Front Page Titles (by Subject) A Letter from Dr. Worth - The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 3
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A Letter from Dr. Worth - Sir William Clarke, The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 3 
The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, Secretary to the Council of the Army, 1647-1649, and to General Monck and the Commanders of the Army in Scotland, 1651-1660, ed. C.H. Firth (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899). 4 vols.
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A Letter from Dr. Worth
f. 109b.I must now bee unto you a relator of a very sad providence, but mali scientia non est mala: The West-India fleete were scattered by a violent storme the 23th of this month. In that storme the shipp commanded by Captin Farmer sprung a leake,1 lost boath there boates and three of their anchors, and were so shattered that they could not beare up against the wind, but were forced to lett the vessell drive wheresoever it pleased the providence of God to carry them. On Tuesday the 28th instant they came into the Bay of Irmoleague2 (by land some 4 miles from the towne), where they were inbayed before they knew themselves neere the land, and none in the vessell (the weather being very darke and durty) could gues what the land or the Bay was. In this condition they fitted a raft, and put theiron fowre men with a letter in a pitch box, signifing what they were and what their condition was, these men on Wedensday being the 29th came to shore alive, but soe brused that they were not able to leave the place where they landed, but a marchant of this towne nigh the place and heareing of them, roade to them, provided for them, and brought the letter to our Governour on Wednesday about one of the clock. The Governour imediately consulted with the sufferance,1 Captaine Vessey, and such other comanders and seamen as were in towne, but the weather was soe darke and the seas soe tempestiouse that it was impossible for any boate from this towne to get to them (this bay being by sea three leagues from the towne, though but 4 miles from land). The vessell had cast anchor in the Bay, but about 6 of the clock theire cable broake, and the vessell was forced on a rock, where it was wracked. Aboard this vessell there were 241 private souldyers, and 29 seamen, and three woemen, whereof one was an Ensiges wife who lay in childebirth, of all which there were onely saved 16 seamen, and about 40 souldjours. The officers lost are Lieutenant Colonel Bramston, Captain Dorrell, Captain Lieutenant Reyner, Ensign Webley, Ensigne Bramston, Quartermaster Craycroft, Martiall Hornewall, 3 serjeants, 5 corporalls, 4 drummers, and Captain Farmer who comanded the shipp. The officers saved are onely Lieutenant Petty and Ensign Norman. It pleased God soe to order it that this wrack hapned on the shoare of the Barrony of Coureies2 (a Barrony that for the greatest part is inhabited by English and such Ireish as were never in rebellion), diverse of the English and many more of the Ireish attended all that evening on the coast, not to gett the plunder, but to preserve the men whome it should please God to bring to shoare. By this meanes those who are alive were by God’s providence preserved, for as the inhabitants discovered any of them approacheing to the shoare they would runn in and catch at them, and soe helpe them to the land, who otherwise being weakened and bruised would probably by the next wave (the sea ebbing and rageing) have bin carryed back againe. The inhabitants likewise carried these poore, bruised, halfe deade men to theire howses that night, and provided carefully for them, who probably if they had laine allnight on the shoare would have bin deade before morneing, wherein one Captain John Belew (an honnest man feareing God) was most instrumentall. Last night divers of these poore men lay at my howse, and this day they all dyned there. This night they are provided for with good accomodacions for lodgeing and food in this towne, and the Suffraine thought to have bought them cloathes who wanted, but it is conceived that many things have bin tooke up by the inhabitants and seamen of other vessells, for which the Governour intends to make a search to morrow, which may helpe for the present to cloath such of those poore men as most neede the same. Besides, though this towne bee very much impoverished, yet the Lord hath inlarged their hearts (in this instance) even to riches of liberality; the tendernes of Majestrates and people towards them and readines to reseive them is very greate. A word or two from my Lord expressing his Lordshipps sence of this good would bee (I thinck) an ingageing incurragement to further weldoeing.
Severall sircumstances in this providence are considerable (1st) that at such a time it should happen the night before our publique humiliacion: as if God had saide, since all my doeings at a distance will not humble you I wish to bring a judgement home to your very walls that that humble you. 2ly. The former rebuke on the West-Indies was on shore, not by the power of the enemy but by God’s owne hand: though the Lord hath just cause to bee offended with us, yet hee will not give the enemies the honour of being instrumentall to scourge us, but hee will take the rodd into his owne hand. 3dly. That this wrath should not happen on an enemies coastes, nor on such parts of Ireland as could not, or would not favor them, but in this part where the inhabitantes are in some measure able, and in a greater measure willing to supply them. 4ly. That soe soone after the mercy vouchsafed at sea in the successe of some part of our fleete in takeing part of the Spanish West India fleete, God should subjoyne this sad providence at sea alsoe. O what neede have wee to have water mingled with our wyne; how apt are wee to bee lifted up with moderate exaltacions; though God would have us to rejoyce yet it should bee with trembling. Deare Friend, I have bin soe long in giveing you the perticulers of this sad relation that I cannot write ought else at present, and truly the sence hereof swallowes upp in mee writeing, and I beleve in you readeing, the sence of all other things. The Lord teach us to beare the rod, and God that hath appointed it. Certainely though wee bee bad, yet God designes good to his owne name. Oh that wee might learne that it is not enough to heare a good cause, if the persons who are to manage it continue evill, there is cause my friend deleat ut nigras candidus humor aquas. Excuse therefore this abruptnes of
Your true friend and affectionate servant
November 4, 1656.—
f. 101b.Yesterday my Lord Lambert brought into the House an Act for setting up Courts of Justice and equity at Yorke, which startles the lawyers to see the administration of law like to be carryed into provinces. This day the Act of Union for Scotland came on the second time, and because of some clawses about the lawes, the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seale, Lord Chief Justice Glyn, and other the Gentlemen of the longe robe who are of the House, were sent for out of Westminster Hall to attend the debate, which is adjourned to a Grand Committee of the whole House on Fryday next. There is 22 waggons or cart loades of the moneyes come from Portsmouth to the Tower, and 10 or 11 more are behind, but the accompt falls short above halfe what was reckoned upon.1 Now that its seen what the outside thereof will bee, I suppose the House will speedily fall upon the business of money againe till they bring it to a result.
November 7, 1656.—
f. 103.The House resolved then into a grand Committee in debate of a Bill of Union of Scotland into one Common wealth with England,2 which was ordered to be debated in parts: they left the preamble to be considered when the rest of the Bill is agreed to, and began with the first clause, the woords whereof I cannot well remember, but the woord incorporated took up two [h]ours debate, many interpreting that it could not be properly said to be incorporated with one Commonwealth with England, exept all there lawes were first altered, and be as the lawes of England are, to prove which the[y] aleged the example of Wales when it was incorporated into England by Edward the first; but this was very well answerd, and at last it past, and the woord incorporated was named. The[n] there was an other exeption made, that in that clause it was said that the people of Scottland &c. should be united into one Comon wealth with England, to which they would have aded that the teretoryes should be also united, and it was ordered accordinly. Affter this the Speaker resumed the cheaire, and the House apointed Wensday next to enter againe upon the rest of this Act in a grand Committee, and ajorned till Monday morning.
f. 108b.Yesterday the House resolved into a grand Committee for consideration of the Bill of Union of Scottland into one Commonwealth with England, which is debated by parts; the cheif which were under consideration were the placing of the armes, and the second, wether they should be free from Customes as they were in England which trade onely from one port to an other. Both these clauses admitted of much debate. Many would have Ireland preseede, as the better country and being chiefly inhabited by English, but upon the question it was carried for Scottland; then they came to the clause of customes which brought in Excise after it, and it was objected that if salt made in Scottland paid noe more than single Excise it would be a meanes to distroy the salt works by Newcastle; but that argument held not, it being urged that the thing hath bin practiced neer three yeares without producing any such effect, and if you make an union you must allow them as much previlidge as your selves, and be as much consernd for their good and advantage as your selves; and besides if salt from Scottland make Newcastle salt cheaper it will be a generall good to this Nation, and a generall good is to be preferd before a perticular. Upon that [the] whole clause was pass’d, and it being neere one of the clock the Speaker resumed the cheire, and upon the report the debate was put of till Wedensday next, and then the House to goe into a grand Comittee, and soe they rose.
November 15, 1656.—
f. 107b.Tuesday . . . Lieutenant Colonel White (being imployed to bring the Spanish bulloyne from Portsmouth to the Tower) reported to the House that there were 165 chests of fine silver, and 60 chests more of courser silver, which being weighed were valued at 1000li. per chest, besides the cochineele which was valued at 20000li. more;1 and it being thereupon moved that the monethly assessements might bee increased, there being no other wayes to rayse money to carry on the charge of the Spanish warre (which is estimated by a Comittee to neare a million per annum), the House declined that motion, and came to this result, that it should be referred to a Comittee to consider how the Custome and Excise, or either of them, may bee improved for the carryeing on the said warre.
[1 ]On this shipwreck see Thurloe, v. 558, 570. The soldiers were part of Col. Brayne’s regiment, drawn from the army in Scotland, and on their way to Jamaica. The ship was named the Two Brothers.
[1 ]I.e. Sovereign.
[1 ]In the letter-book this is entered under November 19, which was probably the date of its reception at Monck’s headquarters.
[1 ]The treasure taken in the victory of September 8 by Stayner. See Vanghah, Protectorate of Cromwell, ii. 26, and Thurlee.
[2 ]On this subject see a speech by an unnamed member, printed in Scotland and the Protectorate, p. 333.
[1 ]November 11. This incident is not mentioned in the Journal of the House.