America and West Indies
June 1698, 21-25


Institute of Historical Research



J. W. Fortescue (editor)

Year published





Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'America and West Indies: June 1698, 21-25', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 16: 1697-1698 (1905), pp. 278-291. URL: Date accessed: 19 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


(Min 3 characters)


June 1698

June 21.A letter dated yesterday from Mr. Secretary Vernon, as to the disposal of the money entrusted to Captain Norris, was read (No. 586); and the letter to Captain Norris, Signed yesterday, was delivered to him.
June 22.Mr. Richard Cary attending bore witness in, favour of Mr. Netheway's appointment as Councillor, and said that he only awaited Mr. Codrington's return from France to submit his answer to Mr. Walrond's accusations.
The Secretary reporting that some Acts of Massachusetts had been returned by the Solicitor General without a report thereon, was directed to return them to him again.
Draft letter to Mr. Lowndes concerning Mr. Blair's allowance signed. Representation on the Draft Commission for the Governor of Virginia signed. Order for Mr. Harrison to attend to-morrow upon the matter of the same Governor's instructions.
June 23.Mr. Harrison attended, to give information as to Mr. Blair's capacity to sit in the Council of Virginia, alleging the precedent of Mr. Mein in Barbados. The Board, however, submitted queries on the subject to the Attorney and Solicitor General.
Governor Codrington's letter of 29 April read. Order that in the next letter to him he be requested to make clearer the English title to Tortola.
Sir Henry Ashurst brought up the Massachusetts Acts of 1695 with the Solicitor General's opinion thereon (No. 597).
June 24.Mr. Blathwayt brought down an order of the King as to the salaries of Lieutenant-Governors.
Mr. Pulteney's letter of 20th inst. as to ordnance stores for Newfoundland read (No. 587). Captain Norris attending received his commission and instructions.
Mr. Netheway attending said that he was leaving shortly for Nevis. The Board thereupon agreed upon a draft representation recommending him for the Council of Nevis. [Board of Trade. Journal, 11. pp. 99–108.]
June 21.591. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Abel Alleyne chosen Speaker during Thomas Maxwell's absence. A reimbursement of money paid for fitting out sloops for the island's service was ordered. Other payments ordered, and claims due referred for examination. The Council recommended the grant of an additional £100 to Mr. Edwards. Mr. Heberland's accounts referred to a Committee. Address to the Council for payment of £500 to the President, and of an additional £100 to Mr. Edwards. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 295–297.]
June 21.592. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Nevis. The Assembly refused to entertain a proposal of the Council for longer quartering the soldiers, so long after the peace. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. p. 470.]
June 22.
New York.
593. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to Council of Trade and Plantations. My last were sent by the Richmond frigate, which had my sailing-orders on the 29th of May. The maladministration of the late Government has so corrupted and debauched the minds of most that I found in authority here, that I meet with great difficulties and obstructions in the discharge of my duty. Colonel Fletcher has so managed the Council here by gratifications of grants of land, connivance at illegal trade, etc., that they would never contradict him, but joined him in all his proposals however prejudicial. I reported to you the removal of William Nicoll (chief broker in the matter of protecting pirates) from the Council. Since then I have evidence of his making a bargain with several of the country to receive £400 for passing an Act prejudicial to New York City. The Act was actually passed by Colonel Fletcher, and part of the money was paid to Nicoll, the rest being due by obligation. He received this reward as a Member of Council, and it is reasonable to infer that he was a factor for Colonel Fletcher in the matter, as the enclosed evidence will show. I doubt not to obtain fuller proof of the same, which shall be transmitted to you. I hope you will prevent the restoration of so evil an instrument to the Council. Since I removed him he has been most industrious in making cabals and encouraging discontents, and, as I am informed, purposes privately to make up a bank of the merchants, who have their unlawful trade interrupted, to employ an Agent to complain against me. But I am assured of your justice and support to me in doing my duty against all that pretend to be aggrieved at it. I yielded to the Council not to send him home a prisoner for his dealing with pirates, but I fear that I shall be forced to do so for the quiet of the Government. I have also been obliged to suspend William Pinhorne from the Council for scandalous and reproachful words against the King. The proof was plain, and the witnesses, who were confronted with him, of good reputation. He has since written a most false and foolish defence which was read before myself and Council and rejected, as the enclosed papers show. Colonel Fletcher found this man in the Council when he arrived and turned him out as a non-resident, but by presenting Colonel Fletcher with some plate and by other proper methods he was restored to the Council and made a judge, with salary of £100, besides receiving large grants of lands from Colonel Fletcher. Besides his disaffection to the King, Pinhorne is (I am informed) a person of most scandalous character. He was employed as factor to a woollen-draper of London who entrusted him with four or five thousand pounds in goods, which Pinhorne (it is said) has converted to his own use. He then purchased an estate in the Jerseys and conveyed it to his wife and children so that it may not be liable to the woollen-draper's demands, for which he is now commencing a suit here. For the above reasons I have suspended him also from being a judge and I am persuaded that you will not restore him. At the same time I suspended Mr. Chidley Brooke also from the Council and from his offices of Collector and Receiver-General of New York, he having been to my own knowledge most backward and careless in his duty, to the visible decrease of the King's revenue, as the enclosed account shows. I consulted Mr. Randolph on this matter, who gave me his opinion in writing; and I could not believe that a man who was faulty in so great a trust could be fit to sit in Council. I hope, therefore, that you will not restore him. He was, indeed, a great devotee to Colonel Fletcher, which he could not have been without joining him in connivance at illegal trade. Indeed, at my first arrival, Colonel Fletcher told me that Mr. Brooke's employ was more profitable than the Governor's, which it can only be by unlawful gains, for he has made but very few seizures in six years' time. I have dealt with Mr. Brooke thus purely in discharge of my duty, for by birth he belongs to one of my relation's families in Ireland and was first preferred by my father, and later advanced in the Customs by my own interest. I am, myself, one of his securities in £2,000 for his proper discharge of his duties as Receiver-General, for which I am liable in England. The Minutes of Council respecting his and Pinhorne's suspension are enclosed. I may add that Brooke and Nicoll were employed by Colonel Fletcher and by a corruptly-elected Assembly to be Agents in England, and had £1,000 of the Country's money to defray the expense of opposing an Act of Parliament for reversing the attainder of Leisler, Milborne and others, most unjustly executed for their forwardness in the late happy Revolution, as also to procure the passing at home of an Act passed here about bolting of flour—the Act for which Nicoll received £400 as aforesaid. Indeed, all that are disaffected to the present Government, Papists and Jacobites, have been the intimates of Colonel Fletcher, and have been employed by him in the persecution of all that favoured Leisler and the instruments of the Revolution here.
Another difficulty under which I severely labour is that I found all the sheriffs here, appointed by Colonel Fletcher, to be of the scum of the people, tailors and other scandalous persons, who notwithstanding my proclamations against illegality at elections have contrary to their oath and duty made corrupt and false returns of members. Thus of the nineteen persons that make up the Assembly eleven elections were disputed; but they being a major vote of the House have established themselves and proceeded with the greatest confusion and disorder imaginable, which has occasioned six of the nineteen to make a remonstrance, which was consented to by three more members but rejected by the majority. On this the six withdrew, petitioned myself and Council and drew up a protest of the proceedings of the House both to the House and to myself and Council. But as I have not followed my predecessor in interference with elections, neither have I interposed with the rights and liberties of the House of Representatives; but being convinced of the corrupt grounds on which this Assembly has proceeded I have, upon this petition and protest, dissolved it. It has sat for near a month and done nothing but villainous tricks to justify the falseness and unfairness of the sheriff's returns. Had I permitted this Assembly to have sat and acted, there would have been great discontent among the people, who had few true representatives among them after the remonstrants had withdrawn. The papers relating to this are enclosed. I shall at once appoint better men to be sheriffs and call another Assembly which may enact laws to reunite the minds of the people and do service to their King and country. I will give you but two instances of the constitution of the last Assembly. The first is, that a writ being directed to one sheriff, of the City and County of York and County of Orange, to return four members, this sheriff has certified to the return of four duly-elected persons, though it is evident, and he himself acknowledges, that he did not allow one freeholder of the County of Orange to have a voice in the election. Secondly, these four persons, so unjustly returned, joining with other disputed members, have excluded two others, who were fairly elected, from sitting, on pretence that they are under attainder for their proceedings in the late Revolution. Thereby they have raised a flame by stirring up remembrance of those who were unjustly executed for the same, and showed their malice against the present Government. The whole of the remonstrances and petitions appearing to be truth, I find by what unjust measures the late Governor procured packed and corrupt Assemblies to gratify his pride and malice. But I shall alter the method and restore the blessing of an English Government by free and fair election of Representatives, though it will cost me much time and trouble to purge corruption so deeply rooted.
I have in other letters reported to you the frequent trade between this and Madagascar; the pirates, who fitted out in this port, bringing their spoils taken in the East Indies and the Red Sea to that island, whence merchant-ships from this port, publicly loaded with goods useful to the pirates, brought them back here for sale. See the enclosed deposition as to the ship Fortune. She was commissioned by Colonel Fletcher as a privateer but publicly loaded here, went to Madagascar and brought back East India goods from the ship of the pirate Hore, who had also a commission from Colonel Fletcher. The ship and some of her goods have been seized and condemned on her return, as the enclosed account shows. The generality of the merchants (there being two and twenty owners of the lading) are so much incensed at this and had so far corrupted the evidence that it was hard to procure enough to condemn the ship and goods; and they have so terrified the witnesses that they have resolved to remove from among them. The merchants also daily curse and threaten the few persons that have assisted me in the King's service. On the 6th inst. four merchant-ships laden here and bound to Madagascar came to me to be cleared. I delayed them till I had called the Council and offered to them that I had good reason to suspect these ships to be bound to Madagascar to supply the pirates with necessaries and to bring back their goods, and that I believed that each ship ought to give security not to trade with pirates. The Council, however (being some of them concerned in the ships) unanimously opposed this method as not prescribed by law and never before practised here, so that I was forced to allow the ships to proceed on their voyage. On the same day I had intelligence of East India goods, illegally imported, at Mr. Van Sweeten's house. I forthwith sent the Collector and Searcher of Customs, who found them and seized them. But a tumult was raised by the merchants who came to the house, and by their advice the officers were locked up, and kept imprisoned for three hours before I had any notice of it, when my intelligence was that they were in danger of being murdered. I thereupon sent the Lieutenant-Governor and three files of men with my servants, who broke open Van Sweeten's doors, freed the officers, and assisted them in carrying off the seized goods to the Custom-house. Hereupon Van Sweeten put in a false and scandalous petition, and thereon I summoned the Council and had the whole matter heard before them, who have made a minute thereof. The depositions as to the treatment of the officers are enclosed. Next morning I again sent for the officers, and told them where they might make another seizure, whereupon Mr. Monsey (who for six years past has been chief-searcher and is now one of the two commissioners for executing Mr. Brooke's office) told me that indeed he would act no longer in his office, and desired me to appoint another. He would give me no reason, but laid down his employment; and thus for want of an officer that day I missed seizing £1,000 worth of goods, which were immediately afterwards removed to some other place. I must observe that this Monsey was brought over by Mr. Brooke as his servant, and has been employed as searcher under him; but without doubt he has as good a correspondence with the merchants as his master, otherwise he would never have thrown up that employ. He had accepted it from me but five days before, and it advanced his salary from £50 to £200 a year, but finding that he must now be kept to his duty and must disoblige the merchants, he would act no longer; besides he came to me to lay down his commission directly after discoursing with Mr. Brooke, as he confessed to me. It is reported that he is going with Mr. Brooke to England to endeavour to justify his master's proceedings in his employ here. I have written a large report to the Treasury on this matter, and enclose copy of my letter. These proceedings of mine against the merchants have raised their minds against me and have so influenced the Council that I have little assistance given me in the Government. I find that the merchants' design is to disturb me at home by complaints, and to make me uneasy here by scandalous reports and opposing me in everything. In the seizures aforementioned, for instance, three constables were sent for, but would not be found; and the sheriff was one of the persons chiefly concerned and had great quantities of East India goods in his own house (which I narrowly missed seizing), so that he could not be trusted. The violence offered to the Customs-officers required speedy assistance, and it was this that made me send the Lieutenant-Governor and soldiers to break open the doors and release them, which now they make great clamour at and great threats of complaints at home. Their hopes and boasts are either to prevail with you for my recall or to make me so uneasy that I shall desire it myself; but, since I seek for no advantages for myself but with great difficulty pursue the King's interest, I doubt not that you will discourage their wicked contrivances, and that I shall rather receive the King's thanks for doing my duty.
I must represent to you the miserable condition of the King's forces. Colonel Fletcher used the soldiers so barbarously that they deserted, and left the companies so empty at my arrival that instead of one hundred men, according to establishment, my company numbered but thirty-five centinels, scarce sufficient to relieve the duty. For though the pay is 30 per cent. worse than sterling, yet Colonel Fletcher deducted from each private man's subsistence one half-penny per diem (which for four hundred men makes seventeen shillings a day) for several years, which makes a considerable sum that the soldiers have been cheated of, apart from the wrong done to the King by Colonel Fletcher's sending false muster-rolls. This province further gave, as an encouragement to the soldiers, an additional pay of fourpence a day, part of which was pocketed by Colonel Fletcher and never given to the men, which caused them to desert. He likewise, with his officers, made great advantage of the soldiers' labour, obliging them to pay for another's performing their duty, and to give their subsistence to him and his officers for liberty to exercise their trades. These hardships I have removed, yet I fear that I shall not be able to fill the companies without sending an officer to England. At present the companies are so weak that, should war break out, the frontier would be in great danger. But I shall shortly send you a full account of the wrongs and abuses of these companies.
Since my last I have got full proofs of Colonel Fletcher's protection of pirates. See deposition enclosed. I shall also lay before you an account of all his maladministrations, with proofs which will show you how much the King has been injured and dishonoured by him, and by what means he has so corrupted people here that they will be in conspiracy against any Governor who regards the King's honour and the execution of the laws, and will endeavour to make him weary of his Government. They give out that this is their design as to myself, but though the pension allowed me as Governor here is small, I shall not be tempted to enrich myself by joining them in their game of unlawful trade. You will find that Brooke and Pinhorne were two of Leisler's judges, by whom he was most barbarously murdered for his forwardness in the Revolution here. The late Governor made advantage to divide the people by supposing the Dutch and English interest to be different here, and therefore, under the notion of a Church of England to be set in opposition to the Dutch and French churches established here, he supported a few rascally English, who are a scandal to their nation and to the Protestant religion, and who joined with him in the worst methods of gain and severely used the Dutch, except some few merchants whose trade he favoured. The Dutch ought to have an equal benefit of the English Government, being most heartily for their Majesties, and a sober, industrious and obedient people. I have the Council's consent to the appointment of an Agent for this province in England, and have appointed Mr. Thomas Weaver. He served as Attorney-General in the Leeward Islands with an unspotted reputation and has been known to me for many years. He has been an eye-witness of all that has passed since I entered upon this Government, and is prepared to give you full information I beg your favour and countenance to him, whether in the province's affairs or my own. Signed, Bellomont. 10¼ pp. Endorsed, Transmitted by Mr. Weaver, Agent for the Province. Recd. 8th, Read 18th April, 1698. Enclosed,
593. I. Deposition of Jacob Rutson. 1 June, 1698. Four years ago, when a Member of Assembly, I was sent for by Governor Fletcher, who told me he heard that the Assembly would pass no bills unless a bill was passed for the country's free bolting of flour, and that he could not and would not pass such a bill, as it would ruin the City of New York. This was about the time when the City of New York presented him with a gold cup. In 1691, having had several parcels of flour seized in New York, I employed Mr. Nicoll as my lawyer and engaged him to see some attorney in England if it should be necessary to appeal, which Nicoll did, before Governor Fletcher arrived in New York. In February, 1695, I met Mr. Nicoll in Ulster County, who was discussing of the hardship of the seizure of my flour at New York, and of my suit concerning it remaining so long undetermined, and I agreed with him either that he should prevail to get an Act passed to deprive New York of the sole liberty of bolting flour, or carry the cause to England. For this service I and the chief inhabitants of Ulster County agreed to pay Nicoll £400, New York money. Nicoll then said that he believed that Governor Fletcher would now pass such a bill, since he had heard him say that the said privilege of New York City was a great monopoly. About a month later the Act was passed and consented to by the Governor, and on the same day I paid Nicoll £100 as part of the money agreed on. I have great jealousy that Governor Fletcher had part of the money, for Nicoll was particularly urgent for payment of it on the day when the Act was passed; but I cannot be positive or certain therein. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. from Mr. Weaver 15th, Read 16th Sept., 1698.
593. II. Extract from Minutes of Council of New York. 25 June, 1698. Colonel Henry Beeckman, examined on oath, deposed (1) that he had an agreement with William Nicoll for £400 to procure an Act of Assembly to give the country equal privileges with New York as to bolting of flour; (2) that he knows nothing of Colonel Fletcher's being gained over nor heard his name mentioned; (3) that he heard that Mr. Rutson paid £100 to Nicoll on the day when the Act was passed; (4) that several inhabitants of Ulster contributed to subscribe the £400, and (5) that he had heard that the contribution was levied on the King's taxes of the county. Copy. 2 pp. Endorsed as No. I.
593. III. Deposition of John Ward. 27 June, 1698. I subscribed five pounds on account of the agreement with William Nicoll to procure an Act giving to the whole country the liberty of bolting flour or appeal to England on the case. I was told that Nicoll received the money when the Act was passed. The £400 was afterwards assessed upon the county by the Justices and Grand Jury, but great part of it is not yet raised. I always understood that the agreement was made with Nicoll as with a lawyer. Copy. 1½ pp. Endorsed as No. I.
593. IV. V. Copies of the depositions of Edward and Hanna Earle as to William Pinhorne's scandalous language concerning the King. (See No. 502 II.) Endorsed as No. I.
593. VI. Extract from the Minutes of Council of New York. 7 June, 1698. Concerning the suspension of William Pinhorne and Chidley Brooke from the Council and from their offices. 3 pp. Endorsed as No. I.
593. VII. Minute of the Council of New York. 18 June, 1698. Rejecting William Pinhorne's defence. Here follows the defence itself, addressed to the Governor in the form of a letter, 10 June, 1698. I altogether deny that I used the words attributed to me; but the falseness of the charge can be detected by reasonable and probable presumptions. I appeal to all who know me to say whether I am likely to have used such words in the first place, and before such witnesses in the second. My abhorrence to Popery is well-known; I never received any advantage under King James, but many posts under King William, in which I have always done my duty. It was not likely that I should use such words immediately on receiving such favours, certainly not before two open enemies of long standing. They have tried many kinds of malice and revenge against me before now. It is strange too that they should have kept these words, alleged to have been spoken in 1691, quite secret until 1698. If you will examine the record of their past in the Courts of Law you will hardly think them credible witnesses. There is also a discrepancy in the dates of the alleged crime on my part, in the two depositions. I enclose sworn statements as to the past behaviour of the Earles towards me. The whole, 18 pp.
593. VIII. Deposition of John Pantree. 8 June, 1698. I went sailor on the ship Fortune about seventeen months ago to Madagascar. We took in a cargo of sugar, liquors, pumps, hats and stockings, arms and gunpowder at Turtle Bay, and at Madagascar we traded for negroes and also with a vessel formerly commanded by one Hore (who was then dead) for East India goods. We brought the said goods to Long Island Sound, where they were taken off by two New York sloops. Copy. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 15th. Read 20th Sept., 1698.
593. IX. Memorandum as to Chidley Brooke's proceedings concerning the ship Fortune. Thomas Moston received a commission to command the ship from Colonel Fletcher, under date 7 Nov., 1696. She is a foreign bottom, and is presumed to have traded with pirates. She came into New York on the 31st of March, being the day of Lord Bellomont's arrival at Sandy Hook. On the next day Chidley Brooke and Colonel Bayard visited Lord Bellomont, but Brooke said nothing about the ship, nor on the 2nd of April when Lord Bellomont was sworn in. On the 4th, Brooke, in the midst of a great company, whispered the intelligence of the ship's arrival to Lord Bellomont, as newly received, pretending that three members of the Council were concerned. The Earl bade him do his duty, without prescribing the method, and offered him the assistance of Captain Leader, of H.M.S. Deptford, and thirty or forty men if required, bidding him concert arrangements with Leader and the Lieutenant-Governor. Brooke there-upon ostentatiously consulted with them then and there, contrary to the Earl's order to do so privately. Next day Brooke suggested to the Earl a method of seizing the ship which would affect the owner but spare the freighter, which the Earl disapproved. Brooke then did nothing nor came near the Earl till sent for the next night, when he said that the ship was lying in the borders of Connecticut, so that he had no power, and that it was the man-of-war's business, but that he would obey Lord Bellomont's orders. The Earl gave him positive orders, reproaching him for concealing the matter from him four days and for being ignorant of his duty, and ordered him assistance; and, fearing the same backwardness, sent on the same night a sharp letter to quicken him. The next day Brooke, going with his assistants, seized a sloop and boat coming from the ship with the last of the East India goods, but secured none of the people on board either of the ship or the sloop. Lord Bellomont shewing his disapproval, Brooke said that the ship was coming up to surrender herself, and that the master had undertaken that the men should be forthcoming; to which the Earl replied that now no doubt they would concoct a story which might conceal the truth. He then ordered Brooke to secure the master and sailors, when Brooke inveigled some of them into his room and sent them into the fort. The Earl discovered Brooke's illegal method of imprisonment, and after taking the prisoners' parole to re-appear, dismissed them. Mr. Mainwaring, who commanded the sailors who assisted Brooke, gave information showing Brooke's collusion in the matter, allowing the master and sailors to escape and some of the seized goods to be disposed of. On the 13th of April notice was secretly given to several merchants, Van Sweeten among them, to secure any forbidden goods, as a search was coming, and on the next day Brooke came to ask for the Earl's order, professing his readiness to rummage the whole town for the goods. The Earl rejoined that Brooke had already full authority, and only acted thus to throw odium upon him. He then made a search, but nothing was found, as all had been warned to hide the goods. Brooke also by his carelessness allowed the Fortune, after seizure, to be driven on shore, whereby she was so much damaged as to be of little value. Lastly, he lodged an information against the ship in the Court of Admiralty without consulting the Attorney-General, hoping to defraud the Governor of his share by making the information defective. Signed, Bellomont. Four closely-written pages. Endorsed, Recd. 15th, Read 23rd Sept., 1698.
593. X. Abstract of the preceding memorandum. 1 p.
593. XI. Copy of the proceedings in the Vice-Admiralty Court of New York relating to the ship Fortune, with the decree of condemnation. The ship was valued at £297, New York money. 6 large pages. Endorsed, Recd. 15th, Read 20th Sept., 1698.
593. XII. Deposition of Thomas Monsey. 15 June, 1698. On the 14th he went to search Mr. Van Sweeten's house for forbidden East India goods, and informed him civilly for what purpose he was come, upon which Van Sweeten said that he was at liberty to do so. He found nothing till he reached the cock-loft, where there were a trunk and box full of East India goods. He then summoned Van Sweeten and told him he should carry the goods away, when Van Sweeten asked him to show his warrant or order to do, which deponent could not produce. Deponent then went out to drink something, being hot, and on his return found a crowd about the house. He was followed upstairs by several merchants and after a time found himself shut in, all the doors and windows of the house being closed. 3 pp. Endorsed as No. XI.
593. XIII. Deposition of James Brodie. 16 June, 1698. He went as one of Monsey's assistants to search Van Sweeten's house, and confirms his statement. The suggestion to shut the Customs-officers into the house was made publicly by Mr. French. 2¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 20th, Read 26th Sept., 1698.
593. XIV. Deposition of Robert Cromwell. 15 June, 1698. Confirming the two last preceding depositions. 1¼ pp. Endorsed as No. XIII.
593. XV. Petition of Ouzeel Van Sweeten to the Earl of Bellomont. Complaining that his door had been broken in by some soldiers, assisted by servants in Lord Bellomont's livery, and many valuable goods carried away. Asks for an audience on account of "so grievous a violation to the English laws and liberties." Copy. 1½ pp. Endorsed as No. XIII.
593. XVI. Extract from the Minutes of Council of New York. 16 June, 1697. Mr. Van Sweeten's petition was heard, his witnesses examined and the case dismissed. 1 p. Endorsed as No. XIII.
593. XVII. Deposition of John Wick. 2 June, 1698. In April, 1696, Josiah Rayner landed at the east end of Long Island, there being (as Rayner told him) treasure of over £1,000 value in his chest. The said chest was seized by the sheriff as privateer's goods, on which Rayner asked me for advice how to recover it. I went to James Emott, who went with me to Governor Fletcher, who asked the value of the treasure and on hearing £1,000 said that he wished it were £2,000. I then asked for discharge of the chest and a protection for Rayner, who had been one of Tew's crew, and said that he would give a present for the same. The Governor said that since Rayner had gone out with his permission he was right to come to him for a protection, and that though he would take no reward for it, yet he would not refuse a present if Rayner should give him one. He then signed the protection and an order for discharge of the chest, and I gave him £50, which he accepted. I gave it in a bill of exchange drawn on Abraham Depeyster and payable to Daniel Honan by Colonel Fletcher's order. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd 15th, Read 23 Sept., 1698.
593. XVIII. Copy of Colonel Fletcher's order to the sheriff, Josiah Hobart, to return to Josiah Rayner any goods of his that are in his custody. 1¼ pp. Endorsed as No. XVII.
593. XIX. Deposition of Abraham Depeyster as to the bill of exchange of £50 drawn by John Wick upon him. Scrap. Endorsed as No. XVII.
593. XX. Copy of a letter from Josiah Hobart to Lord Bellomont. 30 May, 1698. Apologises that he cannot wait upon him, as he is unable to ride. Sends Governor Fletcher's order for release of Rayner's treasure-chest. He himself never got a penny for seizing it, but only abuse from Rayner for molesting him. 1 p. Endorsed as No. XVII. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. Nos. 73, 73 I–XX.; and (without enclosures) 52. pp. 396–411.]
June 22.594. Abstract of the foregoing letter of Lord Bellomont. 1 p. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. No. 74.]
June 22.595. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to the Commissioners of Customs. I enclose duplicate of mine of 27 May, since which I have suspended Chidley Brooke; and Mr. Monsey, Surveyor of Customs, finding that I would keep him to his duty would serve no longer. I have written at large to the Lords of the Treasury. Mr. Randolph is a diligent officer, but he could not stay here long enough to keep the others to their duty. Mr. Thomas Weaver will give you full information. I hope that now the negligent officers are removed the Customs will be advanced here. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 8th. Read 14th Sept., 1698. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. No. 75; and 52. pp. 439–440.]
June 22.
596. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. We submit a draft commission for Governor Nicholson, and we recommend that another Governor be appointed and arrive in Maryland before he moves from thence to Virginia. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Tankerville, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 37. p. 209.]
June 22.597. The Solicitor-General to Council of Trade and Plantations. I have perused the Acts passed in Massachusetts at a General Assembly in May, 1695, and find nothing to object to in them, provided the expiring laws, which are continued by sundry of these Acts, have received the King's approval. Signed, Jo. Hawles. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 23 June, 1698. [Board of Trade. New England, 9. No. 30; and 37. pp. 4–7.]
June 22.
598. William Popple to the Solicitor-General. You have made no report on the Acts of Massachusetts passed in February, 1695, so I am ordered to return them to you to be despatched with what speed you can. List of the Acts follows. [Board of Trade. New England, 37. pp. 2–3.]
June 22.599. William Popple to William Lowndes. It is proposed that the allowance of £100 a year to Dr. Blair, Commissary to the Bishop of London in Virginia, may now be settled upon him as a yearly salary, and that a clause to this effect be inserted in Governor Nicholson's instructions. Has the Treasury any objection? [Board of Trade. Virginia, 37. pp. 226–227.]
June 23.600. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Antigua. Though there was no full Council, the Governor sent down to the Assembly the letter of the Lords Justices concerning pirates and asked them to appoint Committees to deal with this and with the Militia Act. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. p. 261.]
June 23.
601. Gerard Slye to Secretary Vernon. I enclose copies of my charges against Governor Nicholson. I would have sent proofs, but none of the Council or justices will take the depositions while he is Governor, or until a Commission arrives from the King to examine the matter. I beg for your interest, not only that he may be removed, but that his crimes may be examined without fear or favour, for if any here speak of his abuses he at once sends for them and threatens them with imprisonment and ruin, abusing them to the last degree. Lately, upon a frivolous occasion—nay, for nothing but mere malice—he sent a militia-officer with a warrant for me, kept me a prisoner for six days at my house, and at last forced me to two unreasonable bails, obliging me to appear at Annapolis on the last Tuesday in August next. He knew that I was returning to England before to stifle his crimes and prosecute him at home; to which end he has sent as his Agent to England Sir Thomas Laurence, a man of his own stamp, who always appeared above board against the King and Government. I beg your assistance. Signed, Gerard Slye. 1¼ pp. Enclosed,
601. I. Memorandum of charges against Governor Nicholson. These are for the most part identical with those enclosed in the letter of 26 May (see No. 508 I.), though arranged in different order. They contain, however, the following additional charges. (24) He has endeavoured to exasperate the Indians to war and stir the English to insurrection, so as to gain a reputation for loyalty. (25) He grieves and perplexes the officers and others by his illegal and arbitrary commands about frivolous affairs. (26) He has altered and attempted to alter the constitution of Government. (27) He presses men's horses and boats in time of peace, as well for his private as for public use. (28) He issues proclamations enjoining new oaths and penalties without authority of law. (29) He intimidates the people for seeking relief from his oppressions. (30) He requires absolute obedience from the civil officers to his own particular orders without any reserve, under great penalties. (31) He requires excessive bail in inconsiderable matters, binding Mr. Gerard Slye in £2,000 to appear at Annapolis at a time when he knew that his affairs required him to return to England, on purpose to hinder him from laying his charges before the King and Council. The numbers are continued from those in the abstract already quoted. 7 pp. [America and W. Indies. 558. Nos. 9, 9 I.]
June 23.
602. Order of the King in Council. Approving the draft Commission to Governor Nicholson and ordering it to be prepared for signature. Certified copy. Signed, John Nicholas. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 1 July, 1698. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 6. No. 50; and 37. p. 229.]
June 24.603. Declaration of the King, that during the absence of a Governor-in-Chief, one full half of his salary and perquisites shall go to the Lieutenant-Governor, which shall not be diverted to the Governor-in-Chief upon any pretence whatever. The King reserves to himself the disposal of the other half of the salary from the date of the Governor-in-Chief's commission until his arrival within his Government. Copy. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Brought to the Board by Mr. Blathwayt. Recd. Read 24 June, 1698. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 117; and 34. pp. 293–294.]
June 25.604. Minutes of Council of New York. Committee appointed to examine Colonel Schuyler's accounts. A Committee appointed to confer with the Commissioners of Connecticut as to the towns of Rye and Bedford. Confirmation of land and of the erection of a manor in Suffolk County granted to Major-General Winthrop. On a petition as to a sloop condemned for not being registered, the Governor forgave his part of the forfeiture but not the King's. The Commission of Major Selleck and the other Commissioners of Connecticut read, after which the Governor told them that he had appointed a Committee to meet them and suggested that the conference should begin that afternoon. Colonel Henry Beeckman, being called in, refused to swear to his depositions as to the agreements respecting the bolting of flour, but on being threatened with committal, he answered five queries as to his agreement with Nicoll to procure the passing of the Act to do away with certain privileges of New York City. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 118–120.]