America and West Indies: October 1702, 12-15

Pages 653-669

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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October 1702

Oct. 12. 1032. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Petition of John Hill and John Stokeley of Sussex County, in Pennsylvania, read. The Board desired the Provincial Court not to proceed to judgment in that case until the dividing line is run between this Province and that, so that it may be ascertained in which Province the land lyeth.
Sir Thomas Laurence, Secretary, complained that Charles Carroll had given him an account of 82 patents prepared this year, but had not sent them into his office to be recorded, and was gone for England. He had wrote to Col. Darnall about them, who had answered that he knew nothing of them, but when they were prepared and sealed, and would send them in as usual. James Carroll, Attorney for Charles Carroll, said the patents were in the latter's house, but were not prepared to be sent to the Secretary's Office, being neither signed nor seal'd, but so soon as ready, will be sent. Ordered that Col. Darnall do this with all convenient speed.
The President acquainted the Board that, upon the death of William Wyvil Riding, Surveyor at the head of the Bay, he had sent a Commission to William Dyer, but being since that acquainted that Edward Randolph, Surveyor General, was arrived in Virginia, and not knowing how far his Commission might extend, had called it in, and praying the advice of the Board, Resolved, in regard it is not known when Mr. Randolph may arrive, the said Commission be put in execution, lest H.M. service be prejudiced. [C.O. 5, 745. pp. 6, 7.]
Oct. 13.
1033. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Principal Officers of H.M. Ordnance. Enclosing estimate of stores to be sent to Barbados. "We do desire you in pursuance of H.M. pleasure to take care that there be sent thither an Engineer fitly qualified to design and see performed such works as shall be thought fit to be made and repaired there" etc. Signed, R. Cecill, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Mt. Prior. [C.O. 29, 8. pp. 227, 228.]
Oct. 13.
St. Chris-
1034. Governor Codrington to [? the Earl of Nottingham]. I have received your Lordship's letter, and am very well provided to answer it, but dare not at present, a just acct. of things might prove fatal to these Islands, for we are surrounded with French Privateers, and whatever charge is given to the Masters, they never throw over their letters when taken for fear of being ill used by the enemy. I shall send over a gentleman on purpose, who will, I hope, part from hence in three weeks, by whom I shall write fully. I am very sensible of H.M. goodness, but had much rather have a furlow than a new Commission. My honour is much dearer to me than an employ more valuable than mine is, and if an English gentleman is to be perjur'd, clamoured and voted out of his reputation without being allowed a hearing, a Frenchman or even a Turc has no reason to envy an Englishman. I beseech your Lordship to prevaile with H.R.H. to send some light frigates to these Islands. Signed, Chr. Codrington. Endorsed, R. Dec. 22, 1702. Holograph. 2 pp. [C.O. 239, 1. No. i.]
Oct. 13.
1035. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Mr. Cobb, the Solicitor, desired the perusal of the entries in the Books of New Hampshire upon occasion of a trial by Appeal relating to the Proprietorship of that Province before the Lords of the late Committee, 1683–1685, and that he may have attested copies of what may be useful to him at another trial which is shortly to be had upon the like occasion; which was accordingly directed, he coming at convenient seasons, so that the Secretary may be by at this perusal.
Letter to the Board of Ordnance concerning the stores for Barbadoes, signed and sent.
Oct. 14. Mr. Birch attending in order to putting in security for his observing the Acts of Trade as Governor of the Bahama Islands, their Lordships thought fit to write first to the Lords Proprietors to know whether they have anything to object against it.
Oct. 15. Memorial from Everard Cater read (Oct. 15); ordered that petitioners, the Governor, the Agents and Merchants of Barbadoes have notice to attend on Wednesday next.
Mr. Stringer desiring their Lordships' report upon the Reference relating to Tobago, ordered that when Dr. Woodroffe comes to town the former reports upon that subject be shewn to them, and that after their perusal of those reports, it be considered what may be fit to say further upon the present occasion. [C.O. 391, 15. pp. 226–235; and 391, 96. Nos. 161–163.]
Oct. 13. 1036. Minutes of Council in Assembly of Barbados. Depositions relating to the report that a great quantity of French wines were landed out of the sloop that carried the Flag of Truce to Martinico, read. This Board are of opinion that the said report was groundless.
Petition of Henry Keys and John Thomas, late belonging to a privateer, setting forth that they had been at great charge in maintaining the Spanish prisoners etc., recommended to the Assembly.
The Assembly attending, the President delivered to them the Act against carrying of servants and the Supplemental Act with amendments. He recommended to them the sending away the Spanish prisoners, and that the Honble. Saml. Cox offered to hire his sloop to send them to Trinidado or elsewhere; that several of the French prisoners were sick and the allowance of 12d. per diem was not sufficient to maintain them with necessaries, and therefore desired them to grant a further allowance for such; that a small [? vessel] might be sent as a spy to learn what the French are doing at Martineque, and that 50 barrels of powder might be delivered out of the Magazine for the use of H.M.S. Kinsale, it appearing that she has not two barrels of good powder left. The Assembly then withdrew.
Bill for laying an imposition on wines etc. imported, read a first time.
The Assembly desired a conference upon the amendments to the above-mentioned Acts, which was agreed to.
The Assembly attending, said that they had agreed to taking up a vessel to carry the Spanish prisoners to Trinidado; that Zachary Shute offered that if the country would credit him with 20 barrels of powder out of the Magazine, he would apply the same to the use of H.M.S. Kinsale and return as much good powder to the country in six months, or pay for it after the rate of 10l. per barrel; that they are of opinion it will not be convenient to send a spy-boat to Martineque till the Flag of Truce goes down with the prisoners, and that in case they be debarred there, then to send a small vessel on purpose. They proposed the payment of the Storekeeper's Salary, which was done.
Conference on the Act to prevent carrying off white servants, but the Council not agreeing to any alteration of their amendments, the Assembly took back that Bill to consider further thereof, but agreed to several of the amendments made to the Supplemental Bill.
Oct. 14. Supplemental Bill read a third time with amendments and passed.
Ordered that a Flag of Truce be sent with the Spanish prisoners to Trinidado, and that Dudley Woodbridge go with her and observe such instructions as he shall receive from the President.
Ordered that the Militia regiments be exercised every four weeks for six months longer from their last exercising day.
Ordered that powder be issued as proposed by the Assembly yesterday.
The Attorney General delivered in his answer to Mr. Hodges' complaint against him. [C.O. 31, 6. pp. 288–291.]
Oct. 13. 1037. Journal of Assembly of Barbados. Absent Members fined, unless excused by letters etc.
See preceding abstract.
Petition of Capt. Charles Thomas granted. [See preceding.]
Supplemental Act passed.
An amendment on the amendment of the Council on the Bill to prevent the carrying off servants, carried. [C.O. 31, 6. pp. 494–497.]
Oct. 14. 1038. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Proprietors of the Bahamas. Having this day been attended by Mr. Byrch in order to the taking security for his observing the Acts of Trade in the Government of the Bahama Islands, we desire to know, by the first opportunity, if you have any objection. Signed, Robt. Cecill, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, Mat. Prior. [C.O. 5, 1290. pp. 228, 229.]
Oct. 14. 1039. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Letter from John Dowdall, Clerk of Cecil County, to the President, Sept. 11, read, saying that divers of the inhabitants on Elke River had informed Cecil County Court that there were come to Conestogoa some Indians that have brought valuable apparel belonging to men and women Christians, but have murthered none. His Honour acquaints the Board that, supposing some robberies might have been committed in this Province, he had discoursed Thomas Brooke of Prince George County, but could not hear of any. Whereupon he had wrote to Governor Nicholson. A Committee was appointed to go to the said Indians and enquire into the report, and if they find any such goods, that they secure them and enquire what Indians brought them, and, if under their Government, that they see them forthcoming. [C.O. 5, 745. pp. 7, 8.]
Oct. 14. 1040. Governor Codrington to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I have not quitted this Island since the reduction of it, and have done all that lies in my power to put it into a good posture, and the people into a good temper, but, to deal sincerely with your Lordships, I cannot say I have done either effectually, for the unlucky division of the quarters, the most improper and impertinent that could be thought of, has ever caused, and I fear will continue as great a division among the people, which will prove fatal upon an attack. I have tortured my brains sufficiently to find proper expedients, but have not yet and I fear never shall be so happy till I have the gift of creation, and can never model both the Mountain and the People. I am extreamly wanted in the other Islands, and therefore shall leave this in a few days. I hope to perswade Major General Hamilton to accept of this Government, the only man I can trust with so important a post, and therefore desire your Lordships will use your interest to get him a Commission to be Lt.-Coll. of the Regiment here, if not, at least a Company, which has alwaies been the perquisite of the Lt.-Governor of this Island. I shall write very fully to your Lordships as soon as I arrive at Antigua, where I left your Lordships' letter, recd. the day before I came away for the expedition hither, and which I have not yet had a minute's time to consider and answer. I shall send a gentleman on purpose home wth. a pacquet to my Lord Nottingham. My Lords, I most impatiently expect my furlow. Signed, Chr. Codrington. Endorsed, Recd. Dec. 22, 1702, Read Jan. 14, 1702 (1703). Holograph. 2 pp. [C.O. 152, 5. No. 10; and 153, 8. pp. 132, 133.]
Oct. 15. 1041. Duplicate of preceding. [C.O. 152, 5. No. 11.]
Oct. 15.
1042. George Larkin to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I think I may very properly join with Mr. Randolph in giving [this place] the title of New Algier, or the Unfortunate Islands. On Sept. 17, the Governor and his Council sent for me and we then appointed to settle the proceedings for trial of pirates on the 21st, which was done, and there being two persons to be tried upon the account of piracy, one of which had laid in prison three months, we agreed to hold a Court of Admiralty the 30th, and everything was prepared, and the prisoners had notice of their trials. Some days before, the Governor's Clerk, Mr. Davies, whom he had appointed Register, came to me, and brought a writing, which he called a publication, and asked me if he should put it up upon the Town Bridge. I told him that the Commissioners had settled the proceedings already, and that there was no such thing as that mentioned; he was not to run upon notions of his own; all the witnesses that had anything to say against the prisoners were in town, and I did not think there was any occasion for it. I went into the country to pass away the time for a day or two, and upon my return I found that Davies had fix't this writing upon the Bridge, without saying it was done by order of the Governor or the Commissioners, and likewise mistaken the day, asserting it to be the 29th, upon which I tore it down, and presently after Davies coming upon the Bridge, I told him of it, and gave him my reasons, and that it seemed to me to be a thing done upon his own head, purely in opposition to me, if he took notice of H.M. letter to the Governor, which particularly says that he and the Commissioners shall settle the proceedings with my advice. He told me that he would put up another. If he put up such another, said I, I should make bold to pull it down again. Next morning another was fixt up, the date being altered, and said to be by order of the Governor, which continued till the Court was put off. I have desired copies of each of them, but the Governor has ordered the Register not to give them me. Your Lordships will see by the enclosed attestations of the late Governor and Collector of the Customs, what passed betwixt Mr. Davies and me, and I hope you will believe that I have more respect to the Crown of England then to pretend to oppose any gentleman that's entrusted with the command over H.M. subjects in the Plantations. On Sept. 30 the Governor and Council sent for me to the Governor's house to hear a Minute of Council read, to the effect that by H.M. Proclamation of March 8, 1701(2) all persons being in office at the decease of the late King should so continue until H.M. further directions, and it was the opinion of him and his Council that they could not proceed in anything but what related to the preservation of the peace before they heard from H.M., and therefore they thought fit to put off the trial of the two persons accused for pyracy till then. This, I told them, seemed to me to be a very strange opinion and directly contrary to the Queen's Proclamation. I desired a copy of this Minute of Council, but the Governor ordered the Secretary not to give it me. I protested against their proceeding, and entered it in the Secretary's Office, but could not draw it up for want of the Minutes. The reason of putting of(f) the Court, as I since understand, was, there is three of the Council, Richard Penniston, Charles Walker and Samuel Spofferth, who actually foreswore themselves at the last General Court of Assize, and the Governor and Council had some notions that one of the Prisoners intended to make objections against their sitting, he having sent a letter, as I am informed, to the Governor, wherein he acquainted him that he had something material to offer to the Court, and prayed that when the Commission was read, and before any of the Commissioners were sworn, he might be admitted to be heard, and they were afraid, since Minutes of the whole were to be taken by the Register, that their perjury would be detected and laid open before your Lordships. The Governor and Council having some time before sent for one Mr. Starr, a Physician, who is one of the witnesses to prove these three persons foresworn, and committed him a prisoner to the common gaol for saying something of that nature, the poor gentleman sent for me and desired that I would wait upon the Governor and Council about it, which I did, and in our discourse I moved the Governor to suspend Mr. Penniston, Walker and Spofferth from his Council until the matter was fairly heard at the next Assizes, if it did appear that they were not perjured, that then they might be restored, and the persons that accused them severely punished. He refused it, or to let Dr. Starr and the witnesses be sworn against them, but ordered him to be bound over to the next Sessions to answer what he had said against them there. The day before the Sessions Dr. Starr wayted upon the Governor to know whether they would be held, who told him he knew nothing to the contrary, he had left it to his Justices of the Peace. But finding that Starr was resolved to prosecute the matter, and had got all his witnesses ready, the Governor sends an order to his Justices to adjourn the Sessions till further order. However, Dr. Starr was forced to give his attendance, and put himself to a great deal of charges, lest his recognizance should be estreated, but indeed most of their actions are a continued series of tricks, wickedness and villainy.
After the Minute of Council for putting off the Court of Admiralty was read to me, the Governor ask't me how I durst presume to tear down the paper which was fix't upon the Bridge. I gave the reasons hinted above. He told me that it was by his order, and that it was impertinent. I said there was not a word mentioned that it was by his order, or by order of the Commissioners, upon which he ordered me to confine myself to my chamber during my stay upon these Islands. I told him that I was no officer nor soldier, and that I would not willingly be guilty of self-murder. Next morning he sent the Secretary of the Islands with an order. At dinner-time I sent all over the town, but could get nothing to eat, for the people of this country live chiefly upon potatoes and dried fish, and hearing that there was a dinner provided at a public-house, I went thither, and after dinner in my return to my lodging, he sent the Under-Marshall or Hangman with a warrant, who carried me to the common prison. Some time after I obtained the favour of going to my chamber, where I have been confined a close prisoner these 14 days and not suffered to stir abroad without the Marshall following me, for here it is as it ever was, sic volo, sic jubeo, stat pro ratione voluntas.
If your Lordships please to take notice of the beginning of Mr. Bennett's order for my confining myself, he says that I have offered him several affronts and indignities. Indeed I had some intimation that he had let fall some such words a fortnight before my confinement, and I took an opportunity to ask him before his Council, and told him withal that if I had done any such thing, 'twas unknowing to me, and that if he would signify wherein, I would ask his pardon publicly. He could not tell me, and I am ignorant of it to this day, and cannot guess wherein, unless it were in refraining his company, and not coming to pay my court to him every day. A little before this, I was desired to be present at a hearing of some causes in their Courts of Appeal, where I took Minutes, which (if it please God I live to return to England) I'le lay before your Lordships, at which the Governor and Council seemed very much disturbed. In the afternoon I sent to them and desired when they were at leisure that I might speak with them, upon which I was called in, and when I came, I directed my discourse to the Governor, and told him that he knew upon what service I came hither, that it was near upon six months since the decease of his late Majesty, and I had been in the Leeward Islands in May last, when Queen Anne was proclaimed there; that for their parts they might do what they pleased, but I should not do anything until the Queen was proclaimed, and desired that they would be pleased to take the same into their consideration, and then withdrew. I came into Court again and found Col. Day moving for a writ of error in a cause about a house which he had built in the town of St. George's upon a little plot of ground which in the time of his government he had granted to the Collector of Customs, upon which motion the Governor was pleased to say that a writ of error and an Appeal were the same, and thereupon I stood up as Amicus Curiæ and say'd, Sir, in that I must ask your pardon; Error is a writ where judgment is given in any Court of Record against the Law, or upon undue and wrong process, the party grieved against whom the judgment is given shall have this writ, and if Error found, the judgment shall be reversed; an Appeal was sometime used in the Common Law, as it was in the Civil, for removing of a cause in any Ecclesiastical or other Inferior Court to a Superior, where the Plaintiff or Defendant refused the Judge, and desired to have his cause tried in the Higher Court before the Superior Judge; then it was that a person was said to Appeal; that in truth this suit seemed to me to be commenced more out of malice and ill-will to Col. Day than any affection they had to the Crown of England, the land upon which he had built his house being said to belong to the Crown, as indeed all the houses in and about this town are; that it was but half an acre of land, which was a dunghill and a nuzance to the whole town, upon which he had built a very fine house, but there was 27 shares of land, every share being 25 acres in these Islands, which of right belonged to H.M., being formerly the land of the regicides, Owen Row, Cornelius Holland and Sir John Danvers, which had been recommended to several Governors to enquire into and to return an account, but most of the lands being now in the possession of the Council and top men of these islands, the same was past by and taken no notice of, neither could I learn that ever any account was returned. I told them further that there were several negroes, mullatos and mesles in the hands of private persons which of right belonged to the Queen, and ought to be seized for H.M. use, some of which were likewise in the hands of some of the Council, or had been disposed of by them. This discourse was not at all grateful to them, and thereupon the Governor and Council grew extreme warm, and ask'd me whether I came to quarrel with them. I answered I had been at Newfoundland, over the greatest part of America, and in most of the West Indies (excepting Jamaica), and I did not at all doubt that upon my letter the Governor and Council of every Plantation where I had been would give me a very ample certificate of my civility, and I never had any incivility offered me, until I came before them. For when I came to wait upon them, they made me stand whilst I discoursed them, as if I had been a foot-boy, and since H.M. had thought fit to constitute me a Commissioner, I was upon equal terms with them so long as I was upon that service, for infra pares non erat potestas. I also told them that one Hilton, the second day I came upon these Islands, declared publicly that if I did not join or go along with them in their vitious practices, or acted or did anything which the Governor and Council did not approve of, they would serve me as they had done others before me, which was imprison me. Upon this, they finding I took notice of their actions, they adjourned the further hearing of all causes until they heard from England, upon the same pretensions they have done the Admiralty Court, and from this time I found the Governor and Council courted all opportunities of using me ill. Some time before my confinement, the Governor sent the Minister, who is a very drunken, idle fellow, to all the houses I have been at since my coming, to enquire after my behaviour, and finding that he could discover nothing that would answer his ends, he has put several on to affront me, in hopes that I might have met with a poke in the gutts, but none of them would stand it. Afterwards he told me Mr. Spofferth should say that I declared up and down that he was not Vice-Admiral. I told him that I knew better. I ask't Spofferth about it, who said he never heard anything of the matter. I desired him to satisfy the Governor of it. When I came next to the Governor, he told me it was Capt. Sands, the Gentleman who commands the soldiers here. This truly seemed to me to be a sort of a fetch to put Capt. Sands and I to sacrifice each other. I asked Capt. Sands, who averred he never said any such thing; neither did he ever hear me. The Governor, finding this would not take, sends for me, and tells me that he was informed I should say before Ensign Russell and Dr. Starr, that let me do what I would, I could not affront him. I assured him that I never did, and that those two gentlemen could not, if they were to be put upon their oaths, say that I ever spoke an unmannerly word of him. Upon which he flew into a passion, and told me he would do me justice, he would lay aside his Government and fight me. I told him that I hoped he did not believe I was mad to pretend to any such thing whilst he was Governor, but if he would let me know his author, I would justify myself. He said it was one Newnham, one that was a grocer in London, but set up here for a mighty Lawyer. I discoursed Mr. Russell and Dr. Starr whilst Newnham was present, and they both declared that they never heard me say anything like it, and Newnham comes afterwards to my chamber and ask't my pardon.
Contrary to the oath required of a Governor by the Act of 7 and 8 William III, the Governor, a short time after his arrival, had a hogshead of white wine out of the Charles, Benjamin Stow, Master, privately carried to his cellar, which was taken aboard the Charles out of a Swedish ship in the Downs, and never entered in the Custom House in England or here, and he hath declared that he could have lawfully seized and condemned a vessel, but would not. Upon which I asked him how he could answer that at home. As near as I can collect, this was the Charles.
H.M. was pleased, when Mr. Bennett came over, to detach a company under Capt. Sands to guard the Forts of these Islands, but instead of being placed there, Mr. Bennett continues mulattoes, who are paid yearly out of the Revenue, and the soldiers are made use of for no other service but to wait upon him and his wife to Church, and stand centinels at his dore; some of which have for a little money been permitted to marry and discharged, others sent abroad in wreck ships and knockt in the head.
The Governors of Bermuda by their Instructions are to settle Quit-Rents for the lands enjoy'd by the inhabitants, but the Governors being generally indigent and necessitous, mind their own advantage more than their Master's interest, and for the usual present of 350l. forget their duty, so that the people here could never yet be brought to any quit-rents for the lands they enjoy, and indeed the King's lands are so far from being improved, that to my own knowledge the present Governor has been offered 5l. for that land which he sett at 30s. per annum, and setts that at 13l. which is worth 36l., but this is not without a consideration to the Governor, and as for the Queen's timber, he has cut down more of it then will build two of the largest vessels in this country.
Contrary to his Instructions to make all Laws without limitation of time, Mr. Bennett hath vacated an Act for an Imposition upon liquors for support of the Government, which was indefinite, and passed another which is temporary, which is now near expiring, and the date of the indefinite Act hath likewise been altered since it was enacted.
Contrary to his Instructions, not to dispose of any office granted under the great Seal, except upon a vacancy, until the matter be represented home, he turned out the Secretary and clap't two centinels upon his dore to prevent his going into his office, altho' there is no manner of complaint against him of any offence committed by him as Secretary. This was done with an intent to give it to his wife's brother, a wild, extravagant young man, who was convicted for the murder of Capt. Hughes, Commander of one of H.M. frigotts. He was Commander of the Castle and Capt. of the Militia, but committed such outrages that he was forced to be sent home to England. He is succeeded by one Peasley, who a little before the Governor's arrival assisted one Beedle, a Master of a vessel belonging to Salem in New England, who came from Bilboa and put into the Castle Harbour, to conceal a great quantity of allamodes, brandy, and other silks, which he brought from thence, and by Peasley's means the same were carried abroad again, and Beedle afterwards run the same at Salem. The Governor has disposed of the place of Secretary to one Minors, who receives the benefit of that employment and likewise the shares of land belonging to the Secretary, whom he has deteined here for 16 months, and will not permit him to go off the Island to make his complaint at home.
The Governor, according to his Instructions, is to cause a table of marriages to be hung up in every orthodox Church and duly observed. It's true a table of marriages are hung up in some of the Churches, but so far from being observed that nothing can be like it, and there's scarce a family in a hundred but what are related to each other in these Islands, and but two of the Council but what are, so that's it's next to a thing impossible for a stranger to expect justice to be done him either in their Courts of Law or Equity.
So far from encouraging merchants who bring trade into the Islands, they have made an Act that all goods imported by any other than a native or inhabitant shall pay double duty, and that every ship coming into any of their harbours shall pay 40s. pilotage, whereas a vessel belonging to these Islands pays only 8, if he accepts of the pilot, if not, he pays but 2s.
As to Appeals; the Court of Assize or Common Law is of very little use in these Islands, for Appeals are admitted in all cases where the sum exceeds 40s. (contrary to Instructions, "provided the value exceed 50l."); there is not one cause which is not appealed from to the Governor and Council, and they never give any security.
In order to act arbitrarily, and that no complaints may come home against him or his Council, the Governor has made an order that no affidavit or oath shall be taken by any Judge or Justice of the Peace, unless the party, against whom the affidavit or oath is, shall be present, or has notice of it; yet notwithstanding the Judges have refused to take affidavits or oaths, altho' the party has had notice, without the consent of the Governor. And the Governor, Council and Justices have refused to take examinations against three of his Council for perjury, tho' the Governor read the affidavits in Council, which were ready to be sworn to, but returned them, declaring that they should not, for that he would not break his Council, and ordered Mr. Nelson, who was Appellant in two causes against Mr. Anthony White, to go to a hearing when they three sat Judges who had before actually foresworn themselves in a matter wherein Mr. Nelson was concerned; and in one of the hearings the Governour own'd there was an error in the verdict, but confirmed it, and said that they, being a Court of Chancery, would suppose and presume a thing to be done that was neither proved at Common Law nor in Equity.
He has turned out Mr. Nelson from being Chief Justice, to oblige Walker, White and Spofferth. I think Mr. Nelson to be the most judicious, sensible man in these Islands that hath courage or honesty to do the King and Country Justice. He has also dismist him from being Judge of the Vice-Admiralty; I have not met with a man here that understands anything of that matter besides himself, he being a man of long experience in trade. In his place of Chief Justice the Governor has put one Stafford, an old harponeer, a poor, illiterate, sorry fellow, that can scarce write his name. In an action upon the case brought by Mary Vaughan against William Bryan, to the plaintiff's damage, 200l., the jury found only 12d. damages, yet this Stafford granted execution against Bryan for the 200l. Besides this, he is a man of very ill fame and character; he married a woman in these Islands, and got both her daughters with child. However, he is a very good tool for this Governor and Council to work withal. He has appointed one Dew, that has been the most notorious pirate in all America, one of the Barons of Exchequer, and several, that have been accessories to pirates, are Justices of the Peace; one Brooks, a broken Stationer, is Attorney General; he tells you in open Court, if you'll have English Laws, you must go to England for them; that no Act of Parliament is of any force here unless the same be enacted here by the Assembly; that a person that comes from England here cannot be a Juryman, because he is an Englishman, so that these Islands are finely helpt up with the Law, and Mr. Spofferth declares that he is an Irishman, and will swear anything, and is for impeaching persons in the Assembly here in imitation of the House of Commons.
About a month since two great French vessels, belonging to the Fleet of storeships that were sent to the Havana to supply M. Chateneaux, in their return for France came upon the rocks on the North side these Islands, there being in company six sail more, which were convoyed by two men of war; one of the two vessels, after five or six hours beating upon the rocks, got off, having cast overboard 10 guns and about 40 or 50 tons of logwood, which is since taken up. She was supposed to sink in few hours afterwards, several observing from the hills that she was gone of a sudden; the other, the John Cornelia, remains upon the rocks; the men belonging to her, finding no probability of getting off, betooke themselves to their boats in hopes of getting to the rest of the Fleet, but not being able to fetch them, came ashoar, and surrendered themselves prisoners, being in all, with the officers, 54, most of them very brisk fellowes. On the 8th inst., the Governor and Council, who always take care of themselves in preserving their own interest before the publick good, hired a vessel and sent them to Martinique or some of the French Islands, and have detained here only the Master Purser and Chirurgeon, with a boy. As soon as I understood the intentions of the Governor and Council, I told the Governor that when I was with General Codrington, I had heard him say that he was in hopes, if we had a warr with France and Spain that he should have orders to fall upon Martinique, and sending so many brisk fellows there might be a great disadvantage to him; besides, he could not get to know how the cartel was settled, or whether any quarter was given betwixt the English and French, and I hoped that he and his Council had well considered of these matters. The John Cornelia is a vessel of 600 tons; aboard her was 7 or 800l. in money, 30 tons of new rigging, 100 barrels of pork, bread and flour in proportion, 3,000 odd cwt. of cuchaneel, 90 tons of logwood, 14 hhds. of claret, and several of brandy, the whole valued at 10,000l. and upwards. The Governor has taken all this into his possession, and says the whole is his own, and nobody else has anything to do with it, and is disposing of the rigging as fast as he can. The logwood he is preparing to send to England in the Charles, which will be consigned in the name of Charles Walker to one Charles Noden of London. I take this ship to be a perquisite of the Admiralty of England; and if, upon your Lordships advising with H.M. Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, it shall be so thought, I would humbly propose, since Mr. Bennett declares positively that before he'l part with any part of it, he'l lie in prison all the days of his life, that notice be given to the Commissioners of H.M. Customs that immediately upon the arrival of any vessel from this place, she be immediately searcht, and seized, if laden with logwood, and that a Commission of Enquiry be forthwith sent here from the High Court of Admiralty to examine into the whole matter. Mr. Nelson, Josiah Starr and the Collector of the Customs may be Commissioners. I know of no others here that will be honest, or do my Lord High Admiral justice. If it please God I live to return, and be thought worthy of that honour, I should freely embrace it, that in the meantime an order be sent here for the Governor to give security in such summe as shall be thought requisite to answer it at home, for he will not permit any person to speak with any of the French Officers, for fear they should discover what was aboard the ship, and the value.
I gave your Lordships an account in my last that the Governor had taken pains to make the Militia serviceable. Upon this occasion, I take leave to acquaint your Lordships that I went upon a hill where I had the opportunity of observing of what service the Militia and people of these Islands are upon an emergency. I stayed there near upon six hours, and in all that time I did not see ten persons move towards the place where the ship was run upon the rocks; that if out of the French Fleet they had sent 300 men ashoare, they had carried the Island with all the ease imaginable; the Company of soldiers being kept all the time the enemy was upon the coast in the Town of St. Georges, and when ordered to march they were recalled by the Governor's wife, whereas, if they had been sent up into Sommersett Tribe, they must have had the ship that got off; the Governour having about a month before encouraged several sloops to go after a wreck near the Bahama Islands, in which there went at least three or four hundred of the best men in the country, it's a miracle to me that the Island was not surprized.
I have now bought a small vessel on purpose to carry me to Jamaica, but whether the Governor will let me go I cannot tell, for the Governor of Bermuda is as arbitrary as the Grand Turk, and unless I could be contented to call myself villain and confine myself to the humour of White, Walker and Spofferth, I'd sooner choose to be a slave in Algier then live here. I am very well acquainted with the customs and humours of the people of this place; they are for flinging all the dirt they can in hopes that some of it may stick, and Mr. Bennett is as much a Bermudian as if he had been borne here, and I believe he has malice enough to do me all the diservice he can; therefore I sent a Gentleman to him to desire if he had anything to say against me, that it might be done before I go hence. Whenever I do a thing that's ill, I know I must not expect any countenance from your Lordships, and I hope you will pass a favourable construction of everything he says in relation to me. He has made good an old saying we have in England, save a thief from the gallows, and he will be the first that shall cut your throat. I was a friend to him when he could not stir without the verge of Whitehall, and I beg the favour of your Lordships that this matter may be laid before H.M., and that I may have such relief as H.M. shall think fit. My imprisonment is taken from Mr. Day's imprisoning Mr. Randolph; if the Governors of Bermuda are permitted to use Gentlemen sent here by the Crown after such a manner under the pretence of an affront, I don't know any person that will adventure here for the future. If I could have thought of such a thing, I would not have undergone the scandal of it for 5,000l., and I hope through your Lordships' means Mr. Bennett and I shall be brought to answer it face to face. Signed, Geo. Larkin. Endorsed, Recd. Feb. 8, Read March 2, 1702/3. 6¾ pp. Enclosed,
1042. i. Abstract of preceding. 2 pp.
1042. ii.(a) Copy of Lt.-Gov. Bennett's Order to Mr. Larkin to confine himself in his chamber. Sept. 30, 1702. 1 p.
(b) Copy Lt.-Gov. Bennett's Warrant for committing Mr. Larkin to prison, Oct. 1, 1702. 1 p. The whole endorsed, Recd. Feb. 8, 1702.
1042. iii. Deposition of Tho. Brooke, Collector of Customs, as to Mr. Larkin's tearing down the publication put up upon the bridge by John Davis, Register to the Court of Admiralty. Signed, Tho. Brooke. 1 p.
1042. iv. Deposition of Samuel Day, late Governor of the Islands, in support of Mr. Larkin's account of the affair (iii.), above. Signed, Sam. Day. Endorsed, Recd. Feb. 8, 1702. 2½ pp.
1042. v. Memorandum by Charles Minors, Secretary of Bermuda, Sept. 30, 1702, as to Mr. Larkin's desiring a copy of the Minutes of Council and protesting against the procedure of this day in putting off the Admiralty Court. Signed, Cha. Minors. ¼ p.
1042. vi. Deposition of Gilbert Nelson, Oct. 5, 1702. In a cause wherein Edward Randolph was plaintiff against deponent, St. Georges, Jan. 28, 1701, Charles Walker and Samuel Spofferth falsely swore that they were bail for Randolph. The day before, when deponent was on his trial, Charles Walker and Richard Penniston falsely swore that he was a Judge and Councillor on Feb. 27, 1698. Deponent hath often solicited Governor Bennet to take his affidavit against the above on this matter, but he hath put him off, and referred him to the Justices of the Peace. On July 7 he offered him again in Council three affidavits, and the persons were there ready to swear them. The Governor read and returned them, declaring that he would not have them sworn to because he would not break his Council, but required Deponent to go to trial forthwith in two causes then depending before him and his Council by way of Appeal, in which causes the above-named sat judges. Since Mr. Bennet's coming he hath made an order that no Judge or Justice of the Peace should take any affidavit against any person unless the party against whom the affidavit was to be made had notice of it. Conformable to this order the said Spofferth, Penniston and Walker had notice, Sept. 7, St. Georges, that Deponent with others intended to make oath against them touching their being forsworne, as above, before Daniel Johnson and Samuel Stone, two Justices of the Peace, but they refused to be present. And when Deponent came before Johnson, he declared he could not take the affidavit until he had spoken with the Governor. Stone likewise refused. Signed, Gilbert Nelson. Sworn before Geo. Larkin. 1½ pp.
1042. vii. Deposition of Samuel Day. To same effect as preceding. Signed, Sam. Day. Endorsed, Recd. Feb. 8, 1702/3. 1 p.
1042. viii. Deposition of Mr. Starr. To same effect as above. Signed, J. Starr. Same endorsement.
1042. ix. Deposition of Samuel Day etc. that Mr. Larkin had no converse with the Bermudians. Signed, Sam. Day, Jac. Russell, Ensign, J. Starr. 1 p.
1042. x. Copy of a presentment of a Grand Jury that Gilbert Nelson, being a Judge and Councillor, Feb. 27, 1698, did that day endeavour to overthrow the fundamental constitutions of the Government by advising the then Governor to make a decree in Chancery without the consent of the Council, against the peace of the King and against the form of the Act of Assembly which constitutes the Governor and Council the Court of Chancery. The said Nelson, Nov. 1699, did contrary to his oath of a Judge give Council and advice to Lewis Johnstoun at St. Georges in a cause then depending and to be tried before him at the next Assizes, and did afterwards receive from him at the hands of Richard Penniston 4l. as a reward.
Copy of Minutes of Council of Bermuda, March 6, 1698. Gilbert Nelson was sworn Councillor. His Commission for Judge of Assize is dated March 13, 1698/9. 1 p.
1042. xi. Copy of letter from [? George Larkin] to Governor Bennett. I am told that Aldboy, the French Doctor, has this morning given his tongue a great deal of liberty in relation to me. I cannot think myself well dealt with since I am not only confin'd a prisoner, but must suffer myself to be abused by every little fellow, and I hope you'll remember that I was sent here upon a special occasion by the same master that you were, and that what injury is offered to me is not so much to me as the Crown that sent me. And I am persuaded that Aldboy would not have so much impudence, if he were not supported by some, he being a person that I never had any converse with. 1 p.
1042. xii. Deposition that George Larkin was the first person to take an oath of fidelity to the Queen, Sept. 7, since which most of the officers, civil and military, have done the like. Signed, Cha. Minors, Secretary. Endorsed, Recd. Feb. 8, 1702/3. ¼ p. [C.O. 37, 4. Nos. 9, 9.i.–xii.; and (duplicates without abstract) 37, 4. Nos. 8, 8.i.–xii.; and (without enclosures) 38, 5. pp. 333–358.]
[Oct. 15.] 1043. Mr. Cater to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Prays for dispatch in the Report upon the alteration desired to be made in the method of Appeals from Barbados, and enquires whether it be their Lordships' pleasure to be attended on the behalf of Petitioners. Signed, Eve. Cater, Agent for the Petitioners. Endorsed, Recd. 15, Read Oct. 16, 1702. ¾ p. [C.O. 28, 6. No. 83; and 29, 8. pp. 229, 230.]
Oct. 15.
1044. Minutes of Council of the Massachusetts Bay. H.E. proposed that, forasmuch as one of H.M. ships of war was daily expected to arrive for convoy to the mast ships and merchant ships bound for England, an embargo might be laid on all ships bound to Europe until further order. Proclamation ordered accordingly. [C.O. 5, 789. p. 460.]
Oct. 15.
Royal College
of William
and Mary.
1045. Minutes of Council of Virginia. Mr. Auditor Byrd excused his absence by letter. H.E. read in Council H.M. Letter May 21, 1702, appointing Councillors etc. H.E. said he had received no instructions as to their precedency, but provisionally placed them in this order, Philip Ludwell, Wm. Bassett and Henery Duke. They took the oaths appointed. [C.O. 5, 1409. pp. 258, 259.]
Oct. 15.
1046. Governor Dudley to the Earl of Nottingham. I have provided the bread, beef and pork H.M. directed, and the Gospir is fitting to proceed with it with all possible speed. I shall in a few days beat up for volunteers for the service at Jamaica, and leave no means unessayed to obtain two good companies of musqueteers for the service, but shall find all the obstruction and difficulty in it possible from men that love no service but their own. The General Assembly meets to-morrow, when I shall urge, as H.M. has commanded me, the rebuilding of the Fort at Pemaquid and the settlement of salaries for the Governor and all other officers of the Civil list, in which nothing was ever done by any of my predecessors, my Lord Bellomont having contented himself with 2 or 3,000l. present from the people, and left the Government without a penny establishment, which is to the great hardship of every person concerned, who I am humbly of opinion have the hardest service of any H.M. foreign Governments, and not the least support provided, which will be impossible long to support, unless H.M. will please to make some positive direction therein, and though New York be not of half the estate of this Government, no person concerned here but would be glad of the same establishment the Queen's officers have there, and an easy impost and excise, without any burthen upon the planters, would bring it to pass. Our privateers have made up their prizes to the number of 15 ships etc., and we have yet two out of which I hope to have good news. Signed, J. Dudley. Enclosed,
1046. i. Abstract of above and of letters of Oct. 20, Nov. 8, and Dec. 10. 6 pp. Endorsed, Recd. March, 1702/3, Read Aug. 13, 1703. [C.O. 5, 863. Nos. 1, 1.i.]