America and West Indies: January 1721

Pages 229-250

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


In this section


January 1721

Jan. 2. 348. Horatio Walpole to the Council of Trade and Plantations. The Act of Barbadoes to oblige the casual Receivers of Barbadoes to pay 100l. towards defraying the charges of the Grand Sessions to be held twice a year is by no means agreable to the 43rd Article of the Governor's Instructions (quoted). Instead of answering the expence of the two Courts out of the publick Treasury as thereby directed the Assembly would lay it upon H.M. casual revenue, wch. is already in so low a state as not to be able to answer ye charges of ye recovery and receipt of it. etc. This heavy charge would defeat endeavours that might be undertaken to recover it from its present confusion and make it a considerable revenue to ye Crown as it formerly was. Signed, H. Walpole. Endorsed, Recd. 2nd, Read 19th Jan., 1720/1. 1½ pp. [C.O. 28, 17. ff. 3, 3v., 4v.]
Jan. 3.
349. Mr. Popple to Sir Robert Raymond, Attorney General. Encloses extracts of letter from Govr. Shute, 1st June, and of the Charter relating to the negative voice, for his opinion to what particular elections the negative reserved in the Charter extends. [C.O. 5, 915. pp. 316, 317.]
Jan. 3.
St. James's.
350. Order of King in Council. Referring following to the Council of Trade and Plantations for their report thereon. Signed, Robert Hales. Endorsed, Recd. 12th. Read 13th Jan., 1720/1. ¾ p. Enclosed,
350. i. Petition of the Corporation of the Governour and Company of Merchts. of Great Britain trading to the South Seas, and other parts of America, and for encouraging the Fishery, in General Court assembled, to the King. Petitioners have for a long time intended to carry on a considerable trade in America, especially on the passing the last Act of Parliament for taking in the publick incumbrances, when they hoped by your Majesty's most gracious favour, to have had that part of the Island of St. Christophers which formerly belonged to the French, Nova Scotia, and other parts of America, belonging to your Majesty, granted to them:—That by such a grant the said Corporation would be entitled to people, cultivate and improve the same, so as to bring in to this Kingdom Navall Stores, and other comoditys, now brought in from forreign parts, which would be a great encouragment to Trade and Navigation, an improvement, and increase of yor. Majtys. Revenue, and inlarge and secure your Majtys. dominions in those parts. Your Petitioners therefore most humbly pray that the said part of St. Christophers and also Nova Scotia, and such other places in America may (for the service of the Publick, and of this Corporation) be granted to them, under such limitations and restrictions, and in such manner as Yor. Majesty in your great wisdom shall think fitt. And yor. Petitioners (as in duty bound) shall ever pray etc. By Order of a General Court, the 2nd January, 1720. Signed, Jno. Fellowes, Sub.Govr., Charles Joye, Dep. Govr. Copy. 1¾ pp. [C.O. 152, 13. ff. 38, 39, 39v, 41v.]
Jan. 5.
London. [1722].
351. Mr. Buck to Mr. Delafaye. We have recd. letters from our factors at Providence and Carolina complaining of the great hardship put upon them by Governor Niccolson etc. In June 1721 the sloop Duck Harry White master from Providence belonging to ye Bahamas Society and loaden with a cargoe of their goods bound on a voyage to Hispaniola for which she was furnished with propper clearances from the Customhouse officers at Providence was seized by ye Governour and brought up to Charlestown where all the trunks chests bales etc. belonging to the cargoe were broke open although ye vessell was not to trade or deliver any goods in that port and only went in to desire leave of the Governour to take in 20 barrells of that countrey beef. In Oct. last Capt. Tho. Walker our Factor at Providence sent a sloope from thence in ballast to Carolina to take in there a loading of deale bords in order to make proper conveniency to receive ye new Governor and recruits sent with him that they might not suffer as those wch. went with Gov. Rogers did for want of such conveniencies wch. occationed ye death of almost one halfe of them, the 26th day of Oct. ye sloope was loaden and ready to sayle but Governor Niccolson detained ye master from time to time with a pretence that he had letters to send by him to Providence, when ye Master went agen to wait upon him for his letters he took a bible and made him swear to all questions he putt to him and amongst others asked him if he had any pitch or tarr on board, to wch. ye master made answer that he had 4 barrells of pitch and 2 of tarr and 2 of rice as stores and for wch. the Custom House Officers had given him a permitt as is usually done to all vessells tradeing from ye West Indies to the Continent of America. Upon this confession ye Governor went in person and seized ye sloope and has since condem'd her in a pretended Court of Admiralty. Pray caution the Governor against committing such acts of violence and oppression and you'l oblige the Bahama Society and in perticular, Signed, Sam. Buck. Addressed. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 4. No. 22.]
Jan. 10. 352. Mr. Burniston to Mr. Popple. Encloses following. Signed, Cha. Burniston. Endorsed, Recd. 10th Jan., Read 5th Sept. 1721. Addressed. 1 p. Enclosed,
352. i. Proclamation by Governor Shute to prevent the destruction of H.M. Woods in the Massachusetts Bay, more especially in the County of York, formerly the Province of Maine, which has been made contrary to the Charter and Act of Parliament, 9th. of Queen Anne, etc. Boston, 1st Nov. 1720. Signed, S. Shute. Printed. 1 p.
352. ii. Robert Armstrong, Deputy Surveyor, to Charles Burniston, Surveyor General of H.M. Woods. New Hampshire, Nov. 20, 1720. By virtue of the saving clause in the Act of 9th of Q. Anne, "not being the property of any private person," the people of this Province elude the same. They have taken in thousands of acres wherein the best timber grows, and form the same into their townships, tho' the thousandth part thereof is not under any immediate improvement etc., and think that each inhabitant thereof may fell all trees at will. This must be corrected by our explanatory Act, etc. The King is under great disadvantage as to proof against those that destroy the mast trees, the onus probandi being on the King, which seldom can be made out, such is the behaviour of the people here etc. The inhabitants have utterly destroyed by sawing into boards etc. thousands of masts fit for the Royal Navy etc. I have prest at home this several years for an Act of Parliamt. to prevent the export of ship timber to foreign states, etc. Refers to Lord Bellomont's letter, C.P.S., 1700, 23rd April. Signed, Robt. Armstrong. Copy. 5 pp. [C.O. 5, 868. ff. 77, 78, 79, 81, 83, 83v.]
[Jan. 12] 353. Mr. Perry and others to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Pray to be heard upon the petition of the South Sea Co. for the French lands of St. Kitts. etc. Signed, Micajah Perry and five others. Endorsed, Recd. 12th Jan., 1720/1, Read 5th July, 1722. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 14. ff. 142, 143v.]
[Jan. 12.] 354. Stephen Duport to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Prays that his former petitions for lands in St. Kitts, which with the Board's favourable report upon them were mislaid at the Treasury, may be recommended to H.M. now that the South Sea Co.'s petition (v. preceding) is before the Board, etc. Signed, Ste. Duport. Endorsed as preceding. 1 p. [C.O. 152. 14. ff. 144, 145 v.]
[Jan. 12.] 355. Memorial by Col. Samuell Vetch, Richard Mullins, Charles Davison, David Pigeon, Cha. Brown, James Abercrombye, Cutts Hassan, Alexr. Willson, Francis Sullivan, George Lee, Peter Capon, Cha. Bruce, Wm. Cook, John Woodin, John Cocksidge, Scare Matthews to the Council of Trade and Plantations. In behalf of themselves and others who were in the actuall service in the late expedition by which Port Royall and Nova Scotia were reduced etc., refer to petition and reference of 21st July, 1719, (q.v.) upon which they have not yet obtained the Board's report. They are informed that the Governor and Company of Merchants trading to the South Seas have lately petitioned H.M. for a grant of Nova Scotia etc. (v. 3rd Jan.) Pray for a report upon their petition and that no report be made in favour of the South Sea Company until their case be heard, memorialists conceiving that they are entituled to a grant of said land preferrable to all others. Signed as above. Endorsed, Recd. 12th Jan., 1720/1. Read 3rd Sept., 1724. 2 pp. [C.O. 217, 4. ff. 263, 263v., 264v.]
Jan. 13.
356. Mr. Popple to Daniel Wescomb, Secretary to the South Sea Company. The Council of Trade and Plantations desire to speak on Thursday morning next with some of the Directors upon the petition of the Company (v. 3rd Jan.). [C.O. 153, 13. p. 461.]
Jan. 14.
357. Mr. Stanyan (Secretary to Mr. Secretary Craggs) to Col. Nicholson. I have received all your letters to that of the 10th inst. relating to the difficulties you have met with about the man of war being obliged to touch at the Maderas, and the transports to pursue their voyage directly to Carolina. I thought when you applied for H.M. Orders for the man of war to take you with the transports under convoy, you had got that point so thoroughly settled, as to admit of no dispute or delay in pursuing your voyage, and that your contract with the owners of the transports had been made accordingly; but I find you did not understand one another rightly; however by the enquiry I have made at the Admiralty, I hope the chief objection is now removed, orders being sent from thence to the Captain of the man of war, not to call at the Maderas, so that now the transports will be at liberty to pursue their voyage directly under that convoy. All the difficulty remaining is, that the transports lie ready to sail and pretend to be at demurrage, whereas it will be some time yet before the man of war will be ready, however I hope it will be but a few days longer, and as for the soldiers on board the transports, you know they may easily be supplied with more provisions by the Victualling Officer at Plymouth; so that all that seems further necessary is to prevail with the Masters of the transports to stay till the convoy is ready. The dangers and inconveniences you represent, if the transports were to sail without convoy, are so many, that Mr. Secretary does not think it adviseable for you to go without the man of war, at least unless there were an absolute necessity, in which case you will do well to write to him first, etc. Signed, Temple Stanyan. [C.O. 324, 34. pp. 34, 35.]
Jan. 16. 358. Earl of Sutherland to Earl of Westmorland (a Lord Commissioner of Trade and Plantations) "Ther being a petition presented to the King in Councill on behalf of the South Sea Company to have a grant of the French lands in St. Christophers Nova Scotia" etc., desires to be heard upon his pretentions etc. (v. Jan. 3rd). Signed, Sutherland. Endorsed, Recd. Read 17th Jan., 1720/1. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 1266. ff. 1, 2 v.]
Jan. 16.
359. Lt. Governor Spotswood to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Having lately held a Generall Assembly here, wherein more business has been done than in all the Sessions since 1714, I would not let this opportunity pass without communicating the most material transactions, tho' the shortness of the time since the prorogation (23rd Dec.) doth not permitt my sending the Journals etc. As I have on former occasions represented to your Lordps. the importance of gaining possession of the passes of the Great Mountains which lye to the westward of the inhabited part of this Colony, So your Lordsps. have now the sentiments of the Council and Burgesses of the great consequence it is to these Plantations that those passes be speedily secured: the growing power of the French on the Mississippi and the dangers to which this and the neighbouring Plantations would be exposed should that Nation possess themselves of these Mountains, have justly alarm'd the Assembly, and stirr'd in them an uncommon concern to be beforehand in securing that barrier: To this purpose they have taken measures for encouraging people to extend their settlements up to those passes, and by an Address to H.M. (enclosed) etc. Refers to their petition for remission of quitrents for 10 years within the two countys they have now erected. Continues: Tho' there be within the bounds of those countys many tracts of very good land, yet there are much more which are barren and mountainous, and which in all probability will ly many years both unprofitable to H.M., and useless to the subject without such an encouragement as is now propos'd: and besides, the Northern Indians continually traversing the Great Mountains through those passes, unless these be secur'd, few people will be tempted by any prospect of advantage to seat upon lands where they must be exposed to their insults etc. Whereas the exemptions and privileges proposed will so far encourage people to settle, that I have not the least doubt but that all the lands in those precincts will be seated in ten years time. And H.M. will then find so considerable an increase of his quitt rents as will abundantly compensate for the preceding years. But what is still more to be regarded is the increase of the trade of Great Britain which will accrue from the cultivation of this new territory inasmuch as new ground yields a much greater produce than that which hath been long used and worn out. And therefore I hope your Lordsps. will assist with a favourable representation of the applications of the General Assembly in this particular. The other petitions in this Address are, that H.M. will erect forts at those two passes and send two companys of soldiers for garrisoning them etc. The expence of building these forts for the present need not be very great, there being plenty of stone upon the spott, and it being impracticable for any enemy from the other side of the mountains to bring canon against them: if twenty years service in the wars, and the part I had in the most considerable projects of the last war in Flanders as Lt. Qr. Master Genll. under the Duke of Marlborough can gain credit with your Lordsps. etc., I can assure your Lordsps. that were I of the French side, I could with one company of soldiers in a month's time cast up such a work on that pass which I have viewed, that all the power of Virginia could not be able to dislodge me; and how much more difficult it will be for the French who are much more remote etc. Recommends the establishment of a garrison etc. Refers to the three Acts herewith sent; (i) for erecting the countys of Spotsylvania and Brunswick etc. Spotsylvania is bounded according to my observations when I view'd the Northern Pass over the Great Mountains at the head of Rappahannock River, there being little more of it known than what I discovered in that march: But the bounds of Brunswick which includes the Southern Pass at the head of Roanoak River, are so little known, that the Assembly was oblig'd to leave the same to be ascertain'd afterwards when a further discovery shall be made; for tho' we are assured by the Indians and some traders, that there is a pass through the Mountains at the head of that River, and no other from thence to that at the head of Rappahannock, yet we are still in the dark as to the distance it is from our inhabitants, or how near these two passes are to one another; and I believe I shall be obliged to make another journey thither before the bounds of that county can be fix'd or the intended fort erected. There is one clause in this Act, exempting forreign Protestants coming to inhabite those countys from contributing to the support of the established Ministers, so long as they keep a Minister of their own. This was put in, upon the observation of the incon veniency of erecting distinct parishes for forreigners: The French Refugees sent in here by King William, bringing a Minister with them had their settlement erected into a distinct parish, but being unable to afford a comfortable subsistance to a Minister, they have continued a great many years without one, and trusting to contributions from their countrymen in England to supply that want, have to this day never applyed themselves to learn the English language, by which they might have been enabled to join in the publick worship with their neighbouring inhabitants, tho' they make no scruple to conform to the ceremonys of our Church, the Ministers they have had being of that Communion. The other parts of this Act are only for the better administration of Justice untill those countys are sufficiently peopled to have Courts of their own etc. (ii) An Act for the better discovery and securing of H.M. Quitt Rents. The chief occasion of making this Law, was to free the people from the penalty of forfieting their lands for three years nonpayment of quitt rents, as had been enacted 1710 and 1713; but as those two laws had been under your Lordsps. consideration and approved of, I did not think fitt to con[sent] to any alteration therein by this Act, without a clause suspending the force thereof till H.M. pleasure be known, etc. There is another part of this Act on which I likewise thought fitt to wait H.M. pleasure which is that of changing the payment of the quitt rents into currant money: This at first sight may seem to be disadvantageous to H.M., because of the difference between the currency of this country and the value of sterling money. But as I have taken notice that the principal reason why the greatest part of the King's quitt rents has been paid in tobacco, was the difficulty of the people's procuring English money, and the almost impossibility of obtaining bills of exchange. I have long been of opinion that H.M. allowing the quitt rents to be received in the common currency of the country would be the only way of lessning the tobacco payments and consequently of encreasing the value of the qt. rents: for as the qt. rent tobacco in divers countys have been sold heretofore for 3s. a hundred and sometimes for half a crown, and that many of those who paid that tobacco would have been contented to discharge their quitt rents in money, if it had been allowed them to pay it in the common currency, I think it is thence demonstrable that the Crown has lost considerably by insisting too strictly on sterling money etc. Refers to letter of K. Charles II mentioned in the preamble to this Act etc. It was by that letter directed that a proclamation should be published notifying the allowance of that manner of payment, how that proclamation came to be neglected I have not been able to learn etc. By this Act in order to the encouraging the payment of the quitt rents in money, the people are now obliged, if they will pay tobacco to deliver it at certain places in their severall countys, instead of the Sherifs recieving it at every particular plantation as the manner of collection now is. By this means the planters will be engaged rather to procure money, than carry their tobacco such a distance as this Act enjoins etc. Other beneficial clauses in this bill may be reckoned an equivalent for the forfieture imposed by the former laws: such as the method of selling the goods distrained for the quitt rents, which is different from the common practice established by law in the case of private debts; for by the laws now in force such goods are to be valued by appraisers chosen by the party and the Sherif, and at whatever value these put on the goods, the Reciever General is obliged to take them, and to return the overplus in money to the debtor: so that where the valuation is made by corrupt appraisers, as is too often the case, the debtor is favoured beyond reason. And it has been known that the Receiver General for a debt of the King's has had an old saddle not worth 40s. valued to him at £25 sterl. But by this Act the person who makes distress for the King's debt is answerable for no more than what it will sell for by publick auction. The penalty of paying double quitt rents for all lands wilfully conceald, and making the lands of persons living out of the country liable to all arrears of quitt rents whenever they come to be afterwards possess'd, will also prove of great benefite to the Crown, by obliging the people to discover the true quantity they hold, and those who live out of the Colony to be more exact in the payment of their quitt rents, it being well known that a great deal of land is held by persons out of the country which have nothing on them to distrain. Neither could these lands by the former laws become forfieted for non-payment of quitt rents, because process could not be served on the owners to compell their appearance to defend their titles. These are the remarkable parts of this Act, and I hope will be reckoned a compensation for the latter clause which enacts that no lands shall here after become forfieted for non-payment of quitt rents, the preamble of which clause doth truly set forth divers practices very inconvenient to the subject which have been set on foot under pretence of that forfieture, which never were designed by the laws wherein the said forfieture is given, and I must acknowledge that such a penalty was severe enough of itself without making it a handle for cutting off entails, or giving occasion to ill disposed persons to acquire unjust titles to other men's estates; but in excuse for making that forfeiture it may be truly said that if such a penalty had not been imposed nor the other inconveniencys dis[covered], this law now before yor. Lordsps. had never had its birth. And since the laws which create the forfieture for non-payment of quitt rents have now had their effect by obtaining a juster method of payment of the quitt rents, I hope H.M. will be pleased to accept of this Act as an equivalent for that forfieture; and that you will be pleased to expedite H.M. approbation that it may be put in execution if possible against the time of the next years payment of the quitt rents. The Act for explaining and declaring what shall be a sufficient seating to save lands from lapsing etc. is intended to supply some omissions in the Act passed in 1713 etc.; for as to the first clause which allows the clearing and fencing of pasture grounds to be a sufficient cultivation, it must be granted that clearing and fencing of such grounds is as much labour and cost, as if the same were actually planted with grain, and no man will be at the pains to make such a pasture unless he has likewise a plantation at the same place. The 2d clause is that where people lay out their money in buildings, or other valuable improvements, every £10 so expended shall save 50 acres of the tract on which these buildings and improvements are made. This will seem the more reasonable, if it be compared with the other methods of cultivation prescribed in the former law: for if the tending three acres of corn ground which doth not cost 40s. expence shall according to the first law save 50 acres, the laying out £10 in building houses which are absolutely necessary for a man's habitation or in planting fruit trees which are of a more valuable produce, and the other improvements thereinmentioned which are of greater expence ought to give him at least as great a benefite in saving his tract; and as £10 for 100 acres of the outlands is now the common price where there are no houses or improvements your Lordsps. will not think it an unreasonable concession that the people are by this law allowed to save 100 acres at the expence of double the value of it, etc. That part which allows the surplus improvements on lands already patented, to save proportionably any contiguous tract hereafter taken up and joined together in one patent, will prove an advantage to the Crown, because in the taking up of lands since the late law directing the manner of cultivation, people have confined themselves to such small tracts as they found themselves of ability to improve, and have carefully avoided taking up much of what is accounted barren. So that abundance of such lands ly wast between the tracts of different patentees, which neither have cared to meddle with. Now liberty being given to join those contiguous barren grounds to the other more profitable tracts etc., those who have the contiguous lands will gladly take in these barrens, seeing tho' they are unfitt for cultivation they may nevertheless be very usefull for furnishing their plantations with wood etc. Here is likewise provision made for recovering lands lapsed from persons living out of the country who by the former laws could not be come at unless the process of the General Court was actually served on them, but now the lands of such persons (if they do not appear and prove a seating after the severall publications directed by this Act) may be declared lapsed, and regranted to any that petition for it. This Act altering nothing material in the former laws for seating and cultivation, but only serving as an explication thereof, I did not take it to come under the distinction of laws of an extraordinary nature, and therefore gave my assent to it, and hope it will also deserve your Lordsp's. approbation. Refers to enclosed public papers. Continues:— Notwithstanding this House of Burgesses had in it a great many of the same members who composed the last, their present Address to me was unanimous; and I hope yor. Lordsps. will believe that a Governor who is now treated with the appellations of good and just, could scarce deserve the character given him two years ago, of an oppressor of H.M. subjects, and a subverter of the Constitution, and it was more humour than reason that prevailed on the then House of Burgesses to frame such a complaint against me. I shall conclude with repeating my request that yor. Lordsps. will be pleased to forward as much as possible H.M. resolutions upon what is contained in the Assembly's Address. I have sent the original to my Lord Orkney, who I question not will take the first opportunity to present it; and as I know it will be referred for yor. Lordps.' report thereon I am the more earnest in bespeaking yor. Lordsps. dispatch thereof, because it has been represented here, as if nothing would ever be obtain'd at Court without an Agent from hence to sollicite in behalf of the Country, and the truth is, the Burgesses nominating Mr. Byrd to be their Agent on this occasion, is the only matter in which we have differed this Session; tho' it will not appear to be much the inclination of the people, when it is considered that this resolution was barely carryed by the Speakers casting vote: and if H.M. shall grant the Assembly's request before Mr. Byrd gets home, it will be a means to convince the country that H.M. Ministers are not (as has been represented) so regardless of the Plantations as to need the sollicitations of particular agents to prompt them to the doing what the interest and safety of H.M. American subjects require. And hereupon I cannot forbear this one observation, that the application for soldiers to garrison the passes of the mountains can proceed from nothing less than a thorough conviction of the necessity thereof, when a people who have the greatest jealousy of and aversion to a Military power, so earnestly press for such a guard to their frontiers. I received yor. Lordps' letter of the 14th of July, just before the meeting of the Assembly, and having laid before them some paragraphs of that letter, it will be most properly answered when I transmitt the journals etc. Signed, A. Spotswood. Endorsed, Recd. 20th, Read 22nd March, 1720/21. 10 pp. Enclosed,
359. i. Address of the Council and Burgesses of Virginia to the King. Dec., 1720. Having with great attention deliberated etc. as well how to extend your Empire in these parts as to secure our present settlements from the incursions of the savage Indians and from the more dangerous incroachments of the neighbouring French, we beg to lay before your Majesty the present scituation etc. Describe chain of exceeding high mountains westward of Virginia about 40 miles distant from their remotest settlements "which extend all along on the back of this and the next province Carolina, and must prove an extraordinary safeguard to these Colonys, whenever our plantations shall reach so far as to get possession of the two passes thro' that ridge," etc. In case the French should be beforehand, they would not only secure their communications betwixt the St. Lawrence and Mississipi but would be in condition by keeping the key of this barrier to annoy your Majesty's subjects etc. To encourage the speedy seating that tract which lies untaken up between our present settlements and those two passes etc., we have now erected two new countys, the one in Rappahanock River leading up to the Northern pass, and the other on Roanoake leading to that on the South etc. We have exempted the inhabitants thereof from publick taxes for ten years. We have agreed to build them churches and Courthouses and to furnish them with armes and ammunition at the publick charge. But what we humbly presume would still be a greater inducement to many to go up and settle this new frontier, would be your Royal favour of remitting all the quit rents of these two counties for ten years and exempting the takers up of land from the 5s. which they are by the order of this Government obliged to pay for every 50 acres that they enter for etc. Beg H.M. to give directions for building a fort at each of the passes out of the quit rents etc., and for sending over two companys of men in H.M. pay 50 men each to serve as a garison for these forts etc. Pray Lt. Govr. Spotswood to interceed with H.M. in their favour, "who has spared no fatigue or expense to visit our mountains in person, and to inform himself of the exceeding importance of them" etc. Signed, by the Council (10) and Burgesses (42). Endorsed as preceding. Copy. 3 pp.
359. ii. (a) Lt. Governor Spotswood's Charge to the Grand Jury of Virginia, Oct. 19, 1720. Reminds them of the law against false and scandalous reports to defame the chief rulers etc.
(b) Address of the Grand Jury to Lt. Governor Spotswood. 19th Oct., 1720. We comfort ourselves that a Governor so faithfull to H.M., and so tender of the people's libertys, will ever be of great estimation in the opinions of good men, etc. Signed, Aug. Moore, foreman, and 20 others. The whole endorsed as preceding. Copy. 3½ pp.
359. iii. (a) Speech of Lt. Governor Spotswood to the Council and Assembly of Virginia, Nov. 3, 1720. Urges moderation and concord. "To consider the state I have among you, and the free choice I've made to fix it under this Government, you have not surely any grounds to suspect me of injurious designs against the welfare of this Colony; for if a conscientious discharge of our duty engages us Governors to be specially mindfull of Great Britain's interest, yet I cannot see why that may not go hand in hand with the prosperity of these plantations etc. I look upon Virginia as a rib taken from Britain's side, and beleive that while they both proceed as living under the marriage-compact this Eve might thrive so long as her Adam flourishes; and whatever serpent shall tempt her to go astray etc., will but quicken her husband to rule more strictly over her etc. Reminds them of the naked state both of the harbours and frontiers, the disarmed condition of the Militia, the inconvenient length of many counties, and leaves to their consideration whether the giving encouragement for extending their "out settlements to the high ridge of mountains, will not be laying hold of the best barrier, that nature could form, to secure this Colony from the incursions of the Indians, and more dangerous incroachments of the French" etc.
(b) Address of the Council of Virginia to Lt. Govr. Spotswood. Reply to preceding. Nov. 5, 1720. We account ourselves very fortunate in having frequent occasions of being prompted by your great talents to promote H.M. service, and the general advantage of this Dominion etc. Our near relation to Great Britain, we esteem our chief felicity: And as this Colony has in the most rebellious times signalized her loyalty, so we question not but she will continue to give proofs of unshaken duty to her Sovereign, and of entire fidelity and affection to her mother country, etc. Agree to consider the properest expedients for guarding the frontiers etc.
(c) Address of the Burgesses of Virginia to Lt. Governor Spotswood. Nov. 5, 1720. Reply to (a). 'Tis with joy not to be expressed that we see a late unhappy division so unexpectedly united, which (next under God) we must ascribe to your peaceable disposition, and shall most heartily agree, after the example of our Governor, to banish all contentions out of our counsels and debates, and set ourselves earnestly and sincerely to consult, the united interest of our Royal Soverain, and this Dominion whose felicity it is to be joyned in interest with the Kingdom of Great Britain etc. We must joyfully acknowledge the satisfaction we have, to see our country in so prosperous and flourishing a condition as to want no supplies from us, as well as to be under the administration of so just a Governor etc. The whole endorsed as preceding. Copy. 4 pp. [C.O. 5, 1319. Nos. 3, 3. i.–iii.]
Jan. 17.
South Sea house.
360. Mr. Wescomb to Mr. Popple. Reply to 13th. All the Directors being then to attend the House of Lords, they cannot possibly wait on yor. Board at that time etc. Signed, D. Wescomb. Endorsed, Recd. Read 18th Jan. 1720/1. Addressed. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 13. ff. 42, 43 v.]
Jan. 19. 361. Mr. West to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Report upon several Acts of Barbados, passed in 1719, 1720. Signed, Richd. West. Endorsed, Recd. 19th Jan., Read 17th Feb. 1720/1. 8½ pp. Enclosed,
361. i. Petition of Rev. W. Gordon to the Lords Justices. Dec. 2, 1720. Signed, W. Gordon. Copy. 6 pp.
361. ii. Order of Lords Justices in Council. Oct. 5, 1720. Confirming Report of Committee of Council, that the charges of the Governor and Agents of Barbados against Mr. Gordon are altogether groundless and ought to be dismist.
361. iii. Memorial of Rev. W. Gordon to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Nov. 1, 1720. Copy. [C.O. 28, 17. ff. 13–17, 19–21v., 23–26v.]
Jan. 19. 362. Sir A. Cairnes and Mr. Douglas to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Pray to be heard before report is made upon the petition of the South Sea Company (v. 3rd and 12th Jan.). Signed, Alex Cairnes, James Douglas. Endorsed, Recd. 19th Jan., 1720/1. Read 3rd Sept., 1724. ½ p. [C.O. 217, 4. ff. 265, 266 v.]
Jan. 19.
So. Carolina.
363. Col. Moore and his Council to Mr. Boone. By yours of 8th Oct. wee are informed that wee may expect H.E. this month, which administers great joy to the whole Province and makes us have the best conceptions of your successful sollicitations. Continue wee beg of you to follow the Proprietors in every step they take to the disadvantage of Carolina etc. Enclose reply to Rhett's "vile and scandalous letter" to be laid before the Secretaryes of State, Lords of the Treasury, Lords of Trade and Commrs. of Customs etc. We desire you to use the most pressing instances to get that enemy to his country and detested reviler of mankind removed from his office of Surveyor and Comptroller of H.M. Customes etc. The Assembly meets in about three weeks, and if the new Governour doth not arrive before that you may expect a generall representation of his character etc. etc. Signed, Ja. Moore, Jo. Chicken, Saml. Prioleau, Jno. Lloyd, Thos. Smith, Benj. Schenckingh, Richd. Berisford. 1½ pp. Enclosed,
363. i. Reply of Col. Moore and his Council to Col. Rhett's letter to the Commissioners of Customs, 21st Dec., 1719. (i) That the people of S. Carolina had run into open rebellion and proclaimed Col. Moore for their Governor in order to take the Lords Proprietors' Charter from them and to bring the Province under the King's immediate Government. This is fully falsifyed by Govr. Johnson's letter, 27th Dec., 1719, and the General Representation sent home at that time. (ii) That he, Rhett, had had 25 years experience among the people of Carolina, and that they were ever raising mutinies and commotions, and that it was not only the Lords Proprietors' authority they trampled on, but not long since they raised a rebellion against H.M. by calling together 70 or 80 men in armes to fire on the Shoreham man of war and Custom house Officers, at which time he was shot through the body, and this done in the execution of their duty for seizing pyratical goods etc. Reply. Assert the peaceable behaviour of the inhabitants. Col. Daniel, Depty. Governor, ordered some piratical goods brought into Charles Town by a privateer to be secured until the law had determined whose property they were. Col. Rhett endeavouring by violence to get said goods into Charles Town by a privateer to be secured untill the law had determined whose property they were. Col. his possession before they were condemned Col. Daniel did make use of his authority to prevent him, but the people were not other ways concerned than in getting under arms in obedience to the Governor's lawful commands. (iii) Several of the leading men have been concerned in a notorious clandestine trade, particularly Samuel Eveleigh, who is now one of their Council, and now they think they will have protection etc. He hopes Lord Carteret will procure such a power from H.M. as will soon subdue these factious people, for if they are not cropt in the bud, and an example made of some of them, they will sett up for themselves against H.M. Reply. There has been less clandestine trade in this Province than in any part of the King's Colonies etc., tho' the Custom house yatch has lain rotteing in a creek for four years. Mr. Eveleigh had been a Deputy or Counsellor to the Lords Proprietors for 10 years. As for the people setting up for themselves, he is a villainous wicked wretch for suggesting what he knows to be false with a design to prejudice the whole Province in the King's opinion who are so remarkable in shewing their loyalty and zeal to H.M. (iv) They are in debt to the Lords Proprietors for arrears of rent a great many thousand pounds and have taken this rebellious method to pay off their old scores. Reply. There are arrears, but it is cheifly occasioned by Mr. Rhett not taking care to collect them, tho' there past a law the better to enable the Receiver to collect the rents, wch. their Ldps. did not think fitt to confirme. (v) That he hath thought it his duty in behalf of H.M. Revenue and security of fair traders to apprize their Honours that some remedy may be applied etc. Reply. He is owner of several vessels that trade from this place, is a trader himself and his wife keeps a shop in Charles Town. He traded to Augustine with great guns and powder immediately upon the cessation of arms, since which time the privateers of Augustine have taken several British ships upon this coast etc. Most of the differences between the people and the late Lords Proprietors have been occasioned by Mr. Rhett and his brother in law the late Judge Trott misrepresenting them to their Lordships with a view to their own private interest etc. Signed as preceding. 2 large pp. [C.O. 28, 39. Nos. 18, 19; and 5, 538. ff. 81–83v.]
Jan. 23.
364. Edmund Sutton to Coll. Martyn Bladen, one of the Lords Commissioners for Trade etc. As I shall be a sharer of ye misfortunes yt. doth attend this place having an interest in ye same, I have taken ye liberty to remind you of our acquaintance at St. John College in Cambridge etc. Ye calamitous circumstance of this Island compells me to address you as a friend to mankind etc. Ye 5 of Decemr. last Mr. Saml. Cox came to ye Presidentship of this place, ye second setting of ye Council he suspended Col. John Frere, a gentleman of ye best fortune in this Island, and of unspotted reputation, contrary to ye advice of ye Council, and then he proceded to breake all ye military officers notwithstanding there is a late law of this Island yt. restraines a President power without ye consent of Council. Ye 17th of this instant he suspended six more of ye Members of H.M. Council and ye same day swore four of his creatures into their places and nominated a fifth whose indisposition prevented his being sworn; ye next place we expect he will displace ye Judges and then dissolve this assembly who are not very gratious with him for addressing H.M. against him and hath endeavoured to prevent all he can their proceeding on business by his adjournments tho' ye Island never wanted ye setting of an Assembly more than it doth at this juncture to remonstrate ye grievances of ye place, yt. they may be redressed at home, for we can hope for none here. As soon as ye Judges are displaced and some of his instruments do take their places and there is a dissolution of this Assembly that will not fall into his vile measures, he will labour to have such returned by Sheriffs of his own nomination for assembly men as are prepared for his model of Government wch. is to fill his empty coffers with ye public money etc. The French from Martineco hath more indulgence shown ym. by ye President then they have in their own Island, they have ingress and egress into all ye forts and fortifications and ye full range of ye Island and have an open access to ye President who gave leave to a French sloap to anchor in Carlisle Bay and remain in ye harbour for four days and after a universal clamour of ye Island he issued out a Proclamation for ye French men departure yet takes care underhand to prevent ye executing of ye same. He hath given letters for ye General of Martineco to several persons who under yt. pretence carry on ye sugar trade wch. is very destructive to this Colony and it may be made appear yt. he hath a share in ye sd. trade, and it is very notorious his incouraging some persons yt. are Knights of ye Post by putting ym. into places of trust and profit for taking false oaths against several gentlemen of this Island and displacing others etc. Signed, Edmund Sutton. Endorsed, Recd. Read 22nd March, 1720/1. Seal. 2 pp. [C.O. 28, 17. ff. 29, 29v., 30v.]
Jan. 23.
365. Mr. Sutton to George Bamfeild and Alexander Stevenson, Agents for Barbados. There is no order past for yr. sallarys and since Mr. Cox accession to ye Presidentship I have good reason to believe you will have none, ye said President being incensed against all persons that Mr. Lowther imployed or made use of, it therefore behoves you when a Governour is appointed to make an interest with him etc. Our President hath turned our Govermt. topsy turvy etc. as preceding. Signed, Edmund Sutton. Endorsed, Recd. Read 25th March, 1721. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 17. ff. 47, 48v.]
Jan. 23.
366. Samuel Cox, President of the Council of Barbados, to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Returns thanks for the Board's reports and relief "against the unparallel'd tyranny of our late Governor" etc. Will endeavour to promote the welfare of the Island and give an account of his actions etc. Continues:—Upon my demanding from the publick Secretary copies of the Minutes of Council from the time they were last transmitted, he sent me the enclosed answer etc. By this meanes it happens, that I have been able to transmitt to your Lordships no more then such as relate to transactions since my entering on the Government etc. The particular reason for my permitting Mr. Frere (altho' under contempt) to be sworn at my first sitting in Council was that I expected he would have withdrawn from the Board upon the reading the Lord Justices Order, and my requireing him to pay obedience to the same, and upon his neglecting so to do, I did not apprehend myself capable of exerciseing any act of Government nor consequently of excluding him, until I was assisted by a Council; which I conceived could not be till they were sworn; and he being the eldest Member thereof must regularly be first sworn etc. On my sitting in Council, the 17th instant I suspended Mr. Maxwell, Mr. Maycock, Mr. Ball, Mr. Blackman, Mr. Carter and Mr. Bond. Refers to enclosure and hopes for their Lordships' approbation. It was with the greatest reluctance and from an absolute necessity that I was compell'd to that exercise of my authority. Having (in vain) allow'd them so long an interval, as from the 8th Dec. to 17th Jan. for their returning to the sense of their duty. Which they abused, by paying their publick regards to Mr. Frere; Holding cabals with him, and the rest of their accomplices, and an utter contempt of me etc. The motion made by the suspended Members, at the Board the 17th instant, they aver that the reason why they made use of the word contempt, in their answer on 8th Dec., was because the Lords Justices made use of that word, 12th Oct. The plain meaneing whereof I conceive is, that altho they did say in their said answer. That Mr. Frere is in contempt, yet (indeed) they do not believe him to be so (whatever the Lords Justices may adjudge) but were unwarily drawn in, to make use of that word, in complaisance to their Excellencys, who had thought fitt to use it. Altho' I expressed no other reason in Council for my suspending Mr. Frere, " Besides his contempt of H.M. Order of 11th June." Yet it appears that he was equally guilty, of most of the other Acts of disobedience and contempt which I have charged against the other suspended Members. For that he gave his assent to the Tranquillity Law, on 7th June; and disobey'd H.M. Order comunicated to the Board by Mr. Lowther 30th June, asserted his right to the Presidentship, after the publication of the Lords Justices Order of 12th Oct., and before his suspension, as well as his right of sitting as a Member of Council after his suspension; And lastly urged the Tranquillity Act against my power of suspending him, 8th Dec. And I hope therefore his suspension (as well as that of the others) will be approved of by your Lordships as just and necessary etc. By the suspension of the aforesaid Members, there became a vacancy of five, to make up the number of seven in the said Council; which I have supply'd by chuseing, and appointing Reynold Alleyne, Henry Peers, John Sandford, Othniel Haggatt, and John Rous Esqre. to be of the said Council, till H.M. further pleasure shall be known. All which Gentlemen are of undoubted characters, as to their probity, understandings, estates, and affections to the Government. I earnestly request your Lordships to report their fitness to H.M. etc. As to what relates to the Assembly, they were chosen by virtue of writts issued from Mr. Frere and chiefly by his influence, after his haveing been served with H.M. Order of 11th June. Refers to their Minutes enclosed, "which Minutes are all that I could obtain from their Clerk; notwithstanding I have frequently demanded from him, all that have passed since the last time, that any of them were transmitted." Refers to enclosure iii etc. Signed, Saml. Cox. Endorsed, Recd. Read 23rd March, 1720/1. 3 large pp. Enclosed,
366. i. Mr. Cox's Representation of the present state of Barbadoes and the conduct of those persons left in power by Mr. Lowther. Jan. 20, 1720–1. Mr. Lowther being determined at all adventures to exclude me from the administration in favour of his nephew Mr. Frere, not only contemned Mr. Craggs' letter but by way of prevention in case H.M. should be graciously pleased to repeat it, pass'd a law under the specious pretence of preserving the peace and tranquility of the Island whereby he would have vacated the very Letters Patents by which alone the power of making laws at all here is created. This pretended Law of his changing the fundamental constitution in direct opposition to the Letters patents, making the consent of 7 Members of Council in Council necessarily requisite in the alteration of any officers civil or military, altho' by the Letters Patents 5 Members are constituted a quorum, and the Govr. with the majority required and impowered to execute all the powers. Mr. Lowther displaced most of the old officers civil and military and supplied their places with persons of meaner fortunes and understandings who were creatures of his own, and had been the instruments of all his arbitrary conduct. All the Members of Council who were not suspended except Mr. Lightfoot owed their seats at that Board to his recommendation and had so blindly and universally concurred with him in everything that for their own sakes they would be sure to prevent any alteration that might leave room for a fair enquiry into their and his unjustifiable behaviour, and to engage them the firmer therein, he had prevailed with them to involve themselves in this guilt by approving of such his disobedience in Council. H.M. was further graciously pleased to explain ye significacon of his Royal pleasure expressly in my favour by another letter of the 11th June, which Mr. Frere then exercising the Govr. with the concurrence of all the Council except Mr. Lightfoot following Mr. Lowther's example took upon him to contemn. The Lords Justices for such his contempt required him forthwith and without delay to appear before H.M. at the Council Board, and directed me to take the administration of the Governmt. upon myself, when this order arrived to remove any apprehensions that I retain'd any resentmt. of any former ill treatment of me, I made a solemn declaration on 5th Dec. last, that all things past should be buried in oblivion, and that I would study to promote peace, unanimity and reconciliation among all H.M. subjects and caused the same to be entred in the Council Book and made publicly known. The time for holding a Grand Sessions being then near and by law all jurors being returned by writs issued by the Commander in Cheif etc., and the Lords Justices having declared Mr. Frere's holding the Governmt. to be illegal and a disobedience and contempt of the Royal commands etc., I therefore asked the opinion of the Council whether I could issue commissions for holding the Court, the writs for the return of Jurors having been issued by Mr. Frere, they desired time to consider which I readily granted them to Thursday the eighth when they gave in their opinion that the writs tho' issued by Mr. Frere were legal. In that interval I had certain accounts of a cabal of those Gentlemen, who thro' Mr. Lowther's influence were of the Council and Assembly and possessed of the civil and military offices who gave out that they had received letters from Britain giving them an account that the order of the Lords Justices was obtained thro' the influence of some noble Lords, that when H.M. returned Mr. Lowther would have all reversed and Mr. Frer reinstated (in hopes of which he has now stayed above two months in this Island, and determin'd to waite for more ships from London) That the Tranquility but made me a cypher, any two of them had a negative upon me, and that they had nothing to do but to stand by one another and defy me. In pursuance of those measures Mr. Frere had the confidence tho' in contempt of his Majesty instead of repairing home to come and offer to sit and act as a Counciller, and insisted upon doing so, and when I told him the duty I ow'd H.M. would not permit me to indulge him in that, and ask'd the opinion of the Council thereon, they refused to give me any positive opinion but all of them insisted on the pretended Tranquility but altho' it plainly appeared to be repugnant to and inconsistent with H.M. Comission and Instructions, and that the very attempting to enforce such an Act was such a heinous violation of and so great an incroachment upon the Royal Prerogative as I could never suffer without the highest and unanswerable breach of the trust reposed in me, however to avoid all misunderstandings and that my lenity and indulgence to them, might prevail with them to act in concert with me for H.M. service I adjourn'd the Council for a month, in which time I enquired into the state and condition of the forts magazine and militia. I am sorry I am forced to represent the miserable decayed and confused posture of everything, the forts are wholly out of repair, the stores which ought to be in the magazine embezled the militia have forgot all discipline and most of the Regmts. want subaltern officers. Whilst I was preparing to fall upon measures first of all for the redressing these errors, Mr. Frere went about the country endeavouring to perswade people to sign Addresses in his and Mr. Lowther's favour, and the Assembly who were most of them returnd to sit thro' his contrivance met privately on 5th Jan. at a Plantation in the country contrary to my order and in contempt of H.M. Prerogative, and there had the assurance notwithstanding of the judgment given agt. Mr. Lowther by the Lords Justices to pass an Address to H.M. in substance as I am informed complaining of the removal of Mr. Frere, commending Mr. Lowther's administracon and complaining of mine before I had an opportunity of doing anything at all. I was amazed at so much insolence, but before I should proceed to advert thereon I sent to the Speaker Mr. Sutton for a copy of the Address which he not only refused to send till he should have the consent of the House, but had the assurance to direct me not to send him any more verbal messages. I thereupon called the Assembly the 13th Janry. and acquainted them with their Speaker's treatment of me, their contempt in acting when ordered to adjourn, that I was obliged by my Instructions to transmit to the Ministry all the Journals and transactions of that House and therefore demanded a copy of the Address mentioned in their Minutes, whereupon they went to their House, voted my demanding from their Speaker an infringement of their rights and privileges, gave thanks to their Speaker for denying it me, and resolved that I should have no copy of their Address. I have had the honour of being a Councillor above 20 years and never knew such an encroachmt. on the prerogative ever attempted in the Island before, but what made it the more surprizing to me was that the Members of Council abetted and commended it, depending upon the Tranquillity Act for protection in any affront they should think fit to give me or the authority vested in me, this reduced me to the unhappy necessity of sitting tamely still and seeing H.M. authority trampled upon and his prerogative invaded or of removing those Members of Council who had voted for the giving of the Prerogative up, which I thought myself in duty bound to do, and to that purpose summon'd a Council on the 17th when all the Members except Mr. Lightfoot as soon as they came to the Board insisted upon having it minuted that in the opinion they delivered the preceding Council day, they made use of the word contempt with relation to Mr. Frere's conduct only because the Lords Justices had made use of it, thereby insolently intimating, that they did not acknowledge that Mr. Frere had been guilty of any contempt. I thereupon thought myself in duty bound for the preservation of H.M. authority and prerogative and the vindication of the justice of their Excellencies the Lords Justices and the Members of H.M. most honble. privy Council, to suspend those Members for such their undutiful and treacherous behaviour to H.M., and to make the number of seven etc., etc. Hopes for H.M. approbation. Signed, Saml. Cox. Same endorsement. 2½ pp.
366. ii. Copy of Mr. Cox's Speech to the Assembly. Barbados, 13th Jan., 1720(1). Demands copy of their Address to the King etc. Signed, Saml. Cox, Same endorsement. 1½ pp.
366. iii. List of Councillors suspended and appointed, as in covering letter. List of Gentlemen recommended for the Council by Mr. Cox; — Rev. Charles Irvine, Alexander Walker, Edward Warner, James Aynsworth, Thomas Beckles, George Walker, Samuel Osborne, Daniel Hooper, James Elliott, George Grame, Henry Evans, George Forster. Signed, Saml. Cox. Same endorsement. 1 p.
366. iv. Transactions relating to the Address to the King by the Assembly of Barbados. 10th, 11th Jan. 1720(1). Same endorsement. 3¼ pp.
366. v. Minutes of Assembly of Barbados, 5th and 13th Jan. 1720(1). Same endorsement. 5½ pp. [C.O. 28, 17. ff. 31–35v. 36v.–40, 41–42v.]
Jan. 26.
367. Mr. Secretary Craggs to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Commission and Instructions are to be prepared for Rich. Viscount Irwin, appointed Governor of Barbadoes. Signed, J. Craggs. Endorsed, Recd. Read 26th Jan. 1720/1. ¾ p. [C.O. 28, 17. ff. 5, 6v.]
Jan. 26.
St. James's.
368. H.M. Warrant for admitting John Robinson to the Council of Virginia in the room of William Cock, decd. Countersigned, J. Craggs. Copy. [C.O. 324, 34. p. 36.]
Jan. 28.
369. Mr. Popple to Mr. West. Enclosing for his opinion in point of law, Act of New York appointing the value of lyon dollars. [C.O. 5, 1124. p. 250.]