Treasury Calendar: September 1696

Pages 446-450

Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 11, 1696-1697. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1933.

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September 1696

Sept. 8. Charles Thomas, dated from Barbados, to the Treasury Lords. May it please your Lordships, Col. Russell, our Governor, went out with our last fleet with Capt. Reeves, Commander of her Majesty's ship Newcastle, for his health; but within four days after he came in he was taken ill with the fever and in five days afterwards it did please God to take him away, which was the 7th of August last. As soon as Col. Russel came from on board Capt. Reeves['s ship] he sends Col. Richard Salter, one of the Council, for those papers I had of one Thomas Morris a felo de se, that the said Salter had put into my hands: which when he demanded them I told him that it was true he had put them in my hands as a trust but since that his Majesty had been pleased to give me a commission to be his Casual [Revenue] Receiver of this Island [thereby] that trust was void and that they [the said papers] did belong to me [ex officio] and that I could not answer the parting with them out of my hands and that I had gave their Lordships of the Treasury an account of those papers.
Two days afterwards I was with our Governor and there was Col. Salter and the Attorney General by, and then he asked me for those papers. I told him I could not answer the delivery of them to Col. Salter. He [the Governor] said I might deliver them to Col. Salter, he putting them into my hands as a trust. I tould our Governor that I could not deliver them without I had an order under his hand. Then he tould me they did belong to him but said no more to me and the next day was taken sick. I understood that since my commission came over Capt. Richard Brewster had got a will proved that the said Thomas Morris had gave his estate to him and another. I have looked in the Secretary's Office but cannot find the will recording. His brother Mr. Thomas Brewster tould me it stood his brother a great deal of money to get that will proved. I made answer that if it was a good will what occasion was there to pay a great sum of money for it and assured him that I would search into the bottom of it.
"Inclosed I have sent you of every paper I have of the said Morris in my hands."
One Mr. David Stewart, a man about 70 years old died three months ago without a will and has no relations here nor can anybody tell he has any alive in Scotland which was his country. There were several that strove to administer upon his estate, he dying as tis believed worth 3 or 4,000l. It was thought that Mr. Thomas Fullerton, the Solicitor General of this island, would have had the administration but he tould me that one had offered the Governor a great sum to have the letters of administration, which made him [the Solicitor General] desist: and it was granted to one Mr. Holder, gent. I have thought fit to send to your Lordships for your consideration a copy of Mr. Holder's petition for letters of administration upon Stewart's estate with an order upon it for administration. Tis believed by all people here that this David Stewart has been said Holder's best friend in this island in letting him have money at any time he had occasion and 'tis believed he owed Stewart at least 1,000l. Mr. Foulerton has promised to give me an account of most of his estate and I was tould that the letter of administration was not granted till my commission came over. When I went to the [Secretary's] Office to have my commission recorded there was no such petition brought into the Office; and the next day I went again for my commission out of the Secretary's Office and I found that [? petition] recorded the last [entry prior] to mine.
One Mr. Francis Brooking tould me that one Mr. Adam Barrs gave 250l. for a house and some land that does belong (as 'tis believed) to his Majesty but I shall try what title they have to it. I believe it is my duty to acquaint your Lordships of these things.
I have sent you enclosed the account of the Attorney General's fees and the Solicitor [General's] fees which was allowed in Mr. Brewster's accompt. I cannot get from Mr. Brewster the Marshall's accompt and Capt. Paine's accompt, who was Judge of the Court of Escheat. For I shall desire to know of your Lordships what ought to be allowed as to each of their fees.
In two days after Col. Russell's decease I waited for the President and Council to know of them if the Court of Escheat might sit for I had ordered a Court before Col. Russell fell sick. They tould me they had great affairs in hand concerning the safety of this island and that they could not have any Courts as yet called. I petitioned to the President and Council the 14th August last and a copy of the petition goes here enclosed; and I attended them every day they sat but could not get up but three times to speak with them. The first time I came before them I desired my petition might be read. The Honourable Edward Cranfeild made answer that they were so busy in settling the affairs of the Island they had no time to hear. I tould them that the business I came about was his Majesty's interest. The Honourable John Bromley asked me if my business was 20,000l. concern. I tould him no, but it might be in time 20,000l. damage to his Majesty if he [the King] could not have a Court of Escheat and a Court of Exchequer. The second time I could get up to speak with their Honours they were so busy that they could not give an answer to my petition but I should have an answer before the Fleet sailed, though I got it then to be read. The 4th [September] this instant I got another hearing. The copy of what they ordered in their Minute Book concerning my petition I desired that I might have a copy of it to send home to your Lordships, which they granted me, and it is attested by the Secretary that your Lordships might see that I have used what means possible that his Majesty's interest might be got in. And though they have promised me that there shall be some person chosen to be his Majesty's Escheator and to appoint some Judges or Barons to hold the Court of Exchequer I believe there will be greater delays: which if any happen I will acquaint your Lordships with.
I then demanded his Majesty's share of prize that Capt. Reeves took, which the President had ordered her afore to be appraised, designing then as I understood to send her to England as a packet boat. She was appraised at 317l. They asked me what the King's share was. I tould them one third belonged to his Majesty, one third to the ship's crew and one third part to the Treasurer of their Majesties' navy for relief of sick and wounded mariners and seamen and the widows, children and impotent parents [of men] slain in their Majesties' service: [for] which I showed them the Act of Parliament entituled An Act for Continuing the Acts for prohibiting all trade and commerce with France and for the Encouragement of Privateers, and I desired of their Honours to know who should keep that part that belonged to the Treasurer of His Majesty's [Navy] etc. They tould me that the Captain should keep it. I desired that they would order it to be entered in their Minute Book, that I might write home about it.
Here is orders to one Mr. Richard Walter from the Commissioners of the Admiralty to lay out what money the sick seamen have occasion for here for doctors and fresh provisions, and to draw bills for the same home to England: which I acquainted their Honours of. So I tould them that this third part did likewise belong to the King as I believed but desired their advice. They made answer as before [viz. that] the Captain should be answerable for it at home [in England]. The prize that was taken had 8 guns and 6 Padorados which the Captain reckons as 14 guns. I tould them that according to the Act of Parliament the Captain of the Man of War was to have for each piece of Ordnance 10l. and that they could not make appear that a Padorado could be the least of an ordnance but as yet they have not decided that.
I acquainted your Lordships by the last Fleet that Col. Hallett had not come for his money, which a little after the Fleet was gone he came to me for it, which I tould him I would pay him according to his Majesty's order but that I must take out [deduct] such fees as his Majesty had been at in condemning that money and the Attorney General's fees and mine; which said accompt goes enclosed: upon which we had a hearing.
P. S. Capt. Fisher being going on board I have not had time to copy the letter out: but I hope the other (which I have sent three) are come safely to your hands. Out Letters (Plantations Auditor II), pp. 1–3.
Sept. 30. Charles Thomas to the Treasury Lords dated from Barbados. Since my last (of which a copy goes enclosed) I have attended the President and Council every day they sat to put them in mind of their former order on "their" [sic for the] petition which I sent home last: but finding nothing but delays, they not minding their promise, I presented them with a petition yesterday (which copy goes enclosed) by which you will find how that his Majesty's affairs of the Casual revenue is taken very little notice of here. And as soon as I delivered the petition the Council sent it down for me to sign. I tould the Provost Marshall that brought it to me that it was not customary to set one's hand to a petition, but if they pleased to send for me up I would [own] it was my petition. In the afternoon they sent for me and when I came up they askt me if it were my petition. I desired the Secretary to read it (which was [done]) and then I owned it was mine. They askt me to sign it again, which I tould their Honours it was not usual: upon which they bid me go downstairs and they would send for me up again. But after I had stayed two hours they tould me I must wait upon them the next morning, which I attended and had no answer from them.
I understand that they are all angry with me that I should offer such a petition. I am assured that there is nothing in my petition but what is truth: and I having the honour to be his Majesty's Casual [Revenue] Receiver here believe it is my duty to acquaint you with the truth (as I have in my petition). I do believe that as soon as these two ships are gone, which sails this day, they will commit me. But I desire your Honors that if I have acted nothing contrary to law you will please to justify me in it and send me over letters accordingly.
I know the King's business in this affair [of his Casual Revenue] has been neglected between this two or three years; and I find nothing harder to be done than to get his Majesty's rights. I have treated the President and Council with all the submission that can be but they made me wait seven or eight weeks (which they sat almost every day) and promising me when going to Council I should have a hearing, but never could speak with them but thrice. But if I had other business I could get up [to speak to them about it] or any little business might be heard before me. I hope your Honors will not take it amiss that I can give no account that I can get in of the King's Casual Revenue.
Just now I have been acquainted that their Honors though they have gave me no answer to my petition, hath sent a copy home to your Lordships with a letter. And I further understand that what I mention of Col. Hallett in my petition they deny: but having but just now notice [of this] and the ships [being] under sail I have not time to prove [my statement] but by the next I will send you what I can get attested by the Secretary of this island, proved by such evidence here which will make it plainly appear. I did take his Honor Cranfeild, Esq., to have been obliged to speak on behalf [of my request]; to have got a court of Escheat and Exchequer, he being deputy to the Honourable William Blathwayt, Esq., as Auditor General, that the King's interest might be got in. But instead of that no man in Council has taken me up so much, and always said they had extraordinary business to do and could not attend it: which he generally seemed in a passion to me in Council. I never gave him occasion I know of. I think it is very hard that the President and Council should write home to your Lordships about that petition, when I could not be able to defend myself, but only a particular friend tould me of it. But when I was before them they never argued one point thereof but only askt if it was my petition.
I do not doubt of your Lordships doing me justice on my petition of their writing home against me, and not being able to prove anything [in time early enough to come] by these vessels, till I can send it home attested by the next opportunity. I assure your Lordships I am at least 4l. per month in charge in keeping possession of land and some negroes, which are forct to be kept up for fear of running away; having sometimes 10 and sometimes 12 [of such negroes] that belong to his Majesty and for want of Courts of Escheat and Exchequer I cannot recover them.
My petition I gave to the Attorney General, Robert Hooper, Esq., and desired him to read it, which he did and if anything there amiss, to alter it and he answered it was very well (knowing the delays as well as I) he very often sitting in Council: which is all the account I can give to your Lordships now. Out Letters (Plantations Auditor) II, pp. 3–4.