Freeman's Letters, 1683: nos 309-326

The Letters of William Freeman, London Merchant, 1678-1685.

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'Freeman's Letters, 1683: nos 309-326', in The Letters of William Freeman, London Merchant, 1678-1685, (London, 2002) pp. 318-338. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

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Freeman's Letters, 1683: nos 309-326

309. [p. 428] Anthony Henthorne [Chester]

London, January 11, 1682/3
In my last I gave answer to yours & then desired you not to fayle to remit the money dew upon your bond. Since I have a very pressinge occation hath hapned that will admit of noe further delay. Wherefore I desire you will not faile to returne it me with all expedicion. I have not rec.d one peney of your money as yet; nether will I untill the whole payment is compleated, as I formerly writte you, tho I p.d of Mr. Evans two thous.d pounds with my owne money. Soe that you might have disposed of what money you remitted him any other way, if you had been soe disposed. Yet its possible if you pay the ballance in now to answer my occations, I may bee perswaded to take the interest of 2,000£ but to the last day of October. Tho if I should doe it, the [p. 429] rest is soe much money given out of my pocket ( you could not expect after the dealings I have had from you). For noe man is obleidged in law to receive any money dew upon bond att sev.ll payments unles he please, as I have severall times refused to doe, as will appeare by my severall, & have declared the same thinge to Mr. Evance, who desired to give you notice thereof that you might otherwise imploy your mony if you pleased. ...

310. Captain John Bramley [Montserrat]

London, December 16, 1682
This day I have rec.d yours of the 28th of October with your accompt, beginginge the 25th of December Last, & endinge the 25th of June Last. accompt I cant say little to, in regard I never yet rec.d any accompt from the 25 Decemb.r 1680 to the 25 1681, though I have writt severall pressinge letter requireinge the same. But for want thereof I canot tell what you make dew to mee upon that accompt & consequently what the ball.s of this, accompt may be. Certainely you might as well have sent that accompt as this, if you had been soe pleased, since your pleasure is not to p.rmitt any other p.rson to the inspectation of my part of the estate, as it was once tearmed. But now it seemes I have nothinge to doe with it, but its absolutely become Capt. Bramley, & poore W.F. that brought him into it as an overseer is quite cast out, yet may be entertained as a guest, if he demeanes himselfe civily, otherwis shall receive corection and be turned out of doores, as his attornys have been. However, in poynt of gratitude, I ought to returne my thankefullnes for this civil treatement, as now I doe.

& The next thing I am to treate of is only to let you knowe that I take notice you make my half part of the proceeds of this 6 mo. accompt to be 98,896½ lbs. of sugar, all the charges being deducted, of you have ship mee the halfe part of 46,869 lbs. sugar & the halfe part of 44,040 lbs. sugar & 28,414 lbs. sugar. All amounts to 73,868½ lbs. Out of I conceive ten of the hhds. you caryed in the last years accompt beinge comprehended in the invoice of 40 hhds. then intended p.r Hazellw.d. But for want of that accompt, I can say little to that, whether it be soe or not. But admittinge it not, supstracting out of the 98,896½ pounds of sugar my halfe part of the last halfe yeares accompt the above sume of 73,868½ lbs. sugars in the ball.s thereon dew to me, as I understand it, is 25,028 lbs. sugar. Now, if this sume was dew the 25th June Last to me, I desire to knowe a reason why it was not shipt mee upon the Abigall or Adventure, both shipes came great part dead freighted to me; or who ought to pay this dead freight and premeo mony that was insured upon them; & to run the adventurs upon another ship, whether Capt. Bramley or W.m Freeman ought to pay this; & who ought to pay William Freeman interest for his money that he is thus dewly kept out of or bare the lose of a fall of a market (if any shall hapen to be). The next thing I take notice of is that Capt. Bramley never takes notice of all the sugars that was in the howse the 25th of June or made after that time to the 28th of October followinge. accordinge to the information William Freeman hath rec.d from his corispondents & others cominge from thence could not be much les then what made the former halfe yeare. But when Capten Claton came to him & intreated [p. 430] the same might be shipte or as much thereof as did properly belong to the said Freemans of acquainting him that his owners shipp, viz. clearely lost to him, Capt. Bramley told him he would provide a p.rcell of sugars for him the later part of the yeare. But then he had an occation to pay his owne debts with what was made & on the 25 of October followinge Capt. Bramley intended to have shipt a p.rcell of sugars on this ship for accompt of William Freeman but found himselfe disapointed by the exceedinge drith [sic]. Soe that W.F. hath only paid soe much dead & premeo money. & P.rhaps, in 14 month hence, if Capt. Bramley hath noe other occation, he may ship him the sugars, if freight be rison from 3£ to 6, 7 or 8£ a tunn. Yet Capt. Bramley saith if W.F. dislikes his manadgment & will not trust him any longer, he is free that Freeman should put his p.t into whose hands he pleaseth, but then it must bee separated (yet that canot be but by a joint concern). And in all this W. F hath noe wronge don him, yet may in the same manner say that Capt. Bramley hath noe more comand of his interest than he hath of Capt. Bramleys. A pretty question that answers itselfe soe plainely well.

I shall now trouble myselfe noe further with reputations of Capt. Bramleys questions and answers, but will once more give myselfe the trouble to give the best answers a poore weake capacity can doe to a man of greate parts & learned in the law, one that hath read Cooke upon Littleton, besides many other learned authors, & is able to give rules to them all, beinge a man of great experience, wisdom & understanding. & Alas, what can be expected for, I should say, to this great Goliath whose couridge is equivolent with his parts why truly poore. I that am alltogeather unaquainted with learned speeches have only this to say – that there was some Artickles made and bonds for performance of those Artickles the learned tells me are good and binding in the law, & by the assistance of such good men there are wayes stall [sic] to be founde to put me into possession of this estate againe, & to impower a person to reape the damages of it, & for such injuries as have been done me, to have reparation made. And therefore I shall now looke backe to such acco. as I have rec.d & make my objections thereunto or as may as its necessary for me to doe att this time.

First, I require all the accompts may be sworne to as the Credit.r part that the whole product of the plant. is brought to an accompt. Next, I require the Debt.r part to be proved either by oath or other wayes, & then all such charges as shall apeare proper to the plant. accordinge to Artickles shall be allowed of. But such as have been contracted for the maintenance of yourselfe or your owne family you must expect to pay. For I am noe more obleidged to mainteaine you & yours, then you are to maintaine mee & mine. & These presidents I have taken from yourselfe. For when my attornyes who represented mee have come upon the plant., there was neither a glase of wine for them to drink nor a peece of beefe to eate. & By your owne letters it will apeare, you have only lookt upon them as guests att your table when Mr. Berwick came to inspect my right. Now, all men must understand that men that entertaineth guests must doe it at there owne charge. And I am sure both Mr. Liddells & my cosen Bedingefeild did affirme to me [p. 431] that, when they came to looke after my busines, they could neither be entertained with victualls to eate nor drink to drink, unles such as the servants. But thats not att all meteriall. Noebody can obleidge me to maintaine you & yours family. And whereas you pretend to have done great servises, I will make it apeare it had been many hundred pounds in my way, if you and yours had been as farr distante from the estate as I am. As to this last 6 mo. accompt, I have noe objections against it, provided you sweare to the product only 713 lbs. sugar paid for fresh provitions, brandy & c. for your owne family, I have nothinge to doe with. Neither doe you in this or any other acco. give creditt for any of the increase of stocke hath been kept, only to Cr. your owne family that imployes both the grounde & hands of the plant. to looke after. After this usage that I have had from you, I have noe reason to pas by anythinge untaken notice of, or to allow of anythinge contrary to law. & When you have thus advised all accompts & paid me my full dew, I shall then be ready to give you such reasonable discharges as you can require, but never till then. & This you may thank yourselfe for. Yet I desire not to judge of anythinge myselfe, or be my owne carver, as you have made yourselfe in all things w.thout controle. But for all these things in matters of difference betwixt us, if you will make choyce of any planter in England, I will make choyse of another, & will leave all things to there determination, or if they canot agree to refer it to them, to chose a 1/3 planter as an umpire to determine betwixt us, provided you will appoynt any p.rson to enter into bonds for you to stand by there award. Your pretentions of beinge of tired with partnorship is now to visible, after haveing made a proposition to me of sellinge, thinkinge thereby to bully me into sell. my part. As soone as I desire to knowe your propositions, then your minde is imeadietly changed. Yet, to ease your troubled minde of my p.rtnorshipp, I have as good as contracted for my halfe p.t. There is not little differences betwixt us. Yet if I doe goe on with the sale, I will bind the p.ty to such covenants as shall make good my propositions, I desired Sir W.m Stapleton to make on my part, either in buyinge yours or disposall of his owne part. Nay, I will do for convayinge till I have an answer to those letters. As to what you pretend of your want of an answer to yours severall letters, I have answered them all. And more p.rticularly I shall give answer to owne p.r Capt. Hill; if not before he goes, I will send it after him. ...

311. Robert Helme [Nevis]

London, January 25, 1682/3
My brother Baxter hath writ you some angry lines ( at his request I joyned with him in the signeinge of them). Its possible when they come to your hands you may resent them, but if you seriously consider the estate of our affaires and weigh well our circumstances, you can in noe measure be displeased thereat. For ware you to live here & maintaine a family, and had your whole estate aboard in other mens hands, & could not receive a peny from it to afford your subsistance, you would then think it as hard measure as we doe, & in all probability would be as subject to make passionate complaints, espetially when you should consider that those persons you had intrusted with our estate [p. 432] was all the while imployinge it in traffique to there owne advantage & your ruin, as certainely those we have imployed we are well assured have don. Yet I would not have you take these my lines as the least seeminge refflection upon yourselfe, for I assure you they are not soe intended, but relates to some other p.rsons we have imployed. indeed wee have just reason to blame you for not callinge them to before this, since we have soe often rendered our requests to you to do longe since & yet nothinge don in order to it that we can understand of.

You may rememb.r that we write you in Aprill Last fully relateinge to our concerns in Mr. Westcotts hands, and then made it our requests to that you forthwith goe downe & settle all our concerns on that island and send us all Accompts of Sales of all such goods as was sold, and for what remained unsold to take a p.rfect list thereof and send us, & to order him to sell none thereof but for ready payment, & then to make up & adjust our Accompts Currant with Mr. Westcott, & to take a p.rfect list of all such p.rsons as was our debtors on that island, & to take bills under hand and seale from them all in our owne names, that soe when sugars was made our effects might be rec.d & aplyed to our owne use & not converted to others, & alsoe that such p.rsons that ware backward in payment be compeled thereunto p.r law. These letters you rec.d in June Last is now 8 mo. since. & We are confident if you had gon downe & spent but one month & seriously aplyed yourselfe to the settlement of these things, all this might have been effected in that time. And then wee had been in a fayre way this crop to have recovered the greatest part of our debts, if you had but prest it hartily. But for ought I now see wee are further from it then ever.

Indeed, I could hartily wish you would acquit yourselfe of the R.C. busines in you triffle away greate part of your time in runninge up & downe & neglect the settlement of our owne concerns that is of much greater moment to us. For from that I can foresee noe advantage that can arise from it equivolent to the injuryes we receive in our other concernes. & Therefore, I now must ernestly request you to give notice to the Comp. to discharge yourselfe of that imploym.t and to adjust all accompts betwixt us and Mr. Carpenter & to dispose of our part of the howses. Or if you will not of your owne part, pray doe of mine and make me the returne thereof, if Mr. Carpenter will buy them. If possible you can, let the payment be made in money here. I alsoe intreate you to make up the plant. & send me. In that there can be noe great difficulty, lyinge all within yourselfe.

Now, my further intreaty & most ernest request to you is as soone as ever this comes to your hands that you will forthwith without further delay goe downe to the island of St. Xtophers & there make a full & parfect settlement of all accompts with Tho. Westcott. & The first court, without respect to any, bringe all our debtors under judgment of court. If any have a minde to avoyde haveinge there names puplyquely cald, such may confes judgments. & Afterward use all possible meanes for the speedy recovery of our effects on that island. And wee intreate you to doe the same for what concerns mine & my bro. Baxters acc.otts in halves, as for what concerns us in thirds. & Take care if any bad or doubtfull debts put upon us to see they ware contracted with our owne goods and noe other. You have an of all such goods [p. 433] as was consigned him. And if you finde him obstinate or refuse to p.rforme this our desires, we desire that by vertue of the power you have from us you will call him imeadietly to an accompt. And if Mr. Edwards be arrived, to intrust him & W.m Helmes with the concerne till you heare further from us. But wee hope Tho. Westcott will give you noe just cause for soe doeinge, it beinge noewayes our desire to w.thdraw anythinge out of his hands, provided he will discharge his trust honestly & what becomes him to doe. But as yet we have not had the least sattisfaccion in answer to anythinge wee have required. Pray as soone as you have sould all things there, let accompts be sent us & pres the recovery of our effects as far as possible. For we are doubtfull in a yeare or two more sugars will hardly defray the charges of bringing home. Therefore, it concernes you as well as us to be brisk in this affaire & to avoyd all further delayes. All I once more most ernestly request you to performe. For after this I designe not to trouble you with repetations.

My brother Baxter hath now hyred John Estes to draw of our ball.s from Madera is neare 1,500$; with what we are to draw for Lisboa will be 2,000$. we shall order all to be laden on bord him. As wines now costs there, we doubt it will not bee much above 100 pipes. He hath hyred him to touch at Barbados & there to dispose of what we can for pr.sent payment, if any reasonable market offers. & In case hee canot buy sugars there at moderate rates answerable to that price it beares hare, to carry his mony to leeward to you, where, if you can lay it out for any advantage rather in indigo then sugar, we desire you to doe it; or in case you canot, to send it us home in specia. But if you have not store of money lyinge by likely to receive much, you may keepe our 2/3 parts there for the suply of our plant. In regard the ps. of 8/8 that comes home are generally very lite, I would alsoe have you keepe of what you may receive 3 or 400 ps. for my Mountseratt plant. Estes is to sayle p.r agreem.t the 15th of the next mo. & of what wines he carrys to leward we will order him to land 15 pipes in Mountseratt with Geo. Liddell, to whome we will give orders to sell for noethinge but for ready payment, tho. he seles the cheaper. & Of what he brings to you, its our desire you should send 20 or 30 pipes to W.m Hearne with the same restriction. & Whatever you sell yourselfe, we desire the same thinge if possible at whatever rate you sell. This is a small ship. & Therefore, we desire you to be shipinge us sugar as fast as you receive it, without keepeinge for her comeinge, we beinge in greate necessity & noe doubt at that time of yeare but a small ship may be laden without difficulty. If you let any freight, let it be in butts, for we are obleidged to 1/3 in butts. But if you loade any for our owne, let them be made (& fild) on purpose very large, to we send you a sett of trusses p.r the same ship. ...

312. [p. 434] Henry Carpenter [Nevis]

London, January 25, 1682/3
Worthy Freinde, Sir,
I have none of yours to answer. This now serves only to request you to settle all acco.tts with Mr. Rob.t Helmes wherein I am anywayes concerned & send me. The same thinge I have desired many yeares past, but never yet could get them parfect. I have acquainted Mr. Rob.t Helmes with my desires to dispose of my 1/4 part of the storehouses & all things thereunto belonginge, & have desired him in case he inclynes not to purchas himselfe to give you the prefference or refusall of them. But I am very desirous to have them sold for payment here in London, in regard of my pressinge occations for mony. But in case that canot conveniently be optained for present sugars there to suply my occations, if any ballance dew to you there, Mr. Helmes must take care to discharge it. For I never knew the contracteinge thereof but am an absolute stranger to this day to the concerne. Yet whatever hath been transacted by him, I shall freely allow of. The last sugars you sent to make good those ballances you mentioned, my bro. Baxter informes me lyes still unsold & is such a druge that will not fetch ready money at any price. Soe that your longe tradinge with our stocke there may in the end prove a loss. Mythinkes it proves very hard that after beinge concerned neere 12 yeares in a busines of that greate esteeme and noyse & after soe much trouble, that I have not drawne 100£ into my pocket from it; for whatever lyes there is as much as nothinge to me. Neither have I yet been ever made sensible of a peny drawne from it there that hath ever been converted to any use of myne, though in all probabilyty it may be soe. Yet I ought to be made sensible thereof how and which way. How greate so ever my confidence is in the persons I am concerned with, yet acco.tts would be sattsfactory. Sir, I must now intreate you most earnestly [p. 435] to order the payment of the ballance of my accompt, I send you, my necessities beinge greater then ordinary, & yet canot have the least releife from any my concerns there where my whole estate lyes. Your acco. I send you hereinclosed. Those small objections you made for bills drawne p.r Mr. Helmes, send me his bill for them & they shall be allowed on the creditt of your accompt. For any concerne there I refer to Mr. Helmes to make up & pay what balance may be dew to you. For as he contracted the same there without my knowleidge or consent, you ought not to stop the payment of moneys I have laid out for you here by your owne orders to make good such payments, espetially consideringe hee hath suffitient effects of mine there to make anythinge good that relates to me & that in his owne hands. You must excuse me for pressinge you hereunto. For indeed I realy am soe streightned that I realy want to supply my occations, & indeed not tell you the difference of liveinge here & there. ...

313. [p. 437] Captain John Estes [Commander of the Providence]

London, February 15, 1682/3
You are to saile with your ship to the island of Madera, imbraceinge the first oppertunity as winde & wether shall offer. & When please God you shall arrive there, you are imeadietly to make your aplygation to Mr. Richard Pickford, Mr. Obidiah Allin & Mr. Mathew Mattson or some of them, & deliver well such your letters directed to all or any of them. Whome I have given orders to load on board your ship in wines of the groweth of that island to the vallew of of two thowsand milreis. you are to take in, usinge your utmost dilligence for your speedy dispatch. my request to you is to pres them thereunto with all imaginable earnestnes. & Haveinge rec.d the affores.d quantity of wines on bord your ship, you are to give Bills of Loadinge for the same consigneing them unto yourselfe & Mr. Rob.t Helmes.

And haveinge your dispatches from thence, you are to saile your ship with all convenient expedition to the island of Barbados. & At your arrivall there, if you find an incouridginge markett offers, it is my desire that you should dispose of such p.t thereof as you can for present payment, either in mony or sugar, vallueing your sugar not above 8s p.r 100 lbs. of muscovado, unles you finde the same to bee exterordinary good; if soe, you may take it at 9s p.r 100 lbs. & not higher, or what money you may hapen to receive for any such wines as you shall dispose of. If you can lay it out in sugars as afforesaid at that rate, its my desire you should, & have some buts made by truses on board your shipp on the best tearmes you can & load the same on board your owne shipp. But when please God you shall arrive at the afforesaid island, in case you doe not finde a good markett presents for your wine & unles you can dispose of them or some part thereof at nine pounds p.r pipe, the lowest price cleare of all charges w.tsoev.r as custome or any other & that for ready money, then in such cases it is my order & desire that you spend noe time there, but forthwith set saile & proceed to the Leaward Islands. Or in case you should find a reasonable market offers as affores.d, may incouridge the disposall of some of your wines there, yet it is my order & desire that you should not exceed 14 dayes time at that island, unles you finde an exterordinary market offers that you can dispose of good part of your cargo of wines at the rate of 12£ p.r pipe or upwards, cleare of all charges. In such case you may abide & stay there the space of twenty dayes & not longer & to convert such part of your mony as you can receive as affores.d into sugars & put on board your ship.

But such p.t of your mony as you canot convert into sugars you are to cary the same downe to the Leward Islands & lay out the same in sugars there, in case you can doe it on any modest tearmes, you are to advise & consult Mr. Rob.t Helmes in. & Such mony as remaines in your hands that you canot convert into sugars you are to leave in the hands of Mr. Rob.t Helmes, takeinge his recipt for the same. But in case it soe hapen that you doe not meete with an incouridginge market at Barbados & dispose none or but a small part of your wines there, then you are to call in as you pas by the island of M.tsarratt & deliver our letter to Mr. George Liddell, we have delivered you open. But before you deliver it, pray seale the same, & deliver him 15 pipes of wine, without makeing your stay there, other then just puttinge the said wines on shore.

[p. 438] But in case you doe not cary at least 65 pipes or upwards to the Leward Islands with you, would not have you make any stop at that island, but keepe the said letter that is we sent open to the said Liddell & returne it, but to deliver all such other letters as we directed to him. & Soe to proceed to Nevis. & There follow such orders as you shall receive from Mr. Robert Helmes in landinge or disposinge of all or any the remainder or your cargoe of wines, either upon the island of Nevis or any other the Leward Islands whatsoever, as he shall order & direct accordinge to the tenure of your Charter P.rty. & Likewise in the reladinge of your ship home. But in case of death, God forbid, of the said Rob.t Helmes, then you are to proceed to the island of St. Xtophers to Mr. Tho. Westcott & Mr. William Hearne & deliver your cargo to them and to proceed in all things in the same maner with them as you should have don with the afforesaid Rob.t Helmes.

& Haveinge thus dispatched your affaires there & reladen your ship, you are to returne with all convenient expediccon to the port of London. ...

314. Robert Helme [Nevis]

London, February 15, 1682/3
Since our last to you of the 25th Jan.ry we have rec.d the 3¼ tuns of sugar laden p.r yourselfe on the Sarah is disposed of at 21s p.r c.t, a good price as the market now governs, but the payment will be longe. We had hopes of some sugars p.r the same shipps from Thomas Westcott, but those prooves as baire as our former. Patience is the only remeady we must submit to. All our sugars the last yeare lyes still unsold, & hitherto not soe much as the least damadged for them. We hope the next month will produce a chapman or else must sell them at any rate, for after that noe hopes can be of arise. ...

[p. 439] Its our desire you should intrust William Hearne (in case he bee on the island) with the disposall thereof, to whome we have writt some lines hereinclosed, you may keep or deliver as you judge most convenient. You see our apsolute desires is to contract noe more debts. Therefore, whosoever you imploy to dispose thereof on that or any other the islands, its our apsolute desire you should lay the same restrictions upon them as to sellinge for pres.t payment. For we had rather the heads of the casks should be knockt out then to contract more debts. ... The reason why our desires is what you should rather comitt the disposal of what you send to St. Xtophers to W.m Herne then Tho. Westcott is because we doubt it may retard the gettinge in our debts. Besides William Hearn beinge now out of his time, we are desirous to give him what small incouridgement our affaires will of. & If you thinke fitt to put into his hands any part of such goods as we have remaineinge undispossed to dispose of, we shall be content therewith if hee will accept thereof. But let it be still with that same restrictions as to sellinge; or if hee will buy them or any part thereof, to pay for them here in England. That is, if he intendes to settle there, its our desire to you to sell him as good peniworths of such goods as in reason he can desire, provided he inclines & gives orders to my bro. Baxter to dispose of his howses. Otherwis, it canot be expected he should pay his bills. ... But what you judge there may be occation to lett, pray let it be in butts if possible, conceive you may calculate about 16 tunns, that may am.t to the 1/3 p.t. & Pray let our hhds. be large & admonish them on St. Xtophers & the other islands that they may loade the like, for Tho. Westc.ts hhds. gen.lly comes out very light, pray acquaint him with. ...

315. [p. 440] Thomas Westcott [St. Christopher]

London, February 15, 1682/3
This acompanies the shipp Providence, John Estes, Master, who wee have hyred for the Leward Islands; & in her way have ordered her to touch at Madera to draw of the ballance of our old accompt; from thence & to stop at Barbados there to dispose of what part of the wines hee can; & from thence to proceed to Nevis to land the remaineder of such wines as he carys to Mr. Robert Helmes who is equally concerned with us therein. Yet we have desired him to send to St. Xtophers to William Hearne such a proportion thereof as that island will conveniently vent for ready payment, beinge resolved to contract noe more debts. We would have ordered them to yourselfe, but considering the multiplicity of debts that of necessitye we must have of your owne contractinge on that island, wee hould it noewayes convenient to send anythinge to you untill you have soe settled all our concernes in that method we have proscribed and drawne our debts into a narower scanthinge. For we know as longe as you have any fresh suplye of goods to dispose of, that must needs retard the recoveringe in of debts, we are wholy bent to doe, as we hope you are allsoe. Besides you knowe W.m Hearne is our relation & hath served us, and therefore we have reason to give him some incouridgement. Besides you have made your adresses to us in his behalfe soe to doe. & Our owne inclynations tends that way ware we in a capasity (but as you & others have manidged our concernes we are disableidged). Soe that you have not the least reason to take anythinge amis of this our consignation to him.

316. [p. 441] Robert Helme [Nevis]

London, February 28, 1682/3
[p. 442] I am sory you finde soe much trouble with your brother, was what I allwayes suspected. I wish you may have a good end with him. I shall never give myselfe the trouble of writinge to him more. For all the sattisfaccon I can gett is hectoringe answers, except an oath he hath made before Justice Martyn, to an of those goods sent in partnorship betwixt my brother Henry and himselfe, that he hath not rec.d directly nor indirectly 1,000 lbs. sug.r upon that any way, yet all greate debts, & all such as I knowe as good men as most in the Islands. I wish he may not have forsworne himselfe.

I am sorry to heare Tho. Westcott is soe dillitory in the p.rformance of what we have required, is but just and as modest a thinge as can be desired. hope you will take care to compell him to the p.rformance of speedily in case of his refusall. For this we are assured that he continues buyinge & sellinge there with our stocks and att last the debts that are contracted there by meanes thereof will be throwne upon us for sattisfaccion. Wherefore pray make noe delay in the busines, but goe downe yourselfe and see what we have desired effected with expediccon. Otherwise, we may not only have a greate many bad debts (as you suspect) but in the end loose all here. We have been most unfortunate in a corispondency that all should proove alike. I hartily wish you ware acquitted of the R.C. busines that soe you might have noething to follow but our owne. I hope Mr. Edwards will be speedily with you to assist you, but the maine points you must see effected yourselfe & gather togeather what you can speedily. After if it lyes much longer, it will not be worth looking after. For I very beleeve sugars in a little time will not be worth bringinge hom. I am really of opinion that Terry is run away with the ship. Wee had a short letter from Barbados dated the 27th wherein hee then advised was bound downe to Nevis. Hee hath drawne bills from New England in the two voyages for the ships use and the first charge of lumber for 300£ that money, wee have p.d. Five or 6 days since John Estes saled out of the Downes for Madera, Barbados & Nevis. His orders are to sell what wines he can att Barbados for ready paym.t, the rest to cary downe to you. When he arives, if you find any possibility of Tho. Westcotts ladeinge him att St. Xtophers with our effects, lett him goe downe there with the ship. My bro. Baxter with Mr. Bawden and others will take about 25 or 30 tuns on another ship for you to load att Nevis. I hope you will finde noe difficulty in loadinge these small parcells.

You need not question when I have money of yours in my hands. But that I shall not bee only redy to pay it your wife, but alsoe to assist her in the placeinge it out. And att that time I write you, shee had rece.d more then was in my hands. Although by your you was a Cr., yet the money was unrec.d & in other hands, not in mine. I never was beforehand with you in my life till now, & that but very lately considerable, but on the contrary was allwayes in disburs for you, occationed my takeinge notice of a seemeinge complem.t you then put upon me that all you had in the world was in my hands and att my servis and desired me to make use of it, when I had not a peny in my hands and att the same time ordered your wife to call upon me and put it out faster then I could receive it. I had just reason to take notice of that and other things. I did att that time consideringe how I have been delt with in my concerns abroad under your care. although I impute it not directly to you, [p. 443] yet its the same thinge to mee if don by others under your charge. You know to this day I have never rec.d soe much as an of 8 or 9 years transactions with you, any man canot but take for hard measure. Yet pray misconstrue nothing, for I intend noethinge ill in what I write you on this subject.

I think I shall have an oppertunity in very few dayes to place 6 or 700£ for you, is much about the summ now in my hands, all accompts beinge compared, viz. what I am in disburs for your part on the ship Abr. acco., what remitted to Lisboa, and what charges I am out on sugars that hath now layne by soe longe, the greatest part of remaines unsould to this day. And what disposed of was this weeke noe mony rec.d for them. Nor can I tell when I shall. The price sold att is 21s. ...

All the news here is a gen.ll stopt upon all banks in: the Chamber of London first, the East India Comp. next, & last the goldsmiths in Lambert Street. All run quite of Cr. that there is now noe mony storinge nor to be comanded, & those that have it upon good securitys willinge to part with it on any tearmes, is hard to be found. I doubt this will end in a gen.ll ruin and stop all trades. A man knowes not where to be safe in anythinge. All things are brought to that pass. The occation suposed to arise from the generall prosecution of the fanaticks.

317. General Sir William Stapleton [Montserrat]

London, February 28, 1682/3
[p. 444] ... Capt. Bramley informes mee that he hath bought a p.rcell of land of you joynes to our plant. for hee is to pay 20,000 lbs. sugar. Now, before I see the accompt made up to Xmas Last, I may bee confident that artickle of 20,000 lbs. sugar that was not contracted a month before makeinge up the shall be brought in as a charge to ball.s that acco. on my part, allthough all the sugars made in that halfe years was disposed of 3 mo. before, as I am able to make appeare by his owne letters. & Now he hath found a new charge of a windmill with that & other debts all unpaid from the plant. to bringe that to a ballance, yet never soe much as asks my consent to anythinge, but first makes a charge against me for it; under that pretence keepes my goods in his hands and then after p.d for, I may leave it, if I please. I refer to any rashonall man to judge whether in those things I have right donn me or not.

Here hath been great murmeringe of late amongst the merchants (both in this towne & Bristoll) as I am informed, suposeinge themselves greatly injured by some late acts made in the Islands that gives greater incouridgments to the planters and obstructs the merch.ts from the recovery of their just debts to there great loss. But these and many other things hath been instigated by Billops compl.t. he hath endeavored to get seconded by a generall one & to that end first gave information to the R.C. of severall privet orders you had given him to incouridge interlopers & to discountenance the Comp. agents & next began to insinuate with privet persons (as I am informed) to get a petition drawne up against you. Soe that upon the whole matter it was the judgment of all your freinds not to moove further in your complaint him, but to lett the thinge fall, unles those late letters you have writt to the Councell should receive it, as I hope they will not. For he hath certainely made a greate interest against you with the Lords of the Admiralty. if should come to a heareinge, would be seconded by the Royall Comp., if not by other p.rticular p.rsons, though I knowe the generality are otherwise inclyned. But things in that nature are most comonly sett a foote & caryed on by p.rsons least concerned to gratifye malitious spirites. However, I doubt not but all will come to noethinge, yet I have prapared as many freinds as I can make an interest with against them, if any such thing should hapen.

[p. 445] ... Here hath been a gen.ll huricane amongst all sorts of bankers, the Chamber of Londons creditt first sunken, it is verily beleeved, will never pay 5s in the pound of anythinge. The East India Company run quite out of cr. and as its said are indebted att least 12 hund.d thousand pounds; though noe doubt but they will pay in time, yet att this time theire creditt is soe lowe that, of 24 sayle of greate ships they designed out this yeare, hitherto have not been able to sett one out to sea. Soe that this yeares trade will bee quite lost, and theire stock is allready sank from 370£ p.r c.t to 230£ and noe buyers. The gouldsmithes in Lumbard Streete have been equall sufferers, insomuch that 4 of them are quite broke, amongst Temple the greatest man of repute amongst them. For many yeares past all the rest of them very lowe in creditt amongst them. I hope I shall come out without loss, tho. I had all your mony lying in one hand (besides a summe of my owne[)]. And it was a merackle or next to it that it was not in Temples hands, for hee allwayes kept my cash till lately, upon a small disgust, I left him. The p.rson that keeps my money holds up his creditt well yet, but is put hard to it, as well as all the rest. I have much adoe got out the greatest part of mine, but have yet about 1,500£ lying I hope is pretty well secured, but must be forsed to stay for it. & Now, where to lodge mony to have it upon all occations I know not, as by your orders yours must lye. Since I have withdrawne my mony from thence, my howse hath been severall times attempted to be broke up. Once they had broke open my stable doore before discovered in order to make there passage into the house. I could wish you would give me your orders to place it out att interest, would be more to your advantage then lett it lye dead. ...

318. [p. 446] Thomas Westcott [St. Christopher]

London, March 22, 1682/3
I have rec.d yours of the 14th January in answer to my severall letters. I am very glad to heare you now begin to take resolutions to settle our affaires as we have directed, & hope when that is don you will bee as vigorous in the procecution of our debtors, that soe we may receive some returne of our concern, & bee inabled to bee further concerned with you. For I asure you it hath been greatly to our prejudice those things we required have been soe long undon. In you have been remis. Yet I hope your dilligence for the time to come will in some measure retrive what is past and that you will now soe stick to our busines, as that wee may find the effects of it in our returns in a short time. Pray spare not the prosecution of any our debtors upon any accompt whatsoever, neither by tys of freindship or otherwise; but ride the fore horse with all others, if possible you can. For I finde all men here that are concerned in those parts resolve to take the same resolutions & methods that we have given you instructions to doe in order to the speedy recovery of there debts. And I beleeve it will not be long before Mr. Wraford will be there himselfe to execute his owne concerne. Soe that when all men fall vigorously upon there debters, the difficulties will be greater then they may be to him that begins first. Never minde of disobledginge of any. For if that island will not afford you a trade, the world is wide anough – others will; and as long as you demeane yourselfe accordingly, you shall never want a freinde to assist & stand by you as long as I live. Though by the ill returns I have had from you and the other Islands, I have been reduced to greate streights. I hope you will consider & forthwith indeavour to releive my necessities. pray omitt noe time in doeinge. I am sorry you disposed soe much of our goods upon creditt. I could wish you had followed our orders in keepeinge them by you, untill you could have disposed of them for ready payment, I am confident would have tended more to our advantage. Yet I hope you have taken such care in the dispossition of them to such persons as will make speedy paym.ts. If all accompts are not rendred before this comes to hand, pray omitt not by first to send them.

In one of my formor letters, I made you a propossition to allow you to draw 15 p.r c.t comission upon all my concerne, provided you would undertake to ballance my accompt this present yeare & the next. you might very well undertake, considering you had my possitive orders for the dispossition of att least my halfe part of the concern in noe tearmes whatsoever but for redy payment & the rest of the concern hath been soe long disposed that all debts must bee certainely recovered within that time (if looked after) that ever will. Those tearmes I have propossed to you are the same that I porformed myselfe to all such persons as was anywayes concerned with mee, & ballanced there accompts in a shorter time by much from the begining then I have proposed to you, & yet was a good gainer thereby, as I am confident you must if you have taken any care in contracting debts. Yet if you think not that proposition anough for you to doe it, I am content to allow you what more in reason you can desire, rather then be longer out of my money. I am att this time soe streightened to answer my occations. Wherefore pray lett mee receive your answer to this propossition. And if you agree to doe it on any tearmes, bee shiping for my p.rticular [p. 447] as speedy as possible. Yet you must not doe it soe as anywayes to incure those anywaies concerned in partnorship with me, that there returns may come the slower. But what you doe not receive out of my concerne, you must make good out of your owne p.rticular concern. & Soe some you may ship upon the partable accompts as I am concerned, & the rest to make good my ballance upon my perticular. This signify to you that thay may noewayes be injured in there concerne, my bro. Baxter not beinge willinge to give the allowance I am willing to doe. indeed I doe upon noe other accompt but to suply my necessities. I hope affter my demonstrations of freindship to you, you will take care to doe by some meanes or other. Pray take care to ship what you load in as large caske as they doe from Nevis, and that they may be well fild and care taken of the weights, all you have been of late wanteinge in. A greater wastidge then usuall hath been of late.

319. Robert Helme [Nevis]

London, April 20, 1683
I was in hopes by this time to have rec.d those accompts Tho. Westcott advised us of sendinge. But the ship not beinge arrived gives occations to doubt of her safety. However, if they come not, I hope you will take care that duplicates may be sent of all such accompts, as well as of Richard Watts his bond. My bro. Baxter hath insured you the 10 tuns of sugar s.d Westcott advised of shipinge for our in thirds. All persons here speakes of a good crop likely to bee on St. Xtophers this yeare. If soe, I hope you will spur up Mr. Westcott to hasten home our returns. I wonder he should pretend to keepe sugars to load upon Terry after beinge soe often advised to omitt noe opertunity of shipinge but constantly to be shipinge of sugars as fast as he receive it. But doubtles hee finds other wayes to dispose of the sugars, & thinks by those pretences to please fooles with fancyes. For my part I conclude noe other but that Terry is run away with the ship or designes it. For certainely noe man that ever intended honestly would act as he hath don without orders, & never soe much as give his owners a bitt of paper of any his proceedings. We have great hopes sugar will bare an indifferent good price this yeare by meanes of the short crop att Barbados & Jameco. Soe that what you can get in this yeare one pound will in all probability produce as much att 1½£ the insueinge yeare. Therefore, pray strive what possible you can to get in our effects, or as much thereof [p. 448] as you can. & Pray take care of packinge the cask well & of there contents. In I canot bee p.rswaded but there is either a greate neglect or cheate, for such greate wastidge can never be as there is elce & that cheifely on som perticular caske. Alsoe pray take care to number the caske reight, in there is greate mistakes. By meanes thereof the certainty of things can never bee found, but an apsoelute confusion. & If you ordered what is shipt from severall places to be marked with distinct markes & numbers in orders, it would bee much easier found out. Noe matter of 10 or 20 tuns ware of 2 or 3 severall markes, it might all be included in one Bill of Lodinge as well. Our sugars are sold all about a fortnight since att 21s 9d p.r cent & noe comeinge in since. If we had them now, I beleeve would yeild 23s, as bad trash as they weare, those that are good haveinge been sold for 24s p.r c.t & as yet not one ship come from Barbados, Jamaica or any other place with new sugars. There crops are all soe backeward soe that I beleeve not only this towne but all the ports of England as empty as they have been this 7 yeares. In all probability they may keepe upe pretty well this yeare.

I have sould my interest in my plantation att Mountserratt to my brother Baxter & am resolved to dispose of all other my interest in them parts as fast as I can. Wherefore I must ernestly intreate you not to omitt sending all accompts to me & more espetially of the plant. & howses att the bay; & if you incline to purchas either I desire you to send me your proposall, beinge resolved to give you the refuse. Therefore, lett mee knowe how you incline. & If you intend not to buy my quarter part of the storehowses, pray dispose of them as soone as possible you can, giveinge Mr. Carpenter the profference of any other person. For to sell them & all other concerne I have there, I am resolved, & that as soone as I can, as well my proportion of debts, as all things elce, as soone as I can come to the understanding of what they are. & Had much rather you should have them then any p.rson. I shall be content to come of with loss suffitient to ease of myselfe of the trouble. Wherefore I once more intreate you not to delay the sendinge me all accompts, have thus long been kept from us. & Pray hasten what part of our effects that you can recover. ...

320. George Liddell [Montserrat]

London, April 20, 1683
This serves to advise you that I have sold my halfe part of my plantation in partnership with Bramley to my bro. Baxter, whose interest I hope you will bee as kinde in promoteinge as you have been mine. For the money provition & other goods I gave you the trouble of ( I hope is come well to your hands), I desire may bee appropriated to the same use as I directed it should, viz. for that plant., my bro. Baxter haveing allowed me for the same. (I desire to knowe your answer as to my proposall.)

Of my quarter part of your plant., I have a better ofer made me for it & am resolved to sell, but will not to any p.rson untill I have your refusall. Therefore, pray omittt nott to lett me know your resolutions p.r first. ...

I am resolved to dispose of all my interest in those parts. Therefore, if you inclyne to the purchase of that part of your plantation, slip not that opertunity, for I have [p. 449] another chapman that offers more money for it, beinge well rented. But I will make good my propotition to you, notwithstandinge I have made Mr. Helmes an offer of my plant. & other concerne at Nevis. ...

321. [p. 450] William Baxter to Captain John Bramley [Montserrat]

London, April 25, 1683
Herewith you have a letter from my brother Freeman, accompts to you my haveinge purchased of him his halfe part of all that plantation in partnorship with yourselfe on the island of Mt.sarratt with all things oppertaineing or belongeing to the same, of right did belonge to the s.d Freemen, togeather with all the rents, issues & proffitts anyways arisseinge or growinge dew from the same since the 25th day of Decemb.r Last. Of all which I thought good to acquaint you in order to the maintenance and caryinge on of a faire corispondency betwixt us, accordinge to the true intent & meaninge of the Artickles of partnorship made & agreed upon betwixt you & said Freeman. shall bee punctually observed & performed on my part, as I hope you will allsoe on yours, that soe noe discord or misunderstandinge may bee on either part & on mine shall study to prevent. & To that end & purpose I have now writt to Mr. William Berwick (who my bro. Freeman hath obleidged me to entertaine on that concerne) persuant to the obligations betwixt them for the residue of such time as his contract obleidgeth, unles hee makes some breach of trust on his part to make voyd the same, to maintaine a faire & honest corespondency with you in all thinge & to obstruct nothinge that may tend or conduce to the advantage of the plantation. I hope he will not doe either to your prejudice or mine. Yet one thinge I desire of you, that noe considerable charge may be contracted by buildinge or otherwise untill I am advised thereof & my approbation thereunto given, as alsoe that I may dewly reape the benifits & product of the same as its made & that it may be constantly laden of as oppertunityes of shippinge offers. I have not no time to write soe fully to you as hereafter I shall take the bouldnes to doe. But thus much I doe assure you – that noethinge shall be wantinge on my part to cary on this fayrely & freindly. & Whatever service I am capable of rendringe you (or the plant. intrest) here, I shall att all times be ready, & desire that you & Mr. Berwicke may consult what may bee necesary for the plant. servis & be pleased to advise thereof that soe I may suply my part as I hope you will yours, and had much rather it should be don joyntly then otherwice. I hope you will please to consider. & If you thinke fitt to intrust mee with the manidgement of what may bee necessary from this place, I shall endeavor to answer your comands therein accordinge to the best of my skill & judgment. Or if you think any other person may be a more proper judge of such affaires, I shall freely joyne with you, either in adviseinge with or imployinge any such person as you shall nominate, beinge resolved to avoyd all occations of animosities that may arise on my part.

The same I hope you will on yours. & Soe doeinge, the benefitt will doubtles returne to us both. Sir, I intreate the favour of you to take an exact perticular or inventory of the whole estate, with the stocke, uttinsalls, & c., both quick and dead, of what kinde or quallity soever. & Send mee by first shipp. & If you please to consider of anythinge that may be donn tendinge to the advantage of the plant. & please to advise me thereof, you need not doubt but I shall readyly agree to the doeinge any such thinge, wherein the easiest & cheapest way of procureing all necessaryes for the caryinge on such wourks must alwayes bee consulted. I desire to here frequently from you as oppertuni tyes presents, if it may not be troublesome to you, as you shall likewice from from [sic] mee.

322. [p. 451] Robert Helme [Nevis]

[the first part of this letter is dated April the 20th, 1683, two leaves behind]
... I hope before this Mr. Edwards may be with you, & that you may have some assistance from him, allthough I could not have thought that after spendinge two yeares time as you have that wee should now be without accompts. Certainely, if you have secured all the bookes, as you writt me att your first arrivall you had, it was in your owne power to have it made up acco.tts. However, I am not only without such accompts as relates to your brother but all others. I now make it my request that you will imploy some person to transcribe all the journalls wherein we have been concerned from the begininge, will require time; & that I thinke is very requisitt should be don, that they may be sent home before your comeinge of ( I suppose will be the next yeare att furthest) when I shall request you to bringe all bookes of accompts wherein I ever was concerned. And noe man knowes but a miscariedge may hapen. Soe that to send copies of the journalls by some other convayance is but apsolutely necessary. I supose you will take care before that time to bringe all our debt under judgements, or elce take bills or bondes of them, or prove such acco.tts that there may be noe occation to leave the bookes behinde you. Indeed, I am sorry to heare you have spent soe much time to soe little purpose. For I finde things still as imperfect now as att your first arrivall. & I finde all others take the advantage of your delayes. For by this ship Virgin we have rec.d a letter from Tho. Westcott, with a Bill of Loadinge for 40 hhds. of sugar laden on board another ship that as yet is not arrived that as yet is not arrived [sic] (by whome this letter was intended), but beinge left behinde was shipt this. & Indeed, we weare in greate expectation of all our accompts from him [Westcott] by her, were feaithfully promised should bee, but not one come. The excuse he makes for it is that he canot get the Nevis acco.tts perfected and & therefore is not able to make up other accompts. But this reason is very weake & seemes to me as he intended to play the same game that others have donn. For I canot harber a good opinion of any person that delayes those things, after haveinge been soe often required thereunto. I canot but admire that you never made a step downe to settle things with them. ...

323. [p. 453] William Fox [Montserrat]

London, April 20, 1683
... I have made Mr. Liddell an offer of my part of his plant. If he refuse it, I have another chapman for it, but had rather he should have it then any other person, it being most proper for him. I am proffered 75£ more for it then I have proposed to allow it him att, yet shall make good my word to him, in respect of his old servis, but would not have him stand in its owne light. For its anybodyes mony as its now rented. My demand of him is but 5 yeares purchas; as its rented & himselfe the tenant makes it better to him by one. Soe that I thinke its cheape anoughf. All my interest in the other Islands I resolve allsoe to dispose of, either either [sic] to Mr. Rob.t Helmes or some other person. ...

324. [p. 455] [James Cottar [London]]

London, June 18, 1683
My good frinde,
I have rec.d both yours, the latter giveing me notice of a design of purchas you are makeinge for Sir W.m Stapleton. I thanke you for, though I have allwayes taken care never to bee unprovided for him att an hours notice since I had his concerne, as I have acquainted Mr. Trant, who may receive the money when he pleases. I told him it was ready. & Noething is or hath been more desyred by mee then to bee acquitted of it, as I have sev.ll times told you, & desire you would receive it, you well know. And when I desired some notice from you, it was att a time that noe man that kept his money with the goldsmiths (as I ever did for want of a conveniency) could assure himselfe of the comand of it. Neither could I comand my owne. Yet the good fortune to have to doe with a good person that hath wethered the poynt, though many of the best and greatest in repute have fayled, by meanes a great many honest men have severely suffered. & Thanke God I escaped. For a great part of my estate was then in there hands. Soe much for that.

I take notice of what you write as to Powell. I am sorry men should soe soone forget the there fr.ds at a distance, I hope, deare Jemy, neither thee nor I shall ever be guilty of. I am I am [sic] glad to heare of the good purchase you have made, and as sory that the Colectors place doth not answer his expectation.

325. [p. 456] Charles Mathew [Antigua]

London, September 8, 1682
[p. 457] ... One thinge more I thinke necessary to signifye to you, that I have sev.ll times writt to Sir W.m Stapleton about, but he returnes noe answer thereunto, that is I was imployed by him for the receiveinge two yeares pay, I imployed my time & spent my mony in followinge neere 4 yeares time & never dessisted untill the mony was rec.d. when came to bee rec.d unknowne to mee, & contrary to what Sir W.S. had beefore writt mee, Mr. Trant had his order and power to receive the same. Yet nevertheles I supose it is not expected that I should not receive my dew out of it, accordinge to agreem.t. And its suffitiently knowne I have spent the greatest part of it out of my pocket in followinge the busines. Therefore, I expect the payment is as dew to mee as the payment to any of you concerned. And I am sure I tooke as much paines for it, & will not loose it. For I finde all thats done by mee is looke upon but as a dew debt & noe other returne but all the unkindenes imaginable that can be showne. & Therefore, I thinke it now high time to insist upon my right. ...

326. [Thomas Hill, Deputy Governor of St. Christopher (St. Christopher)]

London, September 8, 1683
I have rec.d both yours, viz. of the 3d of May & of the 18th July. In the first, I take notice you have been soe obleidgeinge to me as to answer my requests in callinge that rascall Bramly to an for thouse scurilous epistolls hee hath sent mee, hee, accordinge to the custome of all cowardly fanaticke rogue, hath answered in his & theire usuall stile of cantinge. For this your greate favor ( I canot but owne as the more exterordiny by reason of our great distance, to often occations the forgetefullnes of freinds), I returne you my most harty thankfullnes & assure you I esteeme it as great a favor never to bee forgotten, as whenever an opertunity shall offer that may render mee capable in the like or any other kinde to searve you, I will make a gratefull acknowledigement. In the meanetime, if it happens to fall in your way, I desire you will not lett him pass without feelinge the waitt of your cane.

The next thinge I take notice of is your hintinge to mee somethinge touchinge the dispossition of your son Edmonds mony, I assure you hath layne under my care ever since your departure & had dispossed of it upon a very good security to a freinde of myne whom I would have become myselfe bonde for payment (had not Sir Temothy Tyrell interfered att the same time by vertue of an order he had from Sir James Rusel & propounded another security with 6 p.r c.t interest, whereas my freinde would allow but 5 p.r c.t.). Besides they objected against my freinds security as beinge but p.rsonall & theres reall. But I knew the p.rsonall security better then the reall, was a colleidge lease & not suffitient for such a summe, as att first I gave my opinion, then they rejected, but afterwards did agree to, after giveinge further sattisfaccion. But whilst they ware in treaty this, my freinde had otherwis provided himselfe & soe that oppertunity was lost. But since my bro. Baxter hath lett it out for 6 mo. att 5 p.r c.t, at which time the mony will be punctualy paid in to your order. The next thinge I take notice of is the proposalls made you by Nethwey & Pim for the affores.d mony. The persons I have noethinge to object against and the interest they propose to give is more then is now generally given. Yet I must be soe free, since you desire my opinion, ware the mony att my disposall, I should take 5 p.r c.t for upon a good security in Engl.d then 6 p.r c.t on the tearmes its lett. & Had you thought fitt to have left [p. 458] the dispossition of it to me, I would have allowed that myselfe (rather then it should have layne dead) untill better security had offered. But I was loth to meadle, in regard others ware concerned in it that I knowe would have been to apt to have put another construction upon my transactings, whose sensure I was nott willinge to lye under, though I should bee glade to doe anythinge that might render mee servisable to you or your wifes sonn, as you shall both finde when its in my power.

I allsoe observe what you write relateinge to the plant. formerly belong.g to my deceased father I make noe greate doubt of the recovery thereof. But by his will hee bequeathed it to my brother Henry. Soe that I can give noe answer to your proposall, in regard I knowe his inclinations are desined for the settlem.t of it. Besides the rents of that Pogson gives greately beneath its vallew. But as to that I shall not medle nor concern myselfe further then to give him my assistance towards the recovery of it and, if I can accomplish that for him, shall leave him wholey to himselfe to dispose it as he thinke fitt. Indeed, I had resolved never to have taken further notice of him or his concerne. But since I finde him reclaimed & now become a sober younge man, he shall not want my assistance. He tells me that if hee can recover it ( now a short time will determine), if hee resolves to goe over & play the part of a good husbande, after haveinge past over soe many extravigant years, & if that hapen, I hope you will be kinde to him.

The next thinge I take notice of in yours is the passinge the Act you mention, a copye thereof I had sent mee by Tho. Westcott. Its certainly the most pernitious fraudilent act that ever was sene. I am glad you have noe hand in it, but you did it by comand. For otherwise I doubt your assent thereunto would have been some reflection upon you. Here are severall adresses makeinge to the K. & Councell to iniciate it, will doubtles bee harde, and noe doubt but it will bee made voyde. & Certainely the Islands will finde they have don themselves an injury in it. Noethinge can bee more repugnant to the lawes of Englande. And indeed its neither better nor worse then a plaine downeright cheate put upon such as have by the large creditts they have the inhabitants advanced there estate. For had such an act been law before they had contracted there debts, it had been att the discrestion of the credittors whether he would have contracted such debts. & If he had, hee knew the lawe & could expect noe more then the benifitt of it. Or had he that made the act only looked forwards & not backwards, it would have been providensiall to none, for then it was left to to [sic] discretion whether a man would adventure to trust out his estate when such a law was in beinge. But as it is, they had as good hath saide we have gott your estates into our hands & will keep them & will make a law to protect us. For in supstance its neither better nor worse.

Haveinge now given answer to all the meteriall heads of your letter, I now come to desire your favor & countenance in what relates to mine and my bro. Baxter p.rticular concern. I supose you canot but bee sensible that we have intrusted Tho. Westcott with a large concerne, we comitted to his care & disposition, restriction of orders on great part of it, that he should not dispose thereof but for present paym.t or to such p.rsons whose paym.t hee would untake to make good himselfe in 6, 9, or 12 mo. att furthest after the dispossition of such goods. & Now I doe protest [p. 459] to you that the maine ende & designe I had in giveing him that employment was out of a reall respect & kindenes I had for him, designeinge noething soe much as to advance him in the world, as I constantly writt him and monisht him to care & doeinge justice in most of my letters to such as was concerned with me, not doubtinge in the least his justice to mee after shewinge him such exterordinary kindneses. & In this manner, wee continued suplyinge him constantly for 2 or 3 yeares with whatever he requested, untill we had advanced upwards of 10 thous.d principall mony here. For I myselfe am neere halfe concerned with my bro. Baxter, & Helmes the rest. But finding his returns come slowe in the begininge (for hee pleaded still excuses), occationed us towards the latter end for out adventurs, which ware the most considerable, to give him those artickles of orders for sellinge for noethinge but ready payment, as I have before given you an Now, notwithstandinge these our possitive orders to him, hee hath disposed of all our goods or att least all to a triffle, is to the vallew of 5 or 6 thousands pounds, since he had those orders was two yeares since & former 5,000 lbs. 3, 4, & 5 yeares since. & All that we have rec.d of the latter 5 or 6,000 lbs. is about 60 hhds. of sugar may amount to betwixt 3 or 400 lbs. The former wee have rec.d very inconsiderable alsoe, I dare say not 1,000£ of our prinsipall, though disposed of 3, 4, and 5 years agoe. Now findeinge this cause of complaint, you nor noe rashonall man canot but judge reasonable, about two yeares since wee began to pres him to send us, haveinge then rec.d none, & have constantly soe to doe & ever since. & After 12 mo. pressinge him very severely & findeinge none but very inconsiderable ones come, we then began to write him more sharply & ordered him forthwith to render Mr. Rob.t Helmes or send us forthwith all our of Sales with your Curr.t and list of debts & allsoe ordered him to take bonds or judgem.ts in our owne name of all such p.rsons as was indebted to us or such as should refuse to bringe them under order of court by a dew proces in law. & Notwithstandinge these our orders came to his hands beinge delivered by Mr. Robert Helmes 15 or 16 mos. since & constantly pressinge him thereunto ever since, with all sendinge our orders to Mr. Rob.t Helmes that in case of his nonecomplyance to call him to an & take our concernes out of his hands, yet nevertheles wee canot to this day soe much as obtaine our acco.tts from him, but still makes fayre promises, puts us of from this ship to tother, but in conclusion neither sends us nor anythinge elce. For all the sugar wee have rec.d this yeare from him hath scarce p.d the dead freight we paid the last yeare by meanes of his purchasinge ships of negrose and other bargaines with our effects. Or whether hee did or not, still noethinge comes to us but excuses.

I hope you will pardon my beinge thus teadious on this subject, but since I have gon on thus far I will pr.ceed to my further requests. & First, will acquaint you that for the foregoeinge reasons, wee can supose noe les then that his designes & practises are fraudilent. & Therefore, we have now sent our possitive orders to our bro. & p.rtner Mr. Robert Helmes to call him to an as wee formerly directed &, in case of his nonecomplyance or further delayes of what we have requested, to withdraw our concernes out of his hands & put it into such hands as may render us more sattisfaccion. For you canot but thinke it very harde that wee should be kept out of such a considerable estate for soe mayny yeares togeather. And now I come to intreat your favor & countenance to Mr. Robert Helmes in that affaire with all the sharpeness you can shew to Tho. Westcott. Yet that you may see I retaine noethinge but kindenes & respect for him, I desire you will take him privetly & admonish him severely. & If by that meanes or such other meanes as you may think fitt he will yet be provailed upon to doe those things that are just by us & will make it his endevors for the speedy recovery of our debts, its my desire that it should not be removed out of his hands or put in any other. & In such case, I make it my further request to you, that you will show him all the countenance that can be towards the recovery of our debts by all dew proceedings in law. & As longe as that late Act shall continue to remaine & be in force, I know its in your power to doe us greate favor [p. 460] by apointinge such p.rsons as you knowe to bee honest & just, & there estates not incombred, to be appraisers of any such stock & c. as may bee brought under execution for any our just debts. That soe the same may not bee over-vallewed but estimated accordinge to the true wirth. This & all other reasonable favors tendinge to justice, I hope I may expect from you for any others, I shall never desire, & I hope I may live to recompence your desire & kindenes in some measure or other. ...

... Pray be advised to keepe your comp. full & send honest musters, without enlisting any but as are constant upon duty. For, by the by, I am told Billop hath allready given an of some such transactions, and that countenance will be given him to proceed to complaint. But whatever you doe, lett this goe noe farther then your owne brest, for I have it from a private hand that injoyned me to secrecy, & I hint it to you in kindenes. Therefore, pray bee just to me in it, as you expect futurly I should accomplish to you anythinge that offers to your advantage or may tend to disadvantage. For I had it from a Privy Counceler.

If you here not from mee soe often as I would, blame me not. I have lately purchased a small seate 30 miles from London on the Theames neare Henly, (fn. 1) where I now spend most of my time in order to the settlinge of myselfe, beinge resolved to withdraw from London, haveinge left all other concerns, except such publyque ones as have been of late put upon mee against my will, yet at such a time that I canot refuse. For I am now in Comission of the Pease in 2 counties, & Deputy Lef.t, & put in the Oyer & Terminer for the tryall of criminalls, of which of late there is noe small number since the discovery of this hellish fanatick plot. (fn. 2) ...


  • 1. Fawley Court. See 1682 Deed, Mackenzie Papers, Buckinghamshire Record Office, Aylesbury.
  • 2. William Freeman does not appear in the Calendar to the Sessions Records, edited by William Le Hardy, vol. 1 (Aylesbury, 1933), for the period 1678–1694. But these records contained the names of only those JPs listed as present at formal sessions of the court of Quarter Sessions. It was possible to be named to the commission and exercise daily duties – signing orders or warrants, attending petty or local sessions, dealing with minor offenses – without attending the formal court. Moreover, he does not appear in the one commission list to have survived from the years in which he kept his letterbook: November 9, 1686. "This does not preclude him from having been named in earlier commissions and then dropped," however, as this happened fairly frequently for political or other reasons. Lionel K.J. Glassey, Politics and the appointment of justices of the peace, 1675–1720 (Oxford, 1979); and Norma Landau, The Justices of the Peace, 1679–1760 (Berkeley, 1984). Freeman does appear on subsequent lists of commission members. Q/CP 1–4 (November 9, 1686, June 25, 1702, February 25, 1703, July 20, 1704), Buckinghamshire Record Office, Aylesbury. Deputy Lieutenants were personal appointments by the individual Lord Lieutenants, rather than appointed directly by the Crown. The Lord Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire in 1683 was John Egerton, 2nd Earl of Bridgewater, who served from 1660 to 1686, when he was succeeded by his son John, the 3rd Earl. It is difficult to ascertain what Freeman meant by "the Oyer & Terminer." The Commission of Oyer and Terminer was a medieval judicial commission, which by 1683 had been assimilated into the Assizes, and the Assizes were presided over by judges. Perhaps Freeman was a member of the Grand Jury which assembled at the sessions of the Assizes. I am deeply indebted to Roger Bettridge, County Archivist for Buckinghamshire, for these and many related points.