America and West Indies
February 1738

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Institute of Historical Research

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K. G. Davies (editor)

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1969

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33-43

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'America and West Indies: February 1738', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 44: 1738 (1969), pp. 33-43. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=72981 Date accessed: 20 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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February 1738

February 1.
Palace Court.
46 Minutes of meeting of Trustees for Georgia. Received by Dr. Hales 2l. 2s. and 1l. 1s., benefactions for missionaries in Georgia. ½ p. [C.O. 5, 687, p. 54.]
[February 2.]47 Petition of merchants and traders on behalf of themselves and all others trading from this kingdom to Jamaica, to Council of Trade and Plantations, seeking royal disapprobation of an Act passed in Jamaica on 19 February 1736/7 for raising sums of money for subsisting the eight independent companies, whereby a duty of 10s. per head is laid on each slave imported and 20s. per head on each slave exported. Signed,
for Liverpool: John Hardman, John Atherton, Richard Hampson, Thomas Cockshutt, James Bromfield, Thomas Parkes, Thomas Kendall, John Goodwin, Ro. Armitage, Foster Coore, Henry Trafford, Joseph Bird, Johnson Gildart, William Pole, Jonathan Martindale, Edward Litherland, Richard Richardson, Thomas Massey, William Hornby, Edward Cropper, Nathaniel Litherland, John Okill, Richard Cowband, George Norton mayor, Richard Gildart, Foster Cunliffe, Bryan Blundell, Thomas Seel jnr., Samuel Reid, James Clinton, Edward Trafford, Samuel Qgden, George Warrington, Charles Roberts, John Brooks, Thomas Seel, James Ross, Samuel Crosbie, Samuel Seel, John Knight, James Percival, John Bostock, John Nicholas jnr., Joseph Davies, Henry Townsend, James Ansdell, Arthur Heywood, John Williamson;
for Bristol: John Price, Thomas Coster, Henry Combe, Abraham Elton, Jacob Elton, William Jefferis, Abell Grant, Isaac Hobhouse, James Laroche, Michael Beecher, William Davie, Henry Tonge, S. Shipway, John Teague, John Bartlett, John Combe, Henry Parker, Conrade Smith, John Crosse, John Brickdale, John Thompson, Walter Jenkins, P. Fisher, Richard Henvill, William Hart, Isaac Elton, J. Brickdale, James Day, Henry Dampier, William Lougher, Richard Farr, William Hare, Richard Lougher, Richard Farr jnr., Peter Hatton, William Gordon, John Tate, Joseph Hey, Nehemiah and William Champion, Richard Meyler, James Reed, Thomas Pennington, Samuel Gardner jnr., Ed. Day, James Hillhouse;
for London: Samuel Bonham, H. Lang, John Keith, George Arnold, Thomas Hebert, John Cathcart, S. Wragg, William Smith, Samuel Travers, Herman Zurhorst(?), Alexander Dundas, John Sutherland, Nathaniel Bapnett, Timothy Cockshull, Charles Pole, 1 large p. Endorsed, Recd, from Mr. Wood, 2 February, Read 23 February 1737/8. [C.O. 137, 22, fo. 171, 171d.]
February 6.
Whitehall.
48 Order of Council, on report from Committee for Plantation Affairs, permitting Lord Baltimore to withdraw his two petitions against royal approval of the appointment of George Thomas as deputy governor of the three Lower Counties. Copy, certified by W. Sharpe. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 28 March, Read 13 April 1738. [C.O. 5, 1269, fos. 11–12d.]
February 7.
Whitehall.
49 William Wood to [Thomas Hill]. Having received letters yesterday from Bristol and this morning a letter from some gentlemen in the City trading to Carolina informing me that their correspondents had advised them that they apprehended it was intended by the assembly of that province to continue or prolong the Act imposing duties on negroes on importation payable by the importer which expires in August next, I am to beg in their behalf and at their request that you will move the lords that they will order it so that an intimation may be sent to the governor that he does not give his assent to such Act being continued, nor to any other Act which shall lay a duty on negroes payable by the importer, or in any other manner than he is permitted by H.M.'s instruction of 10 December 1731.
I am to desire at the same time that you will move their lordships to make their report on the Act for emitting 210,000l. paper bills of credit, the traders writing me that when the last ships came from Carolina 850l. currency was given for 100l. bill of exchange payable in this kingdom, and that therefore they were under the greatest uneasiness till they knew what they had to depend upon, and till which there must be an entire stagnation of trade to that province, as to themselves and all other persons trading on their own accounts.
I am to beg that you will move the lords to take the Act passed in Jamaica imposing duties on negroes into consideration, an Act very well deserving their immediate consideration not only in respect to the duty imposed but in respect to other clauses in it, particularly the clause for empowering the officers of the independent companies to recruit in the island, a power not very consistent with the preamble of an Act passed at the same time wherein it is declared 'that nothing can more effectually contribute to the advancement of the interest of the island or its security against foreign invasion and insurrections of negroes than that there should be white people in proportion to slaves etc' This is the preamble to an Act for obliging every owner to keep a white for every 30 negroes etc., or pay 3l. 5s. a quarter deficiency. And it is to be observed that the crown does not permit any of the officers whose regiments or companies are out of this kingdom to enlist men in the countries where they are; that Mr. Cunningham, before his departure, long solicited for leave to recruit the independent companies in Jamaica in America, but could not obtain it; and that the permitting the officers who have companies in the colonies to recruit in any part of them would be attended with great inconveniency. I am very much mistaken if the Act imposing duties on negroes and the Act for obliging the inhabitants etc. be not, both of them, passed in terms contrary to the instructions Mr. Cunningham carried over with him and which upon his death came into the hands of Mr. Gregory. Signed. P.S. Since the passing the Act for emitting 210,000l. paper bills of credit, the assembly have passed another Act for stamping and emitting 35,010l. in orders to be issued immediately. 2 small pp. Endorsed, Recd., Read 7 February 1737/8. [C.O. 5, 366, fos. 38–39d]
February 8.
Whitehall.
50 Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Gabriel Johnston explaining delay in answering letters through necessity of consulting the law officers of the crown. We hope soon to have their opinion. In the meantime we observe with much satisfaction the great diligence you have used in apprising us of the state of the province and we take this opportunity of assuring you that as long as you continue to follow your instructions you may always depend upon our encouragement and assistance. Entry. Signatories, Monson, M. Bladen, Edward Ashe, R. Plumer. 1¼ pp. [C.O. 5, 323, fos. 131d-132.]
February 8.
Palace Court.
51 Minutes of Common Council of Georgia. Resolved that persons in possession of certified accounts from Georgia be acquainted that the Trustees have sent sola bills to Georgia to answer the expenses for which the said accounts were certified; and that if they will stay till the Trustees can hear from there relating to the application of the said sola bills, the Trustees will allow from this day 4 per cent, interest. Resolved that 500l. be paid to Aid. Heathcote on account; signed a draft on the Bank for the same. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 690, p. 128.]
February 8.
Palace Court.
52 Minutes of meeting of Trustees for Georgia. Received receipt from bank for 3l. 3s. paid in at the last board. ½ p. [C.O. 5, 687, p. 55.]
February 9.
Whitehall.
53 Council of Trade and Plantations to the King proposing Samuel Dicker and Thomas Edlin as councillors in Jamaica in the room of Thomas Hals and Thomas Garbrand, deceased. Entry. Signatories, James Brudenell, R. Plumer, Monson, T. Pelham, Edward Ashe. 1 p. [C.O. 138, 18, p. 275.]
February 9.
Whitehall.
54 Same to Duke of Newcastle, enclosing extract of letter from President Gregory of Jamaica dated 25 November 1737, together with copy of representation of the merchants at Kingston concerning the capture of ships by Spaniards, and papers referred to therein. Signed, Monson, T. Pelham, Edward Ashe, James Brudenell, R. Plumer. 1 p. Enclosed,
54. i. President Gregory to Council of Trade and Plantations; Jamaica, 25 November 1737. Copy, of extract of Cal. S.P.CoI., 1737, No. 595. 1¼ pp.
54. ii. Merchants of Jamaica to President Gregory. Copy, of Cal, S P Col., 1737, No. 595 iii. 3 pp.
54. iii. Benjamin Way to Edward Manning; Loyal Charles at Havana, 26 August (O.S.) 1737. Copy, of Cal. S.P.Col., 1737, No. 595 i. 2½ pp.
54. iv. Letter from Henry Weare; Havana, 5 September (N.S.) 1737. Copy, of Cal. S.P.Col., 1737, No. 595 ii. 2¼ pp. [C.O. 137, 48, fos. 30–40d; entry of covering letter in C.O. 138, 18, p. 276.]
[February 9.]55 Memorial of the merchants interested in and trading to H.M.'s Plantations and Colonies in America to Duke of Newcastle, gratefully acknowledging communication to them of several papers lately received from Spain touching the many and repeated depredations committed by that crown on the shipping and property of British subjects. The following observations are submitted. First with regard to Mr. Keene's letter, the authentic accounts he seems thereby to require as necessary to be sent to him are, as we apprehend, such as we assure you are not to be obtained in any of the Spanish colonies on the application of any private merchants. For the governor and all the royal officers there, as we are very credibly informed and most certainly believe, are interested in these seizures; and if so, they must be greatly affected by such authentic accounts as Mr. Keene mentions in his letter and no notary public there dare demand or attest any answer to be given by a governor for his noncompliance with his Catholic Majesty's orders of restitution, they being all intimidated from doing any act which may in the most remote degree affect the governor or royal officers. This puts it out of our power to comply with what Mr. Keene seems to think absolutely necessary and shows what kind of justice we are to expect when we are required at Old Spain to produce accounts which in the Spanish West Indies are rendered absolutely impossible to be obtained.
The only end for which these accounts can be insisted on as necessary to be produced is to show that the King of Spain's orders for restitution are not complied with. But it can never be supposed that the crown of Spain are strangers to what effect their own orders have had, neither could these orders have been carried into execution without some return that they were so, having been transmitted by the governor abroad to the ministry at home, such return being expressly required to be made by every order that has issued; and it is not be be presumed that any of the governors of the crown of Spain would dare to refuse a moment to obey any of the orders of their royal master if they were not fully assured the restitution thereby nominally directed was not really expected from them. We submit to you whether instead of the crown of Spain requiring such account to be produced by us which it is in their power to withhold from us, and which they actually do withhold from us, it does not seem more reasonable that it should be expected from the crown of Spain to show satisfaction has been made and which it is easily in their power to do than for Spain to require that from us which by their own acts they render impossible to be complied with.
But if these accounts were to be come at and could be produced, we yet fear they would be of very little effect. For if the first orders were not complied with, what reason can there be to expect a different success from a repetition of the same order? And we are the better warranted in this suggestion from the instance of the South Sea Company who (being a great and considerable body) had weight enough, as we have been informed, to get all the proofs and accounts required but were yet as far from actual restitution as if there had never been any order directing it to be made, though they had several cedulas for liquidated sums and likewise from the repeated cedulas in the two cases of the Anne galley and the Woolball obtained for private persons at the instance of the British court. So that, though the not obtaining such authentic accounts as Mr. Keene mentions is urged as a reason against restitution, yet could they be produced (which care is taken to render impracticable in the case of private merchants) we yet apprehend restitution would be as far off as ever; for we do not know of any one single instance of any restitution having been made by the Spaniards from the time of the Treaty of Seville to this hour except a trifle in the case of the Anne galley not near sufficient to defray the expenses of solicitation, though by that treaty restitution was stipulated to be forthwith made of the several cases included in it, and we are sure we may safely refer to Mr. Keene himself, who has been at the court of Spain ever since that treaty, to point out one single instance of restitution from that time to this. If restitution in the present instances is to be delayed till those accounts mentioned in Mr. Keene's letter are produced it will never be made at all because the Spaniards will themselves take care we never shall have it in our power to produce them.
With regard to the letter of the Marquis de Torreaneva and the declaration thereto annexed, you will observe that it plainly appears from this letter of the marquis that several of the guardacostas in the Spanish West Indies are not duly commissioned pursuant to what was agreed on by this declaration, and particularly that no security had been given which manifestly shows (as we apprehend it) that all the depredations which have of late years fallen so heavy on the trade and navigation of this kingdom in those parts have been carried on not only with the privity and permission, but under the protection and by the orders of the crown of Spain. For otherwise it is hardly to be conceived that any governors under the crown of Spain would have dared to have granted commissions without observing all the requisites mentioned in this declaration or if they had that some more severe notice would not have been taken of such their misbehaviour than what is done by the said marquis's letter, unless it could be supposed (which it never can) that the crown of Spain has not power to enforce the execution of their own orders.
We would now speak a word to those instances of commissioning guarda-costas in which security has been taken, and here the governors of the crown of Spain have managed matters so that, though the security be taken in name, yet in reality it comes to the same thing as if there was none; for the sum in which security is given by the owners of a guarda-costa is, as we are informed, very small, and few or none apply for these kind of commissions but such who are of desperate fortunes. But this the governors contend is complying with the letter of the declaration, and a compliance with it in its literal sense is all that is even now required by the marquis's letter, but this cannot with any shadow of reason be considered as complying with the true meaning of this declaration. And as to any additional security being derived from that part of the declaration which subjects the governor and places him in the room of the security in case they are insufficient, you will easily credit us when we assure you he is out of the reach of any power but that of his own royal master; and it is a fact notorious that the Spanish governors have a share in the captures as the consideration of their granting the commission, this shows you at one view how improbably it is that the British traders should look for or expect any assistance from a governor thus circumstanced and how secure on the other hand the Spanish captors are of every help in his power to give them.
As the persons who take out these commissions are generally of the meanest and most desperate fortunes so, if they cannot within the six months which is the destined time of their cruise meet with any lawful capture, they are under a necessity of taking those who are not so; for otherwise on, their return they are disabled to go out again upon a second cruise. And that they are determined to take whatever falls in their way plainly appears from the instances of the several captures lately laid before you and from their own confession in the case of the ship St. James, where they freely owned to the crew of the ship that they were fallen into bad hands and this before it was possible for them to discover whether there was any contraband goods on board or not. From these facts laid together we submit it to your consideration whether there is not a strong foundation to insist that no vessels ought to be fitted out in time of peace by any of the Spanish governors but at the expense of the crown of Spain and by the king's commission; and that all other ships pretending to be guarda-costas or cruisers should be deemed pirates and treated as such, in which case it is to be presumed that no captures would be made but such as were really legal, or if there should the application for restitution would be plain and easy. This will appear the more necessary and reasonable to be insisted upon, it being the general custom and usage in the Spanish West Indies for all who engage in these cruising voyages to do it without any certain pay, each man being by agreement to depend entirely for his reward out of the captures they shall make so that they are really in all respects saving only their being protected by the authority of a Spanish commission on the same footing with freebooters and pirates.
With regard to the declaration which accompanies the marquis's letter, this we apprehend to be nothing more than a copy of that agreed upon in 1732, and as it has never been observed from that time to this there is very little reason to expect it will be observed now when the Spaniards seem to carry their insults on this nation to a greater height than ever and when the letter that accompanies this declaration only recommends its being observed in its literal sense, and that too according to our judgements in a very cool and indifferent manner. Whereas was the crown of Spain in earnest in this matter, we cannot help thinking that when it appeared to the satisfaction of the crown of Spain that so solemn an engagement as this declaration of 1732 had been most shamefully broke and eluded by their own governors, they would have inflicted some exemplary punishment on the violaters of it. But nothing of that kind has been done; neither has any governor been recalled for his disobedience, nor is there in this letter of the marquis's any directions to the governor so much as to question these cruisers who have been out without being duly commissioned nor the least censure passed on the governors for granting such commissions. That cruel and inhuman monster who cut off Captain Jenkins's ear (a fact formerly laid before you) instead of being punished or questioned for it has been rewarded for his barbarity with the charge of several commissions since.
With regard to the cedula for restitution of the ship St. James on the terms therein mentioned, we will first inform you of the manner observed in deciding British property in the Spanish dominions in America and then submit it to your consideration whether in reason or justice those terms ought to be complied with. The manner of deciding English property in these parts is this: they keep the master and crew all confined as prisoners on board their ship till after the trial is over, but to preserve the appearance of a trial a Spaniard is set up by the governor and constituted a party in lieu and stead of the owners. This Spaniard without ever consulting with the master or crew makes what may with great truth be called a sham defence and the ship is condemned. From this sentence of condemnation an appeal lies to the Council of the Indies in Old Spain, on which appeal, as we apprehend, no new defence can be made nor any evidence received or read that was not laid before the courts below.
This being the true state of the case, should the owners of the St. James give security to abide by the determination of the Council of the Indies in Old Spain, it would in effect be the same thing as owning the capture to be just. For is is very easy to imagine what kind of defence it was, if any was made, when the person who made it must have been set up by the governor whose interest it was to have it condemned and when the persons who were interested to preserve the ship and show the capture to be illegal must have been strangers to the defence which was made for them; and it is natural to conclude the master and owners must be in a very hopeless situation if their property is to depend on the defence which their avowed enemy thought fit to make. All the sea- papers and ship-documents are the very first things the Spaniards seize and which are the principal, if not the only, evidence out of which the defence of the claimants must arise, and these are either destroyed by the captors or else kept by them who continue out at sea on their cruise till the expiration of their six months, so that it is impossible for these to have been produced on behalf of the claimants at Porto Rico or to be laid before the Council of the Indies at Old Spain.
We likewise submit to your consideration the great unreasonableness of giving security in any case to restore a thing which is not put into the possession of those who give the security before or at the time they enter into it. It being against all reason to give security to restore that which we have not, restitution (with the utmost deference) ought to precede the security (in case any was proper to be given) or at least ought to go hand in hand with it, and from the success of former ones a Spanish cedula for restitution does not in any respect, in our opinions, deserve such credit to be paid to it.
But were these difficulties out of the way, yet it seems to us a most insulting request that where a British ship appears to have been taken in so violent and unjustifiable a manner under a Spanish commission so apparently in breach and defiance of all the treaties subsisting between the two crowns that such a security or that any security should be insisted on previous to the restitution and which, should it be given, would we apprehend be made use of as a very strong argument to justify the seizure and to show that the issue of this affair was by ourselves put upon a very different footing from that we first set out on.
We think this ought to be considered as a matter of a national concern and national consequence and not merely as a private application from those who have suffered for private restitution. We think the views of the court of Spain seem to be more calculated to amuse than to redress. But we hope the memorial Mr. Keene has received directions to present to the court of Spain upon our late most humble application to the throne has received a very different treatment and that in consequence thereof the unhappy sufferers by the Spanish depredations will obtain speedy and ample satisfaction and the commerce and navigation of the British subjects be protected and secured. Signed, Thomas Butler senior, agent for Nevis, John Yeamans, agent for Antigua and Montserrat, Richard Coope, agent for St. Christopher's, Francis Wilks, agent for New England, John Sharpe, agent for Jamaica and Barbados, Roger Drake, Peter Delamotte, James Knight, Samuel Bonham, Thomas Tryon, Rowland Frye, Charles Pole. [Seven lastnamed sign] by order and on behalf of the merchants trading to the British Plantations in America. 3 large pp. Endorsed, Reed. 9 February 1737/8. [C.O. 5, 5, fos. 153b-153c.]
[February 9.]56 Memorial of David Dunbar, Lieut.-Governor of New Hampshire and Surveyor of H.M.'s Woods in America, to Council of Trade and Plantations, praying for answers to his former petitions in July last and recapitulating ill-usage at the hands of Governor Belcher who has now abandoned Fort Frederick and left without defence the inhabitants settled there. Signed. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd., Read 9 February 1737/8. [C.O. 5, 880, fos. 89–90d.]
February 10.
Whitehall.
57 Council of Trade and Plantations to the King, proposing James Crockat and Edmund Atkins as members of council in South Carolina in the room of Col. Thomas Broughton and Arthur Middleton, deceased. Entry. Signatories, R. Plumer, Monson, Arthur Croft, Edward Ashe. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 401, p. 249; draft in C.O. 5, 381, fos. 262–263d.]
February 10.
Whitehall.
58 Thomas Hill to President William Bull acknowledging letter of 10 December last and recommendation of Joseph Blake and Charles Pinckney as persons proper to be councillors. The Council of Trade and Plantations would have obliged you but that James Crockat and Edmund Atkins had been well recommended before receipt of your letter. Entry. 1½ pp. [C.O. 5, 401, pp. 250–251.]
February 10.
Cartagena.
59 Unsigned and unaddressed letter. We are much alarmed here by an expedition of the Spaniards at Havana, an account of which take as follows in the words of Capt. McCulloch, commander of sloop in the Asiento service, who is actually detained at St. Jago de Cuba by order of the captaingeneral of Havana upon that account. He writes there are 3,000 regular troops in Havana besides the garrison and that their transports are all ready and flat-bottomed boats to go up the rivers, and they have four men-of-war of the line, two of which are just come from Spain; and that they are to be joined with 5,000 troops from Mexico and 4 men-of-war which they have lying at Vera Cruz. This expedition is designed against Georgia and Carolina, and very probably they are now employed in the transportation of the troops. This account agrees with all the accounts I have been able to learn from the Spaniards. We cannot understand from what comes the report of their being joined with 5,000 troops from Mexico, for there are no such troops there unless it be some French troops from Mississippi, so that the last part wants confirmation. However it has such a bad aspect here we begin to look out for the worst. 1½ pp. Copy. Endorsed, Recd, in London 11 April 1738 via Jamaica. Copy sent to Mr. Keene, 12 April 1738. [C.O. 137, 56, fos. 91–92d.]
[February 10.]60 Extracts of two letters in Mr. Drake's of 10 February 1738. (1) Jamaica, 25 November 1737. Enclosed are two paragraphs of a letter from Havana where they make no scruple of declaring their intention of taking every English ship they can overcome. We have been for some years on a very bad footing in respect to the Spaniards. We have had such floods of rain with hard gales of wind that I fear we shall not make so much sugar next year as we expected, many plantations having sustained considerable damage thereby. (2) Havana, 7 September 1737. The expedition against Georgia is now publicly declared. About 400 soldiers with stores are arrived from Old Spain and these it is said are to join about 2,000 more which will be sent from Vera Cruz. So that by next spring we shall see where they are to be employed. A guardacosta of this place has sent in the following prizes: Prince William, Capt. Kineslagh; George, Henry Weir; Loyal Charles, Benjamin Way; Dispatch, Charles Delamot; and a Dutch ship and sloop. She is now cruising about six leagues off this harbour in order to intercept all our merchant-ships bound through the gulf. N.B. It is imagined those ships are designed for transports on some expedition in the spring, probably against Georgia. Copies, 1½ small pp. Endorsed, in Mr. Drake's of 10 February 1737/8. [C.O. 137, 56, fos. 93–94d.]
February 11.61 The case of the blank patents in North Carolina, with the opinion of the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General thereon. In or before 1724 the Lords Proprietors ordered their governor in North Carolina to shut up the land office, which was a prohibition from granting any more lands except by order of their Board in London, and then at 20l. sterling per 1,000 acres payable in London. Nevertheless some leading men of the province prevailed on Governor Everard to sign patents on various pretences, the principal of which was in 1728 when land was granted at 20l. per 1,000 acres to raise money to pay those concerned in the running of the boundary between North Carolina and Virginia. Patents were issued for 400,000 acres, four times what was necessary to defray the cost of the boundary. Most of these patents were issued after the king's purchase in 1729, but before a crown governor arrived. The patents were signed and sealed, but the person's name, number of acres, description of the boundary and the sums paid, were left blank to be filled up as the Lords Proprietors' officers thought fit. The governor therefore had no power to grant such patents, and those he granted were deficient in all the requisite forms. The people of the colony object that they have paid a value for their patents and should not lose their rights; that it was at all times the practice of the colony for the governor to sign blank patents; and that in the Act for the sale of North and South Carolina to the crown there was a clause inserted upholding patents made by the Lords Proprietors either in England or the provinces before 1 January 1727. The governor replies that the patents were obtained by shameful collusion with the Lords Proprietors' officers and were not preceded by regular surveys; that dates have been filled in since H.M.'s purchase; that the prohibition upon the Lords Proprietors' governor granting land was well-known; that all the rich lands have been fraudulently engrossed; that if H.M. gives the patentees preference in taking out new patents at quit-rents of 4s. proclamation money per 100 acres they have no occasion to complain; and that the confirmation of grants made before 1 January 1727 was not intended to extend to grants that were originally null and void. The quitrents of most of the patents under the Lords Proprietors are 6d. and 1s. per 100 acres; those under the crown are at 4s. proclamation money per 100 acres.
The answers of the Law Officers to the queries put to them are as follows: (1) That patents granted after the Lords Proprietors had ordered the closing of the land office may be good, if the Lords Proprietors were privy to the grants or if they received the consideration for them; otherwise not. (2) That patents granted by the Lords Proprietors' governor after the king's purchase and before the arrival of a crown appointed governor are not good. (3) That the clause in the Act of purchase about quieting possession of grants refers to patents made before 1 January 1727. Considering the extraordinary circumstances and that the crown had no notice of the grants at the time of the purchase, there is great reason for a strict enquiry into the validity thereof and to void them for irregularities. The grants made for defraying the expense of the boundary line seem to stand in a more favourable light. (4) That blank patents are void. But if they have been attended with long possession and are not otherwise fraudulent, they ought to be supported. (5) That patents issued without descriptions of boundaries are void. (6) That the question of warrants issued many years before the grants depends on particular circumstances. (7) That the lands of those who have possessed themselves of more than their grants allow may be resurveyed and remedy taken by information in a court of equity in the province. But those whose grants were made before 1727 have the benefit of the Act and are not liable to resurvey. (8) That the proper method for vacating grants is by information in the proper court of the province, and in case of error there by appeal to H.M. in Council. Signed, D. Ryder, J. Strange. 12 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 13 February, Read 14 February 1737/8. [C.O. 5, 295, fos. 108–114d.]
February 15.
St. James's.
62 Order of King in Council approving of George Thomas to be deputy governor of Pennsylvania without limit of time and of the three counties of Newcastle, Kent and Sussex during H.M.'s pleasure only. Thomas, being now in the Leewards Islands, may give the usual security for observing the Acts of Trade and qualify himself as by law required before the governor or a lieut.-governor of the Leewards. Copy, certified by W. Sharpe. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 28 March, Read 11 April 1738. [C.O. 5, 1269, fos. 10, 10d, 14, 14d.]
February 15.
St. James's.
63 Same, approving an Act passed in Virginia in September 1736, to dock the entail of certain lands whereof Lewis Burwell is seised. Copy, certified by W. Sharpe. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 28 March, Read 13 April 1738. [C.O. 5, 1324, fos. 126a, 126a dorse, 129, 129d.]
February 15.
St. James's.
64 Same, approving draft commission to Lewis Morris to be governor of New Jersey. Duke of Newcastle to prepare warrant. Copy, certified by W. Sharpe. 1 p Endorsed, Recd. 28 March, Read 13 April 1738. [C.O. 5, 973, fos. 110, 110d, 115, 115d.]
February 15.
St. James's.
65 Same, directing the governor of the Leeward Islands or any lieut.governor there to administer the oaths required by law to George Thomas, appointed deputy governor of Pennsylvania, and to take security of 2,000l. for his observing the Acts of Trade. Copy, certified by W. Sharpe. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 28 March, Read 11 April 1738. [C.O. 5, 1269, fos. 10, 10d, 13, 13d.]
February 15.
Palace Court.
66 Minutes of meeting of Trustees for Georgia. Read a petition to House of Commons for supply to enable the Trustees to provide for the further establishment of the colony. Sealed the same, secretary to countersign. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 687, p. 56.]
February 15.67 Petition of Trustees for Georgia to House of Commons. Since their last application the Trustees have been put to very great expenses in fortifying their settlements against the Spaniards who threatened Georgia with invasion. The inhabitants were hindered in cultivation of their lands. Foreign and other Protestants have been sent over. A further supply is needed more effectually to establish the colony. The situation of the province and the advantages that may arise from it are important. The securing the friendship of the Indians is particularly necessary. The support of the civil magistracy is necessary to be defrayed in the infant state of the colony. Entry. Signatory, Benjamin Martyn. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 670, p. 337.]
February 16.
Hawk in Tybee
Road, Georgia.
68 Captain James Gascoigne to Harman Verelst. On my arrival this day from the southward I received yours of 10 October wherein the Trustees order two German families to serve me. Mr. Causton most obligingly offered two families of my own choosing, but receiving advice of a Spanish launch being arrived (from St. Augustine) at St. Simon's, I had only time to choose one, of which Mr. Causton will advise you. I am preparing to return to St. Simon's so soon as I can settle the account that has unavoidably happened between the stores of the Trustees and myself by occasional supplies on each side. Signed. 1 small p. [C.O. 5, 640, fo. 51.]
February 16.
Whitehall.
69 Duke of Newcastle to Council of Trade and Plantations, transmitting the following. Signed, Holles Newcastle. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd., Read 17 February 1737/8. Enclosed,
69. i. Resolution of House of Commons to address H.M. for copies of applications to H.M. for warlike stores from the Plantations in America with account how far the same have been granted. 1 p. [C.O. 323, 10, fos. 116–117d, 120, 120d.]
February 17.
Whitehall.
70 Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. No objection appears either to Mr. Fane or to us why the ordinance passed in South Carolina 26 June 1736 for maintaining free trade with the Creek, Cherokee and other Indians should not be confirmed. But we submit to you whether it may not be proper to let it lie by till the disputes between Georgia and Carolina shall be determined. Entry. Signatories, James Brudenell, T. Pelham, R. Plumer, Edward Ashe. 1½ pp. [C.O. 5, 401, pp. 251–252; draft in C.O. 5, 381, fos. 260–261d.]
February 16.
Whitehall.
71 Same to Committee of Privy Council, transmitting draft of additional instruction for Edward Trelawny, governor of Jamaica, giving him power to grant royal mines in his government. Entry. Signatories, Monson, James Brudenell, R. Plumer. 1 p. Enclosed,
71. i. Draft of instruction referred to in covering letter. Entry. 8 pp. [C.O. 138, 18, pp. 266–285.]
February 17.
Georgia Office.
72 Harman Verelst to Thomas Causton, by the Brooke, Capt. Keete. Since my last letter (11 January, copy now sent), two more certified accounts have been presented to the Trustees for payment, transmitted to Messrs. Pytt & Tuckwell from Mr. Brownfield, the one for 111l. 0s. 3d. and the other for 90l. 9s. and both of them are unpaid as well as the 1961l. 17s. 7d. I believe the merchants possessed of those certified accounts will choose to keep them here until the Trustees hear from you what sum in sola bills you have reserved and will keep by you unissued until the Trustees' further pleasure shall be known thereon, which sum the Trustees fear will not be great by reason of several of the abovementioned sola bills being already come home for payment. You see the confusion created by your making expenses before you had the sola bills to defray them and thereby are now unprovided for, and you must regulate yourself to the contents of the Trustees' letter by Mr. Stephens; and the Trustees direct you not to certify any account for the future to any person whatsoever nor contract any expenses but those you are ordered to make and have sola bills to defray, which you will be supplied with to the amount of all expenses you are ordered to make. And for that purpose you will receive the established expenses that are to be made for 1738 as soon as the Trustees know to what amount they will be enabled to make those expenses go; and one-half of that amount will be sent you in sola bills for that purpose at one time and the other half at another time, and no other payments whatsoever will be made by the Trustees here but those for their sola bills. The Trustees direct you to send them a remain of stores at Lady Day next both at Savannah and Frederica and also an account of what credits have been given by the stores to any and which of the inhabitants that have not been repaid at Lady Day next; and if any debts due from the store at that time more than the certified accounts received as beforementioned you must let the Trustees know. Entry. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 667, fo 53d.]
February 18.
New York.
73 Lieut.-Governor George Clarke to Council of Trade and Plantations. On 17 December I acquainted you that the assembly were adjourned for this season, having first made good the deficiencies of the last revenue, which were very considerable, and given some funds for a future support, the application whereof they have reserved to their next sitting. Nor in all likelihood will they then give it for a longer time than from year to year, that being the general disposition of the people as well without doors as within, hoping thereby to restrain a governor from running into any excesses. For my own part, if I had nothing to consult but my own ease and interest, it would give me no great concern since I think a moderate use of power is the best and I am sure is most agreeable to my nature. But as former revenues have been given for a longer time I think myself obliged in duty to H.M. to endeavour at least to get it established on the same foot. How I shall succeed I cannot tell. The grievances complained of in a late unhappy government have soured the people and will make my task exceeding difficult, though as to other things I have had the good fortune to succeed pretty well, having reduced the province to a state of repose little looked for in so short a time. And yet you will easily imagine that it will require a longer to wear out the memory of unkindnesses so lately and so warmly done by each party to the other. But a steady course of moderation in the administration of the government, if there be no prospect of a speedy alteration in it, will I hope in the course of a few years perfectly restore them to a mutual benevolence.
For my own part I think I may very justifiably make use of all advantages to obtain a settlement of the revenue for a term of years and shall soon have one which, if you approve of, it may answer the end. It is this: about twenty years ago the excise on strong liquors, which before that time had all along been appropriated to the revenue, was given towards the sinking a large sum of paper money then struck to pay the debts of the government. This fund will expire in 1739 when, as I am informed, there will be nigh 20,000l. of that paper money unsunk. I presume therefore whenever the assembly talk of continuing that fund or giving another to sink that paper money I may then insist on a revenue for a term of years as a condition of my assenting to such bill. But yet I would fain have your opinion and commands thereon before it be brought on the carpet, which probably may be next summer; nor must I too much rely on that expedient but make use of it in conjunction with other things to win them to the like measures that former assemblies have taken, lest by insisting too highly and positively on it I kindle a new fire in the province. For those paper bills will be in a multitude of hands who will without doubts be very clamorous on that occasion.
One thing that the country have for several years complained of and borne with much impatience is the long continuance of their assemblies, and to it they in a great measure impute the party heats, animosities and divisions that have subsisted here, with the decay of ship-building, navigation and trade. To that (they say) it is owing that many people have left this province to go to Carolina, Pennsylvania and the several charter-governments in New England; whereby lands in the country and houses in town arc much fallen in their value and in their rents. They look upon frequent assemblies as the best and surest protection of their liberties and properties. It is to the laws subsisting in the other colonies which I have mentioned for frequent elections that they ascribe the happiness of those people, the increase of their trade, and the peopling their countries in a few years past even beyond belief. Whether this be the sole or the prevailing cause, it is certain that the people of this province passionately wish to be put by a law in the like situation with their neighbours whom I have mentioned, hoping from thence to retrieve their declining trade, navigation and ship-building and to see the province soon replenished with white people. And truly I think it were to be wished that the provinces under H.M.'s more immediate government were to be upon a foot as advantageous for the encouragement of their inhabitants and of strangers to come and dwell in them as the charter and proprietary provinces.
It is pity that this province, above all others as it is a frontier, should not be well-peopled. If it was, the French would not take those large strides they have done and are daily taking; they have already possessed themselves of the Crown Point and built a strong stone fort there which cuts off all communication between us and the northern Indians from whom we formerly had much beaver; they have possessed themselves of Niagara whereby they may in great measure intercept the trade of the western Indians in their way to Oswego; they have attempted and had well nigh obtained leave of the Six Nations to build a trading house at Tierondequat in the Senecas' country, which for the present I have happily prevented and am now taking some measures to get from the Six Nations some land to build a fort on at that place. If I fail in that attempt and the French succeed, adieu to Oswego and all our fur trade, for Tierondequat will entirely cut off our western fur trade, and what the consequences thereof will be to the trade of England you know full well. Nor is the loss of our trade all that we are to apprehend, for with it we shall lose the Six Nations. It is with much difficulty and a great annual expense to this province in time of peace without any assistance from our neighbours that we have and now still retain the fidelity of the Six Nations who, with us, in time of a French war are the only barrier to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Carolina. And yet even then they give us no aid but leave us to defend ourselves as well as we can. A people thus circumstanced, ever ready to defend themselves in time of war and to cover the other British colonies, thus situated to carry on the fur trade which centres in England to the great advantage of that kingdom, I presume to think deserve your countenance in all things reasonable. For my own part I dare not interpose my opinion whether this felicity depends so absolutely as they think it does on their having frequent elections. It is sufficient for me to tell you that they themselves are fully possessed with that opinion; and in that confidence they did the last session pass an Act for triennial assemblies, the event whereof they are so impatient for that at their request I now send it to you by way of Boston before the other Acts can possibly be engrossed, hoping that by your favourable representation it may obtain H.M.'s approbation and that I may have it before the assembly sits, which I shall be obliged to put off as long as I can for that purpose.
They did likewise the last session pass an Act empowering themselves to appoint an agent independent of a governor or the council. But the council, who were not averse to exclude the governor, would not be excluded themselves; they therefore made those alterations. But the assembly would by no means agree to them so that the bill dropped. However the assembly having their triennial bill very warmly at heart sent their speaker to me desiring me to be their agent to negotiate H.M.'s approbation of their bills and especially of that bill. I said what I could in excuse, founded upon their bill for appointing an agent and upon other prudential considerations. But that would not do; he answered me that the house reposed an entire confidence in me which showed plainly in framing that bill they had no eye to me and they hoped I would not deny their request. I found myself obliged to give in to their desire, hoping for your countenance in it and that from H.M.'s approbation it may have a very good effect on the minds of the people. I send you a copy of their resolve.
If it were not for the reason mentioned, vizt. that the people are impatient of living in a province where assemblies subsist without limitation of time and for the inferences they deduce from it, it were impossible one would think that this province should be so thinly peopled, for our soil is as good or better than that of our neighbouring colonies, they [lands] are to be purchased or patented on easier terms, the quit-rent is considerably less than in Pennsylvania (the present growing colony), our land taxes none but such as are for the necessary charges of the respective counties which are annually assessed and levied by themselves and are very inconsiderable; no province is more happy in its situation for trade and navigation; this town is not above 21 miles from the sea having a bold and safe channel to it for vessels even of a large size, and an excellent harbour before the town; our inland navigation is inferior to none, for besides that to New Jersey and Connecticut Hudson's river is navigable through the heart of the province 150 miles from New York to Albany; from Albany to Schenectady is but fifteen or sixteen miles by land and there you enter into the Mohawks river, which is navigable for canoes and battows to the head of it, being about 120 or 130 miles; from thence there is a short land-carriage of a few miles to the Wood Creek which leads through the Oneides lake to Oswego and all the lakes and rivers even to the branches of Mississippi. It is from the Indians that inhabit near and to the northward and westward of those lakes that we have our beaver in exchange chiefly for goods of the manufacture of England.
With all these advantages this province, if it were populous, might extend its trade to a far greater length. But it cannot be expected that they will make settlements in remote parts while the lands nearer at hand are not inhabited; for upon the first rupture with France they must expect to quit them and retire for protection or to be cut off by the enemy who, having already several forts between Canada and Mississippi, have established a communication between those places which encompasses all the English colonies on that side, will make them masters of all the Indians and Indian trade, and enable them to annoy our colonies upon every occasion. And yet the assembly think that things are not come to that pass but that they are still within a possiblity of a remedy from the increase of people among us, which they assert can no way so well be brought about as by putting the inhabitants of this province upon a footing as near as possible with their neighbours in the frequent election of their representatives. This they say will above all things promote that great end, those who are already removed from the province will return to it again, others will be encouraged to come hither from abroad, shipbuilding will again revive, and in consequence trade and navigation will again flourish. Ironworks (of which ore we have great plenty) and the raising of hemp (for the produce whereof the province abounds in swamps and meadows, the properest land for it) will be set on foot either by private undertakings or by public encouragement. In a word they impute every evil to the want of this Act and promise themselves every blessing from H.M.'s approbation of it. Be that as it will, it is certain that the discontents of the people have grown in proportion to the length of time that an assembly has been continued beyond what they thought reasonable. I therefore hope for your favourable representation of it to H.M. for his royal approbation and for your pardon for this long address. Signed. 3½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 26 April, Read 2 May 1738. Enclosed,
73. i. Resolution of Assembly of New York, 16 December 1737, soliciting the lieut.-governor's utmost endeavours in obtaining royal assent to the Act for frequent election of representatives. Copy. Signatory, Lewis Morris, junior, Speaker. ½ p. Endorsed, as covering letter. [C.O. 5, 1059, fos. 45–47d.]
February 18.
New York.
74 Same to Duke of Newcastle enclosing the following. Signed. 1½ small pp. Endorsed, Recd. 26 April. Enclosed,
74. i. Same to Council of Trade and Plantations of same date. Copy, of No. 73. [C.O.5, 1094, fos. 42–45d.]
February 19.
Frederica.
75 Harry Buckley to Harman Verelst. I have received yours of 12 October and Samuel Goffe with his indenture you forwarded me from Mr. Richard Buckley. I have not yet received the 6l. 13s. sterling you mentioned, which Mr. Causton has offered to receive either here or at Savannah. When I receive it, I shall advise you so that it may be made good to the Trustees. Signed. P.S. Pray give my service to Mr. Towers. 1 small p. [C.O. 5, 640, fos. 53–54d.]
February 20.
Charleston.
76 Samuel Eveleigh to Harman Verelst. I have for three months past been very ill which has been the occasion that I have not sent you the Carolina Gazettes during that time. About six weeks since here was a report come down from the Creeks that the French had killed sixteen Chickesaws, upon which this government sent an express up thither to persuade them to withdraw from their ground and come down among other Indians in friendship with us. The messenger is returned and as I understand has brought an account that the Chickesaws will come down. I have no further news about them but that it is the Choctaws that have killed the Chickesaws, and I hope they will be paid very well for their labour. I find the newspapers are very acceptable to Mr. Causton and others at Georgia, so that the continuance thereof will be an obligation. Signed, 1 small p. [C.O. 5, 640, fos. 55–56d.]
February 20.
Kingston.
77 Unsigned and unaddressed letter. The man-of-war sent down to Havana to demand the captures is returned, having no other satisfaction than the king of Spain would give credit for the same and that they must have many more before the account would be balanced, and withal ordered the man-of-war to be gone directly, having kept the lieutenant a prisoner one night. That they have some grand preparation afoot is not doubted, not only because they suffered no one to come on shore from the man-of-war's boat but the lieutenant, and suffering him to go nowhere nor see even the factor but the governor being present, so was not suffered to have any conversation with his fellow-subjects. Notwithstanding this strange proceeding to endeavour to keep everything so very private, there is a letter from Santa Augusta by the way of Carthagena that there have been a large number of soldiers imported from Old Spain and that they daily expected more from Mexico. The same person writes this expedition is to be against Georgia and Carolina and that afterwards they intend to attack this island and that they are to be assisted with provisions and shipping etc. by the French. The South Sea Company's factors here are very angry at the publication of this news and would insinuate they have no intelligence of it only because they believe it will be more difficult for them to take up shipping; they refuse giving security or demurrage any longer than 30 days, on which footing none but a madman will engage these precarious times. It is generally supposed the South Sea agents are not only assistants in buying vessels here for the Spaniards to fit out for privateers but also in supplying and advising them in an extraordinary manner, because their supplies at this juncture seem to call [sic] more urgent. They sent a sum of money to New York to have an extraordinary supply of flour; they have had 1,000 barrels already imported by the Mary, Capt. Robert Ratsey, of New York, and they daily expect another ship from the same place with flour. They have also imported a large quantity of beef. These unusual proceedings of the company agents at this juncture are the cause of great speculation. P.S. From another house: there is a Spanish sloop arrived here from Havana which forms a pretence to refit being disabled; whether she will be detained as a spy is yet uncertain. Copy. 2½ pp. Endorsed, In Mr. Jenkins's to Mr. Drake of 8 April 1738. [C.O. 137, 56, fos. 89–90d.]
February 22.
Whitehall.
78 Duke of Newcastle to Council of Trade and Plantations, enclosing the following papers for consideration and report. Signed, Holles Newcastle. 1 p. March, Read 8 March 1737/8. Enclosed,
78. i. Petition of James Wimble, late master and principal owner of the Rebecca brigantine, to Duke of Newcastle and Lord Harrington; London, 18 September 1737. On 20 March 1731/2 petitioner put into Providence Island; there he and his ship were detained by Governor Woods Rogers and forced to go on the king's service to protect the people then working at the salt ponds. After this service, petitioner was sent to Abico to fetch timber for the garrison and then to Rum Key to take in salt. At Rum Key on 4 August 1732 the vessel was driven ashore by a hurricane, broken up and lost. The loss of ship and goods amounted to 2,500l. and petitioner seeks reimbursement. Signed. 3 pp.
78. ii. New Providence, 25 March 1732. Commission by Governor Rogers to Capt. Wimble, commander of Rebecca, 10 guns and men answerable, to proceed to Exuma and other salt ponds and there rake salt with as many men as he can spare from the guard he is obliged to keep on his ship ready to fire alarm guns when he discovers any danger from the Spanish piratical sloops or other vessels that have sundry times done great damage to the inhabitants of these islands at this season of the year. Capt. Wimble is empowered to summon all men capable to assist in defending the salt ponds aboard his vessel and they are upon any alarm to retire at once on board the Rebecca and there, under his command, defend themselves and try to seize any pirate who attacks or disturbs them. Such pirates are to be brought to this port and tried according to law. Copy, certified at Tottenham-court Road, 23 January 1737/8, by Chaloner Jackson. Signatories, Woods Rogers, William Shott, deputy secretary. 1 p.
78. iii. Protest sworn at Newport, 11 October 173 2, before Richard Ward, notary public of Rhode Island, by James Wimble, master, John Snell, mariner, and Francis Leture, mate, lately of the Rebecca. [The circumstances of the loss of the said ship are as in No. 78. i.] Wherefore this protest is made against Woods Rogers, then governor of New Providence, against his detaining the ship, and also against the boisterous winds and seas as the only and sole cause of all the damages. Copy, certified by Joseph Marion, notary public in Boston, New England, 15 November 1732. 3½ pp. Endorsed, as covering letter. [C.O. 23, 4, fos. 42–48d.]
February 22.
Palace Court.
79 Minutes of meeting of Trustees for Georgia. Rev. John Wesley attended and delivered a narrative of his own relating to the complaints of Mrs. Williamson, and three certificates, one signed by James Burnside dated Savannah, 1 November 1737, another of same date signed by Margaret Burnside, and another signed by Charles Delamotte dated Savannah, 25 October 1737. ½ p. [C.O. 5, 687, p. 57.]
February 23.
Antigua.
80 Governor William Mathew to Alured Popple. I have delivered to Capt. Fellowes directed for you a box containing an Act of Nevis to prevent negroes and other slaves from selling anything without a ticket from their masters, copy of minutes of assembly of Montserrat for quarter ending Christmas 1737 and transcript of minutes of council of that island ending Christmas 1737. On receipt of their lordships' orders relating to my transmitting the evidence against the two Johnsons as it appeared before the council and assembly of Antigua, I wrote from St. Christopher's to the lieut.-governor of Antigua and to the speaker of the assembly: the speaker returned to me the enclosed answer. The council I found on my arrival here had done nothing in it, for no regular minutes had been entered by the clerk on those trials. But now a committee is appointed to gather from their memories and from private notes they then took something of a summary of the evidence. From the time I left this island in April last no business has been done and the island has greatly suffered in its public credit. A controversy had arisen between the houses on a point of privilege and I found them greatly divided; but by mediating the matter between them on my arrival all that is past is buried in oblivion, both houses are entirely reconciled, and we are going most diligently on public business towards retrieving the lost time. Signed, 2 small pp. Endorsed, Recd, 1 May, Read 2 May 1738. Enclosed,
80. i. Speaker of Assembly of Antigua to Governor Mathew, 3 January 1737/8. The letter you wrote concerning the evidence for and against the Johnsons on their trial before the assembly I waited on the [lieut.-] governor with the day after I received it; and at a meeting of the assembly about four days after that I laid it before the house who directed me to inform you that no minutes of that evidence were taken by the clerk or any other person by order of the house. There were some few gentlemen who for their more serious consideration took down what was given in evidence, but that I believe has not been very carefully preserved: Mr. Warner's, whose [notes] were more regular and correct than most of the others, were lodged with Mr. Kerby the former speaker, but could not that day be found, nor has it since been heard of, but if it had could not be attested as you require. If you think that or any other copy from one of the members of the assembly will give any light to the Lords of Trade and will give me directions I shall endeavour to procure the most full and correct evidence that has been preserved of that matter. I hope you will excuse my not answering your letter sooner, this being the first opportunity I have met with since; as I live in the country and Mr. Kerby (fn. 1) , whom I desired to give me notice of any that offered, forgot to do it, I believe some have been that I could not be apprised of, and this I hear of by mere accident. Copy, certified by William Mathew. Signatory, Stephen Blizard. 2 small pp. [C.O. 152, 23, fos. 131–134d.]
February 24.
St. James's.
81 Royal appointment of Samuel Horsey as lieut.-general of forces in South Carolina. Entry. 1 p. [C.O. 324, 37, p. 109.]
February 27.
82 Law Officers' opinion on the quit-rents of North Carolina directed to Council of Trade and Plantations. (1) Copy of deed of 1667 of Lords Proprietors of Carolina authorizing their governor of the county of Albemarle to make grants of land: the law officers are of opinion that this deed was revocable at the pleasure of the Lords Proprietors but not so as to affect grants already made. (2) Copy of deed of 1669 of Lords Proprietors of Carolina authorizing their governor of that part of the province lying to the south and west of Cape Carteret to make grants of land and laying down the procedure to be followed, vizt. survey, oath of fidelity to proprietors, issue of patent in prescribed form: the law officers are of opinion that if the deed includes the county of Albemarle it revokes the previous one. (3) The law officers are of opinion that the not complying with the directions prescribed in (2) is sufficient to render grants void in law unless the grantees have had long and quiet enjoyment. (4) The law officers are of opinion that the quit-rents may be paid in commodities according to the market price thereof and that they should be paid at the general receipt of the province or on the lands in respect of which the rent is paid, but not at other places appointed by the crown. (5) The law officers are of opinion that, notwithstanding clause 83 of the general constitution that Acts of the parliament should be of no force until ratified by the Lords Proprietors, in general old laws which have been in use amongst the people and acquiesced in are not void even though never ratified by the proprietors. Signed, D. Ryder, J. Strange. 11½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 27 February, Read 1 March 1737/8. [C.O. 5, 295, fos. 115–121d.]
February 27.
Savannah.
83 William Stephens to Trustees for Georgia enclosing duplicate of letter of 19–20 ult., continuation of journal from 17 January exclusive, and the several present states of Frederica, Fort St. Simon, Fort St. Andrew and Darien, in collecting the particulars of which several places I must say I met with more satisfaction than in many things at that part of the province whence I came, where a few turbulent spirits had created so much distraction among the people as very much to disturb the peace of the place and endanger yet worse. But I hope we are growing wiser and that a little more time will reduce those who may have been misled to right reason when they see the persons lightly esteemed whom they took for clever fellows at carrying on the good work of reformation and resigned up their own judgment to such men's conduct, which cannot fail ending in contempt and shame deservedly. Far otherwise at Frederica, there was no appearance of discord but everyone followed his own business quietly, neither was there cause to complain of the least disobedience (as Mr. Horton and the magistrates all assured me) in doing their respective duties to the public, which comes pretty quick about as to the military part, ten men in their turn mounting the guard every fifth night at the fort, which was done with great exactness whilst I was there, and at their coming to relieve they were always exercised in the manual use of their arms for half an hour by an expert person, which Mr. Horton told me was the constant practice without the least marks of discontent, from whence it might be inferred (I thought) what Savannah was in its infancy before they were corrupted with the example of some of their borderers in Carolina and seduced into ill habits and mischievous purposes by a few designing men who, wanting to grasp at power, grew uneasy at their disappointment in it and endeavoured to make others so too.
It is to be wished indeed that there was a greater appearance of cultivating land at Frederica than is yet to be seen, but great allowance may be made in behalf of their plea why they could not attend it the last season as might have been expected, and I am bound in justice to them to say that they show themselves generally in earnest now to retrieve lost time and most of them are doing what they can. I took a pretty deal of care to be as particular as possible in the account I have given of their proceedings in it, great part of which I can vouch for the literal truth of, having spent one whole day and part of another among the lots and the rest I took upon the credit of Mr. Hird (the first constable) who is a very knowing and industrious man together with others whose veracity Mr. Horton assured me I might depend on. I heard but of one complaint during my stay there which indeed was almost universal, and that was their want of a little help, alleging the inability which a single person laboured under in many instances, particularly in moving heavy logs, cross-cutting etc., and wishing they could be credited with some servants among them, which they would pay for within such time as should be required. This put my thoughts onto what I wrote in my last and I beg to add a few words on this occasion. The more to obviate all objections, suppose the master should be obliged to employ such servant in cultivating land wholly and to no other purpose and at such a certain limited time for repayment as should be thought meet; in case of failure therein, suppose master and man were both bound to work gratis a whole year on some public work for the Trust, in a scout-boat for instance, or otherwise, I conceive great good might hereby accrue to the colony and no detriment to the Trust. There seems indeed to be a want of a few more hands there and it appears the more visible from what is to be found at Darien. I must not omit to observe that in conversation with Mr. Horton he told me he found himself under some difficulty in relation to the future delivering out of stores of provision among the people, for the present establishment expired (as he apprehended) on 25 March, now very near, and he was diffident of his own judgment in what manner to proceed afterwards; wherein I could only offer my sentiments (without being well warranted) that in such an exigence, as it could never be the intention of the Trustees that any person of the colony should really want support, undoubtedly it would be justifiable since there was plenty laid in to deal it out among the people especially to such as laboured to good purpose in the same proportion as was limited by the last orders, till the pleasure of the Trustees was further known. For what I observed further during my progress I refer to journal and papers sent herewith.
The state of the several villages and other settlements in this part of the province shall be my next care to transmit with what expedition I can, and last of all I shall endeavour to send a true account of the improvements that have been made on the several lots belonging to this town, which I am perfecting by degrees and is pretty difficult to find the truth of as well as unsatisfactory among many of them when found, though I have some hopes it will mend a little every day, is another reason why I make it my last work of that sort, for several lately have taken it into their heads to go on again and others to begin where I once had little hopes of any improvements this season, and it is observable that a much better temper seems to have sprung up of late since the decrease of some incendiaries who maintained a continual ferment among the people. Several who were irritated by such declaimers to seek a better living in Carolina are lately returned and others (I hear) returning now they find themselves misled and are convinced they may live better at their old homes. I only wish that under such conviction they may henceforward proceed with the more industry and fixed resolution in cultivation of land. What remains principally an eyesore with me at present is to see the same knot of Scottish landholders in the country now residing here, with one only Englishman joining them, continue undissolved. The names of those of most significance among them I mentioned in my last; they adhere closely together (which is national with them in all countries) and seldom fail meeting at a tavern every night, eight or ten or more, where they always sing the same tune. And whatever strangers come to town some of these soon get acquainted with them, who too often (I fear) go away under bad impressions of the colony. This I conceive would need some remedy worthy your prescribing, but I am in hopes a little time will bring us one from among you who is able to dissipate these and all other public dangers.
Please refer to my notes of 22 and 24 inst. (fn. 2) relating to the power which some people among us are fond of assuming to themselves for administering oaths when upon the grand jury. I submit it to your consideration how far it may be possible for a set of ill-designing men, if a number of such should happen to fall together in the same panel, to do mischief under a show of legality and stir up more contention than what has lately happened, and which I am persuaded will die away unless new blown by a few only whose aim is that it should not and who are best pleased when confusion prevails. Your determination on this point is of such moment that I hope we shall not want it by the first opportunity, to guide us in time coming. I am confident that the grand jury which was empanelled this last court were generally well meaning, honest men; nevertheless two or three hotspurs mixing among them persuaded them to believe it was their right to administer oaths and therefore they ought not to give up their claim, which induced them to go to the length they did, but they were wise enough not to be led further into experiments at present. The whole proceedings of the court were carried on with great decency and to good effect (except only where rum came in question which that jury could not be prevailed on to declare any crime in the person who sold it). Mr. Parker, the only magistrate on the bench, showed himself a man of ready apprehension and good judgment, as the recorder also on his part was not wanting in his duty.
Mr. West, a freeholder in this town, being by marriage or otherwise possessed of two lots, has newly sold one of them to a gentleman who lately imported a cargo of provisions from New York in a brig which yet lies in the river, the cargo being sold. His name is Provost, a young man of good appearance and lively spirit who has made divers importations here of the like kind. It is said that he has very good substance and purposes to keep a large store of provisions as well as dry goods and particularly sorted for the Indian trade, all which (it is to be hoped) may prove beneficial to the place, more especially the last; for unless the town is well provided with such (as I doubt it is but poorly at present) Carolina may lay aside all jealousy of our being a dangerous rival. But what gives me further good expectation from him is that he professes a hearty design of improving the land belonging to his lot and has already been giving some orders about it, so that he will show himself in that particular also deserving encouragement. The number of the lot is 16, formerly in possession of Joseph Hughes, deceased; the house in Derby Ward, rented at present by Mr. Purry who also keeps a store near adjoining in partnership with Mr. Mountague, and undoubtedly they take more money than any (I had almost said all) of the stores in town; but I do not hear of any they expend among us nor dare they venture at improving lands in Georgia since they do it so much more to their liking on the other side of the water a few miles up the river.
I fear some indirect practices have been used to wheedle away the family of Camouch (who have the management of the silk) into our neighbourhood of Carolina. It is possible I may come at a more perfect knowledge of it than I can yet warrant, wherefore I forbear mentioning any name. But I hope it is timely stopped and that those people will not leave us for want of being well-encouraged to continue where they are. Mr. Causton assures me they shall not have any reason to complain of that: if the attempt was made by one who is suspected, it might be little expected from thence. But I say no more.
By my journal of 21 and 22 ult. you will see how my last packet went by Capt. Adam Montgomery from Charleston. You may observe how precarious our correspondence is with that place and be the more confirmed (I hope) of how great use such a boat would be as I proposed in my last. I have to wait to send these dispatches till Mr. Causton's are ready. I do not complain of him, having met with no other than courteous treatment from him, but possibly he thinks he ought not to be behindhand with me in writing. But I conceive you intended I should not wait for others, especially in view of your order that I should give notice to the inhabitants to bring their letters to me once a fortnight to be forwarded safely, which may have some effect in time though no letters are yet committed to my care.
I should say something before I close of the long variance betwixt Mr. Causton and Mr. Bradley, but that is of so extensive a nature that I scarce know where to begin nor where it would end. I have made some few observations in my journal on the frequent appeals made to me from one and the other. But it is become now a controversy of such weight that I dare not take upon me to decide it. Mr. Bradley probably will set forth those grievances he complains of himself and lay them before you; and Mr. Causton (I know) will make a full representation of all that he has done in his own vindication. The account he showed me of the total charge he had against Mr. Bradley out of the stores I must say appeared exceeding strange, and I doubt Mr. Bradley's open opposition to him in general during those tumults which lately happened and so much disturbance of the public peace may have whetted Mr. Causton's resentment and provoked him to show he was to expect no favours on his part; and Mr. Causton's expounding your orders relating to the German servants under Mr. Bradley's charge in the manner he does, by allowing them to get other masters for themselves and, so paying for their passage, get a discharge from their present service, I apprehend he thinks he may be well justified in, since he sees that scarce any of them have been employed by Mr. Bradley in the public work which they were sent to do since they came. But Mr. Bradley complains of this as the highest injustice. I must own the only danger I apprehend from it is lest those poor people whom you expect to be dealt tenderly with should happen to fall into the hands of some private masters who may use less of that than they ought. Otherwise in all appearance the public was not like to receive much benefit of them yet awhile. The town-clock now striking puts me in mind to acquaint you that your orders to set it going were executed a few days since, and it stands near the top of one end of the stores, which is the most eminent and conspicuous place at present in town. Signed. 6 small pp. Endorsed, Arrived 27 May. [C.O. 5, 640, fos. 57–60d.]
February 27.
Savannah.
84 William Stephens to Harman Verelst. The paper relating to our artillery at Savannah was incorrect, it being brought to me so late (I having returned it as imperfect) that I took it upon credit. I found the fire of the ball disproportionate to the bore of the cannon and have now got it rectified by the gunner and send it amended. The part relating to the store of arms and ammunition I see no reason to alter. Mr. Causton lent me a Highland woman for a servant, highly recommended by Capt. Thomson. But she is pregnant, the author being of her own country and brought over half a score servants with him in the same ship. See what luck I have with wenches. My servants have been frequently sick but I hope to see 14 or 15 acres cleared, fenced and planted this season of thick-timbered land. I wish Mr. Bradley in so long time here had improved many acres more; but I would not anticipate what he has to offer in his own justification. I wish it may appear in a better light than I can put it.
We have long been expecting further news of those commanders we were bid to look for. We should be wrong to expect our captain-general before his troops, but Mr. Crockatt is said to have given it out at Charleston that he will not be here until the end of summer. So we cannot tell what to make of it till some ship brings dependable advice; then surely we may expect to know who is governor of Carolina too. Signed. P.S. My son begs you to send his letter for Isle of Wight by ordinary post and his other to Mr. Blackford by proper conveyance. The other is from Mr. Smallwood at Frederica. 2¼ small pp. [C.O. 5, 640, fos. 61–62d.]

Footnotes

1 MS. 'Rerby'.
2 In Journal.