America and West Indies: March 1698, 2-10

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1905.

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'America and West Indies: March 1698, 2-10', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905), pp. 122-132. British History Online [accessed 23 June 2024].

. "America and West Indies: March 1698, 2-10", in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905) 122-132. British History Online, accessed June 23, 2024,

. "America and West Indies: March 1698, 2-10", Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905). 122-132. British History Online. Web. 23 June 2024,

March 1698

March 2. Mr. Jeffrey Jeffreys gave information that he had received complaints against Lieutenant-Governor Delavall of Montserrat of permitting illegal trade with foreigners. He would not give the name of his informant, and was therefore required to enquire if further evidence could be produced.
Mr. Secretary Vernon's letter of 28th ult. was read, concerning pirates (No. 267). Order for letters to be prepared to the East India Company and to the various Plantations thereupon.
March 4. Mr. Thornburgh's letter of yesterday read (No. 274), and another letter ordered to be written to him as to the laws of Carolina.
Mr. Parry's letter of this day read (No. 276).
Abstract of an anonymous letter about the Leeward Islands read (No. 275). [Board of Trade. Journal, 10. pp. 445–450.]
March 1.
269. Governor Sir William Beeston to Council of Trade and Plantations. I have already reported to you the proclamation of peace here on 11 December; nevertheless one Kelly, an English subject who has forsaken his allegiance, having no intelligence of the peace from Petit Guavos has done much mischief on the coast and several poor people. On this I sent the Chatham to Mons. Ducasse to demand restitution. They had not yet received orders as to peace, but believed it, and restored several things with seeming respect; but Kelly had not returned to his port and I fear will turn pirate. They have promised to send him to me if he returns, and if he is sent to me he shall have his deserts. He has since met the Foresight's pinnace, which he impudently plundered, though he returned the boat and men. I fear many of the French privateers will turn pirates, being a parcel of lazy fellows that will not work and are used to that trade. We much want a small frigate, a fifth or sixth rate, that sails well, to follow them. She would be more useful and much less charge than a fifty-gun ship. I find that Admiral Nevill and some of his captains would excuse their own errors by throwing them on me. Having some notice of it I have already written my justification to you and Mr. Blathwayt. I did them all the justice that lay in my power, and had no intelligence of such a fleet designed this way until they arrived, which I could not divine, though we did hope that help would be sent to us in such danger as we lay under owing to Mons. Pointis. It is very easy for people to complain when no one is there to answer, but I rely on you to hear me before condemning me, and then I doubt not to prove my innocence. This country is in very good health and in all things very quiet. Ships, provisions and other necessaries arrive daily, so that I hope by degrees it will begin again to flourish and recover itself from the mean condition to which it was reduced by the war. Signed, Wm. Beeston. Holograph. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 30 April, Read 3 May, 1698. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 85; and 56. pp. 193–194.]
March 1. 270. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The sailing orders for Captain Reeves of the Newcastle and Samuel Martin of the Bideford, for England, were signed. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. p. 343.]
March 1. 271. Journal of Assembly of Barbados. Rules of the House considered and confirmed. The Clerk's salary fixed at £150, and the Marshal's at £25 a year. Adjourned to 12 April. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 288–289.]
March 2.
272. President and Council of Barbados to Council of Trade and Plantations. It is the happiness of this Island (and of the rest of the American Colonies) that the King has placed it under your care. This island perhaps is the most important of all both for the value of its productions, its great employment of shipping, its great expense of English manufactures, and its happy situation, which renders it the key of America and the centre of trade. But this long unhappy war and the grievous mortality that has assaulted us have wrought a great change. Many of our families are dead, others reduced to great poverty, large tracts of land waste and unmanured which formerly made great production, and many plantations, which were as fee-farm-rents to the Crown, utterly ruined. We now hope, however, that we may be restored to our former condition, to which end we would recommend the following proposals to your favour. (1) That we may be supplied with great numbers of negroes upon easy terms, since each one of them works as well for the Prince as for the proprietor. But this cannot be expected if the great African Trade be incorporated into a Company, which we understand is much endeavoured, for there we must buy only of their factors and at their prices, which of late years have been unsupportable. (2) That we may be supplied with a sufficient number of white servants, from whom will accrue both the profit and the security of the island. (3) That the 4½ per cent. duty be applied to the purposes for which it was raised, for our poverty is so great that we can raise no more taxes. (4) That the additional duties on sugar be taken off, otherwise the making of that commodity will not answer the charge nor afford a livelihood to the planter. We could recount many other matters, but these are all that we would urge upon your consideration at present. We forward the journals of Council and the laws passed during the past six months. We cannot send the accounts of the Treasury, the settlement of which has been retarded by the recent death of the Treasurer. We shall, however, transmit them as soon as they are perfected, that you may see at what charge we are for the support and preservation of the island. We send also the state of our magazine. Our stock of powder shall never again be so low as we found it to be some time since, when the loss of the island might have ensued. Many of these stores are of our own purchase, and the quantity had been far greater but for the interception of the unhappy fleet by the French last year. We shall with the utmost care observe the King's commands as to the Acts of Trade and as to pirates. We send a list of the present Council, adhering to our former list of persons qualified to fill vacancies therein. We propose very soon to call a Council of War to consult with Captain Talbot Edwards as to the new works necessary for defence of the island, which we shall then recommend to the Assembly; but we think it our duty to say that the late war and the additional duties have so thinned and impoverished the island that it will be difficult to raise money for the purpose. Signed, Fran. Bond, Prest., Geo. Andrew, Jno. Bromley, Geo. Lillington, Michael Terrill. 2½ pp. Inscribed with a short abstract. Endorsed, Recd. 12th, Read 13th May, 1698. Enclosed,
272. I. Names of the Council of Barbados, 3 March, 1697–8. Francis Bond, John Gibbes, John Farmer, Geo. Lillington, Geo. Andrews, John Bromley, Wm. Sharpe, Tobias Frere, Michael Terrill, David Ramsay. ½ p. Endorsed as the letter. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. Nos. 61, 61 I.; and (without enclosure) 44. pp. 196–201.]
March 3. 273. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. On the representation of Samuel Appleton, he and his brother were placed in charge of certain cattle belonging to his father, who died inestate. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. pp. 143–144.]
March 3. 274. William Thornburgh to William Popple. The Lords Proprietors of Carolina have despatched orders for copies of the laws to be sent to the Council of Trade by first opportunity. Signed, Wm. Thornburgh. Scrap. Endorsed, Recd., Read 4 March, 1697–8. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 2. No. 13; and 25. p. 198.]
March 4. 275. Anonymous letter, superscribed, "Memoirs about the Leeward Islands." This opens with a general declaration against governors, disorders in the church, and misapplications of forfeitures and fees. Then follow gross complaints of John Perrie of Antigua, of his power with Governor Codrington, his traffic in illegal trade, his plundering of a Spanish vessel, and of his elevation to the post of Provost Marshal. Then follows more abuse of Governor Codrington, stories of his favour to Jacobites and papists, an attack on Archibald Hutcheson, further insinuations against Perrie and others, and more attacks upon the Governor, etc. 7 large pages. Endorsed, Sent to the Board in a penny post letter without date or name. Recd., Read 4 March, 1697–8. A short abstract is attached. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 76.]
March 4. 276. Francis Parry to William Popple. Enclosing a report of the Patentees for making copper coin upon the memorial of Lord Cutts and others (No. 223), and praying that they may be heard by the Council of Trade before the Council comes to a determination on the matter. Signed, Fran. Parry. ¼ p. Endorsed, Recd., Read 4 March, 1697–8. Enclosed,
276. I. Patentees for making copper coin to Council of Trade and Plantations. Farthing Office, 3 March, 1697–8. On perusing the memorial of Lord Cutts and others we conceive their proposals to be an infringement of our patent for making copper halfpence and farthings for the Plantations and England, and very pernicious to both. When, upon a general complaint against tin money, divers projectors proposed the making of two-penny pieces, pence, halfpence and farthings, of the same kind of metal as that now submitted to you by Lord Cutts, the undertakers for making English copper at the same time proposed to make halfpence and farthings of native copper. Both proposals were laid before the Council and the Treasury, and both Council and Treasury after full consideration agreed to advise the King to grant the making of the coins in copper, and for the encouragement of making copper in this kingdom, of English copper. In pursuance of this grant great quantities of copper halfpence and farthings have been made and are yet making, to the general satisfaction and advantage, without apprehension of counterfeits. We therefore conceive that no kind of coin can better answer the needs of the Plantations than copper halfpence and farthings of the same weight and fineness as the Patentees are authorised and required to make. There has been and can be no objection or hindrance to their currency in the Plantations, except that, by reason of their value, they would be immediately returned to England as the most considerable commodity that could thence be brought. To prevent this we propose to stamp the blanks with a different die, and to prohibit all of that stamp to pass or be taken in England, authorising the Patentees to seize to their own use all that they find in this kingdom. Signed, Fran. Parry, Edward Ambrose, M. Slaney, Dan. Barton, Tho. Renda. 1½ pp. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. Nos. 100,100 I.; and (enclosure only) 34. pp. 250–252.]
March 5. 277. Receipt for one large bundle and one large packet given by Mr. Perry for delivery to Sir Edmund Andros, in Virginia. Signed, Tho. Hasted. Scrap. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 6. No. 38.]
March 7. 278. Samuel Day to Council of Trade and Plantations. A new seal is wanting for Bermuda, the seal now used bearing the name of King James. An Admiralty seal is also wanting. I beg that these may be supplied. Signed, Sam. Day. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 7 March, 1697–8. [Board of Trade. Bermuda, 3. No. 22; and 29. p. 110.]
March 7.
East India
279. The East India Company to Council of Trade and Plantations. In reply to Mr. Popple's letter of 2nd inst. we offer our opinion as follows. It would most effectually tend to the suppression of the pirates in the Indian seas if the three men-of-war appointed for the service were sent from hence at the beginning of April or sooner direct to St. Mary's Island, where the pirates have their residence and fortification and to which they return with their spoil. The squadron should stay at the Island till the middle of October, by which time the pirates return with their plunder from shipping of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Persia, which is despatched homeward from Mocha and the other places in August. After the middle of October it may be convenient for the squadron to make for Cape Comorin, where it is likely to meet with such pirates as are looking out for other country-ships, which about that time of the year always make the said Cape in their voyages from the coast of Coromandel, Bengal, and Acheen for Surat, the Gulf of Persia and other places. Having plied off the Cape for five or six days, the squadron should coast it all along the coasts of Malabar and India as far as Bombay and Surat, visiting the most frequented ports as they pass for intelligence, especially Rhetora, Calicut, Tellicherry and Carwan, where the Company has factories. From Surat the squadron may proceed for the Persian Gulf, and search those seas till February and return again without loss of time to Surat, where they may obtain all sorts of provisions, stores and refreshments, and be ready to proceed in April to Mocha and other places in the Red Sea to scour those seas also. Having stayed there till August they may then be turning homeward, touching by the way at St. Mary's or the adjacent places to which the pirates resort for refreshment, to see whom they can meet with there, and from thence return to England. All this navigation falls in properly with the monsoons, as if it were one direct voyage.
It may not be amiss for the Commodore to have directions at large to visit, in his return, such places as he may have heard that the pirates resort to, especially the islands lying near Madagascar such as Moheila, Johanna and others, where are great plenty of refreshments. At Madagascar the squadron may victual and refresh, beef in particular being very plentiful and cheap. We further advise that the ships now in the river, which are reported to be designed for St. Mary's with arms, stores, provisions and intelligence, be prohibited from proceeding thither, lest by such supplies the pirates be enabled to resist the men-of-war or at least, by the intelligence which the said ships carry, be warned to change their usual haunts and so frustrate the expedition. As a further discouragement to pirates we suggest that the King should forthwith by proclamation prohibit all his subjects in Europe and America from trading and corresponding with or aiding pirates, whether in the Indian seas or elsewhere, for we apprehend that, without this, the pirates will spread themselves in all the Indian seas and thereby interrupt the trade both of the East and West Indies. As to the terms of pardon and mercy to be offered and the disposal of such persons as shall submit, we do not presume to offer an opinion, but we conceive that particular pardons will rather encourage than suppress pirates, and that it may prove of the worst consequence to leave any of them in those parts. Signed, Ro. Blackborne, Sec. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 7 March, 1697–8. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 101.]
March 7. 280. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Lord Cutts, Sir Henry Pickering and others attended and showed blank specimens of the small coins which they proposed to issue. They desired copies of the patent and memorial of the patentees for copper coin, which were given to them.
The Governor of the East India Company attended and gave in a memorial on the subject of pirates in the East Indies of this day's date. He promised to use all the Company's endeavours to gain information as to some ships said to be sailing from England to help the pirates. A representation as to the Company's new charter was signed.
Draft letter to Mr. Thornburgh approved, also circulars to the West India Islands concerning white servants and to the Plantations at large concerning pirates.
Mr. Day presented a memorial (No. 278). He was directed to apply to the Admiralty upon the questions of Admiralty. The question of seals was deferred until the Secretary could see what other seals besides that of Bermuda were wanting.
March 9 The Secretary reported that the seal of Virginia was marked C.R., that of Bermuda J.R., that New Hampshire had no seal at all, and that all the other seals were marked W. and M. Order for Mr. Harris, the seal-cutter, to attend to-morrow.
A letter from Mr. Vernon was read, enclosing a paper as to the Leeward Islands, which was found to be the same anonymous letter as was read on 4th inst. (No. 275).
Instructions to the Commander of the squadron to suppress the pirates in the East Indies, considered. Ordered that Sir Charles Hedges attend thereupon.
March 10. Mr. Harris attended, and a representation as to the seals of the Colonies was ordered.
Colonel Gibsone attending presented a memorial (No. 286). He added that it would be sufficient if Ferryland and St. Johns were fortified, that Trepassée should be again possessed by the English, and that Carbonere Island could be made impregnable. On the Order of Council of 17th ult. (No. 239), Colonel Gibsone said that four officers and one hundred infantry, one master gunner and six gunners would be a sufficient garrison; that the Captain should be Commander-in-Chief, and that the pay of all ranks should be augmented by one half.
Sir Charles Hedges attending gave his opinion as to what constituted a pirate, and as to the mode of trying pirates.
March 11. Mr. Gilbert Heathcote attended upon the private Act of Jamaica concerning Sir James Castillo, and promised to write an account of the objections thereto to Sir James and to Sir William Beeston. [Board of Trade. Journal, 10. pp. 450–456.]
March 7. 281. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Pursuant to instructions the Governor was sworn to observe the Act for regulating the plantation trade. Order for the prosecution of bonds of ships'-masters for which no certificates are forthcoming. Order for a day of thanksgiving for the success of the King's arms. Order for appliances to be sent to the assistance of H.M.S. Swift, lying stranded near Currahtuck.
March 8. Orders for registering ships, pursuant to the new Act for the Plantation-trade. A committee appointed for the revision of the laws.
March 9. Christopher Wormeley was sworn King's Collector of Rappahannock River. Order for payment of John Chyles for carrying an express to Maryland and New York.
March 10. Colonel Edward Hill sworn Judge of Admiralty. Thomas Ward's petition for restitution of the sloop Content, seized by Joshua Broadbent but acquitted on trial, was referred to the Attorney-General; and upon his report restitution was ordered. On a petition for permission for the ship Flying Hart, captured from the French, to trade, the Council decided that the said ship must first be legally condemned. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 53. pp. 113–117.]
March 8.
282. Jahleel Brenton to Council of Trade and Plantations. I arrived here on 8 December and shortly afterwards delivered the letters which you entrusted to me for Rhode Island. The Governor, being a Quaker, refused to take the oath, which I was empowered to administer, concerning the Plantation trade. I enclose a report on the matter. I also took out commissions for Peleg Sanford as Judge of the Admiralty Court, and for Nathaniel Coddington as Registrar. I asked Mr. Clarke's assistance in the execution thereof, whereupon he detained them, as you will see in Mr. Sandford's letter. This Clarke was chosen Governor of the Colony in May, 1696, and in the following June refused to sign the Association prescribed by Act of Parliament, though it was generally signed in the Colony. If the King would commission persons in the Colony to examine and report on these matters and require Clarke to appear and answer for the same, it would deter others from the like practices in future; but if he be in no way called to account, loyal subjects will be discouraged. Further, I think it would be much for the King's service and for the good of the people of Rhode Island if the Governor were commanded to print all the laws that are now in force, for they are so meanly kept, and in such blotted and defaced books (having never yet been printed), that few of the people are able to know what they are. Signed, Jahleel Brenton. P.S.—We have not heard of Lord Bellomont since we parted from him about 400 leagues west of the Land's End. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 15, Read 20 April, 1698. Enclosed,
282. I. Peleg Sanford to Council of Trade and Plantations. Newport, 30 January, 1697–8. On the 7th inst. I received from Mr. Brenton a commission as Judge of the Admiralty Court in Rhode Island. To enable me to fulfil it I went down to the General Assembly on the 12th and handed it to Walter Clarke, the Governor, then sitting in full Assembly, desiring him to publish it and to cause me to be sworn. Clarke answered that he would consider of it, and send the commission to the Lower House, but before the Lower House had read it he left the Upper House privately, and went to the Lower House, where he said that a commission had been received from Peleg Sanford, which was an infringement of the charter-right, that if they allowed of it he would take leave of them, and that then there would be no more choice or election according to the charter. The Lower House, however, returned the commission to Clarke without being prevailed on to do anything in opposition to it. Clarke therefore soon afterwards adjourned the Assembly, but detains my commission and positively refuses to restore it, and if he does restore it I believe that the persons now in the Government here will refuse to adminster the oath to me. Signed, Peleg Sanford. 1 p.
282. II. Peleg Sanford, Francis Brinley and Jahleel Brenton to the King. Newport, 31 January, 1697–8. Reporting the refusal of Governor Walter Clarke to take the oaths offered to him by the persons commissioned by the King. Copy. 2 pp. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 2. Nos. 14, 14 I., II.; and 25. pp. 201–205.]
March 8.
283. William Popple to William Thornburgh. The Council of Trade expected that the Proprietors of Carolina would have sent copies of such laws of the Province as they have here, without waiting to send to America for them; and you are desired to move the Proprietors to send them copies with all convenient speed. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 25. p. 199.]
March 8. 284. Minutes of Council of Maryland in Assembly. Several delegates appeared and were sworn, after which they were ordered to choose a Speaker, when they answered that they were as yet too few, and another writ of prorogation was issued to the 10th inst. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 14. pp. 237–239.]
March 9. 285. Minutes of Council of Maryland. The Governor's intended speech to the Assembly was read and approved. Order for prosecution of certain persons at the Provincial Court. Order for enquiring as to the presents received by Colonel Herman from the Indians, and advised that a law be made to make such acceptance of presents illegal.
March 10. The proclamation of the articles of peace was delivered to the Judges of Vice-Admiralty and to the Clerk of the Provincial Court. Several persons formerly concerned with the Indians were summoned to give information respecting them for communication to the Assembly.
March 11. Several masters of ships asked for leave to enter at Annapolis and received it. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. 423–425.]
March 10. 286. Memorial of Colonel John Gibsone to Council of Trade and Plantations. I shall not trouble you with recounting the advantages of the Newfoundland trade nor the losses of the planters there nineteen months ago. The want of government was the reason of the last, and will be the ruin of the first unless prevented in time. Though it is not for me to meddle with the government, I venture to offer the following opinion. When I speak of government I mean not only the military but the civil and church government, for the one cannot stand without the other two. The military government should be in the hands of a good and experienced officer, not too much given to self-interest, for he will meet with great temptations, though a good salary may prevent that. His residence should be at St. John's, which lies in the very middle of the English Plantations and is already partly fortified. These fortifications should be completed, which cannot be done without assistance from England, for there is no lime or limestone in the country. Moreover all the stone that I saw in Newfoundland was so hard that it could not be shaped, and so was useless for fortification. Bricks should be brought from England, and this will cost little since so many ships go there yearly in ballast, which might each carry so much lime and stone. The plan that I gave you shows the fortifications of St. John's, but being hurriedly made they cannot stand long, being composed of earth, faggots and fascines, especially the two batteries at the harbour's mouth. They must be enlarged and faced with stone or brick or they cannot stand the great surge which beats against them with all easterly winds. The south battery should mount twenty instead of nine guns, and the north battery ten instead of five. There will be great difficulty in clearing away the rocks on both sides, but it can be done in time of peace, and I think the planters would willingly contribute towards it. King William's Fort should also be faced with stone or brick, and a house should be built therein for the Governor. It would be of great use to have Ferryland fortified and garrisoned. As to the numbers of these two garrisons I cannot be positive; but if the planters were not allowed to disperse themselves into so many harbours and creeks, but confined to Trepassy, Ferryland, St. John's, Carbonere, Trinity Harbour and Bonavista, the garrisons might be so much the less, for the planters would be numerous in those six places, and under a good Government could be made very useful for defence. This would not hinder them from dispersing during the fishing season; and indeed this is the method used by the French at present. Before the last ravage made by the French, the English were dispersed in at least forty several places, which was the occasion of their ruin. The guns of the batteries at the harbour's mouth should be thirty-six-pounders or at least twenty-four-pounders. In King William's Fort there should be nine-pounders or six-pounders. A thirteen-inch mortar in each of the harbour-batteries would be of great service. The position of gunners and ammunition I must leave to the Board of Ordnance. For Governor, I recommend Colonel Thomas Handasyd, whom I left there. He is a worthy, good man, of courage and conduct, who has served the King twenty-four years. Signed, J. Gibsone. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 10 March, 1697–8. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 95; and 48. pp. 178–181.]
March 10. 287. Journal of House of Delegates of Maryland. Thomas Smithson elected Speaker, and approved by the Governor, who ordered a gown to be given to him and also a small mace. The Governor then delivered a speech, announcing first the restoration of peace, and then recommending to them the following matters, (1) the Church, (2) the Indians, (3) the Militia, (4) the School, (5) the alterations of winter County Courts and (6) a certain method of holding Assemblies. List of the members. Thomas Reynolds appointed serjeant-at-arms.
March 11. The King's speech to both Houses of Parliament read. Committees of elections and privileges appointed. The door-keeper's salary raised. Report of the Committee of Elections on the election returns. Message to the Chancellor asking him to examine certain persons on oath respecting a disputed election, whereupon the Council returned their answer as to the result of the examination. Resolutions thereupon. Message from the Governor asking that Hugh Ryly and an Indian with him may be examined for information as to the Piscattaway Indians. His information was then taken and thought to be of little consequence. Message to the Council for an order to a sheriff to defer the execution of a warrant of resurvey until ten members of the House, who feel aggrieved thereby, can be spared to be present at the resurvey. Committee of Grievances appointed.
March 12. Thomas Gray being brought before the house for arresting one of the members, excused himself by saying that he did not know that the arrested man was a member, and was dismissed. Message to the Governor, asking him that in future when he desires to confer with the Delegates he will summon them to the Council Chamber instead of coming down himself to their chamber. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 15. pp. 205–213.]
March 10. 288. Minutes of Council of Maryland in Assembly. The Delegates that had not been sworn were sworn. They then chose their Speaker, who was approved, and the Governor delivered his speech. He then again took the oaths to observe the Act to regulate abuses in the Plantation Trade. The Delegates' request for an order to stay execution of a warrant of survey was granted.