Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations: Volume 3, March 1715 - October 1718. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1924.
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Journal of the proceedings of Her Majesty's Commissioners for promoting the trade of this Kingdom, and for inspecting and improving her plantations in America and elsewhere, from the tenth of March, 1715, to the thirty-first May, 1716.
Journal, March 1715
March 10, 1714–15. Present:—Lord Berkeley of Stratton, Sir Jacob Astley, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Hutcheson, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke.
Garrison and Trade.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope.
Their Lordships proceeding in considering the several papers relating to the garrison and trade of Newfoundland [Q. fo. 467; fo. 76], according to their resolution, yesterday, the draught of a letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope, upon that subject, was agreed and signed.
Members of Turkey Company.
Memorial about mourning and decay of Trade.
to be considered on Wednesday.
Sir Gerard Conyers Deputy Govr. and some other Members of the Turkey Company attending, they presented to their lordships a memorial in support of the allegations of their petition to his Majesty [Q. fo. 446; fo. 16], referred to this Board by the Order of Council mentioned in the Minutes of the 2nd instant, relating to the mourning, and the prejudice their trade receives from the French; which Memorial was read; and these Gentlemen were acquainted that their lordships would consider further on it, in order to a report thereupon, which after Sir Gerard &c. were withdrawn, they resolved to do on Wednesday next.
Letters from the Governor and papers therein referred to.
Instructions to be considered.
Then their Lordships made a further progress in considering papers relating to Jamaica [Q. fo. 461; fo. 4] and the letter from the Board of the 21st of June, 1714, to the Lord Archibald Hamilton Govr. of that island, was read, and their representations of the 22nd of the same month and 16th July, 1714, the one relating to Mr. Archboulds being of the Council, the other to an act about the Freeholders of Kingston, were laid before the Board. The letters from the Lord Archibald Hamilton, dated the 5th of May and 6th of October, that dated the 7th and 25th of October, and another of the 10th of Decr., 1714, with the Minutes of Council and Assembly, referred to in the last mentioned, were read; as likewise that to Mr. Thurston mentioned in the Minutes of the 3rd instant. And their lordships agreed to consider the draughts of instructions for the Lord Archibald Hamilton at the first opportunity.
March 11. Present:—Lord Berkeley of Stratton, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Hutcheson, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Docminique.
Memorial from Jennings to be continued of the Council.
Col. Jennings summoned.
A memorial from Col. Jennings, praying he may be continued of his Majesty's Council in Virginia, was read [fo. 4]; whereupon ordered that he be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with him on Monday morning next, and that he bring with him at the same time his licence for being absent from the said Council.
Council of Virginia agreed.
Their lordships then agreed that the names of the twelve persons under mentioned, in case Col. Jennings have a licence to be absent, be inserted in the following order, as his Majesty's Council of that Colony, in the draught of instructions prepared for the Earl of Orkney, Govr. thereof, vizt. Edmund Jennings, Robert Carter, James Blair, Philip Ludwel, John Smith, John Lewis, William Byrd, William Basset, William Cocke, Edmund Berkley, Nathaniel Harrison and Mann Page.
Letter from Mr. Harris.
Representation of Merchants about Hispaniola.
A letter from Mr. Harris to the Secretary, dated this day, together with an inclosed copy of a repn. of the Merchants and others interested in Jamaica, relating to the French settlements at Hispaniola, and some remarks on their other settlements in North America, were laid before the Board, and read.
Observations on Jamaica papers.
Instructions for the Governor.
After which, their lordships took into consideration several observations they had made upon the Jamaica papers lately before the Board [fo. 26], and likewise made a progress in considering the draughts of instructions to be given to the Lord Archibald Hamilton Govr. of that island.
March 14. Present:—Lord Berkeley of Stratton, Sir Jacob Astley, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Hutcheson, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Docminique.
Letter from Colonel Jennings about licence to be absent from the Council.
Colonel Jennings summoned.
A letter from Col. Jennings to the Secretary, of this days date [fo. 3, 17], desiring to be excused from waiting on their lordships by reason of his indisposition, was read; as likewise the copy of her late Majesty's licence to him to be absent from the Council of Virginia, dated the 19th of June, 1713; whereupon it not appearing, whether the time limited by the said licence for Col. Jennings's absence be expired; ordered that he be desired to attend the Board as soon as possibly he can.
Council of Virginia.
And in the meantime their lordships resuming the consideration of what was directed at the last meeting [fo. 3], relating to the names of persons to be inserted as Councillors of Virginia in the draught of instructions prepared for the Earl of Orkney to be Govr. of that Colony, the paragraphs C & D of Colonel Spotswood's letter of the 9th of March, 1713, relating to Mr. Berkeley's being appointed of the said Council, were read; whereupon ordered that the name of Mr. Edmund Berkeley be placed after those of Mr. Nathaniel Harrison and Mr. Mann Page, in the said draught of instructions.
Extract of letter.
Brazils French Trade.
Mr. George Brailsford attending communicated to their lordships, part of a letter from his brother Mr. James Brailsford, dated at Oporto the 5th of Novr. last, relating to the French trading with the Brazils, by their ships putting into those parts, under pretence of stress of weather, which was read, and an extract made thereof.
Letter from Cadiz.
He further communicated to their lordships a letter to his brother at Oporto from a correspondent at Cadiz, dated the 10th of Decr., 1714, relating to the ill condition of the British trade in Spain since the peace, and the great encouragement and authority the French have in that Kingdom, &c. which was read.
South Sea French Ships.
And Mr. Brailsford added in discourse, that he had heard there were now about 32 sail of French ships in the South Seas.
Then their lordships proceeded in considering the remaining observations they had made upon the Jamaica papers before them [fo. 4, 54], and gave several directions in relation to the draughts of instructions preparing for the Lord Archibald Hamilton Govr. of that island.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope about Governors of Plantations and Captains of Ships of War.
The draught of a letter to Mr. Secry. Stanhope [fo. 9], to desire directions may be given by the Admiralty for promoting a good understanding between the Govrs, of Plantations and the Commanders of ships of war or squadrons appointed to attend the service of any of His Majesty's Colonies or Plantations in America, and to submit it to his Majesty, whether it may not be proper for the said Commanders to be subject to his Majesty's Govrs. of those respective plantations, as formerly during their continuance on those stations was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
Letter to Mr. Lowndes.
Ordered that a letter be writ to Mr. Lowndes [Q. fo. 124], desiring to know what directions have been given upon the letter from the late Board of Trade, dated the 12th of Febry., 1713–14 to the then Lord Treasurer, relating to the escheated estate of Williamina Kupius in Jamaica.
Colonel Laws and other Jamaica Gentlemen summoned.
Further ordered that Col. Laws, Col. Long, Mr. Oldfield and Mr. Ayscough he desired to attend the Board on Friday morning next, [fo. 19], together with such other Gentlemen concerned in Jamaica, as they shall think fit to bring with them.
March 15. Present:—Lord Berkeley of Stratton, Sir Jacob Astley, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Hutcheson, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Docminique.
Letter to Mr. Martyn.
Custom House Accounts.
Ordered that a letter be writ to Mr. Martyn Inspector General fo His Majesty's Customs [Q. fo. 431; fo. 47], desiring to know what progress he has made in the accts. demanded of him the 18th of the last month, and that as he finishes any one of those particulars, he would send it to this Board.
Letter from Mr. Righby.
A letter from Mr. Rigby, dated at Colchester the 12th of March 1714–15 [fo. 27] promising to attend the Board, the next week, was read.
Orby's Memorial about Lord Clarendon.
Objections to Acts.
Letter to Earl of Clarendon.
Mr. Orby attending [Q. fo. 402; fo. 38], a memorial from him praying that since the Earl of Clarendon has entered a Caveat agst. an act passed at New York in Septr. last for the support of that Governt. &c. his Lordship may be hastened to lay his objections thereto before this Board, was read; whereupon a letter was ordered to be writ to his Lordship for that purpose accordingly.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope.
Governors of Plantations and Commanders of Ships of War.
A letter to Mr. Secry. Stanhope [fo. 6, 40] agreed yesterday, relating to directions to be given by the Admiralty for promoting a good understanding, between the Govrs. of his Majesty's plantations in America and the Commanders of ships of war there, was signed.
Colonel Vetch about removal of French Inhabitants with their effects.
Col. Vetch attending, according to appointment [Q. fo. 463], upon occasion of his letter mentioned in the minutes of the 9th instant, relating to Nova Scotia, and being asked several questions, relating to the French inhabitants there; he said that they seemed to be commanded to go from thence, and several of the young people went to Cape Briton, but that even after the return of some of them (tho' as Col. Vetch had heard, the said young people were not allowed by Major Caulfield Commander at Annapolis to return again) the rest of the inhabitants of Nova Scotia were averse to removing, and would gladly stay were they incouraged by the protection of the Government. That tho' most of the said inhabitants are French, and but few English, besides the garrison, it would be our interest to keep them there, being about 4 or 5 hundred families, and even any inhabitants notwithstanding they should not prove our friends upon a rupture with France, rather than to suffer the Country to be depopulated, and the corn, cattle, and other effects removed, as they are preparing to do, to Cape Breton; for that by these inhabitants remaining, the country will be in a much better condition to receive such, as may go from Great Britain to settle there, and should the French wholly remove with their effects to Cape Breton, it would at once make that place a strong settlement with little charge to them, and thereby do us more harm than they could by remaining in Nova Scotia. And being particularly asked, whether the influence of the garrison at Annapolis could hinder the said inhabitants from removing their cattle, and other effects; he answered, that he believed it might in a great measure, if not intirely.
His Memorial about returning to Nova Scotia and preventing the Inhabitants removal.
A memorial from Sir Charles Hobby, relating to the necessity of some speedy resolutions to be taken in relation to Nova Scotia, and praying that he may have orders to return to that country and endeavour to prevent the removal of the French inhabitants of that province was read, and Sir Charles being called in, and asked several questions, he delivered himself in discourse to the same effect as his said memorial, and further added in relation to the affection of the French inhabitants of Nova Scotia, to the crown of Great Britain, that they declared they would stand neuter in case of a rupture between us and France, and Sir Charles being particularly asked, whether any of the French had been ordered away, he said he heard some orders had been given by Col. Nicholson for that purpose, but that he thought it our interest to assure them of the protection of the Govnt. Sir Charles likewise acquainted the Board, that he had furnished several of the inhabitants of Nova Scotia, as well French as English (tho' there were but few of the latter) with necessary materials and utensils for fishing at Cape Sables; and hoped upon his return to promote the publick as well as his own particular advantage, if the said inhabitants were assured of the Governments protection, that he was ready to return by the ships now bound to New Engld., but that the difference between Col. Nicholson and Col. Vetch, defers the passing of his commn. to be Lieut. Govr. of Annapolis.
Mr. Sherif examined about French Inhabitants etc.
Memorial to Coulfield promised.
Mr. Shirif, mentioned in a memorandum annexed to Col. Vetch's
letter of the 9th instant attending [Q. fo. 463], he was called in;
and upon examination, acquainted their lordships that he came
Memorial to Caulfield promised.
from Annapolis in Novr. last, and had served Major Caulfield the Lieutenant Govr. of that place. That the French inhabitants were then talking of removing for want of incouragement to remain there. That they had a sloop seized by the Collector by order he supposed from Col. Nicholson, for trading with the Indians for furrs &c., about three months before he came away, and that an English ship had been debarred the same priviledge, tho' he knew not for what reason. That some young people were removing, but that the proprietors of plantations were unwilling to leave their settlements, and if they go off with their cattle, there will remain no fresh provisions. That some French officers had come thither from their other settlements, tho' many of the inhabitants stay yet, and had presented a memorial [fo. 29] to Lieutenant Govr. Caulfield, of which Mr. Shirif promised their lordships a copy.
Mr. Shirif being then asked what number of cattle there might be in Nova Scotia, he said, he could not very well compute, but that several planters had good stocks, particularly one Pierre Le Blanc had 20 or 30, and others in proportion enough to maintain the Garrison. That none of them had yet removed with their cattle when he came away. And as to the number of people, he had heard they can bring 700 men in arms.
Copy of letter from Monsieur Denyes to the French King.
Discourse about French Inhabitants of Nova Scotia.
Col. Nicholson who attended likewise was then called in, and he laid before their lordships several maps drawn by Captain Southack of the Coasts of Nova Scotia, and parts adjacent; and he likewise presented to the Board the copy of a letter from Monsr. Denyes to the French King in 1687, attested by the said Southack, relating to the products of that country, and the improvement it is capable of, which was read; after which their lordships entering into discourse with Col. Nicholson in relation to the French inhabitants of Nova Scotia; Col. Nicholson declared he was against our having any of them: For that in case of a rupture they would declare for the French and that our people would be then confined to the Garrison. And he was of opinion because they had refused to take an oath to oppose the subjects of the French King (but would take one to live peaceably) it would be better for us if they were all at Cape Briton where we should be certain of them than scattered among us where we could have no dependence upon them. That at Cape Briton the soil is so bad they cannot keep cattle or plant. But the fishery is very good there. That as to our garrison in Nova Scotia Col. Nicholson said provisions should be sent from hence in case they were streightned. That if there were no rupture with France, it would be no damage to keep the French inhabitants at Nova Scotia, but that we could have no reliance upon them so long as they had their priests and Jesuits among them who have likewise a mighty influence upon the Indians, which latter we could only gain by presents and underselling the French; and as those Indians would be a great advantage by the commerce new settlers might have with them, so they would be a great detriment to us if the French and their priests are able to retain them. That it is necessary to have a small fortification on the fishing coast of Nova Scotia, which with a garrison of 4 Companies of 80 men each as now at Annapolis would defend itself all the winter, and that in summer we should be masters at sea which would secure our trade and fishery there. And being then asked what the charge of such a fort might be he said he did not know, but thought it proper that one or more engineers should be first sent thither with a small frigat to survey those parts and make return thereof, and that such return might be the more impartial he proposed that such engineers should have no prospect of returning in any employment to those parts, that at the time the survey shall be made the bounds might be settled according to the articles of peace &c. Col. Nicholson being further asked if he knew of any vessels being seized for trading with the Indians, he said he knew of none.
Representation about Nova Scotia.
Upon consideration of all which matters relating to Nova Scotia [fo. 18], directions were given for preparing the draught of a repn. to be laid before his Majesty.
Mr. Lowther Governor took leave.
Mr. Lowther Govr. of Barbadoes attending, he acquainted their lordships that he designed to embark in a few days for that island; whereupon he took his leave of the Board.
March 16. Present:—Lord Berkeley of Stratton, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Docminique.
Sir William Lewin.
Representation from Poole.
Sir Wm. Lewin attending presented to their lordships a representation from the Merchants of Poole [fo. 270] proposing several new regulations relating to the fishery at Newfoundland, which was read.
Report to the Council on petition about mourning etc.
A report to the Lords of his Majesty's most honble. Privy Council, pursuant to their lordships order of the 28th of the last month, upon the petitions of the Turkey Company, Italian merchants and silk manufacturers of London and Canterbury [fo. 1], relating to the mourning, and the prejudice the British trade receives from the French, was signed.
Counsellors laying down precedency.
Their lordships considering the inconvenience of persons laying down their places in his Majesty's Councils in the plantations in America [fo. 17], and after an interval of time on their readmission, insisting upon the same rank and precedency in the said Councils, which they formerly enjoyed, resolved that all persons having voluntary left their places in the said Councils, and being readmitted therein, do take precedency only according to their readmission, and as if they had never been formerly members thereof.
Colonel Jennings about his absence from the Council.
His name inserted first.
Col. Jennings attending as desired [fo. 4, 100] the copy of her late Majesty's licence to be absent from the Council of Virginia mentioned in the Minutes of the 14th instant, was again read. And their lordships finding by the time Col. Jennings had been absent from Virga. that the said licence was not yet expired, he was acquainted that his name was inserted as first of his Majesty's Council of Virginia, in the draught of instructions prepared for the Earl of Orkney to be Govr. of that Colony.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhove.
Instructions for the Governor.
A letter to Mr. Secry. Stanhope for transmitting the foresaid draught of instructions for the Earl of Orkney, as likewise the draught of instructions for his lordship, which particularly relate to the Acts of Trade and Navigation, was signed.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope about Counsellors obtaining leave for absence.
Ordered that a letter be prepared to Mr. Secry. Stanhope [fo. 16], to desire that no Councillor of any of his Majesty's Plantations may obtain his Majesty's leave to be absent from the same, until the Board be acquainted therewith, and have given their opinion thereupon.
The draught of a representation ordered yesterday to be prepared [fo. 15, 19] relating to Nova Scotia, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
March 17. Present:—Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Docminique.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope.
A letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope [fo. 17] ordered yesterday to be prepared, relating to Councillors of his Majesty's Plantations obtaining licences for absence in this Kingdom, was signed.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope.
Accounts from Consults.
Ordered that the draught of a letter be prepared to Mr. Secretary Stanhope, to desire his Majesty's several Consuls &c. in foreign parts may have directions to assemble the British Merchants residing within their jurisdictions, and to transmit hither annual accounts of the state of the British trade there, as likewise what they know of that of foreigners.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope.
The representation agreed yesterday [fo. 18], relating to Nova Scotia, was signed, as likewise a letter for enclosing the same to Mr. Secry. Stanhope, in order to be laid before his Majesty.
March 18. Present:—Lord Berkeley of Stratton, Sir Jacob Astley, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Hutcheson, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cook, Mr. Docminique.
Colonel Laws and others present.
Bonds for duties on prize goods.
Col. Laws, Col. Thompson, Mr. Oldfield, Mr. Askew and several other Jamaica planters attending [fo. 7], as they had been desired the 14th instant, they were asked several questions, particularly,
How the Case of the Bonds for the duties on prize goods in Jamaica stood at present?
To this they said, that there were about nine thousand pounds of those bonds standing out, but that a great many of the persons, who have given those bonds, were run away to Campeche, and there are employed in cutting of logwood, that if the said nine thousand pounds could be recovered and applied to the bringing of white servants to the island it would be of service.
Soldiers for defence of the Island.
Small number of white Inhabitants.
Better settlement of the Island.
Proportion of white people.
Then being asked, what number of soldiers they thought might be necessary for the defence of the island, they said, that the two companies now there would not be sufficient in case of a war, nor even now, should the rebellious negroes persuade the others to join with them in any attempt upon the island, but the Assembly are unwilling to quarter even those, that are there at present. That they have very few white inhabitants there which they attributed in part to the war and the logwood trade, which has carried a great many from them. They thought if there could be a Fund found for paying the passages of such people as should go from hence thither and they to be free upon their arrival, some small parcels of land granted to them, and that they should be placed for the first three months after their arrival upon those who were deficient in their number of white men, it would be one means of settling the island. But then they proposed, that the said people should be obliged to repay their passage in case they leave the island in four years. That it would further conduce to the settlement of the Island if a law were passed to enforce the present law about collecting of quit rents, and that all such as are deficient in their number of white men be obliged to pay a certain sum per annum for each deficiency, and an officer appointed to collect the same. That every boat keeper be obliged to keep one white man per boat or to pay forty shillings per annum. And that every planter having twenty negroes be obliged to keep one white woman servant.
Negroes bred to Trade.
Then being asked their opinion about negroes being bred to handicraft trades, they said, that they thought the planters might be permitted to employ such negroes for their own private business only, and that it might be of service if a law were passed prohibiting negro tradesmen after a year or two to work in towns, and likewise to prohibit white artificers after the same term to breed up any more blacks to trade.
Assembly ordering persons into custody.
Being asked, whether it was usual in Jamaica for the Assembly to order persons into custody? They said they have done it in relation to their own members, and to others upon breach of priviledge.
Assembly adjourning themselves.
Their lordships then enquired whether it was customary in Jamaica for the Assembly to adjourn themselves without the leave of the Govr. except from day to day, they said that it was entirely new.
Quarum of the Assembly.
The number of the Assembly was thirty seven, of which fifteen made a quorum for adjourning, seventeen to read a bill, and twenty two to pass a bill; but that those several quorums were generally altered every new assembly.
As to the lands ungranted in Jamaica, they said there was very little good, but what was under patents. However they doubted not, but that for the peopling of the island, the gentlemen who had large tracts, would be willing to give away enough for that use.
Attorney General and Provost Marshal not to be of the Council.
They added in discourse that they did not think it convenient that the Attorney General and provost Marshal should be of the Council of that island.
As for the method of escheats, they said, the value was found by a jury upon oath, and they could not propose any better method for the discovery thereof.
These Gentlemen to give their thought's in writing.
After this, these Gentlemen were desired to consult together, and to let their lordships have as soon as conveniently may be, their thoughts in writing about the speedy peopling of that island, which they promised to do accordingly.
Letter from Mr. Gossalin.
Spaniards fishing at Newfoundland.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope.
A letter from Mr. Gossalin of Bilboa of the 14th of this month [fo. 24], to Mr. Richard Lechmere relating to the Spaniards pretending to fish at Newfoundland was communicated to the Board, and read, and directions given for preparing a letter to inclose a copy thereof to Mr. Secry. Stanhope.
March 21. Present:—Lord Berkeley of Stratton, Sir Jacob Astley, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Hutchenson, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Docminique.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope.
Spaniards fishing at Newfoundland.
A letter to Mr. Secry. Stanhope directed yesterday [fo. 23] to be prepared for enclosing the copy of one from Mr. Gossalin of Bilbao, relating to the Spaniards pretending to fish at Newfoundland, was signed.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope.
Petition of Merchants.
A letter from Mr. Secry. Stanhope of the 16th instant, referring to the Board a petition from the Merchants of London, trading to Newfoundland, was read.
March 22. Present:—Lord Berkeley of Stratton, Sir Jacob Astley, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Hutcheson, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Docminique.
Scheme of Trade to all parts.
in the last peace.
A scheme of the trade from England to all parts for four years and a quarter, during the peace after the treaty of Ryswick vizt. from Michs. 1697 to Christmas 1701, reduced to a medium for one year, was communicated to the Board.
Captn. Fairley attending, as he had been desired, and being asked several questions in relation to Newfoundland, he said that he came from Placentia in June last, that the fort was then in a very bad condition that there is a hill behind it which commands it; that he had passed all the winter there, and lodged in the French Govrs. house, and being acquainted with the French officers, he had learnt from them, that Cape Breton is a much better place, for a settlement and fishery than Placentia; that when the French went from Placentia to Cape Breton they carried away 160 guns, with all the powder and shot; that the soil at Cape Breton is very good, and fit for corn and other productions; and in a word preferable in all respects to Placentia. But he added that the beach at Placentia was the most spacious and best in all Newfoundland for curing of fish.
Letter from Mr. Secretary Stanhope.
Petition of Merchants about survey.
A letter from Mr. Secry. Stanhope of the 19th instant, [vide infra] with a petition of several merchants concerned in the trade and fishery of Newfoundland, relating to the survey begun of that island &c. and recommending Captain Taverner to protect that work, for the opinion of this Board thereupon, was read; and directions given for preparing an answer to Mr. Secrys. said letter.
March 23. Present:—Lord Berkeley of Stratton, Sir Jacob Astley, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Hutcheson, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Docminique.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope on Merchants memorial about survey and Taverner.
A letter to Mr. Secry. Stanhope directed yesterday to be prepared in answer to his of the 19th instant [vide supra, fo. 80], upon a memorial from some merchants of London, relating to the survey of Newfoundland, and Capt. Taverners being recommended to finish the same was signed.
Memorial about abuses in the Fishery etc.
Captain Wade presented to their Lordships a memorial containing an account of the abuses committed in the fishery at Newfoundland and his proposals for remedy thereof, which was read.
Earl of Orkney.
Two letter from the Governor Lord Archibald Hamilton.
The Earl of Orkney communicated to the Board two letters from the Lord Archibald Hamilton to him of the 15th of November, and 10th of Decr. last [fo. 38], giving an account of the proceedings of the Assembly of Jamaica, and desiring that Mr. Chaplin and Mr. Blair may be left out of the Council of that Island, which were read, and the Board desiring his Lordships to let them have extracts of the said letter he promised to do it accordingly.
Misbehaviour of Assembly.
Mr. Aylmer summoned.
Mr. Rigby attending [fo. 8] and being asked the reason that the Assembly of Jamaica have of late so misbehaved themselves as appears by my Lord Archibald Hamilton's letters, he said that it has all happened since his being come from that island, and that he thought that their Lordships might have the best account of that from the Gentlemen here, who are the chief abettors of the faction in Jamaica, and he named particularly Mr. Whitgift Aylmer, whereupon ordered [fo. 32] that the said Aylmer have notice to attend the Board on Friday morning next.
Speedy peopling and planting the Island.
Strength of French at Hispaniola.
Law about white servants a discouragement.
Proposal about white people going over.
Mulattoes should be free.
Then being asked his opinion of what might be proper to be done for the speedy settling and planting that island; he said that it was absolutely necessary that something should be done, and that as soon as possible; for that the island was in a very weak condition, there not being in his opinion above 1400 men fit to bear arms, that they have lost since the peace above a thousand white men, who have left the island; and on the other hand the French have not only possessed themselves of the greater part of Hispaniola, but are daily increasing the number of their people there, insomuch that since the peace it is augmented above 1500. That the law for incouraging of white servants has never been put in execution. Besides that there are several things in it so hard upon the said servants, that it is rather a discouragement to them to go thither. That it would be necessary that such white people as went over should be free upon their arrival. That they should have some land given them to settle upon, and that the Govrt. should give them credit for small negroes, as the French King does to his subjects at Hispaniola, that if all Mulattoes and Indians were declared free, it would be another help towards the peopling of the island. And he promised to join with the Gentlemen who attended the Board on Friday last in giving their lordships their opinion concerning the speedy peopling of that island.
Major Howard and Captain Harler summoned.
And Mr. Rigby being asked more particularly concerning the number of white men now at Jamaica [fo. 30], he said that Major Howard and Capt. Harler (of Colonel Handasyd's regiment) lately arrived from thence could give their lordships a much better account thereof than himself, whereupon ordered that they be desired to attend the Board on Friday next.
March 24. Present:—Lord Berkeley of Stratton, Sir Jacob Astley, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Hutcheson, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Docminique.
Memorial from Sherif.
Certificate in favour of Major Caulfield.
A memorial from Mr. Sheriff [fo. 12], relating to the French inhabitants of Nova Scotia, removing to Cape Breton with a certificate of several of the said inhabitants in favour of Major Caulfield Lieut. Govr. of Annapolis was read.
Mr. Vernon desiring copies of paper.
Mr. Vernon, a member of the late Board of Trade, having signified his desire to have copies of the memorial recd, from Sir William Hodges mentioned in the Minutes of the 24th of May, 1711 (Trade Bundle M. No. 69). The instructions given from time to time to the British Commissaries appointed to treat with those of France, as also of their report, and of the several papers relating to the Flanders Treaty, ordered that such person as he shall send for that purpose, have liberty to take copies thereof.
March 25. Present:—Sir Jacob Astley, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Hutcheson, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Docminique.
Major Howard and Captain Harler.
Present state of Jamaica.
Island exposed to the French at Hispaniola.
Number of people lessened.
Major Howard and Captain Harler attending as desired [fo. 29], and being asked several questions relating to the present state of Jamaica; they acquainted their lordships, that they left that island in Decr, last, at which time there were only two Companies of Major General Handasyd's late regiment of 100 men each, for the defence of it, and that those men for want of the additional subsistance, which used to be provided for them, by the Assembly, were supported by the Lord Archd. Hamilton out of his own pocket. That Jamaica is exposed to be insulted by the French of Hispaniola, whenever they think fit to attack it; and they further said we had heretofore many more white people in Jamaica, tho' they believed we had not at present 2000 fighting men there since about 1500 were gone to cut logwood in the Bay of Campeche &c. whilst they heard the French were very strong at Hispaniola, and growing more so by families coming every day thither to settle. That as to the number of blacks in Jamaica, they computed it at 50, or 60,000, and if the forementioned two companies were withdrawn from that island the inhabitants would be in very great danger from their negroes, as well as any foreign invader. In relation to the differences between the Govr. and Assembly, they said they had heard of such differences, but knew not the reason of them. That they knew of no complaints against the Govr., nor did they believe there was cause for any. But that whatever the Govr. asked of the Assembly, was refused, tho' they never heard he desired anything unreasonable.
Major Howard and Captn. Harler then withdrew, and Col. Laws with sevl. other Gentlemen, interested in the island of Jamaica, as planters and otherwise, were called in and presented to their lordships a memorial relating to the better peopling and planting that island, which was read. And it being observed to these Gentlemen that the said memorial made no mention of the forces, necessary for the defence of the island, Col. Laws said that it could not be safe at present without two ships of war of 40 or 50 guns and a sloop for intelligence. That formerly in time of peace there used to be 2 fourth rates of the force above-mentioned when the island had 5 times the number of men upon it fit to bear arms it has now. And that the mighty strength the French are lately grown to at Hispaniola, with the number of their cruizers upon us, make it more necessary to have at least such a guard. That the two companies of soldiers are likewise necessary to be continued, and a greater force in case of any rupture, there having been a squadron and two regiments sent thither upon the approach of the last war.
Mr. Aylmer being present [fo. 27], was then asked what were the grounds of the Assembly's refusing to provide the usual additional subsistance for the forementioned two companies of soldiers so necessary for the defence of the island, and without which the said soldiers could not live, to which he answered, that Jamaica having suffered very great hardships by hurricanes and otherwise, the Council and Assembly had addressed her late Majesty to ease the island of the charge of soldiers by the disbanding them, which address Mr. Aylmer said he delivered to the Lord Viscount Bolingbroke, and he read to their lordships part of two letters from Jamaica, relating to the said address, and in confirmation that it was the general opinion there, that the said soldiers were a burthen to them. But Mr. Aylmer being then asked how they proposed to secure the island in case the said soldiers were disbanded, he said he only spoke the sence of his constituents, and desired to be excused from giving any other opinion, concerning the said two companies. But he produced to their lordships a letter, whereof he read a paragraph, proposing that the said soldiers should be disbanded, and made free whereby they would most of them settle in Jamaica, and the island be rid of this charge, without diminishing their strength; to which several of the Gentlemen present replied, that most of the soldiers of the regiment lately disbanded in Jamaica were come away from thence, or preparing to do so. And Col. Laws said upon this occasion, that if disbanded soldiers were encouraged to settle in Jamaica, it would be a good expedient to people the island by disbanding the soldiers from time to time, and sending fresh supplies; and that before there were soldiers, no deficiencies for white people were ever collected.—That nothing but their own preservation would incline the people to maintain the expence of soldiers, whose additional allowance for quarters and subsistance was to each officer 52l. and to each private man 13l. per ann.
And in further relation to the better settlement and peopling of Jamaica, these Gentlemen said, that on occasion of the great decay of Jamaica had been the burning of Port Royal, and the want of women there. That about 2000 men were gone from thence to cut logwood at Campeche &c.—to which place many fresh men from Europe go soon after their arrival at Jamaica, which is attributed to a defect in the law to encourage the better settlement of that island.—And Mr. Rigby who was present observed, that the inhabitants of Jamaica employ their white servants as overseers &c. in the fields, whilst in their houses they are served by blacks; whereupon these Gentlemen were all unanimously of opinion, that the use of white servants in families should be encouraged as much as possible. Mr. Rigby further observed, that a white woman did not save a deficiency, which had been a great fault in the act upon that subject, and Mr. Wood likewise acquainted their lordships that white people were not so much employed since that Act was not in force.
In relation to the settlement at Hispaniola, and the encouragement given by the French King to his subjects there, they said— That since their last attendance on this Board, they had intelligence of 90 families lately gone to Hispaniola out of France—Who on their arrival at Hispaniola, were to have land and negroes assigned them out of a fund for that purpose, for which negroes they afterwards pay by small annual portions, and the land is confirmed to them in proportion to what they settle—That the French ships carry those people freight free, and the late inhabitants of the French part of St. Christophers were transported to Hispaniola, all which was done at the publick charge.
Col. Laws and the rest of these Gentlemen then withdrew, except Mr. Aylmer, who was particularly asked the occasion of the misbehaviour of the Assembly, their neglecting the defence of the island, by refusing provision for the soldiers &c. pretending to a power personally to muster the troops &c.; whereupon he said, it was not out of any disrespect to the Lord Archd. Hamilton, their present Govr.; that as to the soldiers, the Assembly were unwilling to have that charge intailed upon them, and he desired to be excused from giving his consent to the keeping on the said two companies now there—Tho' being urged to declare whether he thought the island safe, he owned that in his private opinion it was in danger—That as to the Assembly's offering to muster the troops &c. he hoped it was a mistake in the transcripts of the Minutes, from whence that observation was made.
Mr. Aylmer being further questioned in relation to a letter sent by him to Jamaica, sometime ago, whereof an extract is mentioned in some of the minutes of the Council and Assembly, relating to the dispatch of business here in England, concerning Jamaica, and particularly the Acts of that island, he said that he hoped that a favourable interpretation, would be put upon what he had written, not designing any reflection on the Govr. but that it proceeded from his desire to forward the dispatch of an act relating to possessions, which was not solicited by any other of the Gentlemen here, concerned in Jamaica—And that some of the books and records of the island being lost, several Merchants had presented a Memorial upon the same subject [M. 95] and five of the Gentlemen of the Council had voted in his, the said Aylmer's favour, for which they had given their reasons.
March 28. Present:—Sir Jacob Astley, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Corkburne, Mr. Hutcheson, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Docminique.
Letter from Mr. Lowndes.
Governors half salaries during absence.
Letter from Mr. Blathwayt.
A letter from Mr. Lowndes to the Secry. dated the 16th instant, signifying the Lords Commrs. of the Treasury's desire, upon one inclosed from Mr. Blathwayt, that this Board, would inform them if there be any rule or instruction for disposing of the half salary of the Govrs. of his Majesty's plantations, during the said Govrs. absence from their respective governments, and in relation to the allowances for the charge of transporting themselves and families, was read, together with Mr. Blathwayt's said letter; and the draught of an answer thereto, was agreed and ordered to be sent.
Letter from Mr. Pulteney.
Colonel Reading's petition.
Search about references from a Secretary at War.
A letter from Mr. Pulteney, his Majesty's Secretary at War, dated the 25th instant [fo. 39, 52], referring to the Board the petition of Lieut. Colonel Reading for the Govnt. of Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia, was read [fo. 42, 46]; and directions given for searching the books of this office if there be any precedent of references to this Board by the Secretary at War in relation to the recommendation of Governors.
Letter from Mr. Parkes.
Extracts of letters from Lord Archibald Hamilton to Earl of Orkney.
A letter from Mr. Parkes by order of the Earl of Orkney [fo. 27], with the extracts of two letters to his Lordship from the Lord Archd. Hamilton Govr. of Jamaica, dated the 15th of Novr. and 10th Decr., 1714, mentioned in the Minutes of the 23 March 1714–15, was read.
Acts about payment of public debts.
Lord Clarendon's objections etc.
Acts to be considered.
Mr. Orby attending [fo. 8] and representing to their lordships, that it is of very great consequence to the Govnt. of New York, that the Acts relating to the payment of the debts of that province, against which the Earl of Clarendon has presented a coveat, should be considered as soon as possible in order to his Majesty's pleasure thereupon; and observing further that my Lord Clarendon has had copies thereof near a month ago, and been since pressed for his objections in writing to the said Acts; their lordships resolved to proceed in the consideration thereof at the first opportunity.
March 29. Present:—Sir Jacob Astley, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne. Mr. Chetwynde, Mr. Cooke.
(Reading) Precedents about References from the Secretary at War.
The Secry. acquainted the Board [fo. 37] that pursuant to their lordships directions, he had searched the books of this office, and found no precedent of any reference to the Board by a Secry. at War, relating to the recommendation of a Govt.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope.
Consults etc. sending accounts of trade.
The draught of a letter to Mr. Secry Stanhope [fo. 18, 40], relating to the renewing of orders to the British Consuls, or Ministers in foreign parts for sending accounts from time to time of the trade there, was laid before the Board, and a progress made in considering thereof.
March 30. Present:—Sir Jacob Astley, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Docminique.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope.
Consuls etc. sending accounts of trade.
Like letter to Lord Viscount Townshend.
The draught of a letter to Mr. Stanhope [fo. 39, 44], relating to the renewing of orders to the British Consuls or Ministers in foreign parts for sending accounts from time to time of the trade there, mentioned in yesterday's minutes, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed, and that the same letter, (mutatis mutandis) be prepared to the Lord Viscount Townshend.
Letter from Mr. Pringle.
Understanding between Commanders of Ships of War and Governors.
A letter from Mr. Pringle of the 28th instant [fo. 9], with the copy of one from the Lords of the Admiralty, upon the letter from this Board to Mr. Secry. Stanhope of the 15th about promoting a good understanding between Govrs. of his Majesty's plantations and the Commanders of ships of war, were read.
March 31. Present:—Sir Jacob Astley, Mr. Molesworth, Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Chetwynd, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Docminique.
Letter from Mr. Secretary Stanhope.
Disposal of lands in the late French part.
Letter from Mr. Pringle.
Representation of late Board and of Lords of the Treasury.
Memorial of Merchants.
Letters from Marquis of Wharton and Earl of Orford on the case of Sheppard.
Mr. Sheppard, Mr. Duport and Mr. Heysham summoned.
A letter from Mr. Secry. Stanhope of 14th January last, for this Boards opinion how his Majesty may best dispose of that part of St. Christophers, yielded up to Great Britain by the French; as also a letter from Mr. Pringle by Mr. Secry. Stanhope's order, of the 8th [Q. fo. 467] (mentioned in the Minutes of the 9th instant), with a memorandum relating to the disposal of the said lands, together with the representation of the Board of Trade of the 5th of May 1714 [Do. fo. 438], and the copy of a report from the Lords Commrs. of the Treasury thereupon, mentioned in the Minutes of the 23rd of Febry. last, and an additional memorial from several Merchants trading to the Leeward Islands; all upon the same subject, were severally read, as were two letters from the Marquis of Wharton and Earl of Orford, recommending to this Board the particular case of Mr. Humphrey Sheppard. Whereupon ordered, [fo. 46] that the said Mr. Sheppard and Mr. Duport have notice to attend the Board at ten, and Mr. Robert Heysham at eleven a clock on Monday morning next.
Representation and petition of Merchants of Bydeford.
Mr. Stuckley attending, presented to the Board a representation and petition of the Merchants of Bydeford, trading to Newfoundland, complaining of several abuses there, and desiring that the stages, beaches and fishing rooms at Placentia be left at liberty for the use of the fishing ships, was read.