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, November 1719
Mr. Philip Manneke, of the Company of Silk Weavers at Canterbury, attending with Mr. John Carter, Mr. Bennet Metcalf and Mr. John Gregory, factors in London for the said Weavers of Canterbury, they presented to the Board a representation from the Master, Wardens and Assistants of the said Company, which was read. And Mr. Manneke being asked whether any of the weavers at Canterbury were imployed in the woollen manufacture, he said, there were some few imployed in woollen, some in silk and wool &c., but that their chief business at Canterbury was the making brocaded and rich silks. Their Lordships likewise inquired of him what number of apprentices they took, and whether greater numbers had been brought up to the weaving trade at Canterbury than mentioned in the said representation. Whether there were not weaver's apprentices bound in other Companies, and what a journeyman weaver, being a midling workman, could earn per week there. To which Mr. Manneke answered that they had been very exact in their inquiries concerning the state of their Company at Canterbury, and he assured their Lordsps. that upon a strict scrutiny the number of apprentices &c. were the same as mentioned in the said representation. That they had a rule formerly of taking but two apprentices, though of late the great boys were fetched to London before they were out of their time. That a midling workman of a weaver, with the assistance of a boy, might earn 14 or 15 shilling per week, and a very good workman 10 shillings for himself, clear of charges. Messieurs Carter, Metcalf and Gregory were then asked to what value there might be sold annually in London of the silk goods made up at Canterbury. To which they answered that they themselves might sell to the value of about £40,000 per annum, and other factors about half as much more, one year with another, which they all agreed was not in the whole above one half the quantity which used formerly to be sold, they having known £120,000 worth sold in a year about 25 or 26 years ago.
Sir Gerard Conyers, Deputy Govr. of the Levant or Turkey Company, attending with Mr. Boddington, they presented to the Board a memorial from the said Company in answer to the Secry's. letter of the 8th of the last month on the subject of the weaver's petition, concerning the prejudice their trade receives from the great use of calicoes, which memorial was read.
A memorial from the Corporation of Norwich and Company of Weavers there, dated the 28th of the last month, in answer to the letter writ to the Mayor of that city, on the subject of the petition of the Weavers of London, was read.
A letter from Mr. David Martin, with a supplement to his memorial on the subject of the Weavers' petition, was likewise read. And directions given for writing to Mr. Davenport, Master of the Company of Silk Throwers in London, to desire, the said Company will prepare and bring to this Board in writing, on this day 7 night, what they have to offer in relation to the said petition of the Weavers.
Two letters from Mr. Woolley, Secry. to the East India Company, of the 23rd and 28th October, the one desiring a copy of the Weavers' petition, and the other acknowledging the receipt of a copy thereof, were read.
A memorial from Mr. Thomas Eader, on the subject of the Weavers' petition, particularly relating to the woollen manufacture, were also read. And their Lordsps. agreed to take the said several papers relating to the Weavers' petition into further consideration on this day sevenight.
Two letters from Mr. Bladen, one of His Majesty's Commissaries for treating with those of France, relating to the limits of the Dominions of the two Crowns in America &c., the one to the Board, the other to the Secry. both dated the 7th of November, 1719, N.S., were read. And the four arrests or edicts therewith received, relating to calicoes and other stuffs, were laid before the Board. Whereupon a letter to Mr. Bladen, acknowledging the receipt of those from him abovementioned, &c., was agreed and signed.
Mr. Pulteney laying before the Board several queries relating to the capitulation of the Island of Nevis, when that Island was invaded by the French on 1706, their Lordships gave directions for sending the said queries to Sir Nat. Lloyd, His Majesty's Advocate Genl., for his answer thereto, as soon as may be.
A memorial from Col. Lillington lately arrived from Barbadoes, dated the 31st of October past, relating to the Islands of St. Lucia and St. Vincent's, and the attempts of the French upon those Islands, was read. Whereupon ordered that a copy of the said memorial be transmitted to Mr. Delafaye, to be laid before their Excellencies the Lords Justices, and the draft of a letter to Mr. Delafaye, for that purpose, was agreed.
A letter from Mr. Carkesse, Secry. to the Commissrs. of the Customs, dated the 23rd, in answer to a letter writ him the 22nd of the last month, relating to the account of ships cleared from Great Britain since Christmas, 1714, was read.
Their Lordships took again into consideration the several papers relating to the petition of the weavers, and Mr. Eader and some others of the Weavers Company attending, they presented to the Board an account of the number of apprentices bound annually to weavers for ten years ending in August last: as also,
Four depositions relating to several weavers, wool combers and other artificers being carried into France and imployed there, on the great incouragement given them in that kingdom, and the decay of their trades in Great Britain. In the consideration whereof their Lordsps. resolved to proceed to-morrow morning.
Several of the Company of Silk Throwers attending, presented to the Board a memorial, as desired, on the subject of the Weavers' petition relating to the decay of their trade, which memorial was read, and the same being in general terms, they were asked, if they could not give account of the particulars wherein their trade suffers and the occasions thereof, whereupon they excused themselves for being so general in their said memorial, by reason of the short time they had after calling a Court of Assistants, and these gentlemen promising another memorial more at large on this subject, their memorial now read was returned them, and they were particularly desired to give account what proportion of the raw silk now thrown may be consumed annually in manufacture, and what quantity in stitching and sowing silk. In the meantime, their Lordships inquired of Mr. Thomas Miller, one of the said Company now present, what quantity of Ardass silk is thrown here annually, whereupon he said, he had known 4 or 500 bales thrown in a year formerly, but that now there are not 50 bales.
A letter from Mr. Delafaye, Secry. to the Lords Justices, dated the 4th instant, inclosing a copy of their excellencies' instructions to Mr. Pulteney and Mr. Bladen, His Majesty's Commissaries at the Court of France, directing this Board to correspond with, and give them advice, was read.
Sir Nathanial Lloyd, His Majesty's Advocate General's answer to Mr. Pulteney's queries, sent him the 6th inst., relating to the capitulation of Nevis in 1706, was read. Whereupon ordered that a copy of the said answer be sent to Mr. Pulteney and Mr. Bladen, for their information.
Mr. William Fead and some other merchants and factors dealing in Scots linnen attending, presented to the Board a representation in behalf of themselves and others on the subject of the Petition of the Weavers of London, which representation was read. And these gentlemen being asked several questions concerning the linnens made in Scotland, as to the quantity brought into England, its quality, value and uses, they said, that there may be annually imported into England the value of about £200,000, most of which is printed here, and but a small quantity used white, the Scots linnen being chiefly of a sleezy soft kind proper for colouring, and neither so good nor so cheap as the linnens from Germany &c., which are used white. That the duty on Scots linnen, printed or stained here, may annually amount to 5 or £600 or more, computed at 3d. per yard square. That the said linnens are ¾ of a yard or a yard broad, and usually sell from 9 to 12 per yard. That the drawback on German linnens makes them cheaper than those of Scotland for exportation. Mr. Fead then suggested to their Lordships, that the decay of the weavers' trade here was occasioned by their own idleness, and the masters taking a great number of apprentices. He was desired to bring to their Lordships the best proofs he could of those allegations or any others he might have to offer on that subject.
Mr. West's report upon an Act past at Nevis in March, 1718/19, intituled An Act for raising a Poll Tax on negroes and other slaves belonging to the plantations and inhabitants of this Island of Nevis, and on the freeholders, householders and traders of the towns thereof, was read. And their Lordsps. having no objection to the said Act, a representation was agreed and signed for laying the same before their excellencies the Lords Justices.
Mr. Eader and others of the Company of Weavers attending,
the depositions presented to the Board yesterday, and account
undermentioned, were severally read, viz.
Deposition of John Purkis, taken the 3rd of Nov., 1719, relating to several manufacturers &c. going from Great Britain to be imployed at Tankerville, and elsewhere in France.
Depositions of Thomas Piggot and Thomas Cox, taken 4th Nov., 1719, relating to manufacturers and artificers taken from Great Britain to France.
Deposition of Michael Cleare, taken 4th Nov., 1719, relating to several pressers and weavers being gone to France with their implements, on the great incouragement given them in that kingdom, and the decay of trade here.
Deposition of William Ellicombe, taken 4th Nov., 1719, relating to a person by the name of Brown endeavouring to seduce him and other woollcombers into France, and
Their Lordships taking into further consideration the petition of the Weavers and other papers on that subject, ordered that a letter be writ to Mr. Peter Lekeux, to desire he will consult such other gentlemen as he shall think fitting, on the allegation in the said petition, that great numbers of printed calicoes have been annually clandestinely imported into this kingdom, and that he will let this Board have his thoughts thereupon on Thursday morning next, with what computation he can make of the quantities of printed calicoes, so imported.
A memorial from Mr. Cumings, dated at Boston in New England, the 23rd of May last, relating to the wool of New England, the fortifications there, and to the imports and exports at the Port of Boston, was read. And the said Mr. Cumings being lately arrived from those parts and attending the Board, he was called in, and a box of wool mentioned in the said memorial being laid before their Lordships, they had some discourse with him concerning it, and agreed to discourse with him further on that subject at another opportunity. In the meantime he was desired to prepare and bring to the Board the best account he can give of the present state of the fishery of New England, which he promised.
Mr. Newnham and several other linnen drapers attending, presented to their Lordships a representation signed by the said drapers and others who deal in printed calicoes and printed linnens, which representation was read. And their Lordships having asked these gentlemen several questions on the subject of their representation, particularly what proof they had of relanding of calicoes, after their being entered for exportation ? What proportion of muslins come under the general name of calicoes ? What quantity of calicoes are used white, and what printed and stained ? And what linnens are printed and stained ? They said, it is generally known, though they had not at present any particular proof that the calicoes are re-landed. That they are chiefly used in the counties upon the coast, and few or none of them brought to London. That they could not at present give an exact account what proportion of muslins came under the general name of calicoes, but that a distinct account of the duty on muslins, is kept at the Custom House from that of calicoes. That 19/20 of the calicoes imported are printed or stained here, and not above 500 pieces used white, of a sort of fine calicoes called Sanoes. That the duties for printing calicoes and linnen amounted to about £51,000, whereof £15,000 was for linnen. That the linnens printed in this kingdom are Scots and Irish linnen, there being very little or no German linnen imported for printing, it being generally starched, and for that reason unfit for printing, as likewise not so proper in other respects. Mr. Newnham further acquainted the Board that before the Revolution, or the printing of linnen was in use here, he sold as much Scots linnen in England as now, though the linnens of Scotland are at present mostly used for printing, the Scots linnen being formerly dyed and used by the women for aprons and by the men for linings of cloaths, a fashion now laid aside. That what was formerly dyed being now printed for other purposes, the trade is much the same, though if printing were restrained, there would not be the same demand for dyed linnens as heretofore. Mr. Newnham and the other drapers being then asked their opinion concerning the importation of foreign wrought silks, they said, that ever since the prohibition of East India wrought silks, the importation of wrought silks from other foreign countries has increased, and particularly the last year.
The drapers abovementioned being withdrawn, and several of the Company of Silk Throwers attending, they presented to the Board the reasons of the said Company against the wearing of calicoes, which was read.
Ordered that a letter be writ to Mr. Woolley, Secretary to the East India Company, to know as soon as possible, whether that Company have anything to offer upon what the Secretary of this Board writ to the said Mr. Woolley the 23rd of the last month, relating to the Weavers' Petition.
A reference to this Board from Mr. Delafaye, of the Lord Archd. Hamilton's memorial to the Lords Justices, in relation to money advanced by his Lordship for the subsistence of the soldiers at Jamaica, which the Assembly of that island have refused to pay, dated the 4th of September, 1719, was read, together with the said memorial. And their Lordsps. gave directions for preparing the draught of a representation to His Majesty thereupon.
An Order of Council of 11th of June last, referring to this Board the petition of John Usher, Esqr., formerly Treasurer of several Colonies in New England, about passing his accounts, and praying payment of what is due unto him from the said Colonies, and expended for their use &c., was read, together with the said petition; whereupon ordered that Mr. Usher have notice to attend the Board on Tuesday morning next.
An Order of Council, of 11th of June, 1719, referring to the Board the petition of Lewis Piers, gentleman, praying for Letters Patents to confirm his title to a plantation in Mountserrat, the record whereof has been either burnt or taken away by the enemy, was read, together with the said petition. Whereupon ordered that the said Mr. Piers have notice to attend the Board on Wednesday morning next.
A letter from Mr. Wych, His Majesty's Resident at Hamburgh, dated 31st October, 1719, N.S., relating to the allowances for a Supervisor and two Wrackers of herrings there, to the quantity and quality of herrings imported this year and to Dutch woollen manufactures entered at Stade, was read. Whereupon ordered that a copy of the two first paragraphs of the said letter be sent to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, for the information of the Royal Boroughs of Scotland.