Charles Hill; 12 September, 1661
Letter to John Kirke [of London]
British Library, Egerton ms 2395, f.
MHA 16-C-1-004; transcript in NAC.
NAC transcript revised by P.E. Pope.
Ferryland, the 12 September 1661.
Mr. John Kirke,
I was advised by Mr. George Kirke of what you was pleased to write to me at the end of his letter and could wish I had more pleasing intelligence to write to you than the continuation of the calamity of this country occasioned not only by the continuance of bad voyages, but to the inhabitants in a more particular manner by the late Governor's arrival here, who have sought themselves so much that I believe they will have but a few tenants in the Lord Baltimore's patent of Avalon. Upon their arrival here, the inhabitants as also the masters of ships, were summoned where their patent granted them for the space and time of 14 years from the now Lord Baltimore [Cecil Calvert, Second lord Baltimore] was read and then a letter from the King's Majesty, under his hand and privy seal, wherein it was signified that there had been a trial between your family and Baltimore about the said patents and that, upon report of his Majesty's Chief Justices of Common Pleas and other counsel, it was declared that the patent of the old Lord Baltimore [Sir George Calvert] was a good patent and that it was surreptitiously taken away from him by Sir David Kirke and his company, and that therefore his Majesty did require Sir Lewis Kirke, John Kirke and the heirs of Sir David Kirke to surrender unto the said Lord Baltimore all his houses, lands, goods, etc., etc. and that all admirals and masters of ships should be aiding and assisting, if need required, to put the Lord Baltimore and his assigns into possession again. I pre-advised my Lady [Lady Sara Kirke] and Mr. George Kirke what answer to make unto these Governors, they being absent at the reading of the proclamation. When they came with the masters of ships to put them in free possession, who having made a complimental demand was suddenly answered that since it was his Majesty's pleasure to order the same they should not in the least dispute but with all readiness surrender it to his use and service. And as for what could be approvedly visible to belong to Lord Baltimore should not in the least be detained but, as for the houses built by Sir David Kirke at his own proper cost and charge, my Lady [Lady Sara Kirke] would turn tenant for the same and pay the acknowledgement due to the Lord Baltimore for the same. My Lady and Mr. George [George Kirke] have been much threatened to be dispossessed but the fit is now over, for the 2 governors do one so thwart the other that they dissent in their judgments. Captain Raynor is a desperado and looks but foreright but Captain Pearce is more a beaten soldier and I believe would quit his engagement upon honourable terms. He hath had very many civil expressions and good affections to your family and said he was resolved for England again and should be loath to act anything in Newfoundland that he might not answer in England. He hath heretofore been Sir David Kirke's lieutenant in the King's ships and, howsoever he was trapped into this employment, he hath very large respects to the family. They pretended to have a commission from the King's Majesty for the full management of all his concerns in the whole Island, which was granted but 3 days before they came away. I know not how true; you can advise yourself best thereupon. And pretending the King's letter, Captain Raynor hath received rents and arrears out of the precincts of Avalonia, and have been so hard to some that I think few will trust them longer than the next year. Here hath been but 150 quintals per boat for the generality. Many planters have not made so much. I know Mr. George hath advised you at full. 'Tis reported Captain Reynells is returned for England, he is of a good family who may do something for him. His bond is £ 180. If you advise next year shall send it if opportunity present to expectation. I shall further advise you in the interim. Shall pray for your welfare, with the tender of my humble service remain,
Your Servant to command,
[signed] Charles Hill.
[endorsed] 12th of September, 1661