America and West Indies: May 1711, 1-5

Pages 472-489

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 25, 1710-1711. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1924.

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May 1711, 1-5

May—Dec. 828. Permit for 16 ships to sail without convoy. [C.O. 324, 32. pp. 82, 101, 102, 104–107, 110, 111.]
May 3/14.
Rio Essequibo, Forb Kykoverall.
829.Commandant Vanderheyden Rezen to the Directors of the Dutch West India Co. Signed, P. Vanderheyden Rezen. Dutch. 2pp. [C.O. 116, 21. No. 5.]
May 5.
830. Lt. Governor Spotswood to the Lord Dartmouth. Complaint against Mr. Corbin. Vide July 17. Signed, A. Spotswood. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 1337. No. 10.]
May 6.
831. Lt. Governor Hamilton to the Council of Trado and Plantations. Refers to letters of April 5 and 26, “since which nothing of moment has occurred.” Encloses duplicates. Signed, W. Hamilton. Endorsed, Recd. 23rd, Read 27th June, 1711. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 9. No. 72; and 153, 11. p. 335.]
May 7.
New York.
832. Governor Hunter to the Council of Trade and P1antations. I am honoured with your Lordpps. of Oct. 26 by ye packet boat that arrived here abt. a fortnight agoe. At ye same time I had a letter from ye Earle of Dartmouth with H.M. directions for patenting of lands. I have such variety of matter to trouble your Lordpps. with all, that I am at a loss where to begin. I shall follow ye order of time. Imediatly upon prorogueing ye Assembly of this place, I went to attend that of the Jersey's where I met with difficulties of a new nature. There, I had a Councill to strugle with, which had well nigh render’d all my endeavoures for H.M. service there, as fruitless as by ye humoures of ye Assembly have done here. I am ordered by H.M to compose ye differences there, or report their true causes and what opposition I meet with. The former being past all human power or art, I shall doe ye latter with all ye candor imaginable; it is needless to goe back soe farr as ye Assembly’s Remonstrance in ye Lord Cornbury's Government, your Lordpps. haveing had sufficient trouble in that already, but that remonstrance begott ye Councill's Address commonly soe call'd, which indeed was not soe, but ye private act of a number of ye Councellors signed by them at different times and in different Provinces, and by two of them as they have own'd to me much against their inclinations, being wise enough to foresee ye consequences thereof. These Gentlemen, I mean the Addressors, thus link't togeather, in order to make good ye allegations in that Address, combin'd to take such measures as should make all publick affaires miscarry in ye house of Representatives, and that soe avowedly that Mr. Quarry thought fitt to leave them in most things, and Mr. Mompesson in some, without which I should never have been able to have carry'd one thing in Councill as it ought. The first three Acts which came upp to ye Councill, they rejected upon ye second reading, and cou'd by no means be prevailed with to committ them, tho' it was urged that paying soe little respect to these Bills was but a bad step to a reconciliation soe earnestly recommended to them, and that if there was anything in these Acts they disliked, they might either amend it in the Committee, or reject it at ye third reading. These Acts were An Act for acknowledging and recording of deeds, An Act for preventing prosecutions by informations, an Act for ascertaining ye qualifications of jurors, etc. The next was an Act for regulateing ye practice of ye law etc. All that was urged against this Act was that ye laws of England were sufficient for that matter. The next which came was an Act for regulateing and appointing ye fees of ye severall officers and practitioners of ye law. With relation to this Act I must acquaint yr. Lordpps. that haveing in H.M. instructions ample directions as to ye manner of appointing and regulateing fees, and haveing at ye same time your Lordpps.' opinion in your remarks on ye Lord Cornbury's Answer to ye Assembly's Remonstrances, that noe fee is lawfull unless it be warranted by prescription, or erected by ye Legislature, I thought it ye best expedient to have it waiv'd and lye on ye table, untill such time as I should receive H.M. Orders or your Lordpps. directions therein, being pretty well assured that ye Assembly would make noe great stir about it at that time. The next was an Act for ye better setting and regulateing ye offices of ye Secretary and Clerk of ye Supream Court. This was justly rejected because of the impossibility of keeping of ye Records in both places and ye great expence it would creat upon a very small salary. The next was an Act for preventing corruption in ye Courts of Justice. This Act was opposed with great vehemence as implying that there had been such corruption, and haveing a retrospection, they were prest much to pay some regard to this Act because of its specious title, and that ye preamble of ye Act was only declaratory that all laws for that purpose made in England were in force here, soe with much adoe wee got it committed, but upon its being reported, there happened such a jumble as I beleive was never before heard of at such a Board. The Chairman reported that ye Committee had made severall amendments. These amendments were their rejecting all ye severall paragraphs, except ye first. Upon reading each paragraph, the question was put whether this Board doe agree with ye Committee in rejecting that paragraph. It past in ye affirmative, soe upon ye third reading, when ye Clerk was goeing on after haveing read the first paragraph, hee was stopt and told that that was all as ye Bill was then amended, hee replyed that it was not, the Councill haveing receded from the amendments of ye Committee, and had accordingly soe minuted it. This I cold not help mentioning as a notorious falsifying of ye Minutes of Councill, most of them stood up in his justification, but being put in mind of their owne arguments for rejecting each paragraph and the mistake imputed to ye Clerk's misunderstanding ye words Recede from ye amendment for Reject ye paragraph, they acquiessed and the Minutes were rectifyed: but upon the question if the Bill as amended doe pass, votes were equall. Upon which I put ye question, if the Bill be rejected. It past in ye affirmative, Mr. Hall in ye first question haveing voted that it doe pass, and in the second that it be rejected. Then came up ye Act for releiveing ye creditors of persons that are or hereafter shall become bankrupt in Great Brittain. It is impossible to imagine with what indignation this Act was treated, by that majority. The mildest termes that it received were that the very name of it created horrour, that it was evident ruine to that province, and that H.M. was ill informed when she gave such an Instruction; I told them that altho' I seldom troubled them with my opinion in passing of Acts in Councill, but was very willing to be concluded by theirs, but when H.M. Instructions were called in question, they must pardon me ye freedome which I conceived to be my duty to use on such an occasion. I told them that I had thought it needless to informe them, that these Instructions were not form'd upon ye private insinuations of any person, but prepared with due deliberation by a Board commissionated for that and other purposes, read and considered by H.M. in Councill and there approved by her. That when in conformity to such an Instruction, the Representatives had prepared and Act and sent it to them for their concurrence, their rejecting of it as prejudiciall to ye interest of ye Province, cold not well bear any other construction, then that H.M. her privy Councill, her Commissioners for Trade and ye Representative body of ye Province were acting in oposition to ye true interest of it, or that ye Councill, or rather a certaine number of them understood that matter better than all of them togeather, or what I should be very unwilling to beleive, that some of themselves were personally too nearly concerned in ye consequences of passing such an Bill. I told them like wise, that I had observed all along a very commendable caution in them, that all Acts past here should be very nicely conformable to ye laws of England, I hop'd there was likewise some regard due to ye interest of England, which was evidently intended by this Act, especially when it was noe wayes repugnant to that of this Province. All the effect this had upon them was that ye Bill was committed. reported without amendment, and rejected. I have enlarged upon this head that your Lordpps. may be the better informed of these Gentlemen's inclinations, and their method of proceeding in Councill, and because as I am informed they have beene drawing up reasons in their justification, the cheife of which with relation to this Act will be as I suppose, that it would shake their titles, many of them holding their lands from such bankrupts, that commissions of bankrupts may be surreptitiously obtained in England to their ruine, and that it would freighten people from setteling in that Province, but they were frequently told that the house of Representatives meant this Act only as ye ground work, leaving the superstructure to ye Councill who were more learned in ye laws, for all these inconvenienceys mentioned were easily to be remedyed by proper additions and amendments. The Act to prevent commenceing actions under £10 in ye Supream Court was rejected after ye same manner. The Act for regulateing elections and ascertaineing the qualifications of ye Representatives, tho' founded upon and conformable to an Instruction of H.M. for this purpose, was rejected because repugnant to an Act past in Col. Ingoldesby's time. Which Act as they themselves owne was made on purpose to exclude Dr. Johnston and Capt. Farmer from being elected, these gentlemen at that time liveing by chance in ye Province of New York, tho' their estates which are very valueable lye in ye Jerseys and who have acted very zealously and strenuously for H.M. service. The next Act that came up was an Act declareing all ye printed copyes of all the Acts past in ye Session of March and Aprill 1708 and 1709 to be as effectuall to all intents and purposes as ye originalls cold or would be were they duely and regularly in ye Secretaries Office. To let your Lordpps. into ye meaning of this Act, I must narrate severall perticulars. About ye begining of that Session, I sent to ye house of Representatives a message, and with it amongst other things H.M. letter in favoure of ye Lady Lovelace. The Assembly observeing from these words of H.M. "that wee not only consent to their giveing the petitioner the summe they have voted of £800, but highly approve" etc., that it being mencon'd only as a vote, she did not know that it was past into a law, and consequently that these laws past in ye Lord Lovelace's time had not beene sent home for her approbation. They had recourse to ye Secretaries Office for ye originalls, which were not to be found there. The former Lt. Governor, Coll. Ingoldesby, when questioned about these Acts. answer'd that hee knew nothing of them, and that hee beleived ye Lady Lovelace had burnt them amonsgt other papers of her Lords. Upon this I had ye Secretary examin'd more perticularly, who said the Lord Lovelace had carry'd them to New York to have them printed, there being noe time to take coppyes. The printer being examined, declared that hee had printed these Acts from the originalls, and that Mr. Cockerell, the Lord Lovelace's Secretary, who is also dead, had them from him in order to returne them to ye Secretarie's office in ye Jerseys. These Acts being thus lost, that due regard might be paid to H.M. soe just and charitable intentions and desires, there cold be noe other expedient thought of, but that of this Act, because, there being an Act past in Col. Ingoldesby's administration giveing £600 to him, of the eight granted by ye former Act to ye Lord Lovelace, and sent home for H.M. approbation, and that Act in favoure of ye Lord Lovelace never haveing come to her royall hands, she was left noe choice, which to approve or disaprove. The Councill in their Committee added a clause in these words. "And whereas in the eigth yeare of H.M. reigne in ye session of ye Generall Assembly for this Province held at ye towne of Burlington in ye months of December and January 1709, an Act of Generall Assembly was past, entituled an Act for explaining and rendring more effectuall, an Act for support of H.M. Government of Nova Cæsaria or New Jersey, for one yeare, the originall whereof is lodged in ye Secretaries Office, Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, that nothing in this Act contained shall be construed deemed or taken to ye prejudice of ye said Act either by avoiding it in ye whole or in any part thereof, but the same shall remaine in full force and vertue as if this Act had never beene made."It was urged against this clause, that seeing this Act as it stood imported noe more than that ye Acts passed in ye Lord Lovelace's time should be of ye same force as if they had beene ducly in ye Secretaries Office unless it cold be imagined that these Acts if they had beene duely there cold have made voyd or repealed those late ones in whole or in part, this amendment was to noe purpose and had really noe meaning. The house of Representatives were apprehensive. that this was intended by ye Councill as a confirmation of that Act past in Col. Ingoldesby's time. giveing him ye money granted by ye former to ye Lord Lovelace, or at least that ye passing of this clause might be constructed as if they were satisfyed it should be soe. But the only reasons they gave for not agreeing to it were, that they would never consent to a clause see foreigne to ye title and intent of ye Bill. The Councill adhered to their amendment, and soe ye Bill was lost. I have however ventur'd to send your Lordpps. these Acts of ye Lord Lovelace's under ye Seale of ye Province. haveing had them compared with such coppyes as remained in the hands of the then Clerk of ye Assembly. The next was an Act for relieving of persons aggreived by an Act past in the third yeare of H.M. Queene Anne intituled an Act for settleing ye Militia. It is manifest that many persons have been agreived under colour of this Act by distresses to a much greater value than ye fynes which have either never been sold and remaine in ye hands of ye distreiners or others officers, or if sold, the overplus not returned to ye owners as by ye Act directed. However it was committed, reported without amendments and rejected. The next in order was an Act for raiseing of money for building and repairing goals and courthouses. Your Lordpps. well know how earnestly H.M. has recommended that matter, and everybody here sees ye necessity of such a law, for want of which many malefactors escape, and ye country is put to great charges to guard them. The Councill however made severall amendments to it most of them only changeing ye places to others judged by them more convenient. The Assembly agreed to most of them, but disagreed to one, which directed ye building of a goale in a corner of ye county, in a place little frequented. The Councill insisted upon it. alleadging that ye undertakers upon ye creditt of ye former Act had already begun that work. The Assembly offered to remedy that, by paying that expence out of ye money raised by this Act, but all to noe purpose, soe this good Bill was lost. The last was an Act for preventing ye wast of timber and pine trees, which tho' of noe great consequence had ye same fate with ye others. Haveing thus run over ye Acts passed by ye Assembly and rejected by ye Councill, before I enter on observations of the Acts by them past, I must begg your Lordpps.' patience whilst I make a few on their conduct. Finding all my efforts towards a reconciliation fruitless, at ye begining of ye sessions I thought of an expedient to allay heats and prevent a further rupture. I recommended to ye cheife amongst them that in order to enter speedily upon the publick affaires, there should be noe objections be started on either side to any elections. To which they agreed. Notwithstanding of which the Councill party in ye Assembly, very unadvisedly. being but an inconsiderable number objected agt. the elections of two of ye cheife members of ye house, imediatly upon ye Speaker's communicateing my speech to them, upon which the other called ye Country party (I am sorry for ye distinction) told me it was hard to tye their hands while ye others attacked them, soe they expelled two members of ye other party. one Major Sandford for haveing signed ye Councill's address agt. ye Assembly, when hee was of that board, as he was at my arrivall here, but begg'd to be excused that service being guilty of a very foule crime consenting to, and contriveing ye escape of a felon, for his money which hee had in his hands to a considerable value, and who was afterwards apprehended and hanged, confessing at his death ye whole matter which was but too well knowne before. This majority in Councill, which I am sorry I have occasion to mention soe often under that name, haveing boasted all along that they and their freinds only were for supporting Government, I was surprized to heare, that their few freinds had voted in ye Assembly in that matter for summes and times differing from ye rest and one another, which made all their votes of noe use towards ye passing of the Bill. But what was more notorious upon ye passing ye Militia Act, the Quakers as their customs is left ye house that ye Bill might pass without their voteing in it. But ye Councill party there voteing agt. it, the votes fell to be equall upon which one of ye Quakers return'd to ye house, ask't how ye votes stood, and being told they were equall said hee knew ye meaneing of that very well and voted for it, by which ye Bill was carryed. Their method of proceeding in relation to Bills, was at first rejecting them on ye second reading, and at last when prevailed with to committ them, they either reported them without amendment and soe rejected them, or clogged them with such as made it impossible or at least very improbable they should pass ye other house: as perticularly in ye Bill declareing all laws past in England agt. corruption in ye Courts of Justice to be of force in that Province; they added a clause enacting ye Protestant succession, rights of ye Church etc. This however they were ashamed of and ye Councill disagreed with their Committee, being told that that amendment was foreigne to ye title of ye Bill and that it would sound very odly in England that wee should imagine, that ye protestant succession wanted any further sanction here. Much time was spent in Councill in cavilling and wrangling on matters foreigne to those before them, sometime in indecent reflections on ye memory and conduct of a person of honour deced., frequently to that degree of heat that I was obliged much agt. my nature to exert ye authority I am clothed with to keep them to order and rules. These disputes were cheifly managed and promoted by Col. Cox, who as I am informed is goeing for England, I hope hee will, and then your Lordpps. will better judge how fitt a person he is for a Councill Board. I protest to your Lordpps. in ye sincerity of my heart that I have noe ends to pursue but H.M. service, that I have noe personall dislike of any man, that I have avoided party prejudices, and have acted by noe passions in any part of my administration. Which emboldens me to tell your Lordpps. that unless H.M. be pleased to remove from her Councill in ye Jerseys William Pinhorne, Daniell Cox, Peter Sonmans, and William Hall, there are noe hopes of peace and quiet in that Province. Coll. Townley is since dead, and Huddy a weak man ledd by ye rest. Mr. Mompesson joined with them in most matters being sonn in law to Mr. Pinhorne, and tack't to them by that fatall address. Coll. Quarry tho' unwarilly link't to them by ye same claime has behaved himselfe most worthyly for H.M. interest at this time. The state of ye question I humbly conceive to be this, Whether these Gentleman shall be continued in their places, which are indeed a trouble and expence to them, and for which they can have noe reall inclination as matters stand but to gratifye their passions, and by that meanes ye confusion here be perpetuated, or that they be removed and others put in their room to the entire satisfaction and perfect settlement of the minds of ye people in that province, for let who will governe, unless he doe it by will and pleasure, I'le be bold to affirme he can effect nothing to purpose, whilst these Gentlemen are in ye Councill, and I can promise in ye name of ye people, that nothing shall be wanting hereafter as farr as their ability will goe; which may be judged necessary for H.M. service, if they are gratifyed in this perticular. For this purpose I send your Lordpps. a list of ye names of 8 persons for H.M. Councill in ye Jerseys, that out of them your Lordpps. may choose a number to supply the places of such as you shall think good to remove. In ye Westerne Division, John Hambleton, Generall Postmaster, Thomas Byerley, Collector and Receiver Generall of New York, and a Proprietor of ye Jerseys, John Reading, Proprietor and Clerk to ye Councill of Proprietors, John Wheeler, a very honest substantiall inhabitant at Burlington. In the Easterne Division, David Lyell, a Proprietor. John Anderson, William Morris, Elisha Parker, wealthy honest men. Your Lordpps. will also receive with this a bundle containing representations, petitions, and affidts. agt. these Gentlemen of ye Councill and ye Secretary for the province, with some of their answers, which to me appeared trifling and evasive, and if your Lordpps. take ye touble to read them, I beleive you will be of ye same opinion. As to ye Secretary, I'le say noe more of him than this, that if there be any creditt to be given to ye universall report of mankind, there lives not a more corrupt man upon ye earth than hee. I received an Address of the Assembly agt. him (enclosed), of which I gave him a copy. Some time after, I received an Address from these Gentlemen of ye Councill in his favoure (v. Minutes of Council). To which I relpyed. Towards ye close of ye Sessions hee gave mee his answer. There is noe man thinks himselfe safe in his property whilest he is in his office for few or none will venture deeds in his hands to be recorded. It is a place of honour trust and emolument and deserves ye service of a better man. You have also in ye bundle an abstract of a long Representation of the Assembly relateing to ye state of ye Province. It had beene printed without my knowledge, for which reason I seized in ye printing house all ye copyes, and suppress'd them. The preamble containeing a series of reflection of past miscarriages and ye administration of a person of honour heretofore in ye Government. The Acts passed by me that Session are as followeth. An Act for support of H.M. Government of New Jersey. Your Lordpps. will observe that ye supply is given in ye manner it ought to be. But by their resolves the sallaries of ye respective officers of ye Government are but small, which I hope to have remedyed next time. An Act for amending and explaining an Act for ye currency of bills of creditt for £30,000. The mistakes mentioned in ye preamble of this Act, which obstructed ye currency of these bills, struck for ye expedition agt. Canada, are occasioned by ye decease of one of ye persons appointed to signe and issue those bills, the two surviveing persons not thinking themselves sufficiently authorized to doe it, chose one of ye managers named in ye Act for that expedition to joyne with them in signeing ye said bills. When with much difficulty wee had got this bill committed, which was only intended to make good the publick creditt, Mr. Sonmans said in ye Committee, that they might enact what they pleased, noe man should force him to take them in payment. Being taxed with this expression in Councill, hee answer'd that noe man cold force him to take silver money in payment, if hee had a mind to forgive the debt. This inclined the Councill some of them haveing of these bills in their hands to add a clause declareing ye tender and refuseall of such bills legall payment of all debts to ye value. The Assembly disagreed to this amendment. The Councill was told that if they adhered, ye Assembly would upon a conference agree being since better informed, but for that very reason they departed from it, which I am afraid will prove a very great hindrance to ye currency of these bills. An Act for reviveing ye Militia Act. Your Lordpps. will easily observe the mistake committed in ye title of ye Act, reviveing an Act which was not to expire till about a month after, soe there was an amendment offered in Councill to ye title. These Gentlemen said it was irregular to amend ye title of an Act. It was replyed it might be soe, but they did not alwayes think soe, for that but a few dayes before they had made an amendment to ye title of an Act which was agreed to by ye Assembly, but they cold not be perswaded to doe it, soe I was forced to take it with this blunder or loose it. An Act for reviveing and continueing ye Courts of Comon Pleas in ye County of Glocester. This is an Act of course which your Lordpps. have had frequently before, that Court being often discontinued for want of Justices. An Act for enableing ye owners of ye meadows and marshes adjoyneing to and on both sides of ye creek that surrounds ye Island of Burlington to stop out ye tide from overflowing them. This is an Act for ye benefitt of ye owners and to noe man's prejudice. I am commanded by your Lordpps. in your last to me, to send you my observations on ye Acts past in Jersey, dureing Col. Ingoldesby's administration. The first is an Act for explaining and rendring more effectuall an Act for support of H.M. Government. This Act instead of explaineing ye other, or makeing it more effectuall, indeed destroys it, for it gives £600 of ye eight granted by ye former Act to ye Lord Lovelace to ye Lt. Governor Col. Ingoldsby, who was already provided with a salary by that Act. In ye former Act ye money is directed to be issued by warrant signed by John Lord Lovelace in Councill, where it is indeed defective, had they explained it by adding ye words, or ye Commander in Cheife for the time being, the title and Act had been of a peece, for this was most certainly the meaning of that Act, whatsoever ye latter may import, and should H.M. approve ye former, as I am apt to beleive she will, and disapprove ye latter, there appeares to be a necessity still for an explanatory Act for the reasons above-mentioned, tho' I am afraid to little purpose for ye behoofe of that Lord's familly, Col. Ingoldsby not being able to repay what hee has had, and I beleive others have had their share of that summe, being led to that beleife by a story which I must entertaine your Lordps. withall, and which I had from some of ye gentlemen concerned. Whilest that Act of Col. Ingoldesby's was in deliberation before ye Councill, they thought that since such a summe was given to him for support of Government, they had a just title to a share of it, soe before they would agree to pass the Act, they were promissed each a peece of plate. In this last Session whilest the Councill had under consideration the Bill declareing the printed copyes of ye Acts passed in ye Lord Lovelace's time of ye same validity as if ye originalls had beene duely in ye Secretary's office, these Gentlemen thought it a proper season to put Col. Ingoldesby in mind of their tankerds, hee at first huffed and call'd names, soe that at that time the Bill had liked to have pas't, but afterwards they came to a better understanding, and our Bill was lost. In a word my opinion is that the passing of this Act will not only be an encouragement and precedent for appropriation for the future, but lead them into a way of shifting and altering their owne appropriations at pleasure. The second is an Act for ascertaining the place of the sitting of ye Representatives, etc. This Act is possitively against H.M. Instructions directing that ye Sessions should be alternatly at Amboy and Burlington founded as I have beene told upon ye concessions of ye Crowne at ye surrender of the Government. I have formerly given your Lordpps. my opinion in this matter, and acquainted you with the expedient I had found to compromise it, but if there be a necessity of another Assembly before I receive any directions from your Lordpps. in that matter, I beleive I shall call them to Amboy. This Act as I conceive being of an extraordinary nature and contrary to H.M. Instructions and consequently of noe force untill approved on by her, and may goe a great way in makeing ye breach wider betweene the two divisions. The third is an Act for building and repairing goale houses. This Act gives a power to a few to assest and leavy money at discretion. There is indeed a clause which makes them accountable to ye justices and freeholders when called thereunto, but noe penalty appointed. By vertue of this Act they have designed a Court house in ye remotest corner of the county of Monmouth, which will be a great tax upon ye people of that county and was meere party pique. The fourth is an Act for the better qualifying Representatives. This was levill'd perticularly agt. Capt. Farmer and Dr. Johnston, men of ye best estates and ability in ye Province, and who have beene very active and usefull in H.M. affaires, and may deprive us of more such, and is contrary to that constitution of Assembly appointed by H.M. upon ye surrender and confirmed by all her subsequent Instructions, obligeing ye elected to an actuall residence, whereas ye Instruction mentions noe other qualification but an estate to a certaine value within ye division. The fifth is an Act for dividing and ascertaineing the boundaries of all the countyes. The inhabitants generally complaine ye countyes are not equally and justly divided, perticularly ye inhabitants of Middlesex are obliged to travill 20 miles through the County of Somersett to repaire ye highwayes which ought properly to be ye charges of ye countys of Somersett and Monmouth, that part of ye county of Middlesex being a narrow slip of land betweene ye boundaries of those two countyes and all publick roads are repaired with greater ease and less charge by ye neighborhood. The sixth is an Act for ascertaineing the Representatives fees. In this Act by mistake or designe of ye Clerk the words per diem are omitted, soe that they were entituled to noe more than 5s. in ye whole for their service, but that being remedyed in ye present Act for support of Government, that Act is of noe use. The seaventh is an Act for regulateing fences. I have heard ye men of estates and such as are possessed of large tracts of land complaine much of this Act, as putting them upon a levill with those who had little or none at all, nay rather in a worse condition, because haveing large tracts of land, they have greater numbers of cattle, but cannot reap the benefitt of their owne pastures, their neighboures cattle haveing graised them before, and by this Act they can impound noe cattle but such as break into their fences. Whereas in many other cases there is a necessity of impounding those that trespass upon their other lands. The eighth is an Act for amending the Act for preventing swine runing at large. The Act mentioned to be amended was thought a very good Act for ye country, for swine runing at large is very pernicious to their corne, pasture, meadows and wood land, and occasions a great consumption of timber in makeing fences to guard agt. them, soe that noe penalty can be too great for restraineing them, neither will ye value of ye swine pay ye damages those creatures commonly doe, of which itselfe they are debarr'd by this Act, and have noe recompence left but the pleasure of killing of them with ye trouble and charge of finding out ye owner, who perhaps lives at ten or a dozen miles distance. The ninth is an Act for regulateing of stone horses or stallions that run at large. Some complaine of it, but I can see noe harme in itt. The tenth is an Act for reviveing and continueing ye Courts of Common Pleas in ye County of Glocester. Your Lordpps. have already heard ye meaneing of that Act. These are ye objections agt. these Acts which occurr to me. Your Lordpps. are ye best judges if they are of validity enough for a repeale. Before I leave ye affaires of ye Jerseys, I must acquaint your Lordpps. with some few things necessary for your notice. As the Supream Court is now constituted, all ye Councill are Judges Assistants by which meanes the benifitt of appeals may be lost, for it may soe fall out, that soe many of the Councellors may be upon the Bench as not to leave a Quorum for ye Councill in case of appeale, seeing none that have any voice in ye judgement by the Instructions are permitted to vote in the appeale. I thought it necessary to acquaint your Lordpps. with this matter beforehand, because I beleive I shall be under a necessity to alter ye constitution of that Court, by ascertaining ye number of ye Assistants. In both Provinces I have beene pelted with petitions for a Court of Chancery, and I have beene made acquainted with some cases which very much require such a Court, there being noe releife at Comon Law, perticularly one of Mr. Provoost one of ye Councill of New York who has beene close prisoner almost ever since my arrivall here, haveing unwarily confessed judgement for £4000, tho' the reall debt is evidently not above £400. I had ordered the Committees of both Councills to forme a scheme for such a Court, but to noe purpose. The trust of ye Seales they say constitute a Chancellor, and unless the Governor can part with ye seales there can be noe Chancellor but himself. I have already more buissness than I can attend, besides I am very ignorant in law matters, haveing never in my life been concerned in any one suite, soe I earnestly begg your Lordpps.' directions as to that Court. Mr. Mompesson finding himself obnoxious to the generality of ye people of that Province desired to be excused serveing longer in the station of Cheife Justice, soe I have supply'd that place by one Mr. David Jamison, who acted formerly here as Secretary in this Province with great applause and is a man of knowledge and integrity.
Your Lordpps. will have the trouble of a shorter but sadder account of ye affaires of New York, being detained in the Jerseys much longer than I expected, I was obliged to prorogue the Assembly of New York, which should have met March 1st., to Aprill 3rd. Finding ye Members came but slowly to towne, I further prorogued them from day to day, till such time as the Speaker acquainted me they were a house, then they adjourned themselves waiteing for their absent members. When I was informed that there were 14 of ye 22 assembled, I sent for them and spoke to them as in ye Minutes of Councill. Some time after that, the Secretary by order of their House laid ye record of my Patent before them, and some time after they sent me a message by two of their members desireing I would communicate to them such Instructions as I had relateing to my doeing acts of Government whilst out of ye Province. I sent them your Lordpps.' opinion, (letter of Dec. 23, 1709 quoted q.v.) I sent them likewise the Instruction by which the President is intituled to halfe of the salary and perquissites only when I am absent from both Provinces. The Speaker told me the House was of opinion that they were disolved by prorogueing them whilst I was in ye Jerseys. Besides what is contained in this letter of your Lordpps. I represented to them the unreasonableness of insisting upon it now, seeing it was an opinion started at first by ye people of Jersey, who had willingly acquiessed in yr. Lordpps.' decision and that they themselves had formerly met without scruple upon such prorogations, and besides that in my opinion they had now put it out of question, haveing for a fortnight togeather acted as a house, adjourned themselves by their Speaker, sent severall messages by their members, attended me in Councill as a house, and he, as Speaker there received from me what I had said to them. That this procedure cold be look't upon noe otherwise than their assumeing a power of dissolveing themselves at their pleasure. Sometime after, the Speaker came to me, to lett me know that they had resolved by a great majority to goe home about their buissness and advised me to dissolve them. I told him I would advise with ye Councill and hee should heare further from me next morneing. The Councill were of opinion, that it was more expedient to dissolve them, than to sufferr them to dissolve themselves, soe I sent for them and haveing spoke to them as in ye Minutes of Councill. I dissolv'd them. Now, my Lords, what course to take in such a juncture, I know not. The officers of ye Government are starveing, the forts on ye fronteers in ruine, the French and French Indians threatening us every day, noe publick money nor creditt for five pounds on ye publick account, and all the necessary expence of the Government supply'd by my proper creditt, perticularly fire and candle and repaires for all the garisons, and noe hopes that I can think of for any remedy here, for, as to ye calling of a new Assembly, I shall either have all the same Members, or such others who will returne with greater fury. The resolutions of putting themselves on the same foot with ye Charter Governments being too generall to be allay'd by any measures that can be taken on this side, I wo'd faine hope that the next pacquett will bring us some releife in H.M. resolutions with relation to this Government, for without that you must expect to hear of nothing but confusion, I must repeat my instances for your Lordpps.' intercession with H.M., that my salary and the expence of fireing and candle etc. for ye garrisons, which has cost this last yeare above £400 may be paid out of the summes in the Collector's hands here arriseing by vertue of Acts of Parliament, for my creditt is run as low almost as that of the publick. I enclose the Acts past the close of ye former Sessions. The first is an Act to prevent ye burning of woods. Which signifyes but little in itselfe, but was all wee cold bring them to. The Act of Parliament is of more effect for restraining that abuse. The second is an Act for repairing the block-houses, platformes and other the fortifications of the City of Albany and towne of Schinectady. This Act was promoted at ye desire of ye inhabitants of Albany and Schenectady, who lye nearer ye dainger, and soe are more sensible of it. The third is an Act to collect ye arreares of taxes. Which wants noe remarke. The fourth is an Act to enable ye precincts of Islip in ye County of Suffolk to elect two assessors a Collector. Constable and Supervisor. This is an Act meerly in favour of the Speaker of the House. I know not whether your Lordps. will approve my good nature in passing it after ye treatment I had met with. The fifth is an Act to retrench the growing interest of bills of creditt. The bills of creditt issued by vertue of the Acts of Assembly mentioned in this Act carrying a considerable interest induc't those who reced. them to keep them upp, whereby ye intent of ye Assembly was frustrated, soe that this Act was past to prevent any further increase of interest. Your Lordpps. will observe in ye close of this Act a clause very foreigne to ye title and intent of the Bill, but they meant it as an amends for the abuse put upon the Governor and Councill in their other bills, where they made ye Treasurer only accountable to themselves, which Acts however did not pass because they would not admitt of that amendment. Mr. Mompession, the Cheife Justice of this place is in such necessitous circumstances, that it wants a vertue more than human to guard him against ye temptation of corruption, for which reason I must intreat your Lordpps. to recommend him to H.M. favoure for ye sallary formerly paid in England to the Cheife Justice here, hee is a person of abillity and great knowledge in the Laws. What I have to add your Lordpps. will read with more satisfaction. I have now settled all the Palatines on both sides Hudsons River, oposite to one another, on good lands adjacent to ye pine land. I gave your Lordpps. in my last an account of the purchase of 4000 acres of land for H.M., her heires and successors for that purpose from Mr. Levingston for £266 13s. 4d. sterling. The small tract on ye east side in ye Queen's gift, being not sufficient for settleing ye remainder, I have taken for that purpose an adjacent tract belonging to Mr. Thomas Fullerton, who is now concerned in H.M. Customes in Scotland. who has by his letter of Attorney given me power to dispose of the same, which tract containes about 800 acres of very good land, which will cost more in proportion than the lands purchased of Mr. Levingston, hee reckoning ye neighborhood of that people more than halfe ye price, Mr. Fullerton reapeing noe benefitt from that scittuation. If I find them streightened in ground I shall endeavour to find more in the neighborhood at easy rates, for I find the extent of ground a great encouragement to ye people. I have met with great opposition from many of the ill-disposed inhabitants, who dayly insinuated that there were better lands for them on ye fronteers, and that they were ill used in being planted there, being informed from all hands that these suggestions had beene of force enough to make ye people idle and backward and something worse, at my returne from ye Jerseys I visited them againe, haveing remained some dayes amongst them, to appearance convinced them of the ill intentions of those that had misled them, that they cold not follow the work destin'd for, there being noe pine on these lands on ye fronteers which they had a mind to, besides they must lay their account of labouring there as the Israelites did of old with a sword in one hand and the axe in the other. Haveing by these meanes to my thinking quieted them. I left them, but was overtaken a few miles off by an express which acquainted me that they had beene in a mutinous manner with their officers declareing they would not settle these lands, but would have others. Upon which I return'd and ordered them to send deputies from each village next morning with their demands, but they then came in a body, and when I found I cold prevaile little with reasoning and was thinking of some more effectuall method to keep them to their duty, I ordered the contract which they had all signed to be read to them in high Dutch, and asked them whether they were resolved to keep to ye termes thereof or noe, that I might take my measures accordingly. After some small deliberation they returned me for answer that they were resolved to keep their contract, and would for ye future be directed intirely by me, soe wee parted good friends. Soone after that I had advice from their officers of ye wonderfull change of ye people's inclinations and conduct (v. enclosures). The season draws neare when they are to be imployed in ye prepareing the trees. I have wrote for Mr. Bridgier who has been in New England ever since ye last Fall, but was unwilling to trust this matter entirely to him, not being througly convinc'd of his abillity by accounts I have since had from New England, and very little of his good will by his last letters, which denote a greater attention to his private profitt than the publick service soe I have provided another here, by name Sackett, who hath lived three yeares in ye Easterne countries among the manufacturers of tarr and gives a very rationall account of the method of prepareing the trees. I have also wrote to Connecticut for two more who as I am informed understands that matter very well. I informed your Lordpps. formerly how I was dissapointed in my hopes of naturalizeing that people here by an Act of Assembly. I then thought I might have remedyed that by granting letters of denization. But finding since by ye Minutes of Councill a letter from your Lordpps. to ye Earle of Bellamont Feb. 16, 1699/1700 (q.v.), prohibitting him to grant letters of denization etc., I am likewise deprived of that meanes, and must relye on such orders as H.M. shall be pleased to send for that purpose. I hope your Lordpps. have by this time dispatch't Mr. Du Prey back to me for untill he comes I shall be at a loss to finish ye accounts for the time past. I shall in ye meane time draw upon ye Lords of ye Treasury for such a summe as is absolutely necessary for their current subsistance. The money first paid being long since expended, and noe returnes of ye bills I drew on their Lordpps. last fall, I have been obliged to make use of all the creditt I cold possibly gett for their subsistance hitherto. I must entreate yr. Lordpps. recommendation of a ready complyance with these Bills, upon which the success of the whole depends. I ought to ask pardon for soe long a letter, etc. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, Recd. Read June 15, 1711. 36 pp. Enclosed,
832. i.–ii. Two letters from Jean Cast, one of the officers in charge of the Palatines, to Governor Hunter, relating to the conduct of these people at Annsberg, Georgetown and Elizabethtown. Signed, Jean Cast. March 17 and 27, 1711. Endorsed, Recd. June 15, 1711. French. 8 pp.
832. iii. Governor Hunter to the Commissioners of Customs, New York, May 7, 1711. In Sept. last the captains of two privateers brought in hither a large ship loaden with cacoa upon my promise that no injury or hardship should be offered them; the collector agreed to the unloading the vessell after condemnation putting the effects into safe store-houses under lock and key in his possession for securing the Queen's dutys, condescending to let them sell from time to time what they could paying the dutys as they sold. The price run very low, upon a supposition they must be under a necessity of paying the dutys forthwith, and to extricate themselves so soon as possible from the prejudice this notion did them, they agreed to sell Mr. De Lancey £6000 worth. Whilstthis bargain was making Mr. Birchfield, Surveyor Generall of the Customs here, for his private lucre tryed to prevaile on Mr. De Lancey to sell him the most he would give, saying he would make the bargain for him, and what he could get it for less should be to his own own advantage. But he refused, and bought it himself. The dutys by this means being secured, the price of cocoa increased, which Mr. Birchfield perceiving, and foreseeing a great rise of it, agreed without the Captains' knowledge with their factor for £1000 or £1500 worth of cocoa at the same price that Mr. De Lancey had it, which when the Captains came to understand, they were very much dissatisfyed, not being willing to purchase at their loss the Surveyor's furture favour to their factors, but upon some intreatys, and an apprehension of his power, and in consideration the whole summe was to be accounted for dutys, they consented. But the searcher and Custom-house waiter, who were to receive it for Mr. Birchfield, insisting to take it some in one place and some in another, as they pleased, the Captains would by no means agree to it, whereupon Mr. Birchfield arrested the factors in an action of £3000, and when the privateers came afterwards to demand a survey for such part as was not before survey'd, Mr. Davis the Searcher, (in the absence of the Surveyor who was then at Boston) refused it upon any other conditions then their consenting to let Mr. Birchfield have the cocoa on the termes aforementioned. They refusing and insisting on a survey as a matter of right, were forc't to send into the country for the Comptroller. How far they were intituled to a survey I can't tell, I beleive they had but little right to ask it. But if they would have complyed with Mr. Birchfield's demands they might have had it. I cannot sufficiently express to you the resentments of the trading men as well as these privateer captains of this treatment, etc. The next thing I shall take notice of to you is this. In 1709 the Assembly past an Act for regulating the fees of all officers, which H.M. thought fit to reject, and to give me Her commands to establish them with the advice of the Council, which I have done; some of the Customhouse officers whilst this ordinance was preparing thought themselves aggrieved and petitioned me in Council for redress, but the Council being of opinion that the fees before taken were exorbitant, and having observed their home trade much discouraged thought it for H.M. interest to pass it in the manner it now is. Some time after, I went to meet the Assembly of New Jersey, where I received a letter from Mr. Birchfield to which I returned him an answer (Nos. iv. v. infra). So soon as I came back, I gave coppys of both letters and the ordnance to Mr. Jamison, H.M. Chief Justice of New Jersey, who is not of the Council here, and had no hand in the ordnance for his thoughts upon the whole (No. vi. infra). I am sensible the fees of all the officers are reduced too low, but the Council not being of that opinion, I was forc't to pass it in this manner or to leave the officers without a legal authority to demand any, and thereby not obey the Queen's commands. But you will see by this opinion of Mr. Jamison's how little weight Mr. Birchfield's objections have, which if they had any, I gave them full force by my answer to his letter (q.v.) This method of one entry for the inland trade is agreable to the former practice of this port. Another thing I shall take notice of to you is Mr. Birchfield's suspending Mr. Farmer from his Collector's office at Amboy in New Jersey, the sole reason seems to be his non-residency, and the delay vessells were put to by that means; this is in some measure true, that Capt. Farmer did not live for some time at Amboy, but at the time of his suspension and for some months before, he lived there with his family, and if it's allowable to a Collector to live out of his port, Mr. Farmer had the best reason to expect it of any man, for his house on Staten Island is directly opposite to Amboy. But to take away all occasion of complaint he appointed a deputy at Amboy, etc. The truth I take to be thus. Mr. Birchfield having promised this office to Mr. Swift even before he had seen Mr. Farmer or been at Amboy was resolved to make room for him on any pretence, etc. Mr. Swift is a tavernkeeper in New York, and very seldome leaves it to attend his duty at Amboy. He is blackened with the violent presumption of crimes not fit to be mentioned. The good service Mr. Farmer has done H.M. in the Assembly of Jersey, being the principall instrument in setling a support for the Government and promoting her interest in whatever else came before their house, deserves some notice. The use Mr. Birchfield has made of his office has had very pernicious effects, merchants by his behaviour and passionate desire of gain are discouraged, officers whom he tells he ought to go equal shares with in the perquisits of their places are made very uneasy, etc. I wish he would take example by Col. Quary. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, Recd. June 15, 1711. Copy. 5 pp.
832. iv. Mr. Birchfield to Governor Hunter, New Yorke, Dec. 23, 1710. Your Excellency haveing bin pleased by an Order in Councill to direct that no vessell trading within the Province of New York and as farr as East Jersey, within Sandyhook, shall pay any fee for entring or clearing, the officers of ye Customs are ready to show an obediance to it, not but that they conceive themselves more than a little discouraged, it being a thing perfectly new, and I believe ye practice of no port whatsoever, but as to ye other command in your Excellency's order, that one generall entry of all goods shipp'd on board to be taken from ye master's report, shall be sufficient, this is directly contrary to ye Acts of Trade, and not in ye power of ye officers to comply with, etc. Signed, M. Birchfield. Copy. 1 p.
832. v. Governor Hunter to Mr. Birchfield. Burlington. Dec. 5, 1710. I had the favour of yours by Mr. Swift, whom I have qualifyed as you desire. I wish for your sake he may have all other qualificacons requisite. If there be anything in the ordinance repugnant to any laws of England the officers are very safe and much in ye right if they do not comply with it, for that can be no other then a mistake in such of the Councill some of them learned in the laws, who had ye care of the forming it. If it is found so, it shall be rectifyed. But I find it is the ordinance itself you are angry at. I know there is a sett of men who are so, but I must acquaint you that it is no private order of mine, but an ordinance past in Councill by H.M. speciall order to assert her right which some would have invaded. The officers of ye Customs shall have all necessary protection and encouragement from me in the execution of their duty, etc. Copy. 1 p.
832. vi. Copy of report of the Acts of Trade relating to general entries (v. iii.–v. supra). 3½ pp.
832. vii. Petition of Capt. Charles Pinkethman, Commander of ye ketch Samuel, and Capt. John Marshall, Commander of ye sloop Kingston, two private ships of warr, to Governor Hunter. Complaint against Mr. Birchfield and delay in making a survey of their prize goods, etc. v. No. iii. supra. Signed, Cha. Pinkethman, Jno. Marshall. Copy. 3 pp.
832. viii. Copy of Journal of Assembly of New York, April 3–20, 1711. Endorsed, Recd. June 15, 1711. 2½ pp. [C.O. 5, 1050. Nos. 19, 19 i–viii; and (without enclosures) 5, 1122. pp. 328–380; and 5, 1091. No. 33.]