America and West Indies: February 1683, 5-15

Pages 379-385

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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February 1683

Feb. 5.
930. Edward Randolph to Governor Bradstreet. In answer to your proposals that on my arrival in England I should do nothing to the prejudice of this country, I answer first that owing to the care and justice at Whitehall nothing has been received or insisted on that has not arisen from some unwarranted act of your General Court or some great and continued neglect of the King's orders in his several letters to you. I desire that the General Court may be referred to them, when I think it will be clear to every impartial mind, that all your loyal addresses have been made simply to protract time and avoid compliance with the regulations prescribed by the King for your Government in 1662. Your late agents Bulkeley and Stoughton prudently tried to avert the danger by submitting six proposals, whereby the King was induced to believe that you would make the reforms required in his letter of 24th July 1679. Your present agents will shortly have to account for this, for these six proposals are on record at Whitehall. The King's letter of 21st October 1681 directed the repayment to me of the security illegally demanded of me in prosecutions under the Acts of Trade, so that though you have delayed to pay it here, I shall be able to require it of them. I mention this out of friendship, that your agents may be able to answer it. I know that manyu of your deputies are not to be guided by one man's opinion, but let me remind you that Sir William Jones, to whose opinion you appealed in your last address in the matter of the purchase of Maine, has left opinions on other matters connected with your Government which are received at Whitehall. Your agents' address to the King is full of thanks and laudations for past favours, but at the same time your instructions to them show little confidence in him. This is an extract from one of my correspondents in London: "The Bostoners will find that they have taken wrong measures, forgetting that those who have once violated the public faith given to their last agents are to be trusted no more. The present agents have little or no authority, and their instructions are to concede nothing that may infringe their charter." Now, is not this exactly the answer of Mr. William Hubbard on 6th January 1680, who warned the Court against giving agents the least power to weaken the rights of the charter? I think it right to add that, when the King threatens to issue a quo warranto, unless your agents obtain larger powers, this does not mean that he cannot do so without your consent. You have acted illegally and depend on his favour, and I do not know what you can expect from it. You are also admitted to trade on an equality with the people of England, but if you refuse to conform to the laws, the King can debar you from it. Next as to the quo warranto, the King's law officers in 1677 gave their opinion that there was sufficient ground to avoid your charter. Do not think that the whole country will stand by you. The other Colonies much prefer to be on good terms with Whitehall. The majority of the free men and a far greater number of the unfree will decline when they find themselves deluded, especially when their estates are at the King's mercy. Moreover, the King knows that the number of those who support the dominant faction is really very small. However, I forgive all offences to me heartily, and shall not be wanting to do all I can for the country, when its submission is once made, to procure a royal pardon, liberty of conscience, and the raising of money by consent of the people only. Copy. 3 pp. Endorsed. Recd. 4 June 1683 from Mr. Randolph. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 25.]
Feb. 5. 931. Answer of the Massachusetts' Agents to the petition of Richard Thayre (see ante, No. 834 I.). The petitioner is only one of the inhabitants of Braintree, which is a village lying in Massachusetts bay, of about seventy or eighty families. Thayre is so far from being the owner of the whole of it that he owns not a hundredth part of it, and he does not pretend to speak for any but himself. Braintree was originally a small hamlet of farms belonging to the town of Boston by grant of the General Court, and afterwards erected into a town with its consent. The petitioner lived peaceably under this grant for twenty-five years before he obtained his deed from the Indian sachem. That deed, therefore, was not the foundation of the settlement, but was obtained many years later, not on Thayre's behalf but on that of all the inhabitants, who had all equal right and share in it. The line between Massachusetts and New Plymouth has been settled for forty years and repeatedly confirmed. It is questioned by no one except Mr. Thayre as far as we know. His trials with Savage and Clapp were held as matters of private right, the Colony having no concern therein except to do justice between the two parties. The inhabitants of Braintree and other towns within the jurisdiction of Massachusetts have suffered no hardship. Having no papers we cannot go further into detail. Signed, Joseph Dudley, John Richards 2½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. and read 10 Feb. 1682–83. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 26.]
Feb. 5. 932. Journal of Assembly of Nevis. Proposed by the Assembly that the captains of the two regiments may exchange places to take the lists of dutiable negroes. Granted by the Governor and Council. Proposed also that, the day before the list is taken, all the inhabitants be warned to present all negroes and slaves on oath. Granted. [Col. Papers, Vol. XL1X., No. 73.]
Feb. 6. 933. Journal of Assembly of Barbados. Richard Guy chosen Speaker. The Governor's speech read, to the effect that he had summoned them in view of his intended departure for England, and commended to them the bills for parish boundaries, enclosing churchyards, building a house of correction, and the completion of the fortifications; that the magazine would cost 300l. more than the original estimate, and that he hoped the House would make provision for it by increase of the excise. The House, except in case of urgency, would not sit after his departure in April, so he trusted that they would make good use of their time, and would let him know if he could be serviceable to them. Address to the Governor asking for time to consider these things. Adjourned to 20th February. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XIII., pp. 507–510.]
Feb. 8. 934. Lord Baltimore to the Marquess of Halifax. Though I have not the honour to be particularly known to you, I beseech you to read at your leisure the enclosed papers. It is the substance of a late conference between Mr. Penn and myself (see ante, No. 849), with which I send a true relation of the passages between Captain Markham and myself. I will say no more now, than that I have suffered from misinformations given to Mr. Penn, who would not otherwise, I think, have acted as he has. I address you as a great lover of justice and right; and when I mention that Maryland, founded at great trouble and expense by my father and relatives, and without the least cost to the King, pays his customs fifty thousand pounds a year, I think that I shall not ask in vain for the royal protection. Holograph. 1¼ pp. Endorsed. Read at the Committee, 17 April 1683. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 27.]
Feb. 10. 935. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Petition of Richard Thayre with the answer of the Agents for Massachusetts thereto read (see No. 931). The Lords agreed on their report (see No. 989).
Sir William Stapleton's letter of 11th November 1682 read (see No. 777). The Lords agree on their report (see post, No. 977). Mr. Freeman's petition read (see next abstract). The Lords agreed on their report (see post, No. 1027).
Petition of Samuel Hanson read (see No. 915 I.). The Lords think that the enquiry into the whole matter should be deferred till Sir R. Dutton's arrival, and that no orders such as those desired by Hanson be given till the case be heard. Also, as Hanson has copies of all papers transmitted by Sir R. Dutton, except one letter which had better not be imparted to him, it is ordered that no copy of that letter be sent to him. The matter of the naval officer (Abraham Langford) at Barbados to await Sir R. Dutton's return. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVII., pp. 114–119.]
[Feb. 10.] 936. Petition of Henry Freeman to Lords to Trade and Plantations, in reply to the petition of Mons. de Chambré (see ante, Nos. 864, 866). In 1666 my father was in possession of the estate of Godovin in St. Christophers. He was dangerously wounded and left for dead in the field when the French attacked the Island, and was only saved by a French officer from the barbarity of the negroes. On the surrender of the Island the English agreed to sell their estates, if they did not swear allegiance to the French King. De Chambré, who was a French officer, came to my father while lying dangerously ill of his wound, and told him, with threats, that as a prisoner he was excluded from the articles of surrender, and that his estate was forfeited to the French King; that, further, he would enter upon the estate on that right unless my father complied with his unreasonable terms of sale. My father, however, insisted that he was included in the articles, and wrote to the French Governor. Soon after, the Governor and De Chambré_ came down with a document drawn in French, which was a conveyance of his estate to De Chambré, threatening that if he did not sign it they would send him off the Island as he lay. There was a sum of money and sugar named in the document as the price. Being forced to comply, my father was presently transported by them to Jamaica without receiving a penny of the sum named, the Frenchmen alleging that his own goods which he took with him were the consideration set down in the deed. My father returned to England and petitioned the King for relief, and was referred to the then Governor, Lord Willoughby, who was denied the rendition of the Island according to the Treaty of Breda, because he would not confirm my father's estate to De Chambré. My father then laid his case before the Commissioners of the two nations, when De Chambré produced his contract, alleging that it was for a valuable consideration truly paid, and demanded great sums for improvements, though he had demolished the buildings and destroyed the stock of cattle. The case was so plainly in my father's favour that the French Governor broke up the Treaty. Colonel Stapleton, to save friction between the two nations, referred the decision to the two Kings. My father came home to look to it, and died, leaving me an infant and unable to prosecute his claim till of age. I beg, therefore, inquiry into the case, and an order granting me possession of the estate, and that De Chambré may account for the profits since my father preferred his claim. If De Chambré can prove that he paid any money for it, I will repay it. Broad sheet, closely written. [Col Papers, Vol. L., No. 28.]
Feb. 12. 937. Journal of Assembly of Nevis. The accounts of Colonel James Russell against the public brought up. The Assembly agreed to allow whatever the Governor and Council should do therein. Proposed by the Assembly that the merchants and traders in Charleston, Morton's Bay, and the World's End pay a fourth part of the levy to be raised, and the Jews a fourth part of the town levy. The Governor and Council altered the proportion in each case to one-sixth. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 73.]
Feb. 14. 938. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Captain Talbot's report concerning the Newfoundland fisbery read (see next abstract). The Lords think that nothing can at present be done owing to the expense, but think that the Admiralty should be informed of the remissness of the convoys in answering the heads of inquiry submitted to them.
Sir Thomas Lynch's letter of 6th November last (see No. 769) read. Secretary Jenkins reports that he had conferred with the French ambassador respecting the commissions granted by the French, and that the terms of the instructions to the French men-of-war in the West Indies were courir sus aux gens sans aveu. The Lords agreed on their report (see No. 942). N.B.—The Order in Council and report are misdated 17th for 14th February in the Journal.
Several members of the Royal African Company attended, Sir Benjamin Bathurst, Sir Dudley North, Sir Benjamin Newland, Sir Peter Colleton, and Mr. Seut. Their petition was read (see No. 891), together with the answer of the merchants of Jamaica (see No. 920). The gentlemen of Jamaica added that light money may be refused in payment, and that, as to the Company's complaints of recent hostile proceedings towards the Company in Jamaica, the Island will always own and acknowledge the Company's charter. The Lords recommend that the Act for rations of negroes be not confirmed, but be kept in operation during the King's pleasure. The Attorney-General reported his opinion as to seizing negroes after they have been put ashore (see No. 908). The Lords advise that Sir T. Lynch endeavour to make the Revenue Act perpetual, or of as long duration as the Assembly of Jamaica will admit. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVII., pp. 119–124.]
[Feb. 14.] 939. Captain Talbot to the King. In my last report concerning Newfoundland I represented that it produced greater customs than any Colony except Virginia, and that there was danger of French encroachment on our trade, and I proposed that St. John's or some other port, should be fortified. On my return home I was informed that Lord Shaftesbury had opposed the suggestion as to fortifications, and said that if the island were taken by the French we could retake it. But I think that the trade should not be exposed to such risk. France has long endeavoured to monopolise the supply of fish to Portugal, Spain, and Italy, and will take advantage of any differences between the two Crowns. The trade is in danger also from other causes. The Adventurers are so discouraged by their late poor success that some have laid up their ships, and more threaten to do so. The cause of their failure is the limitation to fish between Capes de Ray and Bonavista. This ground is overfished, and half the fleet might do better by fishing among the French on the south-west, starting earlier and so getting the first market, which the French have had since we have had war with Algiers and Sallee. If some of the Adventurers fished to the south-west, and fortifications were built for their security, the French would in time be forced to pay the five per cent., which they certainly ought. For they allow us no liberty on their coast of Nova Scotia. Nor should the French be allowed to fortify themselves at Placentia. So far no great harm is done, but if they have time to establish themselves it may be as difficult to reduce them as the cowkillers from Hispaniola. The want of a Governor is much felt. The woods are burned and the harbours spoiled by throwing press-stones into them, so much so that many of our men prefer to fish among the French. France, Spain, and Portugal will not take so much of our staple as will pay for our imports from thence, so we must send fish unless we would send money. 2½ pp. Unsigned. Endorsed. Recd. 14 Feb. 1682–83. The state of Newfoundland by Captain Talbot. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 29.]
Feb. 14.
940. William Blathwayt to Henry Guy. Forwarding a letter and copies of bonds from the Naval Office of Jamaica. [Col. Entry Blc., Vol. XXX., p. 119.]
Feb. 14.
941. Order of the King in Council. That the appeal of Robert Wright and Francis Pew against Robert Cornwall be allowed, and that the Lords of Trade and Plantations report thereon. Signed, John Nicholas. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXVIII., pp. 56–57.]
Feb. 14.
942. Order of the King in Council. Report of Lords of Trade and Plantations on the outrages of French pirates of Hispaniola and the damage which they have done to Jamaica trade, as detailed in Sir T. Lynch's letter of 6th November (ante, No. 769), recommending that Secretary Jenkins make representations to the French Ambassador and to the English Envoy at Paris for redress and satisfaction, aud that meanwhile Sir Thomas Lynch seize as many as he can of the offending vessels that injure British subjects, and send home lists of the ships robbed and of those that have robbed them. Ordered accordingly. Signed, John Nicholas. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 30, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXX., pp. 119 and 139.]
Feb. 14.
943. Duplicate of above Order. Signed, Francis Gwyn. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 31.]
Feb. 15.
James City.
944. The Secretary of Virginia to Sir Leoline Jenkins. I received yours of 29th July on 15th November last. On the 17th December Lord Culpeper arrived, to the great joy and satisfaction of all the inhabitants. He found an Assembly sitting, as it had been for some time, and just closing the business of the session. The acts and proceedings will be forwarded to you shortly. Our late disorders are well quieted and the Government entirely settled. The frontiers are provided for against incursions of Indians by keeping four score horsemen in the country's pay at the head of the rivers, with orders to be constantly moving and ranging for the preservation of the inhabitants. Four of the most notorious actors in the late disorders are in goal awaiting trial at the next General Court, and will be made into just examples. This would have been unnecessary now, could it have been done with the like security to the Government before Lord Culpeper's arrival. His great prudence, known abilities and circumspection soon reduced everything to good order. I am concerned to report to you the death of Lieutenant-Governor Sir Henry Chicheley about the 6th February. Major-General Robert Smith is also so dangerously ill that his recovery is much doubted. Signed, Nicho. Spencer. 1½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 17 April 1683. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 32.]
Feb. 15. 945. Commissions of Sir Peter Colleton to Timothy Biggs to be Surveyor-General of Albemarle County, and of the Duke of Albemarle to John Monk to be Muster-Master of the forces of Carolina. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 10.]