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, August 1719
A circular letter to all the Govrs. of His Majesty's Plantations on the Continent of America, desiring them to send over an exact account of the boundaries between the British and French plantations and the best maps of their respective Governments they can get, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
Mr. Guerish one of the Council of Montserrat, attending, presented to the Board a list of the losses sustained by the inhabitants of that island, and said that he expected the originals, sworn to before the Governor and Council, to be sent after him, and that perhaps they might arrive in about two months time. Whereupon their Lordships returned him the said list, and desired he would lay it before them with a memorial relating to that matter, and that he would furnish them with proper vouchers to support the demands of the said sufferers.
Mr. Gee attending, their Lordps. asked him what he took to be the boundaries of Pennsylvania and Carolina, he said he knew no other bounds than those mentioned in the respective Charters of those provinces, that Pennsylvania was bounded on the north east and south west by the English plantations, that it extended very far backwards to the mountains, but he could give their Lordships no certain information of the boundaries that way. However, it was certain the French had built forts and encroached upon lands within the compass of the British Charter in those parts.
Col. Vetch attending, their Lordps. asked him, whether the River St. Lawrence was not the ancient boundary of Nova Scotia, he said, it was ever esteemed so, and that the French, during the time that they possessed it, had made several settlements in that part of it which is bounded by the River St. Lawrence.
Sir Bibye Lake, Govr. of the Hudsons Bay Company, and several other gentlemen belonging to the said company attending, viz., Capt. John Mony, Samuel Jones, Esqr., John Peny, Esqr., Mr. Robert Nicholas, Mr. Ben Pitt and Capt. John Fullertine, their Lordships asked them what had been done in relation to their losses sustained by the French, what demands they had on the French on account of their said losses, and what vouchers they had to make good what they alledged in relation to them, they said that nothing was yet done in pursuance of the Treaty of Utrecht, except the putting them in possession of the Bay, and that their demands were contained in the list delivered to the Board the 28th July last. Their Lordships then desired they would bring to the Board whatever they had further to offer upon that subject under the Common Seal of their Corporation, together with an abstract of such vouchers as they had to produce for the support of their demand.
Dr. Cox attending, presented to the Board a memorial and
communicated to them the following papers, viz:—
Subscription for the Settlement of Florida alias Carolana in the time of the Government of Oliver Cromwell, with Articles agreed upon for the settlement and government thereof.
Copy of a Patent for the County of Norfolk, joining to the south part of Virginia and thence extending to the north of Carolana.
Papers relating to the planting of Carolina with commissions and instructions granted by the proprietor of Carolana, the Earl of Arundel.
Journal of Capt. Bond to Carolana, giving account of all the coast thereof lying upon the Gulph of Mexico and his ascending the great River Mississippi and description thereof, how and in what parts he took possession for the King of England.
Journal of Mr. Metcalf concerning the same.
Their Lordships then took into consideration the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 15th Articles of the Treaty of Utrecht, referred to in Mr. Delafaye's letter of 16th, mentioned in the Minutes of 21st July last, and Monsr. D'Iberville's memorial relating to the capitulation of Nevis, referred to the Board by Mr. Addison's letter of 25th Sept. and their Lordship's letter to Mr. Addison of 26th Nov., 1717, in answer thereto, and the Minutes of the Board at that time.
Ordered that a letter be writ to General Hamilton, Govr. of the Leeward Island, to acquaint him, that the Act to prohibit the importation of French and other foreign sugars, rum, cotton, and melasses, and the Act for laying an additional duty upon wines and other strong liquors which shall be imported into this island, passed in Antego, are repealed, and that the reasons for repealing the last mentioned Act be inclosed to General Hamilton, in the said letter.
A letter from Mr. Delafaye of the 4th inst., referring to the Board the extract of a letter from Col. Stanhope, His Majesty's Minister, now with the French Army, and copies of several papers sent inclosed, relating to the desire of the inhabitants of the Province of Guipuscoa, who have submitted to the French King, of the freedom of fishing on the coast of Newfoundland, was read.
Col. Smith attending, as he had been desired, their Lordships took into further consideration Monsr. d'Iberville's memorial and other papers, relating to the capitulation of Nevis, and asked the Col. several questions concerning the same, whereupon he informed their Lordships, that several sums of money had been at different times remitted to Martinique for the support of the hostages, who were taken away by force by Monsr. D'Iberville, after the French had broken their own capitulation, and ought therefore, rather to be looked upon as prisoners of war, than as hostages: That to the best of his remembrance, the money remitted to the said hostages on the public account of the Island, amounted to upwards of Five thousand pounds money of that country, besides what might have been sent them by their friends, and that the Assembly, when he came away, were making a further provision for them: That the French carried off upwards of Four thousand negroes with them, and did certainly break their own capitulation, by carrying off the Public Records of the Island, and by burning and destroying several mills and houses, particularly his, the said Col. Smith's own dwelling house, even after the second capitulation, which was absolutely forced upon the inhabitants, by carrying several of the principal of them on board their ships, threatning to send them prisoners to the Spaniards, if they would not agree to the second capitulation in the manner proposed by Monsr. D'Iberville. Their Lordships therefore, upon consideration of this whole matter, were of opinion that the French had no right to demand anything from the inhabitants of Nevis, either upon the foot of the first or second capitulation, the said inhabitants not having done anything on their part to infringe the first capitulation, whereas the French had broken both the first and second themselves, notwithstanding they had forced the 2nd upon the inhabitants, contrary to all justice. Wherefore their Lordps. directed that an instruction conformable to this opinion, should be prepared for Col. Bladen, upon this head.
Their Lordships then took into consideration the bounds and limits of Nova Scotia, as mentioned in the 12th Art. of the Treaty of Peace at Utrecht, and having read King James the 1st's Charter to Sir William Alexander, and a letter from Col. Vetch to the Board, of the 9th of June, 1719, with the copy of a memorial relating to settling the boundaries betwixt the British and French Colonies, as also an account of the situation of the Isles of Canso and other circumstances relating to them, together with several other papers relating thereunto, agreed upon the heads of another instruction for Col. Bladen, that he do insist that the ancient boundaries of Nova Scotia or Accadie, mentioned in the Treaty of Utrecht, ought to be understood as they are described in the said Charter of King James the 1st, to Sir William Alexander in 1621 in the following words, "Nova Scotia contains all the lands and islands lying within the promontary, commonly called Cape Sables, being in 43rd Degree of North Latitude or thereabouts, thence westerly to the bay commonly called St. Mary's Bay, and from thence northerly in a streight line by the mouth of that great bay, (which runs easterly up the country and divides the two nations called Suriquois and Etechimenes), to the River St. Croix, thence westerly to the head of that river, thence northerly to the next bay, which discharges itself in the River St. Lawrence, thence easterly along the coast to the Bay of Gaspé, thence south easterly to the Bacalio Islands, or Cape Breton, and leaving that island on the right, and the Gulph of St. Laurence and Newfoundland and the islands thereto belonging on the left, thence to Cape Breton in the Latitude of 45 Degrees or thereabouts, thence south west to Cape Sables again," and that the French have no right or title by that said Treaty, to make any settlement on the Islands of Canso, or to fish upon that coast, the said islands being neither in the Gulph nor in the mouth of the River of St. Laurence.
That Col. Bladen ought to insist that we are to be determined in this matter by the Latin and not the French Treaty, and that even by the latter, their Lordships are of opinion, the French cannot be entituled to any islands lying in the mouth or gut of Canso.
Mr. Harris attending, acquainted the Board, that being informed they had under consideration several matters relating to the boundaries between the British and French Colonies on the Continent of America, he had taken the liberty to offer to them his thoughts concerning the French Settlements on Mississippi, and the prejudice these settlements may occasion to the British Colonies, as well as to our trade in general to those parts. Their Lordps. after some discourse with Mr. Harris, desired him to consult with other merchants and bring to the Board his and their thoughts in writing on that subject. Ordered that a letter be writ him, to know whether he can give their Lordps. any certain information, that we were the first discoverers of Newfoundland, and particularly whether Sir Sebastian Cabot was not there before the Spaniards.
Their Lordships took again into consideration the business of settling the boundaries between the French and English in North America, and read so much as related to the said boundaries in the Charter or Patents of Nova Scotia—Purchas Pilgrim Vol. 4., Fol. 1872. Massachusets Bay—Book of Laws, Fol. 5. Rhode Island or Providence Plantation—Proprieties A., Fol. 137. Connecticut—Proprieties A., Fol. 337. New York—Old Entries Vol. 1., Fol. 9. New Jersey—Proprieties Bundle C. No. 5, Fol. 2. Pennsylvania—Old Entries, Fol. 2. Maryland—Old Entries, Fol. 2. Virginia—Vol. 1, Fol. 2 and 83 Old Entries. Carolina— Carolana Florida—Proprieties Bundle, D. 25.
Their Lordships also read a deduction of His Majesty's Title to Nova Scotia and Hudsons Bay, as also His Majesty's right of Sovereignty over the 5 Nations of Indians at New York. All which are entered in Plantations General D. Fols. 295, 297, 308, and agreed upon the whole, that the French have no pretence to claim any interest in or dominion over the said 5 Nations of Indians.
A circular letter to all the Govrs. of His Majesty's Plantations on the Continent of North America, desiring the most exact maps and best informations they can get of the boundaries between the English and French plantations, agreed the 4th inst., was signed.
Mr. Guerish, one of the Council of Montserrat, attending, presented to the Board a memorial relating to the losses sustained by the inhabitants of that island, with a list of them, which was read, and their Lordships asking him whether he expected the accounts of them under the Seal of the Island, he said, he did not, but that he expected the original accounts sworn to before the Govr. and Council. Mr. Guerish being withdrawn, their Lordships resolved to take that matter under consideration at another opportunity.
Mr. Nelson's memorial relating to the means the French use, to gain the Indians to their interest, and methods proposed to be used by us for our defence and security against the designs of the French. Plantations General A., Fol. 42.
Representation from the Board concerning the Northern Colonies of America, recommending the methods proposed by Mr. Nelson for propagating the British interest in those colonies and proposing the constituting of a Captain General, dated Sept. 30th, 1696. Plantations General A., Fol. 59.
Letter to Mr. Secretary Vernon about the encroachments of the French upon the English territories on the Continent of America, and the right of fishery in the adjoyning seas. Dated 17th Feb., 1698/9. Plantations General B., Fol. 12.
A memorial from Mr. Nelson, relating to the fishery on the coast of Nova Scotia and other things to be had in consideration when Commissioners shall be appointed, pursuant to the Treaty of Peace. New England A., Fol. 310.
Letter to Lord Bolingbroke of 13th May, 1714: and resolved upon the whole, that it should be an instruction to Col. Bladen to insist upon the satisfaction due to the sufferers of the Island of Montserrat, pursuant to the 11th Article of the Treaty of Peace.
Ordered that a letter be writ to the Hudsons Bay Company to remind them of the letter writ them the 28th of July last, desiring what they may have to offer in relation to their demands upon the French on account of their losses.
Ordered that a letter be writ to Mr. Rowland Tryon, to acquaint him that the Board desire to speak with him and any of the gentlemen that signed the memorial with him in 1714, in behalf of the sufferers of Montserrat, to-morrow morning.
The form of a certificate for the bounty on pitch and tar was read, and ordered that a circular letter be prepared to all the Govrs. of His Majesty's Plantations in America, to inclose copies of the said certificate.
Ordered that a letter be writ to Mr. Harris, to acquaint him that the Board desire he would give them the best information he is able, whether the French have any demands to make in relation to the Castle of Gambia, and that he would let their Lordships have as soon as possible what he has to offer in relation to the French Settlements at Mississippi, and in answer to the letter writ him the 5th instant, relating to the first discoveries of Newfoundland.
A letter from the Secry. to General Hamilton, Govr. of the Leeward Islands, inclosing the Order of Council for the repeal of an Act, passed at Antego in October, 1718, for laying an additional duty upon wines and other strong liquors which shall be imported into this island, as also another Act to prohibit the importation of French and other foreign sugars, rum, cotton and molosses, passed at Antego in June, 1716, with the Board's reasons for repealing the first, was agreed and ordered to be sent.
The Minutes of the Board of 21st December, 1696, when Mr. de la Fort and the Deputy Govr., and several members of the Hudsons Bay Company attended in relation to the above said Articles of Composition. Hudsons Bay A., Fol. 9.
The Articles concluded on between Monsr. D' Iberville, commanding two French men of war, called the Pollisht and the Sallamander, and Mr. Walsh, Govr. of York Fort, belonging to Hudsons Bay Company, situate upon the River St. Therese or Hays River. Hudsons Bay A., Fol. 11.
A representation from the Board of 12th May, 1698, relating to the infractions of the capitulation made in 1696, upon the surrender of York Fort or Fort Bourbon in Hudsons Bay. Hudsons Bay A., Fol. 47.
A memorial from the Hudsons Bay Company, in answer to the Ambassador's enquiry about alterations in the plantations relating to that Company, setting forth an account of their losses. Trade, Foreign, A., Fol. 168.
Sir Bibye Lake, Govr. of the Hudsons Bay Company, attending, presented to their Lordps. a memorial under the seal of the said Company, setting forth the present state of their affairs, with relation to the French, to which is annexed an account of the damages sustained by them from the French in times of peace. And Sir Bibye being asked several questions, he said in substance, that the Bay and Streights of Hudson had been delivered up to them, pursuant to the Treaty of Utrecht, and that the French now were not in possession of the said Bay, but that in the year 1715, they had made a settlement and built a fort at the head of Albany River, upon which very river the Companies' principal factory is settled, whereby they intercept the Indian trade from coming to the Companies' factories, and will in time utterly ruin the trade, if not prevented. And that he did not know any other way to prevent the said inconvenience than by fixing the boundaries between the said Company and the French in the manner proposed by the memorial of the Company.
Sir Bibye Lake being withdrawn, their Lordps. came to the following resolutions, that Col. Bladen have an instruction to insist that full reparation be made to the Company for the damages sustained by them in times of peace according to the said memorial, and that a boundary or divided line may be drawn, so as to exclude the French from coming anywhere to the northward of the lat. of 49, except on the coast of Laboradore.
After which, their Lordships proceed to take into consideration Doctor Cox's memorial concerning his grant of land called Carolana Florida, mentioned in the Minutes of 4th inst., and having read a paper relating thereunto entituled,
A demonstration of the right of the King of England's just pretensions to the Province of Carolana Florida, and of the present proprietary under his Government. Proprieties D., No. 23. Resolved to take that matter into further consideration to-morrow morning.
A circular letter was agreed and ordered to be sent to all the Govrs. on the Continent of America, inclosing an Act passed the last session of Parliament, entituled An Act against clandestine running of uncustomed goods, and for the more effectual preventing of frauds relating to the Customs, wherein provision is made for the better preparing and making of pitch and tar in the plantations, as likewise inclosing a draft of such a certificate as will be requisite from the Officers of the Customs, to entitle the importers of those commodities to premiums thereupon.
Their Lordships taking further into consideration Dr. Cox's title
to some lands in North America, called Carolana Florida, read
A report from Mr. Attorney General, about Dr. Cox's title to the said province. Proprieties B., Fol. 136.
Representation upon Dr. Cox's petition to His Majesty, about the province of Carolana. Do., Fol. 139.
Order of Council of 21st Dec., 1699, upon the foregoing representation relating to Dr. Cox's pretensions. Do., Fol. 143.
Letter from Dr. Cox, about some late discoveries made along the north west coast of Mexico,&c. Do., Fol. 165; and resolved to send for Dr. Cox on Tuesday next, and talk with him further upon this subject.
After which, their Lordps. read Mr. Delafaye's letter, (mentioned in the Minutes of 21st July last), relating to a commission and instructions for Col. Bladen. As also the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th Art. of the Treaty of Peace at Utrecht, to which the said letter refers, the purport whereof is as follows, viz:—The 10th Art. stipulates that the French King shall restore to the Crown of Great Britain, to be possessed in full right for ever, the Bay and Straights of Hudson, together with all lands, seas, sea coasts&c., which are possessed by France. That it be determined within a year by commissaries to be appointed by each party, the limits which are to be fixed between the said Bay of Hudson and the places belonging to the French. That the same commissaries settle in like manner the boundaries between the other British and French Colonies in those parts.
The 11th Art. stipulates, that the French King shall cause satisfaction to be made to the English Company, trading to the Hudsons Bay, for all damages&c. they have sustained by the hostile incursions of the French in time of peace.
Sir Alexander Cairnes, desiring to speak with the Board, was called in, and proposed to their Lordps. to recall their last report to the Lords of the Council, upon his petition for a grant of some lands in Nova Scotia, because he had several reasons to offer, which he hoped might induce their Lordps. to make some alterations in the said report. But the Board were of opinion that it would be irregular to send for their report again, the same being lodged in the Council Office, and now under the consideration of the Council.
Sir Alexander Cairnes being withdrawn, their Lordps. read a letter from Mr. Delafaye, of 31st July last, signifying his having laid before the Lords Justices the Board's report of the 21st July, upon the extract of a letter from Mr. Keith, and his having written to Mr. Keith accordingly.
A letter from Mr. Potter, Secry. of the Hudsons Bay Company, of 14th inst., with a copy of the French King's order to Monsr. Jeremie, to deliver up the Bay and Streights of Hudsons to the Queen of Great Britain, dated at Marley, Aug. 6th, 1713, was read.
Ordered that a letter be writ to the Secretary of the African Company, to desire that some of the said Company would attend the Board to-morrow morning; As also to some Virginia and Maryland merchants for the same purpose.
Dr. Cox attending, presented to the Board a memorial containing some proposals relating to the settling of the boundaries between the English and French plantations in America, which was read. And their Lordsps. asking him what proof he had that there ever had been any settlements made in the tract of land he claims, he said, he had been informed that formerly 14 Englishmen went from Carolina and settled a fort about 200 miles higher up the River Susugula than ever any English ships had been, but that he had no proof of it, having lost several of his papers.
Their Lordps. asking him what he had to offer in relation to the French Settlements at Mississippi, he said that he believed, Mr. Danson, one of the Lords Proprs. of Carolina, could give their Lordsps. some account of that matter.
And Mr. Danson being called in, he said, that Mr. Byth, a gentleman who had lived some years among the Indians upon a branch of the River Mississippi, about 700 miles westward of Charles Town, was in town and that he would bring him to the Board either tomorrow or Thursday. He added that Mr. John Faulkner and Mr. Thomas Colmer could likewise give their Lordships some information in this matter. He said further in discourse, that there was a clause in the Charter of the Mississippi Company that after seven years they are to furnish France with all the tobacco it could consume, which might prove very detrimental to our tobacco trade. That he was informed that Company carried on with France a very good trade in skins, having already sent there very great quantities.
Mr. Danson, Mr. Perry, Doctor Cox, Mr. Byth, Mr. Faulkner, Mr. Colmer, Capt. Reed and Doctor Frederick Claudius attending, as they had been desired, their Lordships asked them several questions in relation to the French Settlements at Mississippi. Mr. Byth said, that he had lived among the Indians, (with 6 or 7 white people, which he had brought with him as servants), on Cusaw River, about 700 miles from Charlestown; That several hundreds of the English of Carolina traded there, that the French had a settlement upon the same river, but nearer to the sea, that the English had traded with the Indians above 30 years, that the Indians were not then subject to the French.
Captain Reed said, that to his knowledge the River Potomack in Maryland was navigable for above 150 miles up into the country, and that he had been informed some had sailed up for above 200 miles, and that there it was not fordable. That the Virginians, being at enmity with the Indians, have given £5 a head for every Indian that was killed. That the reason why the Indians won't be friends with the Virginians is because they do not make any acknowledgment to them for the land they take up. That the people in Maryland were always friends with the Indians. That some of their Indians proferred to carry some English to the French Settlement from the Indian settlement on Mississippi in two days. That the Indians never settle long in a place; as soon as the land where they settled is worn out, they remove to another.
Mr. Danson, being asked how far westward the people of Carolina understood their boundaries to extend, he said, they extended westward as far as the ocean, and that they traded with all the Indians that way, but that they had no forts that way at all.
Mr. Byth said, that if the French should take St. Augustine and keep Cape Breton, with their new settlement on Mississippi they would entirely ruin all our trade to those parts. That there were about 1500 white men in Carolina, and that with the assistance of two ships they might take St. Augustine, which would be a barrier to all our plantations, the Spaniards not having above 80 men in it, who were supplied with provisions from the Havana.
Their Lordships having fully considered Doctor Cox's memorial, and several other papers relating to his grant of Carolana Florida, were of opinion that it would be of great advantage to the British Colonies, that settlements should be made there.
Mr. Capon attending, their Lordships asked him in what places of Nova Scotia the French have fished in since the Treaty of Utrecht; he said, that they fished on that side of the Gut of Canso next us, but that the New England men had first began to fish on their side, which he believed was the reason why they fished on ours. Being asked at what distance from the shore they fished, he said, that in October the fish come near the shore, but that in June and July they were obliged to go to sea, the fish being farther off. That the French fished on Bank Vert. That they had built stages upon Petit Canso. That they come with 4 or 500 boats to fish there every season. That they pretend a claim to St. Johns River, which was given to us by Monsr. Subercase at the capitulation. That there was plenty of salmon both in the River St. Johns and St. Croix, and that in the country about St. Croix there was plenty of good masts.
Sir Bibye Lake attending, the Articles in Col. Bladen's Instructions relating to Hudsons Bay were read, and Sir Bibye was asked, whether he had anything further to offer, he thanked their Lordships for the care they had taken, and said, there was nothing else.
Letter from Mr. Carkesse of 20th, in answer to one of 19th inst., desiring that the account of the 7 years gross receipt of the Customs, from Michaelmas, 1681, to Michaelmas, 1688, may be separated, so as to distinguish between the amount of the duties inwards and the amount of the duties outwards, promising such an account, was read.
A letter from Mr. Delafaye, Secry. to the Lords Justices, of the
14th inst., referring to the Board extracts of a letter from His
Majesty's Resident at Venice, and other papers, relating to a hardship
the Senate has put upon our Trade, was read, and the papers, therein
referred to, laid before the Board, viz.
Extract of a letter from Consul Brown to Mr. Secry. Craggs, dated at Venice, 4th Aug., 1719., N.S.
Copy of the Decree of the Venetian Senate that all ships shall have Custom House Officers put on board.
Extracts of a letter from Mr. Cuningham to Mr. Secry. Craggs, dated at Venice, 4th Aug., 1719, N.S.
Mr. Hopegood and several members of the Royal African Company attending, presented to the Board a memorial upon three heads, viz. The ships taken from them by the French in the time of peace. The capitulation of the Castle of Gambia; And the losses the Company have sustained on the Island Montserrat, which was read. And their Lordships asking them several questions thereupon, they confirmed the substance of their memorial in discourse.
And in relation to the capitulation of the Castle of Gambia in 1702, they said that the French, after they had possessed themselves of the said Castle, took as many of their best goods and merchandizes as they could stow in their ships, and then took the whole factory on board, whom they kept there 14 days, forcing them to a capitulation by threatening to carry them to Princes Island, (which is uninhabited), if they refused to sign the said capitulation, and by virtue of that capitulation extorted Bills of Exchange to the value of £6,000 for the remainder of the goods they could not carry off with their ships. Which Bills were drawn upon the Royal African Company, but the French, concluding those Bills would not be paid by the said Company, they obliged the head of the factory to give his bond for that sum, by which bond the head of the factory became lyable to pay the said sum of £6,000, possessed himself of such goods as they could not carry with them and disposed of them for his proper account.
In relation to the losses the Company have sustained in the Island of Montserrat, they said that, when the French plundered that island in 1712, their factor had in his hands most of the money due to them from the inhabitants, and that they took it all from him.
A letter from Mr. Delafaye, Secretary to the Lords Justices, of the 14th inst. with copy of a memorial from the States of Guipuscoa to Col. Stanhope, relating to freedom of fishery on the coast of Newfoundland, was read. Whereupon another letter from Mr. Delafaye, dated 4th instant, referring to this Board the extract of one from Col. Stanhope, upon the same subject, (mentioned in the Minutes of 5th inst.), was again read, as were likewise a letter from the Earl of Dartmouth, dated the 1st of Jan., 1712/13, referring to the Board the extract of a memorial from the Marquis de Monteleone relating to a claim of the inhabitants of Guipuscoa to fish on the coast of Newfoundland, together with the Board's answer thereunto; (Newfoundland Entries D fols. 287, 288), as also a letter from this Board to Mr. Secretary Stanhope, dated the 3rd of June, 1715, relating to the possession of Newfoundland in the year 1670; (Entries E. fol. 114), and likewise a letter from Mr. Gossalin to Mr. Richard Lechmere, dated at Bilboa, 14th of March, 1714/15, relating to the Spaniards pretending to fish at Newfoundland (Bun.: L 85). And then their Lordsps. ordered that a representation should be prepared.
Circular letters to all the Govrs. on the Continent of America, relating to the clause in an Act passed last session about pitch and tar, agreed 13th inst., were laid before the Board. And their Lordships signed those to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina, and to the Lord Guilford, (Guardian to the Proprietor of Maryland), and ordered the others to be signed by the Secretary.
The letter from Mr. Delafaye, of 14th August, with the extracts of several papers therein referred to, relating to the hardships the Senate of Venice has put upon our trade, mentioned in the Minutes of 24th inst., were again read. And
Mr. Cole, Mr. Williams, and Mr. Jamineau attending, as they had been desired, in relation to a Decree passed at Venice, obliging the ships of all nations to be visited and searched, before they shall be permitted to unload,
Mr. Cole, said, that while he was at Venice, nothing of this kind had ever been attempted in relation to British ships; But that the Venetians had attempted to search some Neapolitan Tartanes, who refused to submit to it, and that some of the Custom House Officers were either killed or wounded in the dispute. That it was usual with the Venetians from time to time to lay new hardships and restrictions on the traders there, of which he gave some particular instances of impositions laid on the British traders there, viz. their obliging some English ships to unload all their gunpowder under pretence of firing the harbour&c. But he said that the Venetians had frequently dropt such pretensions when they met with people resolute not to submit to what they would impose upon them.
Mr. Williams said that, while he was at Venice, an attempt of this kind had been made, not by a Decree but by an Order from the Cinque Savii or Council of Trade, upon a French vessel, but the French opposed it, and that the Venetians were obliged to drop the matter at that time. He also read to the Board a letter he had lately received from his correspondent at Venice informing him, that the British merchants there were very uneasy at this new Decree of the Senate for searching their ships. That the only reason the Senate seemed to have for it was on account of the imperial boats, which being so very small, can easily run goods ashore, whereas the British ships are of so great a burthen, that they can come no nearer the city than 4 or 5 miles, where they unload in Venetian lighters, who can easily see they have no contraband goods on board. That the Venetians, before this Decree, had other methods to prevent the running of goods.
These gentlemen all agreed that this was an innovation upon our trade there. That no such thing was ever practised either at Leghorn, Geneva or Naples. That it might prove very inconvenient and prejudicial to our trade, which already lyes under many hardships there. And that if our British traders submitted to this, they apprehended the Venetians would be daily attempting to lay further incumbrances on our trade, which in a manner would amount to a prohibition to trade there: And therefore desired that if it was possible, this Decree might be reversed.
Their Lordships taking into consideration the letter from Mr. Delafaye of 14th inst., relating to the Guipuscoans pretending a right to fish on Newfoundland, considered the draft of a representation upon that matter, as also the draft of another representation upon the hardships the British trade lyes under at Venice by a Decree of the Senate, obliging all vessels to be visited and searched before they be permitted to unload.