America and West Indies: March 1720

Pages 1-21

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 32, 1720-1721. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1933.

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March 1720

[Mar. 1.]
1. Capt. Evans, R.N., to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Estimates his expenditure upon the lands granted him in New York at £3,350, which with interest since 1695 amounts to £8,375. The improvements made by him were such that he was offered £40,000 on the Exchange of London etc. Endorsed, Recd. Read 1st March, 1719/20. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 1052. f. 5].
March 1/12.
2. Mr. Pulteney to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Acknowledges letter of Feb. 22. The French Commissioners have not yet given me any deduction of their title to Sta. Lucia; whenever they do your Lordships may be assured of receiving a copy etc. My Lord Stairs frequently sollicites that the Conference should be renewed, and is always promised that they shall etc. Signed, D. Pulteney. Endorsed, Recd. 7th, Read 9th March, 1719/20. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 15. No. 78]
March 2. 3. Mr. West to the Council of Trade and Plantations. The petition of George Skeffington (Oct. 23rd) is not inconsistent with the Act for encouraging the trade to Newfoundland, etc. Signed, Richd. West. Endorsed, Recd. 2nd, Read 10th March, 1719/20. 1 p. Enclosed,
3. i. Duplicate of George Skeffington's petition, 23rd Feb. [C.O. 194, 6. Nos. 77, 77. i.].
March 2.
4. Sir Charles Cox to [?     ]. My good Lord, My wife begs leave to present her duty to yr. Lordp. humbley claiming yr. Patronage in our last extremity and beseeches yr. Lordp. to obtain of ye King ye Governmt. of Jamaica, which I once thought myself secure of. I have resided in the Island and have the concurrent wishes of ye planters and merchants. Now is ye time my Lord, the Island being under your Lordship's directions. If it be consider'd how well I have behav'd during 20 years in Parliamt., how I have injured my fortune by that service, and how I suffer'd by a calamitous fire, I humbly presume I have ground to hope for compassion. I am content that any part or all ye salary be reserv'd to some other person, who has well deserved of H.M. Without this grant or something equivalent at home, I am not able to shew my head, which I would sacrifice in yr. Lordps. quarrell. Signed, Charles Cox. 1 p. Enclosed,
4. i. Memorial by Merchants trading to and Planters of Jamaica. Recommend Sir Charles Cox to be Governor of Jamaica, "the divisions between the inhabitants and the Governor being grown to such a height as may occasion an application for a change of Government" etc. 41 Signatures. Torn. 1 p. [C.O. 137, 51. Nos. 75, 75. i.]
March 3.
5. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Hamilton. Altho' we have several of yor. letters before us, we cannot at present make such an answer as they may require, and therefore we only take this opportunity to write to you upon the Act to indemnify A. Browne etc. There have been several objections made on the part of the parishioners of St. Philips against the passing of the sd. Act; and we have heard them; as also Mr. Nivine who appear'd for the Act by their Council. But as there remain several difficulties with us, we must desire your particular answers to the following questions before we can lay this Act before H.M. etc., and therefore we expect to hear from you upon this subject by the very first opportunity. (i) On which side of Willoughby Bay does the old Church stand. (ii) In what part of Belfast district does the chappel of ease stand. (iii) In what place does the new Church stand, that is, on which side of Ayres Creek. (iv) Whether does the old Church or chappel at ease stand nearer to the new Church. (v) On which side of Ayres Creek do the majority of the inhabitants of the parish of St. Phillips live. (vi) In case the Act be confirm'd will it not be necessary for the inhabitants that there be a chappel of ease on that side of the Creek where the Church do's not stand. (vii) Whether the Gentlemen of that parish have made any voluntary subscriptions towards the building the new Church. What the sum is, and what remains to be levied on the parishioners. (viii) What number of the parishioners for the new Church, and what against it. (ix) And that we may understand this matter still more perfectly we desire you would send us a correct mapp of the parish in question. P.S. We enclose to you the best mapp we have here of Antego in which if you have none better with you, we desire you wou'd cause the respective parishes in that Island to be mark'd as exactly as you can and particularly that of St. Phillips. [C.O. 153, 13. pp. 453–455].
March 3.
Clerges Street
6. William Sharpe to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Encloses following. Signed, Wm. Sharpe, Endorsed, Recd. Read 4th March, 1719/20. 1 p. Enclosed,
6. i. Answers to Queries relating to Sta. Lucia. (v. 15th Jan.) (i) I have always heard that about 1665 Lord Willoughby of Parham settled that Island with some of the inhabitants of Barbadoes, who, proving sickly, became a prey to the native Indians, who surpriz'd, and destroyed them all. (ii) I cou'd never find that any French settled there in those years, or at any other time. (iii) I never heard that the French Commissioners referred to made any demand about Sta. Lucia. (iv) I liv'd at Barbadoes, and was a Member of the Council during the whole time mentioned in the Treaties of Ryswick and Utrecht. To the best of my knowledge, there was not one single settlement made thereon etc. We have, in all times, had people there cutting timber, and dying wood, who built some small hutts to defend themselves against the weather, till they cou'd load their vessells, which hutts they afterwards left, but never attempted to clear the land, or break the ground, or do anything that look't like a settlement; 'Tis probable that the French might privily, and by stealth, do the same. Refers to Col. Stede's Expedition and Lord Grey's assertion of the British title (v. C.S.P. 1699. No. 939 i.), and his own similar assertion, to which the Governor of Martinique "never thought fitt to make any reply. He pretended no more than that the island was a neutral place. If the French be allowed to possess St. Lucia and Tobago (to which letter the French Governor in his letter to me also pretends) they will be able to destroy Barbadoes, when they please; And on the other hand, if we keep St. Lucia and settle it, it being but seven leagues, and that to windward of Martineco, we shall be able, by keeping a few men of war there, to intercept all the French ships from getting to Martineco, and thereby destroy the place, when we please. For they can't subsist, or carry on their plantations, but by continual supplies, both of manufactures, and provisions, from France. Santa Lucia would be of further service to the Crown, as it is a proper soil for cocoa and indigo, the King having no Plantation for the former in his Dominions, and there being little made of the latter, If therefore it was restrained to these two commodities, it would bring in considerable revenues to the Crown, and do no prejudice to any of the Sugor Islands already settled. But this will require the utmost care and consideration. I conceive, there will be no difficulty in planting and setling this Island as the King pleases, because I brought the Chief of all the Caribbee Indians to acknowledge an absolute subjection to the Crown of Great Britain, in consequence whereof, they afterwards fought under the King's colours, as I am inform'd the French too well know, and have ever since continued in their allegiance. The acknowledgment mentioned, under the Broad Seal of the Island of Barbadoes, I sent home to the Board etc. Mem. Sta. Lucia has the best harbour of any of the Carribbee Islds." (v. Journal of C. of T., 4th March). Signed, Wm. Sharpe. Endorsed, Recd., Read 4th March, 1719/20. 2 pp. [C.O. 28, 15. Nos. 76, 76 i.]
March 3. 7. Rev. W. Gordon to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Reply to queries touching Sta. Lucia (v. 15th Jan.). I was ashoar on that Island in 1703, twice in 1711, and after the cessation of arms before the Treaty of Utricht. There was not, at any of those times, any manner of settlement, either of English or French; no part of the land manured, nor so much as one single house, hutt, or habitation, excepting those of the Indians and negroes which have run away from Barbadoes. I was also frequently ashore since the Treaty of Utricht, and observ'd that the French, as well as the English, sent several small sloops to catch turtle and cut timber for their respective adjacent Colonies, and that the wood-cutters, and fishermen, English and French, made small hutts for their own, and their negroes shelter, during their stay; But I never heard the French pretend to make any settlement upon the Island. Proposes that settlers should be confined to planting cocoa trees, indigo, cotton and ginger, but especially cocoa trees; for the soil is of the same nature with Martinique, and might in a few years be brought to produce cocoa enough for all H.M. Dominions, which we are now obliged to have from foreign nations, and of which there is consumed, in the little island of Barbados alone, to above the value of £6,000 a year. That prohibition would also remove the objection of the poor decaying sugar Colonys, etc. Signed, W. Gordon, Endorsed, Recd. 3rd., Read 4th March, 1719/20. 3 pp. [C.O. 28, 15. No. 77.]
March 3.
Charles Town, So. Carolina.
8. Jonathan Shrine to Saml. Wrugg or Wragg, Merchant in London. We have an account from Providence of an invasion design'd pr. ye Spaniards a sloop being sent on purpose to informe us of the same and that they are coming with four sail of ships, one of 50 guns, one of 48, one 30, ye other 24, and six sloops: 1,200 men, they designe to land at St. Augustine to come by land. We are very much unprovided to receive them but I hope before they come we shall be in better order, ye originall news comes from the Havana by a boat that have made their escape from them with severall letters from Mr. Parris and Mr. Farrill etc. There is an embargo laid on all ships except Captn. Webber by whom this comes via Bristoll etc. Signed, Jonathan Shrine. Endorsed, Recd. (from Mr. Boon) 29th April, Read 7th July, 1720. Copy. ¾ p. [C.O. 5, 1265. No. 146.]
March 4.
Charles Town, So. Carolina.
9. Daniel Bell to William Wragg, Merchant in London. Refers to above news received from the Governor of Providence. Continues: They were to saile from the Havana 15 days agoe so that we may expect them every hour. Refers to embargo on his ship. We have severall very good ships in the place and between 4 and 500 sailers. They also designe to fit foure of the best ships in a posture of defence etc. The people seems not to feare them in the least, but our fortifications are much out of repair but making all the dispatch they can to fit themselves for defence etc. The report is generally believed etc., because severall men in this place have received letters from their friends out of Havano and all to one effect etc. Signed, Daniel Bell. Endorsed as preceding. Copy. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 1265. No. 147].
March 4.
South Carolina.
10. Othniel Beale to Saml. Waldo, Merchant at the New England Coffee House, London. Repeats part of preceding. His ship, 16 guns, has been impressed with three others of 18 guns, to receive the enemy soon after they enter the harbour (or as may be thought proper) with a fireship, as also two small vessels to cruise of St. Augustine to give intelligence of their approach. Continues: We know not whether they designe for the Bahamas or this place, or both, but we hope this favourable providence of timely notice will enable us so to prepare for them as to give them a much warmer recepcon (and smarter repulse) then they expect since we have reason to believe they depend on the intelligence they recd. from one Capt. Loan whom they took about 3 months past (and soon after he left this place) and tho' he might very truly say that this place was then in a very naked neglected posture yet circumstances are now very different and we are advanced very considerably in repairing the works in order for defence so that at present we are under no great concerne. I shall do my utmost to preserve yr. ship as farr as the nature of this affaire wil admit etc. Signed, Othl. Beale. Same endorsement. Copy. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 1265. No. 148].
March 4.
11. Mr. Popple to Mr. Bell Jones, Secretary to the Board of Ordnance. Enquires whether the new fort at Placentia is to be built upon that point of land opposite to the old Fort; whether it is to be done in the spring, and how far it will affect Col. Moody's lands there, etc. [C.O. 195, 7. p. 5].
March 5.
12. Lt. Governor Spotswood to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Announces death of Col. Smith one of H.M. Council here, but a strenuous adherent of that Faction I have been complaining of etc. Recommends John Robinson to fill his place, being a man of distinguished loyalty, sound principles, good sense, and peaceable disposition, joined with the advantages of a plentifull fortune etc. It has been long a surprize to me, that notwithstanding H.M. approbation of Mr. Digges to be of the Council, the warrant for swearing him, has still been kept back, and I could not believe but that some sinister dealings (which yor. Lordps. were strangers to) had been used to obstruct it. At last the mistery is discovered by some hints which Mr. Byrd has dropd in conversation (for I have not yet seen him since his arrival) that he put in a Memorial to stop the King's letter in favour of Mr. Digges, under pretence that Mr. Porteous being called to the Council by me, and afterwards left out in the King's Instructions to make room for Mr. Berkeley, has a right to be restored on the first vaccancy: but in order to remove this objection, I must begg leave to represent, that the case is much altered in respect to Mr. Porteous since I first called him to the Council: he then lived near Williamsburgh without any river to hinder his attending the duty of his place, but he is now removed to a greater distance cross one of our largest rivers: he was then looked upon as a settled inhabitant of this country, but he has for some time past declared his resolution of leaving it, and settling in England, and about a fortnight ago actually published his intended departure (as the custom is) with the return of the first ships etc. So that this obstruction seems to be entirely owing to Mr. Byrd (without any warrant from the person in whose behalf he appear'd) and design'd to affront a gentleman whom he knows to be incapable of falling into the measures of his faction. Tho' Mr. Byrd has been now upwards of a month in the country he has not thought fitt to let me know, whether he has obtain'd H.M. directions for his continuance in the Council, without which he cannot but know, his long absence without licence has excluded him, according to the express words of H.M. Instructions: neither doth it seem probable to me that he hath any such order from H.M., seeing he publickly talks of returning to England in two or three months time. Had Mr. Byrd been sworne of the Council since he was nominated in H.M. Instructions, I should have had less scruple to readmitt him to his place: but as he went from hence without any other licence that I know of, but only from my Lord Oxford (wch. gave him leave to be absent from his Office of Receiver Genll. only) and as he has beene absent beyond the time in which H.M. declares (by his Instructions) that his place in the Council shall be void, I must therefore pray yor. Lordps. directions how I am to act in this case etc. If yor. Lordps. shal think fitt to renew yor. recommendation of Mr. Beverley in Mr. Byrd's stead, there will then be an opportunity to fill the present vaccancy with the gentleman I have now recommended: otherwise Mr. Beverley being first proposed, I pray he may be put in the place of Mr. Smith, and Mr. Robinson reserved for the next vaccancy: unless yor. Lordps. shall be pleased (according to what My Lord Orkney offerred to yor. Lordsp. sometime ago) to make room for both those gentlemen, by the removal either of Mr. Blair or Mr. Ludwell, neither of whom deserve the post they enjoy unless a continued opposition to H.M. interest and service, and a contempt of yor. Lordps. decisions in all the points that have been controverted between that Party and me, be the merit they have to plead: and had I time to lay open some late scenes of their behaviour, since yor. Lordps. last letters to me, I'm confident yor. Lordps. would judge them fitter for the frowns than the favours of the Government, for the first of these Gentlemen Mr. Blair no sooner heard yor Lordps. letter and the Sollicitor General opinion concerning the King's right of collation read in Council, than he went about to oppose it; and having soon after pack'd a majority of his Vestry perswaded them to draw up a formal presentation of him to be their Minister, wherin they stile themselves the true and undoubted patrons of that Church; declaring at the same time that he should not have desired any such presentation but only to assert the right of the Vestry against the Governor who was going to deprive them of it by setting up the King's right of collation, and Mr. Blair came to me with this presentation and demanded induction. How consistent this is with the duty of a Councelor sworne to assist H.M. rights and prerogatives I leave yor. Lordps. to judge. The other (Mr. Ludwell) has given a late instance (of what I had often heard reported) that his submission to yor. Lordps. determination concerning the Governors right to nominate the judges of the Oyer and Terminer Courts, was only conditional that the Council alone should be named in those Commissions: for when I issued a Commission of Oyer and Terminer last December, and joined with the Council only Mr. Digges and Mr. Beverley (who I had reason to believe were then constituted of the Council as well as the rest) Mr. Ludwell no sooner heard the Commission read, than he objected agt. both those Gentn., and immediately he with four more of his party withdrew off the Bench, drew up a remonstrance agt. that nomination, and took occasion to present it to me in the publick Courthouse and entertaining me with a long discourse on that subject till he saw a considerable mobb of people round us, he then turning to the multitude raised his voice and said, that the Governor's power of naming other Judges than the Council in cases of life and death was of dangerous consequence to the lives and libertys of H.M. free subjects, and repeating the same words again concluded that for that reason he refused to sitt in the Court of Oyer and Terminer with the gentlemen I had appointed, etc. Signed, A. Spotswood. Endorsed, Recd. 2nd, Read 31st May, 1720. 3¾ pp. [C.O. 5, 1318. No. 70].
March 10. 13. Generals Erle, Wills and Pepper to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Testimonial in favour of Capt. Gookin. (v. 8th Jan.). Signed, Tho. Erle, Cha. Wills, John Pepper. Endorsed, Recd. 10th March, 1719/20, Read 19th May, 1721. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 1266. ff. 9, 10v.].
March 13. 14. Col. Moody to Mr. Popple. Encloses following etc. Signed, J. Moody. Endorsed, Recd. 14th, Read 18th March, 1719/20. 1 p. Enclosed,
14. i. Opinion of Mr. West upon Col. Moody's case etc., 10th March, 1720. v. 8th Jan. Signed, Richd. West. ¾ p. [C.O. 194, 6. Nos. 78, 78 i.]
March 14.
Chancery Lane.
15. Mr. Bampfield to Mr. Popple. Prays that Act of Barbados for docking the intail of a certain plantation etc. may be laid before H.M. for confirmation etc. Signed, Geo. Bampfeild. Endorsed, Recd. 14th, Read 17th March, 1719/20. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 15. No. 79.]
March 16/27.
16. Mr. Pulteney to Mr. Popple. Acknowledges letter of 10th etc. Signed, D. Pulteney. Endorsed, Recd. 21st March, Read 13th April, 1720. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 15. No. 87.]
March 16.
Office of Ordnance.
17. Board of Ordnance to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Reply to 4th March. The point of land where we are to build [the new fort at Placentia] is opposite to the old, and if we can get shiping to transport the remainder of the materials to Placentia we shall begin this summer. As to Col. Moodies lands we are not able to say etc. Signed, T. White, T. Wheate, M. Richards. Endorsed, Recd., Read 18th March, 1719/20. 1 p. [C.O. 194, 6. No. 79.]
March 17.
18. Mr. Popple to Mr. Jones. Requests answer to 4th March, as several ships will soon be going for Newfoundland etc. [C.O. 195, 7. p. 6.]
March 17.
19. Same to Mr. West. Encloses, for his opinion in point of law, Act of Barbados for docking the intail of a certain plantation, etc. [C.O. 29, 14. p. 68.]
March 21.
20. Mr. Secretary Craggs to Governor Lowther. Application having been made to the King by your relations here that you may have a license of absence from your Government, and answer in person to such things as have been charged upon you before the Privy Council, H.M. has been pleased to grant their request, and commanded me to transmit the license enclosed. I have lost no time in moving H.M. to show this favour to you, and as I do not doubt but you will be able to clear yourself of the matters which have been alledged against you, I may soon hope to assure you on this side that I am, Sir, your most humble Servt. Signed, J. Craggs. Annexed,
20. i. H.M. licence of leave to Governor Lowther to be absent from his command for six months, "upon account of some affairs which require his attendance here." St. James's, 21st March, 1719/20. Countersigned, J. Craggs. [C.O. 324, 33. pp. 267, 268.]
March 22.
St. James's.
21. Order of King in Council. Referring following to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their report. Signed, Temple Stanyan. Endorsed, Recd. 24th, Read 25th March, 1719/20. 1 p. Enclosed,
21. i. Petition of Sir Charles Cox to the King. Petitioner's brother, Samuel Cox is the eldest Councillor of Barbados, whereby the administration of the Government pro interim in case of a vacancy will devolve upon him. Governor Lowther having conceived a groundless displeasure against him and frequently vowed his ruin, has left no stone unturned to execute his threats not only on himself but likewise upon two gent. of considerable fortunes in that Island who married his daughters, and having a view to preferr his nephew John Frere the next in seniority in the Council, has applied himself to find out plausible pretences to suspend him. Samuel Cox did, as his duty obliged him, object against the Governor's permitting a Spanish vessell to trade there and remonstrate to him that it was an evident breach of the Acts of Trade and his oath. Thereupon the Governour's malice and resentment was wrought up to such a heigth that he has charged petitioner's brother with endeavouring to raise a rebellion in her late Majesty's reign when the Governour was commanded immediately to deliver up the Government to Mr. Sharpe. The only crime he was guilty of was, that of giving his opinion as a Member of the Councill that obedience ought to be paid to H.M. said order. The Governor has declared his fixed resolution to prosecute Cox and two other gentlemen who were then Members of the Councill at the Grand Sessions 8th Dec. last, for the same, and that he himself will sitt Judge. Prays that the Governour be ordered not to suspend Cox, or in case he has done so, to restore him until his reasons and H.M. pleasure are known. Signed, Charles Cox. 1½ pp. [C.O. 28, 15. Nos. 80, 80 i.]
March 24.
St. James's.
22. Mr. Secretary Craggs to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Referring following for their report. Signed, J. Craggs. Endorsed, Recd. 28th March, Read 3rd May, 1720. Subscribed under,
22. i. Petition of Richard Pearse of Marblehead, N.E. mariner, James Pitts, merchant, George Whitehorne and Phillip Dumaresq, marines, Daniel Johannot and Andrew Sigournay distillers, all of Boston, to the King. A tract of 16,000 acres, called Greenland alias Misconcus by the English, but by the Indians Remobscoe, was sold by John Summersett, an Indian Sagramore, to the father of Richard Pearse in 1641. 6,000 acres have been sold to the rest of the petitioners by Pearse, and they propose the next summer to settle the said lands with 50 families etc. This tract is not annext to any particular Province, and petitioners therefore pray for H.M. confirmation of the Indians' grant etc. The whole, 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 867. Nos. 61, 61. i.]
March 25. 23. Queries [by Council of Trade and Plantations] to Col. Moody, relating to some lands he claims at Placentia. (i) Whether the point of land on which it is proposed to build a fort was not reserved by the French King for some public use? (ii) Whether it was ever granted to any of the French King's Governors? (iii) Whether the title of the person of whom Col. Moody bought the said Point can be made appear? (iv) What proportion of the purchase money was paid for it? (v) Its present value? etc. [C.O. 195, 7. p. 7.]
March 25. 24. Office accounts of the Board of Trade, Dec. 25, 1719—March 25, 1720. v. Journal of Council. [C.O. 388, 77. Nos. 77, 79, 81.]
March 25.
25. Mr. Secretary Craggs to Governor Lowther. H.M. having granted you a licence of absence etc. (21st March) you are exactly to follow your Instructions in leaving the administration of the Government with the eldest Councillor who shall be at the time of your absence residing in the Island. Encloses duplicates of 21st March. Signed, J. Craggs. [C.O. 324, 33. pp. 267, 268.]
March 26. 26. Mr. West to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Has no objection to Act of Barbados for docking entail of a plantation in St. Lucy's parish etc. Signed, Richd. West. Endorsed, Recd. 28th March, 1720, Read 25th March, 1721. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 17. ff. 49, 50. v.]
March 28. 27. Mr. Cumings to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Proposes certain alterations in the regulation and taxation of the Plantation trade. Signed, Archd. Cumings. Endorsed, Recd. 28th March, Read 1st April, 1720. 1½ pp. [C.O. 323, 8. No. 1.]
March 28.
28. Governor Hamilton to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers to his orders to Capt. Rose, v. 16th Feb. Proving calm he left [the pirate ship] at an anchor at St. Christopher's and came up himself [to me at Nevis]. She was called amongst the pirates by the name of the Royal Rover, and has committed a great many depredations upon the coast of Guinea. She was the same that took the Portugueze ship, and I find the crew were the same which were formerly in a ship they called the King James which they sunk and betook themselves to this. She is a ship of force capable of mounting 30 guns and had once near 200 men (and as far as I can learn) was in the service of His Imperial Majesty when she was taken but she is now much out of order for which reason I suppose they quitted her. As I have met with a vast deal of trouble and opposition from some persons who would have disputed with me the power I had of seizing her I think it my duty to lay before your Lordships a distinct account of the manner in which the ship was taken, and the measures that were took to prevent my securing of her either for H.M. or for the Right Honourable the Lord High Admiral etc. The crew that belonged to her came to a separation some betook themselves to a snow and some to the sloop mentioned in Mr. Popple's letter the rest (to what number I cannot discover) either being weary of that sort of life or thinking they had got booty enough resolved to steal ashore in such places as they thought they were most likely to escape undiscovered in, or where they might pass unquestioned according the six mentioned (16th Feb.) were landed upon Anguilla pretending to be shipwreckt but being detected and brought up here have since been tried, found guilty and received sentence of death, the residue carried the ship down to St. Thomas's (an Island the Danes are settled upon) brought her to an anchor there out of the reach of their cannon and went themselves on shoar and passed publickly (as I am informed) as Pirates, and were so far from being questioned for it that the Governor himself was in treaty with them for the ship, as the persons who brought her away have represented to me. Major Holmes etc. seized her as a pirate, what men were then in her quitting her and making their escape on shoar, etc. as 16th Feb. Continues: [When Capt. Rose came up hither], I ordered him down thither [to St. Christophers] with the Seaford to bring her up to Nevis, Mr. Ottley and the other gentlemen pretended then to claim a right to her as captors (though they had no commission) and disputed the delivery of her, and returning to me without her I sent him down a second time with possitive orders to bring her up, but when he came he found her sails unbent and carried ashoar and her topmast struck, and by this time Mr. Ottley had obtained a deputation from one Mr. Hill of Antigua (who claims a power from Mr. Dod Receiver General of the rights and perquisites of Admiralty, and from Mr. Walters, Sollicitor of the Admiralty) to receive all rights and perquisites of Admiralty in the Leeward Islands, and by vertue of that power Mr. Ottley pretended then to seize her for the Lord High Admiral so that Captain Rose returned the second time without her. As I am not only impowered but it is required of me as a duty by H.M. Commission under the Great Seal of the Admiralty constituting me Vice Admiral of these seas to seize and take into my possession amongst other things the goods of pirates and the same to keep to the use of H.M. and the Lord High Admiral for the time being, I thought it proper and highly necessary (especially as I had an account of some embezzlements already made and that Mr. Ottley had taken several casks of powder out of her) to send Capt. Rose down a third time with stricter orders than before to bring up this ship to Nevis, and if the sails were not delivered to him, to apply to a Civil Magistrate for a warrant to search for them and take them out of their possession, which he was forced to do Mr. Ottley refusing to deliver them, and upon this he has brought her up hither where she has been proceeded with in the Admiralty Court and an interlocutory decree pronounced adjudging the ship and lading to be forfeited as the good of pirates unless any owners shall come in a twelvemonth and a day and make their proper appearance, and an inventory has been directed by the Judge to be taken and an appraisement made of the goods in her, to be lodged with the Register. As the custody of this ship and goods remain at present with me, if no owners appear within the time I shall be ready to deliver up the same, submitting to the Right Honourable the Commissioners for executing the post of Lord High Admiral of Great Brittain their determination whether any or what share thereof does belong to me as Vice Admiral. The goods of pirates I take to belong originally to the Crown, and if the Lord High Admiral or Commissioners for executing that Office have any claim to them, I suppose it is by grant from H.M. and as I am in the dark about this matter I humbly pray your Lordships will be pleased to inform me therein as also about this deputation of Mr. Dod and Mr. Walters, whether it was intended to give them any power of receiving any rights of perquisites of Admiralty in these Islands, or it be restrained to Great Brittain only for I humbly apprehend that it did not, that being annexed to the Vice Admiral and by H.M. Commission expressly enjoined me, and I am the rather confirmed in this opinion because I have received no directions from the Right Honourable the Commissioners for executing the Office of High Admiral to take notice of any such Officer here, which if their Lordships had intended to supercede my Commission therein I may believe I should; your Lordships will be pleased therefore to signifie to me whether these Officers are to seize any rights or perquisites of Admiralty arising here or that I am to do so, and when I have done so whether I shall deliver or account for the same to the Crown, to them, or to the Lord High Admiral etc. Howsoever it be, I hope I shall meet with your Lordships' approbation in what I have or to the Lord High Admiral etc. Howsoever it be, I hope I shall meet with your Lordships' approbation in what I have at present done, I not knowing how to regard a Commission from a private Officer when I had one from H.M. etc. This last week one Charles Powell born at, and formerly an inhabitant of St. Christophers for [? was] arraigned for High Treason, for having been in the service of the King of Spain on board the privateer sloop mentioned 16th Feb., and committed a great many acts of cruelty upon and against H.M. subjects, all which were plainly proved against him upon his trial, whereupon the jury found him guilty and sentence of death was pronounced against him as is usual in such cases and will be executed accordingly the Judges having represented to me that he is a hardned sinner. I have an account given me that the pirates that separated and are now in the snow and sloop before mentioned are cruising between Barbados the French and these Islands, that they took a ship lately off of Barbados and afterwards chased a vessell into Antigua. I have sent Captain Rose in the Seaford to cruize to the windward of that Island to strive to fall in with our trading ships, that are daily expected from Brittain for the several Islands of this Government, and if possible to see them safe in. Encloses several Acts with observations thereon. Continues:—They should have gone sooner but this being the first ship that has gone from this Island since my arrival here, the letter for Mr. Popple (16th Feb.) being sent by way of St. Christopher's; Indeed I thought this ship would have sailed much sooner, but God Almighty has been pleased to afflict us with such excessive dry weather insomuch that most Planters can hardly make any sugar, I pray the Almighty to withdraw his heavy hand from us. I have not as yet been able to bring the Committee of Council and Assembly to finish their answer to Monsieur D'Iberville's Memorial nor to state the account of what charge they have been at in maintaining the hostages that were taken off and carried to Martinique, by reason (as they alledge) of the death of their late Treasurer who left his affairs in great confusion, whenever they have finished them I shall transmit them to your Lordships, but people in general in these parts are very delatory about publick business, especially those of this Island, which formerly was lookt upon the most exactive and regular in most of their proceedings, but ever since the destruction and devastations made by the French, the people seem to be dispirited and careless. The last of the hostages (Mr. Charles Earle) died about six or seven months ago at Martinique, so that the Island is now at no further charge; I shall (God willing) next week embark for St. Christophers, and as soon as I have dispatched H.M. affairs there, call at Mountserratt to see what may offer there for H.M. service, and then return for Antigua, where after my arrival I shall as soon as possible collect and send your Lordships what is required from etc. Signed, W. Hamilton. Endorsed, Recd. 16th May, 1720, Read 27th June, 1721. 3½ pp. Enclosed,
28. i. Acts of the Leeward Islands (1719) with Governor Hamilton's observations. (a) Act of Antigua, for reinforcing an Act for repairing the fortifications on Monk's Hill etc. The reason of this Act has been often laid before your Lordships etc. (b) Act of Antigua, for encouraging Thomas Santhill in his new projections of hanging coppers in this Island for boyling of sugar and for making of small and cheap windmills for the more easy and speedy grinding of canes; likewise for building of horizontal windmills for grinding of canes, and likewise an engine for forcing of water into boyling houses or still houses from any depth; and for building of lime kilns to burn lime after a more easy and expeditious manner than hath been yet found out, with brush, field trash, or any sort of small wood. The inhabitants have already found great benefit by this projection of Mr. Thomas Santhill in the boyling of their sugar much faster and with much less fewell; he still proposes to improve the same to a far greater degree etc. As for his mills, etc., I have not heard of any that have yet tried the experience.
(c) Act of Montserrat, for punishing such persons as shall detain any other persons' slaves or servants. The preamble I hope sets forth sufficiently the reasonableness of it. (d) Act of Montserrat for reducing of interest from 10 to 6 per cent. (e) An Act of Montserrat for exempting the severall Members of the Council and Assembly and other persons from arrests on publick days. The Gentlemen most of them being under some incumbrances and apprehensions of being taken up as is set forth more at large in the Preamble are desirous to secure themselves for that time. Your Lordships will observe that these three Acts from Mountserratt have lain a considerable time before they were sent to me. Same endorsement. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 13. ff. 67–72; and (duplicates endorsed) Recd. from Mr. Tryon, June 27th, 1720) 73, 74–75v., 76v.]
March 29.
29. Governor Lowther to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers to letter of 21st Nov., and repeats part of it. Continues: Mr. Blenman entered into a recognizance of £500, and two of his friends in £250 each for his appearing at, and answering this crime at the Grand Sessions: a bill of indictment was found against him; the Court ordered the sd. recognizances to be estreated for his non-appearance, and the whole process to issue against him. Now had he not been an accomplice with Mr. Gordon in this forgery, it can hardly be imagined that he would have suffer'd himself to have been committed and indicted for such a crime, or that he would have forfeited his recognizance, quitted his business, and have fled from the Island (with the sd. Gordon and one Hope an Attorney) in the most ignominious and clandestine manner. Refers to Minutes of Council, 16th Feb. and adds:—One of the pieces annex'd to the Order of Council of 12th March, 1718, is in French, of a different kind of paper from all the other annexes, has no impression of the Seal upon it, and is dated eight day's after the sd. Order, all which do most clearly demonstrate that it was criminally annex'd thereto etc. I hope you'l permit me to trouble you with a further representation of Mr. Gordon's seditious and infamous behaviour during the three months he thought fit to continue here. The first thing he did, was the disposing of a large cargo of that braded stuff call'd the Miserable State of Barbado's; after this, he traversed the whole country, broached in all places as many scandalous lies as he could invent, and did his utmost to imbroil the Island, and to spirit up a faction in every parish in order to pave the way for a general disturbance. Had I resented this licentious and factious behaviour in a magisterial way and punished him with the utmost severity of Law, I humbly presume your Lordshipes would not have censured me for it: but as the poison had been newly administred, and as it caused a great fermentation, I thought it more eligible to apply an antidote of another quality, and therefore issued the Declaration which I (some time since) directed my Correspondent to lay before you. (v. Oct. 30, 1719). As this undeceived the generallity of those Mr. Gordon had imposed upon, so it not only disabled him from executing a wicked design he had projected against me, but forced him (at that time) to content himself with only casting some lewd reflections upon me in an impudent paper he term'd an Answer to so much of my Declaration as related to him. I shall not trouble your Lordship's with a relation of those factes upon which two indictments were found against him since they are inserted in the Records of the Grand Sessions that are enter'd in the Minutes of Council herewith sent, but I think it necessary to informe you, that soon after his departure from hence, a most false and scandalous letter was dispersed by his Agents in his name directed to the gentlemen of Barbadoes and particularly to the parishioners of St. Michaels: that the General Assembly on the 21st Jan. last voted it to be a most false, wicked and seditious libel: that they voted the Answer of Will. Gordon Clerke etc. to be impudent, false and scandalous: that they voted the pamphlet intituled a Representation of the Miserable State of Barbado's to be false, scandalous and seditious, that they order'd the sd. pamphlet, answer and letter to be burnt by the hands of the common hangman: that they directed Samuel Adams and Rob. Bishop Esqrs. two of their Members to lay the sd. pamphlet, answer and letter before the Council with a copy of their Minutes relating thereto and the resolves thereupon and to desire the Council to give their concurrence to as many of the sd. votes or resolves as they should think fit, as likewise to appoint a time and place for the burning of the sd. pamphlet, answer and letter etc. The Council agreed to all the Assembly's sd. resolves and directed the common hangman to burn the pamphlet answer and letter before the Custom House door on 18th Feb., which was done accordingly, etc. Refers to Minutes of Council, 16th Feb., for proceedings and depositions taken before the three senior Judges touching Mr. Gordon's character in pursuance of H.M. Order, 25th June, 1719. His character is proved to be much worse than what I represented to the Lord Bishop of London by above 40 depositions of gentlemen of great fortune and repute: What I said of him was taken from depositions and other authentick papers that bore date a very considerable time before the occasion happen'd which laid me under an absolute necessity of characterising him to the Bishop; as this plainly appears from the sd. original depositions and papers exhibited to and recognized before the sd. Judges, and annexed to the report which they have made to the Lords of the Privy Council and transmitted by this opportunity, so I humbly hope your Lordship's will be of opinion that my sd. character of Mr. Gordon is strictly just etc. etc. The Council and Assembly perused the sd. depositions and proceedings and a Law has past upon that and other weighty considerations to deprive him of his benefice, and for disabling him from exercising or enjoying any ecclesiastical living dignity or ministry within this Island; which I humbly hope will meet with your Lordshipes approbation and the Royal assent. My Lords, I have already trespassed so much upon your time that I shall not trouble you with what might be offer'd in justification of the suspension of Messieurs Cox and Salter besides the reasons that are assigned in the Minutes of the Council of 27th Feb. Nor shall I intrude upon your patience in adding such reasons as might be offer'd to support the committment of Thomas Worward and Thomas Smart (Commanders of H.M. shipes of war the Rye galley and Squarrell) besides those that are contained in the mittimus depositions etc., that are entered in the Minutes of Council of 16th March, 1719. I also for the same reason forbear to make any remarkes upon the state of the publick accounts as adjusted by the Committee appointed by law and enter'd in the Minutes of Council herewith sent: as likewise any animadversions upon the several laws and other publick papers now transmitted etc. As I writ to my friends in Nov. last to obtain H.M. Royal licence under his sign manual to return to England, so I hope it will not be long before I have the happiness of paying my duty to your Lordshipes and of returning you my unfeigned thankes for the many civilitys and favours I've received from you etc. Signed, Rob. Lowther. Endorsed, Recd. 1st June, Read 5th July, 1720. Holograph. 8 pp. Enclosed,
29. i. List of public papers enclosed with preceding. 2 pp. [C.O. 28, 15. Nos. 91, 91. i.]
March 29. 30. [? Sir Charles Cox to the Council of Trade and Plantations.] Mr. Lowther having laid a design to suspend my brother (v. 22nd March) prevaild with ye Custom house Officers to sign a memorial against him for no other pretence, but his having been evidence in a cause which he was compelled to do by legal summons (v. Minutes of Council, 13th and 14th May, 1718.) Mr. Lowther finding ye matter too trifling, to found a judgment upon, adjourned ye giving any opinion from time to time, to 17th Feb. 1718/19, at which time he declared that my brother was guilty of such a crime as deserved suspension, and that he would suspend him next Council day, notwithstanding which he hath never yet attempted it etc. Suggests that he keeps it under his thumb to suspend him; just when he leaves the Island, that so he may leave his nephew Fere President, and his brother lose that benefit etc. Endorsed, Recd., from Sr. Charles Cox, 29th, Read 30th March, 1720. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 15. No. 82.]
March 29. 31. Extract of letter from Samuel Cox of Barbadoes to Sr. Charles Cox, April 13th, 1719. Repeats gist of preceding. Continues: on 17th Feb. the Governor, by way of leading the Council, gave his opinion first that the representation of the Custom House Officers was fully proved, whereupon his favourites, Francis Bond, Wm. Carter, Guy Ball and John Frere came full up to H.E. opinion. But Timothy Salter and Lt. Gen. Thos. Maxwell said it was not proved. H.E. asked the Council what censure they should pass, and when all continued mute, to give them a lead, he said "If I was guilty of these crimes I should forfeit my Government and £1,000 sterl. and rendered incapable of any other command." Then all except his favourites desired to be excused giving any opinion. H.E. pressed them for two hours without success. H.E. being very angry said they were no Councillors unless they forthwith gave him their Council and that he would have their opinion, (wch. he wanted to screen himself by, yt. wt. he acted was by advice of Councill). Endorsed as preceding. Copy. 2¼ pp. [C.O. 28, 15. No. 81.]
March 29.
32. Sir C. Cox to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Since waiting on your Lordships this morning, I have seen two gentlemen, Mr. Blenman and Mr. Hope, who were present in Council 13th and 14th May, and have prevailed with them to attend your Lordships etc. Signed, Charles Cox. Endorsed, Recd., Read 30th March, 1720. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 15. No. 83.]
March 31.
33. Lt. Governor Bennett to Mr. Popple. Refers to triplicate enclosure of proceedings of Court of Admiralty etc. Signed, Ben. Bennett. Endorsed, Recd. 10th May, Read 7th July, 1720. 1 p. Enclosed,
33. i. Bermuda. May 31st, 1720. A Newspaper. By the master of a sloop that arrived here 21st Jan. from Virginia I am informed, that about the middle of the same month on (e) Capt. Knott bound to that place from London in the latitude 27 was come up with and taken by a pirate ship of 36 guns and above 160 men who took what they wanted out of the merchantman and gave him money and goods of a very considerable value for the same and sent him about his business several of the pirates being on board him, whom when the ship arrived in Virginia dispersed themselves but being discovered were taken up, also the ship seized, and the Capt. in custody; the pirate came last from Brazile and had been on the coast of Guinea. Feb. 8th. By advice from Antigua I understand that the man of war there was sent to cruce to windward of that Island in quest of two Spanish privateers, one of them took a sloop at the Salt Ponds, and afterwards cut a ship out of Basseterre Rhoad of St. Christopher's, the sloop's men rose the next night, overcame the Spaniards, and brought the sloop back to St. Christopher's, the ship was retaken by a New York privateer off of the Island called Spanish Town one of the Virgin Islands, one of the Spanish privateers afterwards was cast away upon Berbuda where the men were taken and are now in prison at Antigua; amongst them two or three Englishmen. I hear of several British and French sloops that have been taken to windward amongst the French and the Islands inhabited by the Indians, but what certainty there is in it I know not; but this is confirmed [that] a pirate ship that took some time since a Portugueze ship upon the coast of Brazile which he carried to Cayon a French Island, and there plundered her, and there took also a Rhode Island sloop, and after detaining the master for some days, he gave him the Portugueze ship with which he is arrived at Antigua, the pirate went afterwards to the windward of Barbadoes, where he took two New York snows, the one he plundered and afterwards gave the vessell to the master and men again, the other they have fitted out of the pirate ship she being a much better sailor, and are gone to the northward with, and gave the ship to the master of the snow; his men and some others that pretend to have been forced, of which they landed five white men and one black upon Anguilla, of which number there are now two in goal at Antigua and the rest are sent for they say the Quartermaster of the pirate and one more were on board the said ship, from whence, and their haveing divided their plunder to the windward of Barbadoes (as these men say) it is concluded they have broke up and are shifting for themselves by dropping some in one place, some in another, for they had a great booty in the Brazile ship, at least 15,000 moidores besides a vast quantity of dust gold they had got upon the coast of Guinea, where they had taken many prizes. Same endorsement. 1½ pp.
33. ii.–vii. Proceedings of the Court of Admiralty, Bermuda, Oct.-Nov. 1719 upon the trial of six prizes brought in there. Same endorsement. Copy. 83 pp. [C.O. 37, 10. Nos. 16, 16. i–vi,
[Mar. 31.] 34. Petition of John Lenoir, Judge of the Admiralty Court, and Henry Lascelles, Collector, Barbados, to Governor Lowther.
In Nov. 1716 Lascelles made a seizure of some anotto and indico imported without a warrant and presence of any officer of the Customs from a vessel belonging to Samuel Cox. Henry Westlake, then Judge of the Admiralty Court, dismissed the case, Feb. 1717, though no proof was given that the goods were landed with a warrant and presence of a Custom house officer, as the law requires. He continued to behave himself in a most scandalous manner, notoriously receiving bribes and perverting justice, so that the officers of H.M. Customs were obliged to make a representation against him to the Governor, and against Samuel Cox, who had caused application to be made to Lascelles to forgoe H.M. part of the seizure etc. Whereupon H.E. and Council suspended Westlake and appointed Lenoir in his place etc. On 31st May last Lascelles seized the sloop Dove, of wch. Saml. Cox was owner, and of several hogsheads of sugar on board; shipped off from a crane of which Cox was keeper, without warrant or presence of a Custom house officer, etc. or paying the 4½ p.c. duty. The sloop and sugar were condemned by Lenoir and Cox fined £100. Cox was given leave to appeal, but has never applied to the Register for the appeal papers etc. The fine remained to be collected, when Cox obtained an inhibition from the High Court of Admiralty in Great Britain, 27th April last, staying further proceedings. In the said inhibition, Lenoir is stiled only "the pretended judge" of the Court of Admiralty. Lenoir has acted by virtue of your Excellency's Commission etc. Desire to know how they are to act with regard to the inhibition.
Lascelles adds: Cox ever since his being outed of the office of one of the Commissioners of Customs in this Island, on account of his making use of a large sum of money due to the Crown, has been zealous to hinder all prosecutions in favour of the Crown. Mr. Cox was Naval Officer 1698–1714. When an order came from the Commissioners of Customs to put in prosecution the plantation bonds here that were not legally discharged, he cancelled hundreds of bonds without having certificates returned him as the law requires, and gave in 170 bonds to be sued, but they were almost all the bonds of persons insolvent or unknown, and the Crown was put to about £800 charges in prosecuting those worthless bonds, while Mr. Cox got perhaps as much. This practice of cancelling bonds without certificates was a gainfull one, and Cox continued it. Between 12th July, 1712 and 12th April, 1714 he cancelled bonds to the value of £70,000, without any certificates or proofs that the conditions of the bonds were comply'd with etc. Signed, John Lenoir, Hen. Lascelles. Endorsed, Recd. (from Mr. Lascelles) Read 31st March, 1720. 4 pp. [C.O. 28, 15. No. 84.]
March 31.
35. Governor Sir N. Lawes to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers to letter of Feb. 2nd and encloses, by this first opportunity since that time, five money bills which considering the present posture of affairs here and the exigences of the Government I hope will suffitiently justifye my passing those laws. I have prepared my reasons more at length according to your Lordships desire which comes herewith and hope the same will be satisfactory. As to the Act to prevent inticeing of slaves etc. I am to desire your Lordships will please to take it into your consideration and lay it before H.M. for his Royall assent, it will prove a beneficial law to this Country, and as it is in all respects agreeable to H.M. Instructions so I hope it will meet with no obstruction etc. Encloses Minutes of Council to 29th Jan. Prays for directions as to H.M. share of seizures etc. as Sept. 1st 1718. Sometime ago I recd. intelligence of the Spaniards designs from the Havannah against Providence or Carolina which I communicated to Capt. Vernon of the Mary who desired I wou'd assist him with some of H.M. soldiers and accordingly I have supplyed him and Capt. Whitworth in the Ludlow Castle with 50 soldiers and they are both sailed, since which time I have recd. an acct. from the Governor of Providence that on 24th Feb. the Spanish armament appeared off of that Island and had endeavoured to land at some places but were as often repulsed tho' they continued still hovering about that place, when the Govr. dispatch't the express to me which he sent away in the night ten days after the Spaniards had been there giving an acct. of the strength of the Spaniards wch. consists of one ship of 40 gunns one of 26 one of 22 a brigantine of 12 and eight sloops six of which had 8 gunns apiece and two of 4 gunns, on board of which armament there is about 1,300 men but I am in hopes they will have met with little success being informed that there are on that Island 540 able men well armed and 4 months provisions and as the Govr. has upwards of 60 gunns mounted so they will be able to make a vigourous defence, etc. Signed, Nicholas Lawes. Endorsed, Recd. 14th June, Read 2nd Nov. 1720. 3¾ pp. Enclosed,
35. i. Governor Sir N. Lawes' reasons for passing several laws mentioned. Same endorsement. 7 pp. [C.O. 137, 13. Nos. 42, 42. i.]