America and West Indies
December 1718, 22-31

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Institute of Historical Research

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Cecil Headlam (editor)

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1930

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424-446

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'America and West Indies: December 1718, 22-31', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 30: 1717-1718 (1930), pp. 424-446. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=74051 Date accessed: 23 October 2014.


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December 1718, 22-31

Dec. 22.
Virginia.
799. Lt. Governor Spotswood to Governor the Earl of Orkney. The enclosed Address, Articles, etc. will lay open the unreasonable conduct of my adversaries etc. What single instance do they give of the many hardships which they say I daily exercise upon the people ? Certainly if here had been any grounds for this accusation, the new humour of sending no grievances to the Assembly could never have prevailed so universally throughout all the countys, as it has most remarkably done at this juncture etc. Proposes to send over a full answer to all the charges against him. The chief contrivers of this plot against him, tho' behind the curtain, are Mr. Commissary Blair and Mr. Ludwell; the first by his brother, and ye other by his son in law (Grimes) dictating to the cabal of malecontents among the Burgesses all the measures they would have the house take to affront and thwart him. These two Burgesses (Blair and Grymes) are noted for the most violent men in the house etc. Continues:—When I before gave your Lordship an account of the Spring Session, I informed you of what Grimes had moved both in his county and in the House, for ye removal of yr. Lordship, and how tenaciously he has pursued those endeavors, is now manifested by the enclosed Address; the penman whereof everybody here concludes to be the Commissary. When there was lately a stiff debate in Council about allowing an article in the Book of Claims, for giving Mr. Byrd £300 to present and solicit ye Address, I asked Mr. Commissary whether he would declare himself to be so much your enemy as to vote for paying a solicitor to get your Lordship removed; nevertheless he violently argued, and gave his vote for paying that sum. Presses him to exert his intrest to check these turbulent spirits etc. I know Byrd's advice from London is: "Furnish me only with a complaint that carries but the face of a grievance from ye Assembly, I will weary out the Ministry here with it, until I gain my ends in removing him" etc. A victory for this hereditary faction of designing men would raise them to an insulting hight of power etc. I take ye power, intrest and reputation of the King's Governor in this Dominion to be now reduced to a desparate gasp, and if the present efforts of the country cannot add new vigour to the same, then the haughtiness of a Carter, the hypocrisy of a Blair, the inveteracy of a Ludwell, ye brutishness of a Smith, the malice of a Byrd, the conceitedness of a Grymes, and the scurrility of a Corbin, with about a score of base disloyalists and ungrateful Creolians for their adherents, must for the future rule this Province. What I mean by the present efforts of ye country is, that the Counties have of themselves begun to address me, in order to testify the general easiness of the Country under my administration, and to protest against the late proceedings of their Representatives. Urges him to use his intrest that the one family faction may not procure another voter in the Council in the room of Mr. Berkley, recommending Mr. Cole Diggs etc., and opposing the reinstating of Mr. Porteous: "for when I called that person to Council, I was strangly imposed upon, not knowing the affinity and attachment he had to the Family, and taking his character from them" etc. Signed, A. Spotswood. Endorsed, Recd. from my Ld. Orkney 24th March, Read 10th April, 1719. Copy. 7 pp. [C.O. 5, 1318. No. 59.]
Dec. 22.
Virginia.
800. Same to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Having long struggled with a sett of men here, whose designs for many years have been to engross into their own hands the whole power of the Government and to forme a new plan thereof according to their own caprice, but directly opposite to the interest of their Soveraign, as well as of their Mother Country; It is no wonder that I now share with the rest of my predecessors, the effects of their resentment: it being too well known for these thirty years past, that no Governor has longer escaped being vilifyed and aspersed here, and misrepresented at home, than he began to discover the intrigues and thwart the politicks of this formidable party, etc. Thus a Governors asserting the undoubted prerogative of the Crown in the nomination of Judges, is in the language of these men, a subversion of the Constitution; and his endeavours to obtain a just payment of the Kings Rents a depriving the people of their ancient rights and priviledges, and by such false glosses the ignorant are imposed on to believe, and the knavish encouraged to hope for mighty libertys and advantages by adhering to this Party, and chusing such Representatives as are agreable to them. But notwithstanding these and many other artifices to foment dissatisfactions among the people, the Country in general is so sensible of its present happiness, that with all the industry of the Party, not one grievance came to the Assembly which mett here on the 11th of last month; and indeed if ever any people had reason to be easy under a flourishing trade and moderate taxes, an exuberant Treasury, and a profound Peace, it is certain those of Virginia ought to be so. Under these happy circumstances this last Session of Assembly mett, and as the peaceable state of the country gave me no occasion to demand anything in behalf of the Government, everyone expected the Burgesses had nothing else to do, but to call for the few bills which remained unfinished at their former Session, and to lay the levy for discharging the publick creditors: but instead of proceeding on any of their bills that lay before them, the first business they went upon was to re-enact a law which H.M. had very lately repealed viz. that declaring who shal not bear office in this Country. This bill brought in by Mr. Grymes the Deputy Auditor, soon passed the Burgesses without removing the very objection for which it was formerly repealed; and being sent to the Council found as easy a passage there, tho not without the opposition of some of that Board and particularly Collo. Jenings, who having been at yor. Lordps. Board, when the repeal was under deliberation, argued for leaving out those parts agt. which your Lordps. took exception; but all objections were in vain, the avowd design of this bill being to exclude from offices, all persons recommended from England. The reasonableness of this sett of Councelors, will further appear by the inclosed Minuts of Council, wherein they advise me to pass this bill, notwithstanding the many just exceptions; I represented it lyable to. After passing this bill and one other which I shal mention hereafter, the Burgesses seem'd inclined to no other business. All petitions brought before them, were immediatly referred to the next Assembly, and their Grand Committee converted into a trifling Office of Enquiry into the Capitol furniture; in which they spent five or six days at the expence of £400 to their country to examine into the state of a few old chairs and sconces of less than £50 value. When many of the more sensible members of that House, tired out with these amusements were return'd home, as apprehending no business of moment would be brought in, and others believing their presence unnecessary, were gone to take the diversion of a horse race near the town, the Party managers watched that opportunity to bring in an Address to the King, with a long roll of Articles; in the first charging me in general with subverting the Constitution of their Government, depriving them of their ancient rights and priviledges, and daily exercising hardships on H.M. good subjects: and in the second with divers particulars facts to prove their pretended accusation. Without examining the truth of any one of these Articles, the Address containing the general charge was first put to the vote, and carryed by the suffrages of 22 against 14 that opposed it, there being then no less than 15 Members absent, who would have been of the latter opinion. Having thus obtained their Address to pass, the Speaker was immediately commanded to sign three fair copys, wch. were brought in ready drawn for that purpose; and then they proceeded to consider the Articles, but upon hearing the falsehood of many of them exposed, those who readily voted for the Address upon the faith of their leaders, began to be startled and would not so easily give in to what they found could not be proved, and so put off the debate till next day, when eight of the Articles were entirely struck out as groundless, and the rest which are intended to support their charge so much altered from the first draught, that those who opposed the Address consented to let them pass purely to expose the weakness and malice of my accusers. I herewith transmitt to yor. Lordps. a copy of the Address and Articles as they passd the House, whereby your Lordps. may judge whether the latter, if they were really true, are sufficient to convict me of subverting the Constitution of the Government, or oppressing the King's subjects. I have also added the whole Articles given in that yor. Lordps. may see the malice of these men in charging me with crimes wch. they themselves could not justify to be true. Time will not allow me at present to enter upon a full answer to this charge neither would it be proper to send one by this uncertain conveyance: but I shall in a very short time send over a Gentleman well acquainted with the affairs of this Country etc., who will be able to give yor. Lordps. a true light into those things which my adversarys have industriously misrepresented, or which their Agent Mr. Byrd may craftily insinuate to my prejudice: and besides I have not the least doubt of your allowing me a reasonable time to be heard etc. In the mean time refers to enclosures as a brief answer. When your Lordps. shal be pleased to consider the first of the Burgesses Articles I hope you will be pleased to entertain a more favourable opinion of Virginia than to beleive that the persons concern'd in that unintelligible composition, are the wisest or most learn'd of its legislators: but tho I ought not to quarrell with my accusers' understandings, I may be allow'd with justice to expose their dishonesty, wch. in this particular is very notorious etc. I am accused of putting a misconstruction on the law for settling the titles and bounds of lands, and of endeavouring to extend that clause thereof making three years non-payment of quitt rents a forfeiture of the land granted after the passing that law, to other lands wch. were granted long before. Now, my Lords, I do affirm, that this charge is utterly false. I never had a thought of extending that law etc. and no occasion. The Law cited was passed in 1710, and in less than three years therafter viz. in 1713 another Act of Assembly was made declaring what shall be accounted a sufficient seating etc., wherein there is a clause declaring in express words, That all lands for which the quittrents shal be three years in arrear, shal revert to the Crown. This I acknowledge to have construed according to the sense it will naturally bear, according to the intention of those that made it, and the interpretation the whole country put on it till of late, that a party of the Council thought fitt by their own absolute will and pleasure to declare it to have no meaning at all etc. I challenge them to produce one single instance of any man's paying more quittrents than he is bound to, by the condition of his patent, or that I have disseised any one of his freehold for non-payment by colour of this Act: a power being still lodged in the Governor to regrant the land forfeited to the same proprietor from whom it reverts. As the chief design of this law was to obtain, justice to the King without the least intention to injure the subject, so I have on divers occasions declared that if the Burgesses would by a new law, make a reasonable provision for the just payment of the quitt rents, I would consent to the repeal of this, and I even offerred to consent, that it might be declared by law that whoever should enter the true quantity of his lands on the Receiver Generals books, should incur no forfeiture for the nonpayment of his quittrents untill a reasonable time after the same should be demanded by the Kings Officers: But the party who have always opposed the Kings interest, foreseing that this would necessarily tend to the obtaining a true rent roll of the Colony, would by no means hearken to this proposal. From all which your Lordps. will judge, whether my endeavouring to obtain a just payment of the Kings rents, according to the express words of a law in force, or this party of men aiming to defraud their Soveraign of the acknowledgment due by the very condition of their own patents, be most like an attempt to subvert the Constitution ? and whether a people have just cause to complain of the hardship of a law, who refuse all overtures for amending it ? My accusers designed to represent me as a person so ignorant as not to understand the common sense of their laws, or such a tyrant as to wrest them to purposes quite forreign to the true intent thereof etc. They knew very well that the law made in 1713 is that which I have always contended for etc. As soon as they found the people alarm'd at this law, and preparing to give up a true account of their lands to prevent the forfeiture thereof, they spread a report about the countrey that the Kings Attorney General in England had declared his opinion that this law extended only to lands granted after the passing thereof, and that no man had occasion to fear the forfeiture of any lands patented before: they declared this to be their own opinion too on all occasions, and to make it the more publick took an opportunity to argue it on the General Court Bench, without having any case in judgment before them wch. required their opinion in that point: and to show the people how little they valued the effect of that law, divers of the same party let their lands run in arrears, as an example to others to act the same part. I can scarce believe that the Kings Attorney General gave any such opinion, unless it was on the law with which I am now charged, for all the lawyers here are clear that the Act in 1713 doth extend to all lands whatsoever, as indeed it was the intention of the makers that it should. The other three Articles will appear to be very frivolous, when I come to set forth the truth of the matters etc. I shal only now give a brief character of the persons chiefly concerned in framing the present accusation against me etc. The two late Officers of the Revenue are particularly offended at my enquiry into their mismanagements. Yor. Lordps. may be pleased to remember that in Aug. 1714 I received a particular charge from yor. Board to transmitt an account of the several branches of the Kings Revenues, the application, and manner of auditing thereof; I no sooner began this inquiry, than I found many abuses in the collection and the utmost confusion in the accompts of these Revenues, which I thought highly necessary to reforme: but as both the Officers strenuously opposed any such regulation, so Mr. Byrd thought fitt soon to withdraw to England, carrying with him all the books of the Revenue (if he ever kept any) and has continued there ever since, ready on all occasions to do me ill offices, instead of returning to clear himself of those frauds wch. have been discovered in his management during his being Receiver General. This Gentleman (as is publickly talkd here) has advised his accomplices that they had no other way to carry their point, than by getting the Assembly to petition H.M. to remove me. And Collo Ludwell his chief correspondent here, undertook that task. As both these gentlemen were closely united in their opposition to my endeavours for reforming the abuses in the Revenue, so the latter (who is a man of implacable malice and resentment) can never forgive my suspending him from the office of Auditor: He it is, who with the assistance of his brother in law Mr. Commissary Blair, the constant instrument of faction against all former Governors, has set himself up for the Head of that Party etc. Amongst the two and twenty Burgesses who voted the present accusation against me, there are Mr. Grymes the Deputy Auditor son in law to Mr. Ludwell, a man of the same principles with him in relation to Government, and pursuing the very same schemes in the management of the Kings Revenue. Mr. Corbin married to one of the same family etc., and turned out of the place of Naval Officer, for no less an offence than forging the late Queen's letter, for clearing a ship in his district etc., and consequently a person disobliged etc. Mr. Blair brother to the Commissary and both partners in trade with Mr. Ludwell; a member chosen (by much industry) for the almost deserted corporation of James City, merely for his remarkable scurrility and insolence. Three more of the same party displaced from being Justices of the Peace, and one from the office of an Agent under the Tobacco law for evil practices in their offices by the advice of these very Councelors who now use them as their tools; and divers others disobliged for being refused the imployment they had a mind to, as indeed it is very common for some here to look upon anything that's refused them to be so much taken away from them, and the less they are qualify'd for the offices they aim at, so much the greater is their resentment for being denyed. These are my only accusers, for as to several others drawn in to vote on the same side, they have already owned their error in being so easily imposed on, by the crafty insinuations of these Party managers, and it will not appear strange if among two and fifty men (of which the Burgesses House is composed) there should be found some of weak understandings, as well as others liable to corruption and neither prooff against the arts of an industrious party when they have so great a point to carry. But however this Party of men may triumph in their gaining a small number of the Burgesses to joine with them in an unrighteous accusation, their joy is like to be but short lived, the people in general begining already to condemn their proceedings, and as the principal gentlemen of the country are resolved to given publick testimonys of their satisfaction with my administration, and their dislike of the late Assemblys behaviour I doubt not in a short time to send yor. Lordps. Addresses from most parts of the Colony vindicating me from what I am charged with; as I now send copys of what I have already recieved on this occasion. In my letter of the 14th of August last, I gave yor. Lordps. an account that one Capt. Tach a noted pyrate in a ship of 40 guns run ashore in June, at the mouth of Ouacoch Inlett in North Carolina where that ship and two of the four sloops he had under his command were lost, and that he and his crew had surrendered to the Governor of that Province. Since which one Howard, Tach's Quartermaster, came into this Colony, with two negros which he own'd to have been piratically taken, the one from a French ship and the other from an English brigantine. I caused them to be seized pursuant to H.M. Instructions, upon which, encouraged by the countenance he found here, he commenced a suit against the officer who made the seizure, and his insolence became so intollerable, without applying himself to any lawful business, that the Justices of the Peace where he resided thought fitt to send him on board one of the Kings ships as a vagrant seaman. Hereupon he caused not only the Justice who signed the warrant but the Captain and Lieutenant of the man of war to be arrested each in an action of £500 dammages. And one of the chief lawyers here undertook his cause. This extraordinary behaviour of a pyrate well known to have been very active in plundering divers vessells on this coast but the year before, occasioned a more strict enquiry into his course of life after his departure from hence, and at last it came to be discovered that tho he and the rest of Tache's crew, pretended to surrender and to claim the benefite of H.M. Proclamation, they had nevertheless been guilty of divers piracys after the fifth of January for which they were not entitled to H.M. pardon. I therefore thought fitt to have him brought to a tryal, but found a strong opposition from some of the Council agt. trying him by vertue of the Commission under the great Seal pursuant to the Act of the 11th and 12th of King Wm. tho I produced the King's Instruction directing that manner of tryal; but having at length overcome their scruples, I had this person tryed and convicted of taking and destroying no less than twelve ships and vessells after the 5th of January and long after notice of H.M. Proclamation. About the time of this tryal I received advice from North Carolina, that Major Bonnett who was one of Tach's associates and surrendered with him, was gone out again in a sloop, and betaking himself to fresh piracys had been taken by some vessells fitted out for that purpose by the Government of South Carolina. That Tach with divers of his crew kept together in North Carolina went out at pleasure committing robberys on this coast and had lately brought in a ship laden with sugar and cocoa, which they pretended they found as a wreck at sea without either men or papers, that they had landed the cargo at a remote inlett in that Province and set the ship on fire to prevent discovery to whom she belonged: and having at the same time received complaints from divers of the trading people of that Province of the insolence of that gang of pyrates, and the weakness of that Governmt. to restrain them, I judged it high time to destroy that crew of villains, and not to suffer them to gather strength in the neighbourhood of so valuable a trade as that of this Colony. Having gained sufficient intelligence of the strength of Tache's crew, and sent for pylots from Carolina, I communicated to the Captains of H.M. ships of war on this station the project I had formed to extirpate this nest of pyrates. It was found impracticable for the men of war to go into the shallow and difficult channells of that country, and the Captains were unwilling to be at the charge of hyring sloops wch. they had no orders to do, and must therefore have paid out of their own pocketts, but as they readily consented to furnish men, I undertook the other part of supplying at my own charge sloops and pilots. Accordingly I hyred two sloops and put pilotes on board, and the Captains of H.M. ships having put 55 men on board under the command of the first Lieutenant of the Pearle and an officer from the Lyme, they came up with Tach at Ouacock Inlett on the 22nd of last month, he was on board a sloop wch. carryed 8 guns and very well fitted for fight. As soon as he perceived the King's men intended to board him, he took up a bowl of liquor and calling out to the Officers of the other sloops, drank Damnation to anyone that should give or ask quarter, and then discharged his great guns loaded with partridge shott, wch. killed and wounded twenty of the King's men who lay exposed to his fire without any barricade or other shelter; he resolutely entered the first sloop which boarded him, nor did any one of his men yeild while they were in a condition to fight. His orders were to blow up his own vessell if he should happen to be overcome, and a negro was ready to set fire to the powder, had he not been luckily prevented by a planter forced on board the night before and who lay in the hold of the sloop during the action of the pyrats. Tach with nine of his crew were killed, and three white men and six negros were taken alive but all much wounded. The loss of the King's men is very considerable for the number, there being (?) ten killed in the action, and four and twenty wounded of whom one is since dead of his wounds. I do myself the honour of giving yor. Lordps. the particulars of this action because, it has, I hope, prevented a design of the most pernicious consequence to the trade of these Plantations, wch. was that of the pyrats fortifying an Island at Ouacock Inlett and making that a general rendevouze of such robbers. While the preparations for this service were carrying on, I proposed to our late Assembly and prevailed with them to pass an Act giving rewards for apprehending and destroying of pyrates, by which there is to be paid particularly for Tach £100, and half the rewards promised by H.M. Proclamation, for every one of his, or any other crew of pyrates taken on this coast, to be paid out of the publick money now in the hands of the countrey's Treasurer: but I did not communicate to the Assembly nor Council, the project then forming agt. Tach's crew for fear of his having intelligence, there being in this country and more especially among the present faction, an unaccountable inclination to favour pyrates, of which I begg leave to mention some instances. Besides the favour shown to Tache's Quarter Master in advising him to sue for his liberty and for his pyratical effects; some of the same gang having pass'd through this countrey in their way to Pensilvania, and contrary to my Proclamation assembling in great numbers with their arms, and endeavouring to debauch some sailors out of the merchant ships to joine them, the Officers of the Government could find none to assist in the disarming and suppressing that gang. On the tryal of some pyrates lately brought hither, arguments have been used to justify their villanys, and to acquitt them, upon the bare allegation of their being forced into that wicked Association without any proof, or so much as a probability of their acting by constraint. I received some days ago the honr. of yor. Lordps. of the — of August and H.M. Commission for pardoning pyrates, wch. came very seasonably to save Howard the Quartermr. then under sentence of death, but by H.M. extending his mercy for all piracys committed before the 18th of August, is now set at liberty. I must on this occasion intreat yor. Lordps. directions as well concerning the effects of this man as of others wch. appear to have been piratically taken. By H.M. Instructions I am commanded to seize and secure the effects of all pyrats brought in here; untill H.M. pleasure be signifyed therein: and by H.M. late Commission, I observe that all forfeitures are remitted to such as surrender within the time therin mentioned: what I am therefore in doubt of is, whether by the remitting all forfeitures, H.M. intends only to restore the pyrates to the estates they had before the committing their pyracies, or to grant them a property also in the effects wch. they have piratically taken. There is besides the two negro boys, about £50 in money and other things taken from the aforenamed Howard, and now in the hands of the Officer who seized it on H.M. behalf, of wch. and inventary is lodged in the Secretarys Office here. I therefore pray yor. Lordps. advice and commands how these effects are to be disposed, where the person in whose possession they were found is pardoned. I also expect from North Carolina a considerable quantity of sugar and cocoa, wch. were in the possession of Tach and his crew, and appear to have been the lading of that ship wch. they lately brought in there under pretence of a wreck, but in reality was taken piratically near Bermuda from the subjects of the French King, and the men put on board a ship of the same nation taken at the same time, as some of Taches crew now in custody alledge. If these men were saved alive it is probable they may lay claim to the lading of their ship: but if they are not, there is some consideration due to the Officers and men who rescued the same out of the hands of the pyrates etc. Observing by the publick prints as well as the letters from divers of the merchts. that the French settlement on Mississippi, begins to make a considerable noise in the world, I cannot forbear taking notice of one particular circumstance thereof, for which I cannot find any foundation. It is advised by a letters from South Carolina inserted in the Political State for the month of August last, that the French had formed a design in conjunction with some of their neighbouring Indians to cutt off the Cherikees, and the writer of that letter is so particular as to mention the precise time, when, and the number of men by whom, it was to be put in execution. The traders imployed by the late Indian company who have been among the Cherikees all the last summer arrived here a few days ago with about 70 horse load of skins, and brought in with them four of the Great men of that Nation, declare that they heard of no such discourse there; tho they left the Cherikee country long after the time mentioned for this supposed attack from the French: besides that the Cherikees being a numerous Nation consisting of upwards of 4000 fighting men, and seated in the fastnesses of the great mountains are not so easily to be destroyed by the small numbers wch. the Carolina intelligence says are marching against them. So that it is not improbable, but that the French hopes from their new settlement may be as ill grounded, as the Carolina fears of their Indian neighbours. But whatever may be the progress of this new Colony, it is certainly the British interest to obstruct its growth, not only by interrupting the communication between that, and Canada, but by extending our commerce among the Indians, and particularly by cultivating a good correspondence with these Cherikees who are now very friendly to the English, and especially to those of this country imployed among them by the gentlemen of the late Indian Company and who have furnished them with arms and ammunition in greater proportion than the people of Carolina are capable of supplying. By the account I have had from our Indian traders these Cherikees are little farther distant from Virginia than they are from Charlestown: They are an increasing people, and the rather to be courted because of the barrier they may afford us agt. this new settlement of the French: whereas those Indian Nations that inhabite among or near the British settlements are of small account, by reason of their daily decrease, such are the Cattawbaws who from a powerful nation, are of late become much lessend, by a remarkable dispensation of Providence in rendring their women for the most part barren; as if Heaven design'd by the diminution of these Indian neighbours, to make room for our growing settlements. The scarcity and dearth of iron, which the merchants of England have for some time complained of, and the people here have sensibly felt, may I hope be happily remedyed by the late discoverys of mines in this Colony: one of which has been found at the head of Rappahannock River, by some German miners wch. I employed in that service, wch. is reputed richer than any in Europe, and lyes within less than ten miles of water carriage. Several gentlemen here are concerned with me, and ready to set up an iron works if it may be allowed: and I am not without hopes of discovering other mines of a nobler mettall, as soon as the country comes to be seated nearer the Great Mountains (over which I discovered the passage) and which may serve to check the vain boasts of the Spaniards, as if the Treasures of the Universe are solely committed to them. I shall conclude this letter with informing yor. Lordps. of the death of Mr. Berkeley one of the Council here, in whose stead I humbly recommend Mr. Cole Digges, a gentleman of good parts, and of an estate wch. may be reckoned amongst the first in this country, he is descended of an honble. Family in England, and his father served for divers years with great reputation in the office of a Councelor and Deputy Auditor here. This gentleman lives near the seat of Government, and is on that account preferable to others whose remoteness makes them unwillingly attend on the business of the Council. Signed, A. Spotswood. Endorsed, Recd. 13th, Read 29th April, 1719. 13 pp. Enclosed,
800. i. Minutes of Council of Virginia, relating to the Bill declaring who shall not bear office etc. Same endorsement. 2 pp.
800. ii. (a) Address of the House of Burgesses of Virginia to the King. Nov. 20, 1718. We lay before your Majesty several attempts of the Lieut. Governor towards the subversion of the Constitution of our Government the depriving us of our ancient rights and priviledges and many hardships wch. he dayly exercises upon your Majestys good subjects. Pray H.M. to receive some particulars from the Honble. William Byrd Esq. "whom we have desired to appear in behalf of your oppressed subjects of this Colony being deprived of any other means whereby to make known to your Majesty our just grievances by our remote scituation, which misfortune we find greatly increased by being governed by a Lieutenant Governor while the Governor in chief resides in Great Brittain to which we attribute many of the difficulties we now labour under. It is with great comfort we behold your Majesty earnestly imploying yourself in defence of the liberties not only of your own subjects, but of all Europe." etc. Signed, Daniel McCarty, Speaker.
(b) Instructions to Wm. Bird, Agent for the Colony of Virginia. To present the above Address to H.M. and the following particulars against the Lieut. Governor. That he hath by a misconstruction of our laws as much as in him lay perverted many of them particularly that for settling ye titles and bounds of lands, which makes it a condition of the patents, that they are to forfeit them if they fail three years of paying their quit rents, which he hath endeavoured to extend to lands granted before that law which have no such condition in their patent or grant. His construction of the law for finishing of the Governor's House, whereby he lavishes away the country's money contrary to the intent of the law and even beyond what the words of the law will bear, and hath hitherto refused any redress therein. That he endeavoured to deter ye Justices of the Countys from levying the Burgesses salary settled by law. That he hath by provoking speeches and messages abused the House of Burgesses and thrown undeserved reflections upon them. That this Country hath no way to represent its grievances but by an Agent, that we seldom complain but when much opprest by our Governor in which case the Governor will hardly be prevailed with to consent to the paying an Agent for his trouble and necessary disbursments, wherefore you are to endeavour to obtain an Instruction to our Governor to consent to any such necessary payment when the House of Burgesses shall meet. Copy. 1½ pp.
800. iii. Copy of Instructions of Wm. Bird as originally brought in to the House of Burgesses, containing 14 grievances against the Lt. Governor (v. covering letter). Endorsed, Recd. 13th, Read 29th April, 1719. 1 p.
800. iv. Lt. Governor Spotswood's messages to the House of Burgesses Nov. 22 and 28. Copy. 2¼ pp.
800. v. Copy of Lt. Governor Spotswood's Speech to the House of Burgesses when proroguing the Assembly. Endorsed, Recd. 13th, Read 29th April, 1719. Copy. 2½ pp.
800. vi. Address of Henrico County to Lt. Governor Spotswood. Disown the charges brought against him by the clamours of a few prejudiced men etc. Same endorsement. Copy. ½. p. [C.O. 5, 1318. Nos. 61, 61 i.–vi.]
Dec. 23.
St James's.
801. H.M. Warrant to the Attorney and Solicitor General to prepare Commissions impowering Governors of Plantations to pardon pirates according to the Proclamation of 21st Dec. Countersigned, J. Craggs. Copy. [C.O. 324, 33. pp. 196–201.]
Dec. 24.
Whitehall.
802. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Representation upon Act passed in Antigua 2nd Oct. last for laying an additional duty on wines and other strong liquors wch. shall be imported into this Island, the purport [of] which Act is to revive an Act of the same nature pass'd in 1717 which laid an additional duty of 20s. p. pipe on all Madera wines, and 50 p. cent. on other liquors imported for sale over and above what was laid by a former Act pass'd 1697 for raising an impost on all liquors imported etc. And it enacts that no sum of money to be rais'd by this Act shall be issued, but by virtue of an order in writing sign'd by the Commander in Chief one of the Council and the Speaker of the Assembly and is to continue in force three years from ye time your Majesty shall be pleas'd to confirm the same. By your Majesty's Instructions to your Govr. he is requir'd to. take care that no money be issu'd but by warrant under his hand by and with the advice and consent of the Council; But by the foresaid Act this power which your Majesty has thought fit to lodge in your Governour, is in effect taken from him, since no money can be issu'd but by an order under the hand of the Governour, one of the Council and Speaker of the Assembly, which we conceive derogatory to your Majesty's Royal Prerogative, and ought not to be allow'd of besides that the mony to be rais'd by this Act is not given to your Majty. as required by your Majesty's Instructions to the Governour, therefore we humbly offer, that Your Majty. be pleas'd to signifie your disallowance of the said Act which can be of no prejudice to the Island since the Governour not knowing how far this duty might affect the trade and shipping of this Kingdom, had a clause inserted declaring that the Act shall not be in force till your Majesty's pleasure be known, pursuant to his Instructions in that behalf. So that upon the receipt of your Majesty's disallowance of the said Act they may have an opportunity of passing another not lyable to these objections. [C.O. 153, 13. pp. 382–384.]
Dec. 24.
Whitehall.
803. Circular letter from Mr. Secretary Craggs to Governors of Plantations. I am to acquaint you, that on Tuesday the 16th inst. a great Council was held at St. James's, where H.M. signed a Declaration of War against Spain, and ordered, that the same should be published the next day by the Heralds at Arms etc.; and H.M. having communicated the same to both Houses of Parliament, they have presented Addresses to assure H.M. of their assisting and supporting Him in the sd. war; and I am commanded to send you a printed copy of the sd. Declaration, with a signification of H.M. Pleasure, that you cause it to be proclaimed in the places under your Governmt., that His subjects, having this notice, may take care to prevent any mischief, which otherwise they might suffer from the enemy, and do their duty in their several stations to annoy the subjects of Spain; and H.M. would have you be very rigorous and severe in preventing any ammunition or stores of any kind from being carried to them, and you are to use all proper methods, that may be most effectual for this purpose. The Regent has also agreed, that the like Declaration of War shall be made in the name of the French King at Paris. I am further to acquaint you, that since the King's last Proclamation bearing date the 5th of September 1717, relating to the surrender of the pirates in the West Indies, H.M. has been pleased to issue another Proclamation of the same kind (which I herewith transmit to you) for enlarging the time of their surrender to the first of July next; and that the terms thereof may be most strictly and punctually complied with, I transmit to you at the same time H.M. Commission under the Great Seal, authorizing and commanding you to grant H.M. full and free pardon to all such pirates, as are, or shall be entituled thereto, by surrendring themselves within the time limited by the sd. Proclamation; as likewise H.M. Commission under the Great Seal for the trying such other pirates as have been, or shall be taken, after their having refused the terms of H.M. mercy offered to them. But as to those, who have surrender'd, or shall hereafter surrender themselves, pursuant to the two abovementioned Proclamations, it is H.M. pleasure, that you should grant His free and gracious pardon to them without any exception or reserve. And I am the more particular in signifying H.M. commands upon this occasion, because there has been a general outcry and clamour here, as if great advantages had been, or were proposed to be made by particular persons upon the surrender or pardon of the pirates. As these practices are very unjustifiable in themselves, so they must tend in a great measure to defeat H.M. gracious intentions, and be of dangerous consequence to the Publick, and therefore I am hereby to acquaint you, that in case any of H.M. Governors, or any others concerned in the surrender or pardon of any of the pirates shall receive any sum of money or any other gratuity or advantage whatsoever on account thereof, it is H.M. intention, that he or they so offending shall be prosecuted with the utmost severity of the Law. I hope you will not imagine, that what I say upon this head, is pointed at you, or any other person in particular, since it is by the express order of H.M. in Council, that I have been directed to give this intimation in a circular letter to each respective Governor in the West Indies. Signed, J. Craggs. [C.O. 324, 33. pp. 202–204.]
Dec. 24.
Whitehall.
804. Same to the Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania, the Governor and Company of Connecticut and of Rhode Island, the Lords Proprietors of Carolina and Lord Guilford, Guardian to the Lord Proprietor of Maryland. As preceding, omitting last paragraph relating to pirates. Signed, J. Craggs. [C.O. 324, 33. pp. 204–206; and 5, 1233. No. 58.]
Dec. 24.
St. James's.
805. H.M. Warrant for a Commission to John Knight to be Secretary and Clerk of the Crown of the Leeward Islands, and revoking the Letters Patent of Charles Hedges. Signed, J. Craggs. Copy. [C.O. 324, 33. p. 210.]
Dec. 24.
Whitehall.
806. Mr. Tilson to Mr. Popple. Encloses following, by my Lord Stanhope's order, to be laid before the Council of Trade and Plantations for their consideration. Signed, Geo. Tilson. Endorsed, Recd. 24th, Read 31st Dec., 1718. 1 p. Enclosed,
806. i. William Comes to Lord Stanhope. I am a sailor etc. There came into Cales five ships from New England full of stores of masts, oak, timber and plank for that King's service. I hope it will be enquired into and wicked men punished, all other ships are seized no more but your humble servant. Signed, William Comes. ½ p. [C.O. 5, 867. Nos. 21, 21 i.; and 5, 915. p. 240.]
Dec. 24.
Nassau on Providence.
807. Governor Rogers to Mr. Secretary Craggs. By the ship Samuel, 11th Nov., being the first oppertunity I have had since my arrival, I sent three men prisoners being accused of piracy and the evidences etc. I was at that time too weak to bring them to a tryal, for most of the people here having led the same course of life notwithstanding their seeming concurrence of being quiet under the present Government, I did not know but if I had adventur'd to have try'd them and brought to execution, but an insurrection might have rescued them from the guards and since I did not think myself secure to try the pirates I did not give myself time to consider the power I had to try them in case of necessity, wch. I have since done my reasons are here enclosed wch. I was not willing to make publick here, or even to trust a coram of my Council. A little after the Samuel's departure, I receiv'd advice of Sir George Bing's success against the Spaniards in the Mediterranean which wth. other circumstances seem'd to me that the war were either proclaim'd or on foot. These advices I was glad to believe for on my strong remonstrances to the people of the great probability of an actual war I readily procur'd their assistance wch. wth. much application and expence of provisions and liquors having supplied whilst at work extravagantly with both, the fort is now made tenible and in the manner laid down in the draught herewith sent. The people did for 14 days work vigorously, seldom less than 200 men a day, but nothing but their innate thirst of revenge on the Spaniard could prompt them to such zeal, which was so strong that they forgott they were at the same time strengthning a curb for themselves. Having lately had intelligence of certain pirates who had run away wth. some vessels fitted out of this port and where they might be found I equipped a sloop with sufficient men and arms under ye command of Capt. Hornigold and Cockram who had themselves been pirates, but accepted of H.M. Act of Grace and by their behaviour since my arrival gave me full confidence of their sincerity, wch. has been successfully confirmed by their apprehending them to the number of 13, three whereof dyed of their sincerity, wch. has been successfully confirmed by their apprehending them to the number of 13, three whereof dyed of their wounds; I am glad of this new proof Capt. Hornigold has given the world to wipe off the infamous name he has hitherto been known by, thô in the very acts of piracy he comitted most people spoke well of his generosity. These last prisoners were brought to me when I was made stronger and after a leisure I had to persue and consider of my power invested by my Commission and Instructions etc. Encloses proceedings etc. One George Rounsivell I reprieved under the gallows, till I know H.M. pleasure etc. He is the son of loyall and good parents in Dorsetshire etc. Begs his intercession with H.M. etc. Continues:—I design to send an accessary of piracy and such evidence as I can best procure by a ship yt. I believe will saile hence in about a month. I have five more now in custody suspected guilty of piracy since H.M. Act of Grace. As soon as the Fort is finish'd and all the guns mounted wch. I hope will be done before the Christmas holy days are over, I will then do the best I can to make examples of some of them. By wch. time I hope to have more of them in custody, we having two small cruizers mann'd with 50 men now out to look for two pirates yt. are newly sett up wth. about 15 men each. It's near three months and a half since Capt.Havana carrying a letter from me and some Spaniards that was left here wth. him, and promis'd to return in three weeks at most, but now I hear he's got at New York and writes hither that the Spaniards designe to begin wth. us first and yt. the Governour of the Havana takes no notice of my passes but keeps the men of this Governt. that falls into their hands in custody, this Capt. Whitney, H.M.S. Rose, left me in a great extremity, to go to the Havana carrying a letter from me and some Spaniards that was left here wth. him, and promis'd to return in three weeks at most, but now I hear he's got at New York and writes hither that the Spaniards designe to begin wth. us first and yt. the Governour of the Havana takes no notice of my passes but keeps the men of this Governt. that falls into their hands in custody, this Capt. Whitney pretends he was drove from the Havana to New York by stress of weather. I very much wonder how it was possible he could shere clear of Providence that lyes so directly in his way. There are three more of H.M. ships at New York that has layne there some time whilst the pirates has been very troublesome to us and Carolina and almost everywhere in the West Indies. I beg if any of H.M. ships are order'd this way for the future, that they may be under ye direction of ye Goverment and Council, especially whilst they are here, and then we may be capable to joyn them in serving the Publick. I would not undergoe the like fatigue and risque as I have done ever since I have been here for the proffits of any employ upon earth but I hope I am now out of danger at least of ye pirates, and if the Spaniards come it must be with a greater force then I hope they'l spare for some time, whilst I may have recruits and another Independt. Company from England, no time shall be lost to make this place not less considerable then can be expected after so many misfortunes and disappointments amongst a very odd sort of people wth. so small a beginning. I hope ye extraordinary charge I have been forc'd to put the Gentlemen to, that has been so generous to employ me in serving ye publick will be made up by the publick, my utmost ambition being to demonstrate myself deserving the honour and trust H.M. has been pleas'd to bestow on me etc. Signed, W.R. Copy of letter sent by James Ker via Carolina. 10 pp. [C.O. 23, 13. ff. 20–24 v.]
Dec. 24.
Whitehall.
808. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Enclose following and refer to Representation of Dec. 19 upon the Newfoundland trade, "which in our opinion can never be retrieved but by your Majesty's assent to some Law for preventing the many difficulties and abuses it doth at present labour under," etc. Annexed,
808. i. Heads of a Bill for remedying the abuses in ye Newfoundland Trade. Abstract:—(i.) Trade and Fishery to Newfoundland to be open and free to all H.M. subjects, provided the fishing ships are victualled in this Kingdom with all necessaries, salt excepted, for the whole voyage or fishing season. No alien or stranger (not residing in Great Britain) shall take any bait or use any sort of fishing or trade in Newfoundland or in any of the islands or places adjacent. (ii.) No fishing ship to carry to Newfoundland any other person than such as truly belong to the ships company. Masters, owners or freighters to give bond at the Custom House in £100, not to transport any other, and to bring back into this Kingdom all such fishermen or other persons as they shall carry out, mortality and danger of the seas excepted, as also such persons as shall be employ'd from Newfoundland in British ships with fish for market voyages. In case of deserters, the masters paying such persons' share or hire to the Collector at the port whence the ship set out, shall be discharged of their bonds; or if no complaint be made against them in three months after their return. (iii.) No fishing ship to carry more than 60 persons to 100 tons burthen. (iv.) Fishing ships to carry one green or fresh man in every five. The master to take oath thereof before the Collector at the port from whence he intends to sail, without fee. (v.) No fishing ship to depart out of Great Britain directly for Newfoundland on a fishing voyage, in any year before 10th March, nor to the Isles Cape Verd intending from thence to Newfoundland, before 15 Jan. (vi.) According to the ancient custom used in Newfoundland, every such fishing ship from Great Britain, or such fishermen as shall first enter any harbour or creek in Newfoundland in behalf of his ship, shall be Admiral of the said harbour or Creek during that fishing season, and for that time shall reserve to himself so much beech or flakes or both, as are needfull for the number of such boats as he shall there keep, with an overplus only for the use of one boat more than he needs, as a privilege for his first coming thither. The masters of the second and third fishing ship to be Vice-Admiral and Rear Admiral etc. All ships arriving to be accommodated according to the time of their arrival with such beech or flakes as they shall have necessary use for and no more etc. (viii.) And whereas several of your Majties. subjects inhabiting in Newfoundland have possessed themselves of beaches, flakes, stages, rooms and other conveniences for fishing, over and above what is necessary for the drying, curing or husbanding their fish, and making of oyle, to the great prejudice and discouragemt. of the Fishery; none of the inhabitants shall henceforth retain or possess in any year, during the fishing season, any beach, flakes, stages, rooms, trainfats, or places for fishing, other than such as are needful for the number of boats they shall respectively keep and actually employ in the Fishery there, and all others released for the publick use of fishing ships etc. (viii.) No inhabitant or planter shall alienate, sell or dispose of his stages, rooms, flakes, beach trainfats or fishing places to any person; if he shall quit the same, they shall remain to the publick use of the fishing ships etc. Nor shall any person who may hereafter become an inhabitant in Newfoundland pretend to or meddle with any stage, room, beach, flakes or other conveniencies, or make use of any such until 30 days after the arrival of the Admiral or the three first fishing ships in each respective harbour. (ix.) No ballast to be thrown into the harbours. (x.) No damage to be done to stages etc. on departure, but these shall be repaired with timber from the woods and not by breaking down stages left etc. (xi.) Trees not to be rinded etc. (xii.) Marks of boats or trainfats not to be defaced. Nets and bait not to be stolen etc. (xiii.) Capital crimes to be tried in any county in England. (xiv.) And whereas it has been found by experience, that the selling and retaling of wine, beer, rum, and other strong liquors to the seamen and fishermen at Newfoundld. was always prejudicial to the Fishery, and that for many years past the Adventurers have been greatly discouraged by the negligence, debaucheries and disorders of the fishermen and seamen from engaging in the said Fishery; No person shall set up or keep any tavern or victualling house in Newfoundland, for selling of wine, beer, rum or any other strong liquor, nor shall sell or cause to be sold either publickly or privately, any such liquors by retale, to any seaman or fisherman or other person whatsoever, on penalty of forfeiting all the wine, or the other strong liquors that shall be found in his own, or in the possession of him or them that imploy'd him, one half whereof to the informer or informers, and the other half to your Majesty, for the use of your Majesty's ships of war, and of your Majesty's garrisons in Newfoundland. (xv.) All wines, rum or other strong liquors imported from any place except Great Britain shall be forfeited and similarly disposed of. (xvi.) And whereas the masters of the ships in general permit the seamen to run into the inhabitants' debt for strong liquors in order to secure their wages on account of what ye inhabitants owe unto the said masters; whereby many of the poor seamen have been constrained either to remain in ye country as servants to the planters or inhabitants, or to dispose of themselves for New England; and in the meantime their families become burthensome at home to their respective parishes; to prevent therefore this pernicious practice, no wages, hire or share of the voyage shall become due to any seamen or fishermen whatsoever serving on board any of the fishing ships that proceed annually to Newfoundland, until ye ship arrive at her discharging port, and her lading shall be put on shore; nor shall the masters advance wages to any of their ship's company etc., on penalty of repaying the same again at the expiration of the voyage etc. (xvii.) Deserters shall lose their wages and be brought home by one of H.M. ships of war and committed by the chief magistrate at the first port in this Kingdom for 3 months hard labour. (xviii.) The Admirals of the Harbours in Newfoundland shall take bonds in £100 from the masters of all vessels bound thence to New England or any other Colony conditioned to depart before or at the time your Majesty's convoys shall sail for Europe, and not to return to Newfoundland again that year, nor carry away any seaman or fisherman belonging to the fishing ships, or to any other ships bound to any port in Europe. In case of refusal, such master's ship to be seized by any of your Majesty's ships of war, and sequestred to your Majesty's use. If any of the inhabitants, or of the merchants of New England shall seduce or prevail with any of the seamen or fishermen belonging to the fishing ships to remain in the land after the departure of the Fleet, he shall be brought home by the Commander of your Majesty's ships of war and forfeit £20. (xix.) And for the further encouragemt. of the Trade and Navigation of this Kingdom, no unfree ships shall be permitted to fish or trade in any part of Newfoundland. (xx.) Admirals of the Harbours to preserve the peace, see that the aforesaid rules are duly put in execution, and to keep Journals etc. (xxi.) and to settle disputes between the inhabitants and masters of fishing ships. Appeals to lie to the Commander of H.M. ships of war etc. (xxii.) The Lord's day to be strictly observed by all, and the Admirals in their respective harbours to appoint some proper person to read prayers etc. (xxiii.) Commanders of H.M. ships and the fishing Admirals to be empowered to apprehend all offenders for any crime committed in Newfoundld. on shore or at sea, and to bring them into Great Britain. (xxiv.) The said Commanders or Admirals shall on or about 20th Sept. yearly publish in their harbours and upon the shore these orders and laws and forbid all seamen or fishermen to remain in or upon Newfoundland after the departure of the ships to which they belong. [C.O. 195, 6. pp. 464–484.]
Dec. 25.809. Office expences of the Board of Trade, Sept. 29—Dec. 25, 1718. v. Journal of Council. [C.O. 388, 77. Nos. 49, 52, 55, 56.]
Dec. 27.
Port of New Hampshire.
810. Robert Armstrong, Collector of Customs in New Hampshire, to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers to enclosed account of timber exported from New England to Spain and Portugal, and to Lord Bellomont's letter as to the necessity of preserving the timber of New Hampshire for the use of the Crown, and the ill consequences that might attend sending it abroad (v. C.S.P. 1699 ff.), "wch. is now partly come to pass, for I am satisfied that the strength of the Spanish fleet is now partly owing to the timber exported from hence," etc. Signed, Robt. Armstrong. Recd. 3rd, Read 5th Feb., 1718/19. 1 p. Enclosed,
810. i. J. Bridger and R. Armstrong to Sir Matw. Dudley. Portsmo., New Hampshire, 20th Oct. 1718. It would be serviceable to the Crown that New Hampshire be purchased and Mr. Allen's title surrendered to H.M. It would in a great measure supply the Navy with masts, tarr, hemp, plank etc. Signed, J. Bridger, R. Armstrong. Copy. 1 p.
810. ii. Account of foreign and plantation commodities imported into the port of New Hampshire 25th Dec., 1715–1716. 1 p.
810. iii. Account of timber exported from New Hampshire to Spain and Portugal, 1712–1718. cf. Dec. 18. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 867. Nos. 28, 28 i.–iii.; and (without enclosures) 5, 915. pp. 248–250.]
Dec. 28./Jan. 8, 1719.
Rio Essequibo.
811. Commandant Vanderheyden Rézen to the Directors of the Dutch West India Co. Signed, P. Vanderheyden Rézen. Endorsed, Read 30th March (N.S.) 1719. Dutch. Addressed. Seal. Postmark. 2 pp. [C.O. 116, 22. No. 1.]
1718. Dec. 30.
Portsmouth.
812. Mr. Bridger to Mr. Popple. I have been here since 22nd Aug. on my duty and must remaine in order to preserve H.M. woods, or leave them to the spoyle of the people etc., tho' no salary from 19th June etc. Prays for a representation from the Board in his behalf to the Admiralty or Treasury, etc. Signed, J. Bridger. Endorsed, Recd. 7th, Read 10th Feb., 1718/19. Addressed. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 867. No. 29; and 5, 915. pp. 252, 253.]
Dec. 30.
Whitehall.
813. Mr. Tickell to Mr. Popple. Encloses following to be laid before the Council of Trade and Plantations. Signed, Tho. Tickell. Endorsed, Recd. 30th Dec., 1718, Read 2nd Jan., 1718/19. 1 p. Enclosed,
813. i. Circular letter from Mr. Secretary Craggs to the Governors of Plantations. Copy of No. 803. [C.O. 323, 7. Nos. 136, 136 i.; and 324, 10. pp. 221–225.]
Dec. 31.
St. James's.
814. Secretary of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina to the Governor of South Carolina. Encloses Declaration of War with Spain (No. 804) and Mr. Craggs' instructions that he should use his utmost endeavours to prevent any ammunition or stores of any kind from being carry'd to them etc. Signed, R. Shelton. [C.O. 5, 290. pp. 131, 132.]
Dec. 31.
Whitehall.
815. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We have now under our consideration the incouraging the importation of Naval Stores and particularly timber and iron from America etc. Desire his attendance on Friday at 9 a.m. Mem. The same letter was writ to the Rt. Honble. Mr. Smith. [C.O. 324, 10. p. 220.]
Dec. 31.
Whitehall.
816. Mr. Secretary Craggs to the Governor of the Leeward Islands. The trustees of John Douglas are to remain in the quiet enjoyment of the plantation of Pensezy bien in St. Christophers, until H.M. shall think fit how to dispose of that part which was the French settlement etc. In case you have already given any grants to dispossess those persons, you are to recal the same. Signed, J. Craggs. [C.O. 324, 33. p. 207.]
Dec. 31.
Whitehall.
817. Same to Same. Similar instruction to preceding as to grants of land held by Michael Lambert, John Heldon, William Woodrop, Anthony Tahi, James Thomas, and Edward Warner. Signed, J. Craggs. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 42. No. 113; and 324, 33. p. 208.]
Dec. 31.
Whitehall.
818. Same to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Encloses following for their report thereon. Signed, J. Craggs. Endorsed, Recd. 1st, Read 21st Jan., 1718/19. 1 p. Enclosed,
818. i. Memorial by the Baron de Sohlenthal. London. Dec. 4/15, 1718. Envoy Extraordinary of the King of Denmark and Norway, he is instructed to represent to the King of Great Britain, that the Directors of the West Indies at Copenhagen have received information from the Governor of St. Thomas, that the Spaniards, and particularly the Governor of the Island of Porto Rico, nearest to St. Thomas, have formed the design of surprising and seizing it, only awaiting an Order from the Court of Spain, and some troops to reinforce those which are there having there already three ships of war and a barque of 12 guns. This information is confirmed by several people who have come from Porto Rico, and add that they threaten to execute this design next year since they did not think themselves sufficiently strong at present. As the preservation of this Island is of the utmost importance to his Danish Majesty, and the Spaniards have no right or pretention to it, nor will they ever be able to prove, that they have been given occasion for any conflict, still less for such violence, the King my Master flatters himself, that His Britannic Majesty, by his natural inclination for Justice, and by the friendship and common interest existing between the two Crowns, will not only disapprove entirely of an enterprise so contrary to all equity, but also that he will be pleased to give such orders, that his Governor in the neighbouring Islands may lend assistance to the said Island against the Spaniards in such case, in order that the evil which is to be feared therefrom may be averted and prevented etc. Signed, Le, Baron de Sohlenthal. Copy. French. 2 pp. [C.O. 152, 12. Nos. 125, 125 i.]
[Dec. 31.]819. Joshua Gee to the Council of Trade and Plantations. The monopoly of tar by the Govr. and Company of Stockholm about 20 years ago oblig'd the Parliament to encourage the making that commodity in our own Plantations, and soon brought down the price of Swedish tar, and now we have so much of our own that we send great quantities to Hambro', Bremen, Holland, Portugal etc. Within these three years the King of Sweden set forth an edict, by wch. he oblig'd all that wanted his iron to bring their silver and gold for it etc. Notwithstanding the care taken last Session of Parliament to incourage the importation of iron, the quantity imported falls very short of a sufficient supply, and England does not make a third part enough for her own consumption, and even what is made is very much to the prejudice of our growing timber, and may in a short time render it so scarce, that we shall not have enough for building our own shipping etc. Norway have advanced the price of their boards above 90 p.c. and their timber to an extravagant price. If the King of Sweden shou'd carry his conquests over that country, our supply of iron and timber will depend on his will and pleasure. The English Plantations in America abound with wood iron and copper oar etc. and all sorts of timber, but are not brought from thence, because a duty is imposd on them here. And therefore, for want of proper incouragement, we are forcd to send out ready mony to Sweden for iron, and to Norway for timber and boards etc. At the same time we suffer this great wound in the ballance of our trade, we neglect the many advantages we have in our own Plantations, and put the inhabitants there upon the necessity of working up their own wooll for cloathing themselves, to the great prejudice of the manufacturers of this Kingdom. Sweden and Norway drew from Great Britain and Ireland for iron, copper timber and freight etc. £400,000, all wch. commodities we might have from our own Plantations and brought home in our own ships, and all purchas'd with our own manufactures etc. If we have our supply of timber and boards from our own Plantations, the navigation of Sweden and Norway will soon sink, and ours increase, and we shall have a new supply of seamen, and our navigation will be very much incourag'd and ships that go to Virginia, Maryland etc. for freight, when they meet with disappointments, instead of coming home empty, will at least have opportunities of taking in a loading of boards etc. If the dutys were taken off from timber, boards pipe-staves and copper, it would be sufficient incouragemt. for persons to engage therein. But iron works are such chargeable undertakings, that some bounty or reward besides the taking off the duty will be necessary to incourage persons to lay out their estates in erecting them, etc. The iron oar of America has been found upon trial to be as good as the best from Sweden, none exceeds it for gunn barrils, nor will bear a better proof, nor tis thought make better steel etc. If pott ashes were made, it wou'd not only consume the underwood and help to clear the land, but be of great advantage to the publick. That the erecting iron works may no way interfere with our iron manufactures, and that in that respect the Plantations may have their supply of iron and iron manufactures from England as they now have; it is proposed that all iron made in the Plantations shall be directly imported into England, and all such iron as shall be exported again shall be stampd wth. a stamp made for that purpose at the same port where the same shall be exported. Endorsed, Recd., Read 31st Dec., 1718. 1¾ pp. [C.O. 323, 7. No. 135; and 324, 10. pp. 212–219.]
[1718.]820. General Description of the Spanish West Indies, written in 1718. By Capt. Domgo. Gonzales Carranza, Principal Pilot to the King of Spain for the Flotas. Translated from the original Spanish manuscript and presented to the Duke of Newcastle, one of H.M. Principal Secretarys of State, 1740. Decorated title page, with sketches of the two hemispheres. Descriptions of the Spanish West Indies, Bay of Mexico, shoals and coast as far as New Spain etc., with sailing directions, currents etc. [C.O. 319, 2. pp. 1–69.]
[1715–1718.]821. Extracts of letters from Captains of H.M. ships on the Barbados station to the Governor, 1715–1718. Copy. 3 pp. [C.O. 28, 43. pp. 457, 457 a.]
[? 1718.]822. Petition of Sir John Eyles to [? Mr. Secretary Addison]. Prays that John Floyer may be appointed Naval Officer of the Leeward Islands now vacant by the death of Edward Perry. The place is worth only £100 a year, arising from perquisites, so that, unless it is granted for life, no deputy will execute it. Sir John entered into a bond to compensate Floyer after Mr. Secretary Stanhope had withdrawn his appointment as Attorney General of Barbados, Sir John having intervened on behalf of the then Attorney General, Mr. Carter. Having been assured that Mr. Floyer would be soon preferred to a Commission of £300 pr. ann., he undertook to make good that amount until he received such Commission etc. 1½ pp. [C.O. 28, 43. pp. 458, 458 v.]
[?1716–1718.]823. Capt. Coram to Mr. Stanhope. Clause proposed to be inserted in bill for the better regulating of the Charter and Proprietary Governments. Signed, Thomas Coram. Copy. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 12. ff. 109, 109 v., 110 v.]