America and West Indies: May 1679

Pages 356-371

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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May 1679

May 1.
981. Lords of Trade and Plantations to Governor Stapleton. Informing him of the proceedings relative to the Tobago negroes (see ante, No. 972), and that the King has ordered that the arms he desired may be exported custom free (ante, No. 978), and acknowledging receipt of his letter of 20th January. Précis only. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVI., p. 354.]
May 1. 982. Memorandum.—On the 1st of May a letter was written to Sir Jonathan Atkins giving him an account of the change in the Privy Council, and of the constitution of the Committee of Trade and Plantations under the same regulation as formerly. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVI., pp. 10, 11.]
May 1. 983. Memorandum of receipt by James Kynvin of papers from William Blathwayt relating to the case of the Widow Dudley of Virginia, including her petitions to the King, Sir William Berkeley, and the Commissioners of Virginia. Together, 6 papers. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 52.]
May 1.
984. Nominal roll of Sir Henry Morgan's company of foot. Lieutenant-General the Right Hon. Sir Henry Morgan, Knight, Captain; Ralph Fetherstonhaugh, Lieutenant; Uther Tyrrill, Ensign. 3 serjeants, 3 corporals, 2 drums, 100 private soldiers, all completely armed; the muster being for 123 days, from the 1st of May to the 1st of September inclusive. Parchment. Signed, W. Delamayne. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 53.]
May 7.
985. Warrant to Heneage Lord Finch, Lord Chancellor, to pass under the Great Seal three laws for the Colony of Virginia,—An Act of Oblivion,—of Naturalization,—and for a Public Revenue to be raised in Virginia. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 54, and Col. Entry Bks., Vol. XCV., p. 169, and Vol. LXXXVII., p. 1.]
May 11. 986. Charles Van Benningen, Ambassador Extraordinary of the United Provinces, to Lords of Trade and Plantations. In the war of 1674 the States-General became masters by force of arms of the fort of the French in Aeadia or Nova Scotia, and gave, in September 1676, John Rodes, an Englishman, commission to trade with the natives therein. But now Captain Hampton, commanding a British fort in the neighbourhood, has by force of arms seized the said Rodes and his ship and detained him prisoner, an open violence and injustice which is contrary to His Majesty's intentions. Asks the release of Rodes and the issue of orders forbidding future molestation of the Dutch in Acadia. Translation. Subscribed, With a minute by Sir R. Southwell that the above was read in Council 21 May, and referred to the Lords of Trade and Plantations for their report. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 55.]
May 11. 987. The original of the foregoing in French. Signed. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 56.]
(May 12.) 988. Estimate of monthly charge for maintaining at sea three fourth and three fifth rate men-of-war for the security of the Leeward Islands, manned (according to the establishment for war abroad) with 200 men for each fourth-rate and 110 men for each fifth-rate, making in all 930.
£ s. d.
Wages of the men at 30s. per man per month of 28 days 1,395 0 0
Victuals with extraordinary necessary money and contingencies, 20s. per man per month 930 0 0
Wear and tear of ships, at 30s. per man per month 1,395 0 0
Total per month £3,620 0 0
Endorsed, "Recd. from Mr. Pepys 12 May 1679." [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 57, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVI., p. 387.]
May 13. 989. Minutes of the Council of Barbadoes. Edwyn Stede this day took the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, as also the oath of a Councillor in this Island, and took his place in Council accordingly. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XI., p. 301.]
May 16. 990. Order of the King in Council, that the complaint of the inhabitants of the Bermuda Islands be referred to the Lords of Trade and Plantations with copy of their petition. Signed, Robert Southwell. Annexed,
990. i. The petition referred to, from the Freeholders, Inhabitants, and Merchants. In the 13th year of his reign King James the First granted certain privileges to the proprietors to make laws for Government, provided that they were not contrary to the law of England, in virtue of which many good and wholesome laws have been enacted by the Governor, Council, and Assembly. Since then many of the proprietors have disposed of their interest to merchants and inhabitants of Bermuda, the latter believing that they would enjoy the benefit of the laws above mentioned; but now the Company in London contrary to all law and justice have given orders to their officers in Bermuda to dispossess the inhabitants of their freeholds or estates without any trial at law whatsoever, and have ordered that no more Assemblies shall be convened, so that the inhabitants for want of any Assembly to press their grievances are almost ruined by the unjust taxes imposed upon their commodities by order of the London Company, and His Majesty's poor subjects are made slaves as enclosed documents will prove. They therefore pray relief. Signed, John Stow, Thomas Smith, Christopher Smith. "Recd. 14th June." 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII. No. 58, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XVII., p. 62.]
990. ii. The aggrievances and complaints of the freeholders, etc. against the Company: (1) The dispossession without trial at law above mentioned. (2) That many ships bound from Jamaica and other parts to the Port of London with full freight prove so leaky that they cannot keep the sea being destitute of provisions and water and ready to perish, and yet would not put in for relief to obtain what they want and pay punctually for the same, because the Governor and officers of Bermuda have forbidden them to come in unless on payment of dues as trading vessels, which is unreasonable. By this means many ships are constrained to run great hazards which might be spared, to the refreshment of the crews and the relief of the people of Bermuda. (3) The Company has ordered the freeholders, merchants, and planters to pay fourpence on every gallon of rum imported from Barbados, notwithstanding that the King's 4½ per cent. is paid by the owner thereof before he can obtain a cocquet for shipping the same. (4) The Company is bound by the Letters Patent to provide the inhabitants with ships, yet during the late Dutch war it never sent a ship in two years' time, so that the inhabitants are destitute, not only of merchandise, but of arms and ammunition. Yet they were not permitted to consign their tobacco for the port of London in their own vessels or any other, but must keep it till it perish and be utterly lost, notwithstanding that security was tendered for His Majesty's customs. (5) The inhabitants have no redress, the Company's own book of laws being designed to stifle their rights and privileges. (6) The inhabitants frequently have occasion to petition His Majesty for relief from many injuries, but the present Government will not suffer such petitions to come for England, unless allowed and approved by them; and if the scope of the petition touch the Government for its illegal proceedings, then it must not be put into the Company's box nor allowed of, and so the petitioner's cry is not heard and unrelieved; for, if the petitions come not in the Company's box, by the allowance of the Government and Council here, the foresaid petitions are slighted, buried in oblivion, and never read. (7) By the Letters Patent, the fourth part of the island is allotted for defrayal of its public charges, yet the Government do meet, sit, and tax the inhabitants to pay a general levy, as they call it, both by the land and by the poll, and upon refusal of payment attach and condemn the goods of persons so refusing, and keep the same till they will pay or imprison them till they do. (8) The Company have made a law forbidding the importation of any dry goods whatsoever from the English plantations, either Jamaica, Barbadoes, or the Leeward Islands, on pain of forfeiture of ships and cargo. (9) The Company prohibits the inhabitants from building vessels for their own relief, to the discouragement of navigation and trade, that so the inhabitants shall have neither ships nor goods but what shall come from them when and at what rates they please. (10) The inhabitants do greatly groan under the burden of a want of free trade to dispose of their commodities for their own advantage where and to whom they please, paying His Majesty's customs, and under the compulsion to send it to the port of London, though it will bring the owner in debt, for no other purpose than that the Company may have a third part of the value of the tobacco for duties, as they call it. By such means the planters are discouraged from planting great quantities for freighting many vessels, since they can have but one yearly. (11) The inhabitants complain that they are prohibited from carrying on the whale fishery, which tends to the increase of the King's customs, of navigation and trade, the employment of the inhabitants, and the enriching of the island. Signed, John Stowe, Thomas Smith, Richard Mathalin, Christopher Smith. 4½ pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 58, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XVII., pp. 65–69.]
May 16.
991. Order of the King in Council. That Captain Rudge of the Hopewell, lately come from Virginia, and able to give information concerning the state of that Colony, attend the Lords of Trade and Plantations on the 20th May instant. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 59.]
May 19.
992. The Lords Proprietors of Carolina to the Governor and Council of Ashley River. Former instructions respecting landgrants revoked. Looking to the remoteness of families one from another, by reason of the great tracts of land possessed by men who will not be able for a long time to stock them fully, it is ordered that every free person arriving in Carolina after 25th December shall have but 70 acres of land, and but 70 acres more for each man servant, 50 acres for every woman servant or man servant between the ages of twelve and sixteen, and 60 acres to his or her proper use on the expiration of their time. The Proprietors are informed that, to evade their instruction that no man under the degree of a Proprietor, Landgrave, or Cacique, shall have above a fifth part of the depth of his land to the river, the Governor and Council have suffered people to take up the land by several warrants, whereby they obtained a much greater proportion of land on the river than they would have had if they had taken up their land all by one warrant. Such a proceeding will make the land thinly peopled, and is in no way pleasing to the Proprietors. They expect the Governor to be more careful in husbanding their land, or they will be forced to find others that will. They are further informed that many persons who arrive to plant, spend their time idly, and consume what they bring with them, and then, finding themselves unable to quit the place, lay the blame on the soil and the country. To remedy this, all new comers are to be called upon to employ themselves in planting provisions. Ten barrels of gunpowder are sent herewith, but the Colony, for the future, must provide herself with such things at the public charge. Some Indian trade also is sent to Mr. Perceval and Mr. Maurice Mathewes to purchase from the Indians the land of Adisto ("Edistoh") or Colleton River. 1½ pp. Sent per Captain John Comins. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XX., pp. 141, 142.]
(May 19.) 993. The King to Sir Jonathan Atkins, Governor of Barbadoes. Strictly charges, authorizes, and commands him to pay all sums of money, goods, and other things for which he is accountable to His Majesty for his part or share of the negroes belonging to interlopers condemned in that island, to Anne, Countess Dowager of Bristol, her executors or assigns, to whom the King has granted the same. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. VI., pp. 262, 263.]
May 20.
994. Governor Sir Henry Chicheley to Secretary Coventry. Encloses letter from the Grand Assembly of Virginia to the King, being a compendious narrative of the country's suffering and its application for relief, and would enlarge thereon to Secretary Coventry's worthy self, Virginian affairs being his special department. This sessions the Assembly has received complaints from the counties of York, Nancimond, Isle of Wight, and James City as to the quartering of the King's soldiers. Isle of Wight and Nancimond received command from the late Lieutenant Governor to quarter and provide for Major Mutlow's company from 14th July 1677 to 16th January 1678, for which they are still indebted to the inhabitants for 249l. 6s. 3d., as certified by the hand of Lieutenant John Tong, of that company. York and James City have so far had no satisfaction for twelve month's quartering of the King's troops under command of Captain William Morris, whose pay is not yet arrived for any part of that time. Hence inhabitants and soldiers are equally distressed. Also the late troubles and distractions, with the frequent incursions of Indians on the frontier and murder of the whites thereon, have so much impaired the stocks that the remnant thereof will barely give assistance for defence of the country and support of the families therein. Hence begs Mr. Secretary to further the humble motion to the King for release from all arrears of quit-rents. 2 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXX., pp. 360, 361.]
May. 995. Sir Henry Chicheley and Mathew Kemp, Speaker of the Assembly of Virginia, to the King. The late intestine divisions of the Colony and the charge of a tedious war with the Indians have reduced them to a poor and distressed state, and to supplicate in behalf of His Majesty's soldiers and themselves. Pray for a remission of all arrears of quit-rents and for the supply of the excessive charge they must necessarily undergo in defence of their frontiers. Read in Council 25 July 1679. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXX. p. 362.]
May 20.
996. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Information of Captain Rudge of the ship Hopewell, summoned by Order in Council of 16th instant. Left the falls of James River in March last; understood that the Indians who had lately made peace with the English had committed great disorders, killed several people, and totally ruined the estate of Colonel Place; the country in great alarm of an Indian attack in the summer; eight or ten thousand Indians in the Blackwater, on the northern border of Carolina. The people not yet reconciled to each other since the rebellion, which bred a deal of bad blood; Assembly to meet 20th May; the present Governor, Sir Henry Chicheley, very old, sickly, and crazy. Captain Rudge's report confirmed by several other masters of ships trading to Virginia. Information of Captains Grantham and Rider, lately returned from York River, Virginia. Report of great incursions of Indians about the Rappahannock; alarm of a summer attack so great that people were leaving their plantations for a safer part of the country. Lord Culpeper and the captains represented the danger to ships trading to Virginia from the Algerines, who are now very strong and come into the channel, and asked for a convoy. The Committee agreed to lay the matter before the King. Secretary Coventry presented a petition from Bartholomew Price, guardian to John Jeffreys son of Colonel Herbert Jeffreys, late Governor of Virginia, complaining of the hard usage received from Colonel Spencer, attorney to Lord Culpeper, who proceeded against Mrs. Jeffreys on pretence of a debt for all perquisites received since Colonel Jeffreys came into the country. Lord Culpeper answered that he is confident that Colonel Spencer has not exceeded the instructions given in the King's letter of 27th December 1677 on the subject, and offers 500l. security to make good anything that may have been done by Colonel Spencer contrary thereto.
Their Lordships, finding the Massachusetts' Agents very impatient to return home, agree to report that such a letter be written to the Colony as may keep things there in a fair way of amendment until a fitter season shall present to reassume the whole business. The letter to set forth that His Majesty has consented to the return of the Agents, the rather that the prosecution of the Popish plot has not left sufficient leisure for the perfect settlement of the Colony, and commands them to send over two other persons within six months, fully instructed. It is expected that the Government will intercede for His Majesty's favour; that the letter of 8th June 1662 be complied with; that those who serve God in the way of the Church of England be made capable of the magistracy; that there be no other distinction in making freemen than that they be of competent estates; that the ancient number of 18 assistants be observed, none be admitted to any office without taking the oath of allegiance, and all Commissions run in the King's name. They are to abolish all laws inconsistent with the Acts of Trade, and to assist Mr. Randolph in the discharge of his trust. His Majesty took it very ill that they should presume to purchase Gorges' interest in the province of Maine, and was informed of their severities to the inhabitants of that province. His Majesty does not think fit to gratify them with the government of New Hampshire, north of the Merrimack, being resolved to take it into his own immediate care, and therefore requires them to recall all Commissions, &c. 6½ pp. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVI., pp. 5–11.]
(May 20.) 997. Petition of Bartholomew Price, guardian to John Jeffreys, a minor, son to Colonel Herbert Jeffreys, to the King. For payment of 300l. granted by His Majesty to Colonel Jeffreys, but still in the hands of Alderman John Jeffreys, and of arrears of his salary from 25th March 1678 for the relief of the poor widow, now in prison, and the maintenance of her poor orphan, and to grant an order for her release. "Delivered to the Committee by Mr. Secretary Coventry 20th of May 1679." [Col. Entry Bk., No. LXXX., p. 304.]
May 21.
998. Order of the King in Council. On Report of Committee for Trade and Plantations respecting petition of Bartholomew Price, guardian to Colonel Jeffrey's son, Ordered that Sir Henry Chicheley, Governor of Virginia, inform himself, and give speedy report, of the differences depending between Lord Culpeper or his agents, and take care that Mistress Jeffreys be permitted to come to England to settle her deceased husband's debts; also that Secretary Coventry take sufficient security on the part of Lord Culpeper, as of said Mistress Jeffreys, that all things be duly performed pursuant to His Majesty's letter of 27th December 1677 (ante, No. 539). 3 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. LXXX, pp. 309–311.]
May ? 999. Petition of John Van Wachtendonck, Commissary for the States-General and the Dutch West India Company, to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Praying that the answer received from Sir Jonathan Atkins concerning the ship Asia may be communicated to him. Annexed,
999. i. Sentence of the High Court of Admiralty that the ship Asia, with her lading and appurtenances, belongs to the Dutch West India Company. London, 1678, April 9.
999. ii. Order of the King in Council. That copy of the memorial of the Ambassador Extraordinary of the States-General of the United Provinces be sent to Sir Jonathan Atkins, Governor of Barbadoes, who is hereby required to return his answer how the product of the ship Asia and her goods hath been disposed of, and why they were not restored according to the sentence of the High Court of Admiralty. Whitehall, 1678, July 9.
999. iii. The memorial of C. Van Benningen to the King above referred to. That His Majesty would be pleased to employ his authority to cause the ship Asia, together with her lading and appurtenances, to be restored to her owners, or the just value, amounting to 72,704 livres, money of Holland. Westminster, 1678, July 10.
999. iv. Copies of the above Order of the King in Council and the memorial of C. Van Benningen. Together, 6 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., Nos. 60, 60 I–IV.]
May 22.
1000. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Petition of Johan Van Wachtendonck read, asking that Sir Jonathan Atkins's letter respecting the ship Asia may be communicated to him. Sir Jonathan Atkins' letter of 3rd March (ante, No. 914) read, at which their Lordships are much dissatisfied, inasmuch as he does not mention the sum for which he expects to be reimbursed, and questions the power of the Admiralty in England to take cognisance of the case. They will therefore report that the 300l. for which the ship is said to have been sold be paid to the Dutch Agent, and consult Sir Richard Lloyd, one of the Judges Surrogates of the Admiralty, as to the liability of the Dutch West India Company for the salvage and necessary charges incurred by the officers of Barbadoes.
Lord Carlisle's letters of 31st July, 11th September, 24th October, 15th November 1678, 26th January, 18th February, and 20th March 1679, read (see ante, Nos. 869, 894, 943), whereon their Lordships report:—(1) That no ship can be sent to Surinam without liability to confiscation, the English therein having had ample time and opportunity to remove themselves; yet that the Governor has no reason to detain them if they choose to depart by a trading vessel. (2) No government can be maintained at Trist without violation of the Treaty with Spain; the logwood trade must be regulated by the Order in Council of 19th March 1679. (3) Private trade with the Spaniards would be offensive to them and contrary to the Navigation Act. (4) The people of St. Christopher's should not be encouraged to move to Jamaica. (5) The King cannot be at the expense of transporting disbanded soldiers to Jamaica. Report on the state of Jamaica and system of law-making, taken according to Minutes of 4th April, read. Their Lordships agree to present the same unsigned.
Petition of Réné Petit concerning transportation of Protestant families to Carolina, together with report of Commissioners of Customs, read. Their Lordships agree to recommend the preparation and fitting out of two ships, drawing not more than twelve feet of water, to transport the said families. The families to victual themselves, and the King to be at no charge further than to maintain the ship's company and his own officers. The families, also, shall be such as are specially fitted for the design, shall be genuine arrivals from across the seas, and shall not settle further south than the 34th degree of latitude; and the reimbursement desired by them shall be made out of the customs arising from commodities brought out of such plantations in Carolina as lie within that latitude. 5 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVI., pp. 11–16.]
May 22. 1001. Memorandum.—The Lords of Trade and Plantations, having had in consideration the state of Jamaica in relation to the laws to be settled there, together with a report prepared in accordance with His Majesty's orders, entered into debate thereof, and by reason of disagreement in their opinions agreed to present that report to His Majesty without signing, for His Majesty's directions thereupon. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXIX., p. 293.]
May 22.
Council Chamber.
1002. The Lords of Trade and Plantations to the King. (1) In the matter of Lord Carlisle's request for permission to send a vessel to bring off the residue of the English from Surinam (see above, No. 869), although, by the 5th Article of the last treaty with Holland, your Majesty is entitled to depute persons to see the condition of your subjects at Surinam and send one, two, or three ships at a time for the embarkation of them and of their goods, yet, conceiving the permission of the Dutch to be temporary only, and all British subjects having had fair warning, we do not think any of your Majesty's Governors may with success, or without exposing their vessels to confiscation, send thither at this time to transport the English from Surinam, at least not until the States-General shall, in like manner as formerly, grant letters to the Governor of the Colony to suffer the said English to depart, and permit the coming of ships for their transportation; on the other hand, we see no reason, unless for present defence against the Indians, why the Dutch Governor should forbid the English to transport themselves elsewhither, such contingency being expressly provided for by the 5th Article of the surrender between Colonel Byam, Governor of Surinam, and Abraham Crinsens, who took the same. (2) In the matter of the complaints from Trist respecting the disorders through want of regulation of the logwood trade, and Lord Carlisle's recommendations thereon, although your Majesty's subjects have long resorted to Trist for the cutting and selling of logwood, yet it does not seem to us that any government was ever constituted there, nor any settlement regularly established which would amount to lawful and quiet possession. The island is surrounded on all sides by the Spanish Plantations on the Main, and although not actually possessed by the Spaniards has always been accounted part of their dominions, and we are therefore of opinion that no habitation or government can be allowed or maintained there by your Majesty, without violation of the Treaty which forbids your Majesty's subjects to sail or trade in the havens of the Catholic King in the West Indies. As to the trade of logwood, for the sake of which alone the settlement can be useful, we advise that Lord Carlisle may guide himself according to the Order in Council of 19th March last, and discourage as far as in him lies the cutting of logwood in the Bay of Campeachy or any other of the King of Spain's dominions. (3) In the matter of the desire of the French in Hispaniola to trade with Jamaica we are of opinion that Lord Carlisle should be put in mind of the Acts of Parliament forbidding and restraining all trade with strangers to and from your Majesty's plantations, which Acts his Lordship has has sworn to obey; moreover a public allowance of Trade with either Spaniards or French would give matter of offence to those Kings, who are so strict in prohibiting traffic with strangers. (4) Respecting the planter who found obstacles from local Acts in the way of transporting himself and his family from the Leeward Islands to Jamaica (see ante, No. 907), we presume that, whatever instructions your Governors in those years have formerly had in relation to the French fleet which then seemed to threaten the Leeward Islands, your Majesty cannot but esteem these Islands a considerable parcel of your Plantations, not only for their trade, but for their absolute necessity for opposing the French, and hindering their progress and designs against your other Colonies. (5) As regards Lord Carlisle's suggestion that, owing to the scarcity of white men in Jamaica, and the opportunities enjoyed by tradesmen to improve themselves therein, your Majesty may be moved therein in disbanding of the Army, we think it not convenient for your Majesty to be at further charge and trouble herein, further than that, if any person or tradesman should desire to repair to Jamaica, your Majesty permit them to go upon such terms and encouragements as are usual in like cases. (6) Lastly, we note the strengthening of Port Royal by two new batteries, Forts Rupert and Carlisle, through the diligence of Sir Henry Morgan, and bring the same to your Majesty's notice. Signed, Anglesey, Shaftesbury, Sunderland, H. Powle, Thomas Dolman, Henry Coventry. Ordered, that Mr. Secretary Coventry signify His Majesty's pleasure to Lord Carlisle that he govern himself according to their Lordships' opinion aforesaid. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 61, and Col. Entry Bks., Vol. XXIX., p. 305, and Vol. XCV., pp. 293–296.]
May 23. 1003. Proposals from the New England Agents. It is humbly moved and thankfully accepted that the King in his letter to be sent by the Massachusetts Agents on their return may signify his pleasure in the particulars following:—(1) the continued administering of the oath of allegiance to all who settle or grow up in this their jurisdiction, and to all admitted to places of government and trust; (2) the annulling of laws repugnant to the laws of England, and due care that no such be made for the future; (3) the due observation of the Acts of Trade and Navigation, and encouragement of officers appointed to that end; (4) moderation and forbearance towards such as dissent in matters of conscience and worship; (5) that membership of the Church of England be no hindrance to admittance to freedom or election to offices; (6) that there be appointed annual acknowledgment to be rendered to the King by way of recognition of dependence on the Crown: the fifth part of royal ore cannot be yielded, as no such ore has yet been found there. Annexed,
1003. i. An unfinished draft of a warrant under the Sign Manual to Edward Randolph, Chief Collector of Customs. 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 62.]
May 23. 1004. Copy of the foregoing paper. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 63.]
(May 23.) 1005. Petition of Benedict Arnold to the King. His grandfather, William Arnold, of Patuxet in Rhode Island, by his last will made him his heir, but Stephen Arnold, youngest son of William Arnold, detains the deeds and embezzled the said will, to the petitioner's damage about 400l. Can expect no remedy in Rhode Island, for the most of them are of kin to Stephen Arnold, and will not allow challenge of juries according to law. Prays for a royal order to the Governor of Plymouth to hear the case. Signed, on behalf of Benedict Arnold, William Harris. Subscribed, A reference, dated 23 May 1679, to the Committee for Trade and Plantations. Signed, Robert Southwell. Endorsed, "Recd & read 23 May 1679; recd 6 June 1679, read 19 June 1679, not granted." 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 64.]
May 28.
1006. Order of the King in Council. Report (dated 22nd May) of Lords of Trade and Plantations on the petition of Réné Petit and Jacob Guerard (ante, Nos. 918, 930 I), recommending that the prayer of the petition be granted, subject to certain conditions. (See ante, Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations, No. 1000). Ordered, that as soon as the petitioners or others in their behalf shall execute the promises made in their petition the King will give orders for the said ships to be fitted out and despatched, and for the reimbursement of the 2,000l. The report is a draft with additions in the handwriting of Sir T. Dolman, who has also filled in the signatures. Together, 4 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 65.]
(May 28.) 1007. Petition of Sir Francis Morton, John Netheway, and Captain Joseph Crispe, on behalf of the English in the Leeward Islands, to the King and Privy Council. The French King having refused to confirm the treaty concluded by Comte de Blenac and Sir W. Stapleton unless Jamaica and Barbadoes be included, petitioners pray that the English Envoy at Paris be instructed to conclude a peace for them for a certain number of years, as His Majesty shall think fit. Signed, Fra. Morton, Jno. Netheway. " Recd. 28 May 1679, read 31 May 1679." [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 66.]
May 28.
1008. Order of the King in Council. After reading of report from the Lords of Trade and Plantations (ante, No. 1002), ordered, that Mr. Secretary Coventry do signify to the Earl of Carlisle that he govern himself in respect of the several matters according to the opinions of their Lordships expressed in the said report. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIII., No. 67. and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXIX., p. 305.]
May 28.
1009. Report of the Lords of Trade and Plantations to the King in Council. We have considered the present state of the Government and laws of Jamaica, and believe the troubles and dissatisfactions to have arisen as followeth. By the commission given to Lord Vaughan and the Governors that preceded him, power was given to the Assembly of Jamaica to enact laws with the advice of the Governor and Council, but by reason of the irregular, violent, and unwarrantable proceedings of the Assembly that power was altered in the commission of Lord Carlisle to the present system [i.e., the Irish system fixed by Poyning's law]. A body of laws sent over by Lord Carlisle has been rejected by the General Assembly of Jamaica for the following reasons, which appear in their letters and addresses:—(1) They objected to a clause in the Militia Bill providing that on all occasions and emergencies the Governor may act as Governor in Chief according to the powers trusted to him in his commission, fearing that by passing the same they may make it legal to execute all instructions that are or shall be sent to the Governor. (2) They have rejected the Revenue Bill as being perpetual and liable to be diverted. (3) They object to the laws as containing divers fundamental errors and (4) as having not been compared with and amended by the last laws sent over by Lord Vaughan. (5) They object, that the distance of the place renders the present method impracticable; (6) that the nature of all colonies being changeable, their laws should be adaptable to those changes; (7) that they lose the satisfaction of a deliberative power in making laws; (8) that this form of Government renders the Governor absolute; (9) that the royal Prerogative was better secured by the former system. Answer to the above objections:—(1) It is presumptuous in the Assembly to question the King's power over the militia in Jamaica, seeing that by the laws of the kingdom the sole supreme government and command of the militia and all forces by sea and land resides in His Majesty in all his realms and dominions. (2) The objection against the Revenue Bill is groundless, seeing that its perpetuity was no more than was formerly offered to them by Sir Thomas Lynch; nor can the revenue be diverted, for provision is expressly made for its application to the better support of the Government. Moreover it is not suitable to the duty and modesty of subjects to question the King's care for the Government of the Colony, whose settlement and preservation has been most particularly carried on by His Majesty at great expense to his Treasury. (3) It cannot be truly said that the laws contain many and great errors, nothing having been done therein but in pursuance of former laws enacted by the Assembly with the advice of the Privy Council and the approval of the Attorney General. (4) To the fourth objection it may be answered that had anything of moment or importance been found in the last parcel of laws sent by Lord Vaughan, His Majesty's tender care for his subjects would not have permitted those Bills to be sent imperfect or defective in any necessary matter. (5) As to the distance of Jamaica from England, the Irish system was adopted for the Colony by advice of the Privy Council, and care was taken that no law necessary to the well being of the Colony should be omitted according to the experience of former Governments. It is not likely that Jamaica is subject to greater accidents than Ireland, so as to require more sudden and frequent change of laws in other cases than those provided for in cases of emergency or in other manner than is provided for in the King's Commission, whereby free access is granted to the inhabitants to make complaint to the Governor and Council of any defect in old laws or any reasons for making new ones. Such amendments or new enactments can then be modelled by the Governor, sent home, and retransmitted for enactment by the Assembly in due course. (6) The principle that laws must alter according to the interests of the Colony is recognised by the lodging of power with the Government to enact new laws with the approbation of the King and Privy Council in England and the Governor and Council in Jamaica. On urgent occasions power is given to raise money even without waiting for the King's consent. (7) The Assembly has doubtless tried to grasp all power as well as that of a deliberative voice in making laws, but not without encroachment on the royal prerogative and transgression of the bounds of loyalty and duty; witness their exorbitant and unwarrantable proceedings under Lord Vaughan, when they ordered and signed a warrant to the Marshal of the Island, the King's officer of justice, to stay and prevent execution of sentence on a notorious pirate and disturber of the King's peace. Further they have taken on themselves, in virtue of their deliberative power, to make laws contrary to those of England and imprison the King's subjects; and they have raised money by public Acts and disposed of the same without mention made of the King, a thing unprecedented in His Majesty's kingdoms. The question how far it was fit to entrust them with power which they have thus abused was considered when His Majesty determined to put a restraint on these enormities and take the reins of Government into his own hands, a decision which the Assembly, against their duty and allegiance, have challenged. (8) It is untrue that by the new system the Governor is rendered absolute; on the contrary he is more strictly accountable than ever, through his Commission and Instructions, to the King for all his most important actions. (9) Whether the royal prerogative be prejudiced or no by the new constitution is rather the King's business than the Assembly's. Lastly, we think that it would be a great satisfaction to the King's subjects in Jamaica to know what laws they are to be governed by, and an ease to the planters not to be obliged continually to attend the Assembly and re-enact old laws. The late power of making temporary laws could only be understood to endure until such wholesome laws, founded on many years' experience, should be agreed to by the people and enacted by the King as in all other Colonies. The people of Jamaica cannot pretend to greater privileges than those granted them by Charter or Act under the Great Seal, and have from the first been governed pursuant to the King's Instructions to the Governor according to his royal power, wherewith His Majesty has never yet parted by one authentic Act. The Assembly has no right to meet but by the Governor's permission, and that temporary and for probation. It is therefore surprising that they should regard as a right what was granted as a favour, thus discouraging future royal favours of the same kind, and treat all temporary and experimental constitutions as a resignation and devolution to them of the royal authority. Since, therefore, it is evident that the Assembly of Jamaica rejects the King's favours, and that the King's resolution is likely to be the measure of their respect and obedience, we recommend that the Governor be empowered to call another Assembly, and represent to it the expediency of accepting the laws transmitted by the King; and that in case of refusal the Governor be furnished with such powers as were formerly given to Colonel Doyley, the first Governor of Jamaica, and to other Governors since, whereby Lord Carlisle may be enabled to govern according to the laws of England, where the nature and constitution of the Colony permit the same, and in other cases to act by the advice of his Council, until further orders. Also that Lord Carlisle be instructed to send constant and particular reports of his proceedings.
Upon reading of the report and full debate His Majesty approved the same. Secretary Coventry directed to prepare suitable orders and instructions accordingly. 11½ pp. [Col Entry Bks., Vol. XXIX., p. 293, and Vol. XCV., pp. 299–307.]
May 31. 1010. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Read, the petition of Sir Francis Morton and others on behalf of the Leeward Islands, on the refusal of the French to ratify the West Indian Treaty of Neutrality (ante. No. 1007). Their Lordships, on reading the report of 25th April 1678 (ante, No. 679) on the state and strength of the Leeward Islands, think the demand of France for the inclusion of Jamaica and Barbadoes to be somewhat unreasonable, but defer further consideration pending the arrival of Mr. Crispe from France. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVI., pp. 17, 18.]
May 31. 1011. The King to Governor Lord Carlisle. Having learned the unwillingness of the Assembly of Jamaica to accept the body of laws lately sent from hence, we handed over the grounds and reasons of the Assembly for its refusal thereof to the Committee of Trade and Plantations, who having well weighed them, have given them such answers as do not only satisfy us but we are persuaded will convince the Assembly of Jamaica also. These we now transmit to you (ante, No. 1009), and order you to call an Assembly and represent to it the great convenience and expediency of accepting the laws which we have sent them. If they should still persevere in their refusal you will act according to the powers in your commission and instructions, or in other cases by the advice of your Council. 1½ pp. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XCV., pp. 297, 298.]
May 31.
Council Chamber.
1012. Lords of Trade and Plantations to Governor Lord Carlisle Your letters of 24th October and 15th November 1678 received (see ante, Nos. 814, 815, 827), acquainting us that the Assembly of Jamaica had thrown out the Bills transmitted under the Great Seal, and recommending the speedy dispatch of the Bills sent to Secretary Coventry through the offices here. We find that these Bills contain such clauses as were formerly disallowed by us, your Lordship being present, when transmitted by Lord Vaughan, as prejudicial to the King's rights and prerogative; one clause appropriating and disposing of the quit rents in the same terms as formerly gave the King such dissatisfaction; another declaring the laws of England to be in force which (as you cannot but remember) was postponed here after very serious deliberation, besides other causes for divers reasons unfit to be passed. We could not advise His Majesty to proceed otherwise than according to our report and the Order of Council thereupon (see ante, No. 1009). The other matters mentioned by you have likewise been considered and instructions ordered to be sent to you (see ante, No. 1002). There remains, therefore, but to show what has been defective on your part; that you have not reflected on your instructions which make you accountable to us for arms and ammunition in the magazines, entries of goods, revenue and expenditure, importation of negroes, number of planters and inhabitants fit to bear arms, their increase and decrease, trade of the Island, strength of your neighbours. Our general letter and inquiries of 25th March 1678 still remains unanswered; a duplicate has been sent pressing for speedy reply. But what most surprises us is that you should have informed us of the passing of a Bill of Impost and sent no copy thereof. We cannot do our full duty to His Majesty without full information on matters of moment. Signed, Anglesey, J. Bridgewater, Henry Coventry. 3½ pp. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXIX., p. 313.]