America and West Indies: September 1698, 21-25

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: September 1698, 21-25', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905), pp. 446-455. British History Online [accessed 22 June 2024].

. "America and West Indies: September 1698, 21-25", in Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905) 446-455. British History Online, accessed June 22, 2024,

. "America and West Indies: September 1698, 21-25", Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698, (London, 1905). 446-455. British History Online. Web. 22 June 2024,

September 1698

Sept. 21.
New York.
835. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to Council of Trade and Plantations. I send muster-rolls of the four companies under my command. I was myself present at the musters, and took every care that they should be exact, and yet I am not sure whether I am not wrong in allowing myself the privilege exercised by Colonel Fletcher of mustering all my servants. I made this difference, however, that I mustered no negroes, as he did, nor put in three fictitious names of men (which is the number of servants allowed to each captain by the King) and that over and above all his servants. I muster seven servants, and if they be thought too many I am willing to stand corrected. I shall continue to send exact muster-rolls every six months and should do so oftener but that for half the year frost and snow hinders communication with the garrisons of Albany and Senectady. Pray intercede with the King that the rest of the captains and myself may be paid for full companies, otherwise it will be impossible for us to recruit from England, the service here being under that vast discredit, owing to former mismanagement, that no man will enlist. Since it is not our fault that the companies are not full, I am sure that the King will more easily consent. While I was at Albany I received the enclosed petition from the chaplain and other officers of the four companies to get off the grievous deduction of 30 per cent., which has all this while been a great discouragement to the service in this country where all things, both for the belly and for the back, are very near treble the rates that they are in England.
While I was at Albany, Mr. Brooke started for England; and for ten days or a fortnight before his going all the factious merchants in the town resorted to him at the house of Captain Willson, the late sheriff, where Brooke has boarded for several years, and there caballed until one or two o'clock in the morning. They all made their compliments to him at his lodging and attended him in a body to the shore and some of them even to the ship. I appeal to you whether Brooke would not have been as odious to the merchants, had he done his duty during the seven years of his Collectorship, as I was for the first week after my arrival for seizing the ship Fortune and the East India goods. I send an account of those goods and of other seizures made since my coming. I shall shortly prove to you by his accounts, besides the evidence already sent to you, that he was false to his trust, and that there was a plain combination between him and Colonel Fletcher to deceive the King and the province of as much money as they could; and I am most confident that I shall be able to bring a charge of many thousand pounds to Colonel Fletcher's account. I cannot help complaining of the recall of the two men-of-war from under my command. It is of the last "mischievious" consequence to these provinces since it weakens the authority of the King's Government, favours unlawful trade and encourages piracy beyond all things that could have been thought of. The factious part of the merchants are sensible enough of this and have expressed their joy by saying that they hope never to see a man-of-war here again, to disturb their trade, as they call it. Some of them have been so impudent as to wish that they were in like case with Connecticut and the Jerseys, with no Governor from England and no fort to awe them in their trade. Some still more insolent have said that they will undertake to bring it about, for there is a project sent home from hence by Brooke, with assurance of a great sum of money if Colonel Fletcher, Gilbert Heathcote, the merchant, and Brooke can compass these things. They are as cocksure of carrying the point and turning me out of this Government as ever I was of eating a dinner in my own house; they do not stick to say it openly in the town and to spread it all the country over. I shall cheerfully submit whenever the King thinks fit to recall me, and if the factious merchants succeed in accomplishing this their joy will not be greater than my comfort, for I shall go away with a good conscience that I have been uncorrupt and have obeyed my orders to examine into the abuses of the late Government. I do not meanwhile contend for keeping this Government, for I shall prove to you later, when my health is better, that no man of quality who is honest can live on the profits of this Government. I do not see yet how I can make above £800 per annum of the salary and perquisites, though it is true that if I would make New York the mart of piracy, confederate with the merchants, wink at unlawful trade, pocket the off-reckonings, make £300 a year out of the victualling of the poor soldiers, muster half-companies, pack an assembly which would give me what money I pleased, and pocket a great part of the public moneys, I could make this Government more valuable than that of Ireland, which I believe is reckoned the best in the King's gift. The Admiralty's orders for recall of the two men-of-war are directed to their captains, so that I am not thought worthy to be acquainted therewith, and, what happens to be worse at this time, my power over them is so entirely superseded. The other day a pirate-ship came into the Delaware, took nine or ten ships and committed several robberies on the people of Pennsylvania. Captain Culliford (whom I spoke to first myself and afterwards summoned before the Council) absolutely refused to sail and attack them with his ship, saying that he had positive orders to go to England, and durst not go a step out of his way for fear of losing his commission. I enclose copy of Colonel Markham's letter concerning the pirate and other documents relating to the subject.
I must inform you that the French here are very factious and their number considerable. I submit it to your judgment how far it is safe to encourage them in this province, which is the key of all the rest, and the chief frontier towards Canada. At the last election they ran in with the Jacobite and have since been so insolent as to boast that they turned the scale and could balance the interests as they pleased. Thirty-three Frenchmen came to me at once to be denized, desiring to be comprehended in the Act of Denizenation without paying fees. I could have consented to that part, but I thought it prudent first to obtain your pleasure therein. Some French that passed for Protestants during the war have since been discerned to be Papists, and one could suspect that their business was to give intelligence to Canada. See my Lieutenant-Governor's letter enclosed. I remember Mr. Dellius telling me that Count de Frontenac owned to him that he had great part of his letters and intelligence from France by way of Boston all through the late war. Where I meet with a merchant among the French, who is known to be a good Protestant, I grant him letters of denizenation. I hear that the French have written for letters of denizenation for all the persons that I have delayed, as above reported, and for aught I know for many others also; and they say they will have them denized in spite of me. I have made no step yet towards charging the officers of the militia, the justices of the peace or the civil officers (excepting the displacing of Willson, the sheriff) but I find that it will be absolutely necessary, the persons now in office being mostly of ill character and disaffected to the King's Government. If I am not too late in this reform I fancy that with a little management, which shall be fair and on the square, I shall be able to compass the continuing of the revenue for five years longer, which was the time for which it was granted under Colonel Fletcher. When that is once done I shall make it my business to bring the parties to a balance. I see no reason why the English and Dutch, that are called of Leisler's party, should be any longer excluded from a share in the Government. They are reported to be two-thirds of the people of the province, and why they should be crushed and oppressed so long as they are obedient to the laws, I cannot see. I can also vouch it for true that they are a more sober, virtuous and well-affected people than the other party. The Jacobite party in this town have a club commonly every Saturday (which was Colonel Fletcher's club day) and last Saturday was se'nnight there met twenty-seven of them. Colonels Bayard and Minvielle, of the Council, Nicoll, late of the Council, and Willson, the late sheriff, are their leaders, and their rancour is such that I do not think it right for me to leave the province until I receive an answer from you to my former representations, for I verily believe that if I was to go hence the people would fall together by the ears. Moreover, my departure would give the faction great advantage and would tend much to the revenue's ceasing, while the measures which I have proposed to myself for continuing the present revenue would be frustrated. The faction knows this well, and is therefore very free in its wishes for my departure to my other governments. I am, however, of service here in two matters, notwithstanding my stay. One is the business of naval stores, which I animated by frequent letters to the other governments, and of which I receive hopeful accounts; the other is the making of peace with the Eastern Indians, who have been very uneasy to New England and New Hampshire during the last war. This I hope to effect through one Schuyler, who is very popular with the Skachkook River Indians, who, having been driven out of the eastern parts by the New Englanders, are still acknowledged by the Eastern Indians as part of themselves. Schuyler is speedily to travel to the eastern parts, taking with him some of the chiefs of our River Indians, by whose means he hopes to make a perpetual peace. He also designs to invite them to come away and live with our River Indians in this province. I keep this secret from the other governments until I know the result of Schuyler's negotiation. If he succeeds it will be certainly a most important service to the more easterly provinces.
You formerly sent me your orders to assert the privileges of this port against Perth-Amboy, and I issued a proclamation thereupon, to which Governor Basse of East Jersey issued a counter-proclamation. I sent for him and shewed him your orders in the Attorney-General's presence, yet he has since had the impudence and folly to say that he has never seen them and that he will maintain the port of Amboy by force. While I was at Albany he appeared before my Lieutenant-Governor and upheld the right of Amboy to be a port, producing copies (but no originals) of orders from the Treasury and Customs in England in support of his contention. I enclose copies of the Lieutenant-Governor's letter to me and of Colonel Basse's papers on the subject. I must add that when I shewed your orders to Colonel Basse and he urged the validity of his papers, I told him that if he could produce an authentic original order from the Lords of the Treasury or the Commissioners of Customs, constituting Perth-Amboy a port, I would not disturb any ships going into Amboy, provided they gave security to pay the New York duties, if, on my reference of the matter to you, your decision should be in favour of New York. I remember arguing with Colonel Basse the impossibility of the King's issuing his orders to me without the concurrence of some of the Lords of the Treasury, who, being members of the Council, would have set the King right if the matter was one wholly under the direction of the Treasury. Moreover, the Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice, being Councillors, would never have let such orders pass had they been against law. The enclosed affidavit of Mr. Hungerford, one of the Commissioners appointed to execute Mr. Brooke's office, will shew you how little respect Colonel Basse pays to the orders of the Government. I have already acquainted you with my inability to trust Sheriff Willson, in consequence of his behaviour on the seizure of certain East India goods, and of my being compelled to send soldiers to rescue the search-party. I now send a certificate proving that Willson had himself concealed East India goods and sold them. I should have had proof that Brooke was privy to Willson's receipt of these goods, and that most of them were conveyed to Willson's house before Brooke's face, but the party was afraid that he would be murdered if he should declare his knowledge of the matter. They are a most wicked, lawless and revengeful people here. I had not been here a fortnight before they threatened to murder Mr. Graham, the Attorney-General, and Mr. Weaver, upon imagination that I consulted them as to unlawful trade and Colonel Fletcher's maladministration. Signed, Bellomont. 8 pp. Endorsed, Recd. Read 31 Oct., 1698. Enclosed,
835. I. Muster-rolls of the four King's Companies of the New York Garrison. Earl of Bellomont's Company, 3 officers, 3 sergeants, 3 corporals, 2 drummers, 54 privates, besides the garrison-staff and two matrosses. New York, 10 August, 1698.
Captain John Nanfan's Company. Lieutenants Riggs and Charles Oliver, 3 sergeants, 3 corporals, 2 drummers, 43 privates. Albany, 28 July, 1698.
Major Richard Ingoldsby's Company. Lieutenant Shanke, 3 sergeants, 3 corporals, 2 drummers, 45 privates. Albany, 28 July, 1698.
Captain James Weems's Company. Lieutenant Daniel Hunt, 3 sergeants, 3 corporals, 2 drummers, 61 privates. Albany, 28 July, 1698. The officers' servants, three for each captain and one for each subaltern, are reckoned as privates. Four sheets, each inscribed, Recd. 31 Oct. Read 17 Nov., 1698.
835. II. Petition of Symon Smith, chaplain to the King's forces in New York, Captain James Weems, and Lieutenants Shanke, Hunt, Riggs, Oliver and John Buckley, to Governor the Earl of Bellomont. Notwithstanding our addresses to Colonel Fletcher for the removal of the deduction of 30 per cent. from our pay, and his promise to second them, the burden still remains on us. We should think it a hardship in England, where we are not denied the enjoyment of our friends, the benefit of the best conversation, or the prospect of preferment, and where necessaries are good and cheap; but here, where every necessary is thrice the price of the same in England, we think it such a punishment that the King, if he knew it, would not inflict it on his enemies, much less on them who hold his commission. The maladministration of the late Government caused much desertion, for the men received no money but what the country gave them, clothes not sufficient to cover their nakedness, and provisions such as an hungry dog would scarce eat, but which we for want of money have been forced to eat. Wherefore lest we be driven to dishonour our commissions or to bring contempt on the King's service, we beg you to intercede for the removal of this burden from us. 1 p. Endorsed as No. I.
835. III. Copy of the accounts of seizures made during Lord Bellomont's government at New York. East India goods, £599 12s. 4d., less costs £104 19s. 0d., giving to the King, the Governor and the Collector each a share of £164 17s. 6d. Ship Fortune, £297, less costs £160 19s. 5d. Three shares, each £45 6s. 10d. Two boats and two sloops, £100 17s. 6d. Governor's share (deducting two shares remitted), £9 7s. 10d. 10 pp. Endorsed as No. I.
835. IV. Copy of a letter from Governor Markham to Governor Lord Bellomont. Philadelphia, 31 August, 1698. I received the enclosed report last night. I hope that you will order H.M.S. Fowey to view the coast. ½ p.
Copy of enclosure in the above. Luke Watson and three others to Governor Markham. Lewis, 28 August, 1698. Late on Friday afternoon a small snug ship and a sloop came to within the Capes, not wholly undescried but little dreaded, which proved to be an enemy and French. Yesterday morning they landed about fifty well-armed men and plundered nearly every house in the town, breaking open doors and chests and carrying off not only money, goods and merchandise, but rugs and bed-covering, leaving hardly anything in the place to cover or wear. They brought two English prisoners ashore with them bound, one of them known to be son of John Redwood of Philadelphia, so we suppose the sloop to be his. They all went on board last night, after killing several sheep and hogs, and are still at anchor in the bay opposite to the town, as close in as the water will let them ride. We expect them to land again to-morrow to kill more cattle or burn the houses. They lie ready for all mischief inward or outward, by land or water. Their sloop is now in chase of a brigantine, which we hope will outsail them. They are beggarly rogues and will plunder for a trifle, and we think they may tarry long enough for the men-of-war at New York to notice. They took about eleven of the chief of our town prisoners, and when they had made them help to ship their plunder, released them all except one. This place is in great danger and very naked for defence. We hope we need not repeat the calamities aforesaid, nor the terror that has fallen upon us. 1¼ pp.
Copy of a letter from Governor Markham to Governor Lord Bellomont. Philadelphia, 2 September, 1698. The pirate mentioned in mine of 31st ult. is still about the Capes, and has plundered a ship inward bound from Holland and chased a pink. She is a barque of about 80 tons, with two guns and eighty-five men. She came out of Rappahannock bound for England, when these rogues took her and threw all her tobacco overboard except three hogsheads. They wait for a vessel fit for their turn, being bound to the Red Sea, and they have intelligence of one inward bound. She has on board ten Scots, seven English and three Dutch. We hope you will order the Fowey to cruise on our coast; she could do as much service to New York as to us by plying between Sandy Hook and Delaware Capes. The pirates have taken nine veesels since they came from the West Indies. P.S.—Some of the prisoners released by the pirates have been with me. They report that there are no English on board her except two whom they have impressed, one Irishman only, and the rest French. ¾ p.
Copy of Minutes of Council of New York, 2 September, 1698. As to the refusal of Captain Culliford, R.N., to sail in search of the pirate-ship in the Delaware, he having positive orders to sail direct to England. ¾ p.
Copy of a letter from Governor Lord Bellomont to Governor Markham. New York, 2 September, 1698. Regretting that he cannot order either of the men-of-war to cruise for the pirate in Delaware Bay, as both are under orders for England and he himself has no control over them. ½ p. The whole endorsed as No I.
835. V. Extract of a letter from Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan to Governor Lord Bellomont. Albany, 12 September, 1698. There is here a Frenchman and papist to whom you gave a pass for himself and family to go to Canada, his own name only being mentioned. He has several vagabond priests with him. Colonel Schuyler desired me to detain him till something is heard from you or from his brother, for he gives him a very ill character. I have dissuaded the Mayor from leaving the town for the present at this juncture. ½ p. Endorsed as No. I.
835. VI. A collection of papers relating to the controversy as to the opening of the port of Amboy.
(a) Copy of Minutes of Council of New York, 23 July, 1698. Recording the presence of Governor Basse of East Jersey at the Council, and his arguments in favour of the freedom of the port of Amboy. 2¼ pp.
(b) Copy of a letter from Lieutenant-Governor Nanfan, New York, 24 July, 1698. Forwarding the Minutes of Council of 23rd and asking for his orders.
(c) Copy of letter from the King to the Proprietors of East New Jersey, 22 April, 1697. Enjoining upon them strict enforcement of the Acts of Trade. This was produced by Governor Basse in support of his contention for the port of Amboy. 1 p.
(d) Copy of a report from the Commissioners of Customs to the Treasury, 31 August, 1697. Recommending the allowance of Amboy and other ports in East and West Jersey. Produced, as document (c), by Governor Basse. 2½ pp.
(e) Copy of a letter from the Commissioners of Customs to Edward Randolph, 21 October, 1697. Giving him directions as to Amboy and other appointed and privileged ports of New Jersey. Produced, as document (c), by Governor Basse. 1 p.
(f) Copy of a Commission of the Commissioners of Customs, dated 21 November, 1696, appointing a Collector for the port of Amboy. Produced, as document (c), by Governor Basse. 1 p.
(g) Copy of a proclamation of King Charles II., 23 November, 1683, for establishing the authority of the proprietors of East New Jersey within that province. Produced, as document (c), by Governor Basse.
(h) Deposition of Ducie Hungerford. To the effect that he was ordered to Amboy to seize a sloop which was loading and unloading there without previous entry at New York Custom-house, but that he was prevented by the violence of the people, including two of Governor Basse's servants, and finally haled with violence before a Justice. This Justice refused to admit the validity of Lord Bellomont's recent proclamation in New Jersey, and charged him with riot. Finally, deponent after some hours in custody was released, and returned to New York without effecting the seizure. 2 pp.
835. VII. Certificate of Edward Randolph as to intelligence given to him of the purchase of East India goods from Captain Willson, late sheriff of New York. Copy. 1 p. The whole of the enclosures endorsed, Recd. 31 Oct. Read 17 Nov., 1698. [Board of Trade. New York, 8. Nos. 2, 2 I.–VII.; (and without enclosures), 53. pp. 73–86.]
[Sept. 21.] 836. Abstract of the foregoing letter from Lord Bellomont to Council of Trade and Plantations. 3 pp. [Board of Trade. New York, 8. No. 3.]
Sept. 21. 837. Minutes of Council of New York. The Governor (being indisposed) sent a message to the Council to communicate to them that the Indians had resolved to go to Canada by way of Albany and treat with the Count de Frontenac. Order for all prudent methods to be used to stop them and to detain the prisoners and Frenchmen at Albany. [Board of Trade. New York, 72. p. 133.]
Sept. 22. 838. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. James Convers and John Alden appointed to negotiate with the Eastern Indians for release of the English prisoners in their hands. A collection ordered in all congregations for relief of some New England men, prisoners in Barbary. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. p. 175.]
Sept. 22. 839. William Popple to the Attorney and Solicitor-General. Forwarding the Acts passed by the Assembly of Massachusetts in the session of 1698 and by the Assembly of New York between 28 June, 1695, and 23 April, 1697, for their opinion. Here follows a list of the Acts. [Board of Trade. New York, 52. pp. 452–454.]
Sept. 22.
840. William Popple to the Attorney and Solicitor-General. Forwarding heads for a commission to the Commissioners for the expedition to reduce the pirates in the East Indies, and of a proclamation offering pardon to pirates, to be prepared. Here follow, the heads of the commission or powers to be given to the Commissioners and the heads of the proclamation as in No. 806, except that in the 3rd head of the proclamation pardon is refused for all piracies committed after notice of the King's pardon, and for all piracies committed in any place west of the Island of Socatora after 1 February next, in any place from Socatora eastward as far as Cape Comorin after 1 March next, and in any place eastward of Cape Comorin after 1 April next. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 34. pp. 345–347.]
Sept. 22.
841. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Justices of England. We have received your instructions to prepare the necessary powers and instructions for the President and Council of Nevis on taking over the Government of the Leeward Islands; but we see no reason to add to Governor Codrington's instructions, under which the President and Council already exercise the authority given by his commission. We think, therefore, that it will suffice to confirm William Burt as President, and direct the Council to assume its duties, as may be done by an ordinary letter in the usual form. Here follows a draft letter. In case of mishap a copy of Governor Codrington's commissions and instructions should be sent with the latter. Signed, Ph. Meadows, John Pollexfen, Jo. Locke, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 45. pp. 285–290.]
Sep. 22–23. 842. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Antigua. On the request of the Assembly a writ was issued for the election of a new member for the Assembly. Further messages were exchanged as to the Registry Act. Act to prevent intermarriage of Protestants and Roman Catholics received by the Council, and a joint committee appointed to consider the Council's amendments thereto. Petition of John Lucas, that looking to the order of the Council of Trade as to his bail, a judgment adverse to him may be reversed, without need for further appeal to Whitehall. Petition of Richard Backeridge, Commissioner of Prizes, to recover certain prizes from John Perrie and others, referred to the Council of Nevis. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 64. pp. 279–283.]
Sept. 22. 843. Minutes of Council of Barbados. On intelligence of two pirate vessels, of twenty guns and eight guns, at Tobago, the Governor reported that he had ordered out H.M.S. Speedwell with twenty additional seamen and thirty soldiers, and a good vessel to be taken up to accompany her. The papers concerning the affair were sent down to the Assembly. Major Thomas Garth's petition for the subsisting of his company for two or three months recommended to the Assembly; who made answer that they could not be security for any further supply. A conference was then held over the Tobago affair, when the Council said that they believed the Speedwell would be strong enough to engage the pirate, if the Assembly would supply provisions for the additional seamen and the soldiers.
Leave granted to Tobias Frere to go to St. Lucia, wearing the King's Jack and pendant (except in sight of the King's forts and frigates) and to bring in any Indians that desired to treat for peace. Copy of his instructions. Orders for sundry payments. A convicted murderer reprieved. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 370–374.]
Sept. 22. 844. Journal of Assembly of Barbados. Thomas Maxwell again chosen Speaker. Bill for further provision for white servants received and consideration deferred. The Assembly waited on the Governor, who recommended the despatch of a man-of-war and a hired brigantine to suppress certain pirates at Tobago. The House agreed that the man-of-war should be sent at once, and that they would reimburse the Governor for the hire of the brigantine.
Sept. 23. Bill to continue the Act for an impost on liquors passed. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 311–313.]
Sept. 25.
St. John's,
845. George Gamble to John Lucas. I am surprised to hear that you sail to-morrow, but I send my best wishes, and I enclose the remonstrance of the Assembly of Antigua (see No. 747) for you to lay before the Council of Trade in case the original should not have reached them. I send it open, though you are acquainted with its contents, that you may peruse it again. When you have done so, pray enclose it in a clean piece of paper and address it to the Council of Trade. I hope that it may prove effectual. You know that most of our mischiefs arise from being governed by a general both in peace and war. A meeting or two more of the Representatives will, I think, afford them an opportunity to acquaint the Council of Trade thereof. They have already shewn their care of us by calling one before them to set forth the hardships which he has suffered—I mean your afflicted self. Copy. 1½ pp. Inscribed, Returned to Mr. Lucas pursuant to order of 28 March, 1699. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 5. No. 120.]