America and West Indies
August 1677

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Institute of Historical Research

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W. Noel Sainsbury and J.W. Fortescue (editors)

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1896

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138-144

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'America and West Indies: August 1677', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 10: 1677-1680 (1896), pp. 138-144. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=69966 Date accessed: 24 October 2014.


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Contents

August 1677

Aug. 1.
Jamaica.
375. Peter Beckford, Clerk of the Council, to Secretary Williamson. Sends the Acts already passed. The Assembly met 9th April last, and sat after two adjournments till 26th July; they had prepared more Acts, but some difference arising, the Governor after he had consented to these Acts, dissolved them, and new writs are out for a new Assembly to convene 6th September. Supposes they may finish all there is to do in a week. The last difference arose from one Browne, a privateer, taking a Dutch ship freighted with negroes, to trade with the Spaniards. Relates the circumstances. At least 300 come in since the passing of the Act against serving under a foreign prince. Men will not venture their lives to serve the French, it being death by said Act to do so. Several Spanish towns taken by the French of late at the taking of Sta Martha, they had about 100 English, who have all since come in upon the Act. Some of the prisoners taken brought to Jamaica by the French. Begs to be favoured with an open letter of recommendation to deliver at the arrival of the Earl of Carlisle, as Williamson gave him to Lord Vaughan. 2½ pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLI., No. 48.]
Aug. 1.376. Thomas Watkins to Secretary Sir Joseph Williamson. Sends papers which came to his hands this day by a master of a Virginia merchantman (the enclosures are the letters of 28th April and 11th June of Governor Berkeley and Lieutenant-Governor Jeffreys, see ante, Nos. 198, 293). [Col. Papers, Vol. XLI., No. 49.]
Aug. 2.
(Whitehall).
377. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Debate upon the business of Virginia and upon expedients to quiet the minds of the people there. Notice taken of certain laws made since the Rebellion for restitution of plundered goods, and that His Majesty's Proclamation for General Pardon did not hinder such restitution, but did only pardon the crime against his authority, also of a proclamation of Sir W. Berkeley contrary thereto. It is conceived much for His Majesty's honour as for the quiet of that place to issue a new proclamation confirming the former, and absolutely pardoning as to the crime of rebellion all that laid hold on the conditions of the same. Lord Culpeper and Colonel Parks examined in reference to the estates confiscated. Agreed to report to His Majesty that a proclamation may issue in Virginia to disannul whatever the Governor did in derogation of what, in His Majesty's name, was first proclaimed, and that restitution be made of all confiscations made by the Governor upon his proceedings contrary to the King's proclamation. Restitution of goods found in the hands of any that "partaked" in the Rebellion to be made to the lawful owners. Objections to a law passed since the Rebellion; that part relating to incapacitating those concerned in the late Rebellion from bearing office to be reconsidered. These Minutes to be sent to Mr. Secretary Coventry, and further proceedings respited till his health permit him to be present. Lord Culpeper, Governor of Virginia, to have access to all Virginia papers in the Plantation Office. 3 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CV., pp. 99–101.]
[Aug. 2.]378. "Objections against the laws of New England by Mr. Attorney." P. 1. Offences made capital which are so by the word of God; if by the word is meant the Mosaical law the obligation ceaseth and the patent will not in many instances be fit to be followed by Christians, e.g., to make it death to gather sticks on the Sabbath, and many others. P.15. Stubborn son on complaint of father or mother to be put to death. Part of the Mosaical law which makes it suspicious what is meant by the word of God; the law against the stubborn son took its original from the power of life and death which parents anciently had which by consent hath been long since disused. Pp. 12, 13. Burglary and robbery not punishable with death till the third offence. P. 15. Rebellion only such as is against the Commonwealth. P. 34. General Court called the chief civil power in the Commonwealth. P.58. Fine of 5s. for the observance of Christmas. P. 102. Civil marriage. P. 132. Penalty for walking in streets or fields, and for children playing on the Sabbath. P. 119. No provision for taking the Oath of Allegiance by common persons. Pp. 163, 164. The preamble of the oaths taken by the officers too restrictive, viz., "considering how I stand obliged to His Majestie by our Charter and the Government thereby established." P. 167. In the oath of a major of a regiment and other inferior officers no obedience sworn to the King. P. 117. Power assumed to coin money. P. 154. To make money current. "Recd. 2 Aug. 1677." 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLI., No. 50; also Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LX., p. 231.]
Aug. 2.379. Massachusetts laws repugnant to the laws of England [Presented by the Attorney-General] comprised under these heads: Civil privilege; liberty to dispose of estates; apparel; capital laws; power of courts; ecclesiastical laws; magistrates' election; freemen; dancing and gaming; observation of Christmas; marriages; coining of money; oaths; torture; drinking of healths; entertaining strangers; possession of lands, Anno 1672; single women not to entertain lodgers; oppression in trade; impressing soldiers. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLI., No. 51; also Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LX., p. 231.]
[Aug. 2.]380. Case on the Patent of the Massachusetts Corporation. The Patent confirms the right of soil and erects a corporation; the common privileges of corporation are granted with the reserving clause that the laws, &c. be not repugnant to the laws of England. The Company have not jura regalia, but by virtue of their patent have erected courts and digested the laws into a volumn in 1650–51. These laws are (1) defective (a) in making no provision for High Treason, (b) in not requiring the oaths of allegiance and supremacy as the laws of England direct; (2) objectionable (a) in the style, the word commonwealth being used, (b) in comprising under heresy several punishments disproportionate to the offences as by banishment and death, the pecuniary penalty for keeping Christmas day ought to be struck out; (c) in appointing civil marriage; (d) in the law that none shall be put to death without the oath of two or three witnesses, which may be a means of encouraging murder and other great offences. These instances are put as a guide that the Massachusetts may proceed according to their patent that they must act according to the laws of England. Signed by Sir Fra. Winnington, Solicitor-General, 1 August 1677. Underwritten, "Read 22 Aug. "77." 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLI., No. 52; also Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LX., p. 231.]
Aug. 2.
Whitehall.
381. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Read a Catalogue of Laws sent in by the Attorney and Solicitor General passed by the Government of New England which are repugnant to the laws of England, and their Lordships find much reason to advise His Majesty-to write to New England for the abolishing all these laws. Mr. Attorney acquainted their Lordships that the Agents were in a manner ashamed of them, only as regards that concerning the observation of the Lord's day they seemed somewhat tenacious. Their Lordships take notice from the complaint of Mr. Randolph that although the law limiting the Government to Church members was "abolished," yet the practice had been all along quite otherwise. Touching the principles and discourses of Governor Leverett, savouring of very little obedience to His Majesty, their Lordships deliberated upon it as a point much importing His Majesty's service that no Governor there should be established and confirmed without His Majesty's approbation, some of their Lordships added his Majesty's Commission, but this was thought at present unseasonable. The Agents were called in and several points repeated to them, more particularly the many repugnances found in their laws against those of England, all which His Majesty would expect to have repealed; that His Majesty would not suffer the abuse of the Navigation Act to continue, but they should receive an officer of the customs to see that Act in His Majesty's behalf fully conformed to. The Agents replied that as regarded Church members only they knew of no such practice as that complained of, but that any freeman is capable of being Governor, that several freemen are not Church members and that 'tis not the point of opinion in religion but the number of votes that prefers one and lays by others according to their constitution. And their Lordships seemed to acquiesce in this answer. The Agents were further told that their Principals were faulty in raising taxes on the King's subjects who traded with them, so that they must expect to undergo the amendment of these and other abuses, and attend the Attorney-General, (1) to observe his objections to their laws, if they can allege anything why they should not be abolished; (2) for the model of a pardon from His Majesty for coining money without authority; (3) for an additional Charter to give them power to coin money and make foreign coins current in that country; (4) for Mr. Attorney te report how he finds His Majesty's authority preserved in the present Charter. The agents were also ordered to give in a list of the Plantations which by the Judge's late report are outside the Massachusetts government that they may the better advise His Majesty how they might be governed Mason is called in and prays that the Agents might before their Lordships disclaim any title to the soil of his province. The Lords acquaint Mason that if they do not agree to give him his own there is a third power to be erected for the decision of what he and Gorges claim. After the Agents had spoken Mason is told they do disclaim title to anything Mason has title to. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CV., pp. 101–104.]
Aug. 3.
Whitehall.
382. Secretary Sir Henry Coventry to Herbert Jeffreys, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Thomas Webb goes to Virginia to obtain satisfaction of Robert Spring an inhabitant for a considerable sum of money due to him for goods and money supplied to said Spring, who it seems, thinking himself secure by the remoteness of the place where he is, will neither give satisfaction nor come to any account. Webb is altogether a stranger, both as to the country and their laws, and hath desired a few lines of recommendation to "your favour in his person and to your justice in his affairs," which Secretary Coventry has no doubt he will extend to him. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CX. p.114.]
Aug. 5.
Jamaica.
383. Sir Thomas Lynch to Secretary Williamson. Was to have waited upon him with the further advice received yesterday from Jamaica. Governor Vaughan's endeavours to restrain the Governor of Sta Martha and other Spanish prisoners aboard Captain Legarde, proved ineffectual, "the French being obstinate and damnably enraged the English had left them" for divers of our privateers are come in since that upon the Act. The Bishop of Sta Martha still here, Governor Vaughan is hiring a vessel to send him to Carthagena with which he is exceedingly pleased. My Lord and the Assembly have not agreed, so he has dissolved them. Relates the circumstances of the taking of a Dutch negro ship by one Browne a Scotchman, who had a commission from Mons. Ogeron, Governor of Tortugas, who has been dead above a year; the trial and condemnation of Browne and his Company for piracy, Browne was ordered to be executed, his men being pardoned, but he petitioned the Assembly that he might have the benefit of their Act, who petitioned the Governor for a reprieve, but he sent orders for immediate execution "whereupon the fellow was hanged." Half-an-hour after the Marshal came with an order signed by the Speaker to observe the Chief Justice's writ of habeas corpus which had been granted, but superseded by the Governor's order. My Lord resented this proceeding and immediately sent for the Assembly which after reproving he dissolved. 2½ pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLI., No. 53.]
Aug. 6.
Whitehall.
384. Secretary Coventry to the Lieutenant-Governor and Council of Virginia. It having pleased God lately to take Sir William Berkeley out of this life, His Majesty hath declared Lord Culpeper, Governor of Virginia according to his former grant under the great seal, and intends to dispatch him with all speed to take charge of that Government. In the meantime the management thereof is recommended to their care in their joint and several stations until Lord Culpeper's arrival which, according to His Majesty's especial injunction and the assurance his Lordship hath given, shall be by Christmas next without fail. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XCV., p. 210.]
Aug 6.
Whitehall.
385. Secretary Coventry to Colonel Jeffreys. Notifies death of Sir William Berkeley and appointment of Lord Culpeper to the Government of Virginia. His Majesty's command to give Jeffreys particular notice thereof, and also His Majsty's kind and gracious intentions towards him, to wit, that although Lord Culpeper is to enter upon and enjoy the salary of Governor from the time of Sir William Berkeley's death, yet His Majesty will take care Jeffreys shall be no loser thereby, and that no part of the salary he now receives shall be abridged so long as he continues in that Government. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XCV., p. 211.]
Aug. 6.
Whitehall.
386. Secretary Coventry to Colonel Jeffreys. Has received his letter of 11th June, but it came in the beginning of a sickness which is yet so severe he is hardly able to write congratulations on the peace he has made with the Indians. As for the letter and other transactions of Sir William Berkeley, he came here alive, but so unlike to live that it had been very inhuman to have troubled him with any interrogations, so he died without any account given of his Government. Upon his death Lord Culpeper kissed the King's hands as Governor by virtue of his former patent. Has not been able to attend the Council since the declaring Lord Culpeper Governor, but with returning strength will draw clear and positive resolutions concerning Jeffreys and the Government. Wishes his brother Commissioners were here, for till they come we must remain in the dark as to many very essential things. 2 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XCV., pp. 213–214.]
Aug. 6/16.
Barbadoes.
387. Governor Atkins to Secretary Sir Joseph Williamson. Has received his of 1st June with the King's commands concerning Judge Sharpe which shall speedily be put in execution. Is sorry he should give His Majesty any occasion of offence, for he is a man very considerable in the island, both for his knowledge of the law of which they have very few as also in interest. Knows nothing of his offence therefore cannot say anything for him. Has not yet recovered from a sickness which has brought him very near to death, but hopes the dangerous part is over. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLI., No. 54.]
Aug. 9.
Whitehall.
388. Journal of the Lords of Trade and Plantations. That His Majesty was hastening the Lord Culpeper to his government in Virginia, and having proposed to him to be ready by Christmas, His Lordship had offered to be ready even by Michaelmas. Lord Berkeley complains of the accusations against his brother, the Governor, and desired them in writing that he might disprove them; he also complained against the officers now in Virginia, particularly Colonel Jeffreys, for assuming the style of Governor, and that he is about to call an Assembly which may prove of pernicious consequence. Their Lordships answer that, when Mr. Attorney shall report upon the law there touching confiscations, it will naturally lead to the consideration of what is moved in the first point, and as to the second their Lordships agree that a sudden meeting of the Assembly there may not be for His Majesty's service; to be added to the instructions of Colonel Parks (who is now on his departure), to advertise the officers there that Lord Culpeper would be suddenly on the place, and would bring with him all materials from His Majesty touching their laws and the composure of all things in that Colony, and that they desist from calling an Assembly, unless there do fall out some such extraordinary occasion for it as cannot be here foreseen. It was observed by Sir Jos. Williamson that though Colonel Parks carries with him the powers of a Governor, he could not assume any other title than what the Broad Seal gave him, and that it was a vanity in him to go beyond it, yet having taken the oath administered to Governors he pretends to justify what he has done in point of the title. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CV., pp. 105, 106.]
Aug. 20.389. Abstract of Laws made at Jamaica on 20th August 1677. Also, List of seven Laws made at Jamaica at same time, four being in said Abstract. Also, An Act for regulating Surveyors and clearing of Lines, passed 20th August 1677, "Amended but not approved." Two papers. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLI., Nos. 55, 56; see also Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXIX., p. 142.]
Aug. 25.
Whitehall.
390. The King to Lieutenant-Governor Herbert Jeffreys and the Council of Virginia. To the same effect and almost in the same words as the letter from Secretary Coventry of 6th August, see ante, No. 384. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XCV., p. 215.]
Aug. 25.
Whitehall.
391. The King to Herbert Jeffreys, Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia. To the same effect and almost in the same words as Secretary Coventry's letter of the 6th August, see ante, No. 385. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XCV, p. 216.]
Aug. 30.
Whitehall.
392. Sir Robert Southwell to Colonel Stapleton. This serves only to accompany a number of printed books, containing regulations for giving passes suitable to what has been established in England, yet with the variations necessary for his parts. With mem., "Sent to Sir Jonathan Atkins Oct. 19. Twelve books of passes." [Col. Papers, Vol. XLI., No. 57.]
Aug. 30.
Whitehall.
393. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Letter from their Lordships to Colonel Stapleton read acknowledging receipt of all his letters, and informing him with the state of affairs here in relation to the Leeward Islands. Ordered that it be made ready for signing against next meeting. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CV., p. 109.]
Aug. 30./Sept. 2.
(sic) London.
394. The Directors of the Dutch West Indies Company to the Royal African Company of England. On the importance and usefulness of there being a mutual understanding between the two Companies as to the traffic in negroes on the coasts of Africa and the preventing the trading there of interlopers. Endorsed by Secretary Williamson, "The Dutch West Ind. Co. propositions.' French. 6 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLI., No. 58.]