America and West Indies: October 1693, 16-31

Pages 183-201

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 14, 1693-1696. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1903.

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October 1693

Oct. 16. 626. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Order for payments on account of fortifications.
Oct. 17. Order for a general embargo on the shipping in Port Royal till the two frigates be ready to put to sea. Order for arrest of Redman McCragh for seditious language, and for summoning the witnesses against him. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 77. pp. 260–261.]
Oct. 17.
627. Governor Codrington to Lords of Trade and Plantations. By my last of 3 July I sent duplicates of my letters of 10 and 15 May. About ten days ago a French privateer in the night carried off one Captain Buncombe and forty negroes from Montserrat. We are informed by prisoners returned us from Martinique that a squadron is daily expected there from France, with a land-force for attack on these Islands. Our numbers have been much lessened by the war and sickness, though at present these Islands are healthy. Ever since Sir F. Wheler's departure we have been very busy over our fortifications, but I must repeat that if a force arrive from France these Islands will be in great danger, notwithstanding our firm resolution of defence; for we are assured by letters from New England that Sir F. Wheler's squadron has been forced by the mortality among the sailors to return homeward, and we may reasonably expect a descent by the French when they discover that we have no ships to prevent them. The Secretary is sending you the minutes of Council and Assembly. By your order of 27 Feb. 1691 you empower the Lieutenant-Governors and Councils of the Leeward Islands to hear and examine the complaints of Sir T. Thornhill, Captain Thorn and Major Crispe against me; but the complainants, in despair of making good their allegations, have never since thought fit to make use of the order, though they have had all freedom and encouragement to proceed therein. Sir T. Thornhill and Captain Thorn are since dead, and Major Crispe being at Barbados I sent word to him to attend the General Councils and make use of the order, assuring him that he might proceed with freedom and safety and without fear of injury. He answered that no such order had been obtained by any procurement of his but without his privity, that he would not meddle in the prosecution, and was ready in the most signal manner to acknowledge his errors. A certificate to this effect will be laid before you, which I hope will satisfy you that my accusers could not prove any part of their statements. In future I beg your favour and justice to allow me time to defend myself and prove my innocence before giving belief to the calumnies of my enemies. Signed. Chr. Codrington. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 12 Dec. 1693. Read 8 Jan. 1693–4. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 4. No. 22; and 44. pp. 130–132.]
Oct. 17. 628. Journal of House of Burgesses of Virginia. Report of Committee of propositions further considered. Committee of the whole House on the Ports Act. Resolved that the appointment of certain ports at which alone goods may be imported or exported will in the present circumstances of the country be very injurious. Leave given to bring in a bill to make the whole parish of Lynhaven contribute to maintenance of the bridge over the river that divides the said parish. Question put whether the exportation of bulk-tobacco shall be prohibited, and carried in the negative. A bill to repeal the Act for encouragement of manufactures ordered. Resolved that the revision of the laws is absolutely necessary.
Oct. 18. Resolved that the revision of the laws be proceeded with this session. Address to the Governor, asking what assistance the Council will give therein. Resolved to address the Governor to build a Governor's residence as soon as the revenue for contingent charges can bear the expense. Bills to continue the Rangers, and to encourage manufacture of linen read a first time.
Oct. 19. Adjourned till the morrow.
Oct. 20. Messages from the Governor, sending a memorial as to the College, and proposing that the revision of the laws shall pass the Burgesses first and then come before the Council. A Committee appointed for the work of revision. The papers concerning the College were read and Mr. James Blair heard thereon.
Oct. 21. The Committee for revision of the laws brought up sixteen bills which were read twice, three of them being slightly amended. The bills to continue the Rangers and to encourage manufacture of linen read a second time. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXV., pp. 1077–1086.]
Oct. 18. 629. Minutes of Council of Virginia. William Drummond, sworn King's messenger, and his salary fixed at £10 per annum. Edward Randolph made answer to John Edmeston's petition, and the matter was left to due course of law.
Oct. 19. The memorial and proposals of the Rector and Governors as to the College were referred to the Burgesses, as also Mr. Blair's charges for his services in England in connection with the College.
Oct. 20. Ralph Wormeley's petition for an allowance for Military Commissions referred to the Burgesses. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIV., pp. 830–833.]
Oct. 19. 630. Minutes of General Assembly of Virginia. The Burgesses' message as to revision of the laws received.
The answer to the above message was sent down. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXV., pp. 1007, 1008.]
Oct. 18. 631. Minutes of Council of New York. Orders for an advance of £50 for incidental expenses of the garrison at Albany, and for beds to be provided for the soldiers, one bed for every two men. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXV., p. 473.]
Oct. 18.
632. Governor Kendall to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Having received a copy of Colonel Hallett's petition to the Queen I shall offer the following remarks thereon, though the papers already sent are sufficient to shew that his statements are false and scandalous. (1) It may be true that he was zealous in furthering Their Majesties' accession. I was not here, and though Lieutenant-Governor Stede may speak to it, I never heard of it before. (2) I admit that I found nothing amiss with his behaviour on my arrival, but I know nothing of his helping me more than others. (3) It is true that there were apprehensions of an invasion, but not the whole truth. I had most certain intelligence that an invasion would be attempted, so his resistance to me in providing for defence was the more culpable. (4) It is true that he owned a wood on certain land required for fortifications, but of little value. It was appraised by duly appointed persons at £27 only when cut down: and it was cut down not by my agents, as he invidiously puts it, but by workmen hired and an engineer paid out of the public funds. The Commissioners appointed to superintend the fortifications told me that the entrenchments were carried near Colonel Hallett's land and that he was unwilling to have the wood cut down, saying that it was unnecessary. They asked me therefore to view the place, which I did, and found it to be the likeliest spot in the whole Island for an enemy to land in. I told him that for the safety of the Island it must be fortified, whereupon he used insolent language and encouraged his servants to resist the workmen, who would not desist, even when I came there myself, until I fired a pistol, which frightened them away. I positively aver that he never asked me to defer cutting down the wood till it had been surveyed, and can bring evidence to prove it. (5) It is true that he was suspended the Council, but it is also true that he had intimation through his nearest relations, that if he made a handsome submission, no further notice would be taken. (6) It is true that, when he first came to tell me that he was going to England, I bade him go, not intending then to proceed further against him; but finding afterwards that he was not gone but was using everywhere disrespectful language and combining with disaffected persons, I required security of him to take his trial for such misdemeanours and to keep the peace. He asked that he might go to England and be tried there, but this I refused. (7) On the day he mentions as to the assault, my overseer came to me all bloody, and complained that Colonel Hallett had beaten him without provocation. He had knocked down a negro who refused to give way to him in the street (the slaves were very insolent just then) and pursued him till he took shelter in Colonel Hallett's house. There the women called him many scurrilous names and Colonel Hallett coming up broke his head with his cane. Thereupon he was prosecuted. But he cannot say that he had not a fair trial. As to the other proceedings I am advised that all has been regularly conducted. It is true that the jury found a special verdict, but their doubt was on a very insignificant matter. (8) The jury might scruple at the form of the indictment, but they found him guilty. This is a true account of the matter, to which I am prepared to swear. If it be considered that Colonel Hallett told me he would resist the workmen, that he sent his servants with weapons to the place where they did resist, and that he refused to make submission but joined all the factious enemies of Government, I doubt not that my action will be approved. Signed. J. Kendall. 4½ closely written pages. Endorsed, Recd. 23 Jan. Read 27 Feb. '93–4. Read 2 Dec. 1695. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 5. No. 28; and 44. pp. 74–81.]
Oct. 19. 633. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. Order for entry of certain accounts in the Minutes. The laws made under Sir Francis Watson's presidency were cancelled in pursuance of the Royal order of 20 February, 1689. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 77. pp. 261, 262.]
Oct. 19.
634. Lieutenant-Governor Sir William Beeston to the Earl of Nottingham. The Mordaunt and our two hired sloops have returned, after little success beyond the taking of two or three sloops and plundering some small places ashore. The French there have little trade, but live chiefly on privateering, and plant only indigo, tobacco and provisions. But they grow too numerous, and in time will overpower us if not prevented before too late. Their man-of-war has lately taken two good ships and cargoes of ours, and carried them into Petit Guavos. The French have sent a flag of truce here under colour of exchange of prisoners, but in reality to sell one of their ships, and I have consented that the owners, who are many of them here, shall buy her. The French pickeroons land on our coasts and steal negroes and other goods almost every week. They have good intelligence from some of our villainous deserters, who, if I can catch them, shall meet with the punishment of traitors. The Assembly for a time after their last meeting would do nothing for the country, and indeed things came to a crisis. But now I think they will go on cheerfully, and raise provisions and pay for men. I have promised not only the King's ships and the Island's sloops, but also to furnish arms and ammunition, and two or three hired ships in Their Majesties' pay to attack the French before they get too strong for us. If the Spaniards would help us by land we should do well, but I have heard nothing about it from the Governor of St. Domingo. We are so thin of people that any great loss in the enterprise would weaken us greatly. Signed. Wm. Beeston. 1½ pp. Endorsed, R. Feb. 25, '93. [America and West Indies. 540. No. 36.]
Oct. 19.
635. Lieutenant-Governor Sir William Beeston to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Since mine of 27 July the Mordaunt and the two sloops have returned from Hispaniola without success. The French there are not traders, but live wholly on the spoil of their neighbours; and they kept their ships at home while ours were on their coasts. I have with much ado got the Falcon manned and sent her to the coast of Porto Bello as well to seek the French as well as to convoy over the money, most of which belongs to British subjects. At the meeting of the Assembly on the 7th inst. I moved them to consider the state of the country, the necessity of preventing the daily depredations of French privateers on our coasts, and the means for better collection of the quit-rents. Against this they pleaded the expense of the fitting out of the sloops, their ill-success at Hispaniola and recent calamities and discouragements, and declared themselves unable and unwilling to lay any more on the country. Things went so far that I feared they must have ended in a dissolution, with the country left in its present defenceless state, but I have got over it, and the Assembly is now again very unanimous and I hope will raise money and men. For if some means be not found to root the French out of Hispaniola before they grow too numerous they will be too hard for this Island and will bring it into great danger, unless we have more people. I send copies of the Acts passed since those last transmitted by me. I should not have assented to the twenty shillings per head on exported negroes, but that the Treasury is empty, the revenue much in debt, and the income insufficient to pay the common contingent expenses of government in time of war. We find also by experience that it does no harm to the Assiento and pleases the people; for few wines are now imported, which was the great income, and the quit-rents are ill-collected, so that the two great branches of revenue are mightily anticipated. Nor do I see how the damage done by the earthquake can be repaired until there is a better trade to fill the Treasury. In addition to previous vacancies in the Council Mr. John Peeke is now dead. I recommend Mr. Edward Stanton to succeed him. Age and sickness have carried off so many Councillors in the last seven years that if a few more fall I cannot think how I shall find qualified persons in the whole Island. I send various accounts and returns as to the Island, but am unwilling to send the muster-rolls lest they fall into the enemy's hands. I shall send the Mordaunt to see the fleet that bears this safe out of the Indies. The ships are very rich and the French have one man-of-war besides smaller craft which are only kept in awe by the Mordaunt. Owing to the desertion of so many of our people to the French the enemy know every part of the Island and all that we do. I think it a great unhappiness to me to have come here in Their Majesties' service at such a time of difficulties and calamities. The earthquakes are still severe, the mortality has been very great, an enemy daily infests our coasts, our fortifications and public buildings are all down and there is no money to rebuild them, the private buildings are but huts, the people are discouraged, but no misfortune is to me so great as that I should be removed soon after my arrival. If I am thought worthy to serve Their Majesties no difficulty should be too great for me; but if I am not, I beg that I may be removed. Signed. Wm. Beeston. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 27 Feb. '93–4. Read 5 March. Enclosed,
635. I. Speech of Sir William Beeston to the Assembly on its meeting after prorogation. 9 October, 1693. I was unwilling to keep you adjourned longer than this month, for the depredations on our coasts are ruining both our country and our reputation. The two sloops fitted out for defence have proved insufficient in number or strength of men to defend this long Island, wherein there are so many landing-places. I think that twenty men added to each of these sloops, and the raising of two more of the same strength could answer the purpose. When this is settled I beg you to consider an Act for the more certain collection of quit-rents, and also the condition of the Revenue Bill, for there are now two on foot, and we know not which to act by. I beg you to set heartily about these things and any others that may be necessary, for at such times of danger the members of Council and Assembly, who are also the chief officers, of the Island, should rather be at their homes, looking to the security of the Island, than wasting time in town at amending laws which, if our enemies get the better of us, we may never make use of. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 5 Mar. '93–94.
635. II. Address of the Assembly of Jamaica to Sir William Beeston. Though we have met with some disappointment in an expectation of immediate assistance from the King's ships and from the unwillingness of our sloops to work with them owing to disproportion of sharing, we have yet unanimously voted forty additional men for the two sloops. We beg to suggest that the Spanish trade is quite capable of maintaining its own charge without frigates for security and convoy, and that the persons concerned therein might hire vessels to guard them, leaving the King's ships and our hired sloops for defence of the Island. As the defence of the Island seems to be our first concern, we shall enter upon no business till that be despatched.
635. III. Sir William Beeston's second speech to the Assembly at Jamaica. I did not expect that when I asked you to provide for defence on the coasts you would have reflected upon me, as you have, as though our misfortunes were due to my fault. The ships made their agreement about shares without reference to me; and if they have been unsuccessful, it was through no fault of mine. As to the employment of the frigates in convoys for the Assiento, the ships are under my orders, and I hold myself accountable for their employment not to you but to the King. Whatever your opinion of the Assiento, the King and all the Lords at home think it of the greatest importance to the nation of England in general and to this Island in particular. And the majority of people in this Island think so likewise. I do not understand the purport of your concluding paragraphs, but if you mean that you will do nothing for defence or revenue unless the King's ships are kept cruising in sight of the Island, then I will be bound by no such obligation; and if you will not look to such matters as defence and revenue without first making bargains you had better go home and look after your business and the commands you hold, than waste time here. 3 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 5 Mar. 1693–4.
635. IV. Second address of the Assembly of Jamaica to Sir William Beeston. We had no intention of reflecting upon you in our former address. Our request for assistance of the frigates was not grounded on inadvertent interference with your authority. Our concluding paragraphs meant only that we were going to make defence our first business. Large sheet. Endorsed, Recd. 5 Mar. 1693–4.
635. V. List of the Council, Assembly, judges, justices, and civil and military officers of Jamaica. September, 1693. The troops are divided into 1 regiment of horse and 7 of foot. 7¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 5 Mar. 1693–4.
635. VI. Account of the fortifications, arms and ammunition in Jamaica. 27 September, 1693. Fort Charles: 38 guns, well mounted. Fort Morgan: 15 guns, of which but 8 can be fired, the battlements being shaken into the sea. Fort Walker: 6 guns, mounted, that may be fixed, but the platforms badly shaken by the earthquake. 2 pp. Endorsed as the preceding.
635. VII. Account of powder received from ships from December, 1692, and of powder expended from January, 1693. 14 pp. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 7. Nos. 26, 26 I.–VIII.; and (without enclosure) 53. pp. 175–179.]
Oct. 23. 636. Minutes of Council of New York. Order for carpenters to be sent on board the barquentine hired for the King's service, to complete their work thereon. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXV., p. 474.]
Oct. 23.
637. Governor Sir Edmund Andros to Lords of Trade and Plantations. On the 18th past I received an account of the death of Governor Copley of Maryland on the 9th past, and of great contest who should be president. I summoned the Council and showed my commission to be Commander-in-Chief of Maryland in case of the death of Lieutenant-Governor Nicholson and the absence of Governor Copley. It was unanimously agreed that this Commission did now apply, and accordingly I appointed Mr. Ralph Wormeley to be President in my absence, and set out for Maryland. I arrived at St. Maries on the 25th, and found the Council and Burgesses sitting, and the Presidency of the Council still contested. On my producing my Commission, however, it was at once accepted; so I issued a proclamation to confirm all officers in their posts, and next day dissolved the Assembly. I have since put everything in order as well as I could in so short a time, but it is very necessary that a Governor or Lieutenant-Governor be despatched to Maryland. On my arrival I found Sir Thomas Laurence at liberty and not "faulted" in the Council until I spoke of my return to Virginia. I was then told that the charges against him had been sent home by Governor Copley and the Council, but on calling for the Minutes of Council, found no book, but only loose sheets, very imperfect, with no certain copy either of the charge or of Sir Thomas Laurence's commitment. Sir Thomas, however, asked that, owing to indisposition, he might not be thought of as President, and might also be dispensed from attending Council. Having, in consequence of complaints displaced Mr. Blakiston as Commissary of Probate, and he also desiring to be excused attendance in Council owing to sickness, I declared Colonel Nicholas Greenberry to be president in my absence and till further order; and then on advice of the Council, I suspended Mr. Nehemiah Blakiston from sitting and voting therein. This done, I left St. Maries, and on the 3rd inst. embarked at Patuxen for Virginia. I found all quiet on my return. The Burgesses have passed votes as to ports, to prohibit bulk-tobacco, to revise the laws, and to continue the Rangers. Signed. E. Andros. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 20 Feb. Read 16 Mar. 93–4. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 5. No. 35; and 36. pp. 244–247.]
Oct. 23.
638. Governor Sir Edmund Andros to William Blathwayt. Desiring him to add the name of Daniel Parke to the list of persons to fill vacancies in Council. Signed. E. Andros. Holograph. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 20 Feb. '93–4. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 5. No. 36.]
Oct. 23.
639. Governor Sir Edmund Andros to Earl of Nottingham. This letter is practically the same as that to Lords of Trade and Plantations of same date, No. 637. 2½ pp. Endorsed, R. Feb. 22, 1693–4. [America and West Indies. 638. No. 14.]
Oct. 23. 640. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Miles Sherman's petition for an allowance for himself and two officers at the late and present Assemblies, referred to the Burgesses. Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzhugh presented two orders in Council from Whitehall, which were recorded. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIV., pp. 833, 834.]
Oct. 23. 641. Journal of House of Burgesses of Virginia. Fifteen of the bills sent up by the Laws-revision Committee passed, chiefly dealing with religious matters. Bill to punish persons refusing to have their children baptised, rejected. The remainder were sent up to Council. The Revision Committee then brought up twenty-three more bills which were read a first time.
Oct. 24. The bills to continue the Rangers, and to encourage manufacture of linen were passed and sent to Council. The twenty-three bills of yesterday were read a second time and some of them amended. Eleven more bills were received from the Revision Committee, and four of them read a second time and amended.
Oct. 25. Further consideration of the last batch of bills sent up by the Revision Committee. The said Committee then brought up eleven further bills. The Charter of the College was then considered, and the Rector and Governors were warned to attend to-morrow to discuss the question of the site.
Oct. 26. The Revision Committee presented a further batch of twelve bills. Four alternative sites being then suggested for the College, it was resolved that that at Middle Plantation should be chosen, and a bill for the erection of the College in that place was ordered to be prepared. Thirty-seven of the bills submitted by the Revision Committee read a third time and passed.
Oct. 27. Twenty-two of the bills prepared by the Revision Committee were read a first time, and some of them amended. The Revision Committee submitted thirteen more new bills. Eleven bills read a first time, and two of them amended.
Oct. 28. Thirty-six bills read a second time and some of them amended. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXV., pp. 1086–1101.]
Oct. 23. 642. Minutes of General Assembly of Virginia. Fifteen bills received from the Burgesses.
Oct. 24. The bills to continue the Rangers and to encourage manufacture of linen were received from the Burgesses and read a first time.
Oct. 25. Fifteen of the revised bills read a second time.
Oct. 26. Thirty-seven revised bills read a first time. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXV., pp. 1009–1013.]
Oct. 25. 643. Minutes of Council of Virginia. William Fitzhugh and William Digges appeared to answer for words spoken as to a plot to restore King James, and were discharged for want of sufficient evidence against them. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIV., pp. 834–835.]
Oct. 25.
644. Address of the General Assembly of Rhode Island to the King. We thank you for your letter of 3 March, 1693. We have also received one from the Governor of New York, asking us to send Commissioners to decide as to the quota of men to be furnished by the several provinces for the defence of Albany. The letter not arriving till the day appointed for the meeting we were unable to send Commissioners, which otherwise we had gladly done. Our own frontier is towards the sea, and Block Island has been thrice attached by the French. Once the Governor sent Captain Thomas Paine to drive them away, which he did with small loss to us and much loss to the enemy. H.M.S. Nonsuch took a French privateer which had landed parties on Block Island this summer, but since her departure another French privateer has seized several of our vessels. We sent a vessel after her, but without success. So that we are at great charge in watching and warding for our own defence. Still we shall be ready to obey your commands to the best of our ability. We beg your favour to Mr. Almy, who went to England some time since on the business of our militia, and to ask for confirmation of our patent. Signed. Weston Clark, clerk of Assembly. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 10 June, 1694. [Board of Trade. New England, 6. No. 85; and 35, pp. 134–137.]
Oct. 26. 645. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. The Commissioners of Customs attended on the business of convoys. [Board of Trade. Journal, 7. p. 221.]
Oct. 27. 646. Abstract of a letter from Governor Fletcher, referring to his visit to Connecticut. The substance is identical with that of the letter of 30 October with its enclosures (see Nos. 649, 650). 5 pp. [Board of Trade. New York, 5. No. 32.]
Oct. 30.
647. Governor John Usher to [the Earl of Nottingham]. Since my last Sir William Phips has sent us an account of a peace concluded between Massachusetts and the Eastern Indians and advises us to take measures accordingly. He gave this Government no notice of his intention to make peace nor writ us to join with him in the same. He has only engaged a cessation of arms between his Government and the Indians belonging to this place, who, having murdered the King's subjects, are sheltering themselves there. We are in the dark as to the measures he would have us take. We are this day informed that according to the treaty no captives are returned [this is inaccurate, for the treaty does provide for return of captives unransomed], and the Indians' carriage is so high that another breach is feared. I shall give orders for watch and ward to be continued in the frontier-towns.
The Secretary goes to England by this conveyance, bearing the usual returns as to the transactions of Government. He will give you all particulars better than I can relate them by pen. I have proposed to the Lords of Trade a way to support the honour of the Government and the security of the Province, which I hope will be approved, for I can think of no other until the King maintains it out of the revenue in England. Though the people have not killed me outright, they have done their best to starve me, for I have not received a penny from them yet. I beg you to consider this and to obtain for me relief. Signed. John Usher. 1 p.
Duplicate of the foregoing. 1 p.
[America and West Indies. 561. Nos. 38, 39.]
Oct. 30.
648. Lieutenant-Governor Usher to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Sir William Phips has made a peace with the Indians, without consulting this Government and without including this Province in the same, which I conceive may prove very prejudicial. On the 16th I laid before the Assembly the necessity for providing for the honour of the Government and the security of the place. I received no answer except as to their poverty. I have spent a year and a quarter in the Province, laid out over £200 of my own, and shewn them how by my care I have saved £750 for them, yet they have not voted a penny for the Government nor given me so much as thanks. As I conceive the reason to be sullenness and aversion to the King's Government rather than want of ability, I send the Secretary to give you all particulars and to lay before you my proposals for duties on timber, which will support the Government without hardship to the inhabitants. At present there is vast havoc and waste of the timber for the support of a few idle and lazy people. I hope soon to receive your directions as to the right of the river. Sir William Phips has appointed a naval officer who permits vessels to unload at the Isle of Sholes and bring in goods from Europe without clearing in England. As they unload on the Maine side we have no control over them. Vessels to the eastward should be ordered to enter with the King's Collector at Newcastle. If the King send not fifty or sixty soldiers for defence of this place, I fear that it may be lost to the French and Indians. Signed. John Usher. 1½ pp. Recd. 21 Dec. '93. [Board of Trade. New Hampshire, 1. No. 29; and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXVII., pp. 231–233.]
Oct. 30.
649. Governor Fletcher to [William Blathwayt]. I have been in this Colony twenty days labouring to persuade the people to their duty. I published my commission in the General Court at Hartford and assured them that I had no pretension to civil administration, but was come to take charge of the militia, the control of which was lodged in the Crown and not to be separated from it. They refuse obedience to my commission. They have separated not only from the Church but from the Crown of England; they allow no appeal from their Courts and no force to the laws of England. Some of the "wissest" have said that not being permitted to vote for Members of Parliament they are not liable to their laws. I had designed to march hence with what force I could get and put myself into Albany this winter, but am now disappointed. I must return to New York and take other measures of defence of that place. I never saw the like people. They have raised a considerable tax to send one Mr. Winthrop, their Agent, to England, yet they pay no obedience to the Crown. Neither their Agent nor any in office have taken the oaths or subscribed the test. Having no company with me except two friends and a few soldiers I could not enforce obedience, nor did I think it for the King's service to carry on the contest to blood, though they threaten to draw mine for urging my master's right. They desire a suit at law with the King and say that if their charter be vacated by quo warranto they will submit. This I know, that if speedy course be not taken to make these people useful to the defence of Albany, that place will be lost. I have sent over the papers that passed between the people and myself. If I have made any false steps I beg that it may be imputed to the weakness of my judgment, for I have studiously endeavoured to serve the King, and in all places of my little trust used the utmost of my skill to make the people in love with the mildness of Their Majesties' government. I have just now a letter from a sure friend telling me that the mob have a design upon my life. I must not go out of the way, though I am very thinly attended. Signed. Ben. Fletcher. 2½ pp. Endorsed, R. 28 Dec. [Board of Trade. New York, 5. No. 33.]
[Oct. 30]. 650. Enclosures sent with the foregoing letter:—
650. I. Order of the General Court at Hartford, Connecticut, for raising a rate of a penny in the pound, to defray the expense of sending an Agent to England. Certified copy. 1 p.
650. II. Order of the same for a day of fasting and humiliation to implore the divine blessing on the Agent's mission. Certified copy. 1 p.
650. III. Governor Fletcher to Governor Treat. Milford Bay, 14 October, 1693. I am come to publish the King's commission to me to take command of the Militia of Connecticut, but have thought it right first to communicate the Royal pleasure to you. I send this gentleman, the Secretary for New York Province, to acquaint you with what may further be said on this occasion, and to ask your directions for so publishing the King's commands as to make them most effectual. Certified copy. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 26 Dec., 1693.
650. IV. Governor Fletcher to Governor Treat. Newhaven, 17 October, 1693. I landed at this place somewhat late on Sabbath-day at night. My horses and other conveniences are in another sloop which is not yet come up. This has detained me here longer than I designed or desired, being informed that your General Court is now sitting. I am willing to communicate the Royal orders to you while you are together, conceiving that this will be best for the Royal service, so I desire that you will not adjourn till I come to Hartford, which will be as soon as my horses arrive. Certified copy. ½ p. Endorsed as No. III.
650. V. The General Court of Connecticut to Governor Fletcher. Hartford, 18 October, 1693. Your letter of 17th reached the Governor's hands this morning, who has acquainted us with its contents. In reply I am to inform you that the General Court has been together on Their Majesties' service and is about despatching the affairs under hand as it may. But we shall not break up until Friday next and shall be ready to wait on you and hear what you have to tell us that may be for Their Majesties' service and the public good of their subjects. Signed. John Allyn, Secretary. Certified copy. 1 p. Endorsed as No. III.
650. VI. Governor Fletcher to the General Court of Connecticut. Newhaven, 19 October, 1693. Yours of yesterday I have received; but the wind continuing northerly I can get no news of my horses, so cannot hope to get to Hartford to-morrow. I beg therefore that you will adjourn to this place, when a very short time will suffice for me to lay my business before you. Copy. ¼ p. Endorsed as No. III.
650. VII. The General Court of Connecticut to Governor Fletcher. Hartford, 20 October, 1693. We cannot, under the present circumstances, adjourn to Newhaven, so though we have waited several days for you, we prefer to continue our General Court here by adjournment till Tuesday next. Signed. John Allyn, Secretary. Certified copy. ½ p. Endorsed as No. III.
650. VIII. Governor Fletcher to the General Court of Connecticut. 24 October, 1693. I have come with Their Majesties' commission to act as their lieutenant and commander-in-chief of the militia and of all forces by land and sea of Connecticut, which commission I now produce, and expect a ready compliance with, that I may proceed to the execution of that trust. I desire your reply without loss of time, as my duties call for my immediate repair to the frontier. Certified copy. ½ p. Endorsed as No. III.
650. IX. Nicholas Bayard and Matthew Clarkson to the General Court of Connecticut. Hartford, 25 October, 1693. We are come from the Governor to acquaint you that he has just received letters from Albany giving him an account of the weakness of the garrison and the growing strength of the enemy. Your delays are a great hindrance to the King's service here. The Governor has no instructions to apply to you; he did not publish his commission until he did it in this Court, nor could he suppose, neither will it be believed in England, that an English Colony should deny the right of their Protestant King. The letters from Albany still show apprehension of an attack by the enemy, and if the post be lost by want of your compliance with the King's Commission, you may be sensible that the consequences will be dangerous to yourselves. The Jerseys are in the same circumstances as yourselves in respect of their charter, yet have willingly submitted to the King's pleasure in respect of their militia, which is commanded by Governor Fletcher. Yet the Governor of that Colony acts without the least interruption, calls Assemblies, makes laws, raises money and keeps Courts; only he commands the militia under His Excellency, who has not altered one single officer in that Colony. We are charged in conclusion to tell you that the fatal consequences of your action will be represented to you and to your posterity too late. You are the only people who will venture to dispute with the King as to the inherent right of the Crown, settled by several Acts of Parliament, to the control of the militia. 1 p. Certified copy. Endorsed as No. III.
650. X. The General Court of Connecticut to Governor Fletcher. Hartford, 25 October, 1693. We find in your commission no express superseding of the commission of the militia in our charter nor any order to us to surrender the same, and being sensible of the importance of the matter, and finding in it several main things which require particular explication and settlement (as we hope to manifest to Their Majesties) we conceive it to be our duty, for Their Majesties' service and for our own preservation in this time of war to continue the militia as formerly, until by our Agent now sent to England we receive further orders from Their Majesties; after which we shall be happy to give assistance according to our ability, though we have already spent £5,000 for defence of Albany since the war began, besides the loss of lives. Further we see reason to grant £600 in country pay out of our country rate towards the expense of the garrison of Albany in advance of what shall be our proportion, in obedience to the Royal letters of 3 March, 1693. Signed. John Allyn, Secretary. Certified copy. 1 p.
650. XI. Governor Fletcher to the General Court of Connecticut. 26 October, 1693. Your paper is no answer to my memorial, for I do not demand the militia from you, since you know as well as I do that you have no right to it. I gave in my memorial from tender regard to this colony and in expectation of your compliance with my commission and your assistance to me, who am a stranger in these parts, for the speedier execution of that commission. It is a lawful commission and is granted as well for your security and defence as for assertion of the Royal right. In Their Majesties' name therefore I require your obedience to this commission as you will answer the consequences; and I await your speedy reply. Certified copy. 1 p. Endorsed as No. III.
650. XII. Nicholas Bayard to the General Court of Connecticut. 26 October, 1693. I am further to tell you from the Governor that he is resolved to execute his commission and immediately to issue a proclamation shewing the methods that he has taken for the ease and satisfaction of the people in this Colony, leaving the militia in the hands wherein he found it. I am also to tender to Governor Treat a commission from His Excellency to command all the militia in the Colony; and to acquaint you that the Governor has neither power nor intention to invade your civil rights but would have all things run in the same channel with no alterations, only requiring your acknowledgement of the King's inherent right to the militia. The Governor will not set foot out of this Colony till he sees obedience paid to his commission by all loyal subjects, and will distinguish the rest Certified copy. 1 p. Endorsed as No. III.
650. XIII. Memorandum. Colonel Bayard returning from the General Court, reported their desire to have a copy of the Letters Patent, and that they promised a speedy reply. The Governor sent to them the Original Letters Patent, requiring them to be recorded, which the Secretary seemed willing to do after the Court should be broken up. 26 October, 1693. Certified copy. 1 p. Endorsed as No. III.
650. XIV. The General Court of Connecticut to Governor Fletcher. 26 October, 1693. We have only received yours of 26th. We have informed you of our opinions in ours of the 25th, which you may please to take as our answer; but we say further that we agree with you that the inherent right of the militia is in Their Majesties, that it is at their disposal, and that it has been settled on us, and enjoyed during the two last reigns as well as the present. Lately we received from them some directions for the improvement of the same, to which we shall attend, and therefore we beg that you will not interrupt us in our enjoyment thereof till we have Their Majesties' further order, which we trust will be no prejudice to their service and may be a good means to prevent further inconvenience. Signed. John Allyn, Secretary. Certified copy. 1 p. Endorsed as No. III.
650. XV. The same to the same. 27 October, 1693. We formerly offered you £600 towards the charge of maintaining the garrison of Albany. If you think men would be better, we shall raise about fifty men, with what speed we may, to continue at Albany till the spring. Signed. John Allyn, Secretary. Certified copy. ½ p. Endorsed as No. III.
650. XVI. Governor Fletcher to the General Court of Connecticut. 27 October, 1693. I have yours of to-day before me, and must tell you that I am commander-in-chief of all the forces in this Colony, and that by my commission published in the General Court all others are superseded. When you think fit to acknowledge this commission, which has nowhere else been disputed, I will consult with you for the settling of the militia and the defence of Albany. Meanwhile I conceive myself obliged to pursue the execution thereof, till I find an open violation of the Royal right by force of arms. Certified copy. ½ p. Endorsed as No. III.
650. XVII. Proclamation of Governor Fletcher, 28 October, 1693, setting forth the tenor of his commission, his efforts to make it acceptable, and his offers to leave matters practically unaltered, declaring all existing commissions in the militia of Connecticut to be void, and calling upon all loyal subjects to yield obedience to his commission. One large page. Certified copy. Endorsed as No. III.
650. XVIII. Gershom Bulkeley to Governor Fletcher. Weathers-field, 30 October, 1693. I have this morning heard from a sure friend that he truly fears not only some outrage to myself but damage to you and others if I appear in Hartford to-day. They have threatened to come and pull my house down, and a little more irritation will certainly more than effect it. They also hear of a severe declaration to be published against them, which, if it be done, the effect of the people's rage upon it is unaccountable. Some mischief will certainly ensue it. They hear also of some Weathersfield friends appearing there in arms to guard you; and it is feared a bloody issue will be of it; and what may be done to prevent it is thought to be service to God and King and this Colony at this juncture. Your speedy advice and commands are desired by your Excellency's, etc. Signed, G. Bulkeley. ½ p. Original. Holograph. 1 p. Endorsed as No. III.
650. XIX. Abstract of Colonel Nicholas Bayard's journal of his journey to Connecticut with Governor Fletcher. Oct. 13. The Governor left New York arriving at New Haven on the 15th, and after some days' waiting for his horses, reached Hartford on the 23rd. He took his lodging at the ordinary, where he was first saluted by Mr. Allyn and Mr. Pipkin, and afterwards by Governor Treat and several others. He told them that he had come to take command of the militia, as he had already written to them, and for that purpose desired to meet the General Court. Governor Treat said that next morning at 10 o'clock they would be ready to hear him. Oct. 24. At 10 o'clock the Governor went to the General Court, said that he was come to publish his commission in obedience to the King's commands, and asked Governor Treat that it might be read. Governor Treat avoided the reading and said they were ready to hear what he had to say, whereupon the Governor ordered Mr. Clarkson to read it, and to avoid all misunderstandings, gave in a memorial (No. VIII.), which Mr. Treat promised to answer in writing, only desiring that the Governor would hear their charter read. His Excellency replied that he had no business to concern himself with their charter or with civil affairs, but only with the militia, and so took leave. Then one of the members cried out, "Let the charter be read that all the people may hear it"; and it was observed that when the Governor's commission was read, the sergeants kept the people out with their halberts, until several made their way by force, saying that they would hear it. Oct. 25. Mr. Clarkson and myself went with a message to the General Court, and some time afterwards Governor Treat, Mr. Allyn, Mr. Pipkin and Mr. Stanty had a conference with His Excellency, desiring that he would suspend the execution of his commission until they could hear again from Their Majesties through their Agent, now preparing to go to England. His Excellency declined with such prevailing arguments that they seemed to be convinced, and in particular Mr. Allyn. They asked whether, if they submitted to the commission, they would on invasion or other urgent occasions be obliged to send to New York for orders, to which the Governor answered No; for he would give Mr. Treat a commission granting him full powers in his absence. Oct. 26. Several letters (Nos. IX.–XIV.) passed between the Governor and the Court. Oct. 27. The Governor called on Mr. Yealls, one of the deputies of the General Court, and told him how dangerous the consequence of their obstinate refusal would be, and that they would repent it; to which Captain Yealls said he could not help it, for if they parted with the militia they might just as well part with the civil power, for the one was nothing without the other, which words the Governor told him were factious and seditious. Yealls also refused to accept a commission from the Governor as Captain of Wallingford (his former post) and was thereupon warned not to take upon him that office at his utmost peril. At noon came an offer of the General Court to supply 50 men or £600, country pay, (computed to be about £250 sterling), which the Governor answered. That evening about twenty men came to the Governor offering their obedience to the commission and desiring that the same might be noted. Several others crowded in, but the Governor called upon all who would not acknowledge his commission to leave his room, which they did except one who remained boasting that he held a commission under the charter and so forth. The Governor bade him begone, but as he continued his impertinency, the Governor took him by the arm and led him out; and as he dared the Governor to do the like inside his chamber His Excellency made towards him and threw him down the stairs. Oct. 28. This morning came intelligence that the Court was broke up and the members dispersed, also that many men had been in arms round the Governor's lodgings at night, some threatening to insult him, others to shoot him if he published his proclamation in the streets. The Governor therefore sent Clarkson and myself with the proclamation to the Chief Magistrate at Hartford, to require him to publish it, also to report the affronts put on him since he landed and to ask if the Court had prepared any answer to the Governor's last memorial. We went therefore to Mr. Allyn, who said that he thought the proclamation would not be published, but that he would deliver it to Mr. Treat, who was expected to return next day. He expressed sorrow for the affronts put on the Governor but said he could not help it, as the people were in a ferment; and he knew nothing of any answer from the General Court. Toward evening about twenty more people came to signify their obedience to the commission. Oct. 29 being Sunday, the Governor went and heard sermon in one church in the morning, and in the other in the afternoon. In the evening came a letter from Mr. Bulkeley that the people were in great ferment. Oct. 30. Another letter from Mr. Bulkeley to the same effect. The Governor gave orders to prepare to start to-morrow. Signed. N. Bayard. 3¼ pp. Endorsed as No. III.
650. XX. A list of the foregoing documents with the exception of Nos. I. and II. 1 p. Endorsed as No. III. [Board of Trade. New York, 5. Nos. 33 I.–XX.]
651. A duplicate set of the enclosures abstracted in the preceding, with the exception of Nos. I.–III., XII.–XIV., XVII., XVIII. and XX. [Board of Trade. New York, 5. Nos. 34 I.–XI.]
Oct. 30. 652. Journal of House of Burgesses of Virginia. Address to the Governor in reply to his speech. We think that an Act fixing ports where alone goods can be imported or exported would be very burdensome, so we have thought best not to proceed with it. We are quite content with the suspension of the Act for the encouragement of manufactures. We think that the prohibition of exports of bulk-tobacco would be prejudicial to all parties. We are diligently engaged in revising the laws. We have taken measures for the defence of the country, and favour the erection of a house for the Governor. Thirty-six of the revised bills were read a third time and passed. The Revision Committee submitted a further batch of eighteen bills, which were read a first time, and some of them amended. Resolved that the Tanners' Act be omitted from the revised laws.
Oct. 31. Eighteen revised bills were read a second time and some of them amended. Six new bills were submitted by the Revision Committee, which were read a first time, and some of them amended. Order for arrest of Thomas Rooke for assaulting a burgess. Address to the Governor, asking him to throw open the land south of the Blackwater to settlement, and also the land on Pamunkey Neck. The affairs of the College were considered. A proposal to exempt all masters and pupils in the College from levies was rejected. A bill imposing a duty of 7½ per cent. on exported furs was ordered, for support of the College. A Committee appointed to examine the case of Thomas Rooke. Eight revised bills ordered for third reading.
Nov. 1. Twenty-six revised bills read a third time and passed.
Nov. 2. Thomas Rooke having begged the pardon of the House on bended knees, was discharged from custody. The House attended the Governor by summons, and heard a speech from him. Message from the Governor that the land south of the Blackwater could not be thrown open to settlement until so much of it as had been granted to the College should be surveyed. Fifteen bills returned by the Council with amendments.
Nov. 3. The Council's amendments to these bills considered, and a conference with the Council desired. Message from the Governor with a copy of his speech and of letters from the Queen and the Governor of New York.
Nov. 4. Adjourned to 6th. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXV., pp. 1101–1117.]
Oct. 31. 653. Minutes of General Assembly of Virginia. Thirty-five bills and an address received from the Burgesses.
Nov. 1. Address from the Burgesses as to throwing open land for settlement received. The Acts for Rangers and for encouraging the manufacture of linen, read a second time. Twenty-six revised bills received from the Burgesses; and fifteen others returned to them with amendments.
Nov. 2. The Governor's answer to the address concerning the land south of the Blackwater sent down to the Burgesses. Speech of the Governor to the Burgesses, reporting the Royal orders to assist New York and to agree with the other Colonies as to the proportion of assistance, and reporting further that he had sent a Commissioner to the proposed Congress at New York and £600 to Governor Fletcher.
Nov. 3. Order for a copy of the speech and letters to be delivered to the Burgesses. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXV., pp. 1013–1019.]
Oct. 31. 654. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Order for sundry payments. A letter from Ralph Lane to the Governor read, reproaching him for disobedience of the Royal orders in reference to his case. The Governor pointed out that he had enquired into Lane's case, and had executed the King's orders respecting him; and it was ordered that the Provost Marshal bring Lane before Council at next meeting to answer for the scurrilous language of his letter. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XII., pp. 433–437.]
Oct. 31. 655. Journal of Assembly of Barbados. John Waterman re-elected Speaker. Account of the debt due for the Leeward Islands expenditure brought up, amounting to £7,760. William Bridges and John Gardneir elected agents. Committee appointed to draw up a remonstrance of grievances against the Royal African Company. Adjourned to 14 November. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XIV., pp. 356, 357.]
[Oct ?] 656. Grievances of the inhabitants of Barbados against the government of Governor James Kendall. He assumed a power, never before pretended to, of judging the election of members for the Assembly. He published, without advice and consent of the Council, articles of war whereby he compelled every man (Councillors only excepted) to serve in some troop or company and not to leave it without the Captain's permission; imposed an oath of obedience to himself on all officers, militia and divers other matters, all under penalty of death. He directed writs for the election of several members of Assembly to one man, which Assembly voted him large sums. He suspended John Hallett from the Council and fined him heavily for refusing to cut down a wood on ground which he required for fortifications. He in June last issued writs for an Assembly wherein he required certificates from members under an Act which was presently disallowed, and yet got the Council to declare the Assembly so elected a legal Assembly. He enforced strictly an Act of Militia which, owing to mortality and depopulation of the Island, wrought very harshly, in order to terrify members of Assembly, and put in one who had turned papist in King James's time as officer of militia, turning out experienced and faithful officers. 5 pp. Undated. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 5. No. 29.]