America and West Indies: April 1673

Pages 475-487

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 7, 1669-1674. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1889.

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


April 1673

April 1.
1059. Lieut.-Col. Edward Thornburgh to the Assembly of Barbadoes. The Gentlemen empowered in their affairs here have commanded him with Capt. Gorges, to attend Parliament, and give them notice if anything were in agitation relating to their interests, and Capt. Gorges, being suddenly called into the country, counts it his duty to acquaint them what has been done. Having intimation that Sir Robert Howard demanded a copy of the old Excise Bill from the clerk, they had a meeting with the refiners and merchants, and unanimously agreed to oppose any tax on sugars, but if it could not be avoided, to get plantation sugars favoured and foreign sugars advanced; but other disputes grew in Parliament, and the Act of Excise was never in debate. Whilst giving attendance they had notice of a complaint of the Virginia merchants to the Committee of Trade, that the New England men carried much tobacco and other commodities of the plantations to New England and thence to foreign nations; but they assured the Committee that all the sugars they carried from the plantations (except what they used in New England) were brought to England, for importation into Spain and Portugal was prohibited, and there was a very heavy imposition in France, and represented the necessity the sugar plantations had of a trade with New England for boards, timber, pipestaves, horses, and fish, without which they could not maintain their buildings nor send home their sugars. They likewise possessed several Parliament men how unpracticable it was to tax those that had no members in their House; yet hears that in an Act for regulation of several trades they have laid an imposition on all tobaccos and sugars shipped from his Majesty's plantations to New England; but the Act is not yet come out. The session was so short they had not time for other business; yet they presented a paper to the Committee to show the conveniency of a free trade from Scotland to the Plantations, which some approved; and they hope at the next meeting in October may be taken into consideration. 2 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. XIII., No. 123, 124.]
April 2. 1060. Minutes of the Council of Barbadoes. The oaths of allegiance and supremacy and the oath of a Privy Councillor taken by John Willoughby. Letter from Edwin Stede, Deputy-Secretary, to Col. Chr. Codrington, acquainting him that his Excellency has this day sworn in his son John Willoughby one of the Council in his place, whom he has removed, and also granted a commission to his said son to be colonel of the regiment of foot he lately commanded. 1/2 p. [Col. Entry Bk., No. XI., 222.]
April 4. 1061. Mem. of Warrant to Mr. L'Estrange to suppress and hinder the publishing of a pamphlet containing a relation of the late attempt upon Panama by certain of his Majesty's subjects. 1/4 p. [Dom. Entry Bk., Chas. II., XL., p. 28.]
April 4.
1062. Lieut.-Gov. Sir Thos. Lynch to the Council for Plantations. Received two of their Lordships' letters on the 11th last, but the advice of the designs of the Dutch and Spaniard, from Lord Arlington, came 10 days before. Communicated to the Council of War how imminent the danger was, knowing the people are much more apt to be over-secure than fearful. All rejoice that their affairs are fallen under the management of those who they believe are as wise as the greatest ministers, and hope to find them no less good than guardian angels. Renews his petition that a frigate or two be sent to secure their plantations and trade, or that those at Barbadoes may be ordered to come down, for it will be a great hazard for them to stay there these coming months, and Barbadoes is not in such need, being little, fortified all round, populous, and out of all danger of such an attack. Thinks their Lordships will not judge it advisable to keep the frigates there to countenance the settling of Tobago, an unhealthful, small, incommode island; for the King has but too many such, ready to be made preys to every invader. Believes they will consider whether it is not better the surplusage of people in the Caribbee Islands were directed to Jamaica, by which means his Majesty's lordship would become a kingdom. Enclosed they have a true account of all the families, excepting St. Elizabeth's, occasioned by Col. Vassall's absence about the survey of the island, which he hopes shortly to send, very exactly done. This account is the fist ever taken, that of Sir Thos. Modyford was made by guess. Besides these there may be 800 seamen, privateers, &c. belonging to the island but not constantly on it. These are people enough to keep the country from all invaders, but it is hard to defend Port Royal, for the castle is not strong or regular, the enemy comes in with a fresh breeze, and the shore being steep they may lay their sides on board it, and make it impossible to keep either fort or town, which has nothing to cover men, being only a sandy point. These considerations have moved former Governors in lesser dangers to resolve to quit it; but they, considering the loss, besides the dishonour, would infallibly draw after it that of the island, have resolved to defend it. Three fireships are made, trenches digged, forts building, officers and sea Commanders appointed, 700 men ordered to be carried over on the first appearance of an enemy. All encouragement is promised to such as are wounded and that go in fireships, and three small vessels are sent out to cruize towards St. Domingo and Curaçoa and between the east end of this island and Cape Tiberon. Besides which has commanded to the point above 200 negroes, who are working at the forts and platforms. Intends to keep them till the harbour is secured, and though he could not prevail on the Assembly to levy money, is resolved to command the country to send hands, and to keep them at work. Is taking up all the money his credit will amount to, not doubting but their honours will see him reimbursed, and his family, if he should die, kept from ruin, for there is not a farthing in the treasury, the revenue arising only from the impost on liquors, the consumption whereof is lessened by privateers, as well as the risk of importation increased by the multitude of capers that lie off Madeira. If his account be not credited, hopes their Lordships will believe that which Sir Thos. Modyford remitted, wherein he computes the whole revenue to be about 1,800 l. per annum, and the ordinary charge of government double. Has laid a foundation for the improvement of this revenue, which will not, nevertheless, in divers years be sufficient to answer the necessities of the island. Young colonies, like tender plants, should be cherished and dealt easily with, it being better to put soil to their roots than to pluck too early fruit. If Jamaica have easy government, be defended from enemies, and supplied with negroes and servants, and have no privateering, in six years it may produce as much sugars as Barbadoes, which island lessens every year, both in quantity and quality, while those of Jamaica improve in both, so that their sugars are sold at 30 per cent. more than theirs. Judges that in this time their cocoa, indigo, achiotte, hides, wood, &c. will be worth more than all the sugars; for they have had extraordinary success in planting this year, and it is judged they will make as much goods in this as in any four years since they had the island. There are now 10 or 12 vessels ready to load, which will not carry one-third of the goods on the island, which makes freight at 14 l. per ton, or four times as dear as formerly. They are likewise very healthful, and everyone careful and busy to make and secure his fortune; for they are labouring to fortify at Port Morant, Salt Ponds, Old Harbour, and Withy-wood, and with such vigour and courage that everyone seems confident of safety or success. Yesterday came back the person he sent to St. Jago, who says there are no signs of any expectation of capers there, nor do the poor people of Cuba desire anything else than to trade with Jamaica, which they do to the great advantage of both; for abundance of small vessels bring hides and cattle, which in seven years will make the island as full as when the English took it. The cheapness of logwood is like to put an end to that trade; if not, knows not how they shall continue it, unless the King declares he must defend it as his dominions or sends a frigate. The sending the logwood cutters in fleets has made a Dutch pirate run out of the bay, but he has lain between Cuba and Hispaniola, and has taken a Jamaica vessel bound for England, and two or three others. Is informed they are raising 2,000 men in New Spain, which they think are to plant Jamaica when the capers have taken it. Their man-of-war returned five days ago from Curaçoa, without a prize, and says they are very strong there, near 700 men, have a multitude of negroes, have secured all their moneys at Caraccas, want provisions, and are sending two great Spaniards and a Dutchman that carries 1,100 negroes for Cartagena. Hears from Col. Stapleton and others that about five weeks since the Gov. of Guadaloupe, in a ship of 70 guns, and about 10 more went to take Curaçoa; some say St. Domingo, where they fear some such thing, for all the inhabitants are commanded into the town, and are labouring to do all they can to defend themselves, which he doubts will be little enough if they are attacked. They say the contract with the Grillos for negroes expires in eight months, and the cities of Cartagena, Mexico, &c. are offering a yearly payment to the King of as much as he got by that assiento for permission to buy negroes where they can best. Should this be so, believes Jamaica would be serviceable to the Royal Company, and hopes they will make more reasonable proposals for supplying the planters. It is hard this island should suffer because Barbadoes owes them so much; and it may be worth consideration whether the small planters, who are the strength of every colony, are not to be encouraged. By the Royal Company's proposals they cannot have a negro under 35 l., for those that pay 17 l. in London will advance for the use of their money and bad negroes, and may be require ready payment too, by which means the poorer people will get none, and the rich will find in this, as in the Gospel, "habenti dabitur;" but they hear the capers come by way of Guinea, so they will fatally adjust the difference between the Company and the planters; others have talked as if they were stopped in Surinam, whither Lord Willoughby is sending his late Deputy Governor; but all this is very uncertain. The King's ketch is useful in weighing and transporting guns, but intends she shall be the next despatched. Will advise constantly what they do and fear, not doubting their Lordships will move the despatch of the frigates, and remember that all here depends on their protection and mediation to the King. Endorsed by John Locke. 3 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 19.]
April 4.
1063. Extract from preceding letter, also of Lieut.-Governor Lynch's letter to H. Slingesby [see ante, No. 954] about logwood cutting. 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 20.]
April 5.
1064. Petition of Lord Viscount Ranelagh and Wm. Lord Brereton to the King. For a privy seal out of the revenues of Barbadoes and the Leeward Isles for repaying 8,397 l. 2 s. 4d. that Lord Willoughby, uncle to petitioners, disbursed in his Majesty's service in those islands; with reference to the Lord High Treasurer to find some way for the petitioners' gratification, his Majesty having formerly declared that the within-mentioned debt should be satisfied. [Dom. Entry Bk., Chas. II., Vol. XXXVII., p. 60.]
April 5. 1065. Minutes of the Council of Barbadoes. Statement of Sir Peter Colleton that in this time of the Governor's indisposition of health his Excellency had appointed him his Deputy Governor and President of the Council. John Willoughby took his place as a Privy Councillor in the room of Colonel Chr. Codrington discharged from that employment. Ordered, that the colonels and field officers be summoned to meet at the Council Room on Wednesday next at 8 in the morning, and that Lieut.-Colonel Wm. Bate then deliver an account of the public arms and ammunition in the island to the Deputy Governor. The Deputy Secretary ordered to acquaint the Assembly that if they approve of the bill sent them for a duty on distilled liquors imported as drawn, it may be ingrossed and sent to the Council to be passed, but if they conceive it necessary to make any alterations it should be sent in rough draught. [Col. Entry Bk.,No. XI., 222, 223.]
April 6.
1066. Lieut.-Governor Sir Thos. Lynch to Dr. Benj. Worsley, Secretary to the Council for Plantations. Has received his letters of October 8, November 2, and December 10 and 30 by the King's ketch "Eaglet," which arrived the 11th last, and of 1st January by the Jamaica merchant on the 6th last, and is more satisfied with their Lordships' care than troubled with the fear of invasion. Such favours come like blessings from Heaven, and it is an extraordinary comfort to the inhabitants that so many great men and good patriots are concerned for them. Though his whole life has been uneasy, all his troubles are hardly equal to those he is now under, for here is a vast country to be kept by a few men; a port to be defended with no ships; a town without fortifications; ammunition, guns, carriages, fire ships, platforms, &c. to be had and made without money; and to lessen his credit, at a time when his whole particular estate is engaged for the public, comes a report that some noblemen are designed for the Government, but the King is wise and just, and will not ruin those that serve him well. Wishes to see those great men here that they may tell his Majesty that 1,500l. will not make them eat. Young colonies are made or ruined by their Governors. Is infinitely more pleased with his advice than disobliged at being superseded, for he is weary of serving on such uneasy terms, his expenses increasing at home, and his estate not doing so here. Doubts not the Lords, considering all he says of the state of the island in his long letter, will move the despatch of a frigate or two, if not already ordered. It is strange Jamaica should not be as much considered for the King's interest as Barbadoes has been for Lord Willoughby's, for Jamaica is the King's own lordship, and if preserved and indulged may become his kingdom; it is remote, environed with enemies, plantations settled all along the coast, and their trade considerable, and yet but a new colony; but it is their unhappiness that the public revenue of the island is so little that they can oblige no one to solicit for them. Is hugely satisfied that his many long letters have not been displeasing to the Lords, and infinitely engaged to him for minding Lord Arlington of writing, which he has always done pretty frequently and fully. Rejoices that those of their laws which have been perused were approved; they were signed by himself and the Speaker 14th May last, and the not dating them was the fault of the transcriber. The prohibition of transporting plants in a plantable condition aims chiefly at cocoa and achiotte, and includes English or foreign colonies. Have yet made no great progress in curing vanillas, nor are the china roots and contra yerva much gathered, though said to be as good as any, of which he will hereafter give as full an account as he has sent Sir Robert Murray of the cocoa and its decay. Has promised Sir Robert likewise all he can say about the achiotte and cashues, which Lynch's wife sent Lord Brouncker painted, but is "not now recollected enough to write anything of such easy subjects," nor shall he ever be able to say what will gratify him, and acknowledge the honour his noble friend Mr. Boyle does him, but knows he will not expect philosophical discourses from one who is illiterate, and has been always brought up in the noise and tumults of war. 1 1/2large pp. [Col. Papers, Vol XXX., No. 21.]
April 7. 1067. John Lucas Lyon, Agent to the Duke of Courland, to the King. Refers to the Duke's letter [see ante, No. 984 ] to his Majesty respecting his accounts exhibited two years since for ammunition, artillery, corn, and vessels formerly supplied to his Majesty. Is now commanded to represent to his Majesty, because there is a strong report of great endeavours of the Swedish mediators to procure a general Peace, particularly between his Majesty and the States General, his obligations for the favours shown to him and his house concerning Tobago, which the Hollanders have these 15 years wrongfully detained from him, and for having recommended the matter to his Ambassador, Sir George Downing, and entreats his Majesty to have the same concern as to that matter in case of a Treaty, for if he lose this advantage he will not live to attain this island again. The Dutch have lately made him understand that the quarrel requires a legal trial, as concerning not themselves but private persons, meaning the Lambsons, who first dispossessed him. Trusts his Majesty will not admit any sinister construction concerning his son serving under the Prince of Orange, but if so, will immediately recall him. 2 1/2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 22.]
April 9–10. 1068. Minutes of the Council of Barbadoes. Ordered that Lieut.-Col. Wm. Bate take care of the guns brought from Tobago as his Majesty's guns for the use of this island, and that he send 20 barrels of powder to Col. Bayley's division, and to each fort shot to make up 25 rounds for each gun; and that the several colonels of foot bring to this Board list of those in their several divisions fit to be gunners and mattrosses, also a list of the gunners and mattrosses now employed in the forts in their divisions, and the names of the surgeons fit to be made use of on occasion. April 10.—Ordered that two of the Council be a committee to inspect the Act of Militia, and that the Assembly be desired to join with them such as they think convenient. The Speaker and Assembly attended and desired it might be inquired what was become of the Tobago guns, and that they be secured for the island's service. That they would adjourn to Wednesday next to consider of still money and other things not yet perfected, and had raised a sum of sugar for victualling the ships. Ordered that the clause added by the Assembly to the Bill be entered, and the same engrossed against the next Council day. The Deputy Governor empowered, in the absence and indisposition of his Excellency, to sign all orders and petitions in Chancery, grant injunctions, and do all other matters to bring causes to a hearing. [Col. Entry Bk., No. XI., 224–226.]
April 10. 1069. Minutes of the Council for Trade and Plantations. On reading the several reports relating to St. Christopher's, Ordered that the Secretary, out of the breviates drawn up by him, prepare a draught of an address to his Majesty for the consideration of the Council, in which the substance of such things as may be convenient to be moved to his Most Christian Majesty may be briefly comprised :—That if possible the possession of the land itself may be regained from the French upon payment back of the purchase money, and that no advantage may be taken against the English in point of time, through the miscarriages of his Majesty's late Minister there, which have been wholly disallowed, or through the disagreements between the Generals since; but that his said Most Christian Majesty as an Ally will give positive orders for restoring the English to their possessions according to the 8th article of the Treaty of Breda, on paying back to the French the sums bonâ fide received from them, and that if this may be gained, those things relating to the restoring of the cannon, or to the slaves, or to the damages suffered since the Treaty be less insisted on. [Col. Entry Bk., XLV., 78, 79.]
April 12. 1070. Minutes of the Council of Barbadoes. Sir Peter Colleton acquainted the Board that Lord Willoughby had in his lifetime appointed him President of the Council in case he should die, till his Majesty's pleasure be known, to which the whole Council gave their full and free approbation and consent. Ordered that a Proclamation be published in the several parish churches continuing all officers in their several offices till further order. The Great Seal of the island, Lord Willoughby's commission of 6th July 1672, and his additional instructions of 12th June 1672, delivered by John Willoughby into the custody of the President. The Great Seal delivered by the President into the custody of Henry Hawley, that writs might be sealed in his presence. Ordered that the Court of Chancery be held by the President and any four or more of the Council; that the President sign all orders and petitions, and do all other things relating to bringing causes to hearing; and that the care of the militia be in the President till further order. The Proclamation above referred to. [Col. Entry Bk., No XI., 226–228.]
April 15.
1071. Sir James Russell to Dr. Worsley, Secretary to the Council for Plantations. Received this day the Council's order for his appearance before them to answer the unjust complaint of Mr. Rodney, for which their Lordships have given him 10 days; but his indisposition of body is not able to undertake so great a journey, being at present under the physician's hands, promises if God blesses him with ability, to appear by the end of May at furthest, and desires he will procure an order for his then appearance, and by the next post to give him an account of what may be done herein. Endorsed by Locke. 1p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 23.]
April 15–16. 1072. Minutes of the Council of Barbadoes. Ordered that commissions to officers of the Militia be entitled by the President and Council,. and signed by the President; that on all sudden occasions the Council be summoned, but that till they be assembled the President issue such orders as to him shall seem fit; that a commission be drawn and signed by the Council impowering the President to be Commander-in-Chief till further order; that whenever the Council are to meet, the President with six other members may act as if the whole Council were present, and in case of the absence of the President any seven members, choosing a chairman from amongst themselves; and that the President be impowered to execute all the powers belonging to "the Ordinary." April 16th. Resolved that the Assembly, notwithstanding the death of Lord Willoughby, be not dissolved; with which resolution the Assembly, who had attended with some doubt on the subject, returned to their house. Mem. that the President write to let Colonel Stapleton know when the London fleet shall sail hence, that the ships be ready for the convoy, which is to sail between the 20th and last of May. Order of the President and Council and Assembly that if His Majesty's ship St. David, now at sea on convoy, return before next sitting of the Assembly, the Treasurer provide for her such necessaries as Captain Poole shall desire, not exceeding the sum of 20,000 lb. sugar. [Col. Entry Bk., No. XI., 229–231.]
April 18.
St. Kitts.
1073. Warrant from Governor Abednego Mathew to Thomas Jones, Provost Marshal. To take care that all masters of ships, sloops, or other small vessels which shall arrive in any part of this island be forthwith brought before the Governor to render an account of their lading, and observe such other commands as shall be found necessary for them to obey. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXVIII., No. 69.]
April 21. 1074. Answer of Sir James Russell to the Complaint of Captain Rodney [see ante, No. 958]. That at the death of Stephen Male a plantation with some few slaves fell to his supposed daughter, who contracted marriage with one Richardson, a factor, who was thus possessed of said plantation for several years until his death, when the estate was found to be incumbered with debts, and the slaves the property of Captain Searle. That Rodney married Richardson's supposed rich relic and came to England the carrier of His Majesty'spacket, so that being employed on the King's business no creditor could trouble him. That he left trustees behind who spent and consumed the profits and caused the creditors to apply to Courts of Justice for recovery of their debts. Some years after Rodney sent his brother as agent, who with two younger brothers spent and consumed much more and faster than before. Describes his endeavours to prevent the planters from being totally ruined notwithstanding the law had proceeded to execution, and the goods were brought to outcry until he found the planters had no regard to settle the old debts but daily created new ones. Then by consent of the Council and Assembly he revived the old Act for bringing goods and plant to sale, according to the ancient custom of that place, which would not satisfy two thirds of the debts. That Rodney and his wife sold said plantation or part of it to Cole in England and ordered his brother then agent, to put him in possession, but he refused to do so; so Cole's agent, seeing that all moveables were sold, applied to the Court and obtained judgment, and the plantation was accordingly sold by outcry as customarily others were; but Russell kept Cole from possession a month in case Rodney's brother could procure any to advance the sum it sold for. Knows not the least injury he has done Rodney, who, had he kept better servants or a more prudent agent, the plantation might still have been his; therefore let Rodney lay the blame on those who deserve it. Hopes the Lords will dismiss his malicious action with costs. Knows not when her father died, but is certain Richardson was in possession in 1666, and lived in it till his death. Endorsed by John Locke, "Rodney, 21 April 73." 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 24.]
April 22. 1075. Minutes of the Council of Barbadoes. Draught of commission to the President to be Commander-in-Chief approved and ordered to be engrossed; also draught for commissionating military officers. The business of the fortifications being considered upon the report of Sir Peter Colleton and others herein set forth on the condition of the forts at Austins, Needhams, the Hole, and Speight's Bays; ordered that Col. Wm. Bate report how many guns were taken at Tobago and how disposed of; that all forts or platforms, where required, be paved with this country stone; and that all dismounted guns about the island that have carriages be forthwith mounted. 2 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. XI., 232, 233.]
April 23.
St. Jago.
1076. Minutes of the Council of Jamaica. Ordered, lest the masters and merchants should be discouraged by a too tedious demurrage, that the embargo laid on all vessels do only continue till the fort at Bonham's Point be finished, whereby the harbour may be in some posture to defend itself, the Governor and Council believing the danger to be sure and certain, though it might not be so sudden as was expected. Ordered, on consideration of the present emergencies, that an Assembly be convened on 16th May next; that writs be speedily issued for the same number in all parishes as before; and that the Marshal make return of the several elections, 9th May. 1 1/2 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. XXXV., 343–345.]
April 24.
St. Kitts.
1077. Minutes of Council of St. Kitts, present Governor Stapleton. Ordered that Governor Mathew issue warrants of possession for such King's lands in the English part of St. Kitts as are undisposed of, according to his discretion, to his Majesty's natural born subjects in such proportion as they shall bring on hands and strength to manage the same, not prejudicial to any other right, provided all such grants be confirmed by his Excellency (Governor Stapleton). [Col. Papers, Vol. XXVIII., No. 69.]
April 25.
1078. Sir James Russell to Cousin Warner. Since writing by Capt. Ellis, which would give him some light of that malicious attorney of Rodney's, has received his, desiring answer to some queries. It is well known that the judgments that passed upon the moveables of Rodney's plantation were not one-third for Richardson's debt, but for debts made by Rodney's trustees and agent, which were the absolute ruin of that plantation. Antrobus' declaration that he searched the records and found not one word of Rodney must be false, for he can swear that on one court day in his own presence there were near 30 actions entered against Caesar Rodney, and he owned every debt, and not one word of Richardson. Was present when the plantation was sold, but it was not sold for Richardson's debt only, but for his and Rodney's together, for goods taken up by Caesar Rodney from Cole's servant, and, as the witnesses declare, for moneys received by Rodney here. Hopes the witnesses, now at Nevis, will be at home shortly, and Cole likewise, but if the Lords be not satisfied with this answer, nor will give liberty till Cole comes to clear this point, they may do their pleasure. Here are no papers, for Cole, hearing that Rodney was gone over to sue for the plantation again, hastened after and carried all with him. Alderman Lawford will write to him, and gratify him for his love and pains to his son Cole in this business. 1 1/2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 25.]
April 26. 1079. Answer of Sir James Russell to Capt. Rodney's complaint [see ante, Nos. 958, 1074]. Further details respecting "Richardson's plantation" and the sale of it to satisfy the debts upon it. Conceives that he that makes use of a dead man's estate for advantage is liable to pay the debts of the deceased when justly made appear. It may be their Lordships will say inheritances are not to be sold for debt, but extended according to the law of England; to which I answer, the words of my commission run thus: That myself, with advice of Council and Assembly, are to make and ordain laws for the well governing of that island as near as we can according to the laws of England and the constitution of that place. Now the constitntion of that place and the nature of the people is to get in debt as much as they can and as long as they may be trusted, and were there not a strict law to bind all they have to make satisfaction in due time, the merchants would be ruined and the credit of the island lost. As, for instance, Capt. Ashton, in his government of Antigua, for reasons known to himself, did make a law that all lands and negroes should be inheritance. It happened after that some ships came and put off their negroes at days prefixed, the time was expired and the merchants expected payment, but the planters failed, they sued for their goods or to have their negroes again, which would not be granted, being an Act for inheritance, but they should be extended and put to hire for so much a year, so that the merchant in seven years could not get his principal, which brought such an odium on that island that none during his time would trade there any more, and proved the ruin of that island. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 26.]
April 26.
1080. Certificate of Christopher Griffith, Mayor of Bristol. That Edward Cooke, junior, and John Mason, of Bristol, mariners, deposed on oath before him that about three years since they went to Axbridge, county Somerset, with Thomas Cole, to witness a bill of sale to him from John Rodney, of half a plantation with the appurtenances in the island of Nevis, formerly called "Richardson's plantation." Signed by the Mayor, Aldworth, Edw. Cooke, and John Mason. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 27.]
April 26.
1081. Similar certificate. That Mary, wife of Thos Cole, deposed on oath that she has seen several letters to her husband from John Edy, Arthur Taylor, and John Meredith, her husband's servants and agents in Nevis, intimating they had sold goods to Caesar Rodney for the account of John Rodney and for the use of a plantation of his, formerly called Richardson's plantation, to the value of four or five hundred pounds and upwards. Signed by Chr. Griffith, Aldworth, and Mary Cole. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 28.]
April 28.
1082. Lieut.-Governor Sir. Thos. Lynch to the Council for Trade and Plantations. Encloses copy of his letter by Capt. Cooke of 4 April [see ante, No. 1062]. They are still labouring with all vigour to finish a bastion of 12 guns that flanks the insides of the harbour; but this will not be one quarter of what is needful for securing the town and port, and his credit not extending further an Assembly has been called, who he hopes will raise money to finish what is so well begun. To do it quicker and cheaper has ordered every master to bring one third of his tonnage of stone, and is burning lime on his own land, yet will not the works they design be finished in 20 months. Col. Modyford takes great pains and is at vast expense in it, which is such a service to the country and obligation to himself, that he thought himself obliged to admit him again unto the Council, whence he was suspended six months since, for letting that pirate, Johnson, escape, contrary to conscience, law, and his positive orders. Still expect a Dutch fleet, for the last vessel from Cuba advised that the Governor of Havanna had written his Lieutenants of Trinidad and Sto. Spiritu that 12 men-of-war and 3 fire-ships were to come to attack Jamaica; however the Council was not willing to keep the ships longer embargoed. With these come three good ships, and speedily as many more will follow, yet they will leave 3,000 tons of goods behind, mostly logwood, which pay as much custom as 8,000 or 10,000 tons from Barbadoes. But does not see how the logwood trade will be long continued; it is so cheap in London, freight so high, and the risk so great; for now that their going in fleets, with one as a man-of-war, has made the Dutch pirate leave the bay, after taking 25 vessels, an Irishman is set out of the Havanna, and has taken five or six more, and carries the men quite away to make an end of them, he says, since he cannot of our ships. Sends Sir Charles Lyttleton affidavits of this, and of some vessels taken by the French. If their Lordships do not give him as much liberty to defend the King's subjects as the Spanish Governors and subjects take to rob, murder, and imprison them, they must be ruined, and that so beneficial an interest of the King's lost. Sees nothing that can save it but his Majesty giving him private orders to defend it, affixing it to this Government, that must keep a man-of-war to secure that coast, and exclude strangers, and order all the wood to be carried for England as the produce of an English plantation; which, if done two years since, had improved his Majesty's Customs at least 10,000l. But for want of a frigate they are like to lose more to windward than they have lost to leeward, for the Dutch pirate that fled the bay to the eastward of the island took divers vessels that were retaken by the French General; but the pirate (which has 12 guns and 48 men and is an admirable sailer) escaped, and has got to Altavela, where he will infallibly take all that come from England or Barbadoes. Has therefore put 25 men more in the King's ketch, which goes in company with a brigantine, which he has hired, manned, amp;c. at extrordinary charge, and doubts not they will take or trepan this rogue, if not gone from that coast. Hears nothing of the vessel sent to cruize betwixt Hispaniola and this island; that he sent for San Domingo was chased off the coast by the pirate, and met with the French Governor, M. Le Baas, who told him he landed 1,200 men at Curaçoa, was scornfully refused the castle and lost eight men. But others of the officers and soldiers informed him they ran away, and lost the design shamefully, and cursed the General's ill conduct as the cause. By this time he has left Hispaniola for Martinico and France, and has left a new Governor at Tortuga, M. Ogeron, in a ship of 36 guns and 500 buccaneers, being thought lost; which will probably secure San Domingo some years, especially if the Spaniards knew how to improve this advantage. But the severity of the French Governors in the Windward Islands, and the liberty they have on that wild coast of Hispaniola, make them flock down, and will in time people it, and then they will be capable of receiving law, and giving it to these Indies. Most of our logwood vessels begin to apply themselves to the trade of Cuba, whence they bring cattle and hides, to the advantage of the island; and either this or the logwood trade is much more profitable to king and people than privateering, which probably, with other ways they have, will maintain more vessels here than in all the other colonies together, excepting New England, Hopes they will consider this, and that they are the remotest colony, environed by enemies, ports and capes where capers and pirates may safely harbour, and that they are settled thinly along a large bold coast, with not one port fortified, so that certainly they have more need of one frigate than Barbadoes of two; nor can anyone who knows Barbadoes imagine that two months hence the frigates can be safe there. Will write by other vessels going within a fortnight, and by all other opportunities, Endorsed by Locke. 2 1/2 large pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 29.]
April 28.
1083. Extract of preceding letter, also of Lieut.-Governor Lynch's letter to Sir Joseph Williamson [see ante, No. 944] about logwood cutting. 2 1/2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 30.]