3. Papers relating to the affairs of Sir Bibye Lake, Sir Roger Mostyn, Bart., late Paymaster of Marines, and General Wills, whose affairs had been in litigation, as well as those of Robert Peters, a Receiver of Hertfordshire, who was a debtor to the Crown. [These affairs have been repeatedly referred to in preceding portions of this Calendar. See Vol. CCXXII., No. 45, &c.]|
The papers include extracts from the Minute Books, from 15 Dec. 1714 to 17 July 1728, touching this business.
These affairs were fully considered on 9 May 1728, and a previous order to Sir Roger Mostyn to pay to Sir Bibye Lake 7,806l. 3s. 2¾d. was confirmed. See Minute Book, vol. 26, p. 100a. 36 pages.
6. Letters and papers relating to the proceedings of William Mathew, Gilbert Fleming, and Edward Mann, Esqres, Commissioners, appointed 14 June 1726 to contract with such persons (possessors or others) as would become purchasers of the French part of the Island of St Christopher. By their Commission they were appointed Receivers of the one third part of the purchase money, which they were to receive upon signing the contracts; and the other two thirds were to be paid at the end of five years from the dates of the contracts. The purchasers were to pay 10 per cent. interest. The power to the Comrs was only to contract subject to the approbation or disallowance of the Treasury; and in case the contracts were confirmed, the Comrs covenant to grant to the purchasers the fee-simple. The King on 1 May 1728 renewed the powers and added Lord Londonderry to the Commissioners.|
The papers include a debtor and creditor account of the sale of lands “late French” to William Mathew amounting to 26,226l. 18s. 1¼d.; a memorial of John Hart, Esq., late H.M. Governor of the Leeward Islands (received 28 May 1728) setting forth his services and his claims, and complaining of hardships from the Comrs. He prays that in consideration of what is set out in the memorial, and on account of his long services, and more particularly because he prevailed on the Assembly to pass the Act for the duty of 4½ per cent. &c. that he might continue in possession of the whole of his plantation, &c., or might be allowed to purchase the same for his son Thomas: and for a warrant to be prepared to pay his arrears of salary as governor. Also petition from him of a little later date on the same subject.
In the Minute Book, vol. 26, p. 165b, 24 Oct. 1728, is:—“Mr Hart late Governor of the Leeward Islands, attending, is called in, and his petic[i]on for a grant of 85 acres of surplus lands is read, and he is heard thereupon. My Lords acquaint him that they are determined strictly to adhere to the instruction of permitting none to be purchasers in their own right of more than 200 acres; and as they believed the surplus lands he desires may be already sold, but if not sold, the making the grant he desires, would evade and break through the said instructions, they cannot admitt thereof. Mr Hart hereupon submitted, and said he would accept the 200 acres in manner as the Commrs for sale of St Christopher's lands have conveyed the same.”
Memorial of John Willett of St. Christopher's, Esq. Has been many years an inhabitant of the island and serves his Majesty in his Council and as Vice-Judge of the Admiralty there. Obtained a grant of 200 acres of land which formerly belonged to the French. Sets out what had been done therewith, and prays to be allowed to purchase 100 acres the other 100 acres being enjoyed by Col. Abraham Payne (who married memorialist's sister) and which memorialist was willing to purchase.
Petition of Augustus Boyd of the same island, esquire. A grant of 160 acres of land, belonging to the French, was made to James Ward in 1704. It has since been reduced to 92 acres, and a grant made to him and his son James Ward, junr, Esq., by John Hart, Esq., the present Governor. The land was leased to one Shepherd, who assigned it to petitioner. It adjoins the plantation of the said John Hart, who prevailed with Shepherd to assign his lease to him and pretends that he ought to be permitted to purchase. The Comrs refused to allow petitioner to purchase. Prays to be admitted to purchase.
Memorial of John Willett and John Spooner of St Christopher's, Esqres. Were jointly possessed of a plantation in the part of the Island which belonged to the French, containing 200 acres. Have served his Majesty ten years in public stations. The Comrs refused to treat with them for the purchase thereof. Pray that their agents in London may be admitted to treat for the same.
Also the case of John Willett and John Spooner, Esqres [more fully set out]. See Minute Book, vol. 26, p. 113b, where the case is ordered to be drawn out.
There is also an account of lands sold to Edward Mann. 23 Nov. 1728.
The last document is a letter (duplicate) from the three Commissioners to the Hon. John Scrope, Esq. Have had a recess from the business of the Commission, occasioned by Lord Londonderry's arrival, since which have had four meetings. Send copy of minutes, which will show the business done. Think he, Mr Scrope, will discover by the letters that his Lordship takes his province to be, not the completing the commission, but to make insinuation into their (the Comrs) conduct. This would be very irksome to them; “even if they were accountable to him, or his menial servants.” However, they are silent on this matter to the Lords of the Treasury. Are in hopes that my Lord (on the resolution the Board came to, on the last meeting, of voting by the judgment of the majority), will think better of it, and treat them as not unworthy of being inserted in the same commission with him. At Antegoa, Nevis, and this Island have promoted “his Lordship's settlements or additional salarys” and done everything to merit his favour, but more is expected of them. After reading their Commission and Instructions his Lordship made some remarks that carried menace with them. He demanded whether the surplusage of the College plantations was sold. They answered, it was, and to Col. Morris. He disbelieved them, but being convinced, he said he expected it had been reserved for him. Told him they had for some time been apologising to their Lordships of the Treasury, and to him (Mr Scrope) for not having concluded, and did not know he intended to be a purchaser. He objected to the validity of the sale, and to all the sales made to themselves, because not put up publicly to the best bidders. To this they could only say that they had not made one of these for an undervalue, and they had not got their Lordships correction for these sales. Are persuaded that had this plantation, sold to Col. Morris, been sold for his Lordship, there would have been no objection for any defect in the form of contracting. [Show further how they had proceeded with the sales. Relate various other altercations which they had with his Lordship.] State also the price at which land was sold to the Executors of Holmes as well as to Col. Morris. Doubt not but among their opponents they will raise any sum to oust them (the Comrs), but hope, as they paid “a full candid price” that they, and their fortunes, will be protected against all attempts of malice. His Lordship has surmised that if not otherwise provided for, as a Commissioner, he will come in for an equal share with them (the three Commissioners) in their purchases; but this is impracticable, &c. 25 Nov. 59 pages.