America and West Indies: Miscellaneous, 1707

Pages 628-632

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 23, 1706-1708. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

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Miscellaneous, 1707

1707. 1252. Abstracts of letters from the Governor and the President of Council of Barbados. [C.O. 28, 36.]
1707. 1253. Abstracts of letters from the Governor of Jamaica. [C.O. 137, 41.]
[1707.] 1254. Reasons offered to the House of Commons for encouraging the export of tobacco, sugar, etc. of the growth of H.M. Plantations. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 3. No. 34.]
1255. Abstract of Reports of the Council of Trade and Plantations upon the exportation of tobacco, April, 1706, July, 1707. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 3. No. 35.]
[? 1707] or [? 1708]. 1256. Proprietors of Plantations in Barbados to the Queen. The strength, trade and credit of the said Island are of late so exceedingly diminished, which petitioners verily believe has been occasioned by ye want of a due administration of justice, and by the animosities of contending partyes, who, as they have prevailed in the Counsel, Assembly and in other civil and millitary imployments, have favoured or opposed each other in the course of justice there, and also in misrepresentations of one another to your Majesty and your Ministers, and many in power have sheltered themselves against their just debts, which are many, and to that end have suffered and countenanced great abuses in the execution of the ancient laws, and have contrived new laws, which increases the difficulties that are put upon creditors, and multiply offices, complaints and law suits, by which evils some do reap particular advantages, and the present Governor, by oposing these heats and promoting the speedy and impartial administration of justice has displeased and disappointed many, and therefore they oppose and misrepresent his administration. The inhabitants are under constant fears and at great charge in being perpetually allarm'd by notices of the designs of ye enemy and the memory of the late misfortunes at Nevis and St. Christophers, and being still without regular forces for their defense, notwithstanding the applications that have been made for a regiment and the report of ye Lords Commissrs. for Trade of ye necessity thereof. Pray that some forces may be forthwith dispatched thither, and that for ye restoring and preserving of peace and justice your Majesty would appoint men of clear estates and probity, and such as have been least concerned in these controversies and have fewest law-suits, to be of the Counsel, and that your Majesty would surpress new offices of power and profit, and order that no offices in the disposal of which the Councel or Assembly have any votes be hereafter given to any of their Members, and that the profits of all these offices may be moderated, and that upon the passing of new laws or ye giving directions concerning the same, or upon any insinuation against the justice and conduct of ye Governor, wee, who cannot but feel the effects of a good or bad administration, and are acquainted with the facts, may be heard before any alteration be made or censure past as to the lessening of the reputation or authority your Majesty has been pleased to intrust the said Governor with etc. Signed, J. Colleton, R. Scott, H. Bendish, Robt. Chester, Tho. Foulerton, Richd. Steele, Robt. Davers, J. Kendall, J. Bromley, J. Walter, Richd. Bate. [C.O. 319, 1. pp. 116, 117.]
[? 1707 or ? 1708.] 1257. The Condition of Barbados. In times of former wars, altho the Island had twice the number of people in it that it now has, yet it was always thought fit to keep a regiment there for the security of that and all other the Caribbee Islands. But during this present war, altho the necessitys of the Island are greater than ever, and many applications have been made from thence, and also from those concerned here, and that matter has been laid before H.M. by a representation of the Councill of Trade, yet it has hitherto been without any effect, and for want of a regiment and regular convoys and cruisers ye inhabitants are exposed to inexpressible trouble, labour and expense in the necessary dutys of the militia, and to great difficulties and hardships for want of regular convoys and supplys, insomuch that the whole profits of most of ye plantations there are consumed in ye dutys and expenses that are upon them, and the planters are become so much indebted that to one person or estate that is not, there are severall that are incumbered. This is ye reason that very unjustifiable methods have of late been tryed to come at money and to favour debtors, and the Assembly, being chosen by and composed of these planters, even the legislative authority itself has too often concurred in these practices. The appointing of paper credit, ye appraising of lands (taken in execution) to creditors at more then double the value it can be sold for, the erecting new and unnecessary offices and applying salaries out of ye publick for the officers (instances of which and even encroachments on H.M. Grants may be seen in several late Acts of that Island, the litigiousness of the people, the expense of the law, and other delays and difficulties that are put upon creditors, ye many endeavours to raise the current coin of ye Isle, ye generall decay of trade and credit are melancholly instances of ye poverty of the people. Another misfortune that ye Isle lies under, is their unhappy divisions, there being two partys in the Isle violently set against one another, viz. those that have ye majority of ye Council and Assembly, and their party, and those that have not, insomuch that for several years past there has been and still is a constant and furious contention amongst ye inhabitants who shal get this majority, and those that have got it have by unjustifiable methods try'd to keep it, the true reason of this hot contention for ye majority of ye Council and Assembly is because those that have it do imediately put themselves and those that adhere to them into all the old offices and places of power and profit and often order new ones for them, and then protect themselves against prosecutions for their debts, and often fine those of the other party. In former times the Assembly had but one Office, viz. that of Treasurer, that they could recomend to, and yet that one Office used to make a great deal of party and contention; now, by ye means aforesaid, they have several offices to stir for. Of late, when Governors had liberty of taking presents from ye people if they concurred and agreed with ye party that had ye majority, then exorbitant taxes were imposed, extravagant laws were made, ye Courts of Justice favourd some and violently persecuted and fined others, and ye spoyl was divided, but now since ye Governor has not yt. advantage nor temptation if he do not go into ye measures of ye majority of ye Council and Assembly, nor concur with them when they propose revenge upon their enemys or advantage to themselves, and favour in their law-suits, then it is that a just administration is misrepresented. The people here that are interested in that Island, are either such as have plantations there but are not ingaged in ye debts and partys, and generally speaking, those can have no interest but in ye prosperity of ye Island, or they are merchants that have consignments from thence, and those comonly speak the language of those that employ them, and those that trade thither are for ye most part in an interest different from that of ye planters. Now, as to what concerns ye present circumstances of Barbados, with regard to ye complaints that are made against Mr. Crow, ye present Governor, it is to be considered that before he went thither, ye Isle was in ye utmost disorder and confusion, insomuch that, when he had equipt himself (and just ready to embark Envoy for Spain) he was dispatcht into Barbados in such hast that he was forced imediately to leave all his own affairs and his lady and family to follow him, and by his Instructions Mr. Sharp, Mr. Cox, Mr. Cleland, Mr. Milles, Mr. Holder and Mr. Walker were all appointed to be Members of ye Councill, but, there having been great complaints here against those gentlemen, that they had been ye promoters of ye Paper Act, there was a particular Instruction added requiring him upon his arrival to examine which Counsellors had misbehaved themselves in their Offices, and to remove them and put others in their places. Accordingly, upon his arrival, he comunicated this Instruction to ye Assembly then siting, and recomended ye inquiry to them, and they represented to him, and ye generalltry of ye people agreed with them, in accusing Mr. Sharp, Mr. Holder, Mr. Cox, Mr. Walker and Mr. Mills as ye authors of yt. pernicious law and other grievances. In ye meantime H.M. Mandamus follows Mr. Crow, confirming Mr. Holder of ye Councill, but Mr. Crow suspended the other four from ye Councill, and ye rather because, at his departure from England, ye Lords Commissioners of Trade were disposed to have absolutely dismist from ye Counsel all that voted for passing ye said Paper Act, had not gentlemen here concerned in the Isle prevailed to have it delayd till the Governor's arrival there, and to have it refered to him. Soon after Mr. Crow had suspended these gentlemen, H.M. approbation of Mr. Sharp's conduct was signified to him, and since Orders have been dispatcht for restoring ye said Sharp and the three other suspended Counsellors, and to dismiss Mr. Holder and Mr. Cleland, tho' ye latter was no ways concern'd in ye Paper Act, nor ever heard to any complaints against him. So that now ye misunderstanding of ye parties are greatly increased, and ye Governor's authority diminished thorough the hopes they have of being justified at home, and many are uneasy and provoked at his government by reason of ye great dispatch of justice in ye law-suits he found depending, and his presiding in ye Grand Sessions to prevent ye danger and confusion that thretend the Isle ye last time ye Court was held, and to moderate the extravigant fines and violent prosecutions that had been used and then were likely to be inflicted (on some), incensed others, so that ye parties, not finding their revenge or interest gratifyd, they turn their discontent against the Governor. To prevent the present danger of a forreign enemy and to ease ye inhabitants of ye great burthens and difficulties they lie under by ye expence of ye Militia for want of regular convoys and supplys, it is humbly proposed that ye fleet intended thither be imediately dispatched, and with it a full regiment of foot soldiers be sent, and that during the continuance of ye warr regular and proper convoys and crusers may be allowed. And as preceding. Recommend the dispatch of suits in the Courts etc. [C.O. 319, 1. pp. 116–120.]