America and West Indies: May 1738, 21-25

Pages 94-109

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 44, 1738. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1969.

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May 1738, 21-25

May 21.
232 James Oglethorpe to Andrew Stone. Our arms etc. are embarked, as the men will also be on Monday. When I came down I found the Admiralty had not ordered the men-of-war to convoy the transports nor stay for them, on which I wrote to Sir Charles Wager. There is a report here that a ship is come into Cowes from Havana directly in seven weeks, that the Spanish fleet was not then sailed from Havana but that preparations for the invasion of Carolina and Georgia were making, flat bottom boats building etc. I have sent over to know the truth of this report and as soon as I receive it, shall acquaint you with the answer. I desire you to send me the copy of the Spanish memorials and answers to Portsmouth. Signed. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 654, fos. 139–140d.]
May 21.
Palace Court.
233 Minutes of meeting of Trustees for Georgia. Read petition to the Treasury desiring directions for issuing the 8,000l. granted in last session of Parliament towards settling Georgia; secretary to sign. Received by Rev. Mr. Burton, 10l. fifth annual payment of an unknown benefactor for endowment of a catechist in Georgia. Mr. Vernon laid before the board an order of H.M. in Council relating to an ordinance passed in South Carolina to raise a sum to indemnify the traders of South Carolina in opposition to the Act for regulating trade with the Indians; ordered that a copy be entered in the Trustees' books and another transmitted to Col. Oglethorpe to carry it to Georgia. 1¼ pp. [C.O. 5, 687, pp. 74–75.]
May 23.
234 Governor Jonathan Belcher to Duke of Newcastle. By one of the last ships from England, my brother Richard Partridge and my son Mr. Belcher of the Temple (my stated agents) write me that Mr. John Rindge of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, had been recommended to the king to be one of the council of New Hampshire and that Mr. Belcher had presented a memorial for postponing his appointment till I might be heard upon it. I would therefore now ask your patience who are no stranger to the many difficulties I have met with since my appointment to the governments of the two provinces now under my command to support H.M.'s honour and interest. As to Massachusetts, the heats and broils they were in before my arrival and since seem at present to be pretty well laid: the opposition and trouble I have and do still struggle with in New Hampshire has been chiefly owing to the restless temper of Col. Dunbar whose natural element seems to be strife and fire. [Cites commission and instructions ordering him to nominate to the crown persons fit to be councillors] I have repeated these things that you may the more readily see the king's just expectations from his governor and no doubt to give him all reasonable power and authority to support the king's honour and interest and to prevent any contention or clashing between the governor and the council which must necessarily be the case if men personally prejudiced at the government and always opposing the king's authority must be members of the council; and such is Mr. Rindge recommended to supply the place of Mr. Gambling, lately deceased. This, Mr. Belcher has more amply set forth in a memorial to H.M. in my behalf, every paragraph whereof is strictly true. And I am greatly surprised that Mr. Rindge could possibly obtain a recommendation to be one of the council, which matter H.M. by his commission and instructions seems to have committed to the prudence and discretion of the governor. I therefore beg you that I may not have men placed at the council board who seek it purely to be capable of making uneasinesses in the government.
I would now recommend to you for supplying the place of Mr. Gambling Mr. Samuel Sherburne, a native and inhabitant of New Hampshire, a gentleman of a liberal education, of good virtue, of strict loyalty and duty to the king and to his royal house, and of good estate and ability.
The latter end of last month I was served with copy of a complaint exhibited against me to the king in council by a committee of the House of Representatives of New Hampshire and at same time with an order of the Privy Council to make answer thereto. I am now preparing my answer and hope to get it ready to go by this ship or the next. I pray no advantage may be taken if I cannot get it ready sooner. I have no doubt to make it appear that the complaint is altogether groundless, full of notorious falsehoods and contradictions; and I beg that you would do me the honour to be at the hearing when I have nothing more to ask than that truth and justice may fall into their proper scale. Signed. 9 small pp. Endorsed, Recd. 4 July. [C.O. 5, 899, fos. 335–340d.]
May 25.
235 Order of King in Council. The Committee for Plantation Affairs on 23 February last considered all the papers relating to complaints made by Maryland and Pennsylvania against each other and were attended by counsel on both sides and the proprietors of both provinces. After adjournment counsel acquainted the committee of agreement on following propositions: (1) so much of H.M.'s order of 18 August 1737 as relates to preventing riots on the borders of the two provinces to stand in force; (2) there being no riots in the Three Lower Counties, that part of the said order relating to those counties to be discharged; (3) lands and jurisdiction to remain in possession as they now are till the boundaries are finally settled; (4) as to vacant lands in contest outside the three counties and not now possessed by either proprietor, temporary jurisdiction is to be exercised by Pennsylvania east of the Susquehannah as far as 15¼ miles south of the latitude of the most southern part of Philadelphia and on the west of the Susquehannah as far as 14¾ miles south of the said latitude; south of these limits by Maryland; (5) within the limits thus set both proprietors may grant lands; (6) prisoners on both sides on account of any riots relating to the bounds to be released in recognizances to submit to trial when called upon by order of H.M.; (7) this is to be a provisional and temporary order without prejudice to either party; (8) H.M. to be moved to discharge as much of the order of 18 August 1737 as varies from this agreement; petitions of complaint now depending to be withdrawn. This agreement is approved and the proprietors ordered to execute it. Copy, certified by James Vernon. 7½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 23 June, Read 21 July 1738. [C.O. 5, 1269, fos. 19–23d; another copy certified by W. Sharpe, endorsed Recd. 8 May, Read 8 June 1739, at fos. 49–54d.]
May 25.
236 Same, repealing ordinance passed in South Carolina for raising 2,000l. sterling to indemnify traders from Carolina in contempt of an Act of Georgia for maintaining peace with Indians. Copy, certified by James Vernon. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 23 June, Read 21 July 1738. [C.O. 5, 366, fos. 103–104d; another copy, endorsed Reed. 8 May, Read 8 June 1739, in C.O. 5, 367, fos. 11–12d; entry in C.O. 5, 670, pp. 372–373.]
May 25.
237 Same, on report from Committee for Plantation Affairs, disallowing an ordinance passed in South Carolina, 26 June 1736, for asserting and maintaining the rights and privileges of H.M.'s subjects of South Carolina to a free and open trade with the Creek, Cherokee and other Indians, and directing the Council of Trade and Plantations to prepare drafts of instructions for the governor of South Carolina and the Trustees for Georgia according to report of the Committee for Plantation Affairs. Signed, James Vernon. Seal. 5 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 31 May, Read 7 June 1738. [C.O. 5, 366, fos. 70–73d.]
May 25.
238 Same, approving an Act passed in Virginia in September 1736 for confirming and better securing the titles of lands in the Northern Neck held under Lord Fairfax. Copy, certified by James Vernon. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 23 June, Read 21 July 1738. [C.O. 5, 1324, fos. 127–128d; another copy, endorsed Recd. 8 May, Read 8 June 1739, at fos. 163–164d.]
May 25.
239 Same, approving report from Committee for Plantation Affairs [see A.P.C, Colonial Series, 1720–45, pp. 574–575] and draft instruction to the governor of Jamaica empowering him to make grants of royal mines in Jamaica for terms of fifty years on condition of paying to the crown one-fifth of gold, silver and precious stones, charges deducted. The grantees are to work their grants and produce some profit for the crown within five years or the grants shall be void. The governor is not to grant all the royal mines to any one person or set of persons. If application be made for grants under private property the owner of the said property may within one year of notice given take out the grant; if he does not do so the same may be granted to the first applicant. Signed, James Vernon. Seal. 4½ pp. [C.O. 5, 198, fos. 2–4d.] Enclosed,
239. i. Additional instruction mentioned in the Order. Draft. 5 pp. [C.O. 5, 196, fos. 287–290d.] [Copy of order endorsed Recd. 23 June, Read 21 July 1738 in C.O. 137, 22, fos. 193–194d, 201, 201d; another copy endorsed Recd. 8 May, Read 8 June 1739 in C.O. 137, 23, fos. 11–14d.]
May 25.
240 Order of King in Council. The Council of Trade and Plantations having prepared the draught of a commission for Philip Vanbrugh (commander of H.M.S. Chatham) to be governor of Newfoundland in the same form as that to the last governor except that they have inserted a clause to empower the governor to appoint judges of oyer and terminer for trying all criminal causes and awarding execution thereon, and in the draught of instructions they have added the 67th article whereby the governor is required to allow but one court of oyer and terminer in a year and that only when he or the commander-in-chief is resident on the place and not to suffer any person to be executed pursuant to the sentence of such court until a report shall have been made to H.M. in Council and H.M.'s pleasure signified thereupon, and have likewise added the 68th article requiring the governor to enquire into a complaint made by the last governor relating to the sack-ships conveying fish to market before it is cured; the commission is hereby approved except what relates to the power of the governor to appoint judges of oyer and terminer, which H.M. does not think expedient at present to be given, and the instructions are approved except the 67th article. Signed, W. Sharpe. Seal. 2½ pp. Enclosed,
240. i. Commission for Philip Vanbrugh to be governor of Newfoundland. Draft. 6 pp.
240. ii. Instructions for the same. Draft. 53 pp. [C.O. 5, 197, fos. 59–83d; copy of order, certified by James Vernon, in C.O. 194, 10, fos. 90–91d; another copy, certified by W. Sharpe, in C.O. 194, 10, fos. 107–108d.]
May 25.
241 Same, directing Council of Trade and Plantations to prepare a draft of an additional instruction to the governor of Barbados according to the request of the enclosed petition. Signed, James Vernon. Seal. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd., Read 14 June 1738. Enclosed,
241. i. Petition of Francis Whitworth, Secretary and Clerk of Council of Barbados, to the King, praying for an instruction to the governor for payment of fees due for these offices. The total sum due to 4 May 1736 was 3,235l. 18s. 6d. which sum the assembly has resolved not to pay. [See A.P.C. (Colonial Series) 1720–45, pp. 200–1.] Copy. 3 pp. [C.O. 28, 25, fos. 64–67d.]
May 25.
242 Same, appointing James Crockat and Edmund Atkins to be members of the council of South Carolina in the room of Thomas Broughton and Arthur Middleton, deceased. Copy, certified by James Vernon. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 23 June, Read 21 July 1738. [C.O. 5, 366, fos. 105–106d.; another copy, endorsed Recd. 8 May, Read 8 June 1739, in C.O. 5, 367, fos. 7–8d.]
May 25.
243 Representation of President William Bull to Council of Trade and Plantations. The long indisposition of the late lieut.-governor has occasioned the delay in answering your letter of 22 October 1736 enclosing copy of M. Geraldino's memorial. I have applied myself to obtain the best informations and have been careful to establish the facts by the best proofs the nature of the thing will admit. Before I proceed to a particular answer you will not esteem it a departure from the subject if I look back to the English acquisitions on the continent of North America or rather the powers granted by the crown to English subjects to acquire and settle colonies in America.
I have been informed that Charles I granted to the Earl of Arundel the country now called Louisiana and that this grant some time before 1629 was assigned to Dr. Daniel Cox who attempted to make a settlement in that year but was interrupted by the French. It is also reported that a grant passed in the same reign to Sir Robert Heath then attorneygeneral for a large tract of land lying in the Gulf of Mexico and it is well known to you that the charter granted to the late Lords Proprietors of Carolina (now surrendered to H.M.) comprehends all the lands from lat. 36° 30′ to 29° northern latitude and south and west in a direct line to the South Seas and that within those limits are included not only the Spanish fort of St. Augustine but most of the rivers and ports in the bay of Apalachee and Gulf of Mexico. Whether there were such grants from the crown to the Harl of Arundel or Sir Robert Heath you have the opportunity [more (fn. n1) ] certainly to know.
That the province of Carolina has been settled under the charter of Charles II is a matter past dispute but how far the boundaries of that province may be extended by virtue of the charter is a case of too nice consideration for me to enter into. I hope you will be satisfied if I state the facts agreeable to truth and as they appear to me, though I hope I may be indulged in a wish that the boundaries might be extended to the utmost limits expressed in the charter because I hope to make it appear to you that it will be of the greatest importance to H.M.'s service and that the security and very being of the English settlements in that province in a great measure depends upon preserving to H.M. all the lands comprised within the limits of the charter. I must nevertheless acknowledge that I have not been informed that any settlements have ever been made by the English to the southward of the Alatamaha River except the attempt by the assignees of the Earl of Arundel in 1629. [Marginal note A: Col. Barnwell's journal and observations.]
Since 1715, which was the year fatal to this country on account of an Indian war, all the lands between Port Royal and the fort of St. Augustine have been wholly deserted by the Indians; but before that time the possessors of these lands were an Indian people called the Yamasees formerly friends to the Spaniards, but during all Queen Anne's war in hostility against them and in alliance with and depending upon the English in South Carolina. In 1715 the Yamasees broke out war with the English and were in about two years after by the English vanquished and drove off from their lands. The few who remained and had escaped in the heat of the war retired and sheltered themselves under the Spaniards at St. Augustine, from which place they have been since encouraged to make depredations on the English and have been received with their plunder at the Spanish fort of St. Augustine. [Marginal note B: Gray's deposition, Pearson's examination.]
The river Alatamaha receives its name from a tribe of Yamasee Indians (whose chief was known by the name or title of Alatamaha) who were formerly settled there when they were friends with the Spaniards. But after the Indians had deserted the Spaniards and had lived many years with the English, upon the breaking out of the war, they betook themselves to their old settlements on this river from whence they were soon beaten by the English so that the lands from Port Royal to Alatamaha River remained uninhabited from the time of the Indian war until 1721 when by H.M.'s command a fort was erected and garrisoned upon that river. This fort was afterwards about 1726 accidentally destroyed by fire but, as I apprehend, not demolished by any order from the court of Great Britain as M. Geraldino is pleased to suggest.
Upon the strictest and best enquiries I have been able to make I cannot learn that the Spaniards had ever any settlement to the northward of the river of St. Juan: at that place they have for several years at some particular times maintained a lookout with two or three men. It is true that before Queen Anne's war they had a church and a small settlement upon an island called Sta. Maria about six or seven leagues to the northward of St. Juan's but this settlement during that war was entirely conquered and destroyed by the English of Carolina and has never been regained. [Marginal note C: John Bee's deposition, Mr. Parmyter's deposition, Mr. Ballentine's deposition.]
St. Augustine and the small lookout at the mouth of the river St. Juan are all the possessions which the Spaniards now have on the seacoast to the northward or eastward of Cape Florida. They have a settlement at Pensacola in the bay of Apalachee and in 1719 they built a small fort which they then called St. Joseph, since St. Mark, at the mouth of Chatahuchee or Apalachicola river which empties itself into the same bay. At this fortress the Spaniards have met with frequent interruptions from the Indians who possess the head of the river, but of the present condition of their settlements there we are not well informed except from the late advices we have received of their designs to strengthen and reinforce them. [Marginal note D: Prew's deposition, Howell's deposition.]
The Spaniards had formerly another settlement on the river of Apalachee which also discharges itself in the bay of that name. They had a church and a fortress called St. Lewis and the Apalachee Indians were wholly under the Spanish subjection and frequently invaded the Indians who were friends to the English and infested the settlements at Carolina though they were seated at a great distance from that place. [Marginal note E: Col. Moore's letters to Proprietors and Sir Nathaniel Johnson, Mathew Beaird's deposition, Joseph Barry's deposition. See Col. Barnwell's journal. See next above.]
In 1703, a war then subsisting between Great Britain and Spain, Col. James Moore, formerly governor of South Carolina but then authorised by a commission from Sir Nathaniel Johnson who succeeded him in the government, with an army of volunteers consisting of white men and Indians formed an expedition against the Spaniards and Indians settled at Apalachee. He had the success wholly to destroy the Spanish settlement and either subdued or reduced all the Indians of that country who were under the Spaniards to the obedience and subjection of the crown of Great Britain, and to render the conquest made by the English more effectual and complete he destroyed the whole country and brought away all the Indians who were the inhabitants of it and settled them under the English government on the River Savannah, the present boundary between Carolina and Georgia. In this expedition Don Juan M[exia] (fn. n2), the Spanish governor of Apalachee, and several of his officers and private men were made prisoners and were obliged to redeem their liberty at very considerable ransoms so that the whole country came to the possession of the English by an absolute and entire conquest.
Since 1703 the country of Apalachee has been destitute of inhabitants and no attempt (that we know of) has been since made either by Europeans or Indians to settle in those parts except when the Spaniards in 1719 seated themselves at St. Joseph or St. Mark near the entrance of Apalachee River, which settlement by the late advices we have received they design to reinforce and extend even to the Apalachee Old Fields conquered by the English in 1703. Their settlement at Pensacola is at some distance from the country of the Apalachees and lies near the French settlements at Mobile and on the Mississippi.
Having endeavoured to give you an account of the Spanish settlements on this part of the continent, it will not be improper to take notice of that part of M. Geraldino's complaint which represents that the governor of St. Augustine had received advices from his lieutenant who commanded the fort of St. Mark in the province of Apalachee that the Uchee and Talapooza Indians (subjects of the kings of Spain) had complained that the English were then at work in erecting a fort in the king of Spain's territories inhabited by the said Uchee Indians and that they even gave out they intended to build another fort among the Talapooses to the northwest of St. Augustine and that another party of English consisting of 300 men had appeared on the frontiers of the said province and that after having displayed the standard of war in a convention of the Indians called the Palachocolas they summoned the chiefs of the said province called the Cowetas to join with them in a war against the Spaniards, giving them to understand at the same time that they were determined to raze the fort of St. Mark.
As an answer to this complaint I must observe that the Indians which the Spaniards call Uchees, Talapoozes and Cowetas are several tribes of Indians most of them sealed on a branch of the Chatahuchee River and by the English called in general the Lower Creeks. [Marginal note: See the chart]. The Palachucolas are another tribe of the Lower Creeks separated at some distance and settled nearer St. Augustine on the fork of the same river. With all these Indians, the English of South Carolina have traded for these 50 or 60 years excepting only the interruption of about two years during the Indian war but these Indians suffer themselves to be visited as well by the French and Spaniards as the English though they acknowledge no subjection or obedience to either, giving the preference nevertheless to the English on account of the advantage and convenience they receive from our trade. As this is the truth of the fact, you will easily determine if M. Geraldino has a just reason to insist that these Indians are the subjects of the king of Spain or if the lands they inhabit and of which they have been the original possessors can be said to be the territories of his Catholic Majesty. Whatever the inhabitants of Florida may pretend to the contrary, they know to their cost that they never yet conquered the ancient inhabitants of that country or reduced them to any sort of obedience.
The Indians, however savage they may appear, are not so destitute of natural sense or the knowledge of their own interests as not to be sensible of the importance they are to the Europeans with whom they take part and they have the sagacity or at least cunning to make their advantage of all those who they know will court their friendship. They have address enough to gain presents from English, French and Spaniards, notwithstanding the superior policy and refinements of those nations. It is more than a conjecture that some artifice of the Indians gave birth to the complaint made by the lieutenant of Fort St. Mark; for it is not an unusual thing for the Indians to terrify the Spaniards and by giving them apprehensions of danger to force presents from them. This is the more probable because it is impossible to be made appear that 300 English or any other body of that nation has at any time whilst there was peace between the two crowns appeared on the frontiers of Florida or the country of the Apalachees. No such thing ever happened. It is at the same time true that the English settled in Carolina and Georgia had it under their consideration to settle a small fort garrisoned with about twenty men amongst the Lower Creeks to secure their trade and to keep those people in their interest. But I hope you will be of opinion that as this was requisite and proposed to be done by the consent and on the lands of a free people who acknowledge no obedience to the crown of Spain it could give no just cause of complaint to the court of Spain nor can support the memorial of the agent of the king of Spain.
With submission there is much more reason to object against the claim which is insisted on in the memorial of M. Geraldino. By the facts laid before you it appears that the subjects of Great Britain in 1703 gained the whole country of Apalachee by conquest and it is apprehended that by the Treaty of Utrecht the conquests made during the last war were confirmed and that from thence H.M.'s right to that country became indisputable. If this shall appear to you a just representation of the case we have in our turn reason to complain of the Spaniards for possessing and fortifying themselves in two places in the Bay of Apalachee, both of which are within the limits of the Carolina charter and one of them gained by conquest in an open and just war.
It is to be hoped their pretensions will not appear less unreasonable when, according to M. Geraldino's memorial, they complain that the inhabitants of Georgia built a fort upon territories of the dominion of Florida, 25 leagues northern distance from St. Augustine at the mouth of St. Simon's River. The fort which is mentioned in the memorial is the same fort which bears the name of Frederica and which Gen. Oglethorpe by H.M.'s command caused to be erected on the island of St. Simon at the mouth of the River Alatamaha, which in the memorial is called St. Simon's River. I have represented to you that the River Alatamaha never did belong to the Spaniards but was originally possessed by a tribe of Yamasee Indians the chief of whom was distinguished by the name which that river still bears and which continues as a strong and lasting evidence of the truth of what is alleged. When the Yamasees made war with the English they were conquered and driven away and never have been since able to regain their ancient possessions; nor was it more than five years after the conquest and desertion of the Indians that by H.M.'s command a fort was built on Alatamaha River to secure the possessions which his subjects had so lately gained. The inhabitants of Carolina are encouraged to hope that H.M. will continue his protection and to support the possessions which have been acquired at the expense of so much blood and of so many of the lives of his subjects.
The foregoing observations have been confined to your enquiries concerning the boundaries of Carolina and the subject of the memorial presented by M. Geraldino. At the time this memorial was presented the court of Spain seemed content to have matters settled between the two crowns in the way of a treaty and accommodation; but by what has since happened and the repeated advices we have received from several parts, the inhabitants of Carolina as well as Georgia have just reason to be under the most uneasy apprehensions. I must represent to you the dangers we have just reason to apprehend H.M.'s dominions in these parts will be exposed to from the extensive designs which it is very evident both the French and Spaniards have in view and were very lately, if not yet actually, in agitation. I apprehend that it will appear to you that it is past doubt that the French and Spaniards have by an union and communication of counsels formed such a plan that in case of a rupture they may with ease and without interruption invade any part of the British dominions in North America. It has been long observed that the French of Canada have been attempting to cultivate a correspondence with the Five Nations to alienate them from the interest of the English and have been more than ordinary industrious to prompt them to make war with the Indians that lie to the westward and southward of Carolina and are barrier between Carolina and the settlements both of the French and Spaniards. [Marginal note: President of New York's letter.] When Mobile at the mouth of the River Mississippi was settled in the time of Louis XIV the principal design (joined with some other views the House of Bourbon might have at that time) was to settle a communication by the Mississippi through the back part of the continent to Canada and to make the government of the province of Louisiana dependent on that of New France to the end that by such a communication they might unite their forces for the carrying on any future enterprise. [Marginal note: See Col. Barnwell's observations and charter to M.Crozat.] Agreeable to this plan they have since erected fortresses at convenient distances on the lakes of Canada and Illinois and all along the Mississippi down to Mobile. But as the Indians which lie to the westward and southward of Carolina and are in friendship with that province gave them frequent interruptions it has been their policy to destroy them; and they have bent their chief endeavours that way. The Chickesaws have been intended for the first sacrifice as they are a warlike people and lie most convenient to annoy the French in their passage on the Mississippi, for which purpose the French have very lately sent a formidable force from Old France and have ordered a thousand white men from Canada to join them in an expedition against those people. [Marginal note: Colcock's information.]
It is here submitted to your judgement if it is reasonable to think that it was necessary to prepare so great a force or for the French to put themselves to so much charge and expense barely to subdue a people who do not consist of above 400 or 500 fighting men. The inhabitants of Carolina and Georgia have too much reason to fear that their views are of far greater extent, and I must observe to you that if we were satisfied that the enterprise so lately undertaken was wholly confined to the destruction of the Chickesaws it would still have an influence that will certainly prove of the worst consequence to all the settlements near the frontiers of North America. It will infallibly strike such a terror amongst all other Indians who are in alliance with the English that it will render their friendship very precarious, if not wholly secure them to the French. And if our Indians are either conquered or destroyed by the French or gained by art or terror to their interest the dangers to which the English settlements will be exposed are too obvious to stand in need of any remark or explanation. You will consider further whether the designs of the Spaniards with the expected assistance of 1,500 men from the French in their late projected expedition and which was on the point of being carried into execution could be designed against Georgia only, as the Spaniards have thought fit to give out. Undertakings thus begun, conducted and carried on, and the truth of which is confirmed by so many concurring circumstances and from accounts delivered by so many various and distant hands, cannot fail of alarming all the settlements on the frontiers, nor can the consequences which must be infallibly derived from them escape your penetration and superior discernment. When you observe from the accounts now laid before you [Marginal note: Howell's and Prew's depositions] that an army of 7,000 men (most of them disciplined troops) were ready to embark from Havana, that there was an expectation of their being joined by 1,500 French from Canada and their settlements on the Mississippi, besides Indians, you can make no doubt but an entire conquest of this country as well as Georgia must have been in view.
The provinces of Carolina and Georgia, if their whole force was united, are not able to raise above 3 or 4,000 fighting men. These men lie dispersed through a country thinly inhabited and which stretches along the seacoast above 300 miles, from whence you may easily judge how difficult it must be to get them assembled and how easy it is for them to evade or elude the best regulations that can be provided by militia laws. The property of the people chiefly consists of slaves, for lands without them are of little value, and how easy it is in time of danger for great numbers to retire with their slaves into the most northern colonies where they will find themselves secure. But if we should have timely notice of the enemy and there was a probability that the strength we have could be got together and if we could be assured that the people would be compelled or prevailed upon to make a stand upon the frontiers, they are still undisciplined and ignorant of every military art except the bare use of firearms. Let them be admitted to be as brave as any people whatsoever, how unequal a task will they have with regular troops even if their numbers were equal? and how much less capable will they be to defend themselves when there is too great a probability that the force against them will be vastly superior. Before the inhabitants of the two frontier provinces were sufficiently acquainted with the formidable force which was in readiness to come against them, they conceived great hopes from the assistance of Gen. Oglethorpe's regiment which has been long expected. But you know well that a single regiment of the bravest and best disciplined troops may be overpowered by numbers and may be obliged to submit notwithstanding they may exert the greatest military virtue.
I have endeavoured to give you a true and faithful prospect of the situation and condition of the two provinces on the frontiers as well as of the superior power, strength and advantages of the French and Spaniards, and 1 am afraid have too fully and truly shown that the several circumstances being considered, in all human probability these countries must be lost to the crown of Great Britain unless such an aid is afforded them as may at least make them equal in strength and power with the French and Spaniards. When the condition of these provinces comes to be examined it is hoped that it will be considered that however incapable they may be of defending themselves against a foreign force, yet the province of South Carolina alone sends to Great Britain annually near the value of 150,000l. sterling [Marginal note: Printed account of imports and exports] in the produce of that province in return for the native commodities of Great Britain and that to that province alone are employed above 200 sail of vessels owned by the subjects of Great Britain. The cultivating plantations and raising commodities which are so useful and advantageous to the trade of Great Britain and to which the inhabitants of the colonies wholly apply themselves is partly the cause of their inability to defend themselves against a foreign force; for whilst they wholly attend to agriculture, commerce and the improvement of the product of the plantations, it is hardly possible for them to be instructed in military discipline which is inconsistent with a domestic or country life. On the other hand the settlements which the French and Spaniards have in North America are chiefly upon military establishments and are maintained at the charge of the respective crowns: trade, commerce and agriculture are wholly neglected or at least in very little use amongst them.
To the representations I have laid before you I have added not only the depositions of persons who have been examined upon oath but I have endeavoured to collect the best accounts I could procure of everything that might contribute to your information, and to give your a more perfect view I have presented a geographical description of the countries on the continent of North America which are within the charter granted to the late lords proprietors of Carolina upon which before I conclude I beg leave to make some observations. I have before taken notice that the Spaniards have two settlements in the Bay of Apalachee, one at Pensacola, the other at a place formerly called St. Joseph, now St. Mark. The latter is at the entrance of Chatahuchee River. This river according to my information is not exceeded by any on the continent of North America for the convenience of its situation, the depth of water and the security of the harbour. It has its source amongst the Apalachee Mountains and for several hundred miles runs through one of the finest and most fertile countries in America. I could very largely insist on the very great importance it would be to all H.M.'s dominions in America if this river was secured to the crown of Great Britain, and on the contrary how very insecure the frontier settlements in these parts will be rendered in case Chatahuchee River should fall into the hands of the French or Spaniards, but I am not willing to trouble you with needless repetitions because you will meet with a very ample description of this river amongst the accounts [Marginal note: William Drake, late commissioner of Indian affairs, his letter] now laid before you. But this I must observe: that from this river there is an inlet to all the Indian nations and that by the superior power of the French and Spaniards the Indians may be induced or even compelled to invade the two frontier provinces which by easy marches from the upper parts of that river may be with very little difficulty accomplished, and in case of a war it will be beyond the power of the united force of Carolina and Georgia without further succours to prevent or oppose their powerful invaders.
The several matters which I have represented to you I hope will appear to be of the greatest importance to the security of H.M.'s dominions and that as the administration of the government of this province has devolved upon me I could not discharge the trust reposed in me without making you acquainted with the imminent dangers to which I apprehend H.M.'s subjects are exposed. I could wish for superior abilities to set matters in more advantageous light but there is no difficulty in speaking truth and truth I am certain will have its due weight with you. To propose a remedy would be presumptuous. I can only assure you that the inhabitants of South Carolina have the greatest confidence in H.M.'s justice and goodness and are fully satisfied that when their circumstances shall be represented by you and made known to H.M. they shall receive his protection and that by his powerful aid he will effectually defeat and disappoint the designs of their enemies. I entreat that the matters which I have laid before you may have your early consideration according to their weight and importance and to the intent that a seasonable relief may be granted. Signed. 5½ large pp. Endorsed, Recd., Read 27 July 1738. Enclosed,
243. i. Certificate by Joseph Wragg that the examinations, depositions and letters hereunto annexed are true copies and that the deponents are persons of good reputation. Charleston, 27 May 1738. Signed, Joseph Wragg, James Michie, Deputy Secretary. 1 large p.
243. ii. Papers in support of the memorial to Council of Trade and Plantations.
(1) Extract from Col. Barnwell's journal of expedition against the Apalachee, 1703–1704, in which it is stated that Charles I gave a grant to Earl of Arundel, assigned to Dr. Daniel Cox: in 1629 he sent Capt. Bond with 200 people but the French hindered the settlement.
(2) Affidavit sworn before President Arthur Middleton 16 January 1727/8 at Charleston by John Gray and William Gray. On 23 July last their trading house at the Forks was plundered by Creek and Yamasee Indians; Mathew Smallwood was murdered. The Indians took them to St. Augustine where they were imprisoned to 7th inst.
(3) Examination of John Pearson, mariner, taken before Benjamin Whitaker and Richard Allein, 20 October 1727. At St. Augustine about a month ago examinant saw several English prisoners and negroes deserted from this province.
(4) Affidavit of John Bee of Charleston, merchant, sworn before President Bull, 26 April 1738. Deponent was on Col. James Moore's expedition against the Spaniards in 1702. The Spanish settlement of Sta. Maria, a little to the north of St. Juan's but south of the Alatamaha, was then utterly destroyed by the English. The Spaniards have never since had any settlement north of their lookout which is south of St. Juan's.
(5) Affidavit of Joseph Parmenter of South Carolina, planter, sworn before Lieut.-Governor Broughton, 16 February 1736/7. About 26 years ago deponent in company with others visited the country between Charleston and St. Augustine. Since then he has frequently been in the service of the government of South Carolina as far as the Spanish fortress or lookout computed to be about 30 or 40 miles nearer to Charleston than St. Augustine. He is certain that in these 26 years the Spaniards have had no settlement north of this fortress commonly called St. Juan's. Before the Yamasee Indians broke out in war against South Carolina, which deponent believes was in 1715, there were some English settlements on an island called St. Catherina at a place ever since called Paycomb's Well.
(6) Affidavit of John Ballentine of Charleston, sworn before President Bull, 26 April 1738. Deponent was employed in 1716 scouting after Indians; the Spaniards have had no settlement to the north of their lookout on the south side of St. Juan's river since 1716.
(7) Affidavit of Capt. Joseph Prew of Charleston, sworn before President Bull, 16 April 1738. [See No. 158. i.]
(8) Affidavit of James Howell of South Carolina, master of schooner Beaufort, sworn before President Bull, 21 April 1738. [See No. 160.]
(9) Extract from letter of Col. Moore to Lords Proprietors of Carolina, 16 April 1704, describing an expedition against Apalachee by a force which he raised. The Spaniards and their allies were defeated; this expedition has wholly disabled them to attempt anything by land. The French have settled a colony on the river Coosa, six days journey nearer to us than Mississippi and not above 50 miles further from Carolina than Apalachee. They will be dangerous in both peace and war.
(10) Extract from letter of Col. Moore to Sir Nathaniel Johnson, 16 April 1704, giving account of the taking of a town and fort called Aiaivalla and of the campaign in Apalachee, which has now been so reduced that it can neither supply St. Augustine with provisions nor disturb Indians living between Carolina and Apalachee.
(11) Affidavit of Mathew Beaird of South Carolina, planter, sworn 12 February 1736/7 before Lieut.-Governor Thomas Broughton. Deponent was a soldier in Col. James Moore's expedition into the territory of the Apalachees. These Indians were then conquered and their chief transferred his allegiance from the Spaniards to the British.
(12) Lieut.-Governor George Clarke to C.-in-C., South Carolina; New York, 16 January 1737/8. Yesterday I received advice from the Indian interpreter whom I sent to reside in the Senecas country (to keep those people steady to the interest of H.M. and to defeat the intrigues of the French interpreter who is often there) that the governor of Canada intends to set on foot a warlike expedition, not against the Foxes but as the interpreter thinks against the Indians belonging to your government and North Carolina, that the French king has sent 800 men with cannon up the Mississippi who are to winter at Old Attowawa and are to be joined by 1,000 men from Canada, the governor whereof has by a messenger with a belt of wampum invited the Six Nations to assist them: this the sashims, he says, desire me to inform you of but does not tell me what answer they gave to the governor of Canada. He says too that the French lost there last year 200 men and one priest. He likewise informs me that on 7 November last the Senecas brought to their castle three scalps and one prisoner whom they intended to burn, but that he redeemed him, that the Oneides, Caiyougos and Senecas were mostly gone out afighting, that the Caiyougos had sent an express to the Senecas acquainting them that the governor of Pennsylvania had sent an Indian to Ouondago to inform them that the governors of Virginia and Pennsylvania having endeavoured to make a lasting peace between the Flatheads and the Cattabas and our Six Nations, they had brought the Flatheads to accept of it but that the Cattabas absolutely refused, determining to carry on the war against our Six Nations. I am very sorry to find the Cattabas so resolved at this time when the Six Nations were in a pacific disposition; what the event will be I cannot tell but possibly this may make them join the French in their expedition if it be intended against any of those Indians. Please inform Georgia and North Carolina.
(13) Information of John Colcock, mariner, sworn 26 May 1736 before Lieut.-Governor Thomas Broughton. I arrived in Mobile 14 April last and found most of that colony and New Orleans amounting, with the Illinois, to near 3,000 men had gone to war against the Chickesaws.
(14) William Drake, late commissioner of Indian Affairs, to Charles Pinckney; Santee, 20 July 1736. We hear in the country that there is like to be some difficulty between the two crowns of Great Britain and Spain in settling the boundaries between us and the Spaniard, a matter which, howsoever it might be thought of elsewhere, is in my opinion of vast importance to the British interest in America and therefore should be well considered lest by bringing the boundary line too far to the northward we should lose those advantages which is now in our power to obtain and which if we now omit it will be almost impossible for us ever to regain hereafter. It is rumoured that the Alatamaha river is to be the boundary as far as the head thereof and from thence by a west line to be struck to the South Seas, but this I hope is only rumour. I am sure it can only be so with those who are acquainted with the situation and importance of those countries that lie south and west of the Alatamaha and the claim and pretensions the English have to them. By the charter of Charles II to the lords proprietors of Carolina the latitude of 29° was fixed as the southern boundary of Carolina which you very well know includes the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine itself; and if you will look into Capt. Nairns's map of Carolina which I here enclose to you (lest you should not have one by you) you will perceive it also includes the mouths or entrances of the Apalachee, Chatahuchee and almost all the other rivers that empty themselves into the gulf of Mexico to the eastward of the Mississippi. Whereas should the Alatamaha be settled as a boundary we should lose thereby at least 100 miles extent of dominion on this Atlantic sea, and what would in process of time be of infinitely worse consequence to us we should be excluded from the mouths of those rivers aforementioned which would effectually hinder the settlement of the inland shores of those rivers by the English. For if the Alatamaha must be the boundary to the head thereof and a west line to be struck from thence to the South Sea it will certainly render those parts of the Chatahuchee River which lie to the north of that line of no manner of consequence to us since it will be in the power of the possessor of the mouth of that river wholly to command the navigation of it, and you very well know that without trade and navigation no English colony on that river could subsist or maintain themselves for any considerable time in any tolerable degree of reputation among the native Indians. Therefore I can never imagine there is any grounds for the report of the Alatamaha's being the boundary. But if there is any inevitable necessity hanging over us to oblige us to submit to it, if from the head of the most southern branch of that river instead of the line's being run west into the South Sea it should be run due south into the gulf of Mexico it would leave us the navigation of the Chatahuchee free and undisturbed; but I had much rather see the Spaniard wholly excluded from the Florida shore than that the English should consent to give up one foot of their claim to this part of the world.
It is a policy I conceive should be steadily adhered to by the English not to give up to any other European nation any port on this eastern sea, for should we leave any considerable port or even an indifferent one on this shore in the hand of any other European prince they would not only have it in their power in case of a war with greater facility to invade us from thence, but would also in time were they so minded distress our trade from Jamaica and the Bahamas and wholly command the navigation through the gulf of Florida. And when they are once masters of these seas it is easy to foresee that they will extend their views and in time make themselves masters of the land also. It is for these reasons we should never consent to the Spaniards' encroachments anywhere to the north or west of St. Augustine, and the same reasons will hold good for our making ourselves masters of all the ports and rivers in the gulf of Mexico that lie to the east of the Mississippi. But if it should be objected that these rivers lie at present much out of the way and that the danger is too far distant to justify the running into any considerable expense to prevent it, let it be remembered that not a century and a half ago America itself was not accounted of much consequence and the possession thereof to the European prince was looked upon as a very trifling acquisition to their power or dominion though at this day it is viewed in a quite different light, and though it lay long neglected it is now thought it would be a cheap purchase if the French King could obtain a considerable port or two on the eastern sea even at the expense of a whole year's revenue of all his dominions.
The last year I was appointed by this government as commissioner of the Indian trade to perform an agency to the Creek nation, and during my stay among the Creeks I took care to inform myself in the best manner I could of whatever I thought might concern the British interest in those parts. In my journey thither I crossed five or six rivers before I came to the nation and rode through a body of good rich lands for near 200 miles in length, among which there was hardly any intermixture of that that could be called bad; and after a journey of about 400 miles from Charleston I came to the Chatahuchee River which I have before mentioned, a place and country by far the pleasantest I have seen in America although I have been in several other parts beside Carolina. But the pleasantness and agreeableness of the situation is the least part of its value, its exceeding richness and fertility of soil and its being capable to produce every necessary of life is what makes its value inestimable. Upon this river, which is navigable as I am informed to the Upper Creeks, live the Lower Creek nation and from whence the Indians sometimes go down to the sea, and as I was informed by some of the Indian chiefs who have been down the river it takes them up a whole month to return in their canoes; from whence I conclude that from the Chatahuchee where I received this information it was 200 or 250 miles down to the sea. This river, after watering a fine country, empties itself into the sea at the bay of St. Joseph's in the gulf of Mexico as I have already observed and is in my opinion by much the most deserving consideration of any river that falls into that gulf: not the Mississippi itself though it leads into a far greater extent of country excepted, for the Mississippi is (as I am informed by one Capt. Henry Isaac, an Englishman but who had lived many years among the French on the Mississippi and who I found among the Creeks) so very shallow and full of flats at its mouth and its stream is so exceeding rapid that its navigation is rendered very difficult. But the Chatahuchee river as I am told has 10 or 12 fathom water at its mouth and carries its depth a considerable way up into the country and is adorned with several noble and beautiful islands which it surrounds and is not now, at least was not when I was there in 1735, possessed by any Europeans from one end of it to the other. So that there is no obstacle to hinder us (if we were as I hope we shall be so minded) to take possession of it.
Now some of the advantages which would accrue to the English by possessing themselves of this river, among many others, are these. We should be immediately in possession of a fine port and harbour in this gulf where now we have not an inch of territory, and here such ships as would use the same would lie in a freshwater river free from the worm which so much injures the shipping at Jamaica and the West Indies, and here they might very easily be supplied with masts and all other naval stores and the country would very soon abundantly supply them with all sorts of provisions. And as in that country I was informed by the Indians they have no hurricanes or hard gales of wind that ever blew down their trees, I would submit it to the navigators whether it would not be by far a more safe and convenient receptacle for our West India squadron than Jamaica, and whether from thence they could not as easily protect our trade and obstruct the Spanish flota in their voyage to Old Spain as from Jamaica. But what may hereafter prove of more consequence to us by our possessing ourselves of this noble river and the countries adjacent is this: it would render the French settlement at Mobile of little use to them, it would effectually prevent their increase and spreading in those countries, but above all would be the best barrier we can possibly have against the encroachments of the French on the Mississippi; and of this the French are so sensible that Capt. Isaac before mentioned told me that whilst he was at New Orleans when the settlement of Georgia was first begun the French were then under a good deal of concern about it, but as they did not know particularly where the settlement was intended they concluded it must be on the Chatahuchee river and M. Bienville, the French general, sent a vessel from thence to the mouth of the Chatahuchee to learn the certainty of it with a design no doubt to give what obstruction he possibly could to it.
We know by daily experience that the French are endeavouring to unite their strength and join their hands from all their settlements from Canada and the bay of St. Lawrence in the north through the Mississippi and the gulf of Mexico in the south, by which means they will in time either gain all the Indians from St. Lawrence to the Mississippi to their interest or destroy and root out all the Indians who will not come into their interest as they are now attempting and, it is feared, with too much probability of succeeding against the Chickesaws, from which a very possible consequence is to be feared that in process of time they will be able to push the English in North America into the sea unless proper stands and barriers be in time (even now when they are to be had) made against them. Another good effect which I apprehend would ensue from our making a strong settlement on this river would be that in case of a war we might from thence and the settlement at Georgia with ease dispossess the Spaniard of St. Augustine and all the point of Florida which would prove of double service to us: first it would take away that relief which St. Augustine sometimes affords to their Plate Fleet in their passage through the gulf of Florida to Old Spain, consequently render his Catholic majesty less secure in his riches; and in the next place it would effectually prevent or save us from those depredations which in case of a war and even in times of peace are too frequently made from thence on the British subjects.
In my return from the Creek nation I lay one night at old Capt. Rawlins's on Edisto. He seemed to me to be a man of near 70 years of age and had served formerly as a soldier under King William of glorious memory in Flanders. In my discoursing about my journey to the Creeks he informed me that about 30 odd years ago he lived in that nation, and on my informing him what Isaac had acquainted me with as above he told me he believed it was very true, and added that he was with Col. Moore in 1703 in his expedition against the Apalachees and that he was down towards the mouth of the Chatahuchee and that he had never before seen so rich a country as that was excepting Flanders, and that it was a country in his opinion by all means deserving of the attention of the English.
If it be asked what right the English have to possess themselves of this country I answer that I am not lawyer enough to determine it. But I apprehend it is sufficient for us that it is within the bounds and limits of the charter granted by Charles II to the lords proprietors, and if Charles had power sufficient to grant it, which I shall not take upon myself to judge of, surely his present majesty has right and power sufficient to possess what his royal predecessor had before granted and which by the late Act of Parliament hath revested in the crown. And further as the subjects of his Britannic majesty did in open war under the command of Col. Moore in 1703 actually conquer the Apalachees who were the ancient inhabitants of that country and as it has never been since nor is now possessed by any other European nation, surely no dispute can arise whether we have not by conquest, acquisition or some other way the best right to it. But, alas, this right I am afraid will stand us in little stead unless we exert it, and by settling a numerous colony there of English subjects take actual possession of that country which as a true Englishman and a hearty lover of my country I should extremely regret seeing in the hands of any other European power, and as the French at New Orleans have got it into their heads that we will one time or other take possession of it, I am really afraid that if the English ministry shall not think fit to do it soon we shall be prevented by the French being beforehand with us therein; and from whence all those evils I have just hinted at and many more which I have not time to enumerate will (I pray God avert it) like a torrent pour in upon us.
(15) Extract of Col. Barnwell's journals recording the grant by Louis XIV in 70th year of his reign to M. Anthony Crozat of the trade of Louisiana for fifteen years.
(16) Affidavit sworn by Joseph Barry, gentleman, of South Carolina before Joseph Wragg, 25 May 1738. Deponent states that the copies of letters dated 16 April 1704 from Col. James Moore to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina and to Sir Nathaniel Johnson of same date are in the handwriting of the said Moore. Copy, certified by J. Badenhop, C.C. 10 large pp.
243. iii. Accounts of imports and exports of port of Charleston for 1724–1735 by commodities and for 1 November 1735 to 1 November 1737 by commodities and ports of origin and destination. Like accounts for Winyaw and Port Royal for 1 November 1736 to 1 November 1737. Printed. 4 pp. Endorsed, Copy of several examinations, depositions and letters etc. in support of the representation of the president and C.-in-C. of South Carolina to the Board of Trade in May. Together with a large chart of that part of America. [In another band: v. Book of maps] Transmitted under the great seal of the province which was taken off per S.G. Recd. from Mr. Fury. Recd., Read 27 July 1738. [C.O. 5, 366, fos. 109–119d; copy of covering letter and enclosures in C.O. 5, 384, fos. 23–36d.]
May 25.
244 James Oglethorpe to Andrew Stone. I sent over to Cowes, but the ship from Havana was sailed. However I received the enclosed account from Isaac Foster, master of a merchantman who left Carolina the 13th April. Colonel Cockran with the part of the regiment under his command was not arrived there, unless the five ships off Augustine were those with him. The regiment is on board and Sir Charles Wager's orders for the men-of-war to convoy the transports are arrived, but Admiral Haddock has taken the men out of the Hector and Blandford which are to convoy us, and I fear that will occasion a farther delay of some days till fresh men can be got. Signed. 1 p. Enclosed,
244 i. Isaac Foster to James Oglethorpe, Cowes, 22 May 1738. I left South Carolina 13th April, the 8th of which month there came an express from Port Royal, the purport of which was that on the 6th there arrived a sloop from off the bar of St. Augustine where lay at anchor two large ships. He likewise saw three more nearby standing for said Augustine, he hoisting his colours but no answer. Supposing them to be Spaniards, he made the best of his way to Port Royal; which has much surprised the people in Carolina. The Seafort man-of-war and a privateer sloop sailed in company with me, and the Rose man-of-war was to sail in two or three days, and it was said they were going for Georgia and St. Augustine. Signed. ¾ p. [C.O. 5, 654, fos. 141–143d.]


  • n1. Edge of MS damaged.
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