Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations, Volume 4, November 1718 - December 1722. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1925.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.
Journal, January 1719
A letter from Mr. Tickel, of the 30th, inclosing a copy of Mr. Secretary Craggs's circular letter, of the 24th of the last month, to the Governours of His Majestie's several plantations, relating to the declaration of war against Spain and to His Majestie's proclamation, and commissions concerning the tryal and pardon of pirates in America, was read, as likewise the said copy of Mr. Secretary's letter; and their Lordships were acquainted that the ten commissions for trying pirates in several parts of America, mentioned in the said circular letter, as likewise in Mr. Secretary Craggs' letter of the 3rd of July, 1718, being yesterday sent for to his office, were accordingly delivered to Mr. Jones.
A petition from Mr. Gohier and Mr. Buck, praying that another independant company of soldiers may be sent for the security of the Bahama Islands, was read, and the said Mr. Gohier and Mr. Buck attending, they were called in, and their Lordships having some discourse with them on the subject of the said petition, a letter to Mr. Secretary Craggs thereupon was agreed and signed.
Mr. Gee attended again and Mr. Astell, who is concerned in the trade for Naval stores, attending likewise; their Lordships according to appointment took into further consideration Mr. Gee's memorial, mentioned in the Minutes of the 31st of last month, relating to some encouragement to be given for importing iron and timber etc., from His Majesties plantations in America; whereupon their Lordships had some discourse with Mr. Astell as well as Mr. Gee, on the subject of the said memorial, and Mr. Astell, who said he had seen a copy of the memorial, acquainted the Board that he agreed the main design thereof, if attained, would be advantage to this kingdom. That iron and potashes are bought from the dominions of the Northern Crowns with ready money, and the high duties on our goods in Denmark and Norway occasioning the running of them clandestinely in those parts, is a great discouragement to the fair trader, and that laying a duty on timber, boards, etc., ad valorem, in this kingdom, is another, because the importer is left to act herein according to his conscience, and all men have not equal regard to their oaths, whereupon Mr. Astell proposed that wood and timber from all parts should pay a certain equal duty, and as an encouragement to bring the same from His Majesty's plantations, that a premium equal to the duty should be allowed for all such timber as shall be imported from those parts. And to encourage the making in His Majestie's plantations, Mr. Astell likewise proposed that a bounty or prœmium equal to the duty on the said iron should be allowed on that commodity made there, and imported into this kingdom, as also according to what Mr. Gee desired, to engage persons in an undertaking so expensive and tedious before it comes to answer the charge, that a term of 31 years should be granted by Parliament wherein the duty on plantation iron should not be augmented, not the prœmium diminished, and the said duty and bounty to determine together, as likewise that the undertakers for iron should be vested with the full power of the Crown with regard to mines and the digging of ore. And as to potashes, it was in like manner proposed to their Lordships that a prœmium equal to the duty should be allowed for postashes made, and brought hither from His Majesties plantations.
For answering the said several prœmiums, or bounties, without any further charge to the publick, Mr. Astell offered to their Lordships, that one moiety of the prœmiums, at present allowed on the importation of pitch and tar imported from the plantations, should be taken off those commodities, being now arrived to a perfection equal to the same sorts from Sweden, etc. And that the other moiety should remain to ballance the freight. But it was observed by Mr. Gee and Mr. Astell, that the method now taken in the navy office for paying the debentures on naval stores from America, occasions a considerable discount; to prevent which, it was proposed that the duties on the several species now under consideration should be assigned for payment of the prœmiums. Mr. Gee on this occasion acquainted their Lordships, that the ill-reports spread of our plantation pitch and tar as to their quality, proceeded in a great measure from particular persons, who had monopolized all the pitch and tar from Sweden, and whose interest it was to depreciate that from the plantations; though as for tar, Mr. Gee owned there had come some bad from America, being made with less care, probably for the sake of the debentures, which, being reduced, will oblige the persons concerned therein to take more care; but as for pitch the American was as good as the best. And Mr. Astell affirmed that Russia tar, which had formerly been preferred to that from our plantations, is now refused: that since the importation of pitch and tar from our plantations, the prices of those commodities from other places had been greatly reduced: that turpentine, which had been formerly 17l. a ton, was now brought to 11l. or 12l.
In relation to hemp, Mr. Astell said, it was bought with our manufactures and was not therefore so necessary to be meddled with at present: and Mr. Gee said, that the hempseed sent lately to America for a tryal, being carried between decks from the air, would not grow, which misfortune he hoped would be prevented in the next essay.
Mr. Astell was then desired to putt into writing the whole of what he had now said to their Lordships in relation to iron and potashes, and what might further occur to him in relation thereto, and to bring the same to the Board at nine of the clock on Monday morning next, at which time Mr. Gee was likewise desired to attend, which they accordingly promised.
A letter to Mr. Secretary Craggs, inclosing the two representations of this Board relating to the Newfoundland fishery, dated 19th and 24th of the last month, in order to be laid before His Majesty, was signed.
Sir Charles Wager, one of the Lords of the Admiralty and Mr. Ackworth, surveyor of the navy, coming to this Board as desired, Mr. Astell, with Mr. Gee who attended, were called in, and presented to their Lordships a memorial relating to the encouragement to be given for the importation of iron, masts, timber, boards, and other wood, as also potashes from His Majestie's plantations in America, which memorial was read; and Mr. Ackworth acquainted the Board that in his opinion it would be for the publick advantage to have the prœmium on hemp prolonged for a larger term, as so to answer the freight of it from His Majestie's plantations: that there now comes from the said plantations as good pitch as from anywhere, and that the tar from thence is much amended in its quality, the last importation being the best that has come: that it would be well if possible to fix the prœmium on neat and good tar only so as not to allow the same for dross or water which has often come with the tar; and he offered that one half of the present prœmium for plantation pitch and ¼ of the like prœmium for tar, be taken off: that as to turpentine from the plantations the navy had lately made and experiment of it, and find it very good and proper for their use, and Sir Charles Wager observed, that the carrying our turpentine to Holland is a publick advantage, but Mr. Astell on this occasion gave his opinion that that commodity might be sold here for 10 or 11l. per ton without the prœmium, so that he as likewise Mr. Gee concluded the trade in that commodity would support itself, though the prœmium should be taken off. In relation to rozin Mr. Ackworth said he thought it needed no bounty.
Upon the whole their Lordships agreed to represent as follows, viz:—That half the prœmium be taken off the pitch, and likewise half off the tar; but such tar as the navy shall buy, to keep ¾ths. of the prœmiums. That the prœmium on rosin be taken off entirely. That two thirds of the prœmium on turpentine be likewise taken off; that hemp remain with the old prœmium, but the term be prolonged; that iron in bars, pigs and sowns and potashes be imported duty free for — years; that the encouragement for measts continue as it is.
And their Lordships further agreed to take Mr. Astell and Mr. Gee's memorial into consideration again at nine of the clock on Thursday morning next, and ordered that the Secry. write to Mr. Carkesse, to signifye the desire of the Board, that some of the commissioners of His Majesty's Customs would please to meet them at the same time.
Mr. Micajah Perry, Mr. Richard Harris, Mr. Godin, Mr. Lowe and other merchants, who have signed the petition mentioned in the Minutes of the 31st of the last month in favour of Mr. Rider, praying that he may be constituted Consul at Madera, independent from the Consul at Lisbon, attending with the said Mr. Rider and other gentlemen, their Lordships had some discourse with them on the subject of the said petition, and the letter from this Board to Mr. Secretary Stanhope (now Earl Stanhope) of the 9th of September, 1715, relating to the Consulship of Madera, was read; whereupon, among other arguments in favour of an independent Consul at Madera, they said, the trade from this kingdom to that island was much augmented within these few years, and Mr. Rider produced a letter dated at Madera, the 27th of October last, from Mr. Batchelor and company to Mr. Lowe, informing the said Mr. Lowe, that the Governour of Madera assumed a power of doing what he pleased with all ships that were not consigned to some particular person, and Mr. Rider added that it was chiefly to prevent the arbitrary proceedings of the said Governours, that a Consul, appointed by His Majestie's immediate commission, was necessary, and not for the prosecution of law-suits or appeals at Lisbon. He further observes that as to any charge of prosecution, there is a Treasury maintained by the factory at Lisbon for any publick expense which may regard the nation in general, and that the expenses of private law-suits or appeals are born by the particular persons concerned: that the reason why several other merchants concerned in the trade to the Maderas have not signed the petition, is not because they are against the constituting an independent Consul at Madera, but that they are engaged in favour of another person.
These gentlemen were then desired to put into writing what they had said, or might have further to offer in this affair, and bring it to the Board as soon as they could, which they accordingly promised.
Sir Mathew Dudley and Mr. Pulteney, two of the Commissioners of His Majestie's Customes, coming to this Board as desired, their Lordships had some discourse with them relating to the duties on timber, iron, pitch, tar and other naval stores and to the encouragement to be given for bringing those commodities from His Majestie's plantations in America: whereupon their Lordships agreed to take the same into consideration at 10 of the clock on Tuesday morning next, and in the meantime ordered that the secretary write to Mr. Carkesse to move the Commissioners of the Customs for an account of the quantity of iron imported into this kingdom from Christmas, 1712, to Christmas, 1717, distinguishing from what countries and the duties paid thereupon, as also an account of the quantities and several species of timber imported, the place whence, and duty paid thereupon for the like term.
Further ordered that Mr. Carkesse be desired to acquaint the Commissioners of His Majestie's Customs that this Board desire some of them will please to be here again at 10 of the clock on Tuesday morning next.
Sir Charles Wager, one of the Lords of the Admiralty, Mr. Pultney one of the Commissioners of His Majestie's Customes, as also Mr. Ackworth, Surveyor of the navy, coming to this Board, as desired, a letter from Mr. Carkesse, secretary to the Commissioners of the Customes, dated the 12th instant was read, and the account inclosed therein of iron imported for five years, and the duties paid thereon, was laid before their lordships, as likewise three other accounts received from the Custom-house, viz:—
An account shewing the quantity of the several sorts of timber, and other wood (for which no bounty is granted) imported from the continent of America in 10 years from Christmas, 1707, to Christmas, 1717, with the amount of the duties thereon.
And their Lordships taking the said accounts into consideration, with the several papers before the Board relating to the proelig;mium at present allowed for the importation of several species of naval stores from His Majestie's plantations in America; and to the encouragement to be given for importing other species of the said stores from thence.
A memorial and petition was presented to the Board from several merchants, praying that the premiums or bounties already granted by Parliament for a term of years for naval stores imported from the plantations, may not be taken off; which petition was read, and Mr. Richard Perry, Mr. Baron, Mr. Crane and others, who signed the said petition attending, they were called in, and being acquainted that as the sums paid by the navy for premiums on the importation of naval stores from America had annually increased, and amounted the last year to above 50 thousand pounds, and there having been several quantities of pitch and tar imported of very ill quality, whereby it seemed that the makers depended on the prœmium more than the goodness of those commodities for their proffitt; it was proposed to the said gentlemen to consent to the taking off one half of the prœmiums on pitch and tar, which might be applied for the encouragement of some other species of naval stores or commodities for the advantage of the trade of this kingdom, which would be no prejudice to the interest of any particular merchant dealing in pitch and tar, in as much as what should be abated in the prœmium would be advanced in the price, when their goodness should be improved by the manufacturers, depending chiefly on that for their disposal of them, and though, as it was further observed to the petitioners, the greatest regard would be had to the faith of an Act of Parliament, which had granted the said prœmiums for a term at present unexpired, yet the said Act seemed to want some explanation, since it was thought to intend a prœmium only for naval stores for the use of this kingdom, and not for such stores as should be re-exported to foreign parts as were not good in their kind; to which it was answered by Mr. Perry that it was true some bad pitch and tar had been imported from the plantations soon after those productions were first sett about, but that they have annually grown better, and are now near arrived to a perfection: that since the importation of pitch and tar from the plantations, that navy has gained by the reduction of the price of those goods, of which he said he had at present by him some quantities and offered them to the navy at a very low rate. And Mr. Crane said he had had a contract with the navy for tar which he furnished, and was approved: that he was once present at the tryal of some ropes dipped in Russia and Carolina tar, when four of the ropes dipped in Russia broke, to two dipped in Carolina: that Russia tar is now refused; and as for pitch he assured the Board that great quantities of very good from the plantations had been sold to the government. But as to lessening the prœmiums on pitch and tar, he said the trade for those commodities would revert again to Sweden and the east countrys, if the least abatement were made in the said prœmiums. Mr. Dummer, Agent for the Massachusets Bay, attending with the said petitioners, and Mr. Astell and Mr. Gee being present as they had been desired, Mr. Dummer acquainted the Board that the people of New England would be willing to submitt to any proof of the goodness of the pitch and tar made there, but that it was to be considered, that not only the difference of freight from the plantations and the northern crowns, but likewise the dearness of labour in our plantations in respect to what it is in Sweden and Denmark, is to be ballanced by the prœmiums for plantation stores. Then Mr. Astell being desired to give his opinion in this affair, he represented to the Board that he knew not whether it would be safe for him so to do, for that he had been very much abused and insulted upon the Royal Exchange by two persons now present, viz:—Mr. Baron and Mr. Dummer, for having given his thoughts to this Board in relation to naval stores imported from the plantations, to prove which outrage, he said he could produce many witnesses, and, naming Mr. Gee as a person who saw what passed, Mr. Gee acquainted the Board that he saw Mr. Astell surrounded with a great crowd, and that he drew Mr. Astell from it, that he did not hear what particular expressions passed between Mr. Baron, Mr. Dummer and Mr. Astell, but was told by others that the two former had given the latter very ill language. Hereupon Mr. Dummer denined his giving the said Mr. Astell any ill language, as alledged, but Mr. Astell continuing to affirm it and Mr. Baron not disproving what Mr. Astell asserted, the said Mr. Dummer and Mr. Baron with the other petitioners, as likewise Mr. Astell and Mr. Gee, were directed to withdraw; which being done accordingly; their Lordships took into consideration the ill consequence of such discouragement of merchants or other gentlemen from whom the Board may desire information for the publick service, and thereupon agreed that it would be necessary to express some resentment of Mr. Baron's behaviour, to prevent the like for the future; and as to Mr. Dummer, their Lordships resolved to receive no application from him, after the Governour of the Massachusets Bay shall have had an opportunity to chuse another agent, and that the Governour should be writ to, that they appoint one accordingly.
Then Mr. Astell, Mr. Gee and Mr. Crane and the other gentlemen above mentioned (except Mr. Dummer and Mr. Baron) were called in again, and Mr. Ackworth said that being present at the tryal of the ropes above mentioned by Mr. Crane, there was apparent difference in that tryal between the ropes dipped in Russia tar and those dipped in the tar from Carolina, but that the Russia hemp, on which the experiment was made, being bad, no exact judgement could be made, but though Carolina tar is much improved, it never yet came up to the goodness of tar from the east country. Mr. Pulteney, of the Custom-house, then observed to their Lordships, that such methods are taken by their officers in examining the tar imported from the plantations that no certificate is given for a prœmium on any bad; and Mr. Crane again alledged that he was an owner of shipping, upon which plantation tar was used, and no defect found, but that there is hardly a ropemaker in or near London, that does not make use of it, but that not less than the whole bounty now allowed would be necessary to be continued on account of the dearness of labour in the plantations, it being done partly by negroes and partly by white people: that this trade with our plantations is of great importance, our manufacturers being exported thither to purchase naval stores, whereas they are bought in Denmark and Sweden with ready money, the trade with our plantations having likewise brought up and employed many seamen, 100 ships being loaden last year in Carolina only, and that without this trade it would have been difficult to fitt out a fleet from this kingdom: that was last year sold at 30sh., he offered lately at 10sh. and 6d. per barrell: and as for the re-exportation of pitch and tar from hence, he looked upon it as an advantage to the publick, which ought to be encouraged: and as a further argument for continuing the prœmium, Mr. Crane said: the merchants were at present losers by the trade. Mr. Astell said, he could engage for tar at 5sh. per barrell and for pitch at 7sh. and 6d. sterling per barrell in Carolina, though the merchants who brought tar there with negroes might give their value a greater denomination, but no more real worth: and he further represented to the Board, that though plantation tar be much improved and better than it has been, yet it is not altogether so good as Russia tar, and this he said, appeared by the difference of the price in Holland, between the tar from Russia and that from our plantations: that the bounty on our tar was designed to encourage the manufacturers to make it good, tho' it was too apparent, notwithstanding the strict directions to the Custom-house officers, that some indifferent tar has been imported for the sake of the prœmium only. He added that 2,000 lasts of tar would be sufficient for the consumption of the whole nation, but the charge of prœmiums was like to encrease by the importation of much more than that quantity. Mr. Crane, in answer to what Mr. Astell had advanced, as above, concerning the refusal of our tar in Holland, said, Mr. Astell was much mistaken; for that he the said Mr. Crane had sent many hundred barrells of tar thither: that indeed the Dutch have an interest to support the Baltick trade: and that it is not easy to drive people out of a settled opinion, though the difference in that, is more than the goods themselves. But as to all our ropemakers using plantation tar as above mentioned by Mr. Crane, it was observed by Mr. Ackworth, that the ropemakers had an interest in so doing; their cordage being sold by weight, the plantation tar, which as yet is the thickest and heaviest, is consequently most for their proffitt, in which Mr. Astell agreed; and Mr. Ackworth further said, that adding the prœmium to the price paid by the navy for plantation tar, made that amount to an equal rate with east country tar: that the bills issued this last year by the navy for prœmiums on naval stores from the plantations, amounted to above 50,000l. of which pitch and tar had abundance the greatest share; whereas, were prœmiums to be paid only for the naval stores used by the navy, the said prœmiums would not amount to above 4,500l. a year, it being then desired that the difference of freight and labour, and all other pointes relating to the bringing naval stores from our plantations and from the east country, should be considered and ballanced: Mr. Astell said, that as to freight, the difference was about the proportion, as 8 for the former is to 3 or 4 for the latter, and drew up a sketch thereof.
Their Lordships then agreed to proceed again in the consideration of this matter at ten o'clock in the morning on this day sevennight and ordered that Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer and Mr. Smith be desired to meet the Board at that time.
A petition from Mr. Stephen Duport setting forth that by the death of his son, who was one of His Majestie's Council in the said island of St. Christophers, there is a vacancy in the said Council, and praying that since he is obliged to return to that island to take care of his estate there, where he had himself been formerly of the Council, he may, in consideration of his known stedfast adherence to the protestant succession, be recommended by the board to His Majesty, in order to supply the said vacancy, was read; and their Lordships agreed to recommend him to His Majesty accordingly.
Their Lordships then taking again into consideration the memorial from Col. Matthew, Lieut. General of the Leeward Islands, etc., relating to councillors for the island of St. Christophers, mentioned in the minutes of the 19th of June last, and being informed that Col. Matthew desired to be heard thereupon: ordered that he be acquainted that the Board will be ready to hear what he may have to offer on that subject, to-morrow morning.
A letter from Mr. Humphreys, secretary to the Society for the propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts, dated the 2nd instant, relating to an Act lately passed in Barbadoes, concerning the making Consett Bay a publick bay, where the Society may have a plantation and desiring that the said Society may lay their reasons before the Board against confirming the said Act. was read; whereupon ordered that Mr. Humphreys be desired to let the Board have what the Society think fitt to offer on that subject in writing.
A letter from Mr. Paris, desiring an authentick copy of the minutes of the proceedings of the Council of New Jersey, of the 18th of Dec., 1713, to be made use of before a committee of His Majestie's Privy Council, was read; whereupon ordered that Mr. Paris be acquainted that those minutes shall be ready to be laid before the lords of the committee, if their Lordships call for the same.
Colonel Mathew, Lieutenant General of the Leeward Charibee Islands, attending, their Lordships had some discourse with him concerning the persons he has recommended to be of His Majestie's Council in the island of St. Christophers, whereof he is Lieutenant Governor: and Colonel Matthew desired that Wm. Macdowal, Esq., might supply one of the present vacancies in the said Council instead of Benjamin Estridge, Esq., whom he formerly recommended, to which their lordships agreed, and Col. Matthew being withdrawn, directions were given for preparing the draught of a representation humbly to propose to His Majesty that Stephen Duport, Charles Payne, John Garnett and Wm. Macdowal, Esqrs., be constituted to His Majestie's said Council of St. Christophers to supply the present vacancies therein.
A letter from the Earl Stanhope, of the 3rd instant, inclosing the extract of a letter from Mr. Wyck, resident at Hamburgh, giving a state of his negotiations with the senate there concerning a new convention for our herring trade, was read, together with the said extract; whereupon the draught of a letter to his lordship on that subject was agreed and signed.
Ordered that the two parcells of Pennsylvania Acts past there, the first between the 4th of October, 1712, and 27th of March, 1713, the other between the 14th of October, 1714, and the 28th of May, 1715, which were lately received from Mr. Gee, be sent to Mr. West, for his opinion thereupon, as soon as conveniently may be.
Ordered that James Milner, Esq., Sir Samuel Clark and Mr. John Lordell be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with them at 10 of the clock on Wednesday morning next and with any other gentlemen they shall think fit to bring with them, who are concerned in the trade to Lisbon.
Further ordered that Mr. Robert Heysham, Mr. Samuel Clark, Mr. Wm. Brooking, Mr. Edward Bridger and Mr. David Lovegrove be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with them at 10 o'clock on Thursday morning next and with any other gentlemen that they shall think fitt to bring with them who are concerned in the trade at Madera.
A letter from Mr. Caswell with a memorial relating to copper mines in New England and the want of returns from thence to this kingdom, were read, and their Lordships resolved to take the same into further consideration at another opportunity.
Then Mr. Smith, one of the Tellers of the Exchequer, Sir Matthew Dudley and Mr. Pulteney, two of the Commissioners of His Majestie's Customs, as also Mr. Lowndes, Secretary to the Treasury and Mr. Ackworth, Surveyor of the Navy, coming to the Board, a further progress was made in considering what encouragements is fitt to be given for bringing iron in pigs and bars, as likewise other naval stores, from His Majesty's plantations in America; and it was proposed that no alteration should be attempted with respect to the prœmiums already allowed on the importation of pitch and tar from thence, in regard that the said prœmiums are granted by Act of Parliament for a certain term of years yet unexpired, but that a clause might be inserted in the Bill, now depending in the House of Commons, relating to frauds in the Customes, whereby pitch and tar should undergoe a stricter examination as to their being merchantable and good, before the importer shall have a certificate entituling him to the aforesaid prœmiums. And Mr. Ackworth being desired to prepare such a clause, he immediately communicated to their Lordships the heads of a clause for that purpose. In relation to hemp from the plantations, it was proposed to take off some of the duty and to extend the present term for which it has a prœmium; and as to timber, that the duty on that from His Majestie's dominions in America be entirely taken off; all which their Lordships resolved to consider further on Thursday morning next.
Their Lordships took again into consideration the petition of several merchants trading to Madera, relating to the constituting a Consul at that island independent of the Consul at Lisbon, as mentioned in the Minutes of the 31st of the last month, and the reasons offered in writing from several of the said merchants for separating the Consulship of Lisbon and Madera, were read, as also a memorial from Mr. Stephen Godin on the same subject, and Mr. Milner attending as had been desired, their Lordships had some discourse with him, relating to this affair, wherein Mr. Milner declared his opinion that the constituting an independent Consul at Madera was against the interest of our trade thither, as he said appeared upon a full hearing before Her late Majesty in Council on a dispute of this kind, and he further said, that the Consul General at Lisbon is not allowed to be a trader, having only the salary, and usual perquisites for his support, and to bear all the charges of disputes with the Crown of Portugal, as Mr. Milner said it was, during the time his brother was Consul General at Lisbon, though the charges of suits between man and man were born by the respective persons themselves: that as to the treasury maintained by the factory at Lisbon, it was applied for distressed seamen and other publick services of our nation. That His Brittannick Majesty's commission to the Consul General at Lisbon is registered in the Chancery of Portugal, and thereby becomes a law of the country. That there is not the same reason for independent Consuls in the dominion of Portugal, as to have such Consuls in several ports of Spain, all appeals in the former being made to Lisbon, whereas appeals in Spain are to the capitals of the several kingdoms and not to Madrid only. That the Consulship at Oporto had formerly been attempted to be made independent of that at Lisbon, and with more reason than can be alledged for the Consulship at Madera, inasmuch as Oporto is on the Continent, and the Consul there can easily go himself to Lisbon, when occasion requires, but that it has not been thought fitt of late to separate even the consulship at Oporto from the Consul General at Lisbon; and as to what is urged that a person with an independent commission for Consul at Madera, would be more respected than a deputy appointed by the Consul General at Lisbon; Mr. Milner acquainted their Lordships, it was so far otherwise when Mr. Hemming was independent consul at Madera that the said Hemming himself with all the other merchants there were imprisoned and oblidged to the Consul General at Lisbon for their being sett at liberty, which upon their application to him, he procured, but Mr. Milner represented his opinion that the Vice Consul at Madera ought to have a greater allowance than had formerly been made him; and being asked what consulage was paid at Madera, and the value of that duty at Madera, and at Oporto: Mr. Milner said it was 12 milreis per ship at Madera, let her bulk or loading be more or less, though it would be much more equal among the merchants and owners of ships, if the consulage were paid upon the goods instead of so much per ship; that the consulship at Madera which before the revolution was worth little, is now of the value of about 400l. per annum, and the consulship at Oporto 600l. per annum.
Mr. Milner being withdrawn, a letter from Mr. Secretary Craggs, of the 31st of the last month, referring to this Board a memorial from the Danish envoy, relating to the island of St. Thomas in America, was read, and directions given for preparing an answer to Mr. Secretary Craggs' said letter.
A letter from Genl. Hamilton, Governor of the Leeward Islands,
dated the 26th of October, 1718, was read, and the papers therein
referred to, were laid before the Board, viz:—
Copy of Col. Valentine Morris's licence of absence from the Councill for 18 months, dated at Antigua the 15th October, 1718, and
Copy of General Hamilton's order to the secretaries and clerks of assemblies for preparing copies of minutes to be transferred to Great Britain.
Whereupon directions were given for preparing the draught of a letter to Mr. Secretary Craggs, in relation to what Genl. Hamilton writes in his said letter concerning the Danish settlement at the island of St. John.
A letter from the Earl Stanhope, dated yesterday, referring to the
Board the undermentioned extracts of letters from Mr. Wych, His
Majestie's resident at Hamburgh, and inclosing the copy of a new
project of a convention with that city relating to our herring trade
etc. there, was read, together with the said extracts etc., viz:—
Extract of a letter from Mr. Wych to my Lord Stanhope, dated at Hamburgh, Jan. the 17th, 1719.
Extract of a letter from Mr. Wych to my Lord Stanhope, dated at Hamburgh, 24th Jan., 1719, N.S.
Copy of the project of a convention with Hamburgh to be enlarged in the year 1719.
Sir Matthew Dudley and Mr. Pulteney, Commissioners of the Customes, Mr. Ackworth, Surveyor of the Navy and Mr. Lowndes, Secretary to the Treasury, coming to the Board, the draught of a clause prepared by Mr. Lowndes (to be offered to the bill depending in the House of Commons relating to the frauds in the Customes) according to the heads delivered by Mr. Ackworth for the more strict examination of pitch and tar from the plantations to be certified for prœmiums, was read, and some amendment made thereto.
Mr. Lowndes on this occasion acquainted their Lordships, that he had another clause to be offered to Parliament to supply a defect in an Act relating to wool found to be clandestinely brought near the seashore on the coasts of Ireland, the Act directing the said wool to be seized, but omitting the forfeiture; and Mr. Lowndes desiring to know if the Board had any objection to the forfeiting of such wool, he was acquainted they had not.
Then their Lordships resuming the consideration of the encouragement to be allowed for bringing naval stores from His Majestie's plantations in America, particularly iron, hemp and timber, Mr. Ackworth observed that hemp has not at present an equal encouragement with pitch and tar, the former being more bulky in proportion to the weight, and accordingly requiring more stowage so that there will be 30 shield or more per ton difference in the freight from the continent of America: that the merchants would have greater proffit and the publick be at very little more expense, if the present duty on hemp were taken off, and no more than 4l. per ton allowed for prœmium, and he further proposed that the term for the said prœmium be prolonged for a competent time. Mr. Astell, Mr. Gee and Mr. Joye attending, they were called in; and their Lordships having some discourse with them on this subject of naval stores, Mr. Astell and Mr. Gee agreed with what was before observed by Mr. Ackworth, that 4l. per ton prœmium for hemp, clear of all duty for 20 years after the expiration of the present term for the prœmium, would be a sufficient encouragement, or if that could not be effected without difficulty, that the present duty and prœmium of 6l. per ton be extended for 20 years more as desired. In relation to iron, Mr. Gee suggested that it would be necessary that work should go along with hemp, the iron requiring wood for the forges and hemp requiring the ground to be cleared before it can be sown: that to prevent iron being manufactured into small wares in America, a duty may be laid on rough iron at the forges and a drawback on the exportation of it from the plantations to this kingdom, and to make unwrought iron as dear as may be to the people in America, as likewise to make it their interest to bring it hither to be manufactured, the persons concerned in forges in America should be prohibited employing any negroes in any other iron works than in making rough iron and gross barrs.
Mr. Astell informing the Board that Mr. Dummer and Mr. Baron, of whom he had complained to this Board, the 13th instant, for their behaviour to him on the Royal Exchange, had submitted and made him satisfaction, and the said Mr. Astell praying their Lordships would please to excuse them on that account, the Board agreed thereto, and countermanded the direction then given for writing to Col. Shute, relating to Mr. Dummer.
A representation to His Majesty, proposing Stephen Duport, Charles Paine, John Garnett and Wm. Mackdowell, Esqr., to be constituted of His Majesties' Council in the island of St. Christophers, was signed.
Mr. Samuel Clarke, Mr. Brooking and Mr. Bridger attending, as desired, their Lordships had some discourse with them concerning the consulships at Lisbon and Madera being separated and independant or being united, wherein Mr. Clarke declared they were entirely of opinion, that it would be most for the publick service that the British Consul at Madera should be dependent on our Consul General at Lisbon: that whilst Mr. Hemming was independent consul at Madera the Governor of Madera had so little regard to the said Mr. Hemming's independent commission, that the English merchants and consul too were imprisoned and obtained their releasement by means of the Consul General at Lisbon: that our merchants seldom obtain justice in the courts at Madera, and appeals lying from thence to the courts at Lisbon, the British ambassadors or envoys do not concern themselves in those matters, it being below their characters to apply to the judges of any of the said courts but only to the king and his ministers of state in the last resort; as Mr. Clarke gave an instance in a case of his own, which he prosecuted at Lisbon in person, whilst the late Mr. Methuen was ambassador there, to whom Mr. Clarke addressing himself as being not only well known to him, but having the favour of his friendship, Mr. Methuen desired to be excused for the reasons abovementioned, and Mr. Clarke was obliged to make use of the Consul Generall upon the delay, and obstructions he mett with in his cause, so that a consul at Madera, who cannot upon any occasion go to Lisbon, is oblidged to employ some particular person there, as Mr. Hemming did in his time a Portugueze priest. And as to the employing any particular person besides the Consul General, Mr. Clarke acquainted the Board that, besides the little weight any such person's sollicitation would have, he might probably run some risk even of his life, the Governors of Madera and the judges at Lisbon, from some of whom our grievances for the most part arise, being generally either noblemen themselves or allied to them, if any private person employed in such affairs should be sent to in the name of any nobleman and desired not to interest himself therein, it would be very dangersous for such person afterwards to proceed, there being many murders committed at Lisbon in the night time and not to be discovered. Whereas the like attempts would not be made against our Consul Generall there, who has his patent under the Great Seal of Great Britain, registered in the Chancery of Portugal and carrying the force of a law there, and it is not so easy to escape punishment for injuries done to persons of a publick character. As to further argument that the consulship at Madera should depend on the Consul Generall at Lisbon as it had always done, except in the case of Mr. Hemming, Mr. Clarke said, that the Consul Generall is oblidged by his patent to be at the expense of all appeals relating to the Publick, whether they come from Madera, or other the dominions of Portugal. That he is restrained from trading and is at great expence in entertaining British masters of ships and others arriving there. That if the consulship of Madera were made independent there were some gentlemen who had an eye to the consulship at Fayal, and others perhaps to that at Oporto, which after such a precedent they might hope to obtain independent, and these would reduce the proffit of the consul at Lisbon to one third of what it is at present, the whole being never computed at more than one thousand pounds per annum, on a medium, reckoning five shillings and six pence per mill ree, as usually valued; it being but about twelve hundred pounds per annum in time of war, when Portugal was in great want of corn, and many ships arrived there from North America as well as Ireland, besides the transports with soldiers which likewise paid consulage if they loaded back. Upon the whole Mr. Clarke said, he was not now so well prepared as he could be by papers, both from Madera and Lisbon, against the separating the said consulships, but referred himself to the memorial presented to this Board on the same subject in the year 1715: that the reason why the late Sir Jeffry Jeffryes appeared formerly in favour of the said Mr. Hemming's being independent consul at Madera, was Sir Jeffry's nephew being partner with Mr. Hemming. That the petition, now before this Board in behalf of Mr. Rider, is signed by persons who have not the greatest trade at Madera, but upon enquiry Mr. Clarke owned that our trade there had encreased as our plantations in America had improved; for his own part he thought the making the said consulship independent so prejudicial to the publick, that he had dissuaded a relation of his own from attempting it, as he had for the same reason opposed Mr. Miles in the like case. And Mr. Bridger acquainted the Board that Mr. Lovegrove, who had resided in Madera and formerly endeavoured to obtain that consulship for himself, independent of that at Lisbon, had declared to the said Mr. Bridger that such independency would be inconvenient to the publick. Their Lordships enquiring particularly of Mr. Clarke, whether he knew of the governors of Madera claiming the management of all ships not consigned to any particular person; he said he had heard the governors pretended so to do, but that those grievances have been formerly complained of and redressed.
The gentlemen above mentioned being withdrawn, Mr. Richard Perry, Mr. Harris, and others of the petitioners for an independent consul at Madera attending, they acquainted the Board that the Governour of Madera had arbitrarily taken upon him the disposal of a ship's loading and made such persons as were of very little value: that in their opinion it required a person of a superior character to that of a vice consul to reside at Madera, and prevent such disorders; and Mr. Rider, who was present, saying that they could have proffen oath of the above mentioned proceeding of the governor, he was desired to bring the same in writing.
A letter from Sir Alexander Cairnes, desiring to be heard before their Lordships come to any determination on the reference from the Committee of Council, mentioned in the Minutes of the 18th of the last month, relating to the grant of lands in Nova Scotia, which Sir Alexander Cairnes and others apply for, was read: whereupon ordered that the said Sir Alexander Cairnes and Mr. Dummer, agent for the province of the Massachusets Bay, be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with them at ten of the clock on Thursday morning next.
A letter from Mr. Carkesse of the 7th instant, in answer to one writ him the 17th of the last month, and inclosing the extract of a presentment of the Commissioners of the Customs relating to His Majestie's share of fines and forfeitures in the plantations, was read, and directions given for preparing an answer to Mr. Carkesse, and to inclose to him a copy of His Majestie's instructions to the Governor of Jamaica on that subject, as likewise the collector's account, referred to in Sir Nicholas Lawes's letter of the 1st of September last, for the information of the said Commissioners of the Customes.
A memorial from Mr. Draftgate against an Act passed in Pennsylvania in 1717, concerning feme sole traders, was read, and directions given to let Mr. Draftgate know that if he calls at the office any morning, the secretary will have orders to speak with him on the subject of his said memorial.
A letter from Mr. Tigh, Consul at Elsinore, dated 28th January, 1719, N.S. inclosing accounts of all ships that have passed the Sound in five years ending in December, 1718, was read, and the said accounts laid before the Board: whereupon directions were given for preparing an extract of the said letter to be transmitted to Mr. Carkesse for the opinion of the Commissioners of His Majestie's Customes, relating to the certificates therein mentioned to be necessary for such British ships as pass the Sound.
Further ordered that the secry write to Mr. Tigh, to acknowledge the receipt of his said letter, and to desire such large packetts may for the future be sent directly to this kingdom by shipping, and not by the post through Holland.
A letter from Earl Stanhope, dated the 23rd instant, referring to
the Board the extract of a letter from the Lord Polwarth, and
other papers relating to the grievances in the British trade with
Denmark, was read, and the said extract and papers laid before
the Board, the titles whereof are after mentioned, viz:—
Extract of a letter from Lord Polwarth to Earl Stanhope dated at Copenhagen the 21st of Jan., 1718—19.
Abstract of abuses of the British trade to Denmark.
Memorie touchant le traitte de commerce entre la Grande Bretagne et le Denmark.
Sir Alexander Cairnes coming to the Board, according to appointment, and Mr. Douglas, as also Mr. Dummer, agent for the province of the Massachustes Bay: their Lordships had some discourse with Sir Alexander and Mr. Dummer on the subject of the Order in Council, which was read the 18th of the last month, relating to an acknowledgement or duty which Sir Alexander Cairnes and those, who apply with him for a tract of land on the coast of Nova Scotia, desire may be paid for drying and curing fish on the coast within the limits of the said grant, in consideration of the protection which strangers will have at the patentees' expense for curing the said fish, and Mr. Dummer alledging that he was not prepared to speak fully to the Board concerning that affair, and that he could bring several merchants, whom he desired might be heard in relation thereto; Sir Alexander was desired to attend again this day sevennight, and Mr. Dummer to bring at the same time such merchants and others as he should think fit. Sir Alexander having in the meantime moved that Mr. Capon, a person acquainted with the management of the fishery on the coast of New England, might be examined concerning what is paid by the people of New England to the proprietors of land on their own coast for curing their fish, the said Mr. Capon was called in, and upon enquiry of him into that matter, he said, he had paid 12d. per quintal himself to Capt. Southack and that it was the common rate there for curing fish on the said proprietors of land, the proprietor finding a stage, etc., as likewise one servant, to assist in curing the fish.
A letter from Mr. Willard, secty. of the province of the Massachusets Bay to the secretary of this Board, dated 6th of December
last, was read, and the minutes of Council and Assembly, as also
the acts therein referred to, were laid before the Board, viz:—
Minutes of Council from the 6th of September, 1717, to 29th August, 1718.
Minutes of Assembly from 28th of May to the 5th July, 1718.
Thirteen Acts passed at an Assembly begun the 28th of May, 1718.
Ordered that the secretary deliver no book or papers, belonging to this office, to any member of the Board, before their signing a receipt for the same in a book to be kept for that purpose, and that this continue a standing rule of the Board.