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, December 1715
The draught of a letter ordered yesterday to be prepared to Mr. Secry. Stanhope in answer to his of the 8th of October last [fo. 287, 296] upon the petition of Mr. Durepaire, relating to some lands claimed by him in the late French part of St. Christophers, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
Mr. Champante, Agent for New York attending, presented to their Lordships a memorial desiring that the Acts of that province, not yet approved may be taken into consideration, particularly an Act past in July, 1715 [fo. 297], declaring that all persons of foreign birth &c. shall be for ever hereafter deemed to have been naturalized &c. which was read; whereupon their Lordships resolved to take the said Act into consideration at the first opportunity.
The undermentioned Factors of Blackwell Hall, attending, as desired vizt. Mr. Diston, Mr. Leoffs, Mr. Brooksbank, and Mr. Levy Ball [fo. 285] their Lordships had some discourse with them concerning the present state of our Woollen Manufacture, particularly the decrease in our exportation of Cloth; whereupon Mr. Diston said that the Woollen Trade had very much failed, and at present was in no wise what it had been formerly—that this present year it was extremely decreased, and where merchants have been adventurous to push a trade, as some were led to do by an imagination that this time of peace would advance our commerce, the goods lie upon their hands—that the manufacture of mixed cloths had been in a gradual decay for near 20 years, the time of the greatest demand and making up of cloths being the year when guineas passed in England for 30 shillings, which occasioned a false trade, whereby the publick got but little—that some of the reasons of this decay were the badness of goods, the Woollen Manufacture being not under such rules as might be a great advantage to it, by an Incorpora tion of Clothiers, and that our Wool Staplers who try the wool, are a prejudice to the manufacture, tho' the Parliament have been always against any regulations therein—that in the west of England, there have been as bad cloths made up this year, as at any time whatever, the workmen concerned in that manufacture being very much debauched by Sir Wm. Wyndham, and others distributing money among them to influence them to rebel against the Government, which money was generally spent in strong liquor, and their labour neglected; but this reason Mr. Diston only mentioned by the by, as an eventual occasion of prejudice to the Woollen Trade— that the great charges of dying wares and difficulties now for want of cochineal have occasioned our suffering in this trade—that another reason of the decay of our woollen manufacture was the French having advanced in theirs; and the only way to regain it from them, was to lessen the price of our wool, and so undersell them.
Mr. Leoffs who deals chiefly with Glocestershire, acquainted their Lordships, that the manufactures of coarse woollen cloths, had decayed ⅓ within these two or three years, and is still declining, which he attributed partly to the want of the Turkey trade for one sort of cloth, which the merchants used to have, and he referred himself to such persons as trade thither for an account thereof, but in the mean time he observed that the French had of late bought with ready money in Turkey great quantities of raw silk, the chief return for our cloths &c.—and he further said that our trade to Hamburgh, was in a manner lost, by means as he believed of the increase of the Woollen Manufacture in Germany.
Mr. Brooksbank being asked concerning our exportation of cloths called douzens to Portugal, he said, that trade was diminished to less than a fifth of what it had been formerly—and as to the occasions of the general decay of our Woollen Trade, he and the other gentlemen referred themselves for a particular account to the several merchants concerned therein, Mr. Brooksbank taking notice only that the several parts of the World having been so harrassed of late by wars, the want of money may have lessened trade in most places —and that for retrieving or advancing our Woollen Manufacture, an Incorporation of Clothiers, as above mentioned; would be of great advantage, and prevent unskilfull persons being imployed therein.
Mr. Ball then took notice to their Lordships, that our trade to Russia with woollen goods had likewise among others, very much fallen off within these 3 or 4 years—that as for his particular trade he did not find the want of money had occasioned its decrease; that cloth is now as cheap as ever by reason of so little demand of it, but he said there was want of incouragement to import Irish yarn into this Kingdom, which is the occasion so much wool is carried from Ireland to foreign parts.
Upon the whole these gentlemen were desired to meet and consult with the merchants chiefly concerned in the Woollen Manufacture of this Kingdom, and after deliberation together, that they would bring to the Board with all convenient speed, a memorial of the decrease of that trade with the particulars thereof, as likewise what they can propose for remedying the same, which they promised accordingly.
Mr. Blake, and other members of the Royal African Company, attending, presented to the Board a memorial [fo. 281] relating to the ill state of their trade, and reasons for desiring the assistance of a man of war, which was read; and their Lordships resolved to take the same again into consideration as soon as possible.
A letter to Mr. Secry. Stanhope, ordered yesterday to be transscribed, in answer to his of the 8th of Octr. last, upon the petition of Mons. Durepaire [fo. 290], relating to some lands claimed by him in the late French part of St. Christophers, was signed.
Directions were then given to the Secry. for writing to the Mayors of Bristol, Byddeford, Barnstable, Exeter, Plymouth, Dartmouth, Weymouth, Poole and Foway [fo. 312], to desire them to summon and consult with the merchants of those places respectively, and others concerned in the trade of Newfoundland, and to let their Lordships know whether that trade labours under any, and what difficulties, with their proposals for remedy thereof, if any such there be.
A letter from Mr. Burchet of ye 2nd instant [fo. 286, 314] (upon that writ him the 29th of the last month) signifying that the Lords Commrs. of the Admiralty have given orders for the printing of Mr. Gaudy's draughts of the coast and harbours of Newfoundland, and for his being rewarded for the pains he has taken therein, was read.
Their Lordships then took into consideration the Act past at New York the 5th of July, 1715 [fo. 291], declaring that all persons of foreign birth heretofore inhabiting within that Colony and dying seized of any lands, tenements and hereditaments, shall be for ever hereafter deemed taken and esteemed to have been naturalized, and for naturalizing all protestants of foreign birth, now inhabiting within that Colony; whereupon ordered that the same be sent to Mr. Attorney General [fo. 375] for his opinion thereupon in point of law, as soon as conveniently he can.
The Order of Council of ye 31st of August last [fo. 289], relating to Mr. Mostyns being appointed Govr. of the Bahama Islands, as mentioned in the minutes of the 30th of the last month, was again read and considered; and their Lordships resolved to proceed in the further consideration thereof to morrow morning, as likewise of the several other papers before the Board relating to those Islands.
An Order of Council of the 17th of June last, referring to the Board the petition of Mr. Graves, relating to the distressed condition of the Bahama Islands [fo. 299], was read, as likewise a memorial from the said Graves about fortfications, stores of war, and other necessaries wanted there, together with two estimates of the charge thereof: whereupon their Lordships after considering the forementioned papers and others concerning the said Islands, gave directions for preparing a repn. to His Majesty of their present state, and in answer to the Order of Council mentioned in yesterday's minutes for approving Mr. Mostyn nominated by the Lords Proprietors to be Govr. of the same.
The draught of a repn. ordered to be prepared the 7th instant, relating to the present state of the Bahama Islands [fo. 298, v. Infra], and the appointing a Govr. thereof, was read; and their Lordships made a progress in considering the same.
The draught of a repn. [v. Supra 300], mentioned in the minutes of the last meeting relating to the present state of the Bahama Islands, and the appointing a Governor, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
A letter from Mr. Lowndes of the 19th of the last month, desiring that the Lords of His Majesty's Treasury may know if this Board have any objection against Mr. Byerly's being continued Collector and Receiver of the Customs &c. at New York according to the prayer of his inclosed petition, was read, and the draught of an answer agreed and ordered to be sent.
Mr. Attorney Generals Report upon an Act passed in Barbadoes the 15th of Febry., 1708, to dock the intail of Mount Lucie Plantation, and other the estate in that Island of John Lucie Blackman Esqr. &c., was read, and directions given for preparing a repn. (v. Infra) wherewith to lay the said Act before His Majesty, for His royal approbation.
The draught of a repn. [v. Supra fo. 431], ordered yesterday to be prepared upon an Act past in Barbadoes the 15th of Febry., 1708, to dock the intail of Mount Lucie Plantation and other the estate in that Island of John Lucie Blackman, Esqr. &c., was signed.
A letter from Mr. Harris [fo. 284] of the 7th instant, together with a memorial in behalf of himself and other separate traders to Africa representing how far the British Trade on that coast is affected by foreigners, and the reason of the Companys desiring a man of war, were read; whereupon ordered that a letter be writ to Mr. Harris to desire him to consult the other gentlemen concerned and let their Lordships have their opinion in writing between ten and eleven of the clock to morrow morning whether, if any of the King's ships were sent to the coast of Africa with instructions to the Captains to protect the British trade in general, it would be any advantage to that Trade, as it is now carried on. And further ordered that notice be given of the Boards desire to speak with Mr. Harris [fo. 303], or any other of the said gentlemen at the same time.
A letter from Mr. Harris [fo. 302] of this days date to the Secretary in answer to that writ him yesterday, relating to the sending any of His Majesty's ships to the coast of Africa, was read ; and Mr. Harris attending at the same time, their Lordships had some discourse with him upon that subject, wherein he acquainted the Board that in case any of His Majesty's ships should be sent thither, the best station for them would be the Gold Coast, the country and climate at, and near the River Gambia, being very sickly and unwholsome, and the worm destroying ships there, so that the merchants care not to venture them long there, and this he said he knew from his own experience, having formerly sent vessels of his own to that River under the care of Mr. Forty, with whom the inhabitants came down to trade, as they would do to the very sea coast, if commanders of ships declined going up the River.— It being then observed to Mr. Harris that there were allegations in behalf of the Royal African Company, that few or none of the separate traders, carried on any Commerce up the said River Gambia, and that the assistance of a ship of war was necessary to preserve the interests of the Company there, which had been prejudiced by the French and others, he said —that the separate traders to Africa had now 14 ships at that River, and that on the other hand the Company had not sent a ship thither these 3 years—that the letting of the French in there by agreement with our Company had been a great damage to the trade— that in the last Peace there had been a ship seized by the French in collusion with the natives of Africa, and another now, being both private ships—that there are no pirates, which he has heard of, that might occasion His Majesty's sending a ship of war to those parts, but he added that such a ship to have its station at a distance from Gambia for the reasons abovementioned with a commander instructed to protect the commerce in general, and not trade himself, might be of advantage, but not necessary in time of Peace, the French nor any other nation, ever sending ships of war thither, but in time of War.
Mr. Harris was then asked his opinion how the trade to Africa might be improved and best carried on, whereupon he said, he thought it could not be enlarged beyond what it is, but that it might be much better carried on, if it were under a regulation, as the Turkey Company.
Mr. Harris being withdrawn, the letter from Mr. Burchet of the 30th of the last month, was read, and the list of ships therein referred to, which have been appointed to attend on the coast of Africa since the year 1690 with copies of their instructions [fo. 281] were laid before the Board, and directions were given for preparing the draught of a repn. upon the Order in Council [fo. 278, 306] mentioned in the minutes of the 22nd of the last month, relating to some naval assistance desired by the Royal African Company.
The draught of a repn. directed at the last meeting to be prepared upon the Order in Council [fo. 305] mentioned in the minutes of the 22nd of the last month, relating to some naval assistance desired by the Royal African Company, was agreed and signed.
Colonel Johnson and Mr. Beresford attending, communicated to the Board some advices they had lately received by letters dated from Carolina the 19th of July and the 25th of August last relating to the posture of affairs in that province with regard to the Indian War &c. which was read; whereupon directions were given for taking a copy of the last mentioned letter and extracts of such parts of the former as relate to the publick.
Ordered that letters be writ to Sir John Ward Govr. of the Hamburgh Company, Sir Benjamin Ayloffe Govr. of the Muscovia Company and to the Deputy Govr. of the Turkey Company [fo. 313, 328, 329] to desire from them respectively an account of the present state of the Woollen Cloth Trade, and what may be the reasons for the decay thereof.
Further ordered that Mr. Martyn Inspector General of His Majesty's Customs be desired to furnish the Board by ten of the clock on Tuesday morning next, with copys of his [fo. 311] accounts of the total amount of the Woollen Manufacture, exported from the Port of London for each quarter for the last six years ending at Christmas, 1714.
The Lord Viscount Townshend and Mr. Secry. Stanhope coming to the Board, they desired their Lordships opinion upon a New Treaty of Commerce [fo. 308] between this Kingdom and Spain concluded by Mr. Bubb His Majesty's Minister at Madrid and the Marquis de Bedmar Minister of His Catholick Majesty, the 14th of Decr., 1715, in order to its ratification, which said Treaty was read as likewise a translation thereof and of the Marquis de Bedmars full powers in English, which translations were left with their Lordships by Mr. Secry. Stanhope; whereupon a progress was made in considering the same, and the further examination thereof was adjourned till tomorrow morning.
Their Lordships went through the examination of the New Treaty of Commerce lately concluded between this Kingdom and Spain [fo. 307] as mentioned in the minutes of the last meeting, and agreed and signed a letter to Mr. Secry. Stanhope, representing the Boards approbation of the said Treaty, and opinion that the same be ratified accordingly.
A letter from Brigadier Hunter Govr. of New York to the Secretary,
dated the 10th of October, 1715 [fo. 380], relating to the hardships
he has suffered on account of the palatines settled in that province,
the Canada Expedition &c. was read, and the following papers
referred to in his said letter were laid before the Board, vizt.
Papers referred to.
Account of the number of the Palatine, married and young men, in the several places of their settlement in the year 1715.
Copy of a letter from Brigadr. Hunter Govr. of New York to the Earl of Stair, dated the 18th of Octr. and 8th November, 1714, relating to several hardships he has suffered.
Account of the sale of the stores belonging to the Canada Expedition.