America and West Indies: September 1697, 17-30

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: September 1697, 17-30', in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 15, 1696-1697, (London, 1904) pp. 611-626. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

September 1697

Sept. 17. 1,327. Account of disbursements for the two Indians captured at Hudson's Bay. Total, £127 5s. 6d. Received on account £100. Balance due £27 5s. 6d. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 17 Sept., 1697.
A particular account of the same.
£ s. d.
6 sea shirts 1 10 0
6 other ,, 2 5 0
6 sea-handkerchiefs 9 0
6 neckcloths 18 0
6 pair of stockings 1 1 0
6 pair of shoes 1 7 0
3 sea-beds and pillows 3 6 0
3 blankets 1 2 6
3 rugs 1 2 6
1 hat 7 6
1 wig 1 0 0
3 pair of gloves 4 6
2 watchcoats 2 0 0
3 knives 3 0
2 sea-chests 1 0 0
2 combs 1 0
Brandy 3 0 0
A case 1 10 0
Sugar 12 6
Tobacco and pipes 2 0 0
Money for their subsistence from the
12th inst., passage to Portsmouth
and getting them on board, with
other incidents, not less than
12 0 0
£36 19 6
1 p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 17 Sept., 1697. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. Nos. 44, 45; and 52. pp. 272, 273.]
Sept. 18.
1,328. Sir Henry Ashurst to Council of Trade and Plantations. I have received from Mr. Popple the heads of a charter of incorporation for a company to work mines and produce naval stores in New England. These propositions were made to Kings Charles II, James II and our present King, and after due deliberation were laid aside. There is an answer from Massachusetts thereto in your office, but if you have any new reasons for granting such a charter the merchants in the city trading to New England will answer them. Commissioners are just starting to New England to report on the whole subject of naval stores and to send home specimens; and Lord Bellomont will take care to further this design to the utmost. I am here drinking the waters, but think this matter so important that I shall return to London on Tuesday. Signed, Hen. Ashurst. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 20 September, 1697. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. No. 123; and 36. pp. 301–302.]
[Sept. 18.] 1,329. Articles of agreement concluded between Governor Dongan of New York and the Governor and others of Connecticut on 28 November, 1683, for delimitation of the boundary between the two provinces. This concerns the encroachment of Connecticut on the New York towns of Rye and Bedford. See Governor Fletcher's letter of 22 June, No. 1,098. Copy. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Sent to the Secretary by Mr. Nicoll. Recd. 18 Sept., 1697. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. No. 46; and 52. pp. 274–277.]
Sept. 18. 1,330. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Antigua. Message from the Assembly pressing for the Council's answer to their proposals of 2 August as to the Treasurer's accounts. The Lieutenant-Governor, Council and Assembly agreed to enlarge the powers of the Committee in respect of these accounts. On the proposal of the Council the Assembly agreed that the soldiers of Holt's company be billeted for three months longer. Message of the Assembly asking the Council to examine the Commission given by the Governor to Philip Browne to be Treasurer, since the Lieutenant-Governor, Council and Assembly have appointed Azariah Pinney to that office. It was agreed to pay compensation to owners of negroes that may be lost or injured while cutting lignum vitœ. Message from the Lieutenant-Governor that he had asked for H.M.S. Jersey to be spared to protect the cutters of lignum vitœ from privateers. A proposal for an Act to amend the Negroes Act was deferred by the Assembly for further consideration. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 429–432.]
[Sept. 20.] 1,331. Robert Snead to Sir John Houblon. I am sorry for the occasion that makes me write to you. On the 10th of August, 1696, a proclamation came to my hands and another to Mr. Penn's deputy, William Markham, who took no notice of it. I thought it my duty as a subject and a magistrate to prosecute the purport, which was to apprehend Henry Every alias Bridgman and the rest of the rogues who ran away with the ship Fancy and committed several piracies in the Rattan seas. I at once went to the Governor and told him that several of Every's men were here, well known to him and to all persons. He said he knew it not. I told him here was enough to prove it, and that if he did not apprehend them I did not know how he could answer it. He said he would venture that; why had not the Houblons, whose ship it was, sent to him about it? if people came here and brought money he was not obliged to ask them whence they came. I told him that those who had suffered losses by these rogues could do no more than they had done by procuring the proclamation of the Lords Justices, and therefore that in my opinion he needed no further direction. He refused to hear the proclamation when I offered to read it to him, but seemed very angry, so I left him. No sooner was I gone than he sent and acquainted the pirates with what had passed between us, and they by his encouragement impudently called me informer, though I saw Governor Markham trying to stifle it. We all knew he had a great present made to him and his family by them and others of the same crew though not in the same ship, which they sank or burned. I thought it my duty to apprehend them and called upon two of my fellow justices to join me, who knowing the Governor's inclinations at first refused, but on my threatening to send to England if they did not, at last consented. Three of the pirates were brought before us and there was sufficient proof that they belonged to the Fancy. I ordered them to be sent to gaol, but one of my fellows went to the Governor, and he and the others were for bailing them, which they did, though I declared against it, and one pirate for another; but, some weeks later I heard from England that the factories, in which you and several others are concerned, were seized on and likely to be damaged by these rogues. I then seized them again, and enclose their examinations. My mittimus was to keep them close prisoners. The Governor was much displeased at me, called me before his Council and asked what I had against those pirates to hinder their discharge. I told him there was proof enough that they were Every's men, and had the proclamation read. The Governor would have had them join him in clearing them out of prison, but they told him that they should be sent to England, and offered to pay the expenses if he sent them. This he refused to do, and dismissed them. I then issued my warrant to apprehend the old pirates before mentioned, who I was told had brought here £1,000 each man and given £100 each to the Governor. I am but a stranger here, having moved my estate and family from Jamaica two years ago, but I am ashamed to see such rogues encouraged. They ran away from Jamaica with a ship, went to the Persian seas, and took and murdered many. A princess, who was given in marriage to a great man, was on her way to him by sea when they took the ship; they killed most of the men and threw her overboard. They brag of it publicly over their cups. When the Governor heard that I was going to apprehend them he sent for me, threatened to send me to gaol and dared me to do it, telling me I should not frighten people with my warrant, I had done too much already. He abused me very much, and caused my arms (which I wear for defence against these rogues) to be taken from me. He has lately given commissions to other such rogues. One Day came with a large ship full of sugar and indigo to Carolina, sold the cargo, laid the ship up, bought a vessel for piratical purposes and came here. The Governor gave him a commission, and they are gone on their errand, as they themselves own. On the 16th inst. I received from his Excellency a copy of a letter from the Council of Trade ordering the apprehension of all these pirates. I understand that the Governor had one directed to him and also the proclamation, to be published forthwith. But he did not do so until he had warned the pirates, who made their escape, those in gaol as well as those without, which shows pretty clearly that it was by consent. Next day the proclamation was published. Several people came to tell me where the pirates were hidden in the town, and I went to the Governor for a warrant for a special force to take them; but none was issued, so that that all people see how Arabian gold works with some consciences. A gentleman at the same arrived from England and told me that one of the Council of Trade was concerned. He desired the Governor that the pirates in prison might be better secured, and a guard set over them, and that Every's men might be sent home in one of the King's frigates then in Virginia. No guard was set on them, so that the same night two of them got away. He then asked to take the other man to the frigate, but was refused. The gentleman's name was Robeson, a man of pusillanimous spirit, who was frightened by the Governor. Several of these men have purchased estates here, and if you will procure me a commission and direct that, as the proclamation says, those that shall assist shall be paid out of the estates, I will undertake to seize them all and their estates. Please take care that the commission be so firm that the Governor cannot upset it, and I will do my part faithfully. When I first came here I wrote to some relations of mine to inform Sir Josiah Child about it, but have heard no more. Do not think that I propose it for my advantage, for I have a competent estate, but for the public good, and that these parts may no more be a receptacle for these rogues. If you wish to make use of me, address me at my Plantation near Philadelphia. Signed, Robt. Snead. 3½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 20 Sept., 1697. Annexed,
1,331. I. Examination of Peter Claus, Robert Clinton, and Edmund Lacel, formerly of the ship Fancy. 1½ pp. Inscribed, This was their examination though much in favour of themselves. I have proof more nearer the truth than this. Robt. Snead. [America and West Indies. 599. Nos. 31, 31 I.]
Sept. 20.
1,332. William Bridgeman to William Popple. The Admiralty desire to know whether the Council of Trade are considering, since the conclusion of peace, the propriety of making some alterations in the number and rates of the men-of-war which attend the Plantations. Signed, Wm. Bridgeman. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 21 Sept., 1697. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 66; and 34. p. 180.]
Sept. 20. 1,333. James Vernon to Council of Trade and Plantations. I enclose by order of the Lords Justices a petition from John Dudgeon for your report thereon. Signed, Ja. Vernon. ¼ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 22 Sept., 1698. Enclosed,
1,333. I. Petition of John Dudgeon to the Lords Justices of England. Asking to be appointed Secretary and Provost Marshal of Bermuda, having lived there for several years and served in the office of Secretary. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 22 Sept. [Board of Trade. Bermuda, 3. Nos. 16, 16 I.; and 29. pp. 46–47.]
Sept. 20. 1,334. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Mr. Edward Chilton attending gave information of the habit of engrossing land in Virginia and of the malpractices attending thereon, of the privileges of the Councillors and their abuse thereof, and of divers other matters in the Colony.
Mr. Brooke was directed to call to-morrow for an order for the money for the expenses of the two Indians, and the Secretary at the same time wrote a letter to Captain Culliford respecting the matter (No. 1,337).
Sir Henry Ashurst's letter of 18th inst. read (No. 1,328).
A letter from Mr. Robert Snead to Sir John Houblon (see No. 1,331) complaining of Governor Markham of Philadelphia was read. Ordered that Colonel Robert Quarry attend on Wednesday next.
Sept. 21. Letter to Lord Bellomont about the dispute between Rhode Island and Connecticut signed, also the letters concerning the two Indians.
Mr. Bridgeman's letter of 20th inst. read (No. 1,332).
The Council proceeded with the reading of the Virginia papers.
Sept. 22. Order for a representation to be drawn concerning the engrossing of land in Virginia.
Order for the Agents of the West Indian Islands to give notice as to the men-of-war that they think necessary to attend those islands in time of peace.
Colonel Robert Quarry attending, gave in a memorial (No. 1,338). He then gave an account of the pirate Day and of his victualling his ship in Pennsylvania, and of other pirates entertained and protected there. He then said that he was unwilling to undertake the duties of Judge of Admiralty without a salary, and made a proposal of his own for suppression of illegal trade.
Mr. Vernon's letter of 20th inst. with Mr. Dudgeon's petition read. Being called in, Mr. Dudgeon said that he had been for some time in Bermuda, employed chiefly as Mr. Neale's agent for treasure trove. He added that the Secretary's office, worth about £150 per annum, was now at the King's disposal. He was ordered to bring up what further certificates he could.
Sept. 23. Order for Lieutenants William Ockman and Isaac Young, of the Royal Navy, to attend on Monday next.
Sept. 24. Mr. Gilbert Heathcote presented a memorial concerning men-of-war to attend Jamaica in time of peace (No. 1,343). Being asked what was the use of the ships, he said that the fourth-rate was required to convoy negro-ships to Carthagena and Porto Bello, and the sixth-rate to check pirates; but that he hoped the peace would be sufficient to ensure the safety of convoys. A memorial of the Agents of the Leeward Islands on the same subject was read (No. 1,344). The Secretary received his orders for a reply to Mr. Bridgeman's letter of 20th (No. 1,346).
The Attorney-General's report of 12th August on the laws of Maryland was read (No. 1,246). Order for the laws to be returned to him for his opinion upon the whole of them. [Board of Trade. Journal, 10. pp. 263–278.]
Sept. 21.
1,335. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Earl of Bellomont. Since our letter of 26th ult. we have heard from Governor Fletcher, in a letter of 22 June, of a difference between New York and Connecticut respecting the towns of Rye and Bedford (see No. 1,098).
This difference, attended with such irregular proceedings as he reports, seems to us of pernicious consequence. We recommend you to enquire into the grounds of it, and if there be any doubt about the right of Government over these towns to send us such a state of the claims on both sides as may enable us to submit the case for the King's decision. Signed, Phil. Meadows, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill, George Stepney. [Board of Trade. New York, 52. pp. 277–278.]
Sept. 21.
1,336. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Commissioners for the Sick and Wounded. Ordering them, on receipt of a letter that the two Indians and their provisions have been received on board H.M.S. Fowey, to pay to the New York Agents £50 in full of the whole charge of the said Indians and their interpreter. Signed, Phil. Meadows, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill, George Stepney. [Board of Trade. New York, 52. pp. 279–280.]
Sept. 21.
1,337. William Popple to Captain Culliford, R.N. Forwarding copy of the articles to be provided by the New York Agents for the two Indians and their interpreter on their voyage to New York, and directing him to certify to the Commissioners of Sick and Wounded that the said supplies, as also the Indians and the interpreter, have been received on board his ship, H.M.S. Fowey. Here follows a list of the articles given in No. 1,327. [Board of Trade. New York, 52. pp. 280–281.]
[Sept. 22.] 1,338. Robert Quarry to Council of Trade and Plantations. I lately came from Pennsylvania, where my residence has been for some years, and heard that you were considering the means of securing the trade of the place. I think it my duty to lay the following report and proposal before you. (1) No province in America is so well settled or blessed with such industrious people as Pennsylvania. It is matter of fact that two men and four horses will manage ground enough to produce 1,000 bushels of wheat, which at the country-price of four shillings a bushel is £200 a year, three times more than any of the other Colonies or Islands can produce. (2) The industry of this people is returned home for England in commodities which pay considerable custom. Thus the West Indies and several provinces are almost constantly supplied with some or all of the produce of this province, bread, flour, beef, pork, etc., without which they could hardly subsist. Indeed had not Pennsylvania supplied the Maryland and Virginia fleet with provisions the ships could hardly have proceeded on their voyage to England. (3) Great quantities of English manufactures are consumed in Pennsylvania, for the people have no leisure to supply themselves that way; and thus sugar and tobacco plantations, being supplied with provisions at a very reasonable rate, are not diverted from producing the commodities which bring so much to the King's Customs. (4) A great deal of tobacco is grown in the province, though not at present above a tenth of the rest of the produce. But when the trade is well secured the quantity made will be increased. It is therefore very desirable that so profitable a province should be encouraged and protected from pirates. (5) The only way to secure the trade and people is to have a small vessel of force constantly cruising between the capes of the bay to examine all vessels, whether outward or inward bound, for suppression of Scotch trade and other illegal traffic. To do this most effectually and cheaply I propose as follows. The Commissioners of Customs have already recommended the continuing of a small man-of-war in Delaware Bay to secure the trade of Pennsylvania and West Jersey. This vessel with wages, etc., will cost the King over £1,800 a year, and not answer the end. Also five Collectors have lately been settled in Delaware Bay with salaries of about £500 a year, all except one of whom are a useless charge to the King and of no security to the trade. I would propose to furnish the King with an armed ketch, well manned, rigged and found, keeping her cruising between the capes as I had said. The officers should give security, and will therefore expect the greater wages; and I also will bind myself under a penalty that no tobacco shall be carried out of the bay except what has been duly entered and cleared according to law. Delaware Bay is generally frozen for three months in the year. I would then propose that the ketch be employed in South Carolina and the Bahamas, where she may do good service. In consideration of this service I propose that I should receive £1,000 a year, good part of which may be paid me out of the penny per lb. in tobacco exported to other Colonies; and the salary of the useless officers to be dismissed will go a great way towards defraying the remaining expense of the whole undertaking. I am the more open with you as the Commissioners of Customs have recommended me as a Judge of Admiralty for West Jersey and Pennsylvania. I have received my Commission and am very ready to serve the King, but I hope that I shall not be expected to do the work at my own cost, besides the loss of time and expense of travelling some two hundred miles in both provinces. I beg therefore that you will accept my offer or the surrender of my Commission. I believe there are people who will accept it without salary and get enough by it, but I abhor getting money at that rate. Signed, Robt. Quarry. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 22 Sept., 1697. [America and West Indies. 599. No. 32.]
Sept. 22.
1,339. William Popple to the Agents for Barbados, Jamaica and the Leeward Islands. The Council of Trade, having received no answer to my letter to you of 14th inst. (No. 1,324) desire (since the conclusion of peace) to be informed whether any of the King's ships of war, and what number, and of what force have formerly been appointed to attend your Island in time of peace, and what you now think necessary to be appointed for that service. Your answer is expected by Friday next. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. p. 180.]
Sept. 22.
1,340. Governor Goddard to Council of Trade and Plantations. Writes a duplicate in full of his letter of 29 June (No. 1,122) and proceeds. I am sorry it is my ill-fortune to be Governor of Bermuda where there is nothing but faction and contention against a Governor. Since my last I have discovered a villainous design of Mr. Richier to break gaol and run away to Martinique. Some in these Islands were his confederates, three of them Members of Assembly and two of them Captains in the Militia. All this was discoursed to me on oath by the captain of the ship who was to have carried him off. I will send his affidavits at large by next conveyance. Mr. Trott gives out that he is going for England and will bring over a new Governor. He threatens me with a gaol upon his arrival, and I hear that he has sent to you a scandalous libel against me, frequently using the words illegal, arbitrary, "contemptious" and disloyal. All this proceeds from envy, hatred, malice and uncharitableness, for when he was last in England he could have accused me as well then as now. I may with confidence assert that such a rogue and villain is not in the habitable part of the world. I beg that I may not be condemned by such unheard, and that I may be called home to give a true account of the inhabitants of Bermuda. Signed, J. Goddard. 3½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 28 March, 1698. [Board of Trade. Bermuda, 3. No. 17; and 29. pp. 111–112.]
Sept. 23. 1,341. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for a commission to be issued for the trial of an Indian for murder. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. p. 121.]
Sept. 23.
1,342. Order of the Lords Justices of England in Council. Referring a petition from the Proprietors of East New Jersey to Council of Trade and Plantations for report. Signed, John Povey.
Petition of the Proprietors of East New Jersey to the Lords Justices in Council. Our privilege of ports granted to us by King James I. and confirmed by King Charles II. has been invaded by the Government of New York, which has brought vessels out of an harbour of Perth Amboy, forced them to go up to New York, and denies us the benefit of a port. We complained first to the Lords of the Treasury, who decided that the matter lay not within their cognisance unless referred to them by you. The ground of our complaint means not only our private ruin, but a public hindrance to the consumption of English manufactures. We beg that we may be heard before you, to the end that Lord Bellomont, who is ready to start, may be prohibited from disturbing our privileges of trade at Amboy. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. pp. 150–153.]
Sept. 24. 1,343. The Agents for Jamaica to Council of Trade and Plantations. In reply to your question as to the number of men-of-war formerly appointed to attend Jamaica in time of peace, we have always had a good fourth-rate and a sixth-rate at that island, and think it now an absolute necessity to have two such men-of-war attending always there. Signed, Bartho. Gracedieu, Gilbert Heathcote. ¼ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 24 Sept., 1697. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 71; and 56. pp. 129–130.]
Sept. 24. 1,344. Memorial of the Agents for the Leeward Islands to Council of Trade and Plantations. In reply to your question what ships-of-war used to attend the Leeward Islands in time of peace, we answer that sometimes a ketch and at other times a small frigate has been employed, and has been found very serviceable to the Governor. It is now very necessary that there should be a small man-of-war again, and we beg that one small fifth-rate or sixth-rate be appointed for the service, under the orders of the Governor-in-Chief. Signed, Bastian Bayer, Joseph Martyn, Rd. Cary. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 55; and 45. p. 98.]
Sept. 24. 1,345. Francis Eyles, Agent for Barbados, to William Popple. Your letters should have been answered before, were not Mr. Littleton and Mr. Bridges both out of town. Upon enquiry I cannot learn that any guard-ships have been granted for the service of Barbados in time of peace, but whether this be necessary or not I must ask for longer time to consider, until the other Agents return. Signed, Fran. Eyles. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 27 Sept., 1697. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 41.]
Sept. 24.
1,346. William Popple to William Bridgeman. The Council of Trade desire you to know that they are considering what alterations it may be proper to make upon the conclusion of peace in the number and rates of the men-of-war that attend the several Plantations. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. p. 181.]
Sept. 27.
1,347. Governor Codrington to Council of Trade and Plantations. Since my last I have made enquiry as to the Dutch pretensions to New "Thurtoloe" [Tortola], commonly known here by the name of one of the Virgin Leeward Islands, and can find no one in this Government that knows anything of their title to it or of their putting it under Sir William Stapleton's protection. All the old Councillors of Sir William Stapleton's time at Nevis are dead, and the present Councillors can give me no manner of account of the affair. I am apt to believe that the island might have been taken by Sir William Stapleton in 1672, for it could have been easily done since there have never been above ten or twelve families in it. Since I have been Governor and for some years before there has not been a soul upon it, nor has it cost the Crown of England expense to support or preserve it, though it is within my commission and within the commissions of my predecessors, and is situated thirty or forty leagues to windward of San Juan de Porto Rico. I know that the last family that ever lived there was that of one Thomas Biss, an English subject, who had Sir William Stapleton's commission as Governor to settle it. He attempted this by planting canes and making a sugar work, but no inhabitants came, and the Spaniards coming to an Island called Spanish Town, about three leagues to eastward of it, plundered the few people who were beginning a settlement. Those on Thertolen thereupon left it in discouragement and brought their negroes to Nevis and St. Christophers. All this happened at least twelve years ago, since which the Island has been deserted but for a man and his wife, who live there in the woods, breed stock, plant a little cotton and go fishing. His name is Jonathan Turner. I think that the settlement of this island by the Brandenburghers would be of ill consequence to the islands of my Government and to the trade of England, by the transporting of our produce thither in small vessels, which no diligence of the King's men-of-war could prevent. About thirty leagues to leeward of St. Christophers lies a group of innumerable small islands, ranging all along west southerly, within four leagues of Porto Rico. These are known as the Virgin Leeward Islands, the easternmost of which is called on the maps the Virgin Gard, and that nearest to Porto Rico, Crab Island. This is a fine large island, which has once or twice been attempted to be settled by some few deserters of the Windward Islands; but the Spaniards have always taken the inhabitants and carried them off as they did in 1687–1688, to the mumber of sixty odd souls. The next island to leeward of Spanish Town (or Virgin Gard) is this land of Thertolen, which is large enough to support eight hundred to a thousand families, will produce good cotton, indigo and sugar, and is well stored with lignum vitœ, white and red cedar and other good building timber. On the seashore is plenty of limestone, and on the island stone in plenty for building. It wants nothing to make an easy and good settlement but fresh water, which the people will supply by building cisterns. The Brandenburgers who have plenty of negroes, and those as fine choice slaves as arrive from the coast of Guinea (they now sell them at St. Thomas 30 per cent. cheaper than any of the Guinea Company's factors here or in Barbados) could, with such an island, by giving generous credit to settlers and parcelling out their land to them, attract many of our poorer inhabitants on these windward islands. Such men can buy no negroes here, so ill do our factories supply us, and the few negroes that come to us are sold at such dear prices that a poor man cannot be trusted with a negro, and if he is, all his industry for a year or two could not pay for him. In Thertolen, on the other hand, he would be trusted for much better negroes at a lower price, and for his better encouragement they would give him 9d. or 10d. the half-pound for his cotton, whereas in this Government his cotton sells for but 6d. This I know from experience, and will give you an instance even since the beginning of the war.
In February 1690 a well-known merchant of this Government was at Spanishtown, where there were then but fourteen men, a few women and three negroes. They made cotton, and carried that cotton in small canoes to St. Thomas's. There the Brandenburgh factors gave them threepence or fourpence a pound more than they could have made here, and sold them in return Dutch linens, to make their clothes, and able fine negroes, thirty per cent. cheaper than we can buy them here, giving them trust. These poor people are now grown to that number that in December last the same merchant visiting the island found fifty good men, well-armed, and their families, and seventy to eighty choice negroes. The islands are there so thick together that the people row to St. Thomas's, ten leagues distant, as in a river, so smooth is the water through the islands. I find already that the credit given to that small island of Spanishtown has drawn several of our inhabitants to settle there, which is a considerable weakness to us, now that we are so much weakened by sickness and our expeditions that the loss even of one good man is felt by us. And yet at the same time that island is so far to leeward and so inconsiderable that it is not worth while to have any regard to it. You may consider, too, the vast difference that there would be in this factory between its being kept under another Government (for it is now under the Danish Governor of St. Thomas) and its having an island for its own. Beyond all doubt having so good a stock in trade of excellent negroes they will encourage planters of every nation to come and settle there and become their subjects and ship the products to their nation. This would be a great disadvantage to the trade of the English islands, besides the temptation to our merchants to carry them sugar by stealth; for they will give a third more for it than it can sell for with us and pay for it ready money, or rather negroes, Dutch linen and dry goods, which they sell fifty per cent. cheaper than is afforded among us. To make such profits men will run great hazards. Thus I cannot but think that the settlement of this island by another nation would very much injure our trade. St. Thomas's for instance, being furnished with negroes by the Brandenburgers' factory has so greatly increased her product of sugar and cotton during the last eight years, that it has now 1,500 working negroes and seven sugar-works besides producing forty to fifty thousand weight of cotton yearly, which goes to Denmark and the Brandenburgers. Eight years ago it had but one sugar-work, made little sugar, had not above 300 working negroes, and made very little cotton. Doubtless it is from Mr. Vaubell's (the Brandenburg factor's) observation of the great sudden increase of the island, though its soil is very barren compared with that of our islands, which puts him upon representing the advantage of their having an island of their own. I was told that the Brandenburgers were coming with the design of settling Crab Island, and thereupon obtained the King's order to prevent any such settlement. Since then they may have bought Thertolen, and with the King's leave would, I doubt not, soon make a vigorous settlement, which would damage our trade as I have said. There are however many merchants and planters who would welcome the settlement of Thertolen by the Brandenburgers for the convenience of obtaining negroes at cheap rates. In the last eight years we have not had in all this Government a thousand negroes imported from Guinea nor from elsewhere, except what we took at the reduction of St. Christophers and what our privateers have taken off the enemy's islands; whereas this Government would buy from 1,000 to 1,200 negroes a year, if they would, which would encourage planting and increase the revenue.
Since my last we have lost the best of our privateer brigantines, which by some sad accident was blown up on the very night when she sailed. Not a soul of near fifty men on board has escaped except one negro, who after being three days at sea upon a board got to St. Bartholomews, and from thence came here to give us the account. A week later one of our privateer sloops was taken by the enemy by surprise, and since then we have lost two more, our best sailing sloops, and one of them the best privateer we had. Thus in six weeks we have received greater loss in our vessels fitted for privateers than we have received in all the war, insomuch that I cannot now injure the enemy as I used. There are now only two vessels proper for privateers in all the Government, which makes me beg you to procure that some assistance may be immediately despatched to us. The enemy's privateers keep us on continual watch and guard, for they know that at present I have only one small man-of-war, and she at present in port for want of stores and victuals, which are so scarce here that I fear I shall not get her to sea again until a supply arrives from home. Signed, Chr. Codrington. 2½ very closely written pages. Inscribed with a short abstract. Endorsed, Read, 7 Dec., 1697. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 56; and 55. pp. 114–126.]
Sept. 27. 1,348. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Mr. Eyles's letter of 24th inst. read (No. 1,345). The laws of Barbados with the Attorney-General's report of 3rd inst. thereon (Nos. 1,300, 1,301) were read, and a representation agreed upon.
Order in Council of 23rd inst. with a petition of the Proprietors of New Jersey read (No. 1,342). The Proprietors, attending, were told to bring their charter or whatever other title they had, upon which their right to have ports was grounded.
Sept. 28. The Council considered the employment of the poor in England.
Sept. 30. Captain William Holman asked for a copy of the accounts of his expenses in the defence of Ferryland, which was granted to him.
Sir William Beeston's letter to Mr. Blathwayt of 12 June read (No. 1,080). Order for the Secretary to look out what has been done about Colonel Peter Beckford's dormant commission.
Two letters from Mr. Orth as to the proceedings of the Scotch East India Company at Hamburg were read.
A certificate on behalf of Mr. Dudgeon was read (No. 1,356). The Council agreed as to its representations on the subject.
Oct. 1. The Secretary reported what had been done in the matter of Colonel Beckford's dormant commission. Representation thereupon agreed on.
The representation as to Mr. Dudgeon was signed (No. 1,360).
Lieutenants Ockman and Young attending gave information as to the entertainment of pirates in Pennsylvania, Lieutenant Ockman saying that his proceedings against Day were so much resented that when he visited Newcastle four or five months later the people threatened to imprison him. They produced their commissions for their expedition and said that they found that Day had a commission from Governor Markham to fight a French privateer of thirty guns, while Day's ship had but four; they supposed that their proceedings spoiled Day's design of going to the Red Sea. They also reported that several of Every's crew were known to be at Pennsylvania.
A list of papers received yesterday from Maryland was laid before the Council.
Memorial of the Proprietors of New Jersey read (No. 1,358). The Council decided that they could not determine that question without a sight of the original grant, which was not among the papers sent. [Board of Trade. Journal, 10. pp. 278–293.]
Sept. 28.
1,349. William Popple to the Attorney General. Pressing him to despatch the examination of the laws of Maryland with all speed, as the Council cannot deal with the later laws until they have received a report upon the earlier. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. p. 112.]
Sept. 28. 1,350. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The Assembly brought up an address, asking that the soldiers of Garth's (late Russell's) regiment might be subsisted out of the Treasury at the rate of tenpence a day, or might do duty on guard at the fortifications as formerly. Several ships having come in with great quantities of wine, and the Excise Bill, which imposed a duty thereon, not being passed, the President summoned the Assembly and represented to them the loss to the country if that bill were not passed, since the Assembly would not agree to the Council's amendments thereto. The Assembly remaining inflexible the Council found themselves under the necessity of passing the bill, since it was to last one year only, lest revenue should be lost. David Ramsay was sworn of the Council. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 244–245.]
1,351. Captain Culliford, R.N., to William Popple. I have received the two Indians and their interpreters on board, pursuant to your letter of 21st inst. Signed, Ri. Culliford. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 1st. Read, 6th Oct., 1697. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. No. 47; and 52. p. 282.]
Sept. 30. 1,352. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Antigua. The Council and Assembly agreed with the Lieutenant-Governor that a treaty should be made with the owners of Stallridge's pond and Bishop's pasture pond, so that rounds and guards may not be stopped there. The Lieutenant-Governor and Council gave their opinion that the impost on liquors should be collected by the Treasurer of Nevis until the Governor's further pleasure should be known. Joint Committee appointed to draw up a letter to the Governor accordingly, and another Committee to draw up an answer to the letter of the Council of Trade. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 433–434.]
Sept. 30. 1,353. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for transportation of French prisoners to France or to French Colonies in such ships as shall be bound thither, but that Captain Villieu be still detained. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 121–122.]
Sept. 30.
1,354. Lieutenant Governor Stoughton to Council of Trade and Plantations. Yours of 27 August, 1696, arrived on 2 May last, and yours of 20 January and 24 March, 1697, on 24 May last, also the King's letter of 18 March, 1697, with the royal commands as to assistance to be given to Captain John Gibson, then setting forth for the reduction of Newfoundland. This I communicated to the Assembly a few days after receipt, and posted copies to the neighbouring Colonies asking them to forward victuals for the expedition, of which they have a better supply than we. For two years past the chief of our supplies have come from them, the crops so failing here that the people have been obliged to buy bread-corn and other provisions for the subsistence of their families. I hear that several vessels have been sent to Newfoundland from these Governments, and some have been sent from here. The Assembly to encourage the same passed an Act prohibiting the export of provisions except for Captain Gibson's expedition, and were ready to have done whatever else lay in their power. I have not yet heard of Captain Gibson's arrival or of his success, of which I should be exceeding glad. Your warning of an intended invasion by the French put me upon vigorous preparations for defence of the province, and the fortifications have been so restored, and new ones so erected at the ports, that we were never in so good a position. Between four and five hundred men have been levied and posted on the Eastern frontier, besides those posted at Piscataqua to repel any attempt on those parts. With the Council's advice an embargo was also laid on all shipping during the months most probable for expecting the enemy, in order to keep men in the country for its defence. Our stores of war are low, especially powder, which could not be supplied here; I hope supplies are coming towards us. But notwithstanding all our preparations we lie under many disadvantages to prevent the incursions of the bloody and barbarous heathen upon our frontiers, who gain opportunity to make spoils upon us, and for retreat have a large unsubdued wilderness, where the woods, rivers and swamps prevent pursuit. Their greatest mischief this summer was done a fortnight since at Lancaster, where they surprised, killed and captivated about twenty-six persons, chiefly women and children, and burned two houses and two barns, chiefly owing to the invigilance of the inhabitants, their neglect to keep up watches and scouts, and their going unarmed. The forces in the eastern parts by order set forth on an expedition into the country, having transports to attend them. They met a party of about two hundred French and Indians near Pemaquid and had an engagement with them, and though the ground was disadvantagous to them (the enemy sheltering themselves behind rocks and trees) yet they forced them to retreat and fly to their canoes, by means whereof they got away, after considerable execution done upon them, but not without loss on our part. Probably their designs for an attack on our out-towns were thereby prevented. A great part of the inhabitants have been kept on duty throughout the summer, having notice of the gathering of the French and Indians to the Northward, to attend a squadron which they were expecting for the invasion of this country. Several French ships of force, one of fifty or more guns, besides privateers have been on this coast, though happily they have been prevented from doing much damage, and one of the lesser (a vessel formerly belonging to New England) has been taken by H.M.S. Arundel. The Province galley, under Captain Cyprian Southack, is constantly employed to cruise about the Capes and convoy vessels from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, etc. between Massachusetts, Martha's Vineyard and Rhode Island. She has been of great service and the Commander has acquitted himself with great care and diligence, none of the vessels under his charge having miscarried.
The proclamation against Henry Every and others was duly published, but after diligent enquiry and search I cannot find that any of them are in this Government. They find more countenance and better entertainment in other places. Pirates know that they are obnoxious to the Government here, which has passed an Act against piracy, and to the people in general; nevertheless I thank you for your incitement to watchfulness on such occasions as may wipe off any reflections unjustly cast upon Massachusetts in that regard. I have given a particular account of the prize-ships brought in since Sir William Phips's departure to Thomas Robinson, Agent to Lord Romney, and to Mr. John Glover (to whom they have entrusted their authority) as also of their lading, its produce upon sale, and the King's share thereof. I shall pay this last to Mr. Thomas Robinson, and hope that his receipt will be accepted as my discharge of the same. Account of these ships and their lading is enclosed. Three more prizes have since been brought in by a privateer, but have not yet been prosecuted. The late Commander of the Fort at Pemaquid has been put on trial before the Justices of Assize for surrender of the said fort, and has been acquitted, after near nine months' imprisonment. Your orders for placing the Captains of the King's ships sent to the Colonies under the direction of the Governors and for regulating impressment were very acceptable to us here, who have heretofore been much harassed and oppressed by some of the Commanders. I thank you also for your explanation of the reasons for disallowance of several of our Acts, which will be of good information and direction to the General Assembly in making of new Acts for those purposes. We are greatly oppressed and impoverished by a tedious wasting war, and the people are almost discouraged by being long confined to fortifications and unable to attend their necessary occasions abroad for their subsistence without peril of their lives, besides the burden of heavy taxes. The cost of the prepartions this summer and of paying seamen, soldiers, vessel-hire, etc., will rise very high. The Journals and Acts will be sent to you by H.M.S. Falkland very shortly. This present is the first ship which has sailed from hence since I received your letters, and I detained her for some time in expectation of Lord Bellomont's arrival. I am sure the people will be happy and the King's service greatly promoted under the Government of so noble and worthy a person. Signed, Wm. Stoughton. 3½ pp. Annexed,
1,354. I. Account of ships taken by men-of-war and privateers from the autumn of 1695 to the summer of 1697, with the value of their cargo. Twelve ships in all. Value of the King's share therein, £286. Signed, Wm. Stoughton. 2 pp. The whole endorsed, Recd. 9th. Read 12th Nov., 1697. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. Nos. 124, 124I.; and (without enclosure) 36. pp. 320–330.]
Sept. 30.
1,355. The Secretary of Massachusetts to Council of Trade and Plantations. Advising the despatch by H.M.S. Falkland of several originals and duplicates of Minutes of Council and Journals of Assembly. Signed, Isa. Addington. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 4 Jan. Read 10 Jan., 1697–8.
List of the papers enumerated in the above letter. 1½ pp. Endorsed as the letter. [Board of Trade. New England, 8. Nos. 125, 126; and 36. pp. 339–342.]
Sept. 30. 1,356. Certificate of several merchants trading to Bermuda that John Dudgeon is well qualified for the post of Secretary and Provost Marshal of that Colony. Signed, E. Richier, John Kendall and by eleven more. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read, 30 Sept., 1697. [Board of Trade. Bermuda, 3. No. 18; and 29. p. 47.]