America and West Indies: December 1696, 11-20

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 15, 1696-1697. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1904.

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'America and West Indies: December 1696, 11-20', in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 15, 1696-1697, (London, 1904) pp. 248-267. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

December 1696

Dec. 11.
492. The Mayor of Plymouth to William Popple. I have by this post sent to Sir John Elwill, a member of the House of Commons and of the Committee of the Council of Trade, copies of the Patents of King Charles the First and Second, relating to the Newfoundland trade, from the originals in my custody, also the proposals of the merchants and others interested in that trade. Sir John Elwill has been desired to act as our solicitor. Signed, John Munyon. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. and read 14 Dec., 1596. Annexed,
492. I. Address of the merchants of Plymouth to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Much has been said at sundry times as to the encouragement and support of the trade to Newfoundland from the Western ports. The patents granted by King Charles I. and King Charles II. show how much those princes furthered the promotion thereof for the advantage that accrued to the nation in breeding a continual nursery of seamen, which was useful for their royal service beyond any employment or navigation in England. It has been made plain to King Charles II. in Council that there have been employed in the Newfoundland fishery from the ports of Bristol, Bideford, Poole, Weymouth, Lymington, Exeter, Dartmouth, Plymouth, etc., and concomitants depending thereon, from 250 to 300 sail of ships, some of considerable burden and force, and from fifteen to twenty thousand men, commonly one quarter of them raw men never used to the sea, which afterwards grew up to be stout and strenuous seamen, as has been seen in the different wars of the past forty years against the Dutch. Besides the great advantage which the nation had at home by the employing and keeping to work of several sorts of manufactures, as of seines, nets, etc., and the employing of several tradesmen as carpenters and so forth, the trade consumed a larger stock of provisions than any other navigation. But of late the trade is fallen much to decay and almost brought to nothing, especially to that end for which it was first encouraged, namely for the furnishing of ships, the breeding of seamen and the employment of tradesmen at home. The war which has consumed so many of our seamen during the past forty years, has caused many to transport themselves to Newfoundland to avoid the King's service, to reside there during the winter under the name of planters, to settle themselves in the best harbours and take up the best fishing places therein, to the detriment of the fishing ships, contrary to the patents already mentioned, which plainly forbid any planter to settle or build any house within six miles of any harbour or fishing place. But this they do, for there is no land fit to be manured for to bring forth anything fit for the support of mankind, and those that remain there have supplies of provision from New England, Ireland and other parts, not regarding the benefit of England. Forasmuch as the trade needs encouragement and protection in this time of war, it must be laid down first for a certain maxim that it cannot be secured but by sending out early from England six good frigates. These should sail at the beginning of March at farthest, should be well manned and stocked with provisions and ammunition for eight or ten months at least, and should be commanded by good, sober, experienced officers, well acquainted with the coast and with the affairs of the country. Had this been done last spring the damage sustained from the French might have been prevented, and probably as much damage would have been brought on the French as they have brought on us. Nothing can secure the trade but this method. It is true that St. John's may easily be fortified, for the harbour is narrow and difficult to enter, and there are no places, where an enemy can land and come in on their backs, but may easily be prevented. Ferryland may be fortified and secured for any ships to enter, but there are landing places both on the North and South sides where an enemy may land and march into the harbour, as the French did lately; so that besides the fort at the harbour's mouth there must be a regular fort built and maintained within. But, granting it should be thought necessary to fortify these two places, what will it signify to protect the ships that fish in forty or fifty places, more than three hundred miles from North to South? It must be concluded that no means can secure the trade but the sending of ships as aforesaid. It will be necessary also to send away about Midsummer two or three other frigates to convoy the ships that shall be bound there for sacks to take off the fish that shall be made, and to return at the end of the year when the fishing is over. With such ships as come home to England with oil and fish, the former frigates may be disposed of as convoys to their several markets in Italy, Spain and Portugal. No ships nor men-of-war can be better employed for the King's service and the good of the nation than those on this affair, considering the great return they bring of bullion, wines, etc., to the great advantage of the King's customs. It may be worthy of note, for the encouragement of this trade and the increasing of seamen, that our East and West India trade carry many men out and oftentimes bring home but few and at no time bring any increase of seamen. But those that go to Newfoundland are so well provided with victuals and labour that they come home healthy and well; and yearly the employment requires a quarter part of strong men who are not seamen. But by using in their voyages they become habituated, and most of them prove very serviceable in any other employment. It is worthy of consideration by the Council also whether, looking to the failure of the main supply of salt, which we used to obtain from France, owing to the war, and to the difficulty and cost of obtaining it from Spain and Portugal, a convoy of two men-of-war might not be sent to secure such sack-ships as shall go to the Isle of May and thence to Newfoundland (as had been many years accustomed) when it costs no more than labour and provisions. It may also be useful for those who send ships to the Isle of May to bring salt for England, which will supply England on easier terms than could be done in any other way; and the same convoy might do for both. Such undertakings have been made when salt was much cheaper than it is now, and have been found beneficial to the Kingdom; and as Dartmouth, which for forty years, until the interruption caused by the present war, had the greatest share of that employment of any port in the Kingdom, has presented at large particular reasons relating to the advantage and benefit of that trade, we express our agreement and concurrence with the same, excepting only that we think Plymouth a more commodious place than Torbay for making up the fleet. In particular we lay stress on the protection of their men from impressment; and we doubt not you will consider all good methods for encouraging the trade. Kings Charles the First and Second, when addressed by such arguments as were then laid down, laid aside in Council anything that might be thought uneasy and burdensome to the same. When Sir Robert Robinson petitioned for a Commission as Governor of Newfoundland, the arguments then adduced shewed how useless, burthensome and troublesome a Governor would be, and their Majesties in Council laid the petition aside, and also added powers to the former patents forbidding inhabitants to build or inhabit houses within six miles of any fishing harbour, with sundry other rules and articles. We now beg that the Council of Trade will order such rules and regulations as will encourage the trade. 5 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 18 Dec., 1696. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. Nos. 17, 17 I.; and (enclosure only) 25. pp. 49–54.]
[Dec. 12.] 493. A list of certain Acts of Massachusetts, passed in the sessions of 1695 and 1696, which were sent to the Solicitor-General on 12 December, 1696. 1 p. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 46; and 36. p. 92.]
[Dec. 12.] 494. List of Acts of Jamaica sent to the Solicitor General on 12 December, 1696. Act for quartering the King's soldiers, Act for better government of slaves, Act for speedier collection of quitrents, etc., Act to collect arrears of levy, Act to pay the debts incurred during the late invasion and to fortify Port Morant, Act to appropriate the additional duty to the revenue. ½ p. Endorsed, The Acts read Feb. 4, 1697–8. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. Nos. 35 and 56. p. 58.]
[Dec. 12.]
495. William Popple to William Penn and Fitzjohn Winthrop. After you left the Council of Trade yesterday the Lords reflecting on the importance of the things suggested by you (as has already been done by others) against Governor Fletcher and also against Governor Nicholson have ordered me to acquaint you that they are not only ready, but desirous to receive all manner of proof of that kind which you or any other person can produce, and that a particular account of such accusations as can be made good will be a very acceptable piece of service to them, from what hand soever it comes. [Board of Trade. New York, 52. p. 51.]
Dec. 12.
496. William Popple to the Solicitor-General. Forwarding Acts of Massachusetts and Jamaica for his opinion. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. p. 91.]
Dec. 13. 497. Petition of Anthony Rowe and others to Lords of Trade and Plantations. We were a Committee of the Assignees of the patent granted to Thomas Neale for all wrecks in and about Bermuda, and accordingly we sent our agents thither. They however were much obstructed by the Governor, Isaac Richier, who put one of them into prison, and deprived another of his ship, and endeavoured to try them both by Court Martial. We beg permission to prosecute Richier in the Courts at Bermuda, and that if he appeal to the King he may be compelled to give the usual security for costs. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 13 Dec., '96. [Board of Trade. Bermuda, 3. No. 4.]
Dec. 14. 498. Computation of the ammunition and warlike stores required for the forts and garrisons in Massachusetts. The list includes twelve guns of position, six mortars, six small field-guns, 500 fusees, and fifty pair of pistols, with ammunition for every one of these weapons. ½ p. Endorsed, 14 Dec., 1696. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 47.]
Dec. 14. 499. Memorandum of the Lords of the Admiralty. We have considered the matters referred to us by Order in Council of 3 December (see No. 459), and report as follows. Such officers as Naval Agents and store-keepers have always been thought needless in the West Indies, all ships sent thither being fitted and stored for the voyages, and the Commanders by their instructions authorized to supply them, drawing bills on the Navy Board for the same. As it has lately been ordered that ships in the West Indies shall be relieved yearly there seems less occasion for them than ever. As the Commanders are to provide what relates to the Navy Office, so the pursers are authorized by the Victualling Board (under the Commander's directions) to supply them in what relates to that; and if fresh provisions be thought necessary for the health of the men (as we conceive it will) and can be had there for them we doubt not that the Victualling Board will find out a way to do so without putting the King to the charge of standing officers for the purpose. The Navy Board concurs with us herein. Signed, G. Rooke, J. Houblon, W. Bridgeman. Copy. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. and read 7 Jan., 1696–7. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 36; and 56. pp. 67–68.]
Dec. 14. 500. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. The Secretary reported that William Partridge had returned to New England. The Agents for Jamaica presented a memorial, but being told that their demand for 1,500 soldiers as indispensable might prove more prejudicial than helpful to their affairs, they withdrew it. Lord Bridgewater gave in letters from Lieutenants Wright, Sydenham and Shanks. Mr. Penn and the Representatives of the Proprietary Colonies attending desired more time to prepare their case, and, having argued against the King's power to erect Admiralty Courts, asked for copy of the Attorney General's opinion thereon, and promised a speedy answer. On the application of the Hudson's Bay Company, the hearing of Mons. de la Forest's witnesses was postponed. Several gentlemen interested in copper-mines and naval stores in New England asked the Board to give that matter early consideration, which the Board resolved to do on the first opportunity. It was also resolved to consider the complaints of Robert Livingston as soon as possible. An order of Council of 10th inst. with a representation from Massachusetts (see No. 483) was received and read, also a list of military stores required by that province, and a letter from Governor Fletcher of 22 August. Sir Henry Ashurst desired to substitute a new representative of himself to go to New England to report as to naval stores, and was referred to the Council. Letters from the Mayors of Plymouth and Poole were received (see Nos. 479, 492).
Dec. 15. The laws of the Leeward Islands were received, and the Agents were directed to attend on Friday next.
Dec. 16. An Order in Council of 3 December as to pirates (see No. 456) was received and letters to the Colonies ordered in accordance therewith. The Representatives of the Proprietary Colonies submitted a paper (see No. 506) and it was resolved to submit the whole matter to the King. Lieutenants Shank, Sydenham and Wright attended, when their letters were read, and copies of them ordered to be given to the New York Agents. It was ordered that Messrs. Leisler and Gouverneur should have notice when the complaints against Governor Fletcher should be heard. The Jamaica merchants brought in a memorial, and a representation was ordered to be drawn up thereon. Mr. Blackborne's letter of 18 December was read (see under that date).
Dec. 17. Order for Messrs. Gouverneur and Leisler to bring their evidence in writing, ready sworn to. The Representation as to Admiralty Courts in the Colonies was signed.
Dec. 18. Thomas Neale's memorial read (see No. 505). Mr. Cary attended on the subject of the laws of the Leeward Islands, and a representation thereupon was ordered. Two petitions from Gabriel Bernon read (see under 18 Dec.); on which he was desired to draw up further proposals in writing. Petition from three Ministers of Maryland read (see under 18 Dec.), when it was resolved to represent their desire to the King.
Dec. 19. Copies of several Orders of Council of 3 and 10 December were read, and orders given for communication of the same to the Agents and the Colonies concerned. Three representations were signed. [Board of Trade. Journal, 9. pp. 278–292.]
Dec. 14. 501. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Order for the depositions, etc., respecting John Coode to be forthwith dispatched to Sir Edmund Andros. Copy of the letter written to Sir Edmund, dated 15 December (pp. 188–189). Agreed that the state of Pennsylvania in the matter of harbouring privateers and runaway seamen be represented to the King, and that the Justices of the Provincial Court and County Courts do also consult and give their opinions thereupon. The law-officers presented a report on the recent Act of Parliament for regulating the plantation trade, and sundry orders were issued for ensuring compliance with the said Act. Order for the ships in the province bound for Europe to meet at the mouth of Patuxent and St. Maries Rivers and sail thence in company to join the Virginia Fleet (pp. 200–206).
Dec. 15. Furthers orders as to the sitting of the Courts of Chancery and of the Governor in Council. Any person from the Eastern shore having suits depending in the Provincial Court and in either of the two above-named Courts may have despatch sooner than laid down in the above orders. Order for transfer of certain documents relating to the Collector's Office, to be transferred by George Plater to George Muschamp, to whose district they belong. Order as to the collection of the duty of threepence a hogshead for building of Annapolis Church. Ordered that the sheriffs of the counties may visit any other county on their lawful occasions during the fleet's stay in the country, after which they shall obey the Governor's former order (pp.208–209).
The law-officers reporting that the money paid by Sir E. Andros to Nicholas Greenberry as President of the Council was not legally paid, it was ordered that the sum be refunded. Orders for the vestries to report as to the progress made in the building of churches, and as to certain land said to be given for a church in King and Queen parish. Order for the militia-officers to prepare their men for muster and for inspection by the Governor. Order for Colonel Henry Darnall and George Layfield to give up certain navigation bonds in their custody. In obedience to an order, the law-officers made a report as to the settlement of a question of fees raised, on taking process, by the Secretary, which was to the effect that the Secretary must forego such fees until they be fixed by the legislature. A list of other fees drawn up by the law-officers was approved. A petition of the ships'-masters to the Commodore was read, setting forth several reasons why more time should be given to the fleet to complete its loading. Agreed to submit it to the Provincial Court and County Courts for their report thereon (pp. 192–199). Ordered that if the fleet be not ready to sail together, they shall be allowed to sail as fast as they are got ready. Order for further prorogation of the Assembly. Order that the rangers shall not be liable to arrest for debt while on service, but that if any of them fail to pay debts claimed of them, application shall be made to the Governor, who will remove the debtor from service and put a substitute in his place. Ordered that, if the grand juries be prevented by bad weather from meeting in January, the Courts shall be adjourned till February, and that the papers respecting Mr. Coode be then read anew and measures taken to calm the people for fear of false reports. In case of riot the posse comitatus shall be at once called out and the Governor informed. Philip Clarke dismissed from acting as justice of the Provincial Court. Referred to the law-officers whether John Coode should not be suspended from acting as vestryman of King and Queen parish. Order for the Court of Chancery to sit every two months in future (pp. 206–208). In view of the evil consequences resulting from the neglect and remissness of officers, it was ordered that the sheriffs in the first place look well to the discharge of their duties, and to see that other officers discharge theirs also. £20 reward is offered to any one giving information of a coming disturbance. (pp. 209–210.)
Dec. 17. Proclamation, offering a reward of £20 for the apprehension of John Coode, and warning all persons against harbouring him. All the persons about town having been gathered at the Court House the Governor and Council went down, and the Governor warned the people against entertaining false reports of the injustice and arbitrariness of the Government. If, he said, any wished to complain to the King against himself he would give them a pass, letters of recommendation and fifty pounds from his own pocket for the expenses of their journey; the King being as ready to hear a beggar's complaint as a rich man's against him. Order for this declaration to be published, and for the sheriffs to report to the Governor any grievances in their counties. Captain Oldston reported that several of his rangers had deserted and obstinately refused to stay in garrison all the winter. It appeared that some mistake had been made as to their pay, so that they could not comply with their credits. The Governor ordered them none the less back to their posts, promising to speak on their behalf to the Assembly. He then gave them ten dollars to drink the King's health at Christmas. (pp. 189–191.) Note. The entries in these minutes are so confused in the matter of date that it is difficult to distinguish to what day the various occurrences should be assigned. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. as cited.]
Dec. 14. 502. Minutes of General Assembly of Massachusetts. Order for stating the accounts of the forces, etc., voted and sent down for concurrence. Additional Bill for regulation of ferries read once and sent down. Bill for incorporation of Harvard College read and debated.
Dec. 15. The Harvard College Bill again read and sent down. Bill for a tax of £9,619 and resolution for appropriation of the same received from the Representatives and read. Vote of the Representatives for opening a Court of Chancery read. Bill to make lands liable to pay debts again read and debated.
Dec. 16. Bill as to ferries again read and ordered to be engrossed. Bill to make lands liable to pay debts passed and enacted. Several bakers were summoned for announcing through the town-crier that they would sell white biscuit at fourpence a pound, contrary to law. On pleading ignorance and begging pardon they were admonished and dismissed. Bill for a tax read a second time and debated.
Dec. 17. Bill for a public fast agreed to by the Representatives and enacted, also the Bill as to ferries. Bill for a tax ordered to be engrossed. Bill for incorporation of Harvard College agreed on.
Dec. 18. Ordered, in concurrence with the Representatives, that, in consequence of the recent supply of the French and Indians with provisions sent from hence to Port Royal on pretence of relieving the inhabitants, all intercourse of trade with Nova Scotia is prohibited. Bill for a tax passed and enacted. Order for stating the wages of officers, seamen and soldiers, to remain in force for twelve months and to the close of the sitting of the General Assembly next after the expiration of those twelve months. Committee appointed to join with a Committee of the Representatives to settle and print the duties of grand-jurors, constables and others, and at the same time to prepare a bill for suppression of certain immoralities complained of by ministers. Bill for a public thanksgiving on 4 February next voted and agreed to. Voted in concurrence with the Representatives that all soldiers under Major Church in the late expedition shall receive according to the computation made in the debentures already granted. Bill to amend the Act as to Tithing-men received from the Representatives and read. Voted in concurrence with the Representatives that £70 be granted to Isaac Addington for extraordinary services.
Dec. 19. The Bill to amend the Act as to Tithing-men passed and enacted. Voted in concurrence with the representatives that remission of £11 arrears be allowed to Dartmouth, and that £40 apiece be paid to the Justices of the Superior Court. The Acts of the Session were published. The Assembly was prorogued to the 17th of February, 1696–7. [Board of Trade. New England, 48. pp. 108–115.]
Dec. 15.
New York.
503. Council of New York to Lords of Trade and Plantations. The post from Boston with an opportunity of writing to England returns at once, so we can only send a line with duplicate of our last letter. The Government of Pennsylvania being alarmed by the late flight of some of our Indians towards the Susquehannah upon the approach of the French Army to Onandaga, have sent us about £200 sterling towards feeding and clothing the Indians. We have not yet heard from the Governor since he left us. We hope that he is well, and doubt not the safety of the frontier under his conduct. We beg you to obtain for us the various matters requested by the Governor. Signed, N. Bayard, Frederyck Flypse, John Laurence, G. Minivelle, S. v. Cortlandt. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 3rd. Read 5th April, 1697. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 80; and 52. pp. 93, 94.]
Dec. 15. 504. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Bill as to freedom of elections read and committed. Bill for establishing Agents by the Assembly rejected. Bill for settling the Militia rejected. Additional Bill for quartering of soldiers read and committed. Order for payment of £150 for further supply of the Windward forts.
Dec. 16. The law-officers brought up their opinion that the Council may appoint a judge of Admiralty till the King's pleasure be known. The Council carried a resolution that by the Royal Instructions their consent is necessary to the Governor's appointment of Judges. Order for a new Assembly to be elected. £20 ordered for payment for subsistence of the French prisoners.
Dec. 17. Certain petitions for payments were referred to the Commissioners of fortifications. H.M.S. Newcastle was ordered to cruise and forty soldiers of the King's regiment were sent on board to man her. Four French prisoners were committed to gaol for attempting to escape. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 171–173.]
Dec. 16. 505. Memorial of Thomas Neale to the Council of Trade. By patent from the King and Queen I obtained the right to set up a postage in all the Colonies in the West Indies. I have just begun to settle the same, at great expense, and in order to the settling thereof the Assembly of New England sent an Act home for confirmation, which Act was referred first to the Postmasters, upon whose report an Act was drawn. This Act was then submitted to the Attorney-General, who added a clause which made it wholly dependent on the Postmasters here, and by advice of the Council of Trade the New England Act was disallowed. I beg that you will approve of the other Act drawn here, keeping the rates of postage as fixed by the New England Act, that it may go back to New England, the well settling of it tending much to the King's service. Signed, Tho. Neale, 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. Read. 18 Dec. 1696. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 24.]
Dec. 16. 506. Memorial of the Proprietors and Agents of Carolina, Bahama Islands, Pennsylvania, East and West Jersey and Connecticut, to the Council of Trade. We are advised that in our grants and Charters there are several clauses which import a grant of Admiralty jurisdiction and power of erecting Admiralty Courts with their officers. We have not hitherto erected such Courts nor appointed such officers, because all suits upon breach of the Acts of Navigation may be tried in Common Law Courts, whereas the erecting of Admiralty Courts would have occasioned great expense. We apprehend that there was no need for such Courts except for the condemnation of prizes, few or none of which have been brought into our provinces for trial during the war. We are nevertheless ready and willing to erect such Courts and appoint officers who will be careful of the King's interest, and for the enforcement of the Acts of Navigation. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. and read 16 Dec., 1696. [America and West Indies. 601. No. 39; and Board of Trade, Proprieties, 25. pp. 15–16.]
[Dec. 16.] 507. Memorial of the merchants of Jamaica. The Island is the most important of the English West Indies, particularly in relation to indigo. Six parishes out of fifteen are already destroyed by the French. The inhabitants able to bear arms have been reduced by forced desertion to 1,390. The number of slaves is 40,000, worth £800,000. 1,500 soldiers are necessary to defend us against the slaves, if they should rise against us. The Island has not been dispeopled by sickness, as commonly reported, and the mortality of the King's forces is not to be attributed to Jamaica, but their recovery. The continuance of the war renders us daily weaker. We pray for speedy and effectual measures to save the Island. ¾ p. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 37.]
Dec. 16. 508. Memorial of the merchants and planters of Jamaica to the Council of Trade and Plantations. The planters and traders have asked the King to send 1,500 soldiers to Jamaica to encourage the inhabitants to stay there, and you have proposed to send thither some poor weavers and tradesmen, desiring us also to attend and give you our thoughts on the whole question. We offer our opinion as follows. The sending over of such poor tradesmen will be of great use to re-people the Island. We would ask the King to order the payment of £500 for procuring such tradesmen and weavers as could do service on an invasion, to go on ship-board for transportation, whereof a true account shall be kept; and that the King will make public the proposal. Those that are willing to transport themselves should have their passage paid and conveniences for the voyage supplied, and on arrival should have a months' free entertainment and be at liberty to choose their own employment. White men are so scarce that they will easily find employment with good wages, and their employers will not expect laborious work of them but will use them as overseers on the plantations, whereby they may in time rise to wealth and meanwhile will live very comfortably. But we beg the men thus raised may be reckoned among our helps rather than our succours, for two reasons, (1) the desertion of our inhabitants through mere terror of the French, who, without succours from Europe, have destroyed a third of the Island and at present much outnumber us in Hispaniola, both in inhabitants and disciplined soldiers. (2) The merchants are of opinion that the Island has not strength enough to secure their effects, so they will risk neither goods nor shipping. The people cannot subsist on the produce of the Island, and if they could, who would remain there to produce commodities for which they can find neither market nor exportation? We beg therefore that our desperate case may be laid before the King. Nothing but force can repel force in time of war, and we must ask for the whole of the 1,500 soldiers requested by the Governor and Council. Signed, John Heathcote, Benj. Way, Willm. Barker, Henry Lowe, Bartho. Gracedieu. Postscript. We believe that the two frigates at Jamaica will need 200 men to fill up their complement which, unless they are supplied from hence, must we fear be taken from the Island or from the merchant-ships. We beg therefore that supernumeraries may be sent in the ships of war now going. 2 pp. Attached,
508. I. Further memorial from the same merchants. As to our postscript yesterday, we would like the number 200 altered to 100. Forty or fifty men will probably include all deficiencies for the future, but H.M.S. Reserve not only shared the common calamities of Commodore Wilmot's squadron, but has since been engaged with the Hope, captured by the French. As to the Southampton, we presume that there has been mortality because she arrived in the unhealthy season, which has given the Island an unhealthy character in Europe, though it is known by experience that at other times Jamaica is no more fatal to seamen than Europe. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. Nos. 38, 38I.]
[Dec. 16.] 509. A collection of memoranda of certain papers delivered to the Clerks of the Council on 16 December, 1696, all concerned with an appeal of Jahleel Brenton as to the ship Three Brothers. 9 pp. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 48.]
Dec. 16. 510. Duplicate copy of Minutes of Council of Maryland from 8 to 16 December. [America and West Indies. 557. No. 21.]
Dec. 17. 511. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. We have already reported to the Lords Justices our opinion as to the expediency of erecting Courts of Admiralty in the Colonies, and the Admiralty on the 19th of November also reported on the subject. Finding that no Commissions of Vice-Admiralty had been granted to any of the Colonies governed by Proprietors or Charter, we ascertained from the Attorney-General that there is no legal objection thereto, and communicated his opinion to the Proprietors and Agents, who, however, seemed unwilling to accept it, and have handed us a paper calling in question your royal right to appoint such courts, which we accordingly leave to your pleasure. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. pp. 16–17.]
Dec. 17. 512. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for payment of £7 11s. Od. to Samuel Partrigg for expenses in connection with the trial of four Indians; also for payment of £19 to the Town-Treasurer of Boston for paving about the town-house. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 60–61.]
Dec. 17.
513. William Popple to Jacob Leisler and Abraham Gouverneur. The Lords command me to acquaint you that whatever you intend to produce must be in writing and ready sworn to before a Master in Chancery. [Board of Trade. New York, 52. p. 53.]
Dec. 18. 514. Petition of Gabriel Bernon of Boston, New England, to the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations. For eight years past I have been concerned in a plantation called New Oxford, in New England, which was settled by certain Protestant refugees, who were at first supported by the charity of certain gentlemen. Since then, at considerable expense to me and by their own labour, the plantation has been much improved and the settlers have paid their taxes, but though during the present war they have often applied for a few soldiers for their defence they have never obtained them. For want of this protection in August last the Indians fell upon the village, burned and destroyed several of the people and forced the rest to fly from their habitations and improvements. I have on behalf of the settlers applied to the Government to be reinforced with a few soldiers, but can obtain no relief. I beg therefore that the distress of these poor people may be recommended to the King, and that the new Governor may be instructed to take them under his protection, that they may not be forced to leave the country, to their utter ruin. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. and read 18 Dec. 1696. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 49.]
Dec. 18. 515. Petition of Gabriel Bernon to Commissioners of Trade and Plantations. Having learned of the King's pleasure particularly to encourage the manufacture of rosin, pitch, tar, &c., in New England, in which manufactory I have spent seven years' time and labour and considerable sums of money and have attained such knowledge and perfection that the stores sent over by me were accepted for the King's service, I made a voyage to England on purpose to show in what quantities and how cheaply such stores could be introduced into any of His Majesty's Kingdoms. I now offer my service for the supply of the stores aforesaid, being assured that I can furnish such quantities as are required. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. and read 18 Dec. 1696. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 50.]
Dec. 18. 516. Petition of Richard Sewell, Thomas Cockshutt and Stephen Boardley to Lords of Trade and Plantations. That the allowance of £20 allowed to Ministers for their passage to Maryland, which has been stopped through the present defect of money in the Treasury, may be paid them on their arrival in Maryland out of the royal revenues there. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. and read 18 Dec. 1696. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 3. No. 8; and 9. pp. 24–25.]
Dec. 18.
East India
517. Secretary to the East India Company to William Popple. Forwarding certain documents respecting certain ports in America from which the ships concerned in the late piracies in the Red Sea were set forth. Signed, Ro. Blackborne. Endorsed, Recd. 18 Dec. 1696; read 30th. Annexed,
517. I. T. South to the Lords Justices of Ireland. Dublin, 15 Aug. 1696. I have this morning obtained the following account:— The best place to send shipping to meet with the pirates is to Fernando, an island in latitude 3° or 4°, where they must touch to water in February or March. The owners of Captain Wake's ship live in Boston, New England, and were going in a brigantine to bring clothes and necessaries to meet him at Fernando; but hearing that we were coming to Providence they followed us thither but did not arrive till after we came away. Thomas Hollingsworth, now sailed from Galway, will meet Wake at Providence, where Wake will certainly be within six or eight weeks, or else not till after Christmas. Hollingsworth left money with Governor Trott. Wake had already had a pardon for piracy in King James's time. Thomas Jones is concerned in Captain Want's old barque and lives in Rhode Island. Want is gone to the Persian Gulf and in all probability is either at Rhode Island or Carolina by this time. He broke up there about three years ago after a good voyage, and spent his money there and in Pennsylvania. Captain Tew had a commission from the Governor of New York to cruise against the French. He came out on pretence of loading negroes at Madagascar, but his design was always to go into the seas, having about seventy men on his sloop of sixty tons. He made a voyage three years ago in which his share was £8,000. Want was then his mate. He then went to New England and the Governor would not receive him; then to New York where Governor Fletcher protected him. Colonel Fletcher told Tew he should not come there again unless he brought store of money, and it is said that Tew gave him £300 for his commission. He is gone to make a voyage in the Red Sea, and if he makes his voyage will be back about this time. This is the third time that Tew has gone out, breaking up the first time in New England and the second time in New York. The place that receives them is chiefly Madagascar, where they must touch both going and coming. All the ships that are now out are from New England, except Tew from New York and Want from Carolina. They build their ships in New England, but come out under pretence of trading from island to island. The money they bring in is current there, and the people know very well where they go. One Captain Gough who keeps a mercer's shop at Boston got a good estate in this way. On first coming out they generally go first to the Isle of May for salt, then to Fernando for water, then round the Cape of Good Hope to Madagascar to victual and water and so for Batsky (sic), where they wait for the traders between Surat and Mecca and Tuda, who must come at a certain time because of the trade-wind. When they come back they have no place to go to but Providence, Carolina, New York, New England and Rhode Island, where they have all along been kindly received. It is hoped that by means of this information they may be taken. Signed, T. South. 1½ pp.
517. II. Sir Charles Porter to Robert Blackborne. Dublin, 15 Aug. 1696. Forwarding two depositions for the information of the East India Company.¼ p.
517. III. Narrative of Philip Middleton, of the ship Charles Henry, to the Lords Justices of Ireland, given on 4 August, 1696. The ship Charles Henry first plundered three English vessels at the Isle of May of provisions only. Nine of their men joined her, mostly West-Country-men. Thence she went to the coast of Guinea, where she took two Danes, from which they took a quantity of elephants' teeth, and divided eight or nine ounces of gold per man. Fourteen of the Danish crew joined them. Thence they sailed to Madagascar and Johanna, where twelve French pirates came on board, and afterwards took a French pirating junk (?) with about forty men, who had good booty with them. These also joined them, and made them up to 170, viz., 14 Danes, 52 French, 104 English. From Johanna they sailed to the Red Sea, and heard of two rich ships from Mocha bound to Surat, but passed them in the night, as they learned from a small junk which they took next day. They came up with the smaller vessel, which made little or no resistance, but the great ship fought for two hours, having about 1,300 persons on board. The other had 700. They kept possession of both ships, and all the crew except one man boarded her by turns, taking only provisions, necessaries and treasure, which was very great, but little in comparison with what was on board; for though they put several to the torture they would not confess where the rest of their treasure lay. They took great quantities of jewels, and a saddle and bridle set with rubies designed as a present for the Great Mogul. Several of the Indian women on board were, by their habits and jewels, of better quality than the rest. Having taken these prizes the pirates went to Rajapere for water, and then to Mascarenas, where all the Danes and French were set ashore with their share of booty, amounting to £970 per man in value. Thence they sailed to Ascension, where they turned fifty turtle, and found letters of two English ships having been there. This was in March last; and at the latter end of April they arrived at Providence, having but two days' provisions left. They gave Governor Trott a present of twenty pieces-of-eight per man besides two chequeenes of gold, on which he allowed them to come on shore, and gave them a treat at his house, at which one of the men broke a drinking glass, and was made to pay eight checqueenes for it. The men also presented the Governor with the ship and all on board her, including some elephants' teeth. The Deputy-Governor, Richard Tallia, shared with Trott in the booty. Here the Captain changed his name from Every to Bridgeman, and went ashore with about eighty men, who dispersed to several ports and bought sloops there. Every and nineteen men [names given] embarked in one of them called the Seaflower, and landed about two months since twenty miles north of Lough Swilly by Londonderry, and thence came by land to Dublin. Every went on to London, another of the leaders stayed at Londonderry. Another sloop commanded by Hollingsworth was chased into Dublin by a French privateer. She had sixteen more of the crew of the Charles Henry aboard. Several of the crew went to New England, one to Pennsylvania, two went to Jamaica and returned to Providence, another remained with his booty at Providence, another was killed by a shark, another was seen in Dublin. Trott took several guns out of the ship (which mounted forty-eight) and planted them on a platform for defence against the French. 2 pp.
517. IV. Examination of John Dann, mariner, of Rochester, taken on 3 August, 1696. Three years ago I was coxswain on the Soldado prize, and deserted to go on Sir James Houblon's expedition to the West Indies under Don Arthuro Bourne. I went in the Charles to Corunna, where the ship's company mutinied, their pay being eight months in arrear. The men proposed to the master, Captain Every, to carry away the ship, which he agreed to, and they sailed from Corunna on 7 May, 1693, with eighty-five men. The Captain and fifteen or sixteen men who refused to go, were set ashore. The first place we came to was the Isle of May. Here the narrative abstracted in No. III. is given in slightly greater detail up to the time of the ship's arrival at Johanna, Madagascar. Here we resolved to go to the Red Sea. Here we met with two English privateers, the Dolphin and the Portsmouth Adventure. The Dolphin, Captain Want, was a Spanish bottom with sixty men on board, and had been fitted out at Orkells (? Whorekill), near Philadelphia, having left it two years ago last January. The Portsmouth Adventure had been fitted out at. Rhode Island, about the same time; her master was Captain Joseph Faro, and her crew was about the same number as the Dolphin. Both had about six guns. They joined company with us and about June twelvemonth we came to Liparan Island at the mouth of the Red Sea, where three more sail of English came to us, one commanded by Thomas Wake, another, the Pearl, William Mues commander, fitted out at Rhode Island, the Amity, Thomas Tew commander, fitted out at New York. The two first had six guns and about fifty men each, and the Amity from thirty to forty men. They all joined partnership, putting Captain Every in command. After lying there some time they sent a pinnace to Mocha, and took two men who gave them information as to the ships coming down. They then stood out to sea and back to Liparan, where after five or six days the Moors' ships, twenty-five in number, passed them in the night; but hearing of this from a captured ketch they resolved to follow them. The Dolphin being a bad sailer was burned, and the men put on board Captain Every. The Amity fell astern and never came up, Wake's ship also lagged but came up later. Steering for Surat we caught up one of the ships which we took after she had fired three shots. She had £50,000 or £60,000 on board in silver and gold. We shortly afterwards spied another ship, mounting forty guns and carrying (as was said) 800 men. She stood a fight of three hours and yielded. We took from her in money and plate enough gold and silver to make up each man's share to £1,000, 180 men sharing in all, the Captain having a double share, and the master a share and a half. The Portsmouth had no share, not having taken part in the fight. The Pearl had a share but this was taken from them again, for when the Charles men changed with them silver for gold it was found that the Pearl's men had clipped the gold; so they gave them only 2,000 pieces-of-eight to buy provisions. Captain Want then sailed into the bay of Persia, the Pearl (I think) went to the coast of Ethiopia, and Wake to an island near Madagascar, intending for the Red Sea the next time the Moors' ships were expected from thence. Captain Every resolved to go straight to Providence. On the way the men mutinied, some being for carrying her to Kiau, belonging to the French near Brazil, but Every withstood it, there not being twenty men left that joined with him when they came to Madagascar, in latitude 21°. There we left as many men as were inclined to stay, and in March or April we came to Providence, anchoring first off Thora Island, and sending a letter to Governor Trott to ask for protection and liberty to go away, which he promised us. We made a collection of twenty pieces-of-eight a man, and forty from the Captain, as present to the Governor, besides elephants' teeth and other things to the value of £1,000. We then left our ship, which the Governor took, with forty-six guns in her, after which we bought a sloop, and Every with about twenty men sailed for England. Twenty-three other men bought another sloop, and sailed under Captain Risby to Carolina. Every and I landed in the north of Ireland at the end of June last, where we parted and every went to Scotland. I heard that he was in Dublin when I was there, but did not see him. He had spoken of going to Exeter, being a Plymouth man. I obtained a pass from a landing-waiter for myself and seven more to go to Dublin; this man made some effort to detain me, but let us go for three pounds' weight of gold. I hear that he obtained money from the other men also. I then went to London, but was arrested at Rochester, a maid having found my gold quilted up in my jacket. I was brought before the Mayor and committed, but kept my jacket in which were £1,045 in sequins and 10 guineas, which are now in custody of the Mayor. The wife of our quarter-master came home from Providence with us, and I lately saw her at St. Alban's. The sloop we came home in was given to Captain Joseph Faro of the Portsmouth Adventure. Captain Risby's men landed somewhere near Galloway. 6½ pp. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. Nos. 25, 25 I.–IV.]
Dec. 19. 518. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. We see no reason why the petition of Richard Sewell, Thomas Cockshutt and Stephen Boardley should not be granted. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. p. 25.]
Dec. 19.
519. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. The merchants trading to Jamaica have delivered us a memorial (see No. 508) on which we would represent that it may be very requisite to encourage tradesmen and labourers to go to Jamaica and to grant £500 for the same, and we would recommend that 100 supernumerary seamen be sent on the men-of-war to complete the crews of those already there, and to save the taking away of inhabitants or of sailors from the merchant-ships. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 56. pp. 59–61.]
Dec. 19. 520. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order appointing John Walley and Ephraim Savage to examine and pay the accounts of seamen, soldiers and other military charges. Order for payment of five shillings a day to each Councillor for their attendance on the General Assembly. Order that the Treasurer refund to the towns from time to time such money as they have paid for destruction of wolves. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 61–63.]
Dec. 20.
521. Governor Fletcher to the Agents for New York. I have little to add to what I said at my departure from New York. The frights and the daily removal of the people on intelligence of a coming attack by the French obliged me to put myself here for the winter. I embarked on the 10th with a detachment of my own company with extreme difficulty, the wind being north-west and the weather exceeding cold. We got up beyond Ulster but were twice driven ashore by the ice and on the 18th were locked up by it, and so we continued all that day and night. On the 19th I went ashore over a great tract of ice and so walked on foot five miles to a little Dutch town called Pottcoke, where I lodged that night in my clothes with "Dundalk accommodation." Next morning by the assistance of Major Schuyler, whom I met by chance, I got horses and waggons and marched to Kinderhook. Next day, 21st, I reached Greenbush and walked thence over the ice to Albany, to the great appearance of satisfaction in the people. My first business was to send for the River Indians who knocked a party of seven skulking Frenchmen on the head. For their better encouragement I gave them six pounds for each man they killed. They were much pleased, and promised to remain loyal to the King, and to supply me with some scouts this winter to lie upon the great lake. I am now despatching these scouts and some Christians with them. My next care was to despatch a messenger with a belt of wampum to the Five Nations to let them know that I am personally here to assist them against the common enemy, and that I expect them to remain firm to the covenant-chain and loyal to the King. Meanwhile I am trying to put their wooden fortifications into the best possible way of defence, and seeing the companies daily exercised at the relief of the guards. I have now thirty men of my own company besides the three companies here. By much importunity I have got twenty-five men from Connecticut as recruits for the companies. The Governor of Canada has this summer received considerable recruits of men and stores, and spits forth his brags that he will be master of Albany this winter. He shall meet the warmest entertainment I can give him. Pray ask about a list of stores which I asked for some time ago. I have no copy by me, but I remember five hundred light Dutch fusils and duffles and blankets for the Five Nations. The French try both to awe and to bride them, but I am sure that it is for the King's interest to encourage them. Pray endeavour that clothing and pay be sent over for the four companies. The rate of labour makes it difficult to get men. The officers also are under great hardships; they cannot eat and buy a coat out of their subsistence. You know how scarce and dear provisions and clothes are in this country. It seems strange to me that any matter could be found to impeach you of disloyalty to the King. I have been a witness of your zeal and fervour to his service. That "nautious" calumny will blow over of itself; it cannot stick upon you. Signed, Ben. Fletcher. 2 pp. [Board of Trade. New York, 6. No. 81; and 52. pp. 164–168.]
Dec. 20.
522. Governor Fletcher to the Agents for New York. Since my last some things arrived to my crazy and disturbed head, of which I think fit to mind you both, though I do not question your memories or your diligence in the affairs of this province. The revenue is small, uncertain and dependent upon trade, in which we have suffered great loss. At best it is, I think, but £3,000 a year. The salaries and incidentals of the war, sloop-hire, transportation, presents to the Indians and necessary repairs to our wooden fortifications call for at least twice that sum yearly, so that unless means be found to assist us during the war, I can't see what will become of the province. I have not the Secretary or Clerk of Council nor any books to help my memory, but I offer these things to you as proper to our relief. Connecticut is full of men. It would be better if instead of the hundred and twenty men, which they are ordered to furnish, pay and arm on my application, they were ordered to furnish a hundred men or such number, less than a hundred, as may be required to complete the King's companies, exchanging or relieving them if they desire it. The Jerseys may also very well spare forty men for the frontiers, to be annually relieved if they desire it. Pennsylvania, whose principles do not permit them to contribute to the spilling of blood, might be ordered to pay £400 a year instead of their quota, Maryland £500 a year and Virginia £1,000 a year. This is the best proposal that I can make for the security of the frontier, on which the safety of all depends, and the sums are far less than those formerly required by the Royal command. The money should be paid to the Receiver-General of New York, and an exact account of it kept by him and by the Deputy Auditor, that the provinces may see that it is properly expended. You know what construction has been placed on former orders, and how the genuine meaning of them has been wrested by their interpretations to excuse their disobedience; so take care that any orders issued be positive and that they leave no loophole for the provinces to creep out of. We can expect no help from New England, which is sufficiently harassed and has had the fort of Pemaquid taken from it. Rhode Island pays no obedience to any command of the Crown. You well know that the Assembly will not vote money for payment of the men on the frontiers except for a limited time, and such money comes in heavily so that it does not answer the end. Often the men break up and disband before the money is received from the country, which occasions clamour; and the great mischief is that there is no reinforcement to supply the places of those discharged. This being done by Act of Assembly (which is public) our enemies know our weakness at such times, which makes us liable to a surprise. To prevent inconvenience my whole endeavours are to keep up the King's companies by recruits from Connecticut, which will be easier and readier than to expect them from England. I must again remind you of the stores of war for which I formerly made request. We have not flints in this garrison or in New York for an hour's firing, so I beg that two barrels of flints may be sent by the first ships. An Indian is just come in from Onogonge. I send his examination. Mr. Livingston comes upon us with a commission for a salary of £130 a year as Secretary and Agent to the Indians (a place never known here, nor of any use) and £50 as Collector, etc. This amounts to a great sum, especially when we groan under so great a burden. The revenue is no less than two years in debt, and the province much impoverished by the war. This man by false insinuation of his sufferings to the Lords has prevailed upon them to grant these salaries, when you and the Council knew that he has made a considerable fortune by his employment in the Government, never disbursing sixpence but with expectation of twelvepence. Beginning as a little book-keeper, he has screwed himself into one of the most considerable estates in the province. You have the Council's opinion on this head, wherein I concur. I hope you will endeavour to keep a man of such vile principles from sucking any more the blood of the Province, for he has been a very sponge to it. I know I shall be hard pushed at on his score; but if I suffer it is in a righteous cause, for he is known by all men to have neither religion nor morality, his whole thirst being at any rate and by any means to enrich himself. He has said, as I am credibly informed, that he would rather be called knave Livingston than poor Livingston. I protest that my whole interest in urging this matter is the King's service and the good of the province. His salaries, amounting in all to £180, are greater than allowed to the judges or any other officer of this Government. I do not see how they are to be paid, while the war lasts at least, nor of what use the offices are. Signed, Ben. Fletcher. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 6th. Read 7th July, 1697. Annexed,
522. I. Account of a meeting of Governor Fletcher with the Skachkook River Indians at Albany. 4 December, 1696. The Governor thanked them for their late service in cutting off a body of skulking Frenchmen, gave them six pounds a head for the men killed, and asked them to provide scouts at the Great Lake. He also urged them to settle together in a body, instead of being dispersed, and forbade them to hunt in the direction of New England on account of murders committed there by men of their nation, the New England Government having offered £50 a head for every strange Indian brought in. The Governor then gave them a keg of rum; and the Indians after thanking him promised to give a fuller answer when their sachems should return from hunting. Copy. 1½ pp. Endorsed as the covering letter.
522. II. Information of two River Indians, taken at Albany, 16 December, 1696. That one of their countrymen lately returned from Canada reported that the French Count would march to Albany this winter with a considerable force and cut it off; and that therefore they were come to give warning. Copy. ½ p. Endorsed as the preceding.
[Board of Trade. New York, 6. Nos. 82, 82 I., II.; and 52. pp. 168–178.]