America and West Indies: December 1700, 6-10

Pages 716-731

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 18, 1700. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.

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December 1700

Dec. 6. The Governor, being indisposed, summoned the Burgesses to attend him in his bedchamber, where he directed them to choose a Speaker or adjourn. They adjourned till to-morrow.
Dec. 7. Alexander Spence, James Westcombe and William Fitzhugh having taken the oaths took their places as Burgesses.
The Governor sent a message to say that the respect and kindness he bore to the House was such that he presented it with a gown to be worn by Mr. Speaker, and with a Mace to be borne before Mr. Speaker, after he is confirmed by His Excellency, as an ensign and token of honour and power, by one who is to be commissionated to that office. Mr. Peter Beverley was chosen Speaker, in spite of his modest excuses. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 54. pp. 25–29.]
Dec. 5. 980. Minutes of Council in Assembly of Virginia. Dionisius Wright commissionated Clerk of the Assembly, and William Randolph Clerk of the House of Burgesses.
Dec. 6, 7. See preceding abstract. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 55. pp. 309–311.]
Dec. 6. 981. Agents of Barbados and others to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Barbados by its situation and trade has been a store house and defence to all His Majesty's other Plantations to windward of Jamaica, and hath in all times of need very much contributed by great expence of money and people to the security of them, and particularly in the late war, by raising and equipping three regiments of foot-soldiers at its own charge for the reduction of St. Christopher's and invading the French islands, wherefor and for the hire of transport ships, the inhabitants subjected themselves to a very great debt, and by so many white mens' going off the Island, as those regiments consisted of, they were forced by a law for the incouraging importation of white servants to be at the charge of above 40,000l. sterl. to recruit their militia. By their great losses at sea during the war, the very high duties laid on the commodities of the growth of the Island exported, by the mortalities of many thousands of their negroes, which reduced them from 70,000 to about 40,000, whereby more than one-third part of their lands which used to be planted for sugar, ginger and cotton, lie uncultivated, and by that means not above 220 or 230 ships are yearly imployed, whereas there used to be near 400, the inhabitants are reduced to so weak and declining a condition by these and other misfortunes that they have been unable to keep the forts and fortifications in repair or to furnish their magazeen with the stores requisite, and they are in a very defenceless condition, and the sence they had of the danger they were exposed to in the late war, put them upon supplicating His Majesty that an ingeneer might be sent from hence to view the state of the fortifications there and to consider what might be necessary for the defence of the Island. Whereupon Mr. Talbot Edwards was sent. His report is before your Lordships, and the General Assembly think it their duty to represent the weak condition of the Island, in the hopes that by your Lordships' favourable interposition in a time of peace, what is needful may be done. In order thereunto, as we are instructed, we humbly represent that there is a duty of 4½ per cent. of the commodities of the growth of the Island exported thence, collected by His Majesty's officers there, which was granted by an Act of the Island to King Charles II for maintaining the honour and dignity of His Majesty's authority, the charge of the publick meetings of the Sessions, the often attendance of the Council, the reparations of the forts and all other publick charges. This impost hath been diverted from the purposes for which it was given and therefore it is humbly hoped that your Lordships will lay this matter before His Majesty that he may be graciously pleased to order that it be applied to the uses mentioned in the Act (Sept., 1663), whereby the forts of the Island may be in some measure put into repair. Signed, Kendall, Richd. Bate, Samll. Burwick, M. Crowe, Wm. Allamby, Wm. Walker, Wm. Cleland, Nath. Rous, Jon. Harwood, Will. Boothe, Rich. Grey, Tho. Maxwell, John Gray, Tho. Sutton, Robert Walke, Richd. Parsons, Thos. Gonning, Edw. Littleton, Wm. Bridges, Mel. Holder. Endorsed, Recd. Read Dec. 6, 1700. 1 large p. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 8. No. 63; and 45. pp. 181–185.]
Dec. 6. 982. [William Popple ?] to the Agents of Barbados. The Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, after your withdrawing from their Board this morning, read the Act of Barbadoes for the better securing the liberty of His Majesty's subjects within that Island, and preventing long imprisonments, as also the memorials signed by Mr. Holder, etc., setting forth the reasons which induced the Legislative Authority there to pass it. They desire you to give them what instances you can of the particular oppressions or grievances of any kind that are mentioned either in the said Act or in the memorial; and more especially to instance, wherein the inhabitants of Barbados do not enjoy the same liberties as the inhabitants of the other Plantations under His Majesty's immediate government. [Board of Trade. Barbados, 45. p. 186.]
Dec. 6.
N. York.
983. Governor the Earl of Bellomont to Mr. Secretary Vernon. I have received the favour of your letter of Aug. 11, and am much obliged to you for your approbation of my letter to the Council of Trade, June 22, about Naval Stores. You will find by the letter I now write 'em what a bargain I have made for the King for masts. I will undertake, if these men perform their bargain, I will save the King the best part of 20,000l. a year in masts, boltsprits and yards for his ships of war. Pray read over my list of prices of masts and let the King know the service I am doing him. I begin to think I deserve well of the King, and I wish he would let me see he thinks so too. I protest I am quite tyr'd out with taking pains for the publick without any profit to myselfe. I can apply two texts of Scripture to myselfe, that of muzzling the ox that treads out the corn, and that of the labourer's being worthy of his hire. I cannot but be amaz'd at the delay that's us'd in approving that Act of Assembly I sent home a year and a half ago for vacating some of Fletcher's extravagant grants of lands, a thing we were commanded to do. It raises the insolence of the faction here, and is a mortification to all those honest people that stood by me in passing that Act. No, I have not so much as been afforded the least reason why that Act has been under so long a suspension. The Act that bestowed me and the Lieut-Governor 2,000l., this money, between us, is of the same age with 'tother Act, and if I were to make an estimate of my interest at Court by my usage in that Act, I must think I stand the last man in the list. As to Kidd's pretence of urging to his owners the necessity of allowing the seamen pay, I can safely take my oath there was no such thing, but so far the contrary as that as often as I saw him he told me he knew the pyrats' haunts so well that he could sail directly to 'em. But his articles with me which I sent you will shew his mind in that matter. For when we don't hear a man treat of a bargain, his hand and seal is the best evidence of his assent and consent to a bargain. As to my letter I writ to Kidd by Burgesse, and which Capt. Lowth intercepted, I own I writ to him to come to N. Yorke, and if it be rightly consider'd I did therein what became me. Upon my first coming hither I had reason to suspect he was turn'd rogue or pyrate, for contrary to his articles with me he came hither to N. York, and here staid about three moneths, and Mr. Livingston whom I found here before me told me he had some reasons to fear he would turn pyrate. Two of his reasons were, a bargain whisper'd about that Fletcher had covenanted with Kidd to receive 10,000l. if he made a good voyage, the other was the dissolute life Kidd had liv'd during the three moneths he staid here. But when I writ that letter to Kidd by Burgesse, I had an account he was certainly turn'd pyrate, and then I could not be blam'd to have a just indignation against him, and to try by all means to get him into my hands, and 'tis plain menacing him had not been the way to invite him hither, but rather wheedling, and that way I took, and after that manner I got him at last into Boston. If I was faulty in the letter I writ by Burgesse, I was no less so in that I writ by Mr. Cambel, wch. brought in Kidd to Boston. As to the charge against me for suffering the ship New York Marchand to come hither after having been at Madagascar, I have inquir'd about it, and the story of that ship is this. Frederick Phillips, her owner, had appointed her to stop at Delaware Bay, which is 50 leagues westward of this Province, and there his son met her in the Fredericks' sloop, takes out all her East India goods and sends the Fredericks' sloop and goods to Hamborough (the story whereof you know), and comes to this town in the New York Marchand. Upon notice of the ship's coming in (for the sloop I never heard of till from yourselfe), I sent immediately to search her, where there was nothing found but a parcel of negros; and the trade for negros to Madagascar was not then under a prohibition, nor until the E. India Act pass'd in England. I defie all mankind to charge me justly with any sort of corruption in the least degree, or with any connivance or partiality shew'd to one man or party more than another.
I desir'd you in my letter by the Newport frigat to get Peter Mathews and two other Lieutenants exchang'd. If I have not trusty officers 'tis impossible to get the souldiers to work at Naval Stores. I beg of you to get Major Ingoldesby exchanged. If my scheme for regimenting these 400 men takes, then the Lieut. Col. or Major will properly succeed to Ingoldesby's Company. There ought to be a world of care taken in the choice of the Lt. Col., Major and Captains that are sent over, and I must relie on your favour and care in that matter, otherwise I shall have a parcel of Tories and perhapps Jacobites put upon me by a certain gentleman who sits one of the Council of Trade, whose custome it is on such occasions to make sale of imployments to any sort of trash as will give him mony. That most valuable design of Naval Stores depends in a great measure on the choice of good discreet officers to manage the souldiers in working. Capt. Nanfan, my Lieutenant Governor here, is necessitated to go to Barbados to look after his wife's fortune. I desir'd you about a year ago to get and send the King's leave for his being absent four or five moneths from his post. He is now going by my consent, since he must otherwise quit his imployment. I am under all the uneasinesse in the world at the intolerable folly and mismanagement of Mr. Weaver and Mr. Champante. Mr. Weaver had received a 150l. of the King's money from Sir Wm. Ashhurst without any direction from me, and Mr. Champante has been foolish enough to let him have 425l. of the King's mony, and still without any direction of mine, and sends me a foolish account of Mr. Weaver's and bill of exchange, and bids me reimburse myself. When the Council and I examined the account, we found it so extravagant that not a man of us (nor I whose interest it is to allow it, that I may be reimburs'd) could consent to almost any one article in it. The marchands here, getting the wind of this, are not willing to let me have mony on my bills of Exchange drawn on Mr. Champante, they have such a notion of his unfitnesse for businesse, and thinke he squanders the rest of the King's mony as he has done this to Weaver. So that I that had begun to pay the officers and souldiers their subsistence in mony duly every Saturday, am in a fair way of being ruin'd for want of credit. Mr. Champante has neglected to send the souldiers' cloaths. He sent a few sutes by the Advice frigat, and he had much better have sent none, for a few souldiers cloath'd gives discontent to the others that are naked. In short, the recruits I have sent to Albany are gone away in all the discontent imaginable for want of cloaths, so that I fear I shall hear of some notable mischief this winter at Albany. And now the River is shut up with ice, so that 'tis not in the art of man to send up the cloathing, if it were come, till the beginning of April. One Capt. Wake who arriv'd here above a moneth ago with a stout marchand ship was to have brought Mr. Weaver and the souldiers' cloathing, and he and Weaver fell out and arrested one another. And Mr. Champante writes me word Mr. Weaver told him Capt. Wake refus'd to bring the cloathing. Mr. Champante should not have taken Weaver's word in that case, but should have taken a refusal from Wake himself, who offer'd me to swear that the cloathing was never offer'd him. Mr. Champante can never find time to send me an account of the King's money, how he lays it out. Certainly every man that knows the eternall toil of businesse I undergo in this place, and the opposition and trouble given me by an angry party of men here, will judge I have enough to perplex me here, without being so very ill us'd by those I trust in England. The trouble of this usage makes me very indifferent as to the truth of what's reported here of my being speedily to be call'd home. 'Tis said the Bishop of London has writ to the Minister of this place, Mr. Vesey, who herds with the angry party, that by Easter he and his friends will be rid of their grievance. Mr. Basse, too, has writ to severall people in the Jersies that I shall speedily be displac'd, and he shall be a main instrument in getting it done. As to the good Bishop, he has espous'd Fletcher with all his corruptions against me. I have nothing to say to him but that he is as wise as he is learned. Basse is the most a scoundrel that I ever knew; he will bragg and lye with any man living, even with Col. Fletcher, and is a rank coward, was kick'd on board the Deptford in our voyage from Barbados hither. I sav'd Mr. Heathcot and his partners some thousands of pounds that Bradish and his associates ran away with, and they have been such clowns as never to send me a line of thanks. Signed, Bellomont. P.S.—I desire you will do me the favour to assist me in getting the mony I laid out for my journey to Rhode Island by your own order, and for taking of Gillam the Pyrate. It was laid out in Boston Government, where the King has no sort of revenue; and here it will not be allow'd by the Commissioners of Accounts, who to speak truth are in the right on't. The Lords of the Treasury are very nice indeed, if they will not allow payment for such services as are done by the King's Order.
I have sent to look for Gillam the Pyrat's mony, but have not yet found it, and have writ to Mr. Penn to examine those men whose names were sent in the list, and who live in Pensylvania. One Henry Head was lately in the country looking for Gillam's money, as I hear. Since my writing to you to get Mathews and Bulkeley exchanged, the Lieutenant-Governor interposes so heartily for 'em and undertakes for their faithful behaviour to the King, that I am prevail'd on to continue them in their present posts. Endorsed, R. 19 July, 1700 (1701). Holograph. 9 pp. Enclosed,
983. i. Account of money laid out by the Earl of Bellomont upon his journey to Rhode Island (71l. 17s. 3d.) and upon seizing James Gillam, Pyrate, (60l.) = 100l. 12s. sterl. Signed, Bellomont. ½ p. [America and West Indies. New York, 580. Nos. 50, 50.i.]
Dec. 8.
10br. 8, 1700.
984. William Penn to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Honorable Friends, I have received yours of Aug. 1 with two letters, signed by the King, which shall be exactly complyed with. Our method of Court proceedings will come along with our Laws, which we have just now revised for the King's approbation, and the benefit of this Colony; and so soon as they can be transcribed, being not yet publisht, but in the capital County, they shall waite upon you. For pyrats, we have none since the sending of those of Kid's crew, unless you will let me call them so, that I mention'd to you in my last, viz., four or five that had leave of Governor Fletcher to live here. I told you they had been traffiking on bord of Kid, tho' they say, unknown, and that what I could reach I had seiz'd, and expected the King's orders. Their value I do not exactly know, haveing refused the Judge of the Admiralty to have them condemned as prohibited goods and so divided by thirds, least the King should think them pyratical, and to be treated another way. I suppose they may amount to the value of 300l., our money. The other day I had a letter from the Earl of Bellomont, in persuance of one to him from Secretary Vernon, to call upon me for some bonds due to ye late James Gillam, executed for pyracy, yt, ye day before his execution, he discovered to have been left by him in the hands of one Birch of this Province, and to send them to him, or at least their value. I have sent for the man, who lives about 40 miles back in the woods, and expect him here every day, but, least the rigour of the season should not suffer his comeing soon enough for this conveniency from New York, I thought fitt to send this before hand. I am divided what to do, for the King's commands, twice repeated since my arrival, charge me with ye returne of such treasure or goods; and the Secretary's letter directs Lord Bellomont to call upon me for them. However, here is no opportunity to do it at present either way; but shall be one or other, so soon as the season will allow me, either ye goods or ye utmost value of them, which I beg may be communicated where it is proper. I beleive my last letter will let you see I was beforehand with Gillam's confession, and not to be vaine, it had the pains and care of much a greater sum bestowed to finde it out, but short of what Secretary Vernon writes to the Earle of Bellomont, which is 400l. (sterl.). And if such bonds should be found, there is but one of the four persons able to pay, and it may be that will be a difficulty too. I have them all under bonds for their appearance at any time within a year and a day, which bonds were given last spring, but I'le take care to renew them, if no directions come timely. Perhaps the King therefore orders ye Secretary to direct Lord Bellomont to receive ye sayd goods or value for the garrison of that Colony, and if so, I shall not dispute ye remitting them, especially if your next says nothing to the contrary. I was to waite upon him in company with the Governor of Virginia, for Col. Blakiston fell down of a feaver and ague at Burlington in West Jersy; where we left him and proceeded to New York with much ado; for Col. Nicholson failed 14 miles from Burlington, and with great difficulty got to New York in four days, though but 90 miles, where remaining 14, very uneven in his health, and sometimes extreamly weak, and so unfit for much business, our meeting had not so ample and good an issue as was intended, tho' eight or ten heads were agreed upon to be represented home, that would certainly tend to ye good of yse Colonies. I came away in such hast, because our General Assembly was near convening, and yt we proposed but five days to stay at New York, that I took no copy of those heads, leaving the original with the Earl of Bellomont. Enumerates the Heads agreed upon [See Oct, 17,] "with some fresh thoughts." Upon article 4, recommending to ye Colonies a stricter method about marriages, he desires the Lords Commissioners' "perusal of our Law that comes by the next opertunity, for ye great scandals [of bigamy] that lies upon the American Colonys calls for a reformation in this perticular with some expedition. [5] That a General Post were settled, not only here, which in measure is done, but that there were two or three little Post Vessels by the King appointed to bring and carry letters at those seasons especially when greater ships cannot or do not so usually come or go, for the benefit of trade and privat conveniences, as well as more public affairs of the Crown. (6) That sums appealable were the same in all the Colonys, at 300l. or 400l. or 500l. (7) That allowances may be made in hearing of appeals by the Lords or Commissioners thereof secundum œquum and bonum, and not by the strictness of ye forms of ye laws of England, the infancy and ignorance of these Colonys having not the benefit of able lawyers to help them in their commerce and transfers of titles of lands, etc. (8) That some encouragement be given by the King to such persons as shall discover Pyrats or their goods; for as yet there has been none; the want of which may tempt covetous persons to conceal them, to ye prejudice and loss of the public and dishonour, if not blame of the respective Govermts, at home, yt yet may be very innocent of the crime. The Laws of Trade are more favourable in that regard to the discoverers. (9) The Law about wool being transported from Province to Province, proves a severe, and which is worse, an impracticable thing in these parts, where Provinces are parted by small rivers, perhaps thickly seated; one side it may be wholy employ'd to corn, the other to sheep; and the inhabitants so poor as in some parts of New England, they cannot goe to ye price of English cloathing, but must have their neighbour's wool to spin for their backs, or starve for cold in ye winter, wherefore they take this course to evade ye law, geographically hard to execute, as well as from necessity, they buy 1,000 sheep with the wool upon their back, and sell them so soon as shorne, perhaps to those they had them of, upon an understanding between them. If it should ever happen that ye Woollen Act should come under a further consideration, it would deserve your second thoughts to make it more practicable here. I can assure you we are the least concern'd of any Colony in the affaire, becoming already too delicate to ware our own growth or manufacture, which the country feels by the disproportion that is between the goods we have from England and ye returns we are able to make, insomuch that of ye most monyed Province upon ye maine, Boston and N. York excepted, notwithstanding our infancy, we have been forc'd to send it in specie for England to answer (perhaps, our superfluity as well as) necessarys. But for that reason, we are falling upon tobacco, and shall this year advance from 1,500 hogshds. to 3,000 or 4,000, and divers are resolved to make as much as shall pay the marchand, and then they have their West India trade, by provisions, to themselves. I know I have forgot three or four particulars, and here started neer as many new ones, with an entire thought of service to the Crown, in which regard, tho' a Proprietary, I shall never plead any privilege against the zeal or duty that recommends any of the King's Governours, so farr as my skill or power shall enable me.
Dec. 13. I have examined Birch, who has upon his deposition declared, that he never had any bond of James Gillam's but one, and yt was from Peter Lewis for fifty pds. this country mony, which was by him given to me, when I had that whole affaire in examination. However, I have herewith enclosed a coppy of the particulars they owned to have received from Kid's ship, and which were, I presume, Gillam's. What is missing and what remains, with an estimat of ye first by the Sherrif and Clark of the County they live in, and ye Judge of the Court, and a Marchand, all of good reputation; for which I have their bonds, to answer for them, when I should call upon them on that account. I beg your care of me, that I come to no charge or trouble about Lumby's business and the Providence, that never intended any gain by her. I well remember it was made a fault agst. our people here, that they offer'd to be his security, or rather the owners' and freighters', to the High Court of Admiralty in England, to stand to the decission thereof, tho' strangers to both; it appearing that they had been five moneths by ill weather at sea; that they only mistook our Capes for those of Virginia, had no forbidden goods abord, and that the ship was in both our Collectors' catalogues from ye Commissioners of ye Customs of registered and lawful tradeing ships, and that both the Capt. and Carpenter who helped to build her, and ever since had been her carpenter, did, upon their oaths, tend'red by the Judge of the Court here, declare she was a registered ship, and that the Capt. had her register a short time before her sayling out of England. Now it so happens that inhibitions are come from ye Lords of the Admiralty, commanding the ship and goods out of Col. Quary's hands, the Advocat's (Moor) and myne, and all of us to answer the owners' and freighters' plea at home before ye High Court of Admiralty, where they have given security to stand ye judgemt. thereof—a great change and a severe disappointment to the Admiralty Officers here, especially if their judgmt. should be reverst; for besides the ship, that by neglect is sunck, and ye frost has enclosed her, the goods with damages are likely to be recovered, and must ruine these gentlemen, for the market and voyage (if not two voyages) are lost by it. Now inasmuch as I refused my third, and told the Capt. that my share of ship and goods I returned freely to the owners and freighters, and have not so much as my labour for my pains, I begg orders may be taken to prevent charge or trouble to me on yt account. It were much for the King's service that here were some ould and judicious Attorney, well practised in ye customs and methods of the Doctors Commons, that might advise in ye proceedings of the Admiralty Court here, since the gentlemen concern'd freely acknowledge their unacquaintance in the Civil Law, and with ye practice of that Court. It would be a means to preserve a faire understanding between the Civil and Maritime Courts, which cannot else be done, tho' Col. Quary has promist me in all doubtfull cases, where the Civil and Admiralty jurisdictions border, he will joyn with me to represent the matter home for advice. But it may happen some cases will not allow that time. There is another unhappiness I think it may become me to represent, and that is Col. Quary's having no sallery to support him; for he is obliged to be frequently absent upon tradeing voyages to Maryland, Virginia and Carolina, for ye Company he serves, and is certainly a dilligent factor, but as that has cost him neer eight months of the twelve yt I have been here, so I do believe you cannot think it is for ye King's service. Signed, Your faithful and obliged Fd. Wm. Penn. P.S.—Charlewood Lawton I hereby present to you as my Agent for this Govermt. W. P. Endorsed, Recd. Feb. 18 1700/1, Read April 1. Holograph. 17 pp. Enclosed,
984. i. Abstract of preceding, with marginal notes for reply. 3 pp.
984. ii. Deposition of Adam Burch that he never traded with James Gillam, and never meddled with any kind of bond concerning him, save one of 50l. due by Peter Lewis to Gillam, which was left in deponent's house, and which he delivered to Governor Penn. Signed, Adam Burch, his mark. Sworn before John Moll, J.P. for Philadelphia, Dec. 12, 1700. Countersigned, A true Copy, Wm. Penn. Endorsed, Recd. Feb. 18, 1700/1. ¾ p.
984. iii. An account of the goods received from on board of Capt. Kidd by George Thomson, William Orr and Peter Lewis. Chiefly silks, muslin and calicoe. Valued at 99l. 15s. 9d., 63l. 3s. 9d. and 35l. respectively, by Nehemiah Field, Jonathan Baily, Willm. Clark, Saml. Preston. Same endorsement. Copy. 3 pp. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 5. Nos. 76, 76.i–iii.; and without enclosures, 27. pp. 17–32.]
Dec. 9. 985. Proprietors of East New Jersey to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Reserving to themselves the benefit of a further defence, after they shall have transmitted the Remonstrance of the inhabitants to the Governor of that Province and received a reply from him, the Proprietors for present answer say that this complaint is sent from a few factious and mutinous people, impatient of any Government, and proceeds merely from a design to deprive the Proprietors of their right to the soile and quit-rents of the Province, and to strip His Majesty of his legal rights to that and other Plantations, and to render them independent of the Crown. The American countries being first discovered by the English in the Reign of Hen. VII. and more fully under Elizabeth, have ever since, by Letters Patents from that Queen and the succeeding Kings, been granted to Planters under small quit rents payable to the Crown or its grantees. And though the Kings of England and their grantees have permitted and sometime encouraged the Planters to purchase the soyle from the Indians, which they doe for trifles, yet that method was not used of necessity, or for defect of sufficient title in the Crown, or its grantees, but merely to avoid wars with the savage natives, who were formerly more numerous there than the English, and to bring them over, by such gentle usage, to the Christian faith. This method of purchasing from the Indians is not practised at all in Virginia and Maryland, the Planters there sitting down by virtue of the Governor's warrant only, without leave of the natives. The Proprietors acknowledge that the late King James, who, when Duke of York, was the first grantee of this Province from King Charles II., and the Lord Berkley, Sir George Carteret and the present Proprietors claiming under him, have for the reasons above mentioned generally, by themselves, or by licensing the Planters to doe so, purchased the soyle from the Indians, and afterward confirmed the same lands to the Planters by patents from the Proprietors under small quit-rents. This was the method of granting lands within this Province from the first planting it, and the grantees usually paid their rents; till some of the Planters broached and advanced an opinion, That the King's right to the American countrys discover'd by English subjects was only notional and arbitrary, and that the Indian natives are the absolute independent owners and have the sole disposall of them. In consequence of which opinion, some of the Petitioners, who, after their purchase from the Indians, took patents of the same lands from the Proprietors for the time being, now refuse to pay their quit-rents, and others of them, who have lately made purchases from the Indians, refuse to take patents from the Proprietors. If this notion receive encouragement and prevail, the Proprietors are advised that all pretences of the Crown to, and their grants of the American Colonys, have been wholly illusory and royal frauds, and the Petitioners may, and in all probability will, deny His Majesty's right to the Government as well as to the soyle of those countrys.
The several articles of petitioners' complaint are pregnant of such a design. (1) Col. Richard Nichols was in 1664 Governor of this Province under the then Duke of York. He had no power by his Commission to grant lands, and, if he had, such power was determined above five months before he made any grant to the Petitioners (Dec. 1664), the Duke of York having in the month of June preceding granted this Province to the Lord Berkley and Sir George Carteret, and ye licences granted to the Petitioners by Col. Nichols then and by the Proprietors since, were expressly under a condition to hold the lands, so purchased, of the Proprietors by patent, and a certain rent. And all claiming under the licence of Col. Nicholls actually took patents of the same lands at certain rents, as by the records thereof appears, which Petitioners have artfully forborn to mention. The Proprietors might have avoided those patents granted by Col. Nicholls for his want of authority; yet they confirmed those crazy titles, and never molested the Petitioners in their possession till, they refusing to pay their quit-rents, they distrained upon some of them who had patents, and brought an ejectment against one Jones, who had noe patent, nor would take any, in which action the jury, being all Planters, gave a general verdict against the Proprietors, contrary to ye direction of the Court, and the consent of the Council on both sides, who had agreed upon a speciall verdict. (2) This, like the last, is a general accusation, but to obviate any particular instance that may be hereafter partially represented to your Lordships, the Proprietors acquaint you that when they grant a licence to purchase lands of the Indians, they usually oblige the grantee to purchase a certain tract agreed upon, and to allow the purchaser a certain portion of it to his own use, and take the rest of it to the use of the Proprietors. This was done in the case of one John Royce, a great asserter of the Indians' sole right, who now refuses to pay his quit-rent for the lands patented to him, and under his Indian title claims all the lands (20,000 acres) he bought of the Indians, though so great a part of it (14,000) was bought for the Proprietors, whilst he was to pay 5l. rent yearly for 6,000 acres of it. (3) This article is particular, but notoriously false, for King James having some months before the late happy Revolution seiz'd the Government of this and the neighbouring Provinces, and put them all under the command of Sir Edmond Andros, the Proprietors durst not exercise any Government over East Jersey, and, Sir Edmond being upon the first news of the Revolution, imprison'd at Boston, all those American Colonys were in great confusion for some time, but when the Government of England was settled, and the Proprietors restored to their former right, they first appointed John Tatham and afterwards Col. Dudley (now Dep.-Gov. of the Isle of Wight) to be Governors of this Province, whom the people scrupling to obey, the Proprietors appointed Col. Hamilton to be their Governor, who was accepted by them and administered the Government, civil and military, several years to the general satisfaction, even of the Petitioners. The Proprietors insist they ought not to be answerable for the vacancy of Government caused by King James his seizure of it, or by the people's refusal to obey Mr. Tatham and Mr. Dudley. And if this could be imputed to them, the Petitioners had shown more duty to the King and less malice to the Proprietors, if they had not deferred their complaint for seven years. A Militia has been long established in the Province, and muster'd and exercised four times every year, and, by a standing law, every inhabitant is obliged to provide himself with a gun, well-fixed, sufficient powder and bullet, under penalty of a fine. They confess they have not provided arms or ammunition for this Militia, because ye King himself doth not provide them for the Militia of England or of his own Colony of New York. The Proprietors have sometimes caused lands to be surveyed before they purchased it of the Indians, which is no damage to the Indians, but they never pretended to settle any lands till after the purchase of it from the Indians, nor did the Indians of their own accord make any complaint, but have been influenced to do so by the Petitioners. (4) The Proprietors acknowledge that Col. Hamilton, a native of Scotland, being Governor of East New Jersey, when the Act for preventing frauds and regulating abuses in the Plantation Trade was made, they were by some expressions in that Act misled into a belief that a Scotchman was disabled to execute the office of Governor, and therefore, to avoid committing any offence against that Act, did constitute Jeremiah Basse Governor of this Province, who being presented to, and as he informed them, approved of by His Majesty, the Proprietors in confidence thereof wrote such account of it to the inhabitants as is suggested by this article. But Mr. Basse having no instrument in writing expressing the King's approbation was opposed in his administration by many of the inhabitants, and amongst others by some of the now Petitioners, and Col. Hamilton came over to England about his own private affairs, after whose arrival the Proprietors, having the opinion of H.M. Attorney and Solicitor General that Scotchmen were not disabled to execute the office of Governor, and receiving an addresse from great numbers of the inhabitants, representing the abilities and acceptablenesse of Col. Hamilton in that station, which Mr. Basse had left, and returned to England, and praying Col. Hamilton might be restored, they constituted him Governor by a new Commission, and endeavoured to obtain an approbation of him by the King, but His Majesty having a little before that time, by advice of your Lordships, directed a trial at law for deciding the right of Government, your Lordships scrupled to admit a positive approbation of him, because it might seem an owning of the Proprietors' title then in question, yet were pleased to declare that you did not intend it as an inhibition to the Proprietors from exercising ye Government till the right was determined (being very sensible that the country could not subsist in peace without it) and that Col. Hamilton governing according to the Laws of England, the Proprietors would be safe in commissionating him, and he in acting under their Commission. This was communicated by Col. Hamilton at his arrival there to the inhabitants, who were generally inclined to obey him, but the Petitioners entertaining a belief that if the Government be evicted or taken from the Proprietors, then interest in the soil and quit-rents, which are their civil and personal rights, must fall with it, laid hold of this want of the King's actual approbation of Col. Hamilton, opposed him with arms, and now arraign the Proprietors for neglecting to provide for the Government, which themselves have rejected. The latter part of this article has been cleared by the opinion of the Attorney and Solicitor General. The Secretary and Attorney General of this Province and the Clerk of the Supreme Court mentioned by Petitioners, have been many years inhabitants there, and though they are Scotchmen by nation, are Englishmen by their interest, having embarked their whole estates in the prosperity of this colony. The Proprietors, hoping they have fully answered the Remonstrance, now crave leave to acquaint your Lordships, that they and the Proprietors of West New Jersey had, before this complaint arrived, unanimously agreed to surrender the Government of both Provinces to His Majesty under such terms and conditions as they are advised are proper, and this Remonstrance now makes necessary, for the preservation of their civil rights, which proposalls they are ready to deliver to your Lordships and doubt not your approbation of them. Signed, By order and on behalf of the Proprietors of the Province of East New Jersey, Wm. Dockwra, Secr. and Regr. Endorsed, Read Dec. 17, 1700. 11 pp. [Board of Trade. Proprieties, 5. No. 77; and 26. No. 367–382.]
Dec. 9. 986. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Letter from Gov. Grey, Sept. 26, read.
Letters from Governor Sir William Beeston, Oct. 7, read, and the papers therewith transmitted laid before the Board.
Order of Council, Dec. 5, relating to the Acts passed by Col. Fox in the Leeward Islands, read. Directions thereupon given for preparing a letter to Col. Codrington.
Several letters and papers being now received from the Earl of Bellomont, and laid before the Board, ordered that abstracts be made thereof, in order to the considering of the same. [Board of Trade. Journal, 13. pp. 269–271; and 97. No. 216.]
Dec. 9. 987. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Ordered that His Majesty's Letter and all papers relating to the French refugees, the Lords' letter relating to the building of a Governor's house, and the settling public debts and the consideration of the Revenue be submitted to the Burgesses. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 55. p. 46.]
Dec. 9. 988. Journal of Burgesses of Virginia. The House attended His Excellency in his bed-chamber, who confirmed their choice of Speaker and their ancient privileges, and addressed them. His Excellency delivered to them letters from His Majesty and the Lords relating to the French Protestants, and from the Lords relating to the building of a Governor's house.
It was resolved that noe person may execute both offices of mace-bearer and messenger, and that an address to His Excellency be prepared, thanking him for his favour of the gown and mace and praying him to commissionate such person as he shall think fit to perform the said duties.
A Committee for Elections and Privileges appointed to consider and report upon the returns of burgesses. Petitions of the Sheriff of James City County and of George Marrable, Henry Vaughan, John Howard and Tho. Holliday, concerning the election of a Burgess for James City referred to this Committee.
Petition of John Remington, Richard Morris, and John Hix to continue doorkeepers to the House granted; that of William Drew rejected. Anthony Evains admitted to a doorkeeper's place.
Dec. 10. A copy of His Excellency's Speech of yesterday, in which he deplored his own illness and that of Members of Council who were absent, and recommended them to consider whether it was absolutely necessary that this session should be of any long continuance, read. The Governor in his Address further recommended the settling of all claims and public debts, particularly that concerning the trial of pirates, the affairs of the Rangers, Governor's house and French refugees.
John Chyles acquainted the House that His Excellency had commissionated him to be Messenger and Mace-bearer.
Upon the report of the Committee of Elections, the following Burgesses were declared duly elected:
Capt. Joseph Ball and Capt. William Fox, Lancaster County.
Gawin Corbin and Edwin Thacker, Middlesex County.
Major William Tayloe and Col. George Taylor, Richmond County.
Richard Bland and Capt. Joseph Wyn, Charles City County.
Gideon Macon and Capt. Joseph Foster, New Kent County.
Col. William Leigh and Capt. William Gough, King and Queen County.
Thomas Edmundson and John Catlet, Essex County.
Capt. Thomas Cock and Capt. Wm. Farrar, Henrico County.
Capt. Nathan Harrison and Samuel Thompson, Surrey County.
Capt. Henry Applewait and Thomas Giles, Isle Wight County.
George Marrable and Capt. James Bray, James City County.
Daniel Sullevant and Capt. Thomas Milner, Nansemond County.
Thomas Butt and Matthew Godfrey, Norfolk County.
Major John Thorowgood and Capt. Edward Moseley, Princess Ann County.
Capt. William Armistead and Col. William Wilson, Elizabeth City County.
Miles Cary and William Cary, Warwick County.
Thomas Barber and Lt.-Col. Thomas Ballard, York County.
Major Peter Beverley and Mordecai Cook, Gloucester County.
Alexander Spence and James Westcomb, Westmerland County.
Col. George Mason and Capt. William Fitzhugh, Stafford County.
Major Rodham Kenner and Tho. Hobson, Northumberland County.
It was resolved that Richard Fossaker, Sheriff of Stafford County, and Charles Lee, Sherriff of Northumberland County, had made imperfect returns upon the writ for the election of Burgesses in those counties, and that they be sent for in custody of the Messenger of the House to amend them.
The return of Thomas Cowles, Sheriff of James City County, upon the writ for election of a Burgess for the College of William and Mary was approved; "Mr. James Blair, President, made answer that, there being as yet but a President and one Master, therefore they did not think it fit to elect a Burgess, that being to be done by the President and Masters of the College."
The Orders of the late House of Burgesses were read, approved and ordered to be continued.
Ordered that the House be called over as often as shall be thought convenient, and that Members who shall be wanting in their duty of attendance be liable to the censure of the House.
Ordered that 15 Members with the Speaker shall be a sufficient number to adjourn.
Mr. Richard Bland, having been sworn, took his place in the House.
Dec. 11. The House was called over and then resolved itself into a Committee to consider His Excellency's Speech.
Resolved that this House is inclinable to proceed upon no matter, but what shall be found absolutely necessary this Session. This resolution was communicated to His Excellency and Council.
George Mason, Burgess for Stafford County, excused attendance through sickness.
Thomas Cowles, Sheriff, made return of a writ for election of a Burgess for James City, as ordered yesterday, and this was referred to the Committee for Elections, which it was decided not to increase.
Ordered that Mr. Speaker forbear to issue warrants concerning Richard Fossaker and Charles Lee, Sheriffs, as ordered yesterday, till further order from the House.
His Excellency sent a message to the House, approving of their resolution not to proceed upon anything but what was absolutely necessary. One of such matters he conceived to be the affair of the French Protestants, and another the settlement of claims, particularly that relating to the pirates, and the Rangers in Stafford County.
Committees for Public Claims, and for Propositions and Grievances were appointed.
Ordered that all propositions, grievances and claims be brought into this House by the 14th at latest or not to be received this session without particular leave of the House. Notices of this resolution and of the place where the Committees are to sit, to be set up at the College door. [Board of Trade. Virginia, 54. pp. 29–46.]
Dec. 9. 989. Minutes of Council in Assembly of Virginia. See preceding abstract.
Dec. 10. Address of the Assembly (Dec. 9) presented to His Excellency.
Papers relating to the French refugees referred to the Burgesses.
Petition of Edward Jenings, praying that it may be declared how and by whom the 50lbs. of tobacco to be paid for each commission for the Militia shall be paid, referred to the Burgesses.
Ordered that all papers relating to the trial and apprehending of pirates be with all speed laid before the Burgesses. And see preceding abstract.