America and West Indies: September 1723

Pages 337-346

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 33, 1722-1723. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1934.

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September 1723

Sept. 3.
704. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Justices. Representation upon Governor Shute's Complaint against the Assembly of the Massachusetts Bay, (v. Aug. 16, 1723 and cf. Report of Committee of Appeals, 29th May, 1725, set out, A.P.C. III. No. 75). We have made the best inquiry we could into the several facts therein set forth, all which we find to be verify'd by the printed votes of the said Assembly. 1st charge quoted (v. Aug. 16th). We were attended upon this occasion by some persons in behalf of the said Assembly, who altho' they were not instructed to make answers to the several facts charg'd in this Memorial, yet attempted to make a distinction in behalf of the House of Representatives, by alledging that altho' all trees of a certain diameter within the Province of Main, whilst growing, are reserv'd to the Crown for the use of the Royal Navy, by the Act for the preservation of white and other pine trees growing in H.M. Colonies of New Hampshire, the Massachusets Bay and Province of Main, etc. etc., yet the same being cut down and converted into loggs, the property was thereby changed and belonged to the Massachusets Bay as proprietors of the soil of the Province of Main. But this appears to us to be a scandalous evasion of the said Act, inasmuch as it would be very easy for the Assembly to employ people underhand to cut down the said woods, and then claim them as their own. Your Excellencies without doubt are appriz'd of what consequence it is that the Royal woods in America should be carefully preserv'd and we are very sorry to observe how impossible it is that any order should be taken in this matter whilst the inhabitants are so ill disposed, and the Surveyor General of H.M. Woods remains in Great Britain, absent from his duty. (ii) Col. Shute in his letter to this Board, 1st June, 1720, complained that the House of Representatives had contested H.M. right of putting a negative by His Governor on their choice of a Speaker, contrary to the Charter of the Massachusets Bay, which had obliged him to dissolve that Assembly. Whereupon we consulted Sir Robt. Raymond, H.M. Attorney General, who was clearly of opinion, that this right was expressly reserv'd to the Crown by the Charter, a copy of which opinion is hereunto annexed: But notwithstanding this, we find by the votes of the subsequent Assembly of 22nd Aug. 1721, that altho' they did then signifie to the Governor the name of the person whom they had chosen for their Speaker, yet upon the Governor's returning for answer, that he approv'd their choice, the House of Representatives sent him word, that they did not send up the foregoing message for his approbation, but for his information only; which we conceive to have been a great incroachment upon H.M. Prerogative. (iii) This we likewise conceive to have been another encroachment on the Royal Prerogative, nor do we ever remember to have seen an attempt of the like nature in any other Assemblies of H.M. Colonies abroad. (iv) On the 12th July, 1721, the Assembly adjourn'd themselves to the 18th, without the Governor's leave first obtain'd, which was an unusual and irregular proceeding, as appears by the precedent quoted in the Governor's Speech upon that occasion, and likewise by their own acknowledgement; But their attempt to adjourn themselves in the month of August following, from Boston to the town of Cambridge, without the Governor's leave, seems to be a matter of still higher consequence and worthy of your Excellency's animadversion. We cannot however pass over these two Articles, without observing to your Excellency's that it appears by several messages, particularly by their votes of 19th and 20th July, 1721, that the Representatives were fully appriz'd that the right of adjournment (for any time further than from day to day) was by their Charter vested in H.M. Governor for the time being. The words of their last message on that subject, were these, vizt., "The House of Representatives do truly confess and acknowledge that by the Royal Charter your Excellency and the Governors for the time being have the sole power and authority to adjourn prorogue and dissolve the Genl. Court. And the House further acknowledge that your Excellency ought to have been acquainted with the design and intention of the House in their adjournment from 12th to 18th July, before they did adjourn, and that it was so design'd, but casually omitted." Upon which occasion, we beg leave to observe, such is the unreasonable obstinacy of these people that at the very instant they are acknowledging the power of adjournment to be in the Governor only, they would assume that power to themselves, and instead of asking pardon for adjourning without leave from the Governor, they only make an excuse for not having acquainted him with their intentions to adjourn. (v, vi) All these facts, relating to the forts, stores of war, suspending of officers, and mustering the Militia, seem to us to be matters of the highest consequence, being direct usurpations of the Royal authority, and breaches of the known and indisputable right of the Crown, declared to be such by several Acts of Parliament, particularly by that of the 13th year of King Charles II. ch. 6., quoted. The persons who attended in behalf of the House of Representatives, in excuse for their having assum'd the power of mustering the Militia, alledg'd, that the Governor upon application from the House, had consented thereunto, and indeed upon perusal of their votes of the 17th Nov., 1722, one would naturally be induced to believe that application had been made to the Governor for that purpose, the mustering of the forces being mention'd in the preamble of their resolution which immediately precedes their Address upon that subject; But it appears very plainly by their votes of 20th Dec. following, that no application was ever made to the Govr. for mustering the forces in their Address, or any leave given by him for that purpose, copies of the said votes are hereunto annex'd, whereby it will appear how disingenuously as well as undutifully the said House of Representatives have acted in this particular. As to what concerns Col. Shute's complaint against the House of Representatives for having diminished his salary, the persons who appear'd in behalf of the House of Representatives alledg'd that altho' his salary of late years might be less than it formerly had been, 'twas still larger than what had been allow'd to his predecessor, and that they may give their Governor what salary they please, not being restrain'd in this particular by their Charter; However 'tis plain they have had but very little regard to H.M. Instructions on this occasion, who hath recommended to them to make an honourable provision for His Governor. Upon this occasion, we think it our duty to inform your Excys. that the inhabitants of the Massachusets Bay, which contains much the greatest part of New England, are incorporated by the Royal Charter of their late Majesties King William and Queen Mary, and are possess'd of a vast tract of land: Their Government consists of a Governor, Council and Assembly; But the Governor only is appointed by H.M. without any salary, but such as the people are pleas'd to give him, and that from year to year only. The Assembly consisting of 98, are chose by the people; and the Council consisting of 28 are chose by the Assembly. From so unequal a ballance in their Constitution, daily inconveniences occur; and your Excellencies may perceive by the several facts mention'd in this report, that the inhabitants far from making suitable returns to H.M. for the extraordinary priviledges they enjoy by their Charter, are daily endeavouring to wrest the small remains of power out of the hands of the Crown, and to become independant of their Mother Kingdom. The nature of their soil and product are much the same with those of Great Britain: The inhabitants are numerous, upwards of 94,000; their Militia consists of 16 regiments of foot and 15 troops of horse, making in the year 1718 about 15,000 men; And by a medium taken from the Naval Officer's account for three years, from the 24th June, 1714 to the 24th June, 1717, for the ports of Boston and Salem only, it appears that the trade of this Province annually employs no less than 3,493 sailors, and 492 ships, making 25,406 tons. Hence your Excellencys will be appriz'd of what importance, it is to H.M. service, that so powerfull a Colony should be restrain'd within the due bounds of obedience to the Crown, and be more firmly attach'd to the interest of Great Britain than they at present seem to be, which, we conceive cannot effectually be done without the interposition of the British Legislature, wherein in our humble opinion no time should be lost. [C.O. 5, 915. pp. 378–389.]
Sept. 3.
705. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Justices. After we had prepared preceding Representation, we received your Excellencies orders of Aug. 29th (q.v.), upon the petition of Thos. Sandford and Anthony Sanderson etc. Whereupon we beg leave to inform your Excellencies, that we never do take upon us to report upon any complaint referr'd to this Board, where private persons are concern'd, without communicating to them a copy of the complaint, and allowing them a reasonable time to make their defence. But Col. Shute's Memorial relating only to matters of Government, whereby no private person is particularly affected, consisting of breaches of H.M. Prerogative and of innovations on His Royal authority, tending entirely to the subversion of H.M. Government in that Province, and committed by several Assemblies no longer in being, the proofs of which facts are verify'd by the votes of the said Assemblies, which are printed by their order, and as they say, by their votes of 20th July, 1721, for their justification; we thought it highly incumbent upon us to lay a matter of so great importance before your Excellencys, without loss of time. But if it should be thought proper, when your Excellencys shall be pleased to take our report thereupon into your consideration; you may indulge the Petitioners in such further time for their defence, as to your Excellencies in your great wisdom shall seem convenient. [C.O. 5, 915. 389–391.]
Sept. 3.
706. H. Kelsall to Alured Popple. The Lords Commissioners of H.M. Treasury desire you will move the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations to deliver possession of the rooms in which their Lordships Office was lately kept to the Bishop of London, H.M. having been pleased to grant him the same in lieu of his lodgings at St. James's. Signed, H. Kelsall (in the absence of the Secrys.). Endorsed, Recd. 16th, Read 22nd Oct., 1723. Addressed. 1 p. [C.O. 388, 78. ff. 71, 72v.]
Sept. 4.
707. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Justices. Recommend for confirmation Act of New York, 1719, for running and ascertaining the lines of partition betwixt this Colony and Connecticut, having discoursed with the agents etc. [C.O. 5, 1124. pp. 327, 328; and (rough draft) 5, 1079. No. 135.]
Sept. 4.
708. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Lords Justices. Representation upon petition of Col. Vetch and other officers of the Expedition against Nova Scotia for grants of land etc. v. 21st July, 1719. The compass of land they at first petitioned for, being pretty large, upon discourse with them, they have reduced their request to a tract, described. Considering the present state of Nova Scotia, where the King has very few or no subjects except the garrison of Annapolis, and some persons settled at Cape Canço, it would be very much for H.M. service to grant it, upon proper conditions. They do voluntarily oblige themselves to make a settlement on or near the River of Le Have, of 400 families, in the space of 3 years, if no war should happen in the meane while with France, and to build one or more stockaded towns etc. But many other conditions and restrictions will be necessary with relation to the quit-rents, cultivation, naval stores, fishery and Govt., which we shall lay before your Excellys. when you shall command us so to do. [C.O. 218, 2. pp. 35–38.]
Sept. 4. 709. Deposition of Major Davison and Cutts Hassan that a declaration to the effect quoted July 21st, 1719, was read to the troops at Boston by order of General Nicholson. Signed, Cha. Davison, Cutts Hassan. Endorsed, Recd. Read 4th Sept., 1723. ½ p. [C.O. 217, 4. ff. 193, 194v.]
Sept. 5.
710. Lords Justices to the Governor of S. Carolina. Refer to repeal of two Acts (v. 27th Aug.), and continue:—We do hereby enjoyn, require and direct you not to give your consent on any pretence whatsoever, to any Act for encreasing of paper credit, or for altering or diverting the funds established by former Acts of Assembly there, for the gradual payment of sinking of bills issued, before H.M. re-assumed the Government of the said Province into His own hands. And also enjoyn, require and direct you to propose to the Assembly, to settle effectual funds for the speedy sinking and discharging of such additional bills of credit as have been issued, on pretence of the Acts abovementioned during your administration etc. Countersigned, Ch. Delafaye. Annexed,
710. i. Copy of Order in Council, Aug. 27, 1723. [C.O. 324, 35. pp. 45–49.]
Sept. 16.
New York.
711. Governor Burnet to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Refers to Act passed in 1719, for ascertaining the boundaries with Connecticut etc. (v. 19th Sept.). Continues:—Which Act was merely to perform, what had been agreed between the two Colonys in 1683 and confirmed by King Williams order in 1700, which agreement and order had never taken its full effect, through the backwardness of the Colony of Connecticut, who never could be brought to empower Commissioners sufficiently to run and ascertain the lines according to that agreement, which were yet left unfinished. But since the aforesaid Act passed in this Province, the Colony of Connecticut apprehending that their delaying and eluding to perform their part of the agreement, would turn to a reflection on them, and that they could not hinder this Province from running the lines of division ex parte in case the before recited Act of this Province should obtain the Royall assent, have pretended to take measures for running the said lines by consent, but upon their overtures made to this Province on that subject, it has appeared that they seemed indeed in words to consent, but in fact made no effectual step toward it, and instead of empowering Surveyors and Commissioners to run and ascertain these lines, they went no further than to empower them to perambulate them, as they express it, which trifling having been represented to them from hence, it has at last produced, an Act of that Colony passed in the month of May 1723 intituled, An Act for compleating and perfecting of the line of division between this Colony and New York etc. In which Act they endeavour to throw the whole blame on this Province, and yet in this very Act discover their true intention, by contradicting flatly the agreement and order before mentioned, and fixing the line contrary to the same, to the vast detriment and injury of this Province. To make all which appear, the Council and Assembly of this Province have named a joint Committee to report their opinion of the said Act of Connecticut, which they have done, and made report thereof to the Council Board, who have approved the said report, by which it manifestly appears that this Act of the Colony of Connecticut is full of fallacys and misrepresentations, and does tend to defeat and elude their agreement and King William's order thereon, and to the end that your Lordships may be satisfied thereof, I have herewith transmitted authentick copys of the said report, original agreement, order of King William, and late Act of the Colony of Connecticut, with a map, to explain them, and the resolution of the Council Board of this Province, that the said should be laid before your Lordships, in order that the whole matter may be set in a fair light before H.M., and that thereby all obstructions intended by the Colony of Connecticut to prevent H.M. assent to the Act past in this Province in 1719, may be effectually removed. Signed, W. Burnet. Endorsed, Recd. 9th Dec., 1723, Read 10th June, 1724. 6 pp. Enclosed,
711. i. Minutes of Council of New York, July 15–Aug. 13, 1723, relating to the settlement of the boundaries with Connecticut, referred to in preceding. 11 pp.
711. ii. Copy of Agreement between New York and Connecticut as confirmed by K. William III. 10 pp.
711. iii. Map explaining above and the claim of Connecticut. 1 p. The whole endorsed as covering letter. [C.O. 5, 1053. ff. 189–191v., 192v.–205, 206v.]
Sept. 16. 712. Attorney General to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Reply to 14th June, 1722 q.v. As the right of sending Representatives to the Assembly and the qualification of electors and elected were founded originally upon the Instructions given by the Crown to the Governour of New Jersey, and has already received alterations by different Instructions etc., I am of opinion by the same reason by new Instructions H.M. may lawfully make such new establishments as to the electing, and sending Representatives to the Assembly as Mr. Burnett desires (v. C.S.P. 1st Aug. 1721). But if there had been any Act of Assembly, passed and approved by H.M., whereby the manner of choosing Representatives etc. had been fixed, that would have had a different effect, but nothing of that nature appears to me, for as to the Act said to be passed by Lord Lovelace, it being an Act contrary to the Instructions, and never approved by the Crown, seems to me voyd etc. Signed, Rob. Raymond. Endorsed, Recd. 18th Dec., Read 1st Oct., 1723. 2 pp. Enclosed,
712. i. Duplicate of 14th June, 1722.
712. ii. Extract from Governor Burnet's letter, 1st Aug. 1721. [C.O. 5, 972. ff. 75–76, 77–78v., 80v.]
Sept. 19.
713. Order of the Lords Justices in. Council. Upon reading representation of 4th Sept., the Act of New York for ascertaining boundaries with Connecticut is referred to a Committee of the Privy Council. Signed, E. Southwell. Endorsed, Recd. 17th, Read 18th Dec., 1723. 1 p. [C.O. 5, 1053. ff. 167, 168v.]
Sept. 23.
714. Richard Harris to Mr. Popple. The people of Virginia, imitating those of Jamaica, have sent home a law for laying a duty of 40s. pr. head on all negroes imported etc. We find by experience such duties must be borne by the importers. All gains arising from the sale of negroes are chiefly from the freight, and the tax is therefore an oppression upon the navigation of the Mother Country. The former law of Virginia, laying a duty of £5 per head was such a discouragement to the traders to Africa, that they were thereby forced entirely to quit that Colony. It was obtained by overgrown planters who had negroes in abundance, to disable lesser planters, who had few, from increasing the growth of tobacco etc. The money arising from this duty is for the public expenses of the Colony and ought to be levied on themselves etc. "I question if it is not worthy of their Lordships' very mature consideration to prevent in the beginning our Colonies from laying their dutys either directly or indirectly on the Trade or Navigation of Great Brittain by the protection of whose Fleet and power they have had and cannot otherwise have their being and were they to account with us for the charges of their preservation 'tis not ten times what they are all worth in America could make good the same to England." Signed, Rd. Harris. Endorsed, Recd. 24th Sept., Read 12th Nov., 1723. Addressed. Postmark. 2 pp. [C.O. 5, 1319. No. 29.]
Sept. 24.
715. Governor Worsley to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Acknowledges letter of 13th June with thanks etc. Refers to letter of 16th July and enclosures following. Continues:—By the reading of all which, your Lordships will be able to judge of the nature of these people, but as it is very voluminous, I suppose your Lordships will not have leisure enough to peruse it, wherefore I have marked in the margent what is most material etc. Encloses Excise Act, "the dutys arriseing from thence will but barely serve for the currant expence of the year, for the payment of the matrosses etc., and tho' in its title it is said, 'tis to raise mony for carrying on the fortifications, yet these are in so ruinous a condition, and there is so great a want of stores, as your Lordships will se by the inclosed accounts etc., that I hope they may be induced to find out some means of raising money for these uses." Encloses Act appointing Agents in Great Brittain for the publick affairs of this Island, Minutes of Council, 24th May-7th Aug., 1723, Minutes of Court of Chancery, and Journal of Assembly, 30th July-10th Sept., 1723, and List of causes depending in the Court of Common Pleas, and correspondence between William Dalrymple, John Ashley and the Custom House Officers, "in which I have determined nothing being myself concerned in it, by having ordered the Custom-House Officers to sell the seizures in the manner as had been customary." Encloses list of fines etc. Continues:—I have formerly had the honour to represent to your Lordships the illegal trade that is carried on here betwixt this Island and Martinique, which will be impossible for me to prevent without a sloop of 12, or 14 guns, intirely under this Government's directions, as the French Government of Martinique has, for the French sloops, as well as the Barbados sloops, come and hover upon our coasts and take the opportunity in the night-time of running their commoditys on shoar, and the English often make two or three voyages to Martinique (or Sta. Lucia where they exchange their commoditys) before they enter their vessels. Your Lordships will se by the inclosed Representation of Mr. Manley the Collector at Speights, the want there is of boats, with a sufficient strength to take them, when they bring their goods on shoar: Besides the want of Officers, there being only twelve in this Island that can seize. The commoditys that they bring from Martinique are chiefly cacao, brandys, French silks, gloves, stockings etc., for which we even exchange our light bills, or reales, unless the French have a want of beef, or flower which is not so frequent as formerly, since from the Northerne Colonys, they are supplied with those commoditys, as well as with horses, cattle and timber, which they exchange chiefly for sugars and malasses, and at their return destil it into rum, by which means they inrich the French Colonys and impoverish these H.M. sugar colonys, especially since they may import rum into Great Brittain, much cheaper than from these parts. Martinique daily increases, and as the ground is new one negro there will cultivate it as well as two here. The vigorous effort they lately made upon Sta. Lucia sufficiently shews their intention when they are able. Encloses 15 Naval Office bonds, that ought to be prosecuted, for not being cancelled in due time, but as the Naval Officer says he can't be at the expence, and I am directed by my Instruction to have them prosecuted, which I can't do till I have the honour of H.M. commands whence the expence is to arise for the said prosecution. Signed, Hen. Worsley. Endorsed, Recd. 18th, Read 29th Nov., 1723. 8 pp. Enclosed,
715. i. Minutes of Council of Barbados, 7th June, 1723 ff.; relating to the hearing of the charges against Samuel Cox (v. preceding). Endorsed as preceding. 96 and 289 pp.
715. ii. Memorial of John Manley, Searcher, at Speights, to Governor Worsley. Vessels from Martinique dayly stand off and on these harbours. The boat men allowed by the Crown not being regularly maintained, and the Gunner of the Leeward Forts being undetermined whether he may bring such vessels under his guns, in order to their being examined, Memorialist is unable to prevent that practice, and desires directions therein from H.E. Signed, J. Manley. Endorsed, Recd. 18th Nov., 1723. 2 ¾ pp.
715. iii. List of (15) Naval Office bonds forfeited in Barbados, which ought to be prosecuted (v. covering letter). Signed, E. Charnley, D. Nav. Offr. Endorsed, Recd. 18th Nov., 1723. 1p.
715. iv. List of fines, and forfeitures made at the Grand Sessions of Barbados, 11th-14th June, 1723. Same endorsement. 1p.
715. v. Accounts of stores, forts and garrisons in Barbados, Feb., 1723. Same endorsement. 15 pp.
715. vi. William Dalrymple, Receiver General of H.M. Casual Revenue to [?Henry Lascelles, Collector]. Feb. 17, 1721/2. Objects to order of the Judge of the Admiralty leaving it in the power of the Custom House Officer who has made a seizure to sell the King's goods himself, and not employ the proper officer at his auction etc. Signed, Wm. Dalrymple.
715. vii. Correspondence by Samuel Cox, Mr. Lascelles, John Ashley, James Hannay, H. Hall, W. Forbes, relating to procedure in above case. Copy. 14 ¼ pp.
715. viii. Reply of William Dalrymple and John Ashley, Deputy Auditor General, to the Custom House Officers' answer to their Representation, charging them with concealing and discharging seizures without their privity etc. Auditor's Office, 30th May, 1723. 7 large pp.
715. ix. Reply of Officers of Customs to preceding. 15th July, 1723. Signed, Henry Lascelles, Collr., and 7 others. 6 ¾ pp. Nos. vi–ix endorsed, Recd. 18th Nov., 1723. [C.O. 28, 17. ff. 334–337v., 338v.–462, 463, 464, 465–470, 471–512, 513–539, 540, 541, 541v., 543, 545v., 546, 547v., 548, 549, 550, 551–552, 553–554v., 556–563, 564, 565, 566, 567, 568, 569, 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, 575, 576, 577, 577v.]
Sept. 29. 716. Petty Expenses of the Board of Trade, June 23–Sept. 29, 1723. v. Journal of Council. 5 pp. [C.O. 388, 78. ff. 73, 74, 77, 78, 81, 82.]
Sept. 30. 717. David Dunbar to [?Mr. Delafaye]. Prays for a confirmation of a grant of lands in St. Kitts. Has been confined for 11 months in the Fleet "upon some incumbrances in the late times of infatuation," and this would procure his liberty etc. Signed, David Dunbar. 1 p. [C.O. 152, 42. No. 127.]