America and West Indies: May 1698, 26-31

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


'America and West Indies: May 1698, 26-31', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905), pp. 244-259. British History Online [accessed 24 June 2024].

. "America and West Indies: May 1698, 26-31", in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905) 244-259. British History Online, accessed June 24, 2024,

. "America and West Indies: May 1698, 26-31", Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905). 244-259. British History Online. Web. 24 June 2024,

May 1698

May 26. The Representatives presented the list of Councillors elected by them, who were approved by the Lieutenant-Governor and sworn. The Lieutenant-Governor then made a speech recommending the securing of the frontier against rebel Indians, provision for the support of the Government, and the making and reviving of laws. The Order of the Lords Justices in Council, respecting the admission of Customs-officers to appeal to the King in Council, and the Council's address thereon, were read and ordered to be laid before the Assembly. The gentlemen who had waited on Lord Bellomont returned this day, bringing a letter from his Lordship, which was sent down to the Assembly, as was also another letter from him referring to naval stores which was presented by Mr. Bridger. Thanks voted to Nicholas Noyes for his sermon.
May 27. Members appointed for a joint committee respecting the Lords Justices' order concerning appeals. Debate on the Acts disallowed by the King. Order to prepare bills to re-enact the Acts as to Precedents, and for establishing of ports and fixing fees for entry and clearing. On Mr. Bridger's application for a guard to protect him while inspecting the forests, a Committee was appointed to ascertain his instructions and the measures that he proposes to take with regard to naval stores.
May 28. A petition of William Peabody for leave to appeal from a judgment of the inferior Court, read. Bill to explain the law referring to inhabitants read and debated. [Board of Trade. New England, 48. pp. 219–224.]
May 26. 506. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Collectors' accounts and shipping lists sworn to. Order for the accounts of the revenue to be ready by the end of August. George Plater asked for further time to make up his accounts of the money appropriated to the public arms. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 13. pp. 510–512.]
May 26.
507. Governor Nicholson to James Vernon. My congratulations to you on your elevation to so honourable a place of trust, but all who know you must own that it is due to your merit. My thanks for your letter telling me that you will give no credit to reports to my disadvantage. I beg that the King will order those who accuse me to sign their accusations and give security (for such as Slye are in debt more than they are worth) to prosecute their accusations, so that I may have my remedy at law. Sir Thomas Laurence having been dangerously ill last winter is obliged to remove to England. I have always found him entirely devoted to the King's service, in attending of which, both at home and at other place, he has suffered much in health and estate. He has full powers and instructions from me to lay before the King the state of the province. Kindly continue us both under your patronage. Signed, Fr. Nicholson. 1 p. [America and West Indies. 558. No. 6.]
May 26.
508. Gerard Slye to James Vernon. I attended you on my return to England last year to give you an account of Governor Nicholson's ill-practices, and have since brought to your office several articles together with John Coode's petition against him, to be laid before the King in Council. Having since returned hither I send you a further account of Nicholson, which I hope you will the more readily pardon since it is for the King's service. All thinking men are amazed that such a man should have twisted himself into any post in Government, for besides his incapacity and illiteracy he is a man who first in New York, then in Virginia and at last in Maryland, has always professed himself an enemy to the present King and Government. You will see by copy of a letter writ from this Government what a mark they gave him from his true character. He is still the same man, and I have such incredible accounts every day of him that I should prefer to be silent about them if I were not sure of proving them. By some means he obtained a copy of the rough draft of the first accusations against him and proceeded ex parte to examine witnesses and take affidavits as he thought fit to have them drawn to clear himself, for he would not allow the people before or after they were sworn to read over their depositions. Since then he has called an Assembly and would have had them clear him, but they would not meddle in it, neither could they, since many of the members could not only testify the truth of the charges but also to other ill actions, the worst of crimes. When he found he could not have his end with them and that they were about to redress the grievances of the province he adjourned them, and has since prorogued them twice; and it is thought he will not let them sit lest they should inspect his abuses, as they certainly will whenever they sit. I heartily wish a new Governor were hastened hither for the good of the country and all concerned. The whole province longs for a gentleman who is qualified for Government and loyal to the King. I doubt not you may be instrumental to so good a work. I enclose the heads of other articles against him. Signed, Gerard Slye. 2 pp. Enclosed,
508. I. Further articles of crimes and misdemeanours against Governor Nicholson. (1) He makes his chaplain walk bareheaded before him from home to church. (2) While at Common Prayer, at the beginning of the Litany, he called Captain Thomas Waughop, member of Assembly, rogue and rascal, and kicked him out of the church. (3) He goes to receive the sacrament in a military manner with drums beating, sword by side, and the flag flying on the house where divine service is said. (4) He usually makes his chaplain wait ten or twelve hours for service, so that often morning prayer is said in the evening. His chaplain, Mr. Peregrine Coney, a "pious and good gentleman, the credit of the clergy in "this province, happening one day by the Governor's "means a little disguised in drink," the Governor sent for him to perform divine service, though he excused himself. Knowing the condition he was in, the Governor yet commanded him in, exposed him to the congregation, calling him dog, and then ordered him to be turned out of doors. (6) He offered a sum of money towards building a popish chapel at Annapolis. (7) He opened the popish chapel at St. Maries, which was shut up from the Revolution till his arrival, and then allowed them publicly to say mass, nearly in view of a Court of Justice. (8) He has often attempted to debauch several young women, gentlemen's daughters, in this province. (9) It is publicly reported here that he ravished a Quaker girl in Pennsylvania. (10) In his unreasonable passion he has often cursed and sworn very profanely before and after receiving the sacrament. (11) His open hypocrisy and profaneness have made more proselytes to the Roman religion than all the arguments of the Jesuits. More have turned to that religion during his Government than in forty years before, viz., 60 in St. Maries County, and more in Charles County last year. (12) By forcing people to swear on every frivolous occasion he causes many to forswear themselves. (13) It is usual with him to fall a cursing and swearing and to beat, wound and abuse several good inhabitants immediately before and after coming from prayers. (14) In his usual discourse with the inhabitants it has always been his custom to avoid speaking of the King as King William, but to use general terms, such as the King and Crown of England. (15) He has also avoided giving Commissions to the military officers, for what reason is unknown, though often requested to do so. (16) He chambers and threatens members of Assembly with ruin unless they assent to his proposals. (17) In July, 1696, he took the Speaker's seat without consent of the House, called him rogue and rascal and threatened him with ruin. In the same Assembly he threatened the Representatives of the whole province with imprisonment in his dungeon built at Annapolis for not complying with his unreasonable demand, intimating further that he expected a rising of their counties, which would enable him to hang them all up. (18) He opposed the King's orders as to giving assistance to New York, advising the Assembly to find some way to avoid them; and in May, 1697, when there was £400 or £500 in bank and the Assembly was willing to contribute it, he pressed them to dispose of it otherwise, except £160, which he pretended was the whole stock. (19) He issues warrants for the seizure of persons and of their personal estates on bare information of frivolous crimes. (20) In January, 1698, he summoned divers persons to appear before him and Council at Battle Town in Calvert County, and then caused them to give on oath answers to sundry questions intended to clear him from the accusations of Gerard Slye; nor would he allow the deponents to read them or take copies of them. (21) The writs for a new election to the Assembly were issued by the Governor and Council bearing date of the time of taking these depositions. (22) The members thus elected met in February, were prorogued to the 8th of March and then to the 10th, when a full House of Assembly appeared at Annapolis. (23) The reasons given by the Governor for calling an Assembly were business with the Indians, the settling of the militia and redress of grievances, but before they could proceed to business he laid before them certain articles preferred by Gerard Slye against him and asked them to vindicate him. The Assembly first considered and dealt with the questions of the Indians and militia, and then addressed the Governor as to public grievances; but as the grievances interfered with the articles, the Governor, instead of redressing them, asked who presented them to the Committee of Grievances, and demanded likewise to know the names of the Burgesses who had voted the same to be grievances. This unprecedented and unparliamentary proceeding satisfied the House that he designed to redress no grievances, and they therefore prayed him to put an end to the Assembly. He kept them, however, for eighteen days afterwards, offering no business to them except the said articles and some other matter about Sir Edmund Andros and Mr. Penn, which they conceived to be of no interest to the King or that country, but to arise from private difference and prejudice. They therefore refused to meddle with any of the said matters, and begged him not to detain them then on business which was not for the country's good, and to which they could not in conscience consent. They received several threatening answers and after twenty eight days' sitting resolved to address the King. The Governor, on understanding this, prorogued them to the 3rd of May. All of these matters appear in the Journal of Assembly, which for his own ends he violently and with menaces of present durance in a dungeon extracted from the Speaker, who by order of the House was to have the keeping of the said journal, which was a duplicate of another returned to the Secretary's office by the Clerk of Assembly. The House gave this order to prevent his abuses in altering their journals, as to their great damage and experience they have been served. 7 pp. [America and West Indies. 558. Nos. 7, 7 I.]
May 26.
509. The Secretary of Massachusetts to William Popple. Advising the despatch of Minutes, Journals and Acts. Lord Bellomont is still at New York, where he arrived on 2 April. Signed, Isa. Addington. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 5 Sept. Read 26 Oct., 1698. [Board of Trade. New England, 9. No. 27; and 37. pp. 25–26.]
May 26.
510. William Popple to the Attorney and Solicitor-General. Forwarding an Act of Massachusetts of 1697, prohibiting the export of coin and bullion, for the opinion of one of them thereon. [Board of Trade. New England, 36. p. 385.]
May 26. 511. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. A General Council appointed for 3 June for choosing officers in cases of vacancy and necessity. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. p. 153.]
May 26.
512. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. As the time for the sailing of the convoy to Newfoundland is come, we recommend that, as there is no Governor or Government there, the Commander-in-Chief of the convoys should have superior command over the forts and soldiers during his stay and should inspect and report on all the stores. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 25. p. 232.]
May 27.
New York.
513. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to the Commissioners of Customs, I have by this conveyance reported to the Lords of the Treasury and the Council of Trade the decrease in the revenue of New York, notwithstanding the great increase of trade, owing to the corruption of the Custom-house officers with the connivance of the late Government. I have already checked their licentious practices by the seizure of a ship, but the observance of the Acts of Trade was so great a novelty that it gave as great discontent as the infringement of their charter. I have some information of the ill behaviour of Mr. Chidley Brooke, and when the proofs appear I will send them to you. Meanwhile I fear that I shall be forced to suspend him for his remissness and backwardness. With good officers to assist me I am well assured that the Customs-revenue would be advanced. Mr. Randolph I find is an active and intelligent officer, but his employ will not suffer him to be long in one place. He was here last, but is now gone towards Boston. He told me that he would report to you how often ships of unfree bottoms and prohibited goods unlade in Connecticut without interruption, and then the empty vessels come to New York, there being no provision of officers yet made in that Colony. There are likewise several ships that go from New York to Madagascar and (as is supposed) trade with pirates; nor do we know how to remedy it. The publication of the Royal order as to the Jerseys has given great satisfaction here. Arrest was lately laid on Mr. Randolph in this city for a seizure made in Virginia, which was perfectly regular and in discharge of his duty. I considered that if such vexation and trouble were permitted to be done him, the King's service could never be done, for his arrest might be so timed as to prevent a considerable seizure and his securities at home are answerable for any mismanagements; yet I could not tell how to stop the regular course of the law. I could only send for the parties and tell them how ill I took their proceedings against a King's officer, what damage it might be to the King's affairs, and that, unless they had good cause of action, they might be sure of all the discountenance that I could give them forever. However, security was ordered to be given for Mr. Randolph and he proceeded to Boston. I wish some method could be found in future to prevent such rubs in the officers' ways, and that I may have orders therein. I have appointed Thomas Palmer to be Naval Officer. Certified copy. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 9 July, 1698. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. No. 71; and 52. pp. 353–356.]
May 27.
New York.
514. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to William Popple. Giving a list of the packets forwarded to the Council of Trade. Signed, Bellomont. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 6 July, 1698. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. No. 72; and 52. pp. 311–312.]
May 27.
515. William Popple to Daniel Parke. Forwarding a list of queries, identical with those sent to Henry Hartwell (see preceding Vol. No. 1320) for his answers thereto. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 37. p. 207.]
May 28.
St. James's.
516. Mr. Pulteney to William Popple. In answer to yours of 25th, the Victualling Board attended Lord Romney at the Ordnance Office some days ago, and said that they should not require a store-keeper in Newfoundland, whereupon, to ease the charge of the office, Lord Romney and the Ordnance Board resolved that the master-gunner there should act as store-keeper, receiving a small additional allowance for his trouble. As to the chain, boom, etc., I am informed that the Ordnance never provide such things, and therefore they were not included in the estimate sent by that Board. The person intended to be master-gunner at Newfoundland is now there, so that if the Council of Trade has any instructions for him, Lord Romney will transmit them. Signed, J. Pulteney. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. 28, Read 30 May, 1698. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 3. No. 116; and 25. p. 233.]
May 28.
517. Governor Nicholson to Council of Trade and Plantations. I have received yours of 27 October, 17 November, and 23 February last. I should have written earlier, but this is the first safe opportunity, for the ship Jeffreys, which was designed to have sailed before Christmas, has been hindered through the winter setting in very early. It was very sharp with great frosts and snows, and did not break up until the latter end of March. These were the reasons why the tobaccos were not struck and put into the hogsheads, so that the ships could not load, though there is more in the country this year (as also goods) than there has been since the war, which makes tobaccos in the country bear a good price and encourages the planter. It has been a very sickly winter and spring (and in some places still continues so) so that by common computation eight or nine hundred people have died; but from five to six hundred servants have been brought in, and four or five hundred negroes are expected in the summer. But I hope to give you an exact account of all. I fear that your letter of 2 September must have miscarried in H.M.S. Swift, for it has not reached me. With the Council's advice I laid before the Delegates some paragraphs of your letter of 17 November, but they have very undutifully not answered your directions concerning an Agent. Still we thought it our duty as far as in us lay to comply with your commands, and have desired Sir Thomas Laurence, the Secretary, to represent to the King, pursuant to your orders to him, the full state, both ecclesiastical and civil, of the province. I send two catalogues of the papers sent by him. Signed, Fr. Nicholson. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Brought to the Board by Sir Thomas Laurence. Recd. 20, Read 21 July, 1697. [Board of Trade. Maryland, 3. No. 47; and 9. pp. 182–183.]
[May 28.] 518. A collection of papers brought to the Council of Trade, together with the preceding letter, by Sir Thomas Laurence.
518. I. A catalogue of the papers sent by the hand of Sir Thomas Laurence, with his receipt for the same. 3 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 21 July, 1697. Read 25th. Entered in Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. pp. 184–188.
518. II. A second catalogue of further papers, with a like receipt. 1¼ pp.
518. III. A list of the Addresses to the King comprehended in the papers aforesaid. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. 25 July, 1697.
518. IV. Council of Maryland to Council of Trade and Plantations. The Governor has communicated to us your letter of 17 November, and we thank you for your care of us. The greater number of the Delegates have so far overlooked their duty and interest as to refuse joining with us in so important a matter as the sending of an Agent, passing it over in silence and addressing themselves to matters of far less moment. We cannot hold ourselves so discharged, and therefore offer you this true account of some disturbances lately raised by some ill-disposed persons in Maryland. It is known to you that before the King took this province under his immediate government, it was under Lord Baltimore, a professed Roman Catholic, as were also the greater part of his Council, who though they shewed outward respect to the Protestants would not consent to any establishment by law for the support of the Protestant clergy. There were therefore few clergy in the province, and they had no other subsistence than what was given to them voluntarily, for want of which the generality of persons well affected to the English Church were little instructed and ignorant of the true principles of religion, while the Papists were constantly supplied with priests to instruct them in their way. But after the King took over the Government, the Assembly, being all Protestants, took care of religion in the first place and made provision for the clergy by Act of Assembly. By the influence hereof over thirty churches have been built and more are building, together with a free school at Annapolis; and several able divines are come over to us, so that the Church Government is in a hopeful way of establishment. Lately, however, Lord Baltimore's Agents and dependents have spread divers reports that the King would shortly deliver the Government to Lord Baltimore. Hence we now find great coldness and even aversion to carry on and perfect so good a work, and this even in professed Protestants, especially those who have any dependence on Lord Baltimore. We cannot doubt that there are many of these, for the following reasons; (1) Lord Baltimore holds all the lands in Maryland, mediately or immediately, and all rents and escheats; he claims all waifs, strays, wild cattle and the like; and all lands untaken up are purchased from him. Since he has not been earnest in gathering his rents, we compute that not less than two millions of tobacco are due to him, so that many persons are in his debt. (2) Lord Baltimore having all escheated lands and having refused to open the escheat office since the Revolution, many people depend on him for purchasing such escheat lands. (3) Many of his relations are married to Protestants, and the expectation of office and employment draws many to his interest. These reports have much distracted and troubled the Protestants of Maryland, to the great prejudice of a pious work and the endangering of the Act, insomuch that some of the Delegates said they would endeavour to take off the 40lbs. of tobacco per poll, levied for support of the ministry. We beg therefore that we may be retained under the King's immediate Government, which we hope will firmly establish the Protestant religion among us and reform the lives and manners of the people; for if Lord Baltimore be restored, we fear that all our pious endeavours will be defeated, and that this country will slip back into the same ill-circumstances as formerly. We beg you to question Mr. Thomas Laurence hereon, upon whom we so wholly depend that we have desired him to act as our Agent. If indisposition prevents him from attending you, we beg you to summon Captain Richard Hill, who has voluntarily offered to wait upon you. Signed, Hen. Jowles, Canc., John Courts, Thomas Tench, John Addison, Tho. Brooke. 3 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 21, Read 25 July, 1697. Entered in Board of Trade. Maryland, 9. pp. 189–193.
518. V. Reports of the Sheriffs as to the numbers of priests and dissenting Ministers in Maryland. Ann Arundel County. There is neither priest nor lay brother. The Quakers have one new timber-work meeting-house, where they keep their annual meeting. They have their weekly and monthly meetings at other houses (names given). Baltimore County. There is neither teacher nor place of worship, either of Quakers or Roman Catholics. George's County. The same. Calvert County. No priest nor lay brother, nor church nor chapel of the Roman Catholics. The Quakers have one very old meeting-house. Charles County. Three Romish priests, two of them Jesuits, one a Franciscan, and one lay brother. There is a chapel, forty feet by twenty, and twenty years old, near Newport town, also another chapel. There are two Quakers but no meeting-houses. St. Maries County. Two Romish priests, one lay brother. One brick chapel and three wooden chapels. No Quakers. Somerset County. No priests, lay brothers, nor chapels. No Quakers; two dissenting chapels. Dorchester County. No priests nor dissenters. Talbot County. No priest nor lay brother. A clapboard chapel at Doncaster town. The Quakers have five meeting-houses. Kent County. Three papists, no priest nor lay brother. Twenty-four Quakers. They have a meeting-house thirty feet by twenty, near which is a piece of ground paled, where they bury their dead. Endorsed as No. IV.
518. VI. List of ships built in Maryland since the King's reign; and list of vessels and seafaring men belonging to the province, arranged in counties. 8 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 21 July.
518. VII. Copy of a petition of several masters of ships to Governor Nicholson. That a severe law may be enacted to punish all who entertain runaway seamen and that a reward may be offered for the capture of such runaways. In Pennsylvania deserters are not only winked at, but encouraged by specious promises of excessive wages. Copy. 1½ pp. Endorsed as No. IV.
518. VIII. Copies of a correspondence between Governor Nicholson and Sir Edmund Andros.
Sir Edmund Andros to Governor Nicholson. Virginia, 15 March, 1698. Captain Bostock acquaints me that H.M.S. Swift (which was drove ashore near Roanoke) is washed up higher than she was, but without any damage. He doubts not to save her. I am hastening a sloop to her.
Captain Bostock to Governor Nicholson. Essex prize. Point Comfort, 5 April, 1698. I wrote to you from North Carolina of H.M.S. Swift being there, but robbed of all her provisions and stores. Your letters are burned, but the body of the ship is whole, as I have written to Sir E. Andros for assistance. I had orders to ask for your instructions on coming out here, and I now beg for them as, if the vessel be saved, I shall be glad to comply with them. I am doing all I can to get the necessaries for saving her.
Governor Nicholson to Captain Bostock. Annapolis, 26 April, 1698. I am sorry to hear of your misfortune. I should advise you to bring your ship here if possible, and I will do all I can to help you to refit her, though the King unfortunately has no naval stores in this province. Pray tell me how I can give you any assistance at present. Copies. The whole, 2 pp. Endorsed as No. IV.
518. IX. Copies of two letters as to Indians and the Rangers.
John Addison to Governor Nicholson. 19 May, 1698. Six rangers are at the head of the Eastern shore, six more at the plantation where James Lile was killed at the mouth of Goose Creek. They range out three out of each company, weekly by terms. Captain Richard Owen has been up at the Sugar-loaf Mountain on this side, his last time out, but saw no Indians, though the woods there were newly burned. Colonel Beale and his party last week ranged up to the Eastern branch, headed Kock Creek and so down Potomac, but discovered nothing. My family, like my neighbours, remain very sickly. ½ p.
William Hutchinson to John Addison. 18 May, 1698. I have received yours of yesterday, telling me that the Governor looks for a report of the Indian Emperor's communication with us. The reason why we gave no report is that we knew not what to make of what he said. His reason for coming over was to deal here, but he brought little to deal for. We asked if he intended to return into this Government, which he seemed at some times to be willing to do (though not this year) and other times unwilling, saying that if mischief were done, they would be blamed for it. We asked him to go to the Governor and acquaint him of their intentions and of the causes of their not coming according to their promise. He said he had not then time but would meet the Governor at Francis Morbory's (?) in ten or fourteen days (of which he spent seven or eight drinking here in several houses). We desired him to appoint a certain day for meeting the Governor and we would acquaint His Excellency of it, but he pretended he would not. Sometimes he would talk as if he meant to be as friendly as formerly; at other times he brags of his readiness to fight and of the greatness of his army; at other times he would say that when he met the Governor he would acquaint him of his grievances, and if they were redressed, all would be well. But indeed his discourses to us were so various that nobody could tell what to make of them. Mr. Hatton being sick had little discourse with him. ½ p. The whole endorsed as No. IV.
518. X. Docquet of causes awaiting trial at the Provincial Court on the 6th of April, 1698, upon navigation and other bonds passed to the King, fifty-four in all, besides four on which judgment had been obtained for the King. 5 pp. Endorsed as No. IV.
518. XI. Copy of Arnold Nodine's patent of denizenation and of the proceedings against him for breach of the Act for preventing frands. 2 pp. Endorsed as No. IV.
518. XII. Copy of an Act of Naturalisation of Stephen Francis, Geo. Slacomb and Peter Doudee. 10 June, 1697. 1 p. Endorsed as No. IV. [ Board of Trade. Maryland, 3. Nos. 47 I.–XII.]
[May 28.] 519. Three documents sent from Maryland by the same conveyance as that which brought Governor Nicholson's letter of 28 May.
519. I. Address of congratulation from the Governor in Council to the King on his safe return from the war. 1 p.
519. II. Address of the Council of Maryland to the King on the peace. 1 p.
519. III. Address of the General Assembly of Maryland to the Council of Trade and Plantations, as to the capacity of Maryland to furnish naval stores. Duplicate. 1 p. [ America and West Indies. 558. Nos. 8 I.–III.]
May 30. 520. Journal of House of Representatives of New York. On a petition from Samuel Staats and others (p. 952) time was granted them till the 1st of June to make their answer to Ebenezer Wilson. Order for Josiah Hunt, Henry Fowler and John Shute to attend and make good their petition, and for Benjamin Collier, sheriff of Westchester, to attend likewise to answer them.
May 31. John Harrison, sheriff of Queen's County, presented his answer to the petition of Content Titus and others as follows (p. 958). I cannot be held responsible because I followed the usual rule in polling instead of writing the names of the persons to be chosen on paper, as the petitioners suggest. It is alleged that I refused a regular poll. On the contrary I allowed it, and by that poll there was a majority of eighty for the members that I returned. Answer ends. Resolved that John Harrison's return is a good return.
June 1. Samuel Staats and others presented their reply to Ebenezer Wilson as follows (p. 952). The sheriff to justify himself by a statute of Henry VI., made long before these Colonies were part of the dominions of England. If he was right to exclude the freeholders of Orange County he should have excluded also those of New Rochelle and other places, which would greatly diminish the number of votes for the persons that he returned. He pretends that he left the people of Orange in dispute; his return shews that he allowed of them. It is useless for him to pretend to justify his adjournment of the poll, time and place of election under a statute of Henry VI., for the statute of 7 and 8 William III. enacts that the sheriff shall not adjourn the poll without consent of the candidates. It is not true that he did not abuse one of the candidates; he did so by pulling Leonard Lewis by the arm and drawing his chair from under him. The scrutiny was irregular, for the sheriff took the whole of it upon himself and would not allow the witnesses to share in it. Answer ends. Depositions put in by Ebenezer Wilson were read in accordance with his petition (p. 954) and the question being put, the House after debate resolved that the return given in by Wilson was lawful. Message to the Governor asking that accounts of the taxes and additional duty be laid before the House.
June 2. The Governor, at the request of the House, sent down a copy of his commission. John Clapp delivered up his records as ordered.
June 3. Benjamin Collier attended and gave in his answer to the petition of Josiah Hunt and others as follows (p. 960). The two persons returned were the only candidates, whereupon I returned them. It is true that some of the freeholders cried "We protest against this election," but they offered no reason and named no other candidate. It is not true that many that voted for the members returned were not freeholders, nor that artifices were used to hinder freedom of election. The time appointed for the election was 10 a.m. and the return was not signed till 5. Answer ends. Resolved unanimously that Benjamin Collier's return is a just return. The Governor's recommendations as to reconciling parties and regulating elections were considered, and a committee was appointed to draw up bills for that purpose.
June 4. The Committee appointed yesterday asked for further time to draw up the bills. Adjourned to 6th. Printed. [ Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 941–943.]
May 30.
521. Edward Randolph to Council of Trade and Plantations. I left New York on 21st inst. and came on the 24th to Rhode Island, where Walter Clarke (a Quaker) who had for several years been Governor, left the place, because he would not take the oath enjoined by the Acts of Trade. Samuel Cranston (Clarke's nephew) is now Governor there to the same end as Governor Markham in Pennsylvania—only to take the oaths enjoined by the Act for preventing frauds—but the management of the Government (such as it is) is in the hands of Quakers and Anabaptists. Neither judges, juries, nor witnesses are under any obligation, so that all things are managed there according to their will and interest. Mr. Brenton delivered the Commission to the several officers of the Court of Admiralty to be erected in the country, which Mr. Clarke, the late Governor, opposed. Colonel Peleg Sanford, judge of the said Court, went to Walter Clarke, when he was Governor, to be sworn. Clarke took his commission from him and carried it to the Assembly, telling them that to allow a Court of Admiralty to be erected would utterly destroy their charter, whereby they are empowered to erect a Court of Admiralty and appoint its officers. Clarke absolutely refused to return to Sanford his commission, when requested, and the present Governor likewise refuses to administer the oath to him on the plea that he has no authority. Not long before my landing in Rhode Island eight pirates came in from Fishers' Island (belonging to Connecticut) with a great deal of money and East India commodities, which they brought from Madagascar in their brigantine, now lying at New York. When H.M.S. Fowey arrived in Rhode Island Harbour six of them made their escape to Boston with a great quantity of goods and money, but two of them, George Cutler and Robert Munday, were seized, and about £1,400 or £1,500 in silver and gold taken from them. They are now (as the Governor tells me) in his custody. They had not been in prison above two days when they were admitted to bail by the Governor's order (as I am informed), Gresham Clarke, one of the Governor's uncles, being their security. Thus they have opportunity to make their escape, leaving their money to be shared by the Governor and his two uncles, who have been very great gainers by the pirates which have frequented Rhode Island. Three or four vessels have been fitted out from thence to the Red Sea. Walter Clarke, the late Governor, and his brother, now Recorder of the place, have enriched themselves by countenancing pirates. Their deputy, John Greene, granted a commission to one of the pirates who went to the Red Sea, without any security given by the master. The House of Deputies being the law-makers take no oaths or engagements; they raise money upon such of the inhabitants as are not freemen of their Corporation, which they have no power by their charter to do. Walter Clarke called the people together to sign the association. He told them that such as would might sign it, but since he himself refused to sign it the people from his example neglected to do it. There are many men of good estates in Rhode Island groaning under the oppression of this lawless Government, who would do the King faithful service if the country were either put under his immediate Government or annexed to Massachusetts. They have offered to allow £500 to the support of a Governor to be appointed by the King. Till that is done it will be impossible for Lord Bellomont to suppress illegal trade and piracy, which long have been and still are notoriously supported and countenanced in Rhode Island. That my statements may be confirmed I beg the Council of Trade to order that an authentic copy may be made of all the laws of Rhode Island (now kept in loose papers) and sent to England, after they have first been duly compared by Colonel Peleg Sanford and Mr. Francis Brenly, both of them men of good estates. Their ignorance in making laws and their arbitrary execution of them will then easily demonstrate that they are no way capable to govern the people of the Colony. Signed, Ed. Randolph. Postscript. 6 June, 1698. I hear to-day that the Governor of Rhode Island intends to appoint a Court for the trial of Cutler and Munday (whose money he holds in his hands) and, in case no one appears to prosecute them for piracy, to acquit them and return them their money; and this although the King's circular letter against piracy has been received in Rhode Island. Walter Clarke is highly displeased that the oaths enjoined by the Act for preventing frauds is to be taken by the Governor of Rhode Island and also because the King has ordered the erection of a Court of Admiralty there. I hear that he is appointed Agent to represent the Colony's grievances to you. They are raising money on the inhabitants to pay his expenses. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 5 Sept. Read 20 Oct., 1698. [ Board of Trade. Plantations General, 4. No. 116; and 34. pp. 362–367.]
May 30. 522. Memorandum of the receipt of the foregoing letter. ¼ p. [ Board of Trade. Proprieties, 2. No. 20.]
May 30. 523. Extract from a letter of the Council of Trade to Mr. Secretary Vernon. Asking him to move the King to order ten barrels of powder, a small quantity of cartridge-paper, and two or three colours for the forts, to be sent to Bermuda. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Abr. Hill. [ Board of Trade. Bermuda, 29. p. 116.]
May 30. 524. Journal of General Assembly of Massachusetts. Bills to establish forms of writs for the General Court, to establish precedents, and to establish Ports, read a first time and committed.
May 31. The two bills first named were ordered to be engrossed and sent to the Representatives. The Ports Bill was read a second time. A petition of Abraham Williams for leave to appeal from the sentence of a county justice, granted. A bill as to Pounds, received from the Representatives, was read a first time; also a bill for regulating tanners, curriers, etc.
June 1. Two new Councillors were sworn. The Tanners and Ports Bills were twice read and sent down to the Representatives. A resolution for granting 500 acres of land to William Habberfield for his good service in promoting the trade of cloth-working was sent down to the Representatives.
June. The Pounds Bill was read a second time. Resolutions of the Representatives for the stating of rates of impost and tonnage of shipping, read. Bill to regulate cordwood read a first time. Committee appointed to inspect and report as to the making of a township at Framingham.
June 3. A bill to revive expiring Acts was read several times and sent down for concurrence. A bill as to highways was received from the Representatives and voted to be engrossed. The resolutions as to duties and tonnage were amended and returned to the Representatives. The Cordwood Bill was read four times and sent down for concurrence.
June 4. The Pounds Bill was read a third time. Bill to enable Abraham Williams to appeal read, and resolved to be sent down for concurrence. [ Board of Trade, New England, 48. pp. 225–230.]
May 30.
525. Council of Trade and Plantations to Mr. Secretary Vernon. We have pressed the Board of Ordnance for materials for the boom in Newfoundland and have received the enclosed answer (No. 516). Please take the King's orders herein, for the convoy is ready to sail. We beg also for his orders to send a small quantity of powder and one or two more articles for Bermuda. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Abr. Hill. [ Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 25. p. 234.]
May 30.
526. William Popple to William Lowndes. Please remind the Treasury of the money that is required for the payment of soldiers in Newfoundland, as the convoy is ready to sail. £1,000 is considered sufficient. [ Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 25. p. 235.]
May 30. 527. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Mr. Pulteney's letter of the 28th inst. read (No. 516). The Board at once wrote to Mr. Vernon thereupon, and gave orders to the Secretary to write to Mr. Pulteney (No. 529) and to the Secretary of the Treasury (No. 526), upon other matters relating to Newfoundland.
Mr. Day representing the want of stores of war in Bermuda, a postscript was added relating to the same in the letter to Mr. Vernon. A copy of the instructions drawn up for Governors concerning the Acts of Trade was also given to him.
Mr. Blathwayt produced a letter from Increase Mather asking that the Act for incorporating Harvard College might not be considered until he should arrive in July or August,
Business of Virginia further considered.
May 31. On the request of Edward Walrond, order was given for a letter to the Admiralty desiring that Gabriel Maccrakan and William Delaval, seamen of H.M.S. Newcastle, might attend the Board.
Order for the warrant for use of the new seal of Bermuda to be delivered to Mr. Day.
Business of Virginia further considered.
June 1. A letter from Mr. Secretary Vernon read, ordering a commission to be prepared for Colonel Nicholson to succeed Sir Edmund Andros as Governor of Virginia.
Letter to Mr. Vernon enclosing instructions to Mr. Day for the King's signature.
June 2. Mr. Bridgeman's letter of yesterday as to two seamen of the Newcastle read (No. 531). Order for the Secretary to acquaint Mr. Edward Walrond therewith, and further that if he draw up interrogations to these men, the Board will send them to some proper person for examination of the men upon oath.
Letter to Mr. Day signed (No. 538).
Instructions for Governor Nicholson considered.
June 3. Draft memorials for the Commodore of the Newfoundland Squadron approved. Order for the Admiralty to be acquainted that it is the King's pleasure that the Commodore be Commander-in-Chief during his stay there.
Mr. Vernon's letter of yesterday as to Hudson's Bay read (No. 537). Order for the Company to attend on Monday.
Governor Nicholson's instructions further considered. [ Board of Trade. Journal, 11. pp. 81–88.]
May 31. 528. Mr. Secretary Vernon to Council of Trade and Plantations. Sir Edmund Andros having resigned the Government of Virginia, the King is willing to comply therein and has appointed Colonel Francis Nicholson to succeed him. You will therefore prepare a commission and instructions. Signed, Ja. Vernon. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd., Read 1 June, 1698. [ Board of Trade. Virginia, 6. No. 45; and 37. p. 208.]
May 31.
529. William Popple to John Pulteney. I enclose an account of the provisions lately sent to Newfoundland by the Victualling Board to be transmitted to the master-gunner, whom the Ordnance Board have appointed to be store-keeper. I enclose also a copy of instructions from the Victualling Board as to the distribution of these provisions in the intended proportion. [ Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 25. p. 235.]
May 31.
530. Governor Sir William Beeston to William Popple. I have received yours of 23 February, and have noted your directions; but the ream of paper, which you mention, has not yet reached me. There are several Acts which have not received the Royal assent; it will be a favour to the island if you will lay them before the Council of Trade for that end, though indeed the Act of the 7th and 8th of the King has made all our laws so precarious that no man knows how to act by them or if he can be justified by anything he does in them, which puts all people to a stand and will cause many to leave the place as fast as their circumstances will allow them. Instead of encouraging the island, which it needs after so many and great losses, it will discourage the settling of it; so that it will not be able to defend itself, but will remain an easy prey to any considerable invader. Since I cannot remedy this, I must acquiesce in it. Signed, Wm. Beeston. Holograph. ¾ p. Inscribed, Recd. 2nd, Read 3rd August, 1698. [ Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 89; and 56. pp. 211–212.]