America and West Indies: October 1731, 1-5

Pages 275-290

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 38, 1731. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1938.

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October 1731, 1-5

Oct, 1.
St. John's.
422. Governor Clinton to [? Mr. Popple]. Sir, In my former of the 25th July last, I acquainted you of my arrival here, and that I was proceeding to Placentia, to veiw that Garrison, (of which I have transmitted the report) and to adjust the differences that might happen thereabout, all which I have settled in the best manner I was capable, tho' these are a set of people that no one person living can please; but I need not give their Lordships the trouble to represent them, Capt. Osborn having often repeated it: However the copys of the several petitions, letters and affidavits, that have occurred to me during my Government and command this season, together with some material orders I issued thereon, will I hope be sufficient to convince their Lordships how difficult, and almost impossible it is, to govern such a sort of people under the present establishment.
The Admirals do really take so much upon themselves, that unless it be to serve their own turns, (or to get a reward as I am very well informed they have) they cannot be prevailed upon to hold a Court, to serve the injured and distressed, of which I have complained to them in my letter of the 23rd past, since which they have held one Court, and at my desire will hold another the 2d instant. They do in general, publickly declare, they are supported in what they do, by an act of Parliament; and that it is not in the power of his Majesty to grant a com- mission, or settle any civil power here. The ignorant people are possess'd therewith; their orders are obeyed, and mine tore, and those I send them by very much abused; two whereof are now imprison'd here, in order to be tryed the next Quarter Sessions for their contempt. Their Lordships will also find (by a copy of the Representation, the Justices of this place have sent me) the inconveniency and hazard the island is exposed to, by the transportation of felons to this part of America, and the number of Irish Papists that resort here in the Fishing season, and remain the winter, both which (I must concurr with the Justices in opinion) are of dangerous consequence. Several of the felons lately brought over, have been guilty of theft, and threatned murder to the very masters they lived with, tho' Justices; whose account thereof I also send a copy. The Irish are grown so insolent, that they openly declare, they wish for nothing else, but the French to come over, and they will join them directly; for there is not one but has his fire-arms. They are very much supported by one Rowe at the Bay of Bulls, an English Papist, and master of a ship, who takes upon him to determine everything in their favour (tho' no Admiral) of whose transactions I have inclosed a part, for their Lordships perusal. And now at my departure, I have been crowded with numberless complaints; and certainly such barbarous, unjust and scandalous behaviour to one another, was never seen in a Christian country. The Admirals, master and leading trading people, seem, I think, to devour the rest; they send their boats, take the people's effects by force from their flakes and stages, without any regard to the other creditors, nay even giving the owners the satisfaction to see it weighed, or knowing what is taken from them. Upon which I published my order of the 24th instant (which is at the conclusion of my remonstrances) that all might know I was determined to put a stop to such base and vile proceedings, one towards another, and partly the methods by which I intended it. I shall always make it my study to execute H.M. commands to the utmost of my power, and my endeavours here has been to do justice to all partys without partiality. But unless their Lordships will please to consider of some more effectual means, to redress the many greivances I have represented, it will be impossible for me to regulate this Fishery to the strictness of my Commission, and much less can the Justices and other civil Power be supposed to rule, that are to act under me. I shall defer what I have further to say till such time I have the honour to wait on their Lordships myself etc. Signed, Geo. Clinton. Endorsed, Recd. 10th Nov., 1731, Read 9th March, 1731/2. 4 pp. Enclosed,
422. i. Attorney General to the King. Dec. 29, 1730. In reply to H.M. commands quotes clauses in Newfound- land Act relating to the process of Fishing Admirals etc. Continues:—Whereby it appears that the whole authority granted to the Fishing Admirals is restrained to the seeing the rules and orders, contained in that Act, concerning the regulation of the Fishery there duely put in execution and to the determination of differences arising between the masters of fishing- boats and the inhabitants, or any by-boat keeper touching the right and property of fishing rooms, stages, flakes or any other building or conveniency for fishing or curing of fish in the several harbours or coves of Newfoundland, which is a kind of civil jurisdiction in particular cases of property; whereas the authority of Justices of the Peace extends only to breaches of the Peace and other criminal matters; and therefore I am humbly of opinion that the powers granted by your Majesty to Capt. Osborne to constitute Justices of the Peace in Newfoundland is not contrary to or inconsistent with any of the provisions in the said Act, and that there is no interfering between the powers given by that act to the Fishing Admirals and the authorities which Justices of the Peace are invested with by their Commission. Signed, P. Yorke. Endorsed, Referred to in Capt. Clinton's letter of 1st Oct., 1731, Recd. 10th Nov., 1731, Read 9th March, 1731/2. (? Rectius, enclosed in D. of Newcastle's letter of 23rd Nov., 1731). Copy. 5½ pp.
422. ii. Proceedings of the Governour, Justices of the Peace etc. of Newfoundland.
(a) Governor Clinton to Edward Hopley, Store- keeper of the Ordnance at Placentia, demanding an account of the stores of war etc. 7th Aug. 1731.
(b) Same to Samuel Gledhill, Lt. Governor of Placentia. Orders to proceed in accordance with his Instructions. The Justices of the Peace complaining of the refusing to comply with the Article requiring him to be aiding and assisting H.M. Justices etc., he is to pay strict regard to it, or answer at his peril. Placentia, 10th Aug., 1731.
(c) The establishment of the garrison at Placentia etc. The parapet and redoubt of the Fort require a dressing of stone etc.
(d) Petition of Thos. Buchanan of Great Placentia to Governor Clinton. Prays for an order to Mr. Boudet to pay a debt of 60l. etc.
(e) Governor Clinton to Michel Boudet. Order to pay 10l. yearly. 10th Aug. 1731.
(f) Petition of John Marshall of Placentia to Governor Clinton. In behalf of Mrs. Ann Wroe, Geo. Campbell and Peter Luce, executors of Joshua Wroe of Boston, requests order to Edward Mills to account and pay for merchandize consigned to him by said Wroe.
(g) Governor Clinton to the Fishing Admirals of Placentia. 10th Aug., 1731. Order to oblige Mr. Mills to account and pay.
(h) Thomas Salmon and Thomas Buchanan to Governor Clinton. Placentia, 10th Aug., 1731. Have served as Justices of the Peace without complaint for 3 years; but this morning saw a most scandalous complaint given in by Lawrence Herder and others, laying before you, that they were most barbarously used by us, and that we connived with some New Englanders t o their great hurt, and also imposed upon them very much by making them pay 45s. yearly for their licences. They all sell beer etc. and keep victualling houses, and it is no hardship to them to pay such a small summe, necessary for repairing the Church and mending the road to Little Placentia etc. Request to resign their Commissions.
(i) Order by Governor Clinton to the Justices at Placentia. 10th Aug. 1731. You are to suspend L. Hearder for a month from keeping any publick house, and take security for his good behaviour, "and do the same to any other person who shall in that business behave themselves disrespectively" etc. For the future 20s. and no more is to be demanded for granting and renewing licences to public houses etc., and an exact account to be kept etc.
(j) Governor Clinton to the Justices of the Peace within the district of Trinity. St. Johns, 22nd Aug., 1731. Has made a new Commission, leaving out Jacob Tavernor on account of his being a Dissenter, "and some other disturbances he has been guilty of," and putting in his room Richard Waterman, who is to take the oath before Lt. Hughes, whom he has appointed to go to the norward, in order to settle things in the best manner he is capable of. The Justices are all jointly to act in the said Commission, and "not one to have more power than another, nor one to contradict what another orders, it being impossible to keep up any manner of Government when any such divisions happen."
(k) Same to Same. Mr. Kilpatrick having reported that there are no Churchwardens for the Church of Trinity, they are to hold a meeting for the election of same. Dated as preceding.
(l) Governor Clinton to Lt. Richard Hughes, H.M.S. Salisbury. Instructions to proceed to several harbours, and there assist fishing admirals, determine disputes, prevent illegal trade, punish offenders, obtain information for answers to Heads of Enquiry etc., and prevent any foreign vessel fishing in these parts, with due regard to Articles 13 and 14 of Treaty of Utrecht. Dated as preceding.
(m) Justices of the Peace of St. Johns to Governor Clinton. 20th Aug. 1731. Represent the difficultys they meet with and the insults they are exposed to in the execution of their Commission etc., and other grievances, which if not speedily prevented, must destroy the present establishment etc. Continue:— In the first place we humbly present the danger the country is in, and will be more exposed to, in case of a French war, by the bringing hither such a number of Irish Roman Catholicks, being 300 or more every year, insomuch that three quarters of the inhabitants, on the So. and West part of the Island, are of that sort, and who, we have very good reason to think, will to a man join the French interests, as they have opportunity, which will soon be given them by the French from Cape Briton, whenever a war happens; those people from Ireland being all Papists, brought from inland places, and many from gaols, very ignorant and insolent, and naturally prejudiced against Englishmen and Protestants; and the ill consequence attending their setling here in such numbers is most apparent. We also desire to represent the danger we are exposed to by the transportation of felons, from Great Briton hither; which before this year hath not been known, and since which five of the basest and most barbarous murders have been commited, that ever was known in this Island, and not without strong suspicion of its being done by some of them etc. As we are a Constitution not so capable of defending ourselves from such insults, as others of H.M. Plantations, which are under better regulations, and have men and money for defence and security thereof at the publick charge, we pray that the fear we are in from such bandits may be removed, by their being obliged to depart this island etc. Represent the charge and difficulty of sending to England for trial persons charged with capital crimes, with witnesses etc., the persons so offending generally having nothing to forfeit, the charge must be levied on the people of the district, in which they are convicted; which how hard, or even impossible it is to be done, is obvious to all who are acquainted with the indigent condition of the people here; then after all, the charges must be paid by us who act, or imploy any person in such an affair, and without any reward, credit or thanks etc.
By an order from Governor Osborn, a tax was levyed in 1729 of half a quintal of merchantable fish on all fishing boats, and half a quintal on all boats' rooms, within this district, towards erecting a prison in St. John's. The said prison was began, in expectation that the tax would have been duly complyed with; but several have refused to pay, and upwards of 50l. hath been advanced towards the said building, above what hath been reced. for that service, and no prospect at present of having the same reimbursed. And as some are poor and cannot, and some refuse to pay, it was thought the most proper method this year, to rate three pence on the pound on all servants' wages, imployed in the Fishery (exclusive of the shipping) to finish the said prison, and that all masters should account for the number of their servants and detain in their hands threepence per pound out of their wages etc. Which good intentions of ours meets with unjust censures, and insinuations are spread abroad that the money so raised, will be converted to our own use, and both masters and servants refuse to comply therewith, being thereto influenced by the Admirals, and most of the masters of vessels in the harbour, so that unless you will please by some severe methods to oblige them to their duty etc. the prison must remain unfinished; and those who have advanced so much money be great sufferers, and our persons and office contemned and ridiculed etc. Pray H.E. to secure for them an explanation of the Act of Parliament relating to the Trade and Fishery of Newfoundland, in particular of the extent of power given to the Admirals, "and for instructions how we are to proceed in the execution of our office, without interfering with the power granted to them thereby." Signed, Willm. Weston, A. Southmayd.
(n) Governor Clinton to the Collectors for the Prison at St. Johns. Salisbury at St Johns, 27th Aug. 1731. Calls for accounts, and of "who has not paid to the prison" etc. Continues: The threepence laid on the head of each servant, (v. preceding), is quite against the rules laid down by Capt. Osborn etc. To raise what was laid first will be sufficient etc. I will give you till to-morrow sennight to fix everything etc.
(o) Same to the Justices of the Peace at Conception Bay. 31st Aug., 1731. Capt. Weston has given me a list of what people have paid in Conception Bay towards the prison here, but tells me there is a great many more wanting yet; therefore I desire you will immediately oblige the rest to do the same etc. Whereas there is several more boats this year, I expect the same from all equally. Lt. Hughes has instructions to oblige those who refuse to pay to you etc.
(p) Same to Lt. Hughes. Aug. 31st. Instructions referred to in preceding.
(q) Proclamation by Governor Clinton, 31st Aug., 1731. Whoever shall refuse to pay his prison tax, will be compelled thereto etc.
(r) Governor Clinton to William Le Merkin at Portugal Cove. St. Johns, 4th Sept 1731. You are not to dispose of any more of your fish until you have paid your servant, Garret Haley according to your contract etc.
(s) Same to the Collectors for the Prison. St. Johns, 2nd Sept. The progress you have made in collecting the money I very much approve of etc. Encloses notices for hastening on this business etc.
(t) Same to Lt. Hughes, 8th Sept., 1731. Le Merkin and his son having presumed to tear in pieces my order, and treat the constables inhumanly, who read it to him, and beat his servant, you are to bring them hither prisoners, to answer for contempt.
(u) Thomas Hibbs and Robert R. M. Miller, Constables, to William Weston, J.P. Portugal Cove, 7th Sept., 1731. We have served Nicholas Merkins with the Comadore's order the which they abused and broke, and likewise beat and abused the man for craving of anything for his labour etc.
(v) Governor Clinton to the Justices at St. Johns. 17th Sept. 1731. Orders them to hold a Sessions to convict and punish by a fine the Le Merkins brought hither by Lt. Hughes.
(w) Same to John Barns at St. Johns. 18th Sept., 1731. Whereas complaint has been made to me, that you are indebted to divers persons at this place, and are clandestinly getting off your fish etc., without any regard to the demands of your creditors, I do therefore strictly forbid you to dispose of it etc., till you have appeared at the Court I am to hold here on Tuesday next etc.
(x) Order by Governor Clinton to the Fishing Admirals at Fermouse. 18th Sept. 1731. Having considered the affair between Charles Humphreys and Company and George Coplestone, relating to a parcel of fish the latter bought of the former. Orders Coplestone to pay for whatever part thereof he received on board, according to the contract price.
(y) Order of a Court held at St. Johns, 21st Sept., 1731. Samuel Angel is confirmed in the possession of a stage on the Flagstaff room in Petty Harbour, it being determined not to be on ship's room, as alleged by Richard Newman and John Lyston, master of fishing ships, but long and generally esteemed to be Angell's etc. Signed, G. Clinton, H. Osborn, Heard, Admiral, Squarry, do.
(z) Governor Clinton to the Fishing Admirals at St. Johns. Salisbury at St. John's. 23rd Sept., 1731. Upon my arrival, I declared I should not sit at any Court ashoar; but that in complyance with the Act of Parliament, I should be always ready to hear any appeal, that might be made to me on board the Salisbury, from any person that judged himself aggreived by your sentence. But as I am daily pestered with complaints of masters being ill treated by their servants, and servants wronged by their masters etc., it makes me so free to say that I think you have been very negligent in the discharge of that duty incumbent on you; that is, the speedy hearing such complaints, and doing justice to the injured party. It is therefore my opinion that you ought, and desire that you will forthwith hold a Court, to hear and decide so many controversyes, as are ready to come before you. Once more I recommend this affair to you as a matter of moment, and the rather for that the Peace and welfare of the inhabitants, as well as free trade and commerce, intirely depends upon it, and expect your complyance. Otherwise I must be obliged to represent so great a negligence of yours to the Lords Commissrs. for Trade, and pray them, to think of some more effectual means, to releive the distressed, and distribute justice.
a (i) Governor Clinton to Thomas Gordon and Compy. 23rd Sept., 1731. Ordering payment in fish of debt of 59l. 14s. 9d. to Messrs. Gill and Denet etc.
b (i) Same to Capt. William Weston. 23rd Sept. Order empowering him to seize fish or goods of Wm. Stow in payment of debt of 25l. 17s. 7d. etc.
c (i) Proclamation by Governor Clinton, 24th Sept., 1731. Whereas great complaints have been made of forcible seizures for debts, without authority, by which illegal practices masters are disabled from paying their servants' wages, and the poor servants are reduced to beggary etc., and whereas it appears that several of the inhabitants proceed in a very scandalous manner towards each other, and frequently combine with persons to secretly convey their effects off their rooms, at the conclusion of the fishing season, under pretence of answering, as well their fallacious and contrived, as real debts, to the great prejudice if not utter ruin of others, etc., I am determined to put a stop to these illegal proceedings etc., and hereby strictly forbid any person whatsoever, to enter upon, or take from any flake, stage etc. in the manner aforesaid any fish, oil, or other goods, without first obtaining permission from me etc., on pain of forfeiting double the quantity of goods so taken away etc. In the case of all debts hereafter contracted, particular regard will be had to the time they were entred into, for preference in respect of payment etc. The whole, endorsed Recd. 10th Nov., 1731, Read 9th March, 1731/2. 24½ pp.
422. iii. Scheme of Newfoundland Fishery, 1731. Returns from Placentia, Trepassy and St. Mary's not yet received. Signed, Geo. Clinton. Endorsed as preceding. 4 pp.
422. iv. The Division of the island into districts and names etc. of the Justices of the Peace there, and several of their proceedings, vizt.:—
(a) Deposition of Richard Mitchell of Quidividi, fisherman, before the Justices of St. Johns. 23rd Sept., 1731. Capt. Wm. Smith forceably took away some fish belonging to deponent and his partner John Butland, though they owed him nothing and it was the Sabbath, without any of them knowing the weight or price etc. Signed, Richard Mitchell, his mark. 11/8 p.
(b) Justices of the Peace at Trinity Bay to the Justices of St. Johns, 17th Aug., 1731. Francis Squib, J.P., having put his servant Thomas Stuard into the stocks for making a disturbance in his house on the Sabbath, Stuard broke the stocks to pieces and tried to shoot Mr. Squib. They send him to the gaol at St. John's etc. Signed, Jacob Tavener, Thos. Floyd. The following testify upon oath to the truth of aforesaid, Thos. Waterman, James Tarrent, Henry Flasket, their marks, 1½ p.
(c) George Rowe (being next fishing ship in absence of the Admirals) to John Julian. Bay Bulls, 12th May, 1731. Whereas you detain Timothy Shea which is my servant, without security for his passage you are hereby required and directed not to give him any house harbour etc. Signed, Geo. Rowe.
(d) Nathaniel Brooks to Capt. Rowe. Bay Bulls May 12th, 1731. This minute came Julian's wife to me with your warrant for her husband's servant, that he shipt out of Mr. Simon Cricket, Commander of the ship Society, which I suppose had full power to act and do for the good of the voyage ensuing, for the interest of his outsetters in England, and as he was entered Master in England by H.M. Custom-House Officers, I think he may act and do for the interest of his imployers, and not be controuled by any person here in our destitute parish of Bay Bulls. But it's my opinion Mr. Geo. Rowe, that a man of your profession hath no authority to grant warrants amongst us Protestants, without a power and authority from King George, or his directions, by his worthy subjects etc., and not for to have no arbitrary power amongst us, which God strengthen us against; I hope King and Country will stand against all such who point towards it etc. Signed, Nathl. Brooks.
(e) Capt. Rowe to N. Brooks. I shall not take much time to answer your nonsense. As to Mr. Critchett, he is follow my directions and none but mine, and as for arbitrary Government, God forbid it should lye in your power etc. I do admire who gave any such fellow as you, orders to act or dispute in any manner of justice, altho' you have had the impertinence of doing it, without either act of Parliament, or orders to the Government. P.S. The fellow shall not serve Julian without security for his passage. Signed, Geo. Rowe.
(f) N. Brooks to Capt. Weston. Bay Bulls. 13th May, 1731. Asks for his opinion what to do concerning preceding. Continues: Julian shipt a passenger that came over with Simon Critchet and cloathed him, and hath been with Julian ever since without any demand for his passage, or anything else. But now Capt. Rowe wanting hands, would take the man away from Julian. The man is in the country with his master, and Capt. Rowe swears as soon as the man comes out he will send a file of musketeers after him, and carry him to the publick whipping post, and whip him within an inch of his life, if he will not serve him etc. As for Capt. Rowe being an Admiral, I hope you'l give your opinion in that, he being no master of a ship, Benj. Jelly being master of the ship he came over in etc. Signed, Nathl. Brooks.
(g) W. Weston and A. Southmayd to N. Brooks. St. John's, 15th May, 1731. Are of opinion that as Julian shipt the man from Capt. Critchet before Capt. Rowe arrived, it is not in his power now to take him away, Julian finding such security for his passage as may be satisfactory to Capt. Critchet or Capt. Rowe, though by what we find Capt. Rowe hath nothing to do in the matter. As to his acting as Admiral, if Benj. Gelly cleared the ship in the Custom-House in England, he is master, and Capt. Rowe hath no power to act as such etc. If he etc. disputes your authority for acting as Constable in Bay Bulls, regard them not, but continue so to do according to the Instructions you have received from us etc. Signed, Wm. Weston, A. Southmayd. c—9, Copies. 3 pp.
(h) Deposition of John Butland. St. John's. 23rd Sept., 1731. To same effect as iv (a) supra. Signed, Jno. Butland. Copy. 1 p.
(i) Justices of Trinity Harbour to the Justices of John's. 17th Aug., 1731. Send, to be committed into safe custody, John Butler, servant to Nicholas Cable, who with others upon oath do declare that, after he had been committed to the stocks for breaking into his master's house and stealing a silver seal etc., he did break out from thence and threaten the lives of several persons, and to burn their houses, also wishing that there may be a war with France, that he may joyn with them etc. Signed, Jacob Taverner, Thos. Floyd, Franciss Squib. Copy. 1 p.
(j) Copy of iv (b).
(k) Copy of iv (a).
(1) Original of iv (i).
(m) Original of iv (k). [The whole. C.O. 194, 9. ff. 90–91v., 93v., 95–97v., 98v., 99–114, 115–118, 119–120, 121–122, 123, 124, 125v.]
Oct. 1.
423. Mr. Browne to Mr. Popple. Repeats 12th Aug. Continues:—An accident here of some piraticall goods, wch. were lately brought in by the ship Joseph, has taken so much of my time up, that I have not had leisure to perfect my remarks etc., wch. shall go by the next opportunity etc. On this occasion Major Gordon has offer'd equal violence to Mr. Evan's Commission (who is Deputy to Mr. Robt. Byng as Recr. Genll. of the droits of Admiralty) and my own; etc. Begs their Lordships to await his remarks etc. Signed, J. Browne. Endorsed, Recd. 6th Dec, 1731, Read 3rd May, 1732. Holograph. Addressed. 1¼ p. [C.O. 5, 1268. ff. 82, 82v., 85v.]
[Oct. 2.] 424. Observations by J. Sprogell on Mines in America. Since the mines belong to the King, the people in America do not care to discover them. If the Crown were to send out men to explore for them, and grant the inhabitants the benefit of them for a term of years, in a short time very rich mines would be discovered, and the Spaniards "could hang themselves for the money" etc. Endorsed, Recd. 21st Oct. 1731, Read 17th Sept., 1735. 7 pp. [C.O. 5, 1363. ff. 167–168v., 170–171, 172v.]
Oct. 2. 425. Certificate by J. Sprogell. Mr. Jacob Stauber intends to settle beyond the Blew Hills in Virginia, which never was attempted yet etc. Certifies that he is the fittest and properest person to undertake it, having known him this twenty years in Pennsylvania, when he made settlements in the remotest parts among the Indians, acquired the reputation of one of the best skilled in husbandry, and by his particular industry very handsome means etc. Signed, J. S. Sprogell, senior. Endorsed, as preceding, 2/3 p. [C.O. 5, 1363. ff. 173, 176v.]
Oct. 5.
426. Lt. Governor Gledhill to the Duke of Newcastle. Words cannot paint the distress and distraction of this callamatious place, occasioned by a dre'full fire, which broak out yesterday morning and in the space of an hour, consumed the best of our houses, in this town, to ashes, and upwards of 70 thousand weight of bread and 180 thousand weight of flower with a bundance of other provisions etc. Had it not been for the vigellance of the troops of this garrison (which God knows is but 36 men) in blowing up the houses and extenguishing the fire, not only the whole town, but the garrison, also, had been in ashes. This ship being under sail I have only time, so far, to pay my duty to your Lordship, in this short acct., and farther to acquaint yr. Lordship that on the 15th of last month, I had the honour to inclose the state of this place, the garrison, and the fishery etc. Signed, S. Gledhill. Endorsed, R. 21 Decr. 1 p. [C.O. 194, 24. No. 22.]
Oct. 5.
427. Lt. Governor Armstrong to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I take this opportunity, being the first that my health would permitt me to embrace since my arrival, to acquaint your Lordships of my return hither, in obedience to H.M. directions etc. Will always strictly comply with his Instructions etc., "and what other your Lordships may at any time judge proper to send me, for my farther help in promoting H.M. interest, in this much neglected (and as I may venture to say) distracted Colony. Of which, tho' I doubt not Governor Philipps either has, or will give you an account, I also judge it my duty so far to represent the same, and the difficultys which I not only labour under at present, but likely to be farther involved into, without some other advice from your Lordships, for the people (I mean the French) that I have to deal with, are a perfidious, headstrong, obstinate and as conceited a crew as any in the world etc. Governor Philipps having appointed Major Cosby, the Lt. Governor of the Garrison, President of the Council, in prejudice of Major Paul Mascarene, and other senior Members, who complain highly of it as a peice of injustice ; I have thought therefore proper, to lay the same before your Lordships, for your determination, otherways I shall not have a Council, because the Gentlemen insist upon sitting and taking place at the Board, according to their senioritys, and are of opinion, that the eldest Counsellor is always he that should be president, or at least ought to succeed as such, upon which, I hope your Lordships will favour me with your opinion" etc. Refers to encl. ii. Continues:—Since Governor Philipps left this place, the 27th of August last, I have been favoured with a letter from His Grace the Duke of Newcastle in relation to pyrats, as also one from Mr. Secretary Popple with the Sollicitor and Attorney General's opinion upon fines and recovery etc. Several people having petitioned for grants etc. finds by their letter 20th May, 1730, he is restricted from giving any till Col. Dunbar has first set apart 300,000 acres for H.M. Continues: I must beg leave to observe to your Lordships, that delays in doing of it, may still retard the settling of the Province, especially of this part of it, and other adjacent places in the Bay of Fundy, and also at Canso. But it's hoped that these restrictions respect only to woodlands proper for masting, or even if the method of townships (tho' by far the best) is to be strickly observed. Your Lordships in your forerecited letter, have a just notion of our French inhabitants. But as they have taken the oath of fidelity, and thereby admitted to the priviledges and liberty of subjects, I beg your Lordships to inform me, how far they or their seigniors are intitled to lands abandon'd ever since the reduction of this place, and other waste and uncultivated lands, to which, especially since their taking the oath they lay claim, and plead the Treaty of Utrecht, tho' for these many years noways cultivated or improven, which if they are to enjoy without a limitation of certain conditions, the country will in a great measure remain a wilderness, and there will be scarce one acre left, especially in this place, to be granted to Protestant subjects, who are much desired, and for whom room might be found here, if these Seigniors did not thus pretend a right to the greatest part, if not the whole Province, without complying with such conditions, as may be naturally conjectur'd, that first moved his most Christian Majesty to make such concessions, which, if not remedy'd, will render this part of the Province a continual expence, and of no advantage to H.M., for whose use, there is not an inhabitant that pays a farthing rent, towards the defraying of such necessary charges that attends all Governments. As to which the Gentlemen of the Council, who are daily employ'd and harras'd with their affairs, (their being no other Court of Judicature) do, and that not without reason complain, in whose behalf I numbly recommend to your Lordships, to send us a table of fees, both in that respect, and the giving of grants, for wax and all other kinds of stationary ware here is very dear and expensive, and it's hoped that an annual supply thereof, may be ordered us from Britain. I must also beg leave to recommend to your Lordships the necessity of having the French inhabitants' estates survey'd and measur'd, because otherways it will be impossible ever to lay before your Lordships, any just plan of this country, for its said that some, if not all, of them possess and claim greater tracts, than they are anyways intitled to, and in case you approve thereof, I desire you will signify the same, and who is to be at the expence of so doing, and whether it is not necessary, as they refuse to renew and take grants from the Government, that their French grants should be recorded. They are a very ungovernable people, and growing very numberous and the method of treating with them upon any subject, is by their Deputys, of whom with the Council etc., till supply'd with more proper members, if there might be a smal Assembly constituted, they in time may be perhaps brought through their own free and voluntary acts to pay a greater obedience to the Government, and contribute to its support, and as Civil Magistrates are much wanted, I intreat your Lordships directions for appointing, at least some Justices of the Peace, and other inferior officers amongst them, to act in things, especially, that may relate to themselves, with such decorum as may oblige them still farther to depend upon the Government, by giving us information of the behaviour and clandestine proceedings of the rest. I have signifyed to your Lordships, that there are several people who have petitioned for grants, some of them are for smal plotts, in and adjacent to this town for houses and gardens, and others for tracts for farms, at Mines, but especially by several young people, who have setled themselves, some years agoe, at a place called Chippody in the Bay; not far from Chickenectua, where, if upon the Surveyor's report there is no woods proper for masting, I presume grants may be made out for the same, without being interpreted a breach of any article of the Instructions, tho' not laid out exactly in the same form as there directed, which I shall recommend to the Surveyor to do, as near as circumstances will permitt. These people's petitions were recommended by Governor Philipps before his departure, to the consideration of the Council, who finding some disputes were amongst them, defer'd the same till these differences were accomodated, and for that purpose Governor Philipps by Proclamation signifyed it to them, and appointed them by the 10th of Aprile next, to appear to make out their respective claims. I am so far, my Lords, of opinion, that if grants be given to these new planters, that the others may be thereby induced to renew their old grants, and hold immediately of H.M., and not off these Seigniors, who, in my opinion have forfeited their rights, through nonperformance of the conditions. But if in this I differ from your Lordships, I still think it necessary, that these Seigniors should at least renew their grants, and pay the appointed quitt-rent etc. to H.M., which I think is but just, seeing they receive their rents annually from the other inhabitants, as to which likewise I beg your Lordships' advice. Ever since the reduction of this place there hath been strange jugling amongst these Seigniors, as well as the other inhabitants, who, as heirs, pretend a right of possession to the estates of those who left the country even at the Capitulation, and others pretend to have bought of those that went away, by virtue of her late Majesty's letter, dated 23rd June 1713; 'Tis true that Her Majesty gives liberty to such of the French as had a mind, to retire into the bounds and dominions of the French King, to sell their estates, but it's presumed only, those who had remain'd in the Province till that time, were intitled to the advantages therein mentioned, and not those who had abandon'd and left their estates, at the reduction of the place, in 1710. In relation to which, there being several disputes, I must intreat your Lordships' opinion, in order to decide the same ; If H.M. letter can be interpreted to all in general, certain it is, that we shall never be without Seigniours, whereas, if only in favour of such as were then in the country, part of these Seigniors' estates now belong to H.M., and I have been told, that rents have been remitted from hence to some in the Dominions of France, which tho it may be forbid cannot be easily prevented here, no more than their clandestine trade with the people of Cape Breton, whither they transport annually above 3 or 400 head of cattle, besides sheep and other provisions, to the great prejudice of this province, which can only be prevented by having a sloop to cruise upon the Eastern coast and in the Bay of Vert. As I do not presume to the knowledge of forms for grants, I have therefore presum'd, to order a copy of one, used by Governor Philipps, for your Lordships' perusal, to be laid before you, and I hope to be favour'd with your advice, whether I may follow the same, or have a more formal one sent me. As to Canso I have been inform'd, that there are more fish this year than there are vessells to carry it to markett, and that Col. Dunbar's settlements, where there is a detachment of men from this regiment, improve daily. But of these, they being a[t] such a distance from hence, I can give no particular account. Signed, L. Armstrong. Endorsed, Recd. 10th Jan., Read 5th Oct., 1732. 3¾ pp. Enclosed,
427. i. Grant of lands in Nova Scotia by Governor Philipps to Joseph Watson and Co., of London, 24th Sept., 1729. 2½ × 4 miles by Scarrawink Harbour, now called George Town and Watson's Harbour. Reserving for the Royal Navy all trees seized as by Act of Parliament, and a quit-rent to the Crown, after 3 years, of one shilling, or three pounds of hemp, clean, bright and water-rolled, for every 50 acres at the election of the grantee etc. Endorsed as preceding. Copy. 2¼ pp.
427. ii. Representation of Major Paul Mascarene and other Members of Council of Nova Scotia, to Lt. Governor Armstrong. 27th Sept., 1731. Described in covering letter. Signed, P. Mascarene, Will. Shene, Adams, Wm. Shirreff. 1¾ pp. [C.O. 217, 6. ff. 99–102v., 103v.–106v.; and (abstract of covering letter, with notes for reply) 217, 30. pp. 40–49.]
Oct. 5.
428. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Commissioners of H.M. Treasury. Request payment for Office expences and Officers' salaries for quarter ending Michaelmas. Account annexed. [C.O. 389, 37. p. 331, 332.]
Oct. 5.
429. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Duke of Newcastle. Enclose following, to be laid before H.M. Autograph signatures. 1 p. Enclosed,
429. i. Extract of Governor Worsley's letter, June 27, 1731, relating to St. Lucia, Dominico and St. Vincents.
429. iiiv. Copies of encl. June 27, 1731. [C.O. 152, 40. Nos. 33, 33 I–iv.]