America and West Indies: January 1702, 1-2

Pages 1-5

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 20, 1702. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1912.

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January 1702

Jan. 1.
Newcastle in
1. Mr.Sheafe to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I am wholly a stranger, therefore may appear as a medler in business or an insinuator, which may make my pretence suspected, but being here at present the officer of H.M. Customs, and of no partie, I thought it my duty to enquire into and to represent to your Lordships the true state of this Province, and the rather because I know those who are qualified to do it better will omit it. This Province, tho' at present of small consideration, consisting only of four or five small towns, may yet be esteemed of great importance for H.M. service, being capable to afford masts and all Naval Stores as good if not better than any other place, and also lying convenient for the Fishery. The Fort or Citadel is much decayed, out of repair and not serviceable, and besides the considerations before mentioned this Port or Harbour may in some sense be called the key to the other Governments; if it should be possessed by an enemy, it would be difficult for the Massachusets Province to subsist long. I therefore propose it as a matter of great importance to erect a strong Fort or Citadel, which cannot be otherwise done than at H.M. charge. The expences of this Province have been of late, and yet do continue to be many, and almost unaccountable, so that there cannot be expected any quantity of money to be disbursed by the inhabitants. If they do provide timber, stone and lime sufficient and bring it to the place, it is the most they will be capable to perform.
The opposition made here by the inhabitants against Samuel Allen, Proprietor, hath occasioned very great expence, besides 950l. raised this year, called the Province rate, and more than 600l. for the Town charges and Ministers' maintenance, there hath been loan money, or subscription for 2,000l. or more, as is generally affirmed, for defending against Allen's claim. If that case were determined, this place would soon flourish and the inhabitants increase, and thereby become greatly serviceable to H.M. There is great want of powder and ammunition, a Commander of the Fort and Compa. of soldiers, for this is a frontier to the Indian enemy and lies exposed. I also humbly represent it as needful that the Auditor General appointed some meet person to inspect the accounts of the Treasury, and the account of powder, and with Instructions proper, and to make report thereof. I propose it as needful that the Records of this Province be ordered into the hands of the Secretary, for of late years, in opposition to the Proprietor, the Records have been by Act of Assembly ordered into the hands of diverse persons, and by often removing or otherwise many are said to be lost; the persons in whose hands they have been not having been qualified, nor upon oath, of which I have heard many complaints. The Justices, when they decree any fine for the King, divide the same among themselves. Diverse do complain for want of a Court of Chancery. The Commission about Piracy is not yet published; the reason given is because as yet there hath been only a copy of the exemplification produced.
Some unkindnesses have passed publickly. between Mr. Atwood, Judge of the Admiralty, and the Justices of the Superior Court in Massachusets Province. I am not ignorant of the cost and charge hath been for Masts and Naval Stores without any extraordinary advantage to the undertakers, I therefore humbly represent that a stock of 200 masts, or such numbers the Admiralty and Commissioners of the Navy shall agree upon, with proportionable Naval Stores, to be always in readiness when sent for, and as any are sent home, to be anew supplied, will conduce much to H.M. service, the advantage of time in getting them will save H.M. coffers at least one quarter part, besides their being always ready upon any occasion, and will prevent the continued trouble of renewed contracts. The Masts may be keyed down in some convenient place, whereof here are several such, where they may be preserved for 20 years without any damage; there may also, if it be approved of, be a ship of about 500 tons, a sort of Catt, here built for the carrying home of masts and stores, and when not so employed may carry timber to the West Indies in any the Plantations. The first disburse for this will be about 4,000l.; two persons may be appointed for the managing thereof, who may also have full instructions to prevent the cutting down of timber fit for H.M. service. Mr. Bridger, who I suppose is now in England, hath furnished himself by his enquiries here to give your Honours satisfaction in this matter. I have been employed many years in getting masts and stores by Sir John Shorter & Co. for H.M. service, until Sir John's death, and have thereby been advantaged to know some thing more then some other men in those affairs, and if your Lordships relish this overture, I may offer further proposals. Signed, Sampson Sheafe. Endorsed, Recd. April —, Read May 4, 1702. Copy. The original was given to Mr. Usher to lay before the Lord High Admiral. 5 pp. [C.O. 5, 862. No. 93; and 5, 910. pp. 202–208.]
Jan. 1.
2. Order of King in Council. Referring enclosed petition to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their report. Signed, John Povey. Endorsed, Recd. 6th, Read 7th Jan., 170½. ¾ p. Enclosed,
2. i. Petition of Joseph Jory, Agent for Nevis, to the King. London. Dec. 30, 1701. Your Majesty's Lt. Gov., Council and Assembly of Nevis have sent home 600 match-lock barrels belonging to your Majesty's Forts there, and pray that they may be received into the Tower of London, and that a sufficient number of fire-lock arms may be ordered to be delivered forthwith out of the Tower for a supply of your Majesty's Forts there, whose necessities are very great for the want thereof. Signed, Joseph Jory. Copy. ¾ p. [C.O. 152, 4. Nos. 75, 75.i.; and 153, 7. pp. 331, 332.]
Jan. 1.
3. Order of King in Council. Referring enclosed to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their Report. Signed, John Povey. Endorsed, Recd. 14th, Read 16th Jan., 170½. ¾ p. Enclosed,
3. i. Petition of Isaac Hawkins to the King. On Dec. 12, 1700, Petitioner petitioned your Majesty in Council, showing that Barbara Newton, late of Barbados, Widow, having a just debt of 5,975l. due to her on bond from some persons who were of the Council of the said Island, and having in vain sought justice for several years in the Courts of Law and Equity there, she was forced at last to appeal to your Majesty in Council against the several judgments and decree there wrongfully given against her, but dyed before the said Appeal came to a hearing, having first made Petitioner one of her executors, who with the rest of her executors brought the said cause to a hearing, April 15, 1695, when your Majesty was graciously pleased to set aside the said judgement and decree and leave your petitioners and the said executors at liberty to begin a new suit thereon. Your Petitioner did further shew that the great hardship wch. Barbara Newton suffered in that Island proceeded from the present Constitution of the Courts in that Island, where twelve persons, who are the Council, are judges of the Court of Chancery and Court of Errors, and several of the said persons being interested against her in the said suit, was the occasion of the great wrong there done to her, and that several of the said Council being still interested in the said cause, your Petitioner had not reason to expect any better success on a new suit than Barbara Newton had, and that he was likewise discouraged by the frequent adjournments and long delays of the Courts in that Island, from whence after many years new suit he might probably be forced to bring over the said cause again by Appeal to your Majesty in Council. Upon which he did most humbly pray that your Majesty would take into your Royal consideration the great hardship it was to your Petitioner and many others that the said Courts did so seldom sit, and to have their causes heard and determined by the major vote of persons who are frequently interested in the causes that come before them, and that your Majesty would be graciously pleased to give such order therein as to your Majesty's great wisdom would seem fit. Which petition your Majesty referred to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their report thereon, who on Feb. 6, 1700, declared their opinion that the said petition should be sent to the Governor for his answer, and that letters should be also dispatched requiring him to take special care that no persons interested in the suits depending in any of the Courts of that Island should be appointed or permitted to sit as Judges in the causes wherein they are concerned, and that he should himself constantly hold the Court of Chancery. Petitioner hath for twelve months past attended for the Governor's answer, and for such further and effectual remedy as he did humbly hope would have been recommended to your Majesty's gracious consideration by the Council of Trade and Plantations, and especially concerning the present constitution of the Court of Chancery and Court of Errors, which he humbly conceives has been plainly made appear to them to be inconvenient with your Majesty's service, and the good of your people who are interested in the said Island or in the trade thereof, as your Petitioner is ready to make more fully appear, and likewise that there is not in the said Island any such ancient or established method of Justice as cannot be changed when your Majesty shall judge it reasonable, and that in fact such changes have been frequently and some of them very lately made in that Island. Petitioner prays that in compassion to several infants, grand-children of Barbara Newton (for whom Petitioner is only intrusted), and for the better administration of Justice to many other of Your Majesty's subjects, your Majesty would be graciously pleased to give such further direction therein as to your Majesty's great wisdom shall seem fit. Copy. 3 pp. [C.O. 28, 6. Nos. 24.A., 24.A.i.; and 29, 7. pp. 454–458.]
Jan. 1. 4. Order of King in Council. Ordered that Mr. Edmund Jenings be appointed Secretary of Virginia during H.M.'s pleasure, and that he be obliged to actual residence at Williamsburg during the time of his being Secretary of H.M.'s sd. Colony. Mr. Secretary Vernon to prepare a Commission for his Majesty's Royal signature accordingly. Signed, Edward Southwell. Endorsed, Recd. 19th, Read Jan. 20, 170½. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 1312. No. 24; and 5. 1360. p. 101.]
Jan. 2.
5. William Popple to Edward Northey, Attorney General. The Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations have again commanded me to desire you to report to them your opinion in point of Law upon the Acts of Pennsylvania, which I sent you in my letter of the 29th of October last; or if you have not yet considered the same, that you returne them to their Lordships, tho' without a Report. Only in that case, they desire your and Mr. Sollicitor Genl's. answer to the two questions expressed in my said letter without delay. [C.O. 5, 1289. p. 318.]
Jan. 2.
6. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Representation, wherewith to lay before H.M. the drafts of a Commission and Instructions for a Governor for the Jersies, agreed upon.
Ordered that the Secretary write to Mr. Attorney General for his report upon the Pennsylvania Acts, as in preceding.
A letter was writ to the Earl of Carlisle to acquaint him that as First Commissioner of H.M. Treasury, he is one of the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, and that this Board will accordingly be glad of his assistance whenever his other affairs permit. [C.O. 391, 14. pp. 266, 267; and 391, 96. No. 1.]