America and West Indies: January 1681

Pages 1-7

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 11, 1681-1685. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1898.

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January 1681

Jan. 2.
1. Sir William Stapleton to Lords of Trade and Plantations. The French Deputy Governor of St. Christophers informs me that Count de Blenac has ample power to include Barbados, Jamaica, and all this side of the tropic in the Treaty of Neutrality signed by him and me (see previous volume, No. 741 IX.) If the King will empower me or anyone else for the purpose, which would be much to the good of his subjects here, and no less to the increase of the American trade and revenue, I shall apply myself to the task with all the circumspection in my power. It is more obvious to act in it with less trouble and charge (sic) for the French General (Blenac) comes to St. Christophers once a year, and is now expected there, where I shall meet him either on our frontier or theirs. Count d'Estreés sailed home with his squadron three weeks ago, leaving three frigates to guard their plantations and trade. Postscript.—I humbly submit to you the annexed draft (missing) of a star or comet. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLVI., No. 82, and Col. Entry Book, Vol XLVI., p. 455. Duplicate, ibid., p. 460.]
Jan 4. 2. Answer of the Elders to the question propounded to them by the General Court assembled in Boston, 4th January 1680. We humbly conceive that this honourable Court should send an agent or agents to England fully instructed to answer any complaint against us. The King required us to do it, so we shall thereby show our obedience to him as in duty bound. Nor is Scripture without instances of those that have with good success asserted their innocency when adversaries have made complaint against them, Ezra IV., 3, 5, 11, &c., VI., 1, &c.; and we ourselves have found by experience that our sending agents for England hath been (through the Lord's mercy and blessing) a means of lengthening out our tranquillity. Secondly, We think that the Court should use the uttermost care and caution that no agents of ours shall act or have power to act anything that may have the least tendency towards yielding up or weakening the Government as by Patent established. It is our undoubted duty to abide by what rights and privileges the Lord our God by his merciful providence has bestowed on us, and whatever the event may be, the Lord forbid that we should be any way active in parting with them. Certified true copy "from the original delivered in by Mr. William Hubbard in the name of the Elders. 6th Jan. 1680. E. R. S." 1 p. Endorsed. [Col Papers, Vol. XLVI., No. 83.]
Jan 10.
Custom House.
3. Commissioners of Customs to Lords of Trade and Plantations. We have received your letter of 18th inst. (? ult.) respecting the Order in Council touching a cessation of planting tobacco in Virginia during 1681 (see previous volume, No. 1617). We observe that this question of cessation arises from a letter of Mr. Spencer's of 9th July last (previous volume, No. 1434) to Lord Sunderland, wherein he acquaints him of several Acts and Orders and an address praying for the cessation. But in the paper annexed to this letter, which we presume to be the address referred to, the Assembly only asks that the great quantity of tobacco may by some expedient most agreeable to the King's wisdom be abated, and does not so much as mention that of cessation, so that it may be doubted whether such an expedient would be acceptable to the poorer planters. It might be of advantage to the wealthier men in Virginia, and still more to the merchants who are engrossers here and have large stocks on their hands. But, as Mr. Spencer himself hints, we cannot but think that the King's customs will suffer heavily. We observe further that in his letter of 20th August (previous volume, No. 1486), Mr. Spencer mentions that the people are inclining to cohabitation as a principal means of abating the quantity and improving the quality of tobacco, that an Act has been passed to encourage it, and that it is likely to benefit alike the rich, the poor, and the King's customs. Again, Mr. Spencer in his former letter says that there are now on the ground the greatest crops ever known, which when added to the stock still in the Colony, will be as much as, if not more than, the ships can carry off in two years. But we are informed that there have been the like reports of great crops in former years, and that our shipping has rather wanted freight than the crops a sale. Again, most parts of Christendom are at present furnished with Virginian tobacco. If the Virginians cease to grow it, the Spaniards, Dutch, and French, may grow a greater quantity in their plantations and take the trade from us, to say nothing of the stimulus that would be given to the production of tobacco in England. The average receipts of the customs from tobacco in the last three years have been 100,000l. If the planting of tobacco should be stopped for a year, we doubt whether the greater part of this sum would not be lost, leaving out of account the loss to the shipping of the country. Signed, Ch. Cheyne, F. Millington, John Upton. Copy. 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLVI., No. 84.]
Jan. 13.
4. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Ordered, That Mr. Pane be furnished with copies of papers received from Sir Jonathan Atkins, 13th June 1678, respecting abuses he had suffered in Barbados. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVI., p. 244.]
Jan. 14. 5. John Jeffreys to Sir Leoline Jenkins. I take the liberty to trouble you with my poor sister's petition. She has had an order to receive the money she asks for on giving security to restore it, if the King should so adjudge it, but she has now made out the justice of her claim, by the oath of Colonel Moryson and others, and now begs for the King's final decision. Without it she cannot dispose of the money to any advantage, and she is still threatened by Lady Berkeley, with the solicitation of that pattern of virtue, Lord Culpeper. Signed. ½ p. Endorsed with address to Sir L. Jenkins. Annexed,
5. I. Petition of Susanna Jeffreys, widow, to the King. Recapitulating the quarrel between herself and Lady Berkeley over the salary claimed by each as due to her departed husband, and praying the King for a final determination of the question. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLVI. Nos. 85, 85 I.]
Jan. 15.
6. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Laws of Barbados received on 1st June 1679 read.
Boundaries of Mr. Penn's Patent as settled by Chief Justice North, with Sir J. Werden's alterations, read and approved. The whole patent to be reviewed next Wednesday (19th).
The memorial of the Dutch ambassador of 16/26 December last for restitution of Statia and Saba, read, also Sir W. Stapleton's report of 18th May. Agreed to recommend that the islands be restored, and that the Governors of the Caribbee Islands be ordered to take special care that no intercourse be permitted with these islands contrary to the Acts of Trade and Navigation. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVI., pp. 218, 219.]
Jan. 19.
7. "Mr. Daniel Gerard Reinerman's attestation under his own handwriting, offered to be sworn to, of the Governor of Santa Martha's carriage and words in relation to the English, endeavouring to persuade him, with the commodore of the Brandenburg squadron of ships, to take all English men and ships, right and wrong, and bring them into that port, etc." Dutch. 2 pp. Signed, D. Reinerman. Endorsed as above. "Recd. the 19 April 1681 from the E. of Carlisle." [Col. Papers, Vol. XLVI., No. 86.]
Jan. 22.
8. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Draft of Mr. Penn's Patent read. The Lords desire Chief Justice North to provide by fit clauses therein that all acts of sovereignty as to peace and war be reserved to the King, and that all Acts of Parliament concerning Trade and Navigation and the King's Customs be observed; also so to draw the patent in general as to consist with the King's interest and encourage settlers. Paper from the Bishop of London read, desiring that Mr. Penn be obliged by patent to admit a chaplain of his Lordship's appointment upon the request of any number of planters, and referred to Chief Justice North. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVI., pp. 249, 250.]
Jan. 24.
9. Petition of Roger Cowley and Richard Trant, agents to the farmers of the four and a half per cent. duty, to Sir Jonathan Atkins. On 9th June 1680 your Excellency ordered us to furnish the Council of the Island with an account of all goods entered outwardbound in the office of the four and a half per cent. by the 9th September, and so to continue from quarter to quarter. We should readily comply could we do so without leave of the farmers, but we fear to commit a breach of faith till that leave be given. For the farmers are not bound to render an account oftener than once a year; the rendering of quarterly accounts would cost the farmers 100l. a year, which we dare not incur without permission; and the annual account rendered at home will surely furnish such information as is required. Certified copy. Large sheet. Endorsed, "Recd. from Mr. Stede 24 Jan. 1680–1." [Col. Papers, Vol. XLVI., No. 87.]
Jan. 25. 10. The Council of Barbados to Lords of Trade and Plantations. We enclose duplicate of our letter of 23rd September last, showing the papers that were then transmitted; and we now send the Acts Orders of Council, and other affairs transacted since that date. Signed, Jonathan Atkins, Richard Howell, Benjamin Knight, Samuel Newton, John Peers, Henry Walrond, Thomas Walrond, Thomas Wardall, John Witham. Duplicate. 1 p. Endorsed, "Recd. 4 June 1681. Quarterly accounts wanting." [Col. Papers, Vol. XLVI., No. 88.]
Jan 27. 11. "Colonel Long's draft of a letter for Jamaica." It has been made evident to us by the oath of Samuel Long, William Beeston, Peter Beckford, Jonathan Ashurst, and Samuel Nash, merchants, on full examination of the matter in our Privy Council, that divers insolencies and enormities have been committed by several persons belonging to Jamaica as privateers and freebooters, not only to the great danger and reproach of the said Island, but also (if it be not timely and effectually remedied) to the irreparable damage of its honest and industrious inhabitants engaged in planting or merchandise. These cannot be supported and encouraged as they ought to be if their hands be weakened by withdrawing the strength necessary for their preservation and depreciating the effects of their labour; and thereby also a door is opened to piracy and rapine. Being resolved to redress all such mischief, we hereby signify our high displeasure at such bold, licentious, and unlawful practices and the persons that are guilty thereof, and we strictly command all our officers, military and civil, to repress such mischiefs for the future by all lawful means; and we order further that the said Colonel Long and others be preserved from all indignities, injustice, and violence from the said freebooters, and on the contrary receive regard and encouragement. Endorsed with the above heading. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLVI., No. 89.]
[Jan. ?] 12. Draft of a portion of a letter. "That upon the examination of Samuel Long, Peter Beckford, &c., many truths have been discovered to His Majesty and his Council which may seem to have reflection upon several of his officers in Jamaica, by discovering their faults, who remaining in their commands will be apt to take revenge or injure them in their concerns unless His Majesty will be pleased to signify that the said persons have done their duty, in truly informing and commanding all officers, both military and civil, that they do no injury nor injustice to them in their persons or interest, on pain of His Majesty's displeasure." ½ p. In the same handwriting as preceding paper and evidently emanating from Colonel Samuel Long. [Col. Papers, Vol. XCIX., No. 90.]
Jan. 27.
Port Royal.
13. Deputy Governor Sir Henry Morgan to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Since the beginning of November last, there hath rid at anchor in this harbour one Captain John Crocker, commander of a small Spanish ship of ten guns and eight "patereras," and a hundred men licensed by the Company of Seville to trade in the American seas for two years. It now waits for the Royal African Company's ships with negroes, intending to sail next week to Carthagena. One ship has arrived and another is looked for every hour, having only touched at Barbados for refreshments. There is no question but that Jamaica will gain much by this trade with the Spaniard, wherein the Government does not fail to give encouragement. About 20th December last, arrived here four small frigates, between sixteen and thirty guns, under the command of four Flushingers, Captain Cornelius Reers, Admiral, belonging to the Duke of Brandenburg, having letters of reprisal against the Spaniard. They desired leave to come into this harbour and refit, bringing with them two prizes, one laden with Spanish wines from the Canaries, another with tallow, and a small galliot hoy with salt and brandy. They urged the Duke's alliance with England for permission to sell their prizes, that by the produce thereof they might purchase all necessary refreshments for their present expedition. On this I directed the Secretary of the Island and the Naval Officer to examine every ship's proportion of several kinds of the stores that they wanted, upon which they reported to me their several demands, amounting to near 800l. I thereupon gave them leave to sell their prizes, which they did, and have ordered the prize ship laden with wines to sail for Europe in a few days with some English ships from this port. The four frigates sailed hence on Saturday last in company, bound eastward, to cruise and search the coast of Hispaniola first and then the Main. While they were here they were not more pleased with their opportunity of refreshment than the spaniard was pained by the apprehension that they would intercept him. They would certainly have done so (the temptation being so high) had I not very pressingly interposed for his protection, which they then as graciously granted, to the great satisfaction of the Spaniard. He will leave in a few days for Carthagena. The Brandenburgers assured me that the King of Denmark would very speedily send a larger force on the same errand as themselves, to gain that satisfaction from the Spaniards which is denied in Europe. For want of copies of the several treaties with the respective allies of England, I am at a loss how to guide my conduct. I now act by the advice of the Council, as our prudence and discretion may best direct us, but I beg for instructions on this point by the earliest opportunity, for I know not how soon I may need to use them. Upon the whole matter, the Spanish interest is strangely shocked all around us, and nothing can preserve it from being lost unless they gain the protection of England, which hath its great advantage from the natural situation of this Island, in the very centre of the American seas, with a commodious harbour and such large and plentiful collections of stores for the service as are found in no other part of the West Indies. I humbly submit this to your Lordship's pleasure to be debated with the Earl of Carlisle, who has full knowledge of the matter, so important to this Government. Meanwhile, the Spaniards continues their wonted unkindness to the English in these seas, taking generally all our ships that they can master at sea or circumvent in harbour, refusing any reparation of any kind to us, who deny none to them whenever they address this Government; "which is much countenanced from a graceful digestion of a full auditorie in a new church which we entered into on last New Year's day, to the great satisfaction of the inhabitants as well as strangers" (sic).
Unless I receive the King's orders speedily to call an assembly, the Government will be cramped for revenue, which expires at the end of March next. Your Lordships' care and kindness will be necessary to prevent this. We have had no certain intelligence of the French fleet these three months, so that we know not where they are at present. I keep the regiment at Port Royal duly exercised, four companies always upon the guard, and our lookouts to windward, so that we are not likely to be surprised. Captain Heywood, Commander of His Majesty's ship Norwich, in November seized an interloper, which since hath been condemned in the Court of Admiralty. Being at the caption sole judge of the Court of Admiralty myself, I thought fit to resign my power and appoint John White, Esq., to succeed me therein, who formerly held that station in Sir Thomas Lynch's time. But notwithstanding all our vigilance, some interlopers do escape, and landing their negroes, distribute them in the plantations near adjacent and so avoid seizure. One Captain Daniel did this last week, and left only a bare ship to be seized by the Naval Officer, which was done accordingly by virtue of the Act of Navigation.
I received by Captain Bennett your Lordships' commands in your circular letter (see previous volume, No. 1533), with the inquiries. I have issued orders to Mr. Thomas Martin, His Majesty's Receiver-General, for an account of the revenue, and His Majesty's Surveyor-General for an account of the island. I have also given orders for a general muster throughout the island against the sailing of the next ships. The rolls of the King's two standing companies are returned by the present ship. I hope to send by ships sailing about three months hence "such a scenographie of the Point as shall be of such satisfaction to His Majesty and your Lordships as yet never was presented from these parts, which since His Excellency's departure hath been the curious endeavour of His Majesty's Surveyor-General and his deputies." In St. Thomas there is a church and minister; in St. David's the like; both at Port Royal, and so in St. Andrew's; a church and minister in St. Katherine's; the like in St. John's; a church building in St. Dorothy's but yet no minister; a minister in Clarendon and the church building; in St. Elizabeth's a minister but no church; for all parishes on the north side neither church nor minister. The settlements there are not much above five years' standing, but they improve much, and will provide for their religion as soon as their condition will stand the charge. The burials and christenings are difficult to return where there is no registry. Being at a distance the people bury in their own plantations, and forbear christening some years till the accidental arrival of the minister. It is no ordinary trouble to me that your Lordships should expect from me more than is in my power, who to my power shall always be obedient to your Lordships. Signed. Inscribed, Recd. 8 April 1681 per Captain Bennett. Read 14 April 1681. 6 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLVI., No. 91, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXIX., pp. 468–473.]
Jan. 27. 14. Duplicate of above. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLVI., No. 92.]
Jan. 27.
Port Royal.
15. Sir Henry Morgan to the Earl of Sunderland. Having not had the honour or happiness to receive any commands from your Lordship since the departure of Lord Carlisle, I enclose copy of my letter to the Lords of Trade and Plantations, and earnestly beg you to send me copy of the treaties therein mentioned for my guidance. Lord Carlisle will make clear to you the interest of England in countenancing this Government, which has outdone all other colonies in progress, and in powers of defence and offence. Your Lordships' intelligence of the alteration of the European purposes and interests upon these parts would be a favour of great value to me. Signed. 1½ pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLVI., No. 93.]