Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations, Volume 11, January 1759 - December 1763. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1935.
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Journal, May 1760
The hearing upon the Pennsylvania laws, referred to their lordships by the orders of the Lords of the Committee of Council for Plantations affairs of the 20th of February and 13th of March last, was, at the request of the Proprietaries, further postponed to Thursday, the 15th instant; and the Secretary was ordered to give notice thereof to the parties.
Ordered, that the draught of a representation to his Majesty be prepared, proposing that Thomas Cottle, Esquire, may be appointed of the Council of Nevis in the room of Thomas Ottley, Esquire, deceased.
Read a letter from Samuel Poirier, Esquire, Secretary to the
Committee of the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, to
Mr. Pownall, dated April 24th, 1760, inclosing the following
Copy of the determination of the Freemen of the African Company at Liverpool on the 12th of April, 1760, relative to the payment of the duties claimed by the King of Barra.
Read a letter from Governor Lyttelton to the Board, dated
22nd February, 1760, containing an account of the state of
affairs respecting the Cherokee Indians; expressing his sense
of the King's goodness in appointing him Governor of Jamaica;
Copy of Governor Lyttelton's speech to the Council and Assembly, of 7th February, 1760; of three addresses to him; and of a message from him to the Assembly of 14th February, 1760.
The Secretary laid before the Board a chart or draught of the harbour of Halifax in Nova Scotia, engraved by Mr. Jefferys, Geographer to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, from the drawing transmitted to their lordships by the Governor of Nova Scotia: and the Secretary having at the same time acquainted the Board, that the Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty had signified to him, that the said drawing was upon examination found to be correct and exact, their lordships ordered the Secretary to give Mr. Jefferys five guineas for his trouble, and signify to him, that he has the Board's permission to publish the said chart.
Ordered, that the Secretary do send one of the said charts to the Master of the New England and Nova Scotia Coffee house, to be put up there for the use and information of masters of vessels using the Nova Scotia trade.
The draught of a representation to his Majesty, proposing that Thomas Cottle, Esquire, may be appointed of the Council of Nevis in the room of Thomas Ottley, Esquire, deceased, having been prepared pursuant to order, was agreed to, transcribed and signed.
Read a letter from Mr. Secretary Pitt, dated May 1st, 1760, notifying his Majesty's appointment of Captain James Webb to be Governor of Newfoundland, in the room of Captain Richard Edwards; and signifying his Majesty's pleasure, that this Board do prepare proper draughts of a Commission and instructions for the said Captain Webb.
The Secretary laid before the Board a Memorial prepared by the agent for Nova Scotia, to be presented to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, praying that the sum of five hundred and thirty pounds, nine shillings and four pence may be issued to him out of the money appropriated for the service of Nova Scotia, to discharge certain demands on account of the said service: and the memorial having been approved, the agent was ordered to present it to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury for their directions upon it.
Read a Memorial of Robert Grant, Esquire, desiring the Board to give orders, that he be re-admitted to his seat in the Council of Nova Scotia, from which he has been irregularly dismissed by the Governor and Council of the said province.
Their lordships, upon consideration of the said memorial and of the tenth article of the general instructions, were of opinion, that, if the allegations, contained in the said memorial, of the memorialist's having been resident in different parts of the province during the time he was deemed to have been absent, are just and true, the Governor and Council were not warranted in declaring his seat void, and putting in another person in his stead; and the Secretary was ordered to prepare the draught of a letter to the Governor agreeable to this resolution.
Read the following letters from Francis Fauquier, Esquire,
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, viz.
Letter from Lieutenant Governor Fauquier to the Board, dated December 17th, 1759, relating to the provision made by the Assembly for suppressing the commotions among the Cherokees, and keeping up forces for the ensuing campaign; and containing observations on an Act lately passed in Virginia.
Letter from Lieutenant Governor Fauquier to the Board, dated March 13th, 1760, stating his difficulties with regard to the boundary line of Pennsylvania, and settling the lands on the Ohio; and acknowledging the receipt of two of the Board's letters dated in November last.
Their lordships then took into consideration the three following
Acts passed in Virginia in 1758 and 1759, viz.
An Act for vesting certain lands therein mentioned in Philip Johnson, gentleman, adding the same to the city of Williamsburg, and for other purposes therein mentioned.
Passed October 11th, 1758.
An Act for vesting certain lands in the county of Hanover in Philip Whitehead Claiborne, gentleman, in fee simple, and for other purposes therein mentioned.
Passed in April, 1759.
An Act to enable the executors of the will of John Spotswood, Esquire, to pay the debts and legacies due from the estate of Major General Alexander Spotswood, and for other purposes therein mentioned.
Passed in April, 1759.
and the said Acts appearing to be in the nature and provisions of them, private Acts, having reference merely to private property; and that they were passed without clauses suspending their execution until his Majesty's pleasure could be known, and also without any of the other forms ordered by his Majesty's instructions to be observed in the passing of all private laws; it was ordered, that the draught of a representation to his Majesty should be prepared, proposing that they may be repealed.
Read a letter from George Thomas, Esquire, Governor of the Leeward Islands, to the Board, dated January 21st, 1760, acquainting them, that he has appointed a day of publick thanksgiving for the success of his Majesty's arms.
The hearing upon the Pennsylvania laws, referred to their lordships by the orders of the Lords of the Committee of Council of the 20th February and 13th March, was, at the request of the Proprietaries, further postponed to Wednesday, the 21st instant; and the Secretary was ordered to give notice thereof to the parties.
Their lordships took into consideration the Governor of Georgia's letter of the 25th November, 1759, mentioned in the minutes of 11th March last; and a representation to his Majesty, proposing that he may have leave to return to England; that James Wright, Esquire, Attorney General of South Carolina, may be appointed Lieutenant Governor of Georgia; and David Graham, Esquire, Attorney General of South Carolina, in the room of Mr. Wright, was signed: as was also a representation to his Majesty, proposing that Gilbert Ford, Esquire, may be appointed Attorney General of Jamaica in the room of Thomas Beach, Esquire, and the said representation, as also that proposing Thomas Cottle, Esquire, to be of the Council of Nevis, having been this day approved by his Majesty in Council, and warrants in the usual form ordered to be prepared, the said warrants were accordingly prepared and agreed to, and representations to his Majesty in Council thereupon were signed.
The draught of a letter to the Governor of Nova Scotia, relative to the subject matter of Mr. Grant's memorial concerning his removal from the Council Board, having been prepared pursuant to order, was agreed to, and ordered to be transcribed.
Their lordships took into consideration the following Act passed in the island of Jamaica in November, 1757, together with Sir Matthew Lamb's report thereupon, viz.: An Act to enable Martin Williams, Esquire, to take up a sufficient quantity of water, &c. and after some time spent therein, ordered the draught of a representation to his Majesty to be prepared, proposing that it may be repealed.
The draught of a representation to his Majesty upon the Act passed in the island of Jamaica in 1758 for ascertaining the value of Spanish milled money, having been prepared pursuant to order, was agreed to, and ordered to be transcribed.
The draught of a letter to the Governor of Nova Scotia, relative to the subject matter of Mr. Grant's memorial concerning his removal from the Council Board, having been transcribed pursuant to order, was signed.
Their lordships took into consideration nineteen laws of Pennsylvania, referred to them by the orders of the Lords of the Committee of Council for Plantation affairs of the 20th of February and 13th of March last; and made some progress therein.
Their lordships took into consideration an Act passed in the colony of Virginia in April, 1759, intituled, An Act for appointing an Agent; and also Sir Matthew Lamb's report thereupon: and it appearing to their lordships, that those parts of the said Act, which give a power to the Committee of Correspondence to remove the agent at pleasure and put in another, reporting their proceedings to the House of Assembly only, were irregular and improper; it was ordered, that a letter should be wrote to the Lieutenant Governor thereupon [vide folio 156], directing him to recommend to the Council and Assembly to pass another law for the same purposes, not liable to this objection. And as it appeared, that the Act of Jamaica appointing an agent for that island was liable to the same objection, a like letter was ordered to be prepared for the Lieutenant Governor of the said island [vide folio 156].
The draught of a representation to his Majesty, proposing the repeal of a private Act passed in Jamaica in 1757, intituled, An Act to enable Martin Williams, Esquire, to take up a sufficient quantity of water, &c. having been prepared, pursuant to order, was agreed to, transcribed and signed.
This day being appointed for hearing the parties respectively interested, and praying to be heard upon several laws passed in the province of Pennsylvania in the years 1758 and 1759, referred to this Board by the orders of the Lords of the Committee of Council for Plantation affairs of the 20th of February and 13th of March last; and the Proprietaries of the said province attending with his Majesty's Attorney and Solicitor General, as their counsel, and Mr. Franklyn and Mr. Charles, agents for the representatives in Assembly of the people of the said province of Pennsylvania, attending also, with Mr. De Grey and Mr. Jackson, their counsel, the counsel were called in; and the orders referring the laws to this Board, and also that referring the petition of the Proprietaries, praying to be heard by counsel against eleven of the said laws, having been read, Mr. Attorney General submitted to their lordships, whether it might not be most convenient and proper to take the laws separately; and, if that was approved, he should first trouble them upon that for raising a land tax.
Mr. De Grey objected to beginning with that law; and submitted, whether it would not be more just and regular to begin with that for appointing an agent to receive the money granted to this province by Parliament, not only as the Act came first referred by a separate order; but as the money was very much wanted to enable the people there to carry on the publick service. But Mr. Attorney General having replied to this, that no notice had been given to him till this morning of the other parties' intention to begin with this Act; and that therefore he was altogether unprepared upon it, Mr. De Grey waved his objection; and Mr. Attorney General, after having said, that he would not trouble their lordships with stating the particular provisions and plan of this Tax Act; but should content himself with alluding in the course of his argument to such parts as he should object to, opened the case by stating the general tendency and disposition of the House of Assembly of the province at all times to encroach upon the rights of the Proprietaries, the prerogative of the Crown, and the sovereign government of the mother country, by their asserting that the Lieutenant Governor was not the Governor of the Crown; by their almost rebellious declarations with respect to the instruction concerning paper currency founded upon an address of Parliament; by denying the right of the Proprietaries to instruct their Governor and other acts of avowed democracy; that the unreasonable bounty of the first Proprietary, in acquiescing in that law, by which the Assembly was made perpetual and indissoluble, in great measure laid the foundation of these usurpations and encroachments; and he hoped to see the day, when that would be repealed by Parliament.
The Attorney General then proceeded to state the conduct of the Assembly in the several bills prepared and passed by them for raising supplies from the year 1755 down to the present Act; and the objections, which lay to it from the tax thereby imposed upon the Proprietaries' unimproved located lands, (whose estates in general had till the year 1755 been exempted from any taxation whatever) with retrospective taxation under former Acts; from the arbitrary manner of assessing and levying that tax; and from many other independent clauses of it, by which the bills of credit were to be legal tenders in payment of proprietary quit-rents, and the money, granted for the publick service, was to be disposed of at the sole will and pleasure of a committee consisting of a majority of members of the Assembly, &c.
The Solicitor General, after having observed upon the general conduct of the Assembly in their attempts to arrogate rights inconsistent with the Constitution; and stated, that the laws now under consideration were obtained and passed by manifest and avowed corruption of the Proprietaries' deputy; proceeded to state the several objections to the law in question in the points referred to by the Attorney General, as well with respect to the object of the tax, and the arbitrary method of assessment and levy, as the mode of enforcing that levy, and the other independent provisions of it: and having gone through his argument,
Mr. De Grey moved their lordships to postpone the further consideration of the law till tomorrow, in order that he might have time to prepare himself to answer the general charges thrown out against the Assembly, and the variety of objections stated to the law in question. Whereupon the counsel were ordered to withdraw; and their lordships, upon consideration of Mr. De Grey's request, agreed to indulge him therein with respect to this particular law; and the counsel being again called in, they were acquainted therewith; and the further hearing was adjourned till to-morrow morning twelve o'clock.
The respective parties interested in and praying to be heard upon the laws of Pennsylvania, attending pursuant to the adjournment of yesterday, they were called in; and Mr. De Grey, in behalf of the representatives in Assembly of the people of the province of Pennsylvania, opened his argument by observing, in answer to what had been thrown out by the Attorney and Solicitor General, that he was equally bound, though not equally authorized, to support the rights of the Crown; that he did insist upon the faith and loyalty of his constituents, who had shewn it upon all occasions and at all times; that they were ever ready to grant money to the utmost of their power for the publick service; and that, in the course of this war, their conduct had been particularly meritorious, as would be testified by all his Majesty's officers and the army in general; that the charges against them were only ornaments of speech, unsupported by any evidence whatever, further than the result of the laws in question; which had been regularly passed, and enacted, and transmitted to be laid before the Crown, conformable to their Charter, the concession of the Proprietaries, and the subsequent charters, which together formed the law and constitution of the colony; that by the Royal Charter there is a power reserved to the Crown of repealing laws, which shall upon examination be found to be inconsistent with the sovereignty or lawful prerogative of the Crown; and that in a former clause of the charter it is declared, they shall be consonant to reason, and not repugnant to the laws of England; but this clause has no connexion with the other; and therefore the only question is, whether these laws now under consideration are inconsistent with the sovereignty or lawful prerogative of the Crown: that the address of the Proprietaries to the Crown to repeal these laws, as affecting their interests, was irregular and improper: that the interests of the Proprietaries could not be considered in this case; nor did they rely upon the Crown for redress in such cases; for they bind their deputies by bonds and obligations to obey their instructions; that there was no proof of what was asserted, that the Governor was bribed to collude with the people; that the sums, which appeared upon the votes to be given to him, were given in the usual way, in which the sums given by the Assembly to their Governors for their support were always given.
Mr. De Grey then proceeded to answer the several objections made by the Attorney and Solicitor General to the bill, as well with respect to the object of the tax, as the modes of levying and enforcing it, the disposition of the money, and the declaring the bills of credit thereby issued to be a legal tender. And Mr. Jackson having been heard upon the same points, and several votes of the Assembly at different times having been read, as proofs of what Mr. De Grey had alleged, that the money given to Mr. Denny was voted in the same manner, as the Governor's support had always been voted, Mr. Attorney General was heard in reply to the argument of the counsel on the other side. And the parties being ordered to withdraw, the further hearing was adjourned till to-morrow eleven of the clock.
The respective parties interested in and praying to be heard upon certain laws of Pennsylvania attending, pursuant to the adjournment of yesterday, they were called in; and the Solicitor General proceeded to state to their lordships objections to the Act for re-emitting the paper currency issued upon loan; and Mr. Jackson having been heard in answer to those objections, and the Solicitor General in reply: the Attorney General took up the consideration of the Act for recording warrants and surveys; and having stated several objections thereto, and Mr. De Grey having been heard in answer, and the Attorney General in reply, the further consideration of this affair was adjourned to Tuesday, the 3rd of June.