America and West Indies: August 1670

Pages 78-84

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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August 1670

Aug. 1.
226. Gov. Modyford's additional instructions to Admiral Henry Morgan. Whereas nothing can be of greater prejudice to his Majesty's affairs than the old lawless custom of the captains of privateers going from the fleet with their vessels when they please, on information of any such intention, proved before a court martial, Admiral Morgan is to take from such persons their commissions and confer them on others in whom the Admiral can confide; and in case any have actually departed without license, and afterwards come within his power, to send same prisoners to the Provost Marshal of Jamaica. Not to suffer any private soldier or seaman to depart the fleet, or run from one ship to another, without license under his hand. For the better keeping of the soldiers and seamen to their obedience, to appoint lieutenants to captains of every ship. To give the Governor due advice of his motions, success or losses, that he may send further instructions and assistance. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXV., No. 50.]
Aug. 7
Port Royal,
227. Rich. Browne to Williamson. Has been 18 months at sea with a dull and sluggish commander, and could seldom hear from Jamaica or see any Spanish ships against whom he had commission. Set sail from Jamaica Feb. 1669, and spent most of their time in the Bay of Campeachy, taking nothing but a little provision, the Spaniards now sailing in fleets and no ships falling in their way. Weary of being so long at sea without purchase, they went towards Caimanos to make some turtle, where they found orders from Sir Thos. Modyford to make all speed for Jamaica. There they found Sir Thos. had made peace with the Spaniards in May 1669, and since it appears that the Spaniards made war with the English and French in April 1669, according to copy of a commission (enclosed, see ante, Nos. 149, 209) sent by the Governor of Curacao; by which the subtle dealings of Spaniards may appear, who by no means will be brought to a free trade. Found that two Spanish men-of-war had been on these coasts, burnt several houses, taken some prisoners and provisions, and had left a challenge both in Spanish and English; on which account the Governor and Council have made war with them, and Admiral Morgan is preparing a fleet with 1,500 men for some notable design on land, and Browne goes with him as Surgeon General, and will send a true narrative of their proceedings. Finds various reports of a change of Government here, hourly expected from England, and the most profitablest place, that of secretary, taken from Mr. Morgan and conferred on Mr. Povey, who is yet in England. Has ridden the whole length of the island and been in most of the inhabitants' settlements and collected what he can from them, and finds Sir Thos. Modyford very well resented by the people for a wise, sober, honest, and discreet man, as also Lt.-Col. Byndlosse; Major Beeston, captain of Port Royal Fort, is a well deserving person; Sir Jas. Modyford is not well resented by the people. Several persons in public employ must be continued to direct others unexperienced in these affairs; for these Colonies cannot be regulated by the true letter of the laws of England, but there must be a latitude left to the prudent management of the Governor upon several emergencies. Has been near two years in the island, and lost all in that unhappy blow of the Oxford, and now has been 18 months at sea and not got 2d.; hopes this design will do something. Is resolved to stay two years longer to get up his losses; beseeches him to beg of my Lord [Arlington] for a recommendation to the Governor for employ on shore here. Customer at Port Royal, which Sir Jas. Modyford has, Clerk of the Court at Port Royal, which Mr. Lothill has, and Secretary, which Mr. Povey has, are chiefest places of profit. A week since he saw a letter from the Governor of Bermudas to Sir Thos., saying that the Spaniards had taken a vessel of that place and used them very badly, and that 200 or 300 men should be ready from thence to serve this island upon any design against the Spaniard. Tortuga and the French upon Hispaniola have offered 500 or 600 men upon this expedition. This island is much increased with settled families from Barbadoes, and more hourly expected, and has great trade from all parts; at present 20 or 30 merchant ships in harbour; in all probability the best settled and governed island in the Indies. Begs him to remind my Lord to do something for him, and to present his service to Lord Arlington and Sergeant Knights. 15 or 20 sail of third, fourth, or fifth rate frigates would overrun the whole Indies in a very small time and add a splendid diamond to his sacred Majesty's crown. Whilst they are absent the island will be endangered, and it is heartily wished that his Majesty would send some frigates to secure the merchants and people from the insolencies of the Spaniards. Endorsed, Mr. Browne the chirurgeon. 3 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXV., No. 51.]
Aug. 8
Port Royal,
228. Rich. Browne to Williamson. About October 1669 off the Colorados on the coast of Cuba, they gave chase to a vessel which proved a Dutchman of Amsterdam, Captain Van Ducker commander, who produced "the Sir Thos. Modyford let pass," but that would not satisfy Capt. John Harmanson. Laboured what he could to dissuade him, and told him that the Dutch and they had had a long and sharp war, and were now offensive and defensive against all nations, and that he utterly detested taking the worth of a farthing from any nation in amity with his Majesty; but he would follow no advice, but took out of her 17 cases and "three anchors of brandy" and drew a bill on his owners. Van Ducker was cleared at Jamaica and sued Harmanson's security. Cannot tell what came of it, but Capt. Harmanson for his misdemeanors is now in prison. Van Ducker's ship was very leaky, and is since broken up at Jamaica, 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXV., No. 52.]
Aug. 9
229. Gov. Sir Thos. Modyford to Sec. Lord Arlington. These are chiefly to convey copies of his letters of 6th and 30th July, and to assure his Lordship that on Friday next our Admiral will sail for the guard of this island; after which his Lordship shall have an account of his success. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXV., No. 47.]
Aug. 9
230. Copy of the preceding letter. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 27, p. 44.]
Aug. 11.
Port Royal,
231. Rich. Browne to Williamson. Since his last of the 8th inst. one Mr. Stubbs has come from England, who brought a large packet from his Majesty to Sir Thos. Modyford: what it contains is unknown. Omitted in his last "a grand mechiefe to every person or meht in there letters, from there corespondents, wcb every man takes up, and open stiffles (? stifflees, i.e. without ceremony ?) as they please, if an office from my Lord were establisht for receipt of all letters, both comeing in and out, it would well satistie the people"; which employ he begs of his Lordship. Understands there is due to his Majesty at least 6,000l. per annum, which never comes to his coffers; which this bearer, Edward Fulke, will make appear, with other necessary matters, he having been resident in this island seven or eight years. Endorsed, Rec. Nov. 1. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXV., No. 53.]
[Aug. 16.] 232. Petition of divers merchants, inhabitants, and planters relating to the island of St. Christopher's to the King. Whereas his Majesty has appointed Commissioners for re-settling St. Christopher's, and petitioners understand that several inhabitants of Barbadoes are nominated, from whom they can expect no kindness, some of them having been heard to say it were no matter if the Leeward Islands were sunk, for they hinder the trade of Barbadoes. Pray his Majesty to join in said commission Lieut.-Col. Russell of Nevis, Major Smith of Nevis, Col. Clement Everard, Major William Freeman, Capt. Philip Payne, Lt. John Estridge, or others that have estates on the Leeward Islands. Signed by Geo. Gamiell, Geo. Hill, Valentine Austen, Jos. Groves, Wm. Baxter, Tho. Ball, Wm. Sewster, Hen. Lawrance, Arthur Hare, Rich. Baker, Hen. Bale, Christ. Fletcher, Fran. Wingham, Nath. Robinson, Capt. Sam Winthrop of Antigua, and Capt. Walter Simons of Nevis. With reference from Sec. Lord Arlington to the Committie for Plantations for their opinion. Whitehall, Aug. 16, 1670. Annexed,
232. I. Report of the Committee of Plantations on above petition. Recommend, upon advice with Lord Willoughby and the petitioners, that Sir John Yeamans, Sir Tobias Bridge, Col. Clement Everard, Lt.-Col. Randolph Russell, Major Michaell Smith, Major William Freeman, Capt. Philip Payne, Capt. Walter Symonds, and Lt. John Estridge (whereof three to be a quorum) as fit persons to be employed for taking possession of that part of St. Christopher's which is to be delivered by the French King. Signed by Lord Sandwich, president, and six others. 1670, Aug. 22. Together 2 1/2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXV., No. 54.]
[Aug. 16.]
233. Copies of the above petition and report, with the following mem.:—23rd August. Sent to Windsor to the Lord Arlington by Dr. Clarke inclosed in a letter from Mr. Slingesby. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 94, pp. 2, 3.]
Aug. 17.
234. Rules and Instructions for Wm. Lord Willoughby's agents in Barbadoes. Touching their accounts which are to be transmitted and audited in England, according to the course of the Exchequer, for the duty of 4 1/2 per cent. granted to his Majesty, and all other the profits in that island. Entered in the Journal of the Assembly of Barbadoes of 28 February 1670–1. 2 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 13, pp. 39–41.]
235. Lord Willoughby's observations upon his Majesty's farm of the 4 1/2 per cent. at Barbadoes. Has considered "the Book of the Draught of the Farm of the 4 1/2 per cent. within the Island of Barbadoes," and submits:—That the ends mentioned in the Act for raising the duty are for defraying the charges of the Government there, the public meeting of Sessions, the often attendance of the Council, reparations and building of forts, Sessions House, Prisons, &c., and all other public charges incumbent on the Government; whether therefore the farming of said duty be convenient, may deserve their further consideration, for the reasons herein set forth, viz., that the island will be much dissatisfied to see what they have provided for themselves shipped for England, that in case of war they will be unprovided with money or credit, and that when those revenues were received in kind, his Majesty's storehouses were never quite empty, and there was at least enough to preserve Sir Tobias Bridge's regiment from starving. But in case "the farmers do go on" then Lord Willoughby offers certain other considerations, which are stated at length. As for Antigua, Montserrat, and the other Leeward Isles, except Nevis, if they should at present be farmed, it would in all probability ruin them. 3 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 5, pp. 122–124.]
Aug. 20. 236. Governor Lord Willoughby to the Speaker of the Assembly of Barbadoes. Has hitherto spent all his time in attendance in order to their service, and effected little; 'tis possible they may wonder he has not done more, as in their letter of 30th Sept. 1669, they persevere in opinion that their addresses were necessary to be granted, though their fellow planters here were of another opinion. Must therefore deal plainly with them as hitherto he has done. It is not unknown to them what complaints the Royal [African] Company made about 12 months since against the whole Island of Barbadoes, and though Gov. Willoughby justified their laws to be authentic enough for the recovery of just debts, if factors and solicitors were not negligent, yet this stands still as a crime against them in the opinion of the Court, and the many complaints of the traders force him to be unfortunate with them, by just dealing to take off that scandal, else their trade will decay with their credit, which is very much impaired by the bad sugars sent thence, full 70 per cent. worse than Jamaica muscovados. Desires them to make or revive laws whereby all just debts may, without delay, be recovered, and merchantable sugar made by all, which nothing but the old Act of appraisement renewed will effect. His Majesty has now commissioned a President and Council to consider of all his West India Colonies, viz., the Earl of Sandwich, President, and Lord Arlington, Lord Gorges, Thomas Grey, Henry Brouncker, Sir Humphrey Winch, Sir John Finch, Mr. Waller, Capt. Titus, and Mr. Slingsby, the Council. Is informed that the last Assembly passed some votes contrary to his expectation, and particularly one for disposal of the 4 1/2 per cent. towards the payment of the matrosses; but till his Majesty order their payment out of that fund, they ought not to meddle therewith, lest they bring a greater inconvenience on the island than they may imagine. Thankfully takes notice of their good liking of his Deputy Governor, and hopes to prove as successful in his own endeavours for their service. Read at a Meeting and entered in the Journal of the Assembly of Barbadoes, 15th November 1670. 2 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 13., pp. 4–6.]
Aug. 20.
237. Gov. Sir Thos. Modyford to Sec. Lord Arlington. Has with much comfort and satisfaction received his welcome letter of 12th June, and although he is therein absolved of but one of those many imprudences laid to his charge, yet he promises himself that those other are also charitably buried in oblivion. His Majesty's commands have infinitely revived his despairing heart. His Majesty's orders touching the privateers came to his hands the 13th inst., whereupon he sent for the Admiral, who had sailed the day before out of this harbour, and told him his Majesty's pleasure, strictly charging him to observe the same, and behave with all moderation possible in carrying on this war. He replied that he would observe these orders as far as possible, but necessity would compel him to land in the Spaniards' country for wood, water, and provisions, or desert the service, and that unless he were assured of the enemy's embodying or laying up stores in their towns, for the destruction of this island, he would not attempt any of them; which (added he) could his Majesty have been acquainted with, he would (as all believe) have had no injunction to spare such a place. He sailed next day to Bluefields, on the way to the rendezvous, where they expect him to be in a better posture than ever any fleet that went out of this island, those rugged fellows having submitted to a stricter discipline than they could ever yet be brought to. That the Spaniards will never, unless necessity compel them, allow trade in these parts, his Lordship has often advised, neither did Modyford ever think they would employ the English privateers, unless the French and Dutch should endeavour to oppress them; but believes, on view of the Queen of Spain's schedula, they had hopes of French assistance against the English. But that will prove vain, for the French, partly because the Governor denied commissions against the Spaniard, but principally because he has joined with the Royal Company of France to impose some unusual duties on them, have rebelled and driven him from the shore, seized his estate and done him all the injuries they could. Both parties have applied to Modyford for assistance, but he has been equally civil to each and promised nothing, only has advised Admiral Morgan to assure the Protestant party of a good welcome here if they come to plant. Had that reputed most wise Council of Spain suspended their resentment but two years longer, most of our privateers had betaken themselves to some other way of living, for their rigging, sails, and ships were almost worn out, and their owners disheartened for want of commissions, so that the better sort daily came on shore to settle, and the seamen who will never settle began to dispose themselves on merchant voyages, and would much more willingly on his Majesty's ships were they in these seas, two or three of which will be needed, if the peace proceed, to secure the island against those rovers who will be always found in these parts by reason of the great conveniences they have in the Spaniards unpeopled countries, so that in one year longer they would have been very considerably reduced had not these unexpected provocations enforced his Majesty's authority here to provide for the security of this island by their best expedient. That by the same means when the peace is concluded, which Modyford can but faintly hope for, namely, denying them commissions only, these men may be in some reasonable time diverted from that course which has hitherto been their sole support, is his humble advice; other more violent ways will but make them in despair or revenge join with foreign nations or set up for themselves, which course had Modyford followed they would now be enemies or at best not friends, and he should have dearly repented the want of that assistance, security, and reputation we now gain by them. Could the Council of Spain be well informed of their want of men to defend their large possessions in these parts, they would conclude themselves incapable of destroying Jamaica and make peace; but they are borne up with false measures of their strength and have plunged themselves into this war, and so slight the application of Sir W. Godolphin; but a little more suffering will inform them of their condition and force them to capitulations more suitable to the sociableness of man's nature. Cannot too much celebrate his Majesty's care in erecting a particular Council for these West India Plantations; for whose information he will contribute his whole talent by the next, and also endeavour to send a survey of the island, which was so thinly inhabited till the end of the Dutch war that he was both afraid and ashamed to send it, lest it might fall into the enemy's hands; but now they are so well as it matters not if it were printed. Has charged the Admiral to send him an account of his strength, and from time to time of his motions and intentions, which shall be remitted to his Lordship by the first occasion. Cannot conclude till he represents how great his distractions were at the frequent advices of his Lordship's displeasure, and what the effects were like to be, and how much he is overjoyed at this glimpse of the return of his favour. 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXV., No. 55.]
Aug. 20.
238. Copy of preceding letter. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 27, pp. 51– 53.]
Aug. 23.
239. Minutes of Council of Antigua. Present, Capt. Saml. Winthrop, Lt.-Col. Sebastian Bayer, and Serjt.-Major Nathaniel Clerke. Ordered, that Jno. Vernon, clerk in the secretary's office, deliver up all the records to Jno. Parry and George Gowes, appointed clerks to the Council, on the decease of Capt. Francis St. John, late secretary; and that seeing there is no ordained minister on this island, each justice of the peace may join in matrimony any persons whose names three several weeks have been set to public view in the secretary's office. 1/2 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXV., No. 55*.]
Aug. 25.
Port Royal.
240. Edward Stanton to Col. Thos. Lynch. All his friends here are well except Capt. Brown who has been for some time very ill. Rivera had lately a design to attempt Port Morant, at least Lynch's plantation, which he intended to burn in the night and take the negroes, but meeting with a Frenchman, is gone to St. Jago; this design was learnt from English prisoners brought away by the Frenchman, and that 42 Spanish negroes from Jamaica have got safe to Cuba. Our fleet, though gone out, will not be ready for their design for two months, and then he hopes will meet with Rivera, who they say is afraid of the very shadow of a ship. Capt. Atkins is lately dead. Our "Mompose fleet" some few leagues from the town were ambushed and lost several men and forced to return to their ships. Hears the fleet will consist of 27 sail, French and English, and about 1,500 men. To Carthagena the word. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXV., No. 56.]
Aug. 31.
St. Jago de
la Vega.
241. Minutes of the Council of Jamaica. Capt. Hender Molesworth sworn one of his Majesty's Council. Ordered, because of the great "dryeth" whereby the cocoa trees have been in most places blasted, the indigo starved in the ground, and the canes yield far less than formerly, and also because of the war with the Spaniard, that the Judges of the Courts of Common Pleas, excepting only the Judges of Port Royal, adjourn their respective courts until January next. Order for settling the bounds of several parishes on the north side of this island. 3 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. 34, pp. 201–203.]