America and West Indies: February 1673

Pages 464-470

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 7, 1669-1674. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1889.

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February 1673

Feb. 1. 1028. Order of the Council for Trade and Plantations. That the Secretary peruse the papers relating to St. Christopher's and the differences with the French there, and digest such a draught of the state of the whole affair as may be fit for the Council to prepare a memorial from, to be tendered to his Majesty. 1/2; p. [Col Entry Bk., No. XLV., 63.]
Feb. 10.
1029. Governor Lord Willoughby to Sir Joseph Williamson. Has by all opportunities, from Tangier, Madeira, since his arrival, given account of his actions; the enclosed papers (see next abstract) will acquaint him with their success at Tobago. Has not received any advice since he left England six months ago or seen one ship from London. M. de Baas has thrice complimented him from Martinico but thinks as much out of design as respect; they have five men-of-war there, one of 66 guns, but hears of no feats they have done, nor have they made any overture of a design to him. Two days after he had taken Tobago, there came a French frigate of 35 guns, whose Captain could not well contain his displeasure, supposing single St. David, with six small vessels hired for the transport of land soldiers, could never have mastered that island, so well stocked with French, who he believes exceeded the Dutch in number, and as the Monsieurs since tell him fought best; has sent most of them to Martinico in hopes M. de Baas will hang them for their pains. Received a congratulatory compliment, and that M. de Baas had sent that frigate for his assistance, but the Commander said that M. de Baas intended to send all his sea force and 1,200 soldiers to reduce that island with intent to have settled it; and it had been well worth their pains, but of no advantage to Barbadoes, for it is a fertile island, and was well accommodated with good buildings, forts, provisions, and great quantity of excellent ginger and canes, all which he has demolished, but does not think it convenient any should possess it but English. This is the way of this business or any of the like nature: the soldiers go, no purchase, no pay, but every captain is at 30l. or 40l. charge before he can complete his company, and most of this falls on his own credit, many of the captains being in the soldiers condition when they are raised and the provisions for the whole voyage are on Lord Willoughby's account, besides the hire of vessels for want of some of his Majesty's; wherefore it is of absolute necessity during the war that they have a magazine for victuals and a supply of rigging for his Majesty's ships, which the experience of the St. David's sufferings in the last brush will justify. He may guess at what charge this poor island has been in reducing Tobago, besides the vast sums raised for fortifications and other things which the Lords of the Treasury appropriate to be performed out of his Majesty's revenue here, though nothing has yet been applied towards it. Hopes these things will move his Majesty to believe the people here to be good subjects, and that the Lords of the Treasury and Council will so order that he can serve his Majesty without ruining himself, which he had rather do than suffer an enemy to insult, or lose a fair advantage against him. Assures him the 4 1/2; per cent. yielded the farmers not above 5,000l. this last year, so that it will be a long time before it answer the ends it is by the Lords of the Treasury designed to, and the proposals put into his hand to manage with the Council and Assembly will hardly be accomplished. His service to Lord Arlington. P.S. For attacking Tobago was forced to borrow out of the country's magazine 600 muskets, and since 60 barrels of powder to supply what the St. David spent in that action, by which he may judge how Capt. Poole behaved himself; and to speak truth, but for his prudence and courage and St. David's broadsides, they had not taken that island. Want 3,000 or 4,000 wt. of match. Have had another terrible fire in St. Michael's Town, which consumed 30 or 40 houses and much of their provisions from New England, Virginia, and Bermudas, and their great magazine of pipe staves and hoops. Have but five small London ships in the road, whereas at this season they were wont to have 100, and know not what to do with a plentiful crop now grinding out. 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 6.]
Feb. 10.
1030. Sir Tobias Bridge to Sec. Lord Arlington. The enclosed was written from Tobago, but the ships were gone before the letter arrived at Barbadoes. Lord Willoughby's instructions have been punctually put in execution to the utmost of his power. Endorsed, "p Capt. Mason." Encloses,
1030. I. Same to same. Gave account by his last of what was intended against Tobago; is now in the fort of that island, and doubts not to have all things done in a short time according to Lord Willoughby's instructions; nevertheless has been as civil and kind as any enemy in the world could be, and so will continue. The profit to be expected from this island is very inconsiderable, but their orders are to destroy it, which he will do with all the kindness and respect to the inhabitants he can possibly devise. The enclosed papers will give account of his proceedings with Meinheer Constant. Tobago, 1672, Dec. 21.
1030. II–VIII. The seven papers above referred to, being duplicates of those enclosed 21 Dec. 1672 to Lord Willoughby (see Nos. 995 I.–VI.) Together, 6 1/2; pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., Nos. 7. 7. I.–VIII.]
Feb. 10.
1031. Sir Tobias Bridge to Secretary Sir Joseph Williamson. Wrote Lord Arlington 21st December from Tobago account of the surrender of that Island, and having since performed Lord Willoughby's instructions for destroying that place, they are returned hither, saving 3 small sloops, which are every hour expected. Prays a continuance of his countenance in reference to the 400l. per annum his Majesty conferred on him, as also that old business of the fee farm rents. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 8.]
Feb. 12. 1032. An Act passed in the island of St. Christopher's concerning the due observation of the Lord's day, &c. 12th February, 1673. 3 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. L., 8–10.]
[Feb. 18.] 1033. Report of Dr. Ben. Worsley, Secretary, to the Council for Trade and Plantations. In observance of their Lordships' order of the 1st instant to prepare a statement of the affair of St. Christopher's, certifies that he has diligently perused the narrative of Sir C. Wheler and all the articles, letters, papers, and protests transmitted, and finds: That both his Majesty and his subjects have by reason of the arbitrariness of M. De Baas and the French Commissioners appointed by him been wrongfully kept out of those very rights which were expressly and sufficiently provided for by the Treaty of Breda. Refers to the 8th Article, which provides that his Majesty's subjects should be restored to their goods and estates sold in St. Christophers if the price received for same be paid back; there is no mention of meliorations to be allowed to the French, but it was expressly concluded by his Majesty's Ministers and the French Ambassador they should be left to the parties concerned, and that no demand for melioration ought to hinder the immediate restitution or re-entry on payment of the price received for the estate. To remove all disputes, the English Commissioners have not only tendered the price received, but proffered reasonable time to the purchaser to take off said meliorations; but it appears (1.) That many of the English sold their estates for inconsiderable value, and were paid in merchandize at exorbitant rates, which rates have been rigorously insisted on; (2.) That when far greater sums have been demanded than were ever actually received, the French Commissioners have refused to admit proofs of what was received; (3.) That the French have refused to deliver possession where it no way appears that anything was paid for the estate, or to those who had any right to sell it; (4.) Or to make allowance for damages, wastes, and devastations though proofs have been actually made before them; (5.) That at the price tendered they have refused possession, without further allowance for meliorations, though for peace sake a reasonable compensation in some cases propounded; (6.) That they have denied restitution of cattle, horses, and goods, when the full price was tendered, under the allegation that the word bona in the 8th Article does not signify moveables but immoveables; (7.) They have utterly refused reparation for devastations wilfully committed, since notice of the Peace, on estates which they could have no pretence to enter on, particularly of Colonel Clement Everard, Captains Philip and Sam. Payne, Jeffery, Elderton, and others; (8.) and satisfaction for the mean profits of the English part of the island from 2–12th May 1668, when Lord Willoughby demanded same, to 5th July 1671; (9.) That though by the 12th and 15th Articles all forts with cannon and ordnance which were taken were to be mutually surrendered, yet 39 cannon in St. Christophers have been detained; (10.) That demands for satisfaction for several churches wilfully demolished since the Peace have been, contrary to the 2nd Article, utterly denied; (11.) And servants or slaves taken in St. Christophers, Antigua, or Montserrat which it was agreed by the 13th Article should be free to return to the English subjection within six months from the rendition of said places to His Majesty, have been detained, and restrained by force or disposed of to evade those articles; and when the English have detected persons detaining them, the French Commissioners have refused to send for said servants and slaves or to enjoin the masters to produce them. The number of slaves taken off Antigua and Montserrat amount at least to 1,300, of St. Christopher's to 400, which if reckoned at 20l. per head would amount to 34,000l.; that of these but 100 returned, and those by flight. That neither his Majesty nor any of his Ministers created any such difficulties in restoring the large Province of Acadia to the French King pursuant to the 9th Article of said Treaty. All which wrongs are yet more aggravated by several circumstances appearing from the history of the matter of fact. 7 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. XIV., 62–70.]
Feb. 18. 1034. Minutes of the Council for Trade and Plantations. The Secretary presented his report about the affair of St. Christopher's according to order of 1st instant, which was read and ordered to be considered again the 25th instant, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary Lord Arlington desired to be present. Ordered that the Secretary prepare a further report of such other circumstances as might evidence yet more largely the wrong sustained by his Majesty and his subjects through the proceedings of the French Governor and his ministers. [Col. Entry Bk., No. XLV., 70.]
Feb. 18–20. 1035. Minutes of the Council of Barbadoes, February 18: Present, his Excellency and all the Council, viz.. Sir Peter Colleton Henry Hawley, Christopher Codrington, Daniel Searle, Thomas Wardall, Henry Drax, Samuel Farmer, John Knights, Henry Walrond senior, Samuel Barwicke, Samuel Newton, John Sparkes. His Excellency having sent for the Assembly acquainted them with his design to send the St. David with 20 men to Tobago and leave them there, to be maintained out of the provisions left for the former expedition, and to report if they have anything else to propound to this Board relating to that place. He also presented the Provost-Marshal's petition about rebuilding the gaol, or indemnifying him against escapes till done. The Assembly returned and said they desired no people might be sent to Tobago, this place much wanting hands, which they will further consider.
Feb. 19: The Assembly attending, Mr. Speaker desired a longer time to make full inspection into the Acts of the country, but his Excellency desired them to hasten the business, for if his Majesty's commands for the speedy sending them home were not complied with, it might be thought remissness in his Excellency. He also desired the members of the Assembly who were officers, especially the Colonels, to attend him on Tuesday next at Fontabell about settling the militia.
February 20: Ordered that the Council be formed into three committees to consider such affairs as shall be given them by his Excellency, and report on Thursday the 6th March next at the usual meeting place in St. Michael's Town. Nomination of the committees, to consider the 18th and 22nd articles of his Excellency's instructions and the several bills brought up by the Assembly; the 19th and 23rd articles of his Excellency's instructions; and the 16th article respectively. 2 1/2; pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. XI., 212–215.]
Feb. 21.
St. Kitts.
1036. Minutes of the Council of St. Kitts. On consideration of a petition of the Rev. Father Phil. de Nogell, Mons. Chaffart, and others complaining of an Act of 27 June as repugnant to the Treaty of Breda, Ordered that answered be returned in justification of said Act and the proceedings thereon, but nevertheless the said Father and others of the French nation of quality to be allowed to have two servants, one as overseer and the other as carter for the management of their plantations in the English part of this island provided security be given to the Governor for their good deportment. And that those of the French nation who have planted provisions and are not freeholders in the English ground before the publication of the Act for their departure have convenient time to take off the same. [Col. Papers, Vol. XX VIII., No. 69.]
Feb. 24. 1037. Two Acts passed in the island of Montserrat, viz., (1.) An Act for the raising of a levy on all lands in this island and the inhabitants thereof and for the builing of a court house and prison, dated 24th February 1673. In margin "expired." And (2.) An Act for the speedy making of a platform in the new Fort of this island for the guns to be planted there. In margin, "expired." [Col. Entry Bk., No. XLIX., 88, 89.]
[Feb. 25.] 1038. Report of Dr. Worsley Secretary to the Council for Plantations. In obedience to their Lordships' further order of 18th inst., certifies that all the wrongs and inconveniences offered to his Majesty and his subjects in St. Christopher's are yet more aggravated by the following circumstances. Though all prisoners were to be forthwith set at liberty without ransom, provided they paid what was due for diet, which could only be understood that the prisoners were to pay for their own diet, and though his Majesty had released the French prisoners taken on his side, yet the possession of his part of St. Christopher's was refused unless his Majesty would undertake to pay for the prisoners' diet. That the French King's letters were obtained for the peremptory rendition of that part of the Island, and it was mutually agreed that Commissioners should be empowered on either side finally to conclude all differences. Then follows a narrative of all the differences that have happened since Sir Charles Wheler was empowered to settle with the causes of them and how they are left. These differences have reference to servants and slaves, meliorations, fraudulent contracts, wrongs done and wastes committed. With Dr. Worsley's opinion of the "remedy" which seems to be any way practicable. 5 1/2; pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 9; see also Col. Entry Bk., No. XLV., 71–78.]
Feb. 25. 1039. Letters signed "Any Person" to Sir Robert Howard. Seeing it written at the Exchange that the Parliament would hear propositions from any person for securing and improving his Majesty's Plantations in America gave him the boldness to write. For security, nothing is equal to their going only in fleets, with a convoy out and home. As to improving the trade, the plantations may be reduced to four heads: first, such as produce the same that grows in Europe, which are diametrically opposite to the interest of England; second, tobacco plantations, and there is little tobacco imported from anywhere else, the growth thereof being prevented even in England; third, such as produce cotton, wool, indigo, ginger, cocoa, &c., these are not of bulk enough to deserve any great consideration; and fourth, the sugar plantations. Sugar has already and may again cause great debates, and some bold barbarian may propose to have all sugars prohibited from any other place, others that an imposition be laid on all foreign, i.e., Brazilian sugars; both of these will cause a dismal dust. Though the Portugal merchants may pretend that the export of our baize to Lisbon depends on the import of their sugar to England, does not understand them to be "terminis invertitilis," for it is evident the Portugals stand more in need of our woolens than we of their sugars, which they might transport to Leghorn, Venice, and other places, and import other commodities to England; yet the pretence is so fair that neither prohibition nor further imposition on Brazil than on Barbadoes white sugars will be obtained. Parliament should therefore lay a high duty on all white sugars, which will give the King of Portugal no offence, and yet secure the English planters, provided there be no imposition on the middle sorts imported by them; but it may he noted that his text is neither "his Majesty's Revenue," "the encouragement of navigation," nor "profit of the English refiner," but "the improving the trade of his Majesty's Plantations in America." 2 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. XXX., No. 10.]
Feb. 27. 1040. Warrant to deliver to John Jenkins 20 barrels of powder, 100 muskets with firelocks, and of scoreshot, culverin, minion crossbar and roundshot 50 each for the defence of the Somers Islands. 1/4 p. [Dom. Entry Bk., Chas. II., Vol. XL., p. 7.]
Feb. 27. 1041. Minutes of the Council of Barbadoes. Ordered that the Assembly be summoned on Tuesday next by eight in the morning to consider of letters received from his Majesty relating to his special commands. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XI., 215.]