America and West Indies: October 1736, 1-10

Pages 284-301

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 42, 1735-1736. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1953.

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October 1736, 1-10

Oct. 1. 394. Deposition of John Jackson, of Saffron Hill, London, mate of the Benjamin brigantine, carried 31 recruits to Providence, 12th Dec., 1735 with goods and merchandize for Governor Fitzwilliam. Some of the garrison coming on board, and being in a very lean and languishing condition, informed deponent that the reason was that they were almost starved, the Governor allowing them no more than 3 pounds of salt pork or five pounds of salt beef Carolina provitions and 5 pounds of flour per week, whilst they were compelled to perform very hard labour in the woods and otherways for him without any payment for the same. If any of them complained, they were whipt or otherwise punished in a cruel and excessive manner. Signed, John Johnson. Endorsed, Recd. 23rd, Read 24th Nov., 1736. 1¼ pp. [C.O. 23, 3. ff. 213, 213 v., 214 v.].
Oct. 2.
395. President Dottin to the Duke of Newcastle. The Instructions your Grace was pleas'd to enclose me for altering the prayers for the Royal Family came safe to my hands, without the honour of any letter, which I presume you did not think needfull on that occasion, tho an answer to one which I had done myself the honour of addressing to your Grace, and which must have kiss'd your hands before that instruction was sent, wou'd have given me the utmost pleasure, however, I immediately comply'd with the directions of the Instruction as I ever will with everything else in my power on all occasions which comes from your Grace. I formerly took the liberty of acquainting your Grace that John Ashley Esqr. a member of Council here appear'd to be so much indebted as to be fore'd to abscond and cou'd not attend his duty in that station, which he has neglected for a considerable time past, and no hopes of his being able to retrieve his affairs, so as to be able to appear in publick, and therefore I humbly recommended Coll. John May cock as a fit person to supply his place, but not having heard anything further here on, I presume to mention it again, and entreat your Grace will be pleas'd to consider of it, and as Mr. Ashley is disabled by reason of his circumstances from doing his duty, I wou'd flatter myself that your Grace will comply with my humble request in conferring that honour on the gentleman I have recommended, but should Mr. Ashley still be continued, as a vacancy has happen'd therein, by the death of Mr. Peers, I hope for Coll. May cock's succeeding therein, tho if he supplys Mr. Ashley's place, I then take the liberty of recommending Thomas Harrison Esqr. as a very fit person in every respect to fill up Mr. Peers's vacancy, and as H.M. service often suffers for want of making a Council because there are so few members on the Island, I am persuaded your Grace will have these vacancys supply'd very speedily. The officers having lately furnish'd me with the papers directed to be transmitted home I have herewith sent them to your Grace, and beg leave to subscribe myself with the greatest respect. Signed, James Dottin. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 45. f. 392].
Oct. 2.
396. President Dottin to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I have by this opportunity transmitted the several publick papers which the officers have furnish'd me with on H.M. service for your Lordships' perusal and consideration, and hope my conduct will meet with your approbation. As your Lordships have not yet thought proper to take any notice of what I mention'd with respect to Mr. Ashley who has not been at Council for a considerable time, and I fear his affairs will never be settled in such a manner as to allow him ever to appear here again in publick, I take the liberty of repeating my recommendation of Collo. John May cock as a fit person to supply his place, or that of Henry Peers jr. Esqr. who is lately dead, but if Coll. Maycock is appointed in the room of Mr. Ashley, I humbly recommend Thomas Harrison Esqr. as a gentleman fitly qualifyed in every respect to be of the Council here, I humbly entreat your Lordships to have these vacancys supply'd, since H.M. service very much suffers for want of a greater number of members of Council residing in this Island. Signed, James Dottin. Endorsed, Recd. 10th, Read 12th Jan. 1736/7. ¾ p. Enclosed,
396. i. List of enclosed Acts and Minutes of Council and of Assembly, April—Sept., 1736. Same endorsement. 1 p. [C.O. 28, 24. ff. 188, 189, 189 v., 190 v.].
Oct. 6.
397. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. Enclose accounts of incidental charges of the Office, Midsummer to Michaelmas, and request payment of one quarter's salaries then due. (v. Journal.) [C.O. 389, 37. pp. 375, 376.].

Oct. 6.
398. Mr. Popple to Mr. Fane. Encloses, for his opinion in point of law, several Acts of Antigua, Nevis and Montserrat, 1735, enumerated. [C.O. 153, 16. pp. 41–44].
Oct. 6.
399. Council of Trade and Plantations to President Dottin. Since our letter to you of the 18th of July, 1735, we have received yours of the 2nd of August, 21st of October, and 29th of November, 1735, with a postscript of the 4th of December following, as also of the 17th of April and 14th of June last, and the several publick papers you have mentioned to be inclosed in your said letters. And we do commend your care in having caused so exact an account to be taken and sent to us of the state, condition and trade of the West Indian Settlements. We have sent to his Grace the Duke of Newcastle copies of such papers, as we have from you in relation to the proceedings of the French at Sta. Lucia, St. Vincents and Dominico, with our opinion on the consequences that may attend the same, that H.M. may give such directions thereon, as may best tend to the wellfare and security of his Islands and the trade thereof, and we hope you may soon receive H.M. Instructions upon that head. However, we shall be glad to have from you any additional informations which you may get from time to time upon this subject. We think the instance of respect, which the people of Barbados have paid to the memory of their late Governor in granting a sum of mony for payment of his debts, and for the use of his Lady, a very commendable one, wherefore we laid the Act for that purpose before H.M. for confirmation, and the King was pleas'd to confirm the same. With regard to that part of your letter of the 2nd of August, wherein you mention some hardships imposed on the planters and shippers of the produce of Barbados, by the Custom House officers in the collection of the 4½ p. cent, we can only observe, that you should have been more particular, but since the Surveyor General has laid a state thereof before the Commissioners of H.M. Customs, we presume they will give proper direction thereon. We have considered what you write concerning the five Acts represented by Lord Howe to be cramps on the trade of Barbados, vizt. An Act concerning forestallers and engrossers of provisions; an Act to prevent the inconvenience upon the inhabitants by forestallers, engrossers and regraters; an Act to prevent the exportation of horses and asses from this Island. An Act for laying an imposition or duty on all sugars, molosses, rum, cotton and ginger imported which are not the natural product of some of H.M. Colonies. And a Supplemental Act to the last mentioned Act. We wrote to you what occurred to us upon this subject in our letter of the 18th of July, 1736, and having since considered the reasons sent us by you for and against those Acts, if it be really for the advantage of the Colony and agreable to the sense of your Assembly that they should be repealed; we can see no inconvenience in your passing a law for that purpose ; provided you insert a suspending clause therein, that it may not take place untill H.M. pleasure shall be known, and when we shall have receiv'd such a law from you, we shall consult the merchants here concerning the expediency thereof, and then report to H.M., what we think may be for His service on this subject. We are very sorry to hear of Mr. Ashley's misfortunes which would probably be encreased by his being immediately removed from the Council, tho' it might perhaps be advisable for him to resign, we do not therefore at present think proper to report any thing upon this subject to H.M. We must however desire you will send to us by the first opportunity, an account of the number of the gentlemen of the Council present on the Island, and of those who are absent, how long they have been so, and from whom, and for what time they have obtained any-licence of leave. In answer to your letter of the 14th of June last, desiring our opinion upon that Article of your Instructions, which relates to Appeals, we think you have done right in adhering to the letter of your Instructions, in refusing to grant appeals under the value therein mention'd. [C.O. 29, 16. pp. 51–55].
Oct. 7. 400. Mr. Shelton to Mr. Popple. When Mr. Wragg and I attended your Board lately, the Lords were pleased to command us to give them an account of the two Baronies, which Mr. Wragg petitioned H.M. for. But the plans which the Duke of Beauford had of them can't be found. Sends the best account of their situation Mr. Wragg can remember etc. "He expects every day an account of the arrival of some Germans in Holland in order to be transported to that Province." Signed, Ri. Shelton. Endorsed, Recd. 11th Oct., Read 12th Nov., 1736. Holograph. 2 pp. Enclosed,
400. i. Description of the two baronies in Craven and Granvill counties, S. Carolina, petitioned for by Mr. Wragg. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 365. ff. 148, 148 v., 149, 150 v.].
Oct. 7.
401. Petition of Chaloner Jackson, Collector of Customs, Providence I., Bahamas, to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Abstract. Complains that Governor Fitzwilliam, from the time of his arrival till 1735, when petitioner fled, fearing for his life from the Governor's menaces and inhuman treatment, obstructed him in the discharge of his duties and grievously oppressed the inhabitants, etc. (i) On Jan. 1st, 1734/5, the Governor, in order to engross and monopolise all provisions brought from the Continent for the sustenance of the inhabitants, (which till his arrival they had at moderate rates) did propose in Council (petitioner being a member thereof and present) that all vessels in which he had a share, and all other such vessels as brought any necessaries proper for the garrison should be exempted from all port charges. The Council refused, knowing it to be merely a pretext to cover his private trade. Yet in August the Governor sent his servant, James Scott, to acquaint petitioner that he had by his own authority made the same a Minute of Council, and expected him to pay obedience to it. Petitioner answered that if he received any port charges etc. which he could not justify, the Governor would have just cause of complaint against him. Scott replied, that the Governor would not complain to England, but would sue him at Common Law in Providence and ruin him for it etc. When any provisions arrive, the Governor buys up the whole, and exempts those who sell to him from all dues etc., under pretence that the garrison is in want etc. (ii) Some time before the Governor's arrival, one Capt. Petty, Commander of a sloop bound for London, entered 400 cwt. of cotton in the store for London, giving bond with Samuel Lawford for its being landed in Gt. Britain or the Plantations. On his return to Providence, he had mislaid the certificate given in London of its being landed there. But as the bond was not by the Statute to be put in execution till 18 months from the date thereof, nothing was at that time done. But afterwards, Governor Fitzwilliam having bought 100 barrels of flour of Petty and partner, sent the same to Havana, in a vessel, commanded by Petty, which was not allowed to trade with the Spaniards and returned with all her lading, except 12 barrels of flour, to Providence. The Governor, being disappointed, told Petty that unless he took back the unsold flour, he would sue the bond abovementioned and ruin him. Petty refusing to comply, the bond was put in suit by James Scott, then Naval Officer, who had been with Petty to the Havana, as the Governor's factor, to trade with the Spaniards. Before judgment was given, a certificate from the Commissioners of Customs arrived, that the 400 cwt. of cotton had been landed in London. Though the Governor and Naval Officer were fully apprized thereof, the prosecution was continued in the Court of Common Pleas. The Chief Justice, Nicholas Rowland, gave his opinion that the bond ought thereupon to be cancelled. "But as this point was for some time in, debate, between the said Chief Justice, and Mr. James Scott, the prosecutor on behalf of the King, and then upon the Bench as Assistant Judge, the Court adjourn'd for a few hours, and was from thence further adjourn'd by the Governor, for fourteen days, in which time the Governor turn'd out Mr. Rowland, and appointed Mr. Scott, Naval Officer, to precede in quality of Chief Justice in his stead, to which the defendants afterwards objecting in Court, and declining as much as in them lay, the jurisdiction of said Scott, Mr. Lawford also pressing it to the Court, that Mr. Scott the prosecutor (who had also prejudg'd them) could not regularly, or decently, sit as a competent judge in their cause etc, ; Scott immediately committed said Lawford to the common gaol." etc., and next morning sentenced him to fine of 300 pieces of eight and six months imprisonment without bail etc. But as the Assembly, of which Lawford was a member, was then sitting, some of the Representatives, by order of the House, went to the prison, and demanded that he should be set at liberty. But the Marshal answered that he dared not deliver him, the Governor having given strict orders to the contrary. But the Governor, passing by the gaol a few days afterwards, and Lawford, in most humble manner, intreating his liberty, he ordered his discharge, upon condition (as Lawford has frequently assured complainant) that he would not sit, or act, any more in that House, as a Representative of the Colony. This composition, Lawford informed complainant, was exacted from him, because he had opposed some points before, which the Governor wanted to carry in the House. To complainant's own knowledge, Lawford did never come to the House during the whole sitting etc. In consequence of these proceedings, the trade and navigation of the Colony, which consists chiefly in dyeing woods and some cotton, for all which bond is enacted to be given before any can be laden on board, have been exceedingly cramped, obstructed and in great measure lost to this Kingdom and Colony, many vessels having been frequently confined to the harbour, and the masters and owners deterred from lading, because they were in equal danger and like case with Petty etc. Moreover Scott, the Naval Officer, is further prejudicial to trade in general, he having rejected good security provided and certified by complainant as sufficient, and thereby detained the vessels and goods. The Governor, by his management, has been able to engross and monopolise the most profitable branch of trade in the Colony, and can at all times purchase said goods, which others are afraid to ship, not only cheaper than any other person for ready money, but has also, by other arbitrary means, obtained the ascendant in those articles of trade, that he more usually pays for them in ozenbrigs, cordage, hats, shoes, stockings, beef, pork, flour, rum, sugar, nails, pins, tape and thread etc., retailed out of his own shop, and at a very advanced price, to such as cannot wait his time for better payment, said Mr. Scott, Chief Justice, being his store keeper. (iii) Complainant now lays before their Lordships "such an instance of tyranny, and barbarity, confessed, and apparent in the Governor's treatment to this complainant as has no example." etc. On 21st Oct., 1734, Nathaniel Coverly, master of a sloop, came to complainant's office, to enter outward, bound for S. Carolina, a parcel of blankets, duffields and cottons, some remnants of woollens, belonging to the Governor, but as the said goods had been clandestinely imported from Ireland, as deponent believes, no report or entry having been made of them inwards, and no cocquet having even appeared to complainant, from any Custom house in Great Britain or other H.M. Dominions, proving them to be the manufactory of, or legally imported into the same, complainant refused to make entry of the same outwards etc. Whereupon, petitioner standing at the door of Mr. Goudet's, and Governor Fitzwilliams then coming into town, along with Capt. Coverly, he said " Come heare, you Rascell, do you say that these goods of mine were not legally imported ?" etc. Petitioner replying as above, the Governor lifting up his walking stick, and calling deponent Dog, Villan, rascal and threatning to have him whipped round the town, gave him several blows on the head, the scars of which are now to be seen etc., and wounded him also in the arm, and then taking him by the collar, held and beat him till his stick broak short in his hand ; the complainant's wife and other persons continually crying out and beging him not to strike again, from which at their entreaty he refrained, tho' otherwise he should not at all events, believing that the Governor would have murthered him etc. Complainant went immediately before the Chief Justice to make his complaint etc. But his own wife could be no evidence, and the rest did declare, in the presence of the Chief Justice and complainant, that they dared not give their testimony, because the Governor would ruin them etc. Amongst the rest, the evidence of one Thompson was drawn up by the Chief Justice etc., but when the oath was tendered, Thompson declared he was afraid to swear etc. Capt. Coverly also refused to give evidence etc., both declaring the Governor would ruin them if they did. But Mr. Susanna Sayler had sufficient currage to make affidavit to the truths above-mentioned, but he had no way to obtain any redress" etc. On 23rd Oct., the Governor, notwithstanding that he claimed said goods and did abuse complainant as above for not admitting the same to entry, did in the name of John Keowin, bring his action in the Court of Common Pleas for 300 pieces of eight damages (which £60 sterl.) against petitioner, upon his refusing to make entry etc as aforesaid, to which petitioner did plead the general issue and give in evidence the statute for preventing frauds (7 & 8 William III) etc. But Scott, just made Chief Justice, did declare from the Bench that neither said statute, nor any other by complainant brought in evidence, did affect the Plantations, or their trade. Whereupon the jury did give the plaintiff 28 pieces of eight damages. But the said Justice, disliking said verdict, he sent them out again, and upon their return into Court, they gave the plaintiff 200 pieces of eight, and full costs, notwithstanding which said Scott did order judgement to be entered up for 440 pieces of eight, and costs which amounted to 24 pieces of eight, which in all amounted £92 16s. sterl. Annexes copy of apprasement made in Carolina of said blankets, cottons etc., at £123 2s. S. Carolina money, amounting to £17 11s. sterl. Within four days thereafter, the Marshal of the Court did serve an execution on three negro slaves of complainant's, whereby he was deprived of his writ of error on said judgment, or any other legal remedy to be had thereon. The said slaves were immediately exposed for sale, and purchased, by persons employed by the Governor, for one half their value, and for said Governor's use, and said Governor did afterwards attach 67 pieces of eight of complainant, then in the hands of Thomas Seyton, now in London, as also six tons of brazeletto wood, the property of the Crown, being such as complainant had received in species and for H.M. duties. After the departure of complainant, and in order to deprive his wife and children of any means of subsistence, a paper was put up at the market in Nassau, commanding all persons debted to him to pay said debts to the Marshal of said Court, whereby she was deprived thereof, and as deponent believes, this hardship was among many others the occation of her death. Complainant requested of the Bench and the Clerk a copy of all proceedings of Court beforementioned, but was denied by Scott and the Clerk. Upon 29th Nov., the Governor did in the name of James Donovan bring his action in said Court for 180 pieces of eight damages (£36 sterl.) against petitioner upon his refusing to make entry outwards of another bale of duffields, cottons, remnants of woollen cloth belonging to the Governor, not being lawfully imported into the island. The cause was tried in the Court aforesaid, after complainant's departure from the island, and a judgment entered against him by order of Chief Justice Scott. (iv). Continues:—In order to demonstrate to your Lordships how impossible it is in so small a Colony (where the Governor at will and pleasure, and to serve any turn, and to doe any jobb, turns out and displaces the Chief Justice, and other Judges, the Judge of the Admiralty, Justices of the Peace, Secretary of the Colony, Provost Marshall, the Officer of his Chancery and of every other Court, and even the Council, or advanceing, or degrading them, according as their conduct suits his own ends and inclinations) for any person now their, however greviously oppressed, to make known their intolerable burthen, to his most Sacred Majesty or to your Lordships, whom under their Sovereign they look upon as the guardians of their rights, libertys, priviledges, or for such as have made their escape from an administration under which they could no longer live, to obtain farther proofs of these severitys from thence etc., petitioner is in the most solemn manner ready to give testimony to the facts hereafter mentioned, viz. that after the Governor had thus beat, abus'd and dangerously wounded him in the execution of his office, etc., the said Governor beliveing that the complainant would look out abroad for redress, he commanded, threatned, and derter'd the masters and owners of all vessels, from permitting any letters to be put on board, or to be carried of from ( = to) your Lordship [from] complainant, or any other the inhabitants, of which truth Capt. Hilton, Commander of a sloop bound for S. Carolina is a particular instance etc. Complainant decided his wife home to obtain justice for himself, but Mr. Lawford would not suffer her to go on board his sloop, the Governor having threatened to tear him and his fortune to pieces if he did so, and also obliged one Capt. Smith, on leaving Providence, to take oath that if he met any of the inhabitants of Providence at sea, or on any of the small keys or islands, he would either bring them back or put them upon some remote and uninhabited island etc. Complainant fearing at length that the Governor would be his utter destruction, "and turn all those laws against him (as he had already done in the cases of many others), which are the best security of an English subject, the Courts of law under his immediate influence and direction, the said Governor at all times when they are sitting, walking at a small distance, and sending to, and receiving messages [from] the Bench, especially when causes in which he is plaintiff are before them, which are fare more numerous then those of all the rest of the Island, and when a verdict is against him at Common Law, his Attorney appeals to himself in Chancery, where the judgment on such verdict, is assuredly revers'd ; and petitioner having once been forc't by the said Governor's directions, into the Court of Admiralty, and their vexatiousely and unjustly prosecuted (before one Smith, Judge of the said Court, and a creature, an instrument in all the Governor's arbitrary measures) for matters done in the due and legall execution of his office, and in a suit where the cause of action was not cognizable, before said Smith, or the Court aforesaid," etc, took to flight on 26th Jan., 1735/6, with four others of the principal inhabitants, equally aggrieved and distressed by the tyranny of the Governor, in a small boat of no more than 20ft. in the keel, in which they passed the Gulf of Florida, after being 21 days before they could get clear of the Bahamas, in constant and astonishing hazard and in expressible hardships etc., petitioner being resolved not to barter his honour for the deceitful promises of the Governor, tendered to him, just before his escape, through Mr. Stewart. Surgeon to the Garrison, if he would become the false accuser of himself, and lay himself at his mercy etc. His wife left behind, died of her hardships. He has suffered £400 sterl. damages through the Governor's arbitrary will etc. Prays for relief for these grievances, which all the inhabitants and most of the garrison share etc. Signed, Chaloner Jackson. Endorsed, Recd. (from Mr. Jackson), 8th, Read 13th Oct., 1736. 15 pp. [C.O. 23, 3. ff. 157–164, 165 v.].
Oct. 7.
New York.
402. President Clarke to the Duke of Newcastle. I am sorry that I have so soon occasion to give your Grace the trouble of another letter, but the faction having prevailed on Mr. Van Dam's weaknes to a greater degree than could be imagined, I think myself bound in duty to acquaint your Grace with it by presenting to you a copy of my letter to the Lords of Trade with the papers therein referred to, presuming that they contain (if not a full account of all the folly and madnes of the faction), enough to give your Grace a view of the present situation of affairs. I beseech your Grace to be assured that I will never fail to maintain H.M. Royal authority to the utmost of my power, and to the last penny I have in the world ; never was any man so distressed as I am, there is not a farthing in the Treasury, on the contrary there is a great deficiency in the Revenue, I am obliged to defray all expences out of my own pocket, and shall continue to do so in support of the Government tho I and my family are thereby reduced to the utmost want, hoping from your Grace and protection that H.M. will be graciously pleased to continue me in the administration of the Government, there is no other way by which I can possibly be preserved from ruin, for if a Governor comes whilst I labour under a heavy load of debt which I am daily contracting in my present circumstances, I can hope for little relief from the Assembly, when I have no influence over them, and if the Assembly be dissolved, another will not make good the deficiences of the Revenue nor give a new one, especially if he be chosen before the Faction be broke, and the people reclaimed from their madness, and for that reason chiefly if not solely it is that all their strength is bent to keep this Assembly from sitting; we are informed by private letters from merchants in London that it is H.M. pleasure that Mrs. Cosby shall have a pension paid her by whoever succeeds Governor Cosby; I heartily rejoice at every instance of Royal favour to her, and cannot but think it a high act of justice in recompense for her sufferings here ; I have done myself the honor to congratulate her upon it, and humbly ask your Grace's pardon for presuming to mention it to you. A few days will resolve me whether the Assembly will sit or no, if they do, as they promised on my adjournment they would, I have great hopes that I shall put to silence those seditious spirits; your Grace I presume will readily believe that I have a very hard task, but I shall bear up under it, I hope, in such a manner as may justify me to H.M., and gain your Grace's approbation and protection. I humbly beg and presume to hope that your Grace will be pleased to send me full powers and instructions to put an end to the present distractions and their pretended doubts, and I humbly propose it to your Grace's consideration, whilst it will not be proper that I should have on this occasion, a power to pardon treason ; Van Dam, Alexander and Smith have alredy had [lead ?] very near it, and if they should go further and draw in many unwary people with them I presume your Grace will think it necessary. If James Alexander, William Smith and Lewis Morris Junior, the authors of the seditious papers, with John Peter Zanger, their printer, were sent to England, the spirit of faction would be intirely broke, but this at present I dare not venture to do without orders, being by H.M. 45th Instruction forbid to send any prisoners to England without sufficient proof of their crimes to be transmitted with them, and I have no other proof at present against any of them then the appointment of Corporation officers by Van Dam wherein it appears that Alexander assisted as a Councillor. The printer on promise of a pardon might be a strong witness and help us to more. By the next ships I hope to have the honor to acquaint your Grace that the face of affairs are then altered for the better, etc. Signed, Geo. Clarke. 4 pp. Enclosed,
402. i. Appointment of Magistrates by Rip Van Dam. Sept. 29, 1736. H.M. Councill being duly summoned to attend me in Councill as Commander in Chief of this Province, and James Allexander appearing and the rest neglecting to appear etc., so that a Quorum could not be made, to give me their advice concerning the appointment of the following Magistrates of this City, I have in their default appointed Cornelius Van Home Mayor, Win. Smith Recorder, Richard Ashfield Sherriff and Richard Nicholls Coroner for the ensuing year. Signed, Rip Van Dam. Copy, certified by Will. Sharpass. 1 p.
402. ii. Proclamation by President Clarke. Oct. 1st, 1736. Whereas Rip Van Dam, Esq., notwithstanding his application made at Home to be restored to his place of one of the Council of this Province, hath not thought fit to wait the Royal determination, but having been seduced from his duty and allegiance to his most sacred Majesty by etc. factious and evil-minded persons, has presumptuously usurped the administration, and on 29th day of September last, did assume and take upon himself the liberty of appointing Officers etc. (v. preceding), thereby endeavouring to spread sedition and faction, and raise tumults and disorders etc., I have thought fit, by and with the advice of H.M. Council, to issue this Proclamation etc., requiring all H.M. Judges and Justices of the Peace, and all other officers, civil and military, etc., to prevent and suppress ail riots, routs, tumults and disorders etc. And for the more effectual prevention of sedition and faction, and suppression of tumults and disorders etc., I do hereby strictly charge and command, that no person do abet, aid, help or assist Rip Van Dam with respect to his usurping or taking upon him the administration of the Government etc. Signed, George Clarke. Printed by William Bradford. 1 p.
402. iii. Duplicate of Clarke to Council of Trade. Oct. 7.
402. iv. Duplicate of Paul Richard's declaration. Encl. i, Sept. 18, 1736.
402. v. Deposition of Jeffery Cox. 7th Oct., 1736. On Sept. 14th he delivered to James Allexander, with a copy of H.M. 11th Instruction to Governor Cosby, calling upon him not to continue to neglect attending the Council etc. Signed, Jeffery Cox. 1 p.
402. vi. Deposition of Jeffery Cox. 6th Oct., 1736. Deponent on each of the Council days since 29th April, summoned James Allexander to attend, except on 6 days when he was informed he was out of town, on which days he left verbal notices with his wife etc. Signed, Jeffery Cox. 1 p.
402. vii. Deposition of Frederick Morrice, Depty. Clerk of the Council. 6th Oct., 1736. James Allexander did not attend the Council meetings April 29th—Oct. 1st. Signed, Fredk. Morrice. 1 p.
402. viii. Minutes of Council of New York. Sept. 29, 1736. Abstract. The President, George Clarke, with the advice and consent of the Council appointed Mayors, Sheriffs and Coroners for the Cities and Counties of New York and Albany for the coming year. On being informed that Rip Van Dam had yesterday appointed Officers for New York, an attested copy of the said appointment was sent for and entered in the Minutes. Copy. 2¼ pp.
402. ix. Duplicate of Sept. 18, encl. ii.
402. x. "A Word in Season." City of New York. Sept. 28, 1736. "A freeman of this city," thinks Van Dam is rightly President, and therefore if the Corporation do not submitt to his authority, in appointing Officers (No. viii), "they may do us the greatest injury that can befall our Charter" etc. Printed by J. Peter Zenger 2 pp.
402. xi, xii. Duplicates of Sept. 18, encl. iii and v.
402. xiii. Copy of The New-York Weekly Journal, Munday, Sept. 20th, 1736. No. cxlx. Contains the letter printed separately, Sept. 18, encl. iv. Printed. 4 pp. [C.O. 5, 1093. ff. 423–425, 427, 428–430, 432, 433, 434, 436–437, 438–446 v.]
Oct. 7. 403. President Clarke to Mr. Popple. The following letter [to the Council of Trade] with the papers enclosed will show to what a height faction runs and how eagerly those men would sacrifice the peace of the country to their own private views and what an administration we should have had if Mr. Van Dam had not been suspended. He was ever a weak man and now his great age makes it weaker. It is our great unhappiness that no orders have yet come to me from the Duke of Newcastle or from their lordships. It is that kept the Assembly from sitting and made them desire this adjournment in hopes I should have some in the meanwhile, and it is to keep them from sitting that these virulent papers are published and these vexed steps taken. All the Council that are in town except Mr. Alexander act very heartily with me and Doctor Colden's sentiments, who has been for some time in the woods surveying and intends to be here in about ten days, are set down by his own words. I had a letter from him to-day dated the 27th of the last month wherein is this paragraph which my present situation warrants me to transcribe. "Your prudence and patience in the conduct of the public affairs gives me much pleasure. Your persevering in the same method I think cannot fail of success unless prevented by foreign accidents which a wise man cannot guard against. May you receive your reward in the good effects of restoring peace and content to the inhabitants of this province, and I shall for the promoting of this good purpose do everything in [my] power."
I hope their lordships will now think it highly necessary that Van Dam's suspension be confirmed and expressly declared to be so from the beginning, Alexander dismissed, and Mr. John Moore and Mr. Paul Rickard appointed in their room and I presume to ask your favour in it. You will [settle], sir, their way of writing and I hope that whatever orders are sent they may be so clearly expressed that those men may be driven from all their shifts. And I ask pardon for interposing my opinion and beg you will be so good to move their lordships to some speedy and effectual resolution. Pardon me, sir, for presuming to enclose to you my letters to Mr. Walpole, Col. Bladen and Mr. Leheup. I was afraid some trick might be played me if I had sent them single and I know not which way to guard against it so well as this, and, as they relate to the public affairs, I the more assuredly hope you will forgive. Holograph. Signed, Geo. Clarke. [C.O. 5, 1058. ff. 130, 130 v., 131.]
Oct. 7.
New York.
404. President Clarke to the Council of Trade and Plantations. On the 18th of last month we had by the Post the news of Morris's being arrived at Boston; the faction were busy contriving ways to keep the Assembly from meeting on the adjournmt. I gave them at their own request, they thought if the Corporation of the City questioned my authority and refused to submit to it, it would have a great influence upon the members, the majority of the Corporation being intirely at the beck of the faction and for the most part men of a low class were easily perswaded to their measures the aniversary day whereon the Govr. or Commander-in-Cheif nominates the Mayor, Sherriff and Corroner, vizt. the 29th of Septr. being at hand, the Common Council met and sent the Mayor and town Clerk to me to desire I would appoint no officers for the ensueing year or to appoint the present ones, for by the Charter they are to continue till new ones are sworn; they deliver'd their message and told me but not by direction that the Common Council intended to present to me a memorial of wch. they had a draught ready prepared, desiring me not to appoint, and to present the like to Mr. Van Dam pretending they were fearfull of their Charter if they should accept of any officers appointed by me and H.M. should think fit to replace Air. Van Dam, wn. in truth this was only a fetch to get some acknowledgment that I doubted of my authority and then to spread it abroad to keep the Assembly from meeting. I returned an answer to the message that I would to the utmost of my power protect the City in all their just rights, liberties and priviledges, and in the nomination of such officers as are to be appointed by me I would make the direction of the Charter the rule of my actions and I hoped no man would attempt to make any innovations that may be prejudicial to the City; two days after I gave that answer they held another Common Council and sent some of their members to Mr. Van Dam to ask him if he would appoint, who told them as I am informed that wn. the day of nomination came on he would let them know what he would do; the 29th of Septr. came but no memorial. I summoned H.M. Council in the morning as usual and by their advice appointed the officers of the present year for the year ensueing and sent a copy of the Minute of Council to the town Clerk, the same day Mr. Van Dam sent as I am told to the Aldermen acquainting them that he intended that day to appoint their officers and in the afternoon summoned me and the rest of the Council by a door keeper whom he that day appointed, to meet him in Council at his house but none went but Mr. Alexander who has never since the day of Govr. Cosby's death tho constantly summoned appear'd in Council with me; what Van Dam did will appear to your Lordship by the inclosed paper No. A. The next day I held a Council again and we sent to the town Clerk for that attested copy and order'd a proclamation to be drawn which being prepared against the afternoon was then in Council prefer'd to a Committee who the next morning laid it before the board where it was again read with the amendment the Committee made to it and ordered to be issued, No. B. So soon as it was known that Van Dam had taken this extraordinary step the Council thought it high time for me to remove from my house in town into the Fort where I now am, what or whether the faction have any incouragement from Morris to go this length I can't tell; most people immagine that letters have passed between him and them since his arrival at Boston and suppose that his journey hither has been put of on that account; this is certain that the[y] have in their weekly journal publish'd by their printer Zenger endeavour'd to perswade the people that every man has a right to judge to whom the administration of the Government belongs that if a Governour misbehaves himself they may depose him and set up another; in consequence whereof they prepared a paper and on the 29th Sept. in two of their wards got the people when they were voting for Aldermen to sign it; the other five wards did not or would not sign. I dispair of getting it or a copy of it and all the account I can get of it is that they declared Mr. Van Dam had a right to the administration of the Government, in some of the wards the Aldermen refused to offer it to the people and, tho it was notwithstanding spoke of to them by others, yet the people would not sign it it; has been said (as I have been informed) by several of the faction at several times that Morris had done what he could but since he could not be heard and that they could not have justice done them at home they must do themselves justice here; they talk of makeing a sacrifice in Zenger's Journal, No. C, and of murdering me for my usurpation of the Government as they call it, No. D. I own I am much surprised Van Dam should by any means be drawn so great a length, tho I know he is a very weak man, it is universally talk'd on and beleived in town that Alexander and Smith, two lawyers and the first one of the Council, gave him their opinion in writeing in very positive terms that the administration of the Government properly and lawfully belonged to him, and that it might have the greater weight Alexander gave his opinion upon oath the day that Van Dam nominated the City officers, but of this I have no proof; however it is generally and firmly beleived, and that this way they drew him into that unwarrantable step; your Lordships may be surprised that so many months pass'd since I have had the administration of the Government in my hands and none of these extraordinary steps taken by Van Dam he should now act in this mad manner ; the reason is this they know there is no way by wch. they can distress the Government so effectually as by hindering the Assembly from sitting and have great cause to apprehend that if they should sit the people will see with their own eyes and be no longer led by those who have hitherto misguided them; they had hopes from the precipitate behaviour of the Assembly in the Spring that they would meet no more, but when contrary to their expectations they found they came together in September that they acted more rationally and that the majority sent to me to desire a short adjournment (in hopes that I should in the meantime receive some orders) for notwithstanding Zenger's audacious denyal the majority did send the Speaker and another member to me, they resolved to make a bold push and at any rate to attain their ends, and the aniversary day for Election of Aldermen and Common Council and for the nomination of the Mayor etc. being to come about during the time of this last adjournment, they thought no season so favourable as that, 1 am fully perswaded that if the Assembly sit I shall be able to break the neck of the Faction and get the difficiencies of the Revenue made good, and I am bold to affirm to your Lordships that if this Assembly be not continued till the Province is restored to its tranquility, another Assembly will neither make good the difficiencies of the present revenue nor give another but by their presumptuous attempts on H.M. Royal Prerogative will throw the Province into the extreamest convulsions. These City officers whom Van Dam has nominated talk of acting, but how he will give them commissions I can't see. I have the Seal, Commission and Instructions; he must either grant the Commissions in his own name, or in the King's under his own seal. I beg your Lordships to be assured that it shall be my first and principal care to reclaim the people by mild methods without departing from my duty or prostituting H.M. authority; the defection is cheifly confined to the City where the ringleaders of the mallcontents dwell; we here nothing of it from the Counties; if there were not two companies of the King's Forces in garrison here the Faction would probably take arms, but fear I beleive restrains them now. I think the ringleaders have already gone too farr and if they should go further and draw many unthinking and ignorant people in with them I humbly presume it v. ill be necessary that I should have power and Instructions to pardon treason. I am forbid by H.M. 45th Instruction to send home any prisoners without sufficient proof of their crimes to be transmitted with them and I have no regular proof but Zenger's Papers and Van Dam's appointment of City officers; if James Alexander, Wm. Smith, and Lewis Morris, Junr., the authors of those papers wth. their printer Zenger were sent home it would at once put an end to the Faction, and Zenger on promise of pardon might be a strong witness and direct us to others. Your Lordships will see No. E. and F. that Alexander has been duly summoned and never appeared in Council since the last affidavit of this kind that I did myself the honour to send to your Lordships etc. Signed, Geo. Clarke. Enclosed,
404. i. Appointment of Magistrates by Rip van Dam. See enclosure i Clarke to Newcastle, 7 October, 1736.
404. ii. Proclamation by President Clarke. See enclosure ii as above.
404. iii. The New York Weekly Journal, 20 September, 1736. Printed. See enclosure xiii as above.
404. iv. The New York Weekly Journal. 13 September, 1736. No. cxlix. Printed.
404. v. The New York Gazette. 6–13 Sept., 1736. No. 567. Printed.
404. vi. "The Sentiments of a Principal Freeholder offered to the Consideration of the Representatives of the Province of New York." Westchester, September 1st, 1736. Signed, F.S. 4 pp. Printed.
404. vii. "A Word in Season." City of New York, Sept. 28, 1736. Printed. See enclosure x as above.
404. viii. Minutes of Council of New York. 20 September, 1736. Copy. See enclosure viii as above.
404. ix. "A letter to one of the Members of the late General Assembly." Printed by John Peter Zenger, 1736. 2 pp. No signature.
404. x. "A Word in Season." City of New York. Sept. 28, 1736. Duplicate of enclosure vii.
404. xi. Duplicate of Paul Rickard's declaration. Enclosure i in 18 September, 1736. See enclosure iv in Clarke to Newcastle, 7 October, 1736.
404. xii. Deposition of Fred Morris sworn before Paul Rickard, Mayor, 6 October, 1736, that James Alexander did not attend the Council meetings of New York, April 29— October 1. Paper seal. See enclosure vii as above.
404. xiii. Deposition of Jeffery Cox, Deputy Door-keeper and Messenger of the Council of New York, sworn before Paul Rickard, Mayor, 6 October, 1736, that he summoned James Alexander to attend the Council meetings. Paper seal. See enclosure vi as above.
404. xiv. Deposition of Jeffery Cox, sworn before Paul Rickard, Mayor, 7 October, 1736, that he delivered to James Alexander a copy of H.M. 11th Instruction to Governor Cosby. Paper seal. See enclosure v as above.
Oct. 8.
405. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Duke of Newcastle. Encloses extract of a letter from Governor Mathew, relating to an intended descent on the Virgin Islands from Porto Rico. [C.O. 153, 16. p. 44.]
Oct. 8.
406. Council of Trade and Plantations to Governor Mathew. Acknowledge receipt of several letters etc. from Oct. 1735 to July 1736 ; also letters to Mr. Popple from Oct. 1735 to April 1736. Continue:—We have received from Barbados the same accounts you have sent us concerning the encrease of the number of French inhabitants at St. Lucia and having inclosed to his Grace the Duke of Newcastle etc., such informations as we have received upon this subject, with our opinion concerning the consequences thereof, for H.M. directions, we have at present nothing to add thereto, except that we desire you will continue to give us such further intelligence as you may receive from time to time. We have considered what you wrote in your letter of the 14th of Novr., as also the clause in your Commission giving you power to summon Assemblies, by virtue of which power, you say, you did establish legislatures at Tortola, Spanish Town and Anguilla; but as you have not sent us any answer to that part of our letter of the 13th Aug., 1735, relating to this affaire, we must defer saying anything further to it, until we shall hear from you upon this head, at which time we desire you will likewise inform us, of the numbers, names and characters of those persons whom you have appointed to be of the Council there, in what manner you propose that the Assemblies in those Islands shall be chosen, and of what numbers they shall consist, and as all Assemblymen are by your Commission to be chosen by the freeholders, unless H.M. shall please to dispence with it, we desire you will at the same time inform us, whether any and what land is held by the inhabitants of these islands, by what title they hold the same, whether by grants from the Capt. General of the Leeward Islands, or by any other tenure. You will in short, give us every other information concerning these and all the Virgin Islands, which you think may any way tend to the enabling us to lay this affaire before H.M. for his directions thereon. In your letter of the 31st of May last you mention the desertion of several of the inhabitants of the Leeward Islands from thence to Sta. Cruz, upon the offers and encouragements of the Danish Govr. ; you likewise mention the information you have received from Tortola and Spanish Town, that the Spaniards were fitting out from Porto Rico and Hispaniola a force to drive the Danes from Sta. Cruz, and to ravage and plunder Spanish Town and Tortola. We are very much concernd at this intelligence and have sent an account thereof to the Duke of Newcastle. Since the unhealthyness of Sta. Cruz does not prevent H.M. subjects under your Government going thither, we can only recommend it to you to use your best endeavours to keep them at home, and we must likewise recommend it to you, to be as much as possible upon your guard, on account of the expedition from Porto Rico, or any other place to molest or ravage the Virgin Islands. Upon this occasion, we think you did very well to give Capt. Brand notice, who, we do not doubt, would do his utmost for the protection of H.M. subjects and Dominions, and with regard to such force, as you may at any time be obliged to send to the Virgin Islands for their safety and protection altho' we can give no directions for defraying the expence thereof yet we shall not fail recommending the same to H.M. whenever it shall happen. As to what you have wrote concerning the murder of a man at Tortola, all that we can say at present is, that in the year 1725, Colo. Hart, who was then Govr. of the Leeward Islands, sent us an account of one white who was try'd and condemn'd at St. Xtophers for the murther of a man at Spanish Town upon which he desired our directions ; we referr'd this matter to the Attorney and Solicitor General, and in Feby. 1735/6 we sent a copy of their report upon that affaire to Colo. Hart for his direction in that and any cases of the like nature, altho we suppose that reports of so much weight and consequence, are always registered in the Secretary's Office in your Government, yet least that report should be mislaid, we now inclose another copy thereof, for your guidance until H.M. shall think fit to establish a form of Government in the Virgin Islands. We have lately received from you three Acts, among others, which appear to us of a very extraordinary nature and importance, two passed at Antigua and Montserrat in April and June last of the same tenure, and each entituled, an Act for ascertaining the value of all gold and silver coins, passing in this Inland, and introducing English copper coin and the other at Montserrat the 5th day of June, 1736, entituled an Act for the more effectual preventing all trade in these parts between H.M. subjects and the French. The two first of these Acts have a suspending clause inserted in each of them to prevent their taking effect till confirm'd by H.M. according to your Instructions, but we are very much surprized that you should have given your assent to ye latter it being a manifest breach of yr. Instructions to give yr. assent to any law of so extraordinary a nature and which may be attended with such consequences without the said clause. These laws being but lately come to our hands, we have not yet fully considered them, but shall take a proper opportunity of laying them before H.M. We observe what you have wrote concerning Mr. Dunbar's supplying the two vacancies in the Councils of Montserrat and Nevis occasioned by the deaths of Mr. Frye and Mr. Abbot, and to the necessity you tell us you shall be under of appointing a councillor in each of those Islands for want of a sufficient number. As this necessity does not appear to us from the lists of those Councils in our Office, we must desire you will immediately send us over an account of the names and number of the Councillors of each of the respective Islands under your Government who are present thereon, as also of those who are absent. And that you will at the same time inform us who are absent upon leave, from whom they received such leave and for what time they have leave of absence; we desire you will constantly send us this account together with the names of persons proper to supply vacancies in the Council, which by the 9th Article of your Instructions you are required to send to us from time to time when any of the persons by you already recommended shall dye, depart out of the said Islands or become otherwise unfit, that a list of six persons fit to supply vacancies in each island may be always compleat. PS.—We have taken no notice hitherto of what you wrote in your letter of the 17th June, 1734, concerning the Spanish ship you mentioned to have been wreck'd at Tortola, because no complaint has been made here of that affaire. However we hope you take the best informations you can get against such persons as were concerned in that affaire, that they may be prosecuted for it, when a legislature shall be established there, and with regard to the expression you have us'd, vizt. a Spanish ship wreck d, we imagine you mean, stranded, because you inform us of the ill usage some of the passengers on board met with from the inhabitants of Tortola. [C.O. 153, 16. pp. 45–53.]