Addenda: Miscellaneous, 1672

Pages 637-638

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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Miscellaneous, 1672

1672 ? 2,049. Sir Thomas Modyford's reasons for the inconveniences of settling the Secretary's, Surveyor's, and Marshal's places for life, and by patent. (1) These officers ought to be always in attendance on the Governor, but being appointed under the same seal they may think themselves as good as he is, and so become "proud, careless, and indiligent in their work," (2) to carry out orders according to their own opinions, instead of the Governor's wishes, as I know by experience, and (3) to mind their own profit more than his Majesty's service. Hence Secretaries almost refuse to copy despatches, commissions, etc., because the work brings no fee, and, similarly, the Marshal refuses to attend the Governors to church or on journeys. (4) The deputy of the Governor is much lessened, as above explained. (5) It diverts men from deserving well of the Governor, seeing that he cannot enforce obedience. (6) The Marshal is a kind of Sheriff. Tenure of his office for life easily begets oppression. (7) The Secretary was so far from complying with the King's commands that he would not even keep his office in the town where the Governor lived, which was one of the reasons why the Council recommended the Governor to seize his office. (8) The Surveyor also would live where he pleased, and not where he was told. He lived at the Point, a sea town, two leagues distant by water and ten leagues over a deep, sandy passage by land. He would let no one survey but by his appointment, charging first 12d., then 8d., and finally finding that insufferable, 4d. an acre, though he gave not a penny an acre for the work. He did nothing himself but receive the money, which was a great oppression to the poor planter, and no "able artist," indeed, but four men in the island would work for him at such pay, so that much of what is granted is not yet surveyed. (9) These officers, on pretext of their patents, give no security for good behaviour. (10) The Marshal keeps his chief prison at the Point, and there lives with the other "triumvirs," carrying all his prisoners thither, to the intolerable charge and grievance of the island, making them pay for transport and victuals, whereas were the prison in St. Jago, prisoners could easily be fed by their relatives. Finally, these three officers have, by their pride, insolence, exaction, and distortion infinitely hindered this settlement, impoverished the planters, disabled many to begin settlement, and almost all to carry it on with proper vigour. It is therefore humbly offered and desired (1) That the Secretary's Office may continue as now, settled on Colonel Morgan's eldest son, which is kept very conveniently by himself and deputies, at St. Jago. The profit thereof is a great relief to his father, who hath a great charge of children, and ought to live as Lieutenant-Governor of this Island. (2) The Surveyor-General is dead, and the office now settled, as in Barbados, on a number of Sworn Surveyors. This arrangement should be confirmed, and the fee fixed by Act at 2½d. an acre. (3) That Sherifts be appointed annually, for the execution of writs, instead of a Provost Marshal, and that the Marshal necessary for attendance of the Governor be appointed by him. Thus these officers being appointed by the Governor, may be expected to do their duty properly. 2½ pp. Undated. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXIV., No. 88.]
2,050. Petition of Thomas Savage, of Boston, to the King. Hath been an inhabitant of N. England about forty-four years, and with william Coddinton, late of Rhode Island, and eighty others, purchased of Miantonomy, the Chief Sachem of the Narragansett country, formerly called aqueedneeke, but now Rhode Island (sic). They were peaceably admitted and owned by the Indians, the sole proprietors of the same, by a short instrument in writing, dated 7 March 1638–9, and associated themselves into a form of government. It was afterwards agreed that every purchaser should have a home lot of about eight "achors," and that the part of the island undivided should continue to the use of the first purchasers and such others whom they should think fit to admit. Has paid his proportion of purchase-money, and has had a home lot in a tract of land belonging to Portsmouth on said island, known by the name of Savage's Lot to this day, and expected a proportional lotting of the undivided lands, yet notwithstanding his often soliciting, is still kept out of his right, and opposed by those who were admitted freemen of said place. As there are no indifferent Courts established, but all are constrained to implead their adversaies in their own Courts, where themselves are judges and jurors, prays that Royal letters may be granted to some gentlemen inhabiting the neighbouring colonies to hear the matter in difference and to report the same, so that a final determination may follow. Signed by Thomas Savage. [Col. Papers, Vol. LXIV. No. 89.]