America and West Indies: May 1683

Pages 423-439

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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May 1683

May 1. 1061. Instructions from Sir R. Dutton to John Witham. Twenty-two heads. The only remarkable instruction is, to see that the Colonels of Horse be diligent in sending out patrols of horse on Saturday evenings and on Sundays, to prevent the disorderly meetings of negroes who assemble in several places in great numbers at those times, to the terror of the inhabitants. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 104, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. VII., pp. 192–196].
May 1. 1062. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The Governor acquainted the Council and Assembly that he had appointed John Witham to be his Deputy, and handed him his commission and instructions. Adjourned to 15th instant. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XI., p. 570.]
May 4.
James City.
1063. The Council of Virginia to Lords of Trade and Plantations. The Governor acquainted us in his speech with that which the King expected of us, and the best means of preserving his royal rights in the future. Lord Culpeper at his departure in August 1680 left Sir Henry Chicheley Lieutenant-Governor, and with instructions which were not known to most of the Council. All went on quietly until the usual time when the ships come to Virginia in 1681. Then the traders were obstructed in their traffic, under colour of an Act of Assembly made in June 1680, which enjoined them from 24th March onward to land their merchandize, and ship their tobacco at certain places. Several masters of ships not finding at the appointed places any reception or shelter for their goods and themselves, absolutely refused to obey the Act (which they naturally conceived to be null), and traded and shipped tobacco as they had been accustomed in former years. For this many of them suffered much trouble and inconvenience, the prosecutions being managed for the most part by men who, for their own ends, though to the great dissatisfaction of most of the Colony, threw all the stumbling blocks that they could in the way of public traffic. The issue not answering the projectors' expectation, they fell to insinuating among the easiest sort of the people how advantageous it would be if an Act could be passed to cease from planting in Virginia for one whole year, and they made use of such specious though fallacious arguments, that they persuaded several inconsiderate people in three or four counties to sign a petition, praying that an Assembly might be summoned to pass such an Act. The Deputy Governor, who had already been over persuaded by the contrivers thereof, answered favourably, and without consulting the Council, or even such a number thereof as was prescribed by his instructions, issued writs for an Assembly to meet in April 1682. It met, but after some fruitless debates was prorogued pursuant to royal order. That design having failed, the contrivers could find no readier expedient to attain their ends than to destroy the tobacco plants in the three petitioning counties, Gloucester, New Kent, and Middlesex. This being after a time suppressed they continued the work in large parties at night. This went on till August. We knew of several men who were very active in the work, but as they were inconsiderable people we forbore to prosecute, in the hope of discovering in time not only the actors but the authors.
The inhabitants of the country are mostly extremely poor; their only commodity, tobacco, having of late years yielded them little, while their poverty inclines them to listen to all suggestions, however foolish, which are insinuated into them by subtle factious persons, who mask their private ends under a show of public utility. Still, under Lord Culpeper's wise and prudent rule, we may promise ourselves calm and serene times. We are at present at peace with the Indians, but we judge it prudent to keep some forces in constant pay to prevent sudden mischiefs, of which an open trade keeps us in constant apprehension. When all persons are admitted to traffic with the Indians, men will be found not only to countenance but to abet their attacks on us. It is therefore proposed that, with the King's consent, the Indian trade should be confined to the hands of one or two trustworthy men appointed by the Governor, such persons to pay a sum agreed on to the Government, and to continue in that state for five years. It is also proposed that no Indian shall be taken as a salve, either by gift or purchase, by any inhabitant of the Colony. We have little commerce with the neighbouring English Governments, but we are on friendly terms with them as becomes subjects of the same monarch. Nevertheless, we have too much reason to apprehend encroachments on our territory by Carolina, which has already extended its bounds beyond the limits of its first grant, by claiming plantations for which patents were issued from this Government long before the issue of the southern patent. Lord Baltimore also encroaches by drawing a line from the pretended point called Watkins' Point, whereby at least fifteen miles (as it is reckoned) is lost to Virginia. To check this we propose to beg the King that the boundaries may be ascertained once for all.
To advance the present low state of the inhabitants of Virginia, which has been caused by excessive production of tobacco, is hopeless unless the production be reduced. It is therefore proposed to limit the time for planting and replanting to the 24th of June, after which time no tobacco shall be planted or replanted in any year, under penalties. And that this may produce its effect, we propose to petition the King to direct the like rule to be observed in Maryland and Carolina. It would certainly conduce much to our security and the King's honour if he would expend some part of his revenue derived from Virginia on a garrison of sixty soldiers. They must be duly paid, or they will be mutinous, and set a bad example where none is needed, and their officers should be gentlemen of approved loyalty, and of good family and estate in the country, who will be bound by their own interest to the preservation of the peace. We could raise the men here, and save the cost of transportation, for we have plenty of well-principled men, who for regular pay would cheerfully serve the King. This would be a safeguard against all disorders ashore; but as it is not less necessary to keep the peace at sea against pirates, we beg that the King will allow us a man-of-war ketch of forty men and twelve guns. It would not only put down piracy, but suppress the frauds of dishonest traders, which in this well watered country cannot by other means be prevented. And as the King has granted the quitrents of this country for a certain term of years to Lords Arlington and Culpeper, we beg him to give those noblemen just compensation, and apply the quit-rents with the forfeitures, &c., to the use of the Government, which will be a great relief and a help towards a fund for meeting emergencies. We also beg the King's consideration of our Act for towns, that we may, on the signification of his pleasure, know the better how to proceed. Also, as there is no way of meeting contingent charges, but by the costly expedient of calling an Assembly, we propose to beg the King to recommend to the Assembly to provide that the Governor and Council may raise a levy on the people not exceeding twenty pounds of tobacco per poll, as provided by a former Act of Assembly. It would give the Governor and Council no greater power than is enjoyed by the Justices of the Peace in every country for the discharge of county dues; and should be enacted for five years only.Signed, Nicho, Spencer, Robt. Smith, Jos. Bridger, Nathaniel Bacon, William Cole, Phill. Ludwell, John Page, Rich. Lee, William Byrd.Five closely written pages. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No 105, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXII., pp. 175–186.]
May 4. 1064. Minutes of Council of St. Christophers. The Assembly men, coming to be sworn, objected to part of the oath, which was accordingly amended. The members were then sworn. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 98.]
May 6.
1065. Sir Thomas Lynch to the Lord President of the Council. I have given you and the Lords of the Council frequent reports of my proceedings, but have received no reply. I have heard from Sir Charles Littleton of your Lordship's infinite kindness in favouring our petition to the King and passing our laws. The people are eternally grateful to you. They are also very sensible of the King's grace in sending the Ruby to protect them. She is an excellent frigate and has a very good commander. The Guernsey has been out of port near three months. The pirate was gone before she reached the coast of St. Domingo, so the Captain plied eastward, got flesh, as I conclude, at Porto Rico, and thence made for the Virgins or the coast of the Main in search of La Trompeuse. At present we know of no pirate from the east of Porto Rico to the Gulf. The vessels we have sent out, the galley we have built and the reputation of the King's frigates has so frightened them that one of our canoes can pass anywhere, and the French privateers treat our vessels with more respect than ever. I was informed yesterday that Mons. Poncay, the French Governor of Hispaniola, is dead. I formerly sent to Mr. Blathwayt the infamous story of Vanhorn. He and the great privateer Laurens are now together, and Vanhorn is careening. He has tried to draw the privateers together, but it is said that Laurens, having two good ships and four hundred men, will not join him, and that his own people and the other French abhor his drunken insolent humour. However, the Spaniards are so alarmed that they are sending two men-of-war from Carthagena to Honduras, so that it is probable that these rogues will not unite nor do the mischief feared. At Carthagena there is great disorder through a difference between the Governor and the Church, which has caused the city to be interdicted. For many months no mass has been said. Our neighbour the Governor of St. Jago is flying from his Government, and has hired one of our vessels to carry him to the Main. The Bishop of Panama is gone thence to the mountains of Darien to countenance the building of a fort and settle a colony to hinder the passage over the Isthmus. Others say he is to superintend the mines lately discovered there. The rumour of Sharpe's return to the South Seas has made the Viceroy of Peru arm divers considerable ships, so that, if he come, he will not escape without more miracles. I have told Mr. Blathwayt how well our man-of-war was treated at Porto Bello and how punctually the negroes were paid for. I have now written to Sir B. Bathurst and answered his petition to you. I have also told him that in the last six months we could have sold two or three thousand negroes to the Spaniards, and that, as the Company sent none, I was forced to allow interlopers to supply one hundred and thirty to dismiss the Don, who had waited for them six months. Nor do I hear that the African Company intends to send a ship, though negroes are much needed and our planters are rich enough to pay for them. Our sloops sell very many, for they are now generally very safe, being well armed and provided with my commission, as in the King's service. The men are obliged to assent to it before they embark, and are therefore resolute against the pirates. We were surprised to hear that our friends contended so violently for keeping up the Negro Act. I gave no such directions, and the people will be quite content with the King's order. It is the failure to provide negroes that is the ruin of all. We have lost our chance, for the Dutch have pieced their contract, so now the Governors cannot send, and will not receive, our vessels. The Company's objection about light money would have been answered by saying that the law intended weighty. I wish you had inserted the word. I have no muster-rolls except one, which I shall send by next ship, with, if the negligence and sickness of the Receiver permits, the accounts of the revenue. The Assembly was to have met yesterday, but this being the season for making sugar and there being nothing from your Lordships, I have prorogued them to the 5th September.
I learn from the Windward Islands that the French pirate with two or three more had been at St. Thomas and haunted the Virgin Islands, and designed to come eastward to the latitude of Barbados and take the negro ships. I heard also that there were over forty piraguas of Indians, which largely distressed the Leeward Islands. This was understood at Barbados, and the Ruby would have done something against them but that the Captain's orders directed him to come down, and the Governor would furnish neither pilot nor sloop. As Captain May says, the Governor was more anxious to obtain an engagement from him to be paid for his sloop, than to write a word himself to excuse the Captain's deviation from his orders. So the occasion was lost, and the enemy was left two hundred leagues to windward. However, I have resolved to send the frigate up again, though she is not likely to do so much in four months as she might have done in three days, and the rather because I conclude that they have no frigate there, the Mermaid having gone home with Sir R. Dutton. I have tried to get the frigate cleaned and fitted, and hope to send her to sea next week if I can get a good sloop to wait on her. I doubt not but the Lords of the Treasury will pay, for here the King has no money. I am not likely to get any salary, but am indebted for hire of war vessels, building of ships, and repairing of King's houses. But from this, I say with confidence, have resulted the peace, the safety, and the trade that we now enjoy. Captain May tells me he thought he had brought your orders about Captain Heywood, but he did not, so I expect them by another hand. I saw the copies a month or two ago and wrote thereon to Mr. Brisbane and Mr. Blathwayt. I think it of such importance to the King's service and the safety of the Island that I must beg for your consideration. These orders seem to be grounded on some crime, neglect, or collusion, of which I have been guilty. This I think a great mistake, for I have not erred in the least circumstance, but have managed the maritime power entrusted to me by the King much more to the honour of the King's service than any other ever did. I might more reasonably have expected my real services to be noticed, than imaginary crimes urged against me to the dishonour of all the Governors in America, and the particular prejudice of this island. My Lords, I have never had any goods aboard any of the King's ships; I never gave leave to any to carry any; I prohibited Heywood and charged him, as I have always charged the King's captains, to obey his orders. Mr. Brisbane has Heywood's oaths, affidavits, and instructions in proof of this. I consider myself Vice-Admiral to the Duke of York by a clause in the King's charter for the Governor. I have also the Duke's grand commission, and a special commission to command the King's men-of-war, so I judged myself bound to enquire into the loss of the Norwich and to punish those responsible for it. I followed the practice observed by Governors here for twenty-seven years, a practice which must be observed still or this Government will be reduced to confusion. The only thing is, as Captain May tells me, that holders of my commissions are not admitted to be the King's captains. This, of course, is as the King pleases. But I hope you will consider, if an Admiral at sea bire a ship, make a prize and turn the prize into a man of-war, the commanders are reckoned captains in the King's service. If Governors may fit out men-of-war to destroy the King's enemies, pirates, &c., I cannot comprehend why their commanders should not sit on a court-martial. I give no Commission that is not accepted by the Captain as the King's and he and his men submit to the articles of war. By this means I have secured our trade and suppressed pirates. But if you take away the power to call courts-martial, and command all criminals to be sent to you with scrolls and affidavits, I suppose you intend to extinguish the Duke's maritime power, for I shall not hereafter dare to give any commissions, nor will any of the Jamaicans ever serve, for they think it as hard to be sent to England as Englishmen to be sent here. It will prove as inconvenient in the King's men-of-war, and, when known, will have its consequences here. I would therefore beg your orders herein. And if the orders are not come, if you appoint the Council here to re-examine Heywood's trial, it will then bear a different complexion from that put on it by traitors and people at a distance.Holograph. 8pp. Endorsed with a long précis. Recd. 7 June 1683. Read at Committee 17 July 1683. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 106, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXX., pp. 154–162.]
May 7. 1066. Instructions to Sir William Stapleton. These embody the latest regulations as to the style of enacting laws and the method of voting presents to Governors. A special clause prescribes rules for transported malefactors; and the last clauses directs Stapleton to assert the right of England to the Virgin Islands.Countersigned, L. Jenkins. [Col. Entry Bks., Vol. XLVII., pp. 86–92, and Vol. XCIX., pp. 207–212.]
May 8. 1067. Journal of Lords of Trade and plantations. Draft of a memorial to the Spanish Ambassador read, as to the injuries done by the Spaniards to the English in the West Indies. The Lords ordered the Treaty of 1670 to be examined and the Articles infringed to be pointed out, as also the breach of the Capitulation to be adverted to; and that Sir Henry Goodricke, the Ambassador at Madrid, be ordered to report what be knows aboutthe complaints of the English. Sir H. Goodricke attended and said that he could not speak from memory, and did not expect the papers at once, but took a copy of the memorial to make his observations thereon.
Memorandum of documents sent and received. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVII., pp. 145–146.]
May 14. 1068. Sir H. Goodricke to Lords of Trade and Plantations. I have read Jonas Clough's narrative of the sufferings of the English prisoners (ante, No. 303). Most of the occurrences recur to my memory from accounts heard at different times, and Clough's account is confirmed by the galleons last come in. I have also heard (1) of Sir Thomas Lynch's ship captured off Carthagena. I have delivered many memorials respecting this but can get no answer from the King of Spain or the President of the Indies. (2) I have also delivered several memorials upon Mr. Bayly's representations sent me through a Spaniard in 1680. The answer which I at length received was that Bayly was detained as a spy, though it is certain that he was sent from Carolina to negotiate for redemption of English captives. (3) The enclosed account by Captain Zoby I recommend to the King's consideration. Zoby can attend you if necessary.Signed, H. Goodricke.Holograph. 1½ pp. Enclosed,
1068. I. Narrative of Joseph Zoby. Was on a voyage to the West Indies in 1678 but was forced into Rio de la Plata to victual. While at anchor she was seized, in spite of her passport from the English Admiralty, and sold. Remonstrance was made by Sir H. Coventry and Sir H. Goodricke, but without effect. Then the seized ship came into St. Sebastian, and Sir H. Goodricke presented a fresh memorial, and an order was granted for her detention, but the men in charge of her had already trafficked with the Council for the Indies to keep her. Subsequent remonstrances have proved equally ineffective, and no justice is to be looked for from Spain.French. Two closely written pages. On the opposite pageare written in Sir H. Goodricke's hand the substance of the Articles violated by the Spaniards. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., Nos. 107, 107 I.]
May 15. 1069. Proclamation of Lord Baltimore. Altering the conditions to taking up land in Maryland to one hundred pounds of tobacco per fifty acres, and two shillings annual rent, except on the whore kills where the payment is to be one-half. Signed, Nicholas Sewall, John Darnell, Secretaries. 2½ pp. Copy. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 108.]
May? 1070. Certificate by Lord Baltimore of his reasons for altering the rules as to imported servants. My father used to allow fifty acres of land for every servant imported, as to which the transporter had to take oath that he never had the benefits of the conditions of plantation, termed rights to land, in Maryland. These rights have of late years been mostly bought up from merchants and commanders by the Collectors and Deputy Surveyors of the province, who often disposed of the same to the poorer inhabitants at excessive rates. I therefore thought good to alter these conditions of plantation, and instead of a right due upon the transportation of a servant, for which the Collectors often charged four hundredweight of tobacco, I declared that I would accept one hundredweight of tobacco for every fifty acres, with which all classes of the inhabitants are much better satisfied. On the sea-board side of Somerset and Dorchester counties there was many years ago but half rent set upon such lands as should be taken up there; now but fifty pound weight of tobacco is charged for every fifty acres taken up in these parts. It seems that this is ill-taken by Mr. Penn, and, he therefore accuses me of breach of faith, a violation of the amicable treaty, and so forth, when the foregoing proclamation was only intended to publish the alteration I had made in the conditions of plantation. There is a precedent for this in similar proclamations in my father's time. Now why this should be such a crime as that my neighbour Penn should immediately accuse me of a breach of faith and of the peace, neither I nor my council can understand. The like was done by Governor Richard Nicolls, Colonel Francis Lovelace, and Sir Edmund Andros, when those same lands in Delaware were the Duke of York'. Besides, the whore kills (sic) was taken by me from the Dutch many years ago, so that I am ill-used by my neighbour in being termed a faithless person.Signed, C. Baltemore. 2½ pp. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 109.]
May 15. 1071. Minutes of Council of Barbados. John Witham, Deputy Governor, took the oaths of office. Order for the Committee of Accounts, and the Commissioners of Fortifications to hasten their accounts. Edwyn Stede took the oaths as sole Judge of the Court of Admiralty and as Receiver-General.
May 16. Sir Timothy Thornhill took the oaths on appointment to the Council. The oath appearing defective was amended and taken by the members present excepting Henry Walrond. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XI., pp. 570–573.]
May 16.
1072. Minutes of Council and Assembly of St. Christophers. Proposed by the Council to the Assembly: (1.) That the fort at Cleverley's Point be supplied with certain necessaries. (2.) That one of the Assembly attend weekly at that fort to give an account of the work done there. (3.) That timber be procured for finishing the sessions house. (4.) To send two of the Assembly to Nevis to congratulate His Excellency on his return. To which the Assembly replied: (1.) We will do so when we have a stock in the Treasury. (2.) We will do so if one of the Council will assist. (3.) We have agreed for the supply of the timber. (4.) We will appoint Ralph Willet and Charles Mathew. The Assembly on learning that the Treasurer had obtained an execution for levying of the country's dues without its consent, desired that the public accounts may be put for a time in the Speaker's hands, to prevent repetition of such infringement of its privileges. The Council concurred, provided the Treasurer's obligations for the country be discharged. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 98.]
May 16.
1073. Sir Thomas Lynch to Sir William Stapleton. I have been exceedingly troubled to hear of the damage you have suffered from Indians and pirates. As Sir Richard Dutton is gone home with the Mermaid and would not enable Captain May of the Ruby to do something against them on his way down, I have sent him up to give you all the assistance that he can. I have thought this my duty, not only from my respect for you, but from a sense that the King's frigates should serve his colonies and protect his subjects everywhere. I marvel that there should have been a scruple about fitting out a sloop, when it was known that pirates were to cruise in the latitude of Barbados, and that the Mermaid should have returned. Three days might have done then what three months cannot now. I hear from Barbados that your islands were infested with forty periagoes of Indians and five pirates, the latter intending to cruise for the gold in the Guinea ships. God be thanked, we have prosecuted them so vigorously and hanged so many, that we hear not of one from the east of Porto Rico to the Gulf of Florida. I wish to God we were not so far to Leeward, or I could send you brave men enough, and such as would be fitter than the planters to hunt the Indians, but I doubt not that your presence and conduct will ensure success. Could I contribute more to it I would with all my heart, for I think it the duty of every christian and Englishman to help in such cases. I am therefore amazed that at Barbados they should tell the captain that they would not spend 20l. to save the Leeward Islands and Jamaica. God be thanked, our people here are not of that humour. No subjects ever did so much as the Jamaicans for the King's honour. Copy. 1½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 7 Sept. 1683. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 110.]
May 18. 1074. Journal of Council and Assembly of Antigua. Proposal for the making of a highway. His Excellency informed the Speaker that he had not yet sent home the Acts lately passed as the style of enactment required alteration. The Assembly concurred as to the highway. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 81.]
May 19.
1075. William Righton to Francis Broghill. I have little to write but to complain of the evil temper of most of the inhabitants, and especially of the Company's officers. They are not to be borne with by a man of loyalty. The Governor and some of his Council have spoken with great contempt and reproach of the King as if their power over the people was as great as his. Few dare assert the King's honour and dignity against the Company, in spite of all that was proved against the latter at Whitehall. I was forced, for my own safety, to prefer articles against the Governor to stem the current of disloyalty, and have laid them on the Council table. I enclose a copy of them, but I can get no records, though I have repeatedly asked for them in the King's name, insomuch that the Governor has now bound me over to good behaviour, which I never was before in my life of fifty years. I enclose you a further taste of the Government's kindness to the King. Holograph. 1 p. Addressed, For Francis Broghill, esquire, at his lodgings at the Countess of Portland's house in Pall Mall, near St. James' Court. Annexed,
1075. I. Articles exhibited to the Council by William Righton against Henry Durham, Governor of Bermuda. 1. He refused to grant copies of the records required by the King's order. 2. He said that if the Company's government was broken there would be nothing to expect but popery and robbery. 3. He hinted further that the King would hear no complaints against his officers. 4. He said that the King's Government was always accompanied by blaspheming and profanities. 5. Also, that if it came, the people would be forced to go to church by drum and fiddle, and 6, would be bought and sold under the guns of thirty or forty frigates. Six queries as to the tendency of such language and behaviour. Large sheet. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., Nos. 111, 111 I.]
May 22. 1076. Minutes of Council of Virginia. His Excellency announced his intention of leaving for England. Resolved that he issue a short declaration as to the settlement of the Government till his return, and order payment of the new raised soldiers and of the moving troops of horse. Resolved that, after payment of standing expenses, no sum exceeding five pounds be paid except on the Governor's warrant. Colonel John Lear was called to the Council and took the oaths. Order for payment of 15l. to the clerk. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIV., pp. 165–167.]
May 25. 1077. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Petition of Captain John Poyntz respecting Tobago read (see No. 971). Ordered that the grant of the island by the King to the Duke of Courland be examined, and that the petitioners bring a copy of the Duke's commission to them for settling Tobago.
Accounts of plantation business from Michaelmas to Christmas 1682 signed.
Sir William Stapleton's letter of 20th March read (see No. 1006). Address of the Assembly of the Leeward Islands of 15th November 1682 read, setting forth that, owing to loss by hurricanes they cannot proceed with the fortifications, and praying the King to grant the four and a half per cent. duty for two or three years, or grant them the next farm thereof. The Lords will advise that it be answered, that this revenue is already anticipated till Christmas 1683, and that the King will, as heretofore, apply it to the support of the Government; also that, if Mr. Jeaffreson find out from Lord Dartmouth what guns can be spared, the same be given to the Leeward Islands.
Sir H. Goodricke presented a paper concerning Spanish outrages on the English (see No. 1068), and a draft memorial to the Spanish ambassador was also read. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVII., pp. 147–152.]
May 25.
1078. Lords of Trade and Plantations to Sir William Stapleton. The thirty recruits for your foot companies were embarked on a frigate, and we hope are with you by this time. We cannot but think it very strange that the several Assemblies of the Leeward Islands should so mistrust the Government, as if the taxes and impositions established for its support could be diverted, in spite of the strict clauses which appropriate them to certain objects. But it is to be expected that the General Assembly of all the islands will be better advised, and thereby commend itself to the King's favour. We can make no further representation to the King respecting your difference with Captain Billop till we have received an answer on a legal point from the Attorney-General and the King's Advocate. Signed, Halifax, Radnor, Dartmouth, F. North, L. Jenkins, Tho. Chicheley, J. Ernle. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVII., pp. 92–93.]
May 25. 1079. Journal of Council and Assembly of Antigua. Proposed by his Excellency and Council that the Assembly appoint three members to join with William Barnes, John Parry, and John Vernon to review and correct the Acts that are to be sent home. The Assembly appointed Samuel Martin and John Lucas. Ordered by the Governor and Council that no execution issue against persons employed in the Indian expedition till March next, those persons who are indebted to Tristram Steevens excepted. [Col. Papers, Vol. XLIX., No. 81.]
May 28.
1080. Proclamation of Lord Culpeper for the settlement of the Government during his absence. Vesting the Government in the President and Council of Virginia; Nicholas Spencer, as senior member, being President. Signed, Tho. Culpeper. 1 p. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 112.]
May 29.
James City.
1081. Nicholas Spencer to Lords of Trade and Plantations. I send the Orders of Council passed since 9th May 1683. The country is quiet. An example has been made of two of the most notoriously active among the plant-cutters, who have been deservedly executed. One more who was condemned for the same has been respited pending the signification of the King's pleasure, being young and ill-seduced, and having since given all outward appearance of repentance. The quickening of the tobacco market has encouraged the planters to work vigorously, and I never saw a more promising crop. Everything being settled, Lord Culpeper takes this opportunity to make a voyage to England and report to the King the state of the country. You need not doubt of the zeal of the President and Council, to whom the Government is committed. Signed, Nicho. Spencer. Recd. 19 June. 1 p. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 113, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXII., pp. 103–105.]
May 29.
James City.
1082. The same to Sir Leoline Jenkins. A recapitulation of the foregoing, with the additional news that the Governor has equipped a ship against pirates. 1 p. Signed. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 114.]
May 29.
1083. Edward Randolph to Sir Leoline Jenkins. I am arrived from New England, and having been driven by foul winds into Falmouth am hastening to Whitehall. I have brought Edward Gove with me, a prisoner under sentence of death for rebellion. Holograph. ½ p. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 115.]
May 30. 1084. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. The Agents of New England attend. The ninth article of their instructions read, and the order of 20th September last, directing Massachusetts to send full powers to the Agents. The Agents called in, who assure the Lords that they have received no public letters of later date than 10th December from Boston. The Lords found fault with several abuses in the Government, and told the Agents that the King had shown great patience in bearing with it so long. The Agents said that they expected their further orders from Boston at the latter end of June. The Lords ordered a copy of the charter to be sent to the Attorney-General, to consider as to bringing a quo warranto, and adjourned the business till the end of June.
Memorandum of documents sent and received. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVII., pp. 152–154.]
May 30. 1085. Draft of a Minute of the Lords of Trade and Plantations, that a petition was presented by the inhabitants of Bermuda. ½ p. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 116.]
May 30. 1086. Petition of the inhabitants of Bermuda recapitulating the false title of the present Bermuda Company, and its misdeeds, and praying the King to send out a Governor. Copy. Unsigned. ½ p. Inscribed below,
Order of the King in Council referring the above to the Attorney-General to report on the state of the case and on the action best fitted for His Majesty. Windsor, May 30, 1683. Signed, Sunderland. ½ p. Over page: A précis of precedents for the infringement of rights of Chartered Companies. See next Abstract. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 117.]
[May 30?] 1087. Memorandum concerning the Bermuda Company. When a grant was passed to Sir Ferdinando Gorges for New England, it was opposed by the Virginia Company, and long debated before the King and Council, but carried for Sir Ferdinando, though it had been already granted to Virginia by its charter. The King, after long debate in Council, took Barbados and all the West Indies into his own hands, notwithstanding the Charter granting them to the Earl of Carlisle and his heirs for ever. The King granted Carolina by charter to the Duke of Albemarle and others, though it had already been granted by the late King to Chief Justice Heath, and by him assigned to another. The King granted New Jersey to Sir George Cartwright and others, though already within the charters of Virginia and New England. The Earl of Shaftesbury, who was no great promoter of the Royal prerogative, declared in Council that all plantations were of the King's making, and that he might at any time alter or dispose of them at his pleasure. The Bermuda Company when first incorporated numbered 156, all residents in and about London. They were then proprietors of all the land in Bermuda, and the planters either their servants or tenants at half profit. The planters have now purchased so much of the land that the Company owns not a twentieth part of it; nor are the numbers of the Company sufficient, as directed by the Charter. This ordains that there shall be a Governor, Deputy Governor, husband to the Company, and twenty four assistants, of which latter six new assistants were to be taken every year, so that the whole number changed every four years. This cannot be done, as the Company hardly numbers twenty. The present Company are but purchasers of their land and interest in the Islands; few have above one share, and many are but sham purchasers to make voters to keep up a Rump of the Company for the oppression of the Islands. All the forts and guns are in a state of ruin. Unsigned and undated. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 118.]
May 31. 1088. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. A petition from Richard Burke, Agent to Lord Baltimore, praying that a grant which is passing to the Duke of York of the parts adjacent to Delaware Bay be delayed, till the King is satisfied as to the territory granted to Lord Baltimore. Counsel for the Duke and an agent for Mr. Penn, who solicits the passing of this grant, were heard, also Mr. Burke and his counsel. Mr. Burke's counsel maintained that the land in question was included in Lord Baltimore's patent; the counsel for the other side tried to make out that it was not granted to Lord Baltimore, but originally inhabited by Dutch and Swedes, and so could not have been granted to him; also, that since it has always been in the Dukes possession, it is no hardship to Lord Baltimore to part with it now. Mr. Penn's agent undertaking to prove Dutch possession in 1609, the Lords adjourned the question for future consideration.
Memorandum of letters sent and received. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVII., pp. 155, 156.]
May 31. 1089. Substance of the conference held between Lord Baltimore and William Penn, 29th May 1683 (see post, No., 1117). Signed, C., Baltemore. 1¾ pp. Endorsed. Rec. 23 Aug. 1682. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 119.]
May 31. 1090. Duplicate of foregoing. 2½ pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 120.]
May 31.
Hampton Court.
1091. Order of the King in Council. Referring petition of Richard Burke on behalf of Lord Baltimore, praying that a grant of Newcastle to the Duke of York may not be passed until the patents of Cecil Lord Baltimore be considered, to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed, Phi. Lloyd. ½ p. Endorsed. Read, 30 May, 23 June/83, 23 July/84, 12 August, 2 September, 8, 17, 31 October/85. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 121, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LII., p. 105.]
[May?] 1092. "State of the business of the Massachusetts Company." The continued misbehaviour of the Massachusetts caused the King to order agents to be sent over from thence, who came in 1676, and after two years were discharged on condition that others should be sent over in their stead. After much delay the new agents attended in September last, when it appeared that their powers were insufficient, and they were accordingly instructed to procure sufficient powers, in default of which a quo warranto would be issued on the first day of next Hilary term. Though they have written to their principals they have received no reply, and though they prayed for further time no order was issued thereupon. Still the Attorney-General has received no instructions yet as to the quo warranto. 2 pp. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 122.]
May. 1093. "The temper of several of the Council in Barbados." "Some matters the Lieutenant-General [Henry Walrond] would have opposed, and gave interruption in." (1.) The taking of the oaths and subscribing of the test. He alleged that the Council were not to receive it from me. I told him that this should not prevent my taking it. After answering his further discourse, I ordered Colonel Stede to proceed, which he did, and I fulfilled my duty in it. By His Excellency's patent the Council are empowered to administer these oaths to the Governor. (2.) When Sir Timothy Thornhill was to be sworn, Colonel Stede told me there were some defects in the former oath taken at His Excellency's arrival. They were read and I perceived material defects, which I informed the Council I thought necessary to be amended. The Lieutenant-General opposed it with much eagerness and long speeches. One of his arguments was for separating the person from the authority, saying that, for instance, he would give faithful advice to Sir Richard Dutton as Governor, but not perhaps to Sir Richard Dutton as Sir Richard Dutton. I told him that I did not expect to hear such old and exploded arguments from him, and on his persisting was constrained to tell him that he was debating matters which were no business of his, since the swearing of the Council was the function of the Governor only, as also the forming of the oath, wherein if there were any defects I should consider their amendment. On this I took the oath and amended the defects. The most material of these are, in adding the word "Deputy" in several places; also in providing that no Councillor shall be of any faction against the Government without giving notice to the Governor or his deputy (it used to be to the Council only). I also added a clause "not to reveal the secrets of the Council." You may easily see the difference by comparing the two oaths, which were taken respectively at Sir Richard Dutton's arrival, and later by Colonel Stede, Mr. Peers, Mr. Bond, Mr. Davers, and Sir Timothy Thornhill. This latter oath the Lieutenant General refused, saying he would consider it. See for these transactions the Minutes of Council for 15th and 16th May. I know no reason for the Lieutenant-General's scruples, unless it be the clause that I added about joining factions. (3.) When the Court of Chancery began, the Lieutenant-General said that an ill method had been used, for all the bills and answers were addressed to the Governor alone, as also all the decrees and orders, whereas he alleged that every Councillor was as much the Chancellor as the Governor, and that the decrees ought to express this. I told him he had not thought about what he was saying. He replied that he had, and that an Act directed the Chancery to be in the Governor and Council. I replied that this was a mistake, that it applied only to equitable matters, or petitions about administrations, and such like, that the Court of Chancery was by inherent right in the Crown, and was devolved on the King's Governor or Lieutenant-Governor, and that this rule had been followed by all Governors, and should not be altered by me, nor further debated by him, for that I would not permit this flower of the prerogative to be lightly snatched away. I then ordered the Clerk to proceed, and the Lieutenant-General said he would withdraw. I told him that he might do as he pleased, but he had discretion enough after all to stay. About 1653–54 the Governor, Daniel Searle, began to hold a Court of Chancery, being the first that did so, for previously the Governor had ordered all such matters as petitions as he thought fit, without any oath or other formalities of a Court of Equity. Francis Lord Willoughby made Sir Robert Harloe Chancellor, and on his going off constituted three Commissioners as a Court of Chancery. William Lord Willoughby, on assuming the Government, held the Court of Chancery in person, assisted by such Councillors as attended or were summoned by him. Later he put it into commission. Both Sir Jonathan Atkins and Sir Richard Dutton have held it in person, assisted by such of the Council as attended; but all bills, orders, and decrees bear the name of the Governor only. I cannot, therefore, but take ill the Lieutenant-General's efforts to promote dissension in the Council, though for that matter he has always behaved unhandsomely to every Governor since he was made of the Council. Sir Richard Dutton is well aware that Lieutenant-General Henry Walrond is much encumbered with debts and law-suits even to half the value of his estate, while Thomas Walrond is so overwhelmed with debt that he owes more than he is worth. Tom Walrond is also of such a superb humour that he is governed more by his pride than any other consideration. Both of them have unreasonable hopes that being Councillors the Governor will protect them from their creditors, either by discountenancing suits brought against them or granting injunctions out of Chancery to stop all proceedings. Not being thus humoured by the Governor they think themselves disobliged, become factious and disaffected, and try all means to obstruct all business that is to the King's service or to the honour of the Government. So when the Governor desires the concurrence of the Council for any good motion, these two stand out, in order to do all the mischief they can, simply because they are not helped to defraud their creditors. One, Major Richard Williams, who, it was rumoured, had endeavoured to become Councillor, came and told me that he was much troubled that such a report should have got abroad. "For," said he, "I am in debt, and every one will believe that I seek it to defraud my creditors." There is another sort of ill men in this Government without principles of religion, morality, or virtue. Such an one was lately appointed to the Council, a man wholly given up to his own ambition and extravagance, and overburdened with debt. He is true to the temper of most men born in the Island, full of pride, conceit, infidelity, and ingratitude. He now seeks to head the faction of the "Coeorians" (such is the nickname of those born in the country), who will soon be the majority in the Island. It is much to the King's disservice that such men should be of the Council; it obstructs his interests and makes all affairs uneasy and troublesome to the Governor, and I think it therefore worth while to write. Communicate it as you will to the King and the Lords of Trade, but otherwise I beseech you to keep it secret. Ask Sir Richard's opinion to see if it agrees with mine, but do not mention my name. I have informed him ahout the two Walronds, and have, of course, left it to him to suggest new members of Council. 5½ pp. Unsigned, but evidently the work of John Witham and written to William Blathwayt. Inscribed and endorsed as headed, with the date May 1683. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 123.]
1094. Warrant of the Deputy Governor for closing the Quaker's meeting-house, addressed to Archibald Carmichael, Provost Marshal. 1 p. Endorsed and inscribed, May 1683. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 124.]
[May?] 1095. Sir George Jeffreys' opinion on the clause of the Bermuda Charter for choosing the Governor. The power was given in the infaney of plantations, when they were yet desolate and not inhabited, but they are now become so considerable that customs of the commodities form a considerable part of the King's revenue. Bermuda lies in the eye of all trade to the West Indies, so that it might destroy it, if in an enemy's hands. And if the King think the place not well fortified, or unable to defend itself, or if he dislike the management of the military power or the hands it is now in, I conceive that notwithstanding any of the words of the clause he may send such a Governor as he thinks fit. Signed, G. Jeffreys. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed, but undated. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 125.]
[May?] 1096. A duplicate copy of the foregoing. Attached to it are the names of the Bermuda Company, and the shares of each. Nineteen names, and twenty-five shares. Below, the following comment: The Virginia Company when first incorporated numbered 891. When dissolved 156 of them were incorporated as the Somers Islands Company. Formerly they possessed all the land, now they have but 25 shares out of 533, and ten of these are Pym's, made over by collusion to make voters for a pretended Company. 2 pp. Undated and unsigned. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., No. 126.]
[May.] 1097. A paper of information concerning Bermuda. By several letters from Bermuda, it is advised that the Ministers there who are such violent Nonconformists that they will not pray for the King, have of late by the Company's order preached the King's Government down and the Company's up, and inspired many with the belief that they will be ruined if the King takes the Islands into his hands, for that the courtiers will buy their land and they will have a popish Governor. When it was asked why the Company might not send a popish Governor as well as the King, it was answered that none of them were popishly affected. At the reference before the Attorney-General the other day, the Company alleged that they might hold correspondence with the King's enemies and give them protection in the Islands if they would. Hutchings was above a year ago turned out of the Council in Bermuda for speaking in contempt of the King's authority, but was reinstated by order of the Company. 1 p. Unsigned. Annexed,
1097. I. The Company's order that, having heard the complaint of John Stowe against John Hutchings, they have and shall retain good thoughts of Hutchings and desire that he be no further troubled. Dated, Sadlers Hall, 6 October 1682. Signed by thirteen of the Company. 1 p. Copy. Certified by John Tucker, Secretary. [Col. Papers, Vol. L., Nos. 127, 127 I.]