America and West Indies
August 1698 , 22-25

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Institute of Historical Research

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J. W. Fortescue (editor)

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1905

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399-406

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'America and West Indies: August 1698 , 22-25', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 16: 1697-1698 (1905), pp. 399-406. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=70971 Date accessed: 28 August 2014.


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Contents

August 1698

Aug. 22.
Annapolis.
Maryland.
762. Governor Nicholson to Secretary Vernon. I hope you have let Sir Thomas Laurence give you a full account of our affairs. I wrote at length to the Council on the 20th inst. I hear that Slye and his confederates have forged another parcel of articles against me, and I think they deserve the same characters of being part false, part scandalous and all malicious, like the former. I hope I shall be allowed to prove them to be so. If you see the articles, please suspend your judgment till you have seen my answer. Signed, Fr. Nicholson. 1 p. [American and W. Indies. 558. No. 10.]
Aug. 22.763. Secretary of the East India Company to William Popple. The Company has appointed Benjamin Franks and Jonathan Tredway, of Captain Kidd's ship, to be brought before the Council of Trade this morning. Signed, Ro. Blackborne. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 22 Aug., 1698. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 128.]
Aug. 22.764. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Mr. Blackborne's letter of this day read (No. 763), and Jonathan Tredway, one of Kidd's men, was examined, and confirmed previous depositions, in particular that of Nicholas Alderson, as to Kidd's voyage. Benjamin Franks being called in could add nothing to his former affidavit.
Draft representation on the instructions for Virginia approved.
Aug. 23.Letter to Governor Nicholson signed, and ordered to be committed to Sir Thomas Laurence for transmission. Order for the Maryland Acts to be returned for a few days by the Attorney-General in order to Colonel Blakiston's instructions.
Representation on the instructions for Virginia signed.
Address from Philadelphia in Mr. Yard's letter of 19th inst. (No. 759 I.) received and reserved for consideration.
Mr. Cary's memorial of this day as to Mr. Lucas and Captain Bugdon received and read.
Aug. 24.Dr. Blair attending gave a long narrative of his suspension from the Council of Virginia, and offered several arguments why his name should be continued in the list of the Council to be inserted in the instructions for Virginia. The Board resolved to leave the names unaltered and to lay the instructions before the Lords Justices to-morrow.
Mr. Walrond's papers considered, and orders given for him to be sent to for his affidavit to the matters of fact within his knowledge.
Aug. 25.Certain of the laws of Maryland were perused with a view to Colonel Blakiston's instructions.
Henry Watson's information as to piracy received and read (No. 770).
Lord Bellomont's letters and papers received on 6th ult. considered, with a view to an answer thereto.
Aug. 26.Order for Mr. Blackborne to be requested to send Samuel Roberts to attend the Board, on the matter of pirates.
Mr. Walrond handed in his affidavit, and being questioned denied that he was privy to certain words spoken by Captain Arthur as alleged by Governor Codrington. John Cruse was then called in and gave hearsay evidence as to the taking of a Spanish ship by Captain Weatherhill.
Colonel Blakiston's instructions were completed, and the Maryland laws sent back to the Attorney-General. [Board of Trade. Journal, 11. pp. 187–196.]
Aug. 23.765. Memorial of Richard Cary to Council of Trade and Plantations. I have lately seen a letter from one of the Council of Antigua dated 23 June, mentioning that John Lucas had been tried for a libel, signed J. Johnson, upon Governor Codrington, and found guilty, and fined £100, with orders to find security in £100 more to be of good behaviour till next sessions. This is also confirmed by a person who was present at the trial. Captain Bugdon was tried by order of the Admiralty for breach of orders and for using Governor Codrington ill, on 12th inst. at Plymouth. He was found guilty by a court-martial of twelve captains, and sentenced to lose all his pay, to be imprisoned for a year, and to be incapable of ever serving the King. Signed, Rd. Cary. 1 p. [Board of Trade. Leeward Island, 5. No. 113.]
Aug. 23.
Whitehall.
766. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Nicholson. Yours of 28 May has reached us. The King has appointed you to be Governor of Virginia. Your commission is despatched and your instructions will shortly be perfected; and when that is done we shall have much to write to you. We now send you a duplicate of one letter of 2 September, with copy of the King's letter, Mr. Penn's letter, and the Order in Council respecting the boundary of Maryland and Pennsylvania. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, John Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. pp. 206–207.]
Aug. 23.
Whitehall.
767. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Justices of England. We beg to submit a report on the alterations which we have made in preparing Governor Nicholson's instructions. Some of these alterations are taken from the instructions given to other Governors, viz., that the Governor return not to Europe without the King's leave, that accounts of revenue and public money be sent home, that the commissions of judges, justices and sheriffs be made without limitation of time, that accounts of increase or decrease of population be sent home yearly, that a general survey of the country be made and a map transmitted home. Other alterations carry their own reason in themselves, viz., that the Councillors, since they sit as a Supreme Court of Judicature, take the oaths proper to a judge, that the method formerly settled for bringing a Councillor to answer in civil causes be made effectual, that tables of fees be hung up in all public places where they are charged, that all orders of Council be read and approved before entry in the Council-books, and that surveyors be sworn to do their work faithfully. Other alterations require more particular explanation. The general ground thereof is that in the administration of the Government of Virginia all things are made so entirely dependent on the Governor's single will and pleasure that, if there happen to be an ill man in that post, it cannot reasonably be expected that any person, and least of all Councillors, should oppose him or advise the King of his miscarriages. On the other side, too, the visible consequences of such a constitution are that all the chief officers of Government may procure from the Governor his connivance with their faults. We have therefore added a few words to the clause concerning the suspension of Councillors, ordering that the whole proceedings on such occasions shall be entered fairly in the Council-book, which we think will render Councillors less liable to arbitrary removal. It is notorious that there are great arrears of quit-rents due to the King from Virginia, owing partly to the great tracks of land taken up by particular persons, but not cultivated. We have required of the Governor an account of all these arrears, and have added a proposition for a new method of taking up land, to be maturely considered of and for the Governor to report if it shall be adopted. Former instructions have ordered a convenient house to be built for the Governor, but meanwhile he receives £150 a year for house-rent. No advance, however, has been made towards that work, and we have intimated to the Governor that he must not expect a continuance of house-rent if by his neglect the house remains unbuilt. The Collectors and Naval Officers have for years past been the same persons, and for the most part Councillors, doing their business principally through unsworn deputies and rendering their accounts to the Council, which is to themselves. The evils of this are evident and complaints have not been wanting, so we have inserted a clause to prevent it. It seems also incongruous that the Receiver should be the same person as the Auditor, and we have inserted a clause ordering the Governor to report to us as to the settlement of these offices. Since also this same officer has been accustomed to sell the tobacco received for quit-rents, we have added directions for the method of selling it which we think will be advantageous. We have also added a clause to remedy abuses in the Secretary's office. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Jno. Pollexfen, Phil. Meadows, Jo. Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 37. pp. 252–259.]
Aug. 24.768. Minutes of Council of Bermuda. The Chief Justice, Justices and officers of militia were appointed. [Board of Trade. Bermuda, 39. p. 2.]
Aug. 25 New York,769. Edward Randolph to Council of Trade and Plantations. Want of a ship still prevents me from carrying the commissions to administer the oaths to the Governors of Carolina and Bermuda, though I expect to obtain one in a few days. I was lately in East New Jersey, where most of the towns in that and the other province will not accept Mr. Basse as Governor, because he is not qualified by the approval of the King signified by Order in Council. I observe that all the Governors take the oaths not in obedience to the Acts of Trade but to avoid payment of £1,000. Yet they have entered upon their Governments and undertaken the trusts imposed on them by those Acts. I enclose some queries arising from the Proprietors' Governors' meddling with the Acts of Trade, who seem in no way concerned therein, although they have taken the oath. I discoursed Mr. Markham about his law and shewed him that in passing it he had acted expressly against the 10th article of the Lords Justices' instructions to him, though he had taken an oath to observe it. I enclose copy of the Act with my remarks. I must repeat what I have already said, that as long as the Proprietary and Charter Governments remain intermixed with those under the King's direct authority, it is impossible to suppress illegal trade. The Scotchmen now value themselves highly on the opinion of the Attorney and Solicitor-General respecting the proviso in the Act for preventing frauds which relates to Scotchmen. The people of Pennsylvania have by their sham law already destroyed utterly the design of that Act, and they question not but that by Mr. Penn's interest they will get that law passed in their favour. If so, it will be an admirable precedent for all the other Proprieties to pass the like law, and then those provinces will be soon peopled; for many more of the inhabitants of Virginia, Maryland and New York will settle among them when all goods are exported and imported free, and the laws are as favourable as they choose to make them. There were never so many vessels cleared from this port in one year for Madagascar and Curaçoa as now. The Swift frigate, which was ordered to cruise for prevention of illegal trade, is lost, and without such a vessel a hundred Acts of Parliament will signify nothing towards suppressing that trade, as the enclosed list will show. Unless a vessel be ordered to cruise on this coast the King will lose more in his customs than would support five men-of-war at home. Signed, Ed. Randolph. P.S.—I send this by Captain Culliford, who was sent to Connecticut by Lord Bellomont to seize illegally imported East India goods. I beg that the Council of Trade will order him to attend and state the facts. 2½ pp. Inscribed with a short abstract. Endorsed, Recd. 31 Oct. Read 1 Nov., 1698. Enclosed,
769. I. Queries arising upon a clause in the Act for preventing frauds. (1) Have Governors, appointed by Proprietors, any right or power to execute the Acts of Trade until they have been approved by the King through Order in Council, as ordained by the said Act? Have they power to demand of a ship's master, under penalties, the invoice of his cargo, or have they power to appoint a naval officer? (2) If a Governor having taken the oaths appointed by the Acts of Trade wittingly offends against those Acts, should he be turned out of his Government or forfeit £1,000? (3) Has any such Governor the right to receive a third share of all ships and cargoes forfeited for breach of the Acts of Trade? (4) Are not the Governors of Rhode Island and Connecticut, who are elected annually, upon the same footing as the Governors of other Proprietary Colonies as regards the Acts of Trade? (5) Are not Plantation-bonds implied in the words "all the penalties and forfeitures before-mentioned," in the Act for preventing frauds, and may not Plantation-bonds, forfeited upon breach of the Acts of Trade, be tried in the Courts of Admiralty in the Colonies if the officer or informer prosecute them there? Signed, Ed. Randolph. 25 Aug., 1698. 1 p.
769. II. List of vessels sailed or cleared for Curaçoa and Madagascar from the port of New York in the year 1698. Fifteen for Curaçoa; four for Madagascar. 1 p.
769. III. Copy of the Pennsylvania Act for preventing frauds and regulating abuses in the Plantation Trade. 4½ pp., with annotations by Edward Randolph in the margin. The principal objections which he urges are, that the Act positively frightens officers from searching ships by making them liable for damages if they detain a ship above one tide; that though the penalties imposed by the English Act are doubled, this is only a blind, for they will not be enforced; that there is a general dispensation to all persons to substitute an attestation for an oath; that cases arising under the Act are to be tried according to course of common law, which by implication condemns the Courts of Admiralty erected by the King; and that the regulations of the English Commissioners of Customs are made the pretext for raising a large sum (under colour of paying his expenses) for the present Governor. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. Nos. 129, 129 I.–III.; and (without enclosures) 34. pp. 373–377.]
Aug. 25.770. Information of Henry Watson. That Samuel Roberts can prove that Governor Fletcher received £400 for a commission from the pirate Robert Glover, provided that he were secured from future trouble at Governor Fletcher's hands. ½ p. Endorsed, Brought by the Earl of Bridgewater. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 130.]
Aug. 25.771. Deposition of Samuel Perkins of New England. About five years ago I went on board the Resolution, 18 guns and 60 men, Robert Glover, commander, on which I was detained by my uncle, who was boatswain. We sailed from New England at night by way of the Guinea Coast to Madagascar, where we victualled and cleaned, and then sailed to the Red Sea, where we waited for some India ships, but missing them, went to an island called Succatore at the mouth of the Red Sea for provisions, and thence to Rajapore, where we took a small Muscat ship. Glover sailed away in her, having quarrelled with the crew of the Resolution, and Richard Shivers, a Dutchman, was chosen commander. We sailed to Mangalore, where we took, plundered and released a small Moor's ship; thence to Calicut, where we took four ships, but finding the people hostile set fire to them and sailed to Cape Comorin. Here we missed the Malacca ships but took a Danish ship, which was rifled, then proceeded to Mauritius and so to St. Mary's, near Madagascar, where we met the John and Rebecca, Captain Hore, with a rich prize taken in the Persian Gulf, and found also a brigantine which had come from New York for negroes. At St. Mary's, which is pretty large and well populated by black people, Captain Baldridge, an old pirate, had built a platform of twenty-two guns, but this was destroyed by the blacks when I was in Madagascar nine months ago, and Captain Glover and the rest of the pirates killed. Eleven men in my house were killed at the same time in Madagascar and only myself spared. There was another party of English in Madagascar who defended themselves until Captain Baldridge, who was then absent in his brigantine, came and took them off to St. Augustines. I had run away from the Resolution before this happened, and was one of the party that was carried to St. Augustines. From thence she sailed to St. Helena, where we arrived six months ago, pretending to be a trading ship of New York, and so got water and provisions. I ran away from her there, and waited on the island for three months until I got a passage home in an East Indiaman. I heard at Madagascar that a little before my arrival fourteen of the pirates had by consent divided themselves into two parties of seven to fight for what they had, thinking that there was not enough for all, and that the whole of one seven were killed and five of the other, so that two men enjoyed the whole booty. I heard and I believe that not only the Resolution but also the Mocha and several other ships were playing the pirate in different parts of the East Indies when I left Madagascar. Copy. 5½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 6 Sept., 1698. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 131.]
Aug. 25.
Philadelphis.
772. Robert Quarry to Council of Trade and Plantations. Since my last, two seizures have been made, one of East India goods brought from New York without cocket, and supposed to have been run in by a foreign ship from Madagascar; and though a private account was sent from New York of these goods and their value, which was £1,000, yet all that they seized is not worth above £150. Whether this was due to the folly or to the knavery of the officer I do not know; some say that most of the goods were landed before he went aboard. I must repeat that if there were forty officers-more in this bay, they would not be able to secure the trade of the place; nothing can do it but a vessel of force constantly cruising between the Capes. For instance, since these officers came hither there was a Boston ship that took in almost all her loading of tobacco in the lower counties of this Government after she was cleared, and carried it away to Newfoundland. I could give you many more instances. The other seizure is a sloop commanded by a Frenchman who produces copies of letters of denizenation which, in my opinion, cannot qualify him. I cannot receive your directions herein before the trial, but I beg that you will write them to me for my guidance in future. The Act of Navigation is very full, as are also the Acts to explain it here, but I should be glad to know how far letters of denizenation qualify a foreigner to be master of a ship under the Act. The law-officers have decided that Scotchmen are qualified under the Act, and they are increasing accordingly. Nearly all the Governors pretend to naturalize or at least to denize foreigners, so that the Acts, in this respect, are rendered ineffectual. Foreigners can always obtain a qualification from one Government or another, so that soon it will be difficult to get Englishmen to sail in our ships. For my part I am resolved to be guided by the Acts of Parliament until otherwise instructed by you. I cannot yet hold a Court of Admiralty to decide these and other pending matters, because the officers live a hundred miles asunder. I do not think that a worse choice could have been made. The Marshal has not the use of his limbs, whereas he ought to be a brisk active man. The Register lives a hundred miles away, and is one of the members who passed the late Act which practically destroys the Court of Admiralty. The Advocate is not in this part of the world and does not design to be. I must consult Governor Nicholson, who has power to fill vacancies, but I do not know if he can supersede Commissions. I am sure if any expedient is to be found for the King's interest, he is the only man that I can depend on. Application to other Governors will mean loss of time and money, and great courtships before anything can be done, when perhaps the opportunity will have been lost. But Governor Nicholson's zeal for the King's interest is so great that he encourages and even courts them who will promote it, not only in his own but in every other Government. As soon as I return from Maryland and have overcome all difficulties I will hold a Court of Admiralty notwithstanding the pernicious Act of the Province to the contrary. I am resolved to assert my commission, whatever the consequence. There are pirates of Every's crew still in this Government, sometimes at liberty and sometimes in custody, as they can make their terms. I have no power to try them, for by the Act of 27 and 28, Henry VIII., all pirates must be tried by a Special Commission under the Great Seal. If such a Commission be issued here, there will be no evidence gotten for the King, and I conceive that it will be best to send the prisoners to England. Signed, Robt. Quarry. 4 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 21, Read 24 Oct., 1696. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 2. No. 27; and 25. pp. 243–247.]
Aug. 25.
Whitehall.
773. Order of the Lords Justices of England in Council. Approving the draft instructions for Governor Nicholson of Virginia, and ordering a copy to be prepared for the Royal signature. Certified copy. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 6 Sept., 1698. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 6. No. 60; and 37. p. 259.]
Aug. 25.
Whitehall.
774. Order of the Lords Justices of England in Council. Referring a petition of Edward Walrond to Council of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed, John Povey. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 29 Aug., 1698. Annexed,
774. I. Petition of Edward Walrond to the Lords Justices. Setting forth that, owing to his taking exception to Governor Codrington's proceedings in respect of Captain Arthur and other matters, Governor Codrington had bound him over in £500 to take his trial, whereupon he escaped from Antigua to England and preferred several complaints against Governor Codrington, since which the Governor has levied execution on his estate for £500. Prays to be heard by counsel, and for all proceedings against him to be stayed meanwhile. 1½ pp. Copy. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. Nos. 114, 114 I.; and 45. pp. 201–205.]
Aug. 25.775. Deposition of Edward Walrond. A reassertion of various statements to the detriment of Governor Codrington in respect of the case of Robert Arthur, and of his former charges against the Governor of trading with the French and Dutch and with pirates. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 26 Aug., 1697. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 115.]
Aug. 25.776. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Antigua. Message of the Council representing that the soldiers lie about the island in a miserable condition owing to the expiration of the Act for quartering them. Answer of the Assembly, that most of the soldiers were now house-keepers, but that it was ready to pay for the care of the sick soldiers. Joint Committee appointed to inspect the Acts concerning registry and imported servants. Message from the Council to the Governor asking for a vessel to be appointed to pursue some negroes who have run to the French. Orders for a rebate of duty and upon a legal case. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 269–272.]