America and West Indies: May 1698, 16-20

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: May 1698, 16-20', in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905) pp. 217-234. British History Online [accessed 26 May 2024].

. "America and West Indies: May 1698, 16-20", in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905) 217-234. British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024,

. "America and West Indies: May 1698, 16-20", Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905). 217-234. British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024,

May 1698

May 16. 459. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Mr. Randolph's letter giving warning of pirates was read; it was ordered that six ships outward bound should meet and sail in company for their better protection. Copy of this order to be sent to the Collectors and Naval Officers. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. 503–505.]
May 16.
New York.
460. Edward Randolph to Council of Trade and Plantations. I have been desired by Mr. Frederick Phillips, one of the most ancient inhabitants of New York and the greatest trader to Albany, and by other merchants trading with the Five Nations, to represent to you that the French have for many years encroached upon the trade and upon the land to southward of their bounds by making settlements at the heads of all the great rivers in the English Plantations from Penobscot to South Carolina, so that, upon any difference between the two Crowns, two or three hundred Frenchmen may come down in small parties and destroy all the inhabitants, who live ten or fifteen miles distant each from his neighbour, especially in Virginia and Maryland where there are no towns. I am well informed that upon a treaty for settlement of the bounds it was agreed that the French should withdraw these settlements at the heads of the rivers and retire within their old bounds. The northward of the Penobscot river has always been considered the dividing line between the English and the French, running from thence N.N.W. into the country, by which the beaver-trade (now taken from us by the French) will be secured, and the Five Nations will bring all their peltry to Albany and continue their friendship to us. All Acadia, to the east of Boston, is a very great fishing place, having also abundance of copper, masts, etc. It did belong to the Crown of England, but the French got it from us by a treaty, to the great disadvantage of the Crown. I venture to suggest that upon a treaty to adjust all differences between the two Crowns the articles formerly made between them about the boundaries in these western parts may be agreed upon and settled. Unsigned. 1 p. Inscribed with a short abstract. Endorsed, Recd. 6 July, Read 4 Oct., 1698. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 115; and 34. pp. 305–307.]
May 16. 461. Memorandum of the receipt of the foregoing letter. ¼ p. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. No. 63.]
May 16. 462. Extracts of two letters to the Earl of Bellomont. From Lieutenant-Governor Stoughton. Boston, 16 May, 1698. Since my last two or three persons are reported killed by skulking Indians in the eastern parts. I have no particular account as yet.
From John Usher. Boston, 11 May, 1698. On the 9th of May a man riding at York near Scotland Garrison was shot at by Indians and wounded in the thigh, but escaped. About twenty Indians were seen, and another party was discovered about a beast that they had killed. Towards evening they killed two or three persons planting in the fields at Spruce Creek, about midway between Piscataqua and York. We remain in a lingering condition, and unless you hasten to our succour I see nothing but ruin. ½ p. Endorsed, Transmitted in Lord Bellomont's letter to the Secretary of 25 May. Recd. 6 July, 1698. [Board of Trade. New England, 9. No. 22.]
May 16.
463. Mr. Secretary Vernon to Council of Trade and Plantations. Upon your representation of 13th inst. (No. 456) the King has ordered Lord Romney to consider with the Victualling Board for some fit person to act as store-keeper both for the provisions and the ordnance stores that are ordered to Newfoundland. I hope that this will be done to-morrow. The King consents that there shall be no alteration in the Admiralty passes according to the Treaty with Algiers. Signed, Ja. Vernon. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 17 May, 1698. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 112; and 25. p. 223.]
May 16.
464. William Popple to the Attorney and Solicitor-General. Forwarding the Acts passed in Barbados from 18 May to 3 November, 1697, for their opinion. Here follows a list of thirteen Acts. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44. pp. 202–205.]
May 16. 465. Journal and Council of Trade and Plantations. The Secretary reported that the malt-tickets for £10 would at present yield about £8 apiece; he was ordered to sell the four in his hands.
Mr. Walrond's papers perused, and an abstract of them ordered to be made. Ordered further that the papers be communicated to Mr. Richard Cary, and that Mr. Walrond be directed to attend on Wednesday.
May 17. Mr. Cary and Mr. Hutcheson having perused Mr. Walrond's papers, desired copies of them. Resolved to defer decision on the request until Mr. Walrond have been spoken with to-morrow.
Representation on Mr. Grey's petition signed.
May 19. Order for copies of Mr. Walrond's papers to be delivered to Mr. Cary and Mr. Hutcheson, he having consented thereto.
Alexander Hardine presented a petition (No. 477), but was answered that the business had been despatched.
The Acts of Massachusetts of 1696 and 1697 with the Solicitor-General's report of 17th inst. (No. 466) were brought in. Order for notice to be given to Sir Henry Ashurst as to the missing Acts of 1695.
Letters to Jamaica and Mr. Grey signed, and draft letters to the Secretary and Naval Officer of Barbados approved.
May 20. Mr. Ashurst reported that the Massachusetts Acts of 1695 had been found, and that his father, Sir Henry, would solicit the despatch of them.
Mr. Secretary Vernon's letter of 19th inst. read (No. 478). Order for the Hudson's Bay Company to attend to-morrow.
Governor Goddard's letter of 14 April last, with several enclosures, received.
May 21. Mr. Clark and several gentlemen of the Hudson's Bay Company attended, the Lord Privy Seal and Mr. Secretary Vernon being present. The gentlemen gave an account of the state of Hudson's Bay as at present known to them, and a letter to Mr. Secretary Vernon was written thereupon (No. 488).
Order for the Secretary to write to the Secretaries of the Admiralty asking that the Commanders of the men-of-war designed for Newfoundland may report on the state of the country. [Board of Trade. Journal, 11. pp. 63–72.]
May 17. 466. The Solicitor-General to Council of Trade and Plantations. I have perused the Acts of Massachusetts passed between 27 May and 16 September, 1696. Three of these Acts are to continue certain expiring laws which are not before me, so that I can give no opinion on them. The remainder, including that for incorporating Harvard College, I see no objection to. Signed, Jo. Hawles. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 19 May, 1698. [Board of Trade. New England, 9. Nos. 23; and 36. pp. 376–378.]
May 17. 467. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Letters of 23 February from the Council of Trade and Mr. Popple read. The Assembly was summoned and requested to make speedy provision for the reception of the new Governor. The Assembly brought up bills for ascertaining the rights of the Assembly and for printing the laws. Petition of Robert Knowles for an appeal to the King in Council from a judgment of the Court of Admiralty, rejected. Letter of the Board of Ordnance recalling Mr. Edwards and Mr. Heberlands read. Orders for sundry payments, including £229 for the embarkation of the late Governor Russell's corpse. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 349–351.]
May 17. 468. Journal of Assembly of Barbados. Two bills sent up to the Council. £300 voted for expenses of the Grand Sessions. Several papers from Mr. Talbot Edwards and a memorial from Mr. Heberlands read, and consideration deferred till to-morrow.
Bill concerning Grand Sessions passed, also two bills empowering two parishes to choose a vestry. Mr. Edwards's papers referred to a Committee. Message to the Council, complaining of being so long kept in ignorance of the preparations for the Governor's reception, but expressing readiness to make provision for him. A Committee appointed to choose a house for the Governor, also a Committee of Correspondence. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 290–293.]
May 17. 469. Minutes of Council of New York. The Governor having consulted the Council as to the recommendations to be made to the Assembly, it was resolved that the following subjects should be brought before them:—(1) The debts of the Government. (2) Some provision for healing the differences among the people. (3) A bill to prevent abuses in the election of Representatives. The Governor also proposed the increase of the Representatives from nineteen to thirty, in order to put it out of the power of any future Governor to make a party. Four members appointed to swear in the Representatives.
May 18. On the petition of Lieutenant Young, which Lieutenant Sydenham was called in to hear, it was resolved that he is entitled to his full pay from the date of his commission.
May 19. The Representatives attended, pursuant to summons, when the Governor made them a speech (see Journal of the House of Representatives, 19 May). The Council expressed their concurrence in the same and returned their thanks to the Governor.
May 20. The Speaker and Representatives attended, when the Speaker read a speech expressing his intention to allay all animosities and bury all past heats as much as lay in his power, and claimed the usual privileges of his House, which were granted. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 91–98.]
May 18. 470. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Gerard Slye was bound over to take his trial at next Provincial Court. Henry Lowe sworn Sheriff of St. Mary's County. Order for arrest of the Under-Sheriff for his late proceedings as to Robert Mason. The Council of Trade's letter of 23 February, 1698, was read, and a proclamation as to taking service with foreign princes ordered. Order for an extract from the said letters as to trials in the Admiralty Courts of Maryland to be communicated to the law-officers. As to the passage wherein the Council mentions its former references to the state of the laws, the Governor said that he had received no letters containing such references. Mr. I_Popple's letter of 23 February read, and another letter from the Council of Trade, from which it was inferred that one of their former letters had miscarried. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. 505–508.]
May 18.
471. Minutes of General Council of the Leeward Islands. Governor Codrington present. The Assembly refusing to elect a Speaker in the absence of the members from Antigua, the Council concurred with the Governor that the members present being a majority had power to elect a Speaker, and dissolved the Assembly. Patent for land passed. The Governor suggested to the Council the expediency of continuing to keep an agent in England, and the Council unanimously agreed. Patent granted for 4,000 acres of land to John Perrie in the island of Spanish Town. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 533–534.]
May 18.
New York.
472. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to Council of Trade and Plantations. May 8. On the 9th of March I left Barbados, and on the 2nd of April landed at New York and entered upon the Government. By advice of the Council I issued writs for a New Assembly which will meet on the 18th, when I hope methods will be found for quieting and uniting the people, who have been divided by great heats for several years. The first occasion of them was the execution of those who had been most forward in the happy Revolution, and they have since been kept up and aggravated with such industry, that the presumption that I shall be equitable in my administration (or else their own guilt) has made the Council forget their oaths and their duty to the King. None of them have yet applied to inform me of the state of the province, nor have offered me any assistance in that Government, though they know that I am a stranger and am unbiassed by these animosities. Instead of this, constant clubs and cabals of them are daily held at Colonel Fletcher's lodgings, from whence, as I have great reason to believe, false reports are spread about the city and the province, whereby men's minds are disturbed and an odium cast on the Government. Thus the Council by drawing back endeavour to make the Government uneasy to me. I must also with great concern inform you that by the late administration the King's affairs have been so put out of frame that it will cost me much pains to bring them into order, and to support the dignity of the Government and the observance of the laws. The carelessness and corruption of the Customs and Revenue Officers have for some years past been such that though the trade of this place is four times as great as formerly and the city much enlarged, yet the revenue from Customs has decreased by one-half from what it was ten years ago; and the merchants have been so used to unlawful trade that they were almost ready to mutiny on some seizures that I caused to be made (a few days after I landed) on goods imported in an unfree bottom in the ship Fortune. It was with the greatest unwillingness and backwardness that the Collector, Mr. Chidley Brooke, made the seizure, who told me that it was not his business but the man-of-war's, that he had no boat, and other excuses. When I gave him positive orders which he could not avoid, yet by delaying four days he gave the ship an opportunity wholly to unload a rich cargo worth £20,000. I am told that several other ships have violated the Acts of Trade since my landing, which I could not prevent. I shall take the speediest measures for enforcing those Acts by suspending careless or corrupt officers, but I shall have little assistance from the Council, because they are most of them merchants and several of them concerned in breach of these laws; and I see by their carriage and their resentment of the seizure above mentioned that the discharge of my duty has given them an unaccustomed disturbance. However, I shall not be discouraged, but shall forthwith suspend several of them from the Council and try to find persons in their places who will be readier to assist me in enforcing the law. I send you the names of six persons of the best note for reputation and estates from which to fill the vacancies. This city has likewise been a nest of pirates, and I already find that several of their ships have been (and now are) out, are owned and were fitted out in this port and received commissions from the late Governor here. But I have reported on this more fully elsewhere. Since my arrival I have received many complaints of the maladministration of the late Governor, but I had no authority to call him to account. There is a great cry that Colonel Fletcher has embezzled and converted to his own use large sums of money, and I found that he intended for England before the meeting of the Assembly; wherefore to quiet the people and give him an opportunity to reply, I commissioned fit persons to receive, state and audit all the public accounts of this Government. Since, however, the proofs and vouchers of his accounts would delay his voyage to England in the Richmond, and also out of respect to the commission that he lately held, I have accepted his security to answer for all public moneys which will be found to have been irregularly disposed of by him, and I hope have thereby quieted people's minds somewhat. There is a great trade managed between this place and Madagascar from whence great quantities of East India goods are brought, which are certainly purchased from pirates. I do not know what to do herein, and beg for your directions. This practice is set up in order that the spoils taken by the pirates (set out from New York) may be brought here in merchant-ships whose owners are also owners and interested in the pirates' ships. One in particular, Captain Moston of the Fortune (now under seizure), although an unfree bottom, had Colonel Fletcher's commission as a privateer, and, as if protected thereby, did publicly load here for Madagascar and return with East India goods, supposed to be partly the produce of the cargo and partly pirates' goods, which were landed and concealed, all but the last boats. It was so contrived that the Fortune with Colonel Fletcher's commission was sent from here to Madagascar at the same time that the ships of Hore and Glover (two notorious pirates) were there, both of them also with Colonel Fletcher's commission. I find too that no Naval Officer was appointed by Colonel Fletcher to check the Collector, but both offices were discharged by Mr. Chidley Brooke, how faithfully I shall by next conveyance inform you. No care was taken for any register of ships in New York, but since my arrival I have appointed a distinct Naval Officer and a Register according to the intent of the Act of Parliament. The neglect of it has been of ill influence to trade, for many merchant-ships will be seized in other ports for not having certificates from the Register. Similar neglect in other governments has occasioned the seizing of several ships here, to remedy which, the Surveyor-General, Mr. Randolph, and the Collector, Mr. Brooke, have agreed, with consent of the Council, that security be given to the value of the ships for the production of certificates within a certain time, and that on this condition the ships may proceed on their voyages. I hope that you will approve this as preventing frauds on the King and yet not hindering trade.
I have ordered Colonel Romer, the King's engineer, to survey all the fortifications of this Government, and shall myself visit Albany within a month and order such new fortifications as are necessary to secure the province in case of war or invasion. I have given orders for the numbering of the inhabitants, and of the Five Nations, who are half destroyed by this war. I have appointed to meet the latter at Albany to renew their friendship, which was almost lost, four out of the five nations having agreed on a peace with the French before our peace was proclaimed. I find the forces in pay here in a miserable condition, not half the number of the establishment, almost starved, and full of complaints against the hardships they suffered before my arrival. I shall examine them all, remedy them as I can, and report to you. I presume that you will consider seriously the fact that the Government of the Jerseys has obtained leave to make two ports for trade in this Government. This will destroy the trade of New York city and province, which have established laws for customs whereby a considerable revenue is raised for support of Government. But if the Jerseys are allowed to load and unload ships free from such impositions, all merchants will resort thither, being but twenty miles distant, which will be the ruin of New York, the bulwark and defence of the neighbouring provinces. The law that imposes the customs here expires next year, and I fear that it will be difficult to revive it, as the people will be unwilling to put a clog on their trade from which the Jerseys are free. Thus a revenue worth £6,000 or £7,000 will be lost, and there will be nothing left to support the Government. I would not permit proclamations to be printed in this city declaring Perth Amboy and Burlington to be free ports, until I had reported the matter to you. I am assured that the Assembly at its meeting will fully represent its fatal inconveniences to the King. I have sent the proclamation and articles of peace to the Governors of Canada and Montreal, together with nineteen French prisoners. This had been neglected until I arrived, and I am informed that those Governors had received no notice nor orders therein from France. I enclose a printed collection of the laws and sundry proclamations, also copies of my letters to the Treasury, Admiralty and Commissioners of Customs. Signed, Bellomont. Postscript. 18 May. I have just received copy of an address or certificate which Governor Fletcher has procured, declaring his justice, good government, the current of the laws and the increase of trade, which he designs for absolving him from the complaints against him. I have yet no list of the subscribers, but I hear that many of the Council and inhabitants of the city have signed it, being the very persons concerned. They have grown rich together with him by fitting out pirate-ships and trading with Madagascar, Scotland and Curaçoa. Being instruments of his maladministration, they now justify him and thank him for that which will probably be censured by the King. By next conveyance I shall send you depositions of the subscribers which will contradict the certificate; which it is supposed that their guilt involved with that of Colonel Fletcher induced them to sign. 4½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 6 July, 1698. Entered in Board of Trade. New York, 52. pp. 312–320. Enclosed,
472. I. Proclamation of Lord Bellomont on his assumption of the Government, confirming all officers in their places. 2 April, 1698. Printed. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 6 July, 1698.
472. II. Proclamation of the same against swearing, Sabbath-breaking and immorality at large. 2 April, 1698. Printed. 1 p. Same endorsement.
472. III. Proclamation of the same against illegal practices in the election of Representatives. 2 April, 1698. 1 p. Printed. Same endorsement.
472. IV. Speech of Lord Bellomont to the Representatives of New York on the opening of the Assembly. 19 May, 1698. 3 pp. Printed. Same endorsement.
472. V. Copy of an Address to Colonel Fletcher from certain inhabitants of New York. Thanking him for the growth and prosperity of the city and province in spite of the expenses and hardships of the war. As the Royal bounty has contributed greatly to the rise and defence of the Province, so its flourishing state, the free current of the laws, the regular distribution of justice, the just and native freedom, must be attributed to Colonel Fletcher's prudent management and faithful discharge of duty. They hope that he may enjoy the favour of King and that God will reward his piety and justice. 1 p. Same endorsement.
472. VI. List of persons qualified to be of the Council. Colonel Abraham Depeyster, Philip French, Dr. Samuel Staats, Robert Livingston, William Beeckman, Adolphus Phillips. Signed, Bellomont. 28 May, 1698. Scrap. Same endorsement. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. Nos; 64, 64I.–VI.]
May 18.
New York.
473. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to Council of Trade and Plantations. May 8. Pursuant to the King's orders I have made strict enquiry as to pirates and the late Governor's dealings with them. I find that the pirates who have given the greatest disturbance in the Red Sea and the East Indies have either been fitted from New York or from Rhode Island, and manned at New York. The ships commanded by Mason, Tew, Glover and Hore had their commissions from the Governor of New York, the last three from Colonel Fletcher; and although these commissions (which are on record here) appear to be given only against the King's enemies, yet it was known to all the inhabitants of the city that the ships were bound to the Red Sea and the East Indies, the fact being openly declared by the commanders so as to enable them to raise men and proceed on their voyage quickly. So notoriously public was it that it was generally believed that they had assurance of protection from Colonel Fletcher if they would bring back their spoil to New York, and this will appear plainly from the protection that he did give them and the rewards that he received from them at their return. It is also clear that Tew, Glover and Hore received commissions from him when they had no ship within the Government of New York, and that they were permitted to raise men in New York with the open design of being bound to the Red Sea. Captain Tew, who had before been a notorious pirate, on his return from the East Indies with great riches visited New York, where, although a man of infamous character, he was received and caressed by Governor Fletcher, dined and supped often with him, and appeared with him publicly in his coach. They also exchanged presents, such as gold watches, with each other. All this is known to most of this city, and on this Colonel Fletcher gave him his commission. Mason's ship returned under the command of one Coates about 1693, and the crew having shared the booty were encouraged in this province and received protection from Colonel Fletcher. See the deposition of one Burgess enclosed. The deposition of Edward Taylor, another of the pirates, will shew you the bargain made by him, on behalf of the ship's crew, with Colonel Fletcher and Mr. William Nicoll of the Council, as also the rewards that they were to have and did receive from the said Taylor and his company. I have promised to intercede for pardons to these two men, or I should not have obtained their evidence, so I beg that they may have the benefit of my promise. I believe it to be less criminal in men of their loose principles to act such things than in a Government to give them encouragement and impunity. For his favour to this crew Colonel Fletcher received their ship, which he sold to Colonel Heathcote for £800, as well as private presents which are reported to have been made to his wife and daughter and his rewards for particular protection, which I find were commonly rated at 100 dollars a man. Besides this there were gratifications to his broker, William Nicoll, and other small rewards to his clerk, Daniel Honan, as the deposition shews. I have also discovered that protections were publicly exposed for sale at the above rates to pirates that were of other companies, and I have already gained the originals, of which I send copies. Hereby you will see Colonel Fletcher's art to get money, and how far he was from suspecting or prosecuting these pirates when their guilt made them by the protection which the law gives to honest men, and to which honest men had a right without purchase. It is indeed suggested that Colonel Fletcher took bond from the protected pirates not to leave the province without licence, but I am informed that several of them had licence, though whether they were only colourable securities from men of invisible substance or what their nature was I cannot learn, for the bonds are not deposited in New York, nor can I find that any of the pirates or their bonds were ever prosecuted. I find only that the last mentioned protections were purchased and no bonds given for them. I find also that Colonel Bayard of the Council was Colonel Fletcher's broker in procuring them, and you will see by the enclosed depositions what reward they obtained and what the manner of their bartering was.
I have also the information of one Rayner, said to be one of Every's crew, who landed at the east end of Nassau Island with a treasure valued at £1,500. He and his chest of money were seized by the Sheriff, but on application to Colonel Fletcher and the giving (as is believed) of a considerable reward, both were discharged. Soon afterwards he purchased land in this province, but fled on the publication of the proclamation against Every's men. Two men, Emott and Weekes, were his brokers. I enclose Emott's deposition, also that of the sheriff, Josiah Hobart, and of Weekes, who was Rayner's friend. I have heard also of several other protections purchased from Colonel Fletcher, but I am assured that no pirate was prosecuted during his term of office, and although James Graham, the Attorney-General, is a man of known ability and great integrity to the King's service, yet Colonel Fletcher has transacted this whole business of protecting the pirates without consulting him. I find indeed that to colour his advantages from pirates, Colonel Fletcher overawed or amused the Council into an order that Coates's ship and crew should be permitted to come into New York in order to claim the benefit of a New York Act. I enclose copies of the Council's order and of the Act, which latter shews that the pirates were entitled to no benefit under it; yet they were admitted, protected and never prosecuted. I have further information that five sail, supposed to be pirates, were seen hovering round the coast since my arrival, and that one of them landed some men in the Jerseys to ask who was Governor here. On learning that I was come they departed, not daring to come to this Government, so that my coming is reputed to have caused Colonel Fletcher great loss. On their proofs I summoned the Council on the 8th of May, communicated my instructions as to pirates and the evidence affecting Colonel Fletcher and Mr. Nicoll, on which the Council expressed abhorrence of their practices, and agreed with me that the evidence should be authenticated and Colonel Fletcher sent home a prisoner. Mr. Nicoll they thought should be made to answer for his offence here, believing that he had no estate at home and that it would ruin him to send him away from his affairs here. He is, moreover, related by marriage to several of them, so I found them somewhat tender of him. I was myself inclined to think that, being involved in guilt with Colonel Fletcher, he ought to be sent home with him, but I was prevailed upon to accept £2,000 security for his appearance to answer the charge and meanwhile to suspend him from the Council. The Council also agreed with me that a proclamation should be issued against pirates, so that this Government should not be blamed for the neglect of the last. I must beg you to submit to the King's consideration the case of the pirates who have surrendered themselves and received protections from Colonel Fletcher. I have not proceeded against them, since I could not violate the protections, being an act of public faith, without the King's orders. While reporting the suspension of Mr. Nicoll, I must add that he is a man of good sense and knowledge in the law, but that he has been a great contriver and instrument of corrupt and unjust practices under the late Governor. Further proofs of this will be sent to you as they come to my hands. Moreover, in spite of the Council's resolution, I have not presumed to deal harshly with Colonel Fletcher, who so lately held the King's commission, but send home only the proofs, so that you may be apprised of the matter, and satisfied of my zeal for the King's service. Signed, Bellomont. Postscript. 18 May. Since closing the foregoing I had an opportunity to surprise and take a considerable number of pirates expected on board H.M.S. Richmond. You will gather my measures from my letter to the Admiralty and its enclosures, and although they were not as successful as I had hoped, nothing more could be done. I have discovered the record of the pirates' commissions and of the bonds that they gave to Colonel Fletcher when he granted them commissions; and they appear to be so fraudulent that it is a proof that he was apprised of their design of piracy. Thus Thomas Tew's and John Hore's commissions are signed by Colonel Fletcher and countersigned by his private secretary, Daniel Honan, but their bonds to him are signed by Coates, a notorious pirate, and John Feny (a Popish tailor of this city and a beggar) and by the above-named Daniel Honan. These bonds were left in Honan's custody, who about three months before my arrival blotted out his name and tore off his seal from them. I received them thus defaced, but have ascertained from the witnesses that the bonds were signed and sealed by Honan. I refer it to the King's consideration how far Colonel Fletcher is answerable for taking such Knights' of the Posts security for these men, who have since been the worst of pirates. Without doubt he is answerable for the trust of his private secretary, who was bound with them and has since defaced the bonds. I send copies of letters to me from the Duke of Shrewsbury and Secretary Vernon, ordering me to enquire as to Colonel Fletcher's relations with pirates, also the memorial of the East India Company which occasioned them, and a printed copy of our proceedings in Council, which I was forced to publish in order to confute several scandalous stories that had been spread about by ill men. Signed, Bellomont. 4 pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 6 July, 1698. Entered in Board of Trade. New York, 52. pp. 323–337. Enclosed,
473. I. Certificate of the authenticity of the documents enclosed. 25 May, 1698. Seal gone. Parchment. 1 p.
473. II. Deposition of Samuel Burgess. 3 May, 1698. I was one of the crew of the ship Jacob, Captain William Mason, which was fitted out as a privateer at New York with a commission from Jacob Leisler, and sailed to Madagascar. There I left her, but I heard from the crew that she went on that September to the East Indies. In April she returned to Madagascar, where I went on board again, and we sailed to the Red Sea, where we took three ships and returned to Madagascar in September. We shared eighteen hundred dollars a man. About the beginning of next April we came to the east end of Long Island, Edward Coates being then captain, when Edmund Taylor was sent ashore to procure leave from the Governor for the ship to come in to New York. After five days' absence he returned, bringing permission; and we anchored about five miles from New York City. Here I and the rest of the company left her, but fifty-five men had joined her in Long Island and ten where we lay at anchor, each of the last having protections from Colonel Fletcher. The ship was shortly afterwards given to him. William Nicoll came on board of her while at anchor. The sailors made a collection which they gave to the captain to prevent their being put to trouble, some giving seventy, some a hundred dollars, but I do not know what was done with it. I gave Mr. Honan two gold sequins for Governor Fletcher's protection. I afterwards saw several of the crew in the town of New York. Copy. 1½ pp.
473. III. Deposition of Edward Taylor. 7 May, 1698. Confirming the foregoing deposition. On going ashore to obtain leave for that pirate-ship to come into New York, he sought out William Nicoll, who went with him to Governor Fletcher, whom he acquainted with the facts of the voyage. He promised £700 to Fletcher and Nicoll if the ships might be brought in and protections given to the crew, which they engaged to do. Nicoll returned with the deponent to Long Island. The promise of £700 could not be fulfilled because the crew had dispersed, so the owners made the Governor a present of the ship. The crew also collected £200 afterwards as a present to Nicoll. Copy. 1½ pp.
473. IV., V., VI. Copies of protections granted by Governor Fletcher to two men, one of them of the ship Jacob. 15 April, 1693, 24 May, 1694.
473. VII. Deposition of Leonard Lewis. My brother, who had sailed with the pirate Tew in the Red Sea, asked for my advice how he should escape trouble on that account. I went to Mr. Nicholas Bayard, of the Council, who advised me to go to Governor Fletcher; upon which I asked him to apply to him on my behalf, when he answered that a protection could not be obtained for less than 100 dollars. I replied that my brother was poor, and offered 75 dollars, which Colonel Bayard took, saying that he would try what he could do. He afterwards delivered me the protection signed by Colonel Fletcher, who was then at Philadelphia. I gave Colonel Bayard twelve pieces of Arabian gold for his trouble. Samual Staats had a similar transaction with Colonel Bayard to my knowledge. Copy. 1 p.
473. VIII. Deposition of Dr. Samuel Staats. As to paying 75 dollars for a protection for his brother-in-law, who had gone on a pirates' voyage, through Colonel Bayard, to whom he paid twelve pieces of Arabian gold for his good offices. Copy. ¾ p.
473. IX. Deposition of James Emott. One Rayner sent me one Weekes to ask my advice how to recover a chest which had been seized by Sheriff Josiah Hobart. I recommended him to apply to the Governor, when Weekes insinuated that he would be willing to give 100 dollars for discharge of the chest. We both went to Governor Fletcher accordingly, who showed seeming anger, saying that he would not sell justice, but I understand that order was given for the chest to be discharged on Rayner's giving security not to leave the province within twelve months without licence. But I know nothing of this for certain, nor that any reward was actually paid to Governor Fletcher. Copy. ½ p.
473. X. Copy of Minutes of Council of New York. 17 April, 1693. On the Governor's motion the Council agreed to admit a ship to New York to take the benefit of a New York Act against pirates. ½ p.
473. XI. Memorandum that the copy of the Act referred to in No. X. was affixed to some other papers, but that it is to be found on p. 97 of the Printed Laws of New York. Scrap.
473. XII. Proclamation of the Earl of Bellomont for the suppression of pirates. 9 May, 1698. Printed. 1 p.
473. XIII.–XVI. Depositions of Thomas Wenham and three others, as to the signing and sealing by Daniel Honan of the bonds given by the pirates Hore and Tew. Each ½ p.
473. XVII. Letters to the East India Company, dated Bombay, 15 January, and Calicut, 30 November, 1696. As to depredations committed by the pirate Mason on ships in Calicut Roads and elsewhere in the East Indies, and the report that these pirates came from New York and were encouraged by the Governor. The people at Calicut were so much exasperated that they would have destroyed the English factory, but for the presence of some English soldiers, saying that as the pirates were English they must have to do with the Company. Copy. 1¼ p.
473. XVIII. Copy of a letter from the Duke of Shrewsbury to the Earl of Bellomont. 25 Sept., 1697. Ordering him to convey the King's orders to the Governors in America for strict repression of pirates. 1¼ pp.
473. XIX. Copy of a letter from Secretary Vernon to the Earl of Bellomont. 7 October, 1697. Forwarding copy of the East India Company's memorial (No. XVII.) and directing him to enquire into the matter on his arrival at New York. 1 p.
473. XX. Printed copy of the proceedings of the Council of New York. 8 May, 1698. As to the evidence against Colonel Fletcher, William Nicoll and Captain Evans of H.M.S. Richmond, of conniving with pirates. 4 pp. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. Nos. 65, 65 I.–XX.]
May 18.
New York.
474. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to the Lords of the Admiralty. On my arrival here 1 found H.M.S. Richmond, whose commander had received your orders to sail with an expedition to England. On the 18th April Captain Evans brought me a memorial that he wanted forty sailors. I replied that it would be difficult to get them, as so few were in port, and that it would make much disturbance among the merchants, to which he answered that he believed he could be manned by the pirates. Startled at this proposal I told him that it would be dangerous to trust a King's ship to such men, since they might rise and carry her off. He answered that he had no fear of that and so left me; but I was still apprehensive that mischief might come of so manning the Richmond, and was confirmed in my apprehensions by Captain Evans's waiting on me some days after and asking for an order for ten sailors. I asked how he had so far filled up his complement, and he said that he had thirty volunteers who would pay their passage. I then considered how I might seize the pirates and defeat any design of theirs in the Richmond, and, without revealing my design to Captain Evans, of whom I was jealous, I told him that I would have his sailing orders and my packets ready for him against he was ready. He then told me that he intended to sail to the watering-place on Staten Island and in a day or two to drop down to Sandy Hook, where he expected eight or ten men to come aboard him, and that when he was ready he would come up to New York for my packets. He did so, and on the 8th of May attended me at Fort William Henry. Against his coming I had prepared everything, and on his attendance I confined him in a room in my house and gave a commission and instructions to Captain Culliford to command the Richmond during Captain Evan's suspension, and full instructions for the seizing of the pirates, also forty well-armed sailors to attend him in boats, and four gentlemen, whom I could trust to assist him. On the same day I summoned the Council and acquainted them with the whole matter, when it was resolved that Captain Evans should be confined or give security to appear when demanded, until I could hear the result of my preparations from the Richmond; but not to be too hard on an officer bearing the King's commission I accepted his own recognisance of £1,000 and discharged him the same evening. On the 10th of May, in the morning, I heard from Captain Culliford that the lieutenant of the ship was absent in the Jerseys, that he had searched her and mustered the sailors, but found no pirates nor any suspected persons. But from the muster-rolls that he sent me I found that there were still forty men wanting of the full complement, of whom Evans had assured me that he had listed thirty. But whether any pirates were to come on board the Richmond on a given sign, or to come on board at sea, I can make no discovery further than the jealousy created in me by Captain Evans's speeches, which were the beginning of all this trouble to him and to me. On the 11th of May, therefore, I restored Captain Evans to his command on his protestation that he never had any pirates on board the King's ships nor would take any. On the same day he gave me a memorial asking for ten sailors, and I gave him a warrant to press so many. My jealousy in this matter was strengthened by the great friendship between Captain Evans and Colonel Fletcher, who has been a great encourager of pirates and has enriched himself by giving them protection. He sails for England on the Richmond. The strictness of my orders as to pirates was the reason for my dealing with Captain Evans as I did. Signed, Bellomont. Postscript. I am told that Colonel Fletcher during five years very seldom ordered the Richmond to cruise, lest she should hinder pirates from bringing their spoil in to New York and disturb the unlawful traders, who have every imaginable liberty in this port. Several pirates have been hovering about the coast, but went away on hearing that the Governor had been changed. I think it would be much for the King's service that an extraordinary sailer, sixth rate, full manned and with an active commander, should be appointed to attend this Government. She could destroy pirates, who made New York their nest, and help the other men-of-war. I detained the Richmond a few days for my packets. Captain Evans pretended to be ready on the 8th—the day I searched his ship—but on the 17th he had not got the men for whom he held my press-warrant; and since the 17th he has attended my dispatch. 2 pp. Enclosed,
474. I. Memorial of Captain John Evans, to Lord Bellomont, asking for forty men for H.M.S. Richmond. 18 April, 1698. Copy. ¼ p.
474. II. Commission of Lord Bellomont to Captain Richard Culliford to command H.M.S. Richmond. 7 May, 1698. Copy. 1 p.
474. III. Instructions of Lord Bellomont to Captain Culliford. 7 May, 1668. To board H.M.S. Richmond with forty armed men, detain all strangers, muster the men, seize all pirates on board, also Daniel Honan, if he be on board, and board and search all merchant ships for pirates. Copy. 2¼ pp.
474. IV. List of the officers, seamen and passengers on board H.M.S. Richmond, when searched on 8 May, 1698, 73 men in all, of whom 17 absent on leave. Copy. 1 p.
474. V. Memorial of Captain Evans to Lord Bellomont. Asking for ten men to complete his crew. 11 May, 1698. Scrap. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. Nos. 66, 66I.–V.; and (without enclosures) 52. pp. 345–352.]
May 18. 475. Journal of the House of Representatives of New York. Sixteen members met and were sworn. Philip French elected Speaker.
May 19. The House attended the Governor, who made the following speech. My voyage was long and tedious, but I have endeavoured by industry to make up the loss of time. I find that my predecessor has left me a divided people, an empty treasury, a few miserable, naked, half-starved soldiers—not half the number the King allowed paid for—the fortifications and the Governor's house much out of repair, and, in a word, the whole Government out of frame. I recommend to you to consider the remedies for these disorders, and you may be sure of my hearty concurrence in quenching past heats and animosities. It has been represented to the Government in England that this province has been a noted receptacle of pirates and seat of illegal trade. I hope that you will discountenance to the utmost piracy, which is the worst form of robbery. The King's orders to me for repression thereof are very strict. But though I shall do my utmost against piracy and unlawful trade, I shall encourage a lawful trade by all means in my power. I find that the revenue is about expiring. I hope that you will not increase my difficulties by leaving the Government destitute. I shall take care that there is no misapplication of public money. The accounts shewing the Government's debts will be laid before you. I have ordered the engineer to inspect the fortifications on the frontier, and his report shall be laid before you. Pray think of the means of reconciling your differences, that you may be a united people. I recommend also a law to put an end to abuses which have flourished in the election of members to the Assembly. I conclude by asking you to join me in an address of thanks and congratulation to the King on the peace. Speech ends. Philip French was approved as Speaker. Petition of Samuel Staats, John Depeyster, Leonard Lewis and Abraham Gouverneur presented, complaining that Ebenezer Wilson, sheriff, had refused to poll their voters, excluding all those of the County of Orange, and by other means cancelling their votes, whereby petitioners, though they had a majority of voices, were declared not elected.
May 20. Address of thanks voted to the Governor for his speech. The Governor granted the usual privileges claimed by the Speaker.
May 21. Carried that an address of congratulation be sent to the King upon the peace. Adjourned to 23rd. Printed. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 935–938 and 949–950.]
May 19.
New York.
476. Earl of Bellomont to the Lieutenant-Governor and Council of Massachusetts. This goes by Mr. Bridger, one of the Commissioners appointed to inspect and report on the supply of naval stores by New Hampshire and New England. I hope you will give him every assistance alike in obedience to the King's orders and for the profit of England and of the Colonies. Copy. ½ p. Endorsed, Transmitted in Lord Bellomont's letter of 25 May. Recd. 6 July, 1698. [Board of Trade. New England, 9. No. 24.]
May 19. 477. Petition of Alexander Hardine, Lieutenant in Colonel Gibsone's regiment lately disbanded, to Council of Trade and Plantations. I was willing to have stayed in Newfoundland if the Colonel had thought fit. Being the eldest lieutenant of the regiment, I beg for the command of the party that is to be kept standing as garrison of the fortifications of St. Johns. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 19 May, 1698. [Board of Trade. New-foundland, 3. No. 113.]
May 19.
478. Mr. Secretary Vernon to William Popple. Pray inform the Council of Trade that the application of the Hudson's Bay Company, for a man-of-war to convoy their ships to the Bay, has been referred by the King to the Cabinet Council and the Council of Trade, and that they will meet at your office on the 21st to hear the arguments of the Company. Signed, Ja. Vernon. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 20 May, 1698. [Board of Trade. Hudson's Bay, 2. No. 19; and 3. pp. 64–65.]
May 19.
479. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Sir William Beeston. Since our last of 21 March, we have received yours of 9 December and 1 March. Your first letter seems not now to require an answer, because of the great change in all public affairs by the peace. We take note of your thoughts relating to the Acts of Trade, and desire you to communicate to us whatever you think will be to the advantage of Jamaica in time of peace. On your intelligence of Mr. Towse's death we sent for Mr. Baber, who, on our representation, not only promised that sufficient security should be given you for the good execution of his office, but would give such orders about it as would be effectual. If there be any failure in the performance you will apprise us. We have heard nothing more of the complaints of the Naval Captains against you, and if any be made as to your disposal of the stores, we hope that you will be praised instead of blamed. On our representation a fourth-rate and a sixth-rate ship have been appointed for the service of Jamaica in time of peace. You have sent no Naval accounts, as required by your instructions. You will send them regularly in future. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 56. pp. 195–197.]
May 19.
480. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Grey. Among the Acts of Barbados sent to us was one declaring the decision of controverted elections to the Assembly to lie in the representatives of the people. On perusing the journals we find that Governor Russell refused to pass an Act of like nature, and that the present Act was passed by the President and Council since his death. The preamble declares that till of late years all disputes of that nature have been decided by the Assembly. We desire you to enquire exactly into the ancient practice herein and to send us the proofs of what is alleged by the Assembly in support of their claim. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44. pp. 208–209.]
May 19.
481. Council of Trade and Plantations to the President and Council of Barbados. We have received yours of 2 March. We await the accounts of the Treasury, and also of the Naval Office, of which we have received none later than Michaelmas, 1696. We have not been unmindful of representing the necessity of a good supply of negroes for Barbados, as for other islands. Parliament is now considering the trade to Africa, and we hope that, if any Act passes for the establishment of that Company, it will be with such enlargements and regulations that the Colonies will find benefit by it. In reply to your request that the 4½ per cent. duty should be applied to the purposes for which it was raised, we would point out that the King applies not only the whole of that revenue but much greater sums to the support and benefit of the Colonies. This letter will arrive together with Mr. Grey, who has other instructions to communicate to you. Signed. J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44. pp. 209–211.]
May 19. 482. William Popple to the Naval Officer of Barbados. Pointing out the inconvenience of the form in which the Naval accounts are at present made out in Barbados and suggesting a better method. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44. pp. 211–212.]
May 19. 483. William Popple to the Secretary of Barbados. With reference to the Acts recently received there from Barbados I am to make the following observations. In the Act for the speedy supply of arms, ammunition and white servants, there appear the words "the African Company who are hereafter separately taxed." Yet the African Company is not again mentioned in the Act, which, whether it be a defect in the Act or an error in copying, should have been better taken care of. Again under date 8 May, 1696, is a memorandum that "the Act of Excise was then passed, which agrees with that passed on 23 March, 1694," adding only an exception, the Treasurer's allowance. The whole Act ought to have been copied at length and not only hinted at by a reference. I am further to call upon you for an explanation of these matters. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44. pp. 213–214.]
May 20.
Transport Office.
484. Commissioners of Transport to Council of Trade and Plantations. By Mr. Blathwayt's order we sent an account of the provisions sent in the ship John and William to Newfoundland, which as the enclosed letter of the owner shows, is detained there contrary to agreement. We do not know what quantity of the provisions has been expended, nor do we know why the ship has been detained. Signed, Sam. Atkinson, John Henley. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 20, Read 23 May, 1698. Enclosed,
484. I. Copy of a letter of John de Grave and William Holman, London, 19 May, 1698. The fly-boat John and William which was taken up to carry provisions to Newfoundland in August last, arrived there about 20 November. The Master applied to the Governor and others to take out the cargo, but none would meddle therewith, so he has laid out his lay days according to charter-party and now lies in demurrage to our great damage. We beg that orders may be sent to Newfoundland for her to be cleared and for demurrage to be paid, or that you will give us some assurance that the ship will be continued in the above said service until she comes back to London. ½ p.
484. II. Account of the provisions embarked in the ship John and William for Newfoundland in August, 1697. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. Nos. 114, 114 I., II.; and (without enclosures) 25. p. 224.]
May 20.
485. Minutes of General Council of the Leeward Islands. Patents for lands in Montserrat granted. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. p. 534.]