America and West Indies: November 1682, 16-29

Pages 332-342

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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November 1682

Nov. 16. 796. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Order for the transfer of Robert Beverley to the custody of the Sheriff of York county. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIV., p. 133.]
Nov. 16.
797. Sir Richard Dutton to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Having answered every paragraph of Hanson's petition, or rather libel, I thought that I had done with the affair; but there has now intervened an extraordinary occassion, of importance not only to myself but to some of the Lords of the Privy Council who have been practised by Hanson ever since his presentation of his original petition to the King. I beg to point out the great infelicity that I suffer through the easy access and countenance that petitionera meet withal against me. I thought that no clandestine address from any man under me would have been received against me till such men had proved to you that they had informed me of their intention to appeal to the King, and left a copy of their petitions with me that I might answer them. So much I think is due to me as Governor, but for want of this due process I must lie under the King's censure and yours for five or six months before I have any opportunity of acquitting myself of any false or vexatious imputation that may be cast upon me by anyone who has a mind to be troublesome to me. Then I am perpetually set to prove a negation which, even when done, as in this particular case, with extreme trouble, can bring me no remedy from an insignificant fellow who heeds not the King's censure. I do not say this because I fear any just complaints, for my conscience acquits me, but because of the ill-consequences that may follow, though this is the first occurrence of the kind in the history of the island. The encouragement given to these attacks on me pursues me daily with fresh mischief to my great dishonour and the lessening of my authority. On the 21st October last a letter addressed to me came through the post office here, bearing date of June last, and signed John Cressett. This did not come to my hands till 21st October. Colonel Stede of the Council happening to be with me, and seeing my letters brought to me, asked if I had received any from a friend of mine in England relating to Hanson; for that the country was full in discourse for a fortnight or three weeks before that I had received a letter advising me from an extraordinary friend of mine to compound the matters in difference between him and me, since some of the Privy Council had declared their opinion that the whole of my proceedings against Hanson were erroneous, and that I lay so much under the King's displeasure that I should presently be removed from my government. Upon this advertisement this enclosed letter of Cressett's was brought by one of my servants from the post office. I read it and handed it to Colonel Stede, who concluded that this was the letter that was talked about. Now, I have no great familiarity with Mr. Cressett, and though I do know him, expect from him no such favours as he pretends in his letter, much less his advice; and I never saw his handwriting before in my life, if, indeed, the enclosed be his, so that the circumstances are suspicious. Since then, several of the Council and Assembly have told me that Hanson exposed this letter a full month before it came to my hands. I therefore sent for Hanson, knowing Cressett to be his solicitor, to try if I could discover by him how this letter was foisted into the post office, and by what means it came to be exposed to all the factious persons in the Island for weeks before I had any knowledge of it. There were three members of Council with me by chance when he came, whom I thought it prudent to keep with me as witnesses, for I knew the man to be the greatest villain in the West Indies, and a man who would sell his soul for a dollar. I asked him if he had recently received any letter from Mr. Cressett for me either open, under his cover, or under a separate cover directed immediately to me; if so, in what ship it came and whether he had not communicated it to several persons in the Island, and also to some of the Lords of the Privy Council. He very impudently refused to answer, which to myself and to the Councillors with me was sufficient confirmation of his guilt in every particular. I thereupon committed him to gaol, when he very confidently told me that he cared not what I could do to him, and that he could give 40,000l. security. At a meeting of Council I showed them Cressett's letter on Hanson's behaviour, and being unwilling to be my own carver in my own case, sent for him to the Council Board, when my questions were repeated to him, to which he answered only that he had divulged the contents to the letter to me by a transcript sent him by a correspondent of his, one South, an Anabaptist in London, and as great an enemy as the King has in his dominions. He produced it, and I now enclose it, together with Cressett's which you will see is not so formally addressed as South's though in the postscript South avers his to be a true copy of the other. It seems therefore pretty evident either that my letter was opened by Hanson at Barbados, or sent to him open to be divulged, and that it is a scheme of Hanson, Cressett, and South to damage me in the eyes of the King, of yourselves, and of all the disaffected people in this Island. As to Cressett's friendliness, if it really existed towards me, he would not have given a transcript of this letter to South or to Hanson, his employer. By these villainous contrivances Hanson has prepossessed the people with the idea that I am in disfavour with the King, and this being so I cannot tell how long I shall keep myself from their contempt or them in their obedience. The Council after this remanded him to prison.
In further proof of the frequent contempt of myself, the Council, and Government, I enclose a petition of his preferred to the justices of the peace of quarter sessions last week for his release, though he stands committed by myself and Council. They were, however, wise enough to reject it, though he may have his freedom from us whenever his obstinacy permits him to offer bail. His insolence has not stopped here, but has extended itself by sea as by land, for, while he was active in blackening my character to the people, he brought over an interloper, of which he is sole owner, to one of the windward bays of this Island, and confidently landed his goods and negroes, lying outside the range of any of the forts, omitting to give the authorities any account of his arrival, his ship, her master, her cargo, or any of the particulars required by the Act for the encouragement of trade. On the contrary, he lands all his negroes, stays as long as he pleases in the bay, and afterwards, in defiance of me, sails at open day round the fort at St. Michael's, though out of range of the guns, to another bay to leeward, knowing that I had no frigate to reduce him to obedience. He then careens his ship, and in a few days would have been ready to take in fresh cargo and sail to Guines had I not prevented him. No custom house office durst go on board him, the ship being well manned by desperate rogues that, after the example of the owner, defied all authority. But these indignities I could not bear from so rebellious a villain, who brags that he does not care if he spends 20,000l. at law with the King and Government. So I resolved to let him know that, though I could not lay hold of him with a frigate nor reach him with cannon, authority had a long arm. I therefore very secretly manned a couple of shallops to try and take him by surprise, and very happily succeeded. I have this ship now riding at anchor in Carlisle Bay to my great satisfaction, and held a Court of Admiralty this week, which condemned her. I took only the bare hull, without sails, cables or anchor, but I intended to fit her out, freight her, and send her to England, but was persuaded to forbear. She will be put up for sale to-morrow by inch of candle. I must now give you an account how I am originally involved in this trouble, which lies hard on me during my indisposition. On the holding of the sessions, when I gave judgment against Hanson, I found that there was a combination of all the factions in the island to run down the royal prerogative. They thought they had a good opportunity to make a first attempt at it on this occasion by noise, and by pretending a right to vote with me on the imposition of all fines at the sessions, and in particular in this case of Hanson. I denied their right as contrary to all law and custom, and proceeded to inflict the fine myself without asking their concurrence. On this Mr. Peers, of the Council, and Mr. Littleton, of the Assembly, which latter was then a judge but was turned out by me, undertook to lead the party, and say publicly that, if they were denied the right of voting they had no business in Court and would leave the bench. I thought it right to check them, and told Peers that, if he dared to leave the bench without my permission, I should not only suspend him from the Council forthwith, but put him in gaol till he found security for his good behaviour. He thereupon returned to his seat and Mr. Littleton also; and Peers presently came and begged my pardon, promising to be obedient in future. This point being weathered I had no more trouble during the sessions, though if they had found me flexible they would have taken all fines into their own hands, reduced the populace to devotion to them and myself to contempt, and, at the same time, would have disabled the Exchequer. Failing in this first attempt they resolved to run a new course, and assaulted me with the dreadful name of an address, begging me not to issue execution of the fine against Hanson. Knowing the same men to be at the bottom of this I answered that, as I had inflicted the fine without their consent I would also levy it without their consent, and that with all expedition, that they should not meddle in matters which did not concern them, that, if I had done anything unjustifiable, I was responsible to the King and that I would suffer no interference from them in any matter relating to the Government. Contrary to my expectation, this answer produced not a remonstrance but their thanks, and a request that I would continue both to inflict and levy fines, and devote the proceeds to the fortifications. I rejoined that I could not give away the King's money without his consent, and there the matter ended. Considering the difficulties of my position, I should rather have expected your commendation for freeing myself from this storm than your reproof. I acted in every respect in compliance with the laws, though I confess that there are here laws which are repugnant to the laws of England. The judges will not allow the laws of England to operate except as precedents, much less the procedure of the English Courts of Judicature, excepting some few that relate to the King's Customs. It would have been much easier, and more profitable, for me to have given up the King's indubitable rights to the opposing faction, but I despised gain obtained at the cost of his honour. If I have erred in the method of defending the royal prerogative, I must beg for directions to guide me, or must remain at the mercy of every faction that loses its cause. They now talk of nothing but appeals to the King, and then my poor salary will not pay my clerks to transcribe the records, for no man works except for ready money, and at a very dear rate. [The following is in Dutton's own hand]: I apologise for using the hand of another, my sickness preventing me from transcribing this letter. If I have used wrong expressions let my sickness be my excuse. Signed, Ri. Dutton. Six closely written pages. Endorsed with a long précis. Recd. 22 Jan. 1682–83. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 104, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. VII., pp. 152–163.] Annexed,
797. I. Warrant to George Hannay, Deputy Provost Marshal, to keep Samuel Hanson in strict custody unless he find bail in 10,000l. for his appearance at the next General Sessions. 25th October 1682. Copy. ½ p.
797. II. John Cressett to Sir Richard Dutton. Clients have brought me a cause wherein I find that you are concerned. In friendship I ought to tell you that the ablest Counsel in England judge your proceedings to be erroneous, and that your judgment on the writ of error should be reversed. I tell you this as a friend, that you may take measures accordingly before the King and Council, or yourself can be further troubled in the matter. London, 16th June 1682. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., Nos. 104, 104 I.–II.]
Nov. 17. 798. Account of money due to the King for ships and goods seized by Edward Randolph, which by law are forfeited, but have been arbitrarily freed. Total, 940l. Signed, Ed. Randolph. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 20 Feb. 1682–83. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 105.]
Nov. 17. 799. William Freamen to William Blathwayt. I communicated your letter to all the gentlemen that I met who are concerned in Antigua. Some of them, I presume, will attend the Council, but Colonel Bayer will not appear, fearing that his appearance may be resented by the inhabitants of the Island, many of whom are his particular friends. He is of opinion that the Act of Extent is very dangerous to all merchants that trade to the place and I agree with him. It will undoubtedly much discourage all traders thither, and can only benefit those who design to defraud men who come to the Island to traffic in ignorance of the existence of such an Act. They will as usual contract large debts, and will by means of the Act be defrauded like many other creditors; for to men accustomed to live in Europe the satisfaction allowed by the Act cannot be satisfactory. In my opinion what with the trouble and vexation of recovering their just debts by such methods they would do better to be content to abandon them. Men with honest intentions will never make use of such an Act, as being simply a measure for the encouragement of fraud. I am sorry that my health prevents my attendance at Council, but I give my opinion, which you may communicate as you think convenient. I have no interest in Antigua, though I have some small interest in other of the Islands. Holograph. Signed, 1 p. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 106.]
[Nov. 18.] 800. Petition of Christopher Jeaffreson, on behalf of the inhabitants of St. Christophers, to the Lords of Trade and Plantations. The King has granted an order that three hundred malefactors shall be transported to St. Christophers, he himself paying forty shillings towards the defrayal of prison fees, for the encouragement of traders to transport the said malefactors for the good of the Island. But not one of the malefactors has yet been sent, by reason of the great security required of 100l. for every malefactor, to be forfeited on the escape of any one of them. This has so much discouraged the undertaking that it is to be feared that it will never be carried out unless the security be reduced. On arrival at the Island the escape of the malefactors will be rendered unlikely, first, by the planters, whose interests it will be keep them, and second, by the rule which forbids masters of ships to embark any passenger without a ticket. Moreover, the escape of any malefactor would be sufficient loss to the undertaker of itself without the forfeiture of so large security. Prays that the security or forfeiture may be taken off, and an Act passed in the Island providing that malefactors shall serve double the term of other white servants. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 18 Nov. 1682. Mitigated to 20l. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 107.]
[Nov. 18.] 801. Petition of Thomas Corney and William Righton. About August last your were pleased to oblige us to speedy and vigorous prosecution of the quo warranto brought against the Bermuda Company's charter. We advised with counsel about it, and by their direction moved the Court of King's Bench that the Attorney-General might have leave to mend his replication on the first day of this term. The Court gave the Company eight days to show cause against it, but no cause being then shown the Court gave them longer time, and then would not admit the amendment. When the Attorney-General, Sir George Jeffreys, and Mr. Holt, who are Counsel for the King, pressed to have the amendment allowed, the Court answered that it was but a private cause, though Mr. Attorney showed the King's Order in Council for bringing a quo warranto, and when he affirmed that your Lordships had ordered the case to be brought to trial, the Court replied that if he liked not his replication he might bring a new quo warranto. This was the first time Mr. Attorney was ever denied to mend his plea in the King's Bench. These proceedings will encourage the Company, who have already trifled away three years at law in this cause, and in such circumstances we dare not move further without your special orders. We beg that the King will appoint some one to follow up this cause. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 18 Nov. 1682. Withdrawn. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 108.]
Nov. 18. 802. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. The Lords considered the business of the transportation of servants to the Plantations, and agreed to their report (see post, No. 846).
The Lords order the petition of William Righton and Thomas Corney against the Bermuda Company to be withdrawn, by reason of some improper expressions. The Attorney-General to be spoken to next Council day for the hastening of the quo warranto.
Petition of Christopher Jeaffreson read (see No. 800). The Lords will recommend that the security be reduced to 20l. a head, and that Sir W. Stapleton be ordered to try to pass a law obliging all transported malefactors to serve for eight years at least. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVII., pp. 79–82.]
Nov. 19.
New Hampshire.
803. Robert Mason to Governor Bradstreet. I sent you the King's letters of 23rd June last by Mr. Randolph, and doubt not that you will give ready obedience thereto. In pursuance of the right and title declared by the King I claim all the unimproved lands from three miles north of the Merrimac to the Naumkeck, and in particular all lands lying within the reputed bounds of Salisbury, Newbury, Ipswich, and Rowley. I beg you to put me into possession, and to record my title. And as I claim the improved lands also I beg to be admitted to prosecute my right to certain lands at Salisbury lying within your jurisdiction. Signed, Robert Mason. ½ p. Endorsed. Copy for William Blathwayt, Esq. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 109.]
Nov. 20.
804. Address of the General Council and Assembly of the Leeward Islands to Sir William Stapleton. We, the General Council and Assembly this day assembled in Nevis, have considered the great damage sustained by the Islands by two violent hurricanes and excessive drought, which have rendered the inhabitants incapable, in spite of their good will, of proceeding with the work of fortification as first designed. We beg you therefore to send an address to the King to grant the proceeds of the four-and-a-half per cent. duty for two or three years towards the building of fortifications; and in case of his refusal to send a second address, praying him to grant us the farm of that duty at the expiration of the present term. Signed, Roger Elrington, Ja. Phipps, Peter Cove, Jno. Netheway, Charles Pym, J. Parry, Fran. Carlile, Jno. Bramley, of the Council. Ralph Willett, Speaker, Wm. Willett, Saml. Gardner, Ja. Walker, Jno. Vernon, John Yeamans, Tho. Cooke, John Blake, of the Assembly. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 20 Jan. 1682–83. Read 25 May 1683. Inscribed, 15 Nov. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 110.]
Nov. 21. 805. Warrant to Joseph Moreton to grant land in Carolina to immigrants. Signed, Craven, Albemarle, Bath (for Lord Carteret), Pr. Colleton. Form of the indenture to be employed. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., pp. 1–3.]
[Nov. 21.] 806. Rules for the granting of land. Embodying the directions given to the surveyor (ante, No. 497). Signed, as the foregoing. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., pp. 5–7.]
Nov. 21. 807. Lords Proprietors of Carolina to Governor Moreton. The Scots and other considerable persons who intend to be settlers in Carolina have told us that they doubt whether we have sufficiently provided against the oppression of the people by their Administrators. We have therefore again revised our fundamental constitutions, and being sensible that these frequent changes are apt to unsettle people's minds, we empower you in Parliament to ratify those new constitutions of 17th August 1682. Signed. Craven, Albemarle, Bath (for Lord Carteret), Pr. Colleton. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 9.]
Nov. 21. 808. The same to Governor Moreton and Maurice Mathews. By our articles with the Scots you will see that we are to buy the land that they choose from the Indians. You will therefore at once treat with the Indians for the purchase of the land as soon as it has been run out, have it conveyed to us and take possession. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 10.]
Nov. 21. 809. Lords Proprietors of Carolina to Governor Joseph Moreton. We have agreed with Sir John Cockram and Sir George Campbell, for themselves and other Scots, for the settlement of a county in Carolina. You will find by the articles that if the county to be set out for them be not contiguous to any of the three already appointed, it is to be so far from them as to leave space for a county in between, and if it be further remote than the breadth of one county, then it must be so placed as to leave space for two counties, and so on. Our design is that their land shall not be taken up so as to leave insufficient space for a whole county between county and county, which would hinder the running of the whole into regular counties five squares broad. Again, the Scots' county is not to interfere with the county where we intend to place the chief town of Carolina, which we design to be on the Cambahee river. Their county is not to be on either bank of that river, though when our plan is complete we shall throw the river open to settlement. We are much troubled to hear that you have had wars with the Indians, and fear that it may discourage settlement if it be not speedily closed; and as we are not thoroughly satisfied that the grounds of war were just on the English side, we desire you to make peace as soon as possible. We have granted patents for caciques to Captain Henry Wilkinson, John Smith, Major Thomas Row, Thomas Amy, John Gibbs, and John Ashby, and you will grant them baronies as they require it. We send you new instructions for the grant of land. You will inform the inhabitants that we will se[il any?] man the rent he is to pay us, if he desires not to be incumbered with a rent, after the rate of one shilling per acre. Signed, Craven, Albemarle, Bath (for Lord Carteret), Pr. Colleton. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., pp. 8–9.]
Nov. 21.
810. [Sir Leoline Jenkins?] to Sir Richard Dutton. On receipt of yours of 29th August I represented to the King your continued desire for leave of absence, to which he very soon consented, approving at the same time your choice of a deputy. I have sent a duplicate of his letter granting the same in case of accident, and wish you a pleasant voyage. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XCIX., p. 183.]
Nov. 21.
811. The same to the same. Captain Abraham Langford had a patent for the clerkship of the Navy Office, Barbados. Being weak in health he surrendered his patent and begged that it might be granted to his son, but died before anything was settled. The King referred the petition to the Lords of Trade and Plantations, and by their desire I now send it to you for your report if you think that the post may be held by petitioner's son. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XCIX., p. 183.]
Nov. 22.
812. Order of the King in Council. That Thomas Cheek, Lieutenant-Governor of the Tower, take care that thirty able men be raised, provided with the necessary clothes and arms, and put on board His Majesty's Ship Deptford, to be sent to St. Christophers. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVII., p. 67.]
Nov. 22.
813. Order of the King in Council. That one of the Secretaries of State prepare a warrant to the Lieutenant of the Tower to beat the drum to raise these recruits. Copy of warrant. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVII., pp. 67, 68.]
Nov. 22.
814. Order of the King in Council. That the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury provide money for arming and clothing these recruits. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVII., pp. 67, 68.]
Nov. 22.
815. Order of the King in Council. That the thirty recruits be sent to St. Christophers, and that the Master General of the Ordnance, George Legge, give directions for them to be provided with arms. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVII., p. 69.]
Nov. 22.
816. Order of the King in Council. That the Commissioners of the Admiralty take care for the reception of the thirty recruits on board the Deptford and their despatched to St. Christophers. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVII., p. 70.]
Nov. 23.
817. Sir Richard Dutton to [Sir Leoline Jenkins]. Many thanks for your extraordinary obliging letter of 12th September. I hope that I have now mastered my difficulties, and reduced the Island to a better state of obedience, in which it will continue if I am supported at home. I should not have presumed to ask leave of absence had I not thought it for the King's interest as well as for the good of my health. It is mere necessity that drives me to it, for if my health be not recruited I shall be unable to stand the climate. If, however, the King desire it I shall be prepared to lay my bones here or wherever he may order, though the sight of my wife and children would be very grateful to me before I die. My wife will present you with some sweetmeats made in this country, which I beg you to accept. Holograph. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 27 Jan. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 111.]
Nov. 24.
818. The Duke of Courland to Sir Richard Dereham. We have heard with gratitude of your good offices from Abraham Marine, our late resident at Whitehall, and we now recommend to you our other affairs and particularly that of Tobago. As to one vessel which you detain by arrest at Marine's request, you may prosecute it or release it according to the expense. Signed, Frederic Casimir Translation. 1 p. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX No. 112.]
Nov. 24. 819. Latin original of the foregoing. Signed, F. Casimirus, Dux Curlandiae. 2 pp. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 113.]
Nov. 25. 820. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Acts of Jamaica considered. Act for regulating slaves to be amended. Act for ascertaining the quit-rents approved conditionally, but Lord Carlisle's draft concerning quit-rents to be sent to Sir Thomas Lynch and passed with it if possible, otherwise the present Act to be continued. Act to oblige masters of ships to give security amended. Acts to prevent damages in plantations, and for registry of deeds approved conditionally on passing of the Revenue Act. (For the amendments see post 17 Feb. 1683).
Mrs. Jeffreys' petition read. Agreed to report in her favour. (See next abstract.)
Sir Richard Dutton's letter of 29th August read. The Lords learn that the King had granted him leave of absence under his sign manual notwithstanding Order in Council of 3rd November 1680, which prescribes that it must be granted by permission in Council. The Lords will consider whether the King shall not be moved to grant him leave by Order in Council; and as Sir R. Dutton has received a present from the Assembly, will recommend an order that no such present be received without the King's consent. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol, CVII., pp. 83–86.]
[Nov. 25.] 821. Petition of Susanna Jeffreys to the King and Committee of Trade and Plantations. Pursuant to orders, on receiving the 300l. which was claimed by Lady Berkeley I gave security to answer Lady Berkeley's prosecution if she should bring any. After one year your Lordships bade me wait for another, but two years are now past since your last command, and meanwhile Colonel Ludwell, who has married Lady Berkeley, has been to England and has returned to Virginia without bringing any prosecution. I beg therefore that I may be relieved of the security and that my bond may be returned. 1 p. Inscribed. Recd. 25 Nov. and 2 Dec. 1682. Reported in favour of the petitioner. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 114.]
Nov. 28. 822. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Sir Richard Dutton's letter of 29th August read. The Lords agree to recommend a new order respecting presents to Governors from Assemblies, viz. that such presents be made to the King for the use of the Government; also that Sir R. Dutton's leave of absence be granted by Order in Council. The Attorney-General to report whether saltpetre mines in the West Indies are royal mines. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVII., p. 87.]
Nov. 29.
823. Order of the King in Council. Referring the petition of Gabriel Rappe to the Lords of Trade and Plantations for their report. The said Rappe, a French refugee Protestant, prays for liberty to plant vineyards and sow hemp and flax in the English dominions in America. A scheme evidently copied from that of Réné Péit. See previous volume, Index sub. voce. Petit. Signed, Francis Gwyn. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 2 Dec. 1683. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 115.]