America and West Indies: January 1739

Pages 1-21

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 45, 1739. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1994.

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January 1739

January 2
William Stephens to Trustees for Georgia. My last was of 21 November which I hope will have found its way right, and also my former ere now of the several dates when sent, though by Mr Verelst's letter of 2 October which I have newly received I was very sorry to be advised that at that time no letter was arrived from me since what I wrote of 27 May. To clear up which lame account as well as I can I have collected from what notes I keep such particulars as deduce the whole series from last May down to this time, by which I persuade myself it will appear I have not been unmindful of that part of my duty; nor can I plead (I bless God) any want of health since I had the honour to serve you for neglecting it. Your kind approbation of my endeavours, so far as Mr Verelst wrote me, gives me the greatest encouragement to proceed in doing my utmost to pursue my instructions with fidelity and impartiality, and much happier should I think myself could I write of many things frequently in a more agreeable way than those ties will allow me to do, now more especially. Much of what I have to lay before you is a scene all of confusion and disorder as it will appear too plain, I conceive, in my journal herewith sent (together with duplicate of my last letter); wherefore it needs very little enlargement, facts requiring none, and matters of speculation I take to be not properly within my province, who have too gross a way of thinking for such an airy employment when it may truly be said non tali auxilio tempus egat. It has sometimes, upon looking back into what I formerly wrote, given me a little uneasiness in my mind to see so many seeming inconsistencies and contradictions comparing one time with another; but I can pretty well pacify such thoughts when I know to whom I write and that they do not want to be told, amidst so great a mutability as is to be met with here, it behoves the writer to vary likewise in his manner as often how he relates the circumstances of affairs, and if he has been too sanguine in his expectations, to own it though with indignation at such as occasioned it.
After I had transmitted you the several accounts of the number of acres planted in this part of the colony, as also short lists of such as I apprehended had most merit of any kind among the freeholders here (not to mention those of a different rank who were possessed of 500-acre lots), notwithstanding the misfortune of a bad crop which befell too many, I saw no appearance of such impatience among them as to portend any mischievous consequence but conceived good hope yet that a little time would wear out the remembrance of past evils and, when the season came about, they would fall to once more and try what another year's endeavour might produce, everybody whom we could well expect it from following their own private affairs quietly; till those fatal tidings came of the bad estate of affairs throughout by reason of such great debts incurred and the deficiency of trade to discharge them, whereupon all credit was stopped and the stores in a great measure applied towards payment in part of some of the creditors, etc. Then indeed there began to be a visible change in people's looks and tempers and little stories continually flew about to augment fears and jealousies, framed doubtless in the same forge from whence others of the like tendency had formerly been sent abroad as I have before observed. When by such means people were judged sufficiently alarmed, out came a paper under the title of a Representation of Grievances which they had been some time preparing. It was immediately flocked to by almost all people here and hereabout who greedily catched at it, and (as I hear now) upwards of 100 put their names to it in four or five days so that indeed very few stood out. The manner of its proceeding and the principal matters which it contained (as far as I could charge my memory upon perusal cursorily, for no one was suffered to copy any of it) I noted in my journal, to which I ask leave to refer. The vehemence wherewith it was carried on was such that all reasoning upon it was vain, and I verily think that several among them ran in with the crowd for no better reason than because they would be like their neighbours, not considering the consequence. I have pretty good reason to believe this elaborate work was the task of two or three only without so much as the assistance of Capt Patrick Mackay in putting it together, who undoubtedly has been an arch-incendiary all along in private ever since I knew the colony, and those topics which are the basis of this piece have been always inculcated and maintained by him. At the same time the model on which the colony was established never missed being treated with derision. How it comes to pass therefore that this man's name is not to be found in the list is to many people a riddle, and the most probable solution I have heard of it was that it was undertaken without his aid whilst he was at his Negro plantation in Carolina and he did not think himself sufficiently distinguished to mix in the common crowd, at the same time highly applauding what they had done when he read it and so left it with a sneer; from whence others imagine variously as their fancies lead them to discover what was the real cause of the captain's so dropping it, which I cannot think is worth so much inquiry. Mr Brownfield (I hear) is towards the latter end of the list after a day or two of perusing upon it: whether he was not full ripe in his judgment sooner, or whether he might grow a little cold at his being not earlier consulted, is a query likewise. But it is certain that Mr Robert Williams and his brother Patrick Tailfer (surgeon, who married Mr Williams's sister) are the principal fabricators of it as it is now formed, of whom I beg to be indulged in a few words. Mr Williams's character would be a valuable one here for the public good were it not too much alloyed with private views which darken it: it must be confessed he has been a bold adventurer in cultivating land at a greater expense far than most others and the return it has made him has been considerable loss, from whence it may be allowed some peevishness might naturally arise which gave birth to his being a great exclaimer against the tenure of the land, thinking it hard very probably that after so much labour and expense his title was precarious; but as to the use of Negroes I have some reason to think his aim is more extensive than appears openly, for as he is in partnership with his brother and others at St Kitts and Bristol who made much in importing Negroes into the West Indies it is not hard to conceive what would follow in case it were in the power of the landholders here to alienate such lands who for want of money to purchase slaves would not want credit to get them upon land security, the consequence whereof need not be named. And as for Dr Tailfer he never has been at any labour or expense about land in so many years as he has lived here, but letting out such servants to hire as he brought with him during their servitude, together with his practice, soon put a pretty deal of money in his pocket, by which means he has lived and dressed in a superior manner to any of this place and has vanity enough to set up for a dictator among those he converses with who generally give way to his overbearing discourse. It is to be observed that all this was set agoing whilst the general was in the south, where it is to be doubted from common report that some discontents have also shown themselves worthy his care to suppress. But it behoves me to be cautious lest I say too much of what I cannot warrant the truth of. I am sure his presence here is to be wished for now and we are impatiently waiting it, when upon his arrival it will be seen how he is addressed and how well he is pleased at such a welcome.
If we look towards the stores I can find nothing pleasing there neither. The work of accounting with Mr Causton, which has already taken up so much time, goes on very heavily; and from what Mr Jones tells me I fear has little prospect yet of coming to a desirable end, such intricacies (he says) are continually met with to impede it. And as for Mr Bradley's accounts I am told he is so obscured that no dawning yet appears of what light that inquiry may produce. It is really a melancholy aspect in the meanwhile that the remainder of provision in the stores affords us, where (if I am rightly informed) there is not more than about a dozen barrels of fleshmeat left, such have been the great drafts thence towards satisfying (in part only) divers creditors of most impatience, whilst some again have been well content rather to wait till time shall produce payment in specie. It is fit I should here observe that whereas you in a former letter signified your pleasure that the issues of stores should be under the direction of Causton, Parker and myself, and soon after (before Mr Jones had taken possession of the stores) your pleasure was further known and Mr Causton was dismissed from his employment by the general, who upon that occasion gave such instructions to Mr Jones as he saw most expedient in proportioning to the several classes of people what was to be the future regulation, wherein undoubtedly he was the best and most proper judge: Mr Parker and I therefore have not presumed to intermeddle any further than occasionally upon an exigence where Mr Jones had any doubt in himself, and then upon asking our opinion he always had it; as in some petty cases likewise where we knew the absolute necessity of a poor family in the utmost distress we have not scrupled to recommend such for a small present relief, believing it such a charity as you would well approve of, but that we always did with due caution and never by a formal order which we thought we could not now warrant: the whole upon that head would be found of small value. I am confident your allowance will readily be obtained for putting an end here to so displeasing a story, which I shall be heartily glad in my next to make some amendment to, and am far from despairing of knowing these clouds must needs dissipate in time and being firmly persuaded in myself that under the prudent conduct of those at helm we shall pass through this foul weather with little or no damage at last. Signed. 3½ small pp. Endorsed, Recd. 16 March 1739. [CO 5/640, ff 247–248d]
January 2
William Stephens to Harman Verelst. Your letter of 2 October, which I received 23 December, surprised me much at the first reading wherein I found such a long chasm without any letter received from me that it put me instantly to see if I could trace out any cause that might occasion it: and joining the several particulars together which I found in my past notes, as you will observe in the paper herewith sent, I grew satisfied in myself as I hope it will be deemed satisfaction to what you wrote thereon. And after acquainting you that all the enclosed letters which you sent me were carefully conveyed to whom they belonged I presume no more needs to be said in answer to that letter. But what I have wrote to the Board at this time I fear will be thought more than enough unless it had imported something better. Nevertheless it is inexcusable (I think) in cases of such consequence to soften matters which will admit of no palliation or to deviate in the least from strict truth whatever be the event, under which sense of duty it is humbly submitted.
I am really puzzled what to say of Duché, our potter here, or how to represent him again after the light I had formerly put him in. I see no cause to retract any part of the character I thought he deserved as to his diligence, sobriety and skill so far as his work hitherto has appeared, whereof he has made good plenty which has not stuck on his hands. But how far he is capable of bringing those things to perfection which he promised I dare not undertake for, wherefore I thought it best to let him speak for himself and put it in writing that it might be laid before the Trustees plainly without any varnish, especially as I found more money wanting. But I am ashamed for him that my fond credulity, which led me into an imagination of seeing such fine things brought presently to perfection, should be the cause of Lord Egmont's being deceived in his expectations also, for which I must beg your intercession to obtain his pardon. Time possibly may yet bring those things to pass.
It behoves me now, sir, to say something of the boy (Tho Roberts) that Sgt McKenzie delivered to me here 21 November last, since which time I have had ample trial of his abilities that are very great, but I am sorry to say it is in lying and thieving wherein he has outdone any of his rank that I have heard of among us. On account of so valuable a recommendation as he came with from Rev Mr Smith and yourself I was inclined to try whether or not he might prove of any good use to me among others, though having already a boy (one Edward Harries) whom you sent me and who had idleness sufficient about him to require a strict hand over him, by which means after a year's pains he is beginning to show some tokens of making a tolerable servant, I doubted lest they might spoil one another. But the last youngster outstripped all before him and soon began to show us that no good would come of him, for after many testimonies given us of what might be expected the first exploit of greatest note I remarked in my journal, as you may observe of 18, 19 and 20 December, from which time his feats have been too numerous to think them worth recording; but his behaviour has been one course of wickedness which appears so radicated in him that I fear no stripes will subdue, even from the common executioner if he falls under his hands, and that is such a task as my son and I desire to decline. I only wish for his own sake and his friends that I may be lucky enough to get a master fitly qualified to reform him, which I promise you I will do my best in, though he is well known already through this town that I do not expect readily to find such a one here. I shall be glad in my next to give a better account of him and many things else. Signed. 1¼ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 16 March 1739. [CO 5/640, ff 249–250d]
January 3
Palace Court
Minutes of Trustees for Georgia. Resolved that three of the Trustees wait on the Chancellor of the Exchequer and represent that the Trustees find it necessary to apply for 8000l for 1739 owing to the charge of military defence of the colony before the arrival of Col Oglethorpe's regiment and to last summer's drought in Georgia, all which extraordinary expenses amount to 3000l. Entry. 1½ pp. [CO 5/687, pp 97–98]
January 3
William Stephens to Harman Verelst. Give me leave (good sir) to crave your patience in a separate letter whilst you read a few lines which necessity extorts from me unwillingly and which I could have no confidence to offer to you were I not persuaded in myself that by your own adoption I am allowed to esteem you my real friend. Without further preface, therefore, I lay open to your view the present situation I find myself in, together with my son. It would be impertinent in me to recapitulate to you the terms I embarked on in the service of the honourable Trust: it is the mistaken foundation of what I was to trust to that requires such an explanation as experience has too plainly shown ought to be set in a true light. I must first with a grateful sense of the favour of the Trustees acknowledge the benefit I received from what they were so good to grant for my outset, whereby I was enabled with spirit to proceed as I have done and (without vanity I hope I may say) shown what might be expected from the labour of servants if well looked after, provided they kept their healths. The servants which I had you will please to remember were estimated to me at 15l per annum each, which upon supposition they were so must amount to 150l. This had indeed an engaging aspect. Now let us see the winding up of the last year and what it produced. I may venture to say that what was possible for us to do was done and our application to it for example's sake was such as few if any have ever equalled. We felled and laid open fifteen acres of strong timber-land which we afterwards cultivated and planted with Indian corn, rice, potatoes etc in due season. Having no lot of 500 acres run out for myself in pursuance of their honours' grant and being desirous of having Gen Oglethorpe's opinion and advice in it when he came, I went to work on a town-lot of 5 and 45 acres for the benefit of a son-in-law of mine in whose name it was taken up when Mr Oglethorpe was here last time. The land was found to be as good as I could reasonably expect and great hopes we conceived of a good recompense for our pains; but instead of that behold what followed, nothing but disappointments. As soon as the summer heats came on our servants grew sickly with fevers, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 down at a time; one of the very best died and as it went round among them we could rarely or scarce ever since May last have any good use from among them all, for those who recovered in appearance never yet regained their strength but have been continually relapsing and are becoming so dispirited, partly through the effect of their long illness and partly through a natural laziness, that most of them are no better than ciphers and two or three only of them are fit for labour, neither can we foresee when such a stubborn distemper joined with a stubborn will may be eradicated. Add to all this the doctor's bill for medicines and long attendance which for one year comes to near 20l and out of what am I to pay it? For, in the next place, a calamity has overtaken us which is common to all others hereabout, namely our expectations miserably defeated by the failure of a crop occasioned through such a drought last spring as in several years has not been seen here, besides the colony being supplied with such seed for planting as experience has too plainly shown was not good, so that generally speaking it is agreed by all 3 parts in 4 are fallen short of what was computed might have been gathered at harvest. The expense moreover of clothing these servants I presume need not be named. These articles are surely sufficient to blast our hopes of subsisting in the way we are at present. But to complete this gloom since our general's arrival here in October last and what followed upon his laying open the miserable circumstances the colony was under, it cannot but be shocking to men of the best dispositions when want stares us in the face far more terrifying than any Spanish threats. The estimate which the Trustees were pleased to send for the expenses of the current year, even so abridged as it was, by the next letters from them we were advised could not be complied with, so that now I really know not what to say. It would be injurious not to acknowledge that hitherto through the general's favour I have had such supplies delivered me out of the stores by Mr Jones as have been a support to us, and the product of the land I compute will be tantamount to what breadkind we shall spend or perhaps more; the whole quantity of it not being yet cleansed I cannot speak of it with certainty. But you need not be told that food alone without other necessary conveniences of life must leave a man in a comfortless state and I am sure it was never meant to fix me in such an one as to render me contemptible and thereby defeat the intent of my service. It were easy to harangue on such a theme but it would appear very weak in me to imagine any more words wanting the better to elucidate what I mean. It is my heart's desire to spend what time I have left me in life usefully to the public if I may be enabled to do so: and having said that I must humbly submit the consideration of it to those honourable persons who are the proper judges how far I may be so useful. My son, who is a sober young man that has been some years employed in bookkeeping, etc and in a promising way of advancing in the world, affectionately chose to quit such views as he had at that time when I engaged in the service I am and to attend his father's fate. During the time of his being here he has shown himself indefatigable in promoting what we came to do and often with such a spirit even in bodily labour for whole days together that I have often thought a curb more wanting than a spur, fearing such extremities; and now to find so unexpected a turn of affairs here, it cuts him to the heart under sad apprehensions of future misery, which I endeavour all I can to banish from his thoughts, most assuredly believing that none who have acted an honest and diligent part under the Trustees will be left exposed to severities. Such ought rather to expect it who in these times of difficulty, instead of uniting to allay the present discomposures, have joined in stirring up discontents to that degree that I might as well hope to assuage the raging of the sea as the madness of the people. No, nothing that can happen will ever divert me from doing my utmost in the execution of what I am charged with, and I make no doubt but a little time will open another scene to us that we may view with comfort. When the general left us last, upon seeing what straits I was in he was pleased to tell Mr Jones that he should assist me with such necessary cash as I wanted for a present supply, who in about six weeks after brought me 50s; in the like manner Mr Causton so long since as in August last, after my often asking him for a little money in part of what remained due to me of the 5l appointed by the Trustees when I should demand it, was pleased in an ignominious manner (as I thought it) to send me in a bag upon a man's head 5l sterling in copper, alleging that he had neither sola bills nor any other coin. These things cannot but grate sorely, and I hope I may be allowed to say so without being thought petulant. To be obliged to bow down and crouch in such a manner like a mumper is acknowledging such a superiority as I never knew whom it was derived from, and am far from pretending to assume anything like it to myself but glad when any occasion offers wherein I am thought worthy of joining in consultation for the common good. Not to tire you farther, sir, I must recommend it to your prudence at what time and in what manner to offer these things to the consideration of the Trustees, to whose good judgment, candour and benevolence I most readily submit myself always.
The general went south the last time from hence on 12 November, since which we have not seen him; but upon the melancholy news of our dear friend Col Horsey's death I wrote acquainting him that I had received letters from both you and Mr Samuel Horsey directing me to do the office of a friend in applying properly in behalf of the family for obtaining the fees and perquisites which are customarily paid from the death of a preceding to a succeeding governor; that I had a letter of attorney for that purpose with other necessary papers but was directed to conduct myself under his instructions wholly therein; wherefore I hoped for his good advice and assistance and I should wait his commands, etc. How grievous to me may you then imagine it in so long time to have received no directions touching it when I cannot justify my going without his appointment nor, if I could do that, have I wherewith in my pocket to defray the necessary expense of travel till he supplies that want. This is not doing service to my deceased friend's family with that dispatch I would, but as we are every day now expecting the general here I am in hopes of writing to Capt Horsey himself in a short time something to better purpose. Please to make my sincere respects acceptable to the family. With my wishes for a Happy New Year to all my friends. Signed. PS. My son, whom you were so good to remember in your late letter, desires to present his best service to you. PPS. The enclosed letter directed to the Isle of Wight you will be so kind to take care may be put safely in the general post. 2½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 16 March 1739. [CO 5/640, ff 251–252d]
January 4
Governor Edward Trelawny to Duke of Newcastle sending duplicate of letter of 30 December [Cal SP Col XLIV no 566]. The master of a vessel from Rhode Island that arrived here on 1st of this month brought an account that he heard at Antigua that a Spanish man-of-war of 50 guns was lost at Anegada on 21 December; that there was another man-of-war then in company when she was lost; that they came from Old Spain with eight more who had separated and sailed for Cartagena, as some of those that were cast away reported. Signed. 1p. Endorsed, R, 2 April. [CO 137/56, ff 175–176d]
January 6
Same to same. There are such frequent instances of mutiny among the soldiers (with the detail of which it would be too much to trouble you) that I must importune you again to move HM as I desired in my letter of 4 December (copy enclosed) to regiment the companies and to appoint the governor colonel as the most effectual and indeed necessary means to retain HM's forces here in their duty and to have due discipline observed. The whole island is sensible of the necessity there is of arming their governor with such a power and I am certain the Council and Assembly would with the greatest pleasure join with me in an address to HM to desire it, if it was proper that they should concern themselves in regulations of the army; but this I will answer for, that they will joyfully address HM to return their most humble thanks if he will condescend to my request by enabling me to carry on his service and the good of the island more effectually. There being a notion among the common soldiers here that they are not bound to obey officers appointed by the governor's warrant to supply a vacancy of a lieutenant till HM shall fill it up, and there being a necessity of appointing such officers upon account of the many detachments which the men are divided into in this country, each of which requires an officer, in order to undeceive the men and prevent any fatal mistakes and bad consequences, I propose that you would move HM for an order requiring the same obedience to the warrant officers as to those that are commissioned. Signed. 2 pp. Enclosed:
6 i Jamaica, 4 December 1738. Same to Same. Copy, of Cal SP Col XLIV, no 529. 4 pp. [CO 137/56, ff 177–180d]
January 6
New Inverness Darien
Part of letter from Rev John McLeod, missionary, to [Adam Anderson] secretary of SPCK (Scotland), acknowledging letter of 8 July. Sum of 20l towards cost of fixing missionary here would be poor assistance though better than none. If the Society will bestow money to purchase four servants they would in process of time be of some use. Servants cannot be subsisted without borrowing from neighbours. The Society should request of the Trustees formal grant of 300 acres promised within twelve miles of New Inverness. Gen Oglethorpe promised credit on the Trust's stores and undertook to provide out of his own pocket some sort of house for worship until a fund be established for building a church. The Trustees' fund for religious uses cannot be employed for building a Presbyterian church but there is possibility of a legacy to be applied to that purpose. Copy. 3 pp. [CO 5/640, ff 253–254d]
January 9
Francis Fane to Commissioners for Trade and Plantations reporting no objection in point of law to eleven Acts passed in Massachusetts in 1737/8. Signed. 1½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 11 January 1739, Read 2 May 1741. [CO 5/882, ff 203–204d]
[January 9]
Accounts of the duties inward and duties outward arising in the Bahamas, midsummer 1737 to Christmas 1737. Accounts of HM's revenues arising in the Bahamas, 24 June 1737 to 25 December 1737. Passed in Council and sworn to by William Stewart, receiver-general and treasurer. Signed, R Fitzwilliam. 5 pp. Endorsed. (1) Recd. from Governor Fitzwilliam. (2) Recd. 9 January, Read 18 January 1739. [CO 23/4, ff 51–54d]
January 10
Palace Court
Minutes of Trustees for Georgia. Resolved that the general meeting be appointed for 17th inst to consider the answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the Trustees' representation of 3rd inst relating to further support of the colony. Entry. ¾ p. [CO 5/687, p 99]
January 12
Order of Committee of Council for Plantation Affairs on petition of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, for confirmation and approval of the surveys and report made by his commissioners in Virginia. The Commissioners for Trade and Plantations are ordered to examine the reports and papers transmitted to them both by Lord Fairfax's commissioners and by those appointed by the lieut-governor of Virginia, and to report to this Committee a state of the facts. Seal. Signed, W Sharpe. 2¾ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 14 February, Read 15 February 1739. [CO 5/1324, ff 143–144d]
January 12
Same referring three Acts passed in Pennsylvania in August and September last to Commissioners for Trade and Plantations for report. Seal. Signed, W Sharpe. ¾ p. Endorsed, Recd. 22 January, Read 23 January 1739. [CO 5/1269, ff 45, 45d, 48, 48d]
January 12
Same referring the following to Commissioners for Trade and Plantations. Seal. Signed, W Sharpe. ¾ p. Endorsed, Recd., Read 23 January 1739. Enclosed:
13 i Petition of John Yeamans, agent for Montserrat, to King in Council praying for a supply of ordnance, guns, firelocks and ammunition for the defence of the island. Signed. 2pp.
13 ii Schedule of cannon required for each of ten forts and points in Montserrat. Total: 16 nine-pounders and 9 six-pounders. List of other stores needed. ¾ p. [CO 152/23, ff 175–178d]
January 12
Commissioners for Trade and Plantations to Duke of Newcastle enclosing the following. Signed, Monson, R Plumer, A Croft. 1 p. Enclosed:
14 i Extract of letter, dated 4 November 1738, from President James Dottin to Commissioners for Trade and Plantations relating to French settlements on St Lucia and other islands. See Cal SP Col XLIV, no 494. Copy. 1 p. Endorsed, Copy sent to Earl Waldegrave, 1 February. [CO 253/1, ff 305–308d; entry of covering letter in CO 29/16, p 74]
January 12
Same to same enclosing the following received from Governor Popple. Signed, Monson, R Plumer, A Croft. 1 p. Enclosed:
15 i 6 September 1738. Address of Council and Assembly of Bermuda to the King acknowledging HM's favour and praying for a further supply of warlike stores. Signed, Andrew Auchinleck and six other members of the Council; Nathaniel Bascome, Speaker, and twenty-seven other members of the Assembly. 1 large p.
15 ii 29 September 1738. List of stores absolutely wanted for the batteries and fortifications at the east, southwest and west ends of Bermuda. 1 large p. [CO 37/26, ff 214–219d; entry of covering letter in CO 38/8, pp 303–304]
January 13
Governor William Mathew to Commissioners for Trade and Plantations sending minutes of Assembly of St Christopher's, 22 September 1737 to 12 September 1738, and minutes of Council of Montserrat for quarter ending 25 December 1738. Signed. 1 small p. Endorsed, Recd., Read 6 April 1739 [CO 152/23, ff 204, 204d, 209, 209d]
January 14
Thomas Causton to Trustees for Georgia. I make no doubt but Mr Thomas Jones has informed you that I gave him a receipt for your orders under seal of your Common Council dated 19 May last. As it has ever been my endeavours to execute your commands I return you thanks that you have now put it in my power to make those endeavours more effectual, having long laboured under the utmost uneasiness to see myself so embarrassed without any prospect of ease. Finding you did not approve of the credit given for the servants brought by Capt Thompson from Scotland to Mr Thomas Upton, Mr John Broadie and others, I acquainted them that they must forthwith pay for them, whereupon Mr Broadie and Mr Upton applied to Gen Oglethorpe and he, having regard to their circumstances, has ordered those credits to be continued. As for those taken to my own service I have returned them for your further commands and they are by the general's order joined with those at the Darien. The motive for my giving the above credit was because I apprehended it was now become necessary to give all possible civilities and reasonable succour to strangers at their first arrival as the surest means to guard them against the bad impressions they were liable to receive both in respect to the country and the regulations for its settlement. How far I may have erred in such an apprehension I submit to your judgment.
As to the 9½ heads of German servants brought by Capt Hewitt and by me taken to my own account, I am certain I advised you that they having intended to pay their own passage and go to Pennsylvania had made their choice to indent themselves to me on the same conditions with those indented at Cowes for your service. Having conceived an opinion that it would be for the service of the colony to add to its number, that the cultivation of land was an essential point towards its support, and well knowing that your repeated orders have been for giving proper encouragement to those who were industrious, on that account I imagined that my industry being sufficiently known might be equally deserving with other people, and the rather because I can take upon me to say that neither I nor my servants have spent our time (though with little success) for any other advantage than your service or the cultivation of that farm which I advised you I had lately begun. I imagine you will think it impossible for me to give a particular reason by way of letter for the several credits to the inhabitants of the colony. Therefore, with great submission must in general refer myself to those accounts when they shall be respectively transmitted. And since you have been pleased to put a period to my acting in affairs of the colony I shall call upon all the debtors to balance their accounts, whereby I may be enabled to lay before you the reasons demanded agreeable to the duty I have professed and endeavoured at.
I hope I shall not be liable to your censure because your endeavours have been hitherto ineffectual for obtaining a regular and known expense of the colony and providing a proper means of defraying it because variety of business arising from the urgent affairs of the colony prevented myself and the want of proper hands put it out of my power to make those regular despatches. And since it will appear evident that the due examination of the various accounts of the colony necessary for such your regular knowledge is a full employ for any one person, I am at a loss to think why the want of it should be imputed to me and further hope you will consider that any calculation of charge would be very uncertain where those charges are to arise from the execution of things in remote parts necessarily left to the discretion of each particular person concerned and must be more or less as the variety of accidents or circumstances should require and could not be known by me till I had received the accounts from those entrusted. If the abovementioned or any other necessary expenses of the colony have exceeded the calculations made in England I hope such exceedings will not be imputed as my fault, being ever vigilant to avoid every unnecessary charge as well as industrious to provide against everything that seemed to threaten its welfare. Your censure for my taking surprising liberties, attended with your present commands, gives me sufficient reason to lament that I was not more capable of serving you to satisfaction or that you did not make a more proper choice. As I had not your orders to advise with anyone till the arrival of Col Stephens I am sorry to find myself accused with misconduct when I was acting to the best of my judgment and when it was impossible for me to receive particular instructions from you concerning such cases as daily occurred.
But that I may lay before you immediate reasons (till particular accounts are made up) for my conduct it is necessary to acquaint you that I find by the accounts now properly balanced to 22 November 1736 the sum of 4593l 5s 11½d sterling was then owing to sundry persons, toward the payment of which (at that time not yet particularly known) Gen Oglethorpe left with me (in cash) about 350l including a sum to be received of Mrs Bovey for the balance of her account; at which time provisions were greatly wanted, there not being 20 barrels of meat in all your stores in the province. I had then no other prospect of answering the sum of money due or of supporting the people either for account of establishments or encouragements for industry than the expectation of the sum of 3000l which Mr Oglethorpe acquainted me you intended to send to make good the calculated charges to 25 March 1737. As the stores stood thus exhausted I had no way to answer the most pressing demands of those who had money due to them but by parting with what cash I had in such small payments as might give the best content, whereby I was in a short time out of cash also. To supply this defect which Mr Oglethorpe well knew would happen, he engaged Messrs Montaigut & Co and wrote to Messrs Jenys & Co to supply me with cash on the credit of the expected bills, to negotiate them (when arrived) or other bills in their stead to their value. The former I may venture to say promised to comply with this request but the latter answered me with a denial and gave for reason that those bills could not have the protection equal to bills of exchange. In the month of December 1736 I applied to Messrs Montaigut & Co pursuant to their promise, having then an opportunity to buy upwards of 100 hogs but could not obtain one farthing till I drew a bill of exchange on Mr Oglethorpe for 50l (having his leave for so doing) on my own account, which I thus expended to supply the stores with provisions then much wanted at the southward and accordingly at that time advised Mr Oglethorpe. As you did not think proper to transmit more than one half of the sum expected it consequently occasioned larger arrears at 25 March 1737 than would otherwise have been left, but what added yet more to the distresses of the colony was advices from Commodore Dent at Jamaica that the Spaniards had prepared for an immediate descent upon us. I am certain you will easily believe that in these circumstances every soul in the colony must be in extreme surprise when the stores were exhausted, no immediate prospect of supply, and an enemy hourly expected. For my own part, though lives of self and family must be as dear to me as others, it was the least of my concern, being much more anxious how to ease the people in their distress by executing the trust reposed in me to their comfort. In this condition it was impossible to control the attempt of making a fort then unanimously required as necessary for the safety of their lives. But though this alarm ended without those consequences that were (at first) apprehended, it not only added very much to the immediate expense of the colony but also prevented in a great measure the use that would have been made of the then planting season and added to the distresses of the people in the following year. Had your resolutions concerning the intended expense for the year 1737 come to my hand in any due time it would have been in my power to have avoided a very great deal of the expense of that year, but as those orders did not arrive till 1 November it was impossible for me to make any considerable savings. The arrival of Col Stephens at this time as your secretary gave me hopes that I might in some measure be relieved, especially as to such matters wherein my own judgment had hitherto been my only guide. I, therefore, from this time communicated the generality of my actions to him and seldom executed anything without his concurrence. And I cannot help saying the calculation of expenses was so greatly short of the charge which necessarily attended them that therefore I rather chose not to proceed (without such concurrence) in the execution of some of them than to have hazarded your approbation of what must (in such case) [have] been the act of my own judgment.
In the northern division the charge of the settlement at Augusta in your establishment computes only the pay for a captain, lieutenant and fifteen private men without any allowance for a sergeant and a constable, provisions boats, arms, ammunition and incident charges that must naturally attend a settlement so remote in building a fort, raising of food and cultivating a friendship with neighbouring Indians: to effect which Capt Lacey, being sensible he should be exposed to all the obstructions that his neighbours of Carolina could throw in his way, thought it necessary to hire several labourers that he might lose no time in raising food which would not only be a more immediate support to the garrison but also be an inducement to other industrious people to join them. He also thought it necessary to take a journey into the Cherokee nation and thereby preserve as much as possible the friendship already cultivated by his former journey and therein to acquaint them of such matters as were contained in Mr Oglethorpe's instructions and your message transmitted to me; and notwithstanding all his endeavours to avoid it, six principal Indians of that nation would come with him to Savannah to whom it was necessary to make the usual presents. That these unavoidable occurrences were attended with a large increase of expense [there] can be no doubt but as a further justification of my defraying so considerable a charge I have enclosed a copy of Capt Lacey's written orders. I apprehend I do not flatter myself if I think those orders were sufficient, it being very evident that everything done on that account has had its desired effect, the Indians on that quarter being in perfect friendship, the fort completed, and the charge of provisions much lessened; in opposition to which the greatest part of the provisions thought to have been secured for them (on the Carolina side of the water) was artfully Indians another way and many contrivances and false reports set on foot to irritate the Indians against the garrison, it being too advantageously situated for the enemies of the colony to see with pleasure.
The support of the Salzburghers at Ebenezer is wholly left out of the account of expenses, or if I may support it to be included in any of those articles which are left blank it naturally follows that sixty families of industrious people could not be supported without considerable expenses, in defraying of which I strictly adhered to their former establishment and made no extraordinary allowances but what Rev Mr Bolzius seemed with good reason to desire. I humbly imagine that you will easily believe that Fort Argyle, every scout-boat and garrison must be also attended with a variety of expense, the particulars of which generally arising from unforeseen causes could not be known when they happened. There is also a great increase of expense that has necessarily attended the sawmill and cowpen at Ebenezer in provisions, boats and labour. The expenses calculated for making the western road provides only for the pay of ten men and makes no allowance for provisions which is also their due. But as the execution of that order was committed (by Mr Oglethorpe) to Mr Robert Williams I humbly hope that the extraordinary many expenses thereon will not be imputed as my act, I having frequently given notice how far your orders permitted me to go and would have stopped the work had not Col Stephens joined him in opinion that the expense was necessary, ought to be continued, and would certainly be approved of, that I might safely continue the work till the arrival of the general and need not doubt but as he had given the orders to Mr Williams he would support them with your approbation. However, I prevailed so far as to reduce the number of labourers from 17 to 10 men, and as that account remains open I have delivered a copy to Mr Jones to adjust the same with Mr Williams.
I must further observe that, notwithstanding the calculation of the general expenses, your orders of the same date repeated your commands for support of the outsettlements, those who industriously applied themselves to cultivation of land, and those who were (anyways) distressed throughout the province. As the extent of expenses of this kind then naturally depended on my own discretion as occasion required, hard would be my lot if under such general commands the ill success attending my endeavours to obtain the ends which you thereby seem to be so anxious for should be imputed to my conduct. The addition of servants to the colony by Capt Thompson and Capt Hewitt in December 1737 was a new charge on the store subsequent to your calculation of expenses, every one of which servants (at a medium) costs 7l per annum. As to the general support of the colony and providing of stores in so large a manner, I must further add that in April 1738 I received fresh advice supported by affidavits that a great force of men and vessels from Havana were arrived at St Augustine and might be daily expected to attack us. In these circumstances the industrious people having been from time to time disappointed of the fruits of their labours in planting and wearied with their endeavours, I could not help joining in opinion (which every understanding man here will allow to be right) that it was necessary to keep the stores well supplied as the means to prevent those desertions (as otherwise) through repeated disappointments would have then been unavoidable at a time when every man's hand was necessary to protect the public safety; and if there should be no occasion for extraordinary issues they were ready in the store to supply every necessary demand on the arrival of additional numbers then daily expected. And certainly so it was and will be acknowledged that had I not made such provision HM's forces would have suffered very much and the want would have been attended with ill consequences.
As to the expense for support of the southern division I must beg leave to say that Gen Oglethorpe, subsequent to your orders for certain expenses there, strictly enjoined me not to suffer those settlements in any degree to want supplies; the application of which being under the direction of proper officers I may reasonably hope that his orders and their accounts will sufficiently justify me. Give me leave then upon the whole to collect the general necessity of such a conduct. Gen Oglethorpe returned to England in November 1736, leaving the colony in the circumstances before related, with a full resolution to return to its succour in May or June following. That he met with many delays which prevented the execution of his designs till 1738 cannot be unknown to you; that during his absence and till the expected time arrived, continual alarms from the Spaniards, the well known attempts of raising jealousies among the Indians, and the necessitous circumstances of the colony made it requisite to use all reasonable methods to prevent any desertions, for as such a desertion might be general I should then have exposed myself to censures of a much higher nature and your endeavours for obtaining a military force of the Crown might probably have been rendered ineffectual.
The clerks of the store are preparing copies of books and accounts agreeable to your orders and doubt not but my good intentions for the welfare and safety of the colony will be sufficiently manifest, and I shall ever esteem it my happiness that, though my actions should not meet with suitable approbation, my principal aim was obtained in keeping the people together without drooping under their disappointments or being anyways intimidated by the threats of their enemies. And as this was the scope of my action I might easily expect that mistakes of a lesser consequence would have been treated with lenity and indulgence. I should be very far from being uneasy at the different measures you are pleased to take for the executing the business of the colony did I not meet with far different treatment than what is expressed in your letter to me. But lest I should be supposed to prefer complaints concerning what may appear harsh to me before my own justification, I shall for the present only pursue that defence necessary for the character of every honest man and upon the common right of justice may expect a suspension of your belief concerning what is laid to my charge till answers can be given. Your orders and the proceedings thereupon give me just apprehension that somebody has basely charged me. I therefore pray to be acquainted with the particulars (without which) as no man can answer he ought not to suffer. When I consider the services which without any view I have performed for near six years, your own approbation of my conduct on several occasions, and Mr Oglethorpe's assurance in full terms that you would never condemn me on any charge till I had been heard, I am at a loss to know why I am (not only) divested of all your favours but also prevented by an arrest from getting my bread elsewhere. The former I confess would have been less grievous had it been done in such a manner as to have acknowledged my services, but when contrariwise, accompanied with the latter, can now appear to me in no other light than a condemnation without being heard and consequently unjust.
The inventory of the stores at Savannah, taken 29 September last, has with the remains been delivered to Mr Thomas Jones together with several extracts of expenses which was judged necessary to be immediately transmitted. I have also delivered him Mr Bradley's whole accounts, the prodigious expense of which will be sufficient reason for all my complaints on that head. Having moved the town-court at Savannah to name another trustee to the orphans I obtained the order enclosed which I doubt not will be put in execution. My cash accounts is now under the examination of Mr Jones and I hope that, when you shall see how far I have devoted myself to the service of the colony and neglected all advantages which many men in my station might and probably would (without reflection) have made, sacrificed every minute of my own and family's time and all my goods, eatables and drinkables, to Indians and strangers for the sake of the colony and its safety, expecting only such rewards as might flow from you and generosity, you will remove those clouds which eclipse my character and reward my service. I cannot conclude this my address without mentioning the unequal task I have laboured under from my first arrival in the colony, with what difficulties I have sustained the weight of public business, what solemn application I made to Gen Oglethorpe before his last return to England and what entreaties I afterwards made to Rev Mr John Wesley, his brother, and Mr Ingham, to intercede with him that I might be relieved from it, how steadily I have adhered (against a torrent of opposition) to your plans, regulations and the execution of your laws regardless of enemies who perhaps (on that account) will never be reconciled. From such known behaviour I may reasonably not only expect protection but reward and not to be condemned without proof or conviction. Signed. 8 pp. [CO 5/640, ff 257–260d; signed duplicate, endorsed Recd. 5 April 1739, at ff 261–2646]
January 14
Thomas Jones to James Oglethorpe. The just regard I have for your honour and the Trustees' interests oblige me to trouble you with this short account of some occurrences, out of many, that daily happen here. Mr Causton has at length contrived his cash account (of which I have a copy) whereby he makes the Trustees indebted to him in a balance of 780l. He triumphs much thereat. I have looked into the account and can without examining the vouchers discover that for two years last past several sums of money are said to be paid to persons as by their receipts whereas they received no money of him but effects out of the store to that value, and that not placed to their accounts nor any mention in their books of those effects being issued. Several sums paid to others in discharge of his own debts to whom the store was not indebted. He has given drafts to others on persons (not indebted to the Trustees) which have been protested, having obtained a receipt for those drafts as cash, but will not repay the money. I am not so much surprised at anything of this nature that he has or may undertake, but that others who I thought to be pure of reputation and upright in their dealings should combine with him in the same fraudulent designs has disturbed me greatly: Minis, Woodroffe, Brownfield, etc. Mr Brownfield's demand on the Trustees is greatly enhanced since the account given me of his balance in October. His going to Oxtead of late and tarrying there several nights and his joining in the representation, contrary to his judgment which he had declared to me, gave me a jealousy that the conjunction of such opposites portended some extraordinary event. I examined Mr Brownfield's account (as in the storebooks) for one year past and found several sums of money to the amount of near 70l (within that time) charged to the Trustees' account which by his bills of parcels appeared to have been placed to Mr Causton's private account. All the sums before March last had been certified by Mr Causton to have been delivered to the stores for account of the Trustees (which certificate has been paid in England). I took a copy of the certificate and went to Mr Brownfield. I asked him whom he made debitor in his books for those sums of money. He told me Mr Causton, being goods he had sent for to his own use but Mr Causton had agreed lately to charge the Trustees with them. I showed him the copy of the certificate and asked whether he did not know (when he received it) that the allegations therein were false and that Mr Causton had therein certified a manifest falsehood. He replied the greatest part of the people who had dealing with Mr Causton had done the same. I told him that it was with concern I must charge him with fraudulent and base actions as well as ingratitude and that other people's being guilty of the same fraudulent contrivances was but a thin subterfuge, that I should in justice to the Trustees acquaint them with this scene of villainy. I do not pretend to remember exactly what passed, being very much moved. About the same sums of money is lately taken from Mr Causton's debt to Minis and put to the Trustees.
Last Saturday Mr Henry Parker with seven or eight of his new confederates (the Scotch) went to dine at Oxtead and the next day a letter was found by them dropped in the street (of three sheets of paper) directed to you. I have not seen it but Col Stephens heard it read by Hugh Anderson (the supposed author) who took much pains to expatiate upon it. It is the second part of their representation but more insolent. I went that evening to Jenkins's expecting to hear somewhat of what had been contrived at their meeting. I found there a full assembly (sixteen in number): they were for a long time silent till at length Dr Tallfier began the complaint of their injurious treatment by you and the Trustees; he was seconded by Douglas and others. Then Capt Stewart (of the Charles transport) stood up and drank Damnation to all Rogues, which was much applauded. They asked me whether I would not drink the health: I replied that unless they would name those they called rogues and explain what they meant by damnation I should not do it, having never been used to cursing. They then dropped it and fell into their silent mood. Mr Causton has by his mean arts been successful in corrupting the minds of people of all degrees and has reconciled some of the greatest enemies to one another such as Parker and Fallowfield, Bradley and himself. He dined at Bradley's lately and has in Bradley's case followed the example of the unjust steward in the gospel, which shall explain fully to you when you give me the pleasure of waiting on you; in the meantime shall endeavour to rub on in the midst of insults and endeavour to guard against the snares which are daily laid for me. Mr Parker came to the store last Saturday and would have me issue 100 bushels of corn to Mr Causton and also some of the damaged corn for his hogs at a certain value which he would return in kind the next year. I told him that, the other provisions being near exhausted in the store, the only relief that could be given to the poor people must be corn until a fresh supply came. He said he would go to Col Stephens and talk with him. I had been before with Col Stephens (being apprised of the design) and told him that if they gave me such unreasonable directions about issues out of the store I should not comply therewith but would shut up the store and go to you at Frederica to receive my orders. Whether I shall be urged again tomorrow I cannot tell but am persuaded that Col Stephens will not agree thereto.
It is reported that Mr Causton is to go with Stewart for St Christopher's, who is near laden and falls down the river tomorrow to take in the remainder of his loading at Cockspur. I am persuaded Mr Causton has some such views, and what induces me to think that this report of his going away with Stewart may be true is the great intimacy that there is between them. Nothing but your coming soon into these parts can prevent it. Not knowing of this opportunity of writing to you until within these two hours I cannot add but that I am, etc. Signed. 3pp. Endorsed, Mr Jones to Gen Oglethorpe, sent with the general's letter to the Trustees dated 17 January 1738/9. (fn. 1) Recd. 29 April 1739. [CO 5/640, ff 255–256d]
January 17
St James's
Order of King in Council appointing the five eldest Councillors of New York, New Jersey and Nova Scotia (except Major Paul Mascarene) to be commissioners for marking and settling boundaries between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Copy, certified by W Sharpe.1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 8 May, Read June 1739. [CO 5/881, ff 89–90d]
January 17
St James's
Same appointing Nathaniel Bascome, William Riddell and John Harvey to be of the Council in Bermuda. Copy, certified by W Sharpe.1½ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 8 May, Read 8 June 1739. [CO 37/13, ff 79, 79d, 82, 82d; entry of warrant, dated 31 January, for admission of Harvey, in CO 324/37, p 122]
January 17
St James's
Same confirming Act passed in Bermuda in August 1738 for laying duty on whale-fishery. Like Order confirming Act for making addition to salary of Governor Alured Popple. Like Order confirming Act for paying 100l yearly to Governor Popple. Copy, certified by W Sharpe. 1¾ pp. Endorsed, Recd. 8 May, Read 8 June 1739. [CO 37/13, ff 80–81d]
January 17
Commissioners for Trade and Plantations to the King proposing Edward Jessup to be of the Council in St Christopher's in the room of William McDowall who has desired to resign. Entry. Signatories, Monson, Edward Ashe, Arthur Croft, R Plumer. I p. [CO 153/16, f 153]
January 17
Same to same proposing Benjamin King to be of the Council in Antigua in the room of Sir William Codrington, deceased. Entry. Signatories, as preceding. 1 p. [CO 153/16, p 154]
January 17
Same to same proposing James Murray to be of the Council of North Carolina in the room of Edmund Porter, deceased. Entry. Signatories, Monson, Edward Ashe, A Croft, R Plumer. ½ p. [CO 5/323, p 265]
January 17
Palace Court
Minutes of Trustees for Georgia. Thomas Archer reported the meeting of the committee with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Trustees' application, being a civil matter, could not be put in the estimates; application must be by petition to Parliament. Entry. I p. [CO 5/687, p 100]
January 18
Governor Jonathan Belcher to Duke of Newcastle. About two months ago I made a visit to New Hampshire and met the Assembly there who went through the necessary business of the province in about three weeks; and I now enclose to you the laws and orders that were passed during that session. The people there as well as in this province are earnestly desirous that the matter of the boundaries between this province and that may be brought to a final issue, and I beg your favour and compassion to HM's subjects that this affair may be dispatched. Signed. 2 small pp. [CO 5/899, ff 358–359d]
January 22
Unsigned letter to Trustees for Georgia offering to arrange dispatch of hired servants to the colony, to foster cultivation of hemp, silk and flax, and to put up 5 or 6000l for the purpose. PS. Reply to Mr Brookes, to be left at Dr Burton's at York. 2 pp. Addressed. [CO 5/640, ff 267–268]
January 23
Order of Committee of Council for Plantation Affairs directing Commissioners for Trade and Plantations to furnish a state of the evidence in the complaint of Chaloner Jackson, collector of Customs in the Bahamas, against Governor Richard Fitzwilliam. Seal. Signed, W Sharpe. ¾ p. Endorsed, Recd. 8 February, Read 9 February 1739. [CO 23/4, ff 55, 55d, 58, 58d]
January 23
Thomas Hill to Francis Fane sending three Acts passed in Pennsylvania for opinion in point of law as soon as conveniently may be because of the little time allowed by the charter for repeal. Titles stated. Entry. 1¼ pp. [CO 5/1294, PP 113–114]
January 23
Governor Jonathan Belcher to Commissioners for Trade and Plantations enclosing duplicate of letter of 20 December to which you will please to refer as to the state of the bills of credit passing here and in the neighbouring colonies. And I am now to address you in answer to the enclosed request to me from HM's Council and the House of Representatives of this province in their present session respecting a bill they have passed for emitting 60000l in bills of credit. This bill is much of a nature with that I sent to you in January last, on which I have been expecting your sentiments and hoping for HM's leave that such a bill might pass into a law here. I am to pray you to read what I now write with attention and to come to some speedy resolution on an affair so nearly affecting the honour and safety of this HM's government and the peace, good order, and welfare of his people who are numerous and their trade various and extensive; and the only medium for carrying it on for more than thirty years past has been bills of credit in lieu of silver and gold which is as constantly exported to Great Britain as it comes hither. In conformity to HM's 16th instruction to me all the bills of this province must be drawn in by the end of 1741, and if nothing be substituted in their place it may produce in a manner of stagnation of all trade and other great inconveniences to the government and people. And as this bill is the best calculated to maintain the value of the bills that shall be emitted in consequence of it of any that has yet been passed in this province, I would pray your interposition in a matter of so great importance to HM's honour and service and to the prosperity of the subjects of this province which the bringing of this bill into a law will so much advance. But withal I would propose it should be made a condition in the royal leave for signing this bill that the Assembly be obliged to pass a bill at same time for drawing in all their outstanding bills at their several periods and according to the Acts they have already passed for that purpose. I beg you to give this matter all convenient dispatch and to honour me with your answer upon it. Duplicate. Signed. 4 small pp. Endorsed, Recd. 8 March, Read 13 March 1739. Enclosed:
30 i Address of Council and House of Representatives of Massachusetts to Governor Belcher requesting his endeavours to obtain passage of bill for emission of bills of credit. In Council, read and accepted, 13 January 1739. In House of Representatives, read and concurred, 13 January 1739. With answer by Governor Belcher, dated 16 January 1739, promising his best offices. Copy certified by Simon Frost. 3 small pp.
30 ii Act of Massachusetts for emission of 60000l in bills of credit. Copy certified by Simon Frost, deputy secretary. 6 pp. [CO 5/881, ff 72–79d]
January 24
Thomas Hill to Charles Carkesse sending extract of letter received from Governor Popple for the opinion of Commissioners of Customs whether it may be for HM's service to settle Customs officers in that part of the government of Bermuda called the Country. PS. Copy of HM's instructions to Mr Popple on that subject also sent. Entry. 1 p. [CO 38/8, pp 304–305]
January 24
Capt Charles Watson to Thomas Hill enclosing answers to queries with scheme of French fishery, which I have endeavoured to get the truest account of that was possible and been careful to make all necessary inquiries concerning the fishery of Canso. Signed. 1 small p. Endorsed, Recd. 24 January, Read 25 January 1739. Enclosed:
32 i State of the strength, trade and fishery of Cape Breton Island for 1738.
The garrison of Louisbourg on the Island of Breton consists of seven companies: one Swiss containing 120 private men, a captain, a lieutenant, two ensigns, four sergeants, four corporals, three drums and a fife; the other six companies have only 60 private men in each, a captain, a lieutenant, two ensigns, two sergeants, two corporals and one drum. At Port Toulouse is a company of 60 private men. At Port Dauphin is a lieutenant, an ensign, a sergeant, corporal, drum and 20 men. At the Island of St John's in Bay Vert is a lieut-governor, a lieutenant, an ensign, sergeant, corporal, drum and 40 men: here it is the governor of Cape Breton yearly meets the Indians and delivers to them the King of France's present. The grand battery of Louisbourg mounts 44 guns of 48-pounders and two towers four of the same weight. A battery on the same island at the entrance of the harbour mounts 26 guns of 36-pounders. The Dauphin's battery at the towngate mounts 24 guns of 24-pounders, the Queen's battery 16 guns of 18-pounders, and on the quay are 6 guns of 18-pounders; there are likewise several large cannon not mounted. There comes yearly to Louisbourg a man-of-war of 50 or 60 guns. In the harbour of Louisbourg this year has been 50 merchant ships from 100 to 300 tons, and at the several harbours in and about the island 35 or 40 more, all to load fish. There are by computation 50 sloops and schooners belonging to Breton which fish on the banks and make about 500 quintals of fish each, besides 400 shallops belonging to the several harbours that make about 250 quintals each. Several English, Scotch and Irish sailors are in their merchant service. 1½ small pp.
32 ii Answers to the several queries from the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations relating to the fishery at Canso.
What is the number of inhabitants now settled at Canso? Six families. By whom is the fishery carried on at Canso and parts adjacent? Entirely by New England men. What sort of vessels are employed in that fishery, from whence, of what bulk and denominations, what number of hands do they carry, and in what manner do they pay their servants, in money or in shares of the fish they take? In schooners from New England, from 25 to 40 tons, 5 or 6 men each, paid in shares. Whither do they chiefly carry their fish for sale? To Spain and Portugal, and to the plantations. Is their fish chiefly carried to market in the same small vessels that take it or in sack ships, if in sack ships, from whence are they fitted out and where do they furnish themselves with provisions and other necessaries? Carried to foreign markets in sack ships and to New England in the same vessels that catch them; the sack ships fitted out, some from Great Britain and the rest from New England; the former furnish themselves with everything necessary in Great Britain and the latter likewise in New England. Are they possessed of any stages, cookrooms, trainfats, flakes or other conveniences for drying and curing of fish, and do they let out any such conveniences to the fishermen and at what rates? They are neither possessed of stages, cookrooms, trainfats, flakes or other conveniences for drying of fish; they are altogether the property of the New England men who go thither annually to fish and use the same manner of salting, curing and drying them as is practised at Newfoundland. Are the houses and enclosures of the inhabitants at such distance from the waterside as not to hinder the fishermen in curing and drying their fish? The houses in general are properly situated at a convenient distance not to hinder the fishery. Do the inhabitants concern themselves with the fishery, if not, how do they employ themselves and subsist their families? The inhabitants are poor and industrious, assist the fishery, and use all lawful methods to subsist their families. What are the methods used in curing of fish and how much salt to each hundred quintals? Salted in the schooners on the banks; brought by them to the shore and then thrown on the flakes and cured as usual; 10 quintals of salt to 100 quintals of fish.
You are to inquire whether any of the officers of the garrison at Canso are concerned in the fishery or whether they take upon them to dispose of beaches, stages, flakes or other conveniences on shore to any person whatsoever, or hire out the soldiers to fish.
As far as I can learn the officers of the garrison have nothing to do with the fishery nor do they take upon them to dispose of beaches, stages, flakes or other conveniences, or at any time hire out the soldiers to fish. 2¾ pp.
32 iii State of the cod fishery at Canso for 1738
Vessels From Whence No of Men Tons Quintals of Fish Made Quintals Shipped to Foreign Markets Quintals Carried to the Plantations Whither Bound
20 schooners of 45 tons New England 120 900 48000 20000 20000 Plantations
40 schooners of 25 tons New England 200 1000
Fish carried in schooners and shallops to the island [of] Breton: 8000 [quintals].
Sack Ships Lading at Canso in 1738
Ships Names From whence Men Tons Whither Bound Quintals Shipped
St Thomas Southampton 10 100 Bilbao 1880
Henry & Benjamin Virginia 8 70 Portugal 1700
Pegasus London 8 70 Mediterranean 1880
Boston 7 60 1860
Eagle Boston 6 50 1580
Ann 6 80 2060
Ethereld London 10 90 Spain 2660
Mayflower Boston 8 60 2600
Betty 7 70 1800
Kingston 7 60 Boston 2000
Masters and Mates ventures 1980
State of the Whale Fishery at Canso in 1738
Only three vessels came in which had no success. 1 p. [CO 217/8, ff 34–39d]
January 24
Certificate by Governor Gabriel Johnston that Nathaniel Rice is Clerk of Council of North Carolina. Signed. ½p. Enclosed:
33 i Minutes of Council of North Carolina, 8 September 1737 to 21 November 1737. 15½ pp. Signed, Nathaniel Rice. Endorsed, R, 16 May 1739. [CO 5/309, ff 155–164d]
January 24
List of Council in Nevis, received from Thomas Butler, agent. Resident: Michael Smith president; James Symonds; James Browne; Carew Brodbelt; Charles Bridgwater; Thomas Pym [in another hand: absent]; Thomas Herbert; John Williams jnr. Absent: Thomas Butler in England; James Mellicken in Scotland; William Pym Burt resides in St Christopher's; Daniel Smith in London; William Clarke in London. Signed, Thomas Butler. I small p. Endorsed, Recd., Read 24 January 1739. [CO 152/23, ff 180d, 182]
January 24
List of Council in St Christopher's, received from Richard Coope, agent: Joseph Estridge president; Sir Charles Payne Kt and Bart; Charles Pym; John Douglas; Joseph Phipps; Abraham Payne; John Williams; John Mills; Rev Walter Thomas. Absent: William McDowell in Scotland; James Milliken in Scotland; Edward Man in England. I small p. Endorsed, Recd., Read 24 January 1739. [CO 152/23, ff 181, 181d]
January 24
Palace Court
Minutes of Trustees for Georgia. Read letters received from Gen Oglethorpe and others, and a petition from the old freeholders at Frederica; referred them to committee of correspondence. Resolved that committee of any three Trustees should prepare petition to Parliament. Entry. 2 pp. [CO 5/687, pp 101–102]
January 25
Francis Fane to Commissioners for Trade and Plantations reporting no objection in point of law to Acts passed in Pennsylvania in 1738 for laying excise on wine and spirits, for replacing trustees of general loan office of Pennsylvania, and for supplementing Act imposing duty on persons convicted of heinous crimes and to prevent persons being imported into the province. Signed. ¾p. Endorsed, Recd. 29 January, Read 2 February 1739. [CO 5/1269, ff 46–47d]
January 31
Palace Court
Minutes of Common Council of Georgia. Agreed to report of committee that executors of Samuel Wagner of Hampstead, deceased, may dispose of his lot to any person not having land in Georgia, the purchaser to be approved of by William Stephens. Agreed to report of committee that Samuel Hurst and John Pye, clerks in the store in Georgia, be given gratification for clothing and be discharged, if they wish, when the accounts of the store shall be made up. Ordered that 500l in sola bills be sent to Georgia for defraying the most necessary services, with directions for issuing and accounting for them. Ordered that 15 tons of strong beer be sent to Gen Oglethorpe, the proceeds thereof to be applied to the maintenance of the Trust's servants. Resolved that William Cookesey be allowed to clear his debt to the Trust at 10l a year; but, as no person may mortgage or alienate land in Georgia without licence, the mortgage on his town-lot is void. William Stephens to inquire into circumstances of his application for 180 acres. Ordered that 600l in sola bills be sent to Georgia for maintenance of the Trust's servants who are to be employed in building church at Savannah and cultivating lands for religious uses in southern parts of the colony, with directions for issuing and accounting for them. Ordered that sola bills to the value of 40l be sent for payment of Rev John MacLeod, missionary at Darien, that being the sum received from Adam Anderson on behalf of SPCK (Scotland) for that purpose. Resolved that Gen Oglethorpe be indemnified against the endorsement of the sola bills; seal to be affixed to act for that purpose. Resolved that committee of correspondence do send instructions for the special application of sola bills to the purposes for which they are sent. Entry. 6½ pp. [CO 5/690, pp 190–196]
January 31
Palace Court
Minutes of Trustees for Georgia. Read letters received from Gen Oglethorpe and others; referred them to committee of correspondence. Mr Bradley to be secured and prosecuted. Approved petition to House of Commons for a supply. Received from SPCK (Scotland) 40l by Adam Anderson to be paid to Rev John MacLeod, their missionary at Darien. Resolved that three Trustees wait on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to represent to him that, because of the costs of military defence of Georgia and other expenses, they are obliged to apply for 20000l. Entry. 2¼ pp. [CO 5/687, pp 103–105]
[No date] (fn. 2)
Traders, etc of South Carolina to Duke of Newcastle. This application is occasioned by a paragraph in a newspaper wherein Mr Glen is named for the government of South Carolina, a place of such consequence as requires a person of abilities and great experience, of which we are afraid this gentleman may be wanting, who we are informed is young and a stranger to public affairs either civil or military. It is therefore hoped you will not be guided by any recommendation of his friends without a particular enquiry into the character of a person who, though he may be otherwise a man of merit, yet may not be truly qualified for an appointment of this nature wherein the dignity of HM and the interest of trade of so flourishing a young province are so much concerned. Copy. 1 p. [CO 5/388, ff 171–172d]


  • 1. No letter from Oglethorpe of this date has been found in the CO records.
  • 2. Late 1738 or early 1739. See Cal SP Col, XLIV, no 507.