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, February 1716
Sir Gerard Conyers [fo. 330], Deputy Govr. with several other members of the Turkey Company attending, presented to their Lordships a memorial (in answer to the letter with him the 24th of the last month) with extracts of letters from Leghorn, relating to Turkey raw silk being exported from Marseilles to that port, and thence into this Kingdom, which were read.
Mr. Attorney General's answer to the letter writ him the 25th of the last month [fo. 331], signifying his opinion, that to prevent the abuses committed at Newfoundland, contrary to Act of Parliament, a proclamation would have no effect, but that it will be necessary for that purpose to have a New Act passed with penalties, and declaring where, and how the same shall be recovered, was read; whereupon directions were given for preparing the draught of a repn. [fo. 342], to His Majesty's upon that subject, to be transmitted to Mr. Secry. Stanhope, pursuant to his letter mentioned in yesterday's minutes, on which occasion the several papers following were read, and ordered to lie on the table till the repn. should be agreed to.
Letter from the Mayor of Plymouth of the 24th of January, 17 15/16 signifying that the merchants there, know of no hardships the Fishery and Trade to Newfoundland lies under; except by encroachment of foreigners.
A letter from Mr. Secry. Stanhope, of the 29th of Decr., 1715, desiring if the Board have no objection thereto, that Wm. Broderick Esqr. His Majesty's Attorney General in Jamaica, may be represented to His Majesty as fitly qualified to be of the Council of that Island, in the room of Francis Oldfield Esqr. who has resigned, was read; and directions given [fo. 339] for preparing the draught of a repn. thereupon.
Mr. Stephen Duport and Mr. Peter Cabibel attending, and their powers of attorney from Elizabeth Dixon and John Bouryan, who claims by virtue of a sale from John Dixon, husband of the said Elizabeth, sufferers by the French invasion of St. Christophers, being examined at the Board, the debenture numbered 596, was delivered to Mr. Duport, upon his and Mr. Cabibel's receipt for the same.
The draught of a letter [fo. 335, 341] to the Lords Commrs. of His Majesty's Treasury relating to the Office of Surveyor General of His Majesty's Woods on the Continent of America, mentioned in the minutes of the 31st of the last month, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
The draught of a repn. [fo. 338, 422] ordered yesterday to be prepared for proposing to His Majesty that William Broderick Esqr. Attorney General of Jamaica be constituted a member of His Majesty's Council there, in the room of Francis Oldfield Esqr. who has resigned, was agreed and signed.
A letter from Mr. Secry. Stanhope of the 30th of the last month, with the copy of one from the Lord Archibald Hamilton Govr. of Jamaica [fo. 342], dated the 14th of Novr., 1715, relating to the irregular proceedings of the Assembly [fo. 377] there, was read, and directions given for looking out several papers upon that subject, to be laid before the Board tomorrow morning.
A letter from Mr. Burchet [fo. 357] by order of the Lords of the Admiralty dated the 1st instant, relating to New passes to be sent to the plantations for the security of ships and vessels belonging to His Majesty's subjects against those of the Algerines was read; whereupon ordered that copies thereof be sent to the following gentlemen who are concerned for the plantations under mentioned vizt. [fo. 343] Col. Blakiston and Mr. Micajah Perry for Virginia and Maryland [fo. 347], Mr. Champante for New York and New Jersey, Mr. Dummer for New England [fo. 348], and New Hampshire, Mr. Thurston for Jamaica [fo. 344], Mr. Wm. Heysham for Barbadoes, Mr. Duport and Col. Jory for the Leeward Islands, Sir John Bennet for Bermuda, and Mr. James Campbel for Newfoundland, and that the said gentlemen be acquainted that this Board desire to speak with them in relation to that matter at ten of the clock on Wednesday morning next.
A certificate [fo. 334] being read, from Capt. Jones, as mentioned in the minutes of the 26th of the last month, relating to the goodness of New England masts in comparison with those from the Northern parts of Europe, the same was read.
Upon further consideration of Mr. Secry. Stanhope's letter of the 30th of the last month, with one from the Lord Archibald Hamilton [fo. 340, 345], Govr. of Jamaica, mentioned in yesterday's minutes, their Lordships gave directions for preparing an answer thereunto [fo. 350].
The draught of a repn. [fo. 336, 354] directed to be prepared the 1st instant, about preventing the abuses committed at Newfoundland in the Trade and Fishery there &c. was laid before the Board and a progress made in the consideration thereof.
And in relation to what is mentioned in Mr. Secry. Stanhope's foresaid letter, relating to Annapolis in Nova Scotia, their Lordships agreed and signed a letter to Mr. Pulteney [fo. 359, 398] His Majesty's Secry. of War, desiring him to communicate to this Board, what lights he has relating to the state of that place, and if there are any officers in town lately come from thence.
Col. Blakiston [fo. 341], Col. Jory, Mr. Duport, and Mr. Champante attending, as desired, the 3rd instant, in relation to passes to be sent to the plantations for the security of ships and vessels trading in the way of the Algerines, and being respectively asked their opinions what number of such passes may be necessary to be transmitted to the plantations for which they are concerned, Col. Blakiston said that about 40 for Virginia and 30 for Maryland might be sufficient for those Colonies, Colonel Jory and Mr. Duport declared their opinions that about 40 would supply St. Christophers, Antigua, Nevis and Mountserrat, and Mr. Champante acquainted the Board, that 40 passes to be lodged with Brigadier Hunter, Govr. of New York and New Jersey, might serve both those provinces.
The Secry. acquainted the Board that Sir John Bennet, and Mr. Campbell had been at the office, as desired in relation to the said passes, and that the former desired him to acquaint their Lordships, that he had nothing further to offer in this case, than that the like number of passes might now be sent to Bermuda as had been form erly, but that he knew not how many that was, and Mr. Campbell, signified that he knew of no occasion there was of sending any such passes to Newfoundland, since he believed all ships and vessels trading thither furnished themselves therewith in this Kingdom.
A letter from Mr. Thurston dated this day, signifying that about twenty of the abovementioned passes, may be sufficient for Jamaica for a year, was read; as likewise a letter from Mr. Dummer excusing his attendance this day on account of his indisposition. Then their Lordships gave directions for writing to Mr. Wm. Heysham, Mr. Micajah Perry and Mr. Dummer to desire to speak with them at ten of the clock on Friday morning next upon the same subject.
Sir Gilbert Heathcote and Mr. Richd. Harris [fo. 352], attending with Mr. March and Mr. Hawkins late Ingineer at Jamaica, and other gentlemen lately arrived from thence, Sir Gilbert acquainted their Lordships that having been to wait on Mr. Secry. Stanhope with an address to His Majesty from the Assembly of that island, Mr. Secry. had signified to them that the said address could not be presented before he received the answer of this Board upon the papers referred to them, which have been received from the Lord Archd. Hamilton Govr. of Jamaica, wherein His Lordship complains of the behaviour and proceedings of the said Assembly [fo. 342]; and said they came now to desire to be informed what the Govr. had alledged against the Assembly in order to their vindication; whereupon their Lordships entering into discourse with these gentlemen, it was observed to them that the Assembly's addressing His Majesty's without communication of it to the Governour was extraordinary, and that such practices had been disapproved in His Majesty's other plantations, and that the proceedings even in Ireland were quite otherwise; to which the said gentlemen answered, that they did not doubt of justifying the conduct of the Assembly of Jamaica, and they took notice, that there was £9000, intended for the supplying that Island with white servants, which sums had lain some time dead and unimployed, that great sums had been raised there for the use of the fortifications, which notwithstanding remain in a very ill condition, and that when a Committee of the Council and Assembly was appointed to inspect them, the forementioned Mr. Hawkins, who used to attend the like Committee, was refused to be admitted into the forts; and other things they hinted at as Male-Administration in the Govr. but some of them said they appeared now as defendants, and did not bring any accusation; whereupon their Lordships desired them if they had any thing to offer by way of complaint, they would lay it before the Board in writing that their Lordships might represent it to His Majty. and tomorrow seven night was appointed for them to attend the Board again.
Mr. Micajah Perry [fo. 341], attending, as he had been desired, in relation to passes to be sent to the plantations for the security of ships and vessels trading in the way of the Algerines, he acquainted their Lordships that in his opinion 30 passes would be sufficient for each of the Governments of Virginia and Maryland to be renewed according as they should expire.
Mr. Dummer [fo. 341], likewise attending on the same subject, informed the Board that several ships trading from New England with fish &c. to several parts of the Mediterranean, Spain, Portugal, the Canaries &c. had occasion for such passes, and that last year the Admiralty sent sixty to New England, which continued in force for no longer than 12 months there having been just complaint of the disposal of such passes to Genoese and other foreigners; that he thought 100 passes to be sent annually to the Govr. of the Massachusets Bay would be full enough for those parts, and that possibly eighty might suffice. In further discourse with Mr. Dummer relating to the Fishery of New England, he said that about 150 thousand quintals of fish had been sent thence last year to the Mediterranean and other parts of Europe.
The following accounts of the incident charges of this Office, from Michaelmas to Christmas, 1715, were laid before the Board, together with copies of the like accounts from Midsummer to Michaelmas, 1715 which were transmitted to the Lords of His Majesty's Treasury, the 15th of Novr. last, amounting for the whole six months to £243 0s. 3d. vizt.
The draught of an answer [fo. 342, 352] ordered the 3rd instant to be prepared to Mr. Secry. Stanhope's letter of the 30th of the last month, upon the copy of one from the Lord Archibald Hamilton Govr. of Jamaica, relating to the proceedings of the Assembly there was laid before the Board, and a progress made in the consideration thereof.
Col. Vetch attending, and being asked whether he knew anything of the present state of Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia, or if he could inform their Lordships of any officers or others lately come from thence, who could give the Board an account of that matter, he said Capt. Armstrong, [fo. 357] Capt. Douglas, Mr. JohnCooksage, and Mr. Thomas Button were lately arrived from that place, and he promised to bring a memorial [fo. 358] upon that subject, and to attend the Board with those gentlemen on Wednesday morning next. In the mean time, he communicated to their Lordships a letter he had recd. from Major Caulfield, dated at Annapolis the 2nd of Novr. last, which was read.
The draught of an answer [fo. 350, 353] to Mr. Secry. Stanhope's letter of the 30th of the last month, upon the copy of one from the Lord Archibald Hamilton, Govr. of Jamaica, relating to the proceedings of the Assembly there as mentioned in the minutes of the 14th instant, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
Mr. Richard Harris [fo. 345] attending, with Mr. March, Mr. Hawkins, the Ingineer, and several other gentlemen from Jamaica, they desired to know what complaints the Lord Archibald Hamilton, had made against the Assembly of that Island, and said they would reply thereto [fo. 355] whereupon they were acquainted that the Board would send their answer to Mr. Secry. Stanhope, upon what the Lord Archibald Hamilton had writ to him, and that if Mr. Secry. thought fit to communicate it to them it would be more proper he should do it himself; these gentlemen then repeated to the same purpose, as what they said at the Board the 8th instant, but said, they had not finished what they intended to present now in writing, and being again acquainted that their Lordships would be ready at any time to receive and consider what they should have to lay before them, the said gentlemen promised to bring a meml. of the ill state of affairs in Jamaica on Tuesday next.
The answer [fo. 352, 413], agreed yesterday to Mr. Secry Stanhope's letter of the 30th of the last month, upon the copy of one from the Lord Archibald Hamilton Govr. of Jamaica, relating to the proceedings of the Assembly there, was signed.
Mr. Arbuthnot attending, presented to their Lordships a petition from himself and Mr. Young, owners, and Mr. Wm. Cleeves, Commander of the ship Golden James, of Poole, complaining of Capt. Taverner [fo. 322, 355] late Surveyor at Newfoundland, which petition was read, together with the papers therein referred to; whereupon ordered that copies of the said petition, and papers be sent to Capt. Taverner for his answer.
A further progress was then made in considering the draught of a repn. mentioned in the minutes of the 7th instant [fo. 342], about preventing the abuses committed in the Trade and Fishery of Newfoundland.
Mr. Campbell having signified his desired of having copies of the petition of Mr. Arbuthnot and other against Captain Tarverner [fo. 353], relating to proceedings at Newfoundland, and of the papers therein referred to mentioned in the minutes of the 17th instant; ordered that copies be given him accordingly.
Mr. March and several merchants and other gentlemen concerned
in the Island of Jamaica, who were most of them present the 16th
instants attending now, they presented to the Board a memorial
intituled a memorial in vindication of that Island and the Assembly
thereof, against the repn. [fo. 352, 414] of the Lord Archibald
Hamilton, Govr. of the said Island, with the following papers therein
referred to, vizt.
A. Extracts of some minutes of the Assembly of Jamaica.
B. Other extracts of some minutes of the Assembly of Jamaica.
C. Copy of Lord Hamilton's letter to Col. Clark.
D. Memorial from Mr. Hawkins, Ingineer to Lord Archibald Hamilton about state of fortifications, dated the 12th of January, 17 11/12.
E. Account of repairs, stores &c. wanting for the fortifications on Port Royal by Ingineer Hawkins.
Whereupon their Lordships acquainted them, that the said meml. and papers being pretty long, should be taken into consideration at the first opportunity, and notice given them when their attendance should be desired again.
The draught of a letter to Mr. Burchet, Secry. to the Lords Commrs. of the Admiralty, in answer to his of the 1st instant, relating to passes to be sent to His Majesty's Plantations, for the security of ships that may be met by those of the Algerines, was agreed and ordered to be sent.
Captain Armstrong [fo. 351, 367], who is lately come from Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia, attending, and being asked several questions, relating to the garrison there &c. he said, it was in a very ill condition, having only salt provisions for their subsistance when he came away—that their cloathing was grown extreamly bad, the soldiers having no stockings nor any shoes, but what were to be made out of green hides as the Indian's shoes. That they had no bed nor blanket; that there were not above 250 men in garrison at that place, and that they had not been paid since the 24th of June, 1712.
Colonel Vetch then coming to the Board, presented to their Lordships a memorial [fo. 351, 398], as promised the 16th instant, relating to the state of Annapolis Royal and the country of Nova Scotia, which their Lordships agreed to take into consideration the first opportunity; and in discourse he acquainted the Board that New England allows their Troops seven shillings, per week, each man besides provisions, and that the Troops in Nova Scotia had been put upon the same foot by a Council of War.
A further progress was made in considering the draught of a repn. [fo. 354, 367], mentioned in the minutes of the 18th instant, about preventing the abuses committed in the Trade and Fishery of Newfoundland.
Ordered that the Secry. write to Mr. Merrill, to desire he will remind Mr. Pulteney [fo. 343, 368], His Majesty's Secry. at War, of the letter writ him by this Board, the 7th instant, relating to the state of Annapolis Royal &c. in Nova Scotia, for his answer.
Ordered that a letter [fo. 376] be writ to Mr. Martyn, Inspector General of His Majesty's Customs, to desire he will let this Board have an account of the Woollen Manufactures exported from London to foreign parts, from Christmas, 1711, to Christmas, 1713, in distinct years.
Capt. Taverner attending [fo. 359, 369], as desired yesterday, their Lordships had some discourse with him in relation to the ill practices carried on at Newfoundland, to the prejudice of that Trade and Fishery, and concerning proper methods for remedying the same, wherein he was particularly asked.
And in answer to the first query, he said, that the fishing ships ought to have votes in the choice of the said judges or other officers, for that if they were excluded, he thought the intended Act to remedy the abuses committed at Newfoundland, would never pass.
To the 2nd query, he said, that several Factors from New England remain at Newfoundland in the winter, but that there went none from Ireland directly that he knew of, tho' there might be several Irish persons among the said Factors from New England, tho' he thought they seldom remained at Newfoundland.
To the 3rd query, he said, there were now as many families at Newfoundland as had used to remain there in former years, being 20, 30 or 40 families in a harbour in the old English part; that abundance of servants and others often stay there in winter, but that they were more or less according to the plenty or scarcity of provisions, there being no cattle but a great way within the land, and the ground near the sea being barren, they could produce no corn, making use of small tracts of ground only for gardens; tho' he alledged that a small island adjacent, called Miclon, which he had surveyed, was very fit for corn.
To the 4th query, he said, that the Factors from New England and others who remain annually at Newfoundland in the winter, retail abundance of liquors upon credit till the month of August, the only time for all payments there—that whilst the ships remain at Newfoundland rum is commonly sold for 2s. 6d. per gallon, but as soon as ever they are departed, it is raised from that price to eight shillings and other things proportionably, till supplies which begin to come in the spring, reduce them by degrees to the rate first mentioned, but the planters, fishermen and others having by the extravagant price of liquors &c. in the winter, run themselves very much into debt, their creditors commonly seize upon the fish they catch, and sometimes pay themselves by Midsummer, the stronger taking it again from the weaker, if he happened to have seized first, and the same in other disputes about property in which the Admirals of Harbours rarely interpose their authority, which is more a burthen to them than a priviledge, and tho' there is sometimes application made to them, they seldom attend disputes, so that the captains of men of war and their lieutenants for the most part determine differences, and the Fishing Admirals are become useless—that the Fishery is by these means interrupted, such fishermen proceeding no further to catch fish that year, their other creditors commonly losing their debts.
Captain Taverner being then asked what he thought the best method for remedying these inconveniencies, he said, by Courts to be held by proper Judges to be chosen annually about the end of May, out of the masters of fishing ships, who come to Newfoundland, whose places for the winter should be supplied at the end of the fishing season by one or more of the best qualified inhabitants in each harbour, the said inhabitants being mostly very illiterate and of mean capacity, and he referred to the proposals in his late memorial to this Board Being further asked how the charge of keeping such Courts might be supplied, and what penalties he thought would be fit to inforce the execution of their orders, he said, that as to penalties offenders might be imprisoned, and seizures made of their fish or other goods, and that such seizures, he believed, would answer the charge of keeping Courts.
As to any inconveniencies which it was suggested might arise to the Fishery by erecting buildings behind the fishing ships, stages and rooms, he said there might be such practices, but that he knew of none—that at St. Johns the fishing stages had some of them two rooms backwards.
And upon the question whether the incouragement of inhabitants to settle at Newfoundland, or to have only fishing ships, would be most for the advantage of that Trade and Fishery, and other enquiries relating to Newfoundland, he said, fishing ships without inhabitants would not be for the good of that Trade—that most ships have three things which they depend upon for making their voyage, vizt. goods of their own, freight for others to Newfoundland and fish from thence, and without inhabitants there would not be so many ships imployed—that there are few ships, except from Bydeford and Barnstable, which rely entirely upon fishing at Newfoundland, the ships from those two places continuing to engage their men by a share of the fish, and not by wages in money—that all fishing ships sell if they can, to sack ships, which carry the fish to market—that the charge of fitting ships for Newfoundland, is much the same now as formerly, but the risque of the voyage upon such owners who do not share fish with their men—that fish was dear this year by reason of the small quantity taken—that there is good fishing on the south coast of Newfoundland, and the best at St. Peters and St. Laurence—that there are no flakes at St. Peters but very good beach—that the reasons he conceived why our ships had not yet gone to fish at those places, were their having debts due to them in other harbours, where likewise their boats stages and several utensils were left the preceding year, and chiefly because there were few or no inhabitants to whom the ships might dispose of their goods as in the harbours they had formerly used.
Their Lordships further inquired of Captain Taverner in relation to the Harbour of Placentia, what Col. Moody demanded as rent for the stages &c. which he bought of the French, and whether such demand was not a prejudice to the Fishery, to which he answered that Colonel Moody had about 10l. per annum for each boats room, as at Ferryland, but that there was no want of room at Placentia, nor any occasion to hire stages, if people would be at the charge of building stages and houses—that the planters made use of the Inner Harbour there, and that the fishing ships had a very convenient place without, where there were as yet no stages—that Col. Moody inployed 4 boats last year, each boat having usually 5 men (vizt.) 3 in the boat and 2 to manage the fish on shore—and Captain Taverner said, that the soldiers being imployed in the Fishery, would be an advantage, but that in the winter nothing could be left safe from them.
Capt. Taverner being withdrawn, their Lordships made a further progress in considering the draughts of a repn. [fo. 358, 368], mentioned in the minutes of the 22nd instant, about preventing abuses in the Trade and Fishery of Newfoundland.
Then their Lordships made a further progress in considering the draught of a repn. [fo. 367], mentioned in the minutes of the 24th instant, about preventing abuses in the Trade and Fishery of Newfoundland.
A letter from Mr. Merril, of the 25th upon one writ him the 23rd instant, relating to this Board's desire of some information from Mr. Pulteney [fo. 359], His Majesty's Secretary at War, about the state of the garrison at Annapolis Royal and of the province of Nova Scotia, was read, and an answer agreed and ordered to be sent.
A letter from the Lord Visct. Townshend [fo. 400], of yesterdays date, with the Tariff or Declaration of Duties payable, in the Austrian Low Countries by the 25th Article of the Barrier Treaty signed at Antwerp the 15th of Novr. last, was read, whereupon ordered that a copy be made of the said Tariff or Declaration, as soon as possible.
A letter from Captain Taverner [fo. 360] of 15th Febry., 17 15/16; with some remarks on the present state of the south parts of Newfoundland, and proper heads for an Act of Parliament to incourage and regulate the Trade and Fishery of that Island, was read.
After which directions were given for writing to Mr. Carkesse [fo. 370], Secry. to the Commrs. of His Majesty's Customs to desire he would inform this Board, whether a drawback be allowed on wine and brandy re-exported from this Kingdom to Newfoundland and His Majesty's other plantations in America, and their Lordships then went through the consideration of the draught of their repn. [fo. 367, 371] mentioned in yesterdays minutes about preventing abuses in the Trade and Fishery of Newfoundland and the same was ordered to be transcribed.