Calendar of Treasury Papers, Volume 2, 1697-1702. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1871.
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Attention having been drawn to the general nature of this Collection of Papers in the preface to the preceding volume, nothing more need here be said on that subject; but as some of the papers appear to the editor to be worthy of more especial regard, they are, in conformity with the plan adopted in that preface, here noticed under similar heads.
It will be seen that the index has been prepared upon a different method to that in the previous volume, the object being to lead the enquirer more directly to the precise entry in the Calendar; besides which the reference in the index without turning to the Calendar at all, will be sufficient for the production of the document, by the officer in charge of the papers. In a few instances, however, where the entry is very lengthy, the reference to the page is given.
“That yor petrs brother, John Baston, did raise and maintain a company of foot at his own charge for Yor Matys service in the late rebelion in Ireland, which so incensed the Irish Papists, that they burnt eleven houses, plundered and totaly ruined the estate of yor petr and his said brother.
“That yor petr with great difficulty, hoping in part to retrieve his said fortune, built a smal vessel, called the Whitehal ‘Yatch,’ which he also put in Yor Matys service in the late war; but was afterwards taken by a French privateer, which so reduced yor petr and his family, that for a small subsistance he serv'd her late Maty, of ever blessed memory, as a clerke, under Mons. D'Allonne, her then secretary; in which time he did severall things for Her Matys closset, both in writing and drawing with a penn, which gave Her Maty great satisfaction; but after Her Matys decease he had no care taken of him, as her other servants had.
“That yor petr had Yor Matys order by Majr General Trelawny to make a draught of the light house on the Eddy-stone, near Plymouth, which Yor Maty hath now at Kensington, and afterwards Yor Maty gave express order to yor petr to make a second draught of the said light house, much larger than the former, and according to the new alterations that was then made to the said house, with the draughts of several of Yor Matys ships of war; which after much pains and six months' labour, yor petr perform'd to general satisfaction, and deliver'd it to Yor Maty at Hampton Court three days before Your Matys departure to Holland last year; for all which yor petr hath receiv'd no manner of reward or gratification, but is reduced with his wife and children to great want and poverty.
“Your petr most humbly begs Yor Matys royal bounty for his said drawings, and that such provision may be made for him, in consideration of his sufferings, as may be for Yor Matys service and the general benefit he humbly proposes by his said works.
Under date 6 March 1701–2 (Vol. LXXVIII., No. 64) is an interesting paper in relation to the well known John Evelyn, Esq. He had been a commissioner for the sick and wounded seamen and prisoners of war, and when he sent in his account (which must have been many years after the service to which it related), two items would not pass muster with their Lordships, who had not called upon him for a vivâ voce explanation, as he hoped they would have done. This produced the paper referred to. The first item was apparently for 40s. a day for travelling charges and other expenses, which their Lordships had cut down to 20s.; but he says 20s. a day was the stated price for a decent coach with four horses out of town, without any allowance for lodging and diet, a servant, and oftentimes a clerk, besides other contingent expenses. He had been obliged to go some hundreds of times to London, to visit hospitals, prisons, and other places, and was in perpetual danger in passing through the whole city. He was necessitated to wait on the old Duke of Albemarle, at the Cockpit, constantly once a week, and sometimes twice, to receive orders and to procure moneys from the receiver, and carry down slops, bundles of linen, and other accommodations, when ten thousand died weekly of the contagion. All the other Commissioners “shifted for themselves” [that is, they fled from the plague], and left him alone to take charge of the service. If he had deserted London and its infected skirts, or not supplied them personally, multitudes of poor sick and wounded seamen of our own, and prisoners of the Dutch, must inevitably have perished. Two of his marshals, employed at Leeds Castle and Chelsea prison, who had frequent recourse to him, died of the plague, and one came to him with the tokens upon him. The other item was for three-quarters of a year's pay after the war had ended, when his journeys and troubles still continued, and he had hoped that this would have been cast in as some recompense for his former services and expenses.
He also makes application for a fine of 150l. for making up the term of his lease for certain lands near Deptford [query Sayes Court], to be taken out of the debt due from the Crown to his wife's father, Sir Richard Browne, to whom the inheritance of that estate was promised by King Charles II., for his long service of 19 years abroad. His whole claim was for 6,685l. 10s.
Persons interested in the value of gold and silver and coins of those metals will find much information in a memorial of Mr., afterwards Sir Isaac Newton, dated 28 Sept. 1701 (Vol. LXXVI., 36). The assimilation of the value of the French and English coinage seems then to have engaged attention.
Some of the papers hereafter calendared, connected with the affairs of New York, are so exactly of the same nature as those printed in the volumes entitled “Documents relating to the Colonial History of the State of New York,” published under the direction of the Governor, Secretary of State, and Controller of that State in the years 1853 and 1854, that there can be little doubt they would have been inserted in those volumes if they had then been accessible.
But little apology is needed for the full abstracts of Lord Bellomont's letters, as they contain so much historical information. Some of them will be found printed in one of the volumes above referred to; but it is a very scarce work in this country. The letters occupy a prominent position in this Calendar, and it may be desirable to give some of the incidents gathered from them as a slight contribution to the materials for the History of New York at a critical time, as well as for the biography of one of its most energetic governors.
Lord Bellomont arrived at New York on 2 April 1698, (fn. 1) having been appointed Governor of the provinces of New York and Massachusetts Bay and part of the province of New Hampshire, on 18 June 1697, as may be seen in the Patent Rolls, 9 Will. 3, part 6, Nos. 3 and 5, and part 7, No. 10, and not, as Rapin says, in the beginning of 1695. The King, Rapin states, “thought him a man of resolution and integrity, and with those qualities the more likely than any other he could think of to put a stop to the growth of piracy, with which that province and the rest of the American Colonies were remarkably infested.” Rapin, Vol. III., p. 396. That he found a difficult task before him there can be no question; but these papers will show that he prosecuted his duties with vigour, and that he was ever as ready with his pen to attack his enemies as to defend his friends. It will not be much wondered at that he raised up plenty of the former when he adopted measures which materially interfered with the profits of persons who had lived largely upon illicit traffic, and who now suddenly found a stop put to such a system. The dismissal of several of the persons who had been in the confidence of the late Governor did not add to the number of his friends.
In the Earl's letter of 25 May 1688 (Vol. LIII., No. 23), he says that the trade of the port (New York) had doubled in ten years, and the city had grown vastly rich and populous, and increased to double the number of houses; and yet the accounts of customs had greatly decreased, and there had been a most general licentious trade with pirates.
The late Governor, Col. Fletcher, had connived (as Lord Bellomont says) at the corruption of his subordinates, and had combined with them to deceive the King and get as much money out of the province as he could (p. 212). Lord Bellomont urged that the Colonel should be censured in England for his administration, (fn. 2) to curb the insolence of his party. He says, when he (the Colonel) met with discountenance and punishment in England, the people there would be as tame as lambs. (See Board of Trade Papers, New York, Vol. IV., pp. 346 and 347.)
The new Governor found it unsafe to trust the sheriff, and was afraid to demand of him to call out the posse comitatus, although he required his assistance to rescue the officers who had been made prisoners when employed to make a seizure of goods in the garret of one Van Sweeten's house, because the sheriff himself had concealed goods to the value of 2,000l. The merchants at New York had evidently not been much accustomed to have their goods seized by the Custom-house officers, and were little inclined to submit to it; for when the new Governor ordered the above seizure to be made, whilst the officers were in the house, the owner and other merchants, whom he called to his assistance, fastened up the doors and windows, and kept them prisoners in the garret where the goods were, to the danger of their being stifled. (See 11 Oct. 1698, Vol. LVI., No. 78.)
One of the frequent causes of quarrels between the settlers and the natives is illustrated in a paper under date 16 Sept. 1698 (Vol. LVI., pp. 206–209). A Dutch minister of the name of Dellius, and three others, persuaded certain of the “Mohack” Indians to convey to them absolutely, their whole tract of land, under the pretence that it was a conveyance in trust for their benefit. Their disgust was intense when they found it was a scheme for fraudulently depriving them of their land. Lord Bellomont's letter in this Calendar, gives a very graphic account of his conference with the Indians, and of the smart reproof he administered to Dellius in presence of the persons composing the conference. He told Dellius that the act was of such a scandalous nature that the like practice was not to be found amongst the worst of men; and it was so very surprising, in a minister of the Gospel of Christ to a heathen people, whom he pretended to proselyte to the Christian faith. He assured the Indians he would do what he could with the King to get the grant revoked. (fn. 3) The interview and the present he made them, seemed quite to have retrieved their affection.
On 28 September 1698, the Governor had to suspend four members of the Council (see letter of 21 Oct. 1698, p. 230), as they opposed him in everything; he had previously removed Mr. Pinhorn, a judge (p. 206), from his place and from the Council. He further had to displace Mr. David Jamison, the clerk of the Council, and Deputy Secretary, who was a Scotchman, and had been condemned to be hanged in Scotland for blasphemy and burning the Bible; but had been transported to this province, and sold as a servant. He was also a professed atheist, and had two wives, but notwithstanding was first in the late Governor's confidence. Mr. Chidley Brookes, the collector of Customs, and Col. Bayard appear also to have given him a great deal of trouble.
In addition to the other difficulties of the new Governor on entering upon his duties, a Mr. Clement, who was to have gone out as his secretary, disappointed him, as he says, “dirtily;” so that he was without a secretary, and had to write with his own hand the drafts of his letters. He appealed to their Lordships for the support of the Government at home, or that they would recall him, and, as will be seen by the following entry in the Minute Book, he did not appeal in vain:—“28 Dec. 1698. A letter to my Ld Bellomt that my Lords have recd his sevll pacquets, & are extremely pleased wth his proceedings, and that my Lords will putt the matters under examination, and give all the assistance & incouragemt that is in their power.”
Their Lordships do not appear, however, to have given him all the assistance he required, for in his letter of 2 Jan. 1701, he was badly in want of a judge and an attorney-general, as he says nobody understood the drawing of an Act of Assembly, and the Courts of Justice were managed at a strange rate. (See Vol. LXXII., No. 3.)
A favourite scheme of his Lordship was to supply our navy from America with materials for shipbuilding at 30 per cent. less than they could be obtained from other countries, at a saving of 20,000l. a year. (See Vol. LXXI., 16, and LXXIII., 7.) In this scheme so much of the colonial revenue, as well as his own had been embarked, that when he died, which was on 5 March 1700–1, the Council wrote that they were in the greatest consternation; there was no money in the public treasury and none for the forces, the Earl not having left sufficient for the subsistence of his family, nor for his funeral expenses. They hoped the next Governor would have the same honourable principles and zeal for the King's interest and the good of the inhabitants. (See Vol. LXXIII., No. 7, 6 March 1701.)
The Governor resisted making the ports of Amboy and Burlington free (Vol. LIII., No. 23), as the merchants would transport themselves thither and carry away all the trade, to the destruction of the Government. See more on this subject under Trade and Commerce.
* * * * * * I am now to inform your honrs that the ship ‘Nassaw,’ Capt. Shelly, com[m]andr, lately came from Madagascar, & since run aground on Long Island shoare near York, landed some goods in this province, of which having some informac[i]on, Saturday 24 inst, I went & obtained a warrant from a justice of peace, & took wth me a constable in order to search ye house where the goods lay in the towne of Woodbridge. The mr of the house abused the constable & denyed my authority, & refused to lett the constable break open the door to search, which he would not suffer him to doe. I immediately got a warrant from the same justice to secure ye mr of ye house, Matthew Moore, but he refused to go before ye justice to ansr his contempt, neither could I persuade the constable he had power to break open the door till I had obtaind a third warrt for that purpose, & till ye justices of peace came themselves to see it done; where I found & seized 12 small bales or baggs of callicoes & muslins, & secured ym in a chamber in the house of Mr Richd Powell, at Woodbridge, & lay there in the same chamber, & sent to Amboy for a waggon to carry them away, which came early Monday morning; people being so precise here that they will upon no consideration suffer a waggon to travell on ye Sabboth day. On Munday about one or two in ye morning, the house & chamber where I lay was broke open by about twenty persons disguised, armed wth clubbs, pallizadoes, & other weapons, of a prodigious biggness, myself threatened my life, & ye goods forcibly carried away. I have not neglected to make all possible search & inquiry, but to no purpose, for ye people here are all lawless, & have no respect to Govermt or the King's authority, but publickly affront ye magistrates & those who endeavour to execute the law. * * * * * * *
[Sir William] Beeston, [Governor] of Jamaica, complains that his salary is so mean that it costs him at least 600l. per annum to support the dignity of the Government. There were often strangers, Spaniards, Dutch, and French, with flags of truce, who created great charge to him, and he also says there was great want of shipping to carry away the produce of the island. (See 26 July 1697, Vol. XLVI., No. 87.)
There is a very curious and interesting letter (Vol. LII., 28), relating to this Governor, dated at Spanish Town in Jamaica, 13 April 1698, signed Richard Lloyd, who describes himself as “at present” the King's Chief Justice in that island, giving their Lordships an account of some things not previously communicated. The said Governor [Sir William Beeston, Knt.], was required to take an oath, pursuant to an Act of 7 & 8 and 8 & 9 Will. III., which was evidently distasteful to him, for he had put off taking it until he had incurred a penalty. On his refusal to take the oath, the Council sent home an account of what passed, at which the Governor was extremely nettled. He was furiously angry, and spoke to the writer in menacing language, and asked him what the attorney and he had to do, to ask him so many questions about the commission the other day in Council. He threatened them both very hard, and said he would see the paper they were sending home. The writer told him his power as Governor was too great. It was not convenient to let him see it, lest he might stop it. Upon consultation with his friends, the Governor called another Council, and took the oath. This sudden alteration made many think conscience had not so great a share in the first refusal. The writer further says, “Tis not easy to imagine how great a Govr thinks himself, when he is gott five thousand miles from England. This has already wished all ye law books burnt, and in most things follows ye dictates of his own reason before yt of ye law.” In short, if he might compare him with ye worst Governrs that ever had been there, he might say of him that he was non melior sed occultior. There were divers persons in that country from whom considerable sums had been privately exacted, and yet they dare not make a noise about the matter, though some of them felt it severely.
The following letter (Vol. LXXVI., No. 60) is from the pen of Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, who had been a mistress of King James II., and played a considerable part in the history of her time. It is written in a very bold hand, and it would appear from the letter, if other evidence were wanting, that she was quite capable of taking care of herself and her interests. As is well known, she caused the Queen of James II. considerable unhappiness, and according to Burnett, the Queen in 1686 took means to shame her Royal consort out of his attachment. Burnett's account is that she called the priests to her aid, who on their knees besought the King to abandon this connexion, and he thereupon promised to see her no more. (See Burnett's History of his own Time, Vol. I., pp. 682 and 683.) His promise, however, was not kept.
“I gaither from amongst you, for non spoke very plane, that after haveing solicited some teen years upon a promis, it begins to be a questune whether I had a promis or no. I don't see how the presant King and late Queen could refuse allowing a mentenance for a daughter of King Jamesis, esspetially a lady unmarryd whos portion was so gevin as not to be out of ye power of the Crown tell she arrived at the aige of eighteen. I have spoke of this matter often enough to his Majesty not to mistake him, noe more then it was possible for him to be insensable of the obligation lay upon him not to leave King James daughter eather to the charrity of ye parish or to be a burdon to her mother's fortune, what I askt was noe more then was ever given. I shall onely instance a very late example, Mis Craufts had as much allowed her for the mentenance of ye Lady Mary Tudor, (fn. 4) and afterwards it was allowd upon the same score to the countis of Marschall, both by King Charles and King James, and duly payd, Sr Stephen Fox, and all that waire then in the Tresury knows how those matters went; tis not the contenewance of a pention now, but the arreare of what was promist me long agoe that I solicit for. I mentaind my daughter sutable to what I was told would be allowd me, the arrere is above 7,000p, the disopointment of it would ruing my fammely. I dare hope the King will not use me so cruilly, if it waire but for ye sake of Lord Portmore, who his Majesty knows has not had opertunitis to inritch himself in ye service. My Lords, I desire youl so favour my just pretentions as to propose some way to his Majesty that I may be payd in some competent time the some due to me, and that I may recieve part of it now, which my Lords will be ever acknowlidgd as a very graat obligation by
Attention was drawn in the Preface to the former Volume to papers relating to the well-known Dr. Titus Oates. He here fully details the barbarous sentence which he partially underwent (Vol. XLIX., 32). Thanks to a good constitution and a skilful surgeon he survived to trouble the Treasury for several years. At times, according to his own account, he suffered from destitution, and had not clothes worthy to appear before His Majesty (Vol. XLIV., 60), but succeeded, as is shown by these Papers, and by other Treasury records, in obtaining what may be supposed to have helped to heal his wounds in the shape of various sums of money. He enjoyed a pension of 40l. a month from 1689 to 1692. He then endured some privation for the next few years, but besides minor sums 500l. were ordered by the Treasury on 15 July 1698, to pay his debts, and 300l. a year for his and his wife's life. (See Treasury Minute Book, Vol. VIII., p. 206). This was no doubt more satisfactory to him than the novel reversal of his sentence, proposed by the Lord President in the House of Lords, who said that the only reversal of his sentence he would assent to, was, that as he had been whipped from Aldgate to Tyburn, he should be whipped from Tyburn to Aldgate.
The letters from Mr. Blathwayt, the Secretary for War, to Mr. Lowndes give a clear insight into many of the matters that occupied the King's mind as to the financial arrangements for the army during the summer of 1697, when there was evidently a difficulty as to the supplies.
“His Majesty having agreed with some undertakers, for the providing imediatly a magazine att Gand and elsewhere, consisting of two million of rations, on condition that that there be forthwith paid to them by advance, the sume of thirty thousand pounds sterl., and a deposite made att the same time in a third hand, of ticketts or tallies upon the malt, for thirty thousand pounds sterl. more; to be made use of by them (in case they be not otherwise satisfied) in March next; the interest of those tickets or tallies being reserved to His Majesty. And it being absolutely necessary that these conditions be complied with on our parts, His Majty commands me to signify his express pleasure, that care be taken by the Lords of ye Treasury, to make an immediate remittance of the first mentioned summ, and that ye deposite of the tickets or tallies be likewise made, in the hands of a third person, as above mentioned for the satisfaction of the contractors; without which, neither they nor any other persons, will undertake the making the necessary magazine, for the subsistence of our horse in their winter quarters.
“The reason of this great advance and security, so much beyond what has been demanded for former years, is occasion'd by the loss of our credit, which makes it absolutely necessary that the foregoing conditions be complied with.”
Mr. Macky [a coast surveyor at Harwich], says that in 1692 he made the first discovery of the descent designed by the French from Le Hogue, and on his information Admiral Russell went out and burnt the French fleet; he also seized Mr. Francis le Rue at Harwich, coming from France with credentials from King James, and sometime after Mrs. Aldridge, with 112 letters in a double-bottomed box, all written from St. Germains, whom, with several others, he sent up prisoners with their papers to Mr. Secretary Trenchard. (See Vol. XLIII., 67.)
Some curious particulars are afforded of the manner in which the Czar Peter the Great, and the persons who accompanied him passed their time, whilst on their visit to this country in the spring of the year 1698. Vice-Admiral John Benbow was then tenant of a house and gardens called Sayes Court at Deptford, which he held from the well-known John Evelyn, Esq. The Czar became the tenant of the Vice-Admiral, who let the house to him, as he says in his petition (Vol. LIII., 4), with all the furniture as it stood, “supposing it might be a pleasure to his good master the King,” and that the Czar “would have used his house, goods, and gardens otherwise than he finds he hath, which are in so bad a condition that he can scarcely describe it.” The mischief done was very extensive, in fact, there is quite a catalogue of the destruction, much larger than it might be supposed by the amount, 350l. 9s. 6d., at which it was than valued. Of this sum Sir Christopher Wren recommended 162l. 7s. to be apportioned to Mr. Evelyn (Benbow's term [of three years] having nearly expired), 158l. 2s. 6d. to the petitioner and 30l. to a poor man named Russell, whose house was ruined by the “guards.” The damage was of such a nature as must have resulted from the recklessness of persons leading the most disorderly lives. Indeed, these papers supply undeniable evidence (at least for this period of his life) for Macauley's strong remarks in relation to the Czar (History of England, Vol. V., pp. 78 and 79), that “with all the high qualities which were peculiar to himself, he had all the filthy habits which were then common among his countrymen. To the end of his life, while disciplining armies, founding schools, framing codes, organizing tribunals, building cities in deserts, joining distant seas by artificial rivers, he lived in his palace like a hog in a sty; and when he was entertained by other sovereigns never failed to leave on their tapestried walls and velvet state beds unequivocal proof that a savage had been there.”
Amongst the numerous articles destroyed and injured were “Twenty fine pictures very much torn and the frames all broke, 10.00.00,” and “severall fine draughts and other designes relateing to the sea, lost, vallued by the Admirall at £50 0 0.” In a note at p. xi. of the preface to Memoirs illustrative of the life and writings of John Evelyn, Esq., F.R.S., edited by William Bray, Esq., F.S.A., “it is said that one of Czar Peter's favourite recreations was to demolish the hedges by riding through them in a wheelbarrow;” whether that were so or not, certain it is that in the “Account of damages done to the building and fences by the Czar of Moscovy,” there is a claim of one pound for three wheelbarrows broken and lost.
Other sums of 1,500l. and 300l. had been ordered by the Treasury to be issued to the Cofferer of the Household in the previous December and January for the reception of the Czar and his court. (See Treasury Minute Book, Vol. VIII., pp. 83 and 85.)
Some idea may be formed of the amount of attention given by the King to the discharge of his administrative duties from three papers marked A., B., and C. (Vol. LV., No. 3) which were brought under his Majesty's consideration on 18 July 1698. Mr. Lowndes evidently attended the King with them at Kensington. One of the three was read to the King, and another by him, as appears by memoranda at the head, in Lowndes's hand, and in the margin are the minutes, made in the same hand, of what the King ordered to be done. Thus about 140 separate matters appear to have been considered and determined by His Majesty on this 18th of July 1698. (fn. 5)
The following paper (Vol. XLIX., No. 17.) relating to an enquiry into the proceedings of the Excise Commission at which the King presided, shows the observations made by him as well as of other persons present.
|“Kensington, 22 [sic] Nov. 1697, forenoon.|
|His H[ighness] P[rince] G[eorge].|
|Arch Bp Cant.||E. Sunderld.|
|Lord Chr.||E. Rumney.|
|D. Devon.||E. Orford.|
|D. Shrewsbury.||Mr. Secry Trumbul.|
|Earl Dorset.||5 Comrs of Tre[easu]ry.|
“Mr. Chancr reads the deduction of the matters wch have appeard to the Lords of ye Tre[easu]ry in their exaic~ons concerning the Excise, with all the memlls, minutes, and other papers concern[ing] the same as they are numbered to No 19 incl[usive].
“Chancr. Wilcox is dead & may take a good share of ye accus[ation]; Hornby is removed. In our exãcon we did not find comon care has been used. One orderd a man should not be charged wth the duty. A greater crime cannot be. Everard advanced ye London Brewery 20,000li, & great indeavrs were used agt him, & on recomcon His Maty putt him in. Our inquirys have been imp[er]tial, but things are come to that head its hard to apply remedy without His Mats help.
Some particulars of the fitting out by the Scotch of the ill-fated expedition to the Isthmus of Darien will be found under 27 June and 21 July 1698 (Vol. LIV., 17, and LV., 9). Their destination was evidently not then known in London. They sailed on 16 July 1698. (See the Darien Papers printed by the Bannatyne Club, p. 178.)
|“To the Right Honble ye Lords Commrs of His Mats Treãry.|
27 June 1698.
|“By the Commrs for managing & causing to be leavyed & collected his Mãts. customs, subsidies & other duties.|
“The Commrs doe herewith humbly lay before their Lordp copie of an information which they have lately received from their agent in Scotland concerning several ships of great burthen preparing to be sent out from thence with a great number of souldiers & tradesmen, and all sorts of comodities & provisions designed as is supposed for the north parts of America.
“And it seeming by the sending four governors or councellors upon the said ships that the Scotch are making some settlements in those parts, wch being of soe great moment with respect to the trade & navigation & revenue of customs in this kingdome the Commrs thought proper for their Lordps notice for such measures to be taken therein as their Lordps shall think a matter of such importance may deserve.
“Concerning the Affrica affairs, they are now making all in readiness for their voyage (vizt.): Three large ships of about five and six hundred tonns each of them, the one called the Saint Andrew, forty four gunns, two decks, Capt. John Brown, Comander, but its said hath laid downe his commission upon some differences arising from the company and him; the other called the Calledonia, Capt. Drommond, comandr, about the same force. The other called the Union, Capt. Pinkerton, comander, with a snoe of eight gunns, an attender with an English built Pink, about a hundred tonns, one John Malloch, comander; its thought they may saile within fourteen dayes and by the most probable conjectures design for ye north parts at the back of America; they are mightily stored wth all sorts of comodities and provisions, and judged will take a thousand or twelve hundred soldiers and tradesmen with them They have four principall governours or councellors goes with them.
“That he was born and hath ever since lived on the coast of Kent; was from his infancy bred up to the sea, and in the owling trade, in wch he hath had as great a share, and as master made as many or more voyages to and from France, as any man on that coast.
“That having wholy declined the same, as being convinced of its pernicious and destructive effect to the Government and his countrey, he was the first man that discovered the ways and means for suppressing the same, wch have been put in practice, and hath in a manner wholy destroyed those evills through the coasts of Kent and Sussex.
“That having given sufficient testimonies of his sincere affection to his Maty and this Government, wch in the year 1695 was designed to be invaded from Callis, &c., he was on the 5th of August 1695 recommended to the Rt Honble the Lord Chancellor, as a fitt person to send over to France to give an accot of the designs and posture of the enemie, which he accepted to perform, and was promised to be very well rewarded, and had orders to follow the directions of Mr James Chadwick, deceased, then member for Dover, and son-in-law to the late Arch bishopp of Canterbury, wch he did accordingly.
“And on the 11th of August 1695 went for Callis, betwixt wch and the 11th of Feb: next following, he went and return'd three times, running the aparent hazard of his life each time; being in with the intended invaders, by stealth gott letters out of parcells made up to be sent for England, by other hands, and brought them over with the first and most certain intelligence of men and things relating to the said intended invasion, to the very great service and satisfaction of your Maty and your ministers, as is well known to the Ld Chancellor, Mr Secretary Vernon, and others; all which he hath perform'd att his own charge, and therein expended wt money he had or could borrow, as he also afterwards did, in the detection of the owlers and smuglers, their accomplices and abettors, many of whom (vizt), Paine, Hunt, Nowell, &c., were by him taken, and with many others convicted,” &c., &c.
This was referred by an order in Council of 18 May 1699, to the Lords of the Treasury, which recommended him for some better employment as a recompense for his services. It is minuted:—“Read 22 Jun. 1699. My Lords can doe nothing upon this.”
Many papers will be found touching this important Government Department. An interesting report on the subject of foreign letters, dated 27 April 1699 may be read in Vol. LX. No. 77. Public opinion, so far as it was shadowed forth in the Post-master's Report of that day, agreed very exactly, not only with public opinion of our own day, but with its practical application in the cheap conveyance of letters. The report in question states that it had “been found by experience in the office here, that the easy and cheap corresponding doth encourage people to write letters, and that this revenue was but little in proportion to what it now is till the postage of letters was reduced from six pence to three pence.” The loose manner in which the letters were collected for America is also worthy of remark, viz., by bags lodged by masters of vessels in the coffee houses, the depositors being at liberty to rummage and thereby become acquainted with the contents of the bags.
“There runs a post from London to Glocester, thro' Cirencester, from whence there is a branch thro' Tedbury to Wotton-under-Edge, which is within 14 miles of Bristol. This post from London to Glocester passeth through Abington, takes in there a post from Oxford: so yt if a stage be establish'd betwixt Bristol & Wotton-under-Edge, wch would not cost above 30 pounds per ann., there would, according to ye best computation yt can be made, be above 150 pounds per ann. more advantage to ye Post Office, by such letters as are now all convey'd by carrier. And experience hath shewed us yt such posts as have been setled, tho' at first they may not yeild so considerable a revenue, yett they daily increase, in regard all people finding ye speedy & safe conveyance by ye post, do much rather choose to send their letters that way, then by carrier, when posts are known & regularly fix'd * * *.
They further say that, “From Cyrencester to Exeter is about 90 miles; between wch places is a great & constant trade for wool, and wt letters are sent from Cyrencester to Exeter by way of London, go at least 220 miles: so yt to have an answer to such letters, requires near a fortnight, & by ye carrier it is ye same; whereas if this by-post was establish'd, an answer might be had in 4 days, and ye same may be sd for ye other towns, wch lye about these stages.’” (See about 16 June 1699. Vol. LXII., 21.)
The eminent philosopher and astronomer, Edmund Halley, conceived that he had discovered the true cause of the variation of the compass, and had obtained a small vessel from the Lords of the Admiralty to make experiments, in remote parts, proper to ascertain the theory of magnetical direction. On his petition for the very moderate sum of 100l., the same was allowed, to make use of foreign ports, and take with him the required instruments, such as clocks, telescopes, &c. (See Vol. LVI., No. 31, 20 Sept. 1698.)
Among the many great and abstruse subjects which occupied the mind of this gifted man, this was evidently a favourite, for whilst a school-boy he is said to have made observations on the variation of the magnetic needle, and the subject occupied his thoughts a great deal in after life. (See Chalmers's Biographical Dictionary, Vol. XVII., pp. 71 and 75.)
In a paper under date 27 Feb. 1700–1 (Vol. LXXII., No. 57) there are notices of two eminent men, viz., Dr. John Wallis, the mathematician, who was one of the first members of the Royal Society, and Dr. Thomas Hyde, a learned writer and Oriental scholar. He was also Keeper of the Bodleian Library. The former was engaged in teaching the art of deciphering and the latter in instructing youths in the Arabic and Turkish languages. Both came to the Treasury for rewards for their trouble.
The Governor of New York on 21 Sept. 1698 (p. 212), writes that food and clothing were treble the price of the same in England, and again on 21 Oct. (p. 229), that land in the Jerseys could be bought at 5l. for 100 acres; and land in the province of New York cost 4l. 10s. per acre to clear, being all wooded.
In a proposal for raising 112,500l. per ann. by a duty on hats, the population of England and Wales is estimated at seven millions; each of whom would wear out a hat in a year. The paper is undated, but is probably a little before the year 1700. (See Vol. LXVI., No. 50.)
The following interesting documents (Vol. LIV., No. 46) illustrate the topography of Westminster as well as the sagacity of the great architect, or rather surveyor of works, as he was then called, Sir Christopher Wren. The churchwardens and inhabitants of St. Margaret's, Westminster, petitioned to have the clock house and bell sold for the benefit of the poor; the parish being in debt about 2,000l. The King gave them what they asked. There is a warrant granting the bell and all the materials of the building to the churchwardens in the King's Warrant Book, Vol. 12, p. 530. They afterwards obtained a lease for 31 years, of the ground whereon the clock house stood, as it would seem, to erect a charity school for the poor children of the parish. (See Letter Book, Vol. 10, p. 258.)
“That the poor of the said parish have increased so much of late years that they are now indebted abt 2,000li, the interest whereof is very burthensome to the inhabitants, who are so impoverisht that it will be impossible for them to pay the principall. But that (sic) would aleviate yor petrs in some measure therein would be by yor Mats being graciously pleased to bestow on them the old clock house and bell thereof, called Great Tomm of Westminster, by which act of charity your Majty would put a great many people out of danger of their lives, who inhabit under the same, it being so decayed and ruinous; least by its falling downe it should destroy them.
“Yor petrs therefore most humbly pray yor Majty for reasons aforesaid, that you would be pleased to grant your warrant to the said churchwardens, to have the said clock house and bell sold for the use of the poor of the said parish.
“In obedience to your Lpps reference upon the petition of the churchwardens of St Margaret's, Westminster, praying a warrant to have the clock house and bell sold for the use of their poor, I have viewed, inquired, and considered of the same, and in pursuance of the severall parts of your Lpps reference; 1st, that I should give a trew state of the same; 2dly, the value of what is desired; 3dly, my opinion what is fitt to be done. I humbly certifie: 1st. That the houses or little tenements risen by connivance from booths, are so built about the tower, that it can neither be repared nor pulled downe without a strong scaffold built over such slight houses to preserve them; these tenements being upon the wast of the Pallace, I suppose are part of Mr Hall's great lease; the present landlady of them is an old lady living in Northamptonshire, as I am informed, and the reversion in a laweyer. The present tenants, though forewarned very often of the danger, willingly runne the riske of their lives, because for that reason they pay litle or noe rent; but I suppose the Tower itselfe can be no part of the wast, and was alwayes esteemed by our office as incumbent upon us to repare, but by reason of the antiquity and these impediments, wee could do litle towards it. Yet about 18 years past a designe was given to King Charles, and seconded by the then Lord Cheif Justices and other eminent lawyers to new case it with ashler, and to put a lanterne upon it, to raise the bell higher, and to make a new clock; and as I remember, the estimate of this designe was about 1,500li. It would have been usefull to the terme, and very ornamentall to this part of the town, but no order was then given.
“2dly. As to the valew of what is desired, I question whither the materialls of the Tower will pay for the scaffold and dammages that may happen to the houses, and the charge of taking downe and carrying of rubbish. The bell I have viewed, and by guesse as it stands, and by compareing it with other great bells which I know, take to be two tunns in weight, which at 8d p[er] pound (the highest price I can, upon inquiry amongst the founders, find will be given for old metall) will amount to 149li 6s 8d. It is a large but thin bell, of an excellent tone, and cannot prove to be neer three tunns, and if it should be three tunns, will amount at most to 224li.
“3rdly. As to my opinion what is fitt to be done. Your Lps are the best judges how the petitioners may be relieved as deserving your compassion; yet pardon your surveyour, if out of duty, he modestly aske whither it be better to pull downe a public building upon so small a consideration, or to repare it with advantage to the beauty of the towne, which would most certainly be done in any of our neighbour countries, who are more sensible then wee, that to adorne their towns, is a lasting benefit to the poor; but this is said with the utmost submission to your Lps wisdome.
In 1697, Sir Thomas Lane and Sir John Moore, Knts., William Penn, and others, on behalf of the proprietors of East and West Jersey, state that King Charles II. granted them the liberty to constitute maritime and other officers, and to make and elect ports in those provinces; and thereupon they had constituted the towns of Amboy in East Jersey, and the towns of Burlington, Salem, and Cape May, in West Jersey, to be ports for lading and unlading merchandise; and notwithstanding the provinces were no ways dependent, or part of the province of New York, yet the collectors there presumed to make all ships and vessels bound to the Jerseys come to New York to unlade or pay customs there, which they were advised was illegal, and discouraged the trade. They prayed to enjoy the liberty of their own ports for the lading and unlading goods.
The Commissioners of Customs in London, to whom the petition was referred, reported that the inhabitants of New York had granted a certain revenue to the Crown of England for the defence of that province, arising by an impost or custom on imported and exported goods, on Indian trading, on goods carried by Hudson's River to Albany, and excise of liquors retailed. The collector of those duties had demanded the same on all goods belonging to East and West Jerseys, coming within the river of New York, called Hudson's River, which, being about a mile and a half over, divides the Jerseys from New York, being, as he alleged, agreeable to former practice before his time. The Commissioners referred the matter to the Lords of the Treasury, as those duties did not come under their consideration; but their Lordships dismissed the petition on reading the report of the Commissioners of Trade. (See 31 Aug. 1697, Vol. XLVII., No. 46.)
Something may be gleaned for the history of the trade of the port of London from the papers in Vol. XLVIII., No. 41b. The wharfingers, land surveyors, and land waiters were charged with being in confederacy so to mix up the goods on the different quays between Tower Wharf and London Bridge, that the payment of the duty might be avoided, and so by smuggling for the merchants they would enrich themselves. Although all the papers are interesting, perhaps the following may serve best to show the nature of the charge that was made against them. It is docquetted “Memoriall to the Lords of the Treasury touching a confederacy between the wharfingers, land-surveyors, and land-waiters.” The Commissioners of Customs had less to object to the wharfingers than they had to the other two bodies.
“It is well known that the lawfull keys are by virtue of the King's Commission, pursuant to an Act of Parliament, set out and bounded with posts placed at a convenient distance, not to hinder men's passing from key to key, but to prevent the rouling away or running of goods from off the keys where landed and intermix them with other goods of the same kinds upon the adjoyning keys, purposely to avoyd the payment of the duty, by which practice great frauds were formerly comitted by the wharfingers, who never were freinds to the revenue. And this was the true cause why (upon the execuc[i]on of that commission) those ports were so sett and ordered for ye bounding every particular key, as above said.
“And it is morally impossible when the keys lye open for the landwayters to prevent those abuses, but especially upon great glutts of shipping, when the keys are crowded with business. And yet of late, by a generall consent of ye wharfingers, all those ports and boundaryes are puld up, and the keys now lye open from Tower Wharfe to London Bridge, and they are all entered into a combination, and have united themselves into a body, as if they were incorporated, and have also agreed that what mony does arrive by wharfage shall be brought into one comon stock, and the profitts equally devided, by which they will have it greatly in their power, from the assistance they will have from one another, to smuggle for the merchants and enrich themselves out of the King's pockett; and this combinac[i]on is become the more dangerous by the friendship they have lately made with the surveyors and landwayters, who, according to their president, have also entered into a firme compact and agreement with one another, to devide all their fees at the water side, and seizures, equally between them; the sueveyors to have such a part and the landwayters such a part, so that whether they are appointed or not appointed, make any seizure or not, they are to have their shares out of the comon stock, and when the charges are deducted the rest is to be divided as above every month, which is against all former methods of the managemt of the customes, removes all manner of checques at the waterside, and makes them all partners in frauds as well as in fees, and is together so strong a combination against the King's real interest and service, that in my opinion it well deserves a present remedy.”
The East India Company, by their charter, had been compelled to export 100,000l. worth of English goods every year, the draperies forming part of the same, not being in demand in India, had to be sold in Persia, which was prejudicial to the Turkey Company. The report of the Board of Trade, dated 9 Aug. 1698 (Vol. LV., No. 26), recommended that they should be compelled to export a tenth part of the value of their exports only, in woollen goods, and that the draperies should not be vended in Persia.
It would seem that considerable quantities of corn, meal, biscuit, and bread were exported from England before the year 1690 to America; but from that time, instead of our exporting to them, they had a redundancy, and Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands were wholly supplied with corn from the northern plantations of New England and Pennsylvania, and indeed it had become a settled trade. (See 17 Nov. 1698, Vol. LVII., No. 58.)
The same report and papers show that the slaves on their passage from Africa to the plantations were fed upon the substantial if not savoury food of beans, and the African Company were complaining that obstructions were put in the way of their obtaining the beans by the Commissioners of Customs, which would prove an entire obstruction to that Company in carrying on their trade, and a great prejudice to the plantations for want of their supply of negroes.
“His Majty commands me to acquaint you that the Lords Chief Justices and the Lord Chief Baron, with the Attorney and Sollicitor Generall, as also the judges of the Admiralty and Prerogative Court, having been advised with, upon the cases of forreign ships that have been lately visited in our ports, upon pretence of searching for wool, when they came in onely for shelter, against stress of weather, and had no intention either of taking in goods or unlading here, but were bound homewards with the goods they had bought in forreign markets. It being their opinion that, for the remedying thereof for the future, His Majty may give orders to his officers not to visit forreign ships so coming into our ports, but by virtue of a speciall warrant upon information, or for other just cause. It is His Majties pleasure that your Lordps send directions to the Commissioners of the Customes accordingly.
William Mathews, deputy postmaster of Oxford, in his petition (Vol. XLV., No. 46), which was referred to the Postmasters-General on 11 May 1697, and reported on by them on the 20th of that month, states as follows, viz.:—
“That your petitioner having received an order from ye Post Mr General to send up all such clipt hammer'd money as he had rec'd for postage of letters before the 18th of Novemr last, so as it might be paid into ye General office before the 18th of Decemr, your petitr did send by the barge, wch carries goods from Oxford to London, 200li, (that being the most safe conveyance), but a great frost then hapning, whereby the said barges were locked up in the river for several weeks, the said 200li was not paid to ye said Receivr Generall till after the said 18th day of Decemr; so that the same is not applied to yor petitr's credit by tale, but by weight only, at 5s/8d per ounce [according to the Act 8 Will. III. c. 2], which reduces the said 200li to 164li. 8s. 1d, so that yor petitr is in danger of losing ye remainder, being 35li. 11s. 11d. unless relieved by your Lops.”
“Nothing to be allowed for searching, and expences on guards and constables in taking prisoners to be allow'd with caution, in respect to time & difficulty of the service, by the respective offices which pass the bills.
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“That His Majesties library at St. James's is not only very much out of repair, to the great damage of many valuable manuscripts by dust and filth, but is likewise too little to receive all ye books; so that above two thousand volumes ly on ye floor, and all ye rest are, in a manner, useless; and above a thousand pounds worth are lodged abroad, in danger of being spoild or lost, wch were never yet brought into the library, for want of room. Your petitioner thinks it the duty of his place to represent this to your Lordships, and to request your Lordships to make some provision for the speedy repair and augmentation of ye said library.”
The search for the precious metals has occupied so much attention in the present generation, that some of the particulars of what would appear to have been an unsuccessful expedition nearly two centuries back may be interesting. Captain Richard Long, commander of the King's prize ship “Rupert,” petitioned the King in Jan. 1697–8 (Vol. LI., No. 30) for an immediate order on the Lords of the Treasury for a warrant of credit for 150l., that he might fit out such artists in metals as he had contracted with to go with him to America, and to buy quicksilver, utensils, and necessaries, as well as some cloth and ironwork to gratify the natives; without which his great hopes might be disappointed; he had already expended what he had received from His Majesty as well as all he had of his own; and in answer to his petition he obtained from the Lords of the Treasury 50l. in lottery tickets, with this ominous addition to their minute, to “have nothing more.” The captain again petitioned (Vol. LVIII., No. 51) for a balance of 77l. 16s. 7d. due to him for expenses about this expedition, which extended to Jamaica and the Gulf of Darien; and he gives his account of receipts and expenses, and the following is the creditor side of the account:—
This, as above mentioned, appears to have been an unsuccessful search, for in a third petition (Vol. LXXV., No. 48) he says that although he had not brought a present treasure into the nation, yet if there should happen a war with Spain, it would be proved that he had done the nation a great service, and some material things which were never known in England before, were then lying before His Majesty which would not be convenient to be publicly known. His petition was answered by their Lordships that they could not put the King to any further charge.
The petition of Mary Norridge (Vol. LXXII., No. 48), of the date about 20 Feb. 1700–1, will be read with interest. It illustrates the vicissitudes of human life and is only one of many instances in which the dawn began happily, but became troubled as the day of existence went on, and was not more cheerful at its close. The lady, as her petition states, was a daughter of a colonel in the army, who exhausted his estate to the extent of 10,000l. for King Charles I., was wounded and imprisoned, and having undertaken a very perilous service for the King, in venturing into Hull in the disguise of a blind decrepit old woman, received profuse promises from him and his successor, but nothing more. The petitioner was descended from the “Duncans of Scotland” on her father's side, and on her mother's from Viscount Loftus of Ely, who was Lord Chancellor of Ireland. She was also related to Lord Lisburne, their English residence having been Middleham Castle, Yorkshire. When she presented her petition, she and her sister were exposed to get their own livelihood. My Lords looked coldly on the petitioner, for their minute was, that they could not advise the doing anything upon the petition. The papers contain other interesting particulars. The following is a part of the petition:—
“That your petr is the daughter of Thos. Duncan, who was Lieut Colonel of horse to King Charles the 1st, and exhausted a considerable estate, to the value of above 10,000ll, in raising a troop of horse, and furnishing them with all accoutrements, and otherwise for the service of his Maty, never receiving any pay for his said service during the whole warr, and was also a great sufferer by wounds & imprisonment.
“That he was imployed by his said Maty in severall dangerous messages of great consequence and trust, whilst his Maty lay at York, to the often hazard of his life; especially in that desperate message when he ventured into Hull, and scattered 24 declarations after Sr John Hotham had shut the gates against the King, which no other person would venture to doe. And his Maty having a particular kindness for yor petrs said father, was loath to lett him runn such a desperate hazard of his life, but he being zealous to serve his Maty, disguis'd himselfe in the forme and habit of an old blind decrepid woman, and was led by another person and soe escaped suspition.
“That when he came back from his desperate undertaking, he mett the King, &c. in the garden at York, where his Maty embraced him with joy, and gave a particular charge to the late Earl of Lindsey, (fn. 6) that if he should dye, to see your petrs father provided for, and if he lived would see him rewarded himself, as well for his love as for his loyalty.” &c.
There is evidence of a strike having taken place in a branch of the Civil Service in the year 1695. (See Vol. LXII., No. 8.) The surveyors and officers of the London Brewery employed under the Excise Commissioners, all laid down their commissions together, to inconvenience that department, but they were glad to express their contrition in 1699 and to have the opportunity of once more eating the King's bread.
A good specimen of the working of the Circumlocution Office, similar to that noticed in the former preface is afforded in Vol. LXVIII., No. 40. In this instance seven different official persons or bodies of persons were required to obtain the transfer of a prisoner from Rotterdam to England.
Civil Service examinations would appear to be of greater antiquity than is generally known. The Commissioners of Customs had established them in that department in the year 1702, and personally conducted the examinations. They further sent the candidate for appointment for a second examination to the surveyor of the port, who, having examined him upon points proper to his business, gave a certificate of his ability and fitness, and the Commissioners then presented him to their Lordships for employment. There are the arithmetic examination papers of two candidates in Vol. LXXVIII., No. 34.
Our sympathies are generally drawn out towards persons in captivity, and more especially so when they are detained in a barbarous country. At the time over which the Calendar extends, a large number of our fellow countrymen, seized whilst sailing under our flag, were lingering in miserable thraldom in the empire of Morocco. In the year 1692 there were about 350 (see Vol. XVIII., No. 44). Mr. William Bowtell, merchant, had redeemed about 400 in 1694, and many had died of the plague. (See Vol. XXIX., No. 43.) In January 1700, there was an agreement that 272 should be brought from Mequenez and other parts of Barbary to Tangier, and put on board a man-of-war. When they were actually brought away seems doubtful. Many of them had been captured when they were young, and one when presented to Captain Delaval was 102 years old. (See Vol. LXVII., No. 11.) Captain Delaval was intrusted with a mission for the liberation of these “slaves,” and it was a task of considerable difficulty, their passage to liberty requiring to be smoothed with gold, jewelry, and other valuable presents to the Emperor, the Queen, and various other high officials of the Morocco Court. The captain had with him a secretary and 16 servants. In his account of expenses, he mentions that on landing in Tetuan Bay he and his attendants remained in tents till he received orders to proceed, and he made eight journeys between Tetuan and the Camp at Ceuta. (See Vol. LXIX., No. 49.) Amongst his difficulties, perhaps the getting his charges from the Lords of the Treasury was not the least. On 8 July 1702, his demand for 671l. 13s. 10d. was abated by them to 500l. “in full of all pretensions.” (See Vol. LXXIII., No. 29.)
In order to raise the requisite amount for the redemption of these captives, briefs were sent round by authority to the churches (as was then common) for collections to be made in their behalf, and one of these was circulated in June 1700.
From the London Gazette, No. 3,630, for 26 Aug. 1700, it will be seen that an attempt had been made to stop the charity of those kindly disposed to the captives who were still unransomed, for it says that two contemporary newspapers, viz. the Protestant Mercury and the London Post, had stated that the collection was over, as there was sufficient to redeem them. The Commissioners for executing his Majesty's letters patent for redemption of the captives, certify that this was false, that the collections were not over, and had not been made in many places besides London and parts adjacent, and that a seventh of what was required was not then collected. They hoped that all the charitably disposed would contribute liberally, for the poor captives lay under most grievous and barbarous usage. See copy of the London Gazette in Vol. LXXII., No. 5.
This false report had so mischievously affected the collection that the Lords Justices found it necessary to put forth a declaration that the sums which had been collected upon the above letters patent within the cities of London and Westminster and the bills of mortality did not amount to 4,000l., and for the redemption of the captives 14,000l. at the least would be required. See London Gazette, No. 3,640, 30 Sept. 1700.
The Editor trusts that he has culled sufficient from these memorials of the past to warrant him in the belief that the present volume will be acceptable to those who value our national documents and who wish them to be made thoroughly accessible.