America and West Indies
January 1702, 21-24

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Institute of Historical Research

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Cecil Headlam (editor)

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1912

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36-48

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'America and West Indies: January 1702, 21-24', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 20: 1702 (1912), pp. 36-48. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=71629 Date accessed: 31 July 2014.


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Contents

January 1702

Jan. 21.
New York.
45. Lieut. Governor and Council of New York to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Since ours of yesterday we have received further evidence concerning a conspiracy to disturb the peace, good, and quiet of H.M. Goverment, and it appeares very manifestly to us that Col. Nicholas Bayard is the chief promoter of it, and that it is of such a nature that if some example be not made, H.M. Goverment here will be (as they represent it) vile and cheap in the eyes of the people. Signed as preceding. Endorsed, Recd. 14th, Read April 27, 170½. 1 p. Enclosed,
45. i. Copy of Minutes of Council of New York, Jan. 20, 1702. Endorsed, Recd. April 14, 1702. 2 pp.
45. ii. Copy of Minutes of Council of New York, Jan. 21, 170½. Same endorsement. 3¾ pp.
45. iii. Copy of Mittimus for the Commitment of Col. Bayard for High Treason. Signed, John Nanfan, A.D. Peyster, S. Staats, Robt. Walters, T. Weaver, W. Atwood. Same endorsement. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 1047. Nos. 35, 35.i.–iii.; and (without enclosures) 5, 1119. pp. 125–127.]
Jan. 22.
Whitehall.
46. Council of Trade and Plantations to Lord Grey. We desire you would please to furnish us with an account of the state of defence of Barbados as soon as possible, in order to perfecting our report upon the state of defence of all H.M. Plantations in America. Signed, Stamford, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Mat. Prior. [C.O. 29, 7. p. 461.]
Jan. 22.
Whitehall.
47. William Popple to John Sansom. The Council of Trade and Plantations command me to acquaint you, for the information of the Commissioners of H.M. Customs, with what Col. Codrington writes Nov. 10 last relating to illegal trade in reference to Anguilla and Spanish Town (quoted). Also with Mr. Atwood's observations Oct. 20 last (quoted). [C.O. 153, 7. pp. 387–389.]
[? Jan. 22.]48. Thomas and Elizabeth Elliot to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Praying for a copy of the Solicitor General's Report upon the Act of Antego relating to Blubber Valley Plantation. Endorsed, Recd. Read Jan. 22, 170½. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 4. No. 81.]
Jan. 22.49. Minutes of Council of New York. The Governor and Council being informed that rumors have been spread in this Province as if severity and the utmost rigor of the Law would be used against all such persons as have been deluded to sign false and scandalous papers against the Government, it is ordered that a Proclamation issue declaring it to be the intent of this Goverment not to punish any person or persons who have been deluded thereto, but onely the chief promoters and incouragers thereof, and requiring all H.M. officers, civil and military, to use their utmost endeavours for the keeping the peace and quieting the minds of the people disturbed by the base and wicked arts of men, to whom the Laws of England and an English Goverment are the greatest grievance.
Jan. 23.Petition of Robert Walters read, praying a license to purchase vacant land in the County of Suffolk of the Indian natives, and granted, provided the said purchase be made in 12 months.
The Governor made oath in Council that he had not opened the box of pacquetts he delivered to Capt. Darkins to carry to the Ministers of State in England since the signing of the papers against the Goverment was first declared to him.
Jan. 24.Petition of Johannis Hardenbrook and others, on behalf of themselves and several other of H.M. subjects of this Province, was read, and the said persons having taken the oaths appointed, and subscribed the Test and Association, it was ordered that the Clerk of the Council do prepare a certificate thereof, and that the Seal of the Province be affixed to the same as desired by petitioners.
The Proclamation ordered Jan. 22 was approved of. [C.O. 5, 1184. pp. 612, 613.]
[Jan. 23.]50. Memorial on the petition of Isaac Hawkins to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers to his Petition, Dec. 12, 1700, etc. Your Lordships having sent the said petition to the Governor and Council of Barbados for their answer, they have not denied the truth thereof in any letter to your Lordships which has been communicated to Petitioner. So that it plainly appears that Barbara Newton and Petitioner (who is only an executor upon trust for several infants, her grandchildren) have been kept out of a just debt of 5,975l. due on bond for about 12 years past, and that this has hapned by the partiality of the Judicature in that Island, where persons parties in interest and unknowing in the Law have the whole administration of Justice. Petitioner does not think their Lordships' recommendation of Feb. 6, 1701, will make any the least amendment in what is complained of, because (1) It is already the constant practice there that all such of the Council, or other Judges as are named in any suit, do go off the Bench when any cause comes on wherein they are named plaintiffs or defendants, and the first petition does not complain of any such person sitting to give judgment, but of persons interested therein, who are not directly named. (2) It may not appear to the Court or Governor who are interested in a suit, or the consequence thereof, otherwise than by their being named in the action, and if it could appear to the Governor that any of the Council were interested in the consequence of any suit that was before them, yet he could not hinder their sitting Judges unless they were directly named as parties therein, for though the Members of that Council are made by the King's Mandamus, yet, while they continue such, they have their power of judicature by a late Law of that Island, with which the Governor cannot dispense, so that the Governor cannot obey the directions of the said Report, if it be extended any further then to persons named in the suit, which was not complained of.
Petitioner humbly conceives that it is apparent to your Lordships that he complains that persons fitly qualified by their knowledge in the Law and disinterested are not appointed to be Chancellors and Judges, as in H.M. other Dominions, and that instead thereof merchants, planters and other inhabitants, unknowing of the Law, and by reason of their trade and dealings often engaged and interested in suits of Law, should be Judges of those Courts, whereby too many of them may be tempted to engage in a mutual interest to avoid paying just debts by long delaies, and wholly to escape them at last by wrongful judgments and decrees. Against an alteration in this Petitioner knows noe objection but that it would be against the antient constitution of that Island. But on the first settlement of that Island, when suits were few, and for inconsiderable matters, and when they used to be decided in a summary way by some of the principle inhabitants, the administration of Justice there by persons not versed in the Law might be sufficient, but since the great increase of the traffick, wealth and laws of that Island, the number of suits are much increased, insomuch that about 1,200 suits were lately depending there at one time, and of late years, since the resort thither of persons professing the Law, more niceties and difficulty in the forms of proceedings have been introduced there than are used in England, which occasions great delaies, and it is now become much more difficult to administer justice there then it was formerly, wch. makes it absolutely necessary to have some persons to preside in those Courts capable to redress those growing evils. The great distance of that Island and the charge and trouble of Appeals makes it much more necessary to have Justice well administered. The Constitution of that Island cannot be called ancient, since it has been under a royal government only since the Restoration of Charles II, and has received many alterations since, etc. The only question then is, whether it be most for the King's service and good of his people that Justice should be administered by such as understand it, and are not parties in interest, or by such as do not understand it and are parties interested. Endorsed, Recd. 23rd, Read Jan. 27, 170½. 2¾ pp. [C.O. 28, 6. No. 30.]
Jan. 23.
Whitehall.
51. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Upon reading an Act of Bermuda to prevent the oppression and extortion of officers, referred to by Capt. Bennet, Aug. 28, their Lordships thought fit to suspend any resolution thereupon till Mr. Jones may have been heard upon the crimes that are imputed to him, or have transmitted his answer thereunto.
The Lord Grey attended with Mr. Bridges and Mr. Eyles, Agents for Barbados, and said that he was preparing a Memorial relating to the defence of that Island, which they promised to lay before their Lordships to-morrow. They now laid before the Board a copy of Mr. Skene's Memorial with an answer to it under the public Seal, signed by all the Council of that Island, as likewise an Act for a present of 2,000l. sterl. to his Lordship, Nov. 17 last, upon which his Lordship desired this Board wd. favour him with a report that he may have liberty to receive the same.
Further progress made with Representation on the defence of the Plantations.
Jan. 24.Letter from Sir William Beeston, Jamaica, Oct. 20, read.
Mr. Bridges presented to the Board Lord Grey's Memorial on the state of defence of Barbados, which was read.
Representation upon the State of Defence of H.M. Plantations in America was finished, and signed, and transmitted in a letter from the Board to the Earl of Manchester.
Ordered that the Secretary acquaint the Lord Grey as Jan. 26. [C.O. 391, 4. pp. 305–308; and 391, 96. Nos. 14, 15.]
Jan. 23.52. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Ordered that an order issue out to the Colonels of Militia requiring them to exercise once a week for four weeks from Saturday next, and that they order the stores and arms in their Regiments to be inspected.
Bill to raise a further strength of Labourers to clear the trenches and repair the fortifications, sent up, was read three times and passed.
Bill to appoint watches in the respective Towns read the first time and ordered to lie upon the table for further consideration.
Benjamin Monta and Amanuel Levy, mercht., granted leave to carry off the Island provisions shipped by them before the recent Proclamation was published, upon bond and oath as to the transaction being bona fide. [C.O. 31, 6. pp. 125, 126.]
Jan. 24.53. Lord Grey to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Upon a strict survey of the Ports and Batteries in Barbados, I found in 29 Forts and Batteries which are there 308 guns of divers natures, viz. 2 demi-cannon, 75 culverin, 108 demi-culverin, 101 saker, 22 minion. But of this number there were not above 58 serviceable guns, and them of such natures as are not proper for the Forts and Batteries, being small short ship guns. Most of the Forts and Batteries were out of repair and will require a very considerable sum of money to put them into a condition of defence. Upon consideration of what will be necessary for the defence of that Island, it is my opinion that such of the Forts and Batteries as may be most useful be forthwith repaired, and that there be sent thither at least 100 great guns of 12 foot long together with a suitable proportion of shot and all other Ordnance Stores needful for them. There is a want of small arms, shot and other stores necessary for the defence of the Island in a time of war. Signed, R. Grey. Endorsed, Recd. Read. Jan. 24, 170½. 2 pp. [C.O. 28, 6. No. 31; and 29, 7. pp. 462, 463.]
Jan. 24.
New York.
54. Lt. Gov. Nanfan to the Council of Trade and Plantations. In obedience to your Lordships' commands, Oct. 8 last, I can assure your Lordps. that the complaints of Capt. Wake and his owners against our Collector, Mr. Weaver, appear to be only because of the faithful discharge of his duty. The order of the Commissioners of Customs to which they refer is so far from discharging the ship, that they say upon search of the General Register it appears that she was registered Aug. 10, wherefore they order him to discharge her, if there were no other cause, whereas she imported goods July 17 before. Refers to Chief Justice [Atwood's] letter. A copy of the judicial proceedings is sent to Mr. Champante, in order to defend against the Appeal. The Attorney General neither in this nor in any other matter appears to have discharged his duty, whether from want of ability or will, I need not determine, but am sorry to say there is reason to suspect both. Signed, John Nanfan. Refers to enclosed Proclamation. Endorsed, Recd. 14th, Read April 27, 1702. 3 pp. Enclosed,
54. i. Copy of Proclamation for quieting the minds of the people of New York, upon occasion of the commitment of Mr. Hutchins and Col. Bayard. Fort William Henry, Jan. 24, 170½. Signed, John Nanfan. [See Jan. 22.] Endorsed, Recd. April 14, 1702. 1½ pp. [C.O. 5, 1047. Nos. 36, 36.i.; and (without enclosure) 5, 1119. pp. 127–129.]
Jan. 24.
Whitehall.
55. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Earl of Manchester. Enclosing Representation to be laid before the King. Signed, Stamford, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, Mat. Prior. Enclosed,
55. i. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Refer to Representations of Jan. 10 and 25, 1701, and letters to Governors upon Order thereupon. Having received answers from several Governors and further considered the condition of those parts with relation to the present conjuncture, we humbly represent that, Newfoundland is of great importance for the fishery. The place of chief strength in it is St. John's Harbour, which is now fortifying by your Majesty's order, and the garrison there by the establishment consists of 80 private soldiers besides officers. We have been informed from Capt. Richards, the Engineer, that great quantities of materials were wanted from hence for finishing the Forts, and that he had engaged several Masters of ships to bring each of 'em such proportions in ballast at their next return thither, as conveniently they might, of which we have given notice to the Office of Ordnance, and are transacting with the merchants and owners of ships what in us lies for the furtherance of this service. We have also received letters from Capt. Powell, Commander of the soldiers there, complaining of want of subsistence, cloathing and other necessaries for them, and the season now approaching for ships to go to those parts if permitted and secured by a convoy, we are humbly of opinion that a fitting supply be made according to the particulars which we shall lay before your Majesty.
On the Continent your Majesty has a Dominion of a very large extent, which at present requires a more especial care. As to the more Northern parts, Col. Romer, the Engineer sent thither by your Majesty, having surveyed all the coast from St. George's River to Boston, and sent us draughts of the principal Bays and Harbours, we have already laid before your Majesty the condition of several places on that coast, which are thought necessary to be fortified, and do further take leave to give your Majesty the following account. About five leagues to the Westward of St. George's lies Pemaquid, a spacious River and of great consequence as covering three other Rivers. At the entrance of this River, within two Leagues of the Main Sea, formerly stood a Fort, which in the late war, at the approach of two French men of war, with 100 soldiers and 500 Indians, was surrendered by a garrison appointed by the people of New England, and demolished by the said French and Indians. For the security of this Port and Harbour, and of all that country, and to encourage the people to settle there as formerly, Col. Romer advises that a good Fort be built in the same place or there-abouts; and for its better defence, in case of an attack from the sea, that a battery be raised on the next point of land, and a Redoubt or Round Tower on John's Island. Piscataway is a River of great importance to Trade and the security of that country, being the boundary between the Province of Main and New Hampshire. On Great Island, so-called, at the mouth of the River, is a Fort of 30 guns on New Hampshire side, but incapable of defending the River. The place where it stands is said to be very proper for building a new Fort, such as the growing Trade of that place and country requires. Col. Romer has sent a design thereof, and adds that a strong Tower on the point of Fryar's Island, a Battery on Wood Island, and another Battery on Clark's Island would be very necessary.
The Massachusetts Bay has in it many Islands, the chiefest whereof is Castle Island, not far from Boston, upon which is a Fort for securing the passages and the channels of the Bay. By a Memorial and two Addresses to your Majesty from the Council and Assembly of that Province, they represent their unwillingness to comply with what has been required from them for their own defence, and towards the building of Forts in the neighbouring Province of New Hampshire, as well as with the quota of 350 men to be furnished by them in case of necessity for the security of the frontiers of New York, alleging for excuse the charge they have been at in building a small fortification at Casco Bay, 50 miles to the Eastward, and their being now actually at work in raising fortifications on Castle Island, which they esteem to be the place of the greatest consequence; and representing withal that the Fort at Pemaquid, which they were required to build, would be useless to them, as well as too chargeable, which places, nevertheless, being within their territories, is generally esteemed of great security to those Eastern parts bordering upon the French. They further humbly signify their desire that your Majesty would be graciously pleased to assist them with cannon, small arms and other stores of war for the fortifications there, as also that some ships of war of greater force than those at present in that station may be sent for the better guarding of the coast in case of war. To this we humbly add what Col. Romer writes [Cal. 1701]. Upon which we humbly offer that your Majesty would be pleased to send thither some cannon, and such a quantity of the small arms demanded as your Majesty may think fit, as also to constitute a Governor and Lieut. Governor fit and proper to assert your Majestie's authority in those parts; and also well qualified to compose the factions that have divided the inhabitants thereof; and that such Governor or Lieut. Governor do strictly admonish and require the inhabitants to exert themselves as well in fortifying those parts as in providing what may be necessary in all respects for their farther defence.
Connecticut being likewise a Frontier Province to the French, and the inhabitants thereof having been negligent of their own security, we humbly offer that your Majesty would be pleased to direct them to make due preparations against an attack, and to be ready to assist their neighbours of N. York and New England.
In the Province of New York, which is esteemed as the center of your Majesty's Plantations on the Continent, there is a Fort for the security of that City and Harbour, which is in a tolerable good condition. From thence 140 miles up Hudson's River is the Town and Fort of Albany, and about 20 miles further, on another River, lies Schenectady, both which are of great consequence towards the security of those parts. And in consideration thereof, your Majesty was pleased sometime past upon our report to order the Commissioners of your Majesty's Treasury to remit to the late Earl of Bellomont 2,000l. towards fortifying those two places; no part of which sum as we are informed having been yet issued, we humbly offer that your Majesty would be pleased to give such effectual orders to the Treasury that the money be specially remitted for that service, which we humbly conceive to be absolutely necessary in this juncture.
In the Onnondage Country a Fort was proposed by Lord Bellomont towards the securing the Five Nations in their allegiance, for which provision is already made by your Majesty's gift of 500l. and a contribution of 1,500l. by the Assembly of New York, tho' upon the more pressing necessity of repairing the Forts at Albany and Schenectady, we have understood that some part of the said 1,500l. has been made use of towards that service.
And whereas this Province has been at great charge for its own defence during the late war, and is unable to sustain the continuance of such a charge without some help, your Majesty has been pleased further to assist them upon several occasions with stores of war, and lately, upon the sending of the Lord Cornbury thither, with a considerable quantity of ammunition. But as for the contributions which we did propose to your Majesty as fit to be made by other Plantations on that Continent, and in order whereunto your Majesty was pleased to send letters to the respective Governors and Proprietors, we have understood that the said Plantations have generally declined it, without giving any sufficient reason, and we humbly offer that your Majesty's Orders be renewed to those Plantations in the most pressing terms, that they do comply with your Majesty's directions therein as a matter of common benefit and security.
The Provinces of East and West New Jersey are without any new Forts or places of defence, and being Proprieties where no regular government hath ever been established, the great disorders amongst them have now inclined the Proprietors to make application to your Majesty to accept of a surrender of their pretended right of government, and to put them under a Government appointed by your Majesty's immediate Commission, which matter is now transacting, and a Form of surrender expected from your Majesty's Attorney General. Upon your Majesty's taking that government into your hands, fitting care may be taken for the security of those parts, which under the present circumstances cannot be duly provided for.
Pensilvania is likewise without fortifications, and in no state of defence, nor has any progress been made therein by the Proprietor, notwithstanding our instance to him on that subject by order of the Lords Justices.
Maryland and Virginia, being large territories and lying open by great Rivers, cannot be so well secured by fortifications, but in both those Provinces there is a well regulated Militia, and places of Rendezvous appointed for any occasion; besides stores of arms and ammunition, which should be from time to time supplied.
North and South Carolina are under Proprietors who do not take due care to put that country into a state of defence, notwithstanding their being so expos'd by the neighbourhood of the Spaniards. We therefore judge it necessary to the public service that the said Proprietors be quickened by an immediate Order from your Majesty to perform their duty herein.
The Bahama Islands lying before the Gulf of Florida and in the way of all ships that come from the Havana and the Bay of Mexico, it is of great consequence to your Majesty's service that they be preserved from an enemy; they belong to Proprietors who ought to take care of them. But we have not been able to dispose those Proprietors to such complyance as was proper for your Majesty's service; the Governor has lately desired some force to keep the Fort there (built for 32 guns), which being of immediate concern to the Proprietors, we are humbly of opinion that they shou'd take care in this matter, and that your Majesty would be pleased to signify your directions to them accordingly.
In the Bermuda Islands there are five little Castles, three of which lying at the entrance of the easiest passages to those Islands, are most considerable, but many of the platforms were decayed and the guns unserviceable, and stores and ammunition were wanting, which upon our Representation have been supplied. Capt. Bennet has prevailed with the Assembly to pass an Act for repairing their Forts, and has caused trenches to be cast up in all places where an Enemy may most probably attempt to land. So that we hope by his care, and the arrival of the stores that have been lately sent thither, and the Company of Foot which your Majesty has there, that Government is now in a good state of defence.
To Jamaica (see Cal., Jan. 25, 1701) your Majesty sent two Regiments of Foot with stores and Ammunition with Brigadier Selwyn, which will require a reinforcement at such time as your Majesty may think fit, this Island lying as it were in the centre of the Spanish West Indies and the French settlements. Sir W. Beestson gave us an account that he had yet no news of your Majesty's squadron under the command of Vice-Admiral Benbow; but that 26 sail, supposed to be French, having been seen Sept. 20 to windward of Martinico, had further engaged him to put the Island into as good a posture of defence as he could. [See Cal., 1701.]
As to the Leeward Islands, at St. Christophers there is a Fort called Cleverly Point Fort, where 20 guns are mounted, Brimstone Hill Fort, where there are 12, and a small platform which has six. There being 30 pieces of cannon brought out of the French part of this Island, during the late war, Col. Codrington has given directions for the mounting and placing them with all speed; which being done, he conceives that there is not occasion at present for more Artillery there; nor does he specify any further want relating to the defence of the Island; but represents the danger of it to be greater than any other, by reason of the French being possessed of one half, and the fate of it likely to be decided upon the breaking out of a war.
At Antego are several little forts and platforms. The Governor proposes the sending of 20 long sakers, which may serve as well against the Indians as any other enemy; as likewise the building a small Fort at Parham, for which he desires 12 guns. He would also make a new platform in another place, where privateers in time of War, and unlawful traders in time of Peace are very busy. He further adds the great want of small arms in this Island.
At Nevis Col. Codrington represents the want of new carriages for the guns, and desires further long sakers, 5 guns, 12 pounders, and 5, 18 pounders, with a sufficient quantity of shot for 'em, and 500 saker shot for the guns already in the Fort and Platforms, together with 20 barrils of cannon powder. Your Majesty having been lately pleased to order 600 firelocks to be sent to this Island, for as many matchlocks returned from thence, we are humbly of opinion that upon the receipt thereof, they will be sufficiently provided with small arms.
As to Montserat, the Governor represents the Island as able to defend itself; but fears a danger from within, most of the inhabitants being Papists.
Barbados to the Windward is naturally fortified by rocks; and for defence of the Leeward side, which is most exposed to an enemy, there is now a trench of 7ft. broad by 5ft. deep all along the coast, and behind that a brest work of loose sand about 6ft. high and 3 foot broad at the top. There are also on that side several redoubts and at Bridgetown two forts, one at the entrance of the Road and the other within, which are the defence of that Town and Road. We have received from the Lord Grey, since his arrival, a Meml. of what may be necessary for the defence of this Island. Upon a strict survey of the Fortifications by himself and Commissioners appointed for that purpose, he found in 29 Forts and Batteries 308 guns of several sorts, of all which only 58 were serviceable; most of the Forts and Batteries were out of repair. His Lordship offering his opinion (upon consultation with the most experienced inhabitants of the Island) that such of the Forts and Batteries as may be most useful be forthwith repaired, and that there be sent thither at least 100 great guns of 12ft. long, together with a suitable proportion of shot and all other ordnance stores needfull for them, he further says that there is a want of small arms and shot, but does not specify the particulars. The inhabitants of this Island have at all times made their Forts and kept them in repair at their own expence, and have furnished themselves for the most part with small arms, but at present they complain of their being deprived of the 4½ per cent. raised within that Island for their fortifications and other publick uses, and of their being weakened by the great expence they were at in assisting the Leeward Islands during the late war, for which they desire a consideration. But as to such a number of great guns as your Majesty may think proper, with a due proportion of shot and ammunition as by them desired, we humbly conceive they cannot have them otherwise than out of your Majesty's stores of ordnance.
The Company of Merchants trading to Hudson's Bay, having a Factory in those parts, represent that they can no way be safe unless your Majesty be pleased to grant them one fourth-rate and two fifth-rate men of war, one bomb vessell and 250 men, with which, if sent by the middle of May, they conceive they may be able to beat the French out of those parts, and that those ships staying there till about the middle of September, they may be expected back in October; and the said Company being asked by us what they can contribute to this expence, they answer that they are utterly incapable to give any assistance by reason of the great losses they already sustained from the French as well in time of Peace as War. The demands made by the several Colonies and Plantations before-mentioned, we conceive to be chiefly in view of a present defence, but in case of a war, we are humbly of opinion that a greater quantity of stores and materials of war will be wanting, and that in the principal and most considerable of those Plantations, it will be necessary that there be magazines of Ordnance Stores of all kinds, as well for the defence of each respective place, and of the Colonies adjoyning, as for annoying the Enemy, who will be very watchful and active in this conjuncture, to take advantage against any of your Majesty's Plantations, which are of so great importance to the Trade and welfare of England.
We are also humbly of opinion that there be a like provision there of Naval Stores and Credit for your Majesty's ships of war, which have often lain very long useless in harbour in those parts by reason of their want of necessaries for refitting, which has been of great prejudice to your Majesty's service; the safety of your Majesty's Dominions in America depending chiefly on the Naval force to be sent thither at proper seasons, which may secure that trade and encourage the Planters, who will otherways be apt to desert their settlements. We take leave to add that there may be a due caution that the inhabitants of those Colonies be not imprested into the service of your Majesty's ships of war, this practice having been a very great weakening to those parts.
And whereas besides the assistance which your Majesty may be pleased to give from time to time to your Plantations, it is necessary that the inhabitants thereof shou'd on their part contribute to their mutual security, we are humbly of opinion that your Majesty be pleased to cause letters to that effect to be prepared for your Majesty's Royal signature, and sent to each of your Majesty's Governors.
And as your Majesty may please to observe by what we have before represented, that the Propriety Governments are in a state wholly defenceless, and that the Proprietors have not complyed with what has been demanded of them, or may be thought necessary for the common safety of your Majesty's subjects during a war, that these Colonies continue to be the retreat of pirates and illegal traders, and that such independant Governments are inconsistant with the welfare of this Kingdom, we further humbly represent that complaint has been made to us that your Majesty's standing forces in those parts are seduced and tempted to desertion by their being harboured in the neighbouring Colonies belonging to Proprietors, who holding themselves not subject to your Majesty's directions, refuse to deliver such deserters up to Justice. To redress which and divers other great abuses in those Colonies and to introduce such an administration of Justice as might be duly subservient and useful to England, we humbly offered our opinion March 26 last; and in consideration that your Majesty's commands herein have not met with due compliance (several Governors and Lieut. Governors not qualified according to the late Act of Parliament having been appointed by those Proprietors even since that time) we cannot but continue in the same opinion, that it may be very expedient for the ends above mentioned, and particularly for the mutual defence of the Plantations, that the Charters of the several Proprietors and others be by the Legislative Power of this Kingdom reassumed to the Crown; and that these Colonies be put into the same state and dependency as those of your Majesty's other Plantations, without prejudice to any man's property or freehold, which together with the means proposed will, as we humbly conceive, add to the safety of your Majesty's subjects there, and be of further annoyance to the Enemy. Signed, Stamford, Ph. Meadows, John Pollexfen, Wm. Blathwayt, Mat. Pryor. [C.O. 324, 8. pp. 37–63.]