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, June 1724
Mr. Cooke, in behalf of the Assembly of the Massachusetts Bay, attending with Mr. Bampfield, his solicitor, desired their Lordships would please to give them extracts of several of the Minutes of Council of that Province in 1720, 1721 and 1722; the Attorney and Solicitor General having directed them to apply to the Board for the said extracts, it being impossible for them to make their report upon the dispute between the Governor and the Assembly of the said Province, till they had seen the said Minutes; whereupon their Lordships acquainted them, that they would give directions, that the said papers should be laid before the Attorney and Solicitor General for their information.
Mr. Sharpe, attending, desired their Lordships would please to appoint a day for hearing the several merchants who attended the Board the 21st of last month, in relation to an Act which, they are informed, is now intended to be passed in New York, for encouraging the Indian Trade, and their Lordships were pleased to appoint this day sen night, at eleven o'clock in the morning.
Ordered that Mr. Balam, Inspector General of the Imports and Exports, be reminded of the secretary's letter of the 5th of the last month, for an account of sugar and tobacco imported and exported, from Christmas, 1702, to Christmas, 1722, and that he be desired to send the said account as soon as possibly may be.
Mr. Huggins and Mr. Sharpe, two of the agents for Barbadoes, attending, as they had been desired, as also Mr. Newport, Mr. Harris, Mr. Morris, Messrs. Tryon, Mr. Godin, Mr. Palmer and several other merchants trading to Barbadoes, and Mr. Carter and Mr. Colleton, two of His Majesty's Councillors, who are also considerable proprietors in the said Island; their Lordships took into consideration the Act passed in Barbadoes in 1723, entituled, An Act to raise a levy on the inhabitants of this Island, and to establish a method to supply the want of cash for the payment of Public Debts, as also Mr. West's report thereupon, mentioned in the Minutes of the 5th of the last month, and the merchant's memorial against the said Act, mentioned in the Minutes of the 7th of the last month, which were all again read.
And Mr. Harris acquainted their Lordships that he conceived the several claused in this Act to oblige persons to recieve the paper bills, and to esteem them as money, under penalty of losing so much of their debt, as is tendered to them in bills, was so severe upon the merchants trading to that Island, that it will amount to a prohibition of any trade at all; that any ship trading there, instead of bringing home money as they used to do, in return for the commodities carried thither, they must now have bills or sugar, which, should the Act be confirmed, would be at 25 per cent. advance.
Mr. Morris confirmed what Mr. Harris had said, and further acquainted their Lordships that he himself was a trader to the coast of Africa; that he had ships ready to send there for negroes, which he had designed for Barbadoes, but that should this Act be confirmed, as he would then be obliged to take paper bills in lieu of money, he would order those ships another way.
Mr. Harris further said, that should this Act be confirmed, all persons, who had any money due to them on bonds, judgments or other securities, would be obliged to give them up, and receive paper in lieu thereof.
That he conceived, there being no penalty laid by this Act upon the Treasurer, should he coin more bills than the number directed by this Act, there might be several frauds committed, highly prejudicial to the traders in general; that he believed should this Act pass, the money that is now left in the Island will be wholly locked up, and be of no use, which consequence would be highly prejudicial to every one concerned in the trade of that Island.
Mr. Huggins in defence of the Act, acquainted their Lordships, that he conceived the fund raised was more than sufficient to sink these bills in six years' time; that, although persons were obliged by this Act to receive paper bills in payment of their debts due upon bonds, mortgages, etc., he conceived those bills would be as good and as effectual as any security whatsoever; and that upon this supposition, should the money as Mr. Harris had said, be locked up, it could be no prejudice to the Island, though he imagined that instead of this, as these bills would carry an interest at the rate of 4 per cent. per diem, they would be of more value than money, and consequently would be locked up, and the money circulate in trade; that as to the merchants' apprehensions that the Treasurer would coin more bills than the number prescribed by the Act, he could not imagine that possible, because each bill must have a number, and be signed not only by the Treasurer, but by the Chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts; that as all these bills would be indented, it would be impossible that any should be forged.
Mr. Sharpe then desired their Lordships would please to consider the circumstances of the Island, which drove the legislature there, to this method of supplying the want of cash; that the Island was so much in debt that it was impossible for them to pay without a paper currency.
That as the whole of the Island was engaged by this Act, to pay the bills to be issued by virtue thereof, he looked upon them to be better than any mortage; that they would pass as money, and that it could be no hardship to any person to receive them as money, the Treasurer being obliged to receive them again in payment of any duties, excise or taxes whatsoever; that although the Act for creating paper money in 1706, whereby bills were to be issued to the value of one fourth part of all the estates in the Island, had been repealed, he hoped that was no reason for repealing this, there being this material difference between the two Acts, the Act in 1706 had no clause for suspending its execution till it should be confirmed, which was the reason of the discount upon those bills, because people were apprehensive, (that Act taking place immediately), of the consequences that might happen should the same afterwards be repealed; but that, as there was a clause inserted in this bill, to prevent its taking effect till His Majesty's pleasure should be known thereupon, he could not foresee the like difficulties, neither could he believe, the bills would be at any discount.
That as to that paragraph in the merchants' memorial against the said Act, wherein it is said, that this Act is contrary to the laws of Great Britain, he would not take upon him to make an answer, but beg leave to refer their Lordships to Mr. West's report; and that he hoped their Lordships, upon reconsidering this Act, would not find any objection sufficient to prevent their representing the same as fit for His Majesty's royal confirmation.
Mr. Harris, in reply, then begged leave to observe to their Lordships, that as the Exchequer bills, land tax tallies, and bank bills here in England, where there was so much better security for their payment than for the Barbadoes bills now in question, had at particular times borne a discount, he submitted to their Lordships, how far it was reasonable to believe that the bills, intended to be created by this Act, would do so too; and that should they be introduced in Barbadoes, instead of money, in which case the merchants would be obliged to receive the same, all trade would cease; that as to the necessity of creating such bills to supply the want of cash, he could not imagine there was any, because supposing even there was not a sufficient circulation of money to carry on the trade of that Island, they might then have fallen upon the method practised in Virginia and other places, of giving notes for sugar or tobacco, to be paid the next crop in return for commodities they should receive.
Mr. Tryon then observed to their Lordships, that the hardships of this Act lay chiefly on the merchants, who are obliged thereby to receive paper bills instead of money, which are of no value out of the Island; but that had they been confined to pass current only in that Island, and to pay their debts among themselves, the merchants could have made no objections thereto. He said further, that it was remarkable that there was not one merchant nor one planter, who appeared in defence of this Act, and appealed to Mr. Colleton, who acquainted their Lordships, that he thought this Act very detrimental to the interest of that Island.
These gentlemen being withdrawn, their Lordships, upon considering the whole matter, did not think this Act proper to be confirmed, and gave directions for preparing the draught of a representation to His Majesty for repealing the same.
A representation for repealing an Act, passed in Barbadoes in 1723, entituled, An Act to raise a levy on the inhabitants of this Island and to established a method to supply the want of cash for the payment of public debts, ordered yesterday to be prepared, was agreed and signed.
A representation for repealing an Act, passed at Bermuda in 1723, entituled, An Act to supply the deficiency of the several funds in these Islands, and for the immediate support of the Government, and for repairing the fortifications, ordered to be prepared the 21st of last month, was agreed and signed.
A representation with the draught of an instruction to all His Majesty's Governors in America, directing them not to pass any Act, upon any pretence whatsoever, for laying duties on the importation of European goods, was agreed and signed.
Ordered that Colonel Vetch and the other petitioners for land in Nova Scotia, be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with them on Wednesday morning next, upon the Order in Council relating to their petition, mentioned in the Minutes of the 13th of the last month.
A letter from Mr. Wentworth, Lieutenant Governor of New
Hampshire, of 6th April, 1724, was read; and the papers, therein
referred to, were laid before the Board, viz.:—
Account of ships entered inwards, from Michaelmas, 1723, to Lady Day, 1724.
Account of ships clearded outwards for the same time.
Mr. Sharpe, who was directed to attend the Board this morning, with several merchants upon the petition, mentioned in the Minutes of the 2nd inst., relating to an Act, proposed to be passed at New York, for the encouragement of the Indian trade, acquainting their Lordships, that the said merchants could not attend; their Lordships were pleased to defer the consideration of that affair to another opportunity.
A letter from the Duke of Newcastle, dated the 5th inst., referring to the Board a proposal of Peter Purry, a Swiss, for settling a colony of his countrymen in Carolina, was read; whereupon ordered that Mr. Shelton, secretary to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina, be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with him thereupon on Thursday morning next.
A memorial from Mr. Godin, relating to the sugar and tobacco trade, was read; whereupon ordered that he be desired to lay before the Board his scheme, therein mentioned, for settling the plantation trade, as soon as possibly he can.
The secretary laid before the Board an account, from the Inspector General's Office, of the imports and exports of sugar and tobacco from 1702 to 1722, which their Lordships took into consideration, and ordered that Mr. Oxenford be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with him to-morrow morning.
Colonel Vetch, Captain Brown, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Capon, attending, as they had been desired, with Mr. Bampfield, their solicitor, and several merchants, in relation to an Order in Council, dated the 17th April, mentioned in the Minutes of the 13th May last, upon their petition for some land in Nova Scotia, their Lordships had some discourse with them in relation to the settlement thereof, and desired they would, as soon as possible, let their Lordships have in writing a scheme, of what restrictions and limitations they were willing to submit to, which they promised to do accordingly.
Their Lordships then took into consideration the Lord Townsend's letter of the 12th, mentioned in the Minutes of the 13th of the last month, in relation to a tax laid on all merchandize passing between Ostend and Bruges, towards deepening the canal there, and ordered that Mr. Leathes, His Majesty's Resident at Brussels, and Mr. Drummond, be acquainted that the Board desire to speak with them to-morrow morning.
A letter from Mr. Burnet, Governor of New York and New Jersey, dated the 16th of September last, was read; and the Minutes of Council, therein referred to, relating to the settlement of the bounds between New York and Connecticut, with an appendix, were laid before the Board.
Another letter from Mr. Burnet, dated the 16th December last,
was also read; and the papers, therein referred to, were laid
before the Board, viz:—
Two addresses from the Assembly of New Jersey to the Governor.
Minutes of Council, from 25th of September, 1722, to 6th July, 1723.
Minutes of Assembly, from 8th May to 6th July, 1723.
Number of inhabitants in that province.
Naval Officer's lists of ships entered and cleared, inwards and outwards, at New York, from 25th March to 29th September, 1723.
Naval Officer's lists of ships entered and cleared, inwards and outwards, at New Jersey, from 25th March to 29th September, 1723.
Printed Acts, passed the 6th July, 1723.
Balance of a debt due to the Countess of Bellomont.
Mr. Shelton, attending, as he had been desired, their Lordships took again into consideration the letter from the Duke of Newcastle, mentioned in the Minutes of the 9th inst., referring to the Board a proposal of Peter Purry, a Swiss, for settling a colony of his countrymen in Carolina; and had some discourse with him about this matter; whereupon he desired their Lordships would please to let him have an extract of the said proposal, that he might have an opportunity of consulting the Lords Proprietors of Carolina upon it; and their Lordships ordered that the secretary should give him an extract thereof in writing.
Mr. Oxenford, attending, as he had been desired, their Lordships took again into consideration the account of the imports and exports of sugar and tobacco, mentioned in yesterday's Minutes, and made a progress therein.
A letter from the Duke of Newcastel of the 11th inst., signifying Mr. Keen's being appointed consul at Madrid and directing the Board to prepare a state of the trade between this kingdom and Spain, was read; and their Lordships resolved to consider further thereof to-morrow morning.
A memorial from Colonel Vetch, proposing the restrictions and limitations, he and the rest of the persons, petitioning for a tract of land in Nova Scotia, are willing to be under, in case they have a grant of the same, was read.
Their Lordships then took into consideration the Order in Council of 17th April last, mentioned in the Minutes of the 13th of the last month, upon a representation of this Board of 4th September, 1723, in relation to the petition of several officers and others for a tract of land in Nova Scotia, and made a progress therein.
Their Lordships took again into consideration the letter from the Duke of Newcastle of the 11th, signifying Mr. Keen's being appointed consul at Madrid, mentioned in the Minutes of the 16th inst., and made a progress therein.
Mr. Keen, appointed consul at Madrid, attending, as he had been desired, their Lordships took again into consideration the letter from the Duke of Newcastle, mentioned in the Minutes of the last meeting, and after some discourse with him thereupon, their Lordships desired he would let them have in writing any observations he should make upon the trade between this kingdom and Spain, which he promised to do accordingly.
And their Lordships observing that the merchants, in their answer to the 8th query, mentioned in the last memorial, complain of the heavy charge of debenture fees, and of other incumbrances on shipping; ordered that a letter be writ to Mr. Harris, to desire he would inform the Board, what they are.
A letter from the Duke of Portland, Governor of Jamaica,
dated the 4th March, 1723–4, 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 7th of January, 1723–4.
Addresses of the Council and Assembly to the Duke of Portland, with His Grace's answers.
The Duke of Portland's Speech to the Assembly, 30th January 1723–4.
Minutes of Council, from 9th February, 1722–3, to the 31st of January, 1723–4.
Minutes of Council in Assembly, from the 1st October, 1723, to the 30th January, 1723–4.
Minutes of Assembly, from the 1st October, 1723, to the 12th November following.
Minutes of Assembly, from the 7th to the 30th January, 1723–4.
Eight Acts passed in November, 1723.
Two Acts passed in January, 1723–4.
Draught of a Bill for granting a revenue to his Majesty, His heirs and successors for the support of the Government and perpetuating the Acts and Laws thereof, as they now stand and are used. Passed the Council and Assembly in January, 1723–4.
Draught of a Bill to augment the salary of His Grace the Duke of Portland, during his residence in this Island as Governor. Passed the Council and Assembly in January, 1723–4.
Queries offered by the Duke of Portland to the Council, upon the Revenue Bill, and the Council's answer.
Proceedings of His Grace the Duke of Portland and Council, relating to the public credit of Jamaica.
Copies of the papers concerning the Cassandra.
Ordered that the draughts of the said two Bills in relation to the Revenue, and the Duke's additional salary, be sent to Mr. Attorney and Solicitor General, for their opinion thereupon in point of law, as also extracts of the Duke's said letter and of the queries therewith sent, for their further information in this particular.
Mr. Sharpe attending, in behalf of the several merchants, (whose petition is mentioned in the Minutes of the 2nd and 9th inst.), desired their Lordships would please to appoint a day for hearing what they might have to offer against the passing An Act at New York for the Encouragement of the Indian Trade there; and their Lordships resolved to take that matter into consideration on Tuesday sen'night.
Their Lordships taking again into consideration the letter from the Duke of Portland, Governor of Jamaica, mentioned in the Minutes of the 25th inst., ordered that a copy of the Revenue Act therewith sent, be transmitted to Mr. Scrope, for the observations of the Lords of the Treasury thereupon.
A memorial from several Leeward Island merchants, in relation to the imports and exports of sugar, was read; and ordered that the several merchants, who had not already given their opinions in writing upon this subject, be desired to do it, as soon as possible.
Ordered that Mr. Oxenford, Assistant Inspector General of the Imports and Exports, be acquainted that the Board are expecting the dispatch, (with all possible expedition), of the accounts writ for by the secretary the 19th November last, and former letters relating to the East India trade, as likewise the 25th inst., relating to the imports and exports between this kingdom and Spain.
A letter from Mr. Scrope, secretary to the Treasury, dated the 20th of May, inclosing a petition of Colonel Philips, Governor of Nova Scotia, in relation to the building a vessel there, was read; and their Lordships resolved to consider further thereof at another opportunity.