America and West Indies: February 1732, 11-15

Pages 47-63

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 39, 1732. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1939.

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February 1732, 11-15

Feb. 11. 81. Deposition of Peter Shank, mariner, of Poole. Master of the sloop Nancy at Ferryland in Newfoundland in 1730, he was ordered by Thomas Taverner, master of the ship Samuel & Dove, to proceed to St. Johns in order to take in passengers to carry to the said ship. The pilot sent with him soon agreed with 25 passengers to transport them to Ireland. But William Keen, Justice of the Peace there told the pilot he should have no passengers and confined him, and sending for deponent told him he had a ship coming for passengers, and he should have none, and told him to be gone on the morrow. Keen arrested four of the passengers who had gone on board the sloop upon some slight pretence and took ashore 15 of their chests, so that deponent was obliged to sail with only 10 passengers etc. Signed, Peter Shank. Overleaf,
81. i. Samuel White to the Council of Trade and Plantations. As owner of the said ship and sloop, begs that Keen may be brought to justice etc. Signed, Samuel White. The whole endorsed as following. 1¼ pp. [C.O. 194. 9. ff. 87, 87 v.]
Feb. 11. 82. Deposition of John Moore, Christchurch, master of the Agnes and Mary brigantin. Deponent arrived at Trinity the second vessel. A dispute arising between two of his men on shore, Francis Squib and Jacob Taverner, J.P's in that harbour, put them in the stocks, and threatened to put deponent in the stocks also, when he demanded to be heard as Vice-Admiral. Deponent further saith, and Joseph Vallis, master of the Friend and Adventure, one of the people called Quakers attorneth, that the Admirals having held a Court and settled the price of fish in the said harbour, and in what manner all debts were to be collected according to custom, and affixed publick notice thereof at one side of the Church door, the said Justices caused it to be removed, and affixed at ye common whipping post. Signed, John Moors, Joseph Vallis. Endorsed, Recd, (with the petition from Poole v. 1st Feb.), Read 22nd Feb., 1731/2. ¾ p. [C.O. 194, 9. ff. 88. 88 v.]
Feb. 11.
83. Duke of Newcastle to the Council of Trade and Plantations. I have laid before the King the enclosed Addresses from the Council and the Assembly of Jamaica wch. 1 received yesterday from Major General Hunter their Governor ; and H.M. observing that they relate chiefly to the subject of the representations of the Assembly of Barbadoes and of the Governor, Council and Assembly of Antigua, which I sent you 24th Nov. etc., commanded me to transmit these likewise to your Lops., that you may also consider thereof and report to H.M. your opinion thereupon. P.S. Encloses also representation from New York upon the same subject for their report etc. Signed, Holles Newcastle. Endorsed, Recd. 14th Feb., Read 23rd March, 1731/2. 1 p. Enclosed,
83. i. Address of the Council of Jamaica to the King. St. Jago de la Vega. 27th Nov., 1731. Wee your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects your Council of Jamaica having taken into our consideration the declining state and condition of this island, think ourselves indispensably obliged in duty to your Majesty and in justice to ourselves and our country humbly to make some representation thereof to your Majesty. We etc. confine ourselves to the most obvious and visible causes of our misfortunes, the encrease and success of our rebellious slaves the decrease of our white people and the decay of our trade and planting interest. The first hath in some part been guarded against by your Majesty's great goodness in sending and we hope continuing amongst us two regiments of soldiers for our preservation. The decrease of our people is in great measure owing to our loss of commerce and therefore we shall endeavour to point out some of the many causes of this latter evil. We are of late years depriv'd of the most beneficial branch of our trade, the carrying negroes and dry goods to the Spanish coast, the loss of this occasioned the desertion of a considerable number of our seafaring men and others from this island for want of employment. A further discouragement to our trade is the frequent hostilitys committed by the Spaniards who regardless of the solemn treatys enter'd into with your Majesty spare no English vessel they can overcome, and from whom it has hitherto been in vain to attempt the obtaining any satisfaction in these parts. We likewise beg leave to observe that the Bays of Compeachy and Honduras were many years in the possession of your Majesty's subjects and reputed part of the territorys depending on jour Majesty's Government of this island and gave employment to a considerable number of shipping and people to cutt and carry logwood from thence but wee have been dispossessed of them by the Spaniards who likewise there seized and made prizes of a great number of ships belonging to your Majesty's subjects. The low value of our produce may be very justly attributed to the great improvement the French have made in their Sugar Colonys, by the encouragement given them particularly in allowing them to export their commodities to foreign marketts, without first introducing them into any of the ports of France, and from the lowness of their duties, and being under no necessity of double voyages they can affoard to undersell us. And likewise by the pernicious trade that is carry'd on from this island and your Majesty's Northern Colonys to the French Sugar Islands. It is well known that sugar and other commodities produced in the French and Dutch Colonys are frequently imported in to Ireland without introducing them into the ports of Great Britain and paying the duties as your Majesty's subjects of your Sugar Colonys are obliged to do, and consequently those forreigners are supplyed with provisions at easier rates than wee, and we are in a manner deprived of a very considerable markett in that part of your Majestys Dominions. Your Majesty's Northern Colonys import into this Island great quantitys of provisions and other goods, for which they take no part of our produce in exchange (a small quantity of molosses excepted) but are paid in bullion which they carry to Hispaniola and buy sugar, rum and molosses for their own use, this trade is not only unequal and injurious to us, but prejudicial even to themselves, and highly so to our Mother Country, and drains us of so much bullion in favour of France which otherwise must have center'd in Great Britain. We further beg leave to observe to your Majesty that cocoa was formerly one of the principal commodities of this Island and a great encouragement to the settling it, but that it is now lost which is in a great measure owing to the restriction and heavy duties laid on it in Great Britain, and possibly our sugar, rum, ginger and other produce may be attended with the same ill consequences if not timely remedyed. As the industrious planters of this Island have lately introduced coffee and begun to make plantations thereof, we humbly beg leave to represent it, and to address your Majesty for some encouragement either by a bounty on importation or otherwise, that such settlements may be carry'd on with the greater cheerfulness, etc. Our zeal for your Majesty's service in the preservation of thin Colony and the natural love we owe to ourselves and to a country in which is our all, has encouraged us to lay these particulars before your Majesty etc. Pray for relief etc. Signed, by order of the Council, Jos. Maxwell, Cl. Concil. Endorsed as preceding. 1 large p.
83. ii. Address of the Assembly of Jamaica to the King. We etc. Lay before the most indulgent and best of Princes our low and languishing circumstances, occasion'd by the great decay of our trade, the low value of our produce and the decrease of our people, which renders the present inhabitants unable to comply with those heavy and burthensome taxes, we were under the necessity of raising, for the support of your Majesty's Government of this Island, the reduction of our rebellious negroes, and the additional subsistance of the two regiments your Majesty was graciously pleas'd to send over. Repeat complaints against Spaniards for seizing shipping and dispossessing them of the Bays of Campeachy and Honduras; against the Northern Colonies for trade with French and Dutch Sugar Islands ; French trade with Ireland ; and duty on cocoa as in preceding. Request bounty for coffee as in preceding. Conclude: It's from your Majesty's sole goodness and interposition, that we can propose to ourselves relief from the inconveniencys and hardships we labour under, by promoting the further settleing of this Island, and easing it's inhabitants, of some of the great expences they are at present lyable to, by double voyages and the charges attending thereon, which we conceive will be of advantage likewise to Great Britain, nothing being a more certain truth, than that whatever riches this Island can acquire, must at last necessarily center in the Seat of Government. May we, your poor subjects of this Island, be an eminent instance of your Majesty's having a just right to that most glorious title, of being the Asserter of the Liberties of Europe, that we may heartily joyn with the rest of mankind, in proclaiming, that your most excellent Majesty, is not only the greatest, but the bent and justest Prince that ever reign'd. Signed, John Stewart, Speaker. Same endorsement.¾ large p.
83. iii. Representation of the President, Council and Assembly of New York relating to the trade of the Northern Colonies and Sugar Plantations. Duplicate of C.S.P. Nov. 2, 1731, encl. i. q.v. Endorsed, Recd. 14th Feb., Read 23rd March, 1731/2. 1 large p. [C.O. 137, 19. ff. 121, 122 v., 124–125 v. (without enclosure iii.) ; and [enclosure iii. only) 5, 1055. ff. 237, 237 v.]
Feb. 14.
84. Mr. Balaguier to Mr. Popple. The Governour of Carolina having been acquainted by Lord Carteret, that he has pass'd some laws and open'd the Land Office there; which are things that may concern my Lord in his property etc., requests the Board to order him copies of such acts and papers as may relate to the granting of lands and remitting quit-rents etc. Signed, John Ant. Balaguier. Endorsed, Recd. 14th., Read 15th Feb., 1731/2 1½ pp. [C.O. 5, 362. ff. 49, 49v., 52 v.]
Feb. 14.
85. Lt. Governor Dunbar to Mr. Popple. Abstract. Upon some petitions to the General Court at Boston against him, by people, such as Mr. Waldo, who call themselves proprietors of land here, they have voted an Address to H.M. against him, and to claim their jurisdiction here, which by the 4to printed books he formerly sent, they disclaimed. They only do it ought of a natural spirit to oppose anything from the Crown. Hopes the Board will notice that even his implacable enemies, Mr. Belcher and his party, do not charge him with selling those lands, or ever making any private advantage therefrom etc. As to the petitions in the votes for the lands on the westward of Shepscot river, he gave an account to all the offices to which he is accountable, that in Nov. 1729 he chose and reserved the land between Shipscot and Kennebeck river for the Royal Navy, as having the best pine trees and white oaks upon it, of any place he has yet discovered on this side Kennebeck river. This he has told to those who call themselves proprietors of those lands, as often as they have applied to him, and that if they were inclined to settle and improve lands they should have as much as they would undertake upon H.M. terms to other people on the east side of the same river, which was rather better land, but had not that growth of large pines and white oaks. Continues : " Several gentlemen have accepted the offer, viz. Collo. Quinzy, Collo. Phips, Mr. Flynt, a senior Fellow of their Colledge, and others, and a number of other people who called themselves proprietors and the Muscingos Company, at first waved their pretentions and are now settleing upon the King's terms there, which I have called Torrington. Many New England men are among all the new towns, no man can say I ever objected against any of them, nor have made ye least distinction, tho' they do not the like in the Massachusets bay, where H.M. English and Irish Protestant subjects arc stigmatized with the epithets of foreigners and strangers " etc. The Board knows these dutyfull addressors, and no doubt all justice will be done to them. Has no fear that such pretended titles can be allowed to so great a country, capable of being made a usefull one to England, when under the care of any man that shall be sent with power and means to do it etc. Mr. Waldo's claim was only intended as a precedant ; if he recovered it, claims would be endless, until there would not be a spot left for H.M. use within fifty miles of the seashore. Continues:—"As for Mr. Toppan one of their preachers, he claims about 400.000 acres where I have layd out the towns of Walpole, Newcastle, Townshend and part of Harrington, and there are many pretenders to several parcels of the same lands." Begs to be believed that he has never disturbed anybody he found settled on the east side of Kennebeck river ; indeed there were but 2 families, except 13 on Arrouzick Island, in Kennebeck river etc., but has forbidden people to cut down white pine-trees on the west side of Shepscot river etc. " In the votes which my brother will shew you, you will see one for a new edition of a platform for Church Governmts. in New England. I have wrote to Boston to send some of them to you and I have now sent one to my brother, wch. if my Lords will permit him to shew to them, I am persuaded their Lordships will be filled with resentment at it, for my own part I think it a most extraordinary peice," etc. Is impatient for letters, to hear the Board's opinion relating to Governor Belcher and himself, but more especially as to the settlement. The Representatives of N. Hampshire have sent home one of their members to lay their grievances before the Board. His name is Rindge : he has been always of that side which showed a dutifull regard to H.M. Instructions etc. Signed, David Dunbar. Endorsed, Recd. 17th April, Read 13th May, 1732. Holograph. 6⅓ pp. [C.O. 5, 874. ff. 95–98 v.]
[Feb. 15.] 86. List of Acts passed in the Colonies of New York, New England, and Virginia, prohibiting the selling of rum to the Indians. Laid before the House of Commons, pursuant to their order. Virginia, act of 1705 prohibits selling rum in an Indian town or land. Mass. Act of 1693, lays a penalty on selling any strong liquors to them; 1725,1729, 1731. Truck masters only to furnish Indians with rum. New York act, 1728, lays penalties for selling strong liquors to the Indians without licence ; acts confirming said act lays duty on all rum sold to Indians, (6d. per gall.). [C.O. 5, 1125. p. 206.]
Feb. 15.
87. Representation of the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations to the House of Commons in answer to their Addresses to H.M. of 5th May, 1731, and 1 oth Jan. last relating to laws made in the Plantations, manufactures set up and trade carried on there, which may affect the Trade, Navigation and Manufactures of this Kingdom. Refer to their circular letter to Governors of June 10, 1731. After the second Address of the House, Jan. 15th, they thought it their duty to take the sense of the House, whether they should report at once, or wait for returns from all the Governors, having at that time received answers from Virginia and Pennsylvania only. Continue :—And it seeming to be the sense of this honble. House that the Board should make such a report as they were then able to draw up from the books and papers in their Office ; we have accordingly done so, having since received returns also, from Maryland, New York, New England, South Carolina, Rhode Island and Jamaica, etc. We shall begin with what regards the Laws, and that the House may be the better apprized thereof, shall beg leave to premise some particulars relating to the constitution of the several Colonies and to the powers vested in them for the passing of Laws. Many of the British Colonies in America are immediately under the Government of the Crown ; enumerated ; others are vested in Proprietors, as Pennsylvania, Maryland, and not long since the Bahamas and the two Carob'nas also. There are likewise three Charter Governments. The chief of these is the Massachusets Bay, commonly called New England, the constitution whereof is of a mixed nature, where the power seems to be divided between the King and the People ; but in which the People have much the greater share ; for here the people do not only chose the Assembly, as in other Colonies, but the Assembly chuse the Council also, and the Governor depends upon the Assembly for his annual support, which has too frequently laid the Governors of this Province under temptations of giving up the prerogative of the Crown, and the interest of Great Britain. The two remaining Provinces, Connecticut and Rhode Island, are Charter Governments also, or rather Corporations where almost the whole power of the Crown is delegated to the People ; for they chuse their Assembly, their Council and their Governor likewise annually, and hold little or no correspondence with our Office. It is not surprizing that Goverments constituted like these last mentioned, should be guilty of many irregularities in point of trade, as well as in other respects. All these Colonies however, by their several constitutions, have the power of making laws for their better Goverment and support, provided they be not repugnant to the laws of Great Britain, nor detrimental to their Mother Country. And these laws when they have regularly passed the Council and Assembly of any Province, and received the Governor's assent, become valid in that Province, repealable however by His Majesty in Council upon just complaint, and do not acquire a perpetual force, unless confirmed by H.M. in Council. But there are some exceptions to this rule in the Proprietary and Charter Governments ; for in the Province of Pennsylvania they are only obliged to deliver a transcript of their laws to the Privy Council within five years after they are passed, and if H.M. does not think fit to repeal them in six months from the time such transcript is so delivered, it is not in the power of the Crown to repeal them afterwards. In the Massachusetts Bay also, if their laws are not repealed within three years after they have been presented to H.M. for his approbation or disallowance, they are not repealable by the Crown after that time. The provinces of Maryland, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, not being under any obligation by their respective constitutions to return authentick copies of their laws to the Crown for approbation or disallowance, or to give any account of their proceedings, we are very little inform'd what is doing in any of these Governments. All the Governors of Colonies who act under the King's appointment, ought within a reasonable time to transmit home authentick copies of the several acts by them pass'd, that they may go thro' a proper examination ; But they are sometimes negligent in their duty in this particular, and likewise pass temporary laws of so short continuance that they have their full effect even before this Board can acquire due notice of them. Some attempts have been made to prevent this pernicious practice. But the annual support of Government in the respective Colonies, making it necessary that laws for that purpose should pass from year to year, they have frequently endeavoured in those laws, as well as in others of longer duration, to enact propositions repugnant to the laws or interest of Great Britain, of which this Board have never failed to express their dislike to the Crown, and many laws have from time to time been repealed upon that account. But as to such laws as do not directly fall within the above rule, of which no complaint is made and where the Board are doubtfull of the effect they may have, it has always been usual to let them ly by probationary, being still under the power of the Crown to be repealed in case any inconvenience should arise from them. It has also been usual that where a law has contained many just and necessary provisions for the benefit of the Colony where the same pass'd, intermix'd with some others lyable to objection, to let the same ly by, giving notice to the Governor of the Province when that law pass'd that it shuld be repealed if he did not within a reasonable time procure a new law, not liable to the like objections, to be substituted in the place thereof. And from the constant discharge of our duty herein, it has so happened that upon the most diligent enquiry into all the acts passed in the several British Colonies since the accession of His late Majesty to the Throne, there are none that have yet come to our knowledge still remaining unrepealed or unexpired which are lyable to objection, excepting those only in the following list ; and even against them no complaint has been made to this Board till very lately vizt :—In the Massachusets Bay : An act passed in 1728, for the encouragement of making paper. This manufacture, as will appear by the following returns on the subject of trade and manufactures, has hitherto made but a very small progress, and can hardly be said in a strict sense to interfere with our own paper, because almost all the paper sent to New England from hence is foreign manufacture, but it certainly interferes with the profit made by the British merchant upon foreign paper sent to this Province ; However no complaint has ever been made to us against this law. By the return to our circular letter from the Governor of New Hampshire, we are informed that an act pass'd many years since in that Province for the encouraging of iron works, by which the exportation of iron ore is prohibited ; But upon the most diligent enquiry no such act is to be found in our Office, and we believe none such was ever transmitted to this Board ; however not knowing whether this act might not have pass'd since the late King's accession, we have inserted it in this list. In New York, a law pass'd in 1728 to repeal some parts and to continue and enforce other parts of the act therein mentioned, and for granting several duties to H.M. for supporting his Government in the Colony of New York from 1st Sept., 1728 until 1st Sept., 1733, wherein amongst other duties one was laid of five ounces of plate or forty shillings in bills of credit on every negroe imported from Africa, and a duty of four pounds on every negroe imported from any other place. The Plantations in all times past have laid duties upon the importation of negroes, and as the merchts. have naturally encreased their price in proportion to those duties, so it is but lately that complaints have been made against these duties, unless they went to excess ; But the Board are of opinion that it would be more for the convenience of the trade that these duties should for the future be paid by the purchaser rather than by the importer, and His Majesty has upon our representation be pleased to send an instruction to that effect to all the Governors in America. North Carolina has but lately been purchased by H.M., and no laws pass'd there since that purchase by H.M. Govr., are yet come to our hands. But we have lately received a collection of the laws of that Province pass'd during the time of the late Proprietors, amongst which we find two acts pass'd in 1715 which seem to come within the meaning of the order of the House vizt., an act concerning attornies from foreign parts and for giving priority to country debts, and an act for raising a publick magazine of ammunition, upon the tunnage of all vessels to this Government. Both these laws are very partial to the inhabitants of that Province, the first by giving the preference to themselves in the recovery of their debts, before the subjects of this Kingdom, and the second by excusing such vessels as are owned, or in part owned by the inhabitants of that Colony, from paying the powder duty thereby impos'd; otherwise we should have no great objection to the last of these laws, because a powder duty hath always been collected and paid in all the Colonies abroad, by ships trading thither, without complaint to this Office. In South Carolina a law pass'd in 1727 for carrying on several expeditions against the Indians and other enemies etc., by which a duty was revived of £10 that country mony, which amounts to about £1 8s. 6d. sterl. on every negroe of above 10 years old, if imported directly from Africa, and of £5 pr. head if under 10 years of age and not sucklings, and if imported from any other Plantations above 10 years old £50 and under 10 years old £5 except proof were made that they were all new negroes and not been above 6 months in America. Complaint was made against this act by the merchts. in 1729, not for the value of the duty but for the manner of the collection, whereupon the Board propos'd to H.M. at the request of the said merchts. that the same should be made payable for the future by the purchaser and not by the importer, from whence the Instruction already mentioned under the head of New York, took its rise. By the Charter of Pennsylvania it has already been observed, that the Proprieter is obliged to offer the laws of this Province to the Crown for approbation or disallowance within 5 years after they are pass'd, etc. But since 1715, that article has been evaded, and the laws of this Province have not been transmitted to this Board, except occasionally an act or two, so that we are not enabled to lay a state of the laws of this Province before the House. Maryland is a province of which the Lord Baltemore is absolute Proprietor, and as by his patent he is not obliged to lay the laws passed there before the Crown for approbation, we know little of them except when the merchts. have reason to complain of any of them, two of which are to be found in a list of laws lately delivered to this Board by the merchets.. which will be inserted in this report, these laws lay duties on the importation of negroes and of Irish servants. In Bermuda a law passed in 1731 entituled an act to supply the deficiency of the several funds in these, islands, for finishing the fortifications, and for defraying the other charges of this Government. This law lays a duty of 3 p.c. on all goods and merchandizes not belonging to the inhabitants, and therefore now lies before H.M. for his disallowance. At the Bahamas an act was passed in 1729 for levying divers sums of mony for defraying the publick charges etc., which laye a duty of 18d. per barrel on beer or cyder and 3s. pr. gross if in bottles. There are other duties also laid by this act from which the inhabitants are exempted ; and therefore we should immediately have laid the same before H.M. for his disallowance ; but considering the extream poverty of this new Colony, and the great difficulty they are under to find out funds to support their government, as these duties are but small, we have chosen to let this act lye by, till the Governor can get another passed for the like purpose not lyable to the same objections. In Jamaica an act was passed in 1731 to oblige the several inhabitants to provide themselves with a sufficient number of white people or pay certain sums of money in case they shall be deficient, and for laying a duty upon shipping and applying the same to several uses, there is one shilling per ton laid upon all shipping coming from any place to the northward of the Tropick of Cancer or trading any way to the southward of the Tropick of Cancer for the space of one year. This is one of those annual laws pass'd for the support of Government, and is in substance the same with many others pass'd for the same purpose, of which no complaint was ever made to us, till lately, it expires in March next and came to our hands the latter end of June last : By another act. for raising several sums and applying the same to several uses etc., there is a duty of 15s. a head laid on the importation of all negroes and other slaves and 30s. a head on the exportation of them. This law was pass'd and expires at the same time with the foregoing. We have expressed our dislike of in a report H.M., 25th Aug. last. These are all the laws pass'd since His late Majesty's accession, that can reasonably be said to fall within the Order of the House, nor has complaint been made to us till very lately of any others of more antient date. But upon a petition to H.M. from the merchts. of London in behalf of themselves and others complaining that " as the laws now stand in .some of the Colonies H.M. subjects residing in Great Britain are left without any remedy for the recovery of their just debts, or have such only as is very partial and precarious. As also that in several of the said Colonies or Plantations greater and higher duties and impositions are laid on their ships and goods " etc. The said merchts., being desired to acquaint the Board whether they knew of any particular laws in the Colonies, against which they had reason to object. They did deliver to us a list of laws wherein the said Colonies appear to have been very partial in their own favour, in some of them exempting their persons from arrests, in others giving a preference to the inhabitants before the British merchant in the recovery of debts, and exacting duties where a less burthen is laid upon their own effects than upon those of the British merchts. But as some of the laws in that list are already taken notice of in this Report, others expired or long since repealed, we shall only enumerate such of them as we apprehend to be still in force. By another act pass'd in Virginia in 1663 concerning foreign debts, [debts] owing to persons non residents are not pleadable, unless for goods imported. By an act pass'd in Virginia in 1664, for the priority of payment to the country creditors, the priority in the payment of debts is given to the creditors who are inhabitants of that Province. By another act pass'd in Virginia in 1668 entituled Privilege of Virginia owners, Virginia owners are exempt from paying the duties of 2s. per hhd. which the merchants of Great Britain and other owners of ships are obliged to pay. By another act passed in Virginia in 1669, for freeing Virginia owners from Castle duties ; the Virginia owners are also exempt from paying the Castle duty of 1s. '3d. pr. tun, which the merchants and others residing in this Kingdom are obliged to pay. By another act pass'd in Virginia in 1680, for raising a publick revenue for the better support of the Government etc., the Virginia owners have the above priviledges conferr'd to them. By an act pass'd in Maryland in 1704, confirming to the Governors the duty of 3d. per tun upon the burthen of ships and vessels, a duty of 3d. per tun is imposed on English ships from which the ships of the inhabitants of the said Province are exempted. By another act pass'd in the same Province in 1704, for laying an imposition on several commodities exported etc., non-residents are obliged to pay a double duty for furs exported ; traders from Great Britain were then deemed residents. But by the Collection of Laws printed in Maryland, it appears that an act was pass'd in 1723, that Province being then under the government of the Proprietor, entituled an act for repealing such part of an act for laying an imposition on several cmmodities exported us related to laying a duty on furs and skins only, and for laying an imposition on pork, pitch and tar in lieu thereof etc., whereby a duty is laid on pork of one shilling per barrel or 6d. per cwt., on pitch one shilling per barrel, and on tar 6d. per barrel imported by any but inhabitants, in lieu of the aforementioned duty on furs, and the English traders' priviledge of being deemed inhabitants is not presei'ved by this law. By another act pass'd in the same Province in 1715, for laying an imposition on negroes and on several sorts of liquors imported and also on Irish servants, to prevent the importing too great a number of Irish Papists into this Province, a duty of 3d. pr. gallon is laid on all liquors imported and also a duty of 20s. per head on negroes and Irish servants, which duties are not to be paid, if imported in vessels belonging to inhabitants of the said Province. By another act pass'd in 1704 for the relief of creditors in England against bankrupts who have imported any goods into this Province not accounted for, the British creditors of bankrupts are put under such difficulties in the recovery of their debts as are almost unsurmountable. It is easy to observe from the date of the laws in the foregoing list, that most of them were pass'd long ago, and very probably thought reasonable at the time when they were enacted as encouragements to such as should be disposed to transport themselves and lay out their small fortunes in America, which we conceive to be the reason why no complaint was ever made that we know of against them till now. But as we have lately made a report to H.M. upon the petition of the merchants etc., which report now lyes before this Honble. House, we beg leave to refer thereto as it contains many things pertinent to the present enquiry. Trade and Manufactures. The state of the Plantations varying almost every year more or less in their trade and manufactures, as well as in other particulars, we thought it necessary for H.M. service, and for the discharge of our trust from time to time to send certain general Queries to the several Governors in America, that we might be the more exactly inform'd of the condition of the said Plantations, amongst which there were several that related to their trade and manufactures, to which we received the following returns. Nova Scotia. Col. Vetch, Aug. 1720, informed us that there were no manufactures established there, and that the trade of that Province consisted chiefly in furrs, peltry, codfishing, some small matter of naval stores and lumber. New Hampshire. Governor Shute, 1719, said that there were no settled manufactures in that Province, and that their trade principally consisted in lumber and fish. Massachusetts Bay in New England. Col. Shute informed us that in some parts of this Province the inhabitants work'd up their wooll and flax and made an ordinary coarse cloth for their own use, but did not export any, that the greatest part both of the woollen and linnen cloathing that was then worn in this Province was imported from Great Britain, and sometimes linnen from Ireland ; But considering the excessive price of labour in New England, the merchants could afford what was imported cheaper than what was made in that country. That there were also a few Hatters set up in the maritime towns, and that the greatest part of the leather used in that country was manufactured amongst themselves. That there had been for many years some iron works in that Province, which had afforded the people iron for some of their necessary occasions. But that the iron imported from Great Britain was esteemed much the best and wholly used by the shipping. That the iron works of that Province were not able to supply the 20th part of what was necessary for the use of the country. New York. General Hunter in his answer, 1720, informed us that they had no manufactures in that Province that deserved mentioning, and that their trade consisted chiefly in furrs, whalebone and oyl, pitch tar and provisions etc., that there were in New Jersey no manufactures that deserved mentioning and that their trade was cheifly in provisions, exported to New York and Pennsulvania. Pennsylvania. Col. Hart, formerly Governor of Maryland, who lived many years in the neighbourhood of this Government, said (1720) that their chief trade lay in the exportation of provisions and lumber, and that they had no manufactures established, their cloathing and utensils for their houses being all imported from Great Britain etc., and that the principal trade of Maryland was in tobacco, and that at that time, tobacco bearing a reasonable price, all manufactures or trade that might arise from any other produce of that country were laid aside. Virginia. In the year 1720 we had no return from tliis Province to our circular queries. Carolina. Messieurs Boone and Barnwell, then Agents for this Province in their answers to said queries etc. 1720 mentioned no manufactures except mirtle wax candles, and said that the trade of that Province consisted chiefly in rice, naval stores, lumber, furrs, peltry and provisions. These were all the returns we received to our Queries to the year 1720, and such was the state of the British Colonies in America at that time with respect to trade and manufactures. And that we might constantly be inform'd what alterations had happen'd therein, we frequently repeated the abovementioned Queries, requiring annual answers thereto from the several Governors in America, who have not all of them been equally punctual in their correspondence upon this subject. Quote their representation of 5th Dec. 1728 upon silk, linnen and woollen manufactures (v. C.S.P. under date). Continue :—Upon a further enquiry, we did not find that those people had the same temptation to go on with those manufactures during the time that the bounty upon Naval Stores subsisted having then encouragement to employ their leisure time in another way and more profitably both to themselves and this Kingdom. For the height of wages and the great price of labour in general in America made it impracticable for the people there to manufacture linnen cloth at less than 20 pr. cent more than the rate in England, or woollen cloth at less than 50 pr. cent dearer that that which is exported from hence for sale. But as the small quantities which they manufactured for their own use were a diminution ofthe exports from this Kingdom we conceived, it was to be wished, that some expedient might be fallen upon to divert their thoughts from undertakings of this nature, so much the rather because those manufactures in process of time might be carried on in a great degree unless an early stop were put to this progress, and the most natural inducement that we could think of to engage the people of America to desist from these pursuits was to employ them in naval stores, wherefore we took leave to renew our repeated proposals that a reasonable encouragement should be given for the making, raising and manufacturing of naval stores of all kinds in the Plantations from whence we might he furnished in return for our manufactures, and much mony saved in the ballance of our trade with the Northern Crowns, where these materials are chiefly paid for in specie. But several alterations have hap pen'd since that time and by such lights as we have been able to acquire from the returns lately made us, as well as from the books and papers in our Office, and from informations given us by persons of credit, we find the present state of the British Colonies with respect to trades carried on or manufactures set up there, detrimental to the trade and navigation and manufactures of Great Britain to be as follows :— Nora Scotia. Quote Governor Philips' letter 24th Nov. 1731. Conclude : But on this occasion we think it our duty to take notice that we have received complaints of the very bad manner in which the Canso fish is cured which brings the British fish into discredit in foreign markets. New Hampshire. Quote Governor Belcher. 4th Dec. 1731, and the same upon Massachusetts Bay. Conclude : We are likewise informed by some letters of older date from Mr. Belcher in answer to our annual queries, that there are some few copper mines in this Province but so far distant from water carriage, and the ore so poor that it is not worth the digging. Col. Dunbar, Surveyor General of H.M. woods in his letter of Sept. 15, 1730, takes notice that the people of New England have an advantage over those of Great Britain in the drawback allowed for all India and other goods exported which pay a duty in Great Britain and no duty is paid upon importing them into the Plantations. He has likewise sent this Board several samples of edge tools made in New England. And in his letter to our Secretary of the 4th of June, 1731, he says they have six furnaces and nineteen forges for making iron in New England. He also informs us, 19th Aug., 1730, that in this Province many ships are built for the French and Spaniards in return for rum, molosses, wines and silks which they struck (sic) there by connivance. These informations have been in great measure confirmed by Mr. Jeremiah Dunbar, Deputy Surveyor of the Woods and also by Mr. Thomas Coram a person of reputation who resided many years in New England, to which they have added, that great quantities of hats are made in New England of which the Company of Hatters of London have likewise lately complain'd to us, and Mr. Jeremiah Dunbar further says, that great quantities of hats made in that Province are exported to Spain, Portugal, and our West India islands, and that they make all sorts of iron work for shipping : and that are several still houses and sugar bakers established in New England. New York. Mr. Rip Van Dam, 29th Oct. last, informs us that there are no manufactures established there that can affect the manufactures of Great Britain. And as to the Trade and Navigation of the Province he acquaints us, that there is yearly imported into New York a very large quantity of the woollen manufacture of this Kingdom for their cloathing which they should be rendered uncapable to pay for, and reduced to the necessity of making for themselves if they were prohibited from receiving from the foreign sugar colonies in mony, rum, sugar, molosses, cocoa, indico, cotton-wooll, etc., which they at present take in return for provisions, horses, and lumber, the produce of that Province and New Jersey, of which he affirms the British sugar Colonies do not take off above one half. But the Company of Hatters of London have inform'd us that hats are manufactured in great quantities in this Province. New Jersey. Mr. Morris who is at present Commander in Chief of this Province has made no particular return for the same. Pennsylvania. Major Gordon, Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania, in his answer, received the 24th of the last month, informs us, that he does not know of any trade carried on in that Province that can be injurious to this Kingdom, and that they do not export any woollen or linnen manufactures, all that they make, which are of the coarser sort, being for the use of themselves and families. We are further informed that in this Province are built many brigantines and small sloops which they sell to the West Indies. Maryland. The upper and lower House of Assembly in their Address to the Deputy Govr. thereof in answer to our general queries say, that the produce of their tobacco which is the chief commodity for trade in that Province was alone sufficient to supply the people with cloathing and other necessaries from Great Britain. But that necessity had driven some of the poorer sort of people to make some small quantities of linnen and woollen for their own use, but that none was exported. Virginia. Lt. Gov. Gooch, 22nd Dec, last, informs us that there is no trade carried on there but that of tobacco, nor any manufactures set up that deserved that name ; But that some poor people provided themselves with clothing of a sort of coarse cloth made of wooll and cotton and some linsey woolsey, where they were unable to purchase better by their labour in tobacco. Carolina. We have had no accounts from this Province which contradict the returns received from their Agents in 1720 etc. The Governor of Rhode Island, 9th Nov. last, informs us that there are iron mines there, but not a fourth part iron enough to serve their use, but he takes no notice of any sort of manufacture set up there. Connecticut. We have no return from the Governor of this Province, but we find by some accounts in our Office that the produce of this Colony is timber, boards, all sorts of English grain, hemp, flax, sheep, cattle, swine, horses, goats and tobacco, of which they export horses and lumber to the West Indies, and receive in return sugar, salt, molosses and rum. We likewise find that their manufactures are very inconsiderable, the people there being generally employ'd in tillage, some few in tanning, shoemaking, and other handycrafts, others in building, joiners, taylors, and smiths' work, without which they could not subsist. The Bermuda and Bahama Islands. By our returns from the Govrs. of those islands in 1730, we find there is no manufacture set up there except the building of sloops and other small vessels, in disposing of which consists almost intirely their trade, except some joiners' work and plat for hats. The Sugar Colonies vizt., Jamaica, Barbados and the Leeward Islands. By the latest returns which we have had from these islands to our circular queries, we do not find that they have any other manufactures established besides those of sugar, molosses, rum and indico of their own produce. These with cotton, alloes, piemento, and some other productions of less note are their whole dependance, which are commodities no ways interfering with the manufactures of this Kingdom, and some of them of great use to our manufactures here. In 1724 Mr. Worsley then Govr. of Barbados inform'd us, that of cotton they made hammocks, a few stockings and nets for horses. From the foregoing state it is observable that there are more trades carried on and manufactures set up in the Provinces on the Continent of America to the northward of Virginia prejudicial to the trade and manufactures of Great Britain particularly in New England than in any other of the British Colonies, which is not to be wondered at. for their soil, climate, and produce, being pretty near the same with ours, they have no staple commodities of their own growth, to exchange for our manufactures, which puts them under greater necessity, as well as under greater temptation of providing for themselves at home. To which may be added in the Charter Governments the little dependance they have upon their Mother Country, and consequently the small restraints they are under in any matters detrimental to her interests. And therefore we would humbly beg leave to repeat and submit to the wisdom of this honourable House the substance of what we formerly proposed in our report on the silk, linnen, and woollen manufactures, namely whether it might not be expedient to give these Colonies proper encouragements for turning their industry to such manufactures and products as might be of service to Great Britain and more particularly to the production of all kinds of Naval Stores. [C.O. 324, 11. pp. 253–302.]
Feb. 15.
88. Council of Trade and Plantations to the Committee of the Privy Council. Your Lordships having been pleased etc. to direct that the names of John Ashley. Othniel Hagget and Hugh Hall Esqrs. should be inserted in the instructions of the late Mr. Chetwynd, appointed Govr. of Barbados, we take leave to acquaint your Lordsps., that it is often difficult to get a quorum of the Council in that island, from the vacancies therein, and from the absence of some of the Councillors ; and therefore we think, it will be for H.M. service, that they should be immediately appointed of that Council. [C.O. 29, 15. p. 259.).]
Feb. 15.
89. Duke of Newcastle to the Council of Trade and Plantations. Encloses following, etc. It is H.M. pleasure that yon lay before the House the papers therein desired. Signed. Holles Newcastle. Endorsed, Recd, 15th, Read 21st Feb.," 1731/2. ½ p. Enclosed,
89. i. Address of the House of Commons to the King. 14th Feb., 1731/2. Requesting that the Commissioner for Trade be directed to lay before the House a copy of the Act of Barbados, 1715, laying a duty on foreign sugars, molasses and rum imported etc.. and of H.M. Order in Council, 17th Oct., 1717, confirming the same; also Governor Worsley's 96th Instruction, and of an act of Jamaica for granting a Revenue to H.M. and for reviving and perpetuating the acts thereof etc. Signed, N. Hardinge, Cl. Dom. Com. Copy. 1½ pp. [C.O. 28, 23. ff. 1, 2, 2v., 4v;.]