Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations, Volume 5, January 1723 - December 1728. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1928.
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Journal, February 1723
Their Lordships taking into consideration the two following
Acts, passed at St. Christophers in 1719, agreed, as is expressed
under each respective title, viz:—
An Act for settling a salary on William Nivine, Esq., agent for the Island in London, during his agency.
An Act for raising an impost on liquors and to in able the treasurer to demand and receive all arrearages, due for liquors imported, for which any duty was payable by a former Act, passed 19th February, 1714–15.
Mr. Nivine attending, as he had been desired, in relation to an Act passed at St. Christophers in 1719, and mentioned in the Minutes of the 25th of the last month, entituled, An Act for the general quiet of the inhabitants of St. Christophers in their estates and possessions and for avoiding of vexatious law suits.
Their Lordships after some discourse with him thereupon, particularly as to the words in the 2nd Clause being so general, that they relate to the whole island, and consequently may include the French as well as the English lands, ordered that Mr. West be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with him thereupon on Thursday morning next.
The Secretary then acquainting the Board, that Mr. Nivine and Mr. Marsh had desired that their hearing, which was to have been this day, in relation to Brown's Act, might be deferred till Friday morning next, their Lordships were pleased to agree thereto, and ordered that they be directed to attend the Board accordingly.
The Board taking again into consideration the following Acts,
passed at St. Christophers in 1720 and 1722, as also Mr. West's
reports thereupon, agreed, as is expressed under each respective
An Act for raising a tax by the poll on all slaves in this island, and also for raising five hundred pounds on the inland trade of the same.
Passed in May, 1720. Has had its effect. No objection.
An Act for giving titles to inhabitants building houses up on Brimstone Hill.
Passed in August, 1720.
No objection. To be confirmed.
An Act for employing negroes on the fortifications of this island, and for rendering more effectual and explaining an Act passed this year, entituled, An Act for raising a tax by the poll on all slaves in this island, and also for raising five hundred pounds on the inland trade of the same.
Passed in October, 1720.
No objection. Expired.
An Act to repeal a certain Act of the Council and Assembly of the island of St. Christophers, entituled, An Act for raising an impost upon liquors imported into the said island, and for imposing certain duties upon wines, beer, ale, cyder and other liquors hereafter to be imported into the same island. Passed in April, 1722.
No objection. To be confirmed. [Vide Journal, January 9th, 1723–4.]
Mr. Nivine attending, desired their Lordships would please to defer the hearing appointed to be on Friday next in relation to Brown's Act, till Mr. Thomas, who, Mr. Nivine acquainted the Board, was capable of giving their Lordships some information about the said Act, was come to town, of which he promised to give the Board and Mr. Marsh, who appears against the Act, timely notice; which their Lordships agreed to accordingly.
Mr. West attending, as he had been desired, in relation to an Act, passed at St. Christophers in 1719, entituled, An Act for the general quiet of the inhabitants of the island of St. Christophers in their estates and possessions and for avoiding of vexatious law suits, but particularly concerning the words in the 2nd Clause, which being so general that they relate to the whole island, and may consequently include the French as well as the English lands; their Lordships, after some discourse with him thereupon, agreed that the Act should be confirmed.
Their Lordships then read Mr. West's report upon the Acts
passed at St. Christophers in 1722, and also an Act entituled,
An Act for the continuance of such part of an Act for employing
negroes on the fortifications of this island and for rendring more
effectual and explaining an Act entituled, An Act for raising a tax
by the poll on all slaves in the island, as also for raising five hundred
pounds on the inland trade of the same, as relates to the employing
of negroes upon the said fortifications.
Expires in October, 1723.
Mr. Partridge attending, desired the Board would please to appoint a day for hearing what might be offered in relation to an order of the Lords of the Committee of Council, of 19th January, 1721–2, referring to the Board the petition of Joseph Jenks, Esq., and Richard Partridge, agents for Rhode Island, and the answer of Mr. Dummer, agent of Connecticut, relating to the boundaries between the two colonies, whereupon their Lordships resolved to consider further thereof at their next meeting.
A letter from Mr. Newman, agent for New Hampshire, of 6th inst., with the extract of one from Colonel Shute, recommending Mr. John Frost to be of the Council there, was read, whereupon ordered that Mr. Newman be acquainted that, as there is no vacancy in the Council at present, their Lordships cannot recommend Mr. Frost, as Colonel Shute desires.
A letter from Mr. Bampfield, agent for the Province of New York, desiring the confirmation of an Act passed there in 1719, entituled, An Act for running a division line between Connecticut and that province, was read, and their Lordships resolved to consider further thereof, at another opportunity.
Their Lordships then took into consideration an Act passed at St. Christophers in 1722, entituled, An Act for regulating the Militia of this island, to which their Lordships had no objection. To be confirmed.
A memorial of the clerks in the service of this Board, complaining that whilst the Acts of the Plantations, which are referred by their Lordships to Mr. West, lye with him, his clerk has given copies of some of them, was read. Whereupon ordered that Mr. West be acquainted that the Board expect that his clerk should not for the future give a copy of any Act or other matter, that shall be referred to him from this office.
Their Lordships taking into consideration an Act passed at St. Christophers in 1722, entituled. An Act for raising of gunpowder and small arms upon the tonnage of vessels trading to and with this island for the use of His Majesty's fortifications within this island, ordered that an extract thereof be enclosed to Mr. Satur, and that he be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with him and some other merchants trading to St. Christophers thereupon any morning next week.
Ordered that Mr. Jenks and Mr. Partridge, agents for Rhode Island, and Mr. Dummer, agent for Connecticut, be acquainted that the Board have agreed to hear what they may have to offer by counsel on Friday morning next, at ten of the clock, in relation to their petition about the boundaries of those two colonies, referred to this Board by an Order of the Committee of 19th January, and mentioned in the Minutes of 2nd March, 1721–2.
Their Lordships taking into consideration the following Acts,
passed at St. Christophers in 1722, agreed, as is expressed under
each respective title, viz:—
An Act for the good government of servants for ordering the rights between masters and servants, for encouraging the importation of servants, for directing a due performance of contracts, and for payment of wages to artificers, workmen and labourers.
No objection. To lye by.
An Act for attainting several negroes therein mentioned, and for the more effectual preventing negroes from running away from their master's service, and for explaining and rendring more effectual an Act entituled An Act for better government of negroes and other slaves.
No objection. To lye by.
A letter from the Lord Carteret, of 12th February, 1722-3,
with a copy of His Majesty's orders to the Governors for restoring
Spanish effects, and about gold and silver mines in New Jersey,
was read, and the papers, therein referred to, were laid before the
Papers referred to.
Copy of His Majesty's order for the restitution of the Spanish effects of the Governors in the West Indies.
Extract of a letter from Mr. Burnet.
Governor of New Jersey to Lord Carteret, dated 12th December, 1722, relating to gold and silver mines in New Jersey.
Mr. Partridge, agent for Rhode Island and Providence Plantation, attending, as he had been desired, with Mr. Pratt and Mr. Wearg his counsel, as likewise Mr. Dummer, agent for Connecticut, with Sir William Thompson and Mr. Bootle, the order of the Lords of the Committee, of 19th January, 1721–2, referring to this Board the petition of Joseph Jenks, Esq., and Richard Partridge, and the answer of Mr. Dummer relating to the boundaries between the two colonies, (mentioned in the Minutes of the 2nd March, 1721–2), was again read, as also an account from the said Mr. Partridge, of the boundaries of Rhode Island and Providence plantation, (mentioned in the Minutes of 10th October last) and Mr. Dummer's state of the controversy concerning the government of the Narragansets country, which was this day read.
That in the year 1636, several of the inhabitants of the Massachusets Bay, who differed from the rest in religious matters, were forced to leave their habitations there on that account, and purchased of the Narraganset Indians lands now called Rhode Island and Providence Plantation, and about the year 1643 obtained a grant of the same, from the Earl of Warwick and others appointed for the government and inspection of the plantations, which grant of lands was bounded as follows. "N. and N.E. on the patent of the Massachusets. E. and S.E. on Plymouth patent. S. on the ocean, and on the W. and N.W., inhabited by Indians called Narroganneucks alias Narrogansets, the whole tract extending about 25 English miles unto the Pequt River and country." That after they had thus settled themselves, the colonies of the Massachusets, Connecticut and New Plymouth united their endeavours to remove them. And in 1660, the people of Rhode Island deputed John Clark, their agent, to petition the King for a charter of incorporation for the same; that the inhabitants of Connecticut having, under a grant from the Council of Plymouth, settled some land adjoining to Rhode Island, deputed likewise John Winthrop, their agent, to apply to His Majesty for a confirmation of the said grant. That during the time the two agents (who were to agree the boundaries of the said colonies respectively) attended the King and Council, the Connecticut agent, by misrepresentations, procured a patent, unknown to the agent of Rhode Island, whereby Connecticut was bounded "on the east by Narraganset River commonly called Narraganset Bay, where the said river falleth into the sea. And on the north by the line of the Massachusets Plantation. And on the south, by the sea. And in longitude as the line of the Massachusets Colony running from east to west (that is to say) from the said Narraganset Bay on the east to the South Sea on the west part, with the islands thereunto adjoining, together with all firm lands, soils, grounds, etc.," in which patent is included all Providence Plantation and the Narraganset country; of which the Rhode Island agent being afterwards informed, complained to His Majesty of this unjust proceeding in the other agent, and shewing that there was no such river as that called Narraganset; His Majesty ordered the grant to Connecticut to be called in and rectified; but before the same could be done, the Connecticut charter was dispatched away by their agent, to avoid being examined. And by the King's directions arbitrators were mutually chosen, who made an award in 1663, consented to by both agents, where Paucatuck River was agreed to be the settled boundary between the said colonies, and be called Paucatuck alias Narroganset River. Whereupon a charter was given to Rhode Island and Providence Plantation, granting all the Narroganset Bay and parts adjacent, wherein the bounds were ascertained as follows. "All that part of our dominions in New England in America containing the Nayhautick and Nanhigganset alias Narroganset Bay and country, and parts adjacent, bounded on the west or westerly by the middle or channel of a river there, commonly known by the name of Pacatuck alias Paucaytuck River, and so along the said river as the greater or middle stream thereof reacheth or lyes up into the country northward into the head thereof, and from thence by a strait line drawn due north, until it meet with the south line of the Massachusets Colony. And on the north or northerly by the aforesaid south or southerly line of the Massachusets Colony or Plantation and extending towards the east or easterly three English miles to the east or north east of the most eastern or north eastern parts of the aforesaid Narroganset Bay, as the said bay lyeth or extendeth itself from the ocean on the south or southerly into the mouth of the river, which runneth towards the town of Providence, and from thence along the easterly side or bank of the said river higher called by the name of Sea Cunk River into the falls called Patucket Falls, being the most northerly line of Plymouth Colony, and so from the said falls into a strait line due north, until it meet with the aforesaid line of the Massachusets Colony, and bounded on the south by the ocean. And in particular the lands belonging unto the towns of Providence, Patuxet, Warwick, Misquammacock alias Paucatuck and the rest upon the main land in the tract aforesaid, together with Rhode Island, Block Island, and all the rest of the islands and banks in the Narraganset Bay, and bordering upon the coast of the said tract aforesaid, Fishers Island only excepted, together with all firm lands, soils etc." And this charter further directs that Paucatuck River shall be for ever after called Narraganset River, and be the easterly bounds of Connecticut. That notwithstanding this matter was thus settled, the people of Connecticut were continually encroaching beyond their limits, pretending their charter bounded them on the east by Narraganset Bay and not Paucatuck River. That to prevent further disorders, the King in 1664 sent over commissioners who, having fully heard the disputes between the people of Rhode Island and Connecticut, in 1665 made a return in which the line, run from Shaws Ford in Paucatuck River due north to the south line of the Massachusets, is mentioned as the settled bounds between Connecticut and Rhode Island, a copy of which return was laid before the Board, as also an original letter from King Charles the 2nd approving the same. That some years after this the inhabitants of Connecticut begun fresh encroachments, whereupon it was agreed to send commissioners of their own to settle the bounds, who agreed by a writing under their hands that a new line should be run from Ashway River to the south line of the Massachusets as the boundary between the two colonies, which was accordingly done in 1703. That he conceived the point in question would be what should be understood to be that head of Paucatuck River, from whence the west boundary of Rhode Island was to commence.
To which he said that by the words of the charter, as Rhode Island is bounded on the west by the middle or channel of Paucatuck River and so along the middle channel as the greater or middle stream thereof reaching up into the north country northward unto the head thereof and from thence, etc., Shaws Ford must be understood to be the head of this middle channel, because it is impossible the pond should be head of Paucatuck River, since the charter bounds Rhode Island by it no further than along the middle channel so far as the greater or middle stream thereof reacheth or lyes up into the north country northwards into the head thereof, which head within the meaning of the charter must be either where the great stream ceases or where the river turns either to the east or west.
Mr. Wearg, counsel on the same side, after having spoke to the same purpose as Mr. Pratt had done, observed further to their Lordships, that the inhabitants of Providence Plantation have not only improved but all along possessed the lands on the east side of the first mentioned line, for proof of which he produced the several affidavits of Thomas Nichols, John Spencer, John Rice, John Lewis, Peter Crandal, Arthur Fenner and William Hopkins, which were read. That he did not insist on the Rhode Island grant of 1643 any otherwise than as it was a circumstantial evidence of their long possession of those lands. And as for the river in question he said he could not conceive by the charter that it could be any boundary but during its northerly course. For which reason he thought it was strange for the Connecticut people to go so far east as the pond, which they alledge to be the head of the river to find its northerly course.
Sir William Thompson, counsel on the other side, observed to their Lordships that he conceived the question would be whether the charter of Connecticut in 1662 did not contain that country, which was afterwards given to Rhode Island by their charter in 1663. That this was a dispute of jurisdiction and not of private property, because those particular persons, who had made purchases from the Indians there, have not been disturbed in their possessions by the Government of Connecticut. That in the year 1675 the Indians having ravaged the whole country sold it afterwards to Major Athertone and who possessed the same till the year 1683, when new disputes arising, a commission was issued directed to Edward Cranfield and others [New England Entries Vol. 2 fo. 141] for inquiring into that matter and a regular return made [New England Papers Vol. 3 fo. 332], and Mr. Athertone permitted to keep possession of what he enjoyed under his Indian grant by the Connecticut Government. That in the year 1696, this dispute being revived, the whole matter was referred to Sir Thomas Trevor, His Majesty's then Attorney General, who determined the affair in favour of Connecticut, [New England A. fo. 102] being of opinion that the grant to Rhode Island was void in law, because the country of Narraganset Bay was granted before to Connecticut, and that therefore the Government of Narraganset Bay did of right belong to Connecticut and not to Rhode Island. And in answer to what Mr. Pratt had before observed in relation to both agents consenting to Paucatuck River being called Narraganset, Sir William Thomson said that Mr. Winthrop was an agent for a particular purpose, and had no authority to act further than for the obtaining their charter.
Mr. Bootle, counsel on the same side, said that it was necessary strictly to adhere to the description laid down in the several patents, and that it would not be material to the petitioners if it did not appear that the land in question was thereby granted to Rhode Island. That the main point was what was meant or to be understood by the middle stream running northwards to the head thereof, which he insisted upon to be the pond, as it lay north of the mouth of Paucatuck River, although there may be several turnings therein to the eastward, and admitting this, the land in question was certainly within the bounds of the Connecticut charter. That he conceived the several commissions which were granted to the particular persons appointed to settle the boundaries were to be taken as evidence no further than they were duly executed, and he particularly observed that the return to the commission granted in 1665 to Robert Car, George Cartwright, Samuel Maverick, and Colonel Nichols could not be of any force or validity, not being signed by Colonel Nichols, who by the said commission was appointed, always to be of the quorum, and that the other commissioners, who have signed the said return, have not acted in pursuance to the said commission. And that supposing the return to be valid it could be of no consequence, not fixing the bounds, and as to King Charles's letter produced by the other side, as approving the said return, he said that it was only a letter of thanks from the said King Charles to the inhabitants of Rhode Island for their civil reception of his commissioners. That in the year 1683 King Charles the 2nd [New England Entries Vol. 2 fol. 141] granted a commission to Edward Cranfield, Esquire, etc., empowering them to examine into the respective claims of all persons or corporations to the government as well as propriety of the Narraganset country, who, upon enquiry, declared the right of government [New England Papers, Vol. 3, fol. 332] to be in the Colony of Connecticut.
Mr. Pratt, in reply, observed that the other side had produced no proof of their having been in possession of the lands in dispute, but that, on the contrary, the several affidavits which have been read proved the people of Rhode Island having not only possessed for many years but also received taxes for the lands in question.
And Mr. Wearg said in relation to the Attorney General's opinion in 1696 concerning the two charters, that Paucatuck River never was called Narragansets before the charter to Rhode Island in 1663, and that if it had been so, it was incumbent on the adverse party to make it appear, which they had not done, and that it being at best but an uncertain boundary, if any at all, the grant to Connecticut in 1662 might for that reason be deemed invalid, in which case the Rhode Island patent in 1663 would of consequence take effect. For which he hoped their Lordships would make their report special.
A letter from Lord Carteret of 14th February, 1722-3,
referring to the Board the petition of William Rhett, Esqr.,
Surveyor General of His Majesty's Customs in South Carolina,
as also the memorial of Mr. Yonge, agent for that province, with
several papers relating to the complaint against the said Rhett,
was read. And the papers, therein referred to, were laid before the
Papers therein referred to.
Memorial to Lord Carteret concerning the Surveyor and Comptroler of the Customs in South Carolina, etc.
Petition of Colonel Rhett to His Majesty, relating to the complaints against him.
Several affidavits and papers relating to the complaint against Colonel Rhett.
Their Lordships took again into consideration the order of the Lords of the Committee of Council, of the 19th of January, 1721–2, referring to this Board the petition of Joseph Jenks, Esquire, and Mr. Richard Partridge, agents for Rhode Islands, and the answer of Mr. Dummer, agent for Connecticut, relating to the boundaries between the two colonies (mentioned in the Minutes of the 15th instant), and ordered that the draught of a representation to the Lords of the Committee be prepared thereupon.
Their Lordships taking into consideration the draught of a representation, ordered to be prepared the 22nd instant, in relation to the boundaries between Rhode Island and Connecticut, made a progress therein.
Their Lordships took again into consideration the draught of a representation (mentioned in the Minutes of the last meeting) in relation to the boundaries between Rhode Island and Connecticut, and made a progress therein.