America and West Indies
October 1698, 17-20

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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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478-485

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'America and West Indies: October 1698, 17-20', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 16: 1697-1698 (1905), pp. 478-485. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=70982 Date accessed: 19 September 2014.


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Contents

October 1698

Oct. 17.900. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Dudley Digges sworn of the Council. The proclamation for arrest of John Coode approved, and further orders given thereupon. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. pp. 141–142.]
Oct. 17.901. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Draft representation upon the State of New York begun.
Oct. 18.The representations begun yesterday was completed, also a representation as to Lord Bellomont's salary and perquisites.
Oct. 19.The two representations of yesterday were signed. Several papers received from Mr. Weaver this morning were laid before the Board.
Mr. Lowndes's letter of 14th inst. with a report from the Commissioners of Customs read (No. 894). Order for an instruction to be prepared accordingly, and that Mr. Brenton be summoned to attend to-morrow.
Captain Norton's letter of 4 August last read.
Oct. 20.Mr. Brenton attending gave information that he was Collector, Surveyor and Searcher of all New England, including Rhode Island, and was the only officer therefore commissioned by New England except the Judge of Admiralty, Peleg Sanford, whom the Governor refused to swear in. There had been a naval officer appointed in Boston by Sir William Phips, but he had since refused to give security for his office as required by Act of Parliament. In all the Proprietory Governments the Collectors were appointed by the Custom-house in England. He also gave evidence of illegal trade with Newfoundland, and said that naval officers had been allowed by Governors to despatch ships, though contrary to law. The Board hereupon resolved to report the neglect of Proprietors to give security for their Deputy-Governors. Mr. Randolph's letters of 25 April and 30 May were then read, and it was resolved to write to the Government of Rhode Island to account for their behaviour in the matter of pirates.
Colonel Robert Quarry's letter of 4 July read. Order for copy of the clause in the Act of Pennsylvania, for removing the obligation to swear imposed by the Act for regulating the Plantation Trade, to be sent to Mr. Penn.
Letter from the Government of Connecticut of 27 January read, also Major-General Winthrop's letter of 1 July. Order that a letter be written to them to despatch the copies of their laws formerly required of them, and to enquire as to the seizure of goods in the Colony reported by Lord Bellomont.
Sir William Beeston's letter of 5 July read, and directions given for an answer thereto.
Oct. 21.Colonel Blakiston's letter of 20th read, and he himself attending to take leave, was informed what had been done as to the remission of forfeited navigation bonds in Maryland.
The Orders in Council of 20th inst. as to Lord Bellomont's salary and perquisites, and denizenation of a foreigner by Governor Fletcher read.
Christopher Fowler's memorial as to the misnaming of Mr. George Lillington in Mr. Grey's instructions read, and order given for a representation thereupon.
Oct. 22.Acts of Massachusetts further considered, having been begun yesterday. Three draft letters and two representations approved.
Robert Quarry's letters of 25 and 30 August, relating to the affairs of Pennsylvania, read.
Mr. Littleton was ordered to attend and give information as to the practice in granting letters of denizenation to foreigners in Barbados. [Board of Trade. Journal, 11. pp. 253–262.]
Oct. 18.902. Secretary of Massachusetts to William Popple. Advising the despatch of Minutes, Journals and Acts. The Province is quiet; no trouble of late with Indians. Lord Bellomont is still detained at New York by the disorders and divisions of the people. Signed, Isa. Addington. ¾ p. Endorsed, Recd. 19, Read 23 Dec., 1698. [Board of Trade. New England, 9. No. 36; and 37. pp. 82–83.]
Oct. 19.
Whitehall.
903. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Justices of England. Lord Bellomont has raised a question as to the perquisites and emoluments to be allowed to the Lieutenant-Governors of the various provinces during his absence from any one of them. We think it unreasonable that he should be deprived of any part of his salary or emoluments so long as he is resident within any of the provinces of his Government, and we submit the draft of an additional instruction to that effect. Signed, Ph. Meadows, Jno. Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill.
Here follows, Copy of the draft instruction, laying down that the Governor, Lord Bellomont, shall not be deprived of any part of his salary or emoluments while resident within any part of his Government, but that the Lieutenant-Governor shall receive half of the same if the Governor be absent from the whole of his Government. [Board of Trade. New York, 52. pp. 503–505.]
Oct. 19.
Whitehall.
904. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Justices of England. We lay before you a state of the province of New York. The first thing brought forward by Lord Bellomont (and continued in all his letters) is a complaint not only of the backwardness and refusal of the Council to help him, but even of their direct opposition to him and of their frequent cabals with those in favour with the late Governor to make his government uneasy. This he imputes to the protection which they have enjoyed from the late Governor in many illegal practices and their sense of their own guilt therein, which makes them industrious to conceal former mismanagement and obstruct reformation. Piracy is so heinous a crime that the King has lately sent an expedition to the East Indies to suppress the pirates (who have many of them notoriously had their rise in New York), and Lord Bellomont writes that upon inspection of that matter and of illegal trade he is complained against for ruining the city of New York by hindering the privateers (a soft name for pirates) from bringing in the value of £100,000. It appears from evidence sent by Lord Bellomont that one William Mason received a commission for the ship Jacob from Jacob Leisler in 1690, and that the said ship returned to Long Island under command of Edward Coats with large plunder in 1693. One Edward Taylor was then sent ashore, who by mediation of Mr. Nicoll obtained access to Governor Fletcher and offered to him and to Nicoll £700 to allow the ship to be brought in to New York. Owing to the dispersion of the crew the original agreement was not fulfilled, but the ship was given to Governor Fletcher and £200 to Nicoll. It was confessed by Nicoll that he had received 800 dollars for obtaining protection for some of the crew. It further appears that the ship was sold by Governor Fletcher for £800 and that, apart from presents rumoured to have been received by his lady and daughters, he received 100 dollars a man for particular protections. To colour the transaction, the Council's consent was obtained to the admission and protection of the crew under a local Act of New York, but the Attorney-General was not consulted herein. Copies of some of the protections have been sent to us, which in style grant only the protection of the law, but they have been so construed and understood that no prosecutions have been made of the persons concerned, nor, though mention has been made of securities, can any bonds be found at New York. Depositions of Thomas Lewis and Samuel Staats, now both of them Councillors, both of them testify to their negotiation with Colonel Bayard to purchase protections of Governor Fletcher. Another deposition concerns the discharge of a chest of treasure by Colonel Fletcher, though it had been seized as pirates' plunder by the sheriff. Depositions of John and Hannah Hutchins are also annexed as to money paid to Governor Fletcher for protection, but it does not appear whether this was for the piracies already mentioned or for others subsequently committed. Copies of the Commissions given to Tew, Hore, Glover and Moston, though none of them had ships at New York, have been forwarded to us, and we would observe that we have an information here that Tew in 1694 offered Governor Easton, of Rhode Island, £500 for a commission, which was refused, though it is certain that others there have been guilty of that fault. The fact that Tew's commission from Governor Fletcher is dated in November, 1694, makes it highly probable that it was not obtained for nothing. Nominally these Commissioners were to fight the King's enemies, but Lord Bellomont tells us that it was public and notorious that the men aforesaid were pirates. There is evidence also that Tew was much caressed by Governor Fletcher, and an information laid before the Lord Justices of Ireland in August, 1696, states the sum paid by Tew to Governor Fletcher for his commission. The piracies of Tew, Glover and Hore are so notorious that we need not mention them. Thomas Moston obtained a commission from Governor Fletcher for the ship Fortune, but, as Lord Bellomont points out, she was an unfree bottom and evidently designed for a piratical voyage. There is evidence also, as to the bonds given by Tew and Hore, that the securities were worthless, while one of the bonds to which Governor Fletcher's secretary, Daniel Honan, was a party, has been defaced by the said Honan.
Next, as to illegal trade, the returns of the decrease of revenue are the first evidence of corrupt administration. Next there is evidence that Moston went to Madagascar with goods for the pirates and brought back their spoil of East India goods, yet it was only with the greatest difficulty that Lord Bellomont could get the Collector to seize the ship after most of the goods had been removed. There were fourteen of Hore's men on board her, yet none of them were arrested for piracy, and owing to the intrigues of the merchants it was only with difficulty that evidence was obtained to condemn the ship. We have information apart from Lord Bellomont's as to Moston's trading with pirates at Madagascar. Lord Bellomont suspended Mr. Brooke after this affair of the ship Fortune, but one of his successors was forcibly thwarted by the merchants when he attempted a seizure of contraband goods, and thereupon resigned. Lord Bellomont also reports that five suspicious ships hung about the coast for a time and sailed away on learning that he was Governor, and that the Council opposed him when he wished to take security from four ships bound to Madagascar that they should not trade with pirates. We must also lay before you certain evidence as to a ship called the Frederick, belonging to Frederick Phillips of New York, which shews her to have embarked pirates' plunder at sea and to have sailed with part of it to Hamburg.
Next, Lord Bellomont has brought before us several extravagant grants of land made by Governor Fletcher, and also the leasing of a part of the King's garden. We observe also that the provision made for quit-rents is trifling, though this is enjoined upon the Governor by his instructions. The treatment of the King's garden and King's farm, Lord Bellomont takes to be rubs designedly put in his way; and he calls attention to the many evils which arise from these extravagant grants of lands, with particular reference to the grant of the Mohawks' land.
This leads us to the state of the forces on the frontier, which Lord Bellomont reports to be half starved and much thinned by desertion, He instances the hardships put upon the troops (although their pay was subject by the establishment to a deduction of 30 per cent) by Governor Fletcher's illegal stoppages. The fortifications here have also been much neglected, and some of them ill-situated; and Lord Bellomont asks that Colonel Romer may stay longer in the Colony to set them in order. The many difficulties above enumerated Lord Bellomont hoped to overcome by calling an Assembly, but he complained that he was thwarted by undue elections and returns. We shall not add more except that Lord Bellomont has suspended William Pinhorne from the Council. We now represent that, in view of the corruption which has reigned at New York, the guilty parties must be punished, censured or discouraged, for unless Lord Bellomont's authority be strongly supported he will be able to do nothing. We recommend therefore that his zeal be commended, and that the suspensions of Nicoll, Brooke, Pinhorne, Bayard and Phillips from the Council be confirmed. As to the gentlemen recommended by Lord Bellomont to fill vacancies, we observe that the first name is that of Philip French, who was at the head of the tumult in obstructing the seizure of goods at Van Sweeten's house, and that Adolphus Phillips, since proved to have been concerned in illegal trade, is also mentioned. These therefore we conceive to be unfit, but we recommend the appointment of the remainder, viz., Abraham Depeyster, James Graham, Samuel Staats, Robert Livingston, and John Corbile. We recommend also that orders be given to prosecute all pirates in New York who are sheltered there under colour of Governor Fletcher's protections, and to do the like with illegal traders. We recommend further that legal measures be taken to annul the extravagant land-grants aforesaid, and that in future no land be granted for less quit-rent than 2s. 6d.per 100 acres, nor without an obligation to the grantees to plant and improve it within three years. Signed, Ph. Meadows, Jno. Pollexfen, John Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. New York, 53. pp. 1–34.]
Oct. 19.905. Commission of Nathaniel Blakiston to be Governor of Maryland. The extreme number of the Council is to be seven, and in case of vacancies he may make it up to that number and no more. He has power to suspend officers commanding King's ships for disobedience of his orders, and to commit them; the next senior officer taking the suspended officer's place. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 1. pp. 227–252.]
Oct. 20.
London.
906. Nathaniel Blakiston to Council of Trade and Plantations. I learn that there lies before you an address from Maryland on behalf of several merchants who are securities for forfeited bonds, that the Governor has suspended execution of judgment on the same pending the King's pleasure and that the Attorney-General of Maryland has certified that there is not £1,000 to be got from all of them. It seems not improbable that these persons may have made every preparation to desert the province if they should find it necessary, and since there is no advantage to be expected from further prosecution but only the ruin of these poor people, whose situation is the result rather of misfortune than crime, I beg that you will recommend the petitioners to the King to have compassion on them. I understand that, even if the penalties be remitted, the bonds will still remain against the masters of ships, who are the true offenders, wherever they may be met with. I am very sensible how great is the interest of the King and of this country in the regulation of the plantation trade, and I shall, during my continuance in Maryland, execute my instructions concerning the same with the greatest care and diligence, so that no fresh complaints of this kind shall arise. I intend to give out on my arrival that no securities are in future to receive the least favour, and that none but responsible persons shall be admitted as securities; but, as to the case aforesaid, it will be a great pleasure to me if I can help to obtain for them the King's remission of their forfeitures. I hope, by your favourable recommendations in this affair, to show the inhabitants of Maryland on my first arrival that my wish is to serve them, which may lead to mutual trust and greatly facilitate public business. I have been ready for my voyage for two months, and having now received my commission, hope to sail on Monday. Signed, N. Blakiston. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 21 Oct., 1698. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 3. No. 62.]
Oct. 20.
Philadelphia.
907. Robert Quarry to Council of Trade and Plantations. Since my last Governor Markham sent for me and told me that he believed the Justices, who had taken the seized goods from the custody of the Marshal of Admiralty, had acted very imprudently, and that he would call the Council and if possible order the goods, or their value, to be restored to him. I told him that I had already reported this affront on the King's authority to Whitehall, that it was impossible to return the goods, as the Government had restored them to the person from whom they had been seized, since he had sold them all, and that the appraisement of their value, which he offered me, was a perfect cheat, being not one-sixth of the full value, than which my duty would not allow me to accept less. I told him also that since he was calling the Council I wished to complain of an affront put on the King in open Court, which was as follows. All the justices were sitting by, in the trial of goods forcibly taken from the King's store, when David Lloyd, one of the Council, asked the Marshal of Admiralty by what authority he acted. The Marshal thereupon produced his commission, whereupon Lloyd held it up in a scornful way, saying, "This is a fine baby, a pretty baby, but we are not to be frightened by babies." The Court, instead of reproving him, seemed very much pleased with this wit. I then told the Governor that I expected satisfaction from him and the Council for this affront; and he promised to tell them of it. A week later they met, and sat for three or four days. Two or three loyal honest gentlemen, who are not Quakers, proposed very warmly that the justices who had ordered the seizure of the goods should be turned out of all offices and made an example; but David Lloyd answered that all who encouraged the erection of Courts of Admiralty were greater enemies to the rights and liberties of the people than those who promoted ship-money in the time of King Charles I., and that he would prove it at next sitting. This had so great an influence on the rest that all debate ended, and the Council adjourned. I can therefore do nothing. The Quaker justices resolved that, if Anthony Morris had been turned out, they would all of them have resigned; whereby you may see what is to be expected from the Government. About five weeks ago a French pirate came into the bay, landed a party and plundered a town. The poor people were ruined, not being able to make defence for want of a militia and of arms. Signed, Robt. Quarry. 2¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 23 Dec., 1698. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 2. No. 36; and 25. pp. 292–296.]
Oct. 20.
London.
908. Richard Cary to William Popple. I have delivered the packets for Nevis to the Master of the Exchange galley. The duplicates I return, your message having arrived timely to stop them. Signed, Rd. Cary. ¼ p. Endorsed, Recd. 20 Oct., 1698. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 122.]
Oct. 20.
Whitehall.
909. Order of the Lords Justices of England in Council. Approving the representations of the Council of Trade, of 19th inst., together with the additional instructions as to Lord Bellomont's salary and perquisites, and directing the said instruction to be prepared for signature. Signed, John Nicholas. Copy. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 21 Oct., 1698. [Board of Trade. New York, 8. No. 10; and 53. p. 35.]
Oct. 20.
Whitehall.
910. Order of the Lords Justices of England in Council. Referring an extract from a report by the Commissioners of Customs to the Council of Trade for report. Signed, John Nicholas. ½ p. Annexed,
910. I. Extract from a report of the Commissioners of Customs on certain papers transmitted by Governor Nicholson, 12 October, 1698. Another observation is that one Arnold Noding, a Frenchman, being prosecuted in Maryland for breach of the Acts of Trade, produced letters of denizenation obtained at New York, in virtue of which he and his sloop were discharged. Colonel Nicholson reports that in Acts of Naturalisation passed in Maryland a proviso was inserted to bar any claim to the privilege of Englishmen under the laws of England; and we agree with him that any other system would tend to frustrate the laws.
Here follow copies of two Naturalisation Acts of Maryland; of the patent of Naturalisation granted to Arnold Noding, and of the proceedings against him in Maryland. The whole, 6½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 21 Oct., 1698. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 3. Nos. 63, 63 I.; and 9. pp. 290–303.]
Oct. 21.911. Memorandum of the above Order in Council. ½ p. [Board of Trade. New York, 8. No. 11.]
Oct. 20.912. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. The Lieutenant-Governor laid before Council a letter from Mr. Villebon, and two depositions as to the driving of English vessels from the fishery by the French (see Nos. 922 I.–IV.). Order for the said papers to be sent to the Council of Trade, and copies of them and of Mr. Nelson's papers to be sent to the Agents, and for an account of the whole to be sent to Lord Bellomont. The Lieutenant-Governor took the oaths appointed by the Act for the regulation of the Plantation trade. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 176–177.]
Oct. 20.913. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Order appointing a place for the storing of the State-papers, dispersed owing to the recent burning of the State-house, and for an enquiry into the causes of the fire. The great hall at Mr. Sherwood's house was appointed as the place for holding the General Court. Richard Lee appointed Collector and Naval Officer of Lower Potomac.