America and West Indies
March 1736, 16-31

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1953

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172-181

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'America and West Indies: March 1736, 16-31', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 42: 1735-1736 (1953), pp. 172-181. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=72842 Date accessed: 21 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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March 1736, 16-31

March 16.
Whitehall.
271. Mr. Popple to Governor Gabriel Johnson. I inclose to you by order of my Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations the copy of certain proposals made to their Lordships in behalf of a great number of Swiss, who are desirous at their own expence to transport themselves to the Province under your Government in order to make a settlement there on the particular tract of land of which I likewise send you a draught. You will please to observe the terms, upon which they propose to make this settlement, and the consequences that may attend each of them, but more particularly that wherein they propose being settled by themselves, in so remote a part of the Province : And when you shall have consider'd each of the said proposals, my Lords Commissioners desire to receive from you as soon as may be, your observations at large upon every article thereof. In case this proposal should meet with the desired effect we hope you will use your endeavours to dispose the Province by recommending it to the Assembly, to receive them in the most friendly manner, and to ease them as much as may be of the expence of laying out their land. [C.O. 5, 323. ff. 115 v., 116.]
March 16.
New York.
272. President Clarke to the Duke of Newcastle. As it is my duty, I humbly presume to acquaint your Grace that Governor Cosby after a sixteen weeks sicknes dyed the tenth of this month. Two days after he was taken ill, he summoned a Council and suspended Mr. Van Dam from his seat at the Council Board, in consequence whereof the administration of the Government of this Province devolves on me. About an hour after the Governor's death all the Council who were in town met in the Council Chamber and haveing caused H.M. Commission and Instructions to Governor Cosby with his suspension of Mr. Van Dam to be read, they all except Mr. Alexander declared their opinion that the administration of the Government devolved on me and accordingly administered the oath to me, Mr. Alexander said he was not prepared to give his opinion but after I was sworn he concurred with the rest in advising me to issue a Proclamation signifying the Governor's death and continuing all officers in their posts. The next day about five in the afternoon Mr. Van Dam came to the Fort Gate with some witnesses and demanded admittance to Mrs. Cosby, but being told she was not in a condition to see him, he demanded that an open letter which he had in his hand might be delivered to her by those witnesses whom lie brought with him, and being likewise told that as she was not in a condition to see him she could not see them, he gave the letter to the officer of the Guard to be delivered to her, it containing a demand of the Commission, Seal and Instructions, and by the same officer sent to speak with me, I went out of the Fort gate to him, when he delivered me an open letter of the like purport, and demanding my present answer in writing. I told him I would send it to him and haveing communicated his to as many of the Council as were then with me I sent him an answer in writing, a copy of which suspension Van Dam's letter to me my answer and the Minutes of Council I do myself the honor to present to your Grace ; the next day he served me with a protest, a copy whereof I likewise do myself the honor to inclose. During the whole course of the Governor's illnes the restles faction have been very active to prepare the mob for an insurrection, and the soberest and best men have not been without their apprehensions of some such attempt, however, I have reason to hope that by a mild and prudent conduct I shall be able to restrain the first sallys of the peoples' heat and to reclaim them to their due obedience ; and in some reasonable time to restore tranquility to the province to which nothing will so much contribute as H.M. dismissing Morris from his pretensions to his Chief Justiceship and Van Dam and Alexander from the Council, these are the heads of the faction, these are the men who declaim against the King's prerogative, who poison the minds of the people, who libel the Governor and all in authority in weekly printed papers and who have endeavoured to distress the Governor in his just administration, I am bold to affirm to your Grace, pardon my Lord the expression, that if these men are continued in their stations this province will be very unhappy, as on the contrary if they are dismissed the spirit of faction will dye, those who have been misled by them will leave them and I shall have the honor to inform your Grace, that tranquility and harmony will be restored and the people brought to their former duty and obedience to H.M. just prerogative. I beseech your Grace to be assured that no private prejudice sways me to this representation. I have had the honor to serve the Crown many years in this province, I have to the utmost of my power and in my station opposed all attempts against the prerogative, and yet I have lived in a friendly correspondence with all men, nor had ever any personal misunderstanding with my fellow Councillors, Mr. Van Dam or Mr. Alexander, what I have done myself the honor to represent to your Grace proceeds from the sincerity of my heart wholly devoted to H.M. Service ; I percieve by a letter from the Lords of Trade to Governor Cosby dated the fifth of September last that they had made a representation to H.M. for dismissing Van Dam and Alexander from the Council, but as their dismission is not yet come hither, if Van Dam had not been suspended he would undoubtedly have been but a tool in the hands of others, for he is very old, and that small share of natural understanding which he had formerly is greatly impaired, he is lookt upon as the head of the faction only as he had once the administration of the Government as president, on Coll. Montgomerie's death, a time wherein no spirit of party appeared, had he not been now suspended, Mrs. Cosby, whose present affliction is alredy too great, must have expected a large addition from his resentment, as her being immediately turned out of the fort and loaded with malicious prosecutions on imaginary and groundless claims, but as the administration is in my hands she is confident, and I presume to assure your Grace, not only of her continuance in the house in the fort so long as she stays in the province but of every act of service and friendship in my power. I expect, and it will most certainly come to pass that if Van Dam be restored by H.M., he will sue me for the profits of the Government, tis with this view that he has made his demand and protest, and I shall be undone : I humbly implore your Grace to grant me your protection; it is my great unhappynes to be unknown to your Grace, but I presume to hope that his Excellency Mr. Walpole, who has done me the honor to give me his, will be pleased to extend it so far as to mention me favourably to your Grace. I beg leave likewise to inclose a certificate and affidavit to shew the falsehood of Vam Dam's assertion in his protest that the Governor was delirious. I humbly ask leave to recommend myself to your Grace's protection from the ruin threatened me by the malice of faction and to subscribe myself etc. Signed, Geo. Clarke. Endorsed, R. 10th May. Addressed. 6 pp. Enclosed,
272. i. Deposition of Lewis Johnson and James Henderson. 16th March, 1735/6. Deponents as physicians attended Governor Cosby during the whole course of his illness. They were with him on 24th Nov., on which day Rip Van Dam was suspended etc., and do not remember to have observed that Cosby was delirious any time that day, but beleive by the conversation they had with him that he was in his senses. Signed, Lewis Johnston, J. Henderson. 1 p.
272. ii. Minutes of Council of New York, March 10, 1736. Present, Mr. Secretary Clarke, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Vanhorne, Mr. Kenedy, Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Cortlandt, Mr. Lane, Mr. Horsmanden, who, having received notice of His Excellency's death, immediately after assembled themselves at the Council Chamber, when H.M. Commission and Instructions were read, and afterwards an attested copy of an Order of Council whereby His late Excellency suspended Rip Van Dam, Esq., from the place and office of a Councellor and from his having any further seat at the Council Board, ordering his suspension to be enter'd in the minutes of the Council. On the reading of all which etc. Mr. Secry. Clarke as next eldest Councellor offer'd to take the usual oaths to qualifye himself for the administration of the Government. To which all agreed, except Mr. Alexander who declared he was not ready to give his opinion etc, He was accordingly sworn, having taken the oaths appointed etc. True copy certified by, Fred. Morrice, D. Cl. Counc. 1 p.
272. iii. Minutes of Council of New York, 24th Nov., 1735. Present, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Cheif Justice, Mr. Courtlandt, Mr. Lane, Mr. Horsemanden. Being called into H.E.'s bedchamber, His Excellency was pleased to tell the Gentlemen of the Council that he thought it necessary for H.M. service and the interest of this Province to suspend Rip Van Dam, Esq., from the place and office of a Councillour, and from his having any further seat at the Council Board, and H.E. did accordingly suspend him ordering his suspension to be entered in the Minutes of the Council, and at the same time H.E. was pleased to declare he wou'd lay his reasons for so doing before His Majesty and the Lords of Trade and ordered that a copy hereof should be served on the said Rip Van Dam. Copy certified as preceding. 1 p.
272. iv. Rip Van Dam to the Honble. George Clarke, one of H.M. Council for New York etc. 11th March, 1736. Requests delivery of Commission, Instruction and Seal to himself as eldest Councillor etc. as described March 11th supra. Signed, Rip Van Dam. Copy. 1 p.
272. v. Mr. Clarke to Mr. Rip Van Dam. Reply to preceding, as described 11th March, supra. Signed, Geo. Clarke. Copy. 1 p.
272. vi. Protestation of Rip Van Dam. Duplicate of 11th March supra. Copy. 3 pp.
272. vii. Certificate by Five Members of Council of New York. March 15, 1736. Whereas it has been industriously reported that his late Excellency was delirious at the time of the suspension of Rip Van Dam etc., now to prevent any inconveniencys and mischiefs that might arise from such weak, disingenuous and wicked suggestions, we etc. do hereby certify that the said report is utterly groundless and false, and that his late Excellency at the time of the said suspension appeared to be perfectly in his senses, and that he did then suspend the said Rip Van Dam and ordered the Clerke to enter the same in the Minutes of Council, saying at the same time that 'twas uncertain what turn his distemper might take, that he was unwilling (in case any accident should happen to him) the Province should be left in confusion, that therefore he thought it necessary for H.M. service and the interest of this Province to suspend Mr. Van Dam from the Council. Signed, Archd. Kennedy, James De Lancey, Phillip Cortlandt, Henry Lane, Dan. Horsmanden. 1 p.
272. viii. Deposition of John Felton and Charles Williams. 15th March, 1736. Were present when H.E. suspended Rip Van Dam. He was that whole day perfectly well in his senses and as capable of giving directions in that affair as ever he was in his life. Signed, John Felton, Charles Williams. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 1093. ff 342–344 v., 345 v., 346, 348, 350, 352, 354, 356–357, 358, 359, and duplicates of enclosures i–vii, C.O. 5, 1093. ff. 369–371, 373, 375, 377, 379.]
March 16.
New York.
273. Mr. Clarke, President of the Council of New York, to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Governor Cosby departed this life after a severe fit of sickness that held him above fifteen weeks etc. Describes incidents after Governor Cosby's death, and Mr. Rip Van Dam's demands and protest as in preceding (v. 11th March). Continues: This demand and protest is with a view to sue me for the profits of the Government in case he be restored, and I must expect it in the severest manner, but as I have had the honor to see your Lordships' letter to Govr. Cosby dated the fifth of September last acquainting him that you had made a representation to H.M. for removing Mr. Van Dam and Mr. Alexander from the Council Board, I presume to hope they will be removed and the gentlemen whom your Lordships have recommended, being merchants of eminence and of very fair characters, appointed in their room. As soon as the Governor's suspension of Mr. Van Dam was known, as it was that very day a copy being then served on him, the restless faction appeared very active, and great pains were taken to prepare the mob for an insurrection, and the soberest and most thinking men have not been without apprehensions of some such attempt. They gave out many things to arouse and to corrupt the minds of the people, among others that the Governor had no power to suspend, or, if he had, that the suspension dyed with him, that they have got the opinion of some lawyers in other provinces confirming their own. However, notwithstanding all their noise and threats, I have the honor to be peaceably possest of the Government, and have reason to hope that by a mild and prudent conduct I shall reclaim the people to their due obedience, and in time restore tranquility to the province to which I am bold to say that nothing will so much contribute as H.M. dismissing Morris from his pretensions to be restored to the Chief Justiceship and Van Dam and Alexander from the Council, those being the heads of the faction, who openly declaim against the King's prerogative, who poison the minds of the people, who libel the Governmt. in weekly printed papers and who have endeavoured to distress the Governor in his just administration ; But if these men are not removed, the people will grow still bolder in their attempts on H.M. prerogative and the spirit of faction increase as the Ringleaders are countenanc'd. I do assure your Lordships that no private prejudice sways me to this representation ; I have had the honor to serve the Crown many years in this province, I have ever to the utmost of my power and in my station opposed all attempts against the prerogative and at the same time have lived in a friendly correspondence with all men nor ever had any personal misunderstanding with any of my fellow Councillors : what I have said proceeds from the sincerity of my heart intirely devoted to H.M. service : had not Mr. Van Dam been suspended he would have been but a tool in others' hands, he is very old, and that small share of natural understanding which he had formerly is much impaired ; he is lookt upon as the head of the faction, only as he had once the administration of the Government as president on Coll. Montgomerie's death ; a time wherein no spirit of party appeared. If Van Dam be restored, he will load me with prosecutions and I shall be undone, they have alredy hanged me under a feigned name in a fictitious piece of History about a month ago, in one of their printed papers ; but their inhumanity to the Governor and his afflicted family was much greater. I was in health and could laugh at it ; the Governor was in a weak and languishing condition, and his family in the utmost affliction. I humbly implore your Lordships' protection, and hope for it no longer then I shall exert myself in the support of H.M. rightfull authority, and for the prosperity of the Province. I am placed in my present station not by my own seeking but from the apprehensions Governor Cosby had of the evils that would ensue from the malice and range of faction if Van Dam were not suspended, and it would be the hardest case in the world if I should be undone for it. I inclose to your Lordships the certificate No. F. and affidavit No. G. to shew the falsehood of the assertion in Vam Dam's protest; and the printed paper I mentioned, and a proclamation for continuing officers in their places. I beseech your Lordships to prevent my ruin, etc. P.S.—I could not possibly get another copy of Van Dam's protest transcribed in time. Signed, Geo. Clarke. 5 pp. Enclosed,
1736.273. i. Mr. Clarke, President of the Council of New York, to Horatio Walpole. On the 10th instant Governor Cosby dyed, I immediately summoned all the Council then in town being seven, who upon reading H.M. Commission and Instructions to the Governor and his Excly's. suspension of Mr. Van Dam declared their opinion that the administration of the Government devolved on me and accordingly administered the oaths to me, not one of them dissenting except Mr. Alexander who said he was not prepared to give his opinion, tho' it is notorious that from him the notions have come and been propagated among the mob that the Governor had no power to suspend or, if he had, that the suspension would dye with the Governor. The next day being in the Council Chamber the Officer of the Guard told me that Van Dam was coming up to the fort. I answered it is very well, and without saying more he ordered the gate to be shut fearing a mob would follow. Soon after the officer returned to me and told me that Van Dam wanted to speak with Mrs. Cosby ; he acquainted her with it and delivered her answer that her great affliction would not suffer her to see him, then he desired that two witnesses whom he brought with him might deliver her an open letter which he had in his hand, but the like answer being given, he desired the officer to deliver it, and to tell me he wanted to speak with me ; as I was going to the gate I was told that the wicket was shut, I ordered it to be opened and went out to Van Dam who put into my hand an open letter from himself directed to me and desireing my present answer in writing, I said that I would send it to him and then he went away ; upon enquiry the gate was shut because the day the Governor dyed it was so ordered that nobody might come into the fort while the Council was sitting and I mention it to your Exly. because he takes notice of it in his protest, but I have forgot to mention it to His Grace the Duke of New Castle and to the Lords of Trade. Both the letters, that to Mrs. Cosby and that to me, contain a demand of the Commission, Instructions and Seal; about an hour after I sent him my answer in writing, the next day he served me with a protest, and the next day after that all or most of the Council etc. This demand and protest are done with a view to sue me for the profits of the Government in case he be restored and I must expect it in the severest manner, the consequence whereof will be my ruin, and the perpetuating the spirit of faction be the ruin of the province; on the contrary if Van Dam and Alexander be removed from the Council Board, as the Lords of Trade represented to H.M. in the King's absence and Morris be not restored to the Chief Justiceship, I have as great hopes as ever to restore tranquility to the province. Those who are the head of the faction those are they who declaim openly against the King's prerogative, who libel the Government in weekly printed papers, and who have endeavoured to distress the Governor in his administration. I mention all these, tho' Van Dam only lends them his name, being himself of a very great age and that small share of understanding which he formerly had much impaired, and tho' Morris himself be in England yet his son fills the place in the faction and it is the hopes of seeing these men continued or restored to their places that attach the mob to them. If they are dismissed, their followers will soon leave them and return to their former duty and obedience to the Governmt. I did, Sir, in my letter of the 16th of January last humbly implore your protection in several things etc. Refers to it and his letter to the Duke of Newcastle, March 16, asking for his protection etc. Signed, Geo Clarke. Copy. 4 pp. [C.O. 5, 1093. ff. 361–362 v.]
March 16.
Whitehall.
274. Mr. Popple to Lt. Govr. Gooch. Acknowledges letters of 18th July and 5th and 26th Nov. last. Continues: My Lords Commissioners in a little time will return you an answer thereto. In the mean time their Lordships desire to know what progress has been made by the Commissioners in the survey and settlement of the boundaries of the Lord Fairfax's grant, and hope you will give all the assistance and dispatch to the determination of that affair in your power. [C.O. 5, 1366. pp. 136, 137.]
March 18.
Whitehall.
275. Duke of Newcastle to President Dottin. Having lately received from the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, a copy of a letter from Captain Reddish, Commander of H.M. ship the Fox, stationed at Barbados, inclosing a copy of one that was wrote to him by your order, representing, that soon after the evacuation of the Island of Sta. Lucia, pursuant to the orders that were agreed upon, in the year 1730, between H.M. and the French King for the entire evacuation of that island, and those of St. Vincents and Dominico, by the subjects of both nations, untill the right to them should be fully determined, the French had returned, in a few days, to Sta. Lucia, and were daily increasing ; and the Board of Trade having also sent me the like account, I laid them both before the King, who was pleased to command me to transmit them to my Lord Waldegrave, H.M. Ambassador at Paris, with orders to His Excellency, to make the proper instances to the Court of France, that his Most Christian Majesty's Governors, in the West Indies, might be forthwith directed to cause all his subjects to remove from those islands, and not to return thither, untill the right to them should be fully settled, according to the agreement above-mentioned ; since which Mor. Chavigny, the French Minister here, has put into my hands the substance of two letters from Mor. Champigny, Govr. of Martinico, whereof I send you a copy for your information ; you will see, that Mor. Champigny gives an account, that upon your having represented to him, that notwithstanding the publication of the Orders aforesaid at Sta. Lucia, there were still on that Island a greater number of French than ever, and requiring him to put his orders in execution, he had sent a proper officer thither for that purpose, who had agreed with the person appointed by you, on the same occasion, that the subjects of both nations, that were at that time on the island, should be allowed to remain there, till May next, to gather in their cotton, but should then evacuate the place ; so that H.M. hopes soon to hear from you, that those orders have been effectually complyed with. It is, however, H.M. pleasure, that you should, from time to time, inform yourself, whether the French continue to observe the said orders, and if you should find they do not, but are returned to Sta. Lucia, you will send me the earliest notice of it, that proper directions may be given thereupon. I take this opportunity to acknowledge your letter of the 2nd of August last, which I laid before the King as soon as it came to my hands. H.M. was graciously pleased to approve your conduct in the administration of the government of His Island of Barbados, which was devolved upon you by the death of my Lord Howe, and to commend the regard that was shewn to his widow, by the Act which you had passed in her favour. I was glad to find by the addresses from yourself, the Council and Assembly, and from the Grand Jury of Barbados, that were delivered to me by your agents and which have been presented to the King, that you had received the cannon that were sent for your defence, and that H.M. subjects there have a due sense of his particular care and concern for their ease and welfare. I hope soon to receive the account of the fees of the officers and Courts of Barbados, pursuant to H.M. Order in Council, which I transmitted to you in my letter of the 30th of April last. Endorsed, Draft. 5 pp. [C.O. 28, 45. ff. 355–357.]
March 20.
New
Providence.
276. Governor Fitzwilliam to the Duke of Newcastle. Since the letter I had the honour to write, 22nd Dec., there did not anything happen here worthy your Grace's notice, until three days since when, as the Corporal of the Guard in the Garrison was calling over the roll at eight a clock at night, one George Collins (formerly a deserter from Clare's Regiment in France and since from Cornwallis's) knocked him down; whereupon a great number of his accomplices started up and also knock'd down several of the men, calling out, at the same time, Who is for Old England ? and in a very little time got possession of the fort and the few small arms there. While the mutineers were thus employ'd, a centinel, posted on one of the bastions, got over the fort-wall, ran up to my house and gave me notice thereof: upon which I took a sword in my hand and ordered the two or three soldiers, that usually do duty there in the night to follow me and I made the best haste I could to the garrison, believing it was a riot occasioned only by drink, which I should soon quell, but as I came near the fort gate, which I imagined I saw open, I call'd to one of my serjeants, that was just before me, to endeavour to secure it; but my voice was no sooner heard than six or seven muskets were fired at me and upon ordering the men I brought from my house to return the fire at a crowd I saw assembled on one of the bastions, they and their associates upon another fired a whole volley at me, whereby the serjeant was shot thro' the arm, and his clothes in many places, and the soldier that was almost close by me fell by a wound he received, of which he dyed. However I still imagin'd this insurrection was the sudden effects of liquor, which I heard has been carried that day into the Garrison, but I soon found it was a premeditated scheme, for they were all regularly upon their guard round the ramparts and fired at everybody that offered to come near them, which prevented a design I had of getting into the fort by ladders with a few people to surprize them : so that I had no recourse but to the inhabitants, of whom I got together as many as I could at that time of the night, but they had neither powder nor ball, nor more than twenty-five small arms among them, and ten or a dozen of those were not fit for service, and out of these few I was forced to send a small detachment under the command of Mr. Stewart, my surgeon, who was the only person of resolution about me, upon whose conduct I could depend, to defend the powder lodged in an old house about a quarter of a mile from the fort, which I had no sooner done than I had an account that a strong party of the mutineers were come out of the Garrison to secure me and two sloops that lay in the harbour, which they had fired the great guns at several times before, to oblige them to come nearer the fort, but I was at this time about a mile to the eastward of the town, where I understood that one Charles Walker of this Island had luckily removed a small scooner belonging to himself out of sight of the fort, and that there were a few small arms on board her: and upon receiving notice that they had taken one of the sloops in which they were determin'd to go away, I put thirty-six of the inhabitants on board Walker's scooner, under his command, with directions to get every ready to sail upon the first notice from me, and then I came into the Town with seven or eight people who could muster no more than four small arms among them, and of these men I sent two or three to observe the motions of the mutineers, who (being repulsed at the magazine which they went to blow up) had by that time broke open the stores in which the provisions were I had laid in for the Garrison for the ensuing year, of which, having first destroyed a great deal, they took what they thought necessary for their intended voyage to the Havana, and then nail'd up the great guns which point to the harbour's mouth, got on board and under sail: Whereupon I sent immediate orders to Walker to get under sail and follow them, which he executed so diligently that he kept sight of them all night, came up to and took them at sun rise without any bloodshed more than one of the mutineers being shot thro' the ear (the aforesaid Collins whom they had appointed their chief having lost all command over them) and they were brought in here the same day in the evening and the next morning (the Act for punishing mutiny and desertion being of no force here) I called a Court of Admiralty for tryal of pirates, which pass'd sentence of death upon them (in number forty-two) and upon a seaman combin'd with them, whom they had taken out of the public gaol to be their pilot, where he had been committed some time for felony, eleven of whom and the said pilot were immediately executed as being principal promoters of and actors in this insurrection, of which twelve, six had been deserters from the Duke of Berwick's regiment at Philipsburgh, and proposed a scheme of leaving one half of the mutineers to defend this fort, whilst the rest went to the Havana to offer it to the Spaniards, one other who formerly conspired the death of my predecessor Mr. Rogers, and the other five besides their being formerly deserters from English regiments and principals in every desertion that has been attempted both in my time and that of my predecessors, entered into the scheme of the said deserters from the French service to deliver up the fort as beforementioned. It would swell this letter to too great a bulk to trouble your Grace with the particular or source of this mutiny, which had never happen'd if any notice had been taken of my frequent representations at the War Office (ever since my first appointment to this Government) of the miserable and unhappy state of this little Garrison, who have neither barracks to shelter them, sufficient victuals to eat, medicines for times of sickness, arms to defend or officers to command them, wherefore I chuse rather your Grace shall be fully informed by my letters to the late Sr. William Strickland, copies whereof I have (as I am directed by my instructions and for my own justification) transmitted to the Lords Commissioners for Trade etc. [See March 8 supra.] Continues: I humbly beg leave etc. to mention the affliction of mind I have labour'd under some time past occasioned by an information I have had from home that Colebrooke hath most basely misrepresented my conduct in this little Government to your Grace, in so much that you are displeased with me, which, in addition to the other misfortunes I have struggled with since I have been here, would quite sink me, were I not satisfied in myself that your humanity and Justice will never suffer your Grace, upon meer report of ill-designing men, to give up, without a hearing, a man of your own preferring and to whom you have upon many occasions been so true a friend. Therefore what I would most earnestly beseech your Grace is that you will not harbour any ill opinion of me before I am found capable, particularly since my accuser and his few accomplices can be proved of such evil fame as would, in my poor way of thinking, destroy their credit, even in a Court of common law. If my little employment, which has hitherto been attended with much more vexation than profit, be what is sought after, as most certainly it is, I am confident your Grace will, when you come to be truly appriz'd of my unhappy situation hitherto, be convinced I have dearly earn'd my poor pittance here, etc. Signed, Rd. Fitzwilliam. Endorsed, R. July 13th. 4 ¾ pp. [C.O. 23, 14. ff. 269–271, 272 v.]
March 20.
New
Providence.
277. Governor Fitzwilliam to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Before I had an opportunity of sending away my letter of the 8th of this instant, which accompanys this, a very extraordinary mutiny or insurrection happened in this little Garrison, the particulars of which your Lordships will be informed of by the enclosed copy of a letter I have upon this occasion w rote to the Secretary at War. This unhappy affair has struck such a terror into many of the inhabitants, that they talk of leaving the island, and unless something bee speedily done in favour of this place it w ill certainly be abandoned by them; for they allege the promises that I have made them, that the soil would be forthwith purchased from the Proprietors and Lessees, the garrison repair'd, and new works erected for their defence, and that the Ministry would think of proper measures to encrease their number, are nothing but amusements imposed upon them by me and my predecessors these fifteen years past; for that if any such things had been in agitation they must have been done long ere this: Hence your Lordships may judge of my situation here, for what between a starv'd mutinous garrison, without any officers to command them, and a frighted, dissatisfied people, you cannot but imagine I am reduced to very great streights to keep this Government together, and I cannot help saying in my own justification upon this occasion, that if I had the proper command of my own officers, and was left to judge when they might be absent or ought to be present, or were any regard had to any representations concerning the state of this Company under my command, this accident could never have happened. But if your Lordships will be so good as to forward the accomplishment of those proposals I have so often made concerning the Garrison and speedily do some little thing to encourage. the inhabitants and encrease them by sending hither a few Palatine familys, I will from thenceforward answer with my life, for the obedience of the former, and to please and satisfy the latter, which I can never hope to do without being supported and assisted from home in a proper manner. Sr. Charles Wager, who has been long thoroughly acquainted of the consequence of this place to the Crown, the turn of the inhabitants and the nearness of our neighbourhood to the Spaniards, who, upon every frivolous pretence, take vessels trading this way, station'd a small frigat here with such instructions to the Captain as the Board of Admiralty thought proper, to which I am an utter stranger, having never seen them, which I cannot impute to any other than the general tenaciousness of the sea captains that a land-man should no ways interfere with them, which indeed I should chuse to avoid for my own ease, did not H.M. service very often suffer by this kind of independent commands; for when one of H.M. ships is sent to attend the service of an American Government, surely it cannot derogate from a private Captain to be obliged to produce his Instructions to the Governor of the country where he is stationed, consult and be advised by him in everything that may occur for the publick good and not leave his station (unless by order of his superiors) without his approbation. I would not be understood by your Lordships to complain of the behaviour of the present Captain of H.M. ship stationed here, because I know he is, by the particular favour of Sr. Charles Wager to me, more obliging then perhaps he otherwise would; but upon this occasion of the fright of the inhabitants by the late mutiny, if your Lordships could prevail upon the Lords of the Admiralty to instruct this Gentleman now upon the Station, or who ever relieves him in some such manner as before mentioned, it would be for H.M. service; and moreover if he were directed, whenever he goes out to cruise among the islands, to leave a dozen men in this harbour on board a small sloop that might be provided or built here of this country wood for about three hundred pound sterling, and would last twenty years for that purpose and other uses of the Government, under the command of a midshipman or some other inferior officer who in his absence should receive his order from the Commander-in-Chief here for the time being, it would prevent all future desertions or mutinys, and ease the minds of the inhabitants; for if the soldiers were to see a vessel always equipped here with some men on board and ready to take others to pursue them in case of any attempt to desert, they never would venture on anything like what lately happen'd, besides such a small vessel, particularly if there were a good pilote of this Island always upon pay to command her, might prevent the hourly apprehensions the poor people of the country are under of being ruined by their vessels being taken away by such deserters (as in this last instance and many others of lesser note, that might be given within these few years past) and be sent out, upon any emergency, to the French or Spanish coasts to gain such information as might, from time to time, be wanted, and also pursue any little pyrate or guarda de costa, that may happen to come among these Islands into shoal water, where the least of H.M. fregats cannot come at them etc. Signed, Rd. Fitzwilliam. Endorsed, Recd. 13th July, Read 27th Oct., 1736. 2 ½ pp. [C.O. 23, 3. ff. 187–188 v.]
March 21.
Buck'm
Street,
York
Buildings.
278. Mr. Lewis Morris to the Duke of Newcastle. Abstract. Prays to be restored to his office of Chief Justice, in accordance with the report of the Committee of the Privy Council, approved by H.M., that the reasons assigned by Governor Cosby for his removal were insufficient. Believes Mr. Cosby is fully convinced that his removal neither has been, nor is likely to be attended with any good consequence to himself, but has procured him a general dislike etc. Some check is necessary to abate the impetuosity of his temper. Concludes: I have been a long time on this side of the water etc. at a greater expence than I am well able to beare etc. Signed, Lewis Morris. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 1093. ff. 386, 386 v.]
March 26.
New
Providence.
279. Governor Fitzwilliam to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Encloses Journal of Council and list of shipping, and refers to this account of the mutiny (v. March 8th and 20th), "whereof I beg your consideration as soon as it suits your convenience; for 'twill be impossible for me to answer the ends of my being sent hither without your Lordships' interposition in favour of this miserable place." Signed, Rd. Fitzwilliam, Endorsed, Recd. 4th March, Read 7th Sept., 1737. Duplicate. Original not recd. 2/3 p. [C.O. 23, 4. ff. 1, 2 v.]
[March 26.]280. Mr. Partridge to Mr. Popple. Encloses list of Governor (John Wanton), Deputy Governor (George Hazard), Assistants on Council, and other officers of Rhode Island for 1734. Concludes:—They choose them annually ye 1st Wednesday in May, and I am apt to think they are the same this year, but am not certain etc. Signed, Thy Friend, Rd. Partridge. Endorsed, Recd. Read 26th March, 1736. ¾ p. [C.O. 5, 1268. ff. 185, 190 v.]
March 31.
Whitehall.
281. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. Enclose accounts of incidental charges of all the Office from Christmas, 1735 to Lady Day following, and request payment of one quarter's salaries now due. v. Journal. [C.O. 389, 37. pp. 370, 371.]