America and West Indies: March 1689

Pages 11-20

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 13, 1689-1692. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1901.

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March 1689

Mar. 1. 42. Lords Proprietors of Carolina to the Governors of Carolina. Forwarding the letter of the Lords as to proclamation of King William and Queen Mary, and the forms of oaths. Signed, Craven, Carteret, P. Colleton. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 149.]
Mar. 7. 43. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The Lieutenant-Governor announced the receipt of a letter from the Prince of Orange. Order for a letter of thanks to His Highness. Order for the existing guards to be still maintained, and for the hire of another sloop for the Island's service. Thomas Browne made depositions as to the popish practices of Sir Thomas Montgomerie. Order for discharge of Mr. Hugh Montgomerie from custody on his finding two sureties for his appearance at the next Grand Sessions. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XII., pp. 120–123.]
Mar. 8.
44. Captain Berry, R.N., to Lord Howard of Effingham. As Sir Robert Holmes's agent, I beg for delivery of the plate taken from Edward Davies and others, pirates, and for trial and condemnation of the said pirates. I have power to ask you to release them if found fit objects of mercy, being provided with funds to ship them to England for the King's pardon. Signed, Tho. Berry. 1 p. [America and West Indies. 636. No. 2.]
Mar. 9. 45. Lord Howard of Effingham to Captain Berry. In reply to your letter of yesterday, I have received Lord Sunderland's orders for the trial of the pirates and the delivery of the plate into your hands; but the pirates have since petitioned me for the benefit of the amnesty under pretence that they came here to surrender, and have petitioned the King also. Therefore, though I believe them to be great villains, I do not think it right to try them till the King's pleasure be known. I have left orders with the Council to proceed in the matter according to the King's orders. Copy. 1 p. [America and West Indies. 636. No. 3.]
Mar. 11. 46. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Order for reducing the securities to be found by Mr. Hugh Montgomerie. [Col. Entry Bk., pp. 123, 124.]
Mar. 11.
47. Council of Barbados to the Prince of Orange. So remote are we from the opulent body of which we are members that we have had little knowledge of affairs in Europe until we received your letter of 12 January last. We have duly obeyed your instructions, and we hope that your care for us may save us from utter ruin. We have little apprehension of enemies except the French who are always encroaching and ill neighbours, and we beg for a frigate for our protection. The papists in this Island are few and of low estate, being chiefly poor Irish servants; but Mr. Willoughby Chamberlayne and Sir Thomas Montgomerie were lately perverted from the Protestant profession by a French Jesuit that they invited themselves from Martinique, and they were very insolent and troublesome in their new faith, trying to persuade others to their superstitions and idolatrous opinions. But they had little success, and the priest left for England in January. The two proselytes, being suspected of giving trouble to the Island, were turned out of their offices by us, having made themselves incapable by law of holding them; and they are now in custody pending further instructions. This is a Protestant Island, and the parishes are supplied with true, able, and orthodox Protestant divines. We trust that your princely name may be glorious through all ages. Signed, Edwyn Stede, Jno. Thomas, Robert Bishop, Richard Harwood, Ben. Skutt, Geo. Lillington, Geo. Bushell, Nicholas Prideaux, Edw. Cranfield, John Farmer, Richard Salter, Thomas Lewis, Tobias Frere, Fran. Bond, John Hallett, Henry Quintyne, John Gibbes, Jno. Reid. 2½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 18 June. [America and West Indies. 456. No. 1, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. VIII., pp. 159–164.]
May 11. 48. Duplicate of the foregoing. 3 pp. Endorsed. Recd. 13 Aug., 1689. [America and West Indies. 456. No. 2.]
Mar. 11. 49. Petition of John Basset, an infant, by his mother Luce Basset, to the King. To be admitted to make out his claim to some land in Hamilton's tribe, Bermuda, before the Lords of Trade and Plantations. At foot. Order of the King referring the petition to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed, Nottingham. Whitehall, 11 June 1688–9. The whole. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 18 Mar. 1688–9. [America and West Indies. 477. No. 4.]
Mar. 12.
50. The Attorney-General of Jamaica to Lords of Trade and Plantations. I am ashamed at such a time to trouble you with remote complaints of grievances and oppression. Of late, men of the best estates and qualifications well affected to the King and the Church of England have been turned out of all authority and command, and their places filled by needy and mechanic men, such as tapsters, barbers, and the like. The very seats of justice have been altered, the old experienced judges of the Supreme Court have been turned out, and their places supplied by the most ignorant, indebted, necessitous persons, expressly contrary to the Royal Instructions. Nay, some of them have been and are at one and the same time judges in one or two other Courts whose errors and appeals are to be heard in that same Supreme Court. The Under Ministers, such as the Provost Marshal and Deputies, have met with the same fate, and others of known unfaithfulness, necessity and notorious corruption in their offices have been put in, whereby jurors suitable to their purpose have been picked out and returned. Our elections for the General Assembly have been unduly and unfreely carried and managed by the authority and overawe of Chief Justice Elletson and others of our great men, whereby the old freeholders that paid scot and lot were outdone by sham new ones, not to be found or heard of, servants and convicts introduced and polled for freeholders against their masters, horse and foot brought in some places to carry it with a high hand, false and perjured returns made of the Assemblymen, which were justified rather than redressed, and the complaining parishioners rejected and unheard. The best and most substantial freeholders of Clarendon were committed to prison without bail for a pretended riot, and after some time were tried by a packed jury, found guilty, and condemned to unheard of fines.
I may truly say that myself and many other good subjects have been forced to retire into the country and sequester ourselves for fear of the snares set to bring us under the law. It is as if Empson and Dudley had returned, as the enclosed list of fines will show. Of late, contrary to the Royal Instructions, a special Court, never heard of but in case of piracy, has been erected by the Chief Justice and other new made Councillors with themselves as judges, in the case of a rich Assiento ship called the St. Jago de la Victoria, for breach of the Navigation Acts. The ship was forced here by distress, as the enclosed account shows, and neither the master nor the King were fairly dealt with. It would not be difficult to prove that all or most of the judges were concerned in buying of the informer's part before judgment, for (as I may call it) a mess of pottage. The King's former order for cancelling Colonel Molesworth's recognizance of £100,000 is not complied with, nor his orders of 31st November and 1st December for restoring the suspended and ousted officers. Sir Francis Watson though expressly named President in the King's letter, persists in acting as Governor, and has called a Council of War and put the Island under martial government, under shelter of which the Chief Justice and Colonel Needham, both much indebted here and at home, hope to escape from the Island. As to the laws passed in the last Assembly, you may see by the perpetuated Bill of Revenue what service they have done to the King, since they have tacked all fines, forfeitures, and escheats, with which the King has never parted, to the perpetuity. Since the proclamation of martial law both frigates have been ordered away, the Drake to Hispaniola and the Assistance to take her Grace home, without regard to a rich fleet of merchantmen awaiting convoy. The King's revenue has lately been lavishly granted to favourites, and put to other unwarrantable uses, in particular a sum of £400 to an informer in the case of a Dutch prize. Signed. Symon Musgrave. 2½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 30 May 1689. Annexed,
50. I. The true state of Captain Thomas Daniell, captain of the ship St. Jago de la Victoria. The ship was employed by the Assiento, and was bound from Curacoa to Port Velo with a thousand negroes as well as passengers. She was driven into Jamaica by want of provisions. After some stay she sailed away but was brought back by a frigate and seized for breach of the Acts of Navigation. A special Court was erected for trial of the ship, by what law was not specified, and the captain was unable to obtain counsel. He appeared, however, and entered a plea against the jurisdiction of the Court; when by corrupt evidence and in the face of the captain's defence he was found guilty and the ship condemned. Here follow copies of the captain's letters and petitions and the answers of the authorities at Jamaica. The whole, 7½ pp. [America and West Indies, 540, Nos. 1, 1 I, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXII., pp. 210–214.]
Mar. 14. 51. Petition of the Merchants of Jamaica to the President and the Council of War. We were ordered to have our ships ready to sail on the 25th March under convoy of H.M.S. Assistance and accordingly have freighted great numbers of ships. Since then war has broken out with France. We beg that the Assistance may not be sent to sea till the King's pleasure be known, or that if she be despatched sooner she may convoy the merchant ships, for it was a great surprise to us to find, after your former order, that the Assistance is required to sail next Saturday. Added below. This was signed by fifty of the most eminent merchants, but being shewn to the President he at once adjourned the Council of War then meeting and did nothing. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed. [America and West Indies. 540. No. 2.]
Mar. 15. 52. Sir Francis Watson to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Since the death of the Duke of Albemarle on 6th October last I have sent several packets but have received no reply. In my last I gave you an account of our transactions with Mr. Stephen Lynch, Sir Robert Holmes's Agent, a very troublesome and unsatisfied man though I have endeavoured my uttermost to please him. You will receive complaints of him from other hands. Immediately on the Duke's death, Captain Spragge of H.M.S. Drake, by Mr. Lynch's direction, sent home his mate with eight of the seamen to give an account of affairs to the Chief Minister of State, without acquainting me or the Council. I know not how they may have represented matters here, but am content with your impartial examination. Upon the slightest occasion or surmise that any merchant or other vessel trading hither has traded or intends to trade with pirates Mr. Lynch sends the frigate after them; and several have been brought in against which nothing can be proved. I also recommended the increase of the Council to twelve members, naming Colonel Archbold. I have prorogued the Assembly to 22 April next. I gave you a long report of the trial of the Dutch ship in my last, and you will receive a full account of her trial herewith and of the proceedings since condemnation in the minutes of Council. I enclose depositions of three sloopmen who were plundered by a Spanish periago commanded by one John Nicholas, who said that he held a commission from the Governor of Havanna. I shall send to ask that Governor for satisfaction by first opportunity, as also for the prisoners whom they captured while turtling at the South Cays.
Captain Laurence Wright of H.M.S Assistance now intends home, with her Grace and the Duke's corpse, and will convoy a large fleet of merchantmen. The Duke's yacht will go with them. The sloop Cabaretta has been again taken by French pirates and the men barbarously used. M. de Cussy does his best to suppress piracy, having hanged up several. By the hands of Major Penhallow and several more of Colonel Molesworth's friends I have received the two letters from the King, one ordering the removal of Roger Elletson, Sir Richard Derham, and Thomas Wait from their posts, who were specially commissioned by the Duke of Albemarle, and to substitute for them Samuel Bernard, Symon Musgrave, and Smith Kelly (of whose just removal the Duke gave you account), as to also to replace John Bourden and John White in the Council; the other directing that the Government should be restored to the same state as in Sir Thomas Lynch's time, and cancelling all acts of the Assembly since the Duke of Albemarle's death. I therefore called a Council, but so many members were ill that I could get no quorum. Those that attended advised me to delay for some small time, as the letters were not accompanied as usual by a letter of your Lordship's or of the Secretary of State, nor was it mentioned to be done by the King in Council, all of which gave some serious thoughts of the methods of their being obtained, though I am ready and willing to obey. On the arrival of these letters the parties concerned and several of their friends grew very contemptuous and affrontive to the Government, even to my own face, so that in view of the danger from French and Spaniards and to secure the peace and quiet of the Island, I proclaimed martial law.
I sent the Drake to the Spanish Governor of St. Domingo to claim the prisoners brought from Anguilla and St. Domingo, both of which places the Spaniards have plundered, killing many of the inhabitants, carrying away the rest in captivity, and destroying and burning everything. Captain Bear, an Englishmen who is protected by the Spaniards, is a chief in all these villanies, being joined with the Biscayans. The Biscayans lately took a New England ship into Havanna, robbed it of £3,000 and kept the crew prisoners forty days. I hope you will remember these piracies and protect us. Captain Spragge has been loitering up and down the Island for the last fortnight and seems to decline to obey my orders. If he goes home as I expect, I hope that you will take notice of him. Mr. Lynch tells me that he is for home, so leaves us to the mercy of the French to answer for the money and arms that he took from them. Signed, F. Watson. 5 pp. Endorsed. Recd. 6 July, 1689. Read 28 August 1689. Annexed,
52. I. Mons. de Cussy to Sir Francis Watson. Grande Terre, Isle of Ash. 26 Jan./5 Feb. 1689. I have received your answers to the two letters of mine to the Duke of Albemarle. In the first you tell me of your publication that all the French that come to these coasts should present themselves at once at Port Royal to embark with M. le Page, whom I had sent there to call them in; but such satisfaction is not complete, nor reciprocal to that which I have done and am always ready to do English subjects. As to your announcement that all difficulties had been overcome by the King's commission to Sir Robert Holmes, who had constituted Mr. Lynch his deputy, I quite understand that you could not move before orders should come from England; but the French detained in Jamaica are either innocent or guilty. If guilty, they should have been treated as such; if innocent, they should have been dismissed with their arms and goods. Plainly, therefore, the detention of the French had no reference to their persons but was due to greed of the profit of their money and arms. Detention of these is the treatment of criminals, and yet those that they belong to are acquitted and released. It is still more surprising that these French are disarmed just as we expect a war with Holland, against which country we are engaged by the strict union between the two crowns. But I have no doubt you have reported this to your Court as I have to mine. I must now inform you of the recent doings of pirates, English as well as French, on this coast. I had advice that a barco longo had arrived at the Isle of Ash called d'Orado, heretofore commanded by one Coxon, and now by one Lisle, whose company numbered eighty English, three French, and five Flemings. I at once sent orders to seize her, which was punctually done on the 16th of November. A few days later thirty-eight men, twenty-four of them English, were brought to me at Petit Guavos, several now being left ashore miserably wounded. On the way a French vessel was met and taken, which had designs to make reprisals for her recent detention at Jamaica. She was taken, her captain and three others hanged, and three more condemned to the galleys, which will have a good effect. Lisle escaped with perpetual banishment to the galleys, by the lenity of the Council; his companions were likewise sentenced to long terms in the galleys. I then sailed for the Isle of Ash to enquire into the matter of the Cabaretta. On my arrival I heard of a pirate at English Island who had captured the Cabaretta among other ships, and sent a ship in quest of him, but unluckily without success. If these wretches can make up their numbers they will do much damage yet, notwithstanding my severity to any that I can catch. I can only attribute this to their treatment at Jamaica, for which they say they will be revenged. I hope you will receive orders to restore the arms and money detained from the French, to pacify them a little. I shall show no mercy to those that I catch. Signed, De Cussy. Translation. 6 pp. Endorsed. Recd. 5 July 1689.
52. II. Deposition of Thomas Woodroffe, Jamaica, 8 February 1689. As to the plunder of his sloop by Juan Nicolas, a pirate, at South Cays. 1 p. Endorsed as the preceding.
52. III. Deposition of Daniel Cornelius. Same place and date. As to similar plunder of his sloop by Juan Nicolas at South Cays. 1 p. Endorsed as the preceding.
52. IV. Deposition of Thomas Carnaby. Same date and place. As to similar plunder of his sloop. 1 p. Endorsed as the preceding.
52. V. Depositions of Robert Tapley and John Parker. As to the capture of the sloop Cabaretta by a French pirate. Sworn 14th and 25th January 1689. 1¼ pp.
52. VI. Copy of Order in Council of 1 June 1688, for confirmation of the suspension of Colonel John Bourden from the Council of Jamaica. ½ p. [Board of Trade. Jamaica. 6. Nos. 2, 2, I–VI, and (without enclosures) Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXII., pp. 215–222.]
Mar. 15. 53. Warrant for the apportionment of four hundred acres of land in South Carolina to Thomas Smith. Signed, Craven, Carteret, P. Colleton. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 150.]
[Mar. 16.] 54. Petition of the Merchants and Planters of Jamaica, now in England, to the King. The late Duke of Albemarle on his arrival at Jamaica called an Assembly, which was duly elected, but not agreeing to something proposed, which members thought not to the good of the Island, and protesting against the arrest of a member for saying Salus populi suprema lex, they were dissolved, and one member was prosecuted and fined £600. After this another Assembly was called of persons irregularly chosen. The right of election was subverted, many electors imprisoned for not complying with arbitrary orders as to their votes, and great fines were imposed; by which the best of the inhabitants were scared from appearing at elections. This assembly made several laws, such as raising the value of pieces-of-eight, leaving the money voted for soliciting the island's affairs to the Duke's disposal. We beg that all acts passed by this Assembly be disallowed. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 16 Mar. 1688–9. [Board of Trade. Jamaica. 6. No. 3.]
Mar. 19. 55. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Order for repair of the arms brought in to Mattapany and elsewhere; smiths to be pressed for the work if necessary. Proclamation proroguing the Assembly to the last Tuesday in October. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LIV., pp. 209–211.]
Mar. 24. 56. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Letter from Colonel Jowles to Colonel Digges, reporting that the whole country was in uproar over the betrayal of the land to the Indians; that he had given orders to draw out a regiment of militia; that Digges will be joined by the whole country if he stands by the Protestant interest; but that protection against the common enemy is the first thing. Answer of Colonel Digges, that he will leave St. Maries to join Jowles directly. Copies of depositions as to the betrayal of the country by the Papists to the Indians. Letter from Colonel Jowles to the Council, reporting the prevalence of the rumour. Answer of the Council to Colonel Jowles. All arms that are ready will be at once returned to the magazines, together with ammunition; but we desire your aid in persuading people to lay aside all heats. You will visit the heads of the rivers, and if you find the Indians peaceful, you will do your best to preserve the peace, but if otherwise, you will suppress them and we will stand by you. Order for three of the Council to take upon themselves the duties of Colonel Henry Darnall.
Mar. 25. Letter from Major Ninian Beale to Colonel Darnall, as to the supposed movements of the Indians. Answer of the Council to Major Beale, detailing the instructions given to Colonel Jowles, and adding that if Beale exerts all his authority to preserve the peace he shall not be unrewarded. Colonel Darnall is gone to Colonel Jowles to vindicate himself of the base charge of treacherous confederacy with the Indians. Letter from Robert Doyne enclosing copy of the paper which has been circulated as to the league of Papists and Indians. Answer of the Council to Doyne, recounting the measures that have been taken.
Mar. 26. Manifesto of Colonel Digges, entreating the people not to trouble themselves over the rumoured league of Papists and Indians. Letter of Nicholas Gassaway, Richard Hill and Edward Dorsey to Colonel Digges, announcing the increase of agitation over the rumour. Answer of Colonel Digges, that he is astonished at all the alarm, which he has traced to malicious persons who desire the plunder of peaceful citizens. Letter from Colonel Darnall to the Council. I am doing my best to check this false report, and to prevent people from sending to Virginia for help. Colonel Jowles is on his way to the Indians to satisfy the people that there is no cause for alarm. Answer of the Council to Colonel Darnall. Thanking him for his letter and his services; and reporting that the whole disturbance has plainly been roused by bad men for purposes of plunder and pillage. Letter from Nicholas Spencer and the Council of Virginia, announcing that the false report as to the Indians is rife in Virginia, and asking that, to put an end to the panic, the Maryland Governor will order the Indians of Stafford County to repair to their towns. Answer of the Council of Maryland to the Council of Virginia giving an account of all their measures, and asking that no Virginians may be allowed to come over to Maryland lest the panic be revived. Copies of depositions on which the false rumour as to the Indians was founded. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LIV., pp. 211–228.]
Mar. 27.
April 6.
57. Relation of the seige and surrender of St Eustatia, 3rd to 6th April. 3¼ p. Signed. N. Vignon, Secretary. [America and West Indies. 550. No. 2.]
Mar. 27.
April 6.
58. Articles of capitulation for St. Eustatia. Copy. 2 pp. [Ibid. No. 2A.]
Mar. 28.
59. Order of the Privy Council. That the Lords of Trade and Plantations report on the petition of the Royal African Company. Signed. John Nicholas. ½ p. Enclosed,
59. I. Petition of the Royal African Company to the King. The late Governor of Jamaica, the Duke of Albemarle, with an Assembly of unqualified persons of ill repute and indigent fortunes, have enacted that pieces of eight, though light, shall pass for six shillings sterling, whereby petitioners will lose great part of the debts due to them in Jamaica. These acts have been in force for two years, though wanting the Royal Assent and concealed from the King's knowledge. Petitioners beg that the proceedings of the Assembly since the Duke of Albemarle's arrival be made void. 1 p. The whole endorsed. Received 18 March 1689. [America and West Indies. Vol. 540. Nos. 3, 3. I. and (enclosure only). Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXII., p. 273.]
Mar. 28.
60. Order of the Lords of the Council. Referring the petition of Micaiah Perry on behalf of Edward Davies and others to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed. John Nicholas. ½ p. Annexed,
60. I. Petition of Micaiah Perry on behalf of Edward Davies and others, prisoners in Jamestown Gaol, Virginia. For some years the prisoners had been in the South Seas and having procured a small quantity of plate and other goods designed to spend the remainder of their days honestly and quietly. So in May 1688 they arrived at Pennsylvania and after some stay procured a pass and took boat for Patuxen river, where they surrendered to Captain Thomas Allen of H.M.S. Quaker who gave them a certificate to that effect. But they were afterwards taken by Captain Simon Rowe of H.M.S. Dumbarton and after being brought before the Governor were committed to gaol for piracy. They beg for the pardon which they sought when they surrendered. Copy. 3 pp. The whole endorsed. Recd. 5 April. Read 4 May. [America and West Indies. 636. Nos. 4, 4 I., and (order only). Board of Trade. Virginia. 36. p. 49.]
[Mar. 28.] 61. Value of the goods claimed by (Edward) Davies and his companions, £2316 19s. 0d. ½ p. See preceding abstracts. [America and West Indies. 636. No. 5.]
Mar. 28.
62. Order of the Lords of the Council. Referring the petition of Philip Ludwell to Lords of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed, John Nicholas. ½ p. Annexed,
62. I. Petition of Philip Ludwell, on behalf of the House of Burgesses, to the King and Council. For some time passed we have laboured under great oppression through exaction of illegal payments. Three succeeding Assemblies have represented the matter to the Governor and Council, but without effect; and the last Assembly, in April 1688, drew up their grievances in a petition to King James, which was presented at Windsor last September. We beg you therefore to examine and redress our grievances. Here follow copies of the addresses of the House of Burgesses to the King and to the Council as to the repeal of laws by royal proclamation, the demanding of fees for the use of the great seal and for surveys, and the failure to account for fines and forfeitures. Copy. The wholepp. Endorsed. Received 5 April 89. Read 4 and 31 May, and 19 July. [America and West Indies. 636. Nos. 6, 6 I., and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIII., pp. 247–258].