James Pratt; 12 March, 1652
Examination [in Baltimore vs. David Kirke]
Great Britain, PRO, High Court of
Admiralty, HCA 13/65, np.
MHA 16-B-5-017. Transcribed by P.E. Pope.
The right honourable Cecil Lord
against Sir David Kirke . }
The 12th of March 1654
Examined upon the libel on the behalf
of the said Lord Baltimore
James Pratt of St. Saviours Dock in the parish
of St Olaves in Southwarke Mariner, aged about [thirty-two]
years or there about, sworn and examined.
To the twenty and eighth article of the said libel he saith and deposeth that in the year of our Lord 1638 he, this deponent, being then servant to Captain Tilliar, went from London to Newfoundland with the said Captain in the good ship the PEMBROOKE of London, Mr William Copeland was master, and saith that the said Captain Henry Tilliar was... of the said ship and was sent over by Sir David Kirke [said defendant] and the proprietors there for the overseeing of the said Sir David Kirke who had taken company after to settle in the said Newfoundland. And saith that the said Captain Tilliar arrived in the said ship in or about the month of June 1648 [sic, for 1638] at a certain place in Newfoundland called Ferryland, which he knoweth through he this deponent being as aforesaid his servant arrived there with him. And there this deponent found and observed that one Captain William Hill was dwelling and residing in the chief Mansion House at Ferryland and kept possession there, for and on the behalf (as this deponent was there informed) of [Cecil Calvert] the Lord Baltimore, the produrent [person bringing suit], as his deputy or agent there. And further deposeth that about a month after his arrival there of the said Captain Tilliar and this deponent as aforesaid, the [said defendent] Sir David Kirke arrived there in the ship the JOHN of London, whereof Captain Russell was then master, and then after and upon his arrival there of the said Sir David Kirke, he demanded and endeavored to get possession of the said chief Mansion House and place of the said Captain William Hill, which the said Captain Hill, as this deponent was informed, refused to deliver up and expressed an unwillingness to yield the Mansion to the said Sir David. Howbeit, not finding himself able to withstand the power of the aforesaid Sir David, the aforesaid Captain Hill [went] without contest into a little house adjoining and not being able to do otherwise yielded up the possession of the said chief Mansion House to the said Sir David Kirke, who forthwith took possession thereof and planted or placed himself, his lady and family therein, of the sight and knowledge of him, this deponent, who at the time of the said Sir David's arrival was in the said Mansion House, and observeth the said Sir David take possession thereof and the same aforesaid Captain Hill retire into the said other little house, from which he went afterwards to the north side of the harbour, where after some years of dwelling he, as this deponent was informed, departed this life. And saith that the said Sir David Kirke got not only possession of the said Mansion House but of the fishing harbours, defenses and stages belonging there unto and to the places thereabouts in ["...plantation called Avalon" struck out] Newfoundland, which he knoweth because him, this deponent, saw him the year 1638 aforesaid in the said possession and the next year following this deponent going thither again from London in the ship the KIRKE, in the service of the said Sir David, saw him, the said Sir David Kirke, in the full possession of the premises and saw him fortify and extend his plantation ["lands" struck out] or command thereabouts, and this deponent was fully informed there that the harbour of Ferryland and the succours [havens], stages, pastures and territories thereunto belonging in the Newfoundland, whereof Sir David Kirke had gotten possession, were belonging unto the said Cecil, Lord Baltimore, and that the profit or yearly revenue or interest thereof was very great, and otherwise cannot depose.
To the seventh article, the deponent he replied, Sir David Kirke likewise possessed himself of the return and impositions laid upon or rising from the harbours, ports and plantations in Newfoundland, in the years 1638 and 1639, of his, this deponent's, sight and knowledge, and to him was received and took fish for return or impost from several foreign vessels, which he knoweth because he, this deponent, being in the service of the said Sir David Kirke, did in the said year 1639 help to take fish for return of and from several French vessels there, which return was by the ships' companies therein employed by the said Sir David, called tribute and otherwise he cannot, as he saith, depose.
Upon the rest he is not examined by direction of the Lord Baltimore.
To the cross interrogatorries
To the first he saith he was not requested by the said Lord Baltimore to testify in his cause, wherein he saith that he, this deponent, himself hath no share or interest nor will it be any benefit or damage unto him if the said parties prevaileth herein. And saith that he never knew the said Sir David, till the said year 1638 that this deponent was going out in his service under the said Captain Tilliar, at which time he this deponent took notice of him, as being the person that was to come after them over into Newfoundland and was to be governor there, and saith that he hath knowledge of Lord Baltimore, the produrent [person bringing suit] about two months last, and favoureth and would give the victory indiffernetly to the parties litigant, and expecteth not, nor is promised, any reward for this deposition.
To the second, he saith that the Lord Baltimore asking this deponent what he would say in this matter in question, sayeth [to] him to the effect aforesaid being the truth and otherwise answeareth negatively.
To the third, he, this deponent, never knew the Lord Baltimore in Newfoundland and otherwise cannot answer, saving as aforesaid referring himself to the foregoing deposition.
To the fourth interrogatory, answereth that at the time as the said Sir David Kirke came and arrived in Newfoundland, as aforesaid, there were three or four horses in a ground near unto the said chief Mansion House, which were there said and unanimously reported to be Lord Baltimore's horses and there this deponent left them, under the power of the said Sir David Kirke. And otherwise he cannot answer, saving as aforesaid.
To the fifth interogattory referreth himself to his foregoing deposition and otherwise cannot answer
Repeated before Dr. Stephens
[signed] James Pratt
Cleared etc. with his proctors [counsels]