America and West Indies: February 1699, 1-4

Pages 34-51

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 17, 1699 and Addenda 1621-1698. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1908.

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February 1699

Feb. 1. 61. Minutes of Council of Barbados. Mrs. Mary Cooper's petition for two years' arrears was read. She was ordered £100 for her present occasions. Lattimer Richards was allowed £4 1s. 11½ d. on his account. The Bill for the Provision of Servants was passed. The proposals of Magnus Popples about building a mould (mole?) were laid before the Board. He was ordered to attend next Council day. The Assembly's Bill about the Common Road was rejected "for that this house hath already sent down a Bill from hence to the Assembly for the same purpose." The Assembly sent the Bill back with amendments, to which the Council agreed and the Bill was read accordingly. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 387–388.]
Feb. 1. 62. Journal of Assembly of Barbados. Presentments of the Grand Jury ordered to be read and laid up among the Assembly Papers. An answer to the Refiners was read and laid by for consideration. The Bill to enlarge a Common Road was sent down from the Council and passed. A Bill for the provision or placing of servants was read and debated. It was decided that white servants should not be placed on owners of personal estates but keepers of public houses should be charged with one each, owners of sloops and shallops two each, owners of houses of £30 rent, one each. George Peers, William Wheeler and Robert Harrison withdrew themselves from the house without leave, whereby the business under consideration was impeded, there being only fourteen members present. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 65. pp. 335–337.]
Feb. 2. 63. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Letter to Mr. Secretary Vernon ordered, to acquaint him with the contents of a letter from Mr. Parker, Consul at the Groyne, relating to the woollen manufacture at Sada. Account of the exportation of cloth by the Turkey Company for several years communicated.
Letter from Mr. Burchet, Secretary of the Admiralty, enclosing copy of letter from Mr. Bridges to the Commissioners of the Navy (Boston, Nov. 16) relating to the production of naval stores there, read.
Letters to the Governors of Barbados, Jamaica, New York, St. Christopher's, signed.
Copy of the establishment of the two companies sent to the Leeward Islands in King Charles II.'s time ordered to be given to Mrs. Hill, widow of Col. Hill, deceased,
Order of Council of Nov. 24, approving several Acts of the Massachusetts Bay, read.
Mr. Brenton was desired to attend to-morrow upon the matter of a commission of enquiry and instructions to be sent to Lord Bellomont with relation to Rhode Island.
Representation ordered to be drawn upon the memorial of Sir Bartholomew Gracedieu and Mr. Gilbert Heathcote relating to Jamaica.
Letter to Sir Charles Hedges ordered, asking his opinion whether the pretensions of the English for damage done them by the French upon the island of St. Christopher's, contrary to the Treaty of Breda, which continued undecided till the outbreak of the late war, remain in force or are set aside by the Treaty of Ryswick.
Feb. 3. Mr. Brenton was desired to draw up a memorial of what he thought most proper with relation to enquiries to be made into irregularities of Government of Rhode Island.
Letter to Lord Bellomont signed, together with letters to the Governments of Connecticut and Rhode Island relating to H.M. Instructions about the Acts of Trade, to be enclosed. Secretary ordered to enclose the same instructions to Mr. Penn for the Government of Pennsylvania and to Mr. Thornburgh for the Lords Proprietors of Carolina and the Bahama Islands.
Mr. Attorney General's opinion about the query lately sent him relating to Mr. Hamilton, a Scotchman, propounded to be Governor of the Jerseys, read.
Mr. Kick referred to H.M. Customs.
Mr. Lucas stated that he had desired the Lord Lucas to speak to Col. Codrington about composing the differences between them.
Letter from Mr. Burchett enclosing copy of letter from Capt. Norris with several papers relating to Newfoundland read.
Letter to Mr. Vernon about woollen manufacture at Sada signed. [Board of Trade. Journal, 11. pp. 377–382; and 96. Nos. 21 and 22; and Trade Papers, 14. pp. 168–169.]
Feb. 2. 64. William Popple to Sir Charles Hedges. The Council of Trade and Plantations noticing that several of His Majesty's subjects had very considerable pretensions against the subjects of France for damages suffered from them in the island of St. Christopher's, contrary to the Treaty of Breda, which continued undecided till the time of the late war, desire your opinion whether those pretensions do yet continue in force or are set aside by the Treaty of Ryswick. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 45. p. 324.]
Feb. 2.
65. Council of Trade and Plantations to James Norton, L.G. of St. Christopher's. The French Ambassador has laid before His Majesty a memorial wherein he complains of the spoils committed by the English upon the French part of St. Christopher's. We are not yet furnished with any authentic account of what has been done, and desire you to inform us, and withal, if any such spoils have been committed, to acquaint us fully with the grounds and reasons thereof. Signed, Your very loving friends, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. Endorsed, Sent to the Postmaster at Deal, and by him delivered to John Neads, Master of the Europe. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 45. pp. 323, 324.]
Feb. 2.
66. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Earl of Bellomont. On the occasion of hearing Col. Fletcher's business, several merchants and others concerned in the Province of New York, have expressed to us their fears lest the changes you have introduced and the favour you have shown to Leisler's party should lead to disorder, and a policy of retaliation by that party, if triumphant at the elections, aiming at reparations for damages suffered in the time of the disorders of that province upon occasion of the late happy Revolution, to the great hazard of their effects there. They dare not, they say, send any goods therefore to New York, but like many of the inhabitants are only anxious to withdraw. Till we can give you a full account of what shall be determined by His Majesty upon your several letters we can only advise that no Act of Assembly be passed by your Lordship's consent whereby any retrospect be had to the quarrels between any parties during the forementioned disorders or for the reparation of damages then suffered on either side without His Majesty's express pleasure first had therein. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. New York, 53. pp. 254, 255; and 44A. No. 27 (rough draft).]
Feb. 2.
67. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Sir Wm. Beeston. We send you His Majesty's instructions relating particularly to the observation of the Acts of Trade with copies of Acts therein mentioned. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Phil. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. Endorsed, Sent to the Postmaster of Deal, and by him delivered to Tho. Liell, Master of the ship Catherine. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 56. pp. 245–247.]
Feb. 2.
68. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Grey. We received your letter of Oct. 23 about a month ago and have nothing particular to answer, except to wish you health and prosperity in your new Government. We transmit instructions from His Majesty relating particularly to the observation of Acts of Trade in the island of Barbados, and the like whereof, mutatis mutandis, have been sent to the Commanders-in-Chief of His Majesty's other plantations in America. You will observe in the beginning of these instructions an enumeration of several Acts said to be therewith transmitted to you which we therefore accordingly send. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Philip Meadows, William Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, Abraham Hill. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 44. pp. 238–240.]
Feb. 2. 69. Agents of Jamaica to the King. We pray that patents for the great offices be not granted except to those willing to reside on the island and personally to execute them. Otherwise, their substitutes are forced to extortion. The island since the late war has lost above half its people, by the earthquake, invasion of the French and irregular impressing by the men-of-war. To repeople it we propose the sending over of 200 soldiers, if possible tradesmen, to be in pay and duty there, with directions that when any of them are ready to employ themselves either in planting or trades they shall on application be discharged without fee, but obliged to do their duty as soldiers whenever His Majesty's service requires it. Recruits should be sent out at Christmas, the most healthy season, and two men-of-war, a fifth and sixth-rate, sent out annually at Christmas to guard the island. No man-of-war should carry off any indebted inhabitant without his having his ticket, according to the law of the country observed by merchant ships. Signed, Bartho. Gracedieu, Gilbert Heathcote. Endorsed, Recd. Read Feb. 2, 1698/9. [Board of Trade. Jamaica, 8. No. 106; and 56. pp. 247–250.]
Feb. 2.
70. Minutes of Council of Massachusetts. £15 ordered to be paid James Meers, taverner, of Boston, for a public dinner for the L.G., Council and other gentlemen upon the day of convening the General Assembly. [Board of Trade. New England, 49. p. 190.]
Feb. 2. 71. Attorney General to Mr. Popple. In reply to your letter of Jan. 17, I am of opinion that a Scotchman born is by law capable of being appointed Governor of any of the Plantations, he being a natural-born subject of England in judgment and construction of law, as much as if he had been born in England. Signed, Tho. Trevor. Endorsed, Recd. Read Feb. 13, 1698–9. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 2. No. 45; and25. p. 304.]
Feb. 3.
72. Governor Grey to Mr. Secretary Vernon. I received yours of the 23rd of November in relation to the apprehending your notorious pirate Kidd. He has not been heard of in these seas of late, nor do I believe he will think it safe to venture himself here, where his villanies are so well known; but if he does, all the diligence and application to find him out and seize him shall be used on my part that can be, with the assistance of a heavy crazy vessel, miscalled a cruiser, that is ordered to attend upon me. And here I must take the opportunity of letting you know, and hope you will be so kind as to acquaint the King with it, how poorly we are provided against any pirates that should infest these seas, and without there be two men-of-war, one of 50 guns and a good sailer, to stand after them in case they should molest the trade here, which is too considerable to England to be neglected, and another of 20 or 25 guns to secure the ships coming in and going out, I don't see how we can annoy them, though they may make us very uneasy; which considerations I hope will be of some weight with his Majesty. I have lately received a letter from my Lord Bellomont, to desire a convoy for some small vessels to Saltatudos in their way home to New England, but cannot, for the reasons above given, comply with his request. Rear-Admiral Bembow called here about three weeks ago and stayed in the road three days, till one of his squadron, who was left behind, joined him, and then made the best of his way for the Leeward Islands, with Collingwood's Regiment on board him, from whence I hear the French talked big and made high demands upon their resettling St. Christopher's, but upon the sight of an English flag, they began to change their language. Copy. Dated, Feb. 3, 1698/9. Endorsed, Recd. 3rd April, Read 18th April, 1699. 2 pp. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 7. No. 75; and 44. pp. 247, 248.]
Feb. 3.
73. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor the Earl of Bellomont. This letter relates chiefly to the government of the Massachusetts Bay. We have received several letters from Mr. Stoughton. We enclose two orders of the Lords Justices (Nov. 24, 1698), one of them confirming the greater part of the Acts of General Assemblies, Feb. 1694–Oct. 1697; the other for the repeal of some. Amongst the Acts repealed you will find that for incorporating Harrard College at Cambridge in New England. We are particularly directed to signify the reason why that Act has been repealed, and desire you to inform the Council and General Assembly that it is because an Act formerly passed in that Province to the same purpose having, upon report of the Lords of the late Committee for Trade and Plantations, been repealed and the reason signified to the L.G. and Council of the Province (viz. Because no power was therein reserved to His Majesty to appoint visitors for the better regulating of the College, with further intimation that the General Assembly might renew the same Act with a power of visitation reserved to His Majesty and the Governor or Commander in Chief of that Province) yet in the passing of this late Act that direction has not been observed, but the power of visitation is placed only in H.M. Governor or Commander in Chief together with the Council of that Province for the time being, which is very different from what was proposed. The Supplemental Act and that for Reviving and establishing Judicatories have been repealed because they revive or supplement a former Act which has already been repealed. The Act obliging strangers to give security on commencing suit has been judged to be too partially favourable to the inhabitants of that Province and injurious to all strangers that have any dealings with them. The Act for continuing certain Acts is repealed because it continues and reinforces an Act encouraging a Post Office, which was before repealed. The Act for the establishing of Courts, providing amongst other things that all matters and issues in fact shall be tried by a jury of twelve men, has been judged directly contrary to the intention of the Act of Parliament for preventing frauds and regulating abuses in the Plantation Trade, by which it is provided that all causes relating to the breach of the Acts of Trade may at the pleasure of the Officer or Informer be tried in the Court of Admiralty to be held in any of His Majesty's Plantations respectively, in which Courts the method of trial is not by juries of twelve men. We add that it is necessary your Lordship take especial care that the intent of the aforementioned Act be duly complied with in that Province. With regard to the Acts in general, the practice of joining together diverse Acts or clauses upon different subjects under the same title is a great irregularity and in some occasions may tend to the prejudice of the Province, as in the Supplemental Act, some of the additions in which might have been approved if they had been separately enacted. This is what the Governor and Council of that Province have formerly been particularly blamed for and directed to reform.
There is another undue practice grown also now too common in the Assemblies of the Massachusetts Bay, which is the making of several laws temporary and renewing them from time to time, whereas they ought either to be made indefinite, if they are good, or, if otherwise, not made at all. This practice having grown to a great abuse in some other Colonies, His Majesty has thereupon given to the Governors of such Colonies where it was judged necessary the following instructions, viz.: That all laws whatsoever for the good government and support of the said Colony be made indefinite and without limitation of time, except the same be for a temporary end and which shall expire and have its effect within a certain time, and therefore you shall not enact any law which shall have been once enacted by you except upon very urgent occasions, but in no cases more than once without His Majesty's express consent. And as we observe the same method to grow too much in use in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, we cannot but recommend the observation of the foregoing instruction to your Lordship. We desire to be informed of the success of the Act for the encouraging of making salt within the Province. It has been represented to us as a discouragement to any persons from troubling themselves about the seizure of pirates' goods in that Province, that the share of those who make such seizures is not there fixed by law, but left to be as usual, which makes it very uncertain and precarious. If that be so, we think it deserves your Lordship's care to get some more effectual provision made by ascertaining a considerable share of recompense to those who shall do any such services. We write the more doubtfully in this matter because we have not any complete collection of the laws of that province, and desire you to give directions that such a collection be sent to us and that in transmitting all future Acts of General Assemblies there be at least three or four copies thereof sent us by different conveyances. In perusing the Journal of the Assembly (1696) we observe mention made of a Bill passed relating to one Lydia Moor which we have not found amongst the Acts transmitted to us. We desire your Lordship to enquire into the matter. In answer to Mr. Stoughton's letter of Oct. 24 about the encroachments of the French either upon the territories of that province by land or the English rights of fishery by sea, we are thoroughly sensible of the great prejudice that would arise to England by allowing the French in either of those pretentions and have therefore already laid the same before His Majesty, and shall add whatever further we conceive may be most effectual for maintaining our right and preventing so great a mischief, when any treaty about things of that nature shall be entered upon with the French Commissioners, who are now arrived here for that purpose. Mr. Stoughton's enquiry about His Majesty's share of prizes we have referred to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. We enclose letters to the Government of Connecticut and the Government of Rhode Island. We expect to hear of your arrival in New England. There is no dependance upon the frigate you desired for your transportation, in spite of our application. Signed, J. Bridgewater, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill. [Board of Trade. New England, 37. pp. 124–131.]
Feb. 4. 74. President and Council of Nevis to Council of Trade and Plantations. On Jan. 12 arrived Admiral Bembo with Col. Collingwood and his regiment together with Commissary Taylder. The soldiers are well taken care of in the several islands of this Government in proportion with due regard to St. Christopher's. The Marquis D'Amblimont with three ships of war, one hired ship and several small vessels passed by on Jan. 11 to possess themselves of the French part of St. Christopher's, where were ready to attend the delivery thereof the Commissioners appointed by the late Governor Codrington. On the 12th the Marquis and French Intendant were permitted ashore, to treat with our Commission and particularly insisted, as directed by the French King's Commission, to have all the French estates that were in the English part of that island restored them, but being refused as persons who had forfeited their allegiance to His Majesty by adhering to the French, they accepted the island without persisting in their claim, saying they would acquaint the King their master with our refusal. Our Commission demanded the liberty of gathering salt, as hath been formerly accustomed and particularly commended in His Majesty's instructions, and offered them the liberty of filling water at our rivers in the Old Road. They refused to settle that matter till others were agreed to when they had possession. The island was surrendered up to the Marquis D'Amblimont, Jan. 13, and gave a discharge for the same, which with His Majesty's warrant for its delivery and the commission by which Col. Codrington appointed Commissioners to execute the same, are enclosed. Since taking possession the French have sent in their demands to Col. Norton, Lt. Governor. Copies enclosed of these and their letter to us, and demands against this Government upon our demanding 21 negroes belonging to Col. Codrington and Col. John Hamilton of Antigua, which run to them from Antigua since the conclusion of the peace. Our Commissioners appointed for the delivery of the French Island, not being further empowered to act than the surrendering up of the island, (and) we daily fear that this practice of running away of our French negroes taken in the late war, (which) if special care be not taken, will prove of very pernicious consequence to many of His Majesty's subjects, and we pray your Lordships' attention to prevent this growing evil. A person, who hath made it some part of his care to inform himself of the present and past circumstances of the Island of St. Christopher's, having seen the Marquis D'Amblimont and the inhabitants' demands since their possession of the Island, having offered to us some reasons by way of answer to said demands, and which we acknowledge in the main to be true and consonant to His Majesty's interest, [we] do presume to send them your Lordships, that if His Majesty should be pleased to send his command to treat with the French Government in order to preserve a good correspondence between the subjects of both nations on that island, your Lordships may please to have regard to such parts herein as in your wisdom you shall think proper. Information being brought before us that Mr. Cressy, a young man that came hither in the service of Sir William Stapleton, Bart., and is now married here, was suspected of being concerned in the late plot for assassinating His Sacred Majesty, we have caused him to be secured till he give £1,000 security to appear till His Majesty's pleasure shall be known. A better state of the matter nor a truer we cannot give than by sending the enclosed depositions. He informs us that he was a servant to Col. Winthrington who lived in Somerset House. On Sept. 10th two sloops, called the Adventures, going hence to Crabb Island, the leeward-most Island of this Government, there to winter out of danger of hurricanes and then to return hither with turtle they catch there, were surprised in an evening and taken by two small half galleys from Porto Rico which came armed and took them in the night and thence carried them to the adjoining island of St. John and Porto Rico under the Government of Spain, where the men are kept prisoners to the great terror of His Majesty's seafaring subjects of these colonies. The merchants' loss is valued at £1,000 and they petition us for reparation, which is not in our power without special instructions. Signed, William Burt, H. Holt, Walter Symonds, Dan. Smith, John Smargin, Rich. Abbot. Sent by Capt. Gardiner. Endorsed, Recd. Read March 20, 1698/9. 3 pp. Enclosed,
74. I. Copy of His Majesty's Commission to Col. Codrington for the delivery of the French part of St. Christopher's. Jan. 3, 1697/8. On back,
74. II. Copy of the Marquis D'Amblimont's receipt for the French part of St. Christopher's. French. Jan. 23, 1699. Stuck on,
74. III. Endorsement and receipt of above. Signed, John Ellis. March 24, 1698/9. The whole endorsed, Recd. March 20, 1698/9.
74. IV. Governor Codrington's Commission to Hon. James Norton, Hon. William Mead, Joseph Crisp, Hon. Col. Rowland Williams, Richard Abbott, Col. Anthony Hodges, for delivering the French part of St. Christopher's July 5, 1698. Copy. 3 pp. Endorsed, March 20, 1698/9.
74. V. Demands of the Marquis D'Amblimont, Governor and Commander in Chief, and Mons. François Robert, Intendant, made to the English Commissioners after the restitution of the French part of St. Christopher's. Jan. 26, 1699.
Article (1) The old bounds between the French and English, as they were before the French part of the island was taken in 1690, to be restored. (2) Commissioners to be appointed for this purpose, (3) and to restore all the French cannon taken by the English in St. Christopher's, (4) and to restore their property to all the French who have estates in the English part, (5) and to make reparation for damage done to French property since the signing of the Peace. (6) All free negroes and mulattoes who lived among the French before the war and have since been taken by the English at St. Christopher's, Martinique and Guadeloupe to be immediately restored, (7) and slaves to be permitted to return to their French masters. (8) That all Treaties and Articles formerly agreed between French and English Governors of the Island, especially those between Mons. Bailly de Poincy and Col. Wernard (Warner) in 1655, and Monsr. De Baas and Sir Francis Wheeler, Dec. 1671, be punctually observed. (9) Since the French have always had a right to half of the sulpher mines, they may now enjoy the same according to the treaty of 1655. The roads in the English part to be free for the French to travel in as they please. The fort built on Brimston Hill, which since the peace belongs equally to the French and English, to be immediately demolished. The English to have the same liberty and the same use of the French roads to go to the salt ponds. (10) That the French shall have liberty to water in the English rivers, according to the ordinary custom of the sea. (11) That all injuries shall be forgotten and that both sides shall endeavour to live well and peaceably together, and be forbidden to abuse or injure each other. Copy. French. 6 pp.
74. VI. List of cannons that were in the French part of St. Christopher's before the war. Total 77. Copy. French. 1 p.
74. VII. Letter of the Marquis D'Amblimont and Monsr. Robert to the English Commissioners, with their demands. After establishing the French Colony our first care is to renew civilities with you and to restore good relations between the two nations in the island. To this end we send our demands and propositions in writing, to which we beg your reply article by article. Jan. 26, 1699. Signed, Le Marquis Damblimont, Robert. 2 pp. French. The whole endorsed, Recd. March 20, Read March 21, 1698/9.
74. VIII. Memorial in answer to the French demands. The first two articles may be easily granted. As to the giving up of the cannon, it is not said by the seventh article of the Peace that with forts we are to deliver up cannon, as in the other treaties with the German princes and others. Besides the cannon were our plunder. I wonder the French do not send to St. Eustatia under the Dutch Government to demand the guns they mounted there, since they presume to demand back even the guns they mounted themselves in our fort! Many of the cannon have been taken off by privateers. (4) The French owners of estates in the English part who stayed and kept their allegiance are now in quiet possession of their rights, or so much of them as their rebel countrymen left them after burning and destroying their houses, carrying away their negroes and making a prey of their cattle. The very Frenchmen whose estate they now demand were particularly instrumental in aiding them in spite of their allegiance and were not the modestest enemy, one of them, one Curran, was so ill a fellow as to join with a parcel of savage negroes and malatos, contrary to all the laws of arms, and murdered sixteen of our men in cold blood in burning them alive in Monsr. Jaffair's house. Whether this or any of them that have been such enemies to the English Crown ought to be restored, I leave to all Englishmen to judge. (5) I cannot consider we ought either to rebuild or make reparation for pulling down the houses in Bastarr (Basseterre) left by us in the French quarter during the war merely to shelter our own people. In the late and former war the French destroyed every house and church the English had in their part, and these houses being portable and our property it was not unlawful, I consider, to remove them at any time before the French made their demands of that part of the island. I believe (6) but reasonable when they have restored all such negro slaves as is run from the English and come to their possession since the war, which are much more in number than all the free negroes and malattos I know of in all or any of the Islands, and this leads me to article (7) in which they shew the assurance peculiarly inherent in the French nation in demanding a restoration of the French slaves taken in the late war, which have been sold into a thousand hands as the reward of those good subjects as hazarded their lives in reducing the Island. For this demand they have not the least colour of pretence and (it) only serves to mind them how unjust they were to us after the Peace of Breda, whereby it was pertinently provided that whatever slaves had been taken from the English of these islands, St. Christopher's, Antigua, Montserrat, should have six months' time to return to their masters, yet of many hundred negroes taken from His Majesty's subjects not one negro was ever returned but most industriously and clandestinely kept out of the way. (8) As by the Treaty of Ryswick we are put on equal terms with the French here, it is not for the honour of His Majesty or his subjects' interest to regard old treaties made by former Governors beyond giving directions to Commissioners to inspect them and agree to such parts as may truly appear for the honour and safety of His Majesty's interest now. (9) The full moiety of the sulphur mines or Brimston Hill the French say they have by virtue of a treaty in 1655 is no such thing; they only had the concession by some former Governor, when it may be necessity compelled him to it, to come by sea and land at the foot of Brimston Hill and carry away limestone, which they were after hindered from for some years before the outbreak of the last war. No Governor could give away to a foreign prince the King's right of any lands without the King's warrant, and if they have that let them produce it. The reason why they advance this claim is really that, this being the only hill situate so near our own great fort, without securing it by the fortress we have built, we could not secure our great fort, and which would in a manner be useless without the assistance and defence of this hill, which is not only made inaccessible by guns mounted in the fort built on the top of it, but there are cisterns to hold water and the hill is planted with Indian provision fit to maintain a sufficient number of men to keep it six months and commands all the ground about it. It was the hill on which we planted six pieces of cannon and beat the French, as soon as we did, into a surrender when they were last masters of our great fort. As to the liberty of limestone I consider it noways fit to grant it to them, for they have brought engines and workmen to build them forts with the object of annoying us when time shall serve. It is not common prudence in us to put the rod in their hands, which is to give them time to build their forts, instead of debarring them and making them bring it at a vast charge and expense of time from St. Martin's or St. Bartholomew's. All they offer or have to give us, which in justice is our right, is the liberty of bringing salt from the salt-ponds, from which if they debar us we will hinder them from water, which to them is ten times the conveniency the salt is to us, for in peace we have so many salt islands near that salt is seldom dearer than 18d. a bushel. The French ships now here daily beg water from us, and if we refused, the men-of-war would have to move. Feb. 1, 1698/9. Not signed. 4 closely written pages. Endorsed, Recd. Read March 20, 1698/9.
74. IX. Marquis D'Amblimont to Governor Norton. I have received your letter from the hands of Col. Hamilton and should be delighted to be of service to him as a meritorious gentleman who bears a distinguished name. The enclosed memorial will show you what we are disposed to do as regards his affairs and Capt. Perry's. Some French negroes of Guadeloupe recently escaped to Antigua and I demand their restitution, as also of several free negroes taken from Guadeloupe during the war. I enclose a list of their names. You are aware that it is part of the Law of Nations that free negroes in any country must not be sold but enjoy the same prerogatives as men born free, so I hope you will find no obstacle to prevent you from giving up those I demand and from fulfilling towards them this office of justice, charity and humanity.
I also demand the restitution of a French barque belonging to M. de Bellairs, Governor of Granada, which was taken by a privateer from Antigua after the expiration of the term agreed upon at Ryswick. As all the English ships taken since that date have been restored I hope you will treat the French with the same justice and save me from having to write to the King, my master, on the subject. Signed, Le Marquis D'Amblimont. Feb. 5, 1699. Copy. French. 2 pp. Endorsed, Recd. March 7, Read July 7, 1699. Enclosed,
74. X. List of free negroes and slaves carried off from Guadeloupe by privateers from Antigua Oct. 27, 1696, and sold for slaves. Women and children, some branded. 1 large page. French. Enclosed,
74. XI. Marquis D'Amblimont and François Robert. Reply to the memorial of Col. Hamilton (Coronel Amelton) and Capt. Perry (Perré) praying for the restitution of some negroes belonging to the French before the war and taken afterwards by the English, who have escaped from Antigua to Guadeloupe. According to our instructions and the Treaty of Ryswick all slaves belonging to the French before the war and taken by the English, when they got possession of the French part of St. Kitt's, should be allowed to return to their former masters. In case the Commissioners refuse to agree to this the matter will have to be referred home, and in the meantime we cannot give up the slaves who have risked their lives to return to their masters in accordance with the liberty secured to them by the Treaty. In the second place, there is no treaty or convocation between the French and English in these islands in which it is provided that negroes escaping from an island belonging to the one nation to an island belonging to the other must be restored. Even in time of peace the Sieur Hinselin, Governor of Guadeloupe, and Madame Lacourville could not obtain restitution of runaway negroes who had fled to English territory. The negroes who have returned to their French masters have been baptised and received into the Roman Catholic Church: if they were restored, they would be deprived of those opportunities of practising their religion, to secure which was, perhaps, the main object of the risks they ran. We are willing to refer this question like those which have arisen about the French part of St. Christopher's to their Majesties the Kings of France and of England, and as a proof of our goodwill, we will even ask them to make a law dealing with the case of runaway slaves. St. Christopher's, Feb. 5, 1699. Copy. French. 3 large pp.
74. XII. Deposition of John Cohen. Mr. Thomas Cressey at Sir William Stapleton's house told him of the plot (to assassinate the King) and said they were all put to death, save one. Sworn before the Council, Dec. 20, 1698. Signed, John Cohen, His Mark, and Wm. Burt, President of the Council.
74. XIII. Deposition of Christopher Stadout or Stodartt to the same effect.
74. XIV. Deposition of John Nicholls to the same effect.
74. XV. Deposition of William Fenton, Jr., to the same effect, but deponent believes Cressey "did detest and abhor that bloody and villainous conspiracy."
74. XVI. Deposition of Major William Butler, Mrs. Sarah Butler and Mary Green as to the report made to them by Mr. James Burtell, charging Cressey with having being an ill man and saying that the reason he was here was that a warrant was out against him for being concerned in the conspiracy against the King.
74. XVII. Deposition of Thomas Butler to the same effect.
74. XVIII. Deposition of John Smargin to the same effect.
74. XIX. Deposition of James Burtell. Report of a conversation with Mr. Cressy. Dec. 20, 1698.
74. XX. Deposition of Jane Burtell, to the same effect. Dec. 20, 1698.
74. XXI. Confession of James Burtell. What I spoke against Mr. Thomas Cressey were passionate words, a human frailty of which the Apostles acknowledged themselves not to be free. The occasion was a note sent to me by Mr. Cressey wherein I apprehended my life to be threatened, and, to make him satisfaction, I thought it my duty not only to do it to my congregation by confessing the words not to be true, which now I do declare to your honours and hope that you, Mr. Cressey and all Christian people will bury this fault in the grave of oblivion, which I have prayed to God Almighty to do, and hope and promise, through His assistance, never to be guilty of this or any such like crime for the future, but to behave and demean myself as a person living suitably to the profession I bear, of which I hope your honours will not deprive me for the sake of my poor family who were great sufferers in the late wars and persecutions in my country, and your petitioner shall ever pray for your daily increase of health, wealth and honour here and Eternal Glory hereafter. Signed, James Burtell. Depositions endorsed, Recd. March 20, 1698/9. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 6. Nos. 3, 3 I.–XXI.; and 45. pp. 333–348.]
Feb. 4.
75. President and Council of Nevis to Mr. Secretary Vernon. We are favoured with your letter of Nov. 23 signifying the Lords Justices' commands in relation to Capt. Kid and his accomplices, which we shall communicate to the respective Governors of the Leeward Islands. Signed, Wm. Burt, H. Holt, Walter Symonds, Dan. Smith, Jno. Smargin, Richd. Abbott. Addressed and sealed, Per Capt. Adamson and Capt. Gardiner. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 6. Nos. 3 (a) and 3 (a 1) duplicate.]
Feb. 4.
76. President and Council of Nevis to the Lords Justices. We are highly honoured by your Excellencies' commands of Nov. 9, by the hands of John Taylder, Esq., whom you appointed to disband the regiment of foot commanded by Col. Henry Holt and to incorporate the officers and soldiers into that commanded by Col. Francis Collingwood, who arrived Jan. 12. We have provided convenient quarters and accommodations in this island, St. Christopher's, Antigua and Mountserrat for them. Signed, Wm. Burt, H. Holt, Walter Symonds, Dan. Smith, Jno. Smargin, Richd. Abbott. Addressed and sealed. [Board of Trade. Leeward Islands, 6. Nos. 3 (b.) and 3 (b. i.) duplicate.]
Feb. 4.
James City
77. Governor Nicholson to Council of Trade and Plantations. My grateful thanks for the favour of being commissionated Lt. and Governor General. I hope you received my reports of Maryland of Aug. 20 and Sept. 12 last. I received yours of Aug. 23, and left it with my successor Col. Nathaniel Blakiston, together with your former letters and all other public papers. I will send you the Journal of Council there when fairly transcribed. Governor Blakiston came to Annapolis Dec. 26, but by reason of the frost etc. the Council did not meet before Jan. 2 when I delivered up H.M. Government to him and gave him the fullest account of it I could. We have settled a very good correspondence, as I have had the good fortune to do with H.E. the Earl of Bellomont. Copy of their letters to me enclosed. I transmit the Council proceedings in Maryland from Aug. 27 to Sep. 14, the Journal of the Council in Assembly, Oct., Journal of House of Delegates Oct. 20, and Laws made in Oct., 1698. In the Journals of Assembly you may please to see the strange and unusual proceedings, to give you no worse an epithet, of some of the House of Delegates, and whatever grievances they pretended, were only to amuse the loyal people and, if possible, to have made them disaffected to H.M. Government, and no doubt would have been glad to have caused some risings or commotions. But their actions are not much to be wondered at, considering there be so many Papists, Quakers, Jacks and necessitous people in that Government. For of the two last kinds are several of the Delegates. But I thank God, by the assistance of the Council and some of the Delegates, I defeated all their designs. And I think I may without vanity say if it had been His Majesty's royal pleasure that I had stayed there, I could have kept that Government in profound peace and quietness. I enclose copies of petitions to me and my answer to them, which I hope will be to your satisfaction and a full answer to all Cood's and Slye's articles against me. The copy of the Journal of the Committee of Public Accounts of Maryland show that all the debts of the country, which were many when I came into it, both of tobaccos and money, are discharged, as also the public buildings and several other contingent charges are paid for: £100 given towards buying public libraries for the parishes, and £100 towards building an hospital at a cool spring, which, thank God, last summer did a great deal of good to people that were troubled with several diseases, and yet there is in bank about £800 and several Acts in force for raising money, that in all probability, before they expire, will raise about the said sum. And if any number of negroes go thither, half as much more. I enclose the Journal of the Committee of Accounts held at Annapolis by which you may see that all the tobacco accounts are paid, together with the money account from the said Tobacco Journal. I enclose proceedings of the Court of Admiralty where I had the brigantine Susannah etc., tried, according to the Attorney and Solicitor General's report upon my letter, and with submission I think that unless all illegal traders be tried in Courts of Admiralty in these parts, they will hardly be condemned, especially in the Proprietors' and Elective Governments. I enclose a copy of a petition to His Most Gracious Majesty, of which the original is sent to Sir Thomas Lawrence, and if your Lordship pleaseth, he is to present it to His Majesty. It being the depths of winter when I left Maryland, I was not able to have from the Collectors, Naval Officers, two Receivers and the Clerk of the Council, their several lists, accompts and papers, to transmit. But I hope in God to have them some time the beginning of next month, for I design, God willing, to visit our frontiers, and from the uppermost settlements on Potomac it is not above a day's journey to Annapolis, whither I purpose to go in order to discourse Governor Blakiston about the Indians and securing the frontiers and settling of a post, etc. It hath been my fortune, when I came into H.M. Governments, to find them under some unhappy circumstances: I must esteem it a very great satisfaction, if, please God, I can but deliver up this as I did before or Maryland. I am deeply grateful for my Commission and Instructions which you despatched so readily and await with great earnestness the letter you say you will write to me, as my predecessor has not left me any of your letters to him save that about an Act against Pirates, which was the reason of the order of myself and Council, that Edmund Jennings, Esq., Depy. Secretary, should wait upon Sir Edmund Andross to desire and receive of him all letters and public papers, etc. I enclose an account of what was done therein. Though he would not be present at the publication of my Commission nor deliver anything to me, so that in that respect I was left as much as possible in the dark concerning H.M. Government, yet, thank God, I am not in the least discouraged and hope I shall be not the less able to discharge my duty. Being Sir Edmund would give me no account of the revenue, fortifications, etc., I have gotten them from the Auditor and the gunners. I enclose accounts of Edward Ross, gunner of this place, and Richard Dunbar, gunner of Tyndal's Point, over against which place, on this side of York River, there are also eight field carriages, on which never any guns were yet mounted. And I think it will now be too late, by reason that they are in very little better condition than the others. I would also have gone and seen the fortification, as 'tis called, in Nantzimum, but I find that it is not now esteemed one, by reason that the gunner is discharged. What public arms and ammunition there are in the several counties, I hope to have an account at the meeting of Council. I enclose Mr. Auditor Bird's accounts. His Majesty's revenue of 2s. per hogshead is in debt about £4,200. I suppose the country is in debt too upon several accounts, and I find there is neither money nor tobacco in Bank to pay their debts, nor any Act in force by which either of them may be raised. And by reason of the unlucky accident of the General Court-House being burnt last October-Court, in which building are several offices, and the House of Burgesses also sat there, 'twill require about £2,000 to make another suitable and convenient. By all these accounts you may see under what bad circumstances I enter upon this Government. And in point of the Revenue, when I delivered it up to Sir Edmund, 'twas much otherways. But if he should pretend that there is this year's 2s. per hogshead and quit-rents towards balancing of the accompts, it cannot justly be allowed of. For there is but one crop a year to pay the 2s., and all the salaries and contingent charges are annual; and when he entered upon the Government it was but three months sooner in the year. I find it will be absolutely necessary for H.M. service to have an Assembly as soon as possible, but fear that will not be till the latter end of April. Sir Edmund spoke to me about one Mr. Dudley Diggs, whom he had made of H.M. Council last October-Court. But with humble submission I think there was no absolute necessity for it then. For an Assembly and a Council had been held before that time, and after the death of Col. Christopher Wormley, in whose place he was put. And your Lordships in H.M. royal instructions to me having left out the said Wormley, no doubt on account of his death, and appointed 12 gentlemen besides and Mr. Diggs none of them, I have found that by my Commission I could not admit of him, because there is above the number nine. And I hope there are a great many gentlemen in this province who have been and are very zealous for H.M. service in general, that are in all respects equally, if not better qualified than he. I hope you will pardon me for not transmitting herewith the names of the 12 persons qualified to be of H.M. honourable Council, for, with humble submission, I think it is for H.M. service to defer it, till it please God that the Assembly is over, which I think is a proper time to try men in, especially considering how many of H.M. affairs are to be transacted there. I enclose proceedings of the Council, Oct. 9th, 10th, 12th, 1698. And I hope you will excuse me for not sending any further account of this Government, since it is winter, so that I have not been able as yet to go much abroad, nor had but one Council, and that short, by reason of the fewness of the Councillors. In these parts of the world these three last winters have been very extraordinary, the first for the greatness of the snow, the other for the oftenness thereof and great frosts, and length thereof, and this for the mildness and fineness thereof, there having been little or no snow, only some smart frosts at the beginning, but only enough to correct the grossness of the air in point of the summer and fall heats, so that, I thank God, we are very healthful. This weather and effects hath been universal in H.M. Dominions here on the Continent, all which pray God continue. I am now in hopes that it will please God the winters and seasons will be as when these parts were first seated, so that the tobacco-planters both here and in Maryland may be encouraged to follow it and not go upon any other projects which may be prejudicial to H.M. Revenues or the interest of H.M. Kingdom of England. I suppose that there are here very near ships enough (but more are daily expected from England) to transport all the tobaccos, of which there are pretty good crops: in Maryland very small ones but more ships than can be loaded with this crop, so that they must either go from thence dead-freighted or stay all the summer for the next crops. But it makes well for the planters, for they have very great prices for their tobaccos, which no doubt is caused by the quantity of ships, goods and purchasers, as it is here also, for some give about 20s. per edwt. for Arronoco tobacco, and 25s. and upwards per edwt. for sweet-scented. Freight is low here, but particularly in Maryland. I heartily wish that the buyers of tobacco and the owners of ships may have so good fortune as the sellers and freighters. Signed, Fr. Nicholson. (P.S.) A little before I gave up the Government of Maryland I received Mr. Yard's letter of Sept. 20 last, writ by order of the Lords Justices concerning some French soldiers of the garrison of the Fort du Noxoata en Accadie, which were taken by the English. I ordered proclamations accordingly, but believe none of those French soldiers are in that province or this. The original letter and names of the soldiers I left with Gov. Blakiston. Mr. Jennings has brought me a similar letter addressed to Sir E. Andross, so when please God the Council meets, proclamations shall be sent into the several counties by me. Signed, F.N. (P.S.) I have received the Lords Justices' orders in pursuance to the laws relating to Trade and Navigation, Sept. 30. As in duty bound, God willing, they shall be obeyed by (Signed,) Fr. Nicholson. Endorsed, Recd. Ap. 3. Read May 19, 1699. 6½ large pp. Enclosed,
Nov. 12.
New York.
77. I. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to Governor Nicholson. I take this opportunity of assuring your Excellency of my respects by Lt. Riggs, and to desire there may be that correspondence between us that may create a friendship and render us serviceable to the King and old England. I am told it were feasible to engage some new nations of the Indians to trade with us, such as the Dowaganhas and others that lie behind Virginia and Carolina. It may perhaps be worth your while to try the experiment whether any of those nations are to be brought to correspond with us. The French, I find, have gotten a footing amongst them, but certainly we are in a capacity of gaining them from the French since by our contiguity to them and our numbers of people we can afford to trade with them on better terms than the French can possibly do at the vast distance they lie from them. Our Five Nations of Indians are reduced to so slender a number, the policy of the French being to destroy all those they can't debauch and inveigle from us. Therefore I think we ought to look out for a new correspondence and trade with those other nations, for at the rate our Indians have been destroyed, not only during the war-but also since the war, they must necessarily be extirpated in a few years. There has been a person with me upon such a project, and told me he and some friends of his would undertake to settle a correspondence with some more western nations of Indians. I bade him put his proposal in writing, which he promised to do. When it comes to my hands, if it be well grounded and rational, I will communicate it to your Excellency. I send the printed conferences I had with our Indians. Copy. Signed, Bellomont. Endorsed as preceding.
Jan. 20.
77. II. Governor Blakiston to Governor Nicholson. I should very much joy to hear you got safe into your Government. I must always own it was my great good fortune in meeting with you at my first coming here, etc. Copy. Signed, N. Blakiston. Endorsed as preceding.
77. III.–IV. Copy of proceedings of the Court of Admiralty, Annapolis, Oct. 22, 1698, against the brigantine Susannah of Spanish Town, Thomas Lorett, master, for illegal trading. William Dent, H.M. Advocate. Thomas Tench, judge. 7¼ pp. Endorsed as preceding.
77. V. Copy of a congratulatory address of the Governor, Council, Grand Jury, etc. of Maryland to the King upon the peace. Signed, Henry Jowles, Chancellor; Charles Hutchins, Thomas Tench, John Addison, Thomas Brookes, James Frizby, Councillors; Robert Smith, Thomas Tasker, John Thompson, James Keetch, Richard Hill, John Hammond, John Hawkins, Judges of the Provincial Court; Philip Lynes, foreman; Charles Greenberry, William Comigys, Ambrose Kinamont, Charles Filder, John Rawlins, Charles Beaven, John Emerson, Ephraim Wilson, William Myls, Thomas Kilman, Humphrey Tilton, Thomas Atterbery, William Watts, Peter Watts, Aaron Tunison, Grand Jury. Fr. Nicholson, Governor. Endorsed as preceding.
77. VI. Accounts of stores, ammunition, etc. in the Magazine in James City, Feb. 1, 1699. Signed, Edward Ross.
77. VII. Accounts of stores, etc. at Tindol's Point, Feb. 1, 1699. Signed, Richard Dunbar.
77. VIII. Memorandum of Mr. Auditor Bird's account. ¼ p. Endorsed as preceding.
77. IX. Memorandum of warrants for money past but not brought to account, Jan. 18, 1699. ½ p. Endorsed as preceding.
77. X. Memorandum of accounts of salaries due. ¼ p. Endorsed as preceding.
77. XI. Memorandum of account of quit-rents, etc., for 1697. ¼ p. Endorsed as preceding.
77. XII. Memorandum of account of money expended out of the 2 sh. per hhd. ¼ p. Endorsed as preceding.
77. XIII. List of papers transmitted by Gov. Nicholson in his letter of Feb. 4. 3 pp. Endorsed as preceding. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 6. Nos. 74, 74 I.–XIII.; and (without enclosures) 37. pp. 315–325.]