America and West Indies: August 1666

Pages 402-411

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 5, 1661-1668. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1880.

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August 1666

Aug. 6.
1256. Deposition of John Gaywood, aged 26, taken before Gov. Sir Thos. Modyford. When he was one of the Masters of the Admiralty one Capt. Morris Williams brought into Port Royal a Spanish prize, the Sto. Christo de Burgos, on board of which he went with Lt.-Col. Byndlos, by the Governor's order, to seize Spanish goods for the proprietors, which were taken charge of by said Lt.-Col. Byndlos : and there were no goods on board but what Giles Lydcott claimed as English interest, and which he had delivered to him ; only one small box of clothes and vanillas. Indorsed, John Gaywood's oath about the vanillas. 1½ pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX., No. 128.]
Aug. 11.
1257. Sir John Knight to Sec. Lord Arlington. Sends two letters lately received from Lord Willoughby and the Governor of Nevis [see ante, No. 1181]. By a letter from Thomas Downing, now a prisoner at Flushing, is advised that Downing went ashore at Nevis about the 15th April to know what was become of St. Christopher's, and understood that about 600 English men, women, and children were come from thence ; that it was betrayed by the Governor, who was thereupon pistolled and killed by Col. Morgan ; and that Col. Limes [? Reymes] and some of the chiefest of the island have revolted to the French and possess their estates ; and further, that all the Leeward Isles are in a sad and desperate condition. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX., No. 129.]
Aug. 15.
1258. Capt. Wm. Bridall to his Father. The next day after we left your island, it was concluded to bear up for Martinico Road, where lay two ships bigger than our Admiral and three more of good force ; but they could not get in, and while beating to and fro, we took a French ship which took us for the fleet expected from Rochelle, and told us they were sent from St. Christopher's for victuals, which was in great want. Prevented by cross winds from engaging, made for Dominica, and prepared to land, but the night was boisterous, and next day found themselves close to Guadaloupe and Todos Los Santos ; at the latter place Captains Iles and Hill got in, and took two great French ships and the island "upon very hot service." At night it blew an absolute hurricane ; all their masts and bowsprit were carried by the board, and in their hold was eight or nine feet of water. Next day they lost their rudder about three leagues from Guadaloupe, and then "yielded ourselves lost." "We had in company of this most unfortunate weather his Excellency [Francis Lord Willoughby], the Roman frigate, our fire-ship, our prize, and one ship more, and the Tuesday night before were three ships and a shallop despatched for Antigua to give intelligence of our coming there, but there's not any of them as yet heard of, nor is there any tidings of the fore-mentioned ships in our company that night except our prize and the fire-ship ; the foremost got into Nevis, the other into Antigua two days after the hurricane, the same day we by the providence of God arrived here. And since our arrival there hath been found on the windward part of this island a couch which some suppose Capt. Reynolds lay on aboard his ship, so that there is little hope of my Lord's safety, with whom my Colonel, Lieut.-Col., cum multa alia, I fear left this world." Some few days after arrived at Nevis, Chr. Neveson, his brother, young Mr. Brant, and four others in a small boat from Todos Los Santos, and brought further sad news that our ships there were forced ashore by the bad weather. Afterwards came here Capt. Iles for assistance for the transportation of our friends, who were in continual war with the inhabitants and the Indians, besides those from Guadaloupe and Dominica, who have, it is feared, put all the English to the sword. Refers to Brant the bearer, who was prevented taking supplies to the English by the Indians and French. "Copy of Capn Wm Bredall's letter to his father ; he was Capn Lieutt to Col. Read, who was Col. of the Regimt went down" 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX., No. 130.]
Aug. 15.
Shaftesbury Papers.
1259. Hen. Vassall, sole agent for the Adventurers and Planters of Cape Fear, to [Lords Proprietors of Carolina]. It is a considerable time since he treated with a Committee chosen from amongst themselves concerning the settling of a colony at Cape Fear, and although there was then no final agreement, yet several concessions were offered by said Committee and despatched by Vassall to the adventurers at Barbadoes, who immediately replied they would accept them and empowered Vassall to conclude. But in the interim comes Sir John Yeamans and makes such specious pretences that the Lords Proprietors make an absolute agreement with him and refuse to confirm the concessions formerly offered to Vassall, though he told their Lordships there was no likelihood of the covenant being performed notwithstanding a penal bond of 1,000l. It has fallen out as he foretold, and the adventurers and the present planters are highly dissatisfied that these concessions are not confirmed ; they thought these hard enough, but those other concessions intolerable. Requests one speedy conference more to put a final end to his negotiation. Many wait for the issue of this his last address, which if good he promises immediately to set forth a ship with men and provisions for Cape Fear, with the likelihood of several others to follow in the spring. 1 p. [Shaftesbury Papers, Section IX., No. 6.]
Aug. 20.
Fort Albany.
1260. Col. Richard Nicolls to M. De Tracy, at Quebec. Was in some measure surprised, in February last, with the news of so considerable a force of foreigners under M. De Courcelle so far advanced into his Majesty's dominions [see ante, No. 1108] without his knowledge or consent, or the least notice given to any of his Majesty's colonies, then in amity with the French nation. All these proceedings were not conformable to the practice in Europe, yet all his officers resolved to relieve the French camp with such mean provisions as the country affords. In former times the English have been very affectionate to ransom or convey French prisoners out of the hands of their barbarous enemies ; so also is manifest their sincere intentions by their letter of the 26 March, giving notice that the Maquaes were at last wrought upon to treat of peace ; but it seems (by a sad accident intervening) that De Tracy is pleased to lay a greater burden upon them than they deserve. Both De Tracy's letters to the Captain and Commissaries at Albany, themselves will answer. But hearing that he had employed the Sieur Couture with his letters, Nicolls took a sudden resolution to have discourse with him, and came hither, but finds he is returned without the knowledge of the Captain or Commissaries. Could have wished for the opportunity of enlarging himself through him to Tracy, with how much integrity he will attend the European interest amidst the heathen, provided the limits of his Majesty's dominions be not invaded. Will be glad to entertain correspondence with one whose honour has spread itself in all these parts of the world as well as in Europe, and to acknowledge some part of the great civilities received from him by his master the Duke of York, and all his servants in the French army, in their low estate of exile. Draft with corrections in Nicolls' hand. Printed in New York Documents, III., 133, 134. 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX., No. 131.]
Aug. 20. 1261. Copy of the preceding. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX., No. 132.]
Aug. 20. 1262. The Captain and Commissaries at Albany to Governor Tracy. His welcome letters of the 14th July, and one without date, were safely delivered by M. Cousture. By the first they have with joy read, that in consideration of a letter of 26th March, which at the request of the Iroquois they wrote to him, he has countermanded two parties who had order to fall on those Indians. Are exceedingly obliged for the complacency he expresses for them in his former letter, but are much troubled that in his latter letter he seems to tax them with holding intelligence with those barbarians, complaining that their assurances had abused his credulity, and were the cause that seven young men were massacred. If he will take the pains to review their letter, he will not find at all that they obliged themselves to answer for the actions of those Indians, but that they enjoined them to live quietly with the French, which they were only induced to by Christian charity, being touched to the heart with compassion for the evil usage his nation has received from their cruelty. Several Frenchmen whom they have redeemed can affirm this truth, and with what tenderness they have been received, and how sensible they have been of the misfortune which befel those young gentlemen MM. Cousture and Le Rolle can acquaint him. It is their Lord General's order that they write and also tell him, that since he has not well comprehended or rightly explained their good intents, they shall not for the future intermeddle with his affairs ; which command they shall obey. Indorsed, August 20th, '66. Printed in New York Documents, III., 134, 135. 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX., No. 133.]
Aug. 21.
1263. Governor Sir Thos. Modyford to the Duke of Albemarle. Since his last of 8th June, see ante, No. 1213, has despatched Major Samuel Smith with a small supply of men, to govern the Isle of Providence for his Majesty. The war with France, which they were not certain of until July 2nd, and of the loss of St. Christopher's four days before, sufficiently evinces the necessity of that latitude his Grace gave him against the Spaniard, for by influence thereof they are recruited to a very considerable fleet, which had almost dwindled away to nothing, and hopes this month to have a good strength to wait on the French at Tortuga and Hispaniola ; of which he has written at large to Lord Arlington. Sir James Modyford will present his Grace with a copy of some orders made at Oxford, in behalf of some Spaniards, with Lord Arlington's letter thereon ; in which are such strong inculcations of continuing friendship with the Spaniards here, that he doubts he shall be highly discanted on by some persons for granting commissions against them ; must beg his Grace to bring him off, or at least that the necessity of this proceeding may be taken into serious debate, and then doubts not but true English judges will confirm what he has done. His brother will also show his Grace a letter from David Marteene, the best man of Tortuga, who has two ships with 160 men, and will bring both in. "In sum, those fortunate directions which his Grace gave me of the 1st June, being put in execution but since March last, have restored to us all our English and abundance of Dutch, and some French." 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXI., No. 5.]
Aug. 21.
1264. Governor Sir Thos. Modyford to (Sec. Lord Arlington). Finds in his Majesty's letters in favour of Don Ximenes and the Mulatto Crespo, something of jealousy, as if he had not done all he was ordered, but doubts not by the answers now sent to blot out every spark thereof ; had either of his brothers been before the Board they would have so satisfied their Lordships, and a further account would never have been thought reasonable to have demanded. But these are but small matters to this, that he has ever since March last granted commissions against that nation (the Spaniards) in these seas. Has given account to the Lord General, to whom in that particular his Lordship referred him for orders, yet thought it behoved him to second the same with this narrative. His Lordship very well knows how great an aversion he had for the privateers while at Barbadoes, but after he had put his Majesty's orders for restitution in strict execution, he found his error in the decay of the forts and wealth of this place ; and also the affections of this people to his Majesty's service, yet he continued discountenancing and punishing those kind of people till his Lordship's of 12th November 1664 arrived, commanding a gentle usage of them ; still they went to decay, which he represented to the Lord General faithfully the 6th March following, who upon serious consideration with his Majesty and the Lord Chancellor, by letter of June 1, 1665, gave Modyford latitude to grant or not commissions against the Spaniard, as he found it for the advantage of his Majesty's service and the good of this island. Was glad of this power, yet resolved not to use it, unless necessity drove him to it ; and when he saw how poor the fleets returning from Statia were, so that vessels were broken up and the men disposed of for the coast of Cuba to get a livelihood, and so be wholly alienated from us. Many stayed at the Windward Isles, having not enough to pay their engagements, and at Tortuga and among the French buccaneers ; still he forbore to make use of his power, hoping their hardships and great hazards would in time reclaim them from that course of life. But about the beginning of March last he found that the guards of Port Royal, which under Col. Morgan were 600, had fallen to 138, so he assembled the Council to advise how to strengthen that most important place with some of the inland forces ; but they all agreed that the only way to fill Port Royal with men was to grant commissions against the Spaniards, which they were very pressing in. Required their reasons at large to be entered in the Council Book, copy whereof is herewith presented, and looking on their weak condition, the chief merchants gone from Port Royal, no credit given to privateers for victualling, &c., and rumours of war with the French often repeated, he issued a declaration of his intentions to grant commissions against the Spaniard. His Lordship cannot imagine what an universal change there was on the faces of men and things, ships repairing, great resort of workmen and labourers to Port Royal, many returning, many debtors released out of prison, and the ships from the Curaçao voyage, not daring to come in for fear of creditors, brought in and fitted out again, so that the regimental forces at Port Royal are near 400. Had it not been for that seasonable action, he could not have kept this place against French buccaneers, who would have ruined all the seaside plantations at least ; whereas he now draws from them mainly, and lately David Marteen, the best man of Tortuga, that has two frigates at sea, has promised to bring in both. By these last ships had advice from Sir James Modyford of the peace with Spain, with this direction from the Lord General, that notwithstanding the peace, Modyford might still employ the privateers as formerly, if it be for the benefit of his Majesty's affairs, which is really so as the keeping of this island is for his honour and service. Truly it must seem very imprudent to run the hazard of this place, for obtaining a correspondence which could not, but by orders from Madrid, be had. The Governors dare not talk with any of our messengers, but publicly : the Spaniards look on us as intruders and trespassers wheresoever they find us in the Indies and use us accordingly ; and were it in their power, as it is fixed in their wills, would soon turn us out of all our Plantations ; and is it reasonable that we should quietly let them grow upon us, until they are able to do it. It must be force alone that can cut in sunder that unneighbourly maxim of their Government to deny all access of strangers ; which if his Majesty please to permit this small colony to continne to use, will in a short time show its effects, to his great honour and the comfort of all his subjects. Indorsed, Received 29th January. Answered 4th February 1666-7. Incloses,
1264. I., II., III. Depositions of Thos. Clarke, Wm. Rosse, Rich. Moore, Thos. Piper, Elias Rowe, and Wm. West, in reference to the Spaniards taking an English vessel, and sending some of the men adrift and others prisoners to Spain. 1666, January 11.
1264. IV. Minutes of a Council held at St. Jago do la Vega, 22 Feb. 1666, upon the questions put by the Governor that it is to the interest and advantage of Jamaica to have letters of marque granted against the Spaniard for the reasons which follow, [Cal., see ante, No. 1138]. Together 5 papers. 8 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX., Nos. 134, 134, I.-IV.]
1265. Reasons why the private men-of-war are advantageous to the Island of Jamaica, and how the discountenancing of them already hath and will also for the future prove prejudicial to the settlement of that island. Capts. David Martin and Murran and divers of the English privateers, on the news that the commissions against the Spaniards were called in, resolved never to return to Jamaica unless a war, but daily prey upon the Spaniards from Tortuga. Sir Thos. Modyford, the Governor, to divert them from doing injury to the Spaniard, and keep them retainers to the island, commissioned the writer [Col. Cary] to treat with them about the reducing of Curaçao, which they unanimously resolved to do, but at the rendezvous they dissented about their commander, and so the design was lost. Two of his Majesty's nimble fifth rate frigates would do manifest service in commanding the privateers on all occasions to their obedience, making discovery of any enemies' actions and guarding the coast from rovers. There is no profitable employment for the privateers in the West Indies against the French and Dutch, and being a people that will not be brought to planting, will prey on the Spaniard whether countenanced at Jamaica or not. The Spaniards have so inveterate a hatred against the English in those parts that they will not hear of trade or reconciliation, but any of the islanders that they can cowardly surprise they butcher inhumanly. The French interest daily increases in the Caribbees, Hispaniola, and Tortugas, and if suffered to grow will in short time prove of dangerous consequence, both to the English and Spanish settlements. If his Majesty allow two or three of his fifth-rate frigates for that service, such men should be appointed commanders as are experienced in affairs there, and of good parts and conduct, that the privateers may the more willingly go on any design with them. 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX., No. 135.]
Aug.? 1266. Sir Thos. Modyford to the Privy Council. In obedience to their order of 10th Nov. 1665 [see ante, No. 1076 I.], in favour of Don Juan Ximenes de Bohorques, returns a true account of the whole matter. About Oct. 1664, Capt. Morris Williams, by virtue of a commission from Lord Windsor, took the ship of said Ximenes and brought her into the old harbour, from whence came on shore one Giles Lidcott, and upon oath delivered a very plausible story that 2,500 kintals of logwood, and 75 canisters of tobacco belonged to Sir Martin Noel and Company, and that the ship only belonged to Ximenes, who freely gave it to Williams. But on trial in the Admiralty it appeared that the logwood and tobacco belonged to Ximenes, but were made over to Lidcott in the time of the chase, on which the captain and 13 of the crew were indicted for piracy and condemned to die ; some of whom he really intended should suffer, had not Lord Arlington's letter of 12 Nov. 1664 arrived in the nick of time, directing him that the privateers were to be handled for the future gently, by encouraging them to take service in his Majesty's fleet against the Dutch, or go against them here ; whereupon he granted them a pardon. They and many others set forth 10 sail of ships, and in their way to Curaçao took Statia and Sabia, and had not their fleet been scattered by the death of Col. Morgan, he believes would have finished their whole design. To prevent Lidcott abusing Ximenes, Modyford caused bills of lading to be taken in the name of Sir James Modyford, Sir Martin Noel, Mr. Kendall, and Lidcott for the logwood and tobacco, that on their arrival at London they might be secured for the poor gentleman, all which papers were by Sir James Modyford and Mr. Kendall delivered to Lord Arlington, with an account of the matter by his letter of 2 Feb. 1665. The ship and goods were sold according to the usual manner, and the money disposed of towards the finishing of the fort at Port Royal, of which only 60l. for the ship belongs to Ximenes. On this ship commanded by said Williams went Col. Morgan against the Dutch, after whose death it was taken by the French at St. Christopher's, where Williams as they hear lies in a dungeon very ill used. Was very confident that what was consigned to those honourable persons would have come to Ximenes' hands. Cannot give an account of other allegations in said Ximenes' petition, but guesses by a letter from Ximenes it may contain such false suggestions as it behoved Lidcott to infuse into him, that he might be diverted from looking too narrowly into the designs he had on him. By all which it is apparent the bulk of Ximenes' estate went home consigned as above expressed, except fifteen tons of logwood, which Lidcott had formerly dispatched without Gov. Modyford's knowledge. 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX., No. 136.]
Aug. 21.
1267. John Clarke to Joseph Williamson, Secretary to Sec. Lord Arlington. Arrival of three vessels from the Caribbees with news that there are 500 or 600 men at Nevis, and more expected from Barbadoes and other islands to fall upon St. Christopher's. Yesterday the Oporto merchant, Capt. James Alford, arrived from Jamaica, with news that about the middle of May last four privateers from thence took the Island of Providence from the Spaniards, and that one Capt. Sam. Smith was to be sent there as Governor. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX., No. 137.]
Aug.? 1268. Petition of Sir John Towers to the King. Has agreed with Capt. Tomson for passage to Barbadoes, the King having been pleased to commiserate his sad condition by banishment to the Plantations, but cannot provide to give security for his safe conduct thither ; has long lain in a loathsome prison, is deeply touched with the errors of his life and the sense of the King's compassion, and prays for an order from the high sheriffs of London and Middlesex for delivery of him to Capt. Tomson for transportation without any clause of giving security, see No. 1289. [Dom., Chas. II., Vol. CLXVII., No. 39, Cal., p. 27.]
Aug. 21. 1269. John Clarke to James Hickes. Three vessels arrived in Plymouth from the Caribbee Islands. The same news as in his letter to Williamson, see above, No. 1267. [Dom., Chas. II., Vol. CLXVIII., No. 87, Cal., p. 57.]
Aug. 21. 1270. D. Grosse to Williamson. Three ships from Antigua and Nevis, laden with tobacco, report Nevis in great danger of being surprised by the French ; at Antigua they keep strict guard for fear of the negroes ; did not hear of any French supplies to St. Christopher's. A London ship very richly laden from Jamaica is arrived. [Dom., Chas. II., Vol. CLXVIII., No. 88, Cal., p. 57.]
Aug. 24. 1271. Memorial of Will. Willoughby to (Sec. Lord Arlington). There is a ship now in the Downs bound for New England, and no other will depart for many months. It is prayed that a letter be written to the Governor of New England for assistance in regaining St. Christopher's, they being well able to spare provisions and men ; because should those islands be lost New England could not subsist, and they have many brisk young amongst them that its thought will readily embrace such a proposal. Indorsed, 24 Aug. 1666. Mr. Willoughby. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX., No. 138.]
[Aug. 24.] 1272. Petition of Samuel Browning to the King. Petitioner was the Royal Company's factor at Guinea and there undone by the Dutch, which some of their Commissioners not believing, "upon grounds of privy nonsense and to detain the poor's wages," have caused the law to be perverted, "and have so moulded a judge and he a jury, as to make both liable to an attaint for their injustice." Prays for a Commission to hear and report their injustice, or a reference to merchants to determine the whole matter. Indorsed, 24 Aug. 1666. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX., No. 139.]
Aug. 28.
1273. Lieut.-General Henry Willoughby to Williamson. Has despatched this vessel on purpose that his Majesty might be acquainted with the condition of the Caribbee Islands, which by reason of the considerable force of the enemy, but especially through the vast damage of the hurricane, is very weak and wanting everything. Account of the loss of St. Christopher's through the cowardice and treachery of Lt.-Col. Lawrance, who most dishonourably cut down the King's flag, Col. Reymes, and others. Lord Willoughby not in the least imagining what had there happened, sent him from Barbadoes with 30 merchantmen and about 600 soldiers, ordering him to touch at Antigua the 28th April, and there and at Montserrat and Nevis to gather as many men as he could. At Antigua met with advice of the loss of St. Christopher's, which struck such terror into the merchantmen, that each one betook himself to his own course, and left him and his soldiers on the island ; of all which he despatched advice to his Excellency at Barbadoes. On the 18th July his Excellency set sail from Barbadoes, with a brave fleet, having joined to two of his Majesty's frigates several merchantmen, carrying 1,000 able soldiers with arms and other warlike materials ; and on the 23rd off Martinico he took two prizes, and sent Capt. Hill with his Majesty's ship Coventry and four others to surprise six rich ships at Todos los Santos, one of which he took and another was burnt by the French ; but a storm arose, and blowing with such an extremity, the ships' anchors gave way and the ships were forced ashore, and thereby all and every one of them were utterly destroyed. His Excellency with the Admiral and four more are not yet heard of, but believes they are forced to leeward ; the Rear-Admiral arrived at Montserrat a mere wreck, not having a mast standing, and there is news of three others in the same condition. The English of the ships cast away at Todos los Santos sent a boat to him for relief, and on the 11th August he set sail with 7 small sloops and 200 soldiers ; but encountered under Guadaloupe two French men-of-war, ships of force, and was closely chased, but having the advantage of a good sailing sloop with the benefit of oars, he safely arrived at Nevis with one of his brigantines, and the rest also escaped the enemy. The French are now masters of the sea, for though all their vessels were cast away in the hurricane, these ships arrived four days after. Had not his Excellency's designs been frustrated by this hurricane, he had not only undoubtedly regained St. Christopher's, but destroyed the rest of the French colonies ; and if his Majesty will send three or four good frigates with 1,000 soldiers well armed, 2,000 spare arms, powder, and some great guns, would not doubt but suddenly to reduce the French in these parts. The enemy at Los Santos found amongst our wrecks above 80 great guns and 40 barrels of powder, also considerable number of small arms, besides 450 of our own soldiers. Desires him to implore his Majesty for the speedy despatch of some ships of force. Is only capable at present of making a defensive war. Indorsed by Williamson, "Lord Willoughby's expedition." 6½ pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX., No. 140.]
Aug. 30. 1274. H. Muddiman to George Powell. Three ships arrived at Plymouth from Antigua and Nevis report Nevis in great danger, and fear of negroes in Antigua ; heard of no supply from France to St. Christopher's, so that there is hope of having before long an account of the reducement of that island if all things succeed well according to expectation. A ship of London is arrived from Jamaica and Guinea very richly laden. [Dom., Chas. II., Vol. CLXIX., No. 96, Cal., p. 79.]
Aug. 31. 1275. Acknowledgment by Robert Martin, Commander of the Great Duke of York, of receipt from Sir John Skelton of three packets of letters, (1) for the Governor and Council of the colony of Massachusetts in New England, (2) for the Governor and Council of the colony of Connecticut in New England, (3) for Sir Thos. Temple, Governor of the colony of Nova Scotia in New England ; promises to deliver them according to the directions. [Dom., Chas. II., Vol. CLXIX., No. 102, Cal., p. 80.]