America and West Indies: March 1690, 16-31

Pages 224-243

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


March 1690

March 16. 788. Lords of Trade and Plantations to the King. Pursuant to your Order in Council of 13th ult. referring to us a petition from several inhabitants, wherein was set forth the deplorable condition of New England, we have called before us several merchants and traders and read several letters from the Governor of Massachusetts as to the measures taken against the French and Indians. Letters from Edward Randolph confirm the intelligence therein given and supplement it by news of further disasters. He repeats also the discontent of the people of Massachusetts with the existing Government and the general lawlessness in the Colony; all of which we beg to represent to you. 3 pp. Endorsed. March 16, 1689–90. [Board of Trade. New England, 5. No. 69.]
March 1.
789. Governor Codrington to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Soon after despatch of mine of 8 November, Sir Timothy and his regiment embarked for Nevis, where they have prevented the disorders which I had apprehended from the efforts of some seditious spirits to shake off all rule and government. On his first arrival some were beginning to talk seditiously and to promote tumultuous meetings, but he checked it at once by ordering one of the most turbulent of them to be immediately tried by Court-martial, who was found guilty and sentenced to death. I have since, on the request of his judges, pardoned the offence, as the sentence has had the desired effect. I have also procured obedience to my orders. About the 30th November I visited Nevis and Montserrat and inspected the militia, arms and breastworks, and having given such orders as I thought necessary, returned here about Christmas. At Nevis I annulled the severe orders against the poor people from St. Christophers. The act in their favour is in preparation and shall be forwarded to you. At Montserrat I pointed out to the Irish the ruin they would bring on themselves if they proved treacherous, and the advantages of remaining faithful. They promised to be loyal and to work heartily with the English, and I do not hear the least occasion for suspicion against them. At Nevis the Council and Assembly represented to me their want of provisions owing to the failure of their former supplies from Ireland, and begged me to allow Sir Timothy Thornhill to take his regiment and six hundred Islanders and attack St. Martins and St. Bartholomews, two small Islands belonging to the French and well stored with cattle, so as at once to ease the Island for a time of the burden of their presence, and to furnish it with supplies by plunder. I consented, and on the 15th December Sir Timothy sailed with instructions from me to attack St. Martins first, and if he thought the hazard would cost too dear or take too much time, to return to Nevis; though if he took St. Martins he might go on to St. Bartholomews, only sending a sloop to me for further orders. On the following day he came before St. Martins, but finding the inhabitants on the alert sailed to St. Bartholomew's and after some opposition mastered it. He sent the Governor, sixty prisoners and the negro slaves to Nevis, and stayed three weeks on the Island till he had transported the cattle and other plunder, when having burned all the houses but two or three he sailed again for St. Martins. He landed without opposition and after a few skirmishes drove all the inhabitants into the woods. He marched through the Island in four or five days, but before he could do anything decisive against the enemy in the woods a French man-of-war of forty-four guns arrived with another ship at St. Martins, drove away our ships and landed a party to the assistance of the Islanders. I had hoped that the caution enjoined by my instructions would would have prevented any such risk, and indeed Sir Timothy Thornbill tells me that he sent several letters to Nevis, which were not forwarded to me, and that it was only on receiving no answer from me that he made so long stay. On receiving a letter from him asking for relief, I sent it off at once; but I must first acquaint you with an action that in order of time happened before.
Captain Hewetson's offers of assistance have already been reported to you. From his arrival until the 28th of December he continued to cruise among our Islands, securing our communications and preventing the French from sending their Indians among us. Having some French Protestants here who knew Mariegalante well, we found on consulting them that an attack with six hundred men might be hopeful of success, and would serve the double purpose of discouraging the French and giving experience to our men. The risk was small, for no fleet could well come here from Martinique unobserved by our ships at Mariegalante, and the latter Island is but twenty four hours distant from hence and less than half that time distant for the return voyage. So I gave Captain Hewetson a commission to command the troops for the expedition both by sea and land and gave him his own ship, our captured privateer of twenty guns under Captain Kidd, another ship of ten or twelve guns under Captain Perry, and my own two sloops, with five hundred and forty men of all kinds aboard. With them he sailed on Saturday, the 28th December, and on the Monday following landed with about four hundred and forty men at Mariegalante, ordering the rest to sail in the ships to the chief town in the Island, about ten miles distant. He then marched to the town, breaking up, though not without loss, several ambuscading parties on the way, engaged the main body of the enemy before the town and after a short dispute routed them. The enemy rallied about two miles from the town in a small entrenchment thrown up to secure the passage, but were driven out and fled with precipitation. Hewetson, judging it imprudent to follow them, then retired to the town for the night. Next day stragglers were taken, who gave intelligence that the Governor with most of the population had gained an entrechment about twelve miles from the town, without artillery and with no provisions except a little cattle. Heweston then sent a message to the Governor to surrender, and received an answer that he might expect a definite reply by noon of the morrow, or that if no reply came by that time none must be expected. Noon of January 1st came, but without an answer, but it was judged imprudent to attack the French so far from the ships and by dangerous paths, for it was rumoured that the French had sent for aid to Martinique. They therefore carried on board whatever plunder was near the shore and burned and destroyed the rest. This took four or five days, after which they returned hither after nine days' absence, bringing with them also two ships lately arrived from France. They burned fifty sugar-works and all the houses in the Island. The cane-fields were all fired, great quantities of sugar in cask were burned and about ten thousand horses and cattle killed. Thus though we have not ourselves reaped the benefit that might have been gained by a larger force, we have sufficiently mischiefed our enemies and avenged in some measure the injury done at St. Christophers. In this action we had only three men killed and eighteen wounded, most of whom are since recovered. The enemy, as we learn from prisoners, had twenty killed and very many wounded.
Hewetson was some days returned from Mariegalante when I received Sir Timothy Thornhill's message; and at the moment the better part of his seamen were on board one of the prizes taken at Mariegalante, which had fallen to leeward, and a number of men, making one hundred and forty in all, had gone in one of my sloops to bring her in. But there being no time for delay Hewetson sailed without waiting for them on the night of the 14th January with his own ship, the privateer and one of my sloops, with a total force of about three hundred and eighty men. I also despatched a sloop to take the men out of the prize to leeward and to sail with them direct to St. Martins. On the 16th our ships engaged the French and on the 17th brought off all our men. For particulars of the action I refer you to an account herewith enclosed, written by a gentleman on board Hewetson's ship. The copies of the letters from the Council and Assemblies of Antigua and Nevis show their appreciation of Captain Hewetson's good service.
On the 2nd February the privateer-ship ran away from us, being well stocked with arms and manned by eighty or ninety men. They took their opportunity when Captain Kidd (who has behaved himself well) was ashore and have carried off goods of his to the value of £2,000. Most of the crew were formerly pirates and I presume liked their old trade better than any that they were likely to have here. I sent after them, but without success, to the Virgin Islands and to St. Thomas's, where it was most likely that they would have gone to water. The loss of the ship and men, which is serious, could not have befallen us at a worse time. Some days later I received a letter from Sir Timothy Thornhill relating as follows. He had some days before sent down Major Crispe and Mr. Garnet with a flag of truce to St. Christophers to negotiate as to exchange of prisoners. They were waited on for a long time by one or other of the French officers to prevent them from obtaining intelligence, but learned none the less that there was certain news of thirty sail of merchantmen and other ships at Martinique, most of them lately arrived from France, and that four ships of war were lately arrived from Canada or France with soldiers; that the ships had all been laden but were unloading, and that one small frigate and two merchantmen were to be fitted with all speed; that another man of war was only lately come with a Guineaman of ours taken, containing two hundred and odd negroes; that Count de Blenac was coming in person to St. Christophers with all the regular troops that he had, and after gathering more men was about to attack Nevis. This was surprising intelligence, for we hoped that help would arrive for us from England sooner than any that was expected by our enemies. I at once applied to the Governor of Barbados for help, and for the encouragement of such supplies as might be sent from Barbados I got the Council and Assembly to pass the enclosed Act. I then sent it off to the Governor of Barbados at once with another letter with full instructions as to negotiations, giving the gentleman who bore it £500 in addition for the purchase of arms and ammunition. I had hoped that when such care was taken Barbados would have answered all our needs; for however backward the people might be I did not doubt of obtaining anything that was in the Governor's power to give; more so since he has frequently repeated his assurance of good and generous inclination towards us.
On the 2nd inst. our Agents returned from Barbados, and you can read the result of their negotiations here enclosed in their own report and the Governor's letter. It is very strange that out of a magazine of twelve hundred spare arms they could lend us only a hundred old matchlocks, far from being in good order, and out of fourteen hundred barrels of powder could only lend twenty; but it is still more surprising that out of a hundred sail and thirty ships of good countenance they could not spare us one. We had hoped indeed that our friends in Barbados would have given us a seasonable loan of money in our great strait, not that they would not only deny us but hinder us from reaping the fruits of our own credit. Had they been in real danger themselves, they could not be blamed, but surely four or five ships out of thirty is no great weakening. Besides even if they had not a ship in the harbour they could have no rational fear of all the power of France in the West Indies. For, apart from the fact that the French fleet is engaged nearer home, the Island is fortified all round, not only with breastworks but with platforms and guns, and they can raise eight thousand white men and as great a number of intelligent blacks. I own an estate there myself as considerable as most, so was not likely to endanger it, but I am afraid that worse motives than fear have denied us this assistance. If this disappointment prove our ruin it will be some advantage to Barbados but a great loss to the Crown. It is a great misfortune that the Governor and majority of the Council should have decided so much at variance with his former professions and, according to his last letter, with his own judgment; but I do not know what his instructions are, so shall leave the consideration of his proceedings to you. I shall only observe that in cases where the public interest of England comes into competition with the interest, or what is conceived to be the interest, of a particular colony it may be very dangerous to bind Governors to act only by consent of their Council. The present proceeding sufficiently proves this, in the action of the Council of Barbados; though from our Agent's report the Governor also is far from blameless. It is difficult to account for the remarkable cooling of his zeal. However, while one of my sloops was thus sent to Barbados I ordered the other to cruise and endeavour to gain intelligence. He returned with some prisoners on the 4th instant, from whom we learn that there are twenty sail at Martinique, and six or seven of them fitting out; but they do not confirm the news of soldiers arriving from Canada and France. Still their account is sufficient to fill us with apprehension.
As regards men there is little change in Antigua, except the loss of the men in the privateer ship, but in Nevis they have lost since the beginning of last August over six hundred white men, with women and children in proportion, besides slaves; and although they are now pretty clear of smallpox, the fever is still among them. In Montserrat they have been very healthful, and if the inhabitants prove unanimous they are as strong as any of us. I wrote to the Governor on receipt of the intelligence aforesaid, and enclose my letter and their reply, favouring my suggestion to rely on the fidelity of the Irish. The Barbados matchlocks I have given to the King's two companies, who lost their arms at St. Christopher's, and have divided the powder between this and the two other Islands. We are greatly discouraged by the long neglect of us at home, it being seven months since one of these Islands was lost. Many poor inhabitants are reduced to beggary and ruin, and all have been exposed to continual peril, to our great burden and expense; and yet we seem as far from security as ever. By a letter of April last, from the Secretary of State, we were rejoiced by the promise of the speedy arrival of a fleet, but as it is now nearly next April, we imagine that our condition has been represented to you as much securer than it really is. I beg that a fleet at least sufficient for our defence, if for no further designs, may be hastened. I must earnestly entreat you also to represent the expense to which we have been subjected for want of a fleet, and we beg that the King will order us to be reimbursed from the four and a half per cent. duty. We have some right to it, for it is evident that all the rest of our revenues may be claimed for the same purpose of defence and get perverted to other uses. Let me also bring before you the condition of the King's two companies, who have had no pay for six months, and have yet been upon constant stricter duty than any of the forces in England. There are many other matters that I could represent to you, did not our present dangers occupy all our thoughts. And here give me leave to hint that the destruction of our French neighbours could make us absolutely secure and would be a great benefit to all English in the matter of trade and navigation. French trade has considerably increased of late and their colonies have daily improved. Had we a fleet to make us masters of the sea, two thousand soldiers from England would amply suffice to make us so on land in all the French Islands, if Barbados be ordered to help as she is in a position to do. In Martinique they have not above 2,500 men; at St. Christophers not above 1,500 or 1,600, and at Guadeloupe and Grande Terre about 800 to 1,000. The rest of the Islands are too inconsiderable to make much resistance. Including Barbados, these Islands, Jamaica and the Main, the French are not one to ten of us. A fleet and suitable instructions to the Governors would suffice to drive the French out of America, and I heartily hope this war may see it done. Captain Hewetson shortly sails to Barbados to refit and if possible to get some men, for he has lost many. I have already said enough of his good service to justify my request that the expense of his service to us may be reimbursed to him and to his partners. Two of the officers commanding foot-companies in his ships have gained very good characters for courage and resolution at Mariegalante, and were it not too great presumption I should ask for your favour to them as persons fit to serve the King in a military station. Signed. Chr. Codrington. 15 pp. Recd. 3 July, 1690. Duplicate. Annexed,
789. I. Account of the action at St. Martin's under Captain Hewetson. We left on the night of the 14th January and on the following day lay about three hours to windward of Nevis, waiting for the sloop with the men from the prize, but went on without them. Some hours before day we retook one of Sir Timothy's sloops, taken three days before by the French, and learned from the prisoners as follows. That Mons. Ducas was on the point of loading for France at Martinique when he heard of Sir Timothy's expedition and went at once first to St. Bartholomew's and then to St. Martin's where on the 11th he scattered all Sir Timothy's sloops, and took that which we have now retaken. They told us also that the inhabitants of St. Martin's together with the Irish refugees among them numbered about three hundred men, that Ducas had landed half as many men and that now they were all united into one body, and that on the evening before five hundred men had arrived from St. Christopher's at St. Martin's and that two or three hundred more were on their way to land and attack Sir Timothy. We then crowded on all sail in hopes of coming up with the French before day and surprising them at anchor, but at daybreak on our coming within a league of them they slipped their cables and bore up to us, five ships to our three. Your [Codrington's] sloop having got into line about six o'clock the Admiral began the engagement, we having the wind. Ducas gave us his broadside smartly before we fired a gun, and when almost within musket shot we gave him ours; they then opened fire with small arms until they were out of reach, we returning the fire. Having passed him we received the broadsides of the other four ships successively, which we returned. We tacked about again, but lost the wind, their ships sailing better than ours and being better manned with sailors. We passed each other again, firing as before. It was then agreed at a council of war that we could gain little advantage, except by boarding, since then Captain Perry and your sloop would be of good service whereas at a distance it could do little, its guns being too small to do the enemy much harm. Having taken this decision we made a big stretch in hopes of regaining the wind, but failed, as we only passed each other as before. We then made another big stretch and got the wind, whereupon observing our intention they did not tack, but bore away under all sail for St. Christophers. We then made towards the shore and sent a message to Sir Timothy to prepare to embark, which he did; and the sloops were making for the shore as fast as they could to receive him, when we saw the French ships approaching us again with the captured Guinea ship in addition. We then bore up to them, and seeing that Ducas designed to board us we lay by till Perry, who sailed very badly, came up with us and prepared to receive them with a broadside and a volley of shot, but there was no boarding at all, so that we only passed each other as before, and then the enemy's ships having got next to the shore Sir Timothy was obliged to scamper again. It was now near sunset, and a council of war was held, when it was resolved that we should stand away till after midnight, and then tack so that in the morning we might be sure of the wind in order to board the enemy if necessary. We did so accordingly and between one and two in the morning tacked and crowded all sail to try and come up with the French before daylight and surprise them at anchor, but failed. As day broke we discovered them at anchor opposite Sir Timothy's camp. They weighed, but instead of bearing up to us they sailed away towards the shoals of Anguilla, whither we thought it imprudent to follow them, but better to seize the opportunity to get off our friends from shore. A message was sent to Sir Timothy, who returned about noon with the reply that Sir Timothy was just then engaged with a party of the enemy but would get ready to embark as soon as it was over. Just then we were joined by another sloop of ours, which the Admiral ordered in shore to cover Sir Timothy's retreat; but by that time he had got to the shore, having routed the enemy. Before the last of his men were shipped a great party of the French was in view, but our men embarked under cover of our guns without loss of a man. About four in the afternoon of the 17th Sir Timothy came aboard, and on the Sunday following we all arrived safely at Nevis. Yesterday we had a flag of truce from Mons. Guiteau, Governor of St. Christophers, about an exchange of prisoners. Those of ours who came with the flag tell us that all the French at St. Christophers except three hundred went to the relief of St. Martins. They said also that Ducas thought we had gone quite away on Thursday night and wanted to fight us on Friday morning, but was forbidden by Guiteau, who had no fancy for a fight, not doubting that he would land his men in time to cut off Sir Timothy's retreat. Both Guiteau and Ducas were much vexed at missing the prize they made so sure of. What damage was done to other ships they could not tell us, but Ducas's ship was much damaged by our shot and many men wounded. All of our ships were hit, but the Admirals' was most damaged, though not a man was killed and but one wounded. Copy. 3 pp. Duplicate. Endorsed. Read 4 Aug. 1690.
789. II. Deputy Governor and Council of Nevis to Captain Thomas Hewetson. 22 January, 1689–90. Your eminent service in rescuing the flower of our forces when surrounded by the enemy, and your readiness to undertake it call for our heartiest thanks. It is only through you that many of us now sitting here should not have been at St. Martins or in our graves. It is our sorrow that we are not in a position to make you return for your expense in attending to these Islands, much less for the good service that you have done. We have however written to the General to represent your action to the King and we beg you to accept this testimony of our respect. Signed. Jno. Netheway, and six others. 1 p. Copy. Duplicate. Endorsed. Recd. 4 Aug. 1690.
789. III. The Council and Assembly of Antigua to Captain Thomas Hewetson. 31 January, 1689–90. We want the means of expressing our thanks or making return for your gallant action in rescuing Sir Timothy Thornhill, and we can only return you our thanks. Signed. Sam. Martin, Speaker, Rowland Williams, and six others. ½ p. Copy. Duplicate. Endorsed. Recd. 4 Aug. 1690.
789. IV. Lieutenant-General Codrington, Council and Assembly of Antigua to the Deputy-Governor of Barbados. Antigua, 13 February, 1689–90. I have already written to you to report to you the danger wherein we stand of a French invasion, and our inability to defend ourselves for want of arms and ammunition. I know I need not importune you and the generous Island of Barbados, as you want no spur to a work to which you are obliged by your good and charitable feeling and your loyalty to your King and Country. In my last I bound myself to make satisfaction for all arms and ammunition supplied to us from Barbados, to fulfil which promise I enclose copy of an Act passed by this Island for the purpose. I doubt not that Montserrat and Nevis will do the like. I doubt not that the King will pay the cost of defending these Colonies until the arrival of the fleet, and will also regard with favour those who contribute to so good a work; but if the drain on the Royal Exchequer retard payment from thence, the enclosed Act, with those which I expect shortly from Nevis and Montserrat, will be sufficient security. Four or five ships of from forty to fifty guns well manned, together with Captain Hewetson's force will put us in condition at least to keep the enemy from doing us serious damage. That number I hope will be forthcoming, as your harbour is so well stored with ships, but the occasion is urgent, so let me beg you to despatch one or two, if no more, with powder and small arms. I am apprehensive for Montserrat in case it be attacked, as the Irish are three to one of the English. It can be secured only by a naval force, for which I rely on your generous care and diligence. I thank you for congratulations over our late successes, and do not much regard the censure of those critics whose skill lies only in quarrelling with the actions of other men but want the good nature to perform or the courage to attempt anything that is generous or brave themselves. The Council and Assembly to whom I have communicated your letter are also grateful for the kind feelings of their friends in Barbados, which they can now put in action by a seasonable loan of arms, ammunition and money to fit out the ships aforesaid. Admiral Hewetson's health is better and he hopes will shortly be reestablished. He thanks you for your good wishes and desires me to tell you that his private differences with you shall not obstruct his cordial joining with you for the defence of these Islands. I will give Sir Timothy your message, but at present he has no hope of returning to Barbados till the present cloud be past. I congratulate you on the recovery of your health. The Council and Assembly join with me in this letter. Signed. Chr. Codrington, and five of the Council; Samuel Martin, Speaker. Copy. Duplicate. 2½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 4 Aug. 1690.
789. V. Extract from a letter of Colonel Stede to Lieutenant-General Codrington. Barbados, 8 February 1689–90. I tell the malcontents here that it is a shame for us to stand and see our fellow-subjects beaten by the enemies of our country and religion without sending them such help as we can spare without danger to this Island; but hitherto they continue very deaf and backward in parting with men and money, though I offer to advance them a large sum for a year without interest on security of land or negro-taxes. How far this will prevail with them will be seen within a week, when I shall press it as effectually as I can. Besides the ships cruising about the Island we have now a great fleet in the harbour, thirty ships at least of from thirty to forty guns, well found and well manned, some laden, some unladen, some reloading but able to be made ready for your service in a few days. I am resolved that none shall sail for Europe until the fleet arrives, for I will not part with so good a force until I see how we shall be better assisted. Copy. Signed. Edwyn Stede. 1 p. Copy. Endorsed. Recd. 3 July, 1690.
789. VI. The Agents for the Negotiations with Barbados to Lieutenant-General Codrington, 3 March, 1689–90. On our arrival at Barbados we at once waited on the Governor, on the 20th February, and delivered your letter and message. He answered that he was sorry the Assembly was then dissolved, and that our expectations could not be realised, and that the Assembly could not speedily be called, but that if it was summoned he was sure they would not answer our desires. We then pressed him to do for us what was in his power in pressing ships and seamen, and he said that nothing in his power should be wanting, advising us to take more ships than we had mentioned, to ensure success, and to examine the ships to see which were fittest, and sound their commanders. We did so and found none of the commanders unwilling to serve us on our conditions, provided they were countenanced by a press to justify them to their owners; for that they were now detained by the Governor to their great expense, and would much prefer to do active service for the King. We announced this to the Governor, who said that all was thus well, and ordered us to wait on the Council without fail on the 24th. We did so, and then without allowing us to speak the Governor made us a long speech to the following effect: That the Council was unanimously of opinion that it could afford us no assistance, and that on referring to his commission and instructions he found he could not act without them; which surprised us, considering what he had formerly told us. We then asked for powder and arms, which were at first refused; but the Governor afterwards consented to let us have twenty barrels and a hundred matchlocks. We tried to buy what provender and arms we could, but found no arms and only seven barrels of powder, at £7 a barrel. The Governor told us there were but seven hundred barrels of powder in the magazine, but others told us there were fourteen hundred barrels and good store of small arms, besides the arms and ammunition which the inhabitants are obliged by law to possess. There were over a hundred sail in the ports of Barbados, thirty of them powerful vessels. We pitched upon five, the largest of sixty, the smallest of thirty guns. The ships were so well affected that two great East Indiamen would have joined us if countenanced by a press. We must also point out that the Assembly was dissolved but two days before our arrival and after the Governor had received your first letter telling him of our danger, and that a second letter was on its way to him. Colonel Bishop, Colonel Frere and Mr. Reid of the Council were most kind to us and were also willing to do anything for the service of the Leeward Islands. Colonel Salter above all most generously offered with the Governor's permission to raise a thousand men at his own charge for us if ships were provided to transport them, also to resign his Treasurer's place and command them in person; but unfortunately the Governor and the rest of the Council were of different sentiments. Signed. Tho. Warner, Richard Ash. Copy. 2 pp. Endorsed. Recd. 3 July, 1690.
789. VII. Extract of a letter from Deputy-Governor Stede to Lieutenant General Codrington, 24 February, 1689–90. I duly received your letter and message by the hand of Captains Warner and Ash. They arrived the day after the dissolution of the Assembly, so there was no possibility of consulting them or to summon them again under three weeks' time, though had I done so they would have been of the same mind as the Council. I summoned the Council to advise how we might help you, but so unfortunate is the long stay of the merchant ships as well as of the men-of-war that upon a strict examination of the state of the Island, it was the almost unanimous opinion that we could not send you the men, ships, arms and ammunition that you desire without undue weakening of ourselves. We see no prospect of help from England. Many here are afraid lest the French should make any attempt on us after weakening ourselves. Their boasted reinforcements are either rodomontade, or, if they be actual, the affair will be over before we can fit out ships enough to meet them. The Council therefore resolved to allow no arms or ammunition to leave the Island, though on my intercession they granted you twenty barrels of powder and a hundred matchlocks in good order from the magazine, with liberty to buy what more you could. This was not pleasing to some, but I carried my point to testify my zeal to serve you. Signed. Edwyn Stede. 1½ pp. Copy. Duplicate. Endorsed. Recd. 4 Aug. 1690.
789. VIII. Lieutenant-General Codrington to the Governor of Montserrat. 18 February, 1689–90. On the 10th inst. I wrote to the Governor of Barbados for assistance and have sent him copy of the enclosed Act passed by the Council and Assembly of Antigua, so as to omit no measure for our security. I have sent a copy to Nevis also, and I need use no arguments to you to recommend the passing of a like act in Montserrat. But I am anxious for the safety of your Island, though I shall decide nothing but what you yourselves shall conceive to be best for it. Were you unanimous, I doubt not, considering the difficulties of landing and the ruggedness of the country, that you could hold your own; for with good breastworks you, being a thousand strong, could defend yourselves against three thousand French, which is a thousand more than will ever attack you. Should you Irish neighbours, however, join with the French, then beyond all doubt you will be ruined. The points to be considered are, first, can you sufficiently secure the fidelity of the Irish, and second, if not what is best to be done? As to the first there is the objection that the Irish have never had any great kindness from the English, and as affairs are now less than ever, witness Ireland itself and St. Christophers. Again, the Irish being Papists may be expected to welcome Papists, and particularly the French, with whom the Irish nation have now thrown in their lot. They have also a grievance against you and doubtless hope for revenge. But on the other hand if nationality, religion and the treatment that they have received from us be put aside, we can still reckon on their knowledge of their own interest and advantage, and conclude that they may work with you for the defence of the island. Interest is generally stronger than any other consideration. The Irish in Montserrat enjoy their estates as freely and happily as the English, and may rationally expect, if they acquit themselves loyally now, to be cared for ever with kindness and regard. They have indulgence too in the matter of religion, for to this effect runs their Majesties' first proclamation relating to the Kingdom of Ireland. But if they join with the French they cannot be sure of protection; they may suffer the same fate as Mariegalante; they are sure to lose something by the pilfering of the French soldiers; and if they are transported to another Island they will certainly lose more, for the French fleet cannot wait until every Dermot and Bryan has regularly packed up. Then they will be landed on some French Island, having already lost half their property—those already settled there are in misery enough,—and the Irish would have to begin the whole world again. Then if the English fleet comes, they can expect no mercy; they cannot expect the English to spare them or the French King to make special provisions to save their necks. In fact by cordially working with us they have everything to gain, by the contrary everything to lose. They have no such hope of success as their countrymen in Ireland or St. Christophers, and their recent disturbance was the result of extravagant hopes of King James's success. I allow their attachment to King James to be an element of danger, but their joining the French will be of assistance only to the French, and if King James recover his Kingdom he will have Montserrat without their help. If he do not they will do him no service and will ruin themselves. As to their recent treatment of us, I think that self-interest will abate their resentment. In fact it is sufficiently obvious that it is the interest of the Irish to join with us, but the misery of it is that an Assinegoe may as soon be taught logic as they to understand it. But the more intelligent will apprehend it, and if care be taken to discourse them in a style suitable to their capacity, arguments may be found to work upon the hopes and fears of the silliest of them. It would be very prudent at such a time to take pains with them to banish past heats and bitterness and use kindness and good nature towards them. As to the second point, what is best to be done if the Irish cannot be secured, I can think of but two proposals. 1. That all slaves and valuable goods belonging both to English and Irish be at once removed from Montserrat to Nevis or Antigua, there to remain till the arrival of the fleet from Barbados, and that the Irish be told that if they behave well all shall be honestly returned to them, but that if they prove treacherous, their friends shall suffer at once without mercy, and themselves also when we come into power. This will bring home to the most ignorant the expediency of being faithful to us. 2. That not only the goods but the persons of the English and of a sufficient number of Irish be removed and that some one Irishman be named Governor over the rest, and so the Island left in their possession until help shall arrive. If this last plan be adopted the French will soon hear of it and will be able with a few men to destroy all the buildings and kill all the stock; and it is also to be feared that the Irish left behind, finding themselves neglected and forsaken, will join with the French, and could not be blamed for doing so; and then there is the scandal of deserting the Island to the French. The only objection to the first proposal is the risk to the English if the Irish prove faithless; but all depends whether the French attack at all, and whether the Irish join them supposing they do so. So what you have to decide is whether you will risk your persons upon this double chance to secure your property, or whether you will secure your persons by exposing your property to undoubted ruin. So if you can trust the Irish I think that your persons and property will be as secure in Montserrat as in Nevis; if not, you must choose one of the two alternatives above put forward. You will communicate my letter to the Council and Assembly and decide for yourselves as speedily as possible; returning me an account of your numbers and your defences that I may the better provide for your security. Signed. Chr. Codrington. 6½ pp. Copy. Duplicate. Endorsed. Recd. 4 Aug., 1690. [America and West Indies. 550. Nos. 83, 83, I–VIII., and (without enclosures) Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 43. pp. 204–226.]
March 18. 790.Journal of Assembly of Barbados. List of Members:
St. Michael's John Sutton.
John Pilgrim.
St. Peter's William Foster.
John Bailey.
Christchurch Richard Elliott.
John Dempster.
St. Philip's Peter Evans.
Edward Bishop.
St. Thomas's William Allonby.
William Eastchurch.
St. James's Abel Alleyne.
Melitia Holder.
St. Andrew's John Mills.
William Dottin.
St. George's John Cousens.
Robert Hooper.
St. Joseph's John Waterman.
John Holder.
St. John's John Leslie.
John Bromley.
St. Lucy Michael Terrell.
Thomas Dowden.
John Bromley chosen Speaker, who was approved. The oaths administered. Rules of the House confirmed. Order for preparation of a bill concerning Christian servants. Adjourned to 30 May. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XIV., pp. 223, 224.]
March 20. 791. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. Petition of the Hudson's bay Company read, praying for protection for a hundred men that they are sending out, and for a frigate to convoy them. Agreed to recommend it to the King. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CIX., pp. 320, 321.]
March 24.
792. John Coode to the Earl of Shrewsbury. Since my last we have been disturbed by Papists and by the discontented faction, though I have omitted nothing for the preservation of the peace. Some of the late Deputies under Lord Baltimore's Commission have escaped to Virginia, where they are sheltered by the Government, notwithstanding my request that they should be secured. They are permitted to make frequent returns into this province with armed parties, and despite all our diligence have murdered the King's Collector, a zealous Protestant, Mr. John Paine. Mr. Sewall, Lady Baltimore's son, fled with a small yacht, arms and ammunition to Virginia, came back suddenly to Maryland and landed. Meanwhile Mr. Paine with four men went on board and civilly demanding why they went to and fro without clearing, was shot dead. His men with some difficulty escaped, and the murderers with the yacht returned to Virginia. Sewall, who was ashore at the time, also returned to Virginia and is still at liberty. The four men in the yacht, after several letters from me, have been secured. I can prove that Sewall threatened Paine with death before the murder, that he gave particular orders for what was done and that he defends his action in Virginia. I have repeatedly represented all this to that Government, but without any satisfactory answer. Indeed one of the King's evidence against Paine was apprehended in Virginia and put in irons. Mr. Rousby, Paine's predecessor, was barbarously murdered, after Lord Baltimore had failed to take his life by false accusations. I lay all this before you that you may not be surprised by excuses from the staggering gentlemen of Virginia. Paine is the only person who has received any corporal harm since we took up arms. Not an outrage has been committed on any papist, and all expenses are paid by a convention of representatives. We beg you to represent our condition to the King, for through want of shipping and danger of French pirates we have been unable to send any agents to England. We hear from the West Indies of gallant attacks on the French Islands; but things have gone ill near Albany. New York has sent to us for assistance. Virginia will not be concerned, but we shall contribute our best help, having certain intelligence of French designs upon us. We are in great want of ammunition, our papish Governors keeping little in the magazine, but we have collected enough from private sources for present needs. Signed. Jno. Coode. 2½ pp. Endorsed. Read in Council 26 June, 1690. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 2. No. 4.] [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LII., pp. 154–160.]
March 25. 793. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Sundry orders as to ships and customs dues. Major Archbold appeared, and as it appeared that he had asked for discharge from a council of war many months back, he was dismissed. Francis Hickman objected to Samuel Bernard as security for Charles Bouchier; ordered that when Samuel Bernard acts as Chief Justice, Bouchier shall give in another bond. Sundry orders as to payments. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 77. pp. 31–34.]
March 26.
794. Governor Sir Robert Robinson to Lords of Trade and Plantations. I cannot obtain any account from Samuel Trott, for the people forbid him with threats. Mr. Ashworth has produced sworn accounts, but the people refuse to pay them. I have £50 in my hands from Ashworth, and have paid £100 for powder for the defence of the Colony; but they will not pay me £50 for half of it, though the companies have had some from me. I have also £25 powder-money, which I have asked the Council to allow me for my lodging, since the moving from house to house has near cost me my life. But they will build me no house and allow me no rent. I am sorry that I cannot produce the accounts, but it is the Secretary's fault. Such are the men who are put in by patent. Mr. Jennings has dealt unkindly here, and has tried to encourage the people in New England to set light by the Governor here. We hear of some successes in the Leeward Islands. Let me repeat my request for fifty English soldiers, arms and stores, and a sixth rate frigate. One Peniston sails with this letter and 60,000 lbs. of tobacco. We have no convoy or company for him, but I hope there will be frigates enough in the channel to protect him. A dead sperm whale was washed ashore here five weeks ago, which I managed to the best advantage. We are so much amazed for want of news from England that we know not what to do, except to fortify ourselves. I am sending a small sloop to Barbados and the Leeward Islands to obtain intelligence of the enemy. I am told that an address has been sent to you from hence, though I was not acquainted of it. I should gladly have forwarded it; but it was carried from place to place to be signed, and many were threatened and abused because they hesitated to sign it without the Governor. I learn also that a petition was also preferred against me for arbitrary government and spoiling of timber, and that they may have power to call the Governor to account. I have always sought to relieve the oppressed, but I am quite ready to give an account of all. Some people in these Islands would do better to serve the King loyally than to breed faction, which has always been their way from the first. I send a copy of my protest against Jennings (see No. 591). Signed. Robt. Robinson. 3 pp. Endorsed. Recd. 12 May, 1690. [America and West Indies. 477. No. 25, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XVIII., pp. 271–274.]
March 27. 795. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Order for King's House to be made ready for Lord Inchiquin, and for certain payments. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 77. pp. 34, 35.]
March 27.
796. Robert Livingston to Robert Ferguson, of the Excise office, London. The extreme good character I have heard of you induces me to send you the enclosed papers, which I entreat you to lay before the Secretary of State speedily, or the country will be lost. The news of the King's accession was as a reprieve to the condemned, but we have lived very uneasy owing to one Jacob Leisler, a merchant of New York, whose ambition has prompted him to domineer, with the help of the vulgar, over the King's subjects under pretence of freeing them from arbitrary power. We of Albany have endeavoured to keep all quiet there and free from revolutions, trusting to the King's proclamation for continuing all Protestant officers in their posts; but Leisler's emissaries have been constantly at work stirring up discord, so that unless a Governor arrives soon we shall be destroyed. I make bold to ask you to befriend me concerning my disbursements to the public, having launched most of my estate for the maintenance of our soldiers under Colonel Dongan against the French in 1687–8. I am £620 out upon that expedition, and I have sent authenticated copies of my accounts to my correspondent in London, to whom I am indebted. I have been at Albany for fifteen years, and in continual employ as Secretary and Collector, so the gentlemen there have prevailed with me to come as their agent to Massachusetts and Connecticut to procure assistance. They have promised us help from Connecticut speedily, and Boston is fitting out an expedition against Port Royal by sea, but things go very slow. Their principal reason for not going directly to Quebec is want of powder, so they are sending an express to England for a supply. Signed. Robert Livingston. 3 pp. Printed in New York Documents, III., 698. [America and West Indies. 578. No. 114.]
March 29.
797. Governor Simon Bradstreet to the Earl of Shrewsbury. The French, though formerly more secret in animating the Indians against us, have lately actually joined them in desolating some of our remoter settlements such as Senectady near Albany, and Salmon Falls on a branch of the Piscataqua, though the loss of both must be attributed chiefly to their own "deadly security" and the enemy's treachery. At the two places about one hundred and fifty persons were killed or taken. We have done our utmost for the safety and preservation of the King's interest, and had men in both garrisons sufficient to have repelled the enemy's force. We learn from French prisoners lately brought in that there are five or six hundred French from Canada joined with the Indians in several parties both Eastward and Westward, which has put us to further exertion. We have stirred up the Maquas against the enemy and have resolved on an expedition by sea against Port Royal and other places, it being the general opinion of the country that the Indian war cannot be stopped, nor peace for the English secured without the removal of those ill neighbours the French. Their increase in Canada is judged utterly inconsistent with the interest of the crown of England, so success in the present attempt will greatly encourage an attack on Canada, if the King will assist us with shipping and a speedy supply of ammunition, of which we have hardly enough to furnish the present expedition. We asked His Majesty to order a supply of arms and ammunition for us, and we beg that the same vessel that bears this may be speedily sent back to us. Signed. Sim. Bradstreet, Gov? in the name of the Council. 1¼ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 27 May, 1690. [Board of Trade. New England, 5. No. 70, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXII., pp. 192–194.]
March 29.
798. Address of the Governor and Council of Massachusetts to the King. We beg to lay before you the danger of this and the neighbouring Colonies from the invasion of French and Indians, the scarcity of ammunition for our defence, and the absence of our principal ships in England. We beg for a supply of arms and ammunition and that our vessels may be permitted to return, and for your favour in our other public concerns whereto we have appointed our agents to wait upon you. Signed. Sam. Bradstreet. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 27 May, 90. [Board of Trade. New England, 5. No. 71, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXII., pp. 208, 209.]
March 29. 799. Duplicate of the foregoing. [Board of Trade. New England, 5. No. 72.]
March 29. 800. Extracts from two letters to John Usher from Boston. All hands are fitting out against the French. Sir William Phips goes Admiral, Moody as Chaplain and Deering as Commissary. They are now beating up for volunteers, and intend to press two men out of every six. We have rate upon rate, and no trade at all. The French and Indians make great spoil, so that we are like to be brought very low. Captain Blackrock is returned from Pennsylvania, who reports strange and unheard of actions committed by that monstrous Governor [of New York]. He has sent a hundred men to Albany to fetch the mayor and several other gentlemen to prison, where he sends all men that will not do him homage. He boasts that he has taken over a hundred of the King's commission, and says that he will justify those who acted for him by giving them his certificate. He is a proud, insolent, oppressing fellow, and will certainly ruin the place. Copy. ½ p. Endorsed. Read 29 May, 90. [Board of Trade. New England, 5. No. 73.]
March 31. 801. Extracts from several letters from Francis Brinley in New England to Thomas Brinley in London. Feb. 22. Jacob Leisler rules as he pleases at New York and imprisons whom he pleases. John Coggeshall calls himself Deputy-Governor, and John Greene calls himself Assistant. They intend to call an Assembly next week and rule by the sword. It is high time that the King settled a Government in New England. Feb. 27. John Coggeshall and John Greene have sat with their Assembly, and as Governor Walter Clarke refused to act, they chose Henry Bull in his place. Three days ago we heard of another town cut off by the French. March 31. This goes by a sloop that is sailing to England for communication. The French and Indians have done us much mischief. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed. Read 29 May, 1690. [Board of Trade. New England, 5. No. 74.]
March 31.
802. Elisha Hutchinson to Elisha Cook. We are full of troubles and beset with enemies on every side. Newichewanock and Salmon Falls are taken. Hampshire, on its own petition, is now under our protection and government. We are now bending our forces against the French at Nova Scotia. Sir William Phips is to raise five hundred men and the ships to transport them, and we hope there will be no need to impress men. Our great want is arms and ammunition, else we might attack Canada. The neighbouring Colonies will assist the enterprise with men to join the Maquas by land. If the King could provide us with two frigates, arms and ammunition, it might easily be accomplished, for the French have not above three thousand men, soldiers and others, in all Canada, and they are dispersed. Copy. ¾p. Endorsed. Recd. 29 May, 1690. [Board of Trade. New England, 5. No. 75.]
March 31. 803. Extract from a letter from Eliakim Hutchinson to Ezekiel Hutchinson. A few lines describing the bad condition of the country and the capture of Newichewanock. Copy. [Board of Trade. New England, 5. No. 76.]
March 31.
New York.
804. Jacob Leisler to the King. By letter to the Bishop of Salisbury we gave an account of things here to January. We now offer a second letter through the same channel. Signed. Jacob Leisler, in the name of the Council. ½ p. Printed in New York Documents, III., 700. [America and West Indies. 578. No. 115.]
March 31.
New York.
805. Jacob Leisler to the Bishop of Salisbury. On the 9th of February the village of Senectady was attacked at eleven o'clock at night, while it snowed thick, by two hundred French and Indians. They murdered sixty persons, wounded others, and carried twenty-seven away with them, so that only a sixth of the inhabitants is left. Their cattle and goods are destroyed and taken, and the survivors have taken refuge at Albany. Being alarmed at the prospect of an advance of French and Indians upon us, we have appointed persons to meet the Six Nations at Albany and consult them as to the best way of intercepting their march. The Maquas gave proof of their fidelity by pursuing the destroyers of Senectady and killing twenty-five of them, and by promising to raise more than a thousand men to join ours. We have fortified Albany to the best of our power, the fort having thirteen guns and sixty men in garrison. The town is palisaded and breastworks are making, so that we want only cannon, which we hope may reach us before the attack. If our neighbours in New England and Connecticut had but done their part, we should have little to fear; but so little are they disposed to do so that three weeks ago they recalled the eighty men whom they had sent there, though contrary to our wish, and though the post is of as great importance to them as to us. Nor would they contribute towards the expense of paying men and Indians to carry on the war, though invited thereto by our commissioners, but countenanced and entertained malefactors charged with treasonable crimes and refused to deliver them up. Boston promises us assistance, but we cannot rely thereon, for they propose a month's time to consult about it, and we cannot assure ourselves that we may not be attacked in the interim. So we are sending up men and provisions daily, and have committed the care of the post to three persons, hoping that a supply of ammunition may reach us shortly. The welfare of the whole province depends on the security of the frontiers, for if lost the French will certainly gain the Indians whom they are now alluring with large promises and presents. New York, considering our state, is in as good a posture as circumstances can bear, and I hope we may be able to repel any attack by sea, for we hear of a French squadron coming against us next spring. But above all we rely on help from the King. Meanwhile we are so loudly called upon to supply the work of defence that Courts of Judicature are for the present suspended. The raging spirit of malice obstructs us much in East Jersey. Colonel Townley, one Mr. Emmott, and other leading men assert that the throne of England is not vacant, with other wicked and rebellious notions, making the people believe that the King takes care for those of the late government by his proclamation for continuing all officers (papists only excepted) in their posts till further order, and that those who set up authority in opposition to them are evil doers. But God be thanked we have no such mean and irreverent thoughts of the King, not doubting that we shall be fit to receive his future orders. We took five guns from the ship which bears this letter, and beg that they may be made good to the captain in England. If we can possibly raise seamen we intend to send a privateer of twenty guns and a smaller vessel to join with those of Boston in alarming Canada by water. But for the present the rivers are all frozen. If they do not bestir themselves in good earnest we are in danger of losing the King's footing in this part of America, so we have written to Boston, Virginia and Maryland to send persons to a rendezvous to treat as to what shall be done. We find the people very slack in bringing up money; they will not convene us an Assembly to levy the same, though our writs were long ago issued to the various counties for the purpose. Signed. Jacob Leisler, Lieutenant-Governor, and in the name of the Council. Two closely written pages. Endorsed. Recd. 20 Feb., 1690–1. Printed in New York Documents, III., 700. [America and West Indies. 578. No. 116.]