America and West Indies
January 1701, 21-25

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Institute of Historical Research

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Cecil Headlam (editor)

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1910

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41-53

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'America and West Indies: January 1701, 21-25', Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 19: 1701 (1910), pp. 41-53. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=71532 Date accessed: 31 July 2014.


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Contents

January 1701

Jan. 21.Representation upon Mr. Crown's petition agreed upon. Mr. Haistwell, Mr. Ecleston and Mr. Field exhibited to the Board a paper containing Mr. Northy's opinion on the Maryland Act for Religion and left a copy thereof. They also laid before the Board some observations on the said Law drawn by themselves from Dr. Bray's Memorial, which were read. They added that it being now eight years since the first enacting of that or the like Law, and the same having been several times repealed here and as oft re-enacted in Maryland, there has by that means been above 30,000l. levied, which ought not to have been.
Capt. Bennet said that the Board of Ordnance declined to do anything without H.M. Order (See Journal, Jan. 13). He also said that he is to have his passage by H.M.S. Lincoln, by which any stores may be conveniently sent without the charge of fraights. Copy of his memorial ordered to be sent to Mr. Secretary Vernon for H.M. directions thereupon. Letter accordingly drawn and ordered to be transcribed. [Board of Trade. Journal, 13. pp. 321–324; and 98. Nos. 12, 13.]
Jan. 21.52. Some observations [by the Quakers] on the Law in Maryland for 40 lbs. of tobacco per pole [the Maryland Act for Religion, and upon] Dr. Bray's Memorial to the Archbishop. There is no need for such a vast sum to be imposed on the Planters, because, as Dr. Bray says, the people will out of pure devotion subscribe a plentiful maintenance. There is, saith Dr. Bray, so great an inclination to embrace Xtianity among many Quakers that, say we, there needs no law to compel them. Those Colonies, as Dr. Bray observes, consisting chiefly of Quakers or such as for want of the Gospel being preached among them are in a manner of no religion, it's not reasonable, as he truly saith, to expect that a people before they are converted and understand the advantages of true Religion, should be induced to maintaine its ministry. If this Law be disallowed, those that are willing may allow their ministers 500l. per man if they please, the Quakers will not complain. And considering the vast sums that have been raised in Maryland in 7 or 8 years this law hath been executed there, altho' never allowed here, we hope it will not seeme reasonable to allow it now, considering how few missionaries have been there to be maintained out of the great summes of 40 lbs. tobacco per poll. Endorsed, Recd. Read Jan. 21, 1700/1. 1½ pp. [C. O. 5, 715. No. 23; and 5, 726. pp. 19–21.]
Jan. 21.
Whitehall.
53. Mr. Secretary Vernon to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I have laid before the King your letter of 10th inst. together with your Representation about the Fortifications in North America, as also your letter of the 18th, relating to the Indians; and H.M. approving your proposal that 500l., part of the 2000l. allowed by H.M. towards the Fortifications at Albany and Schenectady, should be forthwith advanced to my Lord Bellomont by the hands of his Agent there, the better to enable him to proceed in those workss, and that some person should be appointed upon whom Bills might be drawne for the remaining 1500l., according to the course of Merchants, H.M. has commanded me to signify his pleasure to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury that they do give the necessary orders for the payment of the said 500l., to my Lord Bellomont's Agent, and that they acquaint him whom they have made choice of for answering the residue.
H.M. has taken notice of what your Lordships mention of the disorder the governments of the two Jerseys are in, and that they are without Governors qualified by Law, and his Majesty would be informed by you what is the cause thereof, and what is fitt to be done to remedy the same. I have likewise layd before the King your letter of the 13th, and by H.M. command have writt to my Lord Romney to acquaint him with the ill-condition of the Beds lately sent to my Lord Bellomont for the use of the soldiers, and to signify H.M. pleasure that the necessary directions be forthwith given for 100 beds more, with coverings and sheets, to be sent to my Lord Bellomont as soon as may be, and that due care be taken in packing them up. I returne the letters to the Governors with duplicates signed by H.M., which your Lordships will order to be sent to them with the first oppertunity. Signed, Ja. Vernon. Endorsed, Recd. Read Jan. 23, 1700/1. 2½ pp. [C. O. 5, 1045. No. 11; and 5, 1118. pp. 111–113; and (Memorandum of preceding only, ¼ p.) 5, 1045. No. 35; and (Memorandum only, ¼ p.) 134, 2. No. 28; and Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 4. No. 21; and (Memorandum only, ½ p.) C. O. 5, 1260. No. 87; and (Memorandum only. Slip) C. O. 5, 715. No. 25; and (Memorandum only, ½ p.) Board of Trade. Plantations General, 5. No. 82.]
Jan. 21.54. Minutes of Council of New York. H.E. proposed to the Board the absolute necessity of appointing an officer of the Customs to watch the towns of Oyster Bay and the adjacent harbours and creeks on Nassau Island, into which great quantitys of goods are dayly imported, whereby H.M. is defrauded of his revenue in this Province, which the Council approved of, and H.E. appointed Nathaniel Coles to be Surveyor and Searcher of the Customs on the Island Nassau at the salary of 30l. per annum, who took the oaths etc. appointed.
H.E. acquainted the Board with the proceedings (Dec. 14, 1699, and June 21, 1700) about a Chief Judge and Attorney General being sent from England, and, understanding that they intend hither early in the spring, was of opinion that it would be proper for easing the Province of an unnecessary charge, to supersede the present Chief Justice and Attorney Generall and that their present salaries cease from Dec. 25 last. Ordered accordingly.
Officers' salaries (enumerated) paid.
Payments ordered to Jacob van Noorstrandt for iron-work; Mayon Taylor for coats for the Custom House barge-men; to Jonathan Davis for sweeping chimneys in the Fort; to Daniel Messuard for necessaries for the sloop which carried H.E. to Albany; to Thomas Swiney for work done in Fort Henry; to Jacob Mawritz and Johannes Provoost, for interest on money levied from him and repaid by order of her late Majesty in Council, Oct. 21, 1699. [C. O. 5, 1184. pp. 409–412.]
Jan. 21.55. Journal of Assembly of Barbados. Mr. Abell Allyne was chosen Speaker. Petitions of Edward Cordwent, Edward Lascelles, Nicholas Baker, Sam. Nockold, Henry Tildersly, Wm. Godman, John Grove, Thomas Ward, Capt. Thomas Beckles and Joseph Hole for drawbacks on wine imported and turned eager or exported, granted.
Petition of Edward Lascelles dismissed.
Act for securing the possession of negroes ordered to be continued for three months. [C. O. 31, 6. pp. 424–426.]
Jan. 21.56. Minutes of Council in Assembly of Barbados. Petition of James Cowse granted.
Major Maniford Howe brought in the wants and defects of the fortifications of St. Peters and St. Lucie's devision.
Writ of error, Baylie v. Baylie, read. The Justices ordered to return the judgments and papers relating thereto into the Secretary's Office. The Provost Marshal ordered to attend H.E. and this Board with the execution next Council day.
Jan. 22.Bill to continue an Act to secure the peaceable possession of negroes and other slaves to the inhabitants, and to prevent and punish the clandestine and illegal detinue of them, sent up, was read three times, passed, and received H.E. consent.
Petition of nine of the pirates which came in the Vine Pinck, Thomas Warren, Commander, was read, praying that they might be at liberty to go to their own habitations. Referred to the Attorney and Solicitor General.
Opinion of the Attorney and Solicitor General demanded, whither H.E. and Council cannot order Alexander Skene, Secretary, to appoint a proper person to officiate for him as his Deputy, he being very unready, not only in taking the Minutes of the Council, but in reading also any the Acts, Petitions, or other papers depending and brought before this Board by which all the publick affairs are very much delayed and retarded. The Attorney and Solicitor General gave their opinion that H.E. and Council are proper Judges whither Mr. Skene is capable to discharge the trust reposed in him as Secretary to this Board, and, if you be of opinion that he is not qualified, then may well demand him to make a sufficient Deputy. And if you find him incapable to discharge such trust, you may appoint a fitting person to discharge it, until H.M. pleasure be known. This matter ought to be with all convenient speed represented to H.M. Signed, E. Chilton, Rich. Turner. [C. O. 31, 6. pp. 389, 391.]
Jan. 22.
Whitehall.
57. Council of Trade and Plantations to Mr. Secretary Vernon. Enclosing Capt. Bennett's Memorial (Jan. 13). "Upon which wee desire you to propose to H.M. as our opinion that for the present direction be given to the Board of Ordnance for sending thither 30 barrells of powder, 100 firelocks, with musket-ball proportionable and five flaggs. The supply will be now more seasonable, there being an opportunity of transporting the same without any charge of freight by H.M.S. Lincoln, which is now ready to sail with the Governor for Bermuda from Portsmouth, from whence he may immediately be furnished with these stores. And as to the other particulars contained in the Memorial, we humbly offer that Capt. Bennet upon his arrival there do immediatly inform himself of the state of those fortifications, guns and stores of war, and if he have no other opportunity, that he immediatly despatch a Bermuda sloop with an account thereof to H.M. Signed, Stamford, Lexington, Phil. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jon. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill, Geo. Stepney, Math. Prior. [C. O. 38, 5. pp. 137, 138.]
Jan. 22.
Whitehall.
58. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. We have examined the title of John Crown to the lands mentioned in his petition, and thereupon humbly report that the Country called Penobscot, lying South-west from the River Sta. Croix, (the ancient boundary between Nova Scotia and New England), appears unto us to have formerly belonged to his father, and to be descended to the Petitioner. But that, in the execution of the 10th Article of the Treaty of Breda, for the surrender of Accadie, or Nova Scotia, to the French, Penobscot was delivered up to them, tho' it be not truly comprehended in the Treaty, as being no part of Accadie, and that they have thereupon claimed a title to it, which has ever since remained in dispute between England and France, whereby the Petitioner has been deprived of the advantage which he might otherwise have made by his right to the Propriety of the said Country, without any compensation from the Crown, either to his father or himself, for the loss arrising to them by the surrender of more than was required by the Treaty. Signed, Stamford, Lexington, Ph. Meadows, Blathwayt, Jo. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill, G. Stepney, Mt. Prior. [C. O. 5, 909. pp. 349, 350.]
Jan. 22.
Kensington.
59. Order of King in Council to admit Samuel Cox to be of the Council of Barbadoes. Endorsed, Recd. Read Jan. 29, 1700/1. ½ p. [C. O. 28, 4. No. 78; and 29, 7. p. 252.]
Jan. 22.
Whitehall.
60. William Popple to the Governor or Deputy Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company. Upon consideration of what was this day offered to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations by yourselves and other members of the Hudson's Bay Company, their Lordships desire that the resolution of your General Court be taken and communicated to them, whether (in case the French cannot be prevailed with to consent to the settlement of boundaries proposed by your General Court, July 10th last) the said Court will not think fit to consent that the limits on the East side of the Bay be extended to the Latitude of 52½ degrees, with whatever further that Court may think advisable to propose in reference to their own affaires for the more easy settlement of all disputes between the Company and the French in Hudson's Bay. [C. O. 135, 3. p. 96.]
Jan. 22.
Whitehall.
61. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Lord President and Mr. Secretary Vernon attending. Representation upon Mr. Crowne's petition signed and sent. Representation on the Revenue in Jamaica agreed upon. Letter to Mr. Secretary Vernon, signed, with Capt. Bennet's Memorial, and delivered to him.
In order to a mature deliberation upon the Maryland Act for the Service of Almighty God, their Lordships appointed to take the same into consideration, Jan. 31st, and ordered that besides the Lord President and Mr. Secretary Vernon, who agreed to be then present, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, and Mr. Secretary Hedges be also desired to assist therein, and that Dr. Bray have likewise notice to attend at the same time.
Sir Stephen Evace, Mr. Clarke and several other Members of the Hudson's Bay Company attending as directed, delivered a copy of what was agreed (See June 12, 1700) by their General Court, July 10 last, which was read. And after some discourse with them about the difficulty that there may probably be to prevail with the French to comply with their desires, and they declaring thereupon that they could not recede from anything contained in the foresaid paper without further directions, their Lordships proposed to them to consider at a General Court whether it may not be advisable for them to consent that the limits on the East side of the Bay, which they would have to be Rupert River, about the latitude of 51½ degrees, should be extended to 52½ degrees or thereabouts.
Ordered that Mr. Champante have notice to attend the Treasury about the money directed by H.M. to be furnished for repairing or building the Forts at Albany and Schenectady, and more particularly for their Lordships' directions upon whom the Earl of Bellomont shall draw Bills for any part of that money, as there may be occasion.
Jan. 23.Draught of a letter from the Secretary to the Governor or Deputy Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, in pursuance of yesterday's Minutes, was approved and ordered to be sent.
Representation about the Jamaica Revenue signed and sent.
Memorial from Mr. Thurston, Agent for the Company of Foot at Newfoundland, relating to the supplies necessary for it, read.
Representation thereon signed and sent to the Council Board.
Letter from Mr. Secretary Vernon, Jan. 21, read. Ordered that what concerns H.M. service at New York be communicated to Mr. Champante.
Memorial from Mr. Hodges and other papers upon the ill administration of Justice in Barbados read, and the latter returned to him. Ordered that copies of this and other papers etc. on the point be sent to Mr. Eyles. [Board of Trade. Journal, 13. pp. 324–329; and 98. Nos. 14, 15.]
Jan. 23.
Whitehall.
62. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Giving an account of the supplies necessary for the Company at Newfoundland, and offering that directions be given to the Treasury and Admiralty accordingly. Signed, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, John Pollexfen, Abr. Hill, Geo. Stepney. Annexed,
62. i. List of species and quantity of provisions required for the annual supply of the Company of Foot at Newfoundland. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 25. pp. 399–401.]
Jan. 23.
Kensington.
63. Order of King in Council. Approving of the preceding Representation and directing the provisions therein mentioned to be gott ready and sent to Newfoundland, and the money forthwith issued requisite for the provisions, clothing, subsistance and contingent moneys for the Company as therein mentioned. Signed, John Povey. Inscribed, Mem. Representation of Jan. 22, on the petition of John Crown, was also read and ordered to be given to Mr. Secretary Vernon. Mem. On a presentment from the Commissioners of the Customs, Samuel Cox, one of the Commissioners of the Duty of 4½ per cent. in Barbados, was ordered to be sworn and admitted into the Council there. Endorsed, Recd. Read Jan. 29, 1700/1. 1 p. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 4. No. 22; and 25. p. 403.]
[? Jan. 23.]64. Mr. Hodges to the Council of Trade and Plantations, elaborating his petition concerning the adjournments and delays of the Courts in Barbados (See Cal. A. and W. I., 1700, Dec. 19), praying for a reform of the Courts and, in the meantime, for an Order from H.M. to the Chancery of Barbados directing them to set aside the pretended agreement made by Mr. Pilgrim with Mr. Horne, and to put the suit against Mr. Horne in the same condition as it was before that, provided Pilgrim can show no other authority for making that composition than was given him by the enclosed letter of Attorney; and that they be further ordered to oblige the Executor, Mr. Horne, to give good security of the full value of the Legacy etc., and, in failure thereof, to cause the produce of the Plantation from time to time to be secured; and if the Governor and Council should not obey this Order, that they send over all proceedings in that cause to H.M. in Council, together with their reasons. Signed, Tho. Hodges. Endorsed, Recd Read Jan. 23, 1700/1. 6½ closely written pp. [C. O. 28, 4. No. 72; and 29, 7. pp. 217–235.]
Jan. 23.
Kensington.
65. Order of King in Council, referring the Representation of the Council of Trade and Plantations, Jan. 22, on the petition of John Crown, to Mr. Secretary Vernon. Endorsed, Recd. Read Jan. 29, 1700/1. ½ p. [C. O. 5, 862. No. 36; and 5, 909. p. 370.]
Jan. 23.
Whitehall.
66. William Popple to Francis Eyle. Enclosing copies of the complaints now lying before the Council of Trade and Plantations relating to the administration of Justice in Barbadoes. They desire you to return your answers with what speed you can. [C. O. 29, 7. p. 216.]
Jan. 23.
Whitehall.
67. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. We humbly beg leave to lay before your Majesty some considerations relating to the settlement of your Majesty's revenue in Jamaica. An Act having been past in General Assembly for raising a public revenue for the support of the Government, was confirmed by King Charles II, together with several other laws for the good of the Island, to continue in force for 21 years from Nov. 1683. In 1688 an Act of Asembly was past there by the Duke of Albermarle to the same effect, for raising a publick Revenue to the King without any limitation of time. But several disputes arising, and complaints having been made by some Planters and Merchants of that Island, about the elections of Members for that Assembly, who did therefore pray your Majesty in Council that the said Act and all other Acts of the said Assembly might be declared null and void, and the Duke of Albermarle, on the other side, having by his letter alledged many things in justification of the proceedings of that Assembly, your Majesty has been pleased hitherto to suspend any determination upon the said Acts, either for confirming or disallowing of the same, in expectation that the Assembly would pass another Act for raising a perpetual Revenue to your Majesty, against which there might be no complaint or objection, and the Revenue having in the meantime been continued to be raised in virtue of the first mentioned temporary Act, the succeeding Governors have frequently called upon the Assembly to avail themselves of your Majesty's favour herein; which they have not only neglected to doe, but have shewn an averseness to the perpetuating of the Revenue, and given many intimations of their design to keep it precarious, so that the foresaid temporary Act expiring within very few years, which makes it necessary for your Majesty speedily to declare your Royal assent to or disallowances of the foresaid perpetual Act, we humbly offer that, for quieting the minds of your subjects in Jamaica, and removing the causes of division there, your Majesty would be pleased to give the Assembly a further opportunity of providing a standing Revenue for the support of that Government, in case your Majesty should think fit upon the foresaid considerations to repeale that Act pretended to have been past in an illegal Assembly, and that accordingly a letter to the Governor of Jamaica be prepared for your Majesty's Royal Signature, to be by him communicated to the Council and Assembly, to the effect following; That your Majesty out of great tenderness to your subjects there, and for quieting animosities amongst them and putting an end to all disputes concerning that Assembly, having hitherto forborne to confirm the Act of 1688, and expected they would thereby have been induced to lay aside their private differences and unanimously have joyned in expressing their duty to your Majesty by passing a New Act for the like purpose, but having found that they have all this while neglected to comply with the Admonitions given them by your Governors in that behalf, and the approaching term of the Act of 1683 making it necessary that some resolution be speedily taken upon the Act of 1688, your Majesty does neverthelesse think fit to give them one year longer to passe and offer to your Majesty such other Act for settling the said Revenue as may be fit to receive your Royal Assent and approbation, according to which your Majesty will be graciously pleased to extend your Royal Confirmation of all the other Acts that are already confirmed for the space of 21 years with the foresaid temporary Act of Revenue; but that withall your Majesty does expressly declare that in case they shall not within the said term comply with your expectations herein, your Majesty will find yourself obliged to give your Royal confirmation to the Act of 1688. Unto which we only beg leave to add that such further directions may be also given to Sir William Beeston upon that occasion as your Majesty shall think fit. Signed, Ph. Meadows, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Abr. Hill, Geo. Stepney. [C. O. 138, 10. pp. 120–124.]
Jan. 23.
Kensington.
68. Order of the King in Council. Approving above Representation and ordering that the Council of Trade and Plantations prepare a letter to the Governor of Jamaica, for H.M.'s approbation, accordingly. Signed, John Povey. Endorsed, Recd. Read Jan. 29, 1700/1. ½ p. [C. O. 137, 5. No. 28; and 138, 10. p. 127.]
Jan. 23.
Kensington.
69. Order of the King in Council. The Right Hon. James Vernon Esq. is to receive H.M.'s pleasure for the giving such directions upon the (above) occasion to the Governor of Jamaica as H.M. shall think fitt. Signed, John Povey. Endorsed, Recd. Read Feb. 5, 1700/1. 1 p. [C. O. 137, 5. No. 29; and 138, 10. p. 132.]
Jan. 23.70. Minutes of Council in Assembly of Barbados. Mr. Edward Willy, having seized and put into the stocks a negro woman, who pretends to her freedom, and whom H. E. had ordered him not to molest until he had heard her case in Council, ordered that he be taken into custody and brought before the Board immediately.
Col. Tobias Frere complaining that several persons break up and carry stones out of the sea shoar contrary to an Act of this Island, and that the gunners and montrosses connive at it, ordered to collect evidence and report to the Board. Proclamation ordered in accordance with the Act.
Petition, of the negro woman, referred to above, read, and she was granted her liberty, on giving 100l. security to answer any action brought by Mr. Willy against her within three months.
Ordered, again, that Mr. Willy be taken into custody and brought before the Board to-morrow.
Jan. 24.Mr. Skene, Publick Secretary, granted leave to appoint a Deputy. Mr. Thomas Edwards appointed.
Petition of Magnus Poppell read. Ordered that no person presume to lay any vessel in his way or careen by any of his harbour-works, without his leave.
Error brought by Mr. Waterman to reverse a judgment given by William Davies and John Holder, J.P.s, for detaining several negroes from the Hon. David Ramsay, John Milles, Humphrey Waterman, William Lyte, and George Foster, trustees of the late Hon. John Waterman, was called, and Counsel on both sides alledging that the same was under compromise, and praying it might be continued, ordered accordingly.
Error brought by John Clarke, Marshall, against a judgment obtained by George Brathwaite in the Court of Common Pleas, St. Michael's, called. Clarke being dead, the error was dismissed.
Error brought by Dorothy Love, alias Reid, against John Thomas was called, and, upon the request of the parties, ordered to be continued.
Error brought by William Davies, Planter, against a judgment given by Lieut. Col. Henry Applethwaite and John Somers for detaining a negro man, was heard and the judgment confirmed.
Error brought by Mary Saer, widow, against a judgment given by Christopher Webb and Benj. Callow for detaining several negroes from Richard Brewster was heard, and the judgment confirmed.
Error brought by Thomas Hollard against a judgment of Philip Kirton and Richard Rycroft heard. Judgment reversed.
Edward Willy, merchant, appeared as commanded, made his submission and was released. [C. O. 31, 6. pp. 391–394.]
Jan. 24.71. Copy of a Commission for the trying of pirates in the Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Countersigned, Chute. 16 pp. Annexed,
Jan. 24.71. i. Memoranda of the Commissions of the other Colonies. (See Cal. A. and W. I. 1700. June 5.) 1 p. The whole endorsed, Recd. Jan. 24, 1700/1. [C. O. 5, 862. Nos. 37, 37.i.; and 5, 909. pp. 351–368; and (Memorandum of Commission only, ¼ p.) New York, 11. No. 12.]
Jan. 24.72. Memorandum of a Commission for trying of pirates in Barbadoes. Endorsed, Recd. Jan. 24. ¼ p. [C. O. 28, 4. No. 74.]
Jan. 24.73. Memorandum of Commission for trying Pirates at Newfoundland. ¼ p. [Board of Trade. Newfoundland, 4. No. 20.]
Jan. 24.74. Memorandum of Commission for trying Pirates in Jamaica. Slip. [C. O. 137, 5. No. 27.]
75. Memorandum of Commission for trying pirates in Maryland. Slip. [C. O. 5, 715. No. 24.]
Jan. 24.76. Memorandum of copy of a Commission for trying pirates at Bermudas. ¼ p. [C. O. 37, 3. No. 49.]
Jan. 24.77. Memorandum of copy of a Commission for trying pirates in the Leeward Islands. ¼ p. [C. O. 152, 4. No. 16.]
Jan. 24.
Whitehall.
78. Journal of Council of Trade and Plantations. Mr. Henry Baker, Solicitor of the Treasury, delivered to the Board nine Commissions under the Great Seal for trying pirates in the Plantations, together with 50 copies of the late Act of Parliament for the more effectual suppression of Piracy to be sent to the respective Plantations.
Representation upon the Forts in the West Indies considered.
Jan. 25.The last mentioned Representation signed and sent with a letter to Mr. Secretary Vernon.
The question of sending Instructions relating to Accessories referred to next meeting. [Board of Trade. Journal 13. pp. 330–333; and 98. Nos. 16, 17.]
Jan. 25.
Whitehall.
79. Council of Trade and Plantations to Mr. Secretary Vernon. Enclosing the following. Signed, Wm. Blathwayt, Jno. Pollexfen, Geo. Stepney, Mat. Prior. Annexed,
79. i. Council of Trade and Plantations to the King. Having already laid before your Majesty a state of the Forts in your Plantations on the more Northern parts of America, we humbly beg leave to proceed in giving the like account in relation to your Majesty's Islands which lye more Southward:—In the Bermudas there are five little Castles, three of which lying at the entrance of the easiest passages, are most considerable. Many of the platforms are decay'd. There are fifty-five great guns, but most of them unserviceable, being honey-comb'd or vented, and some of them wanting carriages. And in as much as those Islands are now unprovided of stores and ammunition, and their wants having been always supplyed by the Crown, by reason of the inability of the inhabitants, we humbly propose, that for the present your Majesty may be pleased to direct the Office of Ordnance to send thither 30 barrels of powder, 100 firelocks with musquet-ball proportionable, a quantity of match, and five flags with the Lieut. Governor Capt. Bennet, by H.M.S. Lincoln, and that he be directed to inform himself immediatly upon his arival there of the state of the Fortifications, guns and stores of war in those Islands, and, in case he have no other opportunity, that he forthwith dispatch hither a Bermuda Sloop, with an account thereof.
The Bahama Islands belong to Proprietors, who ought to take care of them. There is upon the Island of New Providence (the cheif of them) one small fort or redoubt, which we understand to be in no good condition. As to Jamaica, the South part thereof is best settled. The parishes of Sixteen-mile-walk and Guanaboa are naturally fortified, being on all sides environed with great mountains, whilst the lowlands of Clarendon, Vere, St. Katherine's and St. Dorothy's, as also some part of Liganeo, lye open to the sea, and have no place of defence but a Fort at Port Royal, called Charles Fort, on which there are about 60 pieces of cannon mounted, that flank the East Channel, through which ships usually enter the Harbour. And, as we are informed by the Governor, the inhabitants were about to lay a line of 30 or 40 guns in good stone worke to the Eastward of the said Fort, which will be right up the said Channel and render all attempts that way from the sea very difficult. But we are informed by Rear Admiral Bembow and Capt. Lilly, that there has been lately discovered to the S.W. of that Fort a Channel, supposed to have been made by the earthquake in 1692, through which ships of war may at any time, with the usual sea-breeze go in or out of that Harbour and not come within a mile and a half of Charles Fort, which renders that Fort, as they alledge, useful only for the security of the town of Port Royal, without being of sufficient defence to the harbour. They therefore propose that a good Fort be built upon Musketo Point, which will likewise defend the Leeward Entrance of that Harbour where your Majesty's Men of War and most of the Merchant ships trading to Jamaica usually resort, and be of use for covering the most valuable settlements of the southermost parts of that Island. It has been also proposed to us by the same Engineer, that two small Field Forts be built at other places, where an enemy may most easily land and attack the settlements of St. Dorothy's and Vere, near Old Harbour, which is likewise a place to which shipping does resort, and Rear Admiral Bembow does farther propose that a Fort be built at Port Morant, where there is likewise a good Harbour on the East part of the Island, which lyes nearest to Hispaniola, where the French and Spaniards are settled, and farther, that the narrow passes between the mountains, and principally one where Sir James de Castillio has built a house for himself, fortwise be taken care of.
The North side of Jamaica being a long open coast, distant from the seat of the Government, and the settlements very much scattered, cannot be defended by shipping and a land force.
The Leeward Islands have several little platforms, ill provided with artillery. The only Fort there is upon the Island of St. Christopher's, called Cleverly-Point Fort, for the guarding of which and the other Leeward Islands, there is but one Foot Company, whilst the French, who have half of St. Christopher's, do keep there several Companies of Foot of Regular troops.
Barbados to the windward is naturally fortified by rocks, and for defence of the Leeward Side, which is most exposed to an enemy, there is now a Trench of seven foot broad and five foot deep all along the coast, and behind that a breast worke of loose sand about 6 foot high, and three foot broad at the top. There are also on that side several redoutes, and at Bridge-towne two Forts, one at the entrance of the Road and the other within. In order to the further security of the Island, the Governor has lately writ that Commissioners were ordered to report the State of the Forts, and that then he would endeavour to dispose the Assembly to provide for repairing them. We are now preparing letters to the several Governors to give perfect accounts of the state of Defence of the Plantations and their needs, that from thence we may be able to report more particularly what they may be required to do for their own security, and what may be fit for your Majesty to do for their defence, besides the ships of war which your Majesty shall be pleased to send thither from time to time for their defence. Signed as preceding. [Board of Trade. Plantations General, 35. pp. 362–368.]