America and West Indies
April 1686


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'America and West Indies: April 1686', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 12: 1685-1688 and Addenda 1653-1687 (1899), pp. 168-182. URL: Date accessed: 19 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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April 1686

April 1.616. Minutes of Council and Assembly of St. Christopher's. Proposed to the Council as essential to the prosperity of the Island that the ships trading to the Island carry no more than one pound of powder per ton. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVIII., p. 55.]
April 1.
617. Governor Richard Cony to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Repeats his letter of 18 March (see No. 602) and continues: I was ready to seal up my last letter when Anthony Peniston came to see me on behalf of the country, and told me that neither he nor the country would give more than five pounds a boat for this year's whale-fishing, utterly denying his former offer of ten pounds a boat, and saying, "We are the King's subjects, and we will strike whales, and if the King ask the oil of us he shall have it all," and so forth to the like affronting purpose. There is no trusting this perfidious people. They make it their common jeer that the frigate which is to come here is yet to build, believing that the King will take no notice of them. They sent me the enclosed letter from William Peniston by accident, hearing that I was informed of such a letter. It will show you what a state the country and myself are in. But for Sharpe and the ship-masters, I should have help against their fury, but they have nothing against me except that I will not abandon the King's interest. I have not heard a word of complaint against Sharpe from any native nor any Governor nor any people, except the factions here who wish me to be left to their rage. Had Sharpe exceeded the bounds of his commission, he would not presume to await the arrival of a King's ship, but now William Peniston has cleared him of any suspicion of piracy. If he was a pirate, why did they buy goods of him, and why did they not accuse him as soon as he anchored? Yet they made no attempt to do so until after Captain Bee had sailed. I shall try to keep him till the King's frigate comes. The articles against him are enclosed.
I was sealing this packet when the King's letter to me arrived and copy of the articles exhibited against me by Milbourne and Righton. It was crafty of them to have those articles recorded before the evidence was examined, and crafty of their friends to procure them a copy of the King's letter nine weeks before the original reached my hands. I shall obey the King's orders and try how far the cords of their oaths and consciences will stretch. As yet I am unwilling to begin from fear of tumult, so shall forbear until the arrival of the frigate. I wish the Rightons were as guiltless of defrauding the Customs as I am of their articles, and then I should have money in the Treasury and not be obliged to pay all expenses from my own purse. I enclose Downing's attestation against Bascom and others for disposing of Crown Lands to the preacher Fowlls. If the master of the ship that bears this complain that I have detained him, do not believe him. He has waited to repair his weather-beaten vessel and ship tobacco. Blessed be the great Creator of earth and heaven for the King's late victory over his enemies. Signed, Richd. Cony. Holograph. Four closely written pages. Enclosed,
617. I. Declaration of Governor Cony that having lately discovered a design to bring him to examination and trial, he has called upon Captain Bartholomew Sharpe and his company to attend at Bermuda for defence of the King's interest. Attested by Bartholomew Sharpe, of the Josiah frigate, Edward Conway of the ship Prosperous, John England, of the Frances, pink, William Coward, lieutenant of the Prosperous, and seven others. 1½ pp. Endorsed.
617. II. Duplicate of foregoing. Same endorsement.
617. III. William Peniston to the Justices of the Peace of Bermuda. Calling upon them to meet, call Sharpe before them and try him; and, if he refuse to attend, to take all possible precautions to prevent his escape. When the matter is finished they should go down to the governor and give the lie to his aspersion on the Bermudians for rebels and traitors. They must not forget that Richard Stafford, an aged man [note in the margin, between 40 and 42] is on board Sharpe's ship with both legs in irons; it is feared that he will be murdered by hard usage. One closely written page, the whole in a seditious and inflammatory strain. Dated, 22 March 1686. Copy, attested, 29 March 1686. Endorsed. Recd. 19 May 86.
617. IV. Articles against Bartholomew Sharpe, exhibited by William Peniston. 17 March 1686. As to his suspicious departure from Jamaica, and acts of piracy at Campeachy and elsewhere. Seven articles. Copy. 3 pp. Inscribed in governor Cony's hand. Mr. Peniston delivered these articles to me, but no man has subscribed them. Endorsed. Recd. 19 May 86.
617. V. Deposition of John Watlington as to the design of holding a public cabal on 30 March. Sworn 28 March 1686. Signed, John Jauncye, Dep. Sec. Scrap.
617. VI. Deposition of Patrick Downing as to the alienation of Crown Land by George Bascom and others. "Sworn before me, 29 March 1686, the Secretary being absent from his duty. Richard Cony." Witnessed by Bartholomew Sharpe and three others. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 19 May 86.
617. VII. Testimony of Bartholomew Sharpe as to the unwillingness of the Council of Bermuda to hear his evidence against William Righton. Dated, 28 January. Copy. Endorsed as the preceding. 1 p.
617. VIII. Extract from a letter from the Bermuda Company to the Governor, of November 9th, 1670. Setting forth that Richard Stafford had abused his trust as Sheriff in Bermuda by embezzlement and cheating, and was therefore discharged and declared incapable of all public employment. Certified copy. 1 p. Endorsed as the preceding.
617. IX. Affirmation of John England and others as to John Vivers of the pink America. That his ship was in a wretched condition, that he tried to refuse to carry despatches, and behaved himself uncivilly and disrespectfully towards the Governor. Signed, Bartholomew Sharpe, Edward Conway, and four more. Endorsed as the preceding.

617. X. Declaration of Joseph Bridgman. That he heard William Keele and George Bascom say that if Captains Sharpe and Conway opposed the country, the country would oppose them, and would be in readiness in an hour's time; that unless they came civilly they must expect blows; and that it would be a long time before they took Bascom and Keele again. Scrap. Dated, 26 February 1686. Endorsed. Recd. May 19 1686. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., Nos. 47, 47 I.–IX.]
April 2.
618. Bartholomew Sharpe to the Earl of Sunderland. I write to satisfy you further that there is rebellion against the King in all these Islands, and that the people will not believe that any king but Monmouth is living. They demanded possession of the King's magazine and took two of the forts, which however I and Captain Conway recovered. The country is still in arms, and the Governor would be in danger of his life did we not at his request stay here to protect him. I have pried earnestly into their affairs, and they confess that they have nothing to say against the Governor, but that he is not [such] as they would have. Signed, Bartholomew Sharpe. 1 p. Endorsed. Recd. 18 May 86. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 48.]
April 2.619. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Antigua. Message of the Assembly. We are resolved to hold by our former opinion. touching the payment of matrosses. We desire that Colonel Warner may be summoned before the Council and Assembly to explain his words, that the money is wilfully withheld. Message of the Governor and Council. We send you the order for payment, signed by the Governor and one of the Council, and wish to know whether you will sign it or not. Answer of the Assembly. We cannot consent to this order as we do not conceive it to be written within the meaning of the Act. Signed, Richard Ayres, Speaker; Francis Burton, Robert Carden, John Hamilton, Cuthbert Jameson, Thomas Gilliard, Charles Goffe, Samuel Martin, John Morris, George Symes, Aquila Stoughton, Richard Travers, Henry Winthrop. Order of the Governor in Council, that notwithstanding the dissent of the Assembly, the gunners and matrosses be paid as heretofore out of the King's revenue of a pound an acre. Of the Council there were present, Deputy-Governor Edward Powell, William Barnes, Francis Carlile, Archibald Cochran, John Fry, John Parry, Nicholas Raynsford, William Thomas, John Vernon, Samuel Winthrop, John Yeamans. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 49.]
April 5.620. Richard Leacroft to Governor Cony. In answer to the Governor's request, we say we are not satisfied what the King's part is [in the whale fishery], and do not know that he demands any part of it. If the Governor pleases to accept of sixty-two gallons of oil it shall be at his service when he chooses to send vessels to fetch it. Signed, Rich. Leacroft. Certified copy. ½ p. Endorsed. Recd. 19 May 1686. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 50.]
April 6–8.
621. Proceedings of the Admiralty Court of Nevis, for trial of the ships O'Brien and Esther of Dublin, and of a trading sloop, seized by Captain St. Loe, H.M.S. Dartmouth. 11 p. Endorsed. Recd. 20 Sept. 86. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 51.]
April 8.
622. The Deputy-Governor of Antigua to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Last year's orders given to us by Act of Parliament have not been observed by those that trade hither, but both they and the regulations of the Custom House have been violated by their landing in Ireland. We have not proceeded to the condemnation of any of their ships, but have ordered them to give double bond for the justification of their last year's action and their performance of the law this year. We beg that if fresh orders have been issued they may be communicated to us, that we may not incur the proemunire ourselves. I enclose the debates of the Council of Antigua since the departure of Sir William Stapleton. You will see that the Assembly was unwilling to pay the gunners in spite of the order of the Council, being of opinion that such payments were not within the meaning of the Acts of Revenue passed in the time of Henry, Lord Willoughby. Signed, Ed. Powell. Holograph. 1½ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 1 June 86. Read 16 Aug. 86 [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 52, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVII., p. 229.]
April 8.623. Minutes of Council of Jamaica. In consequence of the killing of the rebel negro Coffee, it was ordered that the parties be reduced to three, taken from the Liguania, St. Catharine's, and Clarendon regiments; the rest to be discharged, but the officers to be ready to raise them anew in case of emergency. Resolved to call the Assembly for 1st June to meet the expenses of the rebellion. Order for payment to the purser of H.M.S. Ruby for provisions. Certain of Sir Philip Howard's instructions communicated to the Council. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXVI., pp. 108a–109.]
April 10.624. Minutes of Council of Nevis. Petition of the merchants and traders of Nevis to Deputy-Governor Sir James Russell, against the new rule introduced by the King's collector for measuring the sugar exported, not by computation but by weight, for purposes of raising the four and a half per cent. duty. Eighteen signatures. Answer of Henry Carpenter, dated 6 April. I do but obey my orders; and, in reply to the petitioners' suggestion that more beams and scales should be erected, my instructions direct me to see to this, and I have taken measures accordingly, and meanwhile I make allowances which I think are not unfair. Signed, Henry Carpenter. The Council decided in favour of the King's collector. Joseph Crispe, Escheator General, applied for possession, in the King's name, of certain vessels seized by Captain St. Loe for illicit trading. The Council decided that his jurisdiction did not apply to captures by sea. 4 pp. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 53, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XLVIII., pp. 67–70.]
April 10.625. Minutes of Council and Assembly of Nevis. The Assembly proposed that their suggestions of 19 January be answered, and that the impost on liquors be farmed out. The Act for restraining rebel convicts was rejected by the Council, and a new Act ordered to be prepared by next meeting. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVI., No. 43.]
April 13.626. Minutes of Council of Barbados. The Lieutenant-Governor communicated certain letters and instructions from Whitehall, in particular those relating to the voting of presents to the Governor. The King's orders as to the reinstatement of Sir John Witham executed. Order for payment of £300 to the Lieutenant-Governor in reimbursement for money spent out of his own pocket in the public service; and for payment of £140 for repair of fortifications. Liberty granted to Colonel John Waterman and others of St. Joseph's parish, to make a dock and a wharf for boats. Order for repair of Fontabelle House. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XI., pp. 685–687.]
April 15.627. Minutes of Council of Nevis. An Act for the convict rebels transported to serve ten years was passed. Several proposals of the Assembly brought up. The Council dissented from the proposal that no person should buy any parcel of provisions till the importer has been in the Island eight days, and from the proposal touching punishment of negroes. Petition of John Abbot, Coroner, for an annual salary, referred to the Assembly. The Council concurred in the Assembly's suggestion that the impost on liquor should be farmed out, and appointed a committee to look to the same. Warrant of the Deputy-Governor empowering six persons to appraise the value of the condemned vessel O'Brien. Dated, 6 April. Report of the appraisers. Dated, 7 April. Warrant for the appraisal of the sloop Blessing, also condemned. Dated, 10 April, and report of the appraisers of same date. 5 pp. Endorsed. Recd. 20 Sept. 1686. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 54, and Vol. LVI., No. 43.]
April 15.628. Warrant of the Proprietors of Carolina, for the delivery of two hundred acres, sold to James Nichols, alias Petitbois. Signed, Craven, P. Colleton. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 78.]
April 20.
629. Proceedings of a General Court held at James City. Present Mr. Auditor Bacon and eight more members of Council. The Grand Jury having yesterday returned a true bill against George Talbot for the murder of Christopher Rousby, the prisoner was this day brought up for trial. He pleaded not guilty, and challenged five persons before the jury was made up. Verdict, guilty. The prisoner moved that he might have counsel assigned, and a time fixed for arguing certain points of law. The Court assigned Colonel Thomas Ballard and Mr. Arthur Spicer as counsel, and appointed the following day for the hearing.
April 21. The following points were urged on behalf of the prisoner. 1. That he ought to have been tried in Calvert County, Maryland, where the crime was committed. This was overruled by the Court on the language of the King's Commission. 2. That the indictment was imperfect as not specifying the place of the crime. Overruled. 3. That the first panel of jurors was of less than the legal number of twenty-four. Overruled. 4. That the indictment did not contain the name of the proper county where the crime was committed. Overruled.
April 24. George Talbot was again brought up, and being asked what he could say for himself, said that he had not acted by malice or premeditation, but in the height of passion. Sentence of death was passed. Certified true copy. 3¼ pp. Endorsed. Recd. 5 July. Read 6 July 86. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 55.]
April 20.630. Duplicate of foregoing. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 56.]
April 20.631. Grant of the Proprietors of Carolina of five hundred acres of land to Charles Colleton. Signed, Craven, P. Colleton, Tho. Amy. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 83.]
April 20.632. Journal of Lords of Trade and Plantations. The Lords agreed to move the King for the issue of writs of quo warranto against Maryland, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, East and West New Jeresey, and Delaware. [See Col. Entry Bks., Vol. LII., p. 109, and Vol. XCVII., pp. 232, 233.]
Abstract of Colonel Cony's letter of 3 January read. Mr. Vaughan ordered to attend. Colonel Cony to be instructed to take all arms and ammunition into his custody, and to take an account of what have been bought. Further instructions agreed to. The passage in his letter as to the stealing of slaves by Christopher Potter to be sent to the Commissioners of Customs.
The Act of Barbados for the government of convict rebels approved.
Colonel Molesworth's letters of 16 and 17 January read. The Lords approve his action as to the Assiento, and refer the question of the cotton manufacture to the Lord Treasurer.
Memorandum of documents sent and received. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. CVIII., pp. 257–262.]
April 21.
633. William Blathwayt to Henry Guy. Forwarding an extract from Governor Cony's despatch respecting the stealing of two of the King's slaves by Christopher Potter (see No. 536), that the officers of Customs may endeavour to recover them. Draft, with corrections. ½ p. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 57.]
April 21.
634. William Blathwayt to Henry Guy. Forwarding Colonel Molesworth's proposals for erection of a cotton manufacture in Jamaica, for the opinion of the Commissioners of Customs (see No. 549). [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXXI., p. 127.]
[April 21.]635. Petition of Francis Burghill to Lords of Trade and Plantations. Submitting certain papers received from Bermuda for consideration. Signed, F. Burghill. 1 p. Annexed,
635. I. Address of loyalty of the inhabitants of Bermuda to King James II. Over two hundred signatures, including those of all Governor Cony's enemies, all written in the same hand. Two large sheets. Damaged.
635. II. Petition of the inhabitants of Bermuda to the King. Complaining of the oppression of Richard Cony, Governor, since the dissolution of the Company, and hoping that their grievances may obtain a hearing. Signed as No. I. Two large sheets. Damaged.
635. III. "Articles containing many enormous crimes" committed by Richard Cony. 1. He demands and takes new fees. 2. he arbitrarily seizes the goods of others. 3. He obstructs trade and navigation. 4. He imprisons and refuses bail, where bail is allowed by law. 5. He brings vexatious actions and demands large sums. 6. He says that now the Government is in the King's hands a share of land is not worth a pair of shoes. 7. He wastes the gunpowder. 8. He imposes oaths but will take none. 9. He governs without his Council, despite his instructions. 10. He makes the poor work without wage. 11. He forbids the Sheriff to receive the revenue, but takes it into his own hands. 12. He refuses powder to military officers. 13. He sends armed men to execute his will without law, precedent, or reason. 14. He has entertained Bartholomew Sharpe, a pirate. 15. He declares the inhabitants to be rebels and traitors. 16. He vilifies those who come to him for justice. 17. He refuses to go through the Island to view the Militia. Two large sheets. Endorsed. Read 21 April and 3 June 86 [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., Nos. 58, 58 I.–III.]
[April 21.]636. "Paper concerning the magazine ships." While the Bermuda Company governed they enacted that no tobacco should be exported but in their magazine ships, of which John Bee was and still is master. By the assistance of the present Governor, who continues to enforce that enactment, he has made much profit, at the expense of Bermuda. This matter is a ground for one of the Islanders complaints against the Governor. Captain Bee, having so great a part in it, cannot be a competent witness. ½ p. Endorsed. Presented 21 Apr. 86. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 59.]
[April 21.]637. Petition of John Daniel to Lords of Trade and Plantations. My former petition against Sir Richard Dutton was referred to him for his reply a month ago, but he has not answered yet. I beg your orders, that he may delay me redress no longer. ½ p. Endorsed. Read to the Committee Apr. 21 1686. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 60.]
April 22.
638. Commissioners of the Revenue in Ireland to the Lord Lieutenant. On the report of the Commissioners of Customs in England (see No. 613), we are still of opinion: 1. That the dispensing with the Act of 22 and 23 Car. II. will profit the revenue of both kingdoms. 2. That the whole Irish Plantation trade will be ruined by the restrictions of that Act. It is conceived, not without good assurance of truth, that during the ten years when that Act was in power not so much revenue was collected in the Colonies as in nine months by the half-duty levied in Ireland. Now if tobacco cannot be brought to Ireland direct, it would be worth considering whether the halfpenny a pound levied in its re-exportation amounts to a greater sum than the half-duty collected in Ireland for the English Treasury. If it does not, then all objections that the Irish Plantation trade is not equally good for England and Ireland are disposed of. Now we appeal to the books of the Customs in England, and we believe it will be found in them that the halfpenny per pound levied on re-exportation of tobacco from England to Ireland from the principal ports has never in any year amounted to £5,000, the sum collected this last year in Ireland; not though the amount apparently exported has been swelled by the corruption of the officers in Bideford, Bristol. Whitehaven, and Liverpool. On the second point we say that the Irish cannot carry on the Plantation-trade without European goods, which by the law can be had nowhere but in England. When therefore they have shipped their servants, horses, and victuals, they must go across to England for European goods, without which the rest of the cargo would be of little account. If they ship the said goods in Ireland the ship and goods are forfeited by law, which plainly shows the oblige- tion to enter outward from England before they can go to the Plantations. This, though very hard, has been cheerfully borne, but we humbly conceive it to be insufferable that they should be compelled to return to England to unload and pay a penny a pound for all tobacco, &c., and enter security to answer the other duties, pay town duties, cranage, wharfage, and other petty charges, which are very considerable in the whole, before the entry inwards can be finished and the goods landed, then enter outwards, reship the whole lading at no small expense, taking a debenture for the half-subsidy paid on importation, not receiving payment of the money for a month, not to mention other tedious formalities of the law. Notwithstanding all objections to the contrary, these difficulties will remain till the law be altered. And even supposing that the bonds and securities, taken at importatation for the duty not paid down, will be immediately cancelled upon exportation, yet there is no obligation by law to that effect, and it may therefore be presumed that it will be as often refused as granted. This, taken with the risk and danger of such voyages to and from England, the delay by lying in harbour one, two, or three months, the trouble with contrary winds, all of which will be laid on the Irish merchants, will make the Plantation trade so burdensome and uneasy that it will be impossible to carry it on. It would be worth enquiry for what end or advantage this great hardship and danger must be put on the trading merchants of Ireland, when only a halfpenny per pound is received in England, while the like and perhaps more would be more easily collected for the English Customs in Ireland. Altogether the contest seems to be only whether the halfpenny per pound will be best collected in England or Ireland, which (setting apart the hazarding of the King's duty of twopence a pound payable in Ireland) cannot, in our opinion, be so important as to put difficulty and inconvenience in the way of the trade of a whole nation.
The foregoing shows plainly that it is not for the true interest of England that Ireland should be debarred from direct trade with the Plantations. Nor do we conceive that the dependence of the Plantations upon England will be hindered by the existence of such a trade. England must be the staple of all commodities brought from the Colonies; it must be so since it is the only place from whence all foreign markets (except Ireland) are supplied. Ireland, too, pays the same duties as if the goods were brought through England, so that it is plain that England has the same advantage upon all tobacco, &c., whether it be brought here direct or re-exported from England. The King gains twopence more when the goods are exported to Ireland than to any foreign nation, which we conceive to be his advantage both in Ireland and England. We confess that by the law of Ireland all tobacco imported from England ought to pay the duty rebated by debenture in England, which, when that law was made, was three halfpence per pound. A subsequent law has increased the duty to twopence halfpenny a pound on all tobacco imported from England. This sum was formerly collected, and would still be, had not the Commissioners of Customs in England obtained an abatement of a halfpenny a pound, and issued an order to us not to receive the same. This order is not yet revoked, though we beg that it may be, believing it to be for the increase of the revenue here. As to the alleged decrease of trade from Bristol to Ireland in the three years after the expiration of the Act, we conceive that the true cause was the shifting of the Plantation-trade of late years to the northern ports, Chester, Liverpool, Workington, and Whitehaven, as also the great corruption of the officers at Bristol. They were then in combination with the merchants, whereby the revenue was greatly defrauded. The pretence was to ship tobacco for Ireland, whereas in several of the entries at that time only small quantities were shipped, and sometimes none at all, yet the drawback was still obtained by the merchant as if the full entry of the goods had been really exported, which swelled the bulk of that account in that port considerably. One merchant was discovered to have defrauded the revenue of a thousand pounds a year for many years, and obtained the King's pardon to indemnify him from prosecution. We are aware, as are all our merchants, that the restraint of the Plantation-trade is not a seeming but a real grievanace. It seems hard that the inhabitants of Ireland, subjects of England and protected by the same King, who obey their King and quietly pay their dues for the support of his Government, should be debarred from that trade, simply because it is alleged that their enjoyment of it will be a disadvantage to the revenue and trade of England, without mentioning one particular wherein either the one or the other will suffer. We hope that our natural advantage of position and cheap provisions cannot be a reasonable objection to our enjoyment of the trade. We neither can nor do trade upon equal terms with England, and cannot rob her of her commerce for the following reasons. 1. The people of Ireland cannot carry any European goods with going to English ports for them, and cannot go trading without them, for New England now furnishes horses, and there is no longer the same demand for provisions. 2. Tobacco imported direct into Ireland from the Colonies ought to pay a penny Plantation-duty and twopence more here, or threepence a pound in all, whereas in England, before the late imposition, it paid but two-pence a pound. 3. Tobacco imported into England may be reexported and a drawback claimed, so England is the staple of the world, Ireland having no such advantages.
Finally, we cannot lightly pass over the closing argument of the English Commissioners, that the late revival of the law was expedient, and should not be cancelled. To meet it the several steps must be traced. By Act of 12 Car. II., Ireland had the same freedom as England to trade with the Colonies. By Act 22 and 23 Car. II., passed for nine years only, and now revived, that freedom was taken away. By Act 25 Car. II., that freedom was partly restored, several new duties being imposed. These new duties were found difficult to collect, and the half-duty in Ireland was substituted, with result that in nine months more revenue was collected in Ireland than in nine years in the Colonies. We urge the continuance of this method. Signed, Longford, Rob. Bridges, Will. Strong, Will. Culliford. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., pp. 191–206.]
April 22.639. Lords Proprietors of Carolina to Governor Joseph Moreton. We have received yours of 14 and 24 October, and notice the presumption of our Secretary, who carried away the records because he was not allowed to act as Clerk of the Sheriff's Court. If he had not afterwards submitted himself we should certainly have dismissed him. The Fundamental Constitutions provide that a court for the trial of civil cases shall be held in every county. We think that a record of the cases and judgments should be kept by the Clerk of that court, who should receive fixed fees. The Prothonotary's place you will abolish. The fees of causes tried by the Admiralty will, till further notice, go the Secretary. You say the majority of the Council decided that Morgan should have leave to wood and water in Carolina, but what had the Council to do with that? What right had they to allow or prohibit the entering of any ship? It is the Governor who is to suffer the penalty if ships are allowed to trade contrary to law, and the consent or advice of the Council will not help him to escape it. We are pleased to hear that you have passed the Act against privateers. Send it here for confirmation with all possible speed, and suffer no pirates or privateers to enter any of your ports. If any should come in, do your best to seize them and try them under the Act. Try also any people in Carolina that hold correspondence with them. We notice your report of the people's aversion to sign the counterpart of the deeds, by which they hold their land from us. We expect that the people who raise these scruples have never had any deeds for lands in England, or know little of conveyances. It is the regular practice here for every man who holds land with a fee-farm rent reserved. We are resolved to adhere to it, and care not how soon any man that scruples to sign the counterpart leaves Carolina, for we cannot think him to be a reasonable or a just man, or to have honest intentions, who would rent land from us and yet scruple to covenant to pay that rent by signing the counterpart of his grant. If we find this humour persisted in, we shall withdraw our power for granting land for servants brought thither. The land is our property, and must be disposed of as we think fit, and not otherwise. The men of whom you complain so much have written to us that they do not think our proposed method of granting land unreasonable. We are informed that divers persons have gotten possession of vast quantities of land, greater than are due to them for the servants they have imported. You will take all imaginable care to prevent and remedy this, or the people of the place will be hindered, and you will remain long a wilderness. And before you pass grants for land to any of these persons, you will strictly examine what right they have thereto, and let none have land but according to our instructions.
We learn that some hold that every member of the Grand Council is, of course, a Justice of the Peace. This is a mistake. Our fundamental laws give the choice of councillors to the people, the powers of which councillors are fixed by those laws; but we did not give them leave to choose Justices of the Peace, nor do we find it in our constitution that the Councillors shall be justices, except those appointed by the Palatine's Court. We notice a violent run against Lord Cardrosse, which dissatisfies us much. We would have all persons of quality treated with civility and respect. We desire a report from you on the matter, and meanwhile you will stop all proceedings against him. We observe the appropriation of a fine of ten pounds, set on Mr. Bernard Schenking to be paid to the King, to the fortifications of Carolina. By our patent the sovereignty of Carolina is ours under the King, and the fines and forfeitures are ours; and pray what authority have you to apply our money to any use? Let this be so no more; and since the fine was, as we hear, imposed out of malice, we remit it. You will take great care that the land of the squares about London town be not granted to any but according to our instructions, and you will direct the Surveyor of Colleton County to choose a fit place for a port-town in Asheepoo River, in a healthy situation and well watered, and to lay out squares about it for the convenience of those who will build. We approve of what you have done in respect of Mr. Matthews. We think it best that French immigrants, who have not bought land of us and are only to have what we allow for persons imported, shall be settled together in villages. You will see to this, and choose healthy and convenient situations. By our instructions of March 12th 1684, we fixed Stono river as the north-eastern boundary of Colleton County. We learn that this river is divided into several small branches nearer than thirty miles to the sea. As this may give rise to disputes as to the branch intended for the boundary, we order that the northernmost branch shall be the boundary between Berkeley and Colleton Counties. We hear that Secretary Robert Quarry has delayed to give copies of our instructions to the Governor, gave not true copies when he delivered them, and has otherwise misbehaved himself towards him. We are unwilling absolutely to displace Quarry until we have heard his defence, but seeing how much confusion can be caused by his refractoriness before we can be informed, we empower you, the Governor and Deputies, in case Quarry on receipt of this letter delay to give copies of any papers to the Governor, or fail to obey our orders, to suspend him from all his offices and to appoint others in his room till our pleasure be further known. These others shall be accountable to him for the profits of the offices, he allowing them reasonable recompense for their work during his suspension, as you and the majority of the Deputies think just; and if on hearing your charges and his defence, we think fit to reinstate him, and you still suspend Quarry, you will send home depositions in support of your action. Your address has been presented to the King, and well received. Signed, Craven, P. Colleton, Tho. Amy. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., pp. 79–82.]
April 25.
640. Depositions of John Cornish. As to the shipping of tobacco and planks by William Righton on board the American ship, which the captain would have received had he not been incapable through drink. Scrap. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 61.]
April 26.641. Minutes of Council of Virginia. The Lord Treasurer's letter of 21 December touching quit-rents read. The Council return their thanks to the King for his bounty. On the instruct- tions as to tribute-beaver in the same letter, agreed to represent to the King that the tribute has always been regarded as the Governor's perquisite, and that it is now, owing to the late treaty and the decay of Indian towns, so much reduced as to be not worth above £50 annually, and to beg the King that it may remain the Governor's perquisite. As to wine licences, the Council point out that there are not above two or three houses in each county where wines are sold, and that these already pay a small consideration for it. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LXXXIV., pp. 223–224.]
April 27.
642. Lieutenant-Governor Stede to Lords of Trade and Plantations. The repairs to the forts are still in hand. Our militia cannot be so complete as heretofore, owing to the losses by small-pox, until that loss be made good by the supply of other men. Those that we have left are duly exercised, and by constant guards and patrols the negroes and others, and in particular the transported rebels, will now probably live more peaceably than they did before they came hither. They will have no choice of escape till their ten years are complete. The small-pox has not yet left us, though now less fatal than before. The winds are fresh and the weather temperate, the crop of sugar, I believe, the largest ever produced in the Island. I have appointed several Committees of Council and Assembly to expedite the work of collecting the laws. It was begun in Sir Jonathan Atkins' time, but not continued by Sir Richard Dutton. I hope to get it finished shortly. I have communicated the instructions as to the manner of raising money for the public service, and as to gifts to the Governor to the Council, and shall do so to the Assembly at the first opportunity. Since my instructions bid me give my reasons in case I remove any of the judges in the Island, I have to report the removal of Henry St. John, judge of Oistin's precinct, and Charles Collins, judge of Speight's Bay, since Christmas. They were made judges by Sir Richard Dutton, who gave them liberty to practise as lawyers in all courts where they were not judges. This being found very scandalous and mischievous, the Council begged me to restrain judges from practising as lawyers, but as these gentlemen refused to be restrained, I was compelled to remove them. In Mr. St. John's place I have put Mr. Walrond, and in Mr. Collins' Mr. Daniel, both loyal and worthy men, who were put out from being judges by Sir Richard Dutton at the time of his violent prosecution of Sir John Witham, though for no reason that I know of, except that they were Sir John's friends or relations. I hope that this will be approved. I have lately ordered the ministers and churchwardens to give me an account of the condition of the churches, churchyards, and of the store of books and ornaments for the service, also of the teachers of the schools, that I may suppress any who are disaffected or disloyal. Signed, Edwyn Stede. Holograph. 4 pp. Endorsed. Recd. 26 June. Read 6 July 1686. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 62, and Col. Entry Bk., Vol. VII., pp. 374–377.]
April 28.
643. Lieutenant-Governor Molesworth to the Earl of Sunderland. I have received your letter of 21 October last, and upon it beg that if any information be given against me in any respect whatever, I may be heard in answer before anything be determined to my prejudice. I know that the Spanish trade has many enemies in this Island, as have I for favouring it. For instance the premios, with which the Spaniards have rewarded my services, are envied by my opposers, who magnify the same above all measure, and would make that appear criminal which is really meritorious. The late factor of the Spanish Assiento, having been displaced by the King of Spain in favour of another, is now the greatest enemy the Assiento has. He joins with the disaffected to that trade, discovering its secrets so as to give them the better opportunity of discouraging it. Knowing how far I have encouraged it already, and how capable I am of doing so in future, their chief aim is levelled at me. But I hope it will be remembered that this person never complained while he was factor for the Assiento, and now does it only because he is prejudiced against it and knows that those who now have the management are sensible of my good service. So I hope that no notice will be taken of such information where the intormer has no concern. I am sure no one has cause to complain of hardship from me, for I have been kind even to my own disadvantage. I cannot omit to tell you that Sir Henry Morgan has laboured much (contrary to custom here) to get Mr. Elletson, the suspended lawyer, chosen in a remote part of the Island, where there are but few electors, for the next Assembly, presumably in order to disturb the Assembly's proceedings. They are both great enemies of the Spanish trade, and they are for raising the value of pieces-of-eight to keep money in the country, and for advancing the price of sugar; in all of which they mistake the true interest of the Island, and would cheat others on a false surmise of serving themselves. I have news of an interloping ship, which was violently seized three years ago at the Island of Margarita, but is now offered to be restored. It is a long way to windward, but if on enquiry I find it worth while I shall secure her for the King's service. Signed, Hder. Molesworth. Holograph. 5 pp. Endorsed. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 63.]
April 28.644. Minutes of Council of Maryland. Letter from Lord Baltimore, dated London, December 1st 1685, reporting the decision of the Lords of Trade and Plantations in his dispute with William Penn. The order in Council (he continues) was passed unknown to me, I not having had any notice to be heard any further in the affair, which surprised many persons. But I hope that before long I shall obtain from the King at least that no more land shall be taken from my charter than what is actually cultivated in Delaware. I was assured that this was the resolution of several of the Lords of Trade, but it was carried against them by some few. Meanwhile I desire you to prevent Penn's people from making settlements near the heads and branches of the rivers that fall into Chesapeake Bay, to encourage our own settlers, and to take care that there are no further encroachments of the Pennsylvanians on the land that was Colonel George Talbot's. Also secure the port near Christiana bridge, for I am resolved, notwithstanding this order, to keep possession of what is surveyed, and to be on the defensive part rather than be forced to complain. Take care that our neighbours do not break in upon the heads and branches of my rivers on the Eastern side, and I shall soon contrive that the division made by the order shall be no great prejudice to my country. Signed, C. Baltimore. Copy of the order in Council of 13 November 1686 (see No. 456). Resolved by the Council of Maryland that care be taken to obstruct Pennsylvanian encroachments on the frontier. Order to the military officers accordingly. Proceedings of a County Court of Kent County of 25 March 1686 read. Ordered that the Attorney-General prosecute Philip Connor for refusing to be sworn a Justice of the Peace. A letter from Lord Baltimore in favour of Mr. Paul Bertrand, a Protestant parson, recommended by the Bishop of London. Order for new Commissions of the Peace in Ann Arundel County. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. LIV., pp. 1–6]
April 30.
645. Order of the King in Council. For the prosecution of writs of quo warranto against the Patents of Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and East and West Jersey. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XCVII., pp. 233, 234.]
April 30.646. Memorandum of Lords Proprietors of Carolina. A patent of Landgrave was granted to John Price on this day. [Col. Entry Bk., Vol. XXII., p. 83.]
[April ?]647. Rough notes of amendments for Governor Cony's Commission. 1 p. [Col. Papers, Vol. LVII., No. 64.]