America and West Indies
October 1697, 16-20

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Institute of Historical Research

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J. W. Fortescue (editor)

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1904

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635-666

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'America and West Indies: October 1697, 16-20', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 15: 1696-1697 (1904), pp. 635-666. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=70908 Date accessed: 01 October 2014.


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October 1697

Oct. 16.Bills as to value of coins and registering of deeds debated. [Board of Trade. New England, 48. pp. 183–186.]
Oct. 14.1,381. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Commissioners appointed for the trial of an Indian for murder. John Butler appointed coroner of Duke's County. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. p. 122.]
Oct. 15.1,382. William Bridges, Agent for Barbados, to Council of Trade and Plantations. In reply to Mr. Popple's letter of 22 September (No. 1,339), we are informed that it has been usual for one of the King's ships-of-war to attend Barbados in time of peace, sometimes a fourth-rate and sometimes a fifth-rate. We think that at present it would be most convenient to appoint a fourth-rate for that service, to be relieved in some reasonable time by a fifth-rate, which may constantly attend the island in time of peace and be relieved yearly. Signed, Wm. Bridges. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 15 Oct., 1697. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 42; and 44. pp. 97–98.]
Oct. 15.
Worming-
hurst
1,383. William Penn to William Popple. "Esteemed friend," I take very sensibly the intimation given me and am not a little troubled that when I came from Bristol on purpose upon this "Allarum" three months ago, have been twice in town and seven weeks, or near it, at one time, and made several visits to the office to see if anything needed me, the Lords should now think it needful for me to wait upon them upon the clamour of the Government's protecting pirates. I commend their looking into everything, but I hope they will not give themselves an unnecessary trouble. If Colonel Markham hath done ill, it will be fit to turn him out, and I shall do it heartily, but I think to be judged ex parte is not justice. He should be heard, and therefore I offer that Lord Bellomont should have it in charge to inspect this noise and see if he can make more of it, and upon his report to the Lords I shall act to their satisfaction. Colonel Markham was not my election but submission (sic), for the Queen desired he might be my deputy (as he was Governor Fletcher's) while the war lasted, so that it cannot affect me. The war is now ended, my submission discharged and Colonel Markham upon his good behaviour. I wrote to him months ago for a state of his case, plain and true and well authorised by able and honest men upon the place, which I expect; and when it comes to hand the Lords shall have it. Meanwhile there are methods to prevent all this and I hope the Lords are upon them, viz. spy-boats, commanded by such as will give security for their just acting in the station, so that the King will have that more immediately in his own power; and time, that brings all things to light, will shew truth from trick and service from self, and loss and gain. I am unwilling to be now plainer, for I am sensible that what I say is thought to come with a bias, but my life has been another thing. To conclude, I am going in the spring if not sooner, if God permit; and I think without vanity I shall be able to recommend myself and the province to the Council of Trade in a very convincing manner. I shall say nothing more of our enemy's foolish as well as malicious endeavours, and that all this smoke arises out of the pit; but I hope the Lords will weigh all with a just scale and distinguish well between merit and envy. I shall wait on them if they persist to desire it since I have lost so much of my reason for Ireland. Meantime one Wharton has the papers and is instructed to wait upon the Lords in that affair. Signed, Wm. Penn. 5 small pages. Holograph. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 18 Oct., 1697. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 2. No. 2.]
Oct. 15.
Whitehall.
1384. William Popple to the Agents for the Colonies in England. The Council of Trade desires your thoughts in writing as to what encouragement may fitly be proposed and what provision can be made for any of the soldiers that may shortly be disbanded who shall be willing to transplant themselves to the Colonies [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. pp. 181–182.]
Oct. 15.
Whitehall.
1,385. William Popple to John Sansom. Forwarding an extract from Governor Nicholson's letter of 13 July, respecting proposed measures against illegal trade and the tricks of William Sharp. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. pp. 148–149.]
Oct. 16.
Whitehall.
1,386. William Popple to the Earl of Bellomont. The Council of Trade has been ordered to consider in which of the Plantations in America any number of the soldiers now to be disbanded may be best disposed, what encouragement may be proposed for them, and what provision can be made for those who are willing to transport themselves to any of the Plantations. You are requested, if possible, to take the thoughts of the New York Agents, or at any rate to give your own upon the subject, before your departure, since the matter requires speedy determination. [Board of Trade. New York, 52. pp. 282–283.]
Oct. 18.
Portsmouth.
1,387. Earl of Bellomont to William Popple. The wind was not fair till yesterday, and had it not been Sunday, so that we could not get our people and passengers together, I should have been for sailing then. I am this morning preparing to go on board H.M. ship Deptford, so as to be gone directly, and I am glad that yours of the 16th has overtaken me here. I think some men ought to be sent to New York not only as recruits to make up 400 complete men, of which I am informed that there are not at present one half, but also now that peace is made and soldiers can best be spared from England I should advise keeping a standing force of 1,000 or 1,200 men at New York, that being the frontier province next the French at Canada, and, as it were, the key of the English territory in America. The French, I am told, keep 1,500 men in pay, even in time of peace, and the English provinces, being vastly superior in extent to the French, it is a plain argument that there ought to be a good force maintained at the King's charge for defence of his provinces. I sent for Mr. Brooke and Mr. Nicoll to consult them on the subject of your letter, but as I could not find them I have written you such thoughts as occurred to me and what I have often heard people interested in the province wish for. My compliments to their Lordships of the Council. Signed, Bellomont. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 21 Oct., 1697. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. No. 48; and 52. pp. 283–284.]
Oct. 18.1,388. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Several advices received from the East India Company as to pirates in the East Indies were laid before the Board.
Mr. Penn's letter of the 15th inst. read (No. 1,383). Order for Mr. Wharton to attend on Wednesday next.
The Secretary was instructed to inform Mr. Nelson that the memorial offered by him as to Acadia would be very acceptable.
The answer of the Attorney and Solicitor-General to the queries sent to them respecting ports in New Jersey were read.
Papers concerning public proceedings in Maryland further considered.
Oct. 19.Representation as to the ships of war for the West Indies signed.
Mr. Hill produced a copy of the Maryland Act of Religion to which the Quakers object. Perusal of the Maryland papers continued.
Oct. 20.Mr. Vernon's letter of yesterday concerning Newfoundland read (No. 1,393). Order for an abstract of the representations of the Board on the subject to be drawn out.
A further letter from Mr. Orth of 12th inst., as to the Scotch East India Company was read.
Order that all the Agents and others who have been consulted on the question of disbanded soldiers for the Colonies be requested to hasten their replies.
Draft representation as to the affairs of Virginia read.
Oct. 21.Representations, dated this day, as to Newfoundland, and as to Mr. Bulkley's case (No. 1,400) were signed.
Lord Bellomont's letter of 18th inst., and the New York Agent's letter of 19th inst., as to disbanded soldiers were read (Nos. 1,387, 1,391).
Draft representation as to Virginia further considered.
Oct. 22.Mr. Vernon's letter of yesterday as to Colonial laws against receiving convicts read (No. 1,398). Order for a representation thereon to be prepared. Mr. Richard Cary presented a memorial from the Agents of the Leeward Islands on the subject of transplanting disbanded soldiers to the Colonies (No. 1,404). Being further questioned thereon he gave information as to the regiment now in the Leeward Islands, and as to the law concerning white servants in those Islands.
Mr. Gilbert Heathcote presented a memorial on the same subject (No. 1,406) and gave information as to the law now in force to encourage white men to come to Jamaica but added that now, in view of the peace, it was not to be expected that the terms therein offered would be continued. Ten thousand men could very well be employed in Jamaica if sent thither, but that must be done by the Government, for the planters would contribute nothing towards it. He could give no very certain information as to the manner of taking up land there, but said that the best thing he could think of for the encouragement of white emigrants would be a strict enforcement of the law that planters should keep one white servant to every ten negroes; but that he spoke this as an Englishman, against his interest as a planter and contrary to his duty as an Agent. The Council pointed out that all this information was omitted from his memorial; whereupon he promised to consult with others and to give a further account.
The representation as to Virginia was further considered.
Order for a representation to be drawn, adverse to the claims of the Proprietors of New Jersey in respect of ports. [Board of Trade. Journal, 10. pp. 313–324.]
Oct. 18.1,389. Journal of General Assembly of Massachusetts. Bills as to coins and for prosecution of the enemy debated.
Oct. 19.The bills debated yesterday were voted to be engrossed. Vote of the Representatives for remission of duty upon some shipwrecked rum agreed to, also votes of £20 to the farmers of the excise, and of £20 to the commanders at Pemaquid. Order for a bill to revive the Act to prevent desertion of the frontier. Orders for Thomas Hinckley to be heard as to his petition for land, and for confirming to Elizabeth Beers a grant of land made to her late husband.
Oct. 20.Bill for prosecution of the enemy passed into an Act. Bill to revive the Act as to the frontiers voted to be engrossed and sent down to the Representatives, also the bill for registering deeds. Two votes for the Representatives for a special allowance to John Pyncheon and other officers were agreed to.
Oct. 21.The bills as to coins and as to the frontier were passed into Acts. Several bills against divers crimes were brought in.
Oct. 22.Three bills against crimes were read thrice and sent down to the Representatives. Bills for a tax and as to French prisoners received from the Representatives. Votes of the Representatives for allowances to Ephraim Savage and to certain Indians agreed to. Order for collection of arrears of taxes in Charlestown, and for relief of the widow of the late Collector.
Oct. 23.Three bills against crimes received and passed into Acts. Bills for a tax and against atheism and blasphemy debated. [Board of Trade. New England, 48. pp. 186–194.]
Oct. 18.1,390. Minutes of Council of Maryland. A new and more stringent proclamation issued for arrest of the Indian murderer (pp. 345–346). The Committee for Indian Affairs met and chose Sir Thomas Laurence for president, and after long debate submitted a number of recommendations as to the Indians, together with a suggestion that the Governor apply to the King for the relief of Maryland from contributing to the assistance of New York. It was agreed that negotiations should be sent to offer inducements to the Maryland Indians now in Virginia to return, meanwhile that Cecil County raise 30 men, Kent 30, Talbot 57, Dorchester 30, Somerset 53, who are to be ready at a moment's warning. Further details of military preparations (pp. 350–360).
Oct. 19.Order for the road between the Plantations on the East side of Potomac to be well cleared (p. 360). The Provincial Court met, and the Governor delivered his charge. On the report of the law-officers James Crauford, attorney, was re-admitted to practice. Instructions issued to Collectors and Naval Officers, and an officer appointed to receive all bonds and certificates (pp. 363–366).
Oct. 20.John West admitted as Deputy-receiver for Pocomoke. The question of the Commission for Somerset County was referred to the law-officers (pp. 338–339). Question as to a deputy-naval officer for the inlet at the sea-board side of Somerset County referred to John West and David Kennedy. John West swore to certain accounts (pp. 341–342). Further military orders. Anne Arundel County to provide 45 men and Baltimore County 15 men. Organization of the levies of the several counties. Interpreters appointed. Order for the arrest of Mountague, an Indian (pp. 360–362). The question of assistance to New York being brought forward, the Council authorised the Governor to send such answer as he should think best, if called upon, without summoning the Council (p. 369).
Oct. 21.George Muschamp and the Justices of the Provincial Court gave their opinion that if judgment were executed upon all the forfeited Navigation bonds in the country, they would not produce £500 (p. 367). Order for three appeals to be heard by the Governor and Council forthwith. Form of their oath as a Court of Appeal brought up. Order for Robert Mason's house to be searched, he being accused of secret correspondence with John Coode (pp. 369–371).
Oct. 22.Fees were settled for the Keeper of the Navigation bonds. George Layfield came and swore that he had delivered to David Kennedy the records of his office (p. 366). On the petition of the justices it was ordered that the proclamation forbidding all export of provisions except to New England and Newfoundland be rescinded (pp. 371–372).
Oct. 23.Order for the Justices of Calvert County Court to appear and answer for their contempt of the Governor's order respecting James Cranworth. George Muschamp admitted as Receiver of Pocomoke (pp. 337–338). Order for enquiry to be made, on the importation of goods from Europe, whether they are designed to be carried overland to Pennsylvania, and that if so a copy of the cocquet for such goods be given, in order that the 10 per cent. duty thereon may be collected (p. 367). Proclamation rescinding the prohibition to export provisions, but continuing the encouragement to take them to Newfoundland. Order for payment of extra allowances to Henry Denton, Clerk of Council, and to Clement Parke. Order for payment of £30 towards the expenses of the gentlemen sent to the Indians in Virginia. Address of the Committee for appointing the public levy, asking the Governor to borrow a few small sums of tobacco for sundry small expenses. Order made accordingly. Several Vice-Admiralty Commissions were signed and sealed (pp. 372–377).
Oct. 24.Order for the Collectors and Naval Officers to procure copies of the Acts of Trade and Navigation (p. 367).
Oct. 25.Several Collectors' accounts sworn to. Order for enquiry to be made as to a lunatic who had been permitted to preach in certain parish churches, and for the arrest of the chief vestryman of such parish (pp. 368–369). George Robotham sworn Vice-Admiralty Judge of the eastern shore. Order for prosecution of a ship, and for strict executions of their duty by Collectors and Naval Officers. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. as cited.]
Oct. 19.
Portsmouth
1,391. The New York Agents to William Popple. Lord Bellomont acquaints us that you desire our opinion as to the number of forces to be kept on the frontiers and in the Colony of New York, for supporting the English interest in North America. We think 1,000 or 1,200 a suitable force. Signed, Chid. Brooke, W. Nicoll. ¾ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 21 Oct., 1697. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. No. 49; and 52. p. 284.]
[Oct. 19.]1,392. Copy of a law of Maryland, concerning Religion, of the time of Cœecilius Lord Baltimore. Printed sheet. Endorsed, Delivered by Mr. Hill. Recd. Read, Oct. 19, 1697. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 3. No. 42.]
Oct. 19.
Whitehall.
1,393. James Vernon to Council of Trade and Plantations. The advices from France bring an account that Mons. Nesmond has returned from Newfoundland without accomplishing anything against our sea or land forces. The Lords Justices desire your report as to the necessity for sending provisions thither and whether the season will admit of it. Signed, Ja. Vernon. ¼ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 20 Oct., 1697. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 87; and 25. p. 129.]
Oct. 19.
Whitehall.
1,394. William Popple to John Nelson. Asking for a memorial containing anything more that he may have to offer for the King's interest in respect of Nova Scotia and the adjacent parts of America. [Board of Trade. New England, 36. p. 308.]
Oct. 20.1,395. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Resolved that the settlement of the Piscattaway Indians on this side Potomac, and the wounding of a woman and children in Stafford County be reported to the Assembly, and that the papers be laid before them. Order for all Surveyors to repair to the County Courts and to be sworn to due execution of their offices. A case of a forcible entry on land was heard, and the complainant John Carroll referred to his further remedy at law. Order for the Surrey County Court to require Major Arthur Allen to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. pp. 87–89; and 95–97.]
Oct. 20.1,396. Henry Hartwell and others to William Popple. We enclose a large and true account of the present state of Virginia. There are some few matters which were known only by one or two of us who remained longer in the country. These we have marked, placing the initials of his or their names who knows them in the margin. Signed, Hen. Hartwell, James Blair, E. Chilton. ½ p. Enclosed,
1,396. I. An account of the present state and government of Virginia. § 1. Of the natural advantages of the Country. Very contrary characters of Virginia are given even by those who know it very well. Perhaps those who describe it as the best and as the worst country in the world are both right, for in natural advantages it is one of the best, and in improved advantages one of the worst of our Colonies. The air is wholesome, the soil fertile, the navigable rivers and creeks commodious, its coast open all the the year round, fresh water abundant, fish, fowl and wild beasts plenty, timber, fruits and minerals abundant. The climate is between the extremities of heat and cold. But if we ask for well-built towns, convenient ports and markets, for plenty of ships and seamen, for improved trades and manufactures, for well-educated children, industrious and thriving people, and a happy Government in church and state—we find the poorest, miserablest and worst country in America. It is a common saying among themselves that any people but the English would have made Virginia a happy country. The causes of its misery are chiefly to be found in the first wrong measures of not seating the people in towns, and in the narrow selfish ends of most of them; but after all it is perhaps as much to be imputed to the obstinacy of the people as to any other mismanagement. The bringing of the people to the improvements of cohabitation must be wrought against their will by the Royal prerogative, not by expecting the concurrence of the General Assembly, the major part of whose members have never seen a town nor a well-improved country in their lives, and cannot imagine the benefits of them. Among the improvements which might be made is the manufacture of iron and other minerals, which appear to abound. There is wood to burn them and water to carry them. There is also a curious transparent stone which might be carried to England as ballast, and so at little cost. It is a good country for the manufacture of silk, for mulberry trees thrive; and much of the work might be done by negro children who at present are useless. There is also a plant called silk-grass of which several fine things might be made. The country is also fit for potash, being covered with forest, while it a bounds in pitch, tar and naval timber, of which the Bristol men are taking advantage to build ships there. Wheat, rice, Indian corn and other kinds of grain grow in great plenty and are very useful for supply of the West Indies and New England. Fruits also for making of cider, wine, oil and conserved fruits are produced in huge quantities, while the woods supply good store of chestnuts, walnuts, hickory-nuts, chin-copins and other shell-fruit of very oily substance. Flax, hemp and cotton grow very fine. There might be a great trade for fish and for whales; and a vast Indian trade for furs. It is an excellent country for dyeing stuffs, curious simples, and choice woods for cabinet making. In many parts there is great store of myrtle-berries, which being boiled up to a wax makes as good candles as the best wax, while the snuff instead of stinking doth perfume like incense. Lastly, there is tobacco, which would be an excellent staple if they would make it without trash; but at present tobacco swallows up all others, and the market is so glutted with bad tobacco that it becomes a mere drug.
§ 2. Of the several sorts of inhabitants and cultivation.
In spite of all these advantages Virginia looks outwardly like a wild desert, the highlands overgrown with trees, and the lowlands sunk in swamp and water. The cleared grounds bear no proportion to the uncultivated. The inhabitants are of three sorts, Planters, Tradesmen and Merchants. Though the Planters are the most numerous perhaps not a hundreth part of the country is cleared of wood, and not a foot of swamp drained. As fast as the ground is worn out with tobacco and corn it runs up again in underwoods. Many of the places that were cleared are now thicker in woods than before clearing. There are few places where the plough is used, for in their first clearing they cut the trees down two or three feet from the ground and never grub up the stumps. The ground must therefore be tended with the hoe, and by the time the stumps are rotten the land is worn out. Having fresh land, of which they must clear some for firewood, they never recruit the old fields with dung. Of grain and pulse they provide commonly no more than they reckon that their families will require, for there are no towns or markets where they can sell them and scarce any money to serve for a common exchange. The only thing of which they make as much as they can is tobacco, there being always a vent for that at one time or another of the year, and tobacco being the money of the country they buy with it their clothes and household furniture. But the great labour of tobacco being only in the summer-time, they acquire great habits of idleness all the rest of the year. Want of markets and money gives little encouragement to tradesmen and artificers, hence they are few and their labour very dear. Having no market where he can buy what he wants, a tradesman must either grow corn, keep cows and raise stock himself or ride about the country to buy bread, milk and meat. If he finds it he is puzzled to find carriers, drovers, butchers, salting (for he cannot buy a joint or two), and a great many other things which towns and markets would supply. Again much of his time is spent in going to and from his work in dispersed country plantations: his pay is generally in straggling parcels of tobacco, the collection whereof costs about 10 per cent., and the best of this pay comes but once a year, so that he cannot turn his hand with a small stock as tradesmen do elsewhere. Hence tradesmen are few, dear and insufficient. The merchants live better than any others in the country, but suffer many inconveniences which might be avoided if they had towns, markets and money. (1) They are obliged all the year round to sell on trust except just when tobacco is ready. (2) They drive a pitiful retail trade, being in effect but country-chapmen to serve every man's little occasions. (3) They are obliged to trust all their concerns to their receivers who go about among the planters who owe them to receive and mark it for them. If these receivers want skill or honesty it is fatal to the merchant (4) They are at the charge of carting the tobacco so received to convenient landings, where they must trust it to seamen to be shipped. If the seamen roll it in bad weather or dirty ways, it is much damaged. (5) The ships wait long for their freight, being collected in such a scrambling manner, and are detained three or four months while they might be dispatched in a fortnight if the tobacco was ready at certain ports. Thus the cost of freight is doubled. In New England the settlers at first were compelled to settle in towns, and not a single man was allowed to take up land until enough were agreed together to form a township, when they laid them out a town with home-lots for gardens, out-lots for cornfields and meadows, and country-lots for plantations with overseers and gangs of hands. There being no such rule in Virginia, they seated themselves without any order in country plantations. The general Assembly has made several attempts to bring the people into towns, but so far ineffectually. One error has run through all their undertakings, viz., they have always appointed too many towns. And this error will continue if the matter be left to the Assembly, for every man desires the town to be by his own door, and, every Burgess setting up one for his own county, they have commonly contrived a town for every county, which at present is impracticable for want of people to inhabit and of money to build them. The Governor and Assembly of Maryland have wisely ordered but two towns, one on the Eastern and one on the Western shore. Two would be enough for Virginia at first; more could be added later. Another error is that they made it unlawful to buy or sell goods imported or exported except at these towns, under penalty of forfeiture of ship and goods. This was a great force upon trade, though there is this to be said, that the merchants having their customers all round their stores in their country plantations needed some force to make them come and live in towns. Some think that the King's appointment of ports for export and import would do the business; and so perhaps it would in the long run, for merchants would probably set up at these ports. But it would be long before the old merchants could be persuaded to leave their country plantations. The matter would perhaps be more quickly and effectually settled if measures were taken to grant privileges to the ports and to discourage country-stores. However, the creation of ports and towns is the one thing needful. Nothing towards it can be expected from the General Assembly unless under a Governor whom they trust to work for their good, like Governor Nicholson, for whom they were willing to force towns into existence with many visible inconveniences. But as soon as he was gone they shewed their old temper, and are daily more and more averse to cohabitation. The majority of the Burgesses have never seen a town, and have no notion of any but a country life. For instance, the following argument was used by an ingenious Virginian who had never been out of the country. They might, he said, observe already that wherever they were thickly seated they could hardly raise any stocks or live by one another; much more therefore would it be impossible for them to live when a matter of a hundred families were cooped up within the compass of half a mile of ground. The want of money, which is another great obstruction to improvement, is due chiefly to the Governor, who finds it his interest to encourage tobacco and discourage money dealings. Thus he can get as much of his salary as he wishes in bills of exchange, which are convenient to remit to England, while for his purchases in the country he can buy much cheaper for quit-rent tobacco than for money. For instance, an ox which would cost him £2 10s. Od. or £3 he can buy for 600 lbs. of tobacco, which he buys from the King at 4s. to 4s. 6d. the hundred. Thus he has the ox for about half the price that it would cost in money. When the Governor thus discourages money-dealing the Auditor is very scrupulous of taking money of the Collectors, the Collectors of the Merchants, the Merchants of the people and the people of one another. This is a natural chain of consequences, for the Auditor has little occasion for money except to pay it to the Governor, nor the Collectors to pay it to the Auditor, nor the Merchants except to pay it to the Collectors for the two shillings per hogshead duty, nor the people except to pay the Merchants for their purchases. All this might be cured by a positive order that this duty shall be paid in money, especially if the value of money were fixed. Pieces-of-eight are fixed at at five shillings by law, but the law is imperfect, no weight being assigned, so that a light piece is rejected as clipped and a Peru piece as bad silver. No other coin at all is fixed except English money, which is rarely seen. Last session the Burgesses sent up a bill for ascertaining all coin, but it was thrown out by the Council, without so much as desiring a conference or offering amendments. [This last sentence is marked and initialled B for Blair.] It will be well for a common standard of money to be established all over the English Colonies in America. Pennsylvania by appointing eight pieces-of-eight of twelve pennyweights to go for six shillings, and so in proportion, drains all money from Maryland and Virginia. The best piece-of-eight in Virginia goes for 5s. and in Maryland for 4s. 6d.
§ 3. Of Land, how it is taken up, lapses and escheats. The method settled by the King in the first seating of the country was to allot 50 acres of land to everyone who should adventure into the country. Had this been observed it had been a lasting encouragement to adventurers to come, until the whole country was peopled. But, as matters have been managed, the land has gone from the King and the country is very ill peopled. The first great abuse of this design arose from the ignorance and knavery of surveyors, who often gave out drafts of surveys without even coming on the land. They gave their descripton by some natural bounds and were sure to allow large measure, that so the persons for whom they surveyed should enjoy much larger tracts than they paid quit-rents for. Then all Courts were very lavish in allowing certificates for rights, for if a master of a ship came unto any Court and swore that he had imported himself and so many seamen and passengers at divers times into the country, and that he never else-were made use of these rights, he presently obtained an order for so many rights (i.e. so many times fifty acres of land) and these rights he would sell for a small matter. Perhaps the same seamen at another Court swore that they had adventured themselves so many times into the country and had not elsewhere proved their rights, whereupon they too obtained an order for so many rights. Likewise the masters who bought the servants thus imported would at another Court make oath that they had bought so many persons who had ventured themselves into the country, and obtained so many rights. Thus the land still went away, and the adventurers who remained in the country had the least share of it. Again great liberties were used in issuing certificates for rights by the Country Clerks and especially by those of the Secretary's office, which was and still is a constant mint of those rights, where they may be purchased at from one shilling to five shillings per right. The Government connived at these things, thinking it a very pardonable crime that the King's land should be given away to people who had no right to it, since in this way the land was taken up, and the King had so much more quit-rent paid to him, whereas land not taken up paid nothing. But they did not consider that the small profit of quit-rents does not balance the great damage of leaving the country without inhabitants, which is the result of their method, for the King and Kingdom of England gain near two hundred times as much by one ordinary planter as the King would have got by the quit-rent of the fifty acres which he should have had. This may be worked out thus. A usual crop of tobacco for one head is 2,000lbs., which at 6d. per lb. (the present duty in England) amounts to £50. Suppose this 2,000lbs. of tobacco to be put into three hogsheads, and here is 6s. of Virginia duty to the King by the two shillings per hogshead duty. Then the freight of this at £8 per ton comes to £6, which is commonly paid in England, making in all £56 6s. 0d., besides the increase of ships and seamen and the multitudes maintained by the manufacture of tobacco in England, and of English goods sold to the planter. To find out on the other hand how many acres it will require to make £56 6s. 0d. out of quit-rents, quit-rent tobacco is sold communibus annis at 5s. per hundred, and taking 24lbs. of tobacco as rent for every hundred acres, at that rate £56 6s. 0d. will purchase 22,520lbs. of tobacco, which is the quit-rent of 93,833 acres of land. Hence one man's labour is equivalent to the quit-rents of near a hundred thousand acres of land, which was the quantity allotted for two thousand men. Moreover the quit-rents would not have been lost, but would have been paid at last, when the country came to be peopled. This fundamental error of letting the King's land run away to lie waste, together with another of not seating in townships, is the cause that Virginia to-day is so ill peopled. Everyone who takes out a patent for any tract of the King's land is by the patent obliged to two things, viz. to seat or plant upon it within three years, otherwise it lapses to the King, and to pay quit-rent of one shilling for every fifty acres per annum. Seating is reckoned the building of a house and keeping a stock one whole year; it matters not how small the house is, a hog-house serves the turn. Planting, the law reckons to be the planting and tending one acre of ground, no matter how badly. Either of these within three years of the date of the patent saves the whole tract, be it never so large, and this is the cause that, though all the good land in the country is taken up, there is very little improvement in it. Land which is neither seated nor planted after three years lapses to the King, and is called lapsed-land; but it never comes into the King's hand, being due by local law to the first who petitions the General Court for it. When a man dies seised of land in fee without will or heirs, such land escheats to the King, and is thus disposed of. By the King's charter the person in possession has the right of the grant, but of late it depends on the Governor's favour, who accepts that one of the petitions for the benefit of the escheat which best pleases him, and underwrites it thus: "This petition is "granted, paying composition to the Auditor according "to law." The Governor's warrant then issues to the escheator of the precinct, who makes inquisition and finds the office by a jury of twelve men. This inquisition being returned to the Secretary's office lies there nine months, so that any one concerned may traverse the office, and, if no one appears, a patent is passed according to the petitioner's request. The Escheator's fee is £5 sterling, and the composition by the Charter is 2 lbs. of tobacco per acre.
§ 4. Of the Governor. It being inconvenient and costly to keep up many officers in the infancy of a government, it is usual to trust all to a good Governor, who nurses it until it wants other tutors and governors. So in Virginia all was at first heaped upon one man, and, what is strange, continues so to this day. This one man (1) as Governor represents the King, in granting his lands, in appointing officers, in calling, proroguing and dissolving Assemblies, in assenting to or dissenting from the laws, in making peace and war, in all the grandeur and ceremony of government. (2) As Commander-in-Chief he raises and commands all militia and land forces, appoints the officers, and builds or demolishes fortifications. (3) As Vice-Admiral of Virginia he takes account of all prizes, commands ships and seamen, lays on and takes off embargos, and does all things that belong to the Admiralty office. (4) As Lord Treasurer he issues the warrants for all payments of public moneys. (5) As Lord Chancellor he passes all land-grants under the great seal and decides all causes in Chancery. (6) As President of the Council he directs and manages all its consultations. (7) As Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench and Common Pleas and Chief Baron of the Exchequer, he sits and presides in a Court which combines all these. (8) As Bishop or Ordinary he grants all licences of marriage and inductions of ministers, signs all probates and administrations and decides all ecclesiastical causes. These being very large powers, three checks were devised to prevent the abuse of them, the Royal Instructions, the Council, and the General Assembly. At first these were real checks, but the Governors have now found out how to evade them. (1) The Royal Instructions were formerly communicated to the Council and Assembly and recorded in the Secretary's office and the Journal of the Burgesses, as the measure of the Governor's power and the guide in all consultations. But the late Governor's policy was to keep the instructions secret and only to impart to the Council and Assembly such portions as made for their interest or helped them out in case of difficulty. Thus the check of the Instructions was lost, for nobody knew anything of them except some few at Whitehall, and then all was safe so long as no one from Virginia made any complaint. (2) The Governor was appointed to act with the express advice and consent of the Council, who at that time were appointed by the King, held their places during his pleasure, and so were in some sort exempted from dependence on the Governor. But so many ways were found to evade this cheek that the Council are now and always will be by the present constitution at the devotion of the Governor, and ready instruments to advise or do not only what he desires, but what they think will please him. The change came about thus. The King knowing nobody in Virginia, it was thought that the Governor was best fitted to give him right characters of men. Thus the Governor came to recommend men to be of the Council, and by this means he quickly found a way to keep out all but his own creatures. (3) At the first seating of the country, and for many years afterwards, there was much sickness and mortality, which created sometimes many vacancies in the Council. The Governor representing that the King's business might suffer, hereby received authority to swear Councillors to bring the number up to nine, and, this power having been obtained, the number was kept at nine or ten, so that the Governor might choose persons to fill vacancies. (4) After Bacon's rebellion of 1676 (Bacon being a Councillor), it was suggested to the King that if the Governor had had power to suspend him in time, the rebellion might have been prevented. On this new power was given to the Governor to suspend a Councillor, only reporting to the King the accusations against him and his reason in writing. (5) The Council, being generally anxious to get home, contented themselves with giving their opinions on any subject, leaving it to the Clerk to take the minutes and draw up the orders without seeing them fairly drawn or hearing them read in Council. Hence the Clerk, being appointed by the Governor and holding office at his pleasure, would draw up those orders according to the Governor's dictation. Thus not only have the true orders been misrepresented and perverted from their intended sense, but new orders have been framed quite contrary to those voted by the Council. (6) The final stroke which subjected the Council to the Governor's pleasure was his power of bestowing all places of trust and profit in the Colony, and the secret which he discovered of bestowing them all on the Council. This was the infallible means of binding the Council to good behaviour, and not only of freeing himself from all curb but of adding all their powers to his own. The places of the eight Collectors, the eight Naval officers and the four Escheators he gives during his pleasure; those of the Secretary and Auditor are filled up in England, but at his recommendation. Further, every one of them is admitted to farm the quit-rents of a county or two, which brings yearly profit and favour. This is how the Council has become subject to the Governor, giving him its power more absolutely than if it had been vested in him by the King. Had it been so vested in him he would be himself responsible, but now he can shift responsibility on the Council, to escape alike the odium of the people and the displeasure of the King.
The General Assembly was a great restraint upon both Governor and Council until 1680, up to which time an appeal lay from the General Court (that is, the Governor and Council) to the General Assembly. Moreover there was always a joint Committee of private causes, wherein the Burgesses were three to one of the Council, to hear appeals from the General Court. But there arose a dispute between the Burgesses and the Councillors on this Committee, the Burgesses alleging that Councillors ought not to sit to hear appeals from their own judgments in Council. Lord Culpeper, who was very dexterous in seizing all advantages to his interest, so represented the matter at home that the appellate jurisdiction of the General Assembly was abolished, as contrary to the laws of England, and appeals from the General Court were permitted to the King and Council only, and then only in causes exceeding £300 in value, after security given to defray costs and damages. Since then the people have groaned under the arbitrary oppression of the General Court, which is subject to the sway of one man. All the Courts of England are merged into one in Virginia, and the same men are judges in all. Means have also been found to prevent the representation of grievances by the General Assembly to the King. In the first place the assent of the Governor and Council can never be obtained, and the representatives of the Burgesses only have less weight than those of the General Assembly. Secondly, the Governor has many ways of making an interest in the House of Burgesses. Having the nomination of all the militia officers he has a great stroke in the election of Burgesses, as also by the nomination of the Justices and the Sheriff. The latter is always his fast friend, holding a good profitable place at his pleasure, with the collection of the county-levy and often the parish-levy, on which he receives 10 per cent. The Sheriff's place being granted anew every year, there is a constant temptation to a great many pretenders to manage the election of Burgesses in the Governor's interest. After two Burgesses are chosen, one is very apt to be gained by the hope of becoming sheriff next year, while, if either of them be a bold man in the House, the appointment of him to be Sheriff removes him from it. Thus the Governor can either gain one of the two Burgesses for each County, or lay him aside so that he can do him no hurt. If the Burgesses be so maddened by oppression that they draw up a petition against the Governor and Council to the King, the Governor and Council are sure to have friends enough among them to obtain information of the same before the petition can be passed. Even if the Burgesses keep the secret, it will be betrayed by the Clerk, who enjoys a very profitable place by the Governor's gift and held during his pleasure. (This is an innovation, for till King James's reign the Burgesses appointed their own Clerk.) The design being betrayed, the Governor defeats it at once by a dissolution. Even if both Burgesses and Clerk keep the secret, and the petition be drawn, and an Agent employed to manage it at the Court, still this is a business of expense, and the Burgesses, being unable to raise money without consent of the Governor and Council, must defray the charge from their own pockets.* About thirteen years ago, when the Burgesses had the nomination of their own clerk, the Burgesses drew up such a petition against the extortion of extraordinary fees by Lord Effingham. The business getting wind before the petition was finished and read, Lord Effingham summoned the Burgesses to come to him. The Burgesses knowing that he would dissolve them, first despatched and signed their petition, and sent their Clerk and one of their members to deliver it at Whitehall. But instead of being delivered to the King, the actual document was sent back to Lord Effingham, with an account how it came into their hands. Lord Effingham thereupon, to make an example of them, turned the one out of his place of Clerk of the Burgesses and Surveyor, and disbarred the other, who was a lawyer, from pursuing his practice.* [The passage from * to * is marked H[artwell] and C[hilton].] Thus it is plain that the door is shut against the Burgesses if they present any grievances to the King, while to a private man the thing is so improper, costly and dangerous, that one can rarely be found to do it. For many years the Governor's salary was £1,000 a year, with perquisites added by the Country to the value of £500. The General Assemby passed an Act adding £200 a year to Sir W. Berkeley's salary, with a provision that this should be no precedent. But Lord Culpeper, who was one of the most covetous and cunning men in England, persuaded King Charles to raise the salary to him, when he became Governor, to £2,000 a year besides perquisites and £150 per annum for house-rent. And as the first cause of this has been forgotten, the same salary is now paid to Sir Edmund Andros, who has been Governor since 1692, out of the two shillings per hogshead duty.
§ 5. Of the Council. It has already been stated how and why the Council are so subservient to the Governor that their power and authority is so much addition to his. It is necessary only to mention the places that they hold. (1) They are the Council of State, and in the vacancy of a Governor and Lieutenant-Governor the senior Councillor is President. (2) They are the Upper House of Assembly, like the House of Peers in England. (3) They are by Custom (not by Commission) the supreme judges in all causes; and no appeal lies from them except to the King in Council. (4) They are the Colonels of the Counties, corresponding to Lord Lieutenants in England. (5) They are the Naval Officers, who execute all laws as to trade and navigation and clear and enter ships, charging fees of between £3 and £4 per vessel. (6) They are Collectors of all imposts raised by the General Assembly, on which they receive 10 per cent. salary. They are also generally Collectors of the penny per lb. export duty on tobacco exported to other Colonies, and for this receive 20 per cent. But to this they are nominated by the Commissioners of Customs. (7) They are Farmers of the quitrents in their several counties, which are generally sold to them by the Auditor with advice of the Governor at very easy rates. (8) The Secretary, Auditor and Escheators are selected from among them, and if any good escheated land, or good land of the King's to be taken up, falls in, they have the preference of other people. They also enjoy freedom from arrest; and have a salary of £350, which is proportioned by the Governor according to their attendance. The Council meets when summoned by the Governor, and they together correspond to the King in Council in England. The present Clerk of the Council is Robert Beverley, with salary of £50 a year and perquisites. The present Councillors are, Ralph Wormeley, Secretary, Collector and Naval Officer of Rappehannock River; Colonel Richard Lee, Collector and Naval Officer of Upper Potomac River; Colonel William Byrd, Auditor; Colonel Christopher Wormeley, Collector and Naval Officer for Lower Potomac River; Colonel Edward Hill, the same for Upper James River; Colonel Edmund Jenings, the same for York River; Colonel Daniel Parke, the same for Lower James River and Escheator between James and York Rivers; Colonel Richard Johnson, Escheator between York and Rappahannock Rivers; Colonel Charles Scarburgh, Collector and Naval Officer on the Eastern Shore; and Mr. John Lightfoot, just appointed; we know not if he has any place. *In 1693 it was thought fit in England that some one representing the clergy of Virginia should sit in Council, and Mr. James Blair, the Bishop of London's Commissary, was accordingly appointed by the King in that year. In 1694 he was suspended on a frivolous charge of speaking words reflecting on Sir Edmund Andros, without any proof in writing, just before the public accounts were about to be submitted to Council. The suspension was removed by Royal Warrant in 1695, and a clause was inserted in the warrant that Mr. Blair was to be continued in the Council until the King was satisfied that he had forfeited his Majesty's good opinion. An Act of Parliament to prevent frauds in the Customs was sent to Virginia together with that warrant, and it was ordered that this Act should be read again just before the accounts in 1696 were presented, and after Mr. Blair had taken out his pass to return to England. A clause of the Act lays down that all places of trust in the Courts of Law or relating to the Treasury in Virginia, should be held by native-born subjects of England; and, since the Council sit as judges in the General Court, they voted Mr. Blair, as a native-born subject of Scotland, to be out of the Council.* [The passage from * to * is marked and initialled H[artwell], B[lair].] The multitude of places held by the Council causes great confusion, as when the Councillors pass their own accounts as Collectors, or in different capacities both buy and sell quit-rents, or as Escheators, return the inquisition of Escheats and as judges pass sentence upon the same.
§ 6. Of the Laws and Legislative Power. It is a great misfortune to the Country that it is not clear by what law it is governed. All agree that the two fountains of their law are the laws of England and the Acts of their General Assembly; but how far both or either of these is to take place lies in the Judges' breast, and is applied according to their particular affection to the party. Sometimes it is said that of the law of England only that part is to be regarded which was in being at the first seating of the Colony and none of the later laws, except when the Plantations in general or Virginia in particular are mentioned. At other times they pretend to observe all the laws of England. Sometimes when the laws of England and Virginia differ, the Virginian law is preferred as being suited to their particular circumstances. At other times the advantage is given to the English law, on the ground that legislative power was granted on condition that nothing should be enacted contrary to the laws of England and the Royal prerogative. Legislative power is lodged in the Government and the two Houses of Assembly. The Upper House consists of the Council, though the Governor constantly sits with it and directs the votes and consultations. The Clerk of Council is appointed by the Governor and holds office during his pleasure; his salary is 10,000lbs. of tobacco every session. The Lower House consists of two Burgesses elected by every county, one elected by Jamestown, and one elected by the President and Masters of the College. The Speaker is chosen and claims privileges as in the House of Commons. The Assembly being called by the Governor's writs and the election being made, there is commonly a Court, called the Court of Claims, held in each county, where all that have any claims upon the public put them in with the Burgesses, together with their grievances or propositions, if they have any. There is no better way of learning the pressures, humours, common-talk and designs of the people than to peruse the Journals of the House of Burgesses, and of their Committee of grievances and propositions. The Speaker chosen, the Burgesses proceed first to elect a Committee of electing and privileges, a Committee of claims and a Committee of propositions and grievances. Formerly there was a fourth Committee of private causes, but this was destroyed, as already narrated, at Lord Culpeper's coming. The Clerk of the Burgesses was chosen by them until 1684, when, upon the sending home of the Burgesses' petition by Colonel Milner, Lord Effingham claimed the power of turning him out and putting another in his room. The point has been often controverted between the Governor and Burgesses, but at present the Governor appears to have wrung it out of their hands by giving a commission for the post to Peter Beverley. His salary is 20,000lbs. of tobacco for every session, besides 300lbs. of tobacco for every copy of the laws made in one session, which he sends to the various County Courts. He has also other fees. Every County Burgess receives 120lbs. of tobacco per diem to defray his expenses, together with man and horse if he comes by land or a boat and hands if he comes by water; all of which is levied on the county that sends him. All laws passed by the two houses and the Governor are laws pro tempore, until the King's pleasure be known, and of this nature are most of their laws, that is, liable to be repealed at the King's pleasure, but once ratified by the King they can only be repealed by the King and General Assembly. There being a great scarcity of able lawyers and wise politicians in the country, very few of their laws have been so well drawn and passed at the beginning as not to have discovered, after experience, many errors and imperfections. These they have endeavoured to patch up and mend with subsequent laws, or by substituting a new law for an old one. By this means the body of the laws is not only long and confused, but it is hard to know what laws are or are not in force, several of them having been repealed by proclamation and several by Act of Assembly. To remedy this several Assemblies have entered upon a useful work of revision, but the work is so great and their other avocations so many that it is not yet brought to perfection. Till this work is finished most of their laws are likely to remain without applying for the Royal Assent. We may add that the laws want revision not only to bring them into order and method, but to pare away some of them that seem inconsistent with law and equity, and are apt to bring disparagement upon the legislation of the country. By a law of 1663 no debt is recoverable in the country, unless the goods for which it became due be imported, so that if a man become bound here or in any other part of the world for his necessary subsistence, the obligation is of no validity, not even if the goods for which the bond is passed be actually shipped and by some misfortune perish by capture or shipwreck—not even though the debtor become rich after that time. There are several other laws of the like nature.
§ 7. Concerning the Administration of Justice. The Courts are not distinct as in England, but all causes whether belonging to Chancery, King's Bench, Common Pleas, Admiralty or Spirituality are tried or decided in one and the same Court. If anyone thinks himself injured at Common Law and appeals to Chancery, he only desires an injunction in Chancery and has another hearing but in the same Court. For all causes there are two sorts of Courts, the County Court and the General Court. There is a County Court in every County which consists of eight or ten gentlemen of the County, to whom the Governor gives a Commission during pleasure to act as Justices of the Peace. Commonly he renews the Commission every year, for that brings fees and enables him to admit into it new favourites, and to exclude those who have not been zealous in his service. These Justices take the oath of a judge with the other oaths of allegiance etc. They hold a Court once a month or, if there be little business, once in two months. They have the power to decide all sorts of causes, beyond value of twenty shillings or 200 lbs. of tobacco, except such as extend to life and limb, which are reserved for the General Court, to which also appeals lie from the County Courts. These County Courts have always been held by country gentlemen of no education in the law, so it is no wonder if the sense of the law was mistaken and the method of proceeding often very irregular. But of late the insufficiency of these Courts has been much more felt than in former times, while the first stock of Virginia gentlemen lasted. These having been educated in England were far better accomplished in the knowledge of the world than their children and grandchildren, who have been born in Virginia, and have had generally little more education than to read, write and cast accounts, and that very indifferently. The General Court (so called because it tries the causes of the whole country) is held twice a year, in April and October, by the Governor and judges in Jamestown. It is strange that they never had a commission for holding this Court, nor took the oaths of judges. Perhaps the Crown did not contemplate that they should hold it, for not only are they unskilful in the law, but it is thought inconvenient in all Governments that the justice and the policy of the Government should be lodged in the same persons. They should rather be a check upon each other, and therefore the Governor had power with the advice of the Council to erect Courts of Judicature; but that they should make themselves the Supreme Court of Judicature arises either from the spirit of engrossing all power into their own hands or perhaps from the poverty of the community in its infancy, which could not afford to maintain judges skilled in the law; for it must be acknowledged that this confirmation was of earlier date than the others. These last mostly originated with Lord Culpeper's Government, when the Government of Virginia, which before had been a business of care and danger, became one of advantage again. However this may be, it is a continual grievance in the country that if a man be injured in law or equity he can appeal to no superior without the infinite charge of carrying his case to Whitehall, which few in Virginia have the purse or skill to manage. We are confirmed in that view that this abuse was not intended by the original modellers of the Government by the fact that in all other Colonies, British and foreign, judges were appointed distinct from the Governor and Council. Any cause exceeding £16 or 1,600lbs. of tobacco in value may begin in the General Court, and by appeal any cause whatsoever may be transferred to it, whether of Chancery, King's Bench, Common Pleas, Exchequer, Admiralty or Spirituality. No appeal now lies from this Court except to the King in Council, and then only when the value exceeds £300 and also due security is given. The forms of proceeding in the General Court are in almost every respect disagreeable to the laws of England and very irregular. Original and judicial writs run not in the King's name, but resemble those of Justices of the Peace. Petitions are used instead of formal declarations, and there is no method observed in pleading. There are not above four several original writs allowed of. No writs or error are allowed of, appeals being used in their place. By a rule of the General Court no new matter is to be moved upon an appeal. By law of the Country the Sheriffs are obliged to return that the writs issued to them are executed, and this return they must make three days before the hearing in the County Court; otherwise they are to be fined. Notwithstanding this, during our residence in the Country we never heard of any writs issued from the County Court but the sheriffs colore officii made arrests without them, which caused great troubles and is not yet set right. No venire issues for summoning juries except in criminal cases, and then only six are returned from the vicarage. The sheriff returns juries summoned without any authority and they are not out of the vicinage but often out of places very remote from that where the fact arises. Many times men of other counties are of the jury, nay sometimes the whole jury. There is no panel returned into the office. The Sheriff when the jury are to appear calls out their names, and those he knows from his pocket book or a scrap of paper which he holds in his hand. Coroners are not elected by the County, but receive Commissions from the Governors. The granting of probates and administrations is lodged by law solely in the County Courts, yet the General Court often grants them. All this is against law, so it may be of ill consequence. Though the County Courts grant administrations and probates, yet the Governor signs them or appoints others to do it. Sometimes administrations and probates are granted by a County Court though no part of the estate lies within the County.
§ 8. Concerning the Secretary's Office. It is almost impossible to give a perfect account of this office, for there is such a medley in it as is scarce credible. It comprehends all the offices in England and more, which makes it most difficult to keep in order. All proceedings relating to the General Court are there recorded; all conveyances, letters of attorney and other writings from foreign parts are there entered; all surveys are sent thither; also Commissions, both civil and military, go from thence; when land escheats to the King the inquisitions are returned thither, the grants pass from thence and the warrants upon which they are grounded. The Clerks of the County Courts are obliged by law to return in this office an annual account of probates and administrations granted in their Courts; and all probates and administrations granted in foreign parts, but relating to Virginia, are there recorded. All rights on which patents are grounded are there entered. All writs for election of Burgesses are issued thence and returned thither. All original and judicial writs relating to proceedings in the General Court issue from thence and are thither returnable. All certificates of births, marriages and deaths are returned thither; all fines and forfeitures are certified thither; all matters relating to the duty of a Coroner are returned thither. All admissions, institutions and inductions are there entered; all freedoms of ships are there recorded; all naturalisations and denizations are issued thence and are there entered. By local law no person who has lived long in the Country can leave it without a pass, which generally issues from that office. All appeals from County Courts are returned thither, as also all certificates of licenses of ordinary-keepers. All matters relating to the Admiralty and Ecclesiastical Courts are registered there. The Secretaries, who seldom or never understand or mind this office, have all the profits belonging to all the foregoing and to many other matters. They naturally appoint a Clerk, who is called Clerk of the General Court; there are generally one or two other clerks under him, who take no oath and give no security to discharge their duty. The Secretaries themselves are properly the Clerks of the General Court, for they receive all the profits arising from that place and allow only a salary to him who discharges that duty, yet the Secretaries sit always as Judges of that Court. There are many patents and other records in that office in loose torn pieces and scarce legible, and if some speedy care be not taken they will become of no use. If two patents of the same date be granted for the same land, the first that is entered in record is preferred, but to obtain that favour it has been usual to give a gratuity to the Clerk, who formerly for such gratuity used to enter the patents immediately on record before they were either signed by the Governor or sealed with the Colony's seal. In such cases no date was inserted, the Clerk not knowing on what day they might pass. Many of these patents are entered on record without any date and for some cause were never passed at all. The Governor signs all patents: there is a recital in them that the Governor grants the land by and with the advice and consent of the Council, yet the patents are never read by the Governor nor in Council, nor do the Council take any notice of them. The Secretaries likewise sign all patents, after inserting the words "compared and agrees with the original;" but he neither reads nor compares any of them; and in truth the patent which he signs is original itself.
§ 9. An account of the public money and tobacco. First a brief account must be given of the Sheriff's, Collector's and Auditor's offices. The Sheriff is the officer who executes all writs, etc., and is the public Collector of all tobacco for the county's or country's use, and all the King's quit-rents. It is only in his function of Collector that he is here considered. The Collectors collect all money-duties. The Auditor audits the Collector's accounts, to which he sees them sworn before the Governor; he also takes in the Sheriff's accounts of quit-rents which he sells by the Governor's advice. He is the Receiver-General of all public money and keeps it until it is issued out in the King's or the Governor's warrants. He sends his accounts to Mr. Blathwayt, Auditor-General of the Plantations. There is a sort of taxes in Virginia known as levies. This is a poll-tax paid every year for the use of the parish, county or country, and so is called parish-levy, county-levy, and public-levy. These levies are paid in the hands of all titheable persons, etc., all slaves, both male and female, and all white men over sixteen years old. In the beginning of June, and before the 10th of the month, all masters of families are obliged to give in a list of titheable persons within their families to a Justice of the peace in their district, who is obliged to give it in at next County Court. It is then affixed on the church door so that if any titheables be not listed they may be discovered; for it is every man's interest to have the list of titheables as full as possible, it being so much ease to him in his own levy. There is a great penalty on any master who conceals a titheable—loss of all slaves if a slave be concealed, or a fine of 2,000lbs. of tobacco if it be a free man or woman. The lists being thus taken the three levies are raised as follows. For the parish-levy the vestry generally meets some time about October (when the tobacco is ready) and makes a computation of the parish debts for that year, viz. so much for minister's salary, so much for the Clerk's, so much for building, repair, etc. of the church, so much for the poor. They then add 8 per cent. to that part of it which is to be paid with cash, and 5 per cent. (in some places 10 per cent.) for collection; and divide the whole sum (for all levies in tobacco) by the number of titheables in the parish list. The churchwardens are obliged to collect this from the masters of families, and to pay it to the persons to whom it is due, and at the Easter vestry they make up their accounts with the vestry. The same method is observed with the county-levy. The Justices meet and compute the county's debts, viz.: Building and repair of court-house and prison, upkeep of bridges, causeways and ferry-boats, cost of coroner's inquests, and (what is the greatest charge of all) the allowance for the two burgesses at the General Assembly if there have been any that year. All which charge, with 8 per cent. for cash and 10 per cent. for collection, is divided equally among the titheables for the county and collected and disbursed by the sheriff, who at some subsequent County Court makes up his account with the Justices. The public levy is laid by the General Assembly as follows:—The burgesses appoint a Committee of Claims to which all who have anything due from the public bring their claim, and they make a computation of the public charges of the country, viz., salaries of the clerks of both Houses and of Committees, and of the messengers, doorkeepers, etc., charge of present forces maintained by the country, of writs for Assemblies, repairs of the State-House, rent of Council Chamber, costs of taking up runaway servants, etc. 8 per cent. is then added for cash and 10 per cent. for collection and the whole is divided equally among the titheables of the whole country, now about 20,000 in number. This public-levy is raised by Act of Assembly and is gathered together with the county-levy by the sheriffs. The churchwardens generally throw the parish-levy in with it, so that the sheriff collects all three. The parish, county and country-taxes have always been thus levied in Virginia, not laid upon land, houses, cattle, etc., but only by the number of titheables. The land they think pays tax enough in the quit-rents, and their trade by the two shillings per hogshead upon tobacco, besides customs in England and other ports. Their stocks of cattle, horses, etc., they turn to so little account that they think it unreasonable to tax them. Their servants and slaves, being the most considerable part of their estate, are the only rule which they observe in laying the levy. These three levies may amount communibus annis to about 100 lbs. of tobacco for every titheable. None of these come into the Auditor's hands as do the customs and revenues next following, viz. (1) The King's quit-rents, of one shilling per annum for every fifty acres, paid generally in tobacco at one penny per pound, which is 24 lbs. of tobacco for every hundred acres. The quit-rents of the Northern Neck, the great tract lying between the Rappahannock and the Pocomoke, are however paid to Lord Culpeper's heirs. (He once had a thirty years' grant of all the quit-rents of Virginia, but this put the people into such a flame that King Charles II. bought it off with a pension of £600 upon the establishment of the Horse Guards in England). The quit-rent tobacco of the rest of Virginia is paid by the landlords to the sheriffs, who are allowed 10 per cent. by the King for collecting them. The Sheriff collects the rent by the old rent-rolls and by such information as he can get of the land that is taken up lately. The tobacco is then sold privately by the Auditor with the Governor's advice at very easy rates to the Councillors, the Governor and Auditor also buying some share. They pay for it in money or bills of exchange, which appears by their receipt to the sheriff, who makes up the accounts with the Auditor, who sends the account annually to Mr. Blathwayt, but keeps the money until it is drawn out by warrant of the Lords of the Treasury. For this receiving and paying the Auditor receives 7½ per cent., and the revenue from quit-rents amounts to about £800 a year. There has been much talk of concealment of quit-rents and of compositions with the Governor and Auditor, but we can give no account of it nor of the balance of this fund now in the Auditor's hands, which is a secret between him, the Governor and Mr. Blathwayt. The quit-rents thus in bank in 1692 were about £2,500, besides £1,985 then granted from the quit-rents towards the building of the College. (2) The duty of two shillings on every hogshead of tobacco exported from Virginia was granted by the King by Act of Assembly for the use of the Government, as also the fort duties, being fifteen-pence per ton upon all ships trading thither, together with the fines and forfeitures on all Acts of Parliament and Assembly. *The total of this account is somewhat less since a late law of Sir E. Andros's time about the size of tobacco hogsheads, which has enlarged them about a fifth part and consequently diminished the King's revenue about so much.* This sentence is marked H.B. The whole of this account may now amount communibus annis to £3,000 sterling. Out of this there is paid to the masters of ships (to encourage them to give a true account) 10 per cent., to the Collectors 10 per cent., to the Auditor who receives it from the Collectors 7½ per cent. The remainder is paid by the Governor's warrant for the following purposes: Governor's salary £2,000 a year, Governor's house-rent £150, to the Council £350, to the Clerk of Council £50, to the Attorney General £40, to Mr. Blathwayt £100, to Mr. John Povey £100, to a messenger £25, to two gunners about £25. The present Collectors are Colonels Edward Hill, Daniel Parke, Edmund Jenings, Ralph Wormeley, Christopher Wormeley, Richard Lee, Charles Scarburgh. This revenue would turn to better account if there were certain ports for exportation and importation and if the Collectors kept their offices convenient, for many of them live at a great distance and trust their duty to unsworn deputies and they to unsworn masters of ships and other exporters. The Collectors are commonly paid this duty in money or bills of exchange. They pay it in to the Auditor, who for fashion lays the accounts before the Governor in Council. But nobody offers to say anything to it, and it is by him transmitted to the Auditor General, Mr. Blathwayt. What becomes of it afterwards we know not. In 1692, when Colonel Nicholson left, there was remaining in cash in the Auditor's hands £1,500 to the balance of this account, which is since spent, and the account is further in debt to the Auditor about £4,000 sterling. (3) There is a revenue of one penny per lb. upon all tobacco exported from one American plantation to another, granted to the King by Act of the English Parliament. It is provided in this Act that if the exporter have not ready money he shall pay to the value of it in the commodity which he exports. The nomination of the Collectors and the inspection of the revenue is by this same Act entrusted to the Commissioners of Customs in England. The King in 1692 gave this revenue in Virginia and Maryland to the College in Virginia as a perpetual fund for the maintainance of the President and Masters. The College allows 20 per cent. of it to several Collectors nominated by the Commissioners of Customs, and 5 per cent. to the Auditor of Virginia, who is Treasurer to the College. The estimated price of the commodity in lieu of the penny per lb. duty has hitherto been fixed by the Governor and Council at one lb. of tobacco for one penny, which is much higher than the estimate which they make for the quit-rents. The accounts of this revenue are yearly audited by the Governors of the College, who see the Collectors sworn to them before the Governor and transmit them to the Commissioners of Customs. The clear produce of this revenue in Virginia to the College in something better than £100 per annum. The present collectors of the penny per lb. are Edward Hill, Peter Hayman, Edmund Jenings, Christopher Wormeley, Charles Scarburgh, and Nicholas Spencer. (4) Any duty accidentally voted by the Assembly is collected by the Collectors of the two shillings per hogshead, who are allowed 10 per cent. salary. They pay it to the Auditor, who is allowed 7½ per cent., and it is paid under the Governer's warrant for purposes appointed by the Act of Assembly. The accounts are laid before the House of Burgesses, to satisfy them as to the amount raised and its expenditure. The Burgesses have also claimed to nominate a Treasurer for all money voted by themselves, without putting it into the Auditor's hands, which Treasurer should pay it away by their immediate order, without the Governor's warrant. This privilege being denied them, they are much more averse to the raising of money. Perhaps their refusal to renew the impost of a groat a gallon on liquors is to be attributed partly to this, and partly to the Council's refusal to ascertain the value of coin.
§ 10. Concerning the Militia and other forces. All white men bear arms and are listed in companies of foot and troops of horse in their several Counties. The Governor is Lieutenant-General and commands all the forces. The mustering of the militia used to be a part of the Governor's care, but Sir Edmund Andros being disabled from riding is obliged to leave it to others, so that the musters at present are much neglected.* The passage * to * is marked B [lair]. Under the Governor the chief command in every County is committed to a Councillor, with the title of Colonel. But if the command of any County lies very remote from all the Councillors, the Governor gives the post to another person with the title of Major. The Governor, by the advice of the Colonels and Majors, issues commissions to the Captains and Lieutenants, and the Colonels themselves name the inferior officers. Besides the Militia the Assembly empowered Governor Nicholson, when Lieutenant-Governor, with the advice of the Council, to raise such forces as he should judge necessary for the defence of the Country, and this power has been continued annually to the Governor ever since. At present by Act of Assembly a Lieutenant and twelve troopers are kept in constant pay at the heads of the four great rivers, James River, York River, Rappahannock and Potomac, under the title of Rangers, their business being to range the woods, to look out for the Indian enemy, which is commonly a remote nation of Indian robbers who, if not looked after, will plunder the frontier.
§ 11. Concerning the Church and Religion. The inhabitants generally profess to be of the Church of England, which accordingly is the Church Established. There are few or no dissenters, not enough to set up a meeting-house, except three or four meetings of Quakers and one of Presbyterians. The country is divided into fifty parishes, in most of which are two, sometimes three, churches and chapels. Yet some of the parishes are very small in proportion to the rest, so that they cannot maintain a minister. The reason for this was that these parishes were in the most fertile and lovely spots of ground, where the first colonists did chiefly settle, and very likely, when the first division of parishes was made, it was thought that towns would be built in these places, whereupon they assigned them but a small compass of country. But this design miscarrying, it is a pity that a more convenient division is not ordered. As to the Government of the Church, it was placed, as all things else, from the first in the Governor's hands. By local law the Ministers were obliged to produce their orders to him, and to shew that they had episcopal ordination. By local law there is in every parish a vestry of twelve, chosen by all the masters of families in the parish. They have power to continue themselves, for as one dies or leaves the parish the vestrymen choose another in his room. These vestrymen lay the parish-levy and manage all other parochial matters. The power of presenting ministers is vested by law in them, but the law on this point is little observed owing to the prevailing custom of making agreements with their ministers, which they call by a coarse name, hiring the minister. So that they seldom present any ministers, in order that they may keep them in the more subjection and dependence. This custom has had many bad consequences. No good ministers that were aware of it would go to the country, and if they came ignorant of it they quickly felt its effects in the high hand with which vestries managed their power, and left the country as soon as they could. The mansion-houses, if there were any, quickly went to decay, the minister holding his living so precariously that he could not be expected to bestow much on repairs, and very often the glebe was not in his hand. He stood also on so precarious terms that he must have special care how he preached against any of the vices of the great men of the vestry; for if he did he might expect a faction in the vestry against renewing his agreement for another year. In short many ministers were turned out by the vestries, without any crime proved nor so much as alleged against them. And this is the case at this day; they are only in the nature of chaplains and hold their livings by annual agreement with the vestries, at the expiration of which the minister is dismissed or retained at the vestry's pleasure. Hence it is that the country is very ill provided with ministers, there being not so many ministers as parishes. The Governor connives at this, and though he is Ordinary never presents jure devoluto, so that really many parishes choose to be without a minister, for by that means they save all the minister's dues to their own pockets. The annual salary of ministers is fixed by law at 16,000lbs. of tobacco without cask. This tobacco is levied by the vestry on the parish according to the number of titheables and collected by the Churchwardens with the rest of the parish-levy. They have 5 per cent. for their pains. King Charles II. gave the Bishop of London jurisdiction over all the churches in the English plantations, except as to three things, viz., marriage licences, probate of wills and inductions of ministers, which are reserved to the several Governors. In Virginia the Bishop of London deputes a Commissary for this part of his jurisdiction, whose business it is to make visitations of the churches and take inspection of the clergy. The present Commissary is James Blair. He has no salary nor perquisites, but by the King's bounty he was allowed £100 for two years out of the Virginia quit-rents, which we suppose will be continued.
§ 12. Concerning the College of William and Mary in Virginia. In 1691, Colonel Nicholson being Lieutenant-Governor, the General Assembly considering the hard circustances of the country for want of education for their youth, went upon a proposal for a College to which they gave the above name. They proposed that there should be in it a Grammar School to teach Latin and Greek, a Philosophy School for philosophy and mathematics, and a Divinity School for the Oriental tongues and divinity; for it was part of their design that the College should be a seminary for the breeding of good ministers. They appointed what masters should be in each of the schools and what salaries they should have. For the government and visitation they appointed a College Senate of eighteen or not exceeding twenty, who were then the Lieutenant-Governor, four Councillors, four of the Clergy and the rest named by the Burgesses, with power to elect successors in case of vacancies. On their petition the King granted them a Charter for the College, and contributed very bountifully towards the building, giving near £2,000 in ready cash from the bank of quit-rents, in which Governor Nicholson left at that time about £4,500; and towards the endowment the King gave the net produce of the penny per lb. in Virginia, worth £200 a year, the Surveyor's General's place (worth £50 a year) and the choice of 10,000 acres in Pamunkey Neck, and 10,000 more on the south side of Blackwater Swamp, which at that time were tracts prohibited to be taken up. The General Assembly also gave the College a duty on skins and furs worth over £100 a year, and subscriptions to the amount of about £2,500 were collected for the building. With these beginnings the Trustees went to work, but their good Governor Nicholson, the greatest encourager in Virginia of that design (in which he laid out £350 of his own money) was at that time removed, and another put in his place of a different spirit and temper. The Trustees found the business go on very heavily, and such difficulties in everything, that presently upon the change of Governors they had as many enemies as formerly they had friends, such universal influence and sway has a person of that character in all affairs of Virginia. The Councillors who had been the forwardest to subscribe are the backwardest to pay. Then everyone was for finding shifts to evade and elude their subscriptions, and the meaner people were so influenced by their example (men being easily persuaded to keep their money) that not one penny was got of their subscriptions nor paid of the old subscription of £2,500, except about £500; nor durst the Trustees put the matter to the hazard of a lawsuit, where this new Governor and his favourites were to be their judges. Thus it was with the funds for building; and they fared little better with the funds for endowment, for, notwithstanding the first choice of land granted to them by the Charter, patents were granted to others for vast tracts of land, and everyone was ready to oppose the College in taking up the land. Their survey was violently stopped, their claim broken, and to this day they can never get possesion of the land. But the Trustees, encouraged by a gracious letter from the King to the Governor to encourage the College and remove obstructions, went to work and carried out one half of the designed quadrangle of building, advancing money out of their own pockets where the donations fell short. They founded their Grammar School, which is in a thriving way, and having clear right and title to the land would not be baffled in that point, but have struggled with the greatest man in the Government next to the Governor, i.e. Secretary Wormeley, who pretends to have a grant in futuro for no less than 13,000 acres of the best land in Pamunkey Neck. The cause is not yet decided, only Mr. Wormeley has again stopped the claim, which it is not likely that he would do unless he knew he would be supported. The Collectors of the penny per lb. also are very remiss in laying their accounts before the Governors of the College, according to the orders of the Commissioners of Customs, so that illegal trade is carried on, and some of these gentlemen refuse to give any account on oath. This is the present state of the College. It is honestly and zealously carried on by the Trustees, but in danger of being ruined by the backwardness of the Government. Signed, Hen. Hartwell, James Blair, E. Chilton. 77 pp. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 6. Nos. 31, 31 I.; and 37. pp. 129–196.]