America and West Indies: August 1728, 16-31

Pages 184-191

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 36, 1728-1729. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1937.

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August 1728, 16-31

Aug. 20. 366. Mr. Attorney General to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Reply to 6th Aug. Concludes:—No proof has been laid before me of the facts contained in the said papers, and therefore the following opinion proceeds only upon a supposition that they are represented in a true light etc. I conceive that the prosecution against Mr. Donavan being for the duty charged by the Act of Assembly of 1724 upon rum, and not for any penalty thereby inflicted, none of the clauses inserted in either of the said Acts for excluding the power of the Crown to grant nolle prosequi's in the cases of penalties do extend to this case, and altho' the said duty is appropriated towards the support of the Government of the said Island, yet I apprehend H.M. may properly judge, upon circumstances laid before him, how far it is reasonable to permit his officer to carry on a prosecution in H.M. name for the recovery of the said duty in a particular instance; wherefore I am of opinion that, as the circumstances of this case are represented, H.M. may lawfully order his Attorney General to stay proceedings and enter a nolle prosequi etc. Signed, P. Yorke. Endorsed, Recd. 24th, Read 28th Aug., 1728. 2¾ pp. Enclosed,
366. i. List of papers referred and returned (6th Aug.). 1 p. [C.O. 137, 17. ff. 72–73, 74, 75v.]
Aug. 20.
367. Governor Worsley to the Duke of Newcastle. The Assembly, upon the message the Council sent them (v. 14th Aug.), came to the following resolutions, (i) That the delays given to the passing of the Excise bill, are unpresidented, and the matters or amendments insisted upon, are no wise reasonable, but tend to the manifest injury and prejudice of the people in general, and to the infringement of the rights of this House, which in the end, must not only prove of ill consequence to H.M. interest, and Government, by the neglect of providing for the payment of the matrosses, and the repairs of the forts, etc. but to the great impoverishment of the people etc., in disposing of publick money without the inspection of the Representatives in the Genii. Assembly, (ii) That passing of orders for summs of money on account of the publick works and uses in this Excise bill, before such accounts are inspected into, examined, and approved of by the General Assembly, is of fatal consequence to the people of this Island, and their properties, and contrary to the true intent, obvious meaning, and plain construction of H.M. most gracious Instruction, so often before mentioned in the Minutes of this House, (iii) That this House in order to enforce their former reasons, still are ready to give the Members of H.M. Council another Conference, free and independent, which, if not comply'd with, this House, for many and weighty reasons, do continue of the same opinion as when the said bill passed this House, and therefore as before, do dissent to such pretended amendments." These, with the Minutes of the Assembly of the 13th instant relating to the Excise bill, were ordered to be sent to the Council. Refers to Minutes of Council for these and the Council's reasons for their amendments, " which were drawn up by a Committee of the Council, with the assistance of H.M. Attorney General; and the Assembly notwithstanding their 3rd resolution aforementioned, design to consider them the 29th instant. By this your Grace will observe what unaccountable notions are crept universally into the minds of the generality, almost of all the people of this Island ; I had thought of dissolving the Assembly immediately upon their passing such an Excise bill, after I had laid H.M. Instructions before them, but I was apprehensive, that, would only raise a greater flame in the countrey, especially as I have not received H.M. commands upon the conduct of the last year's Assembly ; however, to undeceive the people concerning their opinion of the rights and powers of the General Assembly ; I have ordered King William's repeal of that Act, which was the 18th May, 1699, to be published in all the Churches the 25th instant, and the reasons of the Council for their amendments to the Excise bill, are published in the four towns in this Island, which I hope will quiet, a little, the minds of the people, so as to prepare them for a dissolution, or at least a prorogation. P.S. The duplicate of my last letter with the papers annext, I have not been able to get copyed to go by this conveyance." Signed, Henry Worsley. Endorsed, Rd. Oct. 25th. 5 pp. [C. O. 28, 44. No. 123.]
Aug. 20.
368. Same to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Duplicate of preceding, mutatis mutandis. Signed, Henry Worsley. Endorsed, Recd. 25th, Read 29th Oct., 1728. 5 pp. Enclosed,
368. i. Minutes of Council of Barbados, 17th Aug., 1728. Endorsed, Recd. 25th Oct., 1728. Copy. 20 pp. [C. O. 28, 20. ff. 33–35, 36v.–37, 39–48v.]
Aug. 23.
369. Governor Hunter to Mr. Stanyan. Refers to following. Continues:—[The Assembly] stand prorogu'd to August at their own request, haveing enter'd into a tacit resolution to do no buss'nesse till they knew the fate of their sugar bill which by ye advice of ye Council I could not assent to. I'm afraid that Mr. Ayscough who it seems proposes to himself an interest in keeping on foot the old differences between the Council and Assembly will give me some trouble, there is nothing they dread here more than the countrey's falling again under his administration. I have done my best to save him from scrutiny in matters that I judg'd not material, but ye Assembly or ye majority there persist in their resolution to call him to acct. in matters within their cognizance such as the disposition of the publick money etc. The remote residence of Swymmer, Campbell and Stout putts me to a strait frequently for want of a quorum in Council etc. Repeats recommendation of A. Forbes, E. Charlton, and W. Needham to fill vacancies, and enquiry for commands relating to Mr. Coleman's Deputy's proposal, and for reprieve for Miller. Adds: I have labour'd hard for a reconciliation between ye Council and Assembly, but have not as yet succeeded. I hope I may in time. Some small change in ye Council might do it effectually etc. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, Rd. Nov. 24th. Holograph. 3 pp. [C. O. 137, 53. ff. 80–81v.]
Aug. 24.
370. Governor Hunter to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Encloses duplicate of Aug. 5th, and Minutes of Council and Journals of Assembly etc. Continues:—The Receiver General's accounts are incerted at length in the Minutes of the Council, by which your Lordships will percieve the true state of H.M. Revenue. I cannot promise etc. any great success from the Assembly when they meet again, of their passing into laws the several matters I recommended unto them at the opening of the last Session, but as the weather grows cooler so I hope their passions and little resentmts at one another will abate etc. Signed, Ro. Hunter. Endorsed, Recd. 23rd Nov., 1728, Read 25th Feb., 1729. 1¾ pp. [C. O. 137, 17. ff. 131, 131v., 132v.]
Aug. 25.
371. Mr. Harris to Mr. Popple. In reply to 20th Aug. Has not heard of any complaints against Governor Phenney, but has heard that several of the old inhabitants and some new settlers have left Providence because there is no Civil Government or Assembly, though the want of it has been represented from time to time for seven years. Continues:— "I am told his wife hath had differences with other ladys of ye Island but I am apt to think such bagatel storys will weigh little with their Ldps. Towards dispossessing one of ye best English Governours that ever was in America. Hath he squeezed £7000 a year from ye people for nothing, or can any accuse him of raising contributions of £6000 for passing laws he was directed to pass etc. On the contrary, hath he not built the very best fort in the British Colonies without any expence to the Government and for which the estimates laid before the Government amounted to £90 and £110,000, so as they were always discouraged from so chargeable an undertaking etc. I think he never had any salary from the Governmt. other then what attended his command of an Independent Company, and I doubt there is no better reason for his remove then ye pressing instance of another for his post. In short Governors of much merit being rare I could not say less of one so deserving tho' known to few and without a patron at home etc. Signed, Rd. Harris. Endorsed, Recd. 26th, Read 27th Augt., 1728. 1¾ pp. [C. O. 23, 2. ff. 160, 160v., 161v.]
Aug. 26.
372. Lt. Gov. Gooch to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Having received advice that application hath been made to your Lordships for repealing a law made here in the year 1726 for the more effectual preventing the bringing tobacco from North Carolina and the bounds in controversie ; I take the first opportunity to lay before your Lordships the reason of passing that law, and then to obviate some objections which I hear have been offered to your Lordsps. against it. As the people of Virginia have from its first settlement applied themselves solely to the making of tobacco, so they have from time to time tied themselves up to such certain rules in the planting, tending curing and packing of it, as they judged most expedient to advance and support its reputation in the European markets; and to prevent all fraudulent practices whereby their staple commodity might be depretiated. This naturally led them to consider and guard against the indirect practices of their neighbours ; since all their regulations must have been rendered vain if the next Province was left at liberty to pour in upon them all the trash tobacco they could make, and to export it hence as the manufacture of Virginia. This so much concerned the Virginia interest that to prevent it an act was made in the year 1679 whereby the importation of tobacco from Carolina and other parts without the Capes was prohibited under the penalty of forfeiture thereof. This Act continued in force until the year 1705 when all the Laws of the Colony were revised and brought into one body, and then an Act almost in the same words was prepared against the importing tobacco from North Carolina under the like penalty with the former; which last act, as I am informed, was seen and approved by your Lordships before it passed the Assembly here ; but as neither of the Acts were found effectual to prevent the mischief, tobacco being still clandestinely brought in to Virginia from Carolina and ship'd off, and there could be no forfeiture without a previous seizure, it was judged necessary by this last Act in 1726 to lay a further penalty on the seller or purchaser of such tobacco which is all the alteration this last law has made in the former prohibitions. And if the reasons upon which these prohibitions are founded, be just and provident, I doubt not the enforcing the same by an additional penalty will, by your Lordships, be judged so too. I hear only of three objections, my Lords, against the continuing of this Act. First, that the discouraging the people of Carolina from making of tobacco will lessen H.M. Revenue. The Second. That it will force the people of Carolina upon manufactures prejudicial to the trade of Great Britain. The third. That it is unjust and unneighbourly towards the people of that Province. As to first, I believe it is demonstrable that H.M. Revenue is no ways increased by the importation of more tobacco then can be consumed in Great Britain, since for all of that which is exported the whole duty is drawn back; and as the tobacco made in Carolina is of that sort which must be exported, being not fit for the home consumption, it is plain that the Customs will no ways be increased thereby, nor suffer any diminution if there was not one pound made in that Province. To the second, it must be answered; that the inhabitants of No. Carolina have been under the same restraint for these fifty years past, and yet no such manufactures have as yet been sett up amongst them ; and 'tis to be presumed that while they have other commodities, such as pitch, tar, pork, rice, hides and tallow with which they have hitherto supplied themselves by way of barter with the people of Virginia and the other Plantations, there will be no danger of their undertaking manufactures of their own, where they are provided with very few materials, and can be supplied from their neighbours at a cheaper rate. But my Lords, give me leave to say, that they who made this objection did not consider, how much greater inconveniencies may happen to the manufactures of Great Britain, should the inhabitants of Virginia, by an overstocking of the tobacco markets, and in consequence thereof the lowering of its price, find themselves under a necessity of leaving off planting, and of endeavouring to cloath themselves with their own manufactures, for which they have abundant more materials, both for woolen and linnen than the people of North Carolina can possibly have for many years. As to the last objection of the injustice to our neighbours of Carolina, who having no ports of their own are denied the benefit of the neighbouring ports to ship off the produce of their labour. Your Lordships I hope will allow me to say, according to the general rule, that every one ought to use his own, as thereby to do no injury to his neighbour; which will hold good as well in common policy as morality. So that the inhabitants of Carolina have no reason to complain, if they are restrained from making use of the ports and harbours of Virginia, when it is prejudicial to its own trade, and dos manifest injury to its own inhabitants. If the people of Carolina will make tobacco, and can ship it from their own ports, it will then be known where it was made, and Virginia will receive no discredit by it; but if they will put off their trash as the product of Virginia, it is a cheat upon the buyer and the general trade of this Colony must suffer by it. My Lords thus I have endeavoured to state this case in the clearest light I can, and submit it to your Lordships judgment; for as I had no hand in making the law now in question, I am little concerned in its fate whether it stands or falls ; only I should be sorry to find the people of Virginia disobliged by the repeal of this Act, which has for a long time been judged of great importance to the Colony ; when at the same time it only indulges a few in the next Province to employ themselves in that which will bring no reputation to the tobacco trade. And indeed if what the merchants in England urge be true that there is more tobacco already sent from hence than can be vended in the European markets ; your Lordships are the best judges whether the opening a new source be at this time seasonable. Signed, William Gooch. Endorsed, Recd. 19th Oct., Read 26th Nov., 1728. Holograph. 2¾ pp. [C. O. 5, 1321. ff. 85–86v.]
[Aug. 27.] 373. Martha Vere to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Before Capt. Phenney's arrival, 1721, Providence was in a hopeful state and some substantial traders supplied the inhabitants with a competency of provisions etc. But before many months, the Governor's wife by engrossing all the provisions brought to Providence and all the produce of the island and retailing the same at exorbitant prices has caused half the inhabitants to depart, leaving only those who are unable to remove and therefore at her mercy. After buying all the commodities that island produced, for voyages home, she told the inhabitants that the Governor would pay them, but his answer was that he meddled with none of his wife's affairs etc. The Governor and his wife inveigled from me an indented servant before his time. He occasioned the overseer of the negroes under my care to go off the island, because he offered to punish the slaves, whereby the slaves took such encouragement that they would do no work afterwards, but walk where they please, and threaten me with the Grandy Man, meaning the Governor, if I should offer to oblige them to it etc., till Mr. Skinner the Company's Factor came over and took that uneasy charge off my hand, sold the negroes and let the plantation go to decay. The Governor to prevent my comeing home used several unlawful methods, such as confineing me and exacted Chancery Court fees from me which he held to oblige me to deliver up to him the estate and child of one Capt. Gale, left by will under my guardianship. Several people from Bermudas have attempted to settle upon Providence but soon returned, by reason of arbitrary usage of the Governour and his wife. She has frequently brow-beated jurys and insulted Justices on the Bench and so hindered the execution of Justice that if any by Justice have been cleared she has found means of punishing them, by afterwards bringing them to the whipping post, and if condemned to any corporal punishment, she has in opposition had them released etc. Endorsed, Recd., Read 27th Aug., 1728. 1¾ pp. [C. O. 23, 2. ff. 158, 158v., 159v.]
Aug. 27. 374. Jeronimy Clifford to Lord Townshend. Asks for report upon his petitions, which his Lordship promised him a month ago to lay before the King. Is kept in a starving condition at his lodgings at Charing Cross through the wicked practices of powerfull adversaries etc. Signed, Jer. Clifford. Addressed. 1 p. Enclosed,
374. i. Same to Same. Aug. [ ], 1728. Refers to the damage and injustice inflicted upon him by the Dutch Governors and Council of Surinam, amounting to very great sums, and to H.M. Order in Council in his favour July 9, 1705. (v. C.S.P. 1704–5. p. xxix etc.), from which he has not yet been able to obtain any benefit. On 7th Jan. last, indeed, Sir Robert Walpole advised him to let drop his complaint against the Dutch. This he cannot do, because he has been informed by some persons in the Plantation Office and other great men at Court that upon the said Order in Council there had been paid into the Exchequer by the late Queen's private orders great sums for his account, which with 6 p.c. interest may now amount to £100,000, which hath or will be divided amongst some covetous people here etc. Signed, as preceding. 3¾ pp.
374. ii–v. Accounts of Mr. Clifford's claims against the Dutch Proprietors of Surinam, on account of his plantation (Corcabo) there etc., amounting to £241,894 sterl. Signed, as preceding. 26 pp. [C. O. 278, i. ff. 1–16.]
Aug. 28.
375. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Duke of Newcastle. Enclose following; to be laid before the King. Autograph Signatures. 1 p. Enclosed,
1728. 375. i. Same to the King. In reply to 22nd July, they have made enquiries of the Agent of Jamaica, the Contractors and Victualling Board etc., whom they quote. Conclude :—We can by no means propose to your Majesty, to make the alteration in the Act in question, desired by Mr. Donovan, it having ever been the custom for your Majty.'s Royal Predecessors either absolutely to accept or reject all such Plantation Laws as have from time to time been laid before them: But having consulted Mr. Attorney Genl., we humbly conceive your Majesty may considering the circumstances of this case be graciously pleased to grant Mr. Donovan a noli prosequi. And to remove all disputes that may at any time arise on cases of the like nature, propose, that the Governor of Jamaica be instructed to recommend to the Assembly the passing of a law for exempting from payment of duty all stores and provisions whatever at any time hereafter really and bona fide imported into Jamaica for the service of your Majesty's Royal Navy. And we are the rather encouraged to make this proposal because the same is perfectly agreeable to the general intention of your Majesty's Instructions to the Govr's. of all the Plantations, who are expressly restrained from giving their assent to any law whereby the Trade and Navigation of Great Britain may be anyways affected, and in our humble opinion laying a duty upon provisions or stores for your Majesty's Royal Navy, would be affecting our Navigation in a very essential part, and would in consequence be a tax laid upon Great Britain. [C. O. 138, 17. pp. 251–254; and (without enclosure) 137, 46. No. 55.]