America and West Indies: March 1688

Pages 510-523

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 12 1685-1688 and Addenda 1653-1687. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.

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March 1688

March 2.
1,652. Order of the King in Council. Approving the report of the committee of Trade and Plantations recommending that the sentence and fine imposed on Sir Timothy Thornhill be affirmed. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. VII., pp. 449,450.]
March 3.
1,653. Governor Sir Nathaniel Johnson to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Since my arrival I have visited all the islands and gathered the best information that I could. The procedure of the Courts of Judicature varies so extremely, not only in the different islands, but in the small divisions of each island, that the residents in any one know as little of the laws and customs of the rest as they do of the laws of England. Some matters they will determine by the English laws, in others, without any rational disparity, they reject English law; and in another island or even in another division of the same island, the reverse of these decisions will be the judgment given. As far as I have observed, the laws of England and the customs or pretended customs of the islands take place by turns, according to the fancy of the judge, and I think that the irregularity and uncertainty of judicial proceeding has contributed much to retard the progress of these islands. I hope to reduce them to a more uniform system, as near as may be to the laws of England, which at present Antigua imitates more exactly than the rest. The Council and Assembly of Antigua are now preparing several Acts for the settlement of the island, the regulation of the courts and for fixing their procedure, which will shortly be submitted for the King's approval, and if approved will be good precedents for the other islands. Pending instructions, I shall make the laws of England my guide, and shall not myself receive and reject those laws at random. nor suffer others. Where those laws are actually inconvenient I shall, of course, concur with the inhabitants in altering them. I will not leave discretionary power to every judge, and authority to doubtful pretences of custom. The regulation of this practice is the most considerable matter on which I have information to give you. The Governor in Chief and the Lieutenant Governors are Chancellors in their respective islands, and appoint Courts of Chancery when needed, though custom generally limits them to one a year, except by particular favour to individuals for the hearing of a particular cause, when they are called Special Courts of Chancery. This is extremely discouraging to merchants and traders, who, after obtaining judgment for their debts in the Common-law Courts, are sometimes delayed for a year till a rehearing in Chancery; for it is a practice for an unsuccessful defendant to appeal to the Court of Chancery, which appeal is granted on the defendant's bare report, whether there be any matter of equity at issue or not; and meanwhile execution is stayed. This practice I find arose from the tenor of the commissions granted to the judges by former Governors, and it will take time to reform it. I have meanwhile remedied matters somewhat by keeping the Court of Chancery always open.
In this respect the practice has been most unreasonably and groundlessly dilatory; in other instances it is not less unreasonably precipitated. After public notice given of a Court of Chancery the plaintiffs enter their actions of equity (as they are called here) according to a certain form, but without a word as to the grounds of action. Then about six days before the Court sits he sets forth his cause of suit; and the respondent has the option on the day of hearing either to deliver his answer in writing or by word of mouth, but not on oath, of which answer the plaintiff, without further time to consider thereof, must make the best case he can. Then the witnesses are examined, or their depositions are received as evidence, although taken at the instance of one party only, the contrary party having had no opportunity of being present or of cross-examining. Then each party makes the best representation that he can of his case, without having time to consider the evidence offered on either side, or any other material matter which the contrary party could not have foreseen until the witnesses on each side were produced. The Chancellor having apprehended the case thus hurriedly and confusedly brought before him gives his decree forth with, which is entered in a book below the entry of that action, without a word as to the grounds that governed the decision. Yet these hasty sentences have heretofore been as greatly esteemed as the laws of the Medes and Persians. Again, the jurisdiction of the Court has been exceeded in many particulars, so much so as to do away with much of the advantage of trial by jury, since an appeal to the Court of Chancery even after verdict of a jury amounts to a stay of execution; and the Court will boldly examine matters of bare fact, and if they think the jury's decision wrong, will reverse it and make some further decree. The irregularities of the lower Courts may be guessed, when the Court of Chancery, wherein all the wise men of the island are assistants, is so managed. I have, however, done my best to reduce the Court of Chancery to its due jurisdiction, and have issued five standing orders for reform of the procedure. You will see that they bring the proceedings of the Chancery here as near to those of England as the smallness of the Colony permits. Litigation is now easily and cheaply decided.
About four months ago I spent some time at Montserrat. I found much inconvenience there owing to the farming out of the offices of Secretary and Marshal by the patentee. A petition was preferred to me by the Council and Assembly complaining of the excessive fees demanded by these officers, and on examining the matter I found the complaint to be true. Further enquiry shewed that the fees were left very much to the discretion of the officers, the patent laying it down that the fees were to be those which obtained when the patent was granted. What these may be I know not, so I decided that they must be determined by the oath of twelve men and that all must conform to them when determined, and meanwhile I settled and moderated the fees on the model of those at Nevis. The people were anxious to pass an Act like that of Nevis, but in justice to the patentee I thought fit to await the King's orders. I need not go into details about these fees, but they were extortionate to oppression. Marshals would let any prisoner taken up on an execution go at large on payment of twice the usual fee, and this was called imprisonment at large. You will perceive the hardship to creditors, for thereby they lost all benefit of any execution, though the marshals took care that their own fees should be paid. The secretaries of all the islands have, through long connivance of Governors, engrossed to themselves many things quite foreign to their office. In Montserrat, where things were worst, they claimed the benefit of writing all warrants, deeds and legal instruments, and to be sole seriveners of all wills and testaments. They also received 200 1bs. of sugar annually from all merchants, traders, innkeepers, and sellers of liquor in the island. This grew up as follows. By the Act of Trade and by local Acts all these people are required to have a licence from the Governor. The fee for this is 50 1bs. of sugar, and the licence is taken once for all, but in Montserrat the secretary, by the favour of some Governor, had made it the custom to renew it quarterly, until at length the sum became a yearly pension.
The King having left the choice of residence to me, I intend to move shortly to Antigua. It is less healthy than the rest, and has suffered of late more than the rest from bad weather. It is also less comfortable for the above reasons, but my intention is all for the King's service, for Antigua is more profitable to the King's revenue than all the rest of the Leeward Islands, though only one third of it is settled; and it will improve as the population increases. It is a Colony to be encouraged, and the residence of the Governor in Chief will contribute not a little to its encouragement. Nevis and St. Christopher's have had the benefit of this already, and I hope it may be equally successful in Antigua. One cause of the backwardness of the island is the ill regulation for disposal of lands. Patents have been granted out for tracts far too large for the patentees to manage, and these have generally played the part of dogs in the manger. I hope you will approve of the Acts passed to remedy this, which the island has long desired. Once more, Antigua is the most windwardly of this group, so the first to be reached by ships from England, and the most convenient for distribution of orders.
Since my arrival I have appointed Mr. Hutcheson Attorney General for these islands. He is a well-qualified lawyer, and came recommended to me by several persons of worth. He has proved worthy of the recommendations, and has been very serviceable, attending in the several islands at their respective sessions of the peace, a troublesome and expensive duty. I have asked the islands, pursuant to my instructions, what encouragement they will give to an Attorney General, but find them unwilling to comply with anything. Being restricted to the consents of the Councils in settling the fees of offices, and all places of profit being already disposed of under the great seal of England, I can do little to induce a gentleman educated as a lawyer to spend his time in the Colonies, where little of pleasure or the improvement of knowledge can be expected. He has asked me to name him to your Lordships and to beg your recommendation of him to the several islands in the hope that it may do something in his favour. I have commissioned the Lieutenant Governor and Council of Montserrat or any three of them to be a Court of Exchequer, and design to do the same in the other islands. I have also ordered the Attorney General to make a general inspection of the affairs of Montserrat, and his report shall be forwarded to you for your instructions. I cannot yet tell whether a fixed Court of Exchequer for the islands in general or for each island in particular will be needed. If it be, I shall select the most loyal persons for the trust, and take care to hear the most important cases myself. I have already informed you that St. Christopher's and Nevis have voted 160,000 1bs. of sugar to the King for my support. Montserrat has voted the same amount, 60,000 1bs. of which they wish to be given to their Lieutenant Governor. Antigua also, to encourage me to reside there, has voted me a present. This, with what the King allows me, will be all that I shall have to enable me to meet the expense of my post. Whatever may have been the case with former Governors in more prosperous times, I cannot hope, now that sugar is so low and the additional tax imposed, that the welcome given to me on my first arrival will be repeated. Soon after my arrival I was petitioned by the Roman Catholics for the free exercise of their religion, which was granted. As the expense of building and decorating chapels, which they have already begun in Montserrat and St. Christopher's, will be very heavy on them, I have exempted them from contributing towards the support of Protestant ministers. Their petition and the order thereon are enclosed. I have done the like in the other islands. Signed, N. Johnson. 18 pp. Endorsed. Recd. 4 May. Read 14 June 88. Enclosed,
1,653. I. Form of the patent for grant of lands as issued by Sir William Stapleton. 4 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., Nos. 28, 28I., and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVII., pp. 302–317.]
March 4./14.
1,654. Declaration of the Governor of Petit Guavos. Disclaiming the intention falsely attributed to him of seizing and punishing the privateers to whom the King had offered pardon on their surrendering themselves. Signed, De Cussy. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. from the D. of Albemarle 13 Sept. 1688. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., No. 29.]
March 5. 1,655. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Colonel Bourden was suspended from the Council for resigning his post as assistant judge.
March 6. Petition of St. Jago del Castillo for leave to supply the Assiento's ships with provisions. Order for the depositions of the prisoners brought down from Cuba to be taken. The petition of John Throgmorton for pay as commander of an armed party against the rebel negroes recommended to the Assembly. Order for the fees of the clerks to be enquired into.
March 7–8. Council met, and was twice adjourned.
March 9. The Attorney General took the Councillor's oath of secrecy. The Assembly presented a supplemental Act for passing of current coin. Colonel Molesworth gave in reasons in writing against it. Bill touching the records of the Assembly committed.
March 10. The Chief Justice sworn as a Councillor. Sundry evidences for the Assembly sworn. A proviso added to the supplemental Act concerning foreign coin. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXVI., pp. 205–207.]
March 6.
1,656. Governor the Duke of Albemarle to Lords of Trade and Plantations. The Assembly met on the 16th, to whom I communicated part of what I intended should come before them, in order to find out their temper. The rest I shall put before them later, when I have found their compliance with what I have already offered. The Council and Assembly have agreed on an address to the King, which I enclose. I have suspended Mr. Hanson, a justice of the peace, for having acted in contempt of the Council's orders. On the 27th I propounded to the Council the appointment of another Chief Justice instead of Mr. Bernard, on which Colonel Bourden, one of the Council who had been an assistant judge of the Supreme Court for some time, asked me who it was for whom I designed the place. I told him, though I was not obliged to inform him, that it was Mr. Elletson. He replied with a show of passion that in that case he asked to be excused from acting as a judge any longer. This I took to be a slight to the King's service and a disrespect to me, and it proved to be a bad example to others, for immediately afterwards Major Penhallow and Colonel Elmore, two other assistant judges, desired also to be excused from attending that court; and as there remained only Colonel Needham there were not enough left to make a quorum. I am confident that this was done in hopes that I should not readily supply the defect, but they were undeceived, for I at once appointed Sir Francis Watson, Colonel Ballard, Major Peake, and Major Reeves; and Mr. Knight offered voluntarily to serve as assistant judge, which I took kindly from him. So these were put into the commission, and the court sat as had been appointed. I made choice of Mr. Elletson because I thought him an honest man, an able lawyer and one that will do good service in the station. Mr. Bernard, the late Chief Justice, sent to tell me that he was well satisfied at his removal, and only desired that he might practise as an attorney in the same court. In consideration of Colonel Bourden's public refusal to serve as a judge, I thought that he deserved public correction, and, therefore, on the 5th inst., I suspended him from the office of Councillor. I also dismissed Penhallow from his office of major, but continued him in the commission of the peace, as he is factor to the African Company and may be of service. Being well assured that considerable treasure has been brought into the island from the wreck near Hispaniola, and having been pressed by the King's letters to recover one moiety for him, I have required £100,000 from Colonel Molesworth to answer the King's demands. He has received the tenths, which he acknowledges to amount to £5,000, but I believe there is more. I shall endeavour to find the whole. He has promised me the security. The late Governor of Saint Jago in Cuba is condemned to be shot for being civil to Captain Samill. On Sunday the 19th ult. there was a great earthquake in the island, but no great harm done that I can hear. We learn, however, of a most terrible earthquake and inundation at Lima. I enclose a translation of the account. The Biscayans have lately taken two British ships. One, bound for New York, was carried into St. Jago, the other into St. Domingo. She was worth £10,000, and Mr. Wall was concerned in her to the amount of £4,000. I send affidavits on the subject. I also enclose a civil letter which I have received from the Governor of Saint Jago. Signed, Albemarle. 3 pp. Endorsed. Read 25 May 1688. Enclosed,
1,656. I. Complimentary letter from the Governor of Cuba to the Duke of Albemarle. Dated 1–11 March 1688. Signed, Alvardomero Venegas. Spanish. 2½ pp. Endorsed as the preceding.
1,656. II. Deposition of Roger Whitfield, master of the barque Dragon. As to the plunder of his ship by a Spaniard, who carried him into St. Jago. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 22 May 1688.
1,656. III. Deposition of Issachar Daldy. As to the capture of Richard Whiffin's ship by Spaniards, who carried her into St. Domingo. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 25 May 1688. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., Nos. 30, 30I.–III., and (letter only), Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXII., pp. 88–93.]
March 6. 1,657. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Order for apprehension of Thomas Hussey for obstructing Philip Lynes in the execution of his duty. Evidence against Hussey taken. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LIV., pp. 137–141.]
March 6. 1,658. Minutes of Council of New York. Licence granted to Richard Blackledge to buy whale-oil for soap-boiling. Petition of Thomas Roberts and others, executors of Mary Matthews, deceased, for abatement of part of the excise agreed to by deceased during her lifetime. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXV., pp. 19, 20.]
March 7.
1,659. John Bourden to Lords of Trade and Plantations. I have been suspended from my seat in the Council, and expect to be removed from all other places of authority, civil and military. On or about the 27th ult. the Duke of Albemarle declared to the Council his intention of making a new Chief Justice. I asked whom he designed to appoint, and being told, Mr. Elletson, I asked to be excused from sitting as one of the assistant judges. The duke assented without any expostulation about the matter, but he has since reflected severely on it, as if I had behaved out of disrespect to the King's service, whereas I had no motive but the poor opinion that I entertained of the new Chief Justice, and my own unwillingness to be bound by his sense, for I have small knowledge of law. I sat under the late Chief Justice from my confidence both in his law and his justice. However, the duke called a quorum of the Council together on short notice on the 5th inst., and, declaring to them that as I had refused to serve the King in one capacity, I was unfit to serve in any other, actually suspended me from the Council. He never accused me nor charged me to my face, nor heard what I might have to say in defence, as is shewn by the copy of the minutes and of a letter which I received from the clerk. As this is contrary to two of the instructions communicated by his Grace to the Council against arbitrary removal of judges and suspending of Councillors, I submit the case to you. Signed, John Bourden. 1½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 25 May 88. Enclosed,
1,659. I. Extract from minutes of Council of Jamaica, 5 March 1687. His Grace informed the Council that Colonel Bourden had asked to be excused from sitting as an assistant judge if Mr. Elletson were appointed Chief Justice, and gave his opinion that a man who refused to serve the King in one capacity was unfit to serve him in any other. Wherefore he did then suspend Colonel Bourden from the Council. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 25 May 88.
1,659. II. The clerk of the Council of Jamaica to Colonel Bourden. Informing him that the Duke of Albemarle has suspended him from the Council. Signed, Francis Hickman. ¼ p. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., Nos. 31, 31I., II., and (letter and enclosure No. II. only), Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXII., pp. 102–105.]
March 9. 1,660. Reasons offered to the Duke of Albemarle and the Council of Jamaica against the bill entitled A supplemental Act for the current passing of coin. 1. It overvalues the coin and therefore diminishes the King's revenue, contrary to the royal instructions. 2. It is against common justice, for creditors lose by the raising the value of money twenty and twenty-five per cent. 3. It will spoil the country's credit and dislocate trade. 4. It will give occasion to clippers and others to reduce all pieces-of-eight to the lowest weight. 5. It is against the interest of the island, for by however much we over-value a foreign commodity, such as foreign coin, by so much we undervalue our own produce. Signed, H[ender] M[olesworth]. Copy. 1¼ pp. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., No. 32.]
March 10.
1,661. Lieutenant Governor Stede to Lords of Trade and Plantations. My thanks for the permission to accept the present voted to me. I hope that Mr. de Pas' agents have informed you of my restoration of the ship captured from pirates by Captain Temple of H.M.S. Mary Rose. I have done all that I could, but the business has been delayed by my sickness, and by the embezzlement of the goods by the officers of the Mary Rose. I have received several orders as to pirates, which shall be observed. Pirates rarely come here, and when they do are punished with rigour, if taken. I hope that they will be equally punished everywhere when Sir Robert Holmes arrives. I have also received the royal orders as to the Quakers. I have admitted some of the Quakers to parochial offices accordingly, and I have ordered the military officers to cause no more fines to be levied on the Quakers than suffice to pay for substitutes for them. But it is difficult to hire men to serve in the militia, for we have few supernumerary people who are not obliged to do military duty under the Militia Act. But I shall observe the King's orders. If the Quakers would keep their due number of white men that their plantations require to suppress the danger of an insurrection of negroes, the militia would be strengthened and they themselves subject to fewer penalties. But as Christian servants are less profitable than negroes they keep few of them, and indeed but for the Militia Act and the fear of insurrection few Christian servants would be kept in the island. The interest that Quakers have here is so great that they ought to make one regiment, the want of which will be badly felt in case of war or insurrection. The Quakers also importune of me, as part of the King's favour to them, that they shall be able to give evidence, sit as jurors and perform other functions without being sworn. As these matters are not expressly mentioned, I know not whether to allow them, and beg instructions.
The French from Martinique and those other islands continue to visit St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Dominica, to hunt, fish and cut timber, whenever the King's frigate is not there. She has been absent from them some months refitting, but I have sent her back, to remove the French if need be. All is quiet here, and there is great rejoicing over the Queen's being with child. It is, however, still a sickly time, and small pox continues among us. The people are despondent over the hardships that fall daily on them, by which they grow so poor and so much in debt that they lose all hope. The cost of producing sugar, the low price and the bad times have induced the Council and Assembly to address the King on the subject of the new impost. They would gladly pay an equivalent of the trade and produce if the island could bear it. These addresses they have asked me to send, and I doubt not of your assistance in forwarding the same. Signed, Edwyn Stede. 1½ closely written pages. Endorsed. Recd. 22 May. Read 25 May 88. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., No. 33, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. VII., pp. 462–465.] Annexed,
1,661. I. Extract from minutes of Council of Barbados of 14 February 1688. The Lieutenant Governor communicated the King's orders of 6 December 1687 as to the Quakers. Ordered that the instructions therein be obeyed, and that copy of the material portions be communicated to the justices of the peace. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 22 May 88.
1,661. II. Address of the Council and Assembly of Barbados to Lieutenant Governor Stede. Requesting him to forward their address to the King on the new impost on sugar (see next abstract). Dated 14 February 1688. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 22 May 88.
1,661. III. Address of the Council and Assembly of Barbados to the King. On first hearing of the new impost on sugars we laid before you a calculation of the expenses and profits of a sugar plantation, to shew you our inability to pay the same. But we understand that this representation of ours was diverted from your hand, and conclude that it is for this reason that it has remained unnoticed. We beg now to repeat our former remarks, and to implore your attention to them. We assure you also that sugars have not advanced but rather lessened in price. so that the whole impost is paid, not by the consumer, as intended, but by the growers and importers. This tax, with the four and a half per cent. duty, equals the rack-rent of our lands, owing to which cause we become indebted by the very making of the sugar which has to pay the duty. This not only impoverishes the planter, but injures trade, and the result must be the diminution of your militia, as the merchant, alarmed at the prospect, declines to give the planter credit, without which few can manage their plantations for sugar. The plantations, therefore, are becoming mere pastures, which yield but a poor income to the owner, and become useless to your treasury. Many plantations are very near this miserable condition, and others must fall into it unless they be relieved. We shall not presume to hint at the consequences that may follow to the Royal African Company and to English trade and shipping. We beg your favour, for we are a loyal people. Thirtyone signatures. Dated14 Feb. 1688. Copy. 2 large pp. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., Nos. 33I.–III. and (No. III. only), Col. Entry Bk., Vol. VII., pp. 465–468.]
March 10.
1,662. Account of bullion brought into Barbados from the wreck. Certified by John Hallett and Benjamin Skutt, 1 February 1687–8. Certificate of Lieutenant Governor Stede, 10 March 1687–8, that he has taken one moiety into his custody. 2½ pp. Endorsed.
Duplicate of the foregoing. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., Nos. 34, 35.]
March 12. 1,663. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Adjourned to 13th.
March 13. Committee appointed to confer with the Assembly as to the Act concerning foreign coin. Petition of St. Jago del Castillo praying that orders might be given for the seizure of a runaway captain and ship of the Assiento. Ordered that he bring his evidence this afternoon. Other petitions considered. St. Jago del Castillo's business adjourned till to-morrow.
March 14. Report of Colonel Molesworth stating the difference between the Council and Assembly as to the Act concerning foreign coin. Message from the Assembly desiring a further conference thereon, to which his Grace, after some parley, consented. Conferrers appointed. Message from the Assembly asking for a new writfor the parish of St. Ann's, William Drax having been declared no member of the house. St. Jago del Castillo's petition considered. The Council advised that it be acceded to.
March 15. Messages between Council and Assembly over the supplemental Act concerning foreign coin. Ralph Knight summoned before the Council for disrespectful language and reprimanded. Colonel Barry suspended from the Council. Act touching the Assembly's records read twice.
March 16. Bill touching foreign coin read. Bill touching the Assembly's records passed.
March 17. Council met and adjourned. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXVI., pp. 207–211.]
March 12. 1,664. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Order for a Special Court for the trial of the ship John of London for breach of the Acts of Trade.
March 13. A second letter from Colonel Wells as to the murder of an Englishman by Indians. Order for Mr. Francis Jenkins to be sent to demand the murderer from the chief of the Nanticokes. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LIV., pp. 141–145.]
March 13. 1,665. Minutes of Council of New York. Major Baxter brought an order from the Governor at Albany to consider what will be the expense of the expedition against the French this year, and the best means of defraying it. The cost was computed at £8,000, a greater burden than the Colony can bear. Resolved to write to the Governor and ask him to invite contributions from the other Colonies. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXV., pp. 20–22.]
March 19.
1,666. Henry Hordesnell to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Captain Frowde, who has done his best to aid me in the hopeless task of collecting the King's dues, is about to sail home, not having got more than a fifth of what the King had a right to expect. I have taken the recognizances of several to pay the King's dues when called upon, under which they tremble, not having wherewithal, yet hoping for the King's pardon on promise of better conduct in future. They could have paid the King's dues as freely at first, had as much care been taken to collect them for him as there was to collect a sixteenth for another person. I hope that you will grant this people free trade, which has been refused them many years. The King suffers as much as the people, his loss in the customs exceeding £3,000 this last year. The planters were forced to keep their tobacco till it rotted, and there were many other disorders. I hope that you will let me return, when I think I can shew you how to make this a happy island. Signed, H. Hordesnell. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 15 June. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., No. 36, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XVIII., pp. 157, 158.]
1,667. Extract from the foregoing letter, as to the granting of free trade. ¼ p. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., No. 37.]
March 20. 1,668. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Orders for payments for work done at Fontabelle House, for rebate of duty, and for payments of compensation to owners of negroes executed. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XII., p. 80.]
March 20. 1,669. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Lesley Palmer, for spreading a report that H.M.S. Drake had been sunk by Biscayners, was ordered to find security for good behaviour in future. Resolved that a man-of-war be sent to demand the English subjects among certain pirates who had fortified themselves in the Isle of Ash, and to attack the pirates in case of refusal. Ralph Knight offered an apology for certain language that he had lately used, and was ordered to appear next day. Richard Cubitt also ordered to attend to-morrow. Additional Act for ascertaining value of coin read a second time and committed.
March 21. Ralph Knight attended and begged pardon for using unbecoming words of the Council. Richard Cubitt's business deferred till to-morrow. The Naval Office presented its account of the King's dues delivered to Colonel Molesworth. Act for christening of slaves read a first time. Order for John Wilkinson to be arrested and brought before Council for inhuman treatment of negroes.
March 22. The Assembly attended, and his Grace made them a speech to the effect that they had sat for a month and done little, and that they would do well to vote the King a perpetual revenue. John Wilkinson bound over to take his trial at the Grand Court. Act for better ordering of slaves read a first time. Anthony Ayler ordered to appear before Council to answer for a charge of fraud. Examination of Richard Cubitt's case. The complainants against him referred to their legal remedy.
March 23. His Grace acquainted the Council that the Assembly had thrown out the bill for perpetual revenue and ordered an account of escheats, fines and forfeitures to be prepared, these being already the King's. Act for better ordering of slaves committed. Act for christening of slaves read a second time and committed. Anthony Ayler's case compounded by consent of the complainant against him. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXVI., pp. 212–216.]
March 21.
1,670. Lieutenant Governor Stede to the Lord President. I have lately received the King's orders in favour of the Quakers. [Repeats substance of his former letter on the subject, see No. 1,661.] I send an account of all the wreck-silver I found in the Bermuda ship I wrote of, with the oath of all the parties concerned. I have taken from all the parcels one moiety for the King, which awaits the royal orders, though the importers hope to get an order restoring it to them. They pretend that they bought it in Bermuda, and received it for debts due to them and for goods sold. I send also another account of money and plate imported hither from the wreck by the ship Raven, of which it appears that the King's moiety was paid to Mr. Constable, but I secured what was taken from the wreck after Mr. Constable left them. Only two more vessels have arrived from the wreck, which brought only five or six hundred pounds, for which they produced the King's order allowing them the full profit. By the oaths of the crew, however, they took eight hundred weight of silver for which they are to be answerable to the King. I know not what is become of my little venture in a small sloop sent to the wreck, but I fear all is lost, not having heard a word of it since Sir J. Narborough ordered it away from the wreck. I am afraid they may have fallen into the hands of Biscayners about Porto Rico, who are taken into the King of Spain's service to take pirates, and who interrupt English traders more than any pirates ever did. They not only confiscate the ship and goods, but put all the men to death; so they are never heard of again. This behaviour of theirs is confirmed from several sources. The island remains very sickly and poor. Sir Thomas Montgomery had reflected on me for giving leave to the Duke of Albemarle's secretary to open the Royal Oak lottery here, but our poverty, together with the disorders and rudenesses of certain persons, forced the person who managed it to give it over before January was out. The expense and loss have ruined him, which, I suppose, is the reason why Mr. Chapman, Mr. Cranfield, and others interested therein, have not yet addressed you on the subject as they intended. They are going to try their fortune again at Easter, and if they succeed sufficiently to be worth your notice, they will ask for your patronage and favour. Sir T. Montgomery is still uneasy, and thinks me not his friend, as he has not liberty to do as he pleases, though I have never diminished anything in honour or profit to him that he could pretend to. Signed, Edwyn Stede. Holograph. 2 pp. Endorsed. Recd. 28 May 88. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., No. 38.]
March 21. 1,671. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. The draft commission to Sir Edmund Andros read and approved. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. p. 142.]
March 21.
1,672. Table of fees of the officers of New England, submitted to the Council by Joseph Dudley, William Stoughton and Edward Randolph. 14 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., No. 39.]
March 22.
1,673. Governor Lord Howard of Effingham to the Earl of Sunderland. I have for the last three weeks been very ill of a fever, and my life for many days was despaired of. I have received a letter from the Council with abstracts of Captain Craft_s letters, but having already received them from another source, have answered them already, and now send duplicates. I hope that there will be no mistake in them. Truly, I believe one great cause of my sickness is that I should lie under such accusations, knowing my own innocence, and that these gentlemen should aim at my ruin without any cause given by me; but I question not that you will acquit me when you have read my answer. Signed, Effingham. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., No. 40, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIII., pp. 204–206.]
March 23.
1,674. Order of the King in Council. For a warrant for the passing of Sir Edmund Andros's commission as Governor of New England, New York and New Jersey, under the great seal. Signed, Phil. Musgrave. ½ p. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., No. 41.]
March 24. 1,675. Minutes of Council of Nevis. The Assembly sent up a bill for a levy of 190,000 lbs. of sugar, which was agreed to by the Council. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVIII., pp. 166, 167.]
March 25.
1,676. Edward Randolph to Lords of Trade and Plantations. I send the laws made in Council and the proceedings in Council since the Governor's arrival. The local laws have been delayed by the extreme severity of the winter and the distance of the homes of many members from Boston. The law for continuing rates and duties passed with great difficulty, not that there is any novelty or hardship in it, for it is no more than is already in the law book, and is but for £1,000; but they have always looked upon themselves as a free people, and look on this Act as a clog. The Governor has directed a survey of military stores; it will require a great deal of money to put the country in a state of defence. The Quo Warranto has been served upon Connecticut, and the people are all anxious to be united to this Government. The delivery of Pemaquid to this Government has been appointed, and will soon be carried out. The Governor, on arriving in Boston, discussed the necessity of having at least one of the churches for the Church of England, and after debate with the Council selected the third church in Boston for a sermon on Easterday, and appointed a minister to perform the office, which he did, without interfering with them who formerly used the church. We find it difficult to raise a maintenance for one minister, and nothing is so bad as that a minister should be precarious. He is a good and able man, but we have three or four other men from England for the other Governments. I would advise the prosecution of Connecticut's Charter to effect. Signed, Ed. Randolph. Holograph. 2 pp. Endorsed. Recd. 17 May 87. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., No. 42, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXI., pp. 342, 343.]
March 27.
1,677. Depositions of John Hilton and others. As to the capture of their sloop, the Adventure, by a Spanish pirate. Sworn before Thomas Hill. 1 p. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXII., No. 43.]
March 28. 1,678. Minutes of Council of New York. The King's letter of 10 November read. Copies to be sent to Virginia and Maryland. Proceedings between the Governor and Father Vaillant read, and the Governor's letter to Lord Sunderland of 19 February. Resolved to address the King, that the province is much impoverished by the loss of Pemaquid, the Jerseys, Pennsylvania and the three lower counties of Delaware, and by the interruption of the beavertrade through the war. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXV., pp. 22–24.]
March 28. 1,679. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. No quorum appeared either morning or afternoon.
March 29. Act for christening of slaves passed and sent down to the Assembly. Act for lodgment of records and for fixing qualifications of jurors received from the Assembly. Petition of St. Jagodel Castillo read, complaining of the seizure of a Spanish sloop by the factors of the Assiento, and referred to the Court of Admiralty. Additional Act for ascertaining the value of current coin reported with amendments, which amendments were passed, and the bill was sent down to the Assembly. Order for remittance of William Blathwayt's salary as Surveyor General, and for payment of his salary to Chief Justice Bernard. Fees of the Clerks of Council paid.
March 30. Message from the Assembly, agreeing to the amendments to the additional Act concerning coin. Some small alterations of the Assembly agreed to. Bill for lodgment of records and for ascertaining qualifications of jurors read a first time. Order for proprietors of wharves to produce their patents to the Attorney General. Order for Mr. Kelly to arrest Hugh Bourne and Jacob Alvyn. Order for a bill to be introduced for the prevention of perjury.
March 31. Additional Act concerning coin passed. The Assembly asked leave to adjourn for four days, which was granted. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXVI., pp. 216–218.]
March 30. 1,680. Minutes of Council of New York. The Governor's letters to Maryland and the neighbouring Colonies read and approved. Petition of the judges for the continuance of their salaries, the Act being expired. Ordered that the salary be continued. Order for an Act to be drawn up for the conversion of negroes. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXV., pp. 24, 25.]