America and West Indies: July 1 1698, 1-5

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: July 1 1698, 1-5', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905), pp. 301-322. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

. "America and West Indies: July 1 1698, 1-5", in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905) 301-322. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

. "America and West Indies: July 1 1698, 1-5", Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905). 301-322. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

July 1698

July 1.
New York.
622. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to Council of Trade and Plantations. I sent you by my last a copy of my proclamation respecting the ports of the Jerseys, but I find that since then Colonel Basse has published a counter-proclamation in the Jerseys, copy enclosed. He has also written me several letters on the subject much disputing my orders and asserting the right of the port of Perth-Amboy, but he has since been with me and seen the King's orders, and I thought he was so well satisfied, that the Jerseys would submit to the Admiralty Court of New York without dispute. Soon afterwards a ship was seized there by Mr. Randolph and tried in the Admiralty Court here; but some time since, two pirates of Every's crew being seized in the Jerseys, a precept was issued from this Court of Admiralty to bring them hither. On this Colonel Basse called his Council, who were unanimous not to deliver them until the Commission for the Court of Admiralty was published and recorded in the Jerseys. Thereupon by my Council's advice I sent a command to Colonel Basse, by which being startled he ventured to send me the two prisoners. I enclose their examinations before Colonel Basse. I can find no evidence against them, so that they would be cleared on trial here, and I have no instructions to send them to England, so must admit them to bail. One of them, John Alston, is but nineteen years old, and was forced away by Every as a cabin boy of thirteen. He had no share with the rest, but only what they voluntarily gave him, and he had no share in any ill thing with his own hand and could not help being forced away. Such is his account, which appears to me probable and may seem to you sufficient to recommend him to mercy. I hear of two more of Every's men in Connecticut and one in Rhode Island, and have written to those Governments to seize them and send them to me; but I beg your orders as to what I shall do with them, for the evidence that would condemn them is in England, and I want your direction to send the prisoners thither, otherwise I cannot help admitting them to bail here as arrested only on suspicion. Captain Adam Balderidge has made a proposal to me for the settlement of the island of St. Mary's, which I promised to represent to you. If the matter be of such real advantage to the trade of England as he pretends, no doubt you will give it all furtherance. Mr. Balderidge is now here. He has lived for many years in St. Mary's and Madagascar, and appears to be a sober man and is reputed wealthy by his long trading in these parts. The City of New York has addressed me about an Act passed by Colonel Fletcher, which destroys their rights. The Council desired me to represent it to you, and the Agent will do so. I have already informed you of the contract made with Mr. Nicoll for the passing of this Act, and shall only add that on examination the passing of it seems manifestly to the injury of the province. It will be an ill reflection upon Colonel Fletcher that he passed it, though he has the royal prerogative of denying it; and it may be worth the consideration of Parliament to frustrate what was passed by such clandestine practices to the public prejudice. To-day I have received the answers to the letters I sent to Mons. de Callière and Count de Frontenac. I send copies, from which you will see the ill consequences of Colonel Fletcher's neglect to announce the peace to them. You will also find their pretensions to the Five Nations of Indians, whom we must support, otherwise the province will be in great danger for want of their friendship in case of another war. It is likewise the design of the Jesuits to send them missionaries, which will certainly make them revolt from us. I venture therefore to suggest that £300 per annum, paid on the Charter of Corporation for conversion of infidels, may be applied this way, which will support and encourage Protestant divines to instruct the Indians and thereby to oblige them to the Crown of England. No doubt this would be effected on your application to the Corporation. I await your orders as to my management in opposing any French force that may annoy the Five Nations. I shall meet their Sachems at Albany next week, and try all methods of arguments and presents to continue them faithful and prevent them from being debauched by French kindness or menaces. I send you Colonel Romer's report on the frontier forts. You will see that our fortifications are very weak and out of repair and have been most shamefully neglected, that the frontier has been destroyed and deserted this war, and that several other fortifications are absolutely necessary for defence of the country in case of another war. But I am going to visit them myself and shall then be able to lay before the Assembly the cost of making them. Mr. Randolph informs me that Rhode Island pretends to a jurisdiction of a Court of Admiralty, and that they have seized a pirate with design to try him and perhaps acquit him. I know not yet what privileges they have by charter, but I am well informed as to the constant encouragement that they gave to pirates to come thither and bring in their spoils, also their connivance with breaches of the Acts of Trade, so that it may be concluded that there will be but faint prosecutions in an Admiralty Court of their own erecting, and small regard paid to the Acts of Trade. This serious matter I have represented to the Lords of the Treasury, and I hope that your representations and theirs may bring about some remedy for the evil. The Attorney General has given me a memorial concerning the manner of granting land and in this province since it passed under English Government. You will learn from it how Colonel Fletcher paid no regard to rules, but, upon learning of my appointment, granted away every foot of land which was to be disposed of, in such extravagant quantities that a grant to one man contains seventy miles in length by eight in breadth, and several other grants are of fifty miles and thirty miles. By so doing he has betrayed his trust, having never consulted the Attorney General therein, but has made it impossible to settle the country; for there is no land but what must be purchased from the grantees (who cannot settle it themselves) and the King and future Governors are prevented from rewarding good service in war or peace by grants of land to engage them to settle thereon. He has gone so far as to grant away great part of the garden about Fort William Henry, which might be called the King's domain. In the patents it is called "our garden," being the pleasantest part next the sea, the rest being a garden planted with herbs and fruit trees. He permitted the fences and trees to be wholly destroyed by cattle, after he heard of my appointment, and it will take fourteen years to repair the damage. A small farm called the King's farm, which usually supplied the Governor with bread-corn, he leased to the church a few months before my arrival, and a small island, for the grazing of a few coach-horses and cows for the Governor's family, he would also have leased to one who was formerly his footman, had not the Council been ashamed to consent to it. This is all that is left for the pleasure or convenience of the Governor. This is a great dishonour to the King and uneasiness to succeeding Governors, just as the extravagant grants of land are an invincible obstacle to settlement. The agent will lay before you full information, and I hope that you will cause these mischievous grants to be damned and voided. I have information that the merchants design to apply at home for the restoration of Colonel Fletcher, and I find their rage against me so increased that they load Mr. Weaver (who has been King's Counsel in these prosecutions) with false calumnies and give out that they will blacken his credit at home, as they would do mine and that of every man who would serve the King faithfully in these matters. I will be answerable for Mr. Weaver's integrity, so I beg you to countenance him and give him full credit in his representations of affairs in this province. I assure you that an honest Governor, especially of some quality, cannot have a subsistence from the salary and perquisites of this Government; but I shall none the less do all that I can for the King's honour and the trade of England, which have been so injured and violated here. Signed, Bellomont. Postscript, 6 July.—Yesterday I received yours of 21 March, with the order relating to pirates. My former letters will have shown you how industrious I have been since my arrival. I must remark that Daniel Honan, private secretary to Colonel Fletcher, being put on his oath, swore that he knew of no money given to Colonel Fletcher for granting protections to pirates. Since then I have positive proof that he was present when one Wick gave Colonel Fletcher £50 for a protection to one Rayner, in a bill of exchange payable to Honan. I hope therefore that you will give no credit to any attestation of Honan's in Colonel Fletcher's favour. To-day I summoned the Sheriff of New York before myself in Council, and it appearing by the oath of five credible men and his own confession that he had not allowed one voice of a freeholder of Orange County to vote, and that he had been guilty of corrupt practice and continual disturbance to the Government, I suspended him. Indeed, I durst not trust so ill a man among so mutinous a people in a post of such trust during my absence at Albany. I have received a letter of 24 February last from the Board of Ordnance, recalling Colonel Romar. Considering that our fortifications are ruined, that more are wanting, that no one else understands them, and that the French Governors threaten to fall on the Five Nations, I have thought fit to retain him till further orders, knowing that you could not be aware of these considerations. I beg that you will procure an order for him to stay till the fortifications are perfected. 3½ pp. Here follows an abstract of the foregoing letter. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. From Mr. Weaver, Agent for New York. Recd. 8th, Read 16 Sept., 1698. Enclosed,
622. I. Proclamation by the Governor of East New Jersey, to the effect that Perth-Amboy is still an open port. 30 May, 1698. Sealed with the seal of New Jersey, but unsigned. 1 p. Endorsed, Recd. from Mr. Weaver, 15 Sept., 1698.
622. II. Copy of a letter from James Graham to the Earl of Bellomont, 30 June, 1698. As to the manner of granting lands, in the Duke of York's time the Governor made grants of land on condition of the obedience of the grantees to existing and future legislation. It was then the law that any land which was not improved or settled in three years should revert to the grantors. This was to ensure the settlement of the country and prevent people from keeping large tracts of land waste. The quit-rents were generally one bushel of wheat to every hundred acres. Grants rarely exceeded 2,000 acres and were generally under 1,000 acres. When large grants were made the grantees were obliged to settle a township or so many families as the land could support. The first King's Governor, Colonel Dongan, pursued the same system, but removed the general condition and retained only the quit-rent, sometimes one bushel of wheat for a hundred acres and sometimes as little as half-a-crown. At the end of his government, however, when intelligence came that the province was to be annexed to New England, he made large grants and gave considerable tracts of land on Hudson River to particular persons, with small quit-rents. While New England and New York were joined, no grants were made, but Sir E. Andros's instructions fixed the quit-rent at half-a-crown per hundred acres. There were no grants made during the Revolution, and but few and inconsiderable under Governor Sloughter. When Governor Fletcher arrived the province was warmly engaged in war, and the great rates then raised discouraged new settlements. Sometime afterwards the out-settlements of Albany were deserted, and the people coming down to the seaside put a value on land in Long Island. Governor Fletcher granted tracts of 1,000 acres to some gentlemen on the island, they having warrants for the same from former Governors. In 1694 he made further grants of a considerable tract to Captain Evans and of smaller lots at the usual quit-rent of half-a-crown, but in 1697, on the news of Lord Bellomont's appointment to succeed him, he made greater grants than in the whole of the rest of his Government. His method was to give a positive order to the Attorney-General to prepare such grants, without consulting him as to their effect on the King's interest, as Governors were accustomed to do. Formerly the Attorney-General always attended in Council when petitions for land were read, and gave his opinion whether they were prejudicial to the King's interest or not, but on Colonel Fletcher's coming he was discharged from this attendance and told that he would be summoned if wanted. Not two references were made to him afterwards respecting grants. The old method was this. If the lands were not purchased from Indians, application was made to the Governor and Council for permission to purchase. The order for purchase was then made in the presence of the magistrate of the district where the land lay and within a certain time; and if that method were not followed, the purchase was void. If the purchase were regular, a petition was generally preferred to the Governor in Council for a grant of the same at a moderate quit-rent. If the tract were small, it usually passed in course; but if it were considerable then (under the Duke of York) the magistrate of the district was required to report thereon, and the matter was afterwards referred to the Attorney-General. Thus the King's interest was safeguarded. But by the violence done to the old rules in the former Governor's time I find that the King's interest has suffered much, particularly by the grant of the Maquas' land and that granted to Henrico Rensselaer, which if held will destroy the Indian trade at Albany and drive the Indians from the frontier. Now there is hardly a foot of land, suitable for settlement, left to the King to grant; and what is granted is in the hands of so few that they cannot settle it in themselves, while planters are unwilling to settle unless they can enjoy a freehold, for it costs at least £4 an acre to clear land. Thus all our youth must leave the province and settle in neighbouring colonies. New York will decay both in population and trade, and the revenue will fall, for the King has not a foot of land to grant to those who have done good service in war and would addict themselves to husbandry in peace. The province will never be peopled without husbandmen, and if there is no land there will be no husbandmen, who from their labour are best trained to endure the fatigues of a soldier. Signed, Ja. Graham. 3 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 15th, Read 23 Sept., 1698.
622. III. Grants of land made by Governor Fletcher. A tract of twenty-four or thirty miles in length to Nicholas Bayard, 12 December, 1695. A tract of some seventy miles in length on the east of the Hudson to Godfrey Dellius, 3 Sept., 1696. Two tracts in Duchess County and along the Hudson River to Henry Beeckman, one of them about sixteen miles square, the other about twenty miles by eight. Sundry tracts in Suffolk County to William Smith, about fifty miles in length, 17 June, 1695. Several tracts on the west of the Hudson to Captain John Evans of H.M.S. Richmond, about forty-four miles by twenty-two, 10 Sept., 1684, and 15 April, 1685 (sic, errors for 1694, 1695). 3 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 15th, Read 26th Sept., 1698.
622. IV. Copy of the grant of part of the King's Garden, New York, by Colonel Fletcher to Caleb Heathcote, for an annual rent of one shilling, and of the lease of another part of the garden for forty-one years at four shillings a year, New York money. 2 April, 1696. 2½ pp. Endorsed as No. II.
622. V. Copies of Colonel William Romar's correspondence respecting the fortifications of New York. Lord Bellomont's instructions to him to survey all the fortifications of the province. Dated, 17 May, 1698. ¼ p.
Colonel Romar to the Earl of Bellomont, Albany, 27 May, 1698. I arrived here on the 23rd inst., and finding a favourable opportunity at once went to Senectady, forty miles away. Senectady is admirably situated, and from the importance of its position on the frontier deserves to be taken in hand at once. It is a pity and shame to see a frontier so neglected as this has been. Had the public interest been preferred to the private gain, which has been divided among a few individuals for a devil's harvest, the enemy would never have made such mischievous captures from the good people at large [this sentence is most obscure in the original]. I find the frontier at Albany as important and even more important than the other, since it covers all Connecticut and New England on one side, New York and the Jerseys on the other, and controls the communications by water generally. The situation is curious and difficult, but at a moderate cost I could make it proof against any enemy. I think that the necessary plans will take me four weeks, and I shall begin to-morrow, and shall not fail to be diligent. French. ½ p.
Colonel Romar to the Earl of Bellomont. Albany, 13 June, 1698. Since my last I have visited the Half-Moon, which I think of little value, but there is a place seven leagues further up the river called Saratago which should be an important post. If you please, I will wait upon you or give you as well orally as in writing an account of both. I have been surveying this town and its approaches, and was just drawing it out when I had the misfortune to spill a bottle of ink over my papers. This will necessitate my doing much of the work a second time, and will delay me for some days. I have also, besides other mishaps, been ill for some days, so I hope you will excuse me if I cannot present myself as soon as I had hoped. I am told that you are coming here at the beginning of next month, and in this case I would suggest to you the need of a good and faithful interpreter. It will be very difficult for you to find one here; I will go so far as to say that you will not find a faithful one, such are the divisions and the jealousies. They may flatter you to the contrary and say that a woman can save you your interpreter, but this is only to abuse you and to keep you ignorant of important matters. I find everything in confusion owing to the dealing of some of your predecessors, and of men who prefer their private intreat to the public. I venture to recommend to you Arnout Cornelissen Vile (? Vielle) as a faithful interpreter. He lives in Long Island Bay, and Dr. Staats will bring him to New York for you. I recommend you to send your calèche forward, with your smallest harness. Horses can be procured. The roads to Senectady and Canestagione are good and safe. I shall visit the latter before your arrival, if you will let me know the day of your departure, so as to have as much as possible ready for you at your coming. I find great difficulty in preparing estimates for a new work in brick or stone, for the people here are ignorant wretches, without any experience. I shall be obliged to work out everything for myself, which will take time. French. 1 p. Endorsed as No. III.
622. VI, VII. Copies of Lord Bellomont's letter of 22 April, 1698, to Count de Frontenac, and of his instructions to the bearers thereof. (See Nos. 504 I., II.) Endorsed as No. III.
622. VIII. Count de Frontenac to the Earl of Bellomont. 8 June, 1698. Colonel Schuyler and Mr. Dellius brought me your letter three days ago. I observe your wish to maintain a good correspondence now the peace is concluded. Though I have no confirmation of the news of peace from France, I have always treated your prisoners with such humanity that I shall make no difficulty over restoring to your messengers as many English and Flemings, willing to quit the country, as can be collected within my Government during their stay. This has always been my practice in war notwithstanding the ill-treatment received by Captain de Villieu at Boston and by many others, contrary to the law of nations and even to express agreements. I am sure that you will not approve this and that you will not allow the privateer-captain Batiple to be kept longer in chains and subjected to such rigorous treatment. I learned nine days ago that a party of prisoners had been returned from Boston to Port Royal, and I am much obliged to you for those returned by your frequent messengers, few though they are. But I cannot understand how you can have charged those gentlemen to ask for the release of the Iroquois that we have among us, and to promise the return of your French Indians. They were in negotiation with me last autumn, and as they left a hostage with me as pledge of their word, it is for them to effect his release and to bring back our Indians, if they are willing to agree to it. It would be useless pains for you to interfere herein, for these Indians are children who have disobeyed their father; they have been always under the sovereignty of the King for many years, and were so before the English took New York from the Dutch. Our missions have been among them for more than forty years; we have kept garrisons in their villages; they have given me their children whom I have had educated under my eye. These and many like matters prove certainly that they have always been under the protection of the King of France. My orders in the question are so precise that I cannot transgress them until they are superseded or until the Kings, our masters, shall have agreed, by themselves or by their commissaries, as to the difficulties that may be raised. My orders, however, will not change the good relations which I hope to maintain with you. I have stopped our Indians from making fresh attacks on the English settlements as soon as I heard the first intelligence of peace. I have given the like orders to the Indians on the side of Acadia, but they are far distant and, I am told, much irritated that several of their prisoners were not sent back with the French from Boston. I fear, that unless you release these prisoners at once, these Indians may enter upon hostilities which will give trouble to both of us. I cannot therefore absolutely make them restore their English prisoners as they have often been deceived by similar propositions of peace, and have given back their prisoners receiving not one in return. No messengers could have been more agreeable to me than Colonel Schuyler and Mr. Dellius. They are anxious to rejoin you before you leave New York, so I cannot detain them longer. The King of England could have sent no one more agreeable to me, in every account, than yourself, as his Governor. Copy. French. 2 pp.
Mons. de Callière to the Earl of Bellomont. Montreal, 17 June, 1698. Colonel Schuyler and Mr. Dellius have brought to me your letter and nineteen French prisoners, whom I have at once sent on to Count de Frontenac. I have his orders for the release and reconducting of your prisoners among our Indians. I will do all I can for the maintenance of good relations between us. Copy. French. ½ p. The whole endorsed as No. III.
622. IX. Report of Peter Schuyler and Godfrey Dellius of their mission to Count de Frontenac. We left Albany on 8 May. On the 15th we met French Indians in a canoe on the lake bringing furs for sale to Albany. On the 16th we saw on the lake's shore two French Indians in their war paint, who told us that they were going by Mons. de Callière's orders to call back the canoe aforesaid; but we found out from a Canadian prisoner, whom we were escorting, that they were on their way to Albany to make a few prisoners to gain intelligence. We were therefore obliged to take them along with us. On the 19th we reached Montreal, delivered to him our twenty prisoners and your letter, and made your compliments to him. On the 20th several French Indians, men and women, came to see us, whom we received civilly, giving them little presents. They told us that six of our Iroquois were in prison, and on visiting them we found they had been wounded in an engagement with the Algonquins, in which our Indians lost twenty-four killed, and these six wounded, while the other side lost ten killed and two wounded. We asked M. de Callière to release them, but he replied that he could not do so without leave of Count Frontenac, to whom he had written. We told him of the Indians in their war-paint, whom we had met, but he would not confess that he had sent them to take prisoners. During our interview we fell on the subject of the Five Nations, when he told us that Count Frontenac expected their ambassador, to beg peace, at any moment, and that they were to bring in all their French prisoners. We rejoined that it was absurd for our Indians to make peace with Canada, since as subjects of the King of England, they were included in the general treaty. He said that our Indians were at war with Canada before the general war broke out. We replied, that unless our memory failed us, M. de Denonville had asked Colonel Dongan to make our Indians plunder the French Indians who were bringing furs to New York, and that, although Colonel Dongan refused to give any such order, our Indians getting wind of it and resenting the treacherous capture of several of their men, made war upon Canada. He laid great stress on the records, saying that the Five Nations had submitted to their protection, and called Count Frontenac "father." We answered that the word "father" was a compliment, taught them by the Jesuits, that our title to sovereignty was better founded than theirs, and that we could not see why our Indians should visit Count Frontenac to make peace, any more than the French Indians should come to Lord Bellomont for that purpose. The interview ended with his opinion that this difference should be settled by the two Crowns, that all necessary matter had been formerly sent to France for the purpose, but that all had been interrupted by the Revolution in England. We answered that we hoped Count Frontenac would leave it to you to discipline our Indians, as most conducive to the general tranquillity.
On the 21st we left Montreal and on the 25th reached Quebec, where we paid our respects and yours to Count Frontenac and gave him your letter, who received us very civilly. On the 26th the superiors of the Jesuits and lay-fathers called on us and said that they hoped to pay us a visit at Albany shortly and that they wanted to send their missionaries again among our Indians. We begged them not to trouble themselves so far, as our Indians are under the care of Dr. Dellius who is under the Bishop of London, to whose diocese they belong. They were much astonished and were obliged to say that they were paid for their mission, receiving 24,000 livres a year from the King of France. We answered that our King equalled if he did not exceed the King of France in generosity and piety, but that with the Jesuit fathers anxiety to seduce our Indians to their side weighed more than the salvation of their souls, as we had learned but too well in the late war. On the 27th we asked Count Frontenac for the release of our prisoners, English and Indian, and for the re-establishment of trade. He replied that he would give orders for release of the Christians, but that he could not release the Indians till their ambassadors came to make peace, as they were hostages for the coming of the said ambassadors. We replied that these pretended ambassadors, now held as hostages, were only five or six individuals working without orders, as the sachems of the Five Nations had informed us at Albany. They had protested against this pretended embassy and had told us that it was a trick. Count Frontenac rejoined that the Five Nations had always been subject to France, that French missionaries and garrisons had been among them for forty years, that they have assumed the arms of the French King, that the Five Nations called him "father," that the English had not long possessed the country, that no mention of Indians is made in the treaty of peace, and that the Indians had once given him as many as twelve of their children to be educated. We answered that the English had always enjoyed sovereignty peaceably over the Five Nations, that the missionaries had only been tolerated by the indulgence of the English, and that the garrisons, so called, were no more than the servants of the missionaries to protect them against insult. The French Royal Arms might have been fixed up a hundred times without any right, though the English agents had frequently removed them. As regards possession, if that of the English was not of long date, it was so in virtue of the rights and privileges of the Dutch, which they had acquired, and it was unquestionable that the Five Nations had been dependent on the Dutch. As regards the treaty of peace, it was unnecessary to mention them any more than other subjects of the King. The title of father was only a compliment learned from the Jesuits. As regards the delivery of children to Count Frontenac, the like had been done to the English and before them to the Dutch. Count Frontenac replied to this that he and Lord Bellomont would never agree upon this point, and that he should refer it home for decision. We then insisted on the release of the hostages, and of the six wounded Indians, to give you an exact account of the fight with the Algonquins. Count Frontenac declared that he could not do so; his orders were exact; and if the Five Nations would not come and make peace, he would invade them and compel them. We answered that we knew nothing of his orders, but that the discharge of these Indians would conduce much to the general tranquillity; that if he did not comply with your request, you could not be answerable for any unpleasant consequences, but that if he did you would pledge yourself that the Indians should observe the peace strictly. At the end of this interview Count Frontenac told us that he had a letter that the King and Parliament of England had declared the Prince of Wales heir presumptive to the Crown, and had granted a pension to King James; and we had much trouble in undeceiving him.
On the 28th we were at the Intendant's, where were several Indians whom Count Frontenac had ordered to release their English prisoners, and who refused to do so on the pretext that their own people were still detained at Boston. Count Frontenac sent them to us, but we refused to speak to them, saying that our business was with the Governor and not with Indians, and that we were surprised that these Indians, though subjects of the French King, had so little respect for his Governor; that if the Bostonians had done them any wrong it was not for themselves, but for the Governors on both sides to take cognizance of it. At this time a Jesuit came in who had returned from Acadia with ten or twelve Indians, and who told us that within the last three weeks a party had gone to war with New England. On this we shewed our displeasure, pretending to be sure that these Indians had heard of the general peace immediately after their outrage close to Boston on 13 February; and we added that unless Count Frontenac disciplined his Indians better, obliging them to release their prisoners and preventing them from sending out hostile parties, Lord Bellomont would find the means to bring him to reason, and Count Frontenac would be answerable for the consequences. On the 29th we pressed the same matters on Count Frontenac, who excused himself, saying that he had sent orders in a contrary sense to Acadia last winter, but that perhaps the messenger had lost his way, and that possibly the English Indians were the guilty parties, being not yet perfectly distinguished from the French. He complained greatly, even violently, of the gentlemen of Boston, saying that they kept ill-faith with their prisoners, both French and Indian, and ill-treated them; to which we answered that we could not believe it, and that, if it was so, Your Excellency would remedy it. On the 30th Count Frontenac brought to us all the prisoners of both sexes who were in the town, of whom all but two or three refused to come back with us, insomuch that we were reduced to ask for the children of fourteen years and under. This he granted to us, though after some trouble. There were still some that had hidden themselves, but he promised to send them back by first opportunity. On the 31st we took leave of Count Frontenac. On the 2nd of June we reached Trois Rivières, where the Governor gave us a few prisoners, and left it on the same day. On the 4th we reached Montreal, where the Governor gave us some prisoners and ordered canoes and provisions for our journey. We took leave of him on the 8th, but before our departure we had encouraged some French Indians to meet us at Chambly on a fixed day to go with us and settle among us, promising to instruct them in the Christian faith. They duly appeared, about forty of both sexes, with five or six hundred beaver-skins. On the 11th the Commandant at Chambly seeing the arrival of these Indians sent an express to the Governor of Montreal, who at once dispatched two Indians to stop them, but none the less we brought them all away with us on the 12th. On the 22nd we reached Albany with twenty-two English prisoners. We reckon the number of settlers who bear arms at between three and four thousand. The fortifications are but mediocre. There are five or six garrisoned forts along the river between Montreal and Quebec, but there is in them but one gun to fire the alarm. The fortifications of Quebec are nothing extraordinary; the difficulties of navigation being their greatest safeguard. A part from the convents and religious houses it hardly deserves to be called a town. There are not above forty guns mounted. There are two bishops, and the various priests, lay-brothers and religious bodies exceed two hundred. The wealth of the inhabitants seems not to be great; paper money is current instead of gold and silver. We venture to add that unless the Court of England takes the instruction and conversion of the Indians to heart we shall lose the Five Nations through the strenuous endeavours of the Jesuits, who will be careful, in the future as in the past, to send missionaries among them and draw them to Canada. For this wish for instruction in Christianity is the one thing that has made them leave their country for Canada. Copy. French. 8½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 15th, Read 27th Sept., 1698.
622. X. Deposition of John Elston taken, at Perth Amboy, 27 May, 1698. In 1692 I shipped myself from London with the lieutenant of Captain Gibson, Every being then mate, and sailed for Corunna, where the crew deserted and turned Gibson out in the pinnace. I was asleep at the time and coming up found the ship under sail. Gibson was put ashore at the Cape de Verdes, and then we sailed to the Guinea coast where we took two ships. Thence we went to Madagascar, and thence sailed to the Gulf of Arabia in the Red Sea, where we got in fresh provisions, the inhabitants being very civil to us, and went to the entrance of the Red Sea, where we lay an anchor three weeks waiting for ships and four or five sail joined us in company, and thence sailed to the Bay of Bengal, where we took a ship of 600 tons with £20,000 in money on board, and another of 1,600 tons, reckoned to be worth £200,000. From thence we went back to a French Island near Madagascar and thence to Providence in the Bahamas. Captain Every with about sixteen men bought a sloop and sailed, as I believe, to England. The rest of us dispersed, and I came to New Jersey. 2½ pp. Endorsed, Referred in the Earl of Bellomont's letter of 1 July, 1698. Recd. from Mr. Weaver and read 19 Oct., 1698. Entered in Board of Trade. New York. 72. pp. 497–501.
622. XI. Deposition of William Merritt taken on 27 May, 1698. A very brief confirmation of the substance of the preceding. 1 p. Endorsed as No. IX. Entered in Board of Trade. New York, 52. p. 502.
622. XII. Copies of correspondence between the Governors of New Jersey and New York.
Governor Basse to the Earl of Bellomont. Perth Amboy. 17 June, 1698. I have received a precept for the delivery of two prisoners for piracy and have laid it before Council, it being the first writ of the kind that ever came into the province. They were unanimously of opinion that such precepts should be obeyed, but withal judged it reasonable that your Commission of Vice-Admiral should be recorded in this province and published here and in all other provinces to which it extends, as superseding the pretensions of the Proprietors to rights of Admiralty. For these reasons I stopped a precept ready drawn to the sheriff to deliver up the prisoners, not thinking it safe to act contrary to the opinion of my Council until I receive further orders, together with a publication of yours and the Judge Admiral's commissions, which I hope may be as speedily as possible, for our goal is not as secure as that of New York. Signed, Jer. Basse.
Governor the Earl of Bellomont to Governor Basse. New York, 18 June, 1698. I have laid your letter before my Council, who agree with me that your disobedience to a precept from the Admiralty Court of New York is a high contempt of the King's authority, and that your Council's opinion cannot justify you. You acknowledge that you are aware of the said authority, and you acknowledged it to Colonel William Smith who offered you further satisfaction, if you desired it, when you were last in New York. You then replied that you were fully satisfied and would obey the precept. The Jerseys being subject to the Admiralty Court of New York, and the powers of the said Court being on record, access to the said records is sufficient publication for the Jerseys, and will take away all excuse for your disobedience. I now require you, therefore, to yield obedience to those precepts as you will answer the contrary at your peril. The whole, 1½ pp. Endorsed as No. X. Entered in Board of Trade. New York, 52. pp. 494–496. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. Nos. 78, 78 I.–XII.; and (without enclosures) 52. pp. 414–431.]
July 1.
New York.
623. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to the Lords of the Treasury. In mine of 25 May I gave you an account of the prejudice done to the King's revenue by the corruption of the officers here. Having personal observation of Mr. Brooke's short-comings I have suspended him from the Council and from his offices. For instance, the ship Elizabeth was seized in this port for importing Scotch goods. She produced false certificates and was libelled in the Court of Admiralty; yet by Brooke's own proposal in Council she was discharged on the oath of the master and supercargo and was never brought to trial. Mr. Randolph assured me that the certificates were demonstrably false, and the discharge illegal. The same ship has since been seized for illegal acts by Mr. Randolph in Virginia, and since my arrival Randolph was arrested on account of this seizure, as I have already reported. I had a suspicion that Mr. Brooke was at the bottom of this arrest, so I sent for Captain Simms, who brought the action against Randolph and is a friend of Brooke's and asked him whether Brooke put him upon it. He did not confess it, but owned that Brooke had said that he was very glad of it. Such abetting of a vexatious suit against the Surveyor-General was most improper in a Collector of Customs. Since my arrival here the ship Fortune was seized by Mr. Brooke. Here follows an account of this transaction, in substance the same as given in No. 472. Brooke has gained such love among the merchants by his tender deportment in his office, that I hear he is getting attests from them as to his civil carriage, justice and integrity, which will be good proofs to give against him. I have a copy of a like certificate given to Colonel Fletcher, who had a right understanding and friendship with Brooke. Both, I believe, were intimate relation with the merchants concerned in the rich lading of the Fortune. Here follow further particulars already given in No. 472. Brooke may try to excuse himself by saying that he had no boat, but I had ordered one of the man-of-war's boats to attend him. Colonel Fletcher made an establishment for a boat, cockswain and eight oars at £30 per annum for the pleasurable service of the Governor only, but I have now appropriated her to the sole use of the officers of Customs. It is observable that the house of the Sheriff of New York, where Mr. Brooke constantly dieted and spent the best part of the day, was found empty of uncustomed goods when ordered to be searched by me, though some East India wrappers were found which had not been secreted like the rest. Colonel Fletcher told me himself that Brooke's place was more profitable than the Governor's, yet he has made few seizures or forfeitures. Mr. Randolph told me that the Commissioners of Customs had ordered Brooke to be Collector for Connecticut, with power to substitute officers to prevent the illegal trade there, but that he had neglected to take out that authority. I find that he was of too roving a temper to attend his employ closely, for though sole Collector in this province, he diverted himself by making voyages to England as joint Agent with Mr. Nicoll, to Pennsylvania in compliment to Colonel Fletcher, and to Boston in compliment to Sir Francis Wheler, making over his duty meanwhile to merchants. None of these voyages had any relation to the King's Customs. I have appointed Colonel van Cortlandt and Mr. Monsey to be Commissioners to perform Mr. Brooke's office in his place. I had occasion to send the latter to seize some uncustomed goods in Mr. van Sweeten's house. Here follows a repetition of the scene already given in No. 593. On Mr. Monsey's resignation I have appointed Mr. Ducie Hungerford joint Commissioner with Colonel van Cortlandt in his place. I assure you that all I have reported to you is truth, according to the best discoveries I can make, but people are so corrupted here that my vigorous proceedings to support the Acts of Trade are making open war with them. Nevertheless I shall continue to do my duty in reliance upon your support, hoping that I may not have as great vexation in answering frivolous and false clamours as they give me trouble in preventing their base unlawful trade. All the papers bearing on this letter will be laid before you by Mr. Thomas Weaver. Pray give him your favour and countenance. He will satisfy you as to my reasons for displacing Monsey and Brooke. Signed, Bellomont. 3¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 8th, Read 14th Sept., 1698. [Board of Trade. New York, 7. No. 79; and 52. pp. 441–451.]
[July 1.] 624. Abstract of the preceding letter. 2 pp. [Board of Trade; New York, 7. No. 80.]
July 1. 625. Memorial of Sir Thomas Day to Council of Trade and Plantations. Governor Day sailed for Bermuda some time since. There are no stores now in the Island, but there is an opportunity for sending some by a ship now lying in the Downs, which will sail for Bermuda in two or three days. When this ship left Bermuda there was but one barrel of powder in the Island. It is very rare to find a ship bound thither. I beg, therefore, that some stores may be sent by this opportunity. Unsigned. Scrap. Endorsed, Memorial of Sir Tho. Day. Recd. Read 1 July, 1698. [Board of Trade. Bermuda, 3. No. 27.]
[July 1.] 626. A collection of papers sent to the Council of Trade and Plantations by Lord Lucas.
626. I. John Lucas to Lord Lucas. 28 April, 1698. Since my last letter further cruelties are offered me. My house is beset with a number of people, negroes and mulattos day and night, and but the other night Governor Codrington sent his groom and others, who entered my house and searched for my son, looking into my bed—such a piece of immodesty as a gentleman cannot endure. All this while I was a prisoner by the Governor's warrant until I should produce my son before himself and Council; but this is not enough; my son, a youth of tender years, must be hunted with dogs and heathen. Were I guilty of murder or treason I could expect no better, but here is only suspicion that I have written a letter of complaint to the Council of Trade and that my son copied it, for which they say they will put him to his oath. I cannot endure this precedent, that a son or a prentice should betray the secrets of his father or master, when the subject is desirous to give information to the King. I have been and am still ready to give £5,000 bail to come to England and appear before the King, answer all questions that may be asked of me and give information from time to time of the causes of the great decay of the Leeward Islands. I have suffered much from the war myself, and we have put the Crown to great charge for squadrons and regiments. I am sensible of the services that they have done; but I must add that if the Council of Trade expose the complaints of maladministration sent to them, they will never (as in the present case) be truly informed. I dare not impute this mistake to the Council of Trade, for I am told that this copy (sic) was sent from Martinique by a Roman Catholic, and such persons are too much in fashion here. If this person were not guilty, why should I be hindered from coming to England? I will bear all hard usage that may be put upon me until relief, for I am a loyal man and never was guilty of anything but assertion of the liberty of the subject. The King's Commission directs that we shall make laws as near as may be agreeable to the laws of England, and until the King express himself to the contrary, I cannot believe that my life and liberty can be taken from me but by way of law, though some abuse Governor Codrington's ears that he hath the ordinary lording power. Signed, John Lucas. P.S.—I am now chosen an Assemblyman by almost unanimous vote. 1¼ pp.
626. II. John Lucas to Lord Lucas. 25 April, 1698. (See No. 605 I.)
626. III. Duplicates of the documents abstracted in No. 616 I. The whole endorsed, Communicated to the Board by Lord Lucas. Recd. Read 1 July, 1698. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. Nos. 89, 89 I.–III.]
July 1.
New London,
627. Major-General Winthrop to William Popple. I was very sorry to leave London before thanking you for your many favours, but I was obliged to hurry away on news that the ship was ready to sail. The letters of the Council of Trade have been duly delivered to the Governor and Company. The freemen have elected me Governor for the ensuing year here, when I shall do my utmost to do my duty and to promote the King's interest. I shall be very happy to have an interview with you. Signed, J. Winthrop. Holograph. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 8 Sept., Read 20 Oct., 1698. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 2. No. 22.]
July 1.
New London,
628. Major-General Winthrop to Council of Trade and Plantations. I thank you for your singular favours to me while acting as Agent for Connecticut. The country has elected me to be Governor for the ensuing year, when I hope to receive your commands for the King's interest. I delivered the King's letter and yours to the Governor and Company; and your directions therein shall be complied with. Your request to be furnished with a copy of the laws I shall recommend to the Assembly next session. Your letter of 21 March last, with a copy of the Jamaica Act against pirates, is lately come to my hands. I find this Act in our records, and that it was put into force in 1684, such was our constant care to prevent the growth of that mischief. I have ordered the Act (of which I enclose copy) to be reinforced by proclamation. I can faithfully assure you that not one vessel was ever fitted out here on a piratical design nor harboured in these ports, and that the King's orders herein shall be faithfully obeyed. Signed, J. Winthrop. Holograph. 2½ pp.; with a précis inscribed. Endorsed, Recd. 8 Sept., Read 20 Oct., 1698. Enclosed,
628. I. Copy of the Act of Connecticut for restraining pirates, dated 4 July, 1684. 2½ pp. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 2. Nos. 23, 23 I.; and (without enclosure)25. pp. 234–236.]
July 1.
629. William Popple to the Attorney and Solicitor-General. Referring to them Gilbert Heathcote's petition of 27 June (No. 611) for their opinion whether the King can remit to Sir William Beeston the penalty incurred by him, and whether Sir William by his omission has in any way incapacitated himself for the Government of Jamaica, and if so how he may be rehabilitated. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 56. pp. 206–207.]
July 1.
630. William Popple to Gilbert Heathcote. Forwarding to him the preceding letter, to deliver and procure an answer. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 56. p. 207.]
July 4. 631. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. Order for payment of the expenses of Sheriff Samuel Gallop for execution of several warrants. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. p. 161.]
July 4. 632. Minutes of Council of New York. The Governor informed the Mayor and Aldermen of New York of his intended departure for Albany. He then communicated to the Council the letters of the Governors of Canada and Montreal, whereupon it was advised that copies thereof be sent to the King, and that meanwhile the Governor contravert the Governor of Canada in his claim to sovereignty over the Five Nations. On the petition of Mr. Delancey an injunction in Chancery was granted to him. Sundry minor petitions dealt with. Orders for sundry payments to Chidley Brooke on account of salary and incidental charges. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. pp. 123–124.]
July 4.
633. Robert Quarry to Council of Trade and Plantations. On my way hither I visited Governor Nicholson, who was very importunate that I should execute the power of the Admiralty Commission and give him an account of those matters in this province. I have so much respect for him that his wishes are to me commands. As soon as I came here I made enquiry and gave him a true account of that affair, which I suppose he will lay before you; but lest it should miscarry I thought it my duty to report to you. I found that Mr. Randolph had commissioned one Mr. Radney, who lives over a hundred miles from this place, to be Register of the Court of Admiralty, and one Robert Webb, to be Marshal, who is not at present in the province, nor is it known when he will be, so that at this rate the King's business cannot be done. The Advocate, the most essential officer, is in England, and as I am informed never designs better. By Governor Nicholson's order I discoursed Mr. John Moore of this place, a practitioner of the law and the only fit man for the place, and find him willing to undertake it if provided with a suitable allowance. There are several matters pending which cannot be determined until the Court of Admiralty is settled, and though these difficulties may easily be removed, yet there is one thing which can only be remedied by the Royal Authority. This is an Act of Assembly lately passed by this Government, which has removed the obligation of an oath in all matters relating to the Acts of Trade and Navigation, though in a former law of 7 November, 1696, they had sufficient regard for the King's interest to insert a proviso that no person should be excused from swearing who was required or should be required by the Acts of Trade and Navigation to do so. But this proviso they have now repealed, and have further enacted that when any plaint or information shall be exhibited against any person in any Court of the Province upon breach or non-observance of the Acts aforesaid, the manner of trial shall be according to common law before a jury of twelve. Hereby my commission as Judge of Admiralty is quite destroyed, for I cannot allow trial by jury, and this law will not suffer the Court to try without a jury, so that my hands are tied until I receive further instructions from you, when I shall have the courage and resolution to assert the King's authority in opposition to this law or any other that they may make. The necessities of the King's affairs here require a speedy decision. I ventured when in London to inform you that the trade here could not be watched without a small vessel of force to ride constantly between the Capes of this bay and examine all ships going in and out. The Swift which was ordered hither has been called away. I offered to furnish a ketch fully equipped and to give security to fulfil this duty on such terms as would have saved the King many pounds a year. Any vessel that is sent hither must expect to have her bottom eaten out by the worm every summer. I also proposed to lay before you the great charge and trouble that I must be at in travelling and other expenses of my commission. The officers of the Court and others who attend it will expect me to bear their charges. The Governor of the Jerseys told me yesterday that he had seized some pirates of Every's crew, and that other matters of Admiralty required me to hold a Court there. I have reckoned that it will cost me at least £25 to £30, besides the fatigue of a tedious journey and the neglect of my business. I asked formerly for a suitable allowance, but the Commissioners of Customs told me that a salary could not yet be settled, though they would find out something that might be an equivalent. I beg your consideration hereof, for I am not like other Judges of Admiralty, who have no occasion to stir from their own home and enjoy the support of the Government. Signed, Robt. Quarry. 5 pp. Endorsed, Recd. 6 Sept.,Read 8 Oct., 1698. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 2. No. 24; and 25. pp. 228–233.]
July 4. 634. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Captain Edgecombe attending on Mr. Lucas's case said that Mr. Lucas had taken a passage with him but had been forbidden by Governor Codrington to sail. Lucas was a quarrelsome man. Captain Julius also attending explained that his reason for striking Lucas was his scandalous letter to Admiral Nevill against Governor Codrington.
Mr. Basse's letter of April last to the Secretary read (No. 415). The Secretary was ordered to engage him in correspondence.
July 6. Order for a letter to Governor Codrington directing him to release John Lucas, taking £500 bail from him. Mr. Walrond's letter of this day read (No. 639). Order for him to bring his new witnesses before the Board if he think it material.
Lord Bellomont's letters of 8, 18 and 25 May read. Order for copy of the Order in Council as to ports in the Jerseys to be sent to Mr. Sansom for the Commissioners of Customs.
Mr. Benjamin Harrison was desired to bring his information as to illegal trade in Virginia in writing.
July 8. Mr. Walrond's second letter of 6th inst. (No. 640) was read. Letter to Governor Codrington concerning Mr. Lucas signed. Directions given for a representation respecting Tortola.
The Attorney and Solicitor-General's opinion as to Mr. Blair's capacity to sit in the Council of Virginia read (No. 638).
The Solicitor-General's opinion on Sir William Beeston's case was read (No. 635), and a representation ordered to be drawn thereupon.
July 9. Representations as to Tortola and Sir William Beeston's case signed.
Draft instructions for the Governor of Virginia further considered. [Board of Trade. Journal, 11. pp. 116–122.]
July 5. 635. The Solicitor-General to Council of Trade and Plantations. I have examined the petition presented on behalf of Sir William Beeston (No. 611), and am of opinion that he has incurred the forfeiture mentioned in the statute by not taking the oath within the time therein laid down, though in truth the omission was through his ignorance. I think his neglect to take the oath within the time does not disenable him to be or continue Governor of Jamaica; and I think that the King may pardon the forfeiture incurred by that neglect, he not being prosecuted for the same. Signed, Jo. Hawles. ½ p. Endorsed, Recd. Read 8 July, 1698. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 93; and 56. p. 208.]
July 5.
636. Governor Sir William Beeston to Council of Trade and Plantations. Since my last the business of settling Sir James Castillo, as the factor of the Portuguese African Company for the Assiento, has been concluded, and the merchants have sold that factor three hundred negroes to be delivered at Vera Cruz, the money to be returned on the merchants' risk. As there are still several French pirates roving about these seas, they applied to me for one of the King's ships to escort the negroes and bring back the money, which at first I was unwilling to do; but considering that it was upon the first settling of that trade, that the money would go to England, that the ships lay idle in port, and that the men would be more healthy at sea than in harbour, I allowed the Foresight to go with them. She sailed about ten days since, and I hope will be back in five weeks. I thought it also not amiss for the officers to be acquainted with those ports, where some time or other the King might have occasion for them. These reasons, with the encouragement of trade, will I hope justify my action. On reading our Acts for imposing twenty shillings a head on negroes exported, and the additional duty on wine, I find that both expire in November next. The revenue is too low for the common charges (apart from the many contingent charges) and there is a want of forts, which ought to be built in peace, so that I intend to call an Assembly and propose to it to continue their duties indefinitely, if I can prevail with them, or at any rate for as long a time as I can get from them. I reported in my last that Colonel Lloyd and Mr. Brodrick had sailed for England, with the design to do me all the mischief they could, to gratify their ambition and malice. I can discover no more of what they pretend to say against me except that I have taken money for preferring some people to escheats after the value secured to the King, which is a perquisite taken by all former Governors and never questioned nor disputed. Also when any patent office falls owing to the death of the patentee, then, until the King has granted another and it be arrived here, the half-profits of these offices during that time fall to the Governor and cannot in reason fall to anyone else, for there is no reason why the deputy should have the whole, since, when the patentee is dead, he is continued in office only by the Governor's favour. I know not what else I have done, so cannot tell what they will say, but must ask you to take nothing for granted until you have heard my answer, and to refer back the matter to the Council or any others here to certify the truth to you. Then I doubt not to shew that these complaints are only the effects of pride and malice in people who will be content with nothing unless they can manage all things as they please. Mr. Brodrick has endeavoured to get in deputy into all the offices, which would place them wholly at his devotion. This would be a great prejudice to the country and an inconvenience, for whoever is Secretary is of course Clerk of the Council and liable to be changed every day at their pleasure, and into the hands of strangers and ignorant men in that business. This is a great imposition on the Council, as well as on the revenue and Secretary's offices, the Chancery and others. I beg you to move the King that this be remedied. Mr. Brodrick said one evening he would go off, and went indeed on the next, by which he left the business of the Admiralty, of which he was judge, and all other business wherein he was concerned, in great confusion. He also got his cousin Brodrick into a deputation for the Secretary's office, and, influencing him, got him to accept £1,000 security for his ticket to depart; and now the people compute that he owes £4,000, at which the country is much concerned. I hope never to see him return Attorney-General again; and meanwhile, till the King's pleasure be further known I have put Mr. Thomas Barrow into that office, and Colonel Charles Knight and Mr. Thomas Clark into the Admiralty. I intend also to make Colonel Nicholas Lawes Chief Justice against next Grand Court. I have sent some depositions of Mr. Brodrick's management here in divers things and could send more, but will defer it until I hear what they have to say of me. The country continues in good health and is very quiet. I hope God Almighty will continue the one; I shall do my utmost to preserve the other. Signed, Wm. Beeston. Holograph. 1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 23 Sept. Read 20 Oct., 1698. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 94; and 56. pp. 225–229.]