History of the Colony of Avalon

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Ferryland names





Documents relating to Ferryland: 1597 to 1726

31 August, 1652; John Slaughter
Deposition taken at Ferryland, in Baltimore vs. D. Kirke.

Maryland Historical Society, Calvert Papers, 174/200.
Published in Louis D. Scisco, "Testimony Taken at Newfoundland in 1652", Canadian Historical Review 9 (1928) 239-251, see 249-250. Revised by P.E. Pope.

Subjects: planters, govern, tax, cod, fisheries, stages, houses, boats.


The examination and deposition of John Slaughter, inhabitant of Caplin Bay, upon all the articles of the Libel taken before us Commissioners at Ferryland, August 31th, 1652.

1 To the first [as to a lawful grant to the elder Calvert], the said John Slaughter, deponent, doth acknowledge the several particulars contained in the article to be true.

2 To the second [as to the Calvert right to levy imposition], he can speak nothing.

3 To the third [as to occupation and investment by the elder Calvert], he acknowledgeth the truth of the whole article, only that the said Lord Baltimore [Sir George Calvert] did not expend above eighteen thousand pounds

[£ 18,000] to his knowledge.

4 To the fourth [as to fishery work by the elder Calvert], he saith that the said Lord Baltimore did bring and build boats and erect divers stages for the making and drying of fish; and that, to his knowledge, he hath kept 32 boats employed in fishing; but, for the benefit made by them, he thinks the Lord Baltimore rather lost than got, as he hath heard from his own mouth.

5 To the fifth [as to devolution of properties upon Cecil Calvert], he doth acknowledge the particulars of the article to be true.

6 To the sixth [as to agents in charge of Calvert properties], he saith that Captain William Hill was in quiet possession of the said Mansion House at Ferryland, as also of the stages and other appurtenances as much as the said Hill had occasion to use, by order, as he pretended [claimed], from the said Lord Baltimore. To the other particulars contained in the article he can speak nothing.

7 To the seventh [as to fishing and tax levies by Calvert agents], he can speak nothing.

8 To the eighth [as to the manner in which Kirke took possession], he saith that the said Sir David Kirke came in the year 1638 with a patent from the late King Charles [King Charles I] and took possession of the said Mansion House at Ferryland from the said Captain William Hill. But as for ordnance, there were none left, only one old boat and some small goods of little value. And the said Sir David Kirke hath continued the possession thereof until the year 1651, and received customs impositions and rents from the planters to his own use and the Lords Proprietors. But the value he knows not.

9 To the ninth [as to Kirke's use of the Calvert fishing boats], he saith ...2

that he never knew the said Sir David Kirke make use of any such boats; neither were there any by the said Lord Baltimore so left. As for the other particulars contained in the article, he knows nothing.

10 To the tenth [as to Kirke's levy of the imposition], he saith he knows not whether the said Sir David Kirke did unlawfully seize upon such customs or impositions;, but for fish taken as imposition from the French and Dutch to his use and the Lords Proprietors, 5 percent; but what the value amounted to he knows not.

11 To the 11th [as to the beneficiary of Kirke's imposition], he saith that the said Sir David Kirke did pretend [claim] the said customs and impositions did belong to himself and the Lord Proprietors.

12 To the 12th [as to Calvert's right to reparation], he can speak nothing.

13 To the thirteenth [as to the legality of Kirke's acts], he saith that for any thing he knows the said Sir David Kirke came lawfully and truly to the possession and hath no reason to be so adjudged.

John Slaughter

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