Entry Book: February 1685

Pages 506-508

Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 8, 1685-1689. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1923.

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Page 506
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February 1685

Feb. 6. The Commissioners of the Customs in Barbados to the Customs Commissioners, London. Your letters, commissions, instructions etc. of Nov. 7 [last] by several ships only reached us in January and some only last week through want of care in Capt. Crofts. We are not [yet] entered on the actual execution of our trust as Commissioners of the Four and a Half per cent. duty in Barbados and of the Plantation duty under 25 Car. II, c. 7; for at the expiration of the last farm [of said Four and a Half per cent. duty] which was Dec. 25 last, the Governor appointed Mr. Cowley and Mr. Trant to continue commissioners till the King's pleasure should be known; and our commissions, as above, arrived in the time of Grand Sessions and other public business so that we had not time to give our securities and be sworn and the box of despatches from [brought by] Capt. Crofts could only be found yesterday. But we hope to be in execution of our trust in two or three days. "Most of those that are to be employed under us being the same that are now in, and little goods being yet ready to be shipped off we hope his Majesty's affairs cannot suffer, it not being in our power sooner to come into the employ." As John Mills is appointed Comptroller of the Four and a Half per cent. and the Plantation Duty he is taken off from being accomptant of the Four and a Half per cent. He is a most fit and able man and we have thought fit to continue him as accomptant also. An addition of 25l. per an. to his salary will suffice for this if he be permitted to take such fees on the Plantation Duty as by law is allowed to the Customs officers in England, but as yet neither Edwin, Stede, the former collector, nor Mr. Carmichael, the Surveyor and afterwards Comptroller, did ever venture to take those fees; for all persons here are ready to complain against all officers that take even what is their right and severely punish the taking what is not so, and in the Act of 25 Car. II, c. 7, it is not distinctly stated that the officers shall take the like fees etc. [on the Plantation Duty] as in like cases in England. We pray your directions herein. Nothing in this nature [of fees etc.] will accrue to us by the Four and a Half per cent. duty. The Governor will give all assistance as the enforcing your directions touching the giving of bonds and the preventing abuses in the Plantation trade; and in our presence he ordered his nephew who is clerk of the Naval Office to join with us in giving certicates for ships. The only difficulty we believe we shall meet with in executing all your commands will be in bringing the merchants and planters to unlade their European goods etc. (which by law they may bring hither) by entering their goods with us and taking permits from us, to land their goods by, in presence of a Custom House officer, a thing never yet there [here] done nor enjoyned by any law with penalty for not doing it, as we are advised. Where we cannot punish for not complying with your commands we fear little obedience will be yielded to them, though we will do our best to bring them to it by gentle and fair means. By the first opportunity we will send you our account of the many bonds in the Naval Office, with our observations thereon. The former Managers of the Four and a Half per cent. have given orders for delivering to us all the weights [beams, scales] etc. but do not join in appraising them and receiving money for them, having no orders as they say from the late Farmers so to do. Out Letters (Plantations Auditor) I, pp. 163–6.
Feb. 7. Constitution and appointment by the King of Sir Robert Sawyer, kt., as Attorney General to the King in all the Courts of Record in England: during pleasure. King's Warrant Book X, p. 162.
The like of Heneage Finch, esq., as Solicitor General: with the fees etc. as enjoyed by Sir Francis Winnington, kt., or any other.
Feb. 20. Lord [Howard of] Effingham to Lord Godolphin et al., the [late] Treasury Lords. (See supra, p. 221.) I have received the King's letter of 1684, July 25 (supra, Calendar of Treasury Books, Vol. VII, p. 1251) declaring how the fines, forfeitures, escheats and quit rents of this his Majesty's dominion of Virginia, which his Majesty has now bought of Lord Colepeper, shall be collected. That northern part of Virginia which is not included in his Majesty's agreement with Lord Colepeper is very much dejected that his Majesty has not extended his bounty and favour to them as he hath to the southern but that they are still under Lord Colepeper's dispose and proprietorship as to the quit rents, fines, forfeitures and escheats arising from that tract. Should not the King take this into his consideration and reduce that part to the same method the other is? You may easily judge how improper and inconvenient it will be that there should be a proprietor in the midst of his Majesty's dominion and render that part in some measure distinct from the government [of Virginia]; only his Majesty hath the worst part of it the trouble, the proprietor the advantage. And how strange it will likewise appear when any fine is laid by the Governor on any offender in those parts [if] a proprietor should claim the benefit. "Besides those of the Southern Tract will think it very hard that his Majesty's bounty bestowed on them for the benefit of the colony should any part be applied to them [in the Northern parts] when the profits arising from thence are converting into private hands: and the great charge of the country and care of the government is chiefly to secure that part, being most in danger from the northern Indians." We beg this to be represented to the King with our humble supplication in behalf of the inhabitants of that part. Out Letters (Plantations Auditor) I, pp. 185–6.