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 of the proceedings of Her Majesty's Commissioners for promoting the trade of this Kingdom, and for inspecting and improving her plantations in America and elsewhere, from the seventh of January, 1723/24, to the eighteenth of December, 1724.
Journal, January 1724
Memorial from several Bristol merchants trading to Africa, in relation to the Virginia Act, laying a duty on liquors and slaves, was read; whereupon ordered that Mr. Le Houp, agent for Virginia, Mr. Carey and Mr. Harris be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with them on Friday morning next, as also with as many of the said Bristol merchants as are in Town.
A letter from the Duke of Portland, dated the 14th October,
1723, was read, and the papers, therein referred to, were laid
before the Board, viz.:—
Papers therein referred to.
The Duke of Portland's speech to the Council and Assembly.
The Council's address to the Duke of Portland with His Grace's answer.
The Assembly's address to the Duke of Portland with His Grace's answer.
A letter from Mr. Worsley, dated the 24th of November, 1723,
was read, and the papers, therein referred to, were laid before the
Papers therein referred to.
Mr. Worsley's dismission of the petition of Sir Robert Davers, etc., against four of the members of His Majesty's Council there, complaining of their behaviour during the administration of Mr. Lowther.
Copy of the proceedings upon Bernard Cook's petition, annexed to His Majesty's Order in Council of 17th May, 1722.
Copies of two depositions concerning several persons taken by pirates, and forced into their service.
Address of General Assembly to the Governor in relation to the Secretary's keeping original wills.
An Act that the solemn affirmation and declaration of the people called Quakers should be accepted instead of an oath, and for granting to the said people such forms of affirmation or declaration, as may remove the difficulties which many of them lye under.
An Act to enlarge the time allowed to an Act of this Island, intituled, a supplemental Act to an Act intituled, An Ac for laying an imposition or duty on all Sugars, Molosses, Rum, Cotton and Ginger imported this Island, which are not the natural product, growth or manufacture of some of His Majesty's Colonies, for proving goods seized by virtue of the said Acts or either of them to be the natural product, growth or manufacture of some of His Majesty's Colonies, or that the duty imposed by virtue of the first of the said Acts hath been truly and bona fide paid or secured to be paid.
An Act to prevent the dangers which may happen to the inhabitants of this Island from contagious distempers brought here by ships or other vessels from foreign parts.
Ordered that a letter be writ to Colonel Hart to desire he would let their Lordships have his opinion, as soon as may be, upon the Act passed at Montaserrat in 1721, entituled, A repeal of An Act whereby the duties on wines and other liquors, and upon licences, are given to the Honble. Thomas Talmash, Esq., and for appointing the former duties to be levied on wines and other strong liquors imported this Island; as also upon another Act passed there in 1702, entituled, An Act empowering Justices of the Peace to decide differences not exceeding six pounds.
Ordered that Colonel Hart be acquainted with the Board's opinion upon the Act, passed at St. Christophers in 1722, entituled, 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 the said Island, and for imposing certain duties upon Wines, Beer, Ale, Cyder and other Liquors hereafter to be imported into the same Island; viz.:—That their Lordships think the Act thereby intended to be repealed is not sufficiently described, and their Lordships, upon further consideration of the Act thereby intended to be repealed, thought fit to alter their opinion thereupon, mentioned in the Minutes of 1st of February, 1722–3, and agreed that it should lye by probationary. As also another Act, passed there in 1722–3, for raising of gunpowder and small arms upon the tunnage of vessels trading to and with this Island, for the use of His Majesty's fortifications within this Island.
Mr. Leheup, agent for Virginia, Mr. Harris, Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Carey, Mr. Perry and several other merchants attending, as they had been desired, in relation to the Act passed at Virginia in 1723, entituled, An Act for laying a duty on Liquors and Slaves; Mr. Perry acquainted their Lordships that Mr. Byrd, who he thought was capable to give their Lordships the best information relating to this Act, had not been summoned; and therefore desired that the Board would please to defer the consideration of this Act to another day, when Mr. Byrd should have notice to attend; whereupon ordered that this day sev'night be appointed, and that all parties be writ to, to attend accordingly.
Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Morris, Mr. Harris, Mr. Carey, Captain Boucham, and Mr. Merriweather, in behalf of themselves and others, merchants of London and Bristol, attending, according to appointment, as also Mr. Leheup, agent for Virginia, Mr. Perry, Mr. Byrd and Mr. Bradley, in relation to an Act, passed at Virginia in 1723, entituled, An Act for laying a duty on Liquors and Slaves; the several letters and memorials, mentioned in the Minutes of 12th November, 15th December last, and 7th of this month, were again read and considered; and a letter from Mr. Lynn, secretary to the Royal African Company, being read, in relation to the said company's intentions not to appear any more concerning the said Act, Mr. Morris in behalf of the African traders, represented to their Lordships that he conceived the duty laid by this Act upon the importation of negroes did very much affect the trade and shipping of Great Britain, being to be paid by the importer; and considering that the prime cost of negroes upon the coast of Africa was 4, 5 or £6 per head, the duty of 40s. added to their prime cost at £4 a head would amount to 50 per cent., at £5 prime cost to 40 per cent., at £6 prime cost to £33 6s. 8d., and so on in the like proportion. That he took this duty to be so great a burthen upon trade, that it amounted to a prohibition.
Mr. Harris, who also appeared against the Act, then observed upon the London merchants' memorial in behalf of the said Act, mentioned in the Minutes of the 9th inst., viz.:—that he thought it a very great hardship that the merchants in Great Britain should be obliged to pay duties to support their funds there. And he thought that the duties at present laid upon the importation of negroes was a greater discouragement to the planters and cultivators there, than the rewards proposed by the Assembly could be an encouragement; that since the duty of 40s. a head on negroes had been established in Maryland, he had not heard of any one British ship that had been sent there with negroes.
Mr. Carey, who also appeared against the said Act, further observed upon what the said merchants represented in their memorial in relation to the funds of that Colony being exhausted, and to its being recited in the preamble of the aforesaid Act, the want the said Colony is in for arms and ammunition; that the had received certain information from thence, that the old Treasurer had transferred to the new one, seven thousand pounds in money, and that they had twelve hundred small arms always ready, and that he had lately shipped by order from Virginia an armourer to take care of them.
Mr. Leheup, agent for the Colony, desired their Lordships would be pleased to report the said Act as fit for His Majesty's Royal confirmation, because, as the Colony had given £10 per ton on hemp as an encouragement for the planting and improving of naval stores, they had no other way to raise the said money than by laying a duty on the importation of negroes; that he did not conceive this duty could in any ways effect the trade and shipping of Great Britain, because it must be the purchaser in the end that pays the duty; that this was no new duty and consequently ought not to be complained of, since there had been three Acts passed in Virginia that had continued in force for eight years, from 1710 to 1718, which laid a duty of £5 per head on the importation of negroes; that there had never been any opposition made to the said Acts, and that considering the said duty was much greater than at present complained of, and that there were more negroes imported into Virginia in those years when the duties were so much higher than at any time before or since, he could not conceive with what reason either the London or Bristol merchants could complain of the Act in question. He further offered as a proof of the increase of the importation of negroes in the above said term of years, that the duty, collected upon that account, amounted to upwards of £15,000.
Mr. Byrd then said, that though the importer pays down the duty he is sufficiently reimbursed by the buyer, because what he pays down is that country money, and what he receives is sterling, which country money is at 10 or 15 per cent. discount, so that he could not see that the merchants had any reason to complain.
Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Harris then said, in behalf of the merchants, who appeared against the said Act, that they should have no further objection to it, provided it could be made to appear that the duty was to be paid by the planter. And Mr. Merriweather acquainted their Lordships, in answer to what Mr. Leheup had said, in relation to the number of negroes imported at the time that the duties were high, that he believed at present there were about 15 or 1600 negroes imported yearly into Virginia by the London and Bristol merchants; that the Bristol merchants annually sent about 800; and Mr. Harris said, the merchants of London sent thither as many. He further said, that an annual supply of 1500 negroes was wanted in Virginia, which was not contradicted by the agent or the gentleman, who appeared in behalf of the Act.
And Mr. Carey said, that he believed that if the said Act was confirmed, and even supposing the duty, (as had been alleged), was to be paid by the buyer, it would chiefly tend to the ruin of the poorer planters, because they could not then be able to buy a sufficient number of negroes to cultivate their plantations; and as for the two new counties, for the improvement of which the King had been graciously pleased to remit the payment of any quit rents for seven years, he was so fully persuaded that the confirming of this Act would be a great hindrance to the planting the same, that he having a considerable quantity of land there, which required many negroes to cultivate the same, he should not buy one, if the said Act was confirmed.
Mr. Harris then observed to the Board, that there had been an instruction sent to the Governor of Virginia, not to pass any act, that might affect the trade or shipping of Great Britain, and referred it to their Lordships how far the said Act might interfere therewith.
A letter from the Earl of Orkney, Governor of Virginia, to the Board, dated the 17th inst., recommending Mr. John Carter to be of the Council there, in the room of Colonel Bassett, deceased, was read, as also
A letter from Major Drysdale, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, dated 1st November, 1723, upon the same subject, and transmitting Articles of Peace made by Colonel Spotswood with the Five Nations of Indians in 1722.
A letter from Colonel Hope, Lieutenant Governor of Bermuda, dated the 30th of July, 1723, inclosing a duplicate of a former letter, and recommending Mr. Rayner to be of the Council in the room of Colonel Tucker, deceased, was read; as also
And a letter from Mr. Preverau, agent for Colonel Hope, dated the 11th inst., desiring that the said Colonel Samuel Rayner may be recommended to His Majesty to be of the Council of Bermuda, in the room of Colonel William Tucker, deceased, was also read, and the draught of a representation ordered to be prepared accordingly.
Whereupon a letter to the Lords of the Treasury, desiring payment thereof, as likewise nine months salary due to the Secretary and other officers in the service of this Commission, was agreed and signed.
The draught of a representation, ordered to be prepared the 22nd inst., for repealing An Act, passed in Virginia in 1723, for laying a duty on Liquors and Slaves, was agreed and ordered to be transcribed.
Their Lordships then taking into consideration an Act, passed in Barbadoes in 1723, entituled, An Act for laying an imposition or duty on wines and other strong liquors imported this Island to raise money for carrying on the Fortifications for payment of such persons as are or shall be imployed at the public charge and for such other public uses as are herein appointed, and Mr. West's report thereupon being read, ordered that the said Act be sent to Mr. Carkese, Secretary to the said Act be sent to Mr. Carkesse, Secretary to the Honble, the Commissioners of His Majesty's Customs, for their opinion thereupon.