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, December 1723
Their Lordships taking into consideration paragraph C of the letter from Mr. Burnet, Governor of New Jersey, dated the 1st of August, 1721, mentioned in the Minutes of the 9th of January, 1721–2, as also Mr. Attorney General's report, mentioned in the Minutes of the 1st of October last, about altering the present constitution of the Assembly of New Jersey, and Mr. Richier attending, as he had been desired, with another of the proprietors of New Jersey, their Lordships had some discourse with them thereupon, and asking them particularly whether they had any objection to the manner of choosing representatives for the said province of New Jersey, as proposed by Mr. Burnett, viz: two to be chosen by the inhabitants of Hunterdon instead of Salem; they said, that they did not conceive there could be any objection thereto, but as they were entirely strangers to this proposal, they desired a week's time to consider thereof, to which their Lordships agreed, and resolved that, if in that time no objections were made to Mr. Burnet's said proposals, they would report to His Majesty in favour thereof.
Ordered that Colonel Shute, Governor of the Massachusets Bay and New Hampshire, and Mr. Newman, agent for the said province of New Hampshire, be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with them on Thursday morning next, in relation to a letter from Mr. Delafaye, mentioned in the Minutes of the 22nd of the last month, referring to this Board a memorial from the said Mr. Newman, in relation to the want of war stores there.
Their Lordships taking again into consideration the letter from Mr. Delafaye, dated 2nd October, 1723, and mentioned in the Minutes of 22nd November last, inclosing a memorial from Mr. Newman, relating to the want of stores of war in New Hampshire, and desiring a supply etc., Colonel Shute, Governor of the said province, attending, as he had been desired, with Mr. Newman, their Lordships, after some discourse with them thereupon, particularly in relation to the incapacity of the said province to supply themselves, were pleased to order the draught of a representation to be prepared for that purpose.
Mr. West's report upon an Act, passed in Jamaica in 1721, to enable certain trustees to sell the estates and interest of William Bowles and Charles Bowles his son, an infant, for the discharge and payment of debts, and purchasing lands in the kingdom of Great Britain to certain uses, was read, as also the said Act: whereupon ordered that Mr. West be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with him thereupon to-morrow morning.
Mr. Carey, Mr. Harris and Mr. Chamberlain attending, presented to the Board a memorial complaining of an Act passed in Virginia, for laying a duty on liquors and slaves, which was read, as also an extract of a letter from Virginia to Mr. Harris on the same subject; and their Lordships were pleased to acquaint these gentlemen that they would take no resolution upon the said Act without giving them a further opportunity of being heard.
Mr. West attending, as he had been desired, in relation to an Act, passed in Jamaica in 1721, entituled, An Act to enable certain trustees to sell the estates and interests of William Bowles, etc., mentioned in yesterday's Minutes, their Lordships had some discourse with him thereupon, as also with Colonel Oldfield and Mr. Bowles, and there appearing no objection thereto, ordered that the draught of a representation be prepared for confirming the said Act.
The draught of a representation for confirming An Act to enable certain Trustees to sell the estates and interest of William Bowles, etc., directed to be prepared at the last meeting, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
Ordered that Mr. Partridge, Mr. Richardson, and the agents for New England, be acquainted that the Board have resolved to take into consideration, on Thursday morning next, the Act passed in the said province in 1722, entituled, An Act for apportioning and assessing a tax of six thousand two hundred pounds, thirteen shillings and eleven pence.
A representation to the Lords Justices, upon a letter from Mr. Delafaye, dated 2nd October, 1723, enclosing a memorial from Mr. Newman, agent for New Hampshire, desiring a supply of stores of war may be sent thither, ordered to be prepared the 5th inst., was agreed and signed.
Memorial from Mr. Woolley, Secretary to the East India Company, desiring copies of several papers relating to Bombay, may be delivered to Mr. Thomas Woodford, solicitor to the said Company, was read, and ordered that the said papers be copied accordingly.
A letter from Colonel Philipps, Governor of Nova Scotia, dated 28th November last, enclosing a state of the said province, with proposals for improving the same, was read; and the draught of a letter for enclosing a copy of the said state to Mr. Secretary Walpole, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
Their Lordships then taking into consideration Mr. Burnet's letter of the 1st of August, 1721, and Mr. Attorney General's report, mentioned in the Minutes of the 3rd inst., relating to an alteration proposed to be made in the manner of choosing Assembly-men in New Jersey; ordered that Charles Docminique, Esq., Governor of the New Jersey Company, be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with him to-morrow morning.
Order of the Lords Justices in Council, of 27th August, 1723, approving a representation of this Board for repealing an Act, passed in Montserrat in 1722, for granting duties upon the import of dry goods and liquors, etc., and settling £500 per annum on General Hart.
Order of the Lords Justices in Council, of 27th August, 1723, approving a representation of this Board for repealing two Acts of South Carolina for raising £17,248 0s. 6d. and for reprinting and adding more bills of credit there.
Order of the Lords Justices in Council, of 27th August, 1723, directing the Governor of Carolina, not to allow any more paper bills of credit to be printed or issued there, nor to suffer funds to be diverted to other uses that have been settled for discharging paper bills or rice bills.
Order of the Lord Justices in Council, of 19th September, 1723, referring to a Committee of Council a representation of this Board for confirming an Act of New York for running a division line between New York and Connecticut colonies.
Their Lordships taking into consideration, (according to appointment the 12th inst.), an Act passed in the Province of the Massachusets Bay in 1722, entituled, An Act for apportioning and assessing a tax of six thousand two hundred and thirty two pounds thirteen shillings and eleven pence. And Mr. Richardson and Mr. Partridge, who complained on behalf of several Quakers against the said Act, attending with Mr. Sharpe, their solicitor, and others; as also Mr. Sandford and Mr. Sanderson, agents for the Assembly of the said province, attending likewise, with Mr. Bampfield, their solicitor: Mr. Sharpe in behalf of his clients represented to the Board, that he hoped to satisfy their Lordships, by comparing the said Act with another passed there in the year 1721, entituled An Act for apportioning and assessing a tax of six thousand pounds upon polls and extates, and with other Acts, as likewise some votes of the Assembly of the Massachusets Bay, there had been an unreasonable addition made to the proportions of the said tax for the towns of Dartmouth and Tiverton in that province, not warranted by the charter granted in the 3rd year of the reign of their late Majesties King William and Queen Mary, which charter is the foundation of that government. And he submitted whether the said Act was not on that account void in itself. Part of the said Acts being read, it appeared that the proportion
|For Dartmouth in 1721 was||81||12||0.|
|in 1722 "||181||12||0.|
|For Tiverton in 1721 was||27||9||0.|
|in 1722 "||100||0||0.|
whereupon Mr. Sharpe observed that although it be mentioned in the said Act of 1722 only as the provincial tax, and the Assembly seemed sensible they could not otherwise do it by their charter, yet by comparing the Acts abovementioned with another Act passed in 1715, entituled, An Act for maintaining and propagating of religion, and the votes of Assembly of the 20th of June, 1722, it was manifest the said addition to Dartmouth was for the use of an Orthodox minister, as the Acts stile them, where the far greater part of the inhabitants were Quakers, there not being above three or four Presbyterian families.
That by a clause of the said charter, it is expressly granted, established and ordained that for ever thereafter there should be a liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God to all Christians, except Papists, inhabiting or which should inhabit or be resident within the said province. And that it is recited in the said charter, that the adventurer's free profession of the Christian faith was the principal end of the said plantation. That by another part of the charter their power of making laws is restrained to such as are wholesome and reasonable, and not repugnant or contrary to the laws of England. And the power of raising money is by proportionable and reasonable assessments, rates and taxes upon the estates and persons of the proprietors and inhabitants, to be issued for the service of the Crown in the necessary defence and support of the Government of the said province, and the protection and preservation of the inhabitants there. That all Protestant subjects were to be religiously, peaceably and civilly governed, protected and defended. That many persons of different persuasions having settled the said province of the Massachusets Bay, the Presbyterians, being the most numerous, have endeavoured to elude the intent of the said charter, which equally grants a liberty of conscience to other Protestants as well as themselves.
In proof of which he referred to several Acts of the Massachusets Bay, particularly one passed there in 1692, entituled, An Act for the settlement and support of ministers and schoolmasters, whereby an able, learned and Orthodox minister, chosen by the major part of the inhabitants of any town, though the rest should differ from them in their religious opinions, was to be maintained by the whole town, but Mr. Sharpe observed that the Assembly, upon further consideration of the last mentioned Act, thought fit in a subsequent session to repeal that part relating to the election of a minister by the majority of the town, and allowed each church to choose their minister. And as an instance of the particular ill-usage, which the Presbyterians in the Massachusets Bay have given the Quakers there, he read the preamble of an Act passed in the said province in the first year of Her late Majesty's reign, entituled, An Act more effectually providing for the support of ministers, wherein the Quakers and others are stiled, irreligious Persons averse and opposite to the public worship of God. That in the year 1715, the Assembly by the forementioned Act for maintaining and propagating of religion, have, contrary to the liberty of conscience granted by the charter, assumed to themselves the nomination of Orthodox ministers where they shall find them wanted, and to provide for their support as they may judge sufficient, by adding to the proportion towards the public taxes of the town or district destitute of such minister. That, pursuant to this last mentioned Act, the Assembly came to a resolution the 20th of June, 1722, that the sum of one hundred pounds be allowed and paid out of the public treasury to Mr. Samuel Hunt, minister of the town of Dartmouth, for his support in the ministry the year current, against which there had been a petition to the Assembly and rejected, and the town remonstrated that the said Mr. Hunt was not of the persuasion of the majority; and on the 28th of June, 1723, the said Assembly further resolved as follows, viz:—"That the salary or allowance of an able, learned and Orthodox minister for the town of Dartmouth be one hundred pounds to be paid out of the public treasury, which said sum of one hundred pounds shall be added to the proportion of the said town of Dartmouth in their province tax for the present year.
And that an able, learned, Orthodox minister be provided by order of this Court for the said town of Tiverton for the year ensuing and that his allowance or salary be seventy two pounds eleven shillings, to be paid out of the public treasury, which said sum of £72 11s. 0d. shall be added to the proportion of the said town of Tivertion in their province tax for the present year." In proof of which, Mr. Sharpe produced and read those parts of the printed votes of Assembly.
He further observed, that the assessors for these towns, who were Quakers, had been chosen before the said Act of 1722 (being one of those complained of) was in force, and when they understood, by some of the forementioned votes, the use for which their additional proportion of tax was to be applyed, they could not in conscience comply in levying or assessing the whole sum prescribed by the Act, but raised their former proportion only; whereupon the said assessors were imprisoned. And notwithstanding that upon the petitions of the respective agents for Tiverton and Dartmouth, for the enlargement of the late assessors of those towns, the Council had agreed thereto upon the said assessors entering into proper recognizances; yet the Assembly disagreed thereto, as appealed by the printed votes of the said Assembly of the 29th of June, 1723. Upon the whole, Mr. Sharpe concluded, that, though the said Act of 1722 was temporary, the same was an annual Act, intended to be so, and had been re-enacted this present year. That the raising of money for the maintenance of ministers in the manner they had done, could not, as he conceived, be construed proportionable and reasonable, or for (he necessary defence and support of the Government, or the protection and preservation of the inhabitants, which are the only purposes for which, by their charter, the Government of the said province is allowed to raise money. That he hoped their Lordships would please to lay these Acts before His Majesty for disallowance, and all such as should be inconsistent with the charter of the Massachusets Bay, and to the liberty of conscience thereby so fully granted to the inhabitants of that province.
Mr. Bampfield, on the other side, acquainted their Lordships, that he had been but lately, and not fully, instructed in this affair, and should therefore be glad there might be an opportunity of hearing from New England before their Lordships came to any determination in this matter, and that several ships were daily expected. But in the meantime he observed to the Board, that the Act complained of had had the assent of His Majesty's Governor and the Council of the Massachusets Bay, and that therefore the Assembly were not solely blamable, if any thing therein should be judged improper for the Royal confirmation. That the Act above mentioned does not increase the proportion of taxes for Dartmouth and Tiverton only, but that there are fifteen or sixteen other towns in the province augmented in their proportions, of which he particularized, Wrentham, Needham, Stow, and several others; and that the legislature might have reasons, which do not at present appear for so doing. That according to his instructions Mr. Hunt, minister of the town of Dartmouth, had, for several years before, an allowance of forty pounds out of the public treasury of the Massachusets Province, and to prove the same he appealed to Mr. Allen, the treasurer's son, here present. Upon which Mr. Bampfield took notice that though one hundred pounds were recommended for Mr. Hunt by the Assembly, yet as he had forty pounds allowed him before, he could not have an hundred pounds additional, as was alledged, and that addition could not particularly affect Dartmouth, in as much as it was voted out of the public stock, and that the proportions of several other towns were advanced. Mr. Sandford and Mr. Sanderson likewise represented to their Lordships, that if assessors shall be allowed to act contrary to an express law, it might introduce great confusion and inconveniences in the administration of the Government. That the Act of 1722 was for apportioning the sum of £232 more than the said Act of 1721, which was doubtless one reason for the augmenting the proportions of taxes for several of the said towns and Tiverton and Dartmouth among the rest. And, if time were allowed, they hoped to receive full and satisfactory reasons from the Assembly of the Massachusets Bay for their passing the said Acts.
Mr. Sharpe in reply represented, that the variation of the proportion of taxes to divers towns in this province, arose as Mr. Partridge likewise alledged, from their being newly settled and increasing in numbers of inhabitants, but that the said towns of Tiverton and Dartmouth had not remarkably increased in people. And Mr. Allen, the treasurer's son, being asked what he knew of the allowance formerly made to Mr. Hunt of Dartmouth, he said, that he remembered the payment of one forty pounds to the said Mr. Hunt, but could not certainly recollect out of what fund or for what services the same was paid.
Mr. Sharpe concluded, that he hoped it plainly appeared to the Board from the votes of the Assembly above cited, compared with the Acts complained of, that the Assembly of the Massachusets Bay had, contrary to the liberty of conscience granted by their charter, imposed taxes for maintaining ministers who differ from them in opinion, and that the said Acts might not be approved of by His Majesty.
These gentlemen being withdrawn, directions were given for preparing the draught of a representation upon the Order in Council of the 24th October, 1723. (read the 14th of last month), on the petition of the said Richardson and Partridge upon the subject abovementioned.
Mr. Charles Docminique attending, as he had been desired, he acquainted their Lordships, that he had no objection to the manner of choosing an Assembly, as proposed by Mr. Burnet's letter of 1st August, 1721.
A representation, ordered yesterday to be prepared, upon the Order in Council of the 24th October, 1723, on the petition of Mr. Richardson and Mr. Partridge, relating to some Quakers in the Massachusets Bay being imprisoned, for not having assessed the towns of Tiverton and Dartmouth towards payment of some increased taxes there, was agreed, transcribed and signed.
The representation ordered to be prepared the 1st of October last, relating to the alteration Mr. Burnet proposes to make in the manner of electing Assembly-men in New Jersey, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.