, to hire a sloop, to transport the negroes to the Cape de Verde Islands, and prayd he might have his pardon etc. With this petition came a certificate signd by a great number of merchants, and other inhabitants of Antegoa, of his former good behaviour; Both which I communicated to the Councill, who advisd me to grant him H.M. pardon, on condition he enterd into security of £1000 immediatly to send back the said negroes, and produce a certificate in six months time of their being deliverd etc. On the Councill's opinion, I granted him a pardon; (inclosed), having first taken the security mentiond; and accordingly the negroes were put on board another sloop hird for that purpose, and their wages paid, and all necessary provisions put on board etc. Now to the end that all Governors etc. on the Cape de Verde Islands, might know, how much such an action was abhorr'd by me; and to the intent that no reprizals might be made on the vessell sent back etc., I sent the inclosed instrument of writing setting forth the whole matter; which I hope will be accepted by the respective Governors as a reparation for the injustice and violence offerd to the subjects of the King of Portugal; and convince them, that no such wicked attempts will be countenancd in any of the Brittish Governments; which might be of very ill consequence, if tolerated, to our trade in those parts, so many of our ships touching at the Cape de Verde Islands for water and trading thither for salt; who might, tho' innocent, find the resentment of the Portuguese inhabitants there, being most of them negroes. Hopes for their Lordships' approbation etc. Signed, Jo. Hart. Endorsed, Recd. 16th, Read 17th June, 1725. 5 pp. Enclosed,
440. i–iv. Depositions of John Jones, Richard Condrick, 14th Nov., 1724, and William Snary, Mathew Peterson, 15th Nov., mariners, of the Two Brothers, sloop. Peter Rouze the master carried off 25 negroes, Christian subjects of the King of Portugal from Cape de Verde Islands to the Leeward Islands etc. Copy. 8 pp.
440. v. Deposition of Francisco Delgando, a Christian negro and Portuguese subject. Confirms preceding. 15th Nov., 1724. 3/4p. Nos. i–v endorsed as covering letter.
440. vi. Pardon granted by Governor Hart to Peter Rouze, 8th Dec. 1724. ?. supra. Same endorsement. Copy. 2 3/4 pp.
440. vii. An Instrument of writing sent by Governor Hart to the Governors and Officers of the Cape de Verde Islands, under the Great Seal of the Leeward Islands, 26th Dec, 1724. Describes proceedings and asks for a certificate of delivery of the returned negroes. Signed, J. Hart. Copy. 2 pp. [C.O. 152, 15 ff. 15–17, 18?.–23, 25?;.–28, 29?., 30, 31, 31?.]
Dec. 25. 441. Petty Expenses of the Board of Trade, Michaelmas to Christmas, v. Journal of Council. 4 1/2 pp. [C.O. 388, 78. ff 108, 112–113, 115.]
Dec. 28.New York. 442. Governor Burnet to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I have one paper more to trouble your Lordships with, to confute the merchants assertion, that fewer goods have been imported to this place, since the Act about the Indian trade, than before. This account taken at the Custom house for four years before and four years since the Act, will shew the contrary, etc., and the number of vessels, differs by but one etc. P.S. Encloses duplicate of Capt. Fitch's certificate (?. 21st Nov.). Signed, W. Burnet. Endorsed, Recd. 24th Feb., 1724/5. 1 p. Enclosed,
442. i. Account of furs and skins exported from New York for four years before and after the Act for the encouragement of the Indian trade in 1720. Signed, Rob Elliston. Endorsed, Recd. 24th Feb., Read 16th April, 1725. 1 large p.
442. ii. Ships entered inwards (73) and European goods imported from Great Britain and Ireland to New York 1717–1720. 1 large p.
442. iii. Ships entered inwards (72) and European goods imported from Great Britain and Ireland to New York, 1720–1724. 1 large p. Signed and endorsed as preceding. [C.O. 5, 1053. ff. 299, 301–302, 303, 303?.]
Dec. 30.
443. Governor the Duke of Portland to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Acknowledges letter of July 30th etc. Continues: I think the properest way to return an answer, will be by giving an accot. of what has pass'd here since my last, and take notice of yor. Lordps. letter as I proceed. In order to that, I must first referr your Lordps. to what I writ, Oct. 15th, about the bustle we have had here concerning the condemnation of the Chandois and Esperance etc., in which your Lordps. will find, Mr. Bernard was the chief adviser, if not promoter, His transactions have left no room to doubt, but that he has, ever since my arrival, been watching for fair opportunitys to make the Government uneasy; I then also acquainted your Lordps., that whoever knows Mr. Bernard perfectly can't be insensible of his pride, the imperiousness of his temper, and the violence of his passion, I should then have added a further epithet, which I was unwilling to do, till his conduct sho'd force me to it, which is, the weakness of his spirit, or rather his pusillanimity; I have observ'd upon different occasions, that his temper, and his passion, have got the better of him, so far as to advise sevll. things, which he never had resolution enough to support, but startled, if he met wth. the least difficulty, and one may venture to say that the weakness of the Government here, is in a great measure owing, first to his behaviour, and next, to his councils; I was notwithstanding in hopes, that the personal regard, with which I have always treated Mr. Bernard, and the friendship I was desirous to have cultivated wth. him, wo'd have got the better of all his uneasyness, with respect to the Government, but it seems, and I can't put any other construction upon what has happen'd, than that the Gentmen. of his party, were so apprehensive of it, as not to let him be quiet, and would make use of him further to attempt, and try, how far he co'd support them; It appears, their stratagem was to advise him to press for leave to surrender his place in Council, and as I have some reason to suspect upon a certain supposition, of which they persuaded him also, that he was of that consequence, as that I wo'd rather have chose to submit, for the future to be totally influenc'd by him, than to admit of his request; I plainly perceiv'd their design, which made me cautious, and Mr. Bernard the more obstinate, so was forc'd at last to accept of his surrender, but first acquainted the Council with it, and entreated them, to advise, and assist in dissuading him if possible, but to no purpose; This will appear more fully in the minutes of the Council I now send over, as also the reasons he has given for his desire to absent from business, and insisted upon, to be the only ones he had (tho' in my opinion very weak) etc. What I have here mention'd, did not happen till towards the end of the last sitting of the Assembly, during which Mr. Bernard and his party have took more than ordinary pains to create trouble, and try'd every thing they could think of, to obstruct publick business, and oppose the Government, but I may venture to assure your Lordps. that they can't boast of their success (and shall always be prepar'd to obstruct and disappoint them in any unwarrantable undertaking) etc. Amongst those who have been the most industrious to oppose the Government, some of them are persons, who enjoy places here by patent; They look upon themselves as independant, and upon their places as freeholds, thinking they are not at all oblig'd either to assist, or in the least countenance the Government; He who has distinguish'd himself most, in shewing all the contempt in every thing he co'd, is the Provost Marshall, who tho' he is call'd so, is only Deputy to Mr. Rigby, who himself officiates here, as one of the Agents of the South Sea Company; In my last I menti on'd how far this Depty. Provost Marshall, was concern'd in the late bustle, concerning the condemnation of the ships, and tho' then, I had just reason to shew the utmost resentment, yet upon the application of sevll. of his friends, I consented to overlook all what had past, expecting, that out of gratitude, according to his promise, his behaviour for the future, wo'd have been without exception, but I find my indulgence has been abus'd, and must observe, that one will be deceiv'd, if one do's rely too much, upon the gratitude, or generous principles of people here; They certainly are not to be trusted; This Provost Marshall is so link'd in, with that party, concern'd in the above said condemnation, that he has ever since joyn'd with them, to shew the utmost resentment against those who had been employ'd in the support of the Government, and to see a due obedience paid to my Instructions, as also a due execution of the laws, particularly those, concerning trade; during the last sitting of the Assembly, he was one of the principalls in all Caballs, and it is too much to be suspected, that he made use of all his interest, to influence some of those, who are Members of it (and whose circumstances are very well known) to joyn with them, who proceeded in the most unaccountable way, to shew their revenge; H.M. Attorney General who had been the principal person employ'd, in the chief transactions of the Vice-Admiralty Court, which gave them so much uneasyness, was the aim of their resentment, and they were not at rest, till they put some mark of indignity (as they thought) upon him, which they co'd find no other way to put in practise but by turning him out of the House, in the most unhansome and arbitrary manner, upon a petition which they in a manner forc'd a poor man who was Coroner of this parish, and a creature of theirs, to present to the Assembly, setting forth, that another Coroner, had been appointed in his stead by my authority, that the countenance the Attorney Genl. had given to such an appointment, was an invasion upon the libertys of the people; I must upon this observe, that when the attendance of this man was requir'd, they had prevail'd upon him to absent himself, so as not to be found, on purpose, to evade the execution of his office; It is true by the indulgence of the Government here of late, some of the parishes have chose their Coroners, but by the best information I co'd get, H.M. Prerogative to remove, or appoint Coroners, has never been given up, and no properer occasion co'd offer itself, to re-establish that prerogative, than the absence, and neglect, of the Coroner in being, particularly at a time, when he knew,' that his immediate attendance wo'd be requir'd; I know very very well, that by the laws of England, they generally elect Coroners, in the Sheriffs County Court; but as that cannot be observ'd here, and that H.M. has power to appoint Coroners in sevll. franchises, as also that there is no law here to take that priveledge from H.M., it seems to me, and to sevll. others, there can be no legal Coroner, in this Island, but by virtue of H.M. power; I desire your Lordps. wo'd favour me with your opinion upon this head; I shan't enlarge upon their rejoycings, after this pretended victory, but think it altogether improper, that those who are entrusted with any authority from the Government, sho'd extend that power in opposition to it; The Provost Marshall's behaviour also personally to me, is so remarkable, and so slighting, that it ought not to pass unregarded, I co'd likewise say a great deal, about the character of the person, with respect to the management of his office, wherein there is gross abuses, and also with respect to his principles, which makes him unfit, and dangerous company, to those who have the Protestant Succession anyways at heart; It may not be improper yor. Lordps. sho'd know that this person, is a bosom friend of Mr. Bernard's; I think after what I have said (and that wth. a good deal of reserve) it would be a reflection upon myself, sho'd I suffer him to continue any longer in the enjoyment of his office. Some examples of that kind are absolutely necessary, since the Government, has too long, and too much been trampled upon; I don't at all question but that your Lordps. will concurr in the same opinion. Your Lordps. will find that since my last, I continued the Assembly under constant short adjournments, till the necessity of the Publick, occasion'd by the expiration of all the money bills, call'd upon me, to let them sit, and proceed to do business; It will be absolutely necessary, whilst I am speaking of the Assembly, to give an accot. of the proceedings of the Council, they being so interwove together etc. I some time ago represented to the Council, how necessary it was, to remove the difficulty's that constantly attended the getting a full Board, upon the Gentlemen's alledging that their private affairs, would not admit them to attend from home, upon every summons, by which, what concerns the Public, must, if not neglected, at least be postpon'd, to the great inconvenience of the people, and disappointment of all affairs, besides, that it was a great charge in allways sending expresses, with summonses, wch. might also be avoided, therefore it was, and likewise for the ease of the Counsellours, that they might regulate their affairs accordingly, on 29th Jan., 1723/4, resolv'd, that for the future all Members of that Board, sho'd give their attendance, the first Tuesday in every month, to begin the first Tuesday in March then following; The first time they were punctuall; but the first Tuesday in April, which was on the 7th, tho' I had business prepar'd for them, they fail'd, and tho' I had them summon'd with all speed, co'd not get Council till the 14th. I then desir'd them to be more punctuall for the future, but to little purpose, for in May, they likewise fail'd in their attendance, however, having nothing very material for them at that time, I took no other notice of it, than by pressing them, as occasion offer'd, to be punctuall in June; They attended accordingly, but the July following, tho' there was business then, they fail'd again, and co'd not get them together, till the 9th; The Assembly being adjourned to the 27th of that month (constantly expecting letters, and Instructions from England) I prevail'd wth. them to attend then; but soon after, which the August following, they fail'd again, on the appointed day, however, overlook'd it, since they had sat but a few days before, I expected then, they wo'd have been punctuall the Sepr. following, but they fail'd also then, I thought the reason of it, was that as they knew, the Assembly was to meet the 15th of that month, they had delay'd to give themselves the trouble of coming up, till then, but wonder'd to find myself disappointed of a Council, at such a time, having only two in town, I was oblig'd upon this, to adjourn the Assembly without them, to the 30th which was within a day or two of the expiration of their laws, and to send posotive summonses to the Counsellours to attend that day; Upon their attendance, it was thought proper further to adjourn the Assembly, to the 20th of October, which was but a few days, before the expiration of all the money bills; This being resolv'd upon, the 30th of September, I did not expect a meeting of the Council, so soon, as the first Tuesday of October, according to the former resolution, but earnestly press'd them to be in town at least one day before the meeting of the Assembly; I co'd not in the least doubt of having a Council on that day, which was the 19th, to consult what measures were proper to be taken, when their laws had been expir'd for some time, and the money bills, would be the same in a few days; As to the want of their laws, I co'd have supply'd in the same manner, as I had already begun, with some discretion and management for some time longer, till I had receiv'd H.M. Instructions, which I daily expected; But as to the money bills, I thought it altogether impossible for me to attempt or undertake any thing to supply the want of them, and as the Government, or the service of the Island, co'd not be supported without money, it was absolutely necessary to consider well, how to proceed, at so critical a time, since it was not probable that the Assembly co'd be prevail'd upon, to pas the necessary money bills, without considering, and attempting something, concerning their laws, and as I was resolv'd not to consent to, what might stand in the way, or be any obstruction to, whatever Instructions I might receive, I thought it deserv'd more than ordinary consideration, but my expectations on the 19th Oct., notwithstanding all my endeavours and the reasons, I had in discourse, beforehand given to the Counsellrs. that they might come prepar'd on that day, were disappointed, by their nonattendance, however the Assembly was to meet according to adjournment on the next day, and the necessity of affairs, would not admit of any prolongation; Your Lordps. will easily imagin the great difficulties, that this put me under; I prevail'd with the Assembly, to adjourn themselves, from day to day, for a short time, but some of them began to grumble loudly, and complain, that they were ill us'd by the Council, hoping by that, to increase the uneasyness in peoples minds; even Mr. Bernard tho' in town, declined attending, as I suppose some others did by his example, and tho' desir'd to attend in order to advise with him, yet always excus'd himself pretending to be out of order, tho' then he was well enough to meet his factious friends at a tavern, or receive them at his house, and spend a great part of the night with them; The only resolution I co'd come to under these difficulties, was to proceed as well as I could, in the same manner as if I had a Council, and I accordingly laid before the Assembly, what I then judg'd most necessary for them to do, expecting a quorum of Council every hour; It is surprising that under these circumstances and the Assembly sitting, I co'd not get a Council till the 29th and it was a difficult ask at such a time, to manage affairs for nine days successively, as that a quorum of Council might not be wanted; It is also remarkable, that even after the Counsellours were come, Ico'd hardly keep a sufficient number of them in town, and that there was a quorum wanted may appear by the Journals, and I may venture to affirm, they will prove all what I have here above mentioned concerning them; When the Assembly was met, altho' I mention'd in my former letter, that I thought the generality of the people here, were rather inclin'd to wait with patience for H.M. final determination, concerning the laws, than that I sho'd receive any other Instruction, to continue them upon the foot they had been, and had even, in a manner valued myself upon the confidence they seemed to repose in me, however, those who had nothing but disorder and faction in view, had rais'd such a spirit in the people, as to make them very importunate, to have their laws reviv'd by a new bill, hoping by this, (that as the bill wch. I transmitted to England was not return'd, and knew, I had not then receiv'd my Instruction from H.M. how to behave in that case) to perplex all manner of affairs; One objection I made to what they seem'd so much to desire was, that I did not know whether H.M. did not intend the Municipal laws shou'd expire for some short time, on purpose that the people here, might be induc'd to sett a more just value upon them than they seem'd to do. Your Lordps. will find, by what follows whether I was mistaken, in H.M. intention, or not, concerning their want of the Municipal laws, for some short time, that however what I had said concerning them, had the effect I propos'd. When the Assembly met, as had been given out, the reviving the laws stood in the way of all other business, and accordingly such a bill was brought in to revive them for a year; This was done in a good deal of hurry, and all other business in a manner postpon'd till they first sho'd see the success of that bill; I did not question but I sho'd be able to draw some advantage from this fury of theirs, and chie fly oppos'd the bill to make them the more eager for it, sevll. attempts were made to have amended that bill, by augmenting the Revenue, but according to my private wishes, was allways pleas'd when those amendments met wth. no success, having something else in view, to graft upon it, which was, a separate Revenue bill, wch. I now also wth. satisfaction transmit to your Lordps., it being, what I think, a very good use may be made of; As I allways had declar'd that I was resolv'd to do nothing concerning the renewing of their laws, without knowing H.M. pleasure, concerning them, nor anticipate His Instructions, when they did send up the bill for the continuance of their laws for a year longer, without any new additional Revenue, it gave me the justest grounds in the world to say, that they had no manner of regard for H.M. commands, and us'd me very ill in expecting that after the declaration I had allways made, to obey H.M. as my duty requir'd, they co'd hope, I wo'd give any countenance, or my assent to a bill, which was in direct contradiction to those Instructions I had communicated to them, that their laws were not to be renew'd without an ample provision for the support of the Government; The apprehension of the want of their laws, had taken so much root in people's minds, wch. at first, was intended, to be an obstruction to all what I co'd propose, was then become, the greatest help I co'd wish for, for they brought in, this new Additional Revenue bill, and went thorough it, with such hast, as not to give themselves time to consider in what manner it was drawn, and I had a good deal to do, to prevail wth. my friends to let them alone, and to take no manner of notice of it; Your Lordps. will see that it is quite independant of the bill for continuing their laws, and as to time indefinite, only except the perpetuity bill, wch. I have transmitted home, sho'd pass into a law, which if it dos not, or is sent back wth. any alterations, till they consent to them here, or a new perpetuating Revenue bill, be entirely settled, this new additional Revenue bill remains in force; By this yor. Lordps. may perceive, that I shall be the better able henceforward, to engage them into a compliance with whatever Instructions I may receive, by having in the mean time secur'd, so considerable an addition to the Revenue, without any provision for any laws, and they will allways be glad to grant the old Revenue, for the sake of renewing their old laws; I think I need not say much more, to explain to yor. Lordps. the good effects this may have, in contributing towards the perpetual establishment of the Governmt. here; I also send over to your Lordps. some other bills, wch. were thought proper to be pass'd, but I found myself oblig'd to reject the Additional Duty bill wch. lays a tax upon negroes, they had drawn it in such a manner, by leaving out the clause, that exempts negroes imported only for refreshment, as that I thought it contradictory to that standing Instruction I have, not to pass a bill of any extraordinary nature, and I am the better pleas'd, for not having pass'd it, since within these few days, I have receiv'd an Additional Instruction, to enforce that standing one; Having rejected the Additional Duty bill, the bill for the guard sloop in consequence had the same fate the fund towards defraying that charge, being given by that Additional Duty Bill. I wo'd have given them an opportunity to have pass'd a new bill, since upon that guards loop depends the security of their Plantations near the shore, where pirates often us'd to come not only to disturb a great many, but destroy some entirely. It was in vain for me to make them that offer, since I co'd not prevail wth. the Members of the Assembly, to be absent from their Plantations and continue together any longer, wch. has oblig'd me to adjourn them to the 19th of next month, in hopes that then they will be more at leisure, to consider of this, if they please, in the mean time I have prevail'd with the Commodore to order the Spence sloop, wch. is here, to s upply the place of that guards loop, till it can be again provided for. Encloses some Queries to the Council, whilst the bill for renewing their laws was in suspence, which will shew the difficulties, I was oblig'd to struggle with. H.M. Instructions empowering me to give my assent, for the continuance of their laws for a year, came in the nick of time, having done all that was in my power, or co'd propose to do, in so critical a juncture, tho' if it had come sooner, it wo'd have eas'd me of a good deal of trouble, how ever it wo'd in all probability have prevented the passing this new Additional Revenue bill, and my aim wo'd have been lost, in what I can't help thinking to be at present very advantageous; Your Lordps. will find in the Minutes, sevll. things concerning Addresses, but indeed their behaviour has been so very extraordinary about them, that the particulars thereof, wo'd require much more writing than what wo'd deserve yor. Lordps. attention. I must now return to the proceedings of the Council; It was on 27th Nov., I adjourned the Assembly to 19th Jan., but desir'd the Council to meet the next morning 28th Nov., to consider of sevll. affairs, amongst wch. was that, how to support the want of the guard sloop, but those Gentlemen thought proper instead of meeting in Council, to take no manner of notice of what I had desir'd the day before, and instead of attending, went all out of town. According to their former resolution they ought to have met the first Tuesday of this month, but as yet have heard nothing about them; I must therefore entreat your Lordps. upon considering the difficulties and disappointments one meets with, that you wo'd have some indulgence if I am not so exact, as I co'd wish, in answering yor. expectations, I can assure you, it is not for want of any application in me, or taking all the necessary pains about it, but I find myself reduc'd to an impossibility of being punctuall, which will appear to yor. Lordps., by what I have so particularly taken notice of, concerning the Council. You'l perceive, that from the day, upon which they posotively resolv'd to attend for the dispatch of all publick business, they ought to have met ten times, during which they attended but twice, and fail'd eight, that twice, I was oblig'd to send particular summons's, and that their failure in their attendance in so remarkable a manner as they have done, (twice also) at the meeting of the Assembly, but particularly the last, which was so notorious a neglect, in the eyes of the Publick, is inexcusable; I sho'd be very sorry, to come to any extremitys wth. them, by turning them out, according to my Instruction, which is enter'd in the Council Books for their information; I suppose a good deal of this, has been owing to the intrigues of Mr. Bernard, but hope for the future, since he has thought proper to retire from all business, and from the Council, those obstacles will be remov'd, but I must observe, that as I dont think it adviseable or desire to have any one remov'd, however there is an absolute necessity to fill up the vacancies, considering the state of the Council, as it now stands, their number is but twelve, out of wch. there are four absent out of the Island, vizt. Col. Sadler, Capt. Gregory, Collo. Pusey and Major Rose; I desire to know whether these have apply'd for any license of absence from H.M.; and as they have neglected applying to me for leave to absent themselves, I hope they will not succeed in any application (if they have made any) to the King; Mr. Bernard having laid down, there remains but seven, and out of this number, one, who is, Collo. Campbell lives 120 miles off, and the roads to him so bad, over the mountains, that it wo'd be hard, to require his attendance upon every occasion, but particularly in rainy seasons, all manner of communication, wth. those parts is entirely cut off, wch. not only then prevents his attending, but also to be sent for. Another, whose name is Collo. Swimmer, also lives near70 miles from this place, and the same difficulties, obstruct hi s constant attending, so that there remains but five, who live in the neighbourhood, but as even out of them, there are two who are very sickly, and often afflicted wth. the gout, there remains but three, I can constantly depend upon (including Mr. Samuel Moor, for whom, I lately receiv'd H.M. Privy Seal) wch. makes it absolutely necessary, for the dispatch of business, that at least Mr. Bernard's vacancie, sho'd imediately be fill'd up; I have been at a loss to consider of a proper person, and one I co'd recommend, so as that I co'd be sure, he wo'd meet with approbation. The most understanding, and the best qualify'd man I co'd think of, and esteem'd by all those who are acquainted with him, (as such are greatly wanting in the Council) is Richd. Mill Esqr. H.M. Receiver Genii.; some groundless scruples might be rais'd, as he enjoys that publick employment, but as he has acted by Deputy, and still dos the same, it removes them entirely, but if it did not, I am of opinion that whoever acts in that station, particularly, when he appears to be a man of so much merit, is a necessary person to sit at that Board, and as I am oblig'd under the present necessity,(when there is a stop to all publick business, for want of aquorum), to nominate him in the room of Mr. Bernard, I hope it will not only meet wth. yor. Lordps. approbation, but thatyou will also be pleas'd, to recommend him, to H.M.; The want of a Council dos not only prevent me to proceed in that affair recommended to me, of Isaac Miranda etc., but also answering those Queries you were pleas'd to send; All writs of error, besides a good deal of other publick business, have for this great while been depending, and nothing determin'd, if there be any necessity for any further alterations, I shall certainly send yor. Lordps. as early an accot. of them as I can, and shall in the mean time proceed, wth. the utmost caution, I am capable of, to remove all difficulties, in order to give yor. Lordps. the least trouble in my power, and flatter myself wth. the hopes, that they will lessen every day. I must observe that from the time I have transmitted the bill for perpetuating the laws, and settling the Revenue, the funds specified in them, have fully answer'd (according to my information) all expectations; I must likewise take notice that there is an ample provision, for the discharging of all the publick debts, and that when collected, for which I am constantly at labour, and in hopes also to get some bill past to enable me the better towards the collecting of them, there will be some considerable overplus; and if people will have but a little patience, I don't question but that they will be satisfy'd; That dos plainly appear by the accots. Whatever other objections may be thought proper, to be made to that bill as yet under consideration at home, by what I have heard, but wo'd be tiring yor. Lordps. patience to enumerate, I may venture to say, sevll. of them has been grounded, upon what has been done here without any design, and may be call'd only slips, for want of a due consideration, if not skill, and excuse the expression, a greater stress is laid upon them, than they deserve; I am almost confident that any alterations from home in that bill, will meet with but inconsiderable oppositions if any, tho' my apprehensions of late are increas'd, in answering too far, for people, whom I have already taken notice of, are so little to be depended upon, endeavrs. of mine shall be wanting etc. Apologizes for length of letter, which the variety of subjects and their nature will not give him leave to contract etc. P.S. I was in hopes to have sent a perfect state of the publick accots., but for want of a Council, and by the sickness of the Auditor, am prevented, but the Minutes of the Assembly will fully prove that by the provision for discharging the publick debts, after they are all paid, there will be an over plus of above £6,000 etc. Signed, Portland. Endorsed, Recd. 22nd, Read 27th April,1725. 14 large pp. Enclosed,
443. i. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Jamaica, 28th July—13th Nov., 1724, relating to proceedings upon the bill for reviving the laws etc. Endorsed, Recd.22nd April, 1725. 13 pp. [CO. 137, 16. ff. 37–44v.,46–52v.]
Dec. 30.
Jamaica, Spanish Town.
444. Governor the Duke of Portland to the Duke of Newcastle. Acknowledges letter of July 30th etc. Thanks for assurances of his particular regard to his recommendation for the Councillors etc., and desires the continuance of his Grace's "favour and assistance in the dispatch of affairs, and particularly in being countenanced at home, which is so necessary here, having to do wth. a strange sort of people. I shall always use my best endeavours to deserve your friendship." Continues as preceding covering letter. Signed, Portland. Endorsed, R.22nd April, 1725. 14 1/2 pp. Enclosed,
444. i. Minutes of Council of Jamaica, relating to the resignation of Mr. Bernard. 1 p.
444. ii. Duplicate of No. 1 supra. [C.O. 137, 52. ff. 95–103;105–112?.; and (abstract) 93–94.]