Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations, Volume 12, January 1764 - December 1767. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1936.
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Journal, January 1765
Their lordships took into further consideration the memorials of the Silk Throwsters and Weavers Company of London, men tioned in the minutes of the 21st of last month, and a memorial of the Silk Mercers, setting forth the present state of that trade, with their objections to the laying any further duty on the importation of foreign wrought silks, was presented and read.
The Silk Throwsters, Weavers' Company, and several of the principal Silk Mercers attending, they were called in and were severally heard in what they had further to offer in support of their respective memorials.
The Secretary laid before the Board the following accounts
received from the Commissioners of the Customs, vizt.,
An account of the amount of the bounty paid upon the exportation of British wrought silks or British manufacture mixed with silk, from Christmas 1758 to Christmas 1763.
An account of the quantity of raw and thrown silks imported into England from Christmas 1758 to Christmas 1763, distinguishing from what places, and also the amount of the duty paid thereupon.
An account of the quantity of raw and thrown silk re-exported from England from Christmas 1758 to Christmas 1763, distinguishing to what places with the amount of the drawback of the duty thereupon.
An account of the quantity of foreign wrought silks imported into England from Christmas 1758 to Christmas 1763, distinguishing from what places and the amount of the duties.
An account of the quantity of foreign wrought silks reexported from England from Christmas 1758 to Christmas 1763, distinguishing to what places and the amount of the drawback of the duties thereupon.
Their lordships took the said accounts into consideration, together with the memorials of the Silk Throwsters, Weavers Company and Silk Mercers, and what had been offered by the memorialists respectively thereupon, and were of opinion, "that the silk throwsters and manufacturers of silk will be relieved in the difficulties they allege to arise from the scarcity and dearness of raw silk by allowing it to be imported from all places whatsoever in British ships and at the lowest duties now paid upon Italian silk, and that it may be expedient in particular circumstances and under proper restrictions, to allow no drawback of the duty upon re-exportation, or even to lay a duty upon what is exported, but it must be considered whether this should not be with an exception to what is exported to Ireland."
"That in order to restrain the licentious practice complained of by the weavers of their workmen destroying the looms, such practice should be declared to be felony, as in the case of the woollen manufacture, and that, in order to prevent frauds in the fabrick and preserve the staple of the silk manufacture, each piece of silk should be stamped at each end with the maker's name, the number of yards in each piece, and the breadth thereof in inches and half inch, and this regulation to be enforced by proper penalties."
Agreed to consider further of this business, and to consult the East India and Turkey Companies on the first proposition; the India Company to have notice to attend on Tuesday, and the Turkey Company on Thursday sevennight.
Read the following letters and papers received from the
Governor of Quebec, vizt.,
Letter from the Honourable James Murray, esquire, Governor of Quebec, to the Board, dated October 26th 1764, respecting their lordships' plan for the future management of Indian affairs; the fisheries on the Labrador Coast; illicit trade; titles of grants claimed by Monsieur Lotbinière; and other grants.
Governor Murray's notions of the plan for the management of Indian affairs.
Concession to Monsieur Hocquart, 1743.
Concession to Monsieur Hocquart, 1745.
Letter from Governor Murray, dated October 29th, 1764, relative to the present state of affairs in the Province of Quebec; recommending Mr. Cramahé to be Lieutenant Governor of Montreal, and proposing that Messrs. William and Alexander McKenzies, and William Grant may not be appointed of the Council.
An ordinance for regulating and establishing the courts of judicature, justices of the peace, quarter sessions, bailiffs and other matters relative to the distribution of justice in the Province of Quebec.
An ordinance for ratifying and confirming the decrees of the several courts of justice established in the districts of Quebec, Montreal and Trois Rivières, prior to the establishment of civil government throughout this province, 10th August 1764.
Ditto: relating to the assize of bread, and for ascertaining the standard of weights and measures in the Province of Quebec.
Ditto: for regulating and establishing the currency of the province.
Ditto: declaring what shall be deemed a due publication of the ordinances of the Province of Quebec.
Copy of the charge to the grand jury of the Quarter Sessions held at Quebec, 16th October 1764.
Copy of presentments of the grand jury of the district of the City of Quebec to the Court of Quarter Sessions held at the Sessions House, October 16th, 1764.
Protest of the French inhabitants who signed the presentment to the grand jury.
Copy of Mr. Gridley's answer to the presentments of the grand jury of October Sessions 1764.
Address of the principal inhabitants of Canada to the King, relative to the establishment of courts of justice and the presentment of the grand jury.
List of Protestant housekeepers in Quebec, October 26th, 1764.
List of Protestant housekeepers in Montreal, 20th October.
Courval's account of the Forges St. Maurice, 3rd October 1764.
Letter from Governor Murray to the Board, dated October 31st, 1764, inclosing,
Proposal of Messrs. Dunn and Gray to remedy the inconveniency arising from the want of small money in the Province of Quebec, October 26th, 1764.
Memorial from the farmers of the King's posts to the Governor, dated October 30th, 1764.
The Earl of Hillsborough presented to the Board the following
paper delivered to him by Mr. Anthony Bacon, concerned with
Mr. Glass in the establishment of a trade to a new discovered
harbour upon the Coast of Africa, vizt.,
Cession of the Port of Regeala or Gueder (now Port Hillsborough) made by the natives to Mr. George Glass in behalf of the English nation, together with a tract of land adjacent, and an exclusive trade.
Their lordships took into consideration the laws of Jamaica passed in 1763, and Mr. Eyre, sollicitor in behalf of Mr. Jasper Hall and others concerned in the supply of negroes to the Spanish colonies attending, with Mr. Ambler and Mr. Jackson, his counsel, and Mr. Pickering attending in behalf of the Island of Jamaica, with Mr. Wedderburne and Mr. Hotham, his counsel, they were called in, and the minutes of the Board of the 17th and 18th of December last having been read, as also the caveat entered by Mr. Eyre, desiring to be heard by counsel against the law passed in Jamaica in December 1763, for raising several sums of money and applying the same to several uses for subsisting for one year the officers and soldiers of his Majesty's 49th Regiment of Foot.
Notice was taken of the irregularity of entering a caveat without stating the reasons upon which such caveat is grounded, and it was declared by the Board that for the future no caveat, more especially in the case of a law of a publick nature, would be admitted, unless the general reasons upon which such caveat was founded, were stated.
Mr. Ambler then moved the Board that the further consideration and hearing upon this law might be postponed, as they were informed there were many proceedings upon laws of the same nature heretofore passed, of which it would be necessary to have copies, in order to enable them to state the case fully to their lordships.
A question arising upon the motion, the counsel were ordered to withdraw, and being again called in, they were acquainted that their lordships did acquiesce in the motion, but were of opinion that the counsel for the complainants should now proceed to state the general objections to the law, with liberty however to go afterwards into any other objections which should occur in respect to its general policy or other matter that should arise out of the proceedings of which they desired to have copies.
Mr. Ambler, in behalf of his clients, observed, that this law was of so extraordinary and injurious a nature, that he hoped it would be declared void ab initio, and the Governor forbid to pass any of the like nature for the future; that the general objections to the Act were, that it was contrary to true policy, unreasonable and unjust; that, being destructive of a very valuable branch of commerce, it was injurious to the mother country, and for the same cause in some degree to the island itself; that it not only affects negroes imported either for use in the island or sale to be afterwards exported; but also affects the trade in cases of ships merely touching at Jamaica in the way to the Spanish settlements, which was a very advantageous branch of trade; that it was unreasonable and unjust, because it lays a heavy duty upon gentlemen concerned in this trade, and lessens the profits by 30/a head upon every negroe, and also is injurious to the interest of insurers, by the vessells being detained a long time in order to comply with the requisites of the Act.
Mr. Ambler also stated other objections to particular clauses of the Act, in respect to the difficulties laid thereby upon the captains of ships; and the manner in which the Receiver General is directed to account for the duty.
Mr. Jackson observed that the general line of objection to the Act was, that it was an attempt in the Legislature of Jamaica to obstruct a very valuable branch of commerce, and, if they had a power to obstruct, they might even prohibit, by loading the trade with any duty they thought proper; that the present dutys imposed by this Act will affect the trade in the sum of £10,000, and that it was inconsistent with the true principles of commerce, and derogatory of the rights of British subjects; that these are objections considering it as an Act de novo, but as he expected to hear it said that the island had been long indulged in this practice, it might be proper to take notice, that the Act now complained of does materially differ from former Acts, for this Act makes the duty clearly payable upon negroes not landed, and only brought into port for refreshment; which was at least doubtfull upon former Acts, and in fact the duty was never paid or demanded, untill Mr. Hall having entered into engagements for extending this valuable commerce beyond what it was ever extended to before, had a vessel with negroes for the Spanish trade, which touched last year at Jamaica, in her way to the Spanish settlements, upon which the duty was claimed, and, though Mr. Hall doubted of its legality, he did not refuse the payment, but brought an action against the Receiver, and upon trial the jury gave a verdict in his favour; but the sentence was hung up by a writ of error, and the Legislature have now so framed this law as to leave no doubt as to the Receiver's authority to collect the duty.
Their lordships took into consideration a letter from this Board in the year 1715 to the Principal Secretaries of State, desiring that the consuls, and, where there were no consuls, the ministers in foreign countries, might be directed to transmit to this Board states of the trade in those countries under certain regulations, and also a letter from the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, signifying that orders had been given agreable to what had been proposed; and it appearing to the Board, that it would be of great use that this regulation, which has been a long time discontinued, should be revived, letters to his Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State thereupon, were agreed to, transcribed and signed.
Read a letter from Mr. Eyre, sollicitor for Jasper Hall and others, to the Secretary, dated this day, specifying the particular papers of which copies were desired, pursuant to the motion made by his counsel in the cause relative to the Jamaica Act, mentioned in the minutes of yesterday.
Their lordships took into consideration the letters and papers received from the Governor of Quebec, mentioned in the minutes of the 7th instant, and it being agreed to lay before his Majesty in Council the memorial or petition to his Majesty of several of the French inhabitants, occasioned by the presentment of the grand jury at a general quarter sessions of the peace held at Quebec in October last, and also copies of the several papers to which that memorial or petition, and the presentment, refer, a representation to his Majesty, accompanying the said papers, was signed.
Their lordships took into consideration those clauses of the Act of the 7th and 8th William the Third, for better regulating the plantation trade, which relate to the oath required to be taken by governors of the plantations to do their utmost for the execution of the laws of trade, and to the Crown's approbation or disapprobation of charter and proprietary governors; and several papers, relative to former proceedings in respect to the execution of those clauses, were read.
Read a letter from Mr. Anthony Colombies to the Board, dated
January 1st, 1765, complaining of some proceedings of Lieutenant
Vancourt, and praying that a grant may be made to him of two
settlements made by his agents in Newfoundland.
Depositions of John Tucker and others, relative to some pro ceedings of Lieutenant Vancourt in dispossessing them of two plantations in Newfoundland.
Mr. Colombies attending was called in, and their lordships heard what he had to offer in support of his complaint, and it appearing, that the matter of complaint did not regularly lye before this Board, having reference to a case in which the Governor of Newfoundland has solely the jurisdiction, and it also appearing, that Lieutenant Vancourt had acted under orders from the said Governor in what he had done, which orders were given upon an examination into the matter by the said Governor, their lordships declined any further proceedings upon it, and then Mr. Colombies withdrew.
Read a letter from the Earl of Sandwich, one of his Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, dated January 10th, 1765, inclosing a new project of a treaty of commerce with Russia offerred by that Court, and signifying his Majesty's commands that this Board should consider the said project, and having consulted with the Russia merchants, report an opinion thereupon.
Read a memorial of the agent for the affairs of West Florida, stating that two bills had been drawn upon him by the Governor of that province, from Jamaica, for three hundred pounds sterling, without advice, and praying the Board's directions whether he should refuse or accept the said bills.
The agent attending was called in, and presented the said bills to the Board, and it appearing, that there were no letters of advice of the said bills, or any accounts thereunto annexed of the application of the sums for which they were drawn, the agent was informed, that their lordships had no directions to give him thereupon, and then he withdrew.
Their lordships took into further consideration the clauses of the Statute of the 7th and 8th William the Third, mentioned in the minutes of the 9th instant, and the charters of Rhode Island and Connecticut were read and considered.
Read a letter from Mr. Briggs to the Secretary, dated this day, desiring, in behalf of the Weavers Company, to have a copy of the petition presented to this Board by the Mercers, and setting forth the reasons for such request.
Mr. Rous, the chairman of the Court of Directors of the East
India Company, attending with Mr. Crab Boulton, another of the
said directors, their lordships had some discourse with them
respecting the proposition of admitting raw silk to be imported
from all places whatsoever in British ships, paying the Italian
duty; upon which proposition they desired time to consult the
Court of Directors; they were also desired to consider of the
following alternatives, in case it should be hereafter thought
adviseable to adopt either one or other of the measures to which
If it should be thought advisable to take off the duties upon the importation of raw silk, it may be expedient to consider how far it may be proper to lay a duty on the re-exportation.
If it should be thought advisable to take off the duty upon importation, it may then be proper to consider, whether it may not be expedient not to allow a drawback of the duty upon re-exportation.
Read a letter from the Earl of Halifax to the Board, dated
January 14th, 1765, transmitting extracts of letters from the Earl
of Hertford, relative to the abolition of the French edict of 1727,
and the navigation of the British and French subjects remaining
on the foundation of the treaty of 1686; and signifying the King's
pleasure that their lordships should immediately consider and
report their opinion on the points therein contained.
Copy of the Earl of Hertford's memorial to the Duc de Praslin, Paris, 12th December, 1764.
Extract of a letter from his Excellency the Earl of Hertford to the Earl of Halifax, dated Paris, December 20th, 1764.
Extract from the Earl of Hertford's letter to the Earl of Halifax, December 29th, 1764.
Extract of a letter from the Earl of Hertford to the Earl of Halifax, Paris, January 3rd, 1765.
Copy of the Most Christian King's Declaration in Council, of the 9th of December, 1764.
The Deputy Governor of the Turkey Company, the Treasurer of the said company, and two other members of it attending, with their secretary, their lordships had some discourse with them on the subject matter of the Weavers and Silk Throwsters petitions, and the proposition of admitting raw silk to be imported from all places whatever on English bottoms, and they used several arguments to shew, that the admitting Turkey raw silk to be imported otherways than directly from Turkey would increase the price, lessen the quantity, and prevent the exportation of woollen manufactures to that country; the gentlemen having been fully heard in what they had to offer upon this subject, their lordships desired that, if any further arguments should occur, they would reduce them into writing and lay them before the Board, and then they withdrew.
It appearing upon the printed votes of the Assembly of New York lately received, that they had made an extraordinary order in that House, tending to excite a combination in the several colonies to oppose particular Acts and resolutions of the Parliament of Great Britain relative to the said colonies, an extract was ordered to be made of the said votes to be laid before his Majesty, and a representation to his Majesty thereupon was agreed to and signed.
The Governor of the Russia Company attending, with several members of that Company and merchants trading to Russia, their lordships had some discourse with them on the subject matter of the project of a new treaty of commerce with Russia offerred by that Court; and it having been agreed to communicate a copy of the said project to them for their further consideration and observations upon it, they withdrew, and a copy thereof was accordingly ordered to be made and transmitted to them by the Secretary.
Ordered, that the Secretary do also transmit a copy thereof to his Majesty's Advocate General, and pray the favour of his opinion upon the several articles thereof, in so far as they regard the general principles of the Law of Nations, and more especially upon those articles which respect contraband goods, and visitation and search of merchant ships in time of war.
Ordered, that the Secretary do also transmit a copy of the said project to the Commissioners of his Majesty's Customs, for their opinion and observations upon such articles as relate to that branch of his Majesty's service within their department.
Their lordships took into consideration the Acts of Parliament relative to the plantations, in so far as they regard the incapacity of aliens, and the oaths to be taken by governors for the observance of the laws of trade.
The Secretary laid before the Board vouchers transmitted by the Governor of Nova Scotia for expences incurred there relative to the grant of Parliament between the 24th of June and 31st of December, 1763.
Ordered, that the said vouchers be delivered to the agent, and that he be directed to prepare an account of the expences incurred for the support of the civil government of Nova Scotia for the year 1763.
Read a letter from Mr. Rous, Chairman of the Directors of the
India Company, and Mr. Boulton, one of the said directors, to
Mr. Pownall, dated this day, inclosing,
References to Acts of Parliament as to the Company's sole and exclusive right to the East India trade.
Their lordships took into further consideration the memorials
of the Silk Throwsters, Weavers and Mercers, and agreed to the
following propositions, in respect to the duties and drawbacks
upon raw, thrown and wrought silks, and the regulation of the
fabrick, manufacture and sale of British silks, vizt.,
1. That all raw silk, whereever raised, except of growth of the Turkish dominions, be allowed to be imported in British bottoms from any place whatever; Turkey silk to remain subject to the restrictions of the Act of the 6th of George 1st.
2. That all raw silk (not of the growth or produce of his Majesty's dominions) shall pay equal duty upon importation.
3. That no foreign raw silk imported shall pay a higher duty than 1/6 per pound.
That an additional duty of 6d. per pound be paid upon thrown silk imported.
That no drawback of the duty upon raw silk be allowed upon re-exportation, except to Ireland.
That an additional duty of 5 or 10 per cent ad valorem be laid upon all foreign wrought silks imported.
That no more than one half of the duty paid upon the importation of wrought silks be allowed to be drawn back upon re-exportation.
That every piece of silk of British manufacture have the maker's name, the number of yards and half yard in length, and the number of inches and half inch in breadth, stampt, or otherways legibly marked at each end; and this regulation to be enforced by proper penalties.
That the master weaver be obliged to pay the manufacturer by the yard, and to pay for every yard and half yard so to be marked upon each piece; and likewise the mercer or other purchaser of the silk by the piece to pay in like manner, for each yard and half yard so marked upon each piece; proper penalties for false marking, forgery, etc.
That it be made felony for any person or persons to cut or destroy silk in the loom, in like manner as is already enacted in respect to the woollen manufacture.
Ordered, that the Secretary do transmit the said propositions to the Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, to be laid before that Board, to the end that, if they approve thereof, a bill may be prepared to be offerred to the consideration of Parliament.
Read a letter from Mr. Poirier, Secretary to the African Committee, to the Secretary, dated January 9th, 1765, inclosing,
Information concerning Portodally and Joually, received from Captain Baird by the African Committee, 19th December, 1764.
This day being appointed for the further hearing of counsel upon the Jamaica Act laying a duty upon negroes imported and exported, and the counsel attending were called in, and Mr. Ambler and Mr. Jackson having been heard in what they had further to add by way of objection to the Act, they were ordered to withdraw, and their lordships agreed to hear the counsel for the Island in support of the Act on this day sennight.
Ordered, that an extract be made of such parts of the last letter from the Governor of Newfoundland as relate to the bad state of the military establishments in that island, as also copies of the returns and memorials therein referred to, to be transmitted to the Earl of Halifax, and a letter to his Lordship, to accompany the said extract and copies, was signed.
The Deputy Governor and several other members of the Turkey Company attended the Board, and presented a memorial, stating reasons against the allowing raw silk to be imported from all places whatever, which memorial was read, and then they withdrew.
The Secretary laid before the Board an account of the petty expences and incidental charges of this office from the 5th of July to the 10th of October, 1764, amounting in the whole to four hundred, fifty one pounds, one shilling, and a letter to the Lords of the Treasury, desiring payment thereof, and of the salaries due to the Secretary and under officers in the service of this Board, was signed.
Their lordships took into further consideration the papers referred by the Earl of Halifax, relative to the propositions of France in respect to the navigation of the American seas, and it was ordered, that it should be referred to the Attorney and Solicitor General, and also to the Advocate General, for their opinion, whether the Treaty of 1686, commonly called the Treaty of Neutrality, is or is not now in force.
Their lordships also took into consideration the state of the establishments on the Coast of Africa, more especially in respect to the Districts of Senegal and Gambia, and the draught of a representation to his Majesty thereupon was read and considered.
Read a petition of Lieutenant Henry Timberlake, stating his expences in supporting three Cherokee Indians, that have been brought over hither, and praying that consideration may be given to those expences and their passage back to America.
The petitioner attending, was called, and having been asked some questions in respect to the allegations of his petition, he withdrew, and a copy was ordered to be made of the said petition to be transmitted to the Earl of Halifax, and a letter to this Lordship, accompanying the said copy, was signed.
This day being appointed for the further hearing counsel upon the Act of Jamaica, for laying a duty upon the importation and exportation of negroes; and the counsel attending were called in, and their lordships having heard what the counsel for the Island had to offer in support of the Act, and the counsel for the complainants against it having been heard in reply, and also some of the principal persons interested in and trading to the said island, the counsel withdrew, and their lordships agreed to take the said Act into consideration on Monday next.
It appearing that letters lately received from the Governor of East Florida and South Carolina referred to certain plans and maps, said to be transmitted by the two last packets from those parts, and the said maps and plans not being received, the Secretary was ordered to write to the Post Office, to desire that the proper enquiry might be made of the masters of those packets concerning the said maps and plans.