America and West Indies: January 1670

Pages 49-55

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

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January 1670

Jan. 4.
138. John Style to "the Principal Secretary of State, Whitehall." Refers to the many letters he has written which concerned the good of this Island as well as his own particular. Presents the heads of his letter of January last on the fertility of this place which would maintain more people than the whole Kingdom of England, and what has hindered the good settlement of the island, viz. the unlimited power of the martial officers, the division of the Island into precincts, wherein every chief exercised absolute power, with the character of these Rulers and their actions, the condition of the people governed, their oppressions and the ways for amendment; then the strength of the Island, which at that time was not 1,600 men, and about 800 at sea as privateers, and the little advantage they were to the settlement of the place. Sent also with that letter concerning himself then a prisoner, reasons for levying a great tax in the Parish of St. John's where Style dwelt for repairing a church, maintaining a minister and the poor which came to 1901.; his complaint to the Governor and the verbal answer denying redress, whereupon Style signified his appeal to his Majesty and Council; with also copies of their warrants and his answers; the violently taking a negro from his son, and many other passages. That he had taken out license to go to England, and had taken leave of the Governor, when he was sent word to have a care how he went to Port Royal to take ship, for he was to be waylaid by some nigger and shot. Next day he was apprehended by the Governor's warrant, and information laid against him for words spoken at the Session House, which were altogether false, his accusers and the witnesses were only the five justices of the peace, and refusing to plead he was fined 5001.; upon which he presented his petition to his Majesty (for release) this was the condition of things, nor is it bettered. Many privateers have been lost, many have been absent a year, some have come in well battered and gone out again; for though there hath not this good while been Commissions granted, yet they go forth with let passes, which is all one as to consuming the men of this place, who, from inquiries from prisoners still decrease in all parts except the Town of Port Royal; and it may be said of about 800 Privateers "as Phocion said of Leosthenes' army of Athenians, it is a goodly army, but I much fear their return and the continuance of the war; for I do not see the City able to make any more ships, neither yet any more soldiers than these." The number of tippling houses is now doubly increased, so that "there is not now resident upon this place ten men to every house that selleth strong liquors." There are more than 100 licensed houses, besides sugar and rum works that sell without license; and what can that bring but ruin, for many sell their plantations, and either go out for privateers, or drinking themselves into debt, sell their bodies or are sold for prison fees. Since Style has been a prisoner there have been 20 sold thence; "so interests decrease, negro and slaves increase," yet were not this course taken, the prisons would not hold the prisoners. "Were the most savage heathens here present, they might learn cruelty and oppression; the worst of Sodom or the Jews that crucified our Saviour might here behold themselves matched, if not outdone, in all evil and wickedness by those who call themselves Christians." It is a common thing amongst the privateers, besides burning with matches and such like slight torments, to cut a man in pieces, first some flesh, then a hand, an arm, a leg, sometimes tying a cord about his head, and with a stick twisting it till the eyes start out, which is called "woolding." Before taking Puerto Bello, thus some were used, because they refused to discover a way into the town which was not, and many in the town, because they would not discover wealth they knew not of: a woman there was by some set bare upon a baking stone and roasted, because she did not confess of money which she had only in their conceit; this he heard some declare boasting, and one that was sick confess with sorrow: besides the horrid oaths, blasphemies, abuse of Scriptures, rapes, whoredoms, and adulteries, and such not forborne in the common highways and not punished, but made a jest of even by authority. Acknowledges he ought to have acquainted the Governor with this relation, but has had such bad success, the Governor making this jailor his judge. Was out on bail, but soon found his liberty to be but a snare, that some loose person might witness words against him for breach of his bond, so that he was forced to return to prison. There has been lately much running out of lands, but for the most part by those who have settlements already. Hears of but few new settlements, and those are for the most part managed by negroes; which destroys the Christian interest, but if they were brought up as such, they might prove as good, if not better subjects than many of their masters. Begs him to present this petition to his Majesty, that since he was pleased upon petitioner's first letter and petition of October 27th, 1668, to take his condition into consideration, he would now signify his pleasure therein to the Governor of this Island. There has this year also been levied on the said Parish of St. John's, a rate of one penny per acre, which amounts to 200l. 5 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXV., No. 1.]
Jan. 10. 139. Minutes of the Council of Barbadoes. Whereas the Great Seal for the Caribbee Islands delivered by his Excellency into the custody of Lieut.-General Henry Willoughby at Antigua, is now by the death of said Henry Willoughby come into the hands of John Knight, said seal was by said John Knight on 2nd and again on 23rd December tendered to the Deputy Governor and Council, but they thought not fit to receive it without special order from his Excellency. 1 p. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 11, p. 184.]
1670 ? 140. Instructions from the Lords Proprietors of Carolina to the Governor and Council of Albemarle. Not being able at present fully to put our Fundamental Constitutions and form of government for Carolina into practice by reason of the want of landgraves, cassiques, and a sufficient number of people, the Governor and Council of Albemarle are instructed to issue writs to the four precincts of the county to elect five freeholders to be added to the five persons chosen by their Lordships, and who for the present represent the nobility and are to be the Assembly. Having chosen a Speaker, then to elect five persons to be joined to the five deputies chosen by their Lordships, who are to be the Council for the present instead of the Grand Council mentioned in the Constitutions, and govern according to the following limitations:—All persons so chosen to take the oath of allegiance or subscribe the same in a book. The Governor and the five deputies of the Lords Proprietors are to represent the Palatine's Court and exercise the same jurisdiction and powers as in the Constitutions. To establish necessary courts of justice until the grand model of government can be put in execution. Power to ratify laws, as in the 12th article and other articles of said Constitutions. To cause the Surveyor-General to divide the country into squares of 12,000 acres, not to alter any man's right, but that the Constitutions and the form of government may the sooner be put in practice, proportions of land to be granted to those coming to plant before 25th December 1672, and the form of grant to be passed. 3 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 20, pp. 52–55.]
1670 ? 141. Lords Proprietors of Carolina to Sam. Stephens, Governor, and to the Council of Albemarle County. Have received a petition from the Grand Assembly of Albemarle praying that the inhabitants of said county may hold their lands upon the same terms as the inhabitants of Virginia hold theirs, which their Lordships are content to do, and hereby empower the Governor and Council of Albemarle County to.grant lands upon the same terms accordingly. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 20, p. 29.]
Jan. 20. 142. Eight Acts of the Assembly of Albemarle County ratified and confirmed by the Lords Proprietors of Carolina the 20th January 1670, viz. :—1. An Act prohibiting suing of any person within five years. 2. Concerning marriages. 3. Concerning transferring of rights. 4. Exempting new comers from paying levies for one year. 5. Against ingrossers. 6. Concerning defraying the charge of the Governor and Council. 7. What land men shall hold in one dividend. 8. For the speedier seating of land, and prohibiting strangers trading with the Indians. "The foregoing Acts were passed again the 15th October and sent per Mr. Nixon" in John Locke's handwriting. 4 1/2 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 20, pp. 48–52.]
Jan. 20.
143. Minutes of a meeting of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina at Sir Geo. Carteret's lodgings at Whitehall. George Duke of Albemarle being dead, and Lord Berkeley the eldest in years of the surviving Lords Proprietors, is admitted the second Palatine of Carolina. Sir Peter Colleton quitted his place of high steward and made election of that of chancellor. Duke of Albemarle sent his commission to his deputy to the Governor [left blank] in Albemarle County by the title of treasurer. Lord Berkeley commissioned Sam. Stephens his deputy and Governor of Albemarle County. Lord Craven deputed John Jenkins—Lord Ashley, John Willoughby—Sir Geo. Carteret, Peter Carteret—and Sir Peter Colleton deputed Mr. Godfrey. 1 p. In the handwriting of John Locke. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 20, p. 47.]
Jan. 22. 144. An account of the present state of the Island of Jamaica, given in to Sec. Lord Arlington by Chas. Modyford. Jamaica contains by computation 700,000 acres, of which are granted away by patent 165,564. Number of fighting men 3,000, besides privateers, who are incirca 1,500, and have 20 small vessels (the biggest carrying but 12 guns); women and children incirca 1200; negroes or slaves, 2,500; in all, 8,200. The commodities of the island, being cacao, indigo, pimento, sugar, cotton wool, fustick, tortoise shell, Brasilletta, tobacco, ginger, and many other commodities, have laden 20 sail one with another of upwards of 80 tons this year; the great value of which commodities being considered, it will be very obvious that by increase of inhabitants his Majesty's Customs will be highly advanced, and their navigation exceed all the plantations his Majesty hath, cacao, the chief produce, paying 8s. per cwt., and being mostly exported again and the money left here, whereas sugar, the chief commodity of other colonies, pays but 1s. 6d. per cwt. Our own manufactures also are transported to Jamaica in great quantities, there going thither this year 18 sail or more: all this being done by encouraging planting, which was not till 1664. Nothing can now hinder the future thriving of that island but want of inhabitants and slaves, or the unsettlement of it with the Spaniards. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXV, No. 2.]
1670 ? 145. Petition of Henry Earl of St. Albans, John Lord Berkeley, Baron of Stratton, Sir Wm. Moreton, and John Trethewy, assignee of the late Lord Hopton, to the King. In 1649 the King by letters patent granted them all that territory bounded by the Rivers of Rappahannock and Patawomacke and Quiriough and the courses of those rivers and Chesapayocke Bay; after the restoration their agent Sir Humphrey Hook and other eminent citizens were molested by the Governor and Council of Virginia, which being brought before the King in Council, the petitioners surrendered some of their privileges, and on 8th May last a new patent, with the consent of Mr. Morrison, was granted to them [see ante, No. 63]. Pray for letters to the Governor and Council of Virginia with command not to interrupt their agents in planting and settling said territory. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX V., No. 3.]
Jan. ? 146. King to Gov. Sir William Berkeley. Recites grant to Ralph Lord Hopton, the Baron of Stratton (since deceased), and others in the first year of his Majesty's reign, of a tract of land between the Rivers Rappahanock, Patowomack, and Quiriough and Chesapeake Bay; the assignment thereof to the Earl of St. Albans, Lord Berkeley, Sir Wm. Morton, and John Trethewy, assignee of Lord Hopton, and the grant of new letters patent dated 8th May last past, and commands him to be assistant to said patentees in the seating and settling of same and to give them all due encouragement and protection. Draft with corrections by Williamson. 1 1/2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXV., No. 4.]
Jan. 26. 147. Fair copy of preceding. 1 1/2 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 93, pp. 1–2.]
Jan. 26.
St. Jago de
la Vega.
148. Minutes of the Council of Jamaica. Present Sir Thos. Modyford, Governor, Lt.-Gen. Sir Jas. Modyford, Maj.-Gen. Thos. Modyford, Col. Thos. Freeman, Lt.-Cols. Thos. Ballard, John Coape, Robt. Byndlosse, and Rich. Hope, Majors Chas. Whitfield, Ant. Collier, and Thos. Fuller. Major Anthony Collier was sworn one of his Majesty's Council. Ordered that Capt. Cooper be sent for to give account how he behaved himself with the outlying negroes that were at his house, and that two Quakers that came from Guinaboa be discharged out of prison. An ordinance for preventing the increase of lawyers, attorneys, and solicitors. 2 1/2 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 34, pp.184–186.]
Jan. 26./Feb. 5. 149. Commission of war by the Spaniard against the English in the West Indies. Whereas the Queen, by order dated in Madrid the 20th April 1669, was pleased to inform Don Pedro Bayona y Villa Nueba, Captain-General of the province of Paraguay and Governor of the city of St. Jago of Cuba, that relation being made to her of the hostilities which the French and English make in the Indies, she made complaint to the King of Great Britain, giving him notice of the peace celebrated in 1667; to which his Majesty answered that his subjects had no peace in the Indies, upon which the Queen commanded Don Pedro to cause war to be published against that nation, and to execute all the hostilities which are permitted in war, taking possession of the ships, islands, places, and ports which the English have in said Indies.To the end all may have due effect, license and authority is given to Capt. Francisco Galesio, commander of the St. Nicholas de Tolentino, to take and seize the same as above mentioned. 1 p. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 27, p. 46.]
Jan. 150. Petition of Ferdinando Gorges to the King and Privy Council. That Petitioner is grandson and heir of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who had a grant from his Majesty's late father of the province of Maine, was in quiet possession thereof about 26 years, and expended 20,000l. thereon. That Petitioner's said grandfather, engaging in the service of his Majesty's late father, was dispossessed by the Governor of Massachusetts Bay, shortly after which he died, so that the province descended to Petitioner. On request of Petitioner, his Majesty, by sign manuel dated 11th June 1664. sent by his Commissioners, required restitution of said province to Petitioner, unless they should show cause to the contrary, upon publication whereof, the inhabitants submitted to the government of Petitioner's agents, and the Commissioners, satisfied of Petitioner's right and title, appointed justices, &c. till Petitioner's possession should be confirmed by his Majesty, which was done by the declaration of his Majesty, recalling the Commissioners, April 10th, 1666. But after three years' quiet possession, the Governor of the Massachusetts again by force of arms took possession of the government of said province, turning out or imprisoning all officers, civil and military, seizing the records, acting in all things contrary to their allegiance to his Majesty, and refusing to send Commissioners to attend his Majesty, according to his express command. Prays that his Majesty will restore him to the government and quiet possession of said province. Full of corrections. Annexed,
150. I. Order in Council, referring above petition to Lords Committee for Trade and Plantations to consider the Petitioner's pretensions to the province of Maine, and report their opinion upon the whole matter to his Majesty in Council, Whitehall, 1669–1670, January 26th.
150. II. Order of the Lords Committee of Trade and Plantations on the above petition. On hearing the testimony of Col. Nicolls, Capt. Needham, and Messrs. John Archdale, Philipps, and Richard Bowles, and examining the evidence produced by the said Gorges, it evidently appeared to their Lordships that the allegations in said petition are true in every part, and that Mr. Gorges ought to be restored to possession of said province of Maine, but the manner of the doing thereof is humbly submitted to his Majesty's greater wisdom. Whitehall, 1670, May 9. Together 3 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXV., Nos. 5–7.]