America and West Indies: January 1719

Pages 1-21

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 31, 1719-1720. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1933.

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January 1719

1719. Jan. 1.
1. Governor Shute to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers to letter of 26th June etc. Continues: Capt. Smart after his arrival [at Canso] had two or three days conference with the Governour [M. de Brouillan] who had no regard either to my letter or anything that Capt. Smart could offer upon that head, whereupon he sailed from Lewisbourgh to Cape Canso where he lay four days at anchor without making any seizures not knowing but upon his departure the Governour might alter his mind and send orders to the French to evacuate that place and to forbid them fishing any more in that Bay; but his waiting not having the desired effects he seized a briganteen and a sloop, took what fish he found on shoar and pulled down their hutts etc. This fish is the best in America and preferable to that of Newfoundland. If the French should think fit to complain all the papers will be transmitted to the Agent by this ship etc.
Encloses the laws of New Hampshire that are lately made etc. This Province is in a miserable condition by reason we have nothing [? but) paper Bills of Credit stiring amongst us, which sink daily in their value, and if some proper measures are not taken to remove this evil the Trade and this Province will be utterly ruined. Signed, Samll. Shute. Endorsed, Recd. 24th Feb., Read 4th March, 1718/19. 3 pp. [C.O 5, 867. No. 31; and 5, 915. pp. 256–258.]
Jan. 1.
2. Same to Same. Encloses following. Signed and endorsed as preceding. ½ p. Enclosed,
i, ii. Duplicates of Dec. 27, 1718. Nos. ii., iii. [C.O. 5, 867. Nos. 32, 32 i., ii.; and (without enclosures) 5, 915. p. 259.]
Jan. 2.
3. Council of Trade and Plantations to Mr. Secretary Craggs. Enclose Representation upon Newfoundland and Heads of proposed Bill (Dec. 19 and 24, 1718), to be laid before H.M. at the first convenient opportunity. "Because if H.M. should approve thereof it were to be wished that no time should be lost in bringing the same into Parliament this present Session." [C.O. 195, 6. pp. 484, 485.]
[Jan. 2.] 4. Petition of James Gohier and Sam. Buck of London merchts., two of the undertakers for settleing ye Bahama Islands in behalfe of themselves and others concerned, to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Petitioners have been at vast charges in transporting tradesmen, planters and their familys to the said Islands, in repairing ye old Fort on Providence, building two new forts for defending that harbour, and repairing two forts on other of ye said Islands. The Spanyards have already attempted (before ye warr was declared) to destroy ye present settlement and did actually land upon Catt Island one of ye sd. Bahamas and murdered all ye men and card. off ye women, children and negroes. They have since threatened to come with greater force and land upon ye island of Providence etc. Pray the Board to represent to H.M. the absolute necessity of sending another Independant Company there etc. Signed, James Gohier, Sam. Buck. Endorsed, Recd. Read 2nd Jan. 1718/19. 1 p. [C.O. 23, 1. No. 11.]
Jan. 2. 5. Council of Trade and Plantations to Mr. Secretary Craggs. Enclose copy of preceding. Continues: It is our humble opinion that it is absolutely necessary that those Islands be secur'd, more especially in the present conjuncture, least they should become a prey to the Spaniards or pirates who would thereby be enabled greatly to annoy our trade, whereas if the said Islands be secur'd in the possession of H.M. subjects they will be a great check upon the Spanish trade, and serve as a secure station for H.M. ships in those parts who will effectually command by that advantage the passage of the Gulph of Florida. But if it should be thought too late in the Session to make such provision this year for another independent company, we would humbly propose that for the present one company of Colo. Philipps's Regiment may be detach'd from Placentia to the Bahama Islands for the security of a new Colony, which if duly encourag'd may prove of great advantage to the trade of these Kingdoms. Autograph signatures. 2 pp. Enclosed,
5. i. Copy of No. 4 [C.O. 23, 12. Nos. 77, 77.i.; and (without enclosure) 24, 1. pp. 20, 21.]
Jan. 2. 6. Secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to the Council of Trade and Plantations. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel etc., have received advice from their Attorney and Manager of their Plantations in Barbadoes, bequeathed to them by the late General Christopher Codrington, that there hath been lately passed in that Island, an Act of Assembly making and declaring the Bay of Conset a publick Bay. This will occasion great damage to the Society's plantation of Conset. They desire to be heard against the Act before it be confirmed, etc. Signed, David Humphreys, Secretary. Endorsed, Recd. Read 15th Jan., 1718/19. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 15. No. 42; and 29, 13. pp. 497, 498.]
[Jan. 5.] 7. Mr. Astell and Mr. Gee to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Proposals in detail for the encouragement to be given for the importation of iron, masts, timber, boards, potashes. etc. from H.M. Plantations. Endorsed, Recd. Read 5th Jan., 1718/19. 1 p. [C.O. 323, 7. No. 137; and 324, 10. pp. 225–228.]
Jan. 7.
Custom House, London.
8. Mr. Carkesse to Mr. Popple. Reply to Dec. 17, 1718. The Collectors in the Plantations make a demand of the King's share of fines and forfeitures, and remit the same over here to the Receiver General of the Customs in pursuance of a standing article in their Instructions. But they having in some of the Plantations met with great difficulties from the Governours in recovering the King's share, the Commissioners did, 16th June 1716, propose that H.M. pleasure be signify'd to the Governours for paying H.M. share of all fines and forfeitures to the respective Collectors of the Customs. Altho' the Collector of Jamaica has taken credit for a part of the King's share of forfeitures paid into his hands whereby the advantage to H.M. may seem to be lessened, yet as he has no direction for such deduction the same will be disallow'd in his accots. and he will be obliged to accot. for the whole to H.M. Asks for copy of Governors' Instructions relating to the King's share of fines or forfeitures etc. Signed, Cha. Carkesse. Endorsed, Recd. 8th., Read 28th Jan., 1718/19. Addressed. 2 pp. Enclosed,
8. i. Copy of presentment by the Commissioners of Customs, June 16, 1716, referred to in preceding. 1½ pp.
8. ii. Several instances where the Governors have received the ⅓rd. of forfeitures due to the Crown. 1687–1713. Signed, Robert Paul. Asst. to C. G. 20th June, 1716. ½ p. [C.O. 323, 7. Nos. 144, 144 i., ii.; and (without enclosures) 324, 10. pp. 230–232.]
Jan. 8.
9. Mr. Popple to Mr. Carkesse. Asks for return of imports of iron and timber 1712–1717, and of duties paid thereon. The Council of Trade and Plantations desire some of the Commissioners of Customs to attend their Board etc. [C.O. 389, 27. pp. 74, 75.]
[Jan. 8.] 10. Account of timber imported from America, 1707–1717. Endorsed, Copy'd from Sir Matthew Dudley's. Recd. 8th., Read 13th Jan. 1718/19. 1 double p. [C.O. 323, 7. No. 138.]
Jan. 12.
Custom House, London.
11. Mr. Carkesse to Mr. Popple. Encloses account of iron imports as requested, Jan. 8. [C.O. 389, 27. p. 75.]
[Jan. 13.] 12. Mr. Astell's computation of the difference of the prices and freight of Plantation and Russian tar. Endorsed, Recd. Read 13th Jan., 1718/19. ¼ p. [C.O. 323, 7. No. 139.]
[Jan. 13.] 13. Petition of merchants trading to New England, Virginia and Carolina to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Petitioners are informed that the Government have it under their consideration to take off the bounty granted for pitch, tarr and turpentine. The monopoly would then revert to the Swedes who would exact excessive prices as before. The effect has answered the intentions of Parliament, for great quantities of pitch and tar have been imported and the price fallen to one quarter part of what it was. It has been a means of exporting to our plantations large quantities of woollen and other manufacturies and greatly increasing the Navigation and nursery of the seamen of this nation. The bounty having been granted for a term of years, petitioners sent over a number of artists and utensills etc. for improving these stores whereby they have been brought to equall any from the East Country and are used in the King's yards etc. Signed, Micajah Perry and 38 others. Endorsed, Recd. Read 13th Jan., 1718/19. 1 large p. [C.O. 5, 867. No. 22.]
Jan. 13. 14. Mr. Caswall to Mr. Popple. Being inform'd your Honble. Board has under their consideration ye incourageing our trade to the plantations, by easeing several species of returns of the duty payable here, encloses following. Signed, Jno. Caswall. Endorsed, Recd. 13th, Read 20th Jan., 1718/19. Addressed. 1 p. Enclosed,
14. i. Memorial of John Caswall of London merchant to the Council of Trade and Plantations, in behalfe of himselfe and many others concern'd in a copper mine in N. England. New England draws for so great quantities of all kinds of manufactures from hence and have so little returns to make, notwithstanding their fishery (wch. all centers here) that the merchants there are greatly indebted to the merchants here, which visibly appears from the rate of the present excha., wch. from £160 New England money for £100 sterl. not long since, is now risen to £220. The consequence of wch. must in a little tyme bee the utter ruin of the trade between Old Engld. and New, unless there can bee found out something for returns etc. There has been lately discover'd a great vein of copper oar in that country, and in search of which, there has been already large sums expended, and in consideration of the dearness of labour there, and the difference of freight between that country and the Baltick, proposes that it be brought in custom free etc. Signed, Jno. Caswall. Same endorsement. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 867. Nos. 23, 23. i.]
Jan. 15.
15. Mr. Popple to Governor Rogers. The Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations have receiv'd your letter of 31st Oct. last and are well pleas'd with the accot. you give them of the state of your Government and desire you would continue the same by every conveyance; But as this letter of yours contains many particulars which deserve farther consideration they are not able in this juncture to give you so particular an answer to it as is necessary etc. In the meantime I am to acquaint you that they have represented the necessity of another Independent Company's being sent etc. v. No. 5. You write that you have sent over a map but none such is come to their Lordships' hands. Neither do they know where to enquire for it. There is one thing or two more that I must mention to you as from myself vizt. You desire that the King would approve and confirm the several persons you have appointed to be of the Council, but I believe you have not consider'd what the expense will be, it will come at least to £9 15s. a head, which will be in the whole about £117, and as there is no person here that I know of authoriz'd and enabled to disburse that money it will be to no purpose to recommend them to H.M., since the warrants will lie in the Offices for want of the said fees, which ought indeed to be paid proportionably by each person put into the Council as in other Plantations. Besides would it not be better for you that these persons should not be confirmed untill you have had more experience of them. The same difficulty lies in obtaining a patent for Mr. Beauchamp to be Secretary of the Islands for I know of nobody here impower'd to advance the money, but as he writes me that he intends to come to this Kingdom in about two months after Capt. Roche I suppose that difficulty will then be obviated. [C.O. 24, 1. pp. 22, 23.]
[Jan. 15.] 16. Mr. Paris to Mr. Popple. Asks for copy of minutes of Council of New Jersey, 8th Dec., 1713, etc. Signed, Ferd. John Paris. Endorsed, Recd. Read 15th Jan. 1718/19. ½ p. [C.O. 5, 971. No. 77.]
[Jan. 15.] 17. Petition of Stephen Duport to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Having lately heard of the death of his son, who had the management of his plantation in St. Kitts and was one of the Council there, petitioner is obliged to repair thither. He was formerly a Councillor, and has acted as Agent of the Island almost ever since he left it. Prays to be appointed to the Council. Signed, Ste. Duport. Endorsed, Recd. Read 15th Jan., 1718/19. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 12. No. 122.]
Jan. 15. 18. Depty. Governor Keith to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Replies to 5th and 19th March. Tho' quantitys of pitch and tar brought from the southward in exchange for provisions is shipp'd off from hence directly for Great Britain, yet none of that commodity is yet manufactured within this Government etc. Refers to enclosure. Continues: But I am of opinion that there is at least one third more wine imported here as well as in other Colonies above what are enter'd in these offices, and where the Governments of any two Colonies are divided by a river as this is from West Jersey, it will be impracticable to prevent the running of goods, because in a few minutes by night or day they can escape from one side to the other out of the Officers' reach; And of this I had experience about four years ago when I was Surveyor General of the Customes in these parts. I heartily wish your Lordships could find some remedy to this evil, which otherways will ever give a handle to evade the due observance of the Acts of Parliament etc. Signed, W. Keith. Endorsed, Recd. 1st., Read 2nd July, 1719. 2 pp. Enclosed,
18. i. Account of goods imported from Madeira and the Western Islands to Philadelphia, Christmas 1715–1718. Total: 655 pipes 9 hhds. 18 qr. casks Madeira wine, etc. Signed, J. Moore, Collector. Same endorsement. 2 large pp. [C.O. 5, 1265. Nos. 123, 123. i.; and (without enclosure) 5, 1293. pp. 179, 180.]
Jan. 16.
19. Mr. Popple to Mr. West. Encloses for his opinion thereon two parcels of Acts of Pennsylvania passed 1712–13 and 1714–15. [C.O. 5, 1293. p. 161.]
Jan. 16. 20. Sir A. Cairnes to Mr. Popple. Prays to be heard before the Council of Trade and Plantations report on his affair. (v. Dec. 15, 1718). Signed, Alex. Cairnes. Endorsed, Recd. 16th., Read 27th Jan., 1718/19. Addressed. 1 p. [C.O. 217, 2. No. 53.]
Jan. 17. 21. Richard Drafgate, citizen and girdler of London, to the Council of Trade and Plantations. In an Act of Pennsylvania, passed in 1717, concerning feme sole traders, are several matters directly repugnant to the Laws of England, diverse of H.M. subjects being thereby divested of there possessions. Drafgate being one of the persons injured, prays to be heard against the Act when transmitted etc. Signed, Richard Drafgate. Endorsed, Recd. 17th, Read 28th Jan. 1718/19. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 1265. No. 111.]
Jan. 19.
St. James's
22. H.M. Warrant to the Governor of Barbados to suspend Samuel Berwick, Receiver General of the Casual Revenues, from the Council "He being now in England and called upon by the Surveyor and Auditor General of Our Revenues in America, has delivered in a very imperfect and irregular account of his receipts etc, declaring that he is not able to give a more satisfactory account, by reason that his vouchers etc. are in Barbadoes; whereupon proper measures are taken and directions given for examining his accounts upon his arrival there." He is to be suspended from the Council, "to the end his authority and influence, by means of that place may be no delay or obstruction to the obtaining from him a true and fair state of his accounts" etc. Countersigned, J. Craggs. [C.O. 324, 33. p. 209.]
[Jan. 20.] 23. Heads prepared by Mr Ackworth, Surveyor of the Navy, for a clause in an Act of Parliament, fixing the standard of pitch and tar which are to have a præmium. Endorsed, Recd. Read 20th Jan., 1718/19. ½ p. [C.O. 323, 7. No. 141.]
Jan. 21.
24. Mr. Popple to Mr. Humphreys. Reply to 2nd Jan. The Board will do nothing upon the said Act till the Society have had an opportunity of being heard. Suggests submission of their objections in writing etc. [C.O. 29, 13. pp. 498, 499.]
Jan. 21. 25. The Case of such Sufferers who sustained losses by the invasion of the French, in 1705, on Nevis and St. Christophers, who have settled on one of the said Islands, and have not their debentures issued forth, thro' some doubtful words in the Acts made for their relief. Pray that the Council of Trade may be impowered to issue said debentures to those whose names were returned in the Commission and prove their re-settlement in either of the Islands. By the Act of the 9th. Queen Anne, only such persons were to receive grants as resettled their plantations in the said Islands, or either of them. By the Act of 10th Q. Anne resettlement is defined as the residence of a planter or his agent upon their respective plantations and improving the same, and the return of other inhabitants to their former houses etc., and proof of re-settlement was required before 25th Dec. 1712. Sufferers "which were destroyed upon one of the Islands, and re-settled on one of them," and others whose Agents did not enter claims in time, are still without their debentures etc. Endorsed, Recd. Read 21st July, 1718/19. Printed. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 12. No. 123.]
Jan. 23.
26. Edward Bridgen to the Council of Trade and Plantations. On behalf of traders and masters using the Newfoundland trade, enquires whether a ship bound thither on a fishing voyage, but stopping at Ireland for provisions, or France, Portugal etc. for salt, thereby loses his privilege of being Admiral if he first arrive in any port in Newfoundland. The Commodores 1716–1718 have given different rulings, etc. Signed, Edw. Bridgen. Endorsed, Recd. 23rd Jan., Read 3rd Feb., 1718/19. Addressed. 1 p. Enclosed,
26. i. Admirals of Bay Bulls to Commodore Scott. Enquire as to their status as in preceding. Capt. Robert Avent of Dartmouth disputes their title, he having come directly from England etc. Signed, Richd. Withall and two others. 1 p.
26. ii. Commodore Scott to the Admirals of the Bay of Bulls (sic) H.M.S. Dragon. St. Johns, 25 Aug. 1718. Reply to preceding. Confirms them in their office. Signed, Tho. Scott. 1 p. [C.O. 194, 6. Nos. 52, 52 i., ii.]
Jan. 23.
27. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Recommend that Stephen Duport, Charles Pain, Jno. Garnet and Wm. Mackdowel Esqrs. be appointed to fill the four vacancies in the Council of St. Christophers etc. [C.O. 153, 13. pp. 386, 387.]
Jan. 24.
Nassau on New Providence.
28. Governor Rogers to [? Mr. Secretary Craggs]. On Dec. 27th I had a letter from Commadore Chamberlain dat'd at sea 20th Dec. in his passage from New York. He had then a fair wind to come to us and was but 20 leags hence, but thought fitt to pass me, wth a compliment of being glad to hear I was well and wisht me a merry Christmas, without giving me hopes of seeing him or any of the other two yt came wth. us here, they were then together, bound for Petty Guavas and thence to Jamaica, whither I immediatly dispatcht a sloop express to the Governour and him for assistance, ye ships of war's disregard to this settlement was like to prove of a very ill consequence, by encouraging the loose people here and even some of my own soldiers, Palatines and French that came wth. me they had privately consulted to leave the settlemt, nay some ring leaders had secretly agreed to seize and destroy me and my officers, and then deliver up the fort for the use of the pirates. I having timely notice of it, secur'd three of the principalls and punisht them with severe whipping but having no power to hold a Court Martiall and cannot spare the men to send them hence I shall release them and be the more on my guard. The people here are very lazy and poor, and provisions scarce so that I cannot subsist the garrison at the rate it was undertaken ye last year. I have been already forct to draw several bills on the Genm. that supported me to begin this Settlemt. and if I live till March I designe to send by an officer hence an account of the whole expence of this Colony, that H.M. and those Gentm. may be rightly apprised of the difficulty of this undertaking for I hope those honourable Gentlemn. will not be sufferers by venturing to serve the publick wth. so little assistance at a juncture when the attempt was and is so very precarious and cannot for some time be of any advantage but to the publick. You may perceive Sr. by ye foregoing letter that I have not had the joint assistance of the inhabitants but for 14 days, the rest has been done by a few of the best of them together wth ye negroes and my own men the latter I have been forct to keep to very hard duty and work ever since they recover'd ye fatal sickness on our arrival. The soldiers of Jamaica have handsome allowances from the country for their support wch. cannot be done here as yet, had one of the men of war stay'd here to have assisted and protected us, I don't doubt but we should have had abundance more inhabitants of substance settled here, those at Anguilla and the Virgin Islands that are of no value to the Crown, I hear are coming to settle here. Some from Carolina, Bermudas and other parts will also come as soon as they hear we can make a stand against the Spaniards. The sickness at our first coming together wth. ye men of war leaving us very much discourag'd the beginning of this Settlemt. But there's none doubts this place being considerable if we are supported at first for a year or two and then it may support itself as much as any Colony his Majesty has. I have survey'd another harbour within a league and half of this that has more water than this and fitt to receive any of H.M. 50 guns ships wch. was more then we knew at our arrival. This Harbour of Nassau is not commodious enough for large ships but very fitt for small ones yt. does not draw above 14 foot water and ther's few trading vessels in these parts draws so much so that ys. will be very convenient for trade and the other to receive the King's ships yt. shall come hither. I have sent a draught of ye other to Jamaica to Comadore Chamberlen to show yt. any of the King's ships in ye West Indies may be secure here. I hope I shall have two of them from Jamaica to my assistance till I can have support from England, mean time I'll do my utmost to preserve this Colony. Signed, Woodes Rogers. 6 pp. [C.O. 23, 13. ff. 25–27 v.; and (duplicate) 31–17.]
[Jan. 27.] 29. Rules for raising hemp. Endorsed, Recd. Read Jan. 27, 1718 (9). Printed. 1½ pp. [C.O. 323, 7. No. 143.]
Jan. 29.
30. Edward Lascelles to Mr. Popple. If any memorial should be presented to the Council of Trade and Plantations against Coll. Samuel Barwick of Barbadoes, you are desired to send notice thereof to, Signed, Edwd. Lascelles. Endorsed, Recd. 29th Jan., Read 5th Feb., 1718/19. ⅓ p. (v. 1st April, 1718). [C.O. 28, 15. No. 43.]
Jan. 29.
31. Mr. Secretary Craggs to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers following, "that you may propose to H.M. any further methods, which you shall think proper, besides those already taken, for the preservation of that settlement, and the security of our trade in general in those parts. I am to tell you by way of confirmation, that before Colo. Stanhope left Madrid, he was made acquainted with a design of the Spaniards to possess themselves of the Island of Providence." Signed, J. Craggs. Endorsed, Recd. 30th Jan., Read 3rd Feb., 1718/19. 1 p. Enclosed,
31. i. Mr. Gale to Col. Thomas Pitt, junr. So. Carolina, 4th Nov. 1718. Confirms and repeats Governor Rogers' account of the danger of the Bahama Islands from pirates and the Spaniards. v. Oct. 31st, 1718. Continues: The pirates yet accounted to be out are near 2000 men and of those Vain als. Vaughn Thaitch and others promise themselves to be repossessed of Providence in a short time etc. The consequences would be not only a general destruction of the trade to the West Indies and the main, but the establishing a nest of pirates, who already esteem themselves a community, and to have one common interest etc. Major Bonnet's company taken by Coll. Rhett off this place, have had their tryalls of which 29 are convicted, and will this day be condemned, but he and his master are escaped from the Marshal, for which he is prisoner and likely to have his tryal etc. Proposals for ships to be stationed to cruise off Providence etc. Continues: The next measures to be taken will be to prevent the trade with [the pirates] from Rhoad Island, New York, Pensilvania, etc., for the pirates themselves have often told me that if they had not been supported by the traders from thence with ammunition and provisions according to their directions, they could never have become so formidable, nor arriv'd to that degree that they have etc. P.S.—Nov. 6th. This morning Coll. Rhett has retaken Major Bonnet and brought him to town, where he is to have his tryal Monday next. The master was killed in taking and thereby avoided as he thought a more infamous death, but I believe he would have found mercy. About 9 this morning a new warlike ship of 280 tun from Boston, and a large brigg from Rhoad Island were carried off the coast by a pirate ship, taken as they lay within sight of the town. A clergyman (who had the good fortune to come ashoar from the brigg) tells us there is certainly a war with the Spaniards, if so nothing but a speedy reinforcement of Naval forces from Great Britain can support the settlement of Providence unless leave can be had from the Crown to call in the pirates who cruise the seas, etc. I expect to return to Providence again, as soon as the business of the pirates is over, etc. Copy. 3½ pp. [C.O. 23, 1. Nos. 12, 12, i.]
Jan. 29.
32. Mr. Popple to Mr. Carkesse. In reply to Jan. 7th, encloses copy of Instructions relating to fines and forfeitures, and the account of the Collector of Jamaica, Sept. 1st. No. v. [C.O. 138, 16. p. 158.]
Jan. 30. 33. Governor Rogers to [? Mr. Secretary Craggs.] Acknowledges receipt of Commission for pardoning pirates to the 18th Aug. last, wch. I receiv'd but three days ago; immediately publisht it here. I am sorry to see H.M. goodness has no more effects on the major part of those villains that are still out, and doubt unless H.M. own ships in these parts exert themselves more and are station'd under the directions of the Governour in proper places to destroy the pirates, it will be very hard to reduce the remainder, and if it is not soon done, I fear they will again grow more numerous notwithstanding what has been done at South Carolina, Virginia and here to deterr them. I have now an account of one Capt. Congon that commands two pirate ships of 36 guns each, who designs to come hither, to offer to surrender themselves and embrace H.M. gracious pardon, and the time being so far elapsed, I would if I could resist them, but the inhabitants here are so much their friends that I fear I shall be forced to receive them at all hazards, if I do I will send an express immediately for England, and in the mean time manage them as well as I can. We having no King's ships yet come, nor hopes of succour should the Spaniards attack us, and if they do with the small numbers I now have, I shall be in a mean condition to hold out, so that what to depend on I cannot tell, and should the pirates come first, it may be best to receive them to defend myself against the Spaniards, for if I refuse to receive them, most of those I have now with me will either joyn them or quitt me, and then they'l possess the place maugre all I can propose to do against them. I have been at great charge to fit out small vessels to cruize amongst these Islands to prevent the growth of pirates, but the last were forct to retire for fear of being themselves taken. I have paid as much as I could spare towards the bounty money H.M. has allow'd for apprehending pirates to Captains Hornigold and Cockrem, and those that were with them. I hope the whole mony for a Captain, gunner, boatswain and ten pirates being taken, will be paid the gentlemen concernd to promote this Colony, and it shall be justly divided here so as to encourage the like undertakings. P.S. The ship being lost in which I design'd to have sent the prisoners taken on suspicion of corresponding with pirates, I have with advice of my Council been forct to accept of but moderate security for their good behaviour, our provisions being short and garrison weak etc. Signed, Woodes Rogers. 4 pp. [C.O. 23, 13. ff. 28–29v.; and (duplicate) ff. 33 v.—35 v.]
Jan. 31.
34. Governor Sir N. Lawes to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I have not been honor'd with any of your Lordship's commands, since my letter of 10th Oct. By this conveyance I am to give your Lordsps. a particular accot. of the late proceedings of the Council and Assembly which I shall endeavor to put in a clear light, with the utmost impartiallity. But I am really at a loss what excuse to make for the heats and animositys which have govern'd their passions, and grew at length to that heighth, that made it absolutely necessary (after a long forbearance) to put an end to the Sessions, without their having answered the ends for which they were called together. Your Lordships will please to observe throughout all the speeches I made the endeavors I have used to reconcile each House to the other, and it is matter of great concern to me, that all the persuasives I have been able to use, has hitherto proved ineffectual; But as I have discharged my duty with a safe conscience, and wth. zeal and application for H.M. service; so I hope the miscarriage of the publick affairs will not in the least be imputed or lay'd at my door. Herewith I send your Lordsps. attested under the Broad Seal the Minutes of the Council and Assembly, and begg leave to point out to your Lordships the most material passages that have hapned. On the 1st of August the Assembly mett. Refers to speech on that occasion, and to p. 14 in Journal of Assembly, where they come to a resolution and assert their right of adjourning themselves for a longer time than de die in diem; this resolve indeed presaged but a bad omen of their future conduct: however I was unwilling at that time to take particular notice of it to prevent giving them the least handle to obstruct the publick business: resolving at the same time never to allow them to put in practice their pretended right, but in such case to have asserted H.M. prerogative. The next thing material that occur'd is in page 31, wherein they come to several resolutions on my speech some of wch. (vizt.). that in relation to the extending the produce of their real estates towards the payment of their just debts would not be of advantage to the country, and another in relation to the not paying the Lord A. Hamilton and others for the mony by them advanced for the subsistance of the soldiers, were not agreeable to what might have been expected, and wch. I had with so much earnestness recommended to them. The time of the sitting of the Grand Court drew now near, and I advised with the Council, whether I shou'd adjourn the Assembly for a month, or put off the Court till the next term: and they were unanimously of opinion (two former Courts having been adjourned) rather to give a recess to the Assembly than to adjourn the Court, which would have been a discouragement to Trade and a delay to justice. I therefore on the 23rd Aug. adjourn'd the Assembly till the 24th Sept. And on the 24th Sept. the Assembly met and on the 26th Mr. Page presented a petition complaining of a pamphlet writ by the Lord Archibald Hamilton, wch. petition was refer'd to the Committee of Grievances, and from that time to the 23rd Oct. they were chiefly taken up after that inquiry, and in framing a report, which they then did (p. 58). Having sent to the House H.M. order in Council recommending to them the payment of Mr. Knights late Receiver General, they did on 2nd Oct. come to a resolution p. 42, to recommend him to the Governor and Council to give him such relief as is consistent with law. This my Lords was in effect doing nothing, for as they had provided no relief by law, so they tied myself and the Council down to give him only such relief as was consistent with law, and even this Resolution they never did send up to us, so that affair stands as it did. On the 10th Oct. the Council recd. from the House two Bills, one intitled An Act to oblige the several inhabitants of this island to provide themselves with a sufficient number of white people, or pay certain summs of money, in case they shall be deficient, and applying the same to several uses. The other, An Act for appointing an Agent in Great Brittain to sollicit the passing of laws and other the publick affairs of this Island. As to the first the Council made some scruple to the Receiver General's oath, and that he shou'd be accountable to this, or any future Assembly: But I was unwilling (if possible to avoid it) to bring upon the stage the old dispute of the Council's right in amending money bills, so I prevail'd with them to pass this bill without amendment, hoping the Assembly wou'd take such care in framing their other mony bills, as might not be liable to objections of that nature, but conformable to H.M. Instructions, some of which in relation thereto, I thought fit to communicate to them on yt. occasion. As to the soliciting bill the Council made several amendments to it, and the house adhering to their bill and the Council to their amendments, the bill dropt. The next bill the House sent up was that for qualifying members to sit in Assemblys and to regulate elections, to which the Council likewise made some amendments, and had several conferences thereupon; but that bill did not come to any maturity, before the prorogation. On the 15th Oct. began to break out the first divisions that hapned between the two houses, and that was upon the Council's refusing to allow Mr. Wood to attend the Committee of Grievances, much time was taken up by both houses in framing long messages one from the other on this affair, which had no other tendency as I often told them, than to create heats and animositys and which occasion'd my making a speech to them, to which they return'd an address etc. Refers to Minutes. The 16th Oct. the house sent up to the Council a bill intitled, An Act for the encouragement of voluntary partys to suppress rebellious and runaway negroes, which the Council passed; and is one of ym. now transmitted to your Lordships for H.M. Royal assent. And on the 17th they sent up a mony bill intitled, An Act to impose dutys on several commodities to defray the extraordinary charges of the Government, and applying the same to several uses, and for the relief of several persons therein mention'd. I cou'd have asked that this bill had been so framed and agreable to H.M. Instructions, as the Council might have past it without amendments. But tho' the Assembly had order'd the mony arrising by that law into the hand of H.M. Receiver General for the time being, the Council found as in the Deficiency Law, they had tied him up by an oath to be accountable to the present or any future Assemblys. Another objection they had to it, and I think very justly, was a clause in it, in the nature of a tack't for the relief of William Norris, and Samuel Clark two of their own members for several country duties due from them on prize goods which clause was objected to by the Council, and if I am rightly inform'd, had the bill pas't wth. that clause in it, the mony thereby forgiven wou'd have amounted to near as much as the bill wou'd have rais'd. Besides there was another clause in relation to Canary wines, which seem'd to clash with an Act of Parliament. Those and some other objections to the bill, made the Council on 31st Oct. (p. 68) desire a Conference with the House on that bill, which induc'd the Assembly to come to a resolution, that no amendments proposed by the Council cou'd be received by the house to any clause which related to the raising and applying mony. This Resolution being privately signifyed to the Council, they to avoid disputes about Conferences, sent the bill down to the house with amendments and they adhering to their bill, and the Council to their amendments; the bill was lost. The Council on 25th Oct. sent down to the house a bill to repeal the condemnation of the sloop Kingsington otherways called, Neustra Seignora de Bellin, which the Assembly return'd wth. amendments p. 65, which amendments the Council were of opinion wou'd make the bill a groundless libel against Lord A. Hamilton, and therefore adher'd to their bill, and the Assembly to their amendments. We were now come to 1st Nov., and the feuds between the Council and Assembly encreasing, I thought it necessary to pass two laws, which had been prepared for my consent (vizt.) An Act to oblige the inhabitants to provide themselves with white people, etc., and an Act for the encouragement of voluntary partys to suppress rebellious and runaway negroes. And I made a speech to them on that occasion p. 75, recommending unanimity, and to lay aside the needless disputes concerning Mr. Wood, which had taken up so much of their time in vain. I must indeed do the Council the justice to acquaint your Lordsps. they did in obedience thereto come to a resolution to receive no more messages from the house on that subject. And the Assembly had invited myself and the Council to an entertainment on the 5th of November. I was then in great hopes that by the example I had shewn them, and the endeavours I had used, all former piques and animositys would have been lay'd aside and forgot; But alas! about an hour before we were to have gone to dinner, the Assembly sent up to the Board a long message relating to the same controversie, which so soon as the Council perceived, they told the two members who brought it, that they had in obedience to my desire come to a resolution to drop that dispute, and to receive no more messages on that subject, upon which they carryed the message back to the house, but in a little time after, it was return'd by the same Messengers with this addition, That the house had come to a resolution to receive no more messages from the Councill till they had accepted of theirs. And the Messengers who brought it forcing it upon the Council contrary to their Resolution, the same was some way or other thrown off the table, and the two Members of the Assembly returning to their house reported that the same was done and spurn'd at by Mr. Gregory a Member of the Board, which the house took as a great indignity and affront. The Board on the other hand thought the treatment of the house in forcing upon them a message full of invictives, but a rude way of proceeding, and finding them not inclined to drop that dispute they were of opinion no more good was to be expected from them during that Sessions, and therefore advised me to give them a short prorogation, that a final end might be put to all those differences, and whereby they wou'd have another opportunity of doing their country service if they reallye designed it, and accordingly on 6th Nov. I prorogued them till ye 10th, and made a short speech to them on that occasion, page 82. During this interval I used all imaginable means, and persuasives to reconcile and unite the members of both houses to one another, earnestly recommending to them to prefer H.M. service and their countrys wellfare to any private piques or resentments. But to my great grief the Assembly began their Sessions with resolutions in relation to the pretended affront offer'd (as they said) by Mr. Gregory to their message of last Sessions, and they addressed me p. 85 on that subject. Your Lordships will see at large the answer I gave etc. p. 87. The Council finding that little good was to be expected from them, and that particular and private piques continued still to govern their passions beyond their regard for the publick wellfare; unanimously addres't me on the 12th not to continue them sitting any longer etc. p. 147. Nevertheless my Lords I was extreamly desirous to try all possible ways and means to perswade them to pass into laws the resolutions they had come to p. 91 on my Speech that they might have an opportunity of doing something for the good of their country, and answer the ends for which they were called together, and for that purpose I inclined to continue them sitting some days longer. But I was astonished when on the 13th I received a message from the Assembly accusing Mr. Gregory of disloyalty to H.M. This I emediately communicated to the Council, and order'd Mr. Gregory to withdraw from the Board. But I was then and still am of opinion, that the same was set on foot by the Assembly without sufficient grounds, and meerly to gratifye the resentments of the house against him, for a pretended affront to their message, tho' never intended by him, and disclaim'd by the whole Board: however my duty obliged me to make as particular enquiry into this matter as possibly I cou'd, seeing it came from that Body of the Legislature: But your Lordsps. will please to observe, that after the most strict examination of the witnesses mention'd in the houses message etc., how little ground the house have had for exhibiting so heinous a charge against him, and the Council did after a full examination into that matter come to resolutions, which I imparted to the Assembly in answer to their Address on that subject p. 98. On the 15th the Assembly resolv'd to send their message to the Council by their Clerk, and accordingly sent him with a bill to the Council, a thing without president and of the first impression, which the Council resented by not receiving it, and acquainting the Clerk they wou'd receive no messages, but in the antient and known practice ever since the first institution of Assemblys in this Island (vizt.) by members of the house, and here I must take notice to your Lordsps. of a very plausable motion and order thereupon which was that day made in the house, to bring in a bill, for the raising a perpetual Revenue for the support of H.M. Government, and the contingent charges thereof and asserting the rights and libertys of the subjects, by inforcing and continuing such Acts as might be consistant with the wellfare of the Island. The latter part of this title I apprehend was chiefly to enforce here the Habeas Corpus Act, and that in relation to frauds and perjuries. But as the framing of such a bill would be a work of many months for the best lawyers we have, I cou'd not much depend upon the sincerity of their intentions at that juncture, especially when they had sat near three months doing little or nothing; and had in effect by some of their Resolutions broke off all communication wth. the Council, and the differences were come to such a height between both houses, that they knew it was impossible they cou'd continue sitting much longer. However had I seen any likelyhood of bringing so desired a work to a happy conclusion, they shou'd have had their own time to have framed it in. But that good disposition in them soon vanisht, for on the 20th when I communicated the resolution of the Council in answer to their Address to suspend Mr. Gregory p. 98, the house came to the following resolution, "that untill the Council do H.M. justice by consenting to suspend Mr. Gregory a person noted for his disaffection to H.M person from the Council, and until they make the house reparation from the indignity offer'd to the house, that the house can't have any farther intercouse with that Board, if they respect either their duty to H.M. or the trust reposed in them by their country." This resolution I had privately signifyed to me, which I thought was intirely shutting the door of communication between both houses: I then saw it was altogether in vain to continue them sitting any longer. I therefore with the unanimous advice of the Council, sent the Provost Marshall to command their attendance, which they not obeying so soon as in duty they ought, occasion'd my sending the Provost Marshall a second time to command their emediate attendance, and so prorogued them by a speech suitable to the occasion p. 98 to ye 10th of March and thus ended this long and fruitless session etc. I must intreat your Lordps.' favourable construction on my endeavors (tho' unsuccessfull) for H.M. service; and the true interest of this Country, which I have so much at heart: I am apprehensive shou'd I suffer this Assembly to meet at the time they stand prorogued to, they wou'd still be for gratifying their resentments preferrable to the service of their King and Country; I therefore intend with the advice of the Council to dissolve them by Proclamation setting forth the reasons for so doing, and shall advise with the Council the propper time to call a new one, which I hope will pay a more dutifull regard to H.M. recommendations, and acknowledge his great goodness and condescension in bestowing his Royal favours upon this Island. But I must intreat your Lordsp. directions shou'd the next Assembly meet with a disposition (as I am in hopes they will) to bring in a bill for the raising a perpetual Revenue for H.M. etc. which would be of great advantage to the Governmt. here, especially if the quit rents were therin put upon a right footing, which in such case I wou'd take care to see done. H.M. Revenue wou'd not then lye under the frequent anticipations it now does, and which makes the Government here in a manner dependant upon the Assembly for supplyes. I therefore begg your Lordsps. opinion whether you think H.M. wou'd pass a Law of that nature, that wou'd inforce here some of the Statute Laws of England, and give the people of this country the priviledges of English born subjects, at the same time they granted a perpetual revenue to H.M. his heirs and successors. Another thing which I think material to give your Lordships an accot. of is, of an order of the house of the 10th Nov. to bring in a bill to appropriate several sums of money raised by former acts in Col. Heywood's Government, and now remaining in the hands of Commissioners. In this bill the summ of £5,800 was to have been appropriated to the reimbursing of the revenue, and the expectation of receiving this bill from the house was one of the chief motives that induced me to allow them to sit some time longer, after the Council had addressed me on that subject. But at last I found the house look't upon this bill as their sheet anchor, and wou'd not part with it before the Council had consented to their unreasonable demands. And I am here to take notice to your Lordsps. that by an accot. I have had since delivered to me by some who were upon the Committee of publick accots. I find the following summs now lying useless in the hands of Commissioners. Totals in cash and outstanding debts, £18,349 2s. 5d. Had the Assembly thought fit to have appropriated this money to the service of the Government, and to the encouraging the bringing over and settling white people amongst us, they would have had little occasion to have raised more this year for that service. But their heats and divisions have hitherto had a sway over their reasons, and has so far prevailed that they now suffer so large a summ of money to lye in the hands of private persons, who make advantage of it whilst H.M. Revenue and the publick are opprest and want supplyes to defray the just debts of the Government. As to the state of the Island in general, I look upon it to be in a weak and defenceless condition, both with respect to the small number of inhabitants and to the fortifications which want considerable repair, and tho' there is mony in ye fund allotted for that service, yet we are at a loss how to dispose of it to the best advantage for want of an Engineer: I was in great hopes to have seen such an officer here before this time, having had assurances given me before I left England that he shou'd soon follow: I must therefore intreat your Lordsps. recommendations to H.M. on yt. head, and likewise that we may be supplyed with the stores and other implemts. of war, which I formerly sent your Lordsps. a list of. On the 11th Dec. an unlucky accident hapned to a ship called the Kingston from London whose cargoe is said to be valued at £20,000. She was unfortunately taken by one Thompson a notorious pyrate within sight of Port Royal, and none of H.M. ships of war being then in harbour, the freighters and owners of that ship made application to me, to commission two sloops, which were then lying in harbour ready to sail, to goe in quest of the said pyrate, they promising at the same time ⅓ part of whatever was recovered, as a reward beyond what H.M. had been pleased to promise in his Royal proclamation, to such who wou'd goe out in the said sloops on that service; I did thereupon grant two Commissions to the said vessels to continue in force for the space of two months, and no longer, and gave the Commanders thereof propper instructions, and took the usual security on like occasions for the due observance of them: and they were soon man'd and sayl'd the 26th Dec. in pursuit of the pyrate. But at the South West part of this Island they mett wth. two vessels, one of which upon their approach hoisted a blagg Flag at the topmasthead, and then the engagement began, the other proved to be a sloop the pyrate had lately taken: one of our vessels after an obstinate dispute was boarded and overcome by the pyrate, who threw vast numbers of powder flasks granado shells and stinkpots into her which killed and wounded several, and made others jump overboard, seventeen of which our other vessell took up, who inform'd them of the strength of the pyrate which so disheartned the men on board ye other vessell, the pyrate having a superior force, that they made the best of their way back to Port Royal. The pyrate by information proves to be a vessell from Trinidado on Cuba with 150 banditti of all nations; I am just now informed that they have put our men whome they had taken on shoar at the Caimanoes. several of them being wounded and about 35 kill'd in the engagement, the ill success of this expedition has so exasperated our people that they made fresh application to me (none of H.M. ships of war being yet in harbour) to commission two other vessels, and the merchants and traders of both towns being very earnest for it, I summoned a Council and had their advice to commission two other vessels, wch. was accordingly done, and they are well man'd and fitted with every thing necessary. I am in hopes speedily to have a good accot. of them, they having been out near three weeks, since which time there is arrived here H.M.S. Ludlow Castle. Diamond, Milford, Rose, Happy and Shark sloops, and some days agoe the Ludlow Castle and Happy sloop sail'd to cruize to windward to protect the ships we dayly expect from England. The Milford and Rose are to cruize round this Island in search of the pyrates. The Diamond goes convoy through the windward passage with several mercht. ships now bound home, and the Shark sloop remains in harbour refitting. But I must leave it to the Commanders of H.M. ships to give an account on what service they have been employed ever since my arrival here, all I shall say, is had they been stationed in guarding our coast and cruizing in propper places, it might probably have prevented the mischief that has hapned to us. And here I must instance to your Lordsps. one particular wch. will clearly demonstrate how necessary a thing it is, that the direction of H.M. ships shou'd be lodged in the Governor, for tho' the Commanders thereof, by their Instructions are directed to advise and consult with myself and the Council: yet they have no other regard for wt. is resolved upon, than is consistant with their own private gains, our coast having been for a considerable time past infested by vessels said to be fitted out from Trinidado, I did with the advice of the Council write a letter to ye Alcades of that place, and gave the same about nine weeks since to Capt. Jacob, Commander of H.M.S. the Diamond to deliver, and it was then resolved upon that after he had seen some merchant ships (which were then under his convoy) through the windward passage, he shou'd cruize for some time between the north part of this Island and Cuba, and deliver my letter to the Alcades of Trinidado. But after seven weeks' cruize, I know not where, he return'd me my letter, and said, he had not an opportunity of delivering it, so that your Lordships may plainly observe, that unless the Commanders of such ships are made accountable to the Governor for their proceedings, the publick will reap little advantage from them. I am inform'd by the Factors of the South Sea Company, who have made their escape from Porto Bello on board of Capt. Whitworth, that a tartan was arrived there from Spain with orders to seize the factors and their effects, and to send their persons and books to the Custome house at Sevile, and that the like orders had been dispatch't to all the Spanish Governments in these parts to seize on all H.M. subjects and their effects, and wherever they meet our vessels coming to or going from this Island, they are treated by them as in time of declared war, so that we dayly suffer great losses, without having any redress: and more particularly I am to acquaint your Lordsps. that some time since three or four of our vessels with a considerable number of seafaring men, and inhabitants of this Island, were in a hostile manner attack't on the coast of Florida by the Spaniards, and there taken and carry'd to the Havana, where they are kept in prison at nights, and obliged in the day time to do the most servile duty in carrying stores for the fortifications of that place: application has been made to me by the wives, children and relations of those people, and several depositions have been produced, fully makeing out those facts, all which I communicated to the Council who proposed and to which I readily agreed, emediately to send a vessell with a letter from myself to ye Governor of the Havana (v. No. i.) The Council likewise advised me not to allow the Spaniards which are now here to the number of about seventy to depart this Island till such time we have an answer from the Havanna wch. I dayly expect. Signed, Nicholas Lawes. Endorsed, Recd. 15th April, Read 25th June, 1719. 28 pp. Enclosed,
34. i. Governor Sir N. Lawes to the Governor of the Havana. Complains of the dayly hostilitys and outrages committed on H.M. subjects by Spaniards, and demands restitution of those H.M. subjects and their effects who were attacked on the coast of Florida about 3 months since, when employed on their lawfull occasions, carried into the Havanna and used in a barbarous and inhumane manner, and are there still most unwarrantably detained, notwithstanding one of H.M. ships was sent by the Governor of Providence to His Excellency to demand them etc. He has treated the captain and crew of a Spanish ship lately cast away upon the coast of Jamaica with great generosity and consideration. They will be allowed to proceed and remit their effects where they please, upon receipt of H.E.'s reply complying with above request etc. Signed and endorsed as preceding. 3½ pp. [C.O. 137, 13. Nos. 29, 29.i.; and (without enclosure) 138, 16. pp. 184–209.]
Jan. 31.
35. Mr. Secretary Craggs to the Lt. Governor at Placentia. Oliver Toulon is permitted to return to the possession of his house at St. Peters, there to have the quiet enjoyment of his fishing trade, as one of H.M. subjects, provided that he act therein as the law and customs of Newfoundland direct, etc. Signed, J. Craggs. [C.O. 324, 33. p. 211.]
Jan. 31.
St. James's
36. H.M. Warrant, confirming Christopher Gale in the office of Chief Justice of the Bahama Islands. Countersigned, J. Craggs. [C.O. 324, 33. p. 212.]