Report On the Records of the City of Exeter. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.
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Royal African Company.
L. 603. Comenda (fn. 2) Fort in Guinea, Feb. 10, 1737(8).— Robert Parker writes to the Chamber :—Gentlemen, itts not a Common thing to be addrest to from a Stranger, at this distant part of the Worlde, though the Motive will I hope Justifie it, as to myselfe at Lynn Regis in Norfolke, I did for many years as much Business as most Merchants with a good Deale of Success, but the Seane Changed, the Inexorable Sea had no Compassion, I have seen divers parts of the Worlde, and made my Severell Observations in the Different Branches of Trade.
I no sooner was in this parte of the Worlde, but founde according to the Present Situation of things, how sore we are loosers, in the sale of a Hundred or Two Thousande Pounds' Worth, of our British manufactures yearly, perhaps much more. I hope the fine Citty of Exeter, by the means I shall propose, (if persued,) will be Sharers in the bond of a great many Thousands per annum of her manufacture, upon this Coast, more than ever yet was sent. I am not prompted on by any-body, nor does any know of what I am about, while my dispatches reach Norwich, Manchester and some other places, which I have wrote to, as my Leisure would permitt, But as an Englishman, should think my selfe Inexcusable, was not I to do everything in my Power, to advance the Manufactures of my Country, especially when I see the Dutch and French make such large advances, to disposses her of it.
- 1 The Royal African Company's Stock is at present very Low, Occasioned by the Vast Charge and Expence they are at, in maintaining upon this Coast, Eight large Castles well Fortified, a Plan of one of which I heare enclose for your Inspection, by that you may in some measure forme a Charge of the Whole, though Cape Coast Castle, the Principall, would make Six of this, and in Europe be Esteemed a fine large Pallace, furnisht with a number of Good Artillery and capable of making not onely Stout resistance, but a Safe Protection for our Ships, in the Roade, incompast with three other Forts at proper distances, besides the Immence Cherges of all these, the have severall upon the Great River of Gambia and a verey Strong one upon James Island, in the midle of the River, well furnished with Artillery and everything propper.
- 2 Itt's True the Government has been so Good, to allow them for some years past Ten Thousand Pound , towards the Charge or as an Equivalent, of Ten the Private Traders formely used to pay them towards the Fortifications, but that comes farr short of an Equivolent or the Charge of Keeping such Prodigious Workes in Repaire.
- 3 The Danes has one Fort at Accaran well supplied as to goods, but the Dutch are vastly Strong upon this Coast; they will be sure to have Forts near the English to intercept your Commerce and under our verey noses, in all I think they have Ten Forts besides out Settlements, but not so strong as Us, but the Wise states, to give Incourrigement and Life to them, has settled upon the Company Annuall Assignments to the value of Twenty Five Thousand Pound Stirling, which makes them in some measure Contemn and Slight Us Poore English.
- 4 The Dutch sends most East Indey Goods, and Liquors, but The French in their trade in my Opinion are most to be dreaded in thier Woollen Manufactures, as well as Silke. One Peice of Goods well dissposed on upon this Coast gives them Incourigement to make two, and what may be the Inconvenience of that you may Easiley Comprehende, Esspessially if you consider the Cheepness of Labour and Provisions in that Country, and with what Parsimony they live, itts not long that a Company's Ship was fitted out at Cape Coast, with fifty or sixty Hands to drive of the Coast, three French vessells full of Goods, which they did, but now they are come on in Such Large Ships and so many the defie the Agents and tell them they will trade so long as their Guns and Amunition will protekt them. The are thought altogether so Sivill as Us upon the Gum Coast, to which they make pretensions, though they have onely on Trifling Fort upon a Prodigious Trakt of Land. Nevertheless when they can overpower our Ships the Ship and Cargo is gone without redemption and our Poore Sailers verey ill-used.
- 5 This Coast takes besides Woollen Goods &c., verey great Quantiteys of Brandey from the French, as well as Geneva and Spiritts from the Dutch; it would tend vastly to the Landed Interest, to fix such a proportionete Drawback or Debenture upon the Englishe Spiritts from our own Corne, which sells for full as much as either of the other, and often preferred, and we in England know full as well how to prepare it, it would not onely be an Incourigement to ye Land, but it would helpe the Distillers, Copper Smiths, Coopers, and set at Worke and give Bread to abundance of Poor people. There is at least exspended in the whole two or three Thousand Tun: it would put a Stop to our Neybours, and product from what proceeded from our own Growth.
- 6 The Private Traders caryes on a Greate deale of Business upon the Coast from London, Leverpole, and Bristol, and are at no Exspence towards Forts and Garisons, but itts a Jest to say or imagine they could do without the Company's Settlements. They have places of Security where to retreat to upon any Emergency, where they Supply themselves with Wood, Water and other necessareys, and are kindly received, and often beholden to them for their Laves () and Fredoms, when they have been attact by the Natives or ill used by other European Ships.
- 7 The Government has been so Good to sende upon Coast this Yeare Three men of Warr, the , and at an Exspence of Two Thousand Six Hundred Pound . munth, the Compliment of the three being Six Hundred and Fifty Men, at 4. . munth . man, as given by the Parlament, computing the Voyage and Stay upon the Coast onely at Eight Munths, amounts to Twenty Thousand Eight Hundred Pound, if computed at 13 munths itt so much the more.
As it neyther conduces to the advantage of the Company, nor to the Private Traders, but on the Contrary, to the vast Damage and Loss of Boath, not but itts absolutely necessary to be Coun . . . with one Man of War a yeare, to be always stationed, but under Strikt and proper Regulations. My Resons in Respekt to the Company, the Stopidge of Trade, while they are upon the Coast in Common with the private Traders, the Vast Charge and Exspence they are put to, in Presents, Sallutes and Entertainments, to all the Gentlemen at the Out Forts, but more Esspessially at Cape Coast Castle, where they Generally Rendezvous, put on there their Sick &c., it must be a verey Great Exspence where Bad Mutton and Goats Flesh is never under Twelve Pence p. pound, and hapey are those that can purchase it, at 13d. or 14d. p. pound; a Coople of Sixpeney Fowles in your Market would reach three or four Shillings, and every thing ells in proportion. My Second, the Damages they do the Private Traders as well as the Company, that instead of being a Protection and Incouridgment for the trade, thier Business is to finde out every little Creake and Corner, to se what Gould, Teeth, or Slaves they can purchase and what Goods they can Vende. Itts Imagined they have amonst them Twenty Five Thousand Pound worth of goods, though some says a great deale more, by this means they soon turne his Majesty's Men of Warr into Floating Warehouses, forgetting not to bring men with them to manage your Trade, People that has been Servants to the Company. No company or private Trade can pretende to vie with those whose Exspences are bore out by the Government; they undersell and beat down the prises, and consequently while hear get all the Trade into their own Hands, and itts known to all Traders, when once the Prices of Goods are lowered how difficult it is to raise them again to their former Standard. The Royal Company are from these and divers other Considerations but in a Languid Condittion (and well they may), if all things be considered, labouring under so many Disscouridgments.
But if they be lookt on in another Light, are a very Rich Company, and may yet be made with a little Indulgence one of the most flourishing in England, in respekt of taking of our manufactures. The Dutch or French would Skip to purchase these Eight Forts, at 200,000l., though was they to dooble it, it would be no deere Bargain (doubtless the Charge of Building must have been immence in this distant part of the Worlde where materials are so Deare), but should they be oblidged to part with them, to raise a Funde to carey on their Trade upon the River of Gambia 300 es. would turne to exceeding Good Account well managed and imploy all that Stock, but what would be the Consequence? They in Effeckt in such a Sale would convey over Jamaica, Barbadoes, Neviss, St. Christopher's and indeed all the Suger Islands, as well as the whole Continent, from which our Nation reaps yearly such fine advantages.
The Purchasers would soone refunde themselves of the advanct money at our Cost, in the Prises they would put upon the Slaves, which they onely in a Short time would supply, and then Shortly would not suffer an English Ship or English effects to appear upon the Coast, or humble us to Intollerable Contributions, as now the Dutch practices towards the Portages [? Portuguese], from whom they purchast most of thier Forts.
Upon these Considerations the Company's Forts are of as much value to Our Settlements in America, as Gibralter and Port Mahoon are to the Trade of the Mediteranian (though of not that Cost to the Nation), and therefore must not upon any account bee parted with.
But should the Government be indust to take them into thier own hands, instead of 10,000l. per annum now given, in a little time it would run them to an Exspence of ten times as much, and itts two obvious that Trade Seldom Florishes under a Milletary Government.
Upon the whole itts my Humble Opinion that if the Parliment please to take this Affaire under their serious Consideration, and bestow the two thirds of the Exspence they was at, in sending the Men or Warr, added to the Ten Thousand Pound annually given, or Fix upon them a Standing Funde, which would be a more Incouraging Security, as they in their Wisdoms should think fit, that would set them upon the levell of, Mijn Heer the Dutch, or any other nation, and raise the drooping Heads of the Brave English, and not suffer us to loose the Sale of Two or Three Hundred Thousand Pounds worth of our British manufacture (sic) pureserwant of a suitable Incourigement, to Carey the business on, the Charges would not be felt to the Nation, But London, Bristol, Exeter, Norweech, Taunton, Coventree, Leeds, Manchester, Coulchester, Birmingham, Lynn, &c., would soone reape the Happy Effects, by having a great many People set to Worke in a Flourishing Business, which is the onely thing desirable, the African Company must receive a great Benefit by it, but the great Consequence is to the Trade of England.
Worthy Gentlemen, if what I have wrote receives your Approbation, shall think myselfe Hapey. I then beg youll please to represent it to your Worthy members, that the next Sitting of Parliament, they will make an Interest with the Best of the Manuacturing Cittys and Corporations and Friends, that a Bill may be brought in accordingly to the Purpose desired, and if your Members please to recomende me to the Right Honble. Sir Robert Walpole (fn. 6) or to the Governors and Directors of the Royall African Company it may be of great service. I shall be anxtious of knowing the reseption this may have. Youll do me a particular Honour if youll be so kinde to wright to me, directed to Mrs. Elizabeth Parker in Lynn Bp, Norfolke. I wish you all Prosperity and Success,and am though a Stranger to your Greet Body, Gentlemen, Your most obedient Humble Servant, Robt. Parker.
All the use the natives has for the many Thousand pound worth of Cloaths of all Soarts that they buy up yearly, is onely to Weare Round their Wasts, having no other Close or uses for it except for Perpetts and Long Ells vast quantities of which gose up the Country a Thousand or fifteen Hundred Milde (sic, and thare taken to peices and Workt up again into Cloaths of a very great Price.
L. 499. Exeter, March 31, 1739. Mr. Thomas Health writes to Mr. John Score:— At a meeting of the Chamber, Citizens, Principall Inhabitants, Makers and buyers of Woollen Goods at the Guildhall on Tuesday Last to consider how the Trade of this Town and the adjacent Counties may be affected by the Resolutions lately formed in the House of Commons in the Woollen Committee, it was by every one thought highly proper to petition the Parliament that the Duty of 4 d. per Stone now payable on the Exportation of Wool out of Ireland might be taken off, and that the liberty of Importing Wool and Woolen Yarn in registered Ships from Ireland might be extended to the Southern and Eastern portions of this Kingdom and particularly to the port of Exeter. A petition in this sense has been prepared, which he forwards to Mr. John Score for presentation to the House. He is to consult with our two members [Sir Henry Northcote and John King of Ockham], who are now both in town, one or other of whom should present it, or if they think it advisable it should be presented by Sir William Yonge [of Escott, M.P. for Honiton], who is the Chairman of the Committee. By the next post several other petitions will be sent up, from Manufacturing towns such as Crediton, Newton, Oakhampton, Totnes, Moreton and Ottery, Plymouth and Lyme, and it is hoped that the movement will extend to Yarmouth, Norwich and Hull. [For Act of 26 George II, c. 8 (1752), see Oliver, 271.]
In L. 500, London, April 10, 1739, John Score writes to the Mayor :—Sir, My last was of the 7th inst., since which I am not favoured with any from you. I was this morning at Sir H. [i.e. Sir Henry Northcote's], who was goeing to Mr. Balles [of Mamhead, late M.P. for Exeter] in order to present the Three Petitions from Crediton, Moreton and Ottery, and to talk with the Lyme, Totnes and Okehampton Members. You will See by the Inclosed Notes of the 6th [Commons Journals, xxiii, 320] that a Bill was Read a Second Time to encourage the Linnen Manufacture of Scotland, to allow the full Drawback on all Soap, Ashes, Starch &c., and in their Printed Case they Sett forth that England hath the full Drawback on Soap used in the Woollen Manufactories, which not being true, I have given the State of that affaire to be Printed, if Sir Harry and Mr. Balle think fitt, and praying the same favoure to us as Scotland ; they intend with Mr. Carrew [? Thomas Carew of Crowcombe, M.P. for Mine-head] &c., to wait upon the Speaker this morning, as the Bill is Committed f or tomorrow, therefore no time is to be lost, but I think a Petition should be sent by next Post to desire a Change in the Scots Act.
2nd Duty, 1/2d. p. pound to Queen Ann, the whole Drawn back, 8d. p. doz. still remaining a Burthen, which on 800 Dozen in a year is 26l. 13s. 4d. You'l be pleased communicate this with my service at all Commands, the City's and your most humble servant, John Score.
In L. 501, London, April 17, 1739, John Score writes to the Mayor :—Sir, I am favoured with yours of ye 16th inst. Sir Henry and Mr. Balle have really Acted their utmost you'l See in the Votes Petition from Southampton and Poole ordered to lay on the Table.
The Scots Bill is put off for 5 Weakes, so I have Stopt the Presenting our Petition about Soap, as I have no answere from Plymouth, Taunton or Tiverton. Sir Harry desired me to Send you the Inclosed [not preserved]. I was with Mr. Scroope [M.P. for Lyme] last Tuesday near an hour about ye Soap affair. He told me the drawbacks doe not exceed 11,000l. a year.
Fall of Walpole.
L. 504. Nov. 25, 1742.—The Chamber send instructions to Sir Henry Northcote, Baronet, and Humphrey Sydenham, Esquire, M.P.'s for Exeter [i.e. in Parliament of Jan. 25, 1741, to Jan. 18, 1747]:—We saw with the utmost pleasure in the Last Session, the Wisdom, Vertue and Steadiness of this House of Commons baffle all the Acts of Corruption and procure the removal at least from publick Employment of those Persons who had been the principal Instruments of bringing both our fforeign and Domestic affairs into their present unhappy Situation. We most earnestly recommend to you the promoting with your utmost Vigour a Law for restoring Triennial Parliaments, a law the necessity of which is every day increased by the Growing Influence of Corruption, as it was obtained [i.e. in 1694] from our great Deliverer King William in the Heat of a most expencive and Dangerous French War, and we flatter our selves that you will not Suffer your selves to be misled by the Amusement of Annual Parliaments thrown out without the Least intention of being carried on to Effect.
We further recommend to it you that you use your utmost Endeavours by an Effectual and not a Nominal Place Bill to reduce the number of Placemen in your House to a Safe and Moderate Proportion, and we most earnestly recommend it to you to Deferr your Consent to the supplies for the Ensuing year, till Satisfaction hath been given the nation in those Constitutional Points, which we have already pointed out to you, even though "we are convinced of the Justice of the present Warr with Spain in Vindication of the Rights of our Navigation and Commerce and of the Necessity of Supporting the Queen of Hungary [i.e. Maria Theresa] against the Exorbitant Power of France, which threatens all Europe with Slavery," and "are Desirous of Contributing our utmost Efforts to enable his Majesty to carry on the Warre he is engaged in with Vigour, to Discharge the Publick Faith Engaged to Our Allies and to take every Step which Shall be requisite to maintain the Ballance of Power and preserve the Libertys of Europe."
In L. 505, Nov. 27, 1742, Sir Henry Northcote writes to Mr. Gandy, Attorney at Law in Exeter [i.e. Henry Gandy, Town Clerk] that he has received the instructions and will not scruple to obey them. By the next Post (according to Custom) they shall be printed, but Mr. Sydenham "seems extremely nettled at several passages in the Instructions, and declares if they are printed he will Complain to the House of a breach of privilidge against the Printer. However that shall not deter me from Communicateing them to the Publick, which I take to be the Desireand also the Intention of the Chamber."
In L. 506, London, Nov. 30, 1742, Sir Henry Northcote writes to Mr. Gandy :—I beg leave to Acquaint you that I am advised by a great number of my Friends not to print the Exeter Instructions till we see the fate of Mr. Farley ; who I find Mr. Sydenham is determined to complain off to the House of Commons. His Friend Mr. Davy (haveing little else to doe) hath been with every Printer in Towne, to threaten them with the consequences so loudly talk'd off by my Worthy Colleague, in case they shall presume to print those representations; so that in fact, no person, will undertake it without an Indemnification from me in writeing, which Mr. Fazakerley says will be a most Improper Instrument for me to sign.
The Young Pretender.
L. 507. Whitehall, Feb. 24, 1743(44).—Two Copies of a printed letter from the Lords of the Council to Robert, Lord Walpole, Custos Rotulorum for Devon [since May 9, 1733. Doyle, ii, 709, where this is wrongly supposed to be Robert Walpole's son], informing him that: "Whereas his Majesty hath received undoubted Intelligence of the Arrival of the Pretender's Eldest Son in France, and that Preparations are making at Dunkirk (fn. 7) for an Invasion of this Kingdom, in Concert with disaffected Persons here, which Invasion is to be supported by the French Squadron that has been for some time cruizing in the Channel." He is therefore commanded to see that the laws against Papists are put in execution with the utmost diligence, specifying Stat. 35, Eliz., cap. 2 ; 3 James I, cap. 415 ; 30 Charles II, cap. 1; 1 William and Mary, cap. 8. 9, 15 ; and to suppress all Riots Tumults and unlawful Assemblies.
In L. 508, Whitehall, Aug. 1, 1745, is a printed proclamation by the Lords Justices : Whereas we have received Information that the Eldest Son of the said Pretender did lately embark in France in order to land in some Part of his Majesty's Kingdoms. They promise a reward of 30,000l. to anyone who shall seize and secure the said son of the said Pretender, so as that he be brought to Justice. [See also Misc. Papers, Proclamations, 1744–1776 ; Horace Walpole's Letters ii, 124; Aug. 7, 1745.]
In L. 509, Kensington, Sept. 5, 1745, is a printed letter from the Lords of the Council to Lord Robert [Walpole], Earl of Oxford, Custos Rotulorum for the County of Devon :— Whereas the Eldest Son of the Pretender hath presumed in open violation of the Laws to land in the North-West Part of Scotland (fn. 8) and hath Assembled a considerable Number of traiterous and rebellious Persons in Arms who have set up a Standard in the Name of the Pretender and in an audacious manner have resisted and attacked some of His Majesty's Forces and are now advancing further in that part of His Majesty's Kingdom of Great Britain; and there is the greatest Reason to apprehend that these wicked Attempts have been encouraged, and may be supported by a Foreign Force. They therefore desire him to enforce the laws against Papists, prevent tumults, assemblies, &c., &c., [as in L. 507].
In L. 510, Sept., 1745, the Mayor writes to the Duke of Dorset [i.e. Lionel Cranfield Sackville, President of the Council since Jan. 3, 1745] that in obedience to his Grace's letter of the 5th instant [L. 509] he has made search for Papists, recusants, arms, ammunition, &c., &c., and sends an account of the results of his enquiries, viz., that 9 papists had been summoned and 6 others who were suspected to be non-jurors giving their names and occupations (i.e. fullers, upholsters taylors, whitebakers, joiners, victuallers); such as refused to take the oath were ordered not to remove more than 5 miles from their houses, which were searched by the Constables, but no arms, weapons, gunpowder, Ammunition or horses were found. They all Expressed the Strictest regard to the present Royal family upon the Throne, though their Religion would not give them leave to Subscribe the Declaration of the 30th of King Charles.
In L. 511 (1745) is a draft address from the Chamber to the King:—We your dutifull and obedient Subjects, under whose auspicious reign we have altogether enjoyed Blessings of the first Magnitude and doubt not to see you shortly arbitrate the Fate of the Western World," being" astonished at the mad and rash proceedings of the audacious Pretender, though no way apprehensive that Your Majesty's affairs will suffer or be retarded by his inconsiderable diversion." They assure His Majesty that "we are by duty and principle steadily inclined to sacrifice all that is ours to promote yours and the common cause and that no part of Your Majesty's Dominions shall ever manifest a more forward zeal to discountenance and oppose all your Adversarys than we of this your Loyall Citty.
countenance and assist Your cruell Invaders, that you may successfully go on to make Your name more and more glorious by humbling that haughty Tyrant who hath so long harrast and injured his Innocent neighbours.
South Sea Annuities
L. 512. June 12, 1745.— Printed receipt to John Newcombe, Thomas Heath [Treasurer of St. John's Hospital] and Francis Brayne for transfer of 201l. 14s. 8d. in the Joint Stock of South Sea Annuities, and a like receipt for 53l., Sept. 3, 1754. [Sea Treasury Papers, 1742–1745, pp. 625, 635, 733, 817.]
In L. 536, London, May 6, 1760, Nathaniel Paice sends to Mr. Benjamin Health [Town Clerk] a note of interest received on 431l. 10s. 0d. South Sea Annuities, i.e. 51l. 5s. 9d. from Oct. 10, 1755, to Oct. 10, 1758, less his commission at 2s. 6d.=
L. 537, 538. London, May 13, Dec. 30, 1760.—The same to the same in regard to the balance of the late Mr. Thomas, Hauth's account. (fn. 9)
L. 517 (undated ?1750).— Draft of a Constable's Warrant for searching any Common house, alley, or place of Bowling Coyting, Cloysh, Cayle, half-Bowl, Tennis, Dicing Table or Carding of any other manner of game prohibited by Stat. of 3 Henry VIII.
Streets of Exeter.
L. 527. New Inn, Exeter, Nov. 27, 1754. Minutes of a meeting of the Citizens to consider an application to Parliament for a Bill for cleansing and lighting the Streets, of Exeter. [For Act of 1 George III, c. 28 (1760), see Oliver 271.]
In L. 571, Exeter, Jan. 2, 1769, is a handbill calling a meeting of the citizens to petition Parliament that the Turnpike Road be extended from the Bottom of St. David's Hill to the End of Paul's Street, or Waterbeer Lane or the Conduit as they shall think fit.
In Book 51, f. 22b, is an Acte of Parliament for paving, the Streetes yn the Citie of Excester [?6 Edward IV, 1466–7. Oliver, 269]; also in Book 52, f. 229b (undated), where it begins: "Sheweth to your descrete wysdomes the Mayor, bayliffes and Commonaltie". . . ends: "The pavemen so by theym made or otherwyse by agreement."
In D. 1813, Nov. 26, 1706, the Chamber authorises Samuel Izaacke, Gent. [Chamberlain], to demand, receive and take duties of wheelage of all wagons and carts coming into the City with wheels bound with iron towards the reparation of the streets of the City till Dec. 24, 1707.
L. 530. Jan. 27, 1757.—Sworn Information of 4 constables that on Tuesday, Jan. 25th last, they did apprehend and impress 6 persons who were seamen and brought them before the Mayor and Justices the next morning, who deemed that they were proper persons to serve His Majesty as Sailors, and ordered the Constables to conduct them to a Tender lying off Exmouth and belonging to the Sunderland man-of-war. This the Constables did and tendered them to William Grant, a Lieutenant, who appeared to be the Commanding Officer on board the Tender. Grant refused to take any of them except two, and even for these he would not give a Receipt except as landsmen. The Constables describe them as "young and able" or "young and lusty Fellows," and they complain that owing to Grant's refusal they have been deprived of His Majesty's Bounty, which they claimed from the Collector of Customs.
In L. 531, War Office, Feb. 22, 1757.—Viscount Barrington [Secretary at War, 1755–1760] writes to the Mayor:—Owing to a defect in the late Act for Recruiting His Majesty's Land Forces, your City has as yet been deprived of an opportunity of shewing their zeal for the King's service, but the new Act, which has lately received the Royal Assent, has Remedied the Defect. The Mayor is accordingly to summon the Justices to meet not later than March 2nd next. Col. Duroune, whose head quarters are at Exeter, will send a proper officer to attend you at all your Meetings to receive such Volunteers as shall present themselves and such Impressed Men as you shall deliver to him within the Description of the Act.
In L. 532, War Office, April 1, 1757, Thomas Tyrwhitt writes to the Town Clerk, Benjamin Heath, Esq., acknowedging receipt of his letter March 30th, enclosing a return of Volunteers and pressed men raised for his Majesty's service.
In L. 534, Nov. 3, 1757, Benjamin Heath, Town Clerk, writes to Major Beckwith, as being the Commanding Officer here, informing him of the dates fixed between Nov. 22 and Jan. 19th next for the meetings of the Commissioners for the Execution of the Act for the more speedy Recruiting His Majesty's Land Forces and marines, and asking the name of the Officer who shall have been nominated to attend.
In L. 553, War Office, Sept. 28, 1765, the Secretary at War thanks the Mayor for Committing a deserter to goal. For similar letters of thanks from the War Office to the Mayor, see L. 555 (Dec. 14, 1765) and L. 556 (Jan. 7, 1766); also from the Admiralty in L. 567 (Aug. 20, 1766).
Freedom of the City.
L. 533. Bell Yard, April 28, 1757.—W. Davy [see L. 575, where he forwards a document to the Chamber on July 3, 1771] writes to the Town Clerk:—Every one knows that it has been the constant infamous Practice of those whose Hearts are not English to recriminate the Charge of Disaffection upon their Accusers, and these very Gentlemen, Mr. Pitt and Mr. Legge, are upbraided for the Connections with those at the Cocoa Tree. May not then their Enemies upon this occasion frame the Complex Idea of Royal Oak, and so misinterpret the poore Intention of this Compliment? May not the Gentlemen under the apprehension of such Misrepresentation find themselves embarrassed? And is it fit that so wise and respectable a Body as the City of Exeter should do any Thing which may possibly admit of the least Cavil or Misrepresentation?
If I presume to present the Instruments [i.e. the freedom of the City] without any Boxes at all, that would not only be an express departing from my Orders, but would also be below the City's character. And as the City of Bath make their Compliments in Gold Boxes, that also may be another Reason for altering your Measures.
To present Gold Boxes will occasion no Loss of Time; for the method then would be (as was done in the City of London) to draw up 2 Orders of Chamber that the Freedom of the City be presented to Mr. Pitt (fn. 10) (and another to Mr. Legge (fn. 11) as a public Testimonial &c.(as worded in the present Instruments), and that the same be presented in a Gold Box. These Orders I should wait on them with immediately, so that paying the Compliment would not be delayed a moment; and when the Boxes are prepared (perhaps a fortnight afterwards), I should present the Act of Admission to their Freedom. For instance, the Boxes from London will not be compleated this month yet, because of the great variety of work in them, but Mr. Pitt and Mr. Legge have been in full Possession of the Honour ever since the Order of Common Council was presented, though the Acts of Admission to their Freedom of the City are to be delivered hereafter in the Boxes.
In L. 548, Lincoln's Inn Fields, March 1, 1764, C. Pratt [i.e. Sir Charles Pratt, Chief Justice of Common Pleas, who issued the warrant for the release of John Wilkes, May 6, 1763] sends to Mr. Benjamin Heath [Town Clerk] a letter of thanks for the freedom of the City, which had been presented to him. Adding: I feel an uncommon pleasure in this Testimony of Good Will from the City of Exeter, as it is the Capital of that Country where my Father and All His Ancestors took their Birth, and where I myself heretofore received an encouragement in my practice far beyond my merits. [For freedom of the City of London granted to him, see Horace Walford's Letters, vi,21, Feb.24,1764. For his portrait in the Guildhall at Exeter, see Oliver, 214.]
In L. 588, Castle Hill, Sept. 25,1778, Lord Fortescue [i.e. Matthew Lord Fortescue, Deputy Lieutenant for County Devon] thanks the Town Clerk for his letter informing him of the election of himself and his son to the freedom.
In L. 590, Buckland Downs, Sept. 27,1778, is a letter to the same effect from Sir William Lemon; also in L. 591 (Bruton Street, March 19, 1782) from Sir Robert Palk [formerly Governor of Madras]; also in L. 593 (Walmer Castle, Oct. 6, 1782) from Lord North [i.e. Frederic Lord North, Prime Minister, 1770–1782], in which he refers to "that important Station, which I lately held in the service of the Crown."
In L. 594 (undated) is a draft resolution of the Chamber to present the freedom of the City to Lord Cornwallis. They refer to him as one "whose unremitted Perseverance, good Conduct and consummate Bravery during a long and active service in America have sadly entitled him to every mark of Distinction and Respect and the Lustre of whose Character still remains undiminished although by the Events of War his zealous Endeavors in the Service of his Country have unfortunately proved ineffectual." [He capitulated at Yorktown, Oct. 19, 1781, and arrived in London, March 19, 1782. Cornwallis Correspondence, i, 51, 52, 136.]
Resolved that the Freedom of the City be presented to Lieut. Col. Simcoe for his very able and spirited Behaviour in America, and this Body have a peculiar Satisfaction in paying this Mark of their Respect to an Officer, who having spent the earlier part of his Life in this City has since proved himself an Ornament to his Profession.
L. 595 (undated) is a Copy of Lord Cornwallis' acceptance. He adds: "The severe blow which the British Arms have sustained in America, and which has so unfortunately fallen on my head impresses me with the deepest concern, although I am supported by a Consciousness of having exerted the utmost of my abilities to prevent it."
In L. 596 (undated) is a pencilled draft of a resolution to present the freedom of the City to Sir George Augustus Elliott, K.B. [i.e. since April 23, 1783], Lieutenant General of his Majesty's Forces, "who, with a Firmness, Perseverance and Intrepidity unequalled in the History of this or any other Country for many years successfully resisted and at last by one great effort of Skill and Bravery totally defeated a great and powerful force sent by the united powers of France and Spain for the reduction of that important Fortress of Gibraltar." (fn. 12)
In L. 597 (undated) is a pencilled draft of a speech on presenting the freedom of the City to Lord Hood [i.e. Samuel Baron Hood of Catherington, cr. May 28, 1782] : His Majesty having been pleased to call your Lordship into the more active line of your profession opened to you an occasion of displaying to the world those consummate abilities and that intrepidity of spirit to which the Companions of your service and the
enemy to whom you have been opposed alike bear testimony. But I should ill perform the Commission I have received if I did not particularly and in ye most honourable terms on this occasion mention the ever memorable Action of ye 12 April (sic), 1782, in which ye Glory of ye British Navy shone forth with unexampled Lustre [i.e. the defeat of the French fleet off Dominica].
He apologises for not having acknowledged receipt of his letter earlier, adding : With regard to the subject of it I must beg leave to observe that His Royal Higness (fn. 13) sic > has never upon similiar occasions been call'd upon for those Fees that are necessarily and very properly exacted from a private Gentleman.
Considering myself as such, and highly sensible of the Honor I received, which however at Exeter, as at all other places was bestowed as an additional favour to that given to H.R.H., I submit myself to your Judgment upon it and beg to know what the Usual Fees are. I am, Sir, Your very obedient humble Servant,
In L. 600 (undated), James Holman applies to "the Sheriff Officer for the Citty and County of Exeter," for payment of his account, 2l. 17s. 0d. for going to Exmouth after the Recorder and three days' Express to Honiton to meet the Duke of Gloucester. "Alderman Moore Ex-cepted the bill and promised to pay mee, But waiting ever since for my money, and at Last Refused to pay mee, Saying hee has paid money anuff for the Chamber alreday, tharefor should go to the man Iploid mee. I now Gentlemen ably to you for payment, which hope you will grant, from youre Humble Servant,
Election of 1761.
LL. 539–542a. Exeter, March 7–13, 1761.—Five printed election squibs, one of which recommends Mr. Praed as a Proper Person to represent us in Parliament [i.e. for the Parliament that sat from May 19, 1761, till March 11, 1768, to which John Tuckfield (d 1766) and John Walter of Bicton were re-elected on March 26, 1761. See Freeman, 223.]
In L. 557, Pall Mall, Jan. 23, 1766, John Walter (fn. 14) sends 50l. to the Mayor to be distributed by him among the necessitous poor of the City.
The Provost Court.
L. 544, 1763.—Directions for the Stewards respecting proceedings in the Provost Court. (fn. 15) Inter alia they are to take 3d. for the Town Clerk for every plaint for a debt under 40s. and for every debt of 40s. or upwards they are to take 1s. for themselves and 2s. 3 1/2d. for the Plaint, and Duty to be paid to the Town Clerk when called for. The document contains a list of 19 plaintiffs and defendants, with the amount of their Claims and the names of their Attorneys. It is endorsed "Mr. Receiver Collins Plaint Book."
The Land Tax.
L. 530 dors. April 21, 1757.—The Commissioners of the Land Tax for the City of Exeter summon Joseph Bass to appear before them at the Guildhall on Wednesday, May 5th, to account for the money collected by him as Collector of the Reassessment of the Land Tax made in the year 1754 on the Parish of St. Mary Steps, which he had not yet returned to the Sheriff or the Receiver General, but had fraudulently converted to his own use.
L. 550. Office for Taxes, May 25, 1765.—John Trenchard and others write to the Mayor desiring him to call a meeting of the Commissioners of Land Tax in Exeter and enclosing 12 Acts of Parliament for appointing Commissioners under the Land Tax Act passed in 1765. (fn. 16)
In D. 1853, June 7, 1799, is a certificate of redemption of Land Tax on four dwelling houses in Langbroke Street, with similar certificates with regard to land in Sowton belonging to Seldon's Charity in D. 1854 (June 13, 1800), and a tenement called "Haccombe Down" belonging to Lethbridge's Charity in D. 1855 (June 13, 1800).
L. 554. Dec. 6, 1765.—Thomas Wilcocks writes to the Mayor desiring that his patient Mr. Gattey [? a relative of Edward Gattey, Chamberlain from Nov. 17, 1795, to Sept. 15, 1814 ; Town Clerk 1814 to Jan. 1, 1836] may not be fined for not accepting the office of Steward on account of his Indisposition. He is afflicted with so great dejection of Spirits as even to deprive Him of Reason. [For list of Stewards till 1722, see Izacke Tables.]
L. 558. Jan. 29, 1766.—A printed Order in Council for a return of the price of corn as the same stood in the month of December last and in the present month of January. (fn. 17)
In L. 559, Honiton, Feb. 3, 1766, Richard Lewis writes to Mr. Hayman at Benjamin Heath's, Esquire, desiring to know "what particular Idea may be fixed to white, wheaten and household bread ; what is denominated household being a base mixture of fermented Bran ground down and bolted, to which is added the worst kind of meal not rang'd." He adds : "I am sorry to hear of Mr. Heath's Ilness, but hope he is now better."
In L. 565, Escott [near Honiton], Aug. 2nd, 1766, Sir George Yonge [M.P. for Honiton in 1754, 1768, 1774] writes to the Mayor:—I am sorry to acquaint you that the Effects of the fury of the mob at Ottery have been as follows : viz., Several Farmers' Corn forcibly seized and carried to market and sold at 5s. per Bushell ; one Mill, a Flour Mill at Ottery, totally destroyed, that is all the Tackling of It. At Tipton, another Mill, in like Manner destroy'd. In Sidbury Parish, another Mill, belonging to Mr. Westcott and Mr. Duke, in like manner destroyed, and it seem'd (sic) the mob at Collumpton rose again the Day before Yesterday and entirely destroy'd the Mills belonging to Mr. Sainthill at Bradninch. On Thursday according to our Resolution, I sent in a Paper to be published and affixed in Ottery Market Place, as Mr. Drewe did at Collumpton. The mob gather'd insulted my Servant and intimidated the Cryer, so that he dared not do his duty ; however another was found, the Paper was cry'd and affixed. On reading, They declared : It would not do, the Gentlemen need not trouble themselves, for They would fix the Price at 4s. 9d. next Market Day : Upon this I rode into the Town yesterday, and told both the Common People and the better Sort, that if things were not quiet the Military must be sent for : I likewise directed the principal Inhabitants to call a Parish Meeting Sunday Evening to communicate to the Town the fatal Consequences of such Proceedings. I hope this will have the Desired Effect,especially if Honiton Market today should happily imitate the Peace and good order of Exeter, and I shall do myself the Honour of acquainting you with what happens today at Honiton if I learn it time enough to send by the Post this Evening. But if things should go III, I should be glad to know if there are any Troops at Exeter or near It (I understand there are some at Tiverton), though I hope in God there will be no need of such extreme measures. Mr. Drewe has sent in Corn to Collumpton Market, and Mr. Duke and myself have sent in some to Honiton Market. I have order'd mine to be sold at 5s. 3d. and 5s. 6d. p. Bushell to the Poorer Sort, as we have resolved to keep rather above the Price dictated by the Mob. I shall send to the Millers to know if they can part with any Flour, and I should be glad to know if any more rice can be had from Exeter at the Price you mention. [See Mahon, v, 166.]
In L. 566(undated) the Mayor replies to Sir George Yonge(L. 565) : It is very disagreeable and alarming to us (i.e. the Magistrates) to hear of the outrages committed by the Populace in your part of the Country, their Behaviour here hath been attended with no ill consequences nor is it likely to be so. On Friday night some few poor people showed some uneasiness at the high price of wheat and went to the Corn Market telling the Farmers that they expected to have it at a more reasonable price, whereupon the Town was somewhat alarmed, but some of (sic) magistrates appearing there everything was quiet immediately the Farmers fell the price of their Corn, and what the poor people bought they paid for immediately and went off very contentedly without making any further riot of disturbance. The next day I desired the Gentlemen of the Town to meet me at the Guildhall to consider of some method of relief for the poor in respect of the Exorbitant price of wheat, when several Gentlemen declared that they had ordered for large quantities of wheat from the Eastern Market, which they expected in daily and which, when arrived, they would sell at prime Cost, viz., about 5s. 6d. p. Bushell. This satisfied the people greatly, and for their present Relief we prevailed on the Bakers to part with some of their present Stock of Flour. This the Chamber bought of them to the (sic) of about 90 Sacks, which we are selling to them at 11/2d. p. lb., besides this many Barrells of Rice have been sold out for 2d. p. lb. This, Sir, hath entirely stopped the progress of the Flame, which first appeared to be kindled on this account, and the people here by these means together with the Consequences of any illegal or riotous proceeding having been strongly impressed upon them have since behaved very peaceably, and we are not under the least apprehensions of any future disturbances.
L. 576. April, 1772.—Whereas a most daring Robbery was committed on Tuesday last by a Multitude of Evil disposed Persons who assembled themselves in the parish of St. Sidwell and did stop a Waggon laden with Flour and with great Force and Violence did put to Flight the Drivers of the said Waggon and afterwards divided the Flour among themselves. The Magistrates therefore offer a reward of 10 guineas for the apprehension of either of the two men who first stopped the Waggon, and assure the Farmers of their determination to suppress all further disturbance by making a great number of additional Constables.
In L. 562, War Office, April 22, 1766, Lord Barrington [i.e. William Wildman, Secretary at War] writes to the Mayor that he has received from Lieutenant-Colonel Maddison a detail of some outrageous proceedings and acts of violence lately committed by a riotous mob at Exeter. [See L. 566.] He thanks the Mayor for his conduct in the matter and desires to be informed whether William Smith, an out pensioner of Chelsea Hospital, was a ringleader of the mob. If so, he will be struck off the pension.
In L. 604, March 27, 1801, is a printed notice of a resolution of certain Gentlemen and Housekeepers in Exeter pledging themselves to abstain from the use of butter for one month, which in the present very forward state of the grass must tend greatly to reduce the price of that article of luxury ; with 56 signatures. [See Freeman, p. 227.]
The Cider Tax.
L. 560. London, Feb. 27, 1766.—J[ohn] Walter [M.P. for Exeter] writes to the Mayor :— Sir,—Yesterday by the appointment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the petitions from the Cyder Countyes were presented to the House of Commons, and now lye upon the table in order by the direction of Chancellor to be taken up on next Wednesday to be Committed to the Committee of Ways and Means, when a further progress will be done with them, and there is a great reason to expect we shall meet with that relief which will be agreable to the City. (fn. 18)
The Window Tax.
L. 563. Office for Taxes, June 26, 1766.—Edward Younge writes to the Mayor enclosing 12 copies of the Act for repealing the several Duties upon Houses Windows and Lights, and requiring him to summon a General Meeting of the Commissioners for putting the same into Execution. (fn. 19)
L. 564. Tiverton, July 2, 1766.—George Davey writes to Benjamin Heath, Esq., desiring him to attend a meeting of the Trustees of Blundell's School on the 14th inst., to elect two Scholars on the foundation.
In D. 1690a, May 24, 1601, is the counterpart of a receipt for 900l. from the Mayor &c. to the Executors of the will of Peter Blundell (fn. 20) of Tiverton, bequeathed for charitable purposes where his will is recited.
L. 574 has two letters (Sherborne, March 30, April 28, 1771) from Mrs. E. Lacy to Mr. Hayman in Bedford, Exeter,asking for small quantities of drugs to be sent from Exeter and to ask Farmer Nix or his wife what the hogshead of Cider they sent her comes to.
L. 592 (undated, probably 1782).—Draft of a letter from the Mayor to Lord Shelburn [i.e. Wm. Petty, Earl of Shelburne, Secretary of State, March 27, 1782 ; Prime Minister July 13, 1782]. Acknowledges receipt of his Lordship's letter of May 7 last, with a plan for raising Corps in the several principal Towns in Great Britain, which has been considered at several meetings of the Inhabitants of Exeter called for that purpose. Some Difference of Opinion having arisen, how far the people at large might be willing to adopt it, it was proposed, as the surest method of Trial, that a Copy of it should be left at the Guildhall to which such persons as were inclined to offer themselves for this service, were requested to subscribe their names. I am sorry to say that after waiting many days, one name only was subscribed, and as Your Lordship hinted in Your Letter that each Town to whom the Application was made was at Liberty to suggest such Alterations in the Plan proposed as might make it more suitable to the particular Situation and Circumstances of the Place and the Disposition of the People, a Committee was appointed in order to prepare such a Plan to be laid before your Lordship as they think practicable in this City and which may be carried into Execution with Effect and without any great Expence to Government. He therefore encloses a paper containing observations on the Plan and also two separate proposals for raising Companies of independent Volunteers upon different Terms—but neither of these documents has been preserved. (fn. 21)
Daughters of George III.
L. 610 (undated, but=1766).—Address from the Chamber to the King (George III) on the birth of a Princess (fn. 22) "also on the marriage of the Princess your Royal Sister (fn. 23) with the King of Denmark," and "the Personal Care wherewith your Majestie watched over the welfare of your People when by a late reasonable Execution of the Prerogative your Majesty rescued them from all the miseries of famine. In consequence of the late Embargo the Fruits of the Earth are restored to your People." (fn. 24)
They beg leave to pay their most dutifull respects unto your Royal Highness and to return the most Humble Thanks for the Honor you have conferd upon us in admitting us into your presence. Truly sensible of the many Blessings we have so long enjoyed under the Government of his Majestie's royal family whom God hath been pleased to make the Instruments of his Godness towards us his Majestie's faithfull subjects retain the highest sense of Gratitude, and as they reflect on times that are past and those that are no more, so they rest upon a sure and certain Expectation that his Majestie's royal ffamily ever will be what they have (sic) ever have been the great supporters of the Throne and [blank ] Protectors of his People.
A Wild Beast Show.
L. 615 (undated).— A handbill of a Grand Menagerie of Foreign Beasts and Birds now Exhibiting in a magnificent Caravan in the Market place of this Town, printed at Portsmouth by J. Breadhower. They include a Tyger, Lion and Lioness, an amazing animal called the Ethiopian Savage or wild man of the woods, a Porcupine, a Coarta Munda from the River Nile, 2 Cockatoos, and 2 beautiful Maccaws, all described in good showman fashion.
The New Market.
L. 616 (undated).—A paper entitled: "Annual Subscriptions, Dominicals and Surplice Fees of St. Petrock's likely to be lost if ye scheme for a new Market takes place." The total amount, 13l. 5s. 10d., with detailed items, including losses likely to be incurred by the Minister of St. Petrock and St. Kerrian should ye Scheme for taking down the herein mentioned Houses take place.
L. 621.—A number of Copies of Royal Sign Manuals, Orders in Council, Letters from the Earl of Bath, Lord Lieutenant of Devon and Exeter [see Comm. LXIV, page 10; L. 142, p. 85], to the Mayor &c. relating to supplies, loans, subsidies, musters &c., from 1611 to 1628. They appear to have been copied from originals in the possession of the Corporation in a hand of the middle of the 18th century and are somewhat injured by damp.