America and West Indies: August 1682, 16-31

Pages 276-291

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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August 1682

Aug. 16.
654. Governor Sir William Stapleton to Lords of Trade and Plantations. I beg your indulgence for not answering earlier to your letter of 5th March. The reply depended mostly on answers from the other Islands, whose officers are so slow and negligent that unless I go to them for the purpose, as I am forced to do at great expense once or twice a year, I may expect an answer from Europe sooner than from them. No sooner is my back turned on them, especially on Antigua, than everything is forgotten. Thank you for representing the arrears of our pay, now running into the fourth year. Our neighbours are never two months in arrear. I I shall apply the 750l. of the fort money which we have received to the objects directed by you, as far as it will cover them. To make the passing of Acts alike in all the Islands, I hope to meet a General Assembly of two or three of the Council and the like number of the representatives of each Island at Antigua in November next. My reasons for believing that the Act of extent impeded the settlement of Antigua was because it discourages trade. Many considerable adventurers from London and elsewhere have sent their factors there, and converted their employers' goods into acquisitions of plantations and slaves, by which means ships went home empty. I could give many more reasons, but they are now superfluous, for the last time I was there I passed the Act herein enclosed, which will avert such inconveniences. I have several other Acts which I cannot send until they are drawn up according to your orders. I have already had a refusal of a perpetual pecuniary law, for the people love to be courted, and to have a precarious government; but I shall not fail to prepare the measure at the next Assembly. The Commissions of Oyer and Terminer are and always have been issued under the hand of the Commander-in-Chief. I know nothing of the Act of Montserrat to which you refer; it must have been sent inadvertently. All fines and forfeitures are, by Acts passed since my time, applied to the King's service in some form or other, but for the future shall be as you direct, in terminis. Those that are past their labour are sometimes fined, and those that are not [fined] have wives and children. I plead not at all for single men fined (sic). After the hurricane season I propose to go or send others against the Indians, but I want a vessel of countenance in case of meeting with any of our neighbours' men-of-war, who have not been wanting to affront the King's flag when they durst, both at sea and ashore. Mons. Gabaret is in these parts with four men-of-war. He passes the hurricane season on the Spanish coast; I expect him at St. Christophers in October, when Count de Blenac returns to Europe. Holograph. Signed. 2 pp. Endorsed, with a long précis. Recd. 27th. Read 28th October 1682. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 26, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVII., pp. 63–66]
[Aug. 16.] 655. Particulars of the guns mounted in Fort Charles, Fort James, and Fort Rupert, Port Royal; thirty-eight in the first, twenty-six in the second, fifty-two in the third. 1½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. from Sir Thos. Lynch, 16 Aug. 1682. Copy sent to the Master of the Ordnance, 13 Jan. 1683. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 27.]
Aug. 17. 656. The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina. One hundred and twenty-five articles. This is the third set of constitutions (see ante, No. 496). [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXI., pp. 47–64.]
Aug. 18. 657. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The Assembly, at the Governor's suggestion, brought in an Act supplemental to the Act for raising money, increasing the salary of the Treasurer appointed thereunder. The Act was thrice read and passed. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XI., p. 550.]
Aug. 18. 658. Journal of Assembly of Barbados. Ordered, that the allowance to the Treasurer under the Act for raising money for the fortifications be raised to 8 per cent. Bill to supplement that Act read and passed. Adjourned to 3rd October. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XIII., pp. 500, 501.]
Aug. 19.
659. The King to Lord Baltimore. We think that the boundary between your land and William Penn's cannot by any method be so certainly effected as by an admeasurement of two degrees North from Watkins' Point, the express South bounds of your patent, and already so settled by Commissioners between Virginia and Maryland. We recommend William Penn to your friendly offices herein, and would have you as soon as possible set down your northern boundary with him by an admeasurement of the two degrees granted in your patent, sixty English miles to a degree, from the southern boundary of Maryland as already settled. Countersigned, Conway. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XCIII., pp. 168a, 169.]
Aug. 24. 660. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Sir William Stapleton's letter of 18th June read (see No. 572). The Lords agree to recommend that the pay of the captain and ship's company of the Deptford be stopped, and to put it to the King whether Captain Billop should not be recalled.
Petition of the Governor and Company of Massachusetts to the King read (see No. 662); after which their agents Joseph Dudley and John Richards were called in, who assured the Lords of the submission of the Colony and were ordered to bring in this day week an account in writing of their compliance with the King's various orders.
Sir Thomas Lynch's letter of 12th June read (see No. 552).
Governor Robert Clarke's commission to the pirate Coxon read. Ordered that the Proprietors of the Bahama Islands attend this day week to answer for the proceedings of their Governor. Sir Thomas Lynch to be informed of all proceedings.
Petition of Peter Pain of the French ship La-Trompeuse read, together with Sir Henry Morgan's pass for delivery of the ship to one of the King of France's agents (see Nos. 365, 366). Copy of the letter to be sent to the Commissioner of Customs. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVII., pp. 44–50.]
Aug. 24.
661. Report of Lords of Trade and Plantations to the King. We have received from Colonel Stapleton the report of the capture of an interloper by the ketch Quaker [Deptford], and of the subsequent embezzlement of her cargo by the captain, together with an abstract of the depositions of witnesses concerning the same. We recommend that the Commissioners of the Admiralty be ordered to stop the pay of Captain Billop and his men until they have made satisfaction. We submit it also whether the captain deserves to continue in your service, and whether he should not be at once summoned home to answer these charges. Draft. 1½ pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 28.]
[Aug. 24.] 662. Petition of the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay to the King. We are deeply grateful for the favours of your father and yourself, by the sense whereof we are the more deeply concerned lest through any administrations of ours and misrepresentations of others the same should be changed towards us. We beg you therefore to consider that the difficulties of settling a wilderness may have occasioned some irregularity of law among us, which arose not from pride but from inadvertence. None the less we crave pardon and promise adherence to our charter in future. We have sent over Joseph Dudley and John Richards for our Agents, who will tell you what we have done to alter the laws objected to by your law officers. We also send an address from the inhabitants who live within the compass of Mr. Mason's pretended claims, which claims appear to them to be very unreasonable. We therefore pray for their security against the said Mason. We also humbly represent that our purchase of Maine was made, not to keep the province out of your hands, but for the good of your subjects. We beg your favourable consideration hereof. Signed, Simon Bradstreet, Governor of the Massachusetts Company. 1 p. Endorsed and inscribed. Recd. 24th August 1682. From the Agents. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 29, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXI., pp. 143–145.]
[Aug. 28.] 663. Petition of James, Earl of Doncaster and Dalkeith. Playing for a grant of Florida, Cape Florida, and Guiana, to himself and heirs, on condition of settling the same. Subscribed, Order of the King in Council. Whitehall, 28th August 1682. Referring the above petition to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed, L. Jenkins. Endorsed. Presented by Sec. Jenkins, 31st Aug. 1682. Read Sept. 12, 1682. Enclosed,
663. I. A further explanation in nine heads of the particulars of the territory and of the Government. ¾ p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., Nos. 30, 30 I.]
[Aug. 28.] 664. Petition of Abraham Langford to the King. Petitioner having had long experience of the West Indies was asked by the Spanish Ambassador to undertake a command for clearing the French out of Hispaniola, but would not accept it, as your Majesty disapproved. You granted petitioner, however, the Patent of Clerk of the Naval Office of Barbados, to which he has appointed his son as deputy. Prays grant of the office to that son after his own death. On the margin. Mem.—The petitioner is dead since this petition was drawn. His Majesty will remember his if he be told that this was the man who prosecuted him with the Guaicum powder. Below. A reference of the petition to the Lords of Trade and Plantations for their Report. Whitehall. 28th August 1682. Signed, L. Jenkins. The whole a copy. 1 p. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 31.]
[Aug.] 665. Petition of George Warburton of Gray's Inn, gentleman, to the King, for the post of Clerk of the Naval office of Barbados, Vacant through the death of Abraham Langford. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 32.]
Aug. 29. 666. Sir Richard Dutton to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Many thanks for your favourable representation of my services to the King. It would kindle me to further efforts, but my health is much impaired by the heat, and owing to the daily struggle with business, I have not had a day's perfect health since my arrival This sickness grows on me and I have asked for three or four months' leave in the spring, which will restore me. Meanwhile, I report current business. The establishment of the Court of Exchequer has had a very good effect, and has eased the Government much, without a penny of expense to the King. For instance I lately by accident recovered some papers of account by which I was enabled to charge one Colonel Codrington, the principal man of the faction here, with having received, during his Deputy-Governor-ship in William Lord Willoughby's time, several sums due to the King and unaccounted for either to him or Sir Jonathan Atkins. My small experience of the world tells me that the same methods that are used against a mutineer in a regiment or army may be employed in part against an incendiary in a State, namely, quickness and resolution in apprehending both. As to execution, the cases differ, for the soldier's often admits of no delay, while the other may have time to obtain mercy. I have in some measure been quick to strike at the head of a factious party, and have been as successful as ever I had anticipated. It makes the hearts of the factious to ache to see the most popular man in the Assembly in trouble. I caused the Attorney-General to lay an information in the Court of Exchequer against him as a debtor to the King; and on a trial by twelve indifferent jurymen, a verdict was given against him and judgment passed for 579l. 10s. Od. due to the King. I have sent a full account of the trial to Mr. Blathwayt, so shall not repeat it here. When judgment was passed Colonel Codrington produced an account that the King was in his debt over 1,200l. for money laid out for the public during his Deputy-Governorship, and prayed that it might be audited by the King's auditor. This was granted; but the auditor made his return according to the verdict of the jury. He then addressed himself to me, and received the answer that if he had disbursed any money by the King's order or for the King's use, the Lords of the Council or the Treasury would produce them, and that I should do him justice; but that I could not remit a penny of what was duly recovered without the royal order. This proceeding has been of great benefit. You know how long I have struggled with an obstinate and perverse people, and now I have good reason to hope that I have entirely conquered. They are now fully satisfied that I shall not loose one punctilio of the royal prerogative, nor one penny of his rights. I have always been tender not to invade their just rights, and more I will not grant them. So that contrary to my expectations they presented me last week with a Bill for an import upon liquors and some other commodities, but would not give it the title of an excise; for that is a thing which they have opposed for years to the great dishonour of the King and detriment of the country, and the same reason that urges them to it now should have been doubly cogent with them before. I told them, however, that before I would assent to it, they must concur with me in two things: first, as to the form, that it was to be granted to the King according to the style of enacting laws is England; second, as to the time, that I could not pass it for less than one whole year. To my great surprise they frankly yielded both points, and gave me a present of 1,500l. out of the money raised by the Bill, telling me that they were sorry for miscarriages in the past and would be found very dutiful in future. I answered that I would judge their intentions not by their words but by their deeds. I am well assured that Colonel Codrington was the principal mover of this Bill and of its passing through the Assembly. Since then he has been with me, and promised compliance with my orders in future; and he begged that I would implore your intercession with the King for the remission of this great debt, else his family will be ruined. I recommend him, as a hearty penitent, to compassion, and have suspended the issue of execution against him till I hear of the King's further pleasure.
As to your order to submit the names and characters of men suitable for Councillors, I beg that I may do so by word of mouth, as I hope to return home shortly. I have sent to Sir Leoline Jenkins the names of two persons that I desire may succeed me in case of my death, viz., John Witham and Edwyn Stede, both men of loyalty, integrity, and zeal for the Church and fit for all commands but the military. I hope that the King will appoint but one at a time, Mr. Witham first, and the other to succeed in case of his death. William Lord Willoughby, returning home on leave once, left three deputies behind him, which made great confusion. You refer to a letter instructing me how to govern myself if the Leeward Islands should go to war with the Indians, but no such letter has reached me. It long seemed to me strange that in this Island, where there are so many rich residents, there should be no monument of any one man's charity. I find on inquiry that there are many considerable charitable legacies lying in the hands of various persons of which no account has been called for for ten or twenty years past, to the great discouragement of others who are deterred from making charitable bequests by seeing the rich alone profit thereby. I issued a Commission to six or seven able men who, I knew, had no part in the concealment of these funds, to inquire into all pious and charitable donations, examinig witnesses and juries, and, as they made full discoveries of any, to decree them. They have been so diligent that in a month's time I shall have a full account and return from all the parishes, and doubt not to recover four or five thousand pounds in money, which will be decreed by the Commissioners. I shall then take all imaginable care that the money shall be applied according to the intentions of the benefactors. This proceeding has encouraged two gentlemen to give 1,000l. to build a free school, and for the maintenance of six poor boys. In October I hope to review the whole of the Militia. They are now clothed like the King's army in red coats, black hats. I intend, at the same time, to model the horse and reduce half of them to dragoons, which would be of far greater use to the Island in case of real need. I have also prevailed with the Assembly to give 1,000l. to buy land and build a magazine, and I hope also a State-house, and this at their own charge and not the King's, a thing unheard of before. 5 pp. Unsigned. Endorsed with a long précis. Recd. 7 Nov. Read, 25 Nov. 1682. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 33, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. VII., pp. 133–140.]
Aug. 29. 667. Sir Richard Dutton to [Secretary Sir Leoline Jenkins]. I send the names of two gentlemen to succeed me in the case of my death. They should not be appointed simultaneously (see preceding abstract). Mr. Witham is a man of great ability to manage all the civil government, but he is unacquainted with the military part, or he would be a wonderful Governor. However, he is as good in this respect as any one else in the Island, for there is not one person of quality who has ever served in any army, and I have put the Militia into such order that he will have little to do during my absence except to obey the instructions that I shall give him. I write with great difficulty, being indisposed by the great heat, which takes my strength and stomach from me. Holograph. Signed. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 34.]
Aug. 29.
668. Sir Thomas Lynch to Lords of Trade and Plantations. I have written to you twice since my arrival, and several times to Mr. Blathwayt. This may not be satisfactory, but I have been sick ever since I entered the tropics, and am still ill and afflicted with giddiness in the head, which renders me not so "recollected" as I ought to be when I write to you. I have sent you an account of our military stores. The forts we have inspected and found in bad condition. Part of Fort Charles I have ordered to be pulled down, and battlements to be raised with brick. The new powderhouse is repairing, and new wheel-carriages making, and stone is sent for from England to lay the platforms, which are rotten in all the forts and lines. When this is done and Fort Charles made as strong as possible, and another line built under it to the seaboard of Port Royal, the fortification will be very strong. When the violent heats are over I intend to order a muster of troops and regiments, and send you an abstract of their rolls, which are not so full as heretofore. We have lost many men by the sallies of the privateers, and few or no servants come from England. They write that my Lord Chief Justice will permit none to come, though they are willing and go to acknowledge it before the Magistrate as the law directs. I wish you would move him to be less severe to us, for those idle people do mischief in London, and would do good here. As I have already written, I know not what to say to the laws, but, since they are before you, I beg your instructions. Possibly, when the Assembly meets on the 21st of next month, I may hint to them how necessary and reasonable it is to amend the Act of the Revenue, and, if they ask my opinion, shall give it frankly, that the laws will not pass. For the King cannot in honour pass a body of laws so tacked [to a money Bill] contrary to all reason and precedent, nor in prudence can he allow of Assemblies not summoned by himself or his Governors. Commissions of that nature have been fatal at home, and may be inconvenient here in time, though I believe not. The people are well enough disposed, but by letters from England and evil designs here have been spirited into extraordinary distrusts and jealousies. So I conclude that they will do nothing till they hear from you, and but little after. I shall obey your orders exactly on all points, but must presume to say that the more latitude you give me the more service I shall be able to do the King, and the sooner I shall settle the people. You judged rightly for the King's honour that no short Bill of Revenue should be accepted, but, with your leave, I think a perpetual one against his interest. For, without their Act, I doubt not to find enough, after some considerable time, to pay the Governor, Chief Justice, and Auditor-General. As to the fortifications and other contingencies, they are the Island's concern and must be neglected at its peril. I hope shortly to give you an account of the Revenue, though imperfect, for either embezzlement or bad methods makes the Collector unwilling, and the Deputy-Auditor unable, to put the accounts into order. The Collector is aggrieved, and says he has passed them to the Council and therefore they ought not to be inspected. His unwillingness has made me give positive orders that the books, or copies, be given to the Deputy-Auditor, who is to examine everything since Lord Vaughan's time, and to report first to me and the Council, and afterwards to the Auditor-General in England. I told the Collector I understand the method to be this:—It is his duty to receive all the revenue, whether the King's or raised by the country; and this money, being issued out by the Governor or Governor in Council, he is to submit, as all accountants in England do, to the audit and examination of the King's Auditor-General, who bring it to us, and afterwards remits it to you and to the Treasury twice a year. This method will inform your Lordships, ease me and secure him, for I suppose he can have no quietus but from the Lords of the Treasury. I am writing to them for their opinion on this method. I have ordered the Clerk of Council to send you by next conveyance the Minutes of Council from 14th May last to 14th instant, and to transmit the rest (which has been omitted) according to your order. The officers all regret writing so much, but your Lordships shall be obeyed, and for the future the copies shall be sent more frequently. No accounts of land taken up or of quit-rents can be had of the Surveyor-General, for you will see by the Acts of the Council that the office is suspended. The Assembly having imposed security of five thousand pounds and allowed but twopence an acre fee, and some of his deputies having been dishonest, he acquiesced in our orders. So I am now appointing Surveyors to the different provinces under oath to do their office faithfully, and under security of three hundred pounds. The country is mightily eased and satisfied by this constitution. When the Council meets, I intend to propose the appointment of Collectors for the King's quit-rents in every parish, for the Receiver-General has done nothing, nor can he, for the Island is great, and the poor cannot come to Port Royal or St. Jago to pay. Many have great arrears, and use all tricks to put off payment. There is abundance of land that cannot be discovered by one at a distance, nor can one man account with all the Island. But I intend that an intelligent man in every precinct shall, by the records (which are imperfect), the vestries, the surveys, and the neighbourhood, discover every parcel of land, and bring it to a rental within two or three years' time. Now nobody can guess what it is. The Collector must be content that these persons receive the ten per cent. he expects till ordered otherwise by the Lords of the Treasury, to whom I shall report when we come to a final resolution. I mention so much now that you may see that nobody can now guess what the King's rents and other dues are, though I hope that, when faithfully collected, they will prove not inconsiderable. In obedience to your orders I have given the naval officer instructions to send you copies of shipping, exports, imports, &c., every six months. You will find these returns considerable, for there is a great trade here. Much cotton, sugar, indigo, &c, is made in the Island, and there are hopes of vast quantities of cacao in a few years. We consider some land in St. George's on the north side so proper for it that it will not blast (sic). If we are right, five hundred pounds' expense will raise more than five hundred pounds a year.
We have much money, and a great quantity of hides, cacao, &c., imported by our trading sloops. We have about twenty of these, from fifteen to forty-five tons; they are built here, admirable sailers, well armed and treble manned, some carrying twenty or thirty hands, who receive forty shillings a month. They carry from here some few negroes, and dry goods of all sorts, and sell them in the islands, and all along the coast of the Main in bays, creeks, and remote places, and sometimes even where there are Governors, as St. Jago, St. Domingo, &c., for they are bold where they are poor. But at Carthagena, Portobello, Havana, &c., the Spaniards admit no one. This trade were admirable were we not undersold by great Dutch ships that haunt the coast of the Main and islands, and were we not fearful of pirates, which is the reason why the ships are so strongly manned. These and other expenses and hazards carry away much of the profit. This trade employs all the privateers that are come in, and would bring in the rest had I your Lordships' order to connive at it. I beg you therefore to give it me if you think it reasonable.
I have had dreadful apprehensions of Governor Clarke's letters of marque, so on my arrival sent you the commission he gave Coxon, who came in and lived honestly under Lord Carlisle's or Sir Henry's Act of Oblivion. That Governor has since sent me the clause in the Lords Proprietors' patent, which he thinks justifies his illegal commissions. I sena you not only his letter, commission, and the clause, but my answer, which may possibly be judged too aigre or imperious, considering him as an independent Governor and preacher, but I hope that it may stop his granting these commissions, which might ruin us before you could give any crders thereon. Besides, these Babama Islands were once under this Government and must return to the King's, or they will remain nests of robbers. Since I wrote to him, his most considerable subject, a Quaker, tells me that the first outrage was done by his order, and by his subjects, on a Spanish barque that came to fish for silver at the wreck. They still continue at it, and often get ten or twelve pound weight a man, mostly by the ingenuity of a Bermudian, who has a tub that he puts perpendicularly into the sea so that it does not fill, but he can put his head into it when he wants breath, by which means he stays three-quarters of an hour under water. I have forbidden our cutting logwood in the Bay of Campeachy and Honduras, your Lordships having justly declared that the country being the Spaniards' we ought not to cut the wood. There is not the least pretence or reason for it. It is now become a greater drug than fustic, and is almost all carried to Hamburgh, New England, Holland, &c., which injures us and the customs and trade of the nation. I have, therefore, sent to order the men up, and to tell them that I permit no more vessels to go that I can hinder. We have lost abnndance of men, and suppose two or three hundred of them to be now in Yucatan and Nueva Españna. I have had a lamentable petition from some of them, and a young fellow the other day gave me the narrative that I now send (see ante, No. 385). I gave him no favourable answer, for I could not seem to encourage unlawful acts, and I think that what is done against the Spaniards is to our own prejudice. However, I think that the men should not be made slaves, and that the capitulation at Trist should be kept. When I have a frigate or other ship and the season is fitting, I think of sending to Vera Cruz; but the simple and short way is for our ambassador at Madrid to procure an order for their delivery and send me an authentic copy, or they will pretend that they can do nothing without an order from Spain. Among abundance of irregular patents lately passed I send you copy of one that grants to Mr. Powell, the Deputy Secretary, and to two idle surveyors, all the mines that chance to be discovered for twenty years, for no consideration but a tenth. Lord Carlisle had an instruction to lease the mines which made Sir Henry Morgan think he might do this. It seems to me the only expedient to make people conceal, or, at any rate, never search for ore, and may occasion great disorder and vast prejudice to the King if anything should be discovered. I have ordered your letters to me and to the Council to be recorded, and, when our affairs are more settled and my health better, I will answer as well as I can your many queries.
A week ago a ship of the Duke of Courland's arrived with his agent, Mons. Hesselberg, the master and all the seamen being English. They came from Tobago which the Duke pretends to own, and to settle, it should seem, with English subjects; for this ship was in distress at BB [Barbados], and there found credit for five hundred pounds to fit her out. Thence she went to Tobago with one hundred and thirty-five English passengers. She was to load wood and return thither for more, but was driven here by bad weather, where, as she has no credit, she must be laid up and sold. They tell me some letter of the King's procured them credit and favour at Barbados, which I wonder at, for every new colony is a prejudice to the King, and his subjects settled there are lost. Tobago is but forty-five leagues south-west of Barbados, and if a little settled and secured it will be sufficiently supplied by the Dutch, who can sell European goods thirty per cent. cheaper than we and will pay dearer for American goods. So that this Island will supply Barbados with sloops, and ruin the trade with England. The neighbourhood of Statia, Saba, Curacoa, and the French Islands to our Leeward Islands has done the customs and trade of England much hurt. Our French neighbours will not hurt us that way, for they are the most "rapinious and unpracticable" people of that nation. They have piratically taken two or three of our vessels and a sloop the other day, but the ship stopping at Petit Guavos to deliver a letter was confiscated. The French are settled all round Hispaniola, but thinly, and plant only tobacco. They intend cruising chiefly, and are so mated that one stays and plants while the other goes abroad to seek booty. I cannot speak certainly of their numbers, but reckon them about three thousand. If they take St. Domingo, in a short time they will ruin the West Indies and us. I have already suggested that it would be well to find out whether the French King allows these commission. Shortly before my arrival the ship Trompeuse, belonging to the King of France, sailed hence. She came laden with clayed sugar, and was brought by one Paine. He pretended he was a Protestant and come to settle, that the goods were his own, and that the King had security in France for his ship. Believing this, they let him inload and sell his cargo custom free. Two merchants, Mr. Banks and Mr. Ward, hired the ship and sent her to the Bay of Honduras to load logwood, sail for Hamburgh, and then be delivered to the French Agent. A French pirate hearing of it followed her in a sloop, invited first the master and the mate aboard him, and then sent and seized the ship. He has carried her to some creek or bay where he is fitting her for a man-of-war. I hope this may be the last we hear of the Governor's intriguing us in disputes with the King of France, which I think was very ill considered. By my former report of two of our sloops being taken and their men murdered by pirates you will judge it necessary to have a frigate here. If one is not come I hope you will move the King to send one; otherwise we can neither awe the pirates nor check the interlopers. Last week came into port one Daniel, who had landed one hundred and twenty negroes to eastward. I sent to seize the ship, but they say he came to me under twenty-four hours after he landed the negroes. The Royal African Company's factors would not seize, because they have a great trial going forward this sessions and most people judge that they will be cast. I fear judges and jury will not allow seizure after the negroes are landed and marked, and the property has changed hands. I have done and shall do my best to serve the Company, but if the interlopers cannot be brought into the Admiralty-Court nothing more can be done here than in England or Barbados. I suppose that is the reason why they have a frigate there. We want a frigate for both pirates and interlopers. They tell me there are seventy interlopers on the coast of Africs. Their "opiniatretie" is extraordinary and may choke the charter or hurt the Royal Company, but it will not harm the King's customs or English trade, for every negro's labour that produces cotton, sugar, or indigo is worth twenty pounds a year to the Customs, and four times as much in the case of cacao, if it keeps up its value. Moreover, it is impossible to hinder the importation of negroes, for the Island is large and slaves as needful to a planter as money to a courtier, and as much coveted. I think the Company has imported about fifteen hundred since I came, which were sold for ready money in a day; and many men that had money went away without any slaves. Holograph. 13 pp. Endorsed with a long précis. Recd. 20 Dec. 1682. Read 18 Jan. 1682–[3]. [Col. Papers. Vol. XLIX., No. 35, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXX., pp. 78–91.] Annexed,
568 I. Sir Thomas Lynch to the Governor of New Providence. I have received yours of 10th July, with Coxon's commission, and the clause on your Lords' charter that seems, in your opinion, to justify the letter-of-marque. In my opinion it does not justify it, and I say so frankly because you desire my advice, and it is for the King's service and your safety that you be not deceived on so arduous a point as that. I do not presume to judge what the King has granted to your Lords, nor can any one well do so on a particular clause without seeing the whole charter, for such clauses are often explained or retrenched by what precedes or follows. If you have been injured, and your Lords have given you instructions to do yourself right on the Spaniards or the King's allies, contrary to the conditions which the King has sworn, which oblige us to complain to London and Madrid before letters-of-marque are to be granted, then they must know that the King has alienated his sovereignty, and that they can answer it by law, You may thus believe yourself sufficiently justified and be safe in following their orders, but not in expounding their charter after such a manner. For, even if you have a power against pirates and savages that may attack you, it will hardly be concluded in England that the Spaniards are such, particularly when it is known that your Islands are peopled by men who are intent rather on pillaging Spanish wrecks than planting, that they carry on their work by Indians kidnapped or entrapped on the coast of Florida, and that all the violence you complain of arises only from disputes about these wrecks, from which the English and French have driven the Spaniards contrary to natural right. For the sea ought to be free and the wrecks are the Spaniards'. I have not heard that Goxon landed anywhere. He came straight here to deliver me your commission, which I have thought it my duty to send to the Lords of Trade and Plantations, for I believe the granting of such commissions by any subject are contrary to treaty, prejudicial to the commerce of Europe, and ruinous to the King's colonies. We know what slight papers the French call commissions of war, and as slight may serve our privateers to make another sally as fatal to themselves and others as these late ones have been. Nor do I understand how you came to give such a commission to any of the King's subjects under this Government without taking the usual security to ensure compliance and respect. I know not how you will account for this omission, but I am sure you will not be so ill informed as to think that one who lately pretended to be a General in the South Seas [Coxon] would go hunting a barco luengo in the Bahama Shoals. I fear that in England they will rather suppose you intended to make your Government a Tortugas, for certainly all the pirates in the Indies are now lying in your latitude. Yet I do not suppose that the King meant to give Havana any more than Mexico or St. Augustine's to your Lords Proprietors. Nor do I think that you intended to grant commission which might bring such evils in their train. Let me therefore advise and desire you to grant no more till the King makes you a judge in your own case, or the Lords instruct you to take satisfaction or levy war as you see convenient. Above all, give no commissions to men of this Island, for our laws will judge it piracy, which may be prejudicial to you as well as fatal to them. They are far from respecting your commissions, for Coxon, seeing that I was amazed and angry at him, said that, if I pleased, he would fetch you to answer for it. I checked him, as you may believe, for I knew nothing of you or your Government more than your letter tells, nor do I pretend to do more than is for the King's service, wherein I expect you to join me. Copy. 2½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 20th Dec. 1682. Read Jan. 18, 1682/3. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 85 I.]
668. II. Commission of Robert Clarke, Governor and Captain-General of the Bahamas, to John Coxon, to make war on the Spaniards of Cuba, St. Augustine, and others. Copy. 3 pp. Endorsed. Recd. 20th Dec. 1682. Read at Committeeè, Jan. 18, 1682/3. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 35 II.]
Aug. 29.
669. Sir Thomas Lynch to Secretary Sir Leoline Jenkins. I have written at large to the Lords, so shall not write to you. But next week I shall do so lest the former letter miscarry. I hope you will interpret favourably, and consider that affairs here are in that kind of posture a more capable man could hardly say more of them than I. Holograph. 1 p. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 36.]
Aug. 29. 670. Answer of the Agents for the Massachusetts to the King's letters. Letter of 24th July 1679 requires, that agents be sent over in six months; that freedom of conscience be given to members of the Church of England; that all other sects, Papists excepted, be subjected to no penalty or incapacity; that all freemen rateable at ten shillings be capable of the magistracy. Answer.—The Agents have been delayed by the dangers of the sea, and by want of money owing to expense of the late war. Anglicans lie under no disabilities by law or usage, and there is now no law against dissenters but what is consonant to the law of England. There is no distinction in making of freemen except that prescribed by the King, and all laws contrary to that practice are now repealed Also, in obedience to the King's order, the ancient number of eighteen assistants has been restored; all officers take the oath of allegiance; all commissions and writs run in the King's name; all laws inconsistent with the laws of England have been abolished.—The same letter complains, that while Mr. Gorges's complaint was yet before Council, the Company purchased the province of Maine. Answer.—The families in Maine settled there in 1640, buying out the Indians; they invited us to extend our government to them owing to their intestine divisions. As to the allegations that we have laid a severe hand on the province, we can make no answer as no particulars are given. We spent 10,000l. in the defence of Maine in the Indian war. Mr. Gorges claimed the province on a dormant patent, and we gave him 1,250l. for his title solely for the benefit of Maine. The King requires a reassignment of the province on repayment of the money; but what assignment can we give of benefit to any assignee but such as is unlawful, and must defeat our charitable purpose towards Maine? Lastly, in respect of that portion of New Hampshire three miles northward of the Merrimac, we withdrew all our commissions as ordered by the King.
The King's letter of 13th September 1680 complains, that the instructions in his last letter have not been carried out, that agents had not been sent, and that Mason's claim to New Hampshire had been reserved for consideration till their arrival, and orders that the Agents shall come with full power to attend the regulations of New Hampshire and show the Company's claims thereto. Answer.—The delay in the departure of the Agents was not due to disloyalty but to the wish to proceed with satisfaction to ourselves. We believe that the claims to New Hampshire are now ordered to be tried on the spot. For the rest, we Agents are here, and the remainder of the King's orders have been carried out.—The King's letter of 21st October 1681 complains, that Mr. Randolph was unable to do his duty as attachments were granted against him and his officers for executing the same, and that when he prosecuted offenders he was obliged to deposit security; that appeals to the King in the matter of Revenue were refused, and that the Company had seized the moiety of fines and forfeitures due to the King. Answer.—Mr. Randolph's patent was duly recognised and enrolled; no suit against the King's officers has been countenanced but such as in our best judgment was necessary to protect subjects against vexatious proceedings; security and costs were only asked for extraordinary trials out of term; if all matters may be referred indifferently to England on appeal it will be a great hardship to those concerned owing to the distance.—The same letter requires Agents to be sent over; that Mr. Randolph shall be supported in the executions of his duty; that restitution be made of all money levied on the King's officers; that an account be presented of all forfeitures; that all Trade Acts be put in execution; that breaches of the same may be prosecuted without charge to the King's officers as in England. Answer.—We agents are here; Mr. Randolph is supported; no money was taken from the officers except for extraordinary trials and this being now distributed cannot be recovered; there have been no forfeitures of ships or goods; but when there are, account shall be given; the Acts of Trade are all in execution, and the practice as regards officers is the same as in England. We hope that the question of appeals may be reconsidered. 6 pp. Arranged in parallel columns of the King's letter and the Agent's answers. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 37, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXI., pp. 152–163.]
Aug. 31. 671. Duplicate copy of the answers of the Agents for the Massachusetts, as in preceding abstract. A separate column is added with the heading "Proofs," containing references to laws, and frequently "This the Agents know to be true." 7 pp. Inscribed. Ulto. Aug. 1682. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 38.]
[Aug. 31.] 672. A short account of the particulars wherein the King has at divers times required the compliance of the Massachusetts Bay, with several instances of their late unwarrantable proceedings. Letter of 28th June 1662. Ordered—That all laws derogatory to the King's Government should be repealed, that the oath of allegiance should be administered, the administration of justice should be carried on in the King's name, that freedom of conscience should be granted, and all sects admitted to vote for election of officers. At a Committee of 27th July 1677 the Agents were acquainted that the King's pardon must be asked for coining money, that the Acts of Trade should be observed, that laws repugnant to the laws of England should be repealed, that their principals should be informed of these orders, and that no laws concerning trade should pass without the King's sanction; that no tax be raised but in the King's name, and that the existing practice of swearing all persons to be true to the Government be abolished. At a Committee of 2nd August 1677 the agents were told that their principals had no right to levy money upon those who traded with them. At a Committee of 8th April 1678, notice was taken of the eneroachments of Massachusetts on New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Plymouth, and the former instructions, wherein nothing had been done, were repeated to the Agents. At a Committee, 18th April 1678, the Agents were informed that the King was much offended that the oath of fidelity to the country had lately been renewed. Letters of 24th July 1679, 20th September 1680, and 21st October 1681 (see ante, No. 264 I.) Mr. Randolph complains in his last letters that Mr. Danforth had made a faction against him, and denied his right to seize ships, that a naval office has been erected in opposition to the King's, that some of the Acts of Trade have been excluded from execution, that he has to give security to answer damages before trials, that he is not allowed to see the clearings of ships, that notwithstanding his appeals ships are allowed to go away without giving security to stand a further trial, and that generally he is obstructed in all parts of his office. Finally, there is the case of William Kelso (see ante, No. 441). 6½ pp. Endorsed. Read 31 August 1682, and again 30 May 1683. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 39, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXI., pp. 145–151.]
Aug. 31 673. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. An abstract of the King's orders to Massachusetts was read (see preceding abstract), after which their Agents were called in, and delivered a paper concerning the proceedings of the Massachusetts, which being read, they were ordered to produce proofs of their statements. Asked whether they have brought any powers or commissions as directed by the King, they say no, but that they doubt not that whatever the King commands them, will be dutifully obeyed. Also they have instructions, though not in a shape fit to be presented to the Council, which they are ready to show to Secretary Jenkins.
The commission given by Robert Clarke to Coxon, the pirate, was again read, when Lord Craven, one of the proprietors of the Bahamas, reported that they had already sent orders for Clarke's arrest.
Lord Doncaster's petition for a grant of Guiana and Florida read.
Secretary Jenkins presented the petition of Abraham Langford (see No. 664). The Lords direct the order concerning offices in Barbados to be produced next meeting. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVII., pp. 50–52.]
Aug. 31.
674. William Blathwayt to Lord Craven. I enclose copy of a commission, and also of a letter from my Lords, with several heads of inquiry, to which no answer has been yet returned. Draft. 1 p. Annexed,
674. I. Governor Robert Clarke's commission to Captain John Coxon [the pirate] to suppress privateers on the coast of the Bahamas. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., Nos. 40, 40 I.]
[Aug.?] 675. The King to Sir Richard Dutton. Has granted Sir Peter Colleton two years' further leave of absence from attendance at the Council of Barbados from 28th October ensuing. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol XCIX., p. 173.]
Aug. 676. Memorandum.—That Lord Culpeper, in August, received a copy of the Order in Council of 3rd November 1680, forbidding Governors to leave their Governments from England without leave. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXII., p. 87.]