Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations, Volume 6, January 1729 - December 1734. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1928.
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Journal, December 1731
The Board having attended the Committee of Council, according to their desire, their Lordships considered the report of this Board, dated the 4th of the last month, relating to the 16th and 30th articles of His Majesty's instructions to the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay, and Mr. Wilks being heard against the said report, the same was agreed, as also
An Order of the Committee of Council, dated the 23rd of November, 1731, referring to the Board the petition of Mr. Nodin and several merchants trading to Bermuda, praying that the independent company sent from thence to the Bahamas, may be brought back, was read.
The four following letters from Mr. Pitt, Governor of Bermuda,
were read, and the papers, therein respectively referred to, were
laid before the Board, viz:—
A letter from him, to the Secretary, dated the 27th of January, 1730–1.
A letter from him, dated the 27th January, 1730–1.
A letter from him, dated the 27th January, 1730–1.
with papers and Acts, to Mr. Fane.
Minutes of the Assembly, from the 4th August, 1729, to the 24th of June, 1730.
Proceedings of the Court of Admiralty for the tryal of Timothy Tynes for piracy, murder and robbery.
A letter from him, dated the 17th of July, 1731.
Minutes of Assembly, from the 3rd of November, 1730, to the 9th of April, 1731.
Three public Acts, passed in 1730–1 and 1731.
Capt. Pitt's answer to queries, relating to the state and trade, etc., of the Bermuda Islands.
A letter from the Duke of Newcastle, dated the 24th of November, 1731, concerning the representation from the Assembly of Barbadoes, and that from the Lieut. Governor, Council and Assembly of Antigua, relating to the trade between His Majesty's northern colonies and French islands in America, was read; ordered that Mr. Forster, Mr. Leheup and Mr. Yeamans be directed to attend the Board on Tuesday next.
An Order of the Lords of the Committee of Council, dated the 23rd of the last month, referring to the Board of Trade the petition of Patrick Blake, Esq., and Martin his son, praying that an Act, passed in St. Christophers in 1712, for settling the estates and titles of the inhabitants of the Island to their possessions, within the same, may be rejected, was read; ordered that Mr. Matthews, Mr. Blake's solicitor, and Mr. John Sharpe, whom the Secretary informed the Board, desired the confirmation of the Act, be directed to attend to-morrow morning.
The Board then taking into consideration their Minutes of the 25th of August last, whereby it appears that Mr. Forster had acquainted the Board that the perquisites of the Governor of Barbadoes amounted to about £2,000 per annum, ordered that a letter be wrote to Mr. Forster, to desire he will inform the Board how he computes the amount thereof.
Mr. Sharpe and Mr. Matthews attending, as they had been desired, their Lordships took again into consideration the Order of the Lords of the Committee of Council, referring to the Board the petition of Mr. Blake, etc., against the Act, passed at St. Christophers in 1712, for settling the estates and titles of the inhabitants of this Island to their possessions within the same, read yesterday, and after some discourse with these gentlemen thereupon, ordered that Mr. Fane be directed to consider the said Act, as also an Act, passed there in 1718–19, for the general quiet of the inhabitants of the Island of St. Christophers in their estates and possessions, and for avoiding of vexatious suits at law, and to let the Board have his opinion in point of law, whether the first of the said Acts is yet in force? if it is, whether it be a law proper for confirmation? and whether the last Act does not answer the intent of the first, without being liable to the objections made thereto by Sir Edward Northey, of whose report, ordered that Mr. Fane have a copy.
The Secretary then laid before the Board a patent for Edward Bertie and John Hammerton, Esqs., to be the Secretary and Register of South Carolina, as also a constitution from the Treasury for John Hammerton, Esq., to be Receiver General of His Majesty's revenues in Carolina, which were read, and ordered to be entered.
The Secretary likewise laid before the Board a warrant from the Commissioners of the Customs appointing Capt. Phenney Surveyor General of the Customs, on the southern district of America, which was read, and ordered to be entered.
Mr. Nodin, agent for Bermuda, attending, as he had been desired, as also Mr. Eden and Mr. Montagu, agents to Capt. Rogers, Governor of the Bahama Islands, with Capt. Heron, Lieut. of the independent company from Bermuda, their Lordships took into consideration Mr. Nodin's petition, read the 1st inst., praying that the independent company sent from Bermuda to the Bahamas, may be ordered back again. Their Lordships also read a letter from Mr. Montagu, wherein he gives his reasons, shewing the necessity of continuing the Bermuda independent company at the Bahamas. Mr. Eden then acquainted the Board, that the distance between Bermuda and the Spanish settlements made it difficult of access to them, whereas the Bahama Islands lay continually exposed: that Bermuda being almost surrounded by rocks, and having but one landing place, might better be defended by 100 men than the Bahamas could by 300.
Capt. Heron then acquainted the Board, that as Lieut, to the Bermuda Company, he had commanded it ever since its arrival at the Bahamas, where he thought it was of much more consequence than at Bermuda; being asked by the Board how many men the independent company belonging to the Bahamas, and that to which he was Lieut. ought to contain, he said the complement of the Bahama Company was 100 men and that of Bermuda 49, but that there were not above 70 men in the Bahama Company, nor above 24 in that of Bermuda; and being further asked, whether at any time since his having been at the Bahamas, both Companies together made up 100 men, he answered in the negative.
Mr. Nodin acquainted the Board in answer to what had been offered, that there were three landing places at Bermuda, namely, Town Harbour, Castle Harbour, and Tobacco Bay, where ships might easily and safely come to anchor: and to shew that the distance between the Spanish settlements and Bermuda was no security to them from the Spanish insults, Mr. Nodin informed the Board of a design the Spaniards had formed in August last, since the Company was sent away, to ravage the Island by a vessel with 130 men on board from Porto Rico, piloted by two Bermuda renegadoes: that this design of the Spaniards was prevented by a storm which blew them from off the coast: that the truth of this matter was verified by the said Bermuda renegadoes, one whereof was lately hanged there for piracy and murther, and the other saved on his becoming an evidence.
As another reason of the necessity of maintaining an independent company there, Mr. Nodin informed the Board, that many of the inhabitants had lately been poisoned by the negroes: that many were now languishing under that misfortune, and that the negroes were continually forming small parties, which put the inhabitants under the dread of an insurrection: that none of these things had ever happened during the time the Company, which were first sent there in the reign of King William, had remained with them. Mr. Nodin therefore hoped their Lordships would be of opinion to advise the sending back their independent company again to them.
These gentlemen being withdrawn, Capt. Phenney, the late Governor of the Bahamas, was called in, and his opinion was asked upon this subject; to which he said that the fort at the Bahamas was not capable of containing more than 100 men: that he does not think it would be of any ill consequence to recall the Bermuda Company from thence, and that he believed an independent company of 100 men would be sufficient to defend the Bahamas from all insults in time of peace, but that in time of war a small man of war would be necessary.
Mr. Nodin attending the Board again, he desired their Lordships would please to take into consideration the Order in Council, read the 23rd of last month, relating to the payment of £100 per annum salary to the Governor of Bermuda by whale licences. And the Secretary laying before them the draught of an instruction prepared in pursuance of the said Order, the same was agreed and ordered to be transcribed, as also the draught of a report to the Committee of Council thereupon.
Mr. Forster and Mr. Leheup, agents for Barbadoes, attending, as they had been desired, with Mr. Beake, agent for St. Christophers, Mr. Yeamans, agent for Antigua, and Mr. Newport, Mr. Harris, Mr. Gerrish, Mr. Lascells, Mr. Withers and Capt. Nanfan, gentlemen concerned in the sugar trade of those Islands, their Lordships took again into consideration the representations from the Island of Barbadoes and Antigua, mentioned in the Minutes of the 28th of October, and 17th of November last, complaining of the trade carried on between the northern colonies and the French and Dutch plantations; an address was likewise read upon the same subject from the Island of St. Christophers, and their Lordships desiring these gentlemen would inform the Board whether they had anything to offer in addition to the said addresses, Mr. Forster said, that what people of the sugar islands desired in general was, that the sugar trade might be recommended to the Parliament in the most effectual manner, but the Board desiring the gentlemen would give an account in what manner the trade between the northern colonies and the French and Dutch settlements affected the sugar trade of our Islands; Mr. Forster acquainted the Board that formerly the French sugar colonies had no vent for their molasses, nor made any use of it, but that of late years our northern colonies carried lumber to them, and took in exchange their molasses, by which means they had their lumber at a much easier rate than our own sugar colonies, who are obliged to pay money for the same. Mr. Lascells and Capt. Nanfan being called upon to prove this fact, they informed the Board, that the French at Martinique would not deal with the people of our northern colonies for rum, sugar and molasses, unless they paid half money and half lumber, etc., and that for this purpose the New Englanders sold their provision, lumber, etc., at our Island for money at about prime cost, in order to enable them to carry on this trade with the French.
Mr. Harris then informed the Board, that if the French sugar colonies were not supplied with provisions and lumber from our northern colonies, it would not be possible for them to carry on their sugar trade in the manner they do at present, it not being in their power to supply themselves with lumber from any of their plantations at so easy a rate: that supposing there was lumber to be procured at their settlements either at Canada or the Mississippi, of which he much doubted, yet the bringing of it to their sugar colonies would be so expensive, as to render the said lumber above three times as dear as that they have at present from our northern colonies, besides that the navigation of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Bay of Mexico was attended with so much hazard and difficulty, that he did not conceive it possible for the French to supply themselves with lumber from either of those places, and therefore he thought the prohibiting of all trade between our northern colonies and the French settlements for lumber, rum, sugar and molasses, would lay such difficulties on the French trade, that they would not be able to make sugar at the easy rates they do at present, and that consequently they would not undersell us at market as they now do: that the French having made Dunkirk a free port, they could sell their sugar at about 7½ per cent. cheaper than we could, the sugar made at Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands being charged there with a duty of 4½ per cent., and all sugars bearing here about 3 per cent. upon re-exportation.
Mr. Newport then said that for these reasons our importation of sugar into Hamburgh was greatly decreased, the amount of the last year's importation into that city not exceeding 1500 hhds., whereas we formerly used to import there about 30,000; he further said that Surinam was chiefly supplied with horses and lumber from our northern colonies, and that by a law there, no captain of a ship was permitted to trade, unless he imported a certain number of horses, by which means our northern colonies gave them an opportunity likewise of carrying on a sugar trade, which they would not otherways be able to do on such easy terms.
Upon this subject Mr. Forster said, that the French at Martinique were supplied with horses likewise from our northern colonies, and that if a captain of a ship carried horses there, he was admitted to trade without paying the Governor for his licence, which commonly amounted to about 50 pistoles. Mr. Forster concluded by acquainting the Board, that what the planters in the sugar colonies particularly desired, as the only means to prevent the total ruin of our sugar trade, was a total prohibition of the importation of any rum, sugar or molasses from any of the French plantations into our northern colonies; but it being objected by Mr. Harris, that that was not sufficient, because if our northern colonies were permitted to carry lumber to the French Islands, they could in that case have no return from thence but French silks and other prohibited manufactures; Mr. Newport said, that in that case, the people of our northern colonies might have indigo, cotton, cocoa or money in return for the lumber, as they formerly had; and that as by this proposed prohibition, the French could have no vent for their molasses, it would not be possible for them to carry on their sugar trade so cheap, as they do at present.
A letter from Major Gooch, Lieut. Governor of Virginia, dated the 8th of September, 1731, with his reasons against the Bill, brought into the House of Commons the last session, for the better securing and encouraging the trade of His Majesty's sugar plantations, was read, and their Lordships agreed to consider further thereof at another opportunity.
A report to the Lords of the Committee, with the draught of an additional instruction, relating to the payment of £100 per annum salary to the Governor of Bermuda, by whale licences, ordered to be prepared the 3rd inst., was agreed and signed.
Mr. Wilks, the agent for the Massachusetts Bay, attending, the Board took again into consideration the Act, passed in that province in 1730, entituled, An Act, in addition to an Act entituled An Act for ascertaining the number and regulating the House of Representatives, and acquainted Mr. Wilks, that this Act had been passed upon a supposition that the 1st clause in the Act of the 4th of King William and Queen Mary, entituled, An Act for ascertaining the number and regulating the House of Representatives, obliging every town containing 40 families to elect and send a representative, which was repealed by the Act passed in the 13th year of the late King for enlarging the pay of the members of the Great and General Court or Assembly of this province, and for regulating the several towns therein, as to their choice of Representatives, and for repealing one clause in a former Act relating to them, was void and of no effect; but that the repealing Act being now expired, the first clause in the Act of King William was again revived, and in full force, and that, therefore, the Act passed in 1730 was not proper to be confirmed, and the rather since it made some alterations in the Act of the 4th of King William and Queen Mary, which had been confirmed by the Crown.
Mr. Wilks then said, that as the province increased in the number of their towns and inhabitants, they thought there was no occasion to oblige every town having 40 families to send a representative according to the aforementioned Act of King William, and therefore they had obliged by the present Act every town of 80 families to send a representative, which would be easing the smaller towns of a great charge, but the Board acquainted Mr. Wilks, that if the Assembly thought an Act to this purpose would be of service to the province, they must either have the king's leave for passing it, or must insert the suspending clause, that His Majesty's pleasure may be known before any such Act should take place.
A memorial from Mr. Phenney, Surveyor General of His Majesty's Customs in America, praying that he may be appointed a member, as his predecessor was, in the several Councils within his district, was read, and ordered that the draught of a representation be prepared for recommending him to be of the several Councils of Virginia, North and South Carolina, Jamaica and the Bahamas, in the room of Mr. Fitzwilliams, the late Surveyor General.
A letter from the Lord Harrington, dated the 7th of December,
1731, was read, as also the following papers, therewith transmitted:—
Extract of Sir Cyril Wich's letter to the Lord Harrington, dated the 7th of December, 1731, with observations made upon this Board's report relating to the herring convention.
Copy of the ratification of the herring convention with Hamburgh, 16th February, 1718–19.
A letter from William Matthew, Esq., Lieut. General of the Leeward Islands, dated the 7th inst., giving an account of his leaving the seals with Mr. Smith, President of the Council of Nevis, was read.
A report to the Lords of the Committee of Council, upon the petition of Mr. Nodin, praying that the independent company, which was removed from Bermuda to the Bahamas, may be returned back to Bermuda, was signed.
The Board taking into consideration the draught of a report, ordered yesterday to be prepared, upon the Lord Harrington's letter, and the papers therewith transmitted, relating to the herring convention with Hamburgh, made a progress therein, and gave directions that Mr. Elkin should be acquainted with the Board's desire of speaking with him on Tuesday next.
The Lord Fairfax attending, acquainted the Board, that as he had several objections to offer against the grant of land petitioned for by Mr. Stauber, etc., behind the mountains in Virginia, which cannot be ready to lay before the Board till after the holidays, he desired the Board would please to defer the consideration of that matter till then, to which the Board agreed.
The Attorney General's report concerning the East India Company, lately erected in Sweden, wherein several Englishmen were thought to be engaged, were read, and their Lordships taking into consideration the letter from the Lord Harrington relating to the trade between Great Britain and Sweden, mentioned in the Minutes of the 5th of August last, gave some directions for preparing the draught of a report thereupon.
Mr. Wilks, agent for New England, and Mr. Wragg, a merchant trading Carolina, attending, as they had been desired, with Mr. Sharpe, the Board informed them that they had received representations from the Islands of Barbadoes, Antigua and St. Christophers, complaining of the trade carried on between the northern colonies and the French and Dutch plantations in America, in prejudice to our sugar islands; upon these representations (copies whereof were ordered to be given to these gentlemen, upon their application for them) the Board desired they would consult the merchants trading to the northern colonies, and let the Board have their objections in writing to what is therein proposed for the benefit of the sugar trade, on Monday seven-night, which they promised accordingly.
Mr. Elkin attending, as he had been desired, the Board took again into consideration the letter from the Lord Harrington, relating to the herring convention with Hamburgh, read the 8th inst., and desiring Mr. Elkin would inform the Board whether the Dutch did not import herrings into Hamburgh as early as the English or Scots, he said not; because that by a law in Holland it is death to throw a net into the sea for herrings before sun set of the eve of St. John's Day: that the Scots and English, not being restrained in this point, did catch herrings before St. John's Day, and imported them into Bremen, but that the Dutch imported thither herrings in large quantities.
An Order of Council, dated the 29th of November last, requiring the Board to prepare the draught of a warrant for transmitting to and impowering the Governor of New Jersey to use the new seal prepared for that province, was read, and directions were given for preparing the draught of a warrant accordingly.
An Order of the Committee of Council, dated the 10th inst., requiring this Board to prepare instructions about holding Courts of Chancery in the Island of Antigua, was read, and directions were given for preparing the draught of instructions accordingly.
Mr. Forster attending, upon the letter wrote to him the 1st inst., concerning the perquisites of the Governors of Barbadoes, he acquainted the Board that upon the receipt of that letter, he had discoursed with the Barbadoes merchants and others, upon the subject of the £2,000 per annum, which he had mentioned to the Board on the 25th of August last as the amount of the Governor's perquisites, not from any knowledge of his own, but from its having been inserted in his brief: that he was informed, that upon Mr. Lowther's second going over Governor of Barbadoes, some dispute arose between him and Mr. Skene, the Secretary to the Island, about some fees, which before that time the Governor had received; and to prevent any uneasiness and complaint, Mr. Lowther did then give up his claim to them, on condition that for the future those fees should be paid to his private secretary: that the place of private secretary to the Governor of Barbadoes is computed to be equal in value with that of public secretary to the island, and to amount to about £800 per annum, but that he cannot take upon him to say that the Governor has any share in the fees so taken by his private secretary, or that he has any perquisites besides accidental seizures on account of illegal trade.
Mr. Forster being withdrawn, the Board took into consideration the draught of a report concerning the additional salary for Mr. Chetwynd, Governor of Barbadoes, mentioned in the Minutes of the 25th of November last, and made a progress therein.
The draught of an instruction, ordered yesterday to be prepared, about holding Courts of Chancery in the Island of Antigua, was agreed, and a report thereupon to the Lords of the Council was agreed and signed.
Their Lordships, taking into consideration the several proposals delivered to the Board, to prevent the running of wool from this kingdom and Ireland, gave directions for transmitting them to Mr. Carkesse, to be laid before the Commissioners of the Customs, and to desire they will appoint a day for meeting this Board to consider thereof.
The Board taking into consideration the draught of a report to the Lords of the Committee concerning the additional salary for Mr. Chetwynd, Governor of Barbadoes, mentioned in the Minutes of yesterday, the same was agreed and ordered to be transcribed, as also
A memorial from Mr. Beake, agent for the Island of St. Christophers, praying that a supply of cannon and other stores of war may be sent to that Island, was read, and ordered that Mr. Beake attend the Board on Monday morning next.
Mr. Oglethorpe and Mr. Towers, two of the gentlemen concerned in the petition, considered at this Board the 3rd of December, 1730, desiring a charter of incorporation for settling poor people in South Carolina, attending, an Order of the Committee of Council, dated the 14th inst., referring to the Board of Trade some points, relating to a charter for establishing Colonies in South Carolina, was read; and their Lordships, after some discourse with Mr. Oglethorpe upon this subject, agreed to propose to the Lords of the Committee as follows, viz:—
A letter from Col. Cosby, Governor of the Leeward Islands, recommending John Morris, Esq., to be of the Council of Antigua, in the room of Mr. Byam, deceased, was read, and a representation, proposing the said Mr. Morris to supply the vacancy, was signed.
Mr. Beake, agent for St. Christophers, attending, as he had been desired, the Board took into consideration his memorial, praying that a supply of cannon and other stores of war may be sent to that Island, read the 16th inst.; and after some discourse with him concerning the necessity of sending the said stores to that Island, gave directions for acquainting Lieut. Gen. Mathew with the Board's desire of speaking with him upon this subject to-morrow morning, about 12 o'clock.
Mr. Wilks, agent for the Massachusetts Bay, Mr. Partridge, agent for Rhode Island, Mr. Belcher, Mr. Furie, agent for Carolina, Mr. Sharpe and Mr. Paris, attending, according to appointment, with several other gentlemen trading to the northern colonies, they presented to the Board the several answers of the Colonies of the Massachusetts Bay, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Providence plantation to the representations of the Islands of Barbadoes, St. Christophers and Antigua, complaining of the trade carried on between the northern colonies and the French and Dutch plantations, mentioned in the Minutes of the 7th inst., which were read, and the Board resolved to consider further thereof at another opportunity.
A memorial from Mr. Partridge, praying that he may have the copy of a memorial transmitted to this Board, touching the proceedings of the General Assembly of Rhode Island, was read, and a copy thereof was ordered to be given to him accordingly.
A letter from Mr. Carkesse, dated the 17th, returning the several proposals to prevent the running of wool, sent to him the 15th inst., and signifying the Commissioners of the Customs' desire of being excused from considering the said proposals, was read.
General Mathew, Lieut. Gov. of St. Christophers, attending, as he had been desired, with Mr. Beake, the agent of that Island, the Board took again into consideration Mr. Beake's memorial praying that a supply of cannon and other stores of war may be sent to that Island, mentioned in yesterday's Minutes, and after some discourse with Gen. Mathew upon it, he was desired to let the Board have in writing his opinion how far the said stores of war were necessary to be sent to that Island, which he promised accordingly.
A letter from Mr. Burchet, dated the 15th inst., (in answer to one wrote to him the 26th of October last, which enclosed an exemplification of a case tried and heard before the Vice Admiralty Court in New England, as also the Act of Appeal thereupon to the Admiralty Court here), with the opinion of the Lords of the Admiralty, that the prosecution of this appeal ought to be carried on by the direction of the Lords of the Treasury, was read; ordered that a copy thereof be sent to Mr. Scope.
Mr. Yeamans, agent for Antigua, and one of the Council of that Island, attending, he acquainted the Board, that he should have occasion to remain some years in England, and therefore desired to resign his seat in that Council to John Duer, Esq., a gentleman of a good estate in Antigua, and every way qualified for that station; the Board agreeing thereto, gave directions for preparing the draught of a representation accordingly.
A letter from Gen. Mathew, dated this day, relating to the sending of stores of war to St. Christophers, was read, and the Board taking Mr. Beake's memorial again into consideration, praying that a supply of cannon and other stores of war may be sent to that Island, a representation in favour thereof was agreed and signed.
The report to the Lords of the Committee, upon their Lordships' order, dated the 14th, referring to this Board some points, relating to a charter for establishing colonies in South Carolina, read the 17th inst., was agreed and signed.