Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations, Volume 4, November 1718 - December 1722. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1925.
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Journal, October 1719
A letter to Mr. Wiche, His Majesty's Resident at Hamburgh, relating to the British woollen manufactures, entered at the Custom House at Staad, as likewise those entered by the Dutch, was agreed and signed.
The draught of a letter from the Secretary of this Board to Mr. Tigh, His Majesty's Consul at Elsinore, for an account of what woollen manufactures have been, particularly of late, set up in Denmark, was likewise agreed and ordered to be sent.
The draught of a representation upon the letter from Mr. Weir, mentioned in the Minutes of the 16th and 23rd of the last month, relating to the designs of the French to settle the Island of St. Lucia, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
A letter from Mr. Carkesse, Secry. of the Commissioners of the Customs, to the Secretary of this Board, dated yesterday, in answer to the letter writ him the 30th of the last month, relating to the woollen manufactures in New England &c., and to cotton imported there, was read.
A letter from Mr. Delafaye, of the 1st instant, referring to the Board, by order of their excellencies the Lords Justices, a Petition and other papers from the Company of Weavers, relating to the prejudice their trade receives by foreign wrought silks and calicoes, was read, together with the Petition and papers.
Further ordered that the Secry. write to Mr. Bladen at Paris, to desire he will endeavour to procure and furnish the Board with the several Edicts published in France, referred to in the state of the silk and silk and worsted manufactures, annexed to the said Petition, relating to East India wrought silks and calicoes.
An Act passed in Pennsylvania in 1718, for vesting the house and lot of ground in Philadelphia, formerly the Estate of William Clarke, deceased, in trustees, to be sold for payment of his debts, &c. being laid before the Board. A memorial and petition of Zachariah Richardson, against confirming the said Act, were read. Whereupon ordered that the said Act and copy of the Petition abovementioned be sent to Mr. West, for his opinion in point of law.
Mr Peter Lekeux coming to the Board, as desired, their Lordships had some discourse with him on the subject of the weavers' petition, mentioned in yesterday's Minutes, and he, being asked several questions on the allegations of the said petition, said, that if their Lordps. would be pleased to consult some of the Turkey Company and the Italian merchants who import thrown silk, of which latter he named Mr. Wright, Mr. Short, Mr. David Martin, and Mr. Loom; the mercers of London, of whom he named Mr. Badcock, and Mr. Feary on Ludgate Hill; and of the weavers in Spittle Fields, who are chiefly concerned in worsted and woollen goods, he mentioned Mr. Thomas Eader and Mr. Tidmarsh, he did not doubt but they would fully make out the allegations of the said petition. Mr. Lekeux, being asked where the weavers are chiefly established, he said the weavers of stuffs and silks are chiefly established at London, Canterbury, Norwich and Colchester, at the two former of which places their imployment is most in silks, at Norwich in silk and worsted, and at Colchester all in worsted. That as to the number of weavers in Spittlefields and other parts about London, it was uncertain, but that in his remembrance, he believed they have increased from one to twenty, and he produced to their Lordsps. an account of the number of apprentices bound at Weaver's Hall for ten years which is as follows, viz.:
Mr. Lekeux further said, in answer to their Lordships' inquiries, that silks of our own manufacture are so much fallen in price, that he sold some lately at 10 per cent loss, though the workmen's wages is lessened from what it was formerly. And that they imploy some looms at present in expectation of a trade, and not by reason of any demands at the shops and warehouses, those being already full of these goods. That few of our wrought silks, &c. are sent abroad to foreign parts, there being the discouragement of a duty, though but a penny per £, upon the exportation of them, whilst calicoes have the advantage of a drawback, not only of the Custom on white calicoes, but likewise of the duty on painting or staining, if the same be painted or stained. That the number of persons imployed in the painting and staining of calicoes, which brings so great prejudice to the silk and wollen manufactures, might be about 5 or 600, of whom he named Mr. Mauvillon at Martin Abby in Surrey, as one of the principal.
Their Lordsps. then desired Mr. Lekeux would endeavour to
procure them an account of the quantities of manufactures made in
Of raw silk thrown here.
Of Italian thrown silk.
Of the former two sorts of silks mixed together.
Of silk and worsted mixed.
Mr. Lekeux being withdrawn, ordered that the Secretary write to him to be informed by letter who are the proper persons to be writ to or spoke with that are concerned in the Aulnage, as likewise who are the proper persons to be writ to at Canterbury and Norwich in relation to the petition of the weavers abovementioned.
Ordered likewise that letters be writ to Mr. Shewell, of the Company of Weavers, Sir Gerard Conyers of the Turkey Company, Mr. David Martin, Mr. Badcock and Mr. Feary, Mercers on Ludgate Hill, and to Mr. Eader and Mr. Tidmash, who are concerned in the weaving of worsted and woollen manufactures here, to acquaint them, as the same shall severally respect them, that this Board desire to speak with them, at ten of the clock on Wednesday morning next, and with any others of the said Companies or persons concerned in the importation of thrown silk or mercers trade, and to desire they will then bring in writing what they have respectively to offer on the subject of the said petition.
Further ordered that a letter be writ to Mr. Carkesse, to desire he will move the Commissrs. of His Majesty's Customs that this Board may have an account, as soon as conveniently may be, of the amount of the duties on the importation of dying goods for three years ending at Christmas, 1718, or, (if that account be not made up so far), for three years to Christmas, 1717, as also an account of the amount of the drawbacks upon the same goods for the same time.
A letter from the Commissrs. of the Navy, dated yesterday, in answer to one from the Secry. of this Board to Mr. Ackworth, of the 23rd of the last month, upon Mr. Bridger's letters, relating to His Majesty's Woods in America, was read.
A letter from Brigadier Hunter, Governor of New York, dated at
Hamoore near Plymouth, the 4th of October, 1719, was read, and the
Minutes of Assembly of New York from the 28th of April to the 25th of June, 1719,
therein referred to, were laid before the Board.
Mr. Badcock and Mr. Feary attending, as desired, on the Weavers' Petition, they presented to their Lordsps. a memorial signed by themselves and several other mercers of London, relating to the decay of our manufactures in silk and silk and worsted &c., which memorial was read. And several questions being asked Mr. Badcock thereupon, he said, that the great quantities of East India goods of various sorts, clandestinely and otherways imported, was of the greatest prejudice to our manufactures and much more than the running of Dutch and French goods, which interfere with ours only in some particular species, though he said this latter was a very great evil too. That presently, after passing the Act of Parliament for the prohibition of several East India goods, we had a great trade for fine worsted stuffs, which is now gone off, and in his opinion as many East India goods are used as before the prohibition. That there is a defect in the said Act, in as much as there is no other penalty on the person in whose custody the prohibited goods are found, than the forfeiture of them, unless it can be proved they offered them to sale. That if there were a penalty on the wearers, to be repaid them by the sellers, the use of prohibited goods might be in great measure prevented. That as to the number they offered them to sale. That if there were penalty on the of persons wearing calicoes, which are used in lieu of our silks and stuffs, they computed a million of women and children were cloathed in calicoes.
Mr. Badcock and Mr. Feary being withdrawn, and Mr. Lekeux attending with several merchants, importers of thrown silk from Italy, viz. Mr. Samuel Short, Mr. James Molinier, Mr. Richard Frome, Mr. Thomas Lombe, Mr. Edmund Trott, Mr. Benj. Collyer and Mr. Richard Turner, Junr. the said merchants presented to their Lordships a representation signed by themselves and others on occasion of the said petition of the weavers, relating to the prejudice they receive by the wear of calicoes and other India goods, which representation was read, and these gentlemen acquainted the Board, that of late they import less quantities of raw silk than formerly, and for the two last years not half the usual quantity, and that the price of thrown silk lessens.
The merchants abovementioned being withdrawn, several of the Company of Weavers, attending, were called in, and they, desiring further time till Thursday next to prepare and bring what they had to offer in writing concerning the decay of their trade, their Lordsps. appointed that day for their attendance again, and in the meantime the said weavers laid before the Board several patterns of their work, with the prices thereof.
A letter from Mr. Delafaye, of the 13th inst., referring to the Board by order of their excellencies the Lords Justices, the extract of a letter from Mr. Fleetwood, His Majesty's Consul at Naples, with the copy of a grant to the Dutch Consul there, of certain privileges equally claimed by the British Consul. As also a memorial from Mr. Paul L'Escot, relating to Carolina, was read, together with the said extract and memorial. Whereupon ordered that the several papers formerly received, relating to the trade of Naples and Sicily, be looked out, to be laid before the Board.
Two letters from Mr. Fleetwood, His Majesty's Consul at Naples, dated the 22nd of the last month, with a representation relating to the British trade in that kingdom, were read, together with the said representation.
A letter from Mr. Lowther, Govr. of Barbadoes, dated 7th of
August, 1719, was read, and the papers therein referred to were
laid before the Board, viz.
Letter of thanks of the Council and Assembly of Barbadoes to the Board, for their report upon the petition for erecting an Ecclesiastical Court.
Proceedings of the Court of Grand Sessions of Barbadoes in June, 1714, and
Copy of the resolutions of the Council and Genl. Assembly and of other papers relating to Parson Gordon's erecting an Ecclesiastical Court in Barbadoes.
And Mr. Lillington, lately arrived from Barbadoes, and to whom Mr. Lowther refers to in his said letter, for an account of the transactions of the French at the Island of St. Lucia, attending, their Lordships inquired of him what he knew relating thereto, whereupon he said, that it was the general report in Barbadoes, that the French had made a Settlement on the said Island of St. Lucia with 300 families, and had a Govr. appointed over them. That a New York privateer, whose name was not known, touching at the said Island for wood, water or such other necessaries, as they used to furnish themselves with there, and meeting with some interruption from the French, the Commander of the said privateer landed, his men attacked the French and having nailed up their guns, retired.
The draught of a letter to the Lords of the Treasury, upon several letters from Mr. Bridger, late Surveyor of the Woods in America, particularly one transmitted with Mr. Tilson's letter of the 16th, mentioned in the Minutes of the 23rd of the last month, relating to the duty of such an officer, and the care necessary for the preservation of the said woods, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
A letter from Mr. Bridger, late Surveyor of His Majesty's Woods in America, dated 1st of the last month, was read, as likewise a Certificate from Col. Shute, Govr. of the Massachusets Bay and New Hampshire, relating to the said Bridger's performance of his duty as Surveyor, and his qualifications for that imployment. Whereupon ordered that a copy of the said Certificate be sent with the undermentioned letter to the Lords of the Treasury.
Mr. Lekeux coming to the Board, and several of the Weavers' Company, they presented to their Lordships a memorial signed by the Bailifs, Wardens and Assistants of the said Company, in support of the allegations of their petition, mentioned in the Minutes of the 7th inst., relating to the prejudice their trade receives by foreign wrought silks and calicoes, which memorial was read. Whereupon their Lordships desired of the members of the said Company the best account they could give, of the number of people of the said Company imployed in the weaving trade for some years past, as also proofs of any weavers or manufacturers in woollen and silk going into foreign parts for want of imployment here, as suggested in the said memorial, which they promised accordingly. And upon inquiry of them, whether there were not other persons imployed in weaving than those admitted and registered by the Company, they said that upon an order in the reign of King Charles the 2nd, several foreigners, who could prove their being bred to the trade, were admitted by the Company, as is still practised with relation to several French refugees and others. And they owned that some small numbers were admitted as weavers by Justices of the Peace, of which the Company had no particular account, though on the other hand they alledged that several apprentices were bound at Weavers Hall, who served their time to other trades. And as to the commonly received opinion that the number of weavers was much increased of late, they said it was a mistake, for that the weavers have been as numerous for these four or five years past, as now. But indeed their imployment had been lessened every year for these 3 or 4 years past. And Mr. Eader, who said he was concerned in the export of our silk and woollen goods to Hamburgh, Holland, Germany, Spain, &c. assured their Lordships, that he had had the value of £7000 of those goods by him for these 12 months. And another gentleman affirmed he had kept 100 looms imployed, but does not now sell the work of 10. Of all which allegations their Lordsps. desired the best proofs these gentlemen could produce, which they promised to lay before the Board with all convenient speed. They then shewed their Lordsps. several patterns of stuffs made to serve in lieu of calicoes, which were left for the Board's examination.
Mr. Lekeux communicated to their Lordships a letter from Dorchester to a mercer in London, dated the 3rd inst., and part thereof relating to the running of silks and calicoes &c. in that county, was read.
Mr. David Martin attending, presented to the Board a memorial on the subject of the Weavers' petition above mentioned, stating the advantages of the woollen and silk manufactures to this kingdom, and the prejudice they receive from foreign wrought silks, calicoes and printed linnens &c., which memorial was read. And their Lordships having some discourse with Mr. Martyn, he was desired to bring the best account he could of the importation of wrought silks into this kingdom for some years before and since the Revolution, which he promised. And being asked whether he thought it would be a public advantage if the prohibition of East India goods were extended to the Plantations, he said, he conceived it would, and being desired to let their Lordships have his thoughts in writing on that subject, he promised to do it in a few days.
Ordered that a letter be writ to Mr. Carkesse, Secry. to the Commissrs. of His Majesty's Customs, to remind him of the letter from the Secretary of this Board of the 16th of April last, desiring an account of the ships cleared from England since Christmas, 1714.
Ordered likewise that the Secry. write to Mr. Martyn, Inspector Genl. of the Imports and Exports, for an account of the quantities of raw silk, thrown silk and wrought silk imported for the year 1718, and of the quantities re-exported that year.
Ordered that the Secry. write to Messrs. Atkyns and Wyndham, Mr. Chancey and Mr. Ettick, Linnen Drapers, to acquaint them with the forementioned Petition of the Weavers, being referred to this Board, and to desire they will let their Lordships have in writing what they, and any others concerned in the Linnen Trade, may have to offer thereupon as soon as may be.
Farther ordered that a letter be writ to Mr. Woolley, Secry. to the East India Company, to desire they will likewise let their Lordships have in writing what they have to offer on the said Petition, as soon as may be.