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, April 1715
Colonel Reading attending [fo. 37] presented to their lordships a memorial relating to his services at Annapolis Royal, which was read; and he desired an opportunity of bringing to the Board Col. Nicholson and other Gentlemen who were witnesses of his conduct, upon which he hoped their lordships would please to recommend him for the Govnt. of Annapolis aforesaid, according to the prayer of his petition, mentioned in the Minutes of the 28th of the last month; and then Col. Reading withdrew; after which he was called in, and their lordships acquainted him that having already represented in favour of Col. Vetch, whom their lordships understood his Majesty had accordingly appointed Govr. of that place, they saw no reason to induce them to advise his Majesty to remove him.
General Carpenter attending with Col. Matthew whom his Majesty has been pleased to appoint Lieut. Govr. of St. Christophers and Lieutenant Genl. of the Leeward Islands, Col. Matthew desired to know if their lordships had any commands for him, he being upon his departure for those islands in a few days; whereupon he was acquainted that if anything occurred in the meantime before Col. Hamilton could be dispatched to those islands, he should have notice of it.
Their lordships then gave directions for preparing a letter to Mr. Secretary Stanhope [fo. 57], signifying that it will be for his Majesty's service, that this Board be informed from time to time of the nomination and appointment of all Lieut. Govrs. or others, on whom the Govnt. of any of his Majesty's plantations may in time devolve.
Letters to the Lord Viscount Townshend and Mr. Secry. Stanhope, [fo. 40, 69] relating to the several British Consuls or Ministers sending accounts of the trade in such foreign parts where they reside, agreed the 30th of the last month, were signed.
Mr. Orby attending acquainted the Board that Dr. Cox had entered his caveat against Brigadr. Hunter's Commissions passing the Great Seal [Q. fo. 433], whereupon he desired copies of Dr. Cox's proceeding before their lordsps. relating to that matter, ordered that copies of the Minutes or other papers relating thereto be given him accordingly.
Two letters from Mr. Secretary Stanhope, dated the 1st and 2nd instant, signifying his Majesty's commands that this Board do forthwith prepare and lay before the House of Commons, the several papers and accounts desired by them relating to the Treaty of Commerce [fo. 51], the trade to Spain, and the West Indies, Turkey Company, Italian Merchants, Newfoundland trade and fishery, St. Peters and Cape Breton, which said letters were read, and directions accordingly given for preparing copies of the said papers and accounts.
Mr. Giles Erle attending, recommended Mr. William Norris a gentleman of a good character, and a fit person to be appointed of his Majesty's Council in Jamaica, when a vacancy shall happen therein; whereupon ordered that his name be inserted in the list of persons recommended to supply vacancies in the said Council.
Col. Reading attending [fo. 37] and desiring to have copies of his petition and of the reference thereupon from the Secry. at War to this Board, mentioned in the Minutes of the 28th of the last month, ordered that he have copies thereof accordingly.
Mr. Duport and Mr. Sheppard attending as desired [fo. 43, 48], Mr. Duport presented to their lordships three certificates relating to some French protestants who had plantations in the late French part of St. Christophers, which were read.
And Mr. Sheppard likewise presented to the Board the copy of a grant to him of a plantation in the said late French part of St. Christophers, for three years, dated the 15th of July, 1712, which was likewise read.
Mr. Robert Heysham attending likewise, as desired, he acquainted their lordships, that he believed Mr. Joseph Martyn could give their lordships the best information relating to the French part of St. Christophers in order to the settlement thereof, and Mr. Heysham further acquainted the Board that Col. Panton a friend of his desires to be a purchaser when the lands there shall be disposed of.
Mr. Duport, Mrs. Bowden, and Mr. Sheppard attending [fo. 46], an Order of Council of 23rd Febry., 1714, upon the petitions of Humphrey Sheppard and Mary Bowden praying the grants of their plantations in St. Christophers may be renewed, was read, and Mr. Sheppard, particularly said that he would be willing to give ten pounds a year Quit rent, and to pay a fine of 50 pounds for the Plantation he petitions for, and to be obliged to keep one white man for every 40 acres the first year, and one for every 20 acres every year after, and after some further discourse with them their lordships agreed, that when they shall make their report upon the settlement of the French part, to represent the cases of the said Sheppard and Bowden, with their opinion, that they may have a preference in the purchase of the said plantations in case they are to be sold.
The certificates received from Mr. Duport [fo. 46], and mentioned in the last minutes, were again read; and their lordship. thereupon agreed to represent the cases of Mary Maillard, and the children of Francis Guichard, in the same manner as the other French protestants have been.
A letter from Mr. Jos. Martyn in answer to one to him the 4th instant [fo. 47] signifying his incapacity, by reason of the gout, to give their lordships any information, relating to the settlement of the French part of St. Christophers, was read.
Mr. Alexander Langdon, one of the sufferers in the island of Nevis attending, with Mr. John Mills, in relation to the debenture No. 500, in the name of George Richardson, and it appearing by the return of the losses from that island, that Alexr. Langdon has married the widow of the said Geo. Richardson (who together with her two sons are joint Executors to the deceased) the said debenture was delivered him and the said Mills for his use, and of the sons of the deceased.
And he being asked sevl. questions in relation to Cape Breton, and Newfoundland, he said, that being acquainted with some of the French officers at Placentia, and particularly with a brotherin-law of Monsr. de Costabell, he was informed by them that the French had a very good fishery the last year at Cape Breton, where they made 350 quantals per boat.—That the fishery there is much earlier than at Newfoundland, by which means the French, when their fishery is well established will be before us in foreign markets.—That the soil of Cape Breton is much better, than that at Newfoundland-having very good grass upon it, and is fit for barley, oats and maize-and that formerly the fishery of Petit Nore was computed to be one quarter part of the whole of Newfoundland.
The copies of several papers [fo. 45] relating to the Treaty of Commerce, the trade to Spain and the West Indies, the Turkey Company, the Newfoundland trade and fishery, and Cape Breton, which were required to be laid before the House of Commons by Mr. Secry. Stanhope's letters mentioned in the Minutes of the 4th instant, being prepared; together with lists thereof, the said lists were examined by their lordships, with the said papers, and Mr. Cokburne, Mr. Chetwynd, and Mr. Cooke were desired to lay the same before the house, which they promised to do accordingly.
Ordered that a letter be writ to Mr. Burchet [fo. 53] to know whether the Commodore of the Convoy last year at Newfoundland has returned any answer to the heads of inquiry and instructions given him relating to the trade and fishery of that place, and in case Mr. Burchet have such answer to desire he will move the Lords Commrs. of the Admiralty, for a copy thereof to be sent to this Board as soon as conveniently may be.
A letter from Mr. Burchet of the 9th instant, by order of the Lords Comrs. of the Admiralty with the copy of one from Captain Stewart, dated at Falmouth the 4th of this month, relating to the great number of French ships bound to Cape Breton, were lead.
A letter from Mr. Secry. Stanhope of the 9th instant [fo. 37], referring to the Board the petition of Col. Reading, praying for the Govnt. of Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia, was read, together with the said petition, and an answer to Mr. Secry. Stanhope thereupon, was immediatley drawn up and signed.
A letter from Col. Walter Hamilton of the 9th instant [fo. 47, 55], promising his thoughts in writing on Wednesday next, in relation to the disposal of lands, and the better settlement of the late French part of St. Christophers, was read.
A letter from Mr. Burchet of the 11th upon that writ him the 9th instant [fo. 51, 57], signifying his having sent to Captain Leake Commander of the Convoy last year at Newfoundland, for his answer to the heads of inquiry &c. relating to that trade and fishery, was read.
And an Order of Council of the 23rd of Febry. last, referring to the Board the petition of Mr. Ayscough to be restored to his former place in the Council of Jamaica, was read. As likewise a letter from the Earl of Orkney of the 26th of January foregoing, recommending Mr. Ayscough to be a member of his Majesty's Council in the said Island. After which their lordships took into consideration the draughts of instructions for the Lord Archibald Hamilton Govr. of Jamaica [fo. 6, 58], and made a progress therein.
Mr. Rigby attending, as he had been desired, [vide supra] their lordships after some discourse with him, agreed that the following names of twelve persons, should be inserted in the draught of instructions preparing for the Lord Archibald Hamilton Govr. of Jamaica, as his Majesty's Council of that island, vizt. Peter Haywood, Francis Rose, John Stewart, John Peck, Valentine Mumby, Francis Oldfield, Richard Rigby, Thomas Bernard, James Archbould, John Ayscough, John Sadler, and Richard Elliston Esqrs.
And Mr. Rigby having desired their lordships would please to recommend to his Majesty for his royal approbation An Act, passed in Jamaica the 17th of April, 1711, for regulating fees [fo. 56, 68], as also an Act passed there, the 31st of July following, for the further quieting possessions and preventing vexatious suits at law; ordered that the said acts be laid before the Board at the next meeting.
General Hamilton attending [fo. 53, 60] presented to their lordships a letter with his proposals relating to the settlement of the late French part of St. Christophers, as had been desired of him the 6th instant, which were read.
The act passed in Jamaica the 31st of July. 1711 [fo. 55, 67], entituled an act for the further quieting possessions and preventing vexatious suits at law, being laid before the Board, as ordered yesterday Mr. Attorney Generals report thereupon mentioned in the minutes of 17th July, 1713 (Jamaica bundle No. 5) was read: whereupon ordered that the said act be sent back to Mr. Attorney with the desire of this Board, that he would reconsider his forementioned report, and let their lordships have his further thoughts thereupon, as soon as may be, since the not passing that act, and thereby keeping the inhabitants titles to their lands precarious, has been one of the occasions of the difficulties, the Govnt. in Jamaica has met with, and a great discouragement to the planters &c.
A letter to Mr. Secry. Stanhope being prepared [fo. 43, 69] (pursuant to the directions of the first instant) desiring that this Board may be informed what commissions have been, or may be granted to any persons nominated by his Majesty as Lieutenant Generals or Lieut. Govrs. in his several plantations in America, on whom the Govnt. of the said plantations may devolve, the same was signed.
A letter from Mr. Burchet [fo. 53], Secry. to the Lords Commrs. of the Admiralty, dated the 20th instant, signifying that he transmitted with his letter of the 12th October last, the answers of Capt. Leake to the queries of this Board, when he commanded at Newfoundland, was read, and upon examination the answer of Capt. Leake was found to be for 1713, whereupon ordered that Mr. Burchet be acquainted therewith [fo. 68], and desired in case the Commodore for the year 1714, have returned any report, that the Board may have a copy of it.
Then their lordships proceeding in the consideration of the draughts of instructions for the Lord Archd. Hamilton, Govr. of Jamaica [fo. 54], the same were agreed, as were likewise the draught of a repn. to his Majesty upon the state of Jamaica [fo. 59], and a letter to his Lordship, which were severally ordered to be transcribed.
The representation to his Majesty [fo. 58, 141], relating to the present state of Jamaica, and transmitting the draughts of instructions for the Lord Arch. Hamilton Govr. of that Island, as agreed at the last meeting, was signed, together with a letter for inclosing them to Mr. Secry. Stanhope, as likewise a letter to the Lord Archibald Hamilton upon the same subject.
The draught of a repn. relating to the disposal of lands [fo. 55, 70] and the settlement of the late French part of St. Christophers, being laid before the Board, a progress was made in the consideration thereof.
A letter from the Lord Visct. Townshend of the 31st Decr. last, referring to the Board the extract of one from Mr. Leathes to Mr. Walpole, relating to a Treaty of Commerce with the Spanish Netherlands, was read, together with the said extract, as were likewise.
Mr. Duport attending, as he had been desired [fo. 61], and being asked several questions in relation to the French part of St. Christophers, he answered as follows vizt. That when he was a prisoner in France he had seen in the hands of Monsr. De Laigny, Intendant of Commerce, a map of the French part of St. Christophers, which was thereby computed to contain, between twenty eight and thirty thousand acres, of which he believed there was about five thousand (including the lands at the Salt ponds which are near 2,000 of the 5,000) not fit for sugar canes, but only for raising of stock, and that most of the lands near the sea side are sandy and fit only for stock and provisions. That many poor people would be glad of such lands, parcelled out into small plantations, not exceeding ten acres each, which he thought would be sufficient for small families. That the French part of St. Christophers is capable if settled as it ought, to contain about fifteen hundred families, and the English part as many. That he doubted not but many persons would go from hence and New England, when the lands shall be disposed of, and some few from the other Leeward Islands. That it would be, in his opinion, better to sell the lands out right, than to grant them in fee farms upon a quit rent and fine; but he owned that the latter method might sooner plant and people the island. He added that he thought it by no means advisable the lands be either sold or otherwise disposed of here, but that the same be disposed of by Commrs. to be sent over and well instructed for that purpose. That the said Commrs. do not exceed three, and that they have with them two or three surveyors. That the said lands may be sold, one with another, between two and three pounds per acre.—That in case those lands be granted in fee farms, he thought that about five shillings, Island money per acre would be a reasonable quit rent.
Then being asked some questions in relation to Mr. Sheppard and Mrs. Bowden, mentioned in the Minutes of the 6th instant, Mr. Duport said, as to Mr. Sheppard that he had sustained no loss, but that it was his wife in her former husband's time, and for which she had been recompensed by debentures as other sufferers had. As for Mrs. Bowden, he knew no claim she had, except a grant from Col. Codrington, as several other persons had from him and succeeding Govrs.
General Hamilton attending also as he had been desired, and being asked the like questions, he answered as follows—That he had been informed by . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . who had made a survey of the whole island, that there were in the French part about four and twenty thousand acres, of which four thousand were only fit for raising of stock. That the 4000 proposed by him to be given gratis, was intended to be out of the remaining 20,000.—That he doubted not but there would be purchasers enough that would go to settle there from hence, Ireland and New England; and he thought it would be better if such people had a preference in purchase to those that should come from the other islands, not that he would exclude them absolutely from purchasing, but only in case there were enough from other parts, and he doubted not that if the island were settled according to his proposal, there might in a short time be a 1,000 men fit to bear arms in the late French part only. That he thought that part would be much sooner settled if the lands were granted in fee farms, upon a quit rent of about three shillings sterl. per acre, than if they were sold out right, for that 200 acres of land if sold at 3l. per acre will come to 600l. and the negroes, cattle, coppers mills and other necessaries for such a plantation will come to about 2500l. more; so that a great many people who might be willing and able to settle upon a quit rent, would not be so, upon an absolute purchase. He added that if it is to be sold, it ought to be done there by Commrs. For if it be done here, some few rich persons will buy the whole and afterwards stock jobb it, and by that means hinder a settlement. That the Commrs. ought not to exceed three, with a surveyor and a Deputy; and that care ought to be taken that the plantations be all laid out regularly.
Mr. Horatio Walpole coming to the Board as desired [fo. 61, 69] and their lordships inquiring whether he knew what the alterations were in the Flanders tariff of 1680, which were made after the battle of Ramillies, as mentioned in Mr. Cadogan's expedient to secure our trade in the Low Countries referred to the Board by my Lord Townshend's letter of the 26th instant [fo. 61], he said he did not know what they were; whereupon a letter was writ to my Lord Townshend to desire an explanation thereof, and to be informed if Mr. Cadogan's expedient take place, whether British goods going directly to Flanders will pay no more than the same goods sent thither from Holland, and to know what answers have been given to Mr. Cadogan to the project of a Treaty of Commerce sent from hence, and what equivalent has been demanded by the Govnt. of Flanders thereupon.
Mr. Attorney Genl's. second report upon An Act passed in Jamaica the 31st of July, 1711 [fo. 56, 68], for the further quieting of possessions &c., was read, together with his former report thereupon, mentioned in the Minutes of the 14th instant, and Mr. Rigby attending, and being asked sevl. questions relating to the said act, he said, that in about ten years that this act has been in agitation, he never heard of any objection made, by either planters, merchants or others concerned in that island. That the like act having passed the Council and Assembly several times, he believed it was always nemine contradicente. That the reason of the Govrs. rejecting such act in 1705, was its barring of the Crown, and excepting in that particular, he took the present Act to be of the same purport, between party and party, as the printed Act for prevention of law suits (printed book of Jamaica Laws folio 72) that as to Mr. Attorney Genl's. objection about persons in prison &c. he apprehended no prejudice could ensue in relation to such persons &c. since in so long a time that this Act has been depending, no informations have been given of any such subject of complaint arising against it.
Their lordships then agreed and signed a repn. to his Majesty [fo. 67, 141] proposing his Majesty's confirming the said Act for the further quieting possessions &c. as likewise An Act passed in Jamaica the 19th of May, 1711 [fo. 55, 141] for regulating fees.