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to this port, & applyed himself to the Naval Officer, for leave to unload his goods [which were bound for London] here, pretending his sloop was so leaky, that she could not perform her voyage, till she was repaired; the Naval Officer, upon his making oath before the Mayor of this city, that his sloop was leaky, gave him a certificate (a copy whereof I herewith send your Lordpps.] to the Collector. Mr. Byerly did give leave that the goods should be landed, but instead of taking care that the Cocoa of which the Cargoe consisted, should be put into the warehouses, belonging to the Custom House, by which means he might have been certain, that the same should have been shipped again, he lett the Merchant [one Joseph Bueno, a Jew, a particular friend of his] carry the Cocoa to his own Warehouse, and has taken no care to see that the same goods should be shipped again, and the Merchant finding that Cocoa bore but a low price in England, would never have troubled himself to ship it off, had not Mr. Fauconnier enquired into that matter, and obliged the Jew to ship it off, which is done, and the sloop is sailed for Virginia in hopes to get a convoy; but the intention of the Jew appears pretty plain by his offering Mr. Fauconnier fifty pounds to pass it by, but he rejected it with contempt."
These instances,* of the corrupt performance of duty during Mr. Byerley's first term as Receiver-General, created a friction between him and Peter Fauconnier, which developed into an open conflict. The immediate cause of the dispute is mentioned by Mr. Byerley, in a letter to the Lords of Trade, dated December 13, 1707, in which, in laying before their Lordships an account of the difficulties and hindrances he met with in discharging the duties of his office, he says: "The books and Papers relating to my office and Recognizances given for payment of moneys due to her Majesty's Revenue, being Detained from me by Mr. Fauconnier who acted as Commissr. during my suspension. And notwithstanding I have been arrived here almost twelve months, he has not been obliged to adjust his Accounts; without which I can't perfect mine; for the Ballance of his Account must be the first article in mine."
This disagreement between the two men, led to an investigation J by the Legislative Council of New York, when the status of the case was clearly set forth: It was seen that Mr. Byerley's course, upon his restoration to office, was both arbitrary and unreliable. He made an appointment on Saturday, February 1, 1707, at two o'clock for the delivery of the Custom House; Mr. Fauconnier, the late Collector, was there promptly, but Mr. Byerley failed to present himself, and did not receive the building until the following Monday morning. The two important points brought out before the Council, were, that Mr. Byerley had appealed to the Lord High Treasurer, to compel the return of the Recognizances (they being the chief point of contention), and his endeavor to make it appear that they were retained by Peter Fauconnier, with the intention of realizing upon them for his own profit, thereby deceiving the Queen. Being challenged to prove his charges, Mr. Byerley instead of offering to do so, so far declined the jurisdiction and authority of the Board, as to refuse to produce his proofs, and answer any question put to him relating to the same.
In his defense, Peter Fauconnier claimed that he had retained the Recognizances, in order to repay himself money advanced, for the service of the Crown,
* From Cornbury's letter.
t "Col. Hiat. N. Y.," Vol. V, p. 28.
t This can be found in the Journal of the Council, 1691-1743. It was held at Fort Anne in the harbor, beginning in August, 1708, and ending on September 13, 1708.
whilst collecting its Revenues;* and therewith "moving for a Proclamation Enabling him to receive the money due on the Recognizances remaining in his hands." Lord Cornbury in one of his remarks states, "That Mr. Fauconnier has made it plainly appear by his accounts that there is a Ballance due to him from her Matie of six hundred Eighty five Pounds one shilling Elevin pence farthing after deducting Ten Pounds by him paid to Mr. Laborie and fifty-nine pounds sixteen shillings for Candles by him furnish't for the Fort out of the former Ballance of seven hundred fifty four Pounds seventeen shillings Eleven pence one farthing he not having obtained warrants for the said two sumes." Mr. Barbarie, one of the Councillors was of the opinion, "That since it appears by Mr. Fauconnier's accots. that there is a considerable Ballance due to him that the Recognizances do belong to him as his property and that if there be any Loss upon those Recognizances by Mr. Byerley's refusall to give him a power to receive the same that Mr. Fauconnier ought not to Lose it." Mr. Phillips objected to granting him these dues upon the Recognizances, and maintained that the Lord High Treasurer was the proper person to determine whether he should be allowed them. Mr. Barbarie, Mr. Mompesson, and Mr. Renslaer agreed that a decision in this matter ought to be first made at home, and the remaining members, Mr. Wenham, Mr. Van Dam, Mr. Beekman, and Mr. Schuyler, that the Governor authorize Mr. Fauconnier to receive them. In regard to Peter Fauconnier's accounts, and the manner in which he executed the office of Receiver-General, it was observed that he had honestly and truely discharged all his duties, was a good officer, and that the charge of misappropriation was frivolous and groundless. In summing up the evidence, Lord Cornbury said, that Mr. Fauconnier should be empowered to receive the money due on the Recognizances, they properly belonging to him, as he had given the Queen credit for them, and such would be no damage to her interests. He therefore ordered a Proclamation to be prepared accordingly.
Peter Fauconnier was also Receiver-General of New Jersey, entering a Bond of .£4000 for the proper performance of his duties. He held this office, according to his accounts from December, 1704, to December, 1708, receiving a salary of ,£260 annually.
In the management of this position his accounts, as in New York, became a subject for controversy, and in 1707 were examined by the Assembly. Smith's History of New Jersey at p. 311, says, "The Assembly * * * * having before them the treasurer, Peter Fauconnier's accounts, in which they found many articles extraordinary in their nature, several of them being paid by Cornbury's order barely, and the whole without vouchers; they sent for him; he attending, refused to lay his vouchers before them, without the governor's commands; two members were sent to the governor, to desire him to order the treasurer, to lay the vouchers of his accounts, and the orders for the payment of the sums therein mentioned, before them; the governor said, he had already ordered it, though it was what he could not legally do, because the lord high treasurer had appointed an auditor general for the province, and he not being in it, had deputed one to audit the accounts, and that the treasurer was accountable only to the lord high treasurer, but if the house was dissatisfied with any of the articles in the accounts,
* This was, perhaps, the origin of a tradition in the author's branch of the family, " that the English Government was indebted to Peter Dur and repaid him with lands in America." t "Arch. N. J., I. S.," Vol. III, p. 350.
and thought proper to apply to him, he would satisfy them." This was not done.
At a Council of the Assembly held at Bergen, December 20, 1708, it was ordered that Mr. Fauconnier should immediately, upon the receipt of this order, desist from further occupying the post of Receiver-General, and lay before them his whole proceedings in the matters connected therewith. This meeting was convened by Lord John Lovelace, the new governor, he having arrived at New York two days before.
In 1709 the examinations were still continued. On January 30th * of that year the Board had before them for action the late Treasurer's petition, wherein it was set forth, that in his station, he had paid all monies received for the support of the Government, and having good and sufficient warrants for the same, desired that his accounts be adjusted and his securities discharged. It was ordered that the deputy of the Auditor-General, audit these accounts before the sixteenth day of March next, and if this was not done by the said time, that they, with their proper vouchers, be laid before the Board at its next session, in order to their being audited by them. March 22, 1709, the Representatives of her Majesty's Province of New Jersey appealed to Lord Lovelace, to command Mr. Fauconnier to bring before the House his accounts with their vouchers. No results were obtained during this administration, and the matter remained unsettled until Governor Hunter's time, several years later. A recent work "The Province of New Jersey, 1664-1738," by Edwin P. Tanner, at pp. 493-494, has the following: "The first important effort to bring a public officer to justice through the courts was in the case of Peter Fauconnier, Cornbury's receiver-general. It will be remembered how Cornbury had refused to allow the General Assembly to examine his vouchers, thus nullifying their attempts to audit his accounts, and how in various ways he had escaped a reckoning under Lovelace and Ingoldsby. Hunter, upon application from the Assembly, however, submitted all the evidence relating to Fauconnier's administration. But the house after examination found the accounts unsatisfactory, and addressed Hunter to have Fauconnier prosecuted. The governor caused proceedings against him to be begun immediately. In the spring term of 1711 his arrest was ordered by the Supreme Court, and the case was pushed as rapidly as was possible, with such an obstacle as Griffith in the attorney-generalship. Fauconnier entered a demurrer against the jurisdiction of the court, thus raising a point of the utmost importance for the province. In August 1713, argument upon the demurrer by counsel on both sides was heard at length by the court, and judgment was given for the Crown. Thus the accountability of royal officers to the provincial courts was established. But though the proceedings against Fauconnier were continued, no final judgment against him appears to have been gained. It is probable that the object of the prosecution was to establish his accountability and not actually to punish him. The Assembly seems to have been satisfied by the result."
In concluding these particulars of Peter Fauconnier's official career in the two Provinces, something must be said of the manner in which he was treated by Lord Cornbury, whose administration, t like his personal character, was so odious,
* "Arch. N. J., I. S„" Vol. XIII, p. 424. t 'Arch. N. J., I. 8.," Vol. Ill, p. 379.
t Lord Cornbury's reception as Governor of New York and New Jersey was of the most cordial character. He was very generously treated by the Assembly and the people, but repaid the good-will thus shown towards him by acts of ingratitude and oppression; plundering the public treasury in order to pay his enormous private debts, and opposing the efforts of the representatives of the people for the security of their rights and the growth that he became disliked by the whole community. The Governor had respect for no one, playing the part of extortioner and oppressor, even to those nearest to him, and in this way it happened, that Peter Fauconnier became one of his victims. A report* by Peter Fauconnier of public papers retained by Lord Cornbury, and transmitted to the Earl of Stamford,f shows, in its concluding words, the reason for his long submission to the Governor's tyranny:
"I shall likewise allways be ready to communicat to
May it please your Excellency your Lordship's
February ye 8th 170"
The prominence attained by Peter Fauconnier, whilst holding the office of Receiver-General, and other public and private positions, in both New York and New Jersey, during the Cornbury period, with the observations and experiences thereby gained, enabled him to acquire a familiar knowledge of the affairs of both Provinces, which presented to him opportunities of becoming interested in the land patents then granted.
In New York, he had rights in these Patents: 1, Three Tracts in Westchester County; 2, Westenhook; 3, Minisinck; 4, Little Nine Partners Tract; 5, Paullin's Purchase; 6, Oriskany; 7, Kayaderosseras, alias Queen's Borough; 8, Half Hollow Kills; 9, Land in Ulster County; 10, Shenondohowah, or Clifton Park; 11, Vacancies in King's County; 12, Vacancies on Staten Island.J
of free institutions. This misgovernment of both Provinces lasted for six years, when so much pressure was brought to bear, from them, on the Lords of Trade, that he was removed from office by Queen Anne, in 1708. His creditors then imprisoned him, and he was not released until the death of his father, when he returned to England and became Earl of Clarendon. He died in 1723.
* "Arch. N. J., I. 8.,*' Vol. Ill, p. 357.
t One of the Lords of Trade.
t The order in which these are given is according to the dates on which they were granted. Through the kindness of the owner, Mr. Edwin A. Marschalk, access was had to a list of Peter Fauconnier's patents, with descriptions, in the Province of New York. This list was prepared by Dr. John Bard, who gave their names as, "Westenhook, Little Nine Partners Tract, Half Hollow Kdls, Land in Ulster County, Shenondohowah, or Clifton Park, Vacancies in Kings County, Vacancies on Staten Island, Kayaderosseras, alias Queen's Borough, Three Tracts in Westchester County, Jo Paullin's Purchase, Oriskonie." The descriptions are incorporated in each individual patent, in the text above. An endorsement on the back of the paper reads, "written by Dr. Bard for the information of Mr. Peter Valleau, one of Magdalen Valleau & Fauconnier t heirs, in whose hands the papers relating to Magdalen's estate are lodged—as far as Dr. B. knows them. Drawn up at New York, June 1st, 1766." Dr. John Bard, as the sole surviving executor of Magdalen Valleau's Estate, settled the affairs of her father, Peter Fauconnier.
Three Tracts in Westchester County—
"First Tract, granted 4. Feb., 1701, to Robert Walters, Leigh Atwood, Cornelius De Peyster, Caleb Heathcote, Matthew Clarkson, John Cholwell, Richard Slater, Lancaster Symes, Robert Lurting, and Barne Cosens. This is the West Patent which was purchased in the year 176- at the rate of £1025 for each Patentee Right, belonging to Mr. Fauconnier, has been fully received and Divided among the Heirs, independent of what he sold in his life time out of it—there is four thousand one hundred acres still in the East part of this patent and in possession of the inhabitants of the township of Bedford, the property of seven & a half of the Patentees, of which Fauconnier's Heirs are one, which was released to them by the inhabitants of this Patent possessing the other two shares & a half at the time the agreement was made and has been surveyed & Divided by the Commissioners—this piece is proposed to be submitted to Arbitration—What the possessors shall give for the purchase."
This Patent long known as Fauconnier's West Patent, was situated within the territory originally claimed by the town of Rye, Westchester County, N. Y., and is now a part of the town of North Castle, f Its boundaries were, "All that Certain tract of land in the County of West Chester, bounded Northerly, by the Manor of Cortland, Easterly, with Bedford line of three Miles Square, the White field, and Byram river, Southerly, by the land of John Harrison, Rye line stretching to Byram river, aforesaid, and the White Plain, and Westerly, by Bruncks River, and the Manor of Philipas Vingler, excepting out of the bounds aforesaid, all the land within Richbill's patent." These are the bounds of the Patent recited in a General Deed, J executed June 7, 1763, by all the parties interested, and which instrument, conveyed its 32,000 acres, to Benjamin Smith and others. In a recapitulation from this Deed, the Valleau interest, as the heirs of Peter Fauconnier, is shown to be:
"a—Ebenezer Wilson, High Sheriff of New York con-
"e—Theodorus Valleau dying in 1761, the surviving
* Dr. Bard
t See Chas. W. Baird's "History of Rye," in which he says, "On application of the people of Rye for a patent in 1720, the Council examined Mr. Fauconnier who made no objection to the granting of the petition." t Recorded at White Plains, Westchester County, N. Y.