America and West Indies: March 1677, 1-15

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 10, 1677-1680. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1896.

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'America and West Indies: March 1677, 1-15', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 10, 1677-1680, (London, 1896), pp. 27-36. British History Online [accessed 18 June 2024].

. "America and West Indies: March 1677, 1-15", in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 10, 1677-1680, (London, 1896) 27-36. British History Online, accessed June 18, 2024,

. "America and West Indies: March 1677, 1-15", Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 10, 1677-1680, (London, 1896). 27-36. British History Online. Web. 18 June 2024,

March 1677, 1–15

March 6.
Swanns Point.
84. The Commissioners for Virginia to Governor Berkeley. Find not only by former complaints, but by petitions this day before them, that several illegal seizures have been made without any due conviction or attainder. Have more than once protested against such unwarrantable proceedings, and especially for that there is no pretence or colour for such kind of practices, but rather of restitution. Reasons. Hope no more clamours of this kind may surround them here, nor pursue Berkeley home to England to obstruct his and their proceedings for the good of this country, and give new occasions of more disturbances among the people. 3 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXI., pp. 120–122.]
March 7. 85. Governor Berkeley to the Commissioners for Virginia. Has received their letter with some wonder, for they tell him that no man's estate is to be seized for treason without conviction, which he knows is contrary to all the practice of kingdoms in Christendom. For this he appeals to the King and his Council and his learned Judges of the law. Besides this he was by when the King seized the estates of many that were in rebellion against him without conviction. Desires them to take a list of what he has seized. The case of Alexander Walker different, he voluntarily offered it. Has seized nothing since the King's Commissioners came in, and what is seized amounts not to the thirtieth part of his lost estate. Shall give the King and his Council all their admonitory letters to him. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXI., pp. 123, 124.]
March. 86. Petition of Colonel William Claiborne, a poor old servant of your Majesty's father and grandfather, to King Charles II. Was one of the Council of State to His Majesty's grandfather and Secretary of State to his father, and by their special commands under the broad seal of England to the Governor of Virginia was sent to discover and gain a great trade in beavers and furs which the Dutch then usurped to themselves. At his own charge and in his own person, petitioner discovered and planted the Isle of Kent and the Bay of Chesapeak, which then well succeeding, the old Lord Baltimore taking notice thereof, procured a patent for the same, pretending it was unplanted, and since, by force of arms, though forbidden by the then King, has expelled petitioner and taken away his estate to the value of above 10,000l. sterling, in goods, cattle, servants, and many plantations thereon, which the Grand Assembly of Virginia has lately presented as a great grievance to the country, and has been near the utter undoing of petitioner and his family, now in his old age, his younger years being most spent in his discoveries and wars against the Indians as Chief Commander. Prays for speedy justice in so lamentable a case. Signed by W. Claiborne, senior. Annexed,
86. i. Memorandum by the King's Commissioners for Virginia. That the petition of William Claiborne, senior, being presented to them for a grievance to be laid before His Majesty's royal consideration, they have given in the same separately, as an affair which concerns a whole peculiar province, and which has heretofore been before His Majesty's royal father and Privy Council without any decision being made therein. It is now again humbly tendered to His Majesty to determine and to remain under consideration till such a time as the persons concerned, or some sent over by the petitioners, shall arrive to negotiate the same in England "which we are not empowered or concerned to do."
86. ii. Representation of the Colony and Assembly of Virginia to His Majesty's Commissioners, for the settlement of Virginia in these troublesome times of rebellion and general disturbances. In all time since the dissolution of the Virginia Patent, they have received assurances under the broad seal of England and many declarations from the King, that their estates should be "conserved" and in no sort prejudiced, during which time the petitioner, Colonel Claiborne, hath been resident in Virginia, and enjoyed, as a Councillor and Secretary of State there, the benefits thereof; and by virtue of Commissions under His Majesty's Government and seal of Virginia, and by express directions from the Commissions under the broad seal of England, did discover and plant the Isle of Kent. From this time it continued under the Government of Virginia, and men arrested at the Isle of Kent for felonies were returned to appear at James City; but Lord Baltimore's officers came and expelled us by force of arms several times, and hanged our men without trial or just cause given; they also took away our goods, servants, and cattle, and displanted us at Palmer's Island, out of their limits in Susquehannah River. All this they did in spite of His Majesty's commands to the contrary not to molest us. Signed by W. Claiborne, 1677, March 13.
86. iii. Commission signed by Sir George Yeardley, Governor and Captain-General of Virginia, to "my well-beloved friend William Claiborne." There remaining divers places and parts of this kingdom of Virginia altogether unknown unto us, and not yet discovered by any, by the search and true discovery whereof the bounds and limits of this plantation may be far augmented, and such other commodities found out as may be for the benefit and good of the people inhabiting in the same, full power and authority is given to said Claiborne, with a sufficient company of men in a shallop, to sail into any the rivers, creeks, ports, and havens within the Bay of Chesapeake, or into any other part or parts of this Colony, there to trade and truck with the Indians for furs, skins, corn, or any other commodity, with power to govern and punish his company according to the laws and customs of the sea, life only excepted. James City, 1627, April 27.
86. iv. Commission signed by John Pott, Governor and CaptainGeneral of Virginia, to William Claiborne. To make his voyage with a sufficient company of men, and sail into any the rivers, creeks, ports, and havens within the Bay of Chesapeake, or any other part of this kingdom of Virginia, within the degrees of 34 and 41, there to trade and truck with the Indians for furs, skins, corn, or other commodities, with power to govern and punish his said company, life only excepted. James City, 1629, March 13.
86. v. Commission signed by John Pott, Governor and CaptainGeneral of Virginia, to "my well-beloved friend William Claiborne, Esquire." Whereas by the cruelty and treachery of the Indians we are many ways justly provoked and incited to undertake a continued and settled course of war against them, to their utter extirpation and ruin, we, being better enabled thereunto by those numbers of persons which have lately arrived and augmented this Colony, according to an Act of Court to that purpose made the 9th July instant, appoint said Claiborne Captain and Commander of all forces to be levied and set forth for that employment, by all ways and means he can to destroy and pursue the Indians of these territories adjoining, who have been principals or abettors in the murder of our men, by cutting down their corn, surprising them in their habitations, intercepting them in their hunting, burning their towns, destroying their canoes and wares, and depriving them of whatsoever may yield them succour or relief, with power to govern and punish all offending persons. James City, 1629, July 22, in fifth year of the reign of King Charles I., and in the three and twentieth year of this plantation.
86. vi. The King's Commission to William Claiborne, one of the Council and Secretary of State for our Colony of Virginia. Licensing and authorizing him and his associates, who have condescended with Sir William Alexander, Secretary for Scotland, and other His Majesty's loving subjects, who have charge over the Colonies of New England and New Scotland, freely to trade and traffic for corn, furs, and other commodities in all seas, coasts, rivers, creeks, harbours, lands, and territories in, near, or about those parts of America for which there is not already a patent granted to others for trade; commanding Governor Sir John Harvey and the Council of Virginia to permit them to do so, as they will answer the contrary at their perils. Given at our manor of East Greenwich, 1631, May 16.
86. vii. Captain William Claiborne's case stated against "Lord Baltimore." That Claiborne entered upon the Isle of Kent, unplanted by any man, but possessed by natives, with about 100 men, and there contracted with the natives and bought their right, to hold of the Crown of England to him and his company and their heirs. About three years after His Majesty granted a patent to Lord Baltimore from 38 to 40 degrees of land unplanted. That Claiborne having planted and stocked the island, Lord Baltimore claimed the island to be within his degrees, and so entered by force, and keeps the same and all the stock and cattle there, to the valne of 7,000l. 1631.
86. viii. Commissioned signed by Sir John Harvey, Governor and Captain-General of Virginia, to "my trusty and wellbeloved friend Captain William Claiborne, Esquire, one of the Council of State for this Colony." Authorizing him, with the consent of the Council of State, to sail and traffic into the adjoining plantations of the Dutch, seated upon this territory of America, or into any other English Plantations, or to such other rivers, harbours, and places as he shall find occasions (sic), in such barks and pinnaces, and with such company of men as shall willingly accompany him; and giving him full power to direct and govern said persons in his said voyage. "Given at James City, the 8th day of March, Anno Domini, after the computation of the Church of England, 1631(–2), and in the five and twentieth year of this Southern Colony of Virginia."
86. ix. Order of Governor Sir John Harvey and the Council of Virginia. On request of Captain William Claiborne how he should demean himself in respect of Lord Baltimore's patent and his Deputies now seated in the Bay, answered that the Council know no reason why they should render up the right of the Isle of Kent more than any other place formely given to this Colony by His Majesty's patent, which, the right of his Lordship's grant being yet undetermined in England, they are bound in duty to maintain. James City, 1634, March 14.
86. x. Examination of the "King of Patuxon" by the interpreter, in the presence of Captains Samuel Matthews, John Utye and William Pierce, and Thomas Hinton; likewise in the hearing of George Calvert, Fred Winter, and divers others, Captain Claiborne also being there; and in the presence of certain Indians whom said King made choice of; in reference to his being a lover of the English nation, and passages that passed between Captain Fleete and the Governor of Maryland. Why the Indians conceived the inhabitants of Maryland to be "Waspaines?" whether Captain Claiborne hath practised with said Indians to fall out with or destroy the inhabitants of Maryland. The King answered, No; and that if he had a great basketfull or Roanoke given to him he would not consent to the death of any Englishman; that Captain Fleete bade him tell Captain Claiborne that the great men of Pasbehayes would kill him, and that it would be in vain for him to run away anywhere, for the great men would fetch him from the Isle of Kent or anywhere else; and that Captain Fleete told said King not to go aboard Captain Claiborne's boat, as he would take the King prisoner and tie his arms. 1634, June 20.
86. xi. The Privy Council to the Governor and Council of Virginia. His Majesty, for the better encouragement of the planters, does not intend that the interests which men had settled when you were a corporation should be impeached, that for the present they may enjoy their estates and trades with the same freedoms and privileges as they did before the recalling of their patents. To which purpose the Governor and Council are authorised to dispose of lands to planters, being freemen, as they had power to do before 1625. Captain William Button for his services to the plantation to be allowed land on either side of the river Appomatuck most convenient to himself and his servants. Whitehall, 1634, July 22.
86. xii. The eighth Article of Cecil Lord Baltimore's instructions to his brother, Leonard Calvert, and others, his Lordship's Commissioners for the Government of Maryland. That if possibly they can, without notable prejudice to their own colony, and if Captain William Claiborne continue his unlawful courses, and have not submitted to his Lordship's patent, they seize upon his person, and detain him close prisoner at St. Maries, upon that accusation against him in Captain Fleete's examination; and that they likewise take possession, if they can, of his plantation in the Isle of Kent, till they have further directions what to do. 1634, Sept. 4.
86. xiii. Minutes of a County Court held at St. Maries. A jury of 24 men, sworn to make true presentment of bills in behalf of the Lord Proprietary (of Maryland). William Claiborne, of the Isle of Kent, gentleman indited for that he with other persons did, on 23rd April 1635, as pirates and robbers, attack Thomas Cornwalleys and his company, in two pinnaces, in the river of Potomac, on the eastern shore, and shoot William Ashmore of St. Maries, of which wound he instantly died. A true bill returned. 1638, Feb. 12.
86. xiv. An Act for the attainder of William Claiborne, gentleman. Whereas William Claiborne is notoriously known to have committed sundry contempts, insolencies, and seditious acts against the dignity, government, and domination of the Lord Proprietary of this province; and to have conspired and contrived sundry mischievous machinations and practices with the Indians of these parts, to the subversion and destruction of this colony and the people thereof; and since the making of an Act of Assembly on the 26th February 1634–5, enacting that offenders in all murders and felonies should suffer pains, losses, and forfeitures as in England, said William Claiborne, on 23rd April 1635, hath continued said insolencies, mutinies, and contempts, against said Lord Proprietary and the government of this place; it is enacted that said William Claiborne be attainted of the crimes aforesaid, and forfeit to the Lord Proprietary all his lands and tenements which he was seized of on said 23rd April 1635. St. Maries, 1638, March 24.
86. xv. Warrant of Leonard Calvert [Governor of Maryland] to the Sheriff of the Isle of Kent. To attach the estate belonging to Captain William Claiborne in the Isle of Kent, until he puts in sufficient security to answer the suit of Captain George Eveline for William Cloberry and Company, of London, merchants, in an action for 1,500l. sterling, to be held at the Court at St. Maries, in June 1639. 1638, Feb. 26. Copy attested 25th July 1654.
Warrant of Cecil Lord Baltimore to Robert Vaughan, Commander of Palmer's Island. To seize, distrain, and attach to his Lordship's use, all servants, goods, and chattels whatsoever within that island, late belonging to William Claiborne, of the Isle of Kent, and forfeited to his Lordship by the lawful attainder of said Claiborne of piracy and felony. St. Maries, 1638, March 19. Copy attested 25th July 1654.
Warrant of Cecil Lord Baltimore to the Sheriff of the Isle of Kent. To seize to his Lordship's use all the goods and chattels of William Claiborne, gentleman, within his island, and keep them in safe custody until further order from his Lordship. St. Maries, 1638, March 27.
Inventory signed by Robert Vaughan, Sheriff of Palmer's Island, of goods and chattels belonging to William Claiborne within said island, seized by virtue of a warrant from Lord Baltimore. 1638, June 20. Copy attested 25th July 1654.
Warrant of Cecil Lord Baltimore to the Sheriff of the Isle of Kent. That William Claiborne and his partners, William Cloberry and David Morehead, have jointly usurped his Lordship's Isle of Kent, granted to his Lordship by His Majesty's charter under the Great Seal of England, and have defended said island against his Lordship's said just right and title, and driven a trade with the Indians of Maryland, contrary to his Lordship's right and privilege, and have otherwise trespassed and committed wastes on said island to his Lordship's damage of 1,000l. sterling; and commanding and authorising said Sheriff to attach all goods and chattels whatsoever of said Claiborne and his partners within the said Isle of Kent, and at same time to summon publicly said Claiborne and his partners to appear at some County Court held at St. Maries before 1st February 1640, there to make answer to said misdemeanours, contempts, and seditious practices. Attested copy dated 25th July 1654. St. Maries, 1639, Jan. 2.
Warrant of Giles Brent to the Sheriff of Kent. To seize all debts, goods, and chattels appertaining to William Claiborne, late of Kent, who stands convicted of open hostility within this province (of Maryland) against the Lord Proprietary and his government, and deliver the same into the hands of his Lordship's Receiver-General. 1644, June 3. Copy attested 25th July 1654.
86. xvi. The King to Cecil Lord Baltimore. His Majesty has declared his pleasure that William Cloberry, David Morehead, and other planters in the island (of Kent), near Virginia, should in no sort be interrupted but rather encouraged in so good a work. Understands that contrary to His Majesty's pleasure, Lord Baltimore's agents have slain three persons, possessed themselves of the island by force, and seized the planters and their estates. Strictly commands him to allow the planters and their agents to have free enjoyment of their possessions without further trouble until the case be decided. Greenwich, 1638, July 14.
86. xvii. Mem.—That David Morehead delivered the above letter to Lord Baltimore in presence of George Fletcher, merchant, Thomas Bullen, Captain William Claiborne, and William Bennett, and required an answer from his Lordship, in respect the ships were at Gravesend which are bound for Virginia and ready to depart, that he might have his Lordship's letters directed to his agents in those parts, according to the tenor and effect of His Majesty's said letter; he also delivered his Lordship a copy of His Majesty's former letter (see 8 Oct. 1634 in the First Volume of this Calendar). His Lordship's answer was, that he would wait on His Majesty and give His Majesty satisfaction, and would give no other answer until he had spoken with His Majesty.
86. xviii. Examinations taken ex parte William Claiborne in a suit Claiborne against Cloberry and others, in reference to the goods, servants, and supplies sent to the Isle of Kent. This is a closely written document of 71 pages, and contains the examinations of the following persons, all attested, and some of them with the signatures of Sir Francis Wiat, Governor of Virginia, Sir John Harvey, and Captain Samuel Mathews, viz.:—
Thomas Sturman, Thomas Yovall, Thomas Hailes, William Cox, Richard Tomson, Edmond Deering, and John Boteler, all of the Isle of Kent; Philip Taylor of Accomack, Virginia; Captain Richard Pope of Charles River, Virginia; John Harvey of James City, Virginia; Thomas Woodhouse of Smith's Fort, Virginia; Thomas Adam of Kent, Maryland; John Fullwood at Sandes of same; George Scovell, William Jones, Lucy Purifie, Anthony Linney, Richard Browne, and William Levermore alias Cox, all of Kecoughtan, in Virginia. 1640, May.
86. xix. "Declaration showing the illegality and unlawful proceedings of the Patent of Maryland." Begins with the year 1607, when 50 earls and barons, 350 knights, and 600 gentlemen and merchants of primest rank, became incorporated, and were originally named in the Letters Patents by the name of the Company of Virginia. Chiefly by the cross agitations of two powerful factions in the Company, the work went heavily on for the first 12 years. It was almost shattered to pieces by the fatal blow of a massacre in 1621. The King then strongly advised against the form of the Company's government, as being a nurse of parliamentary spirits, and obnoxious to monarchical government. An order made at the Council table on 8th October 1623 for altering the form of government, but not being submitted to a quo warranto, was issued for calling in the patent, advantage being taken of the Company mispleading their patent, which was condemned in Trinity Term following [1624], but for many years after no judgment entered, and to this time not vacated upon the record in the Office of the Rolls, whereby some that sought the overthrow of Lord Baltimore's patent for Maryland in the Parliament of 1640 took out the Virginia patent again under the broad seal of England. Therefore thought by prime lawyers now to be unquestionably in force, and that of Maryland inconsistent and void. Then issued several proclamations and orders from the Council table: That all men with the adventurers and planters should be assured that their rights and interests should be preserved. The interest of the colony deserted by her former friends, and the colony left weltering in her blood in the heat of a war with the Indians, though at last restored to peace and plenty. About 1633, Lord Baltimore obtained a patent for that part now called Maryland, pretending, though not truly, that the greatest part of the country was unplanted, which he hath since held with a few people, debarring those to whom it justly belonged from planting it, destroying and ruinating those formerly seated under Virginia at the Isle of Kent, and interdicting trade with the Indians for furs discovered and begun by them. Describes the evils of the Maryland government to protect chiefly the Roman Catholic religion and suppress the poor Protestants amongst them; the whole frame of government carried on in the Lord Proprietor's name, as if he were absolute prince and king. It were impious to think that the then King or King James, being rightly informed, would ever have granted such a patent as this of Maryland is, being near two-thirds part of the better territory of Virginia, and as no way consistent with equity and honour and public faith. Recites most of the aforesaid public assurances; the Order of Council of 8th October 1623 to assure adventurers and planters against any mistaken fear that their estates should receive prejudice; said Order confirmed by a further order of 20th October 1623, which Orders went sent over and published in Virginia for encouragement of the planters; King James' Commission of 15th July 1624, that his intention was to alter the form of government, but with preservation of the interests of every adventurer and planter. His Majesty's like declaration in his commission to Sir Francis Wyatt, and the like inserted in all King Charles' commissions to his governors of Virginia up to the present time; neither were there any instructions to the contrary given by the Company for the government of the colony. King Charles' proclamation of 13th May 1625, and the letter from the Privy Council of 24th October following; also the King's letter of 12th September 1628, and the letter from the Privy Council of 22nd July 1634, in answer to the complaint from Virginia to the interruption of their trade by Lord Baltimore, were all to the same effect. By all which it appears that howsoever the government could not be reduced but by revocation of the patent itself; yet in respect of said letters and orders the adventurers and planters of Virginia, as to their rights and privileges, according to equity, remain in the same condition as if no such judgment had been given. Arguments in reference to whether Lord Baltimore's patent takes in part that the Virginians had then planted; one of the chief of the five arguments being that we (the Virginians) clearly claim right by possession, having planted the Isle of Kent almost three years before ever the name of Maryland was heard of, and burgesses from that place sat in the assemblies of Virginia. "How " unjust an intrusion will the Lord of Baltimore's patent " appear, which overthrows the interest of so many " noblemen, gentlemen, and poor planters." This document of six closely written pages is endorsed "1649." Several of these enclosures are calendared in the first volume of this Calendar where other documents on this subject will be found. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXXIX., Nos. 44, 44 I.–XIX.]
March 14. 87. Journal of the Lords of Trade and Plantations. Ordered that a copy of the Act or Declaration whereby the Council of Plymouth surrendered their charter to His Majesty be delivered to the agents of the Bostoners. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CIV., p. 304.]
[March 14.] 88. Petition of John Downing, gentleman, inhabitant of Newfoundland, to the King. Recites his previous petitions, the consideration of which His Majesty referred to the Lords of Trade and Plantations to take order therein, but they have not had the opportunity to do so, and petitioner is forced to return to Newfoundland to preserve his wife and family from a repetition of former violences which petitioner has reason to believe will be committed against the inhabitants by the patentees with greater rigour. Prays that the execution of His Majesty's patent about the Newfoundland trade may be suspended for this summer. "Recd 14 March and read in Council 23 March 1677." [Col. Papers, Vol. XXXIX., No. 45.]
March 15. 89. Journal of the Council of Barbadoes. Present: Governor Sir Jonathan Atkins, Henry Drax, Henry Hawley, Henry Walrond, Samuel Farmer, Samuel Newton, Thomas Wardall, John Peers, and Symon Lambert. Four Acts of Assembly passed, viz., Repeal of an Act for the encouragement of the manufactures of this island; an Act appointing the sale in open market of effects attached for excise, parish dues, and servants' wages; for continuance of an Act entitled an Act for the better ordering and governing of Negroes; and, an Act empowering the freeholders of the parish of St. Peter's, All Saints, to meet and choose a vestry of the freeholders of said parish. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XI., pp. 293, 294.]